|New Year's Eve 2008
Marcy Tilton's Newsletter for Everyday Creatives
Passion & Joy
|The idea for sending a New Year's Eve newsletter came from my friend, Sally Hickerson, and sparked by her, I invited a group of friends to write their thoughts on creativity and their designing & making process.
One of my goals for the new year is to double the number of subscribers to this newsletter. Word of mouth is the best way to spread the word. Please pass on this newsletter to a friend. It is FREE, and not limited only to those who sew.
Click on the link below to subscribe or to unsubscribe.
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On the design table are a half dozen groupings of fabric for outfits for the fashion show I am co-hosting with Sandra Betzina at the Puyallup Sewing Expo. I have two Vogue Patterns in process: one, a pair of vests, nearly finished, and the other, a little French inspired jacket is just getting started. A batch of new silk screens is waiting to be used on garments and new experiments with yardage.
As 2008 ends and 2009 begins, I am looking at the old, contemplating the new, feeling grateful for the present moment and wondering where my creativity wants to go next. This I know: the act of getting my hands, heart and soul into making & inventing something brings great pleasure. Where there was once a neatly folded flat piece of cloth, suddenly there is a dimensional garment. In spite of setbacks (buttonholes gone bad, unintended puckers, 2 left sleeves.......), I return to the studio with passion and hope. Some days the act of stitching something together, smoothing out wrinkles, shaping an edge, tweaking a pattern, screening in a bit of color, all add together to make a feeling of joy that is almost beyond words. I‚Äôve been sewing and designing for nearly 50 years and I still love it.
2008 brought new beginnings and completion. The ArtBarn is completed and a joy to work and play in. Counting my blessings: a new CD on Jackets, 2 wonderful trips to Paris, 3 inspiring Design Outside the Lines retreats, and 5 new Vogue patterns.
This year I made the decision to sell a
|wider range of fabrics on my website and am deeply grateful for your support in this new adventure. The fabric collection is building the way I'd put together a wardrobe, first the basics---a good selection of darks and neutrals for pants, great knits for t-shirts, a few interesting choices for jackets and vests, and a bit of punch in carefully selected prints.
I have a list of things to try: more hand stitching, silk screening yardage, learning to use thickened dye, mastering power point are all on my list.
But on a deeper level, I want to veer off the path of my own familiar ways, to choose the wild unknown and create in ways that surprise me. I want to experience those delicious AHA moments where joy and passion come together and time drops away completely.
|Also in the 2009 lineup|
- Look for more fabrics and new silk screen designs on the website in 2009.
- Come to our new booth at the Puyallup sewing expo, you can see the entire fabric and silk screen collection for sale.
- There are 6 new Vogue Patterns on the horizon for 2009 release.
- More class offerings at the ArtBarn.
- San Francisco Design Studio Tour in late March with Nandini.
- Paris Tour: Dates to be announced in the next month or so. If you are interested in coming, send me an e-mail and I will put you on the Paris list.
|Design Outside the Lines|
|San Francisco Tour |
|Puyallup Sewing Expo|
|I thought I was the only one.....|
|With all the wonderful new patterns that Marcy has been creating and the great fabrics we are stocking in the studio for the website, I decided I just had to begin sewing some things for myself. So I made some time to cut out a few if my favorite Marcy patterns and asked Marcy for a little bit of advice on ‚Äòhow to‚Äô.
I am not an experienced sewer; the apron freshman year in high school was as technical as my skill ever became. I‚Äôve stumbled through the sewing process, probably making it more difficult than it needed to be, because I just wanted a simple little cotton summer skirt that I would end up drying my hands on anyway. Since it was just for around the house no one would notice the oddities that my lack of technique created I often sewed like this.
|But Marcy is a great teacher and she seemed to enjoy showing me simple techniques; a ‚Äòtrick‚Äô to make things fit better or how to ‚Äòease‚Äô a sleeve when it was larger than the armhole. As I sat listening and watching her I realized that the problems I faced when I sat down and started working with my fabric were exactly the same problems other sewers have faced. I was not the only one! I felt relief and a little bit excited. Maybe I could become a member of this great group of people who expressed their creativity through a perfect seam or a lovely curve or tuck at just the right place.
And I am now off on that journey.
|What Would Nandini Do?
|They are everywhere you know, miracles; they abound in my life. And I know from experience that it all hinges on my recognizing and acknowledging the small ones. The everyday little coincidences that are there if (and when) I just notice them. I haven‚Äôt won the lottery (yet) but then I always seem to forget to buy a ticket...
