Category: mending

extreme mending and how to make a front bustle and scrap binding

binding mad from scraps

mending clothes with scraps

The Second Annual International Scrap Festival comes to a close today!  Thanks to everybody who participated – you can checkout some of the swaps and projects here. I’m already planning the 2021 festival…

You can’t have a scrap festival without talking about mending. I love my mended sleeves and knees, it has nothing to do with being practical or frugal, although I am both of those things. Pretty much. I get nostalgic and attached about clothes and the practice itself, the mending, the meandering stitches and serendipitous layers, is a daily meditation for me.

mended linen smock with front bustle

And I like an interesting hem, not sure why, but it might be at least in part because I’m pretty short (you may not have noticed this because I project quite tall). The hitched up skirt has a little lengthening effect. And it fits right in with my middle age art lady personal style ( #contemporaryhollyhobby). I stumbled onto the front bustle, or bustled hem idea idea while mending this dress.

The first bustle was a simple button and loop. I’ve just button bustled my ancient and  beloved  cal patch smock. The mending on this smock is so extreme it will eventually be nothing but mends.

mending a linen smock with scraps

I have a flannel shirt (purchased for 25 cents at the Herkimer NY Goodwill) that’s like that too – just can’t let it go. Plus it keeps getting more interesting. The edges near the buttons were shredded so I made edge binding from scraps.

binding mad from scraps

Check out this tutorial on how to make your own. It’s super easy.  And it begins with “iron your scraps” so you know it’s a winner. I’m making a bunch of this for frayed pillowcase edges too.

Back to the bustles. I tried a different method on an antique linen nightgown I got in France last year (it started out ivory – I dyed it blue with woad).

make a bustled hem

I’m using a strip of cotton fabric that’s about 3 inches wide. You can make it any length you like – depending on how bustled you want to be. I made the cord from very light weight fabric  – you could also use ribbon or twill tape, any sort of cord you like. I started with about 30 inches of cord and trimmed it .

bustled hem tutorial

Fold the side edges under and press, then folded the top and bottom edges over twice and pressed.  Pin the piece to the skirt.

Sew a U shaped channel in the center –  about one half inch wide. Sew the long sides down as well- I used a tiny whip stitch along the edge. Be sure to leave the top and bottom edges open.

Use a large needle  to thread the cord through from the top.

Come out at the bottom and go back in and come out at the top again. Once the cord is in you can stitch the bottom closed (being careful not to catch the cord) or just leave it open – I left it open.

bustled hem tutorial

bustled hem tutorial

Trim the cord and knot the ends. You are bustled! If you bustle a hem I’d love to see – use #contemporaryhollyhobby on instagram.

how to maker a bustled hem

elegant rag dolls

PS – There has been serious naked lady rag doll progress – The pattern is almost done – I’m in the tiny adjustment/improvement stage. This process involves making tons of dolls and some of those, in various states of dress, will be in the shop  soon.

bustled hem tutorial

extreme mending, sledding lambs and the 100 day project

patched and mended sleeves

patched and mended sleeves

Extreme mending, that’s what happens when you can’t let go. I can’t let go of this giant flannel shirt. I got it for a quarter at the Herkimer NY Goodwill in 2010. I started mending it a couple years ago, mostly just worn edges. Last winter it had some major sleeve blowouts and other serious issues. It was barely a shirt anymore but I remain too attached to part with it. I spent my 3 hour train ride to Vermont (more on that in a minute) stabilizing it. And now I’m plugging leaks. Besides my ridiculous attachment to it I like the process of this kind of meandering mending. And I like the result, the unexpected layers and combinations that turn up.

I’m mending my linen smock too where I have worn it thin, keeping it mostly pale. I’ll never part with it either and it will eventually be all patches. I’m good with that.

pale patches on a linen smock

100 days of creativity

The Hundred Day Project starts on Tuesday April 2. It’s a free art project that takes place online. Every spring, people all around the world commit to 100 days of creativity. Are you participating? I sort of am. I do a little painting or drawing everyday anyway so I think that counts. All you need to do is commit to a project (big or small or very small) and tag your instagram posts with #The100DayProject. You can do anything, You could mend something if you like.


This blog started with a similar experiment. It was a little different, I committed to making 100 cardboard horses. I made one Monday through Friday and gave myself the weekend off.  Much like my daily practice now, somedays I loved it and some days I most certainly did not. But I know now I need it.

If you decide to participate I can offer you some of what I’ve learned:

* Be realistic about time. The amount of time you commit can be very small and still have lots of benefits.

* Have a plan for the bad days, a minimal but acceptable effort. And accept the bad days. Everybody will have lots of them. I have some very bad days and post some real stinkers.

* It’s helpful to do it around the same time everyday. Your subconscious gets on board after a while and shows up with ideas.

* Think of it as an opportunity to listen to yourself and maybe get glimpses into your singular and powerful imagination that you would not otherwise get. Plus new instagram friends.

And if you feel like making your daily art a cardboard horse feel free – there is a whole tutorial here. And as an added bonus when you’re done you have a stampede.

Back to Vermont.

I took the train up to Warm Brook Barn in Vermont to teach at their Maple Harvest retreat with French General. The group was lovely and intensely creative. We made silk necklaces, talismans, beeswax candles, wax seals and lambs in pants. There was a beautiful snowstorm of almost exactly the right duration and intensity and It was all generally a blast. And I loved exploring all the fabulous details of the old houses.

fabulous dresser at warmbook barn

PS- If you’d like to make a little sled it’s super easy – I found a tutorial here.

