Tag Archives: sewing

Chenille Jacket modeled by my daughter

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Years ago my Mom showed me a jacket pattern and asked me if I wanted one. The pattern said you should use 3 colors. Black white and gray comes out looking elegant and red white and blue is striking. Mom made 3 of these. One for herself and another one for my sister. I don’t know what colors they picked because I never saw the jackets, but I loved mine and wore it out. I kept the old original.IMG_2239

A few years ago I asked Mom if she still had the pattern but she didn’t, so I pinned the old jacket to a piece of plastic packing paper and traced around it to make a pattern. It’s a very simple jacket, with the sleeves and front and back all one piece. But it can be difficult, and I ran into a few problems. Plus it’s time consuming. I have around 40 hours in this. I made one a couple years ago with green batik fabric and didn’t like it as much as the red white and blue one of old, and the batik fabric might not give the chenille look.

You have to wet it when you’re finished sewing and run it through the dryer to fluff it up. I did that for this photo, but I still haven’t washed the green batik one, that fabric seems stiffer than this cotton.IMG_2240

This is the old one on my work table. I can’t wash it again because the strips are coming off the shell. I think I should still keep it.IMG_2243

This photo shows the inside of the new jacket. Sometimes people want to see the stitch lines. I used a watercolor pencil to draw those diagonal lines on the shell 1/2″ apart for sewing my bias strips on. There’s also a lot of hand sewing on the inside all around the edges.

It’s probably not a marketable piece, considering the time and difficulties, but I knew I’d like it, so it was worth the time. If anyone else can sew and wants to make it I’ll give the pattern to them. I might be the only one with the nerve to wear it. It is kind of loud and proud.

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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.

a quilt my Mom started and I’m finishing

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Did you ever say you’d finish a project for someone else then procrastinate for about ten years? I did.

Mom did most of the piecing of the two inch squares then stopped because she had cataract surgery and after that she had double vision and now is practically blind. She was working on this for my daughter and she called it an around the world quilt because my daughter loves to travel. I told her I’d finish it and when Sarah gets married it could be a wedding present from the both of us. I was off the hook for a long time because Sarah was concentrating on her career and didn’t get married. Now she’s engaged and time is running out so I had to put the art supplies away and sew.

I don’t have much quilting experience and I thought it would be time consuming and difficult. Also, I don’t have a big work table so I have to move furniture out of the way and spread it out on the floor to work on it. I had to cut around 50 of the squares to finish the piecing and the first hurdle was picking colors that would go with the ones Mom used. I procrastinated even more waiting for coupons to come in the mail and made a few trips to the fabric store for fabrics to finish the piecing then more fabrics for the wide border, polyester batting and backing.

The first time I tried to make the border it looked real bad. It was all lumpy when I laid it out on the floor and I knew I could do better. I think it came out lumpy because the pieced squares stretched as I was sewing. I had to rip all the way around and rip gently so as not to ruin the piecing. It took hours to fix it. The second time I sewed the border I had the piecing on the bottom and the border on top and the squares didn’t stretch. That white on the edge is the batting extending past the top of the quilt. I’ll trim it off when I finish the edges.

Now on to the next step. I’m going to try to quilt it on my singer 191. I’m hoping I can do a decent job of it and save a couple hundred dollars instead of taking the job to a professional quilter. First I’ll have to loosely tack it by hand while it’s still on the floor to keep all the layers from sliding out of place. If I tack it in 25 places, that should do it. Then I won’t need to put in as many pins and hopefully I can roll it up small enough to get it through my machine without scratching myself up on pins.

I’ll be glad when it’s over. Finishing a job for another person isn’t as much fun as your own project. I’m sure Mom will be excited to see it finished after all these years and Sarah will love it too. Wish me luck, friends. I’m kind of worried about the quilting part.

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.