My phone call to the ‚Äòwrong‚Äô person (when my eyes don‚Äôt read the names correctly) that ended with dinner and a new connection with old friends. Changing a plane ticket to stay for an important event, knowing it‚Äôs going to cost more money, and having the charge end up being only $11.00. Noticing the color of the winter sky as the sun goes down. The list goes on and the inexplicable mystery of being alive unfolds in wondrous synchronistic ways.
I opened an email this morning from a friend who addressed me, ‚Äòoh mighty flow mistress‚Äô. I had a good chuckle. Most of the time I forget that I am in the flow because it is so easy (it‚Äôs the flow after all!). And of course the moment I realize I‚Äôm actually in the flow, I‚Äôve moved outside it! When I‚Äôm in the flow it feels like the most natural thing in the world; life is good, miracles commonplace. When I‚Äôm not in the flow, when I‚Äôm resisting what is present, to put it bluntly, everything sucks. Nothing feels ‚Äònatural‚Äô, nothing works, everything is or goes ‚Äòwrong‚Äô, there are no miracles.
|Years ago I was given the book Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (yes, I cut and pasted his name so as not to misspell it although who would know?). It is a powerful intellectual treatise on happiness. But reading about happiness, having an intellectual knowing about happiness and experiencing happiness are very different things. In fact I wouldn‚Äôt even describe being in the flow as happiness. Being in the flow results in happiness and yet is way, way beyond it. Words that might describe being in the flow include peace, contentment, serenity, tranquility. It‚Äôs like living in a miracle all the time.
At the restaurant where I had breakfast this morning there was a card on the table that said SURRENDER. Oh yes, that. More synchronicity. (No matter that they wanted me to surrender to their chef at a tasting dinner.) The only way to be in the flow is to surrender in every moment to what is. Every miracle occurs right now, never later...
An amazing year, 2008, to be sure, filled with surrender and miracles. The biggest miracle of all is the continuous flow of peace permeating everything. Lots of travel (always plenty of chances to surrender traveling); a daily practice of meditation (nothing but letting go and re-entering the flow); a commitment to creativity (total surrender to the creative process or absolute pain); saying ‚Äòyes‚Äô, even when everything looks like ‚Äòno‚Äô. And saying ‚Äòno‚Äô when ‚Äòno‚Äô is the ‚Äòyes‚Äô.
For 2009 I commit to more miracles. I commit to continuous surrender. I commit to constant creativity, curiosity, connection, play, peace, contentment and joy. I commit to meditation, silence, cooperation, community and an abundance of laughter.
What are you committing to?
|Nandini's website link|
|THE WHITE BLOUSE SERIES|
At first when Marcy asked me to write about my white blouse series, I was a little taken aback. I couldn‚Äôt imagine what I could write about this fun silly game that would be of interest to others. How do you explain a project that is not really about a garment to people who make garments? Or how do you explain a project that isn‚Äôt really about sewing to people who are sewers? Or how do you explain a project that isn‚Äôt about fabric to fabric-holics? The true core of white blouse series is more about the process of exploration and enjoyment than about the resultant garment regardless of the name. The white blouse series grew out of a variant of an exercise that I learned from the collage artist Lynne Perrella which consisted of starting each sewing day with a 12 X 12 square of white fabric, some black fabric, and thread. It was during one of the exercises that led me to play with white thread and bobbin work.
I loved the way the thick threads laid against the plain white cotton muslin.
I decided a quick simple blouse with the heavy abstract bobbin work up the front would be great with a pair of my well worn go-to black pants. I grabbed some smooth white cotton fabric and Vogue 7884 ...it was only two pieces, the front and back with a little cut on cap sleeve. In 2 hours I had made my blouse and I loved it. I wore it to work the next day and got compliments on my new ‚Äúoutfit‚Äù. I liked the compliments but most importantly I loved the way I felt. I had recaptured the pure joy of sewing. You know the pride of making something from scratch, the feeling of making something uniquely you, and that wonderful sense of accomplishment. I couldn‚Äôt wait to get back into my sewing room to do the next play activity.
Somehow that play became blouse #2, white knit fabric and Marcy‚Äôs tee shirt pattern Vogue 8497...an elongated pleated mess of a top that works great with a pair of ancient Babette black pleated pants.
|So the white blouse series was born and I am thinking that 10 white blouses sound good but who knows. The procedure is always the same. I go in and start to play and I let the play lead me down the path. I stick to a few basic principles: the design must come from the play; I only use white fabric and the pattern has to be easy so I can concentrate on the design and not obsess about the sewing. A bonus is that so far it works with bottoms I already own and somehow the older the better. I am in the middle of blouse #3 Diane Ericson's Skye Lines Pattern in a cotton broadcloth that is holding onto wrinkles as if its life is depending on it.
