Posted in sewing

Baltimore / Chicago / Fashion TV

There’s a fabric crawl this Saturday in Baltimore. There’s a thread on if you are interested. They’ll be visiting Guss Woolens, DuBois Textiles and A Fabric Place. Lunch may be at Pepe’s, one of my favorite pizza places here. I can’t be there the whole time – probably just A Fabric Place or lunch.

Fashion Fund

I finally bit the bullet and cancelled my satellite TV last month. Not that I don’t love TV. But,  I am currently living sans roommate with no immediate plans to change that.  No roommate means super limited disposable income. Satellite is $75 a month and I spend far more time on the internet. Any rate, I’ve been embracing my Hulu and Netflix through my Roku device. One new show I saw is Fashion Fund. It covers the CFDA Fashion Fund process. Serious fashion porn with people actually designing clothes and telling their story. It’s terrific.

If you never saw the HBO / PBS special on the Triangle Fire, it’s now also on Hulu.

Are you in the Chicago area with a vintage sewing machine from the 50s? Mary Beth of Yarn U is giving a demo on vintage sewing machines next month and is looking for machines to borrow. If you are on the north side of Chicago or in the near north suburbs (Wilmette, Evanston, Skokie) and want to spread the vintage love, let me know and I can put you two in touch. If she was closer I’d loan her my Kennie or my Featherweight. Hah! Did I tell you my friend Liz named her Kenmore 1030 Kennita?

My Trina Turk dress is done and it is awesome! Here’s a little preview I posted on Twitter last night.  I’m waiting until I get gussied up for dinner on Saturday night for photos. In the meantime, I’ve pulled out a red bamboo knit and am starting on a Butterick top!

Posted in sewing

Here’s Where UFOs Come From (or, Starting a long-term project when you have just two weeks)

Yes, that’s right! I’m taking a break from my tuxedo jacket. In my quest to be chic, I realized I wanted my trench in time for the Netherlands in May.  So, I’ve started the Burberry trench coat!  I don’t know that it will be done in time given my upcoming travel and work schedule, but a girl should try. The patterm is #128 from the January 2008 Burda. Note that this pattern does not call for the epualletes. I’m tight on fabric so I may not be able to add them.

After two days of rabidly pawing through my stash, I’ve gathered my supplies in one place:

The raincoating material is from Michael’s. Denver Fabrics had some too. I have to admit I now have this material in three colorways! And, I have plans for every single piece.

Red and black buttons from eBay. They are ginormous.

Burberry quilted warmer from Guss Woolens. It pickes up the burgundy stripes of the inside.

Black leather covered buckles courtesy of Lindsay T. They look fantastic against the red.

Matching striped lining I picked up at Jomar almost three years ago. This will be for the sleeves and the underside of some of the bulkier / thicker pieces.

I’m flying fast and loose here and not making a muslin. I added an extra inch in width to each sleeve for safety.

I also made a 1.5 inch FBA. My first time in a raglan pattern. It will have a bodice dart at the side seam. I know there are ways of rotating out the dart, but for using fabric that won’t ease well, I’m find with a side bust dart.

The coat will be unlined in the bodice, lined in the sleeves and have a button out warmer. I do still need to draft the warmer pattern and get that cut out. I’m not too worried. I have a general idea. I’m thinking cap sleeve raglan (enough to cover the shoulder pads).

I’m super busy this upcoming weekend so I plan to do all the binding next weekend. Once it’s all bound, I’m hoping to take it with me to my parents place in Tampa and get the main construction done in mid-April while I’m there for a quick visit.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you all about my dinner tonight with some sewists / bloggers visiting Baltimore!

Posted in sewing

Tuxedo Pants, Burda Magazine, 11-2010-129

I’m just going to come out and say it. I think these pants make me look skinny. And, I’m going to say it because I haven’t said that about pants in at least five years.  And, I’ve NEVER said that about pants I’ve made. These pants are *magic*. I had an idea about making a tuxedo after I made the bow ties. I was wearing one out as a necklace and had several men (none keepers, but whatevs) complimented me. I figured a tuxedo might be a nice way to work more into my wardrobe. Especially since Liz and I were launching Baltimore Bespoke Bows this summer. I’m wearing them with my BWOF 1-2008-105 blouse from two / three years ago.

