Sunday, November 11, 2018

Fussy cutting Australian aboriginal fabrics for the Siena shirt

Want a shirt that gets you noticed? This is my latest Siena Shirt [pattern by Linda Lee from The Sewing Workshop] made with two fun and colorful aboriginal 100% cotton fabrics from M&S Textiles Australia.
The Siena Shirt [from The Sewing Workshop] with
cotton fabrics by M&S Textiles Australia.

Working with the Sandy Creek stripe design
The main fabric in this shirt is an aboriginal design called Sandy Creek from M&S Textiles Australia. This print has wide stripes running with the crosswise grain of the fabric (perpendicular to the selvedge). 
Sandy Creek design with a wide stripe.
To make the garment look cohesive, conscious decisions were made when positioning the pattern pieces on the yardage. First, I needed to determine where the stripe would lay on the body so I could then "fussy cut" (as quilters would call it) the pattern pieces.
Matching stripes across the front of the shirt.
The pattern pieces were cut so the stripes matched across the front. The stripes aligned from front to back of the shirt and between the back bodice and the back yoke. The front button band was carefully fussy cut to preserve the flow of the design across the shirt's front. 
Back yoke and pleated back bodice.
Another "fussy cut" was on the sleeves so the darker part of the "creek" design would carry through across the shoulders. 

Construction in progress: collar, fronts and sleeves laid out.
The upper and lower collars were cut from two different areas of the print. Depending on whether the collar is worn up or down, the design will blend or contrast with the yoke and front.
Upper and lower collars show contrasting prints. 
A coordinating fabric—Spirit Dreaming from M&S Textiles Australia—was used for the sides and one front band of the shirt.
Contrasting sides and front band.

Using quilting cottons for garments
The M&S Textiles Australia fabrics lend themselves quite nicely to garment sewing. These cottons have a soft surface quality, good drape and are breathable. I completed the shirt and was able to wear it at Quilt Market. It received several compliments. 
Siena Shirt pattern and Australian aboriginal fabrics.
When considering fabrics with specific or directional motifs—such as the stripes in this Sandy Creek print—I would recommend purchasing a little more fabric than the pattern calls for. This would allow flexibility to position pattern pieces, fussy cut the motifs, and match motifs as needed.
Siena Shirt pattern from The Sewing Workshop and
Sandy Creek and Spirit Dreaming fabrics from M&S Textiles Australia.
Give the Siena Shirt and Australian aboriginal fabrics a try. A little extra thought and time in the cutting will yield great results... and some well-deserved compliments.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Giving pintuck fabric a go with the 9 Lives Top

I've had this lovely, drapey, indigo blue piece of pintuck fabric [PT-70225 from Diamond Textiles] for quite a while and finally got it made into something I can wear! 
Nine Lives Vest pattern from The Sewing Workshop
made with pintuck cotton from Diamond Textiles.

Pintuck fabric + Nine Lives pattern = Easy make
I used the Nine Lives Vest pattern from The Sewing Workshop. There are only four pattern pieces to this pattern—two fronts, a back and a collar. It's a fast and easy make.
Nine Lives Vest: a Shapes pattern by Linda Lee and Louise Cutting.

My pattern mods
The Nine Lives top is airy, flowy, comfy and casual. The oversized bodice drops over the shoulders to create a short, cap-like sleeve. The original pattern has a slanted, asymmetrical hemline. However, I decided to modify my version with a straight, symmetrical hem—shorter in the front and a little longer in the back.
Nine Lives top, side view.

The collar on my version is a batik from Majestic Batiks. This was a serendipitous addition during the construction process. I think the print and the color of this batik works nicely with the decorative stitching and the indigo color of the pintuck fabric. The pintucks, decorative stitching and the contrasting collar are the stars of the show in my version.
Nine Lives top, back view.

The most difficult part of constructing this top was deciding the placement of the pintucks... and picking out the buttons from my button stash.
I tape-baste the buttons in place for hand sewing. 

Give pintuck fabric a try with the Nine Lives Vest pattern. It's minimal work with a big impact.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Fussy Cutting ruler for Farmer’s Wife quilt blocks

Since I'm skipping around in The Farmer's Wife sampler book and machine piecing the blocks with "easy math," I thought I'd add a bit of novelty to my blocks with selective fabric cutting—often called "fussy cutting."
The Farmer's Wife Block 20: Churn Dash with fussy cut center.
Fabrics from a Color Masters collection from Art Gallery Fabrics.

Selective Cutting/Fussy Cutting
Selective cutting makes the patchwork process more interesting for the maker and the challenge of seeking out motifs in the fabric... or finding a good block to feature a motif... is really fun. The resulting quilt blocks are also more unique. 

Last week I talked to the very helpful folks at Heavenly Stitches quilt shop about fussy cutting units for my 6-inch Farmer's Wife blocks. They showed me two possible rulers and we decided the Creative Grids Square it Up and Fussy Cut ruler would be best for the small units that comprise 6-inch blocks.
"Square it Up and Fussy Cut Ruler" from Creative Grids is a good tool for selective cutting.

In examining the ruler, it’s fairly intuitive but instructions are included in the package. The ruler's lines and markings are easy to see and ruler worked like a champ. Creative Grids rulers also have those built-in "grippy circles" to keep the fabric from slipping during the cutting process, which, as it turns out, are also helpful when centering the ruler on the fabric motif and marking the corner points. 

The Farmer's Wife Block 31: Evening Star with fussy cut center.
Fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics.

High Success Rate
Using this specialty ruler is much easier and the success rate is much higher than using a standard acrylic ruler for this technique. Contact YLQS (your local quilt shop) to get one of these great patchwork tools! The Evening Star block (above), with a fussy cut center, is next up for assembly.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

18 years ago today

Today is our anniversary. 

The guy that inspired "The Chef's Dilemma" quilt and I.
It was 18 years ago today.

"Vous et nul Autre" [You and no Other] altar cloth.
Original design. Machine appliqué and machine quilted. 2000

This is the altar cloth that I created for our wedding—"Vous et nul Autre" [You and no Other]. This art quilt was on the altar in the beautiful St. Jude Church in Chattanooga for our wedding ceremony and hung there until the liturgical season changed.

Fr. Bob Hofstetter, the priest that married us and the pastor at the time, occasionally brought it back out and hung it in the church in February, around Valentine's Day.

This quilt earned a first place ribbon at a regional quilt show and appeared in a feature article in PieceWork magazine (Sept/Oct 2003). It's now on permanent display at Good Shepherd Church in Newport, TN.

"The Chef's Dilemma"
The background story about this quilt can be found here.
Larry and I had a lovely wedding reception at the Tennessee Aquarium with our families and friends—some of which traveled great distances. We had a full course dinner prepared by an excellent chef, four cakes (yes, FOUR), music and dancing—including a special rendition of Take me out to the Ballgame. It was quite the celebration.

18 years seems like a long time, 

but it doesn't feel like a long time.

Happy Anniversary, Larry.

You're my favorite!
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