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.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Plaid Tidings: My Husbands New Nightshirt (M8379)

In my November and December podcasts, the theme was plaids and tartans. 
I'm in the mood to sew more than one this winter season. Hope I can make that happen

My husband's nightshirts were wearing out - he usually needs one or two new ones about every two years. Since the last ones I made him, I've misplaced the pattern. I found McCalls 8379 on the web. It seems to be out of print, but there are probably still many available the same way I found this one. I liked the front tuck and simple neckline. 

I got the side seam plaids matched, but since I quilted the pocket, the flannel in the pocket tightened up quite a lot more than the flannel in the front of the garment. So the plaids didn't match up when I laid the pocket down. My husband doesn't care! He's glad to have a place to put his iPod or reading glasses when he's hanging out on a Sunday morning reading the paper.

He likes it!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Ench By Sew-39: Plaid tidings’ to you and all of your kin! Part 2 of Tartans and Plaids (Winter Holidays Mini-Cast)

Newly togged out Katie Rose is an Engel-Puppen doll
Click on this link in iTunes  to download the 39th episode of the Enchanted by Sewing Audio Podcast,  recorded in December of 2015. Or listen directly on the web by clicking on this link.

Plaid tidings’ to you and all of your kin! During the winter holidays, plaids and tartans look so festive. Dolls are the perfect plaid-sewing partners, because sewing for a doll, gives me the motivation to engage in some sample sewing. And at this time of year they remind me of  dollies, and doll clothes that were sewn for me, at this special time of year – like the mini wardrobe of Barbie clothes my aunt gracie sewed and sent me one winter holiday, as well as the red courderoy jumpers and dotted slip dresses, Mama made for our Chatty Kathy dolls, as well as for me and my sister Trisha in the winter I was 4 (with matching girl jumpers).

K.R's green plaid jumper is based on an
 American Girl free doll clothes pattern in "Mollie's Pretty Clothes"

The doll featured in this sewing project is Katie Rose. K.Rose is an Engel-Puppen doll. (Engel-Puppen doll link - has history of these dolls)

Sample sewing may not sound very exciting, but sewing an 18” (think American Girl sized) plaid doll’s dress gave me a chance to – in a very limited amount of time - practice my pattern cutting out skills for plaid fabric, as well as experiment with a new-to-me technique for improved  plaid matching

This  show is all about technicos/techniques.

My goals with this doll’s dress were to work on:
Primero/First)Careful layout of multiple princess-seamed bodice pieces - definitely less nerve racking for a doll, and gives me confidence to work on the red plaid princess-seamed shirt I’m muslin’ing - as well as the plaid nightshirt I’ll plan to be making soon for my husband.
Entonces/Then)I tried Fusible Thread to decrease slippage during sewing (a new-to-me technique for enhanced/ improved  plaid matching).  Also useful /good idea for sewing on patch pockets  

I used crafster to look for help regarding my challenges with fusible thread.
Response from ~T Read more: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=442125.0#ixzz3ufLODkuJ

She calls for low heat, so I am guessing you just had the iron too hot.

She also describes another technique for using it with aluminum foil as your pressing cloth..letting that cool and peeling it off, to create a design on fabric. Like a dimensional paint overlay technique?

You Craftsters always inspire me to hunt for new ideas   

I Goggled 'Fusible Thread Instruction' for this one. There are more on there as well.

I love using succulents all over the house during the festive season.
This simple arrangement provides the perfect place for Katie Rose to hang out.

American Girl Doll Clothes Patterns - Free http://www.agplaythings.com/AG%20Patterns/DollDressPatterns.html

More Plaid Web Resources




Thursday, December 10, 2015

Goof! Plaids and How NOT to Match 'Em!

Hand basted the seams with fusible thread. All nicely lined up!
So back in Beginning Sewing Construction I learned about fusible thread. Apparently a great way to use it is for basting plaid pieces together to avoid fabric slipping around when you machine stitch.

You can see the stitches, because not yet fused
Thought I'd test the technique out on a sample doll's dress, as practice for upcoming plaids and tartans sewing projects.

