Monday, August 31, 2009

Garden Path - Jacket - Part XXXIII

Construction, Part 3

Today I attached some narrow trim to the one of the fronts which really is some progress!

As you can see from the photos below, the narrow trim is attached to the fronts with purple beads at the peak of each scallops. I chose purple because I wanted something that did match so the trim would appear to float rather than just sewn on. The beads I'm using are size 8 in fuchsia lined aqua - that's the color name on the tube.

The photo below is a close-up, you can see that the basting is still in at this point. The basting is important because it holds everything in place while it is being beaded.

Here is what the front looks like now, ready for the next step of construction:

Without the basting, the trim looks a little bit better. You now can see that the purple beads are not very obvious:

Tomorrow I will put the trim on the other side. I then can start to prepare the flower border for attachment. Meanwhile, this evening, I think I'll make some crickets.

Parting Shot: Bicycle. Now that the kids are back in school, I can start riding my bike again. Although I workout 6 days a week, I really haven't done any real riding (used to ride 8-10 miles 6 days a week in lovely, hilly New England) since before the children were born. Between the children and teaching full time, I didn't have the time or energy to ride. I feel ready now, so I've cleaned up my bike, put a new tube in the back tire, new batteries in the computer and have been out a couple times already.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Garden Path - Jacket - Part XXXII

Next Embellishments

Thank you all for the comments regarding the children and their first day of school! They both are very happy to be back in school, so yes, they love to read, too. My daughter took her new book cover to school (after a little more embellishing and assembling by mom) and it was loved by her classmates. It is amazing what a little paint will do for the good old paper bag book cover.

It looks like I'll be ready on Monday to start work on the next embellishments for the garden border - these will also be the last embellishments, at least I think so While this garden is pretty, it needs a little something extra that all gardens have - insects!

Do you remember the crickets from Midnight Garden? They're back! They'll be green this time, as I have the perfect green beads and sequins for them. Joining them will be ants, ladybugs, bees, butterflies and a dragonfly all made of beads and sequins.

I've already started to put together the ziplock bag for the insects. Eventually, each insect type will have their very own smaller bag after I determine which beads and sequins will be used for which insects. This is much like the system I have for all the flowers. Each flower has a bag with the templates, beads, sequins and thread to make the flower. Once the flowers are done, I will take all their beads and sequins and put them in this bag for auditions.

I started on the artwork today and will be working on the final drawings tommorrow. Since they're small and reasonably simple, I should be able to finish them quickly. I've drawn inspiration from two places. One is my vintage embroidery transfer collection:

The other is from the various butterflies that Allie has stitched and used in her pieces, along with those ants that travel along the banner at the top of her blog. Her butterflies are beautiful - scroll through the link, because that link has all of her butterfly posts.

These are little creatures, so once I figure out how I want them to look, making them should be quick!

Q/A: Regarding the hat I tested for Katrin, xstpenguin had this question: "Can you tell me what you used for interfacing and in the brim?" For the interfacing I just used a medium weight fusible since the outer fabric was a heavier weight home decorator type canvas. I used buckram in the brim because I had a scrap that was just large enough to cut the two brim pieces. Lacking that I would have had to used a couple of layers of a heavier fusible or actually bought something appropriate.

Parting Shot: A Flower. The sunflower finally has a flower and now we're waiting for the typical yellow bloom. It is hard to believe that this plant which is now 7 feet tall was started from one seed planted by my son back in April.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Garden Path - Jacket Part XXXI

Construction Part 2

Today I was able to get the edges of the fronts and back done. This is a major step and I really feel that I'm in the home stretch with this project. There is still a lot to do, but I've put the majority of the work behind me. Here they are now:

Now the edges are cleaned finished and ready for the narrow trim that will be on either side of the wide border.

I will start work on that next week, as I am going to use the rest of this week to finish the flower border. I still need to attach the lily and try to get all the bead work done on it this evening. I've already removed the big rose and am working on finishing the stem ends and leaves differently to accommodate the lily instead of the rose.

By Monday, this border should be all done and ready for finishing!

