Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wednesday Words




"I HATE pre-washing with a fiery passion! How cruel to be excited to make something just to stare at the washing machine and dryer beforehand ugh!!!!! ".............from Tara A. on Facebook


Friday, September 25, 2015

The dropped shoulder

photo courtesy of the Cutting class, great site!

My latest project has a "dropped shoulder" albeit not too much. Given that I have very narrow shoulders and have also often seen these be very ill fitting, I felt I needed to to step up my knowledge  base and did much googling and reading.

I think most experienced sewists know that a kimono, dolman,  raglan or cut on type sleeve will never hang the same way a "set in" sleeve does. Neither does a dropped shoulder. Here you can see what I mean.

Set in sleeve, smoothly going over the edge of the shoulder. The grey shoulder is a a traditional set in sleeve with a sleeve head and shoulder pads. The boucle shoulder has a "seam roll" installed to make that rounded curve. These are my own efforts





Raglan sleeves:  See those vertical wrinkles,pretty much unavoidable in this type of sleeve? Dropped shoulders can do the same as you see in the blue and white tee above. 

courtesy lydiasuniforms.com



Dropped shoulders:
Notice anything? As the shoulder seam drops, even to the point of disappearing on some garments, the armscye gets lower and THE BODICE GETS WIDER.  It gets lower and wider as the shoulder gets lower, I never knew that! But it explains why the MT  jacket fits my narrow shoulders and why the above jacket has no drag lines. That additional width prevents the wrinkling in the armscye. 
The lower the shoulder seam, the wider the bodice! The armhole needs to drop as well as be enlarged. It's a whole different animal. You can see a great article and more pictures at the Cutting Class hereThere are some excellent examples of what happens as the shoulder drops lower and lower and I would like to thank and give props to the Cutting Class. If you are not following this site, you are missing out on some great sewing info. They use designer examples and explain how the looks were achieved, very enlightening and the information is provided by experts. I love the blue lace on the above jacket, don't you? 

Bottom line, the Tilton foiled jacket is well drafted to get the look she is after. I will show you soon. Just have to get those big black buttons on!...........Bunny

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wednesday's Quote

Quote of the week:

"When the grain of one seam is being attached to another seam of a different grain, the couture rule is to stitch with the weakest grain on top. The weakest grain is bias, then crossgrain; lengthwise grain is strongest. .....On the princess seam, therefore, you'll sew from the waist to the shoulder on one side and from shoulder to waist on the other side."......Roberta Carr from her book, "Couture, the art of fine sewing".




Monday, September 21, 2015

Foiling 101

I've completed the foiling on my Marcy T. jacket and I'm pleased with the results. There was a lot of experimentation in the studio and out on my picnic table over the past week, too nice to be in! I will pass on what I have learned about the process, knowledge gained through a LOT of samples. Last night I asked myself, "why would I do this technique instead of a Lumiere metallic paint or Shiva sticks?" I'll tell you the back story.

A little over a year ago I was in a Chico's, you know, the store with awesome fashion for us post menos. There was a fabulous sweater I fell in love with and tried on. It was small cable knit and had this layering of silver on the top that was not paint or inherent in the knit. It was clearly applied on top. It was a low shine silver on a grey angora type sweater. It was gorgeous and since I refused to part with the hundred thirty bucks it cost I made mental notes and decided it was "foiled" and I would figure it out. I had seen this foil thing way back when and it didn't turn me on. It was shown as a technique to get a lion's head or such on your new most favorite sweatshirt, very Michaels and so not my style
. But this treatment on the sweater was exquisite. I sighed, took the expensive little sweater off and later kicked myself for not buying it.  Above you can see a pair of foiled Levis. Trust me, the sweater was gorgeous and looked very refined with its matte silver overlay and the areas between the cables showing the original knit hue. I was smitten and on a quest to figure out how to do this

I went back to DD's and my excitement must have been so obvious. I no sooner got home and there was a box with a sweater she found at the thrift store for me to "practice" on and info on how to get the foiling goodies. The thrift sweater never worked out and I never did find the right sweater but I did buy the foil and glue and did my research. I was anxious to try this technique. Life, like it does, butt in, and this project was replaced by the next manic endeavor. I know  you know how that is.

