Thursday, 30 April 2015

Tree of Life - 3

Here is the Tree of Life fresh from washing out the soluble fabric. It worked!

A bit of fiddling with some of the flower ends, but the structure has held together. Since there is still some of the solution (from the soluble fabric getting wet) left in the threads with this method, it will help it to retain enough stiffness to work with it when it is dry.

There are a few places where threads need trimming, but I am pretty happy with this.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Juniper Tree - 1

While delaying the washing out part of the Tree of Life. I started on a Juniper Tree.
These were also grown in the Lebanon.

There are Biblical references in the book by the Prophet Isaiah about how Sennacherib, King of Assyria, boasted of cutting the great forests down... the tallest cedars and the choicest junipers. But also that he would have his downfall and the forests would gloat (over him) now that no one came to cut them down. The distant forests would be quiet, birdsong and not battle cry heard, safe for a time from the axes.

Trying several threads to get the silvery bark effect.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Tree of life - 2

More work on the stylised Tree of Life.

This type of work is more concentrated on one line of stitch gone over in different ways, so I think if this one does turn out okay, I might use 2 layers for any future open thread tracing. There is a tendency for the fabric to pull away or the stitching to get pulled or pushed into the bobbin area.

Now finished, I have pinned it to the foam core board.

Usually I wash out the water soluble first and then block. But I am concerned this will just go all floppy and get tangled. I will trim the excess away (should have thought of that earlier!) and then will run water over the board in the sink.

Then it will be a tense moment while I wait to see if the tree can be used in one piece. I tried to attach branches a bit at the ends to keep it from all turning to a dried up Daucus carota or Wild Carrot/Queen Anne's Lace at the end. Well, that could be an option if it does!

Monday, 27 April 2015

Fabric Pyrography!

So, some of what was keeping me occupied the last few weeks was writing a series of guest posts for the 'Fire Blog'. Or to give it the official name ...And Then We Set It On Fire!

The topic I wrote about was Fabric Pyrography, a posh name for the work I do making marks on fabric with a soldering iron. You can begin the guest posts here. It starts with a bit of background for Pyrography - which is usually using marks made on wood using a wood burning tool.

Just a reminder of one of my recent bits of Fabric Pyrography

Today I have been sorting beads. The other week I came into the lounge to find the table next to my chair tipped over. The plant and the ceramic poppy from the Tower of London were crashed into the radiator cover, but not hurt. However, all my carefully selected and piled containers for one of my beaded bangles had gone everywhere.
All mixed up...though some had been trapped on this book which has a fur-like texture on the zebra.
Actually, the colours and shapes here are very interesting...
the original reason I took the photo.

So, now they have been sorted back. Some people like 'bead soup' mixtures. but I really like to have a very good idea of how many I have so I don't run out mid project.
I often work on some bead thing whilst watching a cooking show with my husband. So, now I am limiting the amount!

Sunday, 26 April 2015

And the bead keeps going on...19-25 April

Week 17 March 2015








Saturday, 25 April 2015

Tree of Life - 1

Today was the Offcuts sewing group meeting for April. Being a bear of very little brain today, I thought it would be easier to work on a tree. (for my journal quilt tree series. The fact that I need to have 4 posted by the end of April if I am to 'officially' continue, may or may not have had something to do with it!) But so I didn't stress about making a tree to look like a tree and so on, I decided to do a stylised one.

Inspired by various Tree of Life depictions over the centuries...millenniums even... Actually, I think these depictions are stylised depictions of something like an Espaliered tree. A wood craft where trees are trained against garden walls.

So, I sketched a simple one. Straight up with cross pieces and then a bit sticking up at the end of each cross piece. But then I wasn't sure about how to do the top, and looked in my book which I have mentioned before. (written by a forester about trees mentioned in the Bible, ancient historical lands and/or which grow in the Middle East now.)

A tree in the palace of King Ashernasirpal

Ah, a bit more style needed. So, simple became more complex. But still it was a break for my brain from pattern drafting, which I find I am unable to do when I am chatting to friends about sewing!

And with a few stops and starts about things, this is how far I have got.

As you can see, I abandoned the overly complicated bit at the top!

I chose a variegated thread someone recently was getting rid of. I figured if I am going stylised, I may as well play with colour, too. At first I was worried the thread was too has pinks and blues in it. But when you look from a distance it works. I also have a green thread in the bobbin, so when I wash out the water soluble, that will add to the colour.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Wardrobe - Blouse with cap sleeves

I have had this fabric for a VERY long time. And when the wardrobe plans started looking like black and off-white, I rummaged around to find it.
I tried to do the Winifred Aldrich grown on cap sleeves adaptation to my bodice pattern. However, it asks you to raise the pattern at the shoulder end, lengthen it, as well as drawing a line up from the side seam.


