Category Archives: Uncategorized

Taking a Break

 

This week I’ve been sewing. I’ve been fitting a pattern from a book called The Tunic Bible by Sarah Welch and Julie Starr. After making two muslins and being happy with the fit, it’s easy to make variations in neckline, sleeves, and length. I’ve made a knit tunic and a long dress to wear to a wedding.

At the moment, I have a few different and unrelated projects going on. Spring seems to have arrived early in South Carolina and the garden is calling. I’m also sewing, drawing, and taking care of family responsibilities.

For the time being, I don’t have a lot to write about concerning art, and I’m eliminating as many deadlines as possible. So, for the near future, my emails may be sporadic. I hope to get back to painting more regularly in the future and resume weekly posts.

In the meantime, let’s all MAKE something!

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Palmetto Crown

Palmetto Crown Gelli print, experimental Acrylic on paper ©2018 Lucinda Howe

Palmetto Crown
Gelli print, experimental
Acrylic on paper
©2018 Lucinda Howe

Palmetto Crown is a continuation of my series of Gelli prints featuring palmetto trees.  Looking up toward the sky from beneath the tree, I notice the contrast of the solid trunk and the translucent fronds.  Focusing on a small section of the tree allows me to abstract shapes and layer paint.  

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Work in Progress

Palm fronds
Gelli plate print
from hand-cut stencil

Work in progress.  Under construction.  Delayed. 

Sometimes that’s all there is. Nothing is finished. Projects are at a standstill waiting for something.  That’s my story this week.  It’s frustrating, but I know that eventually I’ll finish and check off several things at the same time.  

This week I cut another three-part stencil based on an abstraction of palm frond and printed some tests with the Gelli plate.  It was cold in the studio in the mornings, so I moved some projects into another room.  I started sewing a bag but put it aside waiting for a hardware order to work its way through customs from Canada.

Bag fabric waiting for hardware

I started fitting a muslin for a french jacket and realized I didn’t know what I was doing so had to stop and study.  

Dreaming of a jacket beyond my skill level

 

Making a muslin for the french jacket

 

In the meantime, there were computer problems that I don’t have resolved yet. 

So there it is.  Lots of action, not much progress.   Hope your work is going more smoothly!

 

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Make

Journal page

Journal Page
from Jane LaFazio’s class
December 2017

Happy New Year!

Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I choose a word to use as my focus for the year. In 2017, my word was SPACIOUSNESS. I did some mental and physical decluttering and opened space for new ventures. I learned some new art journaling techniques and renewed my dormant interest in sewing.

In the last few weeks, I’ve been taking an online mixed media journaling class from Jane LaFazio, a continuation of what I learned on the trip to Canada last summer. The journal page above was inspired by memories of Wildacres and incorporates collage, watercolor, stamp carving, and stenciling techniques from the class.

I’ve learned that I’m happiest when I’m making something, whether it’s painting, drawing, sewing, or gardening. I enjoy translating concepts of color and design from one medium to another. So, for 2018, my focus word is MAKE.

Do you choose a word of the year? What is your word for 2018?

 

 

 

 

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Cirque Dress

Cirque Dress

This week I finished the dress that was in progress last week.  This is a Marcy Tilton pattern nicknamed the “cirque dress” because of the gathered bubbles around the bottom third of the dress.  The crisp African print waxed cotton fabric holds the shape nicely.  It’s cool and comfortable to wear for the last few weeks of the summer. 

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Sewing in Color

After sewing garments in black fabric the last few weeks, I was ready for a project with bright colors.  It will be hot enough here in South Carolina to wear sleeveless dresses for several more weeks, so I decided to make this “cirque dress” pattern from Marcy Tilton.  I’m using a waxed cotton African print from Mood Fabrics.  It has a crisp finish and looks the same on both sides.  It’s different from quilting cottons that have a definite right and wrong side.  

This print has over-all swirls on top of wide stripes of pink and green.  Because the pattern is asymmetrical, each piece is a different shape and the fabric has to be laid out in a single layer for cutting.  I made several sketches to figure out where I wanted stripes to match or intersect.  As usual, I’m making things more complicated than they need to be.  Wouldn’t it be easier to make this in a solid fabric?   Too late now.

