I did get to wear my fabulous new "recycled" frock on Friday night to an awards banquet. Boy did I look good! ~ it was the shoes, of course! As I had mentioned previously, the jacket was just a jacket, so therefore it required something to be worn underneath. I really did not have time to make one "from scratch" and, after all, I did have some some of the silk velvet left over from the jacket. I was lucky enough to have a camisole in my arsenal of undergarments that actually fit. Unfortunately it was the right color, but was silk charmeuse print. This would clash with my skirt. Soooooo . . . I cut out a piece of velvet from the back of my skirt ~ on the bias. I pinned this onto my ready made cami at t he top edge. Then I cut out a back piece. I could not cut this on the bias as there was not enough fabric. I was worried that this might be a problem and I was right. I went ahead and pinned it to the back top edge of the cami. I basted up the side seam on one side and then sewed it on the machine; I pinked the edges. Yes, this was being sewn right on top of the original fabric. I left it in place as though a lining. Next I had picked in the invisible zipper. Beautiful! I went ahead and hand stitched the top of the cami in place all the way around, BUT I added a little pizzaz! With each stitch I sewn on one tiny seed bead (left over from the beaded jacket). If you look closely at my photo you can see the beads. So, what did I do about the cami being cut on the straight of grain on the back. Well, it was a little tight. I measured to the center back and bravely cut straight up through the velvet to about 4" from the top edge. Then I added a godet from the left over netting from the lining of the beaded jacket. Voila! It looked so cool, fit the mood of the garment and it fit. Can you ask for anything more?! Well, I am going to get to wear my new ensemble again this Friday night for my birthday!
Friday, December 3, 2010
I have been busy sewing and cutting and sewing and beading! I must really have my head examined ~ I could have made something from "scratch" I think in less time. But, it is really all about the "Journey", right?
I have finished the skirt - or so I thought. I tried it on and the length was correct, but the waist was now way too big! I really did not want to rip it out and start over. You know that feeling! So, I had to get creative in "fixing" the problem. I finally decided that I would sew a pretty ribbon on top of the waistband as embellishment. Then I threaded a narrow strip of elastic through the ribbon, but only on the back of the skirt's waistband. Voila, it worked ~ & I even added a little bow!
Now for the top of the outfit, I have two jackets, shown below:
The beaded one on the left is a gorgeous color and has incredible beading. The entire jacket is lining in a stretch netting (remember this!) The jacket on the right is a silk velvet which also have a matching tea length a-line skirt. My first daring act was to measure down the back of the jacket to where my waist is, measure up 2" and mark this point in the center back. On the side seams I measured down from the underarm 3". I drew a curve from one of the side points to the center point and then back to the other side. I ripped out the side seams up to each of the side points. Then on a flat surface, I carefully cut along this curved line and removed this portion of the back of the jacket. From the matching velvet skirt I cut out a flounce ~ near the hemline. The resulting flounce was a little wider than my curved cut off piece and about 8" long. I sewed a stabilizing row of long stitches along the top of the flounce. I pinned this to the back of the jacket. The sides matched the sides of my jacket. The flounce, being wider, I gently gathered it in the center back for a little extra fluff! The only tricky part was getting the side seams and the flounce to miter into each other without a bump. Ah, it worked!~ just as I had envisioned it.
My second daring act was to cut into the beaded jacket. I cut along the straight beaded sections in the center front up about half way up and then started rough cutting around some of the heavier beaded motifs. I pinned this section to the front of my new jacket and sat through several inane police dramas as I hand stitched all of this beading to my jacket. It was very labor intensive and required really good lighting and very sharp embroidery scissors to trim between the motifs but so worth it. It looks great.
Now for a hem . . . I was stumped. I did not want a regular hem. It had to be soft and elegant. So, I started cutting long strips from the stretch netting left over from the lining of the beaded jacket. They were about 3-4" wide. I folded them in half lengthwise and finger pressed them. I ran a gathering stitch along each near the cut edges. I ended up with four of them. I gathered them softly and pinned these to the bottom edge of the jacket ~ overlapping the raw edges when I needed to add another strip. Wow, it was looking good. I sewed my ruffle to the jacket, but, of course it still needed something!
