Stitching Spotlights 6.18.2010

Isn’t June such a splendid month? The days start warming up and those Spring flowers are in full bloom, well, at least around here. Summer wear starts creeping into the wardrobe and before you know it, its time for sandals and painted toes. Ahhh…. This week I thought it would be fun to have a little trip down memory lane. It all started with this pattern.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a flute player and this is something I never thought I would see on the front of a sewing pattern. It makes me wonder if they went through all of the instrument families. Here we have a little girl with a flute, what about a dad with a trumpet or mom with a violin or brother with a clarinet. Hmmmm….All I can say is, I really wish I had that outfit when I first started. I’m sure my technique would have been even that much better.

Flutes really are the coolest things. I’m quite sure Mr. S would agree, even over bass trombones (which as anyone knows, is his instrument). I mean he married me (a flute-essa) right?

As we are wandering down this little memory lane, I thought it might be a good opportunity to show you these photos of my sister and me when we were cute little things. My mom made these outfits for us. This is us on Easter Sunday. Whenever my mom made us outfits, they were always from the same pattern, but in different fabrics. It was rather sweet, I think. My mom never missed a beat either. Not only are we sporting bloomers here, but gloves and ribbons in the hair, and it’s not even 1896, but more like 1986. You don’t have to tell me that all fashions come back around sometime.

A small spot of silliness to start your weekend off right. I would say, “I’m sorry this spotlight is all about me,” but as I’m not sorry, well what can I say? There you go. Thank you for indulging my vanity.  Happy Friday Cupcakes!

  • peter - What a lovely flute piece — you’re terrific!
    ReplyCancel

  • Belly - I’m not sorry either! Thanks for a piece of sweetness in the middle of the day.
    ReplyCancel

  • Tasia - My mom did that with my two younger sisters – same haircuts, same outfits but different colours. Aren’t you two adorable!
    No speakers here so I’ll have to check out your flute piece later…have a lovely weekend!
    ReplyCancel

  • Cherri Porter - I played the flute too, for about four months. I wanted to play the drums, but this was back when they gave us a written test to check our aptitude and then picked the instrument for us. Apparently they needed a flute player and I hated it. I did find a vintage johannes adler-magnamusic recorder at the thrift store two days ago though, and I couldn’t pass it up.
    ReplyCancel

  • Cherri Porter - I meant to ask and got distracted by my own wanderings–do you still play professionally?
    ReplyCancel

  • Just-chic.blogspot.com - Flute playing and sewing – how do you share your free time between the two?
    ReplyCancel

  • The Cupcake Goddess - Hi Cherri,
    Unfortunately no, I do not play much anymore. The constraints on my time are too great. I do love picking up the instrument though, it always felt like gold in my hands.
    Congrats on your recorder! What a find!
    ReplyCancel

  • The Cupcake Goddess - I’m very immersed in sewing at the moment. I don’t play flute much anymore, but hopefully someday my schedule will change to the point that I’m able to sew and play all day! I very much look forward to that day!
    ReplyCancel

  • Becky H - I got linked over here by a fellow sewing blogger (apparently one of my current sewing projects reminds her a little bit of your Naughty Secretary dress), and I’m glad I decided to take a look at the rest of your blog! I’m a flute player too–I don’t get to perform too terribly often anymore, but I do teach it on a part-time basis. I had to smile, because I never thought I’d see a picture like that on a pattern front either! (And then I had to laugh, because it reminds me of my beginner students who don’t know how to hold the right hand yet.)
    You played the Ibert beautifully, by the way. And I like your sewing style!
    ReplyCancel

  • Abby - haha! I love the picture of the flute player on the pattern! That’s funny. And I love the memory lane pictures. We were so cute! I should start making matching clothes for my girls, ironically a red head and a blondie. History repeating itself? Look out world.
    ReplyCancel

  • katy - such beautiful playing!
    my sister and i were always decked out for easter sunday as well, complete with gloves, bloomers, bonnets, and tights… always way too hot for the southern california spring! oh the 80′s ;)
    ReplyCancel

  • Kristin P. - Pantaloons?!?! Ha ha ha!!! You girls are so cute. My baby and I are listening to your lovely playing right now and enjoying it thoroughly.
    ReplyCancel

My Adventure with Handmade Buttonholes

I’ve done handmade buttonholes before,  but not ever quite like I did on my Boysenberry Pastry Blouse. When I’ve done them before, its always been just one on a jacket or something, more as a decorative touch to finish the garment. Then I decided that I needed to at least given them a try on a blouse. These were rather involved and mostly because it took so long to find the ingredients I needed to do them.

