New! The Cacicedo Coat Pattern

Thu, Oct 29 2015 07:50
Rae's closure with her handmade copper button

Rae Dollards Jacket
I am excited to release a new pattern this week: The Cacicedo Coat! I have enjoyed working with Designer & Artist, Jean Cacicedo to bring her design to you as a pattern. One of the exciting features of Jean's design is her concept of the garment as a canvas. The basic garment shape opens flat on the table (like a canvas)- for your favorite surface design and collage techniques. You might enjoy making fabric and laying it on top of the main pattern piece as a start. The pattern includes 3 sets of Jean's applique' shapes to enhance your coat, vest or jacket. The pattern has lots of variations and design ideas and is easy to construct. It has a distinctive square armhole, several pocket variations and a shawl collar. It has a facing option, and is a great choice for double-sided fabrics. The edges can be finished with bindings or raw edges.
Gallery of Garments-

Rae Dollard from Texas made a beautiful variation accented with a copper button she made. The strings and raw edges are a  successful finish for these materials.

"I chose to make the vest version of the Coat pattern.  I used an old Kantha Quilt, made from old saris, so I didn't need to face the collar as I used the back of the quilt.  I hand stitched the bias binding on the edge with Pearl Cotton.  It's very comfortable and I'll be able to wear it in Texas winters.  It's a great pattern!" Rae

square armhole in linen
Here is a light-weight jacket linen version in green and black with the optional collar front edge facing included in the pattern. It is the perfect design for shaped accent seaming. The pattern includes a collection of seaming ideas and finishings.
Diana Beebe's Wool Vest

Below is a Wool Vest Version by Diana Beebe of Delaware. Hand stenciled fabric trim accents are beautiful on Diana's vest. Her buttons have more interest when layered ontop of the fabric rectangles. 
 Shaped panels & contrasting edge binding gives her piece a beautiful finish. 
I have been making several variations of the Cacicedo Coat Pattern and love wearing them. Here is a hand-painted vest combining linen and canvas. I topstitched the scraps on top with black thread for added texture.

Hand painted Linen Canvas Vest Version-

I'm looking forward to  making a collection of wool versions for my winter wardrobe.  Diane
The Cacicedo Coat Pattern

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Sun, Sep 13 2015 09:26

There are beautiful pieces that show up -usually as we least expect them...and this is one of them. Karen Miller is a Katazome artist and designer. This is her beautiful version of the Ventana Jacket-
Perfect for fall, highlighting her own fabric designs, with a bit of commercial fabric here and there.
Such an attractive combination and so successfully sensitive to her subtle personal coloring, I know she looks lovely in it! Lets just take it in.
Starting with her drawing of feathers (she had printed at, Karen created a companion piece on linen. Writing one of her poems (you can see the bird theme continuing) in Tee Juice pens and added some painted brushwork. 

The pleats in the pattern design are elongated and accented with multi-
colored handstitching.
Thanks for sharing your jacket with us Karen. I am looking at my stash with new eyes and inspired to find the combination for my next jacket! Diane

...and thanks to Tanya for continuing the theme and sharing the perfect read.
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Creating Fall Design-

Tue, Sep 1 2015 06:49
Moving into fall sewing is my focus this week. Our first crisp, cool morning is inspiring my time in the studio!
Design Play:
Make a new piece of fabric from a collection of fall colors. Here is a piece using a combo of print and solid linens, hand printed pieces and a single knit (in the ochre color) stitched as trim on top. Check your stash for those cool bits you are saving...this is the perfect project for them!!
You might play with making various sizes, this one is about 12"x 24".
Drawing & Printing your Fabric-
The best way to develop drawing skills is to do it...alot of it. I use a variety of the permanent fabric pens in my fabric work. Here are 2 of my current projects.

1. On a mixed linen blend- this piece started with a medium thickness fabric pen and doing a contour line drawing of the leave shapes. The lines in the back, created with a thin fabric pen. A vintage wood woodcut was used to print the other background shapes. The final step was to lightly apply paints with a dry sponge-( like applying blush to the cheek), to highlight the leave shapes.
2. Detailing a commercial dress-Stenciling is a good way to accent and add detail to a garment that 'needs' something. File folders, cut with simple edge shapes, were used as stencils to enhance the knit top of this dress. I block the edges the shapes with masking tape.

Pewter and Silver Jacquard paints were used to print with. To finish, I folded and stitched some asymmetrical tucks to bring in the neck hole. Find more tips and techniques on Youtube on my Stenciling on Fabric video, or purchase from this link: Stenciling on Fabric video 
I hope you are enjoying the start of your fall sewing, Diane
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The Art of the Mark-

Mon, Aug 3 2015 07:54
The tip of the Raven beak (on the Raven Stencil) was used as an element & combined with lines drawn with fabric pens-
                                                                             •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •

ReMake is at the top of the playlist for many of us. Christine Jacobsen whipped up this sweet linen combo, highlighted with some stenciled images from my collection. I love seeing what you all do with them so keep the photos coming!      

More Borders Stencil

Looks like Christine used The Raven and The More Borders stencils to kick this piece up a notch.
Raven Stencil
Building your Design Skills with Stencils-Any stencil has alot of look at them with an eye for separate parts, size of shapes  and whether they are geometric or organic in nature. Once you learn how to design WITH a will not be so focused on printing the one image on the stencil.

Here is a favorite nubby, silk fabric printed with the Raven Stencil.

My design eye is turning towards fall and all the projects I am imagining to create as the weather cools and the colors turn here in Southern Oregon. What is inspiring you?  Diane

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Making Summer Fabric-

Sat, Jul 11 2015 06:54

Piecing summer linens, making fabric-
I am still on a shrug kick....and can't help piecing some of my smaller, summer fabric bits into a piece big enough to make another one. It may be a good way to explore intricate piecing or some of the stitches on your machine not normally used. This one will finish using my princess seam pattern, SkyeLines.
Scroll down to May 21st Blog to see one of my other shrugs made form this pattern.

