Saturday, 25 June 2016

The big 5 0 !

We escaped to Key West for a special thing!  What was really special was to be all together for a few days.  If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that there’s no other way I would spend my time, just all of us in a nice place, having a very good time…

Key West

Key West2

Key West1

scrapbooking papers5

Key West4

Key West3

It’s been a very short escape, but we managed to make time for

brother and sisters time
funny face contest time
toes in the sand time
toes on a boat time
washing the sun down from a boat time
spying cats around Hemingway’s house time
being together time
playing with a selfie stick time

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Before June is over

June is almost over and I wish I had a better grip on it.  It went fast, too fast, with good stuff, horrible stuff, family stuff…
At the beginning of the month, for the first time in 20-something years, I went for a long week-end away on my own.  Five days just for myself, no children, no husband, nothing family related.  I felt a pinch of guilt as I made it to the airport, and forgot about it very quickly.

The main purpose of this escape was to participate to Glampstitchalot 2016 organised by PinkCastle Fabric.  I went a day early and spent it in Detroit.

I have no architectural knowledge and a very superficial historical background on Detroit, however I would definitively say that this city has been built on testosterone and steel.  It’s a show-my-muscles kind of city, or at least what I’ve seen of it.
Detroit on my own2
“Whenever there is a conflict between human rights and property rights, human rights must prevail.” Abraham Lincoln
I love that quote! Can you imagine a world where we live by these words?
Detroit on my own1
Detroit on my own

Detroit on my own4Detroit on my own3

I know that’s only a legend, but I still like the idea of underground railroad quilts


Detroit on my own5

As far as the Glampstitchalot retreat was concerned I LOVED it.  I don’t have much to show.  6 great teachers (all sewlebrities), 6 lessons in 2 days, it was super busy and intense, I learnt some new things, met new people but I won’t make a post out of the experience.  If you search the web, some people have done it better that I can do myself.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

May’s events, reasons for celebration

How are you celebrating life events such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, awards?… Do you throw parties?  Go out of your way to find fancy, inspiring gifts?  Do you bake epic cakes? Plot surprises for months?  I don’t. I’m not sure why.  However after a discussion with Victor, I realised that we should probably go bigger on celebrations and make happy memories

So here is what we had to be grateful for in May:

some family and friends birthdays… quite a lot actually
an engagement… 24 years ago
a wedding anniversary
mother’s days… twice, the American one, then the French one… the British one was in March
the end of High School for Victor… we missed Speech day, but we will be there for the Graduation ball
Juliette being recognised for her Community Service engagement… with an award and a letter from the White House
a (almost) mended leg…Alice is still walking with a boot, but not for long
all the kids done with their exams
summer time and hot weather… not quite sure why I’m celebrating hot weather!

000 Temp16

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Baby star

I started on this quilt for no particular reason, except the fact that Juliette had picked up the fabrics when we were in Savannah in February, a bundle of 8 fat-quarters.  Actually, I think she wanted me to make a quilt for a friend’s baby, but instead  I had knitted a tiny cardi

Well, I had the fabric, I had an idea so in the end I made this big star quilt.  It is only Half Square Triangles in the end!  Mine are measuring 10” plus some 2.5” squares for the uneven borders.

And then I went crazy on the quilting.  I am sure there’s a rule about not over quilting a quilt. The quilting is the result of two things.  First I took my first lesson on Craftsy, Machine Quilting Negative Space by Angela Walters. And secondly, I recently purchased of a quilting ruler with a specific quilting foot for domestic sewing machine.

First the Craftsy lesson.  I really enjoyed it but also felt frustrated.  The first part focuses on practicing designs on paper, pebbles, swirls, leaves, paisley...  I love doodling, I’ve been doing it for a long time and it is very satisfying to see how I improved over time.  I actually find doodling easy, the doodling area is small, not overwhelming – easy peasy!  For me, the difficulty starts with larger spaces,  And when it comes to put the quilt on the machine then the frustration kicks in.  Thanks to Angela Walters, I learnt to mark, or more precisely I finally accept the fact that marking, even very roughly, is a necessity.  It makes sense you need a roadmap and some escape strategies to navigate a whole quilt.  I also accept that machine quilting is not a speedy process, but it takes time, planning… What a surprise!

