Welcome to My New Craftsy Class, Sewing Knits Without A Serger

Happy December, peeps! I am slowly but surely recovering. Thank you all for your kind words, well wishes and prayers. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate them, and you!

You may have heard, I have a brand new class on Craftsy! I am so excited about this! You all know that I love to sew knits. For me, knits are the true fabrics of our lives. From the soft knit onesies we put on babies, to easy-to-make, easier-to-wear tee shirts, to sleek and sophisticated wrap dresses. These and so many more garments are made so comfortable and wearable thanks to knit fabrics.

And now I get to share my love and knowledge with you! This class is geared towards sewing enthusiasts who have had some experience with sewing wovens, but may be hesitant to work with knits. It’s also great for those of us who want to brush up on some techniques. And you don’t need any specialized machinery – we work with a regular sewing machine.

And right now, you can get Sewing Knits Without a Serger for 25% off, so it’s a perfect gift for yourself or the sewing fan on your list!

Click Here for 25% off my class, Sewing Knits Without a Serger!

Saturday Stuff

Magnolias on Beacon Street. I probably broke some law snapping the picture with my phone.

I’ve been busy with other things so blogging has taken a bit of a back seat. But I hope everyone is having a great April. Since today is the last day of the month, I figured it was time for a miscellaneous “stuff” post. To whit:
Have you seen today’s Wall Street Journal? It has a magazine insert (WSJ magazine) that has a GREAT article on the 7 ateliers behind the House of Chanel. The article is online for the time being, so get a gander or run out and get a copy.
The Old World Artistry Behind the Modern House of Chanel.

Yesterday while walking the dog, Hoover imparted to us an important life lesson: “It’s not how fast you walk, it’s how thoroughly you sniff.”

New Class at Gorgeous Fabrics Studio! For those in the Boston area, Phyllis and I will be teaching a 4-week class, Custom Fit Jacket Muslin Class. It will take place at the Gorgeous Fabrics Studio over 4 Saturdays in June. Click Here for Information and Registration

Many people have said it all about The Dress. I’ll only add that I hope it puts a stake through the heart of the strapless wedding gown trend.

Finally, today is the day for the “Fast Fit” giveaway. If you want to be in on it, click on the button at the upper right corner of this blog to “like” Gorgeous Fabrics on Facebook. I’ll use a random number generator to pick one lucky winner. The drawing will be somewhere in the 5PM hour (Eastern). I’ll announce the winner in another post. Good luck and…

Happy Sewing!

Boston/Worcester MA Locals – Pattern Fitting Seminar!

If you’re in the Boston or Worcester, MA area, and you want to work on fitting your patterns, here’s a seminar for you! It’s sponsored by the New England chapter of the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals. I’m the Program Chair for the group. Sue, the instructor, is excellent. It’s well worth your time and the $20 to come! Read below for the details.

Please don’t contact me or comment here for more info – Maureen Egan is the one who has all the details. I hope to see you there!

Association of Sewing and Design Professionals,
New England Chapter, Inc. presents:

By Sue Bennett

Saturday, March 19, 2011
1:00-3:00 PM

At this meeting Sue Bennett will give a presentation on fitting commercial patterns. We’ll start at the beginning: choosing the correct pattern in the correct size size, “reading” the pattern envelope, and the pattern pieces. From there you’ll determine what changes to make to ensure a proper fit.

You’ll receive a comprehensive measurement chart plus a “road map” showing just where those measurements apply to the paper pattern. We’ll go over some of the more typical fitting issues many women face and the solutions. Following the lecture we’ll have a hands-on Fit Clinic. Here you’ll have an opportunity to be fitted by one of our members.

Please bring a pattern for a dress, top, or jacket ( upper body only) that you’d like to have fitted. Make the pattern up in muslin. You only need the main pieces, small details like facings won’t be necessary. If the garment calls for shoulder pads, please bring them as well as fabric scraps, scissors, pins and your pattern.

