12 Days of Giveaways: Day 6–To Dye For!

Congratulations to Christie J., the winner of yesterday’s giveaway! And thanks to everyone for contributing your suggestions for home-dec projects and techniques you’d like to see in Sew News. Here’s Christie’s answer: “How to have a put together space but have it still be liveable. Its great to see these beautiful rooms, but I have 2 kids, 2 dogs, 2 cats and a husband – our house is a home, but I would love to still be able to have it look nice!”

Today, we have the perfect book for anyone looking to expand their sewing horizons and really personalize projects. We’re giving away Wild Color: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes by Jenny Dean (Watson-Guptill Publications).

color 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 6  To Dye For!

For your chance to win, answer today’s question: What is your favorite way to customize your sewing projects? Do you add embroidery? Alter the pattern? Add embellishments? How do you make your sewing projects unique? We want to know!

Answer in the comments section below and thanks for playing!

 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 6  To Dye For!
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36 Responses to 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 6–To Dye For!

  1. Helen Sutcliffe says:

    I like to personalize my sewing projects by pulling fabrics from my leftovers stash and adding them as accents. Sometimes it’s those zing fabrics that make all the difference.

  2. Mary Francis says:

    I look at the picture of the finished garment and think about it in a prettier, more colorful fabric and always add some kind of embellishments, how much and where always depend on the garment and its design and suitability for wearing. I like to alter the original pattern in some way to make the finished product tastefully unique and special for the person it is intended. For my barrel racing cowgirls, we have changed from the gingham or cottons to poly-satins with contrasting or matching netting with “sparklies” and around the yokes I have used various embellishments, “dangly & sparkling” trims to trims with a special decorative stitch in the edge of the yoke seam. I use the contract netting for the sleeve, and the shirt fabric covered with the netting for the cuffs. Makes a cute and different rodeo shirt for competition runs. When a girl feels good in what she is wearing, she is more confident in herself and will always do her best. (:

  3. rochelle malone says:

    I usually add embroidery to my sewing projects. If I am making a quilt, I usually embroidered a motif that either symbolizes the quilt or the person that I am giving the quilt to along with my quote. However anything anyone makes for someone is special no matter what you do to the original design. It comes from the heart..

  4. Janet Harris says:

    I also try to alter patterns and try to make changes in the design. I also try to experiment with using different material.

  5. Kris says:

    I like to begin by fitting the pattern. That way the garment is most flattering. It’s a lot of fun to mix and match the fabrics. For example- My daughter loves horses and I made a denim jacket with the collar and sleeves out of a fabric patterned with horses. When you can blend pieces with contrasting colors they are unique and wonderful

  6. Ruth says:

    Oh, all of the above. I dye, or embellish, or pleat/fold/wrinkle; whatever I can.

  7. Rose Henry says:

    Because I am now retired and on limited income, I peruse the internet and look at paintings, go through my fabric stash, and go through the old patterns to establish color, texture, and style. The goal is to make from what I have and that includes old linens going into home decoration as well as fashion.

  8. Connie says:

    I customize by thinking of who I am giving it to, and then making sure the fabric I use reflects that person…..for my niece, I always use horse or tractor fabric, buttons, etc; for my 4 little grand nieces, I know one loves pink – its a princess colour, one loves frogs, one loves bunnies……again, the fabric I use they will love! My daughter loves Amy Butler fabrics, so I use the wild colors and large patterns in most of the projects – latest being throw pillows for her bed; My mother-in-law loves soft colors, and her cosmetic bag is done in soft green batik strips.

  9. Linda says:

    I am into dyeing fabric. Whether it be wool or cotton. I cooked some elderberries down and will be using that next. It will be a beautiful purple. I also machine embroidery and I make bags out of almost anything. I made one from a band uniform for my husband’s aunt and she just adores it. I use all parts of the jacket.

  10. Inita Bermudez says:

    I like to add fur to my garment. And I like Bling Bling.

  11. Linda T says:

    I love things like vintage buttons and ruffles.

  12. Cindy Farmer says:

    I often add embellishments to my sewing projects. If I have a free edge on a hem or a sleeve, I will add fringe, rick rack, or other trims. If I have a lining on a jacket, I try to add piping or fringe on the edge between the two fabrics. The yoke on a top is also a good place to add trims. I like to bring all the colors of the outfit together in my trims.

  13. Karen A says:

    I will often change out the pattern by mixing pieces from two or more patterns to get just the right garment.

