Thursday, November 20, 2014

Something finished.

This one took a long time.

It started with some fabrics in lovely fall colors that I stacked and whacked and stitched back together. I particularly like the gray shirting piece and the rough off-white hand-spun looking pieces with the commercially printed pieces.

about 35 inches square

Next was the insertion of a black and white piece. Just a touch of black and white to ground it. And all the pieces were sewn together.

Finally I started quilting: layered with soft cotton flannel batting and a tone on tone rich brown for the back. The machine stitching is done in parallel lines at different angles. This left good-sized swaths for hand-quilting.

Lots of hand-quilting. Because I wondered how it would be to hand-quilt with just the seed stitch.

It's cold here now as in most of the US. Unseasonably cold. The colors of fall are disappearing and the brown branches of winter are taking over. Brown is my favorite color today.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Looking inward and outward

Now is one of those times when I long for some time to sew and meditate. Time to be with just my thoughts and my thread.

Business - or busyness - either way, it corrupts me, encroaches on my thoughts, and erodes any creativity that may be available to me.

wandering and lost

Maybe I just need to step back and breathe. 

the blues

Maybe I need to get outside of myself.

world blues, going outside myself

Looking inward, looking outward. I always come back to myself. And I always return to stitch: needle, thread, cloth. Right now I long to stitch. Soon I will return to deliberate garment projects or other planned projects. But for now, I simply need stitch. Stitch with no real purpose.

So what is the Around-the-World Blog Hop, if not a chance to get outside of myself?

The Around-the-world Blog Hop is a way to link bloggers who are makers, wherever they may be. But only those who want to be linked. Here are two:

Let's start with Judy of Judy-in-the-Dyes blog. I met Judy at a workshop led by Cas Holmes. And I began to follow her blog right away. It's cheerful, colorful, and generous. 

Judy's work is meditative, I think. Or at least, that is how I receive her posts. Her work seems to spring from her heart. Her sense of color always raises my spirits. Hey, it just happened again, as I read her post from last week - the one where she links to my blog.

And now let me introduce you to Dixie of With Needle and Brush. Like me, Dixie is passionate about clothing art. We like many of the same pattern designers. But she is legions ahead of me in the area of artful touches, especially those involving paint. 

Dixie's work informs my own garment sewing. I see her creations and read the story behind the make and I think, I want to try that too. 

And Dixie works at one of my all-time favorite fabric stores - Sawyer Brook. So when I travel to the New England states, I try to see her when I visit Sawyer Brook.

As part of the Blog Hop, there are 4 questions each blogger is asked consider:

1. What am I working on? Just stitch.

2. How does my work differ from others in my genre? In order to answer that question, I would have to identify my genre. Garment construction, quilts, fiber art, and so on. My work is mostly an answer to an inward question. Sometimes, like now, I don't even know the question.

3. Why do I write? make? Writing helps me make. And making helps me write. And both help me remember today. 

4. How does my writing/making process work? Both are almost spontaneous. I occasionally sew with a purpose. I occasionally write with a purpose. I write just for me at times, just for specific others at times, and for publication at times. Years ago, as an academic, I discovered the joy of writing. I've known the joy of sewing for half a century or more. Each is a kind of making.

So that's me. On Monday November 17, I hope you'll have time to move back through the Blog Hop by following Judy and forward through the Blog Hop by following Dixie. Both inspire me.

Friday, November 7, 2014

2014 Fiber Art Sale and Auction - ready, set, go!

Friend Ginny and I are co-chairing this annual event for 2014. With a lot of help from many artists, and even husbands, we are ready to go. And such a banquet of fiber art, I have never seen before.

In case you happen to be in the Atlanta area, here are the details:
Saturday, Nov 8, 11-5
Sunday, Nov 9, 12-4
The SEFAA (Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance) Center
1705 Commerce Dr NW
Atlanta GA 30318

Here is a list of the artists who are participating in the sale or the auction or both. Most are local to the Atlanta area:

And here are some more pictures:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ann Williamson Workshop

This past weekend I was thrilled to attend a workshop taught by Ann Williamson and hosted by Louise Cutting. A double-header. I'm still on inspiration overload.

See Ann's logo in the upper right hand corner of this pieced scarf. All fabric is vintage kimono silk. Yum.
Ann Williamson makes stunning, one-of-a-kind garments, primarily fitted jackets. Her preferred fabric is vintage kimono silk. You may have seen her work at the Smithsonian Craft Shows or at the San Francisco or Baltimore ACC shows. I have been a big fan of hers for several years now, ever since sewing friend Ginny tipped me off!

Here Ann is wearing a coco-style jacket & pants, both of vintage kimono silk. She is also wearing one of her scarves.
The workshop started with a jaw-dropping trunk show with lots of great stories. Then we spent two full days learning and practicing her techniques in piecing and beading.

As I poured my kit beads onto the black velveteen, I saw a pattern I'd love to try to duplicate.

Each evening we went to Louise's house to shop, shop, shop. Louise of course had lots of great fabrics and buttons available, as well as her signature patterns. Sandy and Rosemary were on hand to help coordinate fabrics and patterns.

Ann allowed us to buy vintage kimono silk by the yard, as well as her kits.

Between the two of these artists extraordinaire, my head nearly exploded.

