Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Vogue Pattern Sale

There is one of those wonderful sales over on ClubBMV. And these are the two winging their way to my house...
Vogue 8954 - Marcy Tilton's Vest - might be great with some special remnants

Vogue 8966 - Marcy Tilton - really like the smallish hat.

Meanwhile I'm working on View A of Marcy's coat pattern, Vogue 8934, this time as a jacket. I'm using a small piece of mud cloth as accent, loosely following the patched version on the envelope.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Color Play

During the last few weeks, I've been away from home more than not. I carry some portable project(s) with me so that I can make a few stitches here and there. A way to meditate in public.

These three projects form a sort of triptych, playing with solid colors and reverse applique.

Back in August I posted the first one, in progress. Even then I was trying to learn to create an effect that I've enjoyed seeing over at multicoloredpieces. This fiber artist lives and works in Tunisia, posting art from nature, art from fiber, art from the heart. Her applique *wings* are just wonderful. Oh, to be able to create such gorgeous pieces!

I have not been able to recreate her work. And, as it turns out, that is a good thing. If I attempt to copy a technique from someone else, I tend to change some aspect of it, not deliberately, not even consciously. It is an organic adaptation (or creation) into what works for me. I modify the technique (as I understand it) to fit my skills, as well as my interests.

The author of multicoloredpieces posts works-in-progress, but I cannot figure out exactly how she does what she does. Being a lifetime student and academic, I'd love for her to post a tutorial. Cut right to the chase. But I do learn more this way. And perhaps it becomes mine in some sense.

That said, here are some of my attempts. I'm not sure where they will go, but I think they will go together.

I have completed the reverse applique on this first one. I've basted it to cotton flannel and begun to add decorative or sashiko-style stitching. I tried layering some other solid colored fabrics on top but found the result to be jarring.

The above is the second one. The reverse applique is complete and I'm ready to add some batting or other layer to support some decorative stitching. The blue tones are pretty close, so I hope the stitching will give it more character and interest.

This third one is applique-in-progress and my technique is (perhaps) easy to see. In case it's not, here is what I have done. I used Jude Hill's (see her wonderful blog here) invisible baste to attach two pieces of fabric, wrong side of the top one next to right side of the bottom one. Then I use sharp scissors to cut the top layer only for several inches. After creating this opening in the top fabric, I use the tip of my finger to turn the raw edge under and applique it in place. I cut several inches, stitch parts down, and cut some more, and repeat.

This is pretty standard reverse applique. The only difference is that I am not following a pattern. Instead, I start with a blank slate formed by the top layer of fabric. Then I peal away the design. It is as close as I can come to what I understand happens with a sculptor. I am definitely not a sculptor, but it is fun to imagine that my design is organically revealing itself within the two layers of fabric.

Here is a detail picture of the third one. You can see the raw edge right in the middle next to where I have pins holding the raw edge under, as I approach it with my threaded needle. Much of the surrounding area is already appliqued in place. 

I am home for a while (I hope), I am continuing to enjoy this play with fabric, thread, and color. I'm trying another way to introduce additional fabrics into an applique piece. I want the design to emerge as I stitch. I don't want to plan too much. So much more interesting to me.

I hope you are enjoying color in your world.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Euro Pant Vogue 8929

Vogue 8929 is Marcy Tilton's Euro Pant. The pattern envelope comes with 4 views - A and B are quite similar, C and D are paired also. I am just finishing my (wearable) muslin for view D. I used some gifted stretch denim to mimic a stretch woven I purchased from Marcy.

Oh, the *wearable* muslin, that overly optimistic, aspirational garment. Made with fabric you are willing to trash but something you wouldn't mind wearing.

Well, I say, why not make a wearable muslin! Otherwise I end up with all these un-wearable-muslins. I feel bad just throwing it away. Maybe I should whack them into small pieces to stuff a dog pillow.

Anyway back to Vogue 8929. Marcy had a pair at the Sister's Design Outside the Lines retreat in June. I was so thrilled to see them there. And it simply served to ramp up my anticipation for the publication in Vogue.

Great styling. Tapered leg with a gusset on the inseam. How sharp that would be in leather. Even without a contrast it is a subtle nod to chaps.

