Another cat

After making the bear using Cuddle fabric, I wanted to make more. So I went back to Paulas’ cat pattern to make another cat.

These are the scraps, yup, even cuddle sheds like crazy, but it’s not flimsy like most minky fabrics.I went through a lot of these lint roller sheets.I like using a touch of quilting fabric and since the person who is getting this cat doesn’t have any small children, I can use these eyes.Flat cat.Begining to bulk up.I used more than one bag of polyfill. I think it’s because of the Cuddle fabric, it has more give than quilting cotton.Love how the tail stands up in the air.I love working with Cuddle, people are making garments with this, but I’m just loving it for stuffed animals. Which means I’ll probably be making more soon.And here’s the label.Two critters together, I may be giving the fox as a gift as well….




Making a fox

I have a real weak spot for making three-dimensional objects from fiber, be it sewing or knitting.  A while ago I discovered Paula from Funky Friends Factory, She has the cutest animals around.I have already made the cat, now onto Fifi the Fox.  I have no idea if I am giving this away or keeping it for myself. I guess it won’t be a baby gift since I’ve put on those ‘safety eyes’. They aren’t safe, doesn’t matter how I install them, even if I add glue to the process – a baby can chew those eyes off. The body is complete, just waiting for the stuffing.What a difference fiber-fill makes!!  I have made many stuffed animals, some better than others. Paula has a real understanding about the shapes and how to render them flat and yet, they sew up into remarkable three-dimensional creatures.It’s a small thing, but the ears have real personality.I need to order more labels.Just to leave you with a happy smile.

I’m already working on another one, this time, it’s already got a recipient.



Honey bear

When Eyal was born I made him a cat from the wonderful Pauline at FunkyFriendsFactory. Recently I signed up for her weekly newsletter, mainly to get the free pattern, Honey Bear.

I had heard that Cuddle, the minky fabric made by Shannon Fabrics is wonderful for stuffed toys.

Look what I found at Candy’s Quilt Emporium. She carries a lot of Cuddle and fake fur. For my first try, I wanted something as simple as possible.First let me say, there is fuzz with this fabric, but it wasn’t shedding all over the place.Paula has a simple trick for making sure the muzzle stays stuffed. Here he is, all put together, now to stuff! I have to say, two years ago I made a hippo out of knit fabric. I had seen the sample at a booth at Quilt Con. I guess I should have used interfacing, the thing grew and was completely out of proportion. The knit backing on the Cuddle isn’t like that at all, there is some give, but in general, stuffing was easy and I ended up with a nice firm little bear.Remember about a year and a half ago I made a flying bunny? That was Trapeze Bunny, unfortunately, he got lost before he was gifted. Such things happen. Anyway, the shape of this bear reminds me of that bunny.Look at that face! As much as I love keeping many of my stuffed creations, this fellow will be gifted to a new baby. Therefore I couldn’t use beads or doll eyes. I embroidered both the eyes and the nose.No sitting up here, but he sure is warm and cuddly. Yup, I put my name on him.And the back view.

Now, off to the website to see other patterns. I already bought a fox pattern, which I will probably make out of quilting cotton. I know for sure, I want to make more of these out of Cuddle or even the fake fur!





Japanese cultural village

Have I mentioned how much I love LA? Always something new to discover, often with the help of the Atlas Obscura.

On a gloomy Sunday in June, I went off the the Arts District downtown for an adventure.Waiting for everyone to arrive, I started taking pictures of the surrounding buildings. The Arts District is famous for it’s murals and street art. Little did I know that we were headed inside this building... to be greeted by 5000 square feet of this.Since this was an industrial building with high ceilings, Peter built an interior roof.Now we get to why I love cultural appropriation – as it is called today. (in my youth we just called it the melting pot and celebrated the fact that we were all welcome to share in one another’s culture). Peter Lai is a Chinese man from Hong Kong. For many years he was quite the flamboyant designer, once here in America, he left his family tradition of designing for Chinese theater and TV and designed high-end couture for a clientele in San Marino. He also developed a love for everything Japanese, especially the Kabuki theater.  So he built a miniature Japanese village in his loft. He is an avid collector, here showing us an old store register, listing the inventory and what has sold.Everywhere one looks there is stuff! I realized quickly that his inspiration is Japanese theater – not the sparse simple design we associate with Japan. In the fall he is going to take a practical exam to become an official Kabuki dancer. He has been dancing for 17 years, his Mentor is 95 years old, if he is going to pass his exam, he has to do it soon.A Temari ball caught my eye. He tends to collect many items, this was the only such ball that I saw.He did have a basket full of Darumas.  A few words about Kabuki, traditionally it was performed only by men, in the early 20th century it opened to women as well. Guess what happened? The men left, today there are hardly any male Kabuki dancers, so when Peter becomes official, he will be the first male Kabuki dancer in his studio in a very long time.

