Friday, February 28, 2014

A Simple Skirt

DGD1 just designed and helped me sew this sweet little skirt. It was so easy to make. And it is so cute on her. I'm almost tempted to make one for me. Almost.

It is a pencil skirt, or we used to say, a straight skirt. It contains inverted kick pleats on each side. And the waistband is elastic. Her hips are small and so the elastic does not gather it much.

The fabrics are an unexpected combination, at least to me. But I think she nailed it.

It is composed of 4 rectangles - one each for the front and the back (mostly pink and white), then 8 inch wide rectangles for the kick pleats(mostly gray and pink).

We sewed the four rectangles together in a cylinder - front, pleat, back, pleat. Then we sewed the fronts to the backs, enclosing the pleats down to about 8 inches above the raw hem edge.

Then we inserted elastic and she tried it on. Still no hem. She won't take it off.

I like the T shirt with it. Also unexpected for me. Guess she's much more tuned into these things.

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Simple Top

The fabric for this tee is a red rayon jersey. It is a true-blue-red though that is hard to capture in a photograph. A cheerful color, or maybe a loud color. Pure red.

The pattern is my TNT Vogue 8793, a Katherine Tilton design. It's the one with the zipper trim around the neck. I never successfully made one with the zip trim, but I love the way it fits.

There are only 5 pieces even if you count the neck band. But it is rayon jersey which is, well, not always cooperative. I mostly held my breath and muttered while making this and I only had to unstitch a few times.

After I finished it, I was catching up on blogs that I follow. Are you familiar with the Rusty Bobbin? If not, then you should be. She makes such lovely pieces and has a wonderful sense of humor. I bring her up here because she just finished a top using similar fabric. She said it was like sewing jello to toilet paper. Yep.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Simple Quilt

Sometimes I relish the simple projects. I need to make, but it need not always be a brain teaser. From time to time, it is more restful to make something fairly predictable. Predictability can be soothing.

This quilt is based loosely on a traditional quilt pattern - the trip around the world. I've made the totally traditional version. It was large and, boy, was it a yawner to make. This quilt, on the other hand, is quite small - 30 inches by 40 inches. About the time I grew bored, it was complete. And it was satisfying.

A few years ago, my quilt guild had a strip exchange. Every other month we were to slice up 3 pieces of fabric in a rotating color - enough for everyone participating. In the end we all ended up with lots of scrappy greens, scrappy whites, and so on. And they were all 3 inches wide. What could be easier?

The back of the quilt is a cotton print my SIL purchased in South Africa before he even knew my daughter. As soon as I finished my little quilt, I saw this divine skirt made by Rhonda of Rhonda's Creative Life:

Now that would have been something cool to make out of this fabric too.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

From my studio to yours.
An old favorite quilt that developed over years of scrappy hand-turned applique. It's about 4 feet by 6 feet.

Hope your day is a cherry one.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Barbie was a Feminist.

Yes she liked a little R&R at the beach.
When I first met her, Barbie was a feminist..

It was the 50's and Barbie was the first (as far as I know) action figure for girls. She could do anything, go anywhere, and she always looked chic. Yes, her figure was laughable. But she represented what could be in most every other way.

“My whole philosophy of Barbie was that through the doll, the little girl could be anything she wanted to be. Barbie always represented the fact that a woman has choices.”
- Ruth Handler (creator of the Barbie doll)

But she could be all business too.
Guess it's been a while though.

She definitely inspired my love of sewing. There is no remaining evidence that I made clothes for her (and does she need any others?) but sew for her I did. Teeny, tiny clothes. Not beautifully constructed. Lovingly constructed. And I still love to sew. And I hate to see her maligned so.

The snow is melting so normal programming will return shortly.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

It's a Really Good Day in the Studio

Though I am happily retired, I still find snow days to be spirit-lifting. Today it was the ice that shut down a large swath of the southeastern US. You cannot go anywhere and no one expects you to do anything. And everything is quiet.

We haven't lost power. That would be another thing all together.

