Thursday, March 8, 2018

Lassoing Spring Flowers

Spring is finally here and I'm in love with these two pieces, both perfect for transitioning into warmer weather. The pleated skirt is Burda Style 01/2018 #121 and the knit top is a modified version of Burda 6848. Both of the beautiful fabrics are from Roz at Sew Much Fabric and each gave just the result I had in mind.

The inverted pleats of the Burda skirt needed a fabric with some body to achieve fullness without bulk.

This Italian cotton broadcloth called Greystone Lassoed Flowers was just ideal and lovely to sew with. Crisp without being stiff and it presses like a dream.  Predominately a palette of khaki and grey, it's also steeped in sage with touches of apricot. Just my colors!

I pleated out some of the excess before cutting the lining pieces

Finishing touches are the rayon lining and my favorite Petersham ribbon waistband treatment:

And now on to the Tangelo rayon knit top. Well, it's orange. Need I say more!? This is an 11 oz. rayon/spandex with 75% stretch in both directions. I knew I wanted a wrap top but also more coverage than any I had made in the past. I spotted Burda 6848 while pattern shopping and thought I'd give it a try:

I made View A but added a little experiment to it. I wasn't crazy about the wide band at the waist and decided to replace that with long ties that would wrap the waist and tie in front. I cut two 6" wide strips the width of the fabric, joined them to make one long piece, sewed the bodice to it and voila, a wrap shirt. And a favorite it shall become!

Fits great in the back, as well:

In my closet this outfit will be easy to accessorize. I'm really looking forward to wearing it!

Thanks for stopping by and see you next time.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Yellow is the New Red for Valentine's!

It's been so dreary this week and I'm SO ready for spring! Sew Much Fabric is, too, with these sunny and fun fabrics. Yellow is trending this year and has always been one of my favorite colors. This golden amber rayon jersey knit is especially rich and saturated and looks fabulous with the abstract print stretch cotton twill from Italy in white, honey, amber and black.
To me, the abstract print of the twill  was reminiscent of an animal print so I instinctively reached for another animal print because I like to mix them. My friend Julie Starr had just gifted me with a load of bias tapes in 3 different animal prints from Farmhouse Fabrics and one of them was the perfect scale and color for my skirt. I already knew I wanted to use Burda 02/2017 #117 because I love the detail at the yoke and pockets. One would usually go with black for the trim and buttons I but I felt like that was too predictable so I went with the cheetah.

The top is Burda 02/2013 #126. It's basically a raglan tee but with the soft gathering at the shoulders it has much more interest and femininity.

The skirt is fully lined with satin binding at the hem. I love making skirts-probably because they are so easy to fit!

I love my new skirt and top and until it warms up I'll enjoy wearing them with two of my other Sew Much Fabric jackets!

Thanks for reading, happy sewing and see you next time!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Patent Leather Pencil Skirt

I love this skirt! This is a faux leather from Sew Much Fabric that is over-embroidered with a damask pattern and it is SO much fun to wear. It made its debut Saturday night at a birthday dinner at the new Mastro's Houston and everyone raved about it.
Honestly,  I really wondered how this fabric would behave while I was sewing with it and I was so pleased when it went together with no problems whatsoever. I thought a walking foot might be needed but I sewed a sample with my standard presser foot and it worked just fine on the rayon backing and so I went with it:

And pressing was not the least bit problematic. I used an organza press cloth and did my pressing from the inside and it pressed remarkably well. Here are the back darts:

And the darts from the right side perfectly pressed and crisp:

I used my usual Petersham ribbon waistband:

I used Susan Khalje's pattern The Straight Skirt and I've made it several times but I know this one is going to quickly become one of my favorite wardrobe pieces. Give this fabric a try when you want to whip up something edgy and fun! My top is Burda 6990 in stretch velvet.

Thanks for reading and see you again soon!

Monday, January 1, 2018

A Sparkly New Year!

Happy New Year! And welcome to my first official blog post as Brand Ambassador for Sew Much Fabric one of the premier on-line resources for exquisite fabrics, notions and expertise on how to style it into fashion!
This version of the classic McCall's sheath 2401 is made from SMF's Smokey Taupe Sequin Stretch Lace overlaid on Smokey Taupe Satin, both available on the website. It was my first foray into sewing with a stretch lace overlay and so, as I'm famous for, I flew by the seat of my pants! I decided to approach it by basting the two layers together and treating them as one:

It worked great, even on the darts:

I inserted the zipper and sewed backs to front for a fitting. Thanks to my previous professional fitting with Andrea of Sew to Fit ,there were no adjustments to make. Having perfection on fit and the fact that the reverse side of the satin was beautiful, I decided I didn't want the bulk of another layer of lining. My dilemma then was how to finish the neckline and inside? I cut a 2" wide bias strip of the satin and used that for the neckline finish and I was very pleased with it:

I winced and went ahead and serged the other raw seams and it actually looks great. By the way, a great tip I learned from Susan Khalje is not to sew your bust dart down along the side seam, let it remain free for a much better fit:

