Not every button has to be the same on a garment. After looking at the over-the-top mixed looks this season of Etro, Gucci and Dolce and Gabbana, I decided to shake it up a little bit on my "Burberry" silk charmeuse and pebble textured knit Liberty/MixIt Shirt. You can find the tutorial to combine these two patterns in our August 2017 Sew Confident! tutorial, The Liberty MixIt Fusion. In this tutorial Linda combined the general shape of the Liberty with the neckline of the MixIt. She also teaches you how to shorten the sleeves, create a new self-facing, and create perfect mitered corners.
When you love a fabric, but it's not quite the right weight for the piece that you want to make, what do you do? This is what happened to me recently. I fell in love with this printed handkerchief linen fabric and couldn't get past the idea of making pants. But the fabric was too sheer for a bottom weight.
Years ago, my friend Susan asked me to accompany her to help select a mother-of-the-groom ensemble. We drove to Kansas City where she chose a vintage kimono fabric which was custom-made into a beautiful jacket.
She wore the jacket to her son's wedding and to other occasions as well. The custom house had used the wrong side of the kimono fabric for its striped effect, but these stripes had floating yarns which made the fabric more delicate. Eventually, the silk started to break down, fray and even shred in places. Susan didn't want to give up on the precious jacket so she asked us at The Sewing Workshop if we had any ideas about how to salvage the fabric.
It took the entire 25th year to realize we had actually been in business that long. So here it is, the end of our anniversary year, and I am in a reflective mood.
When I bought the school, I assumed that entity alone would survive and grow. I soon realized that we needed a product to sell in order to lure people to the west coast to take classes. Thus, the pattern collection was born.
Now the pattern collection is our heart and soul. But sewing education is where we are enjoying most of our growth, this time in the form of online tutorials and classes. The stand-alone sewing school in the Richmond district of San Francisco is gone, but sewing education is our future.
Our customer Nancy Means has used the Tremont Jacket pattern to make some fantastic vests. She is our guest blogger for this post. Whether you like sleeveless for summer, or layering vests for the cooler months ahead, we think you'll like these ideas.
In the December 16, 2015 blog post called French Terry Topper, I described the process of lengthening the Chicago Jacket to make a longer version in French terry. The coat looks and feels great, but I noticed after it was made that it wants to fly open at the bottom a bit, even when just hanging on a hanger.
Martha Myers is a wonderful customer and Sew Kansas participant. She writes about many of her projects on her own blog. She made this amazing variation of a Peony Vest so we asked her to share the story as our guest blogger for this post. Enjoy and prepare to be inspired!
Every time I fly to Chicago, I always make time to walk through Neiman Marcus on Michigan Avenue to see the Eskandar line of clothing.The pieces are simple. The designer basically turns out the same designs every season and simply changes up the fabrications and perhaps a length or two.
I've known Ellen March, editor of Sew News magazine, for a long time. I wrote articles for her and even fielded questions in the Q&A department for years. When she called me and asked if I would be a guest on her Sew It All TV show, I couldn't resist an opportunity to work with her in another format — on camera!
French terry is a type of jersey knit fabric that has vertical ribs on one side of the fabric and fine loops on the other side, unlike terrycloth, which has loops on both sides. It has entered the fashion scene once again and is used by designers for all kinds of ready-to-wear including coats and toppers.
After years of traveling and fitting every shape and size of body possible, I have come to a the conclusion that almost every sewer, no matter how long we have sewn or our skill level, fails to do three essential things when preparing a pattern.
There's definitely something in the air. At the same time that I was producing the June Sew Confident! tutorial about using photos and magazine images as inspirations to build mood boards for wardrobe and sewing concepts, my daughter, Alex, was doing a similar thing in her fashion design class at ESMOD design school in Paris, France.
The dust has settled and the new website has launched! Now we can really concentrate of the important things - our love of sewing.
We had our first Stitch Night at our Topeka studio last night. Our first gathering since returning from the Alabama Chanin studio. It was a great reminder of how much fun we had during our visit August 1-3.
This is the season for pants to be made in anything but a solid color. Every designer has some style of pants, skinny to flowing, in everything from botanicals, paisleys, travertine and stone patterns to animal prints. I have to say, some of them look and feel like pajama bottoms, but it is a serious trend and it's fun.
