Yes, I Went to Paris to See Dior

Wow, I say. Just wow.

I spet a whirlwind 3 days in Paris, to attend the “Christian Dior: Couturier of Dreams” exhibition at the Musée des Arts Decoratifs.

It. Was. SPECTACTULAR

I can’t even describe how filled my heart is from attending it. It was the tonic I needed. The Elves said, “Go!” My husband said, “Go!”, so I packed a bag and found a decent flight on Aer Lingus (now rivaling JAL for my favorite international airline). I left on Halloween night, arriving the morning of November 1st. I was pretty exhausted, but I tried to stay awake. Best way to do that, in my experience, is to get out and walk around, which I did. And this is the view I had walking from my little flat in the 4th Arr. toward Forum des Halles.

The back end of Notre Dame – not a bad view!

I met up with my friend Joanne the next day and we went to the exhibit. To say it was a bucket-list activity would be vastly understating it. The exhibit had over 300 garments, all from the Christian Dior archive. Think about that – that’s amazing. Dior didn’t (need to) ask clients to loan them garments for the exhibition. Dior keeps an archive of all (I think? Certainly almost all) haute couture garments, and they pulled the exhibition from those archives.

How much would I LOVE to spend time in those archives???? Sigh…. Well, I could go on and on, and at some point I might, but let me just load up the pictures and let you swoon over the pretty. I’ll sprinkle a few comments here and there, but otherwise, enjoy!

Petale

This was a muslin of a silk chiffon dress, done in a cotton chiffon

This fabric was silk organza with feather embroidery, making it look like mohair, but light as, well, a feather!

My absolute favorite, a strapless gown from the 80s by Gianfranco Ferré

 

That’s me, under the shadows cast by a bajillion beautiful paper leaf sculptures hanging from the ceilings.

Loved Galliano’s looks, but to my eye, they were the most dated.

MUSLINS!!!!!

Maria Grazia Chiuri – LOVE this design…

 

Bar – the look that started it all…

If you get the chance to go – GO! Don’t think about it, don’t analyze it, just freaking GO!!! The exhibit goes through January 7, 2018. It’s not expensive to get into it, but order your tickets in advance. As of last week, they were selling a week out, and as the exhibit gets closer to ending, the tickets will become scarce. But this is a blockbuster exhibit, and you really MUST go if you can!

I’ll do another post about my fun at Janssens & Janssens later. In the meantime, happy sewing and couture dreaming!

One Day More…

That’s right – you have just over 24 Hours to shop at Gorgeous Fabrics! At 6:00 PM tomorrow night, I’ll close the shopping cart capability and that glass coach will turn into the proverbial pumpkin. No exceptions, so do your shopping before then or forever wish you had!

Until then, there are still tons of Gorgeous Fabrics available for 35% off our original great prices. Just enter the coupon code FW35 at checkout and we’ll take care of the rest. So come on…

Let’s Go Shopping One Last Time!

 

Tick tock tick tock tick tock

Kittens, time is running out. You have 8 days left to indulge in Gorgeous Fabrics. At 6:00PM Eastern on November 6, 2017, your Fabric Godmother (that would be me) will flick her magic wand and you’ll have to find your Gorgeousness elsewhere, with none of my words of wisdom, Pantone pearls and pattern matching to which you have become accustomed.

But before then, you can shop! Given the quantity of orders (thank you!) that we have been receiving, we are still a ways behind, and we will work tirelessly to get your orders to you as quickly as possible. We really appreciate your patience. For the remainder of our time together, there are a few other things you should keep in mind:

  1. Fabrics may sell out before we can ship yours. We’re really sorry about that, but it happens occasionally, especially with some of the older fabrics and some of the really hot fabrics.
  2. If we do sell out of a fabric that you ordered, we’ll refund it to you and adjust the shipping cost if it’s appropriate – IOW if it bumps your order to a lower shipping level. See the Policies Page for the shipping rates.
  3. No other discounts apply during the sale. Gorgeous Points, for example, no longer accrue, nor can they be redeemed. The good news is that you’re getting a MUCH bigger discount off full price fabrics (35% vs 15%).
  4. During the Farewell Sale, we can’t make any substitutions.
  5. Because of the volume of orders, getting hold of us by phone is nearly impossible. Your best bet is email.
  6. Swatches are no longer available.
  7. All sales during our Farewell Sale are final.

Enough of that, Let’s Shop!

But wait, there’s more…
Another thing I want to address is the rumors running around that Gorgeous Fabrics is going away. It’s not; it’s evolving. 2018 is going to be a very exciting year, and I can’t wait to show you and share with you what I have planned. The changes have been a long time coming, and I’m thrilled with what will be happening in 2018!

