Category Archives: Fabric and Fiber Arts

Upcycling with scrap fabric, trim, buttons and beads

Over the years I’ve collected a lot of recycled fabric, trim, beads and buttons. Some of it comes from thrift stores or places that specialize in teaching the reuse of materials. Two such places where you can score fabric and related items at a low price are Leftovers, Etc. and Perennial. I teach classes at Perennial so be sure to check my schedule to see what I’m doing there in the near future!

I also get scrap fabric and sewing items from people who know that I collect it. In addition I made a big score a few years ago when a local interior design studio allowed me to salvage some samples and scraps that were being discarded. I’ve thought of a lot of ways to use these pieces over the years. Pictured below is a fanny pack that I’ve been using for over 20 years. The zipper went out on it recently but the rest of it was still in good shape. I decided to purchase a replacement zipper from JoAnn Fabrics and crafts (where I also teach classes) and repair the bag while adding a pocket to the front made of upcycled upholstery fabric and trim. I added some snaps to keep the new front pocket closed and some buttons given to me by fellow teacher Kate. My old fanny pack is better than new now!

Fabric pouch refurbished by repairing the zipper and adding a front pocket made from salvaged materials.
Fabric pouch refurbished by repairing the zipper and adding a front pocket made from salvaged materials.

I also recently took three plain solid color tank tops and made them more interesting by sewing strips of fabric and trim to the fronts. Much of the trim was salvaged and I also purchased a couple of new rolls from JoAnn. To the coral colored tank top I also added some buttons and beads.

Tank tops embellished with upcycled fabric, trim, beads and buttons.
Tank tops embellished with upcycled fabric, trim, beads and buttons.

My wardrobe is a little more colorful and interesting now thanks to my stash of upcycled materials!

More Pop Art – Poop Emoji Patch and Pillow

I started seeing poop emoji pillows for sale in mall kiosks last fall. Ever since then I’ve been tempted to buy one – why? They make me laugh, that’s why, and I like to laugh! But I have been too embarrassed to buy one. It’s kind of hard to justify at my age! At JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts, where I teach classes, they have started selling emoji merchandise. You can buy patches, pillows, pillow kits, suncatcher kits and more. The poop designs seem to sell out a lot faster than the other emojis, so I guess I don’t need to be embarrassed. Still, I feel better about making a poop patch and poop pillow rather than buying one. I can always justify it as sewing practice, right?

When I was in seventh grade, my Mom made a duffel bag for me out of an old pair of my jeans. I used to use it for Girl Scout camping trips. It’s a good size for transporting a sleeping bag, pillow, air mattress and sheets. When I was older, for nostalgia reasons I got it out again and I decided it would be a good place to display my growing collection of patches. Over the last several years I’ve been sewing on old patches and collecting new ones and adding them to the duffel bag. It’s a great conversation starter on trips and reminds me of fun times!

Duffel bag with some of my patches

To make the poop patch, I downloaded a pattern and used Photoshop to size it for a patch. I printed out the design and traced it onto tracing paper. I made extra tracings to use for cutting and lining up.

To make a poop patch like mine, transfer a tracing of the outline of the poop, the white smile and the white part of the eyeballs onto scrap chipboard. Cut out the chipboard.

Place the poop outline chipboard template onto a piece of medium brown felt. Trace around the chipboard with a ball-point pen and cut out the brown poop piece. Trace around the smile and eyeball pieces on white felt and cut out.

Take a tracing on tracing paper of the whole poop design, with the brown lines and facial features indicated and pin it to the front of the brown felt piece. Use it as a guide for where to pin the white smile and eyeball pieces. Using white thread, sew around the edges of the white pieces to hold them in place.

Using dark brown embroidery thread, sew the brown diagonal lines using a running stitch. Don’t sew the outline yet – you’ll sew the outline when you sew your patch where it’s going to go. Carefully tear the paper away. A pair of tweezers is helpful for removing tiny bits of paper that might stick in small crevices.

Make a tracing on tracing paper of only the eyes, including the pupils and cut out, leaving some space around the eyes for pinning in place. Pin your tracing over the eyes so you can see exactly where to sew the pupils. With black embroidery thread, outline the pupils then fill them in solid with a satin stitch. Tear away the paper.

When you sew on your patch, use brown embroidery thread around the edge. You’re done!

handmade felt poop pillow

Pictured above is the small pillow I made from the same pattern at a larger size. Because of the larger size I sewed on black felt ovals for the pupils instead of using stitching only to fill them in. I used two pieces of dark brown felt as the pillow body. Cut a little larger, they made a nice outline. I sewed the medium brown felt portion with all the details onto the front.

