Coyote Central inspired by Nick Cave exhibit at The Seattle Art Museum

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I have been teaching kids (girls) ages 9-13 how to sew and design for a really excellent Non-profit organization called Coyote Central since last October.  I have to say- I have been having lots of fun.  I really did not think that I was the teaching type… or even had anything to say about sewing to children but well- I guess I learned something.  My regular class is called Design Sew and Embellish– and through the school year it is on Saturday morning (all the better for keeping me honest:) but during the summer the class is more like a one week intensive , and it is pretty much full as of now.

Also since October Coyote and I have been talking about and organizing a special workshop in conjunction with (and funded by) the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) for the Nick Cave: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth exhibit that closed this last weekend.  I know, I know… my timing is impeccable.   We held the 2 day/10hr.  workshop for 8 child artist in mid April and  debuted the creations at Community Night on May 5th at the SAM.  These kids were champions not even wanting to break for lunch!!  The Jackets were then displayed at the SAM for the rest of the exhibit and then they will be put in a brand-spanking-new Coyote Central Gallery space!!

Thanks to Chris Barnett for the beautiful Picture of the process and the parade!

Me in Stitch Magazine.

Fall 2010.

I recently had the wonderful (paid!) opportunity to write for Stitch Magazine put out by Interweave Press. I wrote out instructions for my Shadow Applique Wool Pillow for their 1 yard gifts in the Fall 2010 issue.  The magazine came out on the 14th of September so go pick it up at your nearest specialty magazine shop and try out my project!!

My first quilt.

Mom's Birthday Quilt- Happy 60th birthday.

So this is the quilt I made for my mother for her 60th birthday.  I got the batik panels from this booth at the Sewing Expo.  The backing is this AMAZING Italian shirting cotton.  I learned most of the techniques off the internet.  I really love freezer paper after doing this quilt because it can be used in so many way in sewing.  With this quilt all of the circular applique around the characters I did using freezer paper and the six minute circle applique.  My next experiment with freezer paper is going to be printing fabric with my printer… I will keep you posted.  Does anyone have any tips??

My mom was here over the Memorial Day holiday and we went camping at Cama Beach on Camano Island, WA.  It was nice and relaxing and it did not even rain that much!

cama beach cabin camping

sittin on top of the world!

As of late…

My new machine.

I have been using my new-fangled sewing machine to do embroidery over the last three months. It is fun and nerve wrecking all at the same time. First, the world of machine embroidery is a mighty vast world full of lots of teddy bears holding balloons and SUPER cheezy seasonal crap that I would never use in a million years. For these reasons and all the Disney characters the came programmed into my machine I was really kinda scared of the whole concept. BUT it is the embroidery that makes the machine a $3500.00 sewing machine so I push through my issues and am now embroidering!! For starters I made my mother this box for Christmas:

A good learning project

I know monogramming is not necessarily her thing but I needed something to design and I know my mom has wanted to decorate cigar boxes for a long time so I just figure it is both inspiring and utilizable (she is a total organizer, genes I didn’t get).
Right after Christmas I actually broke the machine… It just stopped embroidering beautifully would not hold tension. I am a bull in a china shop, if it is delicate and precise I will mess it up. I realize I cannot just open her up and see what is going on like my other machines (Serge, and Bertha), I have to take it in to the shop. THANK GOD there was a year long warranty, because it is $200 dollars just to have them look at this machine.
Now I am back on the road to embroidery… My husband found the mother load of embroidery patterns on the torrents and I am overwhelmed with embroidery files (hence my lack of blogging). And if that is not enough I need a whole other wing to my studio just to house the stabilizers and thread needed for this whole operation. SHEESH!! Well out of all that whirlwind I introduced a line of Ring Bearer pillows in my ETSY shop. Personalized monograms and custom patches coming soon!!
Here are some other Christmas presents I churned out for friends and family:

Personalized pot holders! Yes- I am geeking out!!

Hat making and other obsessions.

repro velvet flowers

My mom has informed me that she does not like looking at my anthro rant any longer (I swear… and she does not like it).  So I am changing it… happy??

