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Selfish sewing time has been completely non-existent for me the past several weeks. Boo. After closing down and moving out of our brick and mortar shop, there still seemed to be endless amounts of straggling items of business to do. It’s been one thing after another after another, which is fine. Then, when chance came for a spot of sewing, guess who put in for some new t-shirts?

Saying that Mr. AFS has been my right hand through all of this wouldn’t cut the mustard. He helps me with every part of my online shop now. He’s still technically “in training” but he’s doing a passable impression of CEO. Since the tee’s on his back were literally about to fall off (holes and everything) telling him “no” didn’t seem like an option. I even tried to talk him into a couple of tees from Ross (a discount chain store) – we were even there looking at them!! – and he absolutely refused. Spoiled. Now he’s beginning to understand the difference between having something custom made for him vs. trying to find something that fits, is the right color and features everything he wants at the store.

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Additionally, I thought it would be a good plug for our jersey knits and for me to chat about what goes into buying knit for our online shop. ha ha (nervous laughter). When it comes to knits, I am incredibly picky. I’ve made several knit projects that basically bombed after wearing because of the fabric choice pilling, or the fabric choice was so awful, I got half way through and tossed it. I’ve done a lot of online fabric shopping in my time and well, I’ve only ever had one problem with a woven fabric (it was a very bad color in person). Knits are a completely different story. I’ve bought a lot of knit online and I would say that a really good portion have been complete flops in person. I’ve noticed that the weight – the sheerness of the knit – is a huge deal to me. I think thin sheer knits are for the dogs. Ugh. Awful to sew with and I always end up having to wear something underneath anyway. Sigh. The other thing that is pretty tell-tale of a bad knit, is the wash and wear. Pilling is so unsightly to me. I’ve had a good jot of rayon jerseys that pill and so I’m very careful when purchasing those for my shop.

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I made a pattern from Mr. AFS’s favorite tee and then made a test wearable t-shirt (above). The fit was exactly the same as the original tee.

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This t-shirt was fabric from some old shop stock. 100% cotton mini rib knit. This stuff is really soft and I’m pretty sure it was organic. This pic (above) was taken just after Mr. AFS had kissed his own bicep. He must really love the way his arms look in these tees. Ahem. Moving right along….

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Second tee, I got a lot more creative. Made him a henley with a pocket and back yoke with pleat. This proves great in a solid colored knit because we can actually see the texture and details without trying to squint through a print. He’s loving it. This knit is one of our 10 oz. cotton jerseys that contain 5% spandex (the Burgundy if you were interested). They. Are. Awesome! They sew up like a dream, will last a good long while and they have great color retention. Really comfortable to wear too.

I used the button placket pattern from David Coffin’s Shirtmaking book and put it together like a placket on a sleeve. All went well as per everything I’ve ever done from his book – love it! If you haven’t, take a gander at our knit selection. Get a swatch or two! I’m totally into converting you to my way of knit fabric thinking!

  • Mary - Is it bad form to say your hubs is a hottie?

    Oh the shirts are nice too!ReplyCancel

  • DM - My struggle is finding knits that have decent recovery. I can’t stand when shirts stretch out only to recover when I wash and dry them or sometimes they never recover at all and stay permanently stretched. I would love to see some more midweight knits with good recovery in your shop.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I’ve found that spandex is a good thing in knitwear. I used to think that all synthetics were bad, bad, bad, but now I know better. A little spandex goes a long way, especially in knit fabrics. A medium weight cotton jersey with about 5% spandex is fantastic! I hope you do try one of our knits – I really do try to find only the best and am very particular.ReplyCancel

  • Kate McIvor - I love the modifications on the second tee. I love the fabric for both!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Thank you Kate! By the way – I see that you’re opening your lovely new shop in October. I might just have to pop by for the grand opening!!!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - You are a better wife than I! My hunnie has been asking me about tees but honestly I couldn’t reproduce the quality of his RTW tees even if I was willing to, because I’m just not that good with knits yet – plus it’s not that hard for him to get a good fit off the rack anyway…. yours, on the other hand, look fantastic! The button placket and front pocket are really nice details, and they look very professional! :)ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Thank you! I’m newer to knits than to wovens and I have found that while knits are easier, reproducing what you see in RTW knitwear is harder. You’ll get there. It’s a much faster journey than with wovens. Much faster.ReplyCancel

