Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Today is the 40th anniversary of the death of Elsa Schiaparelli, sometimes called a genius and mostly known as an artist among fashion designers.  Her work continues to inspire designers today and, in some cases, results in outright copying (skeleton dress, for instance).  She was a pioneering genius at branding, endorsing any number of products, fashion- and non-fashion related.   And though her garments were innovative -- from the fabrics to the styling -- her accessories were the height of creativity.

However, her greatest design might have been the life she led, which was extraordinary.  It is encouraging to think of all she was able to accomplish while a single mom during a world war.  I love her message (which is Be Yourself, Be Bold or any translation/interpretation thereof).

I hope today you will spend a little time investigating her work and perhaps checking out her book "Shocking Life," written in 1954.    xxoo

Thursday, October 31, 2013

All Saints Eve Listings

I have many new vintage patterns to list and these are a few that are now in the shop.  Lots of hooded jackets and garments for winter wear.  I'm really like the Marlo Thomas pattern McCall's 4904.  Note the very different attitudes of the 70s and 80s Raggedy doll patterns!  More coming in the next few days!

Also check out my table toppers and doll quilts.  I can take on a few custom orders in the next few months for baby quilts or table toppers, so send me a message or leave a comment.  xxoo

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Hot August on etsy!

As summer grew, it got hotter and steamier and drier!!  Perfect weather for listing items in the etsy shop:  some vintage stuffed toy patterns, a wish book/journal and embroidered kitteh kit.  Hope you'll visit soon!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Lingering UFOs

Am I wrong?  We all have them.  Here are just a few and I'm looking for inspiration to finally finish them.  I thought if I post them here, the shame-factor might kick in.  I will confess, I already made one of these into a quilt -- no shame required.  So, let's open up this stuff and see what we got.  (Click on the photos to get a closer look, if you like.)

I'm not sure if this is the oldest, but some of the fabrics are 60's.  It includes a lot of scraps from clothing projects:  that red and white paisley is from an empire waist peasant dress; the tan swirly design came from a jumper; the brown and red floral was a blouse.  I think the bright blue scraps came from a friend's left-overs.  There is also some early 70's fabric in this -- the prominent red, for sure.   As you can see, I tried paper piecing and it would be very easy to date this; looks like pages from a magazine.

Here's a closer look at this piecing technique.  First, baste the diamonds to the paper piece and then sew them together with a blanket stitch.  All by hand.  I'm sure I did this sewing during the 70's, because I'm having flashbacks of watching Little House On the Prairie!  

This is a small top -- let's say cot size -- so it would take very little to finish it.  Thing is, I can't bring myself to pull out the papers!  I think that's why I never finished it.  I have that tendency . . . to leave things as they are and to see the beauty in that.  I swear, if I had the room I would hang it from the ceiling in its current condition.

So, help me here.  Should I "destroy" it and make it into a quilt or put it back in the bag and bequeath it to one of my nieces or nephews?

P.S.  If you ARE a niece or nephew of mine and would like this, just say the word.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sew Sew Summer

One of the things that was blocking my sewing progress this spring/summer was the enormity of the quilting required for the nine-patch.  You know, when I was basting the sandwich, I ran out of pins it is so big.  Well, I just have that one little table and the brave, heroic Pfaff -- no fancy, schmancy long-arm or recessed Koala furniture like so many stay-at-home crafters have.  My plan for it was just cross-hatch quilting -- no fancy, schmancy feathers everywhere.  My friend Nancy LOVES feathers, but I have become a little annoyed by the elaborate quilting done by long-armers.  Seriously, to have a top quilted professionally anymore, you pay $200 or more.  How much is that per feather?  So, this was the daunting scene Thursday:

At this point, I had just started and had three hatches done.  Half of that mound on the left was on the floor and I just could not imagine how I would get all of that into that tiny space to the right of the needle!

But I did and I finished it this morning.  Still have to do the cross hatching, but now that I have no fear it should be a breeze.  While I was working away diligently on this, I realized that one of my inspirations is Shane, who blogs on Recycled Quilt.  He is one prolific quilter.  I really have never seen anything like it -- he starts one and before you can say "Take a break, dude," it's done -- quilted and everything!  And even more admirably he does it without a lot of fancy, schmancy equipment and very little space.  Thank you, Shane!

xxoo Patty

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Bravery at a very odd age

Every time I have to give up a sliver of my anonymity, I freak out.  So I was being extra brave when I actually entered an Arts & Crafts Show at the University where I work.  Although I have a milliion quilts (okay, less than 300 but it seems like a million), I decided to focus and feature the dolls I have been making.

I think these are "comfort dolls."  I did not plan to make dolls; they were just born of my imagination and after each one was created I felt I needed to make a quilt for each.  As I was creating the display (totally an extemporaneous event), I realized what a treasure these would be to give to a friend who might be dealing with an illness or grieving over an ended relationship. 

Each "set" consists of the doll, the quilt, a journal and a ditty bag.  The quilt underneath is one of my favorites and I'm so glad I got to use it for this purpose.  I think this whole display is rather cheerful and I'm very happy with it, even though it didn't attract very many visitors.  Let me know what you think!


Friday, May 17, 2013

Amish Doll Quilt, etc.

