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.

Materials
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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