Heisenberg Pillow

Heisenberg pillow inspired by Breaking Bad
Heisenberg pillow inspired by Breaking Bad

A therapist recently suggested the use of a talking globe for family discussions. This reminded me of the family intervention scene with the talking pillow in the TV show Breaking Bad. In my immediate family we are all fans of the show and I thought it would be funny to make a talking pillow and have a portrait of the main character Walter White aka Heisenberg on it. That should create a more convivial atmosphere for us. I feel a little silly making fan art at my age but if I call it Pop Art it’s more legit, right?

I traced a drawing of the character at the size I wanted onto translucent tracing paper. I decided to applique felt onto the dark hat and sunglasses areas so I used my tracing to make additional outlines for the hat and glasses on scrap paper. I pinned the scrap paper to the felt and cut the shapes out. Another method for transferring a shape design to felt is to make a chipboard template and trace around it with a ball point pen or graphite pencil for light colors or a light colored chalk pencil for dark felt colors.

Next I cut out two square pieces for the front and back of the pillow from scrap knit white fabric with a texture to it that was suggestive of cross stitch backing fabric. I ironed fusible webbing onto the backs of each piece because stretchy fabric like this knit is sometimes hard to keep square.

I pinned my tracing to the front of the pillow and fastened my felt pieces in place over the sunglasses and hat areas. I stitched the felt pieces around the edges with black embroidery thread to hold the applied pieces in place. I then stitched the rest of the design with two different weights of embroidery thread through the tracing paper. When I was finished stitching I carefully tore the tracing paper away. In places where the stitching was close together I used a pair of tweezers to tear out some small remaining tracing paper bits.

I pinned the pillow halves together with the good sides facing out since I was not planning to turn the pillow inside out. I stitched the halves together with more of the black embroidery thread leaving a gap at the bottom edge for stuffing. I stuffed he pillow with fiberfill then sewed the gap shut. The last step to finish the pillow was to trim the raw fabric edges with pinking shears.

Upcycled Tool Belt

A friend of mine gave me two unused canvas tool belts that advertise a hardware store that I don’t work for. I decided to cover up the advertisement and create a more robust belt loop by sewing on some recycled upholstery material. I used recycled trim, a recycled belt and some thread to make something that turned out really comfortable to wear. I’ll test the functionality today when I wear it to hold my hand tools while I work on the garden at a client’s house. Going to work is a lot more fun when you can express your personality with your tools!

Lots of Activities at the Maplewood, MO JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts Store

I’ve been having lots of fun and keeping busy since I joined the teaching team at the JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts store in the Deer Creek Shopping Center in Maplewood, MO. Last weekend we were having a rubber stamping and paper sale, so I came in to demonstrate how to make greeting cards with rubber stamps. On my demo table I also showed some products that are good for card-making and in the shadow box are samples of upcoming classes that I will be teaching. My upcoming classes include Kid’s Hand Sewn Initial Letter, Kid’s Beaded Wish Bracelets, Make an Art Journal, Easy Button Bracelet and Kid’s Hand Sewn Bee Art. Go to my Classes and Events page for my schedule of classes and demos.

Rubber stamps, making parts for greeting cards, paper crafting products and upcoming classes.
Rubber stamps, making parts for greeting cards, paper crafting products and upcoming classes.

My own sewing skills can always use improving, so I took the Comfy Pants class from instructor Miss Kate. I had a great time and made my first ever handmade clothing item (unless you count the Barbie doll clothes I made when I was young). I did a lot of sewing when I was a kid but I was afraid to use a sewing machine and did not learn how until I was around 40 years old. I have done some sewing on a machine but I sewed simple things made from my own patterns such as table runners, scarves, fabric pouches, laundry bags, pillows and the like. Making clothing from a commercial pattern was something I had never done before and I’m thrilled to learn how to take my sewing to the next level! Kate knows a ton of things about making high-end clothing or simple clothing like my new Route 66 themed pajama pants!

My pants on the left, and on the right Miss Kate examines my stitching to make sure it's ok.
My pants on the left, and on the right Miss Kate examines my stitching to make sure it’s ok.

I hope you can join myself, Miss Kate and the other teachers at our Open House this weekend!

Teacher Open House
Date: February 11 and 12, 2017
Time: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Location: Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts
3200 Laclede Station Rd.
St. Louis, MO, 63143
Join myself and other members of the teaching team at Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts for an open house! See what projects we’re working on and find out about upcoming classes.

Upcoming Class Dates: Kid’s Hand Sewn Initial

Kid's Hand Sewn Initial - samples by Carolyn Hasenfratz
Kid’s Hand Sewn Initial – samples by Carolyn Hasenfratz

I’ll be teaching this fun class suitable for beginners at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts in Maplewood, MO. Make fun personalized decor while learning to trace, cut with pinking shears and hand sew fabric and felt. This class is suitable for ages 5 and up.

