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Eva Dress

June 12th, 2021

It’s a miracle…sewing for pure fun! Last summer I ordered the PDF download of this Eva Dress pattern by Tessuti Fabrics in Australia (don’t ask me what delightful rabbit hole I fell into that led me to a fabric shop half-way around the world). I had 2 1/2 yards of art quilter Leslie Tucker Jenison’s fantastic Warehouse District design printed on Kaufman’s Essex cotton-linen blend, a perfect weight for this jumper (there’s also a short sleeve version). Be sure to see the short video below!

With Phineas the Phlamingo and his bestie Sven the slightly tipsy gnome

The pattern is a PDF download from a fabric store in Australia. You can print at home and tape the pages together or print at a local or online copy/print shop onto A0 (about 36″ wide) paper, which is way easier! I use medical exam table paper (cheap!) to make pattern tissues, which preserves the multi-size pattern. I am a US ready-to-wear size 12 or between a Medium and Large. In this pattern, I chose the Large. It is fitted in the bodice with wearing ease but not a lot of extra room, with a roomy skirt.

I made three/four modifications:

  • Added a very small dart coming in from the armhole, about 3″ away from the side seam, because the armhole gapped slightly. It is only 1/4″ wide and about 2″ long. As I am small-busted, and there isn’t a ton of room, I suggest making a muslin just for the bodice or cutting the top a bit oversized and fitting it carefully especially if you usually need to make a full bust adjustment. Pick a mid-skirt pattern piece that corresponds in size to the bottom of the bodice, then grade the sides to match your usual desired size.
  • Because I live in Maine where it is often cool (or cold), I wanted to be able to wear a shirt underneath, so I lowered the bottom of the armhole by 1/2″ (a bit more than 1 cm), tapering to 2″ on either side (5 cm).
  • I lengthened the pocket by about 2″ so I could slide my large iPhone in and there would be no risk of it falling out. My fingertips just brush the bottom of the pocket.
  • The fourth change I ended up not making: I was concerned when I measured the circumference of the hem that I wouldn’t be able to take large steps. I widened out the bottom, then basted along the original seam line. It was just fine, so I trimmed away what I had added because it wasn’t needed.

If you want a short dress, perhaps just above knee length, without the cocoon or bubble shape, it would be pretty easy to lengthen the mid-skirt and just make it that way.

The pattern calls for 3 1/4 yards for a size Large. Well, I had 2 1/2 yards! I knew I could make the bias for finishing the armholes, neck and hem out of a quilting cotton, and I JUST barely managed it because the fabric did not have a one-way pattern. One pocket piece isn’t quite on grain, but so what? I had very few scraps left!

I used these three feet: Quarter inch (for putting on the bias binding/facings), F clear applique foot because of the visibility and the red mark in the center which allowed me to align my topstitching, and the zipper foot which is my favorite foot for under stitching and topstitching.
Back view showing roominess of skirt
This is all that was left of 2 1/2 yards! Considering the pattern called for 3 1/4 yards, I was thrilled not to have to shorten or otherwise mess with the dress design. I used a lightweight quilting cotton to make the bias which is only seen on the inside. It is used in lieu of traditional facings and hem.
https://www.tessuti-shop.com/collections/patterns-dresses-skirts-tunics/products/eva-dress-pattern

I celebrated the finish (yesterday) by wearing it to the first in-person post-COVID meeting of our local quilt group this morning!

Milkweed at the Texas Quilt Museum

May 17th, 2021

Frank Klein has emerged as a major collector of contemporary art quilts, and I’m delighted to say he has several of my quilts. There is an exhibit on now at the Texas Quilt Museum that includes my Milkweed. Even better, I love that one of my friend Deborah Boschert’s quilts is also in the exhibit, and we “bookend” one of the images. Here is a video for those who, like me, won’t have the pleasure of visiting in person.

It was a delight to learn of this exhibit, that I and so many wonderful artists I know are in it, and it is an honor bo be in both the exhibit and his collection. Thank you, Frank!

Down the rabbit hole to Sutton Hoo

May 14th, 2021
In 2014, I decided to travel to England again.  Back in 1978 I spent a semester in college in London, and while there saw and always remembered the phenomenal artistry in the Sutton Hoo artifacts at the British Museum.  Jump to 2014: Eli, our second son, asked if he could come.  Well, YES (except, food bills!  Teenage boy! kaChing!) !   How many 16 year old boys want to travel with their mom?  One that REALLY wants to travel LOL!  We had the trip of a lifetime!  First stop on Day 1 was the British Museum. You can visit online and see great pics.  The helmet at left is a re-creation based on the original artifacts (the silver had rotted over the millennia).  The buckle shows the unbelievable metalwork from circa 685 A.D.! 
My photos taken at the British Museum in 2014
Now jump to 2021: So out  of the blue this week I get an email from a guy at Kellycodetectors.com, which I discovered sells metal detectors.  He asked if I’d link to his article–well, I nearly NEVER do stuff like that, but what a fun rabbit hole I fell into!  If I lived somewhere with the potential for finding archeological things (one of my career wishes as an adolescent) I could do that.  

So, not only was it not spam, but it led me down a delightful path:  They have four interesting articles if you are in to amazing art and lesser known history:

The Sutton Hoo Treasure, one of the richest treasures ever found on British Soil
The Hoxne Hoard:  The Largest Unearthed Roman Treasure Ever
The Staffordshire Horde
and
The Cuerdale Hoard:  the Largest Viking Hoard of Silver (in the UK/outside of Russia)

The links to my two blogposts after the trip are here and here, with my photos at the Museum and at the Sutton Hoo site.  Some 14 years after first seeing the Sutton Hoo treasures, while living in central Africa actually, I learned that one could now visit the site!  So I resolved to visit someday.  That turned out to be 2014.  The discoveries are now a fun movie called The Dig, available on Netflix. Hope you enjoy the diversion!  