Enter my latest attempt at conquering Marcy Tilton designs but the fabric I chose could have been appropo for a prison in the gulag. Embarrasingly, I liked it. It was a cross dyed linen cotton blend I had used before Surely I could jazz it up somehow. Enter the foiling technique, lots of samples  and eventual execution. So this is what I did.


First there is the foil. Here you can see my two rolls of silver foil. One is slightly matte and the other is chrome bumper shiny. I went with the shiny for my top. The Chico's sweater was like the matte foil. I ordered this from a place called Jones Tones. You can now get it from Dharma Trading.  Next is the glue.

There are two techniques. One uses Steam a Seam 2, the Light version and the other uses "foil" glue, again from Jones Tones. I have read that you can also use Mod Podge, but the Foil Glue makes a washable garment, as opposed to the Modge Podge,  and my samples prove that. It needs to be washed on cold, and more important, line dried. Heat is not the friend of this technique.

Before we go any further I want to say that the effect of "foiling" is a very artsy, irregular result, sort of flaky looking when you use the Steam a Seam. You MAY get perfect outlines or solid areas using the glue but really, you get what you get and don't get upset.  But, you can do solid areas like my fantasy sweater with the Steam a Seam technique.

The glue technique:


The glue bottle has a really fine tip but it does take a bit of practice not to get all bloppy. Basically, you squeeze and squiggle, as simple as that. There is not a whole lot of control here, however. This technique also gives a three dimensional look to your efforts, sort of like puffy paint. But if you don't like that, like me, I'll show you what to do. So first you squeeze out your glue in the design you want. Above you see some squiggles. Then you leave the glue to dry until it is CLEAR. It can take from an hour to overnight if the glue is applied heavily. It will probably still be tacky but that's OK. You want it clear. Here you can see the glue applied to my jacket back.

First I drew the area using a ruler and a Frixion pen. Then I taped off the rectangle with masking tape. Now it was time to squeeze the glue. This is fairly heavy and took at least four hours to get clear. I let it sit overnight and it was fine. Remember, it needs to be clear, not dry, so it will be a bit tacky when it its prime for you to put the foil on.  The tape comes off right after you put on your glue. You DO NOT want to leave the tape on until the glue dries, big mistake, The Frixion pen will come off after with the heat of the iron.

Once the glue is clear, not necessarily dry,  you take your piece of foil and place it, shiny right side UP and press it on the glue. I tried a few things but the best thing is to just rub it all with your fingers. Rub and press. Be aware that if you press hard you are flattening any globs you may have had. Your fingers work better than a credit card or other object. Rub horizontally then vertically to get the foil on every side of the three dimensional glue.  Before you start rubbing make sure you have the right shiny side up. I can't tell you how many times I didn't do that (eye roll). I used the "chrome" silver on my jacket. Once the area was foiled and left to dry a few more hours, I added my own extra step. I tried different things, but trust me, the best pressing cloth is parchment paper from your kitchen. I placed it on the really dry foiled area and ironed, no steam, quickly. This flattens out the blobs and makes the foil/glue mix grab into the fabric a bit more. It also makes it a bit more matte. It takes away that puffy paint effect for sure and that's the big reason why I do it.  Let it COOL COMPLETELY. Walk away and come back. Then carefully lift a corner. If it's foiled, quickly rip off the parchment. It should slide off easily. The foil will now be flatter and more matte and it seems to me to have a better grab on the fabric as well.


The foil comes in many colors and effects including lots of holographics. I will stick with the simple silver, thank you.

Now for the Steam a Seam 2/Lite method. You can see below a piece of wool boucle waiting to become a Chanel jacket one day. In the meantime I cut a hunk to play with as it was not too different from my sweater fantasy. This was basic SAS methodology. The sheet has one layer of paper peeled off. It is place, glue side down on the fabric. The paper side is then ironed holding the iron for about ten seconds wherever the SAS sheet is applied. LET COOL.  Once the piece is cool, gently take off the remaining paper. You now have the adhesive web bonded to your fabric and it should be somewhat visible.

