Trying Something Different
I’m in an art mode at the moment and even before finishing up the detail on Our Lady of China, I had sketched out my next project… another Byzantine saint. I’ve done lots of hair before, but never braids. Creating braids in a fabric medium is going to be an interesting challenge, I’m sure. Adding to that, the braids are blond and finding just the right color is usually a bit problematic… it can’t be too yellow or too orangey or too gray, etc. So it was off to Fabric Depot for a couple of hours of roaming through the hundreds and hundreds of bolts of fabric looking for the perfect piece which may or may not exist.
Here are the two I found. I am hoping the one of the left will work, because the color is right, although the zigzag design may be too prominent… it’s impossible to know without cutting it up and trying it. Designs change so much after cutting and re-assembly… sometimes with wonderful results and sometimes disappointingly so. The one on the left is a bit darker than I really wanted… more light brown than blond really, but the texture is perfect for hair, so we shall see.
Wish me luck. 🙂
Blessed Virgin Mary
Back in 2007 I came across a very sweet Marian image in one of my internet searches. I often use art for inspiration and began with a preliminary sketch. For whatever reason, I set to sketch aside and never got back to it… until last month when I had reason to sort through the drawer where it had been stored. I looked at it, thought about it, and decided maybe it was time to consider it again. After some redrawing, I was ready to begin and here are the results.
Part of what I like about working with fabric art are the avenues of learning related to the subject that open up that I might otherwise never have reason to explore. One example of this type of discovery is the fact that Our Lady of China refers to the Marian apparition that occurred in 1900 in DongLu, a small village in China. The story of deliverance is charming and a source of inspiration to millions. And, I knew nothing about it before taking up this project.
I took a few photographs with my digital camera (not the best quality) and put together a brief video. In the next couple of weeks, I’ll get it mounted and professionally scanned for high-resolution printing.
On Checking Out
It’s been several weeks since I posted anything on Sewville, and that’s because I’m knee-deep in a new fabric art project. Here is a sneak peek of what I’m working on.
I still have some mountains to climb before completion, but I’m inching my way along and am hoping for good progress over the next few days/weeks. Wish me luck!
I know I’m getting ready for re-entry, because I find myself thinking about sewing Mandarin collars with increasing frequency. 🙂
Blogging has been really good for me; I’ve completed so many set aside projects that might have otherwise been relegated to the bottom of the “unfinished projects” bin had it not been that I needed something to write about. This jacket definitely falls into that category. I began it at least two summers ago and got it up to the final sleeve before hitting a road block. I thought about finishing it many times, but I think the fact that I didn’t have any pants to wear with it was part of why I never followed through. Recently I found a nice rayon, that while not a perfect match, complements the jacket quite well.
The jacket is made of a laundered shimmery rayon suiting and accented with the most beautiful silvery-green iridescent Vietnamese Silk. I treasured this piece of silk and held it for a long time before deciding to cut into it. I don’t often see this kind of silk; it’s a rare treat to work with. The front is faced with washed duppioni silk and I used a metal button with a Celtic knot motif for a cultural paradigm twist. Seams are a modified lap which, if I were making again would have been done in French seams (my new favorite technique).
It really didn’t take much to finish up the jacket and I’m quite pleased with the result.
A Spin In The WABAC Machine
If you remember Mr. Peabody and Sherman, you just may be old enough to remember the influx of Indian fabrics into the American fashion scene that occurred during the fashion revolution of the late 60’s and 70’s. Although that era has reappeared in contemporary fashion and I’ve avoided it completely, because of the been-there-done-that-it’s totally-hideous feeling that people often feel when fashions of their youth are recycled for succeeding generations. Evidently enough time has passed, and even I can see the charm in this totally-funky-flower-power-paisley print that any self-respecting hippie would have loved. The glitter packs a 21st century glitz that makes it seem fresh and fashionable. And so… I gave it a try.
Peace and Love!
I made it to wear during the warm weather, but it was cool out today, so I put a black turtle neck under it and that works perfectly making it something I’ll be able to wear year round. How totally groovy🙂
For those of you who may not be familiar with Mr. Peabody and Sherman, I have included a sampling of the kind of humor American kids of my generation grew up with. Viewer Indiscretion Advised 🙂
The Season of Casual Comfort
I came across an old pattern in my pattern library from 1998. I remember making the vest and not finishing it, because I didn’t like the fit…or lack of fit is more accurate. I am always intrigued how something I once didn’t care for can take on a new life and become a new favorite; whoever said fashion is fickle was certainly onto something. Rediscovery is always a good thing; it means I’m changing and growing and open to new ways of thinking. I like that!
I began with Mcall pattern 9278. I used updated constructions methods which I talked about in my last post by eliminating the facing and using French seam applications on all interior seams and sleeves for a streamlined look. To give support to the buttonhole areas I created small uniform patches and fringed the unfinished edges.
Behind the fashion button, I sewed a small support button to reduce wear on fabric. You could also use small beads in a different color to add interest and artsy elegance, especially if you plan to wear the garment open.
The hemline and center front edges were turned under 5/8 inches and stitched. A bias binding made from the fashion fabric was applied to the sleeve opening and neckline. I used a linen open weave pattern for the top applying the same constructions techniques. It was quick and easy very versatile.
