Jewelry For Travel

The topic of this post is simple jewelry designs to help pull your looks together while travelling.   Of course, these can be worn at any time and necklaces add a little interest while coordinating with basic clothing pieces.   These are me-made, and more inspiration can be found on Pinterest.    The post I wrote about my London trip better shows my overall cohesive plan.

The necklace on the left is a wire wrap technique, which means that wire is wrapped with a loop on each end. The bead is in the middle.  A series of loops link together forming a long necklace.

The necklace on the right is a simple stringing project where beads and spacers are strung in a pattern with a closure in the back.

Variation = Versatility
Both necklaces complimented my wardrobe pieces by combining neutral colors. To offer the most versatility, I constructed them by varying the lengths and varying the bead size.   Although I love scarves as an alternative to spice up a neutral outfit, I prefer to wear necklaces if the temps are warm.

Questions To Ask 

What kind of trip will it be? ¬†A beach vacation, a work conference, or a family reunion all require specific wardrobes, so the jewelry included (if any) will be different. ¬† I want simple and easy ‘go-to’ items that add detail that makes the outfit looked finished and that I put a little extra time into the overall look. ¬† I don’t pack items of great value, but I do ask myself if I would be really disappointed if the item(s) broke or were stolen. ¬†Although I would miss these pieces if something happened, I also ask, ‘Can I remake or replace this jewelry?’ ¬†If yes, then in the bag it goes.

Assorted beads from my bead stash

Assorted beads from my bead stash

40 inch assorted bead necklace

40 inch assorted bead necklace

Discover Your Preferred Necklace Lengths
Trends in jewelry come and go. Classics like pearls and gold chains seem to remain strong, but it is the length that is important and very individualized.   I like more substantial pieces and have a shorter and longer length I keep coming back to that seem right for me.

If I want a longer necklace that has the potential to be doubled up, I have discovered that 40″ is a good length for me, especially if I include a closure in the back. ¬†That way I can unfasten it and place the closure in the front, avoiding pulling it over my head. ¬† Another length I prefer is at the collar bone. ¬†I have written about it here¬†and here. ¬†Toggle closures are bigger and can be fasten easily.

Navy, gold, silver, light pink, shell, pearl beads

Navy, gold, silver, light pink, shell, pearl beads

A closer look. Most beads from Joann's

Many of these beads are from Joann’s and from my stash

Design and Composition

Sometimes it helps to take a closer look at the beads, their arrangement and the tiny beads or spacers in between. I have written about going into stores and making a beeline to the accessories to check out the jewelry designs. Keep an eye out for jewelry that can be re-purposed or re-designed to your taste. ¬†If you like to bead, you may recognize in the picture above some of these beads from the Joann’s. ¬† Often the collections are a blend of beautifully colored beads. ¬†All that is needed is to string them up!

Small lobster claw closure

Small lobster claw closure used with a split ring

Metals Used Instead of Color
Using colored beads is not the only way to add interest in a bead design. Sometimes adding metals does the trick.   Adding the wonderful warmth of copper or the cool tones of silver and pewter translate as color and can add so much to the overall color scheme our eye sees.   Gold can be used instead of yellow and blackened silver can add the black to ground a design and add some shine.

Since mixing metals is a current fashion trend, I used gold square spacers on the sides of the navy blue stone beads and pewter/dark gray spacers (above photo) to incorporate a dark gray into the design.

Gold pewter toggle closure

Gold pewter toggle closure

I didn’t get many outfit posts recorded, however, here is one taken while walking late across the Westminster Bridge toward Big Ben.

Dressed for Big Ben

Dressed for Big Ben

Other simple choices for travel were the earrings I packed.  All of them were purchased and could be worn interchangeably with the necklaces.

Do you have some versatile jewelry pieces you like to pack? ¬†Do you even bother to pack jewelry? ¬†Would you consider making your own jewelry? ¬†Please share your comments below, cuz’ I want to hear!:)

Happy sewing , creating, travelling, packing, etc.!:)

-Dana

 

Simply Pink New Look 6340

There is nothing like triple digit temperatures to make you grab some fabric and a pattern and run to your sewing machine! ¬†If you are looking for a quick, simple sundress to make for your summer wardrobe, look no further than New Look 6340. ¬† Let me back up and say that I haven’t posted in a while because I have been packing (sewing) for an upcoming trip. Before that, I was cleaning up my sewing room (a HUGE task and you don’t want to see that). ¬†I even donated some fabric! ¬†However, due to the scorching heat outside, I have torn myself away from those tasks to make up this quick dress (and necklace).

I don’t care for the hot summers in Tucson, Arizona but I love¬†the winters. So here I am in June and in need of the coolest possible dress to wear…EVER. Meet New Look 6340.¬† This pattern is perfect made out of a light weight cotton. ¬†I made a size 14. ¬†I purchased my fabric from Joann’s a while ago, so it qualifies as a stash buster. ¬†This pattern offers 4 dress styles with notched, slightly scooped and V neck options. ¬†Pockets and sleeves are optional. Two hemline variations offered and side seam ties can be added to tie in back and offer some additional shaping. I chose to leave off the ties.

Quick glance at New Look 6340

Quick glance at New Look 6340

Center front seems are not my favorite because they break up a print. ¬†To get around this, I try to find an all over print that ‘reads’ as a solid and then the center seam doesn’t bother me as much.

Pocket shaped detail

Pocket with shaped detail

This pocket shape is not offered in the pattern, however a pleated version is offered. I decide to add a little bit of interest to the top of the pocket by shaping it with an inverted point at the center and facing it with a 1″ strip. I copied the shape on the strip and sewed the two pieces together, right sides together. ¬†Next step wass to stitch and trim, clip the curves, turn and press. Because cotton ravels during washing, I serge-finished the pocket edges. ¬†Press under the remaining three sides and top stitch. ¬† I used the pattern marking for the pocket and used fusible tape to secure the pockets before stitching.

