Thursday, September 18, 2014

What's wrong with this picture?

One of the suggestions on this pattern was to use rivets at the corners of the pockets. I liked that idea and had some nice silver ones. These are flat with concentric engraved circles not visible here. I chose them because I really like the look. Hammer away!

The next morning I went to wear my recently made print jeans and looked at those rivets which I installed after watching a few youtube videos. Have you figured it out yet? I put these in backwards. ugh.....but I did that because I thought the back of the rivet was the "pretty" public side. Clearly there is minimal rivet experience here but I have learned a lesson.  OK, the rivets could have been installed with the little nipple side out but they weren't as shiny or as interesting. So while I made a mistake here, it was that "wild enthusiasm, unencumbered by the thought process" that had me make by decision by the look I liked, not by the "rules". So while my ego has been bruised by my lack of knowledge, I am comfortable with a look I chose from the outset because I just  liked it. Do you really think the rivet police will come after me?

Next snafu was the yoke. It is well installed but not the way I wanted it to be. Again, wild enthusiasm took over. I was doing the burrito technique for the yoke which is in the tutorials. But I topstitched the yoke before closing it up. This meant I didn't have a free seam allowance to connect with the wraparound lining yoke. Whahhhhhh......So I just did the traditional handstitched yoke finishing you see here and all is fine, just not quite what I wanted. I will adjust the tutorial to reflect my stupidity   eagerness.

I am on to the sleeves now, s l o w l y  on to the sleeves. I want them to have a fold back cuff with a slit.  I've adjusted the photo so you can see my markings a bit better. The top line is the hem fold. I added another 3/4 inch for turn options. How deep did I want it to turn? Then the cuff which has a slit in the middle, then the final seam allowance. I haven't cut off the surplus yet. The lining will have a facing that will be two inches wider than the "cuff" space. They will be placed right sides together and stitched on the drawn lines. Fingers crossed. Go away unbridled enthusiasm, go away...........Bunny

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Challenging Pockets!

What's so challenging about a couple of big ole patch pockets? Matching them the way I wanted to! It was a bear.

First, I deviated from the pattern in that I wanted a slanted cuff on the pocket. I also wanted the pockets on the diagonal, bias pockets, so they would need an on grain lining to keep them from stretching out. Then the cuff needed to be bias as well but in the other direction. If I put it all going in the same direction you won't notice the cuff. So the cuff had to go the other way, That was the rub!

This is not as easy as it sounds. It took a lot of head scratching, flipping of fabric and pattern pieces to finally get it right. There are two pockets and they mirror image their bias design. I need to line the pocket and for the top 2 1/2 inches there would be ikat fabric that when folded down would go in the opposite and bias direction of the pocket, basically a faced edge to the lining. Then I had to do the reverse for the cuff on the other side. Confused?  Trust me, it took many tries to finally get it right. If anyone ever tries this the trick is to put wrong sides together and make sure the pattern flows continuously. You can see that with the green arrow above. If I cut that piece in this direction, it will work. I had to cut them wrong side up to make sure I got it right. I'm exhausted already.

Here the pieces are trimmed for a trial run and ready to get their lining. Don't want to mix anything up!

I got them sewn together tonight and they are ready for topstitching. I need to sample that out first. I've decided to topstitch in the darkest shade of the blue,  a trick I learned from smocking. An expert told me to pick out either the darkest color in the print or the lightest color when choosing smocking thread colors. We'll see how that works with this jacket! I may also use that triple stitch once again. I really like the look and this jacket could use some heavy topstitching to casual it up. So next stop is samples and then get those pockets on the front of the jacket. Till then..........    Bunny


We woke up to this the other morning. Seems Rocky Raccoon thought the pickings inside our house were even better than what was outside and literally chewed through the screen and weather stripping. Nasty, huh? Do you know how many times on a hot summer day I leave this window open when I am not in this part of the house or out busy in the garden? Not any more!  I would have died if I woke up to a raccoon in the house in the middle of the night! At this point hubby and his Have a Heart trap have dealt with the issue and now we just need the window fixed! Rocky can go chew through someone else's kitchen window! Oh, he climbed up the porch rails, onto the grill and over to the window..,,life in the boonies!.....Bunny

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I'm a Noob and I so get it!

