Longdraw Spinning Class

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Last week was camp week for the kids, which meant hours of driving each day for me, with household catch up each evening.   It wasn’t a complete crafting loss though.  Once I had finished my morning responsibilities and before first pick up, I sat out on a bench in town and stitched.  With the help of my wonderful in-laws I was also able to attend my first in person spinning class on Friday.  Held at a local museum, there were just 5 students and it was taught by a Tracy Sayre a member of my local spinning group.

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Now I figured out the basics of longdraw spinning with a little help from youtube not too long ago, but there are always things you can only learn from someone who has done it a lot.  Most of what I learned was about fiber preparation, which is something with which I have about zero experience.  We combed, carded, flicked and rolagged. We spun from the fleece, from locks, from rolags, from top and from roving.  It was a great sampler  experience for fiber preps and a great introduction to preparing fiber.  Tips were also given on how to not get a sore back when spinning at the wheel, and how to fix your imperfections when spinning longdraw.  Tracy even covered double drafting, something I did without knowing it was officially a thing.  After a long strange week, a day of sitting and spinning was perfect even if I was getting so tired (I ran out of caffeine.) that I would start my wheel spinning backward, or without the brake on and then have to do strange things to get it sorted again.

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Two Linens Test Sew: Fumeterre Review

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Happy 4th of July Fumeterre

The Deer and Doe Fumeterre skirt is a lovely simple pattern that offers either a button front or a fly zipper front with pockets. Greatly in need of a couple of basic maxi skirts for summer that could carry over into fall I decided linen would be perfect for my needs. My first Fumeterre skirt is sewn in slate Essex linen using the button front from version A, but with the pockets added from version B. The pockets are awesome. Spacious and set at just the right height. Their construction is simple and they are one of two things that really set this skirt apart from the majority of patterns that have come out recently. The second item is the cut of the skirt. The use of 8 tapered panels allow the skirt to be long and flowing with lots of swish down by the ankle without lots of extra bulk at the mid-section in the form of either gathers or pleats. The skirt is a simple style that will last and can be sewn up in a variety of fabrics giving it a lot of versatility.

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this pattern for beginners, because of a few quirks. Let’s talk about the waistband. The construction is something I haven’t encountered before. Starting with the method of attaching the inner waistband then the outer and then doing your finishing on the exterior of the skirt. Odd, but okay. I didn’t do it. I prefer to do the reverse and saw no reason to change. The elasticated back waistband is another uncommon feature, though you see this in some ready to wear. This seems to be a hit or miss feature. It is adding in bulk at the waist again, but could make the garment more comfortable and allow it to feel more secure if you are at the lower end of the size, however, I wouldn’t know. Upon attempting to insert the elastic in my muslin, I realized how little it would bring the waistband in and decided I wasn’t interested in this unnecessary step. Why does the pattern specify only one length of elastic for all sizes? I’ll keep this in mind as a possible alteration if I need to take them in. The place where the instructions really let you down, wasn’t apparent until my second version. The instructions for the fly zipper were completely unintelligible to me and I have sewn a couple of Burda patterns. From what I could figure out they have you start by attaching the guard, which only made the process harder and was the opposite of the YouTube tutorials I finally went with. An entire hour was lost trying to decipher this part and after watching a tutorial and then checking a few others to see if they told me to do the same things, it took only a few minutes and wasn’t difficult at all. The insertion was very similar to that of an invisible zipper only having it a bit offset, with top stitching and a guard. That was not at all apparent in the instructions, which I think may have an error since it tells you to attach things the same side in multiple steps. One last thing to be aware of is that the skirt is really long, as in trimming 4″-6″ off them hem and still having a maxi that can nearly hide my toes long (I’m 5′ 6″). The only other change I made was to the hem facing, shortening it to fit the hem on my first and leaving it off on my second.

