Cutting Line Designs: Butterfly and Bees

At the end of every year, our sewing guild holds a holiday gala.  A traditional part of the gala is the fabric swap.  Fabric of a length suitable to become a garment or quilt is placed in a sealed bag.  Numbers are drawn, and guests have the option of choosing a new bag, or stealing from another member.

It’s a great way to re-home one’s wonder fabric (as in, I wonder why I bought this?) as well as acquire something completely different.

Many folks will go to great lengths (pun intended) to secure their treasures.  Who’s that hiding under the table?  What did you stuff in your backpack?

To insure our newly acquired treasures don’t languish, the April meeting is a “Wear What Ya Won” event.  Everyone who attends brings whatever it is they made from their prize.  Some folks become very creative!

This was my fabric prize (full disclosure – I was one of the few people to “steal” from someone else – I am ruthless when it comes to fabric).  It’s a slubbed boucle type of fabric, completely washable and very loosely woven.

While it is jacket-weight, it would have required more manipulation than I was willing to do for this material to become a structured garment.

Enter Butterfly & Bees from Louise Cutting.  It’s an older, out of print pattern, but worked perfectly.  There was a coordinating printed polyester in the stash.  I decided to Go For It!

The one pattern is cut twice.  Both jackets are assembled separately, except for the neckline.  Then the two pieces are joined at the neckline only.  This allows the interior fabric to hang freely and peek out all around the edges.  To give more weight to the side vents, I stitched antique glass buttons at the top.

The jacket is perfect for summer evenings here.  Once the sun goes down, there can be a definite chill in the air.

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IMG_1782Since one top wasn’t enough,  a second was also forthcoming at Sewing Camp.  Another rendition of “By Popular Demand“.

I must be under the Spell of Spring, using so many bright colors in my sewing.  The fabric was from a local shop, Going Batty, which specializes in colorful, lively prints.  Yes, it’s another quilting cotton.  Bright green snaps.  Label placement where it shouldn’t scratch.  What’s not to like?

We’re supposed to be warming up over the weekend (80 on Sunday) so perhaps I’ll get a chance to wear it soon!

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IMG_1781It’s getting warm enough to actually wear this top.  Yippee!  This is one of the garments I completed at Sewing Camp, back in April.  Why does that seem so long ago?

bypopulardemandThe pattern is one from Louise Cutting’s line, Cutting Line Designs, called “By Popular Demand”.  I’ve made the top several times before, and the jacket once too.  I really like the lines of the top.  It has what are called saddle sleeves, which is basically a raglan sleeve with a curved seam at the top.  This allows the sleeves to sit nicely over the shoulder.

A lot of the patterns in CLD lend themselves to quilting cottons, which is a nice feature if you happen to live in a garment-fabric starved part of the country.  Or, if you’re like me, you succumb to the colorful nature of the local quilting cottons.  This print just called my name.

In keeping with the baseball-ish nature of the top, I used snaps instead of buttons.  Those with a discerning eye can  make out french darts in body.  This helps tame some of the fullness, so there’s a hint of waist.  A couple years back I took a class from Louise, and asked her about these darts.  Her response: “Good Idea!”  I have kept them ever since.

Discover Something Novel

While at the Sew-In, I also made this pattern from Cutting Line Designs, the pattern company Louise Cutting has.  It’s the vest from “Discover Something Novel”.  I think I will get a lot of use out of it – it’s my kind of garment.

The pattern is made to use quilting cottons or other stiffer, easy to find fabrics.  I make the leap into “the good stuff” and used some Japanese furoshiki.  Furoshiki are Japanese cloths used for wrapping gifts.  I thought these were too pretty to tie around a box of chocolates.  Everything except the  purple band at the bottom was not as recommended by the pattern.  How typical of the way I sew….

I hand-washed the furoshiki first, afraid their colors would run, having no idea if gift wrapping cloths were made to be laundered.  They shrunk, and have a nice crepe-like texture.  To make sure they didn’t stretch, I ironed lightweight fusible  interfacing onto the back.  Next up was fitting the pattern, which remarkably only required a couple of tweaks – take the shoulders in a bit, and add a nudge to the front.  All set to sew.

