Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Not proud

I have started the sorting, which will be needed before packing the sewing room.
This is what it looks like right now. Yikes!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Everyone seems to be moving. We have decided to jump on the bandwagon and move as well.
This involves a whole lot of cleaning up and clearing out. Not much time to sew right now.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Backs, basting and beads

The bodice with some shadowing in a metallic thread. This isn't quite gold, isn't quite silver.
Pinning the layers over my leg. The curve of the leg builds in a little bit of curve in the bodice for the turn of cloth.

Ready for flat basting. You can just see the excess created in the top layer. This is something that I learned to do years ago at the theatres. I still have an urge to pick up the piece while basting. I remember being told that "It is called FLAT basting for a reason" by the first hand. At my table someone would call out "Flat!" in a low flat voice occasionally to remind me. I have done all these panels and it took 'til I got to the back panels to think that I am doing it right finally.
A local bead store is going out of businesss. I got a ride there after Maisie's ballet class and bought some things, but didn't have any samples with me. The white ones are too white, but I like the size. The silvery/gold ones aren't bad and I will be trying them. I also have a soft creamy gold piping basted on right now. Still not sure though.
Here are the beads I bought. Maisie insisted on the purple. The fish are for my son and his friends (there are more). The purple and green reminded me of my sister. Everything was between 30 and 80% off.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Seams and edges

The dress has suffered a few indignities and is coming along. I have sewn the centre panel to the side panels about three times in order to get a smooth seam. I piped them initially but didn't like the effect. I have used a silk on the side with the same 1/2 layer of quilt batting, then overlayed with lace. I had to take them off a second time to add a layer with interfacing to give it a bit more body.
The batting is used to cover any unsightly bumps created by the boning, which will go into the lining layer. I don't have any corset coutil so I am using a firmly woven cotton.

The neckline edge (and the layers of all the other edges) have been basted to allow for the turn of the cloth. This will allow the fabric to go smoothly over the curves of the body. Do you see how the neck edge turns under just slightly? This is so that it will look smooth( see below) once it is sewn and the edges are actually turned under. I will either pipe or bead this edge.
The seams have not been pressed yet, but the seam allowances are notched, clipped, trimmed for bulk and catch stitched open to keep them smooth.

The seam on the right side of the picture has been sewn open, the left side hasn't been stitched yet. They have not been pressed yet.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Original thumbnail pencil sketch drawn out on the back of a junk fax. Gotta do something with them.
On the left is the design that I used. On the right is the first attempt, showing areas that were changed. The negative space on the right isn't as pretty, the heart shape in the centre is too wide, the flow isn't as balanced.
The stitched bodice panel, using a metalic silk base, backed in a soft fusible layered with 1/2 layer of quilt batt and a layer of tulle (thanks to Summerset for the batt splitting and tulle advice). The piece has been cut quite large so it can shrink with stitching.


The mesh fabric used for the centre designs of applique was a hard one to cut. It is made from metallic threads and is quite wiry. I had to treat it different than regular fabric. It is also very open, so no adhesives or sprays were usable. You couldn't feel the stickiness through the mesh, but any adhesive would attract dirt and threads through it.

The Mesh is laid over top of the area, which had previously been drawn onto the
The lines are stitched, using a small stitch and the excess is trimmed away.
Applique basted down but before satin stitching.

Satin stitching, keeping the area not worked on rolled out of the way. You must be careful not to fold it. Folding results in creases.
I find it easiest the stitch the outer (convex?) curves first, the inner curves tend to distort if stitched first.

Say yes, part two

I am experimenting with a crushed velvet for the applique using a design I worked on last winter. I like it so far.
The bodice pattern is just visible beneath this silk
The applique design resembles the design on the lace.

The silk is turned 45 degrees in order for the piece to fit on, so the lines in the silk will be vertical in reality. I love the textural contrast of the velvet with the silk and lace. It is a rich look. I am excited to see how the velvet makes into piping.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Say yes to the dress

I love the show "Say Yes to the Dress" . I have always loved bridal and have been thinking about getting into it again, so I am going to make a wedding dress.This is to be a sample for a wedding directory. I hope it all works out because I really don't need a wedding dress for myself.
This is to be from stash as much as possible and it seems like I have a fair sized selection.
Here are some samples of silks and brocade. Uppermost is a gold/silver mesh.
Blurry close up of the Celtic brocade.Pearl hammered silk, recently purchased from and a lovely embroidered soft tulle.
The same lace draped over my sewing chair.
While digging out some of theses fabrics I found a piece I hadn't seen in yonks. Linen, embroidery, quilting, beading, space dyed silk velvet and silver trim all addded up to this bodice. I made it years ago as a display at a Celtic art gallery. I called it "Tudor meets Star Trek". The lines of it seem off to me now, but it got a lot of business for me in it's day.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

What to do for a hobby once your hobby is your job?

Sew, of course!
I love to sew and I need to create. It is a difficult thing sometimes. I have just finished another very busy spell where I haven't had any time for myself and very little for family or friends. What do I want to do? Head to my studio and create. Work on new (to me) techniques, play a bit. Does hubby understand? Not at all.
Here is my latest hobby attempt.
I have decided to learn to do free motion quilting/embroidery. I realize they are two different things, but similar. I am starting by making a cushion top by Gabriella Verstraeten featured in Machine Embroidery magazine's first issue. I think she is probably a wonderful teacher. This article has many different skills to use/master in one item. There is applique, precise cutting and looser cutting. satin stitch, free motion on larger areas and tighter areas as well as double needle stitching and using the "fancy" stitches on your machine. I am using a straight stitch only Husqvarna Mega Quilter, so I don't have all of the options.Look at the difference in stitching on the pink in the upper corner and then to the right. This is where I took the foot off.
Things I have learned:
I tend to press on the foot lifter bar and thow off my tension.
You need to remove the presser foor and leave it blank and/or use the darning foot. What a difference in control. I should have known this, too. Just in a hurry I guess.
Faster speed means more control, but in my case tends to break more thread.
Purple often photographs as blue.
I know I have a lot to learn, but I think I will like this new technique.