Monday, October 30, 2006
We're headed to Tackyfabulous land. You know, I sew a lot. Some of the things I make are not particularly exciting or exquisite. I get this urge every once is a while to make something outrageous and bordering on tacky. I've been sewing work clothes for myself and working on American Beauty which is a more elegant art piece, and felt the urge to make this purse:
Sorry I cropped out the handles! They're not exciting anyway - just your typical fabric purse handles - hot pink on one side and red on the other. It also needs a good pressing.
The red outer fabric is red cotton with discharge dye words - "passion", "love", "ardor", "romance", etc. and hearts stamped in a gold glitter finish product made by Jacquard. The words were done on a large piece of fabric using a Chlorox Bleach Pen. I just wrote the words on, waited about 30 minutes, rinsed, chemcially stopped the bleach action and dried the fabric. This works best on natural fibers. I have successfully discharged velvets with household bleach and had some absolutely gorgeous results from burgundy and black velvet. You can see below a trial run sample on black cotton for another (hopefully less tacky) purse. The top one has the bleach gel still on it and the bottom is after the processing is complete. I probably could have let it process a little longer and got lighter lettering - I could overdye it, too, in another color if it comes out light enough. Any ideas as to the theme of the next purse?
This purse also has an overlay of two layers of sparkly red tulle and then the whole thing was quilted to some stiff Pelon stuff. Between the tulle and cotton, I placed red, pink and clear rhinestone hearts and rounds during the quilting process. The quilting lines (in sparkly red, pink and gold threads) actually trap the rhinestones in little sections so they're free to move about, but won't fall off the purse. My 5 year old was fascinated by this and was playing with them while I was working on other pieces.
Four rows of "fur" trim, piping, some handles and there it is in all it's tackyfabulous glory. The lining, piping and part of the handle are from a piece of hot pink fabric I hand dyed a couple of years ago and dug out of the stash.
I haven't titled this piece yet. Any ideas? Nothing would be too corny or punny.
Next, I'm working on the Marfy pants. No glitter, rhinestones or fur. I promise.
Friday, October 27, 2006
I got a medallion done . . . . almost.
Here's the first small medallion. As you can see it's done, but not done. I need to remove small sections here and there and reshape a bit - they're a bit off. Not surprising, huh? It's not a big job and will take me about 30 minutes to fix. No, there are no weird pink smudges in the upper left, either - I put this on the ironing board to photograph and you can see some of that through the white.
At this point, it's just appliqueing all the medallions. I will post pictures of the corners and large oval when they're done. After that, it's just the quilting and putting in the lining. Shouldn't be too big of a deal (crossing fingers *and* toes!).
I've got the muslin for the dress cut and sewn together. I will post about the muslin after I try it on and see what fit and design changes will need to be made. I'll give you a sneak preview as to the reason I've dubbed it "The Ugly Step-Sister":
I'm not even going to explain this fabric. Suffice it to say that it is part of the reduce-reuse-recycle program.
Now, moving along and tearing your eyes away from the train wreck fabric, here's the dress pattern I have:
Here's the pattern I'd like the dress to look like:
I really wanted the Vogue Couturier, but when the bidding got up over $75.00 for the pattern, I had to get out of the game. I saved a picture of the pattern and found one with similar design lines to use as a base pattern to modify. I can copy that front, that's not the problem. The problem is the back! I have no idea what the back of this dress looked like. There might not be anything back there design wise, and I'm not sure where they've placed the zipper, either. I have a few ideas of what I might do with the back, but we'll talk about that later.
If any one has Vogue Couturier #191 (would have been published sometime between 1958 and 1960 or so) and would be kind enough to share what the back looks like, please let me know! If any one knows of any archives that might have a copy of this pattern and would be willing to let me know what the back looks like, let me know that too!
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
The applique process is underway!
Now I'm down to the lining of the coat, which involves appliques and quilting. The appliques are nice to do, they're portable and I don't mind the work. These appliques are freezer paper formed and handstitched. I've done many types of applique work for various projects: raw-edge, reverse appliques, machine applique and the handstitched applique. My favorite for classic, elegant designs is the handstitched style.
Here's the basic process I use for this type of applique. It may seem fussy, but for me it gives really nice results.