Place your foil, again, shiny side up, over the web. Press. This is not interfacing and it does not take more than a few seconds, maybe three or four, to transfer the foil to the fabric. If you hold the iron too long the foil dulls and becomes sort of wrinkly looking. I don't know if it is the fibrous texture but it took to this boucle really well.


By comparison, here is the same SAS application and you can see it did not take to the linen as well but I still like the look . This can be unpredictable so be prepared for what you get. This is well washed linen which prompts me to tell you that your fabric must be washed. Any finishes , and there are plenty on new fabs, will prevent the foil from sticking. The above sample was made from just cutting shards of SAS and letting them fall as they may.

At this point my top  has most of its foil applied. I am going to complete the  hem and then decide if more foil is warranted. I am trying to keep it a bit low key. As of this morning the jacket is totally finished other than buttons, which I am still searching for.

A few points I want to stress:

* Do your gluing in a FLAT state. It killed me to not continue sewing but I spent the time cutting strips of bias for the Hong Kong seams.

* The foil/glue combo cures over the next two- three days and will be much more hardened and secure then.

* That final press with the iron and parchment paper - it literally is for 2-5 seconds, very quick. More heat than that will change the effect a lot. Don't lift that paper, LET IT COOL. Make some samples when you are gluing just for practice.

*Don't lift the foil or parchment paper until it is TOTALLY cool. Just in case you didn't hear me the first time!

*Don't throw away your foil scraps. They still have foil and can be used over and over until totally clear.

*You can buy this in sheets or by the roll.

*Supposedly it also works with Heat and Bond and other fusible webbing. The SAS2 Lite is the most drapeable of the bunch so that's why it is recommended. I found the glue technique did not alter the fabric much if at all. The SAS method does, the same as any heat/webbing fusible would. .


* The glue method can also be used on faux vinyl and leather as you see above. They are done with the matte. The foil is very hard to photograph and impossible to capture the sheen. These are matte but still with a very silvery glow the camera does not pick up. This could be fun on a faux or real leather bag.

One of the things I like about this is the lack of mess. Other than maybe a stray glob of glue on your fingers, its pretty mess free as opposed to washing brushes, etc with dyes and paints. There is a lot of bang for your effort so my advice is to stay low key with your design ideas. I hope you give it a try.
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The Marcy Foiled jacket is done. I just need to find the right three big buttons. Hopefully that will be happening soon and I can get this on and wear it. It's different and all that volume is new to me but overall I think it looks pretty good. More to come.
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Every year the hibiscus are the last blooms of summer to grace our yard before frost. That will happen soon as we were in the high thirties last night. I know winter is right around the corner when the hibiscus blooms..............Bunny

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wednesday's quote of the week



Wednesday is hump day for me and a lot of others, particularly if you work outside the home. It's not easy getting a blogpost done or more importantly, the sewing to inspire one, during the middle of the work week. But sometimes, in odd moments, I cruise sewing groups on FB, forums and lots of blogs as well as sit with an old or new sewing book to read.Its something we can all do for just a few moments at a time.  I often see words of wisdom, interesting viewpoints, provocative comments and even funny statements related to sewing. I think how I want to share that with others.

This recently brought me to the idea of just publishing a simple statement I have seen elsewhere. It could relate to actual sewing technique, sew blogging, fashion, creativity, all the things we love about our passion. I will start today. These may or may not be earth shaking or thought provoking. I may or may not agree with the sentiment. It doesn't matter. It's for your interpretation. Hopefully it will give some insight into the sewing world we live in and why things are seen and done they way they are sometimes. It's just a fun little mid week filler for your comment or choice to ignore. I won't cast an opinion either way in the post. It is a way to stay in touch with you during the week and who doesn't need a brightener on Hump Day?

Quote of the week:

  "If you want your children to be passionate, creative little people, then they need to see you doing the things that you love to do.  Your example is powerful and you will be a star in their eyes. "  

...............from: Howdoesshe on ebay

Comment or ignore, your choice. Have a great Wednesday,,,,,,,,,,,,,Bunny

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Do you thrift?

I love to "thrift", recycle, shop the op shop, whatever you would call pouring through racks of worn clothing in sometimes off scented stores in search of the rare gem. I know how those guys feel when they find gold up there in Alaska, or when the bells ring for you at the casino. S C O R E !