There must be a secret to the actual fusing, because all that happened was, that when I pressed the basted seams, the thread fused onto one of the seam lines, and disappeared from the other. I would have been better off, simply basting with regular thread, before doing my machine stitching.
My lovely fusible basting thread melted into the fabric, but didn't meld the seams!

Onward and upward. This is the reason we do sample sewing!

Posted in Crafter.... http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?board=391.0

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Pattern Work - Working For My Plaid - M6076 Princess Seamed - With Sleeves

Can't you just envision these pattern pieces and muslins as a red-plaid princess-seamed shirt?
In the November episode of the Enchanted by Sewing audio/pocast, I talked about sewing tartans and plaids. I also mentioned I have plans for a new red plaid, princess-seamed shirt, using M6076. As you may have noticed in my recent postings, Jasper-the-new-pooch has been sewing my slow sewing down even more. Still, I have gotten in some pattern work!

All four pattern pieces have a muslin attached. My next step is to transfer the seam lines onto the muslin, before I begin basting.

 I drew those seam lines  onto the pattern, based on the measurements I took from the sleeveless Western Winds shirt, which I created from this same pattern (altering to create a sleeved version as well as getting a good fit for me). I've really enjoyed wearing Western Winds and got quite a lot of late summer/early fall use out of that shirt - of course here in California it stays warm longer than much of the U.S.

For Western Winds, I cut back the top of the shoulder towards the neck, but I've dropped that back in place for this sleeved version. My new pattern includes lines for both sleeved and sleeveless versions. I  cut with room for either version, then use my clover wheel to lay down the armscye lines, then cut away what I don't need for the particular version I'm making. 

For more description, see my previous post- Sleeved to Sleeveless.

There's a good chance I'll be making a few more changes to the muslin, and therefore pattern, before I snip into that red plaid. I also plan to re-test the new pattern on another sleeveless version, sometime over the next few months. Tried and true patterns take a while to get just so, but they sure are worth their weight in gold.
I store in-progress muslins and pattern pieces clipped onto binder clips  hanging off cup hooks. That way they don't get wrinkles in between sewing sessions, and they all stay together.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Slow Sewing: Jasper Helps Out (Dog Fun!)

I managed to get in some pattern work over the last couple of days, but when it comes to machine work, Jasper-The-New-Pooch has other plans for my time!

Maybe he just wants to learn how to baste. No - my foot was not on the pedal, and yes - he does climb up on my lap to help out.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ench By Sew-38: Tartans and Plaids

Myrna Loy begarbed in plaid - "The Thin Man"
At this time of year, I particularly love to sew plaids. No matter what other plans new pooch, Jasper, has for me, I’ve also got plans - for some seasonal sewing, with some of my favorite plaid fabricsOK, maybe with our dear new pooch-kid it will go extra slow, but I’m determined to get one or two plaid garments going over the next few months

BTW if you know anybody looking for the perfect pooch, I’d highly recommend the  group where we found Jasper.
 They’re called Tiramisou Dog Rescue and they foster dogs all over – even in other countries.
 Administrator Lou (tiramisudogrescue@gmail.com )  was really great about reading my list of needs for the right dog for us  and suggesting dogs for me to check out. (Those needs included not hassling our ancient little blind dog, not chasing kitties, and being super affectionate – all of which she found for us in Jasper).
In this month’s show
* Primero (First): Tartans and Plaids – What’s the difference?

* Entonces (Then): Tartans – Who’s got the rights to wear them? A Famous Historical Myth

Delightful Historical Fiction - DIANA GABALDON Time Travel Adventures- A Wonderful fast paced historical series, for plaid-loving romantics. Claire travels unexpectedly back to the time of the Jacobite rising in the highlands of Scotland and finds a place for herself that suits her even better than her life in post war Britain. Meeting a gentle, handsome and funny over six foot highland Scot doesn't hurt.

