Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sleeves On Saturdays

The Cowl Draped Sleeve 
Today's sleeve is beautiful when paired with a draped front top but will also make a simple top look special.
 The folds fall gracefully from the top of the sleeve. I think you'll be amazed by how easy it is to draft.
Begin with your basic sleeve pattern. This sleeve will also look wonderful when made from a fitted sleeve.
Find the approximate elbow area of the sleeve. Draw a horizontal line at this point. At the cap, measure over 2" from the center of the sleeve and approximately half way down the sleeve cap and draw in the diagonal lines you see pictured above. 
Now cut from the top of the sleeve to the elbow line and across to the side seams, being careful to not cut through. In the cap area cut on the diagonal lines once again being careful to cut to the seam line but not through. Spread your pieces as you see above and tape or pin in place. 
 Draw a horizontal line at the top of the cap that will connect the two pie shaped pieces. This sleeve will need a facing. The second line that you see above is 2" from the line that connects the two pieces of the cap that have been spread. You can spread more than I did. The more you spread, the deeper the drapes will be. Also note in the above picture that you will straighten out the area where the cap has been spread.
The final pattern. I made mine out of a knit, so I cut my sleeve on the straight of grain. If you would like to do this sleeve out of a woven, draw in a bias grain line.
 You can see in this picture that the top of the sleeve cap is open which looks lovely with an arm peeking through.
 Here you see the soft drapes.
A very pretty, feminine sleeve. Enjoy! 

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Fabulous Free Pattern Friday

For those of you who have been following along for some time, you will remember that when I first started the weekly rectangle series, it began as "Rectangles, Squares and Circles." Not a very catchy title. My intent has always been to encourage people to sew and to show just how easy it is to create wonderful pieces with a minimal amount of effort.. I'm sure that I am no different than many of you, if sewing had not been a part of my life, well first of all, there was a time that I would not have had clothes to wear and I am not exaggerating. But more importantly, I have made friends and opportunities have come to me through people I have met along the way, all of which have enriched my life in such an abundant way. So much so that I hope to pass along the joy of sewing and hopefully others will gain what I have along the way.Today's post is pulled out of that original series but I would like for it to be included in the Fabulous Free Pattern Friday series as well. Actually, the two series are the same, just a different title. You can see the original post here.
The fabric for this skirt was purchased at High Fashion Fabrics in Houston, Texas, a wonderful store.
Making this into a skirt only takes a few easy steps.
Begin by sewing the center back seam. Divide the waist line into four equal parts. For the waistband, I like a 1 1/2" wide elastic. Take the elastic and put it around your waist, pull it until it is comfortable to you. Cut it and sew it together. Divide the elastic into 4 equal parts and match this up to the divided waistline of the skirt.
To attach the elastic to the skirt, I like to serge the 2 together. You can also use a sewing machine and zigzag the 2 together.
For this particular skirt, I tacked the waistband to the center back seam and made a few tacks around as I did not want stitching to show.
The finished piece as a skirt, which I might add that I no longer own. My niece took one look at it and fell in love. I couldn't resist, so the skirt went home with her. I love to make her smile!!
Now you can see why I didn't want a stitching line around the top. It's really cute as a strapless top, or it can be worn with a t-shirt underneath.
It also makes a fun little poncho!
I found another piece of the same type of fabric in a small store in Granby, Colorado. I got to keep this one!
I did not totally cop out today and just pull up an old post. I bought this piece from High Fashion Fabrics as well. So pretty.
It's just a little different from the other pieces as it is one continuous piece. If you are interested, they do have a number of pieces of this fabric and they do ship. In order to make the skirt, cut the piece in half which is the white area in the picture above. Rather than just 1 center back seam, you will have 2 side seams. Divide the waist line into 4 equal parts as in the other skirt and do the same with the elastic.
Serge the elastic to the top of the skirt.
For this piece, I zigzagged the elastic waistband down.
The skirt is really pretty, but I have a problem. It's confession time. I didn't try on the skirt before I sewed in the elastic. Once it was finished, I put it on and it is miles too big. The elastic is fine as that was measured, but the skirt is swimming on me. So a word to the wise, try things on before you finish them. I can easily fix this, but I will have to take out the elastic and then take up the side seams and then put the elastic back in. Bummer, but all my own fault.
Wishing you all a wonderful start to the weekend.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

How To Draft A Peg Skirt, Part One

The peg skirt is back!
Everywhere I look, I keep running into peg skirts.

