Sunday, January 30, 2011

Simplicity 2313 and I am in Love!

I really really like this pattern. DH loves this pattern. I also really really love 100% wool jersey. What a forgiving, yummy fabric. For Simp 2313 the fabric was fulled in the washer and dryer. I did the muslin, got some shoulder pads, and tweaked the fit a tad more. Today I started cutting and am very close to completion and photo time. In the meantime here is a bit of what was involved. First I had to work out my seam finishes. The jersey did not ravel at all but did I want to just have just cut edges for a finish? I pulled out Threads 147. They have a cover article on sewing felted wool jersey by Linda Lee. After reading the article I tried several different edge treatments. My concern was that the center front would not have enough body and other info suggested no  interfacing so what's a girl to do? Here is what I came up with:


To strengthen my edge and add interest as well I decided on a strip of the felted wool run all around the garment hem, CF, and neckline edge. This is sewn down with a triple zigzag stitch. Then one side of the strip is but back to the zigzagging as you see in the 'button" sample. I tried all different sorts of effects but this is what seemed to work the best for what I was trying to achieve. The button I picked is a perfect match to the brick red color but for whatever reason photo's a lighter orange. The left side of the "button" sample is the ruffly selvedge, something you get when "fulling" fabric in the washer and dryer. Hey, its only a sample! When planning on a project like this buy lots of extra fabric. My three yards of 60 inch jersey shrunk to 2 yards and 50 inches wide.
I cut a strip of the felted jersey 5/8 of an inch wide. I then laid it on top of the edge of the fabric, as I would for the edge of the garment. I did a triple zig zag down the center, lining up the edges with a "dam" made from sticky notes.
Another "necessary" is stabilizing seams. Here you can see a satin poly ribbon with absolutely NO give being used to stay the neckline and shoulder seams. I chose this because of the great color match.
This pattern has a wide bias circular ruffle inserted into the princess seam. It also has tucks sewn in which you can see above. The princess seam became three layers of the felted wool. I graded them back with pinking shears. then I put on the edge stitching foot, ran the blade down the seam well, and topstitched to the right. You can see the results above.

Much info out there has you doing flat felled seams all over with this type of fabric, at least in the sewing world. I did a search on RTW felted jersey garments in Images and most have regular old seams. I felt that was what I wanted on the sweater from the get go and the images just validated that idea. Yes, this is a sweater. It is warm, stretchy, comfy and just downright cuddly. I can't wait to show it to you. I should finish the edge treatment tomorrow and then photo time I think I will do the hair and makeup for this one....Bunny

Friday, January 28, 2011

Simp 2313, Next in the Queue

I really appreciate your feedback on the pants. I am looking forward to the February pair.Here is a sneak peek at the fabric. It is another rayon poly blend. It has a linen look but the back is brushed like a flannel. It will go beautifully with the silk velvet top recently made.

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 Next in the queue is Simplicity 2313. I will be making View D, the lavender ruffled affair. I think this pattern is wonderful. There are so many options for its fabrication. The fabric I will be using is a 100% wool jersey that has been felted. I purchased it at the Fix in Manchester, NH. It felted beautifully and if I cut a piece nothing unravels, yet it is soft and much like a sweater.It is in a lovely brick red color and I think will look great with the grey pants just finished.

This jacket has a princess shoulder seam, front and back but it curves into the side seam. Because of the unique seaming it really was imperative a muslin be made.
 
I needed to just do a little tweak, taking in the upper chest a bit. I will also let out the hip side seams a tad to get the back to fall evenly. The shoulders on this jacket are way wide. It calls for shoulder pads which is fine but the shoulder seam hugs my shoulders tight so if I am going to add shoulder pads I will need to raise the seam a bit. The shoulder is also way too wide. In the picture that  you see I have already cut off a half an inch from the shoulder, not quite enough. I will be making this in a knit that will give a "sweater" effect when done. I have used a woven for my muslin. I want the knit to be just a tad  closer fitting. I also don't want this to be overly structured. I want a nice comfortable sweater look and feel. 

I did have to make the sleeve 2 inches wider at the upper arm, so keep that in mind if you are using this pattern.  On PR, there were also comments that the sleeve ran very tight. The sleeve fits snugly at the top but I will be narrowing it down at bit toward the wrist. 

