Saturday, December 12, 2009

Felt Cuffs

Anybody who knows me well knows I always have cold hands.  My freezing hands have inspired a small line of felted cuffs.  These are made from merino wool, falkland wool, silk fabric, silk fiber and seed beads.   What I learned: A tiny bit of light silk fiber goes a long way in coloring dark felt.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Beaded Beads and Earrings

I listed a few new pieces in my Etsy shop, three beaded beads and two pairs of earrings.

Time Machine beaded beads, Sierpinski Tetrahedron Earring, a Pentagonal Prism beaded bead, and Rosebud Earrings.  We could all use a little more bling in our lives, no?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bat Country at Burning Man 2009

I finally downloaded my photos from Burning Man 2009.  These are my favorites of our sculpture, Bat Country.  Daytime, night time, dusk, in dust storms, and from a quarter mile off in the distance...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Butterick Bustle Pattern 3737

I NEEDED a bustle to go with my bloomers.  I used Butterick Pattern 3737.  Since I've got a never ending stash of quilting cottons, I used those, plus, the fabric matches the bloomers.  Most of my scraps are a quarter yard or less, so I had to use a different color for each tier.  Unlike the pattern suggested, I actually hemmed all of the flounces.  So many ruffles! Also, I enlarged the pattern significantly to fit all the way around my hips. 

Here you can see the circle flounces cut and ready to be sewn. I made my circles a little larger than the ones in the pattern, both on the inside and outside.
Here's one strand of flounces with the hem pinned.  This is about 4 and a half circles.  You can see how long it is.

Here's a shot of me trying on the unfinished bustle with the first 3 rows of flounces sewn on.  I pinned it to my sweater because there's no waistband yet.  I kind of like the look of 3 rows of flounces.  I think if I do something like this again, I'll just use 3 rows of flounces instead of 7.  More isn't always better, especially when it's more work.
Here you can see how many pins I used to hem each ruffle, pinned about every half inch.  I found that this kind of pinning is a good activity to do while watching TV or hanging out with my friends.  I also learned that I needed fewer pins on the bias than when I hit the straight grain. 
Here's the finished bustle. The shaping fit when I wore it around my waist, but that's not how you wear a bustle.  You wear them on your hips, and there, it didn't fit quite right, and it caused the back to droop in an unsightly way, so I stuffed the lining with some really thick polyester batting, and I quilted it onto the facing with three or four lines of machine stitching.  So, now it doesn't droop when I wear it.  As you can see, the thing stands up completely by itself, and with all that batting, it keeps my bum warm.  What I learned:  I learned that you can make an easy waistband with two layers of grossgrain ribbon.  I learned that you can make ruffles from circles instead of strips.  This way, you don't need to gather, which is nice.

And now for the artsy shot.

Finished Jacket with Lining

I finished the jacket yesterday, all except the tacking of the lining to the jacket along the bottom hem.  Here you can see the stitching I did along the edge of the collar.  This collar is very 1930s.
Here is the inside of the sleeve at the shoulder.  This could have been neater, but I was rushed. Here is the cuff of the sleeve.  The length of the lining came out perfect.  It just needs some pressing.

Here is the inside bottom edge of the jacket.  You can see that I left a lot of extra fabric in the seam allowance so that the jacket can be taken out later if needed.

And finally, here is the finished jacket front and back.  I'm not thrilled with the way the sleeves are set; they're a bit lopsided and lumpy at the top but it doesn't have any shoulder pads, which would have helped them sit better on the dress form.  We didn't use pads because the actress has rather broad shoulders, unlike this dress form.  I'm hopeful that the jacket will hang better on the actress for whom it was fit.   I am happy that the plaids line up well, and the collar is mostly symmetrical.  Live and learn.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

How to sew a fully lined jacket

UPDATE 4/15/2011: I am working on a series of blog entries about how I am sewing a fully lined coat from recycled sweaters.  There, I show a lot more step photos than I do here.  See Part 1 on How to Sew Sweater Coat by clicking the link.

