Taking a Creative Breather
My fall schedule is filled with all sorts of fun and challenges. This summer was supposed to be a respite from all the chaos-and it has not been. Even though I have deadlines and lots of things I need to do, I knew I needed a break.
By “break”, I mean a day or maybe two, not a week! So I pondered the possibilities: staying at one of those austere sanctuary places “up the hill” from me-some require complete quiet. Nah, I don’t think I could go from 100 to zero in 2 days. Maybe just a long visit to a park or something. Ahem. It is Sacramento in August. Or how about just reading and contemplating at home? Like I can really sit at home and not answer the phone, make dinner, etc??
It dawned on me that for my break, I actually wanted to sew. NOT quilts for a moment, but a garment, and maybe a fun accessory or two. I did have 2 projects at the ready that I had been itching to do, so last weekend I dug in.
My friend Anita, who has more fabric than anyone, gifted me with this fabulous pink rayon batik. What’s with all the pink?? I have no idea. Just look at my blog posts this summer and you’ll see a load of pink. I’m NOT a pink girl but I sure do love this vibrant, happy batik.
Fortunately, my learning curve told me to pre-wash this before cutting and man, that fabric bled like none other. I think it was just over dye, not actual bleeding because it kept all of its glorious color. I used Synthrapol and that shut down the over dye.
When I was in Virginia for the Studio Art Quilt Associates conference, Rae Cumbie was vending her Fit for Art patterns. She had lots of muslins to try on and in mere minutes, she found my size and wrote down the alterations I needed to make for a perfect fit-how cool is that? So now I had a pattern that I could just dig into and sew-yippee!
I made the necessary alterations before I cut and soon I was on my way. I chose to do the swing vest version of her Tabula Rasa (“blank slate”) pattern-BAD choice! It was not the pattern but my choice of versions that was the problem-more on that later.
The pattern went together in a snap. Since this was my first time through and I had a vibrant fabric, I did not do any embellishments or altering-just straight up sewed the pattern. It fits beautifully and is a versatile piece.
I especially like the arm scythe design-that squared off arm hole appeals to me.
I chose to French seam-I love an elegant interior! And I used Susan Khaljie’s method of the narrow rolled hem-easy peasy. It requires 3 passes and a cut but it yields a dead-on perfectly rolled itty bitty hem-very impressive. I set up a tutorial here.
So what’s my complaint? I am short. I chose the fluttery swing-sided vest. I know better. It is just WAY too much fabric for me and on me it screams “I feel fat today”. Ack. Operator error.
I still love this vest and will probably wear it occasionally. If I wear it with a closely fitted top and leggings it looks great-the form of the body shows beneath. I could have done better. I can’t wait to make it up with the normal straight sides.
It can be tricky to free motion quilt on fabric that has a strong, dominant motif, especially if there is high value contrast. So I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the free motion quilting showed on this fabric. I used King Tut, knowing that that big fat thread would sit atop that bold fabric and shout.
(Cannot get this photo to load properly-grrr)
I had this cute fabric for the lining in my stash. It is a simple pouch and the seams are not finished-in this case I do not care. I just love this little pouch and keep it out so that I can admire it!
Now back to quilting! I have a project that I hope to finish in time for the PIQF deadline-this will be a real stretch. I ditched the idea I had been working on for 6 weeks and just today I am going to start on this new quilt. But really, I have a clear vision, so maybe this is do-able.
That hem technique is similar to one I used for my years in the bridal wear/formal wear business only I skip that first stitching (it’s really not necessary). When hemming/shortening, just mark the hemline, fold the fabric to the wrong side a titch below the marking and stitch on the edge (I use a regular foot, not the edge foot). Trim with sharp scissors or a “duck-billed” applique scissors. Turn up and do the final stitching. And, yes, this method is a ‘snap’ even on charmeuse or chiffon.
I really love that top!!!! And the fabric is “to die for”!!!!! Beautiful work. We all need a change of pace now and again!!!
Thanks Doreen! It’s good to know that I can leave the first step out. I’ll bet you’ve got all sorts of tricks and short cuts from your time in bridal.
Roxane Lessa says
Jenny, I love that top! Wear it with a tank top and leggings-Cute! Pink is good. We bitches look good in pink!
Yes!! If it’s with the right top and pants it works, it’s just a little picky. And I am warming up to pink (no pun!).
Franki Kohler says
I hear you about pink but sometimes you just have to go with the flow. The garmet is drop-dead gorgeous and it will look great on you! Love the little pouch. The lining is so sweet!
Thanks Franki! I think I might shorten the top and it will work even better. I guess I’m becoming a “pink” girl-who knew?
Marg in Mirror, AB says
I empathize. At 5′ 2″ I often long for “floaty” tops that are really meant for my daughter who, taking after my mother, has legs that start somewhere around her collar bone…tall and svelt. Me? Built like a box. Ah, well…the top is a glorious colour. Can you alter it? I must look up the pattern link…I have an idea…
Sigh. Have an idea?? Do tell. I am going to shorten it more, thinking that if I get it short enough that the body will show and the floaty won’t make a difference.
Carol Mcdowell says
Every time I go to a quilt show I fondle the luscious rayon batiks. I almost buy some but then calculate the cost for a garment and think how much I would probably wear a really nice garment like that and don’t. Someday. I love the pattern of the garment you made. I’ll bet you might feel more comfortable if this had sleeves and then it would be a jacket. I’ve seen them made up in a 3/4 sleeve with that same flowing bottom in the rayon batiks – just gorgeous!
Oh Carol it’s worth it! A little jacket or vest like this is something you’d wear over and over. I am pretty sure I am going to redo the hem and see if I like it better.
Amy Vetter says
don’t think of it as “pink” think of it as fuchsia, or hot pink, it certainly is not baby pink. If you like the fabric that is all that matters.
Oh I love that response Amy! I guess I think of “pink” as so over the top. And you’re right, it really is fuchsia anyway. Thank you for your perspective.
true, you are short but you are also fit! if you strapped on a big belt with that swing vest you would be rockin’ it! funny i get that “i’m fat today” flavor when i wear long tops. they balance out my height but still i feel huge…so i don’t wear them!
Oh how funny to hear the perspective from a tall girl! So maybe no one who feels good about their body that day puts on a long top?? I think I am going to just shorten the top and be done!
Judy Warner says
I love taking breaks too. I just made a gift for a niece about a week ago as I was waiting for some paper to arrive to go forward with a project. Just felt the need to piece something for fun. I am going to look into those patterns and check out your French seam tutorial. Thanks for sharing!
Judy-Yes, the “just for fun” part of sewing is important also. I call it a “palette cleanser” like they serve between courses at upscale events. Just something to refresh and clear the way for more creativity. Thank you for your comments!