Summer of I don’t give a fuck style aka. super casual separates.  Version one is just before heading out for an afternoon of gaming and version two is just before mowing the yard on the July 4, which was the first day we had our tractor back after 3 weeks.  At least it was sunny enough for photos, even if I didn’t have time to do them right. Please note the navy skirt is actually the shorter of the two, I’m wearing wedges here, but it looks like it is dragging because of the very long grass.

On to the linens. The slate Essex linen was a great choice for this skirt; very swishy and excellent for holding the shape. It isn’t very breezy though. Being a mid-weight linen it is quite opaque and doesn’t let much air through, which makes it a bit warm for hotter days and probably ideal for spring and fall days and good for layering in winter. The navy skirt is actually a linen cotton blend, which doesn’t wrinkle as easily and seems like it is about half the weight making it swishy and breezy. This blend does make for a lovely skirt, but it doesn’t hold the shape as well. So it might get marked down just a quarter point for that on my personal scale, as the difference is minor. On this version, I wanted to try a turned up hem rather than the fabric hogging facing which is maybe 5″ wide and cut as 4 curved pieces. I felt the Essex needed the extra weight to help it swish, but that this might be weighed down by that much extra fabric at the hem. After cutting it 4″ shorter, I turned it up 1/2″ and then again 1″ and used a catch stitch to secure the hem. Overall, the two methods worked equally well and are recommended as gentle ways of helping different fabrics achieve the desired swish. You could also drop the hem facing to simplify and save 1/2 to 2/3 yards of fabric on this project. Another middle option would be to narrow the facing by half, cutting down on the weight and using a little bit less fabric, while maintaining the ease of finishing the curved hem.

Both of these skirts have seen a lot of wear and likely will see more year round.  This is a great pattern and I’m considering trying something with inseam pockets to keep the style, but give my wardrobe a little more diversity.

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Vintage Finds: Seam Binding

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Many of the notions I use come in lots from eBay, are purchased at a sewing reuse store or are thrift store finds. My most recent purchase included some rayon seam binding, which can be hard to source these days and among those was this lovely “Designed by Me” seam binding. Quirky little items like this are what make vintage notions so much fun.  I absolutely wish it were in pink and blue, like the picture.  Can’t win ’em all.

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Purple Sparkle Rainbow Unicorns

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This was a fabric that screamed A (or more likely every little girl’s name). It has all of her favorite things, apart from not being extra soft or knit, and she was due for another twirly dress. So it came home with the quilt backing I had picked out. Then I hid it. It was going to be a surprise for her.

While it was hiding, we went to North Carolina to visit my grandparents, stopping on the way at a fabric store I’d been eyeing up for years, but that had never before been open when we were in the area. O and I headed off toward one end of the shop, which it turns out held notions and tablecloth fabric. Soon A came up calling, “Mommy! Mommy! You have to see! I found a dress! You have to get it for me!” After finishing the section I was in I followed her to the quilting fabrics and soon she was showing me the “dresses” she had picked out. 2 purple floral bolts of quilting cotton, to which she added another and a pink poly drapy something. At the prices they were asking for decent quality fabrics, I couldn’t say no. Four more dresses went onto the pile of things to make along with some fabric with insects on it for a pair of sleep pants for O. For myself only some Robert Kaufman dots chambray.

Along with a couple of shirts for the fellows for an upcoming renfaire visit. This adds 10 projects for my family to my pile to my “summer” sewing pile. Feeling pressured and having a broken lawnmower allowed me to sew up two Fumeterre skirts and then squeeze in the first dress for A. I prepped patterns on a folding table on the porch, while the kids played in the sprinklers. Got up a couple of hours early several times and stole a few minutes, while the kids were watching something before bed to cut a Violette Field Threads Matilda.

Just as I was cutting the finally flutter sleeve A trips across from the bathroom into my sewing room and spies the fabric. Tiny eyes lit up. It was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen. She wanted it. Could she have that fabric, she asked as she swiped a scrap with a complete unicorn on it, I’d set aside for later use. When I told her I was cutting pieces for a dress she was thrilled, even more so when I explained it was for her. Getting up early this again on the fourth to work on her dress would have worked out perfectly if the power hadn’t gone out when it did. Still I worked by hand while it was out, sewing on inseam pockets (self-drafted) and stitching one side seam.

