Monday, July 25, 2011

Batik Butik Spice 'n Style

This is my first foray into Batik Butik, a new-to-me pattern company. And while working on today's blog, I went back to their website only to see that they are closed! I am always disappointed when a sewing entrepreneur closes shop.

While at Waechter's in Asheville SC, I admired a top worn by one of the sales people. She of course showed me the pattern which was a bit of a surprise. I would have never tried it out. Even though I (almost always) look at the technical drawings, I am often swayed by the drawing or photo on the cover. And this one is a dud.

The salesperson had simply omitted the long sleeves and made a summer top. I'm always interested in quick summer tops at this time of year so I decided to give this one a try. The result is an easy top that I may wear a lot. I am not crazy about the sleeves. They may need to be shortened. They are at that approximately frumpy length.

I decided to incorporate a piece from my dyeing experiment a few weeks ago. With only a fat quarter, I was able to use it in the front band, on the sleeve binding, and on the hem binding for the back of the top. Hem binding was needed for the back hem only as it is a curve. The instructions are to turn the back hem under 1/4" and press. Then turn it under again 1". The last part creates folds that are even illustrated in the instructions. I knew I would not be happy with that, so I cut off the hem, adding this contrasting bias strip instead.
Now I just need to go to Gail K for the perfect buttons.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Hearts 'a Flutter shell - vs. 2.0

I've finally finished my first planned, successful hearts-a-flutter shell. I love it. I made a muslin a while ago and I've worn it a lot though it's not a great color on me (very pale lavender). This one is more sophisticated and works with a number of bottoms I have. I'm looking forward to wearing it over the next 6+ weeks while it remains so hot here in Atlanta. And I keep thinking of other variations. Once a silhouette works and the fit is right, my sewing muse engages.

And this pattern inspires the use of treasured remnants. Fabrics here include a tweed that I once thought to be linen, but it's too soft. It may be rayon. I also included a Japanese cotton print purchased from Louise Cutting at Expo this year. Lastly, one of my fave basic fabrics, Brussels washer in solid black from Waechter's in Asheville.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Quincy Top - version 1.0 finally finished

Last night I was so pleased to have time to actually finish my first Quincy top. It turned out a little differently than I expected but I am still happy with the result so far. I have not actually worn it anywhere and that is the best test. I thought it would be more fitted and I even worried about it fitting over my tummy. No problem with that.

I've been so inspired by all the lovely and artful versions posted by Terri and yet I could not seem to find the time to finish my version.

I made this first version straight from the pattern envelope, size M. My only design changes were to add some top-stitching and a little bias strip to the zipper pull. While I had planned it to be a top, I may make a tank to match so that I can wear it as a jacket. It is loose enough. I hope to set up the tripod and take pictures of me wearing it soon.

I especially like the vertical lines formed by attaching the front-back to the side-sleeve. This design line seems to be slenderizing. And the collar frames the face so nicely. The sleeves are a little ho-hum, but I'm going to see if they grow on me. If not, I may add some little tucks like those in the side piece front.

Now for the Quincy pants.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dyeing Divas

Dyeing has long been something I find intriguing.
silk scarf
rayon challis
rayon challis
 I've done just a small amount at my quilt guild, but I wanted more. 
Sewing friend Desi led the charge, teaching as she went, recently. What a great time I had. I've posted some photos of the process and I'll post some almost-finished pieces here. I'm ready for more dyeing now.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Open and shut cases

closed cases
Sometimes you just have to sew.

Sew Incredibles is having a party this week and we are exchanging glasses cases. I love the one Nancy Shriber posted on her web site many years ago, but found myself wanting to make something even simpler. At Camp Sew 'N' Sew, wonderful quilting friend Doris showed the kids this cute little project. It takes just a few minutes, even if you add a strap, button loop, and button.


open case

approximately 10" square of batting or cotton flannel
two 10" squares of coordinating fabric
one button
1 yard or less of cording or bias tubing

Using a piece of pattern tissue or other paper, cut out a *house* with walls that are about 5", a foundation that is about 8", and a pitched roof that measures about 6" from the top of a wall to the apex. Now you have the pattern. Trace it onto the wrong side of one of the fabric squares.

