Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Princess Lucy

Pat's grandbaby is turning two. Last month, I told her that I could do a little birthday design for her. Last week, she sent an email asking about the design. Pat was going to make a tutu for Lucy and she was thinking about either a ballet or princess design. Pat sent a picture of Lucy lounging in a chair. She definitely needed a princess design.

I have been wanting to stitch out this design. I will be using on a t-shirt for a co-workers little girl but I haven't had time to do that yet.

Pat had given my three different onsies to pick from. She hand-dyed two of the onsies. I decided to pick the tie-dyed one. Now the chore was to find some applique material and thread that would balance the outfit out. Pale thread just wasn't working with the fuschia color. So I had to switch to darker thread. The green thread is looking a little funny in the picture. It was darker than what is on the picture. I think the green looked ok.

The design is from Belle Couture or Embroitque.com. There is some creative ruching designs on this website. I'll save those for another day.

I hope the princess likes the outfit. Aren't kids lucky now a days to have such fun play clothes.

It's Bridal Gown Week

I decided that I needed a dedicated week to working on the gown. Not an evening or a couple hours on the weekend. The gown was put on hold for about three to four weeks while the tear- out was underway. I took the satin and wrapped it and tucked it behind the clothes in my closet. I couldn't risk the silk getting snagged or dirty with the remodel.

Day one of vacation, sewing did not happen. We didn't start moving furniture back inside until the night before. Yesterday was spent trying to unbox our belongings and putting them away.

Day two. I am back to basting the silk organza to the bridal satin. I think I mentioned that this has to be hand basted. The fabrics love to move around. There is little chance that they would stay together if I machine basted the fabrics. The silk organza is basted to the wrong side of the silk satin. It's purpose is to give the satin some body and help strengthen the sating. After the two fabrics are basted, they are treated as one fabric. When a pattern piece has been basted, I pin the pattern to the basted pieces to keep everything together. You can see my markings on the pattern for my changes and to indicate the pattern is the final pattern, not an earlier prototype.

Some things of importance is that you need to use fine glass head pins. Satin doesn't take too kindly to pins and little hole marks will be left in the fabric. I am using fine pins and silk thread to keep the size of the holes to a minimum. The basting is done in the seam allowance. All pinning needs to be done in the seam allowance.

After the satin has been cut, I am clipping it in a pants hanger. I am trying to keep wrinkles to a minimum. The reason being that I want to keep pressing to a minimum. I don't want to run the risk any problems with the iron with this expensive fabric. Wrinkles are also hard to get out of satin so I want to do my best by not creating any more wrinkles.

My Temporary Work Space

Space is getting tight as we move through the remodeling process. I am now working on about 18 inches of kitchen counter space. The floor has just been grouted and I am not able to walk on it to get to the ironing board. So I am ironing on a towel and the counter.

My cutting area is on the stairs. There is no where to put my cutting mat. My sewing room looks like every other room that is being used for storage right now. So for the last two weeks, I've been sitting on the stairs reading or cutting fabric, etc. It hasn't been pretty going without a computer for over a week either.

You can tell that the way I'm doing things just isn't working. I am trying to prepare my class materials for Harriet Hargrave's class. Now, I have used fusible web LOTS of times. But it seems like my mind has taken a leave. You can see that I have attached the fusible to the wrong side of the fabric. Lucky for me this is only practice and was not intended for a quilt.

Harriet and I

Have you ever been lucky enough to meet an idol? I've always considered myself to be very blessed. I felt truly blessed last weekend when I spent three whole days with my idol.

I don't know when I first came across Harriet Hargrave's name. I know it had to been over 15 years ago. I remember checking her books out at the local library, again and again. I would think about how awesome her quilting was and would I ever be able to do anything other than quilts that were tied with yarn. I'm a self taught quilter. No one I knew quilted. I started searching out for books that would expand my quilting knowledge. And then I discovered Harriet.

Harriet came to Appleton about three years ago. I wasn't fortunate enough to be one of the lucky ones to get into her classes. However, this year was different. I don't know what I would have done had I not been able to spend three days with Harriet. I guess I could pack my bags and tell Jeff I'm headed off to Denver for a week to be with Harriet.

