Thursday, May 10, 2012

Unlocking the Potential

I'm always on the lookout for fabrics have a lot of possibilities. When I spotted the Greg Printed Rag Doubleknit on a recent trip to Las Vegas, I knew I had to have it. The more I examined it, the more images of future garments came into my head.

As a doubleknit it is stable, but with some give. It also has a lovely drape. I chose to sew it using the fast and easy eShrug from The Sewing Workshop Collection.

With the eShrug there are only the two shoulder seams and the sleeves/armholes to sew. I used my serger set up with two needles (four serger spools in all) creating seams with a bit of give. The same serger setup was used to finish the outside edges. The result is a beautiful, flat, professional edge. This basic pattern with simple construction showcases the fabric perfectly.

eShrug - Long Version
There are areas of the fabric where the threads appear shredded thus the "rag" or worn look. However, it is backed with knit and not overdone so it looks cool rather than grungy. If you happen to cut a seam that goes through the shredded area, the threads will fall loosely. I recommend sticking them down with a washable glue stick or a strip of Steam-a-Seam, so they are caught in the seam as it is sewn.

On close examination I noticed that the fabric is printed with silver. The content is 30% polyester and 70% cotton. This led me to wonder what would happen if I were to dye the fabric, knowing that only the unprinted cotton would pick up the colour. I quickly dyed some of the cutting room scraps using Scarlet Rit. The results were very promising.

Dyed with Scarlet Rit

I had cut myself some yardage for another garment and prewashed it, anticipating I would dye it after the Creativ Festival. On a recent trip to downtown Toronto, I stopped at G&S Dye to purchase some Procion dye in Turquoise. G&S Dye does mail order so if you don't live nearby, you can still order everything you need to dye fabric from them. Here is the result.

Dyed with Procion Turquoise
I haven't decided what I will sew with the Turquoise fabric as yet but it will likely be a swing jacket.

I completely sold out of this doubleknit at the Spring Creativ Festival. But the good news is that more is on its way. In fact I just ordered all that my supplier has left in stock, so once it is gone, it is gone. The shipment is expected to arrive mid-June. In the meantime you can pre-order from the Distinctive Sewing Supplies website.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


May 5 - Daily Reflections for Highly Effective People (Stephen R. Covey): Without involvement there is no commitment. Mark it down. Asterisk it. Circle it. No involvement, no commitment.

See also Floating All Boats.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Those days are gone. Get over it.

Yesterday, the organizers of the Creativ Festival did a very brave thing. They asked their customers to provide feedback about the recent show on facebook. I read them with disappointment. I was wondering if I was in fact at the same show.

The Creativ Festival is a top-notch consumer show. The vendors and activities are a reflection of current market trends in the world of arts and crafts. If it's not the same as 10 years ago, there's a good reason. The world has changed. Look around you. The glory days are gone. Probably for good. Be grateful for all those vendors and experts who made the effort to be there to teach, exhibit and sell their wares. It's not easy and it's a big risk. For a $15 admission fee you received outstanding value if you were open to learning something new or just taking in the sights.

Freebies. Free patterns. Free handouts. Several people said that vendors should be giving out more freebies. Back in the day, vendors used to be given free products by the manufacturers to distribute and encourage more sales. That doesn't happen any more. Handouts. Hmmmm. Printing costs have gone through the roof. Printing even small quantities costs $100 of dollars. And they often end up in the recycling bin. So no. Freebies and handouts aren't the answer because the truth is, they don't generate more sales--or even enough sales to cover the vendor's costs. They generate waste and satisfy people who want handouts, not people who are looking for value.

A $14 needlework pattern? Is that too much to ask if it gives you hours of enjoyment? Is that too much to ask if the artist spent weeks designing, perfecting and testing it? Is that too much if the exhibitor has to sell a 100 of them to cover the cost of their booth for that day? I don't think so.

For more insight, see my previous blog on Consumer Show Etiquette.

No Pins! No Basting! No Kidding!

A recent post I made called Insider Secrets from the Garment Industry, I think, is worth a second look.

The point I was making is reinforced in a comment made by a woman who works in the garment industry and has an excellent blog called "Fashion Incubator". This is an excerpt from her response to an individual's comment about the use of pins.

I think I understand what you’re saying Diane but maybe some re-framing is in order. I don’t dislike narrow diameter metal pointy things just because. Home sewers who like pins aren’t stupid or crazy; they use them for good reasons: 
1. Uneven feeding (machine problem) 
2. Joining unmatched seam lengths (pattern problem). 
Pins are a work aid. If pins are being used, this is (usually) a sign of a work around; there is a problem that preceded the stitcher and it’s not their fault. The solution is not to take their pin supply from them; it’s to eliminate their need of them.

Elegant Designs for Easy Living

Yesterday was what I call I near perfect day for a sewing enthusiast. Visiting Toronto and taking in the sights, sounds, tastes and smells is a treat for the senses. One important stop on the itinerary was the Textile Museum of Canada.

Tucked away in a corner behind City Hall, the museum is the place I often escaped to on precious lunch hours when I worked on Bay St. While others ate their power lunches hoping to make a big connection, panted away on treadmills in the local gym, or toiled in stark grey cubicles wolfing down fast food while staring into flickering screens, I would slip off to this little oasis of tranquility and creativity.

The Textile Museum shop on the second floor has so many books on all sorts of textile art. They also have used books for sale, donated to the museum to help raise funds. This book by Maggie Lane was a treasure that I purchased yesterday. It was published in 1978, over thirty years ago. I've not heard of Maggie Lane or this book previously, and patchwork is not something I'm particularly interested in. What attracted me was that the book included patterns for oriental clothing; Indian pant, Magyar coat, Dofuko, tabard, kangaroo shirt and several more. Typical for books of that time, it contains colour plates of the garments. This $18 find will give me hours of enjoyment as I pore over the construction details and marvel over the simplicity of the designs that are functional and yet have an aesthetic that I am attracted to.

The Textile Museum of Canada is having its Yardage Sale May 25 and 26, 2012. And if you go, you are sure to find a treasurer or two that someone has previously enjoyed and donated to the museum for resale.

Visit for details.