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

Under Construction: 
Creating a New Studio
Welcome! 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!


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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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 extended to 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 

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.

Washed Linen Version

lining makes great accent

Side tabs are folded out for accent-

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. 

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.

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!

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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- 

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

 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! Diane
 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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Airplane Stencil gone Geometric-

Sat, May 10 2014 06:58

Designing with stencils is a combination of the image you start with and the inventive ways you print it. On every new design,  I work to include a variety shapes and sizes that will continue to offer variety as you print with the stencil. My Paper Airplane Stencil was the beginning of a Birthday garment (on the right), that is featured in my article in the current June/July issue of Vogue Pattern Magazine. The article covers several of the sewing techniques I used to create the unique details in the shirt. Click HERE to see the preview. For more about the process of creating my shirt design, see this past blog. After the initial idea for the stencil design, I'm exploring a more geometric approach to printing with it.
Vary Paint Amounts: The Jacquard paint colors combined for the stenciling in oranges yellows and reds, is printed with a heavier application of paint- and intentionally not working to cover completely. Playing with paint amounts and printing pressure can yield variety in your results.
Printing through a second Stencil: I cut basic shapes from tag (manilla folders) that I can use as a second stencil,  masking the printing area and creating a different design. The egg shape cut-out was the mask I printed the Paper Airplane Stencil through shown in the photo aboves. 
Printing Scale= Right for Clothing? Draping printed fabric onto a dressform (or laying them on pattern pieces) can give insight into the scale and placement of printed design elements for more successful garments. 
Remember these fabrics are all printed with the same  airplane Stencil! I love these images printed as a border!!

Adding Printing to graphic fabrics:
 I found a pin-stripe piece that was crying for airplanes...and a grey and white background cotton that I could enhance with the Airplane Stencil.

Drawing on Stenciled Fabric:  Using the Tee Juice Fabric Pens, and some straight edges, it is easy to create additional line elements on the fabric you print. I like making a combination of thick & thin lines and broken lines... which look like stitching.
My Airplane Shirt- was created with Lynn Mizono's Vogue pattern V1274. A good silhouette can be a canvas for a whole collection of garment designs. This pattern is holding my interest....and so far, I have created 3 garments (linked here to more description and photos in my May Newsletter). 

Here is a preview of these garments-
The green is a sheer, vintage kimono fabric with subtle details  and metal buttons.
The Artist Shirt is a dyed and painted cotton sheet pieced with 3 other fabrics. the orange makes a great accent for the garment edges.

Finishing for each garment is very different. The choice of materials can determines a casual, raw edge look or a more polished finish.

Make a spring shirt.....and explore a new pattern design or re-visit an old favorite. Enjoy! Diane

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FABRIC PRINTING: New Raven Stencil

Sun, Apr 27 2014 03:45
One can never have enough birds....and if you are a Portlandia fan, you know this is true. My new Raven Stencil gives new meaning to the phase 'Put a bird on it'! 

This new design, inspired by my Wing n' A Prayer Fabric, is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Here is some of my current printing with this new design, and some ideas for you to explore in your own surface designing.
Think about a stencil as a collection of shapes that can be separated for more design options. I use Post-Its to temporarily cover areas of the design while I print others. They are easy to move around and work really well.
Here, in black, is what the whole stencil looks like. Note: I did add a moon using the circle on my Global Shapes stencil. You can see how the post-its let me get a crisp definition of color for the different sections of the design!
Here is some of the variety I am getting with The Raven Stencil.

 FENCES & FRAMES: I'm drawn to the sticks framing the design. They make a border at the hem or edge of a garment. In the fabric piece on the dressform, I combined the sticks with the lined grid shape at the bottom to create this geometric design. I think I'll take it further by shaping the front edge of the fabric in a zig-zag, following the shapes I printed. The more I looked at this part of the design, It started to look like wooden horse head! (Ah...she sneaks the Year of the Horse in there again.....). You can see the printed design is the stencil upside down here on black canvas. I made this small frame in green below, by printing the sticks across the top of the design facing each other. Hand or machine stitching would be another technique to add to borders printed with the stick shapes.

