Sunday, October 28, 2012

Silhouettes #195 Sweater Set by Peggy Sagers, revisited in lace!

Here is another top that I had planned in my fall/winter wardrobe. It is a stretch lace in grey/white/black colors highlighted with some metallic stitching.

If memory serves me correctly, I bought this a couple years ago at JoAnn's on super clearance sale. There was only a little over a yard but since it was a 60inch wide I decided to go for it.

This past year I took a couple classes at the Sewing and Quilt Expo on sewing knits and correct uses of different stabilizers. Those hands on classes came in use! I was able to pull my samples and notes and see exactly what I needed to do for the seams and hem finishes to get a good finish. It also helped that I also took a fitting class with Peggy Sagers that used this exact pattern and all the changes that could be done with it to make it very versatile.

Armed with all that information, I fearlessly attacked this project and in a matter of a couple of hours I had a new, stylish top. I have finally jumped on the lace bandwagon!

For the seams I fused strips of 1/2" knit stabilizer and basted using a walking foot and then did a 4 thread overlock. For the neckline and hems I fused a 1 1/2" knit stabilizer to the edge and folded it the right side over and used a narrow cover stitch. You can not even see the knit stabilizer strips anywhere, not even o the darts. It's a very nice technique and it gives the stitches something to sew on to since the lace is very open.

Since this nice stretch lace is very see-thru, I have to wear it with a camisole underneath. You can see it well in the very awkward over the shoulder into the mirror photo below!

In the meantime the weather is getting bad in Boston. However I think we will miss the most of Hurricane Sandy. A least I am keeping my fingers crossed!!

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Fish Pier St E,Boston,United States

Friday, October 26, 2012

Stella and Luna Tops by Sewing Workshop revisited

I decided to try Stella again. I like the pattern but have decided that if I make it again I will have to change the grain line of the front piece.

Here are some very awkward self photos in the hotel's room giant mirror! The color is a little yellowy in the first 2 photos. The bottom pictures show the real color better. I wore this all day today and am very happy with it and best of all had several compliments :)

This time I made Stella using a nice sweater knit and it sewed up just as beautifully as when I made it in the rayon woven. The directions for setting in the V cowl are very good and both versions have turned out perfect. I did make several changes from last time I made it.

- I used a smaller size for the neck, shoulders, vowel and sleeves and graded to a larger size for the hips area.
- I changed the sleeve circumference by almost 2 inches and made them much more narrow. With them at the original size it really looked very funny in the knit, I also had to shorten the sleeves considerably. I don't know any woman who haves arms that long!
- I eliminated the center back seam, my body doesn't need the extra shaping at the back waist for a knit. I prefer having my clothes hang straight down the back for this style of top.
- I lengthened the bodice by 2 inches because I wanted to wear this with black knit stretch pants and wanted to make sure my bum is covered.
- I used a combination of the walking foot on my Symphony and a 4 thread overlock on my Evolution Serger. The hems for bodice and sleeves were done with a narrow 2 thread cover stitch.

Other than the little flip at the center front, I am VERY Happy. The good thing is that the front thing really is not noticeable when the shirt is worn so not a big deal. Just bugs me...
In the picture below you can see my crude drawing of where the flip originates from. I think if I make this again sometime in the future I will put the center front lower portion on grain and stabilize the V portion with stay tape and that should fix things.

Below you can see the 'flip' at the center front seam in the first version I made.

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Pier 4,Boston,United States

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Vogue 8654, Jacket by Katherine Tilton: Finished!

So excited to have finished this jacket! I am loving it.

It is currently packed In my suitcase in the baggage compartment of this American Airlines 737 headed to Boston.

The only thing I am a little bummed about is that I had to press the collar point so they stand out a bit. The picture makes them look flat against the jacket but they really just stand out.

I had to. They were rubbing against my face and within ten minutes was driving me crazy. I guess I was not blessed with a long model neck OR possibly the pattern was meant to be used with a slightly softer fabric. Who knows but the shape is gorgeous with the shape of the hem and I just love the entire thing. And of course I love the lining I added.

I am contemplating making this in a denim and using my shiva paint sticks on it..... Get a bit creative and wild.

