Saturday, December 29, 2007

Midnight Garden - Jacket - Part XXXI

Duh!


Well, I've two "duh" moments recently. The first one isn't nearly as bad as the second.

First, I realized that I had not shown you the completed beaded lilies. I finished them over Christmas weekend and forgot about them until this morning. Here's one of them:

Here's a closer look at the beading, albeit overexposed on the silver areas:

The beading actually was easy once I decided what I wanted to do. For beading, I generally have an idea of what I'm going to do, but don't actually know exactly what I'm going to do until I start stitching on the beads. Most of the time I end up playing around and doing several versions until I find the one that is just right. I always know it when I see it. These lilies took about 5 versions and I actually didn't do anything one Saturday except play around with the beads to find the right thing. I didn't actually stitch too much - just placed the beads on the surface - as I didn't want to mar the silk. Finally the right thing struck me the next morning and I was able to finish the lilies.

The second "duh" occurred last night. At this point, I have a set schedule as to what needs to be done each day to finish this project. I work better if I have daily goals. Last night, I was so proud of my self for finishing the day's task of putting in the lining. Not an easy task, as the portion between the facings in the back had to be put in by hand because of the peplum and it's curves. So, I got into bed after finishing the fell stitching to close the lining and as my head hit the pillow, it struck me: I didn't put in the shoulder pads! Ugh! You know what I did. No, I did not get up and fix it right then. This morning I took out a section of the hem (thank goodness I had not pick stitched yet!), put the shoulder pads in and refinished the hem.

The jacket, then, is almost complete. I need to bead the edge of the peplum, cover and install the snap closures and put in the label. These are little things that will get done early next week, along with the finishing touches for the skirt and blouse. I am thinking that the ensemble will be finished by the end of next week. I probably won't post final photos until the following week due to all the accessories not being here and other posts I'd like to do.

Parting Shot: Christmas Coffee Cakes! Christmas is the only time of year that I bake these coffee cakes - they're very rich and delicious and reserved for special occasions. (If you're American, they taste like Entemann's coffee cakes, but better!) The long one has blackberry and cream cheese filling and the circular one has apricot/orange filling. They also have two toppings, which add to the richness. You can see me adding glaze in the last photo.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Midnight Garden - Jacket - Part XXX

We Have a Lining!


I had a lovely Christmas and hope that all of you did, too. I'd like to say hello and thank you to all of you who have commented on my blog for the first time recently - there were quite a few new names and faces! Thanks for reading - I hope that you enjoy these little adventures and if nothing else get a laugh at my craziness.

Since I'm on Christmas vacation and have extra time, I've been not only enjoying my family but also getting some work done on Midnight Garden. It was "done enough" by Christmas, and now I'm getting down to all the little finishing touches. Of course these touches will take me the better part of this week and next to do, but will be worth it. By the way, did you notice - we're up to 30 posts on the jacket alone?

Without further ado, here's the lining for the jacket:

Not the greatest photo, but this color is *really* hard to photograph. Wait till you see the post on the photo shoot set up for competition entry pictures! At any rate, there's quilted facings, plus the velvet beaded cuffs. They are hard to see and they're not well pressed, but, at the shoulder there are deep released pleats instead of the darts found on the jacket shell. Interesting detail, and much like a pleat at the center back found commonly on jackets, helps with wearing ease. Yes, this jacket has the center back pleat, too.

Here are the cuffs, the flowers are beaded as the appliqued flowers on the jacket, plus they have a beaded trim. I realize it is hard to see the detail in the photos below - I've lightened the top one so that you can see a little of the detail. The velvet is so rich and deep that it photographing it isn't easy.

I'll show you how I stitched the beaded trim in a future post. It is easy and adds a rich finish to the edges.

Parting Shot: Waiting. My husband took this shot on Christmas morning before the presents were opened. I'll be sharing a few more Christmas shots over the next few days.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Midnight Garden - Accessories - Part I

*The* Hat!


