Where to go from here

Hello and welcome.

Consewvation was the beginning of my fall into blogging. As it is, it is where the branding started and I’m not clever enough to figure out how to fix it. Things evolved and now all of my content is spread among three other locations since I have three main interests — gardening, sewing and writing.

Gardening can be found at First Do No Harm Front Yard Farming: https://firstdonoharmfrontyardfarmacy.com/

Sewing is now at the SpoolTeacher site: https://spoolteacher.com/

Writing is now a stand-alone site — Ms.Jackie of all Trades/Writing Spool, so that the dialog can be more than just about gardening or sewing — short stories, ranting, and odd other things: https://msjackieofalltrades.wordpress.com/

Thank you for your visit and I hope to see you those other places as well.

Be happy. Choose love.


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Can anyone guess what these are?Image

What started as a sheet and a dust ruffle, became an apron. But these are not the apron.

The commissioner of the apron left the fabric behind the gate at Ms. SpoolTeacher’s house and called to leave a message that she had done so.

When Ms. SpoolTeacher asked the commissioner of the apron how she imagined it, the commissioner said, “I’ll leave that to you.”

Lions and tigers and bears, OH MY!

At some point the commissioner of the apron had lead Ms. ST to believe that she didn’t like ruffles. But after Ms. ST mocked up a version of the apron the commissioner had shone her a picture of and Ms. ST had made a flounce instead of a ruffle at the bottom (since flounce was in the picture), but had had a hard time making said flounce because she had no pattern and had had to try to invent a flounce and proceeded to use a lampshade to make a circle that she thought might be enough of a curve to make the flounce flounce once it was stitched in a straight line…

(does anyone know how to convert a straight line measurement into a diameter???)…

the commissioner said, “I don’t mind if it is a ruffle.”

“Phew!”, said Ms. ST.

And she thought to herself, “That flounce was a lot of trouble and didn’t turn out like I wanted it too, a ruffle…now that is an exact science that I already know.”


Flouncie flounce flounce

The commissioner liked everything else about the mocked up apron. She, who isn’t gingerbready at all like Ms. ST is, said, also..”You can even put on rick rack if you want, I don’t mind.”


So, Ms. SpoolTeacher set about designing, in her head, just how she might use the sheet and dust ruffle to fashion the commissioned apron.

Measure twice, cut once.

She cut the main part out of the turquoise sheet as she imagined that the pattern on the dust ruffle would be better used as trimmings, gingerbread, you know.

She got so busy spooling and thought oftener than you might think, “I really should stop and take pictures so I can show the process…sew, sew, sew, measure, measure, measure, cut, cut, cut! No pictures of the process…


She used her ruffler foot to make the dust ruffle ruffle and then stitched it in place on the bottom. (she doesn’t know why she hasn’t used that fuffler foot all these years and only discovered it because she had to make a mile of ruffles for another lady’s dust ruffle)

She added the waistband and then she trimmed the sides with bias tape to finish the raw edges and add a little more ginger



Because she had used most of the dust ruffle to make the ruffle on the bottom, the waistband and the ties,


and because the big pocket on the bottom was bigger than the piece of the part of the dust ruffle that was left, she had to devise a way to make it cool and splice some things together..



The top pocket fit just fine without splicing or dicing..

The “D” rings were added to make the strap adjustable (or to drop it off to nurse since the commissioner is preggers at the moment but will have a little boy in due time)…

So that’s the story, from front…


to back…


..except to answer the question that we started with…


There was just enough of the dust ruffle ruffle to cut into three equal pieces for the three little girls that the commissioner has already to make them each a…


Wait, are you ready? Do you know?


A Barbie dress!



Don’t tell anyone. It’s a secret for the three little girls for Christmas who have dubbed Ms. SpoolTeacher as “Doc Mcstuffins” for performing spool-surgery on a couple of pet stuffed critters.


So there ya go.

Keep it a secret now.

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Ring Around The Collar


Wiki: “In clothing, a collar is the part of a shirt, dress, coat or blouse that fastens around or frames the neck. Among clothing construction professionals, a collar is differentiated from other necklines such as revers and lapels, by being made from a separate piece of fabric, rather than a folded or cut part of the same piece of fabric used for the main body of the garment.

A collar may also be a separate or detachable accessory worn around the neck.

A ruff served as changeable pieces of cloth that could themselves be laundered separately while keeping the wearer’s doublet from becoming soiled at the neckline.”

If you want to get complicated about what a “collar” is, go here: “Another advantage is that the cost of setting up a collar is (usually) free or nearly free.“…

This is why Ms. SpoolTeacher sews. She believes in Radical Simplicity, in doing what you love, in not worrying about being a bazillionaire. She wants to do what she “loves, the money will follow“… (hopefully, please hopefully, at least enough to support a roof over her head and her electricity to sew, though, she will consider a treadle sewing machine. if it comes to forfeiting electricity!).

singer treadle sewing machine

So one day lately, when the world felt like it was crashing in and symptoms of depression were creeping in, she went straight to “Scrap Central” and pondered what to use to create this “collar” idea that had long been spooling around in her minds eye.

