Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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Oakleaf Hydrangea #2

Oakleaf Hydrangea #2 12x12 inches Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas ©2017 Lucinda Howe $395

Oakleaf Hydrangea #2
12×12 inches
Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas
©2017 Lucinda Howe
$395

The oakleaf hydrangea in bloom in my garden is a southeastern native. It has big, bold leaves and large white blooms that turn to pink and tan through the summer. Red leaves in the fall and peeling bark through the winter make it a shrub for all seasons.

I painted this piece in the garden, enjoying a warm, quiet morning and focusing on one bloom and the surrounding leaves to emphasize the dramatic structure of the plant.

Bon Mardi Gras

Tuesday Flowers 14x11 inches Mixed media: acrylic, pastel, tissue paper, Sharpie marker ©2017 Lucinda Howe

Tuesday Flowers
14×11 inches
Mixed media: acrylic, pastel, tissue paper, Sharpie marker
©2017 Lucinda Howe

Happy Mardi Gras!  This small mixed media floral painting reminds me of the colors (green, purple, and gold) and excitement of Mardi Gras.  Hope you have a colorful day! 

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Gervais Street Bridge (reprise)

Gervais Street Bridge North 12x12 inches Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas ©2017 Lucinda Howe $395

Gervais Street Bridge North
12×12 inches
Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas
©2017 Lucinda Howe
$395

As I tried to get back into the routine of studio work this week, I started by clearing out the clutter,  vacuuming the floor, and putting fresh plastic covers on my work surfaces.  To find inspiration, I mined my studio notebook for the last year or so, and returned to a series of paintings of the Gervais Street Bridge I started back in the autumn of 2015.  This piece is based on a view of the riverwalk before the big flood.  It combines my favorite elements of natural forms, architecture, and a bold palette.  One of the many advantages of working in a series is that familiarity with subject matter and materials makes it easier to find a starting point of new work.  

 

January Palmetto

January Palmetto 7x5 inches Gelli print and Sharpie ©2017 Lucinda Howe

January Palmetto
7×5 inches
Gelli print and Sharpie
©2017 Lucinda Howe

Happy New Year to you!  

I haven’t been making much “serious art” (whatever that means) during the holidays.  Too many distractions, you know?  I did spend a few hours in the studio playing with stencils and gelli plate printing.   This palmetto and the ones I posted the last two weeks were made by combining three hand-cut stencils in positive and negative shapes with Sharpie marker drawing.  I like how the pieces are different, but they  form a series.  

It was nice to have a fun project with low expectations and freedom to experiment. 

The materials are still laid out in the studio, and I believe it will be easy to get back in the groove in the studio this week.

How do you keep the creative energy simmering and ready to go during times of distraction?  Please add your comments in the section below.  Happy art making!

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Happy New Year!

New Year Palmetto 7x5 inches Gelli print and Sharpie ©2016 Lucinda Howe

New Year Palmetto
7×5 inches
Gelli print and Sharpie
©2016 Lucinda Howe

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and artful new year!

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