<![CDATA[For, Women of Substance - THE BLOG]]>Sun, 22 Oct 2017 10:18:11 -0600Weebly<![CDATA[PAINTING LIKE ANDY WARHOL]]>Thu, 01 Oct 2015 20:27:50 GMThttp://forwomenofsubstance.us/1/post/2015/10/painting-like-andy-whorl.htmlbUT fIRST, The Syrian Crisis
Thank you for joining me today.  Before we get started, there is an issue dear to my heart, which I would like to discuss, and is the reason for the hiatus in the blog.  I am an evangelical Christian who is appalled at Obama’s response to persecution of Christians in the Middle East, especially during the rise of ISSIS.  Millions of Christians are being slaughtered and still the administration places priority on gays and Muslims to receive humanitarian Visas to this country.  I wish I was mistaken, but I am not.  Coptic Christians, as in the group of men beheaded a few months ago, have consistently been denied humanitarian visas that were instead given to gay Muslims.  Obama, and we as a people, have stood back and watched a genocide of Christians occur in the Middle East that is now reaching the proportions of Hitler’s Germany to the Jews, and still our leadership---and still we do nothing. 

As you watch the stories of refugees assaulting Hungarian guards, there is a reason why most of them are Muslim.  Because, Christians are being killed, and their possessions pilfered by Muslim neighbors, stealing everything they can get their hands on for their own migration. 

I believe this nation owes the Christian populations a higher duty, and not only is the burden of their devastation on us, but a rank and putrid shame emanates from this nation, the sort of which we will never be completely free.

So, after hours watching the devastation and demanding that someone should do something, I realized that as I had training in immigration and family law, maybe part of that “someone” should be me.  So I’ve been going back to update my training.

I encourage you to think through how you may help.  There are now orphaned Christian children, families need sponsors, there is a group called Voice of the Martyrs who has been around for almost 40 years, and have survival kits you can help send.  This is a crisis that requires more than money, I hope you will find your place in it.

One last thought, something that is not being discussed is the loss of historical objects.  Syria is feverishly attempting to save ancient artifacts from ISSIS destruction, but as best as I have been able to determine, nothing is being done for Christian artifacts.   Syria, if not the cradle of Christianity, is certainly where it took its very first baby steps.  Antioch, which is heavily discussed in Acts, is in Syria. And, so is Damascus, where Paul received his sight again.  It is true that lives come first, but to lose this wonderfully rich history, would be more than tragic.

And so—that’s what I’ve been doing. 

Painting Fabric with Acrylic Paint

Last blog I promised you Andy Warhol, and here is how I went about coloring my fabric.

1) I have changed the picture.
Picture
Different picture, altered to look like an oil painting
2). Acrylic paint
Picture
I usually buy what is on sale and have had no real issues. Some require two coats where as others one, but this is just as much affected by what you're painting as the paint you are using. They have all lasted and acted the same once on.
3. Paint brush with sable bristles 
Picture
A true artist would cringe at water being used on a sable brush, but I prefer the look and coverage of the brush.
Picture
The soft bristles hold the paint better and release it in a more controlled manner.
4. 100% cotton muslin

5. Soak the fabric in water
6. Paint
7. Let dry
8.  Wash
9. Let dry again (actually, I cheated and just ironed it dry.)
10. When fully dry, iron on freezer paper (instructions in previous blog)
11. Print
12. Let sit for the ink to set
13. Rinse again
14. And, you’re done
A fabric medium is sometimes used with acrylic paint, I have never used it or felt it necessary to use.  My little boo boo that started me down the road of fabric painting took 20 years to fade.  The fabric will be a little stiffer, but once washed will soften up just fine.

With a wider printer, the applications are endless.  

Thank you for joining me today, I hope you have fun with the project. It is fast, easy and can be all “you.” 

And, again please remember the Christian Syrians and other Middle Eastern brothers and sisters in your prayers.  

