Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Sequins & Spangles

This was one of those projects that was started in 2020.  I wanted something that would keep me busy . . . for a long time.

I have wanted to make a sequined circle skirt for YEARS, and this seemed like an excellent time to begin.  Of course, choosing a motif to sequin was too much work for my brain.  Instead, I decided to choose a print that I liked and embellish from there . . . so much easier!

My first thought was to outline each flower plus an added smattering of sequins at the center.  Then I added on a stem and a few beads for good measure.  But the stem didn't look right with the large silver sequins, so I had to find something slightly smaller.

And as for placement of those sequins, they were originally meant to sit along the hemline, perhaps skipping every other floral motif.  I interfaced that portion of the hem with some organdy that I had on hand to support the sequins and beads by hand basting it into place.  This also made the hemline stand out, which was fine.

And look, it's my little "helper."  Larry was visiting and decided to be a cuddle bug, which doesn't happen all that often, so I worked around him.  Unlike Valentino, he is not put off by me reaching or moving slightly.  If he has decided he wants a lap, there is little to dissuade him from remaining right where he is.

The placement of sequins also morphed into a full out explosion since I was having so much fun playing with sequins and beads.

Each cup sequin was applied with a bead to hold it in place and knotted off at the back.  This will keep most of the embellished bits in place should one get snagged or pulled.  I would love to learn more about tambour bead and give it a try, but the thought of being able to release an entire line of beads with a single pull is not very exciting.

From there, I just kept going . . .

When I wasn't having fun hand sewing sequins, I let the skirt live on my dress form so that the hem could drop.  I also figured out that the flowers that I had chosen to embellish were getting lost in the folds of the circle skirt.  Whoops . . . I guess I should have put the skirt on the form before getting started with the sequins. 

 So the only logical thing to do was to put sequins on ALL of the flowers!  And honestly, that was just fine.  This process was rather addicting.  I decided that the fabric was sturdy enough not to require any interfacing for the upper portions of the skirt, and I think that was the right decision.  In the end, I cut around the motifs that had organdy underneath so that the drape of the skirt was not effected.  Once all of the sequins and beads were in place, I thought that the organdy made the hemline area a little too stiff.

While searching online for smaller sequins for the stems, I found pink ones in the same size, so the little pink flowers were also adorned with sequins.

I thought about adding yellow beads, but didn't end up liking the way they looked.

And while the bulk of the time spent on this project was sewing each sequin on, one at a time, there were a couple of other things to take care of on the construction of the skirt itself.

I usually like to have my zipper openings at center back, but for this skirt, I decided that it would be easier to work with two panels instead of three.  I also found a single button amongst a collection found at an estate sale that was a perfect match to the print, so instead of my standard hook & bar closure, I went with a button.

And there was some seam binding involved, obviously!

And while I can't find any photos of the process, I also added a few bones to the waistband to keep it from collapsing.

I have to say, I loved working on this project!

I have mentioned before that I find hand work to be therapeutic, and this project definitely fit the bill.

As a finishing touch, I used a larger sized sequin along the hemline.

I think it does a nice job of finishing the look.

And the skirt obviously needed a couple of hanging loops.  I didn't think that a ribbon would be enough to support the weight of the skirt, so instead, I used two bias tubes of fabric.  Since the zipper opening is on the side seam, I put the hangers at center front and back.

And that, I think, is about all there is for this skirt.  It was a labor of love, and I have to say, it is quite fun to wear!

Thursday, April 14, 2022

A Cozy Quilt

This quilt really was a labor of love.  I cannot remember exactly when I started piecing (probably around 2013), but I am very proud to say that this is the first quilt that I have managed to finish! Well, except for that square that I noticed the other day that I somehow missed - whoops, will have to go back and fix that when I get a minute.

And each and every stitch was done by hand, which is exactly the way I wanted it.

I actually say down at the machine after cutting my binding to stitch the lengths together, only to laugh at myself when I realized what I was about to do.  After hundreds of hours, I almost machine stitched a few inches of bias binding!  Normally when I create bias binding, it's for a garment project that is being machine stitched.  Well, I caught myself before machine stitching this final bit of my quilt.

After all of the hand quilting, it was a bit terrifying trimming everything down, but it went as smoothly as could be expected.

And while I am still thousands of hours away from being a hand quilting expert, I certainly know how to hand stitch layers of fabric together. 

Not only that, it is probably my favorite thing to do!

According to the experts, a double layer of bias binding works nicely for binding a quilt, so that is what I did.

This step was actually a bit of a relief after having some moments of frustration with the hand quilting.  But this is only my first quilting experience, and I hope to improve the size and consistency of my stitches on my next quilt!

The final step of the project was the quilt label.  I have seen all sorts of options, but since this entire quilt was hand stitched, it seemed like the proper thing to do was to hand stitch the label.

After deciding what information I wanted to include, I typed up different versions in a few different fonts.

The information was transferred to my fabric with a heat erasable pen by holding it against a window in the daylight.  It's an antiquated way to transfer markings, but it works!

I pulled out my stash of embroidery floss and decided on a color that I liked, and got back to my sewing roots with a bit of hand embroidery.

The finished label was ironed (which makes the ink markings disappear), and it was stitched to a corner of the quilt.

And that means that my very first hand quilting saga has come to an end.  The quilt is completely finished!

This has been a rather humbling experience, but I do have to say that I am hooked.

I am a bit obsessed with quilts these days, and I can't wait to start piecing another.

My hexi quilt has been getting a bit of attention lately.  It may only be for a short amount of time each day, but it feels good to be making progress across the expanse of the quilt.  And for the time being, I have this lovely patchwork quilt to snuggle beneath.  I am going to give myself a flexible deadline to finish the hexi quilt by the end of the year, but we will see how that goes!