Saturday, June 27, 2009

Marfy 1949 Skirt Progress & Thank You

First of all, I just want to thank all of you who were so kind as to help me celebrate my article in Threads Magazine. It's been so great to read all the well-wishes, and sharing it with you has been almost the best part of the whole thing. I expect to see lots of matching shoes now. Vicki, this means you!

Now on to current projects. I thought you might be interested in seeing the layout for the Marfy skirt I'm working on.
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This is the main skirt piece, and as you can see it's on the bias. Yes, I did iron the pattern before I laid it out, but I thread traced it and was ready to cut and had folded the pattern back up, then decided to take a photo. You can sort of see where I altered it, just at the CB top, tapering to nothing at the hem. I have a very high hip, and the draping didn't fall nicely until I got a little extra room where I need it instead of the usual 7"-9" below the waist. The only other changes I'm making is doing the waistband about half as wide as the original. I just don't have room for a wide waistband, and truth to tell, this one at half-width looks pretty wide on me.

I'm underlining with silk organza, and it's been a challenge to get it together smoothly when it's all on the bias. Hand sewing and a lot of pins have been the only thing that works. I've got everything cut out except the bias strips I'm going to use to make piping.

You can also get a pretty good look at the fabric I'm using for this. It's Pendleton wool in a very light weight. I think it has a butterscotch color to it, and I think the fabric is going to be great for this draped skirt.

Just to end on a weird note, I've been missing about 8 or 9 everyday teaspoons for a while now. I could not imagine where they went, as no one's been here, I haven't taken any silverware out of the house, and while I suppose I might possibly throw away a spoon accidentally, nine of them at once seemed unlikely. I didn't really dig through things hunting, as I was sure they'd show up fairly soon. After all, how far could they have gone? I finally found them the other day when I looked in the china closet and there they were in the spoon holder for my silver tea service. I had used them when I had club last, and then stuck the holder with the spoons still in it, into the china closet. I usually use the silver spoons with the tea set, and I don't know why I didn't this time, but I made myself a lot of trouble. Anyway, I was really pleased to find them.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I'm in Threads Magazine!

Yes, I'm tooting my own horn a little (a lot!) but I'm so excited to say that I have an article in Threads Magazine this month.

My article is called Custom Covered Shoes, and it's about covering shoes to match your clothing, or whatever you want to match.

It all began in January when I got an email from a Threads assistant editor asking me to contact them. I was very excited to learn that they had seen some of my shoes in photos I had posted, and they were interested in having me do an article about how to do them. So, it's been a long time coming, but there was a lot to do, what with writing, rewriting, editing, photos, sending them my shoes and some matching garments, like the blouse in the photo, etc. It was always exciting when I got a letter or email from them. Everyone I worked with was so very professional, and so nice. It was a joy from beginning to end, and now to see it in print and get to share it with all of you is almost the best part of all.

The very end of the article shows my favorite shoe of all. It's a silk matka with fiber embellishments that were great fun to do, and I have a Marfy jacket that matches it, and here's the cover of this issue.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


As my title suggests, there are a lot of disparate items in this post. From sewing to books to soap, I'm putting it all in here.

If you are a regular reader of Stitcher's Guild, you'll already know that I also asked there for advice on underlining my skirt, and among several answers got a very thoughtful question from Ann Rowley. She wondered if this fabric was really right for this design. It made me stop and think, and after some testing, I decided that she was right. I'm so glad she stopped me before I made a terrible error and wasted that gorgeous fabric.

I've been searching the inventory and have almost positively decided on a fabric which seems much more suitable. It's a Pendleton wool plain in a pinky-beige/cream/brown combination. It's a very fine, lightweight fabric that seems to drape beautifully on the bias. I will almost certainly underline it with something, but I haven't started testing that yet. I need to make a muslin from my corrected pattern and make sure it's just right before I start on the real thing.

Meanwhile, I sewed another pair of pants last night while procrastinating from some bookwork I should have been doing.

