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Our Urban Princesses!

I’ve asked Artistic Artifacts staffer Nancy McCarthy to share her experiences with the adorable Urban Princess pattern by Olive Ann Designs that we’ve just added to our website. Nancy was a home economics teacher with a specialty in clothing and textiles, so her expertise is invaluable.

Nancy McCarthy's granddaughters in their Urban Princess dresses

On Saturday, September 19 Nancy was featured for our regularly scheduled 9:30 am ET Facebook Live Videos! Watch our archived video as Nancy shared construction tips and techniques she applied to this pattern that can be translated to other garment construction that both beginning and experienced sewists will enjoy! (Plus there was a surprise sneak peek of some just arrived fabric that will soon be available on our website!

    Guest post by Nancy McCarthy

This super cute dress was a hit with my three- and four-year old granddaughters, pictured above! This pattern offers lots of design possibilities in terms of fabric choices and comes in children’s sizes 2-8. Urban Princess also includes a pattern for an 18 in. doll dress to match.

The Urban Princess pattern by Olive Ann Designs with the Tilda and Tula Pink fabric that Nancy McCarthy selected

My fabric choices for their dresses coordinate closely with their personalities, as you might imagine from the photos!

Nancy McCarthy's granddaughters in their Urban Princess dresses, showing the ruffled back

I lined the bodices and the gathered shoulder straps per the pattern, using fabric left from cutting the garment pieces. By the way, I didn’t realize when I chose the main dress fabrics that both are directional! Fortunately, the pattern layout in the pattern guide is for a directional layout.

This dress doesn’t use much fabric, especially the ruffles, so you certainly might be able to stitch your own with stash fabric left over from other projects.

The Urban Princess pattern by Olive Ann Designs

I want to share a couple of notes on the back of the dress — watch video

  1. The back bodice neckline and button opening are bias edges that I decided needed some interfacing for stability.
  2. The center back ruffle panel is created on a long, narrow base triangle (bias edges!) that fits into the two back pieces of the dress (more stretchy bias seams!) and the angle of the cutting line for the back pieces means that those pieces take a lot more fabric than might be expected. The end result is a cute swingy skirt that’s definitely worth it!

Editor’s Note: The Olive Ann Designs’ blog offers an update the Urban Princess pattern, an optional change to the top ruffle in the back that makes it less full and easier to sew.

Summer Heat, Winter Ephemera!

As we celebrated Christmas in July and BERNINA Swissmas in July, I showed off some of my seasonal art quilts and ‘how to’ ideas for making gifts and décor, gift suggestions, technique demos and more during our Facebook Live videos. For those who missed them, or would like a rewatch, these videos are now archived on our Artistic Artifacts YouTube channel

Vintage ephemera shared by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

I’ve often shared vintage ephemera scans from my personal collection in the past, and am gathering these into one place for you. I hope they find their way into your own holiday projects! Above, Christmas Signpost/Luck — Download the high-resolution image »

In my latest Artistic Artifacts Creative Clip, I share some of the direct print and transfer products I use for the vintage photographs and imagery that make their way into my fiber and mixed media art! I hope you’ll find it a useful introduction to what these products can do, including Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) sold per 5 sheet and 18 sheet packs. Important note: Any ephemera that includes words must be printed as a reverse image so the words will read correctly once it is transferred. (And remember that earlier this year I shared a Creative Clip dedicated to TAP.)

Vintage ephemera shared by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Above, Birds Happy New Year — Download the high-resolution image »

Vintage ephemera shared by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

These winter scenes were originally handed out by Washington, DC merchants as collectible trade advertising. Fine Dry Goods — Download the high-resolution image »

Vintage ephemera shared by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

P.Grogan birds — Download the high-resolution image »

Vintage flocked Santa card image

The scan of this flocked Santa card gives you a hint of that texture — Download high resolution image »

Vintage postcard of sledding children image

I love the stitching that was added to the boys’ snowsuits — Download high resolution image »

Vintage postcard celebrating New Year's Eve image

The subtle metallic gold in this vintage postcard scans as flat color; add shine with glitter or pearl powders — Download high resolution image »

Vintage postcard celebrating  the New Year image

Sweet skaters wishing you a Happy New Year—Download high resolution image »

Vintage ephemera download offered by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Not specifically Christmas, but the red and green fit the color scheme: I’ve used these as the focal points of small art quilts. Red Leaf Lady — Download the high-resolution image »

Vintage ephemera download offered by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Green Leaf Lady — Download the high-resolution image »

Vintage image shared by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Vintage winter-themed illustrated poem — Download the high-resolution image »

Fabric Postcards Received: I’m Still Trading!