Sue Bennett is the owner of Private Label, a custom clothing design and alterations studio in Holyoke, MA. She taught for 10 years in the Marist College Fashion Department and has written several “Fitting” columns and articles for THREADS magazine. She is presently teaching at the Holyoke Creative Arts Center and is a certified instructor and re-seller of Wild Ginger Patternmaking Software.

Reserve up to 7 days prior to this event for $20 per ticket through:
Maureen Egan, 12 Hamilton Way, Westfield, MA 01085. Phone: 413-568-4366

Email: maureenegan@comcast.net Checks payable to ASDP, NE, Inc.

Remaining tickets, $20.00 at the door.
CHAPTER MEMBERS, no fee, but please RSVP to Maureen Egan

Location: Berlin Town Hall, 12 Woodward Avenue, Berlin, MA
From Route 495: –Take the RT-62 W exit, EXIT 26, toward BERLIN/CLINTON.
–Turn LEFT onto MA-62/COOLIDGE ST. Continue to follow MA-62. 2.0 mi
–Woodward Ave. is on the right and Town Hall is on the hill to the left at #12 Woodward Ave.

Like I say, I hope to see you there. Happy sewing!

Curtain Time

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving (or a great Thursday for my international friends). I have a project for the weekend. I need to make curtains for my family room. I’m using this English cotton from Gorgeous Fabrics.

I think I’m just going to make tab-top curtains. I like the clean look and they are easy. Soooo…. off to the sewing room. I want to try to get them done this weekend so I can clean the atelier in preparation for Susan Khalje’s Sit and Sew next weekend. That’s going to be so cool. It’s 3 days of independent projects. I know many of the students, and I’m looking forward to meeting the folks I don’t know yet. She’s coming back in May of 2010 to do a full-blown 6 day Couture class. If you’re interested, contact her (through her website). But I need to clean and vacuum so it looks less like a fabric bomb exploded, KWIM?

Happy sewing!

Progress Thus Far

I’ve been working on the bustier, but I’m waiting to get my final two pieces of boning before I can really finish it off. I did cut out my lining today. I wanted to line it with silk crepe de chine, but I couldn’t find the right color, so I decided to use silk habotai. As you can see, I used the muslin for my pattern. I’ll use dressmakers’ carbon to trace the stitching lines on it tomorrow, and I’ll sew it up. Then hopefully I’ll have the boning from Susan early next week and I’ll be all set to finish this.

I’ve spent the last several days reorganizing my office and studio/classroom in preparation for a really exciting event! I’ll tell you all about it when the plans are finalized. It’s going to be great. Keep an eye out here!

Speaking of exciting, you still have 2 more days (through Tuesday) to take advantage of the Labor Day sale at Gorgeous Fabrics. Almost every fabric is on sale for at least 15% off, and a big selection of fabrics are 25% off!

One last thing – if you get Womens Wear Daily, check out page 2 of Thursday’s edition (September 3). Cotton Inc. takes the gloves off. Wow!

Happy sewing!

Sit and Sew with Susan Khalje and Kenneth King

Where to begin??? This was one of the best sewing excursions I’ve ever done. It was four days of sheer sewing bliss, punctuated by fun, adventure and frustration at the fact that there is no f***ing 14 inch spiral steel boning to be had on the island of Manhattan! But I digress

The class is taught by Susan Khalje and Kenneth King. “Class” is a bit of a misnomer. It’s more of a directed study. Students bring whatever projects they want to work on, and Kenneth and Susan help with all aspects of the project. Some of the projects included a Chanel style jacket (Kristine), a guipure lace skirt (Joanne), a strapless boned semiformal dress (Meg), pants, gowns, slopers, and lots of others. I’m telling you – it’s four days of sewing heaven! Oh yeah. The company is pretty good too.

If you read my blog earlier this month, you may know that I was out of commission for the first two weeks of August thanks to a bout of pneumonia. This had a two-pronged effect. First, it got me some reactions of, “You’re taking another week away from business???” Yes – it was paid for months ago. The pneumonia was an afterthought. Second, it meant that I, notorious procrastinator that I am, lost two weeks of doing nothing on my muslin and/or plans for my project. I lost my Marfy muslin, too, but that’s another story.

