Tag Archives: inspiration

in search of …

Over on the left is a photo of a much loved, 10+ year-old tunic (nightshirt? minidress?) I’d love to re-create. It’s never piled, feels absolutely wonderful, but has developed holes along strain areas—elbows and sleeve head, etc.

Last year I tried shortening the sleeves and adding a remnant, but the fabric just didn’t work. I couldn’t face making a new version, but I kept the original.

After resurrecting it again during Autumn’s Wardrobe Review & Grand Purge I thought again about recreating it. If only I could find a similar fabric. So the search began.

There’s no fashion fabric store nearby, so online is my only option. After searching a few sites, I got to Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, just outside Chicago.

After finding an option or three and procrastinating for weeks as we do, just to be sure, I finally tried to order swatches. Paypal seems to be permanently blocked, or their system can’t handle my having used two different emails over the years, so I called the store a couple of days later.

In talking with the office I realised they sell past copies of their seasonally-curated collections—$3 for over 40 swatches, some of which would be out of stock, but not the ones I wanted. And they also had a swatch card of all their combed cotton-Lycra knits (17 swatches for $5).

The downside was waiting a week before these were mailed, and 3 more days before receipt; however, no postage fee. If memory serves, they didn’t list a faster service unless I wanted to fly to Chicago & pick up in-store. Not!

What else is new? Two full bags of donations waiting for a few more additions before being dropped off at Goodwill… Finished another great Louise Penny book and am in the middle of her A Rule Against Murder… A nice holiday on Thursday followed by a long holiday weekend, lots of wonderful fabrics to be grateful for and continue sewing, and some of the nicest sewing friends all over the world.

🍂 🦃 Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates this week, and Happy Week to those who don’t! 🦃 🍂

on creativity

Was “wasting” away this Monday morning, after breakfast, reading through articles from Lizzie’s current Vintage Traveler Miscellany, and decided to read about the women weavers of the Bauhaus. Women?? Hmmm…..might be interesting . . .

Nice, I thought after reading the article, then noticed the photo of a living fibre artist from the group, surrounded by oodles of huge wonderful colour. Just the thing to brighten a dreary Monday morning!

Billed as “defiant art,” it was a fascinating journey from history into current art. What was very revealing came at the end… and spoiler alert… I’m going to leave you hanging.

The artist asks the interviewer:

“Do you cook?” she asked me.

“No,” I said.

“Do you garden?”

“No.”

“Do you sew?”

“No.” I blushed, unsure how to justify myself and suddenly reconsidering my life choices.

“Well, you see,” Hicks said, . . . . .”

Leaving it there to point out she included sewing.

SEWING!

Speaking of which, ahem, about those buttons in the top photo. They’ve just been reclaimed from a never-worn blouse which I found whilst going through packed away wardrobe. Now that winter weather is definitely here… at least this week and last… I’ve just about completed that phase of my dream wardrobe makeover.

And since it’s also Macro Monday, here’s one more piccie. Enjoy!

unpicking pockets (aka, refashioning)

This has become a somewhat muddled accumulation of maybe too many things, and if I ever get all the old links linked properly it will be a minor miracle, which is why I’ve been putting off writing, but here goes . . .

Sewing terminology:
  • Refashion – To make changes to an existing garment, such as cutting a dress to make a skirt, or blouse; or combining pieces of fabric from several different garments to make a new garment.
  • Seam ripper – A small tool used to remove stitches.
  • Unpick – To unpick is to carefully remove stitching, frequently, a seam or seams.

This summer—still considering it’s summer as we’re still having some 80 degree days— I’ve been doing more refashioning than new fashion.

Must say its felt like an obstacle, like an unending pile of repairs to be completed before going on to the fun of sewing something new.

Thus, it’s been surprising to read online that refashioning is so current. What? I’m on-trend?! 😳

What’s being/been chopped up? Basically, dresses made roughly five years ago. I hadn’t been inclined to wear them at all this summer, and needed more tops, so . . .

Also several hems were raised from the waist instead of re-hemming as there were hem features I didn’t want to disturb. Oh, and several pockets got added to existing items. Plus two pockets removed from a dress-that’s-now-a-blouse.

Then along came Love to Sew’s Refashioning podcast, including great suggestions I can use for a certain very holey linen knit. (Intentionally misspelt because it’s faaar from “holy.” 🥴)

Do popover and at least scroll through all the wonderful examples listed. Just looking at them should give you ideas. It did for me.