* Y Tambien (And Also):   A Visit to the Edinburgh Tartan Weaving Mill – recorded on my trip to the U.K. early this last summer
* Pensamiientos Finales (Final Thoughts): Why I love plaid

NEXT MONTH – Technicos for - Tartan and Plaid Matching - It's not only about how you lay out your pattern
~ ~ ~
Web Resourceshttps://www.pinterest.com/lrshimer/plaid-and-tartan/

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sleeveless to Sleeved - Pattern Work - M6076

The purple line shows the cutting lines I used for altering the original pattern to be  sleeveless
The red lines are my new adjustment lines
Earlier this fall, I first began working with the princess-seamed pattern M6076. The first result was my sleeveless Western Winds Shirt. I really liked the fit, fabric and buttons on this shirt and I wore it quite a lot.  The pattern doesn't actually come in a sleeveless version - I raised the underarm point and then graded the top of the underarm seam to create a well fitting sleeveless version.

My next goal is to create a sleeved version. So far (Jasper is encouraging slow sewing!)  To date, I've just worked on one of the four pattern pieces - the Side Front. 

Once I get all four pattern pieces reworked, and since I made alterations right on Western Winds, I'll probably make another sleeveless version just to test this version of the pattern. Also I have enough clover green linen left from my Irish Laurel dress to make it!

Then I'll be testing the sleeved version in muslin. The main changes I'm making are
1) Taking the end-of-shoulder point back out about 1"
2) Taking the underarm point out 1"
3) Dropping the underarm seam point 1.5"

I went back to Western Winds and noted where I actually sewed my princess-seams
Then I added a new seam allowance, using a Clover tracing wheel
, 1" out from those seams. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Dogs! Good Excuse for Sewing Slow and Green (Scraps, Green Sewing)

Completing a pillow cover from dressmaking scraps is a real sewing accomplishment with the world's cutest dog around the house!

Yes - He adopted us four weeks ago

A great save-the-worlds-dogs organization - Lou was so helpful locating the right pooch for our household https://www.facebook.com/tiramisudogrescue/

About a year and a third old

Some kind of mix - maybe Australian Shepherd, Golden Retriever, and something with a curly tail

Oh Lordy, he is the sweetest dog I've ever known!

Yes, it is like having a new child in the house

Three-four walks a day - minimum

Haven't encountered a dog he doesn't like yet

Yes, Dog Park once a week Had our first hike Had our first beach trip

Jasper doesn't like it when I sit down at the sewing machine. He says "Hey, a walk would be better than that!" 
And so we do.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Embellishment - Hot Fix Crystals

I used these Swarovski  hot fix crystals with my hot fix Elements Tool. This tool was recommended to me as being better than a Bedazzler.  After applying the crystals, I test washed my Shabby Chic Mobile pocket bag - turning it inside out before washing - and all the crystals stayed in place.

Looking forward to using this to embellish other future sewing projects, and also ready-to-wear clothes - like jeans.

Shabby Chic - Mobile Pocket Bag (Green Sewing, Embellishment)

Embellished sewing scraps are green sewing at their best - and I also test washed the bag (inside out) to make sure I didn't loose any crystals. 

- Test to see how jeans type denim takes to embellishment with my Swarovski Elements tool and Swarovski hot fix crystals
- Use up a variety of Scraps
- Make something I'll get a lot of use out of - A multi-mobile device pocket bag

The little coin pocket from an old pair of jeans is the perfect size for my iPod

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ench By Sew-37: Savage Beauty of Alexander McQueen (Halloween Style)


 October is a month when many of us in the Western Hemisphere get in touch with our own emotions and comfort dealing with
mortality. Folks in my neck of the woods celebrate Dia de Los Muertos – Day of the Dead. Dia de Los Muertos is a day for celebrating ritual death tradition- engaging in crafts, creating and eating special foods, and putting out images – colorful, beautiful, and also macabre – that may touch on a connection with departed family members.
Listen directly to this audio/podcast on the web by clicking on this link OR.... to download the show from iTunes Click on this link to iTunes  , 

In our neighborhood we put out beautiful pumpkins, scary dancing skeletons and bright lights. Then we celebrate our connection to another world, by welcoming in the trick or treaters- be they costumed beautifully, colorfully, or gruesomely - by handing out free Halloween candy.

