September 29, 2013

Project Run-Away

I have spent many hours the past week putting together a one-of-a-kind quilted jacket for my 2 year-old grand-daughter.  It was a good mind challenge for me since the pattern was not intended to be lined and my "model" was not available for fittings. I was pretty much winging it.

Simplicity 2292 was my pattern choice. First, because it has raglan sleeves which would make sewing AND fitting easier. Second, because it had other patterns for pants and a jumper and if I have to pay so much for a pattern it better have options. Yes, there is a hat included BUT really??
The girl version is strange. I might have fallen for it if it was only from the illustration. I guess they were going for a cupcake theme. I did make my own interpretation that is more like the boy's.

 The Cloud 9 organic fabric from Joann was my inspiration. The lollipop flower, gray chevron and the birds in the branches are from the collection. The other coordinating fabrics are from my stash. I just cut a pile of 2" wide strips and started piecing them together in roughly the shape of the pattern pieces.
I cut a light batting to the pattern size and used it to cut into the patchwork.

Utilizing some of the fancy decorative stitches on my new Janome machine, I went to town on the patchwork surface with white, greeen and hot pink thread. This was the fun part and went very fast.
I put all the pieces together at the raglan seams first. The pattern called for sewing up the sleeve seams first, but I could see this would be really hard when doing a lining. Essentially I made the lining in the same way then sewed up the underarm/ side seams in outer layer  and lining. But not yet.
                                     FIRST I added the zipper.

 This is the lining. Sorry. I could not resist this polka-dot fleece. I have the zipper pinned into a sandwich between the 2 layers.
Here it is with the zipper that I got from Zipperstop on Etsy. They have actually been a shop in NYC since 1941 and can get you just about ANYTHING. I find the local supply in both type and color to be severely limited.
As usual, because I tend to make this stuff up as I go along Ihad to fudge a bit. I wanted to put my grand-daughter's name on the jacket with the cool ability my new machine has to do text (albeit, only very small) but I had progressed too far to do it directly. Well, I tried but messed up. So I spelled it out on another piece of fabric and hand stitched it on. Close up I see a problem with that lower right corner!
Considered a nice hanging loop in the inside back, but again I thought of it too late.

Now it is done EXCEPT for the final sleeve cuff. Angela and her older brother are coming and I can't wait to put it on her and have her pose adorably. Riiiiight. The day was great for an outdoor photo shoot but a bit on the warm side for a fuzzily lined quilted jacket. About 5 minutes would have done it,  however she is a two-year-old with a mind of her own as do all children. If I force her into it the pictures would be ugly anyway. Her dad is going to try for one IF she ever thinks it worthy to put her little body into it!!


This is as close as I could get to having her AND the jacket within camera range. Got it onto her long enough to see that it fits, however it wasn't long enough to even get the camera turned on. Having a lot of leftover giant pink polka-dot fleece, there is also a pair of pull-on pants, a tasseled hat and a stuffed bunny her six year-old brother requested. He amused himself much of the day playing with fabric scraps turning them into blindfolds, tails, etc.
He even draped a piece of fabric around Angela into a sort of a garment. Maybe he has a future on Project Runway?

The hat stayed on just long enough for this snap.

Creativity abounds.

September 21, 2013

Sewing in Time

Sewing is my passion and fulfillment at this time in my life, but as a former librarian and book lover I also like reading and seeing what the sewists of the past were doing and thinking. The art major (under grad) in me is drawn by the illustrations in the books and on patterns.

That is what drew me to buy "Making Beautiful Clothes" from Garrison House Ephemera, The Past on Paper. Disclaimer: Tess of Garrison House is also a friend which is beside the point of this post. But just saying.

This is actually a 48 page pamphlet describing a mail order course in dressmaking and designing from the Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences. Since I bought it from a friend she generously threw in one of the monthly "Inspiration" magazines that enrollees received which had some damage to it.

The illustrations are so charming. 

Great little history of fashion here about how everything old is new again.

I thought these little items were probably pretty obscure and rare and perhaps these original items are, but the person behind the Woman's Institute is not quite so unknown. An online search of Mary Brooks Picken, the Director of Instruction pictured in the pamphlet turned up quite a list.

Burda Style
Amy Barickman
Past Perfect Vintage
The Sewing Loft
plus more I did not list.

Also the ubiquitous Wikipedia plus her New York Times obituary so I am a little late to this party!

But does anyone know about the illustrator(s) ? This one is real charmer.

September 16, 2013

Mastering the Seam Ripper

Another week of posting a day late. Maybe it is becoming so regular as to be normal. Also becoming a regular thing is the heavier use  of my seam ripper.

Some of my favorite tools. The ribbons help me find them when I lay them down somewhere. The pen is a Frixion pen that erases with heat.

