Rosalie Dace quilt, fall 2011 2

Several of our “Quild” took a Rosalie Dace class, “Cross Currents” together last fall. We were to emphasize X’s & +’s. I, of course, was thinking of politics, ballots, divisions, intersections.

Colors would echo the symbolism we associate with each: Red for R’s, where the newly-formed Tea Party was leaning, Green for Enviro’s, Blue for D’s. While we were there, I started getting news of an “Occupy!” movement, just forming.

Rosalie told me a story of how a politician where she lives (South Africa) told a voter that it was alright if he didn’t want to vote for him. If he didn’t like him very much, he should only mark a small X by his name on the ballot. I had to represent this somehow in the quilt.

You will see:

  • partial ballots that seem to be disintegrating
  • a large central ballot with a fractured vote
  • a tea party toppling cup and saucer
  • the Manhattan skyline and wharf, with an Occupy tent nearby
  • a 99%  painted and quilted in
  • a collection of some of my favorite Ampersands quilted, a plea for how I’d like less partisanship and more progress.

This quilt has been accepted for display at the Sisters Quilt Show 2012, in the Rosalie Dace category. Look for “X the Ballot”. I hope you can go to see it!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Skirt #0162 Blog Review 2

My Skirt is done! Now the point review, links to skirt posts…

Skirt #0162, ensemble with Blouse #4925

Blog post points, 1 point each? I started this site to learn how to blog, set up the site, looked forward to getting a pattern, visited fabric stores while waiting to see what kind of patterns I’d get. I posted several entries getting ready for the first pattern. These posts are about the skirt:

Instructions & Changes– this pattern had them and I would change some of them:
–I was surprised that the layout included pieces with opposing up & down directions, back & front up, those wide side panel pieces down. I’m all in favor of efficiency but didn’t do this, afraid the nap would scream.
–I went back and marked the seam-matching point numbers on my  layout page, found that very helpful.
–I got the pleat direction wrong on my muslin for the back pleats, saw that they should open under the back piece, not flaring out under the side panels, made a note to myself. Pleats fold under the front and back panels.
–I am so spoiled by modern layouts that I wanted to copy the instructions into a program where I could add the Section Headings, as they were in an early page, for Alterations, Cutting, Pressing. I’d list the seams by name, the waist, hem, and  a special section with recommendations for buttons, waist finishing. Advanced options like lining, boning, interfacing should be highlighted, too.
–I serged fabric edges and pressed everything, as the instructions suggested, including the serged edges, so they wouldn’t add bulk.

Photos, a point each, up to 5. I worked on these, with an image editor called GIMP, since many images of paper pieces and otherwise low-contrast had to be optimized. I worked on composition, too. I hope you like them. Look at the links above. 🙂

Fit, Pattern & Garment Description- this long “day-length” walking skirt sits 3″ above the waist, at the ankle in front, slightly lower in back, but not to drag. It has a graceful fit over hips, flaring for a fuller swing in the back. I found the 25″ Waist description to be overly flattering in underestimation of the actual size. 😉 It is embellished with soutache braid (or use the scrollwork pattern included for couching). The two wide skirt side gores pleat under the narrow front and back panels. No facings or waist pieces are included.
–This pattern fit would probably be a modern pattern size 12? I have ready-to-wear sizes in my closet that range from 2-12, so who knows? Patterns from the ’50’s, I’d wear a 14. Now I alter for petite height. The waist and hips should be altered to fit each time this is made up.
–I thought it did not look like the photo because I don’t stand with my waist facing forward, emphasizing the “Virtual Bustle”!
–I like this skirt! It is comfortable to wear and the walking ease is lovely. I did catch the hem in my heel at one point when I had to reach down, was afraid I’d torn out some hand stitches, will have to be careful.
–Fabric used was a Pendleton Wool, tropical weight summer gabardine, see a blog post above.

Alterations– This skirt was too long for me. I shortened it. I was worried that I’d make a mistake with the overlap allowances for the  front opening, so cut the seam allowances wide, ending up taking them back off, after leaving a generous turned edge for a nice supportive “facing” edge.

Pattern Changes
–I checked the pieces, yet the front panel still seemed off in length. I will be very careful with my next patterns. I caught this at the Patternmaker step, before copying onto tissue paper.
–I considered ways to reinforce the front button panel, facing it entirely, opening both sides, either with button holes or snaps.
–I faced the waist with elastic instead of grosgrain ribbon, then took it off and reduced the waist size, reapplying the elastic, so it didn’t pull the waist and pucker.
–I narrowed the front panel lines above the pleat, following the hip lines, so they didn’t look wider at the top, a very unflattering image, I thought.
–I considered facing the hem, before I saw how big the circumference was! It still needed help, so I sewed in a line of horsehair, then whip-stitched a dark thin ribbon over it, since I could only find white horsehair.
–The soutache braid called for would have been very hard for me to find, estimate yardage (trusted my ability to goof and need more! 😉 ). I used a crochet thread, couching it on by hand, detailed instructions in a post listed above.
–Buttons- I used covered buttons, including adding a few small ones at the base of the back panel, at the top of those pleats.
–Next time, I would alter the pleat height to start just below the knee in back, more flattering. It was probably placed there for the original length of the skirt, and I didn’t think to alter that position when I shortened it.

