Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Printed Cashmere and Trouble With Blogger

Hi everyone,
Truthfully, I'd blog more often but Blogger makes it SO difficult to respond to questions I hesitate to write a post.  At this point, everything I did to resolve that issue is not working and I can't respond to the lovely Gill who asked about the pattern paper I use.

Thank you, Gill.  Here's the answer.  The bridal isle runner paper I've used, Suresta, is no longer available on Amazon so I've gotten another brand.  It's working fine as well.  It does not usually need ironing like traditional pattern tissue so I don't have to iron very often.  But I have ironed it and it's fine. I'd make sure my iron isn't too hot first!

Reluctantly, I'm going to turn off comments on this blog.   I don't want to do it but I see no other way to move forward.  Maybe it will encourage me to post more often!

In the meantime, here's a shawl I made with more of the printed cashmere I talked about a couple posts ago.  I really like the shawl better than the sweater I made with the other pieces so I've cut that up and am making another shawl!


And here's a shot I worked on in the app, Waterlogue.  Super fun app!

Love to all, sorry we won't be chatting in the future but please keep showing up!!




 

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Graffiti Puffer Jacket

Often, when I attend one of Diane Ericson's Design Outside The Lines retreats, I'll swoop up a hand painted piece of fabric made by her son Miles Frode
This one was a huge painter's drop cloth with loads of personality.  I don't usually wear hot pink but hey, why not!?

I had fun with this one.  I decided to quilt it since the winter storms were blasting the central coast here in California.  I also used it to polish my welt pocket skills, a goal for 2022.

 Since the canvas had so much body on its own I used a lightweight cotton batting.  For the stitching, I tested several thread weights including pearl cotton and carpet thread but ended up using sashiko thread. 

I sewed the body of the jacket together with machine stitching, cut away the batting along the seam lines and hand stitched the lining seams.

For the lining I decided to use a beautiful silk scarf I'd purchased from Michael Brennand-Wood at a Shakerag Workshop several years ago.  It was hard to cut into it but using what I have has become a mantra in the last two years.  And I know he would approve since he's the king of re-use.

But...there wasn't enough fabric in the scarf for the sleeves.  I rummaged, and rummaged and finally decided to use the sleeves leftover from a puffer jacket I made out of two bright orange puffers I'd bought cheap in Ashland.  I realize now that I never blogged about that coat.  I'll take some pics and show it soon.

I actually like the spot of orange at the cuff, even tho there isn't any orange in the canvas.  Carrie Bradshaw's bright blue heals that didn't match a thing she was wearing in a Sex In The City episode all those years ago had an affect on me!


And here's a little lining reveal.

And the full lining with the puffer sleeves.  It feels so comfy and what they say is true...you really do feel different when you're wearing something that only YOU know is inside!

If you're thinking to yourself, "Doesn't this woman have enough coats?" the answer is yes, and the bed in my spare room agrees.

 

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Jackets, Tops and A Vase


Lots of rain, cold and COVID combines to give me loads of creative time.  I feel like one of the lucky ones who figured out a passion and it serves me so well right now.

My pal, Sharon, and I bought a 1930's-50's comforter for a wonderful Paula Kovarik class a few months ago.  We agreed to split it and I came home with my half, never having used it in class.  Wondered what to do with it and finally decided to paint it with Dy-Na-Flow. 

I cut out the pattern pieces for a haori, drafted by the talented Wendy Franzen of West Zen Studio.  I've used this pattern lots.  It's a great canvas.  I followed the stitch lines on the comforter as a start then added elements as I went.  

I need to heat set this, or never wear it out in the rain, one or the other!  It's so comfy!  Maybe that's because it reminds me of a bed jacket my grandmother used to let me wear!

This shell, made from painted lace pieces, is the result of a long story.
Another pal, Lisa, has an airbrush and compressor she let me use.  I wanted to use various pieces of lace as stencils to spray paint pieces of cashmere.  The cashmere pieces looks so great after I sprayed them.  Then...it all washed away, even tho I did everything I was supposed to do to set it.

