The Taming of The Thread

LOL – this is so incorrectly titled, it makes me laugh.

Honestly, there IS NO taming of a thread, not when we’re talking about upcycling fabric.  But let’s start at the beginning instead of the end, ok?


Two mantras:

Clip your threads as you sew

Press as you go

Those were the two mantras I learned over time and they repeat in my head every time I sit down at the sewing machine.


However, since I probably do the most seam ripping of all four of us, I probably have the most to lament about here … I know, I know, Shari would say differently since when Deb and I visited with her for over a week, the guys had to vacuum daily just to keep up with the threads we were tracking into the guest bedroom.

And it starts out so innocently….

A thread here, a thread there.

Next thing you know, you see one on your sweatpants leg.

little later, you look down at your leg and there’s a gathering.. for thread escapees?

Then you start to see them on the floor.

Then at some point you realize that it seems NOTHING is safe ….. the slippers have even fallen victim

But I guess the most perplexing case is outside….  I don’t EVEN know how to explain the mess I’ve got growing on my outdoor mat.  What’s worse is, I go out that door at least 2-3 times a day, how did I not notice something of such epic proportion going on right in front of my eyes?  What the heck is THAT all about?



I guess this would be the best place for me to confess that I HATE stray threads… So I am constantly, I MEAN CONSTANTLY picking threads.. and around my house, that’s almost a full time job in of itself.

What’s worse though is standing in the checkout line somewhere and glimpsing a stray thread on the stranger in front of you.

First thought that goes through my head is, “OMG, did that come off me?”  – rofl – and then the second is “Do I dare reach out and pluck that offending thread off?”

Then I start having this inner battle with myself … do I or don’t I.  To pluck or not to pluck.  Sometimes I just have to look away and try to find something else to get my mind on… If I don’t – that stray thread is likely to drive me crazy.  Can you imagine standing in line and the person behind you taps on your shoulder and says something like “Excuse me, but you have a stray thread on the back of your jacket.  I’m just going to take it off for you, OK?”

Honestly, I’ve never known myself to be obsessed by such things, and maybe it’s only gotten to this point because I rip so many seams now days.

How does all this obsession with stray threads impact YOU when you buy something we’ve made?

I know I am speaking for all of us here at 4TxSisters, but I’m going to say with confidence that we ALL do our best to keep our little stragglers from becoming a part of your household, because frankly, I’m beginning to think they’re like those Gremlins in that old 1984 movie.  They seem to multiple all on their own.  However, also honestly speaking, it’s possible that one, maybe even two are going to disguise themselves and slip into your things…

There’s a a few ways I’m going to ask you to look at these little escapees.

#1 Please forgive us, we honestly hate to know that you’ve received one(or more)

#2  Please don’t send them back… as we have plenty already.

#3 …  and this is really important


All kidding aside, the bottom line here is, no matter how much we try to capture every little thread we pull or rip, there ARE going to be those who make the great escape and one little straggler or two might just end up on something we send you.

Oh, and I’m not even going to go there about trimming all those threads the Manufacturers leave dangling.  I mean, seriously?

I guess some are wondering WHY I even mention this bizarre phenomenon .

Well, besides the obvious- I live in a house of untamed threads, there’s another reason why —-

I was reading some reviews on another fabric upcycler’s Etsy shop page not long ago and evidently one of the buyers was actually ranting about how tacky it was to receive an item with a “thread” just sitting there loose.  GASP!!!!!   “Sloppy workmanship” she called it.

Once I got through GASPING at how AWFUL that must be (yes, there was sarcasm in my thoughts and GASPS), all I could do was shake my head.  If you don’t rip seams for a living like upcyclers do, then you have no earthly idea of just how messy the job is that goes on behind that beautiful product that person has made for you.  Not only is it messy. but it’s time consuming and that fabric artist very likely is NOT charging for the amount of time it took to take something apart and put it back together in a new and exciting way… but there again, that’s not what this post is about, so getting back on track … and getting to the point/moral/whatever …

Here’s how I feel about the things we upcycle:

We put all our love and attention to the detail as is humanly possible into everything we create… be it with new items or ‘lightly used/slightly used’ items.  I can safely say that NONE of us like stray threads and will always do our darned-est to make sure we don’t share them with you; however, it’s also possible that one (or two) may sneak a ride from our house to yours.

If that bothers you, or makes you think we do sloppy work, then … well, I’m probably going to recommend you look somewhere else for whatever it is you’re wanting to purchase.  Because — in the world of seam ripping, there’s just no guarantee that those pesky little removed threads are ALL gonna go where they belong…. in the trash.

So, in the mean time….

Live Every Moment, Love Beyond Words, Laugh Everyday,


4TxSisters at Etsy

PS:  I was just taking pics of some small Crossbody Cell Phone bags I am going to put on Etsy… and LOOK – those threads were trying to creep onto my bag while I was taking a picture of it — smh smh ….

Who Is More Bow Dazzling?

If you’ve read many of our posts, you probably know by now that even though we take our arts seriously, sometimes we just go wonky funny.

