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!
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)
We're still recovering from our trip out west to the Sewing & Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, WA. We always look forward to our annual trip every year. It's great to see familiar faces, customers and vendors alike. Every year we try to plan our wardrobe, filtering inspirations that we've been collecting into a final garment. Kathy did an amazing job of that this year! Her look was very cohesive, fun, creative and extremely wearable. Take a look!
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.
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
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.
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.
If you haven't noticed, we're a little obsessed with stripes around here. Knit stripes to be exact. The evidence is all over our latest pattern download, the eDress (and don't forget the Skirt Variation).
We've decided to take the stripe trend a step further.
First of all, we never shy away from horizontal stripes. Daring I know. This Skirt uses horizontal stripes in the skirt and bottom band.
When paired with a black Ann's Tank, the overall look is very slimming.
Using the same fabric, Kathy decided to change the look ever so slightly. Notice the bottom band uses vertical stripes. Just that small change makes a huge difference.
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 used a very cool fabric from Calvin Klein, a coated linen LL752. I lined it with a natural striped linen, LINNOV1-004 and used 2 nifty silver zippers.
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?
Nine Times Out Of Ten I love a quick project. The Ann's Tank is a simple, one night sew. Start to finish.
Then again, there are nights when I'm in the mood to add a little more detail. One easy way to do that is to start with a simple pattern like the Ann's Tank, one I know all too well, then add embellishment.
Even though it is summer here, I always like to have a collar on my knit shirts. I was getting tired of my polos. One of my favorite knit fabrics this summer was the little dot and line knit we have in three colors--black & cream, bronze & black and red & orange. This viscose knit has stretch on the crosswise, but not very much on the lengthwise so it does have a certain stability, wonderful drape and washes great.
Each of the garments in our MixIt Pattern can be made with a knit or a woven. This is the MixIt Top. I did not make any changes to the pattern or alter any detail because of the knit. I didn't even need to use a lightweight interfacing at the front keyhole or collar.I now have a really comfortable and cool summer top with one of my favorite patterns.
Nothing says winter like a rich, classic Infinity Scarf.
Create your very own using our luxurious Organic Fleece-Natural. This beautiful fleece comes in a 28" tube, which makes creating your Infinity Scarf really easy!
Tube: 1/3 Yard Organic Fleece-NaturalKnit Strips: 1/4 Yard Lightweight Viscose Knit (comes in 18 colors)Fusi-Web or Iron-on TapeThread (2 colors: Scarf Fabric & Stripe Fabric)
To create your own Striped Scarf download this quick tutorial.
We love our new pattern, the Ann's Cardigan & apparently so do you! We just completed our first Winter Sweater Workshop using the Ann's Cardigan. Since this workshop was such a great success we've decided to offer another one in May to create a Spring Cardigan!
For a complete listing of our events, view our Events Calendar.
The Ann's Cardigan class was very inspirational! We had a full house with 14 participants, each with a complete cardigan by the end of the day. Sewing the Ann's Cardigan is quite relaxing with an ultra flattering end result.
What a good looking group! I love how each person (well, almost each person-the Caramel & Brown Floral Wool Knit was quite popular) created a different look using the same pattern. Such versatility in one style!
Linda (left): Animal Print Wool Knit Ann's Cardigan
Kathy (right): Black & Grey Striped Knit Ann's Cardigan
Click through for more images.....Read More
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
Certain garments just make you feel good! The Alex Top is one of those garments that's flattering on so many different people with it's shaped waistline & curved hemline. One problem, how to do wear it in the spring & summer?
Here's a great solution: sheer, stretch lace. We're fallen in love with this type of fabric and we've acquired quite the selection.
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.
Anna Maria Horner Fabric, Village Bag
The heat is blazing outside. This afternoon, I believe it's going to top out at 98 degrees here in Kansas. Hooray for summer!
But when the sun is overwhelming outside, the AC is working in overdrive on the inside. This situation calls for a summer jacket. My go-to work appropriate jacket this summer? A sophisticated Verona Jacket. Make this new jacket in a classy, floral brocade and you will turn heads at the work place.