Tag Archives: fabrics

poignant pillows & other stuff…

click to go over to keith’s facebook page

One of my favourite people, cat, and used bookstore is going away.

Meeeeehhhh ! ! !

It’s retirement time for Keith in Chicago, who reports he has several projects in mind and I, for one, am eager to hear what they are.

Meanwhile, I’ve been contemplating for many moons how some of Samantha‘s gifted-to-me  Book Cotton fabric could find its way over to Chicago and into Keith’s possession.

What better item than a pillow, with an added bonus of fitting Keith’s lifestyle, both old and new.

Another dip into the stash and I came up with the perfect backing.

after all, its used books **and** sheet music 😉

Aside from unselfish sewing & crocheting, what’s been doin’ around here?

To keep spirits up I listened to some “Beyond Our Ken” wireless programmes. You can wander through some here.

Ever on the watch for new stuff… no, actually bored and wanting something new to watch, I spied these 2 videos over on Marcy Tilton’s blog.

Scroll past the eye candy to the “Fitting” section and see how Marcy fits tee shirts. I’m inspired.

In case you’re as tired as I am of reading doom-and-gloom headlines, here’s one from the NY Times (from Lizzie over at Vintage Traveler I think). When they start spouting words like “elegant,” “sophisticated,” and “practical” I get interested. Add “““We’re political people,” (Karla Welch). “Clothes are a form of armor.””   I was hooked. Let us know what you think.

Lovelies, may your weekend be glorious and totally suited to whatever you love doing!

   ❤   ❤   ❤

lessons learnt

Vogue 8750
click to go to pattern

Okay. Let’s look at this one last time, shall we?

Remember this, this, and more recently the petersham post here?

After several years of working (mostly not working) on this, I still think it’s a good pattern.

Just not in the fabric I chose. And there’s a huge learning curve in that “NOT.”

As I got into the pattern, which has some weird pieces that prove interesting for fit, I discovered that precise seam widths were vital. (ugh!) A fraction off in some places and it’s seam ripper time.

see any top stitching?
thought not.

But even more important was the concept of those side pieces. Definitely bias effect going on, which should affect what fabric gets used, and its pattern.

Blithely ignorant, I lost a lot of the skirt’s character, as all the interesting top stitched detail  became invisible on this patterned fabric.

Although I thought the weight of the cotton would be good (it’s okay), it turned out the ravelling has been horrendous. Something I didn’t discover until I’d washed it a few times, which I did over the past 2 years.

see all the straggling ends? don’t believe that using pinking shears on a cotton will handle any ravelling… just sayin’

But lest we get discouraged, there have been positives: Learning about petersham ribbon from Hila’s post and actually using it for a waistband has been a huge plus. (Suspect it will influence most future skirts.)

The other huge plus has been realising, then acknowledging my mistake in using fabric I do not like. (An early on-line purchase so I didn’t touch it beforehand.)

HUGE lesson learnt: Don’t even think about using up fabrics you don’t want to touch… even for a toile.

Below are assorted photos from the recent finishing. However, if you’re looking for sassy photos of me wearing this . . . 😱   Shock! Horror!

Do you ever see sassy piccies of me??  Lol!   Will admit to laundering it again, giving it a good press, and trying it on. It fits loosely, as I made a straight 16 I think, and am not about to alter it.

The petersham waist works really well for me (hate waistbands) as it sits at the waist (or would if I fitted it properly) and doesn’t annoy. Because of the weird side pieces there’s a good fit at the hip, particularly when seated.

Would I make it again? “Never say never.”  Maybe. . . . but with better fabric.

😊  Have a grand weekend, Lovelies!

linen #3: boring? no way!

creative linen

creative linen

Quick Review: You’ve got a piece of linen in your hand – exciting!

Take your linen, and some jeans (non-bleeding!) or large towels, and pop them into the wash on hot.

W-H-A-T? you shriek.