My other Shrug direction is to remake garments into new garments. 

This white, sheer shrug started life as an oversized shirt. Suggestion: Working with larger sized garments gives more design options. In this case, the tucking at the shoulders, brings the sleeves up and gives the garment more shape. Tucks can be made on the inside of the garment or outside, stitched down as darts.....or left loose.

These are some of the choices that will change
the look of the new garment.
 The asymmetrical hem was decided next and stitched at different angles.The front was overlapped to move the buttons off center. Once the front is buttoned, the back was lapped ( creating more angles along the hem) with buttons added for design. All of the tucks and seams were hand-sewn with embroidery floss.

Easy, simple sewing projects are just right for summer evenings and I love the handwork! I hope you are enjoying your summer sewing.  Diane
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Summer Sewing-

Thu, Jun 11 2015 05:33
Here is the back view of my new shrug in my wardrobe!

This summer shrug began with the
FaultLines Pattern and a collection of favorite black and whites. Here are some design details you may want to experiment with as you bring your collection together. To see the beginning of this garment, scroll down to the blog before this one .

For openers, here are the Design Criteria for this piece-
1. light-weight (no lining)
2. Accentuate the edges
3. Leave some holes in the piecing
4. Have some wearing options with the front edge.

Construction- There are many ways the proportions and amounts of fabrics in a collection can be combined to create fabric or a collaged garment. Seams can create strong lines...darks or lights can be more of a focus too. Celebrate your design eye as you explore your sense of balance and proportion in the fabric combinations you bring together. Knowing this would be a small garment (and not a giant coat!), I felt compelled to create a bolder combination of lights, darks and patterns.
The smaller scale printed type fabric for  the front facings in contrast to the scale of pattern on the other fabrics: reads like a texture-

Piecing- Each pattern piece started with a collection of the fabrics. I start by sewing some pieces together. In this case, playing with the idea of a strip of the printed text fabric down the center of the sleeve and a shaped piece at the wrist end. In placing these first pieces, note the grainline on the pattern piece. The triangular shaped holes are part of the finished design. Working back and forth with piecing and checking in with the pattern piece is my process. Next, press them and place the pattern piece on to finish cutting it out before garment. --------------------------------------------------------------

A finished sleeve 

To finish the edges, a facing can be added to each edge- or for a more shaped edge, each piece can be finished as you sew.

Wearing options: Just like scarves, we can all experiment with different ways to wear and accessorize our look. Once this shrug is on...I enjoyed folding the front edge in different ways...and love the way it looks folded back on the left,  in a more sculptural way. There are lots of sold and stripped summer dresses and tops to wear this over in my closet!

                        •  •  •

   Closures will be my favorite pin collection-this gives a lot of options when putting together outfits.

 Can the fulfillment of the day be as simple as a needle passing through fabric? Diane

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In the Studio this Week: Shrugs

Thu, May 21 2015 07:40

On the way to summer, anticipating the light, airy tops and dresses in my wardrobe: I am thinking light layers and sleeves. It is time to make some shrugs!
Topstitching and collage with sheer organza-
Remaking lightweight shirts: sheers and cottons, plus some of my favorite patterns in short versions.
Opening up the original seams gave me design lines-
General Design Suggestions: 1. Cut the hems in different shapes and at different angles.
2. Open Side seams up 3-4" and finish for slits.
3. Change the buttons 4. Shorten sleeves to a 3/4 length with a slit to allow for foldback.

What are your favorite patterns for a light summer jacket? 
Patterns for Shrugs:
I used The Torri  for this green linen remake. The Torri pattern has a short, flared silhouette, with a a stand collar or collarless. This garment is a combination of raw edges, creme color handstitching and silk organza windows in the piecing.
 Design Suggestion: If you are re-fashioning a piece, instead of carefully cutting out the garment.... the pattern can be used as a reference and as a silhouette guide for truing up pieces as you combine fabrics and ideas.
SkyeLines as a Shrug- 

SkyeLines is a design shaped and fitted with princess seams. This creates lots of options for tucking in and flaring the garment silhouette. My variation was shortened and color blocked with linens and discharged, jacquard woven cotton piece for the sleeves. (Handstitching too).

Design Change: Multi-layer raw-edge collarA bias collar was added in several layers including a bias cut hair canvas (interfacing) used as one of the fabrics. Some of the piecing mimics the shape of the collage pin: made with a collection of found metal & silk tapestry fabric.

The FaultLines, has the perfect lines for a collage jacket combining the text pieces & linen above. A black & white printed towel caught my eye and will be the start of the garment.

Where will your piece start? ......Ask: What will give you the most creative experience?

This has been a busy week, my sister, Kris, came for a visit! We did some printing in the studio and she brought 3 of her handmade arty, birdhouses, available for sale in my studio. She is an inspiration!
                                                                           It is going to be a great summer in the studio! Diane

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Spring Sewing just for fun!

Fri, Apr 17 2015 08:07
As I unpack my favorite stash of warm weather fabrics and clothes, I am lusting over the linen pieces. Well, yes... linens and interesting basic wovens in natural fibers are at the top of my 'favorite' list for easy summer dresses, tops and soft pants to wear in the garden, or in town to the studio.

  NewVentana Garments- 
Judy's Linen Ventana
Judy Butler  just finished this shirt-like, lightweight version of the Ventana Jacket pattern.

Tucks add dimension to linen-
Don't you love what she did!! Casual in a cross-dyed linen with raw edge binding and just a touch of stenciling to bring in some soft color. A very nice use of some decorative machine stitching too...just right in a matching thread color. Judy used the ties in the pattern for closures.

