Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Burda Style January 2015

To purchase, go to
(Sold Out)

All Styles at a Glance

Line Drawings

The dropwaist silhouette is trending.... 

This tiered skirt is a fun and girly look but the unfinished hem gives it edge!
Skirt #114-Polyester Chiffon in Coral and Peach

Easy, Breezy Sophistication!
(Sold Out)

Love a fun printed coat for spring.
Coat # 102-Step Around
(Sold Out)

Plus Size
This is great for work or out and about for the weekend.  Add a skinny belt to create more waistline definition.
Top #12B-Animal Print Knit Grey  (Sold Out)
(Sold Out)

Statement Coat
(Sold Out)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Black Faux Leather Skirt and a Knit Top

Leather, both faux and real, have been trending for the last several fashion seasons.  So when this Black Faux Stretch Leather came in I had to sew a skirt ASAP!  

The pattern is an OOP McCalls 4837 view C that I made once before using a rayon/poly blend georgette.

This is an easy pattern but the fabric requires some special handling. Always practice sewing techniques on your remnant pieces of fabric before you commit to your garment. Here are my tips when sewing with this Black Faux Stretch Leather:

  • Use a rotary cutter to cut out the fabric.
  • I used a size 11 stretch needle.
  • Loosen the presser foot pressure so the fabric can glide through easily.
  • Use a silk organza press cloth and an iron setting between 2 and 3.  I pressed on both the wrong and right side.  Don’t press for very long!
  • I used a fusible stretch interfacing for the invisible zipper. (see tip above)
  • I made this before so I knew how long I wanted the skirt to be. I left the hem as is. This is where the rotary cutter is very useful!
  • Stabilize the waist with stay tape.

The knit top (Streaks) is Burda Style 10/2014 #103.  It’s a quick knit top once you can decipher how to join the front to the back.

It's important to transfer all markings to your fabric.

This is the fold line for the cowl.

This is the placement line for joining the back to the front.

Shoulder Line

This is the notch that matches the intersection of the cowl fold line and the placement line on the front.

Finish the back neckline with a strip of knit up to the notch.

Match the back notch with the front.

Right sides together, stitch along the placement line.

This what it should look like.

I hope these tips will help you successfully sew with stretch faux leather and make this Burda Style knit top!

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Working through the Holiday-Behind the scences of the 2015 Sewing Contest/Fashion Show

The students at Elsik High School are putting in overtime getting ready for the 2015 Sewing Contest and Fashion Show!  While their friends were going to the movies, cruising the mall or playing video games, these dedicated future fashion designers were working hard to ensure their garments look top notch for the show.  The students sacrificed their Thanksgiving holidays and went into the classroom to sew, sew, sew!  

Fashion design instructor, Abby, has done a great job inspiring the students with fabrics, magazine images and the students' own designs to keep their creative juices flowing.  Abby wrote a grant that was approved and the class now has professional dressforms. And you'll notice they are being trained of the importance of "fabric only" scissors!!!  :)

Sewing is alive and well for the next generation! 
(Sewing Contest/Fashion Show date is Friday, April 17, 2015)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Pattern Review: Simplicity 1324 and Black and White Graphic Ponte Knit

What wonderful fabric this is (Black and White Graphic Ponte Knit). I love the nubby texture and the random black wiggles!  I've sewn with Pontes for ages but never seen one quite like this! I used Simplicity 1324 for the skirt and the top, which almost gives it a one piece look although the top will work with black pants.  A word of warning:  The pattern for the skirt is huge!  Perhaps because I used this knit with a good bit of stretch although the pattern calls for a woven.  It sews up just fine in a knit but I had to go down a size and then take in the sides some more.

Thank you Cissie!  This was a great marriage of pattern and fabric.  I need that skirt pattern.....

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Burda Style December 2014

To purchase, go to 
(Sold Out)

All Styles at a Glance

Line Drawings

Love this blazer as a dress!!!!
Blazer #118-Emerald Green Wool
(Sold Out)

Sparkle and Shine for the Holidays
(Sold Out)

This would also work well with a pencil skirt or jumpsuit.
(Sold Out)

Capes are still trending....
(Sold Out)

Plus Size
Love this is featured with leather (sold out) leggings!
(Sold Out)

Hand Made Christmas Gifts
Ballerina Slippers, Sleep Mask, Organizer 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

HIstory of Brocade

When we hear the term brocade, it might bring up images of old outdated couches and dresses worn in many decades ago. Brocade is a rich and versatile fabric that dates back to ancient times.  Let’s look at the history of brocade. 

