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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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!

Bella Sweet Slacks

I know, I know, it’s been quite some time since I posted a finished creation. I’ve finished up a few loose threads and now its time for some show and tell. My dressmaking groove is finally back which couldn’t be better news for my Spring/Summer wardrobe, which is in serious  need of refreshment.

A nice pair of denim dress pants have been on my mind for quite some time. I’ve wanted, and needed, some to wear to work. I got this idea into my head that I needed I high waisted pair too. I wanted to go for that vintage vibe, you know, that “I’m innocent and sexy at the same time” look. The Bella trouser from Burda Style fit the bill. I was around the online sewing community when these pants first hit the Burda Style front page. I also remember that my reaction to them at the time was one of sheer horror as I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to wear, let alone make, a pair of these. Let’s just say that my fashion sensibilities have definitely been broadened since that time and I am fully ashamed to admit I had any hesitation in making these and seeing them as anything but simply darling. If you don’t like them, fine, but let me just say that Mr. S finds me to be quite the sizzling siren in them.

About the pattern: Hmmm….I love the style as you know now. Everything went OK with the construction however the instructions were poorly put together. I looked on the Burda Style site at some other guest creations and I couldn’t believe that some people attempted this pattern as their first pattern in sewing and were actually able to make pants from them. The written instructions seriously do not make sense at all, and the illustrations are so small you need a magnifying glass to see them. I would rate the instructions at a 2 on a scale of 1 – 10. Does anyone else have this problem with Burda Style patterns, or is it just me? I also went down 2 sizes in these. I am a size 40 according to the Burda Style size chart, but these were enormous. Not only did I go down 2 sizes I had to take in each side an extra 1/2″ to get a snug fit. Moral: these are running big.

And how about them red buttons? Giving your garment a bit of zing with buttons is never a bad thing right?

Last but certainly very not least is my favorite detail. The corset-like waist. I kept getting the “have you lost weight” comment while wearing these slacks at work. I’m actually quite surprised at how slimming these pants look. I had thought that perhaps, they would accentuate my not so flat tummy, however these make my waist looked cinched in. Love that!

I feel really girly in these slacks and I think that’s one of the most wonderful things about this look. I mean, pants have a sort of masculine vibe and that contrasted with the feminine details of these pants are quite a powerful match. Have a look here for more takes on these beauties. I’m off to primp that hair and give those lips an extra coat of something sparkly.

  • Liesl - They are fabulous – they look great on you. I love the red buttons too. Nice detail!

  • RepurposedGirl - Hey Sunni,
    those are gorgeous! Thanks for the tips on instructions and sizing too. I have these on my radar – I, too, had issues with high-waisted trousers, but I bravely wore a pair a few weeks ago and I got loads of compliments. I’m wearing them today, actually. Hurrah!
    Glad to hear you found your sewing mojo again… mine’s been gone for a while but I can feel it re-emerging :)

  • mj - These are so cute! My husband really doesn’t like high waisted paints, so I don’t know if I could get away with telling him to think of them as a corset. Probably if I attached suspenders…
    How are they as far as comfort once you’ve been sitting for awhile? Do they dig into your ribcage?

  • Tasia - Gorgeous!! You’re right, they are super feminine and make your waist look super slim! Isn’t it fantastic when people are asking if you’ve lost weight? That’s the sign of a flattering garment for sure. The red buttons are a perfect finishing touch!
    You look amazing! :)

  • Emilie - Your pants look really great and so girly! And the denim fabric seems to be beautifull. The result looks very “finished”, which is for me the greatest compliment! Well done!!

  • Kat - Stunning! I would love some highwaisted jeans. I have never made pants before though so I might start with something easier first.

  • Nikole - I have the same prob with burda, it’s not until i made my first pants and was well on my way with the second that i realized (i think that was a sign to always make a toile). I tend to keep my instructions in adobe and zoom in and try to use the pictures as a guide… whoever wrote them should be shot or at least made aware that the instructions don’t make sense.
    Great fit though!

  • Brumby - They do look fabulous. I had these on my to make list, but after attempting the Jorinde Jacket from Burda and nearly poking a pencil through my brain to stop the pain of frustration at their appauling instructions, I have vowed to avoid them for another month or so longer for the sake of my sanity.
    I have whipped up a wearable toile for a Burda Magazine pair which is similar, I just need to make a couple of modifications to the fit for my body shape, and personal preference but otherwise an almost perfect fit ‘straight from the packet’. Seeing yours though I am thinking of making one more change to the back, so thanks for posting!

