Saturday, December 26, 2015

Planning my SewExpo 2016 Day - the sewist classes

Ya go to the fair, ya get a scone!

Since I got skunked on classes last year at SewExpo in 2015, I figured I would do my due diligence on what was offered so I could sign up right away when classes open for 2016. February  2016, Wednesday 24 through Sunday 28. 

I got my brochure today, and am sending it in NOW.

EDITED TO ADD: January 11th, I got the email confirming my order.
January 8, I got my tickets.
Time travel is REAL

From the email: Online registration begins on January 6, 2016 (it will open sometime on Wednesday morning (PST) during regular business hours). Deadlines include a postmark of February 12 for regular mail and February 21 for online registration. Get your registration in early so you don’t miss out on your favorite seminars.

Mostly SewExpo has been about quilting, with a smattering of clothing sewing and a dash of knitting. I live in Seattle and would not miss this for the world, even though I don't quilt. There are some great ‘one stop shopping’ opportunities over the weekend, meeting your heroes. Buying that tool, getting those notions you can’t find online (Treasures of the Gypsy! I am talking about you!).  And the more clothing sewists that attend, the more stuff they have for us. West Coasters, represent!

There are some fine four hour “four needle” classes on the opening day Wednesday. Sadly, Wednesday is just classes, no shows or floor vendors. I know, I live in Seattle, it’s a couple of hours drive in bad traffic from my home.  In reality it just doesn’t work out. As much as I prefer to buy things in person, sewing wise, there’s not enough on the floor to merit two full days off in the middle of the week, and I will be burning much midnight oil on costume work. Emerald City Comic Con is a few weeks later. It just times out that way.

These are not all the presentations or classes, and I haven’t listed the style shows. The italics indicate SewExpo copy from their website, and their PDF.  This is mostly sewing related, and I am sure I have left off someone you love; apologies in advance. But this is what I’m thinking about. Class numbers relate to how long they are.  1’s are 45 minutes, 2’s are 90min, 3’s are 2.5 hrs, and 4’s are just on Wednesdays, and four hours long.

I would be remiss if I did not start with Laura Nash, of Sew Chic. See her 1650 Vintage Pattern presentation (Thurs/Sat 830am) – the gal knows her stuff, look at her pattern line Sew Chic Patterns  if you need more proof.

I put this dress on and I am invincible (Fifth Avenue, by Sew Chic). My spouse doesn't understand how blog clothing photos work, this was the farthest away he would photograph.

1663 Costuming Basics: To Conventions & Beyond Toni Preston, Pacific Fabrics FRI (#1663B) 4:30 PM ROOM D, SHOWPLEX Anime and Comic Book Conventions are a popular venue for kids and adults who love to dress in costume to enhance the fun—but where do you start? Whether you have basic or advanced sewing skills, Toni will send you home with lots of tips and great ideas on how to create costumes for Cosplay and the Cons with limited time, money and space. Toni is a part of the amazing team at the Northgate Pacific Fabrics. THE BEST DAMN STORE EVER. There’s a lot going on out there in the land of cosplay (costumes and character play for adults), and there will be a lot more of it this coming year on my radar.

1624 Pattern Alteration SOS (Swivel Our Seams) Lorraine Henry, LH Enterprises THU (#1624A) 10:30 AM SAT (#1624C) 10:30 AM ROOM G, SHOWPLEX If you are tired of cutting your pattern into puzzle pieces and trying to put it back together to make it “kind of fit, have an “Ah-HA” visual experiences. Watch how seams can “swivel” to enlarge or shrink for the bust, widen or narrow for the back, and work in combinations without causing any distortion in the pattern. Learn how to create hinges and swivel your seams to meet the needs of YOUR personal shape! This is a damn fine trick to learn, changed my sewing. I'm going mostly just to  see how she ....uh...swings it.

1625 The Three Crotch Figure! Lorraine Henry, LH Enterprises FRI (#1625B) 1:30 PM SUN (#1625D) 1:30 PM ROOM G, SHOWPLEX All figures have three crotches. Two arm crotches and one lower torso crotch. Fitting them all has great similarities. Come learn what measurements are in direct relationship to one another in these areas. Learn figure variations that apply to each and how correct measurements will show you where to do the alterations for a better fit. Another brilliant concept at work.

