Friday, August 26, 2016

A New (to me) Online Fabric Resource!


Fashion Fabrics Club (fashionfabricsclub.com) is having a sale!  The last time they had a sale, I ordered three pieces--this Black/brown butterfly print (#44230) is a gorgeous quality silk charmeuse, and still available.   It's getting harder and harder to find silk charmeuse in a wider width (this is 56" wide) at a price like this--$12.56 until August 29, and thereafter $13.95.  I've been seeing prices double these for quite some time.

I love the colors, but because the scale of the print is so large (and I'm petite), I will probably make a kimono style robe--maybe V9218.  When I travel I like to take a silk robe and pajama pants.  I use them with cotton knit tops for comfort.  The silk is lightweight and packs down beautifully, plus, charmeuse is hand washable.


This cheetah print is also still available (#43932) and is much more beautiful in person than either my photo or the one on the site.  It's not an allover print--there's a definite center that's darker, with larger spots.  I got this for my intended Safari Suit--it will be the lining and a blouse, for sure, and there will still be fabric left over!

I wish the website would do a better job with their photos.  They also don't do swatches, but you can order 1/8 or 1/4 of a yard, which is enough to make an infinity scarf.

I did get another cut, but it's sold out now, and my photo doesn't capture it well.  It's a cotton/silk voile, the perfect weight for late summer.  

There are literally hundreds of silk fabrics at Fashion Fabrics Club, as they have just bought out an entire inventory.  I urge you to go over and have a look--these are truly bargain prices, roughly comparable to what I've seen in LA's Fashion District.  These silk charmeuse fabrics are perfect for the lining of a LFJ and a matching blouse.


Monday, August 15, 2016

How I Buy Patterns #2


Previously, I wrote about how I buy patterns (3/7/16).  Today, I thought I would show you in a little more detail how I order from ClubBMV.  

First of all, I review the patterns each season when they first come  out.  I've signed up to receive notices directly from ClubBMV when a new group of patterns is introduced.  Also Shams over at Communing with Fabric often reviews a new collection, musing about what she might buy.

I do the same, and add the pattern numbers to my cart.  Then I wait (this is the hard part):  usually within the month a huge sale is announced.  A one-year subscription to ClubBMV costs $9.99, and you get 20% off right away.  But, if you wait, even the $19.95 Vogue designer patterns are on sale for a limited period of time for $4.79!

V9204 (see above) looks perfect for the silk blouse I'll be making next winter to go with the LFJ which is nearly finished.  Fortunately I had ordered 2 1/2 yards of this 54" wide silk from emmaonesock.com (#47222), so even though I have used some for the lining I think there's enough for a blouse.  I like that there are no buttonholes, and some choices for hemline and sleeve length.

Another benefit of these on-line retailers is that both emmaonesock and ClubBMV keep your orders on file, and you can look at them anytime.  I love this feature--hopefully it will save me from buying duplicates!  

Monday, July 11, 2016

Planning My Summer Wardrobe

I really don't like summer.  Being a redhead, I have to stay out of the sun.  That said, I still have to go places and do things.  Mostly what I do these days is to drive about an hour north to visit my nearly 98-year old mother.  It seems like the average daily temperature there is somewhere between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  My wardrobe has been chosen in light colors with the car windows in mind:

Above you see a collection of pants, the one on the left being "me-made," and on the right "store-bought."  Two on the left are self-drafted palazzo-style, and the other two are Marcy Tilton's Vogue 8859.  I love the pleats at the knee, and have made this pattern many times.  I long ago gave up the seam in the back, as matching that with the pleats gave me too much grief. 

Here's a collection of tops.  I almost always wear a sleeveless tank with a top over it, as I like to have my arms covered, at least to below the elbow.  The only topper I made is the one front and center.  I'm not recommending the pattern, which is why I haven't named it.  It's a peasant-style blouse, and there are many such patterns out there as it has been a popular style for some time. 

Usually my tank tops are in a medium dark color, as I want to have some reference to my own coloring (light skin, medium dark hair and eyes). 

Clearly, I need more light-colored tops.  I really don't care much for the peasant-style top, so the next few will open down the front.  And maybe I should branch out and get more color--this collection looks pretty drab to me.

Do you ever line up your clothes like this, so you can see a whole "collection?" 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Sewing Vintage #1


I hadn't really thought about it this way, but apparently I have a "collection" of vintage patterns.  Mostly, because I am loathe to throw anything away.  My female ancestors were like that also.. That's why I have my great-grandmother's wedding bodice from 1888 (a post for another day).

After I graduated from university, where I majored in Home Economics with an emphasis on Textiles and Clothing, I went to San Francisco to work in the Macy's Junior Executive Training Program.  It was a fairly brief stint, as I discovered the retail business and I weren't really suited to each other.  

