Tag Archives: transitional

time for a change …

playing with heavier weight cotton batik fabric… how to use?

As you see, I’ve changed themes.

Hope nothing has been lost along the way.

If you spot anything gone walkabout, do let me know so I can fix it. Thank you!

Decided a couple of weeks ago to get out this cotton batik from Vogue Fabrics. (I got the end of the bolt last year.)

It has niggled me since last summer. Heavier than I had anticipated, I had put it aside to think about how to use it.

Finally decided there was nothing for it but to make it up as a duster for when (if?) the weather moderates to the sixties instead of the nineties. It would make a good duster to pull on over something else.

(My duster pattern is very vintage & consists of pieces copied  years ago. Unfortunately, I’ve no idea what company it was.)

But what about the “else” to go under prospective duster??  Not wanting to create an orphan, I took some time thinking about what else from stash might work with this busy batik.

maybe wearable with the batik?

Perhaps a combination of teals?

I have a bit of yardage in that solid-coloured rayon – am thinking maybe trousers.

Already have a top & cut-offs from the patterned fabric.

yesterday, almost at the ta-da! stage . . .

This was taken yesterday before front facings were sewn and wrists hemmed. Decided, as the fabric was distinctly not floaty, to leave long slits on either side to allow whatever floatiness might be possible. I cut the back with no centre seam and a slight flare.

To be completed today are the hems. As the sides  are slit 12″ each there are three sections to hem (back and the two fronts).

Then to decide how to tack down the (un-interfaced) facings. I am not a fan of hand sewing, but might have to do it anyway. We’ll see…

On past duster versions (last year’s) I didn’t use facings, in keeping with the very light weight of the fabric. However, I decided to use them this time. Why? Don’t exactly know. It was just a feeling. Know what I mean?

books

Finally finished my latest Durrell volume, Birds, Beasts and Relatives. Have deliberately tried to make it last as long as possible as am having trouble finding a good but inexpensive copy of the last of his Corfu Trilogy, Garden of the Gods.

(No false economy, as the reissued Trilogy over here has been more than the three separately.)

As always, I found Durrell’s writing highly entertaining, educational, nostalgic in the best sense, and humorous ~

“Now winter was upon us. Everything was redolent with the smoke of olive wood fires. The shutters creaked and slapped the sides of the house as the wind caught them, and the birds and leaves were tumbled across a dark lowering sky.” first sentence in chapter, “Owls and Aristocracy,” Birds, Beasts and Relatives.

❤     ❤     ❤

creativity vs. ennui

Currently, ennui is winning, but hopefully not for much longer. Seen this past week ~

SCAMPER: 

S-ubstitute, C-ombine, A-dapt, M-odify, P-ut, E-liminate, R-everse

As comic relief to weather, world events, and general January doom & gloom I pulled out some old DVDs of comedy-dramas, this last being New Tricks.

The original starred Alun Armstrong (Brian), James Bolam (Jack), Amanda Redman (Sandra, the boss), and Dennis Waterman (Gerry). The men were all retired London police officers, with Sandra the only serving officer.

The group was called UCOS (Unsolved Crimes and Open Case). For details I refer you to the first episode, which explains many of the on-going and humorous references.

I’m explaining this because an episode in the second year’s series (“Creative Problem Solving”) applies to sewing. In the video, its the framework for how the case gets solved.

✂️       ✂️       ✂️

We sewers don’t have old criminal cases to solve (I hope !), but we do sometimes have old creative problems to (re)solve: those pesky UFOs (unfinished objects) for one.

I’d also include some (many?) of the items hiding at the back of closets, in the bottom of drawers, and stashed away amongst out-of-season clothes.

(Please tell me I’m not the only one doing this!)

Which brings us to the photos below ~

They illustrate how I’ve just spent several weeks frogging (unwinding) an unused (5± years)  3”-wide looong knitted wool scarf, then  crocheted it into a 6″-wide & much shorter fringed scarf.

See all that crinkly stuff in the first photo? That’s how my loosely wrapped & frogged ball of yarn looked as I started crocheting. When it came time to cut the remainder up for fringe I did get a little worried, and hoped I was remembering correctly that it would all straighten out once washed.

Fearlessly I washed everything. All went well.

(I think I owe this explanation to Felicia but I couldn’t for the life of me find her post, so my apologies. And apologies if it was someone else. Edited to add: It was Felicia – see her comment below.)

