Wednesday, June 22, 2016

graphic photos and safety gear

Hi Readers,

It has been awhile, hasn't it?  I have been working on my shirtmaking skills, as well as the usual mix of dog walking, horse training, reading, and fiddling with the house.  Oh, and various problems coming my way as I also am active on my HOA Board.  Life is good.

So, shirtmaking.  There is something so satisfying about working with a fine woven and building a shirt to your exact specifications.  I have used 2 patterns recently, both from Sewing Workshop.   They are the Siena and Cortona.  

The first is the Siena shirt.  I made it using some scraps in my stash, knowing at some level that the style was Just Not Right for me.  After a lot of analysis, I think it has to do with the vertical seams which form part of the sleeve.  These same quasi-princess seams are also on the Quincy jacket and I had the same problem with them.  The lines hit too far toward my shoulder, throwing the balance of the shirt off.  I could alter every piece, but why?  There are too many other patterns to try.

Onto the Cortona shirt.  This is a more traditional shirt, but with some wonderful features.  The collar and band are cut as one, the cuffs are narrow and perfectly flattering, the slight peplum is a feminine touch, and the darts are really pretty.  
I was so taken with Martha's Cortona that I copied her and used a B/W print as did she.  BTW, her blog Now Sewing is always a feast for the eyes.  Here is Martha's Cortona-

Onto more B/W graphic prints.  I got a new phone recently, an LG V10 and it is great.  But my cell phone case for riding is too small for this oversized phone.  So, I used some wonderful home dec fabric which my friend Janet gave me.  (Janet is a highly creative fiber artist and her website is gorgeous! )

The graphic fabric is perfect for handbags and accessories (thanks so much Janet!).  My case has fusible batting, D rings for attaching to a strap or to the saddle, and 2 pockets.  The pockets are for my ID, and another for Carmex.  I'm pretty chuffed about this little case, and plan to make a few more as I now know adding velcro has to be done when everything is flat :-)  

Griff is settling in and is a wonderful companion when he isn't gnawing on my hands, feet or nose.  He also is learning that his nickname is NO since he hears it so often.  He is a lizard killer extraordinaire, which make me incredibly sad and pissed off when he gets one.  It is too late at that point-I have missed my chance to control the situation.  He is on a leash in the backyard most of the time now, to even the playing field.  We love him, and are happy to have an affectionate, tolerant dog sharing our space.  

Finally, here we are with the "kids" at Wendy and Albert's wedding.  Wendy is in red and in the center, with Albert to the right directly above me.  Katie is Albert's sister and is sitting next to me with her husband.  These young adults are our hope for the future-all hard working, very smart, very caring, very successful in their lives.  I couldn't be more pleased to count myself as part of these families.

Friday, June 3, 2016

beginnings and endings

I have been considering dropping some of my online presence, not because of anything negative, but because I have found myself really engaged in training, reading, and sewing.  I gave myself some time to see what felt right, and found some surprising things:

PatternReview no longer fills my need to talk sewing.  It is so large now and I am disenchanted with the censorship.  I understand why, but miss the vital conversations which were so interesting. I stop in each day and spend perhaps 15 minutes now.

Facebook has some value to me as I can use it to quickly scan the major political headlines and check in with some private groups to see what others are doing with sewing, art or horses.  I cut my time there by 75%. 

My blog goes quiet from time to time, and this recent hiatus allowed me to reconnect with my writer's voice.  For me, my blog is not about my accomplishments, but about my life.  Sewing, art, horses, dogs, politics, cooking, friends, family, books and movies all add to the mix here.  

Let me introduce a new member of my family:
                             Griffin (AKA Griff)

Griff is 1 year 2 months old and is from the Pima Co. Animal Shelter.  He is probably boxer/pit bull-2 breeds known for being good family dogs and quite tenacious.  I have had terriers for years so the obsessive tenacity (lizard!) is familiar.  Griff is 50 lbs right now and I expect him to gain maybe 10 more as he fills out.  He is super quiet:

and is very interested in people and people's stuff:

He is one of those special dogs who are sweet as pie, and love all people and other dogs.  In that, he is a perfect match for big Nick, who is also sweet as pie.

Griff has helped Ross and I manage our sadness in losing little Nick.  Little Nick was slowly giving up parts of his life and when he stopped wanting to walk, we knew it was time.  He was with us for 14 years and is now resting without pain.

I will always hold you in my heart little Nick.  

