Saturday, December 7, 2013

December Update & My Lagenlook

Hi everybody.    I've had a busy fall and haven't had a chance to post my garment sewing.   I deleted the October post about the drapes I made and my interior decorating because it obviously was of little interest.    I plan on posting photos of the collection of garments I sewed from the fabrics I blogged about in September when I get a chance to put them on and have photos taken of how I wear them and how they're supposed to look - on me.  

I had a good check-up at Johns Hopkins early last week and enjoyed the balmy weather along the east coast, stopping for a couple of days in Williamsburg VA.   When we got home to Asheville it was still nearly 70 degrees and stayed that way until early this morning when it went down into the 40's. 

When going from the mountains to the east coast and back, especially in early winter,  it's hard to plan so I check the ten day forecast and take layers.   I decided to buy myself these fun and fancy lace-up ankle boots with ruffles from Anthropologie when all their sale items were discounted another 20%.    I never get tired of comfortable ankle boots.   

Here's my layered "Lagenlook" outfit that can go from the 40's to the balmy 60's and higher by adding or removing layers.  I didn't sew any of these pieces but I routinely travel with and wear similar layered outfits from pieces that I have sewn over the years, adding interesting belts, shoes and accessories.  
For this Lagenlook, I start with this swooshy bias cut Viyella (cotton/wool blend) skirt and a multi-tiered cotton petticoat by Laura Ashely I've owned since my 26 year old son was a little boy - and it's not an elastic waist skirt either!   In cool weather I wear textured tights.  I love its moss greens and pinks and warm hues of burnt umber and how I can wear tops of many colors and weights with both or either.   Layers add a bit of weight but done correctly you look put together, not heavier, plus you are warm.    The skirt is slimmer looking when worn without the petticoat layer.   

The pink top is fine gauge cotton knit by Moth from Anthropologie that I bought it on eBay at least 7 years ago. It has a ruffled peplum and knitted on lace at the neckline. I like how the unhemmed, trumpeted sleeves roll to peak out from the jacket sleeves.   It also looks great worn by itself just with the tiered white cotton petticoat.    I pulled out one of my multi-pocketed Safari look jackets in a a green/beige cross dye wool/linen blend also from Doncaster I bought in 2003 (with matching slacks).   You see this classic jacket interpreted by designers every year and every season.   I can wear the olive leather belt layered over either top.    

So that's one of my Lagenlooks.  If you're interested, there are more outfits and photos of this skirt and others on my Long Casual Skirt Flickr Set.   I'm sure you all have your own versions that you enjoy wearing!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Early Fall Coordinates from The Sewing Workshop - Here's How I Wore It

End of September brings pretty and cool days here.   The leaves on some trees and ornamentals are already shades of red and purple.   It's my favorite time of year and I can wear a third layer with everything.

This is what I wore to do a few things in town and out and about today.  Everything in this outfit is from The Sewing Workshop coordinates I've sewn.  This is an 8th Avenue skirt in a textured rayon with an Ann's Tank in metallic knit and the Pearl jacket I made out of a microfiber raincoat fabric.  I belted the jacket and ruched up the collar.    I wore it with textured hose and flat White Mountain ankle boots made in the USA (like my clothes) that I've owned for many years before their production left the US.    They are the softest calfskin leather with leather soles - not the garbage coming in from Asia these days.  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fall colors and coordinates

You wanted to see fabrics and read about planning so here they are.

Earlier this month Linda Lee blogged about their Marvelous Mulberrys, or as she says, "magenta, mulberry, burgundy, plum, cranberry - whatever the season's color flavor is called, this color category is always in fashion, one way or another. "   

The same colors I had pulled together out of my stash a month earlier.  I just love these deep warm colors that work with browns and golds. 

Seeing this plaid knit on their site, then seeing this photo of Linda's daughter, Alex, wearing a Eureka top in the same plaid knit with an eDress skirt, confirmed it would would work with my fall color choices so I asked them to wrap it up and send it with the new Siena & Cortona Shirts pattern.   I love how the aqua just pops.     So here it is with my fabric choices.