Fashion designer Alexander McQueen focused on designing beautifully romantic, avent garde fashion. He also had a strong interest in the macabre. His masters fashion exhibit “Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims”, was a hint that this emerging designer was not going to be run-of-the-mill when it came to setting his artistic tone. Other chilling exhibits followed. “Highland Rape” and “The Widows of Culloden” , among others, carried McQueen’s historically inspired fashion artistry farther into the dark side of the human soul.

Morose? Yes – often- but his work was also drop dead gorgeous. Many of McQueens materials, embellishments design lines, colors, technology and elements inspire my arty-romantic sewing nature, even as I am frightened by other aspects of his work.

As you accompany me in the show, I’ll share the beautiful, and the colorful as well as the scary.  Because that’s what this time of year is all about, where I live.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Western Winds Hanky (Green Sewing)

Scraps make some of my most useful sewing creations. Last time I posted bout my Western Winds princess-seamed sleeveless shirt. That shirt has been seeing a lot of use, perfect for our early fall warm temps. In the spirit of using up those scraps a.s.a.p.  (and what could be more green?) I appliquéd a few other sraps to the remaining remnant of shirt fabric, hemmed the whole with a decorative stitch, and - presto change-o I had a useful new bandana. My kerchief has been seeing a lot of use as well. Very handy for moping my glistening brow when I'm walking or hiking.  Also useful when there are no paper towels after washing my hands away from home!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Western Winds Princess-Seamed Sleeveless Shirt- Terminado/Finished!

I talked about the process of altering the princess-seamed shirt, commercial pattern M6076, back in Fitting Western Winds . I used my sloper to work in conjunction with the pattern.

Fitting + sewing made it such that I put off finishing the project. It means the project took a little longer. And yah know how 'tis.... when I don't sew every single day a project looses it's oomph. I wanted to get going with something else new when I had time to sew.

Good thing I had a trip to visit with my dear cousin in San Diego  motivating me to finish my Western Winds shirt. I loved wearing it on the trip, and have worn it several times since. It's still summer-warm in my part of California. Aren't I glad this good warm weather basic didn't become a UFO, because it's been adding a lot to my just-doesn't-feel-like-fall-yet wardrobe.

BTW I simply used bias tape to finish off the inside of the armscyePor que no? It works great and I had it already.

Fabric was from the "Japanese Cottons" section at Stone Mountain and Daughters in Berkley (in my materials inventory for about a year and a half) 

Horsey buttons were in my buttons inventory - scored them free somewhere. They give it that true western feel, don't you think?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Retro Threads - Trousers - Born to Dance - Blue Sky Sewing

Who says Ladies didn't wear trousers back in the 30's?

Not Miss Lucy James, a leading hoofer in "Born to Dance" (along with Fred Astaire) -  that's for sure.

Wouldn't it be fun to sew up a trouser, shirt, and scarf outfit like this in dotted silk

And how 'bout that offset button closure on the belt?

I love blue sky sewing, especially when it's retro.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Blue-Sky Sewing - Rose Embellished End of Summer Frock

Since I got my sloper done, I look at other woman's frocks with a new eye. I ran into Rebecca, on a toasty day while we were waiting for our devices to get fixed at the apple store, and she was kind enough to let me photo her in this great rose-embellished, gingham summer dress.

Looks like maybe six tiers in that nice big rose. It starts above the natural waistline, and extends below the full hip.

This great gingham cotton frock also has bust darts.

I would try to recreate something like this by simply eliminating the front torso fisheye darts in my sloper, and maybe also grading the pattern out from beneath the bust darts?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

More New York Garment District Trims - Embellishing my Newest Tapestry Cap

I posted previously about the denim cap that I took along on my trip to New York to both trim and finish with simple hand sewing.  I bought the beads and Swarovski crystals for this project in the New York garment district as well as the trims for the denim cap.
I'd also taken along the tapestry cap  I had made to replace the one I began embellishing on my trip to Vancouver last year - and then lost. I talked about that project in the Enchanted by Sewing Audio/Podcast Capping off Summer, that you can still listen to. I've already worn this cap (and it's matching mobile pocket bag) practically all summer.  They both came in pretty hand on our trip to England and Scotland, and have worn well. I carried the mobile pocket bag all over New York too - perfect for my MTA transit card, keys and small amounts of cash I carried with me.