18th Century brocade fabric


A description of brocade is that it is “fabric woven on a jacquard loom with an all-over interwoven design of raised figures or flowers.” The appearance is similar to an embossed surface with contrasting surfaces, colors often mixed with metallic threads on satin or twill grounds.

The name brocade comes from an Italian word, “broccato” which means embossed cloth. It is woven on a special loom that adds an extra weft or filling yarn. It is this technique that makes the fabric appear to be embroidered. The origin of this fabric is not documented, however, pieces of this fabric have been found that date back to China’s Sung Dynasty (960 AD to 1279 AD). Brocade was also in use in Europe by the 13th century. Some theorists contend that the Crusaders of the Middle Ages brought the fabric to Europe from China. 

Increased Use of Brocade
18th Century Brocade Dress
Brocade Dress circa 1950

As it is with most luxurious fabrics in historic costume, the powerful and wealthy were the people who were allowed to wear garments from these fabrics. Having a garment made from brocade denoted status and power. By the 18th century, garments for men and women were made and brocade garments became more common as part of the average wardrobe of upper and middle class people. What garments were made of brocade? Usually vests and waistcoats for men and dresses for women. Shoes were also made of brocade. By the 19th century, it lost favor as part of men’s wardrobes. From the 1950s to the 1970s, it was used in making evening gowns. For the modern designer and customer, brocade is used for evening gowns, cocktail dresses, wedding gowns, and men’s formal vests. 

Jacquard Loom

One other point that needs to be mentioned. Since we talked about brocade being woven on a jacquard loom, let’s briefly look at what a jacquard loom is. It was invented by Joseph Jacquard in 1801. Hence, the name “jacquard”. This invention transformed the textiles industry by allowing the creation of intricate designs into fabrics. The jacquard loom made it possible to not only make brocade but other fabrics as well. 

According to some historians, the jacquard loom caused riots in the textile industry because workers feared they would lose their jobs. Ultimately this punch card system for the jacquard loom was adapted and modeled in early computer technology and these punch card systems continued to be used through the 1960s. Now, with that said, early brocades were made entirely by hand. The fiber of choice was silk. Brocade and damask are often categorized together but they are different. The difference between the two fabrics is that damask is a tone-on-tone fabric and is reversible, while brocades have multiple threads and the face of the fabric is different from the back. Both of these fabrics are woven on the jacquard loom.

Sewing with Brocade from Sew Much Fabric
Gold/Cream Brocade, Black Metallic Jacquard Brocade, Violet/Platinum Brocade

There are many variations of brocade available to designers and sewers. The fiber content is no longer only silk. There are many blends available. Look at the Black Metallic Jacquard Brocade with a fiber content of polyester, viscose rayon, and metallic. Both sides of this fabric are beautiful. And also look at the  Violet/Platinum Brocade made with polyester, acetate, and metallic. Very subtle design with lots of sparkle when the light hits the metallic yarns. And don’t forget to look at the Gold/Cream Brocade made with cotton, polyester, and metallic. With this one, you can reverse it, based on your preference.

To learn about sewing with these fabrics, I recommend using “Fabric Savvy” and “More Fabric Savvy” both written by Sandra Betzina for tips on the proper needle size, thread, stitches, seam finishes, and stabilizers. Because of the nature of this fabric, dry cleaning is the preferred method for care.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started sewing with these beautiful, inspiring fabrics. See you on the next posting. Happy Sewing!

Beverly Kemp-Gatterson is a professor of fashion design, textiles, and apparel and a published author.  Her hobbies are sewing, perfecting couture techniques, reading, and dancing. She has taught fashion design and retailing at the Art Institute of Houston for the past seven years and is now also teaching an on-line course at the University of Texas at Austin in Retail Math. She holds a B.S. in Textiles from University of Texas, M.B.A. in Management from University of Houston-Victoria, and a Master of Science in Textiles from Virginia Tech.