Q/A: Myra had this to ask, regarding a term used in yesterday's post: The sleeve head makes all the difference in the appearance, but what is feathering? Feathering refers to pulling out, tapering and thinning the edges of batting or other similarly textured material so that there is no hard, cut edge. A hard edge could possibly show through on the right side of the garment, which of course, is undesirable. In the photo below, the piece on the left has been feathered while the piece on the right has not.

Parting Shot: Book cover. My daughter needs a new book cover for one of her textbooks and wanted to make another painted paper bag cover. We custom mixed some Lumiere paints and she's just thrilled with the color!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Garden Path - Jacket - Part XXX

Construction, Part One

This is the 30th jacket post! You do know that means the project is getting closer to the end, right? I made a list today and it looks reasonable for me to have this ensemble completely done by the end of September. That's my goal, and it is very doable. The jacket border just needs another lily plus the filler leaves/flowers, and after that it is all construction and finishing work.

So far, I've assembled the jacket fronts and backs and set in the sleeves, plus made the same pieces in the lining. Once these pieces are completely finished at the bottom edge, I will not be able to get to the inside easily, so all the inside finishing such as shoulder pads must be done at this time.

This jacket definitely needs shoulder pads. Not only does it need those, but it also needs sleeve heads. Working with quilted fabrics is much like working with fabric that is much like medium weight to sometimes coat weight wool with the exception that the quilted fabric is not as easily molded as the wool is with heat and steam. I have found that for my personal tastes in design and art form, my quilted fabrics actually work very well with traditional tailoring methods and materials such as sleeve heads and hair canvas.

To start with, I've used 1/2" shoulder pads for this jacket. For regular apparel I rarely use this size, usually it is something smaller in height. Because I have sloping shoulders and because the shoulder is fairly well defined in jackets from the late 40's/early 50's, the 1/2" shoulder pad gives me the right look.

I've also decided to add sleeve heads to these sleeves. Even with the shoulder pad, the shoulder was not quite filled out enough due to the weight of sleeve fabric. I did a little research using both Claire Schaeffer's Couture Sewing Techniques and Roberta Carr's Couture The Art of Fine Sewing and made my own using the silk batting that I use for the quilting. I used a full thickness, cut a long rectangle, folded it in half lengthwise with one edge slightly longer than the other, rounded the corners and feathered the edges a bit. The reason for the rounding and feathering is so that there is no show through from the right side - not likely with the quilted fabric, but it is the right way to do things. Once made, I hand stitched the sleeve head to the seam allowance right at the seam line so that it extended into the sleeve.

This is what is looks like if I turn the sleeve inside out a bit so that you can see the sleeve head:

Now this seems like a lot of fuss over just the shoulders, but take a look at the two shoulders, first with shoulder pad and sleeve head:

Second, without:

See the difference? The first one does not slope as much, nor is the sleeve cap dimpled in. To be honest, it really didn't take that much extra time to put the sleeve heads in, but it really makes a big difference.

Here is in the inside of the shoulder, all completed:

These pieces are now ready for the bottom edge to be finished and the first part of the borders and trim.

Parting Shot: First Day of School. Here they are, ready for the first day of school! They're both excited to go back - they like school. My daughter is now in Jr. High, and my son is still in elementary.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Garden Path - Jacket - Part XXIX

Lilies and More, Part 2

I've got one lily done! I am so much happier with how this one turned out:

I also got one of those large roses replaced, and the other two will be replaced later this week. Here's the gerber daisy replacement:

Lastly, I still need to add some very small flowers around the lily, you can see the start of the bead selection process below, where I'm trying to find the right bead and sequin combo for the centers. If those blue and purple little flowers look familiar, they are. They're another flower that's being reused from another project - those are the smallest size of the Forget Me Knot flowers.

Once I get these flowers done, I'll be done with the flowers. I will still need to add in some leaves for filler, and then it will be on to the next embellishment phase. Oh yes, there is more to come!