Step 1: I start with a design that doesn’t have too many tiny, tiny pieces. Simple and large enough is what I aim for when doing the artwork. I do all my own artwork and that takes care of any copyright issues that come up when using other people’s artwork. That said, this medallion is 5" by 7". Those curlicues are pretty small, but I’ll get to them later. I number the pieces in the order that they will be appliquéd, this rose has 8 pieces, I think. I also placed a letter on each piece indicating color or shade of color. Here I have L and D for light and dark red.
Step 2: I either cut apart the artwork (all drawn on freezer paper, it’s really great stuff) or I trace it off onto a new piece of freezer paper. For repetitive pieces I trace and just make new ones when the old ones get too cruddy. At this point, I add slash marks to indicate which edges are not turned under. Anything under another piece will not need to be turned in.
Step 3: Next I take the pieces and iron them on the fabric I wish to make the appliqué out of. Freezer paper is perfect – the shiny side will stick to fabric when ironed, and peels off easily when cool. It can also be reused several times before I need a new template – I think 5 or 6 times. I then cut them out with ¼” allowance all the way around.
Step 4: After cutting each piece out, it is individually formed to the correct shape. Inside corners are clipped, as are extreme inside curves. Outside curves are formed by running a line of basting stitches around the outside and gathering. I also use spray starch at this stage to keep the edges crisp. Once the pieces are all formed, the freezer paper is removed and saved for another use.
Step 5: The pieces are then placed on the background fabric and stitched invisibly in place, starting with piece 1, and continuing until all pieces are in place.
Now, those curlicues. Ugh. Just as with the trapunto, getting them fairly uniform and even proved to be a royal pain. I spent probably six hours working on them on the first medallion. They’re actually a bit too small to be appliquéd very well, but I’m too proud and stubborn to give up. The solution I came up with was to form them as described above, and when I am actually doing the stitching onto the background, I apply a template (made of freezer paper) to the top. With the template in place, I can gently reform the curve slightly as I stitch, pulling out or tucking under with my needle enough fabric to match the template. This ensures that I get a fairly uniform appearance to all the little knobs. You can see below the template on top and where I need to correct the curve a bit. Take a look at the scale – I’m only moving 1/16” to 1/32” of fabric, but it makes a big difference.
These medallions are located on the sleeves near the sleeve hem on the lining, and all this work might seem a bit fussy for an unnoticed location, but you should know by now, I’m a bit crazy. I'll try to post a picture of a finished medallion soon. I just need to finish up that stem/leaf piece pictured above.
Next up: cutting out the muslin for the dress. I’ve dubbed it the Ugly Step-Sister. Any guesses as to why?
Monday, October 23, 2006
The outer shell is done!
Well, except for the buttonhole and the hem facing. Close enough. I had it on the dressform the other night when MIL came over and she said that it really makes a statement. Not sure what *kind* of statement, but a statement nonetheless. Anyway, I explained the deal with the button and she said with the collar, anything really detailed would get lost. For right now, I am going to go with a covered button made out of the velvet. I might cover it in beads/rhinestones later, but I'm not sure yet. The hem facing I really don't need to deal with until I put in the lining, plus I need to get it quilted and I'm just not inspired to do that right now.
Here's the last step in putting the outside shell together - putting on the facing which has the "fur" collar attached. Most of the facing I could stitch on the machine, but as I found out with the cuffs, I need to do some handstitching to finish joining the two fabrics. With the machine I just can't get close enough to the base of the last fur row, nor can I get it perfectly even. I don't mind the handstitching - it wasn't that much and I have so much more control over what I'm working on. A lot of my students shudder at the thought of hand basting or stitching, but I've learned the hard way that a stitch in time really does save nine. Thus the handstitching, yes, after I tried it via machine. The pictures below, in order: first, the two edges that need to be joined around the back neck of the collar; second, fell stitching the two pieces together; third, collar done!
Now I need to seriously get to work on the lining. I had planned on doing some rose medallion appliques. I'm still doing them, but I might have to eliminate the large one from center back - I forgot that there was a pleat center back for wearing ease. I could eliminate it, but my intuition is telling me not to, but I really want to do that medallion. Not sure yet. At the moment, I've got the small medallions on the sleeves and the corner ones that go near the fronts in the corner between the hem and facing.
