Sewing Vloggers

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Such splendor!

I've spent some of this long Columbus Day weekend doing what I call  a bit of palate cleansing tchotchke sewing. And what in heaven's name is that? Well, I've made 4 darling little pin cusions, so far anyway, and now I am working on some cute felted jewelry. I will be presenting a program at our library on making easy mini gifts for the holidays, the type of things that would be great for teachers, mail people, etc. I will definitely report more as I get more done.

In the meantime, our environment is currently so spectacular, that hubby and I and my camera went on a ride to take some pics. All of these are very close to our home. I couldn't wait to share them with you all. Fall in the Northeast is truly something spectacular to behold. As my hubs said today, "it's the gift before the horror of winter." Hope you like......................

This is just one of the many fields in our rural area.

This is the Deer River taken from the little bridge at the top of our street.

A typical road in our village. I drive this to work  each day and yes, it's dirt.

This is the St. Regis river, two miles from our home, facing south.

The St. Regis River facing north. There are many iron mines in our area so the waters run clear but brown due to the high iron content. .

I hope you've enjoyed our little foliage tour. It would be hard to leave such beauty, but when we move it will be to a very similar environment in New  Hampshire and very close to our children. We can't wait. If you ever care to see this spectacle up here in the Northeast, plan for Columbus day weekend. It is always peak color for NY, NH and Vermont and a week later for Massachusetts, R.I. and Connecticut. Hope you have all been surrounded by a bit of beauty today................Bunny

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Saved by a pencil!

I found another use for my Inktense pencils: coloring elastic! I needed a strong answer to a button loop around a metal stud. The first one, of thread, wore out quickly. But a white piece of elastic would stick out horribly. So I took my pencil, drew on the elastic, and then painted it with water to  spread the color, which is what you do with these pencils. I then heat set it with the iron till dry and voila! Matching elastic loop, happy sewist! (NAYY)..............Bunny

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wednesday Words

" I asked her just what I was lacking that she didn't

have me test (her new pattern)  and her response was "I 

choose testers mostly based on the size they want to sew, the 

photography and skill level".................Lisa O. on FB

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Vogue 9035, the foiled top from Marcy Tilton

Lame smile, hubby making me laugh! While I think this looks like a maternity top out of Mad Men, I like it. It's comfy and out of my "style zone". I definitely favor more hour glass emphasizing designs , but for a casual work top, this is perfect. I wore it to work Friday and to a party after work with slim black pants. There were many compliments but more than that, this top just felt good. I wish you could see how the foiling sparkles. I did make my buttonholes a tad too big and they shift, therefore the wonkiness. I am going to tighten them up and then all should fall evenly as it does when I pay more attention to such things.
As with most Marcy Tilton designs, the collar sort of does its own thing, flopping this way or that and that's OK. I like an interesting collar. The pockets add a LOT of volume to the garment. I was able to bring them under control with some pressing. This is ideal for someone choosing to hide a tummy or waistline. My fingers are pointing to the actual seam line for the dropped shoulders. I am pleased with how that turned out. Here are more details.

I foiled an irregular rectangle on the back. I think it adds to the Japanese vibe this top sort of has. The collar is cut on. The back has some interesting details at the lower level.

There is sort of a pocket effect going on but actually its a tuck with zigzagged topstitching separating the sections, Marcy's idea, not mine. I like it.

Here you can see the pocket. The pattern piece has a very unusual shape to pull this off. I found the pocket really billowed out front but with some pressing came under control. The one thing I don't like about the design/pattern is the sleeve cuff. I love that there is an option for a fold back cuff with a slit as I really detest long sleeves. BUT, that slit is on the underseam of the sleeve and barely visible. You can see it here, almost. I would have preferred more effort put into the sleeve design so the slit would be on the outside of the sleeve, the norm. But I will live with it. By having the slit of the cuff tied into the underarm seam, it is easier to pull off. A split cuff would definitely take more thought and pattern pieces, probably a facing, to pull off. But I would have liked that better.

There is a definite "swing" shape to this garment which you can see above. Heck, that's what makes it so comfy. I've always liked me a good swing top or jacket so I am comfortable with this.

This pattern is Vogue 9035, a Marcy Tilton design. It has a dropped shoulder, a cut on collar, interesting back detail and a very unusual bodice front that incorporates the bodice into the pocket, if that makes sense. It has a definite "swing" silhouette to it. I found it comfortable, stylish enough to get many compliments and a very interesting design. Tilton's patterns have not often worked for me fit-wise but this one was perfect. I have narrow shoulders and full biceps and a C cup. I made this in a size 6 with absolutely no alterations. FWIW, length alterations could be difficult on this pattern due to the unusual shape of the front bodice.

