Watercolors in Silk

I just love a great watercolor painting, how the colors softly flow into each other, creating emotion with how they blend together to evoke a mood.

Speaking of Mood, the renown fabric store in New York, Los Angeles, and online at MoodFabrics.com, the store where the Project Runway design contestants run around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to find fabric, trim, notions and inspiration (and hopefully a lucky Swatch sighting), all within a ridiculous 30 minutes, is running a series of contests using their fabrics. I thought how fun it would be, and also a challenge for me, to order some silk and whip up something for their MoodMadeSilk18 contest by the deadline of today, April 30th, 2018.

I went ahead and ordered 2 yards of this gorgeous watercolor floral silk chiffon and was even happier when it arrived!

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Isn’t it SO pretty?!

I gave it a gentle wash and laid it flat to dry, then got to smoothing it all out perfectly on grain and ready to be cut:

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I thought this would be a perfect fabric for this pattern view A from McCall’s that I had recently acquired from their new Spring ’18 collection:

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Pinterest is one of my favorite resources to find inspiration and ideas for sewing (also for cooking, art and other ideas). I found a couple of flouncy cold shoulder tops and pinned them for inspiration and thought, “I could make something like that, easy!”

floral cold shoulder long sleeve top                                             coral flounce cold shoulder top

So, I proceeded to do just that!

By taking measurements of the flat pattern and comparing them to my own body measurements, I knew that the torso would need to be lengthened in order to not feel too short on me when done, so I altered the pattern and added one inch to the front and back pieces using the “slash and spread” method (sorry, that sounds kinda dirty) before cutting the top out of fabric:

With the top only being a few pattern pieces, it went together fairly quickly, not including the pain-in-the-assery of working with silk chiffon, of course. For one thing, I had to carefully mark the wrong sides of the fabric as I went along so that I didn’t sew them incorrectly:

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Plus, make French seams on most seams since the fabric is so sheer and frays like a beeotch:

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sewing seam part #2 of a French seam

I decided that the fabric of the top was SO sheer that I would feel indecent prancing around in this with all of my “stuff” showing underneath, so I ran out and bought enough additional silk chiffon in a deep navy to layer under the print to create some opacity:

The top took me a little over a week to completely cut out and sew in my free time, so that was not too bad. I love the flounce and halter neck, and the fabric most of all on this top.

As for pattern changes, I left off the elastic at the waist, and didn’t add the zipper as the pattern suggests as I think that would be too much weight for this super delicate and sheer material. I also skipped the facing and sewed the lining in it’s place for a much better finish to the edge and to combat some of the sheerness.

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Detail of the French seam made on the flounce piece

I am not 100% sold on this pattern as I feel the fit is a tad “off” and the cold shoulder is really, really cold showing so much skin. It is way too big in the underarm as it turns out and shows off a good deal of side boob here. Making a dart here to take up some space is not going to work on the finished top (note to self: make more pattern alterations in this area, and maybe try a muslin too, before cutting into spendy materials like this, silly girl Steph!) so for now, I think I’ll make up a coordinating bra or a panel on the side to avoid any wardrobe malfunctions…

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Don’t look now, but your side boob is showing…

I finished the top just in time to throw it on, slap on some makeup, do something to tame (or tease?) my crazy hair, and have my sweet and patient man snap some photos of me to post on my Instagram with the hashtag #MoodMadeSilk18 to enter the contest by the deadline. I would love to win the $100 gift card to Mood as the winning prize, but there are some other amazing garments that sewists have made with silk from Mood for this contest, so I wouldn’t be upset if I didn’t win. Just making stuff and challenging myself is fun for me!

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THANK YOU MOOD!!! Say “hi” to Swatch for me!

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Flounces in Floral

I usually don’t identify myself as being overly girly or feminine, but I’m finding myself drawn to flounces, ruffles, florals and other “girly” details in fashion lately. So, I figured, why not succumb to my femininity and make myself something floral, flouncy and flirty! (Yes, I am a total dork if you were wondering.)

Last summer, I came across this floral stretch denim fabric at Joann’s and really liked it, so I purchased a couple of yards of it, with the intention of making a little dress out of it:

Floral Stretch Denim

We were planning a trip to Las Vegas in August 2017 and I thought this would be a great opportunity to sew a little strappy fitted dress for the trip, but then the trip was cancelled so this particular dress project was also cancelled, at least for the time being.

