Cool Linen

linen-blouse-9532

While poking around in my fabric collection for something to go with my new skirt, I saw this brown linen and loved it for the color matching with the skirt, and the contrast between the opulent skirt fabric and the humble weave of the linen. This fabric has a fantastic hand, and it retained its stiffness even after I washed it.

The pattern is from Burdastyle 2/2014, which is one of my favorite Burdastyles of all time. I shortened my version a bit so it would show the waist of the skirt. I’m really liking the slightly cropped top / high waisted bottom look this season. I also love the sleeve on this top. It’s in 3 pieces, and balloons out a bit. I sewed all of the seams as French seams. h

Front

Front

back view.  I did a small embroidery on the yoke.

back view. I did a small embroidery on the yoke.

Side view.  The front hem is shorter than the back

Side view. The front hem is shorter than the back

yoke detail

yoke detail

the cuffs are narrow bias strips

the cuffs are narrow bias strips

neckline

neckline

neck facing.  It's a bias strip hand-sewn in place

neck facing. It’s a bias strip hand-sewn in place

Showcasing a Lovely Fabric

embroidered-skirt-9508

The high waisted silhouette has taken hold of my imagination lately. I just finished 2 pairs of high-waisted shorts, followed by this embroidered silk skirt.

I bought the fabric at a warehouse sale for a home dec fabric supplier called Pollack Associates. I was there looking for curtain fabric for my dining room, but this embroidered silk jumped out at me and I had to have some of it. They had it in several colorways, none of which would work for my dining room, so I made a skirt with it instead. But I also managed to get dining room curtain fabric.

The pattern I used is from Burdastyle 3/09 104, adapted. The yoke and the pockets are part of the original pattern, and I added the pleats.

closeup of the fabric

closeup of the fabric

back

back

side slits

side slits

the hem

the hem

Small Embellishment

linen-blouse-9523

I’m working on a blouse made from the most fantastic-feeling linen ever. I got it for a good price, and was planning on dyeing it, but decided that the color is right for my purposes. Here is a small embellishment that I put on the back yoke of the blouse. I embroidered it by hand using variegated silk floss.

Heavily embroidered fabric for a skirt

image

Bibliocraft — Book Review

With my already massive collection of crafting books threatening to take over my house, I’m pretty careful about what books I acquire. But when I heard that Jessica Pigza had written a book about crafting and libraries, I had to get a copy! Jessica is a fantastic person, and crafting and libraries are 2 of my favorite topics. Jessica is not exactly a close friend of mine, but I have met her several times. She is a librarian at the New York Public library, and she organizes events called Crafternoons, where you can go and do crafts on Saturdays with other like-minded people at the library. I used to go when my kids were smaller, but now that they are older and in school all day, I tend to spend my weekends with them. When they are just a little bit older still, I think I will start taking them to the Crafternoons with me.

But about the book. As far as I can tell (and I have a lot of craft books), this one is absolutely unique. But now that I’m reading it, I just can’t believe that EVERYONE is not writing about this topic. Really, what better combination could there be than books and crafting?

The first section of the book contains a wealth of amazingly useful and interesting information. Jessica describes the different types of libraries (public v private; closed v open stacks, digital, etc) and how to navigate through the different libraries. This is great info to have because I know from personal experience that world-class libraries can be intimidating. There’s so much there, but generally there’s no browsing allowed, so you need to be able to tell someone what you’re looking for. She tells you how to properly prepare for your visit, how to approach the staff, and what to expect in order to get the most out of your library experience. She litters her advice with real-world experiences of the designers featured in her book while preparing the projects in the book.

Jessica includes many, many clever suggestions for searching, like, “Narrowing your results to works published before 1923 is an easy way to limit your sources to those in the public domain”. Duh, of course it is, but this never occurred to me before.

She also includes a wonderful list of “recommended library collections”, most of which are available online, which has already provided me with hours of amusement and will continue to do so.

The second part of the book shows projects by artists based on library resources. The projects are all very nice, but the best part is that after each project, Jessica writes a couple of pages about exactly which books provided the inspiration for this project, where these books are found, and how to find similar books on this topic. These topics are things like botany, animal illustrations, soil profiles, and penmanship samples.

This book reminds me of my love of books and libraries, which I kind of forgot about in recent years. When I was in high school, the teachers sent us to the local universities (there were 2 in my town) to use their research libraries, and there was a tremendous sense of discovery in reading all these old sources. Then when I was in college, I spent hours at the library doing my classwork and smelling that library smell.

Maybe it’s time for me to visit a good research library.

Here’s a link to the book on Powell’s so you can see what it looks like.

Quilted Clothing — The Best Thing Ever

quilted-t-9435

I have such a soft spot for quilted clothes! It may be partly an underdog thing. Quilted garments are often unfairly maligned among garment sewists. It’s like, you can’t be a serious hobbyist if you incorporate quilting into your oeuvre. But here I am, serious hobbyist, having just finished a quilted t-shirt.

This shirt idea came to me when I saw a photo of the Isabel Marant Landers top. It looks like just the thing to wear for this cool spring. The top is 3 layers. The top and the bottom are a silk-cotton voile, and the batting layer is a heavyweight cotton-rayon knit. Both fabrics started out white. For the first step in the project, I dyed all the fabric lavender in the same dye bath.