I did some research in my old Threads and have eliminated all facings, linings and hems, that is other than the sleeves. There will be a bit of embroidery, I think, on the jacket but we will see what serendipity brings to the table. Tomorrow we cut!.....Bunny
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 Please forgive the no make up, no hair routine. I have been stuck in the house with our miserable weather so whats the point?  At least you have all seen me at my best and at my worst and that is all OK with me...Bunny

Thursday, January 27, 2011

January 2011 Pants completed

As I took these pictures the pants kept getting more and more static-y. It's very "winter" dry in our home and my skin is like an alligator's so please forgive the pants looking like they are sticking to themselves in places. They are! I have already purchased anti static lining for the next pair.
What I like about these pants:
  • I like that they have a waistband. It adds length to my 5 foot tall frame.  To say it makes my legs look long would be a stretch, but it helps. Another reason I like the waistband is because my waistline dips in the front. On no waist pants it just drops and looks awful. Pants with a waist keep it in line where it is supposed to be.
  • I like the way the legs taper in very slightly. Yes, I have wide hips. Yes, Stacy and Clinton say its a crime to not wear pants that fall straight from the widest part of your hips. But, back to the five foot tall thing, if I wear straight cut pants AND a style without a waistline, I look like a block, a nearly square block. So don't believe everything Stacy and Clinton tell you.
  • I really like that I was able to conquer my lopsided hip bones, thanks to Nancy K's suggestion. It was simply a matter of cutting the right waistline higher, more later. Thanks again, Nancy. 
  • FWIW, I don't like my clothing tight and these pants may be a little looser than the way some like their pants but they are the way I like them.

What I don't like about these pants:
  • The back crotch seam, down low still has a bit of sag. I am not sure if I need to make the inseam shorter, or raise the crotch, or BOTH? Clearly further tweaking is in order.  I am sure the static isn't helping either. I will play with my muslin a bit more.
  • I don't like the static. My next pair will be lined and with an anti static lining. 
Otherwise I am pretty happy and will continue to tweak the pants on the February pair.

I have had questions regarding my use of oaktag. First, where do I get big oaktag? I don't. I use manila folders and duct tape them together.
I did commit this pattern, which I copied from a pair of 20 year old pants, to the oak tag. I will make changes on it as I tweak along here. You can see how I had to make each separate piece due to the difference in my left and right sides.
Straight of grain is drawn on each piece and they are clearly labeled. I think it is important to put the date on the pants. A bit ago it occurred to me that it wouldn't be a bad idea to put my weight on the pieces as well. That way, next time I make a pair, I will hit the scale, something I don't do often, and can see if adjustments are coming. Its hard to see here but the details are drawn on with tracing paper and a tracing wheel, very easy. The darts are cut out to make the marking easier on the next pair. You can see the pockets drawn on as well. This pair didn't have pockets but the next will. .

Fitting changes I made:
  • Again, about 20 years ago, I attended a traveling sewing seminar in NH. They focused on pants fitting and I was lucky enough to be picked to be the fitting model/ guinea pig for the afternoon. What I learned there I transferred later to what I think was a Donna Karan suit pattern's pants, not sure. First I reduced the leg length above the knee as well as below the knee to maintain the shape. She also gave us measurements based on our height for the width of the hem and I like what she came up with for my size. I usually didn't wear pants that narrow on the bottom and they seemed more flattering with her suggestion. Do you see the difference in the taper on the front piece and the back piece? That's how the original pattern was and it seems to work. Comments? I may try matching them on the muslin just to see what will happen. It would take some more volume out.Hmmmm.....
  • Fast forward. I did Peggy Sager's technique on her website for changing pleated pants to darted ones. You can find it here.
  • Next I added the height to the right side seam, both front and back, tapering to nothing at the first dart. 
I need to fine tune that rear a bit but overall I think it came out better than I planned. I am looking forward to February's pants which will have the slanted pockets, like the original and be traditionally lined. I may split the waist band at the back. We will see. The fabric for the next pair is another poly rayon and looks linen-y but is much softer and heavier, if that makes sense. It's a journey, isn't it?
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Thank you to everyone for all your lovely, kind, and inspiring comments on the Rose Sweater. Admiration from your peers is always wonderful to receive and I thank you so much. I really look forward to communicating with you all each day and so appreciate you stopping by to visit. It can be a bit isolating up here at this dreary time of year and being able to share time with others who totally understand my passion is such a gift. thank you,,,,Bunny

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Painted Rose Sweater


This is my Anthropologie inspired knock off, an upcycle project for sure. The original sweater was plain off white knit with a simple small collar. It was given to me by an elderly friend. The first thing I did was cut off the collar and make a new one from some felted wool.
The original sweater was fuzzier and longer and the collar style would not have worked as well for me as this one.

