You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Fabric Fast’ category.

I’m in Denver for a few days! I’ve managed to spend time at the Botanical Gardens and eat lunch there, eat Southern Indian food at a buffet one night and take long walks in the nearby park with the resident dogs.

My daughter took me to JoAnn Fabrics to pick up a cardboard cutting board, some pattern tracing paper, buttons for a future blouse and a pattern for layette clothing. Yesterday my son-in-law and I went to Denver Fabrics (the brick and mortar one) to search for fabrics to make baby slings/wraps/carriers. He fell hard for some $69/yd silk decorator fabric but couldn’t quite bring himself to buy the 3 yds needed for a carrier. lol. But he’s still considering whether or not he can figure out something for the house or ?? with maybe only a 1/3 yard piece… 😀 He’s a carpenter by trade, with college majors in Art, Biology and Political Science.

I’m helping break in a new Bernina Activa 240. Yeah, life is tough. 😉 So far I’ve hemmed the linen pants I made before traveling here and figured out what changes I’ll make to the pattern before making it again (Sewing Workshop Ikina pants), worked on two ‘mattress covers’ (aka fitted sheets) for the crib, traced a Kwik Sew blouse/shirt pattern for me and a newborn-sized pant from McCalls (upon request…) and am considering cutting out another pair of linen pants and sewing together a pair of shorts for myself. If I am able to figure out how to use their camera, I’ll post a pic of the cute flannel she picked for one of the sheets.

Okay, back to sewing machine. The second sheet is ready for the elastic/hems.

I cut this camisole from a really nice soft light blue cotton/lycra jersey knit that I purchased from Ressy’s coop a year or two ago. I’ve been very pleased with the rayon/lycra and cotton/lycra knits I’ve ordered from her. For the first camisole from this pattern I added an inch to the length of the lining (I always lower bust darts at least an inch.) Otherwise I cut the medium sized pattern exactly as printed.

Everytime I use a Kwik Sew pattern I am reminded what great instructions they have. This camisole pattern is no exception. But even so, I sewed the elastic and banding on the inside of the top rather than the outside. Luckily I had a meeting last night, so I took the seam ripper and top along and picked out all the multiple zigzag stitches. Pulling off all the little bits of thread was really the hardest part. I’ll try some scotch tape to get the rest of it.

I tried it on this morning to double check that the elastic under the bust was the right length. I expected it to be just right or maybe a bit tight. Instead it’s about an inch too loose! So I’m considering what quick fix I can do to make it work; it’s not something that will show, so I can just do a quick fix and make a more permanent change on the next one. I guess we’ll just call this a wearable muslin.

I’m posting this now (2:25pm) to get myself into the sewing room and working on this ‘project’ 😉

In response to this introduction to the Take It Further June concept, Paula wrote:

When you say, “it becomes a project,” it makes that sound like a bad thing. But a project is full of possibilities of it’s own. I think it’s interesting that Sharon acknowledges these possibilities when she says, “these materials can take on another story. They can be made into something new and take on other meanings in someone’s life,” but then turns around and says, “material moves from being something that is full of potential to a project,” denying the potential that she previously acknowledged.

To which I responded:
“Interesting. Thanks for pointing that out. Maybe the process is somewhat different for crazy quilters, especially since they sort of make up their designs and decide to use pieces of their stash as they go along.

For garment sewing however, once you’ve cut a garment out of your fabric you’ve necessarily limited what garment is possible from that fabric. Now I will concede that there are things you can be creative about as you are constructing that garment; also opportunities to make changes (within the parameters of the cut pieces) as you tweak the fit and miscellaneous things like buttons and topstitching. But once I’ve done the planning, designing and cutting I often feel as though I just have to do the drudgery.”

Luckily Paula doesn’t hesitate to give me honest feedback and make me think. So of course she had more good points:

But a garment project is full of mystery and possibilities. Will it turn out? Will it be flattering? Will I feel fabulous when I wear it? Will it end up as a dress or will I turn it into a top? Will I keep it or pass it along? Will I scrap it and make a quilt with the pieces? What will happen to me when I wear it? Will I get the job? Meet the love of my life?

I think a garment have maybe even more potential to write new stories than a quilt. Of course I’m speaking as someone who has never really quilted so I may be biased.

Hmmmmmm. I do think that crazy quilting and some types of scrap quilting include more creative decision-making while stitching/piecing than following a strict pattern or using a kit. I guess that aspect, being able to make decisions about the final result while actually constructing the piece, holds a lot of appeal to me. Once the creative and drafting/altering decisions are done, I tend to lose interest.

I guess I was thinking only of the immediate loss of possibilities due to cutting, not the future possibilities of that particular project. I was also thinking of the work and time needed to get the sewing done.