Not sure how a crisp woven would work doing that, but basically I ended up with drooping fabric ...almost cowl-like...between neck and shoulder.

So, I darted the fullness into the neck. It worked, and carries a theme from the black knit top! It isn't really obvious because the play of light on the polyester jacquard effect fabric.

I sewed the blouse with French seams because the fabric shreaded whispy threads that have got onto everything. (Besides my dry rough hands catching on everything.) So, I stitched the button stands on and then tried it on to see how it fit.

Okay, I knew I had enlarged the base pattern, but somehow this would fit me with a couple more stone weight!

Then whilst I was doing the pleat neck thing and trying to work out how I was going to sort the toooo large bit. I realised, Oh. French seams.

I had done the first pass as was required wrong sides together with a narrow seam (I used the overlocker for this because of the whisps), then turn to right sides together and enclose the edges of the seam. So, I realised when I sewed the button stand on with the overlocker, I had done overlock pass right next to the edge, like I did for the first pass of the French seams. So, if you included the Seam allowances on the button stands and also on the blouse, it was something like over 4 cm too much. So, I went back at it and stitched them for the normal 1.5cm seam allowance and voila! It fit.

Basic side dart pattern with several adaptations to get it be grown on/cut on cap sleeves a la Winifred Aldrich.

I finished the blouse with some of the buttons from a random pack I bought at a show, and whilst watching cooking shows have stitched beads round the collar and down the bodice sides of the button stand.
Oh, and hey! No problems with stitching the button holes!

And can you imagine this with the lacy black jacket over? I will show you when I get some photos wearing it.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Wardrobe - Trumpet skirt

Today's piece of the wardrobe is an off-white gabardine trumpet skirt with a faced waist finish.
Trumpet skirts fit to the hip and flare out from there, but the flare is integral to the pattern piece, rather than being added to the sides. The resulting pattern piece looks like...a trumpet bell!

I used a variegated white and black embroidery thread to topstitch at the waist and at the hem. This gives continuity for the black knit top. I am debating a topstitched motif or geometric shape, but will ponder that a while longer.

I like a faced waist treatment for skirts like these because I am short waisted. With an interfaced facing in the top, it still gives the support to the skirt that you would get with a waistband, but doesn't take up any more space.

Thanks for the feedback on the lacy jacket! Good ideas. I finished my article tonight, so perhaps I can get some more sewing done. Hopefully I can get photos of these garments whilst modelling them!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Wardrobe - lacy jacket

The next photo from the coordinating wardrobe I am doing is a black lacy jacket made of cotton lace. (actually the third sewn)

I thought that if I was doing a classy type of wardrobe, I needed a cardy type garment with a bit more class. For those moments when you are in restaurants who have confused the temp control for the walk-in cooler with the one for the dining area. You have been there I am sure. So you are all hunched up trying to stay warm rather than enjoying a moment out of the heat.

At the moment, I have pinned the fronts together to keep it on the hanger. In actuality, they hold nicely on their own when I wear this. I am debating a thinner but not skinny ribbon should I want to hold it together better. For instance with a blouse of silky type fabric (coming up!).

The pattern for this again was my side dart bodice pattern with set in cap sleeves. It is only just hip length. Instead of sewing darts in the lace, I pleated the darts into the side seam...just folds that release, rather than stitched down. It moulds the shape of the jacket to mine in a subtle way. The lace has no stretch, or I might have considered doing away with the dart.

I decided to finish the edges right the way around like you would a bolero using a satin ribbon. Stitched right side to wrong side and then flipped to the front. To hold it in place, I have stitched clear beads with a black lining in a beaded running stitch technique. Every now and then I did a tiny back stitch so the whole lot doesn't come off at once if I lose one.

The effect has somewhat ruffled the ribbon. I was considering beading the other side of the ribbon as well. But I have been looking at it several days and think this look is better. If the action of hand beading the other side causes a similar effect but the beads are not precisely lined up, it would just look like a mistake.

I decided to draw the line at ribbon on the hem of the sleeves. What do you think?

Any comments about the idea of a ribbon of sorts to join the sides? (probably you need to see it on me to really tell)

How about the idea of beading the other side of the ribbon down?

I am currently doing something which I can tell you next week. and sewing bits of the wardrobe in-between. So, that is why I have not been able to do the 'how I did this' post or the 'this is what it looks like when I wear it' photos yet.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Wardrobe - Knit top

Being very discouraged about the meds v weight gain which I mentioned recently, I decided to take motivation from the current Pattern Review Wardrobe contest. Plenty of things fit, but not necessarily things that go together! Since I am in need of some basics anyway, (because I tend to go for interesting fabrics!) I have settled on a black and off-white scheme. I may introduce colour at some point, but for now I am sticking with those contrasts.

