Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Art or Craft

The latest issue of American Craft magazine contains an editorial on the question of the difference between art and craft. The term art may carry more panache than the word craft. Yet, craft has its own place with its sometimes implied ethnic edge.

The editor provided one interesting difference between art and craft that carries no stigma - craft is more often associated with usefulness whereas art is ... well, I don't know ... what is art?

I won't settle that question, but I will put forward as a candidate for both art and (fine) craft these sleeves designed by Diane Ericson in her Fault Lines pattern. They are brilliantly designed so as to capture the 3D aspect of a garment, as well as the expected softness. 

Aren't they just lovely? And look at how they hang once inserted into the armscye:

A well designed sleeve will sometimes have an elbow dart. See how that dart is artfully integrated into the seam that wraps from back towards the front? Just brilliant.

I must admit that I was dubious about the instructions. And intimidated. It's only fabric so I let go and followed them, but set the stitch length just a little longer than usual. And I was glad I did, because my first try failed ... not because the instructions were wrong. No, I second-guessed Diane and went my own way and learned my own way. rip, rip, rip.

Diane's instructions for the construction of this sleeve are spot-on. And a wonderful little puzzle.

In the picture below you can see how the front piece (the longer of the two) gets wrapped around the finished corner of the back piece.
Sleeve on top shows the finished back corner pinned to the other sleeve seam, before the front piece is wrapped over it. The front piece (with black interfacing) is wrapped over it in the sleeve on the bottom, and you can see that the vertical sleeve seam has been stitched down through all layers.

And here is how it looks before the lining is attached. You can see how the wrapping causes the seam to be pressed towards the front (the longer portion of the cuff).

The fabric is a medium weight linen which is just a dream to sew.

I will look forward to making this sleeve again now. I hope you will too!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Threaded Potpourri

Organic Fibers
Now sewing. Various projects, all feeding my need to make.

My interest in reverse applique is continuing with the triptych. There is a detail of its progress at left. The applique is probably complete so now it is a meditative way to just stitch, outlining and decorating.

5X7 Challenge in silk and linen
Fiber Art Fusion has a 5x7 challenge each December. We eat dinner and exchange the little pieces. It's a good way to see what people are doing with fiber. For me, it had to be applique augmented with stitch.

Even a non-sewing project like changing the chair covers. I was surprised by how satisfying this was.
left-old; right-new

A friend in my book group brought in four quilts from her husband's family, a nice viewing given that we were reading a book about relationships formed over needle and thread (Prayers for Sale). Then she said that they were no longer wanted in her family. I was so fortunate to take home a 7 foot by 7 foot whole cloth piece with lots of lovely appliqued poppies, scalloped edges, a few stains and tatters. I'm thinking of replacing the very worn binding as that is where the bites are located. I cannot decide what to do about the stains. The colors are amazingly bright and the batting is white flannel. Can this really be from 1937???
Someone loved making this.

Speaking of old quilts, this one was made 25 years ago by my daughter. A kind woman in Princeton gathered a small group of 11 year olds and taught them to quilt. Free form. Not many rules. Great opportunity for them to express themselves. And she has used it all these years, now putting it on her own daughter's bed. 

It had become frail and torn in some places and, because it was tied together, it was a bit lumpy. She entrusted it to me to repair so that granddaughter could continue to sleep under it. I added butterflies to cover the places where the batting (an old blanket) was exposed. And added quilting lines plus a new binding to hold it together for maybe another 25 years. I like that thought.
Daughter loved making this.

And I continue to work on Diane Ericson's Fault Lines pattern. This is a pattern that looks simple but is not. It is a puzzler and so I work on it only when I'm fresh. The undershirt is composed of 4 pieces and looks so basic, yet I sewed and unsewed many times to get the inside finish and outside look the way I wanted it. It will change more once the jacket is further along. It is a lovely design and a great way to stretch myself. Working with bias is magical.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Vogue 8934, perfect after all!

View B
In my last post, I listed two errors in view B of this pattern. I stand corrected. Now that I (maybe) understand the construction of the placket, all the pieces fit together. Thanks to Dixie of With Needle and Brush for gently helping me understand.

It is a clever hidden placket, in fact. I may have to make this a third time just to try that cool hidden placket.

