New Silk Kantha

New Silk Kantha

I ordered another silk kantha bedspread ten days ago – it arrived day before yesterday. It’s a dark, rainy afternoon and the overhead light floods the quilt with yellow light. It’s actually more off-white/light beige with red and purple accents. It has red and white quilt stitching. It’s going to be perfect for a colourful summer jacket – this time with more flow and more contrasting colour to bring out the red in the silk blocks.

I bought a 90″ x 108″ quilt – that’s a ton of fabric – more than enough for two jackets! I’ll do one for myself first, then who knows what I’ll do with what’s left. A friend sent me a Pinterest photo of a summer shirt yesterday – this might work nicely done with some of the kantha.

Summer Shirt Idea From Pinterest

She’s right about that – it wouldn’t take much kantha fabric to do half a front, half a back and one sleeve! I’d use red linen for the other half of the shirt. Simple to make – a facing on the front neckline, a small binding on the back. It’s hard to tell from the photo whether the bottom of the shirt is actually scooped or just tucked into the bottom. I’d make mine straight with side slits.

Clearly an idea on my “to do” list.

Sky / Sand / Sea – Finished

Sky / Sand / Sea

Finished, except for hand stitching the hidden binding to the back. It’s hard to tell from the image how much quilting I did. I decided to leave the narrow strip unquilted to act as a separation between the two pieced strips. That meant I had to free motion quilt the light elements stopping precisely at the separator and make sure I did a tie off at the back. The darker elements required a different technique – I created embroideries to fit the size of each of the dark elements and stitched them in the hoop as I would any embroidery. You can see the detail below:

Quilting Detail

I wanted a “wave” like flow to the “sea” elements so I set up a couple of different embroideries for each section. I used a “stippling” stitching in the embroidery on the hibiscus fabric. I created “grass” for the green/blue fabric, etc. I made sure each embroidery fit the dimensions of the bit of fabric I was quilting. In the end I was pleased with the outcome.

I added the gulls once I’d stitched the “sky” portion of the hanging – they are cut from black raw silk, fussy cut, fused, then edge stitched in place. My initial idea had been to print images of gulls on fabric but when I did that with the paper cutouts they didn’t show up well. In the end I thought silhouettes of the gulls worked better against the “Sky” background.

This evening I’ll do the hand stitching to finish off the piece.

Sky / Sand / Sea

Sky / Sand / Sea

I have the panel assembled – two pieces joined off-centre with a narrow strip. It was obvious the resulting panel needed something more – gulls! So I searched for silhouettes of gulls online. There are lots of them. I downloaded a bunch in various sizes and flight positions. I need both right-flying and left-flying birds.

What I have in place at the moment are paper cutouts so I could judge position and size. I need to make two of the birds smaller – the one in the centre needs to be a bit bigger. Otherwise, I think three is all I want or need. My plan is to print them on fabric, fussy cut them, then fuse them in place.

In the end I chose to join the fabric pieces with straight lines – I’m intending to do quite a bit of thread painting particularly through the “sand” and “sea” elements with gently curved lines (using doubled rayon thread for emphasis) which I’ll stitch over the seams to obscure them a bit.

Next I need batting, then I can start stitching.

From Sample Stitches to Drawstring Bag

Drawstring Bag

I did another stitch sampler – this time horizontal rows of embroidery stitches (of which this machine has MANY – particularly when you consider you can modify both length and width of each of the 500+ stitches). No ribbon or lace – just the stitches themselves in rayon embroidery thread.

Then I turned the panel into a drawstring bag large enough to carry a pair of shoes, or my knitting, or whatever I need a bag for. Finished size: 10″ x 13″.

What’s different about this drawstring bag is the way the channels are formed. Many years ago I was given a Japanese drawstring bag made with such channels. It’s a more refined way of finishing a drawstring bag. So I’ve been making mine this way for a long time.

Here’s a link to instructions for this Japanese Drawstring Bag.

Black Cord Pants

Black Cords

I’ve used the same pattern (Jalie 3243 – Pull-on Pants) I’ve used for several other pairs of pants. My weight and shape have been relatively constant for the past year so once I worked out the details I had a pattern for pants that fit so I just keep making them.

The best part of the project is I can cut out the pants, sew them up, and wear them without any fussing. I know the length of elastic for the waist, the inseam measurement. Gain or lose weight and the measurements will change. However, right now I have a cut/sew pattern that works.

You can’t see the details – two jean-shaped pockets sewn to the front, two back pockets, an elasticized waist. That’s all there is to these pants.

I cut them out on Thursday. Got most of the construction done yesterday morning. Finished them this morning and I’m wearing them this afternoon.

Blue Flowers – Again

I started this textile wall art piece on Jan 23. I managed to get the basic appliqués in place and then I was stumped. Before I could embellish the raw edge shapes I had to figure out some way of stitching “stems” for the “flowers”. I thought about cutting narrow strips of various green fabrics, using yarn (yarn couching – using decorative stitches to tack the yarn in place), even stitching over very narrow ribbon. The issue was the colours I’d used in the vegetation at the bottom of the piece which limited my options. I spent time sporadically playing around with decorative stitches but nothing seemed to set up the effect I was after. I had no suitable green/brown yarn in my stash. And trying to force ribbon into gentle curves, even if I could come up with a suitable colour, wasn’t going to work, either.