Hand embellishment is the perfect sewing project for me to take along when traveling, and it's such a good excuse for some low-key and less expensive shopping! I used things I bought right away, and they didn't take much room in my bag. Also, I don't always take the time to do this kind of work when sewing at home - but I felt quite inspired to finish this embellishment, begun on the trip once I got home. Unlike the pearled-denim cap that I finished, and wore, on the trip. I still had some beading to do on this tapestry cap when I got home. But a few days after my return, it was done.

~ ~ ~
Read more about my big city experiences in New York - http://simpleromantic.blogspot.com/2015/09/new-york-field-trip-casual-art-friendly.html

Lucy Locket's Mobile Pocket Bag Holds my iPod, iPhone, a little money, a few cards and whatever other bits and pieces I need for walks, bike trips and travel. http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2015/06/lucky-lockets-mobile-device-pocket-bag.html

This Enchanted by Sewing podcast episode is all about how I make my casual caps. I have another on (dressier) hat making.

Caps Show - http://enchantedbysewing.blogspot.com/2014/08/ench-by-sew-023-capping-off-summer.html

Hats Show- http://enchantedbysewing.blogspot.com/2015/03/ench-by-sew-030-hats-off-to-downtown.html

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Fitting Western Winds - Princess-Seamed Shirt M6076 (Journal/Sloper/Pattern Work)

Journaling - Learning to fit and work with my sloper.

M6076 - Three princess-seamed shirts
I'm also learning to question, my sloper.

I'm starting with a basic princess-seamed shirt pattern - McCalls 6076.

Initially I'm working with the princess-seam in shoulder seam option (view A). (others in line drawing below)

Noted so far
- Learning to compare front or back pattern pieces to my sloper, I have to learn where to place them. Do I line up the base of underarm seam/armscye? If I start comparing at shoulder seam I can get thrown off because I often need to alter this area - except on some commercial patterns, when it's fine!

First time through with a test-garment (that's the one I'll actually wear, one step beyond my muslin) I'm making a sleeveless version. I'm taking careful note of where I
-a- I alter  the underarm seam (armscye) to create a tighter fitting armhole
-b- Take  the top of the armhole back somewhat, for this no-sleeve version.

Later I'll test the muslin with a muslin sleeve, where I'll test the pattern without both of these (a and b) alterations.

Another benefit to a sleeveless test garment is,  I'm getting it out of a piece that is somewhat less than 2 yards. I will be piecing the under collar, and also the front facing. But I don't expect those piecing line to show.

Waistline and Princess Seam Alterations
Working on a very fitted look without overfitting
 Would be better to add an extra seam allowance - 1 inch instead of 5/8-  for all this playing around
Lots of trying on here! Did same front and back on all 4 princess seams

I made sure to safety pin the front closed matching up the button hole marks, so that I don't overfit. I want the shirt to button and need a certain amount of overlap for that.

- First I basted a 1/4 inch seam along the princess stitching line
- Then increased (still with a basting stitch) the princess line seam allowance to 7/8"
- Then I unabasted the second line of basting below the bust and graded back to the 7/8"

- Finally I took in/graded the waist with a kind of elongated half oval, about 3 and 1/2 inch above and below the waist. Challenging figuring out when to alter waist and when to alter princess seams - lots of safety pin basting helped with that

Altering Armscye/Armhole for Sleeveless Version

 I took the shoulder seam back towards the neck for an improved sleeveless style

* Compared to my sloper, and graded in 1/2 inch at bottom of armhole/armscye on side seam for sleeveless. Then I graded back out  to original side seam after, hummm.... about one to two inches? A french curve is handy for doing that. I admit, I eyeballed it. I kept the original full seam on the pattern, because I'll probably want it for the sleeved version. I also kept it on the muslin  so I can reuse the muslin when testing a sleeved version.

* I also tested  raising the side seam up for the sleeveless version (based on what I learned in French Pattern Drafting class going from moulage to sloper) , but it was too tight.