I read here on them and decided, as I was not sewing a jacket, I would do the simulated buttonhole. Some turned out better than others, I grant you, but this is my first time doing all of the buttonholes on a shirt, by hand, so cut me a little slack please. I was rather thrilled at how they turned out, thank you very much.

The Details: The supplies for these babies were not readily accessible to me. I had to make do with what I could find quite frankly. They just don’t make sewing supplies like they used, do they? I could not for the life of me find buttonhole gimp so I decided I would use Coats and Clark buttonhole thread for the gimp. Though I’m sure it is not the exact same thing, it has many of the same properties I read about that actual gimp would have. I found this at my local fabric store, though could not for the life of me find a link for it, but just know, it’s there. I found the buttonhole twist here, and though I loved the colors these came in, I would be even happier if you could pick the weight of the thread. By weight, I mean the denier. The weight was fine for this project, however when I tried a buttonhole on a heavier weight fabric, denim to be exact, the thread was definitely not fat enough.

Something you absolutely cannot live without (in my humble opinion) if you decide to try your hand at these, is beeswax to coat your thread. It’s magical how it detangles threads. Simply magical. In fact, I will never be without beeswax again. I also used fray stop on the edges of the buttohole slit. Quite frankly I don’t love this product, but I didn’t want to be messy with wax or the like.

These are a beautiful complement to a garment I think. I do love a bound buttonhole too, but was ready try something different this time around. What do you think? Have you ever tried these?

  • Peacockchic - Those buttonholes are gorgeous!! I always forget these little handmade additions when I am at the final leg of a project. I hope I remember next time because they just look fantabulous!
    ReplyCancel

  • karen - They look amazing. I dread to think how long this took you. I really must get my hands on some beeswax, as I curse violently at knotting thread every time I hand sew.
    ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - Gorgeous! You are very talented! I wouldn’t even know where to start to do this by hand! You should be very proud of yourself!
    ReplyCancel

  • Tasia - Gorgeous! Very nicely done! I learned how to do hand buttonholes back in school, but haven’t done them since…I love how tidy and tight they look though!
    ReplyCancel

  • clare - those buttonholes are so neat! I loved the blouse and want your hair :-)
    ReplyCancel

  • DreinPA - I have often used either 3 strands of embroidery floss or some pearl cotton as the gimp thread in a machined buttonhole. Perhpas the same effect could be managed by hand.
    ReplyCancel

  • Debi - Wowza! Those are AMAZING! great job!
    ReplyCancel

  • peter - Wow! How long did each of these take to do?
    ReplyCancel

  • The Cupcake Goddess - So do I karen! I swear they have wizards who put magical “anti knotting” spells on the beeswax. It works like a wonder every time. You will not regret this purchase.
    ReplyCancel

  • The Cupcake Goddess - Thank you! And they are more durable than machine made I’ve noticed. They are very “fat” too, which is kind of fun.
    ReplyCancel

  • The Cupcake Goddess - This is a great idea and one I’m going to try. I haven’t tried using gimp or gimp substitute in a machine made buttonhole, but I can definitely see how they would be more durable and stronger with the gimp.
    ReplyCancel

  • The Cupcake Goddess - Thanks peter. The time went faster as I was watching old movies at the time I was stitching them. All in all it took about 3 hours to complete each of the 6 buttonholes. Not too bad, but still much longer than what I’m used to.
    ReplyCancel

  • Angela - They’re beautiful! Thanks for the tips and resource information!
    ReplyCancel

  • jerry - Excuse me, i am very interested in the threads of the buttonhole. do you know where i can find ? by the way, i am in shanghai China. thank you
    ReplyCancel