Fabric was a linen/cotton blend made by Kaufman that I purchased from  It is 55% linen and 45% cotton. I have used this blend before and really like it. It has been washed and does that non wrinkling linen thing that comes from washing. I love that it had the linen look but not the wrinkles.

I did Hong Kong seams as you can see. They are made with bias strips of poly charmeuse. I love how this looks on the inside. It makes me feel good. When I wore it to work I wore a black negative ease tee underneath, mostly because it was cold out. I didn't hesitate to take the top off and show my friends the inside. As my twenty something workmate said "I would wear that inside out". I bound the sleeves exactly the way it is shown in the latest issue of Threads, where the bias binding is attached using the same seamline as the sleeve, folding it over and ditch stitching in the well of the seam. Then the fabric was cut back to the seam line underneath.


This is a pattern where you MUST follow the directions on the instruction sheet very closely. Marking all notches, circles and squares is critical here. The bodice/pocket construction is very unusual. I think I paid more attention to the directions on this pattern than I have on any other in a long time. One of the challenges were the Hong Kong seams. I decided I want to do this from the get go, but when it came to the pocket area I was stumped. I ended up doing them "after the fact" only finishing the pockets around the top three edges after they were installed. It was hard to figure out what I could HK seam before it was all constructed but you can do the most of it before seaming if you pay  close attention, particularly in the pocket area.

I did "foiling" on the pocket facings and the collar facings and the rectangle in the back bodice before any construction started. This pattern, like most Marcy patterns, is ripe for embellishment. Have fun with that!

In conclusion:

I really like this top. It's a bit "jacket-y" but that's OK in my cold climate. I love the linen blend fabric, the foiling and the uniqueness of the design. Being comfortable adds to my enjoyment as well. It was a fun challenge to sew and I really enjoyed that aspect. Will I make it again? Probably not as it is rather unique, but I really like the way the shoulders and upper bodice fit. That makes it a winner in my book.

Last night we were able to get some fresh dug Maine clams up here in the boonies and I made us a dish of Clams and Linguine Rosa from Mario Batalli. What a feast!..............Bunny

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wednesday Words

"I HATE pre-washing with a fiery passion! How cruel to be excited to make something just to stare at the washing machine and dryer beforehand ugh!!!!! ".............from Tara A. on Facebook

Friday, September 25, 2015

The dropped shoulder

photo courtesy of the Cutting class, great site!

My latest project has a "dropped shoulder" albeit not too much. Given that I have very narrow shoulders and have also often seen these be very ill fitting, I felt I needed to to step up my knowledge  base and did much googling and reading.

I think most experienced sewists know that a kimono, dolman,  raglan or cut on type sleeve will never hang the same way a "set in" sleeve does. Neither does a dropped shoulder. Here you can see what I mean.

Set in sleeve, smoothly going over the edge of the shoulder. The grey shoulder is a a traditional set in sleeve with a sleeve head and shoulder pads. The boucle shoulder has a "seam roll" installed to make that rounded curve. These are my own efforts

Raglan sleeves:  See those vertical wrinkles,pretty much unavoidable in this type of sleeve? Dropped shoulders can do the same as you see in the blue and white tee above. 


Dropped shoulders:
Notice anything? As the shoulder seam drops, even to the point of disappearing on some garments, the armscye gets lower and THE BODICE GETS WIDER.  It gets lower and wider as the shoulder gets lower, I never knew that! But it explains why the MT  jacket fits my narrow shoulders and why the above jacket has no drag lines. That additional width prevents the wrinkling in the armscye. 
The lower the shoulder seam, the wider the bodice! The armhole needs to drop as well as be enlarged. It's a whole different animal. You can see a great article and more pictures at the Cutting Class hereThere are some excellent examples of what happens as the shoulder drops lower and lower and I would like to thank and give props to the Cutting Class. If you are not following this site, you are missing out on some great sewing info. They use designer examples and explain how the looks were achieved, very enlightening and the information is provided by experts. I love the blue lace on the above jacket, don't you? 

Bottom line, the Tilton foiled jacket is well drafted to get the look she is after. I will show you soon. Just have to get those big black buttons on!...........Bunny

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wednesday's Quote

Quote of the week:

"When the grain of one seam is being attached to another seam of a different grain, the couture rule is to stitch with the weakest grain on top. The weakest grain is bias, then crossgrain; lengthwise grain is strongest. .....On the princess seam, therefore, you'll sew from the waist to the shoulder on one side and from shoulder to waist on the other side."......Roberta Carr from her book, "Couture, the art of fine sewing".

