Red, Whites, Blues

IMG_worked3693

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.

IMG_worked3689

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.
IMG_worked3695

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

 

Vogue 8951 Top Turned Into A Dress

IMG_3652I must confess that a guilty pleasure of mine is to watch the home shopping networks.   Instead of resorting to trying clothes on at the local stores, I get a glimpse into what fashion is selling to people who choose to shop from home. It intrigues me to see how women buy pants online or TV.   I like to see what styles, colors, and trends are making their way into homes all across the country.   As a apparel sewer, I am inspired by some of the designs and feel fortunate to be able to replicate these items while incorporating my own twists.

This particular dress came from a QVC designer, Susan Graver. She sold thousands of this style dress..and for good reasons. If this dress is anything like the two I just made, it very comfortable. I was lucky to find this green cotton French Terry at my local mill end store. It has the sweatshirt-like feel we all know and love, as well as the heft needed to wear this without show-through. Susan’s version is out of her own manufactured cotton French Terry and offers shorter sleeves, rounded side slits, and patch pockets. It looks like this.  To find out more about this dress click here:
SG french terry dressMy version comes from Vogue 8951, which offers woven tops, but had a similar neckline and it could be extended into a dress length.

Woven Tops Turned into Knit Dresses

Woven Tops Turned into Knit Dresses

I chose not to include the hood, although that would have been a cute option if I used hoods more often. The sleeves were lengthened to 3/4 length, and I also chose not to add rounded side slits. Basically, my dress is View A with longer sleeves and more than 34″ added to the length from the side seams. I added more to the length so that I could try the dress on and have plenty of material for the hem.   I settled on the hem being just a bit above the knee.

Green French Terry Vogue Dress

Green French Terry Vogue Dress

The kangaroo pocket is very comfortable, hold a cell phone and/or keys, and disguises my tummy pooch. It also adds to the very casual look of the dress.
IMG_3643Second version out of a stable knit and longer in length. I prefer this dress at this time of year because the knit is lighter weight for our hot desert summer weather.

Turquoise/White Knit Knee Length

Turquoise/White Knit Knee Length

One thing to note: This pattern calls for wovens, not knits. I added about 1/4″ around the shoulders, bust area, sleeves and armhole just to be sure it would have some ease. I also added quite a bit to the side seams so that it wouldn’t be too tight around my rear. I tapered it at the waist and flared out at the hips. It took trying on and off multiple times, trips to the mirror, trips to and from the sewing machine, but I got the fit just the way I wanted.

After making the first dress, I knew I would be cranking out a few more. I have one more cut out out of another stable knit.

Why make duplicates of the same pattern, you ask?
1.)   The second item takes less time to complete.
2.)   The kinks, alterations, and design changes are worked out.
3.)   Different fabrics provide variety and change the look of the original pattern.
4.)   Success is addictive! If one is good, more is better.

Once a pattern has been a success, it becomes a Tried and True (TNT) pattern.    Do you have some TNT’s in your wardrobe?

 

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Mug Cover and Mug Rug

Mug Cover and Mug Rug

This is a little late getting posted, but I thought it might be worth it to give a few ‘guy’ ideas for future presents. It is easy to come up with girly projects to sew, but I have a harder time coming up with ideas for the males in my family. My husband is no exception. He is truly appreciative of anything I sew for him….as long as it is masculine and useful.
So here are my three picks for this year’s Father’s Day:
1.) Handmade shirt
2.) Mug Rug (or small place mat)
3.) Mug Cover (fancy pen and pencil holder)

Mug holding guy stuff

Mug holding guy stuff

I think this may be my tenth mug cover gift because they can be personalized with cute fabrics and they hold SO much stuff. (Also great for manicuring tools, sewing supplies, etc.) Here is the pattern and the link at Simplicity here:

Mug Cover Simp 2450

Mug Cover Simp 2450

Simplicity calls is ‘Buckets Gone Wild’, but I think of 5 gallon buckets when I hear the world bucket, so mug cover it is.

I buy the standard vacation souvenir mugs at the thrift stores for a buck or less or re-purpose some from my collection. I then rummage through my cotton fabric and bias tape stashes. I just maaay have to go to the fabric store to look at the fat quarter combinations if nothing seems to be coming together.

