Embroidery Library
Material Girl

NEW THIS WEEK - July 6th, 2011
 

Material Girl
 

Free Project Instructions!

Long ago I learned this great phrase: No matter where you go, there you are.

This is so true in the stitching world. Sure, we dive into new things for a while. We might embrace beading, or scrapbooking, or dressmaking, or leather tooling. But in our hearts, at our core, we embroiderers are fabric lovers. We are, in two words, Material Girls.

This week we celebrate the root of our passion and fashion with a fantastic group of new designs. Explore fashion and dressmaking from the 1860s through the present. See bustles decline, and hemlines rise. Stitch antique sewing machines, even a tape measure flower!

A new group of designs pay homage to classic prints and patterns, such as calico, damask, plaid, and stripes. Pick flowers filled with these patterns, and add matching borders and corners, too. Applique versions let you stitch a garden of delights with fabric scraps from your stash! Enjoy these new designs!

Let your creativity bloom with this Crafty Quilted placemat. Your style, your choice! Click here for free instructions.


Fashion through the Decades


Fashions in the 1860s (below, left) were marked by big, big skirts. Crinolines and hoops made them even bigger! This decade saw the fronts of the skirts flatter, and a little bit bigger in the back.

Dresses in the 1870s (below, right) had narrower skirts, with a bustle in the back. Day dresses, like the one shown below, had squared necklines, and narrow sleeves.
     

 

Available in two sizes:
5.86"X7.04" and 4.86"X5.83"

  Available in two sizes:
5.85"X9.38" and 4.26"X6.84"


Dresses in the 1880s (below, left) had teeny-tiny waists, and big bustles. These fashions led to the creation of the Rational Dress Society, whose purpose was to protest any dress that "deforms the figure, impedes the movements of the body, or in any way tends to injure the health." In particular, this society protested the use of corsets, heavy skirts, and high-heeled shoes.

Fashion in the 1890s (below, right) saw sleek and elegant skirts, tall collars, and fabulous hats. The excess fabric in the skirt faded away, as did the bustle. Changing attitudes about what was appropriate for women to do (such as participate in sports) contributed to new styles that allowed broader and easier movement.
     

 

Available in two sizes:
5.85"X8.00" and 4.84"X6.62"

  Available in two sizes:
5.06"X9.41" and 3.66"X6.84"


The bustle began to fade away in the late 1800s. In the 1900s (below, left) designers began to put that excess fabric in the sleeves and chest area. Skirts were still modest and floor-length. This era was the time of the Gibson Girl, the first national standard for feminine beauty.

1910 was the decade when hemlines rose enough to show a lady's shoes. Fashion houses in Paris designed colorful and daring outfits of tunics belted over undershirts and skirts. At long last, women could take a deep breath; no more corsets or tight-waisted skirts.
     

 

Available in two sizes:
5.12"X9.40" and 3.74"X6.85"

  Available in two sizes:
5.79"X9.28" and 4.27"X6.86"


Ah, the Roaring 20s (below, left). The Jazz Age. The time when women's fashions deviated permanently from the past. A time when women said "No!" to dresses that restricted their movements, and when women said "Yes!" to comfort. Shorter skirts, flared for running and walking, were paired with sleeveless tops, and short haircuts.

The 1930s (below, right) was the era when synthetic fibers were easily available for garment construction. Dressmakers had access to rayon, nylon, viscose -- and zippers! Fussy buttons were abandoned in favor of this nifty "zipping" method. And, the effects of the Great Depression began to affect fashion, too. People became more conservative in all areas of their lives, and hemlines began to sink to the floor again.
     

 

Available in two sizes:
4.14"X9.32" and 3.05"X6.84"

  Available in two sizes:
3.91"X9.33" and 2.88"X6.87"


During wartime in the 1940s (below, left) fashion designers were constricted by limited resources. Fabric was not available in the large quantities of the 20s and 30s, so hemlines crept up towards the knee again. And, as women entered the work force, styles began to reflect a traditional businessman's look: broad shoulders, boxy, and suit-like.