Am right chuffed to have re-purposed good wool into a more usable object, whilst also enjoying its softness running through my fingers during the reworking.

(He-he! We are tactile creatures, aren’t we? 😉)

Anyone else care to share a creative solution?!

✂️       ✂️       ✂️

happy holidays!

getting lots of wear with several different scarves (this one’s from vogue chicago fabric at least 8 years ago!)

Thought I’d better extend best wishes now, as its been a bit crazy round here for the last month or more. And will probably continue…

But there’s also been odd moments of sewing and crochet going on at some very odd times.

right is latest tee (above) which is getting lots of wear; left is possible hemlock (grainline freeby pattern)

And even have some photos to share!

Best wishes to all you Lovely Readers ~ may all your gifts be inspired and plentiful.

May all health, happiness, joy, and peace be yours now and in the coming year.

(And all your holiday sewing be completed magically!)

🎄   🎄   🎉   🎄   🎄

stash-busting

view d

Finally getting back into a routine here, with sewing definitely in the mix.

In June I’d pulled from stash (after at least 3 years), cut out and finished the edges on a lovely cotton lawn ( White Tree Fabrics, U.K.).  Got it completed this past week (below left).

Used view D from this inspiredly (is that a word?) gifted pattern (thanks again to you know who), which I love to wear for sleep or lounging because it’s so comfortable.

Also just completed a gorgeously autumnal patterned cotton flannel caftan. That fabric I’d ordered whilst living in Chicago and is from fairly deep stash.

Originally, I’d thought I’d wear it a lot, but worried about the so-large pattern. Finally decided no one will see it but me, so why worry?

Am using a “pattern” from my head. Something I sewed up quickly one day in Northern California in the 90’s when I didn’t have time/money/whatever to go hunt for a pattern.

There the evenings used to get very cool in summer, unless El Niño was blowing all the cool Pacific air away. Residents called it Nature’s air conditioning. Carl Sandburg’s poem, “Fog,” expresses that summertime phenomenon perfectly.

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Coming back to current East Coast to say the 2011 photo on the right is that summer fog rolling in over the Santa Cruz Mountains and across Silicon Valley, round about 3 one afternoon.

No leaves turning pretty colours round this lower East Coast. They just die, are brown, and fall off. Sigh.

Meanwhile, hope you Lovely Readers are comfy & cosy whichever side of the equator you’re on.

 

mid-week hodgepodge

sewing hang tabs on tea towels – pedestrian, but necessary!

Love this quote (thanks to Prof. Pski’s blog) from Poirot in Christie’s 1947 short story, “The Capture of Cerberus” (The Labours of Hercules):

“All these young women who surrounded him- so alike, so devoid of charm, so lacking in rich alluring femininity! He demanded a more flamboyant appeal. Ah! To see a femme du monde, chic, sympathetic, spirituelle – a woman with ample curves, a woman ridiculously and extravagantly dressed!”

But, wait . . . Searching for a better link to this story after declining to use the official Christie page (“BUY” written everywhere), I found the excerpted story and a newsy bit: Christie’s Poirot, hints of “s*x,” and why this story went unpublished for 60 years. U.K. readers & Christie aficionados may know all about this, but it was news to me.

So take a break from today’s “reality” and escape into Poirot’s world, where method and order prevail.

~ ❤ ~ ~ ❤ ~ ~ ❤ ~

last fabric order
Got my fabrics from Vogue Fabrics and immediately checked to see if they were on-grain before serging the raw edges and tossing into the washer. Of the 3 pieces of cotton, one of the six edges was cut properly.

behold the pile from ripping the other five edges.
turquoise cotton batik “pegged out” over the shower rail – it does feel a bit better…

Perhaps because I got the end of the bolt, the touch was rougher than the swatches, and I was disappointed when it came out of the dryer. Have just washed it again and am air-drying over the shower rail. (Noticed the fabric is translucent both wet and dry.)

So, am re-thinking the turquoise/teal group of fabrics…  Perhaps the turquoise would make a better Victoria blazer (By Hand London, or BHL)  but I’d have to try squeezing out the cropped version. And find a lining. So am still very much in planning stages for that group.