A-Line dress with center back seam

A-Line dress with center back seam

The hem is a simple 5/8″ seam turned under and top stitched.

Now you know I have to make a necklace to wear with my outfits, right? ¬†I was fortunate to find some pink and orange ceramic beads and a¬†metal leaf focal pendant at Joann’s. ¬†I added some amber colored faceted crystal beads and some size 6 glass pink seed beads. ¬†It’s a pretty simple design and easy execution with a gold toggle clasp.

Self made necklace with beads and pendant from Joanns

Self made necklace with beads and pendant from Joanns

Ceramic, glass and metal necklace

Ceramic, glass and metal necklace

So there you have it. ¬†I came out of hiding to photograph two simple makes and now I’m on my way to be better prepared for the heat! ¬†Now I have to get back to finishing another¬†¬†TNT shirt for my husband for Father’s Day. What have you been working on for the summer?
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Pantone Spring 2017 DIY Necklace

Necklace worn with Butterick 5526

Necklace worn with Butterick 5526

Pantone Colors Spring 2017

Pantone Colors Spring 2017

I love a happy accident. Without even planning it, I managed to make a DIY beaded necklace using all of the warm shades of the Pantone Spring 2017 colors. ¬†Truth be told, I made this before I knew about the upcoming colors. ¬†Sewing my own clothes and making my own jewelry keeps me both on and off the streets! ¬† I never know where I will find inspiration to create….

The Pantone Influence
When Pantone introduces the colors for a season, I’m always interested and curious, but that is as far as it goes. ¬† The colors serve as a springboard to create something new in a slightly different color combination or they prepare me for what I will be seeing in the fashion, home decorating and fabrics. ¬†So far, I am liking these new Spring 2017 colors, both cool and warm. ¬† Do you see anything you like? ¬†Do you already have these colors represented in your life? ¬†One easy way to incorporate them is to pluck your favorite color(s) out of the mix and add an accessory to your wardrobe (maybe something you already own), add a throw pillow on the chair or wear new lipstick/eye shadow shade. ¬†Or say NO to all of them!

Much to my surprise, it looks like Pale Dogwood, Primrose Yellow, Hazelnut, Flame and a pinch of Pink Yarrow are all present in this necklace.  It seems to me that the current necklace style trends are long, tassel, diminutive and/or minimalist. But for those of us who are told to keep the focus upwards, I follow that advice to the point that the majority of my feature necklaces are more substantial in nature and fill in necklines.

Mixed Bead Multi Strand Necklace

Mixed Bead Multi Strand Necklace

Different Styles
Speaking of necklines, I was happy to see the attention these necklaces bring to the celebrities’ faces in this photo.

Neckline focus

Neckline focus

Imogen Lamport wrote a great post illustrating necklace styles that best flatter necklines.

Imogen Lamport's Necklaces for Necklines

Imogen Lamport’s Necklaces for Necklines

The picture above shows that there is a time and place for all necklace types, day or night. ¬†What’s your style? ¬†Are these too much for you? ¬†Too gaudy or just right? ¬†I have heard some women say that most necklaces are just too heavy to wear and the weight gives them headaches. ¬†I. ¬†Would.¬† Die. ¬†I like em’ big and bold here, here and here.

Now I do realize that this is not one of the serious topics circulating in our world right now. ¬†However, what I can control is how I present myself in the best way I know. Wearing things I make is very gratifying because I can express my style, satisfy a creative ‘itch’ and complete a project from my many queues.

And then there is style icon Iris Apfel. I love her spunk! I read somewhere she said, “More is more, less is a bore.” She is a person who knows how to use abundant accessories as her trademark.

Moving in the other direction, is a simple chain with some adornment more your style?

Clean and simple

Clean and simple

Simple chain and bar necklace

Chain and bar necklace

Although sewing is my first love, making my own jewelry using beads of all types comes in second place. ¬†The accessory department is my first destination when I enter a department or consignment store. ¬†It is there that I find inspiration for color schemes, construction and style. ¬†I’ve been know to whip out my phone to take a picture or two….

Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show
As I write this post, it occurs to me why the Tucson streets are crowded with out-of-state licence plates…our city is revving up for The annual Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show running from late January through mid-February. It is a world famous minerals, fine jewelry, lapidary, fossil and all things rock related show. It brings tourists and vendors from around the world and is overwhelming the first time one attends. But then after that, it is all-consuming and exhaustive. I encourage you to visit if beads and rocks are your thing…that sounds weird, I know, but there is so much to see. ¬†If you are able to attend, my advice would be to bring a backpack, water bottle and comfy shoes. Oh wait, MONEY, too!

My Necklace Inspiration:
First of all, I never know when I’m going to see something that motivates me to create. ¬†Often it is color. ¬†Believe it or not, the little .99 bags of assorted peachy/gold beads from Walmart were the inspiration for this necklace. ¬†The little bags contained a random assortment of these juicy colors. ¬†As a result, I pictured them blending well with the other beads in my stash. ¬†The few random big balls were the focal beads, supported by all of the other supporting colored beads.

21 Inch 5 Strand Necklace

21 Inch 5 Strand Necklace

It was certainly a bead stash-buster and use up some small and medium size beads as filler and color blenders. Instead of looking at containers of money beads sitting in my stash, I love finding a way to use up these little lovelies.   For this style, I simply started stringing beads graduating from smallest to largest toward the center and then down to smallest again.  If a multi-strand necklace is too bulky for you, refining your beads selection and making it only 1-3 strands would also work.  Maybe the color scheme is right, but a longer style with a tassel would work better.