This Amish-style doll quilt was made back in the late 70's on an old Singer Stylist sewing machine.  It's almost 40 years old and I'm not sure if it qualifies as an "antique," but since I listed on etsy it has been "favorited" by at least a dozen people and added to a Treasure List.  It's only $12.  Do you think if I prepared kits to make these they would sell?

This morning I finished another doll quilt I'm calling "Falling Leaves."  No photo yet because I am copyrighting the design and preparing a pdf pattern to sell in the shop.  Let's see if I can actually DO this!  It is a really cool, fast and easy pattern from which you can make "seasonal" wallhangings or doll quilts or table runners by switching out the fabric choices.  The first quilt I made is called "Easter Egg Hunt" and I designed a winter-themed piece called "Ice and Snow" for winter.  Next up is a piece I am calling "Wildflower Field." 

Tuesday I am going to participate in my first Arts & Crafts show.  I'm really nervous, but I don't know why.  It's not a sale, but there is always someone who wants to know "How much?"  Also, I'm worried about theft.  If any of you have any insights or advice about this, leave a comment.  I will be forever grateful!! 

Back to the drawing board!  xxoo

UPDATE:  This little quilt was finally "favorited" permanently and flew to its new home up North!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sew Patty

Some of you might have noticed that I did not make one Ditty Bag in March and haven't made one yet in April.  So I decided to change the name of this blog to Sew Sew Patty.  I'll be sharing photos of stuff I'm making or have made and things that will be featured in the etsy shop Pattyskypants Sew Thrifty.
My workroom is in the basement and this is just one corner of it.  You can see some of the fabrics are organized by color and I have plastic containers for specific designers, but for the most part it is total chaos.  By the way, that bright green thing with orange piping is a vintage apron from the 50s. I bought it at a yard sale in '78.  I noticed a few years ago that someone decided to "copyright" it and sell the pattern. 

That blue basket block hanging over the chair is now quilted, bound and for sale in the etsy shop.  Oh, and those blocks on the chair?  There are 80 of them and most of them have now been made into sampler quilts. 

TTYL!  xxoo

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ditty Bag 02/26/2013

I'm lovin' today's Ditty Bag.  While I was making it, I thought I'd like to put a certain someone's Chocolate Easter Bunny in it!  The fabric on bottom is another trade from the 90's with everything else being of recent vintage.  I love stripes and I love flowers!  Last night we had a mighty nasty snow storm with very wet snow that weighed down all the branches.  Had to go out and help the roses and redbuds lose some of the weight by tapping on the branches and the trunks.  The Sweet Gum out front lost a branch in the driveway, though.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Ditty Bag 02/25/2013

This one is late because I had a very full day.  We're getting another ice/snow storm and everything will be closed down tomorrow, so I went to the grocery store and got some stuff and then went to work early.  Got home and made meat loaf for dinner and by the time I got into the sewing room, it was already after 7 p.m.

I'm not too happy with the grossgrain ribbon ties, so I will probably change those out for something else.  What I love about this one is the squirrels, owls, foxes, frogs and rabbits in the blue print.  It's another one of those prints that I don't remember who sent it to me, but I love it.  The gingham is vintage from the 60's and the pink print is a modern Chez Moi offering.  This one has a drawstring top that is elevated from the rest of the bag.  I used some sulky decorative thread on parts of this.  Measures 9" x 11-1/2". 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ditty Bag 02/24/2013

This one was created this morning -- a sunny, warmish winter day on which I can almost hear the snow melting.  I saw a squirrel digging down into the snow looking for his nut stash.  Actually, I first spied only his tail; the snow is still about 10" deep.  I think because of all the snow, I'm attracted to the spring and summery prints in my stash.  This one is  another print that was traded to me back in the 90's and features ties made of a vintage VIP print, with casings and trim made from a 21st century 30's repro.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Ditty Bag 2/23/2013 -- Day One

Ditty Bag of the Day

Today I decided that I would make a ditty bag every day for an indefinite period of time.
Why #1:  Because I love to sew and I have a huge fabric stash and I enjoy combining fabrics that weren’t made to “coordinate.”
Why #2:  Because I have peripheral neuropathy that has eaten away my ability to dance (although I can still walk with difficulty) and is now whittling away at my dexterity.  After it finishes with my hands, it will go for my eyes, but I hope that is several years in the future.  I really love color!
So I want to make as many of these as I can in the time I’ve got!

Each one is made of cotton fabric sewed by me on my home sewing machine.
Each day I choose a base fabric and then add fabrics for the various components.
No two ditty bags are alike and each one has the date on which it was made written somewhere inside.
They can be machine washed and dried.
Each will be listed in my etsy shop:

Today’s Ditty Bag:  02/23/2013
This bag measures 12-1/4" x 14-1/2" and features double drawstrings.  The top fabric is a VIP print circa 1990 – aqua bunnies on a white background.  The bottom fabric is a yellow, green and blue floral that was traded to me sometime in the ‘90s, so I don’t have any information about who made it.  The casings and drawstrings are made of 30’s repro fabrics from the 90s.  This one is very cheerful, reminding me that spring is very, very close!  Bunnies, daisies and tulips will be here soon!