Falling into New Mexico-

Fri, Sep 2 2016 05:48

I am inspired by this beautiful part of the country all year....and in these weeks leading up to another retreat in the Mabel Dodge Luhan studio there, I spend time bringing my favorite pieces together.
.......................The explorer in me is anticipating what new treasures are waiting for me there.
• weathered wood • clear colors • Aspens turning • raw silk • sun-bleached linens • wrapped feathers •

Images reminiscent of the new and old in my New Mexico palette.

Design inspiration is everywhere. Making a design board with favorite objects and images can
 inspire new work. It can be a combination of images, ideas for color combinations, maybe a pattern you want to make and buttons and trims you are ready to use.

On Choosing Materials= I am satisfied spending more time choosing combinations of materials for  projects. Not all fabric is worth our time anymore.....once we admit that, letting go is easier and the special pieces rise to the top. 
.......................The explorer in me is anticipating what new treasures are waiting there.
Mine your fabric stash with new eyes and infuse your Fall sewing with a new color combination.  

Keep your hand in the game= Create small things that make you happy=a pincushion, maybe parts, a woven panel, a new pin or maybe a bird.

 • What is ready to be made...
•  What is calling you?   Diane

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Summer Night Inspirations: BLACK & WHITE

Sun, Aug 14 2016 05:08
ORGANZA SCARF- A gossamar scarf is a perfect accent on any summer outfit. This black and white organza one does the trick. This printed fabric just needed some hand stitching to give finish to my quick, raw-edge design. Jacquard Fabric Pens are perfect for drawing your own scribble design on organza and they come in a set of 3 sizes. The less you do, the more important all the elements are to a design. The threads I used for hand stitching, although subtle,  have a bit of sheen and contrast with the matte finish fabric surface.


They say there are fewer places all the time to see a truly dark sky. Warm summer nights get us out to enjoy the magic of our night skies. 

It was just such a night that inspired this new journal cover in black and white canvas highlighted with Miles Frode's Star Chart Stencil Design.
There are 2 sizes of journal covers in my Creative Companion Pattern

Journal covers  are great in canvas, with or without a zipper compartment for your pencil stash,  for travel or an evening in the backyard with the stars....how can you be without one?

This one, in white and black canvas, was stenciled with the Star Chart Stencil in silver, Jacquard Fabric paint on the outside and black on the inside. An accent trim was topstitched on the surface and a length sewn in the center for a bookmark. A small set of wood colored pencils and papers may be perfect as you wait for the moon.
What will you carry in your new journal cover?


Making transition fabric-
Starting is just that....there doesn't need to be a project in mind to enjoy the process of starting.
Making fabric can be very satisfying-whether you spend several days...or 15 minutes.
Create your own new fabric of mixed textures & weights-


As the last months of summer unfold here in Oregon, my simple summer wardrobe and projects will carry me into fall and deeper, richer colors.....and more River Tunics!

I hope you are enjoying your summer/fall sewing too, Diane

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The River Tunic-

Sat, Jul 23 2016 10:47
I knew when I couldn't stop making and wearing these....I had to share it with you! You can download it in my online store, or order up a hardcopy to arrive on your doorstep. Either way, I am looking forward to hearing about The River Tunics you make.
Some of the best things we create start from what's around us and a function we need to satisfy. This design started with the realization that, although I love the fabrics...I only wear 1/2 of the scarves in my collection. Scarves seem to be like socks in winter...often times an impulsive buy. Surveying my scarf collection recently, I thought about wearing some of those light-weight fabrics as a garment. Shrugs have happened... but I loved the idea of a tunic that could just be a longer, summer layer.
Check your scarf stash for one to transform into a River Tunic-
It starts with a simple length (scarf or fabric) that gets folded in 2 directions then cut.
So here are some of the ones I have made. I do enjoy tweeking the design and adding details as I go.
Look for the next batch of tunics in future blogs.

