Category Archives: sewing

Jazz Fest is over, now what?

The creative team at Uptown Needle & CraftWorks 
thanks you for subscribing to our newsletter.
YOU’RE INVITED: Don’t forget the Magazine Street Champagne Stroll on Saturday May 13, 5pm-9pm. We will be open!
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The Frannie Baby dress by Children’s Corner has to be one of the cutest baby and toddler dresses ever designed. Summertime COOL! Make it and let Kate monogram it for you!  And, we have a workshop coming up!


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Get your hands in some dye paste! Make your own stamps and print your own fabric. 2-day workshop the weekend of May 20. 

Calling all knitters! Bring friends! Help us make “knitted knockers” for breast cancer survivors who need prostheses, 3rd Sundays.

May 21, 4pm-6pm.

KID’S FIBER ARTS CAMP
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We’re with you every step of the way. 
The team at Uptown Needle & CraftWorks thanks you for supporting our funky little shop. 

Emma, Robert, Kate, Hannah, Kit, Meredith, Jennifer, Rebecca and Grace (our shop dog) hope to see you soon and very soon.
 
UPTOWN NEEDLE & CRAFTWORKS
4610 Magazine Street
New Orleans La 70115
504-302-9434

March is National Craft Month

What? Only March?
Those of us who are “makers” know that every day is craft day (or we wish it were so). A friend, Lisa Craig, re-introduced me to the fine art of hand embroidery. Long forgotten stitches reappeared across the screen of my brain: chain stitch, French knot, lazy daisy and even the fun feather stitch. Yes, I did have to google these to remember how to do them.
I’ve been wanting to make some pattern weights for a while now and I found a sweet pattern for tetrahedron weights made from cotton fabric and filled with rice at Sachiko Aldous’ blog, Tea Rose Home.  I tried a few from her instructions; however, these were not weighty enough for me. So off to the Big Box I went to look for weights. First I looked at fishing weights, but those are made of lead and I felt they were unsafe. Also a little pricey. Especially compared to rice. Next I looked at old fashioned Daisy BBs. Brought back memories of my brothers shooting squirrels with these, but I digress. Also cost more than rice, but the best alternative for weight, I believe. I purchased two heavy packs of steel BBs, got some strange looks from folks in the checkout line. I imagine they were wondering what this mammau was going to do with 12,000 BBs. (Okay, so I’m a little compulsive.) I’m happy say it was not necessary to use the retorts that quickly came to mind – and believe me, I had several imaginary stories ready.
DSC00623But back to the real story here. I cut my little triangles out of  wool felt because I wanted to try my hand at simple embroidery on these. My French knots look decent, but my chain stitching needs practice, after all it has been over 40 years since I’ve embroidered. In celebration of National Craft Month I made the entire set of 6 with only hand sewing.
They are filled with steel BBs and are weighty enough that the pull of scissors cutting on fabric will not easily move them from placement on a pattern.  And who will know they are filled with .177 caliber steel airgun pellets. I think they turned out beautifully, don’t you? photo 3No more pinning patterns for moi! And I have enough BBs to make more sets for my sewing friends! Wanna try your hand at a few? All begins with 3.5″ triangles, fold each end up to the center, press and stitch. And use 100% wool felt. There’s nothing better. So celebrate! Make something, and send me a pic!