Bias edge trim with decorative stitching-

Joan McBain made a dreamy soft blue, silk version that really shows the tucks in the design...and the inside pocket in the asymmetrical front. Time to make a lightweight Ventana to wear as a shirt layer in my summer wardrobe.
Joan's silk Ventana
Ties in contrasting batik
The weather has turned and it's time to get out the light fabrics A rayon batik was used for this version of the SkyeLines top and Capitola Pant. Skyelines is the perfect transition garment. It can be a jacket or top over a cami. Accenting the seams and adding a facing to the sleeve with the batik is perfect on Claudia Little, who added some ties to the lapels!

Printing Linen for a summer garment-
I am printing some white linen this week. This piece was printed by layering the Crickets n' Leaves Stencil on top of a pale printing of the Picket Fence Stencil design.

Spring is bursting out here in Southern Oregon, I hope it is just outside your window too. Whats on your design table?

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Wed, Mar 11 2015 05:26

Anna Hinkles Vest in wool with bias trim to finish the edges.

This is the season for transition garments....a colorful layer that keeps us warm, it can be the first dip into spring fabrics. The Ashland Vest is my design, originally in the Vest Collection Pattern. I have updated the silhouette, created a small bag option with  the pocket and scaled the pattern from XXS to 3X.  Thanks to Judy, Anna and Marta for Pattern Testing with me! Here are some of our designs to get you thinking about your new Ashland Vest combination!
Marta dragging some pewter Jacquard fabric paint on her fabrics-

Marta's lined vest pieces, sewn at the shoulders -

Marta (size xxs), used a combo of vintage linens in white & pink, to hand sew her version. A session (shown above) dragging the fabric with silver paint added a lovely patina to her pieces. The color blocking is so appealing.
Judy's Vest with felted lapels & Handstitching-

FABRIC COMBOS- This is the perfect garment for dramatic color combinations. Miles Frodes painted canvas was combined with a stretch denim for the solid panels in this vest. The orange zipper  and diagonal hand stitching is the perfect compliment to the painted texture.

Denim & Painted Canvas are accented with Bold Zipper-
Once the fabric combination is decided, look at handstitching thread options-
CONSTRUCTION-The pattern has construction options. I am partial to lining my pieces  unless it is going to be a raw edge version. The edges can also be finished with bias binding. Textured, felted and pleated fabrics can add an interesting design balance in your garment. Judy's front bands add an appealing contrast to her fabric choice. Once the individual pieces are lined, sew the shoulders together first. For the zipper closure: Insert the tops of the zipper tape into the shoulder seams. Once the vest is finished, the rest of the zipper can be machine or hand stitched in place.
Lapped side seam with handstitching-
judys side seam-

Lapping the seams- Once the pieces are sewn at the shoulders, put it on and lap the back and and fronts at the sides. The front or back can lapped in either direction, which creates a different balance to the garment. Judy went out to a larger size down the side seam. This gives her more options and she is getting a better fit by pinning the sides after the shoulders are sewn.
Morning Pages Fabric with zipper trim-
Trim in the seams- Zipper by the yard was used in the seams of this Ashland Vest version on the left.
Texturing Fabric-
Combining similar fabrics can be accented by pressing one fabric with pleats then fusing it to an iron-on interfacing. The grey pin-strip fabric was used for piping and ties on the vest back.
The pleated vest back is fused to iron on-
Handstitching- Can be used to sew the sides, and add some design lines into the solid fabric. Zippers, snaps or buttons can be used for the closures.

Bag with printed, collaged fabric-

POCKET or BAG? The pocket is a detail that repeats the shape on the vest back. It can be made as a pocket or a bag. Directions are included. Consider adding several seam allowances to the original pattern pieces to create more sizes of bag patterns.

Thinking about the Vest Front-
My next Ashland Vest is just starting on the dressform: It is the perfect pattern for a strong design element. The linen print is my Wing n' A Prayer Bird Panel combined with a dark linen. Using the dressform is a great way to start, it gives a good feel for what the garment front and back will look like.
Designing the vest back-

I hope you are enjoying the beginnings of Spring
where you are.     Diane

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DESIGN FOCUS: the Small Bag

Thu, Jan 29 2015 11:11
Start a Bag Collection with Bundles-
When opening email the other day, I clicked right on the link to Leslie Gelber's Blog: ....I knew it would be juicey!

 A close-up of Leslie's Fabric-
 Scroll down to Jan 22nd to read her bag blog and get the whole story about her designs and the fabric she created.
Leslie's Pacific Purse Bags-

As an artist, Leslie's design eye combined with her stitching and collaging is dynamic. It creates a signature look in her work. She created that rich, discharged canvas using my Raven Stencil and Cicada Stencil designs.
She has a way about her that girl...just listening to her voice and working those threads!

Starting with great fabrics, her collection of bags was created, using my Pacific Purse Pattern. The inspiration has me digging for the special bits and pieces saved for small treasure projects. So lets make some bags!
My collection of Pacific Purse Bags-

A way to begin: Create bundles of textured fabric combinations with trims and other bits: each bundle can be a bag. The bundles do look inviting all standing in a basket too.
Here are some of my Pacific Purse bags: kimono fabric, stenciled, stitched and collaged.
Another way to start: Piece fabrics until there is enough to cut out the bag pattern pieces: that leaves an element of surprise in the process.
A Spring Bag?

Consider working on a collection of bags at one time: These 4 pieces became bags after stenciling, stitching and combining with trims and various handles. It is a good way to spread out the ideas ...since we often have more ideas than we need for a single project at one time.
Asian theme with scrunched 'bamboo' handle
Black & White theme: Artist?
Start with a favorite theme: The fabric for this linen bag was printed with the Brush Alphabet Stencil as a background...then the Bamboo Forest Stencil in black on top. The coins, a red accent  and the covered cording, scrunched to look like bamboo, finish the Japanese theme.

