I love the way embroidery can take clothing to another level, but I cannot articulate exactly how to get that effect myself. I think the design needs to seem like it is integrated into the garment, and not slapped on as an afterthought. This shirt I embroidered last week is an example of what I mean. Although the letters themselves look great and they are lined up perfectly, to me, it looks like the embroidery was an afterthought. Don't get me wrong, I like the way the shirt looks. But the embroidery does not take it to that other level and I would not expect lettering to do that in any case. I guess now that I have "broken the seal" on my embroidery attachment, I am anxious to do more embroidery. How do I select a design and integrate it into a garment?
I finally set up my Pfaff Creative Vision to do embroidery. Honestly, I don't know why I waited so long. I had forgotten how much fun it is to watch as it stitches! My last machine was a Husqvarna Viking D1. I traded it in for the Pfaff after sewing and embroidering with one in a class at the Sewing and Quilting Expo a few years ago. I fell in love with the precise positioning feature. I had made a few projects which used multiple hoopings before and I did a decent job getting the motifs where I wanted them, but it was nearly impossible to get them absolutely exact which kind of bummed me out. All I could think of was all the cool things I could embroider IF ONLY I could get the designs to line up perfectly. So you can see how I was immediately sold on the Creative Vision. Well that was years ago and I have embroidered a big fat nothing with the machine. Zilch.
I love my BURDA Magazines. Some of the photography gives me a chuckle sometimes, but really, it is my favorite fashion magazine. This month, there was a quick beginner pattern. I stitched it up in some artisan silk that has been in my stash for years. A long time ago, I though I would make ties, but I never got around to it and I have since begun using my tie interfacing for sleeve heads. I had to deviate a little form the instructions since the artisan silk has no give whatsoever. Instead of folding the top under and stitching to form a casing, I cut bias strips of a really nice wool fabric that I used last year for a fabulous pair of pants. I used the wool as a facing on the right side. I also cut bias strips to make binding for the armscyes. Lastly, I made one long bias tube and thread it through both the front and the back and tied it at one shoulder. Oh yeah and did I mention that the hem edge is the selvedge? I am working on a skirt to match. I just have to add a contrast band in the green wool at the bottom and face the waist. The top looks really good if I belt it. If I don't, it looks too shapeless on me. Stiffany (That's my mannequin's name - get it? - she's stiff - hah hah!) looks great in it because she can wear anything well. I have a belt buckle kit which I have been dying to try. I think a slef belt with a fabric covered buckle would make the whole outfit look retro chic. In other news, I have been learning about pattern grading and sizing. Here is something I learned. I always thought that pattern sizes were such that if I gain weight, I go up a size. Well that is not the whole story because if a size 12 fits perfectly and I gain weight and move to a size 14, not only has the girth increased but the lengths have also increased so my bust to waist and my back length in the size 14 will have to be shortened ever so slightly. This is also true of RTW. My favorite Ann Taylor blouses were getting to tight and as I gained weight and moved up a couple of sizes, I eventually found that petite sizes fit me better - even though I am 5'6"! Food for thought...
How do you keep track of your fabric stash? I love to come up with elaborate systems of organizing my things - systems which are sometimes impractical for me to follow. Currently, I have three methods of cataloging my fabrics. The simplest is a few digital photographs of my fabric armoire, and cupboards with the doors open. I keep the pictures on my iPhone so I will have them available to review while I am out shopping. Next, I have a page on my blog with snapshots or downloaded images of fabrics. I can pull the blog page up on my iPhone any time I have cell service. My latest inspiration involves actual fabric swatches. After cutting apart my Vogue Fabrics Swatch sheets so I could play "mix and match" with them, I had a wonderful idea to cut swatches of my own fabrics - including those I have already used. I made a spreadsheet file in a program called Numbers. Numbers is like a very pared down version of excel which allows quick and easy creation of charts and tables. It works on Mac OS devices. I used my iPad while watching TV with my husband. The result was a quick template which has 8 rectangles and a few lines of text per rectangle. I cut the rectangles apart with a big paper cutter and stapled swatches of my fabrics to the little paper cards. Under each fabric swatch, I have listed the fiber content, width, design repeat, yardage or finished item, and any special notes. I use these fabric swatches to plan projects and coordinate fabrics. What do you do to keep track of your stash?