  • Heather - These both look great! I really must get on with sewing my guy some clothes!ReplyCancel

  • Naomi - This post just makes me laugh. I’m in the same boat. Once I made my hubby his own t-shirt, he REFUSES to wear the store bought brands. Besides loving the Riley Blake knit I got from you, I’ve loooooooooooooved Nosh Organics Fabric. It’s great that you are still blogging too. Thanks for all your help!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Wonderful! And I’m going to have to check out this Nosh Organics Fabric. Organic knit is pretty amazing. Thanks for the tip!ReplyCancel

  • Ani - Do you use a coverstitch/overlocker creature?

    My stretch twin needle does okay enough for my own t-shirts and knits, but even I sometimes pop those seams. I want to sew some for my husband but I’m pretty sure I have to wait until I can get the machines to make sturdier stitches :(ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I do have a coverstitch machine now. And I have a separate serger/overlocker. I admit that I do love my serger so much, but I do the main work of sewing knits on my sewing machine. However, for the hemming, I was so unsatisfied with the quality of a double needle that I finally broke down and purchased a coverstitch. I do love having it around, it’s pretty handy.ReplyCancel

  • Jamie Shumbera - I’m so intrigued. I’m an avid sewer, a perfectionist, and knit-phobic. I just can’t seem to get the hang of it and struggle with my serger to create anything half-way decent, which is far from my standards for sewing. Perhaps it’s the fabrics I’ve tried. Did you use a serger for these?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I do the main bulk of my sewing of knitwear on my sewing machine – I feel I have more control on the sewing machine than on the serger. I do end up serging the seam allowance after, but if needed, I could just sew all knits on a sewing machine. I’m one of those that likes having a larger seam allowance on knit patterns too. Even if the pattern is less, I add on enough for the pattern to have 5/8″ seam allowance and then whack it off with my serger. I found that especially when teaching beginners to sew with knits, this proved much better than the teeny tiny seam allowance.ReplyCancel

  • Sophie-Lee - Heh, love the photos! And Mr AFS obviously likes posing for them – I’ll have to show these to my husband for inspiration (he told me he doesn’t want to be one of those “reluctant looking husbands” or something along those lines).

    I’ve found it quite tricky to get knits that are suitable for mens t-shirts – the ones I’ve found have been too slinky, or not had enough recover/were too stiff.

    I’m curious as to the flash of yellow on the Henley, can you explain what you’ve done there? I know RTW mens shirts often have tape around the neckine, is it similar to that?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Actually no – it’s just serger thread. I had yellow on my serger and my mister really wanted yellow on this tee, so I (reluctantly) agreed to use the yellow. But I do know what you’re talking about with the band around the neckline. I’ve found it’s usually knit, just a knit binding, but I suppose you could probably use bias tape too which would give the knit a little more stability over time. Hmmmm… something to try!
      And Mr. AFS LOVES posing for photos. And he LOVES seeing himself in them after and then laughing and being an all around goof. He’s always excited when it’s his turn to be featured on the blog. Ha ha.ReplyCancel

  • Jill - Rowr.ReplyCancel

  • BeckyLeeSews - On the hems, are you using a coverstitch machine or a twin needle? If using a twin needle, what are your machine’s settings? I’m tired of the popped stitches and don’t want to drop good cash on fabric if I can’t get the hems right.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I do use a coverstitch. I was very unsatisfied with twin needles. Ugh. Before the coverstitch I used to finish hems with the blind hem stitch on my sewing machine. Hmmmm…. maybe some tricks for sewing on sewing machines is needed.ReplyCancel

  • Fabric Tragic - They’re great. What magic tricks do you have up your sleeve when attaching a patch pocket to a knit? Last time I tried something like that it was a stinking disaster, all stretched out and nasty. Epic fail….ReplyCancel

