Sewing Cafe

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

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Thrift Store Find - Vintage Rayon Dress

Chuck and I were in Minocqua recently and upon completing our necessary business we decided to treat ourselves to breakfast and some antique shopping.  Breakfast was at Paul Bunyan's and before you groan in disbelief ( those of you who know it) let me just say horrible camp food eaten in the "family style" reminds us both of our childhood...and all goes hand in hand. 
 So let's just talk shopping for vintage fashion at Island City Antiques
You will not believe what Chuck found there! 
 He is such a hunter!!
They have such a small clothes rack there and I never, never, never find anything of interest, but Chuck, hit the jackpot..... for little ol' me.  
The rack was full of vintage garments in my size.  Someone's closet obviously was cleared out and did I benefit.

First up is this rayon dress.

 My apologies for the quality of this first shot.  I tried and tried to get a nice shot, but I don't think my poor little camera knew what to focus on. 
The daisy's, the ballerina's, the gift boxes, or maybe the rhinestone buttons?

What a curious mix up of a fabric.

The ruching covers the front yoke and is stabilized with a plain lining.  
The same is used for the facing on the front placket.  The small collar is under stitched.
Can you even believe that the self belt is still with it?

There is a small hook at the collar with a thread loop on the corresponding side.  
In some ways this dress is simplicity itself.  The facing and unfinished seams are basic to say the least, but then you have beautifully made spaghetti loops with the lovely little tie at the throat.
It makes me curious...and I was beginning to think it was hand/custom made for the client when.....

I found this one tag along the back skirt princess seam, printed with  style # 1240

The hem , which I pinned up so you could all take a gander at it is done with  rayon seam tape and a machine blind hem.
The belt overlaps in the back and has a series of buttons underneath with 2 buttonholes on the top so that you can adjust the fit.
Underneath the belt there is a small casing with some elastic in it, which is still in good working order!

I am hoping someone can provide some more information about this dress.
Have you seen ready made garments without seam finishes before?
What year would you place this dress from?

There will be more vintage garments  to follow...eventually..I promise - lol

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Beach quilt progress

My Beach Quilt is coming along swimmingly :D  

A little each day and before you know it..... have these 2-4 patch units and a simple half square triangles ( hst) made into .......

this 12" block or.....

this 12" block.
Can you see the difference between the two?  
It's really important because you cannot achieve the over all pattern with out these two different block styles.  The directions only show you the one on top...and no matter how long you look at it, or spin it around and look at it again you still need both styles.  

At this stage though its fairly disappointing and I ask myself, did I get my values correct?
There is really no way of knowing without pushing ahead and hoping for the best, so push ahead I did.

Starting to feel a little more confident 10 blocks into the pattern, but still hesitating.
Who knew I was so cautious?

I am now a little over half way through the 30 blocks I need to make my queen size quilt.
These blocks are not sewn to each other yet, but just stuck to my design wall(aka flannel taped to a spare wall in the studio) slightly overlapping each other to kind of mimic the seam allowance take up, but you get the idea.  I won't sew them together until all 30 blocks are made.

The best part of quilting is seeing the pattern emerge with each new block. I suppose its the same satisfaction you get from putting together a puzzle.
Quilting teaches you sewing accuracy and a lot about color.  
For instance the importance of learning to see value - aka. the lightness to darkness ratio.  The psychology of color - what soothes, what excites?  It allows me to play with color combinations I might not think of using in clothing, which encourages me to use new color combinations in my personal wardrobe as well as my clients. For instance today I wore my yellow silk madman dress with a tan belt, light blue shoes and an aqua jacket!  I loved it! 
 Seeing it here, helped me find it in my closet.  
Now that's a win win in my book!

What new colors are you wearing this season?

Additional posts about this quilt:

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Summer Fun and the sewing is easy

Much to my complete delight my daughter has returned from her travels to Australia, New Zealand and Bali
She came bearing having her home isn't enough - lol

These 3 beautiful batiks came from Bali

This incredibly delicious cocktail from New Zealand
recipe to follow I promise

But seeing her sewing......tops it for me.

It's nice to know you have been able to pass on some of your skills to the next generation and although Sule'
was not particularly interested in sewing as a child when a project came up that she could help on she jumped right in:)

In the North woods of Wisconsin Water skiing shows and clubs are a standard part of the summer fun.  When one of our local clubs  The ChainSkimmers needed help with the show Sule' offered her services designing some quick and easy western can can girl costumes for the "jazz line"

She created these from some pre-existing cami's that the girls had used in previous years adding the ribbon to  create a corset look .  

Throw on a sparkly red skirt over some black tights and you are ready to water ski.
or in my case go to bed because......with her busy schedule we did not start sewing until 9pm, not that I was doing the sewing...well creating an easy skirt pattern and providing some basic instructions maybe....but the machine time was all her!