But, I had loads of grey lace to show for it.  Interestingly, when I washed the lace the paint stayed in.  They all came out in various shades of grey, which is good.  So, what to do with a bunch of grey lace?

Seemed a simple pattern would be best and I used a self drafted top that is basically a rectangle.  

This is 100% hand sewn, very drapy, looks great over black.  I aspire to wear it to the grocery store this year....because the way it feels right now, that's the only place I'm going!

I'm still going to work on getting cashmere to take spray painted color.  Lisa wisely suggested trying Dye-A-Flow with the airbrush sprayer.  I like this idea.  I'll probably have to thicken it just a bit with the alginate I use for me printing.
As soon as the temps get above 50 I'm giving it a try!

And finally, I've been lusting after the vessels made by Zoe Hillyard for years.  
I finally decided to give this technique a try.  It marries both my passions; pique assiette and textiles.
Since I've done so much pique assiette I have a pretty good idea of how to keep the pieces sorted to keep the shape.  The technique was generously supplied by Zoe in a vimeo video entitled, Rags to Riches, Zoe Hillyard.

I'm headed to my fabric stash right now to begin my second one, a huge bowl.  This should be easier to manipulate but I'm going to have to make the inside look as good as the outside this time.

Welcome to 2022.  Keep making, keep sane, keep sweet!




 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

One Holiday Cashmere Sweater Using Three

It's raining here on the central coast of California which is always good news.  Perfect for the solstice and the approaching holiday.

It's been really chilly, too.  Sweater weather, for sure.  This time of year I bring out my copious supply of secondhand cashmeres and go to work trying to reduce the stash.

I bought a sweater at a D.C. consignment store a couple years ago that I love and wanted to copy.  Seemed like cashmere would be the perfect tester material.

The original is a short, boxy style that I wear over lots of different tops.  I'm wearing several short, cropped tops that are made of drapy fabrics.  In winter they're cashmere, in summer they're cotton knits.

Of course, all of my cashmeres have holes in them; that's why I get them for $8 each.  Hence the square patches.

I used three sweaters to make this and have lots of scraps leftover.  I intend using all of the scraps I've accumulated over the years.  Any ideas for using small cashmere scraps?  My friend, Gwen, makes beautiful lap blankets, using 2 inch squares.  I may follow her lead but I'm open to suggestions!

I copied the garment construction verbatim using  raw edge, flat fell seams so that both layers of cashmere show along the edge of each seam.  I like the look of raw edges so this worked well for me.  
I don't hem any of the remade cashmere sweater I make because thin, closely knit fabrics don't unravel and the bulk of a hem just doesn't look right to me.

I've been doing a LOT of sewing but not much posting these last months.  I promise to catch up after the new year.

Stay sweet, stay safe, keep sewing!

 

Monday, November 1, 2021

Recycled Cashmere


A good friend taught me a new textile trick last July.  I know it's been around for quite a while but it was new to me.
She showed us how to imprint a silk scarf with recycled men's silk ties.
The lightbulb went off and I thought, why couldn't you do the same with vintage silk scarves and recycled cashmere sweaters.  And that started a two-week frenzy out in the garage!


I've been saving vintage scarves for over ten years.  I used them on cashmere jackets that I sold for many years but after I stopped making those I couldn't bring myself to give away the two huge containers of scarf bits and whole scarves. Unfortunately, my scarf stash doesn't look like I even dented it!

There are several good tutorials online explaining how to do this technique if you're interested.  Basically, you tightly wrap the silk ties or scarf pieces around a dowel with the cashmere (or silk scarf), bind it together very tightly and steam it.


 I pieced the scarves on large cashmere sweater fronts, backs and sleeves so there really aren't that many seems in this garment, even tho it looks quite patched.

At first I was going to make a large patchwork shawl with the pieces I dyed.  But then I thought I might use a sweater more so tried this oversized, slouchy sweater pattern I drafted from a RTW garment.

The sleeves are very tight fitting so it gives the garment a bit of shape.


