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Friday, November 30, 2007


I received my Saks email this morning showing the Premier Designer Resort Collections. I always look at Resort to get an idea of what I may want to sew for Spring. There were a couple of pieces that really stood out to me.

This is a great Jacket from Akris and Vogue has a similar design. I would modify this pattern by adding gentle waist shaping because it is a little boxy. I would reduce the front edges and add a separating lapped zipper. I wouldn't cuff my sleeves, so I wouldn't have to modify those.

I also spotted this jazzy lambskin jacket. I've had this pattern pinned to my corkboard for while now. I had been debating whether to do it in suede or leather. I think leather may be my choice. Notice that Akris does not use buttons, this jacket has snap closures. And it's lined with luxurious Cupro Bemberg!

I love high-end RTW and I knock it off every chance I get. Where do you find your inspiration for what you sew?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Up Next: The Trench Coat

InStyle, December 2007

I have been completely obsessed with sewing a trench coat since around this time last year. Even though I never got around to doing it, it has always been on my mind.

The trench coat is as iconic as the CHANEL jacket and it's a wardrobe must have.... just ask Tim Gunn! The trench coat is a descendant of the heavy serge coats worn by British and French soldiers in World War I. The trench coat was created by Thomas Burberry, the inventor of gabardine fabric, who submitted a design for an army officer's raincoat to the United Kingdom War Office in 1901. Burberry's raincoat subsequently became part of the service uniform of British officers and was dubbed "trench coat" by the soldiers in the trenches. Therefore, I present you with my inspiration:

Burberry London Mikado Trench Coat

And this is my pattern:

I'll be doing my coat in the same shade of electric blue as the Burberry Mikado. I wanted mine in a more "everyday-wearable" fabric than the satin that Burberry used. I choose a high-performance microfiber for mine.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The "CHANEL" Jacket

Project Details

Vogue 7975, view E
Vogue 8259, the sleeves

Shell: Boucle Suiting (62% Wool, 13% Cotton, 13% acrylic, 12% nylon)
Lining: Silk Charmeuse (100% Silk)
Notions: Ten 7/8" shank buttons; 5 yards of 1/2" flexible trim; 3 coat size hooks & eyes; and chain

In doing my research for this jacket, I have looked at EVERYTHING CHANEL I could find. I have searched through Karl's RTW and Couture Collections from 2003 to the present. I found that the jackets that appealed to me the most were from Fall 2003, Fall 2004 and Fall 2005. I decided that the short, boxy version was not for me. I preferred the longer style with a little bit of nipping in at the waist. So I guess you can say that my jacket is modern like Karl and constructed like Coco!

This was a very labor-intensive project and I truly understand the price point of these iconic jackets.

  • I made a FBA.
  • I cut out all of my pieces in a single layer and added a 2 inch seam allowance.
  • I quilted the silk lining to the shell fabric by sewing vertical lines about 1" apart with a walking foot. I sewed the quilting stitches on the white part of the fabric because the lining is white and I was using white thread.
  • In order to keep the threads from showing, you don't back stitch at the end. You pull the threads in between the lining and the shell fabric and tied them off.
  • Using a walking foot, I machine stitched the shell seams.
  • The lining seams were hand finished using fell stitches.
The shell fabric and lining are machine quilted together (as a substitution for interfacing) so that the shell fabric will not sag or loose it's shape. Genius right?!
  • I set the sleeves by hand.
I used the three-piece sleeve pattern from Vogue 8259.
  • Hemmed the shell fabric using a catchstitch.
  • Attached the lining to the shell fabric using a fell stitch.
  • I folded the pocket piece into the correct shape, making sure the plaid pattern would match up and trimmed it down before attaching.
  • I hand stitched the trim to the pockets and attached the pockets.
"Luxury is what can not be seen." - Coco Chanel

  • I hand sewed the chain weight right below the lining.
The House of CHANEL uses a brass chain at the hemline on the inside of the jackets to make them hang smoothly. The before and after of the chain is like night and day.

  • I sewed on the hooks and eyes.
  • I hand-stitched the trim to the jacket edges and the sleeve vents.
  • And to pull it all together, I added my buttons.

Back view:

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Chanel Jacket: Update #3

The finish line is near. All to do now is add on the closures, buttons and embellishments!

Let's play some football!

This is Southeastern Conference (SEC) football at its best!

The rivalry between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers runs deep and thick as sludge, cutting an indelible line across the State of Alabama. In this state, you are either a fanatical fan of Alabama or Auburn. You have to pick sides. Neutrality in such a *serious* matter is not an option!