Parting Shot: Pumpkin Update. This was the little pumpkin with the flower attached that you saw last week. It has grown to over 4 times the size it was last week in just a week. It is now the size of my son's hand, and it still has growing to do. These pumpkins won't get really, really big, as they are only the smaller pie pumpkins. He's actually got quite a few pumpkins growing now.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Garden Path - Jacket - Part XXVIII

Lilies, Part 1

I've got all the flowers stitched on to the border except the lilies. No problem. I made all the lily parts, stitched the lily on, took a good look at it and - I'll give you one guess here - I hated it. Take a look:

I asked the children what they thought. I got replies like, it looks like an octopus or a Christmas tree star. One of the children astutely pointed out that it couldn't be an octopus because it didn't have eight legs, it only had six. Regardless, this was not the reaction I was hoping for. At least with the other flowers they can be readily identified as flowers!

Well, that of course brings me back to the drawing board. A very long time ago when I started this project, I made both paper and metal templates for almost all the flowers, lilies included. I pulled out the metal template, some white satin, and the wood burning tool and cut some samples. This one at least looks more like a lily:

For Sample #2, I decided to make a new template and to try to turn the petals under a bit. My daughter wanted flowers instead of balloons for her birthday party (you know they're growing up when they don't want balloons anymore!), so she picked out some peach colored lilies and alstromeria. Fortunately for me, I was able to steal a sample petal and make a new template. This is Sample #2, with a little help from a Sharpie marker, too:

Sample #3 is the best of the lot, with some petals curving under and some not, for a little more depth and texture. You can see the new template in this photo, too.

Now, will it fit and how will it look with the other flowers?

Not too bad actually! I went to Jo-ann's this afternoon in search of cheap orange satin and to my delight, they've already put out such fabric for making Halloween costumes.

Now, I've also not been in love with the very large roses. For some reason, even though they are big, the daises and coneflowers overshadow them. I've decided to remove them, just the very large ones, not the medium ones or rose buds. I actually like those because they do not have beads, sequins or any sort of sparkly thread. They are neutral in that sense and provide a resting place for the eye from the glitter.

The large rose at center back will be replaced with a lily, and the two at the side seams with a new flower, the gerbera daisy. This daisy is larger than the white variety, will be bright pink like the roses, and is large in real life, too, with blooms of 4 to 5 inches. I will make the centers in bright green, which will be different from the white ones.

Between tonight and tomorrow, I'll be doing quite a bit of removing, making new petals and attaching new flowers. I hope to get that last piece of narrow trim done, too.

Parting Shot: Nice Roses. I am certainly not going to rip these ones apart! My husband sent me roses for our anniversary tomorrow - 16 years!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Garden Path - Jacket - Part XXVII

Progress Report

I'd like to thank you for the sweet comments on my daughter! I am thankful that God has blessed us with such an pretty and interesting child.

Just a progress report today on how things are progressing!

I got the sleeves into the jacket and the jacket lining assembled, plus experimented with shoulder pads and sleeve headings. I think both will be necessary with this one to give it a nice shoulder line. Quilted fabrics seam to need the extra support that traditional tailoring methods offer.

I did have a quick question regarding the adjustment of the sleeve cap from designdreamer: "The piece that that was cut off that you show here, was that the only piece cut off? I was under the impression you cut it off in stages?" I only cut off one piece, the one shown in the photograph. From my post: "So, I began the process: unpin, draw a new seam line, baste, repin, check." Notice there was no trimming in there. I knew it would take several tries to get it right, and I did want to have to figure out two or three narrowly trimmed pieces would have to go back together, to say nothing of how inaccurate the piece would then be to use as a template or pattern piece. It was much easier to mark each try, and then trim once when the desired effect was achieved.

I received the 21 yards of soutache and 4 gross (576) of Swarovski heat set rhinestones from the Rhinestone Guy (see sources on the right for the link) in the color Jonquil in the mail this week. I will put the soutache to use either today or tomorrow making more braided trim. The rhinestones will have to wait until all assembly is complete - I'll show what I'm going to do with those later.

