Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Souveniers Of Potential

The drive back was lovely. I always enjoy that time to decompress, to think about where I'm going and what I want to do when I get back to the studio, and to transition back to my normal routine. There is still snow on my yard although less snow with patches of dirty lawn showing through and no more ice on the driveway or sidewalks. This is good. This morning, I was able to safely walk to Starbucks to journal and I should be able to continue walking through until fall now which is especially good since I was doing a fair amount of walking in Ashland.

At one of the stores, I was able to buy this raincoat at a significantly reduced price, less than I would have paid for the fabric. I like its shaping except for the collar so I'll adjust that and otherwise it's the most finished souvenier that I bought - the rest are souveniers of potential.

These three garments are from the thrift store and go together. The plan is to sew an Ashland garment using some of the refashioning skills I learned in the workshop. Right now, the three pieces are in the hot dryer following a hot wash so they will be as shrunk and processed as possible when I get to working with them.


Diagonal from the hotel is a wonderful store called Looking Glass Beads. I purchased the seed and the Czech beads there to go with the fabric beads I'd made at my friend's studio in Eugene. The gold thread came from the quilting store and the word pendant from Gathering Glass Studio as did...

... these purple and blue glass pieces that I hope to incorporate into a necklace. The beads shown at right are also from the bead store. The findings are gorgeous, different than anything I already have, but quite expensive so I didn't pick up too many of them.


At Websters - the yarn store - they had a sample knit up in this Quinoa yarn that has fabulous texture so I bought four balls as well as a pattern to make the Alee capelet which I think will look lovely with sleeveless summer clothing although I'm not sure when I'll get to sewing summer clothing since I plan to spend April finishing painting inside the house and May working on some projects in the yard although I will - of course - still be working in the studio for the morning hour.

When I travel, I typically buy books, yarn, fabric, and jewelry as souveniers although this time I bought jewelry supplies rather than a finished piece. What are your favourite souveniers?

Yesterday, I unpacked the car and my suitcases, started the laundry, and picked up a few groceries for dinner. This morning, I moved slow, journalled, walked, and put things away in the studio and now I'm ready to knit in the sunshine and decide what to do next in the studio. I think it'll be the necklace with the word pendant.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a safe and fun trip

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The After Class Begins

The workshop ended yesterday and now the after class begins - that time between this workshop and the next when I put into play all the ideas that are dancing in my head. I find the easiest way to transition back into the studio is to begin working with a take-away. This time, I have many of them - the beads I made, the concept of inseam buttonholes, and a partially refashioned garment. This is good.

Last night, I curled up on the bed with The Art of Mistakes and read it cover to cover. It wasn't new information and I hadn't expected it to be. It was reinforcement of what I've already experienced in my own studio, what I already believe. It was wonderful encouragement to go home with. The author writes...

Creativity is not just about art. Often it has nothing at all to do with art. Creativity is about how we think, the possibilities we allow into our thinking and our ability to follow through with action. In just about all we do, we can think creatively or not.

Creative thinkers, whether they're artist or not, are willing to fight conformity and are willing to take on the continuing need to reevaluate what defines conformity. They don't need a degree in anything from anywhere to do that; they just have to believe in their gut that it's what they must do. 

Christine taught us about several forms of draping including Japanese draping which is used for making a pattern that will be copied. It's a very simple system of gently moving the fabric into the shape you've pre-determined and is the method taught in Draping: Art and Craftsmanship in Fashion Design. I will most likely order the book at some point although I can't see myself designing patterns for mass production and I don't sew for other people. Perhaps I'll borrow it from the library first.

Free-form draping is about gently folding the fabric this way and that, creating seams and tucks, until the fabric takes on the shape of the garment you're developing. This detail is of a skirt I started using Diane's method of piecing fabric from fabric and Christine's method of draping it into a shape. I love the tucks. I'll get a better picture of the entire skirt when I'm back home.

Refashioning takes an existing garment and develops it into another garment that may or may not be the same as the starting point. These pants are becoming a skirt. There is not enough fabric in the one pair of pants so I will need to either include yardage or another garment. I'm looking for something that goes with. The long line in the back (right picture) will allow for a zipper which may be how I get in and out of this piece. That's important to keep in mind or it may never come off the mannequin.