The next idea is a version of a mug rug. I was lucky enough to receive one of these as a gift from Rachel, my student/friend (Sewredy.wordpress.com) She has perfected the applique mug rug and other projects. I wrote a little something about her new blog here.
Here is my version with rounded edges:

Camping Fabric Mug Rug

Camping Fabric Mug Rug

I rounded the edges simply because I find it faster and easier to apply bias tape or self-made bias strips. No pattern is used. These can be made many different ways, but the basic dimensions are approximately 13″ X 8″-ish.

The fabric is a camping motive cotton remnant and I edge finished useing dark brown single fold bias tape from my stash. I used the same fabric on the other side because the drawings are entertaining like the Air-stream camper. If you want more info on how I apply my bias tape, I wrote about it on the thermal iron cover post I wrote here.

The last project is a hand made shirt. I have lost track of how many I have made for him, but it it is a my ‘go-to’ pattern.

McCalls 2149 Men's Camp Shirt

McCalls 2149 Men’s Camp Shirt

Okay, so no hanger appeal. I see that here, but it DOES look better on a human, I promise. I chose version “B” from this McCalls 2149:

Great Pattern for Mens shirts

Great Pattern for Mens shirts

You can tell by the low pattern number that it has been in the pattern book for a long time. I think many of the new McCall’s patterns are in the 6000’s.

I bribed my husband with homemade blueberry pancakes to model the shirt.

Husband in his Father's Day shirt

Mr. B in his Father’s Day shirt

Now that’s a little better. You can see the shirt filled out better and that it had a casual, loose fit.
IMG_3633
Since we love to dance, looser and more comfortable clothes are mandatory to do all the fancy moves. The fabric is a rayon from my stash in what I call ‘Builder Beige and Brown’.

Buttons and collar

Buttons and collar

Here you can see I used the standard men’s brown/tan button which blends in so well, it cannot be seen except for up close.

The ‘guy’ list continued:
4.) Neck pillow or lumbar pillow
5.) Personalized pillow case (Great for travel so you don’t accidentally leave the beloved pillow in the hotel)
6.) Shoe bags (Keeps shoes protected and off clothes in suitcase)

Can you think of some more great handmade gift ideas?

Until next time, keep creating.
-Dana

A Shout Out for SewRED-y…A New Blog

Sewing With Cats_0002
I am thrilled to share a link to a new sewing blog on the scene. It is SewRed-y from my student, Rachel. I’m so glad she has taken on the sewing obsession and wow, is she a natural! She took a class from me when I taught at Jo Ann’s and with a little guidance from me, some love and support from the hubby, and some fierce determination, off she went! Read up on the details, like how she fits in sewing with many furry creatures at her house here.

Here she is at one of our Sit and Sew sessions cutting out a pattern: (pre-short hair cut)
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Loving the idea of me taking her picture…
IMG_1512
Now I get to stalk another blog and add it to my blog roll. Way to go, Rachel!

Fashion Happy Conference

IMG_3608You may be wondering what this shirt has to do with a ‘Fashion Happy Conference’ and it simply is a purchase I made from a vendor (Lady Joan’s Boutique) at our most recent women’s conference here in Tucson. The fabric is a crushed poly, so it is easy care and great for packing. As the fabric is stretched, more of the second color is revealed. Here is a close up of the fabric:
IMG_3609*Check out her site for more colors in sleeved versions and tank tops.

A friend of mine invited me to the event, which I had never heard of, and was pleased to attend. It was the second year for this event, and it’s main focus was all things fashion, wellness, and beauty offered be local businesses. To learn more about the vendors, classes and key note speaker, click here

The day was structured in such a way that you could choose to attend three of the 15 classes offered in three different one-hour time blocks. There were breakout sessions between classes to allow time for shopping, networking with vendors and attendees, get a massage, polish change, etc. Lunch was served to those who purchased the full ticket price or there discounted tickets for those just wanting to attend classes and shop, but no lunch. Some of the teachers also had booths, so if during class a question did not get addressed, the teachers could be found at their booths later for follow up or even one-on one appointments at another time.

I chose to go to the three following classes: Small Wardrobe? BIG Impact, Yes, you can!, and Come Fly With Me. The class descriptions are here Since I have been thinking about my next step in life and what do do with this passion I have for sewing, accessories and presenting, I thought it would be a good idea to check out these specific classes. I wanted to attend more, but the way this was structured, I’ll have to wait until next year and see if they are offered again.

