January is off to a fun & busy start! I’m taking all our new classes this month, so I’ll be busy doing my craft homework and learning new things – Intro to Cross Stitch, Leather Moccasins & Sewn Mittens!!
The Quilt Sampler 2 class started on Thursday, so I thought I’d start by posting my colour palette and fabric choices. I’ve decided to do shades of grey (no surprise), aqua and mustard. My inspiration photos are this and this. I really love the soft, silvery look of these photos and also the proportion of each colour. I’m going to try to keep referring to these images to see if I can achieve the same feeling with my quilt blocks.
I’m still using Pinterest like crazy, especially to keep a board with colour palette ideas for future projects. It is so perfect for organizing your inspirations. If you’re not using Pinterest yet and want an invite, just let me know.
March 6, 2010 of 365 : pile of grey ‘scraps’ from johanna for my hexagon project
The English Paper Pieced hexagon project that I’m working on is using all shades of grey with splashes of orangey red. I have quite a few greys in my collection, but I was hoping to have only one or two hexagons of each fabric. I have estimated that I’ll need over 225 hexagons to make my pillow, so that’s a heck of a lot of grey. I asked Johanna if she might open up her vault of fabric (over 20 years of collecting) and snip a few small pieces for me. She generously handed over an incredible stack of delicious grey pieces from her huge collection and each piece is a real gem. (I actually do mentally envision Johanna’s insane fabric collection as a huge vault full of fabric. She seems to have a neverending stash of amazing prints.)
365 : grey converse
I got my first pair of Converse in October. They are grey, which you may have noticed is my favourite colour of all time.
I’m in love with the new tunic that I made earlier this week. (Yes, somehow there is time to make a new tunic but not time to start holiday gifts. I am able to rationalize this by saying it is good for my mental state to make myself a pretty top.)
I’ve been dying for a top or dress with a nice yoke and gathering, a la Wiksten for ages. I noticed a very simple one in my new book, ‘Favourite Tunic, Dress, Vest Book’. The fabric is a men’s shirting fabric from DFO. I absolutely adore this grey, stripey fabric, it has such a soft, vintage-y feel. I had bought it a few years ago for some ties and just realized that I should pick some more up before it was gone for good. I got the last 2 yards on the bolt.
The fit and cut of the tunic is really lovely and also roomy. It has a zipper in the back, but I don’t even need to use it to get the top on and off easily. Next time I make it, I’ll just omit the zipper and cut down on my production time! The sleeves were so beautiful that I decided to leave them full, rather than put in elastics. I used my 1/4″ Clover bias tape maker to trim the neckline and sleeves. The really skinny bias tape looks really great. (I take it back, Ayalah. It’s not that hard to work with and it looks amazing.)
To add a little extra sweetness, I trimmed the bottom edge of the tunic with lace. Anabela, I hope you approve!
Quilt Sunday definitely got my engines revved for figuring out the back of my queen sized quilt. I had a vague idea of something ‘piecy’, using yellow as an accent to greys and grey blues. I drew a sketch and thought I would just be spontaneous and not calculate anything. When I took out my pile of fabrics to get going, I was overwhelmed and afraid.
Jacqueline has been planning her quilts on the computer and the thought of having some actual measurements to go by seemed very reassuring (and practical). I opened up Photoshop and created a file that was the size of my quilt (90″ x 108″). Then I started making boxes and shading them with the colour tones I’ve been thinking of. Once I was happy with the look, I checked to see what the final size of each box was and ‘voila’! some simple quilt math was accomplished without injury.
You’ll notice that the design is very loosely based on a log cabin block. I really love the look of the log cabin and one day I hope to do a whole log cabin quilt. One day very far away from now.
I’m going to try not to fret too much more about the details, the fabrics or the design and just whip it up as quickly as possible. I think there’s something to be said for being spontaneous in quilting. Though that might seem impossible when working on a project of such magnitude and time.
I threw dress 12 together in a hurry when I realized we had tickets to the closing night of the Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thompson Hall. They used the word ‘gala’ on the ticket and when I looked at all my new dresses, none of them said ‘red carpet’ to me. I had never been to see any films at TIFF before, so I decided a new fancy dress was in order.
Over the years, I have rescued various textiles and threads, not ever knowing what I would do with them. I only knew that they couldn’t be thrown away. I have a box of vintage custom-dyed charmeuse silk remnants. The colours are gorgeous and the fabric is super luxurious. One side of charmeuse is glossy and smooth, while the other side is quite matte. I always imagined they would make lovely fancy dresses, if only I had fancy dress occasions.
I went through the pile of silks and chose a ‘film strip’ grey called, ‘Smoke’. I folded the fabric in half unevenly, to create two layers of fabric. The top shiny side was shorter, revealing the matte side along the bottom. I serged a rolled hem along the top fold with light pink embroidery thread and did the same on the two bottom hems. I sewed a quick seam up the length of the fabric to make a ‘tube’. I think you know what’s coming next – shirring. Three sets of three closely spaced lines of shirring and my dress was done! I had thoughts of doing a dress more complicated or even just cut on the bias, but it was Friday night and the film was on Saturday. Plus, I wanted to watch episode 2 of Gossip Girl. My girl crush on Blair is growing. She is by far the most interesting girl on that show.
