January 27, 2011

McCalls Advertising Page Embroidery Sewing Patterns

I am what you may call a 'Stacker'; loose odds and ends of books, magazines, loose papers are stacked in a corner of my studio beside the printer. They all have a purpose. Sometimes it's something I want to try, think about, or just don't know what else to do with at the moment. Right now, the stack must be close to two feet tall. But, that really is beside the point.

Yesterday I was digging through the stack and came across this single piece of paper.  My guess is it came out of a lot of patterns and was simple put into the stack. 

Some of the pattern numbers at present over at Wikia Vintage Patterns.  Based on that, the page must be from early 1940's as I've found dates between 1937 and 1942.      

This is delightfully fun !    Enjoy.


Two Birds Art Quilt Practice

Here's the second painted applique piece I put together the other day for practice.
It's smaller, about 10 x 8.5"  Again, same thing ... lightly painted fabric and some applique inspiration from Summer Garden Quilt pattern, which I've now drained of inspiration and placed in my shop

I stitched in the birds, the rails and some free form color here and there amongst the paint.

I was surprised how dramatically different they look .... the difference being the camera (first pic), and the scanner (second pic).   The scanner dramatically washes out the color.

As I was working on the birds, the term thread painting popped into my head  and I took a quick break to Google it for tutorials.   I, just as quickly changed my mind.   I definitely don't have the right equipment and setup for that, at this time.   But will put it on my consideration list for that new sewing machine sometime in the future.    For now I'm content on playing and experimenting with the fabric.   I'm looking for my style.   I've also set this one aside, and will come back to it later when I'm ready to experiment with finishing techniques.   Other than that, it is not a keeper.

As I worked, I found myself thinking about how, in my mosaic days, my centerpieces were typically in threes.   I always equated that to be three of us.   I noticed, that I now seem to be doing things in Two's.  How interesting that this evolves ... empty nestors and the subconscious mind.



January 25, 2011

Art Quilt Stitching Practice

As I was stitching yesterday, I noticed that my machine did not mess up once ... no dragging, no tension issues.   Perhaps it knows I've been talking bad about it.  

I decided to continue right where I left off and pulled out the same brown patterned fabric used in the first practice session.   I cut two smaller pieces; added bits of watered down acrylic paints and let them dry.    
Here I have two appliqued flowers and 10 leaves with batting only on the back.  As I was laying them out the name of Standing Guard kept jumping out at me, but I'm certainly far from having anything worth naming quality.     I added stitching to, of course, the leaves and the flowers, as well as freeform stitching here and there to compliment a few of the paint strokes.  
 The stitching is not prominent enough to much tell at a distance.     So, I layed it on the scanner bed (what would fit anyway) and it picks up a bit better.

I'm stopping at this point.   (I'll set it aside for practice when I start on finishing techniques).  What did I learn
  • My focal applique pieces are not enough contrast to the background paint.  
  • My stitching does not even begin to draw out the features.   

Practice will continue; I have the second piece of semi-painted fabric, which I'll start practice tomorrow.


January 20, 2011

Brother XL3500 Sewing Machine and Continued Quilt Practice

If I decide I'm going to sew on any kind of a frequent basis, whether it be clothing or art, I'm going to need a new sewing machine.   

Now, in defense of this sad little machine, Brother XL3500, I bought it with the idea that I was going to play with some paper quilting collage and needed it for texture and effects.  I had previously used a machine I inherited from a mother; an inexpensive machine from the 70s that had never had it's finer moments (from my distant memory, she called it alot of different names ... none of them that kind).  I listed it on Freecycle and it was gone really fast.

