Posts Tagged ‘local’

Urban Threads Walks The Runway At The Red Dress Collection

garrettbornGarrett Born Photography

I’ve actually been holding off on sharing this little story that happened back in February ’til we had some photos to share, and I’m happy we finally get to tell you a bit about a fun little project that the Blackthorn designs were involved in.

Late last year, we were happy to take on a new member of the crew to help us back in the sewing room. As well as running four industrial machines like a pro, he also happens to be Tim of our local fashion dream team TIM + THOM.  It was just too darn tempting not to get involved with Tim’s fashion magic at some point, and that came with the opportunity of the Red Dress Collection here in Minneapolis. Tim designed a gorgeous dress for the event, complete with a glam jacket with a touch of elegant embroidery on the back.

garrettborn_1Garrett Born Photography

Recognise it? He mirrored two of the interlocking border Blackthorn designs to create a subtle suggestion of a lace heart, stitching it in gorgeous tone-on-tone. The light designs really complemented the sheer areas of the rest of the dress, and brought a nice bit of unexpected drama to the back.

garrettborn3Garrett Born Photography

The full coat can be removed to reveal chic little red dress underneath, showcasing a similar full silhouette and sheer fabric.

runwayCity Pages

This subtle embroidered detail walked the runway on the night of the big show, which I got to attend in person as my first fashion show! It was so cool to see a tiny piece of UT stitching up there with all the flash and glamour, and great to see both Tim and his brother Thom up there showcasing their amazing work in local fashion.

groupThom Navarro

This is of course the only photo evidence I can find that I attended, and I’m not even looking at the camera! Oh well. The night really belonged to the designers, and we’re so honored to have such a talent helping us around the studio. I’m secretly (or not so secretly now, I guess) hoping I get to work with Tim again on even more embroidered projects, because his TIM + THOM studio is doing really fun things.

Congrats, Tim, on your amazing designs and mad skills, and we’re always happy to contribute some threads to a fashionable cause. We can’t wait to see what you do next, especially if it involves embroidery. 😉

The Clockwork Natura Gown – Embroidery & Handmade Fashion

I just want to say, there’s a full in-depth feature on this dress, with behind the scenes shots and a cool giveaway over on Burdastyle today! But if you’d like a peek, I’ll give you a little scoop on the project…

I’m hoping you’ll agree, Urban Threads is working hard to try and change the usual offering of what machine embroidery can be, away from the usual teddy bears and traditional trappings. We love testing new ideas, and with this project, I wanted to see if we can change not just what machine embroidery is, but how machine embroidery is used.

We tried it a little bit with our upcycled Steampunk Coat, but this time, we wanted to go bigger and  design from concept to completion. Our goal: to make embroidery designed for one-of-a-kind fashion.

For this challenge, Urban Threads teamed up with the Victorian stylings of KMKDesigns, a local mother-daughter wonder team with a flair for the dark and dramatic, and who like us, are big fans a lot of steam and a little bit of punk. Together, we created a one-of-a-kind gown meant to show machine embroidery off of potholders and tea towels … and onto something else entirely.

FairShadow Photography    

FairShadow Photography    

FairShadow Photography   

Stitched on the gown are five pieces of the new Steampunk Natura series (see the whole series on SALE here), designed in conjunction with the dress, and created with this challenge in mind.

It was a great way to design from the ground up, with two goals … make something that works for everyday embroidery, and make something that works for fashion design. Essentially, finding shapes that complement form, while still working with sizes and designs made for any kind of embroidery project.

FairShadow Photography   

Don’t get me wrong, we still want to be able to stitch our quilt, bags and tea towels. It’s just, should the inspiration strike, we want to be able to make steampunk gowns and couture clothing as well. Sort of like having your cake and eating it too. Only this involved less calories and more corsets.

FairShadow Photography   

FairShadow Photography   

FairShadow Photography   

FairShadow Photography   

FairShadow Photography   

And boy, do I love it.

Getting all embroidered, sewn, dressed up, dolled up, and photographed was a monumental effort taken on by a dream team of collaborators all working towards bringing you the results of this project. Did I do this all on my own? Hellz no. We need a shoutout here.