Boo! inspired


The rich black velvet was cut out of a drawstring “sleeve” that had previously been used to carefully transport beautiful drapery rod sampling.

No Scraps Left Un-Spooled

The orange sheer fabric was yardage Ms. SpoolTeacher has been imagining in numerous projects. Among them, her long held hope of eventually making “The Party Dress“. A friend of hers gave her the book and she has been drooling ever since. Not just the beautiful dress, but the idea that this woman made a life for herself doing what she loves. Fabulous, fabulous…Someday…

Click the dress pic to see the book on Amazon.

Mary Adams "The Party Dress Book"

There was enough of the beautiful orange stuff to take a piece from it for this project.

Three times fullness

gather in fullness

ruffle stitched onto black velvet collar band

the purple was cut from a Evan Picone blouse handed down

Hand-me-down purple Evan Picone blouse disassembled

The sleeves will eventually be “Just Sleeve It To Me’d”

ring around the collar

both sides now

the hem of a striped polyester satin skirt

big or small?

big rick-rack

pin and stitch

"Both Sides Now" (listen to Joni Mitchell below)


zig-zag some more

After two rows of zig-zag stitching to secure the ruffle and diminish it’s thickness, the edge will be trimmed.

Textile Art

From that to this

Boo! inspired

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What Used To Be’s

what's that you say?

The flocked demim skirt was very cute. It was very simple, a nice tubular style with no waist band other than a simple bound edge. Center zipper in the back with a little slit at the hem. It was a short skirt.

It just looked like so much nice fabric that could be put to a more interesting use than a skirt. Especially since it didn’t fit.

Ms. SpoolTeacher had found it at a second hand clothing outlet and scarfed it up for her Lollipops & Polka Dots Variety Store.No one bought it before it just begged for deconstrucSewn…

Once apart, the nice big back section was just enough for a…(what else) pillow! And that beautiful Damask sample swatch made a masculine blue/orange combo. Maybe she could hold herself back from “girling” it up too much.


The Burgundy velvet ribbon seemed to look like a nice compliment.

InSewVating again

Once again, (this is a bad habit she’s gotten into), she got this far without thinking about what you might want to see…she should have shown you the skirt before. Darned her. All those scraps to the left are from other deconstrucSewn items. Shirts pieced out for “Just Sleeve it to Me” “Haute Handbags”, and shirt pillows…All the nice french seams are just so sturdy and needn’t be thrown out. She thought about a mop..then thought better…

But first to embellish the applied Damask inset, raw edges need to be treated…

measure and "hold your mouth the right way"

Measure it, pin it and then “hold your mouth the right way” while pressure foot tries to defy you..

Small length stitches very close to the edge

now the outer aw edges of the inset must be treated somehow, nicely

That looks nice, now to treat the inset Damask raw edges to something nice…

Improvised corners, for an undisclosed "oopsie, whoopsie".

Okay, that’s pretty good so far…

clip, clip, clip....clip, clip, clip

Let’s work on the fringe for awhile…

"How now brown cow?"

Okay, that’s kinda cool…

There's just something irrestible about Damasks

She divided up the colors into four batches so each side of the square would have a varied assortment similar to each other, then randomly, intuitively applied them as she went along, placing them under the pressure foot as she went along…

No Scrap Left UnSpooled, the gimp trim is a bit too much though...we'll show some restraint..

Looks kind of western, leather tooled? Now what for the back..?

Inside back

No, not that. That’s the inside back.

That will be a cool zip on the back for a detail

There we go. How about that dot pattern fabric and a cool diagonal zipper…stay tuned for part two…

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Scrappy Designer Pillow, Part 2

In the view of the good morning light

So this is where we left off.

Now for the results…

Ms. SpoolTeacher has to study each phase and think, and think of what she wants to do next. Since she had used the pale blue? moire as an inset, she thought it would be a beautiful backing as well. So, what; boxed edge, knife edge, boxed with welts, knife with welt????

What kind of closure, zipper, flap, buttons, grommets with some inventive lock? She’ll figure it out as she goes, but so far, knife edge with welt…

Spooling a Welt

This bias cut fabric was in her resources pile, labeled “good for welts”. Basically, you cut the fabric on the bias as wide as it needs to be to cover the welt and leave a lip for attaching to your article, and then use a zipper foot so you can tighten the fabric close to the cord as you go. Welt can be made from non-bias cuts too, but it tends to “dimple” and is no where near as easy to manipulate as bias-cut.

evening things out

The fabric is very stretchy cut on the bias so there is some skill involved in cutting it straight. Ms. SpoolTeacher uses a straight edge and goes as far as to measure and mark, just to avoid some of the after the fact, cut to fit shenanigans she had to go through when making the Red Gingham Dress…

Spooling the welt to the edge of pillow frontright up next

Pin the welt to the edge, having lip and pillow edges even and use a zipper foot to go along the seam of the welt, as tight as you can.