A few words about Kabuki, traditionally it was performed only by men, in the early 20th century it opened to women as well. Guess what happened? The men left, today there are hardly any male Kabuki dancers, so when Peter becomes official, he will be the first male Kabuki dancer in his studio in a very long time.In this space there is of course, a theater for performances, I think it can hold 45 people. In front of some of the seating cushions, were bento boxes wrapped in the Furoshiki technique, a delight for the textile crafter in me.Peter isn’t a purist, he is theatrical! Behind him is a Chinese opium bed. He is holding the original high heel shoe – for a man! Next to him is a Chinese garment, turns out he found the skirt but couldn’t find a matching top, so he removed the bands off the back of the skirt and incorporated them into a matching jacket. A purist would cringe, but for Peter, unless he is taking the Kabuki exam, anything goes. He has performed his dances for local audiences here, and as long as he doesn’t call it pure Kabuki, he feels he combine what he wants. I like his attitude!There is a dressing and makeup room, full of wigs, hair ornaments and face makeup. I zoomed in on the many combs used for the wigs. He even modeled a young man’s wig as well as an older mans’ wig. This one was gray and had a large bald spot on the top!I think Betty Boop loves her new costume!  Most of the kimonos he owns are for the theater, not street wear or even wedding kimonos. I could tell because of the garish colors and the heavy use of gold and silver thread. All this is very necessary on stage, but would be considered gauche in everyday life.From early teens until late 20s’ Peter worked in the family theatrical costume workshop. It was then sold and went out of business, so Peter has had to buy back costumes the family made. He should be a consultant on any production of Chinese movie made here in America, he knows the difference between all the dynasties and what they wore. While he still had his clothing store in San Marino, he would often remove such a dragon and put in on a lovely evening jacket.What a workroom! For him this is small, he no longer is making clothes but is still updating items and making a new costume here and there. He is selling off fabric, buttons, and trims.It was so nice to see a solid industrial Juki still at work.Anyone who visits the studio is welcome to buy one of his creations for a very steep discount.Just to show you how eclectic he is, this steampunk mask would sell for a very nice price!  I don’t think this was for sale.





It’s that time of year again, the movie costume show at FIDM

Once again I went with some fabric and costume loving friends to FIDM. One of them was a professor of costume design – can’t get better company than that! I’m not mentioning which films, because in most cases I don’t know. The only one I saw was La La Land, and the costumes were nothing to write home about.I am sharing only a few images of the full garments, I’m finding that it’s the details I love. Sure on a big screen this is what pops out at you.But this is what pops out at me, the details. The materials used, the subtlety, the effect that light has.The amazingness of silk. Just using different silks, slight changes in the shades of color. A little fabric manipultion, and we are ready to go!The fantasy films are where the mens’ costumes thrive. Really what can you do with a business suit? But create a fantasy warrior and go to town on the textures! Yes, that is a red cape, which highlights all of the wonderful braid, fabric and leather.Leather, coarsely woven fabric, andmetallicc embroidery! As well as some fur. Who says men can’t have fun?A closer look, metal work and some bright purple silk. I’m sorry the focus isn’t great. I can’t use my flash. But I think you get the idea.The robe is made of those ball chains. For some reason I adore those chains. So to see a full length garment made out of them! Swoon! Really I need to see the movie to see how it moves, but I forgot which on it is.

OK, this is from Alice Through the looking Glass.  We immediately decided that the nettle that the Red Queen is wearing (maybe it’s not the Red Queen, I’m just making a guess here), was made on a three D printer. I don’t know if this is Alice, what I do know is the colors and the Chinese influences are wonderful.I love when a designer references the source but does her own thing. In this case it is Colleen Atwood, she costumed at least three of the movies in the show. In a you-tube video she discusses this outfit with it’s handwork and Chinese influence.Love the shoes!!! The eel is too high for me, but oh my, these are gorgeous.Alongside the movie costumes there is always a smaller exhibit. In this case costumes and clothes from the 1920s. This dress was used in the Orient Express. I would wear it today! A knit dress with embroidery and insets. The detail! The color! I want this dress!

So if you have a chance, get over to FIDM, this year the exhibit is excellent. Probably because of Colleen Atwood, but not only her. Last year was very meh. This being the 25th year they really went after the best costumes the movies had to offer.