Thanks for the Inspiration Leslie! We are looking forward to seeing your inspirations too. Relishing studio time, Diane
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Heart Felt Coats to brighten Winter-

Fri, Jan 2 2015 06:54

A Heart-Felt Coat Gallery-
I am inspired and want to share some of the Heart-Felt Coats I have seen in the past month.
Each designer has taken their interpretation of my Heart-Felt Coat Pattern in very different directions, which gives us all some fun directions, materials and combinations to explore in our own sewing.
Bleached canvas! Judy Butler is constantly exploring a variety of fabric techniques.
She started with denim, then distressed it with bleach. The raw edges are accentuated by washing after the garment was sewn. Don't be afraid of the raw edges...they can be trimmed and brushed to keep looking good. This garment is a great lighter weight layer and will carry her into the warmer weather too.

slashed sleeve detail
Sewing a coat with this double-layered Polar Fleece offered Judy alot of design options. The orange popping through, lots of topstitching and slashing then folding fabric out. The fabric inside out gives this coat an amazing texture...not to mention warm!

nice pocket stitching
Sylvie Baroux worked with a double-sided wool and created some beautiful details. Using her fabric on the bias, created a more fitted coat.
Her combination of stenciled images in silver fabric paint, elastic loops and some vintage buttons makes this a memorable coat to wear for years to come.
Using the fabric on the bias created a slim fitting coat-
Love this cuff Sylvie!
Sylvie made a separate lined cuff piece. She added the cuff inside the sleeve end and tied it in with trim, printing, a contrasting lining fabric and vintage button.
Nice woven details on the diagonal give this vest flattering strong lines-

Tanya Bemis worked wool and leather into a very appealing vest version. The zipper is a perfect closure touch...and ties into the button collection and stitching. Smaller collar and pockets work with the scale of the vest. Great combo!

Judy Butler made this wool collage coat from a combination of washed pieces.

Judy created a sweet accent frog from a knitted tube- 
 Nice color blocking, accented with some hand stitching and a knitted frog closure.

Thank you for sharing your very creative Heart-Felt Coats with all of us!
Enjoy your winter sewing, Diane


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Thu, Jan 1 2015 03:23

I N S P I R A T I O N....Inspire = to breath in. This is the perfect day to take it in the new! This is a day to set the tone for the coming weeks. Here are 3 inspirations that caught my eye today. Creating display is a starting point of creative play. The process of arranging offers various ways to view objects and take in the details for my drawing session. I want to encourage YOU to draw this year.
• INSPIRATION #1:  This playful cup never made it to the kitchen...but is a fit in the studio.
Once invited onto the drawing took on a dance of its own and is now suggesting a fabric interpretation. Looking at a drawing is sometimes an opportunity to 'see' thinking unfold.
• INSPIRATION #2: Related objects feel like a story. These are very appealing to my eye.....and may become parts of a garment. No need to rush, they are becoming just hanging out together!

• INSPIRATION #3: There always seems to be a pile forming on the table (...even when I am not there!). Like food, this one has some nice, complimentary 'flavors' to explore.

Drawing IS a deeper look, a chance to form what one sees. Just start. Paper and pencil is all it takes. You might like a soft pencil that will draw dark when you push and smudge nicely too. I like the variety of ink pens, colored pencils and chalk together. I use my stencils when I draw, rubbing through them with the graphite on my fingers. Pulling my paper out of the spiral tablet  became a stencil in this drawing. The computer becomes a creative tool: The view widens as various images get cropped.

I'm heading towards fabric now, and looking forward to what unfolds!
I hope you are enjoying your unfolding today, Diane

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Holiday Traditions

Thu, Dec 25 2014 08:07
In our family, most holiday traditions involve Swedish food. So this morning, true to our heritage, my daughter, Piper, and I brought out Mormor's (grandmother) tattered cookbook, and whipped up a batch of Wienerbröd! The smell of the yeasted dough and freshly ground cardamon brings back such great memories...mostly of eating these tasty pastries as a child. At 20 or so, determined to reproduce these knotted, golden yeasted delights...I stood for an afternoon next to my Mormor and documented the process. Last night, Piper and I made the dough...rolled it out, spread 2 cubes of butter over it then folded it up anticipating our morning baking session.
Piper perfecting the knotting technique-

Hot out of the oven!
This morning there was coffee, music, stories and laughing. Before we knew it, the first pans of Wienerbröd were in the oven! What a treat, once a year is about right for me. Piper votes for the custard ones with apricot in the center. It was the perfect holiday. We made some deliveries and shared them around the neighborhood .....remembering what the holidays are really about. Wish you were here to share one!

I hope you are enjoying cherished family traditions and creating new ones this holiday season.
I wish you a New Year filled with creativity and inspiration! Diane
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Celebrating with Metallics: Holiday Sparkle

Wed, Nov 26 2014 07:47
I am exploring more variations with the new VENTANA Pattern. It warrants a follow-up blog to share some of the ideas you might enjoy folding into your own design work.

Fabric Choices- Here are these 3 new Ventanas in different construction directions inspired by the fabrics.

VEST #1: Double-sided knit in a stripe & solid- This vest version was lengthened  by 3" at the hem. Changing the Tucks on the Back-See   template below for another way to shape the garment back with these symmetric darts. 
Using both sides of the fabric as accents

 For some fabrics, shaping with 3, spear-shaped darts is a great option. 

As for placement: For shaping in the back, the widest part of the dart should nip in just above my waist.  Here are directions for creating the template
with 3 darts: the side ones are 14” long and the center dart (on the fold) is 16” long.
Fold a sheet of paper in half lengthwise then use diagram below to create your template. 