Sheer Japanese Cottons are a beautiful choice for the River Tunic. This one from marcytilton.com

Opening this River Tunic down the back, leaves a slit for airflow and a vintage button at the top. I added some single layer strips of sheer mesh at the neck and sleeve ends. Folding the front edge gave the neck edge an asymmetrical line.

hand stitching on the sleeve edges
There can never be to much hand stitching! I like the way the contrasting embroidery thread ties in with the design.
Successful simple garment shapes are ALL ABOUT THE FABRIC & THE SILHOUETTE.
Imagine your new version: Linens and cottons or knits, organzas and sheers....the fabrics you are called to work with define your garment style.
How much Ease do you want? One of the ways to ensure a successful fit is to determine the amount of ease (at the hips and bust) you want for comfort. Measuring the clothes you wear can give a range of ease to work with.
An overall concept to keep in mind when considering volume in garments is: The taller/larger person can wear more fabric (and not look swallowed up). The more petite you are, less fabric is usually more to scale. 

Design Play that will change each tunic you create:
• Cut the hem in an asymmetrical shape.
• Make the armholes deeper and shaped.
• Use hand-printed and accent fabrics for bindings & trim.  
• Create a different neckline or add a collar piece.
• Make a piece of fabric first, then cut out your tunic
• Add patch pockets in contrasting or embroidered fabrics    (vintage tea towels are great for this!)
• Pleat the fabric first, then cut out the tunic
Create your own style by making a collaged piece of fabric for The River Tunic 
Accent bindings and pocket fabric is one of the ideas shared in the pattern instructions. The closeup below is the grey sleeveless tunic version on the pattern cover shown at the top of this blog. Adding bold, contrasting fabric gives it a nice edge.
hand-printed fabric used for binding and pockets-

A neck edge shaped by folding then hand stitched with embroidery floss-
Shaped Neck Edge Tucks & Folds- Cutting a slightly wider neck opening gives the option to add a variety of folds across the shoulder and garment front for design.

WINTER LAYERING Versions- I know I will be sharing some lightweight washed wool versions of this tunic as I create my winter wardrobe. Washed wool, slightly crinkled has a casual appeal and will fit well with leggings and boots this fall.

This green and grey dot version is getting lots of wear....it's the perfect summer dressing with my sheer textured leggings and cropped pants.

Enjoy your summer sewing!  Diane

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Mon, Jun 13 2016 10:13

My new article, Curves & Angles: Designing with Art Fabrics, is in the current issue of the Vogue Pattern Magazine (June/July '16).  I am intrigued and constantly exploring new, creative ways to approach garment sewing.
June/July 2016 issue
Changing the sequence of construction can be key to having a new experience and that premise infuses my current design work. 1 pattern, 2 ways, is the focus of this article. In it, I explore how to create more dimension in the garment silhouette using Katherine Tilton's Butterick Pattern #6138.
 Miles fabrics are playful & exuberant with lots of bold strokes and details- perfect for different parts of the garment.
•  •  •  •  •
Working with 2 pieces with hand painted fabric by artist Miles Frode,  the inspiration for garment began with the flavor of each painted fabric: One with more curved designs and one with more angled shapes. I often write about collaboration and I want to encourage that experience for you. It is always a delight to share the creative adventure with my son, Miles!
The back of the tunic
CURVES-Starting into a project that with a challenge in mind keeps me attentive to the process. I like the workout... reaching for the feeling of being tapping into a deeper reservoir and not just sliding along the surface. This project gave me that experience.
The necklines on both garments were designed  to reflect favorite areas in the painted fabrics.
I enjoyed combining this painted linen with more solid white linen and 2 commercial fabrics with dots.

• • • • •

ANGLES- For this version, everything from selecting fabrics to changing the pattern pieces started with this first piece of hand-painted cotton/linen fabric.
What compliments a great piece of art fabric?

