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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Instant Gratification!

After big projects, I usually like to do really easy ones. You know, to "cleanse my palette". I made both of these in an afternoon... just that easy!

Can you tell I'm ready for Fall?

Simplicity 2603 - Cardi Wrap

Fabric: Sonia Rykiel sweater knit (72% poly/23% rayon/5% spandex) from Textile Fabrics in Nashville, TN

This fabric was great to work with and it feels amazing on! Very rarely have I seen many sweater knits that contain spandex. This is a great thing. It'll keep it from stretching out of shape.
I sewed this on the serger. I didn't hem it, because I thought that would add bulk. I just left the edges serged. I cut the large and added 3" to the length. And I think the sleeve cuffs are pretty cool as well. Here are all of the ways I plan to wear this:

Something sparkly and shiny for a night out!

McCall's 6078, view A

Faux sequined fabric

Wanted a cute, sparkly top for a night out and this fit the bill! It was beyond quick! I cut the size medium, which is slightly big in the shoulders. Or maybe it's just supposed to hang that way. I also sewed this on the serger and didn't bother to do any hemming. I just made sure I cut it nice and evenly.
Surprisingly it IS bra-friendly. I was initially concerned with how low the back would be. I'll be making this one again.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Vogue 8333 - My Baroque-style Jacket

Project Details:

Pattern: Vogue 8333 - Claire Shaeffer's Custom Couture Collection

Pattern Sizing: 6 - 22, I cut the 16.

Description: Semi-fitted, lined, partially interfaced, below waist jacket has princess seams, slightly extended shoulders, shoulder pads, in-seam pockets with pleats, side panels (no side seams), shaped hem, and long two-piece sleeves with buttoned vents. A: underlined and couture construction techniques.

Did it look like the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Well, kind of!

Fabric: Black-Gold-Silver Brocade (54% Nylon, 30% Poly) from Jo-Anns

Lining: Ivory Charmeuse (100% Silk)

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions are EXCEPTIONAL! Even if you never actually sew this pattern, if you have a desire to learn "luxurious couture construction details" it's worth purchasing. You can apply them to any jacket or coat!
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? In addition to the awesome instructions and couture tips that are included, this pattern has excellent "bones".

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I made a small FBA and added 2 inches to the length. Yes, it was pretty short (for me)! I also used a combination of both the ready-to-wear instructions and the couture.

As I previously mentioned, I blocked fused with a nylon fusible knit interfacing. I added 3 buttons to the sleeve vent instead of 1. I used uncovered shoulder pads and sleeve heads. I added piping to my lining for a little bit of color.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This is a fabulous jacket and I wouldn't be opposed to sewing it again. And I highly recommend it. It's like taking a couture class!

Friday, October 15, 2010


In case any of you were wondering if I had abandoned the idea of making my "Balmain-inspired" jacket, well here is where I am so far...

I completed the shell last night. I had mentioned that I was going to fuse the fabric and I was warned of complications. Well... I'm hard-headed and determined to do things MY way! LOL "My Way" is to block fuse first. That way if there's any shrinkage, it'll happen before I cut!

That jacket is going together great and the drafting is SUPERB! I've had a lot going on lately and it's just really slow going. I still haven't even cut the lining out. Sigh... I'm ready for this to be finished, but I'm not going to rush it. If I don't feel like working on it, then that's usually a day of no sewing. Sadly, I'm monogamous to a project. I can't start a "relationship" until I've ended the last!

I love the sleeves! I may use this draft for a "Chanel" jacket that I'm planning this season. Unlike the pattern (which has 1 button), I added three buttons to mine. I absolutely LOVE the buttons! I think they match the "Baroque-ness" of the jacket that I was going for!

More to come on this...

In other news...

A few readers had suggested that I enter my "birthday dress" in the LBD Contest at Pattern Review. I was thinking, now how in the world am I supposed to turn this backless dress into a daytime look??? I mentioned this to my husband and without even blinking, he said, "Add a jacket." A jacket? Well, duh! Why didn't I think of that?

Here is my composite photo:
And here is what I did to change it up:

Justify FullI added a necklace, my Simplicity 3631 jacket (made it 3 years ago and I still wear it!), fishnet tights and ankle booties.
For my next look, I added a leather bomber jacket, a black leather studded belt, black suede over-the-knee boots and a bright orange fringed bag for a pop of color.

Voting starts on Sunday, October 17th! If you like the way I put this together, then please VOTE for me!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Book Review: "The Party Dress Book: How to Sew the Best Dress in the Room"

Attention fashionistas, glamourattis, and twirling enthusiasts everywhere: The Party Dress Book is the book you’ve been waiting for. Get an inside look at the inspiration, work, and techniques of creative dressmaking of celebrated New York designer Mary Adams. A unique combination of striking and wearable, Mary’s gorgeous dresses are a glam departure from the norm. In this book, you’ll learn the secrets to designing her trademark wearable decadence and how to sew your own delicious creations.
Start with Mary’s influences, process as a creative dressmaker, and essential techniques, and then move into step-by-step instruction on how to produce a scene-stealer of your own. With Mary’s straightforward, self-taught techniques, classic and customizable pattern, and inspired whimsy, making jaw-dropping dresses is simple and fun. The real work will be feigning modesty when you say, “Oh, this dress? I made it myself.”
In the first part of the book, Mary Adams talks about her herself, and discusses how she has no "formal" fashion education. She says that she learned to sew at the early age of 12, from her mother, grandmother and her public school education. Sounds a lot like me!
The author goes on to discuss designing as a career, how she collects fabric as a hobby (most of us can relate to this!) and where she pulls her inspiration from.

She's inspired by the glamour and femininity of the fifties... awww, that "Golden Age of Couture"! Also dresses with a "western swing". Think cute little square dance frocks! And dresses that Marie Antoinette herself would love!

Mary has a degree in art, so it's easy to see how she can pull inspiration from elements around her. Take for example the photos on the left, one of bareness of tree branches and the other is a forest covered in a light blanket of snow. And if you look at the dress on the right side, you can see that!

Now on to the fun part...

The author lists her "essential techniques": the French Seam, piecing, quilting, appliqué, pintucks, ruffles and bias strips.

Now that you've gathered all of your inspiration and covered the essential techniques, it's time to sew your dress.
In the back of the book, there is a pattern. She provides three options: 1. Soaked silk taffeta dress; 2. a cotton dress and 3. a layered silk organza dress. If you don't have a formal occasion to wear a fancy silk dress, the cotton option would make a great sundress.

Now granted, I haven't put this method to use, I do like that her pattern ONLY requires THREE measurements: bust, waist and skirt length. No dreaded FBAs, just nipping and tucking as you sew. For the supply list, she recommends sew-in interfacing, but NO boning. That gave me pause. I would think that a dress with a corset-style bodice would require it.

I recommend this book to those with at least advanced beginner sewing skills. Even though the author gives very detailed instructions on the construction process, you still need to have enough experience to make certain decisions.