Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Still Making

As August slips away, I'm wondering where it went. Nothing new there, especially during covid times, just very little in the creative arena to account for my time. 

My excuses are many. We've had workers in and out of the house renovating our master bathroom, which is progressing beautifully. I've spent a fair amount of time selecting tile, cabinet styles, fixtures, etc. And we've had to move into the other end of our house. I'm very grateful to have such options.

And we've had family in and out, as we gradually expand our contacts to include irregular meet-ups with the kids and grandkids. Two grandsons stayed with us, each one for a week. Even though my husband took the lead with these two, I still prepared constant meals, accompanied them on hikes, gave baths (to the little one) and played and read with them. I've very grateful for this time with them.

Although I've made a few masks, on request, my primary sewing activity has focused on a quilt for my niece. I mentioned Chelsea in a previous post about my grandmother's wedding dress. More on that below.

I found this cool inspiration board on her pinterest feed to guide me.

I took the picture to a sweet little quilt shop in my home town, the Cotton Farm. I was the only one there, other than the owner, and so felt safe as we were both masked. She was delightful and seemed to enjoy helping me find fabrics to meet the spirit of Chelsea's pinterest piece.

When I'm making a quilt for a specific person, my left brain interferes with the creative process. When it's just for my creative pleasure, I feel more free. I guess that makes sense but it's frustrating.

As is my usual sewing practice I allowed the piece to evolve. I enjoy circles and started there with some 5.5 inch blocks containing appliqued circles. I let it grow, round-robin style. It finished at 65 inches square.

I returned to the Cotton Farm for the backing. Lacking anything similar in the wide quilt cottons, I chose to buy more of the front fabrics to piece into a back. 

Because both sides are geometric and symmetrical, I took extra time when basting the layers together to make sure the top and bottom layers weren't askew. I threaded and knotted two needles with a double strand of thread. Then I guided them through two intersections with the knots on the right side of the backing piece. Then I carefully arranged the batting and guided the two needles through it. Lastly I placed the top over the batting, once again threading the two needles through two intersections. Then I tied off the threads. I think it's pretty straight.

With workers in and out, I sewed everywhere but my sewing room. I sewed in the basement on my featherweight.

And I sewed on my mother's cabinet style 1950 Singer. That is always such a pleasure. As I sew I remember her and our fun times shopping for fabric and sewing together.

I did return to my sewing room to baste the quilt together, using my cutting table and a folding table on risers. This quilt is really much larger than I expected it would be.

And now I'm hand-quilting it. I feel a need for hand-stitching comfort. And Chelsea got married Friday, so there's really no rush at this point. I'll have it handy to fill (many!) happy hours.

Chelsea did use a portion of my grandmother's gown. My sister-in-law and I, almost simultaneously, came up with the idea of using the skirt for her veil. I was thrilled. SIL carefully removed it and attached it to a comb. I think it's lovely. This is a very quick shot by my brother. I look forward to seeing more soon!

And no real harm was done to the dress. I love that! The skirt was sewn on by hand and I can easily return it to its original state. AND the next brides have this option too. I am so grateful.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Covid Comfort Clothing

These have become some favorite pieces this summer - another Cottage shirt and another Picasso pant.

This cottage shirt is made with a light-weight, slightly textured linen in an icy blue. It's from Gail K in Atlanta. It was so great to sew, as linen always is, I think. As a nod to the heat and humidity in my little corner of the world, I omitted the collar and the sleeve cuffs.

I very fond of the yoke and deep hem of the Cottage shirt.

Truthfully, I do generally prefer to keep just the collar stand. It gives it a little polish without the bother of a collar when it's so miserable outside. 

The sleeves of the Cottage shirt are finished with wide cuffs which can be very nice. This time, I omitted them and simply finished the armscye edge with self-bias binding. It changes the look a bit and, again, suits me right now.

I added some top-stitching and thought about adding sashiko. In the end, I was happy with simply outlining the collar stand with sashiko stitch. 

I used simple off-white buttons typical of a man's shirt.

My go-to super comfortable pants are the Picasso pants. They have an interesting shape and, though I know they are not particularly slimming, I really like them. And they are so, so comfortable.

The fabric for the pants is an olive silk-linen blend, and really the best of both worlds. It seems fairly durable and doesn't wrinkle too much.

I added pockets to the side panels by creating a two-piece panel. This is something I did once when I ran out of fabric and had to piece the side panel. Now I like to add these pockets to every pair of Picasso pants. It means that this takes a little longer to make but it's worth it, I think.

I like the flat front and the front pleats.

I am interested in interesting shapes and comfort right now. This ensemble is just right for covid times, in my opinion.