This blog will continue, and you’ll find me posting here with pattern reviews, tutorials and lots of other great stuff. I’ll also continue to post on Facebook and Instagram, so follow those to keep up with what’s going on with the site and more. There are also some really exciting things happening, and I’ll be able to talk about them here in a few weeks.

I’m going to be doing more teaching, and if you want to be apprised of where and when I’ll be teaching, Click here to sign up for the mailing list. As always, I NEVER share your information with ANYONE.

I know that change is hard, and it certainly is scary, but it’s also good, and it’s exciting! Have fun shopping the Farewell Sale, and keep an eye here for more Gorgeous Things, Gorgeous Fabrics, and general all-around fabulousness!

Mmmmmmwah!

Ann

So, You Think All Interfacing is the Same?

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Hey, I’ll just use whatever interfacing is on sale, or cheapest. It doesn’t matter, right?”

Wrong.

Here’s a graphic example. For a super-triple-secret project I’m working on, I needed to apply interfacing to the back of a pattern piece. My thought process was, “I need to apply it to a paper piece, so a non-woven interfacing should do the trick.” I went to the local JoAnn and picked up a yard and a half of Pellon non-woven interfacing and applied it to my pattern piece.

To say it was a disaster would be kind. The Pellon wrinkled immediately, even though I had the heat set properly and I didn’t over-fuse. I pulled a piece of Fashion Sewing Supply’s Pro-Sheer Elegance Interfacing out of my stash, and applied it to another pattern piece (I had two copies of the pattern just in case, thank goodness!). I used the Exact Same (correct) Settings for both interfacings.

The wrinkled mess on top is Pellon. The smooth piece on the bottom is Fashion Sewing Supply.

The difference between the cheap Pellon and the professional grade Fashion Sewing Supply is stark. Imagine, if cheap interfacing gives you that kind of result on paper, what will it do to your garment? Kittens, you deserve better than a wrinkly mess. Make sure you use good interfacings. You’re worth it!

I was not solicited, paid for or compensated in any way for this post. I was just appalled at the results I got from the Pellon, and pleased with those from Fashion Sewing Supply.

Happy sewing!

All Good Things…

Well folks, to quote the late, great, lamented David Bowie:

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
(Turn and face the strange)
Ch-ch-changes
Don’t want to be a richer man
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
(Turn and face the strange)
Ch-ch-changes
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time

For the last eleven years, Gorgeous Fabrics has been my life, my passion project and the support on which I leaned when I needed it (see “Cancer, Chemo and What I Wore”)

Alas, like all good things, it’s time to bring Gorgeous Fabrics to its timely end.

The reasons are my own. There is nothing bad; there is no horrible thing that is forcing me to close. It’s all good. I’m taking what I have done for the past eleven years and moving on to the next phase. I’m not going away, and in fact I’ll probably be doing more sewing, teaching, and traveling – it’s so exciting!

But where does that leave you, my beloved customers? Hopefully in a good place. And starting now, you can take advantage of our inventory blowout sale. We’re selling inventory at 35% off our regular great – nay, amazing – prices. Use the coupon code FW35 at checkout and we’ll deduct 35% off orders over $50 before shipping.

Don’t wait – the best fabrics (let’s just say cashmere double cloth coating from Italy, shall we?) will sell out fastest so if you wait, you’ll miss out..

Have I said yet how much I appreciated your support, business and love over the last 11 years? Of course not – I’m Boston Irish. We don’t say that kind of stuff. We pretend we’re strong and don’t need anyone. But I think it every day, and I love and appreciate every one of you. I’ll miss you, but I am SO excited for the next phase!

With much love and gratitude, and happy sewing…
Ann

Pattern Review: Butterick 6494 Dress


Pattern Description: Close-fitting top and dress have raglan sleeves and front and back princess seams. Semi-fitted vest has side slits. Fitted pull-on pants have elastic at waist.

I made View C, the dress

Sizing: 6-22. I made a 12, with an FBA that ended up grading out to a 14 at the hem

Available as a PDF? It doesn’t look like it is currently.

Fabric Used: An amazingly soft sweatshirt knit from Gorgeous Fabrics. It’s like French Terry married Cashmere and had a baby. Alas, it is sold out, but you can find Similar Fabrics Here.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff sewing machine, Juki serger, Reliable iron and board, tailors ham, shoulder stand, sleeve board,

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 75/11 needles, thread, Pro-Tricot interfacing.

Tips Used during Construction: Press as You Go, Sewing with Knits

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

Fitting Adjustments that I made I made a princess line FBA

How were the instructions? They were fine. If you have pretty much any sewing experience you can make this dress (and by extension the top) readily.

Construction Notes: I made the FBA mentioned above, and I gave myself a bit more room by cutting it out to a size 14 at the side seams. I used my serger for many of the seams.