Until next time, have a blessed week.
]]>
<![CDATA[coloring fabric, part iii]]>Thu, 27 Aug 2015 21:10:10 GMThttp://forwomenofsubstance.us/1/post/2015/08/coloring-fabric-part-iii.htmlPainting with Acrylics
Acrylic paints are the BOMB! And if you haven’t introduced yourself to them, do so.  I am not talking about the acrylic paint in the tubes used for fine art, but the paint in the 4 oz “pots.”  There are a number of brands, Folk Art, Delta, Anita’s, Martha Stewart…and there are a number of different types.  Some are treated for outdoor, some for plastic, wood, glass etc.  Today, I will try and help you wade through the ins and outs of acrylic paint with an eye ultimately on using it to color fabric.

Unique characteristics of acrylic paint

1.            Will not blend.  Although you can combine two colors with some success, anything more tends to just turn grey.  This is why there are so many colors to select from.

2.            It is non-toxic so children can paint with it, so long as you get the regular pots (glass paint, outdoor, and a few others are exceptions to the rule).

3.            The liquid consistency is suitable for stamping, painting with paint brushes, dipping, flicking, it lends itself to a number of techniques and crafts without alteration.

4.            The density is great, I have rarely needed more than two coats for any project and often times one is sufficient.

5.            The paint goes on light and dries dark.

6.            Completely washes out if cleaned in warm soapy water within 5 to 10 minutes of use.  Therefore, to keep your brushes and stamps etc. clean, after each use, rinse them out.  Even if you are not finished using them. There aren’t too many things you can use to get the acrylic out once it is set in. In fact, I don’t know of anything.  Mineral spirits and turpentine have not worked for me. 

7.            If you are using the same brush for different paints, make sure you thoroughly rinse out the brush between each use.  You will not get exciting new colors, so much as grey streaks.

8.            You cannot paint wet on top of acrylic, you have to wait for one color to dry before moving on to the next.

9.            Acrylic paint dries very quickly.  It's great for those of us with attention deficit.  Most of the time you can get your project painted and finished the same day.

10.          Color will not fade.  I have a wooden coat rack I painted 15 years ago, and it still looks the same.  Because I didn’t varnish the rack and left it with a matte finish, there has been some wear, but no fading. 

11.          Paint dries to a matte finish.  I have found it better to get the paint with the matte finish and then apply a gloss finish.  Gloss acrylic paint doesn’t seem to be as durable.


Picture
Acrylic paints are sold by a number of companies.
Picture
True artists would cringe at the use of sable brushes or natural hair brushes for acrylics, because the water dries then out. But these brushes allow you to work with a fine tip, and create smooth lines.
Picture
Think outside the box, you can have your own zebra print skirt, in colors and aligned in a pattern flattering to you.
Picture
Stamping is also an option with some great ideas and products available.
Picture
For purposes of painting fabric, I have found Apple Barrow or Anita's to be a good value.
Picture
Nylon brushes go even wider. They are very good for covering space and release more paint.
Picture
Stencils and stenciling can be used for everything from walls to, yes, you guessed it, clothes.
Picture
There are sponges that can be cut to any shape and when introduced to water will expand to a permanent depth.
Use of acrylic paints for fabric.

My experience with acrylic paints and fabric came through a misreading of the bottle.  Unconcerned because the paint was washable, I painted in good casual clothes.  Before I go on I should observe an employer, who owned a print shop, he'd rant on about how there were only two types of printers, one type at the end of the day, had everything neat, and not one smudge on his or her clothes.  The other was covered from head to toe in ink. I fall into the second category.  I have not truly created until there is as much paint on me as what I am working on.  After about 45 minutes I went to get the paint off my clothes only to discover, it would not come off.  And in fact, twenty years later, although the design on the shirt has faded, the cotton has thinned from the cotton polyester blend, that paint is still there.  

Thank you for your notes, they mean a lot.  