After sharing my process for making fabric postcards and offering to trade, I’ve had requests to share the results. Hope you enjoy seeing examples of what arrived in the mail (and a couple other artful cards) as much as I have!

postcard received from Lora in Texas

Above, received from Lora in Texas, who wrote that she has a “zillion” postcards piled up and was so happy to trade. She also noted that this is a photo of her from grade school in her Halloween costume! It’s a great example of prepared fabric products that can be used for text and photographs.

Postcard received from Sherry

Sherry in Florida mailed me this one. The colors and fabrics together are so charming.

Postcard from Ray

This postcard is from Ray — I love the little swirl!

Postcard from Peggy

This wonderful postcard received from Peggy in Texas is great reminder to smile each day. She also emailed me after receiving mine: “Judy, what a fun surprise today receive your beautiful postcard. Am so happy mine arrived to you also… yours gives me much inspiration.
FYI, I’m the Membership Chairman for the Fiber Artists of San Antonio and just found out that one of our members, Carmen Goyette, used to frequent your shop when she lived in your area.” Carmen was a member of JAMs and everyone still misses her — turns out it’s a small world!

Peggy continued: “I was telling our group about your postcard exchange and we may be doing that amongst our members… we still can’t meet in person, but always fun to get mail. Before I found out about your exchange, I had just mailed out about 75 postcards to my family. friends, bead group friends and others.” Great job, Peggy!

Postcard from Suzanne

Suzanne Langsdorf, a favorite local Creative Mind that we miss seeing, made a star out of our WB174 Left Facing Scaled Fish Wood Block — plus I recognize other block prints in her embellished fabric collage postcard. While the other postcards featured here arrived as-is through the mail, as shown here, Suzanne handmade the envelope for hers.

Chris stitching in front of the postcard I sent her

When I wrote the original blog post, I mailed postcards to my staff and the volunteers who have helped keep us going during this pandemic. I was pleased to see Chris Vinh included my fabric postcard to her in her recent post about beginning to stitch on her new Sashiko cloth.

Postcard from Maureen

While not mailed to me, Maureen Erhardt did post this wonderful example to Facebook — she wrote that it was the result of “A black and white challenge with my sisters.”

Reverse of postcard from Maureen

Maureen included a photo of the back side of the postcard, which is pure art too!

Collaged card by Jocelyn Corderot

Not a postcard, but since I’m counting other mail art here: this #ShareonSat to our Artistic Artifacts Creative Minds Facebook group was posted by Sharon McDonagh, who was spurred by my blog: “This is a gorgeous mixed media collage card made for me by Jocelyn Corderot. I can attest to what a day-brightener a homemade card can be!”


A homemade card by Diane Mularz, who posted it responding to a recent #ShareonSat that asked for artwork with birds after the great response we had with our fish theme.

So my offer is still good: send me a handmade fabric postcard and you’ll receive one in return: watch my Creative Clip for my challenge for those interested in trading!

Making Fabric Postcards: Want to Trade?

Updated July 9, 2020: Since originally writing this post, I’ve responded to a number of requests by filming a quick tutorial for you! Please take a look and read through my steps below — you’ll see this is an easy, fun fiber project that spreads some joy into the world!

I love to make fabric postcards… and not just make, but to use and mail. Watch my recent Creative Clip for my challenge to anyone interested in a fabric postcard trade!

Fabric postcards by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Some of us only get small moments in time to play with our fabric. I am one of those people. Because of that time crunch, I have developed a system to keep fabric postcards always in progress. When I get those small amounts of time, I can immediately get to work where I previously left off. And before I know it, I’ve produced 6-12 postcards at a time!

With the current global health crisis meaning that so many must stay home to safeguard their health, I’m stamping and addressing my postcards, in the hopes that they brighten someone’s day once found in their mailbox.