  • The Cupcake Goddess - Oh I’m so glad I wasn’t the only with issues with high waisted trousers. I’m really surprised at how well these were received when I wore them to work. Everyone loved them, which in turn made me even more confidant. I’m definitely a convert now!

  • The Cupcake Goddess - I have to say that Mr. S thought, for certain, that I was making myself a pair of Mom Jeans. He didn’t even want me to wear them. Then when I tried them on for him, he completely changed his mind.
    They are quite comfy, and they haven’t dug into my ribcage either, which I was worried about. They are definitely so easy to wear.

  • The Cupcake Goddess - I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, they tend to make the sewing of the project so confusing which is sort of a drag since the patterns are rather stylish. Hopefully they get better with more time.

  • Nikole - I have a couple patterns from before they switched websites and the old ones (pictures) are so much clearer but the instructions remain the same :(

  • Marybeth - They are so flattering, and you look like a model in the 1st picture!!

  • Angela - You look wonderful in those pants! Great job!

  • - These pants are also on my sewing list, I love the high waist.
    I experienced difficulties myself in understanding Burda Style instructions, and after some time I gave up and tried to figure everything on my own.
    You did a great job!

  • ellen - I have almost finished making these pants – and I completely know what you mean about the instructions. They seem all muddled up! This is something I have come to associate with Burdastyle patterns, unfortunately…

  • RepurposedGirl - Re: whether they dig in – I find that mine don’t, because they come up to my actual waist, and finish there. They look much higher-waisted because we’re all used to seeing trousers that sit in the hips (or near the hips) instead, but actually they don’t come up to your ribcage (at least, mine don’t).
    Also! I love wide-legged trousers, but because I’m a total pear shape, wide legs blossom out over my bum and hips, and bingo – I look like a need a warning bleep when I reverse… With high-waisted trousers, though, because they start higher up on your torso, so the widening for your bum/hips is less immediate and more flowing curves than ‘back-of-a-truck’. Yay!

  • Angela - I agree with Mr. S. The trousers are fabu! HOTNESSSSSS!!!!!!

  • Adin B - I think that it is beautiful and it looks good on you! :) Great job on that!

Stitching Spotlights 5.28.2010

I’m wishing you all a very long and wonderful weekend with lots of sewing and new adventures in dressmaking. It will be a super long weekend for me as I’m taking Memorial Day off and the day after. Much sewing will be done. I’m almost finished with a simple blouse from a vintage 1980′s pattern and trousers are next up on the list. Happy, happy sewing.

This week’s spotlighted creation is from Threadsquare. I love the fabric she used for this Coffee Date Dress. I’ve liked this pattern, but haven’t seriously contemplated making anything from it yet. I love this rendition in swiss dot, but then again, I’m a serious swiss dot fan. Oh and those shoes are perfection, as is the belt. So so fabulous! I’m already thinking of my own swiss dot coffee date dress. Completely inspired… and jealous that it’s not mine.

I’ve been trolling around looking at tailored buttonholes and found this gent’s beautiful photos and posts of some of his gorgeous handmade tailored buttonholes. Oh my goodness! This is definitely love at first sight! Simply breathtaking and such an ornament for a coat or jacket, let alone any other garment. Definitely have a look at his video and have a read here for more on this art. Haven’t been able to find buttonhole gimp, but here is a site that sells some lovely buttonhole twist in superb colors.

I’ve been contemplating rompers lately. Found this sweet vintage pattern for $1.00 and am seriously considering giving it a go. Summer is just around the bend and I think it will be the perfect complement to warm weather.

And there you have it! That’s a wrap of a week. Some strawberry shortcake definitely in the forecast this weekend along with a nice long soon to be summer nap. Happy weekend.

  • Tasia - Oh, the featured dress is so lovely! I haven’t made the Coffee Date dress yet but I want to and this version is gorgeous!
    Rompers are so not my thing, I’m a skirt and dress girl for sure. I bet you could rock it though, that vintage pattern is pretty adorable.
    Have a fantastic long long weekend and happy sewing :)

  • Alison - I love the short green version of the romper and would love to see what you do with it And those buttonholes are amazing! I love that when they are crafted so well like that they can completely take the garment to the next level.