Fast forward to early Spring 2018. McCall’s Pattern Company released some really great patterns and for a couple of dollars, I picked up this one, and a few others, during one of Joann Fabrics pattern sales:

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I’m not all that crazy about the ginormous sleeves on view B and C on this pattern, but I really like the little jacket shape and flounces of view A:

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I thought I could make up a cute little spring jacket like this one I spotted on Pinterest:

Flounce Sleeve Jacket

This pattern, although trendy, could easily be made up in solid colors, prints, or with more of a classic look by just leaving off the flounces that are constructed separately and sewn to the outside along a marked stitching line.

One thing that I thought could improve the quality of the jacket in terms of construction and wear was a facing. Without a facing on the inside of this jacket, the lining would come all the way to the edges of the jacket and possibly show or peek out from the inside of the jacket. Upon doing some research of other sewists that have made this jacket, some of them had added a facing and were much happier with the result. So, I decided to take the time to do the same to mine.

I pulled up my online Craftsy sewing class Mastering Construction: Linings and Facings with instructor Sara Alm for a refresher on how to make facings and got to work adjusting my pattern.

Commercial break: I absolutely LOVE Craftsy and have learned so much from these great online classes! The classes offered are an invaluable tools for learning for creative-minded people.

I traced a 3″ facing from the jacket front and back pattern pieces, then also traced the lining (minus the facing area) from the same pattern pieces to create facings and a new lining pattern (adding seam allowances to each):

 

I then decided to add a little fun pop of color to this jacket that is ultimately just shades of grey and chalk white. I used packaged piping in bright fuchsia pink to sew between the lining and the facing. I see this type of detail in some ready-to-wear garments and knew it would be a relatively easy detail to add to the interior (I also learned how to do this by watching another one of my favorite Craftsy classes, Sew Like a Designer: Fashion Details):

 

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Oh, and I also decided that I would like to have a pocket in this jacket, so I just traced off a rectangle (using a notebook that was handy and my clear grid ruler) and cut out two of these from the lining material, sewed them together leaving an opening to turn, turned it inside out, gave it a good press, then top stitched it to one of the front sides of the lining. I thought of doing a nice welt pocket here, but wasn’t in the mood to take the time to do that. Maybe next time!

It was exciting to see my jacket was really starting to come together! I love how the entire jacket is lined, including the underside of the sleeve and peplum flounces. Here is one sleeve getting pressed on my handy sleeve board after the flounce was gathered slightly and sewed to the outside of the sleeve:

 

The final touch of slip stitching by hand the sleeve lining to the sleeve at the hem:

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All in all, this jacket was a fairly easy sewing project and only took a few evenings after work and Saturday morning to complete. I am so happy with it and glad that I chose to make this up, especially in a floral print.

I got a kick out of showing off the lining, piping and little pocket that I added to the construction of this little gem:

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And, of course, my Love, Stephanie label too:

Label in Floral Flounce Jacket

I enjoyed wearing this out to a local fashion event, along with a silk camisole and black wide leg trousers, also items that I have sewn. I even received a couple of compliments on my jacket! Good times!

 

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Happy Spring!

Strapless Floral Girly Dress

I just love a strapless dress! For some reason, the style just looks so elegant and flattering (if the fit is absolutely perfect: not too tight, never too loose) on a special occasion dress, or even a summer day dress. Something about showing off the neck, décolletage, shoulders, arms and upper back I find so alluring while daring and sensual on a woman.

        I started making this dress over a year ago in hopes to wear to a garden wedding. The fabric, “Shimmering Pink Floral Polyester Twill” which I believe is from Oscar de la Renta,  I acquired from Mood Designer Fabrics back in 2015 and have been holding onto for the perfect dress. It’s time has come!

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As I was nearly done with it, I decided that it was a little too “young” looking on me and not quite as a sophisticated a look I was going for the occasion I was attending. So, with two days to spare, I set it aside for the wedding and whipped up a quick floral silk maxi dress (which turned out to be perfect) instead.

Meanwhile, about a year later, I managed to finish the floral dress (less a finished hem) and I just love the result and am just getting around to blogging about it:

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I began this dress with the fabric, a pattern and a vision:

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As you might notice from my sketch, I envisioned this dress with a horizontal sheer inset panel in the skirt made of organza. I also was planning to add black piping within the seams of the bodice to add texture and dimension, but neither of these design features made it into the dress.

I love these designer dresses with the pretty floral prints, fit & flare silhouette, flirty strapless bodice, and best of all, pockets!

 

Here is an image of a lovely skirt by Donna Karan from which I was thinking of borrowing the sheer inset design detail:

Donna Karan Sheer Inset Skirt

I used this dress pattern 7082 View A from McCalls to create this dress:

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McCalls 7082

I started this dress the “proper” way with a fitting muslin so I wouldn’t risk totally messing this dress up by just cutting out the pattern, and assuming all would fit right out of the package, like I have done too many times before. I did want to make the best use out of my pretty fabric after all the work and time that is put into projects such as this, so making a muslin version first just made sense.

