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Monthly Archives: February 2014

  • Wardrobe Architect, Week 6: Organizing my Palette

    Look at all the colors in my palette! Look at all the colors in my palette!

    This week’s challenge is to organize our list of colors into a wearable palette. This assignment was more informative and much more mortifying than I expected. It reminded me of those times in college when I thought an assignment was going to be easy (I read that book last year in European Intellectual History. I’ll just skim it again and write the paper), but after starting on it, I realize the assignment will be very difficult.

    When I saw Sarai’s limited number of colors in her wearable palette, I thought, “I’ve had my colors done, I have tons of colors in my palette.” I can just take a photo of my fan of colors. Assignment done! Then I noticed that Sarai asks us to look at the colors in our current wardrobes.

    95 percent of my clothes are only these neutral colors! 95 percent of my clothes are only these neutral colors!

    It’s true, the number of colors that would look good on me is enormous.

    But when I look in my closet, I realize how few of them I actually wear.

    Black, chocolate brown, white and dark gray are heavily represented, even in tee-shirts. Many of my outfits barely have a pop of color. Only five colors appear as rare pops in my closet: bright pink, red, royal blue and dark purple. 

    The sad few pops of colors that rarely make an appearance in my wardrobe. The sad few pops of colors that rarely make an appearance in my wardrobe.

    I took a quick peek at my stash — can I look forward to more colors in the next year of sewing? Ummm….No. My stash is black and gray and white, with a rare pop of color. 

     

    No gold pour moi! No gold pour moi!

    As far as metals go, I only wear white gold or silver. In fact, Pati Palmer is considering using me as an example of someone who cannot wear gold in her upcoming book. She took photos to show how bad I look in gold. 

    The colors that are currently in my wardrobe can serve as a good (although boring) basis for a wearable palette. I pledge to incorporate more colors into my wardrobe after I work down my stash!

    Silver is much better. Silver is much better.

  • Reflections on Lessons Learned and Teaching

    Calling all Princesses!  Calling all Princesses! 

    As I venture into this new phase in my life, this sewing, tailoring, teaching phase, I’m trying to find my niche. When I started this blog post last weekend (I had a busy week), I was getting ready to teach three new classes at Selvedge Studio in Missoula: Princess Seams, Sewing With Knits, and Sewing Essentials: From Wanna-Be to Designer in 2 Hours.

    I prepared folders for each theoretical student I prepared folders for each theoretical student

    For the past few weeks, I’ve been frantically sewing up samples, practicing altering different patterns, and writing curriculums. I had both a Princess Seam class and a Sewing Essentials class scheduled for yesterday, and I wanted to finish my sample for Sewing with Knits.

    I cut out samples of different fabrics, made a grid showing how to sew with each, and marked a sample of each with sewing instructions. I cut out samples of different fabrics, made a grid showing how to sew with each, and marked a sample of each with sewing instructions.

    Unfortunately, all of my preparation was for naught. No one signed up for the Princess Seam class, and the Sewing Essentials class was postponed until March 8. At least I’m ready to teach the classes. Now I have a little time for some selfish sewing (my favorite kind!). 

    Do you teach sewing classes? Which are the most popular? How do you get people to sign up?

  • Wardrobe Architect Week 5 -- My Color Story

    Ethel calls these pinks my Ethel calls these pinks my "skin tone enhancers."

    A few blues work for me. A few blues work for me.

    This week, Sarai at Coletterie is asking us to tell our "color stories." Sarai has a wonderful sense of style and color. She wears her favorite colors and looks great. 

    These are the complimentary colors that bring out my eye color. These are the complimentary colors that bring out my eye color.

    I, on the other hand, needed help to figure out which colors look best on me. I tended to want to wear colors that look great on other people, not realizing that my skin tone was completely different from theirs. I had my "colors done" when I was in my 20's. It was a great move for me. I stopped buying things that just sat in my closet without ever blending into my overall wardrobe. Now, everything goes together. Really. It's true. I know that my basics are navy blue, black, gray and white. I cannot wear cream or anything but the darkest brown. Bright colors and jewel tones look best on me. I am a "contrasting winter."