Next week I will walk you through painting one of the pictures printed last week.  A little Andy Warhol anyone?  Until then, I hope you have a great week, and God Bless.
]]>
<![CDATA[COLORING FABRIC, PART II]]>Thu, 20 Aug 2015 20:19:15 GMThttp://forwomenofsubstance.us/1/post/2015/08/coloring-fabric-part-ii.htmlPrinting
As promised, we will cover the process for printing on fabric. 

What you will need

1.  Freezer paper
2.  Iron and ironing board
3.  Pins
4. Scissors
5.  Printer with pigmented ink (see 08/13/15 issue for this discussion)
7.  Computer picture or print
8. Fabric (see discussion bellow)
The images are clean and sharp.
If you plan on selling your product, always be careful of copyright.
Before we move into the process of printing on the fabric there are two more things we should discuss.  First, the graphic you select.  I have provided two examples.  One is a large print, the other, a photo which I have altered because... well...I don't want to get sued.  

The Beatles photos have been ordered to create a stripe, which can be used for the boarder of a coat, shirt, skirt, what ever you would like. 

The other pattern is more for a pillow, but can be used as the focal point for a quilted jacket.

My printer can only print a maximum width of 8 1/2 and length of 14" or, legal and regular sized paper, so the printed size of my fabric is limited.

But, as you will soon see, how the graphic appears on your computer screen, is how it will appear on the fabric.

The second concern is what fabric to select.  The fabric should be smooth, or regularly rough.  For instance, you can have success with burlap or linen, but an irregularly appearing slub can thrown the printer off.  It is best to use cotton or a cotton polyester.  However, I used a thin, 100% sheer polyester as one example just to give you an idea of the range of suitable fabrics .  

Cotton, or other natural fibers such as linen, wool, silk are best, because they absorb color faster, better and are more fade resistant.  But, if you are making something that will not be frequently washed, or can be washed gently, man made fabrics will do fine.

getting started

A computer software can expand your image to any size.  The real limit is the size paper your printer can use.  If you plan on doing more of this, make sure you  get a printer that can handle larger paper sizes.
1.  Create a template.  I used an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of copier paper, but that is not necessary.  The template can be any size your printer can properly print.  You don't want the fabric size too small in case it jams, or too big causing it not to go through.  I cheat, and use copier paper because I know the cut will be accurate.  It is very important that you take the time to have an exactly portioned template.  Otherwise, the image on your fabric can come out lopsided. 

The edge the printer catches, must be level.  

2.  With your template, cut out both fabric and freezer paper. I will pin the template onto the fabric to get as accurate a cut as possible.  Remember, the freezer paper is what will port the fabric through the printer.  Exacting care must be made to ensure the paper is cut straight.

3. Iron the freezer paper to the fabric.  Place the shiny side of the freezer paper toward the fabric, and the dull side will be ironed.  I will pin the freezer paper to the fabric at the very edge of the square.  Set your iron on "no steam" and "warm."  Then starting from the center, gently, in a circular motion, move out toward the edge of the square, removing the pin once you reach it, in order to iron the edges.

4.  Handling the fabric with freezer paper very gently, place it into the printer, making sure it is well seated. Also, make sure the fabric side is facing the proper direction.  Some printers flip the paper so that the underside of the page gets printed.  My printer prints the top.  

5.  Make sure your printer settings are correct.  Remember, my Cannon requires that it be set for high quality in order for the pigmented ink to be properly used.  Make sure your printer doesn't have the same type of requirements.

6.  With fingers crossed, PRINT.

7.  I have included several examples.  The fabrics did fine, but you will notice that there is a streak with the print on pink fabric.  This is probably due to the slub located on the dog image.  This doesn't often happen, but can.  If you have the option, it is best to use fabric with a very smooth, flawless surface.  