1681 From Dress Form Draping to Princess Lines Joseph Vecchiarelli, Fashion Supplies Inc. FRI (#1681B) 12:30 PM SUN (#1681D) 12:30 PM ROOM E, SHOWPLEX Joe Vecchiarelli and Judy Kessinger have combined their talents to bring you a one-of-a-kind class. Start with Joe’s dress form and learn how to drape the form to FIT your figure. Then Judy will show you how to create a princess pattern to FIT your comfort! Go from form to fashion with confidence in the fit and comfort of a garment. Live draping, kids. Yes, it's a sales pitch but you don't have to buy.

2611 Bra Fitting: Just Because It Fits, Doesn’t Mean It Fits! Monica O’Rourke Bravo, BravoBella FRI (#2611B) 8:30-10:00 AM ROOM F, SHOWPLEX Let Monica help you demystify the sometimes perplexing world of fitting a bra, whether you plan to make your own or want to be a more educated ready-to-wear consumer. Learn about the art and science of bra fitting and get a glimpse as to why so many of them don’t (fit, that is!). You will walk away armed with a foundational knowledge that you can apply to both your shopping and sewing experience. Also: 1655 Panties Monica O’Rourke Bravo, BravoBella FRI (#1655B) 1:30 PM SUN (#1655D) 1:30 PM ROOM C, SHOWPLEX

1656 Upcycling>Upcycle Sewing! Michelle Paganini, Paganoonoo THU (#1656A) 2:30 PM FRI (#1656B) 4:30 PM SAT (#1656C) 2:30 PM ROOM C, SHOWPLEX Upcycle sewing is different than sewing with flat cloth. The starting materials are previously owned garments, there are no pattern pieces to print, cut out, and then pin to garments. Watch the steps for transforming three men’s shirt into a beautiful woman’s blouse. I’ve seen her work in the Refashioners 2015. Now I get to hear her.

1641 Ultimate Upcycles Marsha McClintock, SAF-T-POCKETS THU (#1641A) 8:30 AM SAT (#1641C) 8:30 AM ROOM B, SHOWPLEX Upcycling is described as reusing a material without degrading the quality of the material for its next use. Marsha will show you how to take old leather coats, jeans, and dress shirts and give them new lives. See how to turn a dress shirt into several useful items. Then take an old leather jacket and turn it into accessories like jewelry, tote bags, and trims. I love the insides of Marsha’s brains, she is a real engineer. This is an unfortunate overlap with Laura Nash for the one day attendees. If you’re sticking around, see em both.

1657 How to Fit Any Pattern in a Knit vs. a Woven Fabric Pati Palmer, Palmer/Pletsch Publishing THU (#1657A) 9:30 AM SAT (#1657C) 9:30 AM ROOM B, SHOWPLEX If your knit stretches to fit the stretch gauge on the envelope and you are the exact measurements for your size, you could sew the garment without any fitting—supposedly. Patterns for knits or woven fabrics are interchangeable. Pati will share her sewing tips for successful garment construction no matter the pattern or fabric. It's Pati, dangit!

1658 Tissue-Fitting Method for Pants and Tops Pati Palmer, Palmer/Pletsch Publishing FRI (#1658B) 9:30 AM SUN (#1658D) 9:30 AM ROOM B, SHOWPLEX Pati Palmer and Melissa Watson have developed a new line of patterns for McCall’s that will use all of their latest techniques for tissue-fitting. Pati will show the first designs from the new pattern line and how to use the designs to help you learn to fit yourself. The class that changed sewing, live and in person and updated.

1611 Know Your “Half” Measurements Louise Cutting, Cutting Corners, Inc FRI (#1611B) 2:30 PM SUN (#1611D) 2:30 PM ROOM B, SHOWPLEX You’ve always been told to measure completely around the body but, patterns are drafted with front and back pattern pieces. Using “half” measurements, Louise will share easy to follow changes in patterns that can make your garments fit better. Students will receive ‘mini-pats’ (quarter size scale of a front and a back) to address how measurements and sizing needs to be added or altered This makes appalling amounts of sense.

1626 Tailoring: Before You Cut Marla Kazell, Marla Kazell THU (#1626A) 11:30 AM SAT (#1626C) 11:30 AM ROOM B, SHOWPLEX Before you cut and sew your next jacket, discover how appropriate planning and refining the details of your pattern will improve the final results. Learn about hem allowances, turn of the cloth, button size/overlap width, off-graining and drafting or adjusting lining pattern pieces.  Marla Kazell has done many and much, but she was the technical advisor for the book, "Couture The Art of Fine Sewing" by Roberta Carr. Nuff said!