I was lucky enough to nab the amazing Etsy sellers and dress design team of KMKDesigns, who worked with me from the very beginning to design something just for Urban Threads. Their skill and speed of creating dresses like this astounded me. From all the ideas they brought to the table, to the skill of their costume creations, I feel so freaking lucky to have these ladies in Minnesota.

I think you’ll also agree with me that though I’m not entirely camera shy, I certainly don’t usually look like this everyday. The exquisite hair and makeup talents of Sara Capers Style was really the only thing that gave me the courage to try out a full on photoshoot (usually I just set my camera on a timer and hide in a studio!) and boy, do I wish I could pull off this look every day.

Finally, none of much of this would matter without the amazing shots from FairShadow Photography, who brought this whole project to life and showcased the dress and the embroidery to perfection. Without her skills, well, let’s just say talking about it wouldn’t hold nearly as much interest.

We could not have done it without everyone pitching in an amazing effort, and there was a lot of fun to be had working with a team like this. Believe me when I say, a lot went in to this dress.

Want to know just how much?

We’ve got exclusive details, dress photos, and behind-the-scenes images on the making of, all in a feature on BurdaStyle!

Not only that, but they’re offering a chance to WIN a $50 Urban Threads gift certificate to start creating your own fashion masterpiece. Just check out the post and leave a comment there to enter!

And of course, when all this is said and done, it all comes down to getting your hands on some embroidery designs, doesn’t it? Want to grab the whole 9 piece Steampunk Natura set? There’s even more designs than what’s featured on the dress.


This project is part of The Lab, a UT initiative to experiment, collaborate and innovate to see just what can be done with the art of embroidery.
Check out our other projects by searching for the UT Lab tag.



Pay It Forward – New Freebie & Contest!

Today, I’ve very excited to share a special project we’ve been scheming up that’s very near and dear to my heart. We’re calling it a Pay It Forward Freebie, and it’s all about using your craft to do a little good for our local animals in need.

Let’s get to the embroidery goodness first… this project  comes with a shiny new freebie (through 8/28/11), all about supporting rescue animals.

Click on the image to go to the freebie!

This design is available for free from now through Aug. 28, 2011. Now, I know giving you free designs is nothing new, but we hope with this one, us giving something free to you will inspire you to give to someone else.

Specifically, little furred, striped, spotted or scaled someone elses. Because they could really use a little help.

Before I explain the full contest, let me explain a little of the back story.

This idea was inspired by a lot of things, but the one that certainly inspired me the most is that little wet furball pictured up there. That was my little dog Keefer, and he passed away two years ago. Keefer was a lot of things. He was a neurotic dog, a food-lover, a hater of bubbles (long story), a snorer, a crazy furball and a totally lovable fuzzbutt. He was also a rescue.

Since he’s passed, I have not yet found the space in my life for another dog, but I still love the idea of getting involved with local animals, and seeing what I can do to help find them happy homes until the day I can take one home myself.

So, that’s what I figure I would try and do. Armed with our new rescue design, I stitched up a couple of cute little bandanas…

…grabbed my camera, and headed to my local shelter.

I know some of you who saw my sneak peek on facebook last week, and in your comments, were trying to  guess what this project was about. I had to laugh when a couple of people asked if I was giving away the dog. You want him? Ladies and gents, this adorable little dog can be all yours.

Meet Sport.

Sport is Adopted!

He is a total and utter clown, and was seriously a joy to photograph.

Sport is Adopted!

I mean, really, that tongue? Too cute.

Sport is a 10-month-old hound mix puppy, and he’s currently available to take home and smile like that at you all the time.

By the way, you can click on any dog’s name or photo to go to their profile page on the Humane Society’s website for more information about adopting. These are all local Minnesota dogs, so you’d probably want to at least be near our area if you want to come visit.

Sport is Adopted!

Sport looked extra jaunty in his little embroidered rescue bandanna, and he knew it too.

However, not all dogs were so sure of their camera ready faces at first. This little sweetheart is Emmy, and she’s a little shy.

Emmy is Adopted!

I assured her she was a totally gorgeous dog, and she warmed up a bit.

Emmy is Adopted!

Emmy is a 3 year old Husky Cattle Dog Mix, and she just had puppies, so like anyone she’s feeling a little self conscious about her figure. But she was one of the cuddliest and most gentle dogs I saw.

Emmy is Adopted!