Off and on over the years I have dabbled in jewelry making. I love playing with the colors and textures and working on a small scale item. My number one passion has always been  sewing. But I have decided it would good to stretch my creative wings and really learn how to make jewelry and do it right. I've been concentrating on this a lot lately, investigating classes, forums, youtube, vendors, etc. and as I do I keep seeing how this applies to sewing and more specifically, being a new sewist. It's been a long time since I was a new sewist but I think there are some universal truths that travel across any creative endeavor. I would love to share a few of my observations with you.

*1      I am overwhelmed. There are so many beads and wires and findings and on an on. How does one know even where to start? Do I want to learn wire work, loom beading, pearl knotting? Yikes!

For a beginner sewist it must be the same. All those patterns, fabrics, threads, notions, just so so so much stuff to it all. Where does a person who is just starting to sew start? Buy a pattern and just go for it, follow sewing blogs for inspiration, look for classes?  My suggestion would be to start simple. I should follow this advice with the jewelry, but will I?

*2      I have unbridled enthusiasm. I can't wait to learn more, get better at it and just attack the whole endeavor with all I've got. 

As a beginner sewist, there was no stopping me. I couldn't wait to get to the fabric store and pour over pattern books, drape fabrics over my fist and just fantasize away on the upcoming garment I would make. Today the internet magnifies this even more with such a marketplace online it's incredible. And there are many to share sewing enthusiasm with through forums and blogs. Wow! See Number One. It can be overwhelming.

*3     I want to go straight to the difficult stuff despite my having no clue. I see amazing hand made jewelry on Pinterest. I can make those too, right?

How many times have you seen posts on Pattern Review where someone says they have never made a dress but have decided to make their sister's wedding gown? Oh, and it's a knockoff of a 20,000.00 Monique Lehuillier model. Same deal! Wild enthusiasm can do that to you!

#4     I don't know what I don't know. I think the three previous bullet points  prove that. 

The same faces any new sewist today. Their moms and grandmothers are not teaching them to sew. Neither is the educational system which taught everyone at one time what a quality garment was in Home Ec class. But this not knowing what you don't know has a good side for newbies. They will try anything and that's great and how we learn. And they may come up with new ways of doing old things. I love that. 

#5      I am amazed at all the opportunity there is out there to learn jewelry making. Craftsy classes, the local artist's guild, vendor's tutorials. 

Craftsy is a great opportunity for the new sewist. Various teachers have various skills but if you start listening to different teachers with different skill sets, you will still learn and it won't be long before you know who is great at teaching  quality sewing. Newbies need to also look locally for classes, dressmakers or tailors to help with slopers or measuring, guilds for friendship and encouragement. There are lots of options. It's just a matter of being open to those who have come before. I have found a local fiber artist to teach me about dyeing, shibori, etc. Seek and ye shall find!

#6     Jewelry blogs and forums are just like sewing blogs and  forums. You can read and lurk or you can jump right in. Some people know lots and inspire. Some don't. 

Newbie sewists have these options open to them as well. I would love to see a forum for really new sewists, in particular. Wouldn't that be great? Newbie sewists deserve the depth of convo and learning that takes place on forums. It will only enhance their total sewing experience. And you can make great, real friends! ETA: There are countless Facebook sewing groups. Those are good but sharing one liners is not what I am talking about here. On forums you can have in depth discussions, varied opinions and much learning and friendship takes place as you get to know regular posters. Stitchers Guild and Pattern Review are two great ones but there are others. 

#7     Jewelry making has its tools, jargon and types, all of which are very new to me. I have ordered so many books through our interlibrary loan. You can't imagine! I pour over them all the time lately and of course most of it is still foreign to me. 

