Wednesday, March 31, 2010

We digress, it's Home Dec!

First, a very big thank you for all the sweet and encouraging comments on the Periwinkle Bag. It was a really fun project. Your comments mean so much to me. I want to also welcome the many new commenters on the blog. Your thoughts are always welcome and I encourage you to stop by often.

What is it about upcoming visitors to one's humble home that makes your home dec instincts kick into high gear? We have some company coming in 3 weeks and DH and I decided we needed to spiff up the bathroom. It is your basic basic bathroom, tub toilet, sink cabinet. I have wallpapered it all with the textured paper you see above. I love how it looks like venetian plaster. It is not just a printed look but an actual plaster type texture. Another thing I did to this little bath was put up glass tiles above the sink cabinet. They are a goldish glass that sparkles like rainbows but not over the top. Then I threw up some quick store bought curtains, nothing we ever really liked. Well that will soon be fixed, in time for our company to never know they spurred us on. What you see above is a heavy cotton home dec fabric. The paisley will be the bulk of the shower curtain and window treatment. The bottoms of each will sport the plaid border. The headers will have huge buttonholes that I will run the rods thru. So this looks like project number two. I guess my rule allows for a hand project to be switched out with the rare home dec project. Well, its my rule, so I can do what I want with it, right? So this is right up in the cue, but I won't cut till I can actually do it.

We have a lot happening in the next few weeks - the holiday, a trip to Cape Cod, then our company, so hopefully this will fit in somewhere. With all that has been going on here I need my sewing refuge. Our trip to Cape Cod is to deal with the "elderly" issues I have previously spoken of. Matters are getting worse,  with DMIL having had a heart attack last Friday. And that's not the worst of it. I will spare you the rest, its not a pretty story.

Today at JA's they got in some home dec clearance fabrics, most of which are usually horrid. But in today's batch there were some super cool vinyls that seemed to be of a very nice quality, nothing stiff and nasty. The colors were awesome. My eyes landed on a grape faux patent leather that would make the neatest bag. Oh ,right, I need  another bag.... I won't buy the fabric until, number one,  it is on half price, and number two, until I finish the current projects. I have to have some integrity after all!  Lata"........Bunny

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Periwinkle Pinwoven Bag Completed

This was a fun project. I got to play with color and texture freely. I used some of the wool fibers that Summerset gave me, flosses, sparkly threads, ribbons, bias strips, etc. to do the weaving. Then I topped it off with additional embroidery.

The lining and some of the bias strips are a thick neon green textured poly. It had some good heft so I didn't interface the lining, which I almost always do. I detest thin linings.  One thing not evident here is that I pick stitched around the top edge to keep the lining inside and also stitched in the ditch the lining and bag at the side seams. I like how that keeps the lining from bagging up.

Here are some closeups of the weaving:
You can see the tab is all piped. What looks like a little stick in the center is just the way this sliver type thread caught the flash.

More light blue sparkly thread, fat yellow french knots, squooshed organdy ribbon, rattail  as you read this down. The edges of the wavy panel are piped too. It looks kind of cockeyed in the picture with the way the wavy panel is but IRL it looks fine.
This was a great interlude after concentrating on the CJ muslin jacket. I have a little dress cut out and next in the cue. That means I am in need of another hand project, maybe some simple smocked tops for Carly and Sophie, gotta think about that........Bunny

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Friday's Sewing Adventure

Is this not the greatest tapestry ever for a bag? Animal prints are the bling of the fabric world and every girl has to have at least a little in her wardrobe. I have been eyeing this "tiger" tapestry at JA's for some time now and the perfect coupon came along in the latest flyer. My plan is a bag with some faux leather or patent leather, not sure which yet, but no rush. This would be for next winter's wardrobe.
But for now I picked up this linen rayon print, mostly linen. I NEED COLOR and this will help the situation. If I get a good look on the grey linen/rayon number I am working on I think I will cut the same in this green print:
Enough of the things dreams are made of.....

