Category Archives: Boro

More cold. More rain.

Added a skirt. Going to put some more yellow at the bottom of the woven strips. The seam line lands in an awkward spot on me. Hope it works better on someone else!

Going to turn the neck under with a hand stitch or add a bias tape binding (if I have any left. Turned a few old packs into ties for masks).

No sleeves.

This mask makes 60. For a neighbor who is a pediatrician. If I were a kid, I’d love seeing that frog on my doctor’s face.

Sunday stitches


tissue house backlit


with new roof and door

when lit from behind, there are many moons

tissue house before roof or door



during repair - felt insert

black felt for a patch – used a dental floss container as a form



It was a good weekend, if a little hot today. Finished a book, started another. Did the crossword puzzle. Took a long walk. Cleared out more of the basement. Cooked a lot. Weeded some. Finally planted my Mammoth Sunflower Seeds. Watched two movies – the new Jason Bourne and the one about the tsunami with Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor (“The Impossible”). C recovered from wisdom teeth surgery. K bought lumber for the darkroom. D said, about an hour ago, “Come look at the moon, Mom.” So we did. And there it was, hanging like an ornament in the eastern sky.

Apron and Mickey

apron-and-mickey by dee at clothcompany

Here’s the apron I referenced the other day, back when it was just a bunch of woven strips attached to a rectangle of linen. I am wearing it now. It works.

For an apron to work for me, it MUST have strings long enough to tie in front, so that I can tuck a dish towel into it. Pockets unnecessary.

For the many quilters and fiber artists out there who make work as gifts or to sell, how do you know when something’s A KEEPER?

I knew I wanted this for myself, but sometimes I DON’T. One way to turn something I haven’t admitted I want to keep into a keeper is to price it too high. Ha!

P.S.  This apron combines the learning from two Jude Hill classes (Spirit Cloth) — Cloth to Cloth and Contemporary Boro.

and speaking of collars

from the magnificent book "Dress in Detail" - man's wedding vest

Talk about workmanship!!! Wow is it humbling to peruse the book, “Dress In Detail”!! Many of those bands of color (e.g. the deep orange) are rows of teeny and uniform chain stitch.  The pale orange and salmon fuzzy rows near the bottom are couched chenille – a great idea, right?!! You can definitely see why the French word ‘chenille’ means ‘caterpillar’. And the top and roughly-middle black bands are applied black velvet, embellished with near see-through sequins and waving rows of seed beads – two more wonderful ideas.

I came across another men’s wedding vest here — All the Pretty Dresses – a website devoted to archiving garments from prior to 1929.  I especially love the brown ink signature in the lining.  Boro ragmates will appreciate the photo of the patched placket on the inside.

Perhaps this attention to finery is prompted in part by prom festivities last night.  It was quite a scene – five young couples gathered and at least 12 adults, quite a few stray siblings, with most of the onlookers taking pictures!  I felt like a member of the paparazzi. I won’t insert the more traditional scrapbooking shots here, but you have to admire this collection of shoes:

And, you can’t help but smile at this one:

glue and interfacing?!

Gorilla glue on my fingertips from helping out with a science project last night (building a model of the levothyroxine molecule) means touching T-shirt knits and interfacing is horrible!! Everything is sticking to the dried glue remnants on my fingertips and feels awful, to boot!  But, I have to keep at this T-shirt quilt.  Have to. Have to.

Will google ‘gorilla glue removal’ and get back to it.  Last night, though, I took the pocket and collar off of this workshirt and am going to apply woven strips to the sides of the front plackets.

Also, I cut the landscape panel off of the cardigan that I had been stitching.  It wasn’t working.  And, proof that it was the right thing to do?  Now I love it.  More on that later!

Japanese bag

This simple and beautiful bag was the inspiration for the two-quilt-messenger bag that I made last week (below).

It is constructed from three pieces – the front, the back, and a single side piece.  Each component has a blue face with a red backing.

The side panel does not come all the way up to the uppermost edges, in order to leave room for a casing, which houses the blue cord pull-ties.  The casing is just a gap between the red lining and the blue front, with two lines of stitching to define.
Because you seam the finished components wrong sides together, there is no need to leave an opening in the final construction phase in order to reverse, the way many bag patterns require.  By using the red contrasting fabric for the inside of each of the three pieces, and making no attempt to hide any seams, a beautiful line of color is created – very much like piping.

The ties are long.  Each of the two loops exit on opposite sides, so that when you pull the ties, the loop that is inside the casing opposite, tugs closed.  It’s a simple and elegant design, through and through.

I thought of this bag as I was pulling the next two quilts out of a drawer during my three weeks of purse sewing.
About 14 inches square, these two panels were a good size for a messenger bag, or what I’m calling a messenger bag.  A true messenger bag would have a fold-over flap.
I realized that once I removed the dowel sleeves, I had two of the three pieces of the model Japanese bag.  I constructed a blue strap with finished edges that was long enough to run around three sides of the bag and then up and over the shoulder (14 inches x 3 plus about 35 inches).  I included enough length to make a loop on one end that the other end would tie into, so as to make the strap adjustable.


I also added a good-sized lined pocket on the wrong side of one of the quilts.
The project made me happy for a couple of reasons.  One, it put to good use some quilts I was not crazy about as wall hangings (I love them as purse panels, though!!).  I did six of these, so I can make two more bags.  I sold this one on Sunday.  I think I will select a handle/side & bottom fabric that is much tougher than the one above, so that the bag could carry the weight of a lap top – it’s the perfect size.  Two, I was very proud of myself for figuring out how to borrow some of the construction methods of a long-admired bag.*

P.S. While sewing mine together, I realized that the curved edges were critical to the design of the indigo bag.  I had to stop my side panel seams just short of each corner, leaving four holes that I then hand sewed.  I didn’t really want to cut the 14″ x 14″ quilted panel – doing so would have wrecked the bound edge and posed a different construction problem.


*  I bought this bag from a couple who made a wide variety of useful objects out of beautiful Japanese indigo cloth many years ago at a huge holiday craft fair held at Boston’s Seaport World Trade Center.  I have no name to share with you, I’m afraid!!

Wrapped in mother-love

This LL Bean sweater was my mother’s.  I am using it as my first exercise in Jude Hill‘s Contemporary Boro 2 class.  As a starting point, it has to fit better.  I had already cut the too-long sleeves to wrist-length awhile back.  They’ll need binding.   The shoulders droop unattractively and I want to fix that.  Today I cut the ugly buttons off and unpicked the threads holding in the tags, then created a muslin tag (rubber stamped with coffee pot) and an inner pocket featuring a lion, to reference my very Leonine mother.

I want to add a lower section that will bring the garment below the hip, and also add some weight to it.

Right now, I plan to bring that cocoa-colored Indian trim fabric right down the front, and for the wrists as well.  Not sure what I’ll use for the lower peplum.  Not the beautifully-embroidered indigo shown here, but something else.

And closure is up in the air now, too.

This was the sash I constructed back when I was thinking about running with this idea:

I plan to add thin red ties, so that the ‘waistlit’ as it has been dubbed by deanna, will wrap twice and tie in front, but with narrower ties.