As you may know, Pantone is the well known authority on color and provider of color systems and leading technology for the selection and accurate communication of color. It is one of the “go to” system used to help create consistency in color in a variety of industries, such as fashion, interiors and paint manufacturers. Designers communicate these color choices each season to the manufacturers, which then arrives to retailers and then to us as consumers. The numerical value for the exact colors helps to clearly define when words can’t do the job or maybe your computer screen shows a completely different blue than described. To learn more about the Pantone company and it’s services, click here. By the way, here is an online fabric store, Casual Elegance Fabrics that uses this system to help with color matching.
I find this chart as a great starting point (or continuation) of colors to incorporate into my wardrobe. As a sewer, I visit my stash and look at the forlorn fabrics waiting to be made up into something fabulous. Then I wander over to my bead supply and think about how I can incorporate some of the glistening, faceted beauties into new creations.
THE color for 2013
The color getting all the attention from this grouping is emerald, and it has been called the color of the year. This is a flattering color to many, if not most, complexions. I happen to love this color so I will continue to seek it out in the way of fabrics, beads and trims as well as in scarves and other accessories this fall.
Another color grouping being emphasized for fall as the weather cools is the berry family and all of it’s plum colored friends. Somehow, this color slipped in without being on ‘the chart’, but it is shown in the color combination chart below. It will blend with all of your blacks, browns, grays, navy and cobalt blues, as well as deep green shades.
So check this out….
Color Combinations To Consider
So here are some great color combinations to look at and see what appeals to you. If you like seeing color combinations put together, another great site used for popular trending combinations is Kuler.
At a glance, do you see some of your basic wardrobe colors here? Are there some new colors you want to add?
How about this? Thanks to her supportive mom, a teen’s dream to model has come true. Hallelujah! I’m hopeful that companies will continue to expand their marketing efforts to include a variety of faces to their campaigns. Finally, some good news being circulated out there! If this doesn’t make you smile, I’m not sure what will. Read more here to get the details about this uplifting story.
I read an article some time ago that addressed how to stay looking stylish without succumbing to every new fad. It was addressing the contentment that comes with accepting the styles that work for your body proportions and lifestyle. Having just crossed the 50-year old threshold, I want to dress my age, be appropriate, and all of those things you hear being said. But I also want some fun items in my wardrobe that are unexpected as I am still defining my style and trying things out.
The tunic style is being worn by young to old(er) and that tells me it has a timeless and ageless look. For a while I thought, ‘Why would I want excess fabric at my hips?’ but then I made one and found the opposite to be true. The bottom of the tunic falls just below the hip line and helps to disguise a common problem area.
I would not say my style is edgy by any means, but I do like these handkerchief hem tunics. You can dress them up or wear them with leggings, heels or flats, and they always receive compliments. When I saw this gray and cream abstract print at my local mill end store SAS Fabrics, I envisioned making a top like this.
I chose McCalls 6398 view B because it had an interesting yoke where I could use a different fabric. It must be a good seller as it has made the cut in the pattern books for over 2 years. I chose an oatmeal colored knit from my stash because it was easier to match and more flattering against my face than the gray color.
Okay, so the fabric isn’t really flowing here. It’s hung up on my high bum area, but i’ll just keep walkin’. The sides swish around when I walk, so I’ll just hope people focus on that and think happy thoughts.
This necklace is a mix of all gray toned, silver and black chain. I bought from Stein Mart last year and I wear it more that I would have guessed. I have also paired this with a long strand of pearls.
I recommend this top for anyone looking for a quick and satisfying knit top. I made no changes the the pattern. I stitched up the size 14 to make sure there was enough fabric to drape nicely. It lends itself well to color blocking and using up the smaller scraps of knit in the stash. The yoke inset only takes 1/2 yard.
Do you have a timeless garment in your wardrobe that works for most occasions?