To pick this machine, I spent a fair amount of time online reading reviews and had reached the decision that this one, for the $129, would meet by paper collage needs.   I realized that the site I was planning on ordering, Precision Sewing, was only a couple miles from the house (go figure the odds of that!).  So, I called them up to see if I could place my order and just drive over and pickup.   I always like the idea of bypassing shipping charges.    The man I reached, after a considerable hold, was what I would call .... UMMMM Really Rude.   He told me that I shouldn't waste my money on a piece of ***** like that and if I wanted to buy a real sewing machine that I should come in and he would help me out.    When I insisted that I wanted this machine, it would my needs, he said they didn't carry it.   (Like why was it listed on their site anyway?).    Needless to say, I was somewhat perturbed and immediately ordered it online from another company and paid the shipping.

When it arrived, I assigned it a designated place in my studio.   I played with it a little, a couple pieces a paper collage, a dress for Lilly, some clothing repairs.   Not much.   Now, about this machine.   It mostly reminds me on when my son was a teenager.   It's hard to get going.  I don't know what you call it, but if its been more than a couple days, you have to manually turn the wheel for several minutes to get it started.   Then, it takes many opportunities to get jammed up on the way.   And, on top of that, it only fills the bobbin half way, making necessary stops every time you get it going well. 

Now, I have an online shop, Todays Treasure, with close to 3000 sewing patterns in inventory and at least another 1000 waiting to be added.   I pick up some of these and have all the ohhs and ahhs of a seamstress.  Just not the talent.  Perhaps, it's time I relearned to sew.  Beau offered to buy me a new one (of my choosing) for Christmas.   I told him, however, that  before I decide on a machine, I should decide just what I'm going to do with it.     Then, perhaps, I'll only have to buy one more machine, versus go through this particular scenario over and over. 

On another note, I continued working on yesterdays practice session.    I fused the applique to my painted fabric, cut out backing fabric and batting and sat down to start the stitching work.     I didn't get too far and what was wrong become obvious very quickly .... it's bunching up.    I decided this was a result of having back the backing sheet on there.    This one I'll toss, and start over again.  

January 18, 2011

Definitely Not the Summer Garden Applique Wall Hanging

A couple weeks ago, searching for inspiration, I picked up a lot of 23 quilt/applique patterns on Ebay. The picture of the lot was somewhat vague, but when you are in search of inspiration, one must start somewhere. They came in and I placed them on the table of my workbench (where I've been processing patterns) and have been glancing through them.

After much consideration, I decided to start with this one.  (Notice how the two example pictures are just floating ... one over the table and one in the chair seat ... what's up with that!). 
I started to evaluate the fabrics in my cabinet, when I decided that all I really liked about this pattern was the flowers.    (Well, perhaps the birds too, but that will have to be some other day).    So ....

I selected and cut a piece of fabric.  
Next, I pulled out the acrylic paints and added a little color. 
Then, selected fabrics and cut out two flowers, their centers and some misc. leaves.

To be continued ....

January 15, 2011

Simplicity 7607, Basic Vest Sewing Pattern, Full of Long Lost Memories

I was processing patterns (something I do an hour or two each day), and I came across this one - Simplicity 7607.  
 This was simple to process, just four small pieces and a page of instructions.  Super simple beginners pattern.   Then as I was recording the envelope condition the words caught me -- Paula Hundle 4th Hour.     And there I went .... back to 1970.

I'm in the 7th Grade at El Cajon Valley Junior High.    This was the first year in my school life that I am allowed electives.   I studied the choices and had my heart so set on Wood Shop and Art.  But no, my mother required (as she would continue to do), that I take:

  1. Sewing; because buying purchased clothing was expensive, and 
  2. Typing so that I would have something to fall back on later when my husband left me and I had children to support.
And sewing and typing it was.   But, this entry is about the sewing .... I'll tell you about the typing some other time.

So, sewing it was.    The class (about 15 or us per period, I believe), had an assigned pattern to make.   It was for a skirt and vest combination.    It was this pattern - Simplicity 8917.
Mom and I went shopping for the pattern and materials.   Shopping for us was always a painful experience, we never agreed on much and she liked to look at everything and I was more the grab the first thing and dash kind of person.    Finally, 'we' selected a white, brown and red plaid  type fabric.  I'll never forget it.  
And then, for a couple months, about 45 minutes each period, we discussed sewing, learned to use the machine, cut out the tissues, finally the fabric and then began stitching it all together. 