Another view of the strands

Pearls catching the light

Cone and toggle closure

Cone and toggle closure

All five of the strands are pulled up into large cones using beading wire, crimp beads and an eye pin.  The strands are attached to a toggle closure.  I find large toggles to be the best way to fasten the multi-strand necklaces around my neck because they are easier to grasp, fasten and undo.  I have plans to post a DIY tutorial on how to finish a multi strand necklace for anyone who may be interested.

Necklace worn with Butterick 5526

Necklace worn with Butterick 5526

To read more about the shirt I made to wear with it, click here.

And fianlly, what are you making/wearing/ buying that incorporates the new Pantone Spring 2017 colors?
-Dana

Butterick 5526 Coral Shirt & Loes Hinse Gore Skirt

Tried and True Button Down Simplicity 5526

Tried and True Button Down Shirt
Simplicity 5526

This is a three part post containing a me-made shirt, skirt and necklace. ¬†To start, coral is one of my favorite colors because it can be worn in the southwest year round. ¬† Since i am heavily motivated to create by seeing color, when I saw this light weight fabric, I knew it would be turned into something I would wear as a topper. ¬† It goes with my many dark colored skirts and pants. ¬†In this case, I paired it with one of my TNT shirt patterns, Butterick 5526. ¬† The¬†TNT skirt pattern is thye¬†Gore Skirt, Loes Hinse¬†(pronounced ‘Loose Hin-sah’).

When it comes to a classic button down shirt, this Butterick has been a go-to pattern.  I love all of the styles offered in this pattern. This shirt is View C with the length of A &D.  I have made View D before (pre-blog) and love it as well.  Seeing the comeback of ruffles in recent fashion, the ruffle of View E would be a great addition to my wardrobe.

Tried and True Butterick 5526

Tried and True Butterick 5526

I deviated from my normal direction to always make shirts with bust darts or princess seams.   View C  has neither options for bust fitting, but still seems to bit me well anyway.  It also serves as a shirt-jacket worn open with a tank.

The fabric is a ¬†cotton poly blend. ¬†I found it at my local mill end store and I think it is a 60%/40% mix. ¬†It doesn’t wrinkle much (except when I tie it at the waist) and I’m hoping won’t show wear after washing. ¬†Here is more about the beaded necklace.

Baubles galore

Pantone Spring 2017 Necklace

coralshirt2img_4623

I like to use mother of pearl buttons often on my shirts because I consider them to be a neutral color, are thin, and can be both dressy or casual.

Six Gore Skirt from Loes Hinse

Six Gore Skirt from Loes Hinse

As I have written about in previous posts here, I’m partial to the Loes Hinse patterns since attending the seminar she offers with her business partner, Sharon Lyon of Casual Elegance Fabrics. ¬† Sharon writes a newsletter called ‘The Look’, which explains how to use the patterns and fabrics to create a wardrobe suitable for many lifestyles. ¬†If interested, you can sign up for the newsletter here.

I have lost count of how many I have made of this skirt. ¬† The fabric is from my stash and was purchased years ago from a fabric store that is no longer with us. ūüôĀ ¬†It is a great skirt to wear in the summer, can be shortened ¬†from the waist, and can be styled with boots in the cooler months. ¬†I did view D which has six panels and six triangle-shaped gores. ( What’s a gore, you ask? ¬† It is the triangle piece found near the hemline to provide fullness. ¬†See View A, D and E.).

Line Drawings, Gore Skirt Loes Hinse

Line Drawings, Gore Skirt
Loes Hinse

SEWING TIP:  I learned THE BEST tip from Loes on inserting gores.

1.)  Instead of creating the intersection in which the gore must be inserted, instead, sew the small gore to one side of the longer skirt panel piece.

2.)  Serge or zig zag seam to clean finish

3.) Press seam toward gore.

4.) Pin another longer skirt panel to the gore and skirt panel you just finished.

4.) Pin and sew the next gore to THAT piece, and so on.  (First skirt panel, gore, second skirt panel, gore, etc.)  Make sure stitching includes gore at the intersection where all three pieces meet.

5.)  Repeat until all longer skirt panels have been sewn to their corresponding gores.

EASY PEAZY!!

This tip is why I have a bazilion skirts like this in my wardrobe.

Do you have a sewing construction tip that was a ‘Dah, why didn’t I think of that?’ moment that changed your world?

Until next time, happy sewing.

-Dana

 

 

 

Simplicity 2153 Silly Putty Jacket

Tried and True Simplicity 2153

Tried and True Simplicity 2153

Am I dating myself if I ask you about the color of Silly Putty? ¬†You know, the dirty, well-loved Silly Putty after it has been used on newsprint a few times. ¬†Looks a little gross, but it provided lots of fun for me when I was a kid….and there is interesting history of the gooey stuff to read¬†here. ¬† And if you can’t get enough, put in Silly Putty in Google images to see the many playful uses of this stuff.

The dirty, well-used Silly Putty

The dirty, well-used Silly Putty

Anyway, when I see this pinkish-brown color I think of Silly Putty and I happen to love it.   Here is another version from the same pattern green jacket I made here with a few changes.
I absolutely love this OOP Simplicity 2153 pattern.   It is still available for sale on various sites on the web.  I have plans to make this up in a khaki twill fabric to have a safari-like vest or jacket.  My favorite part of the jacket is the length which means my hands fit comfortably into the pockets and that it covers my rear.  A definite plus in my book.