And the entertainment value is incredible. Where else can I go and spend 25 cents to a dollar and get such joy?  I started thrifting in my teens. I had a voracious passion for really nice clothes and therefore sewing. But, alas, I had no money. My large family wasn't poor but with 8 kids and Catholic school, well, the guilt would set in if I asked for anything, another by product of being Catholic. Took me years to get over that but that's another story for another time! In the meantime I would spend hours after school at Hadassah Thrift or the Goodwill searching through the piles. I remember once buying a man's full length cashmere camel coat for less than a dollar at most. I brought it home and remade it into my own cashmere coat. I was sixteen at the time. I enjoyed taking apart the seams and planning my remake.  I got a little housekeeping job for a neighbor, the textile designer at one of the local mills. She brought me fabric samples of her work they would run off, gorgeous stuff. I cleaned her tiny house for fabric and it was win/win.  I made friends with a man at a men's coat factory and through the loading dock I could get a ride up to the fifth floor where I could pick the woolen scraps and bring them home. I was one thrifty sewist who learned networking for fabric before the word was invented, and very proud of it. I hewned my skills in my teens. I still enjoy the hunt today and have finally found out how to work our one local option to occasionally get a score. It's the "who you know" plan that  works for me. 

I also have a good friend who knows my penchant and every now and then shows up with amazing things  for me in just the right size, like this custom made cape made in Ireland of Irish wool tweed. She, good friend as she is, will never tell where she gets this stuff and I have my instructions to not ask, but it is always excellent quality. I ask no questions and the garments keep coming. She knows that I will buy garments just for the fabric or just for the buttons and gets it. But she has a great eye for what I like too and that's I got the above cape. She doesn't care what I do with this stuff. No strings attached. The coat fabric is gorgeous. It fits perfectly. The buttons are ugly but can be improved. There is enough fabric to make something else. Do I keep it for clothing and risk looking like yesterday's news or do I cut it apart and make something else? Would you look at those welt pockets? Nice! It's the perfect length too!

It says" Warranteed to be a Pendleton, Trademark U.S. Patent off. app., Pendletone woolen mills, Portland, Oregon, 100% virgin wool, Made in the USA."

She also brought me this week a GORGEOUS black wool Pendleton jacket. It also fits quite well but I make take the shoulders in. The fabric literally glows with that glow only 100% fine wool suiting has. Check out the buttonholes, beautifully hand made;

 It's a classic look with welts, pewter buttons and princess seams. Here's a shot of the inside with it weft insertion fused full front, hair canvas back stay, and shoulder pads, hand made ones:

Lightened for better viewing

I think this could work nicely with some black jeans for work this winter. 

Those two pieces were from my friend. This next one I found this week for the grand price of twenty five cents. It is two layers, self lined, real silk charmeuse, new as can be and the trim is fabulous.

When I thrift shop, I try to keep an open mind. Will I really be going anywhere that would warrant this type of garment? Do I dare be the talk of the village in my backless wonder?

 Probably not. But I can #1, admire it, #2,  use that amazing trim, and #3, have a truckload of silk for Hong Kong seams  and bindings. In the meantime, my fantasies live, and all for the expense of 25 cents! A better entertainment value just can't be found. 

I would love to hear your thrift stories and even if you thrift at all. Does sewing go hand in hand with thrifting?  I know many wouldn't be caught dead in something someone else has already worn. I'm not that proud here and can always appreciate quality, no matter where it comes from or what it costs..............Bunny

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Vogue 9035, a Marcy Tilton top




My affair with designs by the Tilton sisters continues. It's one of those love hate relationships. I love the designs but they can sometimes hate me.  To make them work for me takes just that, work. I am now up to the challenge and hope this one's a winner. I need tops for the upcoming season and this looks comfy and perfect for work. I can see it with some slim black pants, which currently don't exist in my wardrobe. I have to do something about that!

I will do view A. The difference is simply button placement and the cuffs. I plan to wear these at 3/4 length folded up. The fabric is identical on both side so that should work nicely. Now for the fun part!