Tomorrow I'll give some details on how I'm doing the appliques.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
I got the Marfy Skirt done! Acutally, it wasn't a very complicated pattern - it wasn't one of their detailed jackets or wedding gowns! Here I am full view, followed by front and back. You can't see the topstitching, but I did do it all. Odd pictures are courtesy of my usual photographic crew. Not sure what was going on in the top picture and the next two are a bit off kilter, too.
At the beginning, I wrote myself a huge note to add 1" seam allowances. You know what that means . . . I was doing good until the last pieces, the flounce. I forgot on the sides and top of the flounce. I did remember the hem allowance, so I put in a narrower hem, narrowed the sides of the skirt a bit and everything worked out ok. I use single fold bias tape to face the hem, since it was practically all bias anyway. I stitched it to the front, flipped to the back and topstitched.
A few more details about the skirt, just so you know. Let's see, it has a trouser style zip with a fly shield. No problem, I've done these and re-read the section in my Reader's Digest Guide and it went in beautifully. It also has pockets that are stitched on before attaching the waistband. I decided against the usual turn in side seam allowances, iron and direct topstitching method. I faced the whole pocket, which left a nice clean edge (my fabric was of a very shreddy sort), then I topstitched only the opening where the hand enters, then topstitched the pockets to the skirt. You can see a pocket flipped over below, ready for placement.
Marfy did not provide a backview for this pattern, although sometimes they do. Since this was designed for a belt, one would make the logical conclusion that there should be belt loops in the back, too. The pattern didn't indicate such with any letters or symbols, but I went ahead and made two more loops and put them on the back in the same place as the front. The pattern pieces also has a placement mark for a button, snap, something? I decided to attach the loops in the waistband/waistband facing seam, leaving the bottom of the loops to deal with. Snaps or other hardware or working buttonhole with buttons could be cool, but I simply sewed on buttons all the way through all the skirt layers to anchor the bottom of the loops to the skirt. I got these cool buttons that look like snaps at Wal-mart for 62 cent for a card of 5! They're a shank-type button, but the shank is molded into the button, rather than a true loop attached to the back.
I only had to do minimal adjustments for fitting. I took out about 3/4" total at each side seam on the waistband and on next skirt, I will pinch out 1" total of the center back above the butt tapering it out to 0" before cutting to make it a bit snugger at the back waistband.
One other thing I noticed about the skirt was that there is less skirt between the waistband and the flounce than the picture from Marfy shows. I found the same thing with a similar pattern from Hotpatterns. Not a big deal - I almost expected it. In fact, my husband wandered into the studio, took a look at the Marfy pictures and asked how tall the models were. I said, "14 feet. They're Italians." Not all Italians are tall, I know, but he knows how I feel about the pictures on pattern envelopes. Overall, it is a great skirt - I like wearing it and I'll make another in plaid. I already have the fabric, just need to put it in the line up.
Finally for the bonus of the day . . . dinosaurs! Here's my son in his dinosaur sweater I knitted a few years ago. The dinosauars are all knit in, rather than done in duplicate stitch. This is the last season for this sweater, so I thought I'd take a few pictures of it.
Tomorrow I will update American Beauty!
Friday, October 20, 2006
Here it is, all done! I got it done last night and had my daughter take the pictures this morning before going to school.
The pattern is below; it's a size 10, which is a size 30 bust. I was a little skeptical that it would fit at all, but being the fearless (read: stupid) person that I am, I cut it out anyway and proceeded to sew. My reasoning was that it looked like there was a lot of ease from the drawing on the envelope and since I'm petite, most things through the neck and shoulders are too big anyway.
I bought the lining a while ago - it's a Joann's really slippery silky stuff. It was on clearance and as usual, if the experiment doesn't work, I'm not out too much money. It's black with huge orange, yellow and fuchsia roses. The perfect thing to hide INSIDE the coat, even my husband was shocked and hoped it wasn't for the outside. The outer fabric is some wool coating a friend of mine gave me, it's sort of charcoal grey/black and has a nap, sort of furry. The real find from my stash was the thinsulate! I had just enough to line out the coat in thinsulate. It was left over from about 6 years ago when I was pregnant with my son and I made a huge black wool cape and put the thinsulate in it. I made it because I knew my parka wouldn't fit by the time I was due in February, and needed something warm, elegant and expandable. Check out that lining!
