sunshine scallops

Ring ring, Hello, yes? Would I like to stop by and come see a table full of fabric bits that are free for the taking? …Why yes, of course! I mean, a fabric stash is never too big. I can always have more, right?

Ben’s mother has been cleaning through her crafting things and set up a card table with an assortment of fabrics she wasn’t planning on keeping. This is the stack I couldn’t say no to and followed me home like a little lost puppy. I picked up some cute frog printed cottons (stay tuned, I’ve got a plan for these…), a bright multi colored interesting printed piece, a good size length of mauve cotton, others, and a summery sunshine yellow cotton. stash2I’m not exactly sure how I chose which one to use first. It had to do with what kind of designs I thought of for the different fabrics and liked the most. Otherwise, starting with a solid is a bit unusual for me. But perhaps I need to be going in that direction. Mixing prints in an outfit can be nice but isn’t very practical.

sketch

I just loved this sketch idea. It will be bright and cheery made out of that yellow; breezy and summery with the pleat; crisp and bold with in a solid…

Also, this is a design challenge- and those are fun. Making the mathematics work for the scallops is a bit like a game or a puzzle. Really it’s just a visual spatial division of sets, but it’s fun to plan and plot out so that the lines fall where you want them, but they are also divisible by whatever scallop length you’ve picked out.

pattern mathThis just makes me smile. Getting the scallops to line up at the center front and back- with a scallop straddling the center front and a meeting point at center back was a task. The shoulder seam even bisects the center of the scallop that passes over the shoulder. ~Yaaay!~ I love flat patterning!

cut n ready

I like to take photos of the pieces before they get sewn together. I like seeing how these flat shapes will come together to make volume. Here I have the bodice front, back, and sleeve in yellow. The back bodice has an extra rectangle shape coming off center back for the pleat. The pleat will end at the facing so that there will not be excess pleating at the neckline. That wouldn’t work very well at all for the scallops- too much bulk. The beige parts to the right are the facings for the top of the bodice and for the hem. Facings will make the scallops have a crisp, neat edge. I can’t imagine trying to sew a scalloped edge without a facing or lining. It would be a true and utter nightmare.

In the above picture I’ve got the SA drawn up for the side seams and the sleeve, and that’s about it, because the rest is either a fold or its a scalloped edge. The easiest way that I have found to make a scalloped edge is to forgo marking the seam allowance and just drawing the stitch line lightly on the facing fabric. Then I can just sew on top of that. Drawing on the facing keeps your lines hidden. Otherwise, if you draw on the face fabric you can end up with pencil line showing. Just don’t draw too dark and you’ll be good to go.

inside sewingscissors clip

Sewing a scalloped edge requires lots of little snipping. It’s tedious but I graded the seams and cut little v shapes out of the seam allowance so that when it is turned to the right side, there will be less bulk. The outer edge will have to turn to fit inside the inner edge. If I had not cut those little v shapes the edge would be lumpy where the excess fabric would have to fold into itself.

The finished product is so niiiiice though! It makes it all worth it.closeup necklinepickstitch hem:scallopThat facing fabric sure does the trick!

inside liningIt’s rather unusual to put the sleeve seam allowances inside of the bodice facing, but I do it sometimes if I have something that is sheer or going to ravel badly or something. I rarely do this because having the seam allowance go towards the sleeve helps to fill the sleeve cap and can make your sleeve look nicer. I knew I wanted to do this so I ever so barely shortened the height of the cap on the pattern. Another reason people don’t usually do this with sleeves is because the armhole can have a lot of wear and in order to put the seam allowances inside the facing, you have to clip them which can take away some of the integrity of the seam. I just wanted everything to be tucked in.

Ok, all done! Time for more drawings.

drawingAnd pictures!!! Including goofy award poses that I like for some reason.

front view backviewsunshine sheerWhen I was getting ready, taking photos and the like for this post I had hung up this shirt on the balcony sliding door handle. I loved how the light shown through so I had to share the image. It’s ghostly and skeletal where you can see exactly where the thicknesses vary from the seaming and facings and how the neckline is lower in the front. I guess my sunshine yellow scallop top is just enjoying the sunshine!

