THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

November 9, 2007

What to do with the scraps?

In a recent raid on Barnes and Noble I found a new publication called “Sew Somerset” – found in with the sewing, quilting, and craft magazines. It was like a window on a whole new world…The cover tag line says ‘the art of creative sewing with mixed-media’. There is a whole slew of ways of mixing paper and fabric and bits of stuff into art, which I have really never explored. It definitely got me thinking, as you can probably guess I do have lots of bits and pieces of cloth, buttons, lace, and trinkets. It closely resembles collage, but goes beyond that into book making, Artist Trading Cards, etc…

I have done a bit of patchwork and appliqué over the years, like this top with the front pieced together with stretch velvet swatches…

Or this patchworked cardigan made from printed stretch velvet swatches…

I have even embellished cardigans with bits of lace and ribbon like this piece.

But nothing like the sewn bits of memory and fancy I found in this magazine. There is a Somerset Studio website, mainly geared towards selling their main product: rubber stamps (there’s a reason the parent company is called Stampington) They produce the magazine Belle Armoire and have a new publication called Altered Couture coming out this month, with lots of tips and tricks for re-fashioning already made garments. Their web page with rules for art submission gives the background on all of their publications for those interested. I am looking forward to seeing what Altered Couture looks like.

I particularly loved the “Sewing Book” on pg 30 of the Sew Somerset magazine: an altered book by Caterina Giglio. She started with an Eddie Bauer catalog and glued and gessoed the pages to make a book. She then proceeded to sew and glue images, buttons, lace, fabric scraps, pattern pieces to make a highly evocative and personal piece of art to express her relationship to sewing and to honor her grandmothers who taught her so much. She is part of a group called Creative Underground in Ft. Collins CO. I found their website and see they have many books and useful products for sale. Well worth a visit!


I made a covered folder a few years ago that reminds me of this kind of sewn mixed media. Covered in stretch lace and embellished with ribbons and scraps of stretch velvet, I felt like I should transfer the technique to a jacket or some other garment. This sewn mixed media magazine got me to thinking that maybe I could play with the scraps and bits for its own sake, and it never need be applied to a garment at all. Hmmm


  1. All your items are beautiful – my favorite is the velvet top. The Somerset publications are interesting and even if the art presented isn’t “you”, there is plenty there for inpsiration. I’ve been reading Belle Armoire for several years now and have had items published in it, 2 issues of Altered Couture and in Haute Handbags II.

    Comment by Summerset — November 9, 2007 @ 5:01 am

  2. Love that first one.

    Comment by WendyB — November 9, 2007 @ 5:58 pm

  3. A few years ago there was a textiles show at the Fuller Art Musem where an artist kniited a dress out of discarded cassette size auido tape. Vistors could run a tape head over the knitted “fabric” and a listen to the mysterious sounds that emerged from audio encoded on the tape.

    Comment by phyllisc — November 9, 2007 @ 11:01 pm

  4. Very inspiring article! Your work on the folder cover is breathtaking!

    Comment by Tany — November 11, 2007 @ 8:27 pm

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