Recently in Designers Category

Blog of the Month: Anna Maria Horner

April 4, 2014

I have long been a fan this this month's blog, Anna Maria Horner, for several reasons. The first is she just does so stinking much in a day, I honestly can't work out the math. Of course, she has a few extra hands around the house to help out: her seven children. She also shares my love of bright colors and creatively employing those colors all across her life. Her house is filled with love and tons of fabric, yarn and thread. I have watched Anna Maria on Martha Stewart, recreated her free projects/tutorials and eagerly bought her fabric. Her blog is like looking through a window in her house but without all the weirdo, creepy vibes and you are welcome to pull up a brightly colored chair with a hand worked needlepoint cushion and enjoy a cup of coffee (though she strikes me as more of a tea gal).

If you are a fan of Anna Maria's fabric collections with Free Spirit you will definitely love her blog which is full of her fabric worked into colorful and creative projects. It will get the ideas rolling through your head. You can also get a sneak peek at her upcoming projects, cute kid pictures (like shooting fish in a barrel) and many how-tos on manipulating fabric. Look for her category cloud on the left sidebar for more specific searches. I love her tutorials because they are well done but also they are just fun. Her tutorials are heavily weighted towards quilting but since I am gaining interest in quilting and most of our customers are interested in quilting than this should be right up you alley.

I also really love Anna Maria's fashion posts. The mixed media that Anna Maria includes plus her color combos and embellishments really make my fingers itch. Her home posts are another favorite. It is like a beautiful family reunion, filled with cookies, song and nice smells (sans fighting and not enough bathrooms). I love the glimpses of kid crafts, hundreds of quilts and cozy blankets, and lots of smiles.

 

What's that fabric: Interlock Knit

March 24, 2014

What's that fabric: Interlock Knit

Interlock knit fabric is a lightweight to medium weight (depending on the fiber content) knit stretch fabric that is a great option for spring and fall, transition seasons. Interlock knit is a type of double knit fabric which means that two pieces of fabric are knit together with the right sides of both pieces of fabric facing out. This means that there is not wrong side, both sides look the same and in most cases interlock is reversible. Printed or screen printed interlock is only printed on one side so the opposite side is the wrong side. Because Interlock doesn't have a purl side it doesn't curl like jersey knit fabric which makes it easier to work with. Interlock is thicker than jersey and has more body and less drape than jersey. It can easily work in sweatshirt, pants and jacket patterns that call for thicker fleece knits for more temperate, transitional weather.

CE2.jpgLook! Both sides look great and no curl!

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Interlock knit fabric is a slightly denser more stable knit that tends to shrink widthwise when washed. The fabric does become more plush like a fleece but it can further decrease the drape so be sure to wash your fabric at least twice before you cut it and maybe even before you select it for a project. It is a good choice for jeggings, knit dresses, knit blazers, jackets and robes. Natural fiber interlock make excellent baby and kids' clothes. It is breathable and wicks moisture plus it is thicker and more durable than jerseys. 

Notice the hem doesn't curl and the skirt has nice body. 

Spring Dress: Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress

February 28, 2014

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I am anxious for spring and found my daughter's upcoming picture day to be a great excuse to make the first spring dress of 2014 (side note: did you know that there are two pictures days now!) I decided on Oliver + S Ice Cream dress for two reasons: 

1) It seemed like a comfy, no frills, limited fasteners and with pockets that my daughter requires (her rules, not necessarily mine)

2) It is my favorite dress pattern. I just love the look and styling and knew she would love wearing it. 

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I let her pick the fabric. She decided on gray quilting cotton with dogs playing on it. Gray seems to be one of her favorite colors and I loved that it was an easily matched fabric. Since she got bored after picking the main fabric I got to have my fun picking out the second fabric. But I actually went with two fabrics for the top and border. I layered an eyelet fabric with a colorful polka fabric for a fabulous peek-a-boo effect that toned down the brightness of the polka dot allowing the main fabric to shine and gave some more visual interest to the white eyelet. This is the same eyelet I used for my square top variation. I used the polka dot as the lining and the eyelet as the exterior fabric however instead of having the lining's right side face out towards the inside of the dress, I reversed it having the right side of the lining fabric face towards the eyelet and the outside of the dress so the dots would show through the eyelet. The effect is beautiful and delicious. You can play around with this effect with many different fabrics. Try pairing different fabrics over a bright patterned quilting cotton like sheer fabric, lace fabric, sweater knit or even tulle.