What you can’t see here is that this bag stays closed by recycling a used tape measure from a home improvement center. Fortunately, my husband had one he was happy to donate. The measurements are 8″ Width x 6″ Height x 2″ Depth. As with any sewing project, there is room to personalize and modify to your specific needs. The dimensions can change if you wish, but I recommend making one first and then you will know what measurements need to change for the second bag. Add embroidery, eliminate the 2″ box pleat, use up to three fabrics, or omit the prairie point handles and sew a loop, hair tie as the handle, etc. The choice is yours.
Examples of Snap Bags as gifts
1.) Quilted Fabric (or fabric and batting to quilt your own) 9″ x 14.5″ This is the outer bag fabric.
2.) Lining Fabric 9″ x 18.5″ This fabric covers the measuring tape across top of bag.
3.) Side Loop Handle 2.5″ x 4.5″ Can be lining or outer fabric-your choice.
4.) Wrist handle (Optional) 11″ x 2.5″.
5.) Handles (Prairie Points) Cut Two 4.5″ x 4.5″ (Same fabric as lining)
6.) Coordinating thread for both fabrics
7.) Fusible Interfacing 9′ x 2″ (Use up small scraps of left over interfacing and piece together)
8.) 1′ Tape measure from hardware store. (Check to see what screwdriver or tapered cross tip screwdriver to have handy to undo outer case of tape measure)
9.) Roll of tape (either electrical or blue painter’s tape to cover tape measure ends)
10.) Sharp, heavy duty utility scissors (to cut tape measure)
11.) Ruler (to draw quilt lines if quilting your own fabric)
12.) Chalk or water soluble marker (to draw quilt lines)
Prepare your pattern pieces
Step 1 Prepare Pattern Pieces using tissue, medical paper, newsprint, etc.
All measurements are based on a 1″ tape measure. Adjust if you use a 3/4″ measuring tape. My Sharpie drawings are not as clear as the measurements stated above, so this is just to show you what the pattern pieces should look like.
Cut out pieces
Step 2. Cut Out Main Pattern Pieces To Tissue Measurements EXCEPT Batting And Outer Fabric If You Are Going To Quilt It. Leave some extra fabric and batting on all sides until quilt stitching is completed. Trim to pattern piece dimensions after quilting. Step 3. Using The Ruler, Draw Line From One Corner To the Other In 1″ Lines Using a quilt guide or lines drawn on the fabric, stitch the quilting lines to sew batting to outer fabric. Click here to see another example of quilting your own outer fabric.
Faint chalk line from corner to corner
You can barely see the chalk line-this is what you want. Pin batting along the line to secure. Move pins as you sew each line until all stitching is complete. Step 4. Stitch quilt lines. I like to set my stitch length to 3.0 and use a quilting bar that I can set to the 1″ mark, helping me to speed up the sewing process a little.
1″ quilted lines
Trim off excess
Step 5. Trim off excess to match the pattern tissue measurement (9″ x 14.5″). I used a rotary cutter and ruler but scissors work just fine.
Press the 2″ strip of interfacing
Step 6. Press the 2″ fusible interfacing to the top edges of wrong side of lining. This is where I use up the leftover small scraps of interfacing from other projects. This will also help the tape measure from cutting through the edges of bag.
Turn top edge down 5/8″
Step 7. Layer lining and quilted fabric, wrong sides together and press lining down 5/8″ towards quilted piece. Set aside for a moment. Step 8. Prepare prairie points by folding the 4.5″ square in half. Step 9. Fold up lower left corner up to center. Press. Step 10. Fold up right corner and bring to center, creating prairie point. The folded edges should be parallel to each other and touching and raw edges should be even. Press.
Pressed 1.25″ over quilted fabric edge
Step 11. Fold down the top edge 1.25″ to cover raw edge of quilted front. Center prairie points and insert raw edge here under the folded edge. Secure with fusible tape or pins to keep anything from moving before the stitching. Refer to finished bag photo if needed to see placement.
Stitch through all layers
Step 12. Stitch close to folded edge, leaving room for tape measure to slide through. Test before stitching. (Prairie points don’t show here, but they are sewn on both top edges in the center to be used as handles/decoration.)