* For sleeveless, I'm  raising outside shoulder (taking it back towards the neck line) for sleeveless style - 1 3/8" (11/8") without S.A. - so probably either 9/8 (1 and18) or 6/8 (3/4) " cut back/off - the first for 1/4" and second 5/8" S.A. I'll mark on the pattern what works for sleeveless - but keep the full original armscye on pattern for sleeved version test.

In addition to desirability of a sleeveless shirt for our late-running summer-in-fall weather, this helps me to focus on fitting aspects of the torso. The sleeve adds in a whole 'nother fit challenge, even though it means I have to make alterations when I go between sleeveless and sleeved. A good reason to journal!

M6076 - Test Garment Fit In Progress

Shoulder Seams
 * I ended up adding 1/2" (better would have been more - because I only took a 1/4 "seam allowance (S.A.)  - so next time add in 7/8") to the back
* I therefore took back 1/2" from the front  because of alteration to back. Again because I only sewed the 1/4" S.A., next time through I will add back another 3/8 inch and sew  a full 5/8" S.A.

* I've made this shoulder line adjustment many times, the reason I didn't catch it when comping my Master Pattern Trace (M.P.T.) to the sloper? For the back - I forgot that the S.A. is not included in the sloper pattern, as it is in the commercial pattern. (Often forget this). For the front, I don't know. The front of my sloper just looks too high. The No S.A. sloper comes out at the same time as the M.P.T.. So it seems like maybe I should make a tentative adjustment to my sloper front - dropping it by perhaps.... 3/8 or 1/2 inch. It's challenging thinking between with and without S.A. But this is something to think about math 'wise as I continue to work comparing my sloper to patterns I trace.

- I pin basted the muslin to make sure I had a basic fit, but I really didn't see the shoulder issues until I cut out and stitch -basted the test garment. In the future, maybe encourage myself to stitch-baste that muslin. I have a way of not seeing the pattern as real until I move past the muslin. It seems good enough, and I really want to see it as an actual garment. And with the pins in, I'm always in a hurry to get out of it!

I basted with a stitch  length of 6 and starting out with 1/4" seams. Then I keep trying it on and increasing the S.A. up to 5/8" . Alternatively, I could have added a full 1" S. A. on the first pass,  but I figured since the muslin was OK, I didn't need to.

Right now I'm happy with accurately placed shoulder seams - which gives a shirt a custom fitted look. I took in the 2 side seams more, but they are still a little loose. However, I haven't yet basted a deeper princess seam (4 actual seams). Once I check those, I'll know if I want to grade in - all or some of - the side seams to increase the fitted look.

~ ~ ~ Web Resources ~~~
An interesting related fitting post, that journals some of the challenges of fitting a basic princess-seamed pattern http://artisanssquare.com/sg/index.php?topic=16322.0

Saturday, September 12, 2015

New York Garment District Trims- Pearled Denim Cap

I was in New York for three weeks helping my daughter find, move and settle into her new apartment. The Upper East Side of Manhattan, where Rosalinda will be living while going to graduate school, is well situated for forays to the NYC garment district. You can bet I'll be looking for excuses to visit!

I focused mostly on visiting trim shops in this famed area. Trims are small and light to carry back. They're also something I could make use of while traveling. This pearled denim* cap - I bought the pearly beads and lace trim in the garment district- is one of two cap projects I purchased trims for in the garment district, and worked on during my trip. I was able to quickly cut it out and do some fast machine stitching before I left town, then did the embellishment and a little hand sewing to finish it off while I was there. I completed it early on, so I was able to make good use of it's sun protecting character during my visit to the Big Apple.

I'm considering adding another line or two of pearls....

~ ~ ~
Read more about my big city experiences in New York - http://simpleromantic.blogspot.com/2015/09/new-york-field-trip-casual-art-friendly.html

This Enchanted by Sewing podcast episode is all about how I make my casual caps. I have another on (dressier) hat making.

