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Embellishment Books & Ideas

Digi | Posted in Feedback on Threads on

Hi All,

I apologize to whomever it was who was looking for embellishment book.  I somehow lost the thread and couldn’t find it back.  Anyway, here are a few titles of books that I have in my sewing library; I love and use them all and they are in no particular order:

Creative Surface Design by Sandy Scrivano; Fine Embellishment Techniques by Jane Conlon; Opening & Closing by Lois Ericson; The Great Put On, by Lois Ericson; Crazy Quilting with Attitude by Barbara Randle; (no …this is not a quilting book, but uses the techniques for “wearables”); The Wholecloth Garment by Mary Stori; and Machine Quilting with Decorative Threads; by Maurine Noble and Elizabeth Hendricks.  This last one has wonderful ideas that can used for art to wear type of clothing that is so fun to make and lovely to wear.

I hope this message is helpful to the person who asked about these kinds of books.  And again, I apologize for “dropping the thread”; pun intended.



  1. MaryinColorado | | #1

    Thanks for the great suggestions!  I will check out the ones I don't already have. 

    Serger Secrets is a great book for all that can be done with the serger.  It really is a great tool for embellishing, not just finishing seams.

    http://www.bonniemccaffery.com has many great ideas, videos, and tutorials on her website.  Her books are great too, such as Fantasy Fabrics, Techniques for Layered Surface Design and Painted Faces are both great inspiration.  She has a free tutorial on her website for DigiBobbe with and without an embroidery machine.  This is working with thicker decorative threads in the bobbin and working from the "wrong side" of fabric.


    1. Digi | | #2

      Oh, wow; Mary ...thanks so very much.  I don't have any of these books, so I will check them all out.  I have two sergers, the new baby lock (air threading, which I love) and the Pfaff serger, overlock combination, which is also a terrific machine. 

      My sewing machine is the Pfaff 2170 (regular and embroidery), that I love as well.  I hope to get a regular Pfaff sewing machine sometime in the future (no embrodery) that I can use while the 2170 is "busy" embroidering, so I can be doing something while it is "busy"instead of just sitting and waiting for it to complete the design.

      I've not done some of the things that some of your book titles describe, so that will be fun to try.  Have you ever tried any of Lois Ericson's patterns or any of her techniques from her books?  Her patterns are terrific and one of her books (I think, anyway) is called:  "What Goes Around".  It is all about making very creative belts which are so popular now.  I am in the process of moving, and don't have all my books here yet, so am going by memory as to the exat name of the book.

      Thanks again, May, for your response.  I hope you find some of the books I suggested helpful and fun to read, and I know I will do the same with your suggestios.




      1. MaryinColorado | | #3

        If you really get into all the things you can do with your serger, you might decide not to buy a sewing only machine.  There are so many exciting and fun things to discover and soon you will have the "urge to serge"! 

        http://www.lindaleeoriginals.com is Linda Lee Vivian's website, they call her the "Serger Lady".  She has a seger workbook and several patterns.

        http://www.marthapullen.com has books on heirloom serging and a book by Cathy McMakin on Serging for Babys that are great.  Did you know you can make pintucks, join fabrics or lace, do ribbon insertion, and even bead with your serger?

        I love to use the coverstitch or chainstitch with YLI Glamour or Perle Crown Rayon in the loopers with the wrong side of the fabric up.  Turn it over, and you have a lovely embellished fabric.

        Crazyqulting with the three thread overlock and wrong sides togeather with 12 wt. Sulky blendables, or metallic Wooly Nylon, etc. makes a darling Christmas stocking and many home dec items.

        You can seam with the serger, it just takes practice.  The armholes are my mine difficulty because of the tight corners. 

        I hem almost everything with the serger.  It's great for piecing and finishing quilts.  I am learning to make complete quilts on the serger this year as soon as I get a "round tuit".  There's always something new to learn.  Aren't we blessed to be sewing?!

        Thanks again for your ideas!  I will check into them soon.  The "Crazy Quilting With Attitude" book has great ideas, but the fabrics are too too wild and chaotic for my personal items but I use them for gifts for those more bold than I!

        Happy Stitchin!  Mary

        1. Digi | | #6

          Thanks so much for these suggestions.  I've really never learned to use my sergers for more than just the over-locking etc. but never any real sewing with them or any of the fancy things.  I've got the book: "Crazy Quilting with Attitude" and really like all of her ideas and examples, and have a daughter that likes all of those wild and crazy colors, so it will be find to make things for her; also for her daughter, who is a real, "girlie girl".  I also liked her ideas for myself, although I plan to use more subdued colors for my projects.

          I did a copy and paste of your message and sent it to myself so I would be sure to be able to get my hands on that information without having to search for it.  I'm not familiar enough with the "Gatherings" yet, to know how to search for former messages.  This is a great forum, and I have learned a lot already and do so appreciate everyone being so kind and generous to share.  This is wonderful.