8.  And, voila, you have your printed fabric.  Wait 10 minutes and rinse the fabric with cold water.  
Picture
Nice clean image on sheer 100 % polyester fabric.
Picture
Pin template to fabric and freezer paper to ensure accurate cut.
Picture
You can cut in layers, just make sure edges are straight and accurate.
Picture
Shiny, glossy side of the freezer paper goes toward the fabric.
Picture
No steam and warm setting.
Picture
Start in the center and gently iron to the edges in a circular pattern.
Picture
Make sure you have no folds, even if it isn't where the image will be, the fold can throw the printer off.
Picture
Gently place the fabric into your printer.
Picture
Notice the streak is aligned with the slub.
Picture
Have fun with your own flattering patterns.
Picture
Photo was altered to pencil sketch, detail came out very well.
Enjoy-- this is a really fun and easy way to make very personal, haute couture, tailored made crafts and clothes.    Don't be afraid to experiment.  A lot depends on the fabric you choose, and the kind of printer you have.  

Thank you for joining me, next week we will talk about painting fabric, until then, have a great week, and God Bless. 
]]>
<![CDATA[ONE LAST THOUGHT BEFORE APPROACH-ING FALL]]>Thu, 13 Aug 2015 23:30:15 GMThttp://forwomenofsubstance.us/1/post/2015/08/one-last-thought-before-approach-ing-fall.htmlThank you for your wonderful messages, I am glad the articles are helpful.  My first camping trip fell along the lines of National Lampoon's Vacation.  It consisted of torrential rains, a leaky pop-up camper that wouldn't pop out, bed bugs (in the camper--who knew) flooded campsite and fishing, heat wave and ended with me rushing my dog to the vet for what may have been a snake bit, on the face.  I could wax philosophic, but I think--on the whole--I'm just really glad I survived. 

Back to business.  Last article I promised to show you how to knit up some trim for around the jacket.  I have to admit to getting bogged down with the design, and will have to revisit the trim a little later.  I want to include small chips and beads, and the pattern and weight of the trim is taking a little more experimentation than I anticipated.

But, before we move onto fall, there is one more tool available in developing your own unique look--coloring your fabric.  Nowadays we have, generally, 4 methods most of us can use to color fabric, dying, pens, painting and printing.    There is also silk screen--and-stuff--but  these techniques require  added tools, and a deeper skill level.  

Today we will begin discussing the ins and outs of printing on fabric.

HOW TO PRINT ON FABRIC

If you have an ink jet printer, you can actually use it to print on fabric.  The process is very simple, but, you do have to be aware of a few things.
First, your printer must have pigment in its ink.  Unfortunately, the ink packaging usually does not  say, so you need to research the ink and the printer before hand. You have to research both, because as I discovered, yes Cannon does produce a pigmented ink, but my printer can't use the cartridges. I was to discover all is not lost, as we will discuss later, but, since I had bought the Cannon to print on fabric, I was not pleased.  There is a little bit of trial and error, even when you get the right ink, but once you get it down, a whole new creative world opens up.   

My first foray into printing on fabric began with an Epson printer.  It was worthless for business, it cost $40.00 and went through ink every 50 pages and had a printing speed 1 page per minute.  But, it completely spoiled me when it came to printing on fabric.  Dura Bite is the pigment based ink with Epson, and it is superior to any other brands out there.  
First, the print is immediately color fast.  Once the fabric comes out of the printer, you should let is sit for at least 10 minutes.    Some suggest ironing the print with a steamless iron--and I ended up doing this with the Cannon, but the Epson, never needed it. After waiting to let the ink set, rinse the fabric with cold water.  And this is where you will see the difference in ink quality.  The Epson almost never shed a hint of color, where as HP and Cannon do.  The implication being that over several washes, you will have more fading with the Cannon and HP than the Epson.  On one ministering quilt, I included photos and very fine script writing, even after several washings, the writing looked sharp, and the photo kept its detail.  
Picture
Design we will print on fabric
So, you ask, why didn't you keep with Epson.  Sadly,  it clogged and was eventually not worth repairing.  Had I known then what I know now, I think it would have been worth repairing.  But I tried to move  on to something I thought better.  My ideal was a business printer that could also print on fabric.  I tried the HP, but only the black ink is pigmented.  The ink is sharp, and did a great job, but I wanted color.  And, that is why I went with the Cannon.  

