Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Pair of Sleeves

Thank you Kasey for another wonderful fabric/pattern review!  The embroidery takes this project to the next level.  I think I need a pair of sleeves..... :)  You can follow Kasey and all of her embroidery work at Kasey Sasser Embroidery and Gifts.

I recently used the Black Silk Double Georgette from Sew Much Fabric to make a “pair of sleeves” to coordinate with a black and gold gown for an upcoming cruise.

The pattern is number 4012 from Decades of Style, the Sleek-Sleeved Bolero. In it they describe a “pair of sleeves” which is precisely what we need from time to time. The pattern has some interesting details: a vented sleeve, elbow ruching (which I changed to darts), and sewn in pleats at the collar, which creates a soft gather along the front edge. The pattern was easy to alter for an FBA, and came together very quickly. If you don’t need to line your fashion fabric, even the long sleeve version lets you get away with just 1 ½ yards of fabric. It also comes with a short sleeve variation, so you can have “pairs of sleeves” all year round. The sleeve itself is cut on the bias, allowing for a slimmer than normal fit while giving you plenty of stretch to move around.

To sew the silk I used a size 70 microtex needle and cotton thread – but that’s not even the interesting part! The gown I wanted to coordinate with has an old wrap skirt that was woven with gold and silver metallic threads. I thought embroidery would be the best way to enhance the whole outfit.

The georgette took to embroidery far better than I hoped; perhaps the double-thick nature of the fabric? I used titanium-coated size 75 embroidery needles for metallic thread, which have an enlarged eye. I also used Robison Anton metallic thread (the best one I have found; very little if any breakage, and acts the most like regular embroidery thread.) The color used for this project is “Antique.” I also used a lightweight mesh cutaway stabilizer, which I have in black but the material is opaque enough I think the white would be fine. I also used a light spray of KK2000 temporary adhesive just to help myself as much as possible.

As you can see the results are gorgeous! I decided not to go “matchy-matchy” on the motif so I could wear the bolero with other items if I wished; the peacock design lets it stand on its own. These designs are from the Mehndi Peacock collection by Embroidery Library. Although I did line the bodice of the bolero to hide the stitching, I also used a fusible tricot to cover the back of the embroidery – just in case any metallic threads might’ve come through. For the sleeves I only covered the bottom portion where the embroidery was located.

Need another pair of sleeves even more quickly? Try Vogue 7161, view D – truly a pair of sleeves! (Note on availability: Vogue does no currently list this pattern, but it is still available from 3rd party retailers.) You basically sew a rectangle into a tube, then add some binding to the edges – not even bias binding, it’s cut on the straight of grain. If you decide to finish the binding by “stitching in the ditch” instead of hand sewing the inner edge, even more time saved! In total, maybe 90 minutes from cut to finish? Yes, even with this lovely silk double georgette (sold out) and silk satin from Roz; I had no trouble sewing with these fabrics on the machine. I still had in my # 70 microtex needle, used a little tear away stabilizer to start my seams, and sewed as usual.

Some tips for sewing: it’s double georgette so yes, your cut edges will be a bit wobbly – it’s OK! No one will see that after they’re sewn, so don’t stress about getting the grain perfectly aligned for cutting. Also, leave the pattern pinned to the fabric as long as possible, it will make moving around the cut pieces much easier - Wonder Clips are good here; once you’ve cut out the pieces put clips all around the edges before you move them. The pattern recommends French seams and I second that, it will be the fastest, cleanest way to finish these projects. Also, georgette and chiffon tend to have wiry fibers, so check your finished seams closely for loose strands and pokeys. Forgo the pressing cloth and press from the wrong side. It will be easier to set the edge of the binding without trying to wrestle a third layer of fabric. Yes, the satin will get shiny, but once you’ve sewn down the second binding edge, you can go back with a bit of steam, or spritz and re-press with the cloth to remove the shine.

Afraid to steam or press your silk? Wash it first – it’s not the silk that gets water spots, it’s the finishers and other agents applied to the silk that get spotted. If you wash them all out first, you can always wash your silks afterwards. Warm water on the delicate cycle, a mild detergent like Woolite or 7th Generation, and a few minutes on lowest dryer heat to get out extra moisture – hang to finish drying. You won’t be afraid of your silks anymore!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Burda Style 1/2018

To purchase go to 
(Sold Out)

All Styles at a Glance

Line Drawings

Love the unique asymmetrical design in this skirt!
Skirt #111-Red Wool Tricotine
(Sold Out)

Original retro pattern from 1958
Dress #122-Coral Ponte Knit

This will pair nicely with a high-waisted pencil skirt or slim pants.
(Sold Out)

This is not your basic t-shirt!