She really is gorgeous, isn’t she? I have such a soft spot for Husky type dogs, and she really stole my heart. It was hard to get a photo of her sometimes because she kept coming up for a cuddle.

Lydia is Adopted!!

Speaking of cuddly, that little one you saw up top is Lydia, a three month old Hound Boxer mix.

Lydia is Adopted!!

Lydia was a quiet but happy puppy, who was perfectly content to sit in someones arms and just be cuddled.  She has a darling little face and I can just tell she’s going to grow up to be a beauty.

Lady is Adopted!

This little gal sitting so patiently for her bandana is Lady. Lady is a very very shy little dog, but a very very sweet one. Lady is looking for a very quiet, low stress home, but seriously, she has the best puppy eyes I’ve ever seen.

Lady is Adopted!

I mean seriously, how could you say no to those eyes?

Lady is Adopted!

Though she looks a little grey, Lady is just a three year old terrier mix. Hey, we all know getting a little grey doesn’t mean anything. She’s just more cultured. She’s also a very well behaved dog, but will need a little extra love to come out of her shell.

Pete is Adopted!

Shyness is totally not an issue with this dog. This big black ball of joy is Pete, and he has a truly excellent smile.

Pete is Adopted!

See? Isn’t that a great smile?

Pete is a very energetic three year old Lab Retriever mix, and while he was quite bounding and playful most of the time, he was also quite happy to settle down and sit still for photos as long as someone was scratching his ears.

Pete is Adopted!

Pete would probably love a home where his ears get scratched all the time.  C’mon, look at those ears. I promise they’re as fuzzy and soft as they look! Pete also was a big fan of trying to lick my camera. Maybe he just liked the way he looked in the lens.

OK, so I know a lot of you aren’t local, or maybe just not quite ready to be able to take care of a new addition to the family, whether it be dog, cat or bunny. Or maybe you already have a rescue animal in your home that you love and adore. You don’t need to take home a furball to help them out. You can help out local animals anywhere you are.

Here’s where the neat contest part comes in!

From now until Aug 28, (the same time the freebie is available) download this design in machine embroidery and/or hand embroidery formats, and use it to do some good in your local rescue community! Then all you need to do is submit a photo of how you used the design to show a little puppy love (or kitty, bunny, rat, or whatever) and you’ll automatically be entered to win a $50 gift certificate from Urban Threads!

Not sure what kinds of things you can do? Here are a couple of ideas!

  • Have your own rescue animal? Make ’em a toy, a bandanna, or even a hoodie with the design, and show that you’re supporting your own rescue animal with a little love!
  • Stitch or print it on a tee to show your support for rescue animals.
  • Stitch it on some goods and sell them to raise money for your local shelter!
  • Make some goods for your local shelter volunteers to show you appreciate their work. Shirts, buttons, bandanas, hats…
  • Make a care package of goods that shelters are always in need of… leashes, toys, blankets, food, add the design to them or print it on a tag and donate your gift package to a grateful local organization.
  • Donate your skills! Do what I did and make some cute bandannas, go take pretty photos of your local adoptable animals, and give the photos to the shelter. Maybe those cute photos will help find someone a home!
  • Make some goods for your shelter that they can sell at their own fundraising events. Shirts, keychains, anything! If you’re extra crafty with a machine you can probably even personalize it with the organization’s name.
  • Those are just a few of the many things you can do with the design! Just remember though, the one thing you may not do is actually sell or trade the digital file. If someone wants to download it, please point them here!

Once you’ve done your good deed, just upload your photo to the UrbanThreads flickr pool and tag it rescue, or e-mail it in to A winner will be chosen at random from all the people who have submitted photos. Together, we’ll all get a personal reward for our good deeds, and one lucky crafter will get a big $50 gift certificate reward for their good deeds.  Everybody wins!

So get crafting for a good cause, Urban Threadsters — your deadline to enter is Aug 28. Together we can do a little good in the world!

Leaving Your Comfort Zone

Every once in awhile, you have to try something new.

Not just new. Something new and exciting and maybe more than a little bit terrifying. But it’s good to do because it pushes you to try new things and see just what you can do with yourself. So in going outside of my comfort zone, this post has nothing to do with embroidery, but does feature a lot of mud.

Pictured: a lot of mud. And maybe some people.

