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Fun with BERNINA Feet / Creative Quest

Artistic Artifacts is proud to be a BERNINA authorized dealer and now you can purchase BERNINA presser feet and BERNINA accessories directly our secure online shop! Give your creativity free rein with the wide range of presser feet and specialty accessories for sewing, quilting, embroidering and serging.

Judy Gula watches as Leslie Gill-Aglah demonstrates BERNINA presser feet

For our most recent Facebook Live presentation, I asked Leslie Gill-Aglah to share some of her favorite BERNINA Presser Feet. Since I’m an art quilter and art quilter, Leslie is a garment maker, I enjoyed the different opinions and perspectives on what makes a favorite presser foot. In our video Leslie demonstrates how she uses five of the feet on a variety of the BERNINA sewing machines available at Artistic Artifacts.

We’ll be happy to special order a BERNINA accessory for you if you don’t see what you need — email us with your request! Join Leslie’s Facebook Group, Textile Adventures of a Prima Dona — she will be producing a series of Five Minute Feet videos to educate and inform!

Join Us for Our Creative Quest!

Visit Artistic Artifacts for our Creative Quest!

And if you love demonstrations and live near our shop, please visit us for the holiday weekend for our Creative Quest, beginning this Friday! We will be open for special hours on Sunday and Monday. Enjoy a 15% shopping discount on most store products, door prizes and fiber and mixed media demonstrations, including our hosting of a Handmade Market with lots of local artisans selling their wares held on the second floor (note: access is via stairs only).

Creative Quest Demo Schedule:

Download a PDF Copy of this schedule to print.

Friday, October 8 (Store Hours: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm)

  • 11:00 am Gelatos by Faber-Castell with Sharon McDonagh (repeats 11:30)
  • 12:00 noon Quilting with Rulers with Tina Wujick (repeats 12:30 pm)
  • 1:00 pm Mixed Media Tags with Diane Herbort (repeats 1:30 pm)
  • 2:00 pm Art Journaling with Ellen Taylor (repeats 2:30 pm)
  • 3:00 pm Hand Stitching with Suzanne Langsdorf (repeats 3:30 pm)
  • 4:00 pm Stripology Rulers by GE Designs with Chris Vinh (repeats 4:30 pm)

Saturday, October 9 (Store Hours: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm)

  • 11:00 am Woodblock Printing with Judy Gula (repeats 11:30)
  • 12:00 noon Monoprinting with Gel Plates with Susan Gantz (repeats 12:30 pm)
  • 1:00 pm Postcard Book with NiYa Costley (repeats 1:30 pm)
  • 2:00 pm Beading with Amy Castine: upstairs at Handmade Market (repeats 2:30 pm)
  • 3:00 pm Creating Silk Paper with Judy Gula (repeats 3:30 pm)
  • 4:00 pm Sashiko Stitching with Chris Vinh: upstairs at the Handmade Market (repeats 4:30 pm)

Sunday, October 10 (Special Store Hours: Noon – 4:00 pm)

  • 12 noon ‘Burrito’ Pillowcase Method with Leslie Pfieffer (repeats 12:30 pm)
  • 1:00 pm Thermofax Printing with Sue Price (repeats 1:30 pm)
  • 2:00 pm Artistic Artifacts Fluid Paints with Judy Gula (repeats 2:30 pm)
  • 3:00 pm Hand Stitching with Suzanne Langsdorf (repeats 3:30 pm)

Monday, October 11 (Special Store Hours: Noon – 4:00 pm)

  • 1:00 pm Gelatos by Faber-Castell with Sharon McDonagh (repeats 1:30)
  • 2:00 pm Stripology Rulers by GE Designs with Chris Vinh (repeats 2:30 pm)
  • 3:00 pm Woodblock Printing with Judy Gula (repeats 3:30)

Making Handmade Cards

Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts demonstrating how to add foil accents to handmade cards

This summer at the shop we’ve been sharing ideas for handmade gifts and décor for the holidays. Manufacturers ship their seasonal fabrics in the early summer, and we have some beautiful ones available for you! Their arrival was the catalyst for our “don’t get your tinsel in a tangle” attitude — beginning holiday projects during the summer and knowing your homemade gift list is taken care of already really reduces end of the year stress! Visit the Artistic Artifacts YouTube channel for these archived videos of our Saturday morning Facebook Live presentations, including my demonstration (pictured here) of using foil products and my Holiday Paper vintage paper collage pack and more to make mixed media cards.

