Monday, December 31, 2012

Namaste, 2012

No longer breathless
Now trying to breathe more deeply
Now breathing more deeply
Weaving my thoughts
Thanks, Jude

Monday, December 17, 2012

Breathlessly Continuing HMH

Hand-made Holidays (HMH) continue. One more gift done: PJs for DD.

Despite my enthusiasm for garment sewing, I have rarely succeeded in making satisfactory clothes for DD. Her wedding dress was a happy exception.

Part of my problem is that she is petite and slim. Slim is pretty easy. Petite is not, especially without the benefit of several fitting sessions.

Undaunted I continue trying to sew for DD with these very simple pajamas. McCall's 5992 includes unisex pajama pieces. I made a camp shirt style top and pull-on pants with a combination of elastic and draw-string.

The fabric is a super soft cotton flannel from Tiny Stitches, a local quilt store, in coordinating prints. It was such a pleasure to sew.

The pattern is ho-hum, especially now that I am spoiled by drafting, illustrations, and instructions from Louise Cutting.  I adapted some favorite techniques from her including the addition of a back facing, steps for the collar attachment, and lots of top-stitching.

DD is too slim for my dress form.
I now realize that I should've simply used Louise's version of the camp shirt and her one-seams.

Now if these just fit...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hand-made Holidays

Here Comes the Sun
Just finished a few more gifts. I've now said good-bye to each.

The first one is a very small piece. It is 5x7, with a cotton twill background, and a paper-pieced quasi-color-wheel made from batik scraps. The face is linen.

I added some rays of light using various embroidery threads. Then I slipped a 5x7 piece of cardboard inside and added a silk dupioni bias binding at the bottom.

It was made as part of an exchange in my fiber art group. I received a lovely snowy mountain scene in the exchange, but need to ask permission before showing it here.

Guitar Quartet
Next up is a small quilt that took f.o.r.e.v.e.r.  Or nearly.

This is from a pattern designed by Robbi Joy Eklow, a phenomenal quilt artist. I added the piano keys but the rest is hers.

I've had this pattern in my stash for a number of years, thinking it would be perfect for DS. He is a former basement, sometime club rock n roll guitar performer, now adult.

Eklow's work is primarily fused but I just cannot warm up to the idea of gluing fabric much. Mine is hand-appliqued.

As usual, there were learning opportunities. This is code for I-screwed-up.

Last up is the little coin purse made for DGD1. She selected this polyester brocade at a big box store when she and I were out shopping one time. I brought it home wondering what I would ever do with it. It wasn't so bad to sew, not nearly so bad as I imagined it would be.

It is self lined with an inside zipper pocket. The button closure is one of those hair elastics. The chain was left over from my Coco jacket project. And the silk dupioni binding came from stash.

I still  have at least three more hand-made items in the mental queue, but my hand-made-gift ambitions are beginning to cut into my selfish sewing. So we'll see...

Friday, November 30, 2012

Friends I Haven't Met (Yet)

One phenomenon of the Internet is that we sewers get acquainted with like-minded souls, some of whom live thousands of miles away. In fact, if you are reading this, you *might* be one of those friends.

Recently I had a happy experience with just such a friend. I had admired a particular T shirt she made and blogged about here. I just fell head over heels in love with the fabric (and the pattern she chose and the way it looks on her).


She offered to buy some fabric for me since I live about 1000 miles from the store. Seriously, what a friend in need, and friend in deed.

Initially I just could not see taking her up on that kind offer. I called the store where she bought the divine fabric, and encountered customer-no-service. Evidently they specialize in that, as well as divine fabric.

I even tried email to the store, sending them a picture of the needed fabric. Luddites.


I took ArtAttack up on her selfless offer(*). And the fabric arrived recently. I haven't cut into it yet, but I have it out in my sewing studio where it can be properly admired.

Aren't Internet friends just amazing?

* Oh, and I take full responsibility for her additional purchase the day she bought my fabric. She has already made something luscious with it. So now, maybe I need some of that fabric too...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

'Tis the Season

It happens every year. Soon after Thanksgiving, I become light-headed and a little too happy.

Yes, I find myself thinking, this year I will make my gifts.

For a week or two I am oh so perky about it all. I make a gift or two and I'm pleased.

Beware. I'm in that stage right now.

I just finished a jewelry bag for DDIL. After a recent trip, I heard her say to DS, "I really need a jewelry bag." So I mouthed to my son I'LL MAKE IT. He nodded and filed it away.