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  My daughter loves her dress and so do I. She is a big leggings and t-shirts girl but she really does love this dress. I hypothesize that it is the loose overall fit and comfortable neckline. She is always asking to wear it and I can't wait for picture day. I just hope it is not washed thin before then.

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Blog of the Month: Burda Style Blog

November 13, 2013

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If you sew and you have not heard of Burda Style then it must be because you are new (then you would have discovered  Burda shortly), live under a rock (in this case you probably don't read this blog either) or don't own a computer (see previous). It is, quite simply, an awesome resource for sewing. And when I use the word "awesome" I mean it literally- it inspires awe. I have not written about it before because I have been referencing Burda Style for so long that I guess I have taken it for granted. It is my go-to resource for techniques, fashion/project inspiration and general time-filling while I have an idle minute.

 I recommend checking out all the sections of the Burda Style blog which are listed below. I have a few favorites myself which are the Fashion & Trends and Guest Columns. 

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If you don't use Burda for the sewing resourses, tutorials, videos or inside tips then use it for the Fashion & Trends. Oh, the fashion! There are many free and purchase patterns available through Burda Style's blog but there are also tons of pictures, modifications and fabric ideas to be had. This is especially true around fashion week when you can expect a slurry of posts referencing your favorite designers and some Burda Pattern recomendations. I love this and always have it open along with a Fabric.com window so I can match fabric as well.

Another of my frenquented spots on Burda Style blog is definitely the Guest Column section. It is like a fresh take on Burda Style. Not that Burda Style is stale but it is all the style you expect from Burda but in a different voice and with a different spin. I liken it to discovering that your favorite author's best friend is also an author in the same genre. Double Jackpot! I enjoy the different voices and viewpoints and love the modifications on my favorite patterns. 

Free Pattern Download- Create Kids Couture Barbara's Bloomers

September 3, 2013

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We have a new free pattern download from Create Kids Couture who have brought us Aiden's Shorts, Millie's Schoolhouse Skirt, and Hannah's Pillowcase Romper. This month we have Barbara's Bloomers and Bonnets set. The bloomers come in a short and long version with added ruffles. This is a great addition to any little girls wardrobe especailly one that is growing fast. Slip on some bloomers under a favorite dress turns is from too short into a tunic. I love putting bloomers on my baby in the warmer weather. She is not quite a walker so crawls everywhere but I want to avoid the whole tshirt/diaper combo and opt for more of a complete outfit with pretty bloomers. I love the longer, capri version for both my girls. The added knee coverage is great for my 4 yr old who comes home with a new bruise or scrap each day and my 11 mo old who is on her knees and on the go all day. 

My modifications turned the bloomers into knickers for a paired down style that my 4 yr old prefers. While she is all for a good tutu, she is more likely to opt for knit pants over ruffle bloomers any day. I decided on the same style for my infant but added a small ruffle just to say "I'm a girl" while we are out and about. To create my modifications you will first need some jersey knit fabric in the same yardage as recommended in the pattern. I suggest cutting a size down because you want knit garments a bit fitted because it looks better and fits better. Since my oldest is in a size 5T, I went with a 4T for her. I took 2'' off the width of the pattern piece for both the 4T and 12-18 mo. size I cut out for my baby and took it off the fold side. I also added 2'' in length to the capri pattern because I found it didn't quite go over my 4 yr old's knees, I did the same with the 12-18 size just to be sure I could get more than a few weeks wear out of them. Then, I created a cuff that is 10'' wide by 4'' tall (this is roughly the width of my adjusted pattern piece width which means it is approx half the cut pattern). I cut the pants pattern pieces according to the instructions and cut 2 cuffs with the stretch across the width. For the small ruffle on my infant pants I cut some jersey 1'' by double the width of each pant leg (4 times the width of one pattern piece) and gathered it.

