Sunday, 30 September 2012

Mini-Wardrobe Composite

A composite of the photos for the Mini Wardrobe.

Seven ways of wearing the items. (edit to show the jackety blouse worn on it's own with skirt)

Mini-Wardrobe complete

Here are the blouses I made the other day worn with the skirt. The majority of them will also go with the white dress.
The toile of the double collar blouse
It doesn't count for the contest.

Double collar blouse
left out and tucked in

The sheer blouse with dark blue underblouse

underblouse on it's own showing the silk noil skirt
close up

double collar blouse worn open with the underblouse.
 jackety blouse over underblouse.
 worn buttoned as a loose top
To be honest, I will probably wear this with jeans rather than a skirt. Or over the white dress for less casual situations than the blue jacket that my husband bought with the white dress.

I am soo ready to NOT sew clothes at the moment! However, now that I have a nice summer wardrobe, it is time for winter clothes. One at a time though, not 8 things in 1 month!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Something on Saturday

We used to have a wonderful Cedar of Lebanon tree on the green near the entrance to our road. I wrote about it when the heavy snow brought great chunks of it down. Early January 2010.


Bit by bit they took the huge branches off as they became dangerous. When one fell from the weight of the snow the other day, it took most of the rest with it. So, they took all the rest of the branches down.

Somehow one feels as though there should have been a ceremony of sorts. I loved that tree. I could see it over the tops of the houses next to ours. It was beautiful in the sunset.

Here is a piece I made inspired by it sometime past. It is in the collection of a museum in Southport.

Fast forward to 2012. One of the community go-getter ladies has won lottery funding to get it turned into a play place for children. There will be a way to go through the tree (for playing house) and animals will be carved in some of the limbs that are sticking out.

This week they started the hole! They need to leave it for the wood to cure a bit to see if it creates cracks or anything before they start on the rest.
There are a few steps up to the hole on the other side. They are going to put a fake door on one side, too.

I am so glad. It was so majestic, kids loved to play 'down at the cedar'. I thought at the time 'I hope they do something with it rather than cut it all down.' I am looking forward to the changes.

I think I will do a new piece when it is finished to celebrate the wonderful tree continuing to give joy and pleasure.

I am linking this to Off the Wall Friday at Nina-Marie's. Sometimes creativity is about the beginnings of ideas or about watching other people's creative efforts and being spurred on to your own.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Mini-Wardrobe - Dress


Not sure about it totally. But then I am not used to the loose fit in the body.

I have, however, learned how to work the timer on my camera! The only place I felt confident about non-distracting background was the stairs in the front hall! Placed the camera on the shelf in the corner, pressed all the buttons, dashed to the step, posed and smiled. Then repeat 5 times till you get a photo where you look good and the garment looks good all at one time!

Mini Wardrobe
The badge. I nearly forgot to sign up!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

another idea

The last piece of fabric for the mini-wardrobe seemed to want to be a loose jacket/top sort of concoction. I got some ideas on how I might do it.

Just as I was about to cut, I thought, wait a minute. This is special fabric. let's see how this actually will work.

So, I rummaged and found this brick red plaid which suddenly said it would look wonderful with similar ideas.

Basically, I have used the pattern for the top with the pleated neckline, swung it away from the CF and CB and added 10 cm to the length. I plan for a grandad sort of collar and placket down the front.

I have already cut this out as you can see, it was actually quite freeing to ignore the plaid part and not have to worry about whether it was all straight. This sort of pattern has different grain position to start with, so nothing has to match.

I managed to sew the basic bodice part together at shoulder and side seams. Looks about like I planned. So now I am in the process of laying it out on the fabric for the mini-wardrobe. I think it will go together pretty quickly.

I need to plan a time for getting photos of me wearing the variations of garments. And doing the reviews before the deadline on Sunday.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Plan B button stand and facing fix

So, while sleeping on the problem, I thought I might just have enough of the edge from where I had cut the sleeve and one of the princess panels.
and in the morning I found I had!

So, I first pressed back the white + the bit not printed right on both edge pieces...the remnant and the left front of the dress.

Then I sewed along that fold - well measured and sewed along it because I couldn't see the fold line well enough when sewing.

Then pressed it over. I had a moment of 'now what?' 'where do I trim this other piece?'
But I remembered telling you that I had measured exactly how much buttonstand and grown on facing. So, I trimmed the smaller seam allowance by half, put the interfacing on the larger facing piece, then overlocked the bits together.