Sewing also has it's jargon, tools and specialties. It is not easy to figure it all out as a newbie. And sometimes terms can have more than one meaning, just like in my last post. The best way to get a handle on all the "biz" is to just stick with it. The third or fourth sewing book will be a lot more familiar than the first one which may seem to be written in a foreign language. The same could be applied to following patterns. Look to forums and blogs for recommendations on good sewing books. There is a plethora of newbie books out there, but on more than one forum I have seen the request for the "next level" sewing book. Reader's Digest or Singer Sewing Library would be great. Anyone know of good beading books?

So right now I am a newbie beader, I guess you could say. And it has come with all it's frustration, excitement and creative inspiration. It makes me sympathize sooo much with those of you who are just starting out with your passion for sewing. Keep at it. The more you make the better you will get. That thought gets me through some of the more sloppy things I have made. I am going to try to teach myself as much as I can through youtube, books, classes, yada yada.... A new sewist can easily do the same as information is so readily available to day. 

I just want you to know that I understand what it is like to be new at something creative. I'm a pretty old hand at sewing at this point and offer my experience and help to any newbie out there. Now can anyone answer a few beading questions for me?...Bunny

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Flat lining on Simp 2153

Its great to get back to sewing, finally! It's been a whirlwind past few weeks with travels to NH to visit grandchildren and their families and spend some quality time. I hope you all have had the same before the start of school complicates schedules and visiting.

I've started, at last, on the Ikat jacket, Simplicity 2153. This is the jacket pattern I used for the Threads Fall Jacket challenge. This latest version was meant to be a summer garment and it will be, next year! But if you have been following me for a while, you know I only do one machine garment at a time. The jacket will get finished before I start any further sewing and I am enjoying the process a lot as my tweaks make it a bit more challenging.

One of the great things about blogging is that you can go back and reread about one's earlier iterations. It was a big help before I actually started cutting out this version. Going "back" ended up providing me with a bit of controversy, something you know I don't shy away from, and I will bring that up in a bit. First....

I flatlined the bodice as I did in the Fall jacket. The lining this time is a Bemberg rayon. It does show through the pattern of the fashion fabric but this is a summer jacket, not something I want a thicker lining in so I am fine with the show through.

I started by cutting the vertical bodice seams on the lining fabric  1/2 inch wider than the public fabric on each side seam, so one inch total added to the back bodice. I did the same to the front bodice pieces, side seams only, as the zipper/facing will hide the CF seam. All other non vertical seams on the lining were cut the same as the fashion fabric.

With right sides together, the fashion fabric and lining vertical seams were sewn together for each piece. A 1/4 inch SA is used. The center front edge of the bodice was not sewn. Remember the zipper? Once sewn together, the small SA was trimmed back to an 1/8th of an inch. Measurements are important here.  We started with a 5/8 SA. We sewed it just now with a 1/4 inch SA. Now we are trimming off 1/8th of an inch of the SA. This leaves a SA of 1/8th inch. You still have a half inch of SA untouched. That means the seam allowance for these seams is ONE HALF INCH, not 5/8ths, these seams only.

That trimmed SA is now pressed as sewn, then the lining is pressed towards the lining. It is then wrapped around the raw edge of the seam to the back of the fabric and pinned so a slightly larger than 1/8th inch seam allowance is showing. Pin this down nice and snug. Now I go to the machine and stitch in the ditch with an edge stitching foot. It has a blade that runs right in the ditch and is really great for this purpose. Sometimes I will topstitch instead of ditch stitch. Its up to you. But make sure you stitch.

When I started this project I took the lazy route and just Googled flat lining. I expected the Threads article where I learned this technique to come up and it was first in the lineup. After that was my tutorial on flat lining which you can easily find on the tutorial page above. But after that were a few more interesting posts on flat lining from other blogs. One, from a more newbie sewing blog, said you didn't need to bother with the ditch stitching/topstitching of the seam. Well, I am here to tell you that you do. Without the ditch stitching the binding gets all ripply, particularly after the first wash. Now you may say that it doesn't matter and no one will see that. This is a technique to add beauty to your finished inside of the garment while protecting the SAs from unravelling. It takes a fair amount of extra time. If extra effort is being taken to beautify the inside of the garment, I don't want it to be all wrinkled and nasty after washing. My vote goes with following the entire method for the best results.