Step 13. Prepare Side Loop. Fold loop, right sides together and stitch down long die leaving ends open. Grade seam allowances.
Safety pin to help turn
Step 14. Attach a safety pin to one edge of the tube. Use the safety pin to turn the tube right side out by sliding through to other side.
Side Loop ready for pressing
Step 15. After loop is right side out, press flat. Remove pin. Fold in half bringing raw edges together.
Step 16. Baste Loop to front of bag. With raw edges together, place loop 1/2″ right below top band. Baste with an 1/8″ seam allowance. This will be sewn permanently when side seams are sewn up.
Sew up side seams
Step 17. Sew up ONE SIDE SEAM only. I ran my finger down inside the bag from top to bottom to smooth out any tucks. Pin. Stitch in a 1/4″ seam allowance making sure to back-stitch enthusiastically at the top edge. Step 18. Cut tape measure into two (2) pieces measuring 8″. Test length by inserting into the casings to see if there is at least a 1/4″ seam allowance. If not, trim to fit. Remove tape pieces. Step 19. Using utility scissors, slightly round edges to remove sharp edges/corners. Step 20. Tape edges with electrical tape or painter’s tape. This is a very important step. I did not do this on my first bag and the corners are working their way through the material.
Sew up side seams
Step 21. Insert tape measure pieces back into casings (like Step 15) pushing them in as far as possible to give ample room to sew on remaining seam allowance. NOTE: MAKE SURE THE TAPE MEASURE PIECES ARE INSERTED WITH THE BLANK SIDES OF TAPE (“C” SHAPE) FACE THE LINING SIDE. THE NUMBERED SIDES (“U” SHAPE) ARE FACING THE QUILTED SIDE OF BAG. The “C” shape sides of the tape kissing each other create the ‘snap’ . Step 22. Prepare to sew up other side seam. Fold bag in half RST, pin, making sure the side loop is on the inside of the bag and all raw edges are even. Make sure there are no tucks. The top edge gets the most wear-and-tear so once again, back-stitch enthusiastically. Step 23. Serge or zig zag raw side seams to cleanly finish. Step 24. Prepare mitered corners.Keeping the rights sides together, pull apart bag at lower edge fold (base of bag) with one hand on front of bag and one hand on back of bag until the side seam looks like the picture. My thumb is on the side seam and my index finger is on the base of the bag. This creates a triangle-looking area on the inside of the bag, but a nice miter on the outside, allowing the bag to sit up by itself. Measure across 2″ or 1″ on both sides of seam, pressing seam allowance to one side. Mark the line. Step 25. Sew across triangle/miter. Trimming corner is optional. I left my triangle in place to give the base of the bag more substance. Repeat for other side. Step 26. Turn right side out. This will take a little muscle because the tape measure doesn’t want to bend this way. Work it until the bag inverts. Add seam sealant to upper seam allowances.
This is McCalls 6700 out of a wild ethnic-looking print I found at my local mill end store SAS Fabrics. It was very easy to sew up although a made a few changes:
1.) In hindsight, I need to add more length to the bodice since most bodices run a little short on me. I didn’t think I would need to because the cross-over surplice tops need to fit snuggly to avoid the cleavage reveal, but I was wrong.
2.) I also attached the front to the back at the shoulder seams with twill tape to stabilize instead of with elastic like the pattern suggested.
3.) I tacked the center front and the center back and stand up straight a lot.
Belt: Michael Kors from Ross, chevron bracelets from Bohme Boutique.The back ties are needed to keep the shoulder straps from falling down. I just tied them in a bow and knotted them so I never have to adjust them again. I didn’t make side slits this time because I could wear this into fall with boots and a jacket or sweater.
Overall, I like the dress and might make it again, but I have other maxi dress patterns I would like to try as well. Even though I’m not as comfortable in sleeveless tops and dresses, this will layer well and has been a good dress for our hot summer weather. Brown will be a color I incorporate more into my wardrobe and you just may see it styled differently this Fall!
