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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Join In On My Pattern Making Draft Along In November!

Are you tired of not finding any patterns that actually look like the types of clothes you would buy for yourself? Have you noticed that most patterns out there either don't fit how they should even if you buy them for the right measurements, require a ton of adjustments, or are just plain uncool looking, not to mention expensive? 
Unless you have the measurements and body of the fit model used for the pattern company your sewn up patterns are most likely going to need some adjustments. 
In fact, fitting problems are probably the main reason most women don't really get into sewing for themselves.
 Making your own patterns isn't very hard!
This dress isn't exactly my cup of tea but see how simple the pattern for this 400$ Marc Jacobs dress is? Now finding the fabric? Good luck!
And notice how simple the cut is on this 650$ Pillip Lim dress.  

Sewing your own clothing is such a rewarding and interesting hobby. You are always learning new things. It make sense that if you do sew your own clothes already sometimes, the next step would be to learn to make your own patterns as well.
Wouldn't it be neat to go to be able to just whip up something that you saw in a magazine or shop but also be able to put your own personal spin on it?
And if you draft the pattern to your measurements and fit it perfectly, you can use that master pattern in the future to make lots of different style from.
A lot of the dresses, tops, and bottoms that are in style right now are really actually simple designs, not at all like the complicated designs found in vintage clothing and patterns.
I am going to be working through the book Design It Yourself Clothes starting November 1st.
I hope you will join along with me in this group pattern drafting project.
Each week I will make a new pattern from the book.
You can follow along as much or as little as you like.
The next week I will sew up that pattern and share the finished projects of others on my blog. Or you can post them in the Flickr group.
I would love if you would sew along with me! You don't have to commit to sewing all of the projects. I won't be doing that either, or else it would take me all year to finish this project.
I will be making the basic patterns in the book, the basic skirt, the basic button down, the basic tee, dress, and pant patterns.

I am really excited about making my own patterns and I love the designs in the book as well. 
Cal Patch, the author is being very generous in offering her time and expertise to the project acting as our Sewing Fairy Godmother! She has even agreed to donate a book to giveaway to one reader.

Stay tuned for the giveaway.....

If you would like to participate please leave a comment below. I did make a post last week to gauge interest so if you signed up then, would you mind doing it again here?
Below is the button for the project that you can post on your blogs if you like to do that sort of thing when you are in a sew along.
I do!


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Friday, September 28, 2012

Sew & Tell Saturday 9/29/12

Welcome to Sew & Tell Saturday!
 I have been away for a couple of weeks because I was participating in the kids clothing design competition Project Run & Play and was leaving my post entries up all weekend to steer people over there.
Well, it looks like I have been totally demolished by the competition this weekend. My little Purple Pumpkin dress is sadly chugging along in last place.

I won't pretend I'm not disappointed because I thought my little dress made from a white bedsheet was really cute. It's hard to take when no one is voting for your little one in an outfit you made for her! I thought the photo above was fitting for how it feels....
OK, enough of the pity party!
 Should you be curious to see the other entries and to cast your vote you can head over here after you post your projects. The voting ends on Sunday night.

I also just wanted to mention a pattern making draft along I will be starting up on November 1. We will be working through Cal Patch's book Design It Yourself Clothes. 
Cal has been gracious enough to make herself available for us and she will be even donating a book for a giveaway! I'm very excited. Stop by Monday to sign up.

So are you ready to share your projects ? I'm ready to see them!