Caps Show - http://enchantedbysewing.blogspot.com/2014/08/ench-by-sew-023-capping-off-summer.html

Hats Show- http://enchantedbysewing.blogspot.com/2015/03/ench-by-sew-030-hats-off-to-downtown.html

* The denim was a remnant from the Summer Essentials shorts I blogged about last month

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Ench By Sew-36: Fiona, the Irish Laurel Dress

Dress creation brings out the romantic in me. When I looked ahead to my summer sewing, I thought if I could sew only one garment for the season, it would be a dress. Fiona, the Irish Laurel dress, satisfied my yearning to design and sew the perfect summer frock.

Hey let’s listen to the show! To do that you can either download the ‘cast from iTunes - Click on this link to iTunes  , 
*OR* listen directly on the web, by clicking on this link
* * *

This dress was a very satisfying project for my arty romantic style

In between sewing summer essentials - shorts and tees - I worked off and on to determine what design lines spoke to me about summer, mock up a miniature sloper pattern to test my ideas, draft a pattern from my sloper, and then finally to sew up Fiona, while summer was still on!

* Pensamientos Primeros - Thinking through my idea for this summer dress
     - Part 1 - Planning Fiona
        - Part 2 - Farewell to Summer Romancing Fiona, the Irish Laurel Dress  
*Technicos - Pattern Drafting and Kissing Zipper using a Prick Stitch

*Pensamientos Finales - Fiona's Design Lines have roots in my own history

Finians Rainbow was a modern American fairy tale. It expressed late 1960's dreams for racial harmony and folks coming together. Fred Astaire (Finian McLonigan) and Petula Clark(his daughter Sharon) added in the romance of America seen, and idealized, fresh from Irish eyes. The story of Finian's determination to plant himself a crop of Irish gold, intertwined with romance of countryside and a new happpily-ever-after love for Sharon draws me in as well today as it did when I was a kid who'd only recently arrived in a new place myself. Any wonder that the movie's costumes inspire my pattern work and sewing today?

Visit Me Encanta Coster/Enchanted by Sewing - my regular sewing blog for other summer sewing I enjoyed along the way... in between time spent bringing Fiona to life

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Farewell to Summer - Romancing Fiona, the Irish Laurel Dress (Part 2/2 -Termindado!)

Fiona, the Irish Laurel Dress
Fiona is made from a yellow green Linen-Rayon blend, lined with Bemberg rayon.
This dress has a one piece front and one piece back.
It includes front bust darts, back shoulder darts and partial darts that open like tucks in the torso front and back. The bodice above the dart/tucks is quite fitted.
The kissing zipper is prick-stitched.

I started day dreaming about creating Fiona at the beginning of summer. Then  in Fiona, my Summery Irish Laurel Dress,
I got more serious about my romance with this dress. I began playing around with a small pattern replica, imagining how I might manipulate my sloper*.

Since then, my summer frock dreams came true. I drafted a pattern for my Irish Laurel Dress, and sewed her up too. I've worn this perfect summer frock several times and really enjoyed the feel and flow of the garment. I'm already looking forward to using and altering this pattern again.

I talk about creating Fiona in my September Enchanted by Sewing Audio Podcast** - Remember you can either download Enchanted by Sewing audio shows from iTunes OR you can just listen right on the web (while sewing perhaps?). Links for both will be in the show notes, as they always are.

(Listen to the Fiona Show right on the web by clicking on this link)

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* Initial Blue Sky Plans for Fiona - http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2015/08/romancing-my-summery-irish-laurel-dress.html Playing with a small version of a sloper pattern was a great way to envision the actual pattern work.

** Stop by the shownotes for the Enchanted by Sewing Podcast and sign up to get an email abouut new monthly audio shows. Or subscribe in iTunes.  http://www.enchantedbysewing.blogspot.com/

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Gypsy Rose Lee Tree Gown - Enchanted by Charles James

In my recent Enchanted by Sewing audio/podcast "Enchanted by Charles James",
I talked about seeing this gorgeous "Tree" gown designed to highlight Gypsy Rose Lee's curves.

Listen to the show, then see what they've got to say about this beauty in the Metropoliton's Collection.