Then I measured the 4cm grown on facing bit and pressed that back.

Here is the side which will be seen.
Well, not all will be seen because it is the bit where buttons are sewn, I am not too sure about it, but it will have to do. I am tempted to do some sort of fancy stitching on it to make it look intentional. But I need to find buttons for it first and see what they would look like.

Wouldn't you know I have tons of buttons, but not enough of any sort of blue to do a shirt dress. I will try to get into the market on Friday morning and then hope it doesn't take me ages to do the buttonholes.

One plus about this extra layer, since the fabric is fairly lightweight - linen/rayon blend, it will help to give more support to where the buttons are sewn.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Plan B button stand and facing

Even Tried and True manages to throw you a challenge sometimes.

This is the edge of the fabric. Laid out and cut precisely so that I have 2cm for buttonstand and 4 cm to turn back as grown on facing.
And with the amount of fabric I had, yes, the white part would have to be part of the facing, which would be alright. Because even taking into account the bit of leaf that didn't get printed blue, the depth from the edge is 3cm.

except, if you notice the bit on the right? That is the other side. Discovered after it was cut out and when I went to snip the balance marks.
Hmmm. The white is not going to all be turned back is it? The white on this side is 4.5 cm.

So, Plan A.5. Is it going to be alright because it is the part of the buttonstand that goes underneath?
But what about at the neckline and the hem area?

Do I have enough to cut a sewn on buttonstand and facing instead? No.

So, Plan B. Should I make a partial sewn buttonstand and facing from the neck to where I might leave it unbuttoned, and then at the area near the hem that will open a bit when I sit down?

Answers on a postcard please.

Only I need to sew this tomorrow. I expect it will be Plan B. But I need to sleep on it to work out how.

On any other more sensible occasion, I would pin the fabric so the print edges are lined up with one another...before cutting out. It makes the usable amount of fabric smaller, but you don't end up with problems like this!

Monday, 24 September 2012

Mini-Wardrobe - Crinkle Sheer

The past few days I have been working on making a blouse from a John Kaldor Crinkle sheer fabric. It will be part of the mini-wardrobe.

If I had not been making it for the contest, I probably would have taken forever. It was one of those fabrics that makes you think it was going to be very hard. I normally dither and dither and end up having them as UFO's! See those scary crinkles in the photo?

Anyway, I managed to cut the blouse out without a problem. Then I got a case of nerves and went to look online if there was any special way to sew it. I mucked about with tissue on the seams and trying to keep the neckline, etc from stretching. What a load of bother!

I chose a 60/8 sharps needle to sew with, and after a bit realised I didn't really need all the tissue. But still I had to make myself do each new step. I am worn out!

A few things I did do...tape the shoulder seam with silk organza selvedge. I also used silk organza along with a lightweight interfacing for the button stand and cuffs. And silk organza alone to be interfacing for the collar.

When I had finally got the sleeves in, I realised the puff was not very puffy because of the weight of the cuffs. So, I created shoulder stays.

I used the top of the normal sleeve pattern (between the balance marks and above) to cut 2 silk organza pieces. They both were cut on the bias fold. Then I cut 2 pieces from the blouse fabric - on the fold as well.
I didn't fuss about complete accuracy in cutting here.

I covered the silk organza pieces with the blouse pieces.

Then I stitched them into the sleeve seam between the balance marks/notches.

This is one sleeve with the stay.
mirror photos
And the other without.
Even with me holding my shoulder's funny to try to photograph in the mirror, you can see the pleats that form because the weight of the rest of the sleeve pulls it down.

And here is the final blouse. Phew.

Hopefully cutting a TNT dress and sewing tomorrow. (TNT means Tried and True apparently! They use it all the time on Pattern Review.)

By the way, for most of these, I am finishing seams with the overlocker. For this blouse I didn't put the collar on as I normally would, enclosing the seam, because of the sheer and the fact that the crinkle stretches. So, the silk organza holds the shape and the sheer fabric sort of floats above and below it a bit. If I find it is too floaty after the first wash, I will try to catch it down here and there with invisible thread by hand.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

End of Summer

Today it really seems Summer is gone. We had such a short one. It is a bit sad really. We do need the rain, but when wind and cold go with it, it's not too wonderful.

But the other day, I had a look round the garden for something encouraging amongst the leaves and plants that are beginning to die off.
I began to notice provision for the winter. These are all in my back and front gardens.

For humans

and for birds or other animals.

Love the colours of these berries...very inspirational!