Fabric postcard by Judy Gula of Artistic ArtifactsIn addition to fabric scraps, I use the following supplies when creating fabric postcards:

  • Steam-A-Seam 2 (I prefer lite version) I like this fusible because it is sticky and allows me to lay small pieces/scraps of fabric and it holds them in place. If I want to move the fabric I can pull off and replace or move. I recommend you begin with a piece that is 12 in. x 18 in.
  • Pellon Peltex 71F One-Sided Fusible — I keep the fusible side for the card stock to be applied.
  • Non-stick craft sheet — such as a Goddess Sheet or the Bo-Nash Amazing Sheet. I use the largest size I have, so that it is both under and over my fusible
  • Thread
  • 4 in. x 6 in. index cards, or card stock cut to size

First, peel back one side the Steam-A-Seam 2 fusible. I don’t remove it all the way off — I peel it as I lay down fabrics scraps.

Judy Gula uses a variety of fabric scraps, selvages, orphan blocks and more to create her fabric postcards

I apply a variety of fabric scraps, selvages, orphan blocks and more. I do like to use smaller pieces to create a collage look on the Steam-A-Seam. Fill up the sheet with your fabric scraps as seen here..

Next step is the iron the fabric to the Steam-A-Seam, using your non-stick/Teflon sheet to secure the fabric.

Then, using a piece of Pellon Peltex 71F One-Sided Fusible inthe same size as your sheet of Steam-A-Seam 2, peel the last paper off the fusible and fit it to the non-fusible size of the Peltex.

IMPORTANT: make sure that you have your non-stick Teflon sheet (if you don’t own one, substitute parchment paper) under the fusible side of the Peltex or it will stick to the ironing board… Ask me how I know!

Free-motion stitching on Judy Gula's fabric postcards

Once the fabric collage is fused to the Peltex, I then have some fun at my sewing machine. Free motion stitch the entire front of your fabric collage. Note that there is a tendency for the glue to come off on the needle; it is sticky. It hasn’t caused me problems, but next time I’m going to try the Schmetz Super Nonstick Needles.

I use this stitching time to test out new freemotion “patterns” or to practice them. I also often follow the pattern in the patterns in the fabric scraps. This is also a great time to test out any fancy stitches your machine might have programmed. Sometimes I use one color thread, sometimes multiple — and specialty threads can be fun to play with too!

Fabric collaged sheet ready to be cut into postcards

Once my sheet is completely free-motion stitched (above), I cut it into 4 in. x 6 in. pieces for the postcards. I then apply the 4 in. x 6 in. index cards (or card stock cut to size) to the back side.

Zig-zag stitching the edges of the postcard

Stitch an open zig zag stitch around the four sides of the postcard. Don’t make the zig zag stitch too close, or you’ll perforate the card stock to the point that the edge could detach or pull off.

Detail, zig-zag edge of fabric postcard

If you have a postcard stamp, use it to dress up your back. If you don’t, simply write POSTCARD on the center top of the card. Write your recipients address and add a stamp on the right side of the postcard. First class postage is all you need! Then write your message on the left and drop it into the mail.

I’d love to trade postcards with you — watch my latest Creative Clip for my challenge!

Something Fishy…

Diane Herbort Poisson d' Avril art quilt

Fiber and mixed media artist Diane Herbort created Something Fishy, her fabric and paper collage pictured above, for Cloth Paper Scissors to illustrate her 2008 article about using disperse dye to transfer images to fabric. Since it was scheduled for the March/April issue, she chose a Poisson d’Avril theme and used one of the vintage postcards she collects as her focal image.

Detail, Blue Fish Quilt by Judy Gula

Vintage and fish… easy to see the connection with Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula’s Blue Fish quilt (detail pictured here). Visit Using Vintage Textiles in My Blue Fish Quilt for the complete quilt photo, plus details on how Judy created it.

To celebrate April 1 we posted Diane’s beautiful work in our newsletter as well as on our Facebook page. We asked members of our Artistic Artifacts Creative Minds Facebook group to share their own “fishy” art, and we loved the responses, sharing them here for those who aren’t on Facebook. (Plus we wanted to keep this particular ‘school of fish’ together!) Enjoy the following (listed in alphabetical order by artist)… all are wonderful!

Susan Callahan fish quilt

Susan Callahan: “You asked for fish. This was my 2018 hand stitch exercise. Ten minutes a day for 365 days. Loved this piece!” It measures 17 in. high and 36 in. wide.

