Tag Archives: sewing

Summer Sewing

 

Black knit with appliqué (front)

With summer weather alternating between extreme heat and thunderstorms this week, it seemed like a good time to stay at home and work in my studio. I finished the black cotton knit top that I was working on last week using Vogue V9254, a knit dress with an asymmetrical design. The neckline is offset at the center front, and the hem is left unfinished to allow the knit to roll to the front. I’m not sure if I like these details that are less precise than the way I learned to finish garments, but I wanted to follow the pattern the first time.

Black knit with appliqué (back)

I added an applique over the shoulder using a technique and stencil from Alabama Chanin. I cut the leaf shapes from white cotton knit and outlined the edges with a parallel whipstitch. I did the hand stitching before putting in the ¾ length sleeves.

Appliqué detail

I’ve also ordered some fabrics and pre-washed them to prepare for sewing fall garments. I have found many black and white fabrics available, but I’m having trouble finding bold colors. Even so, thinking about shapes, organizing a color story, and searching for materials are all invigorating parts of the creative process whether I’m sewing or painting.

How about you? What creative projects are keeping you busy these days?

Fabric stash


Posted in Studio

Sewing Resources

Last week I showed you my studio set up for sewing.  I’m making a black cotton knit top using Vogue pattern #V9254 by Marcy Tilton.  Now that I’ve adjusted the fit, I wanted to add some embellishments before sewing the center front seam and sleeves. I made samples of several appliqué techniques and a stencil from Alabama Chanin. 

I decided to go with the simple white-on-white appliqué and rearranged the stencil pieces a little to fit over the left shoulder.  I used a fusible web (Steam-a-seam2) to secure the pieces temporarily while I stitch so I don’t have to work around pins. 

I’m stitching around the appliqué pieces with a basic parallel whipstitch.  

In the process of starting to sew again, I’ve found some resources for patterns and fabrics. Here are links to a few things I’m investigating.  Are you familiar with any of these?  Do you have suggestions for other places I should look?  

Patterns:  

Vogue, Butterick, and McCalls  Patterns are expensive these days, but you can find them on sale for $4.99 occasionally. Look for Sandra Bettina, Marcy Tilton, and Katherine Tilton.  

Fabrics:  

Mood Fabrics in New York City as seen on Project Runway.  All kinds of basic and unusual fabrics, designer leftovers, new arrivals every day.

Marcy Tilton Fabrics Beautiful selection of cottons, linens, and knits that work with her patterns.  

Inspiration:

Alabama Chanin Collection of cotton knit garments hand stitched (!) in Alabama.  They also sell 100% organic cotton knit fabric, books, stencils, and patterns for DIY.  

Read the story of Alabama Chanin here.

 

Posted in Studio

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.

Posted in Uncategorized

I Digress

Sewing Studio

Sewing Studio

 

Over the years, I’ve experimented with many types of hobbies that involve making things with my hands… crafts, sewing, crocheting, gardening, cooking, drawing, and painting.

Painting is my favorite activity, and the one I most like to share on my blog. However, sometimes I go off on a tangent and focus on other creative ventures for a while. During the 27 years that my husband and I have lived in our house, my hobbies have expanded to fill up all available work and storage space, overflowed into galleries, an external studio, and a storage unit.

At the beginning of this year, I decided to do some clearing of my creative clutter in order to clear space for new interests and projects. My word for 2017 is spaciousness. I’ve cleared out a storage unit, and consolidated and downsized some art supplies. There is more do to as I explore what is “enough”. It’s a day-to-day process to see how that will play out in terms of mental and physical clearing.

Recently I’ve signed up for a Master Gardener class, and I’ve felt the urge to get back into sewing clothes. When I got out my sewing 43-year-old sewing machine and second-hand serger and started sewing in the basement, I needed more light and wanted to be able to use my light-filled studio at the back of the house. So I put away some of my painting supplies and set up my sewing in the studio. There’s not enough room to do both at once.

For the foreseeable future, I’ll be learning about gardening and sewing, and doing a little less painting, and trying to find my preferred level of spaciousness. Please bear with me while I figure out what comes next.

Posted in Studio