Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Little Red Blouse

Who couldn't use a dressy knit top like the one Samina, from Sew Everything, has made!  And in red!  Just in time for the upcoming Valentine holiday!   Thanks, Samina!!   

This wardrobe item is a resounding success, in my opinion. 


One look at the pattern (Vogue1596) and I felt warm and fuzzy ….  know that 
feeling?











Pattern Review: I followed the instructions and recommendations almost exactly, with a couple of tweaks. So, here’s a short review:

Assessment:  A stable knit is recommended by the pattern company, and I used a soft 11 oz rayon jersey in Torch Red from Sew Much Fabric.  It's a bit less stable than say, interlock or ponte knit. I’ve sewn with this jersey before and knew how to work with it. I was setting myself up for a bit of difficulty, though.

The design elements in this pattern are what is usually found in a design for woven fabric, not in a knit.  Because, there are multiple details: tucks on front and back, a one-piece yoke (no shoulder seam but two layers, like a shirt), an interfaced neckband, sleeve plackets and interfaced cuffs with loops for the buttons. Plus, a curved hem. And pockets!!

Points to Ponder over this Pattern (eye-roll here over the alliteration; I can’t help it):

Take extra time and patience with this pattern. It’s worth it in the end.
Paper between the fabric and your cutting surface is a must for fabrics with questionable stability.  Using newspaper is fine unless your fabric is white, beige or pastel (to alleviate any chance of the printing ink coming off on the fabric).
Serger not required: The entire top was sewn and seams finished on a sewing machine. I double stitched the seams and pinked the edges to finish. The pattern guide recommends it and rightly so since I found a serged seam would mean too much thread in this fabric. A serger is best used with minimal design and construction detail – in my humble opinion.


Tucks: Right away, I knew that making accurate tucks in the rayon knit would be a problem due to the nature of the soft jersey under the needle. To keep the tucks accurately straight, I needed to stabilize that portion of the front piece. There was a choice of thin fusible interfacing or woven organza; I chose red silk organza from my stash and basted it to the back of the tucks section, BEFORE sewing the tucks. The fine organza stabilized the knit without changing the “hand” too much.  Then, I marked the tuck lines using a tracing wheel and carbon on the wrong side AND then thread-traced the fold lines so they could be seen on the front.  After this, it was easy peasy to sew evenly placed tucks.

Create Templates:  except for the main front and back piece, anything else cut on a fold needs a full template. The yoke pieces (yoke and yoke-facing) are supposed to be cut on the fold if you use the pattern tissue; but I recommend that you make a full template with heavier paper.  The other pattern piece needing a full template is the neckband.


Tweaks: they are minor. 1) the neckline is just wide enough to go over my head without the little neck chain having to be opened from one end. So I did not attach a hook in one side of the neckband but tacked the chain on both sides.  2) I reduced the curve of the hem because a straighter hem is much easier to sew —  by now I wanted the darn thing finished!!


Into the spring 2019 closet it goes! This tunic is the first item done for my Spring 2019 “collection”.  Onward, seamstress, to the next item in the queue.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Meet Ann!

I have known Ann for almost ten years and she is one of the kindest and most generous people that I know.  She is a young mother of three wonderful children and a husband that is in dental school.  She is also the Creative Director of Youtique Bridal and Lifestyle.  To say her household is busy is an understatement.  Ann made the decision to live a simpler and less cluttered lifestyle to reduce stress and increase joy.  I will be collaborating with Ann on building a small but highly functional wardrobe that is handmade.  Continue reading and meet Ann!!

Where are you from?
I was born in Vietnam and became a resident to Lynchburg, VA when I was 1.  My family moved to Sugar Land, TX when I was 6 years old and lived there until I became a Katy resident in 2017.  My family & I have fallen in love with Katy.  

How did you learn to sew? 
When I was a toddler, I would watch my mother in awe as she sewed clothes for us.  I tried sewing in middle school but failed at reading sewing patterns.  I tried it again in college as I still wanted to wear fashionable pieces on a college budget.  Although I was a biology major, I would go to the bookstore and skim sewing books. I still have a few of the first sewing books I purchased from college.  My college friend Anne Kuo, who sewed for herself because of her gifted full bust size, gave me my first lesson on pattern adjustment.  She also gifted me my first Nancy Zieman book.  With the books I had as a reference and my limited sewing experience, I started a custom formal dress business.  I learned a lot about formal fabrics and specialty sewing during that time.  I continued to expand my sewing knowledge when I joined the Sewing Fashionistas in 2010, the year my daughter was born.  I finally took my first official sewing class in 2012 with Susan Khalje Couture.  It was a week-long class that changed my outlook on sewing, fabrics, and fitting.  I learned so much from my fellow classmates and Susan Khalje.  It was a life-changing sewing experience for me.  I hope to one day attend The Paris Tour with Susan Khalje Couture.  

