Saturday, January 30, 2010

Beads!! Pin Kit

I have had it in mind to do beadwork. With that, I recently purchased a Beaded Pin Kit (by Ruthmarie Hofmann, Email: when I was at the January quilt show in Ontario, CA. The kit provides a square of batik print fabric, a paper template, a variety of beads (bead soup), a covered button form and pin, thread and needle. Using the fabric print as a guide, you can create your own unique beaded design. This is fun to do, if not a little tedious. While working on my pin, I accidentally upset my plate of loose beads and the teeny tiny beads went flying. I'll be more aware of my workspace next time. Luckily, I was able to distract Henry the Yorkie Pup away from the area as I crawled around on hands and knees to retrieve all those tiny beads. My camera does not focus up-close, but these pictures show current progress. I wish you could see it more clearly because it's really turning out quite pretty. I'll post the finished jewelry piece when done. My ultimate goal is to learn enough about bead embellishment to do some artsy beadwork on artsy garments in the future.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Oh Henry! Yorkie Pup Update

If you've read past journal entries about this Casita, you have already met Henry the Yorkie Pup (reference article, April 2009). Henry is one year old now and here he is, all 6.33 lbs of him with one of his favorite toys. Is he all grown up now, I wonder? On the subject of productivity in the workroom and at home, we all have excuses as to why things don't always get done; mine is Henry. I want to sew and do artsy things, but Henry wants to play and cavort. Inevitably, when I'm hard at work on this project or that, Henry shows up in my sewing room with a chewy toy that squeaks, wanting to play. Henry's favorite games are Run-run-run/Catch Me if You Can and Hide and Seek; he runs or hides, as the case may be, and I'm supposed to do the chasing. He's can I say NO! NO! to that little face in the donut ring? I have Henry duty mornings and weekdays, Papa has nights and weekends. Henry is a playful little prince but sometimes all I want to do is sit and sew. Oh Henry!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tweedy Wool Vest - Kwik Sew #3705

Here's a lined wool vest which I just finished for my friend Kathy, using Kwik Sew #3705. Kat and I visited the Los Angeles garment district a couple of weeks ago and stopped in at Michael Levine's to shop for fabric. That day all woolens were 20% off and Kat picked out a deep rich teal interwoven with black; very subtle, very pretty, very Kathy. We decided upon black taffeta for the lining. The weave of this woolen fabric tended to unravel very easily and required careful attention in handling once the pattern pieces were cut. Otherwise, the vest was easy to sew, following the pattern instructions, and I was done in no time at all. This was a fun project to practice sewing skills on; pockets, putting in the lining...that kind of thing. Since completing the vest, I also finished my first pair of pants and I am more excited than ever about sewing. I chose a European-style pant pattern by Lois Hinse, using a lightweight denim. Had to adjust the fullness in the legs for a sleeker fit, but otherwise I had very good luck.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Batik Jacket - It's a Winner

Just completed this jacket using a rayon-based batik fabric, Maid Marian from Sawyer Brook's Fall II Collection. The photos don't do justice to the richness of the background colors of this pretty batik print. The jacket pattern which comes from CNT Pattern Co. promised a quick sew (3 hrs??? I don't think so). After preshrinking the fabric in my washing wash, medium spin...I threw it in the dryer with good results; the fabric came out intact and ready to cut and sew. This fabric is very fluid and requires care in cutting. I also encountered problems sewing the seams where the neckline and shoulder meet and finishing the collar. I struggled, partly because of the nature of this very soft, drapy, somewhat difficult-to-handle fabric and partly because of the design of the front, collar and front facing pattern piece. Not as simple to sew as I had expected, but it all ended with good results. As promised in the pattern description, the finished jacket's feminine silhouette is comfortable and stylish. I may use this pattern again, but next time I'll go with the 3/4 sleeve option for a more casual approach.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Crinkly Slippery Polyester Update - Bah Humbug!

Not happy with the olive green color of this polyester fabric. The color is neutral enough, but it's drab and non-descript and will need good accessorizing. I MUST remember color palette, even for test garments. The shirt's nearly complete. This was a breeze to sew. The collar is flattering, simple and was easy to construct and install. Not crazy about the cut of the sleeve. It goes from baggy under the upper arm (don't like this) to a very close fit at the wrist (I like this). I don't know fashion terminology, but I'm finding that fabric selection is critical to making these under-constructed designer patterns look right. I think the sleeve for this pattern will drape properly with a good knit instead of the woven, crinkle polyester that I used. We'll see.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Crinkly Slippery Polyester

I don't normally sew polyester fabric because I find it difficult to can be so slippery, not to mention the static cling factor - ouch! I prefer natural fabrics, i.e., cotton, linen, wool, but I promised myself to try new things this year and practice, practice, practice. I went to JoAnn's Fabrics and purchased two pieces - one a drab olive color crinkly polyester, the other a deep, rich navy/black textured polyester. Crazy! I'm working on the olive green piece this week, using Christine Jonson's Straight Shirt Jacket #723 for the pattern. It's a simple pattern, easy to sew, but the polyester fabric has a mind of its own. I think I'm winning the battle, but the proof will be in the finished garment. We'll see.