Yes, I'm still beading. For a few moments, I'm pretending like it doesn't exist and I'm going to show you the hat I found on eBay. I was going to make a matching hat, but when I saw this one, I decided not to. Here it is:

Is this not the perfect shape for the curves and peplum of suit? The color is perfect, too. The velvet trim on the hat exactly matches the velvet cuffs, collar and peplum! I'm not sure how that worked out considering the hat is vintage. Take a look at the inside label:

Does Saks still have a Millinery Salon? Does anyone know the answer to that? I'm going to guess probably not, but you never know. That hat still has the original combs too, one on each side:

I'm excited about the hat, and it really is a bright spot for me right now. Tonight I'll finish beading the 72 flowers. The leaf embroidery is done, and tomorrow I plan to start the lilies. After that I only need to bead the cuffs, collar and peplum and work the beaded trim along their edges. Then I can get to finishing the jacket, finishing the blouse and fixing that skirt waistband!

Parting Shot: Check out the pockets! Aren't those triangle pockets neat? If not neat, at least different? This is another recent eBay find.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Midnight Garden - Jacket - Part XXIX

Be Careful What You Wish For!


As we all know, I have a deadline coming up for MG. Of course, having a few days off to work on it would be wonderful. With school not getting out for the holidays until Friday, that makes things that much more difficult. Good and bad I got my wish. Today I was home with a sick child and tonight/tomorrow we're getting (do you even want to guess?) more snow with a possible school cancellation. I'm not sure this is exactly what I meant when I prayed for more time.

At any rate, I'm now working on beading the flowers and thought I'd show you them. I have one half of the jacket's 60 leaves embroidered and by the end of the evening, I'll have half of the 72 flowers beaded, excepting the lilies, of course. Here are some photos of the flowers:

It looks like I'll be doing a lot of beading while watching the Celtics/Pistons game tonight. My husband is actually going to the game with some coworkers, and the kids and I will watch it on TV.

Parting Shot: My son's ornaments. Here are the ornaments my son has been making out of polymer clay. He came up with the idea all on his own and brought one down to show me one day. I encouraged him to make them as gifts. He's also made ones that say "love", "joy" and "hope".

Monday, December 17, 2007

Midnight Garden - Jacket - Part XXVIII

Starting the Embellishments!


Thank you all for the kind words and compliments on my daughter's Christmas dress. She really enjoyed wearing it - if you could see the way she twirls and swishes around in it you'd know that she's very happy and excited to have such a dress. I really do like making the dresses; it's fun to find the right pattern, fabric and embellishments. Before too long, she probably will be embarrassed that mom makes her clothes, so I'm enjoying it while I can. I am trying to in grain the idea of "custom made" instead of "home made" into her mind. With any amount of luck, it will stick.

We had another two hour delay today due to yesterday's snow/ice storm and I put it to good use, quilting one of the front facings. I've actually had a very productive weekend! This is what I did:
  • assemble lining except for sleeves and front facings
  • make cuffs
  • make peplum
  • finish additional quilting on jacket body
  • finish assembling sleeves
  • cut out blouse
  • start blouse assembly
I got the other facing quilted this afternoon and tonight I will the put lining together. Until I get the jacket embellished, I won't be able to finish putting everything together. I have started working on the embellishments and am currently working on the leaves:

The leaves are embroidered with DMC's Precious Metal Effects embroidery floss in a shiny silver. Tonight I'll finish the few leaves in this section and start the bead/sequin work tomorrow.

Things are really starting to look up! I will have this ensemble ready to photograph on Saturday and will then finish all the little details next week. After that, I am going to take a short break, sew a few things for myself.

Parting Shot: More Kiwi. My husband found Kiwi napping and took these photos. The last one is a bit blurry, but he finally got a shot of her with her pretty golden eyes open!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Midnight Garden - Jacket - Part XXVII

Progress!


I am that point in the project where I'm seeing progress again! That's really encouraging since for a while this project seems to have been dragging along. Not that there's still not a lot of work to be done. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it's not an oncoming train.

As of today, I have the collar and cuffs ready for attachment. They still need to be embellished, but that can be done later. As you can see from the photo below, the peplum isn't ready, but will be tomorrow.
Working with the velvet was real fun. Actually, not really as it was pretty slippery. I had to hand baste all the seams together, then whip stitch the edges together and finally stitch the seams with a walking foot. That was probably overkill to keep the pieces from slipping, but I don't get a second chance with these pieces - there's no extra fabric and really no time to get more. You can see the cuff on the machine in the photo below.