A foiled card example and supplies from Artistic Artifacts

Along with new cards created this year, I’m sharing from past blog postings as we celebrate our Summer Start = Holiday Peace concept.

Mixed media greeting card created by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

I often use gel printing plates to create layered backgrounds (see my post A Peek at Gel Plate Printing for more on monoprinting). The above includes stamped fabric strips layered atop block printed found paper.

Mixed media greeting cards using ephemera and more created by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts
Detail of a mixed media greeting card created by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Our Found Paper Collage Packs are full of themed paper ephemera for you — all original pages (not photocopied). I also make scans of many vintage items in my collections such as cabinet cards and other photographs, postcards and more, enabling me to use them more than once or resize them for projects. Greeting cards or Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) are the perfect place to use up treasured scraps and bits. I used a scrap of a vintage handkerchief as the base/background for my elegant woman photograph and contrasted it with a trimmed piece from one of my fabric postcards. You can see the dimension added by the batting and machine quilting in this detail photo. Visit this blog post for my tutorial on making fabric postcards.

Mixed media greeting card created by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

New to our Found Paper Collage Packs is a vintage photo pack. Another favorite ephemera are antique ledger pages. I love combining fabric and paper scraps for these collages.

Mixed media greeting card created by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Above, I revisited the ephemera that inspired my Blue Fish Quilt.

Block printed cards created using wooden printing blocks and textile paints sold by Artistic Artifacts, accented with paper ephemera

Above, our wide variety of wooden printing blocks includes a variety holiday designs, including some really fun sets! Block prints combined with book text, sheet music and other found paper are collaged to make holiday cards.

Block printed cards with sketching created by Celia Middleton

Several years ago my niece Celia Middleton embellished her block prints with fun sketching details using her favorite pens and markers, then turned her artwork into handmade cards and tags!

Greeting cards by Judy Gula using woven fabric strips and Artist Trading Cards

Many of you know I got my start as a weaver and I often weave both fabric and paper strips into small compositions I adhere to cards. The cards above are from my December 2018 post Using ATCs on Greeting Cards.

Woven paper and ephemera greeting cards created by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Above, these cards are examples from my Greeting Cards with Woven Paper post in December 2015. Both fabric and paper strips are satisfying to weave together. Or mix them! It’s so easy to accumulate remnants resulting from straightening ragged edge fabrics, trimming from wonky/improv piecing, strips left behind after using your paper cutter, etc.

The result from weaving together fabric strips

My fabric weaving instructions were originally shared in 2014 — that card post also included these are little mixed media collages, 4 in. x 6 in.

Mixed media greeting card created by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

I was testing a set of blank Strathmore mixed media cards, using spray inks and stencils. I created backgrounds on the cards and after they dried, stamped over the inks with paints in a different color. Then I found my collection of retro sewing patterns and began cutting out and pasting figures and text from the cover packages.

Mixed media greeting card created by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Mixed media greeting card created by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

I hope this post and the tutorial links give you some inspiration for your own handmade cards and collages!

Fragment Doll Raffle Benefitting India

TAP Fragment Dolls created by Artistic Artifacts that are being raffled off to benefit India

As previously shared here, the Fragment Dolls project in The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley inspired us to create these fun fabric dolls with Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) faces. You can now purchase your chance to win your choice, with 100% of our proceeds going to support our artisans in India struggling to survive the severe Covid-19 pandemic impacts.

Plea from India to support artisans who carve wooden printing blocks

The more chances you buy, the greater your chance to win! Please share this opportunity to own an art doll while contributing to a great cause. Our six winners will be randomly selected from entrants for each Fragment doll, and winners will be announced during our Facebook Live presentation on Saturday morning, July 10.

As I shared in our video reintroducing you to our finished dolls, and showing our new kits so you can make your own, the entire country of India is really suffering right now. The products we import help support many artisans whose livelihood has been severely impacted due to the pandemic and current crisis in their country. We are in contact with our distributors there, and our orders are helping them purchase food and necessities — even oxygen cylinders to save Covid-stricken family and community members! In addition to our raffle tickets, your orders of hand carved wooden printing blocks, handmade block printed fabrics, and handmade paper boxes and 100% cotton rag sheets create the demand that allows us to order restocking shipments from India, in turn employing these talented artisans.

