Tuesday, September 26, 2017


My local sewing group had several fall sewing challenges. The Richmond ASG group had a One Yard Challenge with a deadline of late Sept.  Rules: take a  one  yard piece of 45” wide white cotton fabric and use your creativity to color it, embellish it, and  make something from it. No other fabric could be used.  The ASG Fashion Focus Neighborhood Group has an  Art to Wear Challenge due in Nov.   I tend to like challenges. Put a objective and deadline in front of me and I begin to plan and focus.  Unlike my personal sewing when I can spend days being indecisive about my next project because of too many pattern and fabric choices. 

I decided to combine the objectives for both challenges and make an art to wear garment from one yard of fabric.

 A 45" wide piece of fabric will fit around my bust with lots of ease or my hips with not a lot of ease.  So the garments choices were limited to a sleeveless top, vest or a tight straight skirt.  I decided to try and use as many  fabric dying and  embellishment techniques as possible from recently purchased Craftsy classes, to ease my buyer's guilt

I chose Vogue pattern 1515, the Sandra Betzina “pop top”   for the garment.

Here is the finished top.
Jungle Dusk Front

Jungle Dusk Back

 How did I do it?

I looked through my fabric dyes for inspiring colors.  I decided to go the easy route and use some bottled Rit dye rather than my other dyes which require mixing and chemical additives.

• Dyed 1 yard Kona cotton fabric with Rit Cobalt Blue,
• Dip dyed one edge of fabric with Rit Black dye. 

• Checked that the front, back and neck pattern pieces would fit on the fabric. No room for hem or armhole facings pattern pieces – would need to think about solutions for that later.

The colors of the fabric inspired a Jungle at Dusk theme and got me thinking about how the plants and jungle creatures would look at night in moonlight.

• Made leaf shaped  stamps of varied sizes and orientations from foam meat packaging trays.  They were easy to cut out with scissors. I glued them to scrap wooden blocks from DH’s wood stash. (wood stashes are not near as exciting as fabric stashes)

• Printed leaf shapes over dark border of fabric using metallic black and pewter acrylic craft paint.

• Backed border area with Floriani Tacky ...Water Soluble Stabilizer which would provide  firmness while  embellishing, but it would wash out later. 

• Sewed phragmites type grass between the printed leaves, using blue cotton quilting thread and fringe  pressure foot.  How To Use A Fringe / Looper Foot

• Made cloud shapes in sky area using different blue shades of Decolourant Plus,  a non bleach color remover that replaces the removed color with another color.  I used long skinny shapes torn from soft open cell packing material, from my new laptop, for my cloud stamp.

• Created pink color under clouds using magenta Sharpie and isopropyl alcohol, which makes the Sharpie ink spread. See youTube for Sharpie ink related fabric crafts.  Sharpie Dyed Fabric

• Created flight paths for flying creatures using machine stitching with metallic thread. Sewed glass and wing shaped beads to end of flight paths to create the flying bugs.

• Backed collar piece with Tacky ...Water Soluble Stabilizer. Used decorative machine stiches and variegated thread to embellish collar.    Hand sewed star shaped beads and bead groupings to collar piece.

• Created vines using two different cords; blue tubular yarn and gray and white parachute cording.  Intertwined them by hand and hand stitched in place.

• Hanging flowers on vines were created with  thread bundles of pink metallic cotton embroidery floss and 1” circles cut from thin leather.  The pink thread bundles were machine tacked to leather circle using a wide zig zag with 0 length (used to sew on buttons by machine). Grey rayon thread was looped over vine. Bottom ends of loop were sewn to leather circle. The front of the leather circle was folded over the loop cord and fiber bundle to hide all the attachment threads,  and secured by leather adhesive.

• Assembled the top. Finished the armholes with bias binding cut and pieced from remaining scraps. Faced the back hem (because it hangs longer than front and can be seen) also pieced from scraps.  Turned up 5/8" hem on the front.


Some techniques, like sewing beads on fabric by machine,  require practice to be successful, and I need more practice. Great book. All Beaded Up by Machine .
I  need a stronger eyeglass prescription if I am going to hand bead at night.
I really need to  explore all the decorative stitches on my machine.
Decorative threads are expensive. 
Keep fabric backed with water soluble stabilizer away from the  glass of iced tea, covered in condensation, sitting next to your sewing machine. What a ooy gooy mess.

Overall I had a lot of fun and the top turned out to be very wearable.

And as a added bonus, it won first prize in the challenge.


  1. It's really wonderful - congratulations!

  2. Well deserved first prize. What an awesome transformation.

  3. What a cute top! Lots of work put into that; so happy to hear you won! I wish our ASG group would do something like this, but alas there doesn't seem to be much interested in challenges.

  4. This piece is absolutely worthy of First Prize--WOW!! The different "layers" of work put in are really spectacular and thoughtful. And as you said, it is certainly very wearable: I really like it with your maxi skirt in that photo! (Heck, I really like that maxi skirt too, haha!)

  5. congratulations. Beautiful top! So many wonderful techniques used.

  6. Beautiful top. You certainly deserved first prize. What an incredible fabric artist you are!

  7. Wow! It's a dynamite top. You are so creative.

  8. What a gorgeous top! An awful lot of work, but so, so worth it.

  9. That is a tricky challenge! Great job and huge congratulations on your well deserved win!

  10. Good for you - you put a lot of care and thought into how to decorate the top and make it avant guard as well - great job!

  11. Wow. Wonderful creation. Thank you so much for sharing the process too.

  12. Congratulations! Worth the effort :)