Bum Coverage

Bum Coverage

The fabric is a linen and rayon blend, which means that it gets a rumpled look but it breathes well. It is also lightweight, which is important for layering and living in the desert.   If I need more warmth, adding a scarf usually does the trick.

Silly Putty Back View

Silly Putty Back View

In the above picture, the jacket looks like it has white splotches all over it, but it is just shadows.  It is roomy without looking too big.  I made a size 14.

Below is an up close shot of the pockets with the selvedges sewn around the tops of the pockets. ¬† This was a different approach than with the olive version. ¬†I tried to achieve a worn in look that didn’t look too formal or fussy, not that this would ever look like a formal jacket, but I wanted to be able to pull out of the closet, put it on and go.
Pockets IMG_4383

Collar Ties

Collar Ties

Above, you can see that I used the selvedge and incorporated it into the pocket and collar. ¬†I always look at the selvedges of the fabrics I purchase and see how they hold up during the laundering phase. ¬†If they survive and have an appealing look, I experiment with ways to include them into the garment. ¬†The collar contains elastic in the outer edge and is sewn to the ties. ¬†I won’t be cinching it up so leaving it this way just makes the collar stand up, stay in place and ready for wear.

Inside elastic casing with bias tape

Inside elastic casing with bias tape

I purchased my zipper for the olive jacket and this jacket from ZipperShipper. ¬†They have a great selection, good prices and fast shipping. ¬†I guessed on the ‘medium brown’ color knowing it wouldn’t be a perfect match for this weird shade of brown, ¬†but it works and the quality of the zipper is great.

Elastic casing made with bias tape

Elastic casing made with bias tape

Something I repeated from the olive green jacket was the elastic waist casing.   I pulled the elastic to a comfortable measurement, attached the ties and then knotted them.  This means that I can grab the coat and GO.  No fussing about with a fidgety waist drawstring.  I can always count on the elastic gathering evenly.

Possible accessories

Possible accessories

If I want to add a little more interest, I have a me-made necklace I made out of acrylic beads or a scarf to pair with it.

Optional additions

Optional additions

Finished product

Finished product

There is a reason why a M-65 Army utility jacket like this has been so popular over the years for military, fishing, hunting and fashion.  I get it!  It provides pockets galore, no-fuss practical style and if you happen to sew, it can be made up in many types of fabric.  If you happen to be interested in the history of such a jacket, here is an article worth reading.

Thanks for stopping by and happy sewing.

-Dana

 

 

Earthtone Beaded Ombre Necklace

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Blended Bead Soup

Blended Bead Soup

If you have been perusing my About blog page, you have seen a glimpse of my extensive fabric collection, an now I’m confessing to you that I have the same problem with beads. ¬†This is why I will not allow myself to start any more hobbies. ¬†I HAVE NO MORE ROOM. ¬†To use up some of the great beads in my stash, I experimented with an ombre (defined as having colors or tones that shade into each other) design, putting a dent in my stash. ¬†I aim to inspire you to make something up for yourself or give as a gift.

Blended Bead Soup Necklace

Blended Bead Soup Necklace

The most difficult part about making this necklace was having the space to spread out the necessary colored beads of different shapes and sizes.  I spread them out on my living room floor and started stringing the strands.  It was messy, but worth it.
My Game Plan:

  • Odd number of strands
  • Alternate different shaped beads next to one another
  • Transition colors in a subtle way
  • Audition final layout
Auditioning the layout

Auditioning the layout

Here, you can see I placed the strands next to one another to see what I liked best.

Coral beads featured

Strands reversed

Above, I reversed the strands to see what it would look like…hmm, not sure.
IMG_4136
Switched back. I think I like this best. Just to be sure, take the time to play around with it a few times before committing to the final decision.

Using bead stoppers

Using bead stoppers

Here, I arranged the necklace as I would wear it and could determine if I needed to add more beads to the outer strands for the necklace to lay right.  The idea is to keep the color groupings together as they curve around.

Add more black or white to ends

Add more black or white to ends

Side View

Side View

It’s time to add a crimp to the ends of the strands, attach to the closure and add crimp covers to hide the crimps. ¬†Oops, look like I need to add two crimp covers to the bottom strands. ¬† Rushed to take the picture!

Slide Bar Closure

Slide Bar Closure

Many closures would work, but I liked this hinged and slide closure/clasp for three reasons:

1.)  It laid flat against my neck

2.) It kept the strands separated

3.) Easy to use.

I purchased the closure from Joann’s, but could not find it on their website to provide a link. ¬†Here is something similar.

Up Close and Personal

Up Close and Personal

This is an up close view of how the beads can be arranged–do what you want.

Blended Bead Soup

Blended Bead Soup

It is a great creative project allowing for so many possibilities. ¬†I want to try some other unusual color combinations just out of curiosity…..and to deplete the stash a bit more. ¬†Have fun with your own leftover beads.

Other ideas:

  • Dismantle and combine old unworn necklaces and bracelets to make something new
  • Check your local thrift stores for possible jewelry to use
  • Make a long single strand blending colors

I hope this inspires you to make your own creation.  Let me know what you think.  Enjoy.

–Dana

Gray and Beige Equals Greige

Greige Outfit and Necklace

Greige Outfit and Necklace

Is there a neutral color that gets your attention every time? ¬†It may be certain shades of gray, tan or camel or a interesting combination of shades you can’t even describe. ¬†Well this is mine. ¬†I love this boring and funky color of brown/gray/beige. ¬†I bet many of you would call it something entirely different. ¬†It is another alternative to black, and a bit more complimentary to my coloring.
I scored the necklace at a local art fair and loved the combination of colored stones set in sterling silver.  Earrings are self made by adding a bead to a post finding from my stash.
Back to the outfit. ¬†I found the fabric at Jo Ann’s in the Famous Maker are which means it retails for $9.99 but eligible for coupons. ¬†I bought what was left on the bolt.

