Sewing Cafe

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

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Stash Progress - A Wee Bit of Warmth for March

My doctor tells me that they're are two types of people in the world...."those who are hot all the time and those who are cold all the time"
I am one of the later.....

My husband suggested that I try wearing a hat in the studio to help with this problem.  The poor man must be tired of hearing me complain about it, as I throw on a sweater and drag around a corn bag all day. (speaking of which....i best do that pronto)

I have been wanting to learn how to crochet and I need to try this cap thing so....creative symbiosis occurs in the production of 2 beanies 

I found this pattern on Ravelry dug through my yarn box and came up with this pleasing combination of grey and yellow.  The grey merino yarn was left over from a knitted toy project from 15 yrs back and the yellow wool.....I cannot recall, which is very disturbing to me.....This is a tragic consequence of my age.

It took me a few attempts, but crochet is so fun and easy to rip out when you make a mistake that I decided to cement my new skills by making another one.

Some of you may recognize this yarn from my recently completed Smartie sweater.  

Sew....these are my stash busting projects for March along with my UFO project the Short Story Pillow

I was hoping to have my Eva Dress Gardening overalls done this month, but alas it was not to be, but I am determined they shall make the stash busting roster for April:)

What did you sew up from your stash this month?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Craftsy Block of the Month - March

My sewing mojo is at an very low ebb.  A lack of motivation along with project indecision has me working at a snails pace.

I was a might disappointed with myself that I did not get my Eva dress gardening overalls completed in time for the contest, but sometimes you cannot rush the design process.  I am pleased with the direction they have taken, but I feel like I am sewing in treacle....sweet as it is, it has been at a snails pace.

My quilt blocks were on my calendar for this last weekend and they are great fun to whip up.
  Both blocks only take half a day to create and work out best if not over thought :)  
Just the right project for my dragging fingers.

This one is known as a Broken Spider Web

This one is a String block.

Both are foundation pieced on fabric, which is similar to how you crazy quilt.  
It's a fabulous way to use up small scraps which is always useful, but now has me thinking of how to organize my small color? 
 Any suggestions would be most welcome :)

I am looking forward to seeing what blocks April will have to offer.  Each month when I complete these blocks I always think " oh...these are me favorite so far"  I suppose this is what keeps us quilting - lol
This quilt is going to end up in the guest room for know the room with the apricot walls, the room that my recent ufo has moved into.

I am curious to know what you do when you lose your sewing mojo.
How do you find your inspiration and work ethic again?

I might have to lay some blame on Pinterest's doorstep, because I will admit to becoming so overwhelmed with the creative possibilities that  my mind spins out of control and it's hard to settle down to actual creation.  As an the last month I have tried 4 new recipe's, am learning how to crochet, have decided to start making gloves and bras, have found several good projects for students, and started reading a recommended book.....

As my husband says " Well, there's your problem" LOL

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March Madness means...Lorax?

 I am sure by now we are all familiar with Lorax.  
The adorable Dr. Suess character and some of us may actually be familiar with the story.  

But I have my own Lorax story to relate...
It begin's with a sweet friend of mine, Cherie. 
Cherie's school is having some "March Madness" days at her school
One of these days involves dressing up as her favorite character....enter the Lorax.

This is where I come into the tale as well....who better to help with a Lorax costume than a friend who sews..and has been known to sew costumes, at that!
Has Cherie sewn before I ask.....
When is this dress up day......I ask with a slight tremor in my voice ( I will admit to this)
Next Week is the reply..... my reply......let's go talk with Mom to talk schedule......
The gist of that discussion is Cherie and I have one afternoon to explore our creativity and teach Cherie how to sew....seriously no problem ( with a little more tremor this time)

The must be inexpensive to downright cheap.  It must be a beginning sewing project and it must be accomplished in one afternoon.....

A run to the dreaded Wal-mart  yields an exciting piece of orange flannel at a cut rate price and the drive home solidifies the plan.

I do some of my best problem solving while driving....anyone else?

First thing was first, I had to teach Cherie how to use a sewing machine, my Singer 401 to be exact.
While she practiced sewing on paper and than graduated to seams, I cut out the body of the costume. 
I thought I had a hood pattern, but alas it was not the case,  so while Cherie started sewing the long front and back seams of her costume I drafted a hood pattern.

