Category Archives: Creative Collaboration – Tricks of the Trade Tutorials

Projects Revisited

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From Start to Finish

IMG_3443I recently went through a box in my sewing room marked “winter projects.” The box contained the best of the best projects I salvaged during our sizing down move three years ago.  I have always found it difficult to start up work on old projects.  It is usually a lack of interest as whatever it was that got my creative juices flowing has long since dissipated and the prospect of picking up in the middle of an uninteresting project seems like work more than fun.  Fortunately, that was not the case with this piece.  It had been long enough that I had forgotten I had ever started this jacket.  The fact that I still loved the red quilted fabric was good and I still liked the striped douppioni… so far so good.    After studying the pattern and the pieces that were already cut, I decided I definitely needed a third piece to create additional interest.  So off to The Mill End Store I went with swatches in hand.

 It’s really quite remarkable that I was able to find a douppioni print that complemented the stripes so perfectly, but not without considerable effort.  I was in the store for at least two hours searching, searching, and searching again every piece of fabric at least five times.  I was finding nothing suitable and finally decided it was time to surrender.   Resigned to defeat, I headed for the exit pausing only to notice a silk display… and there it was.  It was exactly what I’d been looking for; the colors were right, the scale was right, it was perfection and obviously meant to be.   And so I begin the satisfying endeavor of resurrecting an old project to new life.    More to come…

More Things Blue and White

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Dressing A Table

I went to the beach yesterday to cool off from the heatwave we’ve been experiencing.  It was a lovely day with 70 degree weather and a gentle breeze.  On the way home I stopped into the local thrift store in Lincoln City and found this lovely vase with a bird motif, the perfect container for green gladiolus which are currently in season.  They make quite a statement!

Also on the table you will see a set of candlesticks which look possibly Scandinavian in design and a large platter which were also “finds” along the way.  They are atop a paisley print table runner I made to compliment my Blue Italian Spode dinnerware. IMG_2951

A Simple Sewing Project

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A Simple Sewing Project

Bringing Beauty Into Your World

Table linens are a simple sewing project that are well worth the effort.  These small pieces of fabric artfully arranged add pop, sizzle, glamour, elegance  and just plain fun to an otherwise ho-hum table.

They are quick and easy to make and the choices are as endless as the selections at the fabric store.  So have fun and be boldly creative!

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Begin by cutting out a large square.  Determine the width of the hem and miter the corners to suit.  My favorite size is 21″ x 21″.  To create the mitered corner remove 3 1/4″.

Turn under 1/4″ all around the perimeter of the square  as shown below.

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Bring folded edges together at mitered edge and stitch a 1/4″ seam.

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Clip threads and trim corner to stitching line to ensure a crisp point.

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Press open and complete on each of the four corners.

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Turn each corner and carefully press hem into place.

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Stitch hem into place.  You may wish to decrease stitch length for added strength at the corner seam lines.  Once stitched, your napkins is completed.

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Creating Elegance

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I’ve had this fabric for a very long time.   It’s a fabulous piece of delicate voile in a natural creamy color with a classic fleur-de-lys gold print.  I have never known quite what to do with it , but knew it had to be something elegant and special.  Today I found its purpose and began cutting.

I appreciate a beautiful table and have made many cloth napkins before.  I have a great pattern with a mitered corner that lends itself well to sheer fabrics.  Here is what I came up with and I think it very pretty.  Now only seven (argh) more napkins to make and I’m ready to entertain. 🙂

 

Happy “Little” Diversions

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Happy “Little” Diversions

I was rifling through some deep sewing storage looking for a specific piece of fabric.  I didn’t find it, but while searching  happened across these “little quilts.”  They were neatly folded and tucked away waiting to be rediscovered.

People who know I work with fabric almost always ask me if I quilt and I always say, “no,”when in fact I do quilt from time to time.   What I mean when I say no, is that I do not quilt as my main creative outlet;  I haven’t spent my lifetime perfecting my quilting skills like the artists whose magnificent creations adorn quilt shops and shows.  Rather, I am a little quilter of small projects…  offering happy little diversions from my more seriously focused fabric pursuits.

Each piece carries with it a memory, like small snapshot in time… oh yes, I remember when I made that…..

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Dressmaking

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Hedgehogs are In!

Not long ago while on my lunch hour, I stopped in to have a look round the Quilted Forest.  I’ve never been much into quilting, but I do find tremendous inspiration in the beautiful fabrics I see there.  People are so talented and it’s always exciting to see what interesting ideas others come up with.

