Sunday, 5 July 2015

And the bead keeps going on...1-4 July

Week 27 - second part July 2015
Back to the little 'booklets' - in green this month





And the bead keeps going on...28-30 June or halfway in year 3

Week 27 - first part June 2015

This takes me halfway through 2015...the bead on projects have been daily for 2.5 years now!




and just because I also had yellow in the mixed elastic band collection (plus black and white, but I will save them for another day), I thought I would round off the set of 3 for each colour.




And then all of June's beads

Quite fun really!

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Subtle beads progress

You can see the look of the beading will be subtle, even up close. But as I said before, will catch the light in the fashion show.

So far, just the sleeve hem beads and some on the scallops around the neck and down the front.

I am hoping you can click on the photo and get a little larger photo. I resize my photos for the blog so they don't take so long to load on whatever device people try to view them from.

Friday, 3 July 2015

trials for beading the sleeve hem

So, the beads.

Here are a few of the trials for attaching and embellishing the flower motifs on the sleeve hems.

And the one I settled on.

One sleeve done.
Only 2 more to do on the other sleeve, but it is bedtime. (Yeah, I almost typed beadtime!)

All of the first four attempts were done on a scrap motif... and of course I unpicked and started again each time.

So, when it came to having a think about the scattered embellishments on the garment, I got wise and decided to just poke some bead needles into the stacks, see what they looked like and so on. It was a lot easier to change! and this is what I think I will settle on.

Sitting beading and listening to the tennis...not on the telly, I wouldn't get anything done!

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Okay back to the garment from the broken internet saga

Thanks so much for all the lovely comments. It is very encouraging!

I went missing due to a broken internet. or a bust up between my computer and the internet or something, because A Certain Young Man and The Thoughtful Man both had internet connections. So, Mr Thoughtful has been on the case and seems to have sorted things.

So, lets see. We were talking about sleeves only being pinned on and one not quite wanting to look like the other.

I stitched the sleeves on by hand, after spending time getting them both to hang similarly. I tacked them in place under the bodice part of the armscye. Then I turned under the edge as I went along stitching them with a sort of pick stitch. Sort of, because I didn't attempt small evenly spaced, just the tiny backspace when I did come to the top. Then afterwards, I went along on the under part of the seam and trimmed away the excess.

But the hem edges of the sleeves were not wanting to resemble one another well. This was because of the angle of the flower motifs in the lace. I tried to trim round the motifs a bit for them to make an interesting edge. But because there is a lot of open space, that left the net ground between looking rather raggedy. Eventually I trimmed them both straight and did a narrow hem.

Yet, not at all as pretty as I would have liked. SO, I decided to try individual motifs arranged over the hem edge.

and that works for me.

I have been playing with the embellishment bit now. Not much accomplished today though, as I started out with a very bad head, so gave up, took a migraine tablet and went back to bed. (moving bedroom furniture in 30 degree C weather yesterday may have had something to do with it...I 'know' I can't do that without the result, but the result doesn't come til the next day, so I forget to stop before I have done the damage.)

Anyway, I will show you some of the trialing and sampling tomorrow. Internet providing, of course!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

to the photograph stage

So, on Saturday, I spent most of the day on the gown.

The little bolero was sewn up. Lace scallops were added to the gown and the bottom of the bolero.The scallops were already on the back because I had enough to cut it that way, but I had to add them to the front pieces.

I hadn't got enough of the scallops to put round the neck of the gown as well as the neck of the bolero. So, I decided to attach the bolero and the gown. Another reason was that with all the quick changing that has to take place for the Fashion show, I didn't want the bolero lost or damaged.

And then I played with a bit of the rest of the lace and came up with 'sleeves'... Actually 'drapes' from the top of the armscye.
The first one worked wonderfully and I started on the other side. But at this stage it was near the end of the day. I wanted to take photos that would be close enough to the finished product to send off before the deadline for their catalogue. I also wanted the background to be the beautiful blue curtains in the community centre(covering a large mirror).

So, photos staged for front and back view so as to see the one sleeve pinned just right.

So, front

and back.

And then it took me several hours when I got home to write the statement!

As you know, I have no problem coming up with words, but trying to trim them to around 50 words "of descriptive text and image - include fabrics, techniques and patterns used." Well.

So, I did go a bit over 50, but not much.