I didn't make too many changes to the construction. The jacket follows the typical vintage form of a one piece collar and lapel (similar to the American Beauty coat) , underarm gussets and welt pockets. One of the changes I did make was to finish the edges between the front facing and lining as per an article in Threads, Issue 123, where a piping is inserted between the facing and lining and then the raw facing edge at the hem between the lining and bottom edge is finished off with some binding. Pic below is of one of the finished facings.
The other change was to add a bound buttonhole and covered button to the coat. The pattern does not originally include a closure for this view. The other two views have bound buttonholes, so I followed suit and added one. I may not always use it, but it's nice to have it if I want it closed. The buttonhole isn't as uneven as the pic shows, either, I promise! I had just taken the coat off and put it on the dressform to snap the picture.
These last two pictures are just for fun - they're overexposed, but my budding fashion photographers were just thrilled to get behind the camera again. The top one my daughter took at an odd moment and the bottom one my son took. Not sure what that weird smear is (it is *not* on the lens!), but his camera angle is different.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
is how the Marfy's are packaged for shipping. I got them today!
Here's what you get:
That's it. No picture, no pattern envelope, no instructions, no fabric yardage, no seam or hem allowances, nothing. I had to look up which pattern was which. There's a number on the outside sticker (stuck on the actual pant leg pattern piece and on a piece of wrapping tissue for the skirt), but nothing to indicate what garment the pattern makes. The pattern pieces are pretty well marked with letters for intersections, center backs, etc.
Above is the back waistband facing piece for the skirt - there's a notch, a letter and a few instructions. This ought to be a real adventure.
Once I get my 50's shortie coat done, I will start on what will hopefully be a wearable experiment for the Marfy skirt. I just need to finish inserting the lining, do the bound buttonhole and button and hand stitch the hems. Between that and some pants I got in to alter and American Beauty, I think this adventure will start this weekend. Maybe sooner . . . .
Monday, October 16, 2006
Since I had dental work done on Friday in Concord and was already half way to Manchester, I decided to reward myself for behaving at the dentist and go to Fabric Fix and Martin’s House of Cloth.
I got some strange grey tweedy stuff off the $1.00 table for the Marfy skirt experiment. I saw some plaids I liked too, but I want to wait a bit on more fabric for the skirt. I also got a piece of chartreuse charmeuse (say that 10 times!), silk, from the $3.00 yard table! It’s going into another project I’m percolating – see the bottom picture for details. I bought some more green at Martin’s – a small piece of dupioni in forest green and a couple of yards of moiré in a grassy/emerald green.
The greens are above – I’ve got this stuff hung up in the work room while I’m percolating the next project. The multi-colored fabric is sort of an inspiration; the main inspiration is all the beautiful moss covered rocks I've encountered while hiking - the moss is some of the most amazing shades of green. I’ve got the fabric, fibers and some sequins I've pulled out – I haven’t checked the rest of my beads/baubles/shiny stuff yet. I might have some Swarovskis in peridot green and some leaf shaped metal sequin like thingys, too.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Whatever you call them . . .
I got to model my new pants for school last week. I also wore them all day, but no one noticed or said anything, so I didn't change back into the skirt I wore to school! I didn't wear them to school because I had to do the hems on the morning commute. See, I'm a school bus chaperone, and I ride the bus with the kids. It gets pretty cold in the winter, but I make good use of the time and do handstitching, reading, knitting, percolating, etc. I've also figured out how to do hand beading on the bus, too. *That* is another story, for another time.
Here I am in the first pair of wearable pants. I said wearable for a reason. The first pair was an unwearable muslin (is that right, Lisa?) , hence experiment #2, the grey pants. Seeing someone's saddlebags, especially my own, isn't pleasing! I like the grey - at least it's in this season and the fabric was $1.00 at my local Wally World. I wasn't going to pay big bucks for fabric for another experiment. I am certain that it's polyester with a captial P-O-L-Y-S-T-E-R, but it looks ok, and I'll keep them. If the grey trend goes away, then I've lost less than $5.00 for the fabric and zipper.
I ended up morphing these two patterns.
