Thursday, June 29, 2017

Now, then Zen

The Sewing Workshop's Now and Zen pattern is my go-to for upcycling men's shirts. This was a size large man's camp shirt in a wonderful gray-blue linen. I included the hanger picture because it's the only one I could get that seemed to match my perception of the color.

*wrong* way to use my seam ripper, though sometimes you just have to do it this way!
Though this is a simple top, I spent more time on it than you might think. Much unsewing was required, and I did not want to damage this old linen. Luckily I remembered the *correct* way to use my seam ripper. That did speed things up.

*correct* way to use the seam ripper, as I've learned lately. The red ball goes inside to prevent tears in the fabric.
Because this fabric looks the same on both sides, I was able to switch the left-over-right fronts to right-over-left fronts by simply flipping the the two fronts (turning them upside down). To be safe I flipped all the other pieces too.

I had to use the original yoke pieces to create small wedges in the side seams. I created a V-neck line and did not use the collar at all. Yet.

I was able to cut the sleeves from the original sleeves. The Now and Zen pattern calls from long sleeves so I just used the cap of the sleeve.

I love making French seams with light-weight linen. It is so cooperative.

The side-seam wedge took some finagling and I'm still not completely happy.

I used tape to mark the placement of the wedge in the side seam.
The Now part is finished and so I'll begin the Zen part. For me, the Zen part is sashiko. That'll be pure Zen.

Just had to lower the pocket ( and put it on the new *right* side).

Friday, June 23, 2017

The blues

Sew blue. Mini layers.

This quilt has a conventional side and a boro side. You can see parts of the boro side that is made up of some fabrics that I dyed in an indigo class with Rowland Ricketts at Arrowmont several years ago. I'm in the process of hand-quilting it with size 12 pearl cotton thread, my favorite. The pattern mostly follows the conventional side, with one nod to the moon-shaped resist on one of the indigo pieces (boro side).

the more conventional side before quilting
I am amazed at how meditative this has been. That is probably a response to my full week of hand-sewing at Arrowmont this year with Jody Alexander. I can hardly bear to do anything but stitch on this. It's also a healing process during an upside-down week.

It's been feeling a lot like summer here, as it should, since we just passed the summer solstice. I wanted loose clothing and imagined this until I finally made it up.

It is the Urban tunic from Indygo Junction, again lengthened three inches so that I can wear it as a dress, probably more often than not with leggings or jeans underneath. I guess that defeats the purpose of loose clothing though.

The fabric is a medium weight linen that was delightful to cut, press, sew. I did goof one part. I really should have added interfacing to the pocket openings. I can always unsew and correct that.

I have a blue jacket cut out and ready to puzzle through. It is the All About Details pattern, view B, from Cutting Line Designs. I will likely enjoy that process a great deal. It is full of Issey Miyake details. The CLD patterns almost always include a few interesting details to try, but with the Miyake inspiration, this one promises to be a particularly good puzzler.

So I guess I'll continue to sew the blues for now.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Camp Shirt

It's a simple shape, something I tend to prefer. The Easy, Ageless, Cool pattern from Louise Cutting includes this shirt and some interesting pants that I haven't made yet. I'm not sure why I waited so long to make the shirt. This pattern has been out a while.

You can add front and back darts to achieve a more fitted look, but I won't. I like its boxy nature. I lengthened the sleeves, made a forward shoulder adjustment, and added a center back seam to provide some space for the curve of my upper back. I also reduced the circumference at my bust and waist a bit. Next time I think I'll go down by one size through the shoulders to the waist.

The fabric is a lovely shirting I purchased at Sarah's Fabrics in Lawrence KS the first time I attended Sew Kansas at the Sewing Workshop. It's a pin-dot or jacquard weave. It was great to sew and it will be great to wear.  And I do love navy blue. Thoughtful SIL had spotted this sweet store for me and knew I'd love it.

I decided mid-way through the process that I'd prefer to stitch my facings down. The instructions are to stitch down the back facing but not the front. Once I realized this I had to partially remove my pocket in order to stitch the front facing. Otherwise I would have closed up the pocket!

It was fun to make something, and then even more, to wear something. I do enjoy slow stitch but it's mighty satisfying to have a completed project like this.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Covered in stitch

Enjoying the process of this dense quilting, with encouragement from Jude Hill of Spirit Cloth. This piece started last week under the tutelage of Jody Alexander of Wishiwashistudio. Very slow. Meditative.

Also constructing this camp shirt from Cutting Line Designs:

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Where I Am

I'm still here, still sewing but I'm not making a particular thing at the moment. It's freeing and also a little startling. I've just returned from a week with Jody Alexander at Arrowmont. Jody pushed us to focus on making art rather than making things. Uncomfortable but a good stretch.

We did make some *things* - in fact we made this boro sampler book the very first day. A warm up to the days to come.

The boro sampler book contains (mostly) examples of repair stitches found in old boro cloth from Jody's collection and also from her study of boro. At the end of the day she taught us a simple binding technique to gather up our practice samples.

We also spent a day playing with printing techniques, such as carving our own stamps.

Jody regaled us with stories of her art. I have to say that she is a masterful story-teller.

And then we spent the remainder of the week focusing on a piece of our own. A. Piece.

Mine is a sort-of sampler, though I tried to make it art. Oh, well. It contains bits and pieces I like a lot but I'm not over-the-moon with the totality of it.

You can see a shoulder piece from a discarded top I once made. And I drew the grasshopper one night after re-reading Mary Oliver's piece "A Summer Day." I then used one of Jody's printing techniques to transfer it to cloth.

I am particularly fond of the spider-like stitch Jody taught. And I learned to repeat and abstract.

It was a lovely week and I came home spoiled. How wonderful to make art all day, interspersed with great home-cooked meals and inspiring lectures at night. Jody was a terrific teacher and I am filled to the brim.

I am now using Jude Hill's approach to quilting to make this art into some.thing. I just cannot help myself. This may be my all-time favorite post of Jude's. You can see my attempt to quilt in the Jude manner in the grasshopper picture above.