Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Silk Screen with Gunnel Hag Images

My teenager likes to wear garments with skulls and I thought it would be fun to sew some shirts and silk screen some skulls on them. These are my preliminary strike-offs and now that I know how to get clear images very simply and quickly (sorry, you have to take the course to learn the secrets) I am confident I can do this and get teenager approved results.

Camo Skully
For the black on white image I used Colour Vie black pigment in a polymer base with some pearl for a bit of shimmer. The black is transparent although the pearl is not. However, there was not enough pearl to make the image opaque.

For the "green" skulls, I painted and textured some Colour Vie pigment on cotton and let it dry. Then I silk screened a negative of the previous skull image onto the fabric. Looks nice and creepy.

The third image is a hand-dyed rusty coloured silk chiffon scarf. I silk screened a yellow gold pigment that doesn't show up very well and then a purple with some pearl added.  The image I used was royalty-free from Dover publication Ornamental Forms from Nature. It is a botanical image but I call it "sketchy branches" as it is a little reminiscent of bones the way the branches join.
Sketchy Scarf

This workshop was just too much fun. I went to Curry's yesterday and purchased a jar of "glow-in-the-dark" fabric paint. Those skulls are going to be a hit!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Who Knew?

There's a plethora of sales out there right now aimed at getting consumers to open their wallets. They are tempting us with unbelievable markdowns. Purchases we wouldn't otherwise make. Or if we are lucky, a needed item that we have been holding off on.

Today McCall's and Butterick patterns are on sale for $1.99 each. Vogue patterns are priced at $3.99 each. And shipping to U.S. and Canadian addresses is free for orders of $15 or more. Very tempting...

But maybe, just maybe, that $15 could be put towards a purchase that you will definitely use and enjoy.

I spent a day recently going through my pattern stash.  There are many loved and much used ones; but there are many times more patterns that I bought on sale, just because they were on sale. It hit me in the pit of my stomach that I had wasted a lot of money, hundreds of dollars in fact. It was very sobering.

I love to sew and I will continue to purchase sewing items, but I'm going to think twice before I buy something just because it was on sale.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Silk Screen with Gunnel Hag

Today was the first day of the two day workshop with Gunnel Hag in Toronto. Gunnel is an amazing artist. On top of that she is a wonderful teacher. Having taken a course from her before I knew I would have a good time. But I have to say I learned so much about silk screening. And I have taken silk screening before.

Gunnel Hag owns Colour Vie and you can learn all about her, her products and her workshops at http://www.colourvie.com/.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2010 Threads Archive DVD-ROM - Taunton Store

2010 Threads Archive DVD-ROM - Taunton Store

Another great Christmas wish list idea. Every issue of Thread magazine on DVD-ROM. Find articles quickly by keyword searches. No more flipping through 100s of pages. Give your old magazines to a friend to doesn't use computers and free up some space on your shelves.

Pattern Magic - Tomoko Nakamichi

Pattern Magic - Tomoko Nakamichi

Two for the Christmas Wish List

You get to a certain age and the inevitable answer to the question "What do you want for Christmas?" is "I can't think of anything." I never want clothes because I am very particular about what I wear. Same goes for jewellery. When I was in the corporate world I used to say I wanted stockings because they were expensive and I went through a couple of pairs a week. But I don't have to wear those anymore (except on special occasions). Red wine and a good tapenade will always be appreciated.
But now that I have garment sewing as my one true activity that I engage in almost daily, I can come up with a decent wish list. And my wish list on Amazon books is one way that I let people know what I want. (Actually, only a few immediate family members exchange gifts anymore, thankfully.)

So there are two books that are top on my list (highest priority on Amazon): Pattern Magic and Pattern Magic 2.  Both are by Japanese author Tomoko Nakamichi and based on her research into garment construction. I wish I could put up some pictures of the book covers here but they are copyrighted images. (To my dismay I have found people are putting images of the book pages on the Internet. Buy your own copy and lend the book if you must, but don't copy it!)

I decided to visit Amazon and put it into my wish list and that's where I found out about the pre-orders for Pattern Magic 2. Not surprisingly the first book is out of stock. I can wait.

