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Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Party Dress Book

I am not a party girl and when I get out of my jeans it's usually into pyjamas. However, this book makes me want to dress up in something fantastic and go to a party!
Mary Adams has designed dresses for many famous people and for movies. She has a store in New York City where her one of a kind dresses are showcased. The first part of the book talks about her career in fashion and her influences. Some of these influences include the hippie era, the fifties glamour, western fashion and even Marie Antoinette.
The next part is all about color, my favorite part of sewing , whether it's for garments or quilts. She uses lots of transparent fabrics such as organdie layered over different colors of opaque fabrics such as silk or taffeta. To these layers she adds ruffles, beads, bows and whatever else she can find in her collection.
Here is a list of her essential techniques, most of which are very simple to do but used in unusual ways. She uses French seams, piecing, quilting, appplique, pintucks, ruffles, and bias strips. Imagine a circle skirt completely covered with half inch wide bias strips in bright colors. Or a skirt completely covered with irridescent taffeta and then randomly sewn all over "a million and one times". Or a bodice totally covered with ruffles. Or skirts modelled after Moon Jellies (Jelly Fish) using pastel organza layered over bright silk. The list goes on and on. Each technique is illustrated with many wonderful photographs.
The last section explains how to make your own party dress using the included patterns for three different dresses. The patterns are just a starting point for your own creativity.
I haven't seen many books that are as inspiring as this one. If you are at all interested in sewing a beautiful dress or if you just want some eye candy to enjoy, this is the book for you.
You can have a look at some of her gorgeous dresses on her web page at Mary Adams The Dress

This is a skirt that is appliqued with pieces of taffeta and then sewn down with top stitching, similar to a crazy quilt.

This might be my favorite dress in the book. It was made as a wedding dress.
In case you hadn't already guessed, I absolutely love this book . I received this book as a review copy but if I found it in a store, I would just have to buy it.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Oh Oh...

Here is the partly finished bag from my new book. It's a bit squishy right now because the lining and extra bottom piece are not done yet.

Here is the lining all ready to be assembled. Do you see the problem? Right, the fancy inset zipper pocket is on the bottom, not the top. It would be the one that can't be ripped out and changed. I'll have to make a new lining piece and make a different bag with the pocket some other time. It's one more thing for my parts drawer...

Friday, October 29, 2010

I Almost Made It!

I am quilting this large quilt for a friend of a friend whose mother pieced it but passed away before she was able to finish it. I am just doing all-over loops on it with the odd heart sneaked in. I was this close to being done when I ran out of thread. I got some in town today so that will be the first order of business tomorrow. Then I have to cut and sew on the binding. Then there will be a couple of miles of hand stitching the binding down. It is a beautiful Christmassy quilt and it is beautifully pieced. I hope my quilting does it justice.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Books

I got these two books that I ordered from Amazon in the mail today. I follow Lisa Lam's blog U Handblog and I have been wanting her book ever since it came out. Look for even more bags showing up around here soon. The dyer's Dictionary is a recipe book for dyers who are too lazy to do hundreds of experiments (and keep track of the results).

Here is a sample page from the Dyer's Dictionary. This is basically what all the pages look like. It should be helpful when I want a particular color. Each color has a recipe for a yard and a quarter yard.

The Bag Making Bible is chock full of suggestions and includes several patterns. I love the one in the picture .

Monday, October 25, 2010

Another Feast

We had another feast yesterday. This is Jenn's lasagna made with eggplant instead of pasta. Unusual and very good.

This is an appetizer plate that I forgot to photograph until we had all had a go at it. Yum. The yellow stuff is avocado and lemon oil on goat cheese. Yummy!

The dark one is wild rice and nut and craisin salad. The other is a green salad with fruit and a delicious dressing. Tanis made them.

This is Brenda's Everything From the Garden soup.
I forgot to get a picture of the apple crisp we had for dessert. It was a great evening.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Experimental Quilting

I have often seen this free motion quilting pattern but haven't tried it before. It may be too dense for the rest of the quilting but I'm looking at this quilt as an experiment in different FM stitches so it's all good.

I have had this ruler foot for quite some time but haven't used it before today. In fact I had forgotten that I even had it until I decided to try some ruler work. It works really well and now I'm thinking I need some shaped templates. This quilt is going to take a long time compared to my usual loops or meanders.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Another Bag

I made a second bag using the same pattern. Now I wish I had used something different for the inset pieces behind the front pockets. There is too much contrast for me. Maybe I'll get out my Shiva Paintsticks or maybe somebody will get this one as a gift...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Baking Frenzy

Today I made six of the creme caramels (two are gone already) two loaves of banana bread and about two dozen coconut kisses (quite a few of them seem to have disappeared too). I feel that if I am going to heat up the oven I might as well make it worthwhile. When I make creme caramels I usually make the kisses with the leftover egg whites. The banana bread is a huge recipe and I had a lot of overripe bananas. My freezer will be full of banana bread but the rest will soon get eaten.

Monday, October 11, 2010


This is the second batch of bread using my new flour mill. This one rose much better. I added some vitamin c and used a bit more white flour. It's hard to imagine how much better it tastes with the fresh flour. I used several kinds of flour as well as sunflower seeds.

Thursday, October 07, 2010


Today I bought this little hand machine to make rolled oats. We rolled some and it made the absolute best oatmeal porridge I ever tasted!

Quilted Cats

I finished quilting this one this morning. I am wondering why I didn't put a yellow border on the top and bottom as well as on the sides. Hmm.. Too late now.

I hid a couple of mice in the quilting. Sneaky mice.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


I made this Margo handbag from Lazy Girl Designs. I may undo the last bit of topstitching and redo it with black thread in the bobbin. Other than that, I'm quite happy with it. It looks a bit wonky in the picture but that's just bad photography.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Maybe It's Done!

Everything is better with rick rack.

The Next Round

I dug through my stash of hand dyes and found a large piece of purple which is on the right side. Does it draw attention away from the middle or unite the whole piece? Should the dark blue be on the inside next to the orange or on the outside where it is now? Or should I have another narrow orange strip between the dark blue and the purple hand dye?
Or should I go with the purple on the left? In real life it has a sparkle but I'm not sure it's exactly the right purple. If I do use it, is the second orange strip too much?
Can you tell that I love auditioning fabrics? Are there enough questions in this post?

Saturday, October 02, 2010

More Auditions

I have been sewing polar fleece this week (yes, getting ready for winter) so haven't worked on this quilt. I did play around a bit with other possible borders. I hope to make a decision and get them sewn on next week. It's so beautiful outside today that it seems a shame to stay in the studio.