  • zoe - make the romper make the romper make the romper make the romper make the romper make the romper make the romper make the romper! You’ll look so awesome! xxx

  • The cuckoo is a pretty bird - You make me feel like sewing! ALL DAY LONG! Only I can’t as my feral children prevent me by crawling all over me. I am going to have a stab at making the play dress you made a while ago. You look sensational in green. I saw you featured in SEW! magazine and I can’t remember if that’s how I found you or if I found you through a blogland link, but regardless you are in my fledging blogs side bar because I think you are just so bloomin’ brilliant x

  • Alex - I have that romper pattern! The illustrations are so cute that I want to make one even though it would be a lot of work (especially because I’m very new to sewing) for a garment that I would almost never wear. I got it from my mom’s attic stash – she said she made two of them back in the day. Coincidentally, I just finished my first dress from a pattern–a coffee date dress. The dress itself isn’t totally my style but it was a very good project to learn with.

  • Adventures in Dressmaking - Those are cute rompers. I see them everywhere this year! I’m not sure I can pull it off…

Color Combinations with Penelope-esque Flair

I love color. Color, color, color. And I’ve always had sort of a “bit off” sense of color combining. People come up to me all the time and say things like, “Oh, I never would have thought to put that color of shoe with that outfit.” Now whether that means they like it or not, I don’t know, they usually don’t say.  But, that’s beside the point. When I watched Penelope, I instantly felt an affinity with her color combinations and such. That being said I thought it would be fun to share how I put together a colorful outfit and hear about what you do when you put together the same.

I start with the number 3. It’s kind of a magical number to me. Not too much, not too little. I’ve found that my favorite outfits usually consist of 3 colors. It’s not a rule, just something to think about. I do see that Penelope puts together even more colors sometimes and sometimes less. I think 3 is a good number to start out with.

I also find that I incorporate a neutral as part of the trio, but I like spicing up the neutral with a print or pattern. I think the neutral should incorporate a soft texture of some sort. For example, take my Naughty Secretary Dress. A colorful print on top, and then the skirt section is a neutral brown herringbone. A flair of fun without being too crazy.

And now for the fun part, pairing the neutral with two colors. Color pairing is fun, well, at least to me. I like odd color combos, a smattering of my favorites being:
violet & mustard yellow
purple & orange
leaf green & magenta
turquoise & lipstick red

I like to pick one of the colors as an article of clothing and the other color is fun to splash in with shoes and other accessories like hosiery, jewelry and hair pieces.

Just a little fun for thought about color combos with a little Penelope-esque flair. What are your thoughts? How do you pair up outfits? What are some of your favorite color combinations?

  • Karin - I recently made a purple and red dress. All the time, while sewing, I wondered whether or not this would become a ridiculous dress because of the combination, but in the end I loved the result.
    I like colours. But I also love neutrals. I do think that bolder colours look better on me than neutrals do, although I can completely fall for an all softer-tones-combination.
    I once heard someone say that if you don’t have one style, you don’t have any style at all. I hope that isn’t true. Because my style changes by the day, depending on how I feel at that moment :-)

  • Uta - Color may be the most important part when I put together an outfit. If it’s too drab I often change. I found that I very often use this color formula: one dark neutral (e.g. black, dark gray), one bright color, often with golden undertones (olive green, terracotta, reddish violet), one light or pastel color (light blue, green, pink or white/cream). I couldn’t explain why, but it works for me.

  • Tasia - I love your rule of 3′s! I’m just starting to be more adventurous with colour, the more I take photos of my work, the more I see how colour can be used to create interest or attract attention (hello, red!)
    I love turquoise and red as well together! I also love caramel or tan with a jewel tone contrast. I have a warm toffee-coloured jacket that looks awesome with magenta, ruby red, or teal blue. With sewing, you have unlimited possibilities to mix colours – thread colour, button colour, contrast belts, the list goes on and on!
    Accessories can play a huge role too. I have a pair of tiny turquoise drop earrings that I wear with red, with tan, with navy – they add just a little flash of colour. Can you tell I love teal and turquoise? Hehe.
    I’ve recently started collecting printed silk scarves from thrift-shops, the colour combinations are amazing and you can get away with something bold more easily in small amounts.
    Great post!

  • - Your color combos aren’t odd at all, but totally complimentary. I adore turquoise and red, violet and mustard, especially. In high school, I was known for wearing these whacked out, loud colors, but have noticed that my closet of today is so full of black, red and grey (along with old beloveds I can’t bear to toss, but no longer wear…refashion!!!). My current mission in the sewing room is to change all that!