I have been taking hat making classes from a really excellent milliner, Izzie Lewis.  We started with covering buckram forms with fabric and then graduated to blocking fur felts.  Dave now has a running joke because all I can think about now is hats- when we watch movies, walking down the street, while we’re eating, when he is talking it’s coming out as hats,hats,hats- hats hats hats, hats?  I reply hats, hats,hats hats hats.

I know there are people out there (besides my mother) who have waited for this post as well.  Sorry I’ve taken my sweet time.  I have been learning a lot about taking pictures and also Photoshop.  I have been doing this online couse on Photoshop over at Lynda.  I have learned quite a lot in a very short amount of time.

Here are the hats I have worked on:

buckham cover with wool.

This was blocked in 2 parts- crown and brim.

This is grosgrain gathered into a crazy 8 with two 1940's buttons.

I also made hats for my father and my brother for christmas:

This fur felt was blocked all in one.

All of these hats have a wire in the brim and head size ribbons on the inside.

Halloween 2009- Par-O-Tweedles in Wonderland

WOW…. can’t believe it has been over a month since posting…. I guess I have been busy.  Saturday we won a couple of prizes for our creativity.  Here is how we spent Halloween 2009:

I build the tweedle bodies out of foam and hula hoops.  The shirt is just a Kwik Sew 2272, a shirt pattern  that is out of print I use all the time for Dave, my husband (and a really good sport).  I just expanded from the under arm to fit the 90″ circumference of the hula hoop.  I bought sheets at the thrift store for the shirts cause it was going to take six yards and I also bought shoes from the thrift store to paint because it was the cheapest way to go on both accounts.  Foam is expensive so luckily I found a piece in the closest at our office that Dave said I could use ( I still had to buy 1 yard).    The hats I blocked buckram for and built the propeller out of hat wire.  Then I just kept on decorating until we had to put them on for Halloween.  My friend Hannah made her Alice costume under my supervision and she was super excited and impressed with herself when she was done.  We had a tea party  in the afternoon (I could not resist showing up at my favorite tea spot The Tea Cup in costume, and then went out and ate dinner and entered some  Halloween contests that night.  We won two different gift certificats that basically pay for the costumes.  It was awesome!!

The night before I went out and saw some of my costumes in action at a Kiss Tribute concert.  They to were AWESOME!!

Catch me if you can- this costume rocked!!

Here are some stills of the Flight Attendant costume I recently made and posted about here.  It is for a web commercial for Expedia… I don’t know much more about it except that I had a lot of fun doing it and would love more work like this 😉   I guess if this goes over well they will use this character for more of an ad campaign.

Things I love…. the franc-o-philes.

This post is inspired by some new (old) sewing things that we got in at the store.   OMG-  I f**king love haberdashery… especially if it is beautiful!  I don’t even wind thread and I want one of each.sajouCollection

 

 

 

sajou-cards-winders-royan-combo250

Sajou– A nineteenth century French company that was recently resurrected.  I cannot really find pictures of some of the most awesome old graphics they use on their thread winders- twenties hats and such but here is the story of Sajou I found over at Silver Needle:

 From 1830 to 1880, Jacques-Simon devoted his time and inventiveness to fancy needlework, starting la Maison Sajou in 1830. His goal: to sell supplies for all types of the Needlearts. With the creation of his pattern albums, he reached intense fame in France and all of Europe… his original albums are very valuable and intensely sought-after collectibles today!

The trade name ‘Sajou’ fell into oblivion some years later, presumably after Jacques passed. It had not been used since 1954, and therefore, under French law, became available in 2004 for a new owner!

Frederique Crestin-Billet is the new owner of Sajou, and promises to present the vintage designs and articles as they were — without edits. Relying on the excellent name of Sajou, she is producing product using modern production methods, while maintaining a world that reminds us of the haberdasheries of yesteryear.

Another one of my french favorites is Lesage (here is an article about lesage) which does not have a web page.   They don’t need one!  They are the beading and embellishing house for all of Paris’ Haute Couture.  The Sewing Divas are on my blogroll and I found this great video on their site.  Only the second half is Lesage but the whole video is yummy.