Judy Gula Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Pictured above, Sheba was my first doll — purchase your chance to win her!

Judy Gula Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Jane was in progress when we last posted here, and I enjoyed completing her. Purchase your chance to win Jane!

Chris Vinh Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Above, Chris Vinh of StitchesnQuilts created Wanita (which is Indonesian for woman). Purchase your chance to win Wanita!

Chris Vinh Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Painter’s Muse is Chris’ second doll. Purchase your chance to win Painter’s Muse!

Sharon McDonagh Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Sharon McDonagh created a mermaid inspired doll. Purchase your chance to win Ocean Goddess!

Sharon McDonagh Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Sharon’s Soleil was her second doll. Purchase your chance to win Soleil!

Our new Fragment Doll Kits let you join in the fun and create your own! Each color-themed kit includes a sheet of Transfer Artist Paper (preprinted with faces), muslin, a variety of handpainted and/or hand dyed fabrics pieces, embellishing fabric such as hand dyed linens and trims, leaf vine ribbon, a scattering of beads and vintage buttons… and more!

Visit our YouTube channel for my video as I introduced these kits and reintroduced you to our dolls, sharing how desperate the need is in India and how grateful they are for the support from us.hank you for purchasing your chances and helping us support our global partners in India! You can also to learn more about TAP, Lesley’s book and how we created these Fragment Dolls in our previous Fragment Doll video.

Block printed fabrics available from Artistic Artifacts and photos of the intensive hand process by artisans in India.

Sewing Dresses for Children

Artistic Artifacts staffer Nancy McCarthy continues her sewing posts for us. She previously shared her experience with sewing the Urban Princess dress by Olive Ann Designs; here are additional sweet dress patterns from the same company. — Judy

Guest post by Nancy McCarthy

Geo Dress/Tunic & Leggings

Two dress versions of the Geo Dress, Tunic & Leggings pattern by Olive Ann DesignsI’ve sewn three different Olive Ann Designs little girls’ patterns at this point, each one twice, and the Geo Dress, Tunic & Leggings is the easiest, most straightforward one so far. It would be great for anyone looking for a quick make and especially for someone less confident about their garment making skills. And it’s super cute with lots of design possibilities!

The pattern comes in sizes 2- 8 and the photos show my just-turned-four year old granddaughter wearing a size four. The gold and coral shop sample is also a size four. The pattern can be sewn as either a dress or a tunic and includes a pattern for leggings, and as all the girls’ Olive Ann patterns do, it also includes a version to dress an 18 inch doll.

Reverse views, Geo dress by Olive Ann DesignsThe fabric choices for this dress are endless — it could be super fancy with lace panels or a school dress, as I imagined for my two examples. I chose whimsical prints kids will love and geometrics that I thought coordinated well (our Modern Cottons fabrics section has lots of amazing choices). I didn’t choose fabric from just one line, and in fact one of the fabrics I chose was a sale fabric. I used one of the Marcia Derse Palette Solidsfor the trim on the gold version, which includes four different fabrics. The green one has three fabrics including the trim and the Tula Pink Linework, Tent Stripe was perfect for that one. It reminded me that black and white prints are a sewist’s secret weapon. (I didn’t make the leggings from this pattern, but the instructions looked easy.)

Geo Dress, Tunic & Leggings pattern with the dress and flange fabrics chosen by Nancy McCarthy

Sewing notes: This pattern has 1/2 inch seam allowances! The front panels have bias edges and should be carefully cut on grain. In particular, the lower right panel will take more fabric than might first appear. I seem to choose directional prints without realizing it, so it’s a good thing the pattern layout is set up so that if you’re not focused on that, as I am often not, you won’t go wrong.

Completed dresses sewn from the Geo Dress, Tunic & Leggings pattern The pattern calls for baby piping between the blocks of color. I decided to make flat flanges instead – MUCH easier to handle! I cut 1-1/4 inch STRAIGHT grain strips because the seams of the color blocks are bias seams. I folded the strips in half with a hard press and sandwiched the edges of the strip at the cut edges and between the wrong sides of the garment pieces. The flanges show 1/8 inch on the outside of the garment when the seam is completed, similar to the width of baby piping. I serged the finished seams and pressed them in the direction the flange wanted to lay.

Follow the pattern instructions to stitch the shoulder seams, install the facings and pull the front and back right side out through the facings, and THEN sew the side seams — this is a brilliant way to get a great finish and the pattern instructions are spot on. If this is your first time to use this method, it may seem a bit tricky, but trust me, it works!

