Monday, January 9, 2012

The anatomy of a fabric gift

I was inspired by Terri Wilkerson to create a fabric book, and decided to work on it as a Christmas gift for my friend Jeanelle.  I was so happy that she really liked it!  It was really a labor of love, and a wonderful way to play with my hoard of vintage and antique fabrics!
Jeanelle loves bright colors and whimsy, as well as antique and vintage fabrics, so I chose the materials for her book carefully.  I love the vintage linen towel that I used as a cover!  I added new flower trim on the "spine" and an old red crochet shade pull as a sort of "latch" for the front cover.
That's a crazy, fruity Carmen Miranda-like clip earring on top of the shade pull!
I used a long piece of fabric as a base for the pages; the fabric in this case was a beautiful white linen that began life as a United Airlines napkin (for first class passengers in the '60s, I'm sure!)
For this first page I used a beautiful old bird-themed, embroidered linen towel.  I edged it with a bright red and white vintage fringed trim.  I just tacked on some vintage elements that I thought Jeanelle might want to remove and use in projects later: a vintage embellishment with a fountain pen nib on it, and a stamped fabric panel that I had received in a swap; it carried through the bird theme of the towel.
I also stamped Jeanelle's name onto muslin and stitched that on.
On the facing page, I sewed two scraps of bright vintage fabric on either side, and three beautiful vintage millinery flowers down the middle; I gave them vintage embellishments as leaves.
The middle one -- a gorgeous green -- got a mother-of-pearl button center!
The next two-page spread is perhaps my favorite; I love the brown toile fabric with a hot air balloon gondola on it -- so whimsical!
It's trimmed at the bottom with antique drapery crochet lace, many vintage brown buttons, and an antique key tied on, too.
I left the top edge rough, letting the fabric unravel for a soft touch.
On the facing page, a linen pocket made from a napkin, onto which I'd sewn a gorgeous piece of antique tulle lace with a floral motif embroidered onto it.
The pocket held a collection of white plastic, vintage buttons that had been put together by a local antique dealer, sewn onto green felt.
On the next two page spread, I sewed a strip of a ruffle from an old skirt onto the outer edges of both pages.  Then on the left page, I sewed a piece of patchwork -- not a square, but a strip that was once intended for a quilt.
The way I sewed it, it became a slide in pocket, and it contained four pieces of quilted "squares" (but they're really tear drop shaped) that Jeanelle can use.  The feedsack fabrics in the squares are just terrific!
Here it gets a bit tricky: I added an extra couple of pages into this, the middle, of the book, by inserting a yellow eyelet dresser runner; onto the first of the pages it created, I sewed a cigar fabric flag (because Jeanelle is very patriotic!)
On the back of the flag page I pinned a grouping of antique satin ribbons; aren't they beautifully frayed?
  I picked those up in Kansas last year.
Next to that -- I sewed vintage embroidered trim and buttons to create a little holder for vintage linens...and tucked a couple in!
This page was sewn onto the page beneath it.

The next to pages included another beautiful patchwork piece -- a star, in the cutest fabric ever!
I sewed it down with glass button globes, and sewed a doily and a pretty crocheted embellishment in the middle of it.
The facing page was a lot of fun: it is a very pretty chair doily that I've had just forever, with perfect colors and embroidery!
Onto that I tied and pinned the tiniest doll dress ever!
I used a really pretty vintage coral silk seam binding to do the pretty!
Would you look at the tatting on that doll dress?  It is just to die for!
Under the dress, I pinned a completely amazing vintage embellishment in pink of a lady in a fabulous hat; I bought it on Etsy.  And then I included a tiny vintage fan, just for fun!
Last two pages: on the left, a gorgeous and altogether bright vintage embroidered pillow cover in blues and pinks on a sheer yellow background.
In the lower corner, a rhinestone wishbone that I sewed onto another vintage embellishment.
The last page has a base of a pale blue and white handkerchief, which I chose because it has Jeanelle's last name initial "R" (and she collects R's).
I sewed a pretty white heart doily with a metal lock in the center, to create a pocket.
Inside the pocket I slipped this gorgeous and very old needlebook; it has a leather-like fabric cover with a griffon imprinted on it.
Then some pretty flower trim, three paste and metal vintage buttons, and a spool of the most beautiful, peach colored DMC thread I've ever seen!
Finally, the back cover.  It's made from a beautifully embroidered floral linen guest towel, edged with a heavy natural and red, wide crochet trim; I did a little "fancy" stitching in red along the edge of the trim.
What I love about the book is the way all the edges overlap and peek out when it's closed, so that you get this sense of abundant texture, and density.  I also love how the book can be added to, so that it can be a showcase of sorts for beautiful things that are normally hidden away in our sewing baskets or drawers.

I've made another, for myself, which I will show you next.  Don't forget to click here to enter my Blogaversary giveaway; and here for a little button giveaway on my Button Floozies blog!


Jingle said...

WOW! This is absolutely beautiful! What a wonderful gift!

Linda @ A La Carte said...

That is truly a work of art!

Vintage Jane said...

I would shed tears of joy if given such a beautiful gift as this. The thought, care and love you have put into it is amazing. I am inspired to try and create one of my own. Thank you so much for sharing with us and look forward to seeing the one that you created for yourself. M x

Susan said...

Oh my gosh, I love your fabric book!!! It's fabulous! I really want to try and make one! Thank you for sharing it and I cant wait to see the other one you made.

Wendy said...

Hi Laurie, I am in love with your fabric book you made for your friend! It is just beautiful and a lot of thought went into making it for her. I am sure she will always treasure it. And I really like that she can add to it in the future. Job well done!

Holly Moore said...

So lovely. Every page. What a treasure!

Tami Hacker said...

Just incredible! So much thought & detail... a gift truly from the heart.

Laurie, anxious to see the book you made for yourself. Between these and the book Terri Wilkerson made, I need to try & do one myself.

The Junque Seeker said...

I love this book - the bright colors and all the goodies you added - and can hardly wait to see the one you made for yourself! Aren't they so much fun??? I've yet to make another but I do plan to soon. Thanks for sharing!

Kathy said...

I'm sitting here with my mouth hanging open. This is seriously, over the top, wonderful. She is going to love love love it!! I think you just inspired me on a little sewing project that's been rolling around in my head for a while. Great post. Thank you for sharing.

Que Bella said...

Wow, what a lucky friend to have received this book. It's absolutely gorgeous.

Liz said...

Absolutely amazing - what a wonderful thing to make and so much work!
Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger