Sew the Current Trends, and Save 20% Off the Featured Fabrics!

Good afternoon, campers! I’ve been busy as can be on several things. You’ll see the fruits of my labors over the next days, and if you follow me on Instagram you can see the slow progress I’m making on my current project. But in the meanwhile, here’s a post that everyone seems to love: Gorgeous Fabrics/pattern combinations to make your own versions of the most current trends in fashion!

Trend 1: The Corset

I love the idea of a Deeta von Teese corseted look, unfortunately, it isn’t something that I can pull off. But just about anyone can manage a corset belt, and one of the ways to make it modern is to wear it cinched over a duster style dress. As luck would have it, BCN Unique Patterns released their Duster Dress and Sash just this week. Make the duster using our Super Soft and Drapey Linen Twill – Heathered Dark Brown paired with a wide belt made from our Sueded Leather “Corduroy” – Decadent Chocolate. You’ll be front-row-ready for any Paris show!

Trend 2: Off-Duty Model Denim


All the top models are sporting denim this spring, but not the skinny jeans that have been so ubiquitous in the last couple of years. No, the silhouettes range from voluminous dresses worthy of Tilda Swinton to denim “suits” done up with mom-jeans and jean jackets. My personal favorite is the one that Vogue showed on model Frederikke Sofie in Paris: an easy coat thrown over a denim jumpsuit. Make your very own version by pairing Stretch Denim – Black Wash with McCalls M7330 jumpsuit. Finish it off with a chic topper made by combining Italian Suit Weight Flannel – Black with  Burda Style 01/2016 #127 Shell Jacket. You’ll have a look you can wear three seasons of the year! (skip the cigarette, though)

Trend 3: Hollywood A-List Casual

Want street style like Reese, Nicole, Shaileen or other A-listers? The cute-but-casual look is all the rage for shopping along Brighton Way. It’s easy to make and easy to wear, good for everything from a weekend on the Vineyard to picking the kids up at school. Make a Breton style top with our Rule Bretagne Beefy Striped Jersey – Navy/White and Liesl + Co.’s Maritime Knit Top. Anchor the look with a cool, casual skirt made from our Dress Whites Designer Denim – White and Seamwork’s Leonora skirt. Instant paparazzi bait!

Trend 4 – You’re Blushing!

The blush pink trend that launched in 2016 shows no signs of abating. A look I love takes a mannish suit and makes it in pink. The pink tones down the androgyny while the androgynous cut of the suit takes away any saccharine tendencies of the pink.  To get the look, pair our Italian Double Faced Satin – Peach Puree/Blossom Pink with Named Patterns’ Aava Tailored Blazer and StyleArc’s Eddie Pleated Pants. Now, that’s a uniform for a tough-gal princess. Oh, and an added bonus – if you don’t want all pink all the time, you can make the jacket using one face of the fabric, and the pants from the other.

Save on All the Featured Fabrics Through Friday!

And to give you even more inspiration, you can save 20% on each of the fabrics featured in this article through Friday, April 21st!

No coupon necessary, the markdown is already taken for you.

I hope that gives you some inspiration for your spring sewing. Spring is coming to Boston – slowly! Until next time, which should be soon…

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review: Vogue V1527 Paco Peralta Tuxedo Jacket

First up, I hope all my friends who celebrate it had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving! It was delightful to have the kids home. Both our boys were off from college all week, so we got to spend lots of time with them. Last night was really wonderful, because a bunch of their friends came over and we made homemade pizzas. The house was filled with laughter and happiness.

Second, this is a long post, so grab a cuppa or a glass and settle in. And just to add the normal disclaimer, Paco is a very dear friend. I bought this pattern without any urging from him, and I get nothing from anyone for doing this review. So here we go!

Pattern Description: From Vogue Patterns’ website, “Semi-fitted lined jacket has princess seams, single-button closure, shawl collar, in-seam pockets, two-piece sleeves, back vent and contrast inset. Loose-fitting blouse has collar extending into tie, back yoke extending into forward shoulder seams and French cuffs. Semi-fitted skirt has back invisible zipper.”

