This past week...

...has been full of everything - except sewing or any other creative endeavor.  I have been able to keep up with my self-imposed '(almost!) daily photo journal project'...
This project was begun April 3, 2014 and is designed to be an incentive to better my photography skills.  Most photos are taken on our property, and those that are taken elsewhere are noted as such.  All represent 'something' from that particular day in my life.  Loving the outdoors and wanting to be a 'Nature Detective' this project is also proving an almost daily education in nature.

Easter Sunday morning, my husband and I hiked to the top of Sassafras Mountain, with our sassafras hiking sticks he'd made and enjoyed a grand view.  If you look closely, you will see my lovely 'jewelry' at the top that spells my name.   :)    At 3,553', this is the highest elevation in our state of South Carolina, USA.  I wore my chocolate brown NEWLOOK 6216 pants and refashioned shirt and was the most comfortable hiking ever.  We put in at a trailhead near the summit, so did not hike the entire 'climb' this trip.  There's more about the hike at our family's journal.
Hopefully next week I'll have another garment to share.  Meanwhile, hope everyone else has had a more productive week!  Happy Sewing All!


Shetland Lace Scarf is finished!

This odd cold snap we're experiencing, gives me a last minute chance to wear my new scarf.  
This scarf was officially begun in February 2014 and as this is not a difficult pattern at all, methinks I'm just a slow knitter.  Can you tell I adore my poncho?!
The yarn has all of the colors of nature woven through, with just a touch of metallic thread here and there for a little sparkle.  It took me about halfway through to get used to knitting with this ornerous separating thread, and after that had no problem at all.  It finished at 7 1/2" x 82". 
I really like this easy, yet pretty, lace pattern.  It looks a lot more complicated to knit than it was.  Next time I will choose a thinner yarn in a solid color, knitted on smaller needles, so the pattern will be more obvious.  There's a little more about the Shetland Lace Scarf on my ravelry page.

And for those that might be interested, I've added a big button to the pocket of my poncho.  Now, it's perfect!
Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!


a self-drafted floaty top

I've made a new self-drafted floaty poncho top.
Yesterday was my 54th birthday and earlier this week I decided I wanted to make a new 'something' for my birthday.  I'd fallen in love with Beth's poncho top she made in March for her MAGAM garment and had purchased this very sheer, very see-through fabric from Wal-Mart with that top in mind.  With recent temps in the hot mid-80s, I thought a floaty poncho top coupled with a tank or cami underneath would be a perfect birthday outfit.  Then, how dare a cold front move in the day before my birthday bringing cold and dreary rain coupled with 15 degrees below normal temps.  Thankfully, and gratefully, my birthday dawned a gorgeous blue-sky sunny day, though breezy, chilly and in the mid-50sF, so I paired this top with my long-sleeve Alabama Chanin inspired top underneath, and my brown NL6216 pants.  I wore my poncho coat too, and felt quite special as my sweet husband took the day off to spend with me in our local bigger town of Greenville, South Carolina eating out and enjoying a 'city' day. 
So simple to make.  The hardest part was squaring up my slippery-slidey material. 
These photos were taken today, the day after my birthday, and I struggled to get the lighting right.  *sigh*  Feel like I have a lot to learn in photography skills. I even tried taking photos in the later afternoon light.  I changed my pants to see how the top would look with Simplicity 7131 khaki pants.
I checked the link Beth linked to in her post, but basically ended up using that as 'inspiration' and did my own thing.  I cut the neck using the NL6735's as a sort-of template..... really eyeballing it more than anything after finding the true center of my fabric.
I used the entire 1 1/2 yards of 44/45" wide fabric I'd purchased.  The selvage edges are the 'sides' and it was really tricky to square-up and cut-straight the 'hem'.   The side seams are french seams and I left @10 1/2" opening for the 'sleeves' opening.  The sleeve hems are the selvage edges.  I figured with the floatiness, that wouldn't look much different than if I'd actually sewn a narrow rolled hem.
The best 'accident' was when I wasn't keen on changing out all the white already-threaded serger threads, so only threaded a brown and a dark blue in the two loopers, leaving the two white threads in the double needles and look what a great 'finish' it became!  My intent was to turn under after serging, but liked this look on both the neckline and the hem so much, I left it this way. 
Our neighbor's adolescent chicken (a Barred Rock breed) wandered up and I couldn't resist playing with her a little.  This poor little thing travelled a fair distance, up a hill and through deep woods to come a'visiting.
She's so sweet!  Our flock of chickens absolutely do not know what to think of this newcomer.  Hard to believe they were this little once.
I've worn this little top a couple of days in a row now, and love, love, love it!  It's such a fun, floaty, breezy top and will still be perfect for those hot summer days with something sleeveless underneath.