While shopping I came across a charming collection of fabrics that included an adorable hedgehog.  I was told that hedgehogs are “really in” … something I never would have known, but for being told.  I had to have the hedgehog fabric!  I picked up two additional companion pieces and some jumbo rickrack that seemed to go with it.    I had no particular idea in mind, but thought perhaps it would make a cute little dress… if I could find the right pattern.   Over the next couple of months I did find a suitable pattern and was ready to go once I could find a block of time to work.  With today being a holiday I set out this morning to see what I could come up with and here we have it.

Moda fabric collection

The biggest challenge, was to determine which pieces to use where.  I wanted the hedgehogs to play a prominent role in the design so I used that fabric for the back because it was in one piece and would thereby show off the fabric to full advantage.dress back

Then decisions were made about the piecing across the front.  It’s surprising how placement makes such a difference in the overall look and feel of a garment, but it really does and therefore requires careful consideration.  Being a wrap dress, there are interior ties to help hold the dress in place.  Interior ribbon tiesOnce the dress was finished the rickrack was applied around the bottom.  Overall, I am pleased with the way it turned out.  The scale is a bit large for a child, but with the jumbo rickrack, I think it works.  I like the versatility of the pattern; I can see this with tights and a turtle neck for a Christmas dress or as a warm weather sundress.  Either way it’s adorable.dress completed

Child's dress

Make the Clothes that Make the Woman

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Take a look at this wonderful ad campaign from the 1950’s from PatternVault.   The designs are delicious!

PatternVault

The slogan for McCall’s Patterns in the mid-1950s was “Make the clothes that make the woman.” The advertising campaign with this slogan shows two identical women, one dressed in McCall’s pattern pieces, the other in the finished garment. It’s a charming campaign from the Golden Age of Advertising. Here’s a selection, in roughly chronological order:

This ad from 1956 shows the model enjoying a fresh strawberry at a party. (Could it be a strawberry social?) The pattern is McCall’s 3562:

The September ad shows Dovima on a trip to Paris, before a mustachioed gendarme. The pattern is McCall’s 3785 by Givenchy:

Another travel-themed ad shows McCall’s 3790 with some whimsically stacked luggage:

This 1957 ad featuring McCall’s 3952 shows a well-dressed tug-of-war:

This Valentine’s Day-themed ad appeared in Vogue’s March 1957 issue. (The pattern is McCall’s 3967.) The model is Suzy Parker:

This spring ad shows McCall’s 4046 by…

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Sewing- mini tutorial – CHANEL JACKET TRIMS

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Sewing- mini tutorial – CHANEL JACKET TRIMS

Creating A Unique CHANEL-style trim

Last year I made my first Chanel-style jacket.  Finding a suitable trim, a hallmark of a Chanel, proved to be challenging.  I decided to try making my own.

I began with a skein of ribbon yarn and number 9 knitting needles.  Four stitches provided a nice width and using a basic stockinette stitch  I created a long strip.  Stockinette stitches tend to curl at the edges which works to advantage for hiding  hand stitching when applying the trim to the garment.

Creating a trim from ribbon yarn

Creating a trim from ribbon yarn

I would recommend making individual strips for each pocket and a continuous length for the center front and neckline.  By doing this it will reduce the chance of the trim unraveling at the edges during application and can more easily be tucked in at seam lines or pocket edges.  Otherwise, apply Fray Check or a fabric glue to secure the edges.

Once the trim is completed it can be attached by hand-stitching into position along the pockets, center front,neckline and sleeve edges.

Creating a unique trim for Chanel-style jacket

trim applied to sleeve edge

Dress-ups

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I’ve been following “Looking Good Girls” for a while now and the long-legged beauty responsible for this blog never fails to intrigue and amaze me with her wonderful sense of style and ability to put together an amazing look on a dime. For High Fashion on a budget check out lookinggoodgirls.com  She is a breath of fresh air!

Looking Good Girls

Played dress-ups for church today, pairing a blue Garfunkle dress with a bubble-gum pink leather jacket.

Pink jkt, blue dress 1

I was hanging out to wear these embellished beige platforms so I started with them and worked the rest of the outfit around them.

Jewel encrusted Nine West strappy platforms 2

These jewel-encrusted babies were a super bargain a couple of years ago from a Nine West factory outlet.

Pink jkt, blue dress 2

I scored this Garfunkle ruffle dress for $3 in an op shop on holiday last week. Thrift shops can be scary looking at first glance (I think I’ll never find anything in all the junk) but if you roll your sleeves up and start rummaging I guarantee you’ll find something great.

Pink jkt, blue dress 4

Pink jkt, blue dress 3

Capped the outfit off with this bright pink faux-leather jacket, colourful raffia clutch, and some turquoise-stone accessories to match the heels.

Raffia clutch, blue dress

Speaking of pink leather jackets, one of my fabulous readers, Kerri – a woman of style and substance – is…

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