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White Sheet Challenge : Purple Pumpkin

This week's challenge on Project Run & Play was to use a plain white sheet and make something with it.
Oh before I go any further I have to invite you over there to vote for your favorite kids design.
And if you decide to vote for me, thank you in advance...
I can't wait to see what the other contestants come up with myself. They are all so good...
After making a black outfit last week and a muted dusky pink one with black trim previously, this week I knew I had to make something colorful and fun for Genevieve and for me. 
Her favorite color is purple and I loved the idea of purple up against our giant pumpkins in the garden. Purple and orange are complimentary colors.
I'm getting ready for Halloween early !
 I dyed each piece of the dress separately before I sewed them together to create this ombre type effect. I used the same color but concentrated it in less water to get the darker colors at the hem. I actually painted the dye on in different concentrations to give it a striped effect. I mixed some purple and royal blue RIT dye together to create this shade of bluish purple.  This was the second dress I made. The first one is at the end of the post. I am still on the fence about which one I like more! The kerchief was made the first go round and has some gold painted flowers on it.
The dress is a high low style and I made the pattern from a maxi dress pattern I created this summer. The high low effect is more apparent in the first dress I made. 
I made a lot of mistakes on that first dress with the dye job so I made this one and added a ruffle to the bottom and made the skirt fuller.
Gigi loves to twirl around in it and the purple color is just right for fall. Since we don't get much cool weather here in California until late November I know she will wear this little dress a lot during the warm days to come!

Now here is my first version below. On this one I hand painted some gold flowers onto the dress. 

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Making the Mini Chanel Jacket

Today I am sharing a bit of the process it took to make my Chanel inspired Little Black jacket.
I used the pattern block I made for Gigi to make the jacket pattern. I added some width on the side to make it roomy enough to fit a blouse under and a button placket on the left side. There are no collars on Chanel jackets so that part was easy. I used the basic sleeve pattern I drafted too.

Chanel jackets are made from soft and loosely woven boucle fabric. To give the jacket body without adding cheap iron on interfacings or stiff innerlinings like horsehair canvas, Chanel jackets have a lining quilted to the body fabric like above. You have to leave enough space at the bottom and the side seams because the lining is folded under and hand stitched into the jacket using a fell stitch.

Can you see here how the lining is just folded under and stitched in place? It seems so simple but this is a method often used in couture sewing.  The entire lining is hand stitched.

I really messed up on my buttonholes!
Patch pockets are lined, then attached by hand with a fell stitch. Then the fringe trim is sewed on.
This is an example of a perfect fell stitch, used often in couture sewing. My stitch is a lot messier than this!

Once the jacket is complete minus buttonholes, the trim is then added. I made this fringe trim and sewed a stay stitch with about 1/2 inch allowance on both edges. Then I unravelled the threads to get the fringe look. It only unravels as far as the stay stitch line.

There are lots of other details used on Chanel jackets, like chains sewn inside to give weight to the coat, hand sewn buttonholes and two piece vented sleeves, but that would all be wasted on my three year old who went in this suit and tried to climb a tree with her brother after the photoshoot was over!

Well, I am tired of this type of sewing.... It is so detail oriented. Although I appreciate this type of work, it's not something I like to do too often except for special occasions.
I am excited for this week's white sheet challenge where I  can get my hands dirty and just see what happens!

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pattern Making Draft And Sew Along In November!

Well, I just barely squeaked by to the next week on Project Run & Play by three votes last night. That was a nerve-wracking experience to say the least. I actually thought the Boho Chic look by Two Little Hooligans was really cute and didn't deserve the chopping block. I was in last place all day yesterday and at one point I turned into a crybaby over the whole thing and my daughter had to comfort me and promise me she would get her friends to vote for her pathetic old mom. I had no idea I was so sensitive.  I now know not to make anything in black again. The details on my little black jacket and pants were hardly noticeable in the photos. 

I want to announce a little project I will be doing here on the blog in November. I have so enjoyed making my own patterns for the girls and don't design much for myself.
I'd like to develop a small library of basic patterns drafted to fit myself perfectly and I am going to be working through the patternmaking projects in the book :

Design It Yourself Clothes By Cal Patch.

This is a fabulous and simple to follow book on basic pattern making and I can't wait to get started!
I will be announcing more details from the Draft A Long soon but it will be starting in November and I will be working through each basic project every two weeks and posting about it every week. We will have a link party and a Flickr group too.

