Monday, June 29, 2009

Garden Path - Jacket - Part XXI

Allium, In Context

I finished the allium this weekend and was able to start on some surrounding flowers. Here is what this section looks like at the moment:

I need to finish one of those daisies on the left, applique the rose and add all the pansies to fill in below and to the left/right of the allium.

I will not be posting tomorrow, because I will be gone all day on a shopping trip to the garment district in NYC! Gorgeous Ann and friends put together a trip and I am able to go along. I also will get to meet LindsayT and Carolyn! I will post all about it on Wednesday.

Parting Shot: Yarrow. My red yarrow is starting to bloom! We still are getting way more rain than sunshine, but maybe that will change soon and the plants will bloom some more.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Garden Path - Jacket - Part XX

Allium Experiments

Today I was able to get into the studio and finish working out all the details for the alliums. There are only two of them in the whole piece, and when there are relatively so few, the details have to be right.

I start first with the stems. I wanted them thin, so applique was out. Since there would be a lot of them I didn't want to couch a thick thread either. I start out with some free motion stitching, which was ok, but not quite right. I then switched to satin stitching which was a bit better. The ends needed some tapering, so I figured that out too. In the photo below you can see the size of the flower I'm working with, outlined in blue. The alliums will be circular in shape, with the stems radiating out from the center.

The red gibberish on the left under the scissors is the machine settings for the large allium stems. It does mean something! I start stitching from the center with a zigzag set at 2.0 width and .6 length, I then change to 1.5 width/.6 length and at the end to 0 width/3.0 length (yes, a straight stitch, but I don't have to change back to straight stitch on the machine). I then turn the piece around and stitch back to the center, covering each section twice and thickening up the thread a bit. The thread is a green Sulky Holoshimmer, which doesn't all give good coverage when satin stitching.

I then worked on the flower template. This is one of the smallest templates I've worked with on any project. I shaved tiny, tiny bits off the current template to refine the petals a bit. You can see how small this flower is below. How many will cover each allium, I don't know at this point. However many it takes to make it look good will be the number I need.

Once the stems and flowers looked good it was time to finalize bead/sequin choices. I started by pulling out all the purples that would work.

I then doubled checked pictures of allium flowers on Google images and quickly discovered that the centers of these little flowers are not purple! They're green! Out came the green beads/sequins:

Thankfully, I have just the right colors already:

I'll probably start work on the first allium in a few days. I need to get some stems appliqued for the next section first and remove a coneflower. The coneflower is in the way of getting the allium in the proper position and will take me 30 minutes or so to replace when I'm done with allium. No big loss. Considering yesterday's experience, I'll be trying to get the allium in the right position the first time!

Parting Shot: Fungus Among Us. We've had so much rain and gloomy weather that the mushrooms are popping up all over our front yard. These are 4" to 5" tall.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Garden Path - Jacket - Part XIX

That Large Rose

A big thanks for all the compliments on the black tank! To quickly answer one question: yes, I did make the hole on the back smaller. I decided after reading LindsayT's post, that this would probably be a good idea. I am pleased with the overall fit, never having tried a BWOF petite pattern. I cut a size 18, and the waist was in the right place and the shoulders were not too wide. I need to go back through my issues and look for more petite patterns.

Well, I thought I had that large rose all finished:

Until I noticed it wasn't centered! Now, how could I have worked on it for hours and not noticed it wasn't in the right place is beyond me. I have no idea how that happened, but you know what had to be done! Is that a frog I hear in the garden? Oh, yes, rip-it, rip-it, rip-it.

I had enough time today to restitch the rose and now it looks like this:

I'm much happier with this one, the other one had things I would have taken out anyway.

I also had time to pin on the paper flowers for the next section. The next sections to the left and right include alliums. I've done a prototype, but it still needs some work. I hope to find a few minutes this evening to figure out how to make the stems be substantial but not take over the whole flower. I need to work on the metal template, too.

Parting Shot: Getting Fixed. The part came today for the dishwasher, and now my husband has fixed it. So far, so good. The dishwasher seems to running normally now!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Garden Path - Jacket - Part XIX

Return of the Hollyhocks!

Thank you all for the compliments on the twinset and new hair! The twinset is perfect for the weather we have here, which can be in the low 50's in the morning, but in the 70's by the afternoon. The supersoft fabric makes it a dream to wear, too!

The hollyhocks are back! I'm almost done with this section and they are one of the last flowers to be done.

That large rose remains, and that's on Monday's to do list!

Parting Shot: Part. This part belongs to our dishwasher, or did belong to our dishwasher. We discovered that it was running through the cycles without any water. You know what that means: baked on food particles! Yay! We're pretty sure this is the part that is broke - that part that actually lets the water *into* the dishwasher. We've got one on order, so hopefully we can fix our dishwasher for $30.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Garden Path - Jacket - Part XVIII


Thank you all for the compliments regarding my new bag! It is easy to make and Cidell suggested selling the pattern on Etsy. Hmmm . . . I'll have to think about that . . . might be fun! I think I'd call it the Deep and Wide Tote Bag.