    Ethel found all of these colors in my hair and said I can actually wear them! Ethel found all of these colors in my hair and said I can actually wear them!

    These are my eye color enhancers These are my eye color enhancers

    I had my colors done again last year. My hair has gone from almost-black to almost-white, and I wondered if the change made a difference in what looks best on me.  I went to Ethel Harms, who lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon, while in Portland for a "Sewing Vacation." Ethel not only does a great job explaining color theory and why certain colors work for you, she also gives you a cute little fan of colored fabrics that easily fits in a purse. Ethel confirmed the bright colors, jewel tones, and basic colors my first colorist suggested. She also pulled colors out of my hair and my eyes -- adding some warmish colors to my palette. 

    Even if you decide to wear whatever colors you want, I think it's great to understand which colors actually look good on you, so you can make an educated decision And, getting your colors done can keep you from overdoing your stash (too much).

  • Wardrobe Architect Weeks 3 and 4

    For weeks 3 and 4 of Wardrobe Architect, Sarai asked us to think about the proportions and silhouettes that look best on us. She suggested we go to Polyvore to create our own style sets. I'm so excited! I have always wondered how people created wardrobe sets in cute little boxes!

    There is a link in the sidebar to my Polyvore sets. I'll be updating them regularly.

    Proportions and Silhouettes that work for me

    Okay....Yay me for figuring out how to create a 'code block' and show you all my Polyvore sets, but boo for me:  I can't figure out how to caption each of them. So, I'll caption them from way down here. On the top left, I have tunics and leggings, which I love because I have long legs. I have to be careful that the tunics don't billow out from the bust in a tent-like fashion. On the middle top are khakis and a girly top -- one of my favs for the weekend. On the top right, a short skirt with a matching flow-y cardigan and tights -- one of my favorites for spring and fall. Middle row on the left is a wrap dress with a blazer. Everyone who advises how to dress based on body type says a wrap dress is great for someone with an hourglass figure like mine. This is a go-to work outfit for me. In the middle is an A-line skirt with a striped t-shirt -- a great spring or fall outfit for a work day when I don't have many meetings. Middle row right -- pencil skirt with a fitted blazer -- is what I wear on a work day when I have an important meeting or need to be on TV. The bottom left square contains boot-cut jeans and a flow-y T, which I love for weekends. Finally, lower right, a v-neck dress with a waist and a flow-y cardigan, my most comfortable work wear in the summer.

    Thanks again to Sarai for getting us all to think about our wardrobes!

  • Ruched Tee

    Angela and Moi at the American Sewing expo. Both of us wearing her ruched T. Angela and Moi at the American Sewing expo. Both of us wearing her ruched T.

    Angela Wolf's Ruched T with McCall's pants. Photo by Andrea Jones. Angela Wolf's Ruched T with McCall's pants. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    Back of the gray ponte version. See how much I ruched the sleeves, and they're still too long! Yay! Photo by Andrea Jones. Back of the gray ponte version. See how much I ruched the sleeves, and they're still too long! Yay! Photo by Andrea Jones.

    Angela Wolf's Ruched T-Shirt is magical. It's a dream come true for a tall woman like me. The body of the shirt is long. The sleeves are LONG! You have to ruche both of them to make them manageable, even for me. 

    Unlike other ruched t-shirts I have made, which use clear elastic along the ruching, Angela reinforces the ruching on her t-shirt with straight twill tape. The ruches hold their shape beautifully. 

    I was lucky enough to take a full-day class from Angela at the American Sewing Expo this fall. She and her mom helped 25 of us find our sizes and sew up our tees. I made a large, grading out to an extra-large in the bust. 

    During the class, I made a gray ponte version with a twisted collar. My second version is this bright pink version with a cowl collar. Both of them are enjoying frequent wear.

