25 July 2015

So Many "Sew-Full" Things

As I have been enjoying my shirtmaking, other thiings have piled up on my "to get finished" pile.

My latest quilt, "Restricted" (for it's restricted palette challenge), has an appointment for quilting and is still lacking its backing.

The backing will feature Zebras! A find from a favorite fabric store in Anacortes, Washington called "Fabrics Plus". I can always find something perfect there. I will be adding more of the Marcia Derse's "Black and Whites", and some of the great Alexander Henry "Stockade Stripes" border fabric. I just need to stopmaking shirts!

I have to get my donation quilt, for the children in school at Seattle's Pike Place's market needs to be quilted....fast! The backing is flannel with frogs...not quite the right blue but it will be soft and look just fine with binding. Our Guild, Rainshadow Quilting Arts Guild, makes these quilts every year. The school caters to the children of the working poor and the ages range from infants to pre-school toddlers. It's a great oportunity for me to get into a more "juvenile" fabrics mode - something that I would otherwise have no need to do. if you have a hankering to - donating to them is always a good thing!

Any quilting suggestions?

I thought that either a grid pattern or circles might work. SITD would too, but it's not a favorite style and, for this quilt, it might take longer to do than an all-over design would.

I'm working on this wonderful applique block for a dear friend. I can't show much of it because it is a super secret project. Suffice it to say that her work is amazing and this project will make a lot of people happy! Those dang little points were a bear at first but now they are second nature. I am looking forward to finishing this up soon.

I am also esgerly awaiting a real splurge. Kathy Doughty and her shop in the Land Down Under, Material Obsession" offered a BOM last year that I was interested in, but they were sold out and, at thaat time it was not certain thaat it would be offered again. Luckily it was and I hemmed and hawwed until it was almost too late again. I don't usually do BOM's, but I thought that having some fabric choices that are so different than we can buy in the USA might be interesting to see and to have. The quilt is a mixture of EPP and hand applique (it could, I suppose, be done by machine as well). It's called Sweet Surrender (?!?) It will begin sometime in August...
This small pile of fabrics is for shirts. I just finished making one from the third from the left and am beginning to cut one from he Alison Glass Fabric on the left. Next up will be a long sleeved shirt from yhe second from the left ...a luscious Island Batik rayon. Hunting for rayon is not easy... and I had hoped it would be an "easy to find" item when I began this shirt-making fetish.

So my plate is filled with needle and thread projects....now I must need to sleep less and sew more ... ummmm---no - not sleep less. Sleep is my true luxury!

Many of my friends seem to not sew much in the Summer months. They have gardening to attend to and many visitors to entertain. There was a time when this might have been somewhat the case for me, but I have always sewn all year long...though quite a bit less when I working.

Do you either stop - or do much - sewing in the Summer?

What's on your "to finish" and your "to start" lists?

 

24 July 2015

Happiness is Another New Shirt Made By Me

I didn't think that I would enjoy making shirts as much as I am. I enjoy wearing shirts and it is fun to be able to make them from whatever fabrics I choose. I also think that finding a pattern you like is another key to enjoyment. I was lucky to find Brensan Studios patterns on Etsy. They are simple and just what I like, although the fashions show. On the envelope are not to my taste. I'll make one more short sleeved version and then turn my attention to long sleeves...and another pattern or two or three....

This shirt is made from a Rayon from Island Batik. It's called "Shark Tank" ... why it is called that eludes me! I found the buttons in one of my button stashes....they are "Streamline" brand and the card was marked 60 cents! It's a good thing that I had them too because this is most definitely not a color that wear often...and the alternative might have blah white buttons?

I was just a bit short on fabric and so I substituted a cotton batik with similar colors for the inside yoke. It worked out well. I have been playing with a few vintage sewing instruments and I am so looking forward to sharing them with you! Both are from the 1930's and I actually preferred the old one (just about new in it's lovely old box) to the modern, slightly more costly version that is widely available.

I'm off to go and cut out another top now. This next iteration will be made from some fun cotton from Alison Glass cloth.

Have you ever taken time out lately for a change of pace of project?

Did you enjoy it and come away refreshed?

 

 

 

 

16 July 2015

Basic Short Sleeve Shirt

What fun! I have been taking a foray back to some light apparel sewing. For me these days tops are my main "fashion accessory"...and I have always enjoyed wearing nice tops . I have made several "woven tees" from several different patterns and finally decided that it was time to make a button down shirt. This one is from Brensan Studios (Etsy) and is the "Basic Short Sleeve Shirt". Easy easy pattern.

What had me a bit worried was buttonholes...but my memories were from using somewhat "Stone Age" machines. Using my Janome MC8900 though, making perfect buttonholes -and in a shape I prefer (rounded)- was as easy as pie! Wow! that's one sewing machine foot that is worth it's weight in gold! I was surprised!