  • Linda Galante - Yes, the shirts are fantastic as is the jersey knit. But what I want to know is how you got your cute husband to pose so nicely? My husband’s support goes only so far…:) what a good sport! Back to the knits, they hold their shape as though they’re stable. The maroon/red one especially. Nice.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - He is a very good sport. In fact, he loves his blog time and he loves being a bit of a star for a day. Loves. It. I’m pretty sure he has a secret evil plan to have me make all of his clothes all the time just so that he can pose for the blog.ReplyCancel

  • Colleen P. - I will definitely check out your knits, I too am wary of purchasing knits online any longer because of the huge variance in quality.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Yes, I have noticed this too. I’ve even ordered some for my shop only to find that when I received them, they were junk. Do check out ours – you can get swatches first, which I highly recommend.ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - Your shirts look great. I’m tired of buying knits online that don’t meet my standards once they arrive. I’ve never purchased from you but next time I need knits I’m coming to you. It’s nice to see a shop owner that uses and cares about what she sells. Let me finish a slipcover and I’ll be ordering.ReplyCancel

When Sara Lawson – yes! the gal who designs some of those gorgeous fabrics for Art Gallery!! – contacted me and asked if I would like to be apart of her Dress Up Party, I was delighted! Seriously. I rarely get asked to participate in fun little online sewing gatherings (and even then, sometimes I have to say no because of stuff like time….) and so this time I definitely jumped at the chance. My mom and sis had put in for some handmade wearables and well, though I do indulge a good amount of unselfish sewing, it had been too long since I was actually able to sew something for myself and feel really really good about it.

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Since this is my first post since a nice blogging hiatus, I thought I could give you the link for my review of this Kwik Sew skirt and vintage Simplicity t-shirt (click here for those) and also offer some updates as to what I’ve been up to and mind blowing words of wisdom. OK, actually the words of wisdom might have to wait until I actually have wisdom, but at least I can fill you in on my whereabouts these days. Being the inquisitive (yet reclusive, go figure) creature that I am, I’m always curious when others in the blogging community take extended leaves of absence and what they are up to now. So you know, fame being all in my own mind of course, I naturally thought you would be curious! Ha ha! Those of you who’ve read me for a long time know that this last year and a half has been pretty rough. Owning a brick and mortar shop was hard work!  And then we closed it up and tried a sewing parlor and then closed that up too. We’ve moved an entire store into a tiny, yet rather uppity, storage facility. I thought that closing my brick and mortar business would be easy and that I could go right back to being me after it was all over, but I’m sure you know that’s not how life works. It’s kind of like going away to college/university that first year. You can never really go home again because home and you are now so different from when you left – or so was my experience. I am glad to have the burden of being a brick and mortar shop owner lifted, but by the same token, it doesn’t erase anything I’ve been through. Not a bad thing, mind you. Just a life lesson I’m being taught again. I’ve had to re-enter the workforce and have been working more than full-time since about March-ish. It’s been kind of brutal (because I’m a big lazy slob that loves to sleep in, take naps and do nothing but guzzle Dr. Pepper – OK, not really, but that sounds like the life for me!). Anyway, I’ve finally settled into some regular schedules and time frames. AFS online shop will heading off in some new directions – more on that to come this year!

Anyhow, long story short, I haven’t been sewing much of anything lately and I’ve been working tons. Now I’m just trying to balance myself, my time and my ambitions. Back to that balancing/juggling act again. When I feel out of whack, I know it’s because I’m not balanced. I’m putting way too much time into one thing and not enough into other areas of my life. What about you? How do you balance your life?

This Memorial Day weekend – for those of us here in the U.S. – I’ve bee able to scratch out some time for sewing a little more of something for myself. Here comes a linen dress for summer – more on that soon. Hip Hip Hooray!

