Friday, June 29, 2007
We'll be driving home tomorrow, either all the way home or partway and finishing the trip on Sunday. I will be *so happy* to be home! It feels very odd not to be in my studio sewing the way I want to! I think you all probably know that feeling. I haven't been without my machine, but I haven't done much sewing in the last week - at least not as much as I'd like. I've had a great vacation, but I'm ready to come home!
Look for a post on Sunday about the Knipmode skirt!
Friday, June 22, 2007
My laptop isn't working! That's why I haven't been able to post too much. I am leaving today so that I can pick up my husband on Saturday in Norfolk, VA; we're going to spend a week as a family in Williamsburg. If the resort we're staying at has internet access, my husband will bring his laptop, and maybe I'll get to show you some of the things I've been working on! I've made a really cute skirt (check out the in-progress picture below - the pattern is from Knipmode, thanks to Isabelle!), and have made some progress on Waiting For a Dress.
In the meantime, we've been on some day trips. Tuesday we went to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Wednesday we went to the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon, and yesterday we went to visit family that lives nearby. Here are some of the pictures from the Aquarium:
First, my dad and son in front of the huge tank that contains the whale sharks:
My dad looking at the overhead fish tank in the freshwater/rivers gallery:
Dakota in front of the giant kelp:
Parting Shot: Mom found more patterns! Some aren't in the greatest of shape, but as long as the pieces are there, it's ok with me.
Monday, June 18, 2007
My mother happened to run across some vintage patterns and a whole lot of Threads back issues! These are the "old" Threads before there were some changes in staff/article content. There's 43 of these! Some of them have articles on Schiaparelli and Vionnet, too! I am thrilled!
She also found these two vintage patterns for me:
Parting Shots: Yesterday we went to the Air Museum at the Air Force Base in Warner Robbins, GA. My dad is retired career military, so it was neat to see all the planes that he's flown in and the equipment he's worked on. Here's my son in a fighter jet cockpit, having fun; my dad in front of the same style jeep and equipment he used to use; lastly, my son again, you can barely see him sitting between the props of the very large airplane.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
0Well, we made it to Georgia without any major trouble! For those of you who posted about that DC traffic - yes, I hear you! I usually try to go through there around 5am or take the 81 through the Shenandoah Valley, thus avoiding the Eastern seaboard. The 95 is pretty much the most direct route to Georgia, plus I had planned on the 2 stops, soooooo, I ended up doing what I did!
Since I brought my machine, I've started work on the white silk version of the dress. I got everything cut out yesterday, and started work on the cuffs and collar. I got the wavy green line quilted in and the gold trim put on.
Before any stitching is done, the fabric pieces are marked using water soluble pens and a ruler. I trace the stitching lines, so that I have an idea of what size the pieces will actually be, and thus where to place the trims/embellishments.
After marking the wavy line with a stencil, I stitched using a twin needle. You know, I need to put in an advertisement here for stencils and templates. I use a lot of templates! Because a lot of my artwork has repetative motifs, a template is the way to go - I only have to make one original image and after than it's easy to get an exact copy of it. With a template, I can take it to a photocopier and reduce or enlarge the image, too!
Anyway, here's the set up for two spools of the thread on the machine. I find that the metallic threads run better if on the upright spindle, but technically, I've been told that you're supposed to run crosswound spools on the upright spindle. Crosswound meaning that when you look at the thread on the spool, it crosses itself, forming x-shapes along the spool. At any rate, it doesn't matter here, because I'm using two spools.
I also got my sequins from C. Cartwright's - they arrived in Georgia in 3 or 4 days. I think I ordered them on Monday, and they were here on Thursday. Most of them of course, were the snowflakes - Monday, I'll show you what I'm going to do with them. I'm going to work on the sleeves today and tomorrow.
Parting Shot: Meet Miss Kitty. She's my parent's, actually my brother's, cat. She's lived with them for a while, probaby 4 years? I can't remember. They got her before he went to live in England and Israel, and never picked her up when he moved back to the States to attend UCLA.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
The bad news first. Yesterday morning, very early, I packed my gear, my children and my sewing machine into the car and set off for Dublin, GA. I didn't time my trip very well, because I got stuck in bumper to bumper traffic in Washington DC for somewhere between 1 and 2 hours. So, the bad thing is that I didn't get to go to GStreet. I'm a little disappointed, but there will be another, better time to go in the future.
The good news is that last evening, we were able to visit VickiW and her studio! She lives near Richmond, VA and since that was my stop for the night, she gracious offered to have us come over for dinner. She has a fabulous house and studio - she actually has two areas for creating and sewing. Her sewing studio is upstairs, but she also has a long-arm quilting machine in her basement!