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I gathered the bottom of each pant leg before folding the cuff in half and stitching it onto the bottom of each leg (for the ruffle stitch it in between the cuff and leg). Then complete the bloomer assembly instructions.

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These bloomer/knickers fit perfectly and both girls loved them. My 4 yr old, who is not always a fan of most clothes I make for her, did not want to take them off and my infant went about her day as usual without any hinderance. They both looked cute as a button so I am just as pleased. I love the creativity Create Kids Couture brings to their patterns and what it inspires in me.  

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A De La Renta Fairy Tale

August 25, 2013

lead-DeLaRentaSW.jpgLast year, Harrod's holiday window display featured Disney princesses wearing dresses created by famous designers. It was such a revelation to see how different fashion houses interpreted the classic tales into modern couture looks. Snow White fan that I am, I was completely enraptured when I saw the De La Renta version. (Side note: I never was really into De La Renta in years past. I always recognized the quality of the design -- it just wasn't my taste. But lately, there's something in each of his collections that I just fall in love with. I'm not sure if I'm evolving or Oscar is -- or a little bit of both -- but it's a new sensation for me to like the brand so much!)

After looking at the sketch and some photos of the window display, I set out a plot to make my own versions of the two pieces involved -- the gown and the duster -- and set to work. 

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For the gown, I started, as I often do, with a pattern from my collection. This one is near and dear to my heart -- it's the same one I used to create my wedding gown 17 years ago! (I had to cut it a little bigger this time around.)

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It's a basic princess-seam dress; there are plenty of similar patterns on the market all the time. I made a slight alteration to the neck line and made a plan to change up the sleeve, but otherwise cut the pattern as-is using a yellow Mi Amor Duchess Satin.

For the blue lace overlay, I started with an assortment of white Venise lace appliques. I pick these up anytime I find them in my travels, in bulk if I can. Specialty sewing shops sometimes carry them, and online suppliers often do as well. Sometimes you can even find bags of them at flea markets. Knowing since last Christmas that I wanted to make this one, I've had an eye out all year for suitable components.

I started with white appliques, and then dyed them blue using iDye

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I did my dye work on the stove and then ran the appliqués through the wash in a lingerie bag to remove remaining dye residue.

Once I had the front of my dress assembled, I started arranging the appliqués. I would place a few at a time and then stitch them down, and worked my way through the placement of the design that way until I was done. I machine stitched mine, though you can bet the couture gown was done by hand! Here's a shot of just the front of the dress clipped to my dress form (sloppily) as the applique layout is in process.

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After the appliqués were all in place, I finished the dress as normal, substituting a knit chiffon drape sleeve for the cuffed sleeve in the pattern.

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The pins at the top of the bodice are keeping things in place on the form -- on me, it stays up just fine. :)

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For the duster, I once again turned to the pattern stash. BUT, because this satin evening coat doesn't appear to fully wrap or close at the front, I knew I'd have to alter a pattern for the narrower fit. I went with a long, fitted coat pattern, and I only used the side front, back and side back pieces when cutting. I widened the side front piece a little bit to make sure the shoulder seam would match up with the back and allow a little more coverage than just the side front alone.

7-DeLaRentaSW.jpgI also drafted an alternate collar  -- it sort of mimics the shape of the iconic white collar that Snow White wears in the movie. The blue area in the image below is the center of the collar, which is cut on the fold. I'm not sure why I had that point in there at the center initially -- it got clipped off into a smooth line.

8-DeLaRentaSW.jpgHere is the collar assembled before it was attached to the duster. I used slipper satin for the duster, and a remnant of taffeta for an interfacing on the collar.