I have started to like those wrinkles and recognize that they belong with this blouse. I found some old glass buttons that are all slightly different and a few are chipped. I am really identifying with blouse #3, slightly wrinkled and a bit chipped but feeling perfect. I must admit that already I am tempted to break one of my rules. This Skye Line pattern has my mind twirling and I am tempted to settle in and make a version of it for #4, #5, and what the heck #6.
Who knows if I will give in to the temptation? I never know until I am sitting in front of the machine and starting to play.
So I‚Äôll just have to keep you posted on what #4 looks like at delivery.
FABRIC FABRIC FABRIC FABRIC FABRIC FABRIC FABRIC FABRIC FABRIC FABRIC FABRIC FABRIC FABRIC FABRIC FABRIC FABRIC FABRIC FABRIC FABRIC FABRIC
|LINK TO SEE MARCY'S FABRIC COLLECTION
New fabric is arriving all the time. Bookmark this page and check back often. Let me know what kinds of fabric you are looking for and I'll add it to my fabric shopping list.
|Favorite Patterns of 2008
This is my list of my favorite patterns from 2008...the ones I've made again and again and loved to wear.
|Vogue 8430My best selling pattern uses felted wool in the photos on the envelope, but has been successfully made in other fabrics like linen and denim. It makes an easy vest too (I add a dart at the armhole). Fit it to your figure, the pattern runs large as it is a jacket designed to wear over other garments|
|Click and scroll down to see other versions of V 8430|
|Vogue 8497I've made at least a dozen versions of the t-shirts in this pattern. The more times I make it, the more ideas for variations pop up. It is fast, easy and fun sewing and designing once you have the pattern sized for you. |
|Link to other versions of V8497|
|Vogue 8499This is one of my favorite basic pants. I adjust the fit and length to the fabric and the season. For a closer to the body fit, you can take in the back seam as well as the side seam. I've made it in linen, denim, microfiber and cotton, wear it in winter with boots, in summer with sandals. |
An updated, darted version of a kimono, this little shaped unlined jacket slims and adds shape to the figure. I have versions in linen, cotton tulle & washed taffeta. I made it as a vest in brown silk & metal taffeta as a pivotal piece in my travel-to-Paris wardrobe, adding invisible inside pockets.
|Click to see V8454 as a vest, and scroll down to see jackets in other fabrications|
|Click and scroll down to see my version of V2949|
|Vogue 8397This trio of pants are the basics in my wardrobe. Once you have the fitting under control, the sewing is fast, easy and fun. All have elastic waists, but not a lot of fullness in the hip, so fit with care. The center view with shaped side is designed for knits, but I make it in stretch wovens: I add 1" at the side seams and then fit as I sew. |
|Santa Cruz Jacket & Vest
From Diane Ericson, this is one of the all time great patterns with endless possibilities. I have 3 versions in my own wardrobe.
|Link to Diane's website to see other versions of the Santa Cruz|
|Vogue 8520This is a beautiful coat or jacket. Peggy Abrams made the short jacket in black cashmere for our Paris trip and it was fabulous, very au courant, it was just the kind of cool little jackets we saw in Parisian boutiques. Would be wonderful in linen for spring.|
|Vogue 8151Both versions of this Sandra Betzina pattern are superb. If you do not have it in your collection, I recommend that you add it. The plain t-shirt is one of my favorite basics, and the surplice wrap flatters all figures. 5 stars!!!|
|Easy Guide to Sewing Tops, T-Shirts, Skirts & Pants
Book Release on January 13
New Marcy Tilton Pant & Skirt Pattern
Releases January 5
|The skirt is slightly flared, with bias inset panels. Here I used a stretch rayon/lycra. The other version uses a stripe, and the bias pieces show to great advantage. Next up for me, is to make the skirt using a collage of different fabrics.|
|Cropped pant has a smooth fitting waist, inset angle pockets and back zipper. Darts and hem band narrow the width with an interesting design detail. I used a stretch cotton poplin. Great in any stretch woven, have used stretch linen, striped stretch cotton and next, I plan to make it in a microfiber knit|
Marcy Tilton Tops Pattern
Releases January 5
All 3 tops and tanks use knits and variations on a theme of raw edges and double needles. Fun and easy to make, the simple designs will become favorite basics in your wardrobe.