Shoulder sewn first, then neck topstitched
Back Darts cut open
Here, the darts spaced closer together at the bottom and fanned out at the top. You can nip in more (taking more in the darts at the center)…or you can make them narrower too. If you like the fit of the back with the tucks in the original template, you can use the total amount taken up by the tucks in the original template and divide into the 3 dart design. For this knit Ventana version, I used both sides of the fabric by folding the neck and armhole edges either in or out and topstitching with a zig-zag style machine stitch. The front edges are finished with a small roll and the same stitching. New construction at the neck and shoulder edge: After finishing the armhole edges, put the shoulders, right sides together- and ONLY sew the shoulders (notice the neck edge is open in the photo above).  To finish, topstitch the neck edge (1/2" from the fabric edge for more dimension).
3- Dart Template

Darts in the Back: I made this configuration of 3 darts on both vests.  On the Metallic edge vest, they were made on the inside...and on the knit, they are on the outside then cut open and pressed back. After pressing, The opened darts can be top-stitched or fused back to hold. This knit is just laying nicely without either of those.  The look of the dart lines on the back is very appealing!

VEST #2: Men's Suiting meets Metallic: How cool is this!!!!The wool, mens suiting is stenciled with the Pewter Jacquard Fabric PaintThe results are beautiful, so we are offering a set of my favorite metallic paints this month. The small size Wrought Iron Stencil  was used to print this  neck edge.
stenciling the lapel edges on both sides

The edge was printed with a heavier application on both sides of the fabric, so when the collar is folded back, the details continue.  For more detail: A piece of decorative tulle has been stitched to the edge (see photo below). With the addition of some bits of metallic trim then wrapping some of the ends of the trim around, the details repeat on m both sides of the edges. A vintage button is a focal point and a loop, for the button was placed inside under the edge of the lining. Construction Notes-  4" was added to the length at the bottom of this garment. A printed yoke piece on the top of the back was added to this version.
decorative fabric cut in strips and used as trim

sides can be overlapped in various ways.

hem edge on back

Where to Lengthen or Shorten? When you want to lengthen (or shorten), you have the option of doing that at the bottom as well as at the lengthen /shorten lines provided. You may want the pocket to be your guide in this decision. If you want more length and you only add it at the lengthen /shorten line, the pocket may end up lower than you want. As a tall person (5’10”), I like the look of the extra length at the bottom.

The suiting is fairly drapey and light. Adding a partial lining, in black silk, gave it  more weight and finished some of the edges. As you can see, the lining was stitched, right sides together to the back neck, shoulders, armholes, sides and hem edges. The whole front edge was left open. After turning, the lining was folded back and hand stitched along the collar foldline. After turning the lining, the 3 darts (in the template) were sewn (and left open at the bottom end) on the inside of this garment. Love, Love Love the weight of this.....just right, hangs well and supports the heavier design work along the printed front edge. The lined pieces are overlapped on the seamlines and  black embroidery thread was used to  whipstitch them together. More of this stitching work can be added to finish the front edges. The darts were sewn last, from the inside, through both layers.
The outside of the finished, lined back and the insides of the lined fronts-

The shoulder and neck edges handsewn with embroidery thread.
JACKET #3: What a beautiful piece of fabric!!! The brown side is wool and the blue side is a soft cotton blend. Construction Notes- This fabric was not a candidate for the raw edge look (to loosely woven).
tucks pressed in 2 directions
Not finding a compatible machine stitch the edges were hand-sewed all around. An extra bias piece in brown was added down the back of the sleeve. I used a button and a single tie, that wraps around the button to close. The tucks on the back are pressed back and forth. Remember, that cool buttonhole detail allows you to use the tie on the front or on the inside for a different lapel look.
The sleeve facing were added to the wrist end for a nice weight of the foldback. A  smaller button at the wrist ends to finish.

Sleeve wrist detail
The Indigo Lumiere was the perfect color for accenting my lapels with some stenciling. The stencil design  for this printed edge was The Art & Poetry-Letter Stencil by Miles Frode. The letter form in the stencils are versatile and the shapes work well for various styles of printed designing.

I hope these ideas are giving you ideas for future Ventana garments. We're looking forward to seeing your creations. Much joy to you all in the studio this season!  Diane

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New Pattern: THE VENTANA!

Mon, Nov 3 2014 11:52

This is an exciting week for us...The Ventana, my new jacket & vest pattern design is now available! In Spanish, ventana translates to 'window'.  What a perfect metaphor! This pattern IS the window....a beginning for ways to explore our love of sewing and fabrics. In celebration of our creative textile pursuits, we have created a new format for our pattern line, one we think you will enjoy.

Our new look
OUR NEW PATTERN DESIGN FORMAT- A new cover design to catch your eye- Diane's illustration style combined with Laura's awsome tech support is a winning combination! A larger, sturdier envelope with more color, more pattern info. on the back, and larger silhouette drawings. We're using sturdier pattern paper too (18 lb.transparent bond) and your directions are now in a spiral bound booklet for easy reference and use on your sewing table!
We hope you are as excited as we are!!

GARMENT as CANVAS: Here are some ideas and details to get you going on your Ventana Garment-
Think about the garment as a canvas first: so as you look at the silhouette- a place to combine favorite fabrics and some of your favorite details.

ASYMMETRIC FRONTS: The left and right fronts are unique to each other, with a pocket hidden in the Left Front. I admit to being a 'lefty' that is where I want the may want to swap the fronts to the opposite sides. The design will work well either way.  Enjoy the pocket construction and the finished look.
Tucks extend to the armhole
Collar size options

COLLAR OPTIONS: Want a little collar but not to much? The pattern includes directions for adjusting the collar height for the finished look you want.

SHAPING with TUCKS: The silhouette of The Ventana is shaped by a series of curved tucks. You may want to add more...once you see how easy they are to make. They can also be extended out to the edges of the garment. On this lined linen version, they are extended out to the edges of the armholes. The pattern includes a template for the tucks (brilliant Laura!), so no matter what size garment you are making,  the template can be moved up and down to be the most flattering with your curves.  Here are some of the versions I am excited about right now.

Lined Lapped seams are pressed out to show the lining too. 

