Friday, June 26, 2020

Shimmy Skirt Fabric and How To/Fabulous Free Pattern Friday

It's a rainy day in Chicago, but I am grateful. My grass looks wonderful, and gardens all around are a joy to see. I had hoped to fly today, but...another day.

I posted this skirt on Instagram yesterday and a number of people asked about the fabric and how it was done. Beyond simple!!! I didn't think about it, but it actually qualifies as a Fabulous Free Pattern Friday (remember those?) piece as it's just 2 rectangles. 

I did this super short video to show how the skirt moves when I walk. It's a little exaggerated as do not shake like that when I walk. At least I hope not ;) 

Below is the exact same type of fabric. You've seen it a million times I'm sure. I've placed it on the form just as you would see it on a bolt in a store. The grainline is running vertically. Sewn vertically, it's cute, can make a fun little dress, skirt or top.  

But, when it's turned so that the crosswise grain is vertical, it takes on a completely different look. The skirt I am wearing in the video has ruffles that are a gradation of white to dark gray, so a little more interesting than just the dark gray and the black of the fabric below. This works as the fabric has the same stretch on the straight of grain as well as the crosswise grain.

To make the skirt, I purchased just enough to fit across the front of my body, I think I bought about 5/8 of a yard. The fabric was cut in half, giving me a front and a back. I used the two selvedge edges for the hems, so no need to finish off a hem. All in all, the skirt took no more than an hour to put together. 

Rather than roll the top edge for an elastic casing, which would have been bulky around the waist, I used a 2" wide decorative elastic. I really like this elastic as it has a small ruffled edge.

I have no idea why this picture came out so fuzzy, but I think you can see what it is. I had a small piece of this ruffled fabric leftover from a project. Not enough to do much with, but rather than pitch it, I added it to the bottom of a t-shirt. I didn't have enough of the solid blue to make a t-shirt that would be the length that I would like, but the 2 combined, SCORE!!! I love wearing this with white pants. The pattern that I used for the t-shirt is the Molly Tee from Pattern Union. There was absolutely no fabric left for sleeves, so I just made a binding, and called it a day.    

I've not posted my thoughts on this year's Me Made May journey, or a little dream that I have, hint, hint ;) More on both in an upcoming post. But I will say this, maybe it's because we've all been couped up, not really sure, but what really came forward for me this year is that I want to truly enjoy what I choose to wear each and everyday. The shimmy skirt, and the ruffle edged top both fit that criteria, at least for me :)
Pull something fun out of your closet and celebrate the day!

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Thursday, June 25, 2020

An Embroidered Journey

I think I need to ask all of you to be my design consultants on a permanent basis!!! Wow!!!, did you ever come up with some fabulous ideas for my embroidered tree. Becky of Trial Balloons sent me some wonderful inspiration photos that she found on Pinterest. Not that any of the ideas should be used exactly as they are, but as a jumping off point.  

I love the patch of pieces and the embroidery in this skirt.

This is a little too much patchwork for me, but here again, I love the stitching and the mix of pieces.

Another mix of fabrics that really create an interesting garment.

Same idea, but a little bit of a different silhouette. It's anchored with the solid sleeves, and a solid back. This would be a great way to use some scraps. Take note that just 3 prints were used.

I absolutely fell in love with these embroidered pieces. 

Both are from a wonderful artist, Tessa Perlow. You can see more of her work HERE in her Etsy Shop.

Stephanie sent me these fabulous photos. I LOVE this jacket!!! 

So many of you talked about a kimono style jacket. With all of this running through my head, I thought of a summer kimono that I have. I think this is it!

You can see that the tree is rather large, and the linen has yellowed with time. But, I can get that out without a problem. 

So, I think I will use some of this fabric, but blend it with a solid, lightweight linen. With the solid linen, I can embroider flowers to look as though they have fallen from the tree. And then pick up something on the cuffs and collar. This is a piece that will evolve as I go. And...it will not be something I do quickly, which is fine.

My first step will be to finish doing the embroidery on the tree. Once the embroidery has been completed, I'll start the soaking process to remove the yellow. Then I'll start working on putting the jacket together. Anyway, however it goes, I think it's going to be a fun little journey!

Thanks so very much for all of your messages. It was great to hear from you. How lucky am I to have so many incredibly creative people popping in to see what I do?!!  

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Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Help! I Would Like Some Creative Input

Something that I have learned over the past 6 weeks is that we show people the person we want them to see. We share what we are capable of sharing. In my being given the gift of handling my friend's estate, the person that I thought I knew became richer and deeper, and at times, quite surprising. I discovered hurts, losses, and disappointments that she had buried, at least to others. Things that absolutely broke my heart, and gave me tremendous insight into why she did things, and reacted to things as she did. Then one day, I opened a storage closet and found something that I had no idea that she had ever enjoyed doing, crewel embroidery projects. 

She had a number of kits that had never been started. Sound familiar? ;) But, there was one that was virtually finished.      

The stitch work is absolutely beautiful! All that needs to be done to complete the project are a ton of French knots. I love doing French knots!!! So, I decided to keep the project and finish it. It was meant to be a pillow, but I thought a bag would be lots of fun.