I've enjoyed the gift of time in my sewing studio. Making things I've already sort-of made in my head. That includes Louise Cutting's Of The Moment (OTM) jacket. Also I've finally finished a Sunday School quilt that languished too long in the back of the closet.

OTM contains a kimono-style jacket with a slightly shaped neckline and easy lapels with a clever finish. That is one aspect of Louise Cutting's patterns that I always enjoy - the counter-intuitive and carefully drafted details.

The fabric for this jacket is (mostly) silk. I found it on the silk table at Gail K and the bolt indicated it was silk. It has some chunky threads and some that are very fine. This creates a plaid but also has another pattern beneath it. Almost a floral. The iron did not glide as it should with 100% silk, so I pulled some threads and burn-tested each. Mostly silk.

One feature of this silk piece - I washed and dried it and saw almost no change in the fabric. I do love a washable jacket. It's too light for winter but I think it will get lots of wear when spring arrives.

This funky little quilt was an exercise in just going with the flow. The kids wrote with permanent markers and used fusible material to fuse shapes to each square. As I began to attach the squares, the shapes began to fall off. We probably didn't follow the instructions. Quilting took care of it though.

Once I freed myself of the desire to sew perfectly, I had a great time with this. I decided to try a quilt-as-you go technique. That is, I sewed the horizontal squares together, added batting and a backing. Then I quilted just one horizontal panel. Each horizontal panel is quilted separately and then attached with binding on both the front and the back.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

3415-25th Street

3415-25th Street
cotton muslin painted with crayon
This one is a bit of an ugly duckling but it was a fun project. Pink is not always my first choice for an art pieces. Yet I've grown fond of it, as it has progressed.

The process started with a lesson on using crayons with fabric. Such fun. As can be seen here, crayons produce a pastel effect. Blending is possible. Then ironing with something absorbent and disposable makes the color permanent.

In the next step, I stitched a black outline. That really made the design pop.

Because I am an  India Flint fan, I have a few jars of eco-dyeing in-process. I wondered how the crayon dye would react to an eco-dye with red onion skins. It floated in pink preserves for a couple of weeks.

The dyeing toned it down a bit, but also added some dark shadows. And there is no un-dyeing.

Next I hand-stitched like crazy, added a few beads and finished it off.

For now, I'm trying to complete little experimental projects, even though I have no plan for them. It's good to honor it with completion. And I'm a bit fond of it.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Nesting a Vest under a Jacket

See what I mean - way too low for a top
I was certain it was a top. I even read *vest* and convinced myself it would work as a top. It's 100% a vest.

It's OK though. I have grown to enjoy vests very much. And a black linen one should be versatile.

I did decide to line it to give it a bit more substance for an outer (or middle) layer. It does still need buttons. I'm hoping to find basic black buttons that do not add a design element.

And I do love the sashiko-style stitch shown on the black version seen on the front cover - you know, the part that accents the vertical bust darts. Oh, I love those B&W buttons. Hmmm...maybe not finished after all!

I added armscye bust darts. As I mentioned previously, one oddity in this pattern is that the knit versions have 4 bust darts but the woven versions have only the vertical bust darts.

The vest is also piped with the same B&W checked silk taffeta. It shows much better on the black linen, of course.

Vogue 8982 has provided me with much entertainment through a cold spell here. First there was the fleece vest remake. Then the jacket for woven fabrics. And now the top - er, I mean vest.

I believe that I'm ready to move on to a new pattern. So, what's next on your to-do list.

Here it is nested under the jacket. I don't know if I'll really ever wear it that way but it is a pretty neckline.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


This one is finished, probably. It was called *In the Bleak Mid-Winter* initially. By the time I finished the stitching, I had to rename it *Aerial.*

Materials: Brown linen, dye-painted silk crepe de chine, cotton flannel batting, craft interfacing, cotton damask, DMC pearl cotton thread, YLI pearl rayon thread.

Techniques: Hand applique (reverse), hand stitch, sashiko.

Finished size: 12 inches by 12 inches

I don't know now that I look at it again. Maybe it needs something more.