I love to use Pinterest as my virtual bulletin board. As you might guess many of my pins are sewing related. Click here to see what fun stuff I've found and pinned to different sewing boards.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Terminado! Wardrobe Builder: Midnight Sky Black Denim Skirt

Nothing improves my wardrobe so much
as another good basic denim skirt
In my July Enchanted by Sewing Podcast, I mentioned several garments I was considering sewing next. I got that cap done (in fact technical details for the cap will be featured in this month's podcast) and also recently finished this great basic black denim skirt. I finished it early this week and have worn it three days since then. I like it for walking (it looks cute with blue or black tennis shoes:-), running errands (with my red or sage green sandals), and working at home. 

I didn't used to wear skirts much in my mostly casual life, but since I made my Summer Skies blue denim skirt with this same simple elastic waist, size vented pattern in June, I've found myself reaching for it all the time. I don't know if it's the low-key nature of the denim or whether I'm simply changing my personal style to include more skirt wearing.

Simple lines and styles, like this skirtare starting to appeal to me more than they have in the past. I think that's because I'm more in control of the pattern work now, focusing on what flatters my figure and how I want fabric to hang in a garment. I draped this straightforward skirt pattern myself. 

While I worked on this skirt I was also working on two other sewing projects.
1) Altering a shirt dress pattern (I've been using my dress form,  draping skills, and a length of muslin to create a flattering fit)
2) Another simple cotton print sleeveless summer blouse - close to being done! For that I've been working on making more changes to the pattern I used, for the semi-fitted sleeveless blouse pattern I developed* last month, and created in pink and white striped seersucker. I called that blouse "Amaryllis" and  talked about  it in the July Enchanted by Sewing Podcast. I'm still trying to decide on a name for this new blouse. It's got a print of berries on a text background, so It's the Berries, seems like an obvious name. But it doesn't really grab me. 

Working from patterns I'm really familiar with and continue to alter over time to suit my needs, figure, and personal style 
is the kind of thing that keeps me . . .
Enchanted by Sewing
~ ~ ~
Web Resources

Enchanted by Sewing Podcast Show Notes: http://EnchantedbySewing.blogspot.com

Inspired by Amy Adams: Creating the Perfect Shirt Dress for Me http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/08/inspired-by-amy-adams-creating-perfect.html

Terminado! Amaryllis Blouse: http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/07/amaryllis-my-new-semi-fitted-blouse.html

Termininado - Sewing a Simple Denim Skirt (My Summer Skies Blue Denim Skirt) http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/06/terminado-sewing-simple-denim-skirt-is.html

* I didn't drape that sleeveless blouse pattern from scratch. It started out as a commercial shirt pattern and has undergone many transformations since.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Channeling Vionnet - Draping Inspiration

The Neo-Classic Look
 Ancient Greek styles inspired Vionnet to turned a design corner in western women's fashion
Some of my favorite Vionnet
creations are her petal dresses
Madeline Vionnet was a dressmaker in the great and traditional sense. Her job integrated an understanding of cloth, body, gravity and artistic sensibility. 

She had a natural hands on feeling for fit - an understanding between a piece of cloth and a woman's body.

She developed new ways of  working with gravity and the release of her cloth, to find the perfect hang of a garment.

She created beauty from cloth and form by draping, not from a sketch.

I know I'm residing in a corner of her atelier every time I setup Conchita, my dress form, and prepare my muslin.

Traveling back through time, to be inspired by Madame Vionnet is just one more thing that keeps me . . .
Enchanted by Sewing

A little tissue and inspiration from my Betty Kirke Vionnnet book
helps me to imagine creating the perfect petal dress.
It looks like Holly the Dolly is more suited to
rounded petals in the Petal Dress tissue pattern
I created for her.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Inspired by Amy Adams - Creating the Perfect Shirt Dress For Me

Amy's modeling a shirt dress made up in  a paisley silk twill.
 I'm thinking of a nice rayon challis.