But the truth is that I have plenty of fabric and ‘losing’ one piece to a possibly poor decision will not make much difference in the long run of my life. lol. And certainly I can’t wear the flat fold pieces in my stash, so if I leave them uncut I’ll certainly never be able to find out the answers to your questions above!

I recently came across some notes from when I first joined the Fabric Fast:2008 at PatternReview.com.

I then went and reread some of the fasting thread. The original post by popoagiesmiles still inspires me. Also many of the posts by others since then.

I had committed to fasting ‘month to month’ but forgot to check in at the end of most months. I think I managed to keep to a complete fast about 3 of the 5 months, and definitely purchased fabric (beyond my initial commitment) during two months. Overall though, my total-dollars-spent is less, which is good. And I’ve actually used a bunch of the fabrics I’ve invested in in the last few years and learned which ones I should order more of (Siltex 100% cotton fleeces) and which types I should skip (floral silk georgette.)

So now, approaching the half-way mark of the year of Fabric Fasting, I’m considering my commitment for the coming 6 months.

A total fast would no doubt be a very good thing for my budget. The temptation to buy baby-type fabrics for sewing for my first grandchild who is due in September will no doubt get stronger. On the other hand, I think my money is probably better spent buying airline tickets to go visit him and his parents more often. I will try to keep this firmly in mind.

Finally today I was able to sew four seams on the georgette mentioned here.

That was more than enough for my back to tolerate, so I’ve been giving it a rest since then while I consider how to finish the top of the skirt. Skirt? Oh, you’re right. I forgot to tell you that somewhere in the last few weeks I decided to go with a tried and true solution for me: a long gathered skirt.

I now have the skirt draped over the silk that I plan to use for an ‘underskirt’ – I’d like to make it so it can be worn separately, rather than just as a lining or a slip. I have another silk fabric, wiry and fairly sheer, that coordinates with the under skirt fabric (but not so well with the georgette) that I may use for a jacket or something in the future.

The georgette snags and pulls and shows pin marks (even brand new Iris Silk pins) and is generally a pain to work with. On the other hand I’m very pleased with the stitches I’m getting from my ‘new-to me’ Bernina. I’m using a size 60 universal needle and Mettler Metrosene thread; I have a Gutermann thread that’s a bit closer match, but by just eyeballing it the Metrosene is finer/thinner and still a good color. One good thing about snags and pulls is that it is very easy to straighten the grain on this fabric by pulling on a crosswise thread! 😀

If I want a fairly long 41″ skirt (floor length would be 44 inches from waist to floor with flat shoes and .5 inch seam allowances top and bottom and no hem allowance) I have barely enough fabric for four panels. When testing how much gathering was most flattering for the skirt I found I needed four full panels, so I left the selvedges on for the seam finishes so I could use the full width of each panel (I prewashed and machine dried the georgette before cutting and the selvedges did not shrink.)

I’ll be using a narrow turned machine-stitched hem, I think. The shiny parts of the fabric make the hem a bit stiff, but those areas aren’t large and I hope will disappear once the skirt is hanging. Does anyone have experience with this? I could actually make bias strips of the more firmly woven under skirt fabric and face the hem with that. It would give it a more substantial look which might be good. Hmmm. How wide would I make the strips? Unfortunately I have only one small scrap of georgette to do all testing on; it measures 8 inches wide and about 1.5 inches high.

Next I’ll double-check to be sure the hem line is straight and on grain. I’ll gather (or softly pleat) the skirt onto a strip of the underskirt silk and then either run a drawstring or elastic through that added casing. I always have to shorten the center back of any skirts so they’ll hang straight, so I’ll get to figure out how much to cut off before I add the casing. This could be tricky with this slithery fabric…

Tomorrow or Monday I’ll share an excerpt from a letter we received yesterday – a neat story about my FIL that really gave me a a better idea of what he was like as a younger man.

I’ve been gone to family-related things most of the day and am ready to not sit at the computer, but thought I’d post the photos I took yesterday of the georgette fabric.
Outdoors georgette
closer georgette
georgette drape outdoors

As you can see some of them were taken outside against the dark bricks of our house; on my computer the fabric looks bluish lavender.

inside georgette

The inside photos have more of a pink cast; you can see a yellow door on the right through the sheer fabric in one of the closeups.

two backgrounds

Follow up from Summer Dress Ideas 2

Paula commented:

I’m not sure I followed your train of thought exactly but how about those same lined pants you mentioned with an almost knee-length tunic over, which could be made out of matching linen underneath and something sheer over the top of that?

Paula,
Train of thought? More like big chunks of disjointed ideas!

So you think maybe the plain linen for pants and a tunic and a sheer jacket of some sort over that? That might be just the thing!

At first I thought you meant to make the tunic from a double layer (the sheer underlined with the linen.) I’d considered that but was concerned that the sheer might sag and hang unevenly over the linen. That could be remedied, probably, by constructing each piece separately and only sewing them together as one in the upper bodice (neckline, shoulder seam, armholes.)

