Friday, March 24, 2017

Paisley Blue Silk Chiffon Duster & more

Hola, mi amiga!

I hope you've been well, up to all sorts of hijinks, creative or otherwise!

It's been pointed out to me that I haven't blogged in more than 60 days. That must be some sort of record for me!

I've been working weekends and long hours since sometime in January. I've been on loan to another team, which is developing a framework for writing mobile apps—you write the app once and you can run it on iOS and Android (revolutionary!)—it's been a mix of fun and stressful. I finished two tutorials for a March 8th event. (If you are so inclined, you can see my new tutorials, Building Layouts in Flutter and Adding Interactivity to your Flutter App. For those looking at that first tutorial: if you scroll waaaaay down, you'll see pics from my travels in the last year, including a cute pic of DD1, taken in the abundant Tahoe snow recently, and a pic of Swatch from Mood.)

I've also had some quick getaways! I had a team-building trip to Whistler again this year, exactly at the same time as Puyallup Sew Expo. I also recently attended a 4-day sewing retreat where I sewed a silk chiffon duster. (It took the entire retreat!)

Finally, I had a great 2-day jewelry workshop at Eccentric Designs. This was scheduled months ago for the weekend of January 21st (the day of the Women's March) which is probably why it ended up being a private class, and it was phenomenal!

Oh, for those of you who worry when I haven't blogged for awhile, remember you can always check my Instagram feed to see if I've been posting. You don't have to be a member of Instagram unless you want to leave comments, though of course, if you do sign up and follow me, my posts will automatically appear in your feed. I don't view Instagram as a replacement for my blog, but it is much quicker and easier to make posts there, so I am more likely to throw a quick picture or two on IG even when I don't have time or energy to blog.


Paisley Blue Silk Chiffon Duster

I have a thing for chiffon. I don't know why, but I am easily seduced by a beautiful chiffon, though it can be difficult to find wonderful chiffon fabrics in silk or poly. (I like each for different reasons.)

I bought this silk chiffon maybe a year ago on eBay. It is a tremendously wiggly, hard-to-control fabric, so I stabilized it using Perfect Sew. (I've blogged about it before.)

At home I applied Perfect Sew to the chiffon

I hung it over the shower curtain rod to dry. I then pressed it with a dry iron. (Steam and water can dissolve the product.)

I wanted to make a silk duster. I started with Butterick 6376 and made some changes:

  • Lengthened about 7 inches
  • Forward shoulder adjustment
  • Full bust adjustment
  • Omitted the pocket
  • Modified the sleeve band. The original band, cut on the bias, was doubled. Doubling the bias band would have affected the fluttery movement I envisioned. I slashed and spread the band by 1-3/4" to increase the flutter factor and made it single layer.
  • Narrowed the shoulder by about 1/2"
  • I finished the top with tiny hems
  • I interfaced the collar, collar stand, and front bands with stiff black tulle. I would have used navy, but it wasn't available at the local fabric store. I hand basted the tulle to each piece, and machine quilted the outer collar to stiffen it for when I want to pop the collar. The tulle is invisible in the finished collar (bottom pic).
  • Ellen graciously allowed me to make the buttonholes on her Singer Featherweight. I've never used my own Featherweight for this, but I will be more comfortable about it in future. It's hard to see the buttonhole in the following pic, but it's gorgeous! Can you see it?
  • (I didn't widen the back but I should have. Note to self: remember that the next time I use this pattern.)

After I had finished all the sewing, I rinsed the duster in hot water and let it air dry to remove the Perfect Sew. I finished up with a press to remove the wrinkles.

Am I happy with it? I think so. We'll see how I like wearing it when the weather gets warm. I was freezing when I took these pics!


and sheer!

New Arche Elexor sandals, purchased for Florence

Butterick 6376, View D

Retreat Opportunities

I recently attended a sewing retreat. Some have asked about it: can I come? tell me more! etc. Sorry, but this is a private group of friends who have been sewing together for more than 20 years. (My first retreat with them was in 1992, when I was pregnant with my first child.)

But this put me in mind of creating a list of retreats for those of you looking for a similar experience.