The 1950s (below, right) showed a revival of late 19th century styles, including big skirts and tiny waists. Lycra was invented in 1959, and immediately incorporated into undergarments.
     

 

Available in two sizes:
4.22"X9.40" and 3.07"X6.85"

  Available in two sizes:
5.12"X9.40" and 3.74"X6.85"


The 1960s (below, left) saw a radical shakeup in the fashion industry. Until then, Paris had been viewed as the fashion capital of the world. But the 60s brought about independent designers and tastes. London and New York began to compete with Paris for the fashion crown. Designers became bolder and braver with contrasting colors, and bold prints and patterns.

Some believe that the 1970s (below, right) saw the end of good and sensible taste. Individuality was celebrated with the "hippie" look. African and Indian cultural wear were adopted by the 70s youth and blended with denim jeans and tie-dye. The "punk" movement encouraged disorderly dress, and fashion designers responded by breaking all the known and conventional rules.
     

 

Available in two sizes:
4.80"X9.40" and 3.51"X6.87"

  Available in two sizes:
5.85"X8.14" and 4.86"X6.75"


During the 1980s (below, left), fashion designers did everything to get noticed. Asymmetrical hemlines and necklines, wild hairstyles, bright neon fabrics -- it all culminated in a blend of retro styles with futuristic vision.

In the 1990s (below, right), the goal of fashion was in stark contrast to the 80s. If the goal in the 80s was to "get noticed," then the goal in the 90s was to "blend in to the crowd." Comfort was key, with soft durable fabrics like flannel and cotton being the most desirable.
     

 

Available in two sizes:
5.03"X9.32" and 3.70"X6.85"

 

Available in two sizes:
4.18"X9.32" and 3.07"X6.86"



Fashions in 2000 (below, left) looked to the past for inspiration. Layer-cake skirts from the 1800s were paired with the slimming styles of the 1990s. Prints and patterns were rejected in favor of understated solids. While comfort remained a top priority, women didn't hesitate to raise the hemline and lower the neckline.

And what will fashions be in the decade that starts in 2010 (below, right)? While it may be too early to tell, we're already seeing designers using daring and innovative color palettes. Necklines have moved from squared to scooped, and sleeveless is the best way to keep cool on a hot summer's day.
     

 

Available in two sizes:
5.21"X9.33" and 3.83"X6.86"

  Available in two sizes:
4.87"X9.33" and 3.58"X6.86"


Fashion through the Decades Design Packs
 

Stitch these "fashion as it happened" designs into a stylish quilt or wall hanging! Add them to sewing totes, too, or a series of framed pieces for your home and sewing room.

Get all sixteen designs in a pack, priced at only $24.97! Click on a link below to see the designs included in the pack, and add the pack to your basket.
 
The pack is available in 2 sizes:

**Lg  - Designs smaller than 6"x10"
**Sm  - Designs smaller than 5"x7"

 

Stitching Through Time....


Sewing machines revolutionized fashion, making it easier and faster for women to create their own wardrobe. Antique sewing machines are an industrial marvel, with different parts that spin and whirl. What was once a necessity has now become a work of art.

This design is inspired by the antique Empress machine. Colorful spools of thread are in the foreground, and a sketchwork sewing basket is in the background.

 

Available in three sizes:
7.42"X7.80" and 5.86"X6.17" and 4.86"X5.10"



This antique sewing machine is modeled after the Wilcox and Gibbs model. A sketchwork schematic is in the background, while colorful spools of thread are in the foreground. Beautiful on a tote bag, or as a framed piece for your sewing room!

