Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Shams Sewing Tips Video #2 - Making Fabric Beads

Choker-length necklace worn doubled as a bracelet.

You asked for it!

Several weeks ago I posted a video on how to turn tubes of fabric with a bobby pin.

I was using the tubes to make fabric beads and using those beads to make jewelry.

Closeup of beads

Finished necklaces

You asked for a video on how to make the beads, so here you go!

Just in case it wasn't clear in the video, here are the tools and supplies that I used:

  1. Ruler
  2. Lighter
  3. Wire cutters
  4. Pliers - round nose and curved
    (though I mostly use the curved)
  5. Super glue
  6. Scissors (not shown)

Fabric tubes made from 1" wide strips approximately 18" long.

Wearing my necklace as a bracelet

Thanks, Sarah!
(Sarah is wearing Butterick 5891, view B, sans collar. I should have taken a wide-angle pic as you can't see the cute polka dot panels at the bottom.)

Monday, June 8, 2015

A Style Arc Top, Some Tees, Some Pants, and More!

This is a major catch-up post, so here's a TOC to guide you through it!

A Style Arc Top - the Lani

I finished this top a couple weeks ago. It would have been sooner, but I managed to misplace one of the sleeves—I didn't have enough fabric to re-cut the missing piece, but it finally turned up.

The Lani top from Style Arc features internal seaming, an asymmetric hem with mitered corners, a princess seam over one breast and a dart on the other, and 3/4 length sleeves. It is designed for a woven fabric and pulls over the head (it has no closures), so you immediately know that it is loosely fitted.

I decided to use a drapey rayon batik in a lovely swampy green color that I purchased this year at Puyallup. A friend gifted me with a green-and-black striped fabric that she purchased in New York in the same colors, and I used it to pipe the seams.

The piping is almost too subtle. Can you see it?

I had to make a few alterations to the pattern:

  • Increased the bust dart.
  • Removed width from the hips.
  • Added shaping to the waist.
  • Narrowed the shoulder by 3/8".

Sewing-Themed Tees

I think I've mentioned before how I love Uniqlo tee shirts. I went into Uniqlo recently to look for a white tee to wear with my Britex linen pants and I stumbled on a cache of sewing-themed tops. How had I missed these before?! They are on clearance—I scooped up three tees and two sweatshirts.

Check out my spoils!

I don't know how long they will last, but you can check out the "Merchant & Mills" garments on their site.

Auditioning Pants

I recently made three pairs of pants. Yes, three pairs! I was testing out patterns for the linen pants I recently blogged. When I say "testing", I mean that I pared down each pattern to a front, a back, and a waistband. Easy peasy.

Here's a quick round up.

Style Arc Jamie made from a stretch twill received in a free fabric bundle

Vogue 8929, made from a lightweight stretch cotton from Marcy Tilton.
Wow, I need to wear it with a top that "goes" better!

Vogue 8909, made from a non-stretch bottom weight fabric from my stash.
(Originally purchased at Fabrix.)

While all three patterns worked, I ended up using Vogue 8909 for the Britex pants.

Refashioning Tees into an Infinity Scarf

with Kathy (left) and Jana (center) atop Twin Peaks

I wanted to make a thank you gift for Jana, a developer from Prague who helped out at a recent work event. Jana is a fan of Dart and enjoys wearing Dart swag, so I took a Dart t-shirt (Hanes Beefy Tee Men's, size large) and another Google t-shirt in Dart's royal blue color (Women's Sport-T in XL), and I cut them up to fashion a Koos scarf.

The resulting pieced rectangle

Jana is rather tall, so I wanted to make the Koos scarf on the longer side. I pieced it as follows:

The resulting scarf... well, it's Dart-y!

(We also gave Jana some locally made gourmet chocolate. ;) )

Alabama Chanin Tour de Force

I recently saw Dorothy K, and she was wearing a fabulous project that she had just completed. As she hasn't been posting reviews on Pattern Review, I asked her if I could post some pics, and she graciously agreed.