While I sewed the hood on Cherie cut the yarn for her mustache.
This was the part of the costume Cherie was looking forward to the most....apparently she has a bit of a thing for mustaches....who knew?

Our original plan was to put the eyebrows on the hood...well my original plan was to maybe skip the eyebrows altogether...but "we" decided it must have them, and on the hood simply would not do.
I created a buckrum form using Cherie's glasses for a template, which we then hot glued the yarn to and trimmed in a funky manner.  They are held onto her glasses by 2 clear elastic loops at the outside edges and a tab in the center which wraps around to the back and closes with a small bit of Velcro.

We had so much fun.  Cherie is a quick study and didn't she do a great job?  
This entire costume took us a little over 4 hrs to make and cost $15.00 in materials
It's quick and seam finishes...oh my, 
but I think/hope it will be a big hit for her at school.
Cherie tells me her mom is still laughing and so are we:)

Projects like this are a challenge for me because I like to take the long thoughtful approach to my sewing.  I contemplate ways to add a new technique, expand a general try to create a Haute Couture garment from even the "simplist" project.  It was so much fun though to step out of my routine.

How about you all, do you like these types of fast and furious projects?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sunshine 2012 Award

Yes Please, bring on that sunshine!

Who doesn't love sunshine?

I am honored to have been gifted this award by Caroline at Handmade by Caroline.  A very talented sewist and photographer from Perth Australia.  Thanks Caroline, you're a dear:)

Receiving this award caused me to think a lot about sunshine and how important it is in my life.  When I think of home I think of sunshine.  When I think of health I think of sunshine.  When I think about the ones I love I think of sunshine.  
The world is a happier place when bathed in the light of the sun on a summer day.
This is an image of the orange groves in Redlands CA, my "home" town.  A beautiful spot surrounded by majestic mountains and bathed year round in plenty of sunshine.  The perfect climate for oranges, avocados, figs and pomegranates.  
The sunshine award requires me to answer a series of questions and interestingly I found many of them tied into my love for sunshine, so let's proceed.....

Favorite Color
butter yellow linen available at

Butter Yellow, the color or filtered sunlight.
There has always been at least one room in my living space that painted this color.

Favorite Animal

A horse of course. 
 Since we all cannot own Trigger or for that matter ride like Roy Rogers.... 

That's me holding the goat (Gertrude) with my friends on a summer day in Redlands.  The pinto pony on the far left taught me how to ride.  Her name was Sunshine.....right, the colt next to her we named Sultan, and he was the same golden color as Trigger just less famous, but no less fun.  The blonde girl in the center, my best friend Lisa.  We rode and sewed together:)

Favorite number...honestly???

Favorite Non Alcoholic beverage.

Fresh Lemonade of course....another product from the sun.

Facebook or Twitter ....

Facebook or Twitter - Facebook hands down and it's a good thing I didn't have to choose between Facebook and Pinterest.  Twitter is to impersonal and commercial for me.  Click on the logo above and it will take you to my fb business page.  Be sure to like me to get blog updates there.

My passion....I think we already covered this one....horses, sewing, crafting and family. Not necessarily in that order - lol

Getting or Giving Presents .....

wrapping paper using fabric and your copy machine- pic links to info
 Silly question how can you compare the two?  They are both so satisfying.  Maybe a better question would be large gifts or small?  It is the small tokens of love that we give and receive that mean the most to me.

Favorite pattern ....

The pattern of behavior set out for us in the scriptures.  
If all of us could follow the pattern that Jesus set for us....think of how much sunshine we would share in our lives.

Favorite Day of the Week.....

Available on Etsy at Barn Owl Primitives - the pic is linked

Any day the sun shines and it's above 70 is my favorite day of the week.  Surprised?
Remember the Beatles tune?  How many songs can you think of that use Sunshine as a theme?

Favorite Flower......
poppies & posies events blogspot - the pic is linked
With so much variety how could you choose one?  I like them in clusters with a touch of wild abandon:)

Favorite Celeb/ role model....

pic links to more information.  Please join us at your local Kingdom Hall

Like I said before....trying to follow his example daily.

Now it's time to spread some sunshine around.....

Frabjous Couture - sewist and creative example
The nest effect - help getting organized
The Little Red Squirrel - sewist and knitter extrodernaire
Poppies & Posies - Flowers and art to inspire and beautify your life and big events.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

UFO Progress report - A Scrappy Short Story

Pleased as punch to have completed another UFO  Yippee!! 

