Tessuti Free Sewing Pattern –

I downloaded the free Tessuti knit top, this was my first downloaded pattern. And, a perfect choice too. The knit blouse/tunic pattern was easy to sew and I now know why all the raves for this top. I love it and can image myself making this in several versions. The only thing I added was about 3 inches to the sleeves. It sewed up very fast. I had enough fabric left over to make a knit skirt as well. The fabric came from JoAnn’s.  I want to get the Tessuti dress pattern as well. The download/sewing pattern had 15 pages and came with no directions, so if you are new to sewing or downloads you might need a bit of help but it seems pretty self-explanatory. I may just be a convert to download/patterns yet.  Here are some photos of my rendition. Continue reading

Vogue 7405 (OOP) Completed

Vogue OOP 7405

Vogue OOP 7405

However, this being my first wrap dress I’m not totally convinced these are the universal dress every fashion editor makes them out to be. This one is extremely hugging at every bump and curve.  It tends to droop, so I’m constantly futzing with it.  I tied it rather tight at work and it felt a bit restraining.   The fabric was very soft and it did feel like wearing pajamas which isn’t a bad thing. I don’t know I’ll need to wear it a few times to see if I want to make another one or maybe try a different knit that isn’t so  body conscious.  Do you like wrap dresses? Any suggestions?  See more of the pattern review and alterations.  Continue reading

Updating the wardrobe

Ya, I’ve been away for awhile.  I miss blogging.  I finally got a little free time and decided to update my wardrobe and whip off a little blog post to get back into the swing of things.  Maybe reading Advanced Style got me fired up.  Looking at all those grandma’s rockin’ their style made me look at my own wardrobe and how I can spice it up.  I am in a deep frumpy rut and need a forklift to get me out.   I love the A-line and have made many.   But, it’s all looking a little too dowdy.  Here is a before and after. What do you think?

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Before

After

After

All I did was take up the hem and taper it more at the hip to hem.  Do you have any  ideas for de-frumping the wardrobe?

Vintage Button Show

IMG_3676I had no idea there was this was going on; button collecting!  The Colorado State Button Society puts on a button show every year.  There are juried competitions and of course dealers and collectors go to buy. There are classes, lectures and workshops too. And, oh all the buttons. Beautiful buttons, everywhere.  Old ones,very old ones, Bake-lite, glass, buttons from Germany, China, Egypt.  The most expensive I saw was almost 2000.00.  The cheapest was a quarter.  That’s the bin I was in. Continue reading

Search for better marking tools

Image from Sew True.com

Image from Sew True.com

It’s getting increasingly difficult to see my marks for darts and so forth. (I think the cause of my failing eyesight is this hideous grey font every web designer is so hot for.)   I found this product at the local fabric shop.  Mark-B-Gone is a fabric type paper similar to the  carbon or chalk papers but much thicker.   I used it on a dark linen.  The lines were fairly visible and came off easily on my swatch.  I did mark each side individually for better results.  Have you used this product?  If there is a white paper it would be even better on darker fabrics.  Is anyone finding the chalk paper harder to come by?

Do you have a favorite marking product that might be helpful for the visually impaired?  

MACKLEMORE and RYAN LEWIS – THRIFT SHOP – (Not the clean version)

Super Thrifter

Super Thrifter

I made a run to the local thrift shop and thought this vid pretty well summed it up.  

Probably should of washed this…..

Easy couture technique for waistbands – yes, easy!

New pencil skirt

New pencil skirt

Since I make a lot of  skirts I’ve decided to up the ante and start adding in couture techniques or different elements to keep my skills moving forward. On this pencil skirt from Burda 8155 I used a couture waistband technique from Susan Khalje which is featured in the latest issue of Threads magazine (March 2013). The short of it is to place petersham or grosgrain and sandwich in between the fabric and lining of the waistband.  It offers much more stability in the waist area.  

For the pertersham cut out the same length as your waistband pattern piece, which is usually your waist measurement plus 4 inches. Install the lining if there is one.  Next place the petersham on the right side of fabric, above the skirt’s waistband stitching line.  Here is where I added a step. Continue reading

Amy Butler’s new fashion line of fabrics

Amy Butler

Amy Butler

In Threads magazine March  2013 Threads announces Amy Butler’s new line of fashion fabrics.  And, I gotta say they are lovely.  This new line is really a breath of fresh air.  Some of her other fabrics were great for aprons or tote bags and pillows but for my clothing choices I found them to be too loud or something.   Just color combos I wouldn’t normally wear.  

