New straps for an evening gown

I've been sewing for most of my life; I have more than 20 years of sewing experience. I always knew how to repair clothing, and have frequently altered my own clothing as well, so I have built up quite a bit of experience doing repairs and alterations. I believe in having good quality clothing and keeping it in good condition so that it can be used for many years, which is why I repair my own and my family's clothing. I've never bothered to take pictures, but I'm beginning to realize just how valuable it is to be able to do seemingly simple alterations and repairs that I've always thought of as unimportant and utilitarian. I've patched many pairs of jeans and shirts for my uncle over the years, maintaining my grandmother's frugal tradition, and I'm really proud of keeping my uncle's work clothes in continued use until they fall apart and can't be mended anymore. 
I have also altered and repaired fancy clothing, such as prom gowns and bridesmaid…


When I offered to repair a friend's shirt that had a large hole in the side, he asked me if I could embroider a stag on it as well. This is a very unconventional way to repair torn clothing, but it is unique and fit exactly what the owner wanted. I'm not good at embroidery, so it took a long time. The fabric is very thin, sheer polyester and did not show markings very well, but I managed to draw the outline with a pencil. Then, I used a chain stitch to embroider the design with standard cotton embroidery thread. I added the arrows freehand. I also repaired or replaced some of the original embroidered designs on the front as this much-loved shirt has seen years of wear and tear.

Mid 19th Century Cotton Men's Shirt

I made this shirt for a friend who gave me some weaving lessons and a 4-heddle table loom (!!!!). He requested a generic mid-19th century shirt that he could use for a range of time periods when giving weaving demonstrations. I chose to make a square-cut shirt inspired by 18th century styles, which, in retrospect, was probably not a good choice for mid-18th century, but it's passable. I used sturdy 100% cotton, machine sewed the long seams, and hand stitched much of the finishing. 

The armscyes didn't fit very well on my friend, but he was content and didn't want me to make any changes. I think it was because I tried to use a lot of 18th century techniques but adapt them to a 19th century shirt. 18th century shirts had very full sleeves as well as underarm gussets. This shirt has narrower sleeves. It would have been better to make the sleeves slightly wider, not sew any gathers at the top of the sleeves, and make the armscye opening bigger. Maybe next time I need to sew a…

We are born alone, we live alone, we dye alone.

Actually, I did not dye alone, I dyed with my friend. I had never dyed yarn before, so my friend taught me how to dye using the painting technique (I think???? It involved using plastic bottles to saturate sections of the yarn). I did not intend to make Christmas-themed yarn, but the raspberry and teal colors ended up looking very festive. I wasn't too pleased with it because I am cranky and don't like Christmas. I'm kidding; I just think Christmas colored craft supplies are farcical. I decided to knit socks, since this yarn is wool sock yarn, but then I decided that I did like the yarn after all, so I unraveled it and started knitting a hat. I liked the yarn enough that I wanted it to be visible instead of hidden on feet.

I used the Sockhead Slouch Hat by Kelly McClure, available on Ravelry: This hat was very easy to make, but a bit boring as it is mostly stockinette stitch on small needles. My aunt bought me …

I fixed these director's chairs today!

Today's sewing endeavor is not very interesting, but I wanted to share photos because it was such a satisfying project. We've had these director's chairs for at least 20 years, and the fabric parts of them were faded. One of them was ripped and couldn't be used anymore. My mother said we should throw them out, and I said no, we just needed new inserts. I immediately retreated to my sewing room and whipped up these new seats. The canvas I had wasn't as heavy as the red canvas, so I doubled the fabric. It was such a quick, easy project; I probably finished sewing the seats, cleaning the chairs, and assembling everything in two hours. The seat backs are a little loose, but I can fix those quickly later if it's a problem. I'm really proud of these chairs even though it was unskilled sewing.

Linen Coat and Waistcoat


My Latest Tape Weaving

Graduate school interferes with what's really important--sewing, knitting, weaving, tatting, etc. I have actually been crafting here and there, but rarely sharing pictures on my blog. I realized that I never shared these pictures of tape that I wove last year, so here they are! I have woven more tapes recently, but have not taken pictures yet. All of these tapes are made with 16/2 linen thread.

This green and white one is about half an inch wide. It's not copied from or inspired by an original.

Next, here's a brown, orange, and tan tape. It is inspired by one in the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center. The original red cotton with white and blue linen used as apron ties. It is item 1916.01.05, online at

This red, white, and blue tape is copied from a Schwenkfelder tape; catalog number  2006.14.09 at…