Friday, July 25, 2014

Nancy Zieman and Me

And 600 other sewers...  Nancy Zieman of Sewing With Nancy was the keynote speaker today, and she was very entertaining.  She spoke about her new autobiography,  Seams Unlikely. I got a signed copy, as did many of the group. 

ASG Convention is The Most Fun!

Yes, I'm having a good time.  Everyone has been so nice and as you would expect with fellow sewers,  they are smart and funny and oh so talented.  Today I taught my first class.  It was the first section of the Marfy Class/Trunk Show. A big crowd, over 50 people, and we had a great time.   I do it again on Sunday.   Tomorrow (Saturday) is Clever With Your Needle, and the fashion show.  Here are a couple photos of the rehearsal. 

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

July 4th Knitting


I finished these in time for the 4th, just didn't get them posted.   I'm especially loving the little round scrubbies. (Scrubby pattern here.)  They are so quick and fun to make.   The dishcloth and matching scrubby are Sugar&Cream.  (Dishcloth pattern here.)  The all over blue and red is Blue Sugar&Cream knitted along with Red/White twist Baker's Cord by Aunt Martha. 

These are my nails right now.   Annie at Sicillia does the best designs for me!  It's about time to go see her again.
 

Monday, July 07, 2014

Wild Weather

Amazingly gorgeous clouds.  Very much like VanGogh or some of the impressionists.  I've never seen anything quite like it.  I took these from the top deck on the house, over the roof, to the North.





We could use some rain, but we don't need a bad storm.




Sunday, July 06, 2014

Versatile Tee Pattern - FSG 1960 Part 2: Tee

As I said in Part 1, most of you probably know by this time that my very favorite TNT Tee pattern is Nancy Erickson's FSG #1960.   I change it around quite a bit, but the 'bones' remain the same.  This version is called Tropical Palms.
FSG#1960 Tropical Palms
 This fabric came home with me from Santa Fe Fabrics in April.  It's only July, so almost immediate gratification!  I loved this print, which is a horizontal stripe, not usually my choice, but with the changing colors and the palm tree print behind the stripes, it has enough interest that the stripes recede in importance a bit.  That's my story, anyway.
FSG#1960 Tropical Palms Back
I bought ONE yard only, and it was plenty, but only just.  The sleeves are this length because that's how much fabric I had.  I ended up cutting them lengthwise (which I think looks cuter than they would have the usual horizontal way, since the stripes continue over the shoulder seam) between the front and back pieces.  I needed the remaining length to cut the neckline binding.  It's a crosswise strip cut carefully following the stripes, and I think it turned out really cute.  Of course I used the No Fail Binding Method.
FSG#1960 Striped Neckline Binding
You can see how following the stripe made for a cute binding on this striped fabric since the neckline has a curve.  There was nowhere near enough fabric to do a bias cut, and I think the effect might have been lost in all the stripes, curve, palm trees, etc.  This worked out just very well.  And yes, I know my 'in the ditch' stitching wandered slightly for a while.  It happens.  But this is a quick summer top and it's fine.

The hems on the sleeves and lower edge are stitched with a straight stitch, fairly short.  I stretched the fabric quite a bit but not excessively and steamed it back into shape.  It doesn't show any signs of popping, and I think there's enough thread in the stitching that it should be all right.

Versatile Tee Pattern - FSG 1960 Part 1: Dress

Most of you probably know that my favorite TNT Tee pattern is Nancy Erickson's FSG #1960.  I've made it numerous times with lots of different style changes from turtleneck to huge cowlneck, deep scoop, collared scoopneck, and so on.  I've done sleeves from long to 3/4 to elbow to sleeveless.  They're all good because I have the base tee pattern just the way I want it, which includes a bust dart and a CB seam to allow for a swayback alteration.  As you can see, this time I did something really different.  A dress.