So from left to right, clockwise, here's what I'm planning (Click on photos to enlarge and see detail)
  • The crinkled purple knit is the same weight as the plaid so I will combine the plaid as an accent - Not sure if it will be a top or bottom.
  • The plaid knit with the aqua has to be a simple top like the Eureka
  • The cotton shirting with a textured woven stripe is from Michael's Fabrics in Baltimore when I was in the area for the ASG - he said it's Hugo Boss.  It's crisp and the same on both sides so I'm thinking it would be a marvelous Cortona shirt with that peplum in the back.  I could wear it over the plaid
  • The mauve with mulberry is a wool/rayon brocade that I have just about a yard.    I've been saving it for facings and accents.
  • The dark raspberry linen is really quite dark.   It's from Louise Cutting and I have it earmarked for some slim MSS pants and a third layer
  • The embossed knit is from Fabric Mart and I already have a Loes Hinse Tank Dress (shown in first photo)  and two of the tank tops from that pattern with both neckline treatments in that fabric.   I have plenty left and may make a skirt using the e-Dress pattern
  • The mulberry plaid is a wonderful stretch novelty knit from Fabric Mart.  It's got a neutral beige running through it and the back side looks like stretch lace.  I have a simple drapy/artistic skirt in the works, a cowl neck top on the bias and maybe more pieces.   Once I get working with a fabric like this, it starts talking to me.

Here's another photo of the solid linen and the shirting with a printed linen and a sheer textured knit with mulberry and olive colors.   The printed linen is actually a wrap skirt with several wide bias panels that I feel like cutting apart and making a top from and using the rest as accents.   The knit is semi-sheer and you see the color underneath - so it has to be a drapy third layer.

These fabrics and new coordinates will work with things I already own.  This sheer black mohair knit over a fuschia jersey is one because, together it reads "black raspberry" and looks great with the mulberry group.
The good news is that I can just thread my machines and go, not having to change the thread.   Jacquianne in New Zealand posted on her Demented Kiwi Diaries blog how she used the many capabilities of her Babylock Cover Stitch machine to make a number of great looking tops.  After reading about her successes, I rewatched the instruction DVD that came with my Evolve this evening and will be testing a number of stitches on the knit fabrics.

BTW if anyone has the actual coordinating plaid to this embossed knit and doesn't want or need it, I'd like to buy it from you.  Here's a good photo of the tank top and the coordinate that FM ran out of when I ordered probably in '03 or '04.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

What a Difference 2 Years Makes

I apologize for not posting for many months.  I have posted photos on Flickr of the garments I've sewn but  I'm not one to post "selfies" of me doing all sorts of ridiculous things and don't think people need, or want to know about my every acquisition or activity.   I have been wearing the garments I've made while enjoying life and doing simple things like walking in my neighborhood in the hills surrounding Asheville NC.   The weather here over the last month since I got back from the ASG conference and my trip to the DC/Baltimore area in early August has been wonderful.    I enjoyed seeing all my friends from Expos and ASGs past, and meeting new ones.  

Check out the Flickr Set for details on these 2 Snap To It jackets using the latest pattern by Louise Cutting that I sewed and wore to the conference.   You can really work this jacket style that seems to go with everything.  And if you've made one of these,  turn the cuffs back, especially if you've used a contrast fabric for the under cuff.   Both these jackets coordinate well with the colors in the fabrics I used, to include the black accents.    You will get tons of complements on this jacket - I sure do.

October 24, 2011
The weather here has cooled so today I layered two of the A Cute Angle (ACA) tops I made in October 2011 over some black stretch poplin RTW pants.   

While re-organizing the ACA Flickr Set,  I saw the photo (L) taken of me wearing the same sleeveless ACA top the end of October 2011 in MD when I went back to Johns Hopkins Medical Center following the 3 months of plasmapheresis to have the catheter removed and thought OMG!  By that time my blood pressure was so low that I was passing out and I was very weak.  I look pretty bad.   Here's another photo of me two months later in December 2011 wearing the ACA silk pinstripe top -  looking a lot better.   Then compare those to the one taken today, almost 2 years later and wow, I look a lot healthier, and I am.   
December 22, 2011
September 14, 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013

TSW eSkirt and Lisette Attache Peplum Blouse

This is another set for my gray/black/white coordinate group.   The fabric is a black with grey/white dots cotton poplin fabric designed by Liesl Gibson, who also produces the Lisette pattern line for Simplicity Patterns. 