Plus Size
The bow tie is separate so you can have two different looks in one dress!
(Sold Out)

The details: Pleats, Buttons and Pockets!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Five Easy Pieces

Even though the holidays are in full swing, you might want to start thinking about some basic wardrobe pieces that will spice up your winter and transitional wardrobe.
So, there are two color palettes suggested here, built around the beautiful Pima cotton paisleys and the luxurious rayon jersey knits.  And of course, we can always find an excuse to sew. Right?

1. Golden Amber Jersey Knit, 2. Heather Brown Wool Flannel,
3. Red/Maize Paisley Pima Cotton Shirting 4. Lace-Burnished Gold,  5. 
Silk Charmeuse-Apple Cider

1. Grape/Teal Paisley Pima Cotton Shirting, 2. Silk Charmeuse-Teal Green3. Black with Sea Grey Flecks Wool Blend  4. Black Guipure Lace, 5. Army Green Rayon Jersey Knit

1. Basic pencil skirt

Lace is not just for special occasions anymore!  Start with a classic pencil skirt like Butterick 5466 and use the Black Guipure Lace or the Burnished Gold Lace

2. A Soft, Effortless Skirt
Consider a soft, fluid skirt like Burda Style 07/2017 #108A using the Pima cotton prints. For these color palettes, I’m using Grape/Teal Paisley Pima Cotton Shirting and Red/Maize Paisley Pima Cotton Shirting.  

3. Make a Trendy Jacket 

A jacket is a great way to pull a look together!  Try Butterick 6493 with Heather Brown Wool Flannel or the Black with Sea Grey Flecks Wool Blend

4. Beautiful Classic Blouse 
Now, let's add a luxurious silk blouse.  Choose Teal Green or Apple Cider (Sold Out) Silk Charmeuse for Vogue 9204

5. Rayon Jerseys for Weekend Glam
Rayon jerseys are great for making a more relaxed look.  Select your look using Army Green or Golden Amber Jersey Knit with Vogue 9205. 

And there you have it!! Five easy pieces that will mix-or-match for several looks and perfect to make for a weekend get away.
Check out all of these fabrics at Sew Much Fabric.
This is my last post for 2017!  I’ll see you in 2018 with more fashion sewing ideas.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and as always, Happy Sewing! 

Fabric ideas posted by Beverly Gatterson, who teaches fashion design at the Art Institute of Houston.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Meet the Brand Ambassador!

I'm thrilled to announce that Dorcas, of Lonestar Couture fame is the new Brand Ambassador for Sew Much FabricDorcas has been a long time client and supporter with fab-u-lous style. Be on the lookout each month for gorgeous makes by Dorcas with fabrics from Sew Much Fabric.  Thank you Dorcas and continue reading to meet the Brand Ambassador!!

Read about this stunning jacket!

Where are you from?
Although born in Fort Worth, I have lived in Houston since the 1st grade so I have certainly watched it grow into the world class city that it is today.

Who taught you to sew?
My mom taught me to sew. She was a beautiful couture seamstress although, sadly, I didn’t appreciate those techniques during her lifetime nor learn any of them from her. I have 3 sisters and growing up she sewed some of our school and play clothes and most of our special occasion outfits. Many a night I can remember waking up and hearing her Singer just humming away. Even in my adult years I could take any sewing debacle to my mom and she could sort it out and get things back on track for me. Patience, patience, patience which I was always short on.

How long have you been sewing?
Honestly, it’s hard to remember not knowing how to sew but I’m going to guess from age 11 or 12 I really started taking a strong interest in it. I’ve always thought it interesting that all of my sisters learned to sew and I’m the only one who has had a continued passion for it.

What kind of sewing machine do you have and how many?
 In my “studio” I have a Bernina 560, Bernina 930 Record, and Bernina Serger. My eldest sister presently has my old Bernina 830. And this is embarrassing to admit, but I’m crushing on the new B590. I need it like a hole in the head but if I found a buyer for my 560 system I’d be really tempted to take the plunge!

What do you do when you're not sewing? 
I’m in real estate and I am the broker/owner of Ross & Company, Realtors here in Houston. I’m coming up on 20 years in the business and just when I think I’ve seen it all, here comes another crazy situation that you can’t make up. No two deals are ever the same and I enjoy helping people navigate through the business of buying or selling a home. I’m good at what I do and am truly blessed that virtually all of my business is repeat and referral. I even get a bit of business from my sewing social media prompting me to make the hashtag #realestatemeetscouture.