I have enjoyed looking at the various styles that Sigrid has put in her Inspiration file, and I thought it would be fun to try to copy these.

While I didn't get a perfect copy by any means, I'm fairly well pleased with these, and I know there are a few things I'd try next time if I do another pair. Photo Link The original has a 2-layer front piece, and this may help form the top bands a little more easily. I also would make the top band area wider so I had more to work with. Generally, I think they're kind of cute, though. The lace is some that I have had for years, waiting for a suitable project.

I was thrilled to find that several of you also have a fond feeling for The Encyclopedia of Needlework by Therese de Dillmont, which I discussed in the last post. I have ordered my own copy since then, and was able to get what I hope is going to be the exact edition my mother has. There are lots of reprints available, but I wanted an original. Miaaa, It was so interesting to hear that you have your grandmother's copy too!

My sister, who's very smart of course, is contributing two items to this post. First, she found the Encyclopedia of Needlework online in its entirety. Someone has posted it all, so if an online version will make you happy, it's here. The illustrations are very nice and clear, and there's a nice index, so it should be very usable.

She also told me how to refill my foaming handsoap dispenser. In case you have one, you don't have to buy a new bottle every time. Just use the regular liquid handsoap and mix it with water in about a 1:3 ratio of soap:water. Stir well, and that's it. So instead of paying more for less soap and more water, just refill. Maybe everyone else already knew this, but I sure didn't.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

I got my skirt muslin altered satisfactorily, I think, and I'm going to test it in muslin one more time, but now I'm thinking about what I'm going to use for underlining for this skirt. I'm seriously thinking about using muslin, and I'm wondering if this would be a huge mistake.

The skirt fabric itself is slightly stiff, and has plenty of body. The underlining is going to provide a nicer 'bend' to the fabric when it needs it. I don't think organza is indicated at all. The skirt will have to be lined with such a non-slip underlining, but I would almost certainly have lined it anyway, so that is neither here nor there. It's no more non-slip than batiste would be, and that would be another choice. Do I need to get actual batiste, or could this be an acceptable substitute. This is a fairly thin muslin, and is a nice smooth fabric, much like sheeting, and since the entire skirt is on the bias with only the one seam, it needs to be something fairly light that can be supported mostly from the waistband alone.

I will try to post something soon on the elastic and findings dyeing I've been doing. Those who asked whether the general sewing of the things is time consuming will be glad to know that the answer is no. The panties especially are very fast, and the bras go surprisingly quickly as well.

I brought a book home from my mother's yesterday. I remember it always being in our home, and although it's promised to my sister, I brought it home to read and look through again. It's Encyclopedia of Needlework by Therese de Dillmont, published by DMC. There's no copyright date on it, but the British Library says 1907. It's just the size to put in a workbag, being about 3"x5" and almost 2" thick. Looking it over last night, I think I may have to get a reprint for myself. It has everything from plain sewing to needle and bobbin lace, tapestry, knitting, netting, just anything to do with needlework. I was very surprised to find separate instructions for handsewing buttonholes in linen and in dress materials. I like vintage sewing books, and I have a special feeling for this one.

Here's the first waterlily of the season. I was very surprised to see it as I hadn't even noticed the bud, and suddenly there was a beautiful flower.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Another Lingerie Set

I made another bra and panty set Sunday from a different pattern than I've used before. This one was copied from a ready-to-wear bra by Panache, and I think it turned out nicely. It has a horizontal top piece instead of the angled style of the Freya copy, and it gives a different look, and a little different shape I think.

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I tried several different techniques with this bra. I used a spaghetti strap attachment for the main strap, a detail that caught my eye in an advertisement, and which I've been anxious to try.

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Since I'd made a lot of spaghetti tubing to do the straps, I thought I'd use some of it as embellishment, and liked the little roses I came up with. I used one at each strap attachment point, one at CF, and one on a pair of matching panties I made.
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I used the print under the lace on the top cup piece, which gives it more stability than the lace alone. All the other pieces are lined with powernet. Although it looks like there's a wrinkle in the bridge, that disappears when it's worn.