I made the jacket- though I refer to it as the tuxedo coat.

Sizing: 4-18. I made the 12.

Available as a PDF? No

Fabric Used: Ralph Lauren Wool Double Crepe – Black for the body, Silk/Wool Satin- Black for the contrast lapels, Iridescent Rayon Twill Lining – Ruby for the lining.

BTW – we’re having a huge Moving Sale at Gorgeous Fabrics right now, and almost everything is 40% off store-wide. Just sayin’…

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2030, Reliable iron and ironing board, sleeve board, shoulder stand, ham, silk organza press cloth, clapper.

Needle/Notions Used: Buttons that my dear friend Rosie brought back from Paris for me a while back. Hair canvas interfacing that was in my stash (not sure where I got that one from, sorry), 1/2 inch Tailor’s Set-in Shoulder Pads, sleeve heads that Paco sent me ages ago, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Pretty much anything from The Pressinatrix, Make the Lining First, Using Pins to Mark Start/Stop Points, How to Use Sleeve Heads and Chest Shields, Setting a Sleeve into an Armhole.

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

How were the instructions? Not great: I had several issues. I’ll send this list to McCalls to let them know as well.

Problem 1: There are 8 pages of instructions. I got pages 1/2, 3/4, 5/6 and another 5/6. I didn’t get 7/8.


I understand from several friends who have this pattern that they had the same issue. Paco sent me a picture of the last two pages of instructions, and I’ll ask McCalls to send me a copy of the PDF so I have a complete set.

Problem 2: The instructions and pattern markings conflict on the front interfacing.

So which is it? Interface the whole front, or just interface the facing?
So which is it? Interface the whole front, or just interface the facing?

The cutting instructions tell you to interface the entire front piece. But the pattern piece, and the illustrations in steps 3 and 5 all indicate that you only interface the facings. The ultimate answer to the question, “Well, which is it?” depends on your fabric and interfacing. In my case, I knew I only wanted to interface the facing. But that’s because I know what I’m doing.

Problem 3: The instructions omit one small but potentially crucial step. After step 8, clip the seam allowance to the stitching line at the small dots and press open. If you construct the buttonholes and follow the illustrations as written you’ll block the hole.

Another whoops
Another whoops

Problem 4: The instructions don’t explicitly tell you to hem the sleeves. They have you baste the sleeves , then they tell you to attach the lining to the sleeve at the hem.  This will give you a wibbly wobbly hem, especially after putting the jacket on and taking it off a few times. I hemmed the sleeve attaching the lining to it. Doing this will give you a crisper finish that will withstand wear and tear better.

Much as I love Vogue Patterns, I’m going to lay the blame for this at their feet. I’m pretty sure Paco didn’t write the directions, and even if he did, someone at Vogue should have caught the discrepancies before publishing them.

Construction Notes: I Made Two Fitting Muslins to get the fit the way I want. It was pretty good out of the envelope, but to make it better I did a FBA

This is a cleverly disguised princess line, so it's pretty easy to adjust
This is a cleverly disguised princess line, so it’s pretty easy to adjust

and I added about 1 inch around at the waist, sigh… Other than that, I didn’t make any major sizing changes.

I inserted sleeve heads to support the shoulder/sleeve.

Top: inside. Bottom: outside
Top: inside. Bottom: outside

After making the buttonhole, I decided that I didn’t want a small button. Rather, I wanted a statement button, so I closed up the buttonhole and I used a snap closure and stitched the button on. (Yah, I know – it’s a men’s-style close. Sue me.)

Good lord, Black is hard to photograph!
Good lord, Black is hard to photograph!

I used the smaller buttons (which fit through the buttonhole) on the sleeves. Here’s a picture of the buttons so you can see the details.

Couture Buttons!
Couture Buttons!

Likes/Dislikes: Instructions aside, I LOVE this pattern! The lines are beautiful, it makes me look long and lean. It’s fabulous. Period.

