Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Cottage Shirt in Yalke blue—30 minutes at a time

These days, it's more and more difficult to find longer, continuous blocks of time to work on our needle arts projects. I was talking with a fellow garment sewer last week about the new Cottage Shirt I was wearing, and she agreed. She mentioned an upcoming quilting retreat she's attending and is eagerly anticipating some dedicated work time for her quilting projects. If you have a sporadic schedule like me—or have too many balls in the air simultaneously (and who doesn't?)—you'd be pleasantly surprised at what can be accomplished in short spurts of time if you keep focused. My new Cottage Shirt is an example.

The Cottage Shirt [by The Sewing Workshop] in Yalke [from M&S Textiles Australia].

For this gament, I've paired another lively, smart-looking Australian aboriginal fabric—Yalke [blue colorway], by M&S Textiles—with the Cottage Shirt pattern from The Sewing Workshop. The Cottage Shirt is a new pattern for me. And even with my involvement in the 100 Days 100 Blocks project, the September Textile Love Challenge, and contributing to an upcoming quilt guild program about using orphan quilt blocks, this top took about 2 weeks to complete—sewing in blocks of time of 30 minutes to about an hour.

The Cottage Shirt in a 100% cotton fabric.

Here is a break down of the process, in manageable chunks.
  • pre-washing the fabrics can be done while doing other things.
  • read through the pattern a few times and familiarize yourself with it. This can be done while you're having morning tea/coffee or at lunchtime, etc. Reading through the pattern also gets you excited about working on the project!
  • Determine your size and trace the pattern pieces. 
Tracing the pattern pieces.
  • I did make a muslin to test the fit. Just a bodice muslin—no collar or sleeve cuffs were attached. I only made one modification to the armhole depth.
  • The pattern layout and cutting was easy. I was careful to match the pattern repeat across the side seams.
Pattern traced and pieces cut.

The sewing process can be accomplished in chunks of time: pre-pressing hems, finishing seams, attaching any interfacings, assembling collar stands and collars, etc. This pattern has minimal pieces (fronts, back, collar and stand, and sleeve cuffs), so there are not many seams or intricate piecing.

Cottage Shirt side vent.

Once I tried on the shirt in the fashion fabric (above), I decided a smaller side vent looked better on me. I just extended the stitching further down the side seam. While modifying the vent, I also decided to make the front/back lengths asymmetrical (photo below). This was an on-the-fly design detail decision. (My shirt, my rules!)

Cottage Shirt side vent modifications: smaller vent and asymmetrical hems.

The bottom hems are stitched down by machine which makes this finishing step quite quick. I hand stitched the sleeve band hems by hand as I enjoy the hand work.

The Cottage Shirt (front view).

Burying thead tails, making machine buttonholes and hand sewing the 5 buttons were the last few finishing steps.

Mid-September sunshine.
I accidentally took this photo, but when I saw it in my iPad photo feed, I liked it.

The mid-September weather is surprisingly in-the-90s hot here so it still requires wearing short-sleeve tops. I wore this shirt last week on business calls and received several compliments. The Australian aboriginal prints are always great conversation starters!

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Another use for duck billed appliqué scissors

Has this ever happened to you?
A random fabric scrap inadvertently was quilted to the back of this quilt.

You finish free-motion quilting a quilt... flip it over, and... darn it! You've quilted a random fabric scrap to the back of the quilt! Geesh. Hate it when that happens...

Do you have appliqué scissors in your sewing tool box?
At a recent guild meeting, the program topic was Favorite Gadgets and Tools. Several members brought in their tried-and-true must-have tools, special rulers that made cutting and piecing more accurate, and tools and gadgets that made various assembly processes faster and easier. Several newer quilters sought advice, asking questions and the experienced quilters were quick to provide insight.

applique scissors
Duck billed applique scissors.

One of the questions was about those funny-looking scissors that had one fat and one narrow blade—appliqué scissors. Not long after this discussion, I found myself reaching for those duck billed scissors when I inadvertently quilted a fabric scrap to the back of a charity cuddle quilt.

Scrap removal
Inserting the duck billed blade between the scrap and the quilt back, I carefully snipped away the scrap—bit by bit—close to the quilting stitches. The larger blade lays flat against the backing to protect it from being cut. These scissors also have cutting ability right to their tip for tight places requiring small snips.

After enough of the fabric scrap is clipped away, just threads remain that can be pulled out from under the quilting stitches.

Fabric scrap clipped away using the applique scissors.

This quilt has a flannel backing fabric with cute kitty faces. Note that NO kitties or backing were harmed in the scrap removal process!

Scrap removed! No kitties or backing was harmed.

So, take a look in your quilting toolbox and get familiar with your tools. You may not use a few of them all the time, but when the situation arises, the correct tool is the best solution!

The finished cuddle quilt.
Finished kitty cuddle quilt.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

"September Textile Love" Challenge starts today

Welcome September! It's time again to celebrate textiles with the September Textile Love Challenge, hosted by Seam Collective. The Day 1 Introductions are beginning to stream on Instagram.
My Day 1 Intro to #SeptTextileLove challenge is posted on Instagram
at veronica.fiberantics. I'm standing in front of my design wall with
#100days100blocks progress.

