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USA Collection Creation

Creative sewing - ESPECIALLY UP-Cycle type sewing is my therapy and my passion. I listen to podcasts and Bible Studies (currently Daniel) as I work in my Sunroom Sewing Studio with the help of my cat, Musty, and overlooking my back garden...my 'heaven on earth'. Since I have a healthy 'stash', AND too many clothes (many I rarely wear), I decided to create some USA-inspired tops and jackets. The prices surely do NOT reflect the time involved (especially the shirt collage-type pieces!), but at this point - I truly don't care that much. I just want to inspire a love of our country and respect for her future. I have my own 'collection' of 5 or so tops that I get to wear in my Christian Patriot Meetings (www.wethepeopleofwesttn.com) and as I teach Constitution classes as a coach for Patriot Academy. www.patriotacademy.com


Having worked hard on this project for a couple of weeks - below you can see my current USA Collection. Believe me, my Studio is still stacked with 'piles' of more combos to work into tops and jackets!!!!


This blog post is meant to not only help 'market' them for adoption, but to also share some of the construction and design decisions I had to make along the way. I share in the hopes that it inspires you to do the same, and helps you a bit as you design and stitch.



Here's a peak at my messy 'creatively-organized' Studio: I've tried my hardest to limit additional investment in these projects, but I'll admit that I did drop $104 at a thrift shop on some MEN'S Tops and shirts! Why men's? I feel the fabric quality is the best, and you get more 'fabric' by investing in larger sizes whenever possible.



Men's POLO SHIRT KNIT COLLARS are like 'gold' in my estimation. Check out this use:


That is the outermost, 'finished' edge of the polo collar that lies next to the body. If a collar is not long enough, it is easy to stretch and pin it to your pressing surface - letting it cool before working with it. The outermost 'corners' where it meets the shirt are a bit tricky, and honestly - I have not taken pictures of that construction. This use will leave the center front exposed where you need to bind that edge, which I did on this top with a cotton print. I repeated that cotton print in 'tabs' at the lower shirred sides. I first did the shirring by pulling 1/8" elastic at tightly as possible while stitching it to the side seam allowances. I like to shirr up the sides of T's - creating a flattering lower hemline. Lear more about the many ways I gather, ruch, and shirr in my Sensational Shirring Pattern Booklet. That link is to the immediately-available PDF version.



Here's another shirt I made FOR MYSELF - as it uses the one T I allowed myself to purchase on our group's bus trip to Washington D.C. last October.

While on the red top above, I stitched right sides together in an actual seam. it's far easiest to just lay the collar ON TOP OF the shirt neckline (which you've marked, made sure is even, and STAY-STITCHED, leaving a 1/2" extra seam allowance. But, then you need to cover that UN-finished edge with something.

Those Polo Collars can also be used conventionally as in this top: I've shown it stanidng up in the photo below, but it can also fold down nicely. The white band along the bottom of the yoke is a strip cut from the HEMLINE of the white picque polo top.

All that 'hairy' trim is couched on yarn - details below in this post.



COUCHING & FABRIC FUR AS DESIGN ELEMENT AND COVERING EDGES

You know how 'in love' I am with couching and what I call 'Fabric Fur' if you've read my Blog for long, and especially my era of Creative Sweatshirt Jackets (yes, I'm still giving away FREE the Creative Jacket Journey DVD and my Book 2) with ANY and EVERY ORDER!


Fabric Fur Defined: on the top above, the yarn-dyed (both sides of fabric look good) striped shirt cut on the bias in 3/4" strips, layered, stitched, 'furred up' and then applied to the garment. To cover the center stitching line of the Fabric Fur, I generally couch on a yarn, as you can see me doing in the first photo below. To do that, I use monofilament thread in the needle. Learn more about couching and Fabric Fur at my YouTube Video I'll embed below.

Pic 2 below: Here, I'm using MEN'S TIES! Why? Because they are BIAS fabric - which is what you MUST use for my 'Fabric Fur'. In this video, I'm trying to decide which side of the navy/white striped tie to use as the 'top. I decided on the WRONG side up because it was more subtle. This 'FUR is only 2 layers.

Pic 3 below: I cut my strips 3/4" wide, layer and stitch, then cut each side to 1/4". Then, I ruff up the edges (taking out any frustrations with current day news) using the Chenille Brush - which I have just a few left as found HERE.

Pic 4 below: That is just plain old red worsted acrylic yarn that I'm couching down the center

of my Fabric Fur.

Pic 5 below: This trim is all I added to the New Look Denim Jacket I found at the thrift store!






THE POWER OF MEN'S TAILORED SHIRTS

HONESTLY, you can't beat men's shirts for great fabric and components to have fun with in this type of sewing!!!! These were the majority of my $104 thrift store investment. Obviously I searched for red - white - and blue colors in the shirts.

Here's the first Shirt Collage I ended up with this week: Generally, I limit myself to THREE shirts, and perhaps another one being the 'BASE' upon which I work most everything else.

I likely shouldn't admit this but I kicked myself when I realized that I'd switched the cuff treatments from where I PLANNED them to be - I wanted the cuff addition at the sleeve edge to be on the shirt's LEFT (as wearing) side, and the stripe on the shirt's RIGHT side - opposite of what you see at the yoke. Alas, I had at least a good day and a half in this, so I'm NOT taking the time to switch it!!!