Except, I forgot I HATE making pants. I love them in theory, but, they do not love me back. As noted earlier,  I made half a dozen muslins of a straight legged pair and gave up becore moving to these. I bought the fabric from Guss Woolens in downtown Baltimore when Trena visited a few weeks ago. Mike, the owner, suggested the wool / poly hopsack weave at $8 a yard. It nicely resists wrinkling and presses wonderfully. It’s a little thinner than I would have thought a tuxedo material should be. But, it breathes so nicely! The satin accents are from A Fabric Place in Mt. Washington, Baltimore. I think it was $10 a yard.

The original pattern from November 2010, #129 does not call for a waistband and has no side seams. But, I wanted a satin waistband and pockets — like traditional tuxedo pants. So, I used the top twp inches of the pants to make a waistband.  The lack of side seams made it tough for me to add a satin stripe down the side of the pants. But, I think it’s ok. I did not do additional pockets on the back. But, I would next time.


The only alterations I made were a swayback adjustment and adding 1/2 inch at center front. But, the waistband still dips a bit and I’d like to adjust that in the future. I used twill tape along the upper waistband seam allowance to prevent stretching.

This was my first time using Kathleen Fasanella’s tutorial on making single welt pockets. And, I was so thrilled with the results that I made a donation. She puts out impressive, industrial method tutorials. I know we all think the internet is free, but people’s time and knowledge is valuable and making a small donation is a tangible way of saying ‘thank you’.

I still love wide length pants. They are snug around my smaller hips and waist and gloss over my full thighs. Plus, wide leg pants don’t get caught on my chub rub and give me  as angry wrinkles in the back.

I’m a third a way through a matching tuxedo jacket. I didn’t make a muslin so I have that same feeling of trepidation when I started sewing my wool trench coat.  I may slow down as I really really want a matching puple Bemberg rayon to line the jacket with and have none on hand or locally available. We’ll see!


Posted in sewing

Natty Dressers

There are several natty dressers in my office who occasionally ask me about making bowties. I generally have little to no interest in sewing for other people. But, recently, Liz asked for help in making a bowtie for her boyfriend. After seeing how easy they were I whipped up six over the weekend. Before I committed to helping out Liz, I shared my tales of woe. I pointed her to posts on the sweater curse. She still wanted to do it. At my local fabric store, Guss Woolens, the cashier also told her not to do it when she went to buy the silk tie fabric. She didn’t care. Who am I to turn my back on young, blind love?

First, I did some research on the various styles of ties. Thistle, Straight and Diamond. Everything else seems to be a variation on that. We also elected to use button closures. It’s a nice vintage touch and rarely seen now. Mostly because I have a lot of buttons and didn’t feel like ordering closures.

Officemate Modeling

There are two free patterns on the interwebs. The first is David at BurdaStyle. The second is in the LA Times. The LA times pattern needs some adjusting to make it the same length as the BS pattern. On both, I recommend adding one to two inches to the length if the person has larger than a 15 inch neck.

After a few muslins, I made up a manila template and traced my pattern onto my material. Very assembly line.

I used one layer of drapery interlining for the interfacing. The interfacing helps your bow stay nice, full and crisp. Habermans recommends drapery interlinging for tie interfacing. I wasn’t clear from my cursory research what kind of interfacing bow ties use, so I went with this.

Bow ties, unlikle neckties, can be sewn on the straight or bias.

I had fun playing around with the different textures

I added four buttons about 1/2 inch apart starting 1/4 inch from the edge. Sew the buttonholes vertically (mine are horizontal). I like a 3/8 inch 10mm button for these.

And, here are said natty dressers modeling their new ties. Well, I made them for four men. Two of the women at my office scooped up extras.

These were so stinking cute. I was very popular today after handing them out.

Posted in sewing

Totally and Completely Over It

I am totally and completely over two things. The first, Project Runway. The second, the new pattern sheets in Burda.

I read in the blogosphere about the Burda changes. I thought people were overreacting. I thought how can it be that bad? I’ve traced  La Mia Boutique, Patrones, Knip Mode and others. Well. You know what? It *is*that bad. I seriously struggled tracing out a jacket today. And, I’m pretty sure it’s still not right.

Here’s hoping I just get used to it.

Project Runway speaks for itself.

Totally and completely over it.

Alright. I hate to blog without a photo. Here’s the coat fabric I bought two weeks ago at Guss Woolens in Baltimore. It’s a gorgeous double side wool Italian tweed. How Italian? Oscar de le Renta baby! It was originally $33 a yard. I snagged the last 3.5 yards for less than $30 total. Yeah. That’s how I got my coat groove back.