  14. Janna says:

    One favorite way to customize my projects is combining fabrics for contrast and pop.

  15. Sarah McKinney says:

    I like to embroidery and add textural elements and unique trim. /Sometime I change the patters some.

  16. Diana L says:

    For quilts, use my own fabrics and colors; for garments, I may alter them a bit, not just for fit, but for style too. Sometimes add embroidery

  17. lakaribane says:

    I’m not big on embellishment but hand embroidered accents are growing on me. One project I need to get done in 2011 is adding sashiko embroidery to a popular dress pattern in contrasting colors (pink/orange, blue/brown). I usually switch out sleeves or replace buttons by a zipper in some projects. But, above all, it’ s the choice of pattern vs fabric that truly makes an outfit mine.

  18. Judy says:

    After I make a quilt, I use the person’s initial to make the label.

  19. Dinah says:

    I like to add embroidery, embellishments, some extra topstitching, etc. I treat the pattern as the starting point.

  20. Sharon says:

    I combine patterns taking the parts I like from each and making them fit together into a completly new style .

  21. Dawn says:

    I would love to win this – I have a silk painting project ‘on the go’ right now and have been borrowing books from the library about dyes and painting, so this would be a great addition to my bookshelf!

    To customize my sewing projects, the first step for me is the fabric – combining great prints or solids, adding simple embellishments which highlight the design details (like piping the seams or thin lines of soutache trim. When it comes to costumes, I love piling on the trim – ribbon, then braid, and then beading into the trim too… bling!

  22. Deb says:

    I definitely alter the pattern so that it is a custom fit. One of the main reasons that I sew is for the custom fit.

  23. Marcy Sharit says:

    I love piping. I do piping and applique. I like to make blouses to go with the jumpers for my grand daughter.

  24. Janice says:

    I customize by adding buttons, colorful zippers, and embroidering initials on my projects. My aunt gave me a bag of hundreds of colorful zippers, and I have made all sorts of purses and organizers using them. Its easy to cut them down to the size I need.

  25. Sue says:

    I’m primarily a quilter and change the patterns with fabrics (usually unusual ones mixed), then add designs with embroidery and quilting (again unusual threads). People can recognize my quilts by their differences.

  26. Brenda says:

    I change patterns and use my idea of what material. I do not use dyes but embroidery and embellish with what I have on hand.

  27. Sue Huffman says:

    I almost never use the pattern exactly as is. I will put different sleeves, change the neckline, add cuffs to the sleeves or pantlegs, or at least change the length. My favorite alteration was when I made a long overskirt that attached with hooks to a short black dress. Both the dress and the skirt were from the same pattern, but I just used the skirt and waistband for the overskirt. It was my daughter’s idea and she wore them for prom her senior year. She added beads to further embellish the skirt.

  28. Gail Banks says:

    I have been sewing for over 30 years. I raised 3 boys so now that I have 2 Granddaughters I finally get to do ruffles so I ruffle everything. I even put ruffles on the bags I made for their Christmas gifts. I ruffle their shorts, pants, tops and dresses. I love ruffles!!!

  29. Mary Anne says:

    Embellishment is the way I go. I’m a crazy quilter at heart so embellishing things comes naturally. Buttons, embroidery, old jewelry – just whatever works with the particular project.

  30. Ann says:

    Add embroidery just adds that special touch.

  31. Jeny says:

    Adding machine embroidery is one way to make it unique and personal. Kids are excited by the most simple embroidery of their names on a towel, shirt, etc.

  32. Susan Brooks says:

    I always alter the pattern to make it fit. I use antique buttons on most of my clothes. Old buttons make a project unique.

  33. Danielle says:

    I like to modify the pattern a bit, add appliques, pair fabrics that you typically wouldn’t see together.. I like to find vintage buttons and use them…

  34. Heidi says:

    Choosing unique fabrics, adding decorative stitching, embellishing with unique threads or findings makes the project more interesting.

  35. Maria Kievit says:

    I usually measure people, and make it fit them. Often there are added alterations done, which aren’t on the pattern. Add a pocket here or there, take a couple seams in, make a dart, etc. Different neckline, or combine a couple of patterns ie one for the main body, one for the sleeves, another for the neckline, etc. Usually the result is pleasing to the eyes, the customer, and myself.

  36. LisaAnn says:

    I always tweak my pattern/projects right off the bat then add some sort of embellishment. Right now my favorite are ruffles, hand embroidery and beads :)