Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Shades of Blue

This past March, I traveled to Baltimore to take Susan Kahlje's Couture class on her home turf.  I had decided on making a strapless dress in order to learn the techniques for creating an inner corselette to hold the whole dress up.

The pattern I chose was from Grainline Studios.  I had searched and searched for a strapless dress pattern that had a little something special and felt cute and fresh.  This one fit the bill perfectly.  I have made several of her patterns up and they are all terrific.

The next big search was the fabric!  I took a look at the fabric color options Roz had for her silks and decided I wanted to go with shades of blue.  There were three shades that were vibrant and saturated and really caught my eye.  Roz ordered the larger swatches of those three and a fourth that was in the running so I could play around with the placement of them in the color blocking. There were several emails back and forth with some of the Sewing Fashionistas to get some opinions.  

It took some time to settle on the type of silk to order.  Susan had suggested a 3-ply crepe to make sure that the weight of the fabric was substantial but not too heavy so as to weigh down the skirt. the problem was that not a lot of colors are available in 3-ply and I had fallen in love with my blues. After looking at all available options we settled on the 4-ply silk crepe from  It was a great call.  working with the 4-ply was wonderful!

All the color blocking and seams on the dress meant that I had what felt like a million match points to contend with.  There was a lot of careful measuring.  A lot of pinning.  A lot of basting.  And a lot of ripping out.  But in the end, they all matched up.

The dress is underlined mostly with silk habotai and some silk organza on the bottom band of the dress to give it some structure.  It is lined with matching blue silk crepe de chine.

The corselette is constructed in Susan's method.  It has spiral steel boning and is anchored at my waist with the grosgrain ribbon.  It closes separately form the dress with hook and eye tape.

I must say that I had always considered strapless dresses off limits for me due to a fuller bust.  But this dress was amazingly comfortable to wear and the corselette made sure that nothing moved or felt like it was falling.  I wore the dress to a friend's wedding and didn't have to tug on it or adjust it a single time. Success!!

Teresa, you did an excellent job in selecting fabric, pattern and workmanship-Beautiful!!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Trending Fall 2013: Menswear fabric for Women

Last week I got a call from a family member who lives in Washington D.C.  The day she called it was 73 degrees outside. That was the high for the day!! In other parts of the world (like down here in south Texas) it is still very hot. No matter what the weather is like in your part of the world, Fall 2013 is quickly approaching and it's time sew for it.  I want to make sure your wardrobe reflects some of the exciting trends that are coming your way.

One of the hottest trends this fall is menswear.  The popularity of leather has pushed this look into the forefront.  The Fall 2013 runways were chocked full of beautiful interpretations of what happens when fabrics--normally associated with a well dressed man--are reinvented into feminine designs.

V1325 The trick to making this trend work for you is creating a conservative suit, using your menswear fabric and adding the feminine bits to it.  A soft silk blouse, pumps and pearls add just the right amount of feminine charm. This fabric, Chocolate Brown Menswear Wool, is perfect for conservative suiting (Vogue 1325). The blouse from the same pattern can add a pop of color and a dash of femininity by using Coffee and Cream, a soft and drapey viscose fabric.

If you don't want your entire outfit to include menswear fabric, create a jacket OR pants/skirt out of the Black/White Pinstripe,

Desert Sand Menswear Wool or Black Menswear Wool.  Simplicity 2446, Marfy 2413 and Vogue 8333 are excellent examples of a feminine designed jacket, cinched at the waist.  The perfect foil for the fabric. 

product image

Again, using a blouse is a fantastic way to add a touch of softness to balance out the tailored look of menswear fabric.  Vogue 8857, 1366 and Burda 7189 are examples of blouses that will work well to
contrast with menswear fabric. These patterns would look great made with the following fabrics: Black Silk Charmeuse, Eggshell White 3-ply Silk and White on White Stripe.  A peplum blouse (Vogue 8815) made with Ivory Basketweave is an other option.


A man's shirt is an all important item in his wardrobe.  The shirt dress is the ladies version of this item.  Still using our menswear fabric, you can make the dress out of Midnight Tropical Weight Wool ,  Olive Martini Tropical Weight Wool or Wall Street Grey. Consider Simplicity 2246 and Burda Style 09/2013.

Remember grandpa's sweater vest?  We're going to put a girly spin to it and make a wrap top or wrap dress.  Use the sweater knit Streaks.  Top it with a black blazer using the Black Menswear Wool and add pearls to complete the look.  

Want a more structured vest? Consider making a vest (McCalls 2260, Marfy 2285 or New Look 6008) with the Grey/Silver Metallic Pinstripes.  This vest will have an extra flair if you cut the fabric on the bias with a chevron effect at center front. Fabulous!  You can wear this for work or play.

For a menswear weekend glam look, your go-to garments are the moto jacket and a corduroy blazer.  The moto jacket is a hot trend and is happy to special order lambskin leather for you in 50 colors.  

Burda Style Plus Size F/W 2013 #405

The Camel Corduroy will make a blazer paired with your favorite jeans. This will be great for running those weekend errands.

You can use accessories to add a smaller amount of masculinity to your outfit.  I love the high-heeled and flat loafers that perfectly complement the menswear fabric trend. These dolled up loafers do a great job straddling the the masculine/feminine fence.  Add a watch with metal links as another accessory borrowed from our guys' closet!

More Fall 2013 Trending Post are coming from, where fabric is sewn into fashion!

Burda Style September 2013

To purchase, go to

All Styles at a Glance

Line Drawings

Classic shirt dress-part of the Fall 2013 Menswear Trend.
dress #123-Wall Street Grey

I love separates!  Together these are great for work but individually they are perfect for weekend glam.
skirt #105A-Heavy Black Ponte Knit

More seperates for wardrobe mix and matching!
jersey shirt #101A-Fancy Leopard Matte Jersey
pleated trousers #102A-Chocolate Brown Menswear Wool

Great spin on the classic white shirt.
blouse #117-Ivory Basketweave

Plus Size
This blouse will transition you from summer into fall.
tunic #133-Coffee and Cream

Weekend Glam!