American Sewing Guild (ASG)
Local chapters of the American Sewing Guild host sewing retreats—I've heard wonderful things about some of those. I believe there is also a national ASG sewing retreat.
Jane Foster Sewing and Clothing Design Retreats
I know Jane and she knows her stuff. She offers a wonderful retreat in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Kathryn Brenne workshops
I am really looking forward to taking a workshop with Kathryn Brenne! When we spent the day together last November, I had a chance to examine her workmanship up close, and it was perfection. She knows her stuff! She has regular workshops in her studio in Canada and occasional workshops in England.
Diane Ericson's Design Outside the Lines
I've attended two Design Outside the Lines (DOL) and it's a wonderful experience. Diane brings in a different co-teacher for each retreat. Carol Lee Shanks was the guest teacher at the last retreat I attended. I recently signed up for another DOL, and am very much looking forward to that!
Loes Hinse Sewing Seminars
Many are familiar with Loes Hinse classic patterns which often feature beautiful drapey rayon fabrics. Loes offers weekend sewing retreats in Carmel, CA. Many of my friends have attended, some have attended many times. In fact, two of my friends took one of her retreats within the last few weeks.
Sewing Workshop Retreats
Linda Lee, of Sewing Workshop, hosts regular retreats at her workshop in Topeka, Kansas. She also hosts traveling retreats, so check her schedule.
Louise Cutting Retreats
Louise Cutting, of Cutting Line Designs, holds regular retreats at her studio in Orlando, Florida.
Sandra Betzina Retreats
For completeness sake, I want to mention that Sandra Betzina has announced that her retreats will end in 2017. She has a few sessions left, but they seem to be full. She is recovering from recent back surgery (she has been posting updates to Facebook). I'm hoping that maybe she'll relent after she's fully recovered, and offer more retreats in 2018. But that's just a hope, I have no idea if she would even consider it.
Susan Khalje Couture Classes
I've seen positive reports of Susan's classes and I have a friend who has attended 2 or 3 of them.
Kenneth King's Sit and Sew
Convenient to those visiting or living in NYC, Kenneth also offers some traveling workshops, particularly in the north west.

Retreats aren't for everyone, but they can be really wonderful. If you are an organizing sort of person, create your own! Look for a space that has a good room for working and reasonably priced rooms. When we started 25 years ago, we would rent a house along the beach in Bodega Bay, north of San Francisco. At the time they had a "get three nights for the price of two" special during the off season in the early Spring. Share the work to make it doable. It can be extremely fun!

Some pics from my recent retreat:

Dorothy wore this Sewing Workshop Madrid top she made using an Ikea duvet cover. (I recognized it because I have the same duvet cover!) She also made the black a-line skirt using a long out-of-print Simplicity pattern.

Misty is wearing one of her Tried 'n True (TnT) patterns, Marcy Tilton Vogue 9174, made from denim colored chambray. There's a clever pocket in the diagonal seam.

Ellen made this fabulous version of Marcy Tilton Vogue 8497, View B. She modified the curved seam to make it angular.

Ellen is showing her adorable pincushion, made by Kim B and won in a holiday gift exchange.

Pincushion detail

Our sewing room

My room

What I packed

Fabric on the left and clothes on the right

My workstation

I think I look weird without glasses, but sometimes I take them off to sew or blog

Luanne S made this gorgeous "illuminated" T

Kim B's quilt, in process

Close up of her freehand quilting

I love the quail

Adorable anenome hats that Heather knitted for her granddaughters. She tells me that the four-year-old uses them as sea creature hand puppets!

Heather made a new wardrobe for her new granddaughter

And a dress for her eldest granddaughter

She also knitted this gorgeous Baby Surprise Sweater by Elizabeth Zimmerman

I think the monkey pants are my favorite :)

I can still hear the bullfrogs

Shadow selfie

Gorgeous oak tree

Necklace Workshop

I had previously reported that I was taking a jewelry workshop from Winnie, of Eccentric Designs, in late January. It was a 2-day workshop and it was FABULOUS! I had so much fun! It ended up being a private 2-day class, so I was lucky lucky lucky.

I had collected many goodies, treasures, and some trash in the months before this class: I'd purchased items in Paris flea markets. I'd collected bits of trash here and there on the ground. (This is something that Winnie does all the time - it's recycling 101! I found myself staring at the ground rather obsessively in Seattle, Mountain View, and San Francisco.) I purchased special beads and findings on Etsy, and resin beads at Artistry in Fashion. I went through my jewelry stash and set aside broken jewelry, or items I no longer loved and was willing to cannibalize. When I showed up at Winnie's studio with my large bag of goodies and my bag of fabric scraps, it was TOO MUCH. My goodies COVERED her table.

With her help, I organized some of my treasures into 4 potential necklaces (adding in elements from her stash that she generously shared) and, because I was the only student in the class, we changed the structure of the workshop a bit so I could hunker down and make 2 of my 4 necklaces. I sacrificed learning some of her techniques in order to finish a second necklace. Some day I'll return to her drop-in sessions to finish my other necklaces.

