Saturday, November 29, 2014

Black Butterfly Jacket

Finally, another UFO is complete.! It is a year overdue and it is for a friend. As soon as I have an embroidery machine again I need to make one for myself! My machine is now in storage. The designs are from Zundt and the lace tape is modern. A 12 weight Sulky thread is sewn on top of the tape for added interest. The heavy weight grape leaf lace across the bottom hem and sleeves I bought at a flea market here in France. I have 26 meters of it in both white and off white. I loved it and as it was priced by the  bolt so I bought them both. One can never have too much lace to play with. This does not qualify as a lace bit, but it has been a wonderful addition to my stash!

So here is the jacket front:

And the  back:

On a final note, the sheet with the blue from this blog is finally out of the Biz bucket. It soaked for 2 weeks. 

The blue is very faint but still there. Not like it was before. This item is now totally usable for whatever project I decide to use it for in the future.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Never Disappoint a Teenager

Some weeks ago I was asked if I would sew some scout badges on to a shirt for the daughter of a friend. I said yes, was given the shirt and then promptly got busy with life.

Yesterday at a party, I was asked about it. She needs it tomorrow. When I told her I had not done it, you know that look. the one that says "I will be an outcast at my meeting since I am not dressed correctly." Ouch! My bad!

So this morning I got up early (don't feel sorry for me, I am an early riser and do my best work before 8am) and I sewed the badges on to her shirt.

I grew up with Girl and Boy Scouts. I remember cookie drives and how important getting those badges sewn onto the uniform was. I so felt her pain. In France scout organizations are a little bit different. Both boys and girls scout together.

I was given a copy of "Les Essentiels de la Boutique". On the back of the front cover is this picture  of where all the badges should go. There must be more, you know, something like, "The badge will be placed 2cm below the shoulder seam", or something like that.
Look! It says I can go on line to get the correct placement of all of the badges. Cool! So off I go searching the website for placement information. What I found was this:
Love it! No military precision. As an experienced sewer, this means it needs to be centered and sewn neatly and roughly where it shows it is supposed to go. The  Insigne de Territoire (Lorraine) and Bande de Groupe (Rodger Clement) are on the  right sleeve. The shoulder seam and pocket on the sleeve do not match so they were centered on the pocket. The Lorraine badge was longer than what was sewn on. About 5 mm were folded under top and bottom so that the two badges would fit on the sleeve. Not at all like the space shown on either placement picture.
Right sleeve only requires the Bande d'epaule.  The distance from  the top was matched with the Bande de Groupe on the other sleeve. The Insigne du SF/OMMS/AMGE was centered over the left front pocket.

Finally here is the final result:

Placement on the  right shoulder leaves room for the pistes d'action badges should she ever get any. 

I really need to get back to sewing lace bits...

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Meeting with Patchwork France

When I first moved to France, almost immediately, I joined Patchwork France. Talk about a first scary meeting as my French skills were almost non-existent. As the token native English speaker in this group, I was greeted with open arms and was made to feel like they wanted me back. After being a member for several years I had to drop out because the meetings for 2 solid years were on weekends I was not in town. 

This last weekend there was a meeting and I was invited to come. I am glad I did. Each meeting involves a project and the projects are always handwork and most of the time are something fun. Here is the project we did this past weekend:

We were given a number of designs to choose from and in three sizes. Starting with the largest of the three, I decided on the snowman. The method we used for embroidery was whatever we wanted to do so I spent most of the day playing with the embroidery thread.
This is as far as I got on this one. I had time to start embroidering the second one before our time was done.

Members bring show and tell to hang on the walls and here are a couple of my favorites:

I love lace on quilts and I like Christmas based things as well.

This Patchwork France group does a lot of traditional types of quilts. 

