Thursday, October 29, 2015

It is Quilt Festival Time and I know an Artist!

It is once again time for the Houston International Quilt Festival. I have gone for the past several years, though I do not quilt, I go to be awed by the wonderful creations. This year I am happy to say I know an artist with two modern quilts on exhibition! I apologize for the quality of the photos, they were taken on my phone. The subjects are so wonderful, I hope you will be able to appreciate them nonetheless. 

Let's start with the quilts I came to see. Hillary of Entropy Always Wins has made this bit of wonderfulness with her Life in the ER Quilt

and this 5/325 Quilt.

The links above will take you to her posts about these profound and meaningful quilts. I cannot do her meaning justice. I was hoping to meet Hillary in person at the festival this year. Life interrupted and she was unable to attend. In absence of her, I promised to "meet her quilts" instead. Her I am with one of them and my little quilt show buddy.

While were we posing for this photo, I overhead other attendees discussing Hillary's quilt. I was so pleased to hear good words on her work I did the unthinkable, I introduced myself.  I said "I know the artist and she is great." The response was, "I know Hillary too!" Turns out, I was chatting with Stephanie of Spontaneous Threads, and Kathryn of Upitis Quilts. These are people I am familiar with through Instagram posts involving Hillary. Recognizing the serendipity of the moment, we immediately decided to take a photo to commemorate our meeting.

Here we are in front of Stephanie's (next to me) quilt. The quilt is made with a photo reflective fabric that illuminates when exposed to the light of the flash. It is pretty amazing to look at the quilt in real life then see the lit areas exposed. 

After those thrills, Little Miss and I  took advantage of the light crowds of the preview night to see more quilts. We did not get through all of them, but we had a good time. Did you know a quilt show is an awesome place to play "I Spy"? Little Miss was the only child I saw and she got really excited about the shapes, colors and textures of the quilts.

 Here she is amazed at all of the piecework that went into that and this one:

I love that she wanted to come to her conclusions about the quilt, then she would read the artists' thoughts. The quilt she is reading about is made with many circles of fabric. It wasn't until I looked at the photo at home did I see the word "dot" in the design. 

I feel so bad that I could not capture the real beauty of these pieces.  I plan to return this weekend with my better camera to do these quilts justice. I also wished I was better at crediting the artists; my apologies to the artists. 

 The quilt above is made using fabric yo-yos!

 Look at the scale of that quilted mural!

 This quilt makes me rethink my stack of old denim! 

If you get a chance to go to one of these shows consider going. Years ago, I assumed it was just for quilters and would not appeal to me as an apparel sewist. This however, is an art gallery of fabric and inspiration. This year I have even signed up to take a couple of classes. I am skeptical of my ability, but we will see...

Happy Sewing,

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Sorry for the Radio Silence: Back with Mccalls 7262

As I am writing this, I just got an email for a friend checking in on me because I had not posted recently. She wanted to make sure I was okay and I am. Thanks for checking on me :)  

I have been absent for a few reasons:

  • I advanced to the final round of the the PR Sewing Bee, but after advancing, I was disqualified because I added a photo to my review after sewing time was up. My review was posted and complete for days, but adding the photo was apparently against the rules. I was ticked about it and needed time to process my rage. "I am a rageaholic. I just can't live without rageahol!" Homer Simpson. I wanted to wait to post until I could tell you with a quiet voice (God is still working on me). On the bright side, I was not eliminated because of my sewing skills and I got to have my life back!
  • I have been working on a secret project that I cannot yet share.
  • I lost my camera remote and only today realized I could use the self-timer to take pics until I find it :)
  • I joined Instagram and have been getting much creative inspiration and love over there :) You can follow using the icon in the top right.

  • My "Little Miss" had a birthday and we were celebrating our precious little darling.

  • I have been invited to participate in a local Farmer's Market to sell my repurposed coffee bean bags and other items made from reclaimed items. I have been working feverishly on building my inventory for that event. 
Yesterday, I checked the weather and it looks like the market may be rained out. This possibility gave me an excuse for a break to post my latest make. I fell in love with Mccalls 7262 the minute I saw it! 

I love all of the views, but I decided to make view A with the attached contrast sleeves.

I used a marled stripe sweater knit that I bought from Hancock Fabrics. It is super soft and cozy. For the contrast sleeves, I used a black jersey  knit from my stash. I guess, I should not have worn a black shirt under it. The long black sleeves are attached under the smaller capped sleeve. 

I like the feel of it, but boy oh boy was it a beast to match the stripes! The fabric moved ridiculously and needed to be pinned aggressively. I am happy to report, I matched them like a BOSS!

Front Facing

Sleeve  with contrast matched.
I love that I can wear it with a lightweight tank and get Fall weather coverage without added bulk. The pattern calls for buttons and buttonhole closures. I opted to omit them and secured the front with a brooch under the cowl. 

I like this cardigan, but I do not think I love it closed. I feel the angle and opening caused by the drape, adds unnecessary fullness at the hips. With a contrast dress under, I am still on the fence if that angle adds to the appeal or not.

