Sunday, June 21, 2009

Watching the Clouds Go By

I'll be flying in an airplane, looking out a window, watching the clouds go by while on my way to Europe. During my time there, besides doing some extensive sightseeing, I intend to squeeze in time to window shop at Liberty of London and also visit some of Paris's fabric stores around the Sacre Coeur in the 18ème.

I will definitely post photos of my visit! Please check back for them!

Here's also what's coming up for sewing projects:

Mango Cotton
Grape (unknown fabric)
Onyx Knit
Paintbrushed Charmeuse
Striped Faux Fur

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Berries, cherries, grapes, apricots, apples, persimmons, and blueberries! I think it's time to go and make a scrumptious pie, cobbler, or danish. Or maybe all three and also make some homemade vanilla ice cream to top it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


The common mantra seems to be that a Little Black Dress is essential and not to have one is, well, faux pas. If that's true, my wardrobe has been incomplete for quite some time. My wardrobe's unstable state was fine with me, but I had a limited amount of this wonderful white and black patterned cotton that I wanted to put to good use.

To use the fabric, I decided to sew my own version of the LBD and fill its void. While it obviously isn't entirely black, it's black that has been accented with white. I used New Look's 6723 for the bodice and then drafted everything else myself.

The top half is made from that patterned cotton with beige lining (recycling my leftovers). The bottom half is made from black silk dupioni. Following the technique found from here, I simultaneously underlined and seam finished the silk dupioni with organza. The organza reinforces the seams and also allows the exterior layer to retain the crisp shape that I had envisioned for the skirt portion. It worked perfectly!

I drew my own leaf-shaped collar pieces and then hand-stitched them onto the collar into a necklace-like shape. After that, I sewed tiny black beads and faceted beads onto the ends of the leaves. They blend with the fabric, so you may have to go hunting in the photo for them.

I can also either tie the sashes into a bow in the back or bring them around and tie them in the front.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with it!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Assymetrical Vest

I had a completely different idea when I started sewing. It was supposed to be a band-style vest jacket (wider in the shoulder and neckline than the normal vest, but no sleeves like a jacket...there must be an actual name, of which I'm blatantly unaware) with crossover tabs and a collar band. I made my own pattern for it by starting off with a basic McCall vest pattern from the late 90's.

Although I altered nearly everything about the pattern, it worked very well as a base. But...I didn't make a muslin first before cutting and sewing my material. Instead, I crossed my fingers and hoped, hoped, hoped that it would turn out.

I really should have made that muslin to have successfully executed my initial idea--no, I'm actually glad that I didn't make one. In one of my states of dismay at the boxy shoulder and neckline, I did a simple flip of the lapel and a tuck at each shoulder,and got the vest!

The blue/white woven Oxford shirting is from JoAnn's, and the gold and cream cotton is from Berkeley's Stonemountain and Daughter. I tried to take closer photos to capture the fabric's details, but neither seems to show up especially well. They look a bit flat, but I promise that they are the way that I've described!(For those unfamiliar with Stonemountain and Daughter, it is considered one of the best fabric stores in the San Francisco area, although it's ultimately no match for SF's Britex Fabrics. While Stonemountain does have a two small rooms for fashion fabrics, its main focus is upon cotton fabrics--and there it shines. However, it's generally a lot more affordable than Britex.)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Defying Gravity with Gowns

...So, this is really a sewing blog, but one usually needs some sort of inspiration, right? I have no event to go to that requires a ball gown, but I was reorganizing my notebook full of magazine rip-outs and found these photos again.

I really don't know what magazine these are from. These rip-outs were sent to me years ago, so I only know the designers from the bottom description lines.

Christian Dior

Emanuel Ungaro


Christian Lacroix


(Please excuse the wrinkles.)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Epaulettes, Leather, & Olive

I always have and always will love jackets and coats--perhaps it's their structure or their strong presence and personality that emanates from their details and hidden surprises layered throughout them. Here I am anthropomorphosizing articles of clothing...

The first coat that I ever recall loving was much too tiny for me. It was one of my Barbie doll's coats and I received it as a Christmas present along with a whole array of gorgeous Barbie evening attire. Well, I loved it so much that I saved it. It's a bit dusty, but here it is below:

After this lengthy prelude, here is my first trench coat that I've ever made! I'm so pleased with how it turned out.

I made this from McCall's 5525, and my review for that pattern can be read here. I really didn't make many alterations--just a few minor tweaks. Also, I have such broad shoulders that I would have looked like a linebacker with shoulder pads. Accordingly, I didn't put in any.

The fabric is olive-colored cotton twill ripstop and the lining is black and white leopard matte charmeuse. Buttons(I got to incorporate three types!) include leather and metal ones for most of the jacket, an olive one (not shown) for the collar band, and a leftover beige one (initial photo) for the inside button.

It took me an entire week from start to finish, but it was well-worth it!