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Monthly Archives: March 2014

  • Flashback: Sencha and Beignet

    I have had a difficult 2 months at work, so during this month's photo shoot with Andrea Jones, I pulled out some pre-blog makes. I found myself falling in love all over again with Colette Patterns' Sencha and Beignet

    Sencha in a lightweight voile, Beignet in a slightly stretchy heavy bottom weight. Photo by Andrea Jones. Sencha in a lightweight voile, Beignet in a slightly stretchy heavy bottom weight. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    The Colette Sewing Handbook helped me take up garment sewing again. Sarai's description of simple pattern alterations was a revelation for me. Now, many books and classes later, I still refer to The Colette Sewing Handbook and feel thankful to Sarai for bringing home sewing to the hipster world (because I'm such a cool hipster! Hah!).

    The pocket placement is also wonderful. Photo by Andrea Jones. The pocket placement is also wonderful. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    I also love Colette Patterns' detailed and clear instructions. They made me feel like a pro when I was just re-entering the sewing world. You can't see it, but the Beignet skirt has the most pro-looking lining, and Sarai walks the sewer through easy steps to make it.

    The Sencha top is so simple and so flattering. Photo by Andrea Jones. The Sencha top is so simple and so flattering. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    AND....One more wonderful thing about Colette patterns -- they are drafted almost exactly to my shape. Despite Sarai's wonderful alteration teachings, I don't have to alter her patterns at all.

    Another close-up. Photo by Andrea Jones. Another close-up. Photo by Andrea Jones.

  • Pattern Matching for a Princess

    Princess fabric and princess nails for a princess top! Princess fabric and princess nails for a princess top!

    I recently stitched a McCall's 2818 princess-seamed top in a princess-y pink fabric. It's the top I wanted to teach as a class, but no one signed up. I carefully altered and fitted the tissue:

    Tissue fit is good... Tissue fit is good...

    ....And matched the pattern. I find cutting out in a single layer the best way to match a pattern perfectly.

    I flipped one center back piece and laid it on top of the fabric to match the pattern exactly before cutting the second side back. I flipped one center back piece and laid it on top of the fabric to match the pattern exactly before cutting the second side back.

    I have a beautifully matched pattern, but the top turned out too big. Easy to fix by deepening the side seams, but, whoops! Although I did try the top on repeatedly during the sewing process, I had trouble gauging the fit because the top closed in the back. Next time, I will ask Fred to pin the back closed each time I check the fit. The fabric has some stretch to it.

    Check out the pattern matching in the front....Photo by Andrea Jones. Check out the pattern matching in the front....Photo by Andrea Jones.

    And the matching in the back. Photo by Andrea Jones. And the matching in the back. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    McCall's 2818 is a Palmer/Pletsch pattern, and I could tell Pati Palmer worked hard on the drafting and the instructions. The process felt more like sewing up a Colette Pattern than sewing up a Big 4 pattern. In other words, everything fit together perfectly, and the sewing order and "Pro Tips" made me feel like a star seamstress. I definitely recommend this pattern. You will see more versions if springtime ever comes to the Rockies.

  • Project Selvedge, Week 2: Teacher Pride

    'Edie Sedgewick' gets ready to be photographed by newspaper reporters. 'Edie Sedgewick' gets ready to be photographed by newspaper reporters.

    I was honored to be a Project Selvedge judge last night. Project Selvedge is a live version of Project Runway hosted by Selvedge Studio in Missoula, Montana. Last night's challenge (created by moi) was to make a garment that emulated the contestant's style icon.

    I also taught a Sewing Essentials class to three of the six contestants last week. The class was free, and we covered different fabrics, pressing, and altering paper patterns.

    The winning look. An amazing rendition of a dress Madeleine Vionnet would have made in the 1920's The winning look. An amazing rendition of a dress Madeleine Vionnet would have made in the 1920's

    The two looks above were created by two of the contestants who took my class. I felt proud of them, and proud of myself, as a beginning teacher. The zipper insertion, stripe matching, and hem of the skirt was a step up from last week. The precision of the cutting and pressing of the bias silk dress were four steps up from last week. Thankfully, no one was sent home. I lived through my judging experience with no tears from me or the contestants.

