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Thursday, 26 January 2006

Mood:  rushed
Topic: The Kreative Kat

So that cold I've been fighting has finally won. I felt like CRAP last night! I kept waking up to a throat like sandpaper or even worse, a throat filled with gunk. Now today I must go out with the boys and it's probably the coldest it's been all month. no more march weather now. It's january with a vengance! Although...to be fair...it's not as bad as what? three winters ago when we had almost two minths where the high never got above -10. I recall that winter quite clearly.

So onto Kreative stuff. I finished a few things and did more a a few others. I took apart a skirt set that I made when I was really fat. I'm altering the top so it's not so baggy and I'm giving it a nicer rounded neckline. The skirt I'm taking in and adding a waist band from some left over stretch denim. I'm going to use some denim on the top, probably as a facing only sew it so the facing is on the outside instead of hidden on the inside.

I finished a denim skirt for spring. It's stretch denim, and I have never worked with the newest stretch denims from India and I had to do a bit of high intensity tweaking. These denims from India are the ones that are sending the prices of jeans through the roof. They are lighter weight and incredibly stretchy, they hug the curves, yet they don't cut or bind. They allegedly shrink less than standard stretch denim, although that will need some time to be properly tested. They fade nicely and can be washed out in many ways, such as dye washes or discharge washes. The non stretch denim is also an amazing fabric. Made with long staple combed and mercerized cotton fibers, it is softer than standard denim, and is from what I understand, unfinished and undressed after weaving. Indian denim has a soft sheen that standard denim lacks. It is not quite as hard wearing, but it is more luxurious. It needles easier and feeds nicer. Thick seam humps are easier to handle. It frays more and needs a more careful seam finish. It's very definitely more expensive than standard North American denim. Chinese denim is crap, it shrinks far too much. Interesting...many jeans made in china are made with american made denim. Ironic or what?

SO I finished the skirt. I made it with silver metafil thread topstitching. It has a pleat in the front. It's maybe an inch shorter than it should be, but it's not unwearable. The fabric was much stretchier than I expected so i had to do a bit of taking in. Memo to me: Next time I work with stretch denim from India...use the exact body measurements and do not add even a fraction of an inch in ease! Indeed, subtract an inch at the hip line and waist so the stretch holds the gament on the body, otherwise it sags and bags.

I finished Dave's warm flannel shirt. I just need to trim a few loose threads. I hemmed the cords and now I have to tighten the center back seam a bit.

I think I'll make the banana skirt from the grey flannel. It has a good hand and a nice body and should be able to hold the shape of the seams without sticking out like a poodle skirt or collapsing and falling flat. I was thinking of making classic Marlene Deitrich pleated and cuffed pants, but as i said, wool flannel can be itchy and bitchy and I don't feel like I want all the work of lined pants. So i'll make a lined skirt, which is easier.

The plum suede...I'm having wishy washy problems with it. It would make a very nice skirt, but i have so many of those right now. I think I might make a safari/cargo shirt jacket, something i can wear as a jacket in the early spring and as a shirt in the later spring. I want cuffed sleeves that can be rolled up, a nice deep notched collar, a yoke with topstiching details, maybe a back cape detail, pockets in all sizes, a fabric belt and some nice metal accents, such as buckles, grommets, d-rings and snaps. I want to explore an "urban explorer" theme, only using sophisticated fabrics and unusual colours. I'm getting tired of BoHo, it's freaking EVERYWHERE and now suburbanintes are buying it at the GAP! Time for a change! The explorer will go with some of my urban BoHo and gypsy stuff and bring it up to date and make it a little different from the suburban mall BoHo look. Some of the forecasting services are going for what they call a "Surf-fari Explorer" look. I won't explain it, but it's what I've been thinking too. It's a bit less fussy, and the focus has moved to only one or two bold "statement" items. I will drop one clue, "which way to the Beach?"

I have one big "must make" I want to make a really nice red drapey flowing dress. It will be sleeveless, a bit below knee length, suitable for many occasions, if not from a nice slinky knit then bias cut from a soft flowing rayon. The dream fabric of course would be a silk jersey or a silk charmeuse or peau de soie. I want to make it similar to my twisty-tshirt, only the twisty part won't be sewn down, it will be left loose and then it can be twisted up in a whole bunch of ways, or left loose down the front. It's like the twisty dress from the seventies, only restyled, brought up to date, and executed with more sophistication in better fabrics and with more precice workmanship. I'll detail it with dark bronze, maybe make it so that one way the twisties can be done up is with beads and feathers strung up on thin leather strings, and that be echoed in some simple accessories such as a neckpiece, earrings, and a small accent bag.

I'm finishing up a puffy shirt I made a while ago. It has silk ribbon embroidery and silk ribbon smocking. It's almost too nice to wear, it's almost like an artwork, not an article of clothing. The yoke is festooned with a garden of silk ribbon blooms. Very pretty, very time consuming, and as i said, too nice to wear! I think I might make a plainer puffy shirt, one I can actually wear and not feel guilty abut it if I spill something on it. I still have this urge to make a Seinfeld puffy shirt. I have the pattern and NO I AM NOT SHARING IT WITH ANYONE! SO THERE! PWNED!

and that's all for now! And I am not going anywhere with a nose this stuffed! Except maybe to the drug store. I can't take Sudafed, it makes my heart race and my thyroid go insane, so I have to go to the drugstore on Pine Street and ask the pharmacist to be sure there's no hidden ephedrine or psuedephedrine. That leaves "Halls Mentholyptus" and "dristan mist" and "Vick's Vaporub" I'm going to smell just lovely in a couple hours! Later!

Posted by lincatz at 9:58 AM EST
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Wednesday, 18 January 2006

Mood:  bright
Topic: The Kreative Kat

I no longer feel so ucky! Yay. We had freezing rain all day yesterday and by 2:00 everything was covered in ice. The tall kid fell on his way home from school and he bruised his knee, bashed his chin and he has a cut above his left eye. Ouch! he woke this morning feeling stiff and sore as an old man. The poor kid! At 6 ft 6 inches he has so far to fall!

