A Look Into My Sewing Space

Denise over at the Blue Gardenia did a little interview with me about my sewing space. I had alot of fun answering the questions she asked and taking photos of my somewhat small sewing space. Denise has posted it over on her wonderful blog. And don’t forget to check out her fabulous shop where she sells great vintage sewing patterns and vintage jewels. Have a look-see.

  • Peter - Great interview! You’re so neat — well, compared to me!
    ReplyCancel

  • Suzie - Wowie it IS so neat!! My sewing space is such a mess – I really need to sort it out!
    Loved having a peer into your space though – thanks for inviting us in!
    ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn - Your sewing stuff is so cute! I’d die of embarrassment if someone saw my ironing board cover; I always lay a white sheet over it if I take a photo of a work-in-progress on there…
    ReplyCancel

  • karen - My new sewing machine is the same of yours. I’m in good company!
    ReplyCancel

  • frk.bustad - That’s a very nice interview, and somehow it seems you have a very rational approach to you systems: Planning next project, choosing patterns e.g. I wonder if I could ever do anything similar… Probably not as I usually have 5-10 projects going on at the same time! Just one question: That iron, what brand is it? I’ve started looking for a steam iron, and I don’t really know where to start…
    ReplyCancel

The First 5 Days…..

I’ve decided to keep you abreast of my Self Stitched September adventures on Sundays. So here goes: the first 5 days. It’s fun to wear my handmade fancies and try and come up with new looks to wear daily. I’m finding that I’m taking more care in my appearance than I normally do, because I’m participating in this venture. That’s fun. I also love taking the photos. It’s fun for me to make faces at the camera. I really do love that. The part I do not love is finding a spot in which to take the photos. That’s become somewhat of a hardship. I work an 8 hour job that is 1/2 an hour away from home. The best time to take photos is on my lunch. The problem is the weirdos. I don’t want people looking at me, whistling, or prying into what I’m doing. I get rather annoyed and then I start looking weird in the shots. Aaarrrrgh! What do you do?

Moving on….

This was Day 1.

My first day of Self Stitched September! This is one of my favorite outfits. I have featured here this fabulous little silk skirt. It’s a skirt that I bought a few years ago, that was in need of altering to fit me correctly. It’s been included in my SSS gallery, because the alterations were not quick or easy. I had to unpick the waist, and the zipper, trim the waist down, fit the sides and put the invisible zipper back in. No easy feat, however, now the silly thing fits me perfectly. And that’s Day 1, September 1, 2010.

Skirt – Silk Cityscape Skirt from Harold’s altered to fit me like a glove
Shirt – Target from a few years ago
Belt – Target
Jewels – Kohl’s Vera Wang Collection
Shoes – Urban Outfitters

This was Day 2.

September 2, 2010. These are the Bella Slacks from Burda Style. I made them up in a heavier weight denim and can I just say, these make an unbelievable statement. Especially to the fellas. I got looks, cocked eyebrows, whistles while taking this photo shoot. Even the women at work give me compliments every time I wear these slacks. I adore the vintage feel, high waist and the how thin I look from the side.

Bella Trousers – Stitched in denim
Blouse – Banana Republic
Shoes – Miz Mooz
Cherry Pin – complements of my grandmother

This was Day 3.

My “Naughty Secretary” Dress. This is made from Simplicity 2724 and has proved to be one of my very favorite patterns, dresses and sewing experiences. The dress itself was rather easy to fit and make. In fact, I can’t wait to make another. It’s in my Fall line-up. I’ve loved the versatility of this piece. And the ease in wearing could not be better. I love the fact that this is a dress and not a shirt and blouse combo. I don’t have to deal with the blouse coming untucked or showing through the skirt. Throw this number on and the work is done. Voila!

Dress – Simplicity 2724
Belt – an old American Eagle Belt, that was too big, but add a few holes and there you go.
Shoes – Cole Haan

This was Day 4.

I don’t usually wear anything but pj’s on the weekends. But since I promised to wear a handstitched garment everyday in September, well you’ll at least get jeans today. This is a top that I made from a vintage 70′s pattern. I love this top for the fact that I did handmade buttonholes along the front. They are simply stunning, if I do say so myself. It makes this blouse such a treat to wear. I’m quite sure you’ll be seeing quite a bit more of this top, as I’m real low on tops.

Blouse – made from vintage McCall’s 6367
Jeans – Rock & Republic
Belt – thrifted
Earrings – Vera Wang Collection from Kohl’s

This is Day 5.

