Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Wednesday Showcase

Before my grandmother died, she wanted to get her will in order and asked if I would like to have her sewing machine. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting under her treadle sewing machine and pushing on the foot pad. It would go, and go, and go, and I would laugh, and laugh, and laugh. Obviously, it didn't take much to entertain me ;) It now sits in a guest bedroom. At the moment it is unusable as it needs a new belt. But I think I have found just the person to inspire me to get it running again....meet Lyric of Sew Lyrically Vintage. Lyric is on quite a journey. She's making her clothes and using primarily this antique hand crank Singer sewing machine. Amazing!!!

Now hold on to your seats as you are going to be blown away with what she creates, like this sweet vintage inspired dress.

She has made a number of Sewaholic Minoru jackets. The one below has a quilted lining and she even made a matching bag! 

Here are the others. Love the fun linings.

Lyric helped a friend learn to sew. She had planned to make the caddy as a gift to celebrate her endeavor and then realized that she could make her own and it would make a great sewing lesson. This would make a great gift...or sewing lesson for anyone who sews or is learning to sew. You can find the instructions for the caddy HERE.

Be sure to check out Lyric's blog. Just a warning, she may have you looking at the non-electrical sewing machine ancestors with a wistful eye!!! 

Next up is gMarie of gMarie Sews. Her name is a combination of her first and middle names. She said that her husband even had her name engraved on champagne flutes. I think he is smitten ;)  

If you have not met gMarie, I think you are going to love getting to know her. She has such a beautiful spirit and she is so very creative. Not only does she sew, she also loves to knit.

This is a girl after my own heart as she loves to make and wear dresses.

Since I am in the process(very long process I might add)of cleaning up my sewing studio, I just had to show you gMarie's lovely space. Talk about magazine ready!

As I scrolled through her blog, look who I found!!! Why is Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic! Sewing friends are the best and we do tend to get around :) 

If you aren't able to get out to Seattle to meet gMarie in person, then pop over to her blog and say hello!

Before I go, just a few quick things to share. I talked to a friend of mine a few days ago, a catch up call as we have not talked in a while. Before we said goodbye, she said, "oh, I have to tell you!!! I LOVE the Barb pant pattern." She was so happy with the fit. If you haven't downloaded the pattern, be sure and do so as I don't know how long it will continue to be available for free.  

And finally, I received a message from Angela of My Little Sewing Dreams. She made up  a number of the little owls from THIS post and loved them. She said that they are a great way to use up scraps and make a fun little unexpected gift too!

Isn't it wonderful that we can share and enrich each other's lives? :)

Happy Wednesday!

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Magic Bias Dress From Fashion In Harmony/Construction Tips

Just a quick note to let you all know that the new post is up for the Magic Bias Dress on the Sew News blog, and you can find it HERE. In the header it says that this week is about color blocking. We actually talked about color blocking in last week's post. This weeks' post is about assembling the body of the dress. And, I give you a few of my tips for working with bias. Hope it helps.

I have now made 3 dresses, so I thought that I would do a blouse. I've shared before that I can have the attention span of a gnat, so I'm always thinking of something new to try. I decided to try something a little different and see how it turned out.
As you can see below, I folded up the extended end of the pattern and basically squared off the bottom of the pattern.

What I ended up with is some what of a tunic. The back is of course quite short where the "v" comes up, but I have another idea that I think will add a little interest and make this a super cute top to wear with tights. So stayed tuned. 

I had hoped to get a few pictures of me in this skirt today, but my day is getting away from me. I'm planning a little fashion show Friday post, so I'll get a picture of me in the skirt then.

The skirt is the Chinese Lantern Skirt also from Fashion In Harmony. After making the Magic Bias Dress, I was really intrigued with the skirt, and I was not disappointed. It is SO easy to make and it is such a cute skirt. I slipped it on the first time and I now want more! This is a a skirt that you could literally live in all summer. I didn't have the right drawstring, so what you see will not stay. I just had to stick something in so I could get the true effect of the skirt. The skirt is basically 2 circles, but there's a little trick that makes it drape the way it does.

The hem is simply finished with a piece of bias tape. The fabric is a very light weight double faced gauze. When I walk in the skirt, you get just the slightest glimpse of the orange. 

The back of the skirt. Take note of the hem. The asymmetrical aspect of the hem is what cases the skirt to drape so beautifully. 

You can find the skirt HERE on the Fashion In Harmony website.

For those of you who are making the Magic Bias Dress, I hope you are having fun with your creations. If you do make the dress, remember, I have a link up running on THIS POST, so be sure to post your pictures as I would love to see what you've done!

Happy Sewing!

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Monday Morning Inspiration/Isabel and Ruben Toledo

It was a cold, wet weekend in Chicago, but there was one bright spot for me, the opportunity to see Isabel and Ruben Toledo and hear them talk about her design process and his artwork. A friend invited me to go and there was absolutely no hesitation in my response as I have loved the two for years!
Both Isabel and Ruben immigrated to American from Cuba as small children. They lived in New Jersey, just across the river from Manhattan. They met as children and began working together on school projects. Ruben said that it took quite some time to convince Isabel that he was the man for her. His patience paid off, and together, they have become an incredible design force. As they talked, it was so obvious that even after all these years, Ruben is still madly in love with Isabel. And what I saw in Isabel is a confidence that comes from having someone in your life who loves you so deeply. It was beautiful to see. The picture below is of the two in their Manhattan loft.  

