Saturday, December 30, 2006

Costumes are always a lot of fun to make. This was a costume we made for a client during the holidays. She was a tour guide for a festival held in Waco where they dress up in early 20th century attire.

The dress is made of 51% cotton 49% acetate floral embossed bengaline faille

The bustle is detachable and filled with heavy duty crinoline for lots of "puffing".

She decided to keep it plain, no flowers.

This is a easy and fun costume to make!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I received my new Essence January 2007 issue in the mail yesterday! It is my favorite issue of the year. This is the one that features women who look decades younger than their actual age.
You must get this issue and turn to page 101. I can't believe she is 90 years old!! I can only hope and pray I look half that good at 60!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Measurement Chart

Someone (I can't remember who) shared this measurement chart with me some years ago. I saw it recently and wanted to share it with my fellow sewers. These measurements are from arm crease to arm crease as used by the "Big 4" (McCalls, Simplicity, Vogue, Butterick). Start measuring right above the crease where your arm meets your body, go across your chest ending at the crease above the other arm.
By using these measurements, you will get a better fit in the neck and shoulder area (very difficult area to alter). Your bust measurement will probably not correspond with the size indicated on the chart, but the bust area is easily altered up or down. Make a copy of this to keep. I hope it will be helpful in the on going quest of "the perfect fit".

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Winter 2006 Mailer

100% Wool

60% Rayon 40% Wool

35% Wool 33% Polyester 32% Acetate
Designer Dana Buchman

Thursday, November 16, 2006

All Wrapped Up With Somewhere To Go!

The 2 wraps featured were made for our client, Shelia, who unlike most of us has somewhere to go. Come on, you remember, its called a Social Life!!

Wrap #1

The first wrap is reversible. One side is black velvet and the other side is a silk velvet burnout. I used 2 yards of 45" wide fabric and cut the fabric down the middle giving me two 22 1/2" wide pieces of each fabric. This will yield two wraps -one for you and a friend!

This wrap was simple to construct. Sew around all four sides leaving an opening on one side large enough to turn the wrap to the right side. Once turned slip stitch the opening closed. The key to this wrap is to press the seams open without flattening the pile on the velvet. To prevent this, I covered a wooden dowel with a piece of velvet and placed the open seam on top of it.

With a burst of steam on the seam, I used a Popsicle stick to press the seam open.

Wrap #2

This wrap was also easy to construct, but the fringe and its application took some work. There are 3 colors of fringe-purple, taupe and gold.

To get the purple fringe, I dyed white rayon fringe dark navy and kept rinsing it in a bath of vinegar and cold water until I achieved the shade of purple I wanted. The gold and taupe fringe are purchased tassels taken apart. The fabric for this wrap is 2 1/4 yards of 100% silk folded in half lengthwise. I used a blanket stitch on the ends of the wrap and applied each strand one by one using my version of a slip knot.

After I got all of the fringe attached to the ends, I applied Fray Check to the knots to keep them from coming undone. While this was VERY time consuming, it was fun to make!-Written by Cynthia Mitchell

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Early Winter 2006 Mailer

50" 100% Merino Wool Knit 18.00
(button on left) 1" 3.00 (also 5/8" 2.25)
(button in center) 1" 7.50
(button on right) 7/8" 6.00

60" 100% Worsted Wool 18.00
(button on top) 7/8" 1.80 (also 13/16" 1.60 & 1 1/8" 2.50)
(button in center) 1 1/4" 4.30
(button on bottom) 7/8" 5.50

60" 100% Wool 17.00
(button on left) 1" 3.25 (also 3/4" 2.75)
(button on right) 3/4" 2.75 (also 1" 4.00)

60" 60% Wool 40% Silk 17.00 per yard
Button 1" 3.50

60" 100% Wool 18.00 per yard
(button on left) 7/8" 1.40
(center button) 7/8" 1.90 (also 13/16" 1.50)
(button on right) 1" 5.20

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Bridal Alterations

Bridal alterations are fun although labor intensive. But despite the work, the fabrics and beading are a pleasure to work with. This gown has a strapless bodice and full skirt. There were two alterations - take in the bodice 2" across the top and bustle the back. The gown has a corset on the inside that hooks seperately from the gown. This is fitted to the body without ease. The outer gown is eased into the corset but not taken in as much because the fabric cannot withstand the stress.

