Category Archives: sewing

silk scarf painting / almost got it

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If I had a nice bright green oil paint stick this might work. I like the template more that the scarf. That’s ok. I’ll try again.  And my dragons: I wanted them to look scary, but they look like they’re saying, “How ya doin?”IMG_2164

I made  left and right templates so my dragons would both face up on the scarf. My daughter gave me some type of clay they called Think Putty. It’s not sticky and almost the right texture to pipe out of a cake decorating bag, so I added a lot of  Elmers glue to thin it and make it sticky. It piped nicely but was a mess to clean up since it’s not water soluble clay. I don’t know what it was made of but the glue blended in.

This method of painting on silk is like doing a rubbing. There are other ways to paint on silk that I haven’t learned, but I might try something else like dye instead of oil paint sticks and a template.

The molded plastic templates you buy in the art supply  stores give you a sharp image but my home made templates aren’t coming out with that look.

No big deal about wrecking this piece of silk.  The first pieces of silk I bought, I thought the width of the bolt would be ok for a scarf, but now I want to make 54″ scarves instead of using the 45″ width.

Then, I tried to use my folding foot on the sewing machine to make the hem on this practice piece and it didn’t work for me. The silk is slippery and I couldn’t keep it in the folding foot. I remembered long ago I made ruffled curtains and the folding foot wasn’t easy even on cotton.

I started sewing the hem by hand like the scarves imported from Thailand. It was going slowly and I decide to sew the hems by machine because my templates might not work anyway, and why spend the time hand sewing on these experiments? I’ll just straight stitch some hems.

I tried to make templates using string and glue on a board, but the string frayed at the cut edges which wasn’t what I wanted. Dragons should have points, not frayed ends. I used craft string and Elmers to glue my design on a piece of black foam core board that time. I’ll try again to make a template using something else. But the green putty is an improvement over the string.

That’s all the problems I had so far with trying to do silk painting on scarves. It’s a good thing I have a lot of patience and not easily discouraged, isn’t it? 😉

In the winter your plein air artist gets into craft projects and other kinds of art, but I’m looking forward to better weather so I can spend more time drawing and painting outdoors.

 

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Crab bag

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What was your first impression of this painting?

(a) Oh no! That finger could get a nasty pinch!

(b) This way to the crab.

(c) That artist picks crabs.

(d) God created crabs.

(e) other

My working title was god created crabs but this is one of those paintings better left untitled because it’s open for interpretation.

A long time ago I saw an unforgettable mural. I thought it was brilliant! It was at Colonial Beach VA. It was the hand of God as it looks on the Sistine Chapel pointing at a crab. The hand of God is easily recognizable as you remember it reaching to Adam. When I went back another time that building was gone along with the mural.

I looked up the fresco and all I could get was a tiny picture to work from. I thought it was too small for me to copy and I’d rather draw a hand myself than copy or trace the hand of God, which would be difficult anyway. So, that’s my hand. It doesn’t look strong enough to be the hand of God. I wondered if art viewers would make the connection.IMG_2107

It wasn’t easy sketching my hand. It kept moving. I worked on this sketch for around 2 hours but I took a couple breaks.

To get my sketch of the crab, I looked up Blue crabs and then tried to sketch it from memory. They’re always steamed when I see them and they’re red all over. I decided they look cute still alive and standing up, so my painting isn’t like the mural either with the hand or the crab’s pose. Lucky for me I had some practice sketching live ghost crabs a couple weeks ago.

Yes, it’s true. The Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab is the tastiest kind of crab in the world. I could pick for hours and eat my fill then pick more for people who don’t like to pick so they can have crab cakes. yummy

The side straps the bag was made with are sewed into the seam at the bottom. They’re made of some kind of black twisted polyester strings. I have another bag with similar cords for strings and sometimes they hurt my hands. On this bag, the cord was fraying out of the seam. I had to make it stronger and I wanted to cover the strings in some fabric that would be softer than those rough black strings. So, I used this little scrap of fabric that was left over from the quilt project, because it’s a good color match.

I’ll use this bag to carry my sketch book, water bottle and pencil box when I go out to draw.

my favorite tie dye shirt so far and EXCITING NEWS!

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I’m moving to Virginia Beach in Oct! I can’t wait! I signed up for an apt in a new building made of concrete and steel. The floors won’t creak. I’ll be on the top floor (4th). It’s LUXURY, BABY! My balcony will overlook trees. My daughter lives in Norfolk, so it will be easier to get together with her, since Virginia Beach and Norfolk are connected.

They are two cities, but they look like one huge city. The population is much denser than Richmond. I’ll have so many new places to explore. A lot of places I’ve been to many times and wished I could hang around long enough to paint, now I can. I can go to the ocean front any time I want to. It will seem like being on permanent vacation!

I have a feeling it will be a good move for me.