This also means he will be calling from school after he does his presentation in his world religions class. I insisted both kids take that class so they could see how similar all religions are at the core. Tall kid has decided he likes Buddhism best, the oldest remains a stubborn atheist. So Ben is doing a presentation on the Greek Gods and Myths. I still like Pan. There's a god who knows how to have a good time! Dancing through the forest and field, playing his magic flute, what more could one ask from a god? AS I was saying...he'll be leaving school early and I will have to go meet him to help him over the icy patches so he doesn't fall again and break something. According to the newspaper, several people eneded up with broken bones from the ice storm.

Tomorrow Dan and I will be going to the music store in Waterloo to get his guitar tuned up. I need to stop at the bead store and pick up a few odds and ends, like "clapperless bells" from india, those things on skirts and dresses that jingle. I need those. I have a skirt that has clusters of these at various points near the hem. It holds the light weight fabric down and keeps it from blowing every which way in the breeze, and they make a pleasant jingle when I walk. So I need more of these, not for clothes but for other things too.

Now for the kreative Krap! I mentioned the banana skirt, correct? Here it is below. The banana! As you can see, one edge is deeply banana shaped and the other has a shallower curve. If both sides are too deeply curved the skirt has no shape, the shallow curve allows the seams to skim the body rather than stand away from the body. The pattern is scaled in width, but not length. Length should be adjusted in the middle of the pattern, below the pivot of the curve, about 12 inches below the waist. The width may be adjusted by slashing and spreading, or folding, on the straight grain line. There is only one piece, cut all four to six peices from a single layer of fabric with the curves all facing the same way and the pattern right side up. DO NOT FLIP THE PATTERN! The skirt won't work!


The next pattern below is for a sectional seamed skirt. This one is to be made in a very drapable fabric, one that will take advantage of the sweep and width of the pattern shape. This one is NOT SCALED. The colours of the pattern peices and the colour on the skirt illustrations are the same to give an idea of how the peices fit together. The notches all are matched precicely. The curves are stay stitched, notched and then sewn together in a curved shape, never snip, slash and pull inot a straight line or the shape of the curve is defeated and the skirt will hang in an odd line. I'm very picky about that detail. I've ranted about not following curves before. In a variation of the pattern, not illustrated, the front and back sides are cut in one large half circle of lighter weight fabric. This would work well in two weights of fabric, heavy for the center front and back sections, while the sied could be in a floaty soft fabric. This would make a nice evening look.


I'm trying to come up with a super easy basic two peice darted skirt block. Many block patterns rely on strange mathamatical calcultions for placing the darts, and then include page after page on how to alter the carefully calculted dart to actually fit the human and non mathematical body. A good basic straight skirt is the foundation of so many other shapes and styles that a good fitting basic skirt pattern is worth it's weight in tired over used cliches. I prefer one-dart on both the front and back from a pattern maker's perspective, it's easier to manipulate into different things, like A-lines, fitted gores, and yoked skirts. Two darts is better for fitting plain tailored and straight skirts from a dressmaker's point of view. There's a huge difference between what I want for pattern manipulation and what I want for a good fit from a sewn item. So I'm working on a good method for quickly drafting a basic one dart skirt pattern.

I dug into my fabric stash and found a meter and a half of some plain white 100% cotton batiste. I think I'll wash it a couple times to soften the fibers and maybe dye it a nice soft tie-dye, then make a simple sleeveless summer blouse with details such as pin tucks and embroidery, and possibly tatted edgings. I have a couple like that, the pink peasant blouse in the photo album of sewing projects is worked in basic gauze, dyed and trimmed with an assortment of hand worked laces including torchon bobbin lace, crochet and tatted lace.

I also dug out some plain off white silk shauntung, about two meters. I wanted to turn it inot a victorian bodice, and I should go through with the plan, possibly including silk embroidery on the bodice. I could make it like a 18th century corset, too. They were quite heavily embroidered. I won't bother with heavy busks and bones made of metal and spring steel, relying instead on modern, lightweight plastic boning and busks. I will likely forsake the busk in the name of modern comfort...I'm such a weenie in that way! The busk is a steel or whalebine plate the runs down the front of a bodice or corset to keep everything stick-straight, and to render the wearer unable to move or breathe. I have this thing about breathing...you know since it does seem to be important to human life and all...and me being human...

Finally I found a few yards of beige natural linen rayon blend. It was at one time 45 inches wide, after a test wash it became only 40 inches wide. Oh dear! So I washed it a second time and it didn't shrink any further. I want to make a classic "bishop style" smocked top with lace insertions and fancy "watercolour" cotton thread. I have the lace I just need the thread. I know that cross stitch cupboard has the exact shade of turquoise/brown/beige/blue colourpath I want. I need to finish some other things before i take on something that ambitious.

And I'm still planning to make a puffy shirt from the beige rayon challis! And no...I'm not sharing the pattern! It's mine and I'm not sharing NYAH NYAH! Unless you want to pay me. Then I'll share!

That's all for now! See y'all later!

Posted by lincatz at 8:54 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 18 January 2006 10:34 AM EST
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Wednesday, 4 January 2006

Mood:  mischievious
Topic: The Kreative Kat

So what have I been sewing, you may ask! The long teal wool coat for one thing! I cut out the lining and sewed it together, then I sewed it the facings and then sewed in the entire facing/lining unit. At this moment it's sitting on the ironing table waiting to be pressed into submission. Next I'll sew in a pair of thin shoulder pads. My shoulders are square enough, they don't need padding, but I add a thin pad to give shape and structure to the shoulder area, otherwise it would collapse. I also add structure to the area right at the front arm crease, across the chest above the bust line, also for a bit of extra support. If that area collapses it looks like I made the coat too large. I need the extra room for a sweater on very cold days. Next I will tackle the sleeves. I want to hand sew the armholes and add a football gusset to the bottom so I have plenty of room to move my arms. Then it's buttons and button holes, I'm not using bound buttonholes because the wool is simply too thick and the hole would be too large. Finally, I can hem the beast! And I do mean beast as this thing is quite long, voluminous and down right HEAVY! Oh yeah, I have to take out the waist pleat in the lining, I would rather have the lining hang as freely as possible.