This jacket is an oldie but a goodie. I made a few years ago from McCall’s 5531. The pattern is now out of print but still for sale on the McCall’s website. I like the fact that the gather on the jacket sleeve takes place at the cuff rather than at the shoulder. I added the faux flap pockets and removed the extension in the front the disconnected the jacket top to the jacket skirt. All in all I like this jacket, though my sewing ability was a more novice at the time so the collar is having issues because I clipped it wrong.

Jacket – made from McCalls 5531
Blouse – Banana Republic
Jeans – Rock & Republic
Earrings – Vera Wang Collection from Kohl’s

I hope you enjoy these updates.

  • Thetwowindmills.wordpress.com - Wow! These all look great. The Bella slacks are on my list for next autumn/ winter, and I really love the pink blouse… I actually have a vantage pattern very similar to that which you have inspired me to use. I could really use a nice spring blouse. By the way those urban outfitter Orange shoes are awesome!
    ReplyCancel

  • nicole - I really love the little jacket, and I think i may have to move the bella slacks up on my sewing to-do list :-)
    ReplyCancel

  • Marybeth - I LOVE that jacket! You look great in every picture :)
    ReplyCancel

  • stitchywitch - I love the jacket – so cute! All of your outfits looks wonderful, you have great style!
    ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - So much awesomeness in one post. Wow! Love the cityscape skirt, the orange shoes, the cherry pin, the naughty secretary dress, and the jacket! Fab-u-lous!
    ReplyCancel

  • Suzie - Loving all your looks so much!!! Especially love your jacket – the fabric is FAB, love those little bees!
    ReplyCancel

  • Uta - Very nice outfits! The jacket fabric is adorable – can you tell me more about it?
    ReplyCancel

  • Tasia - Super cute and colourful outfits! The jacket is especially lovely, I love the secretary dress too!! And the Bella pants are awesome. So flattering!
    I also work 8 hours, with a 30-45 minute drive to work! I leave 10 minutes earlier and take my photos before work. I’m in an industrial park with lots of unoccupied units so that works out fairly well. You’re so right, it’s such a pain finding an abandoned spot to take them. So embarassing when you get caught!
    ReplyCancel

  • Angela - Your outfits are so cute and I love the styling of the photos!
    ReplyCancel

  • Sophie - Hi! What is the fabric on the jacket?? Gorgeous!
    Sophie
    ReplyCancel

Stitching Spotlights 9.3.2010

For this glorious month of September, I thought it would be fun to feature those who were participating in the Self Stitched September madness. It really is rather wonderful to see those handmade creations being sported in everyday life. For myself, I get all dressed up, make-upped out, freshly pressed for a photo and now, I get to show you what I look like when I really wear something. You know, I get to work, things get wrinkled, the lipstick fades, the hair becomes flat. That’s real life, right? Oh if you tell me I’m wrong, I will most definitely feel jipped. Without further adieu, I give you two of my favorites this week:

This is Hillary’s beautiful Jenny Skirt. I love the fabric choice here and that green belt just pulls the whole thing together!

And this is Rhinestones and Telephones beautiful Love Dress. Simple, great fabric, lovely fit. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!

So, I’m now going to take up needle and thread for my Katherine Hepburn Dress. It’s finally time and I have the perfect occasion for it this September, a wedding. Not mine, of course. Mr. S and I are actually legally wed. Some friends of ours will be tying the knot. I found this perfect fabric too. I’ll show you in upcoming posts. As I’ve been busily getting ready to cut fabric, I decided to buy this fit book. I have Adele Margolis book on fit, but wanted a second opinion if you know what I mean. This book does not disappoint. I’ve seen it on many stitcher’s preferred sewing book list and for good reason. This takes the jungle of fitting and puts it in terms that makes you feel like you were silly not to know about it before. It’s fabulous! So good in fact, I just bought the pants fitting book and am contemplating the jacket book too. Buy it, you won’t be disappointed.

Hope your dreams are stitch filled! Happy weekend!

