Growing up our home was filled with seamstresses: a grandmother who should have been a fashion designer, a mother who was so good her own daughters were afraid to compete, and all three of my older sisters were (and are) talented seamstresses in their own rights.
As for me, a discussion of fabric types, prints, patterns, measuring and so forth was like listening to the adults on a Charlie Brown special: just a lot of “Wa-wah, wa-wah”.
So, as we began to pull our businesses together last fall, we moved fabrics and other supplies from one home to another, based on what each of us felt we needed for the projects we had in mind. Honestly, I felt like a traveling salesman traveling from one home to another to deliver bags to one sister and pick up bags for another.
In one of my acquisitions, I received several fabrics I was told were “border prints”. These were not what I thought a border print should look like, but again, what do I know about it? When I think of a border print, I envision a very well defined border with horizontal lines and designs within those lines (like many southwest prints).
Border prints are generally found along the selvage and often on both selvages, but can also be on just one, depending upon the design. Border prints are often found in geometric designs (again, think southwestern prints), or florals.
In the above photo, you can clearly see the top and bottom borders, and that they run along the selvage. That’s easy enough to see them as border prints.
However, the ones I received were more along the lines of falling or cascading designs, like you’d see in home decor for curtains or bedskirts.
I could not imagine sewing curtains or bedding out of these, let alone anything else, but there was a lot of both, so I packed them away for the future. Then one day, it occurred to me these border prints offered a complete set of coordinating fabrics for my hen and chick sets.
These are perfect for sectioning into various parts and creating coordinating fabrics for small critters. It saves time in hunting coordinating fabrics, because you already know the sections will go together.
I love that I was able to create something fun and unique with a little outside the box thinking.
1st sister, Pat discovered this cute little toddler dress and evidently it just screamed “send me to Jennifer, send me to Jennifer.” So, she did.
In the box that she sent were probably at least half a dozen shirts she sent for making my man’s shirt aprons, a slinky, shiny blouse which I loved, and this little dress. The dress screamed the loudest … and it said “Me, Me, do something with me first.”
2nd sister, Deb, happened to be visiting at the time and when I waved it at her and said, “this would make a cute bag, but it’s gonna be bigger than I have been making lately.”
She replied matter of factly, “Ok, so, cut it in half.”
I whipped around to look at Deb and said “EH? In half?”
So, I looked at it and said — “hmm”… folded it in half and was totally sold on the idea.
Some cutting, splicing, finding and making of a lining with a pocket (gotta have pockets somewhere – lol )…… Presto-change- a cute little toddler dress now becomes two near identical small bags.
(The lining with the inner pocket that you really can’t see)
They are over on Etsy at the time of this writing, but I cant say they are one of a kind … lol
…………. Because …
There are TWO of them… TWINS !!!
And they are just too precious even if I must say so myself.
“ Lacy and frilly, fun loving and sassy purse for that precious one in your life. Bound to bring plenty of oohs and ahhs her way. Whether Young or old, she will feel like a princess with this bag on her shoulder. Easter, Spring , but also weddings, parties and anytime events.It’s jewelry on your young lady’s shoulder.
Have two special young ladies in your life, or even twins? Well, you’re in luck because there are two of these precious purses available.This listing is only for ONE bag, but a second is also available for purchase at this time.
Very definitely this is a “statement bag”….. anyone carrying this bag is saying, “I feel beautiful, feminine, and significant!” Buy one and share the other with your daughter, granddaughter, best friend, sister, sorority sister, etc. The bags are two-of -a-kind only and will demonstrate the uniqueness of the women who carry them.”
Mother and the sisters all write great ad copy, don’t they? Wish they would do it for everything I make, but they’ve all balked at that suggestion in the past…..
Just made a video on these adorable bags, check it out
So, in the mean time….
Live Every Moment, Love Beyond Words, Laugh Everyday, ~
It’s a set of Aprons for that special Mother/daughter/son, or Father/daughter/son combo. And of course there are numerous other combos … the Aunt or Uncle/niece/nephew, Grandparent ……. etc …
The original challenge by the 3 other sisters and our mother was to make matching aprons for an adult and child from shirts. If it weren’t an upcycle challenge, I could have just gone out and bought a child’s shirt and adult man’s shirt as a matching set. But, I also don’t like accepting easy challenges.. what’s the challenge in that? lol
I found a man’s light pink shirt, a boy’s purple plaid shirt and hoped that some hand dyeing would do the trick to pull them together enough that I could mix and match parts … take from the plaid and put on the solid and vice-a-versa. But once I set dye to each piece, ugh … I was further away from my goal than when I started.