    'Heidi Klum' walks the runway. 'Heidi Klum' walks the runway.

    The youngest model of the evening as 'Mary Quant'. The youngest model of the evening as 'Mary Quant'.

  • Project Selvedge, Week 1

    I am working with the folks at Selvedge Studio in Missoula, Montana, on this year's Project Selvedge, a live version of Project Runway. The first week was amazing! Each contestant received four yards of white cotton/linen blend to make whatever they wanted. 

    The winning dress. Look of the placement of the pockets! The winning dress. Look of the placement of the pockets!

    One contestant died her fabric with wine, beets, and Baby Bell cheese wrappers! One contestant died her fabric with wine, beets, and Baby Bell cheese wrappers!

    The wrap-around elephant skirt has great-fitting shorts under it! Go away now, snow, so we can all wear outfits like this! The wrap-around elephant skirt has great-fitting shorts under it! Go away now, snow, so we can all wear outfits like this!

    Jasmine's high/low lined linen jacket looked great on her model. Jasmine's high/low lined linen jacket looked great on her model.

    One contestant is just 9-years old. Here she is describing the dress she made for her friend. She said she could picture her friend wearing this dress to her birthday party.  Love it! One contestant is just 9-years old. Here she is describing the dress she made for her friend. She said she could picture her friend wearing this dress to her birthday party.  Love it!

    Oh yeah, I was this poised when I was 9 years old, not! Oh yeah, I was this poised when I was 9 years old, not!

    One contestant made shibori-dyed accents on her well-fitted dress. One contestant made shibori-dyed accents on her well-fitted dress.

    None of the contestants was eliminated this week. Phew! The day after the fashion show, I taught a Sewing Essentials class to the contestants and a few members of the audience who want to learn to make clothes. Next week, the contestants will be asked to meet "my" challenge of sewing in the mode of their fashion icon. They will be judged on how well they can emulate their icons, and how well their garments fit their models. I will be one of the judges!

  • The Agony of Defeat

    I hate to buy clothes, and I rarely do any more. But, I really need new pants, and every pair I tried to make in the past few weeks has been a complete fail!  So, this morning I went online and ordered two new pairs from J Crew. They are "Talls" and on sale, but still, I feel defeated.

    In case you think I don't need pants at this time of year because spring is In case you think I don't need pants at this time of year because spring is "just around the corner," take a look at my driveway this morning....

    Here is my tale of woe: I was finishing up some gorgeous black wool crepe pants this morning....almost done...they fit great....just serging the edges....and, I accidentally swerved and serged diagonally through one leg. Don't ask me how I did it. I don't know. But, I can admit defeat.  I am not going to try to make any of the pants in my queue for awhile. Must take a break!

    Nice and neat napkins! Nice and neat napkins!

     

    While I recovered from my serger fiasco, I perused the blog posts I "hearted" last week. One was from Madalynne, called Grain Perfection. She tells the story of Edna Bishop, a famous sewing figure of the 1950's, requiring her students to "cut out" a garment by only ripping the fabric to make sure it was on-grain. This gorgeous quilting cotton with a William Morris-type print was a perfect candidate for the ripping method of "grain perfection." After a few purposeful rips, I felt much better, and I had "cut out" six napkins. I hemmed the edges, mitered the corners, and felt my sewing mojo return. Phew. 

    Proof that I can still sew. I will be teaching a class on sewing this McCall's 6513 in Missoula in April. The fabric is a tissue-weight stretch wool from Selvedge Studio.  I can only show it to you on the hanger because it's a size 6, and I'm not. :) Proof that I can still sew. I will be teaching a class on sewing this McCall's 6513 in Missoula in April. The fabric is a tissue-weight stretch wool from Selvedge Studio.  I can only show it to you on the hanger because it's a size 6, and I'm not. :)

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