The dislike is the instructions. That’s fixable. As long as the pattern is well drafted (it is!) and the fit is reliable (it is!) you can work around the instructions.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I probably won’t do it again. How many of these does one need? But I am saving this in case I change my mind, and I DEFINITELY recommend it. This is one that will stretch your abilities and give you a beautiful result. Make a muslin, that’s my biggest recommendation.

And of course, now that I’m thinking about it, I do have a pink duchesse satin that would look fabulous in this design for Easter. Maybe with some of the silk satin left over from my Wedding Gown Refactor as the lapels. Hmmmm…

Conclusion: A great pattern. Keep in mind the instructions issues and power through and you be rewarded with a great garment! Here are pictures on Shelley. I’ll get pictures on me later this week.

Had to overexpose the back to get any detail, and still...
Had to overexpose the back to get any detail, and still…
Side view – love this sleeve!
Overexposed to show the seams
Overexposed to show the seams
And the subtly contrasting lining - love it!
And the subtly contrasting lining – love it!

I am so happy with this jacket! Hopefully I haven’t put you to sleep. And as a parting shot, here’s Hoover saying “I like the holiday season.”

It's a dog's life
It’s a dog’s life

Happy sewing!

Muslin of Paco Peralta for Vogue Patterns V1527 Coat – and binge watching

Before anything else, a disclaimer. Paco is a close friend, and I am thrilled beyond belief that he has secured a license for some of his patterns with Vogue Patterns. Bravo, Paco!!!!

That said, I bought this pattern with my own money with no expectation of recompense neither.

If you follow me on Instagram, you can see that I started this pattern a couple of weeks ago, and I want to do this right, so I made a muslin. For my first muslin (yep, there are more than one) I traced off the pattern as-is in a size 12 and changed the seam allowances to 1 inch a la Susan Khalje’s couture sewing guidance. I knew this would need some adjustments, but going with the Vagaries of Fit: Shoulders, I started with the 12. That works well with my shoulder measurement. Here are some pictures of the first muslin.
You can see that the bust is not right, and the waist is a little snug. The sleeves are great. Normally I have to shorten all Vogue/McCalls/Butterick sleeves by at least 1/2 inch, but these are perfect for me. So I made those changes (I’ll show them in the ultimate pattern review) and made another muslin.. Here are shots on mesecond-muslin-shots-better-fit
And here is a picture of the back on Shelley – I couldn’t get a good shot on me, sorry

So far, I am really in love with this pattern! The next step is to cut it out in the fashion fabric. For that I will use Ralph Lauren Medium Wool Crepe for the main pieces, Silk/Wool Satin for the lapels, and Silk Habotai for the lining. All from Gorgeous Fabrics, of course.

Binge Watching “The Crown”! (I’m sure my Irish ancestors are spitting on me from heaven. Oh well.)

If you haven’t had the chance, check out The Crown on Netflix.

It is totally engrossing, and the fashion is amazing!

More to come shortly. Have a great weekend, and happy sewing!

Pattern Review: StyleArc Holly Blouse

Pattern Description: From StylArc’s website, Beautiful feminine blouse featuring a front tie and 7/8th length sleeves. This blouse is designed to pull on so therefore easy to make and wear along with keeping all the on trend features.

I just noticed an error on the technical drawing. The sleeves have elbow darts which are not shown on the tech drawing. You can see them in the picture of the pattern pieces further down in this review. It’s a minor nit, but worth noting. Also, the blouse has slight gathers at the front shoulder yoke, which do show on the tech illustration.

Sizing: 4-30; I made a 10

Available as a PDF? Yes

Fabric Used: Emerald jewels print silk charmeuse that I received as a gift. This one was a bit ravelly, which made it tricky to work with, but I took my time and it turned out well.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2030, Juki MO645DE serger, Naomi the late, beloved Naomoto, Reginald the Reliable Iron, ironing board, shoulder press, pressing ham, sleeve board.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 60/8 needles, Pro-Sheer Elegance Couture Interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: How to Sew a Shirttail Hem Without Ripples, Pretty much anything by The Pressinatrix

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

How were the instructions? StyleArc normal, which is to say pretty minimal. I didn’t need them, other than to check the diagram to make sure I inserted the tie into the neckline correctly. If you are an intermediate sewer, you can follow their instructions without trouble. I recommend keeping a good general sewing reference (my favorite is the Vogue Book of Sewing) handy if you need more information.