Louise is wearing a vest that will be part of a future pattern, along with pants that *may* become a pattern. Such fun!

The above sample is a gorgeous example of Ann's detailed, artful work. She is an expert in clothing construction, as well as an inspired, accomplished fiber artist.

This is a dramatic example of one of her slightly fitted coco-style jackets, constructed with vintage silk using her unique piecing techniques.

And the back is gorgeous too.

Now I am dying to find the time to work on these techniques and incorporate them into the sewing techniques I already enjoy. I think her beading approach will fit nicely with my love of sashiko. We each received a kit of silks for a scarf. I'm thinking mine may be incorporated into an Ann-inspired jacket.

Now I recommend you go directly to Ann's website and see her garments. She also has a delicious blog. Some of the best eye candy for textilians. 

Oh, my, so much inspiration; so little time!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Vogue 9057

Vogue 9057 is a basic and beautiful pattern from Marcy Tilton. She says, "This collection is a long time design dream." I can see why.

It is fast, easy, and creatively satisfying. This is view D with the long sleeves.

As promised, it fits through the neckline, shoulders and bust. It skims the rest. Just right.

The neck band actually sits better on my neck than it does on the dress form. It is flat up against my neck and feels great the way a rayon knit often does.

After seeing a tee shirt made by Margy, I was anxious  to cut the neck band on the bias.

The main fabric is a rayon knit purchased at Five-Eights in Charleston, SC. This is a sweet shop catering to new sewers, I think. They carry mostly quilt cottons, but some nice rayon knits too. The sleeves and neck band are from remnants of a rayon knit purchased in Montreal.

The points appear to be in the side seam, but they are actually part of the front hem shape. The hem shapes make this pattern a bit special. View A is a standard length tee but with a curved hem. Other views include asymmetrical points in the hemline, made even prettier with the layering suggested on the pattern envelope.

When I first saw this pattern, I thought, oh, but I already have several good tee shirt patterns. I'm glad I bought it. It has some easy and fun variations. This is a reminder of why I love to buy and make patterns.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Vogue 1414 Day 4 and Complete!

Final Steps:
  • Cuffs attached 
  • Shirt tail hemmed
  • Sleeves inserted
  • Bumpy stuff flattened
  • Buttonholes (always a nail-biter)
  • Buttons

I was reminded of a tip from sewing friend June when adding the cuffs. Place cuff and sleeve right sides together, keeping the cuff facing out of the way. If you push the cuff piece about 1/16 inch beyond the sleeve placket edge. Then when you turn it right side out, grade the layers, and tuck the raw edges inside, there is just enough room. Of course, this is known as allowing for turn-of-the-cloth.

When I line up the edges perfectly, with no allowance for turning the cloth, there is either the little bit that wants to jut out, or worse, that awful buckling of the sleeve placket. This fine cotton shirting only needed that 1/16 inch but of course heavier fabrics need more.

Shirt Tail:

Once again, I used Pam Howard's effective technique here to create a smooth curve on the shirt hem. I had added a center back seam to allow for a little curve in my back, so I also created a vent. 


Sweet, sweet Pam has given me a link so that you - my blog buddies - can sign up for her excellent shirt making class on Craftsy and receive a discount:

This class, along with the newer one on constructing a tailored jacket, are really wonderful. I use techniques from those two classes constantly.

Bumpy Stuff Flattened

Even with the turn-of-the-cloth technique above, I sometimes grind my teeth when I put a buttonhole in the collar band. If that one looks bad, it is really, really bad. You know what I mean.

My Bernina makes gorgeous buttonholes but it likes a flat surface. So I steamed the collar band as flat as I could, then used the clapper and left it there until everything cooled. The buttonhole went in without a hitch. Hooray!



Buttonhole success!

Buttonholes and Buttons:

The rest of the buttonholes were a breeze. 

And I just love these buttons. On a recent vacation I shopped at a wonderful little button shop in Montreal. I purchased way too few of these metal buttons made from Canadian coins. So I had to use the US coin buttons on the sleeves. 

I purchased one larger button in Montreal and so put it on the back.

This is a really good pattern. Try it. You'll like it.

And don't forget to use the discount Pam passed along over on Craftsy. Thanks so much, Pam!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Vogue 1414 Day 3

Completed today:
  • Collar band
  • Side seams
  • Sleeve plackets
  • Sleeve pleats and side seams

The collar band went in smoothly though it still needs hand-finishing and top-stitching.

I was curious to see how the instructions for the sleeve placket stacked up against the excellent instructions in Louise Cutting's The Blouse Perfected. Those instructions truly are near perfection for a classic technique that is so counter-intuitive. And it's one of those techniques that I have to study a bit each time I make a shirt with a placket.

Used the other side of the fabric for the placket since the *wrong* side shows on the flounce anyway

I like Louise's instructions better. For starters, the plackets for this pattern do not include interfacing. Interfacing is key to being able to carefully fold and stitch precisely on a tower placket, I think. 

There are a few other aspects of Louise's instructions that are superior but I won't detail them here. Her instructions are so much better than my version would ever be. If you are interested in clear, near-fool-proof directions for plackets, I recommend you buy her pattern The Blouse Perfected, even if you don't like the rest of the pattern!

Next up - cuffs and inserting the completed sleeves.