The other project that I decided to keep and finish was this tree in bloom. For some reason it just spoke to me. It spoke to me, but didn't tell me what it wants to be. I don't want to finish it as a pillow, I would like to use it in a garment. A skirt, a jacket, a dress??? I just don't know.  

The piece is on a lovely piece of linen, something that I think I can fairly easily match. If not match, at least tea dye to match. 

So, I would love and appreciate some creative feedback. I've looked on Pinterest to no avail. I know that some of you have a difficult time posting comments. But if you have an idea, or some thoughts, please send an email, sewbussted@yahoo.com I would truly love to hear what you think!

Thanks so much!!!

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Monday, June 22, 2020

If Only

A very happy Good Morning!!! It feels good to be back :)

The last 2 months have been especially difficult. A friend of mine fell in early March and broke her arm requiring surgery. Since she lived alone, rather than going home after the surgery, she went to a rehad facility to recuperate, and have therapy. While she was there, she developed pneumonia, but not COVID. She was taken to the hospital for treatment. Fluid was removed from her lungs, and in the fluid they found cancer cells. Upon further examination, it was discovered that she had lung cancer and that it had spread throughout her body, and into her brain. Two and a half weeks later, she left this world. 

A few years ago, my friend asked if I would be the executor of her estate. My reply was, "of course." Due to the virus, my husband and I remained in Colorado, tucked away in a small mountain town where there was virtually no threat of transmission, and life was much saner than here in Chicago. My friend and I talked on the phone until she could talk no more. I was surprised by how beautifully she accepted the fact that her life here on earth had come to an end. 

By the time I returned to Chicago, she was gone, and my work began. I have never dismantled a person's entire life. When my grandmother died, I helped a bit, but my uncle was in charge of all the details. So this was a very new, and overwhelming situation for me. Factor in COVID, and it truly became overwhelming.

When I first walked into her house, it all felt so very sad. It was eerily quiet, as if the house knew that its keeper was gone. I had no idea of where to begin. After I took a few minutes to regain my composure, I decided that the easiest place to start was with her clothes. Because of the virus, I couldn't have a garage sale, so I emptied out her closets and drawers, and began bagging everything up for charity. At that point, nothing was open in Illinois, but I had heard that Wisconsin had opened. Sure enough, Goodwill was taking donations. I packed the van with 15 very large bags of shoes and clothes. And so began my next 5 weeks of sorting and packing. 

There have been been moments where I've felt that I just couldn't do this. One morning I actually came downstairs after another night of no sleep, and told my husband that I just couldn't do this. The lawyer was pushing me to get the house on the market as soon as possible. The real estate agent wanted me to stage the house as it would show better. There was just so very much to go through. On one particular day, I opened a cabinet that was filled with hundreds of pictures. She had taken some wonderful trips. She had gone to Yellowstone to view the wolves, to Alaska to see grizzly bears and whales, to Peru, New Zealand, and more. So many pictures of all that she had experienced. As I sat there with pictures pouring into my lap, I began to cry. There was no one who would want the pictures, and so there was nothing that I could do but throw them away. I felt as though I was throwing her life away. Then a small miracle happened. I felt a voice in my head tell me that these were her memories. When we die, we cannot take our things with us, but what we do get to keep are our memories. She has all of this with her. This is just the physical reminder of her memories. It's okay, throw them away. 

The house was turned over to the real estate agent last Wednesday. I was a nervous wreak. Would what I had done be enough? My reward came over the weekend. There was an open house this past Saturday. A bidding war ensued, and the house went for considerably more than the asking price. The realtor told me that everyone commented on how lovely the home looked, and could see that it had been put together with love. Yes, it had :) 

There's still a tremendous amount of work to do, but not the day in and day out of spending such long hours of sorting and cleaning. 

While the open house was happening, I went out to spend some time with my mom. She has been telling me for quite some time that she would like me to go through old family pictures. There have been visits where I've asked. "what about now?" This past weekend she was finally ready. 

So many memories. Pictures of my grandparents, my great-grandparents, wonderful times, and then pictures that bring back memories that I would rather forget.

As my mother and I sorted, I came across this picture of my great-grandmother and my mother's 1st cousin.

Such a precious child. She was the only child of my great aunt. My great-grandmother is standing by the headstone monument of her son who died in WWII. Little did she know in that moment that in a few short years she would be back to lay this sweet child to rest.

When tragedy happens, we are shocked, and yet, we all know that tragedy is a part of life, but a part that is virtually impossible to accept. So often we say, "if only I had known, if only I had done more, if only I had reacted differently, if only, if only, if only..." We want to think that somehow we have power over this life. In a way, we do. The power that we do have is in how we react. Take our tragedies, learn from them, and be all the more aware of the blessing that our lives are. Become more aware of the blessing that we can be to those we love, to those with whom we come in contact. When we take the time to show our love, it is an act that we will never regret.

This may not apply, but it spoke to me, and I hope that it will to you as well.


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Sunday, June 21, 2020