Sunday, May 29, 2016

Random Threads # 21: currently sewing and what's on deck

Recently I did a post on Craftsy on the topic of "Unexpected placed to find sewing supplies". One suggestion was to put the word out to family and friends. You might the surprised at the stuff that will come your way. Everyone seems to know someone who is clearing house and wants things to go somewhere they will be appreciated - so let your social circle know you are interested. There might be some junk but someone will surprise you with a stack of fantastic fabrics or a pair of expensive sewing shears. Who knows what treasures might come your way?

Around here I find that I might just be a victim of my own success in this area. Recently I have had several friends drop off bags of fabric - things that have collected/bought/stashed that they just know they will never get to. Add this to some items purchased on a couple of shopping excursions to Stone Mountain Fabrics recently, and two fabrics that I have designed using the allowance provided to me by My Fabric Designs. Bottom line - SO MUCH FABRIC!

I have never been a fabric stasher. It's just not in my nature to purchase fabric for the "someday" sew. I have mostly been a "buy it - sew it - wear it"  type of maker. I don't like having my sewing dollars tied up in a stack of fabric, and I really dislike having to find place to store it. Most of the time I have been inspired by a new pattern and then gone on the hunt for the perfect fabric, then sewn it up to wear right away. Or have had the "I need something for this occasion" be it a party or travel.

But lately I have been accumulating a lot of fabric. Partly due to my habit of checking in at local garage sales. Positive reinforcement - I have found some genuinely fantastic things so then the idea is always in the back of my mind that I will discover the next treasure. (For newer readers you might enjoy reading this 2-part post, starting here, where I found a vintage dress pattern and fabric at a garage sale, along with lots of other goodies).

I had better get busy with sewing up some of this accumulation, right? Or develop the stash habit. That second one seems more likely!

So here is what is in progress around here.

Do you know how difficult it is to find a vertically striped knit? You probably do if you are trying to make this Burda dress. The pattern specifies knit with crosswise stretch and vertical stripe. Which makes sense if you look at how the bottom of the skirt is on the fabric. Very similar to this dress although on that one the fabric started out as horizontal stripes and only the bottom is cut with the stripes going up and down.

Burdastyle asymetrical dressblack stripe

Happily I found this one at Stone Mountain, and while I don't wear black very often I have the feeling  if it comes out well it will get worn a lot. Basic black with a twist sounds very useful. Plus there is a light blue stripe in there, not easy to see but there to lighten it up a bit. Also this is an even stripe which I think is important for this dress. I hope to match the stripes perfectly - stay tuned :)

These next two were bought by my friend Alice - which I will be sewing up for her. The royal blue eyelet is a gorgeous color - so it will be some kind of tunic top with the selvedge creating the bottom hem. The one on the right is really unusual. It is a lightweight denim or chambray - slightly tie-dyed looking and has holes in it, not really an eyelet or lace but perforated. Really cool and this will probably be a skirt. I DO NOT need but am fighting the urge to go back and buy some for myself.

royal blue eyeletdenim eyelet

Turning to my self-designed fabrics, this one is a silk crepe de chine from My Fabric Designs. The quality and weight of the fabric is really nice. And once again I declare that I am not very artistic so it is a pattern I created in Photoshop. The aqua color is not exactly what I was thinking of  - I was hope for more of a turquoise (deeper) color but this is quite pretty and definitely a color I will wear. So for weeks I have been trying to figure out what pattern to use and the leading contender is this Vogue 1387, the cap sleeve version. Although I am thinking I can recreate the look from patterns I already have.

aqua squares silk

In other projects I am in the midst of making an outfit for my friend Heather using fabric she bought last year at Mood in New York. Hand sewing, basting, fitting, subtle stripe matching etc are making it a slow project but I think this week I will buckle down and finish it. It is a jacket and then a dress with the boucle for the skirt portion and wool knit for the bodice.
Here is the Burda pattern I'm using. I think these Burda plus coat and jacket patterns are really great. Of course every pattern needs fitting but the style lines are really nice on a lot of these. On the right is the boucle fabric from Mood and then the wool double-knit that I found at Stone Mountain - perfect color match for the salmon pink in the boucle.

Burda 6782 jacket pattern envBoucle with wool knit

Gratuitous in process peek - and I will tell you that I unstitched the organza and then applied weft fusible to all the pattern pieces, then added the organza plus stay tape. The boucle fabric on its own was just to wimpy to make a jacket that would hold a good shape.

Starting boucle jacket

What else?

I bought a couple of PDF patterns from the Burda website on Wednesday and of course they are having a sale this weekend - while the savings would be a few dollars it bugs me nonetheless. I am seriously thinking about subscribing to Burda, although I looked at it in the store the other day and concluded that $ 5.99 per PDF is SO worth it not to have to trace from those confounding tracing sheets. I think it is probably like anything else, if you've been doing it for years then you have the knack for it but I don't and it looks headache inducing to me.

Blogging, yes or no? It must be going around like a chain letter or a summer cold but it seems like I have read so many posts recently about blogging. Is it dead? Who is quitting? taking a hiatus? switching to Instagram? Returning after a break? Kind of interesting and I think blogging is like anything else - including sewing or any other pastime. Always evolving, sometimes taking a back seat to life, or being put down for months or years at a time. Or superseded by some other interest. I really like (love) reading blogs so I selfishly hope that all my favorites keep on blogging forever. I am drawn to the written word, love to hear the stories behind the creating, or just some opinions on the latest patterns, styles etc. Instagram just doesn't do it for me - I do use it and see beautiful things there but often see a post and want more info that only a blog post can offer. But do what makes you happy! For me the writing has turned into almost the best part, I love writing the posts and hope you enjoy reading them.