Pattern testing

Sara Lawson of Sewsweetness is the master of purse and bag patterns. She sent out a call for pattern testers. Of course, I signed up, I have enjoyed making her patterns and thought it would be fun to get in on the ground floor.P1140480Not an easy one, the Cumberland backpack. I decided to try the larger size. I tried to stay true to her requirements, but later in the process, I realized that I have the wrong mesh. This may have caused problems for me, since what she called for is lighter and thinner.P1140481I didn’t take a lot of in process photos. I will say right here, that I had a problem fitting the center band to the front and back. Of course I worked things out so those little pleats that aren’t supposed to be there – aren’t very noticeable.P1140483I can’t sing the praises of how Sara designs these bags. She really thinks of every detail and all the hardware makes the backpack look very professional.P1140526There are no interior shots, because my inside finishing is not the neatest.P1140527Except for the front pouch with it’s lovely inserted zipper.P1140524I know, as a home sewer, I shouldn’t expect the perfection of a mass produced product. I don’t, certainly not on my very first try. Most people will never notice the imprefections, I just mentioned them to Sara so she would know where I had problems. That is part of testing.P1140526All in all, a lovely backpack, but what to do with it? IMG_5486Give it to a very happy six-year-old.IMG_5484It still is a little big, but she will grow into it.13876202_10155132455722729_7593638263957416404_nThe next day she loaded it up with toys and went over to her friends house to play. I can’t think of a better compliment!  I love it when people use my gifts.

I don’t recommend this a first bag, but Sara has so many wonderful patterns. From easy to difficult. Go over to her blog and give one a try. If you are like me, you will rapidly advance to her more complicated patterns – she is that good of a teacher and her patterns are very well written. Pattern shop.


Art of Television costume design.

TV shows on the independent channels, like Netflix and Amazon, are so much better than movies these days. The same can be said about the costuming for TV shows.  FIDM has been putting on the movie costume show for 26 years, the TV Costume show is celebrating it’s the tenth year, and it is so much better than the movie show.IMG_4678I’ll start with Outlander. No, I haven’t seen the show, I hated the first book and left it at that. But this isn’t about the show itself, it’s about the costumes. I was with my friend Ruth who taught costume design, she thought she was boring me with the details. I loved it. She said the 18th-century silhouette is here and is captured beautifully. As for the embroidery – that is a modern embellishment.IMG_4680This man’s waistcoat is a sight to behold.IMG_4682From the embroidered images I’m thinking bad guy?  The Designer certainly knows her illuminated manuscripts very well. Both the bird and the bat are straight from medieval European manuscriptsNo one ever saw those teeth on TV, which is why these shows are so wonderful, getting such a close-up view of very well made costumes.IMG_4686Since Cumberbatch wasn’t part of the show, the only thing we care about is the Deer Stalker hat – that wasn’t in any of the books.IMG_4688I think this was mid to late 19th century. Of course, for me, it’s about the details.IMG_469120’s style dress, great use of bias tape.IMG_4704Ruth complained about this set, it will look flat on camera she said. She is right, here is my image from my camera and the dresses have no depth, even though they have great detail in real life.IMG_4700Fantasy shows are always fun (I think this is from Defiance) take the Scottish Highland outfit, kilt and all, but knock it up about ten notches. IMG_4701Wool, leather, snakeskin, an amulet from the Himalayas (or a facsimile of one).  Once again, a pleasure to see up close.IMG_4697The joy of Sci-fi is as much in the costumes as in the story.IMG_4698Someone had a lot of fun working this leather.IMG_4702Someone else had a blast distressing all of these items of clothing. This I do know is from the Walking Dead. But was it worn by a zombie or someone trying desperately to stay alive?IMG_4713Killer nails, fake of course but part of the hand, not the glove, the glove has holes at the tips of the nails.IMG_4714Men’s costumes rarely get the love the ladies receive. So I’m always looking at the details. I’m thinking this would fly off the shelves given half a chance.

The show is running through October, do yourself a favor and go!


zippered bag

The Valley Modern Quilt guild is having a zippered bag exchange. Those of us who chose to participate brought in a fat quarter of our fabric, and we traded the fabrics. What kind of bag we made was entirely up to us – as long a there is a zipper involved.IMG_5270Here is my choice of fabric, Ruth will be making my bag.IMG_5271and here is what I got from Denise, we both chose dots.