The orangey batik is lovely and light weight, but I’m wondering how badly the off-grain printing is going to affect my plan for a duster with an opening straight down the front (like this one).

bottom edge is selvedge; left edge is serged after ripping

Check out the lower selvedge and the left serged edge in the photo. Do please tell me what you think. Am I being too nit-picky?

Had thought an asymmetrical front instead, but am afraid it might look a lopsided mistake rather than planned.

gotta have me greens!

Lastly, the neutrally-dotted lawn’s texture is good and should pair with a lot of the greens I already have (as shown). It will be another duster to blend over the greens and the few browns in stash.

Lastly, from Lizzie’s latest Vintage Traveler Miscellany is a 20-minute film I found utterly charming, scenic and informative. Thank you, Lizzie!

TWEED: From Hill to Hill, a Rural Tradition

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!

 

learning about linen (or, why isn’t it autumn yet?)

(click for complete poem) Illustration of poem
(click for complete poem & painting on wikipedia) Illustration of poem “To Autumn” by John Keats, painted by W. J. Neatby. From “A Day with Keats: With numerous coloured illustrations” by May Clarissa Gillington Byron and illustrations by W. J. Neatby

A lovely bit by John Keats reminded me it’s supposed to be Autumn now.

            SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness!

With all the hurricane problems, I’d forgotten. We had 3 days of cool, dry temperatures whetting my appetite for more.

But it’s hotted up again.   😱

not keen on finishing this but guess i'll give it a go tonight
not keen on finishing this but, to quote Hila (Saturday Night Stitch), “done is better than perfect.” and she’s right.

Which means I’m still very much in summer dresses mode.

Which means those linen plans are still firmly in place. But that’s a good thing.

The current issue of Threads’ magazine has a great article all about linen.

things about linen

  • It’s a cellulose material made from fibre stems of flax, anywhere from 5 to 21 inches in length.
  • More than 30,000 years ago, people were using flax fibres to make linen-like cloth.
  • Egyptians did the first linen manufacturing about 4,000 years ago.
  • It’s highly absorbent, like cotton and rayon, but allows evaporation more quickly than either, thus making it cooler for warm weather clothing.
  • Those qualities also made it ideal for undergarments.
  • It is extremely durable, with a lint-free surface that also resists dust and dirt.
  • Linen is resistant to both insects and the sun which makes it ideal for home décor.
  • It doesn’t stretch, making it ideal for painting canvas and embroidery.
  • Lack of stretch makes it wrinkle more easily.
  • It takes paint and dyes well.
  • It can be damaged by bleach, mildew, and perspiration.
  • Continual creasing in the same places (think folds, hems, etc.) can weaken and break the fibres.
  • Linen is strongest when wet! Best to iron when damp.

And the list goes on!

Plus, the article has ideas about how to handle your linen garment once it’s made, including different ways to dry it to get different effects. And ways to avoid ironing it, if you like that look.

I threw this 100% linen camp shirt (rescued from a Virginia charity shop) into the dryer for 5 minutes when I decided I didn’t want to iron it. (Note that I liberally sprayed it first with water to dampen it. Dry linen gets drier in the dryer, and that’s not good as fibres can break.)

What do you think about the effect? It’s very soft and no Fabric Police accost me when I wear it in public. He-he!

Edited to add: linen #2: different weights 
linen #3: boring? no way!

this ‘n that

yes? no? might be a good combo??
yes? no? might be good linen combos??

Gray (ey?) Friday over here, and as we’ve had sunshine for endless days, but no rain, let’s hope we get some liquid to refresh the landscape.

Just have a couple minutes but wanted to get these bits of info out, in case anyone wants to try getting some fabric from Paron’s before they close Sunday.

W-H-A-A-A-T???

Yep. That glorious store in NYC’s old garment district is closing. Read Peter‘s post, which I just read (thank you for sending, Robyn!)

Another disappointment: BBC has lost The Great British Bake Off ~ it’s going to another channel. But we in the U.S. should still see 2-3 seasons of the original, as we’re sooo far behind.

Can’t end a Friday post on such a downer…

So, let’s add

C-O-L-OR:

Autumn’s Pantone’s Fashion Color Report is out:

“A Unity of Strength, Confidence, and Complexity”

In my order of must-have-some, from first to last:

Potter’s Clay (where can I get lipstick that colour???)

Spicy Mustard

Aurora Red

Riverside (blue)

(And when will it finally get cool here? 😲)

(Edited to replace numbers that wouldn’t centre with dots that will, at least in Preview mode. Grr.)