          By the way, I lived in Denver for a number of years and loved shopping at D'Lea's in Cherry Creek.  She is such a great gal and always so helpful.  I was disappointed to hear that she closed her shop, although I don't know that for sure.  Did you ever shop there?

          Must run for now.  I promised myself I would treat myself to sewing all weekend, but need to make my husband an apple pie because he finally finished the last couple of years of taxes!  I'm relieved that he finally did it, so he gets a reward of his favorite pie!  ;-)

          1. MaryinColorado | | #12

            http://www.tactilearts.org will fill you in on Dianna D'Leas latest ventures.  She has really put her heart and soul into this from what I hear.  They had a booth at the Denver Creative Festival.  You can get thier newsletter if you want.  She closed her shop in Cherry Creek, ran into many problems leasing another venue.  Now they are downtown Denver.  I plan to go to the Tactile Arts Center when the weather is warmer.

            That's so great of you to bake him his favorite pie!  We usually have our taxes done early, but we know we have to pay this year so we're procrastinating big time! 

            You might have gone to Denver Fabrics?  That place was great for many years, but the last time I was there it was awful, I plan to give it one more try this year.  I rarely ever went to JoAnnes or Hancocks but now that there is little choice when time is important.  I like http://www.equilter.com in Boulder, Co.  You have to do a search for silk or rayon or the quilting  cottons are all that comes up but they are excellent in customer service and quality of fabric.  I think thier prices are comparable to local stores.

            I'd love to live somewhere warmer! 

          2. Digi | | #13

            Hi Mary,

            I'm off to bed, but wanted to thank you before turning in for all the info you shared.  I've got some (what I think might be) interesting info to share with you as well, so will write all that tomorrow and get it sent off to you.  I'll include a couple of terrific fabric shops you might want to check out as well.   Sleep well.

          3. Josefly | | #14

            The tactilearts site you mentioned looks like such a great thing. I wish somebody would start a similar center in my area.

          4. MaryinColorado | | #15

            I don't even know her personally, but I really hope the center will be a huge success!!!  She really seems to have put her heart and soul into it.  I look forward to going down there to check it out.  Normally, I avoid cities like the plague but this will be worth making the effort for.  Hope the parking is okay.  Mary

  2. sewornate | | #4

    May I add one of my favorites to your list?  I bought Fine Machine Sewing by Carol Laflin Ahles.  Then she revised and updated it and I bought that one too.

    She has a lot of good information for everything from straight-stitching to many heirloom stitching techniques.  You might check this one out and see if it pertains to your style of sewing.

    1. Digi | | #5

      Thanks so much for your reply.  I do have Fine Machine Sewing also, but not sure if I have the latest revision.  Mine says 2003, Completely Revised and Updated, but yours may be a later date.  I particularly like like blouse on pgs 62 & 63.  I haven't made much lingerie, but would like to do some in a very find cotton for summer as well as linen that has been previously washed, so it would be softer and more comfortable for sleeping.

      Thanks again for your suggestion.

      1. sewornate | | #7

        The completely revised and updated version you have is the last one I have too.  I also like the blouse you pointed out.  I made one similar once, except it was a short sleeve summer blouse.  I loved it, but alas stained it badly with something I spilled on it and now should think about replacing it. 

        1. Digi | | #8

          Thanks for letting me know.

          How about dying it in the color of the stain?  If the stain is a pale beige or light brown, you could even use tea bags for dye.  It frequently works great and then you never see the stain.  Just a thought ...

          I've used tea bags to stain in the past and enjoyed the results.

          1. sewornate | | #10

            I never thought of that.  If I can find where I buried the blouse around here, that is one I might consider!  The blouse had tucks down the front and lace inserts.

        2. Palady | | #9

          Reading your post on your stained blouse - how bad are they?  Would it be possible to scatter sew appropriate sized applique flowers over the stains?  Probably the better to hand sew if this is possible.

          I wore a fairly new wrap denim skirt to an outing a while ago.  While seated at the picnic table, a smoker dropped a lit cigarette and burned a fair sized hole in the outer warp.

          To salvage the skirt, I hand sewed strawberry appliques on it.  I was fortunate to find one large enough to completely cover the burn hole.  Then randomly sewed other sizes on the skirt.  Overall the project was positive.


          1. Digi | | #11

            I'm sorry to hear about the burns in your skirt; however, what a terrific solution you devised with your applique "cover-up".  I'm going to remember that the next time I sit too close to a nail when going to ball games - which I've done more than once.

            Thanks again for sharing that creative solution.

          2. Palady | | #16

            Sure does work on tears.  Again from experience.  I tore a section on a pocket of a shorty sport coat.   Finding the appropriate appliques was the most difficult part of that solution.  Success came after a bit.  Kind of you to let me know you found it worth keeping in mind.


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