Sunday, April 19, 2020

When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Sewing

How can I feel so good about all this time to sew and make?  Shouldn't I be feeling anxious, worried and stressed?  Am I the heartless person who blithely goes about her life not caring about others?

These are the questions I've been asking myself lately.  I am comfortable with this new life.  Staying home, wandering around the house and garden, cleaning...tidying...disinfecting(!)...making things work again that have been broken for years.  More time to consider, notice and just be.

There is something about this time that is very calming and satisfying.  Maybe it's my age?  Maybe it's where I am in my life?  Whatever, I feel lucky to be in the position I'm in.

Of course I am horrified by the tragedy we are witnessing and I am mindful of how fortunate I am.  My major worry and heartache is that our business is closed and we have had to lay off dozens of people which was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.  We are trying hard to work with each of them to help in some way.

But I find some comfort in knowing we are not alone in this.  It is what's happening and there's little that can be done right now.  We just have to wait and see when we can open again and bring back as many of our wonderful staff as we possibly can.  It will take a long time but we will do it!  And for the meantime, I intend to use this time for reflection and self improvement.

So, I'm sewing like a fiend!  And making stuff.  Making masks for my colleagues and friends.  I find that sewing clothes does not have the same appeal it did before the SIP order.  I can't wear any of them!  And the clothes I find myself wearing are the old ones that I can throw in the washer after one wearing and set it to HOT...which I never do normally.

I'm in the bunkhouse pretty much every day.  Some days I just tidy up, and I mean some deep cleaning that's been needed.  I've been mending and remaking; the projects that always got sidelined because of lack of time.

So here goes, this is what I've been doing.



Back in February, so long ago in so many ways, I attended the Design Outside The Lines Carmel retreat with Diane Ericson and Kay Khan.  Kay's work uses fabric scraps that are sewn together with a felt interior making a stiff, shape-able form. 

Her work is usually very large, 3D sculptures but she also makes jewelry using her technique.  This is the third class I've taken.  Previously I made collar-type necklaces, that you can see them in my  "Misc" category on this blog.

This time I wanted to concentrate on earrings, which I wear much more frequently.


I like the way this project is going.  The earrings are light and have just the right amount of swing and movement.  I'm using beads and elements from thrift store jewelry for embellishment.  I just signed up for a Blueprint class on wirework.  I need it!


Please excuse the over exposure and generally horrible photos for this piece...no excuse other than I really don't know what I'm doing!  This is a vest that was drafted from ready-to-wear.  The fabric is a black techno-taffeta with metal threads to give it memory.  I bought yards of it from a California designer who was retiring.

The threads create these little barbs at the cut edges that tend to poke you no matter how you finish the seams.  So for this version I tried encasing the edges around my neck and armholes with cashmere.  We'll see....


Detail of a little cashmere piecing along the neck edge.


I applied a second pocket with the cashmere to tie in the other elements.  Plus you always need more comfy pockets to sink your fists into!



Diane Ericson's son, Miles Frode, makes the most wonderful textiles.  I've purchases and used several over the years.  I designed this purse from a Garnet Hill catalogue I saved years ago.  It has huge exterior pockets on either end.  I like this kind of pocket and have used them in previous totes.  Good place for keys.


The sewn-on center pieces are from canvas I painted many years ago.


And this particularly bad photo shows the inside, my fabric used here.


And now, you will see just how whacky I am.  This is my latest invention.  It's a Covid-19 nose scratcher.  My nose is always itchy!  If I were serious about this, which I'm not, it's a joke (!) I would pin it on and use this nifty little brush to scratch my nose.  The velcro attached to the brush makes it easy to take off and put back on!  I know...too much time on my hands!

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay creative...all three save lives.


10 comments:

  1. For the nose scratcher: I immediately thought of using old mascara wands, maybe bejeweled at the other end?

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  2. I like you feel very fortunate that I can "use" this time. I ache for those who are in different circumstances and are struggling. I hope the sacrifices that are being made will help get us through faster. But for now, I sew. You do have me thinking about the nose scratcher...I always have itchy eyes...not sure your device is the solution there! I'll keep pondering. Always love to see what you are up to. Stay well....and sew on!

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    1. The little gizmo I showed is a plastic straw (I know, they are bad, but I had some laying around from years ago), with a pipe cleaner folded and pushed in one hole. They also work very well for cleaning small places in sewing machines!

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  3. So happy to see a post from you and see what you're working on. As a fellow sewist I realize how lucky I am to have this craft to distract myself from this crisis. I know it helps my mental health. Karen

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  4. I love seeing what you're doing Gayle -- your sharing always bring a smile to my face! I've been making masks and shirts and still wearing my favorite old comfy clothes too. Meditating for the world and being grateful for my life. So glad you're in it!

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    1. Thank you for your work in doing the work for the world!

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  5. I love the top of your dressform. A collection of buttons and beads sewn together? I would love to read a post about it. Unless you already have one. Thank you for all that you share. - Penny

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    1. Hi Penny, those are bracelets my mother made from vintage buttons. She was an avid button collector. The buttons are sewn to crocheted elastic thread. I know there are dozens of tutorials online.
      The buttons on my bracelets are fairly rare, she found only the best! Thanks so much for noticing!

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