Couture, DIY Sewing Room Projects, Sewing, Sewing Patterns, Vogue 8543

Vogue 8543 – Part 1

Current works in progress: this list is embarrassingly long:

  • a couture Chanel jacket a la Claire Schaeffer, muslin is cut and stitched, I just need to make corrections to the fit – since this is a sew-a-long for the Sutura Club I’ll be finished by Christmas (I hope!)
  • three pairs of slacks (I cut them all at once to save time and then stitch when I am have time)
  • my black evening ensemble – I actually fooled myself into believing I could get sewing done on a busy Saturday – silly me! The muslin for the corset is done and a new pattern is drafted but I need my Pfaff to pull it off – see below
  • Vogue Pattern 8543 – I am making this in a fun wool tweed from Mood Fabrics – changes will be made to the sleeve. I have long skinny arms and a trumpet sleeve just makes matters worse.

Vogue Pattern 8543

The tweed is a pink-grey color and has a lovely drape to it – you can check it out here Pink Wool Tweed.

The great joy of sewing is that there is never an end to what can be made there are always new ideas, new fabrics, notions etc – sigh. That said, my sewing time has slowed somewhat – here is a look into my crazy sewing world.


It’s been just 2 short years since I set up the living room/dining room as my designated sewing space. I loved the bright natural light in there so much more than the dark, gloomy basement! After two winters however, it has a single, major drawback – all the walls (except the one above) are grey. The room feels chilly and dark during the cold months so, before the snowy days arrive the walls are getting a paint job.

Here’s what my studio looks like at the moment:



Drop cloths, and shambles! Oh well, it can be put back quickly enough. And the color, which appears white in the photos is actually a very pale pink with a tiny drop of yellow to warm it up. Much brighter for winter sewing!

In the meantime, Nina Rose is still going strong in her little corner:


allowing me to keep up with some sewing whilst the work is under way.

All in all, sew much to do and sew little time!

Happy Sewing!


Atelier, Bridal Wear, Couture, Dresses, Evening Gown

It’s National Sewing Month – Enjoy a Free Evening Gown Sewing Lesson at Hancock Fabrics !


It’s that time of year again when I start thinking ahead towards the holidays that are just a couple weeks away. The store is already bustling with busy shoppers gathering up goodies for holiday gifts and purchasing fabric for holiday dresses. My assignment this weekend is to create a beautiful evening gown ensemble using the the corset pattern from Kwik Sew. I’ll create the corselette first and then drape the gown to make the finished product. The fabrics that I have selected are all BFF from Hancock Fabrics. The gown construction will be part of a free sewing lesson this Saturday at Hancock Fabrics, Carmel, Indiana. To reserve a seat please call the store at 317-571-9594.

To make the evening gown  I have selected beaded galloon lace and stretch satin for the corselette and underlining the skirt. The cape will be made from shirred panne velvet using a technique I found in The Best of Threads: Embellishments magazine this summer. The quilted lining, shown above, will help ward off the winter chills.

Finally to complete the ensemble display, I plan to add this black, beaded handle, evening clutch that I made at an in-store lesson for Mother’s Day:

Holiday Beaded Handle Clutch Purse
Holiday Beaded Handle Clutch Purse

Photos of the finished gown and cape will be posted next week!

Happy Sewing!

Couture, Dresses, Easy Sewing Projects, Fabric, How to use a Serger

Summer Sewing Stash Blaster – Wardrobe Make-Over

Stash of Sewing Fabrics

This fabric has been sitting pretty in my stash for too long. It’s time for a stash blaster! I am determined to work up the courage to FINALLY sew the beautiful silk suiting that I splurged on and give my wardrobe completely made-over. To push myself, last week I cleared out my closet and put about 95% in bags for donation. Now, I have no choice. I have to sew – so here we go! I made my first little foray into blaster mode with the trio of skirts from earlier this week but am kicking it into high gear today.

I’ve also given myself rules for my Summer Sewing Blast.

1) NO BUYING MORE FABRIC UNTIL WHAT I HAVE IS SEWN! Trading with fellow sewists is allowed and purchase of lining and interling is okay as needed only



4) NO NEW PATTERNS – self-drafting is okay but not one more penny is to be spent.

The first day is the hardest, so I am glad I warmed up. To save time, I am going to work by color. This will allow me to use the same threads on the serger and sewing machine and I can go from project to project. Today is white & ecru. Here is the pile of everything I have that can be stitched up with white and ivory thread.


Heavier, suit weight fabrics and cottons are at the back, blouse or dressweight is in the middle and knits and novelty are at the bottom. I see some Dirndl skirts, a maxi dress, and some quick tops. The suit weight goods are another matter. A serious review of my existing patterns is in order! However, to build momentum, I am going to start at the bottom and work my way up. Results are on the way!