Here's a picture of her in her studio - notice all the shelves and cabinets for organizing all her treasures! She's made great use of the space by put shelves all the way to ceiling.
She also showed me some of her quilt collection. This is a mini that really struck me (it's probably no bigger than 14" square) - it's gorgeous and look at all the hand beadwork! Don't be surprised if you see this show up on an art garment bodice in the future!
Parting Shot: Last, but not least, we got to see the bluebird eggs! If you check Vicki's blog, you'll notice that she posts pictures of all the birdies around her property. She posted a picture of the mama bluebird within the last week, and she's not in the nest in this picture, but the eggs are!
Today, I'll be finishing up the drive to Dublin, GA. My children are anxious to get breakfast, so I'd better get off the computer!
Monday, June 11, 2007
First, I am *almost* done with the flowergirl dresses! I have to get them done before I leave for vacation on Wednesday. I will deliver them tomorrow night.
Speaking of vacation, I will be taking my sewing machine and laptop, so there still will be posts. I will be packing up the children and leaving very early Wed. morning, stopping in Richmond, Virigina for the night and driving the next day to Dublin, Georgia, where my parents currently live, to spend a week or so with them. I then will drive to Virginia and pick up my husband at the airport (he won't be going to Georgia with us) and the four of us will spend in a week in Williamsburg, Virginia. On my way to Georgia, I am going to stop at G Street Fabrics! I figured out that there is one close to I-95, and I'll be passing through Washington, DC sometime early afternoon, so I think a stop is in order!
Second, here's the result of some planning I did today for the dress:
My husband walked into the studio and wanted to know why I was drawing on the dress. I told him it was only a muslin made of $1 a yard fabric (nasty, weird polyester in a color I wouldn't pick for myself, might I add!) and I wanted to see how the quilting/stitching was going to look before actually stitching the silk. Works for me - that's why we make muslins, right?
Notice that I was playing with the stitching/beading at the waist. The collar and cuffs will have the same trim as the green side of the vest, and I'm going to add a section of trim to define the waist a bit. The front didn't turn out so well - too wide and too low! The back is better, and I think it's going be a bit higher and go straight across or with a slight curve to imitate the bottom of the vest.
The only thing I need to decide now is colors, as the dress itself is going to be white (symbolizing the snow, of course!). I'll need to pull the colors into the dress a bit - but not too much, I don't want to lose the contrast. I'm thinking of doing the trim/beading on the collar and cuffs in the exact same colors as the vest, but I'm not sure about the "belt" section. All the rest of the stitching/embellishments on the dress will be white. Any ideas/thoughts? Just don't tell me I'm insane. I already know that.
I also ordered some sequins from C. Cartwright's. They have a $10 minimum, so not only did a I get quite a few packs of snowflake sequins for the dress, but I picked out some square blue and leaf sequins, too. I'm percolating another project, so the leaves are for inspiration. Here are some of the things I ordered:
Parting Shot: Mail from Portugal! Tany was kind enough to send me the latest Patrones and beautiful post card! Note to US Postal Service: Hurry up and get her box that I sent last week over there!
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Thanks you for the encouraging words regarding the teal dress! I really value the compliments, especially from those who I know are better seamstresses than I am. For me, it's inspiring to see their work on their blogs, to read about their techniques and motivating to actually try them!
Remember Waiting For Spring, that vest I almost went blind putting all the beads on? It needs a dress to be able to compete as an ensemble. No, I know you're wondering why does it have to compete as an ensemble? I could just enter as a vest, like I've done before, but some shows don't have a vest/jacket category and only accept ensembles. Hence, it needs more pieces before it can meet the definition of ensemble: "garment or group of garments that need no other items to make it ready to wear in public." By definition, just a vest isn't going to cut it in public, no matter where you live or who you are. A dress is the easiest answer.
This vest was inspired by a pattern, circa 1969/1970, so it makes sense that it would need a dress from the same era. I realize that this is a bit outside of my usual vintage comfort zone, but you know, it's good to get outside the comfort zone once in a while. Jen, of Mom's Pattern had a pattern that was exactly what I was looking for. It has full sleeves with cuffs (I have a plan for these), a little collar, and an easy to fit a-line shape. I've shown you this before, but here it is:
It only has 5 pieces, which is a blessing. Here's the muslin I put together in less than an hour:
There weren't any surprises with the fit - I only need to shorten the neck to waist length by an inch, and shorten the sleeves by an inch as well. Surprisingly, the bust/shoulders fit pretty well. The muslin is a bit more drapey than the silk dupioni (from the Silk Baron, of course) I'll be using, so the slight a-line shape will be a bit more obvious.