Unfortunately, I discovered that my printer could not use the cartridges that had the pigmented colored ink.    Fortunately, the black ink is pigmented so I can still use it for printing on fabric, just not in color.  The Cannon has one addition quirk I did not encounter with the Epson and HP.  Before printing, the copier has to be set at, standard, grayscale, and high quality.  Apparently this setting affects the percentage of pigmented ink used by the printer.  I don't know if other printers require this, but if you find a great deal of washout with an ink that should have pigment, it may be due to the settings of your printer.

And thus ends my saga of trying to find the perfect printer and ink to print on fabric.  The old saw, "The grass is always greener on the other side," comes to mind. Would I go back to the Espon?  Yes.  It is a more expensive printer to purchase, and to run.  Sadly, still has problems with dependability,  but the quality and color fastness  of the ink produces a professional product, that will last through the harshest washings.

Next week we will cover fabric and process involved in printing it.  Until then, thank you for joining me this week, and have a blessed week to come.
]]>
<![CDATA[on vacation]]>Thu, 18 Jun 2015 19:26:40 GMThttp://forwomenofsubstance.us/1/post/2015/06/on-vacation.html
Picture
I'm thinking there's a learning curve to this. I'll let you know in a few weeks. Until then, God Bless.
]]>
<![CDATA[JACKET V8780]]>Thu, 11 Jun 2015 18:29:49 GMThttp://forwomenofsubstance.us/1/post/2015/06/jacket-v8780.htmlSewing the jacket
Welcome, finally, we take a good look at pattern V8780.  What I absolutely love about this jacket is it’s irregular lines for the front, back and sides.  At all angles, just perfect for a larger woman.  To cut and sew the pattern takes no more than a half day, and finishing can be as simple or as difficult as you choose.  As we have discussed, there are a number of fabrics that can be used from sheers, to linens to heavier upholstery fabric.  As you can see, I used a heavier upholstery fabric with a loose weave.  This seems to be a popular look for the fall/winter 2015, I will make a pair of pants to match.

I did not experience anything unusual in cutting out or putting the pattern together.  And, in fact, I have made the pattern twice, both times without incident. 

Do remember that the pattern calls for double sided fleece.  This means three things, first, your fabric should have a nice reverse side.  Second, fleece is a knit, so you will have to allow for a smaller seam in those areas where you need stretch.  For instance, around the back, shoulders and arms.  An alternative, if possible, is to cut these pieces on the diagonal.  This will give you enough stretch.  And third, if you use a thinner fabric, you will end up with a larger jacket, if you follow the seam allowance recommended because, the seam allowance and jacket size, have been adjusted for a thicker fabric.

There is one area where I made a change.  Because I have a large chest, I tend to like things to softly gather, and then to fall generously below my bust line.  This helps to soften and minimize the look of my chest.  You will notice the neck collar is turned in, and stitched to hold it down.  This is too hard a look for me, so I did not turn in the collar.  However, this does create a problem in that the seam will show in the back of the neck.  If you wish to have a soft gather of fabric around the neck, like me, simply reverse your stitch when sewing the collar together, so the seam appears to be on the outside.  As the collar folds down, the raw ends will fold on top of each other, showing a finished seam on the outside.  

For me, I should have selected the longer jacket length.  The shorter length is too light for my rear, and I will need to add weight to the back of the jacket for it to fall correctly.

Fortunately, I have a number of options, most of which we’ve already discussed.  I can, with ribbon embroidery, or any of the other appliques discussed, sew rose buds, flowers or abstract design, cascading down from the bodice to the hem. This will distribute the weight more evenly, and not cause stress to any one part of the jacket skirt, causing it to fall lopsided. 

I could also just simply weave ribbon around the jacket in a wavy pattern.  I wouldn't want to do this just on the skirt, because that would attract a different kind of attention to the rear.