The fit was pretty good in muslin. I needed to take in the back. Actually, now that I look at it more carefully and have had more sewing and fitting education and experience in the past year, I should have taken some length out horizontally in the back as I can see bunching and wrinkling here where it should lay smoothly across my back:

I then started cutting out and constructing the dress in the printed fabric as well as the wonderful bright pink lining after transferring the changes back to the pattern:

The rest of the construction went pretty smoothly. Making the bodice:

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The boned bodice lining:

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and the skirt, adding fun and handy pockets to the pattern (because I can!):

The inside of this dress makes me happy with the bright pink satin lining and the cute black and white polka dot ribbon I added to the side seams of the bodice to serve as hanging loops:

Here she is, the entire outer dress sewn together, ready for the lining to be set in:

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The inside of this little gem looks almost as good as the outside!

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I just love my little dress and hope for an occasion to wear it, or sell it off to one lucky lady who would enjoy this one of a kind sweet little dress! Any takers out there?

On to the next sewing adventure…Bye for now!

Floral Print High-Waist Pencil Skirt

It’s fashion show time again here in the great city of Portland, Oregon, and that means time to bust out the best wardrobe to wear! For the occasion, I finally got around to make up this pencil skirt that I have been wanting to sew for some time now:

 

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Cheers to my new skirt!

 

The fabric is the showcase for this project. It’s silk twill from the late designer Oscar de la Renta that I purchased from Mood Fabrics online. I’ve had this beautiful (and spendy) fabric in my stash for two years, and was overdue for it’s time to be made into something wonderful.

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Oscar de la Renta Silk Twill

 

I have been saving some pins on my skirt inspiration board on Pinterest in hopes to make up a simple, yet wonderful, pencil skirt in a floral fabric:

 

Burda Pattern 7124 was my choice to make up this skirt as I love the slim fit and the high waist of view B:

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Burda Pattern 7124

 

The pattern was a little bit of a challenge to read and interpret the instructions, as well as keep all the pattern pieces of the waistband and waist yoke of the fashion fabric, the lining, and the interfacing straight, marked and in order, but other than that, it was a fairly easy pattern to work with. I added two inches to the hem while cutting it out in order for the finished length to hit just below my knee.

Here is my pattern all laid out on the silk (after making up a muslin mock-up of course) and ready to cut:

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Pattern layout moments before cutting

 

I chose this pattern also because of the nice walking slit and the full lining. I felt that this skirt in this special fabric deserved those features!

I used some black silk habotai that I had in my leftover scraps from another project to line the skirt and that worked out beautifully.

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Hand sewing the interior facing and lining to the zipper

I really love the finished result of this skirt and will wear it a lot.

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Interior of the skirt

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love how the back yoke pieces create the high waist

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Front of the skirt

 

I have about a yard of fabric left over from this project, and may make up a matching top at some point to make this into a two-piece dress outfit. Or, if somebody comes along and would like me to make them a custom skirt or dress from the remaining yardage, let’s talk!

Cheers!

 

Ikat Print Pleated Skirt

It’s been HOT here in Portland, in the 90’s the past few days, and I’ve been only wanting to wear dresses and skirts to try to beat the heat.

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On my sewing to-do list have been fun, lightweight and easy to wear skirts. As an inspiration,  I’ve seen cute printed a-line or pleated skirts that are fast and easy to sew, and even easier to wear. Here are some of my inspirations:

I had some nice black and white Ikat printed medium weight cotton fabric in my stash,

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plus black Bemberg rayon lining material which I usually have on hand or left over from another project, so I decided to make up a cute little pleated skirt for myself using New Look 6873 pattern which I have had forever in my pattern stash:

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New Look 6873 pattern illustrations

Well, the pattern sizing turned out to be pretty terrible and I spent most of my time fitting, ripping out stitches, and re-sewing this skirt. It was HUGE! I followed the size chart and cut the size that matched closest to my measurements. I had to take out about 2 inches at each side seam of the skirt and the waistband in order for the skirt to even come close to fitting my waist. It was almost as if I had forgotten to sew a couple of pleats it was so big!

After fitting it and re-sewing, the skirt took about twice as long as it could have to make. Plus, I added a lining to this using the pattern pieces of view C, the A line skirt with no pleats. so that added some additional time, but totally worth it.

All said and done, I probably won’t sew this pattern again. I really should be drafting my own patterns at this point anyway. I thought it would be a time saver to use a commercial pattern where the pattern work was done for me, but that was not the case here.