Once a month, a group of like-minded women get together to share their artistic works and listen to a program. The June program was all about the Alabama Chanin experience, and many examples of incredible work, a la Chanin, were shown.
Barbara was wearing a Pearl Jacket that she had made in Alabama Chanin's black organic knit, and she had stitched it all by hand with the seams on the outside. I loved it!
I came home and decided to literally copy her, but I got a little sidetracked and decided to use her technique to make a Pearl Vest (the jacket without the sleeves, as simple as that).
So here's the deal. I love sports of all kinds and the NBA playoffs are going on, so I want to watch every game that I can. That requires being in the TV room rather than my sewing room. But who can just sit and watch TV without a little something else going on? Hand stitching a Pearl Vest was the answer. My favorite team, the Oklahoma Thunder, won their game 7 of the series just as I put the last stitch on this vest.
I used two layers of organic knit, Dark Grey over Gold. I cut out the grey pieces first, then placed them on top of the gold yardage, using the grey pieces as the patterns to cut out the gold sections. After smoothing the two cut pieces together, I hand basted the pieces together along the 5/8" seam allowances using Silk Basting Thread. (Game 1)
Stella Top in silk crepe
According to the Pantone Color Institute, we are going to be craving a flowery pinky-purple color in the coming year. After tavelling the world analyzing everything from cultural influences to fashion runways, Pantone announced Radiant Orchid as the Color of the Year. Add a vase or towels as your interior accents, and think about wearing this joyful and energetic color.
In 2005, wraps and capes were all the rage, so we re-invented the Cocoon Coat (basically scaled it down), and introduced it into our pattern collection as the Déjà Vu Wrap. We made it in everything from wool crepe to silk organza – all woven fabrics.
It’s almost 9 years later, and the wrap is back. The Déjà Vu came to mind again. But this time, I could visualize it in a knit. Nine years ago, I really wasn’t making much in knits. That has all changed, and I am constantly experimenting with some of our older patterns re-programmed as knitwear.
So I made this Déjà Vu in a soft, lightweight sweater knit, knowing that the stripes would really highlight the unique design of this pattern. This is one of the more unusual patterns that we have in the line. It is essentially one very long rectangle, but after it is folded, origami style, in a few places, you end up with a cape-like wrap with one vertical armhole and one horizontal armhole, plus a deep pleat in the back that adds fullness and style.
Because I used a knit, I could edit the pattern some, eliminating the need for faced edges and hems. I also deleted the pockets. After taking about 30 minutes to cut it out one afternoon, I sewed it together in an evening, just in time for the fall winds and crisp temperatures to descend upon us here in Kansas.
I know you will really have fun making this garment, either for yourself or as a gift this season. We don’t have many patterns left, so don’t dally, order it now.
The various plaids appear to be collaged onto the fabric with softened and zigzag edges, all of which are carefuly blended over 40's-style glamour portraits.
Check these two knits out. 5-813-5 has some purples and rose tones. 5-813-6 has more yellow plus many earth tones.
I love the West End Pants anyway because they are so cool and comfortable and chic, too. Shortening them if just a matter of deciding how to make them and cutting them off at the bottom. It's that easy!
Here are my two summer favorites.
I used green linen to make the shorts.
But if I have time, I'll be using cobalt blue linen,
EB14983 coral cotton and lycra
I love the Eureka vest and have made it out of wool, raw silk and lightweight linen. But I wanted to make one that had a "skirt" or underlay so that I could use two coordinating pieces of linen—a plaid and a stripe—that I'd gotten from Cy Rudnick's years ago. (Sorry but the store closed years ago.)
On a recent trip to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Melissa Greene showed me two linen vests that she had made using both the Liberty Shirt and the Tosca Dress patterns as starting points. I was so intrigued, that I just knew that I had to make some summer vests incorporating that concept.
On a recent trip to Mulberry Silks in Carlboro, NC, I saw Nancy Quaintance in yet again one of her fabulous creations. She was wearing an Icon Shirt as a vest made in a combination of leather and wool. I was so enchanted with it, that I came home and made one for myself in a Chocolate Brown Cloque.