You’ll need to make a loop of some sort to fasten the top back with a small button. The pattern calls for a tiny bias fabric loop, and quite frankly, I hate making those! So I tried an old-fashioned crochet thread loop, but it didn’t seem robust enough. Then I remembered how the loop on a dress-up costume of my granddaughter’s was done — a narrow elastic loop. But currently I’m not home in my own sewing space with access to my stash, and I didn’t have the option to run to the store. Here’s the hack I used: the ear elastic from my used surgical mask! It’s plenty stretchy, flat and narrow, and EASY to pin in place and sew through — it worked like a charm! Give it a try and see what you think and give this little dress a try for some summer fun!

Gigi Dress

Gigi dress by Olive Ann Designs sewn by Artistic Artifacts staffer Nancy McCarthy for her granddaughter

The GiGi Dress and Dolldress by Olive Ann Designs has what every girl wants — POCKETS! A super cute summer dress for any girl in sizes 2-8 (you see here a size 4 on a just-turned-four-year old). This dress has two surprises — first, the great pockets in both side seams and second, a breezy pleated open back tied with a sash, so it’s not too bare.

Fabric options listed on the pattern include double gauze and lawn. This version is in Kokka Blue Birds Double Gauze, found in the Fabrics for Garments section at Artistic Artifacts (more about sewing with this fabric later). Artistic Artifacts also has some charming lawn fabrics with prints very reminiscent of Liberty designs, and of course any of the quilting cottons would be appropriate. It would be great in a kid print and stunning in a wild Kaffe Fassett floral!

Gigi dress by Olive Ann Designs sewn by Artistic Artifacts staffer Nancy McCarthy for her granddaughter

Sewing notes: Intermediate sewers should not find this pattern too challenging. I am one of those sewers who likes to preserve my pattern so I can make it again and again as my four granddaughters grow. So I fold back the larger size cutting lines or cut out the size I want by running my scissors under the paper pattern. Yes, I always cut garments with scissors — that’s the way I learned! On this pattern I got confused when I couldn’t find the pattern markings for the back panel pleats. I eventually realized that the size adjustment for the back panel changed at BOTH the top and bottom of the panel, and I had just folded away, or would have cut away, the pleat markings.

The bodice has a full facing that goes down below the amscye* and in back extends to the depth of the back pleat facing. You attach the facing by sewing up the back, around the front neck, and back all the way to the bottom of the pleat facing. This is a bit acrobatic but it can be done! If it doesn’t make sense to you, just sew it as far around as you can and press in the the rest of the facing seam allowance at the pleat facing and slip stitch it in place.

* (Editors note: as per Wikipedia, “in sewing, the armscye is the armhole, the fabric edge to which the sleeve is sewn… the length of the armscye is the total length of this edge; the width is the distance across the hole at the widest point.”)

The GiGi Dress and Dolldress by Olive Ann Designs for children sizes 2 thru 8, and double gauze fabric, Kokka Blue Birds

The instructions have you sew the side seams and then insert the short sleeves, the classic way to tackle this part of garment construction, and this was my biggest challenge because the armhole openings are quite small. I also wanted to serge those seams… argh! The second time I made this garment (using quilting cotton) I sewed the sleeves in flat and then sewed the side seams — much easier! I think if I made this a third time, I would make it sleeveless.

I chose double gauze for my fabric for a couple of reasons — first because Artistic Artifacts has some really nice pastels and second because I had never sewn with double gauze before. If it is a new fabric to you, consider washing it more aggressively than you think the final garment will be treated — it shrinks!

You may notice that it is actually two thin cotton gauze fabrics with a very fine binder thread that moves between the layers to hold them together so you might see the two separate layers of fabric at the cut edges of your pieces. The fabric is sort of ‘sponge-y’ and really different from quilting cotton.

I used my favorite BERNINA 34D foot with the dual feed engaged. I like the 34D because it is clear, so I can see everything. As in other Olive Ann patterns, the seam allowance is 1/2 inch. I topstitched the neckline and the sashes at 1/4 inch. Using the 34D allows me to choose between using the throat plate markings to determine my seam allowance or moving the needle right or left and sewing with the edge of my fabric at the edge of the foot. Setting the needle at 4 clicks to the right gives me a nice robust 1/4 inch, or at 5 a scant 1/4 inch, for example. Setting my needle to the left a couple of clicks can give me the 1/2 inch seam. (A walking foot is also an option for these double gauze fabrics.)