My pin woven bag has made major headway. The bag only awaits the handles and lining.
The tab is all lined and the magnetic closure inserted so that is good to go. Then it was on to attaching the bottom of the bag to the sides. The polka dot fabric is "hard", a canvasy type number I got at the Fix in Manchester, NH. It is great for a bag but certainly not that easy to sew. Ease in a curve? No way. So inserting the bottom was quite challenging. The bag is very awkward and bulky to sew due to all the interfacing I use, but all that interfacing pays off in the end. Here you can see how the bag literally stands at attention as I am trying to insert the bottom.
So, with a lot of futzing, pressing, and basting, and then more futzing, I got it in. I have made this pattern I think 3-4 other times, but always in a felted wool. It went together like a dream. But getting this hard canvas board side to fit a curved bottom was not an easy effort. In the end I did the tight curves by backstitching by hand with heavy thread. I pulled and it is strong and doesn't split open. Back stitching is a wonderful stitch to use for occasions like this when you want strength but the look of a machine stitch.

Handles are made so they need to be installed as well as the lining and we are done! Maybe tonight!

This week at work they raffled off one of my handbags for funds for our activity department. It went over really well and soooooo many want me to make them bags, price no issue. I am really thinking about it....
....Bunny

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Vintage Books and More Pin Weaving

Today was very dreary and rainy and I worked on the pin woven bag until I needed the closure. I wanted the "chrome" finish and have to hit the JA's tomorrow for that.
This is the tab all piped. It is just waiting for the closure as is the body of the bag so I am on hold at this point.
Once I couldn't go any further with the tab I cut out the base bag fabric and fused the interfacing. I use two layers of Decor Bond, quite stiff but holds up and looks great. I cut the first layer with no seam allowances. Bags are so bulky to begin with that why would you want the interfacing in the SA? Then I cut a second layer of Decor Bond and cut back the piece another half inch as you can see above. I want to keep that needed stiffness out of the seams. I have been doing this a long time and find it works pretty well.
Another thing I did was place a piece of felted wool between the bag and the pin weaving. It really needed this to fill out areas that "collapsed" ( but not quite). It made the weaving more prominent and evened out all the different fibers. Something told me to felt those white woolen pants Ima gave me. The felt will be catch-stitched to the weaving and now I need to move on to something else until I can get my closure.

That something else turned out to be going thru more of Ima's goodies. For those newbies to the blog, Ima is this incredible 83 year old woman who was my next door neighbor out in the country for 21 years. She is a graduate of Texas A&M in textiles, and FIT in NY as well. I lived next door to an incredible sewist and designer! She recently decided to break down her sewing room and move to her daughter's in Oklahoma (or Colorado, can't remember). She called me and ended up giving me all of her stash, cept knits, which is fine, and everything else a passionate 83 year old sewist would have accumulated over the years.  So today it was a perfect day to dig thru the stash again. I decided to organize and dig out all of the books, of which there were many. Here are just a few that I thought you might like to see:
What I am showing you look like pamphlets but they are all pretty substantial tomes. This one must have been available at the Singer store, a place where very many, self included, learned to sew. The price is 75 cents.
This Simplicity Sewing book, from the pattern company is 69 heavily info laden pages. I am going to pour thru this one as it seems to have a lot of wonderful info, not the same o, same o. Gotta love that price!
Next, the classic of classics for knit sewing, Ann Person's Stretch and Sew Book. For those of you younguns, Ann Person had stores all over the country that sold exquisite knit fabrics  and gave lessons day and night on how to sew knits. Those were the days, I tell ya. While I have never been a knit sewist, I had many friends who were addicted to this place, taking every course possible and deciding they would never sew a woven again! I distinctly remember this place on South Willow, in Manchester, NH.
And last but not least:
This ancient looking book is by the wonderful Margaret Pierce, an icon in the heirloom sewing world. This book is a treasure, loaded with techniques and descriptions. The drawings are clear and take the mystery out of doing this sort of thing by hand. What I really find comical however is the 7-8 year old girls with bonnets on that should be on a newborn and no one else. Some are so small for their heads. But, they are beautifully made. I wonder what this would bring on Ebay......Bunny

