Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ladybird or ladybug

This was totally unplanned and not on my to-do list at all. I had dedicated this week to making nothing but bags - I have 5 more to make. But you know you can't make bags all day long. It gets boring. Lately I've found it's really nice to make small little embroideries which don't take up a lot of time. It's really relaxing and a great de-stressor.

It started out like this, with an embroidery hoop, some felt and embroidery thread.

Here it is, all finished. It's a ladybird. Or is it a ladybug? What's the difference?

It's mostly satin stitch which I absolutely dislike. I'm not very neat in my stitching either. I used sashiko red thread for the wings but I realise that sashiko thread isn't really good for this kind of stitching. Next time I would use perle or just embroidery floss.

Oh, I did clean up my Ikea sten shelves after all. Just one shelf. The lighting is so much better on the left side of my balcony but it is occupied by these giant sten shelves. You know the monstrous tree outside my window? It survived the recent dry spell and blocks sunlight to my balcony. But it's growing taller and I hope it will continue to grow taller so I get more light.

As I often do with all my small embroideries - I turned the ladybird into a brooch. Melly is just barely tolerating the ladybird...

Ladybird checking out the classifieds. I wonder what job would suit a ladybird?

I couldn't get the words on the newspaper to come out clear - maybe next time I should try using a higher aperture number.

Yesterday I attended the last lesson of a product photography course I was taking at Nikon school. Yes, I did learn a few things - mostly on the first lesson. In product photography, you're supposed to use special lights. But I use sunlight so there's some struggle I have each time I take photos. Still, I'm trying to use some of what I've learnt in my blog photos. Do you notice any tiny bit of improvement in my photos? (All photos on this post taken with my Nikon D3200 except for the first iPhone photo)

Later, friends.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Denim crossbody bag

You know I always feel like I've accomplished something when I manage to use a teeny tiny portion of my scraps. As many of you who sew will agree, there will always be scraps. I don't think it's possible to use up every single piece of scrap I own. There are some scraps which I'd rather throw away as some fabric don't look good as scraps. But for these scraps above, I simply cannot bear to throw them.

I made the scraps into a scrap pocket for my denim crossbody bag. The lighting was really dim in my balcony but I discovered that the Ikea Sten shelves which houses hub's shoes give pretty good light. I clean this area once a year so don't expect it any cleaner the next time I take my photos here.

The lighting in this photo is a little too warm. I was too lazy to adjust it. The denim is really thick so I skipped the interfacing. I bought the denim from a shop that supplied to tailors. I chose the least stretchable denim. The shopkeeper was very curious why I wanted non-stretch jeans.

I have so many things on my to-do list right now that all I can do is do one at a time. I wish I have more energy than motivation. Every day is a soul sucking day. It's the freaking weather. Hot and humid, humid and hot, hot and humid and rain. Our utilities bill went over $200 last month. Later...

Partying with Sew Many Ways

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

March 2014 Giveaway Winner


This morning I remembered that my March 2014 giveaway has ended and I used to generate a winner. Sorry I didn't get a chance to write a blog post until now as I took a long nap and then went out for lunch followed by necessary shopping.

Yes, the has spoken. The winner is the LAST PERSON to enter my giveaway.

Here's her winning "I am crazy" comment.

Btw, I must apologise for making you guys call yourself crazy. That wasn't my intention at all. I wanted to leave it open so you could write safe stuff like "I am crazy about... Chemistry." (one person) My secret agenda was - so I could find out who the crazies are. I am of course kidding. (I'm not) It was fun, wasn't it? And don't worry, I am quite crazy myself. Welcome to the club!

Back to the winner...

This little wristlet is what she won. Bear is not included. Janet, I will be contacting you very soon and if I don't hear back from her within 48 hours, you guys will get another shot.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Something new from something old

The past few days I felt a little more stressed than my usual zen. So I decided to do some mindless embroidery. A long while back, one of my readers had swapped with me and I requested for thrift shop items with embroidery. The problem with thrift shop items is sometimes the fabric is stained. But the embroidery is mostly good. So I wanted to keep whatever is worth keeping and then add some embroidery to it. It's very much like something new from something old.

These are what I have to work with.

I chose this single flower. I don't particularly like the embroidery but at least the stitches are still intact. If you're wondering what the polka dots fabric is for - it's my backing fabric.

I started out slowly with running stitches. Then I totally lost control. I just piled on the embroidery. I even added beads! If you're wondering why the red satin stitches really pop, it's because I used sashiko thread.

What do you think? Is it worth all that effort to save the old embroidery? By the way, I decided this embroidery will look nice as a brooch. And the embroidery did keep me relaxed and take my mind off the humidity and daily grind.

Tomorrow I'm going to a knitting party. What will you be doing?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Embroidered butterfly crescent crossbody bag

Yesterday when I was making this crescent crossbody bag, I felt like I was being judged (by myself) because let's face it. I've made this exact same bag a number of times, with the same yellow-green cotton twill too. So to make it more interesting, mostly for me, I added some details to the butterfly.

The fabric print I used for the butterfly applique is different from what I would normally choose for an applique mainly because it has quite a lot of white space. If all I wanted to do was to outline the applique with blanket stitch, I would choose a fabric print with more print details. In this case, I felt it was okay to use this print because I was going to add embroidery details to some of the white space. I think applique/embroidery aesthetic is a matter of preference so I never really feel 100% secure what I do will always appeal to the customer.

My preferred form of embroidery is one where I start off with a fabric print and I add embroidery stitches as I go along. Nothing is planned, except in this case, the blanket stitch around the outline. I used sashiko thread - the heavier kind and it gives a nice texture around the butterfly. When I run my fingers around it, I get such a nice sensation. Don't worry, nothing kinky. Is there a name for the kind of embroidery I do? The word freeform comes to mind but it's more than just freeform. I "respond" to the fabric print and it's a little bit like a dance-off. Something like this...

Jane: Froggy, why are you carrying an umbrella? Hmm... let me give you a little blue rain.
Froggy: Too much! Too much!
Orange flowers: Ha ha, froggy is getting wet.
Jane: I think the orange flowers need some mustache.
Orange flowers: Nooooooooo!
Jane: Just kidding. But I'll give you a few wrinkles.

For bags that are meant for customers, I tend to exercise restraint and not go overboard on the embroidery. Less is more is how I do it.

I wanted to make this bag exciting for the customer every time she opens her bag. So I used this interesting print. It's interesting (to me) because it has trees and houses. Houses, you hear? There are four things which I love in a fabric print - trees/leaves, flowers, birds and houses. Can't go wrong with these combo.

Today I took photographs of my bags at a different timing just to see if the lighting is better. Noon is not exactly the best time to take photos but the light that comes to my balcony is diffused by the surrounding blocks of flats and a dying tree outside my window.

Partying at Sew many ways.
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