Saturday, March 31, 2012

Update on Starlet Suit Fitting

I have been trying to fit the Starlet Suit, which is a class I'm taking online at Craftsy.  I'm using Opal's online tutorial, which has been extremely helpful.

However, I haven't had as much time as I'd like as I've been busy (kitchen re-design is taking up time, I had to work today, a Saturday, and I was in my Bits of Thread Skirt Pattern-Making class).  You can always look at my facebook page if you'd like to see examples of what our kitchen will look like (cabinets ordered!), and I could tell you in detail about the 45 minutes I spent looking for a dissertation about international law w/ regards to illicit drugs, but it's probably more fun if I show you & tell you about the skirt.

It was an excellent class & I can recommend it if you're in the DC area.  I learned a great way to make a waistband & also the best method I've seen to put in a zipper & have it look great. So there it is, on Helen & I'm quite pleased w/ the wax print fabric from Ghana.  I have some matching cotton & would like to make a light jacket to go w/ it.

So how's the fitting going?  Take a look at photo #2 and see what you think...the BP has definitely moved down to the right place. I also removed the fullness above the bust, now I need to take some out below.  I also took out a little at the side seams...I think I'll remove a bit more tomorrow.  I don't mind the flare at the sides, but there's some at the front, too, so I want to fit that.  The problem with princess seams is which seam (there are 6 altogether) do I remove fullness from? I do think it's an improvement from the previous version.

I will spend tomorrow fitting & sewing.  But first, our typical Sunday morning ritual: drinking coffee & reading the paper in bed.  I haven't read any news for at least 3 days--I have them stacked up to go through!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fitting the Starlet Suit Jacket - getting warmer!

This is the size 10 of the Starlet Suit pattern.  Much better than the size 12 (it fits great across the back), but my next task will be online reading about how to "fit" princess-seamed items and to try some adjustments so the waist is a bit smaller & there's not so much pulling...

And I have been doing a bit of online research (my life is research!), and found a FB adjustment for a princess seam tutorial from Burda Style's Opal in Minnesota; thanks!  So the next bit of excitement will be me trying out her instructions; hopefully tomorrow...

I have to admit, one of the things I hate about fitting is measuring myself; I've been putting it off for weeks.  Finally, after the skirt-pattern class at Bits of Thread, where I had to measure myself in public, I've been getting all the different measurements done & wrote them down last night.  Today I'll use Opal's instructions & try to get the front pattern adjusted a bit.

Speaking of measurements & healthy body images, I came across an article in the paper today about how Israel has banned ads with too-skinny models!  18.5 BMI is the bottom line for healthy, BTW.

I've been singing Debaser all week; it's a good earworm!  And a cover by OK Go!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Details...a few from the Esprit Amish Quilt Collection show in Lancaster

The actual quilting (what holds the 3 pieces of fabric together) is actually the most difficult part of quilting.  Piecing?  Deciding what color to use and how to arrange the block--easy peasy!  But the quilting--it's hard and from the one time I hand-quilted a very small (3' x 3') quilt, I mostly remember lots of needle pricks!  But if you look closely, quilting, the handstitched designs that are the backbone of a sturdy & beautiful quilt, are the most time-consuming and the most detailed part of most quilts you'll see...certainly the most detailed part of these Amish masterpieces.  (Remember, click on a photo to see the original size & get even more detail.) 

This one is my new desktop background!  Like being lost in colorful city blocks!

Music?  I Fall to Pieces by Patsy Cline.  Oh, Patsy, I love how you're just a beat slower than the music!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Pattern-making: Skirt Class at Bits of Thread, DC

I needed 1/2" binding for my skirt class, so decided to try to make some.  I bought the little gadget from Clover, sliced up some skirt fabric & you can see the result in the photo, above.  

I was also in our basement & came across some paper inside an Ikea box...I think this is the paper others were recommending buying to use as pattern paper, so I rolled it up & will take it along to class, too...though we might be making our patterns on muslin instead.

The fabric is a wax print that I bought in Ghana.  Wax prints have a strange and wondrous history, all based on shipping routes & trade.  Find out more here!