As a Wife and Mom to 3, how do you find time to sew? 
I had tried for years to sew for myself but it was hard fitting it into my schedule after caring for children and managing my online Bridal Business.  Instead, I decided to work it into my business model to share my experience of sewing for myself and do wardrobe planning, especially since I am on a journey of simplifying.  This is an opportunity to explore different fabrics outside the world of bridal.

What kind of sewing machines do you use? 
I use the Bernina Artista 640 and the Bernina 1300MCD. 


What is your favorite Sew Much Fabric garment? 
My favorite Sew Much Fabric garment is the Pine Green Laser Cut Faux Leather dress.  Beside sewing on a leather patch, I never had the opportunity to sew a leather outfit.  Everything about the Laser Cut dress was a fun adventure for me.  I learned a lot about sewing with leather and new sewing techniques for this particular project. 
Photo courtesy of Victoria Garcia Studios

Why do you want to do this “style journey” now? 
When I had my third child in 2010, I decided to stay home with my children.  However, I transitioned my job into doing video tutorials and alterations part-time where it gave me the flexibility to work from home.  Working behind the camera and caring for little children led me down the path of self neglect.  I lost my fashion sense and my body was not the same as it was pre-babies.  I want to do this “style journey” now because I am ready to go out into the workforce full swing.  In 2018, I started stepping out of my home studio to attend meetings, networking events and traveled for work.  I decided I needed a new fashion forward “working” mom wardrobe.  I wanted a wardrobe to fit my lifestyle and express my style aesthetic.  
Ann's collaboration with Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn.

What do you want to achieve with this collaboration? 
 I want to explore how to sew and work with different fabrics beyond the basic formal bridal fabrics I am used to.  Through this collaboration, I hope to learn more about my style aesthetic and how I can plan my wardrobe accordingly.  Since Roz is a textile expert and professional stylist, I know I will expand my sewing experience and successfully accomplish my wardrobe goals.  I have a feeling this will be another life changing experience for me.   

What other interests do you have outside of sewing? 
Besides sewing and spending time with family, I love a good adventure. I enjoy traveling, exploring places, and learning about different cultures.   Also, my husband & I enjoy running to keep ourselves healthy.  We have accomplished 3 half marathons (13.1miles) and will be running our first full marathon (26.2miles) in January 2019.  Now, this final interest is a stretch.  I want my very own motorcycle but my husband is hesitant about the idea, understandably.  I have taken a motorcycle class and got my license.  However, I am waiting on my better half to give me the okay.  This way, I can feel the wind in my hair and ride off into the beautiful sunset.  
That's Ann in the middle!

Anything else? 
I am excited for this new chapter in my journey and I am hoping anyone who comes to visit can learn something new and share in the experience.

Monday, December 31, 2018

End-of-the-Year Clearance Sale!


Out with the old and in with the new!  

Take an additional 15% off fabrics already reduced for savings up to 60% Off!
(Includes newly reduced fabrics)

Use Coupon Code 2018
Sale ends 1/6/19 at midnight CST

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Burda Style 01/2019

 To purchase, go to smfabric.com

All Styles at a Glance


Line Drawings


Statement Jacket

Dance the night away!

Weekend Glam

Warm and Stylish


Plus Size
This jacket works for any occasion-office, weekend
 or special occasion.

Sheath dress with sleeve details

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Year-End Review 2018

It's time to start saying goodbye to 2018.  But before we begin our sewing plans for 2019, let's take a quick look back at all of the fabulous garments made in 2018 with fabrics from Sew Much Fabric!

First up is Dorcas, Brand Ambassador for Sew Much Fabric
She added beautiful pieces to her closet that many of you were inspired by.  You can read all of her posts here.  


Samina, Andrea, and Kasey wrote blog posts and graciously shared their tips on working with various fabrics.  Fabulous!!

And others sent in pictures for us to admire and to see the fabrics come to life!  


Thank You to everyone for taking the time to write blog posts and/or for sending in pictures of your fabulous makes!  Each of you kept us motivated with sewing ideas.  I know 2019 will bring new ideas and tips and I'm looking forward to sharing what's hot off your sewing machine.
Happy (Sewing) New Year!!  

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Reptile: The Other Animal Print

Thank you, Andrea, for sharing your style journey and great tips on sewing with this Reptile Print Stretch Sequin Tulle!  

After a year of working through the process of wardrobe education and planning, and learning to understand color as it relates to my taste and style. I came out of the year-long "Sewing With a Plan" process with a deeply renewed sense of confidence and trust in my choice of clothing, whether I  make the garment myself or purchase ready to wear.

I had no clue what my style was, I would just make whatever came to mind, or across the "interwebs" with no direction for how it would fit into my wardrobe life.   We learned to understand style and aesthetic from our Wardrobe Consultant, aka, Roz of Sew Much Fabric.  She taught us how to pinpoint our personal style esthetic and taste in clothing, and evaluate our lifestyle or wardrobe life. Mine turned out to be my all-time favorite: Bohemian, aka BOHO.  My secondary style aesthetic,  "Urban Chic" came as a surprise to me, not to mention I didn't know what it entailed, let alone, how it looked.  I realized how exacting these two styles were for me when I began creating my own mood board via Pinterest.

