Friday, December 07, 2018

Linen Tunic: My Garden

   A little bit of this, a little bit of that, and before you know it you have something wonderful, quite different, and really fun to wear. I have wanted to make one of the Japanese style aprons to wear as a tunic or top for quite some time. 
   My theme or story for this piece is my little front garden. It is quite wild and unruly, but it gives me a great deal of pleasure just to be there in the midst of the nasturtiums, ferns, and other growing things. Just as I no longer strive for perfection in my art, I have no desire to tame the great outdoors.

    After searching for ages, I finally came up with the closest pattern I could find to suit my needs; Simplicity #1133. This pattern had a huge dart along the side seam that I eliminated by pinning the edges of the dart together. I wanted to have one entire piece with no seams so I could freely paint and stitch away. It is made from the Natural Linen I carry in my shop.

   After sewing the garment together, my first step was to spray it with Jacquard's airbrush ink. After heat setting the ink, I started applying my nasturtium shapes and rectangular strips of fabrics. The flowers were glued on with a teeny bit of glue, and the rectangles were hand basted on. The last thing I want on a garment is a fusible that will be stiff and heavy feeling. 
 After machine stitching around the edges of the flowers and leaves, I painted in my moths with my Giant Moth Stencil using Neopaque and lumiere. Next came the really fun part as  I started drawing in the abstracted stem shapes for the hand embroidery to visually tie all the shapes together.

 I wanted to emphasize the edges of the garment, but I didn't want anything too fussy or exacting. I first worked a row for Cretan Stitch around the edges, then an irregular blanket stitch, and ended with short little stitches for just a little touch of added color. I found some beautiful old shell buttons that were just the right size for the tab closures at the shoulders.
  Detail of the stitching on the back.
   For the rectangular overlays, I used scraps of my hand dyed cotton. I love the way the fabric puckered up after washing to give it that beautiful bumpy texture. 
   Now I am getting ready to start another tunic. My next effort will be in black linen that will be cut on the bias, so it will be interesting to see how different the fit is. I am thinking rust tones,splashes of brilliant blues, and little bits of a lovely pearl gray hand dyed sateen. I haven't quite decided on a theme yet.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

A Valuable Resource: San Francisco School of Needlework and Design

   In recent months, a new business has been brought to my attention: the  San Francisco School of Needlework and Design (SNAD). It is conveniently located right on Union Square, and several nearby parking are listed on their website. I have not had the opportunity to visit this establishment in person as yet, but I have found ample eye candy and information on their site to keep me very entertained and intrigued.
Photo courtesy of SNAD: Lucy Barter teaching a class.

   SNAD is a non-profit business co-founded in 2015 by Lucy Barter and Ellice Sperber for the purpose of providing excellent educational opportunities in the needle arts to all levels of students and enthusiasts. SNAD's offering of hand embroidery workshops ranges from week long Stitch Retreats, to Comprehensive Studies courses, and even to specialized classes with guest teachers. They also have free Stitch-In sessions several times a week where you can bring your own projects to work on while visiting with fellow stitchers.
Photo courtesy of SNAD: Example of class work.
   One item that has piqued my interest is a rapidly approaching challenge called Make Do and Mend. SNAD has a gallery area in their space where current exhibits or challenges are displayed, and you can submit your entry by either sending your actual piece or a photograph of your work to be included in the challenge. 
   I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the photos presented of previous challenges, the wide selection of classes, and all of the beautiful embroidery work featured on this site.
   I can't wait to go there in person and maybe peruse their extensive library or take a class.