Sunday, May 12, 2019

Wiksten Top in Tweed Thicket

Looking for a quick make? The Wiksten Shift Dress + Top is a great choice.

From opening the envelope to hand stitching the bottom hem, I sewed it in an afternoon—including tracing my pattern size, making a muslin, and a mod to the neck.
I already had my fabric pre-washed: 2-1/2 yards of Tweed Thicket, a yarn-dyed cotton from Diamond Textiles
Pocket placement on my Wiksten Top.
There are minimal pattern pieces for this top: front, back, facings and a pocket. It would be an excellent pattern for embellishments, surface design or patchwork if you enjoy any of these processes.
Wiksten Top: front and back views
I opted for a single pocket and decided to make a facing. This Australian Aboriginal print from M&S Textiles Australia was used for the lining/facing.
Pocket facing. Fabric from M&S Textiles Australia

Modifications and Options

  • My Wiksten Top has a slightly smaller neck opening (a personal style preference). I re-drafted the neck facings.
  • This pattern includes a short and long dress. You could modify the length of the top or use the short dress version to make a tunic.
  • I'm interested in adding the side slits (see instructions for the dress) on a top. It would be a cute detail.
  • The pattern instructions specify machine sewn sleeve and bottom hems. I enjoy hand sewing when time permits.
  • I'm planning to use this pattern for an improv patchwork version. I have a length of fabric that's not enough to yield the full garment, but could be "stretched" if mixed with other fabrics.

Front pocket on my Wiksten Top.

The Wiksten Top is another add to Me Made May and a handmade wardrobe.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Me Made May 2019: celebrating your handmade wardrobe

"If you're interested in improving your relationship with your handmade wardrobe..." consider making a Me Made May 2019 pledge. I did.
May 5: Lolita knit vest and knit top. Celebrating Me Made May 2019.

For the 10th year, Zoe from the So, Zo... what do you know? sewing blog, is encouraging sewists and makers to renew their friendship with garments and wearables that they've made... by wearing them during the month of May.

Take a look at her Me Made May 2019 post to see what this Challenge is about (and not about) and how embarking on the Challenge—for just a month—could benefit you and your wardrobe-making skills and time.

On her blog, you can post your pledge. (It's easy. She's got a script and all you do is fill in the blank.) Here is mine:

I, Veronica @veronica.fiberantics, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May 2019. I endeavor to enjoy wearing MeMade garments daily, explore new combinations, shop my stash first, and finish a yarn-dyed woven patchwork jacket that has been on the UFO pile way too long, during May 2019.

The participants list various reasons for participating: look for gaps in their wardrobes, alter items they aren't satisfied with, get back into sewing/knitting/etc., make a sewing plan, assess their wardrobe and make more meaningful items, etc.

Starting a month of wearing handmade
I started on May 1 wearing one of my favorite shirts—the Siena Shirt—that I made last summer with two red Australian aboriginal prints from M&S Textiles Australia.
May 1: Siena Shirt made with Australian aboriginal fabric prints.
Celebrating Me Made May 2019.

On May 2, I wore a knit tee I made from a self-drafted pattern using a knit fabric from Art Gallery Fabrics. The jacket was Me-Made, but the weather was too warm to actually wear it.
May 2: knit tee and yarn-dyed woven jacket.
Celebrating Me Made May 2019.

Today, May 5, I put on my Lolita knit vest, the third of my Make Nine Challenge finishes, over another knit top from my self-drafted T-shirt pattern.
May 5: Lolita vest and long sleeve knit tee.

Lolita vest back view.

As the month progresses, I'm sure I'll realize how many pieces in my wardrobe were actually made by me... and perhaps purge a few fast fashion items that I no longer need. I'm looking forward to seeing what others have made and to discover some new or interesting sewing patterns. Inspiration will also come from how people are styling their handmade garments.

For more frequent Me Made May posts, follow me on Instagram @veronica.fiberantics. And maybe I'll get better at taking selfies.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Simplifying assembly of Farmer's Wife blocks with strip piecing

You know what it's like when there is a bowl assorted candies... the favorites are the ones that disappear first. This is not unlike doing the Farmer's Wife sampler quilt. The "easy" blocks are the ones that get done first. Then you decide whether to continue with the project... or just say, "'nuff!"
63 completed blocks from the Farmer's Wife sampler quilt. Made with Art Gallery Fabrics.
Well, this project hasn't beaten me yet, but the "fun and easy" blocks are slim-to-none at this point in the game! I've already veered off the straight and narrow when I decided I didn't have to follow the patterns exactly as shown in the book (see this blog post). And now with 63 of the 111 blocks completed, I'm looking at the remaining not-so-easy patterns to see if, or how, I can modify the design or simplify assembly.

Strip piecing
Here is one block, Streak of Lightning, that went together fairly quick once I figured out a strip sequence.
Piecing a strip set.

The strip set was then cut into 6 strips. One for each row in the pattern.
Cutting the strip set into 6 units. One for each row.

Following the color placement, I cut off one end or the other of each strip.
Trimming the ends in order to match the block pattern.

With this method, the block was much easier to assemble and more accurate than piecing individual units.
Upstairs Downstairs.

I'm calling my block "Upstairs Downstairs." There is more than one direction to take for any given block.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Annual Easter egg coloring event 2019

Over the 10 years of this blog, I've documented our annual Easter egg coloring event. Sometimes we discover a new dye or embellishment technique to try. Sometimes we stick to the tried-and-true basics. It's fun, creative and relaxing either way.
2019 colored Easter eggs.

Egg and basket prep
Only one of the 3 1/2 dozen eggs was lost [cracked] after the hard boiling process. We worked with both brown and white eggs and I made fabric baskets this year using the Melba Flower Basket pattern from The Textile Pantry.
Fabric Easter baskets and hard boiled eggs await coloring.

We break out the big box of 96 Crayola crayons and begin the process.
Egg coloring process.

Free Motion Quilting motifs
This has been the extent of my free-motion quilting this year—putting the designs on hard-boiled eggs.
Colored eggs with free-motion quilting motifs.

Shibori resist dyeing
We experimented with the shibori resist dye technique on the eggs a few years ago. It's a favorite and the results are always graphic and interesting.
Shibori resist dyed eggs.

A few eggs were dyed solid. The dyed brown eggs have a rich depth of color.
Resist dyed and solid dyed eggs.

I was surprised that 8 eggs fit comfortably in the fabric baskets. 9 would be do-able but possibly a tight squeeze.
Colored Easter eggs in fabric basket.

On Easter Sunday, the eggs are placed into the baskets, ready for giving.
Easter egg baskets.

Wear an official egg-coloring cap
Here is our resident expert, chief egg boiler and co-colorer. He is wearing one of his official egg coloring caps.
Do you have an official egg-coloring cap?

Happy Easter 2019
Now look forward to several days of egg salad!

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