Saturday, December 28, 2013

Grand Kimonos

And on the third day of Christmas...
finished these sometime during the 11th hour.

The first one is unlined, constructed with quilt cottons. I used a kimono pattern from one of my old Ottobre magazines. Here it is almost finished.
It is for my tallish 4YO grand. Here it is finished with the cotton knit tee and leggings I blogged about previously..

Next up is the one for my 7YO grand. Hers is lined with a horse-themed linen dish towel. It got lined primarily so that I could incorporate that dish towel. In fact, it's reversible which is easy to do with the cross-over ties. Lining is much more fun to make than facing. I should have realized that.
Face fabric is quilt cotton with carousel horses and letters.

Lining with horse markings (she already knew them, as it happens)

And then of course kimonos for the dolls:

And this makes my heart sing.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Grand Sewing

Last-minute, still a pleasure though, these are pieces made for my Grands. Luckily we don't celebrate until the 27th so I still have a little time.

Four pair of leggings were made out of cotton jersey - two for grandgirls, two for dolls. Actually the versions for the dolls are not true leggings. My first attempt were more like clam diggers. The second attempt produced slim cut pants, but still not true leggings. Finally I decided that true leggings would be hard for little hands to manipulate, even if I could really make something useful that tiny.

I know about people who make Barbie doll clothes. I admire that. So gorgeous, Sharon!

At one time, many years ago, I made Barbie doll clothes for my own dolls. American Girl doll clothes are sufficiently fussy for me today.

The leggings for real girls are made from an old Ottobre pattern. I make clothing for the grands based on their recorded heights. It works out mostly fine. I did complete the elastic waists in the old-fashioned style so that it will be easy to adjust once the grandgirls are here and can try these on.

The T-shirts are also from the old Ottobre patterns, based on the heights. Because these pieces are all made from knits, fit can be a little off and still be fine. And I've got my fingers firmly crossed.

Next up, kimonos for two grandgirls and two AG dolls.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Bags and other vessels

Every year at this time, I find myself making small gift bags. I think it must be frustration with the reality that there is no time to make actual gifts. Something about small bags beckons to me.

Here is a draw string bag I made for a pair of fold-up scissors. It was a gift to take to a sewing group party.

Sewing these circular draw string bags is easy, starting with a tracing of a dinner plate. Trace and cut two circles. Use a dessert plate to chalk in the line for a channel, about 2 inches inside the outer circle.

The face fabric on this one is a scrap of cotton batik. The lining is a luminous silk scrap.

The first sewing step is machining two button holes on the outer/face fabric. I make the two button holes on opposite sides of the circle aligned with the tracing for the channel . Because this is just one layer of fabric, it helps to slip some stabilizer under the buttonhole area before machining the button holes.

Next I sew the two circles right sides together with a 1/4 inch SA, leaving an opening wide enough for my hand in the bias area. After turning these inside out, I steam press the circle. Then I invisibly stitch the opening closed. I find it easier to complete a smooth arc on the opening when I hand sew on the bias rather than the straight of grain.

Next I sew the channel. making it about 1/2 inch wide, centering the button holes on the channel.

Lastly I thread the cording, usually rayon rat tail, because it threads so smoothly. I make sure the cording passes through the channel twice as that makes it easier to use as drawstrings.

Sometimes I tie the ends together and make it decorative. Other times I machine stitch them together and make sure they are inside the channel and not visible.

Here is a gift bag I made for the gift certificate we gave the fabulous leader of that group. The gift certificate, an idea that I resist, needed a fabric vessel. This was an opportunity for sashiko, sort of. I love this primitive stitch.

The face fabric is silk dupioni; the interior is quilt cotton. The face fabric was interlined with cotton flannel to support the hand-stitch. The quilt cotton was beefed up with fusible interfacing. The interior has one plain pocket and one zippered pocket. The edges were finished with a standard bias binding.

I've made several draw string bags that are winging their way to the bottom of a Christmas tree. And then a few nights ago, feeling restless with a need to create, resisting the need to shop, I made this machine quilted bag.

Black silk dupioni, machine quilted with a rayon thread

Lastly there are these little fleece gloves made for 4YO grandson. Another vessel for the treasure of his cold little hands.

I think I'm done with vessels for the moment. Time to move on to the really last minute hand-made gifts.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Marking Winter Solstice

Then cutting
Now sewing

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Liberty Classic

Some years back, I made the Liberty Shirt from The Sewing Workshop. I love it and still wear it often. And, as is often the case when I love a pattern, I said to myself, I will make this again. But I didn't. Then Linda Lee came out with a Craftsy class on sewing with silk. And it features the Liberty Shirt. I signed up for that and said to myself, I will make this again. But I didn't.

Finally I wanted something new to wear to a sewing party. This pretty piece of silk had been in my stash a while, washed and ready to cut. It is silk dupioni but has finer finish than some I have sewed. In fact the first Liberty I made had washed (and dried) gray silk dupioni. Much rougher than this. I'm happy I didn't machine dry this lovely blue piece. This way, I can still wash it when needed and avoid dry cleaning. And it retains that lovely sheen.

It was a dream to sew. I just had to have a light hand with the iron. It responds to hand pressing like a good linen, and doesn't produce many wrinkles, again like a good linen. I'm sure I bought it a Gail K.

And then it needed pearls. Shell buttons in a pearl shade. And then the necklace.

That is probably old lady jewelry, but I am fond of pearls. I bought these in Hong Kong back in the 80's when my job took me there. They are light and warm to the touch. And at 63, I've earned old lady jewelry so I guess I'll just embrace it.

Great pattern, I really should make it again.

Some things to like about this pattern:

  • The back wraps to the front with mitered corners at the hem.
  • The collar is almost a Peter Pan collar when folded down, but ripples nicely when up.
  • The sleeves are simple but have a vent so that it looks good folded back a little.
  • By stitching down the facing, a princess seam is produced. Vertical lines are my friend. 
Here is the favorite old version of the Liberty shirt:
Back was an interesting printed ombre cotton
Left side - silk dupioni; right side printed cotton

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Before and After

Weaving it together, adding small pieces
I've always been drawn to make-overs, and viewing the *before* and *after.* Guess I'm always hoping to see something I can do to completely revolutionize the way I look. Best not to hope for that though. Could go badly.

This before and after stems from an experiment dyeing with pomegranate peel. It's not a pure process with me. First I used an aluminum pot, the only one I have right now dedicated to such experiments. Then I added some rusty nails and other rusted bits. Still, I was surprised by the colors that emerged.

Jude calls these additions the *saddening* of the color. These are certainly not bright cheerful colors. Made me a little sad. So I added some bright pieces to the weaving. Still working on the stitching.

Here are the Before and After pictures, in case you too like that sort of thing:

More cotton


Silk noil, herringbone tweed

Silk dupioni, over-dyed