 

Free Apron pattern… because I LUV SUMMER.

Ice Tea Anyone?

Ice Tea Anyone?

Materials:

½ —–yard of a base fabric (I used an Indian cotton voile).

¾  —–yard of a coordinating fabric (I used a Jay McCarroll printed cotton).

2 ¼ —–yards of ribbon (I used two grosgrain ribbons layered and stitch with a machine   embroidery stitch).

-Wash all fabric to clean and shrink.  All seams are ½”

-Cut from coordinating print:

1 Pocket- pattern PDF

1 Waistband- 6”x 22”

1 Bottom Band- 6”x 45”

2 Ties- 31” x 2 ½”

-Finish sides (selvedges) of base fabric and stitch two rows of basting (long machine stitches) at 3/8” and ½” from top.

-Stitch right side of bottom band to wrong side of base fabric (If using a directional print-it should be sew here upside-down). Press seam toward bottom band.  Fold bottom in half, right sides together, fold seam allowance back towards wrong side and stitch sides of bottom band.  Flip right sides out, press and top stitch long seam catching all raw edges in bottom band “sandwich”.  Center ribbon on bottom band and stitch both edges.

aprond

-Stitch darts in pocket and press.  Finish top edge.  Fold top of pocket at notch with right sides together. Stitch sides. Flip flap (he-he) right sides out.  Sew basting stitches centered at 1 ½” and gather pocket to 6 ½”.  Pin ribbon into place over gathers and stitch both edges.  Press raw edges of pocket to wrong side ½”.

– Position outside pocket corner 4” down from the top and six inches from the side of base (On the right side of the base if you are right handed and left side if you are left handed).  Pin and edge stitch pocket on to base.

big enough for several wood spoons- the cadillac of pockets!

big enough for several wood spoons- the cadillac of pockets!

-Fold ties in half right sides together and stitch down long raw edge and one short end.  Use a chop stick to push the right side out.  Make sure corners are carefully picked out.  Press flat.

-Gather top of base to 21”

-Sew right side of waistband to wrong side of the top of the base adjusting gathers evenly to fit within the seam allowance of the waistband.

-Baste ties to right side of waistband 2” up from the base with raw edges of ties lined up with raw side edges of waistband.  Fold waistband in half right sides together, fold seam allowance to wrong side and stitch the side catching the ties.  Flip right sides out, press seam allowance towards the waistband.  Top stitch long seam catching all raw edges in the “sandwich” of the waistband.

-You are now ready to cook!!

AND… this is just the beginning- you could add pockets, change pockets (there are a bazillion pocket shapes if you google images of vintage aprons), quilt the bands, use ribbon for the ties, add lace to the bottom, attach glitter and Christmas bells, add piping to the waistband and pocket, cross-stitch or embroidery, give it a theme for a friend, use ric- rac, appliqué fruits on there, you could bedazzle the crap out of it if you want.

Solstice Update: MacBeth 2009

So doing this play was an extreme amount of work but so invigorating and inspiring.  There is just something magical to seeing a play build from concept to stage.  I just really love being in the theater, but know that it can also lead to burn out real quick.

MacBeth… yep I said it, is a really deep and dark play but mystical and alluring none the least.  Theses actor are all really amazing right down to little Issac (MacDuff’s son),  it was great to glimpse in on there process and have that inform what I ultimately do- the shirt has to be able to move with the broad sword or the shirt will shred- not the sword. 

Good lessons were to be found at every turn.  For instance: Lists are essential to this process- the couple of times that something did not  make it on the list it was forgotten (much to the frustration of the actor/ director).  Another beautiful lesson to learn early: teeny- tiny-micro budget= lot of thrift store time.  The cheapest white fabric you can find is sheeting at the thrift store on a 1/2 off day and women pleated skirts make great kilts (much to the dismay for my male actors :)).

All in all a great experience!!

If you are in the Seattle area and want to see the show (one weekend left!) click here for more info.

Jay Chen Photography –