It's about exploring and sharing my creative adventures (mostly sewing these days) ~
~those activities that sometimes obsess, usually inspire, occasionally frustrate
~and always provide a delightful maze to wander through.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Wool Gauze, Silk Screening, and a Really Long Vest.

One of the reasons I sew is for the ability to create one-of-a-kind, "it's so ME" garments.   My own sense of "this is ME" style has evolved since I started sewing (and is still evolving!)...but that's really another post.   If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you know that one of the ways I make a garment uniquely me is by adding little (and sometimes not so little) embellishments, including silk screening.

I love love LOVE Marcy Tilton's silk screens, and I'm slowly adding to my collection of her wonderfilled, creative pieces.
Marcy Tilton's "Chi" - one of my faves!

My process in embellishing a garment often goes something like this:

1.  Choose pattern & fabric & make garment (this is really 12 or 17 or 39 steps, not including all of the actually sewing steps, but we're only talking embellishment here...)
2.  Realize that it needs a little something extra.
3.  Think about options and play with them (buttons?  Fabric pieces?  Painting?  Silk Screen?  Hardware?  Something totally off the wall?)

Unless a garment is a super simple, straightforward, no changes other than fit piece, (like, say, a simple pair of knit pants) I have an utter INability to visualize the finished piece before I start.   I do admire people who can do that, but it ain't me!   It's the same with decorating my home, getting dressed to go out, even planning my day.   I just don't have the gene that allows me to be that organized with my planning, and I've accepted the fact that I'm just a go-with-the-flow kinda gal.   I am, however, very punctual, and if I make a promise to do something or be somewhere, I'll do it and be there!    I just don't make promises I can't keep ;-)

But - let's get back to the juicy stuff -  the garment!   Sandra Betzina's vest, Vogue 1375.

I saw Sandra's vest in person when she presented at PR Weekend San Francisco, and fell thoroughly in love with the fabric she used - a wool gauze from Stonemountain and Daughter.   I loved the fabric so much that I hightailed it to Stonemountain first thing the following morning (ensuring that I would beat any other PR fabricaholics) and bought ALL they had - which wasn't really that much, really it wasn't....   To my credit, I did share the yardage with 2 other friends - 'cause in the end, that's how I roll ;-)

I also liked the striped edging Sandra used, and I happened to have something similar in my stash (Oh, how I love shopping my stash!!!)  What I did NOT like about her version was the shoulder edging.  I call it  the "gladiator look", and even with my narrow shoulders, it's just not for me.   True to form (see paragraph above), I made up everything else before deciding on how I was going to deal with the armscye edging.

I made Version A in a size B.   Note the pleating and the asymmetric hemline on A - Version B is a simpler design.


Here's my finished pleating:

Both of my fabrics were VERY fray-prone!   Adding stabilizer at the armscye was crucial in this fabric, and probably a good idea no matter what fabric you use.

Once everything else was constructed, I decided to use the selvedge of the edging fabric for the armhole edging:

After that, it was time to play with the silk screening!   I had already made some test prints on my fabric (which is what I usually do)   I placed the test pieces on various spots of the garment until I had the placement I wanted, and then plunged in and printed directly on the finished piece.   Some people think this is bold and a little crazy, and I have indeed made some "mistakes", but as with anything in sewing, my attitude is that almost ANYthing can be turned into a creative opportunity, and I just pretend that I meant to do that (I learned that trick from my cats...if you've lived with cats, you know exactly what I mean!)

The finished piece is fun, and I'm definitely finding places to wear it!


You can see how sheer the wool gauze is here:

I used Marcy's "Riffle" silk screen on the front:


Oh!   I almost forgot to mention!   Sandra B was at the recent Britex event where some of our favorite bloggers presented some short but fabulous talks!  I was wearing this vest, and Sandra zipped up to me during a break to see if it was her pattern or "a really good copy".   She's always a hoot, and one of our local treasures :).   I was delighted that she got to see my version!

I know I've asked this before, but I'm always curious to hear what folks have to say... what is your process in getting to the final version of a garment?   Are you able to see the finished piece in your mind before you start?   Or do you stumble merrily along and let it evolve as you play with the garment?   Or maybe some other approach?

Happy Creating!

35 comments:

  1. Fabulous vest! You are so creative. I visualize my projects almost completely, which is a problem when they don't turn out how I expect them to. My current project was derailed when the knit fabric I was going to use came out of the washer all off grain so I have to use something else and reluctantly replace the image in my head with a different one. I wish I were more carefree and creative. In my non-sewing life I am also a planner, and it's sometimes hard to deal with setbacks and changes. I'm trying though because traveling like I've been do requires one to be flexible.

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    1. I hear you on the dashed expectations when something doesn't turn out the way you thought...I think that letting that go (which I've let go in some parts of my life...not all!) was very tied in with my pleasure at just letting it the creative process be...

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  2. Wow, I love this. It is terrific.

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  3. A true statement piece. Just fabulous!

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  4. This is crazy awesome. CRAZY!!

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  5. Hello Jilly! it's a real treat to see you up and posting again!

    I have to let everyone know i was lucky to be at the Britex event as well and this vest is even more wonderful in person! The sheerness adds a hint of mystery and keeps it light and in proportion (this much black material could possibly be overwhelming if not handled delicately). I was telling Jilly at the event that i loved her look so much - it's unique, its completely *her*, creative and flattering while being completely practical in the sense of leaving all possibilities totally open. Not to mention these black and grey based newts really show off your eyes, Miss J!