I also got the lining mostly assembled today. I can't put in the sleeves until I get the front facings quilted and attached. Without the front facings I can't do shoulder seams, and hence, sleeves. The sleeves for both the fashion fabric and lining are done, too. So for the moment, I do have a lot of things ready, but nothing put together.

I'm still working on the extra quilting on the jacket body. Right now I only have one front and one side front left, which will be done tomorrow.

All in all, a productive day!

Parting Shot: Here she is, in the Christmas dress. I had her put it on again today, as we didn't have time for photos last night and got back really late. I only took a few pictures, but I think she got tired of me telling her to smile by the last one and got just a bit silly.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Midnight Garden - Jacket - Part XXVI

Embossing Velvet


I'm done with the applique, and am waiting for some beads and sequins to arrive so that I can continue the beading/embroidery. In the meantime, I'm working on other components such as the collar, cuffs, peplum and lining. By the end of the week, I plan to have all the components ready so that I can finish assembling the jacket next week.

The collar, cuffs, and peplum are made of embossed velvet, faced with the quilted silk dupioni. The embossed and eventually embellished velvet will be a nice contrast to the silk. Today I'll show you how I did the embossing. It is a very easy process and one that's been around for quite a while.

The best velvet for embossing is rayon/acetate. One manufacturer's label is "Fidelio". You can also emboss silk/rayon velvet, but the images are not as crisp. I had some silk velvet, but it is not quite right for this project, so I ordered some navy Fidelio from Valley Fabrics, it can also be ordered from Hot Potatoes, or you can google "Fidelio velvet". There are a few other places to get it on line if you can't get it locally. Velvets that have nylon are not recommended, as they can burn or melt easily. Of course, always do a test, especially if using a velvet of unknown fiber content.

Here's how to emboss:

Materials: Appropriate velvet, spray bottle with water, stamp and iron. The nice thing here is that I'm able to use the flower stamp that I carved!

Step 1: Place stamp on protected work surface, raised design side up. Place velvet right side down over stamp, position velvet where motif is desired. Spray wrong side of velvet over motif lightly with water. Because I was working with larger pieces and fairly close motifs, I found it easier to spray the entire piece before embossing.

Step 2: Using a hot iron, press the velvet and stamp together. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Always do a test with a scrap first to make sure the iron isn't too hot. If it is too hot it will scorch the fabric.

Step 3: Carefully remove the velvet from the stamp.

Step 4: Enjoy! The large piece in the second picture will eventually become the peplum for the back of the jacket.

Parting Shot: Trying something else new. After spying the book, Beading on Fabric by Jean Larkin Van Horn on my book shelf and looking through it, my son decided that he wanted to try beading, too. (Nice book - it's spiral bound and lays flat if you're trying out techniques.) No problem. I found a scrap of fabric and some large sized beads, probably size 8 or size E for him to work with. He asked if beading was like sewing on buttons. I told him that it was similar in a way. He didn't do too bad; he pulled the thread a bit too tight between beads causing the fabric to pucker, but that's a normal thing for someone learning to bead on fabric. He also asked what do about all the threads on the back - he said they didn't look too good. I said, either you stitch very neatly or you line the piece. He now wants to add beads to his sister's doll quilt. I'll have to make sure I have some larger purple ones he can use!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Midnight Garden - Q/A's

Inquiring Minds and the Million Dollar Question


I got some interesting responses to yesterday's post. First, let's talk about that clash outfit. Yes, my students thought it was quite something. They weren't dressed much better. I did have one student who hadn't seen the shoes until I stepped around the desk at the beginning of 3rd hour to start my Biology lecture (on the large intestine and gastrointestinal health - fantastic topics, huh?) and really gave me a strange look. I had to ask why and he said he hadn't seen the shoes until just then. They were comfortable, at least!

Second, thank you all for your sympathy and support over the waistband. I do have a plan B (and a plan C and D as well!). I'm thankful that through some of my own mistakes, some of you can gain some inspiration. (Shorty, you're more than welcome to the quote!) I think I learn more from the failures than the successes.