 The flowers just hatched from my imagination. Other than a bold simple outline I drew and placed under the knit, they are painted free hand onto the sweater. I used acrylics and treated them so this would all be washable. I did not use any sort of extender or medium. This was a process I have used successfully many times so why bother?

 The collar came from Simp 3562, a Threads coat pattern. It's neckline fit the sweater perfectly. I stitched the felted wool with a cross hatching of white wool thread. Then I did some free form applique on the collar with hand dyed wools and variegated hand dyed flosses, blanket stitching the edges. I felt I needed a bit less negative space so did the flower outlines in more white thread.
The flowers all had big honkin' french knots in their centers and areas of wool thread embroidered accents, all very "free".

You can see on the bottom edge in the rear where I have put my signature, MP for Mary Pepin, my "real" name that very few people ever use.

I like my stylized flowers. Can't say that I have ever seen a blue poinsettia with pea size pollen! But that's what makes it all fun.

Most of the painting was done using layers of very watered down acrylic paint. The leaves and accents were dry brushed in . When all painting was done I stenciled in some more leaves in the negative space very softly to look like a background shadow. Over all I am pretty pleased with this and can't wait to wear it. Last night went to  33.9 below zero and this is sort of a jacket type sweater. It would be too heavy for most situations inside but not heavy enough for wearing alone out in the current weather. It's  time will come. I think it will look nice with my new gray pants. More on those real soon. I will do a rundown of the various alterations I did, why and how.......Bunny

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Needle Organizing and Updates

I have been on a real organization binge lately. It sort of happens every year after the holidays. Call it Cabin Fever if you'd like but it is something I just don't enjoy on a beautiful Spring day. One of the things calling for better organization was my needle collection. Anyone who does a lot of embroidery, quilting, hand stitching of any kind, usually has a pretty extensive needle collection, no exception here. My collection was all in one place but jumbled and not staying organized.

 I stopped in Staples while down in Mass. this past weekend and picked up this cute little snap shut pink tote. That got me going.

I recycled some index cards from an old Rolodex. Using Word, I made labels for all the different needles. Most of the needles had their packs and the packs fit in the box nicely. The loose needles were put on labeled pieces of flannel. A P-Touch label was put on the lid and now I can put my finger on the exact needle I want without digging thru bunches of cards. Time well spent, IMO. But you all know how I love organization! It just makes me feel good.
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The Rose sweater is coming along nicely. I have a bit more embroidery I have decided to put on the collar. I also finally found some buttons that work. They buttons are not my first choice but my first choice didn't come in the necessary size so it was on to the next option. Here you can see how I attached the felted collar to the sweater. I cut off the small collar from the sweater. It was stitched in a way that made the neckline not ravel at all. I did a small zigzag connecting the felted collar and the sweater. It is good and solid and nearly invisible.

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A big thank you goes out to Nancy K of Nancy K Sews. She is another sewist who is extremely generous with her knowledge and knowledge she's got! Her suggestion of moving the waistline seam to fix the wrinkle that only appears on one side of my pants muslin was spot on. I have made that adjustment and actually cut out my January pants today. My plan is to make a pair of pants a month but each month adding "something" to the pattern. This pair will be totally plain although it is made in a subtle stripe. It is a rayon, poly, lycra, aka RPL, and has a really nice drape. When I say this pair is totally plain, I mean it will not be lined or have any pockets, simply darts and a fly. I will using the Sandra Betzina fly method, something I swear by as do many others. My February pair will be lined. I will do Hong Kong seams on the January pants. I feel strongly that HK seams give weight to a garment and help it hang better so that is a standard treatment for me to do on any pants. 

I think it will be interesting to see the different fabrics made up into pants how they can affect the drape and fit of the garment. Muslins don't react the way the final fashion fabric choice necessarily does. If anyone wants to follow along with pants making, be my guest. I will be more than happy to coach along. If nothing else I can share enthusiasm and listen to frustrations. 