I told you that I should have my head examined. Whenever I design for myself it always becomes far more complicated and time consuming than first estimated. This is why I am so conscious of ease of design and simplicity of construction when I choose to design a kit for the store. Ah, why can I not keep this in mind ALL the time! So . . . I decided to do some beading all along the hem right above the ruffle.
So, the jacket is done. The skirt is done. But what am I going to wear underneath the jacket??? Hmmm . . . I have a couple of ideas and this requires a trip to my closet
and another adventure in my sewing room!
I have to have this ready to wear in about 6 hours, so I will post tomorrow what the "camisole" will be.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Oh My! I was out holiday shopping when I spied these incredible heels. I really needed to find some kind of a top to wear with a pretty black lace skirt hidden in the back of my closet, but I did not find a single one that appealed to me. BUT ~ these shoes just spoke to me! Naturally I had to try them on. Now, you must know that I am not in my twenties anymore and have not worn anything like these in quite a long while. I could not believe that I could actually walk in them! And, you will not believe it, but they were actually comfy! Nearly too good to be true. So, I bought them and they came home with me. Yippee! I have had them "on display" in my bathroom for a few days now as I have been pondering what to wear with them. I could make something. After all, I do have a dinner party to go to this Friday ~ plenty of time!
I remembered that I had an outfit in my armoire - purchased over 10 years ago - size 4! Ha, we all know that will never work! I studied the skirt. It is floor length and concluded that I could remake it, sorry, I mean "recycle" it. It will need to fit my now size 10 waistline which will change the overall length of the garment. Perhaps a tea-length. The skirt is a gorgeous Dana B, a printed silk organza with a velvet ribbon at the hem and it looks fabulous with my killer shoes! I studied the price tag ~ of over 10 years ago! ~ $179 Of course, I only paid $16 at a warehouse sale.
Last night, I unpicked the zipper ~ I'll reuse it! I cut the waistband off ~ after pinning the organza to its slippery silk lining. Then, using a yoke pattern from of a skirt pattern that I like, I cut off the top of the skirt to match the top of the skirt pattern piece. Today I will baste the two layers of the skirt together, reinsert the zipper and test fit the waist. I have not decided on a waist treatment yet. I like to design as I go. I'll let you know how it turns out. Then, its off to design the jacket/top! I have a silk velvet skirt, a matching silk jacket and a beaded lace jacket that I am going to cut up and put all into one stunning garment! Stay tuned and send good thoughts as I need to wear this Friday evening!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
I know, I know . . . I promised that I would have this posted by Thursday evening, but, well, best laid plans! Between unpacking from the Houston Quilt Festival (which was fabulous! - have you been on Sew It Up to see how many kits are Sold Out!) and then packing up for my last sewing retreat for the year . . . hmmm, I am only human! I wish that I could learn this fact!
At the Houston Quilt Festival, I had several tee-shirts on display at one corner of the booth that I had decorated with a crinkled metallic silk fabric. I got the idea from a woman's wear catalog last Spring ~ see the picture at left. I did not order any as they started at $69 each. So, I said, "I can do that" & for a lot less! We sold little "burrito" rolls of the fabric in several colors at the quilt show. Lots of people stopped, bought the fabric and wanted instructions for "how I did it". So here goes:
First, I sketched some ideas out from different catalogs. I cut samples of the metallic silks and went shopping for tee-shirts. I did not really want the Walmart/Target quality so I went to Ann Taylor, Talbots, TJ Max and Ann Taylor Loft. Ann Taylor had them on sale so I bought several! I did find one at TJ Max as well.