Linen Pants

These pants for this post are from some original sketch for my amorphous label idea:georgianco.pngMy sketchbook gets filled with lines of drawings for garment ideas. Often I wind up wanting to make something out of the assortment- which is a good thing! I wouldn’t want to have a collection full of boring things that I wouldn’t want to make for myself. sketch.pngAnyway, this one was particularly interesting to me with the whole belt loop tie going on. The back waist band has belt loops for the straps to guide through to tie in the back (a bit like an x-backed apron). I probably wouldn’t have designed this if I were just thinking of making something for myself because this type of garment detail falls under into the category of ready wear design solutions. Ready wear clothes have elastic or knit panels everywhere for this reason. Gotta find a way to make your general sizes fit more people better or to be in some way adjustable or you’ll either have too many sizes or have unhappy customers or both.

Because I hardly ever draft pants patterns I went ahead and made a muslin mock up. I actually have some despite never making mock ups because my cousin had bought an enormous amount of muslin for one of his art hop events and ended up giving it to me because he didn’t think he’d use it again. You can see how long the crotch is coming off the back pattern piece- these will be some wide legged culottes. muslinAnd this is why we do mock ups! I adjusted the side seam at the hip to make a better curve and moved the darts over about a half inch towards the side seam. I also adjusted the shape of the pocket opening. muslintryOnce again, I like to save paper and if a pattern shape is a basic rectangle or if I can just write (extend x inches)… I probably will and it will end up looking like the picture below, full of pinned in cutting lines. Looks like the waist band made the cut though this time.lenincutI miss having a hard wood floor. It’s like having a built in grid full of nice parallel lines….cuthereleftWhile making the pants, you can see I had some fun playing with the waist band. I like the little froufrou ruffly paper bag top! belt.jpgand you can see how yucky that old iron cover is. :0 I have a new one now, but it got to the point where if you weren’t careful enough you’d end up pressing the ironing board grid into your fabric. You can see it peaking through if you look closely. It looks a bit like those metal patio chairs.

Hampton Bay Nantucket Rocking Metal Outdoor Patio Chair Dining ...

Getting that pressed into your fabric is like sitting in one of these too long and you get it printed into your skin except it’ll never come out of some fabrics, so watch out!

frontMmmm crispy linen pleats.back.jpgAnd the belt loop-x-tie thing.

When it’s all done it’s time for pictures! standing.jpgAnd when it’s a year or whatever later and you haven’t posted this online yet for some reason you take more pictures!! We took these on a daily walk around the lake. I’ve got my little sketchers on for the occasion. I would have taken the shots around the lake for a fun retrospective with the other lake pictures but there were about 11 people fishing at the lake. Social distancing = everyone go fishing at the drainage pond behind the Costco, go figure. newSide story, the green floral top was once upon a time a sari shirt. One of my dad’s customers gave him some old sari bits for my mom’s crafting. I just love this silk print. I know it’s flowers but it reminds me of peacocks if I look at it really fast.topI redid this one- it was way too big and the pretty silk part goes in the back because the way a sari is draped, the front doesn’t show and the back is the part that does. Basically I tried to keep some of the original aspects to make it both easier and nicer- I wasn’t going to be re-binding the neckline for example. I turned the back into the front, let out the darts, and re-cut the side seams, armsyces, and sleeves. I used the extra bits to cover some buttons for the back. It originally had a line of hooks and eyes.shirtWalking around the lake in these pants was so comfortable. They’re roomy and cool (they’re made of linen) and it is so nice to dress up a little for my daily walks because I’m not going anywhere else right now anyway. Plus, I have a requirement that I must have pockets when I go walking so I can take my phone to let it calculate my steps. I’ve gotten into using that as reminder to be active during quarantine. More walks, more pants.

 

 

more florals, more skirts

This will be another fun look back.  My roommate and I were out and about idly shopping. We decided to go to Hobby Lobby, not because we wanted anything, but because I hadn’t been to the Sherwood location before, which Shay said, is the big fancy one with a skylight. It was probably the nicest Hobby Lobby I’ve been to- and yes, it did have a pretty skylight that let in a decent amount of soft natural light. At any rate, We talked about how I hadn’t made any clothes in a while, and she convinced me to actually purchase the fabric I was looking at. My method is usually, look at something, say ‘ooo how cute’, take a picture of it, go home, and think about drawing something up. This is how my camera roll is full of bolts of fabric shots. But that day~ I made some quick estimations about how much to get and ran off with it.

