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Monthly Archives: January 2014

  • Gray Jacket

    McCall's 6172 in Gray Flannel. Photo by Andrea Jones. McCall's 6172 in Gray Flannel. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    Interior welt pocket! Interior welt pocket!

    I now have some great pictures of the gray jacket I made during Marta Alto's last jacket class in Portland, Oregon, this fall. I discussed the learning process in a previous post. My jacket turned out to be more of a coat (not that I'm complaining). I think I will make a shorter version next time. I always forget that my torso is not "tall" even though the rest of me is.

    The construction went so smoothly, thanks to Marta's guidance. I am looking forward to my next jacket project! I have a great blue/brown/black boucle from Portland. 

    And we're walking......Photo by Andrea Jones And we're walking......Photo by Andrea Jones

    And the back fits, too. Photo by Andrea Jones. And the back fits, too. Photo by Andrea Jones.

  • Palmer/Pletsch Pants

    Palmer/Pletsch pants. Wool crepe from A Fashionable Stitch fabric store in Salt Lake City. Photo by Andrea Jones. Palmer/Pletsch pants. Wool crepe from A Fashionable Stitch fabric store in Salt Lake City. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    I now have photos of the wool pants I made during my Palmer/Pletsch Pants fitting class in Portland this fall. The pattern is McCall's 5239 -- the basic Palmer/Pletsch pants pattern. I bought the wool crepe a couple of years ago when I took a business trip to Salt Lake City and had a pants drafting lesson from Sunni at Yellow Bird Fabrics before she bought the store and renamed it A Fashionable Stitch. The fabric was wonderful to work with, and I love the fit of the pants, thanks to Pati Palmer. 

     

    The back of the pants. The invisible zipper is pretty hard to see. I love an invisible zipper foot! Photo by Andrea Jones. The back of the pants. The invisible zipper is pretty hard to see. I love an invisible zipper foot! Photo by Andrea Jones.

    I always learn a ton of lessons during my time in Portland at the Palmer/Pletsch School of Sewing. During this most recent pants class, I learned that I love Palmer/Pletsch's Perfect Waistband interfacing. When I took my first P/P pants class the previous fall, I was not sold on the interfacing. Frankly, I thought it was a little old-fashioned.  I wanted to make pants with "cool" contour waistbands. As my daughters will attest, "cool" is my middle name. I never wear anything that isn't cool.

    But, during this year's class, I made a pair of contour-waist pants (which will not see the light of day without a TON of tweaking), and a pair with a straight, one-inch wide waistband formed with Marta and Pati's perfect interfacing. The interfacing is strong and stiff and a perfect one-inch wide. It does not roll. It does not stretch. It does not budge. I could eat three Thanksgiving dinners and my waistband would stay in place and remain the same size (which could be painful). 

    Next up for McCall's 5239: a black pair with side pockets, a fly-front zipper, and a "Perfect" waistband. My style icon, Katharine Hepburn, would approve.

    How about you? Do you have a favorite way to stabilize your waistband?

  • Wardrobe Architect, Week 2

    Katharine lounging in the most classic of outfits. Image Source: (Photo by Haynes Archive/Popperfoto/Getty Images) Katharine lounging in the most classic of outfits. Image Source: (Photo by Haynes Archive/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

    Meg in a beautiful tissue-weight knit. Image source: sixpacktech.com Meg in a beautiful tissue-weight knit. Image source: sixpacktech.com

    Sarah Richardson looking wonderful. I have a gray dress, gray tights, and red shoes! I just need that beautiful necklace. Image Source: www.themarionhousebook.com Sarah Richardson looking wonderful. I have a gray dress, gray tights, and red shoes! I just need that beautiful necklace. Image Source: www.themarionhousebook.com

    Sarah in a classic, well-constructed pink blazer. Image Source: www.sarahrichardsondesign.com Sarah in a classic, well-constructed pink blazer. Image Source: www.sarahrichardsondesign.com

    This week, Sarai at Coletterie is challenging us to: Uncover the styles that make you feel like yourself and attach words and images to them.

