Wednesday, 31 August 2011

I am busy sewing a prototype lightweight bag.

Slight delay on getting the photos posted of Secret Project no. 3. So, in the meanwhile - here is a photo of something unusual.

Or at least I thought it wasn't politically correct any more, but it is actually in a part of Reading where people would have made their views clear if they had objected.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Secret Project no. 2 - Small Talk

Here is a bit about the design process for the Evening Wear category.

I think I mentioned previously how successful the dyed silk twill turned out. The next step was to create the appliques I wanted to add. I decided to use fused paper. I had rescued a French/Japanese dictionary and also had a few pages of a French/English dictionary. I thought this would make a fun connection with the Fashion Sans Frontieres aspect of the show. But also, in the story (most of my pieces start with a story or senario, this helps me to have direction in the choices for the design.) I imagined standing around at an evening event making small talk and someone would notice 1-that your flowers on your gown were actually made of paper, and 2 - that it had words on it. This, in theory, would lead to more interesting conversations than usually develop in those situations.

So, to make the papers the colour I had decided would go with the blue.

I used the inside of the small 'shed' for spraying the pages.

Papers sprayed

Papers pinned to ivy leaves to dry while I sprayed more!

Oh but a breeze comes up.

never mind, I have other interesting papers for some future use.

Dried collected papers

torn up in pieces so as to get a random scattering of the variations on the paper.

arranged on a layer of Misty Fuse, then fused to silk organza for strength for stitching, then a layer of Misty Fuse on top to keep all the overlapping edges down. It does not remain sticky as it is not actually a glue adhesive. It will help the paper to wear better. (I do not plan to wash this, only wipe with a damp cloth. I do plan to do more experiments about what type of seal can be done to make paper on a garment hold up to a hand wash though!)

Tracing and cutting loads of petals and then positioning them on the skirt and bodice.

The skirt had been underlined with dress tulle. This has served well to keep it from creasing during transport and then subsequently during storage in the wardrobe.

one of the smaller flowers

one of the medium flowers

one of the large flowers. Each type had a slightly different arrangement depending how much space there was around the centre of the flowers.

Here is the full circle skirt

and here is the bodice
As I worked with the flowers, I realised the colour would be picked up very well with the addition of a plummy brown silk organza. I had purchased this fabric when I did the first Bernina garment. The swatch looked like it matched. The fabric did not when it came. So, it had been living in the cupboard all this time! Just right.
I made tubes of the fabric and gathered them and then caught it down onto the top of the bodice and the straps.

And then with the rest I made a sort of stole/shrug with cuffs of the blue at the ends.

and there you are! Secret Project no. 2.
Here is the blurb for it.

Evening Wear – ‘Small Talk’ - bodice and full circle skirt of cornflower blue silk twill with stitched blossoms of fused painted paper from foreign language dictionaries, and a stole to pick up the colours of the blossoms.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Secret Project no. 1 - Spring Showers

I showed a glimpse of Secret Project no.1 with me on the catwalk.
Here are a few photos of trying to make it and then on display at the show.

options for embellishing the hem.
I liked that, but wanted the flowers spread along the front and back. I also had to consider how to support the springs.

So, by arranging them on the turned to the front facing, I had more support than on the body of the dress.

final results - bunched so you can see the ones on either side seam

and the neckline to draw the whole piece together

Attempts to sew the shower curtain for seams for the raincoat.
Paperclip the seams? No, they just popped off

Bulldog clips worked best in the end. just remove them as they get to the sewing machine bed.

The finished raincoat
How it fastens - I had these 'aiglets' or points from ages ago when I was doing historical costumes. They are the sort of thing used to tie portions of garments together, like holding men's 'hose' up. But they work well to fit through the holes from the portion for hanging the shower curtain. I sewed it along the front, as cuffs and on the flap of the bag.

The finished dress
I had enough time before the show to make a bag to hold the raincoat...and then of course, there was the hat!

