Tuesday, May 31, 2011

First I make shorts, on account of...

I am currently down to three pair I can wear out of the house, plus two former "wear in public" that have been relegated to pajama bottoms. So I have a pair in process in a very pretty turquoise green, plus the fabric to make same in beige, denim blue and a very pretty rich purple.

I decided to do the inner and outer leg seams in something called a french seam. Basically, you end up with a seam with no raw edges, that is, the edge of the fabric when you cut out a pattern piece. First, you sew a seam about 1/4 inch from the cut edge of fabric.
 Here are the inner leg seams done with the quarter inch border. The back side of the fabric, the part that will be inside the garment is placed together. After you finish the seam, you turn the fabric the other way round, and sew another seam so that you bind the raw edges between the first seam and the second. Iron the seams flat when you finish the second one.
This is a picture of the seam finished. I am going to sew the center back/front seam next. After I finish that, I sew the outer leg seams, then put in a casing for the elastic and put that in, hem the leg holes, and I am done. Then I am going to start on the dress. Here is a picture of the dress pattern cover. I am doing it in silk.
I think it will be pretty.

THE Magpie

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I'm going to a wedding! So I need a new dress!

I mean, duh. If there is any occasion that warrants a new dress, a wedding is definitely it. Even if you aren't the bride, which I'm not. So I decided to make my dress, on account of that is why I purchased a pile of vintage silk saris from ebay, well, that and I was taking belly dance classes, and one of the dances uses really big scarves, and they are expensive, but you can make two scarves from one sari, with a bit left over for sashes or whatever. And, they generally cost around $25 for five meters of fabric. Plus, they come in a zillion abfab colors and prints. I've been using some for embroidery, the stole was done using two of the pretty colored ones.

For my dress I am using one in turquoise and sea blue, with dark blue and orangey-yellowy prints in stripes. The pallu of the sari (for those who aren't familiar with the lingo, that is a decorative rectangle at one end of the sari, specifically, the end that is tossed over the shoulder and hangs down) and also the selvage edges have a very fine gold woven floral decoration that I am going to use for the bottom of the dress, and for the sleeve edging on the jacket. I am using a pattern from Simplicity, number 3799. It has a dress, jacket, a top which is a short version of the dress, and either cropped pants or walking shorts. I plan to make some pairs of walking shorts from this pattern out of heavy cotton fabric at some point, as my shorts have of late been wearing out and I can never seem to find comfortable pants-- they don't fit right and it drives me bonkers. Anyway, no pictures this time, but I'll be taking some for the next entry.

A friend of mine who also sews clothes helped me lay out the jacket so that I could get the entire body of the jacket out of the pallu, and also helped me lay it out so the front opening of the jacket will have the decorative border along it. The pictures will help explain it--it really is true that a picture is worth a thousand words.

I also want to try to make a hat and purse out of some of the leftover fabric, I think there is enough of the pallu fabric left to make a little evening bag out of, and if nothing else, I'll make a long strip of fabric to use as a hatband/headband.

THE Magpie

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Box in progress--err, finished.

The box is going to be absolutely gorgeous. Okay, the last entry was attaching the felt padding and the embroidery to the plastic canvas round. This one is all about doing the box body. Here are some of the materials I used...

 Plastic canvas rounds and felt for padding cut into circles.
 Plastic canvas cut into a strip and sewn together. I overcast the edge that will be against the lid to add a bit of padding.

 Felt strips for padding the box side.

Plastic canvas side with the felt padding applied to the outside.
 This is the box side piece with all the felt padding applied, I did both inside and outside. I basted it on but only stitched the upper edge of the felt, as the bottom edge will be held down by the fabric cover which I put underneath the side piece.
 This is the liner pieces, with the felt padding basted onto the plastic canvas. I cut one row of holes from the outer edge, so that they will fit into the box with the fabric cover and felt padding. The lid piece needed to be smaller so that I could get the decorative braid along it.

This is the inside and outside of the box sides. I folded the fabric over the plastic canvas and felt sandwich, and basted the inside and outside together. Then I ran a gathering stitch and pulled it tight. The box bottom and bottom liner will cover the resulting ruffles.
This is the bottom with the beads I am using as feet sewn on it. I am slip stitching the two pieces together.
 This is the box bottom after I did the gathering stitches and before I did the lacing. The liners are done the same way, but I put the more yellow side of the fabric up for them. I thought it would make a pleasing contrast.
Here is the box bottom completely assembled. I used glue to attach the bottom liner. 
This is the side of the box. I really liked the rose border motif on the fabric, so I  cut it so that this would show.

This is the bottom of the lid. I slip stitched the edges, after applying glue to hold them together flat. Then I sewed the braid around the outer edge of the lining.

Finally, here is the lid from the top. I am very pleased with how this turned out.
This is a picture of Berkeley and Marie Curie, sitting on the back of the sofa and watching the birdies in the mulberry tree as they stake out their branches. I call it CATV, and it entertains them for minutes at a time, after which they are exhausted and must nap diligently to regain their strength. They also like to sleep on brocade, which I know because I took a bathroom break and laid my box aside while I did so. When I got back, Marie was snoozing on the pieces.

THE Magpie

Friday, May 6, 2011

Making a Box

Exactly what the title says, I am going to take you through the assembly of a box, with a piece of stitchery as the lid. I am either cheap or thrifty, your choice, but I am also a fast stitcher, and the cost of framing lots of pieces of stitchery becomes insane, especially if you want them to be right. Hence the wallhangery and quilting options I usually employ. This is a third option, for those things that are not really suited to wall hangings and cannot handle the treatment they would receive as a quilt. Like, for instance, the piece of goldwork I just finished.

