Here is a top I made for my just turned 7 son, inspired by a wonderful book on stitched shibori (see more below). From the many projects in the book I decided to make a stitched shibori flower to use as a center piece decoration.
While experimenting with scrap fabric I fell in love with the process of stitching, dyeing, opening the stitches and marvelling at the transformation that has taken place.
How to make the stitched shibori flower
All you need to make a shibori flower is strong nylon coated thread, a fabric marker and fabric dye.
First draw a circle in the size you want your flower to be. Fold the fabric in half, making sure the fold goes through the middle of the flower.
Now take your thread double and knot it twice at the end. Stitch along the outline you just marked. Stitch more lines underneath.
Pack the folds tightly by pulling both threads together. Make a knot, taking the thread right over left twice. Tighten it to the fabric and make a second knot, left over right twice. Pull to secure the knot.
This is how the fabric looked like before I immersed it into the dye bath. After dyeing the fabric and opening the stitches I dipped the middle of the flower into a turquoise dye bath.
And here is the book I’ve been talking about. It shows so many possibilities for designing the most beautiful patterns, it will probably keep me busy for years to come.
I used bamboo/organic cotton (that’s the fabric I dyed, bamboo has a lovely shine to it and is very soft) and organic cotton fabrics from Organic Textile Company.
You can find long sleeve shirt pattern in most colder months issues of Ottobre magazine, a sewing magazine for children’s clothes. It’s published in Finland but translated into many languages.
One of my favourite pastimes in summer is jewellery making. I get lots of books out of the library to teach myself new techniques and of course for inspiration. I always look for unusual beads, colour combinations that I haven’t tried before and interesting finishing techniques.
In this necklace I used recycled bottle glass beads from Ghana, they are semi-translucent and really beautiful. The bell in the middle is made from recycled brass. I joined the necklace to a leather cord, this way I can wear it at different lengths and of course I like the look of it.
These knotted strap sandals I made for my teenage daughter. Every time I make her a pair of sandals she gets out fabric scraps and cardboard and builds her own sandals that she wears proudly around the house.
It’s so fascinating to see how our making stuff inspires children to do so too and one day without ever having been taught formally they are able to just create whatever it was that they watched us doing. I’ve observed this many times.
If you’ve followed me for some time, you probably know by now that I like finding ways to use up my leather scraps. Here I made leather cube earrings out of very thick leather (4-5mm) which I use for midsoles when making sandals/shoes.
They look suprisingly lovely considering what they are made off. I made various shapes like rectangles, triangles, squares and painted them in bright coulours. They are my new favourite earrings.
I’ve wanted to try weaving with leather strips for some time and finally decided to make my son’s new sandals this way. Most of the leather for the sandal tops is from my leather scrap box, so I used up some oddly shaped pieces that I couldn’t make anything with anymore.
I love the look of leather and fabric together, this is the first time that I’ve made something combining these two materials. As I’ve wanted to make a rucksack for ages it was a good opportunity to try it out.
Winter is nearly over (happiness) and I’ve started to make new clothes for my children. For spring clothes I usually make something from knit jerseys, often taking old dresses apart to make new t-shirts or mixing up new and older fabrics.
This dress I made for my teenage daughter from organic cotton jersey.
The dress is a little challenging to make because of the 3 panels front and back, you have to attach them to the right places but other than that it comes together easily. I really like its shape and swing.
I can’t wait to get out of socks and boots and into sandals! Here I made tooled one-strap sandals for my children’s grandmother who lives on the other side of the world in Chile, they are in the middle of summer now…
Tooling leather straps is one way of adding sparkle to your leather projects. It’s taken me so long to find out about all the different ways to decorate leather that I thought I document whatever new I learn with each project I undertake.
Here is one way to tool leather to get the look you see on the sandals above.