    Angela's ruched t-shirt is beautifully drafted, with many collar options. You will see many more versions on this blog. :)

    The ruching stays in place thanks to straight twill tape. Photo by Andrea Jones. The ruching stays in place thanks to straight twill tape. Photo by Andrea Jones.

  • Seams Unlikely

    Nancy Zieman titled her autobiography, Seams Unlikely, because most people would not predict a farm girl with permanent Bell’s palsy would become an internationally known television personality. After reading her story, however, I am not at all surprised by her success.

     

    When Nancy was a year and a half, she developed a palsy on the right side of her face. Ninety-four percent of people who develop Bell’s palsy completely recover. Nancy was part of the six percent who have a permanent palsy.

     

    In addition to her lopsided facial features, Nancy had problems with her knees, and complications from surgeries. Overcoming each of her hardships took a huge amount of perseverance and willingness to come out of her shell. 

     

    During college, after an especially painful time in the hospital, Nancy began to view herself differently. She writes, “Bell’s palsy, patched knees, whatever the problem — they are only a facade, a matter of packaging. I came to realize that those things are not who I am.”

     

    After that realization, there was no stopping Nancy Zieman.

     

    She travelled all over America teaching sewing, with her favorite hard-to-find notions in her suitcase. After a few years, she realized the women she was teaching wanted access to her favorite sewing tools. As she traveled, she recorded all of her students names and addresses on index cards. When she decided to create her first catalog (really just a flyer), she typed thousands of her students names onto mailing labels using a manual typewriter.

     

    By the time someone suggested Nancy create a television show, she was so accustomed to disregarding her fear and self-consciousness that she turned her left side to the camera and showed the world what a wonderful teacher she is.

     

    My favorite tip from Nancy is, “know your customer.” Nancy segments her audience and makes sure she meets the needs of every segment. Here is how she does it:

     

    Nadine — creates gifts for others.

    Amy — an embroiderer, likes to embellish gifts, garments and decor

    Natalie — a garment sewist

    Connie — a quilter

    Yvonne — a die-hard sewist who enjoys all aspects of sewing, quilting and embroidery

     

    Nancy, her husband, Rich, her parents, and Rich’s parents poured their hearts and souls into Nancy’s Notions. They worked hard and they worked smart to make Nancy’s Notions and Sewing with Nancy a success.

    If you want to read this inspiring book, Nancy is giving away 20 copies. Click here to go to Nancy's book launch blog post. Leave a comment on the page to enter the give-away contest.

    Be sure to visit the other stops on the blog tour!

    February 4          Nancy Zieman           http://www.nancyzieman.com/blog/blog-tour/seams-unlikely-book/

    February 5          Eileen Roche          http://dzgns.com/blog/

    February 5          Pat Sloan          http://patsloan.typepad.com/

    February 6          Melissa Stramel          http://melissaslilaclane.blogspot.com

    February 6          The Long Ladies          http://www.mariemadelinestudio.typepad.com/

    February 6          Tori Thompson          http://totallystitchin.net

    February 7          Amy Barickman          http://www.indygojunction.com/blog/

    February 7          Melissa Mora          http://mellysews.com

    February 8          Shari Butler          http://www.doohikeydesignstudio.com/blog/

    February 8          Vicki Christensen          http://www.sewinspiredblog.com/

    February 9          Carolina Moore          http://alwaysexpectmoore.com

    February 9          Kate Mclvor          https://theconfidentstitch.squarespace.com

    February 10          Amy Ellis          http://amyscreativeside.com/

    February 10          Melissa Mortenson          http://www.polkadotchair.com

    February 11          Ilene Miller          http://happyvalleyprimitives.blogspot.com/

    February 11          Liz Hicks          http://blogerisms.blogspot.com/

    February 11          Rachael Pannepacker          http://www.jaybirdquilts.com/

    February 12          Bill Gardner          http://www.quiltersnewsletter.com/blogs/insideqn/