For some reason this year we only had 2 apples. and 2 plums...which I ate. :) I think Victoria Plums straight from the tree taste just like Summer.! Yumm. However, due to the lack of Apples, my husband is beginning to realise there is a system for pruning. So maybe next year there will be a bumper crop? cross fingers.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Something on Saturday

Love this door which was rather neglected at the Art College.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Freeform pleats

I wanted freeform pleats inserted as godets into the skirt I was making for the mini-wardrobe. Here are the steps. It could easily be used as a way of introducing texture to a section of a a piece of textile art you are developing.

I could have created pleats which would move with the skirt - like this example, but I wanted to try the idea of the pleats being texture.

First I formed the pleats on the fabric and pressed them into place. While they look pretty regular, they aren't precisely measured or stitched or fused into place. (The stitching here is from a step further down. I didn't get a photo of this step)

Next I attached a shaped piece to the hem and turned the seam to the inside.
The godet shaped piece was cut from cotton lawn and works as interlining or a stabiliser to keep the shape. If you were doing this for an area of a garment or art quilt in which you did not want to include the hem, you could just skip the hem part.

The turned back cotton lawn piece was positioned and then tacked into place with a long stitch on the machine. (This is where I held it up in the first photo to see if the pleats behaved like I wanted them to.)

Then trimmed.

Here are 2 pieces, one for each side of the skirt.

Each piece was treated as a normal godet and inserted into the side seams of the skirt.
Any good sewing book will give instructions for doing this. But the best one I have found is from a Threads magazine article on sewing godets. Not that I can remember which issue!

Because the pleats are not permanently attached to the stablilising shape, they are flexible texture. I am counting on the creasing from the construction stage softening with washing. They shouldn't become too loose because the ends of the pleats are caught into the sides of the godet. If you were doing a shape in an art piece and the ends of the pleats were not caught into the edges, you might want to catch the top layer down from the back here and there in the hidden parts of the folds.

I am linking to Off the Wall Friday at Nina-Marie's. Go check out what creative things some of the other participants have been doing. If you have come from there, Welcome! and do post a comment!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Mini-Wardrobe so far

Most of these were nearly done. Yesterday and Today I spent the day sorting out the finishing bits. I still have a few more pieces to do. the second blouse was a prototype for the first one and the third blouse will go under one from the sheer fabric.

Most of these will be part of the Mini-Wardrobe Challenge from Pattern Review.

And now to bed.

Edit: skirt


Double collar blouses

Collar detail

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Whatever the National Needlework Archive

Yesterday Jane, Mavis and I hung the work from the Whatever Floats Your Boat exhibition. This is the work done by members of the Thames Valley Contemporary Textile group inspired by the artefacts in the Slough Museum and by Slough itself. You may recall hearing about the exhibition when it was originally at Slough and then in Bracknell last Winter.

Now it is at the National Needlework Archive. The exhibition will be open from today - 19 Sept. - to the 26th October. If you are interested, there are also 2 workshops connected with the exhibition. Information can be found on the workshop page of the NNA website. Scroll down to Saturday 6th October and Friday 26th October.

There is opportunity to see "The Country Wife". (For a small fee). A textile mural designed by Constance Howard and made by her and some of her students at Goldsmiths College for the Country Pavilion at the Festival of Britain in 1951. The work is being meticulously restored by Volunteers at the NNA.

The National Needlework Archive has large room with walls that can be repositioned for gallery space. Here are a few photos of how the work has been arranged. We hadn't so many plinths this time, but made good use of the glass cabinets.

The spot lighting makes elements of the work stand out in ways that wasn't noticable in the other venues. You can see more of the texture and embellishment on the various pieces.

The Venue isn't the easiest to get to, but worth it. They even have a tea room! Check out the website to see if it is open before you go. The Building is called the Old Textile used to be the chapel for the Greenham Common Base.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Designer/Maker MA Show - I like this one!

I really liked the work of Marina Milia. Some fascinating ideas along the lines of something I have been wanting to explore. The way some of her jewellery was displayed gave me ideas on how I could take my own ideas further.

Here are some photos of her work in the MA show.

Marina patterns show cities from different periods of their history. She traces maps and city plans and has the resulting web-like patterns laser cut into various plastics, metals, rubbers, fabrics and mixed media.

This one was very impressive.

You can go to the above link and scroll down to see more of the work Marina has done.

If you go to her blog, you can click on the buttons at the lower right to scroll through posts which give a glimpse of the processes Marina followed to come up with the designs.