Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Notes

Thanks for your suggestions on buckles! I also had two very gracious readers who volunteered to send me buckles from their personal stash. I ordered from two of the places you recommended, and was particularly liking some I found on the M&J Trimming site, so something is bound to work out. I was surprised how hard it is to find good buckles. Almost as hard as finding good zippers!

It's almost midnight, but I did finish my jacket. No pictures yet, and I'm not sure how practical it will be, but at least I now have a black jacket. I hope to get some pics in the next couple of days.

That's two lined jackets in two weeks. I think a break from jackets!

I hope you have a nice week!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saturday Notes

I hope all of you are enjoying your collective weekends. I have been making good progress on my jacket. Tweaking the fit always slows me down but I don't skimp on this part of the process. The shell is almost done, sans sleeves. Maybe, just maybe, I can finish it this weekend.

Marcy's free shipping sale is in full swing. I decided against buying any fabric this time around, but I made a sizable order this morning of some notions and a couple of silk screens. And then I remembered something I hadn't mentioned when I reviewed the Style Arc Safari Jane jacket.

This jacket closes with a zipper that extends into the collar. My favorite technique for applying separating zippers is one Marcy demonstrates in her Inspiration Paris CD. Whenever I need to insert a zipper of that type, I quickly pop in her CD and review the technique.

I have a question for you. I want to make a purse that requires a buckle. The buckle will be something of a focal point. I have been searching in vain - mostly on Etsy at this point. I'd like it to have the appearance of antique brass or something along those lines. It needs to have the little piece of metal that inserts into a hole (not sure what that is called). It can be either a circular type, or the d-shaped type, so long as it has the little metal pokey thing. I need the bar to be about 1.5" long (where the fabric attaches).

When I google buckles, I tend to find sites that sell men's buckles with charming thoughts, such as "Got Beer?" or charming images, such as the mud flap girl.

Please let me know if you have any good resources to recommend!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Happy Thursday! Marcy Fabric Sale Goodness

First, thanks to all of you for your kind comments on my Style Arc garments! They are so well drafted that they are a pleasure to sew. I told myself that I need to sew quite a few of them up in order to justify ordering more. I plan to order another three in August. ;)

My kids return from Europe today. That will affect my productivity. I'm not sure why, but having people around just tends to do that.

I cut out another Style Arc project two evenings ago, but I do not have the right color thread (slate blue) to sew it. Until I get to the store, I will be working on a McCalls jacket. I altered the jacket pattern last night and plan to cut it out this evening. I am making the first version in a test fabric and, if it works out, I plan to use a special Emma One Sock fabric to make a version for my Fall 6-pack.

It's easy to do fall sewing here. I look outside my window and my street is thick with low-lying fog and it's 50 degrees F. It feels like fall to me! In fact, I am feeling distinctly Halloween-ish.

Big news at work. A project I have been working on for FOUR YEARS is published today. This project involves many people and it feels great to say that it's done!

But the reason for this post... did you hear that Marcy Tilton is having a free shipping sale? It begins tomorrow, Friday, and goes through Sunday. She announces these sales in her newsletter and if you don't already subscribe, you should. (The link takes you to her newsletter which has instructions for taking advantage of the sale.) It's always a great read! I am eyeing three fabrics and trying to decide if I can justify buying them.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Style Arc - The Laura Legging

Jegging goodness!
More pics

Here's a nice quick pattern! Style Arc's Laura Legging is a one-piece pattern. There is no side seam and no waistband, though I added one. I like a waistband. :)

As usual, I ordered a size 10, based on my hip measurement. I have made two other Style Arc pants and both pretty much fit out of the envelope. (In the case of the Alexi pant, I made zero alterations. In the case of the Linda pant, I substituted my own waistband but made no other changes. I love that one so much, I've made it twice already.)

Let me point out that this pattern has serious negative ease. Let me share some measurements for the size 10. If you look at the Style Arc size chart, a size 10 (remember, this is Australian sizing, not U.S. or European sizing), is a 38.6" hip. When I measure the pattern, the finished hip is 29.5". The upper thigh (at the notches) measures 16.5" and the ankle measures 9.25". That is approximately 9" of negative ease at the hip, so you either need to use a nice stretchy fabric with lycra, size up, or both.