I really like this and cannot wait for it to get colder here in Texas. Our cold weather window is very narrow. I am glad to have made a few items to kick off the season, whenever that happens.

Happy Sewing,

P.S. Will you be attending the International Quilt Festival? I do not quilt, but appreciate the craft. I have been attending the festival for years and plan to go again this year. I even plan to take a few classes if they will have me. Please email me to let me know you will there. Maybe we can wander and admire the art together.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Adding to My Pattern Stash and I Get To Blame My Husband!

I have a pretty extensive pattern stash and love to find new additions to it when I get a chance. I admit to feeling guilt and anxiety when I contemplate adding to it. Do I really need another dress or skirt pattern? OF COURSE NOT!  Knowing this, I try to temper my purchases.  This past weekend, my husband suggested a day of resale shopping! We hit several stores just for the heck of it and in the last spot before heading home, I hit a mini-jackpot!

When I entered the store, I asked if they had sewing patterns and where I could find them. The sales associate did not know what a sewing pattern was. DID NOT KNOW WHAT A SEWING PATTERN WAS!!! I explained it and he went to "see". I was skeptical they had any and was about to leave when my 3-year old had to use the restroom. After leaving the restroom, the associate found me to triumphantly reveal 2 baskets of patterns! They were $.50 each! Here are my finds:

Nope, I don't need a wedding dress. If I make it to Round 4 of the Sewing Bee, who knows what we will have to make!

Maybe I want to be Serena Williams for Halloween! Who am I kidding?! I am definitely built closer to Venus.

That jacket with those sleeves are so adorable and dig those pants!  

After the blouse challenge, I am open to making more.

I am in love with that tunic! I plan to make a hand-sewn version using my flower stencil.

I enjoy a turtleneck top.

Again, great pants and jackets!

Okay, I cannot explain this one!

I really like this simple halter dress. I love that it is a single piece front and not a separate bodice and skirt.

Again, wonderful pants and look at the contrast jacket in view C. I love the turned up cuffs!

Again. I cannot explain, but I think I like the blouse.

I really like the simple neckline that can be worn a few ways.

I have my doubts, but...

I am not a big fan of midriff tops as a rule. With a high waist maxi skirt, view B will be great.

Love those pants. wide legs, no cuff.

Cannot explain, I think I like the blue one...

Always need a simple knit dress with an obi belt.

Okay, so I can only defend some of these :) Others are pretty awesome right? Let me know what you think. Which do you think are keepers and which makes you say jeepers? 

Happy Sewing,

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Leather Contrast Jacket Using Simplicity 1070 PR Sewing Bee Round 3

So here we are at Round 3 of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee, the lined jacket challenge. Grrrrr! When I think of jackets, I recall my days of meeting with lawyers, VP's, and members of law enforcement in my job as a University Dean of Discipline. I have hung up my Kasper suits and not looked back. This challenge unfortunately,  immediately got me thinking of clothes I rarely wear.

Given the time crunch, I hit the ground running and got off to a rough start. I made the beginnings of two jackets, one I will complete. I decided to switch my plan up in favor of Simplicity 1070.

The body of the jacket is made with a brown double knit. The contrast is leather repurposed from a skit in my stash. I bought it for $.25 at a resale store. The lining is a leopard print polyester knit, also from my stash.
I cut the body of the jacket out and began construction.

I thought I had two D-rings in my stash, so I did not buy them when I bought the pattern. On step 2, I could not find them and had to improvise. I found a leather tab and buckle closure that I removed from a damaged purse in my leathercraft stash. I thought it would make a wonderful design element while maintaining functionality. I trimmed it to fit and was delighted to see it work. In addition to following the pattern instructions, I stabilized under the buckle on the knit side with heavyweight interfacing to support the weight of the closure.

The construction required the use of two sewing machines; one for leather and the other for the knit. I switched between the two as necessary to save the hassle of changing needles and adjusting the machine settings. Additionally, I like the look of the longer stitch length that is achieved on my leather machine. It mimics the stitches of the pieced leather from the skirt. 

For the lining, I found a leopard print knit tucked away on one of my sewing shelves. I did not buy this fabric on purpose. I likely, bought it in a bundle at an estate sale or resale store. I did not remember I had it and it was a happy surprise to find it. It is similar to that of the pattern envelope. I wanted a fun lining to add some pop to the inside and add contrast to the cuffs when rolled up. You can read about the lining process in the complete Pattern Review here.

I really like the versatility of looks that can be achieved with this one. My version is a subtle contrast, but imagine the drama of a stark contrast. I am not likely to do this, but  consider the possibility of wearing it lining side out.

So we are at the round I was eliminated in last year. I can really say I do not know what the judges want. There is no feedback on why someone is eliminated or advances. We are not privy to the judging rubric. If you make it to the next round you don't know it you were number 2 from winning the round or one shy of being cut. This round says "lined jacket" no closure needed. It is a strange balance between having creative freedom and uncertainty. Say a prayer for my nerves as I wait.

Happy Sewing,