And such perfect pockets! The manner of construction makes it easy to adjust the pants width slightly without losing the pockets. I don't think I've ever seen that. I typically omit the pockets figuring I'm going to need all the room available for my high-hip fluff.

Then there is the elastic back waist band which solves a fit issue I have - gaposis between the waist and the high hip fluff. It also means that they are so very comfortable.

The front waistband sits flatly on a not-flat surface. Magic.

Speaking of the waistband, there is a slight error in the tissue. There are two waist band pieces - one for the right and one for the left. This seems like a good idea given the fly application. But the two pieces are actually completely identical. In order to make these with the fly, it would be good to add about 1/2 " to the front edge of the left waistband, I think.

Yes, there is a real, live fly application. I don't believe I've ever applied a full-blown fly treatment. I'm pretty good at mock flies but I had never tried the real thing. The instructions were surprisingly good, though I would have loved a detailed drawing of the finished fly showing the under layer.

Lastly, amazingly, they actually fit. As I was making these, I was thinking how easy it would be to overlay my TNT fitted pants, but I really wanted to try this out with all of the details mentioned above. And I am one of those rare birds who can actually wear some pants made right out of the envelope, with a bit of tweaking for my flat butt. At least they tend to fit if I am honest about my measurements. And these are comfort pants so fit is less of an issue, I think.

I'm pleased with my first version of the Euro Pant. They are too short to wear until the spring arrives. So I'm going to go ahead and cut into my nice black stretch woven fabric from Marcy.

Planned changes:

1. Add 11 inches at the lengthen/shorten line below the knee on the front piece, the back piece, and the gusset. Actually there is another error on the gusset. It is about 1 inch longer than the adjacent front and back pieces, so I'll only need to add 10 inches to the gusset. (I'm wondering if I accidentally cut the pants off at the view C line, rather than the view D line - 11 inches is a lot!)

2. Omit the back darts. With the elastic waist in the back, the darts serve very little purpose and increased the bulk quite a bit with the denim.

3. I'm also going to use the front waistband for view C, rather than going with the fly treatment. My faithful Bernina with its perfect buttonholer is cooling its heels at the shop while we wait for the part to arrive from some distant galaxy. So no point is working hard on a fly treatment only to ruin it with an inferior buttonhole made on my mid 70's Futura. A patient person would probably wait.

Can't wait to make the black version now.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

More Tees, More Travel

Can you ever make too many Ultimate T-Shirts? I think not.

Not when there are still variations to be tried. And they are so great for travel.

This year has involved way more travel than I'm used to - Texas, Washington state, Oregon, South Carolina, Italy (blog posting soon) and finally (maybe) New Hampshire. Tees are so easy to pack and easy to wear. Not so easy to wash (those rayon knits take forever to dry) but packability and wearabilty trump washability. Oh, and they layer beautifully.

Now I do enjoy making a shirt with men's wear styling. Love those interesting details and comfortable cotton shirting fabrics, but I just unpacked one and it looks awful. Not so for the Ultimate T-Shirts packed in the suitcase underneath everything else. They actually look pretty good.

Thank you, Katherine and Marcy, for re-introducing me to T-shirts. I think when I'm back home I'll listen/watch your Ultimate T-Shirt class again while sewing. Maybe on another T-shirt or two.

Here are two I just finished:

Vogue 8793 made with a digitally printed rayon knit from Marcy Tilton

Vogue 8793 made with another pairing of rayon fabrics from Marcy Tilton
Finished a Katherine Tilton (Butterick 5891) vest just in time for the current trip, as well. I like it as a summer top but I adore it as a fall vest.

This one is made from a ponte knit, also purchased from Marcy Tilton. It's a double cloth, brown on one side and black on the other, a medium weight knit. When I finished, it was decidedly a yawner. Or maybe just a sleeper. I added a little black sashiko to highlight the pretty lines of the design. And I've started wearing it. But it needs something more. Maybe some Alabama-Chanin-reverse-applique with the black side. I don't want to go too far because then it becomes unwearable.

That is one of my current personal challenges. When does wearable art become unwearable? I know when it's not artful. You know, you can just see that something else is needed. The trick is knowing when to stop.

Perhaps food for thought, or something for a future post.