Boysenberry Pastry Blouse with a Secret Ingredient

This is a blouse I made from a McCall’s 1980′s pattern. I really do love vintage patterns. Truly I do. But I’ve been having trouble finding vintage patterns for prices that aren’t, well….ridiculous. And to be brutally honest, I spent $47 for this pattern (I’m very very very upset with myself too) and it has been lost in the mail. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? Yeah, that is definitely not happening again. In fact, I’ve banned myself from buying patterns online for awhile because of this. (Peter brought up a very good point and so as not to give this seller a bad wrap, Sandra from the Selvedge Shop completely reimbursed me! She’s been excellent to work with. I feel terrible that we both missed out on this gorgeous dress pattern) So, I’m content to buy patterns that I can actually get my hands on. That would be patterns bought from my local thrift store. And those can be quite wonderful as they are usually only $0.50 – $1.00, however usually they are from the 70′s or 80′s eras. I bought this one for $0.50. I’m a real sucker for this kimono sleeve look. I just LOVE it. I’ve bought a few other patterns with this kimono style thing going on. Love them too.

I also had a thing for this dobby dot stuff when it came out. I love the colors these came in. And the voile fabric is just perfect for summery weather. I mean really, this pattern and this fabric = a match made in heaven.

This blouse is also special as its donning some handmade buttonholes (aka, the secret ingredient). There are six of these babies. And though they may not look like too much, they are. These were a major feat for me. I’ve done one handmade buttonhole on various garments, but never actually done a whole shirt front with them. These were….involved. They are very beautiful, albeit not perfect, but I am still an amateur. I read about and saw the photos of these. I can’t compete with those, and that’s fine because I’m not a professional tailor. I will say that getting all the materials together for these buttonholes was interesting. There is nowhere around my neck of the woods that sells buttonhole twist or buttonhole gimp. I found some buttonhole twist here, however you can’t pick and choose the weight. For gimp I ended up using the buttonhole thread from Coats and Clarks. I’ll give you more details on how I made these and how it went in another post. For now, I’m rather proud of myself for even trying. Thank you very much.

Since I wanted these buttonholes to have bit of pop and zing, because they were handmade, I made them in a contrasting buttonhole twist. Adding the mustard colored buttons was just a bit of Penelope-esque fun, you know. I got the idea of sewing the buttons with the “crow’s feet” threading from The Sewing Bible. I seriously can’t recommend this book enough. There are great handmade details like this scattered all over in it. Buy it, you won’t regret it.

And there you have it. Ta Da! Hip hip hooray! It’s a Boysenberry Pastry Day! Say that with a smile – and give your beau a wink from me. He he he.

  • SPECinMnYerTRUM - I’m Hungry! Delicious!
    ReplyCancel

  • peter - Love the top. Wait — the pattern was lost in the mail: has the seller offered to reimburse you at all, for even part of the cost? I think that would be appropriate though if you bought it on Etsy, you might ask what their policy is around that. That’s a lot of dough.
    ReplyCancel

  • karen - Absolutely gorgeous blouse. I love the colour and the detail. Well done on the button holes. I’m not sure I will ever pluck up the courage to do a button hole.
    ReplyCancel

  • The Cupcake Goddess - I should have written (which has been ammended now) that the seller did reimburse me. She was great to work with! I’m so mad that I couldn’t have the pattern though. I really, really wanted it. So bad. OH the FATES!!!!
    ReplyCancel

  • alisonwonderland - I love it! The fabric is amazing. I am sorry to hear about the lost pattern. I would have loved to have seen what you would have made with it.
    ReplyCancel

  • Tasia - Great blouse – the raspberry colour is fantastic on you! I can’t believe you made handmade buttonholes, how ambitious! Look forward to the detailed post :)
    So sad about the pattern, that was nice of the seller to reimburse you, though I know you’d rather have the pattern itself!
    ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - That blouse is beautiful! I love the fabric!
    I made your ironing board cover a few weeks back, and I could not be happier! It is so much nicer than that junk that comes on the ironing board when you buy it! I am going to do a post on my blog about it this week sometime and I am going to link back to you. I just wanted to let you know! :)
    Have a great day!
    ReplyCancel

  • lsaspacey - Too bad about that pattern! It’s gorgeous, I wonder if the movie she wore it in was Summertime or Desk Set, the clothes were great in those films.(Check out the links!)
    If you ever decide to try internet pattern shopping again, please check out my shop. I’m not getting into the business of selling patterns, I just have these 135, mostly late 1980s and early 1990 ones. Mostly Vogue patterns.
    ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - Oooohhhh I love it! The colour is just perfect! And I love the green belt with it. You look absolutely stunning.
    ReplyCancel

