Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Clearing the Queue....

I will be moving sometime this winter, so I am focusing on finishing all the sewing projects I can before I pack up my machines for my return to Georgia. Completion of the garment in this post required I put in eight buttonholes. That dictated I select my buttons to determine what size buttonholes to make. Ultimately, I matched a fabric swatch and found two sets of buttons at the recent Bay Area Quilt, Craft & Sewing Expo in San Mateo, CA. I opted to use buttons smaller than the 7/8" suggested size. I didn't want the buttons to detract from the jacket design or interrupt the fabric visually. The fabric I chose is busy enough, I think. I also decided to make one buttonhole through both collar layers for each of the buttons.
When I chose this Issey Miyake jacket pattern (Vogue 1052) I remember wandering the aisles at Joann's looking for the right fabric. I knew I wanted something lighter than the "lightweight gabardine, poplin or denim" listed on the pattern back as Suggested Fabrics. I ultimately selected a dollar-per-yard chiffon from the sale area.  I felt like the collar made from this fabric would be softer and prettier, although I knew my choice would require I also underline the jacket front, back, and sleeves. The back of the pattern describes it as fully lined, with welt pockets, back tie belt, and a collar consisting of two matching layers atop one another with wrong sides together.

Let me now thank the ten ladies who have posted reviews of this pattern on, one of whom shared a technique for finishing the collar edges (involving a cording foot and Pearl Cotton No. 5 thread) that was much more appealing than the "turn-and-zigzag" instructions in the pattern. (Thanks ITAdmin!)  I have provided a link to her review because she documented the technique far better than I could. The worldwide sewing community's willingness to share construction techniques has improved my sewing knowledge and refined my final garments immensely! Thank you all for sharing your knowledge and blogging about it! .

Buttons are my favorite part of any garment. I have often paid more for the buttons than the garment fabric. Don't you feel that buttons often will make the garment?  I confess....I have a thing for buttons....(the button wall at Stone Mountain and Daughter sends me into rapture.) Initially, I was certain I wanted shank buttons...but, I stumbled into a four-hole button that fades completely into the background on this fabric.

You can help me choose the right button....Which one would you select? I know...they're hard to see, aren't they? The shank button (nestled just above the end of the fabric signature running at the bottom along the selvedge) is approximately 1/2" wide, and the speckled 4-hole shell button is smaller, about 3/8". The packets were about $1.75 each and contain 8-10 buttons. Such a deal!  I hope you can click on the picture to enlarge it....I would really like to hear your opinion on which button you'd select.  Especially if you are a button person, like me!  (smile)  My plan is to get the final jacket photo taken this weekend, so get your votes in early! 

Thanks for stopping by....

Talk to you soon!

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Birth Announcement

I'm marking today as the day...
I'm putting my toe in the water...
What is the worst thing that could happen?

Okay, I apologize for the long interval between today and my first post, but I assure you I've been sewing and reading quite a few blogs since then. ....and, I've learned A LOT! I've watched bloggers deal with anonymous meanies, drooled over the fantastic give-aways, and decided what kind of comments I want to encourage from anyone stopping to read my thoughts. So, there is no better time than today for me to step out of the shadows and share a little more of who I am and what I do creatively in my life.

Today's blog came about as a result of my niece's cell phone suddenly having problems sending text messages to me. (It's still happening, each carrier pointing fingers at the other.....grrrr!) I visited my carrier's local office in an attempt to resolve the problem and while there a technician demonstrated how to get the pictures from my phone to my computer. The solution required I enroll in a data plan (something I never thought I would need.) Today you get to see one of the projects whose photos were on my phone.

My sister has inspired me to do this particular project. She is a flight attendant and has always carried some sort of needlework to fill hotel and airport moments on her trips. On a recent trip, I saw her carrying this cross stitch project and I decided it was a perfect gift for a very good friend of mine who was expecting her first grandchild very soon. Well, I promptly sought a copy of the chart and ordered it from a vendor on Ebay. I used the 18 count Aida because the size of the completed project would be 6 1/2" x 7" prior to framing. Without saying a word to my sister, I began the project. The baby was not yet born, and I was determined to deliver it prior to the baby's first birthday! I finished the work before my sister finished hers, and the closer I got to the final backstitching and lettering, I showed it to her so we could discuss our projects.

It was then that I discovered the area in the middle of my cross stitch left very little room for the simple name and details I needed to squeeze in. I tried hard to chart the baby's name (first, middle and last), the date, weight and length. I wasn't willing to eliminate one of those details, but each were considered. You will see how I worked it out in the next picture. How did my sister avoid this problem? She cross stitched the baby's name and details prior to beginning the floral work! Because she cross stitched the lettering in all caps, her finished product was huge when compared to mine. She ended up having to expand and stretch out the flowers, and took my idea of adding the butterflies to hers to fill space. Because I hadn't spoken to her about how to she started, I walked right into creating my problem. You'll see how I worked it out by looking at the next picture.

As you will self-inflicted drama did not end there. I had decided I wanted to change the flowers on my project. My sister had told me there was a "girl" chart (it has the girl's name in the chart photo) and a boy's chart (with a boy's name) on the chart cover photo. She told me the boy's chart has little boys, and the girl's chart babies were little girls (the girls have pigtails). That information is not true.

I started work using the chart with the pink border, but I didn't like the yellow flower, so I changed it to the little baby bent over looking at the worm and backed her with the irises. I think I switched a couple of the babies around. I also changed the coloring of three babies using different shades of brown. This gift was for the child of an interracial couple who I knew would be a child whose coloring would be a blend of her parents. Making these changes revealed the subtle shading on their features and bodies that was not noticable in the darker shades. I used gold metallic thread for the babies wings, so there is a gossamer-like twinkle every once in a while when you look at the picture. I also added the little blue butterfly to fill in what appeared as open space when I had to drop the lettering a few rows to balance filling in the space. It was a great project, and the baby was 3 months old when I finished it and mailed it off!

My friend loved it so much she didn't pass it along to her son. She museum framed it and hung it on the wall of her spare bedroom. Should I have been surprised? Would you pass it along if it were a gift to you? I didn't make any stipulation, but feel I caused a problem by not doing so. Should I have sent her a picture and mailed it directly to the parents? And, please share what do you do when you're not sewing!

Thanks to you and everyone for taking a moment to read my blog!
I promise to come back soon if you will. too...!

The Birth Announcement?....My son is having his second child early next year! I'm sooo excited.... Being a grandmother is WONDERFUL!