So here is another item I purchased from Lady Joan. This was a new vest to her collection. Contact her here if interested. (Necklace is a recent purchase from Downtown East, which has recently closed it’s doors, but here is something similar.)
IMG_3610The minute I saw this, I wanted it. First, I wanted to copy the pattern….more on that later. I also loved the way it was designed and cut out capitalizing on the border print. And thirdly, I am always looking for clothes that can be styled in many ways. Here are just a few ways I have discovered so far to wear this great vest:
IMG_3611
IMG_3612Instead of having the collar cascade down in a waterfall in the center, this way the collar hangs down in the back causing the front to look more like a cape or shawl covering the arms.
IMG_3613
Here, I have belted it.
IMG_3614
Fiddled with it to change up the look.
IMG_3615
This is knotted in the front at bust level. It could also be knotted at the waist, but I found it top be too bulky.
IMG_3616
And the last way to wear this is to turn it into a scarf. Put the two armholes together to create the loop. Pull ends through.
IMG_3623
IMG_3624
So here is the pattern piece I drew from the vest.
IMG_3619If the vest is opened up, it looks like an oblong doughnut. I simply folded the vest in half and drew around the edges. The poly chiffon vest is hemmed with a narrow hem from a serger, but could be narrow hemmed by a sewing machine also.

I haven’t measured it exactly, but it could be any size with the two armholes cut into the center as shown. One idea is to measure the length you want from the bottom of the armhole to the desired hem. As you can see from the back view, this is where a border print could be featured. This opens up some pattern drafting possibilities and ways to use some chiffon in my stash!!

My favorite part of the day was winning the grand prize drawing!
IMG_3622It was the end to a long losing streak of raffles, drawings, lottery tickets, etc. We have one year to plan an overnight, in town, little get-a-way stay-cation kind of thing. Free champagne, continental breakfast, and late check out. Whoo Hoo!

I met some great people, learned about new business opportunities, picked up some tips from the classes and had a delicious lunch. What a great day!

Polka Dot Tote

Polka Dot Upholstery Fabric Tote

Polka Dot Upholstery Fabric Tote

I saw this fabric in the upholstery section at my local mill end store and thought it would either be a bag of some sort. It is a stiff canvas-like fabric and I didn’t think it would wash well or soften up much so I thought it would be best as a tote. I did not interface it or pad it at all. I also omitted the decoration on the front (shown on the pattern envelope). I could have added a pocket to the outside, but I wanted the print left alone and all contents to be on the inside. One of my Sit and Sew ladies made the same tote bag and knew it was the size bag I wanted. It is from this McCalls pattern.

McCall's Pattern 6716 Tote and Messenger Bag

McCall’s Pattern 6716 Tote and Messenger Bag

The dimensions are 20″W x 16″L x 6″D and it is perfect for carrying a ton of patterns! Just kidding. I have a few of those laying around thanks to pattern sales. The dimensions are perfect because it is big enough to carry a beach towel, laptop, reader, or use it like a purse.

Five Inside Pockets

Five Inside Pockets

I made a few changes to the pattern. I reduced the shape of the pockets from two large pockets to five smaller pockets. One one side, there are three pockets to hold pens, phone, and keys. The other side can hold small tissue pack, lipsticks, hand sanitizer, etc.

I wanted to add some closure and I happened to have a purse magnet in my stash. If you have never installed one of these magnets, they have to be put on the lining before the bag is assembled because the back of the magnets are not pretty and need to be covered. It takes a little planning and measuring to get the placement just right.

Magnets added

Magnets added

I also added the brad feet to keep it off the ground and help give the base some weight.

Silver 'feet' added

Silver ‘feet’ added

The scarf is from my extensive square silk scarf collection, now considered outdated except for maybe on tote bag handles…? It is loosely tied and can be switched out or left off completely.
IMG_3606
That’s it for now. I’m off to another project. Stay tuned.

Beachtime!

The Hotel Del Coronado

The Hotel Del Coronado

This post is a little recap from a recent trip to Coronado. It offers a little jewelry, mostly vacation pics, and some pretty foliage. Here is a little peak into some pretty images and some images of people you don’t know. It is a quick scroll-through. Thought I would mix it up a little.