  • Claudie - Welcome back, Sunni! We’ve missed you!ReplyCancel

  • Kerry Hubbard - Greetings Miss Sunni – You will never believe this but this is my very first comment ever made on a blog to anyone so I’m not sure if you’ll even get this post. What rattled me out of the blogging bushes, you wonder? Your Dress Up Party post I received this morning. Love your style! I love the skirt you created. Where did you find the fabric used? Stretchy polka dot (I lust over all things polka dot). Hugs to you, my dear. Hope I’m not breaking any blogging etiquette. If so, please let me know so I don’t embarrass myself again. Haha.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Oh no, you are definitely not breaking any blogging etiquette!! I thank you for your comment! Stretchy polka dot fabric came from very old shop stock at my brick and mortar store (which is now closed up). I too am an avid polka dotted crazy person and this was just perfection in fabric! I really wish I could get some more, but unfortunately my supplier for this particular fabric sold out pretty quickly. So sorry!ReplyCancel

  • Debby - Very lovely Sunni. The balance you spoke of is a difficult one to keep in correct order. My husband and I have experienced a complete upheaval in our lives this past year and at the age of 58, I am working a physically and mentally demanding job as opposed to being a homemaker with a quieter lifestyle. I am often too tired to sew when I do have time off. I may not be sewing much these days, but it gives me great pleasure to see the beautiful creations you’ve been working on. I will still say we are very blessed, hard work and all. Thanks for sharing and keeping up the inspiration. —DebbyReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - You are right Debby! We are blessed to live in a country where, at least, there is work! My life is getting a little better, hard work and all! Thanks so much for your comment.ReplyCancel

  • Sophie-Lee - You were right – we were curious. I’m glad to hear you’ve had some time for sewing: I totally understand what you’re saying about being unbalanced, and no time for sewing definitely does that to me (although so can TOO much sewing).

    Glad to hear you’re doing well, look forward to what you both do with the store, and hope we get to see you more!ReplyCancel

  • Denise - Welcome back, sounds like you have had enough experience to write a book. Your posts are always so interesting and informative, I hope you you will have the time and desire in the future to continue the blog.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - Yes, I was curious. Thanks for indulging us readers.

    Balance is something I’m really struggling with right now. I think it’s a problem that resonates with most people – even folks who seem balanced on the outside often don’t feel it on the inside. I’m looking forward to more posts, when you find the time;-)ReplyCancel

  • K-Line - I am always interested when a blogger friend comes back from hiatus! I’ve wondered how you’ve been. So sorry that this year’s been such a bitch – but I promise, in time you will look back on this phase of your life with so much perspective. And whenever the times are tough, you know they’re about to shift and improve. It’s the cycle of things.ReplyCancel

  • LInda G. - Sunni – Nice to have you back! Balance is so tricky, yet so essential to having a life I enjoy. If I sew too much, I feel out of touch with friends and family, if I don’t sew enough, my frustrated creative side turns me into a grinch. But when everything gels, I hum like my sweet little Bernina! It sounds like you’re finding that sweet spot right now, between things you should do, and thing you enjoy….Cheers!ReplyCancel

  • SJ Kurtz - Work/life balance? No such thing; life is work. Good work, hopefully.

    And it does get better, cause mostly we always aim for the better, walk into the light, get the Dr Pepper … and when we mess up, we can forgive and try again tomorrow.

    And you made it through this; be proud of that. It counts.ReplyCancel

  • eimear - gorgeous skirt and styling – as always – and love the yellow jewellery, it really pops. best of luck with finding the balance that works for you. years ago, i used do art workshops which brought in little money, then i went working full time to save for stuff (house) and did and some time later i made the big and best decision to work part time and could persue my own stuff in the rest, and its working well. i had to cut back on stuff (holidays) but its a lot simpler and works well for me. best of luck with your endeavours, you have accumulated a lot of experience which will stand to you for many a thing, and a lot of talent to show!ReplyCancel

  • BeckyLeeSews - I’ve missed you Sunni! And glad to see you’re dipping back into the sewing pool. (ha!…summer joke)

    Sometimes when we take a path in life that we later regret (for whatever reason) it’s the journey that becomes the greater lesson rather than the destination. There’s been a few times in my life where I look back and go “I’ll never do THAT again! Lesson learned!” (like that time I got married in Reno…don’t ask) and then draw from those experiences to guide us in the future. Without getting too philosophical, I’ve been through some really tough times in my life and then later I happened to meet someone or be presented with a situation where had I not gone through what I did years earlier, I wouldn’t be able to provide the needed support or make an informed important decision. You just never know. The learning experiences God presents us with are for many reasons: to make us stronger, wiser, and better able to cope with things in the future. But one thing is for sure, when you’re feeling off balance, it’s good to reach back to the basics where you feel stable and secure. Then when you are ready, reach out and give it another whirl! God bless!ReplyCancel

