Saturday, July 05, 2014

My latest thing

I have been working on this Alabama Chanin-style top.

I decided not to go crazy trying to make four half-T-shirts into a dress, and settled on making them into two shirts. The first has now been embellished around the neck and "just" needs sewing up.


The appliqué bits are, of course, superheroes and their emblems. These are from an old pair of pyjama pants, believe it or not. The beads are cheap and sort of irregular and shimmery: good enough, but I will seek out better ones. I hope they are dazzling when I wear it... in a humorous, ironic, superhero-with-beads, hand-stitched sort of a way.

And for the crafty types who need to know: the inside. I hope the thread ends don't stay so stiff and tickly!

Monday, June 23, 2014

A few sewing projects

I have done some things with my new sewing machine. Last Christmas a friend stored her machine here, and I made a blanket with it. Just at Eastertime I was visiting my brother's family, and his wife and I went out and each bought a machine just like my friend's.

So fun.

This is a Scrabble tile bag for one of my Scrabble ladies. She had been keeping her tiles in a grocery bag, I believe! It's very simple, but the silk fabric frays like crazy, so I had to do what I now know is called a French seam. (Sort of, I think. My seams are on the inside, but the edges are enclosed.) This was done in an evening, so I am totally thrilled with that!


I had made another Scrabble bag, this time by hand, à la Alabama Chanin. It did not take just an evening!


I forgot to take pictures when I made it, so I made my friend hold it up for me to photograph with my phone in the coffee shop where we play. Navy cotton jersey, white thread, green little beads and white bugle beads. In the top picture you can sort of see blanket stitch down the side, but it was so fiddly and just ate the thread so I had lots of knots... The bottom has a double row of just straight stitches.

One could go on and on, filling more space with beads and appliqués. Lucky for me this was a birthday present so I had to stop in time to give it to her!


My next Alabama Chanin-inspired project will be a dress. I think. Here are the four T-shirt backs basted together:


A bag dress. I have to cut the front neckline, and at the bottom you can see the cap sleeves will need to be cut off! Thursday I make a trek with a friend to Michael's to get things like a cutting mat and navy thread and some kind of beads and maybe even a fancy-pants ruler! The shirt pieces have rounded bottom edges, which will have to be cut off to sew them together.


Straight lines are not my strength. But I can see how things would be easier if pieces were the same size, lines were straight and so on!

This is a big project I've just finished: a baby play mat. It's too warm to put on top of a baby, but nice and soft for a baby to sit on and play.


Made with old jeans. I took the back pockets off and cut the pieces as long as I could.


One front, of course, is curved to accommodate the fly. I couldn't figure out how to sew the little piece in with hidden seams, so I just zig-zagged around it. 

The bits that are not old jeans are some samples a friend had. She used to sew for the theatre, and then she made luxurious cushions, so she had every kind of lovely fabric. She recently had to downsize her collection, and I was the beneficiary. She gave me the silk for the bag above as well. 


Nice cotton stripes, with a bit of denim here and there to make everything fit.


I tacked the front and back together with embroidery floss.


The back, you say? A pile of miscellaneous fleece bits, some leftovers from another friend's project, and some from the yardage sale I've mentioned before (the teddy bears and the I ♥ Mommy, I ♥ Daddy pieces).


I have another of these on the go -- two of Stephen's colleagues are having babies this summer. And they are getting crazy mats from me, whether they like it or not!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

More adventures in sewing

This is really an adventure-in-waiting, because all I've done is basted some seams to see if this is at all workable.


I picked up five identical pieces like this at the yardage sale. Huge, vaguely shirt-shaped. Very good, heavy, cotton jersey.


I quickly sewed the 4 seams, and it will fit, in a baggy sort of oversized way. I need to do something with the front neckline, and I do have the Alabama Chanin pattern which I could use. Her neckline would look something like this. So I will likely do some actual cutting of fabric soon! I will resew the seams properly, and not in purple.

I'm thinking of black beading around the neck and perhaps around the bottom hem. But I am also thinking of taking two of the other pieces, cutting the sleeve bits off and sewing them onto the bottom of this and making a dress! (Here's a nice one, but mine would obviously have a seam across the middle; and here's a nice one with a seam, but all are more fitted than mine will be.) More thought is needed. I'll have to baste them on and have a look. We don't want to look as if we're running around in our nightie, now, do we? But if it is bejewelled, then who would think it was a nightie.... But if it's just a bejewelled tube... maybe a dart here or there? See, this is getting scary!

Wednesday I will meet my friend Terry, for whom I made a Scrabble tile bag in the Alabama Chanin style out of the fifth of these pieces. I will take my camera, because I made the bag and gave it to her and took not a single picture. It is totally bejewelled, a Scrabble bag fit for a queen. Stay tuned!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

A thing I found

Yesterday I went to the yardage sale (actually, the More Than Just A Yardage Sale) at the Textile Museum. There was a section with three big bins of "miscellaneous" and you could cram a grocery bag full for $2. Deal!