This is Dorothy's very first Alabama Chanin piece. (She loves to dive into the deep end, Dorothy does.) She stenciled the fabric with Anna's Garden Stencil.

She used one of her TNT dress patterns, an OOP Stretch and Sew—1500, I believe. The bolero pattern came from the Alabama Chanin book.

She embellished the bolero with beading

I asked Dorothy how long this project took and she estimated that it was about 6 months of sewing 2-3 hours a day, most every day. And she loved it. She already planning her next Alabama Chanin outfit.

In the spirit of providing even more inspiration, here is a fabulous quilt that Dorothy made about a year ago. The second photo shows the colorful backing.

Dorothy shared another fabulous garment, but I couldn't get a pic to do it justice. If that ever happens, and it's ok with her, I'll post that, too!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Linen Silk Skinny Pants

Happy Tuesday! Here is another garment made from a lovely Britex fabric! You can find the original post on the Britex blog here.

Since spring fashions hit the stores earlier this year, I've been a little obsessed: I keep seeing a style of skinny pants called "joggers". I was particularly taken with joggers made from linen. Joggers typically (though not always) feature an elastic waist with a drawstring, patch pockets, and hems finished with either elastic or ribbing. You can see a few on my Joggers Pinterest page.

When Britex asked if I would like to sew a garment from their linen selection I was immediately drawn to this beautiful white linen silk blend with a green abstract reptile print:

Sheer Emerald Snake Print Linen and Silk Blend

I have always loved linen blended with silk! It wrinkles less than 100% linen and has a lovely drape. Because this fabric is a bit sheer, I lined it with Snow White Viscose.

For the pattern, I used Vogue 8909, view C. I did a simple alteration that I often do, because I am a card carrying member of the "Impossibly Tiny Bottom Club" (extra points if you get the reference): I used a medium for the front pant and an extra small for the back pant, cutting the crotch in a medium for both front and back.

I shortened the pants by 1", omitted the cuffs (I decided against elastic at the hem), and replaced the inseam pocket with patch pockets (which are difficult to see in the print).

I lined the pocket and reinforced the slanted opening with a strip of selvedge from the white viscose

The finished pocket

In effect, I made two pair of pants: one from the linen/silk, and a second pair from the white viscose. I hemmed the lining 1" shorter than the linen, and joined both layers at the waist. They are joined only at the waist.

Finishing the waistband by hand

I love my linen pants!
Right now we are experiencing cold, wet, foggy San Francisco weather (it's a good thing you can't see the goosebumps I had while doing this photo shoot), but when warm weather eventually arrives...
I am ready!

Vogue 8909

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Shams' Sewing Tips Video #1

Happy Tuesday eve!

I have several little updates for you.

My briefest update is this: with my last post I exceeded 2 million views on my blog! Woot! Thatsalotta views! THANKS!

And here are the rest:

Shams' Sewing Tips video #1

I was recently preparing for a sewing get together—some friends and I were going to learn how to make jewelry using narrow tubes of fabric. Turning lots of narrow tubes of fabric turned out to be a pain point for all of us. One friend was using a Fasturn tool to turn her tubes, but the wand broke. Another was using a small safety pin to turn her tubes, but it was causing her hands to ache.

When I mentioned that I keep a bobby pin near my sewing machine for this purpose, they were unfamiliar with the technique. So I decided to document this little trick.

My original plan was to ask one of my friends to shoot a quick video using my iPhone. But Sarah, who loves technology, suggested that we use her camera and then she offered it edit it together.

So, thanks to Sarah, here is my first video, a short tip on using a bobby pin to turn a narrow tube of fabric. It works with knit tubes, bias tubes, and straight-of-grain tubes.

Margy pointed out that when you buy bobby pins at the drugstore, that you are compelled to buy at least a hundred of them. No worries, why not use the extras to make a bobby pin necklace! (I took this photo at Puyallup.)