I must say, I really don’t like the pockets very much. In my (very soft) fabric, they fold and flop around. And the pattern instructions show them as overlapping at the center front, so I would probably eliminate them in a future version. If you have any kind of a pooch, they could be very unflattering.

I worry that these will emphasize a pooch.

Likes/Dislikes: Love the design and lines, not so crazy about the pockets.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes! I plan to use this again for an online class I’m going to teach.

Oh, should I not have mentioned that? 🙂

Conclusion: Great pattern, great results! Here are pictures on Shelley. I’ll photograph it on me either before I send it off to the class or after I get it back 🙂 More about that later!

 

Front

Happy sewing!

Massachusetts College of Art Student Works at Saks Fifth Avenue

Yesterday I met Phyllis (of CoudreMode Blog, which alas, is no longer) in Boston. As you know, I was born, raised and learned to drive in Boston, but I haven’t spent much time there in the last several years. In fact, I joke that I know Manhattan better than I know my own town.

I met Phyllis downtown. She was running a little late, thanks to traffic, so I walked through the Public Gardens. It was really beautiful – the leaves are just starting to change, and the light was soft, thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Jose, which is pulling away from the coast. The skies cleared later in the morning and ushered in glorious weather.

Statue of George Washington

When I met up with Phyllis, we walked through Saks Fifth Avenue, which, as it happened, was hosting the results of what looks like a Project Runway-style competition of students at the Massachusetts College of Art Fashion Program. It was lovely to see all sorts of garments from the next generation of designers. It warms my heart! Check them out (needless to say, this is picture heavy)

This appeared to be made from recycled materials – plastic bags, window screening and others

 

The ideas are good, though the sewing and finishing left a lot to be desired. Hems that were falling down, interfacing, or lack thereof, a dearth of boning and support structure in bodices, and a clear lack of pressing. But hey, these are kids, and they are studying to be designers, not necessarily technical sewing professionals. So I’ll just let you look at the pretty…

Okay, now there’s no excuse for that tube to be twisted. That is just sloppy.

I thought these were the best of the lot.

And finally, this one cracked us up. This is NOT the fault of the student. Whoever dressed the mannequin put the pants on backwards!

The tipoff was that the lapped zipper is backwards
The pleats are clearly supposed to be in the front. C’mon, Saks!

So that was a fun day! We also did some snoop shopping and I fell head over heels for this Alexander McQueen jacket. I would totally make this!

They had it in black, too, but I loved this. But not for $5400

Happy sewing!

We Have a Winner in the Sequin Fabric Giveaway!

Good ol’ Google random number generator did it’s job and the answer is…

Yes, I know the post says there are 70 comments. One was wishing that another poster wins, so that doesn’t count.

So that means that the 57th comment, from Yasmine, is the winner! Yasmine, I’ve sent you an email. Congratulations, and thank you to everyone for playing. It was great fun to hear what everyone would make with the fabric.

If you didn’t win and you love that fabric, don’t despair! Through tomorrow, you can save 30% off that fabric and so many others with the coupon code INVENTORY17 at Gorgeous Fabrics! If your order (before shipping) is greater than $50, just enter the code and we’ll take 30% off non-sale fabrics.

So congratulations to Yasmine, and thank you all for playing!

Happy sewing!

Blog Giveaway! 1 ¼ Yards of Sequined Mesh Fabric

Update! I just realized I said the drawing closes on Friday, September 21, but it actually closes on Friday, September 22 – sorry about any confusion. You have 24 more hours to enter, though, so that’s the good news!

Happy Sunday, campers!

Thanks so much for the kind words about my Disco Diva Bomber Jacket. It’s too hot to wear it today, but when the weather cools, I’m definitely going to be stylin’ with it! And as my gift to you, I’m holding a giveaway for a yard and a quarter-plus of the Fabulous Sequined Designer Mesh – Gunmetal that I used to make my M7100 Bomber Jacket. That’s more than enough to make your own, or to make a skirt, dress, or whatever your flights of fancy may imagine! As an added bonus, I’ll include the larger scraps from my projects, so you’ll have more than enough to make something, well, Gorgeous!

There is a line in the middle of the sequins – it’s a manufacturing thing. Just cut around it.

The drawing to win this beauty will take place Friday afternoon. To be entered in the drawing, just leave a comment saying what you would make with it. Entries will close at noon on September 22nd. At 5 PM Eastern that day, I’ll randomly choose one name from the entries.

Because of shipping costs, this contest is limited to US addresses only. No purchase is necessary to enter, of course, and one entry per person please.

Good luck, and have fun!

Pattern Review: McCalls M7100 Bomber Jacket

Or… Every Once in a While You Have to Let Your Inner Disco Diva Out!


