Tag Archives: fashion

Creative Solutions

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Unique Hand-Crafted Gifts

Learning to finger knit was my entre` into the realm of using yarn to create .  Knitting along with a variety of other creative pursuits was part of the cultural landscape I was born into … hands were always busy making interesting and beautiful things.  With that level of  industry and interest modeled before me,  it was most natural I, too, would learn to thread the needle.

I well remember the project in which I was allowed to use knitting needles for the first time; it was a yellow pot holder with a little loop knitted in one corner used for hanging.  From there I moved onto to slipper making; they had pompom embellished toes… in the same yellow yarn.    To this day, I could make those slippers in my sleep; I was so proud slip-sliding around the house in them.  I eventually moved on to knitting hats and mittens and sweaters, but that was long ago.    My knitting work was eventually was set aside to make way for my primary focus on sewing and tailoring.

It was during this past Christmas season that I had a challenging gift selection to make for someone special. I gave it good thought, but nothing seemed particularly fitting.   It was only after considering making a gift that I was knew I was on track as it is in the making of something that the true gift resides, the gift of time and thought and effort.  And so it was that I reached into my bag of tricks, dusted off my number 9’s and knitted a beautiful, one of a kind, Christmas scarf.

Considering her smile, I think she likes.

 Success!

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AND

I’m knitting again.  Since making this scarf I knitted two more and have yarn for number three and four.   I’ll keep you posted.

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…

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!

 

Vintage Illustrations.

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Taking Inspiration from Historic Costume

 

I’ve always had an interest in historic costume; I imagine most of us who sew share this interest, as studying past fashions can provide endless inspiration for contemporary designs.  I recently came across a collection of charming illustrations of British children’s costumes from the 18th and 19th century that I wanted to share with my friends in Sewville.  I adore these and plan to frame a set to hang in my sewing room… they are so sweet.   I’ve put a couple up in my RemnantWorks Etsy shop and will be adding more as I have the time.

 

 

British Children's Costumes Illustrations

 

British Children's Costume Illustrations

 

 

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Sewing With Vintage Patterns

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Sewing With Vintage Patterns

RemnantWorks Vintage Patterns Shop 

I remember when this dress pattern first came out.  I was completely taken with the design; it seemed so fresh and unlike any of the dress styles I was used to seeing.   I made it up, but don’t remember wearing it very much.  My sewing skills were somewhat limited in those early days and the dress probably didn’t turn out to look quite as nice as the picture on the pattern envelope.

Simplicity 5562

Simplicity 5562

Now that I have begun to sell off my old patterns, I find myself struggling with letting go of this one.  Most patterns are very easy to part with once the decision has been made, while others, not so easy.   I found myself thinking about making it up in a contemporary fabric.  I know it would be cute even though I couldn’t possibly fit into it anymore! 🙂

Simplicity Sewing

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Simplicity Sewing

Purple or Periwinkle

I’ve been on the lookout for the right shade of purple to go with a skirt I’ve had for some time.  I found this interesting piece of embroidered linen that seemed like it would work.  I call it purple, but maybe it is periwinkle… I think periwinkle has more blue in it.

embroidered linen

Either way, it has turned out to be a good choice to go with my skirt.   I picked up a yard for the tunic pattern I’ve been using this summer.  I really like the simplicity of this pattern; I can complete it in an afternoon… no problem!

linen tunic and skirt

I found a piece of purple duppioni silk in my fabric stash to use as bias binding for the neck and armholes.  It’s a good feeling to use up a scrap of something I have on hand.

silk binding

It’s always fun to give a little update to something you’ve had and make it seem fresh and new again.The unstructured look with nothing-to-bind is perfect for staying cool on hot summer days.  I like wearing skirts, but often don’t want to feel “dressed-up.”  This look works for me, because it blends casual easy/no-care (what I jokingly refer to as rag-bag fashion) with the I-made-an-effort-today discipline that I try to adhere to.