I probably drew some sketches on some scraps of paper or, better yet on the back of a walk sheet since I worked at Kohl’s when I made this. Walk sheets are the daily delegated schedules in a nutshell. Sorry I don’t have any drawings anymore… that is if I even made any :0

cutouts

This pattern is so simple I didn’t even bother making pattern pieces for anything except the pocket. Everything else is just rectangles. Measured and planned rectangles, yes, but I won’t waste the paper drawing a rectangle that I could just measure on the fabric. The pocket is a patch pocket on top of the skirt. It is made in two parts with an arrow shape at the top going into a gathered pouch.

My favorite measurement of wondering if I bought the right amount is taking a snap of the scraps of fabric left over from cutting out the pattern pieces. This is all that’s left. Yay- I do hate having awkward leftovers.leavingsBelow I am stitching the pocket together. I bought this 1/8 inch teal grosgrain ribbon to emphasize the seam. Construction details get lost in florals because the print disguises the seaming. The blue ribbon will highlight this construction detail like an outline if I get it right. I place the ribbon along the seam line where I will be adding the bottom part of the pocket. This was meticulous measurement because it’s only 1/8 of an inch to start with and I’m trying to sew just enough of it into the seam to stay but keep as much as possible visible on the face of the seam. I use half inch seams, so the ribbon is placed just under 1/2 from the edge.

makingpocketHere are the pockets all sewn up together! They’ve got their little flash of blue ribbon. I lined them in muslin to hide the inner workings. The floral print is decently substantial- it doesn’t show through.

pocketsThis was too cute on the pockets so I added a touch of ribbon to the waist band of the skirt also. The top of the waist band has a little paper bag ruffle to it. bandI borrowed my mom’s thread stash. I didn’t have one that so closely matched that ribbon and I didn’t think to buy any at the store at the time. I found these sweet little fake wooden buttons that add to the garden party feel of the skirt.

If you notice, you might see the top button hole is fake. This button would be under a lot of stress and I didn’t want a repeat of a button flying off, so I took the lesson learned and put in a slide hook instead. slide hookFront and back close ups in my parent’s secret side garden. The pockets just melt into the background of the print, but I can see that ribbon peeking out!

frontback

So I said this was a look back project. It is! I made this one a while back, took some photos and never wrote up a post about it. So for fun, I’ve got a comparison photos! My hair has grown quite a bit. I even cut it myself during the great 2020 quarantine.compareMy mom took all the earlier photos for me, THANKS MOM!

And funny story, we were both wearing the same knitted top that day. I liked mine so much I made my mom one too.

meandmomhairbow

Close up of how much shorter my hair was then. The ever present question, should I cut it back? It is cuuuuuuute~~~

pocketpose

But you’ve gotta love skirts with pockets! I need to always remember to put pockets in my clothes, something I do a lot more in recent years but never really used to think about.

Secret Pockets

Well, this is a post that’s been a long time coming. I can’t even remember exactly when I made this skirt- but in cleaning out my photos I realized, I’ve never posted about it! I guess just adds to the whole story.

It even comes with an idyllic setting. This is the Burren College of Art in Ballyvaughan, Ireland. There really was an old castle tower on the campus, which is the grey stone building behind the more modern building. You can go inside; it’s a museum. In the back ground is the Burren, which is this fantastic exposed limestone that has these cracks from glacier movement.

burren So, once upon a time, on a study abroad trip to Ireland in 2010, my friends and I stopped into a fabric store and had to buy stuff. Nothing surprising here. We also came home with way too much woolen yarn. At this little fabric store, I ended up getting a meter a piece of some silk organzas (which I will need to do something with another time. I just couldn’t not! It was such a beautiful golden metallic organza…) and a length of some black and white plaid off the remnant table.

Then, of course I do the thing where you don’t use it because you’re saving it for something special because it is something special. It’s not like I’d ever be getting any more. It came from Ireland!  But about 5 or 6 years later, it was time. I convinced myself to take the scissors to it.

cuthererightI’m sure working as a retail manager had a lot to do with it- the design turned out pretty business-y.

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As I’m taking these photos, I noticed the honeysuckle was falling down a little.

fixp

See what I mean? Very, very business-y (in an industrious sort of way).

IMG_7381

Up close details of those pockets.

They are shaped into the front dart. I hardly ever use a front dart when I’m drafting a skirt pattern, I prefer yokes and other types of seams and ease making. In fact, this isn’t even a true dart with the way the pocket works in. They’re completely separate pieces. So I guess I still stand with hardly ever using a front dart after all. It’s a trick!