I’m currently taking a class on costume construction at my local community college.  For the upcoming show, the class is helping to prepare the costumes for all of the actors.  The teacher assigned different projects to each student, and because of my background in quilting, she assigned me the complete construction of a fully lined plaid jacket.  Along with a vest and skirt, this jacket will form the third piece of a three piece, adjustable suit for theater.  When she announced that I would be finishing the suit, pangs of anxiety hit me, but I was also thrilled at the prospect of learning how to make such a complex and versatile piece of clothing.  This particular jacket is baby blue plaid, period 1930s, with a contrasting notched collar and lapels in gray.

My teacher picked the pattern and fabric, pinned the pattern pieces to the fabric, and cut the pieces for me.  In doing so, she had to align the plaid just so on the pattern pieces so that the lines match up.  My teacher often overcut the fabric from the pattern to provide extra fabric for custom tailoring for each actor.  In my instructions below, I rarely mention trimming seams because this suit is built to be alterable for future performances.  

Here, I document the steps my teacher gave me to sew the jacket so I won’t forget what I learned.  (When I told her I wanted to blog about this, she happily gave me permission to share, but asked to remain unnamed.)  Before reading on, I suggest you find a sport coat or jacket, preferably lined and with a notched collar, to look at while you read.  While yours probably won’t be exactly the same, it should still help you understand my descriptions.

My teacher handed me a big pile of cut pieces of woven plaid wool fabric, contrasting woven wool fabric for the lapel/collar, taffeta lining, and fusible interfacing.  I describe each piece here:
(1) The bodice and under-lapels are composed of 5 pieces of the plaid fabric: two fronts, two sides, and one back piece.  These were cut to match plaids along the 4 vertical seam lines and one on each shoulder.  (2) Each of these 5 plaid pieces has a corresponding taffeta lining that is slightly smaller, but similar in shape, with the exception of the under-lapels, because the front of the lapels, called “facing” are made from (3) a pair of contrasting gray fabric pieces (left and right), plus a curved piece for the back of the neck.  That’s 3 pieces for the facing. (4) All that’s left in the bodice is the fusible interfacing.  That was 1 piece for each lapel and 1 for the back of the neck. (5) The collar is composed of 3 layers, the top and bottom are both in contrasting gray wool,  with a piece of fusible interfacing in the middle. (6) The sleeves each have a front and a back in each of the plaid fabric and the lining. That’s 8 more pieces in all for the sleeves.  Total number of pieces for the jacket: 5 + 5 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 8 = 27 pieces.  To me, that seems like a lot of pieces for a single piece of clothing, and this jacket doesn’t even have any pockets!  Notice how I put them in groups above, by which pieces get sewn together before being attached to other groups.

To emphasize, for a lapel and collar that contrasts with the rest of the jacket, cut all 3 pieces in (3) and the top and bottom of the collar in (4) out of contrasting fabric.

My first step was ironing the fusible interfacing onto the lapels, back of the neck, and collar.  My teacher generally doesn’t like fusible interfacing, but we were on a strict deadline, so to save time, we fused.  Our interfacing takes a full 15 seconds to fuse to the fabric, but we started with a quicker pass with light pressure and high steam to just get everything in place.  Then, I slow dry pressed the interfacing to the fabric to make it permanent.  The purpose of the interfacing is to stiffen the collar, but you don’t want to fuse it to the outside layer of fabric if possible.  That could result in an unsightly drape of the fabric.  Instead, the teacher requested that I fuse the interfacing onto the inside layer of fabric on the under-lapels and back of the neck.