Sometimes the best garments are simple, easy to wear and comfortable. Clothing that will take you to work and to the park on the weekends.
Introducing the Eureka Top & Skirt. A pattern all about simplicity with a few creative details.
Here's a look into Kathy's way of wearing the Eureka.
"Pieced Eureka Top: I saw a short boxy sweatshirt in one of the fashion magazines that was pieced in several different fabrics. I found several knits on our shelves and gave the piecing a try. The skirt is a black knit. (Also shown with the Verona Jacket)
For years I have worn basic colors of black, brown and charcoal on the bottom in pants and skirts. I have a closet full of them. But a new concept has been introduced this fall season. Reverse the color emphasis and wear your signature color on the bottom and keep the tops neutral.
Finding your signature color is actually pretty easy. While is a nice idea to "get your colors done", I am more inclined to listen to my own instincts and pay attention to what I am drawn to and to listen to what people say to me. If someone says, "You look tired.", then I definitely have on the wrong color. But if I hear, "Have you just returned from vacation? You look so rested.", then I know I am wearing "my" color.
My favorite color is a greyed yellow green that seems not to have a name but is something like a mustard olive (thanks to the paint company, Benjamin Moore). So I worked with the lovely new Ponte Knits that have arrived in our warehouse/studio this fall and made the Quincy Top in a dark charcoal and used my favorite color to make the Quincy Pants.
I know that I can't wear a blue pink/purple/magenta, but I love the color. So thanks to the fashion pros, I have permission to wear this zany color on my feet. And I love it!
Nora, one of our wonderful customers had an Ann's Cardigan class in a friends home recently. She's here with a little Guest Blog Post about her fun evening!
"Start with friends. Add some great food. Stir in beautiful fabrics and a stylish pattern. Top with a large portion of fun. The result-----a day of creativity with a new garment to wear home!
This class was in a friend's home. We met two weeks before our scheduled class date to discuss supplies and techniques. Then we had time to prepare and organize. What fun we had working together!
Next------the Soho Coat!"
Thanks Nora! We look forward to your Soho Coat installment.
I am constantly searching for the best all-purpose travel bag. This satchel comes as close to perfection as any that I own. It is very large (22" wide, 20" high, 6" deep) with lots of large pockets on the interior (some with zippers), and sturdy upholstery-weight Ultrasuede handles and trim.
I am trying to decide if this is worthy of making into a pattern, so I would love to hear from you. Would you carry this?
We can't get enough of these fun sweater knits! And of course, each one in our color of choice: citrus green.
Sweater vests, cardigans, wraps and shrugs are so popular right now. Get your hands on these great fabrics before their gone!
I had a great time yesterday sewing with my friends in the most fabulous sewing space on the Kansas prairie near Hutchinson, Kansas. Karna Lackey, the owner of the most fabulus studio at the end of a dirt road, and Bebe Bass hosted the event for nine ladies. We fit patterns, made Quincy Tops, and ate real food. We all need more days like this one.
Quincy Tops in the making.
Karen and I pretending to be really interested in those scissors.
Karna in front of her personal sewing "barn" that she lets us invade.
This is the fabric that most of the ladies used. Check out
SEWcation-A Sewing Vacation! Get it? Yes, it's late on a Friday afternoon. Humor me.
A weekend in the Northwest: hike, bike, cook & sew. That sounds like my kinda vacation.
I love this story. A group of moms & their teenage daughters take a vacation together to be creative. Along with hiking, biking & cooking, they sew. The sewing enthusiast amongst the group teaches them a simple sewing project. This year we're so proud that they decided to make the eShrug!
Don't they look fabulous?
It's wonderful to see a group of women, of all ages, wearing the same garment.
Have you seen the latest Theads magazine?
Bells Shirt using the Bells and Whistles Shirt pattern.
Whistles Shirt without the "whistles" with added side panels and diagonal inserts.
Kwik Sew pattern with reversed stripe bottom band, contrasting cuffs and collar stand piecing.
Get the latest issue, September 2011 here.
I don't always want a zipper closure on the Quincy Top. I can't always find the exact color and length of separating zipper - at least quickly. Also, the fabric that I used, EBL004 Linen - Frosty Pink & Green, was so soft and semi-sheer, that I thought a zipper would be too heavy. So it is possible to convert the front to a button closure with some simple adjustments.