  • Hana - Hi Sunni! You and I traded a couple quick emails about work/life balance when I was inquiring about a product several months ago. I run the family business and I swear, sometimes I just can’t stand the lack of balance. I’ve been completely out of whack for four months or so. It’s so hard to take steps to find balance again when you have that pressure to be the person others rely on. I’m really proud of you for committing to your own needs, and to being clear that your blog is actual work that offers value to readers and that you deserve compensation for your work on it. Hope all will be well with you and nice to see you back. Looking forward to making some purchases from the store again! Best to you!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Thank you Hana and here’s to you getting back to balancing your life again! I know exactly how hard it is. All my best!ReplyCancel

  • French Toast Tasha - Aww man, that is tough! I agree that someday you’ll probably look back and be glad you had these experiences and learned all that you did, but that doesn’t make it easier or more fun when it’s happening.

    As for balance, my aunt sent me 10 lessons from radio programs on Design Sponge not long ago, and #1 was: “There is no perfect balance, life and work are always a series of back and forth adjustments.” That was a good reminder for me that it’s not like you find a secret formula and then everything magically stays balanced, you always have to keep working on it. There are times when I know I just need to focus on work, but most of the time, I try to make the things I really want to do a priority as well.ReplyCancel

  • Debbie Cook - I’m guilty of disappearing myself so I just wanted to pop in and say hello and thank you for updating. I always want to know someone’s at least still breathing. :-) The added details are appreciated. Things will improve or at least balance out eventually. Ups and downs, cycles, etc. This thing called life is not always easy.ReplyCancel

  • Chie - Hi Sunni! Glad to see your post again. The skirt looks lovely on you. Thank you for sharing about your shop situation. I can’t imagine what hard works you put into both having online and brick and motor shop. I run my online shop and take bridal orders but still work elsewhere because at this point I can’t bear the thought of ups and downs in work flow and income. I hope I can come up with a way to balance it (maybe ecourse or pattern, so once you set it up its there kind of products) in the future!ReplyCancel

  • Peggy Lobello - So glad you’re finding the time to share on your blog again. I love your craftsmanship and attention to detail. Best of luck movin forward.ReplyCancel

  • Sunni

    Sunni - Hello everyone! Thank you so much for your insightful and encouraging comments on this post – they were very much needed and appreciated! Thank you!ReplyCancel

Fabric-Friday-Banner

Today’s Fabric Friday is another lace pick. Alençon Lace. It’s almost like cheating really to be talking about Alençon Lace today. Why? Because it’s basically Chantilly Lace that is corded (and we talked about Chantilly last week, in case you missed). How do you pronounce Alençon? alan-sohn. Now you can sound smart when you’re asking for it at your local high end fabric shop!

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Again, Chantilly Lace is when the design/motifs – like the florals – are woven into the lace itself instead of being embroidered on. With Alençon, you’ve got some nice cording that is applied to the motifs. Its usually a relatively heavy cording, because sometimes Chantilly’s can have very very light cording. So you’re looking for something much more textural when you’re looking at Alençon. Chantilly’s are flat laces. Alençon’s are corded to add texture, richness and density. Cording is technically called Cordonnet, just in case you were wondering.

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I thought for today I would give you some more lace geekery. These terms can be applied to all laces. I’ve been talking a bit about when laces have a decorative edge – like scallops – running along each selvedge edge. When you have one decorative selvedge edge the lace is called flounce and when both are decorative it’s called galloon.

That’s good for today’s lace geekery, I think. Do have any Alençon Lace? I find it looks quite rich – definitely needs to be paired with the right thing, in my opinion.

Find more Fabric Friday posts here!