I didn't have enough time to 'make' a hat from scratch. So, I covered a felt hat with fabric from the dress. At that point (the monday before the show) I was working right out straight, so didn't get in progress photos.
I had no idea how I was going to hold the shower hose on without lots of ugly stitching, but then I realise that the decorative springs are 'springy'. Duh. So, I used the last 3 in that colour to hold it down.

Here is the blurb I sent about the garment. When you are up there you don't hear a word of what they are saying, so I am not sure just what they read out.

Daywear - ‘Spring Showers’ - turquoise and fuchsia dress embellished with spring flowers made of actual springs,  accessorised by a bag containing a raincoat made from a shower curtain and a hat adorned with a spring-look shower hose.
Shapeless on a hanger photo.

Friday, 26 August 2011

London and changing the guard

Last week before our Dutch visitor went back home, we went into London to see the changing of the guard and Buckingham Palace.

We saw the exhibition of the Dutch landscape paintings in the Queen's gallery, which was rather a co-incidence for our friend. I really like the paintings in the palace though. My son actually went along with me and discussed the paintings in both places. That was a new experience. We liked some of the same things, and scoffed at some of the same art speak comments on the audio guide.

I was able to see THE wedding dress and get a better idea of the construction of the train. You can't take photos in the palace of course. But, I am pretty sure it is done on a similar principle to the draped wedding gown I did for my city and guilds.

Here are a few photos from seeing the changing of the guard. We saw them come out of one barracks and then rushed across the park to see them come out of the other place. I was really struggling with my hip for some reason that day, so I am afraid hobble was more like what I was doing throughout the day.
A flag on the Mall whilst waiting

Just come from the barracks. There were police on horseback minding the crowds so the troops could pass.

Wonderful music

Serious protection!

Glimpse of the Eye on the way through the park.

At the other side, coming from Wellington Barracks

more music

One of the best views of the day. A fairytale right in the middle of London and I didn't even know it!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

TV offcuts July meeting

So I am still taking time out from sewing at the moment. For my birthday my husband got me a programme for keeping track of the genealogy information I started collecting this year. I waited to start using it until i got the big projects out of the way. So I have been enjoying putting the pieces of the puzzle together this week.

However, I better catch up with the photos. I want to put a few up about the garments for the show. But at the moment, I want to get the other ones out of the way first.

Busy things that were happening at the TVOffcuts sewing group at the end of July.

Sheila always has an interesting project. I think this was destined to be a bag.

Anne and Caroline braved sitting on the M25 for over an hour to come. I still can't believe they come all the way from near Stanstead!

Elaine and Caroline chattering away whilst accomplishing something.

I am always amazed that Gill C works with one bare foot! Lyn is beavering away with the knits again.

Juliette, Gabrielle and Mavis working hard. Mavis had been given the task by her daughter to copy a dress - never mind the fabric was quite different altogether. But she managed to get it all cut out. She did the instintive route rather than tracing and so on. She really works fast. I hope it fit.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

more Art in Action

the previous post was getting too full, so I will continue here.

There were some amazing pieces of art on show, as well as fascinating demonstrations of the work being done. I had heard about a project in the textiles tent before I went. The project is called The Unfinishable. A group of textile artists are collecting unfinished work from others and then will do something with them to finish.

I knew just the piece to donate. I started this somewhere around 1977/78! It was for my aunt who was about to have her first at around age 42. Well, the baby has obviously grown and even has recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq. He is married and has children!

The reason I never finished is because I couldn't resolve the situation with the baby on the blanket. and eventually I hated the fact that I had used remnants of dress fabrics, including polyester doubleknit/crimplene. I guess the reason why I kept it was because I had been very pleased with the piecing of the chest of drawers and the stitching on the 'pictures'. What I find interesting, after thinking I have only been doing textile art in the last decade or so, is that I had it in me to go that direction way back then!

