Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Spring's First Blush - Part XIV

Waist Finish

During the whole construction of the skirt, I'd been thinking of how I was going to finish off that waist.  The original pattern called for an attached waistband.  I knew I didn't have enough fabric to make a waistband.  Really, there isn't even enough left for that.  The next best thing is a simple and clean faced waist.  I got some inspiration from MaryBeth's post on her favorite waistline finish.

Since the fashion fabric is quilted, I decided to skip the petersham that MaryBeth uses.  That and I'd have to order it anyway, because you know I won't be buying that locally.  I decided to use a simple bias band finish.  I had to piece the bias together, but I had enough to get around the entire waistband.  I simply layered the skirt and lining together properly, then shaped and stitched the bias strip right sides together with the skirt.

I turned it to the inside and hand stitched it to the lining.  As part of the finishing, I added a small tab on the inside with a snap.  I covered up the snap stitching with a pretty little flat button from my collection:

All that's left is the hem and label and then I can work on the blouse!

Parting Shot: New Fabric.  I ordered up some fabric from Fabricmart for a suit for my brother's wedding (more on that later this week) and also picked up a few other pieces.  The denim is for my daughter, she really loved it.  It is a flocked denim, similar to flocked taffeta. It should make a cool skirt and I'm pretty sure I have fabric to match for a top!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Spring's First Blush - Part XIII

Skirt Lining

The skirt so far is together and has had an invisible zipper installed into the left side seam.  So far, so good.  Yesterday, I thought all I had to do was the hem and waistline finish.  I forgot the lining!  Duh.  Not like I didn't have the fabric, but actually making it would be a good idea!

For the lining, I ordered some ivory rayon bemberg lining, which I thought I could buy locally but could not.  That's another story.  The lining was easy to make - the original pattern for the lining is different from the skirt pattern.  It does not have all the panel seams, just darts and side seams.  The front and back are each cut on a fold, and a dart shapes the waist area of the lining.  To get the pattern pieces, the side pieces are overlapped with the center pieces on the seam lines and taped together:

This creates one piece for cutting and it is easy to see how a dart can be formed. 

After cutting, construction was easy - sew the darts and side seams.

Now I can get the waist and hem done!

Q/A:  I got this one before my vacation, but I think it is a really good question and needs to be answered.  From Sandy, Just wondering... about how much difference do you find that the quilting changes the pattern. Does it generally happen width or lengthwise or rather randomly?

I find that the denser the quilting, the more the piece shrinks.  With this skirt, it shrank more in length than width.

Do you find it works out somewhat similar to all the pieces or are there more differences on small pieces than large ones, etc?

The shrinkage factor seems to be the same rate for all the pieces - if it is large, there is a proportionately larger amount of shrinkage. 

To prepare for the shrink factor, I generally cut the piece 2" larger than the actual pattern piece all around.  This isn't always possible, if one is short on fabric, but it is a good idea.  This also is good if the fabric tends to shred.  I mark the outline of the of the pattern piece on the fabric and then quilt, quilting a good 1" (2cm) beyond the lines.  After pressing and quilting, I place the pattern piece back on the quilted piece to check for shrinkage, quilting placement (this is where quilting beyond the lines is helpful), etc.  I then remark, stay stitch and trim the piece.  Time consuming, but to get an accurate it does work.

Parting Shot:  Garden.  Here is this year's garden that my son and I are working on.  This year we've got cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash, pumpkins and sunflowers.  Nothing is really big yet, but the weather is better than last year, so I'm hoping for a better crop.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Spring's First Blush - Part XII

Needs Embellishment

Thank you all for the well wishes for vacation - we had a nice time and now are ready to resume our regular schedules!

Now that the quilting is complete and the skirt construction is mostly underway, I can now get a better idea of how the skirt will look once completed.  After giving it a good look on the dress form, I noticed that from a distance, the quilted flowers and leaves seemed to disappear.  If you're close up, you can see them, but from anywhere over 5 feet away, they just fade away. 

This wasn't a problem with the necklace, due to the wood burning tool cut flowers.  Now that they've been removed, I have the same problem with what is now the yoke of the top. 

