Thursday, August 27, 2015

Get the Look: Daisy Lace Knit Skirt

Carla made a classic A-line skirt for her daughter using a pretty floral knit print that reads like a polka dot. Carla's daughter styled her skirt with a white knit top and navy cardigan for her conservative office.  But she could also switch it up and wear a classic white shirt with a blue jean jacket for weekend glam or wear a silk wrap blouse for date night. Thanks Carla!!

I had made this pattern for my daughter several times in cotton and light weight wools.  I wanted to make it again in a versatile fabric that could be worn year round in Houston.  Roz suggested the Navy Daisy Lace Knit.  I had some reservations at first because of the knit and little stretch/give in it!  But it turned out beautiful and my daughter loved it!  

Carla used View A
I used 2 strips of iron on knit interfacing to stabilize the zipper.  When using an invisible zipper in a knit, it will sometimes pucker unless stabilized.  Rather than use the serger for the seams, I stitched the seams and then used a 3 thread overlock to finish the seam edges.  This would allow me to alter the skirt if needed.  I used a fairly stiff sew-in interfacing on the band so that the waist would be stable and not stretch.  I thought about using a cover stitch machine to hem but decided a hand stitched hem would look better.

Burda Style Plus Size Fall/Winter 2015

 To Purchase go to

All Styles at a Glance

Line Drawings

Cute pullover for the first cool days of fall.
The simple lines of this dress is perfect for bold accessories.
Dress #428-Red Silk Dupioni

Love the collar on the jacket!
Jacket #430A
Skirt #421

Pretty cocktail dress with sleeves for fall!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

August Mini Wardrobe Plan-The White Shirt

Building a successful wardrobe that serves you well begins with the basics.  They are the backbone of every great wardrobe and can pull together many different looks.  Simply stated, wardrobe basics make it easier to get dressed in the morning.  I’m collaborating with Andrea, from Sew-to-Fit, to help you put together basic wardrobe pieces so you will have outfits you love. I will discuss fabrics and patterns that work with various figure types.   Andrea will follow up with a series of YouTube videos on pattern alterations for the different figure types as well as a few sewing tips. These videos will include real women fitting sessions to help you get a better idea of what you can do to make your own perfect white shirt.  Be sure to sign up for Sew Much Fabric’s mailing list (scroll to the bottom of the home page) for additional exclusive information. 

The first wardrobe basic is a classic white shirt.  A white shirt is one of the hardest working items in your closet right up there with your jeans.  It’s an excellent layering piece and white can add brightness to any color.  A white shirt can go to the office, the grocery store and take you out for a night on the town. Having a white shirt can quickly expand your outfit combinations.  

The most popular fabric for a classic white shirt is cotton. A white cotton shirt is clean, crisp and chic.  It’s also the most versatile.  A white shirt made with silk is elegant and luxurious-perfect for work and special occasions.  And linen (Sold Out) is also a great choice however it’s best worn in the spring/summer and for more causal settings. Also keep in mind to select a white that works best for your complexion.  

Selecting a pattern that works for your particular body type is important to get that polished look you want from a wardrobe basic.  McCalls 6124 is a great pattern for all figure types.  The princess seams gives plenty of opportunities to alter for the bust, waist and hips.  But there are patterns that can help to enhance your particular figure type.  Of course I won’t be able to cover all of the many varied figure types.  And some patterns can work for more than one figure type.  But I hope this will help you to look at patterns more critically and analyze what will best work for you.

Burda Style 2/2010 #114 This figure type needs patterns that nip in at the waist. This can be achieved with a shaped side seam, vertical dart or princess seam.

Vogue 9029 Pay attention to button placement if you have a large bust.  A pattern that has a seam through the shoulders is great because the chest/shoulder area is usually smaller in proportion to the full bust as well as the hips.  If you select a short sleeve make sure the hem falls above or below the fullest part of the bust.

Sewaholic Grainline-The Sewaholic pattern line is made for the smaller bust /larger hip woman.   The pockets help to balance out the hips.  Simplicity 1279 has gathers at the shoulders another way to balance out the hips and give fullness to a small bust.

Burda 6839  The hem should cut across the fullest part of the stomach no longer than high hip.  Princess seams are helpful in fitting around the stomach area.  A fabric with structure (Cotton or Linen) vs a soft drapy fabric (Charmeuse) works well for this figure type.  Ruching is also another option.