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:30000 feet in the air... Over the Great Lakes

Friday, October 19, 2012

I found Janice wright Cheney at the Albany Airport

More accurately I found a little display on Janice Wright Cheney, a Canadian artist, and one of her art works called 'Widow' which is 2 dyed wool rose covered taxidermy bear forms.

Unfortunately, the display in the airport was not one of the bears. Now that would have been super cool. It was just a display with several of the roses, a picture of the bear, and a little blurb on her.

Fortunately, for me the display was there for me to see. I really enjoy textile artists and I love animals and she has done some cool stuff. You can see her website here:

Hopefully these pictures are OK, I took them with my BlackBerry.

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Lisle, IL

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Simplicity 8331 tote bags, a lunch tote for my hubby!

Yesterday, before leaving for the airport for a quick work trip, I had time to finish up my husbands new lunch tote.

Last week he asked me if I could make him a new lunch tote and then asked if he could pick out the fabrics. So one evening last week we headed over to Jo-Ann's fabric and picked up the 1/2 yard of Star Wars fashion fabric, 1/2 yard of Hoffman black sky lining and 1 yard of cool handle webbing all for $8.18! Love my JoAnn's coupon app!! The zipper and all the interfacing were from my stash.

I knew that in order for this to be a successful lunch tote that I was going to have to beef it up. I used some of the techniques that I have learned in making Amy Butler handbags and modified Simplicity 8331 view A. View A worked perfect for a lunch tote because the zipper goes almost halfway down the sides so there is easy access.

Modifications I made were to change the depth of the bag from 4 in to 6 in to better fit the reusable lunch containers that he likes to use, change the zipper insertion and change the interfacing. For the interfacing on the fashion fabric front,back and bottom/side piece I used both fusible fleece and a heavy weight fusible interfacing. For the lining I also interfaced with heavy weight fusible. Fr the bottom I also used a very heavy piece of interfacing that I cut to fit the bottom and secured by sandwiching between layers of fusible to the fashion fabric so that it would not shift.

All of that translated into the lunch tote taking twice was long to make due to all the interfacing to be cut and fused! It was completely worth it in the end. The tote is nice and sturdy and will stand up well over time. I also decided to spray the lining with 2 coats of ScotchGuard to help with cleanup of spills.

Most importantly my Hubby LOVES it!

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Albany,United States

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall Camping Trip at Kickapoo State Park in Illinois

We had a great camping weekend! It was not necessarily the best weather or a perfect trip but it sure was fun :) it was great to spend the time with no technology and having a great old fashioned time together. Talking, playing games, overcoming weather issues together and just a great time spent together.

The fall colors did not disappoint and the dogs enjoyed themselves.

The weather was CRAZY! By the end of the weekend we were the ONLY tent campers left in the entire place. It was quite peaceful. We started with a very chilly Friday evening/night with a wear all the clothes and bundle up in the sleeping bag type of night. Saturday morning was overcast but beautiful and we got in some walks. The plan was to head out on a hike after lunch, Mother Nature had a different idea and sent us a nice long thunderstorm! So we change our plans and played some games at the picnic table which we had set up under a jimmy rigged dining tent. The rain stopped in time for dinner and we had a beautiful evening with the temps feeling 15 degrees warmer than the day before.

Late Saturday night after we were all bunkered down for the night we had a wind storm. It was crazy loud! It sounded light freight trains barreling through the forest and down the river. At about 5 am we all had to scramble to get the dining tent back under control. Even with staking down the tent a wind gust was to strong and the entire thing started to blow away.

Sunday was warm but windy! We had a nice breakfast and just got the tents packed up when the rain started again. So much for the hike we wanted to get in... By the time we got home Sunday afternoon there were tornado warnings!

I had a blissful night of sleep last night! All the fresh air and activity wore us all out :)

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Kickapoo Sate Park near Danville, IL

Friday, October 12, 2012

My 200th post! Work on Vogue 8654 by Katherine Tilton and other stuff!

Happy 200th post to me!! I was hoping to be organized enough to do something fun for my 200 th post, Like a giveaway or something fun. But it will have to wait a couple weeks!

