Friday, January 10, 2014

Starting To Think In Paint

The Kaizen Way is a philosophy for change that circumvents the brain's built-in resistance to new behaviour by asking small questions, thinking small thoughts, taking small actions, and solving small problems. The goal is to change your life without fear or failure by achieving a large goal through a series of small changes, so small that your mind laughs and thinks it's way too easy.

Without knowing, I employed this philosophy last year when learning to run in 100 step increments. It was so successful that I'm repeating the process this year with the treadmill. And it's the same philosophy that I'm using with this surface design series to help myself learn and get more comfortable with these skills - start simple, build up, get to where I'm going one small incremental step at a time.

A dress form is - in my opinion - an invaluable tool. I use mine as a design wall once a garment is three dimensional and past the flat stage. It'd be great to have a child's size form and maybe one day I will but for now, I use the floor. Above, is the garment prior to the button band and below...

... you can see how the band adds a blending element. In this image, the sleeves haven't been sewn in yet.

Because the sweater knit is stretchy and great portions of the armhole and neck edge are knit, I used strips of fusible knit to stabilize the edges making sure the shapes matched the pattern pieces.

The button band is sewn on with a 1/4" seam that is pressed toward the band. It will eventually be folded in half and slip stitched in place and then top stitched but it needs to remain open until decisions for the hem and for the collar have been finalized. It's a 1" band. Center front is 1/2" from the finished edge.

Although there is not enough of the hand painted fabric, there are still several options for the collar. The knit option would be soft and comfortable but appears rather bland and doesn't pull together the different elements.

A flat collar using the darker print is another option. It connects to the button band, wraps around the entire garment, and connects the darker print of the back with the front.

The darker print could also be used for a more traditional collar with collar stand. I opted against that choice and went with the softer, less formal look of the flat collar. If there had been enough of the hand painted fabric, I would have consider piping or a bias trim.

Once the collar option was chosen, I could determine how to finish the top of the button band. I didn't want a facing and I wanted the neck seam to be encased in the collar for a cleaner finish so I folded the button band right sides together, stitched to the half way point, clipped from the top, and turned the band right sides out to achieve a finished edge.

The collar was sewn in place from the inside with the upper collar right sides together with the inside of the dress and then slip stitched by hand underneath the collar where the stitches are hidden. If the top button is left undone and the garment folds open, the inside edge will be neat and clean.

This was a learning opportunity. I forgot that the neck seam was 3/8" so some of the stabilizer is visible. The next time I need to stabilize a seam like this, I'll use a strip of interfacing that is narrower than the seam allowance so it will disappear after stitching AND... if I need to stabilize an armhole, I'll fuse the stabilizer to the right side of the garment so that after the seam is stitched, the interfacing will be in the middle of the two layers of fabric rather than on the outside as above. YES YES - learning is good. AND...

... I'm already starting to think in paint. Even though this is unlikely to prevent someone from enjoying the garment, it's an opportunity for me to mix up a blue that matches and neatly paint it over the stabilizer. If you go back and look at the top of the button band, you'll see some blue thread stitches showing. Not any more. I used a black felt pen to make them disappear before I added the collar. Tricks like these are amazing tools to have in your toolkit..

The dress should be finished by Monday. I hope to post the rest of the story then.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - nine spindles, one end post, $25.00 total at the Habitat for Humanity store. YES YES ! ! !

Mark 11: 23-25 - Jesus was matter-of-fact: "Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say 'Go jump in the lake' - no shuffling or shilly-shallying - and it's as good as done. That's why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you'll get God's everything. And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it's not all asking. If you have anything against someone, forgive - only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins."


  1. Don't you just love the Habitat for Humanity ReStore? Our store in Westbank usually has vintage sewing machines as well as all their other treasures. Something else to resist. sigh.

    Myrna, you regularly write about books about creativity/art/etc that you have read. Could you one day (in your spare time 8-D of course) do a post about books that inspire or help you with your creativity? I have bought a couple that you have mentioned previously and have really enjoyed them, and I admit, I want more.

    Thank you ♥♥

    1. LOVE the Habitat store. I've found such interesting things there and it's great to have a place to donate to as well.

      I've been thinking about your request. At the end of the week, I'm heading to Calgary to spend two weeks painting my daughter's new home. When I get back, I'll start a book page and list titles a few at a time. That's manageable. No reviews. If there's a link I'll include that. So much about a "good book" depends on the mood you're in when you read it. Sometimes it's just exactly what you need when you need it and other times it's blah and then you read it again and it's amazing. I'll add ones I'm constantly referencing or recommending.

    2. A list sounds wonderful! I know exactly what you mean about your mood changing how you perceive books, I find the same thing.

      I am going to recommend a couple of books to you! You mention in Monday's posts about affirmations, Julia Cameron has written three small books with just affirmations. They are Heart Steps (my favourite), Blessings, and Transitions. I used them so much, that I cut the bindings off and had them ring bound at a local printer. I think you may enjoy them.

      Have a good time in Calgary and at the Sew Expo.

    3. Thanks for the recommendation. I really enjoyed her book The Artist's Way. I look forward to these. We can talk about them when we get together in the spring.

      I'm looking forward to both Calgary and Sew Expos - vastly different trips but both fabulous.


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.