Enchanted by Sewing - Enchanted by Charles James http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2015/08/ench-by-sew-35enchanted-by-charles.html

Tree Gown at the Met http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/159583

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Fast Fashion Summer Essentials: Floral Cowl Neck Tee

I love sewing this cowl neck tee shirt.  I've made it four or five times now. It's a quick sew and dependable. I also like the look of it with my rose embellished denim straight skirt - which photo'd a little dark here. The details of the skirt show up a little better in this post - actually the skirt looks blue in the other posting ! - but the dark color above is more true to life.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Summer Essentials: Basic Shorts

Nothing beats a new pair of basic summer shorts. Usually I make this pattern with the traditional front hip pockets, but this time it was a tradeoff - I just needed to get them done more quickly. Besides, I just about always carry a mobile pocket bag, so as nice as in-garment-pockets are I can make do without them.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Ench By Sew-35:Enchanted by Charles James - 20'th Century Fashion History

The Charles James Ribbon Gown - Muslin in the background
Enchanted by Charles James - Stepping into a liminal space to study and enjoy glorious fashion designs and analyze the construction of those garments is the kind of thing that keeps me … enchanted by sewing.

Hey let’s go to the show together! To do that you can either download the ‘cast from iTunes - Click on this link to iTunes  , 
*OR* listen directly on the web, by clicking on this link

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  Some months the Enchanted by Sewing podcast, journals my own sewing project accomplishments, techniques and creative ideas. Other times I share the source of  some of my sewing inspiration. This month is inspiration time, as I take you along on an another in-the-,moment fashon exhibit - a visit to the beautiful Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco , where I went repeatedly to  view the exhibit, High Style: The Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection  exhibit of the Brooklyn Fashion Museum.

This collection – which is housed  and curated by the Metropoliton Museum of Art  in NY City- includes a wide range of the work of 20’th century designers and couturiers.

There was no way I could share all of what I saw with you.

By my third visit, I realized that , despite the charms of designers and coturiers in the exhibit- Elsa Schiaparelli and Madeleine Vionnet, just to name a few of the big names, and some that have been almost forgotten- the hands-down winner for sharing with you, was Charles James. That’s because James, and his clients and admirers, worked to see to it, that more than his beautiful garments were saved in this collection, to motivate and educate future sewists, designers and couturiers. This historical treasure trove includes sketches and muslins which really tell the story of how he worked, and what went into the garments he fashioned. They are an inspiration for the creative process.

The body of Charles James work extends from the 1930s into the1950s. The garments he designed, constructed and created were worn by high society types like  Austine Hearst, the wife of Mr. William Randolph Hearst, Jr., Millicent Rogers and Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney. They were also made for women with less blue blood like Jeanne Bultman the wife of the artist Fritz Bultman, and Gypsy Rose Lee!

James didn’t just sketch up a gown and expect others to produce it. He worked in the true couture tradition (some say the only American designer who did). He draped fabric in complex ways to get what he was after. Often he created specialized support systems under his gowns, to enhance and extend their third dimensions . Charles James also used fabric in studied ways working with color, light and reflectivity in addition to the hang or drape of the material. He also focused on developing seaming techniques that molded the fabric into directions he wanted it to move.

I’ll be blogging more about Charles James garments I saw at this exhibit over time . You’ll find those in the podcast show notes and at my regular blog, MeEncantaCoser.blogspot.com. So if you find Charles James as appealing as I do, subscribe to the podcast show notes or Me Encanta Coser to be notified about new James postings.

Show at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco http://legionofhonor.famsf.org/legion/announcements/collecting-fashion-20th-century-couture-costume-and-textile-arts-collection?utm_source=Fine+Arts+Museums+of+San+Francisco+E-Mail+List&utm_campaign=e68929bce3-15_3_4_e_news_general&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_9757c5111b-e68929bce3-85610377

Other SF show links


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The Entire (over 400 items) Charles James Collection is Freely Available and Searchable Online at the Metropolitan Museum - Brooklyn Costume Collection. This collection includes not only beautiful garments, but muslins and design sketches James created along the way.

A few Example Links in the above collection - Use this link to do your own searching

Muslin for the Ribbon Gown  http://www.metmuseum.org/search-results?ft=charles+james+muslin+ribbon

Charles James Fashion Sketches

Clover leaf Ball Gown Sketches