From the Cuff Up

Folks, it's just not my year, I'm now sick with the flu. Really just hitting all the popular illnesses one after the other. However, I did get some things done before I got sick, and now that my fever's down below 100 degrees, I feel up to looking at a computer screen long enough to post them.
The coat itself has been cut into shape--it's a cut-away shape similar to the other coat. It's a shape I like and something sort of consistent throughout the garments. The sleeves are slit, so they can hang, and I've already cut the cuffs off, the sleeves will be gathered into them.
Something like the bottom left illustration, but with a tight cuff, and the rest of the sleeve gathered into it. I swore I had seen something like that in a historical piece, but since I can't find an example, I might be making things up. Which is fine, I'm not in the historical reconstruction business.
I decided to start the braid application on the cuffs--they're small and fairly manageable. There's a combination of 5-strand and 3 strand braid and a twisted strand of leather (for the spirals) The nice thing about using leather is that I get the smooth leather side and the suede side to work with.
The twist is a little difficult to work with (I have to sort of twist and hold it, then couch it down as I go) so my spirals are a little lopsided, but I think it's getting easier. I'm not looking forward to making the long braids to go around the edge, it all gets very tangled.

In slightly less important news, I just got these great new shoes (made in Pennslyvania!) but they have a true leather bottom, and I will both slip and fall and wear them out really quickly.
So I cemented on a layer of tough suede to the front, which will hopefully add grip and help protect the sole a little bit (I always wear out the front of my soles faster than anything else)

Leatha Strips, Leatha Braid

I ended up working a little overtime this week, so I did not get as far into my new jacket project as I wanted. But I have gotten the ball rolling at least!
Starting with turning some chunks of soft leather from a very ugly leather jacket into thin (1/8") strips. I cut them on the fold, and didn't cut all the way through, then sort of pulled and snipped the fold so I could get longer strips out of the small pieces. (if you've ever done rag rug braiding, it's the same sort of technique, I'm not explaining it very well I'm afraid.)
Bundle of strips being produced, and test out the braiding. You can sort of see the "corners" on the strips in the bunches.
And application and construction is just beginning on the actual coat, starting with the button loops on the sleeve cuff. I'll be sure to take some more all over pictures of the jacket's alterations for the next post.
And on the nights I got home too late to want to drag all that out, I did finish three more Dear Jane blocks, A-3 through A-6. They're just so quick and addictive. Here's all six done so far.

Growth Rings

The t-shirt quilt is growing, around and around. I did pick up more shirts on Monday, both black and gray, and I decided to split the remaining triangles into light and dark to do two sawtooth borders.
All the lighter triangles got sewn to the gray shirt fabric and made into many little squares. They finish at a little under 1" and I think I made about 250 of them.
So since last time, I added a 1.5" gray border, the sawtooth border, a 1.5" black border, a 2.5" gray border, and another 1.5" black border. Next is the black and dark colored sawtooth, then maybe just solid black around the outside. I still need about 8-9" around each edge to make it big enough to cover one of my comforters.
And I also finished my third Dear Jane block, here's A-3. A little wobbly, I did it in pieces rather than applique, because that's what it looks like in the picture.

Piano Keys

Work on the T-shirt quilt has commenced! I swore that somewhere in the apartment, I had a bag of bigger chunks of t-shirts from when I originally was cutting the pieces, but it seems like I may have thrown it out in a fit of organization. So I was left with a bag full of tiny little chunks like these:
And the rest of the the triangles that I had already cut:
Which I just separated into lights and darks for now.
Out of the rest of the scraps, I cut 2" by 1" bricks. I would have loved to make them bigger, but the pieces were really small, and that was all I could eke out. I also cut some black bricks to alternate with.
So with my bricks and some black strips, this is where I'm at now. I think I'm going to have to make a thrift store trip for some more black t-shirts. I'm definitely thinking of doing a sawtooth border with the left over triangles, and I'm playing with the idea of using a gray t-shirt too, for some contrast. Maybe a sawtooth border with lights and the gray, then one with black and the darks?

I've also been looking at countless pictures of Turkish and middle eastern jackets and vests to get inspiration for my jacket piece. My next post, I'll put up some of the images I'm looking at. I think I've decided to go with leather as my braiding materials, I have quite a bit of really thin leather from thrift store pants and jackets, and it braids up really nicely (bonus--I don't have to sew it into a tube because it doesn't fray!)
It also gives me an option for thicker and thinner braids, and I do have both some gray and black leather. I can also use the leather or suede side of the braid for extra variety! I'm not looking foward to cutting many many strips of leather at about 1/16th of an inch though...

Dear Jane and an Project Revisited

I always have some misgivings about posting my quilting stuff on here--something inside me tells me it's not my 'serious work.' It's silly, I know, and I'm trying to just see it as both a more design oriented end of my work, as well as helping me gain further precision in my sewing, and giving me some blankets to put on my bed, in the end.

I've started working on a "Dear Jane" quilt. I'm not normally the type to want to make something from a pre-existing pattern, but it's a sort of brute force pinnacle of quilt-making, and I love the ridiculously small, precise scale it requires. It's like my little jigsaw puzzle.

The original Dear Jane Quilt. As it states proudly on the bottom corner, made of 5,602 pieces.
So far I've managed the first two squares.

A1-Pinwheel gone awry. I'm ignoring the idea of a background fabric and just making every square a different combo of colors. It'll be obnoxious I'm sure.

Yesterday I started A2, here's the 'drawing on freezer paper stage'

The 'iron onto fabric then trace around and add seam allowance stage'

And after four hours of meticulous piecing, I've got this.

I'm also restarting up work on my old t-shirt quilt. It's not what you would consider, um, a traditional 't-shirt quilt.'
I've posted it before, but in case you forgot, that's the status it's still in, and sat in for two years. It's a damn shame to let it rot, so now I'm determined to finish. But I sure as heck don't want to make any more 3" blocks with jersey knit. So I'm going to improvise some borders with the scraps and triangles I have left, plus some black and white shirts Seamus recently donated to the stash. Cutting some rectangles up tonight, I'll post progress soon.

Finally a New Post, Finally a New Camera!

I haven't posted recently because I got sick for a good week there, and didn't really work on much of anything. I had some sort of allergic reaction, we think to a cheap laundry detergent I bought, and broke out in some really terrible hives all over my head, legs and hips. And as that finally healed up, I caught a nasty cold from my coworker.

On the bright side, it gave me a lot of time to start organizing my enormous image archive of well, everything-I have about 2,500 images saved on my laptop, and they were just sort of jumbled into general categories, so I'm (still!) working on getting them on a thumb drive in some sort of orderly fashion.

And I got a new camera! I was fed up with my little Powershot--it kept telling me the batteries were dead, after only taking a few shots. And it was horrible in anything less than very bright conditions. So with a little birthday money donated by my parents and boyfriend, I bought a gently used Canon 20D this very night! Very exciting.Despite my relative inactivity, I did manage to finish both of the silk braid strips. Now I just need to figure out what to do with the rest of the coat. Part of me just wants to make it a very simple sashiko-style quilted jacket, the other half wants some sort of braided trim application.

The colors are so much more true-to-life with this new camera! And I don't have to play around with the color balance much at all--hurray!
I took some test pictures with my horns, thought I would post them, since I only photographed it on the head. Still thinking I need to redo the coif again...ugh.
I also reorganized my materials in the living room, and now I'm working on making some basic shirt/pant patterns for myself (you know, in case I ever get around to making myself anything)