I left the sleeves unlined and that was an easy process to measure the correct length using the scalloped edge at the wrist:
The final result is I am LOVING this little sparkler of a dress!
I paired it with my Glam Trench Coat (fabrics from Sew Much Fabric) and with the unexpected addition of my metallic cowboy boots it was a huge hit! In fact, I was having such a good time I forgot to have some photos taken!
I wish you all a blessed and bountiful 2018 with lots of time for sewing! See you next time!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Professional Fitting by SewTo Fit

This January I'm going to New Orleans to attend a boucle sheath workshop taught by Helen Haughey. In preparation, I decided to treat myself to a professional muslin fitting of the pattern I plan to use, McCall's 2401. Long out of print, I think it's the epitome of a classic sheath and I have made it many times.
Still, inasmuch as I am going to be spending a good amount of time using couture techniques on the boucle, I wanted an exceptional fitting muslin for my project. Enter A. D. Lynn of Sew to Fit. Many of you know Andrea from her incredible YouTube videos. I met her through my friend Roz, owner of SewMuchFabric  one of the premiere online fabric stores and founder of the Sewing Fashionistas group here in Houston. I was fortunate enough to spend the better part of a day with Andrea at her studio and came away with a perfectly fitting muslin worth its weight in gold! 
Prior to arriving Andrea asked me to sew up a muslin of M2401. I think we can all agree this sack is reminiscent of the Branch Davidian wives of that crazy David Koresh in Waco some years back.
Well, Andrea started doing her wizardry, somehow being hilariously entertaining at the same time, and in a matter of hours she had whittled that sack into a sleek muslin.  

Magically, she transferred that muslin on to a flat pattern that I can trace off with any of 3 different necklines and with or without seam allowances.

After finishing Andrea asked me to sew another muslin to check the fit. Having 101% confidence in her technical ability (and since I’m not crazy about sewing muslins) I told her we were going to live on the edge and use fashion fabric. I had just received this Double Espresso Boucle from Roz at Sew Much Fabric and thought it might be perfect. It has a random weave of metallic throughout that sadly doesn’t read in my photos. It was wonderful to work with and steamed and shaped beautifully.

Being a boucle I underlined it with silk organza to avoid any stretching in back from sitting:

The underlining was also invaluable for stabilizing when clipping the corners of the square neckline:

I love a contrast lining and this one really works with the boucle:
Andrea heartily calls herself a geek and I concur. I can’t say enough about her expertise at fitting. I learned so much about my body and why I could never fit certain areas without drag lines in the same old places. Guess what? I am so NOT symmetrical! All of my pattern pieces are unique and accommodating different quirks in my physique. It’s an amazing process and I highly recommend treating yourself. Her blog is so head over there to see what she's all about. Next time I’m going to have pants done!
Thanks for reading and enjoy the upcoming holidays!


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Wardrobe Basic: The Glam Spring Trench

While most parts of the country are still enjoying some chilly spring weather, here in Houston it’s warming up so my outing to the Art with Heart Gala last night may have been my last opportunity this season to wear the fabulous spring coat I made. This glam trench is another in the series of Wardrobe Basics by Roz at Sew Much Fabric.
We selected a beautiful mid-weight metallic gold stretch linen with accents of a cream and gold brocade. The pattern is from the 02/2017 Burda Style magazine, #103. The suggested coat in the magazine is unlined but I drafted a lining for mine using a lovely rayon lining also from SMF.

I especially like the attached belt and pleat detail. It has lovely shaping through the waist and I really love the back.

I looked and looked for just the right buttons and they were under my nose the whole time! I made covered buttons using the brocade. And not only are they the perfect accent they were a cinch to make.

I had never drafted a coat lining before so I’m sorta proud of the this one. I even kicked it up a notch and added piping!

I know I will get a lot of wear out of this great basic with its neutral-with-a-kick color palette and timeless design. All fabrics still available at Sew Much Fabric so hurry over!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Cheers to Wardrobe Basics!

One of the main staples of any wardrobe is a basic, button-up shirt. My favorite is the Sewaholic Granville. Although Sewaholic patterns are drafted for a pear shape, which I am definitely not, I have successfully tweaked this pattern with an FBA and a slimming down through the waist and hips. Now, it is my go-to shirt pattern. I also like to make my shirts more of a tunic length. Just a personal preference.

As an addition to Roz's Wardrobe Basics series for Sew Much Fabric, I made this shirt from a metallic linen that was a joy to sew with. Can had linen have drape? This one does! It's been a long time since I've so enjoyed shirt-making and I attribute it to this great fabric.

Since I had a neutral palette to work with I decided to experiment on an idea that is in keeping with my new found obsession with all things Moroccan. When I returned home from Marrakech in November I had the embroidery module to my Bernina waiting for me. I'm self taught and I've been experimenting all over the place. I found these Moroccan buttonholes and knew they were meant for this metallic linen.

The buttons I found on Etsy and took a chance on them but their absolutely perfect!

Okay, I reviewed the jean jacket on Pattern Review but didn't blog about it so it's making a debut here, as well. The 100% cotton denim also came from Sew Much Fabric and it has a great weight, perfect for behaving with steam and for setting snaps but it's not stiff. It's comfortable to wear. Again, along with my obsession with the colors of Morocco and now my embroidery module I went a little crazy and did a motif for the back of my jacket.

I love being able to add these two great basics to my wardrobe! Thanks, Roz!