It has been 2 years since I started hosting our little gathering on Friday nights. I am so grateful for the time we spend together. Our lives are busy and we still make time to sew our individual projects while laughing and sharing bits of our lives together. Check out how tis all began here.
Sharing tips on quilt binding
Techniques and tips are offered, but not just about sewing. Sometimes we share successful recipes, doctors to avoid, sales going on, or activities in town to go see.
Having too much fun
And sometimes we cut loose and say stuff that shocks!
Eat, Sew, Visit
So, I congratulate all of us for making this a priority and developing our sewing as well as our friendships.
This may be one of my easiest tutorials on this site…..talk about addictive! These can be made in 30 minutes once you get the hang of it. The fabric can be a knit or woven, which means the width can vary from 45″-60″. I prefer knits because they are soft on the neck, don’t wrinkle, and can be stretched to get over your head. They can even wrap three times making a collar, if desired. The slideshow shows some of the recent remnants-turned-neck-jewelry I’ve made and their finished widths so you can see how they drape. (the navy/white knit and multi stripe knit are wrapped three times because they are narrow).
What you will need to get started:
1.) Sewing machine
2.) Fabric of your choice-remnants of 1 yard or less
3.) Matching thread
4.) Hand sewing needle
7.) Iron (optional, but provides better results)
I will list the steps here and then show pictures to help clarify. Step 1.) Fold fabric in half lengthwise, bringing selvages together. This will be a seam allowance width away from your finished width that sits around your neck. For example: 1/2 yard of fabric (18″) will make a 9″ scarf.
Step 2.) Square up fabric so it is the same measurement in width from the selvages to the fold.
Selvages together, RST, pin
Step 3.) Pin lengthwise raw edges, leaving 2-4″ near the selvage open. This will be the opening for turning right side out. Step 4.) Sew lengthwise edge except for the 2-4″ opening. Step 5.) Press seam allowance flat. Step 6.) Turn right side out. Step 7.) With RST(Right Sides Together), align selvages and pin together. This makes the loop. Step 8.) Sew just past the selvage with a 3/4″ seam allowance or enough to clear any markings of the selvage. Step 9.) Trim off any selvage. Step 10.) Press seam allowance either open or to one side, whichever is easier. Step 11.) Turn right sides out. Step 12.) With needle and thread, fold edges to inside and slip stitch opening closed.
Three piece ensemble, navy knit
Here is another option. I made a tank, shrug and infinity scarf out of the same material. The infinity scarf makes the tank look like a cowl neck and provides more warmth for chilly weather.
Remove and put in your bag when it gets warm.
This is a daily reminder for me to tackle any little annoyance, pay a bill, learn a new task, exercise, have patience for technology. For me, it helps me get stronger by keeping procrastination at arms length.
I’m sure there is a long post that could be written about the deeper meanings of procrastination, but let’s just leave it to the idea that smaller successes are better sometimes than the big ones because they happen. Some days, I need the boost a little victory can provide. So it’s time to put on my big girl panties, grow up and handle the tough stuff and be satisfied with scratching another task off the list.
This thimble is commemorative of Clothes Rationing; a time hard to imagine by today’s standards. My mom found this thimble years ago while in Australia at the Imperial War Museum. In the early 1940’s, “Make Do and Mend” was a WW2 wartime slogan to encourage everyone to not waste anything. It was so extreme, clothing coupons were issued to each person each year showing the item and it’s value; the price fixed by law. The British government controlled not only what you wore, but how much you could wear.
If you had the money to buy clothing but you lacked the clothing coupon, you were forbidden to purchase more. As a result, an illegal black-market began to supply the desired items for a hefty price. All societal levels were now equal supporting the war effort. It is hard to imagine a ‘Rationing book’ but it existed to keep track of individual portions of certain foods doled out to people on a weekly basis. If you had been given your allotment, you had to wait until the following week to get more. Clothing and textiles were at such a minimum due to all resources being used for the war effort, pamphlets and sewing classes were available to encourage using old clothes or making new clothes out of old textiles.
