Monthly Archives: May 2012

Sewing – A Spring Suit

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I am always on the lookout for fabric with an interesting texture.  This piece of suiting with it raised loopy diagonal pattern certainly caught my eye as something different.   I purchased a length several years ago and set it aside waiting for inspiration to visit.  Recently, being in need of a new suit, I decided it was time to take on the challenge of working with multiple diagonals.  Yikes!  I was a little concerned about all those lines, but thankfully my worries were unfounded.

After perusing my pattern file, I landed on one of my tried and true patterns by New Look  I’ve used this basic many times and always with good results  One of the things I like most about this pattern is its simplicity; it has the princess  seam lines for easy fitting and the mandarin collar requiring no time-consuming tailoring.  I also shortened it for an updated look.

My crowning achievement was matching the design down the front.  That took some planning ahead.

The pattern is unlined, so I created my own in a beautifully coordinated rayon lining for a nice interior finish.

I selected a beautiful camel linen twill for the skirt and lined it using the same rayon lining used in the jacket.  Finishing touches included an invisible zipper and back slit for ease resulting in a striking and unique couture suit appropriate to any occasion.

Jewelry – handcrafted necklace and earrings

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Fabric Art Beads

Fabric art beads are made from left over remnants from my various sewing and fabric mosaics projects. With sustainable practices becoming so much a part of how we think today, I found myself wanting to come up with a practical use for what might otherwise have been discarded and out of that came my idea for Fabric Art Beads. Through repurposing of remnant materials, fabric art beads are created and incorporated into fashion jewelry.

ARENARIA

Arenaria necklace is made with luscious shades of gold and cream hand-dyed batik fabric-art-beads accented with metallic gold Gutterman thread. Fabric-art-beads are paired with a variety of vintage and new decorative beads for a truly unique, one-of-kind, accessory. Wear alone or as a set with Arenaria companion pierced earrings by RemnantWorks .

necklace and coordinating earrings

necklace with embroidered silk blouse

Handcrafted Jewelry – Summer Accoutrements

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I decided I really needed a little something to go with my new dress.

With that in mind, I took a quick spin through my bead drawer and found a few odds and ends to work with.

So, what do you think of my necklace and matching set of earrings?  Too bad I don’t have pierced ears.  Oh well…

Dressmaking – Summer Cool

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Question:  What’s better than one cotton dress?  Answer:  Two cotton dresses.

The weather has suddenly gotten warm in Sewville and there is nothing that says “cool”  like a   sleeveless cotton dress.  I like this dress pattern, because it’s so polite…  no rude clinging or binding to contend with as it discretely skims the figure and smoothes out the silhouette.  This pattern is a real find; it’s flattering and comfortable without there being a hint of mu-mu-ville.

 

My Other Blogs

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If you enjoy my SewVille blog you may also find my fabric art mosaics of interest.  Building a WordPress gallery is quite different from posting daily entries about sewing projects and I’ve been working for days on learning the ins and outs of the gallery programming.  It’s been taxing, but I’ve finally, after many fits and starts, come up with a format that seems to work and is easily navigated.  All of the images you see in these galleries are made exclusively of quilting cotton.  Please stop in, have a look and enjoy your visit.

RemnantWorks

http://remnantworksfabricmosaics.wordpress.com/

Fabric Mosaic Art that explores contemporary iconic images through the artful manipulation of fabric.

ChiekoVille 

(coming soon)

http://chiekoville.wordpress.com/

Fabric Mosaic Art that explores fashion and culture through the artful manipulation of fabric.

Couture Sewing – Fugiwara reversible jacket and coordinating handbag

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In general, I like to wear classic tailored clothing, but every now and then I find myself wanting to try something different.

The pattern is by Koos van den Akker who specializes in oversized clothing with glorious detail.  It is also reversible.

I selected a waffle weave cotton for the inner and outer shell and an interesting Samurai pattern by the fabric designer, Susan Faeder who specializes in Japanese prints.  The black and white bias trim was cut from a piece of cotton printed with a Celtic knot pattern.

Back view

Detailing on jacket face and sleeve finish.

Coordinating bag made from scraps of the fashion fabric combined with complementary duppioni silk solids and stripes.

Interior lining of bag with pocket and snap closure.

Sewing With Cotton

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I haven’t made a cotton dress for so many years I can’t remember how long it’s been.  I do remember working with my mother on a dress made in a peach shade of dotted swiss cotton in 7th, or maybe it was 8th grade.  Somewhere between junior high and the present (many moons) , cotton just disappeared from my consciousness as a dressmaking material.  I think it was rayon and emphasis on the beautiful drape rayon provides that came into fashion sewing somewhere along that way that sidelined cottons into the realm of quilting and craft sewing.  Serious apparel seamstresses, at least in my world, just don’t use quilting cotton, opting for higher end linens, wools, silks.   But, as history bears repeating, what is old has become new and with the retro-look harkening back to the 1950’s and 60’s, quilting cotton is back with a vengeance.  I know I’m slow to take up with the new trends, but I’ve finally caught on and am taking another look at cotton and it’s possibilities for apparel.

First I found a great floral in one of my favorite color combinations.  I love spring green and am always drawn to it, so this was an easy choice.

Next I went through my pattern library and found something simple for summer.  I prefer princess seaming, because it is easy to modify and always flattering to the figure.  This particular dress is a little different from usual princess patterns, in that it has back dart rather than seaming.

I decided to line the dress to give support and shape, but also to preclude the need to wear a slip…  I really don’t like to wear slips in the summer.  Lining was a little extra work, because I had to create my own and attach it to the facings.

It went together without any difficulties and I can definitely say that I am an quilting cotton convert.

Posing for my  paparazzo with my good-natured neighbor

Back view

I went through my closet and found this coordinating cardigan and a necklace to finish the look.  Summer her I come!

Sewing – Decor Pillow Tutorial

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I made a pillow today.  I had some leftover pieces of fabric with an adorable Chinese toile pattern on it that is perfect for a pillow front. I shopped for something to complement the back and came up with a nice stripe in French blues…  just perfect with this toile.

Today I will walk you through the steps in making an easy decorative pillow.  I like to put zippers in my pillow coverings so that they can be cleaned and/or easily changed out so that I can re-use the pillow form.  I prefer feather pillows, and since they are a little more expensive than form inserts or polyester fiberfill, I like to recycle them from season to season and pillow to pillow.   Once you start making  your own pillows, you’ll never bother with the cheesy things you find at the store that are stuffed with… God only knows what and from where.

1)  I began with the two panels of fabric and serged around the edges to protect them from fraying.

2)  I searched through my zippers to find one that would do.  Zippers don’t have to match perfectly, because if they’re put in properly they won’t show; of course, they should be close to the background color in the fabric or tastefully coordinated.  Then I placed the zipper centering it between the two side seams at the bottom seam line.

3)  I stitched the zipper in place using the placket insertion method.  I like this method best, because it creates nice coverage for the zipper teeth.  invisible zippers are also nice in pillows, but I didn’t have one that matched, so I improvised by using an alternative method.

4)  Once the zipper application was completed, I stitched the other three seams of the pillow making sure to leave enough of the zipper open so that I would be able to turn the pillow inside out later.

5)  Once all the remaining seams were stitched I trimmed the corners, and then turned the pillow right side out.

6)  I pressed the pillow shaping it and making sure the corners were completely turned out to a soft point.

7)  Then I placed pillow insert into pillow cover.  I smooshed the insert corners into place to ensure the corners were filled out.

8)  Voila!  As quick as a wink I had a beautiful decorator pillow ready to use or give as a gift.