Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Well hello there! That’s me back in 1956. Age 10. Occasion – the first dress I made by myself. It won the district Singer Sewing contest and went to regional. We couldn’t afford the trip to regional so I had to have a photo of me wearing the dress accompany it to St. Paul/Minneapolis.
My mother who was an excellent seamstress decided it would be better to have someone else start me on my sewing journey. I made little fashion doll (fore-runner to the Barbies of today) clothes on my working toy sewing machine but now I was going to learn to use a real honest to goodness sewing machine. So she enrolled me at the local Singer Sewing center. I was allowed to pick out my fabric and my pattern. It was not the easiest pattern but my mother never discouraged me she just let me forge ahead. Typical of my mother really, she decided to learn to knit in her 70’s and when she picked out the pattern she wanted to do her senior center instructor tried to discourage her. But she was determined and she succeeded much to the instructor’s amazement! That’s just the way she rolled.

So off I went to the class. The ladies teaching were knowledgeable but when I started to cut out the pieces they decided to have a gossip feast in the corner of the room. Well when they finally checked on me they were horrified to see I was cutting off the hem. I was following the fold line rather than the bottom, an honest mistake for a 10 year old I think. Well there wasn’t enough room to scoot the piece over so they just had me use a bias binding to turn the hem up. They had a bit of explaining to do when it came to the judging part. But at least they owned up to it!
Sleeve detail with trim and covered button

I still have the dress, and I am always amazed at the detail in it, from covered buttons on the sleeves, to handmade binding trim around the sleeve and the sleeve tabs, to turned under seam edges (we didn’t have sergers back then!), it looks like a lot of work.
Seam edge turned under and sewn

Even the gathering was protected from raveling 

Sweet little button detail echoing the fabric design
I still have the handwritten critique that I received and the prize which was a zippered case with three Singer scissors. The case is a bit ratty and I’m not sure I have all three scissors but it’s still a treasure to me.

What prompted this trip down memory lane?

Well I was watching Karen in one of her Simply Stitch videos and she had made a printed copy of some of her fabric work and was incorporating it in her paperwork cutouts. I had my little pin pricked fashion illustration dress in mind and the light bulb went on. I could do something like that with my first dress and so now I have another idea to work on to put in my ledger. Oh the ideas just keep coming!

Close Up of the Fabric

Be back soon!

Happy stitching


Thursday, November 21, 2013

I Love Needle Piercing!

Okay how many of you when you read that thought of body piercing and thought no way, not Rose!?

Ha ha, you’re right I’m not doing body piercing no way, no how but I am piercing paper. And I really enjoy it even though I’m not really, really good at it yet like my instructor is. Yes I’m taking another online class (well it really isn’t a class, no particular assignments, we’re just flies on the wall watching how she works). The she? Well it’s Karen Ruane of Contemporary Embroidery. I’ve taken a couple of other classes from her and I love her work and her way of teaching.
She does a lot of embroidery and paper piercing among other things and gives us plenty of eye candy almost on a daily basis. If you visit her blog you’ll see what I mean.

So here’s my projects so far:

Geometry Flash Card Triangle

  • I’ve been thinking about seeds and seed pods a lot lately. I’m not sure if it is the season or what but it did start when I was making the geometry flash card with triangles. It just seemed like the one with the seed stitch had all these little seeds trying to escape the triangle only to fall back down because of the enclosure.
Seed Pod Rough Sketch

So I went on a search for seeds being released from their pods and one thing led to another. I wound up with a sketch of sorts.

I started transferring it to my acrylic paper with needle piercing and went a little overboard. Not exactly thinking ahead here. I did manage to do some cutout sections for which I embroidered some white cloth with white thread. The embroidery has been attached and some French knots added to the paper. There’s more work to be done on this piece but I find that I need to let it rest and then when I start again I am happier with what has been done.
Seed Pod Progress

  • Watching Karen work gave me another idea for working with a fashion illustration I did when I was in college. I’m trying to find the book source for the original dress but I know I took it and scaled it down a few times and then traced the sketches as dresses dancing down a line and then tried to color them and give them pattern and texture.
    Dress Illustration
    I’ve always wanted to do something with this illustration and now I am inspired to work with it on paper as a needle pierced piece. At the same time I remembered my first dress I ever made (I was 10 years old), I thought that would be great fabric to photograph and then add as inserts into the paper design. Oh the little red thing laying in the photo I'll tell you about that later in my tips and tricks!

One final project for now is a scribble of mine that I have pierced into paper and stitched with white thread. I’ve done the cutout and now need to decide on how to back them. I have two ideas. One came from just accidentally laying the cutout on top of my notebook which gave me an idea for some type of stained glass effect. The other again just happened when I laid the cutout over the top of my seed pod sketch. Now to decide.

Overlay of notebook
Overlay of seed pod sketch
I have a lot more work to do including a special order for a button bracelet and quilt squares that need to be done soon so I’d better get busy.

Be back later!

Happy stitching or piercing!


Monday, November 4, 2013

September, October, Where Did You Go?

So I was going to blog in October about how September just came and went. Now it’s already November so September and October have both appeared and vanished for another year.
My original intent was to blog about the past revisited. It started with a  request from my daughter to make a costume for my grandson. He had been invited to a woodland themed birthday party and she wanted a gnome outfit for him.
Ok I can do that after all when she was little I made her a Pilgrim outfit, a butterfly and a Snow White costume. The Pilgrim outfit I had a pattern to guide me, the butterfly was made from a craft magazine pattern and the Snow White was just my own creation using what I had at hand. When she was a butterfly I realized I didn’t have anything for her brother who was still at the crawling stage. Then I spied and old ugly green sheet (think 70’s) and whipped up a caterpillar outfit for him. When she was Snow White I made him into a Prince Charming again at the last minute.
Oh Tutu I don't think so! Gnome prototype
So I finally got around to tackling the gnome. I had a rough idea in my head for this but I had to make a few prototypes first. I discovered he did not want anything around his mouth so the mustache I had planned was out. My daughter was a little dubious about how I was constructing the beard because I used a piece of stiff interfacing just to get the length and width. The hat I made was droopy and she wanted a pointy hat. So I made an insert of the stiff interfacing to make the hat stand up. The beard was made from an unused mop. I cut some strings from the mop and sewed/glued them to some twill ribbon. One end of the ribbon was sewn to the  hat and the other end snapped onto the other side of the hat. The hat was made from fleece so it had some stretch to it.
Mama and her little gnome
Then came the shoes which I had not planned to do but was requested the morning of the party. So back to the drawing board. They almost didn’t happen. We wanted them to slip over his regular shoes so I traced around the sole of the shoe and then came up with a way to encase the shoe with felt. I intended to put some wire to make the toe ends curl up but we wound up just pinning them with safety pins. The belt was made from some leftover vinyl I had and a buckle was made from the stiff interfacing.Everything else was store bought. I thought it came out pretty good for a last minute project. I’m still working on perfecting the shoe pattern. I’ll share it when I’m done.
The reason I was so late in posting this is I was trying to find the photos I had of my young children in their costumes. No luck so far so you’ll just have to settle for a picture of my grandson in his appearance as a little gnome.
The gnome in the garden

All photos courtesy of my daughter. For more on this project see her blog Little Girl Dancing!

Happy Stitching!