The first project I did was to turn a skirt with a back zipper, a fitted waistband, and four godets - two front and two back - into a vest. The waistband has become the neckline and center back has become center front. Initially, I wanted sleeves using some fabric I made a couple years ago and then I opted to leave them off because I didn't want to spend the time it was going to take to get them to fit the way I wanted them to fit.

I cut the button off a sweater before leaving home and have two left for another piece. I bought several garments at the thrift store here in Ashland that go together so I can create a souvenier of my workshop and trip.

At a nearby used bookstore, I found this book - The Artist Unique - and plan to read it tonight and hopefully use it as a study guide for my journal time. As I mentioned in an earlier posting, I'm finding it harder and harder to find books to study since I've done so many already.

And I might knit. And I might work on the beads. And I might watch TV. Tomorrow, I'm spending the day with a friend and on Monday I'll start heading for home.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - inspiration and good food

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Class Begins

It's Monday night and I am in that exhausted-excited state that happens when class begins. Diane is - as always - incredibly inspiring and Christine, the guest instructor, equally so. Sunday night started with an opening circle and dinner out as a group and Monday was first a power point presentation about her work by Christine and then each participant shared the "stash" they had brought to work from and picked a starting point. In the afternoon, we had a draping presentation from Christine and then began working on our individual projects. I believe mine is a skirt but it may become a dress - or something else - you never know. I don't have any pictures right now but I do have some of the drive down and of the beads I made at my friend's.


Above left is a picture I took beside the road. The river leading to the mountains with the snow dusted peaks was so beautiful. The Canada Geese were just outside my room at the hotel in Yakima. LOL - I guess they didn't want me to be lonely.

In Eugene, spring had already sprung. I took these pictures for my husband while walking around the neighbourhood. He's in Guatemala where it's already hot but we're both looking forward to spring in our own back yard when we get home.


How pretty is this? Spring is always so encouraging. My plan for April is to finish up work inside the house and then I'm looking forward to working on my front yard. I don't have any bulbs planted and even so, it will be lovely to see green shoots coming through the ground.

At Sheri's we worked on fabric beads. I do not like working with glue however, this is such a small amount and applied with a paint brush that it was okay. I began with long strips of selvage that I'd cut off of a less-than-best fabric. Rolled...


... up they were not so bad and made interesting little cones. You can see the straws inside. Supposedly - according to the instructions I was following - they'd be easy to remove. They were not. I trimmed them shorter and left them in.


The beads on the left were made from rolling strips of fabric into balls. I've done a similar method before with upholstering cording inside a bias tube only rolling is easier, faster, and wastes less fabric and if I twist the strip as I go, it creates similar ridges. I played with different widths and lengths of fabric to see how the finished product varied. It's good to make samples especially as there is a fabric factor to consider as well. Gauze-like fabric results in vastly different beads than cotton or denim. I made some gauze ones only it seems I forgot to take a  picture of them. Later.

The beads on the right where rolled over lengths of plastic tubing from the hardware store. I made some with 1" wide, 1/2" wide, and 3/8" wide fabric strips and each has a completely different look. I preferred this tubing to the straws and will leave it in the beads to form a solid core.

Millicent - my dress form - enjoyed a few moments in the driver's seat before we headed from Eugene to Ashland. There are fourteen students in the class and more than fourteen dress-forms which is rather amusing although they - the dress forms - are easily managed. The window on the right is the view from my bed in my lovely room at the hotel. I can see silhouettes as the light appears or disappears and remnants of last snow falls.

Tomorrow, I'll have my friend take the picture of my outfit from a different perspective because these are not at all flattering although they are a reminder to get with my walking program when I get home. I have never had tummy rolls like this before and I'm determined that they are leaving. The pants are already too big so I guess something is happening. It's been nice to get up in the morning and walk without fear of ice and falling. The first morning, I looked at all the old houses on the side streets around the hotel and the second morning, I walked up one side of main street and down the other since I had on new boots and wanted to preserve my feet. I'm looking forward to a longer walk in the park and to my walk to Starbucks routine when I get home.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - new learning

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Copying RTW

Writing this, I'm sitting at a Starbucks in Eugene, Oregon where I'm visiting a friend for several days. This morning, while she had appointments, I went for a walk around her older, established neigbourhood where not only does every home look different but they have developed in organic and individual ways over time. This is a creative community so there were all sorts of She-Sheds and Studios poking out from houses or sitting in the yard. So fun to see. AND...