I used to have difficulty with it and would generally revert to just pointy little scissors. Lately some of my projects have been giving me such fits that practice is making perfect. Too bad the sewing isn't perfect.

Here is what I mean:
I have been making these great foldover wallet/purse organizers. I have completed quite a few of them that I sold at two shows and are now in my ETSY SHOP. But just when I was really getting into it and able to work more quickly the whole thing went cock-eyed. I mean literally cock-eyed. I failed to take a photo before I wielded the seam ripper because I never thought it would be a blog topic so this photo is a reasonable facsimile of what would happen when zipped it up.

On the right is the item I
am making from the book
Zakka Style by Rashida

I made my own paper pattern
as I really hate to constantly measure all the time.
I am cutting very carefully and I am NOT rounding off those corners until the very last when I sew on the binding. I even BASTED the zipper on which did make the machine sewing go a bit easier. I don't care what anyone says, sewing zippers can be a real pain in the butt! This application is especially tricky and as in most instructions it is glossed over quickly.

Here it is finished and it is better but I am not completely happy with the binding. 

 But on the up side, I am happy, happy, happy with some of the new fabrics I have added to the stash. Take a look at these greeny-yellow, gray and white. The bottom two are House & Garden Cloud 9 organic cottons from Joann Fabrics. What a surprise to find them there and just when I had some 60% off coupons!
 The fabric with the pod shapes was ordered from JennSki for Moda from the designers Etsy Shop. I had a fat quarter I had snagged somewhere and used it all up.
AND then frustrations aren't enough. Blogger gave me all kinds of fits today while posting. I had to upload the pictures several times because they would disappear on me!!! I really love sewing and computers but maybe I just need a nap today.



September 9, 2013

Getting Older - Thimbles and People

The view I miss so much. Taken at Memorial Park at the nothern end of State Rt. 83. If you have ever lived here you know exactly where it is.
 I was back again in Avon Lake, Ohio this weekend (see previous  post about the artsy/crafty thing) but for an entirely different purpose. It was the 50th year since graduating from high school and again our friends all gathered to rekindle old friendships and reminisce. I know many people say they hate reunions or would NEVER go to one, but I must say that the class of 1963 has been great every time it has met and we have done it every five years. Well, the credit goes to the classmates who still live in town and work very hard to put it on and the rest of us just enjoy ourselves and thank them profusely so they will do it again! Word going around was that they wouldn't do it again until the 75th!! See my Facebook page if you want more about the reunion. Friend me if you were a graduate of ALHS.

And now to some more old stuff. I recently acquired more additions to my thimble collection and I think these are very special.
 It is  more about the containers than the thimbles. They are shown here with a
larger size wooden spool (I have a lot of those) for scale.A  metal thimble nestles on mossy green velvet on the left and the opposite side is lined with a red textured fabric rimmed with itsy-bitsy rick-rack. More about the green bullet shape in a moment.

Above is a closeup of the texture.

I love the little chain. So handy for lugging it around!

Here is the bullet. I don't think it is Bakelite. I did that rub test and smelled nothing. The gold trim is just pressed in and painted. No metal there.

 The innards are composed of a nice shiny metal thimble which appears silver but not REAL silver.

My favorite part is the spooly thing which the thimble sits over when inside. Would it have been used to wrap some thread around? These shaped items are usually needle cases. I guess you could toss in one or two.

If you know anything about these items such as age or what that bullet case is made from please leave a comment.

September 2, 2013

A Day at the Winery


And I didn't drink a drop!

Yesterday was spent all day at an outdoor arts & craft show in the town I grew up in. Avon Lake, Ohio  is right along the shores of Lake Erie.
This picture was taken during some brief moments of sunshine throughout the day that was heavily mixed with gray clouds and occasional rain showers that were thankfully brief , but added to the humidity. All day I was wet from either sweat, rain, or both.
Here are some of the vendors setting up. It looks a bit gloomy.


A tasteful and attractive booth with local appeal on the left and below some items similar to mine.

Now this is my little emporium for the day. You will notice that I am a bit more "scattered" than the above examples.  My "adult attention deficit disorder" means that I like a variety of projects. There are fabric collages, aprons, zip bags, clutch bags/wallets, pot holders, towels, table runners, bibs, pillows and wine bottle bags  all in this one space. All the items are fabric and sewn so that is the theme to keep it from looking like a garage sale.

The yellow jug in the lower left is filled with water. It is duct-taped to the canopy support for stability. There is one at each corner. Luckily it didn't get wind tested.

Financially I did pretty good and now have more money to buy more fabric and on and on we go.
And it is true...not a drop to drink. I was too busy and actually I don't like wine much, but those grapes in the first picture look and smell divine. I might have tasted if I knew that they weren't sprayed with insecticide.
Credits to Jen Kopf who organized VineArts and to John Christ Winery and may we all meet again next year.