‘Lilac and Lace’
Sandy’s ‘patchwork’ is developed from her own garment design. Each carefully numbered pattern section was cut from taffeta and embroidered satin. Sandwiched pieces edged with zigzag were butted together and joined with a bridging stitch. A friend’s discarded lace fragments are now a graceful bolero topped with a sprinkle of embellishments.

As you can see from what I have told you, the embellishments are still to come. But the photos will not be all that big in the catalogue...and the drama/theatre/surprise will be the sparkle in the darkened room with the spotlights on the gown.

Or that's my story.

And I am looking forward to relaxing my way through July stitching beads and sequins onto the lace and gown. Not an overwhelming amount...just enough for the sparkle on the catwalk look.

I am quite pleased to get it to this point in 2 weeks instead of the month I had planned to have. I sent off the photos and statement late Saturday evening and got confirmation on Sunday. So, yesterday and today I have been getting the sleeves sorted and the lining sewn in.

And figuring out the part of how the model will get in and out of it! At this point, the front in the photo is pinned!

Monday, 29 June 2015

Apologies for the delay

Saturday was a long but productive day. So the next bit of the story has been delayed.

When I was looking for something to make the gown special, I decided to look one more time in the cupboard of shiny/special bits. I thought I had looked at all the purple or pale sea green.
And there was a bag of lace scraps! My friend has an alteration business and these bits came from a prom gown she had made. When the scraps were offered, I knew there would be a reason for them at some point in my life.

And so.

I tried out a few ideas and loved the look of trimming. There was a good length of scallops I could use.

I tried out motifs scattered, but that wasn't it.

So, I laid a length across the back just to see what might happen.
OH yeah! a little bolero.
Too exciting to photograph, I got right onto it.
Do you spot the problem? Not the bit at the shoulder of the front pieces, that was me by-passing several steps, but getting rid of the darts.

The Problem? In trying to be sure I was cutting the lace so that the motifs were going to be on the right level, I ended up cutting 2 fronts!
Oh dear. That was all I had for a big enough piece to cut - or at least if it was not aligned totally differently to the rest.

But I managed to cut it almost the same and patched a bit onto the area under the arm.

So, that is what I was doing late Friday night.
Tune in again tomorrow for more in this story!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

And the bead keeps going on...21-27 June

Week 26 June 2015








Friday, 26 June 2015

nearly there on the gown part

So, I had to take a photo of all of the pieces joined while still somewhat flat.

And then with the shoulders done and a bit of edging work on places like the side slits below the knee and so on. Just enough to give it a bit more definition, but not so much to really stand out.



And now I am very excited because the draw in your breath bit has declared itself...and it is not a lot of time consuming work. I think, at this point, the front closing will work with that plan, too.

But you have to wait for the story for all that because I want to get it to a certain point before tomorrow. We are having the Offcuts sewing group tomorrow, and it is a longer session.

SO, I hope I can get all the work done on the gown. and possibly get photos, as it is a brighter lighter space there. and then I can send in the photos 'before' the deadline. Then, the photos in the catalogue will look like the finished gown.

and with the pressure off, I will stitch the lining in. The gown could be worn without the lining, but I think it will help it to hang better. And the student models won't be scratched to death with the metallic thread.

I could even take it a little further, having extra time, with a bit of 'subtle' beads/sequins. Not that they would be subtle close up, but add just a bit of spark in the darkened room under the lights on the catwalk. The subtle would be that they wouldn't be that noticeable on a distant shot for the catalogue.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

a bit more progress

The patching continued and here are the front panels pinned up.

Then after a bit of an auditioning process, some plum/lilac metallic threads used to join the fronts.
You can see how the shaping for the bust has come together. It took a bit of smooshing of the right patch because it had nearly an angle. But it worked.

And the first side front joined up.

This was not without much headache because one of the chosen threads is not coming off the reel as it should, so there is a lot of rigging of stands and all sorts which only seem to work for part of the time. Still I am trying to get the fronts done, and then I can change it for something less temperamental for the backs!
But, no photos because I do have some pride...I don't want to show you the jumble that is at the side of my machine! But, generally I can find what is there, so it works for me.

NEXT: considering what will turn it from a gown of patches to a gown to show and cause that draw in of breath that I look for when the model comes out onto the runway.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Getting it together

Stopping for lunch for an update for the impatient amongst you! The comments made me laugh. You are as anxious to see this as I am! Glad to know there is interest. I get anxious to see if the plan I have in my head will come out as I hoped.