They are rather unmistakable, small at the waist, flared out at the hips and then narrow at the hem line.A peg skirt is quite easy to draft.
This will be the first of a two part post. Today I will show you how to start the draft of a peg skirt. Next Tuesday I will finish the draft and show you my finished skirt as well. The skirt that we will draft will have a yoke, pleats and a side pocket. The finished skirt will be similar to the skirt pictured above.
Begin with a basic straight skirt pattern.
Next, draw in the yoke line. At the side seam the yoke line is 3" below the waist and at center front the yoke line is 4 1/2" below the waistline.
Now we will draw in our pleat lines. The first line is 2 1/2" away from center front. The second line is 1 1/2" away from the first pleat line.
Now we will start to have some fun and draw in our pocket lines. The pocket is actually going to stand away from the skirt.
Measure 9" down from the waistline. At this point come out 1 1/2" as you see in the picture above. The depth of the pocket should be 5 1/2". The line closest to the side seam is 2 1/2" away from the side seam. The second line is 1 1/2" away from the first line. Connect the lines as you see above and round off the edge of the pocket.
In the next post, I will show you how to take all the pieces apart and make the final patterns. It may look a little complicated at this point, but once the pieces are pulled apart, I think you will be able to see just how easy this actually is. This really makes a great little skirt, perfect for light weight summer fabrics as well as heavier winter fabrics.

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Night Reflections

The Artist's Way
Week 10
"How often....even before we began....have we declared a task"impossible"? And how often have we construed a picture of ourselves as being inadequate?......A great deal depends on the thought patterns we choose and on the persistence with which we affirm them."  Piero Ferrucci

Have you heard of Novak Djokovic? This evening there was a piece about him on the television show, "60 Minutes." Luck has a lot to do with his introduction to tennis. It just so happened that his parents had a small pizza shop at a ski resort in Serbia. A tennis court was built across from the restaurant. Novak would sit on the side and watch. An instructor noticed and put a tennis racket in his hands, and the rest is history. He is now the number one tennis player in the world, winning Wimbledon in 2011. Like many of us, there was a period when he too doubted himself and allowed others to intimidate him, two other tennis players in particular. Through perseverance, persistence and visualizing his dream, he was finally able to overcome his doubt and see his dream come to pass.
This week I was on vacation. Before I left, I did all of my blog posts and left them in the draft file so that all I would have to do was push publish each morning. So for quite a few days I knew what my Thursday post would be, but when Thursday rolled around, doubt began to set in. Maybe I should wait...what if my pattern is not good enough...what will be the reaction...doubt, doubt, doubt. I had already asked a few people to test the pattern for me, but they are people that I know and trust. With them is a feeling of safety. But, I persevered, I did push that publish button and despite all the worry, I'm glad I did.
There is quite a bit of discussion in Chapter 10 about fame as well as competition. Both are easy to get sucked into. I really like what Julia Cameron says about fame, "fame is not the same as success."  And about competition, she says, "When we focus on competition, we poison our own well and impede our own progress." 
Quite a few years ago I took a Creative Writing course. A piece that I wrote for the class was quite good. It was about a particular person and how they had handled a situation and how it had affected my life. That Christmas I decided to give this person the piece and I read it out loud for everyone who was there that evening. A friend of mine was there and commented to me later that this person was jealous. I refused to believe that this person could be jealous, but as it turns out, they were. This person knew that I had sent many pieces off for possible publication, but to no avail. A few short months later we were invited for a visit and the very moment I walked in the door it was announced, "I've been published!"  Rather than look at the situation for what it was, I felt defeated. I took the bait and allowed myself to get caught up in the "I"m better than you" competitive merry-go-round. Our artistic talents are not about competition but about using the gifts that we've been given. I now believe that each and every one of us has been given talents and abilities that are unique to us, unique because of how only we can bring them to life. When we feel competitive, we need to look within to see what is struggling to be born.
Our time is quickly drawing to a close, two more chapters and then our final check-in. This week we will look at how we must continue to nurture ourselves as artists. Our value as an artist is not determined by whether our work sells or not. Our credibility lies within. 
This week, try to do Task 4. It asks us to take a look at how we have changed during this journey. Sometimes a look back is a very good thing to do.
Have a wonderful week.

