Sunday, May 8, 2016

Sheer Duster, Snap Press, and More


Sheer Evening Duster

Last month I visited Hart's Fabric in Santa Cruz and found this novelty organza in the home dec department.

What did it want to be?

It wanted to be an evening duster! I think this fabric was intended for curtains, but I clearly heard "evening duster."

The Met Gala ball was last week! Maybe I was inspired?

The novelty organza with silver organza I used as the interfacing.

I decided to start with the Sandra Betzina vest I recently made, with a few additional changes:

  • Lengthened the vest by 15".
  • Omitted the pockets.
  • Added side slits up to my waist. That way it's easier to stick my hands into pockets in the underlayer.
  • Added sleeves. (From Butterick 6238.)
  • Rather than standard interfacing, I used grey poly organza in the front bands and the collar. (The collar isn't supposed to be interfaced, but I wanted a bit more body.)
    Front bands. The one on the right is overlaid with the solid organza.

  • Used clear elastic in the collar.
  • All of the hems use tiny 1/16th-inch machine hems.
  • Antique silver snaps instead of buttons.

I like how floaty the duster is!

Snap Press

Perhaps you remember that I bought a snap press a few months back. Once it arrived, I liberated it from a nest of firmly wrapped and thoroughly taped bubble wrap, and stuck it on a shelf.

This project was the perfect time to get it out and put it together. The assembly is minimal—you install the handle with one screw. I mostly use size 24 snaps, so when I purchased the press, I selected the "11mm Die for Prong Snaps with Button" die set.

I buy size 24 snaps from Snap Source. A snap has four pieces: the cap is the decorative part on the outside of the garment. The only difference between a size 16 Snap Source snap and a size 24 Snap Source snap is the front cap. The other 3 pieces of the snap are the same as the size 16.

The snap press with the 11mm die set works great for the front of the snap! But the 11mm die is too big for the back of the snap - it doesn't securely hold the back part of the snap. Since I didn't have the right die set for the back of the snap, I installed the back part of the snaps using the plastic setter from Snap Source, and a hammer.

Aside from the size issue of the back of the snap, I really like the snap press!

Talk at Cañada College

With Ronda Chaney, head of the Fashion Department

I mentioned a few months ago that I was going to be the guest speaker at an event for the Cañada College Fashion Department.

The talk happened last month and seemed to be well received. Cañada College posted a recap (with lots of photos) of the event on their blog.

Ronda provided 10 models—students from the fashion department—to better show the close-to-50 garments that I brought. (The recap lists 44 garments, but I threw in a few more at the last minute.)

I was blown away by Judy, who came all the way from San Diego to hear my talk!

Thanks to Ronda and all of the models!

And special thanks to Sarah, who modeled and took photos!

First Monday in May

You have probably heard of the annual Met Gala, a star-studded event that benefits the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. The Gala kicks off a special costume exhibit at the museum. As Andre Leon Talley puts it, "the Met Gala is the Super Bowl of Fashion" and I enjoy seeing how the celebrities embody the theme each year.

This year the theme is Manus X Machina and examines how hand sewing and machine sewing are used in haute couture. Last year's theme examined the Chinese fashion and it's influence on western fashion. If, like me, you missed last year's exhibit, you can watch a documentary about the exhibit and the gala.

The First Monday in May (so called because the gala is held on the first Monday in May), is a fascinating glimpse into what's involved. I saw it today (Mother's Day) at the Landmark Theatre in San Francisco's Embarcadero. I'd never been to this theater before, but I enjoyed the small theater and the fact that each seat was a comfy recliner. I don't know how long the movie is playing there, but it's a great way to experience it!

And I think that, this year, I will try to get myself to New York to see this exhibit in person. It ends on August 14th, so I hope to make it work.

Fabric Depot in Portland

Almost exactly one year ago I visited Portland with some sewing friends. On that trip I managed to visit most every fabric store in Portland, except for one. Fabric Depot is one of the largest brick-and-mortar fabric stores in the U.S.

I just returned from another quick trip to Portland. This time I had a rental car and was able to stop by on my way back to the airport.

It's rather unusual to see such a large contingent of carts in a fabric store

I couldn't get the entire store in one picture

It is a very large fabric store, though the fashion fabric section is eclipsed by the quilting and special occasion fabrics.

I managed to find a piece of novelty pleather!

I'm glad that I squeezed in a visit! I can now tick that store off my list. ;)

Photo Roundup

I have been pretty busy lately, which is why I'm sewing less. I also took a couple short trips since my last post. Here are some photos from my various travels. Enjoy!

Five giant (up to 23 feet tall), inflatable, glow-in-the-dark bunnies came visiting from Australia, which you can read about here, here, and here.

It's such an interesting way to bring attention to the eco damage caused by rabbits (a non-native species) to Australia.

