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Friday, February 22, 2013

Buttonhole Fun

The title of this post would keep about 99.9% of the population from exploring further, but for those of you that think that  buttonholes have the potential for expressing some creativity then read on!
 It is a snowy, cold day here on the shores of Lake Superior. It seems like the perfect day to try a fun technique!
Aerial Lift Bridge   Duluth, MN

 I have some "real" sewing I should be doing today but it is Friday, and I want a little fun, so here is a tutorial that may prompt you to think of buttonholes in a new way.

 How about a round bound buttonhole? Here are some photos of one I made today. I am using some denim scraps to show this technique.

Apply tricot interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric, and pin a piece of lining fabric  under the fashion fabric right sides together

Trace a circle of the desired dimension on the wrong side of the fabric. I am using a large vintage button as a template. The buttonhole I am making is for a smaller button.

Using Small Stitches sew on the traced circle

Leave a 1/4" seam allowance and then carefully clip up to the stitching at 1/8" intervals

Pull the lining through the hole  to the  wrong side, and carefully press until you have a nice, round opening.

Choose a contrasting fabric, and make some narrow piping. I am using stripes cut on the bias

Cut two pieces of the fashion fabric, and two pieces of lining

Sew the piping to one edge of each square on the right side of the fabric.

Sew the lining pieces onto the squares right sides together sewing right on top of the stitching that attached the piping.

Baste the two "lips " together so that they line up in an attractive way

Using an adhesive such as Steam a Seam cut some strips and lightly steam them around the faced hole on the wrong side of the fabric

Center the hole over the "lips" and using steam set the adhesive so that they are secure

Lift the top layer of fabric until you see the original row of stitching that formed the round hole. Using short stitches sew right on top of that stitching

Remove hand basting threads and you have a unique bound buttonhole!

A buttonhole like this looks really interesting with a vintage button!

A winter afternoon lends itself to playing around with fabric! This tutorial shows that there is no limit to the ways that we can adapt our skills to create new details in our sewing.
 One unique buttonhole could be the focal point on a jacket. Here is another unique buttonhole that I posted previously on the blog.   http://villagedressmaker.blogspot.com/2012/12/kooky-bound-buttonhole.html
 Have fun with details, and I'd love to see photos if any of you are interested enough to devote an hour or two to unique buttonholes!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Skirt Design

Here is a skirt I made for myself a few years ago. The fabric is a stable knit that I purchased from Emma One Sock. http://www.emmaonesock.com/
Despite the wonderful nubby texture of the fabric I felt that the skirt lacked "punch", so I played around with the  remaining fabric to create a loose panel on one hip. I used the front and back pattern piece to create a panel that covers the upper front and back of one side of the skirt. I played around with the horizontal stripes to cut the panel in a way that is interesting to the eye. 
 If you ever look at designer clothing in stores or in magazines you will notice that designers frequently have a unique little twist that sets their designs  apart. As sewists we can do the same thing by playing around with the design until we make it uniquely ours.
 I wear this skirt with a black turtleneck sweater and black boots. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Making a wool jacket

My daughter and I spent a very happy weekend in her cozy sewing room. We made Vogue 8861 for her out of some Marc Jacobs herringbone wool.

"Window" faced with lining to frame bound buttonhole

Bound Buttonhole
Bias detail between jacket facing and lining
Sushi for munching while we sewed
This jacket has a very graceful collar
                                        It was a very fun project for a cold winter weekend!

 My daughter texted me this photo of herself going off to work this morning in her new jacket!!

Sewing Weekend

Here are some quick photos I took on Friday while wandering the aisles at SR Harris. I was only there for 2 hours which was really a pretty quick in and out for me!

Home Dec

Right Side of Wool Aisle

Left side of Wool Aisle
 Customers cut their own fabrics in this place except for the silks.
 I didn't buy a lot of fabric this trip. I purchased two pieces of wool for a client's jacket project, and an interesting piece of red/green jacquard shantung. It was a good price, and I will put it in my stash.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Weekend Sewing Fun

This weekend promises to be fun! I am off to Minneapolis with sewing machine in tow. My daughter and I are going to sew together. This is a great way to spend a cold winter weekend!

Vogue 8861

 We are going to make this Vogue jacket for her. I haven't seen the fabric yet, but it looks like a fun project!
 There will also be some fun times with my two grand kids, and son-in-law. They are a lively family!

 On the way to Minneapolis I am going to stop at SR Harris which is the Holy Grail of fabric stores for those of us in Minnesota! http://www.srharrisfabric.com/ 
 It is best to visit there with comfortable shoes as it is hard to spend any less than two hours wandering the mind boggling aisles of fabrics. The fabrics are piled to the very high ceilings, and should you want a swatch of fabric from on high an agile young man will scale the racks, and whack off a piece for you!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

For Valentines Day.... Heart Shaped Sewing Box

Handmade Sewing Box Covered with Pine Cones

Inside of Box Lined with Velveteen, Padded area on Lid for Needles
and Loops for Holding a Thimble and Scissors

 This is one of my most treasured sewing antiques. The antique dealer from whom I purchased it said it came form New England.
  It was made with materials at hand, and it has not lost one of it's numerous pine cones in the many years since they were applied to the exterior of this lovely box.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Unique Jacket Lining

The inside of this jacket is finished in a unique way. It is a combination of techniques. Each section of the jacket is underlined with charmeuse, and then the seams are finished with a Hong Kong finish. This creates a soft finish; almost like the Chanel jacket technique of  treating  the fashion fabric and the lining fabric as one. It also has the beauty of the rolled lining strips over the seam edges.
 The owner of this beautiful garment could feel quite happy about hanging this jacket over the back of a chair, knowing that the inside is a beautiful as the outside of the jacket.

