Friday, November 6, 2015

Blue Jean Lady~L.A . Baby, Seamstress For The Band~~Elton John

I'm not a blue jean lady, L.A. lady or a seamstress for a band (I kinda missed that window of opportunity!) but here I find myself with a new denim jacket.

My sewing pal, Janet, collected dozens of old jeans for a project she has now abandoned and is gifting her stash of cut-up, pre-washed and ironed pieces to lucky friends.  All of the hard work was done!

I've been "off" jeans for many years; one day they were just uncomfortable so I stopped wearing them.  And I don't think blue denim looks particularly good on me.  But when an opportunity presents itself it could be looked on as a challenge.

That was the case when I visited my friend Sharon in Seattle last month.  On my guest bed lay two huge bundles of denim, shipped by Janet who knew I'd be there.  She gave some to Sharon, too.  At first I groaned.  Oy, denim...
But then I lived with them for another week while on Lopez Island and they grew on me.  So I shipped them home to Capitola, knowing exactly what I would do with them.

Vogue 8709 is one of my favorite Marcy Tilton patterns. Sad to say it is out of print.  What a shame, it's so versatile!   I've used it for jackets, vests and shirts.  I've lengthened it permanently now because my favorite silhouette is longer.  I've also omitted a pleat in the lower center back.

I had fun piecing the scraps and had tons of help from a new pal, JM, who made the job so much easier.  We both worked on the layout and sewing the scraps, it would have taken me twice as long to finish that part without her!  JM, you are a true friend!  I love collaborating, it's one of my favorite things to do.

I decided I wanted to topstitch in heavy black thread.  I didn't have my new, trusty Bernina 560 with me when I started so most of the topstitching is done single thickness with a slightly heavy thread.  When I got home I did the hem and collar detail with the Bernina stitch that goes over each stitch twice making a more pronounced line of stitching.

It's all flat sewn so that the raw edges show on all of the interior pattern piecing, then sewn together with closed seams.  I purposely tried not to match anything.  I wanted this to seem more casual, less designer-ish.

I tried several closures, originally wanting black buttons which overtook the thing like a swarm of huge beetles.  Next I tried some toggle closures for purses, they were too heavy and weird to install.  I settled with these copper buttons, not sure I love them but I can always find something else if they start really bugging me.  I just had to git her done!

I made the sleeves using a very deep hem so that I can turn up them for warmer weather.

Overall, I'm really happy with this jacket.  Tonight is First Friday in Santa Cruz.  We'll be wandering around downtown looking at art in what has turned cold weather.  I think I might inaugurate this beast!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Drawn to the Dyepot

When I signed up for an India Flint class on Lopez Island last September I thought I was taking it for the "experience".  I had no intention of plant dyeing fabrics and clothing in the future, I just wanted to experience a person I knew would be inspiring.  And, after all, the title of the class indicated it would focus on making a garment from previously worn of my passions.

Oh, how naive could I have been?  So many have been seduced in the past, it was inevitable.  About the second day of class I began to think, "Hmmm, this could become addictive."  Yeah, right...

I've been out in my garage over the dyepot ever since.  I liken this process to painting in the dark.  You know which colors you picked but until you see how they all come together on the page you don't know what you're going to get.

That's what I love about this process, it takes me away from the person residing in me that has to know everything!  So, it's not only doing something fun but good for me, right?

These photos are in no particular order.  The results are difficult to describe because I worked with various dye baths and materials at the same time.  I should probably have taken notes but that would be so contrary to what I wanted to achieve with this process.

I'm blessed to live on the Central Coast of California where we have variety of eucalyptus trees.  So first I worked with those.  Then I worked with copper, apple, maple and citrus, I have 5 citrus trees.  Then I asked the cooks in my rosticceria to save me all of the onions skins and worked with those.  

My dye bath varied from old chains with eucalyptus to copper with citrus leaves.

India also taught us a brilliant garment design where she sews two top garments together.  In these photos I used my abundant stash of old cashmere sweaters.
I love this design, it's simple but lends itself to lots of variation.  

This sweater is from onion skins, Bloodgood maple and some eucalyptus.

This was my first sweater, eucalyptus and Bloodgood maple.

This is the back of the same sweater.

This is my first attempt with copper, citrus leaves and apple leaves.

The back of the same sweater.

And here they are together so that you can see the variation a bit more.  It's subtle.  I'm still learning so much.  I'd like to get a bit brighter with future sweaters.

 My dye bath that awaits me in the garage this morning is a fresh batch of a type of eucalyptus leaf I've never used before and copper pipes.  I'm headed out there right now to see what that does!

Thank you, India.  You're one of the most brilliant, funny and endearing people I've ever met.  Plus you hooked me on my latest addiction!