For my version, I used a knit that is designed to look like charcoal-colored denim. Perfect for jeggings. I think I bought it from Emma One Sock, but I know it's been in the stash for about a year. I made zero alterations, other than adding a waistband, cause that's how I swing.

The fabric, up close. The right side is on the left, the wrong side on the right.

This pattern uses 1/4" seam allowances. It sews up in no time at all. When finished, I did not think I could get it on my body because the pants were so narrow-looking. I forged ahead and they did fit, though I will only wear this with a longer top.

'Cause let's just say if I had moles on my rear, you could connect the dots. ;)

The legs are long and puddle at the ankle. I love this look, so I did not shorten them. I also did not hem them. I will definitely wear these! They are sooo comfortable. I just might also buy the pattern in a larger size, so I have options.

More Pictures

Ankle puddling

Monday, July 25, 2011

StyleArc - The Safari Jane Jacket

More pics

I have finally made my first Style Arc pattern for the upper body - the Safari Jane jacket. I've been wanting to make an anorak-style jacket for awhile and have been studying various patterns, both in print and out of print, and this pattern won out. This pattern features:

  • A fairly fitted silhouette.
  • A shoulder yoke that ends at the shoulder seam. It does not extend to the back.
  • An optional, removable hood. Included are instructions on how to add a fur trim to the hood. A fur trim is overkill for my climate.
  • The jacket features a waist seam. Stitching in the ditch of the waist seam, and then above the waist seam, creates the channel for the elastic.
  • The jacket is fully lined. There are separate front and back pattern pieces for the lining, as well as separate hood and sleeve pattern pieces. The lining does not have the shoulder yoke or the waist seam - those pieces are cut on.

I had an interesting fabric I wanted to use. This Georgio Armani fabric, no longer available from FabricMart, is very unusual - it is very textured. It is blue, but where the texture has little "valleys" or "dips", the color is black. The back of the fabric is black and so shiny it's almost metallic. I don't recall the fiber content, but it ravels like crazy. I suspect it contains rayon and plenty of synthetic.

Fusing the Angel Weft to the sleeve hem. You can see the shiny black reverse side of the fabric.

This fabric irons beautifully and I had no trouble fusing interfacing to it, despite the texture. The selvedge of the fabric is hand stamped with the words "Giorgio Armani." The order form from Fabric Mart states: "891546 Giorgio Armani Navy abstract Cloqué design 56" Wide." I have never heard of a cloqué fabric, but I gather it's a puckered, or blistered, weave.

Anyway, I loved this fabric, but it is "fancy" and I don't really wear fancy clothes. I decided to dress it down by sewing it into a casual style that I can wear everyday.

I usually plan ahead for a project, but not in this case. I decided on Friday night that it would be my weekend project. I did not have a suitable lining fabric, so I ran to Britex on Saturday morning - I wanted to start on the project as soon as I got home. I immediately ruled out silk because the silks at Britex suitable for lining are $40 per yard. (I sure wished I'd picked some up from Thai Silks the last time I was there.)

Britex had no remnants that would work, so I bought Bemberg lining. At $12 per yard, even this was not cheap and two of the employees urged me to spring for the silk for this special fabric, but that would have meant that the lining cost more than twice than the Armani fabric. Not going to happen. This was the first time I'd used Bemberg lining, but I can see why it has so many fans. It's delicious to wear and it won't be my last time using it.


