Saturday, June 4, 2016

Variations on Vogue 9193 and Travels

I took a class with Gwen Spencer in March that was focused on creating fabric from scraps.  It was such a terrific class for so many reasons.  Gwen is an inspiring sewist...well, she might call herself a seamstress, not sure.  You can see her in Marcy's blogs sometimes and even does a video or two in Marcy's studio.  She's so talented and a great teacher.  She used Marcy Tilton's V9193 pattern so that we would all have the same structure to work with.  

Most of the fabrics I used were stretch woven.  It made it a bit trickier because of the stretch but it worked out.  I made the sleeveless version which falls slightly over the shoulder.  I fell in love with the pattern.  First, it's really simple to construct.  Second, it's so versatile.  I really like the pocket detail and the fact that it dips just slightly at the hem on the pocket side.  I enjoyed making it so much I made two more!

I did quite a bit of hand stitching with Pearl Cotton to give it more definition.  I also machine stitched some vertical lines to give the pocket area a bit more body.

It's all about raw edges which I love.

The back is a bit less stitched.  The long black strip is cotton jersey that I stamped.

Details of the stitching

More stitching details.  I did some with regular sewing thread but stitched by hand.  I'm getting very fond of that look.

The next one I made is from a fabric I got at  Fabrix in San Francisco.  That place is a gold mine.  But you take your chances; sometimes I go out of there with armloads, other times with nothing.  The owner buys designer fabrics that are from past seasons.  There are some real finds.
This cotton digital print...I think it's digital, I'd seen on Gwen's tunic and my friend Mary Boalt made a very cool jacket from it.  It's really fun to lay out and try to figure where all the jean jacket pieces should go.
On this version I added the dolman sleeve, I like it because it's not too bulky, something I've always steered clear of in most dolman sleeves.  The bottom third of the sleeve was a bit narrow for me so on the following version I added 1/2" on all sides to give it more room.

I decided on the next one I would make it slightly longer and put another pocket in it.

So here is the last version in another Fabrix buy.  It's a slightly see-through black and grey with cut out pieces of fabric sewn on.  It looks so Japanese although I don't know where it came from.

I lengthened the top by 1" and the bottom by 2".  I also added pocket on the other side.  My right hand felt left out!
I'll make this again, probably several times.  I can see it in jersey, stretch woven, corduroy, organza, stretch velveteen, velour, fleece... anything.

I'm extremely glad that Gwen used this tunic for the class project.  I'm thinking about taking this and one more on our upcoming trip to Amsterdam and the Baltic Countries.  I'm gonna need a bunch of clothes on this trip because the weather will be very changeable.

I just started sewing for the trip.  Why do we like to have new clothes for travel?  It's not like anybody's looking!...

And I'm going to take jewelry this time and WEAR IT a la Margy from Fool 4 Fabric.  I love her travel wardrobes.  She doesn't hold back.  She wears hats, jewelry and looks terrific.

You might give this pattern a try.  Don't be dissuaded by how it looks on the pattern cover.  I don't think it did the design any favors.

I just got home from a 10 day textile junket.  It began in Tumalo, Oregon where I am invited each year to a Quilt Away.  A group of talented, extremenly fun women get together each year, most of whom are quilters.  No quilts for me but I did manage to get two project done in the three days.  One was the black and grey top above and the other was a very cool little carry case.  I'll show you picks of that soon.

Then I took a little road trip up to Seattle to join my friend Sharon on another leg of the journey to Vancouver, BC, for a MAIWA class on eco-dyeing, contact printing and indigo dyeing.  

The first day we were asked to go out and forage for dye materials.  These are the little piles of found vegetation.  We were not allowed to pick anything, of course...good conservationists!

This moody photo was a bit of the huge selection the teacher brought.

Here's Sharon getting excited about the first "reveal".  Eco printing necessitates leaving your "bundles" to steep overnight for best results.  Hard to do but so worth it.

Our fabulous teacher, Natalie Grambow.  A super good teacher who knows how to impart her extensive knowledge in natural dyeing in all it's many applications.  I'd take another class from her in a minute.  The only thing I would say about the class is that it had a few too many people in it for the space allowed and the type of class.  Poor Natalie kept up but she must have been pooped at the end of each day.