Monday, September 21, 2015

Foiling 101

I've completed the foiling on my Marcy T. jacket and I'm pleased with the results. There was a lot of experimentation in the studio and out on my picnic table over the past week, too nice to be in! I will pass on what I have learned about the process, knowledge gained through a LOT of samples. Last night I asked myself, "why would I do this technique instead of a Lumiere metallic paint or Shiva sticks?" I'll tell you the back story.

A little over a year ago I was in a Chico's, you know, the store with awesome fashion for us post menos. There was a fabulous sweater I fell in love with and tried on. It was small cable knit and had this layering of silver on the top that was not paint or inherent in the knit. It was clearly applied on top. It was a low shine silver on a grey angora type sweater. It was gorgeous and since I refused to part with the hundred thirty bucks it cost I made mental notes and decided it was "foiled" and I would figure it out. I had seen this foil thing way back when and it didn't turn me on. It was shown as a technique to get a lion's head or such on your new most favorite sweatshirt, very Michaels and so not my style
. But this treatment on the sweater was exquisite. I sighed, took the expensive little sweater off and later kicked myself for not buying it.  Above you can see a pair of foiled Levis. Trust me, the sweater was gorgeous and looked very refined with its matte silver overlay and the areas between the cables showing the original knit hue. I was smitten and on a quest to figure out how to do this

I went back to DD's and my excitement must have been so obvious. I no sooner got home and there was a box with a sweater she found at the thrift store for me to "practice" on and info on how to get the foiling goodies. The thrift sweater never worked out and I never did find the right sweater but I did buy the foil and glue and did my research. I was anxious to try this technique. Life, like it does, butt in, and this project was replaced by the next manic endeavor. I know  you know how that is.

Enter my latest attempt at conquering Marcy Tilton designs but the fabric I chose could have been appropo for a prison in the gulag. Embarrasingly, I liked it. It was a cross dyed linen cotton blend I had used before Surely I could jazz it up somehow. Enter the foiling technique, lots of samples  and eventual execution. So this is what I did.

First there is the foil. Here you can see my two rolls of silver foil. One is slightly matte and the other is chrome bumper shiny. I went with the shiny for my top. The Chico's sweater was like the matte foil. I ordered this from a place called Jones Tones. You can now get it from Dharma Trading.  Next is the glue.

There are two techniques. One uses Steam a Seam 2, the Light version and the other uses "foil" glue, again from Jones Tones. I have read that you can also use Mod Podge, but the Foil Glue makes a washable garment, as opposed to the Modge Podge,  and my samples prove that. It needs to be washed on cold, and more important, line dried. Heat is not the friend of this technique.

Before we go any further I want to say that the effect of "foiling" is a very artsy, irregular result, sort of flaky looking when you use the Steam a Seam. You MAY get perfect outlines or solid areas using the glue but really, you get what you get and don't get upset.  But, you can do solid areas like my fantasy sweater with the Steam a Seam technique.

The glue technique:

The glue bottle has a really fine tip but it does take a bit of practice not to get all bloppy. Basically, you squeeze and squiggle, as simple as that. There is not a whole lot of control here, however. This technique also gives a three dimensional look to your efforts, sort of like puffy paint. But if you don't like that, like me, I'll show you what to do. So first you squeeze out your glue in the design you want. Above you see some squiggles. Then you leave the glue to dry until it is CLEAR. It can take from an hour to overnight if the glue is applied heavily. It will probably still be tacky but that's OK. You want it clear. Here you can see the glue applied to my jacket back.

First I drew the area using a ruler and a Frixion pen. Then I taped off the rectangle with masking tape. Now it was time to squeeze the glue. This is fairly heavy and took at least four hours to get clear. I let it sit overnight and it was fine. Remember, it needs to be clear, not dry, so it will be a bit tacky when it its prime for you to put the foil on.  The tape comes off right after you put on your glue. You DO NOT want to leave the tape on until the glue dries, big mistake, The Frixion pen will come off after with the heat of the iron.

