Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Zipper repairs -- a tutorial

I recently repaired this black leather coat that for our priest. Apparently while trying to unzip the inner lining, he caught the zipper head in the fabric and managed to pull apart the zipper tape and open the zipper head. 

In the end all I was able to do was to move the zipper head back to the beginning of the zipper then tighten it with a pair of pliers. The tape can't be repaired without interfering with the workings of the zipper. Luckily the area is about three inches from the closing end of the zipper, so he can still use the coat with the lining. 

 Repairing a zipper with pliers is easier than replacing one but it takes a gentle touch while squeezing the pliers in the right place. Tighten too much and the zipper teeth can't run through. Not enough and the zipper teeth won't close. And the zipper parts are small so they break very easily.

I tighten the zipper head in two places. In this case I tightened the slider window (see upper view). First I press the top board and bottom board together very lightly. (see the bottom view)

Then I squeeze the two sides of the slider toward the center. By tightening the zipper head this way there is less chance of  breaking one of the parts. 

Zippers are tough but they take a real beating, especially as they get older. 

One way to help metal zippers slide smoothly and prevent them from getting sticky or rough, is to drip a little melted candle wax into the slider from the front, or throat. Be careful to avoid getting hot wax on the fabric. The wax coats the zipper teeth as it moves up and down. Add wax as needed to completely coat the teeth. Thick bees wax works best but I've used plain candle wax on my jeans zipper. 

Both zippers on the
jacket, notice how much
larger the outside zipper is.
Nylon zippers don't rust or get sticky, but they do like to get caught in fabric or loose thread. When this happens be extra careful not to jerk the slider. Instead try sliding it backward so that it moves along the same route of the fabric that is caught in it. 

If necessary, cut the fabric away and slowly pull it out a thread or two at a time. Yes, you have to weigh which is going to cost less in repairs, usually zippers are more difficult and time consuming. 

I cut loose threads as closely to the back of the slider as possible and then pull it out from the front of the zipper head. Yes, one thread at a time.

Probably the best thing to do to save yourself from having to replace zippers, is to teach your children how to use them. Zippers need a straight, clear path. (I used a train metaphor with my boys.) Every curve and obstacle can derail the slider. And it can jump off the track more easily than children realize. It's possible to open the zipper head and feed the teeth back in then close it up again. However, that is a very delicate job so, if you find yourself having to do it, take your time, work carefully, and open or close the zipper head in minute amounts.

All opinions and instructions are mine. For more information on zippers, garments and other textiles, visit Textile School
(Warning: You may not be able to walk away.)

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Sunday Quilt Inspiration: art quilts

I'm doing something a little differently today. Instead of finding inanimate objects or colors or whatever, I've pulled some of my favorite art quilts and am pairing them with everyday quilts--those not made to be viewed as art. Everyday quilts here means the maker was making them to be used in whatever capacity on a daily basis. 

Here are many of my modern / abstract quilts.  The most recent are at the top.
Beginning with this beautiful little aqua art quilt, 

one might be inspired 
by the color, 
A vintage Philco television, with its side-mounted speaker and signature screen shape, inspired this Mod TV quilt from Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen. The Weighted Log Cabin block variation has a shape similar to the Philco and a midcentury modern feel.
or by the color and block.

Mixed media wall hangings by textile artist Sharon McCartney (these images no longer on her website)
These smart neutral
quilts might inspire 

this winter landscape
I just can't seem to get enough of these birch tree quilts! I have had a few people ask me to write a pattern and give a class for my birch tree quilts,
or this birch tree quilt
with a lovely blue sky.
Wonderful Mini Swap                                                                                                                                                                                 More
A quilt depicting one person
walking in the rain
jump roping in the summer!!! Phyllis Stephens is an award-winning fifth generation quilt maker, considered by critics to be a Master of African-American Story Quilts.  Simply stated her quilts are inspirational.  She has quilted professionally for more than thirty years.
could easily inspire
a quilt telling this story
Marilyn Belford quilt_ Randy
or a handsome blue-eyed stranger.

Sunrise, Sunset, 47 x 35", by Melody Randol - Quilt Artist
A sunset might inspire
a number of sunsets.