I hope this post encourages you to surprise the special little girls in your life with one or both of these up-to-the-minute spring and summer looks!

Mandarin Vest Pattern by Indygo Essentials

I was recently thrilled with a new garment sewn by Nancy McCarthy for me! I’ve asked Nancy to share her thoughts on the pattern for you. — Judy

Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula in her Mandarin Vest stitched by Nancy McCarthy from an Indygo Essentials pattern

Guest post by Nancy McCarthy

Judy wore this vest in a recent Facebook Live session (Saturdays, 9:30 am ET) and got lots of positive feedback. I hope you are inspired to try this sophisticated look for yourself!

To me, this Mandarin Vest pattern by Indygo Essentials looks like it is inspired by traditional clothing silhouettes. I love the versatility of these basic shapes. The possibilities for your garment fabrics and embellishments are endless — from casual to dressy casual to dressy. What a great way to use a batik panel for the back and create pieced fabric for the rest of the garment! Or as the ground for an ever-evolving stitch meditation! I’m including other images from Indygo Junction so you can see the vest in the two lengths as well as different fabric choices.

Two views of the Mandarin Vest by Indygo Essentials

Mandarin Vest pattern and fabric chosen by Nancy McCarthy

For a casual garment, I chose a Marcia Derse fabric in a canvas weight (now sold out) as mentioned in the suggested fabrics on the pattern envelope. I also chose to underline the vest, again according to options listed on the pattern, because I wanted a bit more weight in the garment and to conceal the wrong side of the main fabric.

The pattern includes instructions for underlining, if you are not familiar with this construction process. It’s easy! You just cut identical garment pieces from both the fashion fabric and the underlining fabric and stack them WRONG sides together, then treat as one. (Do maintain the grain in both fabrics.) I used a coordinating color — there are so many to choose from! — of Marcia Derse’s Palette Solids. I used a machine basting stitch to sew the edges together — hand basting also works.

Purse pocket on the Mandarin Vest

The pattern offers both regular side pockets and the super cute little purse pocket on the outside. (Talk about embellishment possibilities!) I toyed with the idea of inserting the side pockets, in addition to using the purse pocket, but decided I liked the interior clean. The purse pocket has a self-lining that forms the casing for the drawstring and finishes the edges. It is top stitched on — I used my BERNINA #10 edgestitch foot. Read the instructions carefully and do use all the pattern markings provided. I purchased double fold bias binding to use rather than making my own, and just edge stitched it before using it. Note that the drawstring is caught into the construction seam of the pocket!

Note that for this pattern seam allowances are 1/2 in., not 5/8 in. as usually seen in garment patterns from the ‘big four’ (Simplicity, McCall’s, Vogue, and Butterick) companies. I serged the seam edges after sewing regular seams. I also serged the armhole hems, the front facing edges, and the bottom hem rather than folding them a 1/4 in. to clean finish. The armhole edges are topstitched in place. I used my BERNINA #5 blindstitch foot to blind stitch the bottom hem and the front facings in place.

Another Indygo Essentials view of the Mandarin Vest

The collar may be higher than you are used to, but I think it really adds to the look. The pattern instructions for the collar are typical and work just fine, but if you have sewn other garments you may have a favorite way to install the collar that will also work. The pattern offers the option of a button and loop closure near the neck — if you have a fabulous large button, this would be a great place to use it. You can see a beautiful frog closure in the Indygo Essentials example pictured here. You could also put the button and loop anywhere along the front edge that pleases you.

Notes on the pattern:

  • Do follow the pattern when choosing your size! Use your bust measurement, even though you may think the garment will look generous. Because of the shaping and the way the shoulders are cut, it is better to go a little bigger than a little smaller.
  • Once you have chosen your size, I would strongly recommend using a highlighter to mark the cutting line for your chosen size on the pattern pieces. I found that the size markings on the cutting lines were very confusing around the shoulders and neckline! In addition, I carefully compared the sizes of the collar pieces to each other by stacking them up in relative size order and determining which one matched my chosen size rather than trusting the marking on the paper.
  • And remember — 1/2 in. seams!

I hope this pattern joins your other tried and true patterns!

Pattern information, Mandarin Vest by Indygo Essentials

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