The fabric is this yarn dyed black linen blend from Kaufmann/Fabric.com. It's identical on both sides which is suggested for this pattern. It is casual and has a nice hand, a bit heavier than chambray but not as heavy as denims.  I do fear it could look a bit prison matron though. It needs some interest added. For now that will be heavy black topstitching and a bit of sparkle. I am thinking of doing some "foiling" on the collar facing, pocket edges and button areas. I will post more on the actual foiling process later but here are a few samples"


I have two rolls of silver foil. One is matte and the other VERY shiny, like chrome. My accents on this top will be VERY light handed. I live in mortal fear of anything on my body having that decorated sweatshirt look and this is no different. I am favoring something on the idea of the thin squiggly lines that the red arrow is pointing to. It is shinier IRL and really a light touch. But these things evolve with me as you know. 

In the meantime, the pattern  is cut, measured and ready to go. I may be the ultimate  "don't follow the pattern" chick, but here it is absolutely necessary. This pattern has such odd shapes and twists that I am now on my third reading and think I'm ready. Marcy Tilton and Issey Miyake went to the same design class for this one. Lots of attention will be necessary. But there are no big techniques involved otherwise so it should go pretty fast. And I do have to give myself over to the more casual "non fit" of her garments.  Not sure about the buttons yet, though. I always save that decision to the end as I never know how much of an accent, or not, I want them to be. I rarely buy buttons when I buy everything else for a project. 


And I am breaking my iron clad rule of making only one thing at a time. I am also working on DD#2's cushions for her window seat. Her patience with me is immeasurable! While I wait for zips, it will be The Foiled Top.
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Thanks, everyone, for the lovely, encouraging comments on my jean jacket. I do love to recycle! There will be more to come along those lines as I have found a wonderful new source for projects locally. For 25 cents, yesterday, I bought a very new looking real silk charmeuse top with the most amazing trim and a good amount of fabric. It definitely has potential and if not, what they hey. I had a half hour of awesome entertainment for twenty five cents. Doesn't get much better than that.....................Bunny



Monday, September 7, 2015

Simp 2153, the No Grain, No Pain jean jacket upcycle!



This has been a fun, no rules  project every step of the way. I am pleased with the outcome and as soon as the weather cools a bit I'll have a great throw on  jacket for going to the town dump or a run for groceries. I really didn't follow the pattern or a lot of rules you would normally follow when sewing but that was the whole point. Girls just wanna have fun! Let me share all the fun deets with you.


Pattern:
This is Simplicity 2153 and my third iteration. The first was my winner for the Threads Fall Jacket Challenge. Then I couldn't resist using it for the Ikat Jacket you can see here.  Have you figured out  I love this pattern yet? I wear these two jackets A LOT. I think every sewist needs a good anorak pattern in her stash of TNTs (Tried and True patterns). It is such a versatile style and I think you would agree that the three variations are each quite different. And, I've yet to make it in rain gear or a woolen winter version! I will let the two links tell you about the pattern. I wanna get on to the fun!;)

For this design I did not follow the pattern at all. The collar is my own design and the rest, well, it is whatever landed where I put it!

Fabric:
For this garment I went to our local St. Vinnie's, a weekly Friday habit I have before I go to work, and for one dollar got a XXL sized man's acid washed jean jacket that looked like it had never been worn. Score! It had to have enough fabric for a jacket for five foot tall me, or so I hoped. I pulled out my trusty box cutter and started to take apart every seam. I've seen a lot of jean upcycles and the tutorials usually have you just hacking out the pieces with your scissors. In the case of this jacket I wanted to preserve the very dark seam allowances hiding under all those acid washed flat felled seams. So, I ran the edge of the box cutter blade along the felled seam while the garment was flat on the table. One evening to do that and a bit of TV and every section was apart and preserved. I did not take apart the smaller details, like tabs, waistbands, pockets, etc. I did take those and re-place them in non traditional spots on the bodice and sleeves, very unlike the "normal" jean jacket. I used them to bring balance around the jacket. As a matter of fact, all the pieces of the original jacket were reused but in different ways from the original.

The jacket is not lined. What jean jackets are? But I  did do a Hong Kong finish on the side and sleeve seams. I also faced the hem as well as bound the neck seam and for those tasks I used some quilting cotton in the stash. This was all part of my effort to deal with the bulk and keep it down.