  • Blue Armani cloqué fabric (891546) from FabricMart. I cut the jacket on the cross grain of the fabric, because I liked the texture better.
  • Black tricot fusible interfacing for collar.
  • Black Angel weft interfacing from Apple Annie's for the hem and sleeve hems.
  • 26" Antique Brass Separating Zipper in black by YKK (purchased at Britex over a year ago for another project).
  • Blue Bemberg lining from Britex.
  • A soft oval-shaped "velvet"-coated black elastic from Britex - approx 1/8" - for the waist.
  • Two black grommets for the elastic. These are inserted into the lining and are not seen from the outside.
  • Two toggles for the ends of the elastic. I purchased these either from Fabrix a year ago for my Au Bonheurs raincoat.
  • Round cord elastic for the button loops (very thin, to attach the hood to the jacket).
  • 5 1/2" La Petite buttons (from JoAnns) to attach hood.


Alterations and Modifications:

  • I started with a size 16, which is designed for a 42" bust, my high bust measurement. The finished measurement at the bustline was about 45", so I had to alter quite a bit as my full bust is closer to 50".
  • A 3" Y-shaped FBA. (See Fit for Real People.)
  • A 1" wide back adjustment - adding a total of 2". I removed the excess shoulder seam length by taking a dart in the back shoulder seam.
  • Lowered the waist seam (front and back) 1-1/2".
  • The finished hip measurement was about 51". I narrowed it to 46".
  • The upper sleeve was narrow. I added 1" to the upper sleeve and also 1" to the upper side seams.
  • Shortened the sleeve by 2".

Construction Notes: The pattern required a fair amount of tweaking to fit. I do not blame the pattern for this, as I typically have to extensively alter garments to fit my torso.

  • The first thing you do is sew the collar. The instructions say to "bag" the collar, which is an unusual use of the term. On my first try, I sewed around the three edges of the collar, and turned it inside out, without thinking. You don't want to do this because the zipper extends into the collar. I then re-cut the collar, re-interfaced it, and only sewed the outer top edge of the collar - the side edges are sewn as the zipper is inserted.
  • I found that the shoulder was too square. This is an unusual alteration for me, but I removed about 5/8" from the shoulder seam at the armscye, tapered to nothing at the neck.
  • There were 4 darts in the outer garment: 2 for the shoulder, and 2 for the bust. On the lining, I treated all of these as pleats.
  • I shorted the jacket several inches. It was for this reason I used a 26" zipper, because that gave me leeway for shortening.
  • I found that the waist seam was not the ideal location for the elastic channel. I tweaked it by diverging from the seam when I stitched the channel. I didn't like doing this, but I got away with it because of the texture of the fabric.
  • When I sewed the second seam to create the channel for the elastic, I sewed it below the first seam, rather than above it.
  • The Armani fabric was hand stamped on the selvedge with the words "Georgio Armani". I cut this bit of the selvedge off and sewed it to the jacket lining.
  • The instructions suggest that you bag the jacket lining. I prefer a hand sewn lining, so there was much hand sewing.


I love this jacket! The lining makes it so yummy to wear. It is perfect for my climate. Today, for example, is July 25th - mid summer - in San Francisco. The high in my neighborhood today was 62˚F and it's foggy and windy. This jacket was the perfect layer.

Some folks are having questions about Style Arc sizing. I am finding that the pants are perfect, for me, when purchased by the hip. But I know of one woman who carries her weight in her thighs and finds that this is not accurate for her.

I purchased this jacket based on my high bust measurement of 42". A sewist on Pattern Review says that for her that she needs to purchase a jacket pattern based on her upper back measurement, not her high bust. I am not sure what is best for me. I did have to add 2" through the upper back and 6" to the front via the FBA. I had to remove about 5/8" from the shoulder seam (even after removing the 2" from the back shoulder seam via darts). I also had to add to the upper sleeve and the upper side seam to correspond. But I removed several inches through the hips. So I am not sure if I should go up a size for a top. At any rate, these patterns are beautifully drafted.

I already have my August order planned. ;)

More Pics

Worn open

With hood.

Hood buttoned to collar

Saturday, July 23, 2011

July Miscellany

I hope everyone is staying cool! Reading various blogs gives me a lot of sympathy for the sufferings of many of you in the extreme heat.

I have been working on finishing a jacket I started last weekend. It's a Style Arc jacket. It's the first upper body garment I've made from their pattern line and I think I may have bought the wrong size, based on the alterations. (I still haven't decided yet.) I was hoping to finish it today, but I spent the entire day working on the elastic casing (it required much tweaking to get it in the right location for my figure) and the hem. Lots of fiddly work.

