Plaid Shawl Transformation into Throw Pillows

My friend purchased this lovely plaid fringed shawl (no, it is NOT Burberry!) and asked my to make some throw pillows out of it:

 

Plaid Shawl with fringe

Plaid Shawl with fringe

 

The pillows were pretty easy to make, however it did take some extra time to plan out the cutting in order to keep the fringe border intact and on the outside of the pillow edges and to get the invisible zippers installed correctly.

 

Normally making a pillow with fringe or a piped edge, you can just sew right sides together with the fringe or piping sandwiched between the two layers and facing to the inside, then it is turned right side out. However, this fringe was already part of the edge, so I opted to first sew the long sides, with the invisible zipper prestitched on, right sides together, but the fringed edges I top stitched them closed on the outside, close to the fringe:

Top stitching the fringed edge

Top stitching the fringed edge

Unfortunately, I was not able to match the plaid on the front of the pillows to the backsides which is a little disappointing. I would have needed more fabric to do this (probably another entire shawl!) or cut off the fringe from the shawl and reattach it as trim.

These pillows took about three hours to make, including the strategic cutting of the shawl and sewing.

Taa Daa!

Pillows with fringe

Overall, they came out really nice and make great accent pillows for a couch or a bed. I hope my friend enjoys them for years to come!

Plaid pillows with fringe

Plaid pillows with fringe made from a shawl

 

Colorful Print BurdaStyle Tube Dress: Possible Contest Winner!

BurdaStyle.com was taking entries for making the Gathered Tube Dress pattern and the winner would be featured as the pattern model in place of the illustration:

BurdaStyle Gathered Tube Dress 04/2010 #165

I decided that this was an easy enough pattern, and I could make it up quickly with some nice fabric. It definitely was a fast and easy sewing pattern, with only a front and a back pattern piece, a measured and fabric strip for the waist elastic casing. The entire dress took only about 3 hours to make it. Downloading it from the BurdaStyle website and taping the pattern pieces together took the most time actually!

Silk Charmeuse Print Strapless Dress

I ran out to Mill End Store in Beaverton, OR and grabbed up this lovely printed silk as I felt this would be great fabric for this dress. I did need more fabric than the dress calls for because I wanted to try to match the colors of the pattern at the side seams. The lovely ladies at the fabric store helped me to decide on this fabric as they felt it was artistic and colorful and would stand out in photos.

Also, thanks to two of my super cool girlfriends, they help pick a great spot as a backdrop to take photos and snapped away! Thanks Girlfriends!

Printed silk strapless dress

Gathered Tube Dress #165

I am happy with my dress, although I should have taken a few extra minutes and measured the pattern pieces again, as I feel that the fit around my hips is a bit too tight, and I fiddled with that the whole time I was wearing it. The annoying, ill-fitting half-slip I was wearing under this didn’t help either.

I was informed today that I am actually one of the four finalist in the contest! So if I win, you might be seeing me in my dress as the model for this sewing pattern on BurdaStyle.com. Pretty cool!

Member Model? Maybe so!

Printed Silk Tank Top

I felt the itch to sew up something quick and easy to wear, so I made up this little silk top using Simplicity 1253 pattern and some lovely Derek Lam printed silk/lycra fabric:

Simplicity 1253 top in Derek Lam printed silk

Simplicity 1253 top in Derek Lam printed silk

Simplicity 1253 in Derek Lam designer silk

Simplicity 1253 in Derek Lam designer silk

This little top pattern took just a couple of days of on and off sewing time and under 2 yards of fabric. It features a pleated front, hi/low hem and a neck band.

Front neck pleat detail

Front neck pleat detail

The neck band took a little time to sew on, as I chose to sew the inside enclosing seam by hand instead of the stitch in the ditch method that the pattern has you do. This method NEVER turns out well for me, so I just take out my needle, thread and thimble and get to work hand sewing:

Slip stitching the inside of the neck band by hand

Slip stitching the inside of the neck band by hand

There is a little keyhole opening in the back with a loop and button closure which is a nice little feature:

back of top with loop and button closure

back of top with loop and button closure

I like to layer these little silk tops under jackets and cardigans or on their own:

My new top layered under a jacket

My new top layered under a jacket

I almost always have inspiration styles after which I try to model my sewing projects:

Joie "Corette" printed silk tank $158

Joie “Corette” printed silk tank $158

Joie printed silk tank top

Joie printed silk tank top

Vogue 8847 Silk Crepe Shirtdress

Vogue 8847 in Silk Crepe de Chine

Vogue 8847 in Silk Crepe de Chine

I made up this nice shirt dress in a nice Liberty silk crepe de chine print using Vogue 8847 pattern (now out print unfortunately).

