Monday, April 25, 2016

Little Dress

Oh hello there! Life has been busy just being life, days roll on, flowers bloom, and I get caught up in the nature of living. Every once in a while I take a moment and dust off the sewing machine and get reacquainted.

In this case, a little dress for one of my little friends. Made from a bit of vintage fabric I've been hording for quite some time. I was inspired by the riot of blooms popping up everywhere here in the PNW. Happy Spring!

I added a vintage doily for a pocket. This is one of my favorite little girl dress patterns. I have re-traced and adjusted it so many times that I can't remember the original pattern I started with when Pony girl was about 3 years old. I made it many times and it never disappoints. I love this version in this treasured fabric.

Of course one must add a vintage button to finish it off.

It really is one of my favorite things you know, sewing for littles. Makes me happy indeed. Not to mention that this dress is going to be worn by one of the sweetest littles around!

What is one of your favorites things to make?

Friday, March 4, 2016

Sewing Mojo

I don't want to get too excited, but I do think that I may have found my sewing mojo again. At least I certainly hope so. Yesterday I made up my mind to reacquaint myself with Sadie Sewing Machine and get to it! I went through a stack of patterns and settled on Tina Givens Dresdon Pant

All of her designs are over-sized and this was no exception; think a modern version of "harem" pants. While a fairly simple pattern, there are some interesting fiddly bits that kept my attention. I love the pleated and cuffed hem. 

I added little tabs of vintage tea-dyed lace to the cuffs for fun.

It has inset pockets and side panels that run the length of the pant leg. I'm happy with the end result and they are super comfy. I wouldn't wear them with just a Tee, but they look good with more over-sized layers. Still, I think if I were to make them again I would make some changes.

I would shorten the crotch seam as it's too low for my taste and comfort, I might also narrow the leg a bit and try a capris length version. You could easily play around with the side panels, even doing them in a different fabric.

They look great paired with the Tessuti Lily Dress I made some time ago. 

Now I'm ready to make more! Oh yes, let's get stitching!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Signs of Life

Hello Sunshine!

I'm still trying to get back into the swing of things, blogging is a habit that I have let fall to the wayside, so... baby steps.

It has been a bit of a gloomy winter, but for the past couple of days the sun has come out to play. There are signs of life everywhere. Flowers are popping up and perfuming the air.

Purple and green carpets under still leafless trees and Hellebore showing off their early blooms.

It's invigorating and energizing to see the natural world waking up. Are there signs of life where you are?

I'm off to enjoy the sun while it lasts. See you soon!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Dog Days

Well long time no blog! You know, life happens and time slips by. It's been a long wet winter so far, but the Crocus and Daffodils are popping up to give a bit of cheer.

While I was away from this space, someone new joined our clan. Meet Banjo, the newest member of the family!

He is a sweet 3 year old Australian Shepherd mix. He is a rescue dog that came all the way from Texas. Now he's in his forever home and we love him quite a lot. There is one member of the family who is not impressed, The Buddha Cat is being a bit cranky about the whole business. Which is understandable since he has had the run of the household for a good many years. Progress is being made on the cat vs dog front, but there is still some way to go.

Pony Girl is over the moon! Nothing like a girl and her dog.

I have also taken a little break from the sewing studio lately. I've been faffing about with other things and making in different ways. I do think though, that I'm ready to get back to stitching. What shall I make?

What have you been up to my friends?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Wearing Handmade

Finally, here is the finished version of my Cascade Dress for grown ups. After the pattern was sewn up, I died the entire garment using a natural dye method with black beans. I then added vintage lace details, also naturally dyed. I still think there are a few changes I'd like to make down the road if I continue making the pattern, however, I am quite pleased with the final result. A lot of time and love went into this dress. It has a comfy playfulness to it and wearing it makes me feel young at heart.

After working on my Cascade Dress, I decided I needed a break from the drafting and turned to a published pattern for my next project.