So here’s the back story… Shari bought this pair of interestingly colored pants….

And, of course, she shared it with us in the Sisters/Mother FB chat group.

Since no one was asking ME to wear them, I just moved on as I suspect, everyone else did. …. Except Shari …. because she had plans for those pants and she wasn’t telling anyone either…

The next day, she and I are private chatting about this and that, when she decides to “SHOW” me the part that she had hinted the day before might be “really SPECIAL” about those salmon pants.

So, here’s the convo:

Shari: I was just going to send you this…cuz I know you’ve been waiting…

Jen: with baited breath –



Jen: how precious (Frankly, what else can you say to something like THAT ????? OMG??? What on earth is THAT? – lol)
Shari: The bow on the salmon jeans butt. LOL

Sorry, but they are a size 3. LOL

Jen: I’m a bit jealous.. good thing I can sew- I just happen to have a bow– just have to pick out the pants — hang on, I’ll get the bow

Shari: Which means by today standards, it about a -0.

Jen: Please don’t hurt my feelings by saying it’s too much — I just soooo want to wear this when I go out shopping — maybe even the dentist office?

Shari: Ok

 Jen:   now who’s jealous ? – lol lol
Shari: You go right ahead and wear it. Let me know what people say, because that’s a show stopper, alrighty.

Jen: do you really mean it? You’re not just trying to save my feelings?
It is WOWSER though – not just WOW

Shari: Oh no, it’s definitely a wowser!

Jen: people be looking and pointing at me as I go through the store—
‘WOWSER, look at that bow’ !!!

Shari: You let me know how many orders you get.

Jen: Yeah, that’s about how I see it going. LOL  ……………could see me/ my butt and bow – on the cover of some fashion mag — you never know, so sorry about your tiny bow— but the color is nice

Shari: LOL – liar.
It’s ugly – bow and color. LOL

Jen: well, I MIGHT be talked into making you a bigger bow, but I’d need to cut off one of the legs of those salmon pants to do it —  hey, but you’d be hot walking through Target

Shari: If I were a size -0, I’d be right on that offer. LOL

Jen: somehow I’m getting the feeling you’re a bit relieved about that size thing right about now …

Shari: Never felt better about being a 10-12 in my life. LOL


So, tell me, dear reader … Wouldn’t you really rather have MY bow on the backside of your pants than Shari’s little bitty, dinky bow?

Tell us how you feel –

So, in the mean time….

Live Every Moment, Love Beyond Words, Laugh Everyday,


4TxSisters at Etsy

The Gray’s Chair

The guys and I are working on the Grays chair today.

It’s a wreck. I would have moved on had it not been for the fact that it was the Grays.

The Grays lived next door to us when I was growing up. They were “old” when I was a teen. So, you can image me when I returned with twins of my own 20 years later how “old” they were then.

The Grays doted on the boys and loved them like grandchildren of their own. So, when my mother offered the chair to me to reupholster, it was a no-brainer. They were special people, so the chair was special and NOT something the boys and I wanted to just “toss”

And of course, the “boys” have grown into “guys” … and they are learning the “arts” the hard way … Hands On- LOL

The Gray’s chair; however, has more glue and wood filler than wood at this point. LOL  But, like I said, not a loss to toss, so the guys tied all the springs in place. 

tying springs-1

tying springs-2

Now that this is done, we can move on to putting new burlap back on.

As you can see, we have been receiving lots of additional assistance today.

The burlap inspector stopped by first.

burlap inspector

And, we just had a visit from the construction inspector.