Well, here it is. And I like it. I hope she does too.

The process was fun too. It reminded me of a programming exercise I used to assign so students could learn a bit about recursion. I had to back into it. I pictured it from the outside in, but had to construct it from the inside out.

I might post the dimensions and/or the directions in case anyone is interested, or maybe just for me. Next time I'll have to reinvent it, otherwise.

It has some cool features like little linen tubes that earrings can easily pierce, and the straps also allow her to secure a necklace by weaving it through the linen tubes. The two zippered end pockets allow her to see what's inside.

The only challenge was to avoid over-stitching and then causing the perforated plastic to separate. I think it's OK.

If I make it again, I might make it larger.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

AIM - vesty

with TSW trio Tee
When Cutting Line Design's Artist In Motion (AIM) arrived, I thought I would start with the tunic. I'm still intrigued with shirts and I'm still taking Pam Howard's online course over on Craftsy.

But the vesty just kept rising to the top of the sewing queue, along with this Japanese cotton I purchased from Louise Cutting at an ASG event (Augusta, maybe?).

Plus, after reading through the directions, I thought this might be almost instant gratification. It wasn't instant but it was very gratifying.

It seems that I always purchase too little fabric, especially when it comes to something special. So I found that using the purchased 1 and 1/3 yard of 45 inch fabric required special maneuvers. The pattern envelope calls for 2 yards of 45 inch fabric.

I do love this kind of challenge. I'm thinking that's why I buy too little. Maybe. And I'm cheap.

with CLD's TBP
I was about to give up on this fabric for the vest when I remembered that Japanese designers sometimes place the selvage so that it shows. It is a kind-of designer's signature (chop), I think. And this is a pretty selvage.

So I cut the back as two pieces, each with the center on the selvage, overlapped the two selvages and stitched together. Since this is not a wash-and-wear item, I don't think the selvage will cause any drape issues. At the end, I added a little sashiko and some French knots to the back to highlight this.

I used radiance as the interlining and love it. It may become my go-to lining. So user-friendly with its blend of cotton and silk. It's a little pricey for lining though, so it probably won't become my lining go-to.

The binding is bias silk dupioni, always a favorite fabric for binding.

The vesty goes with several items I already have, including CLD's blouse perfected and TSW trio Tee. Now I'm ready to make the tunic, I think, in a light-weight coordinating corduroy.

But first a muslin of the tunic so that I can tweak the fit a bit. BTW, this vest is one-size-fits-most. How fun is that?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Artist In Motion arrival

My *named* Cutting Line Designs pattern arrived today.

I have been anxiously awaiting its arrival. I always anxiously await the arrival of new CLD patterns, now that I am on auto-ship and follow Louise over on Artisan's Square.

But this is different. I got to name the pattern and supply some details for the lovely little story that always accompanies one of Louise's patterns:

Sightseeing in her relaxed tunic, Martha was keen to experience the Shinkansen Bullet Train from Tokyo to Kyoto. Weather permitting, they would have a splendid view of Mt. Fuji en route. After lunch at the Miyako Hotel, Julie knew her tunic and softly draped over-vest were perfect for biking in Kyoto, with visits to the Sanjusangendo Hall and Kiyomizu Buddhist temple.

The back story: over on Artisan's Square, Louise asked if we wanted to help her name future patterns. And, of course, we did! There were lots of cool names so a vote was cast and my name came in second.

L to R: striped linen, Japanese cotton, radiance lining, burnt orange corduroy, AIM
Now I have the fun of making these two clever pieces.

And I think I have just the right fabric. I have this light-weight burnt orange corduroy. I'm thinking it would be perfect for the over-vest. Or maybe combine it with some of Louise's Japanese cotton that I have been hoarding for a while has been aging nicely in my stash.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

pants, pants, pants

V7881 - slacks?
While working on a pants muslin, it occurred to me that I've heard this more than once. Pants fit can be classified into 3 categories:

  • trousers - crotch is low and does not touch the body
  • slacks- crotch is more closely fitted but still stands away from the body a bit
  • jeans - crotch is tightly fitted up against the body, causing a cupping in under the buttocks*

Sarah Veblen's book cover

I think I finally understand. Hooray for experiential learning. And pictures. Sarah Veblen covers pants fitting in her book The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting. Nice pix.