About this shirt: It’s the ice dye method. I liked the way it came out but the bottom of the shirt had the brighter colors and the top of it was kind of blah. One good thing about adult X larges is that they are way too long on me and I have plenty of fabric to do an alteration. So, I traced the neck edge on tracing paper. I took out the stitches around the neck and sleeves and cut the shirt down 4″from the top. I lowered the sleeve holes 4″ and the shoulder seams. Then I recut the neck edge using my pattern and sewed the ribbed band back on, sewed the sleeves in and voila! It’s an improvement!

 

tie dye shirt and shorts I made / modeled @ Lewis Ginter

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The tie dye was fun. The shorts were difficult..

This time I cut 3″ off the length of the shirt and cut the fringe 3″ before sewing on the beads. I like this length and it’s more practical with the shorter fringe because it doesn’t get tangled.

The shorts are a polyester linen blend so they’re cooler than my denim shorts, but I had to resew my seams to make it fit right. I used the same pattern that was ok before, but this time it seemed too baggy. Now I want to resew the blue ones I made and then take them apart so I can draw my pattern to fit exactly next time. It will be a big job.

Sewing is more difficult than painting. I don’t understand why “craft” gets less respect than “art”. They’re the same to me. Art and craft both require practice, patience, skill etc. so I wonder why sewing isn’t seen in the same way as an oil painting or a sculpture. No one would doubt YSL is an artist, but is the seamstress who makes her own clothes also considered an artist? I would say yes. The sewing ladies are artists  too. And if you have enough dexterity and patience to sew you can also do any kind of painting you like. The more you practice and experiment the better you get at it. Good teachers help. I was lucky to have good sewing teachers and art teachers.IMG_1911 When I made that tie dye shirt, I wanted to try to do a flowery motif. I was thinking of making flowers on top of the shirt and green foliage on the lower part, kind of like the YSL dress.  This one is my 2nd try to get the flower look with tie dye. The 1st one didn’t come out.  I’ll probably throw it away.

I’m ruthless with the things I make. Sometimes I throw away a whole year’s worth of paintings if I decide not to show them again, and I’ll throw away any tie dye that doesn’t look good to me. If I wasn’t that way with my “creations” my apt. would be too crowded.

I’ll try another tie dye.

Meanwhile, here’s some roses for your inspiration.

YSL fashions at the VMFA

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Hmmm. My photo is a little fuzzy.

This one is my daughter’s favorite.

Evening gown. Autumn-Winter 1983 haute couture collection. Paris pink silk satin bodice with large bow and black silk velvet skirt.

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This one is my favorite. I might try to steal it some day.

Daytime dress Autumn – Winter 1967 Saint Laurent rive gauche collection. Yellow cotton pique dress: sleeves and hem trimmed with red guipure (a kind of lace). Archives Anouschka Paris

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Sexy piecing, huh?

Evening gown. Homage to Tom Wesselmann Autumn – Winter 1966 haute couture collection. Purple wool jersey with pink wool jersey piecing.

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Evening gown Autumn = Winter 1997 haute couture xollection. Bodice embvroidered with silk organza, sequins, and raffia in a poppy and leaves pattern: red silk pleated skirt with red silk satin ribbon tie belt. Embroidery by Lesage.

omg. He stole my idea! hahahahahIMG_1893

When I saw a photo of this it reminded me of a pine cone. When you see it in person it’s kind of elegant. I guess YSL can make a pine cone look elegant. Sarah said maybe he got his inspiration from nature.

Short evening ensemble. Spring – Summer 1967 haute couture collection. Fringed raffia coat, neckline embroidered with brown wooden beads: ivory silk dress embroidered with wooden beads. Embroidery by Lanel

This is a really great show if you’re interested in fashion design. And the only East coast venue is the VMFA.

 

tie dye Rorschach test

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Does this look like something to you? To me it looks like some kind of ET with wings and a female body wearing a Wonder Woman bodice and the head of a Koala Bear. But if it looks like something to you, please tell me what it is.

That’s one fun thing about doing tie dye. You don’t know what it will look like until you untie it and rinse it.

And what about the back? The head of a lion? Or a dog?IMG_1888

I model the outfit I made

IMG_1879I’m standing on the bulkhead across the street from my daughter’s house in Norfolk.

The pants are Simplicity pattern 8056. The fabric is linen polyester blend. It is so cool and comfortable. That’s my favorite tie dye shirt  with a beaded fringe.