(No. Those don’t either. Double GRRRRRR)

a sewing tale: the path to morris

path
in sewing, the path to completion is sometimes a long & windy road

No, it isn’t a town somewhere. It’s a jacket pattern, from Grainline.

When it was first published last year there were lots of wonderful versions online, including this, and this.

Nice, I thought, very nice! But what fabric to use? That was the question, because I was living in a fabric-free zone, and very leery of online ordering any knit I couldn’t handle before purchasing.

Then Jen, Grainline’s designer, featured this version on her site, and the fabric was still available from Mood in NYC. After that  perfect recommendation, I ordered some.

Then it sat and aged a bit whilst I thought about it, as one sometimes does. . . you, know, to consider all one’s options.

this denim skirt, remember? click the pic for original post

And realized I should do a toile before cutting into the gorgeous green.

And wondered if I really wanted a jacket. The fabric would make a perfect….. (insert favourite style).

Then I watched a marathon of Stacy London & Clinton Kelly of What Not to Wear, and noted how much jackets/blazers added to one’s wardrobe.

That did it. I remembered some heavy stretch denim used for a long winter skirt several seasons ago. There was plenty left over. It’s heavy, but it passed the stretch test. Besides, it was for a toile that, if wearable, might go well with my denim skirt (right).

Then I moved house and put everything on hold.

Fast forward to a completed jacket, and end of this path.

Thank you for walking along with me, and special thanks to my patient prodder, who knows who she is. . . . .

Changes included:

  • lengthening the sleeves (I don’t like 3/4 length)
  • no interfacing used (fabric was heavy enough; boy, did that take a while to decide)
  • I stitched in the ditch behind the collar (to anchor the facing)
  • sleeve hem facings were both short, which might have been caused when I cut the sleeve longer (but didn’t actually widen the sleeves)
  • couldn’t decide how to finish seam edges (tried overlocking in contrasting white but couldn’t decide, so haven’t done them all)

And that’s all I can remember at present. Am basically opposed to front facings not sewn down (they flap), but there’s no way this heavy denim is going to be hand-stitched in place. Am keeping my fingers crossed.

Hope everyone has a restful weekend planned!

 

Also submitted for the 52 week photo challenge.

top o’ the morning!

Not exactly the right colour for St. Patrick’s Day, but I was delighted a few days ago to get this out, washed, and finally wearable, albeit just around the house.

Bought at a charity shop several years ago, it bleeds profusely in the wash, and is probably an older rayon, but it’s a nice rayon that can be worn loosely over other things, and is great for around the house.

The only “but” is the silly pocket someone stuck on the front. It’s so heavy it pulls everything out of line. Short of doing a lot of tricky unpicking, which I’m disinclined to do, it isn’t too fixable. What do you all think, Lovely & Discerning Fellow Sewers???

Only thing I can think of is to cut off the pocket bag and straight stitch around that opening, making it more of a design element. I hope.

What else did I do to this? Free-cut off a badly ripped cuff on one side, leaving the cutout areas where the closing used to be, and rounded off the bottom hem. Nothing bears too close scrutiny, so it’s definitely not for “special” wear! It’s good to have one less thing on the mend pile, and another topper in the closet.

Brody & CadburyAs you can see, I found a bit of Cadbury from across the pond  at Target,  as suggested by transplant Natalie, of Sunday Sevens.

Can’t say how true the flavour is to the ‘real” version, but can say it’s definitely much creamier than any U.S. chocolate I ever ate. Wish they’d had other varieties to try.

Just as I get this topper wearable again, record-breaking high temps arrive.  Did I ever mention how much I don’t like heat & humidity? Oh. Harumph.

sewing room curtain
curtain & matching table topper

A good reason for lying (laying?) low, and not doing much until after nightfall.  But the second Brody mystery came in, so I can be “passively active.”

Considering all the ironing I did before it got so hot I can be lazy & still feel virtuous.   hehehehee!

When I sew up a curtain, I prefer as simple a style as possible, and today’s newly hung version is no exception. Unlined at the moment, it will probably get lining, and might even be hung by clip-on rings. Will decide after living with this a bit.

I keep curtains for years, and sometimes re-use them for different things. The simpler the style, the easier it is to re-use elsewhere. After all, a stored curtain is stashed fabric. 😉