The skirt is a column skirt Рnothing special.  Just measure the length, add seam allowances for elastic waist and hem.  Measure around hips when sitting down and add 1-2 inches for ease.  I added a tricot stretchy lining since the fabric is see-through.  I copied the measurements of the skirt and made the lining just a bit smaller.

Tricot Lining

Tricot Lining

The pattern is from Sewing Workshop / Ann’s Cardigan and Tank. ¬†I noticed this pattern on Linda Lee on the Craftsy Sewing Fashion Knits online course in my personal Craftsy library. ¬†I think I have gushed over Linda before about her eye for color (and fabric) and the course if a great advertisement for some of her fabric and pattern choices as she describes some great techniques for working for knits.

Pattern Front 618WIMG_2729

Pattern Front and Line Drawing

Pattern Back618WIMG_2730

Quick back view to help you prepare

A quick look at the pattern shown here gives you and idea of what fabric type and yardage you’ll need.

Doorway618WidthIMG_2706

Pumps from Kohl’s (old)

Godet Featured618WIMG_2707

Back comes forward forming a godet (a triangle shape)

The magic of the drape of the cardigan happens at the hip line.

Hipline 618WIMG_2718

Side slit of tank top

Above photo shows the side slit of the tank.  Notice I left the hem edges raw.
Changes in the future I would make:The tank has a modern silhouette with the points but the length is a little short on me. I like the length with this ensemble because there is so much of this color and the proportions work out, but in the future, I will lengthen the tank by cutting the tank pattern at the waist and adding length there instead of the hem. That way, it won’t add more bulk at the hips. ¬†DON’T NEED THAT.

Here is an up close view of the tank neckline and necklace. ¬†The neckline is turned under and sewn with two rows of top stitching. ¬†I love using two fusible tapes for the neckline: ¬†Design Plus Bias Fusible from LJ Designs This is used to stabilize and serge. Then I apply Dritz Wash Away Wonder Tape¬†in the 1/4 inch width to help fuse the edge to the underside. ¬†Then, carefully top stitch. Don’t do this late at night or too hopped up on caffeine!

PS NecklaceIMG_2720[1]

Doorway2 618WIMG_2705

Happy with the results

The pattern is a bit pricey, but if you are a cardigan girl like me, the plan is to make many of these pieces to get my money’s worth. The fit is flattering no matter your size or shape. Just remember to purchase a drapey knit that highlights the cascading front. Do you have a favorite cardigan (or tank) pattern?

Cuff bracelets, bangles, wide and narrow

Accessories: Black, White, Gold, Silver

*Slideshow will change or you can click on the arrows to the left/right to advance to next photo.

Because I love to sew, fabric purchases are my first and foremost weakness. (My family can attest to that!) Running a close second is a compulsion to purchase RTW accessories, completing the artistic vision I have in my head.   Sometimes I resort to making my own jewelry out of beads and findings, which takes third place.   Okay, I have said it here:   NO MORE HOBBIES!

It was great fun putting some combinations together of some pieces I have collected over the years. Some are old, some new, but because the black/white or black/cream pairings are so constant in fashion, it has been easy to amass quite a pile.   To see the coordinating Small Black Capsule wardrobe pieces, click here.

Links to buy these would be futile as I pop into stores now and then (Ross, Target, Stein Mart) and consider myself lucky to find seasonal, affordable accessories that last for years. ¬† The same is true for beads and findings from Michael’s, Jo Ann’s or the Tucson Bead Shows. ¬† I hope this post serves as a point of inspiration to make, sew, shop, or thrift treasures that fit your style and wardrobe.

Do you have a collection of black accessories ready to wear for most occasions in your life?  Do you weaken at the sight of just the right accessory?

Small Black Capsule

Adding beige, gold, gray, cream to the mix

Adding beige, gold, gray, cream to the mix

I know that black is not one of my best colors, or so I’ve been told, but I can’t help myself. It is just too easy to work with and sew into great go-to pieces for reliable, pulled-together looks. With my fascination with capsule wardrobes, I have a Pinterest board filled with many variations of what constitutes a ‘capsule’. I’ve noticed some pins that claim ‘9 pieces, 9 outfits’. This doesn’t seem like a winning formula. I prefer the 12 items creating 96 outfits or some kind of math equation like that, ¬†stemming from my reading of Nancy Nix-Rice”s book, Looking Good Every Day: Style Solutions for Real Women..

From my daily stalking of Pinterest and book reading, I have learned that a ‘capsule’ begins with core pieces in one or two neutral colors consisting of interchangeable tops and bottoms such as pants, skirt, tank, jacket. Next, add in some coordinating prints in the way of tops or scarves, colorful linking jewelry connecting the colors together and Viola! Easy Breezy dressing. Another great source for capsules is the website Vivienne Files. covering clothing and color combinations galore.

I spend a lot of time planning out the right fabric with the right pattern and I when I am thinking about wearing pieces multiple times, I want them to go the distance and last from season to season.  Trendy pieces are downright fun to make and wear, moving in and out of the wardrobe. This was an effort to make some practical pieces that fit my lifestyle making it easier to mix with my wardrobe.

Here are three pieces I recently finagled out of 4 and 1/2 yards of 60″ wide fabric. The pants = 1 and 1/2 yards, top = 1 yard, shirt = 2 and 1/8 yards making for a small capsule with many possibilities. ¬†Due to careful pattern placement, I was able to squeeze more pattern pieces onto the 4 and 1/2 yards, when technically I was short an eighth of a yard. If I have a large expansive piece of fabric, I can usually be a bit more conservative about pattern placement and conserve fabric.