  • Ani - I think you got the English pronunciation of it correct, but I do agree, it still needs it’s friendly little cédille! :)

    Also, I want some.ReplyCancel

  • eimear - inspiring as always, a friend of mine gave me the left over lace from her wedding dress (at the time i was a bit perplexed about this as i wasnt really sewing then)….. i finally dug it out and its embroidered and beaded tulle (she is italian) so i dont know what catagory it is – its only enough to edge a shawl (150cm x 15) or trim a skirt or top which is a pity as your lace posts were inspiring me to think bigger! (like this -http://missalliemass.blogspot.ie/2015/04/couture-ish-lace-jacket-aka-worst-thing.html)ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Sounds like a re-embroidered lace trim eimear. You might consider mixing laces, which is fun. You can attach this lovely lace to another or chop it up for the appliques and add those to an existing lace piece to give it pizazz and excitement. This kind of work is a little tedious but it makes for some thing truly sensational and of course very unique. I’m considering doing some more lace posts on how to do things like this.ReplyCancel

  • Sherry Holt-Reese - I am making a wedding dress for my daughter For my own dress I used a 4 ply silk I think was charmeuse
    She is a little big and tall I read that I should not buy fabric on a roll where can I purchase this in antiques white? Also I need to know how to use horsehair in the hem and how and what to line with The top is a halter so can I buy a stretch underwear fabric for the inside?I would love to get any tips you may haveReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Hi Sherry! 4-ply silk that is satin backed is called crepe back satin, otherwise 4-ply silk is crepe on both sides. I don’t know exactly what you mean by purchasing fabric on a roll, maybe you’re thinking it won’t be wide enough? I’ve usually seen lace that is 36″ – 56″ wide so you just need to pay attention to the descriptions and see what they say. No sure where you can purchase antique white lace. Definitely purchase swatches before purchasing lace online to ensure color and quality. Lining will depend on the type of fabric you use. Are you thinking that you would like to use a stretch lace and therefore thinking that you would like to use a stretch lining? Stretch linings are so hard to come by, I suggest swimsuit lining in that case. If you’re using woven fabrics (no stretch) then I suggest rayon bemberg lining – my favorite!ReplyCancel

  • Sharon Alderman - I have wondered about ‘Galloon”. Have you ever noticed that novels written about the time Jane Austen was at work refer to the dress the female characters are going to wear by names that describe the weave structure? “I am going to wear my sprigged muslin” or my batavia” The latter took me years to track down; it’s a twill where the same number of warp threads are above the
    weft as are below it, e.g. a 2/2 twill ir a 4/4 twill. If this is too geeky for you I can show you sometime…
    SharonReplyCancel

  • Sylvie - i think this is the prettiest lace I’ve ever seen.ReplyCancel

  • Angela - Hi Sunni! Very interesting article. I know nothing about lace, so this is all new to me.

    On a totally unrelated note – just wanted to throw out how much I’ve enjoyed the zipper class on Craftsy. Not until I actually got into it did I realize that you give so much information about attaching zippers to lined bodices, etc. so this has been great! You did such a good job at explaining what you were doing, going methodically from one step to another, and thankfully making sure that the fashion fabric and lining were quite different from each other so the viewers can easily tell which is which.

    My first attempt at lining a skirt (BEFORE watching your class!) was less than fantastic.. ahem… but I learned a lot anyhow. Next time I will review your lessons and I am positive the result will be much better. Might be time to splurge and get some fabric, perhaps some of the selections from your store will find their way to my house. :) Oh, do you still go back and answer questions that are posted on the Craftsy class?

    Thank you!ReplyCancel

Fabric-Friday-Banner

In keeping with last week’s Fabric Friday, I thought I would keep going with the lace family. When you start delving into lace, it becomes more mysterious and fascinating all at the same time – or at least I think so. I find it amazing that what looks like such a delicate fabric can really be so strong. Really cool.

Today I thought I would focus on Chantilly Lace. Did you know that in french, the word Chantilly means something along the lines of whipped cream? It’s also the name of a city in France where Chantilly Lace originated from (hence the name for Chantilly Lace, even though knowing about the whipped cream part is pretty fun too). A fine chantilly lace is truly lovely. Personally, I rarely see one that has a design that I truly love, so when I do, I snatch it up!

