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

Gotta have it! – Martin Bjornson’s Spool Chair

How would this be in your sewing studio?  You can sit on it and store stuff in it as well.  Pretty neat.  I’ll take 2!  From Designer Martin Bjornson.  

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…..

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

Body Mapping for better fit

IMG_3330

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.    

IMG_3263

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.  

Advanced Style

Advanced-Style

Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style

Getting back to writing has been like getting back to working out after a bit of time off. Slowly and with much procrastination.  I’ve really enjoyed my time offline, A LOT.  Got a lot of reading, sewing done and just not being online was refreshing.   One lovely book that got the creative flow going was Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style. (Thanks, Santa)  I’m sure you are all familiar with his style blog Advanced Style, highly rated and well worth a peek if you haven’t visited it.  This blog showcases the women and men of a certain age who really know how to dress with style, fun and joy.  This book would make a great gift for any fashionista young or old, but great for that woman who might be celebrating a certain birthday with a little melancholy.  Sure to give them a lift and a good lift at that.  Below are a few of my favorite ladies and their inspiring quotes on aging, fashion and having fun with it all.   

Here is Alice Carey

Advanced Style

‘You don’t want to look crazy. The object is to look chic.’

Beatrix Ost

Advanced Style

‘In your body is a good place to be’

Linda

Linda

Linda – from Advanced Style

A great quote from Valerie and Jean sums it all up.  

‘Young woman you’re gonna be an old woman someday.  Don’t worry about it don’t sweat it. Don’t worry about getting older. Every era, it builds character.’ Amen!

For the new year whether we make it ourselves or buy off the hanger may we all do it with style and flair.

Meggings a good thing or WTH?

As I crusade against  bagging pants I’m now faced with their direct opposite (Oh fashion you fickle beast).  Allow me to introduce Meggings.  Man Leggings.  Most famously worn by Mr. Conan here. 

Oh, what have you done

Oh, what have you done

And, now we have an actual full fledged trend of Meggings on our hands.  So weigh in do you think these are here to stay, a good thing our just terribly wrong.   And, you can read what male style editors think on the whole subject.  

Man Leggings. Hmmm.

Man Leggings. Hmmm.

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

Born on this day – Edith Head

Edith Head – Costumer Designer Extraordinaire

The blogosphere will be popping with plenty of tributes to the Divine Miss H. She worked on almost 500 films and dressed the biggest stars in Hollywood.  For me it would be impossible to pick a favorite dress or movie.   Here is my small tribute with a few favorite sketches, quotes and a bibliography where you can slowly drink up all the talent, controversy and inspiration that is Edith Head.

Continue reading

Ieva Uzkurataite – Lithuanian Fashion Designer

For inspiration check out these amazing designs by Lithuanian Ieva Uzkurataite.  These designs are beyond convention and ordinary.  The designer says of her latest work –

Collection was inspired by excessive mannerism of XVIII century culture. The story object is a woman-bird selected not by coincidence – she resembles features of that period- posh gardens, ornate architecture and, of course, a precious woman of those times. Long graceful limbs and oversized ornate body reminds of ladies in those huge luxurious XVIII century dresses with a modern twist. 

I love her use of felt.  What do you think?

ieva uzkurataite

Ieva

Continue reading

Scary Beautiful

Scary Beautiful Shoes

Artist Leanie van der Vyer has created a pair of shoes like no other.  Yes, these shoes are without a doubt ugly and quite scary. However her message is poignant and compelling.  The video below is haunting and just a little uncomfortable to watch.  Leanie says of the shoes they are an  ‘… illustration of what lies beyond this aspirational perfection”.  Which in my mind would be pain and discomfort.  

(The video might take a second to load)

“Humans are Playing God by physically and metaphorically perfecting themselves. Beauty is currently at an all time climax, allowing this project to explore what lies beyond perfection. Scary Beautiful challenges current beauty ideals by inflicting an unexpected new beauty standard.” 

What do you think of the video, of the shoes, of fashions quest for perfection.

For more on her thesis and photos click here. 