The next blogpost I found interesting was in a blog by an historical seamstress. It was her tutorial on flat lining a gown she was currently making. I have a lot of respect for these sewists who make clothing for re-enactments, historical events, etc. They  go to a great deal of effort to used the techniques of the time of their portrayal and that takes a lot of research and effort. I haven't met one yet who wasn't trying their best to do quality sewing which  they took very seriously. While I was studying her tutorial, it became evident that what she was calling flat lining was nothing like the process described above. It was what mosts sewists I know would call underlining, treating both layers of the garment as one. Seams were not bound but all pieces were "underlined", my word for what she calls flat lining. Since this sewist seamed to really have her sewing chops, I felt I needed to do a bit more research. And she is right! I came across some information about civil war garments and what I call underlining clearly called flat lining. Moral of the story, words and sayings do change meaning over time and because of that often a word can have more than one meaning. I find this fascinating bit of trivia and it's really interesting how this term changed.

Not to long ago, Kenneth King, if I am not mistaken, had an article in Threads about the differences in the terms lining, underlining, and interlining.If memory serves me right, he made the point that these terms can be and are often used interchangeably, again, that changing meaning!  After waxing poetically over these terms I am wondering if maybe flatlining as I use it should be called something else. The term "bound lining" hit me during my evening table clearing. What do you think? I'm ready to change the name as it seams more specific to the technique. Opinions??????

 We have only one thrift store close to home up here and I swear someone out there beats me to everything. I never find anything useable. That was until last week. There were clothes outside with signs that said "Free". Finally I scored! This garment has lots of wooly type lace that I just fell in love, very Alabama Chanin, don't you think? I also scored some sweaters to felt in really nice colors, not the usual burgundy and grey. I will have to let this wooly lace age a bit before I know what to do with it but I do love it. It may be my first winter garment!....Bunny

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Kathy's Sewing Adventure

I have known my sewing friend, Kathy Dykstra, for a long time, Today I would like to introduce her to you. I have a few reasons why I would like to feature her incredible work .

First of all, Kathy's work is among the highest quality out there. She has had articles in Australian Smocking and Embroidery and Sew Beautiful magazine more times than I can count. She has taught at Martha Pullen's School of Art Fashion. She will be teaching at the upcoming SAGA Convention in Orlando, Florida. (Smocking Arts Guild of America). I would wait in line for one of her classes any day.

Another reason I want you to meet Kathy is that over the past few years we have lost the triumvirate of heirloom sewing magazines, the magazines that featured Kathy's work. First to fail, to the chagrin of many was Creative Needle magazine. Not long after saw the end of the magazine that in my opinion set the bar for all heirloom publications: Australian Smocking and Embroidery with their gorgeous children's photos and clear instructions and patterns.  And now, we have lost Sew Beautiful magazine as well. While you may be ho humming at this point, don't. Kathy's work can be quite contemporary and lively. She is highly skilled at the Swiss batiste, French lace embellished bits of froth that SB was noted for but you should see her designs she makes for her grandchildren, bright colors, contemporary shapes and embellishments, a refreshing wake up to the heirloom sewing world.

Kathy is VERY prolific and a typical week will see her turning out  3-4 of her lovelies. She has been working very hard on her upcoming class for SAGA and I can assure you, this is a woman totally prepared for her class. Here are just a few of her efforts. I love acknowledging my friend's amazing skill.

Her machine embroidery skills never cease to amaze me.
She uses lots of bright colors and has a real gift for combining prints, not an easy skill to come by.

But Kathy doesn't make just great children's clothing. Look at her recent trip into home dec. Can you just feel the precision?
 A fabulous silk pillow, one of a non matching pair she recently completed.

Kathy recently did a very informative post on "Hemline Solutions". There is a lot of skill and inspiration there. Here is a dress, perfect for a dedication or First Communion, that she made last year and that is featured in her Hemline post as well as published in SB.
Do you see that exquisite smocking?

 And just so you know she is capable of the more frothy style of Heirloom Sewing, look at this mint ribbon beauty above. It's loaded with entredeaux, French laces, Swiss batiste and silk ribbons.  Her little granddaughters are soooooo lucky!