     

    By answering Sarai’s questions, I discovered I like clothes that are:

    • Classic
    • Well-Made
    • Beautiful
    • Smart 
    • Friendly

     

    Sarai then asked us to identify our style icons. Strangely, I have never pondered my icons. As I started thinking about who I might choose, my first thought was Katharine Hepburn, the original tall beauty. Perusing photos of her on the ‘net, I loved her classic, sometimes androgynous, outfits. Yes, she is an icon for me!

    My second thought was Meg Ryan. She is cute, petite, and blonde, very different from me, but she gravitates toward simple well-constructed clothes that fit well. She stays on the list.

     

    Then I realized who my true style icon is: Sarah Richardson, host of the Canadian TV show, Sarah’s House. I love her interior design ideas, and her clothes are to.die.for. Tweed jackets with jeans, cute cardigans, perfect color combinations, I love her real, honest beauty. 

     

    Now that I have identified my style icons, I will have an easier time determining if a piece of clothing is “me” or not. Thanks Sarai!

  • Wardrobe Architect, Day 6

    None of these three good dogs is actually evil. Their owner just can't figure out how to make their eyes look normal. They are posing with our collection of snow boots, hoping a walk is in their future. None of these three good dogs is actually evil. Their owner just can't figure out how to make their eyes look normal. They are posing with our collection of snow boots, hoping a walk is in their future.

    The topic for Wardrobe Architect Day 6 is Location. Sarai asks, Does the place you live inform the way you dress? How does climate factor in? 

    Climate is a huge factor here in Montana. I have experienced snow during every month of the year here, and the temperature can fluctuate wildly during the day and from one day to the next. I have boots for deep snow and light snow. I have cleats I can put on my boots on icy days.  I always have a collection of shoes under my desk at work so I can wear snow boots outside and change  when I get inside. Layering is key for keeping warm outdoors and staying comfortable indoors!

  • Wardrobe Architect, Day 5

    Kate, Charlotte and Mairin at Mairin's graduation. Kate, Charlotte and Mairin at Mairin's graduation.

    Today's Wardrobe Architect theme is Activities. Sarai asks, "How do your daily activities influence your choices?"

    Well....I have many activities to influence my choices:

    1. I'm a mom of two young women who love to say, "you're going to wear THAT?"

    2. As the the executive director of a community health center, I am frequently in the public eye -- I need to wear dresses, blazers, slacks and blouses.

    3. I love to hike, swim and do yoga -- I must be able to change into exercise gear in a flash.

    4. I LOVE to sew -- the easiest activity to dress for. 

  • Wardrobe Architect, Day 4

    Today's Wardrobe Architect topic is Community. I love the beauty of the trail system around Helena, Montana, my town. I also love the casual attitude about dressing. If I wear a skirt on Saturday, people ask me why I'm so dressed up.  I always need to be ready to quickly change into hiking clothes so I can walk out my door and hit the trail. 

  • Wardrobe Architect, Days 2 and 3

    The next two topics on the Wardrobe Architect journey are: Philosophy and Culture. If I were to sum up my spiritual beliefs in one word, it would be Tzedakah — the Hebrew word for both charity and justice. I believe that giving what we can to others leads to justice in the world. My belief is Tzedakah, my upbringing in casual California, and my adult life in even-more-casual Montana shape my desire to dress well but not spend extravagantly on what I wear. Sewing clothes that fit with fine natural fibers fits with both my spiritual and cultural beliefs. Thank you, Sarai at Coletterie, for guiding us all through this introspective journey! I am learning new things about myself!

  • Wardrobe Architect, Day 1

    Here I am in a classic wool flannel blazer. Photo by the amazing Pati Palmer. Here I am in a classic wool flannel blazer. Photo by the amazing Pati Palmer.

    I am following Sarai Mitnick at Coletterie on her Wardrobe Architect journey to "design and build thoughtful attire." Our first exercise is to answer questions about these aspects of ourselves and our style:

    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Culture
    • Community
    • Activities
    • Location
    • Body

    I will be discussing one of these each day. I'll start with History. Sarai's question is: How has your personal history informed the way you dress? When did your tastes crys- talize? Have they changed over the years, and why? 

    I grew up in California in the 1970's. The cool adults were wearing bell-bottoms and polyester shirts. My mom shopped at Talbott's. I wanted to be anything but "classic." I went to college on the east coast with kids from New York City who were uber edgy with their ripped jeans and black on black on black. I couldn't figure out how to dress like them. Now I find myself dressing mostly classic, but always with a twist, a subtle nod to the tackiness of California in the 70's, or the coolness of those kids from NYC.