If you notice the credit at the end of the video, that is Sarah herself. She celebrated her 70th birthday by bungee jumping off the Kawarau Bridge in New Zealand. She is pretty amazing! She also taught us the technique she developed for making the jewelry.

THANKS, Sarah!

So, what do you think. Should we do more quick videos?

Making Jewelry

See, it happened like this: When I was in Puyallup this year with Sarah and Sue, Sarah brought along several necklaces that she had made featuring "beads" made from fabric tubes.

Sarah wearing one of her necklaces at Puyallup

Sue and I admired Sarah's bead necklaces. I actually made a necklace similar to this more than a year ago, but when Sarah described her technique, I couldn't quite visualize it. One evening, in our hotel room, I had Margy on the speaker phone and the four of us decided to get together at some future date to learn Sarah's technique.

The necklace I made 1.5 years ago

Last week, Margy flew in for our little get together. But before the jewelry-making commenced, we attended a local sewing gathering. I include the photos here, because you might recognize (and miss) some of these wonderful sewists, and you will certainly enjoy seeing the clothing of these stylish women!

Ann and Margy. Margy has blogged about her outfit, but Ann is wearing a Liberty shirt that she recently made.

Dorothy, Ann, Arna, and Margy. Dorothy, Ann, and Arna are each wearing the Liberty shirt.

Heather is wearing a beautiful jacket made from OOP Burda 7364. (And you can bet that I tracked down this pattern!)

Margy, looking stunning in her Marcy Tilton crinkle raincoat.

Dorothy in her snazzy prescription sunglasses

From there, we proceeded to the jewelry making!

Margy is just getting started

I love this pic!

Margy makes a mega-bead!

Margy and Sarah, two technology mavens


Sue finishes her necklace


Sarah's whimsical necklace

Sarah and Margy compare their self-made black-and-white bags. Margy's post about this bag was her first blog post ever. Sarah used the Poolside Tote Pattern by Noodle Head.

Filming the video...

... with Sarah

Sarah is also an amazing cook. This is her asparagus soup topped with black lentils (and some other stuff) and her homemade cashew cream. YUM!

Mini Movie Reviews: Iris and Dior and I

Both of my kids were far away on Mother's Day, so I was happy when Jillian suggested that we go see some fashion-themed movies! We saw two movies, back-to-back.

First we saw Iris, about Iris Apfel who, at 93-years-old, is a genuine style icon. The movie follows Iris through her incredibly busy life, talks about how she got started as a decorator and later moved into textiles. She worked on the White House under several presidents, including Kennedy. She is funny, witty, with a strong sense of her style, and a gigantic heart. It was particularly sweet to watch her interact with her husband, who celebrated his 100th birthday during filming. It's a real love story.

I liked this movie more than I expected—highly recommended!

Following Iris, we saw Dior and I. You might remember John Galliano, the head designer for the House of Dior until 2011, when some of his ugly behavior caught up with him and he was ousted. In 2012, Raf Simons, a Dutch designer who had been designing for Jil Sander, was hired to replace Galliano.

This movie picks up when Raf is being introduced to the employees at the House of Dior. He speaks minimal French (his English is good, but most of the employees don't speak English) and he has eight weeks to prepare for the Dior Haute Couture Spring fashion show. Eight.Weeks.For.Haute.Couture.

This movie chronicles Raf's journey, and the journey of the highly skilled and dedicated artisans of at the Dior atelier. The movie is also interspersed with voice-over excerpts from Dior's memoir, "Christian Dior and Me", written in 1956. The parallels between his memoir and Raf Simon's experience is fascinating.

Both Jillian and I felt that this movie had a slow-ish start, but by the middle of it we were totally engrossed. Another great film—highly recommended!

I'm sorry that I don't have a photo of Jillian, because she was wearing a gorgeous vest that she made from a Kantha quilt—it is very Meiko Mintz. I asked her if she plans to blog about this vest and she said yes, so maybe it's a good thing that I don't have a photo, because you will enjoy seeing it first on her blog!

Enjoy the rest of your week!