The pockets are the most exciting part of this skirt. Because they are separate pattern pieces, I had to be extra careful of exactly where the patterns were placed so that all of the plaid stripes lined up correctly for that invisible, secret pocket look- minus the gigantic buttons. Not impossible, but certainly takes some extra time and calculating. Good news is, it’s gotta be on grain if you do it this way, amiright?

 

 

 

Honeysuckle Saga

With a title like, “honeysuckle saga”, you might be wondering…

but truly, this has been a project that has stuck with me for a while and has been through many different stages throughout the years (plural).

Growing up we always had this pink variety of honeysuckle in the side yard. If you sat at the breakfast table and looked through the bay windows you could see it blooming along the top of the wooden fence. This little side garden was where the humming birds always stopped by.  Its not that I liked honeysuckle because I liked eating it, I liked the bright contrast of the coral flowers with the green of the leaves and the way that the vines traveled.  Now my parents have it growing on the arbor over the swing. It’s been there long enough that the vines have gotten thick and twisted at the bottom which is visually interesting a different way. In short honeysuckle is a familiar plant that makes me think of a warm, sunny spring day at home. vineBefore starting in on designing this project, I needed to do some studies.

drawing

I noticed the first leaves have a different shape and that the trumpet shape has five petals and they tended to grow in groups of six around the nodes.

tools

Setting up shop:

Four different sizes of leaves, folded down the middle to give shape

Three different types of the differently shaped first leaves, folded along quadrants to give shape

The flower template~ this is the folded triangle shaped template with the pointed scalloped edge at the bottom of the above picture. I used this same template for three different sizes of flowers. The biggest flowers were made using the template flat, a medium size one is made by folding up one section, and the smallest one is made by folding up two sections. For the other sizes of the flower, instead of following the pointed scallops, I just estimated making the shape into fifths for the petals. A small extension flap is added to one side of the flower template so that it can be folded to the inside as a gluing tab.

After making several blossoms, I bundled five or six together to make clusters. studioThis is what my studio looks like when its paper production time— sheets of painted paper drying and lots of those soup take out containers/cottage cheese containers I have collected that serve as wonderful organizational tools for keeping all these different leaves and bits separate and easy to use. It sure does still look like a chaotic mess.

trials

Using some jewelry wire I strung the leaves and flowers together into vines….. and this was the beginning result!

I have had this honeysuckle for a little bit now, so it’s lived in a few different places. Like real honeysuckle, over time, this paper version has grown. Here it is on my fireplace mantle where it stayed for a while. fireplace

After it’s stint on the fireplace, I kept growing my vines and prepared them for a Louisiana wildlife fiber arts exhibit at the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center. Yes, paper is a fiber- it is a non woven textile.

To get ready for the swamp show, I decided to make a new addition, my own little paper humming bird.

bird Above is the unpainted humming bird before he was finished and added in. Confession: I liked my hummingbird better before I painted it, but it needed to have color to be a part of the rest of the vine.  swamp

This is the set up at the Bluebonnet Nature Center. It’s hanging from a gnarly piece of drift wood that my mother has hanging around the house. You might notice the vine has about doubled or more in size since the last time!

Fast forward and its almost spring 2020, and my honeysuckle has come out again to brighten up my house for the season. Its a cheery addition in the arched doorway leading to the back of the apartment, and you can see it when you come in through the front door. With all of my time at home now that schools are canceled to help stop the spread of Covid-19, it’s been nice to take some time to put up something to smile about. #coronaviruscrafting

archunderentryPs, the arch is high, so no, you don’t have to duck to walk through!

As a home decor, I’m not sure how I feel about having a permanently stagnate odd little hummingbird attached to the honeysuckle. I prefer to almost pretend that I’m living in a real garden and having what should be a quick flitting bird always in the same spot kind of changes all of that.

I might also change my mind on that…. we’ll see!

 

weekday sketching

This weekday sketching started out as just a pencil sketch. I added a layer of light water color and then went to town with my assorted gel pens. I do love playing with color to play up a sense of energy and vivacity and these pens have some COLOR to them!

Perhaps about a year ago I got very into cutwork and white work embroidery. The subtle textures combined with the negative space is what makes cutwork so intriguing and delicate. It can be a sweet little detail to the edges of a collar paired with something a little more odd like the over button of the collar.