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pin Weaving Revisited


This crazy mess is the completed pin weaving. The left side is a section that will go down the center of the bag. The smaller right side is the flap that will close the bag. I think this pic looks really scary. Once done, I straightened all the stray fibers and carefully pulled out the pins. I didn't want this to move around.When the pins were all out I layed on top, upside down, my pressing board,(an invaluable tool). Then I flipped the whole thing over.
I then covered it all with interfacing face down as you see above. I fused it all down. After it was all fused, I trimmed away all the odd fibers from the top and sides. Then I hit the machine and zigzagged it all to keep it strong. Even with the interfacing, this was a really soft fabric. I remember that being the case with other garments I have pin woven.
Once the edges were trimmed and zigzagged this is what I got:. You will see the top flap pieced laid on top where it will go. There will be a lot more fine tuning of the shape.
I am also adding embroidery and a little sparkle. It doesn't photograph, but the lightest blue area is VERY sparkly. I may do a few beads too. We are far from being done and ready to be put on the bag. The final piece will have a royal blue piping along the edges to really set it off. Back to embroidering........Bunny

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Oatmeal Jacket, aka, Wearable Muslin

Vogue 8259 is un fait acompli. (Hope I spelled that right.) Here are some comments:

  • My area above and below the buttons are dimpling due to using all four holes of the buttons. While I attached them very loosely with a shank so that would not be an issue, clearly it did not work. Easy fix!
  • This jacket has NO shoulder pads. As you will see later in the back, there is just the slightest slack, so in they will go and that will improve the drop of the back. I wanted to get a photo without them first. I will now use a 3/8 pad instead of a half inch.
  • You could only match so much with this fabric, given the princess seams. I got the centers and bottoms of the pockets to work pretty well as well as the CF but beyond that I did not fuss. My goal here was fit, not couture. 
  • I really like my jacket now. The lace did it. I thought of the lace as a great way to hide the non matching houndstooth and was pleased with the outcome. 
  • I really like those 3 piece sleeves but think they will be much more effective in a full length sleeve. 
  • As far as Schaeffer's pattern: too structured for a Chanel, so I will do a simple edge to edge lining on the next one. I think there is a bit too much overlap at CF. That could be a petite thing, but I will diminish that a 1/4 inch on the CJ. 
  • Despite gravity's pressures, I am still fairly hourglass and think I need to pull it in at the waist just a tad. If I don't  I will get the boxy jacket on short woman look. Don't want that. The jacket was actually made the length for the pattern. I did not reduce/petite the length so maybe I will take that down a half inch or so on the real thing.
  • This jacket is meant to have a collar which I can see now  will really stand away from the neckline. Not sure if I want it that "outstanding."  Have to think about that one. 

 I really like this with jeans and yes, that is snow in the background.
 You can see that button dimple, driving me nuts.

So, another one put to bed. I want to thank particularly Summerset for letting me trace off her pattern and also for her patience while I took so long to do so. 
I need to do a little light sewing right now. Have you seen the new Vogue bag patterns? To die for! None of that grocery tote bag look there! I also really really need some spring summer things and have pledged to get more color in my summer wardrobe. Since wardrobes can build on past garments either sewn or purchased, you can often end up with a rather blah composite group. One glance in my closet and it is the land of the neutrals. I need prints and color and I know they will be fun to sew as well. There is something pleasurable about sewing a print, even the ones we regret purchasing. I have seen some great linen prints lately and am planning around some blues/ greens, and whites. I have caught Carolyn's dress bug, and as always have in minds some heirloom things for the grandaughters. Throw in the Chanel Jacket and some bags for friends and I think my summer plan is in order. 

The pin weaving is near done and looking good. Definitely have some strong colors there. 
*********************************************************************************
Thanks, everyone, for your kind thoughts about my MIL. I have already been thru this with my family and now it is time to help with DH's family. I just want to say that for those of you also dealing with this, accept the normalcy of life's cycles and appreciate your elder loved ones as they are now. They still have so much to offer and teach even if they are in diminished capacity. Remember, they changed your diapers, wiped up your vomit, listened to your rants and rages, and still rejoiced in your being you. They deserve the same as they near life's end.....Bunny

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Life Happens!

This past week and a half have been challenging. Those of your with aging parents will understand. This past week we put DH's mother in a nursing home. She was diagnosed with advanced dementia and serious diabetic issues. When her daughters picked her up for a doctor's visit she was close to collapse. The doctor immediately put her in the hospital with a severe diabetic low. Two other doctors concurred on the advanced dementia and she was deemed unable to go home, something DH could see but the other sibs were in serious denial. The medical intervention brought reality to all the sibs finally and she is now in a rehab situation then to go to long term care. At this point it is much a relief but as is often the case in large families, much conflict ensued.

