Thursday, November 20, 2014

Burda Style December 2014

To purchase, go to 

All Styles at a Glance

Line Drawings

Love this blazer as a dress!!!!
Blazer #118-Emerald Green Wool

Sparkle and Shine for the Holidays

This would also work well with a pencil skirt or jumpsuit.

Capes are still trending....

Plus Size
Love this is featured with leather leggings!

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When we hear the term brocade, it might bring up images of old outdated couches and dresses worn in many decades ago.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.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

November MWP: Ivory 3-ply Sueded Silk, Satin-Victorian Gold and Brocade-Gold/ Cream

As 2014 draws to a close and we look forward to 2015, I want to lighten things up by going to the other end of the color spectrum with ivory.  I’m also adding gold for that all important sparkle and shine.   The two colors together remind me of a glass of champagne. So get ready to say goodbye to the old and hello to the new and sewing an ivory and gold mini wardrobe.  All fabrics are from Sew Much Fabric.  

The Basic Fabric: Ivory 3-ply Sueded Silk

Ivory silk is demure and plays a great supporting role but don’t let it fool you it can be a star all by itself.  In a supporting role, a t-shirt comes to mind.  You can stick with a classic t-shirt (New Look 6025) or go with something with more design features (McCalls 6928).  Kick it up a notch and make a shirtdress (Burda Style 10/2014 #116).  It can do double duty for the office with a jacket but take the jacket off and switch to a pair of gold metallic sandals and you’re ready for a nice dinner.  And for those that stay on top of the trends, a jumpsuit (Named-Ailakki Cross Front Jumpsuit) is a show stopper.  Don’t forget with ivory you’ll need to add a lining.  

The Trending Fabric: Satin-Victorian Gold

Satin is a holiday mainstay but it’s the gold color that is trending.   What girl doesn’t like to twirl in a full pleated skirt (McCalls 6706) or a skirt with a peplum paired with the ivory silk t-shirt (Simplicity 1690)? And a flirty off shoulder dress (Vogue 1108) in gold satin is perfect for dancing the night away.  To keep the chill at bay, a gold cropped jacket (Burda Style 3/2012 #107B) or a shoulder wrap would be a lovely choice to wear over the ivory silk dress or jumpsuit.   You will surely add glamour to the room wearing this Victorian Gold Satin.

The Completer Fabric: Brocade-Gold/ Cream 

At least once a year go all out and don some sparkle.  The Gold/Cream Brocade will pull the Victorian Gold Satin and Ivory 3-ply sueded silk together. It’s reversible so you can choose the amount of sparkle you want to wear.  Use all three fabrics to make a fabulous color blocked dress (Vogue 8944).  Or just use the Gold/Cream Brocade and Victorian Gold Satin Dress (Butterick 5894) for a slimming affect. Add the ivory silk wrap to finish the look. Sometimes the weather is just too cold for a dress.  A pair of brocade tuxedo pants (Burda Style 11/2013 #110A) are always a fashionable alternative for a party.    Make a peplum top using the Victorian Gold Satin and add the ivory silk wrap.  In the words of the late, great Liberace “I didn't get dressed this way to go unnoticed!”

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

It's All About the Glitz! Pattern Review Vogue 1247

I love this fabric (Gold Metallic Linen Blend)!  It was just lovely to sew with.  I am really into "glitz" these days -- must be the old eyes! I want this fabric in every color.

I used a casual Vogue skirt pattern (1247) with this fancy fabric.  For some reason, I like the juxtaposition.  I plan to wear it with tights and boots -- and maybe even the denim jacket if I get up my nerve!  So afraid of being an old grandma who is trying too hard!!!

I lined my skirt with silk crepe de chine as the fabric wants to wrinkle.  This helps a bit.