Being a wise Grandma, Kathy knows that her little granddaughters need lots of "fun" type garments too. Look at these matching outfits she made for the beach for them. She's not afraid to use ric rac and always does so with a creative twist or two.

I can tell you, this is a tiny drop in Kathy's bucket of incredible garments for children. She inspires me and deserves to have her work seen and honored by sewists everywhere. Since the magazines that carried her work are no longer in print, I offer to you the link to her blog Sewing Adventures. She has recently started blogging and is doing a wonderful job of it with great photography and clear writing.   She is generous with her knowledge and inspirational with what she shows that she has made.

Most of all, I would like to thank Kathy  for being a great sewing friend   for these past years. Your friendship has pulled me through a few dark hours. It has also let us share many, many a laugh, too. Top secret what the sewing laughs were about! ......your friend forever, Bunny

Find more of Kathy's wonderful work on her blog Sewing Adventures.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Simplicity 4636

Tammy's gown was a big hit at the wedding. Whew! Now I can relax on that one. She will be sending me pics as soon as she gets them herself. Today I went to a baby shower at her country home for her first grandchild. It was a lovely event. I was determined to make something for the baby instead of buying and am so glad I did. At first I thought of a couple of boy bonnets to keep the hot Virginia sunshine out of baby's eyes. I looked at my  heirloom fabrics. Nothing excited me. Then I went digging in my baby patterns and came up with this one, Simplicity 4636.
 I made view C, the car seat cover. I have awful memories of the twins in their food encrusted car seats that drove me to this decision. Mind you, my daughter did scrub them now and then but every day was a snack on the way home from daycare, one waiting to be embedded into the seat's upholstery and increasingly gross. I looked closely at the pattern and thought "very doable in a couple hours". While that is true, as is my fashion, I turned it into a daylong project.

First I had to decide on the fabric. It had to be soft, tough, very washable, and masculine. Ok. Remember those jeans I was going to make? I'll have to order more fabric now. They were pre-washed three times which took care of the soft and the washable. They definitely could have a masculine vibe and the denim is tough. Now to make it all look good. Hmmmmm.....I will make it look like jeans and I did.

The first way I extended the project timetable was to turn the simple machine made buttonholes into faced buttonholes. I faced them with more denim and sewed one eighth inch away from the long line you see in a rectangle shape. These BHs will accommodate the car's straps. The resulting rectangles were slashed and clipped into the corners and then turned.

The facings were then turned to the wrong side. There long edges were turned under and stuck in place with Wonder Tape to prevent movement. Then all was pressed. You can see the results below. 

Now it was time to make this little item look jeans-y. I topstitched twice around the faced holes with a golden Coats & Clark thread but using the triple stitch on my machine. I am getting to like that stitch more and more for topstitching. There is no need for special thread or needles. It goes back over the stitch three times so you then get a nice thick topstitch like you see in RTW. This project was great practice for upcoming real jeans. On this go round I figured out how to count the stitches and end up exactly in the corners where I wanted to be. 
I surrounded each BH with 1/4 inch masking tape to get sharp rectangles.  You can see the results here.
This got a second row of topstitching a scant 1/4 inch away. All of the seams were topstitched with two rows as well. Are we looking jeans-y and masculine or what?

 I think you can now see why what could have been a two hour sew-up turned into a bigger production. But that is just my style of sewing at this point. Yes, all the threads were taken to the back and tied off. How many years did I sew without doing that? Way way too many. It looks so sloppy to have those little end cuts sticking out on the front of a garment. ( eye roll)

After all that topstitching business, a band was attached to the circumference of the the seat. It had a turned facing with elasctic to enable it to slip over the car seat and be removed just as easily. All seams were serged as well on this. The short edges of the facings were too small to bother so they were simply pinked. I tried to make this tough so it could take a lot of washings.

