weekly photo challenge: humanity


tapestry from collection
Art Institute of Chicago
taken in extreme low light conditions
please forgive blurriness

I don’t write much about humanity, in regard to sewing, but that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about the state of the world, and my own clothing’s place in it.

The conditions of people actually making the textiles, as well as the clothing, have rightly received publicity, but there’s not been too much yet about up-cycling.

Sewers from other parts of the world regularly report on fabric, patterns, and haberdashery they’ve found in thrift shops, but I’ve not had that experience.

Is it only because I’ve been so close to large cities, in metropolitan areas?  But shouldn’t that mean I should find more, rather than less?

As I get my own wardrobe increasingly under control and re-suited to current environments, I can’t help contemplating sewing, fabric and clothing in much broader terms.

As in what’s the impact on the environments from whence these materials come from?

And the impact on the world’ environment of all the fast fashion currently so popular?

HUMAN”ITY, n. [L. humanitas.] 1. The peculiar nature of man… 2. Mankind collectively; the human race.

These 2 articles, from Lizzie at The Vintage Traveler, might shed more light on these areas.


Original WordPress post is here.

Ailsa’s Travel Theme is Noise.

Anothr posting for WordPress here.

from the weekend . . .


Click a pic to begin slide show

Did a bit of sewing, but not too much.  Hit a bit of a puzzle:  How to use the crochet bits from these two ancient pillowcases?

Do note the scalloped edge and how thoroughly it’s sewn into place… would love not to have to un-pick that.


weekly photo challenge: adventure!


Adventure is what sewing is each time we begin a new-to-us pattern, or work with a new-to-us fabric. You plan and train for an expedition to the Antarctic, and this isn’t much different.  An example . . .

Ad*ven”ture, n. [OE. aventure... fr. L. advenire, adventum, to arrive, which in the Romance languages took the sense of to happen, befall..."]  3. … bold undertaking, in which hazards are to be encountered, and the issue is staked upon unforeseen events…

The above dress came into being mentally when I found a pattern and remembered a fabric in my collection.  I’d mentally tagged this fabric for an office/church outfit, maybe with a loose jacket.

The fabric itself is buttery soft, doesn’t wrinkle, has stretch across the grain (the way stretch jeans have stretch), and a forgotten designer’s name. Not a bad pedigree, and I wanted to be true to that heritage.  Plus the overall colour is black, with vertical lines = slimming. Can’t get much better!

OK. Pattern found.  But there can be many a slip between a dream and reality, so I decided last summer to begin a test… And sewed up a different fabric.  Much wearing during the remaining hot weather showed me the overall design worked, with a few tweaks.

Success.  So I made another dress out of another fabric from my fabric stash.  That dress also required a few tweaks, and is much-worn this summer.

Enter the Monthly Stitch’s July challenge to sew something monochromatic. Bingo.  Time to complete this adventure and get going on the black designer fabric.  So I did.

Cut it out and began sewing.  All systems working. Then an urgent mend came along.  Then another… then something else…  And the dress sat.  July went, and most of August.

Last week I decided I really needed to finish it, and asked myself why wasn’t I?  The pattern wasn’t difficult… the fabric was behaving itself, and so was the machine…  It’s the right pattern, ’cause I tried out others whilst deciding (here and here).

Trying to see black stitches on black cloth, it dawned on me:  Black thread on black fabric is hard to see.  And that was the hang-up.

The dress got under way again, until time to bind the neck and arms – the finish.  How to handle the problem in the trickiest spot?

I held up various ways to finish, including white piping, and contrasting binding. And wasn’t happy.  No detail besides all those white lines!

I finally decided to stick with the black & white fabric colours, and use white rayon seam binding with black thread.  I know the pattern calls for a large front and back facing to be used, but 2 layers of any fabric is too hot in extreme heat & humidity.

Call it a short-cut, or total disregard for the designer nature of the fabric (and pattern, a DKNY!), but I remain adamant: I must be comfortable or it won’t get worn.

And that’s the purpose of the adventure, isn’t it?


