Sunday, September 30, 2007

I am a Rockin'Girl Blogger?

Well, I guess I must be. Mardel of Sew Distracted has designated me as such, and what a nice thing to do! I haven't felt much like a rockin' anything lately, so this is a very nice boost to the psyche. If you haven't already read her blog lately, go quickly, and look at the wonderful trims she has found, as well as all her other interesting and lovely projects. She's quite the inspiration, and a wonderful writer as well, with an equally interesting knitting blog.

The skirt that won't work for me will work for someone else, and I finished it yesterday for her. I think it turned out well, and it's really cute. Just not cute on me. I hope she likes it.

I did a muslin of a knit top last night, which turned out kind of cute because of the fabric, which was a cheapie printed jersey. Cream with pale acqua zebra stripes. The top needs major changes beyond what I already did to it, and I won't use this fabric for the final version, as it's really too thin and lightweight, but I may see if I can get some more of it, because it's just really cute.

The handwork on the skirt finishing is where I was practicing with my new thimble ring, and I really like it. One thing that's nice about these thimbles is that the "dimples" where your needle goes are square rather than just rounded depressions, so once it's against the thimble, it's in one of the tiny squares, and can't slide off. All of their designs have this feature, and I think it's a real safety device, to say the least.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Yubinuki for Me


Well, I'd never heard of a Yubinuki either, but it's a sterling silver thimble ring. Once I realized that I could use and wear it while still having the end of my finger free, I was interested. I'm always taking my thimble off to be able to knot a thread or whatever. I'm still getting used to this ring, but it's becoming more and more natural and I really like it.

Posted by Picasa

Our local Sewing Guild's first meeting of the year was Monday, and our program was Thimbles by TJ Lane. TJ's daughter, who makes thimbles along with her mother, lives in Lincoln, so it was easy to get her to come for a meeting. She's presented a delightful program, and tempted us all with her beautiful custom-fit thimbles, as well as chatelaines and all the accoutrements one could dream of.

One thing that really surprised me is that the closed end thimbles are very poor sellers for them, and so they're slowly discontinuing them. That was what I would definitely have wanted had I not seen these, but the open styles are much more decorative, and of course they allow a long nail to fit through the thimble, so I can see why they may be more popular.

Luckily I have some hand sewing to do lately in finishing a skirt, so I'm getting some practice with my new thimble, and it takes a little practice, since now I need to push from the side all the time, and usually I just push wherever.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Marfy Cape is Finished

Photo Link
Yesterday I finished the Marfy cape I've been working on. I'm really quite pleased with it. It's a simple design, and yet the finished product has so much style, and the details are so nice, that it was well worth making. I plan to wear it a lot this winter, as it's going to be really warm. The lining, a printed poly moleskin, is very light in weight, although being polyester, it should be warm, but the wool face fabric is heavier than I thought it would be. It's fairly loosely woven of large threads, but the cape is quite heavy. It's a great shape to wear over almost anything. It has a vintage feel to it, yet at the same time it looks very up to date with many of the things we saw on the runway for Fall.

The very large button on the front is ceramic with a rak├║ finish. It's 2" across, and I thought I'd prefer large covered snaps for the actual closure rather than a buttonhole that large, and I covered both halves of the snaps according to the fabric they were sewn to.

Photo Link

Here it is with the snaps fastened.

Photo Link

I used Pam's (Sew Exciting) Pro-Woven Standard, a non-fusible interfacing in the collar and pocket bands. The pockets themselves were sewn to the jacket front by hand after they were constructed. I just love the shape of them! Almost the last thing I did was to resew the pockets by hand, catching the lining so the garment hangs together better when you put your hands in the pockets.

I also hand prick-stitched the edges of the cape. I thought it would look better than understitching, especially when the cape is open. I used a variegated cotton machine quilting thread from YLI called Mango, which matches the colors in the fabric. I like the way it shows, but not aggressively, and in some places almost disappears when the right thread color is on the right fabric color.

The sides are stitched together at the point where the buttons are attached on the front and back. You can see the shape of the cape, and the way it works here.

Photo Link

I like the collar best standing, but it also folds down.
You can see all the photos here.

One last plus is that I appear to have enough wool left for a straight skirt, my favorite. That should make a fun ensemble this winter.

Monday, September 17, 2007

More Books & Some Sewing

I ordered a couple books last week, and received them Friday. Both of them are a little off the beaten track for me, and one is strictly inspirational.

I noticed Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists

by Kay Greenlees some time ago, and since I have been thinking for some time about what I could do to improve my skills in recording and developing ideas, I thought this might be helpful as well as an interesting read. I'm taking it slowly and trying to really absorb the ideas, which are myriad, and so I'm not through it yet, but so far I'm pleased with it. It's a little more skewed toward the art side of things, but that's okay.

The other book is Embroidery by Federico Rocca. It's an amazing coffee-table size book that shows many examples of couture garments with embroidery as well as some embroideries from the archives of the embroidery studio featured. The designers are all or almost all Italian, and there are some things that have captured my imagination. I'm thinking of embroidery of all kinds now, although it's not something that's featured heavily in my wardrobe to say the least. The book has some ideas that are very non-traditional, and others that bring to mind ways to use them that are not too over-the-top.

I've been working on the darling free Cape pattern from the latest Marfy catalog, and it's turning out really well. I'm using a heavy wool coating from Pendleton. It's a melange of yellow and pink, which sounds odd, but I really loved it when I bought it, and I still like it. It was a cut piece 2.5 yards, and I only bought one. I realized that really wasn't enough for a coat, which is what I wanted to make. Of course they were out by the time I got back, so it's been waiting for its pattern mate to find it, and it finally did. It's at the upper left of this photo, and I think the pockets are just the cutest thing.

I'm using a printed poly moleskin for a lining, which is nice and warm, yet light in weight, as the wool is quite heavy. I have it all together except for the spot where I turned it. I've been hand prick-stitching the edges with a pink/yellow variegated cotton quilting thread, and the effect is nice. It shows a bit, but not aggressively. Now I need to decide on buttons and whether I'll do the side closures as shown or some other way. Bows are coming to mind, but I'm not sure that's what I really want.
Here's the wool.

Photo Link

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Learning Experience

I've been poring over all the fashion magazines the last couple of weeks. Vogue, W, Harper's Bazaar. The spring runway shows are on now, but I've been ignoring them to keep my focus on fall. I've been planning out my sewing projects and attempting to be organized, and I'm not sure all this has done me much good if my latest project is anything to go by. Perhaps it's a lesson to stick to the plan and to the generally pretty basic styles that look best on me instead of lusting after the interesting and unique designs that come along.

Here's what happened. I fell in love with a skirt pattern in the September Burda WOF. It's #116, and there's nothing wrong with it except it looks awful on me.I kept trying it on and hoping it was going to look better when I got a little further along, and finally after I faced the top edge and the next step was the lining, which I luckily hadn't cut yet, I asked Pearle what he thought, and he immediately said it was just really bad in many ways, and especially because it made me look really wide, which he then very kindly said I'm not, so I felt a little better. He also hated the fabric, which I think is cute. Please note that the embroidery is nowhere near as shiny as it looks in the photo. It's much more matte with just a hint of sparkle. Anyway, that's the end of that one.

Posted by Picasa

I really thought the style was cute. I've always liked those tapered skirts with interesting pleat details, but I guess they don't like me.