sorry, not a sewing post

These photos are here so they can be shared with a sewing buddy who has jewelry-designing chops. They are beads that have been sitting around a long time and may finally be turned into something.

lapis kind of cube-like beads – two 16 inch strings



and a single 16 inch string of graduated garnet beads. The paper background has a quarter inch grid, for scale.


One sewing related note – I did purchase some of the Kaufman Essex cotton/linen blend today and it is destined to become a pair of loose and cool summer pants. Seems like the perfect weight for such a project.


blog giveaway

A little while ago I had a blogging milestone. I can’t remember now if it was a blogiversary or if I had reached a nice round number of followers, and I am too lazy to look it up. Whichever it was, it is time to show some appreciation to my readers. Keeping a blog is much more fun when you know that you have a larger audience than just yourself! Thank you so much to everyone who reads and especially those who comment.

Up for giveaway is a piece of 100% rayon. It has a black background with beige figures. The pattern reminds me of stylized rosebuds, but it’s abstract enough that you can probably call it waves, tribal tattoos, sand dunes, or anything you would like it to be. It is 45″ wide and two inches short of 2 1/2 yards. It has been pre-washed once.

Creases are from being folded in the stash, not a fabric flaw. They will press out.
Creases are from being folded in the stash, not a fabric flaw. They will press out.

The fabric came from Nancy’s Notions, and I think I bought it because it was a Batik Butik product. I was blinded by the brand name, because these are really not my colors. Maybe they are yours?

close up of the design
close up of the design

If you would like to have this fabric, please leave a comment on this post. I will pay postage within the continental US. If you are outside that area, we can work a deal to split the freight 50/50. Along with this deal goes a promise that next time I do a giveaway, it will be something I can ship free to anyone.

Winner will be drawn on November 1 – that’s about a week and a half off from today.

Again, thanks to every one of you for reading!


Happy blogiversary, Jilly Be!

There’s a blogiversary being celebrated over at JillyBeJoyful!

My heart is warmed and I am honored that Jilly included one of my little old products in her anniversary giveaway. The giveaway has already been won, but if you appreciate Jilly’s beatific presence in the sewing-blogosphere as I do, please click over and wish her well.

I actually have some new ideas percolating to be added to my store inventory soon, and will post them here when they’re ready.

Meanwhile, if you’d like a sewing journal like the one below, you can pick one up at my Cafe Press shop, Mooney Designs.

Jilly’s giveaway. Look, ma, that’s my notebook!

mooney designs

This is a commercial post, so feel free to skip it!

Holidays are coming up, and there might be some Secret Santas out there looking for some unique sewing-related gifties.

Here are pix of some of the items I have available in my Cafe Press Store, mooney designs. I’ve also added a link to the store on my sidebar. If you go to the shop, just scroll down beyond the wiener dog stuff….unless you’re also interested in the long hounds. One day I’ll get the dogs on their own page where they can stop shedding hair over all the sewing stuff. 🙂

These designs are original to me and reflect my slightly skewed sense of humor. Maybe they reflect yours, too!

Know anyone struggling with pants fitting? (Also available as a keychain)

How about a mousepad for your favorite online friend?

Perhaps someone needs a sewing journal?

grim ripper journal

If you’d like one of the designs on a different  product than what I have available (like on a t-shirt, for instance), just let me know and I’ll make it happen for you.

If you click through, thanks for looking! I don’t promote heavily here on the blog and don’t intend to change that, I promise. So far it’s only been once a year. New designs will be added from time to time as they occur to me. Thanks for your patience…next post will be about sewing shirts, or SWAP, or something like that!


Merry Christmas!

My best wishes to you, whether you keep Christmas or not.

This is a little nativity scene which I designed and made way back when I was young and ambitious. The idea was that I would add a new figure or animal every year. As you can see, I didn’t get very far, but it’s the sort of thing I can always pick up and start again as long as DMC keeps making embroidery floss.

I used the byzantine mosaics in Ravenna as my inspiration because the tiny needlepoint stitches reminded me of the stones of mosaics. The figures were roughly sketched out on a fine canvas and worked with the floss. I just picked out different stitches to use as I went along. The canvas was stitched onto felt stuffed felt forms that have heavy cardboard in the base so they can stand up. If I was starting this now, I’d just cut out some thin board and mount them flat. If St. Joseph ever gets to where he can’t stand on his own, I’ll fix them all up that way.

In keeping with the byzantine style, I used some conventions from early Christian icongraphy: the baby’s one hand is raised in blessing, and the other holds a fish, just in case you don’t realize who he is. He is also differentiated from the other holy figures by his nimbus.

I should really finish this out some day – the style was absolutely made for depicting resplendent figures like the wise men.

meeting Tom Tierney

Look what I found today! Paper doll books featuring the work of designers you know!

Even better, I got to meet Tom Tierney, the man who created them. This happened by chance at the Texas Country Reporter festival in Waxahatchie.

Mr. Tierney has illustrated hundreds of paper doll books for Dover Publications. They range through all kinds of historical costumes, to a series on our First Ladies, to these that focus on designers and decades of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since he has done so many of these, he has had a lot of lattitude in picking new subject matter. One book he showed me had a famous voodoo queen as the subject. It must have been fun researching that one!

I asked him what he was working on now, and he said that his latest book was on stewardesses. This one has kind of a storyline, because the costumes represent clothes the gals bought during layovers in exotic lands.

These books are lots of fun, but there is actual research involved and some nice notes included. For instance…

In the 50’s books, there are notes on the foundation garments worn with the outfits.

Here’s a page showing clothes for these two models…

There are lots of details – The fabric that the originals were made in, notes on any extra padding and accessories, historical significance, etc. In the YSL book, the two dolls were based on his favorite models, and there is also a doll of Yves himself.

I had a great time chatting with Tom, and told him I would tell you all about it.  You can find him and his gazillions of books at his website. And check it out – he was nice enough to personalize all my books for me!

No, I will not be cutting them up.

why so silent?

This isn’t my dog….but it could be. And this is why there isn’t much going on at Unzipped. One of my dogs has had spinal surgery in the past, and is having another incident that will take a month or so to get over. I’m very hopeful – a bit over a week ago he couldn’t stand up. But now he can walk without falling down.

Now that he thinks he’s better, the trick will be to keep him confined for another three weeks. He does not understand the necessity of this at all, and wants to resume all his yippee skippy dog activities. But as a good dog mama, I have to keep him as still as possible.

Progress with the beaded silk shell has been slow because of the dog situation. I am in the process of basting the beaded chiffon to the silk underlining. I’m also crushing all the beads in the seam allowances and darts. Two muslins were made, so once the prep is done, the actual sewing should go quickly. Per Ann R’s suggestion on Stitcher’s Guild, I’ll finish my seam allowances with hand overcasting. Actually, the more handwork the better at this point, since handwork allows me to sit on the couch with my doggie.  Couch sitting = happy dog.

I wanted to have this top ready to go to symphony hall on the 21st, but don’t think I’ll make that. It should be done in time for cocktails in Austin for the PatternReview 10th anniversary celebration, though! 4-ply silk one-seam pants have been made as the companion item. They just need to be hemmed – oh, goody, more hand sewing with my pup!

The other thing I have accomplished while comforting my poor pooch is the fusible underlining for JAM #11. I HATE FUSING. hate, hate, hate. Absolutely my least favorite part of the sewing process. Anyway, it is done. The fabric is a patterned silk noil from Elliot Berman, and the pattern is the Ottobre jacket from a couple of posts back. No pics to share right now…sorry.

I hope you are enjoying a glorious fall! My favorite season. May your cutting be quick and your stitches be straight.