Mark darts by clipping edge of fabric and sewing waste thread at dart point.  This is apparently how talyors do it: they mark points and lines with contrasting thread.    You can mark any number of layers at once by stitching through all layers and cut the thread 1” to 2” from fabric between each layer.  Now you can see the mark on both sides of the fabric, and you can easily remove the thread marks when you want to.  Sew darts.  In a women’s jacket, these will be around the bust.  Note that in all machine sewing, I backstitch the beginning and end of each seam, about 4 or 5 stitches.  Press darts out (away from the center of the body) or down.  I pinned and sewed the 5 plaid pieces of the bodice together.  In pinning, match plaids, being careful to match at the beginning of each plaid sequence.  By beginning, I mean the side that goes into the machine first.  Press seams open.  Add a row of stitching, just outside the seam line, under each arm.  In other words, sew around the bottom half of each arm hole on the bodice to reinforce it for extra wear and tear on this high stress point of the jacket.

The top of the collar is slightly larger than the bottom to create and under-stitched look without understitching.  Sew top and bottom of collar together.  Resew corner seams.  Clip corners.  The more you clip in, the more pointy you can get the corner when you flip it, but you also make the point more prone to wear and tear.  Because this jacket is intended for use in the theater, I didn’t clip too, too close to the corner seam.  Flip inside out and poke out corners.  Press.  When pressing, roll the edge a bit so that top of collar rolls over the edge. Pin to back piece of bodice and sew to bodice.  To keep the collar lying nicely, do not over-sew the edge of the collar to the bodice.  One too few stitches is better than one extra stitch.

These photos were taken after I sewed the lining (a later step) but it also shows the interlining and the collar, so I include this photo here.  I sewed the two outer-lapel facings to the back of the neckpiece, and pressed seams open.  I then sewed this 3-piece set of facing to the bodice, catching the collar inside the seam. This seam goes up one lapel, around the neck (at the base of the collar), and down the other lapel.  Clip the curved part of the seam, in particular, around the neck every ½” to ¾”.  Grade (trim) the 4+ seam allowance layers so that the widest seam allowance on grading is closest to the outside of the garment. I under-stitched the seam allowance to the side that is inside the garment.  You can just barely make it out on the left photo.  I flipped the lapels inside out, pulling and poking the points into shape.  Do not press lapels.  Instead, use a hand running stitch to baste the edge of the lapels flat.  Make the seam even inside and out.  When the jacket is finished, press this, remove the basting, and possibly add some decorative hand stitching (running stitch) with buttonhole thread.

Sew front and back of one sleeve together, matching plaids. At this point, we only need one sleeve done for the fitting, so you can set the other pieces aside until later.  Sew front and back of the sleeve lining together.  Press all seams open.  Slip sleeve lining in sleeve and pin.  Before we finish the sleeves, we must…

Have the intended recipient of the jacket try it on. Pin the top of the sleeve to the top seam of the jacket. Use safety pins to take in any bunched spots on the bodice and sleeves.  Take off the jacket and make alterations to take in (or let out) the bodice and sleeves.  HANDY TRICK:  If you have trouble marking the fabric inside of where you pinned, use thread tracing to mark sewing lines instead.  To thread trace, use a piece of contrasting thread to sew a quick line of stitching on the sewing line of each piece.  The advantages of thread tracing are that you can accurately mark from the front side (where the fitting pins are) onto the back side (where you need to sew), and no pencil marks are necessary.  You just pull out the thread tracing after you sew the seam, and voila, no marks!

Sew the 5 pieces of bodice lining together and press seams open.  Pin lining to outside layer, matching 2 neck seams as shown here.  In one long seam, sew the lining to the inside of the jacket.  This is a very satisfying step because so many ugly frays are covered.  See below.  Doesn't that lining look nice?

Now we work both sleeves together.  Before attaching the sleeves to to their linings, machine sew a line of basting along the top half edge of each sleeve without lining.

To prevent the sleeve lining from twisting uncomfortably inside the sleeve, sew the sleeve to its sleeve lining as follows:  Assemble one sleeve and lining. Flip sleeve with lining inside out.  Matching seams, pin parallel to seam on seam allowance of back seam, the one that lies on the back of the arm.  Flip lining to wrong side out.  Pin lining seam allowance to sleeve seam allowance on one side.   Sew together on seam allowance starting and stopping about ¾” from each end.  You will need to keep this extra part open to attach the sleeve to the bodice at the top, and to hem the sleeve at the bottom.  Repeat for second sleeve.