Construction Notes: I made two muslins before I cut into my silk. The first was from cotton muslin, just for fitting purposes. The second was with Abstract Floral Crinkle Crepe Chiffon – Brown/Eggy to better approximate the drape of the silk. I was planning to make the chiffon a “wearable muslin”, but I forgot to put the tie in the collar (doh!) so it was just a fitting muslin. I’m glad I did it, though, because it did point out that the sleeve cap wasn’t high enough. I added about 3/8″ height to it. I did a Full Bust Adjustment and lowered the bust dart by about an inch. Here you can see the changes on the flat pattern.

FBA and bust adjustment on the right, sleeve cap adjustment on all 3 pieces.
FBA and bust adjustment on the right, sleeve cap adjustment on all 3 pieces.

I sewed all seams with a 2.5 mm straight stitch and finished the seam allowances with a three-thread overlock, serging the side seams together, then pressing them toward the back. I made a narrow hem to finish.

One thing to note about this pattern: like all StyleArc patterns, it uses RTW industry standard seam allowances. That means that seams for the sides and main body pieces are 3/8 inch wide, and facings (like at the collar) are 1/4 inch. If you are dealing with a fiddly fabric like my charmeuse, which had a tendency to ravel, it can be trying, so you might want to increase the SAs along the neckline and then trim them after you finish. Also, I found the facings to be too wide and unwieldy, so I trimmed them back to about 5/8 inch and I topstitched around the neckline edges to keep them in place. If I were to do it again, I would probably use a bias piece of self fabric to face the neckline edge. Also, as I discovered on the chiffon, you really need to stay stitch the neckline edges or they will stretch out, especially in the front. Finally, the instructions have you fold the cuffs in half and then serge them to the sleeve. I decided to do a slightly more ‘couture’ approach and I sewed one edge of the cuff to the sleeve, folded the remaining raw edge under and hand-sewed it:

I think this gives a softer, more appealing finish
I think this gives a softer, more appealing finish

Likes/Dislikes: This is a very well-drafted pattern that goes together quite easily. I really like the clean lines that let the fabric have center stage. This would be great for a big bold print. I don’t dislike anything about this. It’s definitely a pattern that requires some precise sewing in small places, so take your time and you’ll get good results.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I doubt I’ll do it again. I now have two of these tie-neckline blouses and I think that’s enough for me. I do recommend it, with the caveat about the facings and seam allowances for the neckline.

Conclusion: I’ll get a lot of use from this blouse. It looks great with jeans as well as with a pegged black skirt, and I like it both tucked in and worn out like a tunic with a belt over it. Here are shots on Shelley:

Full-on Front
Detail of the shoulder and neckline
Detail of the shoulder and neckline
You can see the elbow dart in this picture
You can see the elbow dart in this picture
And back. I might add darts for a little more shaping.

I just received my order from the last McCalls Pattern Company sale, which included both Paco Peralta patterns. This morning I found out that my husband’s company holiday party is the first Friday in December, so I think I’m going to make the long tuxedo jacket, and probably pair it with cigarette pants. That gives me a hobby!

In Other (family) News…
This past weekend was the last home game and Senior Day for the UMass Minuteman Marching Band. Oh yes, there was a football game, too. We got to see DS the Elder conduct “Appalachian Spring” for the last time in his college career. It was a proud Mama moment. Sniff!

This move has a name: The Flying Mange. I can't make this up.
This move has a name: The Flying Mange. I can’t make this up.

And not to be outdone, it was Homecoming at University of Delaware, and DS the Younger and some of his tenor saxophone cohorts saw that their most famous alumnus was on the field so they went over to him and asked for a picture, to which he graciously said yes.

Man, Joe Flacco is TALL!
Man, Joe Flacco is TALL!

I’ll have more on the Paco Peralta tux over the next weeks. In the meantime,
Happy sewing!