  • Cherri Porter - I’m sorry you had such a bad experience. I’ve had a number of things go missing in the mail that I’ve ordered as a buyer and as a seller I’ve had buyers not get a few things I’ve sold. Of course, I always reimburse people. But, what I’ve started to do is use delivery confirmation for everything I ship. I imagine the cost of delivery confirmation on every package about averages the cost of the missing packages over the years. I think the post office is just more careful with the delivery confirmation items.
    Anyway, I’m glad you were reimbursed for your item. And, the shirt in the photo is AWESOME. Definitely worth the trouble.
    ReplyCancel

  • Angela - Gorgeous blouse! Sorry about your lost pattern!
    ReplyCancel

  • Jana @ Weekend Vintage - I do love the pink and green combination!
    jana
    ReplyCancel

  • Belly - Beautiful, and the color suits you so well. I love Anna Maria’s voiles. I have a half yard of the dobby in light blue and I’m debating what to do with it.
    ReplyCancel

  • Abby - I love it!!! You are always up to something! The buttonholes sound daunting, but I would be interested in trying some because my sewing machine doesn’t do buttonholes.
    ReplyCancel

  • Janey - Love the blouse and lovely fabric. If you like this shape check out Anda dress pattern on burdastyle, it is a pattern on line but when you pay you get to download the pdf straight away so no danger of losing in post!! I’ve just printed my copy and I’m checking the stash to work out what to use. The pattern is very simple so I think lots of people could use it and make it look quite different by their different fabrics etc!!
    ReplyCancel

  • Blair Yuen - Hi SUNNI!
    Beautiful raspberry shirt, just beautiful! Such a rich color and such a perky pattern! You need to open up a boutique… I’ll be a regular; you can count on that!
    ReplyCancel

  • The Cupcake Goddess - Oh I’m so glad! I have two of those ironing board covers now and they are so great! They last a lot longer too!
    ReplyCancel

  • The Cupcake Goddess - Thank you! I had a sale that went awry as well! I’ve never had a problem with the mail before, but this was such a bad pattern to get lost. I feel so bad for the seller too!
    ReplyCancel

  • The Cupcake Goddess - I kept having the same problem! It was such a sweet fabric that I didn’t want to cut into it. It was finally time to pluck up the courage and make something with it.
    ReplyCancel

  • The Cupcake Goddess - They really aren’t bad or hard to do, they just take alot of time and patience.
    ReplyCancel

  • The Cupcake Goddess - Oh thank you Janey! I will definitely be checking out this pattern!
    ReplyCancel

  • The Cupcake Goddess - Hi Blair! I’m so glad you commented! You are such a sweetheart!
    ReplyCancel

  • Pattern Junkie - Gorgeous shirt! What a tragedy to have that pattern go missing in the mail — my heart’s breaking!
    ReplyCancel

  • Jodi - The buttonholes are beautiful. I love the colour of this blouse and the cut is great. I wish I had that pattern!
    ReplyCancel

  • Sandra - Oh my god, those buttonholes are TO DIE FOR! You should be very proud!
    ReplyCancel

  • Beth - The blouse is gorgeous! I love the fabric and the buttonholes.
    ReplyCancel

  • Tasha - Found this post looking for examples of garments done in this voile. Your blouse is absolutely fantastic! Did you need to interface the button placket or collar? I plan a button-down as well but the print I have is a much lighter color so I’m deciding the best way to go about it.
    ReplyCancel

  • EmilyKate - I must admit that though I’m a hound for sewing patterns whenever I go thrifting, I’ve been turning up my nose at anything eighties in disgust! You make me want to take a closer look at them next time and use my imagination. I love your blouse and now I want one. Back to the thrifts this weekend!
    ReplyCancel

Stitching Spotlights 6.11.2010

It’s that time of the week again. Isn’t Friday such a glorious day? I have a wedding to attend and take pictures of and I’ve gotten a head start on the glorious Beignet from Colette Patterns. I can’t think of anything better than true love and skirt stitching. Well, except for maybe…..