What else am I working on? A pattern for a couple skirts. One is a four gore "Banana skirt" I'll add the image later! where each gore is shaped like a banana and gives the skirt fit and flare. This will be made of grey wool flannel. Banker's suit fabric! I though about making grey flannel pants, ala Marlene Dietrich, but decided that I would get more wear from a lined skirt, and wool flannel pants are ITCHY AS YOU KNOW WHAT! on the legs, and linings are a pain in the posterior when put in pants. Maybe if I still feel the need for grey flannel pants I'll make them next year when I'm not making a big full length wool coat.

The second pattern is for the plum suedish fabric. I've got a cute little fit and flare made up. It's quite simple and with the gores flare out from a yoke type idea. The fit is very close at the waist and hips, then it flares from mid way between the high and low hip point. The hip acts as a "hanger" for the skirt, it hold the weight and the structure. This isn't needed on lightweight fabrics, but essential if heavier weight fabrics are used for unorthodox and unusual skirt pattern shapes.

I enjoy playing with the shape of skirt patterns, so much can be done with them, from A-lines to trumpets, to lilies to tulips to bananas to swirls...all a person needs to do is to draw a shape and experiment with it!

Next is a link for my darling hubby! Subversive Cross Stitch. For those tired of duckies and bunnies! This is certainly not your grandmother's cross stitch! And seriously, what home doesn't need a cross stitched motto that reads "WTF"

And a link for me, and my handy man men of the house! A cutting table for a sewing workroom. Okay, it';s for a costume department I know, but it's still cool and I might be able to adapt it to a smaller space.

That's all for now!

Posted by lincatz at 10:19 AM EST
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Friday, 2 December 2005

Topic: The Kreative Kat

If you spend any time on the world wide interweb you have come across the scroll bar. Everyone knows what a scroll bar is. haven't you ever though...gee I need a scroll bar of my very own...but I don't know the HTML coding to make one. But I do know how to crochet If you have ever thought that...and who among us hasn't thought that? To-day is your lucky day! This guy has crocheted scroll bars! While he is selling his, they look like a crochet-for-beginners project! It appears to be 15 stitches wide in main clour, worked in treble, that is two wraps around the hook with black as the second colour worked in standard colour block technique for the triangles. The repositioning scrool likely has velcro hooks on the back. There appears to be a double crochet (one wrap on the hook) around one side as a border. Likely worked in dime store acrylic bulky weight yarn! So if you know crochet, but not HTML, this looks do-able! Oh yes, I think these are meant to be worn as a really geeky dorky scarf! Or to keep your web page well wrappeed up. There is no indication if these scrool bars will show up in colour if one prefers an alternate browser. I suppose the grey on grey would be much more appropriate for Opera anyway...one doesn't want flashy colours at a formal occasion.


Thursday, 24 November 2005
How to sew woolen coat fabrics
Mood:  hug me
Topic: The Kreative Kat

Today's main blog entry, see two others below for weirdness.

Yesterday I laid out and cut the teal wool for my full length coat. I was very picky and fussy about the layout, trying to be sure everything was on grain. I didn't do my usual thing of trying to fit the pieces together as tightly as possible, I wanted the cut to be perfect so I spaced the pieces better so nothing was off in the least. I pinned and pinned until my finger tips were red and raw, then cut and cut until my hand cramped! It took me close to two hours to cut out everything. There are four sleeve parts, four back sections, three front parts, and three pieces for the collar and facings. There were also pockets and pocket welts. That's a lot of precision cutting for one coat!

Coat woolens are actually quite easy to work with. They are time consuming, but felted and fulled wools sew up with little trouble and careful pressing and steaming can cover up all but the most glaring of sewing errors. Although the fabric is thick, it has a nice heavy drape and can take seaming details quite well. Indeed, a the more seams the better, especially for fit. A rectangle of fabric with little or no fitting details looks like a shapeless box, so pick a pattern with darts, princess seaming, anything that allows you to sculpture the fabric to your shape.

In this article I'm talking about full length, below the knee classic dress coats. They are warm and elegant. Every woman's winter wardrobe should include one long wool coat. It can be dressy, sporty, casual, depending on the accessories. It's well worth the time and effort to make one, you get the colour, fit and style that is perfect for you.

Loden is the heaviest of coat wools. It is boiled, fulled and felted, making it somewhat stiff, thick, and naturally warm, wind and water resistant. It won't unravel at the edges, so lapped seams can be used. The raw edges can be overcast with fancy crewel wools in blanket stitch or other embroidery stitches. Loden takes to wool embroidery, felt appliqu?s, and other surface decorations. Use a pattern shape that's simple, with some fitting details, otherwise the stiffness will turn the wearer into a big felt box.

Melton is British in origin, at one time considered a "fustian" cloth; that is rough and lower class. Luckily, the fabric's many merits soon outweighed the fustian label. Melton is fulled and felted, naturally water and wind resistant, lighter than loden, warm, drapes nicely, and is surprisingly easy to sew. Melton is the fabric we most associate with woolen winter coats. It can be interlined with thin fleece or the classic chamois down to the waist for extra shape and extra warmth.

Velours, (not velour, the velvety knit for sweats and hoodies) is a subspecies of melton, with a velvet like brushed finish on the good side. Velours is french in origin and was considered a bit more luxurious than the British melton. Velour is a bit softer and drapes better, occasionally ravels, but can be sewn and handled the same as melton.

Melton can be shaped with seams and darts and steamed and pressed into shape. It can be made into fitted coats or looser shaped coats. choose patterns that don't have a lot of sharp, fine pointy details, larger collars and lapels are easier to turn.

Pilot and duffle cloth are softer, fulled but not felted, and not as windproof as melton. These need some seam finishing and they will need an interlining. True "thinsulate" is the best choice, it's rated for very low temperatures and adds little bulk to the coat. The fleece sold for making shoulder pads or placemats is a good choice for those on a budget. Interline down to the hip line, as low as below the butt, but never any lower than that as the bottom of the coat needs to drape and this would make the coat too stiff to drape.