The skirt is bustled in three places.
Satin buttons are placed under a
beaded applique and the thread loops are sewn over the next applique.

When the bustle is put together the beaded appliques form a straight line.
Congratulations Diane! You are a beautiful bride.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Late Fall Mailout 2006

60" 49% Rayon 48% Wool 3% Lycra 16.00

60" 100% Rayon Matte Jersey 26.00 Designer Jenne Maag

60" 57% Rayon 40% Wool 3% Lycra 16.00

60" 100% Wool Crepe Tweed 17.00 per yard

60" 100% Wool Gaberdine 18.00 per yard

60" 100% Wool 20.00 per yard Designer Anne Klein

60" 100% Wool Flannel 18.00 per yard

57" 98% Wool 2% Lurex 20.00 per yard

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Wardrobe Basic

I needed a new basic skirt to replace a well worn one for my wardrobe. You know, a skirt that can be worn all year and fit in lots of circumstances. I decided on a cottn/lycra fabric (from the early spring mailout) in a khaki color. I didn't want a plain skirt and I noticed several magazines featuring button front skirts. I dug through some of my Mom's old patterns and found an OOP
(out of print) Butterick 3696.
I added the pocket from the jacket

and topstitched the front.

Now I have a skirt that will carry me through fall/winter with boots and sweaters or spring/summmer with sandals and T-shirts!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I've Been Cropped!

I've started my fall sewing and I love the cropped pants. I love pants, period! They are comfortable and easy to get in and out of cars, something I do a lot. The cropped pants have the comfort of long pants but will keep you cool in the heat and humidity of South Texas. Now don't confuse cropped pants with gauchos. Gauchos have a wider leg than cropped pants.

I used McCalls 5185 view B.

I did alterations for a sway back and shortened the crotch depth and length.

The fabric is 98% Wool and 2% Lycra

I made a template of the fly for accurate topstitching.

This is a great cropped pant pattern to add to your fall sewing list!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

More Fabrics from Fall Mailout 2006!

45% Polyester 35% Acrylic 15% Rayon 5% Wool
57" (on the left)
55% Polyester 45% Rayon
Designer--Evan Picone

60" (in the center)
90% Polyester 10% Lycra

44" (on the right)
60% Rayon 40% Polyester
Designer--Jones New York

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Fall 2006 Mailout

Velvet Burnout (white fabric in the background to highlight rose burnout)
45" Wide
82% Rayon 18% Silk
15.00 per yard
Designer Jones New York
Lace print with velvet roses
45" Wide
100% Silk Georgette
18.00 per yard
Designer Nine West

Aubergine Brocade with Silver and Gold Metallic Threads
60" Wide
55% Polyester 42% Rayon 3% Metallic
16.00 per yard

Aubergine Satin
60" Wide
100% Polyester
10.00 per yard
If you would like swatches, email your name and address to

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Another view of Vogue 7937

This skirt is from the same pattern used for Linda (see 8/17 entry).
It is a quick, easy skirt that could be made in a day.

I used a softer 6 oz. denim for view D so the skirt could drape in the back.

This same skirt out of silk velvet or stretch velvet would be great for eveningwear.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Taking You from Day to Night

Back in the spring, Linda called wanting to update her wardrobe. We spent a Saturday afternoon going through her closet deciding what to keep and what to eliminate. Linda is a corporate event planner for an international oil and gas company as well as running her own event planning business Essential Elements and More (832-483-1987). Linda needs clothes that take her from the corporate office during the day to her own events at night. We decided to make Linda a jacket, halter and skirt. The jacket and halter are made from a
mid- weight cotton jacquard from her stash

and the skirt is denim from Ralph Lauren featured in last summer's mailout.

We drafted a jacket and halter pattern

and used Vogue 7937 view C for the skirt.

The halter has a seperating zipper on the side.

It also features boning in the front, side and back to keep the halter from sagging.

Wearing all three pieces gives Linda a professional look but by removing her jacket she stays cool while showcasing her many events for summer.