LAPPED SEAM CONSTRUCTION: This gives some depth to the edges...and more options for the directions you want to press and fold the seam allowances. On the neck edge above, the seam allowance is folded to show the lining as an accent.

SLEEVES: The sleeves repeat the tuck shapes in the bodice with a tuck down the back of the arm. An optional dart is included for underarm shaping. A shaped cuff end for an asymmetric fold back. Your lining would also show here.
tabs on side seams

EDGE FINISHES:  TO LINE...OR NOT TO LINE? TO BIND...OR NOT TO BIND? The Ventana is perfect for those fabrics you are saving with great selvedges and raw edges! My plum color wool version had great edges to start with. It is a heavy knit wool, and the cut edges are stable and perfect for this pattern. The design lends itself to a favorite binding accent too. You may want to print your own bias pieces to use for the edges on a Ventana.

collar with raw edge

Washed Linen Version

The LINED VENTANA:  This washed, linen vest version was a perfect combination with the silk tafetta stripe inside and peaking out along the edges. It changed for the better when the finished garment was dampened and twisted vertically then let dry. The unique texture adds some nice shaping too. 

Side tabs are folded out for accent
lining makes great accent

CLOSURE DESIGN: The ties on The Ventana with a smart buttonhole detail (so the same tie can be on the front or on the inside). In the pattern you will get some ideas for using a favorite frog or a prized, vintage button as a focal point in the lapel folds on the front. Think about how a button and a tie might may not need a buttonhole after all.

Here is a sneak peak of some printed black wool binding! This fabric is printed with my Wrought Iron Fence Stencil and Pewter Lumiere Fabric Paint. A great holiday look! For more direction for printing on working with Metallic paints and printing on wool: check out my December Blog.

It's time to stop blogging and get sewing on the next Ventana!
We're looking forward to seeing yours, so please share them with us! DIANE
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Fall Sewing: Start with a Studio Vest-

Sat, Oct 4 2014 06:32

As I pack away my summer favorites, I'm drawn to richer colors and warmer layers. One of my favorite studio vest patterns is the Walkabout #113. Here are 2 in my collection.

The version in cranberry red and black is wool jersey stitched to a black under layer of polar fleece. The wool jersey stretched, and I enhancing the surface design more by cutting holes in the jersey layer. I added some bias strips of a print down the front and cut the edge of the polar fleece in a zigzag. A tab, printed with the Jakarta Stencil, finishes the front and holds the tie in place.

The collage version above, in rust and cremes, is a Taos inspired piece. It's a combination of painted and rusted fabrics, photo transfers, raw edges, printed chiffon and lots of stitching on a linen base. I used the Russet and Pewter Lumiere paints.

Studio Accessories- How about some new pin cushions for your worktable? These 2, made from my Pin Cushion Icons Pattern, were a delightful afternoon of design play.  I printed the linen one with a rubber stamp first...and added some of my favorite sticks to the top. The pattern shows  how to create bent wire ornaments with your favorite beads....mimicking a collection of hatpins. The square pin cushion design is fun to make: I started by stenciling some silk dupioni and linen with the bamboo designs on my Jakarta Stencil. I combined the fabrics I  printed to several others  then stitched and flipped to an under layer for each of the 4 sides.
Both pin cushions are weighted with sand or gravel inside the bottom. A cardboard or plastic insert can be added for a flat bottom. I twisted 2 silk fabrics together then knotted them for the top accent.
More Metallic for Fall-

I loved the shape of these shoes...but wanted less rust and more silvery metallic. Here's how I do it:
Lightly ruff up the leather surface with some fine sandpaper. Cover any areas you do not want to paint with masking tape. I placed it around the edges to protect the sole from paint. This part takes some time..but worth it.  Using a wet sponge, I dab and rub a light application of
Lumiere's  Pewter color onto the shoe. Start with a side...not the toe so you get a sense of how to get what you want before you do the top! I worked quickly with a sponge and a rag. I like to let the shoes dry 1-2 days. After they are bone dry, I  finish them by applying and buffing with a light application of Carnuba car wax....Okay, you can use a clear shoe wax too. Suede shoes look beautiful painted or stenciled and can look embossed. I would use a shoe spray instead of a wax to finish the suede shoes.

My finished Taos Jacket-

I loved wearing this new version of my Snap Dragon Jacket to New Mexico for the the Design Outside the Lines Retreat in Taos!
Here is finished jacket. For more construction step-by-step on how the jacket was printed (with my
new gate stencil design) and how the lapel design evolved, see my previous blog below.

I hope you're enjoying Fall where you are,

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It's Fall! New Mexico Inspiration-

Thu, Sep 4 2014 07:42

I have been drawn to the same green gate, just outside of the
Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos, NM for several years.

Making the grid lapels- 

Playing with printing the
Santa Fe Gate Stencil on  darks and lights: this one in Silver Lumiere on charcoal. 

 I have just turned some of my favorite sketches of the gate into a new stencil design: The Santa Fe Gate, that I am printing with this month in preparation for a reunion with that special place for a DOL Retreat later this month. Snap Dragon Jackets-  The green gate image has inspired grid 'fence' lapels (above) to expand on the design. I wanted a scrappy look on the lapels of raw edges and some finished. They would be beautiful made from any finished trim for a more polished look.  I laid them out on the lapel pattern pieces (above) to get the shapes. Once the pieces were sewn, I painted them with the faded green color I so vividly remember. If you don't have an intuitive sense about color, mixing colors can be tricky.

I find a color wheel is a good teaching tool  and can help take some of the guessing out of the process and help you get the color you want. This new jacket, started with a dropcloth piece of canvas by my son,  Miles Frode, to which I have added this new gate stencil design.  As you can see in the lapel photo, I made extra small pieces to in some of the seams of the design. I will share the finished piece soon. The pattern has ideas for creating your own unique lapels that all snap off, with snaptape, to become an accessory.

