Tag Archives: fabrics

catching up

perfectly suited for a joint reading spree!

Summ-ah heat has arrived, and luckily I had a grand solution to hand:

Books.

When the hottest day started I dove into the coolest room ~ luckily, the bedroom ~ and cracked open a new-to-me author. Gerald Durrell.

It’s the only Durrell available from this (insert your invective of choice) county library, and it wasn’t listed the last time I’d looked. Its a Penguin edition, so I was doubly pleased to have it.

What can I say . . . It was the perfect antidote for hot weather. Although A Zoo in My Luggage is about collecting animals in a hot jungle it was delightfully minus the heat and long on charming, light-hearted descriptions of hilarious high-jinks by four- and two-footed creatures.

The perfect opposite to Ann Cleeves’ latest in her Shetland series, Cold Earth. Reading brief descriptions of wet and cold were also a perfect solution for the heat wave.

On Friday I only put one book down long enough to pick up the other with one hand, and a cold glass in the other.

Now I’m attempting to line up more from both authors before the next heat wave hits.

Lest I forget, I read bad news about my much-loved rayon fabrics recently, and thought I’d pass along some things originally from Lizzie Bramlett’s The Vintage Traveler blog. This and this detail the pollution some factories product whilst making rayon. Thank you, Lizzie.

On a brighter note, another favoured blogger, Linda Przybyszewski’s blog, The Lost Art of Dress, included this and this about hats.

Do take a look if you’re at all interested in chapeaux, or women who purchase hat factories. 😉

Now, as The Fon of Bafut might have blogged,

My good friend[s],

… I am glad you have arrived once more to [the end of my post]. I welcome you. When you are calm from your journeys come and see me [again].  p. 64, A Zoo in My Luggage, Gerald Durrell

off topic: survive extreme heat

 

see difference between right & coated wrong side

Reading Karen’s post over at Did You Make That? reminded me it might be appropriate to do a post about insulating fabrics available on the U.S. side of the pond.

Karen includes a delightful vlog about her latest Liberty purchases. It left me drooling with envy . . . but that’s another story!

(To read my earlier post about curtains, click the photo on the left.)

Here are some suggestions, from make-up to general health. Please feel free to add your own, too!

Adding to my list with your suggestions, Lovelies. . . . .

❤     ❤     ❤

  • “…if people are designing and building new houses in hot climates (or adding to an existing structure), high ceilings, verandahs and overhanging eaves make a huge difference.” from jennyrecorder
  • “One of the many good things about old French houses is the shutters. I’m usually very British about it and have them all open all day every day but in the heat we’re having at the moment, they are staying closed.”  from tialys and she adds, “…[her house has] Very thick stone walls – which also help of course.”
  • From Jen: “… ditch the polyester if you can and live in lovely rumpled linen or other loose weave fabrics… Oh, and don’t forget about hats!”
  • In extreme heat go s-l-o-w.
  • Don’t wear anything too tight or too long. You want air to circulate between clothes and you.
  • Caffeine & alcohol take moisture out of your body. Even if you don’t indulge, sip cool water continually to stay hydrated.
  • Use fans or air conditioners.
  • Carry a fan in your purse & use it!
  • When outside keep to shady areas.
  • Revive parasols! If you have to be out in the sun unfurl your prettiest brolly (umbrella) and make your own shade.
  • Wear lightweight make-up & sunscreen if you have to go out.
  • Use lightweight moisturizers on face and body.
  • If you use a facial toner, stick it in the frig before using.
  • Be prepared to gently rinse & damp-dry your face, neck, arms and legs periodically. Let the cool water evaporate naturally to cool your body.
  • If you sweat heavily, give your physician a call and ask about salt tablets.
  • A water-filled spray bottle cools everywhere. Just be careful of any clothing that might unintentionally be on show if wet. (Undies showing through damp clothing is not a good thing!)
  • Stay out of hot crowds if you can.
  • Don’t let sunlight in through windows – a darkened interior is a cooler interior, particularly with a fan circulating the air. If you don’t have insulating drapes on windows consider making some. They help in hot or cold weather, and deaden street noise.

Need I remind you this is not the time to cook a roast or a bake a batch of scones?

Fabric resources:

  • Roc-lon makes Blackout cloth. In the U.S. find it at Joann’s 
  • 3M Thinsulate is insulation for coats, etc., in cold weather. In the U.S. find it at various small fabric stores (The Rain Shed, Vogue Fabrics, etc.)
  • Polartec® makes many different kinds of fleece with wind-proofing up to 100%. In the U.S. find it labelled as Polartec® and also at The Rain Shed.

One more thing… How many times have you gotten a call from a friend and known just from tone of voice something was wrong? Everyone’s voice is extremely sensitive to stress.

So if you notice your voice starting to get raspy, pay attention! That’s the signal your body’s not doing well.

How do I know? Aeons ago in a galaxy far, far away yours truly taught voice/speech, but those  stories are for another time . . . 😉

Stay safe and sane, Lovelies!
☀️ ☀️ ☀️

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