Baby Star1

Another thing I learn is to change the scale of a design, to mix it with another one to make it more interesting or flowing from one pattern to the next one.  I practice of few of the techniques on each point of the point of the star.

My frustration comes from the fact that the lesson is probably more design for longarmers.  I know that several time Angela explain how to translate the design on a domestic sewing machine but I would I loved seeing it done.  Also, the designs taught in the first part of the lesson (the doodling part) are repeated one the machine.  I would have loved to learn more about planning for the quilting patterns: how to look at a quilt, how to decide the density of the quilting pattern…

Like everything, the lesson is not enough.  I now need to do my homework, practice and practice again.  I will go back to the lesson because I realised that doing the exercise while watching the video did not work too well for me.  I will also go back to her book, Free-Motion Quilting which actually is a very good complement to the lesson.

Baby Star2

Now the ruler and quilting foot for domestic sewing machine.  I quilted straight lines between the points of the star using my newly acquired ruler.  First, I had to get use to visualising the 1/4” difference between where the ruler is and where the needle drops.  I realised that I might be eye-hand-coordination challenged: so many time I lifted my hand before the needle was down resulting in stitches skipping off the straight line.  In all honesty, I think I would have save myself some trouble by quilting with my walking foot.

Baby Star

Overall the result is not as bad as it sound.  Actually, it is a pretty darn little quilt.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Autopsy of the Scout Tee

Once again, I’m jumping late on the band wagon.  The Scout Tee has been around for a while, I’m sure that many people had written at length about it, so why not adding my contribution?

Pattern name: Scout Tee
Company: Grainline Studio
Size: 18 and 16 with FBA

I’ve been making my own clothes since I was a teen, and during this time, I never ever made adjustment to any of my patterns.  I would normally cut the size the closest to my measurements and make the garment fit, more or less, my body by changing the seam allowance did modify patterns but only once the fabric was cut, in an attempt to make the garment fit.  But this is the first time I cut into the paper pattern.

Here is my process.  First, I cut a size 18 which is where my bust measurement takes me, the fabric is Lawn dot to dot from Gertie’s collection at Joann.  As much as I liked this first version, I wanted the shoulder to be more fitted and a bit less fabric around my body.  Unfortunately, you can’t see any of these on the pictures, the top has shrank during the first wash an it is now a bit snug around my chest and back.  I don’t normally pre-wash my fabrics before making garments, I should probably!  Also this top is all worked with French seems which makes it nice and clean on the inside.

Scout Tee6

Now the second version.  I traced a size 16 and chopped into the pattern adding a 1’' ease on my FBA, adding a dart on the sides.  I followed Jenny’s tutorial for Full Bust Adjustment and added some ease at the chest area.  Not bad, but I feel that the darts are a bit too low, it is not quite visible on these pictures, but trust me on this.  Also, on this version, I sewed a 2.5” hem, making it slightly cropped.  I quite like it.

Scout Tee4

So here is FBA #2, with an apex 1.5” higher that the previous one, but with the same 1” ease at the bust area.  For this version, I’ve use some Liberty’s fabric that I have been hoarding forever.  Working with Liberty’s is such a pleasure.  I should probably have used French seams here too but even after a couple of washes the fabric hasn’t frayed.

Scout Tee5

Now looking at these pictures, I realised two things.  First, I think I probably need to make some back adjustment, all the tops look a bit tight at the shoulders.  It is interesting that I did not ‘feel’ the snug on my shoulders, I guess most of my tops are like that and I’ve been getting used to it.  Secondly, I don’t understand why the front hem of my modified tops are picking up? Should I move my darts higher on the sides to avoid this?  Or could it be the nature of the fabric? Any expert’s advice please?

For the last 2 tops I cut the bias neck bidding from a different fabric.  This way I don’t need as much yardage of my more expensive fabric.

Scout Tee7

All in all, I love this top.  It is pretty easy and fast to make.  I’m sure I can speed up the process even more by setting the sleeves flat.  I can see many more Scout Tee in my near future, I have some knit fabric I want to try, I just need a bit more time…