 

Available in three sizes:
7.00"X8.69" and 5.86"X7.25" and 4.88"X6.04"


 

Petals with Panache


Over the years different prints and patterns have become classic representations of fashion eras: damask, herringbone, calico, and plaid. The following designs celebrate these prints and patterns with a delightful ensemble of designs. A flower's petals and leaves are filled with a pattern, and paired with a colorful border and corner. Fun, fashionable, and fantastic!

Begin with a classic damask pattern. Stitched in delicate pink below, this flower is a delightful addition to any embroidery project. Damask is a traditional weaving technique that emerged in the Middle Ages. The name is a derivation of the city of origin, Damascus.

 

Available in three sizes:
5.81"X7.44" and 4.81"X6.15" and 3.04"X3.86"



This one-color damask border is a delightful addition to hemlines, table linens, and towels, too. Stitch this sweet symmetry to add a classic look to your projects!

 

Available in three sizes:
7.80"X2.26" and 6.00"X1.79" and 3.85"X1.15"



A one-color delicate damask corner is beautiful when tucked onto pockets and linen napkins.

 

Available in two sizes:
4.86"X4.86" and 3.86"X3.86"



Calico is a cotton fabric that has been inexistence for 900 years. It's originally from India, made by weavers known as "chaliyans." The bright and bold floral patterns became popular with early trade between India and Europe.

The small detail on the fabric also led to the word "calico" to describe a cat's coloring!

 

Available in three sizes:
5.81"X7.15" and 4.80"X5.91" and 3.12"X3.86"



The floral print from the above calico flower has been used to make this delightful, colorful border. Wonderful when repeated on table runners and cloths, and stitch the design to brighten up kitchen towels, too!

 

Available in three sizes:
7.80"X2.03" and 6.00"X1.66" and 3.86"X1.00"



This calico corner is wonderful on pockets of shirts and cardigans, the corners of kitchen towels and linen napkins, as well as corners of placemats and tablecloths.

 

Available in two sizes:
4.86"X4.86" and 3.86"X3.86"



It seems as though there's no topic left unexplored, and indeed, there's a book that addresses the history of stripes. It's called The Devil's Cloth by Michael Pastoureau, and it's excellent! After you read it, you'll see stripes in a whole new light.

A religious order of monks wore striped robes, and when they arrived in Paris 800 years ago, they were mocked. Over time, stripes became associated with imprisonment (think of the striped clothing that prisoners wore). Stripes move in and out of fashion at the speed of light, sometimes vertical, sometimes horizontal, and sometimes diagonal, like the flower below.

 

Available in three sizes:
5.74"X7.42" and 4.81"X6.18" and 2.99"X3.82"



The colorful stripes from the above flower have been formed into a delightful border. The movement from left to right gives energy to the design. Stitch onto towels to brighten up the bath, and choose colors that match your palette and preference!

 

Available in three sizes:
7.81"X1.78" and 5.98"X1.55" and 3.86"X0.88"



Stripes in a border give a geometric feeling. Pair with the above border and stitch onto table linens and bath towels for fun effect.

 

Available in two sizes:
4.82"X4.82" and 3.86"X3.86"



Harlequin fabrics hold a special place in quilting and crafting. Harlequin is a magical character who emerged from Venice's carnival. His costume is colorful and patched, and is often thought of as wearing the very first "crazy quilt."

Over time, harlequin became a fabric print, with softly contrasting diamonds. The pattern invokes a delightful sense of childlike play with visions of jesters and circuses and "clowning around."

 

Available in three sizes:
5.85"X7.61" and 4.85"X6.32" and 2.96"X3.87"



The harlequin pattern is found in this border design. Add to hemlines, towels, quilts, and table linens. Pair with the above flower for a delightful and colorful ensemble.

 

Available in three sizes:
7.81"X2.18" and 5.98"X1.96" and 3.86"X1.08"



Stitch this harlequin corner onto pockets of shirts and cardigans, the corners of kitchen towels and placemats, and corners of quilts, too!