I wore my Chie Mihara grey shoes with the dress. They are one of my prized shoe possessions and they were a perfect match to the grey silk dress.
The movie, “Stone of Destiny”, is based on a true story about four university students who plan a heist to steal back the Stone of Scone from Westminster Abbey in England and return it to Scotland. It’s a sweet, feel good movie and I enjoyed watching it all dressed up in my fancy new dress.
ONE MORE DRESS TO GO! Dress 13 has no shirring, I promise. I’m super excited, as it uses cute Japanese fabric and will be the perfect ‘fall transition’ dress. Perhaps worn with coloured tights? If I can pull that off.
I finally wore my new runners for the first time last week.
It’s pretty clear that I love vintage things of a certain style. Industrial, wooden, metal and grey seem to be common elements. Yesterday when I bought this overhead projector from a girl off craigslist, I realized that “Old School” was probably the perfect classification for my obsession.
What is it about all this old stuff? I just can’t resist it. The massive reclaimed church globes (from Post & Beam Reclamation), the battleship grey stools (found by Becky, even the workroom’s space is pure vintage with the vaulted ceilings and the gorgeous front glass windows. A month ago, I had to forcibly stop myself from buying a huge vintage chalkboard on wheels from Smash. Really, how many chalkboards can one girl have? (Jill – I’m still a bit sad about not getting it!)
The overhead projector does have a purpose though. It was purchased because we’re starting to get technical at the workroom. This fall Kristiann, will be teaching beginning pattern drafting classes. We’ll be learning about slashing and spreading and other fun things, so it is necessary to have some serious classroom equipment to facilitate serious learning.
Speaking of Old School, Upper Case Gallery is hosting a show AND doing a book on just that. Good lord, I could eat it all up. Please watch this ‘educational’ video about being quiet in the classroom. It’s classic. It also reminds me that I’ll have to hunt down an old school pencil sharpener next.
Dress 5 – APC knock off
Fabric – Red & Blue yarn dyed plaid
I promise to try not to inundate you with too many shirring projects, but hopefully you’re starting to get the sense that it’s really easy and kind of fun. A while back I had bookmarked this cute APC dress from their current summer collection. Of course, I recently realized that I could now make this dress and then I found a very similar blue/red plaid fabric at DFO. It seems a knock-off was in order.
This dress was made much like my silver shirring top. I did a rolled hem edge for the hemming, five lines of shirring spaced 1″ apart and straps that were about 1.5″ wide. The straps and patch pockets were cut on the bias, exactly like the APC version. I think that this is a really sweet detail and totally makes the dress. The APC version has shirring on the pockets too. I attempted to do this but ran into some issues with the pocket bunching up too much and thus tugging on the skirt of the dress in an unattractive way. I’m going to try to remember to use the shirred pocket on another project in the future.
Obviously this brings up the whole issue of knocking stuff off. Is it ever okay to knock off someone else’s design? An independent designer? A corporation? Is it okay for personal use or learning? Clearly it is absolutely, positively wrong to copy someone’s design and then sell it. To me, there is a grey area when it comes to making a copy of something for yourself especially when A. you can’t afford the real thing (because it was designed by Stella McCartney and is $1900) or B. you want to learn a new technique or style.
Clearly, it is something that everyone wants to do. the workroom’s new Knock it off class sells out within hours of being announced. It seems like we all want to copy someone or something. So what do you think – is imitation really the sincerest form of flattery?
As much as I love teaching classes, I REALLY love taking classes. It’s a real treat for me to have such cool and gifted teachers at the workroom, each one having their own special talents. Sitting in on their classes, has been very inspiring.
We had the Summer Hat class the past weekend which was taught by Reva. I met Reva in the shop before the Christmas holidays. I complimented her on her handbag, which she told me she had made from the Lotta Jansdotter ‘Simple Sewing’ book. We got to talking about sewing, Japanese fabrics, craft blogs and printing fabrics. I learned that she was a trained costume designer and that we pretty much had exactly the same taste and inspirations. Naturally, I asked her to share some of her experience by teaching some classes at the workroom.
On Sunday, we had a full house of future hat-makers. We all decided to make the bucket hat, which is reversible. I used a sage green cotton canvas, lined with Amy Butler’s Optic Blossom in yellow & grey. I’m really pleased with mine. I often forget to wear a hat in the summer and I’m quite prone to getting sun stroke, so having a new stylish hat is just the incentive I need to cover up. The hat class is running again in August, so I’ll be making the military-style cap next.
Reva also teaches the very fun lino block printing class. I would love to print my own fabric one day, so lino block printing is a great way to dip my toes in that pool of water.
p.s. I used to have a real thing for hats when I was in high school. I had a large collection, many of them with big flowers and folded up brims a la ‘Blossom’. Perhaps I’ll try to dig up a funny photo for you.