Vogue 8847 pattern photo

Vogue 8847 pattern photo

Vogue 8847 line drawing

Vogue 8847 line drawing

It was not too bad of a pattern to sew, it took me a couple of weeks over weekends and evenings after work. The pattern features a stand up collar, open placket, self-lined yoke, long sleeve gathered into a barrel cuff and self belt. I chose to not add the pockets because the fabric I used was pretty light and delicate, and I thought that the pockets would just weigh down the dress, especially if I had my hands in them.

I made View A essentially for the collar style and the length of the dress, modifying the hem to be just straight across instead of curved at the front, split at the sides and straight at the back as the pattern features.

I added 2 inches to the front and back pattern pieces of the dress in order to have enough length in the torso and for the dress to “blouse” when I belted it:

Added 2" in length to the front and back pattern pieces

Added 2″ in length to the front and back pattern pieces

I cut out the pattern pieces of the dress as best I could, not really following the pattern cutting layout for view A, which calls for an insane amount of fabric, essentially 6-7 yards of fabric, if using a border print. I just went by view B to estimate the amount of fabric to purchase, more like 3 1/2 yards of 45″ wide material.

Instead of using sew-in or fusible interfacing, I used silk organza to interface the front facing and the collar. This was a great suggestion from the sales associate at Josephine’s Dry Goods, the wonderful fabric store where I purchased the material.

used in the front facing and collar pieces

silk organza used in the front facing and collar pieces as interfacing

I used hand basting with silk thread to baste the front facing to the front of the dress:

front facing basting stitches to mark the cutting line

front facing basting stitches to mark the cutting line

One part of the instructions were missing, the step between 11 and 12, where you are to sew the yoke back to the yoke front, attaching the front of the dress to the back of the dress, so that is something to take note of.

It took some time and careful pinning to get the gathers at the yoke just right:

Using many pins to gather the yoke.

I love how this dress turned out and am quite happy with the results! It is a lovely, casual yet elegant dress to wear and I just love this Liberty printed silk!

Back view of Vogue 8847 dress

Back view of Vogue 8847 dress

Side view of dress

Side view of dress

This dress reminds me of some dress styles that I have been saving in my sewing inspiration files like these:

Joie "Marlola" silk shirtdress $358

Joie “Marlola” silk shirtdress $358

Open placket dress Zulily

Open placket dress Zulily

DVF Silk Freya dress $398

Diane von Furstenberg Silk Freya dress $398

Printed shirt dress

Piperline Collection printed silk gathered shirtdress with pockets

I am sure I will get a lot of wear out of this dress, and would be more than willing to make it again:

V8847 side front

V8847 side front

IMAG3373

This photo really makes the fabric look blue!

Wearing my new silk dress!

Wearing my new silk dress!

Me enjoying my new fabulous silk dress!

Me enjoying my new fabulous silk dress!

Tie Neck Silk Blouse-Coral Pink Charmeuse

OK, maybe these tie neck or “pussy bow” style tops are old school, maybe they are haute couture. I don’t know for sure. All I know is I love them. And, I know that I will make them over and over again, until I cannot bare to make any more:

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This beauty I made for my stunning brunette friend (you know how you are :) ) as a gift. I have had this pinky/coral colored lustrous silk charmeuse for about two years now, keeping Her in mind to make a top for. I finally had her body measurements (I measured them for her on Thanksgiving 2014 before dinner), and figured she would look really nice in a lower cut, tie neck blouse, in a favorite color that she loves, not to mention looks really pretty on her.

I used Simplicity 1784 pattern, view A,  to make this blouse.

Simplicity 1784                                                   1784_fbvSimplicity

 

I ran out to Button Emporium to find some pretty , unique, and special buttons to use for this top. I found some lovely German Word War II-era pink glass buttons and grabbed up enough, plus extra, to button up this beauty.

Antique German glass buttons

Buttoned barrel sleeve cuff

 

Front buttons of blouse

Front buttons of blouse

I attempted to make this top as nicely as I could. I used French seams for the side, sleeve and armhole sleeves, plus hand stitched the interior of the cuff and neckline seams. Next time I make this top, or any top like this, I will not use fusible interfacing, at least not in the neck facing, because it left the facing a little warpy and stiff, plus it shows a little. I will try a silk organza, or the self material, for any interfacing parts the next time.

I have seen, and Pinned, several tops and blouses lately, that were an inspiration for this creation:

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I hope that She loves and enjoys this top and can wear it for many years to come. Who knows, maybe she will commission me to make her more of these, or similar ones, to add to her wardrobe and wear for the future. I would LOVE to do that! For Her, or anyone else who would like that. And who can afford me too ;)

back of silk blouse

IMAG3331

Sapphire Silk Top

in sapphire blue silk charmeuse

I just finished this lovely silk charmeuse top made in a gorgeous shade of blue. I picked this color blue to wear with the new sapphire ring my husband bought for me while on vacation in Mexico.