So, the next worry was about stitching the patches together. But compounded by the concern about keeping them in order!

So, the order of the whole gown.

And column by column I am laying them out and ticking them off.

The numbering of pieces at the start, before chopping the pattern, has paid off.
Joining patches together.
There are very small issues now and then with the embroidered patches matching up. I think that because the fabric is not as firmly woven as the lilac fabric, it may have stretched a bit. But I have found that it is pretty easy to ease in any small differences.

I started with the centre back because I had decided to cut them on the fold. I am glad, because it gives a sort of solidity to the movement of the patchiness.

I am doing 'columns' first, because when sewing a garment with princess lines, you would have the 'columns' or panels which you would join together. So, with the horizontals joined first, there is more control. SO, the vertical seams will be more likely to retain the vertical lines without wandering.

And back to work!

At this point I am mentally deliberating about the title...

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

more sampling

Well, I had thought I would be done with the zigzagging. But I still have at least a day's worth to go. The shoulder was limiting me a lot.

But, as I said in reply to Kathy's comment yesterday, I was starting to get to the point where I really didn't think this whole joining back together thing was going to work!

So I took time out to find out if it would.

I had thought to do 'faggotting' or 'bridging'. a Heirloom sewing technique sometimes used in garment making. This tutorial shows how to do it by hand. You can also do it with the machine. I have little spacers that fit my machine. But I couldn't find the instructions. and to tell the truth, having looked for that last link, I did what it says there, but was not convinced. I think it would probably work better if you have long lengths of seam like shown, rather than wee patches.

So, plan B: Butting edges together and then doing a joining stitch.

(The step in the centre is not in the plan, but happened with the start of one of the stitches I tried...and abandoned!)
I had not allowed for a wee space anyhow. So, I will be happier that everything is somewhat near the original size and goes together if I butt the edges together.
I really like the machine feather stitch, so I tried that. It would work, but I risked covering all that tedium of metallic zigzag. So, no.

I tried a few others and opted for a stitch listed in my 'quilting stitch' section.
Then I played with the width and length. The default needed to be just a bit more width so that it wasn't falling in the middle of the zigzag on each side.
I also wanted it to be a bit more length so that the stitch is open enough to show all my hard work beneath.

When I get closer to having all the edges done on the patches, I might take a few hours break and begin to join some of them so I can see how long that takes!

There are a few more things I would like to do. But at this point it is about timing. I will tell you if I get time for that option or not.

I need to get this to the point where it looks somewhat like the finished product for the camera. Sending that and statement off for their catalogue. I will have time to do finishing lining hem, etc, but this year I am NOT finishing things like fastenings the night before the show.

Last year was the first time they did a catalogue. I thought that when they asked for photos by a certain date that they were trying to ensure people didn't pull out. That is how it worked for another show I did gowns for. So, I was rather dismayed to see my in progress photo in the catalogue! I had been invited very late, and had to fit it in with other obligations.

Anyway, I am on the feeling hopeful stage of making. (It is a cycle you know. Very excited to get started. Very worried before the patterning; then up again. Very bogged down at the tedium. Thinking ahead to an alternative if you run out of time. Turning point on making progress and then worry about the construction solving. and so on!) I hope the hopefulness increases!

Monday, 22 June 2015


I hope your vision of me over the weekend was stitching the zigzag on the edges of each of these pieces.
We aren't discussing how many at this point, especially as I am still working out the joining back together! But suffice it to say that each long side of front or back is 36 pieces. and with 4 sides (2 front + 2 back) do the maths!

So, the two piles needing to be stitched

and one of the piles which was already stitched.

The stitching is easier to do with the shoulder than the cutting was. (But it is tedious!)

My set up at the machine.

I use a blind hem stitch when I cover edges of things with zigzag. It helps the stitch to properly form over the edge without drawing the fabric up into a lump. My blind hem foot has a little bar, so the stitches form over the bar and then slide off it to the back as the piece goes along.
The little red bit at the front of the foot is adjustable for guiding your project edge along. For using the blind hem foot as a blind hem foot, it would be useful for getting it right for the 'bite' of the blind hem stitch.

You can  see the threads I will be using. The dark turquoise is what I am using on the lilac fabric. It is much paler when seen as a single thread. I am not doing a very close zigzag. Just enough to hold the edge together and add a bit of glistening.

If I get it right, I can go from one piece to the next like quilters do with chain piecing.