Friday, July 12, 2013

Done and Undone

And done again. But it still might evolve after I wear it a bit.

This shirt was a gift from a friend. (Thanks, Ginny!) She gave me permission to take it with me to DOL where Diane Ericson gave me some excellent ideas to try out on it.

It started out as a nice 100% linen shirt. A classic big shirt, or at least that's the way it fit me. Very long, dropped shoulder. Sleeves finished with conventional placket and cuff.

Here is what I've done (so far):

  • Removed the collar, left the collar stand, inserted a brown and white linen bias strip where the collar had been.
  • Added a raw-edge circle to the back yoke.
  • Removed the sleeves and moved the shoulder line up even with my shoulder blades.
  • Opened the side seam, added linen bias binding to armscye and side seams. Lapped the front side seam over the back. Top-stitched in place, leaving a vent at the bottom.
  • Removed the two pleats in the back in hopes of gaining some of the inches I lost with the previous step.
  • When that didn't work I removed the buttons, covered button holes with new buttons, inserted a strip down the front with new buttonholes. It now buttons the other way.
  • Removed the breast pocket and created a second one from one of the sleeves. Placed the two pockets low on the front.
  • Added gusset-type inserts so my bra won't show. It may become a vest but it's too hot for a vest right now.
  • Added and removed sashiko circles all over it.

Here is what I haven't done (yet):

  • Dye
  • Paint
  • Stamp
  • Stencil
  • Screen print
And it needs some kind of sashiko or hand-stitch. Still thinking. Hoping I don't take it past the point of wear-ability, veering into clown wear.

Original shirt

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Permission to Play Freely, Sir

I'm not sure why, but sometimes I think I need to grant myself permission to play. And then I expect everything to be perfect. Or at least chic.

Today I played. Or maybe I just willed myself to play.

Sometimes (maybe mostly), my first idea is best. Version 1 was better than version 2 which was boring. And version 3 was ugly. So back to version 1. 

Fabrics in my on-going DOL piece

It started at Design Outside the Lines (DOL) - a RTW shirt that a friend gave me. And she gave me permission to give it a spin with Diane Ericson at DOL. I'm still spinning.

I love the piece of printed linen in the picture. The colors are richer in reality. It's a piece from Sawyer Brook that I initially found to be a disappointment because it is printed slightly off grain. 

Now I find myself incorporating it into lots of pieces as an accent, sometimes a hidden accent. It's funny how a piece of fabric can have that effect. In fact, I would have to say that, after Diane Ericson, this fabric is the primary influence on my on-going DOL project.

Yesterday I did finish this simple piece I started at DOL.  It was fun because it reminds me of the wonderful time I had at that retreat. And I thoroughly enjoyed the play with paint.

laugh until you are in stitches
We were all given a piece of cotton canvas, maybe 15x24. A nice surface for experimentation. 

And one of my personal goals at DOL was to become more comfortable with painted fabric. My first few tries were uninspired. Then after seeing some layering being done by Sharon at DOL, I decided to just paint over my first try. Some of the initial screen printing is still visible, which I rather like. The silk screens are from Marcy Tilton.

Given the French theme, I lined this bag with some cotton I purchased in Paris, or maybe Arls (in Provence) in 2004. It is almost the last of the Provençial cotton I brought back. More fond memories.

Now back to version 1..

Friday, July 5, 2013

Now Sewing...

CLD's Ebb lengthened
Aren't you glad you cannot see the side slits? Me, too.
Summer pieces.

I've been working on some projects started at Design Outside the Line, but took a little break to complete one work-in-progress from early June, and then a simple summer top, inspired by an DOL work-in-progress (to be blogged later - it's still marinating on the dress form).

First was the linen swimsuit cover up cut from CLD's Ebb (of Ebb and Flow). I lengthened it and left the side slits open to the marked spot. Way too high up on my hip, even as a swim suit cover up.

After reading a recent post on blue mooney's blog, I decided I would make the Ebb on my mother's old Singer from 1950.

It is such a pleasure to use. It makes a soft, solid sound as it glides over fabric. I should do this more often.

And it is a sound that reminds me of good times with my mother.

After I completed the Ebb, I took pictures of me wearing it. Oh, what I learn from pictures. Especially the ones that get deleted quickly.

It should be easy to fix this, I think.

Now I'm wondering if I'll be able to actually get into my swimsuit. Argh!

CLD's Ebb detail
sweet closure in the front - might add sashiko
I need chocolate!

Next I made my second top from CLD's Anything But Ordinary. What a great little summer top! The first one was straight from the pattern tissue - no changes. It is very plain but just the kind of top I love in the summer.
My first ABO top. Linen/cotton blend with Buffalo Nickle button on tab and silk patch in back
The second has lengthened sleeves and I omitted the tab at the shoulder. It is made from a yummy piece of silk noil - cinnamon. Even more basic, so I used a linen print for the neck and sleeve facings.

CLD's ABO top
Second ABO. Silk noil. I will wear it with the sleeve hem folded down, not up.

And that's how I celebrated birth of the USA! How about you? I hope you are having a terrific weekend and enjoying your sewing.

Monday, July 1, 2013


Returning from my first Design Outside the Lines retreat with Marcy Tilton and Diane Ericson, I imagine myself as a kind-of astronaut re-entering my own atmosphere. Changed, yet still me.

Diane taught me to think of refashioning existing garments in an entirely new way. In fact, I am now working on a piece that I started with her ideas at retreat. She has taught me to think creatively first, then reach into the bag of (technical) tricks in order to create the imaginings.

Marcy has encouraged me to trust my own creativity and to give it voice. She has modeled the deeply important act of encouraging other creatives. And we are all creatives.

The women who attended the retreat reminded me just how generous, fun, and nurturing a group of women can be.

Thanks to all!