construction foreman


Since both inspectors have given the “all right to proceed”, the work goes on ……….

~~~~ Next day ~~~~

Last night, we finished the burlap base for the chair.


burlap in

And, of course, first thing this morning, the burlap inspector was back.

burlap inspector_back

I think that construction foreman was on the take!!!

I sat down to see how much padding we needed, and the whole bottom fell out!!! LOL

supervisor on take

supervisor on take-2





supervisor on take-3

That wood I tried to fill just is too rotten, which is why they likely didn’t fix the chair properly the first time.  So, we are going to use Jen’s circular hand saw and build a support system like they did on another board.




supervisor on take-4


2nd board there held fine…….
But, that will be another day.

….And, so it goes back into the garage until we get back to it next weekend.

However, since we 4Texas Sisters share our experiences with each other and our Mom in a Messenger chat group, Mom came back with a few questions and observations.

The board is going to hold the springs up from the bottom that are showing a “large droop” in the earlier pic with “worker” taking an unauthorized rest period, or are you taking the springs out entirely and just use fit to size board?

That chair is really old to begin with.  Think they said it originally belonged to an aunt.

After a little contemplation, I’ve decided on Plan B.

We will reinforce each board with another board and see if that holds.

Plan C will involve breaking it down to create a pattern for when we have a better workshop.

Will let you know how it all works out …… in another post.




The Making of the Man’s Shirt Apron

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.

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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.

2017-09-14 05.21.30

#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…

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2017-11-04 08.16.43


And now you can, adjust away  Winking smile

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.

You can find more of my Man’s Shirt Aprons over in our 4TxSisters Etsy Shop.


So, in the mean time….

Live Every Moment, Love Beyond Words, Laugh Everyday,


4TxSisters at Etsy

The Birth of The Clutches

I know, I know, based on that title you expect to to tell you how clutches came to popularity… BUT that’s not why I’m here today.

What good is a purse if you only use if for “special occasions” because it really isn’t functional?

As the designer of these clutches, I started out with a vision of a bag that would be not only sleek in design but would be functional as well. But how was I going to complete this task?

Having a bevy of patterns at my fingertips and an idea formulating in my head, I sat thumbing through them until I came upon a pattern which looked to be close to what I was wanting. Upon further study of the pattern, I discovered it was just another run of the mill pattern and nothing special at all, or at least not in my opinion. But if you do not know me, you wouldn’t know that I tend to “live a bit on the wild side from time to time”.

Quite some time later and many drafts later, I finally had a plan in my head reflecting what I think is important in a clutch and it was to the fabric center for me.

The real adventure begins with the selection of fabric for the project at hand. You can’t imagine the number of fabric pieces that can end up piled up in front of me before it finally jumps out at me and says……. “Here I am; one beautiful bag in the making!”   In the meantime, while waiting for that fabric to jump out and say “me, me, me .. pick me.  I’m the one” … I ended up with a real mess to pick up…. AND ended up this trip with 3, count ‘em … 1-2-3 selections that screamed “It’s gotta be me”.

So, what do you do when THREE pieces scream at you that they are “IT”?  Well, if you’re me, you just say “OK then, let’s go.”

So now the work begins….. color selection for each phase of the bag, base and linings, and the appropriate number of pockets, inside and out, pouches and loops – pocket for the cell phone, etc., closures, whether they will be zippers, Velcro, snaps, magnets, all these things have to be decided.

Finally, I was ready to actually begin………… after hours of cutting, stitching, ripping seams (sometimes, because I’ve discovered I’m  more fussy about certain things than I ever realized in my younger years of sewing) and accessorizing, the first of my clutches was complete and ready reveal to my sisters.

Pleased with what had developed, it was time to reveal the first in my line of clutches. I received the anticipated responses of “good job”, “looks nice”, etc, but at the end of the “show” sister, Pat, asked: “What do you plan to do with the extra strap you are offering? Do you think you could work in a pocket to store the strap inside the bag?”

First response:  WHAT? The bag is finished, Pat!!!!

My second response was “LOL, Pat, I would just throw it in a drawer and forget it” , but then I realized, I had NOT created the perfect clutch .. and evidently it was not finished YET …. (smh)

But that’s what we do, we work together to improve and make an exceptional product to you. Me? What did I do? Back to the “Sewing Room” to design a storage method for the additional strap…. because frankly, not every clutch carrier just tosses their additional strap in a drawer and then forgets about it.

We are hopeful that you will appreciate the small, but meaningful improvements we have made upon a standard clutch and will want to add one to your collection of bags. I, for one, don’t think anyone should be without one really nice clutch.

You can find these two clutches at our Etsy shop, along with more.. and more to come in the future.







Check out our Etsy site to see the clutches on hand, and know that more are to come!

in the mean time….

Live Every Moment, Love Beyond Words, Laugh Everyday,



PS:  as an added bonus for sticking around to get to the end of this post, here are a couple of other bags I created that you won’t find on Etsy … YET !!!  lol



purse-1c (1)



And my camo bag that a few of my other sisters thought I was nuts to be making.


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Today in Shari’s corner of Texas…

I know the holidays are when most of us think about traditions. It’s hard not to remember when the kids were young, or the smell of food cooking in grandma’s kitchen. Ah, now I want my grandmother’s cornbread dressing.

However, for today, I’m talking about the more day-to-day traditions, and passing on skills that may be lost if we don’t make the time to share them with our youth. It is tough to get them to step away from all the electronic distractions, but I have found that once they start working on something, and see it coming together, they also begin to enjoy it. Okay, maybe not always, but more often than not.

A few years ago, I ended up scoring a chair that once belonged to my grandmother. It was long past the need for a makeover, so I decided I’d learn to reupholster so I could make it something she’d have loved.

Here’s how it looked when it was given to me:


Okay, the cat did not come with the chair. 😉

Her favorite color was purple, and she was a fun woman, so my choices of upholstery ran along those lines.

Here is how that vision manifested itself:





By no means a perfect job, but I still love it, and I know she would, too. I can imagine her sitting there as I write this.

I found reupholstering furniture to be something I enjoyed. It’s tough to find people who do this anymore, so being able to do it for myself gave me a sense of accomplishment. More importantly, I get to decide how it looks in the end.

Today, I’m teaching my sons how to reupholster a chair. Sure, they may never do it for themselves, but maybe some day they will simply because I took the time to teach them to do so.




Of course, I can already hear the arguing over who gets to sit in it.

We all know that answer to that:


This holiday, give your family the gift of yourself; it is the most valuable gift you can give them – ever!

Love and best wishes to all,