I used my rotary cutter, the mat and a clear ruler to "slice" off 1" strips of the silk. This is what I used for most of the shirts. It would depend on my chosen design as to how many strips to cut. Then I ran a gathering stitch, on my sewing machine, in a matching color of thread down the center of each strip lengthwise. See below:
Gently gather the strips and pin to the front of the tee-shirt. On some of my shirts I stitched them on by machine with either a straight stitch or a small zigzag on others I stitched them by hand. It really does not matter which way you do it ~ its personal preference. As you come to the end of a strip, simply overlap a new strip and continue. I did not sew the strips together.
Its fun to put them on in a squiggly design or follow the neckline of the tee-shirt. Let your creativity come forth and just have fun. Pin the strips down in different positions until you come up with the design you like most. Once you stitch them down, it is very difficult to "rip out" of the silk as it will leave stitch marks in the fabric. On some of my tees I added beads, sequins, rhinestones, etc in the folds of the gathered strips. You know that I love bling!
Here is a close-up of my design for the peachy tee-shirt. I really went crazy here. I must have been watching TV and just kept pinning and stitching. I do like it a lot though. After I finished the stitching, I wanted the "ruffly" look to be a little more subtle, so I pressed them down with a medium hot iron, with steam. I did use a pressing cloth as the silk is delicate. This compressed the ruffles and I really like the effect.
|Here is the completed tee-shirt!|
Below are several other tees that I did. On the soft pink one, I sewed the 1" strips to the inside of the neckline. Then I cut 2" strips, gathered them down the center and stitched them to the outside of the neckline.
For the Blue tee-shirt, I cut 4" strips, folded them in half lengthwise and ran a gathering stitch at the cut edge. I gathered them in and twisted them several times as I was pinning them down to the front of the tee-shirt ~ in the shape of "S's". You can see the raw edge at times at the neck edge. I then added a beautiful ribbon trim on top of the silk along the neckline. On both of these tees I pressed then down after I finished stitching to "tame" their fluffiness.
One of my favorite of all of the shirts that I have decorated is my white one. I used the silver metallic silk, some ribbon, a left-over piece of "drippy" rayon lace and a section of sequined trim. (see where there are on the tee shirt below). I cut my strips 2" wide for the left side of the neckline. As you can see, I added a trim in the center. On the right side of the tee, I cut my strips wider: 3". For the larger "rose", I used approximately 12", folded my strip in half and ran a gathering stitch along the cut edges. I gathered it in gently and then spiraled it into a "cinnamon bun" shape. Then I tacked it down as my corsage. Above my rose, I made a smaller one using a scrap of my 1" strips. I gathered it in tightly and spiraled it as well. Since it was a 1" strip, the edges are the raw edges. Cute, huh? I sewed a little round piece of lace to the center of the flower.
But, my favorite tee-shirt is my gray one!
I cut out a large heart shape from the silver metallic silk ~ approximately 12" long X 10" wide which I then cut in half. I ran a gathering stitch down the two long cut edges (the center of the heart). I gathered them in very gently, layered them one on top of the other which the points of the heart pointing to the left shoulder and stitched them down. This tee shirt happened to already have a gray cotton ruffle on the right hand side of the neckline ~ but anyone could add this to a tee-shirt on their own. Next, I added a gray taffeta picot edged ribbon to the neckline on top of the silk heart halves. I folded the ribbon back and forth like a "z" shape and tacked it down. I added gray pearl beads every 3" or so. Where the two decorative fabrics met, I added a small section of gray beaded trim to dangle!
Here is my newest. I love the teal/turquoise color and the silk matched it perfectly! For this one, I did not press down my ruffly rosettes. For this one I cut 2" strips, ran the gathering stitch down the middle and then folded the strip along the gathering line. I spiraled the strips into rosettes and then twisted the strip and then spiraled it in the opposite direction. I added beads and sew-on sequins between the folds.
So, for all of you who purchased little bundles of the metallic silk at the quilt festival, have fun and send us pictures of your creations!