It was fun! fun! fun!

My four necklaces are laid out on the squares of cream flannel

Another look at Shams' crazy stash

Some of the elements I made for my necklaces. Two of the three photo beads were made from the business card from a bead store in Paris, the third bead used paper from Winnie's stash. I cut pieces from the papers, glued each to a wooden tile (Winnie has a variety of shapes and sizes), painted the unfinished wood, and decoupaged the images. Winnie had a dremel tool for drilling the holes. The metal washer with mesh in the upper right was a gift from Gwen Spencer—I glued two washers together, back-to-back. The circle and square fabric beads were made from scraps of the brocade I used to make one of my Paris coats. The teal circle bead with the washer was created using a broken vintage button from the same coat (the center had fallen out). The black leather "flower" on the lower right was made from a piece of leather I grabbed from the trash at a factory we visited in Paris.

I first made a "mixed metals" themed necklace.

A good start. All of these elements were from Paris, except for the washers, which I found on the ground

Not done yet! The silver finding in the far right is a zipper pull that Kathryn Brenne sent me from Botani in NYC. I was determined to use this odd zipper pull (I think Kathryn was giving me a challenge), and Winnie suggested hanging some small metal beads from the knob. I used a second pull from Kathryn that was added after this pic was taken. The Eiffel tower was from an inexpensive pair of touristy earrings purchased in the Montmartre. I purchased the tiny jar of even tinier nuts and screws from Winnie's stash. I could have made my own, but she had this one left over from another necklace she had made.

Almost finished! I love the silver thimble, which I purchased inexpensively on Etsy, probably because it already had a hole drilled at the top. The hammered silver-colored metal disk near the center was from one of my daughter's broken necklaces that I found in a junk drawer. The grey necklace to the right was the first piece of jewelry I purchased from Winnie at Artistry in Fashion. You can see that she made the chain for that necklace, but I opted to use purchased chain so I could finish my pieces more quickly.

I then worked on a teal/green/blue necklace.

Getting started. Once again, many of these elements were purchased in Paris flea markets. The green piece of leather on the far right was a laser-cut leather earring purchased in SF—I lost its mate. I found the Howlite, vase-shaped bead on Etsy. The tiny bottle contains shiny, almost iridescent, teal embossing powder. The blue military medal on the left was a gift from Luz Clara that she purchased in a Paris flea market!

My finished necklaces! The finished mixed metal necklace features a tiny-but-working harmonica on the far right. That brass acorn bead in the center unscrews so you can tuck a tiny treasure inside. Because these necklaces are finished with leather strips and handmade hooks, they are very comfy to wear, even though the mixed metal necklace is a tad heavy. ;)

After two focused days of crafting, Winnie took this pic of my finished necklaces.

Another necklace made from two enormous rusty keys I purchased from a flea market in Paris. They are suspended from a cord using leather strips.

Wearing the blue/green necklace at work in Mountain View. Those are my computer monitor glasses, which is why you don't often see them in pics.

The mixed metals necklace, also worn to the office in Mountain View. This building features some bright walls. ;)

Leaving the SF office. This was taken after daylight savings time went into effect!

I highly recommend Winnie's workshop when she offers it again. She is incredibly generous with her knowledge, techniques, and her stash. Expect to finish no more than one necklace, but you'll come away with your head buzzing with ideas and inspiration!

Whistler 2017

This may be our last team trip to Whistler. It's too bad, because I wanted to zip line in the mountains above Whistler, but the weather just wasn't conducive this year with near white-out conditions up on the mountain. Last year we had gorgeous sunny weather, but this year it almost never stopped snowing, which sometimes turned to rain. It was still breathtaking, though!

I'd like to share a few photos.

Whistler Village

The cool, Seuss-like trees. This was taken on March 1st, so it's not exactly a Christmas tree.

I actually brought a second hat!

A snow maiden. No, I don't mean me.

The trees are just so beautiful

This gentleman (I think his name was Doug) runs the entire Whistler Resort. He was heading to a meeting... on skis. He had his laptop in his backpack. He seemed to love his job.

Almost white-out conditions atop Blackcomb Peak

The glass-bottom gondola

At the top with my colleague, Keerti


I hope to get back to more sewing soon. I've started a spring jacket, and I picked up a knit fabric for an upcoming Britex project.

I have another sewing retreat in April and, believe me, I need it!

Taken soon after daylight savings time went into effect. Waiting for the corporate bus at 6am.

Until next time!