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.
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.
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. Once 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.
A Celebration of Hearth and Home
I love the holidays, especially Thanksgiving. There is nothing quite so satisfying as a house filled with the aroma of roasting turkey, the lively banter of family and friends and the carrying on of traditions.
My menu is strictly traditional with roasted turkey, dressing made with toasted pecans and pork sausage, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry chutney, fresh green peas and roasted beans. When it comes to desserts, we are a bit less traditional opting for a creme brûlée with fresh raspberries.
Please, you’re welcome to come along and join the party!
The Season of Casual Comfort
I came across an old pattern in my pattern library from 1998. I remember making the vest and not finishing it, because I didn’t like the fit…or lack of fit is more accurate. I am always intrigued how something I once didn’t care for can take on a new life and become a new favorite; whoever said fashion is fickle was certainly onto something. Rediscovery is always a good thing; it means I’m changing and growing and open to new ways of thinking. I like that!
I began with Mcall pattern 9278. I used updated constructions methods which I talked about in my last post by eliminating the facing and using French seam applications on all interior seams and sleeves for a streamlined look. To give support to the buttonhole areas I created small uniform patches and fringed the unfinished edges.
Behind the fashion button, I sewed a small support button to reduce wear on fabric. You could also use small beads in a different color to add interest and artsy elegance, especially if you plan to wear the garment open.
The hemline and center front edges were turned under 5/8 inches and stitched. A bias binding made from the fashion fabric was applied to the sleeve opening and neckline. I used a linen open weave pattern for the top applying the same constructions techniques. It was quick and easy very versatile.
Tribeca Jacket Revisited
I made my first Tribeca jacket from the Sewing Workshop Collection (they call it a shirt) several years ago and was never quite satisfied with the fit. I loved the fabric and was happy with my technical work, but I think possibly because I generally prefer more structured clothing that I always felt a little swamped or sloppy in it. The interesting thing was that whenever I wore it, without fail, I received compliments on it from friends and strangers alike. It got so much positive feedback that I finally decided, what the hey, maybe I should accept what the universe was telling me and decide to like it after all.
For reasons, which are now lost to me, I decided to line my first effort with a gold and black fabric; it was designed to be unlined but creating a lining was not difficult only more time-consuming to complete. I finished the interior seams by turning under the raw edges and stitching down. The lining gave the jacket enough warmth for fall and winter wearing.
I applied a contrasting duppioni silk bias trim by hand (a true test of patience, for sure). The patches for buttonholes were also completed in this same gorgeous golden-colored silk.
I have a piece of fabulous linen that I’ve been aging for quite some time. I love the rich color and its unusual sheen. I have considered it for various patterns on many occasions over the years, but have always been reluctant to cut into it. This week I decided it was time. Here is the happy result.
The linen is unlined and finished with French seams. The pieces went together very quick and easily. The sleeves are set in with a French seam finish which is an unusual but very tidy application. The inside looks as great as the outside. I decided to leave the patches and buttons off (at least for now) and just let it drape open. I love the result and will definitely make this again.
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.
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.
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
I went through my closet and found this coordinating cardigan and a necklace to finish the look. Summer her I come!