HEART TO HEART

Have you ever experienced someone crossing your path and you knew at once it was divine intervention? A few weeks ago, a woman was walking past our shop on Magazine Street and she made a sudden decision to go inside and look around. That woman was Claire Koch. She saw the beautiful fabrics, and she told me the touching story of her daughter’s experience with ‘heart pillows’. Within that conversation we developed an idea, and within minutes we had a plan. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, February 20-22, we will have a “Heart-a-Thon” and sew as many heart pillows as we can. More details below. But first, Claire’s story – so appropriate for this Valentine’s Day: “My daughter was born 6 weeks early during a hurricane evacuation.  But that was not the shocking news for me.  It came when the doctors told me something was very wrong with her heart and she would need surgery.  My baby had her heart “fixed” at four months of age.  It was not lost on me that I lived in a country where the best health care in the world was provided to my precious baby.  I made a deal with my God: if he made sure my baby recovered I promised to one day help other children. That was the beginning of my 16-year journey to this point.  Once my daughter began to grow up and become more independent, I started to look for organizations I could join to help other heart children.  I had a difficult job finding the right organization that I felt used the funds completely for the kids, and one where I could be a volunteer for as well.  Until I read about HeartGift in the newspaper. HeartGift in a non-profit organization dedicated to providing lifesaving heart surgery to children from developing countries where access to specialized medical care is either scarce or nonexistent.  Participating pediatric physicians donate 100% of their time and talents and HeartGift assumes all other financial obligations for the child and mother. The only thing the families are responsible for is seeing their children grow and flourish. HeartGift has five chapters in Texas and one here.  We could not achieve our success without our partnership with Children’s Hospital here in New Orleans. I have been with HeartGift since 2011 and have seen 20 children through the surgery and recovery process.  I have been at the airport welcoming a weak and frail child, only to watch that same child return to the airport 5 weeks later to run past angered TSA agents.  But it is the courage of the mothers that gets to me each and every time.  These mothers leave their villages and countries for the first time and make long trips to New Orleans to seek help from complete strangers in a foreign land.  They hand over their child to us.  It is amazing to see the hope and trust in their eyes.  While I have spent many hours in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) I have noticed every year we see a few heart shaped pillows arrive for the patients.  In the past, a local Boy Scout troop made twenty or so pillows for the kids each year.These pillows do not just brighten up the room but proved to be more effective to use than a regular pillow to press against a child’s chest post-surgery when a child starts to cough.  Coughing is normal post surgery, but can be extremely painful.  The nurses use a pillow to press into the child’s rib cage to help cushion the child’s ribs as they cough. I happened to meet Emma when I was walking down Magazine Street.  I am so excited she has offered to do a “Heart-a-Thon” to produce needed pillows for all the children in the Heart Center of Children’s Hospital. Currently, there are 22 beds in the ICU.  Many of them are filled with little babies who do not need the pillows, but the kids who are two and up, as well as teens, could sure use some of your loving handiwork! The pillows will be a valued dearly by the children recovering from heart surgery, their families and the staff of the Heart Center at Children’s Hospital.” DSC00331Come join our “Heart-a-Thon! Uptown Needle & CraftWorks will donate fabrics.  Clair has already purchased fiberfil. Now we need you – to cut out hearts, sew, stuff, and hand stitch – for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour of your time on either of the days above. We will have sewing machines set up, fabrics and scissors at the ready. Experienced sewists needed to come and assist! You will be glad you did.  February 20-22, Friday and Saturday 10-5pm, Sunday noon-5pm. Below are a few pictures of some of the kids HeartGift hosted last year. You may get in touch with Claire Koch at Claire@ClaireKoch.netLearn more at HeartGift.org. kids 

Independent Publishing for Designers

Modern Patterns With Vintage Looks.
ceylonexpDue to our limited space, we have a carefully curated stock of fabrics and sewing patterns at our shop; however, this does not limit your choices. We stock a few Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, Hot Patterns and Colette sewing patterns among others. Many have a vintage look, with waistlines fitted sleeves. I certainly do not want to criticize the major pattern companies like McCalls, Simplicity, Butterick, etc., and they will do very well no matter what I say, but I’ve seen very few designs that excite me in their lines. Everything seems rather stale. On the other hand, I am amazed at the number of independent pattern designers on the web. Designers are much like writers … they struggle with how to publish their work to the widest audience possible.
Our culture is full of people of varied tastes in clothing and accessories and there’s a designer out there creating patterns and concepts that will please every one of us. And even with that, we can still personalize a design to make it our own by changing the collar, the hemline, the sleeve. So many designers are opting to sell their pdf sewing patterns on Etsy.com that there are now over 26,000 pdf patterns available for sale on that site alone! And printing a pdf pattern is so easy, and easy to put together. Many top designers offer pdf patterns on their websites at a much lower cost than paper patterns. Check out some independent designers here.

And check out those listed below – with patterns for everything from lingerie to shoes, and costumes, indie patterns are here to stay.  See what they have to offer. Who is your favorite  pattern designer?

