Saturday, February 18, 2012

Vogue 8793 ~ Version 1.3 & 1.4 ~ Spring Flow

To make this t-shirt for Spring I decided to lower the neck and shorten the sleeves to 3/4. Blue was the colorway of choice.

Blue Dot, version 1.3 I cut without making any actual notations on the pattern. The fabric I choose for the front had an amazing selvedge which I wanted to use. Loved the hand, it washed beautifully but ended up having no recovery. A challenge. By taping the zipper to the straight collar edge (using Wonder Tape which is double sided and washes away) before sewing I avoided major stitching and stretching problems there.

The third time was the charm with the front on this version. (Fortunately I stayed calm and went with the flow...)

The first front I cut was too short and the hem stretched horribly when I stitched it down even tho I had pressed it, fused it in place and used a walking foot. 

For the second try I cut the lower part of the original off and added a longer double layer with the fold at the hem for extra weight hoping to eliminate the stretching problem. No dice - still too short and the fabric stretched again (so much for knit finesse). Yikes.

The final solution was to use a different fabric that had more recovery and stability. The edge was left raw so stitching wouldn't be an issue. To deal with the slight roll on the edge I painted it. I used my favored 'Riffle' screen with black paint (hardly visible in the photo) which mimicked the stripe and 'Circle Game' for some white and blue textured orbs.

Blue Dot 1.3
Blue Dot 1.3 Collar

Water for Chocolate 1.4 Collar

Water for Chocolate 1.4

Pattern Changes

Water for Chocolate, version 1.4 was a piece of cake. This time I made a new pattern piece, lowered the neck 2-1/2", added a 1" dart (which admittedly had to be moved three times), lowered the hem 1" at the side and 2" in the front.

There was a lot to learn making these two t-shirts. Primarily that it is easier to problem solve a solution that to beat myself up for not getting it right the first time. I like version 1.3 better than the other two. A curve happened when I sewed the seam and it softens the line across the front. The black paint works when I wear it with black jeans. 

To make it work the first time the next time I choose a fabric like this I will cut the piece double, with darts and more length. But then I rarely like to do the same thing twice...


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ties That Bind

A dear friend that I've known since high school lost her husband last summer.

Jim was a full-living, vibrant, dapper, outgoing, friendly, funny, story-telling man who loved to laugh and made friends with everyone he met.  They were together for over 40 years.  The love of her life, he finally proposed 6 months before he died.  He was afraid she would say 'no'.

Jim had a vast collection of ties (among other things). One day before the funeral Anna Marie brought a stack of them into the living room, draped them over the couch and asked me to make something for her using them.  I collected a grouping of what appealed to me and shipped them off to my Oregon studio.  

And there they sat.  
And sat.  
And sat.  
Inspiration was not quickly forthcoming.  I found myself moving them around; setting them on various surfaces while waiting for the tie muse to appear.  Eventually she did.

I had a vision of a scarf made with strips of bias silk that would be cut from the ties. Soft, colorful, fluid, simple.  Something to wrap around Anna Marie's neck just like the ties were worn by Jim.  

The reality of stitching a project like this is always more complicated that it appears (in my visions anyway).  

The ties were shipped back to Minnesota so I could create the scarf during my Christmastime visit. Spread all over my daughter's dining room table, I cut the strips on a small mat with a rotary cutter, piled the strips randomly next to the machine and stitched away.

I decided on no backing or lining as I wanted the fluidity - which I got - but that created new problems to solve. The silks and other fabrics all reacted to stitching differently. Some stretched more on the bias than others; they were different weights and textures. I wanted the strips to be varying widths and ended up adding seams to some of the widest. I'd planned to leave the long side edges unfinished but folding the edge over once and stitching it down added just the right bit of weight. Lucky I'd cut the strips wider than I'd thought I needed. The seams were randomly exposed to both sides so it is always right side out. Lack of perfection becomes perfect.

Soft, fluid and colorful - just what I imagined.
Anna Marie and I met for lunch right before Christmas. A great time to give her my gift. If I entertained thoughts of  whether she'd 'like it' or whether it was 'good enough' (always comes up) I didn't have to. I received what was for me a perfect response - she burst into tears. 

I don't think she's taken it off since.