Archive for the 'sewing' Category

Briar Mark

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Thanks to Jennie for pointing me to this. My kind of artist.

I COULD HAVE DONE THIS.. from Briar Mark on Vimeo.

kathryn clark

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Kathryn Clark has been working on a series of quilts that map foreclosed properties in communities across the US. The quilts are beautiful and graphic in their simplicity, while also being filled with meaning.

Albuquerque Foreclosure Quilt

Each little hole in the fabric, each block of color represents a lost home, and all the grief and hopelessness that comes with it. I feel like I understand the housing crisis much better by looking at one of these quilts than I do by reading endless articles.

Detroit Foreclosure Quilt

You can see many more of her quilts and read an explanation of the project in Kathryn’s own words on her blog.

week of giving thanks

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Last Thursday was Thanksgiving. This morning I said goodbye to the last member of my holiday visiting family and drove home from the train station in the rain, feeling suitably glum and wintery.

Some houses still have pumpkins on their stoops, but this was obviously the weekend for getting out holiday decorations – lots of glowing icicles hanging from eaves, and May-pole shaped ‘trees’ made of Christmas lights strands. Some blow-up snowman snow globes of which I will not speak another word.

My decorations are on my radar but not up yet. And the idea of getting a tree was collectively nixed the minute the word “kitten” was mentioned. I need some time to come up with a solution to that energetic, furry problem.

On Thanksgiving day we went up to Sam’s Point and walked in the fog,

and were given the gift of blue sky when we reached the lake at the top of the ridge.

There was fog dew on everything.

We came home and ate turkey and then leftovers, leftovers, leftovers for days.

On Saturday we visited the fairytale Mohonk Mountain House for lunch (and a menu change).

We got lost, briefly, in the garden maze but managed to find our way home.

It was a real vacation. We watched movies, played with cats large and small, and talked and laughed a ton. So good. It felt both long and short – how the best days always feel. I am grateful.

jacket from scratch

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

I’m still catching up on sewing show & tell. I finished this guy back in December but no pics until now. Sorry the color’s a bit off.

I bought the fabric last year on my first expedition to Mood Fabric, during which there was much hyperventilation, and simultaneous desires to buy everything and to run screaming from the store.

Thankfully my friend Chris was with me, and by repeatedly stopping and staring at each other and saying over and over “this is amayyyyzing” and “I’m overwhelmed” we made it through the experience. I walked out with this upholstery fabric (for a bag? for a jacket? we didn’t know) and the fabric for my first pair of pants.

The jacket pattern is from Burda magazine, a reissue/update of one of their 60s patterns. Since my shoulders are 2 sizes smaller than everything else on my body I decided it would be smart to make a muslin, which felt like a terribly professional approach and turned out to be really helpful.

Basically I made a mock-up of the jacket out of cheap muslin and then tried it on and fitted it by pinning and basting until it seemed to fit right. I then transferred the changes back to my paper pattern, unstitching where needed to get the fabric flat again. This is like making two whole garments, which does sound crazy, but since it prevented the final piece from being thrown to the floor and stomped on in grief and frustration I think it was time well spent, and has become my M.O.

This fabric is so busy that I decided to skip making the pockets. Also because pockets seemed like more than I could handle. As it was I spent an entire evening puzzling out how to cut the fabric so the pattern would kinda sorta match up across seam lines and openings. I ended up making the back sleeves out of two fabric sections since there just wasn’t enough yardage to cut out the whole pieces and get the fabric pattern placed right.

The jacket is lined, which yet again is like making a second (in this case third) entire jacket, with slightly different edges. But the lining is red, and silky, and makes my jacket look like a real jacket so I love it.

I’m pleased and a little surprised at how well the whole thing turned out.

Even though I saw this design store window while on vacation, complete with pillows in the same fabric – different colorway.

Apparently I’m not done with upholstering myself.

recycled shearling

Monday, January 28th, 2008

A friend gave me this faux shearling jacket. It’s really warm but the cut was not flattering on me at all.


I took the sleeves off and then got stuck for several months, completely uncertain of how to shape the shoulder. When I came back to the coat the solution seemed obvious, which is often my experience with getting stuck on projects.

I measured where I thought the shoulder seam should be and cut to that shape.

I also unstitched the seams between waist and underarm and took them in for a better shape. I then reattached the sleeves. I shortened the coat by about 8 inches, and replicated the turn-up from the original. Finally I added a snap at the neck for a better neckline. It was easy once I trusted myself with it, especially since the fabric doesn’t fray.

I’ve been wearing it non-stop so it’s kind of grubby in the pictures, but it’s keeping me nice and warm.

mini tree

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

We spent last Christmas at my place so M didn’t decorate much. I thought it was sad that he didn’t have a tree, and I kept seeing these ones on flickr, and then the moths snacked on my green sweater and next thing you know I was making this guy.

I sewed the rick rack on before giving it to M and he got to “decorate” the tree, pinning on the buttons and pom-poms which I then glued in place.

For the base I used a scrap from an old screen-print mandala. I inserted cardboard to make the base flatter and used a wooden knob that was kicking around the studio for the tree trunk.

This year the crazy holiday crafter struck again when I decided to make an advent calendar on November 30th. Pictures soon.

Thanks to M for these photos.

late fall

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

I walked by this building a lot before noticing the intricate tiles above the main windows.

Somehow they manage to be bold and subtle at the same time, and remind me of this page from the 1989 Quilt Engagement Calendar, which I kept.

The quilt is called Late Fall, by Junko Okuyama based on the Broken Dishes pattern. I just googled the artist and found that Wee Wonderfuls blogged this same quilt 3 years ago. We should start a fan club.

75 cent skirt

Monday, November 12th, 2007

I made this skirt from some yardage I had in my stash, bought years ago in a thrift store. The lining fabric was also from my hoard, as was the interfacing and thread. I did have to buy the zipper – for 75 cents.

I used a Burda magazine pattern but because the panels were too large for my fabric I drafted a version with 6 smaller panels instead of 2 large. That worked out really well. I alternated the grain direction and the fabric hangs beautifully.

I can’t decide whether the skirt looks cute or like drapery. M likes it; my jury’s still out.

pants II

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

I made a second pair of pants with the pattern in Sew U. Green again; the softest corduroy this time.

Please forgive the prominence of my behind in this picture; I’m exceptionally proud of the buttonholes on the faux pocket flaps. And the poor lighting is due to my demanding to have a picture taken right now. (You were right, dear, there was too much glare.)

My sewing machine is a vintage Singer cabinet model from the ’40s. It’s a workhorse, and a gorgeous thing, but it only sews straight: forward and back. When I bought it (for $25) the drawers were full of extra parts, including a monstrous-looking buttonhole attachment in its box with its original manual, copyright 1946.

The thing works! It shoves the fabric side-to-side and then reverses back on itself to make the buttonhole.

It’s insane. And glorious.

cutting myself off

Monday, September 10th, 2007

This is it. This is the week when the horrible reality of moving hits home. All I want to do is write show ‘n tell posts about stuff I’m unearthing as I pack, or maybe make a little You Tube movie about how the cats are coping with the stress. Anything really. Anything to avoid packing, and packing, and packing…

But I’m a big girl and when push comes to shove I can set myself a boundary. No more blog reading. No posting this week. Got to get me to the new place and then we can have fun with the stuff when it comes OUT of the boxes.

See you on the other side!