Our annual family trip to the beach means getting everyone together on Coronado Island. It doesn’t get old. It’s great to walk on the beach, see the sunsets, ( I don’t get up early enough to see the sunrises), walk to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and see old and new shops. The tourists and locals couldn’t be more interesting to watch, the homes and streets are beautifully kept, and the dog beach is incredible for us dog-lovers-but-not-dog-owners.

Gift Shop Pillow

Gift Shop Pillow

The climate is perfect for some of my favorite plants. Here are just a few:
IMG_2869
RedWhiteFlowerIMG_2868
IMG_2866

IMG_2852
IMG_2851
Here we are at lunch in Ocean Beach at a restaurant with an ocean view. Good food and great company.
GSol4kids1IMG_2731

Sean, Shannon, Ethan

Sean, Shannon, Ethan

GroupOnBeachIMG_2736
After lunch, it was time to visit the dog beach back on Coronado Island. Here is Ethan, Sean, and the newest member to the famiy, Outlaw.
EthanSeanOutlawDogBeachIMG_2745
Here is Sean with Outlaw, a 7 months old boxer pit bull mix. This is a well-deserved outing for a dog cooped up in a truck for a 7 hour drive.

Sean with Outlaw

Sean with Outlaw

And then it was THE RACE. Two competitive brothers give it their all and fight to the finish. Ethan was the winner this year.
IMG_2838
The next day held surfing lessons for the kids while the parents and grandparents took pictures and cheered along. The first challenge is putting on the wet suits on the lawn. This is not for those who are modest about their bodies. Ummmm, the zipper goes in the back. Oops.
WetSuits1IMG_2876
WetSuitsIMG_2874

OMG I look SO cute

OMG I look SO good

Shannon showing off her wet suit with cell phone in hand…
Instruction2IMG_2889
IMG_2888
Once the surfers get out to the water, the instructor helps get them ready for the waves. The instructors stay in the water for the full lesson helping the surfers get the most out of every good wave. At the end of the lesson, one of the instructors was stung by a stingray! They earn every penny.
IMG_3063
Here is Shannon concentrating on her balance and her poor instructor deep in the waves. He will wait out there until she comes back out to the surf.
IMG_3010
AllThreeUpIMG_3518
This may be the only split second shot taken of all three successfully standing up on the surfboards at one time. Yes!
Surfboards5IMG_3560
Thank you for indulging me with the family shots. Hopefully, I encouraged you to try a little surfing if you get the chance or check out a dog beach and get your toes in that sand.

Now, for the jewelry. Here are some purchases from Delores Forsythe’s store. Her store overlooks Orange Avenue, the main street, and is filled with beautiful jewelry from around the world. Many of the pieces are made by Delores. Along with Delores’ website, you can also check out Delores Forsythe videos on YouTube to see more about her and her terrific collection.
IMG_3584This is a shell and resin stretch bracelet and an expandable gold vermeil ring with smoky quarts, turquoise and labradorite stones.
IMG_3599

Sead Bead Magnetic Bracelet

Seed Bead Magnetic Bracelet

This is a seed bead, crystal, and semi-precious chip magnetic bracelet. There were many choices, but this one was my favorite. It is intricately stitched and with the two magnetic closure, it should stay on my wrist and not fall off.

Two Magnetic closures

Two Magnetic closures

IMG_3597
I love the color combination of lime greens, pinks, lavender, olive and copper.
IMG_3587
Next, was a stop by Kate Chan’s studio. She has a mission to create and sell eco-friendly and chic jewelry from sustainable materials.

Vacation By The Sea, Mixed Media

Vacation By The Sea, Mixed Media

This necklace is appropriately named ‘Vacation By The Sea’ and features resin and a wood component in Kamagong which can be found in Southeast Asia such as Indonesia, the Philippines, and Hawaii. It can have different names depending on where it is found. In Hawaii, it is called Pacific Teak Wood and Kamogong in the Philippines. This brownish-black colored heartwood most commonly originates from the island of Celebes in Indonesia.

Coronado Beach

Coronado Beach

Sunset on Coronado Island, March 2014

Sunset on Coronado Island, March 2014

It was a wonderful trip with great memories.

