Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fabric Friends

These are fabrics with stories.  Stories about women brought together through friendship, moving, illness and death.

The task of going through another women's closet.  Receiving a box of carefully folded and bagged fabric of projects left undone.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Safe Arrival

Quote from baby's mom

As soon as i opened the package I took pictures of Violette enjoying the mat.  She played for a bit, and then i wrapped her up in it and she fell asleep almost immediately (which is saying A LOT she hasn't slept at all today and it's already 5pm).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Starry, Starry Nights

We last left off with a visit from my fellow fabric hoarder, my mother-in-law, Diana.  Diana organized, packed and delivered stacks of fabric which I now have draped around my sewing area.  I'm planning to get busy and find some storage but, for now, the fabric is staying sprawled around the room.  I like to fondle it.

Playing with the new fabric result in a creative frenzy .  Starry, Starry Nights - already mailed off to welcome a new baby boy.

Sewing is a contemplative, solo sport which suits me well but every so often I get curious and want to see what others are doing.  I've recently joined Meet-Up and  - WOW - I've lived in LA my entire life and, while I know there is always a lot going on - Meet-Up is the way to be a part of all the happenings and connect.

From the Meet-Up site, I found a group called "Etsy Mob".  All you creative folks probably already know about Etsy but I'm a newcomer.  Thanks to D. @ http://www.hellboundheretic.com/ for encouraging me to check out Etsy.  I made D's son one of my first futons.

I planning to get together with the Etsy folks at the Urban Creative Center in Santa Monica.

Meet-Up - http://www.meetup.com
Urban Craft Center - http://www.theurbancraftcenter.com/

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Paisley Futon Reveal

Took a break on Thursday but got back to work yesterday.  Here is my latest creation.  I love it and love knowing a sweet baby will enjoy it soon.  I propped it up on a pillow so you can see the thickness.  Not too fluffy but still soft; more of mat than a duvet.

Ribbon Edging.  Nice detail.

Here I am making final adjustments to the insert and the cover.

Remember, at the beginning of this series, I said I was interested in learning from other's artist process?  The next photos give some perspective about process.  At least, my process which is full of mistakes.

I'd forgotten to include my most prized sewing implement -
It's the short sharp pointy thing in the middle. 
Look closely at the photo - there are 3 layers of fabric - a light blue layer, a dark pink paisley layer and a light  "wrong side" pink paisley.  "Wrong side" is seamstress talk for the other side of the dark "right side".

The mistake here is the three layers. Usually you sew two layers with their right sides together.  Ah, there should not be a third layer clumped up underneath.  Creative process (sounds so much better than being an idiot) being what it is, sometimes there's a party going on downstairs and you don't know it until turning the piece over and find there's been a mutiny.

I used to feel discouraged when this would happen.  It was the simplest of skills - sew two pieces of fabric together.  The basics.  Straight line.  Not a big deal.  But, once again, there it would be.  The dreaded 3 layer pile-up.

It was in my quilting classes that I learned to sit back, put up my feet and get to work with my seam ripper.  The perfect quilter ladies tore out seams all the time.  Not even for mistakes but just because they didn't like the look of a seam.  Seam ripping is part of the zen of sewing.  Don't let it throw you.

Back to work.  Smoothly ironed, straightened fabric held loosely but firm.  People sew for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes, they want a specific item.  Sometimes, they find a fabric they love.  For me, I sew for the touch and feel of the fabric.  It's great to be able to create a finished product - to say "I made that" but sewing is very frustrating and, in the long run,  I have to like touching the fabric.  The end result is just the result.

That's it for the Pink Paisley Futon. It's journey has it going onward to Canada.  

 My mother-in-law is coming on Tuesday with containers of more fabric. I can't wait to see what she brings and am inspired to start on another futon.  

Keeping with my artistic inspiration theme my plan is to post about sewing centers, stores and resources in Southern California.  Check back to find out about places you can sew and create your own projects.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Preparation - Gathering Supplies

The Paisley fabric with light blue trim got the go ahead.

Excited to move forward I laid out my materials.  Fabric, mattress pad insert and blue fabric - screeching halt. The blue fabric is stained.  Someday, I will learn to store my fabrics properly but that's not today.

Determined to use the blue fabric, I spend the evening pursuing the art of stain removal.  No, I'm not getting paid for product placement - although, I wouldn't refuse the offer.

Choosing fabric and designing are the obviously creative aspects of sewing.  I also love the machinery and tools of the trade.  Everything about sewing is in the iron.  Ironing can literally smooth out a variety of problems.  Your iron needs to be clean, sewing machine needs a sharp needle, two pairs of scissors saves sanity.  Winding the bobbin seems boring but is part of the deal.  My sewing machine is nothing fancy.  It's lightweight so I can take it to classes and we get along well.

I sew at a table my grandfather made for my grandmother.  After she passed, he and my cousin packed it up and drove from Ohio to California to deliver it to me.

I'll start sewing after lunch.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Birth of a Baby Futon

I've always been interested in other's artistic process.  I've decided to document how I go about working with a client in selecting the fabric and then the steps in making the futon.

For this futon, I want to use fabric I've collected through the years.  Using fabric I already have brings back memories of my mother and grandmother.  While I've taken many sewing classes since junior high school, my initial drive to create and take on a project can be traced back to these two woman. They were from the generation who sewed because their children needed clothing; I'm thankful that I got to be carried along and learn from their skills and confidence.

Here's the e-mail and photo, I sent the mom - I'll keep come back and update you as we progress.

I'm attaching a couple of fabric choices for you.  Unfortunately, I don't have any lavender/violet in my fabric collection but I love these other choices I'm sending.  None of the colors are overly strong/bright.
1.  Greenish/blue with white flowers
2.  Green and yellow flowers
3.  Pinkish paisley with light blue trim

Let me know if any of them work for you.  Best, Laura

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Marimekko Futon

This first futon was made from fabric designed by the exquisite  Marimekko.

I have to admit that while I always liked Marimekko design, I didn't truly appreciate it until sewing this futon. My mother-in-law (a fellow fabric addict) had given me the fabric years ago and it had been stored in my closet patiently waiting for a home.

The quality of the fabric is tactile in its vibrant color and density - the yardage is from 1962 and looks as though it was woven yesterday.

A sweet happy baby enjoying my first Marimekko Baby Futon.

More Marimekko

Summer Sewing - Aug 2010

Baby Futons were born from my work as an early childhood educator working with infants and toddlers. Babies like to be on the floor and the caregivers used thin blankets or sheets to help keep the baby clean while playing or sleeping.  I thought a mat might give some softness but not too much fluffiness.  Babies need a firm surface to be able to push themselves up and move around.

I designed the futons using an envelope fold method.  The design is based on the traditional Japanese futon I slept on while living in Japan.  Japanese design is all about folding; think origami paper folding.

The baby futons are simple to care for - machine wash and dry.  The insert is about the thickness of a mattress pad and easily removed for washing. There are no buttons, snaps or zippers.

This first group of baby futons were created from fabrics collected over a number of years.

Most of the time, I'll be posting about baby futons and sewing projects but every so often I'll throw in some pieces about my travels and other interests. Contact me here if you'd like to buy a baby futon.  Each futon is individually designed so prices vary according to the specific futon and fabric I use - usually about $50.00.

That's me sitting in the giant Bird's Nest at the Pacific Grove Museum of History garden in Pacific Grove, California.
Check it out.

Nest Artist - Jayson Fann