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Sunday Brunch

Happy Sunday Everyone!! I've been in Park City, Utah this past week skiing very slushy snow. Our first day was spectacular, but then it warmed up, a lot, and the snow started melting. Oh well, we had a great time anyway. Our last day was spent skiing in Dear Valley. Such a beautiful resort. As we were skiing along, we came upon these houses. Such whimsical places.
Look closely and you can see all the bears.
A close up of the bear on top of the house.
Snoozing on the banister of the deck.
I didn't get a picture of the bear in the tree, but this is the skier that he chased up the tree. I love the tear in the back of his pants!
The bear has the raccoon by the tail!
Another house had a colony of raccoons that had made themselves at home.

I love the raccoon with the book in his hands. I have never seen anything so whimsical and such fun.
While skiing in Park City, we came across this sculpture. I just had to take a picture. The friends we were with said that this is what happens to you when you ski with Rhonda!!!!
There were great sculptures all over. This was in downtown Park City, Franz the Bear.
Hopefully I didn't bore you too much with my vacation pictures.
So on to what was on the menu this morning.

Blue Cornmeal Pancakes With Poached Eggs
Being a southern girl, I love anything with cornmeal, cornbread and grits alike.

3/4 cup Whole Grain Blue Cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 cup boiling water
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
2 Tablespoons melted butter
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

Mix together the cornmeal, salt and sugar. Stir in the boiling water and stir until all ingredients are wet. Cover bowl and allow mixture to sit for a few minutes. Your mixture will have a pretty lavender color. (Nice for Spring!) 
In another bowl, combine milk, egg and melted butter. Whisk well. Stir the milk mixture into the cornmeal mixture. Combine flour and baking powder and stir into cornmeal mixture. The mixture will have a little grayer tint, but once cooked it will be a little bluer once again. 
Heat up a griddle. Make sure it is nice and hot. Use butter or oil on the griddle. Each pancake should be amount a 2 Tablespoon portion. Cook on one side until bubbles begin to appear. Turn and cook on opposite side.
Meanwhile, boil water for poached eggs. If you like bacon, place fried bacon on top of pancakes and top with poached eggs.
Serve and enjoy!

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sleeves On Saturday

When I first introduced the new series of Sleeves On Saturdays, I showed you this top. The top itself is just a basic T-shirt top. The sleeves are what make it interesting.
Nice drapes that fall from armhole seam.
Begin with your sleeve pattern.
Fold the sleeve in half. It's much easier to work with just half of the sleeve.
Draw in the lines where you would like your drapes to fall from. I forgot to add in the above picture that you should number your pieces. It's always helpful to number pieces because once they are cut apart, it can get a little confusing.
Draw a vertical guide line on your paper. Begin by placing the bottom portion of your sleeve on the line, number 1 in the picture above. Decide how deep you would like your drapes to be and place the next piece of your sleeve on the line, 2" to 3" is a good amount for the spread, but it is up to you. You can also decide if you would like the bottom drape to be deeper than the other drapes, you are the designer, it's up to you.
Now fold on the lines. You are basically putting the sleeve cap back together.
Once the pleats, or drapes have been folded, it's best to tape them in place before you begin to cut. Once eveything is taped down, cut out the sleeve cap. You can see in the above picture that you will not exactly follow the line of the original sleeve cap.
Now remove the tape and unfold your sleeve cap. By folding the cap and cutting while folded, we now have those nice little angles on the sleeve cap that tell us where we are to fold.
 Draw in the notches so you will know where to fold the pleats once you have cut out your fabric. You can see in the above photo that the cap of the sleeve has become quite elongated.
The sleeve is basically the same on the opposite side. If you are doing this out of a knit, the cap will be the same on both sides. If you are doing this sleeve from a woven fabric, you will want to fold the drapes on the portion of your sleeve that fits into the back of your garment and trace the original sleeve over the new sleeve. You will see that the back sleeve is a little larger than the front sleeve.
I hope you enjoy giving this sleeve a try. It's a wonderful sleeve that will make the simplest of tops stand out.

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