 A visited the dress as it progressed. She demanded to know why the pocket fabric (vintage style flowers upcycled from an old Washi top) was different. I explained that the flowers were for the unicorns and they would always be in her pockets for her to give them. She’s wearing the unicorns today and I’m considering making up more of her dresses, but if she gets several she won’t value them and who knows if she’s really willing to wear quilting cotton or if she’ll be all complaints soon… Still progress is progress.

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Sunbeam Creation

Cashmerette Turner

Charlotte Turner

The sun filtering down through the trees leaves such lovely light and sparks the creative mojo.  Having finished my responsibilities early today, I was going to have a bit of extra time to work on clearing and cleaning my sewing space, but my last clearing and cleaning day left me wanting to sew some of my stash and with that little extra time I knew I could whip up a new Turner.  She’s the Same as Cherry Blossoms in all but fabric and my source material.  This time I was feeling too lazy to read the instructions, so I went to the Cashmerette Turner Sewalong and followed that.  It had a few hints that lead to a slightly better project, like sewing the sleeves on with the bodice side up.  Perhaps the other Cashmerette sewalong are due for a little perusal.

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Vacation In Reality

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When we left for vacation the mistaken idea that there would be downtime for stitching went with me, but the only craft which really had any progress was spinning.  While my husband was driving I could spin as long as my hands would hold out.  No new interesting spinning has been started, just more of the same mill ends that have been on the spindle for months. The picture above shows me playing with the roving before packing some.  I braided it and wound it up to see how much more was still to be spun.  That is an actual adult hand in the middle.

It’s about time to start plying some of the spun singles as my singles bowl is overflowing and a decision has been made.  This will be yet another 2 ply intended for some future tbd project.  It is simply spun too thick for it to be likely I’d use it with more plies.  I’m fairly certain I started it with the intention of making an aran, but rarely do I like any project of mine made with yarn thicker than fingering.

 

 

 

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Carolina Springtime

Number Four, my April make for #2018makenine finally got a picture (after spending 14 hours in the car). This took much longer than expected, barely allowing me to keep on schedule. This is a Sis Boom, Carolina Mae view B in floral rayon challis from Jo Ann’s ( I think, there was a mix up with my purple floral rayon challis fabrics and this one had been intended for a BHL Anna). The fabric is a little thinner than other rayon challis’s I’ve worked with (Gekita and Myrtle). That made for a much less pleasant sewing experience. It frayed and slipped so much that I found myself restitching sections to ensure that the seams were solid. I also didn’t trust my zigzag to finish such delicate seams and chose to French seam everything including the inseam pockets. This was a rocky project throughout due to making so many mistakes. I had to cut on back skirt panel 3 times. I cut a curve from the waist to hip to reduce fabric and cut it off the wrong side once and cut the panel too short once.

My third Carolina Mae this one is shorter than the others and uses the ruched bodice version, which is ideal for such a light weight fabric. I’ve shortened the sleeves beyond the many options offered in the pattern. They are about 14″ long now. The bodice overlay isn’t quite what I’d hoped. Mostly because I was unable to determine exactly where the underbust gathers belonged. Again I switched out the regular zipper for an invisible one, which went quite well this time. The mendocino pockets had to be shortened so they wouldn’t stick out the bottom of this shorter version and with such a light weight fabric, won’t hold anything so heavy as my phone.

I love this dress, but am looking forward to putting this pattern aside for a while. About half way in and I’m reconsidering my choices for #2018makenine. Probably just a result of the changing seasons highlighting different needs lining up with my Me Made May wardrobe review clarifying holes and style failures. I’m enjoying this challenge even more than I thought I would as it pushes me to create new things and use new patterns, but I’m trying to think more strategically about my wardrobe plans. Going into this challenge with the idea that the basics were covered and fun new dresses and tops would be ideal turned into recognition that some basics weren’t working and need to be rethought and replacing them would provide more impact.

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