We will add these silks to our website sometime this coming week for everyone else to play with!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
We are finally done getting ready for the big Houston International Quilt Festival! Hooray! Tomorrow we pack the truck and one SUV. On Thursday, I will be driving down to Houston. I will be staying with my Mom and she is like a kid at Christmas - so excited that she will be having company! I can't wait to see her. Its been too many months since our last visit. My how time flies! My summer was a little too eventful to fit anything else into as you may remember. Anyway, she asked me this morning if I could make a short stop over in Corsicana at the Russell Stover factory outlet. She loves chocolate and says that candy bars are getting too expensive - she's precious!
I was counting up all of the new kits that we will be taking to Houston this morning and came up with nine! "Holly" (pictured at left) is new for the holidays ~ a super quick and easy to sew project. In addition to "Holly", I also listed "Candy Cane", "Lala" and "Billie Jean". They are all precious. I love the Olive Anne pattern that we used for "Candy Cane". It is the same pattern that we recently used for another kit, "Hopscotch". This time we eliminated the pockets and decorated the front of the jumper with a Christmas stocking ~ we found that if you leave the top of the stocking open, you can slide a real candy cane in as a treat! Here it is below . . . isn't it cute?!
I sewed up the skirt, "Holly" and decorated the tee-shirt. Janice, my "manager", right arm and dear friend, sewed up "Candy Cane". I love it! I don't do all of the sewing for our kits. I know that you are probably shocked to hear this, but I really am not a "wonder woman". I do try to be, but I fear that my age . . . or could it be my level of "system overload" . . . prevents this. Janice and Linda, who also works in the shop at least two days a week, both help with the sewing. I do however design nearly all of the kits and have veto power over all! Yeah, I know, I am such a control freak! But, I try to be nice about it.
Not all of our new kits are just for the holidays. "Lala" and "Billie Jean" are not. Check them out if you get a chance on our website. So, what are the other kits? Didn't I say that there are 9 new kits?! Yes, but you'll have to come to Houston to see them! Like always, we make up kits that we should label as "limited editions". That really means that we do not have very many of them - less than 20. If they do not all sell at the Houston Quilt Festival, we will list them on Sew It Up. And, if I have time between now and next week, I will list them all on our site.
So, we load the trucks tomorrow. On Monday, November 1st, I will go to the Houston Market to see all of the new designer cottons for 2011. I'll be ordering for the shop as well as for new kits. Then, Tuesday, is check in and set up day at the George R Brown Convention Center for the Festival. I'll keep you posted!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
|The Original Sewing & Quilting Expo Chantilly, VA|
We are back from Chantilly now, unpacked & inventoried. It was a great show! We sold out of many of our new kits and met lots of very friendly people. All of the pictures here are from our booth. The classes that I taught were wonderful ~ it always such a pleasure to share with others my passion for sewing and design! I had a most pleasurable visit with my daughter, Anna, in Charlottesville before the show and after ~ which I extended. It was not exactly by choice as I came down with a cold right after the show :( So, naturally, I had to rest up for the long drive back to Texas. How convenient!
It usually takes about a week to get the shop back in order and this time has been no exception. It looks really good again, but not for long - lol! The Houston International Quilt Festival is just around the corner. So, we are busy getting a few more new kits made. All of these will be for the holidays. We'll have a new baby jacket, two new skirts, a velvet dress and a peasant dress for children, a fun new lady's apron and more!
As soon as we get the new kits ready, we will "preview" them for you here on the blog. So, I will throw it into high gear in order to have time to leave early to make it to the Houston Quilt Market which is always right before the Festival. My Mom lives in Houston, so I will be spending extra time there for a good visit!
On a final note, having driven from Bristol (Virginia) up to Charlottesville and on up to Chantilly, I believe that the entire state is beautiful! I am looking forward to my next visit!