To end the year, we were challenged to make an outfit that represented our style aesthetic to show at our annual Holiday celebration.  This year we celebrated with a "Runway My Way" Show.  The fashion show was a huge success!  As my commentary was read by Lauren of LFB Color, our Color Strategist, during my "Runway Walk" I felt like a superstar and was extremely comfortable.
Photos by: Victoria Garcia Studios
Pattern and Fabric 
Pattern:  Top and pants- Self-drafted 
Fabric: from Sew Much Fabric
           Lining- Beige Tricot Lining 
           Back yoke and waistband- Leather 
                  Back- Golden Amber Rayon Jersey Knit
                  Underlining- Beige Tricot Lining (front only)   
                  Front placket/bindings-calfskin leather I got on a trip to                    Florence, Italy.

Construction Details
Because the project included so many construction elements and fabric combinations, I made sure to document the entire sewing and making of this outfit, along with my Runway Walk on my youtube video.  Here are a few video screenshots to give you an idea of how easy it is to sew this combination.

I am very satisfied with my outfit and will be able to switch it up anytime, to wear the top with jeans or other pants, and the sequin pants, I could easily wear them with a silk blouse and jacket to turn it up.

My sewing has changed tremendously after this experience.  It is much easier to decide what to make and I just don't stress anymore about what others are sewing.  I am in my own space and I LOVE IT!!!
Photos by: Victoria Garcia Studios

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Misty Top 2.0

I this is my favorite version of the Misty Top by Andrea of Sew To Fit.  The new sleeve and waist sash just make this so figure flattering.  I know you'll want to make one, too!  Thanks, Andrea!!

This version is the main version of the pattern with a sleeve hack and sash upgrade. I detailed this hack on my last "Sew & Chat" on my youtube channel.  Instead of sewing the sleeve as the two-piece with the split as drafted with the tie ends, I changed it up a bit.  The original pattern, as with this version, is well fitted at the bust-line and softly drapes out at the waist for comfort with a shirt-tail hem in the front and back.  The ties were added to the waistline so that I could have a sewn-on sash to give the effect of a peplum top, but without the waist seam.

In order to get the ties, I used the cuff tie pattern piece and lengthened it to sew them into the side seams and just wrapped them around the back and tied them at the front.  They are only turned and hemmed, not doubled.  I did not want to have the ties too heavy. 
To get the sleeves to open as they are, I folded back the cap area into a V-shape about 5 inches down towards the center.  Then I cut each separate pattern piece, front, and back.  They were then sewn together, up the center, creating a seam up the arm to the point where it split into the v-opening.  The open section was hemmed after the seam up to the shoulder before inserting the sleeve into the bodice using the flat method I show on my tutorial video here:  How To Sew in a Knit Sleeve.  
You can see in the picture above that the "split" was sewn closed as to create a "cold shoulder" effect with the cap area revealing a little skin detail.  

FABRIC:  The fabric is an 11oz rayon jersey knit from Sew Much Fabric.  The pattern was originally designed using this fabric, and rightly so...because to date, it is the best choice for this design, especially with the way the neckline is finished.  There is no finish at the neck because it wraps around the shawl shape and gets handstitched to the back neckline.  The front is unfinished and naturally folds on itself.


SKIRT: Self-drafted, made with another beautiful jersey from Sew Much Fabric, now sold out. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Linked

The 90s chain link print is back and is considered an iconic print today!  Dorcas, Brand Ambassador for Sew Much Fabric, has linked this print Two Chains Viscose Jersey Knit -Camel with a beautiful faux wrap dress pattern!  Thanks, Dorcas!


Okay, I'm no Aretha Franklin but I am rockin' this Two Chain Viscose Rayon Knit from Sew Much Fabric. I knew this classic print called for a wrap dress but I just didn't want to fiddle with a traditional wrap, then I remembered McCall's 6163 (OOP), a mock wrap that I'd made years ago and loved.


I lined the dress with Tricot, also from Roz, and it really made a nice finish for the front crossover pieces rather than just a foldover as the pattern called for:









I also love the lining at the neckline for a professional finish:

And after fell stitching by hand:

All of these finishes plus no a hassle "wrap" and the cute gathered on cuff sleeves make for an on-trend knit wrap worthy of praise from DVF herself! All fabrics available at Roz at Sew Much Fabric!

Burda Style 12/2018

To purchase, go to smfabric.com
(Sold Out)

All Styles at a Glance



Line Drawings




Can't go wrong with a Chanel-like jacket!


Statement Coat!

This dress brings the focus to your face.  
Beautiful for the holidays.

Another look for the holidays with a little edge!  
Designer Pattern
Jumpsuit #119-Navy Blue Ponte Knit


Plus Size
Change the look of this top from dressy to casual 
with your fabric choice.

Love the neckline details paired with classic pants.