Sewing Prims

Sewing Prims
Prim crafts are unselfconscious folk art, a statement of natural creative influences, perhaps the first or earliest kind of whimsical decoration with their simple but earthy colors. Prims are made of the colors suggestive of times long past, of dreamy pastoral country landscapes and suggestive of a vintage one-of-a-kind look. They appeal because of their authenticity as they are homespun from the heart.

Prims often take the shape of fabric sunflowers, elongated heart shapes, quirky mice, cats and crows with button eyes, overstuffed solemn-eyed bunnies, imaginative birds of a feather, or fanciful farm critters. Prims can be tea or coffee stained fabric soft-bodied dolls with a decidedly worn or tattered look as if they've been around forever and know a thing or two.

They are easy to spot at autumn craft fairs as they sport fabrics of muted checks, plaids, felted wools and calicos, deep cranberry, shades of sandy tans and muslin cotton fabrics, at times adorned with antique and tattered lace carrying twig signs with words of wisdom. They are often fashioned into odd shaped Santas and pensive snow folk, tea stained raggedy Ann and Andy are frequently seen as endearing folk-art prairie cloth dolls and of course fabric pumpkins of all shapes and sizes.

Simple ornies (ornamental bowl, basket fillers or shelf sitters) of stuffed shabby chic hearts, stars, seasonal mittens, gingerbread folk or just about anything that comes to mind can adorn our homes and hearts with their unassuming, unique, idiosyncratic and altogether compelling and delightful forms.

Country, farmhouse, Colonial era, rustic, handmade, vintage, and one-of-a-kind comes without effort to our thoughts on prims. Prims, with their simple hand drawn faces or exaggerated but strangely familiar shapes seem unaffected by civilizing influences, a throwback to what was never simpler but deemed nostalgic times anyway.

Hand sew a fabric pumpkin prim:
Use buttons for the eyes, a scrap of gingham, plaid or tea-stained muslin, cinnamon stick for the pumpkin stem, fine-tipped black permanent marker to make a crooked smile.

Cut out a fabric rectangle that's twice as long as it is wide. Fold rectangle, right side together, so short ends meet; hand-stitch along the short edge in a 1/4-inch seam to make a cylinder, then using long running stitches, sew along one end and pull thread tight to close. Fasten thread off. Turn right sides out, stuff with poly fill. Sew top closed with long running stitches along the top edge and cinch tightly. Thread long needle with embroidery floss. Start at the top center and insert thread from top to bottom and back up again wrapping around the pumpkin several times pulling thread tightly making pumpkin segments. Secure. Poke a cinnamon stick through the cinched top for a stem and add a raffia tie for decoration. Sew on button eyes and draw a crooked, raggedy smile for the pumpkin face.

Hand (or machine sew) a prim heart:
Hand draw a heart shape for a template. Heart shape can be elongated and slightly skewed for effect. Cut out two heart shapes from tea-stained muslin or any muted print. Sew together the two shapes in one of two ways. Either place the fabric heart cutouts wrong sides together and sew around the edges in a ΒΌ inch seam leaving an opening for stuffing. Stuff, stitch opening closed. Pink edges. Add a button and small piece of ecru colored lace or stitch the two fabric heart cutouts right-sides together leaving an opening for turning right sides out, stuff, stitch opening closed and embellish as desired.

Prims are delightfully easy to sew and always bring a smile to those who stop to consider their folk-art origins.

Primitive Ornies found on

Sew happy, sew inspired.

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