CONTEMPORARY FASHION, ACCESSORY, and OTHER APPAREL PATTERNS (adult and children)
Akasha Clothing Company
All Dunn Designs
Amy Butler Design
Angela Wolf Patterns
Anna Maria Horner
Artsy Crafty Babe
Bali Collection Birch Street Clothing Patterns
Barb Originals
Bettsy Kingston Patterns
Brensan Studios
Brown Paper Patterns
Chris W. Designs
Christine Haynes Patterns
Christine Johnson Patterns
CNT Pattern Co.
Cake Patterns
Colette Patterns
Cutting Line Designs
Dana Marie Patterns
Darlene Miller’s Clothes 4 You
Design and Planning Concepts
Edelweiss Patterns
Elements
Emilie Rebekah
Encore Designs
Fashion in Harmony Patterns
Fashion Patterns by Coni
Favorite Things Patterns
Figgy’s Sewing Patterns
Fit For Art Patterns
Fit Me Patterns
Frog Legs and Ponytails
Gail Patrice
Georgia Leigh Designs
Ghees
Go Patterns
Grainline Studio
Great Copy Patterns
Green Pepper Patterns
Heather Bailey Patterns
Hot Patterns
Indygo Junction
In-House Patterns
Islander Sewing Systems Patterns
ithinksew patterns
Jalie
Jamie Christina
J. Stern Designs
JSM Patterns
June Colburn Designs
Kayla Kennington Patterns
La Fred
Lauren Marsh Sewing Patterns
Lazy Girl Designs
Lila Tueller Designs
Lingerie Secrets by Jan Bones
Little Lizard King
L.J. Designs Patterns
Loes Hinse
Lorraine Torrence Designs and Grainline Gear
Lutterloh System
MacPhee Workshop
MariaDenmark
Marie-Madeline Studio
Mary Jo Hiney Designs
Megan Nielsen Patterns
ModKid Patterns
Monkeysbug
Noodles and Milk
Ohhh Lulu
Oliver + S
Pamela’s Patterns
Paradiso Designs
Park Bench Patterns
Pat Bravo Patterns
Pattern Studio
Pavelka Design
Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop
Petite Plus Patterns
Pink Poodle Bows
ReVisions by Diane Ericson
Saf-T-Pockets
Salme Patterns
Scientific Seamstress patterns
Serendipity Studio
Sewaholic Patterns
Sew Baby
SewChic Patterns
SewKeysE by Emma Seabrooke
Sew Liberated
Sewgrand Patterns
Sew Spoiled
Shapes Patterns (cuttinglinedesigns.comANDsewingworkshop.com)
Shirley Adams
Silhouette Patterns
Simple Things
Sis Boom patterns (Jennifer Paganelli)
Skinny Chick Curvy Bitch
SnazzieDrawers
SomaPatterns by Sylvie P
Sprouts Sewing Patterns
Stretch and Sew
Studio Cherie
Studio Kat Designs
Style Arc
SuitAbility Equestrian Patterns
Sweet Pea
Textile Studio Patterns
The Bali Collection
The Classics by Cecelia Podolak
The Cottage Mama
The Fashion Sewing Group
The Handmade Dress
The Sewing Workshop
Tie Dye Diva Patterns
Trudy Jansen Design
Victoria Jones Collection
Victory Patterns
Violette Field Threads
Whimsy Couture
Wink Designs
You Sew Girl
AND FOR COSTUMES: HISTORICAL & REPRODUCTION VINTAGE PATTERNS
Ageless Patterns
Alter Years
Atira’s Fashions
Buckaroo Bobbins
Burnley & Trowbridge Patterns
Costume Connection
Country Wives Patterns
Dawn Anderson Designs
Decades of Style
Dressing History Patterns
Eagle’s View
EvaDress Patterns
Fantasy Fashions
Fig Leaf Patterns
Folkwear Patterns
Granny’s Attic Patterns
Green River Forge
Harriet’s Patterns
Heidi Marsh Patterns
Irish Threads
J.P. Ryan Patterns
Kannik’s Korner
KayFig patterns
La Fleur de Lyse
La Mode Bagatelle
Laughing Moon Mercantile Patterns
Lynn McMasters
Mantua-Maker Historical Sewing Patterns
Margo Anderson’s Historic Costume Patterns
Mill Farm Patterns
Missouri River Patterns
Mrs. Depew Vintage
Nehelenia Patterns
New Vintage Lady
Olde Country Costumes
Past Patterns
Patterns of History
Patterns of Time
Peachtree Mercantile
Pegee of Williamsburg
Period Impressions Patterns
Period Patterns
Promenade Patterns
Randwulf Sewing Patterns
Reconstructing History Patterns
Richard the Thread
Rocking Horse Farm
Sense and Sensibility Patterns
Smoke and Fire
Tailor’s Guide
Truly Victorian
Vintage Pattern Lending Library
Wearing History
Wingeo

 

Writers are inspirational … we support & encourage each other!

Thanks to my friend Ellen Prewitt for inviting me to join in Luann Castle’s Writer Site conversation on the creative process. Yes, we’re breaking more rules here .  .  . while I am a writer, I also create many other things as part of what gives my life meaning. These days, what I’m creating is my own shop: Uptown Needle & Craftworks (please “Like” my FB page), so I wanted to share with you a little about the process.