Many women took on traditionally masculine jobs which demanded clothing that was durable and practical. Rosie the Riveter was considered the new chic and fashionable standard. The government controlled the look of fashion by dictating how to construct clothing by limiting the number of buttons, pockets, fullness or extra embellishments on each item. A great and personal account of this time is written by Lena of Queens of Vintage.com
Discovering various fashion and sewing blogs, I see current day efforts of a Make-Do-And-Mend campaign to Thrifty-To-Glam makeovers to no Ready-To-Wear (RTW) purchases for a whole year. One blog site I love is Goodbye Valentino where Sarah takes her designer garment to the sewing machine for a style change or alteration and commits to sewing all of her clothes for a year. Another great feat was accomplished by Erin of A Dress A Day on by ‘thrifting’ her way to a new wardrobe for just pennies.
Though we may not be forced into making do and mending our existing clothes, many have chosen to resist the temptation to buy new. In my opinion, it is a mindset and philosophy to reduce materialism or consumption in an effort to do one’s part to slow the fast-churning wheels of cheap clothing production and all that it may entail. Although I can’t be certain that my fabric purchases aren’t being manufactured/produced in the same flurried pace, it is my preference to make my clothes because I can. I still shop for jeans, grab a bargain here and there, maybe some inexpensive tees for working out, but the majority of my wardrobe is ‘me made’. Whatever your particular view on clothing and style, keeping up with trends (or not), it is good to look back at history and read about a time when the options were so limited and compare it to today. We can choose to participate in the fashion spectrum on many levels; from mending the few clothes we have, to buying designer originals, to sewing and fitting garment to our own unique tastes and preferences. This is just another reason why I’m a sewing evangelist.
A question I get often is “Why bother sewing when fabric/patterns is/are so expensive?” or “Clothing is so cheap now so why would I bother taking the time to make something if I can just go buy it?” The pressure to answer this question convincingly is strong; I’m about to attempt to sell the positives of sewing over the ease of going to the mall. Or the simple click of the mouse gets items shipped right to the door. There is a valid argument here, but I try to share the affordable strategy first before getting into all of the other reasons I sew. (More on that in other posts).
I should have a standard answer by now, but I don’t. I consider myself to be very thrifty with my sewing hobby so keeping the cost down is just natural for me. That got me thinking about sharing some of the ways I keep the cost down. There are so many reasons I sew that I’m not always sure which answer to give first. So here are my ideas:
1.)Either borrow or purchase and inexpensive sewing machine for starters if you are unsure about the longevity of this hobby. Be aware, though, that you often get what you pay for in machines (not always) and frustration with a machine is the fastest way to kill enthusiasm. Have a mentor or some support nearby to help troubleshoot mechanical problems. Upgrade and invest in a better machine after you’re hooked.
2.) Sign up for weekly mailers or online alerts for sales. I know what you may be thinking…more email alerts?! Uuhgg! But social media is the way of the future and it is the most affordable way they can keep in touch with me. Some stores offer phone aps that can be downloaded and can be scanned at checkout for the current discount. Facebook is also a tool used by stores to keep you notified.
Of course the stores hope I will buy more than the sale items, and sometimes I do, but the plan is to be very focused on just what I need for the upcoming projects. For example, zippers, thread, etc. Rarely is there only one item on sale I need, so I stay on track by bringing a list.
3.) Utilize store coupons and competitors coupons when possible Check to see if major big box craft and fabric stores in your area will acknowledge each others’ coupons for discounts. There will be exceptions, but for like items, these stores are ready to make you happy for shopping in their stores. I have found Michael’s, Jo Ann’s and Hancock’s very good about this policy.
4.) For online shopping use the discount coupon code at check out. I use the coupon code printed below the paper coupon in my mailer. Sometimes there are in-store and online incentives, so be sure to read the fine print. The online discounts can often help offset the cost of shipping.
5.) Avoid paying full price for patterns. I use the flyers and sale alerts to purchase when patterns are at their lowest prices. The people who ask me about the outrageous cost of patterns today are not aware of the monthly specials on what is referred to as the “Big 4” patterns companies. Keep and eye out for the new styles online and then plan a trip to the fabric store to pick up your favorites on sale day. If I can get a few items sewn up from one pattern, even better.
