The Blue Hemp Dress: a follow up on not finishing the seams.

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Yes, it works like a charm!  The fraying that you see here will not increase.  Hemp linin is self finishing!  5 washes and the edges bind together like soft Velcro. 


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To boot, the first three washes, iron while still fresh from the washing machine and the seams learns to stay open!  I only need to iron if I need it to look crisp from here on.  The shots of the seams above are fresh from the dryer with no ironing. The caveat is to pull the dress (hemp linen garment) from the dryer (not an overly full one to crush the garment)  as soon as it stops and hang it up.  Put on a hanger and Done.


Here are some shots of the zipper after

One wash after the ironing.

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three washes (still damp but drying) and after the ironing.thursday 005

Love it!


A Blue Hemp Dress

First off, Dresses are so much easier than coats!Solstice finishings 002

I cut the dress out of a modified pattern of the coat.  Yes, the same but not the same.

I bought in the ease and lengthen the bottom to become a skirt.  I love the feel of the material swishing around my ankles so I made it a maxi.

I tucked up the sleeves from a gather to a tuck  and it falls nicely from the shoulders.  Solstice finishings 003

The dress is made of 55% Hemp and 45% organic cotton so it is a keeper. As this is hemp I have taken upon myself not to finish the seams in any way as hemp has a tendency to just act like Velcro when washed a few times at the raw edges.  So I am keeping my fingers crossed that whole dress doesn’t fall apart meantime.  If the raw edges do begin to deteriorate I will do a Hong Kong finish.  Only time will tell.

Start to finish 3hrs for the dress and 35hrs for the coat.  Dresses are so much easier!

Felted Wool coat is finished and warm for winter

coat 1Solstice finishings 007  Solstice finishings 005Just in time for Winter I finished the coat!

dec 20 13 011dec 20 13 017I removed the excess cotton lining from the sleeves and finished by folding the silk up and over the cotton and slip stitched to the wool. This stoke of laziness gave me a warm inner sleeve as the silk falls gently around my wrist.

I created hoops of hemp thread for the hooks at the top and waist. They work really well.dec 20 13 004dec 20 13 027

This was an overly long project but worth every bit.  The coat will keep me warm for our west coast winters!

Folkware #209–Walking Skirt

The walking skirt front

The walking skirt hemThis is a fun skirt to make.  I have several that I wear – one in hemp summer cloth for summer and two in wool for winter.

Here is the post when I reworked the hemp summer skirt –

My partner found for me some red denim that has a velveteen brush like finish on the right side. Total cost $4.00 for the skirt. The tread was given to me and the closure was a find at a thrift store in a bag of buttons and such.

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The material is not part of the recommended list as it is normally too heavy but this is just a bit lighter than the regular denim so I went ahead with the cut.

The pattern is an easy sew except for the placket – it can be tricky. Here is a close up of the back seem just below the placket opening.

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The placket sewn to the extending flap, showing the opening , and a placement of where it will go on the back panels.

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A small clip is needed for the opening to function properly.  Red walking skirt construstion and morning dew 021Red walking skirt construstion and morning dew 030This is the trickiest part of the construction.  Attaching the bottom of the placket to the skirt while maintaining the top stitching on the placket itself.

Today 015The placket in place – I was not happy with the placket as it buckled at at the bottom opening so I ripped it out and cleaned it up.  Once finished only one button or in this case the hook will be necessary to secure my modesty!

In this shot above I have the back pleated but the end result was an overly large back side on an already large lady so I removed the pleats and inserted a gather as per the instructions.  To gather heavy material – use dental floss!  It holds forever and doesn’t break under the weight. Today 020I secure one end with a pin and pull so that I have an even texture along the line, baste to secure and ensure that there are no unsightly folds in the seam.

The basting after the gathering

the finished gather

The finished  gather.  (please note that this is the correct color of the fabric – I have too much still to do to correct each photograph.)

Red walking skirt construstion and morning dew 018Gentile has taken a liking to the ironing board and she is as stubborn as she is old so it can take a bit to get her to share the space!

For all of my waistbands I insert an elastic band the width of the finished band to keep the waistband from folding when I sit.  This allows for a long wearing waistband with the right amount of firmness at all times and no unsightly folds.The waistband

I ran over the basting with a 2.5 stitch to secure the waistband, clipped the edges ( perhaps a little too close) and the clip take two

slip stitched the waist band into place

Slip stiches

With the waistband secure, I moved on to the hem.  For a rare change, I actually ironed my allowance up.  Normally I just turn on the sewing machine and away I go.  As it is denim and with the a straight stich  on a denim hem has an annoying habit of turning up, and this can very hard to iron out..  To stop this I did an embroidery stich over the hem.  It adds color and dimension to this very red skirt and will keep the bottom smooth.

thanks  for taking the time to read about my adventure in sewing.

Cape idea 2 – from a single piece of fabric and some hemp thread!