Metallic fabrics are on point for this season and with the denim jacket you have a fabulous weekend glam look.  Thank you, Cissie, for sharing how you put this look together.  I love it!! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Burda Style November 2014

To purchase, go to

All Styles at a Glance

Line Drawings

Who doesn't love a pretty pleated skirt?
Skirt #115-Navy/Grey Leopard Brocade

Cute and flirty sheath dress
Dress #108C-Black and White Graphic Ponte Knit

Julia Roberts in Pretty Women
Dress #120-Satin Back Crepe in Deep Turquoise

You can omit the capelet and add straps for a different look.
Dress #106-Spicy Floral Silk CDC

Plus Size
This is a great weekend glam look. 
Add a belt and wear it to work.
Dress #123-Streaks

Elegant and Polished
Dress #127-Navy Ponte Knit

Thursday, October 09, 2014

October Mini Wardrobe Plan: Black Silk Charmeuse, Black Sequin Stretch Velvet, Black Metallic Jacquard Brocade

The holiday season is quickly approaching and it’s time to consider what you will make for the upcoming holiday soirees.  So there will be no last minute sewing, I’ve put together a mini holiday wardrobe plan. The color scheme is classic black featuring texture and shine to make sure you’re a stand out at every party.  All fabrics are from Sew Much Fabric.

The Basic Fabric: Black Silk Charmeuse

Black Silk Charmeuse exudes feminine and romantic attributes with just a touch of drama.  It will dress up any garment you wear it with. Take a pair of jeans and add a Black Silk Charmeuse blouse and you are ready for a causal holiday party.  Change from your office jacket into a Black Silk Charmeuse peplum blouse then add rhinestone accessories, a clutch purse and strappy heals and you’re off to after-hour cocktails.  A Black Silk Charmeuse jumpsuit would be perfect to ring in the New Year with your significant other. Pattern Suggestions: New Look 6303, McCalls 6990, Marfy 3163     
The Trending Fabric: Black Sequin Stretch Velvet

Tis the season for sparkle!!  If you don’t already have a sequin garment in your closet it’s time to sew one now.  The backing on this fabric is stretch velvet which makes it comfortable to wear to a holiday dinner party at home with friends or to a formal gala just by the pattern you select.  For an edgy look try jogging pants (Burda Style 8/2014 ##138A) paired with a Black Silk Charmeuse top.  For a causal look make a cardi wrap (Named Saunio Cardigan) to throw on over jeans or a pencil skirt.  And for a grand entrance how about a dress with a train (Vogue 1374)!!   Be sure to keep your accessories simple-all the glitz is in the fabric.

The Completer Fabric: Black Metallic Jacquard Brocade

Brocade is a woven fabric with a raised design typically with metallic threads and reversible.  This particular brocade has one side that is shinier than the other.  A modern way to wear the brocade is a moto jacket styled with the Black Silk Charmeuse as a T-shirt and the Black Sequin Stretch Velvet as jogging pants or a pencil skirt.  A slim cut brocade trouser paired with a Black Silk Charmeuse blouse and Black Sequin Stretch Velvet cardi would be another modern option.  Or make a classic trench coat which would be a fabulous way to update any holiday attire you already own.  Pattern Suggestions: Burda Style 3/2012 #115, Vogue 1414, Colette pattern Lady Grey

The holidays will be here before you know it.  Avoid the holiday rush and get started on this mini wardrobe plan!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

My First Couture Dress

Edited: This post has been edited to reflect the information Guest Blogger Carla meant to share.  Thanks Carla for updating the post!

I attended Susan Khalje’s Couture Dress class in August.  This was my first time taking the class and learning the couture techniques. I've sewn a lot over the years, but had never used couture techniques!  

I sew primarily for my daughter, so I chose a Vogue pattern 8922 (OOP). This pattern had a fitted bodice, flared skirt, and a set-in sleeve.  I especially wanted a sleeve as I have trouble fitting a garment on my daughter with a sleeve!  In the end, we made the dress sleeveless as the sleeve just didn't work

The challenge of this dress was the many panels—6 in the skirt front, 6 in the skirt back, 6 in the bodice front, and 6 in the bodice back!  That’s 24 in total!  With all the steps of underlining, catch stitching seam allowances, hand-picked zipper, attaching the lining by hand, and hand under-stitching—the dress was quite an undertaking!  

I used fabric from Sew Much Fabric –Plum Diamond Wool now sold out (other wool fabrics here).  

I will definitely attempt future garments using these techniques—especially the muslin and fitting!