Monday, September 27, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
I spent this past weekend in Mineola, Texas hosting our Fall Sewing Retreat at the Southern Comfort Retreat House. It is always a blast and an absolute sewing extravaganza! This retreat's focus was on the construction of children's clothing; specifically knits. However, our first project for this retreat with a little fall twirly skirt. It was not made out of knits ~ after all, we had to have the evening to prewash the knits for Saturday! The project that I chose for our first garment was "Boo" which is one of our newest kits! It is also pictured in the upper left of this blog.
|Hey, Mona . . . looking good!|
|Mollie & Bettie, "real" sewing sisters!|
|Are you having fun yet, Denise!|
|Yes, Tracy, this is Heaven!|
Below are some of the "Boos" that the attendees made on Friday night.
I love the addition of multi-colored tulle under the lower ruffle!
|Nancy's favorite colors!|
|This ain't no "prairie chicken" look"!|
Some chose to use different fabrics (same pattern as "Boo").
And, then others, chose to test out a new pattern. On the right is the Girly Gore Skirt by Indygo Junction.
Of course, we do eat well at these retreats. Here are the dining rooms (see Linda in the kitchen! ~ she is our hostess extraordinaire ~the chef!) and part of our Friday night feast.
On Saturday, we sewed with knits! Many of the ladies had never "touched" a knit before. Well, you know what I mean. They had never dared sew with them. We had lots of beautiful garments by the end of the day!
Here is Tracy with her first knit project finished!
I do not know where everyone gets so much energy, but no one went to bed before midnight. For several it was much much later! By Sunday afternoon everyone had sewn up several little outfits and proud of their accomplishments as well as just a little tired. Memories were made, new sewing buddies were found and I think that many of us put a pound or two over the weekend! Ugh, that means back to the daily diet plan ~ eating healthy can be a little boring!
|Just a little Hippie Chick!|
|Great fabric combination!|
|A new twist on "Maya"!|
|A cute little "Bubble" skirt.|
Above are a just a few more pictures of the incredible little outfits that were sewn at our retreat this past weekend. Wow, what a bunch of creative women! I am so blessed to be able to share with them!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I first titled this blog entry to be "Is summer really over?" It must be because my "kids" are back in school! But it is still so hot here in Texas ~ I could ask, "When will summer be over?!" Ah, it has been a very busy summer to be sure. I have not blogged in forever!!! And, well, there is a reason . . . or several actually. So, as I reread this blog, I decided on a more appropriate heading; reminiscent of our first writing assignment upon returning to school after an eventful summer vacation!
|Here she is in front of Liberty's of London!|
|The Montecute House, Somerset, England|
where my daughter curated an exhibit of portraits!
|The start of an incredible adventure!|
Once back home I helped my 20 year old son pack for the adventure of his life: a 500 mile solo hike through the Colorado Rockies; specifically The Colorado Trail. It is not easy packing everything that you will need for over 7 weeks in one backpack! He even dehydrated his own food! Well, of course, there were 5 mail drops to different cities ~ mostly food!
|At the Trail Head ~ John & me (not smiling)|
Castle Rock, Colorado
My husband and I go to our cabin in Colorado every summer for about a month, hence ~ more packing! AND, we decided to have our floors refinished in three rooms of our home and have the kitchen painted while we were going to be gone. Not such a brilliant idea in retrospect! SO, I had to pack up my entire kitchen and dining room. Wow, I did not realize that I had so much "stuff"! I let my husband pack up his study. By the time we left for the mountains, I was so worn out that I just stared out the car window for three straight days. I normally knit, read and make my extensive grocery list from all of my great magazines (that I never have time to read!), but not this year! On day 2 of our vacation, we dropped off our son in Castle Rock, Colorado. This is where the Colorado Trail begins. It was so hard to say "Good bye". I knew that we would not be seeing him for at least six weeks. We would be lucky to get to talk to him once every ten days or so. So, it was a tearful farewell. Boy, it is so hard being a Mom!
