Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Peony remake

Sometimes I make something and it just hangs out in my closet. I reach for it, put it on, and then return it to the hanger. This version of the Peony was one of those. I decided that the problem was that it was too flimsy.

So I took it apart in order to insert a middle layer of cotton batiste. I had hand understitched it around every.single.edge and those had to be removed one stitch at a time. And I had added some sashiko, so that had to be taken out too. Lastly, my comfy 5/8 seam allowance was gone.

Several times I considered tossing it. But I just love a good linen. And this is one of those linens. It is lined with a pretty Marcia Derse cotton print in the front and cotton/silk solid rust in the back.

So I kept at it. I left the shoulder seams in the face fabric, as well as the lining. Using the original pattern, I cut each main piece from the batiste and attached it to the face fabric using Jude Hill's invisible or glue stitch. I find that stitch so handy. Thanks, Jude!

Above you cannot really see the glue stitch, but below you can see the long stitches on the batiste that holds it all together. It really functions like a single piece of cloth with this stitch. And I find it easy to remove here and there, as needed.

I returned to the Peony written instructions, having forgotten that it has a bagged lining, cleverly pulled through the side vents. That was great fun to execute.

To make it a little different, I added an un-square pocket and a button closure, as well as my beloved sashiko.

It feels almost like a new garment.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Le Deuxième Château

For my second Château jacket, I chose a two-sided medium weight cotton purchased from Louise Cutting at the recent Atlanta Expo.

It's an interesting Japanese fabric that I initially thought was double cloth. I see now that it is simply printed differently on each side. It has a slightly painterly effect, with streaks and slubs. Even though the patterns are printed rather than woven into the design, the patterns are printed very precisely with the same repeat.

The Chateau has a simple but pretty shape that lends itself to great fabric - just right for this fabric. I got myself all twisted up, trying to make it reversible with functioning pockets on each side. I was almost successful.

My thought was to install a single welt pocket on one side without the pocket bag. Then, in my mind, I would create a patch pocket on the other side that would be stitched over the welt. I was unable to fully execute the idea, primarily because I failed to make samples.

Now would not that have been a good and fun idea?

Stubborn as I am, I finished the welt on one side and then realized that it really needed the pocket bag for support. Stitching the patch pocket on top was insufficient to support it. I found I had to stitch the top of the patch pocket closed in order to create enough support for the welt.

I could have created a kind-of facing for the welt to give it support, but decided against that as the fabric thicknesses would have been overwhelming.

It looks fairly reversible, though when I reverse it, the pockets are on the inside. The seams are faux felled to reduce the focus on the seams. Felled seams produce a very similar look on both sides of the garment.

The taupe side created a lovely binding, I think. This pattern is made for fabric that does not ravel and so there are no hem allowances on the sleeve hems, the jacket hem or neckline. It was well-suited for a bias binding of self-fabric.

Now don't you think this pattern is clever? Simple but interesting.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

red pants

Some days I need red pants. Literally and metaphorically.

The shirt here is a Very Easy Vogue, I think, and the fabric is two pieces of Thai silk from Linda Lee (TSW)

So I made these - Cutting Line Designs one-seam pants in medium weight wool, lined with rayon Ambiance. Just right for our recent return to winter.

The shirt is a pattern from Cutting Line Designs. Looking at this picture, I'm thinking of taking some length off the back. The fabric is a lovely Japanese cotton in a very interesting weave.
Wool is a great fabric, can be almost a 4 season fabric. These are not though. They are thick enough to feel good when there is a cold wind. And there is.

The one-seam elastic waistline is always fun to finish. After stitching, you hit it with some steam and watch it relax into folds.

So are you in need of some red pants? You might be.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Station 4. Jesus Meets His Mother

This piece is a quilt composed of cotton fabric, appliqued and machine quilted. Embroidery with perl cotton thread was used to create the facial features, as well as to emphasize key components. The two figures overlap and yet are intended to be viewed as distinct characters. 