Thanks for giving me these ideas. I was discussing this project with my husband today and he agreed that the pants idea would be more versatile in the long run than a dress. And we both liked the idea of mostly covering those shoes with the pant legs. 😀

Here’s a Burda Plus 2-2006-414 dress that Debbie Cook made. (click the link on her name and you can see the muslin and the dress she made by clicking the NEXT button a few times.) The lines are similar to the dress I posted yesterday and I think it would be flattering. If I made a similar dress in the burnout-style georgette (with satiny charmeuse-type flowers) I could make either a dress or a skirt and top in the solid color linen/rayon or linen/silk that I have. I also have a cotton rib knit in the same/similar color that could be used, but I’m not sure the sheer fabric would drape well over it.

In the middle of the night I awoke with another idea:
How about a pair of linen-type pants (long enough to mostly cover the shoes ) and some sort of woven or knit top or shell to coordinate or match? And then use the georgette to make an overdress or a sarong or skirt and top. This would give me a lot more options for wearing in the future as I don’t have too many places to wear a dressy dress.

Yesterday I draped the floral georgette/charmeuse and spent the day thinking about it. I hung it over almost-matching background, over a cream colored fabric, over a darker lilac, even over brown and a corrugated cardboard colored linen. The flowers in the charmeuse areas include the cream and various soft brown colors and it could be successfully worn over any of those colors.

The fabric hangs really nicely on the bias. But, have you ever tried sewing georgette? How about georgette on the bias? Yikes! I’m leaning toward tying it on as a sarong and being done with it. Or wrapping the six yards around me sari-style and calling it good. 😀

I still have not figured out the scanner, so as soon as I get a chance to press the georgette a little I’ll hang it outside and take a photo or two.

What do you think? This is a great time for suggestions. Nothing has been cut! It’s all still in the flat-pack… Nothing but potential! 😉

Burda Archives are always fun to peruse. Here’s a dress/bolero in the BWOF 6/2006 that I think might work – not that I’ll use this exact dress, but the general idea is good.

The fabric I’m planning to use is a burnout silk/rayon. I’m trying to figure out how to set up the scanner so I can show it to you. I have to say that even though it’s often frustrating, trying new stuff like keeping this blog does force a person to learn new skills even when it would be a lot easier NOT to… So…back to reading the manual.

Help! My niece is getting married in 6 weeks or so and I seriously have nothing to wear…

In addition, as far as I can remember I’ve never been to an evening wedding, nor have I been to a reception on a luxury yacht on the river. So, as you can imagine, I’m beginning to get anxious.

I have several coordinating lilac/lavender silk and linen fabrics in my sewing room that might work (I’ll try to get photos posted in a day or two) but I’m really stuck when it comes to styles.

Unfortunately I have some unusual parameters due to physical stuff. For instance, I wear orthopedic shoes whenever I’m not sleeping; my balance is not good enough for walking without them, especially not on a boat. So I’ll be wearing bone colored SAS Free Times tie oxfords; not something I particularly want to draw attention to… lol

I’m pretty sure I’ll be wearing a fairly long skirt of some sort. I can’t really imagine pants that would work for a wedding, but maybe some of you have better ideas.

Even though I’ve not developed this very far, I’m going to post this tonight to give myself a push to get a plan in place!

Hurrah! I’ve finally been able to sit long enough (and reach forward and move my foot, all at once! lol) that I’ve been able to SEW! It’s been more than a month since I’ve been able to spend time in my sewing room. I’ve been chomping at the bit to do this SWAP sewing.

Today I sewed in the underarm gussets of the Sewing Workshop’s TeaGarden T that I’m making from a peachy colored paisley print cotton interlock knit. I took the advice of one of the reviewers at patternreview.com and sewed color coded thread tacks at the matching points of the gusset and the top. Luckily this tacking was something I could do while lying flat! It really helped the gussets go in smoothly. Tomorrow I’ll sew hems in the bodice and sleeves and do a bit of hand sewing around the back of the neck/collar.

Teagarden T

The TeaGarden T pattern is a fascinating shape; only one pattern piece plus a small gusset. The pattern instructions credit Marcy Tilton with the design. I read somewhere that one of the earlier Issey Miyake patterns was the inspiration.

On the subject of SWAP 2008, I’m slowly coming to terms with the idea that I will not be completing this SWAP by April 11th. I had plenty of time the past couple of weeks (while still flat in bed, but not in SO much pain) to try to work out how I could meet the requirements; for a while I thought I could do it, with the addition of a simplified jacket or vest. But then I carefully reread the rules and decided that two of my tops were never going to meet the ‘more like a blouse than a tshirt’ requirement. Both the Burda crossover top and the Teagarden T are definitely knit tops, no buttons or sleeve plackets or other such details to be seen…