The Vogue has narrower legs, but the McCall's fits me through the thigh but the leg is really, really wide. I think if I would have had the Vogue in both the smallest and the next size range, I could have cobbled something together to fit. The problem is, in patterns, I'm a 6 or 8 in the waist, but around a 12 in the hip. I've always loved the straight clean style, but it doesn't work for an hourglass - RTW is a joke - if it fits the thigh, I could fit two of me in the waist, if the waist fits, there's no way short of liposuction I'm getting my thighs into the pants. This is the best compromise - the narrower leg of the Vogue with the looser thigh of the McCall's. I put in the zip as usual, and sewed the inner leg seams. I then split the back waistband into two parts at the center back seam, stitched the 4 waistband parts to the pants parts and basted the crotch seam and side seams. A bit of tweaking later, and I had pants that fit fairly well. For me, this is the best way to deal with a pants muslin, as my problem areas are the thighs and back waist area.
Bottom line, my principal liked them, the students (some of the world's toughest and most honest critics) liked them, and I like them. Next: the Marfy pants, when I get the pattern. I splurged on $2.00 a yard fabric for the Marfy test garment!
Monday, October 09, 2006
At least by my own quilt guild. The Belknap Mill Quilt Guild annual quilt show was this weekend. I entered Raspberry Frazzle Dazzle and Little Red Empress. This was the debut show for LRE. I won first place with Little Red Empress! Next up: A Quilter's Gathering, the Eastcoast Quilter's Alliance show in Nashua, NH at the hotel that looks like a castle (seriously, I can't remember the name, but know what it looks like!). Garments need to be there by Oct. 19 and the fashion show is Saturday, Nov. 4, so next week I've got to get everything ready and packed up!
I think it should be Part X . . . .
Starting to lose track. Anyway. Guess what? I have had time to sew and I have made progress. Real progress!
For starters, I finally got the bottom band on the coat, and it looks great. Thanks to all who suggested it needed more of the dupionni in another spot! The sides seams were a bit wonky, as I had suspected. I took them out and angled them a bit more and that solved that problem.
The strap seams are now both completed, except that yesterday, wouldn't you know it, I found a problem. I had stitched the band between the yoke and body on wrong side up. There's only one seam in that piece of bias, and you'd have to pick at the little beads and really look to see, but there were the seam allowances. Ugh. Yep, you should know by now what I did. That thing came off, was turned correctly and restitched. I figured it out when I went to put the backing piece of bias on the bottom strap seam and wondered if I had done the top one right. Of course not.
I also got the cuffs finished and on! They look great - they're a bit weighty, so once I get the lining in place and everything tacked down right, I think it might need some little hand tacks of some sort to keep them in place. Not something I'm going to worry about right now.
Ok, I hear you - get to the pictures of the whole thing already. Here they are in order: front, back, side angle and close up of the cuff.
What's next? Well, when I'm home, I need to quilt the other facing, put the fur on it and get it attached to the coat. During my commute, I need to work on the appliques for the lining. Once the appliques are done, the lining gets quilted and put in the coat. I still need to do something about that button . . . .
Thursday, October 05, 2006
I got an email today with this title from my husband.
Makes you think, huh? He actually confessed to buy a new computer monitor he's been wanting for a while. I can forgive that - he's a computer network engineer by day and computer junkie at night. He also gave me a nice sum to buy a new pack for hiking. I can forgive a lot with that kind of bribe. If he only felt that way about fabric . . . . .
Ok, now for my confession to you. I ordered some Marfy patterns. I've been eyeing them for a long time, and when they put up the new ones on Vogue Pattern's website, I finally gave in.
After much deliberation, (I could have ordered all sorts of stuff!) this is what I ordered:
Pants, of course! I like the waistband detail. I actually have a waist - I have sort of an hourglass pear shape, so these might work, plus they're pretty clean of any other details and have a straight leg.
I also ordered a skirt: I really like plaids and the pockets that extend into the belt loops and the flounce. If I can find the right charcoal grey and black plaid - this will be fantastic. I'm also thinking it might look sharp in black ultrasuede with white topstitching.
I know these patterns don't come with instructions and come one size only - no surprises here. I work with vintage patterns and they come one size only, already cut out and sometimes without instructions. My usual habit is to read the instructions and then decide if I'm going to follow them at all. These shouldn't be too bad as I've picked fairly straight forward styles to start my Marfy experience.