Of course, as per my general norm if I’m not paying attention to it, or if I don’t have a subject or look in mind my drawings end up as unintentional self portraits in some way shape or form. 4.headband

the empress

The Empress:

The third Major Arcana is a card of abundance, beauty, femininity and nature. She lounges on an array of pillows in a field of roses in the fore ground with a flowing river in the back ground. Her connection to nature and the physical world is present in the stability of the earth of the forest and the abundant bouquets of flowering roses. She is also connected to our emotional and spiritual aspects, reflected in the river and her crown of stars. The Empress, as the archetypal Mother, reminds us to reach for the stars to bring forth new aspects of life and or creative projects.

empress.jpg

weekday sketching

For this week’s weekly sketching I didn’t really have an idea in mind of anything besides the pose. Everything followed from that. Eventually I’ll probably make some of these garments I keep sketching for these weekly drawings. It’s hard not to want to fill your closet up with fun and exciting new things. This one in particular would be such a statement with the mix of prints. Paired with a little sweater or jacket and it would make a cute little outfit for work, too!

tstrap1.jpg

And what’s funny about the result is after looking at my drawing, I remembered this dress I’d made back in college. It was some quilting cotton fabric I’d found with a simple diagonal stripe and I pieced it together with french seaming to create the chevron.  Trust me, lining up all those stripes for a french seam was pretty difficult. French seams are done in two parts, the first line of stitching is done wrong sides together and then the garment is flipped inside out for the second line of stitching. This just makes the seam enclosed so the raw edges don’t show. The process isn’t that bad when you get the hang of it, it just takes a little more precision and math to work it all out with the stripes!

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tarot works

Since sometime in 2016 I have been working on drawing up a tarot deck. These decks are 78 cards- each with a different image and meaning- so it’s been taking forever! Not to mention, I know I often forget about it and go long periods of time with out working on them. So, in the same line of thought as my Weekday Sketching series, I’ll be updating this post with a new card each week.

Because this is the first post- here’s a little about how a tarot deck works.

There are 4 Minor Arcana suits: cups, pentacles, swords, and wands. The suits have generalized meanings which the 10 numerical cards and 4 face cards all draw from. Cups have the element of water and deal with our emotions and spirituality, loves and passions. Pentacles have the element of earth and speak of stability of family and finances, and the material aspects of our lives. Swords have the element of air and revolves around the mental and intellectual aspects of our lives particularly in situations of change and decision. Wands have the element of fire and express energy, motivation, inspiration and creativity.

In addition to the Minor Arcana cards, tarot decks also have 22 Major Arcana cards. These cards are archetypal in nature and relate to the human journey through life.

Tarot is commonly thought of as divination and fortune telling, but in practice it is an intuitive and introspective lens to view and see our personal lives, hopes and dreams and the world around us more so than anything else.

While there is no set imagery for a card or deck, the Rider-Waite deck originally published in the early 1900s is one of the most popular decks to use. The set I’ve been working on for the last little bit often draws on the Rider-Waite version with my own interpretative twist. One such twist is it’s all in black and white- designed to be a coloring book. What better way to meditate and concentrate on each card to better understand the story and meaning behind it than by spending some time coloring it and making it your own? It’s very similar to how I’ve greatly deepened my understanding of all the cards in making this deck by taking time to research the story and imagery of the card and then deciding upon how I wanted to interpret it in drawing.

This week I’ll include the first few Major Arcana cards as I’m starting this series where I left off all those weeks ago.

Aptly first is the Fool, a card of new beginnings, innocence, imagination and potential. The Fool is a traveler. The rising sun is the start of a new day, a beginning of her journey. She carries a bag for her travels, but it remains closed and untapped. A cat plays at her heels to push her curiosity but also keep her aware and focused to not completely fall off the sheer edge of the cliff as she pushes the boundaries of her courage and motivation. 0.fool

The Magician is a card of creativity, power and resourcefulness. He has all the tools on the table in front of him, represented as the suits of the Minor Arcana: cups, pentacles, swords and wands. The Magician represents the connection between the real world and the spiritual. He underlines our ability to harness our own creative power and possesses a sense of concentration to fulfill any difficult or complex task at hand.  1.magician

The High Priestess is an introspective card. She represents our intuitions and subconscious knowledge.  The library behind her is curtained off and she wears a veil, pointing to aspects of hidden knowledge and mystery.  She is associated with the moon and the pomegranate, a symbol relating to the tale of Persephone, who lives in the world of the living for half the year, and the underworld for the second half as the world turns to winter. The High Priestess calls us to slow down and listen to our inner voices.2.preiestess.jpg

Next up is the Empress!