Monday, September 18, 2017

Summer Goes On - Mercer Tunic

The Mercer Tunic by Whitney Deal is another top that I've been wearing all summer.  The past couple days temps have reached back up into the 90's, so it's a perfect time to blog it...and wear it!

I used a cotton voile fabric in a bright whimsical blue.  I really like it because it's lightweight, but not sheer, and sturdy enough to hold up through wash and wear.  I would definitely use something lightweight to make this top.  I may try making one in double gauze next time.

Whitney did a great job on this pattern incorporating french seams (love those!)  I also like the cut on the shoulders.  It drops down just a bit and almost acts like a cap sleeve.  Incidentally, I really want to find a good basic pattern that has cap sleeves.  I've tried drafting my own to add onto some of the patterns that I've already purchased, but they haven't worked out just right.  If you've made one that you like, let me know.

Here's a view of the back showing the yoke construction along with some gathering for the bodice.

The gathers give it that tunic-y, flow-y feel.  It's not very long on me because I'm tall, but I am happy with the way it turned out.

Highly recommend the Mercer Tunic pattern from a meritorious designer!  

Friday, September 15, 2017

Biscayne Blouse Thrice Made

I've been wearing the Biscayne Blouse all summer long, so I can say without a doubt that this pattern by Hey June Handmade is definitely a favorite of mine.

The first one that I made is the light blue floral cotton.  I made it as a muslin and it fit so well, that I have worn it regularly.

 The neutral linen blouse is the vision I originally had for the pattern.  I love linen - the feel, the look, and the timeless nature of the fabric.  The neutral linens appeal to my sense of connection with the land.  This piece of linen was actually a skirt in its original form.  That is why you see the seams on the front and back, which I think add some texture and interest.

French seams and a hidden placket give the blouse an awesome finish.

Detail on the hidden placket

 The third blouse is also linen in my favorite color blue.

This one has a button down front because I cut the pattern out of an existing xxl long-sleeved linen shirt.  I love how the linen drapes on this one.  This is the only one that has a pocket.  It was on the original shirt, so I just sized it down and moved it over a bit.

 Will be making more of these - hope you do too!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Avocados Are Pink

Hidden inside the avocado is something rather pink.  And this shirt was dyed with that something pink.

I never really noticed before, but if you really look at the pit of an avocado, it actually has a pinkish tint to it.  This was my first real natural dyeing project.

I saved the skins and pits from about 20 avocados in a bag in the fridge.  I simmered them in a pot (an old stainless steel pot) of water, just enough to cover them, for about an hour.  The smell was pretty interesting - kind of sweet.  Then I strained off the liquid and put it back on the stove, this time with two old shirts that I had scoured for 30 minutes - one cotton and one linen.  I wanted to see if they would take the dye differently. 

I then simmered them for an hour.  The color that you see in the pictures is pretty much how they looked after an hour.  This being my first time dyeing with avocado, I decided to leave the shirts in the dye bath overnight.  I don't think it really affected the color much at all. 

Also, I think both shirts took the dye pretty much the same.  There is not much difference in the final color - though the linen one might be a tad lighter.

I am really happy with the results.  I am not typically a pink wearing person, but this pink feels so very natural.  It's the sort of pink that really goes perfectly with brown, which is the color I wear most.  I think there are actually some brown undertones in the dye.

I also wanted to find out what shade of pink, just a quick dip would produce.  I found a remnant of lace (I think it's cotton) that I decided to dye.  It came out in a very light shade of pink with the same undertones.

One thing I want to note is that the dye did not take completely even.  I was a bit disappointed at first, but every time I wear it, I feel less and less that way.  It is a really nice feeling to wear something that you've dyed naturally.  And, some of the unevenness is due to staining that was there before I dyed the shirts.  The linen shirt is actually my garden work shirt.  It had all kinds of stains on it.  And the cotton shirt is one that I've had for awhile.  The dyeing did make some stains more apparent than before, but again, it sort of just adds to the overall natural feel and look to the shirt.

I am saving up more avocado skins and pits right now for another dye pot.  I think I will double up the amount of material that I use next time to find out if the shade of pink can be made any darker.  This has been a great fun!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Lone Star Baby Quilt

I joined my local Modern Quilt Guild back in February of this year and I'm so glad I did.  I've met so many encouraging women who love, love to quilt.  Many of them have been quilting for years.  There are also some like me, who have only just begun our quilting exploration.  A special part of each meeting is show and tell.  It has been very inspiring!

I was so inspired that I made my very first quilt.  I found a design that drew me in and got the creative juices flowing.  The Lone Star Baby Quilt was the perfect size to dive into.  I got out all of my scraps and began hunting for color combinations that worked together.

Amy did a great job on the tutorial - I followed the instructions with no changes.  The only trouble I had was getting all the points to meet in the middle - easier said than done.

In the end, it worked out pretty well.  I like how the blue, brown, and coral tones work together.  I didn't realize until taking pictures of the final product, but the darker tan and peach solids that are part of the framing make a couple of the areas look like elongated cubes and somewhat detract from the star shape.  I think if I did it over again, I would use all white background fabrics for that area.  I really like the dark binding that I made from scraps of the darker fabrics.  I think it frames the quilt nicely.  And, I really got to practice hand stitching.  I did all of the binding with a needle and thread and my own two hands. 

For the back, I decided to have some fun with the leftover scraps.  It took just as long (maybe longer) to do the back as it did to make the front.  I curved the strips of fabric, which made the piecing a challenge.

To me, it sort of looks like a row of books on a library shelf.  Even though I used all scraps, there are still some scraps left.  I guess they weren't small enough to begin with.

The quilting shows up pretty well on this side of the fabric.  I experimented a bit, but just ended up with some straight line quilting along the each of the edge of the star and the surrounding pieces.  I may be more adventurous next time with some free motion quilting, but I do like the simplicity of the straight stitching too!

I really like this pattern and would highly recommend it.