Just a Few Little Things

I totally forgot in my last post that I've also been working on my Dear Jane blocks. They're great when I don't feel like working on anything else.
The last three blocks of Row A. Those tiny flying geese on A-12!

Row A is finished! Just, uh, many more to go!
And the first four of Row B. My applique is a little wobbly but I'm getting back into it.

Calm after the Storm

As you've probably noticed after a big project, I usually slow down and work on a few little ones before jumping into another big one. I do have some big things percolating, but for now it's some little holiday projects.
My boyfriend Seamus is quite a tall man, and he has a hard time finding shirts long enough for him, let alone shirts in fun patterns or colors. So for Christmas I'm making him two custom shirts. I based the pattern off one of his old shirts, adding some length in the body and sleeves. One is a floral print with yellow piping and accents. The other is a mix of a blue and white twill stripe and a toile print.
As the old quilt ladies say, I "fussy cut" the pocket to get some goats front and center on the pocket.
P-p-placket, and a little piping too on the floral shirt.
And I've been back to working on my cabled scarf. Yes, I messed up about 2/3 of the way up, no, I don't really care. When it comes to stuff I'm knitting for myself, my policy is to press on.

Mariah's Coat Photoset

So before I delivered the coat I did a bit of a photoshoot, so at least I have something to show for it! Though really now, thinking back on all the other bits of clothing I've kept and given away, I think I'm always happier when a piece is with someone who will wear it.

So the rest of the outfit is a bit of a pastiche of bits from Lirienne's and Leoh's, but I figured that was better than just wearing it with black pants/shirt. I am wearing the horn headpiece and coif though!
With the sleeve cuffs buttoned. I love how the quilting really gave the coat some body, it makes the pleating into the sleeve cuff look really molded. I think the weird raglan cut of the original garment also helped give it that shape.
Side view, with one sleeve buttoned, and one sleeve left hanging.
Back view, my poor stocking's falling down. Putting on Leoh's shoes again I realize I really need to get back into shoe-making. Also that they are awfully uncomfortable.
Some closeups--with both the sleeves hanging it's almost more like a cape.
All-in-all, I'm really happy with the way it turned out, and I'm happy it found a good home. And I'm happy that now I'm back to getting normal amounts of sleep and being able to work on a variety of things!

Speaking of which I finished another Dear Jane block last night, A-11:
I'm addicted to the little things! Unfortunately, connectingthreads.com has stopped selling sets of solid color fat quarters, anyone know where else to get them for cheap or do I really have to buy a yard of a whole bunch of different colors individually?

Hello and Goodbye to Mariah's Coat

Oh boy oh boy lots has happened since I last updated, and I was so busy throughout that I didn't update at all, so I'm sorry.

So the coat was lined, and quilted with a lovely silver metallic thread. It was very difficult to work with, particularly because it was old, and prone to tangling and snapping. I think it is a really metal coiled thread, the spool was very heavy.
It was worth it though, I love the effect it gave. On the outside, it's actually really subtle. It blends into the gray wool and is noticeable mostly as a texture.
Against the black of the inside, it is much more pronounce and you really see the shine of it.

And then the sleeve cuffs got attached, which was tricky business. The pleating was just so thick, and I had to stagger the double braid that goes down the center or it just was not going to lay right. Then a five-strand braid went over that mess of a seam and I just capped the braid ends with two little reinforcement patches.
Lining of the sleeve cuff. You can see how thick that seam was.
Then the embroidery started. I actually ended up using the silk-wool yarn instead of the cotton thread. The cotton thread was giving me too many issues with getting an even coverage and it was snarling up a lot. The sheen of the silk also just looked better in the satin stitch. It's worked over that purple cotton braid you see to give it some body. The little white thread are there to indicated eight even sections, so I know where to change over colors.
The embroidered inside. If I had had more time and more silk yarn (I was cutting it close, should have dyed more!) I would have loved to repeat all of the leather braid from the outside to the inside, but I didn't have either, so I focused on the front closure and back designs. I used the echo quilting as a guide, so that these spirals reflect the leather ones on the outside.
Best image color-wise, the yarn tends to pick up the light a little, it's hard to photograph. Also notice I didn't use the full color range I dyed--the more purpley colors didn't look as nice against the background of the lining.

