Tag Archives: apparel

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

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Holiday Entertaining

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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!

 

Sewing Classic Summer Apparel

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The Season of Casual Comfort

linen casual wear

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!

McCalls pattern

 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.
button patches
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.
button application
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.
finishing detailslinen casual wear

Coat Making – Pocket Perfection

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Lining Your Pocket And Creating A Flap! 

Patch pockets are quite simple in their basic design and should be constructed in such a way as to provide subtle functionality. A well executed pocket will draw little attention to itself and instead act as a support to overall feeling of a couture quality garment.    I will be sharing a few simple construction tips that commercial patterns guides don’t generally explain that will hopefully help you achieve pocket perfect.

making patch pockets
                               Trim away a scant 5/8″ from the interfacing to eliminate additional bulk in the seam line and apply to face fabric.  

making patch pockets

Trim away a scant portion from all edges of the lining.  This is cause the lining to roll under the face fabric reducing visibility on surface
  
making patch pockets
Stitch face fabric and lining together.  Lining, being slightly smaller than the face fabric will pull slightly.  Leave an opening on the side large enough to turn fabric right side out.
making patch pockets
Trim away excess seam allowance.  When grading the seam allowance, be sure that the face fabric is graded slightly wider than the lining.  This will create a smoother surface on the turned surface. Clip edges and  remover corners by cutting straight across above the point to reduce bulk.
making patch pockets
After grading and clipping, turn pocket right side out and using a point turner work the corners out to a nice clean point.  
making patch pockets
Apply steam while rolling the edged between your fingers to work the seam line out.  Be mindful to roll the lining behind so that it does not peek out from behind the face fabric.
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                                      Once patch is shaped and pressed out, run a basting stitch to hold layers into position.
making patch pockets
                                                                                           
                                                                                               Slip stitch the side open together.
making patch pockets
Apply desired top stitching, either by machine or by hand.  I have chosen to use a charcoal embroidery floss for a hand pickstitched finish.  Note:  For best results, patch pockets should be hand-stitched directly to the garment.  Machine top stitching is applied before the pocket is hand-sewn onto the coat.
pickstitch on patch pocket
Next, cut pocket flap and interface on the side that will present on the coat.  I like to cut the interfacing on the bias to assist the flap in  curving against the contours of the body. 
making a pocket flap
                                      Turn and press the seam allowance on the edge without interfacing and stitch the side seams.
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                                                                    Align flap according to pattern markings and stitch into place.
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                     After stitching flap into position, trim off excess seam allowance an steam edge upward toward the inside of flap.
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                                                                     Hand stitch flap closed being careful to encase seam edges.
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Once hand stitching is completed, lightly press flap into position over the patch pocket for a beautifully completed patch pocket and flap.                       
completed patch pocket andflap

Tribeca Jacket

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Tribeca Jacket Revisited

Linen Tribeca jacket

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.

Tribeca Revisited

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.

Tribeca Jacket front view

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.

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.

 

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!