I am *still* working on the flower border. Sigh. I'm getting close to the just about finished point. What I mean by that is that I will still be filling in spots with leaves and a few more flowers and adding anything else I feel would be a finishing touch. The majority of the border should be done at the end of the week - I still need to do one more large rose, the two lilies and some pansies. Here's how it looks now - this is the front that was just being started (scroll down, its the 5th picture in the post) a couple of weeks ago:

The plan for the rest of the week is to finish the narrow trim and to get that flower border to the just about finished point. Next week I'll work more on jacket assembly!

Parting Shot: Cheesecake. For her birthday, my daughter requested a hazelnut-vanilla cheesecake from Baking With Julia. It was very good - even though the recipe called for cottage cheese and light cream cheese, which based on my experience are good for keeping things light calorie-wise, but not always good for texture.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Garden Path - Jacket Part XVII

Progress, Sort Of

Thank you all for the compliments on my daughter and her birthday dress! She really is growing up fast, and it is surprising. Everyone says it happens that way, and you tend not to believe them, but I believe them now! She'll be starting 6th grade in a few weeks - where has the time gone?

I promised progress, and I suppose this is, but it wasn't exactly smooth sailing. Here's what the front looks like now:

There actually isn't much front at all, because yes, the borders are just that wide. They take up quite a bit of real estate of the jacket. Of course, there is the small trim to consider too, which is approximately 1 1/4" wide, but that doesn't actually take up much room.

So, the fronts and back weren't too hard to assemble. I cut out the pieces, cut out underlining and lining pieces at the same time and put everything together. Not a problem. I then cut out the sleeves - not sure about cuffs/trim just yet for those, I have to see the thing as a whole and decide what it needs or doesn't need - and their underlining and lining. I assembled one sleeve and inserted it into the armhole. That's where I had a problem. Check out the "ease" in this sleeve cap.

Uh-huh, it was like that all around the armhole. That's a a lot of ease. In fact, that's so much ease, that I've got a gathered sleeve cap. Not a good look for what I'm trying to achieve. Thankfully, I only pinned that in. I sort of had an inkling that I might have an ease problem, so I only pinned. Quilted fabrics are stiffer than regular fabrics, making easing a bit more difficult which doesn't help, either.

What to do? Reducing the height of the curve of the sleeve cap is what I settled on as a solution. This will result in less fabric to ease into the armhole. So, I began the process: unpin, draw a new seam line, baste, repin, check. I repeated this whole process a few times until I got this:

Much better! Not exactly fun, but I am happy with the end result, so all the work was worth it. I trimmed off the excess at the top of the sleeve cap and can now use it as a pattern for trimming off the other sleeve and the lining sleeves:

Maybe Monday I'll get those sleeves in and that bottom edge finished and ready for the narrow trim sections!

Parting Shot: Necklace. In order to add the finishing touches to my daughter's birthday dress, we made some jewelry. This was all her own choosing and design - not too bad and will be just right for filling in that neckline of the dress.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Garden Path - Jacket - Part XVI

Where Am I Now?

Well, I'm still working along, making flowers and working on trim. I've had a few supply issues, which is a bit frustrating and has slowed down the process.

One problem is that I ran out of Maize Yellow sequins for the daisy centers. I only ordered one package initially because I didn't think I'd run out. Hmmm . . well it seems that I'm out of sequins and still have at least four daises to do. I figured with approximately 1000 sequins per package that I'd have enough. Go ahead and laugh, when would I ever have enough sequins, right?

I ordered up some more as soon as I knew of the problem, and since I had to meet a $10USD minimum for the order, I got some other sequins colors that I don't already have in my collection. Thankfully, Cartwright's has quite a variety of sizes, colors and shapes that it wasn't hard to meet the minimum.

Now that I have the sequins, I'll be making daises today!

The other problem is that I ran out of soutache to make the white braided portion of the narrow borders. I'm not sure what happened there, I must have miscalculated or wasn't sure if I absolutely wanted that trim so I didn't buy the full amount or whatever. Fact is, I don't have enough. I bought the first amount in NYC, so I was hoping to find enough locally to finish the project. Do you think I could find such a product here? Of course not. Neither Jo-ann's or Wal-mart sells soutache in packages anymore. Only one of the two Jo-ann's carries it bulk, on a reel with the other trims. Not the Jo-ann's I went to, either, the *other* one. Ugh. So, I came home and bought a nice large lot on eBay, which, even with shipping was cheaper per yard than buying it retail. I'd rather give my money to some enterprising soul on eBay anyway.

