Monthly Archives: February 2013

Steps to tea dyeing/staining.



The last time that I washed this shirt I did not use bleach but something obviously happened.  Well, I really like this shirt but I don’t really want to wear it like this.  I have decided to tea dye/stain this shirt to hopefully even the color out a bit.  While I am at it I have decide to throw in some small white crocheted doilies that I have.  A natural fiber fabric or garment must be used.  Some examples of this include cotton and linen.  Since silk is a natural fiber I am assuming that it will accept the coloring from the tea.  I do not know this for sure since I have never tried it.  If anyone knows for sure I would appreciate a comment on it.


I do not recommend using expensive tea bags.  As seen here I am using tea bags for iced tea because they are larger.  Using less expensive tea bags cuts down on cost.  When it comes down to it, it is your garment or project so use whatever tea bags you a comfortable with.


For this one shirt and a few small doilies I am using 10 tea bags.  The stronger that you want the color the more tea bags you need to use.  I put the water in the microwave to get it boiling and leave the tea bags in for approximately one hour.


I pour the tea over the items in the tub and move it around frequently at first to ensure the tea is staining all of the item in the tab.  If more water is needed to ensure that the items in the tub are all saturated with the tea then do so.  I make sure that what ever it is that I am tea dyeing is wet when I pour the tea onto the item.  I prefer to let whatever I am tea dyeing sit over night.  In my opinion, it helps to ensure that the tea color has set in the fibers of whatever it is that I am tea dyeing.

The next step is to rinse the item.  With tea dyeing I do this in the washer.  Then I wash the item and dry it.  Then it is finished.  This is one of the easiest ways that I have altered the color of fabric or a garment.  It is really enjoyable for me.  The next picture will show you how everything turned out.


I am pointing to one of the spots that was bleached before.  It is not a perfect cover up of the spot.  In order to do that I would have to match the dye color of the shirt exactly.  Next to that is one of the doilies that I tea dyed and one that is not tea dyed.  I am not unhappy with the coloring.  I did not expect the spots on the shirt to be a perfect match but I do think that it is improved.  Now I will wear the shirt, under a sweater or vest, and not feel self-conscious.  That was my goal.

The project is finished now.  I may try to dye another item with some other kind of food.  If I do I will photograph the steps and show you what I did.  I would really appreciated comments on this project.  Do you like seeing the before and after photos?  Do you like to see all of the steps?

Till next time, go and be sew creative!


I Tried Something New!


Tea stained shirt 001

This is a simple shirt that I made for lounging around.  It is made of plain white muslin.  I have some specific shorts that I want it to got with.  The problem is that the white color does not coordinate well.  I have seen and read about tea staining and I have always wanted to try it.  I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity.  I practiced it on some scraps of fabric, which I will be using in another project, and I liked the result.  Therefore I brewed some tea bags, 8 total, and dunked my shirt into the tea.  I let it sit overnight and then just rinsed with water and washed the shirt.  Here is the result.  I hope that you can see the subtle difference.  There is not a dramatic color change – it is subtle but the new color of the shirt goes so well with the shorts in the picture.

Tea stained shirt 003

The shorts are a green and off white color.  The shirt blends so well.

I am still working on the Vogue outfit.  I have finished the pants and I am working on another pair of them because I like them so much.  The top is 85% finished.  I have decided to try something else that is new.  I will be taking photos of some of the steps to share with you.  Must go now to get to work on the Vogue outfit top.

Till next time!

The Vogue Outfit.


new project for blog 003

This is my new project that I am now working on.  By the time that you read this I will have almost completed the pants of this outfit.  I am making the pants and tunic that I am pointing to in the picture.  Not only is this Vogue but this is a loose-fitting and comfortable outfit that I need now and in the near future.  Besides I like the casual look of it.  The denim fabric in the picture is the pants and the burgundy, hand dyed fabric to the right is going to be the sleeveless tunic.  I did not dye this fabric.  Both pieces of fabric are cotton which is needed here in the spring, summer, and fall here in Texas.  I have already made a few pairs of the shorts and I positively love them.

new project for blog 004You can see in this picture to the left that I have lengthened the tunic top by 2 inches.  This is not hard to do at all.  Just tedious when you have to do it every time.  The part at the end of the pointer is where I added in the two inches of tissue paper

new project for blog 006This picture to the right is where I lengthened the pants.  I did not lengthen the leg length because I want the pants to come to just above the ankles.  I am trying to look more cosmopolitan.  Do you think it will work?  I doubt it but that is what I want so I am going to do it.  I added 2 inches to the length which you can see at the end of the pointer to the right.