    How does your history affect your style?

  • MY AMAZING CUTTING TABLE

    Before I tell you about my amazing new cutting table, I want to assure you I still have my day job, and I’m not planning on quitting any time soon. My new cutting table is not cheap. It is a LaCresta Advantage workstation from Martelli Notions. I bought it at the American Sewing Guild Expo in Novi, Michigan this fall. It is big. It has a giant cutting mat, and it raises up and down with the touch of a button. The Martelli salesman gave me a great deal, shipped it for free, and threw in an ergonomic rotary cutter, a giant guide that lets me cut bias strips super fast, and a ton of quilting templates. ("But, wait, there’s more, if you order in the next 15 minutes….”)

     

    Here is the display at the American Sewing Expo. What a handsome table! Here is the display at the American Sewing Expo. What a handsome table!

    I wish I could tell you exactly how much faster I can cut out a project with my new cutting table, but I go to such a happy place while I’m sewing; Time flies by, and I can’t be bothered to look at my watch. Believe me, the cutting part of a project is MUCH faster.

    An artistic tableau on my cutting table at home. An artistic tableau on my cutting table at home.

    The two main reasons I am so happy about this cutting table are my height and friends. I am six feet tall on a short day, which makes cutting out fabric on the dining room table painful. Cutting out on the kitchen counter is not too painful, but my counters are not wide enough to accommodate a folded length of fabric, and the clearing and wiping is tiresome. My Martelli table is wide enough to accommodate a lot of fabric, and I can walk around it to get the best cutting angle.

    It raises! It lowers! At the touch of a button! It will also slant/// It raises! It lowers! At the touch of a button! It will also slant///

    Why not just have a perfect-height table built for me? That would be much cheaper. But, with my Martelli table, I can lower the table and have sewing dates with friends. Fun! I can also teach at my house (and earn enough to pay for the table!). 

    It also has wheels so it can be tucked in the corner when not in use. It also has wheels so it can be tucked in the corner when not in use.

    I know the cost of a Martelli table is out of reach for many people, and space is at a premium for all of us. If you are in the market for a fancy cutting table, though, this is a great one.

     

  • Princess Seam Class

    Sample shirt on a mannequin. Made of a soft voile from Selvedge. Sample shirt on a mannequin. Made of a soft voile from Selvedge.

    Following the instructions in Fit for Real People, I drew a box above and below the bust notches, lowered the boxes by 1.5 Following the instructions in Fit for Real People, I drew a box above and below the bust notches, lowered the boxes by 1.5", and trued the seams as instructed.

    The broadened back tissue with Perfect Pattern Paper inserted. The broadened back tissue with Perfect Pattern Paper inserted.

    The altered front reaches to my center front. The bust fullness hits at the correct spot. The altered front reaches to my center front. The bust fullness hits at the correct spot.

    And the back reaches my center back. And the back reaches my center back.

    Next week, I will start teaching a 3-part class on fitting and sewing a princess-seam top. The class will be held at Selvedge Studio in Missoula. Selvedge is an amazing boutique fabric shop. It has a well-curated selection of quilting, garment and home dec fabrics. I'm proud to be able to teach there.

    McCall's 2818 McCall's 2818

    I’m teaching how to fit and sew McCall’s 2818, a sleeveless top that buttons up the back. I sewed up a quick sample for Selvedge to display in the store. Sewing a garment without altering is so fast!

     

    Since I have never actually made this princess-seam top, I decided to fit and sew one for myself this weekend. Not because I really really want one, just because I care about my future students! Hehehe…..

     

    Trying on the tissue revealed that the bust apex was too high, and the back was too narrow. I lowered the bust apex 1.5 inches.

     

     

     

    And then I broadened the back by 1.5 inches.

     

    Since McCall’s 2818 is a Palmer/Pletsch pattern, the alteration lines are on the pattern tissue.  Easy!

     

     

     

     

    Here I am in the altered tissue. Yes, I might be wearing my PJs. It’s Saturday morning, what do you expect?

     

    Because all fabric stretches more than tissue, and my fabric is a stretch shirting, I think I’m ready to cut out and pin fit the fabric.

     

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