One of the things I got from that pile was this.


It's cotton-like, woven, quite thin fabric. Maybe there is linen in there? I don't really know how to tell! I'm betting on cotton, though.

And it has a dress pattern printed on it in various sizes! You can see below that some of the white has smudged in the middle of the piece.


I love it, and want to make something like a bag (Oh, Mary, another bag?) that shows the white. But it seems that if you were to make the largest size of this dress, wouldn't you want the white lines to wash away? Now I am scared to wash it, but of course I'll have to bite the bullet and do it sometime!


It's a Women's Emb Dress. Apparently.
With a collar.


It's like a blueprint. And like the big quilt the museum has (which I can't find a picture of... rats). Hey, maybe I could just laboriously trace the white lines with embroidery!

I guess I will try a gentle, cold wash soon.

I'll keep y'all posted! I also got some other great finds and I'll try to show you more of those in the coming days.

Friday, May 30, 2014

My Alabama Chanin amuse-bouche

When I tweeted that I was going to do this, Mason-Dixon Kay replied:
Indeed, my bouche is certainly amused by this!

You get one piece of plain cotton jersey, and one piece with leaves stencilled on.

You can outline the stencil and then cut out the middle.


You get another piece of fabric with the same leaves stencilled on the wrong side, which you can cut out and appliqué to your top piece.


You can rummage around the house and find some beads to sew on in a scatter pattern or in a nice line.


You can even appliqué a leaf and then cut out two layers of fabric.


And outline leaves with beads and little blobs with stem stitch.


Lots of work to do! I can see why a handmade dress from this company costs a small fortune. It's a labour-intensive way to do things, but oh, so fun!


When I finish I will have a nice piece of decorated and embellished fabric. Will it get put on the wall, sewn onto something else, made into a Scrabble tile bag? Only time will tell!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Totally random lightning blog today

I just learned that I was the 26810th person to join Ravelry. Woo hoo!

Spring has finally sprung in earnest. The garden is out of control. I gave away several ferns and chunks of hosta, but it is still over-crowded. Oh, well!

I made a chocolate cake the other day, following a recipe I have used a million times. I used gluten-free flour, which I have done successfully several times, but this time I have lumps of flour throughout the cake, making it virtually uneatable. I even got ice cream to disguise it, but the kids ate the ice cream without the cake. Rotters.

I am making a sample Alabama Chanin thingmabob. I would love to show you a picture, but the whole "find the camera, upload the pictures, where is the cable" thing is holding me back. Sometime soon, though.

I also have two partial baby mats machine-sewn together. I can see how the sewing machine makes life easier, but I am still too rough and ready with it. Straight lines only. Cut things to fit on the fly. Don't mix fabrics.

However, I am also collecting a whole variety of fabrics, some in teeny pieces. My friend used to sew professionally for the theatre, and then she made luxurious cushions, so she saved every scrap to embellish them. Now she is de-cluttering, and I am finding myself with enough material to make about a thousand Scrabble tile bags. (Must find a new thing to make, as well.)

Oh, the camera, I must go find the camera!

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Rowan and Martin's knit-in

Rowan has a new yarn called Pure Wool Worsted. It comes in a zillion colours and they are showing it off by having a mystery knitalong, where you get a pattern for a square each week, knit a bunch in many colours and end up with a blanket at the end. The whole thing is designed by Martin Storey, hence the cute name. (Though perhaps the youngsters don't get it...)

Of course, I am not following the rules, but am knitting the squares in Rowan Denim. Sort of.

The first pattern was easy to just knit and knit, and I stopped when I finished a ball of yarn. I also messed with the pattern a bit and added half-triangles at the side because at first I thought that looked better. Now I think the zing of those "empty" sides might have been a good idea after all, but alas, too late now. (I think you can see the squares "as they should be" at that link above.)


Then I had a few days to kill before the second clue was released, so I just looked in my book of squares, attached a new ball of yarn and knit something.


Clue #2 was a star that I somehow didn't take a picture of. I will likely do one on another strip of this blanket, but it was not super fast and one had to think and look to make sure the star came out star-shaped.

Monday was a bank holiday in England, so Rowan released the third clue today. I had a few days with "nothing" to knit, so I started just doing double moss stitch in ecru. That got boring so I made this square in a square.


The lacy triangles are from today's new clue. I'll finish this strip, 3 balls of Denim long, and then start another one using the same patterns until pattern 4 is released next week. If all goes according to plan, by the end of eight weeks, I'll have a blanket.

This has sort of become my one and only project now, but I did knit a hat and a half standing in film festival lines.


The little ring of ribbing on the right has become larger. I used that brown for the ribbing and made the crown green. I also knit part of a sock for Arthur and a teeny bit of a sock for Elaine. It will all get finished sometime...