It helps to clip the welt when you are rounding a corner. Wait til you get to the corner, it is hard to gauge exactly where they will meet up.

When you get to the ends of the welts, you need to trail them off the edge of the seam and cross them over each other and stitch in place.

clip the welt at the corner to make it easier to attach

nice clean corner

Welt attached to front panel

lapping the welt on the bottom edge

Now on to the back portions.

Again, Ms. SpoolTeacher got so engrossed in what she was doing, she forgot to take pictures in progress. Basically, she took the whole “scrap” of blue backing and ironed it first and then cut it into two equal pieces. She didn’t get into calculating a fit, because, well just because. It was already a scrap, and whatever ends were left, would go into the “no scrap left unspooled” pile anyway. So she just started at the center and cut to fit once she got the closure detailed.

Again, she didn’t take a lot of progress pics, but basically, she started with a purple zipper (because it was nice and long and it was purple, there should always be something purple on everything).

She was going to leave it at that but; as usuSpool, got carried away embellishing….

… She added this and that and then that too and that and then decided since she had tucked the rick-rack into the lip and secured it with a pale pink thread, it might be nice to anchor all the other embellishments with the pale pink thread as well….continuity…a good character in good design…

rick rack under the lip, oh yeah! a good little bit of gingerbread.

More forgotten pictures of “marrying” the front to back…

… make them the same sizes, pin together, right sides facing, use zipper foot, and run the seam up close to the welt again.

front and back ready to marry

Turn them right side out, voila!

unzip and turn right side out

finished front

finished back

the inside as seen through the Zipper

so pretty!

Well, what do you think?

Leave a comment, if you please.

Until next time…

Ms. SpoolTeacher is busy finishing the bias armholes on the Red Gingham Dress…, but she’ll be back!

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Scrappy Designer Pillow

The thing about ConSewVing, is that with all the free resources, it is so hard to find a starting place. Well, Ms. Spool Teacher got bored (was waiting for the InSewVation to kick in for what next to do to the red gingham yoga dress since she had gotten to a stumped place).. So, she started doing some more organizing in her sewing room. She still needs to get her sisters things out from the front rooms (SeestaPoopsie had been there for several months and they had made space for her; but she is now on to bigger and better things, although much of her stuff is still at Ms. SpoolTeacher’s house and she needs the room for her dream of a “Broader Concept Manufacturing Facility”) (Seesta’s have had two packing meets that ended up in popcorn and a movie!) She also has several big boxes of “resources” out in the garage so decided to bring them in and consolidate them into the heaps of things to eventually be used for the ConSewVation of the world. Well, it wasn’t long before a piece of fabric reached her hands that was InSewVating enough to halt her in her tracks, leave all the messes as is and start a whole new mess…

The InSewVation Fabric

As it is with InSewVation, you get a burst and forget to take pics. The orange and rust designer damask center fabric is what got her started. One of her fabric reps had donated a sample book of exclusive damask patterns good for use with drapery, bedding, upholstery. While she had Lollipop & Polka Dots Variety Store, she had had the fabric book out as a feature display; but when anyone learned of the $65 p/yard price, there was a fainting sigh. So, Ms. SpoolTeacher decided she would relegate the book to her resoures pile and attend to it later. After cutting off the label and getting it cut out of the book, she was left with a nice square piece. As it is with all of her InSewVation pieces, she just uses her intuition to grab this and that and compile a composition, improvising the construcSewn as she goes.

The view from the back, not so nice looking

Adding the outer frame

After piecing the “scraps” together, and adding the final “framing” fabric (which will be the outside edges of the front and the back) she then decides to embellish the perimeter with velvet ribbon…she is getting very pleased with the outcome…


She’s so happy, she pins it to hang and stands back to admire…

And then, she takes it back to the work table and starts straightening it out so she can square it off and add a back…and ooooops! a fabric frays…:o( As is often the case, things don’t work out. It was starting to looks very nice, so she wasn’t ready to give up…but, she did pull (nicely seam ripped the threads to free it up) the compromised pieces out to investigate a remedy…

So much for that idea, now what…hmmm!

She stitches some more velvet trim as an inner frame…work with me now…

Starts to think she will apply the InSewVation fabric to another backing that can then be attached here… but then decides better as the $65 p/yd piece now didn’t seem to belong to this calamity…

Paisley center, more to be done, on to InSewVation Fabric..

