Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Still sewing

 These photos show the set up of the machine for making all the !@#$%^&* tucks. It's not all that difficult, just time consuming and mind numbing. Two threads and a twin needle and my trusty old Elna. You can see the stitch settings a little in the top photo. I've been sewing on this machine since the early '80's.
The sewing continues, but at a slower pace while my granddaughter is here for her spring break. The first grad dress is finished just needs pressing. The slip to the second dress is done (lovely bias silk crepe) and progress is being made on the dress. Got one of the carnival costumes out and have a close deadline on the other ones, so I will push ahead on that this coming week.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


The weather has been glorious and very conducive to walking. My pedometer has logged nearly 60 miles this month. I have walked to the post office two days this week and although it is not more than two miles round trip, it is a good walk and I feel I have accomplished a practical task and got my exercise too. I am such a Lutheran!
  Saturday I went to the daffodil show at Dixon Garden and Gallery. Lots of spring blooming flowers. The tulips were beautiful and I got some info on how to identify jonquils, daffodils and narcissi that inhabit my yard.
  I have been so busy with sewing I have little time for my garden. This seems to happen every year. When I am not so busy, the summer heat comes and I am less inclined to work in the yard.
  Progress is being made on the graduation dresses and the carnival costumes, too. Photos in next posting.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The other graduation dress

There are three dresses in progress at this point in time. A lot of the construction techniques are the same from dress to dress but some of the details vary. On this dress I am using an old dresser scarf for the bodice embellishment. Some of the elements on the scarf are very fragile and I have tried to avoid using them.
The muslin has been fitted and cut apart to make the pattern, which has been in turn cut from Swiss batiste. The lace edges were removed from the scarf and the remaining piece has been basted (by hand,ugh) onto the front bodice. Note it is flat but darts will have to be sewn in to form it into a three dimensional object. The darts are basted in then the rest of the lace is secured to the front bodice by draping it over the edge of the table. The resulting edges will be eased in when the lace is machine sewed to the batiste, which will be trimmed away.
  This took a lot of planning, so if anybody I have been around for the last few weeks thought I looked spaced out, this is the reason. I think about this stuff while walking, driving, drinking coffee, drinking wine, drinking beer, watching tv, taking a shower, taking a c**p, reading the newspaper, reading a magazine. Whatever.
one edge trimmed away
basted while flat
becoming 3D
a little out of sequence, bodice draped over table edge
  If you have any questions, just ask.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Quilt stuff

Before I forget completely, there are happenings on the art quilt front, which was the reason for this blog initially. The quilt I entered in the AQS show was rejected--boohoo.
notice the red dot
The group show I was in at the Jewish Community Center closed on February 28. What a wonderful surprise when I got there for the take down--one of my wall hangings sold!! That was a very nice surprise. I can only hope it has gone to a good home.
   This was made with some of my deconstructed screen printed fabrics. I really liked this quilt. I'm not used to using red in my art work, so this was a stretch for me.

Back to the dress

In this episode we will embellish and attach the bottom tier of the dress. I cut the piece of batiste using the pattern I made from the fitting muslin. Vertical tucks were sewn on the center front following the center front crease as a guide. Gentle pressing on the tucks, then I lined up the placement of the next rows of tucks by placing the upper skirt on top of the bottom tier and finger pressing a placement crease. Seven tucks are sewn in each space below the loop design of the upper skirt.  There are three bands of vertical tucks on the front and back pieces.
After the tucks are completed, much pinning to attach the skirt pieces together. I used the same technique as I did when inserting the lace on the bodice.
center panel of tucks
finding placement for tucks
  The bodice is basted to the skirt and is waiting for another fitting.

