I have a certain fascination with clothing labels and I’m not talking about the size labels either. When I get out (which isn’t much lately) and go shopping, my heart skips a beat when I see the inside of a garment with sweet little finishing details and a sweet little clothing label. I go a little nutty for details like that. I’m also a true believer that the inside of a garment should look as good as the outside. It’s something that really excites me. I know its not everyone’s bag, but I truly find value in a well finished garment. Clothing labels add a little frosting to the inside of the garment. A little bling if you will. I’ve tried many versions over the years including store bought labels, customized labels with my brand name on them and handmade labels. The sad thing that’s really put a stop to purchasing customized labels with my logo or name on them (besides price) is that they’re itchy! I hate that! Every time I’ve put one in a garment, I take it right back out because it itches.
A few months ago, I had the hair-brained idea that I could make fun little labels with petersham ribbon. I love petersham almost as much as I love clothing labels and I admit that much of my love comes from the amazing color output it has. Truly, if you haven’t laid your hands on some yet, you need to because the color of rayon petersham ribbon is truly amazing (I’ve noticed the cotton variety is a bit duller and stiffer than rayon).
At first I was just going to sew-in a little bit of petersham ribbon as the clothing label, but then I took a double take at my sewing machine and remembered that I have about a trillion stitches on it that never get used. How many of you have that? I’m surprised that I can’t just put a piece of fabric into my sewing machine and have a garment pop out the other end! And I have a lower end machine that has embroidery stitches – Bernina Activa 230 anyone? I ADORE my machine, but were I to do it all over again, I would probably purchase a machine that is just more functional and has less stitches. I don’t know. Then again, I’m very attached to her – and yes, my machine has a gender.
So there you have it – a billion different types of machine stitches and petersham ribbon and Voila! Instant little clothing labels. I use the 1/2″ petersham ribbon (from the shop!), but I’m sure you could easily utilize other widths. I stitch a long piece of petersham at a time and then cut them down to size and sew them into garments with each raw edge folded inward. What’s more, these little guys are not itchy at all. In fact, I don’t even notice that they’re there when I’m wearing the garment, and that’s serious props in my book. And they add the perfect amount of eccentricity and whimsicality to the inner workings of my barely finished garment.
Do you love clothing labels as much as me? Aren’t these cute? Ever tried doing something like this before? You need to. I think you’ll love them just as much as I do!
PS ~ I know I said I would post about my broad upper back alteration today, but I need just a little more time for photo taking and such. I promise to get that post up first thing next week.
I’ve been in a bit of slump lately. Actually, that’s not quite true. I’ve been so busy that I haven’t really had time to sew and the last few garments that I have sewn were wadders. Most likely because I had to “hit & miss” sew – sewing one seam one night, putting in a zipper 15 minutes before I have to be somewhere, not thinking when it comes to fabric and pattern design and such. As my obligations have finally started to slow down a little and I’ve found a bit more time to sew, I decided that I should start back with a tried and true pattern.
I know many of you have tried ‘n’ true patterns (TNT’s) and lately, what with the Everyday Wardrobe and all, I’ve really been trying to reach for those patterns that I know will work for me and my shape. The skirt from the Lonsdale dress is one of these for me. I LOVE this skirt. This is the 5th time I’ve made it and it did not disappoint. For someone who walked into their sewing room only last week and thought “ugh…” this was a great pick-me-up sewing project. It’s true, I need another skirt like a hole in my head, but sometimes you’ve got to feed the urge, ya know.
For this make, I picked a lightweight denim (something I picked up from Joann about a year ago) and I lined it in bemberg rayon (from Yellow Bird). The inner waistband and pocket lining was done in leftover Liberty of London cotton lawn (from a blouse I made awhile back and have been meaning to show you). I love using up every last bit of fabric like that! I topstitched the denim in a sliver/gray silk thread – I’m totally in love with this idea too because the topstitching isn’t overwhelming. Sometimes that denim topstitching thread is just too much, so for a lighter option try some of that Gutermann silk thread which can be found at Joann. Even upholstery thread would do the trick.
Do you guys have any tried ‘n’ true patterns? What are they? I love the idea of these types of patterns. I love the idea of making several different looks from the same pattern by incorporating different elements too, like gathers, pleats or other design options. I’ve done a few things with this skirt pattern – added it to my shirt dress here and here and cut it on the bias here. So, here’s to an old tried ‘n’ true and getting my sewing mojo back!
In other news, I made the top I’m wearing too. It’s a modal knit that is just about heaven against my skin. Gosh it’s so comfy. I’m going to be teaching some middle schoolers to sew – yes, the same as last year, except this year I only do it one day a week for 2 hours. And I’ve heard the kids are wayyyy awesome this year. I’m actually really excited about it and its definitely something that is much more manageable for me. So, I had to come up with some easy projects for them to do. This knit top was one of them. I don’t know if you would believe it, but this is a box blouse with kimono sleeves and its seriously so easy to make and sooooo easy to draft. I think its such a tres chic style and I can’t even tell you how in love with it I am. Truly! I’m going to tweak the fit a little bit and make only about a million more.
Rayon seam binding has been in the shop for a little while now (and I just updated some new colors too!) and since I’ve had several questions about what it is exactly and what it can do I thought I would show you my favorite use for it and link to some other uses for it too. It can be a fairly versatile notion and one that you’ll find really handy for adding finishing touches to garments. You can usually find seam binding at your local fabric store, but I will say, it’s sadly one of those items that has now been taken over by the polyester revolution. The polyester stuff is pretty crummy – really really stiff and a little too thick. The rayon type that I sell in the shop is really quite nice. Its nice and thin but has quite a bit of strength and it’s got body too. Plus it comes in some really lovely colors – I’m planning to add even more colors soon enough.