No, I’m not going to show what that combo looked like. Just trust me, ugh ugh ugh … not quite gag me with a stick ugh, but it definitely was not going to fly …. so back to the drawing board.
I WILL show you the man’s shirt on the dye boards though.
After all the parts of the shirt were dry and I had set the dye, I found myself tossing all the parts of this shirt from one hand to the other… How was I going to make this work, because I might end up searching the rest of my life for a child’s shirt that would mesh with the pink/dyed purple man’s shirt.
So, it was inventory time… I needed to look at this project differently. Just what did I have available in my hand that I wasn’t seeing the bigger picture of uses for? I knew I would need most every bit of the back for the ties and I would use one sleeve for the larger deep pockets I like to put on my aprons and then it hit me— every shirt has TWO sleeves, silly — The BIG question though was, can I squeeze a child sized apron out of a man’s shirt sleeve?
And here’s the answer to that question – YES! You can squeeze a child sized apron from a man’s shirt sleeve.
Here’s the set together along with the adult apron by its self.
Even the lining is hand-dyed- and yeah, I do like lining my aprons.
Here’s all that’s left of the original “Joseph & Feiss” man’s dress shirt size 16 36/37.
Now, as a side note, I can hear some people saying ‘yeah, I can see a woman, mother, daughter, aunt, grandmother wearing a purple apron, but no man I know is going to wear a purple apron… ‘
To that I say this – ANY GUY will look AWESOME in a purple shirt as well as a hand-dyed purple apron, so give it a go… (I’d go so far as saying a guy looks “HOT” in purple but I’ve been told, at my age I shouldn’t be saying things like that in public… so – I won’t …… just play like you didn’t read that. (Unread, Unread – Unsee, Unsee, as Shari likes to say.)
Beyond that, as I write this post, the apron set is over on Etsy. If it’s gone by time you read this article and you’d like a set, then send us an email here on the blog at 4TxSisters (at) gmail.com. Address it to Jennifer – or not—lol – guess it really doesn’t matter who you address it to, so far, I’m the apron maker of the group, so most likely it will be passed on to me.
So, in the mean time….
Live Every Moment, Love Beyond Words, Laugh Everyday,
So it all started out rather innocently, if you ask me.
This dress happened to fall into my lap.
And I have to tell you, the picture just does not do the dress justice…. But anyway, back to the story.
At the time, I was making clutches. Not sure how I ended up being the clutch girl, OR even the purse/bag girl;, but here I am, now having made close to 2 dozen in the last few months…. lol
The clutches I’d been making were actually bigger than I personally would want to carry, so as I was looking through my closet for some really cool fabric, I spotted THE DRESS, pulled it out, snip snip and a few more snip snips … presto chango- it’s a smaller clutch
At about the same time as I am finishing up this small clutch, Sister Deb dropped by to pick up her Harley dog, the wiener dog, after they had been off doing their Thanksgiving holiday celebrating with her kids and grand kids, so I showed her this new clutch.
Deb says “Hey, that’s really cool. Love the fabric. You could make me one, smaller, of course… I just want it to hold my cell phone, a few credit cards and some business cards… oh .. and by the way, we’re coming to bring Harley back when we go on our cruise in 8-9 days, so I could pick it up then and take it on my cruise. Would be GREAT advertising”.
Naturally I picked up on her not too subtle excuse for wanting this by time she set sail— as advertising? Right!!!! Ms Shy lady is going to go around showing off her bag to strangers, yeah, that’ll be the day. smh smh – lol
So, here I am, I’ve got enough of the bottom of the dress to probably make another clutch, maybe even full size, but if I cut into it to make Deb a little cell phone bag, then, naturally, I won’t have enough of this fabric to do something BIGGER with.
Hmmmmm …… what to do … what to do…. And of course, I have to do SOMETHING, because when one of my sisters says/asks/suggests “Make me something” – I definitely want to MAKE her SOMETHING because face it… we all sew and can make our own stuff…. so getting to make something for one of the other sisters is, well, to me at least, pretty darned special.
I’m sitting there contemplating, and look up at the dressmaker form and what do I see … ?
I see THAT!
And within THAT, in my head, I start seeing a few snip snips, a tuck here, a fold over there … yeah, maybe even flip it upside down.. YEAH! … I actually see a cell phone bag within those boobs.
Now, I do have to add at this point, that if there’s a prude in our family, it’s most definitely a competition between the two older sisters, Pat and Deb, but maybe if I don’t tell Deb her bag was made from the boob section of the dress, maybe this crazy idea will fly.
So, of course I twist it, turn it and eventually flip it upside down, snip snip, vrooomm vroooommm of the sewing machine and presto-chango – Deb’s Boob bag comes to life.
