Thursday, July 31, 2014

summer stitching

butterick 5891

Much gratitude for hours of studio time.
Blessed luxurious studio time.
An allowing for slowing down,
stitching new work,
sampling new patterns,
playing with fabric,
taking a nap.

I've been working on samples
for future Butterick patterns 
and in the midst of it all 
I grabbed the opportunity for some play,
making a shirt/jacket
for an upcoming New York trip.

front collar

Wanting something fresh,
made of natural fibers,
that would work for cool and warm,
I found a piece of linen in grey
with shots of silver metallic.

Nothing like a little bling for the east coast.
  I wanted to give the shirt's surface a little 'bump' and
I had the thought that I would do some hand-painting.
With some large fabric scraps remaining
I had plenty of surface to practice on.
back butterick 5891

But alas, it was not to be.
Every painted bit was unsatisfactory.
I could not get what I wanted or anything I liked.

collar detail with stitching and added selvage edge

As I started stitching the pieces together
(with a bit of regret and disappointment I'll admit)
I was inspired by the selvage edges
that I'd decided to expose down the back seam.
What if I held the exposed selvage down
with my 'cardiac' stitch?
back seam and collar before construction

As one thing always leads to another,
the surface stitching began to wander.

It wandered onto the collar,
where I decided to insert some of that cool selvage edge
under the fold-over facing.
collar with stitching and added selvage

It wandered all around the collar
on the seamline where the collar 
meets the body of the shirt.
back stitching on collar/body seamline
It wandered onto the sleeves and sleeve hems.
I wondered if I could used it to hold the hem down?
(Yes it did, 
and, I hand stitched the hem in place as well.)

right sleeve hem stitching detail
left sleeve stitching detail

The stitches wandered down the front
and across to the other side.

front stitching details
stitching over selvage insert detail

Another bit of selvage inserted in left front seam
reminds me of a pocket.

However, in this pattern the pockets 
are inserted in the side seams.

pockets detail

They got some stitching too.

I was having so much fun!

buttonhole detail

The clear buttons with dots came from Paris
and worked perfectly in pairs
with my easy double buttonhole.
Make one long buttonhole slightly larger
than you need for two buttons.
Tack the center down before you cut
and voila, an easy solution
for a nice button detail.

 Over the shoulder the line goes.
Adding just the 'bump' I wanted 
with subtlety and grace. 

I do as much of the cardiac stitching as possible 
when the pieces are flat;
for example the sleeves, the fronts, the back.
Then, as I add more lightening stitching 
after I've attached different pieces together;
for example the collar and pocket detail.

A couple of changes I made to the pattern:
1. I added 3-1/2 inches to the length. 
2" on the 'add length here' line and 1-1/2" at the hem.
2. I cut down the flare at the side 
by trimming 1-1/2 inches from the lower side edge, 
grading to nothing at the waist.
Happy stitching, creating, playing!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Under the Tuscan Sun version 2.0

In case you were wondering
what happened to the first 'Under the Tuscan Sun' blog,
it was posted by mistake.
My apologies. 
And just so you know, there was no content, only a title.
I could blame the jet-lag but then
stuff happens...

A view from Montepulciano.
For our stay in Tuscany
we rented Palazzo Bracci in Montepulciano
with no idea of the history of the building.
What a grand surprise!
If you are travelling to Tuscany
I highly recommend renting this lovely home
with her faded grandeur,
charming meandering rooms, 
huge terrace and stunning views.
Wonderful to have the main street
just outside our front door,
for wandering up and down
the picturesque cobbled lanes
or popping in to one of the small groceries
for vegis, olive oil, wine or pasta.
We had many fine restaurants to choose from
within walking distance.
European restaurants frequently start the meal
with an amuse-bouche,
something to tantalize the taste buds.
Imagine my surprise 
when our first dinner in Tuscany
began with a jello slider!

Mind you it was a chic Italian jello slider!
They must train Italian waiters to flirt
along with the fine service.
Every one who served us was charming
warm and funny without a speck of smarm.
Makes that tasty Italian food even more delicious.

We took some day trips and
I really enjoyed being in Siena.
It was raining when we got there
which was a good thing
as the (other) 'tourists' stayed away
until the sun came out.

Looking over Siena at the Duomo.
My favorite thing was climbing to the Panorama 
atop the Duomo (Cathedral) museum.
After I caught my breath it was 
spectacular views in every direction.
The black and white stripe stone is distinctive
and wonderfully over the top!

Because Siena was not considered 'important'
it wasn't bombed  during the war
so the beautiful architecture
remains intact.
 We can all be thankful for that.

Marcy in the wine cellar.

 Tuscany would be nothing without the local wines.

Each of the wineries we visited in Montepulcino
had Etruscan ruins deep in the earth
where the temperature never changes
and the wine ages in massive casks.

Etruscan well.
The ancient energy is palpable
when I'm in these old sites.
I love it.

Entrance to an Etruscan tomb from the 6-5th century BCE.

The best tasting wines came from 

Old bottles lend ambiance in the Frattoria della Talosa wine tasting room.

So good in fact that we ordered a case.
 (We'll see how it travels...)
Not only did they have the best wine,
but they were knowledgeable and friendly.
Not the case everywhere...

Cemetery at La Foce.
More tombs.
I find them peaceful.