 

Available in two sizes:
4.84"X4.86" and 3.86"X3.88"



Ancient Celts created plaid 2100 years ago. Made with alternating rows of thread in different colors, plaid was used to show what area or region a person was from. Colors that were used were those that were commonly found in an area. In the middle of the 1800s, plaids became associated with Scottish clans or families.

Today plaid is found in shirts, skirts, pajamas, sheets, pants, blankets -- nearly everything! The flower below features a classic plaid in hues of green and blue. Experiment with different colors to grow a plaid garden that perfectly matches your project!

 

Available in three sizes:
5.56"X7.80" and 4.89"X6.87" and 2.76"X3.87"



Bold squares of plaid rest against horizontal and diagonal lines, forming a colorful and energetic border. Wonderful on skirts, shirts, and linens!

 

Available in three sizes:
7.80"X2.33" and 5.96"X1.96" and 3.85"X1.16"



A plaid pattern bursts from this corner design. Add to pillows, napkins, and pockets, for a colorful look.

 

Available in two sizes:
4.86"X4.89" and 3.87"X3.90"



If you're wondering where "herringbone" gets its name, look to the skeleton of the herring. Over time this pattern has been found in woodworking, paving, floor tiling, and even a technique that cross country skiers use!

The classic herringbone pattern blooms from this flower's petals and leaves. Stitch in soft pastels for a baby's room, bright colors for a teen, and blue and forest green for traditional appeal.

 

Available in three sizes:
5.56"X7.81" and 4.84"X6.79" and 2.75"X3.86"



This herringbone-patterned border is a beautiful accent to the above design. Stitch it as a frame to the flower above, or use on its own to spice up hemlines of skirts and table linens.

 

Available in three sizes:
7.81"X1.99" and 5.94"X1.61" and 3.86"X0.99"



An elegant corner, with a herringbone pattern. Fun on linen napkins, pockets, and washcloths!

 

Available in two sizes:
4.84"X4.86" and 3.87"X3.88"



Petals with Panache Design Packs
 

Celebrate classic prints and patterns with these flowers, borders, and corners. Order the designs individually by clicking the links above, or buy them all in a design pack!

The largest two sizes of the pack contain 30 designs - priced at only $39.97!

The small pack contains 18 designs, priced at only $24.97!

Click on a link below to see the designs included in the pack, and add the pack to your basket!
The pack is available in 3 sizes:

**Lg  - Designs smaller than 6"x10"
**Md  - Designs smaller than 5"x7"

**Sm  -  Designs smaller than 4"x4"

 

Want to add your own favorite prints and patterns to the above? The flowers below are the same shape as the above stitch-filled ones, but have applique petals and leaves. That means that you can tailor the designs right from your own fabric stash! If you're new to applique embroidery, click here for a free tutorial.

 

Available in three sizes:
5.82"X7.50" and 4.84"X6.26" and 2.97"X3.84"



Use the same applique fabric for the petals and leaves, or different fabrics for a lovely contrast.

 

Available in three sizes:
5.81"X7.34" and 4.83"X6.10" and 3.08"X3.86"



Stripes and paisley, together at last! Use scraps of fabric from your stash to grow a creative and colorful garden!

 

Available in three sizes:
5.77"X6.97" and 4.86"X5.89" and 3.17"X3.84"




It's crafty and collectible! 2011 is a year to celebrate crafting and all the joy that it brings to our lives. To celebrate our love of sewing and embroidery, a new Crafty Collectibles design will be offered every Wednesday in 2011. Check this space every week to see the new design!
 

This week's Crafty Collectible is: Beauty Beyond Measure


A flower made out of a measuring tape? Now that's Beauty Beyond Measure! Complete with patchwork leaves, this crafty flower is the perfect fit for your stitching projects. Click on a link below and order this design today!
 

Available in two sizes:
5.55"X4.39" and 3.86"X3.03"



Want to see more? Click here to see designs released in previous weeks!