Have the intended recipient of the jacket try it on. Pin the top of the sleeve to the top seam of the jacket. Take off the jacket.  Use thread tracing to mark the top seam of the sleeve and sleeve hole.  Also mark on sleeve where it hits the top seam of the jacket.  Unpin sleeve from jacket.  Now for the hardest part, and where a dress form or some kind of stuffing or scaffold is really helpful:  Gather slightly and pin sleeve into sleeve hole, through all (3) layers except sleeve lining.  Be careful to distribute the seams evenly, but don't try to match seams.   Jackets aren't usually cut to match bodice seams to sleeve seams. Hand baste both sleeves in place.  Sew sleeve to hole on machine, through 3 layers, easing fabric as necessary to achieve a smooth seam.  Before pressing, wad up a piece of fabric, preferably wool, and stuff shoulder.  Press seam out into sleeve.  On the inside of the jacket, pin sleeve lining over sleeve seam, then appliqué in place with slip stitch. Again, you will probably have to ease the lining into the arm hole to get the fabric to fit nicely.

Use cross stitch to hem the outside layer of the sleeves and bodice.  If the lining is long enough, use slip stitch to hem the lining, covering the cross stitches.  If the lining is too short, hem lining separately with cross stitch.  Steam the whole jacket on dress form.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Drops of Love Necklace and Other Beadweaving

I got a bunch of new stuff listed in my Etsy shop. These are mostly pieces that have been sitting here in boxes, most I used as class samples. I finally got around to photographing them so I could post them. First is my favorite, a Rivoli Sunflower necklace that I call Drops of Love. It's got crystal, tourmaline and cubic zirconia, all glistening in pink. I adore pink! What I learned: asymmetry is way harder to pull off than symmetry. This is true both visually, and when working with a necklace, in terms of balance of the design. I really wanted the main pendant to hang in the center, so I had to get the weight even on both sides.

Ah, more pink. Second is an Infinity Prism-4 made with rhodachrosite, gray pearls and some blue goldstone. Did I mention that I love pink?

There's also a Star Cluster with Karen Workman's borosilicate glass beads. This is one of the larger beaded bead designs I've made. It's got over 500 beads in it, all woven together. The colors are blue and gold, like my college, UCSB. Go Gauchos!

Next are a new pair of Cutie Pie earrings, these with citrine, sapphire and tourmaline. Very sparkly! These have sterling silver ear wires.

Last are a bunch of various pieces that I've had for a few years and it's time to let them go to a new owner for a good price. What I learned: I learned that it feels really good to get a bunch of things posted and hopefully, out of the house. Must make room for more beads!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Earrings and a Beaded Bead

I got some sample pieces back from one of the shops I teach in, and finally got them listed. First is a pair of Cutie Pie Earrings, these with stud posts. They've got amethyst, tourmaline and tiny peach sapphires, all surrounded by silver seed beads.

The beaded bead is an Infinity Donut that I made for the pattern I wrote. It got my favorite color in it... lime green! And tiny Swarovski crystals. I photographed it with a very old pair of calipers that were my boyfriend's mom's. It also unfolds into a 12 inch ruler. I love groovy old measuring tools. We also got an old 4-function calculator that plugs into the wall. It still lights up, but doesn't calculate anymore.

What I learned:
From the earrings, I learned that adding post ear wires makes an earring much shorter than adding a hanging ear wire. From the beaded bead, I learned that those pretty matte gold seed beads don't have a very durable finish to them, and when the paint peels, a clear bead is underneath. The matte silver beads also don't hold their finish, but the paint doesn't seem to completely peal off. Instead, it just loses its luster.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Striped Socks Pattern

Gwen’s Knee High, Toe Up, Striped Socks

This is the first pair of socks I ever knit, so the pattern I wrote is a bit long, taking from several sources (see references at end). I used easy techniques, ones I could execute without too many errors, since I'm still a beginning knitter. I tried to explain how I did every step because that's the only way I could get the socks to match, in shape, at least. The finished socks are thick and cozy, but not too thick to wear with shoes.

