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Archive for June, 2012

It’s always fun to do a little online window shopping.  Here are a few embroidery designs that could be used to embellish Mexican blouses or any tops that you like.

The designs above are Decorative Flowers from Sweet Heirloom Embroidery at Oregon Patch Works.  These would combine well around a neckline or across a yoke.

Above is Folk Flowers Deco also from  Sweet Heirloom Embroidery at Oregon Patch Works.  A single motif can be placed around a neckline attractively as I tried to do in one of my Mexican blouses by curving the placement of the design:

The corner designs are from Folk Flower Corners from Sweet Heirloom Embroidery.  I have lots of corner designs and want to try grouping them around the neckline as in the blouse above.  The designs below, Heirloom Decor from Sweet Heirloom Embroidery at Oregon Patch Works, have a Victorian feel to them.  Sometimes it is nice to do embroidery in one color only for an elegant look.

In actual real-life sewing, I’m still working on the black gauze top but hope to finish today.  I got interrupted by the apricots which ripened sooner than expected and had to be prepared for batches of jam.  I froze the batches to be cooked in cooler weather next fall.

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In The Works

This top, New Look 6027, is almost done.  All that needs to be finished are the seams and bias binding.  Every time I sew this gauze fabric, bought years and years ago, I wish I had bought ten times as much.  It is so easy to sew, press, and wear, and is so cool and breezy in hot weather.

I’m using French seams and am trying mightily to match the band across the bottom.  We’ll see how it goes.

In garden news, I had purchased some sale bulbs in boxes of 5 to 10 bulbs from a local discount supermarket.  They were only $1 or $2 a box, so worth the gamble.  Here’s the first one to bloom, and wow, I wish I had saved the boxes so I could remember what the name of it is.  One of the most beautiful flowers I’ve ever grown:

Here’s the vegetable garden so far:

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Now that the alterations to the pattern are done, it was time to see if I could draw up some designs to fit the yoke.  I used the templates for the Gypsy Feast embroidery designs (Oregon Patch Works) and an old embroidery transfer book for design ideas.

I like them all, but the top design is my favorite.  These would be for free motion machine embroidery, not the embroidery machine, except for the bottom design.  The bottom design is a little too skimpy for the size of the yoke, so I need to add more  to it.  I wish, though, that someone would offer a set of embroidery designs that could be used for Mexican blouses.  I’d buy that one for sure.  Until then, Gypsy Feast provides lots of good motifs to work with.

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Fitting Results

On the whole the muslin for New Look 6871 fit very well.  The armholes were a little too big, though, so I’ll have to undo the ‘slide’ portion of the alterations.  Also, the blouse hikes up in the front center, but that’s an easy fix.  You just add length to the center front and taper it back to the side seam in a nice curve.   The pattern fits OK the way it is now, but I am going to try a franken-pattern alteration and incorporate the back curve from New Look 6027.  This means adding a center back seam and relocating the center back gathers.    Worth a try anyway.

The daughter would never wear a blouse in that ditsy green print, so I’ll have to reuse the fabric for something else (maybe another sunbonnet!).  I have some plain fabrics that could be embroidered to produce a variation on the Mexican Peasant Blouse.  Having used my embroidery design program to print out templates, now I can make some sample designs.  First, it is handy to have a yoke template so I cut one out from poster board.

Using the yoke template, I can draw around it onto my butcher paper for a blank to draw the embroidery designs on.  I just used the light desk to trace some of the embroidery templates onto the yoke shape.  Here’s my stack of templates:

These were printed out from my BuzzEdit program and are from the Gypsy Feast assortment (Enigma Embroidery) from Oregon Patch Works.

Still working on this one.  I need to fold it in half, put it on the light box, and trace the lefthand side to match.  After that, it will be time for Version #2.  By the way, if you don’t have a light box, but you do have a glass table, coffee table, or patio table, you can put a light underneath it and use that instead.   I found my lightbox (a LightTracer by Artograph) at my local art supply store for about $35 or maybe less.  I’ve had it a long time.  You can also find similar products sometimes at toy stores for a lot less money.  I still have my Mickey Mouse light desk which is still working fine after at least 25 years.

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The new project under construction is New Look 6871, a top with a curved top yoke.   It seems to be a little more fitted than other peasant tops, so I decided to give it a try.  First I had to do the alterations using the pivot and slide method, then I cut out this first practice version from a piece of cotton that I found at the thrift store.  M is coming over tonight to try it on.  This pattern could look nice with embroidery on the yoke, but first we have to see how it looks on her.  This is a very easy pattern to sew.  I was rushing to finish most of it for the evening try-on, thinking that I would be sewing on it most of the day, but I was finished by 8:30 this morning, leaving me lots of time to go plant more beans in the garden.

The garden is growing very fast this year.  We were very late planting it but it seems to be making up for that with rapid growth.  I picked the first cucumber this morning.

None of the zinnias are blooming yet, but the basil is ready for the first batch of pesto.  In addition to basil, I planted beans, squashes, beets, peas, and onions.   And tomatoes.  I almost forgot them because they are planted behind the shed.

This is my 400th post!  In celebration, I think I will go make some spaghetti.

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Summer is almost here. In fact, it was in the 90’s here last week.  It’s time to sew cool and beautiful Mexican-inspired embroidered tops.  You don’t have to limit the wearing of these tops to summertime, though, since you can wear them under a cute cardigan in the fall and winter like my daughter does.  I’ve been sketching out some classic embroidery placement ideas for these tops:

This blouse includes many of the ideas I have seen on commercially available blouses – the crocheted edging at the neckline, buttonhole stitching, the curlicue line at the side edges of the yoke, and the rickracky up and down line of embroidery above the buttonhole stitch at the bottom of the yoke.  On the front ‘skirt’ portion of the top, there are three panels of embroidery outlined by the up-and-down stitch.  The center panel is shorter and thinner, usually.  These panels are extra work, of course, but they are really slimming.  Lots of the blouses have trim or embroidery on the sleeves.  The blouse below uses more buttonhole stitching.

The backs of the blouses are often decorated, too, with a few motifs and the continuation of the buttonhole stitch.:

The blouse above shows a classic old-style blouse with gusset construction.  There are bands of embroidery on the sleeves, around the neckline, and forming the body embroidery panels.  The particular blouse I used for inspiration for this drawing was embroidered with a straight-stitch machine doing free motion embroidery, or at least that’s what it looked like.  If you have a fancier machine, you could use bands of your machine’s embroidery stitches in different colors.  You don’t have to have a pricey embroidery machine to make one of these blouses, and you can always do hand embroidery.

Many  other cultures have traditional embroidered blouses.  The drawing below shows a modern top based on the Eastern European peasant blouse:

The embroidery can be multi-colored, but you can also make a gorgeous top with embroidery in just one color.  For example, I have seen a lovely turquoise blouse with white embroidery.  Other ideas are red embroidery on yellow fabric, black embroidery on red fabric, white embroidery on green fabric,  and purple embroidery on mustard yellow.

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