You can see in the pattern instructions (picture at left) that the outside vertical band goes all the way up to the neck edge, whereas the inside vertical band (really the fly for the placket) stops at the collar's lower edge.

So, the outside collar piece has to be shorter than the inside collar piece, Now I get it. You probably got it a long time ago, if you have worked with this pattern.

And...the error I mentioned in the lining for the front of B...totally operator error. Oh, my.

So, so sorry for documenting errors that are not there!

Bottom line - this is a GREAT pattern. Now go buy it, if you haven't already.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Vogue 8934, the jacket version

Do you see the 3 pockets?
Vogue 8934, version 2, continues to be great fun, especially now that I have my sweet Bernina 440 up and running again. This piece is almost finished; button auditions are in process.

My first version of Vogue 8934 was a hybrid of the two views. It was lined like view B, but I omitted the hidden placket and instead used buttons like that shown in View A.

This second version is loosely based on view A. The face fabric is a medium weight black linen that is soft from washing. I interlined it with radiance (a blend of silk and cotton) by channel quilting the two layers together. This was done after cutting but prior to construction, so it was constructed as an unlined jacket. Two discarded men's ties and some remnants of an afternoon of fabric dyeing give the interior a little color via a Hong Kong seam finish.

Jacket interlined with silk-cotton radiance
I cut it as a jacket, rather than a coat, omitting the distinctive hem darts. It retains the face-framing collar and front band, a favorite feature of this pattern. I cut my hem straight across so that it would drop down a bit on the sides, creating a slight flare or swing.

A small piece of  black-and-cream mud cloth has been languishing in my stash for number of years.  It was about 3 inches by 18 inches. I've wanted to use it previously, but found it was too small to be useful. As little accent pieces, there is just enough. In fact I have one small square of it left over.

Mud cloth strip down the back

The accent piece on the lower right is also a pocket. And the diamond shaped pieces on the sleeves are pockets (that is, open on one side, but let's face it, I'm not stashing a twenty in either of the sleeve pockets). As I look at the pictures, it looks like those sleeve pieces might be better a little higher up. Maybe like elbow patches? Or maybe not.

This jacket has reached the wearable stage but it will likely evolve a bit more. Though it is still a little plain, it does go with black linen pants made back in August (Vogue 7881, my TNT fitted pants thanks to Pam Howard). It creates a kind of casual suit.

I pinned the two chunky white buttons on to see how they look. I think they might work if there were three, but I only have two. If I go with such large buttons, then I'll use large snaps, not machined button holes.

Vogue 8934 is one of those styles with very classic, lovely lines. Good bones, I think.

Errata for Vogue 8934 view B:

Piece 18 (front lining B) is almost unnecessary. I recommend cutting the front lining from piece 1, just as the outer fabric. In fact 18 is smaller (dips down at the neck edge) than the piece (1) it lines. The only helpful difference is that the darts in 18 are more shallow, leading to some helpful excess in the lining..

Piece 22 (collar facing B) seems to be unnecessary also. It is so much larger than the piece it faces that something would have to be whacked off at the center front, or you could layer it under the front band. Instead of piece 22, I recommend use of piece 11 (Collar A, B) for both collar and facing. Interface the collar. I would consider using lining for the facing if the outer fabric is something like a scratchy wool.

Nov 5, 2013 update: I now *get it.* The placket is interesting and clever and I am easy to confuse, at times. Sorry.

Friday, November 1, 2013

7½ weeks

That's how long it took for the broken part on my Bernina 440 to come in and be installed at the local Bernina dealer.

48 hours - that's how long it took for the new Ott light bulb to arrive from Amazon, and it only cost $11. Yippee!

I am a happy sewer today: The sun is shining so I can see the black thread and fabric as it goes under the lovely 440 foot. The new Ott light bulb is installed so when the sun goes behind the clouds I can still see.

So I shoved all the mess in my sewing room to the back of the closet cleaned and organized my sewing room to welcome the 440 home. I should apologize to several patient sewing friends who have listened to me the past weeks. And I should be grateful that I have back-up.

The B-team:
Has some nice features like a walking foot but not-so-nice buttonhole feature and it's unreliable.

Seriously sweet and totally reliable. No walking foot nor buttonhole feature.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Yes, it's a good day in my neighborhood. How about yours?