Mixed media fish collected by NiYa Costley in a JAMs swap

NiYa Costly referenced an exchange from a past Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs) meeting: “Fish from one of our random swaps that I was holding onto… haven’t figured out yet how to display them.” See Linda Morgan’s piece below — she started it!

Fish cut from batik panels by Jaka center wonky log cabin quilt blocks by Judy Gula

Judy Gula: We began our “poisson d’avril” photo challenge by sharing two blocks that Judy made for a quilt tfeatured in her book Colorful Batik Panel Quilts. School of Fish is one of the projects in the book, using hand-drawn batik panels by one of our most popular batik artists, Jaka. You can see the complete quilt below, as well as in Judy’s introduction of her book.

Mahyar batik panel detail: hand stitching with Eleganza cotton by WonderFil

Judy traveled with a batik panel by Mahyar — the fanciful fish are detailed here — to embellish it with lots of hand stitching, using Eleganza pearl cotton by WonderFil Specialty Threads. The Three Sisters quilt was also featured in her book; learn and see more about it here on this blog.

Susanne Miller Jones fish quilt

Susanne Miller Jones: “Fishy theme you say: Gotta Eat.”

Bunnie Jordan fish quilt

Bunnie Jordan: “Just happen to have a fish quilt on my wall right now.”

Sharon McDonagh’s mixed media eye token as taught by theresa mARTin

Sharon McDonagh: “I enjoy Theresa mARTin classes so much I have taken them more than once. Her mixed media eye token class has always resulted in amazing student work since she generously shares so many treasures from her stash. I quickly grabbed the wonderful fish bead for my mermaid-inspired piece. I love how it turned out!”

Julie Hames Mehigan fish wall hanging

Julie Hames Mehigan: “A piece I made for a school auction. Kindergartener’s hand prints became fish. Bubbles are their initials. Made a lot of it when my Dad was in the hospital dying, so of course, I bid on it and bought it.”

We sought out Linda Morgan, writing that “we’re expecting to see the fish you made that nearly caused a riot during a JAMs exchange a few years back — talk about a feeding frenzy!”

Stitched fiber collage fish by Linda Morgan

…and she replied, “Artistic Artifacts, these guys were fun to make!”

Lynda Poole Prioleau fish bead fiber pendant

Lynda Poole Prioleau: “In keeping with the fish theme for today…Here’s a pendant I made using one of Judy Vincentz Gula’s small, dyed pieces. I added beads, a hand dyed linen backing, and, oh yeah, some fishies!”

Beth Richardson Coral Reef quilt

Beth Richardson: “For today’s theme, one of my faves. It’s called Coral Reef.”

Joni Seidenstein fish quilt

Joni Seidenstein: “Did someone say fish?” And when a fellow Creative Mind commented on the number of fish, Joni replied “I spent literal hours cutting these fish out to fuse onto this quilt. I did it when my daughter was at swim lessons. It felt quite apropos!”

Etta Stewart fish fiber collage

Etta Stewart: “I just have to add a fish or two…”

Etta Stewart fish fiber collage


…or was that more than two, Etta?

Betsy True fish art quilt

Betsy True: “This was my first art quilt, begun during a workshop with Ruth B McDowell at an Empty Spools Seminar at Asilomar, California.”

detail of art quilt by Christine Vinh

Christine Vinh: “For the fishy theme, this is a close-up of part of a quilt that was in Sacred Threads Quilts in 2017. Photos from a visit to Inle Lake in Burma and the one on burlap was done using Transfer Artist Paper. The silver fish charm was given to us by one of the children in a village we visited. The blue water is part of a silk scarf. Stitched throughout with Tentakulum threads.”

Batik panel quilt by Christine Vinh

Chris also sent us two of her quilts created using hand-drawn batik panels. Above, the focal panel is by Bambang Dharmo.

Batik panel quilt by Christine Vinh

Above, a panel from batik artist Aprat is the focal point in this modern art quilt by Chris.

We hope you have enjoyed the wide variety of fish themed art we are have shared here. We thank all who submitted their work, and hope you will thank them too — please leave a comment below!

We love when our customers and friends share their projects with us, via our Facebook page, the Artistic Artifacts Creative Minds Facebook group, or by email for those not on social media, so we hope to hear from you!

School of Fish by Judy Gula, featured in her book Colorful Batik Panel Quilts

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