Olive Beaded Lariat

Semi-Precious Stones, Pearls, Jasper, Glass, and Mother of Pearl Beads

Semi-Precious Stones, Pearls, Jasper, Glass, and Mother of Pearl Beads

I made this a long time ago when I was in a beading mood.   It was before I had attended the Sewing and Stitchery Expo in 2013.  It was in with all of my other lariats, hanging there, lonely, until I finished the jacket in a prior post.  I don’t wear lariats often because they can get in the way and come undone rather easily.   But I do love the look.

I tried something new with this one to get it to stay in place.  Can you guess?   I had two quarter-sized lozenge stone beads and thought they would be heavy enough to keep the necklace from being fiddle-proof.

As you may have noticed, I like the color olive and all of its pond-scum colored relatives.   Jewelry is a great way to jazz up some boring or downright difficult-to-wear neutrals.  Any of the earth tones blended with a little crystal or shine is fine with me.   It is common that I will either buy/make the jewelry first and later find out it goes with other clothes in my closet or I sew up and outfit and am motivated to go to my beading stash and make earrings, necklace or a bracelet to go with that outfit.
IMG_2666
IMG_2656
More about this jacket here.
Three Simple Ways to Tie a Lariat:
1.) Wrap it like the current scarves are worn; fold in half making a loop and pull the ends through. Slip over the head.

2.) Put it around your neck with ends hanging down and tie it like you are starting a knot but just do one cross over instead of two.

3.) Tie a loose knot.

Did I mention that this measures 47″? You can make a lariat longer or shorter. It is up to you.

TIP: Use a measuring tape as the lariat to determine the length wanted in the final design. This way, you will know exactly where to place your feature beads, overall design, and how it will drape before you get started.

Have Fun!!

Shades of Olive Jacket Kit

Dana's Shades of Olive Jacket with Semi-Precious Stone Lariat Necklace

Dana’s Shades of Olive Jacket with Semi-Precious Stone Lariat Necklace

I was fortunate enough to spend a few days with my mom at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, Washington last year at about this time (Feb/Mar), and I’m a little sad I didn’t go this year. It was my first sewing expo out of Arizona and I wanted to share one aspect in more detail with you.

One of the big highlights was meeting Linda MacPhee, a patterns designer, teacher, sewing enthusiast, vendor, among other talents. Here is a jacket kit I purchased from her after seeing the kit and the finished product. From the list of presenters for 2014, I don’t think Linda attended this year, but she still offers the pattern in two color choices on her website here. If you have a moment, check out the website for the Expo for 2015. It is fun to look at the sight to get a taste of all that is available. I highly recommend attending if you want to be surrounded by sewing enthusiasts, great instructors and an ‘seamingly’-never-ending supply of vendors and supplies. It’s exhausting!

Linda MacPhee and Dana Belasco in Puyallup, WA 2013

Linda MacPhee and Dana Belasco in Puyallup, WA 2013

The catchy title of ‘Shades of Gray’ was a deliberate attempt to get the attention of customers and cause them to stop by the booth and ask questions about this art-to-wear jacket. Here we are at her booth and advertising her gray jacket kit. She was such a delight to meet in person. I have been a member of the American Sewing Guild, Tucson Chapter in years past and had heard that she had come to our city of offer classes and demos, but for some reason, I never attended. It was my loss. She is so friendly and warm.  My mom and I must have said the right things because we were asked to be models in Linda’s fashion show on the main stage!

After getting to talk to her, Linda conveyed that sewing needs to be to simplified, making it as easy as possible to open up to new and different ways to be creative. Sometimes, we get in our own way and complicate a pattern’s process, or get intimidated before even starting something and as a result, never get it off the ground and finished. So…….this jacket has taken a year to complete!  More about why later in the post.

Linda prepares the kits herself by providing various remnant squares of fabrics from her suppliers.  The kit fabrics have the weight and feel of home decorator and stretch woven fabrics.   The additional fabric needed is the sleeve fabric of your choice.   Linda chose a heavy sweater knit for her sleeves because she lives in Canada and wanted extra warmth. I selected a black cotton/poly knit remnant from my stash.  This kit requires some planning and prep to make this jacket come alive.

Somehow, she knows how much fabric to provide as well as a zipper, pattern, and creative suggestions in the instructions. The idea is to come up with your own configuration. Basically, you are creating the fabric for the jacket like a puzzle. The placement of all fabrics need to look right and balanced and pleasing to the eye. It can also be a great way to use up some laces and trims as well as any other fabric remnants from the stash.