Can’t wait to get my hands on a couple of yards of these beauties.  The fabric comes in voile, rayon challis, sateen, velveteen, cotton and linen.  What do you think? Click here for more pics Continue reading

Thank you Great Britain Readers

 

Go Great Britain

Keep Calm and Read On

Looking at my stats over the last few weeks  readers from Great Britain have doubled over my native Yanks.  So as a way of saying thank you I present an ear worm for your enjoyment –  the Sewing Machine Song!

Thanks so much for stopping by where ever you come from!

Body Mapping for better fit

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Here I am!

I’ve read about body mapping in the fitting book of Palmer and Alto’s Fit for Real People.  I’ve dismissed it as stupid and a waste of time. Sort of like the whole fitting shell thing.  Well.  Well.  I had Marni at our last meeting do me an outline of the old body.  Lo and behold it isn’t a waste of time!   Highly recommend this to not only see what you body might look like in a crime scene but to get a completely different look at your lovely body. You can’t see the  grid lines on this photo but they are quite helpful in getting a great look at your body and type.

Here is what I learned.

  1. My  right side is higher than the left.
  2. My left shoulder is sloping but not the right.
  3. I am  short waisted
  4. I have almost no visible waist.  
  5. I have a long crotch length
  6. My knees are average (Who knew!)
  7. I have a small frame and small bust. (I knew that!)
  8. I am either an hourglass or a rectangle.  My waist has little indentation but then my hips and shoulders are about the same width and my waist is 10″ less than my hips.  Unclear but I don’t think it really matters much.  Hourglass certainly has a better ring to it.  

My measurements are as follows

  1. Height 5’7
  2. My high bust is 31 (I’ve been measuring wrong, I thought it was 32 1/2)
  3. Bust 34
  4. Rib cage area 28 1/2
  5. Waist is 27
  6. Hips 37
  7. I’ve been sewing with a 12/14.  I refused to think my bodice size to be an 8. 

There are a lot more measurements to do if you decide to do a body map.  I chose the ones that I thought would be most helpful. I really care a less what my ankle or wrist measurements are.    

Fit for Real People goes into detail on how to do a body map and for a seamstress who is constantly looking for ways not to do something I thought this was really worth the time.  Goes without being said that you need a partner.  

Fitting Workshop!

At our sewing meetup we are doing a fitting shell workshop.  I have avoided doing this like the plague.  2013  I’m doing it and I’m bringing all my sewing friends kicking and screaming with me.  For our January meetup some came with fitting shells and gingham in hand and got to work.  

Well, not really.  This was as far as I got. And, Jamie…well, she got the paper out of the envelope and cut out.  The pattern that is, not the actual gingham   Hmmm.  Bad girls.  Kim and Becca were literally wrapped up in their Costume-Con project and didn’t get the fitting shell even out of the packet.    

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Not going to cut itself out.

Well, I was busy.  I chatted with the ladies.  We haven’t seen each in other in a month!  Met new members (Yea!) Helped a new sewer with her machine, tried to anyway.  Talked some more, snacked.  Looked at sewing books, watched a fitting video, took crappy photos.  Gabbed and snacked more.  Fiddle with material.  Drooled over some vintage linens Tiffany was using to make aprons with.  Went in search of my sushi.   Oh, but we did make a few resolutions.

  1. Make a gown for the Denver Film Society’s Oscar bash for 2014
  2. Go to the Edith Head show in March
  3. Go to the bar and do a Suds and Sew.  Can’t wait for that one!
  4. Volunteer for Costume-Con in May
  5. Go to Sewing Expo in February
  6. Go to Sewing Summit in October
  7. Sew more from independent pattern makers.
  8. Do more charitable creating for those in need.
  9. Sew 
  10. Do costume shop tours of local theater/opera companies.
  11. And, whatever else comes down the pike.

Current new member Tish of HISS Studio (so awesome that she came) has opened a sewing studio and offers a variety of classes for seamstresses of all levels.