The fabric used is denim I purchased on line, forget where, but think perfect jeans weight, no lycra. The elastic was basic 3/4 inch black elastic. I've draped this over a small child's rocker to give you an idea of how it would work. I think it will be a very practical gift for a new mom who doesn't know what she's in for. Did any of us?.......Bunny

We've had a houseful of company this past week. Ern and I love Paella but have never made it ourselves. We decided to invest in a pan and spoon and give it a go. You really do need the spoon to keep the seafood submerged while cooking. We had a glorious evening of fun and Paella making with his sisters and look forward to doing it again. It's all about the pan and  it is damn delicious........... Bunny

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sew Chic Patterns

Today I am thrilled to introduce you to Laura Nash of Sew Chic Patterns. She is an Indie designer who brings a depth of knowledge and experience to her designs that is very impressive and it shows in her patterns.
I first discovered Laura's skills when I saw a review on Pattern Review for her Fifth Avenue dress design.  Do Laura's patterns have a vintage vibe? Yes, most definitely. But they are not the nod to simplistic fifties fashions that so many indies have over saturated the market with. Laura's vision is one of femininity with a big dose of elegance, the type of garment you could wear to a wedding or evening out and turn heads. Even with the backwards influence of fashion  her looks feel fresh and original. Just look at her pattern called "Phantom". This design can be a swing coat, a top, or something as elegant as what you see below.

This bit of sheer froth can be even more appreciated in the line drawings where you will see the shape and detail built in as well as how easily it could be interpreted into much different looking garments.

With that bit of tease I would like to share with you an interview with Laura that she was so gracious to accommodate. 

When you were sewing in your younger years did you have one particular project or garment  that you were particularly proud of?  Or that was particularly difficult to complete?

As a teenager, I think my sewing was fairly inventive. I also enjoyed coming up with costumes for school plays, performances, and Halloween. Of course I didn't know how to make a pattern from scratch like I do now, but I would use a fashion pattern as a base and create something completely different from it.  I don’t recall it as a challenge, but my best project from that era would be the wedding dress I made for my mother.  She had a dress in mind when shopping the pattern books, but couldn't find anything exact. She ended up buying a Vogue pattern as a base, which was really quite extravagant for her budget. I changed quite a few things adding in a yoke with mandarin collar and full sleeves with cuffs accented with rows of tucks, ribbons, lace, and buttons, and sleeve and skirt overlay of white striped chiffon.  My sister was married in the same dress.

What fabric has given you the most difficulty?

I really dislike brocade. It’s beautiful, but I just can abide the constant unraveling!   People complain about chiffon, but I don’t mind it at all.  I find that careful preparation of the fabric with attention to the grain when time to cut makes everything else go smoothly.

Your business is quite comprehensive and must be quite time consuming as well. Any hints for getting it all done? Do you find much time to sew now?

Oh Yes! I have found out for myself that running a company is more than full time work! And at least for a perfectionist, getting it all done just doesn’t happen, but at some point there is “acceptable.”  Being organized is critical to being efficient no matter what the job.  I wear a variety of hats, of course, and I can’t be without sewing completely but I don’t get to sew as much as I’d like. However there is a bright side to the situation; I see from my helpers what their difficulties are, which makes it easier to anticipate and look for solutions in assembly and techniques for best end results for people of all skill levels.

Your garments have a vintage vibe but in an elegant way. I love the tailored extras that you are unafraid to incorporate. Who or what inspires your designs?

What a nice compliment! For me, vintage means elegant, though you won’t find that in the dictionary! It’s kindness, poise, restraint, modesty, classic, gentle, beauty.  I hope my designs speak well to that definition. I try to create styles that are wearable in the marketplace as well as the workplace for the 20 and 60 year old alike.  Simple silhouettes definitely have their place, but I hope that adding special and even unusual details, it brings them to a new level of excitement. All of my designs are directly inspired by the first half of the 20th century.  Though I have bookshelves full inspiration by way of scrapbooks, notebooks and books about designers, old sewing manuals, and anything associated, I rarely need to look at any of it. It’s in my veins now!

Everyone loves a peek into the sewing space of other sewists. Care to tell us what your space is like? Do you work better with a bit of clutter around or must you have everything in its place to be creative?