Vogue 8772 Shaped side seams can give the illusion of a waistline.   

A white shirt will offer you endless styling options. Once you have your classic white shirt have fun making other styles like a wrap top or peplum and enjoy a wardrobe of white shirts!

Thursday, August 06, 2015

How to Build a Fabric Collection You’ll Love!

Do you have fabrics that you regret purchasing?  Do you go to your fabric collection and leave uninspired?  Then you might be ready to create a fabric buying plan. Having a well thought out fabric buying plan helps you to buy with confidence and adds garments to your wardrobe that you love to wear.   I’m going to share a plan that I have developed over the years that has given me a fabric collection I love! We’ll start with organizing your collection and then make your new buying list.

You will need a few supplies:
Pen or Pencil
Drink/Snacks because, well, just because  ;)

Start by taking a look at your storage system.  Are you able to easily see what you have?  The ability to see what you have keeps you from buying too many similar fabrics.  Clear containers with lids and closet shelving are items most often used. Multi level hangers and six-shelf sweater organizers (I love mine) are other storage solutions.  Take a cruise through a container store for more inspiration.  Leave a comment below and share your storage solutions.

Organizing your fabric lets you quickly see how much you have and/or how much you don’t have of any particular fabric.  You will need to go through your entire stash of fabric.  This can be a big job if you have a large stash so you may want to do this in stages. This is where the drinks/snacks come in handy. Group your fabrics by color and then by fiber (wool, silk, cotton etc..).  If you have a large fabric collection you may want to separate the weave within each color/fiber category.  For example, group  white cotton knits,  white cotton denims, white cotton lawns and so on.   Fold, roll or hang each fabric and store in a color arrangement that is pleasing to your eye.  I like to start with light colors and end with dark colors.  Pull out fabrics that don’t fit your current lifestyle and donate them to a local school or goodwill.   And you might also consider using an inventory app like “Fabric Stash” to have access to your Fabric collection at anytime.  If you have a fabric that just makes you smile even though it doesn’t fit in your current lifestyle go ahead and keep it.  Life is too short not to have a few (emphasis on a few) fabrics that make you happy just to look at.  Now that you have your fabric organized and neatly stored you can probably already see a fabric buying list forming.

Your fabric collection should reflect the life you really live.  Take your journal and write all of the roles you play in your life.  For example, are you a community volunteer, mother, student, world traveler?  Your fabric collection should reflect your life’s activities and should be proportionate to the time you spend in each activity. If 50% of your time is spent at a corporate office, then 50% of your fabric collection should be work related fabrics.  And don’t forget unexpected occasions like funerals.

Now, it’s time for you to whip out your calendar.  Take note of every event you have to attend for the next 6 months.  Things like weddings, holiday parties, a work presentation or job interviews. Repeat this step every six months.

You are now ready to make your fabric buying list for the season.  Start with the events on your calendar, because they have definite deadlines.  Using your journal write down what you want to wear.  Next, look at your life’s pie chart.  Do you need more clothes for work or do you need more comfortable garments to wear as a community volunteer?  How about a new jacket/coat for the fall or a new fashion trend to update your wardrobe?  Also, double check the basic work horse garments in your closet like a classic white shirt or a pair of black pants.  Do they need replacing?  Write down the garments that are missing from your wardrobe.  Select your patterns and write down the yardage you need.  Here is the fun part: go to your newly organized fabric collection and SHOP.  Whatever is not in your fabric collection goes on the buying list.  Also include on your list basic colors of linings, thread, zippers and interfacings.  If you follow these steps you should have a fabric collection that you not only love but will cover all of your wardrobe needs.    

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Haute Summer Sewing in Casual Couture

Eileen has made a dress that will carry her from the office to weekend glam with just a change of  her gorgeous accessories! Gotta love a hard working dress.  Thanks Eileen for sharing!

This dress is a third variation of a tried and perfected fit Burda Pattern 5/2010 #140 and 5/2010 #141.  A princess seamed sheath dress gives me several seams to perfect fit and opportunities to change the neckline and add sleeves or not.  There are several sheath dress patterns available in every sewing pattern catalog and probably some in your current collections just waiting to be made. 

The fabric used is the Bamboo Cotton Stretch Sateen from Sew Much Fabric.  It is still in stock! The fabric washes well and presses nicely.  I love couture sewing techniques so much that I found a way to make this dress Casual Couture!  My dress is underlined and lined in cotton/poly batiste which cuts down on wrinkling and absorbs perspiration in this very hot weather. 