Techniques, Skills- There is a post for the scrollwork embroidery used in place of the soutache. Easing the hip curves was important, may need a note for beginning sewers. This pattern was not difficult, could be made by beginning sewers, but having a good foundation will make a big difference in the final garment, reinforcement stitching, pressing at every opportunity, understitching, experience with fitting. Proceeding from stitching lines instead of outside edges of seam allowances is not basic, was very helpful.

Conclusions– I would recommend this pattern for others, really like this skirt. I would compare it to the Folkwear Walking Skirt Pattern, the advantage here being that the waist and hip silhouette may be more graceful without the back gathers seen on the Folkwear pattern. The narrow front and fuller sides and back of both are similar.

VPLL Checklist:
1. Ladies Skirt May 5, 1912, La Mode Illustree #0162
2.  Sewing skill, beginner to advanced, benefiting from added care taken.
3.  Rating 5 out of 5 (top). I loved this skirt, simple yet fun to embroider, fit, execute and wear!
4. Skill needed- This skirt would benefit from advanced sewing skills, experience with well-designed garments, so that techniques not described in the instructions could be added, like horsehair for the hem. Optional boning, heavy interfacing or lining are suggested but not described. Understanding these steps is assumed.
5.   Instructions- see above.
6. Fit/Sizing- see above.
7.  Alterations- see above

Skirt #0162 Scroll work 2

Tools for Scroll Work:

  • Crochet Thread. I used Aunt Lydia’s #10.
  • A sharp needle. I like the John James long ones I used for smocking.
  • Thread conditioner. This stitch confounds thread and it likes to snarl. I even iron it in. 😉
  • A small-stitch machine line to follow.

I sewed the pattern onto the fabric over my tracing paper (helps to keep it smooth), with feed dogs down, slowly! You don’t want any puckering.

Gently pull the paper across the stitching lines to tear it off. Good luck with shredding, easier with practice. Now press it flat, no stretching.

I used the machine thread you see there to “couch” the crosheen in place. Run under the machine stitches, then pop up to catch the heavy thread at short intervals.

Come up and go down on the other side of the heavy thread, catching the machine line for strength. Pull it towards the outside of the curves, since it wants to roll in.  Also, that cross stitch needs to run up & down straight across the machine line, or it’ll twist the heavy thread to one side. You can pull that out a bit, don’t pull it tightly, just snug. There’s a nice balance between loose enough to distort around those small stitches and tight enough to pucker. Good Luck!

I didn’t pre-wash the cotton threads and hope I don’t regret that! I didn’t cut the heavy thread, didn’t want to worry about hiding ends. I’m just sewing up and down the entire skirt length.
I hope I like it. 🙂 I hope you do too. 🙂

Skirt #0162, March progress 1

Skirt #0162!

The Muslin

The big (!) question is, how do I fit a muslin when my weight (waist, etc.) fluctuates, I can’t fit with my daughter’s corset on because I can’t bend over the sewing machine. So, take a wild guess? 🙂 Optimism, elastic, stab in the dark? I fitted to my dress form, variously too big & too small. sigh. It looks great. You can’t see the accidentally inverted back pleats. lol.

The hem is lower in back, wondering if it should drag?
AMAZING UPDATE!! Alicia, a 1912 sewist 😉 says she owns the original skirt!

  • not lined
  • a day length (not dragging?)
  • she will get it out and share with us when she can. yay!

The Skirt

It is cut out, including an extension to cross over the front, under the “button-up” panel, in case I want to add it. The Pendleton wool is lovely and irons beautifully. I was amazed that the (WIDE!) side panels could be cut on one pass- really wide fabric–


Now, fretting about how to interpret that scroll work down the front! I copied it carefully on the pattern.






The pattern referred to soutache braid and I knew I’d have trouble bending it into those fine curves. See the middle of the picture, like vines. The leaf on the right is a quilting pattern copy, pierced through several layers of paper.

The strip on the left is the scroll work pierced to sew onto the fabric. Here’s a better view:

Look closely! You pin this to the fabric, sew over it, then go on to “couching”. This is an embroidery stitch.

I used cotton, red to contrast on the front, dark on the back. I couched an “Aunt Lydia’s” #10 crochet thread onto the side panels. I’m ~ 3/4’s done, figure it’ll take ~9 hours. whew.

More soon! I’ll post photos of tools & technique…:-)