25 September 2015

Inspiration...Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns

Inspiration comes from the book, Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns, by Natalie Chanin.  I have wanted to embellish simple designs. This book is a good start for me.  There's a CD included which requires a copy shop to print out the patterns (there is no home-print feature). Couldn't wait, so I pulled out Simplicity 1621 from my stash, an older pattern that I had success with; a good fit, simple lines, easy to alter. This pattern comes with scooped neckline, which I converted to a V-shape, something like what's in the book, but Bubblegum pink rayon gauze fabric??? ...oh my.

Haven't decided on how to finish edges.

10 September 2015

Bead Embroidery...Growing a Garden

My first attempt at beaded embroidery.  Here I am growing a garden of vines using a variety of seed beads incorporated with hand embroidery stitches.  This design is from an online class which I signed up for through www.craftsy.com, Bead Embroidery with Myra Wood.  

26 July 2015

I paint pictures with thread

Here's what I'm working on
These are my tools
I paint pictures with thread.  Here is simple embroidery.  Currently I am working on embroidered blocks to incorporate into a quilt that I have in mind.  Sunbonnet Babies of course.  Because I am using basic outline stitches, the work goes relatively quickly.  An enjoyable pastime for this Calico Quilter when all is said and done. 

24 July 2015

Cloth-covered Pattern Weights

Here's my boxful of covered washers, all finished, which I use as pattern weights when cutting out patterns.  The washers, purchased from the hardware store, work well even in their raw state, but with a cloth covering they are much nicer to handle.

More slippers...

Another pair done, this time adult size small.  The medium size slipper was too large (more for size 8-9).  I'll be elongating the soles by about 1/2" on the next pair of size small, as they're currently too exact of a fit on my size 7M foot.  Fun to make but I'll also have to come up with a sturdier sole; they definitely need sole support.  For the interlining I had used a thicker but still very pliable interfacing from my stash; I'll be looking for thick, stiff and sturdy for my next pair, while keeping in mind washability.  Still, the mix of different prints is adorable and the possibilities are endless.  I'm already thinking of Christmas slippers for the girlies.

17 July 2015

House Slippers, all done!

Soft, comfy pair of house slippers, all finished.  These were easy to make.  I'll be making more.

House Slippers in the making...

Here's a simple slipper, exactly what I've been wanting for wearing around the house. The pattern, Favorite Things Pattern Designs - Sole Comfort, turned out to be the kind of quick and easy-to-sew project that I really enjoy.  I was concerned about the stiffness of the soles on such a slipper.  Would they be stiff enough?  Would I be able to walk comfortably?  It turns out using the recommended materials as listed, worked out very well.  Applying bias tape, in this case to finish the edges of the slipper, is a simple technique.  I cut my own bias tape for this slipper.  I'll be making Christmas slippers for each of my daughters-in-law and granddaughters for the fun of it.

07 July 2015

Cover those weights!

Here are weights which I have been using for pattern cutting instead of pins.  Papa Paz got them for me from the hardware store, and they work very well for my purposes.  I am finally spending time to cover them with fabric, using my Clover yoyo maker (size L), which turns out to be the just-right size.  So easy to do, but this will take some time as I have a good bunch of uncovered weights in that box.

28 October 2014

Things that I hang with...

Here are glimpses of walls and things that I hang with in my sewing room.  It seems that no matter where we are, or how big or small the space, I end up with these kinds of things all around me.  

07 October 2014

Non-wrinkle fabric on my mind...

This past summer I've been sewing with cotton and linen; cool fabrics for summer wear.  But I need non-wrinkle!  I'm heading in that direction; just saying...

Butterick 5786; Asymmetrical Hemline Shirt...all done!


Black shirt with asymmetrical hemline; Butterick 5786.  Not hard to sew, but this one took time.  Example?  I was putting the cuff on #2 sleeve and nicked the body of the sleeve with my scissors...my bad; had to recut and redo with what extra fabric I had leftover.  I did 1/2" buttonholes before I had my buttons.  I needed 10 buttons to complete the shirt.  Joann's in Temecula had such a limited assortment of 1/2" buttons in stock and, except for these, none with 10 of anything in black, or wood, or coconut, or shirt buttons...nada!  Staring at a button rack for a half hour does not make buttons appear.  These will do, but one day, if this shirt wears well as I expect it will, I plan to replace the buttons.  This is garment #2 of my Fall wardrobe, which I am building one by one. 