I will show you the outfit when I have finished.  I would like to finish all of it by the end of Sunday.  I hope that it works out that way.  I don’t know, all that I can do is try.

Do you know the difference between petite and misses sizes? Let me tell you.


Blog post - petite to misses 001

I am using the book ‘McCall’s Step-by-Step Sewing Guide’ again.  Today I want to talk about figure types.  When I was growing up I was familiar with mostly misses sizes because by the time I was nine years old I was as large as my mother.  I was always very tall for my age group.  Imagine wearing misses sizes at nine years old.  Well, I did.  I did not ever know about petite sizes much.  How could I be petite like that.  The only other size that I heard about was junior size.  Well, I have never been junior in size.  I did not stop growing until I was in my mid-twenties.  Now, on a good day, I am 6 feet 3 inches tall.  I meet women taller than me but all tall women have the same problems.  I just want to let you in on this because being tall is not always as great as one may think.

Back to figure types.  Quoting the book that I have referred to “Misses is considered the average figure type, about 5 feet 6 inches tall, with ‘average’ waist length and bust position’.  A young girl’s pattern is made for an average height of about 5 feet tall without the bustline and shorter-waisted.  Pre-teen is just above that in height with minimal bustline allowed.  Pre-teen is about 5 feet 3 inches with a high bustline and short-waisted.  Junior/Petite is for the small and mature frame that is about 5 feet 1 inch tall, short-waisted and average bustline position.  Half sizes are short-waisted and lower bustlined at about 5 feet 3 inches tall.  Then there is women’s sizes.  These sizes are for the larger figure of about 5 feet 6 inches and an average bust position.

Most of this information that I am providing does not apply to modern-day patterns but mostly to vintage patterns.  I do not come across pre-teen sizes in modern-day patterns.  Below is another  picture that shows the differences that is provided.

Blog post - petite to misses 002

I have kept this photo large so that you may be able to see the differences better.  There are essential measurements that are needed for determining your figure type and size.  These measurements include: height, back waist length, bust, waist and hip.  Get someone to help you out.  I don’t know about getting your husband to help you though.  I know my husband would not be much help.

I hope that you find this blog posting informative.  I did when I read it.  I have not come across another book that explained the differences as clearly as this book.

Till next time everyone!

The Fabric of Your Wardrobe.


This post is going to continue the discussion about fabrics and to start the discussion about the look that you are wanting to achieve.  I will be continuing to use the ‘McCall’s Step-by-Step Sewing Book’.  That is book is concise and to the point without being short on the information provided.  I have the need to comment on one of my opinions that I know not everyone will share but I am so passionate about it that I will make a comment.  Have any of you looked and current pattern catalogues?  I did the other day when my mother was staying with us.  That was a complete waste of time.  It was awful.  I did not find one pattern that interested me in the least.  The lines of all of the garments were awful.  There was no design.  Most of them seemed to be thrown together.  It did not take long for me to be thankful that there are vintage patterns that have survived.  Most vintage patterns have good lines and proportions in addition to good style and taste.  There, I have stated my opinion.  What do you think?  It would be great if some comments were left.  I would like to hear what others have to say.


There is a table in this book that talks about figure flaws and suitable solutions.    Some of these flaws include heavy hips, small and large bust lines, short and long waists, long and short neck, etc.  Solutions to these common problems  can be found in many places so I am not going to go into detail.  I want to talk about fabrics.  The color and texture of the fabric that you choose can enhance your look or take away from the look that you are going for.  You don’t want to destroy the look that you are trying to create by choosing the wrong fabric.  I will admit that I have done that numerous times.  The first quality that you want to consider is reflection of light.  A lustrous, shiny fabric will reflect light and increase your size.  A dull fabric will minimize your size.  Heavy and bulky fabrics that have texture tend to conceal your figure too.  Light to medium weight fabrics don’t seem to influence the size and shape of you.  Stiff fabric conceals your silhouette but can increase your size.  Clingy fabrics show off your figure and can distort it or make it appear larger.


Fabrics with a print can have  a flattering effect on your figure if chosen carefully.  Horizontal motion will create a rounder appearance while a vertical motion will create height.  When choosing stripes analyze how your eye reacts to the pattern when held up to you.  Ask another shopper that is close by or go seek one out.  Most customers and sales associates in a fabric store or department are more than willing to give their opinion.  Large and bold prints and plaids can overpower a small figure while small ones can get lost on a large figure.  Fabrics with a medium size and all over pattern are generally the most flattering.  In my opinion, a large print fabric for a skirt can help to hide large hips or a large bottom.  Now, only if the right print with the right background color can this be achieved.  The best way to hide flaws is to use a solid and not a light colored one.  The brighter the color the larger your figure may seem.  When using two colors in an outfit your height will appear shorter.  To draw attention to a pleasing feature use color accents.  A contrasting or complimentary colored color, belt, accent to the bottom of the skirt or pants.