|Engineer's Pass, The San Juan Mountains|
The first half of the month of July was spent playing hostess to friends that we had invited up to the cabin. Boy, we should have had our heads examined! That is not the way to start off a vacation. It would have been better to schedule that towards the end of the vacation! By the middle of the month we were so talked out that we hardly even spoke to each other! Well, not really. By then, I was so blessed to get sick. I had to heal quickly though because my husband had planned a little adventure trip out to Lake Powell in Page, Arizona and then the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
|Horseshoe Bend - Paige, Arizona|
By the time we returned to the cabin, we only had a few days more days of quiet before our vacation was to be over. It always so sad when we have to return to the Texas heat. This year our return home was quite memorable. A bear attacked our car in the middle of the night before we were to depart and caused considerable damage to the back end of our Jeep and all our things that were packed within. Yes, I did say a bear! There were muddy paw prints all over the truck and trailer. Long brownish fur on the seats & plenty of bear spit - yuck! And, distinctive claw marks evident made through boxes - scary! So, after we cleaned up the awful mess, we did actually hit the road. About an hour and a half down the road, we had two flat tires! Yes, not one, but two. Those bear claws are VERY sharp! So, you might be wondering by now if we just turned back, but no, we resumed the 16 hour journey home. And, . . . I know this seems trivial now, but we had no internet at our cabin this year - wow, can you even imagine! So, that is the reason my emails and blog entries were so scarce.
So, was that enough excitement for one summer! Hardly. Although I would not describe the events that followed as excitement ~ more like a nightmare. We arrived at our home at about 2am - remember we had several delays! After only 2 hours of sleep, our phone rang with bad news. My daughter had taken quite ill. We presumed that she was getting adequate medical care, but after just a few hours and several more phone calls, it became apparent that this was not the case. My husband decided that one of us needed to go to her, so that would be me. I had 20 minutes to pack a bag and get to the DFW airport for an overnight flight to London. Believe me when I say this, you do not want to get sick in Great Britain! Free health care? No thank you! After a week, I got our baby back home. And, with our wonderful doctors and medicines here in the U.S., she mended.
|The San Juan Mountains, Colorado|
So, whatever became of our son's adventure? He sent us "I'm OK" via his SPOT daily and he was able to call us about every ten days. He did hike the entire Colorado Trail . . . solo. He left the Denver area on the 26th of June and arrived in Durango on August 14th! Did I mention that he also climbed fourteen Fourteeners? Those are mountains that are over 14,000' in height ~ So amazing! But I was just happy to lay my eyes on him and my arms around his skinny little body! He lost about thirty pounds! And, for those of you who know him, you are probably asking how he could have lost that much when he is already a "stick". I guess that when you are hiking that far and climbing that many mountains, you simply burn far more calories than you are consuming. That's quite a diet plan!
|The Appalachian Mountains, Virginia|
Last Wednesday, my husband and I drove our daughter out to Charlottesville, Virginia to start her doctoral graduate program at the University of Virginia. She was working on her masters in Bristol, England for a year. She is better now, but I wish that she could have been home a little longer. Today my son leaves for Lubbock to return to Texas Tech as a junior and resume his studies. I wish that I could have a little more time with him too. We Moms are crazy I think. We can't wait for them to grow up and then we can't wait for them to come home! Boy, it is going to be really quiet around here ~ maybe too quiet!
So, now it is time to get ready for
all the fun fall events!
all the fun fall events!
I have a SOLD-OUT "Sewing in Southern Comfort" retreat in mid-September ~ sewing clothing for children. Then, at the end of September, we will be traveling to and exhibiting at the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Chantilly, VA. I have been invited to teach there as well as emcee two stage presentations. In November, we have the huge Houston International Quilt Festival where will be once again exhibitors. Lastly, I have one more retreat to lead in mid November ~ Sewing for Yourself. I believe that there are only two spots still open for that one. After that, I will be done for the year! BUT, I have so many ideas right now swimming around in my head, so I will mostly be busy creating in my studio for now! I'll keep you posted on new creations!!!