Merino wool jersey sample ready for the dye bath.

Some of my samples.  The green one in the middle is the result of the previous photo.

The purple is from logwood.  We did some shibori, too.

We dyed beautiful watercolor paper, too.  

Sharon and I came back to Seattle for a relaxing day before she headed back to work and I flew home.  High on our list was a visit to the Seattle Asian Art Museum for their Mood Indigo exhibit.  It's small but worth seeing.

Sharon is inside an indigo installation by Rowland Ricketts that was accompanied by sound artist, Norbert Herber recordings.  We got lost in this little room for a long time.  The combination of being surrounded by a "drum" of hand woven cloth that was dyed indigo while listening to the sounds of the process was haunting.  The music ebbed and flowed with our movements.

There were many quotes in the show but I loved this one; from one of my all time favorite books.

A piece from the show, delicately stitched, I couldn't quite figure out how they did it...flat fell, I guessed but then it didn't really look like that close up.

This design could work today.  Love the buttons with the red loops.

Here's a little rabbit that was on a kimono.  He was accompanied by several other rabbits doing various things, all of which had meaning.  Here is a description I found on the interwebs about the meaning of rabbits in Japanese Culture.

 In Japanese tradition, rabbits live on the Moon where they make Mochi - a popular sticky snack.
The rabbit in the moon is lifted out of Japanese myth. Representing the female principal, which meant divine inspiration in spiritual or creative matters, but folly, mania, or death in everyday affairs.
Tsukino Usagi means "Rabbit of the Moon."
The Moon rabbit, also called the Jade Rabbit, is a rabbit that lives on the moon in East Asian folklore. The legends about the moon rabbit are based on the traditional pareidolia that identifies the markings of the moon as a rabbit pounding in a mortar. In Chinese folklore, it is often portrayed as a companion of the moon goddess Chang'e, constantly pounding the elixir of life for her; but in Japanese and Korean versions it is just pounding mochi.
The earliest records suggesting that there is a rabbit on the moon appears in the Warring States period in ancient China. The Chu Ci, a Western Han anthology of Chinese poems from the Warring States period, notes that along with a toad, there is a rabbit on the moon who constantly pounds herbs for the immortals. 

I liked the stitching on this one.

And this one for the printing pattern.

That's all for now. 


  1. You've been having lots of fun! Regarding the pieced indigo linen you said looked like flat fell, it appears to me to be created using the pojagi technique. It is of Korean origin, I believe. Both edges are folded over once, basted in place down the center, then both folded edges are carefully hand-stitched in place. Clear as mud, but you should be able to find directions on the internet. I love the pieced fabrics created with this technique.

  2. I neglected to say re pojagi: the folded edges are interlocked with one another before basting in place.

    1. Thanks for the name of this technique. I just spent quite some little time down that rabbit hole. A nice rabbit hole to be sure.
      Vancouver Barbara

  3. Gorgeous!
    and a brilliant way to recycle clothing or fabric scraps.

  4. Sheesh, girl! Why didn't you tell me you were coming to Vancouver and we could have met up! I've admired you and your work for ages and it would have been lovely to tell you so in person. Oh well. I'm sure you were super busy with Natalie keeping you hopping!

    1. Ditto to Louisa's comment. Next time you come to Vancouver, give us some notice so we can meet you. You're always inspiring. I mistakenly wrote inspiriting and that's true too.
      Love what you make and thanks for the latest with the tip to Marcy's pattern. It is one I have passed over but will now seek out.
      Vancouver Barbara

  5. What a treasure trove of ideas and textures and colors you've given us! My co-costumer and I are seeing the Indigo show this Thursday, have heard so much about it. Thanks for the taste!

    1. You'll go crazy for that first room. Thanks for tuning in!

  6. love your site and that faux jean jacket fabric. saw something similar at Katherine Tilton's site.. did you get that recently-have been looking for a fabric like that for several months.

    thank you, bonnie

  7. Gayle, what a whirlwind of activity! I love your two tops (and have the same fabric as the first one). I agree about Margy's travel wardrobe acumen - she inspires me, too! Thanks for sharing all of this goodness!


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