When choosing what to make keep in mind what the occasion is and what your needs are.  At this moment I am making garments that are loose-fitting and not that flattering to my figure because of a medical situation and more situations that are coming in the near future.  Essentially, the garments that I am making are not much more than the proverbial potato sack.  That is what I need for the situations.  However, I believe that even a loose-fitting garment can be made to look good just by choosing the right fabric depending on what look I am going for.  I believe that the fabric should do the talking , so to speak, for the garment.  This is a link to a blog interview on Etsy  Read it and judge for yourself, please.  For the most part I like to keep the lines of my garments simple and streamlined and let the fabric do the talking.  I like that because I like fabric.  There are many people who want the great designs and use a solid and basic fabric.  Nothing wrong with that.  I will make and wear something like that at times.  I do like good design.  This goes back to what I said at the beginning.  I don’t think that design is too good at the moment.  Thank goodness for vintage patterns.

One last note.  I did finally finish the yoyo necklaces that I talked about several posts back.  I have them featured in our shop on Etsy if you would like to go and have a look.  Until next time, Happy Sewing.

The Fabric of Our Lives.


Textiles touch our lives almost every moment of every day.  From the clothing that you wear to the seats in your vehicle, the carpet of rug that you walk on, the towels that you dry off with, the purse/handbag that you carry, the covers that keep you snug at night, the coat that keeps you warm, the piece of furniture that you relax on.  The list goes on for forever.  We so often don’t pay attention to the textile that touch our lives.  There are many different textiles and I am going to focus on the ones that make up the fabric of our lives, the main fabrics that make up what we wear.

patterns and blog post 002

My mother, Mary gave this book to me the other day to list in our shop on Etsy.  Well, I started thumbing through it and decided that I would do that when I finished reading it.  There is some really great information in this book.  I am also showing a picture of the book to you and telling you that the copyright is in 1966 by McCall’s corporation to hopefully prevent myself of being guilty of plagiarism.  I will not be making any direct quotes from this book.

When you give fabric close consideration you can see that is really fascinating.  I have found that fabric can be as unpredictable in behavior as an individual.  The more you know about fabric the more you will enjoy using it.  I have found that to be so true.  It amazes me that denim can be so comfortable in the hot Texas summers and provide warmth and comfort when the chill tries to get into your bones.  That is because it is cotton.  Cotton is the most popular type of fabric that there is.  I have been amazed at all of the different types of fabric that can come from cotton.  Are you ready for this, because I am about to give you a list of some of the types of fabric that can come from cotton.  Here we go: batiste, broadcloth, calico, challis, chambray, chino, chintz, corduroy, denim, diminty, flannel, gabardine, gingham, lawn, madras, matelasse, muslin, percale, pique, poplin, sateen, seersucker, terry cloth, ticking, velvet, velveteen,  etc.  There are more than just these fabrics.  My that was a list wasn’t it?    That is just cotton.  Then there are cotton blends, linens, silks, etc.  Those are just the natural fibers.  Wool and mohair are also natural fibers but they are of animal origin.  I am not going to go into a lot of detail because I am not trying to teach a class about cloth and fabric.  If you want to know about the different types of fabrics that are in our world there are all kinds of resources from the internet to your public library.

patterns and blog post 003

This is an article about Polly Leonard, creator and editor of the magazine Selvedge.  You can go to the web-site for Selvedge at  Polly and her magazine are based out of London, England.  Polly has a degree in textiles and she spent a decade teaching textiles before she had to leave the world of teaching.  Polly’s is such an interesting and inspiring story that is in the magazine ‘Where Women Create’ January 2013 issue by Stampington and Company.  I am still trying not to be guilty of plagiarism.  I think that I included all of the necessary information.  Polly has a deep appreciation of textiles and she possesses a through knowledge of them.  She worked diligently to open a store in North London that contains textiles from around the world.  The textiles in this shop are not of the mass produced persuasion.  The items in this store are done by hand.  I think that I could spend and entire day just in that store.  In this store you can really get an idea about how textiles touch our lives in so many ways.  If you get the opportunity to read this article I would recommend that you do.

The next blog post that I make will be discussing fashioning an image.  This will go along with the blog posts that I have made – ‘What is Your Q factor’ and ‘You are not Mass Produced’.  I hope that you will come and read more.  I will be using, again, the McCall’s Step by Step Sewing Book.  This is a great book.