Another busy week has slipped on by! I wanted to do a quick post update since most likely one will not get done this weekend. We are headed out tonight to go camping for the weekend. Perfect last camping trip of the season and the fall colors will be spectacular. I am also excited because it is just a small family affair, we are bring the dogs with us. Keeping my fingers crossed that they enjoy the weekend and behave like champs.

I have been working on Vogue 8654 by Katherine Tilton, a misses jacket. Fashion fabric is a grey wool crepe from my stash, lining is a silk charmeuse with a print that was also in my stash. It has of course taken me slightly longer than would be do to all the changes. The pattern is for an unlined jacket.... I think putting good fabric and time into making a quality garment calls for a lining. Just my preference.

Almost finished jacket!

I also ran into another issue... I decided to use a knit fusible interfacing on the entire garment, it gave the fabric a better hand for this pattern. The pattern has asymmetric fronts. Manning both front pieces and both front facings are different. I agonized over how to cut the facings properly to be fused with the interfacing and then to properly match the correct front pieces. I drew it out, I did a mini mock up, since the facings were interfaced in the original pattern I followed there directions quite carefully and I STILL ended up with them cut and fused wrong! UGHHHHHH.

You can see here the fused knit interfacing and the fact that the front facings DO NOT line up properly to the asymmetric front pieces. Duh.

I did not have enough fashion fabric to re-cut the larger facing correctly so I had to piece it. The smaller facing was easily re-cut using the wrong bigger facing. In Tim Gunn's words it was a total 'Make it work' moment. I was not wadding this project! I love the jacket and the lining and it except for the facings it was a dream to put together and the fabric is great.

So, I still have to hand finish the lining and decide on buttons.

Silk lining, I love the pop of color!

This week I also spent a large number of hours working on wedding stuff for my DD wedding next year. Probably spent 20 hours on this project and it is about half done. (And no, it is not the wedding dress!) Here is a little sneak peak of me hard at work at my Evolution serger.

And another random thought. Has anyone done a reader entry challenge for Quilting Arts Magazine? The latest one is titled Coffee or Tea and needs to be an 8x10 quilt submission. I think I may play a bit!

I'm off to get the groceries for our fall camping weekend!

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Lisle, IL

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

International Sculpture Conference 2012: Part 2 The Outdoor Exhibit

In conjunction with the conference there is an outdoor sculpture exhibition. The exhibition in Chicago is held in part with the Chicago Parks district and has 53 sculptures that are along the lake. This outdoor exhibit will be set-up for an entire year! So you have through fall of 2013 to view the works.

There are about 18 that run from the museum campus up to Navy Pier and then the rest are located along the west side of Lincoln Park Zoo and up through Belmont Harbor. There is also a small group down by the Museum of Science and industry.

I got to see about 2/3 rds of them. I only missed the most northern group up by Belmont Harbor and the small group down by the Museum of Science and industry.

Here are some of my favorites!

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Chicago, IL

Sunday, October 7, 2012

International Sculpture Conference 2012: Part 1

This past week I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the International Sculpture Conference in Chicago as a guest to my sister. My guest pass got me into all the fun stuff at the conference like the parties, the gallery openings, the studio tours and the information on the 50+ outdoor sculptures.

The very best part of the 3 nights pent downtown was that I got to spend it all with my sister!

Me and my sister

I spent several days walking around the city, I made a trip over to vogue fabrics on Roosevelt Street, spent time checking out the outdoor sculptures, rode the 'L' and generally had a great time. The last evening my darling daughter came down after work and spent the night with my sister and I. It was a super fun sleepover :)

The gardens in Millennium Park

The pedestrian 'snake' bridge and Pritzker pavilion in Millennium park. The Pritzker Pavilion had an amazing sound installation playing, it was quite amazing to listen to. Downtown loop in background.

The Cloud Gate. Aka The Bean.

The Chicago River with the Trump tower in center.

Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park.

Millennium Park. The gardens and the pavilion.

The Chicago river from the Roosevelt Street Bridge looking at the Sears Tower.

Me, my sister Jennifer and my daughter Melissa

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Chicago, Illinois