Once the glue is clear, not necessarily dry,  you take your piece of foil and place it, shiny right side UP and press it on the glue. I tried a few things but the best thing is to just rub it all with your fingers. Rub and press. Be aware that if you press hard you are flattening any globs you may have had. Your fingers work better than a credit card or other object. Rub horizontally then vertically to get the foil on every side of the three dimensional glue.  Before you start rubbing make sure you have the right shiny side up. I can't tell you how many times I didn't do that (eye roll). I used the "chrome" silver on my jacket. Once the area was foiled and left to dry a few more hours, I added my own extra step. I tried different things, but trust me, the best pressing cloth is parchment paper from your kitchen. I placed it on the really dry foiled area and ironed, no steam, quickly. This flattens out the blobs and makes the foil/glue mix grab into the fabric a bit more. It also makes it a bit more matte. It takes away that puffy paint effect for sure and that's the big reason why I do it.  Let it COOL COMPLETELY. Walk away and come back. Then carefully lift a corner. If it's foiled, quickly rip off the parchment. It should slide off easily. The foil will now be flatter and more matte and it seems to me to have a better grab on the fabric as well.

The foil comes in many colors and effects including lots of holographics. I will stick with the simple silver, thank you.

Now for the Steam a Seam 2/Lite method. You can see below a piece of wool boucle waiting to become a Chanel jacket one day. In the meantime I cut a hunk to play with as it was not too different from my sweater fantasy. This was basic SAS methodology. The sheet has one layer of paper peeled off. It is place, glue side down on the fabric. The paper side is then ironed holding the iron for about ten seconds wherever the SAS sheet is applied. LET COOL.  Once the piece is cool, gently take off the remaining paper. You now have the adhesive web bonded to your fabric and it should be somewhat visible.

Place your foil, again, shiny side up, over the web. Press. This is not interfacing and it does not take more than a few seconds, maybe three or four, to transfer the foil to the fabric. If you hold the iron too long the foil dulls and becomes sort of wrinkly looking. I don't know if it is the fibrous texture but it took to this boucle really well.

By comparison, here is the same SAS application and you can see it did not take to the linen as well but I still like the look . This can be unpredictable so be prepared for what you get. This is well washed linen which prompts me to tell you that your fabric must be washed. Any finishes , and there are plenty on new fabs, will prevent the foil from sticking. The above sample was made from just cutting shards of SAS and letting them fall as they may.

At this point my top  has most of its foil applied. I am going to complete the  hem and then decide if more foil is warranted. I am trying to keep it a bit low key. As of this morning the jacket is totally finished other than buttons, which I am still searching for.

A few points I want to stress:

* Do your gluing in a FLAT state. It killed me to not continue sewing but I spent the time cutting strips of bias for the Hong Kong seams.

* The foil/glue combo cures over the next two- three days and will be much more hardened and secure then.

* That final press with the iron and parchment paper - it literally is for 2-5 seconds, very quick. More heat than that will change the effect a lot. Don't lift that paper, LET IT COOL. Make some samples when you are gluing just for practice.

*Don't lift the foil or parchment paper until it is TOTALLY cool. Just in case you didn't hear me the first time!

*Don't throw away your foil scraps. They still have foil and can be used over and over until totally clear.

*You can buy this in sheets or by the roll.

*Supposedly it also works with Heat and Bond and other fusible webbing. The SAS2 Lite is the most drapeable of the bunch so that's why it is recommended. I found the glue technique did not alter the fabric much if at all. The SAS method does, the same as any heat/webbing fusible would. .

* The glue method can also be used on faux vinyl and leather as you see above. They are done with the matte. The foil is very hard to photograph and impossible to capture the sheen. These are matte but still with a very silvery glow the camera does not pick up. This could be fun on a faux or real leather bag.

One of the things I like about this is the lack of mess. Other than maybe a stray glob of glue on your fingers, its pretty mess free as opposed to washing brushes, etc with dyes and paints. There is a lot of bang for your effort so my advice is to stay low key with your design ideas. I hope you give it a try.

The Marcy Foiled jacket is done. I just need to find the right three big buttons. Hopefully that will be happening soon and I can get this on and wear it. It's different and all that volume is new to me but overall I think it looks pretty good. More to come.
Every year the hibiscus are the last blooms of summer to grace our yard before frost. That will happen soon as we were in the high thirties last night. I know winter is right around the corner when the hibiscus blooms..............Bunny

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wednesday's quote of the week

Wednesday is hump day for me and a lot of others, particularly if you work outside the home. It's not easy getting a blogpost done or more importantly, the sewing to inspire one, during the middle of the work week. But sometimes, in odd moments, I cruise sewing groups on FB, forums and lots of blogs as well as sit with an old or new sewing book to read.Its something we can all do for just a few moments at a time.  I often see words of wisdom, interesting viewpoints, provocative comments and even funny statements related to sewing. I think how I want to share that with others.