Although the above options would work nicely, I think, given the texture of the fabric, its colors, and the busyness of the pattern, I personally would like something a little more subtle.  So, I opt for a trim around the outside of the jacket.  Because the fabric is strong and hearty, I don’t need to worry about it fraying or sagging too much under the weight of a heavy trim, so my solution, is to knit a trim that will match the fabric, add the necessary weight and finish my jacket. 

I hope you will join me next week to see how I put the finishing touches on pattern V8780.

Until then, have a great week, and God Bless.

Picture
This is the length I went with, but, for me, the longer version would have fallen from my hips a little better.
Picture
The longer jacket would have worked better for me.
Picture
Jacket back. I did not try to match pattern. One of the advantages to the paisley print, but really any busy print.
Picture
Jacket front. I will be trimming off the frayed areas but, I wanted to give you a good easy option for finishing the jacket. Simply pull the threads 'till your fringe is the length you want, trim to a single length, and then zigzag the fabric just above the fringe line to stop it from fraying any further.
Picture
This is more the look I want. The trim will weight the front down enough so that it creates a nice gather.
]]>
<![CDATA[ROSA-MAE GETTING DOWN AND DIRTY]]>Mon, 08 Jun 2015 22:06:38 GMThttp://forwomenofsubstance.us/1/post/2015/06/rosa-mae-getting-down-and-dirty.html(ARTICLE FIRST PUBLISHED 11/9/2013)
Picture
Milk crate, flour, large bowl with about four cups of water, and newspaper torn into strips roughly an 1 1/2 inches thick and a 12 inches long (or the length of the newspaper).

Developing Your Dress Form
 
Allow a lot of space and time for this process because each layer will need to dry before you apply the next.  I put my form on a plastic milk crate.  This will allow you to move the dress form when you are finished for the day, but also, just rotate it around as you apply the paper mache.
Making the paste is not high science, just pour flour into your water until you get a consistency of runny cream of wheat. Begin with a 1 1/2 cup to one, that is, one cup of water for 1 1/2 cups of flour.   As the newspaper absorbs the liquid, you will need to periodically add water throughout the process.  This is why I usually start with a little more water to begin with.  

"Sclush" through to eliminate any lumps.  Now, tear up pieces of newspaper and put them into the paste.  I let them soak for a second or two to get wet, but not saturated.  

Now, start plastering.
Take your strips of newspaper, with your hands, clean off the excess paste, and put the strip on the dress form, making sure that you have no lumps or creases.  Because I had a LARGE area to cover, I keep my pieces as large as possible, but not so large that I compromised the ability to contour where needed.  Also, you will want to avoid any creases.      In other words, smaller strips allow you to follow the contours of you body better without creating creases in the paper. 

You will keep doing this until you have covered your dress form.  

And--I will leave you to it.  

Remember:

Be very careful not to build too think a layer of paper mache.  

Let each layer dry before you apply the next.

If your layer when dry is very dusty, you have not added enough water.  If it is not holding together as one piece, you have not added enough flour.
 
Note:
 I guess a word about flour paste should be said.  It has fallen out of favor because it may attract bugs.  My experience is that I have not had that problem.  I made a paper mache cave for my creche almost thirty years ago and have not had a problem with bugs, and none have been coming around my Rosa-Mae.  I do put a layer of spray paint on the object when completed.

 An alternative is plaster of paris.  With this you can actually use strips of fabric. But remember, the fabric will add greater volume to your form.  Again, just remember you want to avoid adding too many layers.   Remember also to use plastic gloves, or you may burn your hands.  

We're half way there...until next time.
]]>
<![CDATA[ROSA-MAE CONT'D]]>Mon, 08 Jun 2015 22:05:44 GMThttp://forwomenofsubstance.us/1/post/2015/06/rosa-mae-contd.htmlFirst published 9/27/2013
Well, let's get started.  I highly recommend the plastering of the dress form be done outside.  Step 1, however, not so much...

