Friday, October 16, 2009

Folkwear pattern binder

Media in the studio:  all of the extended editions of Lord Of The Rings and all of the commentaries and special features.  This has been going on for quite a while and will continue.

I' ve spent a  couple of pleasant afternoons scanning all of my extensive collection (2 file drawers full) of Folkwear patterns, fronts and backs, printing them and putting them in a binder.  This will make it much easier to browse through them, and I'll have all the yardage info at my fingertips also.

I've been collecting these for ages.  The older ones have gorgeous illustrations.  The modern ones make even gorgeous garments look dull.

Tonight I will be continuing this project with all of my other patterns, and will do a thorough weeding-out at the same time.  Those 80's shoulders will never touch my body again.  It was quite a power look for women, though, or it could have been if not for the 80's hair and the 80's earrings.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lush Life

Lush Life:  The Fall Collection
Media in the Studio:  Eureka, Season 2 and 3.0, lots of other stuff

About 10 years ago I started thinking that the soft sided luggage I made in the 1980's was due to be retired from active service.

I had an image in my mind of the perfect fabric.  I searched for a long time, never found anything like my vision, and eventually almost forgot about it.  Then, while looking for fabric for Helen's sewing machine cover, there it was--the exact fabric from the vision.  Title of the fabric is "Persia" and it is a tapestry weave upholstery fabric.

I bought 5 yards and just started sewing, without any master plan.  I looked at the bags that we actually take on various trips and duplicated them, using the same Butterick pattern from the 80's (4105), along with garment bags, drawstring bags, and a giant tote. I had bits and pieces of other upholstery material that coordinated with the vision fabric, and many years collection of bits and pieces of trims, mostly acquired from thrift shops (and supplemented during several trips to JoAnn's).

I had way more fun than is allowed by law.  The sumptuousness of the fabrics and trims kept me entranced.

I can never resist adding an element of humor.  The completely over-the-top nature of these bags is the big joke, since my husband and I are strictly jeans-and-t-shirts types and stay in cheap motels when we travel.  The title represents the appearance of the bags, of course, but is also an inside-Hillsborough joke.  Pretty much everything about the massaged and marketed promotion of history here in "Historic Hillsborough" strikes me as funny, including the annual jazz festival held in honor of Billy Strayhorn, whose only Hillsborough connection is that he spent a couple of summers here as a kid.  Billy Strayhorn: Duke Ellington collaborator, composer of "Take the A-Train" and "Lush Life" (which is also the title of the PBS biography of his life).  Explaining just why this is funny would take way too much time but if you want the background, feel free to read my doctoral dissertation on the relationship between people, place and history here.  ha!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Stargate Quilt

Stargate Quilt
When Patty and Len got married I promised them a Stargate quilt. We are all big fans of the show. It took me several years, but I finally finished it in time to take it up there for my nephew's wedding.

The top photo shows the front of the quilt. If you don't know the show, the Stargate opens with a whoosh and allows you to travel to stargates on other planets.

The back of the quilt is in an informal strippy style with several Egyptian themed fabrics and leftover fabric from the whoosh.

Many thanks to the Stargate fans at the SyFy bulletin board.  I asked them for help early in the project design phase, and they responded generously.  At that time I planned to embroider sayings on the quilt, but when it came down to it, simple names worked better in the design. 

I hope they will agree about the design and forgive me for asking them for help and then not using their suggestions except for one or two, such as "Ya Think?"  and the title of the quilt is "Indeed".  Thanks again, folks, you were great.

My favorite part of the quilt has got to be the chevrons.

They are three-dimensional because they are attached only at the top and bottom, which gives them a bit of depth.  I found just the right fabric for the glowing part.  The photo also shows embroidery details that mimic the details of the gate, and the embroidered gate symbols.  My thanks here go to the unknown person who created a TrueType font of the gate symbols and put it up in Wikipedia.  My embroidery machine will do any True Type font.

Finding the font was a huge aid to the project, as was finding the stargate whoosh, a fabric titled "radiant orb", once available from  But sadly, available no longer.

Friday, July 31, 2009

More embroidery on patchwork

Media in the studio: Legend of the Seeker (on Hulu). Mindless entertainment for sewing.

I have finished Lesson 2 of the Quilt U Embroidery on Patchwork class and here are the results. Too bad about the image quality, it would be nice if the pic showed the details.

The class project is a table runner, which I would never use. So I think it is going to be a large shopping bag to hang on the back of my scooter.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Quilt U: Embroidery on Patchwork

Media in the studio: Freddie Mercury, Magic Remixed on VH-1

I'm taking another class at Quilt University, this one titled Embroidery on Patchwork, from Joanne Winn. I just finished her Beginning Machine Embroidery class at Quilt U. These are great classes, very practical and informative.

Choosing the fabrics for the project, which will be a tablerunner.

Handbag 001

Doings on Thursday and Friday, July 17 & 18
Media in the studio: Excalibur.

I have covered a small cardboard box to serve as the inside bottom of a series of handbags. All the stuff will live in the box, which can be moved from handbag to handbag. The idea came from something similar that I saw on QVC.

This was a spray adhesive project and I used scraps of an ethnic weave left over from another project. The red handles were supposed to be the same length, and I measured carefully (twice) and still screwed up. I continued with the ethnic fabrics with stuff from the thrift shop: a teal skirt, a pink placemat and a yellow woven mat much larger than a placemat.

I then started with the box dimensions, and used quarter-inch graph paper to figure out all the dimensions for the parts of the bag.

It has a rectangular base enclosing the carboard box, and then two overlapping triangles. Smaller triangles fill in the triangular gap between the two larger triangles. I finished it off with a thrift shop necklace as a weighted drape to keep the opening closed (see first photo).
Not bad. It's very soft and floppy so the interior cardboard box kind of shows. I didn't quilt the fabrics because the weave is loose and I thought the batting might beard through. The bias edges on the large triangles will stretch out over time. If I were going to do it again I might fuse a soft interfacing to this type of fabric.

Sewing With Sotomayor*

Doings on Wednesday and Thursday, July 15 & 16
Media in the studio: more of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Sonia Sotomayor. Hence Jan's suggestion of the title "Sewing With Sotomayor"

I finished Helen's sewing machine cover and she is pleased with it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

No more secret sewing!

Media: Judge Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing, Senate Judiciary Committee

I kept a journal during the creation of Greg and Amber's quilt, but never posted anything because I wanted them to be surprised.

As if they would read a sewing blog!!!

Current project: a sewing machine cover for my mother-in-law. She liked the one I made for myself when I bought my new Janome Memory Craft 4900 a couple of months ago, so I am making a similar one for her.

Mine (green) was made to showcase the decorative embroidery stitches that the machine will do, and to provide a visual encyclopedia of stitches. Hers (russet colored) is just to be pretty in her studio. She also has a Janome, but not one that does all of these stitches.

Yesterday I worked on the central panel for her cover.