I'll also be using a waistline that suits my figure type.
No matter what fabric I make it up in, I'm pretty sure I'm going to need to find a nice grassy bank to pose on, when I get  my next shirt dress done!
Though I'm making plain sewing progress on the simple black denim skirt I talked about in my most recent Enchanted by Sewing audio podcast episode, I have been distracted by the idea of either draping or altering a pattern to create the perfect shirt dress pattern. That garment has been running around in my head since I took my draping class last year. At that time I was working towards creating a shirt dress, but didn't feel quite ready to create all the classic features of that type of dress. I did create a pattern I used for a really pretty linen dress with a front polka dot zipper that I like a lot, but with simpler details.
Amy's dress is more along the lines of the
full-skirted versions. I'm working on one of the
no-sewn/included waistline, to be worn with a wide
self-fabric belt that covers a 3" elastic.
Since I finished creating and producing last month's audio podcast, I'd been working on my skirt and also the muslin, and necessary pattern alterations to an out-of-print McCalls 3623 shirt dress (there are plenty of shirt dresses in current pattern catalog, and unused versions of this pattern are still available through many vendors on the web). Then I opened the Vogue August 2014 issue, turned to the article on redheads (photographed by the great Fran Leibovitz - can that woman take a bad photo?) and found Amy Adams wearing the quintessential paisley, silk twill shirt dress. 

Amy and I don't have the same figure types. She is more of an hour glass type and I'm a rectangle. So though I'm distracted by the idea of her full skirt with gathers, I'm still at work on my straight up and down shirt dress, complemented by a 3" wide elastic based belt.

I'll be creating a first test version of this dress in a pretty piece of rosy-peach linen-look material I picked up from the freebie counter at school. I've been using a black 3" wide elastic belt I already own over my muslin,  to test out the waist and hip style lines that belt will create. Wearing my peaches and cream dress (Of course I've already named it!) will help me make decisions about any changes I might want to make to the pattern, before I use it again.  I've been planning to create a version of this dress in a beautiful length of silk noil/raw silk that it's my fabric inventory. Now I've got plans for a rayon challis as well, inspired by seeing Amy in this dress.

Doesn't finding this article seem like a sign from beyond, that I really needed a well-fitting shirt dress pattern?

Being able to follow through on inspiration like this is one of many things that keeps me...
Enchanted by Sewing!
~ ~ ~
Web Resources

In my Enchanted by Sewing audio podcasts, I talk about wardrobe additions I've sewn and how I've sewn them, as well as garments I'm inspired to sew.

Amy Adams wearing a beautiful and sewing-inspirational silk twill shirt dress in Vogue's August issue for this year http://www.fabzz.com/amy-adams-annie-leibovitz-photoshoot-for-vogue-august-2014.html

Saturday, August 2, 2014

What's a Shirt? What's a Blouse?

* The sixties clothing revolution (mid sixties on) took us from blouses to shirts. In the forties-fifties-early-sixties women's separates usually included a blouse. For blouses check out the Donna Reed Show, Petticoat Junction, Perry Mason and, of course, retro patterns. Look on the Dick Van Dyke show for Rosemarie wearing shirts over pencil skirts and looking the very modern professional woman. Shirts traditionally marked women who were moving into higher profession positions, starting during the New Woman era of the late 1800's

This traditional fitted blouse takes nicely to
embellishment. It's from a Miss Marple movie set in the 1950's 
This traditional women's shirt is sold by L.L. Bean
* A shirt tends to be somewhat loose, with style lines that hint at a woman's figure. Traditional fabrics are loose weaves. I think of materials like... oxford cloth, linen, cottons with body, somewhat stiff silk, silk noil/raw silk. Most shirts aren't big on embellishment, unless it's pretty simple like a bit of embroidery on a pocket or the point of a collar.

Another traditional fitted blouse from the same Miss Marple
movie. Blouses were typically worn tucked in, but
this blouse has a band at the waist so it could be worn
loose just over the skirt's waistband to flatter the actresses
very traditionally woman's figure.
* A blouse is more fitted. It's often somewhat delicate when it comes to fabric I think of materials like...  handkerchief linen, fluid cottons and silks like crepe de chine, sheer fabrics like silk organza. I think a blouse really takes to being embellished just about anywhere!

Petticoat Junction: Bobbie Joe's pink blouse takes well to
ruffled embellishment. The Doctor (center front) is also wearing a
blouse. Ruffles make a garment a blouse in my book.

This Silk Georgette blouse 
is nicely embellished in a very traditional blouse
fashion. It also has lot's of darts to make
it very fitted. It would tuck in well.