  • - Now that you mention it, I kind of also have the 3 color rule.
    Before my first visit to the US, my husband (boyfriend at the time) would prepare me for the differences between Europe and America. I felt like going to the moon:) I specifically remember asking him if I could bring and wear my orange pants and him almost saying no. He didn’t seem to notice people wearing bold colored clothes here :)) Should he have known then how colorful his future wife’s wardrobe would be :)
    btw Sunni, I have a surprise for you ;)

Stitching Spotlights 5.21.2010

Aren’t you so glad its Friday again? I am and I’m so happy to be feeling up to par. I really love bringing these spotlights to you every week.

This week’s creation comes to you from Stefi at Just Chic. I am continually amazed with her creations. Don’t forget to check out her tutorials either! I first noticed her on Burda Style and have been continually blown away by the fabrics she uses and the designs she comes up with. This skirt is one of her own designs and a perfect fit for any colorful wardrobe, I dare say. I’m quite sure Penelope would be rather proud. Beautiful job Stefi.

Have you read this article over at the Selfish Seamstress? I thought it was rather thought provoking and intriguing. I’ve thought about it a lot ever since reading it. I’ll say that I’m rather a sucker for feminine details and definitely do not think they should be done away with, but I will say that I’ve seen (and unfortunately, made) some rather atrocious garments with too much craziness going on. You know, just a little stitch for thought.

This week’s stitching tip is on pinning. Always pin. My mom said that my grandma always says this. A great rule of thumb. Sewing goes along so much better if one pins before they stitch. And don’t forget to use the right pins when pinning. Standard dressmaking pins are great, but don’t forget that for silk and knits there are extra sharps and ball points so as not to obstruct the fragile weave of the cloths for these types of fabrics. Here’s a great article on just this subject.

Image Courtesy of thenakedsnail on flickr

And that’s a wrap! Have a fantastic weekend!

  • Belly - Thanks for the links, Sunni. Have a beautiful weekend!

  • Amy - I forgot to tell you on your Penelope post that I want her wardrobe too. I watched that movie twice in a row the first time I saw it. And then the BF came home I I immediately said that I wanted to dress like her.
    I love long skirts but I never know what shoes to wear with them.
    And I seriously hope that is actually your pincushion as that image is so gorgeous I want a print for my sewing room wall.
    Glad you are feeling better. Happy weekend!

  • Tasia - You know what’s funny, in fashion design school they teach you NOT to pin. No pins allowed – since you’re learning to sew on industrial machines. Not only are they SUPER fast but in factories, they don’t sew with pins at all. Just line up the edges and step on the pedal! Imagine setting a sleeve without pins.. thank goodness we can use them for home sewing!
    Thanks for sharing Stefi’s lovely skirt, I love finding new sewing blogs to read and admire! And you know I love a good feminine frill here and there, I found that post (and all the comments) fascinating!
    Glad you’re feeling better! Have a lovely weekend!

  • - Wow, what a surprise I had to find me on your blog :)You are a darling, darling girl. Thank you so much! and you know that the feeling is reciprocal – I always admire your work.
    I’ve always been a big fan of mixing vivid colored clothes in sometimes striking combinations. I feel like I’ve lost it lately, so I took the decision to come back to my style – this skirt was the first step :)

  • Abby - I love Penelope’s clothes too! We all need some color and a break away from boring neutrals! I’ll have to watch the movie!

  • Lorelai - Hello Sunni, well I absolutely love your blog, it’s very catchy. Right now, and because of you, I want to start sewing like a crazy again, I miss to do beautiful clothes. So please, I need your help, and well of everybody who have patient helping another: I want to make a dress!!!
    My first post about that is in my blog.

  • The Cupcake Goddess - I wish I could say it was my photo of the pin cushion, it is gorgeous isn’t it? A lovely image found browsing through flickr.

  • The Cupcake Goddess - Now that is super interesting! I’ve actually been thinking about your comment all weekend and while in the midst of sewing I kept thinking how could I not pin? I assume pins are not required because of the fast paced work environment. Very interesting! Thanks for sharing!

  • The Cupcake Goddess - It’s truly a beautiful and fun skirt! Always looks forward to what you come up with next!

  • - Ahahaha! I’ve never seen the film Pirates of Penzance – just a stage production back in another lifetime when I volunteered summers as an usher in order to see productions for free. I almost literally bumped into Kevin Kline’s chest a few weeks ago, when I moved up to volunteering at film festivals. “Oh, Kev! Sorry about that, but it really doesn’t matter.”
    I second Tasia…no pinning in the factories. My mom was a professional garment seamstress, and never pinned at work. She does now for quilting, and always encouraged me to do so. But until recently, I just couldn’t be bothered. Maybe I was ahead of my time (or skill level). Results are so much better now, but I also have racked up a few more hours in front of the machine.