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 30, 2014

Ench By Sew-023: Capping off Summer, The Tapestry Cap (Technicos/Techniques)

My latest cap creation is a faux-tapestry print
The latest Enchanted by Sewing Podcast has been published!

~ 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 those links below and share them with everybody
Email- EnchantedBySewing@gmail.com
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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
* * *

I've gotten lots of use out of this sage green cap (and another blue one) that
I first made two years ago. Both caps match shorts, which I wear together.
I also wear the caps on their own with other things in my wardrobe.
Every one of my daily walks, includes a cap.

I’ve worked on a couple of different sewing projects in August. Of the four I’ve worked on I’ve finished three - a wardrobe building elastic waist black denim skirt (like the blue one I finished in June and have been wearing so much), another semi-fitted sleeveless cotton blouse (like Amaryllis the subject of last months 'cast - I haven't post about this yet, but plan to soon) and a tapestry cap.

That cap is especially important to me. As you might have noticed in previous shows I am kind of a preacher when it comes to protecting our skin from the elements. I listened back to my shows from the last couple of months, and it seemed like I went into great detail in both ones about wearing my sun screen and a cap whenever I head out the door, whether for a walk or even a ride in the car.

I figured if it was so important to me, it was time to do an episode about the kind of skin protecting garment I’ve made a few times now, sharing the techniques and some of my inspiration.
1)         Pensamientos Primeros/First Thoughts
Why do I need to make my own caps and hats?

Wayne Wichern's Millinery is in the San Francisco Bay Area. I took my first millinery class at Cañada College, from Wayne. He has a lovely private studio where he conducts further workshops and open lab. He's a wonderful man and teacher .http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2013/09/matters-millinery-making-my-own-hats.html

 2) Technicos/Techniques  
 How I create caps, based on the "Good Hat Day Hat (cap)" in the first One Yard Wonders Book.

3)         Pensamientos Finales/Final Thoughts

The Louisa Mae Alcott book I referred to in the cast was An Old Fashioned Girl. You know you can download books in the public domain (that volunteer readers have recorded) for free from Librivox, right? 

Blue Skies Hat Sewing, Ideas for future hats and caps I hope and plan to make

I've got plans to take Wayne's 3 day workshops. Wayne Wichern's Millinery is in the San Francisco Bay Area. I took my first millinery class from Wayne. He also has a studio for more intense workshops and open labs. He's a wonderful man and teacher - http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2013/09/matters-millinery-making-my-own-hats.html

There's a pretty cloche-esque hat pattern in this magazine, which has a lot of other fun stuff as well.

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
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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!
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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