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Thursday
May292014

Molly's Sketchbook: Sweet Crochet and Sew Dress

Working at Purl Soho is like going to Craft University. Co- workers, customers and readers are all professor-like founts of information, creative ideas and practical know-how. Over the years, I’ve learned so much about sewing, but along the way, I’ve also picked up some knowledge of knitting, embroidery, needlepoint and crochet. While I remain first and foremost a sewist, I sometimes feel the draw of a bigger craft world out there!

I created this little girl’s Sweet Crochet and Sew Dress as an interdisciplinary adventure. I used Louet’s beautiful Euroflax Linen to hook up a simple, pretty neckline, and for the breezy skirt, I chose summer-light cottons. Not only is this a great dress for the hotter months, but because crochet is so portable and linen is so cool to the touch, it’s also a great project to make when the mercury rises.

You don’t have to be an expert in either crocheting or sewing to make your own Sweet Crochet and Sew Dress. If you’re a crocheter who rarely dusts off the machine or a seamstress who once made a granny square in home ec. you can do it! Consider it Interdisciplinary Crafting 101 and welcome to Craft University! -Molly

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Wednesday
May282014

New! DIY Map Quilt Patterns from Haptic Lab

Is there a city that has your heart? The one you grew up in, the one you got married in, the one you live in? Stitch your way around your favorite city's streets, parks, and rivers with Haptic Lab's amazing DIY Map Quilt Patterns.

Each DIY Map Quilt Pattern comes with a to-scale paper template and sewing instructions. Just pin the template onto your quilt, stitch right into it, and rip off the paper as you complete each section. See in-action photos (and get inspiration!) on Haptic Lab's website right here.

Haptic Lab has mapped out the territory; you supply the fabric (we're using muslin for our NYC quilt!), batting, thread, floss and creativity! Hand sew, machine sew or both; use linen or metallic threads, neon or glow-in-the-dark embroidery flosses; applique prints into special zones (a Liberty of London floral in Hyde Park?); mark meaningful intersections and neighborhoods with embroidery stitches, buttons and trims; make it your own. Forget quilt blocks; think city blocks, and go to town!

For Purl Soho's entire collection of DIY Map Quilt Patterns, click right here. And enjoy your trip!

Monday
May262014

Corinne's Thread: Fringed Chambray Napkins

In the sewing room, raw fabric edges usually sound an alarm, and much of my sewing time is spent finding ways to hide unruly edges. I tuck them neatly into hems, enclose them in French seams and keep their messy threads at bay with zigzag stitches. But for these Fringed Chambray Napkins, it is precisely the threads of the raw edge that make them so special!

With a white weft and a colorful warp, the exposed edges of Kiyohara’s Linen Blend Solids reveal a two-color surprise. Created by unraveling individual threads of the fabric, making these napkins feels a bit irrational, like pulling out a lot of hard work. But, lo and behold, in the act of destruction comes a set of beautiful napkins.

These Fringed Chambray Napkins feel both sophisticated and relaxed, making them suitable for a whole range of occasions. Since I plan on using mine for summer barbecues, I chose a combination of festive reds and blues and made a whole stack in a lunchtime size (13 by 13 inches). But with no hems to account for, these napkins are easily sized up to a generous dinner size or down to a diminutive cocktail size, whatever your summer plans!

And because there are no seams to press and only the smallest bit of preparatory machine stitches, these Fringed Chambray Napkins are a great carry-along project for summer road trips. May the only thing that unravels be your napkins edges! -Corinne

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Thursday
May222014

Whit's Knits: Open Air Wrap

Although you wouldn't know it from looking at me, I really do love clothes and style and fashion. I don't purchase September issues or Louboutins, but I do love the human spectrum that is expressed through clothing choices (thank you, New York City!).

This Open Air Wrap would definitely catch my eye on the street, inciting a reverie about the woman wearing it. If she had paired it with a trim black dress and patent leather pumps, I would think about the artistic her making a bid for self-expression, giving a nod to the unconventional. Or if a woman were wearing the Open Air Wrap with flowing skirts and layers of linen and long necklaces, I would admire that every iota of her wants to be free.

Where do we turn for the unexpected and the singular? Easy, Habu Textiles. For this project I chose their spectacularly fascinating Silk Wrapped Paper. Not really paper, but paper-like, Silk Wrapped Paper is actually a slender linen tape bound with an even finer thread of silk. Knit up, it is sculptural, featherlight and totally statement making.

The super simple Purse Stitch, which essentially creates a net-like mesh, gives the Silk Wrapped Paper plenty of room to breathe and to express itself. Which brings us back to the beginning. We wear what we wear, from high tops to topsiders, to be ourselves and to tell the world who we are. So, toss your own Open Air Wrap over your shoulders and express yourself! -Whitney

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Sunday
May182014

Molly's Sketchbook: Drawstring Shoe Bags

I’m only 35, but I’ve already compiled a to-do list for my retirement: I’m going to get a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, bake bread and see the world. While I’m busy planning, my parents are actually living the retirement dream. My mom has opened a pottery studio and my dad has started making digital movies, but mostly, they travel, exploring all the wonderful places on their to-do list.

Before his retirement I could always make my dad a tie but these days he doesn’t have much use for formal stuff like that. So, for my dad’s new globetrotting lifestyle, I’m celebrating this Father’s Day with these super simple Drawstring Shoe Bags. With Robert Kaufman’s Double Cloth Cotton, an amazing two-sided fabric that gives a nice contrasting pop at the top of the drawstring channel, these bags are perfectly designed for quick crafting and tidy packing!

If, like me, you’ve got a travelling dad (or maybe a grad who’s off on a new adventure) these Drawstring Shoe Bags are just the ticket. With just a half a yard of Double Cloth Cotton, 2 yards of Fettucia Ribbon and some thread, you can sew up this thoughtful gift in a matter of minutes! Happy Father’s Day! -Molly

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