The torso is completed now and I only need to cut out and sew the sleeves. But then I realized just a few minutes ago that I hadn't cut the hood out either - I wasn't sure at first I wanted a hood. So, given that all I have to do tomorrow is the hood and sleeves, I should have no problem finishing, right? Believe me, this has required a lot of discipline as I have been suffering from sewing ADD and many other projects beckon that are more fun than finishing up a jacket with lots of handwork. But I am determined.

I may not blog it until Monday, though, depending on whether I can get photos taken.

My kids are in Europe, so I really have no excuse. Yeah, poor babies, they started in Lake Como where my grandfather was born, and are now in Paris. They leave in the next few days for London. I received an excited email a few days ago because they met Queen Latifah at the hotel where she (and they) are staying. (Queen Latifah is one of DD1's favorite actresses.) She was very gracious about speaking with them, posing for photos, etc.

Anyway, I am definitely in "bachelorette" mode at the moment. ;)

I don't have too much to report, though I was enabled by one of my blog readers, Andrea, who had just ordered a handmade tailors ham and seam roll from Etsy. I haven't had a seam roll since I lost the one my mother made and used for years (I vaguely recall it falling apart), and my ham is rather dull and boring, so I bought a set also. They arrived in just a couple days and were beautifully wrapped. Here's the picture from her Etsy shop.

They are so cute, and so well made, but they are rather small. Perfect for daintily-sized sewists or folks who sew for kids, but I have never found myself thinking, "gee, I wish my ham were smaller," especially not when pressing my ginormous bust darts. So if you do order from StitchNerd, I would suggest you order her custom ham which comes in a larger size. They are cute and well made. Plus, she threw in a free piece of tailor's chalk. :)

Oh, one little request. If you are in the Bay Area and use Facebook, please look up the "Artistry in Fashion" group on Facebook and "like" it. If they get 100 "likes" by August first, they will do a random drawing for a free entrance. The event is on Sept 24th this year and it's something I look forward to all year!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Burda 2730 - Anna Sui Silk Chiffon Blouse

So blustery! More pics

It's funny how one can absorb fashion trends by osmosis. Sheer fabrics have been on the runways for some time now, and, for some time now, without thinking about it, I have been collecting them, but not sewing them up. I'm not sure what was holding me back, but I finally broke through the barrier.

I don't know when this Burda pattern was published, but it's perfect for chiffon fabrics and it's very on trend. It's too bad it's out of print, but I found it on ebay for a couple of bucks.


  • Silk Lurex Tie-Dyed Crinkled Chiffon Panel by Anna Sui 48" Wide, 98% silk, 2% lurex (890928) from FabricMart. I used three panels, one for the back, and one each for the left and the right fronts. I needed two for the front so I could match the design at CF. It almost looks as if these panels were intended to be scarf blanks, but I'm not sure how Anna Sui used them. I would have preferred the fabric without the lurex threads, but oh well.
  • 3 pair of black snaps.
  • 3 buttons from Fabrix.
  • Black silk organza to use as interfacing for the collar.

Construction Notes:

  • The pattern comes with 3 sizes in the envelope: S (8/10), M (12/14) and L (16/18). I made the large, using view A with the collar and button front. View B is a button-less, collar-less cardigan with sleeves.

  • I made no alterations. I decided I didn't mind if the hem is uneven, so I did not bother with an FBA.

  • This is very easy to sew, though I didn't follow the instructions, exactly. I used French seams on the shoulders. I hemmed all edges and then sewed the side seams - it's just much easier that way. If you use the pattern instructions, you will have exposed seam allowances.

  • I didn't want to sew buttonholes in the silk chiffon, so I used three snaps and then sewed the buttons on top of each snap - they are purely decorative.