V8546 - trousers?
Pants fit is considered, perhaps, the most difficult of fitting. We are all shaped so differently. And the shape of the lower torso changes when you sit and when you stand. I noticed that because my gym has these horrible mirrors everywhere.

V1115 - jeans?
I hope to muslin 2-4 pants patterns. Sure do wish the descriptions were more precise about the crotch fit. Even the Claire Shaeffer pants pattern envelope is vague about the fit.

And I also like a pull-on pant like TSW plaza pants and CLD's one-seams. I'm thinking those are really trousers. Maybe.

*a cute look when you have a rounded posterior.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Night Results

As I watch the US election results discussed, cussed, and fussed about,  I feel lucky to have such a satisfying hobby. It doesn't make anyone mad and makes me (mostly) smile.

I am keenly aware of this when a project proceeds smoothly. Take this jacket - Louise Cutting's By Popular Demand. It contains her signature instructions that are clearly articulated, thoroughly illustrated.

I was influenced by Margy of A Fool for Fabric and her way cool biker styling. She looks so very chic and hip in her jeans jackets. And I began to notice that often, as leaving the house, I wished for casual jacket to toss on. BPD may be just right.

Also I recently purchased this hand-woven Guatemalan fabric from a vendor at a quilt show. I love the colors and the mood of the weave which also seems to work with a jeans jacket.

The fabric did present a few challenges. Since it is hand-woven, it ravels easily and quickly. Also the fabric is only 36 inches wide. The stripes are symmetric around the center fold. I was able to manipulate the stripe successfully with one exception.
bias binding on inside

And I'll never tell.

Next up, buttonholes and buttons. I am auditioning these wooden buttons.

Then I hope to start wearing it. A lot.

And, now, back to the election coverage. I may have to eat chocolate.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October leaves; November remains

Happy Halloween to all.

Just a little end-of-month sewing. Too light-weight for now but I'll wear these in the spring.

Cutting Line Designs Pure & Simple shell, plus one-seams in tapered style.
Dark navy linen with a touch of sashiko

Next up? Coat? Jacket? Shirt? Pants? Small gifts? We'll see.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Take Me Anywhere (view A)

Here is my version of the latest pattern from Cutting Line Designs (CLD) - Take Me Anywhere (TMA).

Her patterns are such fun if you love reading accurate and thorough instructions along with appropriate and clear illustrations. Is there anything better?

I used to think so. I used to think that instructions were superfluous. No more. I'm a convert and like all converts, I can easily preach on the subject.

But I won't today.

So what do I love about this pattern?

  • Interesting double collar with equally interesting and almost foolproof instructions
  • Hem longer in back
  • CLD signature sleeve insertion
  • CLD signature hidden placket - also nearly foolproof
  • Hidden pocket
  • Styling that I feel good wearing
I used fabric that was gifted by a good friend when she purged her stash recently. She donated it to the guild via me. Wink.

The fabric was a sarong, mostly cotton. It seemed cotton when I  burned it, but I think I failed to burn a representative piece of it. It may contain a bit of something else - wool? rayon? In any case it was easy to sew and easy to press. Nothing melted.

I also used some remnants from other shirting cottons of the same weight - tiny navy blue check and a blue striped shirting. I also added some quasi-cuffs. 

Now that it's nearly complete, I getting a table cloth vibe. Perish the thought. I had such a great time constructing it. And I'm going to wear it.

still need buttons
bias strip at shoulder seam*

hidden pocket

Just realized that this is SAM7. Am I really that far behind???

*some matching issues due to size of sari and repeat in pattern.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

One Easy Piece

Vogue 8546 - neckline
Easy but not fast.

This is an easy jacket made from out-of-print Vogue 8546. I was inspired to make it when a friend at City Wide Couture showed her version of this jacket during show and tell. 

In a serendipitous moment, I unearthed the pattern from my stash. Serendipitous and a little amazing given the state of my pattern storage.

Color pretty close
The pattern is one of those five easy pieces patterns from Vogue: jacket, a top, a dress, pants and a skirt. The jacket has two-piece raglan sleeves and a cut-on hood (part of the front). There are also in-seam pockets. So simple.

The pockets are in-seam but are a single layer, top-stitched on the wrong side of the fronts. I toyed with the idea of making them of lining fabric, two-layer and loose, but finally followed the instructions. 