Every so often I actually go back and look at my pinterest boards and pick a project. There was a very interesting bag that caught my eye. There even were instructions, along with a zipper it called for an interesting metal frame.P1140952

I made a practice bag, things went wonky, so I threw it out and found another pinterest post that gave better instructions.  I decided on another trial run.P1140954This one worked very well.P1140956I stabilized the bag with Soft and Stable and as you can see, it opens wide and stays open.P1140955I have used up most of these labels, time to order new one.

So now it was time to use the fabric Denise gave me.P1140989I used some star fabric along with the dots.  P1140986The frames is longer but not as deep.P1140988So the bag doesn’t open as wide, but it is still very functional, I added some internal pockets as well.P1150393Denise likes her bag, I will share the bag I got in another post.


Print Lab, another Atlas Obscura adventure 

This time the adventure was in my back yard, in the industrial area of North Hollywood. Visiting factories is fun, of course the Obscura society made it more so by having us acrTively involved 

Tommy Galinas, the founder of this T-shirt printing company. American ingenuity at its best. What started as a way to make a few bucks without working too hard. Has become a large production enterprise that employs family and 60 other people as well 

 Son Shane is one of the graphic designers. Our project as to approve a design for a t shirt, we would follow it from inception to finished shirt. The front would have the Atlas Obscure logo, the back, the gps coordinates and the unique date of 16.6.16

Examples of shirts, from simple 3 screen, to 14 screen.  Using half tones it is possible to achieve photo realism. 

I am always impressed with the ingenuity of businessmen. Using a printer designed for the large banner industry, adapting it to screen printing purposes. Our first transparency is created. 

Things moved along quickly, a screen is shot and cleaned. 

Tommy is all about efficiency, colors are chosen with the Pantone color chart, so he has all the colors made up ready for immediate use. That takes a lot of time, but allows him to produce samples quickly. 

Choosing the red.

Comparing reds 

The actual printer 

Watching another job. Printing a sleeve, since it’s a dark shirt, first they lay a white background 

Adding the red 

Printing done, it gets baked in a very hot oven and then is ready to be packed and shipped. This is a full service shop, once the shirts are done its up to Print Lab to see the order gets to its final destination. 

The Obscura logo gets its first white underlay.

Red over white.

We were offered either black or grey shirts. On the right is the red over white underlay, we all agreed that the logo looks better without he white 

It was necessary on the black shirt. The gold would have been lost otherwise.

Interesting day and I got a nice new t-shirt. 


Quilt Stores in the southland

This past month I have visited quite a few local quilt stores. Of course Sew Modern where the LAMQG meets monthly.  P1130090I buy a lot of fabric here, usually from the sales bins or shelves. Yes, I’m still interested in woodland creatures.

Then there is Quilt Emporium in Woodland Hills.  I used to go there many years ago.P1130091I bought this fabric about 18 years ago, just as before I went on my quilting hiatus. This and a few other Arts and Crafts inspired fabrics. I was going to make a quilt, so I bought about 3 yards, I used up the other fabric long ago, this one has lasted a long time.PicMonkey CollageLast year I made this bag for a friend from the fabric.P1090839This summer I ‘rediscovered’ the shop, new owner, but still a great place to find more traditional fabric as well as Civil War reproductions.  I made this hat and our new ValleyMQG had it’s first meeting here. We are too big to meet in the store, so we had to move out.

Then there is Candy’s Quiltworks, despite not having a web presence this store is doing very well. They have the largest batik selection anywhere.  They also have a very impressive  selection of fabric by theme, which is very helpful to me, since my son informed me that the newest grandson will have a space themed room.P1130082

I found all of these at Candy’s, other stores simply aren’t carrying any space themed fabric.  I should have started here! The two fabrics in the upper right corner are from the sale section and yes, I have a fabric addiction.

While visiting my friend in Orange County we stopped into Flying Geese Fabric in Tustin. P1130085What can I say, lately I’m drawn to the reproduction fabrics, maybe because my instagram feed is is inundated with all the new modern lines, my eye wants something different.

And finally, I was in Torrance and visited the amazing Momen+ fabric store, with many Japanese fabric. Yeah, you could say I went overboard.  I’m taking a class at Road to California, so I bought some lovely fabric.P1130083I will need to add from my stash, which is great, since I don’t like a quilt to only represent one style of fabric.

P1130084And then I bought fabric for garments. The red will become a summer shirt and I couldn’t resist the rayon Crepe. This fabric is soooo hard to find anywhere. The Jobbers never sell it to the downtown stores since the small manufactures grab it instantly!  Lucky for me I like this print, so this too will become a summer dress.

I really need to get up to Ventura to visit Super Buzzy.