Lisette dotted poplin
Gray tweed knit (#5028) and double sided linen plaid both from Apple Annie's fabrics
Gray stretch lace from Fabric Mart Fabrics 
I wanted to try the latest Lisette pattern, the Attache (Simplicity #1666) as a peplum top to wear with the e Skirt.   I just love the eSkirt and all the variations you can come up with.    The shape is flattering and so current. 

As for the Simplicity pattern - Well I haven't sewn a Simplicity pattern in I can't tell you how long.   It had the old facings with bulky shoulder seams that I modified with Louise Cutting's technique for eliminating the seams on neckline facings (copied her My Hearts a'Flutter shell neckline facing) and used Linda Lee's technique for the narrow hems of the Pearl and Opal jackets on the circular hemline of the peplum top.

The style, lines and fit of the top are chic and flattering.  It requires an 18" zipper in the back or you couldn't put it on.   This is a shirt weight cotton poplin and has a crisp hand - like good poplin.    I'm sure if you used a knit or crepe fabric like Liesl used for her Attache dress, it would behave differently.

Here's the eSkirt again worn with the stretch lace Giorgio's Top.  In this photo, I pleated up one side of the top and secured the pleats with a pin to create an asymmetrical look.    I like it.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spring Coordinates - Tops, Pants, Skirts and a Jacket

The forsythia bushes are blooming along the front hill.   I haven't sewn any yellow but I have sewn several spring coordinates in grays that work very well with yellow and white and black - popular spring colors.    I like gray because it's elegant and sophisticated.    I've mixed different patterns and textures to keep these pieces modern and interesting. The beautiful double sided linen plaid with a great selvedge and the tweedy knit are from Apple Annie Fabrics - love her customer service and how she puts together coordinating color groups on her site.   I also have some yellow pieces in the works.

I sewed two pair of pants from Cutting Line Designs patterns I've sewn before - a pair of Discover Something Novel pants for this group in a blue-gray and white seersucker from Ralph Lauren and a pair of chambray blue Easy Ageless and Cool pants that go with another blue/white group - more on that later.

Here are two of Giorgio's Top by Silhouette Patterns.   This pattern has 4 main pieces and 8 seams.  I cut a size 2 B cup based on my measurements and it fits great without being snug anywhere.   I hate tight or snug fitting garments.    The top just skims the body and hangs nicely over the hips.    I used a lightweight, very stretchy woven pinstripe - probably Italian based on where I bought it in MD, to check the fit.   It has a ton of stretch along the pinstripes and doesn't press or hold a hem well so I just serge finished the edges.    Here's a close-up of the fabric and the finish.   My second Giorgio's top is in a blue-gray stretch lace.    I cut along the edges of the motifs on the hem and used the same neck binding technique from The Sewing Workshop's e-Dress/Skirt pattern.   I can wear the pinstripe top by itself or under the stretch lace one or wear the lace one over various camisoles as shown in the photos of it with coordinates here and on Flickr.

I used the stretch lace on the bottom of a charcoal gray rayon knit skirt to coordinate with the tops and other things.   I've got several more versions of the eSkirt in these colors planned,  so this is just the first one.  

I made another Pearl jacket from the new Pearl and Opal Jacket pattern by The Sewing Workshop since I liked the first one I made from the microfiber so well.   This one is in an interesting gauzy double sided linen plaid.   It has a wonderful sheerness and coordinates with many things.    I even matched the plaids pretty well, esp in the back.  I styled these together and with some other garments and those photos are on Flickr.    I'm working on a few more pieces and doing other interesting and productive things so I am just getting around to posting about these garments.   