After the dying, I layered the pieces of fabric with the batting layer sandwiched between the 2 voile layers, cut, quilted, and assembled. All seam allowances and edges are encased in bias strips of the voile fabric.

BACK VIEW

back view

hem detail

hem detail

the 2 fabrics I quilted together: the knit batting is on the left, the silk-cotton voile is on the right

the 2 fabrics I quilted together: the knit batting is on the left, the silk-cotton voile is on the right

Hong Kong finished seam

Hong Kong finished seam

button detail

button detail

Here are some other quilted garments I’ve made. Click on the photo to go to the blog post.

This quilted jacket was also influenced by an Isabel Marant garment!

The Meta-Knockoff

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Lately I’ve been all distracted and have let my blog fall by the wayside, but I’m still here and I even have a project to show off!

A week or so ago, when I was a bit adrift about what to sew, I read this post on Carolyn’s blog about her project using a lace print fabric. I thought the original and Carolyn’s version are both lovely, so I looked at my own fabric collection and came up with some silk duchesse satin and some lace that would work together nicely. I tried to place the lace from shoulder to waist in the way that Carolyn’s print runs, but my lace is very geometric, while hers is a bit more random. I did not like the effect with the geometric lace.

I thought a bit, and remembered that I have been wanting to make a tunic top with trim of the sort that the designer Tory Burch has been showing for a while, and the whole thing clicked for me. I appliqued the lace onto the satin. Originally, I hand-stitched, but then realized that it actually looks OK to machine stitch the lace, so most of it is machine stitched on. I Hong Kong finished the seams, and put an invisible zip in the back.

To make the whole thing look more dimensional, I hand-stitched some lace medallion cutouts on top of the appliqued lace.

3/4 view

3/4 view

back view.  There's an invisible zip in the center back seam

back view. There’s an invisible zip in the center back seam

side view

side view

vent embellishment

vent embellishment

Here's a work-in-progress photo.  It is the sleeve hem with the lace appliqued on.  You can see where I layered some lace medallions in the middle row to add some dimension.

Here’s a work-in-progress photo. It is the sleeve hem with the lace appliqued on. You can see where I layered some lace medallions in the middle row to add some dimension.

The wrong side of the previous photo.   You can see my machine and hand stitches.

The wrong side of the previous photo. You can see my machine and hand stitches.

lace detail

lace detail

lace detail

lace detail

this is what the lace yardage looks like.

this is what the lace yardage looks like.

Layers and Layers and Layers

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Originally, this textured silk gazar fabric put me in the mind of a cocktail dress. It’s been in my stash for well over a year, but I could never really get my head around making a fancy dress that I might wear once or twice. But recently, I looked at it and thought about what a great skirt it would make. It does, indeed, make a great skirt.

The skirt is in three layers. The navy silk gazar is on top. Next is a fuchsia silk organza. At the bottom is a white silk crepe, which adds some opacity, trimmed with mint green lace, which looks nice under the sheer organza.

The waist sits at my natural waist, with a straight waistband. I interfaced it with ban-roll, which is wonderfully stiff. There’s an invisible zip and a hook and eye closure.

back view

back view

closeup of the silk gazar with sheer floral motif

closeup of the silk gazar with sheer floral motif

Here's my hand between the navy layer and the fuchsia layer

Here’s my hand between the navy layer and the fuchsia layer

hem detail

hem detail

hem detail (middle layer)

hem detail (middle layer)

hem detail (lining layer)

hem detail (lining layer)

Look, Ma, No Seams!

knit-skirt-9083

Several years ago, while shopping at a fancy store, I came across a skirt by the designer Alaia that was beautifully shaped: fitted and flippy all at once. When I took a closer look, I realized that this shape was achieved with no seams, which seemed to me to be nothing short of magic. I filed this away for future reference. Then a few months ago, my husband came home from the thrift shop with 12 skeins of rayon ribbon yarn. I set it aside for awhile, then realized that this yarn has a similar consistency to the Alaia skirt. So I signed up for a class at my local yarn shop, (Wool and Grace), and made my own.

I did not use a pattern. I started from the top down. At the waist, I knit until the circle measured the same as my waist measurement. Then I put increases pretty much where the darts would go to get the hip to measure what my hip measurement is. Then I knit straight for a few inches, then put increases every 100 stitches, then every 90 stitches, then every 80 stitches as I approached the hem.

It was a lot of work, but I learned a lot and I like the result. If I were to do this again, I would make it a bit more flared, but I will definitely wear it.

on the form

on the form

increases at the back

increases at the back

ribbon yarn

ribbon yarn

elastic threaded through the ribbing at the waist.

elastic threaded through the ribbing at the waist.

Printed Moto Jacket — Revealed!

moto-jacket-8849

Tadaa! This will almost certainly be my go-to spring jacket. If spring ever arrives in the eastern United States, that is.

For all posts about the making of this jacket, click here.

front

front

collar and lapel detail

collar and lapel detail

zipper and covered snap detail

zipper and covered snap detail

silk-organza covered snap

silk-organza covered snap

the inside is unlined. I did a Hong Kong finish on the seams.  The facings and lapels are silk satin.

the inside is unlined. I did a Hong Kong finish on the seams. The facings and lapels are silk satin.

back

back

side view

side view

This is the photo that I tweaked with photo editing software to get my screen printing motif.

This is the photo that I tweaked with photo editing software to get my screen printing motif.

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