I don't remember hating sewing class until the day, when we were almost done, the teacher made her big SURPRISE ANNOUNCEMENT.   All the sewing classes, who were making the same pattern, were going to have a BIG FASHION SHOW in the Auditorium.  in front of THE ENTIRE SCHOOL.  

Now, what I've failed to mention, was that I was SHORT, overweight, PERHAPS FAT, with RED HAIR and FRECKLES that led a life of their own all over my face and arms.   Or, in other words, I would rather have died than paraded in that plaid outfit, that made we look like a brick firehouse.

As the day approached, I tried to explain to Mom that I couldn't do it.   Everyone would tease me and I would be humiliated, but she gave me the typical OVER REACTING line, and went back to napping through Merv Griffin.

Each day dragged slowly by as we mastered the zipper and the hem.    (Did I mention the days dragged by).   And then, the end of the semester happened; just like I knew it would.  

It dawned a bright and sunny day, of course.   Fortunately, Mom had to work and wasn't able to to come to our fashion show.    The morning lasted an eternity.   And then, right after lunch, all of us 'sewing class' girls went to the gym and put on our outfits and proceeded to the auditorium (aka cafeteria).    Now, I suppose that I wasn't the only girl not looking forward to this.  But I don't really know. I didn't have any friends in the 7th grade; they were not something Mom looked favorably upon.  I now wish I had a picture to show you; but to my knowledge, one was not taken.

We were lined up single file, and one by one, about a minute apart, we walked out onto the stage, made a turn around, and walked to the back where we were set into rows.  When my turn came, I dragged out.  There were of course, some laughs, and a few mean remarks hurled towards the stage by the up-and-coming guys and hip girls.    I wanted to die, but I made back to my spot in the rows.   And then, it was all over and we were dismissed to go back to the gym to change.   I went home instead.    School never asked why I didn't go to afternoon classes, and Mom didn't remember at all, but just came home and snoozed through Merv Griffin.  

I never took another sewing class.

Which brings me back to Simplicity 7607.   Other than being slightly dogeared, the pattern is in perfect condition and awaiting some beginner sewer wanting to make a slightly mandarin looking vest.    Who-ever you are Puala Hundle, I hope it was an okay experience !

January 05, 2011

Hoodie Jacket Re-Do

Two years back we went to California for vacation and did the Coastal drive.   The weather was much cooler than we anticipated and we made a quick stop by a Target to pick-up something to keep us abit warmer.   For me, that was a plain Hoodie Jacket, that I recall, was on final clearance for $4.  (it being May and the demand for Hoodies apparently being low).  It did a good job.  When I got home, it was placed in the laundry closet, along with the other 'seldom worn' jackets.   Fast forward almost three years and I started the task of cleaning the closet.  (Still dabble in my downsizing concept .... with very little progress).   I tossed the Hoodie in the 'Give Away' box, then, started having second thoughts ..... maybe a Re-do is in order !

A couple hours later .... Hoodie Jacket Re-do.   Now, I know this isn't going to win any prices, but I will, most likely, wear it once in awhile.   AND, it felt really good having a creative thought.

Completion of the closet awaits some other day.

January 04, 2011

New Years Resolution - 2011

Every year I make a New Years resolution.   Typically it is the same one .... I resolve to be a nicer person.  Well, not this year.   I've decided that this a probably as nice as it gets.

So, after two weeks of thoughts, I'm resolving to give up online Mah Jong Solitare.   Why ... well, because I go in for a game or two and emerge two hours later.   It is eating up large amounts of time (not that I have a whole lot to do),  and it is time I move on. 

In case, you would like to take my place, it's Dark Dimensions.

P.S.  I'm starting to feel much better and hope to return to a state of creativity soon.