What to do?  Add color, of course.  The only question now is how to do that effectively.  Applique is out - it would be difficult and time consuming to applique in such a way to fit what I've already free motion quilted.  I cut out and add more flowers, but I'm not sure I want to do that as that still won't allow me to add color on the stems. 

After a little more thinking, I decided that colored pencils are the way to go.  I've got a small set of Prismacolor colored pencils and a group of individuals that I bought from the art supply store in Concord.  A quick survey of the pink colors I already owned (bought for some previous project, can't remember which - Bluebird of Happiness, maybe?) turned up a potential three or four colors.  A quick experiment on a sample piece showed exactly what colors I wanted:

The technique is quick and simple:  color and shade flowers, stems and leaves, then heat set carefully with the iron.  I did use a paper towel between the fabric and iron - I didn't want colored residue from the pencils to melt onto the iron soleplate.  I gradually built up the color in layers and shaded with a bit of white pencil, so as not to make the color too dark or too bright.  I'm really happy with the result:

Yes, I did add some beaded flower centers.  After trying a couple different color combos of sequins, I settled on the ones shown below. 

The last time I had to order sequins, I bought a bunch of extra colors because Cartwright's (see link at the right) has a minimum order amount.  Usually I don't need that many sequins, so I buy colors to fill in the color gaps in my collection and to get the minimum dollar amount for the order.  I had quite a few pink colors from my Garden Path order, which worked perfectly with this project. 

Much better and very easy to do!  Now I just need to finish the skirt; just a waist finish and hem.

Parting Shot:  June's Vintage Shirt.  I finally got a photo of June's vintage shirt.  I really like this one - I think the pockets turned out just fine even with a bit of show through.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Spring's First Blush - Part XI

Free Motion Quilting Detail

The last panel seems like it takes the longest to quilt!  I did mention that I'd show you more detail of the free motion panels in separate post, so here it is.

Before quilting, I had to redesign the flowers and leaves a bit for the artwork to properly fill the space.  The original flowers were a bit too small, so I used the photocopier to make several enlargements and then decided which one was the best scale to fit the space.  After that, I reworked the stems and leaves to fit the space.  I then was able to make some rough copies, cut them out and then try them out in the space I had to work with on the panel. 

Having pieces to move around makes the design process a bit easier as you can see immediately if something is going to work or not.  If not, you can move on to another idea without tedious erasing and redrawing.  I then was able to finalize the artwork:

Once I was happy with the layout, I traced the motifs onto the silk, and pinned it.  Here you can get an idea of how it fits into the overall design of the skirt:

Now, the quilting begins.  First, the stems, leaves and flowers and then all the filler quilting.  As you can see, it is done in stages and can not be all done in one sitting.

Once that's done I can press the piece, double check it with the original pattern piece and redraw the outer lines.  Then I'll trim and finish it and it will be ready for construction with the other panels.

Up next:  Finishing the vintage shirt project for this month!

Parting Shot:  Get Him!  Wellie loves his boy and will play quite a bit with him.  He loves to chase his red fabric strips - something my son made from scraps of mine.  If he's in the mood, he'll also grab my son's head and kick.  Wellie never hurts with his back claws and doesn't have his front claws anyway - he's only playing, but the two of them have a lot of fun.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Spring's First Blush - Part X

Quilting and Constructing

Thank you for all the compliments on my new jeans and my daughter's new glasses!  I know the jeans aren't 100% perfect, but this is a good starting point and much better than when I started.  My daughter really is growing up fast, and she's a great girl.
I've enough panels quilted and prepared, so now I can start joining them together.  This is good because I can alternate between quilting the last of the two heavily quilted panels (details in another post) and the construction.  I just can't sit at the machine and quilt for hours on end, so this is a good break, as is everything else I need to do in life.

I've decided to use beaded strap seams for the side front and side back seams, and to use regular seams for the side seams.  I've also moved the zipper from center back (the original had a seam up the center back, I eliminated that), so the zipper will be in a side seam, another reason for the side seams to be stitched in the regular manner.