Friday, November 23, 2007

How was your Turkey Day?

Mine was excellent... fantastic family time. I started prep work on Tuesday evening... all of the chopping and dicing. Started cooking on Wednesday and finished up by midday Thursday. Michael left work early on Wednesday and worked a couple of hours on Thursday... the retail life. He made all of the many trips back and forth to the store and picked the wine... a Coppola Chardonnay, a Yellow Tail Riesling and a Clos Du Bois Pinot Noir (he has excellent taste). It's amazing that no matter how you organize and strategize, make the lists and check them twice, you always manage to forget things. The kids helped out A LOT! They were fantastic. My son kept the kitchen clean... the poor baby did nothing but washed the dishes and swept the floor. The girls mixed and stirred. I must give special recognition to Mikaela... she made the Southern Comfort Cake. We all ate quite well and slipped into Tryptophan-induced comas!

So... anybody shopping today? I plan to make my trip to Hancock for notions at 8 a.m and THAT'S IT! The one in my area is located directly across the street from the Riverchase Galleria -- the largest mall in Alabama. Hopefully, by 7:45 a.m. traffic will not be *too* bad. I plan to come back home and spend the rest of the weekend finish up the couture jacket. Honestly, I'm tired of looking at it half-finished on the dressform and I'm ready to start a new project. So, what are your plans for the rest of this holiday weekend?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

No sewing today! I'm up to my elbow (literally, LOL) in turkey!

The Menu

Roasted Turkey

Southern Cornbread Dressing

Bourbon Glazed Spiral Cut Ham

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Green Bean Casserole

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits


The Southern Comfort Cake (from CreoleinDC)

Homemade Brownies

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Membership has it's privilege!

This is a great gift I received from Sugar, Inc./Coutorture in the mail. It's a fantastic 6 piece set of tools to create this season's hottest makeup trend -- The Smokey Eye. The set includs 5 Sephora Professionelle brushes (wide smudge, all over shadow, small domed smudge, detail, and dual-sided brow brush and come), Volume Mascara in black and the how-to instructions for applying the look, in a very chick gunmetal faux leather case.

Thanks a lot!

An actual knitting FO, seriously!

Project Details

Pattern: Huckleberry Ascot
Designer: Kat Coyle
RY Classic - Cashcotton (DK 607)
Needles: Size 6 (4 mm): 24" circular

This was such a quick and easy project, how could I not make this? I haven't completed a knitting project in such a long time, this was just what I needed... baby steps! Since I had no clue whether this would be another abandon UFO, I decided to work with what I had in my stash which was brand new balls of Rowan Cashcotton (it is so soft)! This project was simple garter stitch worked sideways, with short-row shaping to create a wide bell shape at each end. On each end, stitches were picked up (I remembered I'm not real fond of this part) to add bobbles. Even with the short-row shaping, this is an excellent project for a beginner (no purling).

This was an excellent distraction from the burn out and sore finger tips from all of the hand sewing on the jacket. Now, back to sewing...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Simplicity's New Project Runway Patterns






*SIGH* What Project Runway episode inspired this?? They give a whole new meaning to "Make it work." I'm not totally trashing them... they look "OKAY"... but, THIS is not what I expected. I thought they would be waaaaaaaaay more fashion forward. These just look like plain ole Simplicity Patterns... nothing special here. I was expecting something along the lines of a gorgeous Laura Bennett dress... something creative from Santino Rice... something jazzy from Michael Knight... one of those colorful maxi dresses from Uli... something sleek from Kara Saun... not even a wrapdress from Kara Janx??

Just because you can whore out your brand, doesn't mean you should!

I'm so disappointed... y'all feel free to discuss this amongst yourselves.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Chanel Jacket: Update #2

More adventures in dilettante couture!

Once upon a time, I use to say that I hated handsewing with a passion. This project has really challenged my handsewing skills. I've always been impressed by the details of hand-workmanship and always felt that I didn't have the patience for it. I am so proud of myself. Who would have thought I would be able to make perfectly, invisible catchstitches! The next time you flip through Vogue magazine and see a couture garment priced upwards to 5 figures... trust me, it's priced correctly! You never have an appreciation for things like that until you sit down to do it yourself.

Okay... this is where I so far. I've done everything except sewn on the sleeves, the trim and the chain at the hemline. It was an adventure getting the plaid to match in the curves of the princess seam.

