Saturday, March 14, 2015

Fabric Manipulation

The topic for the Sewphisticuts in our March meeting was Fabric Manipulation.  Several of us tried pleating, tucking, or poufing fabric in various ways for different effects.  We also experimented with felting wool and new ways of binding edges, with varying degrees of success.   Whether you view less-than-hoped-for results as "happy accidents" or outright failures, you still learn something from that attempt.  So we shared some of our non-successes as cheerfully as our successful attempts.

Maura brought a sample of plaid fabric that was pleated and sewn so as to make a more solid-colored fabric, imitating a technique she saw on a vintage dress in a show at the Metroplitan Museum of Art several years ago in which a purple and white  striped fabric was pleated to appear as solid purple.

She also experimented with felting, repeatedly washing and drying some wool swatches.  Since they were woven wool, and only washed 3 times, there wasn't much change.  But the lesson she took from this was that woven woolens could be safely preshrunk in a home washer.

Connie had a frustrating experience trying a new technique to attach binding to her table runner.  She found it made mitered corners lumpier, so her lesson was that a new technique isn't always better than the old way.   This runner was also her show-and-tell, the first paper-pieced project she had done.
Pat tried a method for tucking squares of fabric so that poufs formed in the center of the square.  Buttons were fastened in the center and the squares then could be sewn together for various decorative uses on purses, tote bags, quilts, etc.

Peggy investigated tucking and pleating, as well as using strips of fabric (similar to binding) in a woven pattern.  Some of the techniques had potential as insets in clothing (yokes, epaulets) or as decorative elements for bags, we thought.

In other business, we began to think about Make A Difference Day.  Connie agreed to reach out to a contact at Hudson River Housing to see what their needs might be.   By the next meeting we hope to have some ideas for a project for October.  Also next month we will have a presentation from Peggy and Maura on two different methods for sewing stained-glass quilt blocks.

Oven mitts

And of course we had some show-and-tell:
Bag made from vintage tablecloth
Easter basket

Pat's bed runner
Connie's quilt
Another quilt from Connie
Collapsible waste can for sewing
Hot pads

Peggy's shirt
Flowing blouse from Peggy

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sewphisticuts Stitch Challenge

The snowy weather abated enough to allow the Sewphisticuts to meet last evening.  The topic was a Stitch Challenge:  to learn a new stitch from your machine or to use one in a new way for you.  Three out of seven brought along samples.  

Judy's twin-needle results
Judy experimented with embroidery stitches on her machine but with a double needle.  She got some interesting effects but in the process broke several needles.  The problem she found was that with her machine, many embroidery stitches move the needle too far to one side to be able to accommodate a twin needle

Peggy tried various embroidery stitches on her machine to applique designs.  In one case she accidentally combined several settings and wound up with an unexpected stitch, but liked the look of it anyway.  As the painter Bob Ross would say, there are no mistakes, just happy accidents!
Embroidery stitches attach applique

Embroidery stitch used to for blind hem on right.

Buttonhole with tapered satin stitches

Decorative stitch for top-stitching

Maura also used her machine's embroidery stitches, one for top-stitching a pocket edge, another for adding emphasis to buttonholes, and a third could be used as a blind-hem stitch.

There was show and tell - photos are included below.  Next month's topic is Fabric Manipulation, which could include felting, pleating, tucking, fabric embellishment, etc.  Ronnie wants to experiment with pin-tucking and smocking and she will try to bring samples of that.  If anyone else wants to claim a particular technique to demonstrate with samples, please let the group know.
Judy's blouse

Peggy's sweater

Judy's trousers
Maura's jeans

Fleecy baby blanket in the works
Pocket detail - decorative top-stitching