1647 Sew Your Own Swimsuit— Fearless & Fun Techniques! Annette Millard, Pacific Fabrics FRI (#1647B) 10:30 AM SUN (#1647D) 10:30 AM ROOM C, SHOWPLEX Dive into sewing your own suit with Annette’s fearless methods for both sergers and sewing machines! Whether you love Retro, Basic or Modern styles, you’ll find these tips and basic techniques make swimsuit sewing fun, easy and full of possibilities. You’ll learn the basics of fitting, how to use fabrics, linings, and patterns and which tools and notions will make your swim sewing life easiest. Bra cup techniques will not be included, but an easy substitute will be shown. Annette is fearless, a real human being shaped person, and will convince you into sewing one.

I just bought her vogue pattern! You’d go home with a real purdy box!  3631 Intro to Cartonnage: The Art of French Box Making Mary Jo Hiney, Mary Jo Hiney Designs THU (#3631A) 11:00 AM-1:30 PM FAIRVIEW, 1ST FLOOR The art of making decorative boxes from cardboard began around 1844, in Valréas, France. Learn Mary Jo’s well-honed techniques for creating decorative boxes and incorporating ribbon techniques, using her artisan-crafted hand-dyed silk velvets and ribbons. Students will choose between a small oval or small heart shape. Assorted shades will be offered.

Two Wednesday classes it pains me to pass on:
4604 Fitting and Designing for All Cup Sizes Connie Crawford, Fashion Patterns by Coni WED (#4604Z) 1:00-5:00 PM ROOM 2, PAULHAMUS Using your personal measurements and cup sizes, learn the art of fitting a pattern and the importance of having the correct cup size for both woven and knit fabrics. Connie will demonstrate the different drapes for a perfect custom blouse block/sloper. She will also show you how to fit the gaposis of a neckline, make a shoulder and armhole fit properly and match the collar to your neckline

4607 Pattern Alteration Basics: A Hands On Approach For A Great Fit Lorraine Henry, LH Enterprises WED (#4607X) 8:00 AM-12:00 PM ROOM 3, PAULHAMUS Learn how to identify common figure variations, how to take and use body measurements effectively and apply to alter your pattern for a great fit. Learn the principles and guidelines for the three methods of alteration that you can choose from—Slash, Pivot and Slide—and the newest Seam method. Use ½-scale practice patterns in doing frequently needed alterations for each part of the body.

4616 Pants For You! Personal FIT! and STYLING! Kathy Ruddy, WED (#4616X) 8:00 AM-12:00 PM ROOM 4, PAULHAMUS Create the only pant pattern you’ll need for years to come! Measurements and visual keys are the foundation for creating a custom pants pattern. Watch as Kathy demonstrates how to correctly take measurements as you work in pairs to complete your individual measurement chart. You will receive a visual fit chart to analyze your fit and where to apply the changes. Using ½-scale patterns, practice the fitting changes outlined in the personal analysis to create your very own custom pant pattern.

Even if I miss the classes, Bravobella will have bra supplies, Pendleton will bring their sale priced blanket woolens, HANCOCK Fabrics always has some notions on the big sale (wonder clips a couple of years ago, Ott lights last year) Bernina brings the truck of feet, Professional Sewing Supplies brings the pattern notchers and fine sewing needles, and 
Treasures of the Gypsy raven strip

Treasures of the Gypsy (Elinor Peace Bailey patterns, breathtaking trim wonderland, only do a few road shows and NO ACTUAL STORE, so bring all your money for them).
Make and take activity list on page 39, Sashiko Pincushion  $8 Create a Japanese Sashiko hand embroidered pincushionsounds pretty cool

vendors on p.40

Be seeing you!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

What little good advice I can give you

I'm taking a little time off to heal the right frozen shoulder and focus on getting better for convention sewing season, so I'm going 'sewing light' this week.

la Tigresse! by Ed Dees*

Be willing to make mistakes and take the time to fix them. Get a seam ripper you wouldn’t mind writing a novel with; it’s just as important as sewing.
Try a sew-along! It’s a nice way to learn the larger process, meet some helpful folks online, enjoy the community that sewing builds.

And speaking of community, buying that fabric and machine locally helps you meet the folks around you who share your secret hobby. Buying from a place that also supports repairs and warranties makes sure they will treat you right when you need that service.
And that they will be there when you need them.
If they don't treat you right, tell them. If they do, tell them that, too.

*Ed Dees has made me several things, all of which I have paid for. He uses good materials and takes special orders.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Dignified Pullover Garment: actual sew

It does look more interesting in the tech drawing, but every black object does photograph badly

model L/16

The actual sew is very quick, maybe an hour. It's just big pieces that don't have to be lined up precisely, and the interior finishes can all be serged. There aren't many of them, none of them are curved or eased, so lots of finishes would work. For my sister, I tend to bind them. A little showmanship goes a long way.

