Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spider Stain Removal: The Little Miss Muffet Dress

The Miss Muffet Dress

Another score from the Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale: a diminutive little cotton lawn dress with a host of problems. The collar and sleeves were unfinished and fraying, the back closure had never been added, and the sleeve openings were too small for the almost-three-year old I wanted to give this to. Otherwise the garment was cunningly stitched, clearly homemade, with hand-sewn embroidery at the collar. Why did the creator abandon this project part way through? Closer inspection revealed the answer: stains on the upper left back. I've used many stain-obscuring techniques in the past from Mend Writing to Spirals. I have never, however, used spiders.

Spiders concealing stains

It turns out that once you start stitching spiders it's hard to stop.

Spider concealing nothing

more spiders...

and more spiders...

and more spiders...

Finally I had 12 spiders on what turned out to be a Little Miss Muffet Dress (poem follows). In the process I hemmed the collar and sleeves after creating a wider opening for the sleeves and added a back snap.

Miss Muffet front

Miss Muffet back

And a reminder of the words to the classic children's poem that is over 200 years old, dating back to 1804:

Little Miss Muffet
sat on a tuffet
eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider
that sat down beside her
and frightened Miss Muffet away.

One can only imagine how this poem will be played out when the dress is worn by a three-year-old.

ta da

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Notions Pin: Survival Jewelry Line

The notions pin

I haven't created an assemblage pin in quite a while, though I used to show them in a couple of galleries when I was really cranking them out. Quite frankly my junk supply is running thin, so when I had the chance to hit the last hour of the Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale and take advantage of the "everything you can stuff in a large paper bag for $5" deal in the sewing department at the end of the sale I jumped on it. My bag contained wonders untold, including the following little items from some notions bins:

This pin practically made itself, and sort of fits into the survival clothing/jewelry lines found elsewhere on this blog since the little ivory bakelite thingy (I actually have no idea what this object is) has a lot of red thread on it, which I decided to leave in place as part of the piece, so the pin wearer is armed for any sudden sewing emergencies.  I also have no idea what the metal pieces were originally, but I like their irregular, battered quality.

A few scraps of metal chain, a couple of jump rings, and an old pin backing, and the job was done.

Gluing on the pin backing

If you know what the white thing was originally used for, let me know.

And the story evolves... Apparently this is actually an emergency lace-making pin. Blog reader lewmew informs me this is a tatting shuttle, which I googled to learn about tatting. The following image from Gutenberg strikes my fancy.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Angry Mouse Club

Another upcycle in the Angry Mice series, and this time around there's a template so that you, too, can join the Angry Mouse Club. Yes folks, what started as an accident (see the first Angry Mice piece) has turned into a movement, and surely you are angry enough about something or other to want to join up.

Angry Mouse Club sweater

In this rendition Angry Mouse has gone upscale with a red cashmere sweater scored at my friendly neighborhood thrift store. Once home I discovered a tiny hole on the front of the sweater.

At about this time, I heard about the cashmere scandal coming out of China with the report that a number of Chinese factories were using rat hair instead of cashmere in their "cashmere" exports (see BBC News story). Upon inspection I discovered that the source of the thrift store sweater was indeed China. I'd say wearing a sweater you thought was cashmere that turns out to be rat hair is something to get angry about. I decided to cover the hole with another Angry Mouse. As a follow-up I decided to create the template and how-to instructions below so that others could join the Angry Mouse Club movement.

Template with complete how-to instructions

To join the Angry Mouse Club just download the template above to your computer and resize it to whatever size mouse head you want. The only materials you'll need are a few pieces of felt, a little embroidery floss, and a needle and thread, as well as a used piece of clothing that will be markedly improved with the addition of the Angry Mouse Club logo.

Angry Mouse created from felt

Stitched onto sweater

On this piece I just used the head and not the "angry mice" stitched words you see on the original Angry Mice piece. What you do is up to you. There is a lot of creative leeway in the Angry Mouse Club.

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