Here are the three patterns I chose: McCalls 6613, Loes Hinse Cruise Pants – similar, and Burda 8987 out of print (OOP). (A favorite tank pattern can be cut on the bias to recreate this idea.)
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The fabric is from my stash, pre-serger, because when I pulled out the 4.5 yards from my cabinet, I noticed that I had not serged the raw edges. I religiously do that now as I find it reduces the wadded up fabric disasters in the dryer. The fabric content must be a linen blend with a white slub thread running through it in a cross hatch pattern. It has great drape, is 60″ wide, resists wrinkling, and comfortable to wear. ¬†I can’t even remember where I bought it, but my tip is to buy the fabrics that feel great to your hand.

A few tips I can pass along when shopping for the easy care fabrics: Do they wrinkle when you do the squeeze and release test? How does it hang vertically or on the bias? Since buying fabric can often be a gamble, I look at content, care, drape (hand) of the fabric and it’s future versatility with other garments in the wardrobe. Will it go with at least 3 other items in my wardrobe when finished?

McCalls 6613 Palmer Pletch

McCalls 6613, View C, Palmer Pletch

The reason I picked this shirt was that I wanted a yoke and back pleat resembling a man’s shirt. ¬† I wanted it roomy and able to be worked as an outer piece (shirt + jacket = shacket? or jirt?). ¬†Anyway, I knew I would be giving up the bust darts, which are a favorite for me to get the right fit. I sacrificed that for the other features like those of View C which offers bias pockets and a bias front band. With a camera flash, this shirt looks like a charcoal gray, but it is black. Can you see the bias detail?
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The sleeves are rolled up with a tab buttoned to the outside which is how I will wear the sleeves most of the time.

The tank is a V neck, seams to be more forgiving than the tanks I have cut on the lengthwise grain, and the armholes are drafted just right. Have I mentioned how much I love bias cut garments??

The pants are pull on with the addition of self drafted pockets placed on the outside, not in the side seam, and more toward the front of the pant. This kind of pocket adds NO bulk to the hips.

Now for some accessories. After reading Imogen Lamport’s Inside Out Style blog post on getting more mileage from beauty bundles, I realized that I have plenty of black/white/gold accessories that could be grouped together to make for easy selection based on what the day’s activities hold. The inspiration for Imogen’s post came from the book by Brenda Kinsel, Fashion Makeover: 30 Days to Diva Style. ¬† I provided the link to Amazon because it is available at a reasonable cost, has great tips and wonderful illustrations. ¬† It is just a jumping off point. ¬†Take from it what you can.
Here is a grouping that blends with my yellow hair a bit better….

Adding beige, gold, gray, cream to the mix

Adding beige, gold, gray, cream to the mix

A dressier look with pearl cluster necklace from Macy's clearance table

A dressier look with pearl cluster necklace from Macy’s clearance table

This mixed pearl cluster necklace has a gold chain and is a larger scale piece, so I would choose smaller gold accessories.
I might put a white cardigan, or a black jacket with this combo…..

To see more about the accessories, click here to see the slideshow.

A warm red, gray, white scarf

A warm red, gray, white scarf

 Simplicity  short jacket with drawstring neckline

Simplicity short jacket with drawstring neckline

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This Simplicity 1621 jacket has no hanger appeal, but is actually pretty cute as a shrug/jacket.   I will post about this in the future as I have plans to alter the pattern a bit.  I want to leave the front the same but lengthen it to a cardigan length or duster.  The fabric is a linen look, which is a rayon/linen blend.  The front hangs a bit on the bias.  I finished the edges with a rolled hem.  The sleeves are simple;  rolled up thereby keeping the look casual.

For more ideas about accessorizing, see more on my post Accessories: Black/White/Gold/Silver.

Do you have some patterns in your stash or in the recent pattern books that could be made up into great capsule pieces?

Green Apples and Green Peas

IMG_4050 Before I get started, I feel I have some explaining to do regarding my “break” from posting. It is due to many reasons, none of which may interest you, but I have been doing home remodeling to one room in the house, which leads to much upheaval in the rest of the house. I am pretty disorganized as much of my fabric and patterns are still not at my fingertips. I have also been trying to figure out how to keep up on the posts, offer interesting sewing projects when sometimes I just want to sew and not think in terms of blogging about it. Believe me, there is a difference between sewing and sewing to blog about it. Since I do it all, I have been thinking about ways to stream line and ease the process. I also have such a extensive collection …(hoarder) of patterns, that sometimes I want to make those oldies but goodies that are out of print. Is that just frustrating to read about a fantastic pattern that is no longer available?? When other sewing bloggers do it, I figure I MUST have that patterns somewhere….

There may be more outfits on the mannequin just to speed up the post publishing, so here I am back in the saddle. I hope the posts will still be inspirational yet shorter and more concise. So I will start up with one of the beauties from an independent pattern company….

Here is the Midtown Trench Coat pattern from Indygo Junction. I would include a link, but sadly, it is no longer available. Bummer! I call it my apple green trench because it is that exact color. The necklace is self made from beads purchased at the Tucson Gem Show. Green agate the size of green peas. (More about the necklace below). It may not be the best color on me, but I spotted this fabric at Walmart of all places and thought it might be cute made up in this retro-inspired coat. ¬† It was cotton, 45″ wide and inexpensive. WIN! I thought it would be good practice (muslin) fabric to try out the pattern. It has a red slub stripe running though it which I wanted to feature on the bias cut cuffs and collar.