I love Pic Monkey collages

Almost all of those pieces are single cuts, except for the sleeve and one of the bands.

I used a middle weight mystery knit from JoAnn's, figuring I'd get a wearable muslin.

Yes, these are the directions. All of them.

The entire collar construction is not only skipped, it is mostly obscured in diagram 6.
I came up with a numbering system to keep the pieces straight, and spent a little time lining them up to see if they fit.

This is where I screw up every time. I ruined a beautiful piece of cotton making a Burda blouse years ago and not making sure I'd cut the right pieces and that they fit together BEFORE I started cutting my fabric. I had a very hard time making it work, and in the end, I had to cut it down and out of my size. A most beautiful and elegant child's blouse.
Lucky for me, in this case piece 1 was two inches too wide, not too narrow. Maybe it has a pleat in it? Maybe it doesn't? I call it my error, not the book's. 

Once again, I've made something that doesn't photograph well.

It's easier to see what's going on with it inside out. I left off the cuffs and the bottom bands, because at that point I was looking at a dress, and I need a top.

Either could be the front. Can you tell that the narrower sections were cut on the crossgrain? Not really, but I tried to get some variation in it. This is a knit backed with some netting, so it's a bit scratchy, and has ...pretty much NO stretch.

This top would be cool in a stripe/print blocked variation, and would work in a woven if I open the upper chest an inch. NOT the neckline.
I smell plaid.
I should rename the blog I Smell Plaid, I Taste Polka Dots.

The cowl (the black and white section here) stands on one side and lies flat as a part of the seam on the opposite. In this midweight knit, it does stand up a bit. You could interline it to get it to stand taller, or cut it on the bias to get it to flop.

I cut a large, I'm a 38" chest with mom arms. The armsceye are fine, the shoulder seam does dive over the edge but it's not tugging or bagging. 
Not that you can see this in this photo.

It's hitting me, without the bands, at the lower derriere. I will make another one of these, but I will do a FBA for my sister, enlarge the arms, and maybe bring in the shoulders. The sleeve should be a little wider if it's going to sit off the shoulder.

This is a common sleeve construction in the Miyake patterns I have.

from Ebay
And it often leads to puckering at the top of the sleevehead, where the curve meets the flat. 
from Ebay

I had a better Ebay example photo, but it's wandered off again. Hanging these shirts exacerbates the problem and adds another bubble at the top.

 Widen that sleeve head and I see some serious plaid misuse after the holidays.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Counter Culture in Bellevue WA

Years ago, 1975 to be precise, I wished I had been a little older and could have been a real hippie

It was 1975, dammit, I was 16.
And somewhere I got a copy of this book
from the book Native Funk and Flash

and committed it to memory

from my copy of the book "Native Funk and Flash"

Yes, I was that girlfriend. The one who embroidered Alice in Wonderland on your jeans.

from the book Native Funk and Flash
This is Laurel Burch in 1974. Yes, that Laurel Burch.

from the book Native Funk and Flash
Mary Ann Schildknecht and her satin embroidered shirt. I worshipped this shirt.

I looked. You won't.

The show is currently in Bellevue WA at the Bellevue ARTS Museum (vs the Bellevue Art Museum, RIP)

BAM,wa has always had a craft/object bent to it: Joseph Beuys and Issey Miyake have had shows there. Not at the same time, sadly. 

One of the founders of the Cockettes, Hibiscus' scrapbook (one of many I understand)

In addition to the documentary on the Cockettes making the rounds, there is plenty of footage of their performances in the "I Am Divine" documentary, presently on Netflix.

Sparkles everywhere!

Scrumbly's doily suit: did the person name the assemblage technique, or the other way around?

Wavy Gravy jumpsuit (one of two in the show), this one with a Merry Prankster star on the back from his time with Ken Kesey on the bus (because you're on the bus or you're not).

Janet Lipkin vest, with additional embroidery on the lining.

The middle features dresses by Alexandra Jacopetti Hart,  co-founder of Folkwear Patterns.
Yes, if they look familiar to you, that's because it's a straight line from these to that.

A detail from one of Hart's dresses.

Sample case with swatches, foot tracings and sample of foam sole. McGowan apprenticed in a CA sandal factory, probably flip flops given the materials he's using.