I participated in this Challenge last year and was introduced to many textile and fiber artist as well as being very inspired by what was posted. Daily prompts encourage textile artists, makers, students and anyone with a love for textiles to share a picture in response to the prompt. The 2019 prompts are listed here and there is also a worksheet for download.

September Textile Love Challenge for 2019 begins.

People's interpretations to the prompts can be enlightening, inspiring, fun and thought-provoking. This year, the folks at Seam Collective have included prompts that touch on the idea of sustainability and sustainable practices. It should be a very intriguing September!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

My “Boho Wiksten” Make Nine project spans two centuries

When a plan comes together... it's magical! I'm calling this finish my Boho Wiksten top.

My new Boho Wiksten top. A Make Nine 2019 finish.

After checking off the pillowcases on my 2019 Make Nine list earlier this month, I was reminded of item 7—my desire to create a piece that incorporated or repurposed vintage textiles. All the elements were at the ready and this recollection was the prompt.

Although I originally had other ideas for some of the fabrics that came together in this eclectic mix, it was apparent that these materials were destined to play together for this project:
  • a digitally printed fabric sample from the Belle Fleur collection from P&B Textiles,
  • vintage bow tie quilt blocks from a rescued quilt top,
  • a piece of powder blue cotton embossed fabric from Diamond Textiles,
  • the Wiksten Shift top pattern—a pattern I had made, was familiar with, and was already fitted to my measurements.
Boho materials: Belle Fleur digital print, Cotton Embossed,
vintage feedsack quilt blocks, Wiksten pattern.

The Wiksten pattern
The Wiksten top is a simple, loose fitting, pullover with minimal seams and pattern pieces. It's a broad, clean canvas for patchwork or embellishment if you're looking to mix things up a bit. Ask your local quilt shop or sewing center to get it for you. I got my pattern at Topstitch Studio & Lounge.
Boho Wiksten, front view.

Since several different pieces of fabric were being incorporated—and I didn't have enough yardage of any of them to make the full top—I opted for the 2-piece back from the Wiksten shift dress version. This version offered a back yoke and back bodice with a gather detail.
Boho Wiksten, back view.

Piecing the back yoke
The back yoke offered a place to show the orphan quilt blocks. To get the most visibility for these repurposed pieces, they were set on the diagonal.
Vintage quilt blocks positioned on the back yoke.

A piece of muslin cut from the yoke pattern piece (the muslin is cut on grain) served as a yoke interlining. This interlining offered support, stability and a solid backing for one fabric piece that was quite sheer (see photo below).
Sheer antique fabrics benefited from a cotton interlining.

Because the patchwork was set diagonally, the yoke has an asymmetrical layout. What is "boho" if not finding interesting solutions to sewing challenges?
Boho Wiksten top: back yoke with gathered bodice.

Kantha stitching opportunity
Have you ever hand stitched through cotton feedsack fabrics? It's bliss! With the interlining in place for stability, I didn't pass up this opportunity for kantha hand stitching.
Hand stitching through feedsacks and vintage cotton fabrics.

Boho Wiksten: back yoke featuring kantha hand stitching.

Spanning two centuries
One of my favorite parts of this garment's story is the juxtaposition of antique quilt blocks (early to mid 1900s), an embossed cotton (a batik resist process), and a fabric printed digitally using 21st century printing technology!
1900 and 2000 fabrics and processes.

The floral design of the digital fabric features a bit of "pixelization"—definitely a term and design style not in existence until the latter part of the 20th century with the introduction of computers.
Detail: pixelation incorporated into the floral design of this digitally printed fabric.
Belle Fleur from P&B Textiles.

Additional antique quilt blocks run around the hem of this top. It makes me smile that the colors of the orphan blocks coordinated perfectly with the digital floral print! The powder blue cotton embossed provides a calm and restful background as well as interesting texture.
Boho Wiksten, side view.

Because several of the quilt blocks had bias outside edges that were "creatively pieced" by the original quiltmaker, the patchwork was sewn to the lower front and back bodice pieces by hand.
Boho Wiksten, back view.

Make Nine 2019
This Boho Wiksten top checks off another Make Nine 2019 project. And I'm pleased that it fulfills several of my Make Nine goals and objectives:
  • use existing resources and stash,
  • finish or incorporate existing UFOs, 
  • repurpose vintage or rescued fabrics,
  • incorporate visible handwork or slow stitching techniques,
  • use a technique from a workshop.
Boho Wiksten combines a variety of fabrics with mix-and-match success.

Mix it up!
I am absolutely thrilled with this top! If anyone ever asks if you can combine different types of fabrics into a single project (garment, quilt, accessory, etc.) the answer is an overwhelming "YES YOU CAN!"

In addition, this garment not only incorporates fabrics from different centuries, made with different manufacturing processes (cotton embossed, digital printing, screen printing), but I had the pleasure of doing hand stitching and using my sewing machine and serger to create something meaningful, unique and wearable.

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