    It's garments that this that get me really excited about home sewing - nothing too precious, just people making stuff which makes them happy and lets the world around them share in that joy. Fantastic! I also appreciate your description of your process - i know there's certain ways you're supposed to proceed, and good reasons for that, but at the same time if something isn't doing it for you you can ALWAYS tinker. I say no garment is every truly 'finished' until you're using it to polish the dining room chairs ;)

    Jilly, i also wanted to than you for a great review of that Tessuti linen dress. I've been eyeing those patterns for a while, in the heat over here they would make a lot of sense but i was still a little - i don't even know what! But reading about your experience and seeing your wonderful dress has given me confidence, when time and funds allow i'll be whipping up my own Tessuti too!

    Happy day everybody! steph

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    1. Thanks Steph - it was so good to see you again! I LOVE the comment about not being finished until it's a furniture polishing rag! :D

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  6. I'm new here, just chiming in to say how much I love the vest! It's brilliant. Love the way you work/play. An open attitude makes the world a better place.

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    1. A big Welcome! Your comment put a huge smile on my face :D

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  7. Absolutely gorgeous!! You look fabulous in this vest--it is very "you" And it looks very fun to wear!

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  8. I love your vest, and the improvisational process you take to get there.... Wool gauze?!?! who knew there was such a thing, sounds amazeing (and I thought I was doing well to find some linen gauze....)

    My sewing design efforts start with a basic idea and silhouette in mind, like "I need a new dark color dress", (not difficult since I have only a few TNT patterns) but once I get the garment put together, my embellishment is sort of improvisational, I don't always know exactly how the finished piece will end up looking, though I often have some techniques I am interested in playing with... I am always impressed with how much more playful your garments end up looking, your aesthetic is delightful.

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    1. Thank you Alison - I love your unique aesthetic too :)

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  9. So nice to see you're sewing again, Jillian! And I LOVE your vest. It gave me an idea of what to do with a gorgeous piece of wool gauze I've been hoarding for a couple of years...Your silk screening is perfect!

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    1. Thanks Margy - if I can inspire you with an idea I consider that a major compliment! :)

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  10. I recently sewed with wool gauze, and it was like sewing fairy wings. Crazy stuff. But fun! Love the vest. I was big into silk screening in grad school. I miss it so! I should find ways to do it at home, just like it seems you are!

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    1. Fairy wings - great description lol!

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  11. Stellar! I love how you did the silk screening. I just did my first iron-on transfer and I had so much fun. This screening definitely gives you a more professional, finished look. Using the selvedge along the sleeves was a great idea too. The vest is flowy and chic, gorgeous.

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  12. So happy to see you sewing again! And I love this vest on you. It's a pattern I overlooked and now I. must. have. it.!
    Most of my designing happens in my head, before I begin to sew. If I'm printing with a silk screen (and Marcy's are divine!), I usually do it after the pieces are cut out, but before sewing. That way, if there is a misprint, I have more options for "fixing" it - by piecing fabric, cutting out a new piece, etc. I'm trying to do more spontaneous designing, but it's slow making changes in how I work!
    Enjoy your beautiful vest!

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  13. Oh, you used that wool gauze so well-and the silk screening is so pretty. Just the right touch Jillian. I used my wool gauze to make a shrug. It's very elegant and fun to wear.

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  14. You've got your own 'style' and this this vest just sums it up perfectly. As for designing - generally I just make it up as I go along - adding sleeves, making a belt etc. I've had many disasters when the fabric and pattern just don't go together, and I tend to go for 'less is more' approach when it comes to embellishments. I'll try harder as I'm waiting on the Alabama Stitch book to arrive; maybe I'll branch out. Your embellishments are always just right!

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  15. I saw this in person at the Britex event, and it's fabulous! I especially love the silk screening and the fabric selvedge at the armscye.

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  16. I love this- I know I couldn't pull it off- so I must admire it on you- it's wonderful! I have a vague idea what I'm up to when I gather my gaudy bits for a pattern, but usually it gets a surprise left turn during fitting or 'husband review'. He always has some interesting suggestions....or sometimes just 'will it always do that thing at the neck?'

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  17. Very cool vest! I love the look :)

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  18. Your vest is fabulous and I love what you did with the selvedges, very creative! You have inspired me. I have several yards of grey wool gauze marinating and I have never quite known what to do with it. I think I know now! It would be perfect for my winter work sitch.

    When I am sewing creatively I often have a vision, then as I go along I try different things with samples and it often turns into something else and a bit better than the original.

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  19. the vest is lovely and suits your body shape and your style. BTW wouldn't it be embarrassing if SB saw you in a clever knock off?
    I am a visualizer. I have to have the vision first. My problem is that I visualize the fabric as well and then have to go hunting for it.

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  20. Love, Love, LOVE your vest. So happy that you are feeling better and once again sewing beautiful garments that are so 'you'!

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  21. Wow... Awesome vest! I have this pattern and was doubting my purchase but after seeing yours I'm inspired to take another look.

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  22. This is just wonderful. Like Margy, it gives me inspiration on how to use some pieces of wool gauze languishing in my stash. The silk screen takes it to the creative level that is so you!

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  23. Fabulous Jilly!! It look so cool and artistic. It's wonderful that the designer noticed and complimented your work too!

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  24. So many times a pattern will look good on a tall model and yet not quite right on a normal height person but you have made this vest look so proportioned with the right size of motifs and width of bands and cute selvedge armhole trim...who knew it would be so chic? I love it when sewers think ahead and reinforce armholes and plan for soft fabric to drape and yet stabilize it. This vest might have been a wadder if anyone else tangled with it but you have tamed the beast and made it so so special!

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