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

Prabal Gurung and the concept of aging gracefully

Prabal Gurung

Originally from Nepal Gurung now resides in the United States and has made a big entrance into the fashion scene (He’s dressed the First Lady several times).  His designs are edgy yet feminine with amazing tailoring. The prints and graphics are breathtaking.  I not only love his styles but his outlook. He is heavily involved in charities that aid women and children forced into slavery and prostitution.   When asked about trends he would never like to see come back this is his response. Continue reading

Fashion trends that should end – Baggy Pants

I see London.  I see France!

Behold the baggy pants

For the video pick let’s take a look at the popularity and in my not so humble opinion the utter ridiculousness of the saggy, baggy pants worn usually by men.  Guys who wear this look like they have a load in their drawers.  Their gait is severely compromised and running is all but rendered impossible.  Why this trend has continued for this long boggles my mind.   Let’s all say it:  “Brother pull up your pants!”

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

Born on this day Elsa Schiaparelli September 10, 1896

The one the only – Elsa Schiaparelli

In her autobiography Elsa wrote about sowing flower seeds in her ears and mouth in the hopes that she would flower into a beauty.

While she may have lacked in classical, model good looks her wild, creative imagination is a true beauty.  She collaborated with artists like  Salvador Dali, Marcel Duchamp and André Breton.  She designed costumes for Mae West, and Zsa Zsa Gabor and is well know as a hat designer and perfumer.  

Rival to Madame Chanel, the two are on completely different planets.  Schiaparelli took the fashion world to another level introducing looks and ideas that were way ahead of their time. (So to did Chanel but Schiaparelli was really WAY ahead in her thinking and designs)     

She is credited with introducing the zipper into fashion. Has a patent for folding eyeglasses and  introduced color hosiery.

So, the next time you see a lobster on a dress or a woman wearing a shoe on her head you can thank the marvelous Elsa Schiaparelli. Here is the full Impossible Conversations with Stalin and Elsa Schiaparelli.  It’s darn funny. 

Video pick of the week YSL on What’s My Line

Check out this adorable clip of Yves Saint Laurent on the old television show What’s My Line?  He doesn’t say much, but he seems so sweet and just a little bemused (and amused) by the American’s and their questions.  

Crazy about old Broads

Yes, that’s Broads with a capital B.  I’m crazy for old Broads with style, advanced or otherwise.  Check out these amazing ladies who have style in spades.  Beautiful, cheeky and chic.  All that I aspire to.  Aging, from what I hear sucks so you might as well have as much fun as possible.  Fair warning, these ladies rock grey hair, canes and plenty of wrinkles.   See below for an interview with the designer.

Image from oldladiesrebellion.com

Controchic Acapulittico - 2012

Image from oldladyrebellion.com

Image from oldladyrebellion.com

Old Ladies Rebellion is a line of clothing aimed at “pensioners” or as we here call them, old people.  OLR started by Fanny Karst a French design student she dares convention by designing clothing for the older set making fun clothing that addresses certain issues of the older body yet remain stylish.    Here is an interview with Miss Karst.

And for more photos go to Old Ladies Rebellion.

Are you a fan, or should the older set go back to their rocking chairs and take a nap.

Jazz Age Lawn Party

baigneuse


Has anyone heard or gone to this?  New York of course.  Oh, how lovely.  Here are a few photos from the event.  Sounds and looks dreamy.  What a wonderful way to celebrate history.  Check out the schedule of events, awesome.

Born on this day Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel

What can be said?  Her legacy is so great, her style and influence permanently ingrained in the fashion world that little is left to be said.  Her name still embodies independence, style and a forward thinking attitude. Chanel herself was a shrewd business woman and unrelenting in maintaining her vision.   Today her vintage pieces are highly sought after including her line of jewelry.  Fashion fades and style remains and what better way is this exemplified than with the “Little Black Dress”.  Women all over the world reach for it  in whatever incarnation to feel stylish and relevant. Today the line is one of the best known luxury brands and still holds true with the Chanel ideal.  So in honor of Chanel’s birthday why don’t we all go out and buy ourselves a little Chanel something!  Or, how about joining me in making a personal, super fitting Little Black Dress?