Sunday, April 9, 2017

Angel-Wing Chambray-and-Lace Top & GIVEAWAY!!!


Angel-Wing Chambray-and-Lace Top

A few months ago Mood Fabrics seduced me in that way they do. I had purchased some denim and they sent me one of those "you may also like..." emails. It featured this Denim and Ivory Novelty Cotton Lace, and I was smitten.

This fabric is a bit misnamed: it is not denim. It is a cotton chambray, but it is denim colored. :)

I purchased 2 yards. I rarely buy or wear lace, but I have been focusing on hot-weather clothing (for Florence and NYC this summer) and this was!

I played with the fabric and quickly decided that I wanted to use the lace vertically, rather than horizontally. (I posted these pics to Instagram and Facebook and most people thought I should use the fabric horizontally, but I didn't like it as well when held up to my body.)

I quickly decided I wanted a simple angel-wing-style top. I didn't bother with a pattern, so I started with a tape measure. The fabric is 60" from selvedge to selvedge, or 58" if you ignore the lace peaks. I measured from wrist to wrist and my wingspan is 52".

What... you don't tape your tape measure to your body?

That means I needed to remove at least 6" from the width. I didn't want to cut the lace, or mess with the lace at all, so I had to remove the extra fabric from the section between the lace. That section is 16" wide. To complicate matters, I didn't want to remove width in the area where I would have a neck opening, and I needed about 10" for the neck hole, so I had to remove 3" on each side of the neck opening (or 6" total). I sewed the tucks so that they would end above the bust—they release above the bust, providing my full bust adjustment (FBA).

Sheesh, I didn't have a lot of room because, as it was, I had only 3" on each side of the neck opening. So I decided to take 1/2" tucks, directly on top of each other, at each side of the neck opening. This required careful marking, sewing, pressing, and topstitching.

Next, I drew a standard round neckline opening, but it was too small for my head. I added a slit. It now went over my head, but I didn't want a slit, so I turned the slit into a v-neck. (A boat neck would have been easier, but I avoid boat necks - I don't like them on my frame and, anyway, I didn't have enough width for a boat neck once the tucks were sewn in.)

I used a scrap of fabric to make a neckline facing.

I wanted to place the hem on a lace "valley". The valleys occur every 4-1/4", so I experimented pinning the hem at different lengths, but always landing on one of the valleys. I even tried a hi-low hem, but I ended up choosing a longer hem that was the same front and back. I thread basted the hem.

Thread basting

I hemmed the chambray portions by machine and the lace portions by hand

I finished the top by strategically tacking the front to the back at the side bust and side waist. I also tacked a pleat into the front, below the bust, to control the volume a bit.


This top was made from a rectangle and has no shoulder or side seams. I used a 60" by 69" rectangle, plus some tucks and tacks for shaping and taming the fullness.

Do I like this top? I think so. I made it specifically for hot weather and wore it over a cream tank top for these pics at 7am this morning. I was freezing, so I take that as a good sign, as far as hot weather goes. I wore it over a sweater for a local arts festival today and it is fun to wear with those lacy wings. I can't wear a sweater or jacket over it, and I put my cross-body purse under it, which maybe wasn't the best look, but I didn't want to carry a satchel. I doubt I'll take it to Florence, because the cotton has a tendency to wrinkle, but I think it will be a cool and fun wear on a hot day!

Style '17 & Giveaway

Last year I blogged about Style '16. The Style show provides a great opportunity to buy gorgeous wearable art and jewelry directly from the artists. I love events like this! I made sure to get Style '17 on my calendar many months ago—April 29th and 30th. This year the event will be held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View—walking distance from where I work one or two days each week.

Then, last week, one of the co-producers of Style '17 kindly reached out and offered me two free tickets. I bought my ticket months ago, so I asked if I could offer the tickets to my blog readers. She agreed, so, if you would like two free tickets to this fabulous event, please leave a comment indicating your interest! I will post the winner next weekend, so you have until Friday to enter.

For those who don't win, you can still save! They offered my blog readers 40% off the ticket price, so it will cost $6 instead of $10. (To be honest, I don't mind paying full price for this event because it benefits Art in Action, a national non-profit that provides visual arts curriculum to 75,000 students each year, including children in 185 Bay Area schools.)

To get the ticket discount, enter SHAMS40 on the last page of the checkout. If you do come and you see me, please say hi! In short... a fun day at the Computer Museum, great shopping, benefitting arts programs—it's a win-win-win!

