Moving Over To Denver Sews Blog!

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Hello Everyone! At the start of the New Year I’m moving over to a fun new blog called Denver Sews. There are some amazing and talented seamstresses, writers and just all around lovely ladies who love to sew and blog about it. I hope you join us and follow along. I loved writing for my own little blog and loved meeting fantastic bloggers and seamstresses over the time I was here. I plan on taking all the fantastic blogs I found over to our new blog and will continue to learn and grow from you and this amazing blogosphere!

Happy New Year and Happy Sewing!

Jill (aka Jilly)

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?

New Look 6025

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New Look 6025

One of my favorite blogs is The Perfect Nose.  The Nose is responsible for my new addiction to tunics   She makes them in wonderful fabrics and always looks so chic and effortless while drinking Midori’s  that well, I had to try it.  Plus, they are a breeze to make.  This one has a few issues.  It is a bit expansive across the chest and falls off my shoulders in an annoying way.   Continue reading

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

My Conversations With Edith Head

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Girl can pose!

Last night I had the opportunity to see Conversation With Edith Head a one woman show starring Susan Claassen.  This is a wonderful look into the world and mind of  Edith Head.  And, for a 90 minute play with no intermission time really flew.   Continue reading

Working 9 to 5!

Yes, this will never happen.

Yes, this will never happen.

I am so happy to announce that I am now the Web Editor for Sew News magazine. You can find out more here on the magazine and all its sister publications.  I am working on the web side of things, lots of social media, blogs, websites, maintenance, CMS etc.  I must admit I do feel a bit like the fox in the hen house.  I never imagined being surrounded by sewing, knitting and quilting people, books, machines etc and get paid for it.  Over the moon…

secretary at work

Remember when?! Me neither.

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?  

What I got at the Sew Expo

Of course....

What else would I buy

Our region’s latest sewing expo was in town.  Yes, it was short on garment/fashion booths and yes, everything was over priced.  But, I still managed to find things I had to have including 3 rolls of Swedish tracing paper.  Thanks to Jane for directing me to it at the last minute.  Got to talk to a lot of awesome sewing ladies and met some new people who love garment sewing and fashion.  One group that was new to me was the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals.  They have some amazing classes and meetings for the pros and not so professional as well.    Had a great time, don’t know how I couldn’t.  Here’s a few pics of the day. Continue reading

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. 🙂    

Waistband Gaposis

Finding a way to better fitting pants.

The formula for better fitting pants?

Back to making pants.  I found with the last pair the waistband was quite high.  To remedy I chopped off an inch of the front and back pattern pieces on this latest pair.

Now however, there is this huge plumber butt sized gaposis.    I have traveled the high seas of the internet in search of a solution.  

I’m not even sure what the body issue is?  I do not have a swayback, that I know. 

Anyone have an idea?  Maddening.

What’s your favorite era for inspiration?

Judge Magazine 1926

Judge Magazine 1926

Probably my favorite era for fashion is 1920’s.  Check out this colorized video of 1920’s fashion and the music is really the bee’s knees.  There is an orange coat that is stunning and could quite easily be copied. The coats have amazing linings.  Love the hats, the music the fashion.  How about you?  Do you have a favorite era for inspiration?

Sewing and crafts for the WPA 1930’s

From the Library of Congress

Love these old posters from the WPA.  As with anything the government does the WPA had its share of controversies as well as successes.  I find the idea of training, educating people to learn sewing and handcrafts to be pretty darn cool.  Many participants of the WPA were women.  Women of the time still did a lot of their sewing by hand.   WPA classes taught women how to sew with machines, pattern drafting, knitting and more.  Some women were put to work making bedding, clothing and other items for hospitals.  This sewing skill would come in handy during the war years with women going to work in factories making various fiber items for the war effort.

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.

The Secret Life of Sewing Machines and Happy Thanksgiving!

Here is a little dose of history.  It’s over 9 minutes long but it’s quite interesting.  At around 5:30 watch the human sewing machine!

Continue reading

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

Pattern Hoarder or Passionate Collector?

But, I need more.

Tell me again at what point does this become a problem?  Should someone be giving me an intervention?  In another attempt to avoid actually creating and using a pattern, I thought this weekend would be a good time to clean out the pattern drawer which is really more like a larger Rubbermaid travel trunk.  

Here’s the breakdown

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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

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Do you belong to a sewing guild or club?

I visited the Front Range Contemporary Quilters a group of artist quilters the other night.  It was kismet that I came on that night because their sister group Wearable Art was having a fashion show.  These women are amazing garment sewers using couture methods and in many cases drafting their own patterns for their designs.  After talking with these lovely ladies I signed up to be apart of their group.  My first meeting is in January and I’m really excited to be possibly learning a great deal from these women.  So, do you belong to a sewing guild in your area.  Do you like it and what do you do when you meet up?    

If you would like to see their designs please check out the fan page of Denver Sewing Collective.