Sewing Cafe

Patterns, Tutorials and Works in Progress from the Sewing Studio of Lynne Williams

Friday, December 26, 2008

Studio Diary

Over the holidays I have been working on a vintage jacket for myself. Several years ago on a trip to Madison Wi. I had the pleasure of visiting Gayfeathers, a lovely little fabric store. I found a number of unique fabrics, but my favorite find was a large houndstooth in wool and angora. The color is a favorite of mine...chartreuse on creme, how could I resist. Not knowing what I would do with it I purchased what she had and it has been hanging in my studio tempting and inspiring me ever since. About a year ago I decided on the pattern, a "retro Butterick" originally printed in 1936. This shorter style jacket is flattering for my figure and I felt the larger collar would suit the scale of the houndstooth well. I am also intrigued with a detail on this pattern that you do not see to often anymore which is a hand running stitch along the princess seams, and hemlines. Now I do not have much practice at this stitch, as I do not hand quilt much although I have tried Sashiko stitch work which I adore. Well adoring something does not mean you are proficient at it, but there is only one way to get better at something and that is by the doing. I have been enjoying the process of the handwork on this jacket, but it does not bear close scrutiny. I prefer for things to be done very well, but find that I tend to be reasonable when working on a new skill, so although the stitch work is not perfect, I can accept that especially on things I make for myself. I have plans to line the jacket in a silk charmeuse to match the green and have been designing a creme silk chiffon dress as I work on the handwork. Currently I have the body of the jacket together, one sleeve is set and I am finishing up the handwork on the 2nd sleeve which you do prior to the setting.
I suspect another contributing factor to starting this project over some of the others that are about the studio can be found in a BBC television series my husband and I have been viewing called "The House of Elliot". In this series there are many scenes in the production sewing room where the seamstresses are sitting around a table hand sewing many lovely silk garments. These scenes appealed to me, the camaraderie of the stitchers, the light streaming through the windows highlighting some incredibly beautiful embroidery and beading on deliciously delicate feminine garments. Needless to say I recommend the series to anyone curious about a very interesting time in women's fashion. These scenes certainly made me anxious to work slowly on some beautiful fabric.

These are some detail pictures of the vintage jacket. It is now ready for its lining, which still must be ordered, but I do hate just ordering one piece of fabric so I am reviewing my upcoming needs. The picture at left shows the detail of the sleeve hem. I chose a creme pearl cotton for the hand stitching.

Upon running aground with my jacket I did need to get some paying work done so....for the next day or two I worked on some top-secret projects for DC. Next some progress on the Jayden Medley Jacket for Williams Studio 2 patterns. I am in the process of creating the sample for the cover, as well as writing the instructions. A very lengthy process but I am trying to create some very easy to follow and comprehensive instructions for all of the patterns. I did manage to squeeze in a quilt block for my "Just Plain Nuts" exercise...always fun. I call it an exercise because I am really not sure that I will make it into a quilt or even a wall hanging I am just "Enjoying the Process" as I always like to say. It develops accuracy in cutting and sewing due to the small scale of the blocks ( 6" ) But it is primarily a fun way to play with color. Its always good to allow yourself to play and not feel that everything has to become something! Sometimes the something is just allowing your creative brain to accept new possibilities.

Today though I do need to do handwork on 3 Cowls! And I understand there will be 3 more for this month. I wonder who the fortunate owners will be? Handwork means old movies to watch/listen to. "Casa Blanca" is certainly on the viewing list for the day and another favorite "My man Godfrey". Well lets get to it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Joanne's Projects

The week of the 23rd Joanne put aside her glittery top to tackle a project for her daughter. She is making new cushions for her outdoor furniture from Sunbrella fabric a wonderful weather and mildew resistant product. The colors reminded us all of the sea, which in our current winter weather was a feast for our eyes as well as our imaginations. She got the cushion sections all cut out in class and is planning on preparing the zipper sections prior to class this Friday. Then she will have 56 yds of piping to make. Projects like these are great for class time, the good conversation is a nice diversion from some of the more tedious tasks.

Currently Joanne after having whipped out some warm and wonderful fleece tops is adding some glitz to her life, and by extension ours as well. She is creating a blouse from a glittered slinky fabric. The top has a cowl neckline a shirred hem and a keyhole sleeve. Sounds very intriguing yes? So stay posted to catch pictures of the finished product. Wow! What a tremendous project. This fur jacket started out life as a cape and Joanne decided to make it into a jacket. She created sleeves and a front placket, added slash pockets and.....dyed a wool sweater to create an interior zip front and squall sleeve cuffs! It has been a another labor of love as this fur garment had belonged to a family member. Now of course it is very fashionable to re purpose garments ( the very green thing to do) but this project was started many years before all of that proving that practicality and using what you have has always been the right thing to do for many people. Joanne showed a lot of perseverance with this project but she learned how to make a lining pattern, create a squall cuff, dye wool, create a false placket, sew on leather, make pockets, etc. Our thanks to Livalips for taking this picture with her phone, and again Congratulations on a job very well done!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sunchelle's projects

On the 30th Michelle continued work on her "Frayed Jacket" She decided to reset the sleeves to correct the shoulder slope and width. She "unstitched" the sleeve caps, tried the jacket on and we then pinned the sleeves along a more flattering line. She marked this change with thread basting and then reset the sleeves. For a breather after all her hard work it was on to the fun stuff...."hmmm what buttons do I like"? Hopefully she will get the lining in before the grand baby comes, which rumor has it will be happening on the 2nd, like it or not.

Well I failed to get a picture of Michelle's fortune cookie purse on the 23rd, because
I was distracted by her "Crazy Quilted Tote" a Williams Studio 2 pattern, and her very clever cat bed.

The cat bed, which her cats actually sleep in, is
made like a fabric bowl. The method whereby you wrap bias strips around laundry line and zig-zag it all together.

A close up of Michelle's embroidery and embellishment. I can see she is putting her new machine to good use. Sew beautiful!

Michelle has made a promise to herself to use her class time for personal projects. She launched into this commitment with....yes you guessed it a purse. I like to refer to this style of purse as a fortune cookie, not sure why, that's just what it reminds me of. Her purse has a most fabulous lining of silk taffeta a major find at our local goodwill. Hopefully she will post the pattern number for us, and I will be sure to get pictures soon. Ah Ha I told you I would get a picture isn't it cute?

What a baby blanket! This crib quilt/wall hanging was made from the mothers binky and carefully reconstructed for the imminent arrival of Jonah. A true labor of love by Grandma and adorable to boot.

Our very proud grandma Michelle, made these wonderful blocks with her grandsons name. Each side has a fun fabric with embroidery or applique in addition to the letters. Sew clever! Michelle makes great use of her embroidery machine and her imagination. In Fridays class she was remaking a baby blanket that had been her daughters for her daughters first baby. This is a real work of love, needless to say the blanket was much loved and threadbare but Michelle fused a lightweight interfacing to the back, cut out blocks from the printed motifs, sashed it with the backing fabric! A very special project and when we left on Friday she just had the binding to apply.
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