*Independent patterns are the exception. I am a strong supporter of these hard working designers! The cost of production is higher for them so they must charge more. These pattern designers work harder for your money by giving more thought into the instructions, techniques, drafting and fit. Just a little perusing on some sewing blogs will show you that ‘independents’ are often more pleasing than the “Big Four” pattern companies, so support them if you can. The savings on the other patterns makes it easier to justify giving these patterns a try.
6.) Support mill end, thrift, remnant tables and other discount stores selling fabric, if possible.. In mill end stores, if you can look past the messiness and dig for treasures, this is a sure fire way to keep your fabric costs low. When manufacturers are done with their fabric for mass production, the leftovers are purchased by a mill end store at a discount and then resold at a low price. And it’s a win-win. The store makes a profit off of what might have ended up in a landfill and great deals can be had. Be aware that the fabric content can be a mystery and there may be a minimum fabric requirement left on a large piece, (for example, 2 yards must be remaining) so be prepared to buy more than planned or simply put the piece back. This can often work well to allow for shrinkage since there won’t be content descriptions or washing instruction for the fabric.
Some thrift stores offer plenty of donated fabric for sale or in the way of donated clothes that can be refashioned into something better suited to your taste.
Remnants are often drastically discounted to get it out of the store in order to make room for new shipments.
So there you have it. My main strategies to feel better about spending less money and creating quality clothing that fits my body in the colors, fabrics and styles that suit me.
What is your low-cost strategy to keep your clothing budget in check?
I receive a lot of compliments and questions about my updo so I thought I would give you the details and demystify what looks like a time-consuming hairdo.
It looks complicated, but with a few items, I hope to show you how easy it can be.
Okay, a little disclaimer; I have a cosmetology licence and I did hair for a living. Don’t get too discouraged. I’m going to keep this as simple as possible. Supplies needed:
– Hair Brush and or Comb
– Bobby Pins
– Barrette or Clip
– Curlers (I use Caruso Steam Curlers from Sally Beauty Supply. I Love These! I’ve been using them for years because they don’t burn my head and work quickly.
– Styling gel (optional) Put in hair before blow drying)
1.) Prepare hair; either wash, towel dry hair and apply a gel or setting lotion and blow dry or let dry naturally if I wash my hair at night. (Have you ever heard that slightly dirty hair is easier to style into updos? It’s true. Not greasy, but maybe a day or two after washing. You be the judge.)
2.) Section hair, and roll hair under on sponge curler toward the back of my head. Make sections about 1″ x 1″ which makes for tighter curls.
Sloppy Sectioning is Okay
As you can see, this looks like a disaster, but it works out. No updo ever looks the same and I like it that way. Here are some views from the sides:
3.) Allow hair to cool. This is when I do my make up, get my clothes ready. By the time I do all of that, the rollers are ready to come out.
4) Remove caps on rollers and let hair fall.
I think you get the idea. The other side looks pretty much the same.
5.) Run fingers through hair to separate curls. DO NOT BRUSH. I find that brushing makes my hair frizzy and I lose the look of the curls.
6.) Twist hair upwards, piling hair high on head.
7.) Fasten with Barrette or Clip.
Keep twisting, then fasten with a barrette or clip. Can you see the brown barrette?
8.) After clipping, arrange curls to cover barrette and fasten with bobby pins. I often cross bobby pins over each other in a “X” pattern to secure. This way the bobby pins don’t work their way out and curls stay in place.
9.) Continue to arrange curls around head hiding the bobby pins if possible. I also try to cover the clip with a few curls. If you like tendrils, pull a few pieces of hair out at temples and let fall naturally. If I don’t like the way they look, I will touch up with a small barrel curling iron, holding the curling iron vertically.
10.) Spray with favorite hair spray to help it last all day. Sometimes, I may even get another day out of the curls and can repeat with a claw clip for a more relaxed look. ENJOY!
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