Interlinings and linings are important and make the difference between a warm comfortable coat and coat that looks nice but doesn't keep you warm. Loden is often left unlined as it's difficult to turn the cloth. If facings and linings are needed, sew them to the main coat wrong sides together and leave the raw edges visible. Overcast with embroidery wool or leave plain. Melton should be lined with a good quality Kasha lining. Kasha is a double-faced fabric; with satin on one side and flannel on the other. The flannel goes inside and the satin is the visible side. The flannel helps trap warm air and gives a layer of insulation while the satin adds a look of luxury. Don't use bemberg rayon, it adds nothing to your coat. Also, don't use suit weight polyesters, they don't add any insulation or warmth. IF you want polyester lining, use the types that were made specifically for outerwear. Quilted linings can be used as far down as the hip to bottom of the butt area, then attach a Kasha lining to whatever is lower than that. Quilted linings are a bit stiffer and add bulk to the coat, but they are quite warm.

Use good quilted linings on pilot and duffle cloth, they need a bit of extra help in the insulation area. Again, don't go below the butt with quilted lining unless you want the coat to stand away from the body. Matching Kasha can be used in areas where you don't want the extra bulk, such as hoods and sometimes sleeves.

The following instructions refers mainly to coats made of melton or velours.

Use sew-in interfacings, rather than fusibles. Machine baste on the seam lines and then treat as a single layer of fabric. On large pieces, such as front facings, use a large diagonal tacking stitch along the length and remove once the buttons and buttonholes are worked into the garment. Sew-ins don't defeat that wind and water resistance the same way fusibles can. EDIT! Low melt point fusibles are a good choice for wollen outerwear and they take less heat, less steam and won't defeat water/wind resistance. Thanks to commenter!

Lay out you pattern carefully. You won't have enough room to lay out the entire length, so lay out in sections, roll and unroll the fabric from both ends and don't let fabric hang over the edge of your surface. This distorts the fabric and can put a twist where you don't want it. Lay according to grain lines, don't tilt or tip the pieces. Use a "with nap" layout. Velours nap should run down the garment. Cut carefully around the pieces, curves should be smooth, corners sharp. Proper cutting is time well spent, many sewing problems are avoided if a garment is cut properly in the beginning. Use a very sharp pair of proper bent handle dressmaker's shears, don't lift the lower blade off the table to ensure smooth cutting on long edges. Transfer all markings; roll lines, C.front, C. back, match points, dots, notches, everything! Use chalk on the wrong side. For very important markings, use old fashioned tailor thread tacks. Use cotton embroidery floss, it's slippery and comes out easily. Don't make up your coat by guesswork, mark and be sure!

Practice sewing and pressing on scraps of fabric. Use good long staple polyester thread for sewing. If you can't match the thread, use a shade darker, it will blend in better. Don't use poly-wrapped cotton, and don't use pure cotton thread. Don't use nylon thread as it can cut the woolen fibers.

For sewing, use a sharp needle made for medium/heavy fabrics. Don't use a cutting point denim or leather needle, in spite of what you might have read elsewhere. Loosen the top and bottom tension or you will have a V in you fabric. Don't back stitch, start with a very short stitch to lock the stitches, then increase the length to 3.5 for long seams, 3 for shorter detail seams. Don't sew too fine a seam!

The seam can be pressed open for a classic tailored look. Or, for extra wind resistance and warmth, trim one seam allowance down to 3/8, press the wider allowance over, and stitch down. This means there's nowhere for the wind to enter.

To press, use a steam iron set to wool, and a press cloth. Press on a scrap of the melton, this will keep the ironing board surface from flattening the pile. To prevent ridges from showing, don't use scarps of paper under the seam allowances, it's not adequate, use scraps of the fabric under the seam allowances to prevent ridges. Use an up and down motion, don't glide the iron. Always use a press cloth, don't let the surface of the iron touch the surface of the fabric or the nap will be crushed and you will get shine on the fabric. In places where shaping is needed, use a damp cloth, plenty of steam from the iron, press the area and then hold in the steam in with (tada!) a press mitt made from a scrap of the fabric. Carefully trim and mitre corners. Eased curves can be steamed into place without cutting into the seam allowance. The curve at the waist seam, where it flares, will need to have the allowance clipped into carefully, then pressed open. Press all curves and shaped seams over a pressing roll, tailor's ham, or even a rolled up towel. Never press curves, eased shapes or sharp corners flat! Ever! Never sew over an unpressed seam.

Don't use gathering or ease stitches in the sleeve head. Use plenty of pins, place the longer edge, the sleeve, next to the feed dogs. Let the feed dogs ease the sleeve into place. Press carefully over a sleeve roll, steaming the shape into the sleeve head. Press the seam flat, this gives the nicest shape, or with the allowances towards the shoulder. Don't press the allowances into the sleeve head. It doesn't look good, doesn't negate the need for a sleeve head. Add a sleeve head to the sleeve at this point, it should be quite small, the melton usually can hold it's own shape with little support. Often it's not needed.

The upper collar is slightly larger than the under collar. Don't change this. The collar, collar band, any seams dealing with the collar area, should be carefully trimmed and pressed flat. Corners and curves should trimmed and mitered. Interface the upper collar and upper collar band. If you want to interface the under collar, use a lighter weight interfacing.