Step 1

NOTE: This process must be done with two people.

Dress in leotards, or just underwear, but remember, the more you wear, the wider the form.  Also, remember to wear a good bra.  I did wear a very tight thin tank top which I cut with the form and used to shape my shoulders, underarms and back.

Next, decide on how you will use the dress form, and what areas with which you will need to be very careful.  For instance, I make a lot of pants,  so the dress form was started lower for that purpose.  But, because of my height,  I have a slightly longer back and wider shoulder area, that also required special attention.

Once you have decided how you will use the dress form, start wrapping.  With both the saran wrap and the duck tape I pulled very tightly.  I pulled tightly to help give me a little room for building and contouring the dress form, and still have it end up close to my size.

Using all the width of the saran wrap, I carefully began from under my rear and in a circular, horizontal, motion, in one piece, went up around my body to just under my arms.  

Up until this point I pulled horizontally, now from the top of my chest to the top of my back, I pulled vertically over the shoulder.  The saran wrap was too wide for my shoulder so I  just cut away the excess before applying the duck tape.  

The process requires patience and that you be precise as you wrap. As you are pulling the saran wrap out,  make sure that very few, if any, lumps show.  (Of course I am talking about lumps from the saran wrap,  you're lumps are your lumps--embrace them--an accurate dress form will help you work around them.)  
Picture
Try to layer duck tape right at the edge of the previous row to avoid bulk.
Picture
Inside, showing layers of saran wrap backing the duck tape.
Next, I did the same with my duck tape.  Wrap the tape in the same manner as the saran wrap, horizontally first, and then vertically over the shoulders.  
Picture
Four layers, tee, duck tape, saran wrap and plaster.
 In wrapping, as you are pulling tightly, you will also be trying to build the edge of the strips of duck tape together so that it forms a solid piece, but, try to do this as close to the edge of the previous row to avoid bulk.

 When done, I cut up the front and right through my tank top.

With the dress form off, I re-taped the cut area, and stuffed the form with tight balls of newspaper to help keep its shape.

Step II

Next, you must take the time to measure yourself.

When measuring, do not pull the tape tightly.  You should have it taunt around the area you're measuring, but not too loose or too tight.

What you will need to measure:

1)  From the nape of your neck to your natural waist.

2)  Your back from the end to end of your shoulders, making sure that you sit up straight (don't slouch).

3) Your chest should be measured as follows:

Measure just under your arms and above your chest line.  Or measure just below your chest line.  This number is your "band width."  

Then, wearing a good bra, measure around your chest, the tape at the point of your nipples,  evenly parallel to the floor.

The difference between the "band width" and your chest size is your cup size.  Each inch is a cup size.  So therefore, if your band width is 38 and your chest is 44, your cup size is DDD.  I have included a link to a site if you need further instructions.
http://www.womenshealthmag.com/style/bra-size

4) Waist is measured at your natural waist.

5) The hip is measured by first measuring from the waist, nine inches down your side, and then around the hip from the nine inch point.  If you are petite, you will probably want to measure 7 inches.  

These are the important measurements.  Then, as you might guess, confirm these measurements on your dress form.  

Thank you for joining me, the whole process only took about 15 minutes, but it was physically strenuous. 

I was pretty excited to see the form when it was finally off.  The duck tape does a good job in holding its shape.  

Let me know if you have any questions...until next time. 
]]>
<![CDATA[ROSA-MAE]]>Mon, 08 Jun 2015 22:05:02 GMThttp://forwomenofsubstance.us/1/post/2015/06/rosa-mae.htmlFirst published 9/3/2013
Over the next few weeks, I will be showing you how to make your own dress form.  

I wish I had thought of Rosa-Mae, but it was suggested to me by a customer who had come to get the supplies necessary to make her.

I call her Rosa-Mae after two ladies, well known for their full figures, Rosalind Russell and Mae West.