The printing is meant to fade in and out on the fabric surface.

small lapel scraps for other seams-

Printing to add interest along the side slits and wrist of the sleeve is easier to do before the garment construction. 

Here is a more finished version of the
Snap Dragon Pattern in a double -sided linen. The accent trim on the lapel pieces is vintage drapery...very subtle and lovely. As you can see...the lapel ends can be wrapped around and snapped together to create this beautiful scarf look too. I can tell I need a new one of these in wool next!

Laura Kinsman's stenciled shirt-sweet!

Laura Kinsman, my favorite sewist geek friend, has combined the Santa Fe Gate Stencil with her button jar for a very cool updated shirt! Love the results! It has got me thinking about what else I could combine it with too.

Wrought Iron Fence Stencil- Another new stencil design ready for fall printing. Can there ever be to many fences & gate stencils? I think not.... Look at how cool it is on this linen shirt!
I have used the Pewter Lumiere Fabric Paint to print this shirt. The design is set up to easily repeat if you want to make a continuous fence. I am loving how it looks printed back to back (on the shirt back) and as an asymmetrical  feature  on the front. Remember when you print to think about how you will wear the garment. Folding up the cuffs and popping the collar always influences how and where I print designs on a shirt.

A new set of buttons and I am on my way out the door in this one!!!
I hope you are enjoying what is on your design table this week,

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Summer Dragonflys-

Sat, Aug 9 2014 01:09

Bugs in Flight Stencil

August is a time for sewing that will transition into fall.......
My Dragonfly Pattern can be an airy

Linens & drapey rayons are a pleasing combine for this design. 

summer top, a 3/4 sleeve wrap or a vest layer. Here are some favorite Dragonfly garment designs. The pattern comes in 2 lengths and 2 widths. It has 3 sizes of insets included for the front there are lots of options for combinations and placement. I used rubber stamps and stencils on the purple and striped one to the left with some great vintage buttons to accent the inset tabs.

This coffee theme vest
, stenciled with Te y' Cafe Stencil, is decorated with coffee theme buttons and rubber stamped tabs on the front. You might enjoy creating your own theme vest.

A friend in Hawaii made this one in a beautiful combination of kimono fabrics, special buttons with some hand stitched family crest designs.

Making center panels first-

Sometimes I like to begin a Dragonfly design by creating the front & back center panels first. With this linen version, I played with a different closure idea for the front. Now I am ready to decide on the side panels to relate to the starting pieces.

Birds are such a part of summer....My color combinations have been influenced by artist Leslie Stiles, who I met at the Puyallup Expo. He creates these small, beautifully detailed bird works of art.

His bird images inspired me to print single bird images-this one on canvas stitched on a summer bag, is part of my
Deco Bird Stencil.                ...You can never have to many birds can you?

An artist friend,
Suzy Manley, made this beautiful vest version of the Dragonfly Pattern below. She combined my linen Wing n' A Prayer fabric panels with a dark striped drapey suiting and a grey knit to create her own composition. Her placement of the bird on the back pin stripe for the side panels is so flattering. I love the square buttons as decorative ends on the ties don't you?
She created a collar with a pleated piece of folded fabric, that was tacked to the inside edge.

Buttons as end detail on ties-

Off to sew! 
 The Dragonfly is a flattering shape for your favorite techniques and materials. It is a light evening wrap this summer....and perfect to pair with your favorite jeans. I'm going to make it as a winter wrap in wool jersey when the cool weather moves in. Please share the ones you make with us for our Facebook albums.


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Starting with a Pattern-

Sun, Jul 6 2014 11:51

Under Construction: Creating a New StudioWelcome! Congratulations to those of you who managed to find me online AND in person. I have been working this past month moving into my new studio and helping get a new website launched. (thank you Paul! link?)  As you can see, I've been building tables, installing shelves and moving into my studio at 238 N. Main Street in Ashland, Oregon. My new digs will be a working studio, intimate classroom space and textile library. I'm look forward to some of you visiting and sharing some studio time!

CREATING SPACE- Space is always a great metaphor for me. Moving into any place in an opportunity to re-visit the choices we make and clear the way for new priorities.
It is the beginning of the adventure is imagining what it can be.
After the carpet was dry and the walls freshly painted, my beginning strategy was to get to know my new space.

I gravitate towards the 2 tall windows at one end which get sunlight all afternoon....I sat there, at different times during the day, imagining how I might work there. I‘ve been taking my time: GOING SLOW..... just moving basic furniture around until it feels right before I bring in more tools and materials to fill the shelves. Everything that comes in has to be functional and/or something I REALLY want to look at. That’s it! No exceptions. It needs to ‘feel’ matter what.

For maximum flexibility, I make moveable, large tabletops and canvas covered bulletin boards to mount on the walls. I have some small tables with wheels, shelving and good lights.

Today my shingle is up...and I am working in the studio!
The winter, afternoon sun was streaming in as I welcomed the first class in last week. For my class schedule, check my Teaching page calendar. It was a very fun afternoon...full of ideas, projects and laughing. A perfect beginning.

Sewing Design Play-Theres' always time to make a cozy winter jacket.
Here are 2 
SnapDragons (my pattern #117) in wool.
One of my favorite features is the detachable  lapel/collar pieces.

Black Cashmere with Red & White-I combined red and white lapel pieces to this black, cashmere.

Hand stitching with white bamboo fiber and vintage black rayon seam tape accent the lapels. Snaptape gives lots of wearing options including wrapping around like a cowl, or removing the lapels all together. 

Gray Wool with Batik-

In this  gray wool version, I have 2 sets of collar/lapels. the lapels snap on and off for lots of wearing options an inter-changeable collar pieces. The butterscotch color batik is combined with the gray wool and used as a lining. Ribbons and other printed fabrics are layered over the black snaptape to give the checkerboard look to the snaptape edges.
The snaps allow for some creative, asymmetrical wearing options too.