Creatively, Isabel is the designer and Ruben is the artist. Isabel considers herself to be more of an engineer than a designer. Take a look at the clothes below and you will see this to be true.

There were  a number of Isabel's designs that were shown that I fell in love with. One was the piece below. It's actually a series of tubes. The drawing on the right gives you an idea of the actual design.

I cannot express how much I love this dress. So fluid and yet so structural.

Simple, feminine and so very striking.

Isabel has done quite a bit of work with origami. This is an example of that work. Lovely jacket.

Isabel was given the opportunity to design the inaugural suit for Michele Obama. she said that she actually designed 2 pieces and that other designers had also been chosen. So it was a matter of wait and see to see whether her dress would be chosen. She said that it was just so exciting to see the dress being worn on such an historic occasion.

The dress is rather simple in design, but impeccable and absolutely gorgeous. The picture is quite large as I wanted you to be able to really see the lace and details.

I love the structural aspect of this dress.

On Saturday, Isabel was wearing a shawl that she said Ruben had painted. The design in the shawl was very similar to the piece below. The caftan was designed by Isabel and the painting done by Ruben.

The Toledos have collaborated with a number of companies. Below is a line that they did for Anne Klein. Of course the painting was done by Ruben.

Below are a few more examples of Ruben's artwork, a lipstick case for MAC Cosmetics, the staircase in their loft, and a fashion illustration.

Together they have written a book about their life. Of all the reviews that were left on Amazon, all were 5 stars. I think I have to have this book! You can find it HERE

For those of you who enjoy videos, I have pulled out a few favorites. 

The first video is from the installation of their exhibit "Fashion From The Inside Out" that was shown at FIT in New York. It's only about 3 minutes long. You'll love it.

The next is a short interview with the two. Also wonderful. 

And finally, a full fashion show done in Barcelona. It's a bit long, 19 minutes, but well worth the time.

Hope you've enjoyed Isabel and Ruben as much as I did :)
Have a wonderful week!

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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sunday Night Reflections

If you spend your time judging people,
You have no time to love them.
                                                                                                        Mother Teresa

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Eating For Your Future/Stuffed Bell Peppers

About eight years ago, my husband and I were invited to a destination wedding in Ireland. The wedding was lovely and magical, just as a wedding should be. And yes, they are still married :) 
After the wedding we decided to continue our stay in Ireland and do a bit of touring. Saw lots of castles, the beautiful seashore, and of course the rolling green hills. Finding a vegetarian meal could be a bit difficult, but I managed. One night, we ate at a restaurant that served stuffed bell peppers. They were vegetarian, and really delicious! So I decided to come home and work on the recipe until I had something I really liked.

I begin by sauteing onions and celery. I then add minced garlic, a shredded carrot, chopped kale, and chick peas. 

I then add brown rice and a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes. The mixture simmers while the peppers boil in water for a few minutes.

Just before I stuff the peppers, I add crumbled feta cheese and mix well.

I then pack the peppers and do my best to match the lids ;)

And then, probably horror of horrors to some of you, I fill the hole of the lid with ketchup. I really like the ketchup! Of course, you could omit it all together, or use tomato sauce if your prefer.

Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers

6 green bell peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion diced
1 large stalk celery diced
1 large clove of garlic minced
1 large carrot shredded
1 packed cup chopped kale
1 15 oz. can chick peas drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 28 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
While waiting for the water to boil, heat the oil in a large pan. 
Add onion and celery and cook until tender. 
Add garlic, shredded carrot, chick peas, and chopped kale. Continue to cook until kale has withered.
Add cooked brown rice, tomatoes, and dried oregano. Stir well and allow the mixture to simmer while preparing the peppers.
Once water has come to a boil, add the peppers to the boiling water. Be sure to remove all seeds and stem. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the water and drain.
Before stuffing the peppers with the vegetable mixture, add crumbled feta cheese and mix well.
Stuff peppers and place the de-stemmed top on pepper. If you would like, fill the hole with ketchup.
Place peppers in a backing dish, cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven, serve and enjoy!

If you would like a vegan form of this recipe, just omit the feta cheese.
This is a great dish to make if you are having vegetarian friends over for dinner. They will be so happy! For your non-vegetarian friends, you can always serve your meat of choice on the side and then everyone is happy :)

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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Sleeves On Saturdays/Stylized Gathered Sleeve

I have had this sleeve in my file for quite some time. It's such a pretty sleeve and would look so nice on everything from a t-shirt to a dress. So, very versatile. I had found a full length picture of the dress, but for the life of me, I was unable to find it this morning. I'm only giving you the drafting instructions for the sleeve today. Next Saturday I'll be back with a sample of the sleeve along with a sample of the Bell Shaped Sleeve that I did HERE. Hopefully I will have found my picture of the entire gown by then!