Here's a close up.  Most of the colors really printed well.  Every once in a while one scarf didn't print so well.  And then every once in a while my burn test to determine if it was really silk failed!  Then I got NO print at all.



I also used some old kimono prints.  I was surprised that so few of my vintage kimono scraps were silk. Most must be rayon, I guess.  

I've been sewing and doing loads of surface design these last few months but just haven't gotten to blogging about it cuz I've also been lucky enough to begin taking classes and going to retreats again.  It sure feels wonderful to be with my sewing pals again!
I hope your sewing is bringing you joy.



 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Versatile Vogue 1817--New Marcy Tilton Pattern

Marcy Tilton's new jacket/vest pattern is super versatile.  I've made it in a techno fabric and a French terry, both are super comfortable and the perfect all-year weight for my climate.


This is another quintessential Marcy pattern; somewhat of a puzzle, challenging but so gratifying to make.  This version is the techno fabric that has a bit of metal thread woven in so it retains its crinkles in a good way.  

I finished it with a twill tape and snaps and changed the collar.



I tend to wear it closed more often.  It has just the right amount of asymmetry for me.



There are many interesting details in this pattern.  Both front and back bottom pieces are single cut,  all four different.  A lapped flange separates the upper bodice from the lower pieces. 


Twill tape/snap detail.



This one is out of her Icelandic Black Tweed French Terry.  It looks a bit narrow at the bottom in this photo but it's fuller when worn.



The French terry fabric called for a hoodie.  It wasn't hard to make the change.  I took the pattern pieces from a Katherine Tilton OOP pattern, adjusted the circumferences, and it went in without a hitch.

This is a very stylish and wearable pattern that can be adapted to lots of different fabrics and occasions. Heck, I could even see this as a shirt.  I urge you to give it a try, especially if you need a bit of a sewing challenge.

 

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Spoonflower Printed Fabric

I finally did it!  I've been wanting to have the fabric I print (I use a silkscreen process that's a combination of what I learned in Pat Pauly and Kerr Grabowski classes) reproduced by Spoonflower.  It's been at least 3 years and I finally made it happen.

It started with a 3-one month online Photoshop Elements classes taught by the Pixeladies.  These gals know their stuff but more important, they know how to teach.  And they're FUN!

I was a three time Photoshop loser/dropout, couldn't get the hang of it, till I found Kris and Deb.  

I had some of my prints professionally photographed and started designing them in Photoshop Elements to make repeatable patterns .  I was pretty successful but I have a ways to go.


Here's my first actual wearable garment using fabric I had printed using Spoonflower.  It's their Cotton Spandex Jersey.  I like the fabric.  The black background came out sort of heathered, which I actually like.  The Pixeladies have done a whole blog on the blacks you get with different companies.  

I must have goofed on the sizing though.  The motifs came out much smaller than the original piece of cloth.  I'll have to figure out what I did.  I don't mind this size but I'd like to know how to size my designs so that I get what I want.

Here's the original piece of cloth.  It's 1/2 yard, about 52"wide.  The "windows", which is what I call this fabric, are each about 5-6" tall.


It's much easier to silk screen pieces that are about 1/2-1 yard.  Then have a company print more yardage.  I'd been trying to print several yards myself but it's just too danged hard to get what I want.  Plus, when I print smaller pieces I can combine them into one file on Photoshop.  Here's an example. 

 I started out with these three panels. Each is about half a yard.





And combined them in one Photoshop file that turned out like this.


I had it printed in their Signature Cotton which I'm not all that thrilled about.  I'd like to find a company that uses really fine garment quality fabrics.  

Something interesting happened when I put on a garment using my fabric but commercially printed.  It didn't have the same energy as when I wear garments in the original cloth.  I hadn't expected that.  There's something tangible and exciting about wearing the original that is somehow lost when they are reproduced.  That doesn't mean I'll stop doing it but it was interesting.

I plan to take these three classes again when they offer them in a few months.  

It was a super productive way to spend during COVID confinement and I'm glad I got something like this accomplished during that time.  I would never have done it otherwise.

What did you get done during COVID that you're proud of???