That’s the gang of us after completing a 5k obstacle course called Warrior Dash, in MN. I’ll mention here that I do not run 5k’s. Ever. Normal people who do try 5k’s for the first time usually pick one with less obstacles. And fire. And mud.

Oh, and they don’t usually run them in floofy tutu skirts.

Pictured: a lot of floof. And some skirts. But no mud!

Here’s Danielle and I (our resident crazy digitizer) all prestine and pretty ready to run our race.

aannnd here’s the after….

That’s D and I afterwards with our respective (and crazy) hubbies. Did I mention there was mud?

By the way, I will note that the whole outfit thing started innocently enough. We were all going to wear red/pink. And then D found a crazy 80’s pink floofy prom dress at a thift store. And then she found a red tutu. And then one thing led to another and somehow I was jumping over fire and climbing rope nets in a tutu.

These things happen sometimes.

I suppose as long as you’re trying the whole “new” thing, you might as well add “wearing a tutu while trying to rappel down a giant wall next to a guy dressed as a viking”. Yeah pretty sure I haven’t done that one before.

And you know what? It was awesome. Sometimes, it’s a little thing like trying something you didn’t think you could do, and seeing that actually, you can. And it’s damn fun. And it makes you think…what other crazy things could I try? Maybe even like crazy embroidery things?

Well, the gals at Urban Threads are inspired to try, that’s for sure.

Just maybe this time we’ll skip the tutus.


Well, it was a heck of a weekend, but Convergence has come and gone.

It was my very first year at this geektastic event, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. There were rooms where a dalek served you tea, a zombie den, a masquerade, steampunk galore and lots… I mean LOTS… of nerds.

Exhibit A

Yup, that’s me, dressed to the nines like the nerd I am in our fabulously stitchy Steampunk Coat. My hope was to show just how awesomely geek machine embroidery can be, or at the very least, introduce the geek world to the fact that it exists.

Truth be told, this is really the easiest way to explain what machine embroidery is. At parties when someone asks me what I do, I always struggle to find a clear answer. Saying I’m the Evil Genius of an online alternative machine embroidery company doesn’t usually get me many coherent responses, just usually a lot of blinks and then slow, backward steps. I might as well say I’m the inventor of LOLcats for all the good it does me.

(Though that would be the world’s coolest business card)

So, unless I have some cool stitchy stuff nearby to point to, I’m usually lost. I sometimes do have other stitchy stuff around to reference, but pointing to an embroidered tractor on a trucker hat doesn’t really get me any father into explaining what I do.

See That? That hat? That’s what I do, except absolutely nothing like that at all. Oh blast.

See? It doesn’t help. So, armed with my steampunk-y stitched coat, and a bunch of business cards tucked amongst the goggles on my top hat, I waded into the crowd to try my best. And what a crowd…

Normal everyday office hours around Urban Threads. That's right, we have Iron Man.

The costumes were fantastic. Nerds are so darn crafty, I just love them. You can’t tell in the photo really, but that Iron Man is homemade. Homemade! The crafty skills were endless.

And why pray tell are all my photos in black and white? Well, it could be that we went back in time to the steampunky age and they don’t have color back then.

They have rayguns, but they don’t have color photos. Right.

Or it could be that all I had on me was my iphone camera and they’re really better off this way. Could be that.

As it turns out, actually, nerds are even craftier than you think. SO crafty, that they’ve already heard of Urban Threads! I met these two fantastic ladies while wandering around looking at steampunk goods for sale. They recognized me! I feel so famous. Or it was the coat… either one.

Don’t they look fabulous? We chatted a little and I gave them a card. And then I got a peek of their fabulous stitchery too!

Check it! Urban Threads was representin’ without me even being there. I actually spotted a couple of Urban Threads designs here and there. This was definitely our kinda crowd.

Steampunk Alice in Wonderland. My kinda people.

Plenty of people indeed inquired about the coat and the embroidery. A lot of people assumed I must have bought it. Most had never really heard of machine embroidery, so it was fun to introduce them to it in such a steampunky way. I gave away all the business cards in my hat by the end of the night!

A few people said they had even seen to coat online already, either through Craftster or various blog sharing. It really was great fun to walk around in it and show the world a little of what we do, despite the fact that it was like a billion degrees in the coat. Sometimes, you have to suffer for your art.