Then The Fold Line included a very intriguing BBC programme about forecasting trends…

“When the distinguished trends forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort provides her vision of the future in her General Trends Books, her pronouncements are eagerly awaited by those working in the worlds of fashion and design. She talks to Mary about the reasons behind the one forecast she’s made that the fashion world hasn’t wanted to hear – Fashion is dead. However it’s not all bad news as she shares her thoughts about the trends she thinks will be influencing what we’ll be wearing in the very near future…”

Her web site mentions concepts of forgiveness, understanding, comprehension, and compassion.

Li Edelkoort: “We need to trust our instincts to build a better future, full with genuine love towards ourselves and others, even those at fault. . . Desire needs to be embedded in empathy.”

In keeping with her thoughts, I do feel good about my summer’s very different kind of sewing, partly because some old favourites are “new” again, and combine with other pieces for more use.

Now for the refashioning thus far . . .

The rayon top (used to be a dress) works well with the cut offs made several summers ago. I’d like to make another set or two like these, as they are in constant rotation. (Click pic to go to 2013 dress.)

This green cotton print was originally made in 2013 and got a lot of wear. When I decided to cut it off I cut it a bit longer, because of the neckline gathers. They make the waist wider.

That meant I needed to cut into the two side seam pockets. That meant I needed to unpick those pockets. (Now the title makes sense. 😉) However, that wider waist is making me a tad nervous because it can get windy here… we shall see how it works.

The black linen skirt I’ve paired with this is one of the skirts shortened from the waist to save the skirt vent. It was originally a full length RTW dress I cut into a skirt and blouse. (Click pic to see original green dress; no photo of original RTW dress.)

Phew. If you’ve made it all the way you deserve a treat. Your choice! I’m opting for dark chocolate… 🍫

what i didn’t do on my summer vacation

A couple of days into my impromptu Labor Day Week of vacation somebody decided it was time to pay a visit. Perhaps you’ve heard? A little thing called Dorian.

This is one dangerous, dithery dame. Definitely not to be taken lightly. Certainly not a dame to be invited into a sewing circle. So I had to drop a few plans to start prepping.

Thus, vacation is being “extended” until she decides to “make that turn” away from the coastline and hopefully into the total oblivion she so richly deserves.

My ickle sewing spot is positioned far enough off the coast to avoid a direct visit, if she makes that turn. Everybody cross your extremities, pleeze!

So. What have I planned to keep me occupied Thursday and Friday?

Those thoughtful Canadians, Caroline & Helen of Love to Sew had a great podcast last week about planning your dream wardrobe. If anybody needs that, I do.

A HUGE Thank You to you both!

As the eagle-eyed amongst you may observe, there’s also a PDF in that piccie, ready to be assembled and tried out. You know, in case one should have nothing to do.

🤣 L.O.L.!!! 🤣

Fingers & tootsies crossed, will be back with you shortly with a wardrobe report. Meanwhile, be safe, Lovely Ones. 😘 ❣️ 😘

PS/Mystery lovers, did you see this article? I can vouch for Tey as being extremely enjoyable… 😁

PPS/(My thanks to she-knows-who for printing. 😉)

Monday, monday

First, the BIG news: That cold front from Canada is pushing into the area.

HUGE THANK YOU ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! 😍🥰😍

And so we go from 100 plus to low 80’s (or from over 40 to 20’s).

The Not So Good News is the heat seems to have migrated over to dear U.K. and European regions. That is seriously NOT a Good Thing. 😾 🤬 😾

Opened my curtains (thermal blackout fabric to keep heat/cold out) for the first time in almost two weeks. See here, here, and here for more information on blackout cloth and some photos.

An update on mending…

I dug out my book on mending and discovered 12 pages on mending knits. TWELVE pages! At the very end I discovered another suggestion, which seemed more practical (meaning a lot less hassle than reweaving).

Deciding that cotton embroidery would be too heavy for this light weight knit, I remembered ribbon embroidery and did a quick search for some books at the library. Nada. 😳

Then I remembered I had a book on ribbon embroidery from ages ago (1995). Surely I hadn’t tossed it out…

Nope, found it and started working through the endless bits of a large unsorted collection of ribbons and laces and such. Spent lots of time pulling out bits of lacy stuff and placing on green knit. Just for effect, you know… and didn’t like any of it.

I did manage to find two ribbons that might look okay, then wondered if I had enough for the repairs.

Time to get serious and count how many holes there are:

  • 3 on back right shoulder
  • 1 on back left shoulder
  • 2 on lower back toward center
  • 11 on lower front right

Uh-h-h.

I think a lot of the joy just left . . . . .

monday mishmash

Hello, Lovelies! It is Monday. Again. And the First Day of July. Where is this year speeding off to, and why? Herewith, despite despair at all that wasn’t accomplished, are a few of the bits that were. . .

