Thursday, August 27, 2015

Louise Cutting's Artist In Motion

 I've been keeping an Inspiration Board on Pinterest to try to get a handle on the kind of styles that I am drawn to so I can incorporate them into my sewing. I really like this look - sort of represents how I'd like to dress on a casual day -- a little boho chic.  So, I am in search of the right pattern to  duplicate it.

My first attempt was with Louise Cutting's Artist in Motion pattern.  It has a vest and shirt - the vest is one size fits all and has a lot of the angles and loose fit that I am looking for. It looked as if would be shorter than I wanted so I  added an inch to the back and front - unusual since I am only about 5'3".   I didn't want to take the time to make a real muslin so went straight to some fabric that's been in my closet for a very long time.  It's very lightweight, almost lawn and has a floral pattern that is sheer in places.

I'm relatively happy for a first round.  It would look much better with a collared shirt and the right jewelry, but I  do like the fit and and the draping..  I think it has a lot of potential - the sides are open with a button at the top, but I can see then closed as well.  I can also see the front and back pieces cut up and seam allowances added to give the effect of the picture above.  The neck and armholes/sides have self made bias binding.  The edges have nice mitered corners, so typical of Louise Cutting's impeccable designs.  I'm anxious to continue to play with this one but am excited with its possibilities. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Bright Red and Leather Tote

Although I have more bag patterns that one can proverbially 'shake a stick at' I was still intrigued by Anna Graham's (Noodlehead) book Handmade Style.  This book is lovely to look at and very well written.  I especially like the bag below which isn't available on her website, only in the book.  I thought it was the perfect project for some red canvas and brown sueded leather that I had.

One of the things I like about Anna's bags is her use of rivets and other metal pieces which, I think, really adds a professional look to a bag. And, I am really into using light weight leathers and suedes these days which, again, I think adds a lot.  If you are looking for smaller pieces of leather, there is a wonderful company called Brettuns Village located in Lewiston, Maine.  It is primarily mail order and is only open to the public from 10 - 2 on the first Thursday of every month.  But they have lots of small and large pieces of leather in various colors.  And, since it's unlikely that many will be lucky enough to make the trip up there, they are very helpful in answering any of your questions or making a recommendation if you tell them what size and what project you are looking for a piece of leather for. 

 The space between the rivets is open and great for a cell phone, sun glasses, pen or other necessities one needs to reach quickly.  I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for to use as straps so I ended up with brown webbing which I stitched red grograin ribbon onto.  


Below is just a quick zip make up case to throw into the bag!


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Variation On A Shirt

My husband is a big fan of visual interest in his shirts.  It started a while back while window shopping in Palm Beach and coming across some prohibitively priced shirts that he fell in love with.  Gamely, I promised that I would give them a try.  This is my second result, which is better than my first.  Hopefully my shirt making skills will continue to improve.

If you are going to invest time in a shirt, I highly recommend David Page Coffin's book, Shirtmaking, Developing Skills For Fine Sewing or the DVD Shirtmaking Techniques.  Actually, there is a great deal more information in the book so I highly recommend getting both.  Although I used a commercial pattern, most of my construction techniques come from Coffin's book and DVD.  His work is beautiful, both inside and out, and he walks you through techniques that hopefully guarantee a professional looking result.

Some photos below. 

The buttons I used are from Sawyer Brook. Sadly, the owner is retiring and looking for a buyer for the business.  I so hope she finds one and that it stays in New England.  Although mainly mail order, you can visit the location most days.  We have so little left here in New England for garment sewers.  Quilt shops galore, but sadly not so for fine garment fabrics.

And, of course, there is the mandatory monogram on his shirts, with a tiny border of the contrast fabric along the top of the pocket.

One tip I will pass along is the importance of changing out presser feet often.  It takes just a moment, but the results of using an edge stitching foot for the huge amount of edge stitching (and top stitching as well) are well worth the effort.  A flat fell foot is very helpful as well, though you can duplicate that effect pretty well by improvising with a standard foot as well.