I made a slope out of muslin to try the pants pattern first. When I looked at all the pieces I had to cut and all the steps to assemble it, I wondered if I could make the slope without cutting and sewing all the pieces, but then decided I had to do it as far as getting the waist band on, because it looked difficult and complicated.  The pockets are 4 pieces each and the zipper has a fly. I’m used to doing slipcover zippers which are more simple. When I looked at the directions, I read the text, I looked at the illustrations, and I said to myself, “what?” I had to  stop and do something else because I couldn’t figure it out. A couple days later, I tried to figure it out again and still didn’t get it, so I made a guess and that wasn’t right. At least then I could see how it was meant to go together, and I was glad I made the slope, because I needed the practice! A lot of times I sew something, I have to rip my stitches and try again, so, no big deal.

The slope did fit well. I took my measurements and compared them to the chart on the pattern. I guess I’m not a standard size. So, when I cut the muslin I cut the hips bigger and the waist smaller. There’s the first step and I was just trying to make my best guess. I really needed to make the muslin first so I could check the fit, and learn the steps to assemble the pants. It was difficult the second time too, but next time it will be easier. I want to make this in green, another blue and tan. Then I’ll be all set for summer. And in a few weeks when the lotuses bloom, I’m going out wearing this to paint, and I don’t care if I get paint on my new pants. I’ll make more. At least I’ll be comfortable and dressed better than before.

tie dye shirt with beaded fringe

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back

I think I’m getting the hang of this tie dye thing. This is the ice dying again, my 9th tie dye and my favorite shirt so far. I enjoyed wearing the 1st one that I put beads on so I wanted to bead this one too. Last time, I cut my fringe 1/2″ and it took a looooong time to sew all the beads on. This time, I cut my fringe at 3/4″ and got the beads on in about 2 hours. The great thing about the beads is how they make the fringe swing when I walk. I imagine I’m reminding people of the ocean.  ( the motion  hahahahaha )

The 1st beaded shirt, I kept the length of the shirt size adult x large and cut my fringe 7″. The fringe was low on my hips and when I got out of my car I had to straighten it every time as it got a little tangled. This time, I cut 5″ off the length of the shirt and cut my fringe at 5″, so it should be a little higher on my hips and hopefully not get messed up when I sit down. That’s something to consider if you’re thinking of making a beaded fashion style.

About the beads, Imagine sewing a button on a shirt. There’s a job most people don’t have the patience to do. Now imagine sewing 63 more buttons on. YIKES! right?  I say to myself, “One at a time gets it done.” I take frequent breaks. It’s not boring when you know you’re making something beautiful for yourself and no one else has anything like it because they can’t sew a button on. And you can’t buy it in a store because it would cost a fortune with all the hand sewing of the beads.

It’s been raining for so many days. Good thing I have this tie dye and my sewing projects to keep me from going insane here at home. I need to make shorts to go with this shirt. I have a pattern for shorts that says “perfect fit”. I haven’t tried it yet, but that skirt pattern I bought saying perfect fit did fit just right. So, another day of rain here. They say this is the last rainy day and tomorrow the sun will come out. I’ll do a slope of the shorts pattern today. If it works, I might buy some linen tomorrow. Then I’ll look so cool at the next art opening.

tie dye bathrobe for my daughter

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Sarah told me she recently purged her wardrobe and gave away a ton of clothes she doesn’t wear. She also put a moratorium on herself not to buy more clothes for the rest of the year. That’s a bold anti consumerism move from a career woman! So I told her if she wants something sewn or tie dyed to get me while I’m hot. She knows sometimes I don’t sew for years. She said she’d like a tie dyed bathrobe, so I said ok, I’ll give it a shot.

I got white terry cloth. It’s cotton and I thought it would take the dye well. I decided to cut the pieces out first but not sew them together till after I had it dyed. I thought that might make it more manageable to rinse in the sink. After I had the pieces soaking in the soda ash solution for 20 minutes I put them in the dryer to get out most of the moisture. The guy on the “crispy” U Tube video says to have the fabric only slightly damp when you tie it up to dye. (That guy is a real inspiration with the beautiful shirts he makes.) Well, my pieces started to fray in the dryer, so I sewed French seams on this to stop it from fraying more.IMG_1873

How do you like this draining mesh I rigged up? Good thing I saved those old stretcher strips every time I moved. I knew I’d use them one day. And that roll of waxed button twine I bought long ago finally got used for this project too. I stapled the twine to the stretcher strips.  I used a scrap of black mat board to make my collars to hold the ice on top of the fabric. I just had black on hand, any cardboard will do. That’s all my cuts for the robe scrunched down and banded up in the collars.IMG_1874

This photo shows my ice on top of my scrunched pieces with dye sprinkled on top of the ice. When the ice melts the color goes through the fabric and you get that water color look. You have to wait for the ice to melt then turn it over and put ice and more dye powder on the other side too. The excess dye drips into the plastic tub underneath. The ‘crispy” guy says to wait 24 hours before untying and rinsing the fabric. You can’t tell how it will come out. And kind of hard to wait 24 hours to see what you got!

I’m not finished with my tie dye experiments. I have another idea in mind, something big.