Jun 22, 2017

Vermont Pillow

Another niece is getting married and this time I offered to make the ring bearer pillow.  My niece lives in Vermont and showed me some cute photos on Pinterest (where else) of pillows made in the shape of states.  Since Vermont was where this romance began it seemed only fitting.

Her colors were grey and green/blue.  I used several shades of silk dupioni and stitched squares together and then attached the whole piece to fusible fleece.

I traced a sugar maple leaf (from the Vermont State tree) on paper and stitched around it by machine. Using this as my pattern I then stitched around it with green embroidery floss.


My trusty Bernina lettering stitches came in handy for adding the names of the bride and groom and date of the wedding. I also added a handle to the back for easy carrying (not shown in this photo).    I stitched the 2 pieces together and then lightly stuffed the pillow with fiberfill to give it some body.

The completed pillow and coordinating garter.  The mother-of-pearl heart button marks the city where they had their first date and subsequent proposal. 

            The handsome ring bearer and his assistants.  He did a great job.

Apr 5, 2015

Wedding shoes

My niece is getting married this fall and she decided the last thing she wanted to worry about on her big day was her shoes.  Comfort was her main objective and she found a cute pair of Dr. Scholl's that fit the bill.  I got to do the decorating and it was great fun!

I started with some stretch lace which I wrapped around the shoe.

Glues of the trade.  Of course as a seamstress I couldn't resist a little hand sewing, just to reinforce.

My working conditions - a lovely sunny windowsill for the glue to dry.  The pins helped hold things in place.
Every bride needs a sixpence in her left shoe for good luck.

I used the decorative letter programming feature of my trusty Bernina 1230 to add the
names and wedding date to ribbon which I added to the side of the shoe.  I used pink thread
so that it would show up but not be too obvious.

The finished product, in it's own clear "glass" shoebox.


Dec 30, 2014

Betty and Millie

I just finished reading a wonderful biography by Betty Halbreich entitled "I'll Drink to That, A Life in Style with a Twist."  Betty had an interesting life, growing up in Chicago and then moving to NYC when she got married.  She was born into a wealthy family and married into an even wealthier one.  Growing up around fashion gave her a wonderful insight into clothing and she kind of fell into her job as a personal shopper at Bergdorff-Goodman.  She had lots of fun memories about growing up in Chicago; one of my favorites was her recollection of the Marshall Field's Special Sandwich served at the Walnut Room
In my stash I have many vintage labels which in themselves are works of art.  I used the woven label above to make a pin, backed with a beautiful red & white obi piece and stuffed with fiberfill.  The outside edge is beaded.  I tried to find something on Millie with no luck.  I thought she was a designer but it turns out she had a dress shop in Chicago in the 1950-60's.  I was thrilled to come across the following info about her in Betty's book:

The only other place that rivaled Korshak's serene luxury was
 Millie B. Oppenheimer.  Tucked away in a small group of
rooms ustairs in the Ambassador East Hotel, there was nothing
more than a credenza and fresh flowers to connote a store. 
Her clientele was as small as her shop.  The epitome of low-key
graciousness, Miss Oppenheimer in her small hat and black clothing
had the most exquisite taste; taste I have never seen matched.
Beyond that, though, was her understanding of the women she
dressed.  Miss Oppenheimer cared about everyone who shopped with her;  she was  a rarity in that she bought with great insight for each individual customer.  (Some specialty stores still do this; that is the great thing about them.  Unlike department stores that buy a popular dress in a range of sizes, owners of these small regional boutiques will take a model in a size with a regular customer in mind.)

Nov 19, 2014

Art at the Depot

 Art at the Depot
Saturday December 6th
931 E. Main St., Madison, WI
10 - 5 pm

Nov 10, 2014

Winter Art Fair on the Square

Working on something new for the Winter Art Fair off the Square, this coming weekend, November 15-16 at Monona Terrace in Madison, WI.

Observant eyes may recognize the scarf on the left.  Hated to waste any of this gorgeous silk print!

Lorraine Torrence Creative Clothing Class 2014 - #3 Closures

For this project I used a Sandra Betzina blouse pattern, Vogue 7281, that I had made before.  The fabric came from a pair of flowing pants I bought at Maxwell Street in Madison, intending to use the fabric in them for another garment.  I was able to place the border of the print along the front edge of the blouse.

For the button loops I used some middy braid I purchased at
Gayfeather Fabrics.  I doubled the braid and tied it
in knots and used this for the button loops.

The buttons were made out of triangles of the fabric that had a layer of fleece inside and I sewed a layer of the facing fabric to the back.  I rolled then up into little croissants and then hand stitched them to the fabric.  I put a circle of heavy felt behind the button to hold it up and so that it wouldn't pull the lightweight fabric.

Close up of croissant button and loop.


Finished project.
Note:  One think I learned from sewing with metallic fabric is that it is very delicate.  I should have lined the entire blouse as it he long threads on the inside tend to catch and break.  Next time:)

Lorraine Torrence Creative Clothing Class 2014 - #4 Using 5 Fabrics in a Garment

I have a wonderful silk print that I have coveted for years - too afraid to cut it up in case I screwed up the resulting garment.  It features a grouping of Asian people and I have been pondering for years what to do with it.  The assignment for our class prompted me to think of using it as I also had a few yards of another orange silk flowered print that worked with it - now to find 3 others!  I had an orange corded silk in my stash that worked and after digging through my kimono pieces stash I found 2 more green shibori pieces that worked.

The pattern I chose had an Asian feel to it, as do so many of my garments - it was one of Lorraine Torrence's patterns, Grainline Gear Crossroads Jacket. 

I remembered reading an article in one of Sandra Betzina's books about making a silk jacket.  It involved backing each piece with a matching piece of flannelette that was fused with interfacing.  The flannelette gave body to the fabric while the interfacing gave it abit more, without being directly fused onto the silk.  I hand basted each piece (exhausting!!) with the 3 layers before sewing them together and then lined the piece in more of the orange silk.

Thee garment needed closures of some sort and I had purchased some buttons at a flea market in Madison that were just perfect - men's heads in a scale that matched the print to perfection.  I used a covered snap as a closure underneath and then sewed the buttons onto the front band as decoration.  So glad I waited for the perfect garment and the silk feels wonderful when I wear it!