Tomorrow we are forecast a low of 35 below zero and a high Sunday of five below zero! I may have these pants done even sooner than I had planned...Bunny

Friday, January 14, 2011

First Muslin on 2011 Pants

First try on what I will call the 2011 pants as I hope to make a lot of these in '11. The muslin is made from some VERY light weight  gingham, probably not the best choice. I find when I make pants in a bottomweight fabric and bind the seams Hong Kong style, the weight can make them hang much better than the muslin. So I am not going to sweat these yet. I went to Joanns and found some not bad looking RPL for 4 dollars a yard. I think I will make the next muslin "wearable" (I hope) and see what the weight of the fabric does to the pattern. I took out a lot of volume from the pleats with Peggy Sager's method of folding out from the waistband to the hem for one pleat and cutting and lapping the other pleat,  hinging at the upper thigh and overlapping. I left enough for a small dart. I have a fairly flat tummy and was thinking of even rotating the dart out to the side seam. I think I will be trying different tweaks like those on various pants as I go along. To me the dart , well, makes a dart pointing at my groin area which definitely is very flat. So its ballooning a bit there. There is no zipper installed here, just a pin-over. The sides:
I am happy with the sides. They don't seem to sit back as the orginals did. Thanks, Claire! They are right in the middle and falling straight. Stacy and Clinton would be proud as they are going down from the widest part of my hips. Again, a heavier weight will make a difference here. Now for my usual back problem, which I haven't mastered yet. I swear my back right hip changes or moves around every time I try a new pants pattern.
 
Here you see that wrinkle I always seem to get on my right rear. I am thinking I need to pull in the back inseam a bit just on the right. Or should it be let out?  What do you think? Nancy, I know you have this issue and I forget how I solved it last time. I haven' t made any pants for about a year now. and am trying to start from scratch with a new TNT. Any help appreciated here. Thanks, everyone. 

The Rose Sweater is nearing the end. The collar went on this morning no problem. Now that it is all put together I will do a bit more embroidery on the collar, a bit more paint on the sweater, the buttons and done! Soon...
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I am going to be visiting down in Mass and NH leaving tomorrow morning. DD is going to make me a new 3 part crown, aka bridge. The bridge I have had for 20 years has finally seen better days  and popped out the other day with almost no provocation. I won't be back until maybe next Wednesday depending on driving weather but will be able to read everyone's blogs and comments as time allows. Of course I will prefer to just loll around with the little ones so that's priority one. I plan on some serious doll play with Sophie and Carly. Till then.......Bunny

Thursday, January 13, 2011

This is not political!

Once again, this is not political, so don't even go there with me. I just want to point out that Gabrielle Giffords, aside from many other things, is a fabulous dresser. I have been blown away by the pictures I have seen of her on the senate floor. Her clothes fit impeccably and she has a terrific sense of style. This is not your red blazer female politician here. Check out this houndstooth jacket. The hounds teeth match beautifully and the fit is spot on.
Every time she is shown in her Chanel Suit I start to drool. It is just gorgeous with its little sparkles and lime colored fringe. Again, the fabulous fit and those plaids match, once again.

She was also shown wearing, out on the floor of Congress, a short sleeved plaid dress with a zipper up the front and assymetrical collar, to die for! Wish I could pull up a pic of that for you. It was so unlike anything you would see someone wear in Washington but so pretty and appropriate at the same time.

Just my comments, non political ones, that is.....Bunny

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pants Again!