Cute right?
If you live in the area I highly recommend you see the show this year.  It's especially fun for the kids.
and if not......enjoy the cocktail:)

St. Germain Aromatic Elixir Recipe:

Muddle 5 Red seedless grapes in a glass 
Add crushed ice
Add 1 shot of fresh lemon juice
1 shot of gin
Fill the glass with sparkling water
Throw in a splash of cranberry or grape juice - this is optional as it just adds the pretty color
Place a small mint sprig between your hands and clap them together - this releases the minty aroma - now garnish the glass with it.

Let me know your thoughts on this cocktail friends
Have you ever participated in a water-ski show....local theater perhaps?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hand Quilted Book/Notebook cover

Recently I was asked to make a quilted book/notebook cover for a friend, by her daughter, as an anniversary gift.
Still with me - lol

This quilted cover is for a reference bible and holds a notebook, pen and highlighter as well.  It zips around the edges so you don't lose any notes or additional reference material you may need to stash.

This is the front of the cover when its neatly zipped.

This is the back of the cover, where I highlighted a different part of the print.

After cutting out the pattern pieces and sandwiching batting between the layers I sit down to some good old fashioned hand quilting.
I use embroidery floss in complimentary colors and just stitch wherever my heart desires.
It was nice to think about my friend and her many lovely qualities as I stitched.  
Can people feel the love in a hand stitched / hand made item?

Hurray - now you can see the coordinating lining fabric:)  
You can also see the pocket on the back of the cover that holds a notebook and pens.
It's roomy enough to hold a songbook as well...just say'n.

I slipped my Bible into the finished cover to make sure I had not made it to tight....a common issue of mine.
The "pocket" that holds the Bible/book into the cover can of course also hold additional items as well...say your study article or reference material.

This is a great grab and go item.  
For the park, or a waiting room, etc
I can do a little reading or some in depth studying sitting outside or while waiting for the car to be tuned up.

Do organizational items like this appeal to you or do you prefer to simply throw everything into a bag and go?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Denim Floor Mats

Today I made a bra for my mother....which I cannot share with you....because that just seems a little weird, but once that was done I completed a project that has been kicking around in the back of my head for years....literally.  
Do you have projects like that?  

This one began with an article in Martha Stewart Living magazine.  Before the regular use of the internet I would clip articles out of magazines and file them...yes I know...file them under subject.  

This article went into my home dec. file and was for making a rug using strips of denim from old jeans and was described like this :
 "This fluffy rug, so welcoming to bare feet, is made from hundreds of strips of denim. The frayed edges in shades of blue, gray and white create subtle modulations in color"
Denim Fringe Floor Mat from recycled jeans

Not being sure if I would like it enough to sew "hundreds" of denim strips to make an entire floor rug, I opted to try it out on a few floor mats for the back of our jeep.

My floor mats measure 18 x 20 and required 3 pant legs each. 

Torn denim strips
These are so easy to make and so worth the mindless sewing.  Put some good music on, invite a friend over or watch an old movie while you stitch denim strips...for that matter do all three.  

Denim floor mat in situ:)
We are in total rug love here in the studio.....seriously Chuck wants them in our bathroom because it is "welcoming to bare feet"  Peg is ripping jeans as I type( no doubt) to make some as gifts for the kids, and I am mesmerized by the " subtle color modulation" 

Do you "file" projects or "pin" ?

Have you completed any stalled projects lately? 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Charity Quilting Group

For the love of our neighbors and quilting Peg and I have decided to organize a charity quilting group.  I enjoy quilting but I only have 2 beds in my home so quilting for others is the perfect solution don't you think?
Our local homeless shelter is in need of twin size quilts to give to the family's as they leave the facility.  Additionally our local search and rescue/firefighters like to provide people with blankets(lap size) and 
Sew Smart is a drop off point for the Linus project 

Red Pepper Quilts - HST Overload by Rita Hodge
Pretty ambitious for our first quilt right? 
 To keep it a little easier we are doing ours in blues, simple shades of blue

To order your own copy of the pattern head over to Red Peppers Quilts Etsy Store

The original quilt measures 51 x 69  our charity quilt though needs to be a little larger so I have simply increased the size of the half square triangle units.

We currently have 15-20 people participating but I would love to have ...if you have not already received an email from me and would like to join us in quilting nirvana, please leave a comment or email me directly and I will get the official info and instructions out to you pronto!!

I am looking for people who would be willing to quilt a few blocks each month from quality quilting fabrics ( great for reducing your stash) and get them mailed to me upon the stated project deadline,  This first one for instance is 5-7 blocks due by Aug 15th.  
Peg and I will be handling the coordination, design, and finishing.

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