Discover More of My Work In Altered Couture!

This website has been devoted (mostly) to my quilted works. However, there are so many more ways I love to create with fabric!

The latest issue of Altered Couture has 2 articles  I wrote about altering ready-to-wear garments with vintage barkcloth.

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Sewing with vintage textiles is something I’ve been doing for years and find very satisfying, creatively speaking. Finding beautiful or funky materials from the past isn’t too hard—but what to do with them is a challenge, and one that I enjoy!

Stampington Press publishes numerous magazines for all types of creative artists with inspiration galore. Many articles provide instructions for techniques shown in the spectacular photography. My articles in this issue of Altered Couture both include descriptions of how I created these garments.

If you’d like to purchase this magazine or others from Stampington, you may order directly, subscribe or find them at a retail location near you.

Keep watching……I’ve got more articles in this and other Stampington magazines coming soon!

>Christmas is Coming!

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I posted earlier about finding this Grandma Moses barkcloth on ebay. Well, I think it made some really cute Christmas stockings! I’ve made quite a few different ones for markets this fall. The one on the left has a cuff made from vintage chenille and fringe. Doncha love that curled-up toe??? The other (traditionally shaped) stocking has a cuff made from a vintage napkin. I sewed a bunch of fun buttons on it for accent.

Here are a couple of other fun uses of vintage materials. These 2 jackets are from the same pattern—they look so different! My friend Maria is wearing a jacket I originally designed for myself. I took it to a market before it was finished, just in case someone came along who might be interested in this type of jacket. Well, Maria came along and wanted THAT jacket! She came over the next day to pick out buttons and I finished it up for her. You can tell from her big grin that she loves it! So I went ahead and created another jacket for myself, pictured on the right.
I am frequently asked, “What IS barkcloth?” Barkcloth is a cotton fabric with a rough, nubby weave, thus the name. It was popular in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s, primarily used for curtains. Because curtains don’t get much “wear”, they have survived in great shape. There were several popular pattern styles—tropical, asian, floral and “scenic”. The colors are different than what I find in contemporary fabrics (like that funky lime green) which makes it hard sometimes to find coordinating materials.

>My Pursuit of Happyness!

>Lots of people like to window shop online. It’s fun, free, and your feet don’t get tired! The main thing I shop for online is fabric. The types of fabrics I find most interesting and inspiring are mostly vintage materials, which I find on ebay or at estate sales (when I’m lucky enough to be able to get to one!) The hunt for authentic barkcloth, in a pattern I like, at a reasonable price, is a favorite break-time activity.

I just love my most recent barkcloth finds and thought I’d share some of them with you!

This fabric I’ve already used for beautiful purse (custom order) and have cut out a jacket for another order.

I found this pretty grey/pink color way of the same fabric I just used for the messenger bag! One of my sons’ girlfriend has already ordered the messenger bag in this one. Just need to find some great lining fabric!

I’m not sure if this one is really barkcloth, but it’s the same type of texture. The little country scenes are so cute–can’t wait to applique some of it on some denim pieces!

This is my grand prize (for now!) Some real Grandma Moses “Springtime on the farm” panels. It hasn’t even arrived in the mail yet, can’t wait to see it! It will be great for jackets. I’ll have to see it in person to really formulate some ideas.

Barkcloth florals are pretty easy to find, but the rural, farm-type scenes are much harder to come by. So finding and using them in creative ways has become my little “niche” in the handmade market.

>Barkcloth laptop bag/diaper bag/tote!

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This summer I was given the opportunity ( by another Artfire artisan) to submit something for a silent auction at the American Business Women’s Association convention at the end of this month. Paula was collecting Artfire items to put in a bag—I jumped at the chance to make THE BAG!

I’ve been buying some gorgeous vintage barkcloth this summer and thought the brown and turquoise would be beautiful for fall. I did buy some commercial cotton for the lining because I didn’t have anything to match.

I designed the bag around the print on the fabric. This created a rather large bag, so I measured my laptop to make sure it would fit, as long as it was going to be that large. The bottom of the bag is firm and padded, so it’s “laptop friendly”. It’s also a great size for a diaper bag or just a general tote.

There are pockets inside and out and the top zips closed—should be very nice to use.

The button on the flap is my favorite button in my collection–it’s from my grandmother’s estate. It just looked TOO GOOD to not put on this bag!
I’m very pleased with the results and have posted it in my Artfire studio, as I can create more such bags if they are custom ordered.

>Old Fabric and New Bags

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I’m so enjoying working with my collection of vintage fabrics. These are the only 2 “big” bags I’ve made with them lately, but I love them both. The first bag I designed completely around the fabric print. I love that wrought iron gate behind the flowers, so I created an arched shape for the center of the bag. Then, to give the bag a more “girly” shape, I cinched in the sides with a little belt. I’m really happy with it.
The second bag has been brewing for a while………I had the barkcloth with the red and pink leaves for quite a while. I hadn’t been used to working with red and pink together, so that took some contemplating. Plus it’s a really large scale design. Then I had this little remnant of what I guess was a tablecloth–the piece with the big peonies. Same colors…..hmmm……..had my red and white pillow ticking in my big pile of working materials………and then it all came together! I like the different scales of the graphics, and the contrast of stripes with floral. I think it works. Because of the shape of the table cloth piece, I was kind of stuck with a square-ish shape, and the bag became a big tote. I can’t leave well enough alone, so I pleated the outer corners a bit. It needed some type of large closure piece, so I played with my vintage buttons til I found this stack. I added lots of pockets inside and a little one on the outside (I love those for keys or phone) and it’s done. I like it!
If you want to see more pics, go to my Artfire Studio. They’re both for sale on my Artfire site, but if they don’t sell, I wouldn’t mind keeping them!!!