Category Archives: Sewing & Design

Inspiration from anywhere

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My niece drew this picture of a sewing machine for me.  Her message “Don’t miss the sniff” is to let me know that not only is there a scratch and sniff sticker there, but she drew it using smelly markers.  Important stuff when you are 4.  I am in love with this picture.

“Kid art” is a really hard thing to translate into fabric design.  And honestly, I look at pretty much everything anymore and think “How can I make fabric out of this?”  So I wanted to capture this fabulous drawing in fabric.

via gofugyourself.celebuzz.com

via gofugyourself.com

The new fall line for Dolce & Gabbana offers this.  Which I honestly think is hideous.  If you click that photo it will take you to a whole slide show of their runway show, which has a whole collection of “kid art” prints.  They all look like they are printed on shiny satin besides, which also doesn’t make any sense.  Formal crayon wear? Ugh.

So instead of trying to go with a literal interpretation, I decided to use Mia’s drawing as inspiration instead.

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So, I drew the sewing machine and all of the other doo-dads and shapes in Illustrator, making it into a vector design so I could rearrange, resize and so on to make a repeat.  This one is about 18″ because I wanted it to be big and bold.  I wanted some textures to overlay on designs like this, so a few weeks ago, I spent an afternoon making fibery textures.  This one is perfect for this design.  I also used Mia’s drawing for the color inspiration.  I think my version has enough pink in it for her to approve.

I don’t see this is a clothing fabric (although she would probably wear it) so I decided to think of it like a craft/quilting fabric instead, which meant I wanted to have a collection of coordinating prints to go along with it.  Solids with the same fibery texture, “cheerios” and little banner flags so far.  I think I need one more.  Any ideas?

coordinates

 

I know it is sewing machines (and you do now too), but I think this also could look like tribal/tiki/monster as I can see a few faces in there.  And that also works for me.

 

Video: A skirt in 3 minutes

skirtVideoI spend so much of my time behind a computer screen that it is hard to show “behind the scenes” shots of what I do.  And I know that people love to see works in progress.  I do too. So I made this video which shows my process in about 3 minutes. I captured it in 2 sessions and sped it up 1500%.  This is a wrap skirt that I designed that should be one of the ones for sale at the American Craft Council show I am participating in.  I just finished it so I haven’t seen the fabric in person yet.

The video shows the whole process from drafting the skirt in Illustrator to adding the photos in Photoshop.  In this case it is a wrap style skirt and I used 3 photos: long exposure shots from a nighttime “parade of lights” we watched at Disney several years ago.  This is a simple design relatively speaking. The photos are so cool that I didn’t need to do much manipulation to them.  I left in all of the things I tried and rejected. You will see that I thought about a row of polkadots at one point.  It’s tiny – it’s not meant to be a tutorial, but just so you can join along in the process.  Enjoy!

“Stuck in a rut” or “Variations on a theme”?

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I have had scissors on the brain lately.  Maybe because there are always several pairs of them on the dining room table.  (And yet, never any when you go to look for them.  But that’s a rant for another post.)

I started drawing this set of scissors to make earrings.  I do a set of fiber art related jewelry for a local shop.  Button earrings, zipper earrings, earring made from snaps.  And I wanted to add something new to the collection.  I love making laser cut doo-dads and I had a brainstorm to make little tiny scissors from mirrored acrylic that look like Gingher sewing shears.

scissors-2

Those were so much fun that I also drew some little embroidery scissors and stork embroidery scissors.  I did all the artwork in Adobe Illustrator because I was making vector shapes.  That’s what you need for laser cutting.  But the cool thing about vectors is that once you get them drawn, you can scale them up and down without anything getting rough and jaggedy.  So then I thought, since I have these scissors I should also make a fabric design.  So that’s the design at the top.  Which I think will make really great project bags and I might even make a t-shirt.  Why not?

So then I made it in another colorway.  And then I got on a roll and did a knitting design to match the style of those scissors.  And then a design for lacemakers with bobbin lace and tatting.  (I get a lot of requests for lacemaking buttons through my Etsy shop, so I know they are out there looking for things!)  And then when I showed off these designs to a friend at Textile Center, they gave me a hard time about not having a design for crochet and weavers, so those are in the works.  I’m even considering a skirt design all made of scissors shapes.

scissors

So one drawing of one pair of scissors has now turned into 9 different designs and more in the works.  Stuck in a rut?  I don’t think so. By taking the time to draw those vector shapes, I have now added them to my toolbox.  It’s like finding a new color in the crayon box.  I did the tedious work of making the vector shapes but now I can just drop them in anywhere and play with them.  I am sure that I will get tired of them at some point, but for now the variations seem to just keep coming.

Upcoming Class: Digital Keepsake Tea Towel

RahnRecipeCard

This is a recipe written in my Grandmother’s handwriting, which I turned into a linen tea towel.  Cool huh?  This was inspired by a post a couple of years ago on Spoonflower’s blog and I have turned the idea into a class, which is coming up in March.  We will scan a recipe card and learn how to scale it up so it fills a fat quarter of fabric, perfect for a tea towel.  Don’t have a recipe?  You could also use a handwritten note, a signature, a quote, or a poem as long as it is something about the size and shape of an index card.

My recipe cards weren’t quite the right size ratio to fill the whole fat quarter – there was a little white space around the edges – so I made this simple gingham pattern to fill in the gaps and add a pretty border.  You will learn how to do that too!  This class is broken up into 3 class sessions.  There is a gap before the last session so we have time to order our fabric and then meet back one more time so we can show and tell (or troubleshoot) and then I will demonstrate how to hem them (with pretty mitered corners) and show you some more great designs based on this same scanning and scaling technique.

You can register at Textile Center.  Dates are Wednesdays March 25, April 1 and April 29 from 6-8 pm.

Infinity Scarves

infinityscarves

I am getting all kinds of new things ready for the show I am doing at the American Craft Council Library on December 13.  So excited!  This is the first large collection of my digital prints that I will have for sale.  Last week I finished the cowl scarves.  I know that the “giant infinity scarf” is a major trend, but I just don’t think they are that flattering.

(stock photo)

(stock photo)

These are made with a more simple and elegant kind of silhouette.  More like a necklace.  These are all made from polyester crepe, which is soft and lightweight and drapey and the colors are vibrant and gorgeous.  I haven’t used this fabric before and I am in love.  Each design also has a story:

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Meh to home dec and some great tutorials

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I have spent the last 4 weeks making a variety of home dec type objects for a variety of reasons.  Placemats, table runners, pillows.  And the thing is, I just can’t get in to it.  It’s relatively easy sewing as those things go.  Mostly straight lines, lovely fabrics, but I just can’t get excited about the finished objects.  How many throw pillows does a person need exactly?  How about you?  Love it or hate it?  Do you redecorate for every season?

Meanwhile, I did find some fun, helpful and inspiring tutorials while I was working out all of the details on these projects:

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