Sewing Cafe

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

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Silky Alpaca Harbor Beach Wrap on my needles

Thought I would share my current knitting project with you all.
This is my first time knitting with a lace's very fine!  
Which makes it very lovely and very difficult to see.....drat these aging eyes.

This is the Harbor Beach wrap by designer Tonia Barry as featured in Classic Elites Summer Breeze pattern series.

#2466 Midnight Forest
 The recommended yarn is Silky Alpaca by Classic Elite
It is a blend of silk and alpaca in a lace weight and I chose this color Midnight Forest.
I am knitting this for my mom, to complement  her new coat purchase which is a boiled wool in green
(unless they are out of stock, in which case it will be navy) either color should suit this palette nicely.
  This is a suprise for "mums the word".

The Pattern is simple enough really but...requires careful attention as it is easy to pick up two stitches, or the stitch below, or who knows where that stitch came from.....Arghh.
So not a slapdash project and the jury is still out on whether its worth the frustration.
I should have tried this when I was much younger and my eyes much sharper.

Had to throw in another progress shot. 
 Coming off the needles it measures about 10"
After blocking the pattern states it will measure 15"......
We will see Rabbit, we will see...

Have any of you knitted lace?  Love it, or Hate it?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dress Form Evaluation Series

Antique Dress Form
I have been wanting to do a series of posts for a while about Dress Forms.
Over the years I have had the opportunity to use many different types of forms and I thought a post about their different qualities might prove informative for beginner and intermediate sewers.

We will be comparing: 
Professional forms
    Prym/Dritz dial forms
 Duct tape forms 
 Uniquely You.

My question for you dear readers is.....
Do you have any specific questions about Dress Forms that you would like answered?
Do you currently own one....which type?
Are you planning on buying one or upgrading your current model?
Are you curious why/what people use them for?

I will do my best to post each Sunday about each type until they are all reviewed and hopefully all of our questions answered.
Hope you can join me:)

Circa 1893

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

For The Love or the Economy of Sewing?

This NY Times article about Bespoke Tailors was just brought to my attention thru  Made by Hand - the great Sartorial Debate  and I thought I should pass the favor on by sharing it with will all of you.  Please take a few minutes to read it and be sure to look at the photos.   I love seeing peoples/companies sewing rooms don't you?

Marvin Orellana/The New York Times

Obviously sewing for yourself and/or others is a time consuming and not always inexpensive endeavor.  Homemakers in the past sewed for economy's sake....but does that still hold true today?  With fabrics costs rising and RTW clothing prices being so affordable why do we bother sewing?  Why do you sew?

Lynne Williams at her cutting table in the Williams Studio sewing room

I often tell my students to compare apples to apples and not apples to oranges.  By this I mean compare the price of your custom made pants to a pair of custom made pants, not to RTW pants you could pick up at JC Pennys  This only makes sense right?  We cannot custom make a pair of pants for the same price a factory can crank them out for...thats apples to oranges folks....apples to oranges.  While it is true that when you begin sewing your skills might not be as good as factory standards, but you are gaining so much more than a garment.  You are gaining skills, sewing, fitting and style skills, critical thinking skills, not to mention, patience, endurance, humility and pride of accomplishment.  This is valuable human development!  Sure some might argue that shopping will provide some of the same lessons, but I prefer the that just me?
 While those around us might wonder why we bother....we know why, its far more than having something to wear, its having something to wear that was constructed especially for us, completely unique in fit and style, just like each of us.

Please let me know your thoughts on the article and how you benefit from sewing for yourself and others.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Seasonal Sewing Plan

Eucalyptus tree bark
Am I the only one feeling "Seasonal Transition Disorder"?
 ( Don't google that I just made it up)  Maybe it's just my ADD working overtime but I can't settle down to my sewing.  July went so well...and then August just fell apart, and here we are its Sept. 1st....National Sewing Month and I simply must pull it together.

I suppose it is in part due to all of the fall trends being released and a bit of Pinterest overload.  Last week though I decided I had to take control of the situation so I spent a day deciding on my fall & winter sewing line up.  Once I had a plan I was able to settle down and I am now looking forward to my sewing once again.

My fall plan is inspired by this Eucalyptus bark.  I have fond memories of eucalyptus..I can smell it in the air and hear the distinctive rustle of its leaves every time I say the word.  It reminds me of dry September days, dusty toes, playground fun and's all good:)

I thought about joining the Fall Wardrobe Challenge at PR but I don't really need a wardrobe, mine got a fine start last year....Remember.......

My needs are:
          Ministry clothes -  Skirts, Dresses and Blouses, dressy
                                       layers - vests, sweaters,blazers
           Studio clothes - Jeans, cords, Henleys, T's and sweaters

I made this skirt last fall along with several other items and I simply need to add a few items to the mix.  I have enough of the skirt fabric left over to make a vest from.....

This is a Folk Wear vest made last year and I will probably use the same pattern for my vest for this year or the double breasted version is another option.

These are some stash fabrics I pulled and I found a use for the burnt orange (2nd from left) which will mix in nicely with my other dressy separates.

This is a tried and true pattern which I will make up in the burnt orange silk adding a flutter sleeve to it.

I also have some brass sequins which I will add to the hem of the sleeve and possible the hem of the blouse, or possibly scattered over the silk....

The brass sequins came from a jacket I made for my mom.  The silk dupion yardage she chose had a fairly dense covering of these lovely sequins on it.  They had to be removed from the seam allowance which produced a fine stash of them for future projects:)

This piece of linen on the far left was planned for the blouse on the right as part of last years fall sewing plan....Ah well the best laid plains will be just as suitable a year later.....right?


My Jalie jeans have worked out well and I think I will modify the pattern to create some straight leg corduroys.  I have some green medium wale corduroy in my stash that will be suitable for studio days.

In the evenings I can knit on this vest, which will be suitable for both the studio and the ministry:)

This is a knitting class being offered thru Craftsy which I signed up for because.... I like to knit, have not done any Fair Isle and have found knitted vests to be very useful here in WI.

I have had a love affair with this pattern for a few years, could this be the year it gets made up?........

I don't have fabric in my stash for this one and I have been trying to use all the glorious fabrics I already have but.....could I break my "no fabric buying" streak with.....

....this plaid from  

So this is the Fall plan and we will talk about winter once I have a few of these babies made up.  I do not expect to accomplish them all but if I don't have a lot to do I procrastinate and then nothing gets done...Anyone else have this issue?  

I will stop sewing fall items on Nov 30th  and sew winter items from Dec. 1st thru Feb 30th.

Do you like to plan your sewing seasonally? or just as you're inspired?

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