Evenings of family  teleconferences have slowed and I may get to take more than a few stitches at  some point  soon. I have half a pocket left to finish hand stitching and then a good press and hire the model. Looks like Friday may be the day. In the meantime,


This is the linen rayon blend I spoke of. It will be made into the similar looking print dress, Butterick 5348, View C. the fabric has a lovely drape and is much lighter than the picture shows. This simple sewing will be nice switch and I am ready to wear something more summery. Who cares if snow is still melting on the ground here? Not me. Part of feeling spring is getting into those colorful, well not in this case, short sleeved airy outfits. Try and stop me from pushing the season! If you sew you've got the power!.........Bunny



Saturday, March 13, 2010

Almost there!














All that is left on the Oatmeal Jacket, aka, CJ muslin, is to put in the facing and hand stitch the pockets and hem. Then it will be wearable. I really like the fit. I don't like all the structure and will approach my CJ with the same pattern I just worked out but I will do the Susan Kahlje method instead of the Claire Schaeffer method. This jacket has a chest piece, shoulder pads, interfaced hem, facings, etc. Enough already! All the seams are serged and I truly did the minimum amount of effort to pull this off and have a fitting muslin that I could wear. This is not my best work but will be a fine throw on with a pair of khakis or jeans. I decided to do 3/4 sleeves but will do either a 7/8ths or full length on the CJ.

I know that the CJ will be a long drawn out process. So before I start I will make the little black and grey dress I showed a few posts back. It will be fast, light, springy sewing and that is what I need right now. My weaving is almost done. It has been such a while since I have done any pin weaving and I would really like to do another piece to solidify the technique a little further and use some of the things I have learned the hard way. So the order is CJ muslin to finis, then the linen black and grey dress, finish the pin weaving bag, and cut the CJ....Bunny

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Weaving Station

As with most handwork, you need a good place to work. You have to have great light, comfortable seating, and a good spot to watch TV or the fire. When I started the actual weaving, I had a tote of fibers. I had nearly no idea of where I was going with the design and grabbed my fibers and let them tell me what to do. I did trace onto the interfacing under the warp threads, an outline to follow, but as usual, have branched out from that design. Next thing I knew I had a messy huge pile of "stuff" on the couch. I hate messy huge piles. So I strung a bit of everything on the arm of the couch and now I can just neatly pull what I want and weave, all while enjoying the latest saga on Days of Our Lives. It's coming along. I have laid out the strongest elements and now am filling in with branching of little ellipses as you will see later. The polka dot fabric you see in the tote is the base of the bag. The green will probably be the lining. 


Here you can see my upper pockets loosely pinned to the jacket. Because this is a princess seam you can only match so much. The side fronts have bias elements which will never match. I am able to match the edges of the pockets towards CF and the bottom edge, enough. I do not want this to be my life's work and can't wait to move on. I also know that if I start on my CJ I will never look back and I abhor UFOs. To me they are a billboard in my face when I see them. They remind me of bad choices, loss of interest, and lack of discipline and tossing them just hurts my inner tightwad.  So I will continue on this but not demand perfection, just some decent wearability. . You can see the little braid on the top of the pockets. I can't find the bag of extra braid I bought and have a feeling some how it got tossed out by mistake. I do have enough braid to do the sleeves. The braid is only a 1/4 inch wide so I sewed  two opposing strips together. Steam A Seam is great help for this.
    I have also picked out another upcoming project to start soon.
DD gave me a very generous gift certificate for my B-Day for Joanns. I found a great real linen/rayon blend very similar to the black and white dress you see on the pattern. It is a very soft print, not graphic at all. I hope to pick it up today. Need that motivation to get me honkin' on my other projects. I really like the waist emphasis here with the little button belt and side ties, a good accent for my shape. I think this could be pretty flattering. We'll see.Kristine of Just Keep sewing made this last summer and it was darling.

So lots on the burner and I have to hustle to keep it all cooking......Bunny