Each of the shaped pattern pieces were copied then angles added at the original curved edges-For more details, see the Vogue article.
Accent, basting thread is used to make reference lines like center front, shoulder lines etc.
The original curves and darts in the pattern pieces were changed to angles.
The printed shapes on the side became part of the pocket design.
Painting and drawn fabric by Miles Frode,  Dress by Diane
Design is an action verb...there is always something new around the corner to explore!
Enjoy the process, Diane
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Spring Color: PINK

Tue, May 3 2016 07:12
           Diana Vreeland said "Pink is the navy blue of India!"
WHO can resist the full glory of this pink!?!?!?!? Inspiration is everywhere in Ashland…especially Lithia Park where I just took this shot of blooming rhododendrons. 
As I roll out my favorite spring materials….Pink is a part of the collection. Consider some shade or tint of pink as a part of your spring color combination.

Stenciling is a great way to explore spring color combinations. This sleeveless rayon dress, with shell buttons is enhanced by a bit of iridescent white fabric paint printed with the Wrought Iron Stencil. With delicate shapes in the this stencil design, it gives the feel of lace.
Spring Silk Dress-
My stencil designs begin with images I have drawn. The Wrought Iron Stencil Design (in 2 sizes) was inspired by this fencing around a Victorian home in the historic district here in Ashland. 
I detailed this linen shirt with the versatile Wrought Iron Stencil, some tucks and new buttons.
Textile artist, Marta Marthas used her vintage linens in pink & white for a hand-stitched version of the Ashland Vest Pattern.
Marta sewed her linens together then brushed her new fabric with Silver & Pewter Jacquard Paints. 
Overlapping all the seams gives this garment a fluid shape as it moves...beautiful details & stitching Marta.

This project started with a linen skirt with great lines...and a pink silk organza for the sleeves.
A full bias, skirt in linen...transformed into a fluid spring shirt. 
The original skirt & sleeve fabric-
Taking advantage of the beautiful seaming in skirt, and the texture of the organza worked well in this project. I 'checked in' with a shirt pattern for the armholes and sleeve shapes.

sleeves in organza-
To hold the wrinkles in the organza, I added some lightweight strips of fusible interfacing  across the sleeve head. The hem is a raw edge. 
A Magnolia Tree ready to pop with pink & white buds.

More shapes and beautiful color combinations are unfolding everyday....time for another walk!

                                         Enjoy your Spring Sewing, Diane

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Getting at New Work-

Tue, Mar 8 2016 05:07

We ALL  have one of these……lets call it ‘The Parts Department’.  Sometimes it is hiding in a UFO (unfinished projects) stash. Lets look at how it might serve you better and actual INSPIRE some new projects. 
My Parts Department is full of elements that have been combined and worked a bit. SOme of them are in the photo above.
Here is a way you may want to view those UFO's in your life: At this stage, sometimes the idea just doesn’t seem as great as it did when we started…so we abandon them and move on to something new with more potential for success. I firmly believe not everything we start is meant to be finished. If you are committed to growing your work, look at what you gained from the partially finished piece and be ready to move on. Each project offers us something different.  Once you have gained the pivotal experience of the project, (without the goal being another finished piece) you are free to move on! 

Consider separating the parts of these UFO projects you like and create new ways of displaying them or storing them. Some of my favorite parts are living in old button jars, baskets exploding with trims….and cigar boxes of odd bits of hardware and wire....but something changes everytime I create new displays. 

The big question is:  How do we create a way to see more possibility in all these treasures we can’t let go of?  What are you seeing?

The Power of Arrangement- If you can't see it..will you even remember you have it?

As spring comes on, I want to work with lighter, softer colors. Faded, distressed fabrics feel compatible with the warmth of wood details: like these hand-carved buttons on the upper left. 

Placement and display in pleasing arrangements always give us opportunity to see things in a  fresh light. It can be new everytime. My eye continues to enjoy the boards I change regularly...There is something new there. What are you looking at?

I’ve been making Aprons these past few week in preparation for the spring retreat here in Ashland………A favorite hanger and apron piece was a re-combination of elements that had lost their fizz. This combination has an appeal with clean basic shapes highlighted by a small collection of 'jewelry-like' elements and snap-tape rubbed with fabric paints

Suggestion:  Find a format that is appealing to you and stay with it for multiple projects...let your voice unfold and explore your design eye in a deeper way. This experience will open fresh ways to apply your sewing skills with other textile methods you love. 
I will be making lots of Apron Layers in the coming months...you will see them pop up in this blog now and then. 
the next one will have more 3-dimensional elements that I am exploring in my clothing design.