WordPress challenge

 Ailsa’s Travel photos here.

taking care of your woolie

30% viscose & 70% wool<br>should be safe to wash...

30% viscose & 70% wool
should be safe to wash…

A lovely note from Jessica in Edinburgh reminded me that it’s time to begin thinking about woolies again.   Not that I stop…   for too long.  he-he!

Somehow, today’s moderate 80’s F. makes that thought more bearable than if it were in the 90’s.  As long as that humidity doesn’t creep in.

Trying to keep thought above mere weather, her note reminded me of 2 wool skirts acquired last October from a thrift shop.

Uncertain how to care for them, but wanting to get the musty smell out, I plopped them into my machine’s cold & gentle water cycle, then hung them up to air dry.

no, LOL, that's not my size, but useful fabric for other things...

no, LOL, that’s not my size, but useful fabric for other things…

Don’t think they shrank (is it shrink, shrank, shrunk?) in the least, and they didn’t felt up.  But I’d resolved that no matter what, it would be good experience.  And that smell would be gone.

The New Zealand merino jersey wools currently awaiting slightly cooler temps & lower humidity for their initial wash ‘n dry are all machine washable/air dry.  Ya-hoo!

Is it me, or do lots of people have difficulty finding places for things to lie flat to dry?!

labor day…

vintage silk kimono

vintage silk kimono

how to hand-wash silk
I haven’t dry-cleaned silk in ages.  Just hand-wash it in cold water.  But don’t bung it in the dryer, even on low.  No way!

If you want to iron it straight away, and it’s a relatively small piece, wrap it in a towel to get rid of the excess moisture.

If it’s a large piece, particularly if it tends to bleed colour, such as this hand-dyed silk kimono, consider hanging it up to dry.  Then, if you can remember to catch it before it’s bone dry, iron with steam on the wrong side.

If you don’t catch it, sprinkle liberally with water, put it in a (clean!) plastic bag so the humidity gets into the entire garment, and then iron on the wrong side.

Why I was washing it out on Labor Day is another story.  There was a vacuum cleaner. . . and that’s all I’m saying.



weekly photo challenge: dialogue ~ tee shirt


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Hopefully these three piccies will tell even non-sewers how a simple un-needed tee shirt can be transformed with just a pair of scissors.

DIALOGUE, n. [Gr., to dispute; to speak.] 1. A conversation or conference between two or more persons

Original WordPress post is here.

Another dialogue is over here…

 Ailsa’s Travel Theme this week is EDGE

luv to josée!

my new & totally adorable, upcycled fabric cosmetics bag from cul de sac, canada!

my new & totally adorable, upcycled cosmetics bag from cul de sac, canada!
click to go to her etsy shop

Guess what I got in the mail yesterday?  From my dear friend Josée, the owner of Cul de Sac, the cutest little cosmetics bag imaginable!  And it’s unique ’cause no one else has one with exactly these recycled fabrics, in this combination.  Blue & yellow always reminds me of France, and as Josée speaks French and lives in Québec, it’s serendipitous!

The bag’s lining is yellow, which I really like because I can easily spot a pesky lipstick.  Another thoughtful touch is the little charm on the zip pull ~ a bird in a cage ~ mirroring one of Josée’s favourite embroidery designs.

I can spot this easily inside the huge black bag I carry when travelling… when I don’t want to paw through a dark hole looking for a small bag.

Josée makes all her bags, scarves, key chains, and other upcycled items as she has time & finds materials.  She’s been known to unravel sweaters and reknit the wool into charming fingerless gloves, and other items.

Here’s where to find her creations, and make your own purchases.

And I still rank her double chocolate cupcakes as the absolute best indulgence in the whole wide world!


fixed frays


Thought you might like to see frayed stuff mended, so here are a few piccies.  Hope they inspire someone else to work on their pile!

And did another neckline job, just to get this definitely-only-a-house-dress onto both shoulders. Just too difficult to scrub the tub with one sleeve hanging!  Yes, this is shapeless, but it’s soooo comfy I just love the soft fabric.  Makes cleaning up more of a treat… well, sort of!