I made these pants in the early 90's. They still fit relatively well. I found them while closet cleaning the other day and before passing them off to the GoodWill I tried them on. I still like the fit but a tweak or two is in order. Keep in mind , these are nearly 20 years old. They are deep double pleated front trousers with a narrow leg at the hem.
The button on the waistband has broken off so you see a bit of an issue there but minor. My standards in 1991 are certainly not what they are now. That being said, I wore the heck out of these pants and then just put them away one day. They were part of a Donna Karan Suit with big authority shoulders. I made a 4 piece ensemble with the jacket, a wearable art type vest out of this same wool,  a skirt with a side slit, and the pants shown here. The suit is packed away for my progeny to hopefully admire one day but the pants lived on. Eventually I gave up the ghost but rediscovered them the other day while doing some purging. I tried them on and lo and behold, they fit not half bad. What I liked about these pants were the proportions on my short frame. The hems were narrower as they should be for a petite, but not too narrow. I have two issues as you see them. Like many patterns there is just too much volume in the leg. Why are patterns like that when retail isn't? So I want to take out a bit of volume in the back leg. They are very trouser-y. So what do you think?
The front has two deep pleats on each side. While I can live with the pleats I think I can reduce a tad of volume there as well.  Yes, I know, the fly is way too long. How the heck did I let that happen? Not to happen again! Isn't it amazing what a digital camera can teach you?
Another interesting aspect of this pattern is that the side seam sits nice and straight but definitely to the rear. The front is wider than the back. Should I worry about that or is that contributing to the reason why I generally like the fit of these? You can pick up on the volume of these trousers when you see the side view, although a bit of shadow is contributing, too.
So here you can see that I took the pants apart, piece by piece. First I found the straight of grain which lined up with one of the pleats as I had anticipated. Next I needed a soft surface, sort of. I needed something I could put the pants on and then poke in a pin along the seam lines. My pressing board was perfect but a piece of foam core would have worked fine as well. I unrolled some freezer paper over the pressing board, a piece long enough to equal the length of the pants. Next I placed the pants front on top and  pinned the straight of grain into the pressing board and freezer paper. I took another big pin and poked along the straight of grain, using a ruler. These stabs marked the freezer paper underneath, my eventual new pattern. At this point I have made no alterations to the pattern. I am just poking my pin along all the seam lines. When the pants are removed, you can see a clear outline of the pants leg piece poked thru by the pin. A sharpie was used to draw along these "poked" lines and make the new pattern piece. Details and grainline were all marked on the freezer paper pattern. No seam allowances are drawn in yet.

Once I have all the pattern pieces I will make my adjustments on them and proceed with a muslin. I have a "loose" goal of making one pair of pants each month for the next year. Pants are so very easy to construct. It's an afternoon' work for an unlined pair. But the tweaking of fit can take a long long time as we all know. I think I am starting with a fairly good basis here, though, and have high hopes. Once I get the pattern down, it will be easy to make a pair a month. Any opinions on the fit of these pants are invited and appreciated. Thanks in advance.....Bunny

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Vogue 8682

   
This top is made from Vogue 8682 and I will definitely make it again. (Excuse the tiny copyright across the bosom. I couldn't get it out). With the holidays looming and the need for something a little dressy I tried to squeeze in this construction before Christmas and almost made it. All that remained were the hems but sometimes you have to know when to let something go. So it was put away until yesterday when I finished the hems. They were all prick stitched. The neckline was prick stitched with tiny beads. The beads  are quite greenish , not really evident here. 

I purchased the fabric about 5 years ago from the Fix in New Hampshire. It is silk velvet, one of those elusive fabrics, but I was lucky to happen upon it when I did and scoffed it right up. I love distressed velvets. I like their soft drape, the luminosity they acquire and how the lushness  seems to oomph up from regular velvet. I think I have distressed all the velvets in the stash because of those qualities. How? Just simply throw them in the washer, wash warm, regular, and throw them in the dryer. DON'T do this with anything linty like a towel. Remove immediately unless you want permanent creases, which can be a look as well. I think once you try this you will love the results. It sort of "casualizes" the velvet. This top looks great with blue jeans 



The pattern is a Very Easy Very Vogue, 8682. I love VEVV patterns. They have a lot of style, very few pieces and can really give some quick gratification. I did make a muslin first. As you can see this is a dress pattern so all I needed to do was shorten the zipper and the length. No further adjustments were needed. I always shorten zippers and if you are near five feet tall, you need to be shortening your zippers too. The zip was put in by hand and a prick stitch was used there as well. I think I will get a lot of use from this top and look forward to making more of them with some of the knits I have stashed. This is not a specifically knit pattern. Recommended fabrics are crepe back satin, double knits, and stretch wovens.
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Yesterday my husband called me out to see how one of our bird feeders had a chickadee stuck inside. Poor little thing went for the last remaining seeds inside the tube and couldn't get out. This has never happened before.

Here he is getting ready to take the chickadee out of his prison. You all don't know my husband but I am serious when I say those who know him call him St. Francis. He has an amazing way with animals and they really respond to his kindness. He does look a bit like St. Francis, doesn't he?.......Bunny

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Duct Tape Dummy Madness!

My BFF Jocelyn and I have had this planned for some time. Here I am waiting for her to arrive and she did right on time!