Linda MacPhee Sewing and Stitchery Expo 2013, Puyallup, WA

Linda MacPhee Sewing and Stitchery Expo 2013, Puyallup, WA

As you can see, she added lace, stitching, a rhinestone encrusted zipper, and a creative assortment of related and coordinating fabrics
'Shades of Gray' Back View, Sewing and Stitchery Expo 2013, Puyallup, WA

‘Shades of Gray’ Back View, Sewing and Stitchery Expo 2013, Puyallup, WA

Below is Linda’s sample of the olive jacket to help customers see how the pieces can come together. In the background, you can see all of the MacPhee Workshop patterns stacked and ready for sale.   There is so much to take in!  There are great garment samples from her various patterns made up for the sole purpose to try them on for size and fit.   She offers guidance with pattern selection to suit your lifestyle needs.   Some garments hang on racks for sale made up out of fabrics available at her booth.   She is so generous with her techniques and tips it is hard to not get so excited and grab the next available sewing machine in sight and get started.
'Shades of Olive' Sample Jacket

‘Shades of Olive’ Sample Jacket

Back view of partially finished Shades of Olive sample jacket

Back view of partially finished Shades of Olive sample jacket

Selvage and lace used on back

Selvage and lace used on back

Here, Linda used the selvage and lace to add interest and texture to the back. It can also be a way to hide the butting of a seam or blend two fabrics together.
Textured fabrics paired at sleeve and back

Textured fabrics paired at sleeve and back

These two fabrics were very different and yet coordinated nicely. One is a flocked printed denim and the other is a scrolled design with a reversible side.
Two-pieced sleeve and princess seamed sides

Two-pieced sleeve and princess seamed sides

The pattern Linda chose to include in the kit features the two pieced sleeve and princess seams to not only allow a better fit, but another opportunity to combine more fabrics in small doses to add interest.

So here is my jacket. At a glance, they look alike, but they are very different.  My mom provided a scrap of fabric that I used throughout, like on the right pocket. I also added laces of different widths at seam joints.  I suppose no two jackets could be the same because the fabric in the kits may vary and the arrangement of them will be different for every person.IMG_2651
IMG_2654You can see the back side pieces are from the same scrap fabric from my mom, only reversed. It has a slight gold fleck in it and looked great on both sides so I had to find a way to show both sides. Plus, it blended well with all of the other fabrics.
IMG_2655So why did it take me a whole year to complete? Well, I was moving right along without a hitch with the fabric piecing, but had difficulty getting the sleeves to set properly.  I’m not sure if I didn’t mark the reference points right or what, but I didn’t notice they weren’t in correctly until they had been sewn and serged.  They didn’t hang properly and had to be ripped out. I got discouraged, and frankly, allowed myself to get distracted by other sewing projects. It sat until I forced myself to tackle some of my UFO’s (UnFinished Objects).
IMG_2663
I hope this post inspires you to look at your patterns and fabrics in a new way. Maybe there is the possibility of a hidden jacket ‘kit’ in your stash.

Now, for the lariat necklace. If you want to know more about it, click here to get the details.

Sewing Bee Coming to the U.S.!

Casting Flier US Sewing Bee
If you are not familiar with the Great British Sewing Bee, it is time to go onto YouTube and check it out to get ready for the U.S. version.   I wrote about it in a previous post here.

Those I know in the garment sewing world, are thrilled we are now going to have a version in the United States. This is a flyer requesting contestants to inquire, but you must be living in the Connecticut/New Jersey/New York areas.  I hope it becomes popular and sweeps across the country.  The format should be welcoming to the beginning level sewist up to advanced level, but we will have to wait and see how they pick the contestants.  Spread the word!

Are you, or anyone you know interested in entering?

5 Tips For Wearing Stripes

I saw this Valentine card and thought is was provocative, but in a good way. The zebras caught my eye and I had to look inside. The caption made me smile but it also conjured up all of the fashion back-and-forth we read and hear about stripes.IMG_2640

Inside Caption

Inside Caption

(Card is from a series called “Party Animals” by Recycled Paper Greetings.) But back to our topic….