To start, I've basted the adjoining panels together and then marked out with pins the location of the beads.  There is 1/2" between beads.  As I stitch each bead in place, the pin is removed.  It is much easier to use the pins, as I do not have to mark the fabric and then remove the marks later. 

Once all the beads are in place and the basting is removed, a bias strip is centered over the seam and stitched in place using a running stitch.  This is the finished seam from the back:

This is the same seam from the front:

As you can see, the skirt is starting to take shape. 

There's plenty more work to do, but I don't mind the hand stitching.  Besides this initial design and artwork it is the part I enjoy the most.

Parting Shot:  Lily.  This is the first of these type of lilies to bloom this year.  The plants in general have done much better than in previous years.  I think it's because I got out the insecticide right away when I saw the little beetles that devastate these plants.  Once the rains stops today, I think I'll give them another spray, it has been a couple of rainstorms since I sprayed them.  I'd like to have more flowers!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Spring's First Blush - Part IX

New Quilting Pattern

Now that the cross-hatched or diamond quilted panels are done, now it is time to move on to the wineglass panels.  These are a little bit harder since they are stitched using free motion stitching, but they are a little easier than they look because I'm still working with a marked grid for guidelines.  It does take practice to keep the arcs consistent in size so that the when all the quilting is finish it looks like circles rather than ovals or unconnected arcs.  You can see a practice sample below.  The grid I'm working with is the same as the diamond quilted panels, 1/2" grid.  This produces circles that are about 1" in diameter. 

As you can see from the photo below, I still haven't washed out some of the blue marker from the quilted panel:

I've decided to keep the beads in this section, but only to do every other intersection.  I tried every intersection and it was just too much.  Remember that the goal here is a little less flash and a bit more restraint.  I think satisfies my need for beads and yet isn't over the top.

Once I finish these panels, then I will be quilting the last two, the free motion flower panels.

Parting Shot:  Stella Lily.  This is the first Stella lily of the season and it looks like there will be a lot more to come. This clump certainly has grown well over the past few years and I'm think about getting some more and dividing this group up.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Spring's First Blush - Part VIII

Quilting and Panel Finishing

Once I'm finished quilting each skirt panel - this should go more quickly with the increase of time in my day, due to the school year being finished last week - I'm finishing each once as it is done.  This gives me a break from the quilting and once I get a couple of adjacent panels finished, I can start the assembly process.

The skirt side front and side back seams will be beaded strap seams, so each panel need the seam allowances or edges prepared.  If the seam allowance is for a side seam, then the seam is bound with bias binding. 

If the seam allowance is for a strap seam, the seam is still finished with bias binding, but in a different way.  1 1/2" wide bias strips are stitched right sides together with the skirt panel, the seam allowances are trimmed with pinking shears and then the bias strip is turned to the wrong side and catch stitched in place.  This finishes the edge, preparing it for the beading that will be done later.  Bias strips are important, as a straight of grain strip will not be able to mold around curves with a little steam from the iron like a bias one will. 

In the photo below, you can see the strap seam side is ready for the catch stitching, and I've got the bias binding cut, folded and ready for the side seam allowance.

You can see the pinked seam allowances through the batiste in the photo below. 

I've chosen batiste for all the bindings because the amount of silk I have left is extremely small.  There was just enough to cut all the skirt sections, leaving me with very little.  In fact, I have just enough for bias strips for under the straps seams (these will have to be pieced to get enough length), a backing for the blouse yoke and hopefully enough for a bias waistband finish (which will also have to be pieced).  I have very small scraps, so the batiste is a nice lightweight answer to this little fabric shortage.  I can't get any more silk, either as it was given to me by a friend, and there was maybe a little more than a yard to start with.  If I make a mistake, there's no going back, the whole project will need to be scrapped or reworked. 

I'll be continuing work on this project, and meanwhile be working on the white jeans.  Once the jeans are done, I'll be working on the vintage shirt of the month.  Along with those things, I've got a major wedding gown rework for a client.  Looks like June will be a fun month!

Parting Shots:  Good Progress.  I'm making some good progress on my cardigan - I'm hoping to get it to the point of the underarms of the back in the next few days.  The yarn is knitting up nicely and the cables look good.