Pattern Review: Butterick 5250 (OOP) High Waisted Trousers

Pattern Description: From the pattern envelope: “Misses/Misses’ Petite Pamts and Belt: Above-waist, creased pants ABC have fly front zipper and back darts. A, B front darts. C, D: front tucks. A: button trim and cuffs. B: carriers and belt.”

I made view B, but I skipped the belt and I’ll used a purchased belt instead.

Sizing: 6-22. I made a 14.
Continue reading Pattern Review: Butterick 5250 (OOP) High Waisted Trousers

Pattern Review: Retro Butterick B6734 Dress

Man, it has been a week. My mother passed away peacefully last Friday after a very long battle with Alzheimer’s. That was a blessing. She’s with Dad now, which is good. The family drama that accompanied her death? Not so much. I’m not going to bore you with the details; every family has its own version, I’m sure. It’ll pass, like a kidney stone maybe, but it will pass. Her funeral was today, and it was lovely. I was able to hold it together until the incensing of the casket. That killed me.


But, as they say, life goes on. Last week I bought Butterick 6734, a retro dress with some style variations. I’m not usually much of a retro girl, but I do like some of the styles from the 1940s and this one really appealed to me.
Continue reading Pattern Review: Retro Butterick B6734 Dress

Shameless Plug: Gorgeous Fabrics’ HUGE Summer Sale!

July 4 Sale Starts 6-22-16

I give Shameless Plugs for other people’s businesses, so why not for my own?

Starting right now (actually, starting yesterday), it’s our biggest sale of the summer!

10% off? Pffft. That’s peanuts.
15% off? Guffaw.
20% off?? Keep going…

Everything* is on sale at Gorgeous Fabrics for 25% to 60% off site-wide, so you can stock up and save big. This is our biggest sale of the summer, and you won’t see savings like this again anytime soon, so come on over and get your stash on!

Click Here to Start Shopping and Saving Big at Gorgeous Fabrics!

On top of the super sale savings, orders over $50 before shipping receive a free gift with purchase, and orders over $200 receive free shipping in the US!

Happy saving and sewing!

*The fine print – there are a few exceptions: muslin, gift certificates, swatches and notions. Other than that, you’re good. 

Pattern Review: Kwik Sew 4155 Shirt Dress

Pattern Description: From the KS website: “Dresses have fitted bodice with front and back princess seams, armholes are finished with facings, front placket with button closures and waist seam. Flared skirt has side-front and side-back seams with side seam pockets. A: Collar with collar stand. B: Collar stand.”

I made view A.

Sizing: XS to XL. I made a Medium.

Available as a PDF? No

Fabric Used: Lightweight Cotton “Oxford” in Infinity Blue from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course!)

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130 sewing machine, Juki MD654DE serger, Naomi the Naomoto

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10 needle, Pro-Weft Supreme Interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, 9 Buttons, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: And Now, a Word from the Pressinatrix, Clip the Selvages Before Laying Out Your Pattern, Sew from Wide to Narrow

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

How were the instructions? They were good. I would do things differently from the instructions on future versions (see Likes/Dislikes for details), but they were quite thorough.

Construction Notes: I made a muslin to check the fit. As I have found with many Kwik Sew patterns, this has a ton of excess ease in the chest area, and I had pretty major gaposis around the armholes. I took about 3 inches (!) of excess ease out by adjusting the princess lines. I could have removed about an inch more without suffering any ill effects. I did an FBA, and I adjusted the armhole facings to match the new gap-reduced bodice.

Because of the FBA, I re-positioned the buttons. I only used 9 buttons, and I put a skirt hook/eye at the waist on the button placket. I will wear this with a belt, so that gives a smoother line.

Kwik Sew’s instructions have you sew the collar stand to the wrong side of the bodice neckline, then turn the seam allowance on the outer side of the collar under and machine stitch through all layers. Instead, I attached the collar stand to the bodice on the right side, and I hand-stitched the inside of the collar to the bodice on the wrong side. After that I machine stitched around the edges. I find that’s a better way to ensure that your collar looks good.

I also added a bar tack on the side seams at the bottom of the pockets, for reinforcement.

To give it a little more security.