I’m thinking of changing my gravatar…

You know, this thingey that pops up whenever I write here or comment elsewhere.

My sticking point is this gravatar connects to two things—the C with CurlsnSkirls, and the thistles with my Scots sewing and crocheting grannies, bless ’em.

What do you all think ? ? ?

Pleeese be very honest and say if you think it’s a nutty idea. I promise I won’t be upset.

Oh. What would replace it? Am considering this, if you can imagine it reduced to 1/4 inch-size.

The left side is undyed

Things are ticking over at the usual hot summer pace, which isn’t spectacularly speedy.

I decided to fiddle about—again—with the dotted duster. I took a good look at it whilst outside at high noon one day and decided it was too white and I wanted a more subdued effect.

Soaking in hot tea

My solution (no pun intended) was to tea dye it in the kitchen sink. Not something I do often, but there were tea bags left from the last bout.

I wrote about it even before that session, so that giant box in the photo was good value.

(For tea drinking I prefer decaf English Breakfast, and other black teas which never get used for anything but drinking!)

Hey-ho. Not much photographic difference, but to me, in full sun, there is. 🤣

Stop the presses! I cleaned off my sewing table! And resolve to stop piling things on the end except when I’m sewing.

It’s about 14″ x 22″

One of those little but pesky (aka, put off forever) sewing projects is done: I cut down an extra pillow case for a little pillow made years ago. It’s gotten a lot of use, and always needed a pillow case. Minorly major or majorly minor, am not sure, but pleasurable every night when I see it.

Slowly but surely more rounds are being added to the crochet project. Baby steps, but that’s fine. No rush!

We have a strange week here in the U.S. At least it seems strange to me. The Powers That Be usually move whatever day a major holiday falls on to the following Monday so everyone has a three day weekend.

However, this week it’s Fourth of July/Independence Day on Thursday. I guess moving that to Monday would not be appropriate. So we have a national holiday on Thursday. It just feels odd.

Maybe we’re practicing for Thanksgiving? 🤔 🦃

Downtown Chicago’s Grant Park, 2008

purity, headgear, & a bit o’craft (he-he!)

had forgotten about this 100% pure un-dyed wool hat crocheted last winter

Pure. v. (L. purus. …to separate, free, clear…)

  1. Separate from all heterogeneous or extraneous matter…

  2. Free from moral defilement…

  3. Genuine, real, true, unadulterated…

American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster.

Is there such a thing as pure sewing? Knitting? Crocheting? Any craft?

Thought-provoking points to ponder, as many of us busily continue to sew, knit, crochet, and do other crafts.

Let’s look up craft . . .

Craft. n. (Sax. craft, art, cunning, power, force. . . The primary sense is, to strain or stretch. Hence, strength, skill, a crying out…)

  1. Art, ability, dexterity, skill.

  2. Cunning, art, or skill, in a bad sense…

  3. Art… dexterity in a particular manual occupation; hence, the occupation or employment itself . . .

Hm. There are positive and negative connotations here, and a broiling weekend afternoon ain’t the time for heated debate.

Particularly as this is merely rhetorical musing with a motive of submission to not one, but two three photo challenges. (he-he!)

Possibly not the purist of motives.  😉   So let’s leave it at that, shall we?

Meanwhile, I might not be the only one with a huge pile of things to mend, sew, finish off, so-o-o .  .  .  .

Get out the ice cream (or hot toddies if you’re lucky enough to be freezing), and have a delightful weekend, everyone!

❤   ❤   ❤

Submitted to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, &

52 Week Photo Challenge

Ailsa’s Travel Theme

sewing & door numbers . . . ?

105
that number is also inlaid in the sidewalk

Okay, so what do these have to do with sewing, I ask myself.

Uh . . .

Sewing needs and uses numbers in many ways, from describing how much fabric it will take to make that blouse/skirt/dress/coat ~ you get the idea ~ you’re dying to try.

But sewing is also a door through which you can choose to enter or not.

At best, opening the door gets you an item of clothing to wear.

2828
talk about grand – see the dome?

But it also reaffirms your ability to do a number of complex tasks, from estimating materials, to mental design (the right fabric for the item & concept of your vision), to reaffirming your sense of self and your creativity.

At worst, you decide one (or several) of the factors was off, and either overcome or bin the item. But you’ve still gained experience.

How many times do we read it takes failure and successes to learn.

Now it’s your turn, Dear Readers!

  • Do any of these doors or numbers inspire you?
  • Remind you of a door you’ve opened?
  • Or not opened?

Hope you’ll share your thoughts. Thank you!

❤   ❤   ❤

 

All photos taken in downtown Chicago and Lincoln Park.

Submitted to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, &

52 Week Photo Challenge