None of the resources I previously listed gave any instructions for the pockets, so I used common-sense and winged it. I knew that the top of the pocket was to be folded under, creating a facing and I also had to fold all of the seam allowances under. I quilted the lining to the pockets and trimmed it down to reduce the bulk. I handstitched the trim and fell stitched the pockets to the jacket.
As you see here, I used my walking foot and quilted down the white lines in the fabric because the lining fabric was white and I wanted to make sure that the thread blended into the boucle.

Here are the 3 piece sleeves waiting to be sewn together .

Friday, November 09, 2007

Flashback Friday: Count On me

This one is a dedication... get well soon!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Chanel Jacket: Update #1

Note: I am much further along than this, but I thought I should break the posts up

FBA on shoulder princess seams

I decided to post how I did this because most of the online tutorials focus on armhole princess seams.
When I tissue fitted the pattern on my dressform (which is padded to my exact measurements), the pattern's center front did not meet the center front of the dressform.

I unpinned the seamline in the bust area and pulled it over to line it up correctly. I determined that I would need to add 2" to the width.

I unpinned the pieces and pressed it flat.

In order to move the seam over to the correct position, I cut pattern from the bottom up, 1 1/2" from the left edge, stopping 5/8" from the top at the shoulder seam. This creates a hinge.

Half-way between the bust notches, cut horizontally up to, but not through the vertical cut edge. This spread will be minor. I then spread the pattern pieces 2"** and filled in with tracing paper.

**Cup size is determined by the difference between the high bust and the full bust:

1" = A
2" = B
3" = C
4" = D
5" = DD

The band size is your chest measurement below the bust.

I adjust for a FBA 1/2" per cup size.

Latest purchase

I bought a cutting table and I love it already! I was in Hancocks doing my usual browsing and saw this. I had to make a quick call to Michael to come and pick it up for me... it weighs 62lbs and was a little too big to fit in my trunk. My son put it together for me... this is one of the benefits of having a man child. Michael looked at the box and questioned the table cover. He figured if I had the table, might as well have the silicone heat-resistant ironing cover, so he went back and bought that too.

I can now give my dining room table a rest! So, for those of you that don't have one of those big beautiful sewing rooms, where do you cut?

It's Winter at Butterick!

Forget the small talk, here are the ones I like:

I love this coat! I'll be making this as soon as possible! I like view B, which is a perfect car coat length, but I prefer the in seam pockets and the high collar.

I've been stalking this coat for a couple of months now (the pic resides on my inspiration board).

Black & Ivory Houndstooth - 70% wool/30% polyester

I had already placed an order for 3 yds of this fabric with a coat in mind.

I really like these two dresses... not sure if I'll make them or even buy the patterns , but I like them. I may feel more inspired if an occasion arises or when the weather warms up.

I really like this robe. Not the illustration, but the technical drawing. I envision this in a deep purple or rich merlot velvet. It screams Christmas morning!

I'm totally hooked on knits. This season is all about comfort for me. I don't plan to turn on the iron unless I'm sewing. I'll be making the tunic, tank and pants.

These little pajamas are perfect for Mikaela. I'm going to pick up this pattern and save it for Christmas break so she and I can work on it together.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

American Gangster

Let me start off saying that I am the biggest Denzel fan... since he was Dr. Phillip Chandler on St. Elsewhere! I will see ANY movie he's in so this one was no exception.

Denzel portrays Frank Lucas, a North Carolina born heroin kingpin from Manhattan in 1970s America, who is smuggling the drug into the country in the coffins of soldiers returning from the Vietnam War. Denzel (IMO) delivers an Oscar-worthy performance in this role. Even when their is no dialogue, it's written all over face. As equally fantastic is Russell Crowe (Gladiator is still my favorite Russell movie), who plays Richie Roberts, the cop out to get him.

The all-star supporting cast was superb! Josh Brolin portrays a menacing, money-grubbing, slimy, dirty cop. Chiwetal Ejifor (I love his ability to drop the English accent), plays Frank's brother Huey... he's an awesome sidekick. Ruby Dee is Mama Lucas... this lady still has it! I wouldn't be surprised if there is a Best Support-Actress nomination looming in the future. Other co-stars are Cuba Gooding, Jr., Idris Elba, rappers Common, T.I. and RZA.

Ridley Scott has brilliantly directed one of, if not, the best movie of the year. If you are looking for a shoot 'em up, bang bang mob movie (i.e. Scarface) this isn't it. This movie may not have a lot of hardcore action, but it has a very compelling storyline of the rise and fall of a drug lord and absolutely captures your attention.

Go see it!