Archive for August, 2007

Black Storm

August 29, 2007

This is my second effort at arashi shibori — the pole wrapped kind:


I tweaked my timing a bit and got complete coverage this time — no white spots. The amazing thing about this fabric is that I started with white fabric and used only black dye!


The black dye is a blend, and the component colors migrate through the resisted fabric at different rates — so cool! Can’t wait to play with this some more…


More Shopping…

August 21, 2007

While the shopping at the conference exhibit hall was nice, the shopping in San Francisco was WAY better! My first stop was Stonemountain and Daughter, in Berkeley. First stop was the sale fabrics upstairs:


The teal is a sheer, lacy poly which I wouldn’t normally go for except that I took a class on sewing sheers laces from Emma Seabrooke and want to use my new techniques. The grey is a wool with an interesting randomish pinstripe.

Next up were some luscious cotton and rayon knits:


And a couple of textured linens:


The coolest thing, though, was the discovery that foldover elastic comes in…animal prints, dots and stripes!


Later in the week, I went to Fabrix, in San Francisco proper. Just a couple of things came home with me:


The red is silk; the blue and brown is a poly knit.

And, since how often are you in a city with a Japanese bookstore, I went to Japantown to look at sewing magazines:


I didn’t find the Mrs Stylebook I’ve read about, but these three seemed sort of representative. There were lots of clever bag books…the one in the front here has a really cute one that is basically just a folded rectangle that I plan to try soon. The one at left is mostly packaging ideas, which I bought mostly for the amazing knots and frogs. And the garment books! There was one for “older” ladies that was pretty stodgy, and several for children and one for teens that was really out there and… The one I got, at right, had a couple of cute things, including the top with a flounce that you can see on the cover. I really enjoyed several books that showed how to make over old kimono — there were pictures of the original kimono and then modern garments using the same fabrics (the challenge is that none of the pattern pieces can be wider than the standard width of kimono fabric, which is 16 inches.) — but couldn’t really think of a reason I needed one, not having any old kimono stuffed in my closets. Of course, the instructions are in Japanese, but the pictures are excellent and the measurements are labeled in cm so they’re easy to find.

Of course, the grand dame of San Francisco fabric stores is Britex, but a) I’ve been there before and b) it scares me (the staff, the size, the selection, the prices…especially the prices), so I didn’t think it was as important than trying some new places.

Whew! What a trip! Now to get some of this sewn up…

Tilton Technique Bag

August 19, 2007

As I mentioned earlier, at the ASG conference I took an all-day workshop with Marcy Tilton on a layered surface technique she has been been working with. Today, I finished a bag made from the start I made that day.

The first step is to paint with fabric paints onto sheets of Steam-A-Seam. Most of us stuck to things that looked like our finest kindergarten work — this is what mine looked like:


(after I started cutting it up) and


Once dry, you fuse it to fabric, in this case a navy silk noil. I decided to make a pieced bag from the La Borsa pattern by Meredith Burns, which requires 22 squares (since my background fabric was all the same, I could have made one large piece, but the charm of the bag is that the structural seams are disguised as piecing seams, so I made squares.) It was sort of fun to make sure each square was different, but related to all the others:


In addition to the painted web, Marcy adds collage elements like bits of ribbon — I used ribbon, fabric scraps and some eyelash yarn left over from a scarf. She also adds metallic foil, using the fusible web as the glue. That’s tons of fun! Then, you iron silk organza over the top and do a little quilting to hold everything down:


The organza softens everything and ties it all together, while the quilting adds a little pop. I didn’t do a lot of quilting…I guess it’s my embellishment handicap striking again.

At this point, it was time to sew up the bag.

laborsafinished01_web.jpg laborsafinished02_web.jpg

Man — I sure hope no one out there is starting sewing with bags under the impression they are easier than clothes. All those little pieces and the thousands of steps! I could have made a week’s worth of tee shirts in the time it took to piece and construct this bag…and I don’t want anyone inspecting the insides too closely. But the outside is very cool, and several steps outside my sewing comfort zone, which is, after all, why you should go to conference — isn’t it?

Did I mention the shopping?

August 18, 2007

Sorry about the delay in posting…my landscape crew appeared on Wednesday (I’ve only been waiting since April. sigh.) and promptly cut my phone and cable lines…

Anyway, the shopping at the conference. I don’t usually buy many patterns, since Burda WOF sends me way more patterns than I will ever use, but several followed me home from the conference exhibit hall:


There was a cute bag pattern, La Borsa. A couple of tee patterns from La Fred. And a few of the Simplicity/ASG patterns for next year’s contest. Imagine my surprise to find that one of them is causing a bit of a stir on the boards and blogs — I mostly bought them so our guild members could take a look and think about entering the contest.


There was a really cool booth with real indigo shibori, Japanese prints and Thai silks. I got this set of real shibori fabrics just because…

I also got Linda Lee’s new scarf patterns-in-a-box, Connie Crawford’s pattern drafting book, and a pair of little sharp pointed scissors (after producing a decidedly not square welt pocket in Fred Bloebaum’s class and being told that cutting into corners with shears was never going to work.)

There were some mind blowing button booths, but I use so few buttons that I’m leery of buying them on speck. A pity, since there lots of gorgeous antique buttons. I also didn’t find any yardage I needed, a restraint I made up for in the San Francisco area after the conference…

Back from Conference

August 13, 2007

Whew! I’m back from the ASG conference in Sacramento and wow! I had a blast. What an overwhelming experience…my head is still reeling from all the things I want to do.

The first day was Leadership Day, which is basically the annual meeting for the guild — all the presidents, or their representatives like me, hear status reports and vote for new members of the Board of Directors. That afternoon, we heard a panel discussion and a presentation on getting young people involved in ASG…which sounds to me like a two part problem: first, you need to get young people interested in sewing, which it appears is happening, and second, you need to get young sewists interested in ASG, which is a much harder problem — apparently we have a bit of a fuddy duddy reputation problem.

The second day was for half or full day workshops. I took a full day workshop on surface design from Marcy Tilton, which was lots of fun. I’ve continued with the stuff we started in her class and will show the full process in a later post.

The last three days were a mix of shorter workshops, which were hands on, and seminars, which were lectures or trunk shows. I saw Sandra Betzina, who is a marvelous speaker, and Linda Lee, who had a really good presentation on raw edges. I was surprised how many of the treatments she showed us were things I would wear, since I’m not a fringes and strings kinda girl. There was one tee shirt I’ve got to try to duplicate…

La Fred did a great job with welt pockets, even with a burned hand, and Emma Seabrooke made sewing sheers and laces seem like something I could do (even if the sewing machine I was working with hated me.)

There was a fashion show one night that anyone could be in (if you signed up before a deadline so they could get the programs printed and everything) — they did it up like a real fashion show with a runway and lights and music and a photographer at the end. The garments ran the gamut from incredibly elaborate art to wear to very wearable suits and dresses. We even got to see a couple of garments Susan Khalje did for Threads magazine.

And the shopping! Did I mention the shopping? I’ll show off my goodies tomorrow, since this is getting pretty long.

Next year’s conference is in Chicago and 2009 is in Albuquerque — start saving your pennies, ’cause this is a really intense, inspiring, rejuvenating event and you should go!