Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Day

Today is celebrated as Valentine's Day in the US and other places, mostly kept alive by the card, florist, and candy businesses. It is also a fun theme for making something sweet.

My sewing group, Sew Incredibles, is having a gift exchange tonight with the theme of Valentine's Day. It was fun to make this very small quilt, also known as a mug rug.

And I still had time to make a Valentine for Mr. NowSewing:

He left me a lovely hand-written note this morning. And yet, last week, we both agreed to ignore Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Chateau Blanc

Today I finally had time to finish my first version of the Chateau Jacket from the Sewing Workshop. Ever since they started posting preview pictures on Instagram, I have been anxious to make one. And now I am certain I'll make it again. It is a simple wrap over-coat with elbow-length sleeves.

The line drawing does not make it look terribly interesting.

Fabric: This yummy fabric came from Gail K in Atlanta, a place where I find lots of interesting fabrics. It is 80% wool and 20% angora, quite spongie and does not ravel much at all. It was delightful to sew, both hand and machine stitching. The Chateau is designed for non-raveling fabrics with directions for lapped seams and raw edges. So while winter white is not the best color for me, I just could not resist.
happy on the inside, really
Cutting: Due to the thickness of the fabric, and the need to keep raw edges smooth, I cut it out single layer. So as to avoid serious mistakes, I carefully marked the right side of each piece with a pin. I discovered that the fabric was slightly damaged but it did not present a problem. Who knew winter white could fade? It was ever-so-slightly whiter at the fold line.


I changed some aspects of construction. The pattern calls for either patch pockets or slit pockets with a separate lining piece. I wanted to try out the slit pockets with this non-raveling fabric but decided against using the pocket lining. This would have created 3 layers of my fabric near my high hip fluff (ahem). I felt the pockets might flop around making it even less flattering. So I used the pocket pieces, but not the pocket facing pieces. This required that the top-stitched pockets show, but I kind-of like that.

Finished inside of jacket

Finished outside of jacket

I also adjusted the method for creating lapped seams. The pattern is designed for standard 5/8 inch seams so the first step is to cut off the seam allowance on one side of each seam. Then the cut piece is lapped over the uncut piece, aligning the raw edge at 5/8 inch. The trick is aligning the raw edge. The directions suggest the use of tape to hold the lap in place until it is top-stitched. I found that by machine-basting right at the seam line, I could lap it accurately. The basting was easy to remove after top-stitching.

Lastly I added some top-stitching. The pattern does not call for any finish to the raw edge of the front collar, or on the lower hem or the sleeve hem. I wanted a little insurance and stability, so I top-stitched 1/4 inch from each raw edge. I was especially concerned about the bias edges on the front collar. Plus I like the extra detail.

back facing from the right side, before should seams are sewn
The back neck edge is reinforced with a deep facing that is simply sewn on wrong-sides-together. I like the top-stitching on that too.

I really like the back neckline!

I have seen some notes about this being over-sized. It is. But there is no place where fit is relevant, in my opinion. I am 5'5" and happy with the proportions as designed. The fabric is very stable and so stands away from my body. This did not surprise me. I do want to try it again in a drapey fabric, perhaps using standard seam construction. I'm glad they included standard seam allowances. It might be interesting to lengthen the body or the sleeves in another version.

lots of room for extra layers!

I am quite enamored of this shape and the overall simplicity of it. And the winter white is lovely. My only concern is that it may spend more time at the dry cleaners than on my body. I must stay away from tomato sauce and red wine!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Light and Dark

Title: All the Light We Cannot See, 12 inches X 12 inches
Materials and techniques: Hanji paper dyed with procion dye, machine stitching, silk screening, fabric markers, packaging from a tea bag (dial on radio), Braille in French knots ("All the light we cannot see")

The paper tore as I unfolded it at the end of the dyeing process. Although the paper took the dye beautifully, it was still fragile. I like the way the light emerges from the dark navy blue scene. Marie-Laure was blind but could see much more than could be expected from a child. Werner was sighted but could not see what his participation in the German army meant. The beautifully written story culminates in their meeting and the light that emerged. Book was written by Anthony Doerr.