13 May 2018

Beating The Heat With A Gift of Fabric !

By the time I finished sewing, the light was quickly fading. I had bright sunlight in one direction and shadows in the other. The colors are a bit richer in "real light".
One of my friends, Gail, has a son, Stephen, who lives a creative life in Thailand. He sells a selection of yoga-type pants and leather goods through ETSY. A year or so ago I asked Gail if her son would ever consider selling some fabric. I like wearing simple long tunics and my favorite fabrics tend to be cottons and rayons. Two weeks ago at our weekly quilting get together another friend, Barb, said that she had a surprise for me. Low and behold my casual comment resulted in my receiving a package of three lovely fabrics...2 yards each.
I had wanted to make two new patterns, but they required more cloth than I had available - so I chose to make a somewhat adjusted version of my very favorite, TNT (tried'n'true) simple pattern (Dress No.2 from 100 Acts of Sewing). Fabric limitations required that I piece the sleeves from what pieces were left after I cut the front and back...centering the motif on front me back as I wanted. In addition to being pieced the sleeves are also a bit shorter in length..but still look good and are comfortable.

Here's the back...I managed to place the motifs where I wanted them

The fabric is a very cool, very lightweight, rayon that is very noodly (a technical term that means it slides and moves a lot). The fabric also frays mercilessly. Stabilizing with starch before sewing helped and using clean finish French seams throughout ended the fraying problem for the future. I really love the professional look that French Seams give a garment and I also love not having to worry about any further fraying. I cut very carefully, sewed slowly, did a lot of hand basting in order to better match the patterns. Before sewing I stabilized the neck, shoulders and armholes with a lightweight interfacing. You can see how easily it frayed in the image below..this was with careful handling...

Below: I tried to make the side seams interesting by carefully cutting and hand basting the designs to mirror each other.

Below: I had just enough fabric for a pocket! As usual the little puzzle that I give myself is matching the design placement so that the pocket becomes as invisible as possible. I had to adjust the pocket placement and make the pocket a bit smaller than usuala little smaller than usual so that I could match the pattern with what I had left. Careful hand basting was required because I wanted to match all of those little, colorful, lines as well as the lovely motif. The pocket is lined with a lightweight interfacing to provide a bit of needed stability.
Below: These are the other two fabrics! Looking forward to wearing them! I will probably use the same pattern because I know it will work with the yardage, but I may make a tank top or two.
A new tunic just in time for our first burst of very warm weather!
These fabrics were an unexpected, truly appreciated treat, but what meant the most to me is that Gail had remembered my casually asked question. Thanks to you, Gail, and to your creative son, Steven! You made my day and I will enjoy wearing clothes made from this gift! xox


05 May 2018

In Praise Of Pointy Tools


A friend asked me about stuffing tools for raised appliqué the other day. My immediate reaction was to mention "That Purple Thang" that I imagine most of us have bought at one time or another.

As I was turning the tiny points on his little small scissor holder today I realized that I had not thought to mention my all-time favorite tools to her. Big mistake....so, Eliza, if you are reading this...here are my favorite pointy tools. One has been used for many purposes since time immortal I imagine and one is relatively new to the market and I really like it very much.

On the right is an almost 8 inch porcupine quill. They won over my heart when I discovered them. They are natural, sturdy and offer two points on each quill. One very,very pointy and sharp and one that is more rounded. They are available in many different lengths and can be thick or thin. I prefer thick quills between 7-9 inches and I buy mine from an ETSY vendor.

In the left is a new favorite that was originally designed for some sort of machining use. I bought my "Precision Turning Tool by RNK distributing" at our nearest Quality Sewing, but they are available online as well. Amazon seems to not offer them at the moment...but Nancys Notions and the RNK site have them ready to ship.

What I like about this tool is that it is made from metal but is not heavy and it s well balanced. I also really like the rounded point because it does not poke through the fabric (which could potentially make holes or break stitches). They are more expensive than any other turning tool I have, but in my very humble opinion they are worth it. Standard cost can be about 15.00 but when I bought mine at Quality Sewing it was in sale for about $11.00. This tool will last more than one lifetime, it turns points very well and there is not damage threat when you use it..it's a safer point tuner I think.

These are my favorite tools. Of course they have joined my arsenal of "pointy tools"; joining "That Purple Thang" and my myriad collection of bamboo skewers and sewing awls.

Y'all know that I am a true gadget gal and I enjoy having tools that work well and also work the way I want and expect them to. Once I find what works for me I sort of stop looking for anything new...until the next "perfect tool" catches my magpie eye....like this RNK tool that managed to exceed my expectations. Porcupine quills also remain in my everyday use category...they just cannot be beat!

So....what are your favorite "pointy tools"? I am always enjoy seeing what other sewists use and like....