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3/4″ Sleeves, Bias Cuffs, Side Seam Pockets

I think I like the back the best. The pleats add so much interest and resembles the back of a swing coat.

Back View, Midtown Trench

Back View, Midtown Trench

The line drawings show the slight differences. I chose to insert the pockets into the side seams, but the patch pockets look great, too. ¬†I made the shorter thigh length (32″) instead of to the knee. ¬†I wear it with dark denim and a tank.

Back view of the Midtown Trench

Back view of the Midtown Trench

Green Apple Trench, DIY necklace, Hobby Lobby Buttons

Green Apple Trench, DIY necklace, Hobby Lobby Buttons

Amy Barickman, the founder of Indygo Junction, partners with Mary Ann Donze to make these great patterns available. I have about 5-6 patterns of theirs that I want to make up. When I attended the Sewing and Stitching Expo in Puyallup, WA, Amy was at her booth wearing the Mod Top and Tunic, and she looked so cute.   There is nothing like seeing a sample made up to sucker me into buying the pattern!

Click here again to see the different ways this looks made up in cotton quilting fabrics. I suppose any other medium weight woven fabric would work. Check out the other patterns on the site. You may find something that you can’t wait to try.
IMG_4050Buttons are from Hobby Lobby, and the collar, cuffs and facing are interfaced. There is a slight princess line shaping down the front. The pleats in the back are sewn right down the crease (my choice, not on instructions) to help keep the edges sharp.
Necklace: I’ve been wanting a light green necklace for some time now. I spotted these beads and envisioned them in a simple, multi-strand collar style necklace. The cones and toggle were also purchased at the gem show.
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Green Jasper, 8mm

Green Jasper, 8mm

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18″ Five Strand Necklace

Do you ever get compelled by a color that works it’s way into your wardrobe?

DeedleandThread in Boston Part 1

Somerville, Mass and surrounding attractions

Mural of Somerville, Mass and surrounding areas

Curvy SewingCollective logo
Curvy Girls Unite! Creative-folk and Sewers Alike!! Join me on a trip to Boston….well, through this post anyway….the wonders of the internet and this sewing-in-common thing amazes me. I am here in Boston as I write this post in my daughter, Shannon’s, apartment about to share with you why miles don’t matter when it comes to making connections these days. You don’t have to actually come to Boston to meet Jenny, but is sure was nice to meet face to face. Taking about fabric, sewing and fashion…Hoowhaah!

In anticipation of this trip, a few words were emailed to Jenny (one of the creators of CurvyGirlCollective) and before you knew it, there we were, drinking tea last night at a wonderful place in Boston called Flour Bakery in the Back Bay area ¬†sharing our sewing trials and tribulations! Oh, and on Jenny’s recommendation, I ordered the Spanish Gazpacho summer soup. Good thing you can order their cookbook for all the great recipes.

Flour Bakery, Boston

Flour Bakery, Boston

More about Jenny…..
light good
In case you haven’t hopped on over to this fun and funny sight (also on my blogroll), Jenny, from the wonderful blog, Cashmerette, shares her approaches to fitting her unique body shape. And let’s face it, aren’t we all rockin’ a unique body shape? She has her FBA (Full Bust Adjustment) down pat and knows the silhouettes that work for. ¬†I always admire women who are so clear about their styles and as a result, always present themselves in the best light possible. ¬†Jenny was wearing one of her magnificent wrap dresses she writes about ¬†in her blog.

Speaking for myself, this meet up was thoroughly enjoyable as I listened to Jenny’s perspective on what is lacking in the pattern world for curvy girls. Tents, moo-moo’s (mu-mu?), shapeless body bags are not well received by the body-positive crowd, so the challenge for me is to learn how create some silhouettes STARTING at a larger bust size. Sound good? Let’s skim the body, show some va va voom without going too hoochie-mama. Since I have a ‘D’ cup bust, I think I’ll start there. Stay tuned.

We also talked about the Curvy Girl Collective, which is a sight to visit and learn about the other ladies’ fitting issues. It is filled with tips, techniques, pattern reviews, tutorials, independent pattern companies to explore, and overall great information. There are photos of the victories Curvy sewers are having adapting and changing the available patterns out there that offer current, stylish, and flattering garments. Check it out for some inspiration.

Here is my take away: I encourage you to seek out at least one person in your travels who shares a similar interest and do the face-to-face meet up. You’ll be glad you did. Thanks, Jenny!

Now, on to the fabric. ¬†When I Googled ‘fabric stores in Boston’, I had quite a selection from which to choose.

Sewfisticated fabrics, Boston, Mass.

Sewfisticated fabrics, Boston, Mass.

Day 2: ¬†Today, we visited Sewfisticated Fabrics, which happens to be a discount store with a small but respectable selection of ¬†silks, linen, woolens, cottons, knits, home decor fabric, trims, notions, zippers, and some Simplicity and McCalls patterns. ¬†It reminded me of the the mill end store in Tucson. ¬†Be aware, you are better off knowing what you want and getting it yourself here. ¬†I didn’t get even a ‘hello’ even with a camera hanging around my neck. ¬†That was my experience, so take it for what it is.

Hunting for bargains in Sewfisticated Fabrics

Hunting for bargains in Sewfisticated Fabrics

I spotted a 60″ linen/cotton blend that looks like denim. Five dollars a yard. ¬†Yes! I took all of it which ended up being a bit over 5 yards. In turns of wrinkles, it laundered up better than I expected, especially because of its content. But remember, I’m a weirdo who finds ironing relaxing.