  • When I was cutting out the collar, I fussy cut one layer on the black part of the fabric and the other layer on the white "stripe". After constructing the collar, I decided I liked the black collar better, so the white stripe version ended up as the undercollar. You can see it here:

    The stripe ended up as the under collar. You can really see the lurex threads here.

    The solid ended up as the upper collar.

I was planning to wear this top for my birthday outing, and I put it on, and took some photos. It was so foggy, cold and windy, that I thought the photo shoot was a failure. But when I uploaded them this evening, they were better than I had thought. So I am using the pics from that shoot, even though it was blustery. But isn't all that floaty movement the reason that chiffon is fun? :)

I ended up changing my outfit to a warmer one for my outing.

I love this top. It is so billowy and fun to wear. I have already cut out a second one, using another silk chiffon border print. I am changing the front on that version, but this is a great pattern and I will use it again and again.

I am now ready for a pool party!

More Pics

I tried changing locations, but it was just as windy.

It's a bit hard to see, but I carefully matched the pattern on the front. It's also hard to see the three buttons/snaps.

Back. You can see the door's window through the top. It was breezy when I took these hangar pics too.

StyleArc - The Alexi Harem Pant

More pics

I am a fan of the harem-style pant. I know this style does not suit everyone, but these pants with fullness at the hip gives my unbalanced figure some balance. When I made a recent order from StyleArc, I had to toss the Alexi pant into the cart.


  • "Trendy rayon challis" from FabricMart (812569). This black and white print, 91% rayon, 9% spandex, has a linen-like texture but when washed became very limp and drapey. Perfect for these pants. When you tie the ties, the wrong side of the fabric will show.
  • Waistband elastic.

Construction Notes:

  • I made a size 10. I cut it out without any alterations.
  • The pockets tie. The instructions say to "double neaten the rabbit ears." Or something along those lines. I wasn't sure what they meant, but this is the time when you'd want to use a rolled edge on the "rabbit ears" which are the ties. I don't have the rolled edge plate for my serger, so I used the regular overlock stitch, but I went over it twice to make it a little more substantial.
  • I did not shorten the pant legs and the length was perfect. So, if you are taller than 5'5", you will probably want to lengthen these. At first I was concerned that the ankle was a bit too pegged, but they've grown on me.
  • Before the pants were completed, I was not sure I liked the ties on the pockets. I tried tucking the ties into the pocket and I liked that look very much. After the pants were finished, I decided I did like the ties, so I took photos with them both ways.

That's it. These pants were very easy and they came together quickly. These will be perfect if I ever find myself in some hot weather. The last few days have been cold, foggy, windy. The weather has been in the 50s, so these summery clothes don't feel very relevant. :)

More Pics

Here the ties are tucked into the pockets, creating a nice drape. I didn't realize my rumpled t-shirt would be quite so obvious in the pics. Ahem. ;)

Here the pockets are tied. Again, sorry for the rumpled pics.

Close up of tied pocket. Wrong side of fabric will show.

The necklace my girls bought me for my birthday. All three of us picked it out. :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Post Birthday Reflections

I want to thank all of you for your wonderful birthday wishes! I was really touched by all the comments here, and on Facebook, wishing me well.

The day was great! My daughters planned to take me out for the day. They wanted to treat me to lunch and to a gift of my own choosing. We headed for the east bay, first to the Stone Mountain & Daughter fabric store and then to my favorite shopping area in Berkeley, called Fourth Street. I hadn't been to Fourth Street in many years, but at the Bryn Walker store I managed to find a beautiful pewter necklace that the girls bought for me, as well as another necklace and bracelet I bought myself. At the Japanese import store I found a couple pieces of Japanese fabric, as well as a gorgeous scarf. And, of course, there was a bit more stash acquisition at Stone Mountain. (I think I must be part Ferengi.)

We also had fun at the Bare Escentuals store and later, at home, we had a marathon makeup session.

It was much better than last year when both kids forgot my birthday. <ahem> :)

We had a heat wave last week, so I planned to wear my silk organza top. I put it on and tried to take some photos, but it was freezing cold, foggy and windy, so I changed to another outfit. I need to try again to get some photos before I can post that top. I also have another pair of StyleArc pants almost finished, so look for that post too.