This mini quilt was started in the summer of 2007 while at a horse show in Madison
Wisconsin.  Yes I take my sewing machine just everywhere that I think I will have an opportunity to sew.  My opportunity during this horse show was between the morning and evening classes.  The perfect little project to while away the time.

The pattern is called Short Story by Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. from her Schnibbles line of patterns.
The original pattern finishes up at 33" x 33" but mine is smaller because I decided to make a pillow sham out of it.

It's not everyday that you get to see the back of the quilt.
This is my chosen method for pressing the seams to help reduce the bulk.

Quilting my layers together.  
 The Piano key border will become the flange around the pillow.

The finished pillow is now sitting proudly if not a bit lonely in our new guest room.  
You know the room...the one vacated by our daughter a few years back. 
 It has been painted apricot, such a soothing color.
 I have big plans for the bedding/day bed and this is it's first official item:)
I am still looking for the right fabric for the mattress cover but I do have the fabric for the dust ruffle and some thrift store finds to make more pillows with.

Friday, March 9, 2012

My super sized week

 Can you guess what I am sewing up?  It was a fun few days in the studio creating an over sized but under sized article of clothing for a mystery man.

 Well now you's a super sized fishing hat....of course

 Say what?  
My ex-husband asked me to make this gigantic fishing hat for a mascot he created for his company Pier of d'Nort.  He has an upcoming convention and wants to make a splash (so to speak) so he has created a large figure of a man named Pierre....of course.  Every fisherman needs a fishing hat right?

 The crown is 21" in diameter. 
 The side band is 12" tall with a head circumference of 80"
 The brim is 7" wide

It is constructed out of shower liner fabric to be water repellent and is fully self lined.
The lining has been interfaced with fusible craft interfacing.
The face fabric has been interfaced with fusible batting.
I am really pleased with the body these options provided,  It holds any shape you care to give it. Standing proud, or my favorite, looking rumpled.

 I managed to grab this picture when I delivered the hat.
 Although this hat is large it is meant to be small for Pierre's head.
 The crew at Pier of d'Nort was in the process of painting and assembling Pierre when I arrived.
This project was a fun change of pace from wedding season alterations and bat capes and reminded me of this job......

a 30 ft tall pant leg for "Honey I Blew up the Kid" which was my final job in Los Angeles before leaving for the North Woods of Wisconsin.  This pant leg is made from 1" fake fur channel quilted to replicate corduroy.  Cotton laundry line was used for the top stitching and a brilliant soft sculpture artist(Bill Bryant) created that incredible shoe.

Now it's back to all things batman:)
Have you ever sewn any super sized items?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fiber optic costume by Lynne Williams & Project Runway Allstars

This week on Project Runway the designers  had a technology challenge.  This required the designers to use lights and/or black light products within their garment. 

It got me thinking about this project I did in 1988 for the Folies Bergere

  The client asked me to make them a costume for a dancer inspired by a Lion Fish or Butterfly.  The Lion fish comment really struck a chord, as its always been an inspiration for me.  As I recall I had a 3 day weekend to work it out and absolute freedom with the design.  The restrictions...outside of the lights she would only be wearing a  nude thong.
One of the funniest projects ever!! 
Photo by Sujit kumar
 Unlike the project runway contestants I only had to make the framework for the lights.  A lighting company that specialized in fiber optics (leading edge technology at the time) ran the lights thru the nylon marquisette I used to create the "wings"

I will admit to being somewhat blown away when the contestants were able to walk into a store to purchase their "technology"  A store that carried all sorts, yes all sorts of various lights and black light products.  From tape that glowed in the dark , fiber optic wands, bubble lights led's etc.  But overall I was disappointed with their results.

I do wish they had more time to work on these garments.  Honestly I know it's tv, so give them a few days and do some editing....sheesh!  

Austin won this competition and it was my favorite as well. 

Photo from Hack in Mod

This is rather obvious and tacky, but think what you might be able to do with it.
This costume is using electroluminescent wire or EL
Hack in Mod - has instructions on how to add luminescient wire to clothing
Check out this link to fiber optic kits as well
Fiber optic kits

Have you ever added technology to any of your projects?
Are you a little inspired to do so now?

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