Friday, February 25, 2011

Getting to the Show

Previously on The Self Proclaimed Queen of Bling:
When last we followed our stalwart heroine (otherwise known as the Self Proclaimed Queen of Bling) she was splayed across a grindstone, her nose shrinking at an alarming rate as it was pushed against a grindstone.

The reason:
Overwhelming deadlines rushing to the heroine (the Self Proclaimed Queen of Bling) faster than a speeding bullet. The first deadline; the extraordinarily huge sewing show, Sew Expo in Puyallup, Washington. The second deadline; the taping of a new sewing show, “It’s Sew Fun” two days after the heroine’s return from Puyallup, Washington.

And Now:
Our heroine spent an exhilarating day at the Old General Store in Drytown in the land of California. She was joined, for this day, by 10 good, no great, Samaritans, each volunteering their time and expertise to help the heroine in her time of need. Now, relieved of the pressure of the grindstone against her nose, our heroine is finally coming up for a breath of air and taking the time to chronicle her adventures in the land of the Old General Store with The Great Samaritans.

Let it be noted that the Good, no Great, Samaritans are each wondrously beautiful women with hands so gifted that everything each of these women touches turns into glorious works of art.
And so the Good, no Great, Samaritans took the lengths of fabric transformed by the heroine from beautiful pieces to extraordinary pieces by the addition of judiciously placed machine embroidery (all designed by our stalwart heroine) and created works of wearable art.jan-w-sumptuous-fabric
The heroine was amazed at the industry and talent of each of the Great Samaritans.
They employed marvelously advanced technology in their quest for the highest quality of fiber art.
Their machines sang with productive humming songs as they transformed the fabric into clothing.
The Samaritans used their wondrous talents to bedeck the pieces with jewels.
Even as they worked they found time to enjoy the company of others.
And as each completed her work of art, she held it up so all could enjoy the beauty.
With the help of the Great Samaritans your heroine was able to remove her nose from the grindstone and breathe most easily and return to the land of the living.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Color Wars

As I mentioned in my last post, in a few weeks I'll be filming a segment to be aired in a new sewing show, "It's Sew Easy."

About a week ago I opened my inbox to find  an e-mail offering me, as one of the presenters on the show, a choice of fabric from Vogue Fabrics to use for samples. Swe-e-et! Charge card-less shopping!  Stash building but no cash depleting.

Unfortunately, the perk came with a price. Because of an ordering snafu, the fabrics arrived Tuesday of this week, a mere two weeks before my leaving for Sew Expo; two weeks to sew 3 garments.

I started yesterday with the obligatory fabric fondling starting with a sweet pale yellow linen. After a trip to the washer and some quality time at the ironing board (this is linen, after all) I was ready to start.

I think you know by now that I think that when it comes to my sewing, I'm a compulsive planner. I believe in sewing muslins, doing trial stitch-outs of all embroidery designs and testing a variety of color combinations before embarking on a project. In my book, auditioning is the key to success. Try this and see how it looks. Try that and compare it to the first. I'm an experimenting kind of gal. One of my friends, who has the 'damn torpedoes, full speed ahead' philosophy goes in the opposite direction diving right in to seek instant gratification. Let's just say I've seen a few wadders in her house; pieces that don't fit, or items with color combinations just a little bit off.

However, feeling the pressure of time, this one time I decided to bypass the test stitch-out. The fabric was gorgeous, I've sewn these designs just short of a zillion times and and I was in a hurry, a real hurry. While my machine was busy stitching its little heart out I was packing the van to prepare to speak at a quilt guild. So sewing -wise, it was damn the torpedoes for me.

The Fabric: - an elegant  pale yellow pants weight linen from Vogue Fabrics.

The Pattern: -Vogue 8654, a fun little jacket (We'll have it on our website in a few days)

The Designs: Bugged from Bullard Designs (that's me, the Bullard of Bullard Designs)

Bugged Embroidery Designs
(This photo is from the back of a jacket which
is why you see the drape of the fabric)

Colors: Lilac and purple embroidery on the creamy yellow.  I have used this combination before and loved the look.
The color combination I planned to use.
Design shown is from the Zelda Designs.

So take it away. I started the machine stitching. Not willing to do the easy thing I slipped in a third color- a gold. That seemed like a no-brainer. Gold looks great with purple, gold looks great on creamy yellow.

I think you know where this is going.  The end product was not what I imagined.

Bugged Embroidery Designs 
So here it is. I still love the lavender against the lilac. What I don't like is the greenish- gold innards.

Hmm.. So now, time to check to see if I have enough fabric to continue with this pattern. If not - big plan B - choose a pattern that takes less fabric.

Back to the drawing board for a test.


My next try was spot on. Oddly enough, it’s what I first planned- lavender and purple on the pale yellow.

I love the look.  The embroidery is done, the pieces cut out and all put in a bag for my helpers to sew tomorrow. If all goes well I'll have pictures of the finished jacket by the end of next week.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Working My Nose Off

In three weeks Randy (DH) and I head to Puyallup, Washington for the Sew Expo sewing show, our biggest show of the year. In Puyallup, I'm teaching two different sessions, one of which is on the free stage and is about clothing; embroidery on clothing to be exact. (It's at 8:30 in the morning if you're going to the show). A great clothing segment requires samples, lots of samples.

Because preparing for our biggest show of the year isn't enough pressure, this year I have an additional stress-point. Right after the show, I climb aboard a great silver bird and head to Ohio to tape two segments for a new sewing show that debuts this spring on PBS channels. When I say right after the show, I mean right after the show. My flight leaves the morning after our return. I'm not sure why these guys are taping in Ohio, that mecca of fine television productions. The sewing show segments also require samples. Of course, those samples have to be different than those for Puyallup.

As you can imagine, I'm in serious work mode. Every morning I wake up, check the mirror to see the size of my nose and the effect of the previous day's nose to the grindstone foray.

Don't get me wrong, I have lots of clothing samples. But... I've shown these samples before. To have new things to say, I want new samples to show. And, I certainly need new samples for the taping of the television sessions.

So, the clothing session plus making up samples for the television program has launched a spate of clothing production. To be more accurate, a spate of embroidery. I have not yet started putting the projects together.  I actually have help, a lot of help. One friend, Tamera, has already spent a day and half helping me cut out patterns and assemble documentation. Another friend, Tecla, spent the day with me embroidering huge embroidery designs using her new sewing machine with the mega sized hoops. And, for the actual construction, next Friday, a batch of friends will gather to help me assemble my samples.

We've done this in the past, and it has the feel of a sewing bee. Lots of wonderfully nice people, some food and an incredible amount of sewing work finished. At this point in my life I need lots of help and I'm so honored that these wonderful people will take the time out to work with me.

So far I have 5 projects ready to go, a mere 12 more to go.

I have been looking for any short cuts I can find. My first action was to check my stitch-out hamper to see if I had anything I could use.  Score! I found some rather large linen pieces covered with embroidery from my  On the Table embroidery designs.
I had enough fabric for two fronts and a back, I could see the dense flowers on one side front, the sprinkled ones on the other front and the back. In the spirit of adding more work to my already full plate, I decided that the dense flower arrangement had a heavier spirit than the lighter ones and I shouldn't include it. A few hours of embroidery later and I had 3 panels of linen sprinkled with orange, pink, and deep red flowers.  A little cutting (done by a friend) and I had a package with linen pieces and coordinating cottons ready for the big sew-in Friday.

And sew my life goes. Today I'm trying to put together package number 6.  After that, only 11 to go.

I'll keep you informed.