Create a sandwich starting with the batting on the bottom. Next comes the unmarked fabric, face up. Lastly place the marked fabric wrong side up. Note that the 2 fabric pieces are right sides together. The batting is on the bottom.

Sew 1/4" seams around a wall, the roof, and the other wall (*). Turn the top fabric piece right side out. The batting should now be sandwiched between the two fabric pieces. Finish the bottom with a zig-zag stitch.

Fold the two walls together and stitch them together with a 1/4" seam. Press open creating a funnel of sorts. Stitch across the foundation which is now 6 layers thick. Turn to right side, press.

If you want to have a functional button, you need to sandwich a bias tube in the top of the roof, or place a girl's pony tail band there. Include these in the seam sewn above (*). Now just sew the button on.

Likewise, if you want a strap, it needs to be inserted prior to sewing the seam noted with (*).

Sew quick. Sew satisfying.

I think they need some beads now.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hearts 'A Flutter and Batik Butik Spice 'N' Style

While waiting for my zipper in order to continue with TSW Quincy top, I've returned to making a few hot-weather tops. I finally cut out another Hearts 'A Flutter by Louise Cutting. I made a wearable muslin that I have really worn and worn! So I've been dreaming about making another one that is really more deliberate in design.

I keep some - ok, a lot - of my remnants and they haunt me. What should I use this one for? And this one?

I found a use for these 3 pieces - a black and white light-weight linen tweed, a black piece of Brussels linen/rayon, and a piece of Louise Cutting's Japanese cottons. I was able to cut the top part of the Hearts 'A Flutter shell out of the tweed and the bottom bands out of the Japanese cotton. I'm using the solid black to make piping to separate the pieces, to face the neckline and to bind the armholes. I've cut out the pieces so I'm committed now.

I'm thinking of reversing the neckline facing so that the black facing flips to the outside. Maybe this will help tie it together. We'll see.

Meanwhile I keep searching for just the right piece or pieces of fabric to make the Batik Butik Spice 'N Style top. I saw it modeled by a sales woman at Waechter's in Asheville NC. She had omitted the sleeves, so it made a cute summer top. The right piece has yet to emerge from my stash. It takes a bit of fabric as the pieces are quite wide. I don't want to make it too choppy with lots of different fabrics.

The front extension offers a spot for a small accent piece, for the right remnant.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Quincy Top - starting

I have been looking forward to sewing this pattern ever since it was announced. My copy arrived Friday and I cut out the pattern pieces for both the top and the pants, though the pants are far less exciting. I love the lines of the Quincy top.

I've decided to make it with some linen I purchased from Fabric Fix in NH a while ago. It is a cheerful piece - orange threads one direction, pink threads the other. And I love sewing with linen. I have it cut out and have started sewing it, but there is a hitch.

I hate that when the sewing karma is flowing.

This top calls for an 18" separating zipper. The only possible candidate at my local JAs is pastel pink and it is heavy, intended for jackets. So of course I purchased it, hoping it would look good.

It does not look good. In the photo, I see that the bright red zipper might have worked better than this pale pink. I've just sewn one side in and checked the next steps. This is an *exposed* zipper. I suspected that was the case after reading TSW blog. So the zipper needs to either (a) make a statement, or (b) blend with the fabric. The light pink fails on both counts. And it's too heavy for this project.

All that lovely sewing karma will have to stew for a while. Maybe Gail K's will have just the thing tomorrow. If not, I'll be looking for a source on the web.

I still think this is a great addition to TSW line-up. And the instructions are great, as usual.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Pressing Matters

Ironing board covers can be fun. Really. Seriously.

I just bought two today at T J Maxx, thanks to seeing a cool one at Camp Sew 'N' Sew. Thanks, Polly!

As any sewer knows, you end up spending at least as much time at the ironing board as you do at the machine. And my covers have always been boring, then later, after I stain/scorch them, they are ugly. This one is so much more fun.

I'm still struggling with my gravity-feed iron. I loved it at first. That big shot of steam is wonderful! But soon after, I developed a problem with my elbow, so I went back to my standard iron (on the left). After six months, I'm finally back to normal, but I still want to use that gravity-feed thing (on the right).

It's looks so small and innocent. But it is heavy enough to do some damage, I'm afraid.