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Old sewist new to forum

sewornate | Posted in General Discussion on

I have been sewing since I was 8 years old.  I started sewing for others when i WAS 14 and did clothing alterations for my mother’s friends.  After I was married and had 2 children, I started two sewing businesses so I could stay home and raise my children and have some income.

Those two businesses were my old standby, clothing alterations, and making custom draperies which I fell into because of a need.

There is an upside and a downside to making a hobby a business.  The upside is that you are doing something you love and getting paid for it.  The downside is that your business takes a lot of time and you don’t have time to do the fun stuff you might like to do.  Also, when I retired, the last thing I wanted to do was sew, so I took a year when I didn’t do anything.  Now I am trying to do only fun stuff.  My sewing room, though sizable, has become a dumping ground for everything in the house we didn’t know where to put, su now I have to clean it up.

I am going to try to send pictures of my recent fun projects  but be forewarned, I am much better at sewing than I am with computers!  So let’s hope. 

The first pictures I am trying to send are heirloom stitchery angels.  I use old laces garnered from antique shops, for some of them.  The Pillows I made using leftover cotton drapery fabrics from sample books left over from my business and the fringe on these are also business remnents.  The Christmas print pillow was made from ladies’ handkerchiefs.  I have made several of these – some for myself and others for gifts.  The angels and the hanky pillows I have taught  in classes.


  1. Betakin | | #1

    Very nice work and very unique. Isn't it great to just sew for fun. It is so nice that you have leftover fabrics to make your fun projects. After my holiday sewing was complete, I took left over fleece of many colors and pieced some colorful beds for my dog and cat. I can see everyday how much these 2 items are appreciated.

    Since I retired almost all of my sewing is for fun unless it is a special project requested by family members and I try to make that fun also, but I don't like having a deadline for completion.


  2. Josefly | | #2

    Beautiful work. Your angels are elegant. I don't think I would ever have thought of using handkerchiefs to make a pillow - good idea. I love old linens and handkerchiefs, and am always attracted to them at estate sales, antique shops, etc.

    Thank you so much for sharing your photos.

    1. sewornate | | #5

      I also made one of the angels using old white decorative hankies, but sold it.  I priced it very high so it wouldn't sell ($70.00) and it sold anyway!  So now I guess I will have to make another one.

  3. MaryinColorado | | #3

    Hello and welcome to Gatherings!  I hope you will enjoy your visits with us.  Your work is lovely.  My mother has so many linnens and old handkerchiefs, it would be so fun to make lovely items from them.  Thank You for sharing.  I have an angel collection so can really appreciate your beautiful angels also.  Mary

    1. sewornate | | #4

      I also have an angel collection.  We have a fireplace mantel I decorate at Christmas, plus some I leave out the year around.  My son boughtg me several Lenox angels, I have some craft show angels, and people buy them for me.  If you have a collection of something it makes it easy for them to shop for you, I guess.  This year they did not get me any.  They got me computer stuff instead.

  4. Dogscatschickens | | #6

    Beautiful art.  I can relate to sewing because I had to.  I now only sew what I want.  My Christmas present was a Janome Felting machine.  I am madly at work creating ..  Sew Fun

  5. solosmocker | | #7

    Welcome to the forum. Your work is lovely, particularly the angels. Isn't it great to sew for just plain old fun? Glad you are enjoying it.


  6. SAAM | | #8

    Welcome, and thank you for sharing your beautiful work. I'm not surprised your angel sold for $70. I can imagine them selling for much more, they are so lovely.

  7. rodezzy | | #9

    You have an awesome talent and your work is exquisite!  Thanks for sharing.

  8. User avater
    VKStitcher | | #10

    Welcome to the group, and welcome back to sewing!  Thanks for sharing the photos--the angels are absolutely beautiful!  I'm not surprised one sold for $70!  And I like the pillows too.  The one made of handkerchiefs reminds me of my Granny, as she always carried hankies instead of Kleenex.  :-)

    1. sewornate | | #11

      The old hanky pillows are a lot of fun to do.  The hankies are cut different ways depending on the design and laid out on  a base fabric.  You have to keep in mind the base fabric may show through.  I usually like to use a tone on tone type white print for that base, but a plain white is good too.  This is the easiest hand applique you will ever do, as there is no turning of edges, and  finished edges go to the inside and cut sides are on the edge.  I start at the outside and work in, putting other layers under the first.  You just lay them out until you get a look you like, pin them in place and hand applique with a blind stitch.  When I teach a class on these, I warn everyone that some of these hankies are worth from $4 to $7 each to collectors, so you might want to consider that before cutting them.  I have noticed that especially ornate ones with wide lace,  or those with monograms seem to be worth more to collectors.  I don't worry about it too much.  To me the pillow is preferable to them laying in a drawer somewhere.  Also if you have an emotional attachment to one, perhaps you would prefer to frame it and put it on the wall.  I have a friend who did that with one that was her mother's.

      My mother carried her hanky with her at all times, so I share those memories.  Thank you for your kind words.



      1. sewelegant | | #12

        Dear SewOrnate!

        I really love your angels and wish I lived close enough to take a class.  Several years ago I ordered, from Nordic Needle, several patterns for hardanger embroidery angels using the porcelain heads and hands, etc.  but that's as far as it got because I didn't particularly want to do the hardanger embroidery!  Recently, maybe a year or so ago, I decided to try it again but, couldn't find the smaller size heads.  I did buy a couple in Michael's, but haven't done anything.  NOW, seeing your beautiful samples I am inspired again.  I have lots of those beautiful hand embroidered handkerchiefs I have collected at antique malls over the years and would really like to use them in the dress.  Can you tell me... do you use a pattern? Or wing it.  I am normally a pattern person until I get the idea.  By the way, I belonged to the Angel Collectors Club of America for several years and in the process collected more angels than I ever wanted, but each seems to be special when I think about giving it away.

        1. sewornate | | #13

          I used a pattern that appeared in Sew Beautiful magazine along with the directions.  I have made changes, as I have not made any two alike.  The magazine angel was the one I did using heirloom stitcnery techniques and a computerized machine for the stitches.  Others, I joined strips of edging lace to make the fabric.  Then used the pattern to cut the pieces.  One I made from old hankies (not pictured) I folded the hankies to about the size of the pattern pieces, so still used the pattern for a guide.

          The wings, on the stitchery angel, I stitched on the machine.  On some using old doilies or linens, I gather through the middle of a doily the appropirate size,and form the wings.  The feather wings were made using feathers I found in a victorian gift shop.

          The ribbon called for in the original pattern was a purchased wire edge ribbon.  If I can't find one I like I make my own using fabric and wire on a serger.

          Parts of this angel are glued together using a glue-gun.  That is the way the arms and bodice to the dresses are done.



          Edited 1/13/2008 5:22 pm ET by sewornate

          1. sewelegant | | #14

            Thank you for answering my question about the pattern.  I looked through my hardanger patterns and they use a styrofoam cone for the base.  I think I could probably come up with a reasonable way to put a gown together.  I looked through some old Sew Beautifuls, but without knowing the issue it's hard to find and I stopped ordering or buying it some time ago.

            I too hope you keep on making these beautiful creatures.  They are such a joy to behold.

          2. sewornate | | #15

            The pattern and directions were in the Sept./Oct. Holiday issue 1996 of Sew Beautiful. 

          3. sewornate | | #16

            I notice you mentioned a styrofoam base.  This one uses the kind that has a wood or metal bottom and a clamp at the top.  A little pillow is stuffed and fits into the clamp.  In the original pattern, this pillow was made out of satin ribbon.  I use a piece of cotton (less slippery) and find that preferable.

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