Socks are worked over 64 sts with gauge of 6.5 to 7 sts/in for a woman's size 9 foot, circumference 9.5”. I give a range because my own gauge varies. Did I mention I'm still a beginner?

Needles: 2.25mm (US 1) double pointed needles and/or 2 circular needles, or size to obtain gauge.  Use US 6 to bind off.

Yarn: 2 colors A and B, about 500 yards (450 meters), (125g to 150g) 4-ply fingering weight sock yarn.

Noro Silk Garden Sock: Colors 252 (green, black, blue), 272 (grey, green, aqua, purple), 292 (purple, blue, pink, gold)
Each skein is Approx. 327 yds, 300 m
Lamb's Wool, 25% Silk, 25% Nylon, 10% Kid Mohair. Hand wash.

Toe: In color A, Turkish cast on, started with 24 stitches, 12 sts on each needle. To do so, start with slip st on bottom needle. Slide st to left (with points of needles at right). Wrap counter clockwise (looking at needle point on right) 12 wraps. With a third needle, knit top row, rotate 180°, keeping front facing front. Knit to finish round 1—24 sts.

Increase 4 sts every round to 40 sts total, then increase 2 sts every round to 64 sts as specified below. I like to keep the slipknot from the cast on for the first 2 rounds to keep the tail in place until the knitting is established. Be careful not to knit into the slipknot.

Rounds 2-5: *K1, M1 (Make 1 = K front and back of next st), Knit to 2 st remains on needle, M1, K1.* Repeat on second needle.—14, 16, 18, 20 sts on each needle.

Clip marker into beginning of Rnd 1 and end of Rnd 4 to indicate start. Top of foot is needles 1. Bottom of foot is needle 2.

Round 6: K sts onto 40” round needle, with 20 sts on front and 20 sts on back needle.
Round 7: Front needle: K1, M1, K until 2 sts remains on needle, M1, K1.
Repeat on back needle. 22 sts each needle.
Rounds 8, 10, 12, 14: K
Round 9, 11, 13, 15: Repeat Round 7—24, 26, 28, 30 sts each needle.

Change color after Row 15. Then, change color every 8 rows (3/4 inches) using a traveling slip-stitch jogless stripe: Change colors at front (top) of foot, after first 10 sts of front needle. PM (place marker) where color changes. On color change round, slip marker and begin knitting with new color. On next round, knit to marker and slip it. Then, slip the first stitch of the new color from the Left needle to the Right needle. Continue knitting. On the round before the next color change, shift the marker one stitch to the left. Slipped stitches will form a spiral over the top of the foot. If you want slipped sts on back (bottom) of foot, start changing colors on the back needle instead.

Work stockinette for 7 stripes, not including the toe (or until the foot is about 2 inches shorter than the desired finished length). To help the heel shaping, in last stripe, Rounds 5 and 7: Add 1 st at beginning of and end of needle 2 (heel needle)—64sts.

With waste yarn of the same weight, K 34 sts (centered on the heel), and sl back to beginning of heel. Decrease on Rounds 2 and 4: 1 st at beginning 1 st at end of needle 2 (heel needle)—60 sts

Before completing the heel, knit 1 or more stripes of the leg (see below). Then, remove waste yarn and sl sts onto 4 dpn—18 sts on each. In order to get 18 sts on each needle, you will pick up already K stitches in the corners on the sole side of the sock. These extra stitches will keep the sock from stretching where the heel meets the sock and will fill in a hole that might otherwise be there. Start new color in either corner.

Round 1: K.
Round 2: Needles 1, 3: K1, ssk, K to end.
Needles 2, 4: K to last 3 sts, k2tog, K1.
Repeat Round 2 until 12 sts on each needle (24 total) remain. Sl onto 2 needles. Cut yarn leaving 16 in tail. Graft 12 sts from each dpn together.