First, I want to share a little (well, a lot, actually) about how I got to this day.

I have not posted on my blog in a while. I stepped off one train and jumped on another in my life vocation. After many years as Episcopal clergy, squeezing in time for writer, sewist and artistic pursuits, I awoke one morning and felt a call to begin a new life dedicated to creativity. I turned 65 one month ago. Having breakfast one morning in a well-known New Orleans bakery while visiting family, I asked my companions to take a walk around the Magazine Street neighborhood. Right next door to the bakery was a yellow house with a very small sign: For lease; commercial. I pulled out my cell phone and snapped a photo of the phone number on the sign. My inner critic immediately chattered away. It’s probably too pricey for you. You have no business doing this at your age.

I argued back. If not now, when? If I wait five years I may not have the same energy and passions I do now. I’m energetic and committed to making a life change. I signed a two year lease and quit my job on the same day. Some say I’ve retired. I say I’ve re-fired.

For every creative I know, that inner critic is always on the job. No matter if we write, paint or sculpt – that tiny tyrant wants to be in charge. As I’ve grown older, that voice has become smaller and smaller. Today it is a mere leaf falling out of place. I completed my first novel when I was 15 years old. I’ve completed 4 more since then. Not one was accepted for publication. Not that I haven’t tried – one was very close to being a finalist in Amazon’s Great American Novel Contest. And it could be published already if I had the time, energy and funds to do about two year’s of edits. All are sitting in boxes until I have the time to edit each one – I will do this, later. And I still write. The stories are there, but my interests reflect my personality type. I’m an INFP on the Myers Briggs personality inventory chart. One description of this personality type reads, “you’re like a new puppy, always into something new.” That’s me. I write, edit, write some more. Sometimes I work on one of my novel manuscripts; sometimes I write a short story. Because there’s always a story. And sometimes I sew, paint or make something new.

I ride the train, “The City of New Orleans”, back and forth from my home to my new business site. In observing the people on the train I can see stories everywhere. But at this time in my life, my career change is my story. It takes courage, confidence and a little bit of moxie to outwit the critic and keep your heart, fingers and brain in sync with your passion – your true self’s deepest desire. When we overcome negative energy, the world wants to hear what we have to say. And real life makes for the greatest stories. Especially when our words come from that deep place called our true self.

When I think of all this as it applies to writing, I first have a picture in my head. Ex.: I found two chairs. Functional, but not perfect. Ordinary. Then I give them a little bit of attention, add some emotion, some color, some gorgeous fabric – voila! Entirely new chairs. Life is like that. Pay attention. Create something new. Gather your courage. You’ll amaze yourself. But back to the initial questions I’m supposed to answer:

  1. What am I working on at the moment? At the moment I’m grieving over having to leave my writing critique group after years of sharing with them in numerous phenomenal successes as well as a few dismal failures – they are all excellent writers and I will miss them. I am leaving Memphis to open my own creative arts studio in New Orleans – which will include creative writing classes. I will continue to work on short stories, as everyone knows New Orleans is full of them, from the woman walking down the street, body painted entirely in silver, to the little boy tapping his heart out for spare change of tourists in the French Quarter. Who are they, and what is inside them that drives them to live their dreams in this city?
  2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?  My work does not fall into a genre, other than the broad category of Southern writing and creativity based on my own life experiences. Working in several forms, whether in clay or textiles, I find that I always include words in my work. Like every writer, I’m in love with words and the myriads of possible usage and meanings.
  3. Why do I create what I do? According to my mother (she died several years ago), my soul has compelled me to create since birth. When a small child I made up stories with my paper dolls (this really tells my age). I created family dramas and named my Betsy McCall paper dolls different names (these paper dolls were printed each month in McCall’s magazine). Southern families are chock full of characters, and Southern writers can easily overlap fictional characters with people they have known, or people in their families – although we certainly do not have the franchise on this process.
  4. How does my writing/creative process work? All depends on what I am creating – sometimes a story or character takes up residence in my head when I’m at a traffic light or in a coffee shop. However, in order to write, to focus on a character and a story, I must have a quiet place and a non-anxious state of being. To fall into that “dream state” as Robert Olen Butler calls it, so that I become my character and exist in the milieu that I write about.

What do you need in order to create?

Little People All Around

Here is my latest creation. I have no word for them. They were/are fun to make. I’ve posted the pics in the order of making these little guys. And they are going with me down to the New Orleans Freret Market soon.