Here are a couple of shots of the in-process bodice…

Bodice Front before attaching skirt
And Back

Likes/Dislikes: I like very much the way this pattern is drafted, and I like the lines. I am not that crazy about their order of construction. They have you construct the bodice, along with the button plackets, then construct the skirt, with the button plackets. I found that it’s very easy to slightly mis-align the plackets at the waistline. That happened with mine. It’s hidden by a belt, and even if it wasn’t, you’d have to get close to see it, but I know it’s there. In the future. I would sew the bodice fronts/backs together, sew the skirt fronts/backs together, attach them at the waist, sew the button plackets together and attach them in one piece. Even better, I would re-draft the plackets to be a single piece running from the neckline to the hem. Then I would attach the collar.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I would do it again, and I do recommend it. I really like the way this looks. I was inspired to make this because of the McCalls Patterns Shirtdress Sew Along. I’m not usually a sew along kind of gal, and in fact I had to have this done before the sew along ends, because I wore it to DS the Younger’s graduation from high school today! I finished it at 11:30 this morning, and the graduation started at 2 this afternoon.

Here’s a picture of the front on Shelley:

And… gasp! A shot actually on me!

Proud Mama Moment!

Conclusion: I really, really like this pattern. I can see making this in a piqué for a dressier look, or a lightweight denim. Do make sure to make a muslin, since it does have (for me) a lot of extra ease. It’s really comfortable, and it goes together quickly. All in all it’s a winner.

Now it’s time to take the graduate out for a celebratory dinner. Happy sewing!

Fabrics for Formalwear and Bridal at Gorgeous Fabrics

I sent this out to the members of Gorgeous Fabrics’ email list, but I also thought those who don’t receive the emails might like to see it. Pattern and fabric inspiration posts seem to be popular so here you go…

Formalwear Fabrics for Fabulous Occasions!

Prom and wedding season are upon us, and Gorgeous Fabrics carries amazing options from some of the top designers in the world. We have an entire section dedicated to it, and all of these fabrics are included in the big sale going on right now. Let’s take a look at a few of them and give you some inspiration for how you can use them.

Lovely Lace

Lace is for more than just bridal these days, though of course it’s great for that, too! We have an amazing array of laces. From designer laces with scalloped edges suitable for the hautest sewing, to stretch laces that are perfect for fun tops and dresses. This Gorgeous scalloped edge lace from Nicole Miller would work great for a dress like Simplicity 1606, a jacket like Simplicity 1250 or a flirty top like New Look 6450.

Click Here for Lace Fabrics


Brilliant Brocade

Brocade is one of those fabrics that can strike fear in the hearts of many, when in fact it is very easy to sew! The texture forgives many mistakes, it has great body and it takes to tailored items like a dream. You can use it for jackets, accessories and even cool vests for men’s formalwear. Try Vogue 9068 for a luxe take on a classic jacket, Vogue 9164 for a beautiful clutch bag, or Vogue 7488 for a man’s formal vest.

Click Here for Brocade and Textured Fabrics


Sexy Sequins

Sequined fabrics are all the rage on the runways this season. When we think of sequins, we often envisage slinky gowns that are worthy of the red carpet. But you can also use sequins to elevate a simple top or dress. If the idea of sequins is a little intimidating, use them as an inset or an overlay to get your feet wet! Some great options include McCalls 7051, Lekala 4495 and McCalls 7047. I wrote a post on Tips and Hints for Working with Sequins, to take some of the fear factor from this fabulous fabric.

Click Here for Sequined Fabrics and More


Luscious Lamé

Finally for today, have you tried sewing with lamé or other shiny fabrics? They are so fun! Use the smallest needle you can get away with, and let your imagination soar. You can go with a classic dress, but don’t limit yourself. Try a simple top, and let the fabric have center stage. Or go for a designer-inspired vest. Talk about a luxurious surprise! Some exemplary options include Butterick 6243, Butterick 6156 and Butterick 6138.

Click Here for Lamé and Shiny Fabrics

Hopefully that gives you some ideas for these exciting fabrics. Have a great day, and

Happy sewing!