    February 12          Elizabeth Evans          http://www.simplesimonandco.com

    February 13          Amy Webb          http://www.amylouwhosews.com/ 

    February 13          Lindsay Wilkes          http://thecottagehome.blogspot.com

    February 14          Gertie Hirsch          http://www.blogforbettersewing.com

    February 14          Veronica Philips          http://cloverusa.wordpress.com/

    February 15          Jenny Gabriel          http://www.sewvacoutletblog.com

    February 15          Laura Wasilowski          http://artfabrik.blogspot.com/

    February 16          Frieda Anderson          http://friestyle.blogspot.com/

    February 16          Rita Farro          http://ritassewfun.blogspot.com

    February 17          Cindy Cloward          http://www.rileyblakedesigns.com/blog/

    February 17          Joan Hawley          http://www.lazygirldesigns.com/blog/

    February 17          Patty Young          http://modkidboutique.blogspot.com

    February 18          Nancy Zieman          http://www.nancyzieman.com/blog/

  • J Stern T

    Close up of the J Stern T. Andrea Jones Photo. Close up of the J Stern T. Andrea Jones Photo.

    Lengthening and pattern-piece-fitting ala Jennifer. Lengthening and pattern-piece-fitting ala Jennifer.

    Jennifer Stern and Moi! Jennifer Stern and Moi!

    The first thing I did when I joined PatternReview.com was enroll in Jennifer Stern's tutorial on how to do a full-bust-adjustment on her signature T-shirt. It's a great tutorial. Jennifer is a calm and clear instructor. Despite being an avid full-bust-adjuster, I could not have figured out how to alter this T without Jennifer's tutorial. She shows how to alter each piece so they fit together perfectly.

    You gals may have already figured this out, but the full-bust-adjustment has more to do with length than width. I guess I should have figured that out years ago when I tried on my 1,047th empire waist dress that cut straight across my bust instead of below it!

    I love this pattern. AND, I got to meet the famous-to-me Jennifer Stern in person when I attended the American Sewing Expo in Detroit this fall.  I took Jennifer's jeans-fitting class. I can't wait to make the jeans. All I need is a long stretch of free time! 

     

    Front of the T. Andrea Jones Photo. Front of the T. Andrea Jones Photo.

  • Nine Lives Vest

    I'm thinking deeply about my Nine Lives...Photo by Andrea Jones. I'm thinking deeply about my Nine Lives...Photo by Andrea Jones.

    Fabric-covered buttons and bound buttonholes make this simple vest a little more special. Photo by Andrea Jones. Fabric-covered buttons and bound buttonholes make this simple vest a little more special. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    Extremely fine fusible stay tape at the hem. Extremely fine fusible stay tape at the hem.

    During my recent weekend of selfish sewing, I was saved from my own tendency to rush by my Sew Confident 2012 thumb drive. Every year, Linda Lee at The Sewing Workshop issues a new Sew Confident thumb drive. They are amazingly helpful. With great photography, Linda walks you through the construction process for 5 or 6 of her patterns in multiple (and frequently tricky) fabrics. 

    As you can see, the Nine Lives Vest is a very simple pattern. It is the kind of project I am tempted to breeze through without reading the instructions. Not a good idea. Luckily, I remembered my thumb drive and followed it for each step. Even a simple garment needs to be well made. 

    I decided to add to the beauty of the vest by using fabric covered buttons and making bound buttonholes.

    Linda recommends making this vest out of linen. I used a beefy batik instead. I will definitely use linen next time. The batik is a little too flow-y and loosely woven. As you can see in the photo of the back of the vest, it is asymmetrical. I worry that the flow-y-ness of the batik will make it look like I just didn't cut out the pattern correctly. I used some  SewKeysE one-inch stay tape for the hem, hoping it would get stiffer, but I'm not sure it helped. Of course, SewKeysE stay tape is "extremely fine" meaning it should not add stiffness, I just thought I'd give it a try. Silly me.

    I can't wait to make another Nine Lives Vest out of linen. It is so comfortable, and it adds fun to every-day outfits.

    Fun asymmetric lines. Photo by Andrea Jones. Fun asymmetric lines. Photo by Andrea Jones.

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