The latest flowers added to the garden are the pansies:

These flowers are both hand appliqued and made from pieces cut with the wood burning tool. Both are embellished by machine similarly to the hollyhocks (which should make a reappearance later this week!). Each flower is then finished off with beads and sequins. No surprise, there, right?!?

I'm not sure about the hand appliqued ones at the moment. The other pansies look better to me, so I might remove the three hand appliqued ones and replace them - it is easy enough to do, I just need to decide before I make the large rose, because they will need stems.

I am hoping to finish this grouping of flowers this week, including the large rose. I've got a couple of the larger rose buds, a couple of coneflowers, a daisy and some hollyhocks left besides the large rose, but I think I'll be able to get it done. I'll show you how it looks as the garden blooms.

Parting Shot: Fabric Painting. I won this lovely piece of hand painted denim from Sandy Snowden who had a give away on her blog. She lives in England and I got this piece yesterday after she only mailed it on Friday! That's not too bad, with the Royal Post living up to their reputation of being speedy and the US Postal system being pretty quick, too. I'm not sure what I'll do with the piece, I'll have to think about it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Garden Path - Jacket - Part XVI

Coneflowers, Part 2

Today I got the first two coneflowers done!

I'm very happy with the way they turned out. I ended up refining the five petal template with slightly shorter petals and slightly narrower center. I also am laying two sets together - the bottom set I cut off one petal and make the center smaller so that I can offset the petals.

The beading is a bit different for these. I've used beads to secure the sequins for more texture rather than just the backstitching.

I am really happy with how the whole thing is turning out now! I now need to get the next set of stems in place and then I'll be able to do pansies, more daises, coneflowers, roses, and some hollyhocks (yes, they're still in the plan!).

Parting Shot: Block. My son completed the first block for his new quilt yesterday. He does all the stitching and pressing himself, and I help him with the matching and pinning. He is starting to take over some of the matching, but I always double check to make sure it is lined up right.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Garden Path - Jacket - Part XV

Coneflowers, Part 1

Judging by the comments, many of you really seem to like daises! Thank you all - they truly have been the easiest and nicest part of this project so far. Wish I could say as much for the coneflowers.

I made the templates for all the flowers months ago, and now am getting around to testing them before I use them. The daisy was great, the coneflower, not so great for a few reasons. One, the petals are really skinny. Two, really skinny petals means really skinny template pieces that break. Here's the original, cut out:

So, back to the drawing board for two more versions, one with six petals instead of eight and one with a slightly large center and five petals.

I'm thinking I might have to do two layers for this flower, offsetting the second layer to get the wide petals and the fullness of more petals at the same time. The template will need some tweaking - shorter petals and slightly thinner and rounder, plus shaving off a little of the center width. I think I can make this work.

Just for reference, here is the coneflower in context, pinned in place. Eventually, there will be black beads and sequins in the center cone portion.

Maybe tomorrow I'll have some *completed* coneflowers to show you. After that it is back to appliqueing stems for the flowers above the rose. Once those are on, I get to make the panises!

Parting Shot: Surprise! My husband has this large box partially filled with stuff to go out by the door. I heard some scratching in the box and thought a cat was in there and got stuck. No, no, it was my son. He's just small enough to fit in the box around the stuff.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Garden Path - Jacket - Part XIV

Stitching Up Daisies

At least I'm not *pushing* up daises! Now that I've got the stems done for this section and the rose buds underway, the next flower to work on is the daisy. I pulled out my metal template which I made quite a while ago and gave it a quick test to see how it would look. I am happy to say it was great and exactly what I wanted!

After cutting some out of both white satin and white crystal organza and picking out the right color of sequins for the center, I was ready to stitch.

The daisies are made of four layers of petals, in pairs with the satin on the bottom and crystal organza on the top. The top set is off set from the bottom set to get a full bloom.

To attach the daises to the fabric, I first took a few small stitches to anchor them and then made the centers with sequins, with what I call the chrysanthemum technique.

This is what I have so far, I'm really liking this:

Tonight, I'll do those daises on the other side.

Tomorrow: Coneflowers!

Parting Shot: T-shirt. My son wanted to do some sunprinting, too. I gave him a piece of fabric, but then he saw the stack of t-shirts in the closet when I went to get the paints and asked if he could have one of those instead. I hadn't done sunprinting on a t-shirt, so I gave him one to try. The keys are from a set we have that we don't know what they're for. We got them with the house, but they don't go to any of the doors on the house! I figured that this was a good use for them.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Garden Path - Jacket - Part XIII

A Good Start

I was able to sit down last night and get a good start on the redesigned applique. While it isn't much, just some stems and leaves, I feel like I'm on the right track and headed in the right direction.