How DO we feel about the stripe issue? Poor thing has her widest stripes running across her rump region. It’s just the way she was made. And now that brings me to the question of stripe width such as thick or thin. Or how about the direction of the stripe layout and whether it should be horizontal, vertical or diagonal…? How about color(s) of stripes together. Does the garment look like a rugby shirt or kids clothes? And then the stripes’ ability to play well with others. Let’s explore.

I love stripes, so I disagree with the card caption, but I also understand the reason why horizontal stripes may not be the most flattering. It seems to be common sense that in dressing our bodies, long and lean is preferred over short and wide. So from a visual perspective, eyes moving from left to right create width. I get it. But I still like horizontal stripes. Here are some suggestions using stripes in our outfits to best flatter our figures and bring out our best features.

1.) Wear them under a blazer. The horizontal lines are somewhat covered and yet still bring interest to your outfit. This also goes for busy prints. The jacket tones down anything that might feel too edgy or distracting while giving a sharp, pulled together look.download
2.) Mix them with a prints that shares some of the same colors. This helps unify the look without it looking like a mistake. There is nothing like a clean striped shirt, but sometimes a statement necklace or striking scarf can add the finishing touch to a rather classic and traditional look. It will add some fun and bring more color toward your face.download
3.) Look for clothes with diagonal stripes and chevrons. There is a fine line between stripes that make you step back to focus, and those that intrigue your eye. These are busier designs for sure, but also work to camouflage bumps and bulges (if you have any). They also keep the eye moving and are a little more interesting and unexpected. You will probably have an immediate reaction to size and use of stripes and will know whether or not you like it or dislike it.Striped topStriped bias knit topdiagonal stripe dress
chevron skirtdiagonal maxi

For the sewist, I wrote a post showing Vogue 8819, which is a great pattern for using stripes in an eye catching way. My favorite use of stripes is to place the pattern pieces on the diagonal (bias) and use them on neckbands, cuffs, sleeves, skirts, dresses and maybe more. Often, the diagonal or bias drape of the fabric is spectacular. A little practice is needed matching stripes or handling the wiggly seam allowances, but the results are worth it.V8819
4.) Don’t be afraid of mixing thick with thin stripes. Again, be on the lookout for ways the two stripes compliment each other. Is is color? Theme? It needs to look intentional and not like you got dressed in the dark.stripes thick thin

Above, the vest adds some interest to the outfit using a neutral grey vest with a ‘stripe’ created with a contrasting fabric while working well with the cobalt pieces. The outfit might look a little simple without the vest, and the varying stripes add some interest. If the vest had been cobalt, it might run into the problem of Miss Matchy Matcherson. Can’t have that.strip with stripescarf

Stripe thin thick

5.) Use vertical stripes when possible to lengthen the look of the body. It is not as common to find the stripes running vertically because many fabrics are woven with the stripes running from selvage to selvage(crosswise), especially knits. If you are lucky enough to find fabric with the stripes running the lengthwise of the fabric (parallel to the selvages), it will probably be a woven fabric and suitable for pants, skirts or shirts. Men’s shirt fabric is a good example of stripes running lengthwise.verticalsThere is also something called princess seaming that runs from the shoulder vertically down the length of the dress creating a vertical line. This dress is an interpretation of this kind of design line in pattern making that has been used in color blocking, creating a very slimming silhouette. You can read more about princess seaming in my previous posts on the coordinates pattern by McCalls #5890 pattern and the Simplicity #4032 Jackets.
vertical striped dressHere is the question: What is your stripe preference?stripe comparisonsketch comparisonLooking at all of the images in this post, do you have a favorite or do you like them all?

Girl, Lady, Man, Dog Quote

Spanish Bird of Paradise

Spanish Bird of Paradise

This flower is delicate looking yet blooms in the most intense heat of the summer here in Arizona. The brilliant color stands out against the desert landscape. It is one of my favorite plants because it is so durable and prolific in size under the most uncomfortable circumstances! A lesson to me….

I’m always reading inspirational and creative books, magazines and blogs in an effort to stay current with what is trending and to give me a little push in a creative direction.  I came across this quote and immediately liked it.  Regardless of one’s occupation, it reminded me of the many hats strong women wear to get everyday tasks accomplished.  I found it to be a gentle reminder (and challenge) to do all of this gracefully every day.