Keep changing stripe color every 8 rounds. Always keep 30 sts on front needle.
Stripes 1, 2, 3: To shape the ankle, decrease 2 sts in Round 5 on each side of back 10 sts—58 sts, 56 sts, 54 sts. To do this,
Needle 1: K.
Needle 2: K5, ssk, K until 7 sts on needle, K2tog, K5.
Stripes 4 and 5: K.

The calf increases are worked in pairs, and each pair of increases is worked on the outside of previous increases, so they get farther apart as you go up the calf. To do this, increase on either side of 2 center back stitches.
Stripe 6-13: Add and subtract stitches to achieve the numbers below (Back (heel) needle: K4, m1, K to 5 sts remain, m1, K4).  Front needle: K— Stripe 6 ends with 56 sts, 7:58, 8:60, 9:62, 10:66, 11:68, 12:70, 13:72, 14:72, 15:74, 16:76, 17:74, 18:70. (Note: numbers updated 11/6/09)  In round 18, decrease the 4 sts: sl knitwise, sl purlwise, place L needle into front of these 2 sts, and k2tog.

Ribbing: Start 1 row of K with new color. Work ribbing for 18 rows, alternating between wide and skinny ribs: 2-1-1-1, that is, *K2, PKP*. Repeat between *s for round.

Bind off:
Use a size 6 needle and bind off in the rib pattern.

Knee Socks!
Elfine’s socks by Anna Bell
Wendy's Generic Toe-Up Feather and Fan Sock by Wendy D. Johnson
Jogless Stripe by Technitter,

Friday, September 11, 2009

Deco Lotus Earrings in Beadwork Magazine

I got my Deco Lotus Earrings published as a project in this current issue of Beadwork Magazine, Oct/Nov 2009. Check it out. Forgive me for taking the photo of these earrings before I attached the ear wires.

I also got my Harvest Jewels Necklace published on the back cover of the same issue in the Firemountain Gems advertisement. The center bead is a Time Machine Beaded Bead.  This necklace is sold.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Crochet Hats and Wristies

I've been having way too much fun lately with my spinning wheel and a crochet hook. I decided that my sweetie and I needed matching hats and wrist warmers to keep us extra toasty on the Playa. I started with two different rovings in lime green, orange, and yellow. The shades of the colors were different in the two rovings, which is how I created these rich color variations. I dyed one of the rovings with Wilton's cake dyes (shown earlier) and purchased the other from Cloudlover69.

I spun four full bobbins of thick-and-thin singles, about 7 ounces total. I used a little more than half for the hat, and the rest for the gloves. I got the idea for the hat from Lexi Boeger's book Intertwined. It's the Urban Hobbit Hat. Lexi's idea for this hat is to assign a different stitch for each color. I used single crochet for green, half double and double crochet for yellow, and bobbles in orange. When I made the gloves, though, I omitted all of the bobbles on the palm of the hand, thought they'd just get in the way.

Here's what the set looks like with the fake fur jacket I made.

My sweetie and I are both quite partial to orange and lime, but I made this set for him. Since he kept claiming I'd wear the hat more than he does, I had to make another set for myself.

This one uses a blue roving from Chimera and an aqua and pink one I died with Wilton's cake dyes that I showed earlier. For this set, I decided to change the texture as well as the color, so I ditched the bobbles, and I instead used puffs in blue and bullions in pink, along with lots of single and half double crochet. I also added some ties to keep it on my head in the wind. To make the ties, I knit I-cord with two stitches in each row, and then switched to a crochet hook to make a big old stuffed bobble at the ends. Now, I need to go back and add ties to the orange hat. What I learned: I finally learned how to make a bullion in crochet. They're super squishy and feel nice. I learned that wristies fit better when you add a few stitches around the thumb before going onto the wrist part. In the orange set, I crocheted back and forth to create the thumb hole, but in the blue pair, I just added a few stitches around the thumb instead. Adding stitches was easier and the glove fits better.

Now for the the artsy shots.

I really love the texture you can get with thick-and-thin singles.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...