Green Apples and Green Peas

IMG_4050 Before I get started, I feel I have some explaining to do regarding my “break” from posting. It is due to many reasons, none of which may interest you, but I have been doing home remodeling to one room in the house, which leads to much upheaval in the rest of the house. I am pretty disorganized as much of my fabric and patterns are still not at my fingertips. I have also been trying to figure out how to keep up on the posts, offer interesting sewing projects when sometimes I just want to sew and not think in terms of blogging about it. Believe me, there is a difference between sewing and sewing to blog about it. Since I do it all, I have been thinking about ways to stream line and ease the process. I also have such a extensive collection …(hoarder) of patterns, that sometimes I want to make those oldies but goodies that are out of print. Is that just frustrating to read about a fantastic pattern that is no longer available?? When other sewing bloggers do it, I figure I MUST have that patterns somewhere….

There may be more outfits on the mannequin just to speed up the post publishing, so here I am back in the saddle. I hope the posts will still be inspirational yet shorter and more concise. So I will start up with one of the beauties from an independent pattern company….

Here is the Midtown Trench Coat pattern from Indygo Junction. I would include a link, but sadly, it is no longer available. Bummer! I call it my apple green trench because it is that exact color. The necklace is self made from beads purchased at the Tucson Gem Show. Green agate the size of green peas. (More about the necklace below). It may not be the best color on me, but I spotted this fabric at Walmart of all places and thought it might be cute made up in this retro-inspired coat.   It was cotton, 45″ wide and inexpensive. WIN! I thought it would be good practice (muslin) fabric to try out the pattern. It has a red slub stripe running though it which I wanted to feature on the bias cut cuffs and collar.

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3/4″ Sleeves, Bias Cuffs, Side Seam Pockets

I think I like the back the best. The pleats add so much interest and resembles the back of a swing coat.

Back View, Midtown Trench

Back View, Midtown Trench

The line drawings show the slight differences. I chose to insert the pockets into the side seams, but the patch pockets look great, too.  I made the shorter thigh length (32″) instead of to the knee.  I wear it with dark denim and a tank.

Back view of the Midtown Trench

Back view of the Midtown Trench

Green Apple Trench, DIY necklace, Hobby Lobby Buttons

Green Apple Trench, DIY necklace, Hobby Lobby Buttons

Amy Barickman, the founder of Indygo Junction, partners with Mary Ann Donze to make these great patterns available. I have about 5-6 patterns of theirs that I want to make up. When I attended the Sewing and Stitching Expo in Puyallup, WA, Amy was at her booth wearing the Mod Top and Tunic, and she looked so cute.   There is nothing like seeing a sample made up to sucker me into buying the pattern!

Click here again to see the different ways this looks made up in cotton quilting fabrics. I suppose any other medium weight woven fabric would work. Check out the other patterns on the site. You may find something that you can’t wait to try.
IMG_4050Buttons are from Hobby Lobby, and the collar, cuffs and facing are interfaced. There is a slight princess line shaping down the front. The pleats in the back are sewn right down the crease (my choice, not on instructions) to help keep the edges sharp.
Necklace: I’ve been wanting a light green necklace for some time now. I spotted these beads and envisioned them in a simple, multi-strand collar style necklace. The cones and toggle were also purchased at the gem show.
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Green Jasper, 8mm

Green Jasper, 8mm

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18″ Five Strand Necklace

Do you ever get compelled by a color that works it’s way into your wardrobe?

Braided Beads

IMG_2231Mixing beads and then braiding them may not seam like a difficult approach to making a necklace, and it’s not, but I thought I would show you a few color combinations. Every necklace includes nine strands divided into three separate groups. Braid as usual, bringing the ends toward the middle until all nine strands are loosely draped. Add beads to ends if needed using spring clips on your wire because the braiding will draw up the length. When you are pleased with the drape, length and look, attach strands to the eye pin and prepare it for the cone and toggle closure.

Necklace length is 24 inches

Necklace length is 24 inches

I envisioned this being worn a turtleneck or deep v neckline so I thought the longer length would be a better choice. Plus, when the beads are braided, they seem to lay in the round a little better in a wider arc shape. All of the braids create a cord that doesn’t exactly drape or droop, so as I was making it, I would keep using the necklace form to see how it was progressing. The collection of beads includes chips, seed beads, Czech glass, any strand that catches my eye at bead stores! The strands can be strung in a repeating pattern or in a random to way. It is up to you.

Up close view of braided strands

Up close view of braided strands

Notice that all of the strands are different, yet related. This project is great fun because you get to use up so many beads from the stash. I call it “Bead Soup” because leftover beads can be used and incorporated.

Cones and Toggle

Cones and Toggle

All of the strands are attached to an eye loop of 20 guage wire and put up inside the cones. I then attach the toggle ends and finish with a wire wrap.
IMG_2246The next color combination used up some of my deep purple and green beads as well as iridescent blends of both colors. If possible, I blend both matte and shiny finishes to add interest.
IMG_2248As you may be able to see, the thickness of these necklaces is determined by the thickness of the beads used. It also affects the drape. I have found that the smaller seed beads keep the necklace more pliable.

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IMG_2247The same technique is used to finish this purple and green 21 inch version.
IMG_2237This is the dressiest of the three necklaces. I haven’t worn this as often in the past, but now that fancy, statement necklaces are more popular, it will get more use.
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IMG_2255If you love the look of pearls with casual outfits, you could make this with various size pearls and make the necklace more substantial. It would also sit higher on the neck with thicker beads or pearls.

Rose Toggle

Rose Toggle

I’m afraid my resources aren’t easy to track. I frequent the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show when it comes to Tucson every February. Purchasing findings are my goal every year, and I don’t always record all vendors and respective purchases. My routine involves coming home and putting newly purchased items with older like-items as an effort to stay organized. I make jewelry for myself and not to sell so it has never been too important.

I am particularly fond of the new pewter findings because they don’t tarnish. There are plenty of sterling components in my collection in the way of closures, spacer beads, end caps which just take more polish maintenance because they sit and don’t get worn as often. However, there is nothing like the beauty of shiny sterling silver. I am lucky to not have any metal allergies which would, of course, change everything.

What is your preferred closure choice and metal preference?

Garnet Colored Coin Pearl and Rondelle Multi-Strand Necklace

IMG_2222What I’m wearing today…..This is a garnet colored coin pearl necklace I made a few years ago using up some of my gray colored faceted rondelles for a little sparkle. The coin pearl diameter is about 3/8″ or 8mm, and the rondelles are probably 6mm. There are 4 strands total, but I would have preferred to string an odd number but I didn’t purchase enough pearls. It does the job anyway. Earrings are sterling silver posts given as a gift too long ago.
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IMG_2227I like to string the rondelles in the mix at different intervals on each strand. One one strand, I may put them every 6 pearls, and on another I may put one every 8 or 10 pearls just to keep it from looking too boring. The rondelles provide that little sparkle as well as add that gray/black element I wanted in the necklace.
IMG_2226I finished it off with a pewter toggle (no tarnishing) and cones from JoAnns. I did a wire wrap and added some rondelles for a bit more sparkle just because!
IMG_2223So I hope this inspired you to make a little something for yourself or a gift for the holidays. Have a great day!