Tonight I hope to finish the stems and leaves and work on the rosebud and small rose. I've got the pieces all ready so once dinner is done, I'll be headed for my chair to listen to TV and applique.

Next week, I will really concentrate on this project. This week was a bit busy between the wedding gown, the children starting vacation and all kinds of other things. Let's hope that you'll be seeing more flowers appear over the next week!

Parting Shot: Planted. My son and I went out early this morning to plant the garden. He was so excited. Little does he know that the fun has just begun, because weeding will be on his schedule for the rest of the summer.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Garden Path - Jacket - Part XII

Back on Track!

Thank you all for the input - I considered everything, and will be incorporating some of those ideas!

Since I had all those cut out flowers, I decided to start with a clean slate and try redesigning the applique. It was much easier to mix, match and move around the flowers as individuals until I was happy with the arrangement.

I was happy enough with the arrangements, that I took pictures of them so I wouldn't forget where to put the flowers. I also started removing all the stems and hollyhocks from the piece so that I could start over. Don't worry - there will be hollyhocks, just not where they were. That space is reserved for other design features.

Once I had enough old stuff removed (and saved - it is still good and I'll need it), I restarted the work by pinning the paper flowers where the applique ones will eventually be. I now can start with the bottom layer of stems and leaves and maybe get going on that large rose soon. This piece is the lower center back of the jacket, just for reference.

I like what I've come up with much, much better! The bonus is that I will be able to work with all the flower varieties at once, rather than working my way through them - much more interesting from my point of view. After the umpteenth flower of the same type, it does get a bit tedious! I can also add in flowers as needed since I'm doing both hand stitched applique and the synthetic flowers. Lastly, I get to keep the orange lilies! All of the rest of the flowers are pinks or purples, so this piece really needed that punch of orange.

Recap: That YSL Gown and Cape, Vogue 1897! Just in case you didn't read all the comments, I got this one, which was amazing and very special:

"OK, this just brings back way too many memories. I had this exact pattern (sans the cape)for my Senior Prom. It was a delicate green, white and silver brocade with drop pearls around the midriff, sleeveless. There is a picture of me wearing it in my yearbook. I graduated in 1971 so the pattern probably came out in the winter of 1969 or 70. I can remember picking out the pattern, cloth, and trim at Belks! What a great memory.

Alright, Mom, if this is the large photo of you on the dock overlooking the lake at sunrise/sunset, I know exactly which one it is! For reference, their yearbook was the larger format and this was a full page spread right in the front of the book.

Paco also sent me these photos of other YSL dresses originally from a magazine from 1964, note the style similarities to the Vogue pattern:

Tomorrow: The invisible zipper tutorial. This tutorial will mainly focus on what seems to be a common problem area - lining up horizontal seams, most notoriously, that waist seam.

Parting Shot: Paints! And some other stuff too, like dyes for plant fibers and for protein fibers/nylon and Bubble Jet Set. In the front are the Transparent Setacolor paints by Pebeo used for the sunprinting. Sunprinting is basically using this paint on fabric, placing solid objects on it and then letting it dry in the sun and heat setting. What remains are shadows of the objects you placed on the fabric. Dharma Trading Co., has a much more detailed explanation and pictures, too.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Garden Path - Jacket - Part XI

Back to the Drawing Board

Glad you liked the refashioned shirt - thanks! It was a challenge to get all the pieces out of one shirt, but it was a good exercise to try!

So I've started the applique process and while I proceeding at barely a snail's pace, I'm not quite happy with how things are working out. Let me explain.

The flowers themselves are pretty, the colors and shapes are right. Their placement and how they are all working together is not. At least not for me. I've got the hollyhocks on, and now am working down the piece, placing in the other flowers, starting with the roses. Due to space constraints, I'm not able to put in the flowers I'd like to, nor is the piece looking quite right to me. I photocopied a bunch of flowers today, cut them out and started laying them out to make a garden like scene:

I have to tell you, this is not working for me. I'm not sure what is wrong with it. I know it is hard to get a good idea of the finished piece working in black and white, but for some reason, this isn't making me happy.

I think I'm going to have to go back to the drawing board for this applique section. I think I know what will work - something well planned and orderly. Hopefully not boring.

I'll let you know when I get something drawn up!

Zipper tutorial later this week, and yes, the Betty dress will be made in the last choice pictured (despite my deep affection for paisley, which some of you share!).

Parting Shot: Sun Printing. My daughter is trying sun printing for the first time. She seemed to like the process and wants to paint more, so I've got some more paints on order. I hope I haven't created a monster!