A break from sewing stuff

I do hope everyone is enjoying the progress of the graduation dress and there will be many more posts on that subject. In fact, I have started on another dress and that will be shown soon.
 On other fronts, I went to a fantastic lunch out in the country last Saturday and have a photo to share of the lovely, delightful and tasty dessert. Everything dessert ought to be!
  The weekend before I took my grandson to visit the Noodlemans. A wonderfully pleasant day with family, also as it should be.
  Thursday was Memphis Sewing Guild meeting and lunch afterwards. The program was a challenge with projects made from a not so attractive fabric. Lots of fun. If you google Memphis Sewing Guild you can see what we did. The outfit for the Boykin Spaniel was hilarious. I'd send the link but have not yet mastered that aspect of computer science.
sorbet, homemade cake and berries!!
   Tomorrow, I'm attending a workshop on making a wall hanging from a favorite photograph. I've had the photograph since 2007 (when I went to Southern California) and dyed fabric to make it with, so now I can get some professional help to bring this project to reality. Looking forward to a day with sewing friends. Then after that, go pick up Mr. Man for a grandma sleepover and bike riding fun. The weather has been extremely cooperative and walking mileages are looking good for March. Anything will be better than the dismal numbers from the last two months.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Yesterday was a very productive day, sewing wise. Finished the loop design on the skirt and started putting the sleeves into the bodice of the graduation dress currently under construction. The sleeves are attached to the bodice with entredeaux. The photos will give a quick tutorial on putting an heirloom garment together with that stuff. I've used the entredeaux to attach the sleeves and also to attach lace edging to the neck line. Most of the other seams have been joined with lace insertion. That gives a fairly strong construction join but the entredeaux is very strong and is good for a seam where strength is important, such as the sleeves to the bodice.
Stitched along edge of "holes"

extra fabric trimmed away

zigzag along trimmed edge to finish

Insertion and edging sewn together with zigzag stitch

lace sewn to beading then attached to sleeve

sleeve sewn to other edge of entredeaux in same manner as before
  The lace on the lower edge of the sleeve is a combination of two laces which have been zigzagged together. Ribbon will be woven through the holes in the beading--the lace that is between the sleeve and the edging. When the ribbon is pulled up, the sleeve will be slightly gathered by the adjustment.
  There are other photos and if anyone needs further elaboration, I will post them upon request.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

More sewing and a little walking

There were errands to run this morning and since the weather has turned all spring-like, I went for a walk upon my return. A little lunch, then I hit the sewing machine for more progress on the graduation dress currently under construction. I'm adding the tucked bits into the "loops" design on the skirt. The actual construction had me puzzled for days, but it finally came to me how to get those ovals inside the lace loops without having to do a lot of basting (bleh) or having two layers of fabric in there, which would not contribute to a light airy look and be harder to trim away.
The floral elements from the hankie were added to the tucked ovals first then the fabric trimmed from behind the motif.
Lace was stitched into place on the outer edge with a straight stitch, but I may sew the rest with a zig zag. That way I won't need to turn the edges back, since there isn't a lot of strain on these seams like there is on the upper part of the skirt. The horizontal edges will have to be double stitched though since the bottom of the skirt will be attached there. Sounds complicated but all will be revealed.
lace has been persuaded to conform to an oval shape-ha!

pinning before stitching the horizontal bits

oval removed-exhale

more pins

almost done

nicely trimmed
Back to the loops. After pinning and stitching the lace across the bottom edge, I pulled up a thread on the lace and tightened it to conform to the inner shape of the oval. A little pressing to persuade it to stay that way. Then I took a deep breath and cut out the inner oval, which is replaced with the tucked bit. Much pinning, then stitching to hold it all in place. A little trimming along the edges of the tucked piece. Whew! One down, five to go.
The photos might be out of sequence with the text, but my sewing skills are far superior to my computer skills. And what's not to love about using your imagination anyway.
  Next episode, I will be attaching sleeves to the bodice, which has extra lace now, and entredeaux is involved in that construction phase. Then we will go on to the bottom tier of the skirt. More tucks!!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March comes in like a lamb

The weather cooperated today for a full route of walking. The sun was shining and there was only a slight chill in the air. The best part of today is that February is OVER! It has been a rather dismal month (bad weather, disease, work) and the total mileage on my pedometer was very sad. Less than 20 miles. Yikes! I walked that in a week last fall. 
But now it's March and one can only hope the promise of spring will bring better days. I'm trying not to use the word hope this year, to give myself a more forceful outlook on life. Get what I need and want. To get up and DO. As nice a concept as hope is, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a brighter future,  I need action right now.
Oh dear, I certainly didn't intend to stand on a soap box.