So the coat was finished at about 3AM the night before the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show! But it was finished and delivered, and I got to go to the opening, which was fantastic and had so much tasty food.

But the most surprising part is, on the last day of the show it actually sold! I was not expecting that--since my work takes so so long with all the handwork it ends up being really expensive, and I know it's not exactly 'wearable' for most people so I really never sell anything. I'm a little sad, particularly since I never got to make the rest of the outfit that went with it, but on the other hand, it just leaves an opening to make another great coat, so I'm okay with it.

I'll post up pictures of the finished jacket in the next post, this one is super long already.


My thread gradient is done! 12 colors, and a whole lot of work un-tangling and making bobbins out of then. When I was making my skeins, it didn't seem like much thread, but as I tried to rewind it into bobbins, the amount seemed a little overwhelming. There's also a little more color variation than I would have liked, but oh well. It's all cotton, and just about the same thickness as ordinary sewing thread.
While I had the pots set up, I also dyed a gradient with this silk/wool blend yarn. It's pretty fine, a little thinner than fingering weight? I might use it for some really fine fair isle work.
And the coat itself is rolling along. The back is almost done, just have to do a small spiral at the top and bottom, then it's back to tackling the front/side area. Then it's on to lining and quilting.

Spiraling Away

So I actually did so really exciting dye work tonight, but I didn't bring my camera with me to school, so unfortunately you're going to have to wait to get a peek at that. But here's a quick update on my coat's progress.

The horns are on the back are getting laid out. The one on the left is sewn down, the one on the right, you can see the basting thread. I baste them on with white thread before I sew them down.
The split in the back--again on is sewn down, one basted. When sewing it down, I come up between the strands of the braid, then back down through them, and snug up the thread so it basically disappears into the braid.
And the front now has an edge, though there's more work to be done there.

So basically, still to do on this project:
-Finish putting the braid on.
-Cut a lining.
-Echo quilt around the braid.
-Use the echo quilting as a guide on the lining to embroider the lining with the same pattern as the braid on the outside (this is where my recent dye work comes into play)

Preparing for Winter

I know it seems awfully early, but we're starting to get boots in at work, and I feel like starting to prepare for winter already. I've been hanging onto the remains of my beloved bomber jacket for a while now, with the express purpose of making a hat out of them, an I decided it was time. It was also time to finally cut into the sheepskin I've been dragging around for more than a year.

I wanted something in the style of an aviator or hunting cap, with a central gusset and two sides that extend down to cover my ears. The sides I wanted to give a quilted horn design.

Drawing out the sides, and marking 1/8 dashes on all the lines as a guide for stitching.
Poking through the paper pattern to give myself a guide to quilt by. Also to make things a little easier--poking through leather is never fun, and I had to do it quite a bit later on.
My studio becomes a hot mess as I begin to cut the sheepskin lining. I moved my table against the wall awhile back, it's working a little better this way.
And then, like an idiot, after being so nervous to cut into this sheepskin, I screwed up. I didn't reverse the pattern, so I ended up with two sides that were exactly the same. Thankfully, I managed to patch it and recut it properly. Such a dumb mistake though.
The sides and top quilted up.
Basting things together with duct tape, sure, why not. Don't want to pin leather.
Tacking the seams down, it made the seams lay nicer on the outside, even though no one will see it once it's lined.
And, I forgot to take the pictures of the inbetween steps, but rest assured that sewing the lining and the outside together was rather hard on my hands. Turning it inside out was also difficult, I was afraid I was going to rip it, it was so thick. But here it is! And boy is it warm.
And the back. The straps on the sides were originally the little straps on the sides of the bomber jacket. I was so sad when that jacket ripped, but I'd had it since sophomore year of highschool, so it served me well.
And now I look like something from Adventure Time. But it is incredibly warm and cozy.

In other news:
The cleared-off mesh is growing, I need to start doing some experiments on it to see what kind of lace pattern I want to use on it. It also needs to be washed, it makes me itchy when I work with it.
And I just picked this floral fabric up to make Seamus a shirt with.

