Words by Bette Davis

To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labor, to be given the chance to create, is the meat and potatoes of life.

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My First Boro Project.

Boro are Japanese textiles that have been patched or mended, usually to repair worn out sections of clothing. Traditionally cotton, linen and hemp were stitched in layers not only to repair clothing but to add warmth. Boro is now considered a very distinctive art form and very fashionable.

After years of working with Satin, Lace and Chiffon I took a dive into my stash of Linen, Lace, and various textiles and made some samples of my version of Boro. It’s very basic sewing but I found myself wondering if I was doing it correctly. I looked through Pinterest and read some blogs, and saw that there are endless ways to do this. After making some samples I was ready to make a garment using my new technique.

I decided to use Diane Ericson’s Ashland Vest pattern as I knew I had lots of choices in how I was going to make this. It’s always fun to read through the instructions of Diane’s patterns because they are full of inspiration and information to enjoy before you start. I had no complete plan when I began so I just worked on the right front to get started.

Before I start a project I always look through Pinterest, and design ideas that I have saved etc. and come up with a rough idea of the way I want to go. In this case I made a few copies of the vest right front, and played around with design lines until I liked how it looked on paper. I cut the pattern apart and I started with the main front panel. I did that panel completely before I worked on the rest.

I cut different fabrics and played around with fabric type and color, but I liked my original fabric the best, and thought the ‘Boro’ would stand out better with one color background. I find sometimes I obsess too much over fabric and color combinations so I am working on making a decision and going with it.

Once I decided on my fabric, I just went with it and came up with ideas as I went along. I played around with piping and different inserts and I liked the look of the flat fabric insert the best.

Moving on to the left side I had a new plan. I wanted less of the ‘Boro’ as I felt the vest would look ‘lighter’ and have more movement in the design. I again made a pattern and came up with an idea I liked,and after I pieced it together I put it on my dressform and decided on my fabric placement for the neck edge. After I was happy with it, I pinned the pieces in place and then hand stitched them to the linen.

At this point I wanted to add more hand stitching to highlight the seams and I really like how it came out. I did not trust myself to have the stitches look nice so I marked the underlining and did a lot of my stitching on the wrong side.

My next task was deciding on the back of the vest. I followed the same steps as the front, tracing the pattern pieces and played with a layout. I wanted to continue the Boro design over the shoulder so I had a seamless transition. Again I just kept adding textiles until I liked the outcome. Adding the hand stitches was enjoyable and I didn’t overthink it. When both sides of the back were finished. I put the vest together.

Binding hand stitched to lining.

I choose a gold silk dupioni to line the vest. I finished off the armholes and the hem first, then layered the vest and the fabric, wrong sides together. I used a binding to finish off the remaining edges.

The fabric I used was %100 Linen.

The underlining was %100 cotton.

The fabrics pieces were a variety of fabrics from silk, quilting cottons,Home Decorating, canvas etc.

I cut the binding 2ins.wide.

I used regular embroidery floss for my hand stitching.


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DOL Update

Hi Ladies,

I have just enjoyed another DOL in Ashland, so I am  sharing some of the highlights. Diane was inspiring as usual and it’s always exciting to see her new work. I always come away with new ideas to try, and get excited about. Kayla Kennington was her guest teacher and she brought along an amazingly collection of her garments for us to enjoy and gave up lots of information on design, style and garment construction. We all came away with juicy fabric treasures from her stash.

Mollie made a great jacket using one of Diane’s printed panels. John, our favorite male and his wife Marta make beautiful garments from fabric they have dyed and no one can make a shirt like John.

 

 

Our next DOL is in Taos at the end of June. It’s one of my favorite places in the world. I am so excited to meet Diane’s guest Teacher Bettina Mutzuhn, who is from Canada. I love to meet passionate artists who develop their own special techniques and share them with us.
If you have not been to a DOL in a while, this might be the time to experience this amazing place. It’s beautiful there in June and we have the lodge mostly to ourselves. There are some spots still available.
Here are a few memories from previous Toas retreats.

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Simple Summer Sewing.

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As the temperatures begin to rise I realized that I needed some light summer tops to get me through the steamy summer . I gathered together a variety of fabrics, prints and solids, some knits, some wovens mostly remnants. I used Vogue9057-Marcy Tilton view C, Butterick 5925- Katherine Tilton view C and McCallsMP206 also view C. I say used loosely as I changed hemlines and width as I made each one. Here are a few details and quick finishes I used.

I wanted some yellow to match a piece of jewelry . This is a knit. Did you ever get some fabric with a square print and not know what to do. I don’t think a square in the center is flattering. I decided to use part of it and make the rest black and a solid yellow . I used the McCalls pattern for this one and played with the placement of the pattern. I wanted a sleeve and also played around with that. I did not have a lot of fabric so I finished the slit in the center first, and then used what I had to cut out the sleeve. I used a purchased fold over elastic to finish the neckline.

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I used bias to finish the woven tops that I made. I like this finish as its clean and easy.