Back to the Studio for some project time!
I look forward to sharing lots of design, inspiration
and creativity with you. Please sign my guestbook- (pattern share giveway?) or in  newsletter?
Come by next time you are in town.
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Java Jackets in 2014

Wed, Jun 25 2014 08:19
This is a great time to re-visit your favorite patterns. As we purge our stashes and pass on old patterns....there may be a few we can't let go of. The Java Jacket Pattern is one of my early designs I am still fond of.
One Pattern Many Voices-
 Currently, You can see this Design Challenge display, of Java Jacket designs at the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo coming to Raleigh, NC the month. Loretta Phipps did a great job creating the project, called One Pattern Many Voices and bringing it to fruition. She curated the exhibit with garments from her local ASG WNC Chapter.  Make sure to share your impressions of the display on our Facebook page.
My Java Jacket combining a historic woven cotton textile with linens and stenciled lining-

                   Lets look at some of the ways to update your favorite silhouettes.
Here are some highlights and garments from the Java Jacket Pattern and ideas for creating new ones.
Colored pencil sketches of vest & jacket versions
Design Play with Fabric & Color- One of the ways to explore  color and texture combinations for new garments is to use the garment silhouettes shown on the pattern envelope. Here is one of my color pencil sketches and another version collaged with fabric bits and a glue stick. I like to create Design Blanks and work with them for each garment style.
Fabric collaged drawing of Java Jackets
There is a 4-page Download available, with directions for creating a jumper using the Java Jacket pattern. It includes Design Blanks for a jacket, and jumper/coat length garment for you
 to color or collage with your ideas.

Scaling the Design: You can change the placement of horizontal line above the pockets
by using the grading lines there. If you are more petite, consider scaling down some of the garment details in the following ways:
1. Front bands pieces can be narrower.
2. The flaps above the pockets can be eliminated or narrowed
3. The sleeve can easily be smaller too. The small size sleeve can be added to a larger garment since it is applied onto of the bodice pieces and not set in like a traditional sleeve.

Revised Pattern Design-
Original Design? Revised Design?
Original Pattern Design-
 I love the feel of the jacket and knew I wanted more options. The revised edition has comfy, generous  pockets on the lower front incorporated into the design. Pocket Designs as Bags- Don't let lots of instruction for these pockets scare you....I love to illustrate everything so the how-to directions you get are clear! 
Make the pocket as a purse-

Great combo & frog closures-

I have made several as small purses and they are very fun to make and use.
They can be small collages of your favorite fabric combos and, like coffee, you may need more!
The 3 different pocket designs are detachable and can be added to other garment project designs.

Robin's Vest-
Closures & Detailing- The garment on the right, is a beautiful combination of country, summer prints and the design is polished off with some figure-8 frogs created from covered cording. One of my favorite Java Jackets was created by a high school student I had in my sewing class, Robin Rutherford. She combined printed fabrics with top bodice pieces she created with a pin-weaving technique. It was a long time ago...but I hope she is still wearing it!

Dixie's Java Vest-

Dixie Walker created this dramatic red
Java Vest,
stenciled with two of my stencil designs:
1. Intagliato and Off the Wall . She has used a combination of Jacquard Metallic (Lumiere) Paint colors for her printing. She printed the front bands and accented her garment with glass buttons. I love how the blue trim colors picked up in the printing colors.
Cynthia's Vest detail-
Cynthia Westmorland created a great Java Vest. Inspired by the coffee theme, she embroidered
coffee/tea cups and the names of her favorite coffee drinks. She enhanced the design with printed borders using my Deco Bird Stencil, the Kenya Stencil and coffee beans from the
 Te Y' Cafe' stencil
Simplified JAVA Vest-

SIMPLIFY the Design: I love the basic shape of this design and don't always want all the details in the pattern. Here is a vest created with a combination of vintage Kimono textiles and linens. I cut the neck edge  in a 'V' then made a bias cut collar in 2 layers to enhance the neckline. I kept the front edge plain with a facing, bound buttonholes and buttons covered in a contrasting Kimono fabric.

Focus on Detailing Techniques & Closures-
One of my favorite Java Vest garments below, had as a corded closure that laces in and out of the inset fabric shapes on the front. I wrapped the cording with a bias strip of fabric. The raw edge on the fabric adds an unexpected texture to the wrapping. The end of the cording was inserted as I pieced the bodice pieces, creating a look of the cording weaving in and out of the smaller fabric pieces. Stacking buttons is always an option to consider.

Framing buttons with fabric shapes, is another way of adding volume and more interest to a design. This lined and turned tab  on the right,  is a detail on the back seam of the vest.

Stitched canvas tabs-
New Designing with the Java Pattern-
I am working on several layering pieces using the Java pattern silhouette this season. Here is a current vest in progress. I started with the hand-stamped designs on canvas by Miles Frode. I made a collection of faced, stitched tabs that will be part of the finished design. In pinning the partially sewn pieces and the tab shapes to my

My new design in process-
dressform, I start to visualize how the design might evolve. More ideas come from seeing the pieces pinned on the dressform. I placed the shirt I want to wear with it on the form first so I can see how the layers will work together.

Original Java Jumper in Blues-
I combined a collection of vintage and commercial fabrics for this garment. The pockets button on in the design. The buttons are knotted fabric-directions for making your own are in the Download. The download is also available in printed form: Printed Form Download.
I love the feel of a long vest in the fall, and I'm going to make a new version for the next cold season. I plan to make the Java Jacket Pattern as a 3/4 length coat with a single dark color wool trimmed and lined with a bold, accent color that will show as the winds start to blow and the garment moves revealing the color along the edges. Oh no...I am starting to see fall.

It's still time for more summer sewing!
What is on your design table?  
Enjoy the day, Diane

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