Big Splash!

After a day of bill paying,  paperwork, printing monographs, and errands, I made myself clear my cutting table and dive into getting the next project underway.

You may recall I had pulled out the leftover handwoven Splash fabric from the Design Challenge Project I worked on all last year for the HGA Tampa Bay Convergence fashion show.  The Design Challenge has been on my mind in recent days, because the latest issue of SS&D is out and the next group of designers have been selected for the 2010 Convergence Albuquerque Challenge.  The yarn is gorgeous, I’m a bit jealous, because these are my colors, I sadly had to contend with a  Floridian palette.  And the yarn for the latest challenge is bamboo and tencel, not the fat cotton knitting yarn, we were given.  So maybe I’ll just have to order me up some of this great yarn (at $100.00 a pound!) and see what I can do with it, without the pressure of the challenge hanging over me.  Then again, maybe I’ll open up my dye cabinet and see what lurks there…

Anyway, my best west coast weaving buddy Robyn Spady is one of the designers, she lives in Seattle and I’m going to visit her the beginning of June.  I know she will have the same trouble I had keeping everything top secret!  Congratulations Robyn!  What a ride it’s gonna be…  (Don’t worry Sally, you’re still my best east coast weaving buddy!)

Anyway, I digress…

layoutI had made up the dress in a brocademuslin to make sure I liked the fit.  I did some additional tweaking to the pattern pieces, and then laid out the two panels left from the original Challenge Fabric, side by side on the cutting table, so I could get a feel for how the colors would run from one panel to the other.  There are two widths of cloth on the table, both with the same magenta running through the upper portion, which I’ll have banding the bustline.  Though the pink was my least favorite part of the yarn and subsequent fabric, (which is why I had it leftover), it made splicesense to cut it out this way.  I couldn’t have fit the pattern pieces any other way.  As it was, I technically didn’t have enough for the center front and center back shoulders, and I didn’t even try to match them, but I was able to use my famous trick of butting selvedges together to achieve a wider width of fabric in that area.  I try when designing fabric, to have the selvedge edges contain half a design motif, so when they are butted together, which happens more often than you would imagine, the pattern runs flawlessly across the garment.

cutting_outI carefully cut out the pieces, cutting each pattern piece singly, using a single strand of embroidery floss for the tailor’s tacks, and then flipping the pattern pieces to get the second half.  That way I could really control the grainlines and color.scraps

When I was finished cutting out, I had the smallest pile of scraps, some of them should probably be tossed, but this little pile represents the remainder of a year’s worth of work, and a grand adventure, and I’m going to save this little pile, that started out as 10 yards of 36″ wide handwoven fabric!  I know I can still use it for something else!

Now I really should go clean my dreadfully dirty house, make dinner, and read another 50 pages in my HTML manual…

The Easter Bonnet

Easter means many things to many people.  Obviously there is a religious connotation here, but others view Easter as the official start of spring, flowers, color, and of course, the fashion police lifting the ban on wearing white shoes.  Remember back when you couldn’t wear white shoes before Easter?

momEaster meant a lot for me growing up, there was of course the religious significance, having grown up Catholic, and the secular jelly beans, dyeing of Easter Eggs, Marshmallow Peeps, which only came in yellow as I recall.  (Check out the Washington Posts annual Peep Show Competition, dioramas using Marshmallow Peeps).  But the best thing I remember about Easter when I was growing up, was the fashion parade.  My mother was a fabulous tailor, she made the most glorious suits, and every Easter she would debut her latest creation, and my dad, who kept our family on a very tight budget, would always indulge my mom at Easter with a new bonnet!  This is my most favorite photo of my childhood, my mom in a black linen suit, with her new chapeau, and matching bunny outfits for me and my younger sisters.  I always felt a bit superior as the oldest since I was big enough to get the whole bunny on the front of my dress, my youngest sister only got the head.

I woke up this morning feeling a bit adrift.  Largely I get like this when I am in between projects.  There is the mourning period after I finish a huge undertaking, because honestly, housework and such just doesn’t pull me out of bed in the morning.  Since I had a terrific week of finishing my website, the Arctic Sky jacket, my article for SS&D, and spinning wheel repair, and the Challenge Presentation, I just hadn’t had the opportunity to dive into the next big thing.  So I laid in bed listening to NPR, until the BBC World Service came on, which meant it was 9am, and guilt finally got me moving.  I did vacuum the bedroom after breakfast and clean up the kitchen, and I did go outside and sweep all the maple blooms off the myriad of decks we have in the back of the house.  I love maple trees, but the are sooooo messy.  No sooner do you get all the red gloppy blossoms swept up, but the tree starts sending down an avalanche of helicopters.  The first couple are cute.  After that I need a rake.

project6So I kept thinking about Sunday, being Easter, and my mom and her fashion parade.  I’ve been looking at the leftover fabric from the fashion challenge for the last week or so, because I’ve been working on the final presentation. (I’m still waiting for one more small detail from the HGA, the original invitation had a typo in it, and they are sending me a new one, so the CD isn’t up on the eShop yet).  The fabric just doesn’t scream jacket at me, and I’m getting quite a few jackets in my wardrobe, what I don’t have, is a handwoven dress.  I’m not talking gown, like the one I did recently that I wore for the runway in California.  I’m talking a 60’s style, slim fitting short summer dress.  This fabric, which was affectionately called in earlier blogs, Project 6, was handwoven using the “Splash” yarns from the Convergence Challenge Project, and I think that’s a really appropriate name for this colorful spring fabric.

I made a great dress a couple years back, to go with the Forest Fire Jacket.  You may recall the photo session I did with that.forestfirecoat It was an orange raw silk, and I used a Vogue pattern.  The dress was a princess seam style, with a round neck, and it should have fit me like a glove.  But I made it more for the original photo, to fit my daughter who was a couple sizes larger than me.  Now that I’ve lost the excess cancer med weight, the dress is huge on me.  So the first order of the day was to get the dress to fit.dress I tried it on, got my daughter to pin the excess out the back, I figured rather than remake the whole dress, I could just in this case, remove the extra 5 inches or so in the back.  In this case it worked.dressback So I carefully took the zipper out, and cut away the lining, and remade the back of the dress.

I decided to remake the original pattern, cutting it to a smaller size, and taking in, in additional places to better fit my body.  Rather than dive right into the Splash fabric, I chose to make the dress up first in something else, just to make sure I’ve got it right.  So I found a brocade fabric I had bought to make something else, and cut out another dress with the altered pattern.brocadedress And I just happen to have a black silk sari for a lining!  So, the orange silk dress now fits me like a glove, and the brocade dress is cut out, and I did a quick layout of the spash fabric to see if the pattern pieces will fit.  I’ll have to do a creative layout, but I think I can get everything out, with  the color consistent all the way around.  I think it will be a smashing dress for the summer, it won’t be done for Easter, but I have my new Arctic Sky jacket to wear.splashlayout So I’m off and running again…

Here’s the score so far on the placemat exchange, Brianna 3, mom 2.