Apple Cobbler Scout Boots

Mary Ann Schildknecht's shirt in person. The story is that she was in prison in Italy on hashish charges, and the nuns that ran the prison taught her needlework. She used her bedsheets to make this shirt. It has a story line and a matching skirt (the beginnings shown previously). And pretty much every embroidery floss color on the planet.

Because it is paved with embroidery,  she left holes in the sleeve in case she might need a transfusion. And I needed a photo of those holes.

It was the 70s.

This is one of those moments at an exhibition where the docents get really interested in talking to you about the objects.  I am unsure if it was the number of photos I had taken at this point (they indicated which pieces were not to be photographed - Mama Cass Elliot's astrology dress, ombre died rayon velvet for one - and I comply) or just the level of engagement I had.

Mme. Docent  asked "Do you sew?" and when I responded yes, she had lots of questions for me, mostly about how long it would have taken to make these things. She walked me around the whole thing again and we went over what the clothes were and why. I would have taken a lot more photographs otherwise.

Remembering that book came in handy, but the show is a lot more than just one book.
The entire show is essentially handmade, which stunned her. I mean, there's a lot of sewing machine work for basic structures, but when there's an entire room of crocheted clothing, well, there's no machines for that.
100% Birgitta (Bjerke), Ibiza, 1969, Photo: Karl Ferris

There's a whole room of these scrumble works. And now I feel badly I didn't take more pictures, as they don't seem to be presented online.

Apparently the sewists aren't attending this show. I had lots of questions she had no answers for, and I have a stack of them for the curator, Michael Cepress.

Kaisik Wong, Red Ray and Orange Ray, 1974, Photo: Courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

So please find the eastside of the greater Seattle area, not on a Monday, and go see this. There's no catalog, and it's not likely to tour much if no one sees it here.

And I will get back there before it closes and just snap snap snap. Maybe I should haul the curator around with me. I'm just that kind of pushy.

Sad fleece blanket in gift shop with nice fringe. Project time: that's two yards of fleece and one ball of Noro, plus a crochet hook.

The only item that related to the show in the gift shop was
one of these
And they wonder why museums don't engage their visitors

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Dignified Pullover Garment: Japanese Nested Patterns

No, I still don't remember where I heard about this book

I am glad that I did order it.

This is the stuff I need

This is the shirt I am going to make.
If you have ever traced off a pattern from a nested page, you know how frustrating it can be. It had better be interesting enough to make the work worthwhile.

The diagram of nested pieces is on pattern page 3, and their relative locations on that page (relative to each other that is). 

The piece shapes are good to know, as it makes it a lot easier to figure out if you traced all of it. Or too much of it.

I do not know what the numbers on the tech drawing refer to. They do not refer to the instructions, which are very very brief.

I don't want to draw on the pattern page, as I will reuse this page and may eventually sell or trade this book. So I want to find a way to indicate where the lines are before I start tracing, so I can see the whole piece beforehand.

After some pondering of household items, my gaze fell on a penny.
I do have a lot of them. They are small, flat, and they stay put.

The pieces are indicated by their pattern letter (L in this case) and a little line to the line you're looking for.

See the rectangle, nested in with the other pieces? I fingertraced and left pennies until I got all the way around.

The letter codes go all the way around the page. So I went around the page clockwise, tracing them one by one. Even the ones I was pretty sure I wasn't going to use.

That's a rectangle, with a rule on one edge ready to go

Some were a little less specific which line. I had to go back to this one to find the piece I was missing at the end.

That's a sleeve

That's a tailor's mark. It's very easy to miss those with that much going on, but I got the ones I needed.

When I was tracing, I used a rule as often as possible, and rolled the paper over the pennies, flicking them out of the way through the paper once I had found the line.

At this point, I would urge anyone who is interested in nested sewing patterns to do a dry fit of the pieces you have traced. They may look like the pieces in the diagram, but this is where I always get 'bit'. The large square piece ended up being two inches too wide to fit. And the whole thing would be a dress in length on me, so I left off cutting out the bands at the bottom.

Most importantly, the sizes do run notoriously small. I cut a large (from previous hard won experience) and my 38" chest just fits comfortably.  I read no japanese to speak of, so the measurement table made no sense to me (largest number was first, then middle, then smallest last. I guessed the largest would probably be the hip. It may have been.)

This is really a lot of work for a pattern. If it's just another shift or a tshirt, I wouldn't bother tracing it out, I'd steal the style features and adapt them to an existing pattern I already have worked up.

The actual sew is very quick, maybe an hour. It's just big pieces that don't have to be lined up precisely, and the interior finishes can all be serged.

left off the bands and the cuffs. I'm short

Next post is the construction and breakdown.