STRIPPED FABRICS: Printing in between the stripes is a great way to create a new design. Masking tape, covering one set of stripes on the fabric, or Post Its can be used on the stencil. You could create a collection of complimentary fabrics (all on the same stripe), by using  different parts of the stencil for each piece. The different pieces could be used for each pattern pieces of your garment.
Definitely play with different size stripes and other prints to create
your own designs.

 At the left, see the yellow Post Its covering the stencil (instead of tape on the fabric)-this gives the repeating design (in green) each time I print.  Below are more parts of the stencil printed into the same stripe.
FABRIC PAINTS: I am using the Jacquard Textile Paints for my printing, I especially like the metallics.  
Stencils easily lend  themselves to this type of printing. Once the images is printed on one side...clean it off, flip it over and print from the other side. Magic happens! The space created in between the birds on the left, seems to be a heart! Ahhhh!
PRINT A SHIRT:  I love working into a remake with my stencil designs- On this one below, I started by printing the collar tips.....see the part of the stencil I used below on the left...and the results on the right. A very appealing design detail!

 Next, I pieced a black panel onto the lower back of the pin-strip shirt and stenciled the birds coming up on the back. Wow!! love the look...and the silver 'triangles' are the tip of the beak....... 
You know what I am about to say if you have been in class with me....'Do more with everything!' 
I know I am just getting started with this new stencil please share your ideas with us!
GO FOR GEOMETRIC: The way you format a design is very personal... some of us are very organic in style... and some of us like a more structured presentation. You can place any shape over any stencil and create a new design!!!!! I often reach for the basic shapes in my Global Shapes stencil for this purpose. As you can see on the right..a manilla folder works well for cutting quick shapes you can use as a mask too. Try working with your Tee Juice Pens to add more detail to your printed surfaces. Lines, words, dots and your favorite doodles can build & define your printing style.  Enjoy the Day, Diane

Wings in Silver, bits of Blue & White on Grey Fabric
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Spring Sewing: SHIRTS!

Wed, Apr 9 2014 10:07
Stenciled linen shirt by Leslie Gelber
I 'll always make shirts.....
every season, it is my hands-down favorite garment.
In addition to endless re-makes,  I'm always checking out new shirt patterns and revisiting some of my own. Seeing this linen version of my Nuevo Shirt Pattern #109, by Leslie Gelber has me inspired to revisit the pattern, explore some of the variations and create some new shirts. Leslie used a unique printed linen (the printed design is a flat pair of old jeans) to which she added her own twist: stenciled details and covered buttons from the same stenciled fabric. Great choice: A bold move with successful results! Leslie used my Big Hopper Stencil to accent & play into the  print.
Sleeve detail on Leslie's shirt 

Pattern Details- My basic shirt silhouette has  an asymmetric shaped collar, an inset pocket, 1-sided cuff and 2 front bodice variations. Here are several shirts I created with the Nuevo Shirt pattern. Hand-dyed silk noile and contrasting rayon give this one in pinks a more dramatic look. Button placement changes
button placement changes the look of the front
 the look of the design. For a personal look, remember to place the buttons where they most flatter your shape. I added some stenciling at the shoulder and down the sleeve center. The buttons also hold the drape in the piece, so there are some great shapes possible. The pattern is a canvas for your design ideas. Layering fabrics: One of my favorite fabric combos in the shirt below: 3 solid linen colors and textures, a printed quilting cotton and white silk organza.