So I decided to go back to my original idea and make a lace bustier. I draped the pattern for the bustier on a dress form and I tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to adjust it on me. I figured Susan and Kenneth could help me with it, so I wasn’t too rattled by my inability to get it well fitted beforehand. Kristine pegged it when she said, “Don’t expect to walk away with many finished garments, as this class is all about quality, not quantity.” You can see from my last post that I came home with my bustier about half done. But the things I learned from Susan and Kenneth gave me the tools to tread where I never would have before. I’m almost to the point where I’ll insert the zipper and then I will do the lining, add the waist stay and then, I’ll have me one spectacular bustier to wear to singing gigs! I’ll do some blog posts all about the construction, no worries. But right now, check out some pictures from the class!

Each day started with a hands on lesson or a show and tell, and there were several breaks where Susan and Kenneth would demonstrate techniques. Here’s Kenneth showing off his broadtail coat:

1 - Kenneth's Broadtail Jacket
Susan is next to him on the right. Here is a closeup of the broadtail/leather join, with his hand leatherwork. Fab-u-luss!

Susan and Kenneth worked with each student, and they were incredibly generous with their time and talent. Susan took me shopping for my lace and silk. How fabulous is that? Here she is working with Ellen, who was making a concert dress (she’s a violist).
Kenneth also brought in a Chado Ralph Rucci jacket that he bought at a flea market!!! I want to go flea market shopping with that man.
Here’s a detail from the jacket.
There are so many more things to say and show, but I don’t have time right now. I’ll post more progress and photos as the bustier comes together. I’m saving my pennies to try to go again next year. If you have the opportunity to work with either of these two wonderful teachers, don’t hesitate – do it!

Happy sewing!

It IS a Woman's Perogative to Change Her Mind

Yes, I said I was going to make a jacket. No, I still haven’t found that damned muslin. So on Monday of last week I grabbed my dress form that is closest to my current measurements and started draping a bustier. On Tuesday during lunch, I basted it and then tried it on and tried (hah!) to do some fitting on me. After 20 minutes of futility, I decided that I would wait until the class. I’m glad I did. I’ll talk all about the process later, but here’s the project in its almost current state:

The lace is a corded, beaded French lace. The underlay is silk duchesse satin. The backing of the underlay is muslin. So far the toughest part was actually cutting the lace. But it’s coming together and will be a spectacular outfit for my next singing recital. Good thing I don’t have a date yet. I need to get this baby (and the accompanying silk chiffon skirt) finished first. More later…

Happy sewing!

A Jacket It Is!

I’m taking a couture sewing class late this week. Hallelujah, I finally get to learn from someone else! It’s a directed study class. Some students are making formalwear, some are making Chanel style jackets, some are making pants. I’m kind of over my Chanel jacket jones for the moment. I’ve made several, every one of which I love and wear. I’ve been going back and forth trying to decide what to make. The choices have been a heavy duty corset or a YSL style jacket. But since my favorite designer has always been YSL, I decided I want to work on a YSL style jacket. Besides, while I can definitely use a lace corset for singing gigs, I’ll get more use from the jacket. Paco’s Facebook vote was the one that threw me over the top (along with everyone else’s). Alas, I haven’t time to make a muslin of the Marfy I was thinking of. But I did buy this Claire Shaeffer Vogue pattern and I’ll make up a muslin of that:

You know, now that I think of it, I DO have the Marfy muslin all traced and cut. Where did I put that? Stay tuned, I may change my mind yet again. Don’t worry, it will all be done in time for the class. I’ll bring my home sewing machine with me on the train if I need to and sew on a table. That should wig out the conductors, eh?

I have no idea what fabric I’ll use. I’ll probably buy that while I’m at the class. I’m having a hard time motivating myself. I’m not sure if it’s residual from being sick, if it’s the weather (Hurricane Bill has pulled out of here, but it’s still going to be muggy through tomorrow) or if it’s something else. I’m really hoping this class can revitalize my mojo.

Happy sewing!

Finally Back in the Land of the Living

Oy, I say, oy! I have never been that sick for that long, and I hope I never am again. Thank God for Zithromax.

