Sunday, June 3, 2007

Late Night Ramblings

We got back from our trip to the dog park and I was all set to hide away in the sewing room for a couple of hours to work on my top. Until I realized I was completely out of brown thread. How did that happen? So no sewing until a trip to Joann's to restock.

I figured I might as well take a quick thread inventory before leaving to make the gas expenditure worth the trip. (That's my excuse and I'm stickin' with it!) I restocked a few shades of brown thread and some other colors, and even found some mini cones of Gutermann upholstery thread for future topstitching. (Using this thread is Belinda's great hint, BTW.)

Then, because the store was relatively quiet and I didn't have a time limit, I decided to wander around to look at the sections I usually never even go near. At the back of my mind was looking through the stencils and paint to see what I could come up with without spending another $30. Stenciling some fabric has been at the back of my mind ever since Belinda showed me this tee shirt she stenciled a couple of Aussie summers ago. And then Beth brought the stenciling bug to the front of my brain with her recent hat and dress projects.

Is it only me, or does anyone else remember when stenciling was more popular and those little bottles of acrylic paint were front and center? At "my" Joann's, the stencils and paints are now at the very far, far, far corner of the store. I really had to hunt to find them. The collection of stencils is pitiful and it looks like they're about to be cleared out completely as nearly every one was marked way down with a clearance sticker. Good for me today, though, as I was able to find a few stencils that would work, a couple of cheapie stenciling sponge brushes/daubers, and paint — all for under $8. (I'm also wondering what I ever did with the stencils/brushes I used to have. Did I toss them, or are they still hidden in an unpacked box somewhere? Hmmm.)

Here's some of what I bought:

And here's the top in progress:

I've stenciled the front and back neckbands in a haphazard, random "pattern." I don't think I'll do the sleeve bands because I really don't need extra attention at my flabby biceps. But I reserve the right to change my mind tomorrow. The paint is metallic brown with fabric medium mixed in. It's not nearly so shiny as shows in this photo, but the flash reflected and made the paint stand out really bright.

Because I had to first play, test the stencil on scraps and then wait for the final stenciling to dry, I haven't made a whole lot of progress. (Yeah, tell us something new Debbie!) This is just the front piece pinned to Zillie. I have to thread up the serger in brown thread to neaten up the inside before I move on but I was too lazy to do that tonight so I stopped and headed for the computer. But so far I'm loving the top with a vee instead of scoop neck. I like how the gathers are radiating in a flattering-to-me shape and they really add some nice bust shaping. Too bad you can't see this top in 3D. It looks like it has boobs with no boobs yet inside. ;-) I'm also half-wishing I wore sleeveless tops because I think this would also look great as is.

Speaking of the gathers, this photo is for you Bev. ;-)

After I pulled threads for the gathering, I fused a narrow self-cut strip of black interfacing onto the seam allowance to keep the gathers tight until I could attach the neckband. I tried the Design Plus fusible stay tape first, but it isn't meant to fuse permanently and didn't hold the gathers in place as I started fiddling to pin the neckband into place. Most of the interfacing will be cut off when I serge the edges tomorrow so no worries about extra bulk. Tonight the inside is messy and the gathering threads are hanging out all over the place.

Before I go, one more comment about a comment. Someone asked, "I am wondering if that neckline curve should be concave instead of convex, just a bit, following the natural line of the body." After the gathering is pulled tight and attached to the neckband, the shape does turn into what you'd expect for the neckband (concave, so to speak). I'm sure there's a great technical explanation for curving out the seam allowance where it is to be gathered and maybe I'll even be able to think of it when it's not 4 a.m., but the main reason I do it is simply because that's just how I've seen it done in patterns and patternmaking books and it made sense to me.

Now I'm off to bed. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


  1. I like the stenciling on the neckband! The top is looking really good Deb! When I made knit tops & dresses for my dd that had lots of gathers I learned with her that those gathers had to be re-enforced. I tried several things, but for us using 1/4" twill tape sewn into the seam before I sergered worked. And of course wasn't itchy to a little dd! After that she could play as hard as ever, never pulled those gathers out :grin:

  2. It's turning out beautifuly! You did an excellent job on the neckband!

  3. Thanks for the gathering tip! Geesh, I learn somethin' every day here on your blog.

    I have a zillion little paint bottles, rubber stamps, and stencils. I, too, thought this was not "in", but after seeing your top and the pics of Belinda and Beth's projects, I think it's time to drag them out again.

    Your top is going to be another winner!

  4. Cute, cute, cute! I finally tossed all those paints and brushes about a year ago in a cleaning spurt--now I wish I hadn't. Isn't that how it always goes??????

  5. Oh my, Debbie, that top and the stenciling is so inspiring! What a great tip about the gathers as well. I used to have a huge box of fabric paints, but then it was more about drawing on the designs (puffy paints) rather than the stenciling as you have done. I will have to add this to my next project to do list.

    And I now agree with you. I do like the V neck. Very attractive.

  6. It's looking fabulous! I love the stenciling on the neckband too - fantastic idea!

  7. Thanks for the great gathering tip.
    Not so much thanks for the stenciling ideas-I may be all day looking for my fabric paints! I covet that neckband.

  8. 4am?! I knew you rarely sleep! How else would you get so much done?! Nice job on the stenciling! First of that I've seen that I like! ;>)

  9. Looking good, Debbie! The stenciling is a beautiful touch, and I love the gathers. Can't wait to see what's next!

  10. Debbie what an interesting addition to the top! You definitely have my mind spinning. Now I already have stencils and fabric paint in my notions stash and I know it's good because my middle DD just splash painted a hoodie. Mmmmm, now how can I corporatize that look? I will let you know what I come up with! Thanks for the inspiration.

  11. My goodness you've been busy. Top looks much improved from the first toile. Stencilling looks great too, don't do the arm bands,less is more. Hope Dani is feeling better.

  12. Ooooohh my my my my my, I am loving this version too much! Definitely an over-improvement on the original.

    Got your explanation on the concave/convex. Later I'll pull a few patternmaking books and have a look see. But whatever you did, seems to have been just right...

    I am really loving this top!

  13. I love the stenciling on the neckband!

  14. the v-neck looks so much better. the stenciling is a great touch.....just enough to add some zing without shouting "hey, look at me....i can stencil!!"



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