Pattern Description: From McCalls’ website: “Semi-fitted, unlined jackets have collar, side-front seams, bands, side-front pockets, exposed front zipper contrast panels and sleeves with shoulder dart. A, B, C: Welt pockets. D: Kangaroo pocket.”

Actually, the description is very slightly inaccurate. The version I made (View C) has an in-seam pocket. There are no welts on that version.

Sizing: 4-26, sized as XS to XXL. I made a Medium, which translates to a 12/14

Available as a PDF? It doesn’t appear so.

Fabric Used: Sequined Designer Mesh – Gunmetal, and Black Wool Doubleknit, for the outer shell (good substitute Here), Gray Stretch Lining (similar Here) for the underlining.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff sewing machine, Juki serger, Reliable iron/board, ham, sleeve board.

Needle/Notions Used: Pro-Tricot Fusible Interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, Silver M6/Gray Tape Riri Zipper from Pacific Trimming. Thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Tips and Hints for Working with Sequins, Anything by The Pressinatrix.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

Fitting Adjustments that I made None!

How were the instructions? When I was starting on this project, someone mentioned that she thought the instructions for attaching the bottom band were not very clear, and I agree with her assessment. I did some things differently because of that, and you can see those in the construction notes.

Construction Notes: First off, I wanted something FUN! I had a lot of sequined fabric left over from the Prom Gown I made, and I decided this should be the perfect way to use some of that up. This pattern (in the version that I made) is great for using up leftover scraps from prior projects. I used less than a yard of the sequin, and just about a yard of the doubleknit.

Because the sequin mesh is lightweight and slightly transparent, I underlined it with some stretch lining I’ve had in my stash for several years.

Here you see the mesh itself. The underlining protects the stitching holding the sequins, and adds opacity

I sewed through the sequins (I know, I know. But this is not couture, this is FUN!). I wanted to finish the seam allowances of that fabric so they wouldn’t catch anything I wore underneath, or scratch me. I thought about using silk organza, but then I glanced at the fabric and noticed the 3-inch wide plain mesh selvages on either side. Eureka! I used those for Hong Kong finishes. I was pretty ecumenical in my seam finishing. In addition to the finish on the sequins, I also used a slightly long whipstitch to finish the neckline, and the serger to finish other edges.

Hong Kong, serged and unfinished, all in one neat photo!

I used the same fabric for the bands and collar as I did for the contrast panels to give it a more dressy finish than the recommended ribbed knit.

The pattern instructions have you baste the raw edges of the front bands together, then, matching raw edges, attach the waistline band around those, then sew to the lower edge of the jacket… yeah, no. I just sewed the bands together at the seam line, graded and pressed the seam allowances toward the waist band, folded the whole shebang in half lengthwise, and sewed it to the bottom of the jacket. Sorry, no pictures, My advice is pin things together as a mockup and then see how you want to proceed with the construction. If the instructions work for you, great. If they don’t take Fleetwood Mac’s advice and Go Your Own Way

I used the stretch lining for the pocket facing, and the doubleknit for the pocket.

At one point, before I attached the zipper and the bands, I put the jacket on Shelley to take a look at it. I noticed right away that the weight of the pockets were distorting the lines of the jacket. You can see at the bottom it’s pulling away from the dress form.

Flippy bottom edges are NOT what I want

To fix this, I simply whipstitched the pocket to the underlining on the front:

This distributes the weight more evenly.

Here’s a shot of two pockets: the one on the left has been attached, the one on the right is hanging free, per the instructions.

You can see the results on the outside of the garment.

It only takes a few minutes, and I would say it’s totally worth it, wouldn’t you?

I ordered a custom-cut Riri Zipper from Pacific Trimming in NY. It arrived in 2 days. They (both Pacific Trimming and Riri Zippers) are GREAT! I’ve tried Lampo zippers from Botani (also in NY), but I keep coming back to Riri. It’s just my personal preference.

Closeup of the neckline and the top of the zipper.

Likes/Dislikes: This is a great pattern! The instructions on the band are a little wonky, but if you rate yourself an advanced beginner or beyond, I think you can handle it and get good results.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes!

Conclusion: I haven’t made such a fun garment in ages. This one really makes me smile – it appeals to the Jamaica Plain girl in me (Day Street, for those of you who know the area). I showed it to DH and he said, “Ooooh, that’s so cool! We have to go someplace you can wear that!” It is really fun, and I love it. I can’t wait for it to get cool enough so I can wear it. It will look great with jeans or (maybe, if I’m feeling it) pleather leggings to get my 80s on.

Then again, maybe not. 😆

Here are pictures on Shelley.

Side view
Front
and Back

Happy sewing!