Make the outer coat as one unit, including the under collar; then the facings, upper collar and linings together as a second unit. Sew the interlining if there is one as a separate unit. Place the shoulder pads, if desired, into place before sewing the units together. Slip the interlining unit onto the outer coat unit. Then attach the two units along the outer edges, wrong sides together. Start at notch of the lapel and sew down to the lower edge of the front facing. Next, sew from the center back of the collar to the lapel notch. Do this on both sides. The facing/lining unit should be next to the feed dogs as these seams are a bit longer to accommodate the turn of the cloth. The feed dogs will ease the longer lengths into place without ripples or gathers. This leaves a little "bubble" at the intersection point of the lapel seams. This is needed to allow the fabric to turn. Some tailors leave several bubbles" in the collar lapel area and then hand stitch after turning. This is far to picky, even for a perfectionist like me. Carefully trim the corners, miter them, and then press. Have your iron upright and stick a pressing aid, such as a piece of wood, a dowel or rolled up fabric into the collar and lapels and press the seam so it's flat. I occasionally use just the tip of my finger, sometimes I get a cooked fingertip! This will make turning easier. Place a point turner on the point and turn, keeping the point tool in place. If there seems to be problems, then there is too much fabric in the point, trim away more. Press and try again. The point will turn easier this time. Remove the point tool after another pressing. Don't try to make sharp, pointed corners on coat fabrics, it doesn't work. Make slightly rounded corners, they look better because they turn better and press better. A lopsided point never looks good. Do each point individually, take your time and the results will be worth the extra effort. Turn the entire coat right-sides out.

To keep the lining in place stitch in the ditch on the shoulder seams and the collar seams. Hand tack lining to the sleeve at the match points, and the under arm seam. Hand tack at the waistline at all the seam lines and let the lining hang loose from there on down. Hem the lining an inch and a half shorter than the coat. Attach the lining to the bottom of the sleeve with hand stitches. Top stitch the outer edge of the lapels and collar if you want. The lining should be loose inside the coat.

Other points as I think of them; Coat wools, especially loden, Melton, and velours need little in the way of seam finishes. Melton and loden don't ravel at all and need nothing. Velours, pilot and duffle might need some finishing, usually just a line of wide zig zag along the raw edge is enough. Finer duffle cloth and anything made with cashmere, mohair or the luxury wools should have all the seam allowances bound with bias binding. The luxury fabrics demand high quality, luxury finishes, even if no one sees the seam allowances! After cutting it should be obvious if your fabric needs any type of finish to the raw edge. Pressing is far more important than the actual sewing, sewing is quite straight forward. Oh yes, fit the coat, not the lining! In spite of what you might have been told in school, never fit the lining, always fit the garment;even if this means making a muslin mock up rather than using the fashion fabric. A lining serves little purpose other than a bit of insulation, or to keep the inner structure from being visible. Never use a lining to test a fit. This is old advice and very out of date.

Speaking of fitting, don't make a coat that's far too large and sloppy. The arm crease seams should not extend beyond where they are on your body. The back shouldn't be wider than you natural measurements. The coat hangs from the shoulders, so the parts around the shoulder and armhole should fit well. Pay extra attention to that area. Pad the shoulders out until the coat hangs well from the shoulders. Shoulder pads are never out of fashion in good fitting classic full length coats.

Use your regular body measurements to pick your coat pattern. Ease is built into the pattern so you don't need to buy a larger pattern. That is the number one common mistake made when selecting a coat pattern. Don't buy a pattern according to ready to wear sizes in stores. They don't compare. Measure yourself and buy the size according to your measurements. Try the coat on with a sweater or extra layer, then adjust if needed. Usually you'll not need to add more than a half an inch at any one point, that's the beauty of princess seams, more places to adjust the fit. Most coats have a generous amount of ease and often you'll need to take in seams than let them out.

That's all I can think of for now! I've got some sewing to do!


Posted by lincatz at 10:50 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 25 November 2005 10:28 AM EST
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Tuesday, 22 November 2005

Mood:  chatty
Now Playing: Amanda Marshall
Topic: The Kreative Kat

Someone posted a whole bunch of Amanda Marshall stuff in one of the binary groups. She's got a voice that simply rattles the speakers. Too bad her latest CD was total crap, a voice like hers shouldn't be forced into singing pop garbage. Whoever thought that she should be turned into Canada's answer to Pink should be shot. I just got a note from amazon saying they've shipped out my Enya CD. New stuff from Enya, cool! I still say whoever invented one click ordering should be drawn and quartered and forced to eat their own testicles. Right now I have the first three OMD cd's on my wish list, along with the b-sides and rarities CD. I was quite surprised to find I have all the vinyl rarities in my collection of old vinyl. Still, I would like to have the CD so all are in one collection.

Hey! Thanks for checking out my web site, Brett or Dave! I saw that you went through everything! My sitemeter didn't register a single hit yesterday, all I have are the records of your IP and pageloads. Stupid site meter! If you are Brett, I don't know if I owe you an explanation or apology or a good old fashioned ass kicking, or if you owe me any of the previously mentioned three, likely all three can go both ways, but we were all quite young and stupid, weren't we? And a long time has passed hasn't it? It's funny how quickly years go by, they seem so long while living them but so short when you stop and look around, into the past into the future...it's always prudent and wise to take a look around, otherwise you can't tell if you're moving forward or if you've somehow managed to dig yourself into a deep hole, looking around gives perspective to where a person is now. I find that the times I have felt the most lost is always when I have no perspective, when I don't look at where I came from and where I'm going. I think the worst was when I was stuck in the Mommy hole, so wrapped up in kids and hubby I forgot who Linda was, I had to reclaim Linda and when I did, I became a better mom and a better wife and a better person. I subjugated too much of my own identity and it wasn't doing anyone any favours.

Back years ago I did that all the time, I subjugated myself to appear however the person I was with wanted me to appear. Not just boyfriends, but all friends. All I did was make myself miserable. It was hard for others to accept me because I didn't quite accept myself. I think you can understand, I understand now that we all did that. The desire to put on social masks is quite universal. Yet it serves no useful purpose. That's what was different about Dave, hubby-Dave that is. He got me. He saw through all that and encouraged me to be me, no more masks, no more phoniness. He accepted the good and the bad. And I accepted that about him. I am much more comfortable in my own skin now. It's why it's easy for me to accept my dyslexia, why I can joke about my moments of total blondness, and why I know that my talent for sewing and textile art is special and unique. I'll never be a rocket scientist, or cure cancer...but I can make things that no one else in the world can make.

And if you are not-hubby-Dave; you are wrong about me. You are so totally wrong...you can't even begin to figure out where to become right. It's funny that recently you said that when we finally dated you noticed something wrong, that I had beome a bit feminist, like its a bad thing...yet I recall you saying to my face that your one complaint about me was that I wasn't feminist enough for your preference. Nor was I be-sexual enough. Little did you know. And little do you know!