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Chantilly lace is different from re-embroidered lace in a few key ways. Instead of the motifs being embroidered onto English Net and then possibly beaded, Chantilly has the motif woven into the lace itself. Re-embroidered lace has a surface design that is applied after and the Chantilly has more of a flat, less textural design that is woven directly into the lace as it’s being made.

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Chantilly started out as a bobbin lace. What’s bobbin lace? It’s also known as pillow lace because it was worked by hand on a pillow. Individual strands/fibers were designed (braided and twisted) around a set of pins that were placed in the pillow at various intervals. From there the individual strands were worked into a lace and while they were worked they were wound around various bobbins to keep them separate.

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Fine Chantilly has a picot edge – or eyelash edge as I’ve heard it called too. These looped edges run along the scallops which would be considered the selvedge on regular fabrics. Again, as I stated last week, lace doesn’t have a grainline, so you can utilize the scallops to your advantage. Along a pretty neckline or at the edge of a sleeve or hemline of a skirt or dress.

Have you ever used Chantilly? Have one in your stash? Do tell!

Find more Fabric Friday posts here!

  • Natalie - Hi Sunni, I just wanted to say how much I enjoy these fabric Friday posts. I’ve learned so much! This lace is gorgeous. I hope you do a silk series at some point! Thank you for sharing your knowledge!ReplyCancel

  • visitor - “Did you know that in french, the word Chantilly means cream?”

    Chantilly doesn’t mean cream in French. It’s a type of sweetened whipped cream used in desserts: crème chantilly. As far as I know, the name of the lace comes from the town where it originally was produced.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Oh thank you! I actually have a french friend who told me it meant cream or whipped cream, I couldn’t quite remember. Updated now!ReplyCancel

  • Maddie - Just like last week’s post on re-embroidered lace, I love this one! I didn’t know Chantilly lace started as bobbin lace. When I first red about it, it was hard to imagine what it was, and I found the below YouTube video that gives a great visual. Thought I’d share!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWQ-KZoePIoReplyCancel

  • Yvonne - Add me to the list who LOVES these Friday fabric postings. Thanks for taking the time to do them. I appreciate it.ReplyCancel

  • eimear - as with the other comments above, i really appreciate your fabric postings. i am also hoping some one posts a lace make, as i was given some leftover lace from a friends wedding dress years ago and would like to make something but am drawing a blank!!! and your posts on lace are definitely inspiring me to think a bit harder.ReplyCancel

  • Diane - Love Love your Chantilly Lace…glad you finally found yours. I’m still on the search, because like you haven’t seen one I can
    live without.ReplyCancel

  • Linda Galnte - I’m surprised to say that I do have a piece of fine Chantilly lace in my stash with an eyelash edge! Who knew! Now I do, because you educated me. Thanks for deepening my appreciation of a gorgeous piece.ReplyCancel

  • Fabric Friday: Alençon Lace | A Fashionable Stitch - […] like cheating really to be talking about Alençon Lace today. Why? Because it’s basically Chantilly Lace that is corded (and we talked about Chantilly last week, in case you missed). How do you pronounce […]ReplyCancel

  • Abigail - Very useful, thanks for the post!ReplyCancel

Fabric-Friday-Banner

For today’s Fabric Friday, I thought I would delve into the world of lace. Since finishing up my besotted blouse last week, I thought it would be great to highlight laces. Today’s lace: Re-embroidered lace! I thought I would do this one first as it’s the same type that I used in my besotted blouse.

Lace get’s a pretty bad rap, I think, as being hard to work with. It’s really not. Like really, really. I daresay that lace is fairly easy to work with. It just requires a special skill set – not unlike how you have special skills/techniques for knits. Laces are like that. You need to pick sewing patterns that cater to the lace. Case in point: my besotted lace and silk blouse. I created the pattern especially for the lace I was using. The lace is beaded and as I was looking at the lace, I realized that I didn’t want to mess with a dart anywhere in the front of the bodice. Additionally, I didn’t want to mess with a curved hem in the front either. So those two things got tossed in favor of something simpler to sew with this fabric.

