Thursday, January 14, 2010

Transformed Treasures

The Salvation Army is sponsoring their 3rd Annual Transformed Treasures Auction Luncheon May 1, 2010 at the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel.  More than 100 one-of-a-kind treasures will be auctioned to the highest bidder.  Here's how it works...

Everyday items are 'purchased' from donated goods found at local Salvation Army Thrift Stores with $50. worth of Salvation Army vouchers given to each participant.  Through the time and talents of local artists/designers these ordinary objects will be transformed into one-of-a-kind auction pieces.

Benefits abound locally from this endeavor.  The Salvation Army says it best in these words --
"Much like the items (the artists) will transform into something special, thousands of lives are transformed in Alaska through the ministry of The Salvation Army each year.  Through its many programs, children and teens find safe haven from abuse and neglect.  Homeless families find shelter and support to get back on their feet.  Men and women battling addictions find renewed hope and frail seniors are reminded that someone cares for them  More than merely offering handouts, The Salvation Army assists individuals and families to look beyond their immediate needs to find long-term solutions, and thus, contribute to a stronger, healthier community."

So now that you have the background info on this project, here is my first contribution and as time permits after my vacation in March, I will hopefully add another item or two.  The following photos show the 15 dress ties and 4 cotton place mats I obtained from The Salvation Army thrift store. I used all but 4 of the ties for this project. The fabric pinned to the right of the ties was something I considered using but didn't.
Here is the anatomy of a tie.  Most of the ties I chose were 100% silk.  The inner stabilizer adds body to the tie but is not needed and would add unnecessary bulk so I removed them.
Fusible fleece is adhered to the place mat (nonadhesive side face down) with quilt basting spray, smoothing by hand.  With a rotary ruler, cutter and mat trim the fleece even with the mat edges.
The iron is set for natural silk setting and low steam.  Nicely pressed ties lay flat while sewing.  Each mat will be unique yet maintain the look as a set if a section of each tie is used on each mat.  This also applies to the embroidery threads and stitches in the final stages of production.  It's easiest to use one tie at a time on each mat before progressing to the next.  Black bobbin fill, which is a fine lingerie thread, was used as both the bobbin and upper sewing thread. A sharp Microtex needle size 80/12 and Walking Foot (ie. Even Feed Foot) makes sewing on this slippery fabric a breeze.
The first tie is sewn close to the edge all the way around but subsequent ties are laid face down on top of previously sewn ties, lined up along one edge, then sewed with at least a 1/4" seam allowance.  Flip the tie upright, smooth flat and stitch close to the edge as previously done, repeating this process with each tie until all the mats are covered.
The fun really increases when using those fancy embroidery stitches on your sewing machine.  I prefer Sulky Rayon embroidery thread or anything comparable that has a nice sheen and flexibility and  compliments the silk ties.  Regular thread is too dull and stiff for this project.  Colors should coordinate, brighten or accent the fabrics.  I discovered the best embroidery stitches were thicker looking ones with a stronger contrast against the ties.  See a close up view by clicking on the photo of the finished mats.

Once all the embroidery stitching is completed, spray the backside of the mat with quilt basting spray.   Lay the nonadhesive side of fleece face down, smooth with hands and trim the edges as before.  PLEASE NOTE! although this photo shows my blue silk backing fabric to be face down against the ties, PLEASE DISREGARD THAT STEP as I had to revamp my original plan to sew the fabric backing like a pillow case and turn it inside out so I wouldn't have to bind the edges.  The mats are too thick.  Center your backing material face up on the fusible side of the fleece and carefully iron it to adhere sufficiently without scorching.  No need to pin.
Sew a 1/4" seam allowance with 4 - 5 stitches per inch around the perimeter of each mat.  Trim the backing fabric even with the edges of the mat.  I applied my binding by machine to the top, pinned to the back and hand stitched with the bobbin fill thread.  The binding makes these mats appear as  individual quilts and can be hung as such, or used as table accents if someone isn't inclined to gamble with food stains at the dinner table. 
With just enough blue silk yardage in my fabric stash to back the mats, it provides an interesting yet  colorful alternative to the more sedate ties and blends well with the silky fabrics. If no one bids on these at the auction I will because I sort of got attached to them.  : )


  1. Good fill someone in on and this mail helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you on your information.

  2. wow, you're very creative, I love this idea. I just heard about this project and I'm excited. I think I'll give it a try, just for fun. Thanks for sharing your cool ideas.

  3. Thank you Monster Mary for your enthusiastic response! I'm blessed knowing others are enjoying my blog posts and inspired to try new ideas for themselves. Have fun.