What would you call your style?
I would define my style as “Edgy Classic”. I like putting a new twist or updated look to the classic lines of basic pieces that stand the test of time. I’m not a trend follower and believe that fashion can still be remarkably relevant by thinking a little bit out of the box using color and design detail while still maintaining the classic lines and silhouette.

What is your favorite Sew Much Fabric outfit you made?   
Gosh, there are so many but I think the winner would have to be the French jacket and dress (see the 1st picture) I made back in 2014 . There are many reasons for this choice but first and foremost, I was smitten with the fabric the moment I saw it because, well, it’s orange! I thought it might also be perfect for this new project I wanted to try called a French Jacket. With little more than what written material we could find and an online Craftsy class, my friend Julie Starr and I embarked on an odyssey that has now become an annual tradition making our January Jackets. Roz’s boucle had just the right texture and loft allowing the quilting lines to nestle right into it thus becoming invisible. It also frayed beautifully creating the perfect fringe for my trim. It’s one of my favorite makes and I don’t see it retiring from my wardrobe any time soon!

How do you feel about being the new Brand Ambassador?
I was very excited and flattered when Roz asked me to consider being the Sew Much Fabric Brand Ambassador. I have always loved and admired her personal style, especially knowing that her gorgeous wardrobe is made from her very own fabrics. I think that her shop offers some of the most beautiful, quality fabrics available online. That she admires my style and sewing ability enough to ask me to represent her brand made me very happy. And proud!

Any final thoughts?
Roz and I hope to present some really exciting things together and are excited about the collaboration. We hope you’ll enjoy the ride with us!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Many Faces of Cotton

Based on industry information, cotton is the most widely used fiber for apparel production in the world.  The properties of cotton lend itself to multiple uses along with clothing such as bedding, draperies, towels, rugs, etc. We like it because it absorbs moisture, retains its shape, has a high comfort level, and is easy to care for.
There are several varieties of cotton; some are named after the places they were developed or where they are grown. And since we know that cotton comes from a plant, it is possible to experiment with these fibers to produce variations. 

Origin of Cotton Production

Cotton was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians for thousands of years. It became a source of income for the country during the 1800s when Europeans began to establish trade routes for fibers such as silk, cotton, and linen for apparel.

Different Types of Cotton

  • Egyptian cotton is considered the finest and most popular cotton because of its soft hand and long shiny, thin fibers. Used for making bedding and fine garments.
  • Sea Island cotton – another strain of cotton which has extra long fibers. Developed in the sea islands just off South Carolina and Georgia during the early 1800s.
  • Pima cotton- Has long and smooth fibers that also fall into the category of Extra Long Staple fiber. It is similar to the Egyptian cotton in quality. Also strong, soft, and durable. Named after the Pima Indians in southwest United States who were the people cultivating these crops in the early 1900s.
  • All of these originated in Egypt and were brought to America and became variations as they were cultivated.

Boho Chic

Cotton can take on the boho trend!  Make this look using Cornflower Blue/Sable Brown Paisley Pima Cotton Shirting and Butterick 6519 Pair with Classic Brown Tropical Stretch Wool for basic pants. 

Mix It Up For Weekend Events 
Red/Maize Paisley Pima Cotton Shirting will work great for weekend events as a top using McCalls 7682 and make basic tapered pants like Butterick 6327 using the Red Faux Leather.

Daytime to Dinner 
Use Grape/Teal Paisley Pima Cotton Shirting to make a soft feminine dress with Pine Green Laser Cut Faux Leather as an accessory vest. Try Butterick 6514 and Butterick 5359 for this look that can go from daytime into dinner after work.

Dare to be Different for Evening
Make these oversized flowy pants using Vogue 8955 and Dark Ginger Silk Double Georgette.  Pair the pants with  Rust/French Navy Paisley Pima Cotton Shirting for a show-stopper blouse, Burda Style 12/2016 #122. 

Check all the cottons out, both print and solids at Sew Much Fabric!

Fabric ideas posted by Beverly Gatterson, who teaches fashion design at the Art Institute of Houston.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Burda Style December 2017

To purchase, go to
(Sold Out)

All Styles at a Glance

Line Drawings

Gotta love a printed coat!

Great pullover to wear for at home holiday parties.

And a skirt for the office Christmas party.
Skirt #121-Brocade-Spice Wine/Gold Foil

A lace dress to bring in the New Year!
Dress #107B-Black Border Chantilly Lace

Plus Size
Cocktail Time
Tunic #123A-Black/Gold Stretch Lace

Love the waistline details
Jumpsuit #126-Black Silk Double Georgette