* What's a shirt? 
For me...
- yoke back-over-front
- no darts
- opens up well over a tank top - shirt jacket style
- minimal carefully thought out embellishment, often a pocket motif or very minimal trim - like a bias trim along the inner neckline or in the cuff area
- wide variety of buttons, can be fairly big and arty or non-standard or smaller, more delicate blouses crossover into the zone between shirt and blouse

For me this garment says 'blouse' because
it's buttoned all the way up, and has a Peter Pan collar.   Though the tucks
give it fullness in the torso, they are a constrained type of
fullness, not loose and floating away from the women's figure.
Another photo from a Miss Marple movie.
* What's a blouse? For me
  - more fitted than a shirt
  - darts to flatter my form
  - it tucks into a waistband
 - if anything underneath it's a thin camisole to mask undergarments, perhaps only open at the neckline to show a line of lace at the top of that camisole
- a blouse takes to embellishment ruffles, lace, ribbon on cuffs, collar, up the front around the buttons(see examples below)
- delicate buttons like a pearl bead, small mother-of-pearl, speciality like little fruits or flowers - especially where they contrast or complement the fabric

* Accessories that add to a blouse
 - pearls
 - a thin dangling necklace - For me that might be a cameo on a chain
 - colored purse, belt and shoes (especially if they are all the same color) give a traditional feel

* How do I accessorize a shirt?
 - a scarf often looks better with a shirt than a blouse
 - less delicate jewelry

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ench By Sew-022- Summer of the Blouse - Amaryllis

The latest Enchanted by Sewing Podcast has been published!

Listening Option I) You can listen to the show right on the web by clicking on this link 
~ OR ~
Listening Option II)  Click on this link to iTunes  to download this and other Enchanted by Sewing shows to your mobile device (iPhone, Android, etc.) free from iTunes

Did I miss any links mentioned in the show? If so, please post here and share them with everybody
Email- EnchantedBySewing@gmail.com
~ ~ ~
I like Amaryllis with jeans too!
This show is created, produced and brought to you by me! - Laurel Shimer. THE Enchanted by Sewing PODCAST IS, An  EXTENSION OF my regular sewing blog - Me Encanta Coser, which,  roughly translated means, Enchanted By Sewing

My blog is written in English. The name celebrates the historical and modern use of the beautiful Spanish Language in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, where I live
* * *
In my slow sewing July, I focused on sewing just one pink and white striped seersucker sleeveless blouse.  Like my  CA Summer skies shirt– (that was blue and white checked seersucker shirt ) I sewed and talked about last months show, my new sleeveless blouse, who I call Amaryllis (in honor of the musical, "The Music Man"),  has quickly become an important staple of my summer wardrobe. And sewing a few more blouses, as a result of what I thought and learned about sewing this most recent garment, is something I’m considering when it comes to more summer sewing.

In this month’s show

1) Pensamientos Primeros
Slow Summer Sewing – Budgeting my sewing time and energy and coming out on top by improving sewing skills. Increasing my wardrobe choices. It’s about Feeling satisfied with my sewing recreation time and output.

The slow living movement includes slow stitching. Look for more about slow living and sewing on the web





2) Entonces, Technicos y Mas
i) What’s a shirt what’s a blouse? http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/08/whats-shirt-whats-blouse.html

ii) About Amaryllis, a summer blouse

Music Man Inspiration for this blouses name http://simpleromantic.blogspot.com/2010/08/time-travel-primer-lesson-6-music-man.html

Now I've sewn Amaryllis, I'm envisioning other sleeveless blouses  http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/07/fabric-for-rosa-summer-dreams-blouse.html

iii) Technicos –My Amarylis Blouse
- More Seersucker Sewing
-       Sleeveless blouse facings
For my sleeveless blouse facings, I used techniques similar to those I described in my blog posting, Sewing a Fitted Facing, in Oct two years ago

- Seam Finishes - Cut and Pink
- Altering a shirt pattern to become a blouse

3) Pensamientos Finales Blue Skies Sewing - I can't sew it all at once, but I can dream!

A couple of Inspiration Dresses are related to Bustiers, including the Stella McCartney floral http://www.pinterest.com/lrshimer/sewingbustiersinspiration/

Stella McCartney inspired my interest in this pattern for a bustier-related dress, Vogue 8849

I discovered the pattern at this great blog, Fitnottofit http://fitnottofit.wordpress.com/tag/v8849/

I bought my copy of this pattern from

More about designer Stella McCartney http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stella_McCartney

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Terminado! A Quick Tapestry Cap

In this months (end of JulyEnchanted by Sewing audio podcast, I've  mentioned this cap as one of the "sooner" sewing projects I plan to get to. Here I am not having published the podcast, but already having the cap done! That's a nice feeling, even at a time when I'm praising myself for slow sewing (more about that in the upcoming podcast). I'm glad to say this cap project was a much quicker one than my Amaryllis blouse. I cut it out in one session, and took two more sessions to sew it up. I used a tapestry style remnant and lined it with some black cotton scrap I had on hand. I cut the lining on the bias and simply cut it the width of the two strips that make up the outside of the cap (plus a little extra so that I could cover up the raw edge of the crown.