The more I look at this, the more I realize it is out of my comfort zone! What have you done or made recently that's out of your comfort zone, and how did it turn out for you?
Parting Shot: Piano Recital! Last night was the annual piano recital. My child take lessons from different teachers, but they combine their students for one recital. This is the third recital for my daughter, but the first for my son.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Thank you for all the compliments on the gym decorations and my dress. This is always a pretty stressful time of year for me as there is way too much going on and too much I'm responsible for. Your comments really encouraged me! Here's the dress - it's not too bad, it's sort of got the Grecian look we've been seeing recently.
So, let's start with the seam finishes. While this dress is underlined, it is not lined, so seam finishes are extremely important. All of the bodice seams were bound because the fashion fabric and underlining were treated as one piece of fabric. All of the skirt seams are french seams because the sheer fabric and underlining were treated as separate layers. The next pictures are of the inside of the dress. Notice there is an extra piece on the upper bodice covering the stitching for the smocking.
The waist seam had to be dealt with differently that all the other seams. It's rather thick as the skirt and bodice are gathered separately and then sewn together. Even with the thin fabrics, it was thicker than I'd liked. There was no real way to bind the seam, so I stitched it twice, trimmed close to the second stitching and overcast the raw edges by hand.
I've already mentioned the inner belt for this dress in another post, but you haven't seen it yet. Most of the time, the belts are made of grosgrain, petersham or twill tape. As luck would have it, I couldn't find grosgrain to match the dress. I wasn't too pleased about that, so I covered the grosgrain with the lining fabric. Here it is, done, installed and complete with hooks and eyes.
The left shoulder seam was supposed to be left open, with hooks and eyes to close it. Presumably, this was so that the dress would be easier to put on and take off. I found I didn't need that much space, so I stitched the seam shut by hand. Some day, I'll go back and fix it.
Remember all those beads that I crushed? Any spot where there was a bead that got crushed but didn't end up in the seam line, needed the beads replaced. That wasn't too bad, but it is inevitable - you have to remove enough to be able to get the sewing machine foot where it needs to be.
Last but not least, the belt. Shown below is one of the vintage belt kits that I have. I used the parts to make the belt and matching covered buckle. I was going to put in eyelets, but the belt actually doesn't need them and stays in place nicely by itself. If I need to, I will put them in at a later date. My machine actually does stitched eyelets, too, sort of like a buttonhole, so that's always an option.
Today, I had to finish an alteration and work on the flowergirl's dresses. Tomorrow, I'll show you a new art garment project - actually it's just a continuation of what I thought was a completed project. I'm hoping it won't take me too long to finish, and then it's back to work on Diamonds and maybe I'll get that silk dress done, too, this summer!
Parting Shot: My new favorite casual wear tennis shoes. I picked up these Chuck Taylor's for about $10 on clearance. They're fun to wear and my kids like them, too!
Friday, June 08, 2007
and why the details will be posted tomorrow.
The details will be posted tomorrow, as I actually had to put the finishing touches on it today. I usually don't do things that way, but this time it was necessary. The only thing that wasn't in place to wear the dress last night was in the inside belt. I put that in this morning and it is now finished. I'll photograph it tomorrow morning and get that post done.
As decorator/planner/hostess, I think the banquet went really well, and nothing major happened during the banquet. Before the banquet and before any guests showed up, it was quite interesting, though. First, the caterers showed up 1 1/2 hours too early. I had the school coordinator calling on my cell phone while I was enroute to let me know. Once I got there, we got the coffee urns brewing and all of the sudden we lost all eletrical power to the gym. That's not a good thing. That means there's no sound system, no stage lighting, no music, no powerpoint slideshow, no decoration lights, nothing. Thankfully, the meal was catered, so the food was being held in warming units plugged into the catering truck. After about 30 minutes of checking breakers and main power switches, praise God, all the power came back on! Right in time for the first guests to show up, too.
So, here's the gym all decorated for the banquet. I wish I had a bigger budget, because I could do more, but I do the best I can with what I have. My student helpers are awesome, though, and every year, I couldn't do the whole thing without them. They are great a doing whatever needs to be done - no matter how weird it may seem at the time. They're used to just doing whatever I ask and know that it will all look pretty good in the end. They really deserve the biggest applause!
