Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Quilt That Never Was

Tonight is the Uncommon Threads Quilt Guild meeting where everyone who made a challenge quilt will reveal their work. I will not be one of those people. That quilt just did not get done. My heart was not in it, I didn't like the design I chose and working on it was a constant struggle. Everything that could go wrong did.
  But the good news is I am able to admit all this to myself and not feel guilty for wasting supplies and time on something I shouldn't have started in the first place.
  I did start quilting it but might be able to salvage some of the batting for a smaller project.
Most of last week I worked with a friend assembling and packaging gift baskets. It was like factory/sweatshop work. But my friend is quite enjoyable and made lunch for us each day and that helped the time go by. It's going to be a while before I want to see cellophane and green tulle again.
Now I must put my nose on my own grindstone for the rest of this week and work on graduation dresses. When I was in Nashville last Saturday, I was able to visit the wonderful fabric store there and picked up more swatches for another project. Fingers crossed that I have found the right shade of red wool gabardine.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Graduation dress

Last year I made several posts giving an overview of the construction of a graduation dress. This year I decided to post some examples of the details of one (or two) of the dresses I'm working on. These photos are from a dress that has lots of tucks and a very pretty lace treatment on the skirt. I have already made the muslin, done a fitting and cut it apart for the pattern pieces, which have in turn been cut from Swiss batiste and sewn together. 
   The tucked pieces of the dress are cut from a panel of batiste that I spent HOURS stitching on with a twin needle. HOURS!
   The oblong motifs are cut from an old hankie, then attached with free motion stitching to the tucked piece.
  The vertical lace elements are added to the dress with straight stitching, centering the lace over the construction seams. The fabric behind the lace is trimmed away, the trimmed edges are pressed towards the dress and held in place with zig zag stitching.
lace centered over seam and straight stitched

fabric trimmed

fabric being trimmed

excess fabric pressed away from lace

zig zag on edges

part of the tucked panel (HOURS!)
motif cut from hankie to be free motioned stitched onto tucked piece

loopy design on skirt

Bodice with motif and other lace that may or may not be added
  The "loopy" design was traced onto the batiste skirt with a wash away pen. The lace was stitched on following the tracing. The tucked bit is basted on right now, but will be stitched later after another fitting.
Of course it all is puckered but will be pressed nice and smooth as construction continues and when the dress is finished. If you have any questions, ask away!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Not Again!!!

It snowed yesterday--a lot!!! And now the temps have dropped to the teens and the city is a solid sheet of ice. Especially the streets. Traffic last evening churned up the precipitation on the pavements and then it all froze overnight. The Sewing Guild meeting has been canceled and I will miss having lunch with the girlz, but the grindstone has been calling my nose and I must heed the request.
 The main sewing I'm involved in now is graduation dresses. Last year, I did a series of posts on one dress from start to finish, and decided to do something similar this time but with a more detailed direction. Photos to come later, maybe even this afternoon, depending on how much actual sewing gets done here. The only heat source in my sewing area is a tiny space heater and the forecast doesn't call for balmy temps. We'll be lucky to get to 32 degrees. 
  The quilt I've been working on for the Quilt Guild challenge has not gone as planned and my heart is just NOT in it. In fact, I am considering taking the whole mess and dumping it in the trash. Of course the guilt of wasting all that fabric and time will haunt me till the end of time. Damn those Lutherans!

Friday, February 4, 2011


In an effort to maintain my weight and keep my bones strong, I started walking last March. I think I have done very well as my current route is about 4 miles and I can complete it in 50-60 minutes. While the weather was good and even on the horrendously hot days of summer, when I walked in the early morning, I managed to squeeze in 15 or 20 miles a week and sometimes more. During the chilly days of December, I bundled up and walked at least 10 or 15 miles a week.
  This has all gone to hell this month. My total mileage for the entire month of January is a little over 45 miles and I have not taken one step so far this month. It is not helping that I have strep throat AGAIN and feel like crap. Plus when I do feel better I have other obligations to catch up on. AND snow and cold temperatures are predicted for the next several days. boohoo.
  Spring and good health will not arrive soon enough for me.
 On the art front, the opening reception for the group show of the Memphis Association of Craft Artists, at the Jewish Community Center, went very well last Sunday. My friends showed up (yeah!) and there were some sales of artists works--not mine (boohoo) and Vincent behaved like a good boy.
  The quilt I am making for the guild challenge is coming along. I have been working on it only at the Monday thing, see a previous post about that, so progress has been delayed because of my absence from there. The quilts are due on the 22nd of February and I'm hoping there will not be a President's Day holiday at the center as that will throw a rather large monkey wrench into my plans. But I will endeavor to finish this project, mainly because of my protestant upbringing (which a lot of days I wish I could overcome).
 If you go to my friend Patricia's blog you can find the story of her progress on her challenge offering. It is a lot more interesting than anything here. Just click on the link to Sew What's Next on my blog list. I would make it a "hot" link in this post, but I don't know how.
  My next project involves some Amish style piecing, which will be done on Mondays. I will post photos of that during the construction and photos of the challenge quilt after February 22nd.