This DRESS! One look and I was completely in LOVE! Meet Jessica from Green Apples and her stunning Space Age Cocktail Dress. Hop on over to her blog for more pics. I completely agree with her. What happened to all the bygone days of dressing up, in a dress, to go have a cocktail with friends? Next on my sewing list, a cocktail dress. You know what Adele Margolis says about those right? “You need a lot more ease in sportswear than you do in a cocktail dress. After all, how much movement does it take to lift a martini?” ~ How to Make Clothes that Fit and Flatter

Just got some of these too sweet for words buttons in the mail. I don’t know what I’ll make with them, but having them in my possession was absolutely necessary. I do think they would look rather darling on a blouse, or perhaps a flowery pin or maybe adorning a cardigan. As they are made of polymer clay, they are a bit on the soft side. But as they are so sweet, how is there any resisting? Visit TessaAnn for more.

Speaking of Adele Margolis, I just received her Design Your Own Dress Patterns book. I also have this lady’s How to Make Clothes that Fit and Flatter. Both are used and both are indispensible. When I received the Design You Own Dress Patterns book it had been loved by someone previously. There are some brochures from fabric mail ordering companies and a few sweet sketches of future designs stashed away in some of the pages. Doesn’t that just make a book so much more fun to read? I love it when someone has added their special (non-destructive) touch to a book.

Happy Creative Weekend to you!

  • Tasia - Jessica’s dress is so glamorous – love it! Definitely worthy of the spotlight.
    Have a fantastic weekend as well!
    Tasia
    ReplyCancel

  • Seemane - Ahhh…..! I have the same book by Adele Margolis! But, the one I have is the new 2006 reprint in paperback of the 1985 edition, which they renamed as http://www.amazon.com/Make-Your-Own-Dress-Patterns/dp/0486452549/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1276283986&sr=1-3 (“Make Your Own Dress Patterns”, ISBN-10: 0486452549 /ISBN-13: 978-0486452548). It’s a really simple & straight forward prowse to read for a novice such as myself – so far I’m up to Chapter 3, page 53… “A pair of shapely dart legs” LOL!
    ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - I’m so flattered to be in the spotlight! I’m glad you agree that there need to be more cocktail parties – can’t wait to see your cocktail dress!
    ReplyCancel

Dollars in the Details

I love being able to take a pattern and do something creative with the details. Especially the details you don’t see or at least the ones you don’t see right at first. I finished the pocket lining and the inside facing of my Bella Sweet Slacks with this Nicey Jane fabric . I love doing stuff like that as it makes the finished garment such a treat to wear. It’s such a delight to look in my closet and see that little sparkle that makes me want to wear a garment.

I also have to say that there have been times when I’ve tried to do these sorts of details and they just did not work. Sometimes when you go too crazy, your garment can end up looking just plain crazy. For example, I made a pair of pants a few years ago (these I have unfortunately, thrown out) out of a beautiful dark grey pinstripe wool. The fabric was stunning, but the fit was bad. Not only that, but I used a light pink silk for the pocket lining. Very bad choice as the pockets became sort of an eyesore as that was the first thing you saw rather than just a little surprise you saw if you looked closely. The light pink was blaring and much too light colored for the fabric I had picked. Ever done something like that?

So tell me this, what makes it work for some garments and not for others? What about my Naughty Secretary Dress and the peekaboo turquoise lining? I find it fun and flirty and for some reason it just works. Same here, with these Bella Sweet Slacks. It seems that since the lining isn’t right in your face, it works. A little surprise if you look closely. What do you think? Are the details you don’t necessarily see more exciting if done with something special? I have noticed that sometimes these details are present in rather expensive clothing, maybe as something of a couture touch. What are some of the details you like to include in your sewing projects?

  • Belly - You’re so right. I’d like to know the answer to that, too.
    ReplyCancel

  • Stacyverb - Maybe it has something to do with the placement of the details? A peek of colorful lining at the hem = sexy, but a peek of colorful lining at the pocket = meh?
    I keep thinking I want to make contrast facings on skirts, or finish the edges of those facings in a contrasting bias tape, but it hasn’t happened yet. I’m a bit lazy when it comes to the insides of my garments.
    ReplyCancel

  • Angela - Hehehe.. I’m not sure either, but I do not the contrast here!
    ReplyCancel

  • Abby - I loved seeing these cute pants in person.(A rarity these days.) And I must say, I did notice the fabulous splash of color in the pockets. So cute!
    ReplyCancel