So onto the Kreative stuff. I flared out the back of my coat pattern. I can cut it out soon, meaning when I go to my mom and dad's and have access to their huge work table. My only complaint about their table is that it's about eight inches too short for me. I'm getting some nice lining from MacFab in Toronto, they have a perfect match, and I'm getting some thinsulate from Textile Outfitters from Calgary. I used their fusible fleece to make the blue tweed coat and that coat is nice for this time of year. But the long coat is for really cold weather so I need insulation for temperatures as low as -40C. I also have some chamois interlining to use in the front and back around the chest and shoulders. This will hold the shape and I won't have to fuse anything to the wool. Fusing can impair the natural water/windproof quality of Melton, velours and pilotcloth wools. The lapels will be interfaced with hair canvas. I won't do heavy pad stitching, but I will herringbone stitch along the roll lines and near the points. I will bind the button holes with the satin lining. I'm doing patch pockets and trimming them with fur. I don't like the pockets in the side front seam; I can't make them big enough for a CD player. If a pocket isn't' big enough for a CD player, then what good is it to me? I'm going to embroider some satin to make a decorative band for the pockets and the front opening...maybe! Depends on how ambitious I am! And of course I will make a nice "Hand Made by Linda S." label to put in it!

I think I might make a swing coat with my cashmere/mink. I've also been looking at cape ideas. I don't wear capes, though. I was also thinking of a wrap style thing...okay! I confess! A poncho...I was thinking about a poncho! But ponchos are so last summer...I'll just keep waffling for a while. it's not like tha fabric will go bad if I don't use it soon enough...indeed, fabric in one's stash should have time to mellow, to age like a fine wine, whiskey or brandy. Sometimes if you use a fabric too soon after purchase bad things happen. Sometimes you have projects that will not go no matter what you do. This is the fabric is too young and springy. It has to get old and less wirey. There are occasions that if you use fabric that is too new the colour will fall out because it hasn't had time to properly settle into the fibers. It's true! That's why that glace finished cotton in bright purple is still unsewn! If I sew too soon all the purple will slide off the shiny slippery finish. My hubby doesn't believe me when I say this...but the nice men at Kitchener textiles Believe me! the one said he's had it happen where he's tried to sew too new fabric, he thought he did everything right, but it turned on him and would sew right, and it wouldn't hang right and when he tried to hem it the hem rippled and waved. This is why fabric needs to be stashed before sewing!

I'm not worried about my teal wool because it choose me, not the the other way around. It jumped up from the display right into the aisle and said, "HereI am! Your new Winter Coat!" And of course I had to buy it right away because, after all...it picked me!

I'm knitting a sweater from some wonderful collinette yarn, one zero in "florentine" click here to see sample! It's got a raw homespun on a drop spindle look to it, which is what attracted me to the yarn. I like spinning with a drop spindle, there's something primitive and earthy about it, taking raw carded wool, drawing it out, hooking it to the spindle and spinning it. I got pretty good with practice I could get my yarn into a pretty even "worsted weight" gauge. But I preffered the thick and thing handspun look. I'm using 10mm needles and knitting from the sleeve cuffs inward. I'm doing a simple dolman style, working both sides inward at the same time, this way if I run out of yarn I can make a center panel from a plain navy handspun yarn. Okay, Linda...stop looking at the collinette yarn site! But the colours! They're so pretty! And so colourful! I feel the urge to knit!

That's all for today! Later! To keep y'all occupied while I'm doing other things, Make you own warning label! Here's mine!

Posted by lincatz at 10:01 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 22 November 2005 10:58 AM EST
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Monday, 24 October 2005

Mood:  chillin'
Topic: The Kreative Kat

I finished Dave's polar fleece shirt. Two problems popped up. First was I reacted to the fabric fuzz and sneezed and hacked and ended up with a sinus headache. Achoo! Next time I will wear one of those masks that fiberglass installers wear. The other problem was that he neckline stretched so the neck is about four inches larger than I wanted! What I will do next time is cut some stay tape according to the pattern and stay the neck edge immediately as soon as the paper pattern comes off the fabric. Over all, relatively few challenges and the project went quickly. an 8 out of ten.

I cut and began the cord pants. I had to add quite a bit to the side seams so I can adjust the waist fit for Dave. He seems to be a bit hefty these days. I put in welt pockets on the backs while the front gets slash pockets. The pockets are finished. Now I'll baste together the pants and have them try them on and tweak the fit. Then I can put the fly in and face the waist. Welt pocket present no trouble to me any longer, especially after all the welt pockets in the suit I made for Dave. I've done enough welt that it's not really that big a deal any more. Like anything else, the more practice, the better I get.

Today I' going to cut out the skirt from the teal cord. This skirt has a dip on one side and a deep flare hanging on a hip yoke. I should have enough fabric to make a vest or a at least a purse. Maybe both! I might do some simple embroidery on the skirt to give it a boho hippy look. Maybe also a few sequins, not the really shiny ones but satin finished ones, perhaps bronze and deep turquoise. That would look nice.

I find myself moving away from the real hippy dippy stuff and trying for a more refined look, more eastern inspired rather than SanFran sixties protest movements. I also find myself once again looking to cowboy chic. I always go back to the west, don't I? I'll post a few designs in the future.

My coat will be a nice princess lined coat, full length with a generous enough cut that I can put a heavy sweater under, but still close fitting so it sculpts the figure. I will put nice large pockets in the front, and maybe a couple inner pockets for CD players or MP3 players. Or a cell phone, if I had one. I used to have one, but I don't any more. People could phone me any where and everywhere! Especially the kids! Mom, I come and get me...mom, can I? I'm sending a little fabric sample to MacFab and they'll send me the proper colour kasha satin lining. From Textile Outfitters I'm getting some thinsulate to make it warmer. I like long wool coats more than short nylon and down coats. Not only do they look elegant, but if they are constructed correctly, they are toasty roasty warm!