Oh well, now I have a cute little skirt in a great print and I am happy!

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Stay cool!

 

 

 

Cross Bodice Jumpsuit

I made up this pattern in my Advanced Pattern making class that I have been taking at Portland Fashion Institute as a part of my first collection for my label Love, Stephanie.

 

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I got about 4 yards of a lovely silk twill-like material that had just the right amount of drape to it without being sheer or flimsy.

I love how easy and free-flowing this jumpsuit looks and feels:

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It was a fairly easy design to create. I made a cross bodice top with a back zipper opening, drafted a long sleeve with a wider sleeve hem, made a wide leg palazzo pant, and sewed them together at the waist and added elastic. I then whipped up a simple sash and tied it loosely at the waist Boom! Done!

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I have been admiring the whole jumpsuit trend and have been saving up inspiration photos on Pinterest:

Love it! I can now take what I have made and create different versions of it; narrower leg, sleeveless, halter top, all kinds of fun and fashionable looks. Sew exciting!!

Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more custom designs from me!

Love,

Stephanie

 

 

 

Animal Print Brocade Holiday Party Dress

I love this dress! I thought it would be too poofy and make me look bigger than I would like to look, but after wearing it, I was OK with the poof.

 

V1434 in animal print brocade

Vogue Pattern 1434 by Isaac Mizrahi in animal print brocade

 

I used Vogue 1434 to make this dress. It’s a Vogue Patterns American Designer pattern designed by Isaac Mizrahi:

V1434 Pattern Cover

V1434 by Isaac Mizrahi Pattern Cover

V1434 Line Drawings

V1434 Pattern Envelope Back and Line Drawings

I cut out this dress in a size 14, making a fitting muslin of the bodice first, which took some minor tweaking at the shoulders and bust princess seams, but the fit was pretty great overall. I cut it from a beautiful Italian animal print cotton blend brocade in metallic cream, rose and peach shades from Oscar de la Renta I ordered from Moodfabrics.com:

Oscar de la Renta Cream/Wint/Rose/Peach Animal Italian Cotton Blended Brocade Fabric

Oscar de la Renta Cream/Wint/Rose/Peach Animal Italian Cotton Blended Brocade Fabric

Pattern Cutting the Brocade

Pattern Cutting the Brocade

I had a nice red silk crepe de chine fabric in my stash that was just barely enough yardage to fully line the dress:

cranberry red silk crepe de chine for the lining

cranberry red silk crepe de chine for the lining

The dress was fairly easy to construct with a basic princess seam sleeveless bodice and full pleated skirt and deep pockets, lined by the same pattern pieces for the bodice and different patterned pieces for a gathered skirt lining.

The most time consuming part was making the pleats.

I traced the pleat placement using the handy pleating guide included in the pattern pieces:

Pleat Guide Pattern Piece

Pleat Guide Pattern Piece

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I found that this would have been helpful had all my pleat tracing work had actually shown up and stuck to the brocade fabric once it came time to sew them. Instead, I actually held the guide up to my fabric as I pinned each pleat in place, then carefully basted them down:



Pinned and Sewing Pleats

Pinned and Sewing Pleats

This took the most time and attention, but it was worth the work!

finished dress!

finished dress!

I love how the lining turned out, accept the fact that I didn’t take the time to make French seams on the skirt as the inside of the lining could show my mistake or if anyone looks at it throughly inside and out. Oh well, I might just pink the seam edges so they don’t fray.

Mood Fabrics even sent a little label with the fabric that I sewed into my dress below my Love, Stephanie label. Oh, the little things make all the difference!

Labels Pinned and ready to Hand Sew Into Lining of Bodice

Labels Pinned and ready to Hand Sew Into Lining of Bodice

 

Lining of Bodice with Labels

Lining of Bodice with Labels

this dress is fully lined in red silk crepe de chine

this dress is fully lined in red silk crepe de chine

This dress was a huge hit at the two little holiday parties I went to Saturday, and I plan to wear it to another party on Sunday! I even met a woman who wants to talk to me about making some custom dresses and apparel for her! Plus, friends of mine have been dying for me to make them something custom, and we have some really great project ideas in the works! So exciting!

I was going for a dress inspired by these dresses I pinned on Pinterest:

Eliza J dress at Nordstrom

Eliza J dress at Nordstrom

Lanvin Jaquard Dress

Lanvin Jaquard Dress

It is so very cool to be able to make my own clothes, and then wear them and “sell” my work to others!

The Deep Pockets are Wonderful!

The Deep Pockets are Wonderful!

Love My New Dress!

Love My New Dress!

 

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and  and Happy New Year to ALL!!! MWAH!!