Construction:
The first decision for making this jacket is I broke all the rules, really. After all the pieces were cut out from the original I decided on a three prong plan of attack, first piecing it back together, then painting what I had pieced, and then final embellishment from additional stitching.


The closure is a center front heavy aluminum jacket zipper from Zipper Shipper.  One one side of the zip is the original button band. On the other is the waistband from the original jacket.  One bodice front was used for a sleeve, Tabs were placed wherever I needed a bit of balance. No rules, remember! All of this had to fill each piece of the Simplicity pattern and it took a bit of ingenuity to make that work. Pieces were added from scraps here and there and for the collar I used a bit of old denim from some of hubby's discarded jeans. I like the contrast it gives on the collar.
Speaking of that collar:
  I love it. This was the one area I didn't have a clue how to make work. In the end I pieced what I had left in scraps to make a collar about 175% the size of the original pattern collar. It was at least 12 inches longer and 2-3 inches wider. I then connected it to the jacket with lots of lapped zigzagging. Tucks were made at the neckline sides to make the big long collar fit into the much shorter neck. I left one side longer to get that asymmetrical thing happening and closed it all with a rivet button and thread loop. I love how it turned out, the contrast from hubby's jeans and how the point falls right between the two buttons. A bias strip covers the zigzagging.

Sleeves were sewn on using a mock flat fell. First I serged the edge of the sleeve. Then I stitched it into the armscye. I trimmed back the non serged layer and pressed the serged layer over it. I then double topstitched from the outside. The sleeve seams were bound HK style. I did all this topstitching and edge stitching without the aid of my edge stitching foot. Talk about withdrawal, but my Pfaff was in the spa and my Kenmore, a bit of a monster, was better at dealing with heavy bulk anyway. So all top and edge stitching are eyeballed. 

With piecing done it was time to switch gears to painting. I used Lumiere paints and just brushed them on in the direction of the twill. It filled in better that way.  I used a hard stencil brush to get the paint down into the fabric.  I also used a smaller stiff brush to paint into a lot of the flat felled seams to give them a bit more dimension.This was totally hit and miss and really took no time other than drying and getting heat set with the iron. Easy peasy!


 Finally it was time for Phase Three, the stitching embellishment. This was simply back and forth straight stitching.  and some odd zigzags here and there like you can see above. This also went rather quickly . In areas where a lot of bulk happened I literally cut out some of the layers and pieced in a single layer of denim. On these areas I topstitched with big zigzags to cover up the cut away areas. You really can't see them at all. This was very necessary where the above pocket and its flap went into the armscye seam allowance. I also banged a lot of the bulk out with a hammer and the cement basement floor. If you give yourself permission to sew rough and ready, it all works out in the end, at least if it is a conscious decision. Accidentally, not so much. 

When I installed the zip I really didn't have room for a second line of topstitching. So I decided to do some more of the embellishment zigzagging in the zip seam allowance to further secure it. This is a heavy jacket and it definitely needed more than one line of  stitching to keep the zip from being pulled out. In this pic you can see where I did that in the SA left and right of the zip with the red arrows.  That band left of the zip is the bottom band of the original jean jacket. 

Conclusion:
I REALLY enjoyed throwing out the rules, getting all asymmetrical and painterly, and just having fun making this version of anorak pattern Simp 2153. Just for the creative joy of it all, I would suggest this type of project, with any pattern. First, find your garment and a simple pattern. Then do the piecing, painting and stitching in that order. Don't get all couture-y and just enjoy the creative flow of it all. 

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 It did take forever to get this jacket done, didn't it? We are now done with all construction and landscaping and are really happy with those results. We have had loads of guests as well as travelled out twice this month  to New Hampshire and Mass. for long weekends with family. Hubby has been having extended health issues that hopefully will be relieved soon. Then there was dealing with the whole excaped prisoner debacle right in our neighborhood and at work and everywhere else we travel in the area.  IT'S BEEN A BUSY SUMMER! But I am now ready to get back to sewing and our usual quiet lifestyle. I am looking forward to all sorts of projects and can't wait to share them with you. Next up is a Marcy Tilton top. It's flat pattern measured, cut out and ready for interfacing. More to come. It feels good to be back and I hope you all had a wonderful summer. Happy Labor Day!...Bunny