I presented it to Deb when they came to drop off Harley, the wiener dog, on their way to Galveston for their Christmas cruise and much to my surprise, not only did Deb LOVE her boob bag, I think she was kind of excited to know what part of the dress it came from…… So off they went… The dress, The sister, The cruise and The boob bag….
…. and you might think at this point, they all lived happily ever after… but ..I have to tell you a couple of things.
I sort of expected that boob bag back because I wanted to list it on Etsy. But NO… Deb actually intended to keep it – duh !!!!! Which is cool too, I mean, I did make it for her, ya know. lol
So, you might think we have come to the end of this story – but you, naturally, would be WRONG … It doesn’t end like that at all.
This last week Deb was here visiting with me, making me some butterflies on her emb machine… and of course, she’s carrying her boob bag with her… and somehow … that bag … falls into a small bowl of fabric dye – lol – ok truth be known, it was probably pushed or intentionally dropped.
So now …
it’s not white /silver anymore…
And of course, she’s got to show me all the skirts and tops it matches now … and oh, can she get something like that in red? So, I show her two beautiful pieces of red fabric, to which she says “Yes”. I ask “Which one?”
As she looks up so our eyes meet, she also drops that innocent puppy dog look on me and sort of shrugs her shoulders slightly… with a “BOTH? Can I have – BOTH?”
I say “OK” and then wander off shaking my head wondering how one simple boob bag could turn into 3 … ok, could be close to 5 now because she’s looking at a different color fabric now too (besides the 2 red ones) and maybe one out of the black and white fabric I just dipped in dye —oh, and as she puts it ” I don’t really expect you to have them all done before I go home”… smh smh smh … I’m thinking I am surely a sucker for making stuff for my sisters … lol
Thanks for stopping by, til the next time..….
Live Every Moment, Love Beyond Words, Laugh Everyday,
PS: I’ve since made more of these small cellphone bags and will be getting some of them listed on Etsy soon. A couple of them will be gifts for my step-sister and her daughter. (They don’t sew, but only because no one ever sat down and gave them the 15 minute lesson.)
So, check at our 4TxSisters Etsy shop or come back here and I’ll have a couple of links for you …, here’s a few un-staged pics in the meantime..
A couple of these have, at least, hand dyed linings. the purple one on the bottom shows hand dyed pocket, lace and bag strap….
Using an man’s shirt, no pattern, just an image in your head of what you want instead of a piece of fabric, putting a pattern to it, cutting it out, sewing it up and saying “here’s an apron” … well, it has its own sort of excitement for a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants seamstress.
But besides the uniqueness of using a man’s shirt, why would I make an apron, and then make an apron for you too? Here’s why. In my opinion there are three typical issues with aprons
#1 They bunch up my clothes
#2 They come untied
#3 The top rides low and stuff still gets on my clothes because, frankly, there’s a shorter distance between my mouth and my chest than my mouth and the top of most aprons.
So, to eliminate issue #1, the cloth of the apron bunching up as I putter around the house, I line my aprons. And I think you’ll find that once you use a lined apron, you’ll be hard pressed to wear a plain ole’ apron again.
#2 – They come untied. I made aprons for my 3 sisters and my mother re-purposing some beautiful western fabric Shari had had me make curtains out of years ago. Next older sister, Deb, complained that she never wore hers or many other aprons because they come untied.
She likes an apron with really long ties that she can wrap around and tie in front… So…. that’s why most of my aprons have really LONG waist ties.
#3 – Aren’t all aprons made too long in the neck for most people? I always assumed everyone bought aprons and just tied, safety pinned, or clothes pinned the neck tie. With that in mind, I have to tell you I was broken hearted when my mother wanted me to have an apron I made for her back because she thought it was too pretty for her to wear.
She hadn’t safety pinned, clothes pinned or tied the neck part shorter. She’d taken a pair of scissors and whacked, yes, I said “WHACKED” that neck tie almost at the half way point and tied it to the length she wanted.
Well, once I got off the floor from shock, I realized that was an issue all of its own. Then I went to visit sister, Shari. She wears her apron almost right under her neck. She said it’s either that or a bib- lol – so then I knew… there’s a BIG issue with apron neck heights… well, at least in my family, so it was time to ‘fix that’.
And this is only a couple of ways to fix that…
And now you can, adjust away
Recently I have even gone back to the basics of aprons by making them with ties- which makes it TOTALLY adjustable–of course, up to the length of the ties. lol
So, there, now you know why I’ve done some unusual things with my aprons by lining them, making the neck adjustable in most cases with buttons,(now with ties) and then made really LONG waist ties on many of them.. I hope you will give one a try. I don’t think you will want to buy another apron off the shelf again much less give something like that to a loved one.