Then I have some plaid for a shirt for Dave, some plum suede-ish fabric and some soft classic grey wool flannel, perfect for classic dress pants, black and white worsted houndstooth, and the dark blue black cashmere mink blend.

*~cashmere~~and mink~~* It's so soft and and soft! And I need a thesaurus with more words for light and soft and warm and amazing! This is the most amazing fabric I've ever had!

That's all for today! i have a couple entries for sat and sunday, so dodn't miss them! Saturday is a bitch-fest and Sunday isn't. Later!


Posted by lincatz at 9:09 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 26 October 2005 4:46 PM EDT
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Friday, 7 October 2005

Mood:  sharp
Now Playing: Weird music on Winamp radio.
Topic: The Kreative Kat

Today i'm playing radio roulette. That's where you Sroll through the stations with your eyes closed and then Start the station you land on. Sometimes you get something cool and other times you get total crap. This station seems to be some kind of modern Jazz, there are brush beats, a staccato piano and acoustic bass. It's mostly the same rhythm repeated over and over with little variation. I'm still undecided if theis is cool or crap.

Oh, I know it's supposed to be cool, it has that sound of something that would be played in a converteted factory loft condo while a bunch of people wearing black sit together and drink fancy cocktails and talk about how cool they are. You know, like the person who sits on the bus reading the limited edition of only two thousand slip-covered stamped in gold foil edition of the latest best selling graphic novel just so everyone else can see how this person is really cool and a true fan and so much more dedicated to his geekdom than the rest of us pedestrian geeks. Yet he is blissfully unaware of the sad truth: he is a stupid person who spent seventy five dolaars on a glorified COMIC BOOK that really isn't collectable for anyone other than the other two thousand geeks who actually care about such nonsense!

I recall Susan Sontag saying she didn't care what her books looked like, whether it had a gold leaf cover or hard back or ratty old paperback, the words in the books were all the same and it was the ideas contained in the books that were of paramount importance. She said that at a time when there was a real fad of making special limited edition collector's books like the one previously described. She also said she doesn't have more respect for people who buy her books in that form and come to autograph sessions...she would rather sign someone's battered well-read and very loved old paperback. To her reading over and over was more a sign of enjoyment of a book than the expensive unread book. Apparently, cracking open these special volumes decreases their value. I ask you...what's the point of having a book if you can't read it? That's one of the most stupid things I've ever heard of.

One ex-boyfriend had thousands of books he didn't allow anyone to read. All were carefully wrapped in plastic and sealed from air and moisture. Hahahah...I read one of them, the very rare and hard to find autobiography of Harpo Marx. Fascinating...contained many things I didn't know, and would have never known if I upheld his "do not read the books" edict. See, that's the point of books...to learn things, to be entertained and educated...not to have them sit in a box sealed in plastic as an "investment." I know the market for that type of thing collapsed with the rest of the comic book market, which it was closely connected to...If you want a good long term investment not subjected to the vageries of a collectors market...diversify...bonds, stocks, investment certificates, and good old fashioned bank accounts for emergency cash... heck, even dot-com stocks were more stable that the market for old paperback books.

I have only one weird place of interest. It's a site filled with ugly food, in the tradition of retro randy, the gallery of regrettable food, retro crush and others. This one is: The Company Cookbook The site says this book contained favourite recipes from the company's many wonderful pot luck dinners. The breakfast pizza makes me want to hurl mine. All the recipes seem to contain copious quantities of shredded cheese. I always wondered about the large bags of shredded cheese in Costco...who used that much artery clogging saturated fat? Now I know! The one recipe calls for tater tots layered over fried ground beef and smothered in cream of mushroom soup. I can't aet things like this any longer. See? There is an upside to celiac. It only takes a few minutes to read through everything, there are no recipes, I doubt anyone would want to make any of these atrocities!

Next, I'm going to post a picture!


This is a painting I did a couple years ago and I's going to have framed. it's called "Leaves" and it's a picture of leaves on the sidewalk during an autumn rain. I love walking in the cold autumn rain and looking at the leaves on the sidewalk. Everyting is so grey, yet the leaves are so brilliant. I used artist's quality gouache on cold pressed textured Strathmore board. For some of the leaves I started with the darkest colour for the underpainting and worked the lighter colours over. For others I began with the lightest tint and worked the darker colours in. Because of the way gouache is made, the colour underneath is softened by the water when a new layer is added, so the under layer and the over layer blend. When I don't want that, I use the undercolour as a stain for the paper, I remove the layer of paint, leaving the pigment behind as a stain on the paper. Then the base colour shines through, but the water doesn't re-activate the paint.

The leaves were'nt very colourful that year as we had a very long and cold winter. The day I collected the leaves was the last rainy day that November, the next day it snowed and the snow didn't melt until late april. It was a long and cold winter, I felt like I got out of the house very little, except to get things from the store and occasionally meet my hbbby after work.

One more painting this one different!


This is one of the works that I call "quiltblocks" I don't make quilts, I don't really enjoy patchwork and quilting. besides, it seems almost cliched that the woman with the mennonite heritage makes quilts, it's almost like it's expected I would make them...so I don't. there are more than enough quilt makers our there. But I enjoy the geomerty, the rhythms of the blocks and the mix of colours. This is one of many that I've done in gouache on hot press slightly textured paper. I don't want the paper to distract from the areas of flat color This one is a varaition of the classic Mennonite nine-patch. The colours are meant to be saturated and brilliant. When the block is tiled it makes stars upon stars, almost like the brilliant islamic tilings in ancient mosques and temples.

This last picture is an experiment and me playing with technique and colour. Some of the playfulness came through. It's happy and it suggest something different to every viewer.


This one is called "Unbound" and I was experimenting with underpainting and blending techniques and how to give dimentionality and rondness to forms. This one has an ebbulence and joy to it, I call it unbound because the bubbles are free, like a molecular diagram with nothing holding things together, like gumballs bouncing on the ground, like ballons let go from a net, like marbles, like small rubber balls...all are things viewers have told me they see. The light source is intentionally inconsistant; each ball seems almost lit from it's own lightsource, each ball is alive on it's own. Are they floating? Rising? falling? Bouncing? What do you think? I know what I had in mind, But what I want is for you to have an interpretation in your mind.