The pattern also doesn’t call for a lining, but I wanted mine lined.  Of course, there was no lining fabric at Casa Thunderpaws.  That has been packed too!  Thankfully, the Sew-In has the Sewing Sisters Boutique, a place where once loved, but no longer wanted fabrics can find a new caring home.  That’s where the striped lining came from.  I don’t think I could have found a better lining had I tried!

The sewing was straight forward.  Shoulder seams, front band, sides.  It’s a vest, after all.  The bottom bands are attached last, and enclose both the lining and fashion fabric.  There was just enough furoshiki for the main pieces.  Nothing but scraps were left!  I had to wait until I got home to sew on the label, as I forgot to bring those too!  All in all, another Sew-In success!

More Relaxation

Another rendition of the Relax A Little pattern from Cutting Line Designs.  I am very please to have this one finished.  It went together quicker and easier than the first one.  Even better, it’s made from stash fabric, that’s been aging for over a year.  Happy Dance!

I shortened the pattern by 2 inches, and it is still about mid calf length.  I am fine with that, as I plan to wear it with boots.  I think the swishy black skirt will be a nice complement to beaded sweaters for the holidays.  The fabric is a jacquard weave, which adds interest, but is an absolute beast to photograph.  The picture at left was lightened considerably to try and show the pattern.  Doesn’t work too well, even with all the tweaking.

The fiber make up is some sort of cotton blend, I think.  Or maybe a rayon blend.  I couldn’t quite tell from the burn test.  The shop said it was silk, but that isn’t the case – it doesn’t have the grabbiness that silk does.

Relax

Relax a Little

There was sewing over the long weekend at Casa Thunderpaws.  In fact, it was a brand new pattern with brand new(ish) fabric!  This is Relax a Little from Cutting Line Design patterns.  I picked it up when I went to the Louise Cutting workshop a while back.

The pattern is über easy to make.  I was amazed!  The fitting is very simple, with great directions for doing so.  The sewing even more so, with pockets no less!

The photo at left shows how invisible the pockets are.  They are in the side seams, but don’t have any of the bulk that you normally get with in-seam pockets.  The pocket bag is a single layer, cut as one with the back of the skirt, which helps to eliminate seams.  At right, you can see where I tucked my label into one of the pockets.

The fabric is something called Brussels Washer, which is a linen/rayon blend.  Be warned, this stuff shrinks, so you need to run it through the washer and dryer several times before cutting anything out, which I did.  The elastic at the waist was very simple to install.  A couple rows of stitching to hold it in place, then a zap with a steamy iron to “whoosh” everything into place.  Whoosh is a technical term…but you knew that.

Let’s see, what else is there to say?  The pattern runs long.  Very long.  I made it the out-of-the-envelope length to see where it would hit.  Once hemmed, it’s about 6 inches above the floor on me.  The next one will be shorter.

There was also sewing of gifties, but I can’t show those to you yet.  Patience grasshopper, patience.

Weekend with Louise – Sunday

Sunday, as I mentioned, was a Sit and Sew.  We arrived armed with our sewing machines and sample fabric mostly pre-cut to the necessary size.  Sometimes a little larger, sometimes smaller, but it all worked.

Today we would build ourselves a sample book.  Something to refer back to when our brains became filled with the trivia of daily life, and the wonderful techniques Louise demonstrated were pushed out in favor of the hoi polloi.  Hoi Polloi!  I say, who needs it!

What were all these samples?  Why, the techniques and hints that Louise had discussed the previous day.  Having taken a class from her before, I did have some of them.  But, there was one in particular, about constructing collar stands that I really wanted to learn – having tried to do so from print media and been woefully unsuccessful.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, this was the very last sample we made, and it was worth it.  Absolutely and completely!

Once again, our hosts, 35th Avenue Sew and Vac provided consumables – as in snacks and lunch.    Delicious!  I think they were a bit surprised at how quickly their garment supplies disappeared, not to mention the fabric.

A lovely, exhausting, engergizing weekend!