Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sewing Up a Beautiful Mess...

At least that's the goal, anyway. A Beautiful mess. I love sewing on my layouts, specifically messy sewing. A few weeks back, the lovely Lisa Swift asked how I actually go about this messy stitching when she saw this layout, that was part of a Layout Love Linky post.

lets take a look at that, shall we?
First up, I have my papers, a piece of vellum and my two photos:
I like that white background as some tone-on-tone action with white stitching will be lovely, but I would like to spruce it up and personalize it a bit. So, a squirt of pink mist with an added squirt of white and it is all ready here for my stamp:
Ta Da! But, still needs something...
There we have it! A bit more stamping, some blue mist and some white paint:
Now to prepare our areas for sewing. I have drawn wavy lines on this lovely paper:
All cut out and laid over the white background...
Time to sew! But first, let me give you a little background. I have always wished I could sew. Or perhaps I should say that I always wished I could enjoy sewing. If you have been reading here for any length of time, it probably won't come as any surprise when I tell you that the whole process of measuring, cutting, folding, and ironing something into an acceptable shape makes my brain hurt. A lot.

Still, several years ago, I was determined to learn to love making clothes for my kids. I bought this very affordable and very basic Singer Simple. It worked perfectly. I did not. It seriously makes my head spin. 

So, the Singer sat and collected dust. Then I found scrapbooking! People sew on paper? COOOOOOL! I pulled back out my Singer, dusted it off and put that pedal to the metal. YES! I loved it! No measuring. At least not the way I scrap, there isn't. Not a whole lot of cutting, or proper back stitching. And there is definitely no ironing. It's ok if your stitches skip, or you layer your stitch patterns. Beauty over function. Huzzah!
Which brings me to the fun stitches. For all of you fabric buffs out there, you already know that these settings have specific purposes for your sewing projects. I have no idea what they are for. I just know that they are fun on paper! They are especially fun all layered up. My most used settings are "A" and "D."
Speaking of "D, " lets do some of that! One reason I like the zig zag stitch so much is that it is somewhat forgiving in that the "straight" line doesn't necessarily need to be straight. It also adds a great texture to the page.
See? I just zig-zagged over all the edges of my patterned paper, used the reverse lever in a few spots for extra texture, and left all the threads hanging. This works especially well with a tone-on-tone look, but can be super fun with contrasting colors too.
But what happens when this beautiful sewing turns into a mess? See the paper buckling there? No big deal. It happens...
When I smooth it down, I get a little creasing on the backside...
So, just a cut here and a snip there... problem soved. Now, I suppose if you are neater than I, the look of this might make you a little twitchy. You could avoid this issue by really gluing down your paper before sewing it on and making sure that you don't sew on damp card stock. But really, who has time for that? LOL!

A note about adhesives and wet things going through the machine:
I do not worry about it. Not one bit!
But, I am not hoping to use this machine for my next Sunday dress.
I suppose if that were the case, I might care.
But seriously, I have run wet matte medium, acrylic paint, most types of glue, and even staples through this bad boy. 
I have only broken one needle. That was on chipboard that had been layered with paint, paper and glitter.
The machine still works!
So, yeah - I don't worry about it.
Alrighty, moving on. I have mounted my sewn loveliness to a sheet of gray card stock:
I'd like to enhance some of those areas of stitching. How about a little sewing stamp with white acrylic paint?
OK! While that dries, lets work on our embellishments. A few circles cut out of vellum...
And back to the sewing machine! I am still on the Zig-Zag setting. This is one of my favorite things to do. I will sew around the edge of these circles over and over again. I have heard that messy stitching is super easy and a whole lot more fun with a "free foot" or something like that. Essentially, a machine that lets you lower your foot guides so that the fabric paper is no longer guided along by the machine. This allows for you to do all the guiding and the paper can be moved quickly in different directions. Quilters do AMAZING things using this technique. I do not have such a machine. So, I just go slow when I want more control over the turn and direction of my piece. For these pieces, my fingers have to be constantly turning and moving this circle around to get the stitching to stay on the edge. With a little practice, it's super easy!
See? Lots of texture. Lots of hanging thread. Lots of fun!
With that done, our stamping is dry. To enhance it, I just dip a brush in some gray mist and paint over the image lightly. I love how this makes the paint pop a bit!
Now it's time to play around with our embellishment placement:
And title work:
I adhered the vellum circles with glue dots and then added some glittered hearts and wood veneers...
And after the usual finishing touches...
There we have it!
A beautiful mess of sewing fun!
In our layout today, we stitched directly onto the background, which I realize can be a little more intimidating. However, I did all of that crazy fun before any photos were down. Basically, if something went really haywire, I still had plenty of time to fix it. 

Then, we sewed on some elements separately - our vellum circles. This is a less intimidating approach, because if something went really wrong, all we had to do was punch out a new circle and give it another go. 

As for the hanging strings, I love the playfulness! I only trim the ones that distract from a photo or create an odd visual gap. Otherwise, they all stay. It can be a little tricky sliding all those strings into a page protector, but a little careful placement and moving about can get them all back where they need to be :)

Thanks for joining me for our sewing adventure. If you would like to see some more pages where I have gone to crazy town on my stitching, check out the following from my Two Peas Gallery:
And, I almost always sew on my tags. Here is a circular example:

Speaking of tags, it's about time to work another one up for this month's #LLL. Have you entered yet? Be sure to link-up!

Thanks again, Lisa for asking about this and giving me an idea for the post! Can't wait to see what you will do with some messy stitching :)


  1. I am horrible with sewing too...except on layouts. I love my machine for layouts. The only ever thing I made decently for my son were some felt puppets. This is why my machine is known as the puppet cutter in our home. LOL. As always, I love your work!

  2. I used to love to sew. I didnt' like cutting out the patterns though fortunately mom liked that job. I have sewn on pages but unlike yours mine end up in a hot mess. lol!!! Love how you did the edges too.

  3. Really amazing Ashli! I especially love the stitching on the Vellum circles!!

  4. I love sewing too :) Beautiful page - love it all and all the movement and details you've added :)

  5. I love your step outs so much, it's just like watching you create (I imagine).
    Super cool page!

  6. Got to find a way to end my enmity with sewing machines... I love the look of stitching on projects so much, and the process photos make it look such fun (not my experience with sewing machines in the past... more like a battleground!!). Fabulous layout!
    Alison x

  7. Hey, Ashli, thanks so much for sharing your messy sewing process. :) I love the look on the circles. I promise to give it a try and will let you know when I do. I'm thinking I'll try it on some scraps first though. LOL!

  8. looks really awesome- love the look of the sewing machinge

  9. Gorgeous!
    Really wish I had a sewing machine sometimes,
    but one of those things that I would actually have to sit down and learn to use (lol)
    I love how it looks on your pages!

  10. Love me some messy stitching!! So fun and amazing!


  12. Now for someone who has self confessed OCD I twitched several times but then we all have things go wrong and it is so much more healthy to embrace that and make it work for you. Love your stitching (you should have a bash at sewing rows of buttonholes as it's not that hard at all) and that you stamped on your background paper to make it even more colourful. Hugs, Jenny x

  13. Oh my this is just so pretty!! I love the stitching!

  14. Lovely page! I love all the stitching and the vellum circles and other details. You make the sewing machine look easy! :)

  15. Love how you leave all the threads on!!

  16. so that is how you do it:):):) Gorgeous as always!!!!

  17. This is Lovely!! I love it and it makes me want to get my sewing machine out!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...