I have a few things I made last year but never blogged. So this will be a catch-up post and hopefully I will stay on track better this year. Warning – this is a bit long so grab a snack and enjoy!
One task that took up my sewing time throughout last year was making glitter vests for a group of senior dancers. The group is called “Encore Dancers” and a friend is in the group. The group dances at assisted living locations in the area and they have a different theme every month. Therefore they need multiple vests. The leader of the group made “one size fits nobody” vests for everyone sometime ago. The vest my friend showed me was not lined, pretty tired and falling apart. So my friend asked if I would make her a new vest. A new vest for her led to multiple vests for her and 5 of the dancers. Now they each have their own pattern and I can make one of those vests in my sleep. Here is a sample of the “March” green. It reverses to silver. They wear white button-down cotton blouses under the vests, with jeans or black pants, depending on the month.
I enjoyed doing the vests for them, and watched one of their performances. The leader is 81 and moves like someone half her age. The rest are mostly in their 70’s. They are a great inspiration to stay healthy and keep moving!
My Talbots Knock-off using Vogue 1451.
When I do buy RTW, generally I shop at Talbots. I wait for sales, can find items that fit and their clothes last. Their pants fit me well and are comfortable (unlike almost all the pant patterns I have tried). I saw this shirt, was not willing to pay full price nor wait for it to be on sale. The fabric was a little thin for my taste and the fabric I had was a nice cotton. Of course I wanted to play with embroidery on clothing. Here is the top I wanted to knock off.
I had the blue striped seersucker in my resource center from Hancock’s (remember them?). I was looking at my patterns and this one from Sandra Betzina was fairly new.
I decided to make the shirt, with sleeves and without the banded bottom. On my version, I used a chambray for the contrast. I made a few other changes as well. My version:
I shortened the shirt a few inches, and shortened the front placket about 6 inches. I thought the placement of the end of the placket was ‘odd’ on the pattern envelope. And on me, it would end up in an awkward spot. I also gathered the sleeves like the Talbots version. One note: The neckline in the pattern picture is misleading. It looks like an open Vee, but in fact it is not. I would like to make this again, but will make a few more changes. I will shorten it even more, and removed some of the volume in the hips. Also will open the neckline a bit, more like the pattern photo looks like it should be. (That is why we sew, right?).
And for the embroidery; I spent a lot of time looking on line and through my library of designs for something similar to the inspiration picture. I didn’t necessarily want a design inside a box like the inspiration, but needed one that was a bit rectangular. So, I made a muslin of the shirt, and on that muslin tried out the embroidery design. It is actually two designs combined from the Amazing Designs embroidery disk called Sweetheart Scrolls.
I did put a design on both sides of the muslin and it just seemed like too much. So I chose to only embroider one side. Besides, if you do both sides they have to match exactly! More stress!
A close-up of the embroidery:
Next up: A scarf for the ASG Annual meeting challenge. The challenge was to take 1 yd of white cotton fabric and make something. You could do anything to the fabric that you wanted, but could not add any other fabric to it. Trims, embellishments, dyeing, embroidery, beads, etc were all OK. Since there is no way I can get an entire garment out of 1 yard of fabric, I decided to make a scarf. This is the “Spiral Scarf” from the Sewing with Nancy Sensational Scarves booklet by Nancy Zieman. I have made a few of these scarves; they are good for me because I have a short neck and scarves with a lot of fabric are not good for me. This is basically a straight grain piece of fabric sewn into a spiral. I often take a RTW scarf and cut it up to make a couple of scarves just to reduce the amount of fabric that would end up around my neck.
Image of the book.
I dyed the white fabric & cut the strip for the scarf (there is a formula in the book depending on the length you want your scarf). My first experience with dyeing fabric. Then used fabric paint and a flower & leaf stencil to add the painted designs. The final touch was a few embroidered leaves using variegated thread. I didn’t win a prize, but enjoyed the process. The cotton fabric makes this scarf a little stiff – lighter weight and fabrics with drape are better for the spiral scarf, but it is wearable in a color that suits me.
A close-up of the stencil and embroidered leaf. The seams of the scarf that make the spiral are less noticeable in a soft print fabric.
On the Home Dec front, there were a few things going on as well. Most of my house is decorated in a pretty neutral manner. Lots of earth tones, few bright colors. I accessorize with color in holiday/seasonal decorating. I feel that the powder room (guest bathroom) is a place to be a little wild with the decorating. You don’t spend a lot of time in there generally and it gives you something to look at when you are in there. So, in my powder room I have a black, white and red décor, with zebra wall paper on all 4 walls. I wanted some sort of art piece on the wall that grabs your eye when you walk in. I couldn’t find anything I liked and I don’t have the time nor patience to go 100 places to find the right thing.
Enter my sewing skills. I made a wall-hanging in a crazy quilt pattern using fabrics in guess what? Black, red and white, along with gold because I always need some bling! In my embarrassingly large Craftsy class library I have Crazy Quilts with Allie Aller. I used the simple straight edges pattern for the blocks. After I put them together, I added some embroidery of roses in the corners. After that I was paralyzed. I didn’t want it to have stitching in every seam like more vintage crazy quilts. I wanted to keep it simple. I agonized over it for a year; then finally just decided to do a little stitching, add some bling and call it done. (During 2017 I was trying to finish UFOs and not create new ones). I bought a plan black frame, put it together and hung it on the wall.
View from the doorway.
Close-up of 1 block.
That’s it for now. I have a few more items, but I have to gather the photos and info so that will be another post.