I have a bigger than normal women's head size, so standard caps always look squished on me. I can get away with an adjustable baseball cap, but I don't like them nearly as well as the pretty ones I can make myself. Also this cap pattern fits low on the head and protects my skin and eyes from the elements better than a regular baseball cap.

This is the third cap I've made from the first of the One Yard Wonders books. I wear the other two caps everyday, every time I work in the yard or go anywhere. They make me feel much more confident that I'm protecting my skin from sun damage. Yes, I also use moisturizer with SPF 50!  

My other two caps are really showing their age. You bet that before I retire them I'll be making more. 

Being able to sew caps that fit my actual head size, and having them provide better sun protection too, is the kind of thing that keeps me...
Enchanted by Sewing!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Amaryllis - My New Semi-Fitted Blouse (Pink and White Striped Seersucker)

Here's the kind of amaryllis that inspired me to name my
new blouse. These bulbs show up in our stores around
 the winter holidays, are inexpensive,  and  are 

pretty easy to grow.
I'll be talking about the techniques I used to create my new Amaryllis blouse in this month's Enchanted by Sewing audio podcast, which will be published before the end of July. 

Yes, I love my new Amaryllis blouse!
And I'm so happy I bought this wide red belt this summer.
It also sets off my CA Summer Skies Shirt - both of
which I've been wearing a ton with my new summer denim skirt.
I’ve begun to enjoy naming the garments I craft. It reminds me each one is a work of art! That’s what the designers do. I’m designing for myself, and it’s fun to think like those fashion designers who give name to their creations, just like I do :-)

As I did with last month's CA Summer Skies seersucker Shirt,
I interfaced and lined my blouse facings with silk organza. This also gave me a
 neat completely concealed outside edge to  hand 
stitch down
I named my new pink and white seersucker blouse Amaryllis, after the musical “The Music Man” Are you a fan of  that play? You may recall it’s set in the American town of River City, Iowa in 1912 in. Below is a snippet from a blog posting I wrote a few years back, in my first blog, “The Simple Romantic” When I began that blog it represented a lot of my different interests including: hiking, sewing, and time travel! The Simple Romantic blog is still out on the web – and nowadays I keep it current by adding in postings from my different, more specifically themed blogs. I’ve included a link below, to the full time travel posting relating to the Music Man. Here’s that excerpt…

Suddenly I find myself there in the middle of the train station, a looker-on to the arrival in town of The Music Man himself. Is it the huge striped-candy blossom that makes me think about the barbershop quartet rehearsing in their shirtsleeves ? Perhaps it's the memory of Winthrop's heartbreaking lisp when he is forced to greet his elder sister, Marion's, piano student - she's named after the belladona lily, that sent me tumbling back in time.

Amaryllis, of course, was that piano student, and now she has become the inspiration for my new semi-fitted summer blouse.

I'll be talking about the pattern alterations I made
in my Enchanted by Sewing audio podcast, which I'll publish
 before the end of this month

Putting the partially completed blouse on my
dress form Conchita, helped me to notice that the top
end of my darts needed some realignment!

I used stitch and pink seam finishing techniques for Amaryllis

Completed Stitch and Pink
I like Amaryllis with jeans too!

~ ~ ~
Web Resources

Put a Little Muslin Into It - Altering a tried-and-true shirt pattern to create my Amaryllis Blouse http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/07/put-little-muslin-into-it-sleeveless.html

The Music Man - A Time Travel Trip

Basics on last month's blue and white checked seersucker CA Summer Skies Shirt http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/06/terminado-my-ca-summer-skies-seersucker.html. Find out more about techniques I used, in the June Enchanted by Sewing Audio Podcast http://www.enchantedbysewing.blogspot.com/2014/06/ench-by-sew-021-ca-summer-skies-sewing.html
Sign up for email reminders, so you'll know when new editions of the Enchanted by Sewing Audio Podcast are published http://www.enchantedbysewing.blogspot.com