I stenciled the underlayer (of quilting cotton) with the Eycalyptus Stencil and the organza outer layer with the Bugs in Flight. I cut the cotton front using the regular, flat front option (I added the a shaped edge).Next, I wrinkled the organza on top...pressing the wrinkles down for more interest. A collection of buttons became surface design as well as the closure of the shirt. The collar is one layer of printed silk organza with a thin binding from the quilting print finishing the edge. I like to add interest by changing the shape at the hem and added some extra seams too. The second front option has a unique, inset pocket design too.
Collar Design Ideas-  The pattern comes with 2 collar designs. Either end of the asymmetrical collar in the pattern can be placed on the fold, allowing for 2 different symmetrical options. You can also recut the top edge to change the shape. I layered 2 collars together on this blue stenciled shirt. After brush painting with copper...I stenciled with the Deco Bird Stencil in the turquoise to create the surface design.  I also folded the original collar and used it as a cuff instead!!!
  Remember, most limitations are in your mind.....and new design is about fresh thinking. 

Double collar with new shaped edge
Collar? Cuff?!

Pattern Changes for more Nuevo Garments-
Here are some easy ways to create variations with your Nuevo Shirt Pattern. These pattern design ideas I've sketched out for you are available. Click here to get it: Nuevo Pattern Ideas Download.
To create a rectangular shape with the pattern, slash and add a vertical strip ( shown in pink). This shape will look great with an irregular hem.
 To create a long rectangle: The shirt can be lengthened into a 3/4 vest or coat by cutting across the bodice front and back pieces (in the lower half), and adding extra width.
Another variation would be to slash & spread, as shown, to create a flared  'A' shape  in the bodice. This process could be added just in the back or in both the front and the back. If you lengthen the shirt, the A-line could be a dress. I am making a short, shrug-style jacket with the Nuevo next!
I'd love to see the ones you create this spring! Diane

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Fri, Mar 14 2014 12:13

Welcome to my Studio- 
My Design Board for Spring Projects-
 It happened already...just in this last week, when we weren't looking: Spring started to pop out here in Southern Oregon. Wow....just in time. We are so ready and welcoming every new bud. It always inspires me to create a new board in the studio, where I pin up bits and pieces  for ideas I want to play with. Design boards are a great way to clear the table as you begin to amass a pile that you  want to have front and center...but need a clear table to work. As you can see, mine is a combination of fabrics, papers, sketches, textures and more horses (remember...YR of the Horse). I am getting ready combine the painted linen piece in the middle of my board, (by my son, Miles Frode) with a knit into a dress.
The visual stimulation of paint on paper next to paint and drawing on linen excites me. Marks are a language of their own. They can suggest direction, color combos and other details and elements to bring in. This stage, with new images and materials up next to one another, is a pivotal moment for change. An opportunity to see a new path your skills might take you as you begin to work.
The white fabric, a commercial, printed knit (a Marcy Tilton fabric), is a treasure trove of ideas for companion pieces and techniques I want to explore. I am going to translate the printed shapes into a combination of machine stitching, cut out shapes, squiggled painted and drawn playful shapes.  I'll share the pieces I make in a future blog.
Here is a close-up of my first, spring piece. 
Design Rule #1: To get something new to happen in your have to DO something different-
The beginning of this collar was a placemat....then a roll on my design board (see it in the top photo) and now it is one of the most delicate and lovely collars I could imagine... I love the way it 'worked me'... I am excited about the results.  
I used my Torri Collection Pattern for his garment. It is a combination of linen fabric with a metallic finish, a pair of silk pants (the sleeves) and a poly-suiting skirt for the back. The tabs are made by my son, Miles, they are his hand-cut rubber stamp designs, printed on canvas. I cut out the fronts and worked with fabric paint at the shoulder areas first: 
TECHNIQUE: I used Jacquard black paint. I used a small amount of paint started by flicking the paint from a I lightly dragging over parts of the wet paint with a sponge. You can see I created more painted pieces for the inside of the the look.
What is calling from your stash to be next on your on your design table----------------------------
                 Play & Risk can take your work to the next level too.
                                                                  Welcome to spring in your studio, Diane

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