A Valentine 36 Years in the Making

A Valentine 36 Years in the Making

“Back in the day,” which, for the purpose of this blog means the early ‘80’s, I had a purple velour sweatsuit Clay says I wore all the time. I had only vague memories of this outfit, as it was the only warm one I really owned in college. So, when ever it was even moderately cool, out came the “purple suit”.

Then, about 3 months ago, a funny thing happened: a box arrived with the top of that long ago lost sweatsuit.

You see, my mother throws nothing away for fear someone might need it someday. (And, yes, in case you’re wondering, her daughters all suffer from this to one degree or another.)

I had no idea what I would do with this item until right before Valentine’s Day. I decided to make a “love letters” pillow for Clay since he had such fond memories of this outfit.

There was not enough of the fabric to cut both sides without some alterations. I used the front of the shirt as the back, by removing the “V” insert and sewing two sides together.

Once I had a piece of fabric, it was a simple matter of cutting the pattern so the center of the heart matched the center of the fabric.

As if destined for this final transition, the waistband was exactly the right width and length to form the gusset. It was effect!

I had some leftover cording from a chair makeover, and found a coordinating gold upholstery fabric for the pocket. Using some glittered iron on, I added the words “love letters” to the pocket.

I’ll spare you the gory details of this being my first (and not terribly successful) attempt at adding cording to a pillow, and how I had to do a lot of hand stitching. I will also not mention that it still needs some tweaking.

No, none of that, because in the end, when I tried to point these things out to Clay, his response was, “I love it! Stop dissing MY pillow!” Enough said.

So, when I left home that next day, I left a “love letter” for him to find when he returned.

That’s what it was all about: not that the pillow was perfect, but that the gift and sentiment were.

Love and best wishes to you and yours,
Shari

 

The Taming of The Thread

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?

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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

#3  PLEASE DO NOT FEED THEM !!!!!

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,

~Jennifer

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?

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 –

Shari:

 

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Jen: how precious (Frankly, what else can you say to something like THAT ????? OMG??? What on earth is THAT? – lol)
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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:
 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.
Wow.

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,

~Jennifer

4TxSisters at Etsy

The Gray’s Chair

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. 

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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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.

Love,

Shari

 

The Dress, The Sister, The Cruise and the Boob Bag

The Dress, The Sister, The Cruise and the Boob Bag

So it all started out rather innocently, if you ask me.

This dress happened to fall into my lap.

boob-dress

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

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…… (which coincidentally, you can find for sale in our 4TxSisters Etsy shop … or at least, as I write this, it can be found over there for sale.)

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!

boob-part-of-dress

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.

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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…

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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,

~Jennifer

4TxSisters at Etsy

 

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..

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A couple of these have, at least, hand dyed linings.  the purple one on the bottom shows hand dyed pocket, lace and bag strap….

Again, thanks for stopping by

~Jen

The Making of the Man’s Shirt Apron

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.

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#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.

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#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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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,

~Jennifer

4TxSisters at Etsy