Santa, I've been good this year... really.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Easy Zippers DVD - Worth the Dollars

Lotus Skirt
My latest sewing project is the Lotus Skirt from The Sewing Workshop Collection. The Lotus Skirt has been around for many years and I have had the pattern in my stash for some time. I decided it was time to make a sample garment and see what it was all about. I chose a Size 16 although there is no way that it would fit me. But I make samples in various sizes for my customers to see at the shows.

I chose a teal stripe on very dark (almost black) navy wool blend. The fabric is washable with almost no shrinkage. Stripes are great for this pattern as you can see from the photograph.

There is a zipper in the left side seam and I prefer an invisible zipper for this design. But I hadn't inserted an invisible zipper for ages. And I don't remember how to do it off the top of my head.

Easy Zippers DVD
No worries mate! I have the Easy Zippers DVD by Janet Pray and Rosebud. I've already been taught by
Rosebud on how to do the invisible zipper but seeing her do it again on this DVD is a perfect reminder. I run through the DVD and pause it. Sew. Come back to see what's next, etc. The result is a perfectly sewn zipper.

Better than many notions I have purchased to help me put in zippers.  It is well worth the money at $41.95. I have reviewed this DVD time and time again and avoided a lot, and I mean a lot, of ripping out and resewing. Zippers no longer scare me, because I have Janet and Rosebud here to help me through every one of them.

Open House at Bonnie Glass's Studio - Nov. 27 & 28, 2010

Bonnie Glass is a talented and accomplished fibre artist.  Visit her website at http://www.bonnieglass.com/ for a taste of her wide range of wearable art.

Luckily for those who live in Southern Ontario, Bonnie and her studio mate are hosting an Open House next weekend. If you are looking for inspiration or a fabulous creation for yourself this is your chance.

The address is 109 Joseph St. in the village of Glen Williams, L7G 2X2; the same village as The Williams Mill Creative Visual Art's Studios and Gallery. Saturday, November 27 from 10:00 to 5:00 and Sunday, November 28 from 12:00 to 5:00. It's a very eclectic place and Bonnie's studio mate is visual artist Janet Bailey. Their studio is called "House on the Hill Studio". It is less than a one hour drive from the GTA.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sewing findings on securely - Threads

Sewing findings on securely - Threads

Dark and Rainy, Yet They Still Come Out

Last night it was dark, pouring rain, windy and not an easy drive to come to Oakville Sewers Forum. And yet, many members still made the trip. As the weather turns nasty in the Northern Hemisphere, getting together with your sewing groups and friends can be more challenging. If safety is a concern, then you have to stay home but getting out during the dark days of winter can be very uplifting and inspiring.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Set Yourself a Play Date

I had a really good time last Sunday. My friend Lucy invited me, and some of her other sewing friends, over for a sewing play date. Each of us brought a sewing project or two to work on, plus something to contribute towards our "pot luck" lunch. Lucy has a very organized and well equipped sewing studio with lots of room to work.

Sewing can be so solitary and so it was nice to have company as we worked on our projects, and discussed our sewing ideas, challenges and adventures. The time flew by and each of us accomplished quite a bit.

We've already set the date for our next get together. Take the time to set yourself a sewing play date with some sewing friends. You won't regret it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Bethany Dress Revisited

In my earlier post on this garment I didn't have a picture; so here it is. I was proud to display this garment at the Distinctive Sewing Supplies booth at the fall 2010 Creativ Festival in Toronto.

I certainly took liberties in machine embroidering the garment rather than the traditional handwork. And I used red rickrack instead of the delicate point work around the Qabbeh.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How to Cover Snaps - Threads

How to Cover Snaps - Threads
This is a great technique to add a finished look to snap closures.

Fantastic Fantasia Jacket - Pictures!

Well, I never did find the cable to my digital camera, but I found out that my new Blackberry takes some pretty decent photos. While I was putting away my sample garments from the Creativ Festival it occurred to me I should take some photos and display them here.