|Twisted Band Instructions
Check out the NEW Tutorials listing on Marcy's website. Learn how to do the twisted band used at the neck and armhole in this pattern.
|Elegant simplicity in black knit microfiber. |
|Front edge detail. The pin tucking adds weight to the edge as well as design detailing.|
|Pintucking detail at the center back hem edge. Note that all edges are left raw. I trimmed a scant 1/8" all around the jacket after it was all completed.|
|This shows how the stitching is done, using a double needle with wooly nylon in the bobbin. The stitching line is marked as shown here---the secret is to start stitching in the center and work out from there, making each line parallel with the next.|
|This version is made in ivory cotton/lycra knit with a mesh edging. I used a bit of silk screening in black and silver, using our Riffle silk screen|
|Shows the garment in process. I used two silk screens to punch out the flat surface of the ivory cotton-lycra knit: tone-on-tone dots in pearl white, and stripes in soft black and silver.|
|This photo shows the silk screening process. I am screening the two front edges, and am applying the paint in irregular bolcks of color|
|Shows applying the sheer net edging fabric being applied to the neck edge. First, the neck edge is staystitched to stabilize and prevent stretching. Then the edging is placed UNDER the raw neck edge and stitched in place using a double needle. |
|Top and tank in silver and black microfiber knit with a contrast edging in a black lightweight knit with a tone on tone woven stripe.|
|Love the back hem detail. |
|Detail showing edge with double needle stitching. Note that the edges are light and airy, no rippling.|
|Twisted band detail on the tank.|
|Silver & Black Stripe Knit: was $18, now $10|
Some sewing details and ideas found in Parisian ready to wear for you to try in your hand made clothes.
|Padded collar with circular stitching and fabric button.|
|Rectangular fabric buttons.|
|Button in layers of polar fleece.|
|The buttonholes are decorative, but the pocket is functional, the flap is the equivalent of a single welt. It is all about experimenting and playing to see how a classic technique can be tweaked inventively.|
|Snaps, woven tape and stitching detail on a Chloe coat.|
|Detail from a vest showing how to use the decorative stitches on your sewing machine with French chic.|
|Decorative stitching directly on top of a seam. Check out the photo below to see how it is sewn---from the back side with a loose tension.|
|Shows the stitching from the back side....the same stitch, but with a loosened tension, which is used on the right side.|
|Button detail on an man's pant. Love the punch of the colors on the neutral fabric.|
|Cuff detail using decorator silk fabric.|
|New Silk Screens
Here is a look at a few new silk screens, click on the link below to see all the new postings.
|Link to see new silk screen designs|
|Thank you from ReAnn Scott
....to all the wonderful, generous women from all over the United States who boxed up and sent such a plethora of sewing fabrics, supplies, books and patterns for my ladies here on St. Kitts. The tears that flowed and the glorious smiles that opening those boxes generated were worth every penny you spent on postage. I can't wait to see the results these gifts generate over the holidays and will be sure to post pictures on my blog, http://www.reanninstkitts.blogspot.com What's really interesting is that
the majority of the women on the island, because they have had no access to paper patterns, can look at a picture and just start cutting, pinning, darting and sewing. To me, who grew up on patterns, this is an amazing feat! But now they all want to learn how to use the patterns you've sent - so thank to you, I have an additional, brand new class starting in mid-January.
If I could send hugs by email, each of you would receive one for your kindness. If you can, please keep your sewing donations coming. What has been sent and received before Christmas has already been dispersed and being put to good use. Please feel free to email me with any questions you might have - I really enjoy chatting about life here on St. Kitts as a 'old-timer' Peace Corps volunteer. email@example.com
U. S. Peace Corps
P.O. Box 246 - College Housing Project
St. Kitts, WI
|Last, but not least.......a website that inspires me!|
Inventive knit clothes, (Protective gear for your internal revolution), .made by the designer, who says: "I'm Helen. Secret Lentil is me. I shop for source materials, design and make each piece, do the laundry, take the pictures, write the words, update the website, send out the mailing list, pack the boxes, sweep the floor and make the coffee. I also drink the coffee. Secret Lentil Headquarters just moved into a big drafty warehouse studio in Syracuse NY.
The floors are all buckled and I roll around in my chair like Dr. Evil. My studio seems to have more sun than the rest of the city, a mystery I am contemplating daily. You should visit me."
The next time I'm in Syracuse, I want to visit Helen's studio. Love her clothes, her imagination and her sense of humor!