Gouache has become my medium of choice. I like the way it lays on the paper, the way colours can be blended and worked inot each other, the way the brushstrokes show up. I like the way the colours seem to glow on the paper, it makes even grey sidewalks shimmer and shine. I've been working with it for close to twenty five years. I don't like transparent waterclour, it's too loose in technique and the colours aren't brilliant enough. I don't like oil paint. Whenever I do oil painting the first reaction I get is always "it doesn't look anything like your fathers work," spoken like an insult. It's better for my own identity and integrity as an artist if I dodn't do oil painting. Gouache is better for my style of work and method of working. Dave Sim said that my style of working is meticulous, methodical and precice, (He said it in one of his published writings, somewhere) and sometimes my attention to detail got in the way of my ideas. He liked the painting that now hangs in the living room. He was utterly amazed at the detail, some of them worked in a brush with only three hairs about 3mm long. It's also what I like about lace, I can be creative, and then meticulous and precice in its execution. The same with fashion and pattern design, it blends creativity with the precision and attention to details that I enjoy.

Sometimes I can be too attuned to detail and miss a bigger picture, so I really try hard to step away from anything I'm working on for a while. that's why I have several things on the go at once, if I work on one thing only I become overly focused on the tiniest details and that derails me from the entire picture. I've had to occasionally say, it's good enough, no one else will se that tiny errant stitch. I have one tiny errant stitch in the gorge line of the suit I made for my hubby. No one else ses it but to me that little half a millimeter jog is almost too much!

That's all for today! Later!

Posted by lincatz at 10:13 AM EDT
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Monday, 18 July 2005

Topic: The Kreative Kat
A kreative little bonus in the old Box! From Boing Boing and a couple other places I now present a new assortment of make it yourself paper thingies!paper Toys for Kids! It includes such fanciful things as a pop-up box with a unicorn a pop up book and that all time classic...the cootie catcher! Bright and colourful and just plain fun!

Next we have a Dodecahedron calender Now honestly, who couldn't use a dodecahedron calender? It's just perfect...12 sides...12 months...really? How can you go wrong?

A database of different Origami models And this is a large collection. I went through about five pages and the assortment is staggering! You'll need a lot of paper (and patience!) to complete these!

Next...the one the only the original The amazing paper pinhole camera! I remember these being available in kit form when I was a kid. Now you can find it on the Internet! Cool or what?

Finally...The next link takes you directly to a PDF download of Yoda. Fold a Yoda! Who doesn't need a folded paper Yoda?

That's all for today's bonus!

Posted by lincatz at 3:16 PM EDT
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Monday, 20 June 2005

Mood:  lazy
Now Playing: Fleetwood Mac
Topic: The Kreative Kat
Good monday morning to the world. And how is everyone out there in Cyber land? I am quite fine. I finished several sewing projects this weekend, almost finished another two, and started a pair of jeans. I finished a stretch denim skirt, it's got tabs and patch pockets and all are top-stitched with silver tinselated thread, it looks quite nice. Several places I top-stitched using the machine's feather stitch. I like to use feather stitch in both machine and hand embellishment. The hand feather stitch was the first embroidery stitch I truly mastered to my satisfaction and I think it's still my best executed stitch.
I also finished a white knit top, white with a bright turquoise binding on the neck and tie bands. The fabric is a vintage polyester knit and the style is a retro inspired raglan sleeve top with a keyhole neckline and a tie that ties over the bust. It's similar to something I had years ago, only the keyhole was higher and the tie tied above the bust.
I sewed most of the Hawaiian print dress together. I basted the skirt to the bodice and I'm letting it hang for a while so the bias sections can droop and sag. Then I can finish the dress. I need a zipper for the side. I think I will use an invisible zipper for this one.
Which reminds me of a funny story...I was at A fabric store and a lady goes up to the clerk and asks if they have invisible zippers. The clerk responds,"Yes we do." Lady says: "Can I see them?" Clerk says "No you can't." and lady says "Why not?" and clerk says with a straight face, "You can't see them because they're invisible! Get it? Invisible?" Good thing that lady in question was me. the clerk was at Kitchener Textiles and he knew I had a sense of humour that would find that kind of joke hilarious. I did see and buy the invisible zipper.
I cut out a pair of jeans. This style has big patch pockets and a wide waistband. I didn't design them, it's from a pattern in burda magazine. The only alteration I'm making is to add a couple more pockets. I'm using thick gold top-stitching thread to make them look more like store bought jeans, and I'm going to do some detailing with a bit of bleach and fine sandpaper to add a few faded and frayed spots. I need to get a heavy metal jeans zipper before I can go any farther.

And I finished the purse that I posted the pattern for! Here's a picture of it: I used bright blue suede for the main bag. The center circle is bright textured silver leather. The squigglies are pearly silver leather and bright blue python textured leather. I didn't use silver rings because I didn't have any to use. I had plenty of bright silver nailheads and some silver metal stars. I attached the nailheads and the stars using my Be-Dazzler. Back when I was a teenager I desperately wanted a be-dazzler, but I didn't get one. When the were revived in the early nineties, My hubby bought one for me and I've been happily be-dazzling ever since!

This is a close up of the purse. You can see a bit more of the detail that I worked into it. The leather sewed up quite nicely in my machine. I don't have a special leather machine, just my good old Kenmore/Janome. One nameplate says Kenmore, the serial number plate says Janome. Janome lo-shank accessories fit it, and it's a good solidly built machine. It's a real workhorse and it's never let me down. As I was saying...I zigzagged the leather appliqu?s onto the suede and then I put on the metal parts. I lined the purse with a basic black polyester lining. The only hard part was putting in the zipper then turning it right side out. That part is always like trying to sew a cardboard box and then trying to turn it right side out. Quite challenging! Since leather can't be pressed I had to flatten the seams with a hammer. I have a small mallet that I use for all my sewing, from hammering in snaps, grommets and rivets to flattening seams in leather.
That's all for today!

Posted by lincatz at 9:52 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 13 July 2005 10:37 AM EDT
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