Bored with this, she moved on to the original InSewVation fabric piece…

A New Beginning, sometimes it works out better

And she thought she had perfectly centered the fabrics, but after fully securing the pieces and piping, they were not! And she was not going to pull it all apart again. As it turned out, it didn’t matter.

Intuition at work

Stage Two

These were all little pieces clipped out of fabric sample books and since they weren’t long enough to use otherwise, she put them on the bias and worked around the glued tops and labeled bottoms and stretched the bias to meet the length she needed. This did leave some anticipation worry as to whether it would not buckle in the finished product..But after cutting the pieces in a stacked fashion (layered; closest to seam clipped close, next one less, and so on…so the layers weren’t thickly laying on top of each other)

Like this, No, try again…

Ms. SpoolTeacher started intuiting the next stage…she liked this, but not enough. Hmmm…

So into it, she forgot to take pictures of the layout

Oops, she got so involved in just doing it, she forgot to take the pictures of it in progress, but now she was happy.

Here we go

The back looks much better than before, techniques progressing

The back is much more ordered and clean than the first attempt. She is self-spooling. (Teachers never stop learning, they just try to get a little ahead of their students so they can be of help)

Now what

She decides it doesn’t need any velvet embellishment, it stands on it’s own just the way it is.

Final Frame in Place

As she was going along adding the final frame, she realized she had clipped the first strip before she realized she would need that corner to lap the forth piece over…she would worry about that when she got there…(so much for “measure twice, cut once”! This tends to be a signature of hers, to leave some kind of hint of imperfection, It’s probably subliminal…don’t ya s’pose? Notice the corner piece spliced in, (she could have just left it the pink moire but then the lap overs would have been wrong, she liked this wrong better anyway).

A view in the good morning light

a view from above

detail of the spliced piece

All the zig-zags were so the fabrics under wouldn’t fray…(you know that problem from the beginning….)

The whole back

inside outside

And that is it so far. Ms. SpoolTeacher has to do some sewing for a client today and is busy getting ready for the big job hunt tomorrow, so she will come back to post the final phase of the Scrappy Designer Pillow. It is part of the big job hunt, so she will be working on it and taking pictures today. She’s trying to make a job for herself…cross your fingers. CrissCross

Screen-capture of main actors in: Criss Cross (film) — 1949. Actors: Burt Lancaster as Steve Thompson and Yvonne De Carlo as Anna Dundee Source: http://www.thenoiseboard.com/index.php?showtopic=153349

(to read part 2 of Scrappy Designer Pillow, click this link)…

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Pre-Spool Shoes

Red and White Gingham Camoflauged

gray Camo

Gender Neutral?

Pink and Greenies

Twiggy's baby shoes

Mellow Yellow

Houndstooth Preppie

Flower Power

Spidy Tops

Spidy Bottoms

Bandana Dots

Checked Out



Girlzie Bottoms


Anything custom you can imagine…

Comments welcome.

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The Spooling of Two Hearts

BFF’s hanging out at Lollipops & Polka Dots Variety Store

When Purple-haired Annie realized that Machita Ann was coming alive, she was so anticipatory. Every day at Lollipops & Polka Dots, she would jump up on the table and ask Ms. SpoolTeacher, “When will she be able to talk?”

Ms. SpoolTeacher would say, “Purple-haired Annie, as soon as I can get her little lips embroidered on, you can ask her your questions and tell her what’s on your heart.”

“Oh, so good. Will it be soon?”

Ms. SpoolTeacher would say, “Soon, little lady, soon. I have to wait on that customer first, but I will get her real as quick as I can.”

“Okay, I’ll wait. I’m so full of joy, I can hardly stand to be so happy.”

“What will you ask her, Purple, what is so exciting that you can hardly stand the wait?”

“I so hope she will want to be my best friend”, Little Purple-haired Annie said, “And I want to hold her hand and spool around. I think it will be so nice to have a friend.”

“Oh, I’m sure she will be delighted. I can almost hear her say, ‘Yes, Missy Purple, I would love to be your new best friend’.”

The anticipation grew.

Purple-haired Annie sat down next to Machita Ann and held her hand, “It won’t be long Machita until you and I can be best friends. I hope you will, I hope you will.”

Waiting, Waiting

Machita Ann’s Ensemble

Wicked Witch of the West?

Spooling Around the Store

My New Outfit

Getting Dressed

Panties on

Dress on

Apron on

Bow Tied

All Dressed up

I like your buttons, Machita Ann

Hangin’ out, talking Spool

BFF”s at last!

Even though Ms.Purple knew Machita Ann would be adopted, she was filled with Glee. Just the thought of a friend for life, no matter where they lived.

Catching a Spoolbus to new Mom’s house

Crunch Time

Spoolcase packed and ready to go.

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