Hong Kong Finish at Jacket Side Seams

Armhole is Finished with Bias Binding

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Friday, February 8, 2013

Flapper Frock

A friend has a wonderful collection of vintage clothing, and she brought me one of her flapper era dresses so that I could photograph it to share on my blog.
 The woman in this photo shows the exuberance that women must have felt as they cast off their long, heavy Victorian gowns (with required corsets) and showed their arms and legs. No wonder they danced!!!

 This flapper dress is very heavy with lush beading.

 The back has a decorative and useful beaded band to keep the wide neck in place.

There are little hand stitched pin tucks at the hips to shape the straight sides of the dress.

The bottom of the dress has 6 beaded slits to provide plenty of room for dancing.

It seems quite likely that if the woman who wore this dress still lived at home she had to endure the withering look from her father as she went out the door!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Third Attempt At Artisan Bread

One of my students who is a top notch baker( http://www.prairiekitchen.biz/ ) told me about a recipe for artisan bread. The photo is of my third attempt at baking this type of bread.
 Fortuitously she arrived as I was taking it out of the oven, and pronounced it a "good looking loaf". This stuff is delicious, and I intend to impress my husband when he arrives home tomorrow from a little ice fishing trip. Burrrrrrrrrr!

Shortening Jacket Sleeves with Zipper Detail

The sleeves on this designer jacket need shortening. The zipper on this sleeve is very long, so I chose to shorten the zipper at the bottom rather than removing the entire zipper and moving it up on the sleeve.

 I had used pins to fit the jacket on my client. I marked the new finished sleeve length with thread tracing, and then removed the existing hem, and loosened the lining.
 Using a needle nosed pliers I pulled off the individual zipper teeth until I was a bit above the new hem line.
This required quite a bit of strength. Those teeth were very securely attached to the zipper tape. Next I went to my stash of zipper parts and found matching zipper stops.
I crimped these securely onto the zipper tape at the new finished hem length.  I cut the sleeve shorter leaving a 2" hem. I very loosely hemmed the sleeve by hand and then brought the shortened lining down over the hem.
 Shortening a jacket sleeve with this detail is quite time consuming, and sometimes I regret that people have duplicates of body parts, for when I was done with one sleeve I still had a whole other sleeve to tackle!
 This client has about seven jackets all with very complicated sleeve detail, so I will be working on her things for some time......
 Hey, and the upside is that I will be paid nicely for my ability to do this.....
I am so glad that "ready-to-wear" usually isn't!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ready-to-Wear Usually Isn't!

 There are quite a few alterations awaiting my attention. Alterations have always been the bread and butter of my business. Much of my custom work requires so much planning, procuring, and communicating that it is sometimes really nice to kick back and do alterations. Years of altering women's ready to wear means that the work usually goes smoothly. The woman has already purchased the garment, so my job is to make it fit. 
 The old "one size fits all" has been rewritten in my mind to "one size fits none"! If a woman has a desire to be well dressed then it is the rare woman who doesn't require alterations on at least some of her wardrobe. There have been many times when I have noticed a woman with a beautiful piece of clothing, only to have the look marred by sleeves that are too long, an uneven hem, a gaping neckline, or shoulders that make her look like a candidate for a football team.
 Admitedly, today's clothing requires fewer alterations as we currently wear styles that are more forgiving. There is current fashion that purposely includes sleeves that come down over the fingers. This can be very charming on a young woman wearing casual attire, but if a coat, or jacket has sleeves that go down over the fingers then this is ill fit.
Ill fit as a fashion statement
Ill fit as fashion faux pas
 The women in this photo needs the sleeves of her jacket shortened, and while she is taking care of that issue she might as well get those pants hemmed! Poorly fitting clothing draws the eye to the area of ill fit.

Wedding Gown Bodice Photos

Off the shoulder cowl wedding gown bodice

Back of gown has a bias tie
 The wedding gown is ready for the final fitting. The luster of this fabric is beautiful, but very difficult to photograph. I have great respect for photographers after trying to take photos for this blog!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Wedding Gown Post #5

 Twill tape is a very  useful and hidden addition to many garments. It is important to anticipate that garments can stretch during wearing even if they are made from woven fabrics. Wedding gowns are usually very closely fitted to the body. Body heat, and body motion can contribute to a gown "growing" during wearing.This can result in gaping necklines, etc. The application of linings, and fashion details can also cause expansion during garment construction.

 The photo shows the  back bodice of the wedding gown. It is underlined with silk chiffon. Prior to any further construction I sewed a strip of twill tape within the seam allowance at the top of the back and front bodice pieces. Twill tape has virtually no stretch, and will assure that the gown will continue to fit closely after it is sewn, and throughout the big day!
  I frequently use twill tape in constructing garments other that wedding gowns. It is useful at the waistline of pants that have a facing instead of a waistband. Twill tape keeps slash pockets on pants and skirts from gaping over the hip, it also keeps jacket fronts close to the body when sewn on the roll line of the lapel.
 Twill tape is manufactured in all cotton and polyester. I prefer the cotton twill tape. I use the 1/4" wide variety for the applications I described above.
 You can order twill tape here  http://www.wawak.com/products/search.cfm?KEYS=twill+tape&x=6&y=9

 I had another wedding gown fitting today. The bride brought it her jewelery and shoes. I pinned the hem at the floor in the front, and then starting at the side seams I graduated it back to create a little sweep train at the godet in the center back seam. We had fun admiring how beautifully her accessories enhanced the simple, sophisticated style of the gown.
 The wedding is in two weeks so there will be a few hours spent in hemming the gown and completing  a few other details. The bride and I have found much in common during our hours together as talk has drifted away from her gown to other topics. I will think of her on her wedding day (which happens to be on my birthday). She will be in a far away city, but I will be sending her wishes for happiness in her new marriage!