I took this in class.  It was a great class...highly recommended.  I learned SO much!  I'll go back next week for the final class; I have the pattern done, but haven't cut out the skirt yet.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Live from Lancaster! Amish Quilts from the Esprit Collection

We made a special trip to the Lancaster Quilt & Textile Museum to see all 82 quilts from the Esprit Amish Quilt Collection in one place.  They are amazing, mostly from about 1880 - 1925, made from solid-color pieces of wool.  Known for their graphic quality and modern art sensibility, Amish quilts made a big splash when they were exhibited as art at the Whitney in NYC in 1971.

Lancaster is a great little town, in the heart of Amish country...very charming & lots to see & do. Sunday afternoons are a good time to be out and about as the Amish head out in their carriages to socialize.

Here are a very few of the 82 quilts, just to show you some of our favorites.  I'll put some detail shots on the next post. Enjoy!
A quick note about the collection: they are in financial troubles and really need a donor to help them find a new home (though the collection will remain together & be used for shows; but will spend more of its time in storage than on show).  If you're an oil baroness or google heir, please contact them at the link above!

Music?  Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend?  by Marilyn (who else?)  To explain the pun, two of the above quilts are called Diamond in the Square...sorry!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

From the Collection: Afghanistan - Uzbek Lakai Ilgitsh (Tent Hanging)

We have been moving furniture around due to the big remodel & one benefit is that we have another place to display bits of our textile collection.

This amazing piece of embroidery is a tent hanging from Northern Afghanistan, and as far as I can tell it's an ilgitsh, which is just a general term for a tent hanging.  The Lakai are an Uzbek tribe.  It's a bit unusual because though it is square, like many others I've seen online, the embroidery stops right where we've clipped it at the top for display (clipped it with clips, not with scissors!).  So it's folded & you cannot see the non-embroidered part, making it triangular shaped.

I like to include references (librarians just can't help it), so here's another example, much older, that I found online.  I've included a bunch of detail photos so you can see how wonderful it is and so you can see the artist's talented embroidery up close.  Of course this would be part of a bride's trousseau.

No, we haven't been to Afghanistan, unfortunately.  Not for lack of trying.  Mostly it was just a $$ thing; way too expensive--more bang for our buck going to West Africa & ride buses for 5 weeks, rather than 2 weeks on a tour in Afghanistan.  I don't have many regrets, but not getting to Peshawar when we were overseas makes me go, "Ouch!"  We have another amazing Afghan item--a wedding dress, I think it's Turcoman/Turkoman.  More on that later.

Anyway, enjoy these photos of Central Asian artwork.  Comments are always welcome & if you know more than I do, please write & correct me, or provide additional info.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fitting the Starlet Suit, Part 1

Here's how it is:  I'm working on the Starlet Suit, a class by Gretchen at Craftsy.  Because I bought a lot of fairly expensive wool to make myself 2 suits, I'm making a muslin/toile as a test.  And the first fitting is done & it's too big.  If you look at the attached photos you will see that basically a size 12 is just too big. With any luck that means that my issue in the previous post about the princess seam not looking quite right is just part of the size 12 issue. So my next task is to take apart all the muslin pieces (all sewed at the longest stitch to save thread and to make them easier to un-sew), then re-cut all 6 pieces to a size 10 and try try again.  Or should I say toile toile again?

The first photo shows the back, which definitely looks a little bit too big at the shoulder, and then way  too big under the arms.  The second is the side seam, which definitely does not look the way it should.  On the right, you'll see how baggy it is at the waist.  Part of this is the FB issue, but I'm hoping that a smaller size & the princess seams will help.  Otherwise I may need a narrow belt.

The last photo looks pretty good, really, you can see that the lapels are cut just right & will fold back naturally.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Toile and Trouble? Starlet Suit Fitting Issues?!

Okay, I haven't done the side seams or the sleeves--obviously.  But I'm already a bit worried.  I don't think this looks like it's going to fit Helen.  Can you see right at the top of the princess seam?  It looks like it's not quite right, and believe me it's been pressed and re-pressed.   Yike-ola.  This is the muslin I'm working on for my Starlet Suit.

Now I know that there's a lot to do before I get worried, but after my 7501 issues, I'm probably a bit toile-shy.  I plan to spend most of tomorrow finishing this & seeing what happens.  And possibly a lot of time trying to figure out what to do to fix it!  But I'll wait to worry...

I'm just using up a bunch of scraps (some of which I got on  I also bought some king-size sheets at a thrift store to use for my skirt pattern-making class later this month.