Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chaos theory

Someone should have warned me!!  Kits for classes take a long time to put together.  Actually, I already knew this because I've done it for the past two years for my classes at The Elly Sienkiewicz Appliqué Academy.  Fortunately, this fact faded from my memory and I decided way back in June to offer fabrics kits too!!  Double the pleasure, double the fun!!  Or total chaos!  The photo above is just a small portion of my sewing room/office as I was getting started. 

I'm teaching two classes and there is a required kit for each.  The main conference class features a little basket woven of ribbon and lace and bias bars.  So every kit -- 20 of them -- has ribbon, lace, and at least two 10 inch pieces of pre-made bias bars.  Plus I made a few extra for a minimum of 12 yards of bias bars.  Here they are, ready for their close-up.  Aren't they cute?  

So, when one does 20 yards of bias bars, well you get pretty good at it!  Here are a few tips.  I like the metal pressing bars and these are made with the 1/8" bar out of dupioni silk.  The silk is stabilized with presto-sheer, a 100% cotton, preshrunk fusible stabilizer.  I cut the fabric on the bias 1.25 inches wide which is larger than the instructions suggest, but it is easier to manage.  Use a microtex needle, the 1/4" foot for your sewing machine, and silk thread.

Trim very close to the stitching.
Silk spaghetti.
 Insert the bar and then twist the seam to the back.
Press the seam flat from the back.
 Turn it over and press from the front. 
Remove the bar, being careful not to burn yourself.
After more than a week of choosing fabrics, copying, collating, cutting fabrics,  fibers, lace, and ribbon, stuffing all different sizes of plastic bags and labeling them, the chaos is controlled!  I have a few more things to do but I'm ahead of schedule.

This bin contains just the required materials for one class.  My niece's artwork in the upper right features buzzing bees.  When she's old enough to handle a rotary cutter with confidence, I'm putting her to work!  

I'm definitely not complaining.  There's something about getting all this stuff ready that's very exciting!  It means that Academy time is getting closer and I'll get to see many friends and meet new students and revel in a week of fun with people who share a passion for Baltimore Album appliqué!  What could be better than that?
For Stella, hanging out in the unused fireplace (this is Florida, after all) is a close second!  

In the midst of it all, I did manage to stitch a little something.  We have to do what's necessary to maintain calm.
A little basket is waiting for embellishments -- stay tuned!