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The 6" wide stretch lace and the brown lycra are both from my Fabric Depot bundles, and the print is something I had on hand, originally thinking I'd make a tank top or something, and I still have plenty left. It's a soft mesh knit. I dyed all the elastic, the strapping and the closure to match the main print color.

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These are the two pairs of panties I made to match this bra. I have enough stuff to make several more of one design or another. The pair on the left uses the full width of the lace, and for the the other, I trimmed the lace to about 2 1/2", or the width of one set of motifs. I still am very happy with the no-elastic look on the legs, so I'm continuing to use the style.

There are a few more photos here.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Thrills and Chills

Isn't it fun when sewing gets really exciting again? I keep plugging away, and although I always enjoy it and wouldn't quit for anything, every now and then I just get thrilled with an idea or a little progress on something, and suddenly I'm on a high with no ceiling in sight. Yesterday it happened with a skirt I'm working on.

I thought I was getting a little stuck on lingerie, and I ought to work on something else, like how about one of this season's Marfy patterns I bought? I thought I'd start with this skirt, Marfy #1949.
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I knew I was probably going to have to enlarge the pattern a little at least because most Marfy patterns have almost no ease, and I didn't want a really form-fitting skirt. Also since this pattern has only one seam, at CB, is cut on the bias, and has no dart shaping, and only one partial side seam in the pocket, a muslin was a necessity. Actually, the pattern pieces had me stymied for a while because there are so many waistband pieces. There are 6 waistband pieces. One for the front, one for left back, one for the right back, and inner pieces for each of these, so the band has a seam at the top. Then there is a front and back piece that go between the waistband and the skirt to form the pocket, and of course a pocket bag front. It's a beautifully made pattern, but it took me a while to lay it out so I could figure out what was going on. Then it seemed perfectly logical.

So, I was working on this pattern, and also trying to think about what fabric I would use. I wanted to use a plaid or check as shown in the drawing, but what? Suddenly light dawned, and I thought of a piece I got from Elliott Berman's sale, and the perfection of the combination just thrilled me.
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I had originally thought of a skirt from it, but nothing specific, and this seemed perfect. I checked, and I think I will have enough. I have about a yard and a half. Luckily, there's no matching necessary, except on the waistband if i want it there, and since there's gathering on the skirt, it won't match perfectly there anyway. I hope it's going to turn out as well as I think it could.

Meanwhile, I haven't quit on the lingerie thing either. It's almost instant gratification sewing, and mixing the colors, fabric, laces, etc. is so much fun, and unlike anything else I do. I have another set in mind, and have copied another RTW bra for a different style, so I will try that.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Jeans Again, Finally

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I've been without any jeans for quite a while now, and I've been meaning to make another pair, but just wasn't getting to it. Finally, I cut them out and sewed them up, and I don't know why I waited. They're just what I need for what I call 'wearing around', which is my main wardrobe need right now. With the gardening season truly upon us, I think these are just in time. Here's a side view.

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Nothing new, special or fancy about these. It's my usual Burda TNT pattern and I think it's actually the same denim I used in the last pair I made about 2 years ago. I bought a whole bunch of denim several years ago and used a lot of it for tractor seat covers, car seat protectors, and anything I needed a big piece of heavy fabric for. I have enough left for probably one more pair of pants, and that's about it. Unlike the last pair, I didn't put on back pockets (I don't think I ever used those pockets anyway) and I didn't do any interesting topstitching on these, where on the last pair I used variegated thread and had a good time doing it. This time I just wanted pants to wear, in a hurry. I did do my usual size zipper, with a pocket stay and side pockets on both sides.

Besides the jeans, I'm participating in Sigrid's Lingerie Sew Along, and I've made another couple pairs of panties. These are truly getting addictive.

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These are a plaid mesh knit that I've had on hand for several years, and some stretch lace from my FabricDepot collection.

Finally, here's a photo of my garden that I took yesterday.
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