  • Jennifer - OOH! I am glad you are featuring other people doing this too! I always love to find new blogs!
    That fit book seems to be a must own. I think I am going to need to buy it too. The cover really cracks me up though. Those ladies are so excited their clothes fit nicely! :)
    ReplyCancel

  • Darci - I have all three of those fit books and use ‘em all the time!
    I’ll be working on my pencil skirt this weekend and using your tute the WHOLE time. Thanks again for putting that together. It’s just what I needed. :)
    ReplyCancel

  • Tasia - I need that fitting book! It’s on my wishlist, although I’ve been buying a lot of books recently…
    Can’t WAIT to see your Katharine Hepburn dress – aren’t you glad we encouraged you to buy the pattern? :)
    ReplyCancel

  • Angela - Those are great outfits that you’ve featured! Oo… can’t wait to see your progress on the dress! I need that fitting book, too… I need to put it on my wishlist.
    ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Oh, my goodness! Thank you so much for featuring my dress. :)
    I need that book, too.
    ReplyCancel

  • Hillary - Oh my stars, that’s ME! Thank you for featuring me in your lovely blog, what a delight!
    ReplyCancel

Self Stitched September Kickoff

So here we are. September. The moment we’ve all been waiting for. A full month long event filled with days and days of handsewn garments.

As you may well be aware, a rather sweet English girl set this fun up. The point of this is to show off and inspire others with the handstitched wardrobe you’ve built up over time. After thinking about this for a few months, I’ve come up with a few ideas. I decided that I wanted to continue my regular blog posts along with a few smatterings of Self Stitched September sweetness thrown in the mix. I’ll try to add the specifics like pattern numbers, fabrics and such.

I’ve decided not to exclude altered garments, as I’ve found that I don’t have a huge amount of clothing to work with. So, you’ll see a smattering here and there of clothing that I’ve bought that I’ve had to alter in some way to fit me correctly. Don’t forget to check out the Flickr Group to see what others have ensembled together. It should be a September to remember! For the participants list, have a look here. I, myself, am rather excited just to be inspired by the looks that everyone will be sporting. If its one thing that’s fun to me, its seeing the same garment in a variety of different ways. I’m very excited to be participating and I hope that in some way I can inspire you to participate next time or even oil up your machine and start sewing again.

I’ll be back with more fun this month and dare I breathe it…..a GIVEAWAY! I haven’t had one of those since Spring. It’ll be real good too. Oh you just wait!

  • CGCouture - I’m so jealous…hopefully by March I’ll be able to join in the fun with garments that aren’t for kids/husbands/unmentionables. So did you make the blue shirt you are wearing, or is it RTW? If you made it, I’d love to know the pattern! :-)
    ReplyCancel

  • Debi - LOVE the skirt! What a great outfit to kick off Self-Stitched September!!
    ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - Very cute. Love the colour combo and especially love your shoes.
    ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - That skirt is sensational! Who makes the fabric?
    ReplyCancel

  • Becky - I love the skirt! So excited about this challenge, too.
    ReplyCancel

  • Tasia - Love the skirt! You look fabulous as always :) Great colour combination and I’m a fan of those red pumps, too!
    And yay, a giveaway too!
    ReplyCancel

  • Alessa - That skirt is so awesome… :-)
    ReplyCancel

  • velosewer - Great skirt. Now to be just as creative:)
    ReplyCancel

Pencil Skirt Sewalong – Finishing Details & My Summer in Italy Skirt

Believe it or not, this skirt has given me fits. I’m finished with my pencil skirt and I’m sure you are probably on your way to being about done as well, but let me just say, this skirt has given me fits. It started with the zipper. It ripped right out in the middle because I ironed it, putting the iron right on those coils. Yup. It’s been a little downhill from there. I’m also debating whether or not I really feel like taking up the hem for the lining. When I sit down, you can now see the lace. Ugggh….alright, alright, no more complaints. Let’s talk about the finishing details. I’m calling this one my Summer in Italy Skirt and yes, we took the photos in a cemetery. Thank you.

First off, let’s have a chat about fabric choice. For a pencil skirt, you have the world at your feet. Given the sophisticated nature of the this silhouette, it’s fun to play with by sewing the skirt in a playful fabric. For this version, I chose a colorful cotton sateen. But this skirt can also have edge in a simple solid. I say it should be something sturdy, something beautiful and something that can go with everything in your closet.

Moving on to a few construction details. I think that pencil skirts are fairly durable, but the back most definitely gets the brunt of the wear and tear. For this reason, I gave the back seam my organza stabilizer that I used in the invisible zipper tutorial. I ran the organza down the length of the back seam and the vent. This will help the skirt to avoid warping, tearing and it will stand up better in the long run. For next time, it might not be a bad idea to do this to the lining as well. In nearly all of my skirts, the back lining has finally caved.

Hands down, the back vent is fabulous. At least in my book. So easy too. The lining, maybe not so much easy, but still adds the nice touch of actually having a lining. Still, I’m in love with that back vent. Marry me….please.