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Vogue 5925 is one of my favorites. I have made it a few times and I really like the seaming on the back. I only had a small amount of this knit so adding the solid worked great and highlights the detail. This has a front seam but I made it a fold and changed the neckline from a V to a curve. I also added  I think 3 ins to this pattern.

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I used V9057 for the black top. I extended the shoulder to make a dolman sleeve- really easy. I found some knit bindings at JoAnns and I used them on a few of my tops. This one is ruffled elastic and I used a zigzag stitch to attach it to the neckline. I did not pre stitch the neckline but fused a thin line of interfacing to the neck edge. It comes in a few colors. The other binding is fold over elastic and it looks really nice and is easy to use.

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This coral knit top was a thicker fabric and I will probably only wear it to the Gym or around the house so I just turned under  3/8 in. and  zigzagged the edges.

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This  print is the same as the solid black, I wore  it to a party with my sweetie!

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A lot of Diane Ericson with a Holly Bagdley addition!

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One of my favorite things to do,with one of my favorite people is to attend a Design Outside The Lines Workshop with Diane Ericson. It is an inspiring adventure for any creative person and having attended 10 over the years I learn something new every time. I love that Diane has a great guest artist to bring something new to each retreat. Last September in Taos Holly Bagdley was Diane’s guest and we all had a great time learning from her.
I loved her technique of using scraps and ‘bits’to make interesting pieces of textiles that has lots of uses. I decided to use my piece as a collar on Diane’s Ventana Jacket pattern.
Holly brought bags of scraps that we all picked our favorite bits from,and after she demonstrated her technique, we were off creating.

Choosing our 'bit's.

Choosing our ‘bit’s.

Lots of great ideas.

Lots of great ideas.

made the collar piece without any idea what I was going to use with it. Because I am a collector (hoarder) of fabric, I had this rust wool Melton that matched perfectly. Diane’s pattern is so much fun to use. The directions are very easy to follow and i just love the whole look and size of it. It’s like a storybook for sewers.
(I am having trouble with my editing so I am adding my photos at the end.)
I finished the vest , bound the armhole and because the fabric did not fray I just edged stitched the front edges and hem.
I made an extra collar piece and played around with the layout. I love how it came together in the back, and just put a few hand stitches to keep it in place.
I overlapped the side seams and thought I would make a narrow strip and cover the seams. I like how that looks too.
I don’t usually wear this color so I need some clothes to wear with it. As its approaching Spring, I think this will be a Fall item. I will make this again, probably in Linen .
I will be in Taos again in September helping Diane out so Looking forward to friends old and new.

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Third Time Lucky!

I have hit the restart button for the third time on my Blog, and having made some changes in my life I have freed up a little time to work at it. It is work, but fun work and as I do want to put some thought into my content I am starting out with a few easy posts. I have been to some interesting creative places and have saved some photos and ideas to share.
Tonight was the finale of Downtown Abbey and I think there were very few people in America who did not watch it. Last year we were lucky here in the Philadelphia area to have an exhibit of the costumes from the first few seasons of the show. I loved the designs and fabrics that were used throughout the series and I think there are some ideas that could be used in my sewing projects. The clothing in this last season was best of all I think, so I hope they get published.
So enjoy this album of photos from Winterthur, Pa.

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Another Successful DOL

Another DOL is over and here are some great moments for you all to enjoy. Diane as always brings lots of new ideas along and never fails to inspire and help us to be more adventurous . We got to visit  her new studio which is fabulous and I can’t wait to see what great new work comes out of that. Her new patterns are great and If you don’t have one yet you are in for a treat.

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Diane ‘s son Myles entertained us with his unique approach to painting on fabric. He is so much fun to watch and he produces great art right in front of us. He painted on the shirt he was wearing, he painted on a top that Myrna had that she later added stitching , and when Lucy bought a piece of his painted fabric he helped her come up with some ideas on how to use it with other fabrics. His website  urban cadence.blogspot .com

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imageI was very excited when I heard that Sandra Ericson was going to be Diane’s guest teacher as I had wanted to take a class from her but it never worked out. Sandra’s expertise is in draping and pattern making and she shared a lot of both with us. She brought along some dresses that she had made and one in particular, a dress made from 4 squares, was very popular. JoAnn got right to work and completed one that she wore to The Ashland Art Center. Karen and Sylvie were lucky to go home with patterns draped , fitted and ready to sew. She also brought us some slide presentations that we enjoyed. Her website centerforpatterndesign.com

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We we also had some fun social outings thanks to Judy Butler. Judy moved to Ashland from New Jersey last year  and she organized  a great dinner for us at the Paschal  Winery  where we were joined by some DOL alumni. We had great food and great wine. Afterwards Elaine Sweet  invited us back to her house where her wonderful husband made us a chocolate cake and some home made ice cream- seriously delicious.

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So you never know what might happen at a DOL.   As Diane always says, you come, make friends and go home inspired.