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The home decor wall, Sewfisticated Fabrics

The home decor wall, Sewfisticated Fabrics

Day 3/Last Day: Off to Grey’s Fabrics and Bead and Fiber

Bead and Fiber, SOWA Boston, MA

Bead and Fiber, SOWA Boston, MA

Here, a knitter, beader, fiber artist, would go crazy. So much to look at and enjoy.  Plus, it happens to be a really cool, industrial space with windows and brick all around.

Bead and Fiber Shop and Gallery

Bead and Fiber Shop and Gallery

Bead and Fiber items for sale

Bead and Fiber items for sale

There was such a great selection of beads, buttons, leather for crafts, stringing materials for kumihimo or other jewelry, woollies to make or buy, books, clay, yarns, jewelry closures, glues and adhesives, you name it! Check out the website to read more here about what they offer, and if you are in the area, maybe a class would be of interest???  Speak to either Andrea, Rhonda, Nicole or Bruce.  They will get you excited about some crafty project, for sure.

Craft Table in the middle of the store

Craft Table in the middle of the store

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I SPY: It doesn't get any better than this

I SPY: It doesn’t get any better than this

Shannon is getting a closer look at the collection of vintage chains, closures, trinkets, charms, etc., to adorn necklaces, bracelets, or any other speampunky idea you might have. ¬†You can see her money well spent on leather strips and metal closures to make her own bracelets below. ¬†Don’t they look professionally made?

DIY Bracelets from Bead and Fiber

DIY Bracelets from Bead and Fiber

Items purchased from Bead and Fiber and Grey's

Items purchased from Bead and Fiber and Grey’s

The items on the left are from Bead and Fiber.   After seeing a cuff covered in Fish Leather, I purchased some in turquoise to cover a tarnished cuff of my own.   I also purchased Crystal Clay, which is a two part epoxy.   I purchased the black for $10.00.  It looked easy to use.  Three reasons to like it:
1.) Cures without heat
2.) Molds like clay
3.) Adheres to all surfaces
I feel a tutorial coming on….
Unfortunately, I didn’t see any of this clay available for purchase on the website, but I am sure the staff would help you with it over the phone. 617.426.2323
And, of course, I didn’t want to leave without my OWN leather bracelet, so I have a double wrap cognac colored leather strip here. Just takes a little glue…
Now, on to Grey’s.
Literally, these two stores are a stones’ throw from each other in the same plaza. ¬†Wasn’t THAT nice planning of them.
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Grey's Fabrics, SOWA Boston, Mass.

Grey’s Fabrics and Notions, SOWA Boston, Mass.

Inside Grey's--Hey, it's grey in here!

Inside Grey’s–Hey, it’s painted grey in here!

What a cute store! Higher end fabrics to use for garments or quilting or crafts, notions, and the Patterns! Wow, what a great supplier of some of the independent patterns out there, check out this wall:

Dear and Doe, Collette, Sewaholic, Grainline, and more

Dear and Doe, Collette, Sewaholic, Grainline, and more

They have a great website HERE to read more about what they offer. ¬†I couldn’t help myself, I bought the Sewaholic Renfrew pattern because of it’s great reviews, and some rayon 60″ Anna Marie Horner Fabric. ¬†In Tucson, rayon is my FAVORITE fabric to wear. ¬†I’m a sucker for it every time. ¬†Plus, I happen to love Anna Marie’s command of color and arrangement. ¬†Butterflies!!

Anna Marie Horner Rayon Fabric,

Anna Marie Horner Rayon Fabric, “Field Study #3”

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With goodies in our bags, we grabbed a little lunch at a nearby pub and then off to the airport. Goodbye Boston! ¬†It’s been hot, humid, and oh SEW fun.

Somerville, Mass and surrounding attractions

Mural of Somerville, Mass and surrounding attractions

Mom and Daughter, Boston, Mass., August 2014

Mom and Daughter, Boston, Mass., August 2014

Thank for stopping by. For more pics of Boston, go to another post here.

Red, Whites, Blues

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As July 4th approaches, ¬†I have been getting into the red, white and blue theme in my sewing, scarf shopping, and jewelry making. This combo will be a year-round option, including other shades of the red/white/blue. Here is a quick bracelet I made from my stash beads. I like to call this approach ‘Bead Soup’ because I pick random loose beads from my collection and arrange them in a harmonious way, using up leftovers and creating something less planned and perfect. This works for necklaces, too.

First, gather all of the possible choices from your stash and spread them out.

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The above scarf was my inspiration.  It was from Stein Mart on clearance, similar.
As you can see on my tray, there is a Chico’s bracelet. ¬†I purchased two and broke one apart for parts. ¬† I often buy jewelry for the potential components in future designs.

Collect the tools, findings, and anything that may work in the design. Now, it is time to play.

Starting and completing involves jewelry wire, crimp bead(s), closure, cutters, and the crimp tool.
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Thirdly, arrange beads on the jewelry wire until you are pleased with the design. ¬†If you are using a toggle, allow a little extra length before finishing so that it is easy to get on and off with one hand. ¬†My finished bracelet is 8.5 Inches. ¬† I don’t mind a looser fit, but you may want it tighter. ¬†Do practice ¬†fittings before finishing.

Note: ¬†If you finish the bracelet and don’t like the fit, no biggy. Take a picture with your phone or camera, take apart and start over. ¬†Wire and crimp beads are ¬†relatively inexpensive and you will be happier with the results.

Coral, Pearls, Crystals, Semi-precious beads, silver components

Coral, Pearls, Crystals, Semi-precious beads, silver components

Do you have some beads in the stash that would make a great Bead Soup creation? I’l love to hear about it. Feel free to leave a comment.
Have a great Independence Day!
-Dana