I worked on the dress this week and meant to finish it today, but spent too much time running out to the deck to look at the solar eclipse.  What a treat to see it right in my back yard!

I still have to attach the collar, bind the armholes, and hem.  I’ll have it finished by next week.

 

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Sewing Pants

One of my favorite things about sewing my own clothes is adding small details that personalize the design.  This week I made pants using a pattern from Diane Ericson and a woven Indian cotton fabric from Marcy Tilton Fabrics.  The length is slightly cropped to just above the ankle with darts tapering the bottom edge.  Each leg has three small tabs sewn into the darts as a decorative element.  The hem of one leg is shown above. 

When I started sewing again after a long hiatus, I was surprised to learn that there are now a number of independent pattern makers who sell patterns as downloadable pdf files.  You print the pattern and instructions on your own printer on letter size paper, and assemble it into a large sheet using lots of tape.  Usually there is a printed version for sale, too.  The pdf version is less expensive, but I’m not sure it’s much of an advantage unless you don’t have time to wait for the mail. But I had to try some to see how they work.  This pattern from Diane Ericson was a pdf file that included all sizes and instructions for fitting.  I liked the many ideas for different hem options.  It was easy to make once I was happy with the fit, so I expect I’ll be using this pattern again in the future. 

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Lace Jacket

 

Black and white denim lace with red-purple underling and piping

Black and white denim lace
with red-purple underlining and piping

This week I finished the jacket I started last week.  The pattern  is Marcy Tilton for Vogue, V8982.  I used a black and white denim lace underlined and piped with red-purple sateen.  The piping emphasizes the curved seam that runs from the back collar, down the shoulder blade, and around to the side front.  I like the way the jacket turned out and am looking forward to wearing it when the weather cools off a bit.  

Detail of denim lace jacket

Detail of denim lace jacket (detail of side seam and dart)

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Next Sewing Project

Work in progress Jacket in black and white denim lace

Work in progress
Jacket in black and white denim lace

This week, I have started a lightweight jacket from a denim lace underlined with a purple silk and cotton blend and piping on the seams.  What was I thinking?  It should have been easy to make a simple unlined vest from this unusual fabric, but I had to make it complicated.  The fabric is from Marcy Tilton and the pattern is Vogue V8982.  

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Changing It Up

Sewing Inspiration Board

Sewing Inspiration Board

Growing up in a small town in North Carolina, I was taught by my mother to sew aprons from handkerchiefs and grosgrain ribbon at age 6.  In junior high and high school, I won prizes in 4-H dress reviews, and I made most of the clothes I wore to college.  I bought a Kenmore sewing machine with summer job money the year after my first year at Wake Forest.  

That machine went with me though early jobs, several moves, marriage, divorce, and another marriage.  I made a tailored wool suits, bridesmaids dresses, and a wedding gown. 

Back then, North Carolina was the center of textile manufacturing.  There were numerous fabric outlets, and quality fabric was available and relatively inexpensive (compared to “‘store-bought” clothes), especially if you rummaged through the remnant barrels. 

Over the intervening years, I did some home decor sewing, but I spent a lot time on career, gardening, painting, and other interests.  I had less free time and more money, so I bought most of my clothes.  The choices weren’t always exciting, but I found things to wear.

Since I retired, I’ve been looking for some different pieces to add more art into my wardrobe.  I’ve discovered a renewed interest in sewing. I saw the costume exhibit at the Columbia Museum of Art, met some people on the trip to Canada who are into textile art, and visited an “art to wear” boutique on a recent trip to Asheville.  When I get ready to sew, I found out that… oh my gosh, the fabric stores have closed! Or have only quilting fabrics! No one is sewing anymore! How could this have happened?  

Well, it’s not quite that bad.  Designers are making patterns, and some people are sewing garments.  But fabric shopping is online, patterns are downloadable pdf files, new fabrics have names like digital prints and scuba knits.  It’s going to take some time to figure this out, but I’m ready for a new adventure. In the video below, I invite you to come in and see how I have set up my studio for sewing.

So, what do you think of my new adventure?   Do you make clothes?  What are favorite sources for fabrics and patterns?  Are you interested in hearing more about my experiments, or do you just wish I’d stick to painting.  Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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