About Me

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Los Olivos, California, United States
You can reach me at fool4fabric (at) gmail (dot) com

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Utility Sewing

Utility sewing? What's that? It doesn't sound like fun, not like a Moto Jacket, or a Mirrored Fantasy Jacket; well, it's not so much fun, but very necessary when building a closet of clothing that will function often as a travel wardrobe. I like to have lightweight rayon shells to wear under jackets or shirts, not only when I travel, but at home as well...
Some of my shells are old enough to vote (!!!) and needed to be retired. So yesterday and today, I worked on the shell from Cutting Line Designs Pure and Simple, making slight changes to come up with an easy-to-make TNT shell pattern.
I have made FIVE...once I adapted the pattern as I wanted, I was able to cut out and sew a shell in 40 minutes!

From left: a black and white striped slinky, a puckered black rayon, a black and white check crinkle rayon, a white crinkle rayon and a black crinkle rayon.

I make them very simply, serge all the edges, turn under and stitch (except for the slinky, which I put a neckband on). This makes them very light weight, easy to pack and quick to wash and hang dry.

With these basics hanging in my closet, now I can go back to the studio and sew something fun!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I finished my Moto jacket last night, after a 4 day sewing marathon...sometimes it helps to be compulsive!

After my disappointment last week with the original HP Moto pattern, I used my new TNT jacket pattern, Kwik Sew 2896, to make my own take on the jacket. I cut the short version, eliminated the in-seam pockets and added zippers on the sleeves,
                                                                            zippered welt pockets,  and down the front of the jacket.

I did not make the tabbed collar,

because I forgot to add the tab when I was cutting it out! Inserting the zippers was a challenge at first, because the ordinary way of doing a zipper hid my wonderful striped zippers...after redoing the sleeve zippers, I figured out how to do a "slot" zipper, and was able to showcase the zippers on the welt pockets

I lined it with a glorious polka dot poly charmeuse

which was hell to sew...by the time I sewed it, it had more whiskers than my Maine Coon Cat, MicMac,
and sheds strange puffy silvery polys all over everything. Oh, well, the look is everything... 

Now, where's my motorcycle?


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Margy vs Moto

I fell in love with this jacket from Hot Patterns...
I loved the styling, especially the use of zippers: one down the center, two on the sleeves and two closing the welt pockets on the front. I had found THIS zipper

and was dying to to find a project where I could use it. I had the long zipper, from Ghees, and then I found the short zippers, available from Studio Kat. I have never used Hot Patterns before, although I have often been charmed by their illustrations.
So, I ordered the pattern and received it, last week. This goes along with my desire to find some new, more fitted jackets. I read over the instructions, which were complicated, to say the least; they highly recommended making a muslin.
Although I'm not fond of the extra work, the number of pattern pieces and the unusual order of the construction convinced me I should do a trial run. I did, using a "what was I thinking of" cotton fabric
languishing in my stash. I made a bare-bones jacket, no lining,interfacing, pockets, etc. cutting a straight size 12, as I had no idea of the sizing of this line of patterns. 

I would like to think that 60+ years of sewing experience and a more than adequate brain would enable me to take on almost any project, but I'm here to tell you that I SUFFERED with this jacket! There are almost no marks on the pattern pieces, there is no differentiation in the pictures between the lining and the fashion fabric, and I was in DEEP TROUBLE! Suffice it to say I put the sleeves in 3 times, basting, etc. and finally realized I was putting them in BACKWARDS.
This is definitely a project that exhausted the upper case key on my keyboard.
Luckily, my friend Shams was there for me, as I cursed and whined about the obstacles I was encountering.

Today, I finished enough of it to try it on; besides being 3 sizes too big (which could be taken care of easily enough), I found I could not raise my arms more than 6 inches without causing dire consequences ...the armholes were too low. 

I tried on the black and white Kwik Sew 2896 I made two weeks ago...the illustration on the pattern cover was dowdy
but the pattern is beautifully drafted and fits well. I will make MY Moto jacket from this pattern, in a black stretch denim, lined with this
polka dot charmeuse, modifying it to use my black and white zippers!

The moral is, a pretty picture is not as valuable as a TNT pattern!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Portland, Puyallup and the PNW

I thought I would have a chance to post to the blog last week, but my time was jam-packed every day; I came home yesterday.

I flew to Portland last Thursday with a brief layover in Los Angeles, just enough time to take my daughter Maggie to lunch at a fabulous restaurant in Venice, Gjelina.

Waiting in Portland was my dear friend Carolyn (AKA Willie); she and I were roommates at UCLA, so we've been friends for a LONG TIME! Willie moved to Oregon several years ago and we occasionally get together for wonderful "road trips".

We stayed at a favorite hotel and went to a great restaurant (the name of which I can't remember) with some friends, after which we saw a very good play
about Mark Rothko. Early the next morning we left for the Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, Washington.

Up front, I have to say we stayed for only 4 hours...it's billed as "the nation's largest sewing show" and it's an introvert's (that would be me) nightmare! We managed to find the booths which we wanted to see, met several kindred spirits
                                             Neufy from SG

                                           Lynn Elliott-Harding 
and attended the Marcy Tilton/Sandra Betzina fashion show and the Louise Cutting/Linda Lee fashion show. Both Lynn and I had pieces in the Marcy show,
                                  Lynn's beautiful felted wool V8430
and mine
the "mirrored" black silk V8620. No fabric buys for me...I saw some I liked, but the crowds were too much. So, a set of Kai scissors and some Derwent Color Blocks, and we were outta there! On we went to Tacoma, staying in a lovely hotel
which was filled with art glass.

Next morning we went to the Museum of Glass, which was fabulous!

The Chihuly Bridge of Glass is a spectacular beginning, then we watched artists blowing and carving glass. There were two exhibitions which I LOVED:
This one and this one. The museum is definitely worth a trip if you are anywhere near it.

On we went to Seattle for two nights at the Alexis Hotel, definitely one of my favorites. We shopped at Maggie's Shoes, where I found these new Trippens

had a glass of wine in the elegant lobby
dined well at the Metropolitan Grill
and went to the Gauguin and Polynesia show at the Seattle Art Museum.
Here is Willie in her gorgeous Itemz jacket
We had FUN!