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To begin, we need to know what netting is and how it’s utilized in these laces. The netting I’m showing you is English Net. The kind I carry in my shop is the flowy and soft kind – not the stiff kind. The soft and flowy kind is the kind that is quite a bit harder to get your hands on, or so I have found. English Net is really, just a simple netting that is usually made from silk – but the silk version is outrageously expensive (like $150 per yard). The version I sell is a rayon/nylon blend. The rayon gives it some nice drape and the nylon gives it softness.

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With re-embroidered lace, you have English Net that has been embroidered with motif – usually florals. The embroidery is then corded.

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Re-embroidered laces can also be beaded. These can be quite lux with glass beads, sequins and rhinestones.

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Fine laces – or at least the ones I normally see and purchase for my shop – have a finished scallop running along both selvedge edges. Sometimes the scallop is not the same on both sides, like in the case of a border motif style lace. When you’re working with lace, the cross grain usually becomes the new straight of grain so that you can better utilize these scallop edges – but don’t let that fool you. Lace doesn’t have a grain, so you could do some wild things with it if you wanted. That said, there is usually more give in the cross grain than in the straight of grain. Additionally, lace doesn’t fray or unravel so you can cut the motifs in the lace apart and slap those on different garments in different places if you wanted. Use all that to your advantage.

Have you worked with lace before? What gives you pause when it comes to lace fabric?

Find more Fabric Friday posts here!

  • Robyn - I just purchased some lace from your shop that I plan to make into an infinity veil scarf for my daughter to wear to church for Easter. She found the idea online some where and I can’t turn down a challenge. At any rate I think I know how I will make this but, will it need to be hemmed? You say that lace does not unravel. So, do I need to finish seams or hem it? Just curious…

    I love the purchased that I got from you. It’s beautiful and I am wanting more.ReplyCancel

  • Cynthia - I love lace but worry that it looks too bridal. Any suggestions for how to use it in a more contemporary fashion?ReplyCancel

    • Lady ID - I’m not Sunni but I would say it depends on the type of lace. You could try a skirt or dress using guipure. Or play with different colours. I use to be anti-lace because it’s so popular at home but now I love it. There are so many colours available so I tend to stay away from whites/ivories because they look bridal. BUT I would totally make a short dress out of sequined ivory lace – the shorter length makes it less bridal IMOReplyCancel

      • Cynthia - Thanks Lady ID. Love the idea of a short dress out of sequined lace. Maybe an art deco style of lace if I can find it.ReplyCancel

  • maddie - Since I sew mostly lingerie nowadays, I’ve become comfortable with sewing lace. I wouldn’t use English lace for any of my bras or undies, but it was interested learning about it. Thanks Sunni!ReplyCancel

  • Dalia - I had a wedding-gown that was all embroidered lace, with a long train and scalloped edges. I fell in love with it and bought it second hand. I knew I would have to shorten it, but I I thought the lace was woven this way. Oh, the naïveté. When I looked closer, I had at least sixty seperate pieces of lace and countless beads, pearls and sequins on my hand. Something to sew back on in the evenings by hand. Almost 7 months later I still find sequins in the corners.
    But it has given me appreciation for this fabric and why it is so expensive.ReplyCancel

  • Lucy - The scary part of working with expensive lace is the cutting. I made my daughter’s wedding dress 3 years ago. A lot of planning went into the design. Cutting seemed like the point of no return. Any mistakes would be irrevocable. Luckily, it all turned out well in the end. Her dress had princess lines. The fabric had a wide border. It took a lot of planning and a bit of hand stitching to curve the lower edge of the lace, but it worked out well. I wrote about that process here: https://playfulstitching.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/wedding-dress-part-ii/
    I have four separate posts about the dress. This one is the second in the series. I hope they are helpful to anyone sewing with lace.ReplyCancel

  • Fabric Friday: Chantilly Lace | A Fashionable Stitch - […] keeping with last week’s Fabric Friday, I thought I would keep going with the lace family. When you start delving into lace, it becomes […]ReplyCancel