Developing this piece caused me to wonder what this period must have meant for Mary. Was this to be her last meeting with her beloved child? Perhaps she was remembering her little boy - a toddler, later a teen-ager, and even a young adult prior to beginning his mission. Was she thinking about the horrible death he would experience?Or was she thinking about him as Son of Man? Son of God?

As I considered this important encounter, and my desire to illustrate it, I struggled. I nearly completed it three times before I felt it captured my vision of the moment. In the piece, they share physical features as well as emotion. There is a single tear. Who is crying? Is it Mary? Jesus? Both of them? My own son is struggling at this time and I find myself feeling the pain with him and for him.  In the end, I realized that the process and my struggle were prayers for Mary, for Jesus, for me and for my son.

John 19:

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his motherthere, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman,[b] here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Day

Today is celebrated as Valentine's Day in the US and other places, mostly kept alive by the card, florist, and candy businesses. It is also a fun theme for making something sweet.

My sewing group, Sew Incredibles, is having a gift exchange tonight with the theme of Valentine's Day. It was fun to make this very small quilt, also known as a mug rug.

And I still had time to make a Valentine for Mr. NowSewing:

He left me a lovely hand-written note this morning. And yet, last week, we both agreed to ignore Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Chateau Blanc

Today I finally had time to finish my first version of the Chateau Jacket from the Sewing Workshop. Ever since they started posting preview pictures on Instagram, I have been anxious to make one. And now I am certain I'll make it again. It is a simple wrap over-coat with elbow-length sleeves.

The line drawing does not make it look terribly interesting.

Fabric: This yummy fabric came from Gail K in Atlanta, a place where I find lots of interesting fabrics. It is 80% wool and 20% angora, quite spongie and does not ravel much at all. It was delightful to sew, both hand and machine stitching. The Chateau is designed for non-raveling fabrics with directions for lapped seams and raw edges. So while winter white is not the best color for me, I just could not resist.
happy on the inside, really
Cutting: Due to the thickness of the fabric, and the need to keep raw edges smooth, I cut it out single layer. So as to avoid serious mistakes, I carefully marked the right side of each piece with a pin. I discovered that the fabric was slightly damaged but it did not present a problem. Who knew winter white could fade? It was ever-so-slightly whiter at the fold line.


I changed some aspects of construction. The pattern calls for either patch pockets or slit pockets with a separate lining piece. I wanted to try out the slit pockets with this non-raveling fabric but decided against using the pocket lining. This would have created 3 layers of my fabric near my high hip fluff (ahem). I felt the pockets might flop around making it even less flattering. So I used the pocket pieces, but not the pocket facing pieces. This required that the top-stitched pockets show, but I kind-of like that.

Finished inside of jacket

Finished outside of jacket

I also adjusted the method for creating lapped seams. The pattern is designed for standard 5/8 inch seams so the first step is to cut off the seam allowance on one side of each seam. Then the cut piece is lapped over the uncut piece, aligning the raw edge at 5/8 inch. The trick is aligning the raw edge. The directions suggest the use of tape to hold the lap in place until it is top-stitched. I found that by machine-basting right at the seam line, I could lap it accurately. The basting was easy to remove after top-stitching.

Lastly I added some top-stitching. The pattern does not call for any finish to the raw edge of the front collar, or on the lower hem or the sleeve hem. I wanted a little insurance and stability, so I top-stitched 1/4 inch from each raw edge. I was especially concerned about the bias edges on the front collar. Plus I like the extra detail.

back facing from the right side, before should seams are sewn
The back neck edge is reinforced with a deep facing that is simply sewn on wrong-sides-together. I like the top-stitching on that too.

I really like the back neckline!

I have seen some notes about this being over-sized. It is. But there is no place where fit is relevant, in my opinion. I am 5'5" and happy with the proportions as designed. The fabric is very stable and so stands away from my body. This did not surprise me. I do want to try it again in a drapey fabric, perhaps using standard seam construction. I'm glad they included standard seam allowances. It might be interesting to lengthen the body or the sleeves in another version.

lots of room for extra layers!

I am quite enamored of this shape and the overall simplicity of it. And the winter white is lovely. My only concern is that it may spend more time at the dry cleaners than on my body. I must stay away from tomato sauce and red wine!