Category Archives: Sewing

The Little Black Dress

Initially for the fashion show I envisioned a sixties inspired little black dress cut on the bias with an open back, a unique fitted bodice that the skirt flowed from as if almost an empire waisted dress, but with a much more fitted look.  See sketch:  (posted when I track down the original sketch)

This vision – just didn’t become a reality.  I tried and I tried and I tried.  I made multiple mock-ups in muslin.  I had trouble in construction overall and just couldn’t wrap my mind around the whole execution.  If I didn’t have trouble with the construction during one mock-up then of course, I didn’t get the fit right.  If got the fit right, then the fit became all wrong when the skirt stretched (because it will) after hanging 24 hours.   I can honestly say for right now, I will never go down the path of anything bias cut (unless its bias tape) for the time being.  As a last-minute and I mean in the last 24 hours (yes, this involved staying up all night) before the fashion show I made a whole new black dress.

Simple, clean lines.  Flattering style for most anyone!  It worked out well – a nice, fully lined, little black dress.  It was a little big for my model (my friend Ona), but overall it worked.  With time on my hands it would have looked excellent with a belt.

Rage Against the Machine

Lesson 521: Never put regular all-purpose thread in your serger. Very bad things will happen. You will have to rethread the machine. You will have to read the book that came with the machine. You may have to watch the very poorly produced DVD that comes with machine that is harder to understand than the book. You will rage. You will conquer. Your cat will help. You will rethread the machine and wonder how many things you can do in the same color of thread so you don’t ever have to rethread again.image


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Preview – The Classic

Things have been super busy and one great example is trying to work with this vintage fabric.  I’m using the below super find for a dress I’m calling the Classic.  i.e. the classic sixties knit dress with loads of darts for a super fit!!

It looks fantastic, but has been such a beast to attempt to match up this lovely double-knit.

Notice in the pic above . . . vintage fabric meant it already had some issues with the grainline.  It’s all okay though, my cutting partner (Thanks Marcy!) got it all worked out.

Let’s Talk About Size!

Can we talk about size for a moment?  Since I took on this project and really challenged my sewing skills to go beyond the hobby territory, I have had nightmares of all things related to measurements.  Often it comes in the form of flying numbers chasing me down, as I am lassoed in by a large pink plastic measuring tape by an unknown figure who forces me to watch a never-ending slide show of people in ill-fitting clothes.  I shiver just thinking about it! Which is ironic considering at the moment most of my clothes are entirely too big.  Granted this a good problem to have but perhaps these nightmares are more of an indication of my own clothes being a bit in transition . . . off topic . . . where was I?

No wonder I get the cold sweats thinking of sizing and measuring – because its confusing!!  I’m working in a sewing studio (see pic above) with dress forms from all years and it can cause a bit of chaos for those of who haven’t taken the history of fashion.  Needless to say what was a size 10 in 1960 is not the same as 1970, 1980, 1990, etc. in the design industry.  Even today the size differences   (1) between stores (2) between designers (3) between manufactures causes a little multiple personality disorder in your closet.  I’m not shocking anyone who has three different sizes hanging up right now not so much because of an extra 5 pounds, but simply because you went to three different stores at three different price points.  For me I am working with vintage clothes, vintage inspired design, and vintage sizing while attempting to use the measurements of multiple people of all different sizes.  Ack!

Example of One Item from the Collection – Take one lovely homemade vintage store find with no size listed.

Take measurements of person you want to fit it to.  Who by the way, wears a size 6 and/or small. . . .

Find a dress form with similar measurements.

Start pinning and modifying.

And almost done.  There you go a size 6 or perhaps size 11 petite . . .depending on what year it is.  As long as it fits, it matters not!

There is a ton of fascinating information and history to absorb about the fashion industry.  If you want to really nerd out and read up on all sorts of sizing and manufacturing check out Fashion Incubator.  Love it!

Fashion Show Scoreboard:  LOTS TO DO.  Little sleep.  Multiple trips to fabric store of crazy things that I seem to be forgetting.  Contemplating a Christmas job cutting fabric.  I’m there often enough I feel like I should get sort of employee discount.

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Progress this Weekend

I’m afraid I don’t have a huge amount of brain power to post at the moment, but I have big blogging plans this week!  Stay tuned.  This whole social worker by day, seamstress by night, and blogger in between is something I am going to have to figure out a schedule for.  Any ideas?

Tomorrow I will be going with a dear group of friends for dinner at Dream Cafe to meet and listen to the Brehms.  They have graciously agreed to provide the music for the fashion event and luncheon at Trauma Support Services of North Texas‘ first fundraiser!  I will be reviewing the designs and fabrics with the singer so she can put together a medley of songs for the event.  Very Exciting!!

I had a very productive weekend of hunting down fabric and trim, plus two long days of sewing.  Why do I feel still way behind?

Final Pattern – Maybe

Took some time to clean up the home sewing studio.

Stay tuned this week to a studio tour, a fabric preview, and tons of inspiration!

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