Has the eShrug become your summer staple yet? I know it has for me. It's always chilly at our office, so the shrug is so easy to throw on with a simple tank, button-down shirt or sleeveless dress. But what happens when the AC really gets out of hand?
Summer is all about feeling comfortable. How can I look put together and cool enough to brave the outdoor heat?
Answer? Keep it simple. Try a classic button-down, paired with simple, white pants. But don't forget about color, try vibrant pink or purple.
I just can't stop sewing. Those creative juices are flowing!!!
Next stop, the Verona Jacket. The Verona Jacket has always been "uncharted territory" for me. It's a little more fitted than I would normally choose to wear. I like more movement & flexibility in my clothing. But this is such a great pattern, I needed to find a fabric that would make this garment work for me. Then we received the most amazing heavy-weight wool knits, in floral. I couldn't resist.
So many sweater knits, so little time!
Cardigan sweaters are so comfortable & easy to throw on. Why not make multiple sweaters to get you through the season? Multiple, are you crazy? Well, with an easy pattern like the Nine Live Vest, making multiple cardigans is easy.
I love making my daughter something personal for Christmas. And this year's project is the Village Bag. There is so much room in this bag for books and other personal items for a college student to tote around, but it collapses into a manageable shoulder bag and is easy to carry. I made this one using a cotton velveteen print by Anna Maria Horner that I bought a Mulberry Silks in North Carolina, and then I went to Sarah's in Lawrence to find the right cotton prints for the lining. The Sewing Workshop has all sorts of colors of Ultrasuede - perfect for the handles. It only took me 3 1/2 hours to make this bag, and now I am off to make another one.
ZEN WOOL FELTED JACKET
The Now and Zen shirt pattern (Zen Version) from The Sewing Workshop Pattern Collection was the inspiration for the white jacket on the cover of Threads magazine, March 2010, Issue 147. From there, the design morphed into something quite different.
To cut out some of the straight boxy shape of the shirt, I drew and then sliced a curved princess line in the pattern tissue from hem to front armhole and repeated that on the back. I shaved a little more shape into the waist on the tissue. Because of the size of the washed jersey piece, I also made a back seam and shaped that a little at the waist. Then added the necessary seam allowances to the split edges of the pattern tissue.
I rounded off the corners of the neck edge and lower front.
The Zen shirt pattern departs from the traditional right-over-left buttoning and buttons left over right. But I buttoned right over left for this jacket.
The ruffle came out very different than first planned. I set aside about 1/2 yard of wool jersey before washing to use as the thinner layer of the inside ruffle. I thought the selvedge edge of this yardage was a finer finish than most jerseys, so I used the selvage edges for both of the ruffle edges – both washed and unwashed layers. I cut the one strip of unwashed jersey 3 1/2” wide and one strip of washed jersey 3” wide – both on the selvage if possible.
It's funny how things evolve. I cut out some fabric to make an Ikina Jacket, intending to leave the side flanges off and the side seams open. I got to the side seam step, felt a little blocked on the engineering of it, so I put the whole project away.
A month later, I picked it up to finish and decided that it needed a little spark. So Kathy rummaged through our remnants and found some hand-dyed silk that had some bits of colorful silks fused to it in strips.
I also used the coordinating Porcella Fabric Trims kit to bind the top of the pocket and the bottom of the sleeves, plus I inserted a bit of flat piping into the collar seam. I used the bold and colorful plaid doupioni pieced with the black and white check to make my bindings. Just as Yvonne does in her award-winning quilts, the addition of the black and white gives everything a spark. I love using the Extra Fine Fusing Tape to "nail" down my bindings before stitching, especially when sewing two slippery fabrics together.
With serged seams and simple double-fold hems on the front and bottom edges, this jacket took no time at all to make, but the look is there. I get compliments everywhere I go - well, only when it's raining.
You can see lots of Yvonne Porcella garment renditions and techniques in my next webinar (Porcella's Portfolio) September 22. Go to Bernina USA for more details.
September 22: 10am, CDT
September 22: 6pm, CDT