Meanwhile, let me leave you with some eye candy I recently discovered. This fiber artist has created some truly wonderful designs that you can see in person in New York, Paris, and Sao Paolo: Yasmine Studio. Make sure you look at all three of her collections! I want to be her when I grow up. :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

July 9th!

Happy Birthday to me,
I'm now fifty-three!
Or maybe fifty-two,
I'm forgetful too!

(Seriously, I can't remember.)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pajama Bottoms Galore!

I know, I know. PJ bottoms are boring. So how about SIX pair of pj bottoms? Does that make it a bit less boring? No? Oh well. :)

I decided I need a pair of new PJ bottoms for my trip to Pennsylvania in April, so I made a pair using a fabric I'd bought on sale at Eddie's Quilting Bee in Sunnyvale. When I was staying with Peggy, I just loved her African print PJ bottoms, so I picked up a couple African prints at JoMars in Philadelphia. Then I bought a paisley flannel, also at JoMars. I also made a pair out of a pebbled silk from FabricMart. And then I had a plaid light blue flannel lying around from Fabrix -- might as well sew that up too.

I forced myself to stop at six pair - I was getting a bit obsessive. Most of these use the Louise Cutting One Seam pant pattern. It may be the last time I use this particular pattern because she has come out with a modified One Seam pant that is a bit more fitted. I'll have to try that one — but it may supplant this pattern as my go-to PJs. The black flannel print was too narrow for the one seam pattern, so for those I used Burda 7400, without the band at the hem.

So, here's the gallery!

Most Gender Neutral Most Luxe
Best Matched Print Most Likely to Disintegrate
Most Snuggly Most Funka-delic

Which reminds me. I think this is the first time I've owned a pair of silk PJ bottoms. How do you guys store yours? Do you hang or fold?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fabric Goodness - Enabler Alert!

Thanks for all your kind comments on my last couple posts. In the comments here, on SG, and on PR, there was some serious coveting of the fabric I had used in my Teagarden T. I bought the lightweight rayon/lycra from Emma One Sock several weeks ago and she no longer has any in stock. But one of my readers managed to find what looks like the same fabric at Mood.

Thanks, Carol in Denver, for letting me know about it!

When I went to their site to nose around, I found two other fabrics that seem to be a similar print, but in different color ways. (I'm not saying they are identical to the original fabric, but they seem very similar. Also note that the first fabric may not be identical to mine, but it sure seems similar.)

Clicking each fabric takes you to the corresponding page on the Mood Fabrics website. As usual, I have no affiliation.




Vogue 8499 - Brussels Washer Linen Pants

A few months ago I bought three coordinating pieces of Brussels Washer Linen from Dana Marie Design. Brussels washer linen, made by Kaufman, is a 55% linen, 45% rayon blend. I had heard good reports of this fabric, which wrinkles less than a 100% linen. I decided to use the natural-colored piece for a pair of pants that I had made before: Vogue 8499, one of Marcy Tilton's pants.

I've been wearing the first pair a lot lately, and the pattern screams summer to me. That first pair, made with a floaty, drapey Taslan fabric, was great in this design. If you recall, the pattern is quite oversized and I went down many sizes, making a size 6 - it was perfect in the Taslan.

The first pair I made in March, 2010

This pattern is not perfect in the linen/rayon blend, at least not in the size 6. It's too stiff, which I should have realized up front. As a result of the stiff fabric, these pants are less flattering. The pattern is great, but it needs a fabric with more flow and drape, or I need to remove more fullness.

I will still wear these, but any ideas of what to do with the other two pieces of Brussels Washer linen? :) I do like its softer wrinkles, it's just beefier than I expected.

Alterations and Modifications

The only change I made to this pair was to lengthen them about 3/4" - the last pair seemed a tad short. If I were to make these again out of a similar fabric, I would remove additional fullness through the back hip.

This is the third garment (out of seven) that I made this last weekend. Stay tuned for more reviews. :)

Detail of topstitched knee darts and front seam