The fabric is a light weight wool, from Waechter's in Asheville NC. Color is called tobacco. It was a dream to sew - stable, yet with good drape.
not true color

Because I wanted a single layer jacket, I finished the seams. First I sewed a standard 5/8 inch seam. Then I pressed the seams open. Lastly, I hand-stitched the edges of the seams under about 1/4 inch.

Love a hoodie
I did the same with the pockets which I do not totally love. This technique on a light weight fabric calls attention to the seams. I like that on most of the seams. The jacket has such simple lines that it needs a little something. 

So I added sashiko in a gold silk thread. Hmmm. Still needed something, so I wrapped the gold thread with black pearl cotton thread. 

The hem of the jacket and the sleeve hems are finished with a bias strip from a striped silk - a favorite technique of mine. Stripes are such fun.

This jacket will be worn a lot. It will be a great layer, I think.

In your stash too?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Rainy Day Sewing

Next time I'll do this during the debate. It's best not to watch. That way I cannot clench my fists.

Too bad I can still grind my teeth and bite my lip.

Yet with such a lovely piece of wool, all is zen. It is a rich medium brown with a pretty texture. Waechter's in Ashevill NC calls the color tobacco.

I'm making a single layer coat from an OOP Vogue pattern - Vogue 8546 - one from the five easy pieces line. A 3/4 length jacket - raglan sleeves, hood, in seam pockets. Easy seams to hand  finish.

Hand sewing is a favorite activity when I travel and have a little down time. Tho I brought my featherweight, it's nice to have needle, thread and good fabric in my hands. Portable, soothing, contemplative.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Growing a 6PAC

Vogue 8546, brown pin-striped linen

5PAC: Vogue 8839 jacket in ponte knits, TSW Ann's Tank, TSW eDress, both in ponte knit, TSW mimosa pants and shell in cotton/lycra solid brown

6PAC: V8561 skirt in brown striped linen, TSW eDress, V8546 jacket in linen, TSW mimosa pants and shell in cotton/lycra solid Brown, Christine Jonson shell
In a previous post, I indicated that an evolving approach to the 6PAC would be best for me. It has grown two branches, each starting with TSW mimosa fitted pants and a matching shell in a solid brown cotton/lycra canvas fabric. The shell is a much modified version of Cynthia Guffey's simple princess lined dress.

After making the initial brown column, I made the Marcy Tilton jacket (V8839) in ponte knits. Then I was stuck. So I returned to the column and make a brown striped skirt from another Marcy Tilton pattern - 8561. So then I had two 3PACS and and I was stuck.

Finally I grew the gray and brown PAC to 5 pieces:

  • fitted brown pants
  • fitted brown shell
  • jacket in brown and gray ponte knits
  • eDress, also in brown and gray ponte knits
  • gray ponte knit shell
And the gray and white PAC grew to 6 pieces:
  • fitted brown pants
  • fitted brown shell
  • brown and white striped skirt
  • brown and white jacket
  • eDress in coordinating poly knit
  • shell in same coordinating poly knit
The final test is this - what just hangs in the closet and what is worn? I have a hunch it will be mostly the set with linen. I just love linen.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Santa Fe Weaving Gallery - Margot Selby

Oh.My.Goodness - such wonderful textiles.

If you are unfamiliar with Santa Fe Weaving Gallery, you may want to sign up for their newsletter. They have divine art-to-wear. Elegant. Wearable.

Right now they have pieces from Margot Selby. I was not familiar with her but I am totally in love with her colors, her shapes, her textures.

Maybe someday, if I am very good, I will get to see these pieces in person, or some of her future pieces.

In the meantime, this is such an inspiration for creative clothing sewers like me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fiber Play

Leaving Lubbock, 11x14 (about)

Swatches of unknown fiber - plastic? poly?
A very small challenge from a small group - trying to use some swatches from the home dec store...Added some other fibers - Brussels washer linen-rayon, cotton batik, Thai silk, heavy variegated threads.

Still learning

After a half century of sewing it still happens. Often when I least expect it.

Take vogue 8793 for example. This slightly funky T is almost universally loved on PR. And with good reason:

  • Nice fit
  • Clever double collar
  • Artful opportunities
  • Simple clear instructions

Still I found it to be one of those learning opportunities. So what did I learn?

Choose compatible knits - compatible in weight but also value. My collar pieces are too heavy for the body. Even the color values are wrong I think.

I will make it again. It's cute. I like it.
Hot pink zipper detail