You can see what she has to offer here and here.  If you are in the Denver area check out our latest and greatest addition to the Sewing Community!

I look forward to collaborating with Tish and HISS Studio more in the future.  Oh, and it was Miss Tish who came up with the idea of Sew and Suds.  Stay tuned for that one. 

You can check out our Facebook page or Flickr page to see that some actually did get quite a lot done.  Weekend is here so I’d best get busy.  

Dumbest mistake ever. At least for today.

Got a call today from the sewing fairy

Got a call today from the sewing fairy

After God knows how many hours spent on this ridiculous pant issue,  ripping out, re-doing, re-cutting, darting, crying,  buying more freaking fabric and on and on, turns out I was putting the damn waistband on upside down.   Can. Not. Believe. It. 

Do tell.  What has been your silliest mistake.  To date. 🙂    

Knitting and World 2 – American Red Cross

Knit your bit!

The government calls on women and children all across the country to get knitting for the boys and the war effort.  Socks wore out fast and men needed to change them frequently if possible. Cold, wet feet were not only uncomfortable but could cause a host of problems if not addressed quickly.

I made a dress

Window pane dress

I found a dress at the thrift shop (seen below) that I liked but felt I could improve upon it.  The dress is a knit so copying it was a lot easier than a woven.  I did have troubles with the armscye and sleeves. The first sample they were all wrong. I then just used a sleeve and armscye from a existing pattern.  I was surprised that it worked. These are  the best looking sleeves EVER! (Sleeves are always  a problem for me)

Here’s a run down of the process.

  1. Continue reading

Eternity Scarves Project

At the Denver Sewing Collective’s last meetup we made Eternity Scarves.  This project was very easy and would make for great gifts.  I had problems with the written directions as usual but once Kim made a successful one it was all downhill from there.  

Here are some photos that might help those who are more visual learners.  I have been craving an easy project and this is it.  There are infinite possibilities here!   Have you made any?  I may just make everyone on my list one.

On the directions from Simplicity’s Eternity scarves here is a photo starting at step 6.

Sewing the short ends together

Continue reading

10,000 hours to pant perfection

Perfect pant pattern – finally

I’m sure you are all aware of the 10,000 hours rule.  It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert.   It seems like I have put in about 10,000 hours on perfecting (nearly) pants.  I have made 6 sample pairs, gone through a bolt or two of muslin but finally here they are.  Here is the low down on  Butterick 4998 (out of print, yes I’ve been working on them that long).

  1.  Material is a black denim no Lycra.
  2. I had to do a number of adjustments and most in the crotch length and depth areas.  
  3. I added pockets in the back which you can’t really see.
  4. I took the side seems in one inch so I could adjust them later if necessary.  
  5. I  did a Claire Schaffer yolk waist band which is the final addition that really put me over the moon with happiness (only a fellow seamstress would understand).    And Viola!  
  6. Continue reading

It’s only a paper dress sailing over a cardboard sea

The obvious comment would be – Don’t get caught in the rain wearing one of these.  Check out these lovely dresses made out of paper.

Dress by Scott Paper Company

The Scott Paper Company created a paper dress that was sold by mail for a 1.00  in 1966.  Done has a promotional stunt women all over the country sent in for the dress.  And really, think of how easy it would be to hem.

Continue reading

The Pin – a short history

Photo by Mary Harding

  As seamstresses, quilters, crafters we use pins without any thought.  Always at the ready, sitting in our little magnetic dishes. Only cursing them when we find a point stuck into a calloused toe like a small cocktail sword.   They are used everyday we sew and are vital to making great garments, crafts and quilts.  Here are a few things about the pin that you may not know. Continue reading

Make Do and Mend campaign of World War 2

Here is a clip from  World War 2 showing English women how to refashion clothing and in turn support the war the effort.    In England this campaign was called Make Do and Mend.  In this clip the audience is treated to a fashion show of refashioned clothing.   This Make Do and Mend idea is popular once again as consumers want to save money, reduce their footprint and/or want to release creative energy by way of up-cycling and refashioning.  So, what do you Make Do and Mend?  

Knitting and World War 2

Knitting and World War 2

Poster from the WPA during the WW 2 years. The original is in the Library of Congress. Many women knit the boys on the front socks and other items.