In my main work area, I do have a certain amount of clutter because I like things to be near me and stored near first use. Some things never get put “away”, but I cannot operate in chaos, so I must stay with a certain level of of organization. All works in progress, along with the project materials, are kept in Rubbermaid plastic bins with lids, of which I have two sizes.  I keep all of my everyday sewing tools lumped together in a large plastic school box case, and have a tall portable stacking bin for things that may need to move with me, but things I need less often such as sewing feet, bendable rulers, electric shears, push pins and such. My cutting table is always layered with two cardboard cutting boards (Dritz Superboard) and elbow lamps and ironing board nearby.  To tidy up, I have a computer armoire that I have converted into sewing storage. I stow my sewing machine in the compartment where the computer tower would normally go, and notions and tools are contained on the pull out drawer where the keyboard would usually sit. Project bins stack below and the upper area is tall enough for narrow bolts of fabric I am working with.  I have three other rooms that get used for printing, packaging and storing supplies, materials, and equipment to vendor, teach, and produce product.

Can you give us any hints about upcoming patterns? What is your favorite to design?

I admit a weakness for dresses.  Pants and tee shirts are a necessary part of our modern life, but I don’t find them interesting to make or to wear.  I have several projects in the works, but the one I can tell you about is a redesign of the Pendleton pattern.  As one of the first to be published, it’s been on the market for quite a while, and rather than retire it, I decided to give it a refresh. I’ve finished the first sample and it will have a view B option as well. The dress has a much younger look to it and a whole new personality that I’m really excited about. The only thing left to decide is whether I should also give it a new name too!

Thank you so much, Laura, for taking the time for this interview. It is my pleasure to introduce you and your work to my readers. With that in mind, here are a few of Laura's designs, some for day, some more for evening, and others that can be interpreted either way. 

These are just a few designs from Sew Chic Patterns. Others include hats, luscious lingerie and more. Laura is truly a gifted designer. Her experience and skills are obvious. I look forward to making one of her designs in the near future. Get to know her work through these links and I trust you may feel the same. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

So elegant!

I just had to share these three short videos. They were on the RTW Fasters group on FB thanks to Deborah Jones.

It is hard to believe such elegance existed but clearly it did. I found myself smiling serenely as I listened to the speaker's detailed descriptions. His use of  the model's names was surprising. That Delouri  had quite the hand action!

I loved that these women looked healthy and were not babes plucked from high school. I would say most were in there thirties with stunning figures.

The elegance of the audience was rather amazing as well. I loved the  grey striped dress on the woman on the  right. Everything is so exquisitely tailored. Was I born in the wrong era?

What is your favorite? I had several but loved the blue coat, black dress in video three.

The fashion show consists of three short videos.  Enjoy! I sure did.........Bunny

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tammy's Dress is done!

My friend Tammy's bridesmaid dress is complete. Since it is a simple knit cowl column it does not look good on the hanger. It also does not look good on my dress form as we are built quite differently. Tammy is petite but carries her weight in her shoulders, which by the way gives her a lovely neckline area that this dress emphasizes. But it makes her dress want to fall of of a form with almost no shoulders. So here it is in it's packing bag for you. I know, rather ridiculous. But she promises me a full pic when her full hair and makup are done.

I did get the ultimate compliment. She called me about an hour after she got home from work. Seems she tried on the dress with silver heels and bling and her husband loved it and wanted me to know. I'll take that!

When I get a better photo I will do a review on the pattern and some of the changes I did on it. The lining worked out really well and I did some fun games with French tacks to keep the movement but to not let it fly out of the slit. I had her walk around the room and twirl and that worked really well, so more to come on the finishing when the pics come in. In the meantime thanks for your patience.

Not much publishing lately but I have also been nursing what has turned out to be a bladder infection and kidney stone passing, worse pain ever ever. So now that the rotten little rock has moved on and Tammy's dress is complete, I will be starting back on the Ikat jacket. First order of business will be the flat lining. Hope you join me by following along.  I also have an interview coming up with a wonderful designer. Until then, happy stitching!.......