Cost:  1 1/2 yards of fabric @$2.97/yard = $4.50
Self-drafted:  Free!  and   Fun!


Alabama Chanin's book 'Alabama Studio Sewing + Design' on sale now!

Just a quick post to let all those other folks out there, who love Alabama Chanin as much as I do, know that her book is now on sale for $28.00.  She will autograph it if you ask.... and yes, I asked and I can hardly wait to receive my copy!  With my birthday on the calendar for tomorrow, what a great way to spend the birthday money my Dad gave me.  Soon, I'll be able to make the 'real' Alabama Chanin garments.  :) 


Tapestry and Tablecloth

A new Pineapple Tapestry wallhanging.
Remember all that Thrift Store Fabric - 'everything for $10'?  This is the photo below from that post, and see that gorgeous Pineapple Tapestry panel right there on top?...
...I love it!  The pineapple has long been known as the symbol of hospitality.
To complete this wallhanging, I put the 'creative' restriction on myself that everything had to come from the Thrift Store Fabric.  Methinks I should start calling it the 'Treasure Box'.  :)
For some reason, I really scratched my head over this one.  I did a lot of searching online in hopes of finding this pineapple tapestry panel, or one similar, finished off.  The pineapple already had a 'frame of the ivy wrapped around the bamboo and I wasn't sure if adding another border would look strange.  Not finding another panel online of a border-within-a-border, I went into my photo editing software, cropped the photo I'd taken of the panel and digitally added a brown border, photo below, to get an idea of what it might look like.  At this point, I also tried out other colors for the border, but the chocolate brown made the tapestry complete.
Thought it'd be fun to compare the digital 'idea' on the left, below, with the completed panel on the right.
There was a remnant of a gorgeous chocolate brown velvet in my Treasure Box.  :)
And a half hour was pleasantly spent 'playing' with my machine's decorative stitches until this particular stitch was chosen because not only was it such a pretty stitch complementing the panel's vines and bamboo, but it 'caught' the raw edges of the brown velvet just right.  This took care of any 'bulk seam' problem if I attached the velvet any other way.  The 2" brown velvet strips were stitched directly to the tapestry panel with a gold rayon thread that had a little 'sheen'.  Kept it simple with just inner and outer stitches on the velvet border.
The hanging sleeve I made came from the Treasure Box too, so I kept true to my self-imposed 'creative' restriction.  The hanging hardware came from Wal-Mart for $2.97.   One more look.  You can see our light-filled entryway to the left, in the photo below and get sort of an idea of our soaring 30' ceilings, which by-pass our palladian entry window by far.  This pretty tapestry fills in this space nicely.
Since we're on the subject of my 'Treasure Box', thought I'd share another completed project.  This green tablecloth was a tablecloth 'panel' that only needed to be cut to size and hemmed.....
.....and looks so pretty topped with a linen from my Alabama great-grandmother's collection, which is now my collection.  I've had her things stored away for years and years now, and I figured it's doing no one any good if it can't be used; so, out her things have come and I simply cannot tell you how happy I am to see such beautiful linens, that may be older than me!, that my great-grandmother loved.  By the way, not worried about stains either as I want our home to be 'lived in' and we always try to be careful and treat our home respectfully.  Accidents will happen..... and that's okay.
This was finished and (photographed) mid-March in time for St. Patrick's Day but I wasn't sure I wanted to include this photo below today, because as you can see, it was a roaring-fire-in-the-fireplace that day..... and today is a sweltering 78 degrees F, and somehow it just felt 'wrong' to mislead you in that way!  Is that clear as mud?!
Hope everyone has had a good and creative week!

These are a couple of other home dec projects Ive made from my Treasure Box fabric.  This has been the most fun $10 I've ever spent!


A Liebster Blog Award - Thank You Sarah Liz!