 Yup, we are both five feet tall! Jos is a very fast taper. We had two layers done within 45 minutes. At that point I wanted to be cut out of this damn corset. I figured I could do the last layer myself, control freak that I can sometimes be!

Kinky, huh? A bit wrinkly too! So she cut me out after layer two. We tried to get the dummy around my dress form. The plan was to fit it around the dress form and stuff it with fiberfill till full and firm. but lo and behold....   

That wasn't going to work. We dialed the form as tight as we could, took it off its stand, played with the guts. It just wasn't getting any skinnier so on to Plan B.
Plan be is to close up the bottom, find an old stand up lamp to use as a hanger, and fill the sucker with expanding foam from the Depot. So it will be a bit before it is functional. In the meantime I pulled the t shirt away from the tape which didn't affect the shape but made it less bulky. I then took some black tissue paper and pressed it against the inside of the dummy to deal with the stickiness. That was Jos's idea and it worked like a charm. Now I was ready to do my third layer. First I smoothed out all the wrinkles with some heavy pressure. Then I cleaned up the edges of the armholes, neckline, and bottom. It was much better. I noticed that the boobs cave in so I put some stiff cheap interfacing, cut in a circle, over the boobs and taped that over. That was a big improvement. I think you can see the difference.  Here's what it looks like now:



Can you see my wicked swayback? doing one of these is quite illuminating! Notice aging boobs, despite my beautifully engineered bra worn for the festivities.

 You can also see  a bit of rounding on my upper back, hmmm,,,,,didn't know that was there!

On this one you can see how the upper chest caves in. Well, it does than on me in real life, again an issue of narrow torso disease

All in all, this was great fun and a very enlightening exercise. I hope to get an old lamp at the thrift store soon so I can hang her up and put her to work. In the mean time, she needs a name. Any ideas?....Bunny

Saturday, January 8, 2011

How Cool was My Mentor!

Over the holidays my brother forwarded this picture of my grandmother. Isn't she beautifully dressed? In the picture are missing one of my aunts and my father as they were the youngest. This picture would have been taken, we think, in the twenties or thirties and definitely in New Orleans. Let's check out the clothes.

My aunt Helen has on a dress that no doubt was made by "Mamee". Mamee was very gifted at all the handwork required of heirloom clothing. There appears to be some sort of hem stitching on the hem and the belt is run through either some Swiss beading or smocking, hard to tell. I would love to have a closeup of the details. These are types of dresses Mamee continued to make for her granchildren, moi included, until her passing in 1961.

The boys have their little white linen suits, the uniform of polite dress back in the days before air conditioning in a city of frequently oppressive heat and humidity. I wonder if she made their outfits. She certainly was capable. The one memory I have of Mamee's husband, my grandfather, is of him in a white linen suit and tie and wearing a Panama hat,  the Creole gentleman's uniform of the day.

And then their is Mamee's outfit. First, I am amazed at her figure after all those kids. I remember a very petite but softer grandmotherly figure from my childhood. Pretty impressive, Mamee! I see my narrow torso genes showing here. Check out those pointy toed shoebooties. They appear to have a nice heel and I bet they hook or lace up, very pretty. Mamee ALWAYS wore hats. Whenever she took me out as a child she always had a hat on, often a small little fascinator, and with those hats she always wore her little white gloves. I so wanted a hat with netting over my face every time I saw her as a child. Her style really inspired me. The dress is pretty classic and that collar is gorgeous. Wouldn't you love to see that up close? I wonder if she made her dress.

Mamee loved to shop in the big New Orleans department stores and took me countless times on her sprees to places like Maison Blanche. I would watch as she fingered the dresses, checked the drape over her hand, looked inside for stitch quality, and then very often would snicker about the quality. We would then go back home and start sewing. She would also take me on many fabric shopping trips and would describe the fabrics to me and show me why some were quality and some were not. She was very into quality and was not going to waste her sewing time on cheap goods, no way.

I am very blessed that I spent so much time with Mamee. At the time in Louisiana the weather and lack of AC had schools closing by Memorial day and opening back up after Labor Day, three full months! The heat was just too oppressive to learn. As you can imagine this provided long hot summers to be dealt with and in a household of eight children. all very close in age, my wise Mom would send me every single entire summer to live with Mamee.It was glorious. I would leave the loud craziness of a boisterous testosterone loaded household and spend time with a very feminine self assured woman who indulged me totally. I swear these trips kept me sane. I loved them and so treasure those memories of summer with Mamee. We would sew. I would always try to knit and never succeed. We would cross stitch. She would stitch tiny tucks on baby day gowns. It was a sewing world, just her and me.