If you sew, as a full figured, tall or plus sized woman, you know how very difficult it is to find a dress form that actually expands, lengthens and adjusts to fit you, even if you did have the money to purchase it.  This is a practical solution, very inexpensive, and although requires a little work, well worth the end result. 

The concept is very simple.  You first wrap yourself with saran wrap to protect your body from the second step which is to then wrap yourself with duck tape.  The duck tape, creates a shell which you then develop with paper mache.  

Fear not, I will go into more detail, but from a skill stand point...well...I learned how to paper mache in elementary school, so I'm guessing if you can read this, you will have no problem in doing it.  It does require patience, because you need to let each layer of the form dry before moving onto the next.   

You will need someone to help you with the first stage, it just can't been done alone.

You also will need:

one box of saran wrap,
spool of duck tape
pair of scissors
tight disposable tank tee with straps not spaghetti strings.
newspapers
flour and water
large bowl
plastic milk crate
Picture
[Sorry for the picture. Unfortunately, there is a learning curve with my first idiot proof digital camera. But, if you look at the form from a certain perspective, it does come into focus.]
Stay tuned...until next time...
]]>
<![CDATA[OVERCOMING YOUR FEAR OF PATTERN PART X]]>Thu, 04 Jun 2015 15:49:08 GMThttp://forwomenofsubstance.us/1/post/2015/06/overcoming-your-fear-of-pattern-part-x.html
Welcome back, thank you for joining me.  We have now come to the type of ribbon embroidery I am most excited about when looking at this year’s fashions.  I don’t know the official name, but I call it—weaving. 

The processes is very simple but, can give you wonderful, fast, options with design and color.

Traditionally the stitch is used to create flowers.  But, with a little creative thinking, it can  be used to make any design.   

How it is done

The process is very simple.  Make a stitch, probably no more than half an inch, crosswise to the direction of your pattern, and make these stitches along the path your pattern will take.  For those familiar with weaving, these stitches will act as the warp stitch, the lengthwise strings.  However many stitches you make, always be sure to end with an odd number.  

Then, you begin your weaving, by entering your woof ribbon close to the first warp stitch.  Regardless of ribbon length, make sure you tie a knot in the end.  Now, you weave, in out, in out, to the end and back again.  At least do two rows to tie the ribbon down, but there really is no harm in running one ribbon through the warp without weaving.  I would caution that you will want to preshrink your fabric before you do this.  My experience has been that the ribbon will not shrink.  It washes beautifully. 

I had a sample quilt section left over with a verse on it, and am using that for my example.  The section is actually a boo boo, I didn’t have the heart to throw away.  You will notice color variation.  The reason is because I learned that when "they" say you can use an ink jet printer, that it still doesn’t mean that the ink will be color fast.  The fabric was printed on an HP all in one.  The color was not color fast, the black, however, was.  Now, getting back on topic.  You can see a little interest would be nice, this is why I used the ribbon embroidery. 

Practice notes:

Because the ribbon is so large, you will be less inclined to have a tight stitch.  However, after each stitch, I will flatten the fabric to make sure that it is lying flat.  Notice, I really don't need an embroidery hoop, but, that is its purpose, to keep your fabric stable and tension even.

As you make a stitch, run the needle along the ribbon to flatten it if it have rolled during the stitch.

When doing the weaving, use the needle backwards, so the point doesn’t go through the ribbon instead of under or over it.  You can also switch to a blunt ended needle. 

With the rose, I worry less about straightening the ribbon, as the gradually compacted ribbon creates a more realistic look.

Summing up 

The resource I used in getting started with ribbon embroidery is Threads.  http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/3725/beginners-silk-ribbon-embroidery-five-easy-stitches/page/all but don’t limit yourself.  As you can see, we have covered hand sewing, weaving and embroidery.  Big bold looks are available with ribbon embroidery, and take very little time to do.  Have fun and experiment with the technique, it costs very little to get started, and can help add just the right detail to make your look flattering, exciting and original.

Thank you for joining me today, have a great week, and God Bless.

]]>