After finishing a pair of black corduroy pants this morning (more about that in another post), I picked up my stitching sampler, played with a few more decorative stitches and then decided I’d just repeat rows of straight stitching! I practiced a bit. I matched thread colours with the fabric at the bottom of the hanging and started in.

Blue Flowers

This is as far as I’ve got at the moment. Those stems need small leaves of some sort – I intend to work those in last. Next will be embellishing the raw edges of each layer of the flowers to permanently attach them to the backing.

You get the idea here. The vegetation at the bottom also needs a lot more embellishing but that, too will come after I’ve worked on the flowers and flower centres.

I thought it was the COVID-19 Rapid Test Kit building that had interfered with my working on this piece. It wasn’t. It was my not knowing how to do the stems/leaves that had me stopped. I feel like I’m being creative again. Finally!

A Stormy Day

It’s been blizzarding here all day – for much of the morning it was a white-out!


Didn’t matter – I was sewing. Last weekend I agreed to make sofa cushions for a friend – her designer had specified “piping” on several of the pillows. Creating the piping is no big deal, but applying it – that’s another matter. I trimmed the piping so I could align the outer edge with the outside of the pillow fabric but corners are tricky – I discovered it was a good idea to snip the corner and then 1/2″ on either side of that snip in order to bring the piping around the 90°. The second challenge involved joining the piping – I cheated on that on the two large square pillows, I just overlapped the piping and stitched it in place. Next came putting the zipper in against the piping edge on one side. Because the cushion will be sitting on that edge I did the best I could and have left it at that (I could hand stitch that opening closed but I’m guessing nobody but me will ever notice the zipper isn’t put in perfectly evenly).

Sofa Cushions

I’m happy with how the four pillows have turned out (the spotted pillow on the right belongs on my sofa!). They’ll look good on Heather’s new sofa.

She also has a hall bench that wanted a cushion – piped she decided, which makes construction quite a bit more difficult. It’s not just a matter of cutting out a top and bottom piece to fit the cushion form, but piping the top and bottom edges, along with inserting a zipper along the back side.

My bench is several inches shorter and wider but this cushion will fit Heather’s bench nicely and when it’s been sat on for a week, nobody will notice the imperfections that I can see. This time I took the time to butt the piping join – I did such a good job you can’t see where I joined the fabric/cord.

One pillow still to go. I don’t have the pillow form although I do have the fabric. This cushion needs to be done with a flange. There are several ways that can be done. I need to google for some instructions to make the job easier. I’ll make up the cushion cover – Heather will buy a queen size bed pillow and we’ll take it apart to make it fit the cover.

That last job I’m leaving for tomorrow.

Blue Flowers

Blue Flowers

A couple of days ago I started pulling together subsets of blue fabric scraps and piling the pieces into groupings for the flowers. Next I pressed fusible web (glue) to the back of each fabric piece, then cut out “flower” elements.

Circles? Almost Circles? Irregular circular shapes? In the end I opted for more or less circular shapes in graduated sizes, laid them on top of one another, offset somewhat. I removed the paper backing and pressed the layers for each flower together then played with placement on the background. I finished by pressing the flowers in place.

Before I start thread painting the flowers, I need to use a heat erasable pen to mark where the stem/leaf elements should go. I plan to stitch long thin stems with just a hint of leaf shapes – that may change when I get underway and decide to include some fabric cutout leaves.

This is as far as I have got today.

Simply Gorgeous

Meiko Mintz A-line Jacket

I love looking at these flowing Meiko Mintz Kantha jackets. Mintz, a New York designer, has been making these garments for a while now. I first came across them in San Francisco in 2015 at Gumps department store. They’re reversible – so you get two jackets for the price of one but nevertheless they’re expensive.

Sourced in Bangladesh, Mintz has a say in the fabric patterns and in the Kantha production. Sometimes the fabric is pieced, sometimes it’s printed. In either case the visual effect is striking.

I keep turning to them again and again for inspiration for garments I might make for myself. Mine keep turning out much less flowing – I seem to be a “tailored” kind of person, I guess. Still, I keep imagining myself in one of these graceful pieces.

A Few From The Latest Collection

They’re to drool over. Who wouldn’t look terrific in one of these.

New Face Masks For Christmas

I know, we’re supposed to give up fabric masks in favour of single use surgical or N95 masks but I hate the waste associated with those and besides my masks are made using a high grade quilting cotton with non-woven interfacing stitched into the middle; mine are three-layer masks.

More important those awful disposable blue surgical masks don’t fit me very well (I have to flip the elastic to fit over my ears to suppress my glasses fogging which makes the sides stand open), whereas my homemade masks do! And fit is more important than the materials used in construction, according to the experts I’ve read.

New Face Masks

With Omicron being rapidly transmitted throughout the community I decided everybody could use a new well-fitting face mask as a gift. I started making a batch ten days ago. I made a dozen which I gave away yesterday to the knitting ladies. I have another dozen cut out and ready to assemble – have to work on those today and get them made and washed so I can distribute them, too.

The pattern I’m using this time is the one from SeeKateSew. She provides a template for cutting out the masks. This mask is close fitting but because of the origami folds top and bottom it provides breathing space and I find it comfortable.

I don’t do the folded side in the instructions to enclose the elastic. Instead I insert the elastic into the seam as I construct the facemark which makes the sides a bit longer. I use 6″ – 7″ lengths of elastic depending on the face size of the person I’m making the mask for. When I use a longer elastic I add a silicon slide near the bottom of the mask so people can shorten the elastic if the mask fit is too loose.

Now back to sewing….