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The lining solved and a flutter sleeve

I made my decision regarding the lining/underlining quandary with this knit dress. The nude lining will be treated as an underlining for the neckline, shoulders and sleeves, being sewn into the seams as if it were one with the fashion fabric. Then from the armscye down the lining and dress would be sewn separately and hang freely. How's that sound? Now that it is all done I am really pleased with the results. I put wrong sides together of the FF and lining for each of the front and back and proceeded per the start of the pattern. 

Clear elastic was stay stitched into the back neckline. Then it was  turned in on the 5/8ths seamline as the pattern instructed. I then topstitched it twice. After that I put some cotton selvedge stay tape on the shoulder seam line which basted the lining to the FF there.

Just to keep it real here, this is my cowl facing snafu. Just between you and me, ok? We really sew here and I don't try to gloss over my mistakes. Most of the time I read through a pattern once or twice before even cutting it out then it is pretty much put aside. This time it was a mistake.  I lay my pattern out on the fashion fabric and as soon as I cut the armscye out on the dress front I looked and just knew it was too short. As usual I lined up the hemline of the pattern with the bottom left of my yardage. I had plenty of fabric but to move both pieces, front and back, past that cut armscye to get the additional 15 inches would not work, no matter how I tried and I tried everything.  I walked away. I went back an hour later, looked at the fabric and immediately had my solution. All of the blue you see above is the inside facing of the cowl. No one is going to see that, right? By piecing the cowl facing, I could, with fingers tightly crossed, squeeze out enough fabric to get the lengths I needed for the back and front. This is a floor length dress. It worked and I am beyond thrilled. We really sew here, to paraphrase Emeril.

Again the lining is being treated as an underlining here. But I decided to cut it off at the fold of the cowl. I thought it would look "thick" otherwise. So the blue cowl facing you see will fold at the edge of the nude lining and be caught in the sleeve construction. I basted the edge of the lining to the FF so it wouldn't fall in and droop inside the cowl. I felt that was really necessary and it worked well. Once this was done the dress was put together at the shoulders with the cowl facing wrapping around the shoulder seam and giving it a really nice finish. 

My next challenge was to draft a flutter sleeve, really quite easy. The sleeves on this dress would be faced with the nude lining. In the end it gave the sleeve a really nice drape and look. Here's how I made the flutter sleeve. I first took the short sleeve of the pattern and at the sleeve center and three more times left and right of center I drew a red line from the cap to the hem. These lines were one inch apart.  Most instructions out on the web show these lines continuing to the underarm seam. Don't do that. That contributes to excess floppy fabric in the underarm area. You really only want the flutter on the "top" of the sleeve where everyone can see it. This line was then cut from the hem to about a 1/4 inch from the sleeve cap edge. This gives you a hinge to keep your sleeve cap shape and still spread out the sleeve. 

I taped the top of the piece, at the cap, to the tracing paper. Each slit was measured and taped to the mat at 1 1/2 inches apart. When all is measured, spread and taped, draw the outline on your tracing paper.  

Mark all your dots and notches. I decided this sleeve was too long and measured back an inch and a half. In researching this sleeve project I found that a flutter sleeve that is too long can look EXTREMELY frumpy. So I cut this one back. Luckily, my friend is the same height as me so I was able to proceed without her on this length issue. 

Here is the final pattern with which I cut the two sleeves and their facings. I sewed the FF to the lining at the long curved edge and pressed toward the lining. I then understitched the lining. This gave me a really pretty, soft edge to the sleeve. This is a lot more work than one would usually do with a knit but I did not want this thin knit to look like a tee shirt. So I kept the finished edges clean of topstitching, at least everything except the back neck which needed it and looks OK. The dress has a softer more formal look this way. I would take pics but this dress is too large for my form. I will definitely get pics on my friend. 

After the sleeves I sewed the lining side seams together and then separately, the dress side seams together. It hangs and looks lovely and I am really pleased with the cowl. It came out better than I thought. That trauma of miscutting had me wondering but no more.  Next I'll put the sleeves in the dress and then bring it in for my friend to try on . I'll measure for the hem, sew that, and then it will be on it's way. I think she'll be the prettiest bridesmaid there..............Bunny