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Consider the phrase “thinking outside the box” as a challenge to do the same with sewing! The catchy expression is often associated with innovation, seeking original solutions, or going beyond the status quo. To think outside the box is to give always-by-the-book rigid thinkers, make-no-waves conformists, or perpetual naysayers a challenging perspective.
In 1899 Charles H. Duell, Director of the US Patent Office, opined, "Everything that can be invented has been invented." A vastly different perspective on invention was offered by Thomas A. Edison, “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” One of the world’s most prolific inventors, Edison amassed 1,093 patents by 1931. Duell was an in-the-box thinker while Edison, clearly an out-of-the-box thinker.
With a little time and a modest pile of fabric leftovers, it is possible to apply out-of-the box thinking to your sewing projects when seeking unique sewing ventures.
A few no-commercial-patterns-needed sewing ideas for crafting jewelry out of fabric:
Yo-yo Necklace: Yo-yos are of course small circles of gathered fabric sewn together and usually used as decorative additions on retro-inspired sewing projects. They are easy to hand stitch and with buttons and beads for embellishment make for a surprisingly elegant necklace. Use any combination of colorful fabrics to make the charming yo-yos. Round templates of circles can be made of card stock or cardboard cut approximately 2 ½ to 3 ½ inches in diameter. Cut out fabric circles using the templates. Cut six or seven of each size. Fold the edge of each circle in approx. 1/8 inch toward the center then hand stitch all around the edges pulling the thread in slightly as you sew to gently gather the circle in. Finish with a secure knot. Stacking two finished yo-yos, one large then one small one on top, with a decorative button or bead sewn in the middle of the gathered circles adds additional dimension. Sew a string of stacked yo-yos, side by side creating a semi-circle. Stitch a silk cord to each end, adding a jewelry clasp for ease of wearing.
Fabric Flower Brooch: Fun to wear, fabric flowers can embellish hats, sweaters or shirts, even belts and purses. Almost any fabric scraps will do but consider if the fabric will gather nicely for the effect desired. Use a running or gathering stitch to tightly gather a 2 or 3 inch by 20 inch length of fabric. A small piece of felt can be used for backing the flower to give it support. Decorative buttons can stand in for the flower center. A purchased jewelry pin back or even a safety pin can be used on the underside of the flower to use as attachment.
Button Rings: Use a covered button kit, small fabric scraps, adjustable ring blanks and glue to create unique rings. Begin by removing the button shank, as this is where the adjustable ring blank with be glued. Center the fabric over the button tightly and follow the button kit directions. The button ring can be embellished with hand embroidery and or seed beads to create a one-of-a-kind ring.
Heart Pendant: Small scrap of fabric or felt, embellished with bits of lace, satin ribbon and buttons, then cut/sewn into a heart shape can be a charming quick Valentine’s Day gift to make. Softly stuff the heart shape with poly fiber fill to add dimension. A satin cord or ribbon with a few beads added completes the charming gift.
Flowered Brooch, video from Martha Stewart
Sew happy, sew inspired.
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