Meanwhile, I can still shape the trim and add the yellow beads. I can also work on assembling the coat sections and prepare them for attaching the borders.

Overall, a little frustrating, especially at a point in the project where I'm feeling like I'm not seeing the progress that I'd like to. There is always this point in a project, where you feel like you've been working quite a bit on it and not seeing very much results for your efforts. I've learned just to keep going, because eventually, I'll turn the corner and I'll be making progress by leaps and bounds!

Parting Shot: Quilt Top. My daughter also made a quilt top this summer. It turned out nicely, although not by any means perfect. She still needs to practice her basic machine sewing skills, but she's happy that she stuck it out and finished it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Garden Path - Accessories


I just got these shoes that I bought on eBay in the mail today! I have been watching these since I started Garden Path. As soon as I start working on an art garment, I start searching for the shoes. Sometimes it works out that I find the shoes fairly quickly, and other times, like with Bluebird of Happiness, it takes over six months. Finding vintage shoes in the right color and right size is a game of patience. If you wait long enough, you will find just the right pair.

This pair is two toned purple, snakeskin printed leather and suede. Notice that the scallops of the suede are similar to the scallops on the trim. The colors actually are a closer match in real life.

These are also Springolators. Springolators have a special insole construction with a piece of elastic. This elastic helps to keep the sole of the shoe to the foot so that you don't hear that slapping sound like you'd hear from someone wearing flip flops and to keep the shoe on the foot.

You can see the insole construction from the side in the photo below. Yes, this really works. I walked around in them with no annoying flip flop noise.

Lastly, from the photographs, you probably can't tell the height of the heels. Yes, they are high - 4"/10cm.

I've got gloves, shoes and earrings, now to find the right hat . . . .

Parting Shot: More Wellington. Wellington is a very curious cat, and when he's not exploring, he can be found sleeping under one of the beds. Today we found him sleeping amongst the toys under my son's bed. Maybe if he'd clean that out and put in some nice soft blankets, Wellington would sleep there more often.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Garden Path - Jacket - Part XV

Trim Update

Thank you all for the compliments on my son's quilt! He also would like to thank you. He's very excited about entering into a few local shows in the children's division so we'll see how he does!

I've started working the on the trim for the jacket and I'll have to admit, this isn't exactly the most exciting part of the project. It is exciting only in the sense that I'm seeing work accomplished, but this is pretty standard sewing.

This is what I've accomplished over the last week, in addition to working on the blouse and jacket border flowers:

It doesn't look like much, does it?

Actually it is a lot of work, considering I cut all the bias strips for the yellow, both scalloped sides and the purple backing. After careful measuring and sewing enough strips together, I made all the scalloped edges, basted them to the yellow, put the purple backing on and turned the whole thing.

The longest piece was a bit too long to turn as one whole piece, so I left an opening at the half way point and turn each side separately. I just need to hand stitch that opening shut.

Once turned and pressed, each piece will be shaped to the curves of the jacket. Everything is cut on the bias, so the trim will be easy to shape with steam.

After that, the next step is the beads. I'm hoping to get most of those beads added today. It isn't a hard job, there are just a lot of beads! (No surprise, right?) Just for reference, the smaller piece is 86"/218cm and the longer piece is 120"/305cm. That is the longer piece draped over the ironing board, below.

I still need to make the white braided trim and attach it but those are tasks for tomorrow and Monday!

I will not be doing a 30 minutes per day post this week - I've been working on the GP blouse for that project and I did a post on it yesterday. Here's the collar with its very own OCD button. The collar still needs a facing, but I do hope to finish this blouse tomorrow.

Tomorrow: a real treat - the special post on the vintage jacket I bought in Atlanta!

Parting Shot: Sunshine. Pix has been napping every afternoon on my ledge right above the ironing board in the sunshine. Oh, the life of a cat!