I thought that I had missed my chance. I don't remember if I was sick or busy the night when the guild opened up enrollment for Harriet's class. I almost stroked out when finding that I missed my opportunity. But Barb, the quilting angel, happened to need a ride to retreat and she happened to have the sign up list and she happened to ask me for a ride. God decided to reward me (for doing what, I'm not sure.)
Three years ago, I did attend the lecture that Harriet had given to the guild after the classes. The lecture was on quilt batting. We guild members seem to love to ask each guest lecturer what batting they like. But I remember thinking that to spend the whole night on quilt batting was over kill. Was I wrong. I forgot to bring paper that night and I only had a small brochure in my purse that I could use to write on. This had to be one of the most informative, useful quilt lectures that I've ever attended. It certainly added to my dismay of missing out of the classes.

This year was different. I came to class armed with my camera and a huge notebook. Man did I need that. Harriet lectured for hours. I do mean it was hours before we sat at the machines. I have pages and pages of notes. I can't wait until I can go back and reread everything and practice, practice, practice. The bridal gown comes first though.

Last weekend, we spent two days on heirloom machine quilting and one day on machine applique. I always wondered how so many quilters can create such perfect stitches. Mine weren't perfect but certainly they were becoming very consistent. I even manged to do feathers. Maybe my biggest achievement was echo quilting. I've never been good at that so I never used that in my quilting. My echo quilting looked like something that I would want in a quilt. All of these quilts belong to Harriet. She brought them to show us that we all can do heirloom machine quilting. It takes practice.

At the end of the last day, I went up to Harriet and thanked her for the great time and all the information. I had tears in my eyes. I was thinking about how long I waited for this moment and how lucky I was to spend time with her. I was also thinking how lucky I was to have a great husband. While I was working on my quilting, my spouse was pulling carpet and staples out of the floor without a complaint about me being MIA. I can only hope that my future holds more days with Harriet. Possibly Denver?

Now if only Bono can come to town. Sigh.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Houston, We have Lift-Off

We're ready to rock'n'roll. Last week I finally was able to attach the skirt to the bodice. The midriff band looks much smoother now that the boning was added. However, I will need to order more boning in shorter lengths. I think I'm going to bring the midriff band up 1/2 inch. If you can remember back a couple of months ago, I added 1.5 inches to the midriff band. I'm not happy with the back closure but we'll get there. The bones need to be placed in a sharper angle. Ignore the lack of flooring in the picture.

This week's dilemma has been finding lace to put on the midriff band. I am a lace snob. I do not want anything that says "cheap" on the bridal gown. My problem is finding French Alencon in the width that I want/need. Because Alencon is used primarily on bridal and because of the cost, it is impossible to find. Certainly, it's not available in my neck of the woods. I've come up with only a handful of websites that carry the lace but it is not exactly what I want. I know it's out there. It's just finding the store that carries it. I sent an email to Mary Jo's in North Carolina a couple of days ago. I still haven't heard back from them. They have a section on their website to ask about fabrics, etc. So I did! I sent them a picture of a seven inch trim but I would like it to be 5.5 to 6 inches wide. I wonder if they roll their eyes and say "another obsessive MOB." I still have a few stores that I can call. I started with Mary Jo's because I've been to her store and I know that there is lots of Alencon lace there.

Here is an example of what I'm searching for except that I need this to be a tad narrower. I wish the extra inch width would work but it just won't. This lace is from Baltazar's. I may have to give them a call. They are a web only business now. I would think that if they had something smaller, it would be on their website.

These are the only pictures I'm going to post right now. I have more pictures but they are the front of the gown. I'm going to try to not give too much away. You've seen all the basic pieces, but hopefully the look will be different once we do away with the muslin and have real silk and French laces.

Now that I've got the muslin together, I need to take it apart. I will keep the skirt together but I will need to take all of the bodice apart and use that as my pattern. The skirt needs to be taken in only about a half inch so I'm going to fudge that. My moniker, the lazy sewer.

Hand Tied Peony Bouquet

With the peonies blooming, Whitney and I decided to get a little practice going to keep our floral skills up. There isn't much blooming in the yard right now, at least as far as bouquet flowers go. So I had peonies, hosta leaves and the blooms off of the spirea bushes.