The hardware store, across the street from my studio, is a favorite place to shop for unexpected 'parts'.

I took apart the orange work suspenders and sewed them into this work apron for straps!

The Parts Dept. in my studio was a great resource for these first pieces in a series of layering garments for this spring season-

                                                                 Enjoy Setting up your own Parts Department!! 

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Jilli Blackwood at The Design Outside the Lines Retreat-

Sun, Feb 21 2016 07:08
We stepped into the studio of Jilli Blackwood in Glasgow, Scotland, as she unfolded her life in a powerpoint at our retreat in Santa Barbara, California 
Jilli Blackwood sharing one of her fiber techniques for creating elements at our retreat-
We were all captivated and truly inspired by Jilli. She shared her philosophy and the true spirit of her work with us. 
Jilli is tapped into the deep recesses of her creativity and is passionate about sharing it. She reminded us that learning a technique is one thing…and deepening it can open unlimited opportunities to explore. 
Her work is clearly an example  of what Jilli refers to as ‘The Wizard Stroke= that last, brilliant mark that renders a piece finished. Ahhhh! 
                                     Here is a ‘bit of Jilli’  shot in our DOL studio earlier this month:

 You might enjoy her website & work there: https://www.jilliblackwood.com/

She has explored a variety of exciting digital directions that are able to capture the textures surface she lives for, so I know we will see  more of her in the future.

In the meantime, I smile everytime I look at my 2” square of Jilli Blackwood

What a great way to begin 2016….I think the time with Jilli will inspire the magic (wizard stroke) in all of us.

Enjoy & Celebrate your 
                               Love of Textiles, Diane

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Designing a Transition Vest-

Fri, Jan 29 2016 02:29
It is that time of year here in Oregon. With nice days wedged in between passing rain and snow storms it feels like a good time for some transition garments. Although it is not time to pack away the cozy winter gear just yet, I want those layering pieces that let me blend my winter and cool, spring wardrobes together for the next few months.

Do we EVER have the right piece of fabric?!?  After a brief hunt for in my stash...it's off to the consignment shop for the pair of pants that transformed on the dressform into this vest! I like to free-form cut garment shapes, and sometimes will use a pattern I like to start. Sometimes I will work up the center front and neckline first....then place pattern pieces on top to define the sides and armholes.

After playing with how the existing details would best serve the design (notice the front zipper on the pants becomes the vent at the bottom of the back), the garment is cut out. The fabric has some spandex in it..so it will be more comfortable as a fitted garment. A front zipper was added. Longer than the garment, it extends below the hemline and is turned and used as trim on the collar seam.

Stenciling & Accenting Seamlines-

This is a good time to add some printing and paint accents.
Using my Picket Fence Stencil, elements of the design were added to the garment pieces. The flat felled seamlines were rubbed with a dry sponge and a SMALL amount of paint. These techniques can be added anytime, but while the garment is flat is easier. 

Handstitching Details-

It is hard to imagine a piece that isn't better with some handstitching! On this piece, A whipstitch with buttonhole twist was used to trim the small zipper and sew the sides of the vest. Leaving the sides open until the front is finished and the garment is tried on often result in a better fit.

More Design Play with the Picket Fence Stencil

In my toolkit, a stencil is never a one-trick pony. See the  folded 'fence ' fabric in the upper left? The stencil was printed and stitched from the back through a light cotton layer and a light padding inside. This can be a good use of the decorative stitches on our machines. The finished, silk dupioni side is ready to used in a next project: Maybe a tea cozy? Maybe a Walkabout Vest pocket? 
The same stencil was used for this rustic all over printed surface.

So there you have it....my first transition garment of the season! SO where is yours?!?!
Join me in the studio in March for a Re-Make Class & Trunk Show,   Diane

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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 Cacicedohttp://jeancacicedo.com/ 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 Spoonflower.com), 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 potential...so 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 stencil...you 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: www.justanothermystery.com ....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 page...it 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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