Anyway, the first question comes from Cidell, aka The Queen of the Night (check out her gown, really, she's beautiful!). Cidell had this to say, "I was wondering why the bound buttonhole shred. Is it just the kind of fabric you are using? Enquiring minds want to know. " It shredded because I clipped the little triangle too close to the stitching line before turning. I think when I turned it and subsequently yanked, tugged and over manipulated the lips of the buttonhole into place it came loose. I used the same method that I used for the red trench, so they *looked* good and I didn't discover the shred until a few days later. Added to that is the fact that silk dupionni can fray, and always when you don't want it to! Lesson learned: Be careful!

Now for the million dollar question! From the lady known for her thought provoking and self-introspective questions on her blog, comes this question from Carolyn: "When do you have to have Midnight Gardens finished for submission?" LOL. Well, let's see. I have two submissions due, one Jan. 4 and the other Jan. 11. Between all the holidays and thus postal holidays, let's just say that it needs to be pretty well done and able to be photographed by Christmas. Alright, I can hear the collective sucking in of breaths. I know that's, what, like 2 1/2 weeks away? Yes, I'm well aware of that fact and I have a plan. You see, today I finished the appliqué, and I quilted the cuff facings. By Monday the collar and front facings will be quilted, leaving me only to put together the whole jacket and fix the skirt. Well, and do all the beading too, but I'll see how much I get done of that before I have to take the photographs. I *will not* do an all day beading session like I did with Waiting for Spring. Remember that? I had a major headache and literally couldn't see at the end of the day. I still have to make the blouse, too, but it is a very easy pattern, and the muslin is already done.

BTW, I did get an email today from the International Quilt Festival with a request to have American Beauty as part of an winner's exhibit at the International Quilt Festival shows in Chicago in April 2008 and Long Beach, CA in July of 2008. Since American Beauty's last show will be in January, I'll send it off for these two shows. If you're in the area and can go to the shows, stop by and see it. More information on the Chicago and Long Beach shows can be found here.

Parting Shot: Advent Stockings! When my daughter was very little, I made a set of felt advent stockings in white and several shades of blue, each one big enough for two pieces of candy. They all hang on a small tree in her room, and every night the children get to take one stocking off and eat the candy. Once they're gone, it's Christmas!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Midnight Garden - Skirt - Part V

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back


At least that's how it feels. I got the skirt hemmed and the waistband on and almost had all the hand stitching done on the waistband when I discovered this:

Ack! It's a shredded bound buttonhole. I know you know what that means. That waistband will have to come off and be completely replaced by a new one, which means I'll have to quilt another section for the front of the waistband, combine it with the lining side and reattach and finish the whole thing. This time, I'm not doing the bound buttonholes. There aren't any other buttonholes in the entire outfit, as the jacket will close with covered snaps, so I've decided to use hooks and eyes to close the waistband of the skirt and then make covered snaps to further secure the flaps.

On the bright side, I have the vine and leaves in place to start the applique embellishment on the lining of the skirt. I even have some flowers made up and ready to go.

Meanwhile, in other areas, we have lilies! At this point two are complete, and I plan on adding the third and fourth lilies today and tomorrow.

While I'm not making progress on the skirt, I am on the jacket. I have to quilt facings for the cuffs, collar and jacket front this weekend, so quilting another waistband won't be too big of a deal! Am I a little disappointed? Of course, but that's just how things turned out and I really am not going to dwell on it. The response and solution to the problem is more important than the problem itself. Which is true for most of life, isn't it?

Q/A: This one is from a while back, but I wanted to post it with a Midnight Garden post, since it has to do with MG. Tracey wanted to know, "Did you do the quilting yourself or was the fabric pre-quilted?" I quilted the fabric myself. It is silk dupioni quilted with both twin and single needle stitching using Superior Glitter in the color Midnight.

Parting Shot: What NOT to wear to school. Ok, so why did I wear this to school? Well, our students are having a Spirit Week this week because of a huge basketball tournament this weekend. Every day, we've dressed up according to the theme of the day. Today happened to be "Clash Day". Do you know how hard it is to clash when a great majority of your wardrobe matches? I had to dig into the summer wardrobe to find a few extra items.