April 16, 2009

Stitch Happy

Spring is in the air, the flowers are blooming around town and I'm in the mood for some embroidery!

I'm not, as a rule, and embroiderer. I lack the patience that it takes to finish a project of any size and have a pile of half done cross stitch/embroidery projects in my sewing box to prove it. But when I received the book Sublime Stitching as a gift a few years ago, it opened my eyes to a new world of embroidery. The book, and its successor The Sublime Stitching Craft Pad, is packed with cute, slightly funky patterns for projects that you can use to embellish just about anything. And for me, there's nothing like stitching a little something special to a store bought outfit to add some "awwww..." to my kids' wardrobes. So far we've done cowboy patches on worn through knees, Scottie dogs on a bland dress or two, Siamese kitties to turn a little boy coat into a little girl one and a rocket ship tie that was the hit of the school concert. The tie was, in fact, such a bit hit that I've been commissioned (and paid in kisses) to make another, this one with dinosaurs.

Kids ties are hard to find and when you do, they are usually plastered with cartoon characters in garish colors. But ties are also remarkably easy to make. No, really they are! I used to make them for Christmas gifts for my teachers when I was in elementary school. I wonder if Mr. Koep still has the jungle with glow in the dark eyes tie I made him all those years ago... Kids ties, are even easier, since they require less fabric and don't need to be perfectly smooth and tailored.

For a pattern, I used on of my husband ties that I had put on my son, adjusting it so that the narrow end was the right length and the wider end was too long. With a pin I marked the spot on the front of the tie where I wanted the length. After I'd removed the tie and ironed it I set it out on the fabric I planned to use and cut a rough pattern using the length and width as a guide. Keeping in mind my seam allowances I embroidered the dinosaur of choice. The rocket ship tie was fully line which made it a little thick so this time I only lined the ends before stitching the seams closed and giving it a whirl. The result was a perfectly proportioned tie that my son is excited to wear anywhere he gets a chance, which, given the fact that he would stay in his pajamas all day if allowed, is saying something.