But while I was there, I used my employee discount to buy designer patterns and the best fabric I could find.  Unfortunately for my budget, Britex Fabrics was right around the corner from Macy's (still is, actually).  The one piece I remember clearly buying from Britex was a yard of beautiful silk charmeuse in a gorgeous yellow and black print.  One yard cost me $25, and I remember thinking how fortunate I was to be able to sew a blouse out it.  At the same time, a colleague bought a RTW blouse that cost her weekly salary, which was around $80! 

The patterns in the photo above are representative of the wardrobe I was busy creating a home, at night, in my tiny studio apartment halfway up Nob Hill.  My fiancĂ© was away training to be an officer in the army, and I planned to have a wardrobe worthy of any officer's wife.  Back in the day, we actually did wear gloves on the street and hats to tea and church.

I made up the two on the left, and even duplicated the emerald green color of the Pierre Cardin.  There was a matching coat, but I didn't really get much use out of either until we returned to California four years later, as my husband and I were posted to Taiwan.  Because the weather on Taiwan was mostly hot and humid, I ended up having to make a wardrobe of mostly cotton and linen.

There are lots of other patterns.  I have been going through them to see what might be useful in my wardrobe today.  There's this:


I have been wanting a Safari Suit, and this might just be the boost I need to start planning it.  All the pieces in the pattern have been cut, but I can't remember what I made from it.  I do remember making up the jumpsuit in an aubergine knit, which I paired with an ankle length sweater in a Missoni-esque design.

Since I am no longer a size 8, I will either have to grade up the pattern, or (and this is more likely) I will take the design details and apply them to one of my TNT patterns.

What about you?  Have you ever sewn from a vintage pattern?  Have you ever intentionally used a design detail from the past?

Sunday, June 12, 2016

How I Plan a Seasonal Wardrobe #3


This was a real workhorse outfit during the last late winter/early  spring season.  The fabric is from emmaonesock (#40900), a poly/cotton/elastane combo that promises to wear quite well.  I had actually made the pants in 2015, using Vogue 8929, which I love for the pockets in the front.  I wore them with the Italian animal print laminated linen (which I blogged about 5/31/16) at the American Sewing Guild 2015 National Conference Fashion Show.

The jacket pattern is Butterick 6258, with some changes.  I shortened it to mid-thigh length, a style I first saw in the shop windows in Florence in the fall of 2014.  I widened the band which forms a collar of sorts and continues down the front, as the proportions looked better.  And I added pockets, well, because a girl just can't have too many pockets.  I'm going to use this pattern again, as it went together very quickly and has been a pleasure to wear.

I made this top from a TNT pattern, Vogue 8636, in a cotton jersey from Mood Fabrics.  It's superb quality and still available--#305972.  Good quality cotton jersey is increasingly hard to find, so if the colors fit into your wardrobe, I highly recommend getting some.  What has been your "workhorse" outfit this spring?


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

How I Plan a Seasonal Wardrobe #2

Here are some more pieces in my wardrobe already:



The leather jacket is one I bought a couple of seasons ago in Florence, Italy.  I have worn it with the ivory silk pants shown in the previous post, but it deserves some other partners.

The second jacket is one I made for the American Sewing Guild Jacket Challenge in 2014.  The fabric is am Italian animal print laminated linen from emmaonesock, and I think the pattern was a McCalls, but I didn't make a note of it at the time.  It does have princess lines, which I like for the fitting opportunities.  I did a Hong Kong finish on the seams (purchased bias binding), as it does not have a lining.

Just as my fall/winter basic color scheme is black and gray, my spring/summer basic color scheme is brown and beige.  Jackets are the base of my wardrobe, because here in Southern California we have "May gray" and "June gloom" to contend with, weather-wise. So, while the calendar may say Spring, the thermometer says that every outfit must have a layering piece.

So, how do you organize your seasonal wardrobe?  How do you start?

Sunday, May 29, 2016

How I Plan a Seasonal Wardrobe #1

First I look at what's in my closet already.

Here I am at the Los Angeles Music Center, where I recently attended a wonderful performance of one of my favorite operas, "La Boheme."  I had made this jacket and pants last year with silk fabrics purchased at a local store.   The pattern for the jacket is S2284, which I like because of the princess style seams, allowing for lots of fitting.  The pants pattern is some version of a sloper that I keep tweaking.

Next let me show you a close-up of the fabric, which I love for all the options for accessories.  On that day I chose to go with an aubergine RTW knit top and necklace of (fake, I'm afraid, but that's another story) Murano glass, which I also made.  There are rust and coral threads, even teal, in there as well.




The lining is stretch silk charmeuse (#41033) from emmaonesock.  It has a lovely luxurious weight and comes in 96 colors.  You can ask for a swatch for color matching, or you can order the color chart and see all 96 colors for yourself.