 The zipper was sewn in by hand using the prick stitch and the lining put in by hand as well.  I find putting the lining in by hand works much better on sleeveless dresses or tops than by machine. 

 I also sewed a hook and eye and bra carriers.  These techniques work very well when you are traveling and only have needle, thread, pins and small scissors to finish your dress.  Join me at our October 2015 meeting and I will be sharing these finishing techniques.  

As you can see this dress dresses up or down for work, worship or play.  Add a cardigan sweater for air conditioning and or conservative dress codes.  I have another dress cut out of the chartreuse cotton jacquard (sold out but still available in fuchsia) so I will definitely make this dress again!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Burda Style August 2015

To purchase, go to
(Sold Out)

All Styles at a Glance

Line Drawings

The ruffles add pizazz to a basic tank top.

This look is a nod to the 70's that are trending this fall.
Blouse #123-Silk Charmeuse-Apple Cider
Skirt #124-Midnight Tropical Weight Wool

When you need a day-to-night look with just a quick change of accessories.
Dress #122A-Daisy Lace Knit-Coral

This is a great transitional jacket for cooler days.
(Sold Out)

Plus Size
Perfect for work and weekend glam!
Dress #126B-Bamboo Cotton Stretch Sateen

Comfy, cozy and stylish 
Coat #132-Camel/Multi Color Boucle

Thursday, July 16, 2015

It Is Easy Being Green

I'm loving these chic pull on jeans Dorcas made.  They are just perfect for running around town shopping or meeting friends for lunch.  Thank you Dorcas for pointing out this lovely pattern-you look great!!

Jalie 3461 is a stretch pull-on jeans (long or cropped) with a wide waistband. The design features are a yoke, faux fly in the front, patch pockets in the back. It's fitted through waist and hips, straight from the knee down.  And I thought the instructions were very easy. Plenty of pictures. I didn't have any problem following them. 

I have 3 pairs of RTW pull on jeans (more like jeggings) that I really like and I was curious to see if this pattern was constructed in the same way and it is. I had never put a waistband together in this method and I like it. I like where it sits just below the waist but not in the "constantly having to hike" zone. Everyone has their preferences but I like the faux pockets whereas some don't. I like the faux fly front and all the topstitching that give the appearance of jeans. I like that they are straight from the knee down and can be easily modified to skinny, if desired. I don't really have any dislikes. 

My fabric is a beautiful cotton/spandex jacquard (the chartreuse is now sold out but the fuchsia is still available) from Sew Much Fabric. It has the perfect amount of stretch and great recovery. I've worn these twice and haven't had any loss of shape. 

I didn't make any alterations whatsoever, even to the length which is unusual as I almost always have to shorten pants. I struggled with whether or not to do the usual butt scoop that I do when making jeans and I wish I had. The waistband on these keeps it from riding down when I sit but I'd still like that extra bit of room and will do it on my next pair. 

I will make these again and I definitely recommend the pattern.
This was a fun sew and I'm really pleased with how my pants turned out. The gorgeous fabric was icing on the cake!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Fabric Sale

Hop on over to Sew Much Fabric ( and stock up now without breaking the bank on freshly markdown fabrics and further discounts on already reduced fabrics.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Orange is the New Maxi

Dorcas did a fabulous job taking a blouse pattern and tuning it into a lovely summer maxi! Thank you Dorcas for sharing this.

Vogue 9109 view C lengthened to a maxi.
The  instructions were very easy to follow. This would be a great pattern for a beginner.

One of the things I like about this pattern are the multiple cup sizes. I love the cut-in shoulders and retro styling. One slight dislike is that the top is rather big through the waist area. I might even add some darts in the back next time in addition to the alterations I made.

I used a cotton pique from Sew Much Fabric (sold out but other piques are here and here). Love both pique and orange! The facing is a poly woven I've had forever.

I made a few pattern changes: I took in the waist area at the sides and back totaling 2.5". I drafted a facing for the neck and armholes rather than using bias tape. I added 24" to View C to make a maxi and left the right side open from just above the knee down to the hem. Rather than a hook and eye I used a button and loop closure. I found a great Susan Khalje tutorial for making a thread bar here. I also plan to make bra strap carriers using this technique.

I will be making this again and absolutely recommend it.