I mean, if the point of the exhibit is to raise attention to the danger of the rabbits, why make them so cute? :)

Last month I took a quick trip to Seattle for work. While there, I checked out Archie McPhee, a novelty store.

They do carry some fabric, by the way. Not a lot, but I was more entertained by the finger tentacles...

... and the Handerpants. My friend Christine quipped that these would be great to wear while fly fishing. LOL

I also checked out Seattle's Cat Cafe, the Meowtropolitan

This is a place where you pay $10 for a coffee drink and the ability to spend an hour with a clowder of cute-but-largely-indifferent cats.

I'd definitely visit again! In fact, it would be a great place to hang out with some knitting. :)

The purpose of my trip to Portland was to visit my eldest daughter at university. Her senior project, a dance that she choreographed on nine dancers, was part of the Spring concert.

Youngest daughter also came with me. As we waited for the show, she entertained me with Snapchat filters.

It was great to see Eldest Daughter's piece and also to see her perform (in another piece)

The next day they surprised me with an early Mother's Day picnic

And some camera play

A quick walk through Portland's Washington Park

It's good to be back home!

(A flower in Salem, near the Airbnb where I spent 2 nights.)
Have a great week!


  1. Looks like you had a lovely mothers' day. I wish I could have been there at Canada to hear you talk.

  2. I love the jacket you wore for your you have the pattern information? It looks like it would be perfect for a piece of printed lace I have. ~Martina

    1. Thanks, Martina! That's the Sewing Workshop Plaza Jacket. I made it in 2009.

    2. You sure have an eye for a great pattern...I've seen that one and skipped right by it because I thought it would swamp me!

  3. Your duster is lovely. Nice placement of the circles especially in the back.

  4. Your evening coat is so beautiful! You have such a talent for selecting fabric and matching to to a pattern. Mother's Day picnic ..the best!

  5. Gorgeous duster! If you had a wand in your hand, you'd look like Glinda in Wizard of Oz! (I have one you could borrow) Great to catch up in pictures what you've been doing the picnic with your girls!

    1. LOL. Yes, there is that vibe. ;) Thanks!

  6. I may have mentioned it before -- next time in Portland, RCT fabrics is a must see for you. Outdoor, performance fabrics, knits, and all the notions (except rivets!) to make your projects.

    1. Rats, Kathy! I think you did and I forgot. (I had heard of Rose City Textiles even before my first trip, but it completely slipped my mind.) I will be coming back to Portland. In fact, it may become a regular stop for my work. I'll also be coming in June for my daughter's graduation and I'll have a car then. I'll try to make it work. Thanks!

  7. Thanks, I needed that! So glad to see your post, I know you have been busy. Love your new duster, another creative garment! It's wonderful to see these happy times with your daughters. Bet you were a great inspiration to the Canada students, guests. Until next time...

  8. Smashing duster, Shams! Paris here it comes?
    Those Canada students were so lucky to have you speak and show your wardrobe!

    1. At first I *was* thinking of taking it to Paris. It's light as a feather and wrinkle resistant. But now I'm not so sure. I'll have to wait and see how the wardrobe shapes up. Thanks!

  9. Yes, you have been busy. Know your talk went well supplying much inspiration. The duster is magical in feeling and so on trend. Thanks for sharing pics of your Mother's Day celebration. Karen

  10. that duster looks great, very glam, especially considering it is home dec fabric. you are a wizard at finding interesting things.

  11. You look so pretty in your duster, I hope you get to wear it lots. Also enjoyed your travels; you are one busy gal!

    1. Thanks, Carol! I have a feeling I'll be grabbing for it for holiday parties and the like. ;)

  12. Love the organza circles fabric and your use of solid organza to add some body. Tres couture!

  13. That fabric would have been wasted as curtains. It was clearly destined to become your fabulous duster.
    And what fun you've been having. Your girls are so beautiful and it looks like you had an amazing time!

  14. Another great post! I LOVE the evening duster. Would you mind sharing how you did the tiny 1/16" hem? Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Couture a la Mode! I'll try to put a little tutorial together.

  15. A lovely duster...and I want to know how you managed to make such neat 1/16" hems. Your blog posts are always inspiring.

    1. Thanks for the tutorial...very helpful as I have chiffon to hem, some bias edges, and it must be machine stitched...wonky, arthritic hands can't do the stitching. Your generosity and commitment to others is greatly appreciated.

  16. The coat is just amazing and looks terrific on you. I want one too but never seem to have the occasion to wear something so very fine. Thank you also for the really helpful tutorial, your blog is always a joy to read.

    1. Thanks, Christine! You know, I thought I might take it to Paris, but now I'm not so sure. If nothing else, I can wear it to the holiday party at work, or the holiday party with my sewing pals, by throwing it on over black. :)

  17. I believe if you take knitting to that cat cafe, they will be anything but indifferent then!

    1. LOL, Isaspacey, I wonder if they'd even allow it!