RED details (buttons, fabric, hand stitching) provide the 'accent' and rhythm-'connecting' factor on this piece.


In the picture Collages below, if you click on each photo, they should enlarge on your screen so that you can see more detail!

Picture 3 below shows my decision on which shirts to use. The more 'plaid' shirt at the far left was NOT used as I felt it was too 'busy' with the others.

Picture 2 below shows my decision to add some RED - actually more of a burgundy - to this piece, headlined by the red striped man's shirt. Luckily, I had the perfect heavy thread in my stash for hand stitching.

Picture 4 below shows the point at which I was deciding to lower the front neckline of the shirt, and to make use of the TWO collars.

Picture 1 below - note the skinny post notes pinned on top of th elarge red piece....I've found when I'm tired, and at the end of a 'session', that any ideas/plans I have MUST be written down and stuck onto the work. I find that enables me to 'rest my mind' and sleep at night!

The last 2 pictures show what is left when you start to utilize men's shirts. Oh - and my 'Helper', Musty my dear cat.

Picture 1 below - you can see my hand running stitch trim on the white collar. I love my idea of using the TWO collars together - overlapped a tad. By lowering the center front, I had to come up with something to span the increased length of the neckline.

Picture 2 below - shows how I designed the back yoke. Using clear monofilament thread, I stitched through alot of those fabrics, making them 'behave' and handle as one cohesive unit. If I hadn't done that, they'd 'bubble' or 'balloon' placed over the base shirt. The red striped shirt 'trim' is a folded bias piece just tucked under the turned under edges of the yoke pieces.

Picture 3 below shows the lowered neckline and clear red buttons I added. I considered adding red running stitches over those stitching lines, but could not decide if I wanted to do that or not - and my mantra is: IF IN DOUBT, LEAVE IT OUT!!!

Picture 4 below - you might be able to see the red running stitches on the pocket. I wanted to do something there, but not TOO much, as I know it will land right over the bust when worn. You might also be able to see the French knot at the collar point.

Picture 5 below - You can see that I chevroned the angle of the cuff binding and the red trim AND added some red stitching.



Though I've not done this yet in my Patriotic Collection, I have had fun making use of shirt components in unsuspecting places...as in this shirt, which is still awaiting adoption.

There's also a video explanation of this shirt - and using th ecomponents in unsuspecting locations, so be sure to click and watch.




BINDINGS/BOUND EDGES

You'll find many of the 'edges' of my garments 'bound' in some way of another. Generally, I do this 'backwards' from what you'd suspect: I stitch the RIGHT SIDE of the binding t(single or double layer) to the WRONG SIDE of the garment, then fold it around to the front of the garment and stitch it down. See that done in these photos. Again - click on them and they should pop up larger on your screen! I also generally stitch with monofilament thread in my needle, upper tension lowered a tad - that way, the stitching doesn't show as much. I use clear thread for lighter colors and smoke for darker colors DO NOT try to use monofilament in both the needle and the bobbin! That makes most machines cough and hiccup! Instead, use just in the needle, and a bobbin of color that will blend in on the wrong side.






I pull out my little Clover Bias Tape Maker frequently to create trim with both edges folded under. This notion works on both bias AND straight grain fabrics.


Here are some additional 'process' photos AND garment closeups for your study....


This Carole Little Top was languishing in my closet - so I added the red strap and red rolled hem edging using Wooly Nylon Extra in the lower looper on a TWO Thread stitch. Consult your manual - but you must 'plug up' the upper looper with this little thingie, and LOOSEN the tension on the lower looper. I used the left needle for a wider edge. It takes some playing, but worth it.



The neckline on this is the Tilton Twist' as I call it from my Nifty Necklines Pattern Booklet.





Single Knits can nicely 'Roll' - and I use that for trim often as well. Look closely at this top: I found a huge bolt/skein of this knit trim at JoAnn Fabrics! That trim, and the buttons is all I added to this rayon top.



I remember that I made a video on Rolled Knit Trim .... here it is:



Here's another top I created utilizing the curled knit trim....

I just added the red in the middle by couching red acrylic yarn.




And a few more Patriotic 'A Londa Originals'...

This Top started with a T-Shirt, and I RE-created it as a peasant top by adding some of a man's shirt at the top with elastic in it.



Obviously, on this thrift store UMGEE top, I just added applique work to create the 'MAGA' sentiment. I really should get out the embroidery capability of my monster sewing machine - I just don't find that all very creative, and there are only so many hours in a day.....



I know this has been a VERY LENGTHY post, but I felt ya'll might enjoy enjoy some of the 'back story' of my Patriotic Top Collection - at least up to today!

I have 3 sweet little girls (aged 8-10) booked for Sewing Camp next week so I'll have to move this creativity to a corner for now...but the creative juices are a flowin' and I hope this post has encouraged you to do the same.


In my humble opinion, our country needs all the prayers and loyalty and POSITIVE sentiment we can muster these days. I hope you agree and are praying along with me for us to act to preserve our REPUBLIC and the lives we have enjoyed for our grandkids!!!

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