So. I am doing a simple round box, using plastic canvas as the supporting sides and top and bottom. As you read down, I have included pictures of all the supplies, along with the fabric I am using for the sides. I found it at my local Jo-Ann's Fabrics and Crafts store, and it is even yummier in person than the pictures show.
I was actually checking to see if they had any more of the silk dupione that either matched the blue I used or complemented it--gold would have been acceptable also. They had neither, so I went wandering through all the satins etc... Got to the brocades, saw lots of pretty fabric, then saw a flash of blue and gold. Dug it out of its niche, held the embroidery up to it, and figured I had a winner. There is a rose border that I am going to use as the box side, and an all over diaper (that is a diagonal pattern--I'll have to check why we now use that as a word for a baby's undergarment, yes?) pattern of large and small diamonds. Here is a picture of the front and back of the fabric.
And here is a closeup of the edging...
With me so far?  I also got four plastic canvas rounds, The original size is 6 inches, and trimmed the outer ring off two of them to use as the inside lid and inner bottom. I also have a piece of the very large stiff canvas, and cut a piece that is 2 x 19 inches for the box side, and one that is 1 x 19 for the lid. Hey, all you who didn't think you would ever use geometry after high school or college? Surprise! It is an easy formula, basically, Pi x the diameter of the circle. This gives the circumference of the circle, and I will _Never_Never_Ever_ forget the formula, although I did, in eighth grade, get a bit tired of the endless 20 problem worksheets we did while people were learning this. Um. I also remember Pi R Squared (for the area of a circle), and I think if you have either the radius or the diameter, you can figure out the other, being that the radius is half the diameter, so for our purposes, we need to multiply 3.14 and 6, which is 18.84 inches. With seven count (or seven stitches to the inch canvas, I will be adding an extra couple of rows for an overlap. I don't have to worry about the inner liner size because it is mostly there to look nice, and to cover the seams from the box and lid sides, when I gather them up and sew the sides onto the lid and base.
This is the rings with the edges cut off.
 I am using felt to pad the canvas, so that it isn't prickly or hard, and it looks better. Just cut to fit. I also stitch it to the sides top and bottom so that it doesn't shift around.
This is basic plastic canvas. It now comes in three sizes that I know of, seven count, ten count and fourteen count. The seven count is the stiffest, and it comes in two weights, one of which is stiffer than the other.
 Okay, I have gathered the edges of the stitched piece and sandwiched two felt rounds in between the plastic canvas disc and the stitched piece. For reference, this is a disc with a 4 and 1/2 inch diameter.
 The back of the lid, showing the basting/gathering stitches and some of the lacing. I have some more lacing to do, but I ran out of thread. This part is the trickiest of the box, as you can "pringle" the disc if you don't pull the lacing evenly. On the other hand, I can't lace a square or rectangle properly to save my life but I can do discs. Go figure. It is pretty easy to get the right tension, if it starts to look like a potato chip, lighten the tension ;-).
Sewing thread, ball of yarn, large piece of plastic canvas, and four beads I am going to attach to the bottom of the box as feet. I use the yarn to attach the ends of the plastic canvas together, and sometimes I overcast the edges as well, for the look of the finished box.

THE Magpie

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Finished the Lily, on to Michele's Challenge

 Figured I'd cut to the chase and just put the picture front, center and on top. Isn't it pretty?! www.bentonandjohnson.com, kits, Golden Lily. The kit contents are ample to do the project, including a bit extra, although because I am new to it I think I may have used more of the Japan Gold than ordinarily, there was enough but no leftover (not a problem, as I bought a spool of the stuff as well). I am going to be getting some plastic canvas rounds to use as a base for a box lid--I like it because it adds stability and I don't have to cut out cardboard or foam core. Plus, if I do a round, I don't have to worry about mitering the corners. I can lace rounds, but so far trying to lace squares and rectangles is beyond me. On the other hand, I can do mitered corners when sewing--I'll have to get a picture of the piece I am doing as a wall hanging that has a piece of stripe fabric that I mitered so that the stripes form a border around the piece. Turned out very cool.

Meanwhile, I have started the next piece, a flower from Michele's Challenge pieces.

 This is the design transferred to the back of the muslin. Next I affix the background fabric to the front of the muslin... like so
This is the background for the flower. Next step is to baste the shape so that I can start stitching it. I am limited to two stitches for the piece. I have decided that Satin Stitch will be one of them, as it is a very versatile stitch, depending on whether it is longer stitches or short ones, or on how hard you pull the stitches. The other stitch is going to be couching, another versatile stitch.

THE Magpie

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Goldwork yet again, almost done with the stitching

I have almost finished the Golden Lily, and goldwork is fun, not to mention pretty. I'm thinking of doing the lily again, this time on dark navy blue with silver threads. Or not, so many projects, so little time. Here is a a picture of the Lily as of now.
I have two more leaves to stitch in. I put the bright check pieces on the fabric so you can see how it looks pre and post cutting up. They are like little springy beads, and you run the needle up the hole in the center of the spring and sew them down just like beads. Pretty easy, really. Bright check is fun, it absolutely flashes in the sunlight.

I have been thinking about the Michele's Challenge pieces, and the first flower is going to have some goldwork on it.

The top left hand flower is the one I am doing. I think the stitches I will use (I am limited to two) will be satin and couching. I will be using the rounded piece of fabric that is over the pictures as the background. I have the hoop set up, and it is a fairly simple matter to transfer the design. I am getting excited about it, which I know because I was dreaming about doing this one last night.

THE Magpie