9-DeLaRenta-SW.jpgFor the voluminous sleeves, I cut simple rectangles about 22 x 30 inches, sewed them into tubes along the long edges, and then pleated them to the right size at the shoulder seam to fit. I gathered the bottom edge, then added small pleats to mirror the pleating at the shoulder. I added small bow details at the outside of the sleeve just to bring a little more Snow White flavor to the duster.

10-DeLaRenta.jpgI like that this feels Snow White but is different from a standard costume. It's got a grown-up vibe, but the colors and inspiration are still there.

11-DeLaRenta.jpgDo you get inspired to recreate pieces you see in magazines or online for your own use? I have a mile-long list of such projects. Of course, it's tempting to make more designer-style princess dresses, too!

 

Blog of the Month: Sew Sweetness

August 7, 2013

August's Blog of the Month is Sew Sweetness, a great blog for quilters and beginning sewists alike. This blog got my attention from the stunning clutch that graced the cover of Sew News. The blog mistress is Sara and she loves sewing and it loves her back. I adore her projects especially her quilting projects which seem to have leaked into every nook of her home (see Diamond Lattice Pillow). For the beginners there is Sara's 30 days of Helpful Guests Posts which includes everything a beginner could need to know or possibily ask about: fabric pairing, zippers, and grain, etc. Sara also packs her blog with plenty of tutorials that look like a lot of fun. Plus, all the patterns that she has whipped up by other designers you can find here with her notes and handy tidbits. 

I honestly can't tell if Sara shines more with apparel or quilts. I am usually drawn to blogs because of the clothing ideas, inspiration or tutorials but I acutally fell for Sew Sweetness for the quilting. I really love the Shape Workout quilt top she made for a book reivew. But then again,  I really love her version of the Collette Taffy Blouse. Decisions, decisions.

Sara also has a line of bag patterns that are beyond gorgous, cute and fun. I am a fan of her fabric choices and how bold and fun they are. I have found quite a few that definitely need to be on my "to do" list pronto. #1 will be the Petrillo bag (Gorgeous!!!). Thank you for blogging, Sara.

Oliver + S Bucket Hat for babies

June 21, 2013

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It's hot out there; your (and my) baby needs a hat. This much is obvious to every mother, however finding the perfect hat or one that matchest the utter cutest of your offspring is virtually immpossible. Nothing can match the ultimate picture in your head of summer style for your little baby. Unless of course you make said mind picture. Why not try out the perfect baby hat pattern by Oliver + S. First published in the book "Little Things to Sew" it is now available as a free pattern download in all kids sizes. 

Continue reading Oliver + S Bucket Hat for babies.

Outdoor Pouf (Inspired by Threshold)

June 14, 2013

Outdoor Pouf Ottoman, Premier Prints Ikat Fabric Outdoor Pouf Ottoman, Premier Prints Ikat Fabric

The new Threshold line by Target has captivated me. Granted it is not a hard task because I am already drinking the proverbial Target Kool-Aid but the outdoor line has me giddy. Give me a nice pouf over a couch for movie-watching any day but put that pouf outside on a patio next to the grill with a margarita in my hand and I'm done for. I would have been at the store the next day purchasing one had it not been for the color selections. I enjoy bright vibrate colors outside but the red ikat and greenish stripes were not doing it for me. I decided to make my own and change it up a little with some indoor fabric treated with some tent spray I found at another big box store (it starts with a W) that promises UV protection as well as mildew resistance.

Continue reading Outdoor Pouf (Inspired by Threshold).

Spring Stripe Style

June 5, 2013

This year I bet you are looking to change up your boring outdoor setting but nothing too crazy, and still a little traditional, classic or maybe modern (if that's your idea of Zen). You may be getting a little bored with all that the big box stores have to offer. Perhaps you just want to make something fun without a huge headache. I think it's time you gave stripes another thought. Stripes do not just go vertical or horizontal. Get a little creative with your stripes and one piece of fabric can give you many variations, brightening up your outdoor area while easily staying in your palette and not spending a ton on many different prints and solids.

Continue reading Spring Stripe Style.

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