Saturday, April 2, 2016

small art-big ideas

I went to Taos, New Mexico a few weeks back and attended a 1 week art retreat titled "A Case of Curiosities.".  The workshop was taught jointly by Roxanne Evans Stout and Seth Apter.  I have known Roxanne for years and was thrilled to take a class from her.  Meeting and working with Seth was frosting on this very sweet cake!  Here are their sites: rivergardenstudio
           The Altered Page

Above is the courtyard of the beautiful adobe studio at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House..  My room was off to the left and I could go back and forth easily, working late most nights in my pjs.  
The workshop focused on mixed media pieces, all of which were included in our bare and empty boxes.
We used lots of found objects such as sticks, feathers, bone-as well as paint, fabric and wire.  I tried to be open to what might come from my hands and let my work evolve over the 6 days.  The photo above is probably day 1.  
Playing with objects and letting something happen (nothing did on this meditative assemblage).

The week was an incredible stretch for me as I am most happy with a ruler, some fabric, and a pattern.  I love straight lines.  Intersecting lines are magic to me.  The geometry of clothing construction intrigues me and I found myself missing that while I painted, and sanded, glued and gessoed.  

I am the keeper of the family memories, and I chose to use some of the family photos.  This is part of my family from Bisbee, AZ. and was taken in 1917.  What to do with ephemera which brings both sadness and connection?

My art progressed as the week went on, and I came back over and over to certain pieces to add detail.  I used more and more photos, and moved away from straight lines.  As I worked, I learned that the small compartments could contain some feelings or thoughts in safety.

I would sometimes retreat to my room to meditate on these lovely straight lines on the ceiling.

These became a small collection of memory cards with messages from many of the other artists.  They stay in one of the little compartments.

I'll share more in a few days.  Ideas, shapes, and colors are percolating inside and I am working them into some clothing right now.  I want to come back to my Taos case of curiosity and play a bit more with some of the elements.  Afterwards, I'll be able to show you some more of what I made.  

As in all creative adventures, it takes effort to construct a narrative.  

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The power of repetition

How many of you make a pattern, and then even though your garment was fabulous, that pattern sits ignored while you go on to the next new pattern?

Me too.

In my quest to be more mindful in my craft and life, I have asked myself to use a pattern more than once.  Not just to improve it, but to use it.  Again and again.  

An example is the Quincy:

#1 version:

#2 version (actually just an alteration):

#3 version:
I added 3 inches to the length and included a tie instead of a zipper.  3/4 sleeves and sewed an xs-small. 

Two Quincy jackets in my spring and summer wardrobe which will be perfect for layering in AC or the hot sun.  I am not done yet because these jackets were made with second choice fabric.  In fact, the 3rd version is made from pillowcase linens and cottons I had cut and stored for a project!  I had to piece the fabric for the collar. 

Spending the time necessary to analyze the pattern, get feedback on the fit, try a simple alteration to the sleeves, and revisit the pattern again has benefits far beyond 2 light jackets.  I learned about the pattern draft for the sleeve and underarm, and why it may have been used; I learned again why certain silhouettes are flattering or not on me; I learned about color and what works together; I used what was available and thus was invited to be creative.  

I am currently making this shell (My Hearts A'Flutter) from Cutting Line Designs.  I'm enjoying the process and I know I will be making more of these as the weather warms up.  

I am interested to know how many of those reading use a pattern multiple times, and if you find it freeing to do so.  As we say in the classroom, talk amongst yourselves...


Monday, February 15, 2016

The Quincy jacket-some thoughts on patternmaking

I finished the Quincy jacket and I like it.  As sewn, it is casual, easy to wear, and sporty.  However, it is NOT what I thought it would be.  Here, let me show you what I saw when I looked at the fashion drawing:

I see a trim jacket with some ease for movement, a horizontal seam under her arm which is almost an empire seam, and some vertical seaming which are close to princess seams.  The collar looks oversized on her left side but not the right, and the sleeves look as though they are straight sleeves.  

Now look at the line drawing...carefully.  The horizontal seam is quite near the bottom of the sleeve, the vertical seams look to be close to the shoulders, the neckline appears cicular rather than oval, and the sleeves are quite wide.  Also, the proportions of the top of the jacket to the bottom is about 1:1 in the line drawing, but not in the illustration.

I got snookered and it's not the first time.  It's okay; I actually expect to be surprised sometimes, and if I venture into Sewing Workshop land, I am just pleased that the garment is not too voluminous.  

I brought my jacket to my sewing group today, and shared my thoughts.  We all agreed I could go down one size, and with extensive alterations, make this to be more fitted.  But, as an experiment, many tried on the jacket.  While it fit most everyone somewhat, the vertical seams were always outside the bust area and the overall silhouette was almost a swing coat.  You can see that in the line drawing.  

We agree that there is a certain set of designers who work this tpye of pattern well, and it sells because the sleeves and armscyse are manipulated or even absent, thus ensuring a broader range of fit.  This realization helps me see why I like SW patterns for their design, and find them so darn hard to fit my small shoulders and bust.  

 You'll see this pattern again, and before I leave, please note the awesome job of pattern matching and motif placement, even though this was my wearable muslin!