FSG#1960 

FSG#1960 Flat
The top part is a very thin burnout knit with ribs although I wouldn't really call it ribbed.  There's more textural interest than mechanical stretch from them.  I got this in Chicago I believe, at Vogue Fabrics.  The skirt and sash are a printed knit from JoAnn's.  I was thrilled to find something that went so well with the bright cherry of the burnout, and it has kind of a Monet feel to it, I think.   Since the burnout is so much lighter than the print, I steeled myself for some trouble when I stitched the top/skirt joining seam.  Amazingly enough, it sailed through the machine like butter.  I think my Pfaff IDF helped of course, but I think some of it was just due to good fabric, and maybe luck.

You can see in the photo where the dress is laid flat, that the top part is quite long.  The sash is a double width of fabric, doubled into a wide tube, wrapped around twice and tied.  It covers the join totally.  The dress is wearable without the sash, and may get worn that way when it's really, really hot out. 

I knew I wanted something different for the binding on the neckline and sleeves and that's when I went looking and found the printed knit and decided a skirt would be really nice.  You can see a closeup of the binding (I used my favorite No Fail Binding method) and the twin-needle hem.

FSG#1960 Neck Binding

FSG#1960 Twin-Needle Hem


Techniques - No Fail Binding Method

This method makes 1/2" binding from 2" strips, using 1/2" seam allowances, and allows you to have a nice unobtrusive join in your binding strip without agonizing over the length.  It works every time.


You can see the join in the print binding just to the left of the CenterBack seam.  You may have to enlarge the photo to really see it well.

The binding join seam is more obvious in this photo of a bound neckline with a collar added above.


For 2" binding (1/2" finished width) you mark a point 3 3/4" from the end of the binding, and a point 3" on each side of your desired finishing point on your garment.  Match the marked point on the  binding to the marked point on the garment and stitch, stretching binding as needed, but NOT stretching the garment, until you get to the second marked point on your garment.  Now mark 3 3/4" on the binding from your stopping point and cut your binding there.  Now match the binding to itself, RST, with cut ends at a 90 degree angle, having a square of binding overlapping.  Stitch from point to point lengthwise.  (Pin first to check you have it placed correctly.) Trim allowances on stitched seam.  Then stitch the joined binding to the garment edge.

I usually do this RST and finish with a handstitch on the inside, but you can also stitch in the ditch.  For a very flat finish, don't turn in the last allowance on the inside, leave it flat and trim close after stitching.  This only works for knits or other non-ravelling fabrics, of course.  
 

These instructions were first seen by me in a book called 19 Shirts from One Pattern that I received as a premium at the State Fair one year.  Its designs are not as dated as the styling might make you think, and the fundamentals are great.  After all, there's only so much you can really do to a Tee without turning it into something else completely.


Bird Print Skirt




This is a wonderful cotton twill from Santa Fe Fabrics and my trip with the Fiberlies in April.  I fell in love with the bird print and knew it would be perfect in my favorite Marfy A-line sporty summer skirt, #093. 

It's the skirt on the left in the pattern drawing below, without the belt carriers or patch pockets, and lengthened just over 5". 


The pockets I have are kind of an inset apron pocket, copied from an Alice+Olivia skirt.  I've made this skirt quite a few times, never have done the belt carriers, and although the original pockets are a little small in my opinion, I have used them at least once.  I've done other patch pockets and this pocket several times.














Here's the inside of the skirt showing the pocket construction.  



Skirt Front
Skirt Back
Inside Skirt Hem

  The rest of the skirt is quite simply done, with a faced waistband, interfaced of course and stitched through all layers at the darts and seams.















 Centered back zipper with a hook at the top for security.














 And of course a hand stitched hem for invisibility.




Marfy Scuba Dress



I've been doing more sewing than blogging lately, which is probably a very good thing.  I fell in love with Marfy 3507, and decided I had to make it in a neoprene/scuba fabric.  I wanted a print rather than just a plain color and I found an unusual gray floral print at Elliott Berman Textiles.   



I'm not usually a floral person unless it's large and somewhat abstract, and this was small/medium and very traditional.  The style is traditional as well, a coat dress, but the zippers definitely update it.  I did a lot of alteration, and ended up making a trial garment which I didn't hem but is otherwise finished, out of a heavy dark green knit.  I adjusted the front waist size smaller and went on to begin anew with the neoprene.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the fabric was a dream to sew.  It's got body galore, and pretty much did whatever I wanted it to.  No ravelling, no 'squirming' around, it just stayed put.  It did require understitching on the collar and front edges. I used Pam's Pro-Tricot Fusible Interfacing on the collar and the lapel point areas, and that was all the interfacing it needed.  