  • Yes! Wash linen as you intend to wash the finished garment, you can wash several times, and hot water isn’t bad for linen. (Remember, it’s strongest when wet.)
  • Linen fabric doesn’t shrink much, but sizing does need to be washed out before sewing begins.
  • DO NOT USE BLEACH! Bleach can damage the linen fibres.
  • Dry as you intend the finished garment to dry. But I’d do dryer first, plus an old (clean) tennis ball or two, and watch that lint trap to see how much fuzz comes off. (I’ve included a photo of the fuzz from the orange linen, and you see how much fuzz this can be.)
  • Bone-dry linen becomes brittle and can break, so don’t over-use that dryer. Remove linen when it’s slightly damp and either hang to complete drying or… iron on highest iron setting, with steam for best results.
  • The more linen is washed, the softer it becomes, particularly if you toss in old jeans or towels.

Remember my trick with my camp shirt: Because it was stiff after air drying, I decided to liberally sprinkle the shirt with water and toss into the dryer for a few minutes so I didn’t have to iron it.

Or you can iron it with lots of steam, then toss into the dryer for 5 minutes to soften.

seam allowances:

  • Linen ravels. Sometimes a lot.
  • Before cutting out your garment, decide what seam finishing is needed.
  • Test seam finishes before cutting out your garment: work with a scrap to try different finishes (french, zigzag, serge/overlock, etc), then launder to see what works best.
  • If your chosen seam finish requires more seam allowance than your pattern, add that amount before cutting.

After a couple of tests with different linens, you’ll start knowing what works with what, just as with any other fabric.

creativity: Let’s say you’ve got a great piece of linen, but it’s a solid colour, and looks boring. A-ha! Now’s where your creativity comes in.

  • Linen takes dyes beautifully, so you can start thinking about ~
  • Fabric dyeing or stenciling portions of your fabric, or all of it, either before cutting or after completing your project.
  • Fringed hems or exposing fringed seams. (Secure the fringe with a tiny zigzag stitch just before the fringed area begins.)
  • Use rubber bands on bunched up linen or enclose soft-edged buttons in linen then wind rubber bands around linen before washing and drying. The folds stay in the fabric for quite a while and give 3-dimensional effects. See my example below.
  • Forgot to mention how much longer it takes the bunched up fabric to dry. Rather than risk damaging the entire piece, I pulled it out of the dryer and allowed the entire piece to finish air drying before removing elastics and buttons. (Tossed it on my cutting table overnight, but a shower rod or ironing board would suffice.)

Previous linen posts:
linen #1: learning about linen 
linen #2: different weights 

sunday sevens #40

camellia-blossoming-nowIt’s been a busy, warm week here. Nevertheless, some cooler weather gear has been brought out right quick, to take advantage of days when the mercury dips below 70℉/20-ish℃.

In between I’ve been laundering said cooler weather garments, trying on, starting a small mend pile… the usual seasonal wardrobe shuffle.

Don’t know if it’s the warmer Autumn or what, but there’s another camellia bush or two in bloom, which wasn’t blooming in Spring. meatloaf

Somewhere around the middle of the week I decided to make meat loaf. I read through several suggestions and recipes from Joy of Cooking and then decided to improvise. The result was tasty, and I froze half for another time.

A lovely surprise also arrived mid-week. A large envelope and note from Yorkshire, enclosing two pieces of beautiful silk dupioni (or dupion) from Margaret over at The Crafty Creek. Dupioni is…

“… is a plain weave crisp type of silk fabric, produced by using fine thread in the warp and uneven thread reeled from two or more entangled cocoons in the weft. This creates tightly-woven yardage with a highly-lustrous surface. It is similar to shantung, but slightly thicker, heavier” Wikipedia

We’d been chatting about the gorgeous embroidery she does, and some of the exhibits she’s written and photographed for her blog. I mentioned I’d gotten out my holiday ribbon embroidery booklets and was wondering what and where to get some fabric. Next thing I knew she was asking if I’d like something from her silk stash!

Goodness! Here I was thinking about some sort of linen or even cotton, and suddenly this lovely lady was offering silk. Eeeee!!  Aren’t sewing friends the bestest?! Above is both an ivory and a warmer dupioni, one of which has been in Margaret’s stash since 1990. You’d never know it from looking at the fabrics!

