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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Pilgrimage" oil &charcoal on canvas

   This painting has been sitting in my studio for almost a year.   The initial dark oil sketch of the face came together pretty quickly; however, it was all the medium tones and build up of oil layers ...not to mention corrections that took a while. (Oh, and my neck would be sore the next day from poising in the mirror. Ah the suffering one does for the love of painting!) For me the hardest part is trying to create an expression and not have the face look like a photograph.  I tend to get hung up on small details, and it is hard to go against one's nature.  All and all I like the direction that this series, 'Sacred Places' is taking me.
Check out the painting:

"Pilgrimage" oil & charcoal on linen 3'x 4'

    Please note: I used a low resolution image for my blog.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Vogue 8961, Easy Peesy maybe cheesy?

    Last November my friend came up to Asheville for a visit.  Of course, at the time I felt  I had nothing to wear and decided to whip something up in couple of days, before her arrival.  Fortunately in my stash I had 3 yards of red wool /rayon blend; which was already prepared.  With the fabric on hand, I had intended to make Vogue 8633 ;however, after completing a black worsted wool version, (which didn't turn out so great.) I decided I didn't need one in red, nor the hassle.  I stumbled upon Vogue 8961 and thought this is what I want..... Fast and Easy. I should mention that this dress pattern reminded me of a Barbie disco style dress I once had, and hey if it is good enough for Barbie, it is good enough for me....but without the shiny metallic fabric.  Check out the pattern: 

Vogue 8961

     So this dress came together quick and easy........and I didn't do a test muslin. Pretty much I held the pattern up to my shoulders and ran with it. Of course,  I did have to lengthen the torso 1 1/2" but that is typical for me. Likes:  elastic gathers on the sleeves (although seeing the photos I could have shorten the sleeves an 1") and  short skirt.  Dislikes:  not a big fan of elastic in the waist but it works with a belt. 
Check out those sleeves

Liking the V neck

Easy Peasy possibly cheesy........but it is great for a girl on the go!


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Completed (my ) version of a Suno Boxy Pleat Top

     Even though the temperatures are no where warm enough to wear this top, I still wanted to complete it, and have it ready for warmer weather. Besides, maybe by creating my version of the Suno boxy pleat top a rush of warm weather will hang over us. (wishful thinking).  Check out my version of the Suno Boxy Pleat Top:
Oh, it is windy!

    Here is the low down on how I accomplished this look.  Fashion shell fabric: cotton white sateen in 108" width (I believe), and for the underlining (bodice only) I went with a white cotton lawn (very sheer). I used Vogue 8894 for the bodice; which was already adjusted to my measurements.  Sewed using french seams and hong kong seams with a pretty cotton white print. (As a side note: you should already have a plan on how you want to finish your neckline facing.  Initially I finished the edge using 1/4" seam and overlock but I thought it looked messy and ended up sewing bias tape over it; which created bulk cause I didn't seam rip the overlock.......oh well.)
Love the pleats!

    Closure:  Ok I wish I could have run into a Saks and looked at the original Suno top to figure out the front snaps; however, that was not an option for me.  Since I already made the Vogue 8894 bodice, I knew I could put an invisible zipper in the back.....and still be able to carefully get in and out of it..........and that is exactly what I did. (Although it does take a little maneuvering; which my husband would find amusing.) I used a 14" invisible zipper in the back; which stops right above the pleating. Also, on the front of bodice I did a faux button closure. Here are the details for that.  I used two 3/4" black buttons. Cut out a front and back in shell fabric size: 2 1/2 "x 4".  Interfaced back of 1 fashion fabric and made two button holes.  Then with right sides together sewing the rectangle and leaving a 1/2" opening.  Trim seams and turned right side out.  Pressed and top stitched edges. Sewed buttons on and tacked faux button closure to front of bodice. 
Back side....pleating looks good!

   Pleating:  I decided to go with a 1" pleat.  The length was cut 10" ; which includes a narrow hem and a 5/8" seam to the bodice.  I went ahead and pleated the entire 108" width cause I wasn't sure how many pleats it would take to cover the width of the bodice.  (For sure there is a math equation out there to figure it out, but I was  too lazy to think about it)  Fortunately, the 108" width was more then enough to go around the bodice. I still haven't figured out how to correctly sew the pleated end seams together, so I played with it till it worked. 
front detail

   Tips:  If you decide to use a zipper in the back and stop above the pleating with Vogue 8894, make sure the bodice isn't too fitted otherwise you won't be able to get it off and on.  Also, it is easier to install the zipper first, then attach the pleating.  Keep in mind the bodice sits about 1" above your natural waist line.    
zipper stops above pleats

  For fun: wouldn't this top look great in a fun cotton Kona, with a cool ribbon around the bodice waist, and with broadcloth you wouldn't have to underline or line.  Check out the sketch I did :
Kona cotton in "Fog" with a 1" black ribbon around the waist.

  Ok I am onto my next project (a blouse); which is Simplicity 1693 View A.
Check out the fabric......a beautiful blue teal cotton lace lined with black bemberg.:

Next Project

If anyone out there needs help making a Suno Boxy Pleat feel free to email me, and I will do my best to help.

Happy Sewing.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Fabric Fiasco....gets me thinking of spring

        Well, I thought I had a very organized and thoughtful plan to sew my next project; which was BurdaStyle Downloadable Pattern   108B.  However, my fabric choice, turned into a fiasco.  The fabric Burda recommends for this pattern is lightweight wool crepe.  Things were looking great for me when I was at Hancock Fabrics and spotted a beautiful burgundy 100% wool crepe, and I thought this was the perfect fabric for the pleated dress, and with cold temperatures lasting till April..... a lightweight wool dress would be great for Asheville.   Well, the thoughtful plan flew out the window after preparing my fabric.  Here is what happened.  I soaked the fabric in Eucalan wool wash and then placed in the dryer with my wet towel.   When the fabric was completely dry it did felt and expand; which made it too thick for the pleats.  Oh well.  With out a second thought I have moved onto a pretty spring blouse, and will consider a different fabric for 108B.

Wool Crepe Pleated Dress 108B

       While skimming through the Wall Street Journal I came across an article / pictures of the hottest trends for spring...........and this spring it is all about pleats.  (Life is so full of serendipity. )  I fell in love with this Suno Boxy Pleat Top, but not the price $550. Check it out: 

Suno Boxy Pleat Top

    For real, come on $550 and the blouse is not lined and is a mix of mostly poly with a little cotton.  I understand a little bit of poly will keep it from wrinkling but why should the blend be more poly then cotton?  Anyway, my goal is to recreate this blouse using cotton sateen for the shell fabric and lawn for the lining.  Fortunately I have a bodice (which is already adjusted for me) that matches the Suno Boxy Pleat Top.  Check it out, (V8894).

Vogue 8894 / Bodice to be used as a sloper for my version of the Boxy Pleat

    O.k.  I will keep you all posted with my newest idea. Hopefully I will end up with a beautifully pleated blouse for spring.