 

 You can probably see that I used some interesting zippers for this dress.  These are Coats & Clark's Cutwork Zippers and they were very easy to apply.  The only problem I had was that they only came in 2 sizes, 7" and 22".







I ended up using the 7" zippers instead of flaps for the faux pockets.  They worked perfectly. 
However, the 22" zipper was too short to be both as high as I needed it at the neckline and as low as it needed to go on the skirt hem to make the dress really wearable.   So, I took another zipper and installed it from the bottom up, stitching the lower one over the upper when I got to the join.  It's not really noticeable when worn, especially with the somewhat busy fabric.  I like to have it unzipped from the bottom for a few inches for walking ease. 



The dress fits like a glove and is very comfortable, if also really, really warm to wear.  It will be a great winter dress, although as soon as we were done with the photos, I knew I wouldn't be wearing these shoes with it.




  The color is not good on the side view, but I thought the shaping was important to see.  I think this is a great basic pattern and it would be very easy to add a buttonhole extension to it, although the zippers are fun.  Once the alteration work has been done, I like to reuse a pattern if I can.



Monday, April 28, 2014

Leaving Santa Fe

It was such a wonderful time with wonderful women in a wonderful place. We made memories. Nancy (and Tony, who learned quite a lot about the ways of sewing friends, and that Nancy's behavior re textiles is perfectly normal) were perfect hosts and guides, and everything went so smoothly. Her suggestion that we stay at La Fonda masse for a wonderful stay. I recommend this fabulous hotel for anyone wanting a relaxing, pampered getaway. Meeting Margy and Sharon (Shams) was so much fun, and I know we'll be getting together again. Ann was with us for what seemed like a very short time. She is such a delight that we wanted more.
And Patti. The originator of our group, she is a masterful mixer of personalities, always congenial and of course, she's a Legend!
This dragon was in front of a gallery on Canyon Road, a delightful art district with lots of outdoor art as well as lovely shops. Jan and I took a short walk from La Fonda on the advice of Margy, and it was well worth it. I loved this little Frog Prince.
We enjoyed visiting the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Palace of the Governors, which is also a museum. We had the most fantastic tour guide there,a former librarian from USC, who really made it comes alive, and drew everyone into the narrative.
I will probably be writing more later about this trip, and especially about the wonderful Snoop Shopping we did. Santa Fe Dry Goods, you are a wonderful place!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Santa Fe Fabric Shopping

It wasn't all fabric shopping, but the fabric shopping was very successful. Patti and Ann would not arrive until afternoon, so Nancy led Jan, Margy, Sharon and me to Santa Fe Fabric, stopping at the fabulous bakery next door for breakfast first. Blueberry scones and Almond Croissants, that's all I'm saying. Very nice fabric shop and they have some things I hadn't seen before.
I found a wonderful bird print in a stretch cotton for a summer Marfy skirt.
This is an unusual poly that has almost a brushed nonwoven look, with couched yarns on a floral print. I think it's very southwestern in feel. I want to use it with some navy knit for a top.
Nancy found a bolt of stretch overall sequined fabric in a deep navy that I agreed I should have. I'm thinking the DK cowl front dress in a floor length. Awful photo, but the sequins are hard to photograph. Then I found a cute knit stripe that has palm trees under the stripes for a cute summer top.
Finally I was all done, but at the last minute found a wool spandex tweed knit with a lovely weight for a pair of knit pants in my favorite Marfy pant pattern.
After the fabric shop, Nancy, Jan and I went to the Puma outlet and bought shoes. They are very cute, and look to be comfortable as well, which is always hard to find together.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Fun Fabric