This is the Fantasia Jacket from the Modular Design pattern collection by Kayla Kennington. I made the standard version without the bustle option (centre back bustle) in a silk cotton jacquard and silk cotton sateen. The jacquard is a striking Mackintosh-style rose that is surprisingly light. The silk cotton sateen has a nice sheen and is semi-sheer making it perfect for layering. I interfaced the silk cotton sateen for the lapel to give it some body and stability.

This pattern is not for the faint of heart. There are 28 pieces to cut out on this version and 32 on the bustle version; add to that two more pieces for ties if you make the cross-over version. There's nothing too difficult about the construction other than keeping track of the garment pieces. So marking with painter's tape on the wrong side of each piece is a good idea.

I used Kayla's signature rolled hem seaming technique which gives the seams a lovely piped look and a lettuce edge to the godets. I sewed Chinese knot buttons at the apex of each godet and cinched in the centre back panel with a Chinese frog closure.

This jacket pattern is flattering because the godets float over the hips and accent the waist. It is a great pattern for creating a stunning and unique garment. Fabric choices will greatly influence the look of the garment.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Retail pricing on major company patterns a myth?

Does anyone ever pay retail price on Vogue, Butterick and McCall's patterns? Is the retail price just a big myth? Do these pattern companies really think that we believe their patterns are worth the stated retail price?

I subscribe to Vogue patterns and I really do like them, especially designers like Koos and Miyake. But come on. Visit their website and they list a designer pattern as retail $30. But it's always crossed out because if you order online the regular price is $18. They have sales about once a month where the patterns are $4.99 and if you are a BMV Club member, your price is 50 cents less.  Sometimes they sell to members as low as $3.88 each. So tell me then, who is ever going to pay $30? or even $18 for a designer Vogue pattern? Please just price them reasonably and stop with all the so-called specials! It will prevent pattern hoarding and stashes of patterns we will never actually get around to sewing.

And what about the poor independent retailer? How could they ever compete when their supplier is undercutting them by selling below their cost? For example if you shop Vogue patterns at the Pattern Review website, you get 10% off retail if you are a member. That $30 pattern will be $28. Why would anyone do that?

There's something fishy here in the land of sewing patterns. So based on what I have observered thus far, I would say that the true retail price of a designer Vogue pattern is about $5.00. Is there a watch dog out there in the land of retail marketing that can stop this madness?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Selling Sample Garments in Oakville, ON next weekend

I have a table at the upcoming Craftstock 2010 at White Oaks Secondary School, South Campus, on Saturday, November 6, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.  The address is 1330 Montclair Drive just off McCraney. I have so many lightly worn sample garments that I have to sell them off at incredibly low prices. Don't miss out on a chance to buy one of a kind garments. I take cash, debit, MasterCard and VISA. Most garments are made from hand dyed batik rayon from Bali. Arrive early for the best selection.

It's not paranoia if the world really is out to get you

First the printer, then the computer, then the telephone. The printer won't print because it thinks there's no paper in it, even though there is. The computer attacked by a particularly nasty virus stops functioning and then crashes. All diagnostics say it's fine, but it won't boot. The telephone connection is broken because it relies on the modem in the crashed computer.

In the meantime I am borrowing a computer to get my emails, post on this blog and on facebook, etc. Yesterday, I decided to go onto the Internet and get ideas for pumpkin faces to carve for Hallowe'en and boom, that same nasty virus attacks this borrowed computer. Arrghh!

We caught it in time and it's been cleaned up but it took me out of business for several hours. Now I am really paranoid because maybe, just maybe, the world is out to get me.

Colouricious - A source of unique stamps

I was exhibiting at the Creativ Festival last month and since it was a very busy show, I didn't have a lot of opportunity to walk around. However, my friend, Joanne Thomson of Joanne's Creative Notions, pointed me to the Colouricious booth because she knew I would very much like what they were selling. And she was right!

Colouricious came all the way from the U.K. to sell hand carved wooden stamps from India. If you were at their booth you would have seen the table cloths with lovely decorative borders, all hand stamped. They used Colour Vie paints, which is a Canadian company, for stamping on fabric.

I can't wait to try these stamps out.