Available dates and times:

Sunday, January 29, 11:00am – 2:00pm

Saturday, February 25, 3:00pm – 6:00pm

Monday, February 27, 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Cost of class is $35 and you will need to buy a few supplies in addition to that. To register for the class please call 314-644-3436 or go to:

http://www.joann.com/kids-hand-sewn-initial/15300361.html

#handmadewithjoann

On my work table right now: cuff bracelet prototypes

I’ve been working on some prototypes for cuff bracelets made from upcycled fabric, ribbon and faux leather. I’ve had a lot of fun stitching ribbon to tubes made of fabric and pieces of faux leather. I’m embellishing some with beads and buttons. My next step will be working out how to finish the backs and attach snap fasteners. So much fun!

Cuff Bracelet Prototypes
Cuff Bracelet Prototypes

Make a Soft Dia De Los Muertos Skull

Soft Dia De Los Muertos Skull made using discharge paste, embroidery, fabric paint, and embellishments
Soft Dia De Los Muertos Skull made using discharge paste, embroidery, fabric paint, and embellishments

Do you want to have some fun with a mixed-media fabric project? This soft Dia De Los Muertos skull uses discharge paste, fabric paint, embroidery and embellishments – you can use a lot of your toys for this one! Enhance your decor with a small decorative throw pillow or attach a loop to the back and hang it on the wall.

This tutorial assumes you know the basics of cutting stencils and stenciling on fabric. If you need more of an introduction to those skills, see my tutorial “Fun With Stencils”. You’ll need a few very basic sewing and embroidery skills too.

Read more at the Jacquard Products web site

Lots of new projects

I’ve been keeping busy with lots of new work – here are some samples of some projects in progress!

06-09-14 – Here is what is on my work table –
Using some of the stencil/embroidery fabric experiments to applique onto
the front of a wine bag to upcycle it. One piece is for the front and
one for the back. I’m sewing fabric pieces and ribbon onto pieces of
fusible webbing then will sew around the edges to attach to the pieces
to the front and back of the bag.

06-18-14 – On my work table today – greeting
cards right before all the parts are glued together. Techniques used –
collage, rubber stamping, stenciling. Some of the stencils are
commercial and some are designed and cut by me. Commercial stencils available here – http://carolynsstampstore.com/catalog/stencils-stenciling-supplies-c-45.html

06-22-14 – On my work table today – I cut
these stencils for a Day of the Dead project. Going to experiment with
some discharge paste on fabric.

06-23-014 – Plant trays in progress – doing a
little work on my deck this morning. On Saturday my Dad cut up some
recycled wood for me to make these trays and yesterday I nailed them
together and put wood filler in the cracks. This morning I
sanded them and lined the insides with roof cement. My intention is to
display plants in these at shows and fill in with black gravel to make a
nice uniform appearance. The roof cement is meant to make a waterproof
seal so I can water the plants and not have to worry about damaging
surfaces or putting little saucers under each one which takes up a lot
of room on the table. I want to put folding legs on these trays to
display the plants below table level in front of the tables and I’m
still working out the best way to do that. I was looking in the outdoor
storage closet for some wood pieces I might be able to use for the legs
and saw some folding chairs that came with the condo. In a pinch I could
set the larger tray on two of the chairs until I figure out the legs –
but that gave me another idea – what if I just made two sets each of
smaller and narrower folding legs without seat covers? That would work I
think. Could I put some kind of channel on the bottom to hold the legs
in place and let gravity do the rest? Then it would all fold down for
transport. These trays gave me another idea – what if I made these
without a wide rim but just enough to be level with a ceramic tile
mosaic and designed them to drain instead of hold water? Would make good
garden/patio accessories I think.

Fun with Stencils

Introduction

During the 1970s, my Mom was really into Pennsylvania Dutch style stencils for home decor – I still have some of her old stencil brushes! I myself used stencils for some of my printmaking projects in the 1990s. Recently I’ve been experimenting with different ways of applying inks and paints on fabric, which is an application stencils are very well suited for, along with mark making on walls, furniture, paper and other surfaces. You can cut your own stencils or use pre-made commercial stencils. In this project I’ll explain how to cut your own and show some samples of how they can be used.

Tools and materials

Stencil material

Pre-made stencils

X-Acto knife

Plain paper

Low-tack masking tape

Tracing paper

Pencil

Self-healing cutting mat

Tools for applying the ink such as: sponges, stipple brushes, foam brushes, ColorBox Color Blender, sponge daubers, Inkcessories

Assortment of paints and inks

Water containers including one large enough to hold stencils

Rags

Pallete knife

Pallete (can be plastic food container lid or temporary pallete such as a piece of freezer paper taped down to your work surface)

Freezer paper

Old baking pan or piece of cardboard

Optional – scrap art papers of assorted sizes, colors and weights

Optional – Baren

Optional – brayer

Optional – heat tool

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