On line workshop for making landscape quilts. www.kathymcneilquilts.com copyright. Link to workshop iquilt.com/mcneil002 pattern available
Susan Lax Saguaro-Sunset LG

Lenore's Art World-yes, this is a fabric art quilt!
And finally, an architectural
quilt like this one
might inspire another art quilt!
But then any quilt, art or otherwise, might inspire an art quilt, just as any quilt might inspire an everyday, utilitarian quilt. Who knew?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Pin It Weekly #251

Summer 2018 color combos...because look how pretty! (Just ignore the weirdness of some of the pictures.)

You Can Know Raise Your Lightsabers and Contemplate The Rise Of The New Pantone Color Of The Year 2018, The Cosmic Ultra Violet!


FV contributor, Pattern Curator curates an insightful forecast of mood boards & color stories and we are thrilled to have them on board as our newest FV contributor. They are collectors of images and

FV contributor, Pattern Curator curates an insightful forecast of mood boards & color stories and we are thrilled to have them on board as our newest FV contributor. They are collectors of images and


sources: fashionisingpictures.net, nicoonmars.tumblr.com, jcrew.com, juliak.metromode.se, therussianabroad.com, anabundanceof.blogspot.com, peachy-blisss.tumblr.com, stillinspiration.elledecoration.

FV contributor, Pattern Curator curates an insightful forecast of mood boards & color stories and we are thrilled to have them on board as our newest FV contributor. They are collectors of images and


Credit: Fashion Vignette, which has a blog here and Pinterest here and probably every other social media, is a design studio in Dallas, TX. The best I can figure is that there is a company of people behind these "Pattern Curator" color cards. I do not have a board because, well, they do a fabulous job without me. If you love color, go visit any one of their social media sites. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Cotton Robin Big Reveal 2018

You can see all of the finished quilt on the Cotton Robin blog. 
That means I can now show you my quilt and the ones I worked on. I am still surprised at the changes to my starter block. It's always so much fun to play!

my original block

my completed quilt
I love my quilt. This is my second one from the Cotton Robin. Playing is just unbelievably fun. 
  1. Something you begin and send off, comes back to you complete and interestingly different. 
  2. You have no idea who will work on the quilt, their style or ideas.
  3. Who knows where your quilts will go or where the blocks will come from? Last year my quilt went to Australia!
  4. You get to "meet" others through their posts on the blog and their work on the quilts.
  5. You get inspiration from the blocks and resulting quilts. What inspiration!
  6. You stretch your quilting skills and work on quilt styles that you might never consider.
  7.  A host of other benefits!  
 Tish's Old Man Winter block 
was finished by Mary, Terry and Liz

Traceyanne's block became this quilt 
by Andrea, Mary and Kate

 Susie's Christmas truck block is now a quilt 
by Rachel, Nan and Mary. I'm was the quilter 
for this one. Man, was I nervous!

Go by and see the other pieces. Julie posts both the block and the finished quilt on the blog reveal. The transformations are pretty awesome!  Cotton Robin.blogspot.com

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sunday Quilt Inspiration: Hummers

I've always been infatuated with little hummingbirds. Once, when I was still very young, I caught one in my hand as it buzzed around my mom's roses. 

HummingbirdNapo Sabrewing (Campylopterus villaviscensio)

It stuck me (as opposed to pecked) me in that soft part of the palm that connects the thumb and forefinger. I think it surprised me much more than hurt. He got away!


Once I got up close and personal with that pretty little fella, I really became curious. No, I didn't try to catch another one. I just look at them as they fly around and at the many pictures available on my "humming, bird" Pinterest board and on the Audubon Society website.


Velvet-purple Coronet Hummingbirds

hummingbirdHummingbird - love the moss on the nest!

Anna’s Hummingbird by juvethski

Some gorgeous quilts with hummers...
I ❤ art quilts . . . Stunning Hummingbird ~120cm x 90cm ~By Danny Amazonas

Love these fuschias!"A Taste of Sunshine" by Deb Crine of Marco Island, FL. Won Best Machine Workmanship.

Hummingbird Quilt Pattern

Hummingbird Quilt by Susan Lane.  Design from Applique Takes Wing by Jane Townswick.  Echo quilted by machine.

COLLAGE CACTUS SAMPLER QUILT PATTERN, from Fiberworks INC, *NEW*Hummingbird - Dotz - Applique Set

Image result for Hummingbird Quilt Patterns Free Printable

Hummingbird quilt by Sally Papin"Three Hummingbirds" completed in 2013. (Trapunto hummingbirds.)

That last one, the white with black frames around the birds, is one I made many years ago because of the fabric, which I really love.