OK, so what is rayon seam binding? It’s a densely woven, lightweight, thin ribbon. You can bind seams with it, use it as a hem tape, as an embellishment and I’ve even used it as a light version for a waistline stay – in this dress actually.
I use it mostly to hem garments. I love it as a hem tape! It’s so nice and lightweight and doesn’t leave any unsightly bulkiness. Here’s how I apply it.
Stitch the seam binding to the edge of your hemline. I usually line up the garment’s hemline in the middle of the seam binding and stitch close along one edge of the seam binding.
Press the freshly stitched seam binding flat and then press your hem into place. Here I used a really small hem allowance as I’m working with a half circle skirt, but you can always use a larger hem allowance depending on your preference.
Handstitch or topstitch your hem in place along the unstitched edge of the seam binding. Give your hem a good press when your finished and Voila! You’re done! Easy peasy.
I applied it to both of my recent pencil skirt makes – here’s my little plaid number. See? It provides such a nice finished touch. It’s fun to use contrasting colors too! Go a little crazy! I think it makes the inside of the garment just as pretty as the outside and for me, that says a lot.
Here’s a couple links to some other great tutorials on how to use seam binding:
Lauren shows a quick Bound Seams tutorial.
Laura Mae has several little renditions of this too. Check it out!
What do you use seam binding for?
With a project like this that’s going to take quite some time to finish, I think its always a good idea to make a muslin. I used to make muslins all the time of everything I was going to sew and now, I’ve kind of turned a little rogue and try to restrict the muslin making to only those things that I draft for myself or require a gigantic commitment of time. This coat for my man falls in the latter category. I made two muslins here because I want this coat to be as perfect as possible for him.
Lest you think that I’m married to someone who is in all respects very boring, let me undo that fantasy right now. Even though Mr. S told me that since I was making a coat for him I could take as many photos as I liked of him in whatever stage I was at, this photo shoot took some real coaxing. For one, I had just woken the beast up from a nap and two, this was the end of a very short weekend in which he spent the entire time doing homework (he just went back to school this fall). If he looks a bit strung out and rather wild, that’s because he is. It is almost Halloween after all! Ha ha!
Anyway, let’s chat about the muslins here. So just to update, I’m making the toggle coat from the Men’s Japanese Coat Book. In the first muslin we had some definite fitting issues. When I’m making something, especially for someone else, I think its important to note their view on the feel. The first muslin looked alright except for the sleeves – too short – but Mr. S told me that there was some serious tightness in the arms when he put his arms in front of him. Not only are we married and live in the same home, but we share the same broad upper back problem. Oh yes! Later this week I’ll show you how I fixed this problem and how I fix my own broad upper back problem. This is also the reason you see the slashes in the back here – its part of how I fix the issue. More on that later, promise.
So after I did a few alterations namely – lengthened the sleeve, fixed the broad upper back and raised the armscye – I think we’ve got something pretty great to work with. The second muslin shows the mobility in the arm and the added amount to the back. The back actually hangs quite nicely, but someone wouldn’t stand straight and put their head up! So naughty!
Next up – draft a lining pattern and add a zipper placket! Almost time to cut into the cloth! How exciting! Thoughts? How many of you live with a significant other who has the same fitting problem as you do?
I think the only thing that would complete this outfit is a hunting rifle. Don’t you? English countryside anyone? When I was a kid, my mom had a subscription to Victoria magazine. In fact, I’m quite sure she still has every back issue of that magazine because truly, it was a lovely little thing. I loved flipping through old issues and I especially loved how many redheads with fair and freckled skin were featured in the magazine as a whole. It was rather refreshing. As someone who was a tad self conscious about that, I learned to see my own beauty by looking at some of those wild haired and very english looking ladies. Not that you all needed a trip down my memory lane, but there you go. I feel a bit english today (this is not to say that I know anything of english life, except what I see on tv and read in magazines) and this outfit reminds me of some of those Victoria magazines.
This is the exact same skirt as my fuschia skirt just different fabric is all. It’s a self drafted number which is the reason it fits so wonderfully and feels so comfortable. It was a shop sample for my Yellow Bird class, but I recently stole it home so that I could wear it. It’s pretty lovely, if I do say so myself and I did a rather stellar job of matching the plaids. It’s lined and has that little pocket on the front – which I applied by hand – and also features a petersham ribbon waistband. The fabric came from somewhere, but I honestly couldn’t tell from where at this point. It’s a bit old.
The cowl-necked top is the Renfrew, made out of a wool knit. The funny thing about this particular top is that I had it scrapped in my “I need to do something to fix this” pile and was intending to make it into a dress. When I put on my little plaid skirt, I immediately knew that this would be an ideal top to go with it. I think the reason I had it scrapped is because as I was cranking it out, I was wearing blue jeans and I kept trying it on and thinking it looked so drab and lifeless in addition to thinking it was a lot of navy blue for one person. Just goes to show ya that coordination can be key. The belt (another shop sample) is also a self make, of course and well, there it is, readers.
I didn’t actually do my Everyday Wardrobe bit with this outfit, but as you can see, the look itself is a little upscale, but I’m completely comfortable. Totally wearable all day long, which is exactly what I did. The weather has already turned chilly and this is just the thing for an October day out! And now, if you don’t mind, I’m off to have a spot of tea and a crumpet.
PS ~ It’s been crazy busy around here, so sorry for the radio silence. I think I’m finally back to my normal, quiet life. Maybe. We’ll see, I guess. Have a lovely weekend Friends!