At least it wasn't fabric . . . . yet . . . . .
I have a few new concepts percolating.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
I need your help - I'll explain in a minute.
First, Vogue just put up new patterns!!! I really, really like some of these!
This jacket is great - check out the line drawing - it's Vogue 2936
There's lots of other neat stuff, but anyway.
Now, back to my plea for help. I need you to let me know what are your favorite formal/dressy pants patterns. If it's part of a wardrobe, that's okay. Here's the deal. I work at a private, Christian school in New England. Our dress code is that the women teachers/students wear skirts/dresses to class. Not a problem. Except in the winter when it's really, really cold here in New England. Our new, young, hip principal has changed the dress code so that women can now wear pants to class, Dec. 1 through Apr. 1. So, now I need to add some nice dress pants to the old wardrobe rotation. I still will wear dresses and skirts, but add the pants to the mix for the days when it's too cold and I don't feel like the black tights. He wants me to model appropriate pants next Tuesday! I've got plenty of suiting in the stash (who doesn't!), check that, I need, ok would like, some black pinstripe pants. I'm going to make the pants from Vogue 2925, since the other 3 pieces from that wardrobe were a success.
I need some ideas; in my case, of course, the pants will be professional, elegant and of course (for Isabelle) tres chic! The rules from the principal are: no denim, no jeans-styled pants, no super skinny pants, no knit fabric (sweatpants and their kin, the legging) and definitely no pajama pants. Personally, I'm a 5'2" petite in shape (not the round kind of shape!), but with no illusions of looking like the models on the pattern envelopes once I've made the garment. Anything, absolutely anything, that will make me look taller would be nice. I already have the platform high heels!
Monday, October 02, 2006
Here's the promised update!
There's still quite a bit to be done on the outer shell of the coat. There are lots of small jobs before I can do the big jobs, which in turn affect one another. So, it's quite a laundry list. As long as I do a little bit each day, it will get done.
I have done the strap seam between the yoke and body and it looks good, so let's get to the pics and details.
Strap seams aren't hard to do - just a little time consuming. For the style of seam I am using, the entre-deux, there is a little more prep and handstitching. First, all seam allowances are finished with a strip of bias. In this case, I used the red silk. At the left, you can see the strip sewn on and turned back to the inside, and pinned, ready for to be catchstitched to the underlining. The underlining is white cotton, for less show through for the white lining and for support for the crushed velvet. The crushed velvet seems thinner and just needs the extra support.
Once the edges are finished with the bias strips, the two edges are abutted and basted together loosely. The beads are put on next, using Silamide thread. My bead shop was low on Silamide, Donna told me that she's got a lot on back order but the company is still suffering from Hurricane Katrina. She did have the red I needed! I am using size 8/0 seed beads for this project - red with a silver lining. I tried out about 8 or so different bead shapes and color combos with some swatches and I liked these the best. They are a little bigger than what I usually use in my projects, which is the 11/0 size. The beads are the main link between the two pieces, so getting the right color and size is important. In the picture on the left, you can see the pins marking where the beads will go, 1/2" apart. Two passes of the silamide through each bead, and it's on to the next one, all the way across the seam.
In the third picture, you can just detect the basting thread still in place between the beads.
Once all the beads are in place, the basting comes out - it can stay in or come out after the next step - but I like to remove it at this point. Next, a bias strip is placed on the inside, behind the beads, and attached with a row of running stitches at the top and bottom of the strip. I'm part way across on the bottom row of running stitches - you can see the back of the trapunto here. You can place a contrasting colored strip in there for a really neat effect, but I chose not to on this project.
Now, for the finished product! I will give you a full length shot once I get the bottom band in place, but here's some details from the back yoke.
The bottom band is almost ready to be basted to the body of the coat. I have to take out some of the bias that finished the seam and fix it. The curve at the top of the band does not match the curve on the bottom of the coat and is causing some grief. I want to make sure it matches exactly, as if it doesn't, it will be a bit wonky and won't hang straight. I will get the basting done and try to get a section of beadwork done. Not sure, though - I've got two doctors apointments, a portrait appointment and ladies ensemble pratice today. There's always tomorrow! No wait, I teach tomorrow!