When I saw this charming detail over on Gertie’s blog, I simply had to imitate. I’ve found that giving the lining a little lace along the bottom as the hem is marvelous. So feminine. So sweet. So lovely to catch a peek of. I don’t use anything real special either. This was a vintage find, but really it bears the resemblance of those stretch laces that you find by the bias tapes in the notions isle. I’ve used those too. This little detail is definitely not going anywhere anytime soon.

As far as the Jenny Skirt pattern itself is concerned, I made a change to the waistband this time. I cut the waistband on the cross grain instead of the bias. I like this quite a bit better. The more I’ve worn my navy blue pencil skirt, the more I’ve realized that the bias waistband really doesn’t work well with stabilizer. Bias garments in general, from those I’ve seen and worn, are meant to hang, sway and move. They are fluid and trying to stabilize them doesn’t really work so well. I also found that I didn’t need to alter the width of the waistband either to make it fit with the skirt. In fact, it fit just fine. Very strange as I thought the bias waistband was supposed to be stretched to fit the skirt. Hmmmm….

Just a few details for thought. How is your pencil skirt coming along? I really do hope that the tutorials have given you ideas. This has been seriously fun for me. Most definitely will be having another sew-a-long in the future. I would love to hear some feedback on what I could do better in the future too! Let me know and I’ll be dreaming up another sew-a-long for Fall. I most definitely hope you participate!

Friends, it’s been fun! You have all been such great sports. Let me know if I can still help. Please post photos to the Flickr Group whenever you like. Can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with.

  • Jennifer - Cute skirt! I love your fabric choice!
    Last night I did my muslin fitting for the skirt, but I am having doubts on whether I want to cut it on the bias or not. Maybe I will change fabrics. I am thinking that I might possibly make a wool circle skirt on the bias. Wouldn’t that be cute for Fall/Winter! I am thinking I will change fabrics now! Ha!
    ReplyCancel

  • Elle - I love your skirt! And with your dislike of those invisible zippers, why not try a lapped zipper on your next one?
    Anyway, I made my muslin. It had a bias yoke, and I think your thoughts on the bias waistband may just apply to my yoke as well. Nevertheless, I’ve put the making of a pencil skirt on hold while I lose the 10 stress pounds I put on this summer. Nothing a little healthy eating shouldn’t take care of.
    ReplyCancel

  • Tilly - O.M.G. WHERE did you get that fabric???!
    ReplyCancel

  • SueWis - Love this skirt! I made a purse out of this exact same fabric and absolutely love it — get lots of compliments on it.
    ReplyCancel

  • Sandra - Yours is gorgeous! That print is ah-mazing. My skirt is sewn up, no zipper as I wanted to insert an exposed metal zip to add some interest to a black skirt. But encountered the problem that I have searched high and low to find a 30 or 35 cm closed end metal zip without success. So I’ll probably put in an invisible zip. But almost finished!!
    ReplyCancel

  • The Cupcake Goddess - Hi Tilly!
    The fabric is from Anna Maria Horner’s Drawing Room Collection. I think it came out last year and was made in this wonderful cotton sateen. There were some fabulous pieces in this collection with this one being one of my favorite. Have a look here for it:
    http://quilthome.com/product_info.php/cPath/38_575_576/products_id/4647
    It’s a dream to sew on too!
    ReplyCancel

  • Tasia - Oh wow, this version is gorgeous!! You’re right, pencil skirts are stunning in just about any fabric. Love the little peeks of lace! I definitely have to try out this pattern too as it’s unbelievably flattering.
    ReplyCancel

  • Alexandra Mason - Love your skirt its gorgeous….i’m on my second muslin now, i am determined to get the fit right before i cut my material!
    ReplyCancel

  • Karin van D. - Very cute skirt. I like pencil skirts in unexpected fabrics. I recently made a pink one, and I love it! This one is fabulous and looks great on you!
    ReplyCancel

  • learningnewtricks - Absolutely beautiful! What a great fabric choice, and one I never would have considered. I generally think of pencil skirts in wools or cottons, with sold colors. I don’t know why it never occurred to me to consider floral patterns. Love the skirt and how beautifully it came out. Also, I love your sew-a-long. I plan on using it make my Jenny skirt.
    ReplyCancel

  • Erica - I LOVE that fabric! Never in a million years would I have thought to use something like that. My muslin is made, have decided not to use the waistband at all…I am just too short waisted and don’t feel like fiddling with dropping the waist. It fits though! Happy about that.
    ReplyCancel

  • promotional - I found your post very interesting, I think you are a brilliant writer. I added your blog to my bookmarks and will return in the future. I want to encourage you to continue that marvelous work, have a great daytime!
    ReplyCancel