The rules:
The contest runs 1 April through 15 May, 2015

"During this 6-week contest, you'll be required to sew the following 9 items:
4 tops
3 bottoms
2 sewist's choice
The tops may be tee's, blouses, shirts, tunics--pretty much any item that covers the top half of your body!
Bottoms may be pants, shorts, jeans, skirts, culottes, jumpsuits, etc.
The 2 "Sewist's Choice" items may be another top or bottom, a dress, a jacket or cardigan (just examples).
ONE item, and only one item, can be something previously purchased or sewn or purchased during the contest.
For this contest, swimsuits will not be eligible.
Each top must coordinate with each bottom. A dress, if included, must coordinate with the other items but may be worn alone."

So, of course I started with a challenge to myself. I seldom if ever sew knits. But I had a piece of black firm knit (not up on the terminology!) so this is the first garment.
I had to manipulate the photo on the computer so it would show black knit...more important than true wardrobe door colour!

I used a bodice pattern I drafted a few years and several pounds ago. I know enough about knits to know you don't really need much ease. I had enough of the black knit to trial the garment and then to make it up. The first try was a bit too snug, but I made it long enough to perhaps be a body shaper of sorts. (although the proof of that will have to be in the wearing!) So, possibly a wearable toile.

The second try was fine and I went on to finish it off nicely as you can see in the photo above. I used a topstitching stitch to give a change from dull black to a sharper more interesting look.

The bodice pattern I used had a side bust dart. I traced it off and then rotated the dart into the neckline.  I have taken photos of that process, but I might not be able to do the tutorial on how-to until later in the week. And hopefully it won't be too long before I can get some wearing the clothes photos, too.

So, that is no.1 out of the nine! At this writing, I am pretty much halfway.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Funny Sunny House take 2

I have been trying to get used to a new medication. At first it really caused me to be very weary. So, basically I have been keeping going, but on very slow speed. and too tired to post anything here.

Any how. I seem to have got to a place where I am working better.

Last week I found out that Funny Sunny House had not arrived to the person collecting.
Somehow I had been given a wrong address - though others who used that address had their work arrive. So, when I heard from them, I was glad it was being tracked. It went to Texas, but the postal service there said it could not be delivered because of the address. So, it came back to England via Chicago O'Hare airport! and supposedly arrived in Bracknell on the 13th of April.

And there is where the mystery continues. No one in Bracknell seems to know where it is!

The collected pieces for SAQA were to be taken to the SAQA conference to be auctioned off. My friend here in the UK offered to take the work to the conference when it was delivered to me. But, as it never showed up and time was running out for sending it to her, I have made a new one. Tomorrow it will go into the post.
Same fabrics. Subtle differences. This will be matted for display for the Spotlight Auction at the SAQA conference.

Yes, I am quite gutted that my work is lost. I do hope it eventually is found. But I do think this one is better. I had a print out of the first one to go by so I was able to change some of the things I wasn't happy about. I hope it gets value for the ordeal at the auction!

Now I am working my way through some of the other things I got behind with. I have some things nearly ready for photos to blog post.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

And the bead keeps going on...12-18 April

Week 16 April 2015








Saturday, 18 April 2015

Interesting things in the garden

Drumstick Primula

Noticing a different way of growing...most of the bulb flowers grow their stem with a bud on top which eventually opens.

The drumstick primula was first leaves...then the flowers came and opened like a puffball close to the plant.
This photo was a few days on from the first step.
The flower heads filling out further.

Further along the stems grew...with the flower head on top.

And more opened and grew...staggered in size like an arrangement.
I need to remember to keep track of this!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

And the bead keeps going on...5-11 April

Week 15 April 2015








This post for idea of size.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Something on Saturday

This week opening in the garden...
grape hyacinth



Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Beaded Shaped Springs

Jeannie from 365 Dresses asked what size these springs were, thinking they would make nice brooches. I said I think a pin back would be too big.

Then I decided to take a photo so you can work out the size.

I do like using this camera because it focusses to close-up automatically. You can see far more then, even than looking at it with your reading glasses. But it does make it difficult to imagine what it would look like in real life if you hadn't seen it.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

And the bead keeps going on...1-4 April

Week 14 April 2015

This month I am beading onto these shaped, coloured springs. I had tried this one other time but couldn't get a system going and abandoned it. This time I was able to work out a plan. The first one took ages, but half of that was tangled thread. So, I think I have a procedure now that doesn't take as long.





I am not being so precise about whether there are 5 or 6 arches. But the main difference in each colour set is the bead between the arches. I wanted to used my facetted beads. So with each colour set, there is the main colour in the arch and then an additional colour between. Some won't be so close in colour like the gold ones are. The colour of large seed bead will be gold or silver, depending on the colour set and how well I think they go!