Tag Archives: beauty

All Things Blue and White

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I have started a new section of my blog that is for sharing my penchant for things blue and white.  I hope you will enjoy the treasures I find as I comb various thrift stores looking for interesting and unique items to add to my growing collection.

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Autumn Cathedral

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Autumn’s Great Procession

This photo was taken near the Buena Vista Ferry that crosses over the Willamette River. I saw the stunning colors in a grove of deciduous trees along the road we were traveling; it was in coming to a full stop to take a photograph that I noticed the long rows of plantings that seemed to stretch forever; the Cathedral-like feeling was striking… the long red carpet extending down the aisle to a gothic arch framed in green garland prepared for Autumn’s Great Procession. It was breathtakingly beautiful in the afternoon light and I hope I’ve captured a bit of that presence in this photograph.

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copyright 2014, all rights reserved

Sacred Music – A Portal to the Sublime

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Agnus Dei

A Reverie for the Spirit

I first heard this piece a couple of days ago while watching an old episode of Midsomer Murders … of all places.  It is a contemporary piece written as part of the soundtrack for the episode.  I was surprised to learn this, because I thought it sounded more 18th century than modern.  All the better to know that there are still people in the world who are gifted with delicate sensibilities requisite to the creation of ethereal beauty.  Thank you, Jim Parker, for your exquisite composition.

Handcrafted Jewelry – Totally Gaudacious

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Gaud-awful Good!

I  made a new necklace this weekend.  The local bead store was having a sale and I found this sparkling pendant that I simply had to have.  Sometimes gaudy is good… or if not good, at least fun.  So here is it strung with some pretty pink beads along with some baubles I salvaged from an old Chico’s necklace  that I wasn’t wearing very much.   Since discovering jewelry making, I’ve taken to prying apart old necklaces and reworking them into new necklaces.  It kind of reminds me of playing with pop-beads when I was a little girl, remember  pop-beads?  It was great fun then and it still is!

Coat Making Tutorial – part 4 coat linings

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A Classic Pea Coat

Lining and Interior Finish

I selected a polyester fabric with a satin finish for my lining.   I actually prefer rayon linings especially when working with natural fibers, but I wasn’t able to find  the color I needed to complement the face fabric, so I opted for a synthetic.  In this tutorial, I will go over how to put in a lining with emphasis on  finishing details.

Step 1.  Once the lining is assembled, top stitch the seam line of the sleeve sewing on the sleeve piece (not the body of the lining) catching the seam allowance underneath.

Step 2.  With stitching completed,  turn to the inside and trim away the excess seam allowance.

Step 3.  On right side of fabric, pinch press seam and roll stitched line into sleeve.

Step 4.  Press entire seam to encourage the sleeve to roll towards the sleeve edge to create a smooth interior finish.  This helps the lining “ride” over the interior seam of the coat sleeve.

This shows the nice clean line you will get once it has been pressed.

Step 5.  Double breasted garments often include interior buttonholes on the inside facing to hold the front of coat in place.  Sew in buttonholes before attaching lining (it’s a lot easier before than after).  I use my machine for  buttonholes, because they will not be seen when wearing.Careful measuring for proper alignment is very important in this step.  

Step 6.  Attach back facing to collar at the neckline edge using hand stitching.

Step 7.  Insert shoulder pads and hand stitch into position.

Step 8.  Press 5/8 inch seam allowance under on sleeve edges and at the bottom of the lining before attaching it to the coat.

Step 9.  Pin lining to interior front and neck facings and stitch into position.

Step 10.  Use a machine basting stitch to sew in the lining in.  A long stitch is easier to remove for alterations or lining replacement. Leave an opening near the bottom of the front facing as shown below.

Step 11.  Turn lining to right side out and lightly press edges down, being careful not to over press.  Stitch lining at hem edge first and press, Then slip stitch down on both front facings as shown below.

Step 12.  Sew interior buttons into position using a flat button utility button.

Step 11.  Sew fashion buttons on front of coat paying careful attention to alignment.