Do you have a Mamee in your life? Who are your mentors? Would love to know........Bunny

Thursday, January 6, 2011

French Knots & the Rose Sweater







I have spent the last 24 hours making French knots, lots of French knots. They are big fat French knots. They are finally all done.

The knots were made with some lovely wools gifted to me by an internet sewing angel. (You know who you are!) I am blessed to have lots and lots of colors to choose from. I used three strands of Paternayan wool and did three wraps for each knot. They are fat little belly buttons and balance the heavy collar nicely. Now I am on to doing a bit of embroidery on the flowers. Then will come the collar work. I cut some hand dyed wools, some dyed by me, some not, to do the applique work on the collar. But one step at a time, now. I figure about a week to complete the embroidery.

One thing I have learned is to not be intimidated by a needle. I picked out a large tapestry needle to accommodate the three strands of wool. Not good enough. I had to go one notch up with a huge tapestry needle otherwise it was yank city to get the thread thru the knit. So the lesson here with needles is go big or go home! It got much easier and quicker once I moved up to the HUGE  size needle..
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Now that my camera is back and I have downloaded the many Christmas pictures, let me share one with you. This is my youngest daughter, Audrey, and her beautiful Sophie, the recipient of all the doll clothes. I think they are both so beautiful. Do you recognize the dress Sophie is wearing? ...Bunny

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Heat Setting Painted Fabrics

I have been into fabric painting for about 15 or more years now. I did a lot back in the early 90s and always enjoyed the creative venue it provided but it has waned for me the past few years. I have no idea where I learned this technique but the following is how I make those paints permanent. Why don't I just use fabric paints? Well I do, but around these parts that is not a readily available commodity and I don't have a lot of colors at this point. My preferred fabric paints are oils, those  traditionally used for oil painting. They have a lovely transluscent quality. Acrylics can work well too and there are so many colors available. The Rose Sweater is painted with acrylics.
You will need:

  • White vinegar
  • A good amount of "press cloth" type material such as muslin or voile as above. Excess paint will transfer to the press cloth so it must be expendable. You will need a fresh piece of fabric for each space you treat. 
  • A fluffy thick towel to place on your ironing surface. Again this is to prevent strike through onto your ironing board cover. Use the towel to cover the ironing board. I used a small towel on the sleeve board.
  • A DRY iron. 
  • Painted garment which has been allowed to dry at least 24 hours. 

Spread your towel over your ironing surface nice and flat. Place your painted garment section over that and smooth out. Dip a pressing cloth into the straight white vinegar and soak it. Squeeze just a bit and then place the vinegar soaked cloth on the painted garment surface. Smooth out. Begin ironing with a dry iron. You will press not iron, an up and down movement. Iron the cloth and garment til both are dry. Your iron setting should be appropriate to the fabric being treated. WARNING: this makes fumes so you may want a nearby open window. Every breath vinegar fumes?  Once ironed dry, shift the garment and move on to the next section . Continue until all paint has been treated.

Each time you move to a new section, use a new press cloth. A close inspection will show you that there will be some transfer of the paint to the press cloth. You don't want that to transfer to the next section of the garment so keep using clean areas/press cloths.

It's as simple as that. This is what has worked for me over the years and I have never had a painted piece run upon later laundering but you never know. If in doubt to some test samples. As far as dry cleaning the garment, I haven't a clue. How the paints react to dry cleaning I don't know as I have always just hand washed my own, no dryer.


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About ten years ago, when our daughter got married, I made her and her husband a small wall quilt for their home. It was just a creative fun project with no particular direction other than trying some colors I usually don't work in and using some Angelina fibers. I have totally forgotten about this little quilt. When we just visited with DD over the holidays she had hung in her upstairs hallway the little quilt I totally forgot. I grabbed the camera to share it all with you.

The quilt is  about 48 by 40 and made up of various quilting cottons. It is free motion quilted and in the corners I have all sorts of tiny pieces and copper Angelina fibers. I forgot how much I liked this quilt and it felt good to see the prominent place where DD displayed it. Its colors work perfectly there....Bunny


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