For our tropical/sunset theme this year, I made a waterfall as part of the decorations. It's made of scaffolding, 3 levels high, not quite 30 feet off the ground. It actually was a lot of fun to make. I covered it in black vinyl and used blue mylar sheeting for the water. I rigged up a fan behind the scaffolding to cause the mylar to move and look like flowing water. The "foam" at the bottom is made of clear cellophane with white twinkly Christmas lights in it. Some more mylar, burlap, felt, fake trees and flowers, ferns and a few butterflies completed the whole scene. We put a red spotlight on it during the banquet, which gave up some great red/purple/blue colors on the water portion, as you can see in the last picture. You can also see the candle centerpieces and other candles lit in the last picture, too. The whole banquet is candlelight, so some of these picture were taken afterward right before we took all the scenery down.
The waterfall only had one mishap: I walked into the gym the night of the banquet all dressed up and saw that part of the black vinyl had come untaped at the very top and was hanging very oddly. Off came the high heels and armed with a roll of duct tape, I climbed right up to the top of the scaffolding and fixed it. I'm glad I'm not afraid of heights.
Here's the other end of the gym, with the other backdrop you already saw a few days ago. We also placed a red/amber spotlight on the sun. The rest of the gym (we have a full stage with all the curtains/lights/etc., too) has more palms, ferns, and trees with flowers, and since you've already seen some of those, I won't bore you with more. The large butterflies (you can see one below) I found at the Dollar Store for $1 each!
Parting Shot: Here I am, handing out awards today at the awards ceremony. I'm not a homeroom teacher this year so I don't hand out academc awards, but I always make up at least one silly award to hand out. Last year I gave a certificate of achievement for most non-academic items found in one person's locker. The record I believe is nine men's ties, six coats and eight lunch boxes. This year I gave an award called "The Brightest Bulb", for the person with the most creative idea as related to banquet decorating. This student suggested hanging the sun from fishing line to create some depth and camouflage the gear box for the basketball hoop on the sunset background. I was impressed enough to hand out an award! I also got to hand out the "Best Bus Behavior Award", a serious award, and as school bus chaperone, I know who behaves and who doesn't!
Thursday, June 07, 2007
The Zipper Finish
Tonight's the night of the banquet, and I still have to do the hems! They're going to be tiny machine hems, so they'll get done and tomorrow, after I wear the dress, I'll show you all the inside details.
You know, I try to make the insides of the garments look really nice. Linings of course, hide all sorts of stuff, but what happens when you don't have a lining? French seams, bound seams, and their kin are some of my favorite techniques for unlined garments and then I come to the zipper. Now what? You could do a french seam to the point where the zipper is inserted, but then you have to clip into the seam allowance so that the seam is pressed open in order to insert the zipper. Sometimes if the seam is on the straight of grain, I can cut the zipper seam allowance on the selvedge that doesn't require finishing. That's not always practical, though because some selvedges are bumpy and lumpy or are too wide or the piece is curved anyway.
Here's what I've come up with:
This is an invisible zipper that has the seam allowances bound *after* insertion.
The first step is to cover the bottom of the zipper. This can be done before the zipper is inserted (the easiest way) or after the zipper in in the garment. I forgot and had to do it the hard way last night. At any rate, take a piece of fabric, about 3" long by 1 1/2" wide (you'll be trimming some of this later), and place it right sides together, at the bottom of the zipper tape, about 1/4" below the stop, as shown below. Notice the piece is wider than the seam allowances, this is ok, it will be trimmed off later. Better to trim later than be too short!
Stitch across the zipper tape, stitching as close to the stop as possible. A zipper foot might be helpful for this. Press the binding piece down, and turn the raw edge under the zipper tape, enclosing it. You can see it turned down in the next picture and turned under in the final picture. Notice all the icky threads and already fraying edges - those are going to disappear.
At this point, insert the zipper in the usual way. Once the zipper is inserted and the seam is sewn (if using an invisible zipper), then bind the seam allowances including the zipper tape by using your favorite method and product. Again, a zipper foot is helpful for at least the zipper portion of the binding. Of course, you'll trim off the excess of the piece that binds the bottom of the zipper tape at this point. You can also tack down by hand the bottom of the zipper binding to the seam allowances when you're done binding the seam allowances. For this garment, I had to make my own matching binding. When making binding, I cut strips 1 1/8" wide and stitch it to the seam allowance edges with a 1/4" seam. Cut whatever works for you - it's your garment.
Final product close-up is below. It's not as straight as I'd like, but it doesn't affect the outside, and I'm not perfect!
Parting Shot: Max is back! Max has a friend, too. My sons dog seems to have hitched a ride. Can you believe the cat just sat there for about 5 minutes with that dog on his neck?