I got to preview the Western North Carolina Orchid Show at the NC Arboretum yesterday afternoon since we are members.   I went in when it opened at 4 PM so I could get shots without crowds of people all around.   I took lots of great photos that I put on Flickr in their own set.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Neutral Coordinates for Spring

Well it's already 65 and sunny outside.    Our house is a passive solar design and faces east.   It's wonderful when the sun shines through the windows and skylights.   I was too ill and the weather was too yucky for a photo of me wearing the My Hearts A'Flutter blouse after I made it,  so I got my stylist to take some photos this morning.   Don't you love the lines on this one.   I'm still wearing, the designers are showing, and the stores are still selling straight leg pants like these.  These are Kalso Earth ruched suede gladiator sandals that I have in the taupe and black.   Love the comfort and style of these.

I also did some great snoop shopping at Neiman Marcus Last Call after doing the Expo on Thursday.  They had just gotten a shipment of uber expensive designer pieces with great lines and details.   And one of the associates was a fellow sewer who was arranging the new pieces while we discussed the details and I tried them on.    I didn't see anything I felt like trying on so no photos - but I did buy two vests with unique details that I can really work into my spring coordinates.      Here is one of them.

This long striped vest (or sleeveless jacket) is by Piazza Sempione.   It is stretch cotton, unlined with every seam or hem trimmed with a fine cotton Hong Kong finish.     It's from the Spring 2012 line and the style (not the same stripe) is shown with a long blouse and skirt in this runway photo from NY Magazine.    I knew I had these 4-ply silk pants in a warm sienna brown that would coordinate and lots of white linen and a couple white dresses it will look great over.   I love easy neutrals for spring/summer.   Doesn't the long blouse look like the Artist in Motion top?
Piazza Sempione Spring 2012
NY Magazine Fashion

Friday, March 8, 2013

Atlanta Sewing Expo and 3 jackets in 3 Days

We drove to Duluth GA for the first day of the Atlanta Sewing Expo yesterday.   I like to see friends there and both my favorite pattern designers, Louise Cutting AND Linda Lee were there with booths and trunk shows and FABRIC you can't find anywhere else.   It was so nice to see and speak to women I'd met in the years before, Carole M,  Martha Myers and Vivian who was wearing her Artist in Motion vest.   I met many other stylish women at their booths, and can't remember all their names.    It's refreshing to interact with genuine and dignified women as opposed to the bizarre and snooty behavior I've experienced from some who live in and around Asheville.  

I was sick off and on most of February after some IGNORANT woman coughed in my face when we went shopping one day in early February.    I don't like being on immune suppressants and avoid crowds,  high times for restaurants and especially sick people.   But when you walk to the restroom in a department store and some idiot walks out spewing infected sputum in a ten foot radius, all over your face - Well, what can I say?   And just like clock-work I got the crud and suffered.    I always feel better by sewing and creating when I'm able.

I was looking forward to the Sewing Expo but wasn't sure how well I would be.  By the time I decided it was OK to go, all the hotels were booked up.     It's only a 3 hour drive from Asheville, just down I26 and then I 85 so my husband and I decided to do a day trip.    We had snow and freezing temperatures the day and night before so we had to be sure the driveway and private road was passable before leaving.     I had been feeling depressed from being sick and said to myself that I was GOING TO SEW something beautiful to wear to the Expo.    Then I sewed not one,  but 3 jackets last weekend and Monday.   The hardest part was chosing the fabric.   

The Sewing Workshop Pearl Jacket

The first was this Pearl jacket from The Sewing Workshop Pearl and Opal jacket pattern.   I am on auto-ship and  liked the lines of these jacket.     I saw two Donna Karan signature jackets at Neiman Marcus Last Call in drapey silks yesterday that were sisters to this Pearl jacket that I made out of a microfiber raincoat fabric.    I used the same fabric for a TSW Carnellian coat that I lengthened and used for a raincoat.    I hadn't worn it in years and it was too oversized, so I just cut it up for this new pattern and used the fabric remnant I had saved for the rest.   I cut it out and sewed it up in an afternoon.   It was so easy to sew and looks fabulous over other pieces I already have.    Microfiber isn't the easiest to press and that was the most time consuming.   I didn't use the same grain on some pieces because I was recycling the fabric but it doesn't show.   My intent was to have a layering, windbreaker type jacket and this fits the bill.    It is also posted on the Sewing Workshop's gallery for this pattern.    