Speaking of writing - I am thinking up topics for my Craftsy Sewing blog posts for July. I have covered sleeve adjustments, some wrap dress fitting tips and lots of other things over there but always on the hunt for a new idea. Any suggestions, please let me know!

Travel thoughts. Lately I have been captured by the idea of a trip to New York. It has been ages since I have been and it just seems to be calling me.  Anything interesting happening this summer? Also I have a Mood credit to spend which was the prize for the Color Block contest on Pattern Review, I keep looking at the website but nothing has grabbed me yet. So perhaps some in-person shopping.

Thank you so much for all the nice comments on my previous post - the Saler Jacket from Pauline Alice patterns. I do plan to revisit that pattern as I want to try making a jacket like that in a knit.

It is Memorial Day weekend here in the US, and in my part of California the weather is cooperating. So nice. It might be time to jump in the swimming pool tomorrow - yippee, summer is here!

Happy weekend sewing, Beth

and today's garden photo - it warms my frugal little heart when a little plant keeps on blooming year after year. I love these little dianthus, also called pinks - both for the color and the name.

dianthus pinks


  1. Peter Lappin sewed a top for his mom with a similar blue eyelet fabric! Beautiful flowers!

  2. Yes, please, keep blogging! I enjoy your writing a lot (especially, since I am a plus-size sewist, your blogs about sewing for Heather.) And, thanks for your garden photos - very inspirational.

  3. I will be in NYC in July just in case you think of going at the same time :-) and I think if you like blogging just do it. I love reading them and I like writing one so far.

  4. I also enjoy your blog very much. I don't post comments very often (on *any* blog) because I frequently read through a blog feed. Anyway, for a post on Craftsy, I have recently been consumed by scouting patterns, such as Vogue 7669 (the half-wrap one, not the party dress!) in something close to my size 18/20. (With many patterns, I can use my basic block and make adjustments to create a style I want to wear. V7669 would be a challenge.) So, how would you approach that situation?

    Also, I'm still on the quest to get a good match between patterns and fabrics. Today I tried on a straight skirt with an elastic waist and realized the fabric was too stiff for the minimal amount of gathers. Are there some "rules of thumb" to use? Thanks!

  5. I'm in awe with your fabrics, each one so special and unique!
    I also enjoy blogs and blog reading, and I don't think they are dead or dying,... I think the blogosphere is simply adjusting. In general It's not like the old days anymore (at least as I recall it), but it doesn't mean the fun is over.

  6. Nice colors in those fabrics! I am a Burda subscriber, and there are a few, perhaps not obvious, benefits. One is that there are some patterns in the magazine that are not put out in pdf form. Second, if I need a base pattern for an I idea I can almost always find something in a back issues. Third, it ends up being a bargain per pattern overall. Fourth, there's almost always one amusing, what the --- design in there, pure entertainment. I do find that I tend to procrastinate a bit because of the tracing. It's better since I got a roll of that stuff called Swedish tracing paper instead of tissue. (However, I wish Burda would just use one more piece of paper so the lines would be a little less dense). Anyway, it does seem to take more time to trace than to do the actual cutting.

  7. I share what you've said about blogging. It's a daily highlight to check my favorites for new posts----- and yours is one of the best. THANKS SO MUCH for the effort it takes. So deeply appreciated.

  8. Go back and buy some of that fabric for you!!!

    Can't wait to see your Burda dress.

    I like IG but I love blogs. IG can't come close for me!

  9. I too very much enjoy your blog. I like the mix of technique and style, your experience and expertise, and I like your aesthetic. Suggestion for a subject: shoulders--how to match the design to your body's shoulder shape for greater satisfaction. I see so many younger sewists--and I do mean younger rather than less-skilled--making wadders because they're not taking this into account. It took me years to figure out, and I think you could help.

  10. Full tummy and uneven shoulder or hip adjustments would be interesting. I don't see too many blog posts about either (I've been searching!).

  11. I love reading blogs and yours is one of my favourites. You write so well. I have quite a few vertical cross stretch fabrics but I think would be to stiff for the dress. At least I have always thought of them as bottom weight.

  12. Yes!! You are making the Burda stripey dress! I was hoping you would, as I am quite in love with the pattern but feel I'd be a little out of my depth sewing it up. So good news for me! - I am relatively new to your blog (as new as to the whole sewing thing actually), but I have now binge-read all your posts going back to 2013...... Thanks for all the work you put in and good luck with the Burda dress!

  13. I love that burdastyle striped sheath dress. I can't wait to see your version!! It looks like it will be a stunner.

  14. How about writing about rounded upper back and swayback adjustments? Karen

  15. I love your "random threads" posts, probably because you switch topics a lot and it works well with my attention span! I actually like your in-depth posts on a creation as well, but I get a special happy smile when I see "random threads" in the subject line. I think that bloggers should take a break if the blogging becomes a chore, but other than that...I enjoy reading blogs! I am currently trying to catch up from a few weeks of company (= less computer time), and I'm excited to be reading your blog less than a week after it was written!

    I love all of the fabric you've designed - you have plenty of creativity, just not the draw-a-brand-new-pattern-from-scratch type! Who knows, after a few more rounds, you may find yourself doing that after all!

  16. I'm so glad that you are enjoy doing blog posts, you are in my top two favourites!
    Totally in love with all the flower pictures at the end of your posts as well. :-)


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