I'm calling this sleeve;

The Stylized Gathered Sleeve

It's really quite easy to do, but it does have a number of steps. So here we go!

Begin with a straight sleeve pattern.

Determine the length of your sleeve.

Draw in the diagonal style lines. The lines radiate from the notch points on the front and back of the sleeve.

The gathering that goes across the sleeve begins approximately 1 1/2" from the top edge of the sleeve. The gathered area is approximately 4" wide. Place notches 1 1/2" down from the top of the sleeve and then 4" down from the top notch. Use a single notch on the front and double notches on the back. 

Cut the side sections away from the center section.
Divide the gathered area into 4 equal sections. Be sure to number each section of the sleeve.

Draw a guideline on a piece of paper. 
Cut each section apart and spread evenly matching the center grainline to the guideline.
The spread between each section should be approximately 1".

The pattern for the center gathered area has now been established. Be sure to transfer the notches so that you will be able to perfectly match the enter section to the side sections of the sleeve.

Now to establish the gathered cap. 
We do not want to gather the entire cap, only the center section.
Begin by squaring a line across from the top notches of the center section that will be gathered. 
From the center of the sleeve cap, measure over approximately 1 1/2" to 2" on either side of the cap. Draw a diagonal line down to the squared line that we have just established. 

Divide the center section into 3 sections on either side of the center of the cap. Be sure to number each section as you see below.

To spread the cap and establish the gathering, begin by cutting from the top of the cap on the center line to the squared line and then across to either side of the sleeve. When cutting to the side of the sleeve, be careful to cut to the edge but not through.
Now cut from the top of the cap to the squared line of each section. 
Draw a guideline line on a new piece of paper and match the grainline of the sleeve to the new guideline. 
Spread the sections of the sleeve as equally as you can. Notice that the sleeve cap rises at the squared line that was established.

The rise in the cap that happens when the cap is spread will cause the top of the cap to be higher. You may want to raise the cap a little more. Do this by adding 1" at the center of the cap and blending back to where the beginning of the spread began.

The final pattern for the sleeve.

Be sure to establish the notches on the cap of the sleeve. The notches that are on the top of the cap are for the gathering. As you can see below,  the notches should be where the gathering was established. 

Just follow the steps, and the sleeve should come together easily.
Have fun!

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Sewing Room Inspiration and Cleaning/What To Do With Scraps

In my ongoing pursuit to clean out, declutter and organize my studio, the question that looms is what to do with scraps and fabric that we no longer want. For so many of us, this has almost become a war cry. We love to sew, we love to create, and yet we feel so guilty about throwing out fabric scraps that we know could be used for SOMETHING!!! And then there's the fabric that we once thought was great, but our tastes changed and it's just the sad old piece that continues to sit there because we feel, once again the "G" word, guilty about not using it. 

To lighten up the mood just a bit, now that I have us all feeling guilty, I came across this on Facebook this morning. Made me laugh and I thought you might enjoy it as well :)

At the moment, and I say at the moment, because I have quite a bit more to go through, I have 3 bags full of fabric and scraps. So what to do? 

A few years ago, a very energetic and creative woman came to speak to our sewing group, The Haute Couture Club of Chicago. I was amazed by what she has done and the impact that she has made. Her name is Monika Neuland Kimrey, and she is an artist who believes that you can change a life with a scrap of fabric or a piece of yarn. 

She works with the elderly, the developmentally and physically challenged, children's programs, and has recently started programs in the Englewood area of Chicago. For those of you who do not know Chicago, this area has become notorious for gang activity and murders.

Monkia believes in creating opportunities for those whom society has labeled as unable and and giving them the new title of artist. 

Below, an after school program. 

Monika teaching a developmentally challenged young man to sew and ultimately create.

Another example of what can be created with scraps.

After meeting Monika and experiencing her vision, I no longer look at my bags of scraps and unwanted fabric as a burden. I see them as possibilities in waiting.  

If you live in the Chicagoland area and have fabric and scraps that you would like to donate, please email me at sewbussted@yahoo.com and I will be happy to pass along Monika's email address. Sadly, she does not have a website.

Now, if you don't live in Chicago, what can you do? I've given this quite a bit of thought and here are some of my ideas.

1. Put an ad on Craig's List and direct it toward artists. There are many artists who use fabric scraps in their artwork. You can always arrange to meet them at a fabric store to pick up the fabric rather than coming to your home.
2. Contact a local art center. Again, many artist's use fabric and scraps in their artwork and would appreciate the donation.
3. Contact your local government or schools and see if they have an after school art program for children.
4. Talk to school teachers, especially those teaching kindergarten classes. They are always looking for materials that can be used for art projects. 

These are just a few ideas that came to mind. 
Do you have any resources or ideas that I can share? If so, please leave a comment and I will do a follow up post and share your ideas with everyone. 

I posted this last Sunday for the week's inspiration;

Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world, for indeed that's all who ever have.  

Even a scrap of fabric can make a difference.

Next week, I will share more of your studio pictures and my progress as well. In the meantime, if you would like to share your studio with all of us, you may link up your pictures on THIS POST. We want to see the good, the bad and the ugly :) Come on!, I showed you mine!!!  

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