Friday, January 27, 2023

Thinking Ahead to February Sewing Challenges!

I can't believe it's nearly the end of January already. Time has simply whizzed by and I feel like I turned my head and two weeks have disappeared. I'm still working on the one project I have started in January -- nearly done now and looking forward to sharing it soon! 

But as I draw close the finishing this item, I'm also thinking about February. I have lots of my own plans, as evidenced by my Make Nine; however, February is full of great sewing challenges. One of my favourites happens every February, the Black History Month Pattern Designers Challenge. It's run by Nateida of SewNaturalDane, and features all sorts of Black pattern designers - for sewing, knitting/crochet, bags, fabric etc. The challenge is to make something by a Black pattern designer between Feb 1 & Feb 28, and share it following the rules on the website/IG post. It's always great fun to discover new designers and see all the projects coming in. Really interesting every year. 

I'm thinking about what I will make this go round -- I have a number of items in my pattern stash that would suit. Two which I bought last year but haven't made yet  are from two different Indie Black designers. I picked up the Temi Top/Dress by Sewphilia, and the Nikki Blazer by Style Sew Me. They are still on my to-sew list, especially the blazer as it really fits in with my wardrobe plans currently.  

I also picked up a 1979 Willi Smith pattern at the thrift store a while back. I love the blouse, but I would have to grade the pattern up since mine is a 12, so not sure I'll get to it in time. And of course I have many Khaliah Ali patterns in my stash too! 

Another temptation is this unique pattern I came across recently. It's the Girma Dress/Top from Les Lubies de Cadia. It's a French pattern company but seems to have English instructions too. I love the wrap style and the cute side pleat feature. 

I'm kind of spoiled for choice for this challenge, the difficulty is in deciding what to make!

The next big thing that's happening in February is the start of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee! Well, it actually starts Monday, Jan 30. This is such a fun event -- the first round is open to everyone and then you get selected (or not) to move on through other rounds. I've been knocked out in first rounds before, and made it to the third round last year. If the first challenge is something that appeals to me I might jump in on this year as well. I don't like to spend my sewing time making things that I will never wear though, so it'll have be something within my sewing preferences to make me jump in. Either way it's fun to follow along and see what people are making for each rapid challenge! 

Other February plans are to continue with my stash cull and reorganization, and to work on at least one project from my Make Nine plans. Let's see if this short month will be full to bursting with sewing!

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Weekend Review: Points of View


Points of View / Valerie Hearder
Woodinville, WA: Martingale, c2007.
96 p.

Another art quilting book for today's pick - this one is from my local library, and despite it being an older book I'd never really noticed it before. It is a great find! 

The title makes the focus of this book clear; it is all about creating varied landscapes with fabric. But there are a variety of views and ideas here. The first section is all about technique - from choosing fabric to construction and pattern-making tips, paints & other ways to colour your fabric, embellishing it in various ways, and a clear and useful section about finishing and mounting/framing your work.

The second section includes 9 step-by-step, illustrated projects. Each one shows you exactly how to use a certain technique, so that you can get some practice with these ideas before you set out on your own. And the intention that you do go your own way is clear; section three is called "Beyond Patterns", in which there are design and collage guidelines and a gallery of other work. 

I found this book full of neat ideas and useful tips. I'm not much of a pattern follower when it comes to textile art, but I liked how each of the small projects in this book were created as an intentional teaching piece, with many of her design tips and guidelines from the first bit incorporated in each one. Great for learning the technique! 

And the first section is so full of great info. She mentions unusual things, like colouring with regular crayons on to paper and then ironing that as a transfer on to a ground fabric (which has to be synthetic for it to really work). It's a different way of creating a base design, and could be fun for those without huge stockpiles of more expensive paints and dyes. Aside from this kind of surface design there are tips on applique and embellishment which also appeal to me, and the parts about finishing and displaying your pieces are thorough and useful to add to the arsenal, too. 

Although I don't often make landscapes I may try a few samples to experiment with some of these techniques. They are laid out and explained in an easy to follow style, and could be attempted by a beginner. I had fun going through this book, and hope that some of my experiments will work! 

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Weekend Review: Art Quilts Unfolding


Art Quilts Unfolding: 50 Years of Innovation
Edited by Sandra Sider. Written by Nancy Bavor, Lisa Ellis, and Martha Sielman
Atglen, PA: Schiffer, c2018.
351 p.

It's a new year, and I'm back with some more book reviews! Today's pick is one that I've been poring over and enjoying over the last couple of weeks. This large and lengthy tome is an overview of the field of art quilting from the 60s to recent years. It's produced by SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) -- this group is one of the top in this subject, with tons of resources for members and lots of exhibitions going at all times. 

This book delivers on the promise of the title. It's broken up by decade, from the 60s to the 2010s. Each chapter talks about the state of art quilting and its development in that decade, has a short piece about or by a museum, collector, or organization that was important at that point, and then, of course, the highlight -- there are a bunch of art quilts shown by a wide variety of artists, all in full colour. It's wonderful to see the styles and techniques, and there is such a wide range that you are sure to find some to interest you. There are also a few deeper artist profiles in the chapters as well, for some of the biggest names in the field. 

