#32 Experiments...

Sometimes I think my studio should be more aptly be called a lab because of all the experimenting I do...like making lace today!

More fun then fine, this lace is the result of arranging pieces of fabric and thread between two pieces of a special water-soluble stabilizer, sewing back and forth and around and around on top of the "sandwich", and then putting the piece in a warm water bath to dissolve the stabilizer. For my first experiment with this technique, I used the fabric trimmings from all the things I've been sewing of late, so the "lace" coordinates with everything. I cut the lace in half diagonally and sewed it to the ends of a soft green chenille I had on hand (I cut it into an oblong strip for a scarf) then added a band of black satin ribbon at each end as an accent. I serged the edges of the scarf in black so it would relate to all the other items I've been making.

Here is the final result of today's experiment (each end of the scarf is, of course, slightly different; typical of everything I do!):

Tomorrow will be spent sewing a pair of grey herringbone slacks. Not as exciting as making lace, but the basics have to be made nevertheless!

Have a wonderful day and a wonderful rest of September. I'm taking the next two weeks off to get some big projects finished around the house that have been weighing on my mind, but rest assured I'll be back the first week of October. (OCTOBER?!?!?!  Yikes - where is the year going???)

See you soon!


#31 Transformations...

The work to transform my thrift store finds continues!

I hung up everything I've made so far and like the way the pieces are working together:


The scarf with the pockets started out in life as a vest; part of a two-piece outfit from the 80's. I cut the vest up and combined the pieces with other fabrics (from other thrift store outfits I've been saving) and then backed it with more of the black and white fabric I used bits of on the front. I serged it all together willy-nilly - I love the texture and spontaneous quality of serging with black thread. Here's a detail:

I've already tried the scarf out and love that the pockets allow me to leave the house without having to take a purse; with drivers license and lipgloss in one pocket and cellphone and tissue in the other, I'm good to go!

The skirt hanging below it is made from a heavy linen that was meant for upholstery. A mere $3.99 a yard, it soften up to a rich lushness after put it in the washer and dryer. I loved the selvedge, so used that as a feature by putting the seam on the outside. All the edges - the hem and elastic waist casing - are serged with black thread and left with that as the final finished edge. The first picture shows the skirt a bit better.

I took the plain t-shirt I had found and gussied it up with some of the fuchsia silk and black and white fabric I used on the scarf (and on the pin from the last post):

 I had found the black and white vest on another day of thrifting, and liked the way it went with the top. Here's a detail of the sleeve (more of the raw edges I love!):

And here's a peek at a really organic black wool scarf/sash I made just by serging and zigzaging pieces together:

I know a lot of people will think its too strange, but I love all the rough edges and trailing threads!

I went back and tweeked the grey sweater from my previous post, making the front shorter than the back and giving it a bit more flair. I'll try to get some new pictures of that for another post - along with pictures of the black wool crepe skirt I just finished.

Tomorrow will be dedicated to another pair of slacks and maybe an artsy vest using some of the same heavy green linen I made the skirt with.

What are you going to do tomorrow???


#30 A Creative Surge...

More like a creative serge! On my Babylock serger that is...

My vitamins and supplements must be kicking in, because I'm feeling energetic, enthusiastic and inspired again. I've started sewing again and am determined to whip up some clothes that speak more to who I am and the image I wish to present. I'm bored with most off-the-rack clothes in department stores, but give me the racks of clothes at a thrift store and I'm in seventh heaven! Especially when it's a thrift store that has "Everything 50% Off" days. I don't see clothes at thrift stores, I just see lots and lots of  fabric on hangers - all arranged by color! - and my creative juices start flowing!

Today was one of those 50% Off days, and I was able to swoop up 4 knit tops, three silk shirts, an intricately appliqued skirt, a two-piece pants/long vest outfit, and a shetland wool sweater all for $11.00! All but the sweater went directly into the washer and dryer when I got home - yup -even the silk! I love doing that because then I know I can wash any of the things I make and they'll be fine. It also gives the fabrics a wonderfully soft hand.

Transforming the sweater is the first project I've completed. It was a simple matter of serging all the edges, and shortening the sweater a bit in the process. The serging, and the zigzag stitching I did on top of that, created a soft lettuce edge that I like. The edge is kind of rough and crude just the way I wanted it to be - not slick and finely "finished". (I used black thread - I'm using black thread on just about everything I'm making lately and it's creating a nice relationship between the pieces.) I used the cut-off bottom edge of the sweater to make a large pin that I embellished with a piece of silk and the covered buttons from one of the silk shirts - a really vibrant fuchsia silk that I love with the grey. I added a piece of black wool over one side to complete it.

The black wool makes a kind of hood effect over the pin...

I'm so excited about being able to spend the whole day in the studio tomorrow! No appointments! No interruptions! Just a whole day to be creative...doesn't get much better!


# All we need...

Sometimes I'm overwhelmed by the incredible beauty that I see in the world.

Sometimes I'm overwhelmed by the hatred and intolerance that I see everywhere.

Then I read things written by the Dalai Lama. His words are always true and always wise - and they always bring me back to my center; my "temple".

My true religion, my simple faith is in love and compassion. There is no need for complicated philosophy, doctrine, or dogma. Our own heart, our own mind, is the temple. The doctrine is compassion. Love for others and respect for their rights and dignity, no matter who or what they are - these are ultimately all we need.

Says it all, doesn't it?

Peace and grace be with you this day. And love. Lots and lots of love!


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