I used Simplicity 1315 pattern view A to make this top, using French seams to finish the side, sleeve and raglan sleeve seams. The pattern features a pleated neckline, raglan sleeves and barrel cuffs. There are also options to embellish the cuff or sleeve, but I chose not to embellish this time. I would, however, love to make this top again and possibly do some beadwork on the cuffs of the top. How pretty would that be!

I managed to find some lovely little blue buttons made in Italy with tiny rhinestone insets to use for this blouse at Fabric Depot in Portland, OR. So, the little special buttons give a nice touch to the finishings of this top.

Sleeve and cuff detail

The top was not too difficult to sew. The hardest part was hand sewing the neck band all the way around the neck edge. Well, that was not actually difficult, it was just time consuming. The slippery fabric was a challenge to manage and sew at times, but I have dealt with slippery silk before and knew how to handle it.

I found some inspiration photos of similar silk tops and blouses on the internet to compare to this look:

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Joie raglan sleeve silk top $258

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Cluny silk blend raglan sleeve top $197

Overall, I love my new blouse and love to wear it with my shiny new beautiful ring!

Front of blouse          silk charmeuse raglan sleeve top with pleated neckline.

My First Corset!

I finally completed making my very first corset, and I know this will not be my last!

Laughing Moon Mercantile pattern #100 corset made in polyester jacquard with velvet and ruffle trim

Laughing Moon Mercantile pattern #100 corset made in polyester jacquard with velvet and ruffle trim.

I loved every moment of making this corset, even though it was a long and sometimes downright difficult project, it was just exciting!

I made this corset as a part of the Corset Making Class at Portland Sewing School in Portland, Oregon with instructor Jason Bray. Jason works in the costume department at Portland Opera and knows how to make a corset, or any other theatrical costume, by heart. He is amazing, and so fun to learn from!

Jason Bray fitting a student's corset

Jason Bray in Corset Class

For this class, we used Laughing Mercantile #100 Dore and Silverado Corset pattern kit.

CMS-K-LMDORE

The kits, which were ordered in one size as needed, came with the corset, chemise and drawers patterns and sewing instructions, coutil for the inner corset construction, the busk, steel grommets, steel spiral boning, boning casing, twill tape for a waist stay 5 yards of lacing, and even an awl for setting the grommets. Everything I needed was included in the kit I ordered to make the corset besides the fashion fabric, lining and any trim I wanted to make my corset out of. I made View A, the Dore.

We made up a muslin of the pattern according to the size that we each ordered. From there, we partnered up and fitted each other’s muslin in class, taking careful consideration to fit and making markings on the muslin as needed.

After the muslin was a good fit, we transferred our newly custom fit pattern on to oak tag.

Oak Tag Pattern Pieces of Corset

This is really great because I now have a custom fit corset pattern ready to go and sew up in whatever other material I want and really to be used as a base of other designs! Love it!

After the pattern was ready, we cut out the coutil material, as well as the fashion fabric, from our 5 pattern pieces. I chose a blue and black polyester jacquard material for the corset and Ambiance bemberg rayon lining. I cut my lining later in the process.

corset cut out in coutil material

corset cut out in coutil material with boning casings placed

I serged the raw edges of my coutil, fashion fabric and lining pieces before sewing as both tended to fray easily. This step of serging the raw edges was quite helpful and made for a better interior of the corset. We carefully planned the placement of each boning (I think I used about 14 bones in all!) and then sewed the narrow boning casing to the coutil, leaving the top edge of the casing open to later insert the boning. Four of the steel bonings were used at the both sides of the grommets to support the openings here.

We then sewed a baby flannel backing to the interior of the coutil pieces to give some comfort between the boning casings and the inside of the tight fitting garment. This makes the corset look a bit more padded than I thought it would, and would not work for all fabrics I may want to make a corset out of, but it worked for this one.

Then it was time to insert the busk in the front. This step took some time as we had to carefully mark the placement and openings for the eye parts of the busk to stick out, then perfect placement of the coordinating nob part of the busk that fits into the eye parts as a front closure to the corset.

Front (busk) of corset

After the front was finished, we moved on to setting the grommets. This also was a very precise process, and sometimes downright difficult part of the constructions.Those grommets were hard to set!

Grommets and lacing

I hand-sewed the velvet cording and the grosgrain ruffled trims to the bottom and top edges of the corset before hand sewing the lining to the corset. This hand-sewing took a long time, but was necessary for control of the desired outcome of trim and fabric, and would never have worked sewing with the sewing machine. I have actually come to enjoy the process of hand sewing in most cases and can get though it relatively quickly. Close-up photos of these details will be added later.

I really enjoyed making this corset! I aspire to make more corsets such as lace, velvet, brocade, embellished and embroidered fabrics, and even incorporate them into dress construction or making really good quality costumes if the occasion arises. Corsets are beautiful!

I, of course, have inspiration photos of gorgeous corsets to share!

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So, if you know anyone who wants or needs a custom corset, call me!