Saturday, March 14, 2020

Sewcial Distancing







Hi everyone!
I'm here on California's central coast basking in the rain and staying home.  It freaked me out at first to realize I'll be home for the next few weeks (months?) but I'm fine now.  I want to devote this time to learning new things, cleaning up around our home, spending more time with my darling husband and bakery/rosticceria business.

I sewed this VOTE pin at a Design Outside The lines recently with teacher Kay Kahn as my inspiration.  

Thank you to my pal, Wendy, for coming up with the term "sewcial distancing".  She used it to describe what we will have to do now that our sewing retreats, classes and get-togethers are canceled.  More home sewing and sharing with friends.  

I'm beginning an online group sharing project with several friends who will not be meeting for our annual retreat.  There's always a way to stay connected.

I've also decided to share more on my blog.  I'm finding more time to read blogs right now and I'm sure you're in the same boat.  So, look for more coming from me.  But please remember, for some reason I am not able to respond to your comments right now.  I can't find out how to remedy it so please don't be hurt when I do not respond.  I don't want it to keep me from reaching out right now tho!

About a year ago I bought a long boro vest on Etsy.  It came from Japan and the gal selling it said she found it in a multi-generational antique store in a small town, in the very agricultural area of Shikoku.  

It did not fit well and would have taken a lot of remaking to work so I finally decided to remake it into a haori jacket.  I kept all of the original stitching and piecing and used every single scrap of the fabric.  I hand stitched it.

Most of the edges I left raw but did sew a little hem in the sleeves.

In some spots it was (and still is) in very threadbare condition.  I patched some areas with vintage Japanese textiles I got there last year.  Other areas will have to remain tattered and be fixed as they tear.

The white threads were original to the piece.  I've seen them in other boro pieces and decided to keep them.  I believe, although I don't know this for certain, that they are stitches that were inside garments to secure raw edges.  






I just finished another haori jacket using vintage men's kimono pieces I got last year.  I wanted a quilted jacket so I bought very thin, good quality cotton and indigo dyed it for the lining.  I also indigo dyed the cotton batting.  

Originally I was going to quilt the boro haori but decided that hiding the back side of that cloth wasn't the right way to go.  Before I changed my mind I realized it was so threadbare I had to dye the batting as it would have shown through.  Boy, dyeing batting is not easy, I wouldn't recommend it.  

I inserted welt pockets cuz a girl's gotta have somewhere to stash her Kleenex!  I remember all of my old aunties with theirs tucked up their sleeves.  Never works for me, it always embarrassingly falls out at the most inappropriate times!

I hand quilted the jacket pieces with sashiko thread.  It's the first time I've used it and love this stuff!  It glides through the fabric like butter and doesn't knot or tangle like so many other hand stitching threads.  I'm a convert.


There were two slashes cut in the original cloth which I wanted to include in their natural state.  I simply layered a piece of cloth under them to secure the small opening.  I wonder which part of the kimono they were used on?  The neck, the underarm?  I've never seen this before in the kimono's I've taken apart.

Here's the second opening I mentioned above.  

I'm very happy with this jacket.  It feels like it's old already and reminds me of the worker jackets I saw in antique markets in Japan.

Last fall I was gifted a huge bag of very good, hand selected scraps from a group of sewing pals.  The leader of that group asked that everyone contribute only black pieces.  But then, my other two favorite colors, grey and mustard, showed up unexpectedly.

I decided on the Sapporo coat.  I had so much fun putting this together.  It will be a great spring coat.


I sewed the pieces onto a very drapy linen.



I still have my Girl Scout sash.  Raise your hand if you do, too!  A friend gave me this badge that seemed to fit right in since I was definitely a troublemaker when I was a kid...ask my mother.



And finally, I was lucky enough to see the Norman Rockwell retrospective at the Houston Art Museum before the world clipped my wings for a while.  It was far better than I expected and huge.  One section had the images he painted about social injustice.  This one has always felt so powerful to me.  

There were black and white photos of the little girl who posed for the painting with her father who was lovingly helping her with her braids.  There was also a video of her as a woman describing what it was like to go to and be a student in that school.  Such a wonderful exhibit.


And here is the dress Norman Rockwell had made especially for that painting.  It's the one the little girl wore.  Imagine, he saved it...

That's all from my neck of the woods.  I hope you are exploring your own creative options in your neck of the woods.  Stay well, be kind.  More ongoing creative activities will be posted soon.

16 comments:

  1. It was good to hear from you, Gayle, and see your latest creations. I love what you've done with the first, antique jacket as well as the new one. Imagine dying batting - you are brave!! The jacket with gold is so you. Thanks for posting. Karen

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  2. I just found your blog! I know you can't respond, but thanks for posting. I am loving your garments. I am also in California (Sierra Foothills on the way to Lake Tahoe) and things are different now with this sewcial isolation aren't they? We are all fortunate to have our hobby. Happy sewing!

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    1. I can respond again. Who knows why! But thank you, I'm so happy you are on board now. Thank you for your kinds words. Sew on! G

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  3. You make such beautiful garments, its exquisite work, thank you for sharing it with us.

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  4. Gayle, I love your Sapporo coat. I need to make one. I've started to clean my sewing room and working on WIPs. I also love your VOTE pin.

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    1. You DO need to make one, they are fun to make and wear. Thanks for tuning in!

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  5. I just love your creativity!!! The badge is just too funny- love it...we will all keep each other entertained through this mess

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  6. Thank you Gayle. You are always such an inspiration! It is so interesting to me how many people are expressing your exact sentiments on how we are approaching this time of self quarantine -- slow down, create, sort, be with family and friends. Hugs, love and good health!

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    1. I'm using this time to learn new things, too. Trying to figure out how to make pop-up greeting cards, among other things. Thanks, K!

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  7. Totally LOVE this blog entry...LOVE "sewsocial distancing." LOVE the fabric and remembering Norman Rockwell. thank you from upstate NY...we have been joined by NYC son who evacuated once his mathematician friend showed him statistics what is going to be NYC in a very short period of time...

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    1. Thank you for tuning in and glad your son is with you during these times!

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  8. Well, if you are going to posting more often I can see a benefit from this enforced home-staying. I won't be sewing for awhile -- completing tax return, re-wiring a lamp, cleaning house, but I love knowing there is the delight of sewing waiting when I have time.

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    1. Thank you Carol. I hope you get to your sewing soon! It really helps.

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