So, anyway, I have passed it on and hopefully they can chop and change it to be something which will redeem the time and effort of storing and carrying it around all this time!

Another exciting - at least to me - thing going on at the show was the woodcarvers who were working on a 'rocking dragon'.

For a donation you could have your name written on one of the scales. The money raised is going to Help for Heroes. So, how could I pass it up?
I have put a ring round 'my' scale.

The Help for Heros website states: "Ox & Bucks Woodcarvers fundraiser - Art in Action - in July was great fun and a success. They raised £3017 at this event and added to their running total from previous events they have reached a total of approx. £4,500."

Art in Action

Each year I like to go somewhere special for my birthday at the end of July. This year was the first time I went to Art in Action. I really enjoyed it.

One of the main things I wanted to do was to visit Jackie Morris's stand. I follow her blog because I really enjoy her painting. On the way in we saw her recently 'wrapped' van with images from the Tell Me a Dragon Book.

I love the quirkiness of her Cheetah and Cherry series. Some weeks before I bought a bag with one of the Cheetah and Cherry paintings printed on. I can't afford the paintings at this point, but I can afford a bag.

So, when I visited the stand, I aimed first for the 'Tell Me a Dragon' book. Jackie writes and illustrates children's picture books. I also picked up a book about animals of the Bible to use with my Sunday School.

Next I took them to Jackie to have her sign the Dragon book. Isn't it fun! not just an autograph!
Then I had the cheek to ask her to sign the bag I had bought before. I even had a Sharpie for her to sign with. and so another special little drawing. She was happy to do it and several others in the queue sighed with envy wishing they had a bag to sign!

I had also decided to do one of the workshops. Most were already full. I wanted to do Illuminated Manuscript, but no places. So, I did Painting a Tudor Rose with Egg Tempera - or something. Egg Tempera is the same sort of paint technique as was used for illuminated manuscripts, so that was fine. Here is a series of photos of the process.
The instructor with her range of pigments and the types of earth and minerals she makes them from.
The types of earth and minerals used in the more ancient times. Interesting that white lead will change to yellow and then red with more heat. You can make a subdued colour wheel to work from with the earth and minerals here. They have been painted inside the shell pallets next to the red pigment.
Later (still a long time ago in the middle ages!) Other minerals were used to make brighter colours. Especially blue colours used for the robes of the Madonna.

This is a chart which shows how the colours and minerals were perceived and used. There was a 'spiritual' meaning as the colours moved from the dark/earth colours to the light, the pinnacle being gold. The colours were related to the planets as well.
Here are some of the tools used to make the pigments.

and how to prepare the egg tempera:
Break a fresh egg and strain away the egg white using both sides of the shell. Roll the egg yoke round in your hands to remove as much as the white as you can.

Hold the yoke by the sac in the fingers on one hand. Break the yoke at the bottom and squeeze the liquid from the sac into your bowl. This ensures you don't get bits of sac in the paint.

mix in distilled water - an equal amount to the liquid from the yoke.

continue to mix, adding a drop of spike lavendar for preservation (some people use quite a bit of vinegar for this purpose instead)

having ground your pigment, take a bit and mash it against the edge of a tile pallet to ensure it is very fine.
put a bit of the egg mixture on the pallet and slowly mix with the pigment a bit at a time. You need enough to keep it from drying on the pallet.

Try out the mixture for painting on gessoed paper. you don't want the brush loaded. you will use a dry brush.

and my end result:
Not as good as it could be, but I have a bit of an idea how to do it now. Or at least I understand the instructions in my illuminated manuscript book. It would be better with a dryer brush and also with a longer period of time for the layers to dry inbetween. It is interesting that the bottom layer was green! It gives depth to the other colours. However, I think I was a bit heavy handed with it.
You can check out the Prince's school of Traditional Arts if you want to know more about egg tempera and other types of techniques.

Whether I will actually use the knowledge sometime, I don't know!