summerwear

Sewing – Linen and Lace

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Sewing – Linen and Lace

I love lace, but I haven’t used it on clothing in so many years I can’t remember when.  For me, lace is much like a sailor collar; there was a time in my twenties when I felt like I’d outgrown them.  My heart still melts for  little boys in sailors collars… and big boys, too, come to think of it, but I can’t imagine wearing one myself… unless possibly in my second childhood somewhere down the line.  🙂  But back to lace, it’s big in fashion this summer and I’ve been seeing it a lot of it in the fabric store.  I’m always amazed how what is put in front of me begins to look good if I see enough of it whether I think I like it or not.

I found it in the short bolt section of the store and asked the salesperson to measure it for me.  She was wearing a black apron and as she held it up to see how much was left on the bolt, I saw it against the black of her apron and was sold.  It popped, as they say!

lace on white underlay

lace with white underlining

compared to lace on blacklace with black underlining

I decided to use the  Mcalls pattern 9278 I’ve used several times this season for the lace tunic and would make another in black for underneath.  I like the idea that I can get use out of the black by itself, but also have it double as a lining for the lace.

Simple and versatile black tunic
simple black linen tunic

I rarely throw things that I’ve made away and I remembered that I had two black linen pieces that might go with this tunic; I searched for a bit, and found hem.  I paired up the shirt and vest with an old Chico’s necklace I’ve had forever and created an interesting layered ensemble that works; again I really like giving new life to old things and making them seem fresh again.linen layered look

And finally, the lace tunic over the black tunic.  I like the look and feel like it’s a good fashion forward look for summer!

Lace tunic

Sewing with Vietnamese Silk

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Sewing with Vietnamese Silk

Golden Threads

Blogging has been really good for me; I’ve completed so many set aside projects that might have otherwise been relegated to the bottom of the “unfinished projects” bin had it not been that I needed something to write about.  This jacket definitely falls into that category.  I began it at least two summers ago and  got it up to the final sleeve before hitting a road block.  I thought about finishing it many times, but I think the fact that I didn’t have any pants to wear with it was part of why I never followed through.  Recently I found a nice rayon, that while not a perfect match, complements the jacket quite well.

 The jacket is made of a laundered shimmery rayon suiting and accented with the most beautiful silvery-green iridescent Vietnamese Silk.  I treasured this piece of silk and held it for a long time before deciding to cut into it.  I don’t often see this kind of silk; it’s a rare treat to work with.  The front is faced with washed duppioni silk and I used a metal button with a Celtic knot motif for a cultural paradigm twist.  Seams are a modified lap which, if I were making again would have been done in French seams (my new favorite technique).

unfinished jacket with silk scraps

It really didn’t take much to finish up the jacket and I’m quite pleased with the result.

rayon Tribeca jacket with silk trim

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Vintage Sewing – Tripping In Time

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Vintage Sewing – Tripping In Time

A Spin In The WABAC Machine

Dr. Peabody and Sherman at the  WABAC Machine

If you remember Mr. Peabody and Sherman, you just may be old enough to remember the influx of Indian fabrics into the American fashion scene that occurred during the fashion revolution of the late 60’s and 70’s.  Although that era has reappeared in contemporary  fashion and I’ve avoided it completely,  because of the been-there-done-that-it’s totally-hideous feeling that people often feel when fashions of their youth are recycled for succeeding generations.  Evidently enough time has passed, and even I can see the charm in this totally-funky-flower-power-paisley print that any self-respecting hippie would have loved.  The glitter packs a 21st century glitz that makes it seem fresh and fashionable.  And so… I gave it a try.

Peace and Love!

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I made it to wear during the warm weather, but it was cool out today, so I put a black turtle neck under it and that works perfectly making it something I’ll be able to wear year round.  How totally groovy🙂

flower power tunic

For those of you who may not be familiar with Mr. Peabody and Sherman, I have included a sampling of the kind of humor American kids of my generation grew up with.  Viewer Indiscretion Advised 🙂

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