The day before, Whitney asked if I wanted to go to the antique mall with her. What the heck for? She said that she wanted to look for something old for her wedding day. She has the something new, something borrowed and something blue but nothing old. She had a thought about putting a cameo on the bouquet. So that's what she wanted to find.We were all done cruising through the mall and I was ready to pay for my purchases. I can always find something! We spied a small cameo that was marked down to $5. Whitney had discussed using black ribbon on the bouquets. Her colors are Latte, pink and black. The little cameo isn't of great quality but it was cheap. We can keep looking but right now it works for what she wants it for.

Didn't I tell you

That I came from white trash? I'm presenting evidence that the white trash genes haven't missed me. How many people can say that they have a toilet in their sewing room? I'm thinking I'm the only one amongst people I know.

We've started the long awaited remodeling project. We have wanted to change out for floors for several years now. College tuition, appliance breakdowns and replacements seem to chew up the extra cash. We decided to finally bite the bullet and take care of some things. We actually started the process in February. But it's taken several months to finalize everything and get started. The first round of flooring starts in just a few days. The ceramic tile will be laid first, then the carpet for the stairs and upstairs hallway, then finally the hardwood.

I still have to get the "iron" specialist in here. We are hoping that he can rework the stairway. We want to change out the oak spindles and put in a hammered type iron.

The girls have been a huge help. They certainly are becoming remodeling experts. This is the second house that they have helped during the tear out process. Taylor and Whitney did the entire carpet removal. They cut the carpet, pulled up the old pad and removed all the nails and staples. Not a small feat!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wedding Inflation

Somehow, Jeff and I have lost two check books. He asked me to place an order for more checks. Something was odd though when I went to order. My check numbers weren't adding up. So off to hunt for the 50 checks. I started to rummage through my closet. I came across the same box of momento's that Jeff found my "I love Robin" picture. I decided to take a moment and see what was in there.

I come from a long line of hoarders. Did it have to do with the depression or their German heritage? My grandfather might have been the worst. He was a plumber by trade. With fabric hoarding, you can make very neat piles and stack it and your fabric stash becomes a work of art all on its own. My grandfather's stash was plumbing fixtures. Yep, they all sat in a great big pile in his front yard. Toilets, sinks, etc and grass grew all around his pile. Yep, southern white trash is where I came from.

But, here is an example of the value of saving things. I knew that my mom had saved the receipt for my wedding reception. I didn't know that she had saved all the receipts. She even had her budget in the box. The really cool thing was is that she had the receipt for the flowers for her wedding which was in 1955 (I think.) Her bill came to $42.00. The boutonnieres were 40 cents a piece. The bridal bouquet was $10.00. Alter bouquets were $2.00 each. How neat it was to find a receipt from her wedding.

The cost of my reception was just over $1500.00. This included the alcohol. Our reception was held at the German American Club in Omaha. The buffet dinner was $3.25 per person.

My other receipt is that for my bridal gown. I ordered it at a store in Omaha called Brandeis. My gown was kind of middle to low end price-wise. The dress company was Mori Lee. The price of the gown in 1979 was $185.00

I'm thinking that you could take the prices of my items from 30 years ago and just add another zero to the cost. I thing that get's us fairly close to average prices for today's weddings.

Bridal Corselette

Well, not exactly. The structural elements will be sewn onto the gown and not separately. When you think of a built-in corselette, they are attached to the inner workings of the dress but they have two closings. One for the corselette and one for the garment. There will only be one closing in the gown.

I have the bones finally in the muslin bodice. If you remember, I stated that there would be thirteen bones in the bodice. Whitney has been here a couple of times but we didn't have time to mess with the dress. I may have to place another order for bones. There are a couple that I think maybe a half inch too long.

I don't know if the two bones that run diagonally on the back of the dress will stay in that position. I stitched them on without giving much thought to the exact placement. That's ok for right now. This is a muslin and they are basted on. I don't know how much of the back opening I will need to carve out for the lace up back. I'm hoping that I'll have the skirt attached tomorrow and Whit will be able to try it on. I will have to fit the waist stay tomorrow when Whitney comes over. The waist stay and the boning will help to hold up the skirt.

For the "real" bridal gown, the boning channels will not be stitched onto the fashion fabric. They will be stitched onto the underlining.

Here is an example of an inner corselette. You can see the boning channels and the waist stay. You can also see that the corselette has a hook and eye closure while the dress has a zippered closure. This is a 1950's Dior. This is haute couture. I could only dream that my garments would be such perfection.