I was out today checking out the new fashions for fall and found some very fun shoes. Would have snapped up this mustard jacket in an instant, but my size was not available. Hmmm… maybe I should order it… as you can see, it goes with everything!
From Start to Finish
I recently went through a box in my sewing room marked “winter projects.” The box contained the best of the best projects I salvaged during our sizing down move three years ago. I have always found it difficult to start up work on old projects. It is usually a lack of interest as whatever it was that got my creative juices flowing has long since dissipated and the prospect of picking up in the middle of an uninteresting project seems like work more than fun. Fortunately, that was not the case with this piece. It had been long enough that I had forgotten I had ever started this jacket. The fact that I still loved the red quilted fabric was good and I still liked the striped douppioni… so far so good. After studying the pattern and the pieces that were already cut, I decided I definitely needed a third piece to create additional interest. So off to The Mill End Store I went with swatches in hand.
It’s really quite remarkable that I was able to find a douppioni print that complemented the stripes so perfectly, but not without considerable effort. I was in the store for at least two hours searching, searching, and searching again every piece of fabric at least five times. I was finding nothing suitable and finally decided it was time to surrender. Resigned to defeat, I headed for the exit pausing only to notice a silk display… and there it was. It was exactly what I’d been looking for; the colors were right, the scale was right, it was perfection and obviously meant to be. And so I begin the satisfying endeavor of resurrecting an old project to new life. More to come…
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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Glad to See You!
Sometimes when I’m in the middle of an art project, my studio looks like a tornado passed through.
Drawers and cupboards fall open, materials and tools are scattered all about the room and I groan thinking about having to put it all away at some point.
Today, quite unplanned, I decided to make a wall hanging for one of my boys as a Christmas gift (hopefully, he won’t be reading this blog entry). He had a little dog named Frank who was very sweet. I wanted to make a reminder of Frank for his wall. Using what I had on hand, I sorted through the scraps of brown fabric from past projects. I selected five basic colors and began snipping and fusing.
It didn’t take long and I had enough to cut out the body. I made a little flap for the ear and outlined it in black for definition, added a little red color, a little eye peeking out from under the ear flap and a little black tip for the nose. Once that was done, I was ready to try different backgrounds. My preference was for the green background, but one of my boys thought his brother would like the white better, so I followed his advice.
Next I cut out the pooch’s name in my very best cursive writing… cutting letter is a little tedious, but the result is usually worth the time and care it takes.
I then found a piece of leftover batting I had used on a long ago quilt project and used that to add some loft in between the front and back pieces. As luck would have it, I found a cute piece for the backing from my fabric stash that coordinated nicely with the front design. I sandwiched the three pieces together leaving an extra one inch border of the back fabric to fold up around the outside to finish the edges. The I stitched around the dog and on the name for a little added definition.
Here is my finished piece… I hope he likes it. I do! It looks especially good sitting on my red table runner. Hmm…
Breathing New Life Into An Old Garment
I recently re-worked a bright red melton coat I made in 2002. (When I started writing this entry I thought it was maybe five years ago. A trip to my pre-digital photo album took me back to 2002… yikes how time flies) This coat was made from a great pattern, now discontinued,Vogue 1853. It has wonderful back detailing including an inverted back pleat with hand embroidered chevrons at either end.
Making this coat was a couture experience from start to finish and I was very happy with the results when I first completed it. Even so, I didn’t wear it all that much; looking back I think it was because that back pleat wasn’t easy to wear… I was constantly fussing with when sitting down.
The last time I took it out to wear, I noticed it had become ultra-fitted in the waist. (oh, what could it be?) All that wonderful back pleating wasn’t hanging as it should and instead was poking out in an unflattering way, because of my increasing girth… and since then, I more or less stopped wearing it. I decided this was the year to take it out of the closet and see what I could do to make it more wearable.
I set out analyzing what exactly wasn’t working for me and how I might be able to alter it to improve the fit. I began by removing the back darts to give a bit of breathing space… this is tricky, because darts have a way of leaving marks. To my surprise, they steamed out beautifully. Even though I loved the detail and remember having put tremendous effort into it, the only option was to eliminate the pleat and that meant the chevrons I had labored over had to go, too… ouch! I took out the entire back seam and trimmed excess to make 5/8 inch seam allowances. To do this, I had to open up the seam where the collar attached to the body of the coat.
Once the collar seam was opened, I then stitched up the back seam. I still had some of the original embroidery floss used for the pickstitches and added that to the back seam line. This is time-consuming, but I like the understated look of it.
With the leftover excess fabric trimmed from the back, I created a back belt and inserted that into the two back seams at the waistline. It was also embellished with pickstitching for accent.
Here is the result. No more hiding in the closet… this cheerful wrap is on its way to becoming my new favorite, wear anywhere, coat. Red is such a nice color for the gray days of winter.