Something Old, Something New
A Vintage Button Adds Interest
Earlier this week I finished up another linen jacket over the same Kwik Sew pattern I used recently. It’s plain and simple with a nice clean look. To add some interest I found a special vintage button in my button stash that went perfectly and added a good bit of interest. Years ago my Great Aunt Squeak (yes, that’s what we called her) gave me her rather large button collection. I remember thinking it was a great gift at the time and I have used many of her buttons on various garments over the many years her collection has been in my care. This particular button was a one of a kind and just the right size and color for the buttonhole and I imagine that Squeak would be happy to see that it is in use again.I am not a fan of pull-on pants; I don’t really know anyone who is. When it comes to casual unlined linen pants, I put vanity aside both because this style is easy to make, comfortable to wear and doesn’t need to be ironed if you don’t mind the wash and wear look that is so popular here in the northwest. To go with my new jacket, I found a nice putty colored linen for coordinating pants. To provide detail, I created a slit at the bottom side seam and added top stitching. All in all not a bad look.
In the Pink
We had the most glorious sunshine for Easter Sunday. Upon arriving at the church, the first person I saw was dressed in the same shade of pink; fuchsia pink seemed to be the color of choice for the day and was liberally sprinkled throughout the crowd along with lots of orange. I hadn’t realized quite how up-to-the-minute-fashionable the color was and ended up feeling very au courant in my Chanel style Easter suit. Woohoo!
Happy Easter !
A New Jacket For Springtime
Generally I don’t use Kwick Sew patterns much, not for any particular reason, I just am not that familiar with them. Earlier this week while at the pattern counter in my local fabric store a helpful clerk thrust the latest Kwik Sew book into my hands and was insistent that I look, so I did. I don’t know if this is a new pattern or an older one, but I liked the look of and am happy to say it’s a breeze to sew with. It couldn’t have been easier to put together and it fits nicely.
The fabric you see is the photo is a great piece of linen I bought four or five years ago. At the same time, I also purchased a yard of the striped fabric not knowing exactly how I would use it, but it picked up the colors in the main fabric well and I figured it would come in handy.
I’m not a huge fan of the deep angled line on the front opening, so I adjusted that to be more traditional. I also decided to apply simplified techniques I learned when sewing with Vogue American Designer, Adri. For those of you who may not know of her, she uses simple elegant finishing techniques that are perfect for unlined linen garments. I eliminated the two front facings in favor of the bias bound edge and used French seaming techniques for all the seam to add to the clean look of the interior.
I removed 5/8 inch seam allowance (except for the hemline) around the entire jacked and applied the bias binding made from the striped fabric around the raw edges mitering at the corners.
Because I eliminated the facing I had to add some stabilizer for the button and that was done by sewing a small interfaced square to the inside of the left side of the jacket front.
I was pleasantly surprised by how compatible the pattern was to the fabric. They both have a bit of an Asian feel and I hadn’t really noticed that about the pattern until it was completed. I’m thinking maybe I’ll make another in solid black.
Applying Braided Trim Tutorial
I’ve been working for the past week or so on a Chanel-style jacket to go with the skirt I made recently. I studied Vogue designer Claire Shaeffer’s pattern with the wonderful couture details, but decided instead to use the much simplified Vogue 7975 which has the Chanel look without all the extra work. I thought for my first effort at making a Chanel jacket choosing the easier pattern might be the best option.
I used the same fuchsia boucle that I used in the skirt I made recently; I’m thinking Spring suit. Easter comes early this year and the prospect of shivering in the cold made a wool suit seem like practical, if not entirely seasonal, option. Finding a suitable trim proved to be a challenge. I began with one that unfortunately didn’t provide the look I wanted bringing about a full scale city-wide search for the perfect Chanel braid. I lucked out by finding this particular piece in the home decorating department of Fabric Depot on a clearance rack. Clearance is good as it takes in excess of 5 yards of braid to complete the jacket.
After studying the pattern, I decided that I preferred the look of two square pockets on each side as shown in Vogue 8804, so had to make size and placement determinations. I interfaced each pocket square and then pressed the 1 inch pocket facing. Before stitching the facing in place, I determined trim placement taking care to pre-shrink the trim first. Some trims stretch out quite a bit from being stored on cards or spools; a good shot of steam will draw up the slack and avoid unwanted puckering.
Using a basting stitch, I attached the braid to the pocket and then permanently attached it using two rows of back stitching.
After securing the braid into position, I completed all four pockets and hand stitched them into position on the jacket front. Lining them up was a little tricky, but after measuring like a Turkish tailor, I finally got it.
I decided not to apply braid around the bottom of the jacket, because I had made the longer version and preferred not to draw the eye to the hip line. If I were to make the shorter view, I would definitely put braid all the way around. To my surprise, this jacket has no shoulder pads and wears more like a sweater than a jacket. I also want to experiment with the sleeves, I really like the braid on Claire Shaeffer’s vented sleeve and will be experimenting with adding a vent to the basic design sleeve pattern… the next time I’m feeling adventurous.
I highly recommend this pattern and intend to make it again.