How exciting to learn that I was one of 5 that Sarah Liz from SarahLizSewStyle nominated for a Liebster Blog Award!  Thank You Sarah Liz!  What an honor that she thought my blog worthy of including.  I've been a part of the blogging community long enough to know about this oh-so-nice award and am thrilled to be nominated.

For those who might not know - the purpose of the Liebster Blog Award is to recognize and promote newer and smaller blogs with less than 200 followers.  There are no judges, or competition as it's more of an acknowledgement, in a very nice way, to let others know about some of the smaller blogs that they might not otherwise be aware.  Seems like no one knows how this award began in the blog-world, but it has continued on for the past handful of years almost like a 'chain-letter' that I remember from my youth.  I googled the term 'Liebster' this morning, and found the definition ranges from 'dearest' to 'kind', and I think that's a great way to sum up this very 'kind' award.

There are a couple of things one does when nominated for a Liebster Award and those are: 

        *Thank the person who gave you the award, linking back to that person’s blog

*Copy and paste the Liebster award to your own profile

*Answer the 5 question your nominator asked

*Pick 5 blogs who you feel deserve to be noticed (they have to have under 200 followers)

*Ask them 5 questions

*Let your nominees know they have been chosen by leaving a comment on their blog

Sarah Liz asked us these five questions:
1.  Why did you start sewing?
2. Have you been sewing for long?
3.  Why did you start sewing?
4. Why did you start blogging?
5. What are your sewing goals both short and long term?

"Why did you start sewing?" and "Have you been sewing for long?"
These two questions took me down memory lane today.  My mother sewed many of (most of!) my clothes during my growing up years, but I never learned to sew from her.  She enrolled me in a sewing class at the local sewing store when I was probably in Jr. High, and that little shift dress was the only thing I ever made.  Interesting that I was surrounded by highly creative people in both my paternal and maternal grandmothers & great-grandmothers, but crochet was all I picked up from my Alabama (father's side) Grannies.  My mother's mother was such a good seamstress, that she ran a business from her Oklahoma home after my grandfather was critically injured in an oil rig accident, so she could be there to care for him and still bring in some sort of humble income.

Born in 1960, I was of the generation growing up in the 'Rocket City' in northern Alabama to have a career, and being gifted in the maths, that was what was pushed in all my school years, which meant I never took a Home Economics class where sewing and cooking were taught.  I never learned anything of sewing in my youth, and to be perfectly honest, I was more interested in riding my horses back then anyway.  :)

So fast forward to 1990, married and expecting my first child, money was very, very tight, so I purchased the cheapest sewing machine I could find and made all my maternity clothes, layette clothes for the baby, cradle linens, bumper pads, curtains for the nursery - anything and everything for my expected little girl.  And I loved it!  My first taste of using my creative side in a practical way.

As the years passed, I enjoyed sewing a little here and a little there as the girls grew...
...beginning with the oldest's Halloween outfit when she was 1:
..which became younger sister's Halloween costume as the oldest got a tutu that year.
Then we had a princess while the oldest pulled together her own cat outfit... I had made her a matching princess outfit, she just didn't want to wear it here.
I made all the youngest's gymnastics outfits.
Then there were colonial 'dress-up' outfits complete with bonnets and aprons and shawls.
Both girls were homeschooled, and as part of our Davy Crockett unit, we made 'Possible Bags' and 'Coonskin' hats from fake raccoon fur.  So fun!
I made both girls matching dresses/jumpers from this states of America fabric, being careful to center our state, South Carolina, right there on the bodice front.
Many dresses were made with a simple knit bodice attached to a full cotton skirt complete with matching bias binding.  Pockets were always added to the skirt.  Also made many, many knit shorts and pj bottoms for both girls through the years.
Hmmmm, does any one notice any garments for me?  You are right, there are none.  All those years making so many things for my girls, nary one single outfit was made for me.  Along the way there was a divorce in 2004/2005 that brought all creativity to a screeching halt as I scrambled to hold everything together.  I married my sweet husband, Tom, in 2007 and he's encouraged me to explore my creative side anew.
And oh how I am so enjoying learning that I do have a creative streak!  It was only this past year I began sewing clothes for myself and found a passion I did not know existed.