What next?  Well actually, I have pants on my mind, and I'll be putting great effort into finding just right pattern, with just the right fit, to make the perfect pair of pants.  I'm thinking of a lovely pair of lined, woolen pants to go with a stylish jacket of the same fabric, for travel and holiday wear.


03 October 2014

McCalls 6739; dress all done!

Finished dress
Inside pocket detail
I finished this dress, not my favorite, but it's done.  Because of the piping that I added along the vertical seams, front and back, and the mid-weight linen blend fabric, the dress is definitely boxy all around...oh my!  The side pockets drape outward, instead of hugging the body.  The dress is straight up and down in design, without waist definition.  This pattern has potential to be a cool summer frock, with the right fabric and minus the piping.  Although I can wear it sleeveless, all in all, mine turned out more like a jumper, which I'll wear with a turtleneck and tights, come cooler weather. 

01 October 2014

Fall Sewing...Christine Jonson Pattern #723; Straight Shirt

Fall wardrobe preparation...here's my latest.  This CJ pattern is one of my favorites because it's so simply stylish and quick to sew.  The wavy distortion of the fabric is an illusion of the camera.  This is a taupe/black stretch gauze, 70% linen, 27% rayon, 3% lycra, which I threw in the wash before cutting and sewing.  Shrinkage?  Absolutely!  There was much less fabric to work with after pre-shrinking, but luckily there was enough.  This top ended up a light jacket with a single-button closure, instead of a full-on shirt. 

19 September 2014

Sleeveless dress with piping

McCalls 6739 (View B)
See the self-made black piping which has been applied to the pockets and will be applied to the vertical seam lines of this sleeveless dress?  There's a big Fall sale going on during September at www.Craftsy.com, and I recently purchased a Decorative Seams class, taught by Katrina Walker.  Here's my effort so far.

16 September 2014

Dress Muslin...it fits!

Kwik Sew 3521
Whipped up my muslin in a Size M, and with minimal tweaks, it's a fit.  I can imagine the dress in my fashion fabric of choice, with a nice belt to accent the waist.  BUT! now that I've tried it on, I'm thinking this may be too youthful a style for an aging granny (me).  I don't have daughters, wish I did.   This dress should be worn short, sassy and sweet.  I'll have to give it some though before moving forward.  Hmmm...what to do, what to do! 
Mid-September and still sewing sleeveless.  I'm thinking this cotton print fabric will go well with this Kwik Sew dress pattern.  I've not been one to make muslins, but a sleek fit on this bodice would be nice, and so I'm working out any fitting issues in advance.

Either I am shrinking or I have finally learned about choosing the correct pattern size to best match my measurements.  In fact, I've gone down one whole pattern size and, so far, have had good results.  It's true; most patterns require some tweaking to get a good fit for the best results.  Plus, I have learned the difference of high bust vs. full bust measurements, and how to use all the information that's printed on the pattern and pattern envelope.  Who knew I was one whole size off track?

For all the fuss put into making a garment, it is most encouraging when the darned thing fits, after all is said and done.  Putting in this attention to fitting detail has made all the difference.  Since this epiphany of mine, relating to pattern fitting, I have wanted to sew more and more (and more). 

13 September 2014

China Blouse detail...coming along!

My blouse is coming along.  Satin binding has been applied to collar edges, and frog closures are looking good placement-wise.  Still lots of critical work to do, i.e., attach collar and collar facings, get those sleeves in place.  One step at a time and this one may end up a keeper.

12 September 2014

Mandarin Collar; satin trim detail

Applying a satin trim binding around the edge of the collar on my China Blouse proved to be a challenge at first try.  After applying the satin binding, the collar would not lay flat around the curved edge, but instead formed a cup that would not be tamed.  I did clip the seam and I tried to press the collar into submission.  Over-handling made for a disastrous mess.  I was discouraged but not stumped.  Toss it out and start again says me; lucky I had plenty of extra fabric.  Second time around, I used a 1/2" seam to apply the binding to the collar which I then trimmed down to 3/8", same as before.  On my first try, I thought that the bias cut of the binding would be enough to bend and curve around the edges without having to clip the binding itself (wrong!).  This time, before sewing it onto the collar, I clipped the edges of the binding, spacing my clips about every 1/2".  This provided the flexibility needed for that binding to lay flat as it was sewn on.  Finally, I clipped around the curved edges of the collar, clipping ever so carefully so as not to cut into the stitching.   Now the binding folds over the collar edge and will press out nicely.  Remind myself to press gingerly!  I think I'll be able to finish this collar without further headache.