... spring flowers. I left home at -7C with three feet of snow in the low areas and far more in the piles. Before I arrived at my hotel the first night, it was +17C and quite a lovely difference. Right now, the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and fluffy clouds are floating by. Perhaps by the time I get back home, that will be my "new" reality. I hope so. I'm ready to get to work on finishing tasks around the house and the yard.


One of the studio tasks I wanted to finish before leaving was copying several ready-to-wear garments to create patterns. If I can cut it apart, I typically will use half a garment to make a pattern and half to refer to for the sewing structure. With this Eileen Fisher skirt, I didn't want to cut it apart and so pin pricked a pattern by placing it smoothly over tracing paper and outlining the edges with pins.

Then I go around and make a mark by each pin indicating where the corners are. Later, when I connect these marks, this is the stitching line. Seam and hem allowances will need to be added.

If  a section is rounded like the bottom hem band, I sometimes have to walk along the piece smoothing and pinning in one direction while unpinning the opposite one. The most important thing is to smooth the garment out completely.

Pay attention to how the garment is constructed. In this case, the only difference between center front and center back and the side fronts and the side backs was the height of the waistband. The bottom curves are identical which means that when I smooth out the lines and add seam allowances, I can do the information once and then transfer it.

I also pay attention to the fabric used so that I can copy the hand and drape of the original. This skirt would be not nearly as wonderful in a much stiffer or a much looser fabric.

Change what doesn't work for you. In this case, there is a side zipper and I am much too curvy for that. I prefer a center back zipper. I'm also unlikely to add the button flap and button as they are more decorative than necessary.

I highlighted these marks in felt pen so they'd be easier for you to see. They are the seam line marks made near the pins. I use a French Curve to connect the dots smoothly and again to add a seam allowance or hem. Be sure to write on the pattern the information you need to know. With the skirt above, it's too big for me and I'll need to narrow the pieces as well as add some length because it hits at a less than flattering place on my leg. With the pants below, they fit well in a stretch denim but would be too tight in a woven one.

This is a more complicated pattern. The back of the outer leg wraps around to the front and there is a little dart at one side extending from the end of a cuff seam as well as a longer dart on the opposite side matching up with the same seam. It'll make for a very interesting back pattern shape once I finish developing it.

With the darts, it was important to record both the length and the width of the dart although, it is equally important to adjust these lengths to match your body. The long darts extending down from the waistband need to end above the knee.


I copied this pattern before wearing the jeans because they were brand new and hadn't been stretched out in any way. Now, I'll wear them and see how the crotch seam feels and performs and if I like it better than a pattern I've already developed, I'll copy it however, if I only like it as much as - or less than - one I've already developed, I'll use that one and transfer the already developed information from a different pattern.

These Vogue 8499 pants have center front and center back seam that I can replace with the darts while taking the modifications I already made to the pattern to successfully fit them and start there. There's no point in re-inventing the wheel. These are the denim trousers with the orange top stitching that I showed in a previous post. It's a bit hard on my notebook to do all the hyperlinking so I'll let you research that if you need to. I'm looking forward to sewing my own version of the - consignment store - pants.

I think tomorrow my friend and I will be working in her studio on creating fabric beads. I printed out some instructions before leaving home and have brought a basket of supplies to begin working with. It's a pre-start to 52 Weeks of Jewelry that I want to begin when I get home. Right now, I'm debating the best way to organize that project and I think it may be to set the goal of one piece a week and to explore one medium a month. Right now, I have fabric, wire, and resin in mind as well as combinations of two or of all three. It'll be a good start and - bonus - I can watch for starting points as souveniers of my holiday.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - safe travel and sunshine