And PPS – A rare occurrence – I’m usually like a ninja, a lamb in pants making stealthy ninja. I was captured in the wild in Vermont, caught in the act, sneaking up on a sledding lamb in pants for a photo.

caught in the act

so long 2017, mending sleeves and bold moves

contemporary holly hobby

ann wood : mending

Everything feels slow and still and there is lots to think about so I am mending. I love to mend, I love the thrift and economy and the meandering pace of it. I love how it looks and what it means, these are badges that tell you something about me.

ann wood : mending

contemporary holly hobby

While I patch my sleeves and collars and knees I’m thinking about the year past and my plans for the next. I’ve got big scary plans and I’ll tell you about them in a minute.  First I want to tell you a painful lesson I learned about attention.

A few years ago I sort of learned to ride a motorcycle.  Slow in the driveway. I was bad at it.  The most serious problem I had was driving into things: trees, houses, people etc. I googled the problem and found an answer, the fix was remarkably simple and easy:

To not look where I did not want to go.

I was so afraid of driving into the tree, the person, the house etc. that I focused on them and they pulled me like a magnet.  The result was awkward and painful. When I only looked where I wanted to go it was like magic.

Starting now I’m keeping my big plans in front of me. Looking where I want to go. Making myself focus on the big scary things I want to accomplish in 2018.  Everyday.  Keeping the big stuff in front and working backwards from there. The little stuff will align because it must.  I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s next.  Feeling around for it for a while.  This will be a year of change for me.  I want it to be and I want to make sure my plans don’t evaporate in distractions and busyness.  I’m going to give myself very clear, consistent and simple messages about what is important:

write the book

paint the paintings

move north

Pick yours and we will talk more about it next week.

I’ll leave you with one success and one failure from 2017.  First the success. The most popular pattern this year was the tiny rag doll and that is a happy and unexpected thing.  I love the idea of lots and lots these tiny bundled up ladies in the world.

tiny rag dolls

The failure was falling out of my sketchbook habit mid year.  I miss it and feel the lack of it in all my work.  I’ll resume my small, daily squares this  Sunday.

Thanks for showing up and I wish you a beautiful new year,
ann

mending, tiny pants, a blue owl, and other travel sewing

indigo owl work

Another thing to love about small sewing, hand sewing, is how well it travels. I’m packing up some projects today and heading out to water and forests and people who have forgotten what I look like.

indigo owl work

a sewing pattern for a dastardly owl

Find the owl sewing pattern here

 

This blue owl is coming. His indigo wings are all pinned up and ready for stitching. I love the blues, the variety, layered together Boro style.  There is also some small blue appliqué work – I’m experimenting with eyes.  More on that soon.

 

indigo owl wing

indigo owl progress

I’m bringing lot’s of mending too. The seats of my pants mostly. I’ve been wandering around  lately with extra and unseemly ventilation.

cornell and mending

cornell and mending

And  I’m spending some time with Joseph Cornell’s boxes and thinking about how things, objects, relate to each other, the moods and atmosphere and ideas those relationships can create and the poetry of things. They are ideas important to upcoming workshops.

tiny tousers

free doll pants sewing pattern

 

And I want to sit by the water and make tiny trousers. Tiny trousers for little lamb gentlemen.

I find the little pants particularly satisfying – they are quick and there is just something about tiny pants.

lamb folk progress

I want to come home with a little pile of satchels and pants.

visible mending and a victorian bird

mending

In 1978, Soviet geologists discovered a family of six, in the vast and wild Siberian forest. They had been living there, in a cobbled together shack by a stream in complete isolations for 40 years. They missed World War 2.  Geologist Galina Pismenskaya recalled her first encounter with the family:

“The low door creaked, and the figure of a very old man emerged into the light of day, straight out of a fairy tale. Barefoot. Wearing a patched and re-patched shirt made of sacking. He wore trousers of the same material, also in patches”

I wanted to share the story with you because the details of their life and survival are astounding – you can find the article here.  And the image of the old man’s clothing grabbed me – I guess you could call it extreme mending.  Mending is fascinating and I think so often beautiful.

My policy on possessions is have good things you love, not too many, and keep them for a long time. I almost never buy clothes. There are a just a couple exceptions – every once in a while I buy a smock dress from Cal Patch and wear it relentlessly.  First there was this one and then last summer this one.  It’s my uniform – I like having a uniform.  Most of what I have was given to me and much of it I’ve had for a long time. I mend things, make do, re-use and repurpose. I like the practicality – economy and the aesthetics.

The blue jacket was given to me 15 years ago I think – I wore the sleeve edges ragged and I’m patching them with lovely old cloth from Sri Threads.

mending

The green jacket above I’ve had for about 20 years – it has lot’s of issues but not enough to let it go – I’m patching it with gorgeous Fortuny scraps.  I’m partial to flannel shirts and the red plaid above is a favorite – besides the ragged sleeves (I’m hard on sleeves) It had a big hole under one arm. Nothing says success like an underarm hole.  I patched it with a 19th century dress maker’s scrap.

dress mend

And the dress above – also a hand me down – is one of my most adventurous mends. The bottom of the skirt had a big section with glue or something spilled on it. I cut it out and sewed in a section from a cotton camisole. There was a little button loop and I left it at the bottom and added a button to the seam so I could pull the hem up. Pretty fancy.

me and moose

And Moose – there has to be a photo of Moose and she sort of agreed to participate. She visited here all week – such a good kitten.

In other sewing news – I finished the victorian bird! 9 years after starting – but still – so good to get it done (sewing pattern coming soon).

victorian bird

victorian bird

victorian bird

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