Working with difficult fabrics

photo by elizabeth holcombe

Vintage fabric and supplies

Here is a list of fabrics placed in order of easiest to handle to most difficult.   What do you think?  Some seamstresses find silk and other slippery fabrics easy to work with.  I would love to hear your ideas on how to handle difficult fabrics. 

Any disagreements here?

1. Polyester
2. Cotton
3. Muslin
4. Linen
5. Knits 
6. Wool
7. Felt
8. Stretch
9. Taffeta
10. Chiffon
11. Bridal Satin
12. Silk
13. Lingerie satin
14. Pre-treated fabrics (water or fire-proof)
15. Velvet
16. Tulle
17. Organza
18. Velour

What I wore to the interview

Perfect fall skirt

I recently had  a job interview and I was going to wear my boring old black pants, heels and a cropped jacket.  Instead I finished up a skirt I was making.  The outer skirt fabric was going to be used to line a wool skirt but  I thought the print was perfect for the fall and should be seen rather than hiding as a lining.  This skirt is lined with a grey creped back satin.  The pattern is one I drafted myself, simple basic pencil skirt with walking ease, (no need for a slit), two darts in back, flat front.   BAM.  

AND, no lipstick on my teeth this time!!  

Any personal interview stories out there that still make you cringe? Embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions that left you red faced?

Not your grandma’s sewing machine

Sewing machine of the future?

  This sewing machine is created by Sarah Dickins who won the James  Dyson Award for her design.   She finds her generation frequently tosses clothing in the trash rather than mending it.  Most sewing machines have a steep learning curve and can be complicated machinery.  Often times one needs a set of classes just to learn how to operate it.  

Dickins set out to design a machine that was user friendly and could do general mending and could be used straight away.  I have not tested the machine but would love to. It has a beautiful design and shape to it and I certainly would not want to hide this machine in some dark corner.    You can read more here on her award and design process.

Would a machine like this keep you sewing?

Is it couture if it’s made from Gummy Bears

Gummy Bear Gown

What exactly is the definition of couture and can it be applied to a gown that weighs 220 pounds and has over 50,000 gummy bears on it? Continue reading

The good news from Overdressed: The shockingly high cost of cheap fashion

Couldn’t just leave everyone with doom and gloom, there is a little good news about the fashion industry and efforts from businesses and individuals  to make it more sustainable.   

  1. Modal and Tencel are considered environmentally friendly fabrics, a good option over polyester and non-sustainable cotton.  According to Cline’s research over 40% of all fibers made in the world are polyester. (84)
  2. Bright Young Things is a line of clothing created by Eliza Starbuck that is recognized as sustainable and fashionable.  Cline lists Urban Outfitters as a retailer that carries it.  However, when I went to their website I didn’t see her brand listed.   Even with a big name like Urban Outfitters Starbuck  noted that it is still a struggle to make quality clothing under the rules of  fast fashion.   (60)
  3. There is a movement called Slow Fashion aka Slow Fashioned.  Cline doesn’t go into any detail about the movement but for a brief mention.  You can find more information here.  
  4. Cline does mention the Six Items or Less movement.  This is where a person picks 6 items and wears them for a month.  It is a challenge apparently to create awareness of what we wear, the garment industry and how we can get by on less.  Here is a blog that is starting a challenge in September.
  5. Resurgence in the art of sewing.  I have noticed an increase in sewing although most of it is the craft, quilt sewing.  Yet making little felt flowers  is a gateway for some.  A gateway into the heady, beautiful, dreamy world of garment sewing.  Go ahead, take a sip of the electrified Kool-Aid.

Personally, I don’t see this book having a great impact on the industry.  Just like any “movement” it will move on. There will be little pockets of resistance here and there, little sparkling gems of a company or individuals to show the world what can be done.  But, unless  governments/countries stop being ruled by money and multi-national corporations  I really don’t see much change happening.

When was the last time American’s were told to economize? Jimmy Carter – “Turn down your thermostats…” perhaps?  American’s are notorious for over consumption whether it’s food, booze or clothing.  And, if it isn’t a law, I just don’t think people will willingly comply on their own.  What do you think?