Lastly, years ago there was a Patchwork France backed hand quilt. We were all asked to make a block of a certain size with an applique of our hand on it. We were to personalize it anyway we wanted to. Here was my submission. It was in the show in Alsace, Sainte Marie aux Mines. I gave up thinking I would ever get it back. At the meeting they handed them out to those of us who made one. What a nice surprise!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Adventures at a Flea Market

Finally, most everything is washed from the flea market for everything sewing I went to several weeks ago. In French these are called Puces des Couturieres. Just for fun, here are a couple of pictures of what one of these looks like:
Imagine an entire building overflowing to outside with nothing but everything you would want for sewing, knitting and thread based craft work. What ever it is you are looking for you can probably find and most of the time the prices are pretty darn good.

This year my favorite find was a set of beauty pins. Someday I will use them on the back of some future Christening gowns. In the picture below, the center bottom one is sterling silver. 

It is not like I have seen this type of thing before, I have not, but when it rains it pours. Much to my surprise, I also found a set of five, inexpensive ones, made out of some sort of nondescript metal in both silver and copper. The set of five are still attached to their original card.  In the picture below, the center bottom one is the silver one.  All of them are in excellent condition and very usable for where ever I decide to use them. Aren't they fun?
As for lace, There was plenty to be found. Here is a subset of what I found. Lots of fun stuff to play with later:
I love vintage rickrack, it dyes beautifully and has a different feel to it than the modern 100% cotton stuff.  I buy it when I see it.

In the green boxes are initials that one would affix to clothing or linens. I searched out and bought those that were 100% cotton. The last of the vintage ones were made of cotton polyester. Below are examples of 4 different ones I have found. The Poly cotton ones were tossed in my bag for free.  
Looking closely you can see the difference of the "A" poly cotton and the 100% cotton ones.

At the very top of the picture is lacet and lace tape.
Lacet is a kind of a lace tape, also seen in the picture it is very plain (far left and far right), but used to either adorn something, to cover seams or strengthen something. Many times, in investigated a vintage garment lacet was used for the waist of a garment so that the lace would not tear. It was also used as a joiner for laces, usually in a hem application. Just like the lace tapes, there is a thread that can be pulled to shape the tape if needed.

If you needed vintage cotton/linen sheets, they were there in many sizes.

One lesson learned about buying vintage lace is that one really never knows what was bought until it is washed. 

When I buy lace, the first thing that happens when I get home is they are sorted between clean and those with that musty and smelly patina.  Those that need it are washed. None of this careful stuff. They are tossed in the washer. The smaller pieces and lace lengths are placed in net bags (ok, some what careful) so they do not get completely snarled or lost in the wash. Bigger pieces can stand on their own. When they come out of the washer they are laid flat or hung to dry. Anything that turns to lace mush in this process gets tossed in the trash as it is unusable.

Next, ironing. This is where items are checked for sturdiness. It is funny how lace will stay together in the wash but rip apart as it is ironed. This is a sure sign of dry rot. Also ironing is good for close inspection. Stains or damage is found at this step. Pieces can be sorted between those to repair and those that will be used as lace "bits". Dry rot lace is set aside for later use in some sort of altered art project.

If the item is stained, it may go into the BIZ bucket. Biz is an all fabric bleach that does a wonderful job at whitening lace and linens. I say may because if they item was made with a dual color thread, actually quite common, Biz will take the color out making the item very one dimensional. Here is a close up of something dirty.
This has been washed once at this point. Originally it was all the dark brown color and the item appears to be solid in color. Now it looks like this. Is it just dirty or are those brown lines supposed to be there?  

If in doubt soak it in a mild soap. Here is what the end result will look like:
Yes the brown is supposed to be there. It gives the piece a beautiful 2 dimensional look. Any bleach product takes the brown away and what is left is something, although pretty, is not as beautiful as it should have been without the bleach.

The blue on the old sheet from my last blog entry is in the biz bucket now This one, as I suspected, is going to be a hard one to get clean. I am about to up the amount of Biz in the bucket to see if it will come out. I suspect it will need to soak for weeks.