Strawberry Pants

So I made up a pant muslin out the the pattern I posted last time. And, to my amazement, all was well. I even managed to get the fly together with only a little bit of difficulty. As much as I feel guilty sewing for myself, I feel a little validated--in the last month I've picked up how to do sleeve plackets and zip flies. I really want to work on bound buttonholes next.
But I can't wear pants made out of muslin, so I made up a pair out of this awesome cotton twill gifted to me long ago by my teacher Chrissy Day. Stripes and strawberries. Of course!
The fly was a little more unwieldy in this fabric than the muslin, but I think I did fairly well.

I did purposely line up the stripes on the butt gusset (is there a name for that piece of fabric?) I didn't on the waist band though, sort of wish I had.
The insides are pretty darn good for me (for machine sewing--I'm super controlled with my hand sewing but I lose it at regular machine sewing sometimes.)
And here they are on me! Pretty good fit--I think next time I'll dart or curve the waist band though, it gaps a little at the top...like most of the pants I buy anyway.

I've also gone back to the filet net, and am ripping, ripping, ripping away at the lace.

Purple Pants, Red Scarf

I've been working on my leather braid coat, but it doesn't look like much progress, so I haven't taken another picture of it. But in the meantime I've also started a few small projects.

I've started this scarf now, because on size 1 needles, it is going to take a very long time to finish. But I love a good cable, and this yarn is super super soft. It's a wool/cashmere blend I found still in it's original skein at a thrift store for a couple bucks. This one's just for me.
I dyed a pair of jeans to this...orchid? color. They were originally a light tan/off white, but I didn't realize when I bought them online that they had a 'stain effect' on them. It wasn't noticeable in the pictures, but it was sure noticeable on the pants, and it didn't look cool, it jsut looked stained. Dying it made them just about disappear.
I also traced out a basic jean/pant pattern from a pair that had ripped. The only tricky part was that the pants had stretched out quite a bit, so they were a little warped. I'm hoping to make a muslin soon to test out the fit.
I also found this book on Seminole Patchwork, which I've been really interested in!

Class is Out

Done with teaching Summer Institute! It was a lot of fun, but also a major challenge, and just a whole lot to do while still working full time at the shoe store. But now I've got my free time back, and my shiny new studio, so I'm getting back into it.
I think I've got my shirt-making skills down just about pat now, I'm very pleased with how this shirt came out! I found all three awful/wonderful fabrics at the thrift store, they work so well together. This picture was taken at about 80% completion, I hadn't sewn on the cuffs or done the buttons. It's done now and I've worn it several times, I need to take a good finished picture.
This was actually my first sleeve placket! It's a little lopsided, not too bad though. And just look at all that piping.
Matched up the stripes just to be cool like that. The new machine is a fantastic topstitcher! I'm still a little wobbly, but so, so much better than usual for me.

I put the log cabin blocks that have been sitting around a while together. I'm sick of making them, so I'm just going to make some borders (probably piano keys or string blocks) to make this bigger and finish it. I'll most likely use this to cover another ratty comforter and tie it.
I also recently found this big filet-net lace table cloth at the thrift store, and I'm rather painstakingly removing all the worked lace so I'm left with a giant piece ( or at least some long strips, if taking out the tight woven part in the middle is too difficult) of filet net mesh. I'm thinking it'll go towards a shift dress to go under the leather-braid coat.
I'm thinking it'll go towards a shift dress to go under the leather-braid coat. Which I've also started back to work on.
I was a little stalled out on it for a while because I was beginning to run out of leather, and wasn't sure if I should go light on the leather braid and try to finish it, or try and find more. But another awful XXL black trench coat jumped out at me from the thrift store (which turned into this pile of leather) so I'm back on the case, and now I can make it a braided as I want. I also found a few yards of nice cotton velvet in an olive color, not sure what I'm doing with that yet.
And just for fun, since I don't post much of myself here, I also got a great navy blazer at the thrift store as well! And new glasses (but not from the thrift store)