Step 12.  Take to dry cleaners for a final press.  A professional press really adds to the look of the garment by smoothing out all construction wrinkles.  It is a must for any tailored garment.

So, it’s off to the cleaners.  Until next time, Happy Sewing!

Coat Making Tutorial – part 3 Bound Buttonhole

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Bound Buttonhole Finish

Now that I’ve completed my buttonholes I need to finish them on the inside of the garment.  Again, there are a couple of ways that I know of to accomplish this, and I will show you the method that works best for me.

Step 1.  Match up the front inside facing with the buttonholes and mark their positions.  I always do this by lining up the facing to the buttonholes, because there can be slight variations between the pattern markings and your actual buttonhole.  Once marked, cut a piece of silk organza in a strip (or if you prefer individual pieces) and pin it to the right side of the coat front.

2.  On the wrong side of the coat front, stitch in small stitch length a box the length and width of the buttonhole.

3.  Once stitched, cut through the organza and coat fabric down the center of the box creating a triangle cut at each end of the buttonhole.

4.  Cut through the organza strip which will allow you to turn the fabric through the buttonhole to the inside.

5.  Press organza away from opening to create a window and baste into position creating a firm rectangular opening.

6.  Once windows are completed, line the facing up with coat front to make sure windows line up with buttonholes.

7.  When front facing has been applied, stitch window to the back of the buttonhole with tiny hand stitching.  I like to go around twice, just to make sure the facing is secured firmly in place.  Steam lightly, being careful not to over press.  Overpressing will cause the inner work to show through on the front side and should be avoided.

8.  The hand stitching takes a little patience, but the result is well worth the time.  It almost looks nice enough to be on the outside.

close-up view

Voila – done!

I hope this tutorial was helpful.

Now it is on to completing the lining and inserting shoulder pads.  Then to the cleaners for a final press ( a must with all tailored garments).  I can’t wait to finish it and show you the final product.  Until then,  Happy Sewing!

Welcome To My Garden

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Summer Garden

in the Pacific Northwest

Today is Labor Day and I’ plan to spend some time working in the garden.  The season is winding down here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and I have some clean-up to do, although there is still quite a bit of color left to enjoy.  I have found that many creative people are also avid gardeners; I think this may be related to the shared elements of color, design and hands-on work that are common to both pursuits.

Last year I created a video of my summer garden.  I had a particularly nice garden (some years are better than others) and wanted to be able to remember it during the nine months of gray we tend to have in this part of the world… and thus my video was born. I hope you enjoy watching it, too.  Happy Summer!

Fabric Mosaic Project Update – Empress Theodora

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Empress Theodora

From the mosaics of the Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna

I’ve been making steady progress on my fabric mosaic and have completed the most critical part, the face.  Sometimes I work on the face in the beginning, other times it comes at the very end.  I let each individual project direct its own course and just do what seems to feel right at each step of the way.  In this case, the face came last.  Expressions are difficult and Theodora was a very complex person, a saint, a sinner, an empress of the Roman/Byzantine Empire and perhaps one of the most powerful women in history. I’m not really sure what all that looks like, but hope that I have captured elements of her persona in this piece.

I have to design and complete a border and then it will be finished and ready to take in for a high-resolution scan.

Please feel free to comment; your input is appreciated
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Click on the images below to see greater detail of mosaic construction

Fabric Mosaic – Theodora

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Work in progress

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted.   I have not stopped sewing, but my attention has turned to fabric art; I’m involved in a complex project that is taking up my creative time and energy.  It’s been awhile since I’ve worked on a serious piece of fabric art and I’m excited about the breakthrough.

I don’t like to show incomplete work for two reasons, the first being that it has the potential of causing me to lose steam and I fear that I might not finish it and secondly, I don’t really like my work to be judged or appraised before it’s done.

The most interesting blog entries have a considerable visual component, with that in mind, I have decided to break my own rule and publish a small portion of the project.  I do, however,  feel compelled to say that it’s not yet finished…

Anyone care to identify this famous personage?  The clues are evident.

Congrats  to Pink Sister for correctly identifying this piece… she knows her art history!