This recently brought me to the idea of just publishing a simple statement I have seen elsewhere. It could relate to actual sewing technique, sew blogging, fashion, creativity, all the things we love about our passion. I will start today. These may or may not be earth shaking or thought provoking. I may or may not agree with the sentiment. It doesn't matter. It's for your interpretation. Hopefully it will give some insight into the sewing world we live in and why things are seen and done they way they are sometimes. It's just a fun little mid week filler for your comment or choice to ignore. I won't cast an opinion either way in the post. It is a way to stay in touch with you during the week and who doesn't need a brightener on Hump Day?

Quote of the week:

  "If you want your children to be passionate, creative little people, then they need to see you doing the things that you love to do.  Your example is powerful and you will be a star in their eyes. "  

...............from: Howdoesshe on ebay

Comment or ignore, your choice. Have a great Wednesday,,,,,,,,,,,,,Bunny

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Do you thrift?

I love to "thrift", recycle, shop the op shop, whatever you would call pouring through racks of worn clothing in sometimes off scented stores in search of the rare gem. I know how those guys feel when they find gold up there in Alaska, or when the bells ring for you at the casino. S C O R E !

And the entertainment value is incredible. Where else can I go and spend 25 cents to a dollar and get such joy?  I started thrifting in my teens. I had a voracious passion for really nice clothes and therefore sewing. But, alas, I had no money. My large family wasn't poor but with 8 kids and Catholic school, well, the guilt would set in if I asked for anything, another by product of being Catholic. Took me years to get over that but that's another story for another time! In the meantime I would spend hours after school at Hadassah Thrift or the Goodwill searching through the piles. I remember once buying a man's full length cashmere camel coat for less than a dollar at most. I brought it home and remade it into my own cashmere coat. I was sixteen at the time. I enjoyed taking apart the seams and planning my remake.  I got a little housekeeping job for a neighbor, the textile designer at one of the local mills. She brought me fabric samples of her work they would run off, gorgeous stuff. I cleaned her tiny house for fabric and it was win/win.  I made friends with a man at a men's coat factory and through the loading dock I could get a ride up to the fifth floor where I could pick the woolen scraps and bring them home. I was one thrifty sewist who learned networking for fabric before the word was invented, and very proud of it. I hewned my skills in my teens. I still enjoy the hunt today and have finally found out how to work our one local option to occasionally get a score. It's the "who you know" plan that  works for me. 

I also have a good friend who knows my penchant and every now and then shows up with amazing things  for me in just the right size, like this custom made cape made in Ireland of Irish wool tweed. She, good friend as she is, will never tell where she gets this stuff and I have my instructions to not ask, but it is always excellent quality. I ask no questions and the garments keep coming. She knows that I will buy garments just for the fabric or just for the buttons and gets it. But she has a great eye for what I like too and that's I got the above cape. She doesn't care what I do with this stuff. No strings attached. The coat fabric is gorgeous. It fits perfectly. The buttons are ugly but can be improved. There is enough fabric to make something else. Do I keep it for clothing and risk looking like yesterday's news or do I cut it apart and make something else? Would you look at those welt pockets? Nice! It's the perfect length too!

It says" Warranteed to be a Pendleton, Trademark U.S. Patent off. app., Pendletone woolen mills, Portland, Oregon, 100% virgin wool, Made in the USA."

She also brought me this week a GORGEOUS black wool Pendleton jacket. It also fits quite well but I make take the shoulders in. The fabric literally glows with that glow only 100% fine wool suiting has. Check out the buttonholes, beautifully hand made;

 It's a classic look with welts, pewter buttons and princess seams. Here's a shot of the inside with it weft insertion fused full front, hair canvas back stay, and shoulder pads, hand made ones:

Lightened for better viewing

I think this could work nicely with some black jeans for work this winter. 

Those two pieces were from my friend. This next one I found this week for the grand price of twenty five cents. It is two layers, self lined, real silk charmeuse, new as can be and the trim is fabulous.

When I thrift shop, I try to keep an open mind. Will I really be going anywhere that would warrant this type of garment? Do I dare be the talk of the village in my backless wonder?

 Probably not. But I can #1, admire it, #2,  use that amazing trim, and #3, have a truckload of silk for Hong Kong seams  and bindings. In the meantime, my fantasies live, and all for the expense of 25 cents! A better entertainment value just can't be found. 

I would love to hear your thrift stories and even if you thrift at all. Does sewing go hand in hand with thrifting?  I know many wouldn't be caught dead in something someone else has already worn. I'm not that proud here and can always appreciate quality, no matter where it comes from or what it costs..............Bunny

Petited and De-Volumized Picasso Pants , #3

  Pardon the weird shadows. I have just finished my third pair of Picasso pants. Yes, I do love them that much. I did a lot of messing aroun...