Robbie Fields © 2012
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| Introduction by Carolyn Phillips:
If Robbie Fields’ name seems familiar to you, it might be because of her popular embroidery templates that help you make accurate and uniform decorative stitches for your crazy quilting projects. I first met Robbie several years ago while searching the internet for some simple, basic templates that would save me the frustration of having to use a ruler to make evenly-spaced stitches. When I found Robbie’s website, I was immediately taken with this very bright, feisty octogenarian lady and, of course, with her simple, easy to use templates. I have to shamelessly admit that I am Robbie’s number one booster! (Not long after Robbie finished making the chatelaine in this lesson, I received a small package in the mail, and inside, to my delight, I found the chatelaine and a note from Robbie saying it was made for me.) I hope you’ll take the time to visit Robbie’s website and see if her embroidery “Success Strips” might be helpful for your stitching, too.
Robbie's Chatelaine Tutorial
It was not until I read a CQI Yahoo Group message showing a picture of a chatelaine, and my looking up the word in the dictionary, that I realized that I had a chatelaine that my very special friend, Betty Robinson, had given me, along with her *Paper Mate mechanical pencil, which she always used to transfer pattern markings.
Betty was a professional teacher, accomplished at quilting and all types of needlework. Sadly, Betty became very ill and has since passed away, but not before she made up special packages of all her fabrics, tools and supplies to be given to each of our Scrappy Quilters Guild members.
Using Betty’s chatelaine for inspiration, I have constructed one that includes the basic sewing tools, along with an embroidered sleeve for my Success Strips templates.
This tutorial is a means to create an inexpensive chatelaine of your own, or as a useful gift for a special sewing friend. Betty’s chatelaine is worn around the neck, as you would wear a scarf, and provides a number of useful sewing tools, including a built-in tape measure, folding scissors, a seam ripper, and a small zippered coin purse in which to keep thimbles, packages of needles, and other small sewing necessities.
NOTE: One of the best things about using ribbon for the construction of the chatelaine is that the ribbon edges are already finished for you! The ends of the ribbon strips will still need to be finished with zigzag stitching.
1. Chatelaine Belt: Two 38” strips of 1½” wide decorative grosgrain ribbon. One strip to be used as a backing for the plastic tape measure, the other for the belt lining.
2. One 60” plastic tape measure.
3. Two 3” lengths of bead chain to be placed at the belt’s end corners for easy tool removal. (These are like the chain used to hold keys, or for pulling lights on and off, and can be cut any length needed.)
4. Pincushion and Tool Holder Pocket: Three 9” strips of 1½” wide velvet ribbon, in a contrasting color, to construct a pocket approximately 3¾” wide x 4” long, consisting of a pincushion and two tool pockets.
5. Sleeve for Embroidery Success Strips: Three 6” strips of the same 1½” wide velvet ribbon to construct a sleeve for my embroidery Success Strips templates.
6. My late friend, Betty Robinson, used a *Paper Mate Sharpwriter # 2 USA mechanical pencil to transfer all of her pattern markings. See a photo of the pencil at the end of this lesson.
Making the Chatelaine Belt:
Begin by zigzag stitching across the ends of both grosgrain ribbon strips to prevent raveling. With the right (decorative) side of the grosgrain ribbon facing up, measure and mark a visible seam line 5/8” in from the zigzagged end of the chatelaine belt. Place the tape measure along the length of the strip, with the metal end of the tape measure on the 5/8”, marked line. At the opposite end of the chatelaine band, cut the plastic tape measure off at 36½”. Scotch tape, or paper clips, can be used to hold the tape measure in place, if needed. Zigzag across the end of the tape measure, just below the metal tab, and then continue to zigzag around the perimeter of the tape measure. Please refer to Photo #2, above.
Lay the ribbon strip flat, with the right (measuring tape) side facing down. Next, place the second ribbon strip on top of the first, with the right (decorative) side facing up. Use Scotch tape, or paper clips to keep the ribbon layers together.
Finish the ends of the ribbons by folding the extra ribbon neatly under, so the belt will finish at 36½”. Top-stitch around the perimeter of the ribbon strips just slightly inside the edges. This nicely finishes the chatelaine belt on both sides. Set the belt aside for now. Please refer to Photo #2, above.
Making the Pincushion and Tool Holder Pocket:
With right sides facing up, lay the three 9” strips of 1½” wide velvet ribbon, as shown above in Photo #3. Be sure that the nap on all three strips is going in the same direction. The bottom edge of each strip overlaps the one below it by ¼”, and is top-stitched close to the ribbon’s edge.
Zigzag across the ends of the ribbon strips to prevent raveling. With right sides together, join the zigzagged ends of the strips with a 5/8” seam. Please refer to Photo #4, above.
NOTE: Before the back seam of the pincushion and tool holder pocket is stitched, as shown above in Photo #4, and while the pocket can be laid out flat, you can add embroidery or other embellishments, if desired. Use a white chalk pencil to mark patterns on dark fabrics. After the embellishing is finished, join the zigzagged ends of the strips with a 5/8” seam.
Turn the pocket right side out, with the seam centered at the back. Top-stitch, by machine, or hand stitch, the bottom edge of the pocket closed with matching thread. The pocket should measure approximately 3¾” wide, by 4” high. Measure and mark 1” in from each side of the pocket, and stitch along these lines from top to bottom. This allows space for a seam ripper, a disappearing ink transfer marking pen, or pencil, etc., and leaves a 1¾” x 4” opening in the middle for a pincushion. Please refer to Photo #5, above.
Make the pillow slightly smaller than the pincushion opening, using two or three layers of fleece or quilt batting. Zigzag around the perimeter of the pillow, and slide it into place. Do not sew the pincushion closed at this time. Please refer to Photo #6, above.
Insert the zigzagged end of the chatelaine belt into the open pocket of the pincushion. Place the metal end of the tape measure on the previously-marked 5/8” seam line. Fold the metal tip back out of the way, and check to be sure that the little pincushion pillow is pushed down into place. Align the previously- marked 5/8” seam line on the chatelaine band with the top edges of the pincushion pocket, pin and stitch in place. Be sure that when the metal end of the tape measure is flipped back into place, it will butt up against the finished seam. Make adjustments if needed, and then stitch across the seam line a second time to secure the belt in place. Please see Photo #7, above.
At the other end of the chatelaine belt, attach a 3” long beaded chain to each of the corners, using a needle and strong upholstery-type thread. Fasten the scissors to one corner chain, and on the other corner, attach a small zippered coin purse in which to keep a thimble, a package of needles, and other small sewing necessities. Please see Photo #7, above.
Making the Sleeve for Embroidery Success Strips:
The Embroidery Success Strips sleeve is made with three 1½” x 6” strips of the same velvet ribbon as the pincushion and tool holder. Overlap and top-stitch the strips together just as you did for the pincushion and tool holder. Embellish the center strip, as desired. Turn under and stitch a hem of about ¼” along the top edge. With right sides together, sew a ¼” seam down the back of the sleeve. Center the seam line at the back of the sleeve, and stitch across the bottom to complete the sleeve. Buttonhole stitches finish the top edge. Please see Photo #8, above.
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