Drum roll! Snoopy Dance! Ready for summer!

May 6th, 2021

I’ve posted some in progress pictures on social media, but at long last the cushions are done, and oh my what an improvement!

After wheedling a lot one year about 12-14/15 years ago, I convinced Paul to buy this “wicker” (ie extruded plastic) furniture. It came with the cushions you see below. I dislike stripes, and don’t like drab colors. I’ve wanted to replace the covers all this time, and finally last summer purchased the Sunbrella Awning fabric in the Aruba color. The Awning fabric is wider at 60″ than the regular upholstery fabric, stiffer so harder to work with it, and sheds water. It was both the width, which allowed me more efficient use of the yardage, and the ability to prevent water from getting into the cushions that led me to use this version of Sunbrella. I bought it online from a place in Florida, Outdoor Fabric Central. I used almost all of the 7 yards ($28 a yard).

This is what it looked like before. Furniture nice, fabric: definitely not my style!

Apparently I really dislike the old cushions so much it took searching in 4 years of summer photos to find a single one with the old striped cushions!

Here are the old ones on the floor in my basement studio. I used to work for an interior designer for a couple years when we lived on San Juan Island, so I learned to pattern from an existing cover and also to start from scratch. Measuring existing is easier! I knew I didn’t want the backs tufted, and knew also that I would move the zippers and do things my way.
When I opened up the seat cushions I discovered the reason they weren’t comfortable is because there was no foam, just dacron! I still need to do something with the frame–it is “strung” with elastic, and after 14 years the stretch is stretched out. I set plywood under the cushions last summer, but even with the addition of foam, I need something with more give. Will look for webbing/strapping to see what I can find that my arthritic hands can actually install and make work. I used an egg-crate foam mattress topper that Eli used to use. I’m replacing his twin with a Queen sleeper sofa for when the kids come to visit, so the topper is now cushion fodder.
With careful planning and careful cutting I had minimal waste! My trusty M7 Continental from Janome sewed through stuff like a champ! I used my antique (20+ years old) serger to overcast the inside seams. Because of the stiffness of the fabric, I chose to not do piping.
The Janome at work, the dog at rest.
My circle templates came in handy for rounding corners.
Wonder Clips (from Clover) are worth the price! I bought a pack of 50 and have used them for so many things! And of course the machine sewed like a champ! I LOVE MY JANOME! You might also wonder about the tan zipper. Well, 20 years ago I bought a roll of black and a roll of tan zipper tape and a billion pulls. Since I completely hide the zipper, no worries that it doesn’t match. This is wide and strong zipper tape as there is a lot of stress on seat cushions…the same bulky weight as sleeping bags.
Here’s the pile of nearly complete cushions.

Thanks to a suggestion from Diana Feit on FB, I cut a pool noodle in half and used that arched inside the settee back cushions to fill them out. I had already cut a 3″ wide strip from the egg crate foam, smooth side out, and then used the foam arched from one bottom corner to the other to fill that out. Worked like a charm. Also, notice those DEEP zipper plackets. The place is centered on the gusset, and there are “zipper garages”–little pockets on either end to conceal the zipper pull. These deep plackets use a bit more fabric, but they cover the zipper SO much better that I always make them. Last year about this time I did a blogpost tutorial on one of my Michael Miller Fabrics brand ambassador projects here and here. Click on those links for details on the how–the process is exactly the same.

So there we are….now all I need to do is MAKE TIME to sit on the porch (once it warms up, even with the electric throw it was kinda nippy out there two days ago, then it got colder!). But summer IS coming and I intend to enjoy some Porch Time!

Ready to travel? Come to Japan with me!

April 1st, 2021

I am beyond elated to share that I will be your US host on a 10-day trip to Japan March 2-11, 2022! Here’s a link to the complete PDF Brochure which you can download or print, but I’ll post each page here in the photos. Originally, this trip was to have been in January 2021 but was cancelled due to COVID. It was rescheduled to January 2022 to coincide with the Tokyo Quilt Festival, but that looks like it won’t happen either so we are now in March 2022. BUT, I think the March itinerary is EVEN BETTER–so many cool things, including quilts, shibori workshop, my bucket-list-dream-item visit to the Itchiku Kubota museum (see my Kubota Pinterest board here), and so much more (and not as cold as January)! AND here’s some more eye candy, my Japan pinterest board.

A friend asked about food restrictions, and the company replied: “Regarding diets.  We have a place on the registration form for them to include dietary restrictions.  They were really good about it in Japan.  The meals that are included will be notified ahead of time regarding any restrictions and they do make substitutions.  Both years I have gone we have had guests that were vegetarian and gluten free.  They were prepared separate meals.  Also for when she eats on her own she should give the Japanese guide an index card and ask her to write in Japanese what she is allergic to and dietary restrictions then she can show it to waitresses when she eats on her own.  This worked well.” Fantastic! So don’t worry if you are vegetarian or gluten free or whatever you can travel on this trip!

I am so excited about this trip…. while many go on these trips just to go to the Tokyo Quilt Festival, comparing the two itineraries and activities, I actually think this is a better trip! AND the weather won’t be as cold in March! I hope you’ll join me–I’m already thinking of little on-tour goodies for you should you join me! Please do write and ask any questions!