"Why did you start blogging?"
In 2009 I began our Shady Grove Journal blog as a way for our family to journal our 'life'.  Piecework Treasures was begun in 2011 when I realized I needed a fiber arts outlet.  At the time, my early posts were crochet and knitting with sewing on a smaller scale - the odd walker bag for a elderly friend, quilted bookcovers, quilted nametags, that sort of thing.  It wasn't until I was exposed to others sewing garments for themselves that it ever occurred to me to make my own clothes.  Spring 2013 began my journey to sew my own clothes..... and I've never looked back!

"What are your sewing goals, both short and long-term?"
I've been completely bitten by the sewing my own clothes bug and now find it almost impossible to purchase rtw, so I'd have to say continuing to learn how to fit my body, match fabric to pattern, try new styles and continuing on this garment-sewing-for-myself journey is both short and long-term goals for me.  I am on a huge learning curve right now, and though I understand one will always learn anew no matter how long she sews, I look forward to the day for things to feel a little more 'automatic' at times, than they do now, and also realize that will only come with experience.

So now's the time for me to nominate 5 bloggers and ask them 5 questions.  I cannot tell you how hard it is to narrow it down to only 5, as I learn from and enjoy everyone's blog I read.  But here goes:

Now for the 5 questions for the 5 nominees:
1.  Why did you start blogging?
2.  Why did you start sewing?
3.  What is it about sewing that you enjoy?
4.  What do you also enjoy doing other than sewing and blogging?
5.  What are your future sewing goals?

As I conclude, let me say how much I appreciate all Sarah Liz does to bring our garment sewing community together.  She organized our Make a Garment a Month Challenge with over 85 international participants.  Wow!, I did not know there were that many of us until I counted for this post.  Thank you again, Sarah Liz.


a needle-nosed pair of pliers = a necessary supply

My Perfectly Pleasant Peasant blouse was not 'perfectly pleasant' after its first washing.  I knew I'd put the neck binding on backwards, because I modified the pattern as I was putting on the binding, but that wasn't a problem until after its first washing when it frayed all 'round in front where I hadn't caught the top-stitched seam just right.  I'd sewed the binding to the wrong-side first, then top-stitched, folding the raw edges under, to the front.  My fabric was a little wonky to deal with too.
To right my wrongs, clever me thought it'd be a brilliant idea to clip all the frayed areas, then satin stitch using a pretty brown thread overlapping the frayed edges and the original top-stitched seam and it would become a new 'design feature'.  All was humming along quite well, as you can see from the photo below where I started in the back, until for some unknown reason, my machine began 'catching' and the satin stitches began building up.  About the time I figured the top was looking pretty sorry and I was ready to go to plan B, my needle jammed in my machine.  And oh my goodness it was jammed.  After many frustrating minutes, the needle-nosed pliers were absconded from my husband's woodworking bench and my machine was back in working order.
Holding my breath, cut the (already almost too low) entire neck binding off this top and took the time to re-gather the front in a more pleasing look and take the center back seam in a little before cutting a new binding out of my shrinking amount of leftover fabric.  I folded this binding in half, attached it to the right-side first, then top-stitched from the front attaching the back after pinning all in place very carefully.  I think it improved the top, even though it took an entire afternoon, or more counting all the figuring out time. 
By taking up the back, and finagling around with the front gathers, it's not too low after all.
I also took the time to make a few other minor adjustments to some of my other handmade items.  Do you find that after you wear some of your handmade clothes, you can figure out how to adjust the fit better?!


Me-Made-May '14

Oh, I can't tell you how excited I was to see the Me-Made-May '14 Sign up has begun!  (Thanks Jessica!)
Only beginning to sew my own clothes around this time last year, my fingers were crossed that Zoe would have a 2014 Me-Made-May so maybe, just maybe, I could participate in some sort of way.  She has written a detailed post describing what MMM14 is and isn't, how to sign-up, and other ways to join the fun via Flickr, Pinterest, etc.  Me-Made-May '14 is what each individual person makes it - there is no competition - just a fun way to try to wear your handmade garments however frequently you want to 'pledge'.   Some have pledged wearing a handmade item 2-3 times a week, others have pledged everything handmade every single day.  I have pledged below:
'I, Lisa @ http://pieceworktreasures.blogspot.com/, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14.  I endeavor to wear at least one handmade 'something' each day for the duration of May 2014.'
I figure the 'something' gives me some leeway to figure it out during May.  :)