Cape 2  from a  single piece of fabric and some hemp thread.

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Hemp Thread – yes Hemp!  It is .2mm and I think too big for my machines so hand stitching is in order.

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Recently purchased wool plaid from the thrift store was begging to be a wrap. It measured 172cm long and 155 wide.

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So, I started to fold at one corner 8 inches ( I use both metric and imperial in my sewing and cooking – it comes from starting my school years in imperial measurements and having to learn metric in middle school) from the raw edge and folded to the count of 10. Secured it with some pink hemp thread As this is only a test, I hand basted the raw edge of the plaid with more pink hemp.

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Then I got another Idea and it was not to pleat the left side but to bring it up in a swanky way.  To complete it I did a fast chain stitch on the left side to keep the folds in place for the drape of the hood.

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So this is what I now have hanging out with Daisy (yes, I named the thing that pretends to be me for these photo shoot.)

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The beginnings of a cape.  It is asymmetrical but has a nice look.  To finish this, I need to baste the bottom hem as it is the cut side of the fabric, craft an opening for the right hand and imagine a closure for the front.

But should I take the time to finish it or rip it apart and make a skirt? Or pants, or vest? you get the idea.  Feedback is always appreciated.

I have already started a new one but it is only pinned.  It is a dusty rose-pink from the 80’s,  a woven silk with a very nice drape. It is my next part of the little sewing no cutting capes that bellow from my fabric stash.

Gentiel the cat and fulfilling her (unbeknowest to her) bucket list of camping on the west coast

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I needed some time to disconnect and relax. A vacation was required after a long and busy tax season!

Gentile has only been with us for a short time and only now just letting us get close to her.  She came to live with us after her long time (13 years)  care giver died.  Just before her care giver died, Gentile, went from place to place and lived a very unsettled time.  So to leave her alone was not an option! To take her someplace else for our trip would be too much a reminder of when she lost her care giver so the only option left was to take her with us.Camping 2013 018

So we packed up the gear, the food, Loki (the dog who lives up to her name), Gentile and headed for a little lake outside of Port Renfrew on the west coast of Vancouver Island named Fairy Lake.

She wasn’t too happy with the car ride at first – too many vet visits in the years gone by – but the quilted bag allowed her to settle with ease on my lap. 

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Once we were unpacked and somewhat settled, we put her on a long leash and she would wonder the site following the sun!

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Gentile and Loki enjoyed relaxing in the sun – Gentile even let Loki get very close as long as Loki was still!

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As much as she enjoyed laying in the sun whenever possible she was very happy to get home and curl up on my desk.Camping 2013 005

My partner and I were happy to accommodate the bucket list of Gentile even though she did not yet know that it was an experience that she wanted and would love.

If every one was a millionaire who would do the dishes?

Really! Who would do the dishes, pick up the trash, sew the buttons on? 

An old Buddhist saying “Before enlightenment fetch wood and carry water, after enlightenment fetch wood and carry water.” 

So if we are all millionaires we will still need to do the things that we need to do.  Whether it is visiting family or taking out the trash, they are the things that we do.

My millionaire status remains elusive to me and in this I am not alone!

If I had a million I would resurrect my company, Gaia Industrial Arts & Manufacturing – Gaia IAM for Short.  It was a simple principal to have a place for some our more marginalized citizens working making simple clothing.  I and a lone investor poured $23,000.00 into the company and then the economy tanked taking my hopes for this start up with it.  That and competing with cheap and cheaply made clothing was hard to follow adhering to one of the core objectives of the company by giving a living wage for the employees! So, I closed the shop and went back to completing taxes to make up for the losses.  The timing of the closing was so close to tax season that I put all of the remaining product in the garage and have stumbled over it since.  That was two years ago.

Organic Cotton, Hemp Linen shirts, mens & wemons, drying after the ironing (Littering of blue shirts amongst the office nooks and shelves)

So with the original dyeing not holding up well in the wash of my dyed samples I am pulling the colors from the unsold stock and redoing the dyes with vinegar. The freshly dyed samples are holding up well with the fresh color.  Still need to wash them with the darks or similar colors but they look good redone.

Grandpa Cardigan new dye color of purple - not bad for two years hard use

After two years of wearing a poorly dyed red cardigan (my bad!), I redid the cardigan in purple and it looks new!  Hemp and organic cotton in a good weigh of cloth hold up really well and re dye beautifully.


Still damp after the ironing

The new blue shirts are still drying after the ironing.  I tend to iron my hemp clothing wet as it helps teach the cloth.  New hemp can be stiff but with wearing, washing and ironing, it dose get softer.  It is better to teach the cloth when new. And by teaching I mean getting the wrinkles out.


Time to inventory and hopefully sell!Time to inventory and hopefully sell!

These are just some of left over shirts that I am hoping to sell at the local Hemp & Co. Store. The purple and the dark blue are cozy hemp cotton fleece shirts.