If you are like me and this book has been sitting on your shelf for awhile I would love for you to join in with me if you want to try pattern making. I have a few pattern making books, and this is the best one for beginners in my opinion. And the projects are cute. 
If you sew for your kids and not for yourself, I advise you to give sewing for yourself a try! I know the kids are so cute and fun to show off on the blog and all, but you deserve to make yourself something too! Who cares if your not in the best shape and don't want to sew for yourself or whatever other reason you don't do it. Once you start making your own clothes, you develop a better relationship to your body as you start to understand how important fit is and how badly most clothing in stores actually fits normal, imperfect bodies.
 If I haven't convinced you to design for yourself you can also use this book to make the same patterns but for kids. The only difference is you won't need to add darts to the kids patterns because kids don't have much difference between their waist and hips, therefore don't need darts. But most of these style will be adorable as kids clothes too. They have a slightly Japanese feel to them.

So, anyone interested?

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Project Run & Play Week 2 Entry: Channeling Chanel

Below is my Project Run & Play entry this week.
Stop on over and see what all of the other entries are and don't forget to vote while you are over there!
This post will be up all weekend so I won't be running my usual link party until while I am participating in the competition.
Wish me luck!

Kids riding pants  children's chanel jacket
Todays' Lesson in Fashion Icons For Tots 101?
Coco Chanel, The Grande Dame of fashion....

Gabrielle or Coco Chanel was not only one of the best designers in fashion history and a true original, but she was also one of the coolest chicks around during her time. Look, there she is smoking a cigarette with the great artist Salvador Dali before he started wearing his giant mustache!
She knew everyone and lived luxuriously in her penthouse out the Ritz hotel in Paris into well into her nineties.

Kids riding pants  children's chanel jacket
With all of the talk in the fashion world of Karl Lagefeld's new book, The Little Black Jacket, an homage to Ms. Coco Chanel,  I thought I might make my own little black jacket for the toddler set here in Sew Country! I studied the construction of the Chanel jacket and applied some of the methods I learned to this little jacket, which is made from some metallic textured boucle fabric I found in the thrift shop and have had sitting in my stash. It is lined in the same pink fabric as the blouse and quilted together on the inside, with an attached fringe trim on the outside and lined patch pockets. And of course some fancy gold and black buttons to finish it. 

Kids riding pants  children's chanel jacket

The on trend bow tie blouse is made from cotton sateen and has an attached collar/tie and a knit waistband to avoid it riding up and to make it more comfy. It also has puffed sleeves which I love for little girls, trimmed with black bias trim . I made the pants from some soft and stretchy black denim and tapered them to make them slim fitting. The inset panels are the same boucle fabric as the jacket, there is an elastic waistband, and there are little tabs on the bottoms of the pants to give them a more authentic, equestrian look. I drafted all of the patterns from the outfit with the help of my new pattern book, Metric Pattern Cutting For Children. I also made the beret at the last minute and the ceramic hairclip. The flower was a pin which I pried the pin part off of, then I glued it to one of my flat head bobby pins and I traced a dinner plate to make the beret. Gigi will not keep a clip in her hair or a hat on her head unless I bribe her with lollipops which I did plenty of in this shoot.
She is now ready to attend the Polo match in this ensemble. Santa Barbara here we come!

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Slashed Bias Strip Fabric Tutorial

There was a gorgeous dress on Project Runway recently made from what looked like little shreds of fabric. I was trying to figure out how to do this fabric treatment and this is what I came up with:
This may look like I spent hours sewing little strips of fabric on this dress but this was actually a very simple technique I want to share with you! 
All it is is two layers of fabric sewn together with rows of lines and then the top layer is slashed after the garment is sewn together.
The lines are sewn on the bias and the fabric is trimmed along the lines. That way when you wash it , it doesn't fray because it's on the bias and as you probably know, fabric on the bias doesn't shred!

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