Note that these jackets are more fitted than older TSW patterns.  TSW is now publishing finished measurements on their patterns  -  THANK YOU!  So I cut both these jackets in size Medium vs the small I usually make in their patterns.    More details on the Flickr Set - link above.

The Sewing Workshop Opal Jacket

The next was the Opal jacket .  It is a semi-fitted, curvy jacket with seams and shaping in the back.   I used an Italian paisley stretch denim/twill fabric from Emmaonesock.  I bought this, and another piece of the same fabric in different colors a few years ago.    I didn't want a garment that screamed PAISLEY! so I needed to be careful of my choice of pattern and lines.   This pattern and fabric were made for each other.  The pattern instructions include great finishing techniques and all are easy to achieve.    I stabilized the front darts with cotton twill tape because of the stretch factor and used the tape as a design element.    I used petersham ribbon as my button/snap stabilizer vs the self fabric placket in the pattern.    This jacket has 3 large snaps instead of buttons and like the way it looks both open or closed.    I wore it while shopping in the Neiman Marcus across from the Gwinnet Center in Duluth yesterday and got lots of complements.      No photos of me wearing it but here it is on the manniquin.         

My Swing Set Jacket

Then last, but not least, I sewed my version of the My Swing Set jacket in the latest pattern by Louise Cutting.  After measuring and deciding how I wanted this jacket out of this fabric to fit,  I cut the XS in the top and sleeve and graded to the S at the sides.   I also had to shorten the XS sleeve length.    

This chunky knit Eileen Fisher fabric in a gray/purple that worked out so well.    Depending on the light it looks more gray or purple.  It's a very drapey, chunky knit with a lot of rayon in it.    I bought the rust/black Babette SF cardigan jacket pictured above this winter.  I like the cut-on front placket and the stand-up collar.   To get the same look from the MSS jacket pattern I eliminated the horizontal seam in the front and just folded back the front pattern pieces at where I wanted my fold line to  I interfaced a 2" strip down the front and used the selvedge at the edge.   I then used a partial front neckline facing and sewed the rest of the jacket and stand-up collar per the instructions.    I interfaced the front fold-over placket and collar/facing sections with a designer light-weight interfacing that gave the knit just the body and stability needed for the stand-up collar and front placket.    It worked out perfectly and is soft and cozy to wear.   I love the big snaps.   These are plastic, not metal so they are very light and don't drag the fabric down.

I wore this to the Expo yesterday over the gray Textile Studio gray stretch wool Soho pants and Monaco T top.    I don't look so great,  but that's the real me after dealing with a month of illness.   And you can see the snow on the ground and deck rail.   We always seem to get plenty of snow in March!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Blouse Confection

Here's my latest creation made from Louise Cutting's My Hearts A'Flutter pattern.   The pattern for this is an overblouse with open vents at the sides and meant to be worn over the coordinating shell included in the patter.    For this top I was inspired by seeing so many sheer looks over black and other colored shells and color-blocked opaque linings.      In the upper left photo I put a beige silk jersey shell underneath and paired it with a silk jacquared skirt with abstract dots.   In the upper right there is nothing underneath it.      I took a photo of it over a black silk crepe top while I was fitting it, before it was finished.

 I decided to make my own interpretation using this cotton organdy embroidered with beige thread that has a bit of sheen.    I bought the fabric originally for a cardigan jacket, using the edges and doing another Loes Hinse Bergman Chanel interpretation,  but decided that this style was so much more interesting, a more casual chic look that goes with so many of my neutral pants, skirts and shells.    
Front side piece slightly off grain
Matching edging for back sleeve piece

I only had about a yard and a half of the fabric, and I got this top out of it with a small piece to spare.   This one is size XS since my first HAF overblouse was pretty roomy.   I closed up lower sides to achieve more of a blouse look.   I was very systematic in my assembly, waiting until I had the top front attached to the back before even cutting out the front lower panel,  and to properly match up the back sleeve piece with the front sleeve.    The heavy embroidery was challenging to sew over and I used a 3mm stitch length instead of the shorter ones. 

After a test of interfaced cotton batiste for the back facing,  I decided there was too much "show through" and used a beige silk organza that is barely visible through the organdy.   I'll get a photo of me wearing it when the weather improves, and I get over this cold virus I've been fighting.