Although this Tina Givens pattern is called the “Bloom Dress,” it’s more like a tunic at this length and with the front slit. It really is an easy pattern but, of course, I have a hard time reading patterns and this freebie comes with almost no instruction. I also didn’t choose the type of flimsyish fabric they recommended which landed me in a quandary or two. I ended up with too much bulk in all the wrong places and a fabric that unravelled if you blinked at it.
So, the local sewing machine shop, Marie’s Sewing Center in Woburn, has a “sewing cafe”, a time when you can make an appointment and bring something in that you’re having trouble with and you’ll get a one-on-one assistant which was a fabulous experience. Theresa was very knowledgeable and had a bunch of tricks up her sleeve that she generously imparted on me.
She also gave me the great idea to use a thin fabric for most of the pockets, leaving only enough of the real dress fabric where it might show. Well, that turned into one of my typical sewing nightmares as I proceeded to rip out the pockets that were already sewn in and remake them with a thin cotton. But then when I sewed them back on, did it wrong twice and in two different ways! UGH! Yes, I was swearing. BUT what a difference! Now they lay in there nice and flat.
The neckline was another problem. No matter how lightly I thought I was hand stitching that interfacing in, it was still bunching up just enough to look unkempt and the little stitches puckered. These patterns neglect to mention a lot of the usual details such as clipping the curves and I had forgotten to do that. Besides that, Theresa showed me an unusual stitch that in the end, never showed at all.
I also got to use a serger for the first time and that was a blast!
Later on, at home, when I finally got to the sleeves, I found that the way the pattern was cut I somehow ended up with a lot of bunched fabric where the top of the pocket meets the bottom of the sleeve on the sides. So, armed with newly acquired bravery after my sewing session with Theresa, I re-cut the pattern to flow smoothly and much to my surprise it worked out seamlessly.
Today’s Voice is Beth Berman’s
Hello and thank you Janis for inviting me to share on your blog. I love surface design and my two favorite tools are thickened dye and hot soy wax. The idea just popped into my mind one day to mix up both black and grey thickened dye. I thought it would be interesting to take globs (technical term) of thickened dye, smear it here and there on the fabric then scrunch up the fabric and see how it came out. First of all I wanted crisp lines so I had to apply the thickened dye to dry fabric. I knew if I used the light grey color first, the viscose print paste would color the fabric and at the same time act as a bit of a blocking agent to keep the black from overpowering the grey. This is what I did:
I rarely NEED pre-treated cotton since most of my dye work is wet. This was the perfect occasion for nice dry pre-treated cotton. I wanted the thickened dye to “stick” to the spot I put it and not wick like it might on wet cotton.
I used both grey and black (MX Cotton Black 602a). I made the grey with a scant plastic knife tip of MX 602a and about 2/3C of print paste. The black was also 2/3 cup of print paste with a level tablespoon (dark) of MX602a. Below you can see I hadn’t blended the MX powder well with the print paste. Colors are splitting out. Hopefully it won’t be distracting.
I LOVE this grey and will do more with it later. I only applied the dye to one side of the fabric, crumpling it and doing a small amount of smearing. I want CRISP lines.
I covered it with plastic and let it batch under heated rice bags.
I absolutely LOVE the outcome. It was just what I was going for.
Front above, back below
Front above and back below. Either side is a winner.
This is a series of three so far, all 12 x12 on gallery wrapped canvas. I’m not so crazy about the first one because I cut off my great grandmother’s head and it didn’t turn out very square – somehow it got stretched out. I don’t actually know everyone in these photos but they were all part of the Family Collection that cam down from my mother and father. These are from the paternal side of the family. So, they are mostly all relatives who did live nearby or in Montreal or greater Quebec. Some may be family friends or neighbors.
I did much better on the second one. I’m definitely happy with the combination of these old photos with my naturally dyed and printed fabric.
They might be getting better as I go along. I hope so because I plan on doing some more. Maybe quite a few more…