One surprise for me has been that finding the more simple patterns that I prefer in apparel fabric are difficult to find. This is a Heather Bailey Rayon from her "Momentum" collection. The color is called "Navy Factor". It's soft and drapery and I love everything about it. I got this from Fabric.com and they are now sold out of it. I want to make a long sleeve shirt (a different pattern) from it and, thankfully, I have found some in Etsy..and Heather Bailey still has some in her online shop.

I have had these silvery buttons since about 1992...Lord only knows what Inhad been planning to use hem for way back then! Luckily, I seem to have a horde of various, silvery, buttons. Now they will get used!

Sewing apparel has been really fun for me. Re-learning forgotten skills is a good thing. I wonder now why Imstopped making clothes when I began to make quilts. It's all sewing but I think that the skill set is just a bit different for each. I definitely can easily figure alternate ways to accomplish things better now with all the quilting that I have done.

I have learned a lot already and this pattern was the first that I graded to suit my body from a multi-size pattern. Eureka! it worked! What sewing freedom!

I'm to go make and transfer a new pattern to Swedish pattern paper. I love using this stuff... It makes it possible to not have to cut you tissue pattern up...so if you ever need a smaller (in my dreams) or larger (more likely!) rendition...your pattern tissue pattern is still all together and usable. Birch Stree clothing makes it but my stash of it came from Amazon. A roll goes a long way

 

04 July 2015

Revisiting Clothes Sewing

It has been many years since I have sewn any clothing. Once the quilting bug hit making clothes went by the wayside. I think I have mentioned that the book "Overdressed: The High Cost of Cheap Fashion" by Elizabeth Cline really hit home for me. I decided that whipping up a few tops would be a nice change of pace. In all honesty I had forgotten how quick and simple the sort of clothes that I like to wear are to stitch. This little tee took only about an hour...plus time to cut the pattern out. I made a second one in a lightweight. chambray that I have not photographed.

 

My friend, Lauren, and I went on a hunt for apparel fabrics the other week during a trip to the mainland. Joann Fabrics was a dismal disappointment. This plaid seersucker cotton was the only thing that I managed to unearth that was suitable...and the price was right!

I managed to match the plaid on the sides but need more practice to get the sleeves better matched.
Thankfully, I found some great rayons and Alison Glass cottons at a favorite Anacortes, Washington shop...Fabics Plus. I have been wearing more blues lately..very odd!
Below is the Grainline's pattern for the woven edition of the "Scout Tee". Three little pattern pieces! So dang easy!
Below is another pattern that I will try...but I want to adjust the pattern just a bit at the neckline. I am trolling the Internet for patterns for the simple, casual, style that I prefer. The odd thing is that both Lauren and I got this pattern without knowing that the other had bought it too! I am finding that shopping for apparel fabric online is a bit frustrating. I like simple patterning in colors that are not too bright and loud (rather different from some of my quilts!) I think Japanese fabrics (Etsy is a great resource for these) seem to suit my taste the best. I am seeing many cottons that are simple and a bit unusual, but have not bought any yet. I want to practice on some less expensive materials and get my "clothing sea legs" back under me for a bit.

I need help from any of you who might also sew clothing:

Where do you find great fabrics? Any online resources?

Do you have any simple patterns that you like and would recommend?

 

 

23 June 2015

Ramblings On The Vagaries of Time

Birthday lunch with, and thanks to, Lauren
I have been sewing away; trying to finish some projects so that I can feel free to begin others. I have been experiencing a wee bit of ennui. The act of finishing my current projects is not as appealing as it should be. I think that I am looking too far into future projects and it is clouding my appreciation for my current endeavors. I should be enjoying the process of completion in the here and now. I am also working on a small donation quilt which I don't really have my heart into. Generally, when I feel this way, it is better to wait it out until I feel renewed joy for the process then to plug along...but it feels as if that wastes precious time. We had a Mercury Retrograde period that ended on June 11th so I just expected that I would magically feel more motivated. the 'mojo' is returning, but too.

My birthday made me stop to consider how time is slipping through my fingers at an alarming rate. I feel as though I can blink and another week has flown by. How is that when I was young(er) there seemed to be enough time to accommodate both a full work day as well as lots of play? The days seemed to last longer and, of course, I had much more energy then too!

My friend, Lauren, sent me this quote from the Dalai Lama- knowing that I treasure his words. It sure hits the nail on the head! My "new year's" ambition is to relax into the present - to simply be present. It's a good goal and I think that it will motivate me to appreciate the "finishing" without trying to already 'be' in the future.
With this short post I am off to finish ....more soon - or at least, I hope, more regularly!