Other than enlightening the world a little about the world of embroidery, I had a grand time at places like the house of toast (toast with any three toppings you want… from bacon to sprinkles) getting drinks in a steampunk airship, watching an evil presidential debate between Dr. Doom, the Master, and Mr. Burns, visiting the Willy Wonka Candy Land, running into Voldemort (almost literally), waltzing at the Steampunk Ball, and dancing with a Stormtrooper (who commented here yesterday… hi Mr. Stormtrooper!) Mr. T, and a Jedi.

What, you thought I was kidding abour Mr. T? He's a darn good waltzer.

I’m wondering if stitching up a costume could be a tradition for me every year, it was so much fun! Plus it’s a great exercise to pull out all the stops and see what I can do with our designs.

If so, do say hi to me next year. I’ll be the embroidery covered lass eating bacon-sprinkles-hummus toast in the corner, next to Batman.

A handmade weekend

What a crafty weekend!

Why, you might be asking yourself, am I blogging about my weekend on a Wednesday? Weelll because… it was just too… awesome! Yeah. It had to wait till Wednesday or the awesomeness would have overwhelmed you all. I mean, check out that beaker of mustachios. Could you handle that on Monday? I think not.

I could hardly handle the awesomeness when I went to check out St. Paul’s Crafstravaganza and ran into some awesomely familiar (…I’ve seen that penguin before…) stuff.

That’s because we walked right into the booth of Marlene and her husband from All My Own who were selling their lovely embroidered wares! It was so nice to meet them and say hi and talk embroidery. They told us that monsters and moustaches were hot this year, and that we should make more monsters, stat. We’ll get right on that, Marlene!

I continued wandering on to look at all the other booths. I found this adorable booth from Fantastic Toys, who had these amazing gnomies! Oh Danielle was in heaven (she collects gnomies, kinda like I collect crazy bunnies). They were just too cute for words.

Omg, little monsters! See, monsters are so in this year. There were dozens of these guys from Trigo, and they even had larger, older brothers with bike reflectors on for your biking needs. Minneapolis is a big bicycle town, so I hope to see an invasion of monsters on bikes soon.

Heading ’round the corner, who should we find next but our local rockstar Adam Turman! He’s a regular fixture at Craftstravaganza, and he had all his awesome prints up for sale. Here’s the original devil biker ..though I’m a bad camera person and totally got a glare on the print! Sorry, Adam. You look awesome anyway.

It was very cool to meet him in person and chat about his stuff. Most of our guest artists are from all over the place (including other countries!) so meeting them in person is fantastic.

We got there a little late, so I only had a little bit longer to wander before it closed. Trust me to instantly find the steampunkiest wares. These beauties were from Makeshift Accessories, and they were so beautiful! Apparently they’re all upcycled from old serving plates and sprinkler heads. I tried one on and was sorely tempted, but I had already made a purchase this weekend and promised myself I would be good.

What, pray tell, did I buy?

I’ll give you three guesses…


Bunny is actually from my previous night of handmade adventures, at the St. Paul Art Crawl! I was visiting some friends to check out their booths, and next door was a whole host of crazy bunnies! How could I not.

I had to carefully vet the bunny to make sure I picked the right one. He needed to look good on my shelf and get along with all the other bunnies, so he wouldn’t be ostracized.

What, you think I’m kidding about collecting crazy bunnies?

I’m so not.

They barley fit on the shelf anymore, they’re going to have to get a larger space soon. My new little bunny proudly took his place with his other crazy companions. He still doesn’t have a name… any suggestions?

Overall, a smashing good weekend. Stay crafty, Minnesota!

Check out the local color

You in or around the Twin Cities this upcoming weekend and looking for something to do?

We have some stitchy fun you should really check out. First up is the Re-Tread Threads, a show of fiber art made from recycled materials, opening this weekend with a reception Friday night.

Thanks to Mr X Stitch for the heads up!

Once you’ve looked at enough stitchy art, why not go buy some? This upcoming weekend is also one of our local craft fairs, Craftstravaganza!

I’m going to be wandering around, taking some photos, and looking for some handmade goods to buy. Come find me and say hi! Oh, and our most recent featured artist Adam Turman will be there, so be sure to check out his booth and buy some Twin Cities flavored prints.