(By the way, two of my artist-friends have booths at this event. Winnie of Eccentric Designs jewelry, and wearable artist Carol Lee Shanks, who sometimes teaches at Design Outside the Lines.)

Can you believe it's April already? My weekend calendar is becoming uncomfortably full. Things are heating in my History of Italian Fashion class. In fact, we are each giving a presentation while in Italy and I've selected my subject. I am giving a short preso on designer Antonio Marras. Mr Marras has been designing for Kenzo since 2005 and he also has his own line—his designs are quite compelling. I plan to visit his high-concept store while in Milan this summer. I hadn't heard his name before, but it was instant love when I googled his designs. You might check out his Fall 2017 line.

I've just washed the fabric for my next Britex project, and I've selected a pattern, so that's my activity for next weekend.

Please join me on Patti's Visible Monday. I hope you have a great week!


  1. What a fun and unique top! (I'm not entering the contest as I live far away)

  2. How clever you are! A perfect design for a fantastic fabric. Yea, Shams!

  3. You are coming to NYC this summer? Have you told me dates? You know I've got to see you!!! Next - what an amazing and imaginative way to have used the lace border print. I love that top!

  4. I hadn't heard of the Style show, but I've just dropped it on my calendar... will throw my hat in for a free ticket, otherwise I'll probably buy one, as the list of artists looks incredible. (You should advertise this on knitters-mtv too, just saying...)

    -Red Sweater

  5. Oh my goodness! What a creative top - angel wings on an angel! The whole idea of taking the fabric out on both sides and the pleating -very nice - looks cool, comfortable and flattering

  6. The top is a very creative use of a very interesting fabric! Please enter me in for the drawing for the tickets.

  7. This is gorgeous! Great use of fabric. I love your creativity!

  8. Love this top. So cleverly shaped with tucks. Suits you so well.

  9. What a great top - and so gorgeous on you. So creative! xox


  10. Oh, Shams,you've done it again with this creative top! I particularly love all the unique tucks which give such a flattering fit. Karen

  11. Wow, what a stunning garment. I love your courage to just create from a vision. The combination of inspiration with scientific precision is most impressive. (BTW, you do not need to enter me in the drawing as I am happy to pay full price if I'm able to go. Thanks for the information on the event!)

  12. Art & science come together! Beautiful creation.

    No need to enter me in the drawing, as I live very far away!

  13. that is such interesting fabric and you have created a really pretty top. No need to enter me in the drawing.

  14. I hadn't heard about that show yet, thanks for the heads-up. I'd love to be entered into the drawing.

  15. Your use of the fabric, so creative! BTW, the denim shoes you are wearing are perfect for the streets of Florence. I think they must be by Munro, and if so, I have them in five different colors. I hope you are thinking linens and cottons, simple shifts and light cover-ups for your Florentine wardrobe.

    1. Hi Lynn! I see you have blog(s) about living in Italy, so you must know all about the Florence climate! I am constantly befuddled about my Florence wardrobe, as I hate hot weather and hot weather dressing, and clothes that would be the most comfortable wouldn't be particularly flattering on me. Those shoes, purchased for Florence, are by Arche. I am so glad you approve of that style! I have purchased a second pair of black shoes for the trip by Trippen. I think that's all I plan to bring! (I seriously overpacked footwear for Paris and want to avoid that...)

    2. Thanks Shams. It appears the site is down, so they are out of business?

    3. Alyn, yes they went out of business years ago. It was very sad. I just checked and I blogged about it in 2011:

  16. Hi Shams,
    I just discovered you and love your posts about Au Bonheur des Petites Mains.
    Any idea how I can purchase some of their patterns? Haven't found any on Etsy.

    1. Hi Alyn! No, I have no idea how to lay your hands on the Au Bonheur patterns. Most of them are presumably in France, since they were sold in France. Some of us ordered them and had them mailed to the U.S., but I think we were a fairly small number.

  17. That is gorgeous top and it is flattering on you. It was worth all the work. Love your style.

  18. Impressive use of this very unique fabric and so pretty. You look lovely in the crisp blue and white.

  19. I'd go to the show, so consider me entered!
    I always learn so much from you.

  20. That fabric grabbed my attention, as I purchased one very similar. I made a skirt from mine, also just using measurements. Now that I've seen yours, I am totally patting myself on the back. I got fabric like Shams! I made something without a pattern like Shams! I'm just like my hero, Shams! :)

    Seriously, love the top, and thank you for sharing so much of what you do. I am continually inspired by your work.