JoAnn Manzone shares a studio with Diane. Her web site is dreamweaversdesign.com

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Here are a few more memories!

image imageI am off to Taos in Sept. See you then.

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DOL In Review

I am so excited to be returning to Ashland for the upcoming retreat with Diane and Sandy and thought I would do a recap of last years great workshop. Last year I had the pleasure of assisting Diane and also getting to know Gwen who taught us how to make Shoes! Gwen has killer sewing skills, and this is some of her work.image

I can’t remember who made these but I love the color combo.image

Making our own fabric is a topic that Diane will work on in June. But last year Sylvia had pieced together different shades of silk and then hand painted it. Together we draped a dress on her body and by the end of the workshop, she had a dress ready for any special outing.image image image

Diane’s Jewelery classes are always fabulous. Her creativity is unending.image image image

Everyone that shows up to each DOL brings amazing projects.

Diane’s son Myles gave us a great insight into the way he works and we were able to buy some of his fabric designs. So much fun!image

Helen has outrageous design skills and I loved her ‘Bug’ Jacket.

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So what’s in store for this year. I can’t wait to find out. I am looking forward to meeting old friends, making new ones, and learning a lot of new stuff!image image

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To finish a Fabulous retreat Mollie and I drove to Cave Junction to visit Marcy and Katherine Tilton.  We had a great time there and got to see their studios and shop For beautiful fabrics.image image image image

The calm before the storm!image image

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Finding my way back!

After a failed attempt at blogging some months ago I am eager to get back and reconnect with my creative friends. I let life and work get in the way but I really enjoy this way of connecting and sharing.

I may not always have exciting sewing projects to share but there is so much more to living a creative life that I want to explore.

I am starting out again with an easy but pretty post from the Philadelphia Flower  Show. I go every year with my great friend Toni Arnone and it was very uplifting this year as it’s been cold and dreary here in Pa. The theme this year was ‘Celebrate The Movies’ and it did not disappoint .

Enjoy.

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Here are some movie themed displays. Some are obvious, some not.image image image image image image image

The Jewelery exhibit is one of my favorites. They are made from all natural materials.

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Painting with Flowers. I tried to include some information about each one -not my best pictures.

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There is a large market area with everything flower related including , clothing , jewelry , home decor etc. I really likes these shopping bags.

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I always buy flowers to take home and as you can see they are approved by Finn.

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Here’s to next year Toni!

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Catching Up.

I have been away from blogging for a while and I am excited to return. I love to read blogs and really learn a lot from them. I enjoy a variety of subjects including home decorating, travel and lifestyle blogs. Over the past few months I travelled to Ashland, Oregon, to a Design Outside The Lines sewing workshop, a trip to Ireland, and lots of sewing.
Here is a recap of a few of my sewing projects.
In keeping with the idea of recycling and reusing, I have been making Christening Gowns from Wedding Dresses. I recently made one from the Mom’s dress and Grand moms for a little ‘surprise’ that arrived after the family had three sons. The Grand Mom had passed away so it was an extra special dress. I used the softer fabric from her dress on the inside and the stiffer satin on the outside.

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Both of these were made from wedding dresses.image

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I have made a lot of dresses for these twin girls as they have been in a few family weddings and love to dress up.

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This bride wanted a red ‘reception dress’ for her wedding. She brought me a picture- the pink dress- and I made the red version making a few changes. It’s actually a top and a skirt.

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These dresses are also ‘reception dresses. It’s hard to believe that these girls have to decide on two dresses!

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I am working on an Ireland post, a Charles James Post, and a DOL post.
Stay tuned!

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A Floral Influence

I have always loved floral prints, and in the last year or so there has been a huge resurgence of this theme from a lot of designers. After watching the fall fashion shows from New York and Paris, it’s obvious that we are going to see lots of flower inspired fabrics to satisfy us. Everything from pants to coats can be updated by the addition of flowers.

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Today’s post is about the perfect opportunity to receive inspiration for a floral design.
Every year my dear friend Toni and I get together and go to the Philadelphia Flower Show. We both would love to be gardeners if we had nothing else to do. Every year it’s a blaze of fabulous color and after a dreary winter it’s a great shot in the arm. There is a different theme every year, and this year it was ‘Articulture’: a nod to all the great Museums we have here in Philly.

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One of my favorite exhibits every here is the Jewelry. Everything is made from flowers, leaves, plants, trees, etc. and the results are amazing. Here is a sample of this years work.

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Some more Pins.

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Here are some individual flower displays. Prizes are awarded for every category but every display was beautiful.

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Another great feature this year was Vertical Gardens.

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The pressed flower exhibit is always fun. It’s amazing what can be done with flower petals.

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Art in ARTiculture!

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After all this floral inspiration I think I would like to make a shirt, a spring coat, or maybe some pants in a print. Look out for a follow-up post! For now, check out these fabrics from marcytilton.com

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And this is what I brought home to enjoy!

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Next years theme is Hollywood!

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