So what have I been doing? Nothing. Nada. Zip. I do have most of another (one last) summer dress cut out. It’s the same Simplicity pattern that I made my maxi-dress from:

This time I don’t have enough fabric to make it long, so I’ll make the knee-length version.

Oh! We finally got the air date for DS’ episode of “Dancing Tweens”. September 15th at 10PM. It’ll be interesting.

I’m also starting to prep for a class I’m taking next week. I think I’m going to make a bustier, but I’m still not entirely decided. I need to decide today because I have to have the muslin ready to go next Wednesday.

I ordered a new book for my library. I just got it yesterday and tonight I’ll start poring over it, Building Patterns – The Architecture of Women’s Clothing by Suzy Furrer

So far it looks really interesting, and unlike some other pattern drafting books I own, it looks quite useful and usable. Review to come later!

I chopped my hair all off this past weekend. I love doing that. I feel like, in addition to losing 6 lbs from the pneumonia, I lost another 10 when I got rid of my hair. It’s always a surprise to my family when I do that. One time, when I first went from blonde to red, I never told my DH that I was planning to, so he walked right by me without recognizing me at a restaurant! I’m contemplating changing the color again. We’ll see.

I am overdue on posting a review of a biography of Laura Ashley. That will come soon too. Stay tuned, much more later. God, it’s good to feel human again!

Happy sewing!

Cottons, Classes, Cameras and a Crisis of Faith

It’s been a busy week, and I haven’t had much time to post. But just to bring you up to speed, here’s a rundown on what’s been happening.

First up, cottons, linens and shirtings are on sale at Gorgeous Fabrics! We have some great fabrics on sale for 15% off, just in time for warm weather. And I’ve been adding some spectacular silks to the mix too. Check it out and have a ball. The sale lasts through Sunday.

Tomorrow’s Saturday Seminar is all about designer seam finishes. We have a great crew taking classes, and it has helped reboot my sewing mojo. Now if only I had more time this week.

Cool Toy! Thank you to LindsayT for introducing me to the Eye-Fi Wireless memory card. It plugs into the camera and once it is set up, badabing! It automatically uploads pictures from your camera to your computer. I asked for it for Mother’s Day, and it arrived just in time. Alas, my camera takes a ScanDisk memory card, so we had to get an adapter. But last night DH got it all working. No more dealing with cables. Hooray! Here’s a picture of Hoover taken with it.

According to DH, you don’t have to be in close proximity of the computer to download. You can be one or two rooms over, or upstairs. Kewl!

Now for the not-so-fun part. Last June, the priest at my church, Father Lenny, left to become pastor of a church near Harvard University. We were without a permanent pastor for 6 months. I referred to us as The Island of Misfit Toys. We had a temp guy, Father John. He seemed nice and funny, and ultimately, he became the pastor.

Well, be careful what you wish for. Not to put too fine a point on it, the guy has turned out to be a psycho. He’s dismantling everything that Lenny put in place over his 14 years at the church, and he’s driving away many of the parishoners. Our choir director is leaving in June and he has told the parish council that we’re not going to replace him. And this guy is an angry, angry man. I could tell all sorts of tales about his atrocious behavior towards people who don’t “yes” him all the time. And he keeps telling people that he can’t wait to get rid of the people who come from other towns and just make this a “Burlington parish”. Alas, it is his type of priest that prompted me to give up Catholicism for 17 years. I’m not a holy-holy type of person, but I had found a home and community in this place, and now he’s destroying that for the entire parish. It’s sad and I’m really pretty upset about it. I’m going to start shopping for a new church this weekend. My DS the Eldest is going to be a confirmation candidate starting next year, and I don’t want him confirmed under the tutelage of this guy. It’s frickin’ depressing. Maybe I’ll go back to singing with the Anglicans.

Anyway, that’s what’s been keeping me occupied. I hope you all are having a good week. Oh! And my Marfys finally arrived. Yay!!! So I’m tracing off the muslin for the jacket and I’ll start on it this weekend.

Happy sewing!