Because of the size of the book and the range they're covering, the text is by necessity limited. The essays can't each be 10 pages long. However, it provides a great overview for anyone interested in this aspect of the art quilt world, and also lays out numerous artists, organizations, and publications to look into further (this could take you a while!) It's a wonderful survey course for the reader new to this world. 

And it's inspiring for an aspiring art quilter, when you see the huge range of styles, sizes, techniques, themes and so on. There really is room for everyone's art. That said, most of the artists shown are from the USA -- that is where SAQA is based. There are a few from elsewhere -- Canada, Japan, and Denmark for example, and a few other locations sprinkled in too. It's intriguing to see how each artist's background, ie: did they come from fine arts to art quilts, or home sewing to art quilts, shapes the way they create their work. Definitely one that you can look through over and over, and learn a lot along the way. 

Friday, January 13, 2023

More (and Theoretical) Make Nines

IF I were going to make even more sewing plans, I have enough that I want to make to fill up multiple MakeNine grids. But I don't want to overschedule myself with things to make, I like to go with the flow of inspiration when it comes to my sewing. Nevertheless, these plans are awfully entertaining to put together, so I'm just making a couple more of these grids for fun.

IF I had decided to make a sewing plan just with my Burda magazine TBS (to be sewn) projects or from my stack of vintage patterns, they might have looked like this! 

From l to r, and top to bottom, here are my what-if Burda plans:

1. 104/03/2021 - dress

2. 102/09/2022 - sweater

3. 112/01/2022 - cropped blazer

4. 120/11/2020 - dress

5. 106/09/2022 - vest

6. 119/01/2022 - dress

7. 114/01/2022 - dress

8. 117/12/2022 - skirt

9. 116/09/2019 - blouse

And as for vintage/retro patterns, I have a fair number! This year, for some reason, blouses are catching my eye. My lists are usually all dresses but there's a mix of tops in this potential plan. 

Some Blouses

Some Dresses

And the Blazer from this one!

How about you? Do you make multiple plans just for the fun of it? I hope I can get at least one item made from all my real and potential Make Nine grids this year. But as always... we will see how I feel as the year goes on :) 

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

It's Curtains for Me

I'm not a huge fan of sewing home dec, but I've been meaning to replace my kitchen curtains for well over a decade. Just after Christmas I decided I had the time and motivation to do it, so my husband and I went down to the fabric store and picked out some new drapery fabric, and I whipped them up in two days. So much for waiting for so long! 

We chose a traditional print that picks up all the colours in our kitchen, and it works really well. I had a queen size sheet that was perfect for the lining - these are simple pocket top curtains, although of three different sizes! 

Anyhow, the hardest part, after the cutting, was just the endless pressing of long hems. But they are finally done, and I have remembered why I don't enjoy home dec projects ;) But I do like the finished thing, and they really make our kitchen feel warmer and cozier. Now I won't have to make more for another decade! 

Friday, January 6, 2023

2023 Make Nine / Use Nine

I'm putting together a Make Nine/Use Nine grid for 2023, even though I have never completed a Make Nine yet! I do enjoy the planning so I'm at it again. 

Last year I ended making 3/9 of the patterns I'd picked: New Look 6525, New Look 6598 and Vogue 8612

Not too high of a ratio, but it did help to have them written out like this. Still, a fourth is cut out and ready to stitch (the Perth Top by Carolyn & Cassie) and I'm still planning on working on a couple more. I'd like to get the Bianca Shrug by Sinclair Patterns finished, and still want to complete the Talulah Knit Dress by Style Arc that I'd put on my 2021 list! 

Just like last year, these are aspirational lists; I'm not holding myself to anything! I'm really a mood sewist, just like I'm a mood reader, so these lists are fun to make but not rigid at all, or I will get sewing block pretty quickly. I know myself. This year I found it hard to decide on 9 -- I ended up picking 9 items I just want to make, not attempting to make a wardrobe out of them! They are all things that I have fabric for as well. 

This is just to keep them top of mind, not a hard and fast rule that I must make all of them.

And so, starting fresh with a new 9x9 grid, here are my hopes and plans for 2023 projects: 

   I really like the simple lines of this one; I'm looking for the perfect shift dress and this might be it.

   I like the high waisted straight skirt view & think it will be a great basic to go with all the colourful tops I am planning 

    I have had this pattern for AGES and it is such a sweet silhouette. I'm going to try the blouse, and maybe the dress as another shift attempt.

   I love the slouchy dolman style here - it feels so 80s. I've got to try this!

    I love the style of this one, I had to buy this pattern from a small Montreal patternmaker as soon as it was released, so now it's time to make one! 

    I like the style of this one and think that maybe I have a fabric match, but maybe not...

    I have had this one on my radar for ages! I also have the perfect fabric for it.

    I like this style a lot -- great work wear. And I have some magenta houndstooth to use since that's apparently the hot colour now 😉

    This oversize blazer pattern from 1993 is just what I'm looking for now! Will have to create a lining.

And here they are matched up with stash fabric:

Let's see if I can hit more than 3/9 this year ;)

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Welcome 2023!


Welcome to 2023! I'm glad to see it arrive & wish us all a much better year ahead.

Here's to peace and joyful days in the new year!