Some things that are not finished garments

Well, I didn’t want to get your hopes up. Yes, once again the time has slipped through my fingers and I have not accomplished all the things I planned/hoped/thought I could in the last few weeks. So while the end of April has arrived and I have no further stash sewing to show for it, I thought I’d better fess up and also at least share something about what I’ve been up to besides sewing.

First awesome news: I was lucky enough to win Amy’s Drape Drape 3 giveaway! I’ve been casually entering these giveaways as they’ve popped up around the sewing blog world because I’m morbidly interested in making at least one of the designs – I’m fascinated by crazy knit draping methods and this would definitely fit the bill! A quick flip through the book (it came so fast – thanks, Laurence King Publishing!) shows that my all my complicated pleating needs have been forever met, and I’m already daydreaming ways to modify the giant crazy pattern pieces to make the garments more, uh, my everyday style. It’ll certainly be an education in draping, if nothing else. And happily, the knot-neck dress seems to be just my thing as-is (though of course it’s one of the non-jersey patterns, so I suppose it’s not totally perfect… but I do so like to make woven patterns from knits), so hopefully I will be attempting at least that one sometime this summer.


Thank you Amy!

But the arrival of this book (by the way, as the third book in the series I keep feeling like it should be called Drape Drape Drape, right?) is not what has been keeping me from my sewing machine. No, sadly, it’s this: I have discovered another new hobby. And unlike my last new craft adoption, knitting, this one I’m really excited about! (Sorry, knitting, I just don’t think we’re going to work out. It’s not you, it’s me.) So what is it, you ask? (Or maybe you don’t – apologies, sewing will resume shortly, don’t worry.) I am making jewelry! Simple, modern silver jewelry! And it’s (relatively) easy!

I never intended to make jewelry. I’ve made some forays into beading in the past and it’s never caught my fancy, probably because I don’t wear beaded jewelry. I’m pretty picky about my jewelry – I basically only wear necklaces (no pierced ears, watch instead of bracelets), it must be silver, and I gravitate toward simple, modern geometrics. It never occurred to me that I could make that kind of jewelry without taking up silversmithing or something, so I was totally satisfied amassing said jewelry slowly, mostly at museum gift shops and local craft galleries. Then, last month in LA at one of said local craft galleries, I bought a necklace that the clerk informed me was made with “silver clay”. I had never heard of such a thing, so I googled it. It’s totally a thing. It’s actually called precious metal clay, or PMC. There is even – get this – a Craftsy class on using it. (Man, there’s a Craftsy class on everything now, isn’t there?) Basically, tiny particles of silver are suspended in an organic binder material that makes it a clay-like substance that can be rolled out and shaped, then it’s fired with a handheld torch for a couple minutes, burning up the binder and fusing the silver together. You then shine it up (or not) with a series of fine sandpapers. It’s pretty cool. So I took the Craftsy class and went for it. Here are a few of the things I’ve made so far:

first PMC necklaces

On the left is a shiny square with a brushed circle on top of it – they’re two separate pieces on one jump ring. On the right is a string of three circles, the center one is shined up and the outer two are matte, though it’s kind of hard to tell so I just may make them all the same (and I need to get smaller jump rings to connect them, but this was all I had at the moment). In the middle is a piece I textured by stamping the clay with a rubber stamp before cutting out the square shape. After firing I patina-ed the piece using the hard-boiled egg method and then scrubbed the patina off the surface with fine sandpaper for a brushed finish, leaving it in the indentations to make the pattern more obvious.

I must say I’m having fun coming up with all the jewelry designs I’ve always wanted but have never been able to find for sale. With sewing, I’ve never considered myself to be a designer at all – I’ve always been good at seeing something and duplicating it, or modifying something to be what I want, but not ever pulling a design wholesale out of thin air. So it’s been interesting that with the silver clay I do seem to be thinking of a lot of original designs, which is exciting for me. Or maybe it’s just a subconscious backlog of all the jewelry I’ve ever seen and liked but not bought? Who knows? It’s cool either way. But seriously, like I really needed another crafty suck on my time… gah.

I’m hoping anyway that the jewelry making and the sewing can happily co-exist. And after spending the last couple weeks immersed in the world of PMC, I miss sewing. So return I shall to the two items I cut out before the jewelry lark began (one of which is where the scrap of gray doubleknit the necklaces are sitting on came from). But I think I’d better stop making promises about when things are going to be done, since I just seem to break them immediately. May will be a mixed bag, with another Los Angeles work trip dominating the month (meetup, anyone?), but I’ve also signed up to participate in the curious kiwi‘s Burda Sewalong, to attack that magazine I bought last month. So there will be clothes, sometime. That’s as specific as I’m willing to get right now – for your own protection.

And finally, here’s some proof that not everyone in our house is sad about my temporary sewing hiatus:

OT stash bedHow nice of the Orange Terror to help initiate my newest fabric into the stash! Because, obviously, it’s not real stash fabric until it’s been shed on. Thanks, buddy.

  1. those necklaces are really lovely, I am intrigued by the silver clay, I will have to check out whether it is also available in Europe.

  2. bessiemae said:

    Your jewelry is truly lovely! And the Orange Terror is pretty stunning, too.

    Thanks for the heads up on the PMC class on Craftsy.

  3. Everything in this post made me want to actually be able to talk to you in person, instead of just leave a long, rambling comment!
    1) While I wasn’t a fan of DD, I did find the educational value of it quite excellent. Seeing how those weird shapes produce those fun shapes was so intriguing! Also, you are the most brilliant person for coming up with the idea of renaming the books Drape, Drape Drape, and Drape Drape Drape. I feel like the next one should be Drape Drape Drape GOOSE! And then we can run around cackling madly.
    2) I am angry. The last thing I need is to have my fancy caught by a new craft, and boy or boy does PMC jewelry sound fascinating! I am loving that square with the dots piece. If this is what is happening to cause a slowdown in your sewing, well, it’s a good reason.
    3) Cats are so helpful at initiating fabric, aren’t they? Love that pic of OT.

  4. Love those necklaces! Will definitely have to read more into PMC. I have always thought it would be cool to try silversmithing, as you mentioned, but never really knew how to get started (and don’t live in a big enough city to find classes for it). This seems way more accessible!

  5. I used to work with a girl who was studying jewellery design and I was fascinated with the things she made, I always wanted to try it so go you! Those pieces are beautiful in their simplicity. I think sewing and jewellery can co-exist, that’s the problem with us ‘creatives’, we collect hobbies the same way we collect fabric and patterns, we must make all the things, hehe.

    You kitty is such a cutie, helping you welcome the newest fabric to the stash, I like that pink stripy fabric.

  6. lisa g said:

    i am soooo interested in your jewelry creations! i haven’t heard of this silver clay before, but i’ll definitely check it out. before i was serious about sewing i made jewelry. i was really into traditional pearl knotted necklaces, but always wanted to learn silversmithing!

  7. Amy said:

    I’m glad the book came so quickly! And, how fun is it that you’re making jewelry?! My sister-in-law makes jewelry, and I’ve gotten quite a lot of nice gifts out of it! I hope you keep it up!

  8. Oh I love your necklaces! I really love simple styles in clothes and jewelry, I think that’s why I make clothes, but it’s cool to think about designing accessories too.

    Are you back in LA already? There’s a few more brewery’s in town I haven’t got to…

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