As a lovely courtesy, Margaret included a scrap of the magnificent Avoca wool she’s gotten from Fabworks Mill Shop, “… just in case you’re tempted!” . . . Oh. Dear. Meee . . . . . . (where’s the emoji of flushed face with tongue hanging out??)

some interesting twists in this one

some interesting twists in this one

The latest Agatha Raisin arrived at the library as requested, and I immediately picked it up and read it that night.

Enjoyed it so much I’m reading it again, but more slowly. I also managed to locate 2 new-to-me books by Debbie Shore, Half-Yard Home and Gifts. There are several projects I’d like to try, when time permits.

If you’d like to join in with your own Sunday Sevens, just click over to Natalie’s page and have a peek at the very forgiving guidelines.

Hope everyone has an enjoyably spooky Monday, and a lovely rest of the week!     🎃       🎃       🎃

linen #2: different kinds

Why am I still banging on about linen? Because it’s still hot enough to wear it round here: Sunday it’ll be above 80℉/28℃. ‘Nuff said.

Besides, the Southern half of our world is going into Summer. 😎  First, some piccies from my collection.

Puh-lease click a pic so you can read all the captions ’cause you’ll miss words if you’re only hovering.

 

Linen is described by different terms:

  • gauze – light weight, very loose weave, and see-through (think sheer curtains)
  • handkerchief – light colours might be sheer, but generally very good for dresses and blouses; Threads article suggests 2.8 to 3.5 ounces per square yard
  • medium – firm enough for lightweight jackets and trousers, also possibly some home décor; Threads’ article lists 5 to 7 ounces per square yard
  • heavy – think coats, handbags, home décor (including wallpaper!); Threads’ article suggests over 7 ounces per square yard.

Then there are linen blends, which should always be noted if the fabric isn’t 100% linen:

  • linen and cotton
  • linen and rayon
  • linen and wool
  • linen and silk
  • linen and wool and silk, etc.

If you’re getting the idea that all linens are not created equal you’d be spot on.

How to tell the difference between good and not-so good? Know the fabric and the supplier:

  • read the fabric description carefully
  • if in doubt, order a sample piece
  • look at the weave
  • look at the weight (ounces per yard or metre)
  • purchase from a company you’ve learned to trust!

Slubs: What the heck are they and are they good or bad? Neither! You see them in just about any fabric woven from individual fibres of wool, silk, hemp, cotton, etc. It’s the place where each piece has been joined together to form a longer thread, which is then woven into cloth. Obviously, the longer the original pieces, the fewer slubs, but remember that slubs don’t weaken the fabric.

According to the Threads‘ article, “Slubs are more likely to be a sign that the flax fibers were cut shorter in order to process them with equipment designed to process cotton, which is less expensive.”

Visible lint:

  • indicates either the presence of another fibre (such as cotton), or
  • lower quality linen

Ready to run screaming back to easier fabrics?

RESIST! Just an ickle bit more and you’ll feel better. Promise. Think SILK!

Huh? It has slubs too, right? (Silk fibres joined together, just like linen.) Think of the luxurious feel of a heavy silk – the lustre, the smoothness!

Good linen’s the same. But without the slippery factor ~ a-ha and he-he!

 

If you’ve watched the Fabworks video above, you’ll see the examples Dawn gives of linens available from their mill store. And while you don’t see close-ups of weave, seeing how the fabrics handle is very important. Dawn writes the descriptions of fabrics for their online store, and I’ve found them accurate. (Close-ups are on their web site.)

Julianne Bramson, author of the Threads article, suggests Fabrics-Store.com as another good online source. She councils if in doubt, order a minimum amount of the linen, look at the fabric and launder it before making a large purchase.

HUGE thank you’s for getting to The End! (Chocolate, anyone?)

 ❤     ❤     ❤

Next up, after you’ve chosen your linen, you can read how to launder and care for it.

Note that the Threads‘ article referenced here is not available online at this time.

For the record: Nobody mentioned here or elsewhere on this blog contributes anything to me or my blog. My opinions are my own!

Edited to add: linen #1: learning about linen 

linen #3: boring? no way!