Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Patchwork & Embroidered Waistcoat: Step 1 - Preparation & first steps ...

In between making my curtains (previous post & while I get my unpicking done etc) I've now started making a long waistcoat. Having made over 12 blouses for a customer, I suggested a long waistcoat to wear with them. A selection of various left-over cotton scraps had been collected & the colours were ideally suited for patchwork. (All fabric had been pre-washed before the blouses had been made - for shrinkage purposes.) At this early stage, no decision on final decoration techniques has been made - this will happen later when all scraps are ready & first steps completed. (It's also quite likely one of my design ideas will be incorporated - first stages of Mosaic)

After sorting the fabrics, there were 2 main colours to use - blues/turquoises & pinks/purples ... selected for back & fronts respectively. Initial thoughts were to mix with denim but larger scrap pieces allowed for complete back/front linings in the same fabrics. A fine sew-in interfacing was used for the patchwork backing - cut to oversize/vague back & front shapes. These would be used to stitch the patchwork pieces onto, as well as retain an overall fabric grainline. (The photos show the sections on my cutting board - a useful photographic aid as well as a sewing one!)

Back - pinned pieces
STEP 1 (above) : The back was begun first - 'smaller scraps' being roughly pinned on the interfacing to obtain positioning & colour co-ordination. By doing this first, final placement/sizing can then be adjusted at the tacking stage.
Back - tacked pieces

STEP 2 (above) : Each patchwork piece was positioned over another & a small turning pinned down - this ensured all edges would not fray whilst working/stitiching. As 3 - 4 pieces were pinned into final place, they were then tacked into position.

Front - tacked pieces

STEP 3 (above) : Steps 1 & 2 were repeated for both fronts (I'm still finishing the other front).

NOTE: If you want to see close-ups of the pinning & tacking, please visit the studio.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Curtain panels - heading & eyelets ...

I've been out & about looking at curtain headings for the IKEA panels. I want to retain as much of the view from the windows without having masses of fabric pleated up. The pole they are to hang on has rings attached & I want to loose the IKEA style of loops. I'd like to have a 'wave-style heading' hanging from the rings but don't want to interfere too much with the panel design (see above pix) & not have it too much pleated up. It's likely (after looking around at available tapes on the market) I'll just be using an iron-on buckram with some sort of small looping method to hold the the curtain hooks. As this early development stage I'm venturing into the studio tomorrow to rummage through my bits & pieces to see if I got something suitable 'in my store'! If not, back to the 'drawing board'.

I'm also going to be making some other curtains - with eyelets on the headings. I've decided not to use the suggested tape (Rufflette) as the pre-cut holes were not in the places I wanted them to be - the eyelets are just fine. The alternative I've chosen is to use an iron-on buckram (for stiffening the upper edge) then cut the holes individually where required.

Keep a watch here to find out more as I progress.

Monday, May 13, 2013

IKEA Curtain Panels + Tie dye Blouses

Above shows one of my new curtain panels I've just bought as I'm now in the first stages of making some curtains for the lounge .... 2 lots of large picture windows, one being high ceiling to floor & requiring at least 2 widths per curtain (in total 4 very large curtains & appx. 20m fabric). Having looked at several stores, those I sort-of liked were nearing £50 per metre but still not quite what I wanted. Unable to find something 'airy & exciting' by the metre, I started looking at ready-mades but here most didn't give the length needed & again I couldn't find anything really suitable. Anyway, I finally came across some ready-made curtains in IKEA - exactly the sort of design I had in mind - somewhat transparent & sort of 50/60s design. Pricewise there was nothing to compete with them - I was able to buy 8 finished curtains for just over the price I'd been looking at per metre! And for almost another metre price, I could buy some linings (ready-made) too!

My first job is to re-cut the tops to pattern-match the design across all 8 curtains. I've inherited heavy-duty metal poles & rings so they'll also need some new heading tapes & hooks - this I've got to buy first. With this in mind, I'm considering keeping the panels separate on the pole - mainly for practical purposes for cleaning but also for a visual one when using the patio doors. However, this will depend on the heading tape I get but if I do end up joining them together, the next job will be to unpick one side seam to joining into double width panels ready for final finishing. (Watch this space for an update in due course).

My leg is better - now walkable but still not as it was ... medical advice "knee cartilage injury just takes time" What else is there to say !! Anyway over the past few weeks I've been stitching an order for several blouses PLUS a patchwork waistcoat using some lovely cotton tie dyed fabric (latter item currently in early stages of planning - pix of all these to follow when waistcoat completed).