If you have a stash and want to join in – I would love to have some company.  Happy Sewing!

Paris Couture

Paris Fashion Week – September 24- October 2



Okay, it’s that time of year again. When the ateliers of Paris are going nuts and the fashion world is gobsmacked by the latest and greatest from the best French designers. It’s also a really great time to check out

where they are featuring Valentino as inspiration for the new collection. Fab choice. Fab styles, Love it

Sewing, Sewing and Embroidery

East meets West – handstitched hooks and eyes from India with love

I am new to slow sewing. I become impatient easily and I get frustrated. But this is important to me and I want to learn. I did not gain true appreciation for hand stitching did from the tailored garments or Haute Couture gowns of the West, but from the remarkably beautiful sarees of India.

When the time came for my own wedding, I chose to have a Mehendi instead of a shower and to incorporate my cultural heritage into our celebrations. It was then, as we were selecting the fabrics for our outfits and having them made up, that I truly began to see the fabric I had always considered to be the most beautiful. I had used saree fabric on several designs in the past, had always marveled at the labor intensive stitching and hand work but had never really appreciated it. Nor had I ever had my outfits made up by someone else. The care and attention to detail was marvelous and I promised myself that if I ever started sewing again, I would find a way to start incorporating these techniques into my own sewing.

Today is that day.

This is the first technique that I was struck by. Instead of using eyes with metal hooks, the seamstress who made our outfits used tiny fabric hooks that were dyed to match (or be close to) the fabric and then used bullion stitches in lieu of eyes. What was most remarkable to me was the location of the hooks and eyes. Side seams, center back on my blouse, waist seams – in short, the most stressed points on the garment. I fussed at the time, certain they would not hold but the kind lady gently reminded a nervous bride that this technique had held for thousands (probably millions considering population of India) of sarees and lehenga cholis before mine. And they did hold. Perfectly. I could not find those tiny fabric hooks so I stitched metal ones and covered them with thread as best as I was able. Then came the hard part. The lady who made our outfits used a special thread which, upon closer examination seemed to be a heavy buttonhole twist of silk or mercerized fiber. The closest thing I had was some beading thread in white but my garment is lime green. I thought about using polyester thread but was concerned about tensile strength. So I made a test, and the results here show that the right thread, is key to making these properly.


The warped green hook is made of polyester while the white is made of mercerized nylon beading thread. Not ideal. Silk would be better, especially since the the garment is a silk boucle. I can’t find silk thread in the right color nearby. That frustration, that always seems to come along at the wrong moment, is mounting.

So I have a Pooh Bear moment. That is when I go to a thoughtful spot and “think, think, think”. Being a bear of very little brain and very much fluff Pooh had to do this regularly. There are moments when I feel a real bond with Pooh!

Then I hit my eureka.


All fibers expand when heated! Yay! Hot water, permanent marker and vinegar. Not quite perfect but since the skirt has to be dry cleaned anyways – good enough. So the little green eyes are getting stitched tonight. To match. Just like my lehenga choli. And my patience has suddenly returned.

Great couture (which simply means sewing) isn’t about doing everything the French way – it’s about finding the best way for me. And that includes the beautiful sewing techniques of my own culture.

Sewing and Embroidery

Mock Chain Stitch on ANY sewing machine

Chain stitching is a quick and accurate way to baste a garment and it is easy to create a mock chain stitch on any manual sewing machine but was kinda nervous about trying it on my Pfaff Creative Performance because of the computerized bobbin sensor.

A little playing around with it and voila! It was in fact possible. I was so excited that despite not really knowing much about making videos (I use my tablet) I made one and posted it here:

Mock Chain Stitch Tutorial

Sewing can be a lot of fun but getting good results can be a painstaking process. This is a great way to save time and still get the bespoke results I am after.

Hooray for Pfyodor (my Pfaff)

Sewing and Embroidery

Couture Lace Neckline

From the video I loaded this morning you can see that I managed to get some interfacing on the right side of the fabric when ironing the darts. A simple enough fix. I have prepared the front and back of the garment together with the sleeves so I am ready to get started on the lace.

Big deep breath. I have been sewing since I was eight. I can do this.

Seriously, it’s not that it is so difficult. Well, actually it is so rather than try to describe it, I will post a video showing how to do a machine lace neckline. This is something that I taught myself and I consider it to be a couture technique although it is done by machine. The end result, if I succeed will be a delicate, feminine lace collar that both finishes the neckline and adds the lace. Unlike using a zig-zag stitch to attach store bought lace, this couture technique embroiders the lace as one with the garment providing a much more beautiful finish.