Yes, I'm at this moment on my way to Santa Fe to, among other things, shop for fabric, but when Elliott Berman has their annual sale, I usually order. It came yesterday, and I'm pleased with all of it, especially the neoprene for the Marfy dress I'm working on. It's the floral. The wild fuchsia is a brushed brocade for a retro 60's coat, and the other two are knits.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Squirrel Fluff & Phone Update

It's been quite the day. As per my last post, my phone was immersed this morning, dried out and apparently it's now as good as new, albeit with a cleaner screen. Needless to say, I do NOT recommend this method of screen cleaning. So now, a post from my newly dried and useable phone. This picture is the end of a long story.
I looked out the window this afternoon and laughed. That squirrels nest in the tree, probably 40' in the air, has a rather fanciful topknot of polyester batting. Originally I saw this batting at about eye level in the corner of my fence in some dried vines I was going to remove. It didn't look like much until I started pulling it out, but believe me there's more there than you'd think they could stuff into a place that small. I realized it was some kind of a nest and got a little nervous about what I might find. I had gloves on, so it was okay. Well, I found one squirrel sleeping, seemingly pretty good sized. I stuffed him and the fluff back where I found him. After that, apparently, the nest builder decided it would be safer to be out of my reach, and moved it to the nest in the tree. Somehow I don't think I'll be climbing the neighbor's tree to remove it again. The really strange thing is that when I first found it, I couldn't figure out where they had found all the nice, clean white fluff. I gave them credit for good instincts though. The next day I figured out their source. I have a very faded outdoor swing I was planning to recover. Well, I now have a reason to get to it quickly. The squirrels jumpstarted my project for me. Who knew they were un-upholsterers?

Rice! I Need More Rice!

Yeah, well, now that I have a nice phone app to do blog posts, I tried dropping my phone into the fish pond.  It doesn't help.  So, it is now taken apart and sitting in a bowl of rice after I dried it out as much as I could, first with a linen tea towel (the best, as we fabric lovers know) and then with a hair dryer on no-heat.  Sigh.

I'm hoping for the best, and after some research and questioning my brother (the IT guy) about it, next time I do this (never I hope!) I will try this method, using alcohol to first displace the water in the phone, and then drying it out in rice.  Can't hurt, and apparently has been the go-to method for underwater cameras for years.  Who knew?

A small bit of sewing content:  I thought I finished the patternwork on the Marfy 3507 dress last night, but of course this morning I realized I had forgotten a couple things I wanted to check.  It's always a good idea to sleep on it when it's a big project.  My brain sometimes seems to work better when I'm asleep than awake.  Sad, isn't it?  Anyway, I'm almost ready to do a muslin.  I think I have a suitable not-too-stretchy knit to use that will somewhat mimic the neoprene, which I don't have yet, so basically I'm guessing.  Oh well, onward and upward.

I will say I  hope you have a blessed holiday weekend, whatever holiday you're celebrating.  They're all very inter-related, which I find very nice.  I will be singing tonight at Good Friday services, and again Sunday for Easter, then having my family over for Easter Dinner.  Should be fun, especially if it stays warm.

My daffodils have recovered pretty well after being snowed on immediately after they bloomed, and the first tulip is out today!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pattern Work

I'm beginning to alter the pattern for a Marfy dress I'm going to make. It's from the new 2014/15 catalog, #3507, and as soon as I saw it in the catalog,I knew I had to have it. I've been thinking if a neoprene dress since a trip to Chicago with Mardel. We saw some wonderful examples at Barney's, and when Elliott Berman had some, AND it's their 50% off birthday sale, I simply had to get the fabric. Here's the pattern as it comes,
partly unfolded,
and laid out to check.
Pattern alterations are never any fun. We would all like to just have the pattern come out of the package perfectly sized for us, ready to cut. Well, at least in my case, that's never going to happen. I will shorten above the bust, enlarge the bust, do a swayback alteration which will add a CB seam, and probably enlarge the sleeves slightly, as they are exactly my size now, with no ease. It would be okay for this fabric as is, but I think a little ease it's a good thing generally. Wish me luck! I'm trying an app that lets me blog from my phone, so I'm hoping it will mean more posts from me.

Thanks to becki-c, I now have the correct pattern illustration, too!