I chose The Peplone Jacket Pattern by Tina Givens. I had found this beautiful deep amethyst linen/rayon blend at my local fabric shop and just knew it would make quite a statement. So it did! I loved working with this fabric and may have to hunt down some more,

I used some organic cotton scraps I had for the pockets and sleeve trim, and a fantastic big vintage button I got from my mom some years ago. This worked up wonderfully. It's a very full fit coat-like garment reminiscent of the turn of the century boho movement. To be accessorized with a languid pose and an artistic flair. I love it truly. I can't help but feel decadent and creative whilst wearing it.

 I can see that my promise to sew more for myself is taking some interesting turns and I'm really enjoying it.

Have you made anything lately?

See you after the holiday, be well!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Vintage Color

Ooh it's getting cold and rainy 'round these parts. This morning I couldn't quite shake a chill and toyed with the idea of starting a fire in the wood stove. I didn't, but I can see that the season's first fire is not long off. How's the season treating you where you are I wonder?

Yesterday I spent the morning visiting a friend in the hospital and got home just in time to put on a dye pot. It was an easy dye as I was using the water from soaking black beans, this dye pot does not need heat so it's a bit less intensive. However, I was dyeing The Cascade Dress from my last post and it was rather a lot more fabric than I have dyed at any one time. I learned that I am going to need one of those super duper giant enamel canning pots if I intend to dye whole dresses on the regular.

I also threw in a few vintage lace and doily bits. Before I sunk my dress into the murky depths of the black bean dye pot, I did a few experiments with modifiers. On it's own, black bean water can produce purple, purplish grays, blues, and the like. Adding an iron modifier creates a really lovely blue gray, more sombre in tone, or if left to soak for a longer time, it would produce a dark gray. Vinegar, depending on the length of soak, can produce a light fuchsia pink or a brighter purple. Using soda ash as a modifier will create a really pretty vintage cream color. I am sure the variations would continue using other modifiers such as copper, etc, but I'll have to experiment with that at another time.

In the picture above you'll see some of the variations from the black bean dye pots and some from an earlier dye day using Madder.  I love looking at the pieces, especially the vintage bits. I continue to be enthralled with the process of natural dyeing and all of the variations that can happen. It is an ancient process and as with many old ways, it takes time. It's slow color, always changing.

As the seasons change and fresh dyeing ingredients are less available, I'll learn to adapt and work with what is at hand. Not to mention that with the cold moving in, those steaming dye pots will be far more welcome than in the heat of Summer. I started my natural dyeing journey earlier this year, and I can see that there is such a very long way to go yet to learn all the things I desire to. I'm ok with that, in fact, I look forward to many years of learning and travelling along this journey.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Cascade Dress Part Two -

I'm working out all the kinks in grown up version of The Cascade Dress. It needs pockets, you all know how much I love a handy dandy pocket! I'm also uncertain of the contrasting band, but as I plan to dye the whole shebang, I think it will blend nicely. Plus, it's prototype #1. Will there be a prototype #2? Perhaps, I need a little break from this baby.

Going through the process of creating a new design, especially one to be worn by adults, is incredibly detailed, time consuming, and unpaid. It's a real labor of love. It makes one really appreciate handcrafted items; be they clothes, woodwork, print making, knitting, etc. Back in the old days we owned less, so what we owned needed to last longer and... ok, I'm not going to go all Nana on you and wax nostalgic for the way back times, but you know what I mean. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I would hope that we, as a society, thought about what goes into the things we choose to buy. I hope that people understand that when you look at a well crafted item made by someone's hands you understand that hours and hours of passionate labor have gone into it, not to mention quality materials. It may seem expensive to some, but the truth is, most of us makers charge less than the product is worth in time and materials. We don't do it to get rich, we do it because it's what we love and we hope others will love it too.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

New Design - The Cascade Dress

The Cascade Dress
Oh hello!

This weekend I got an itch to make up a new dress design. I was inspired by another dress, and one of my favorite places on the Oregon coast. It's an over-sized overdress. Ever expanding  my love of smock frocks, I think this one is a keeper.

I made it for Pony Girl, but I may have taken the idea of over-sized a bit too far and it nearly fits me! Once she gets home from school all shall be revealed. If it does prove to be a disaster on her, it may end up for sale in the shop. For now, it's hanging up in the lounge making for some pretty scenery.

What do you think?