Monday, March 18, 2013

Jeans sewing workshop and a Goodwill cabinet find

I was fortunate to be able to attend a Jeans workshop this weekend by Jennifer Stearns, held at The Sewing Tree in Dover NH. What a great time we had, and learned so much! Jennifer is just delightful, a great instructor and extremely personable and down to earth. If you ever get the chance to take this workshop, do it! We had a small group of 10, so it was easy to get personalized attention and fitting.  

The first day was all about fitting, using Jennifer's jeans pattern pre-made up into muslins then tried on for size. She measured what we each needed for adjustments, then we made up our own muslins from her pattern. After that, we were checked again for whatever additional adjustments were needed. 

The second day, we learned some of the techniques that were needed to complete the jeans. She brought pre-cut pieces to make pockets, fronts and fly fronts. We didn't need to bring a thing to the weekend, everything was provided for us. It couldn't have been made easier for us to go home well satisfied! 

Along with the jeans workshop, Jennifer brought some of her creations for us to see- the first Trunk Show I've ever been to! Her embroidery work was simply amazing, the pictures just can't do it justice. The black and pink coat to the right is silk velvet with pink and metallic embroidery and free motion stitching.  The ecru gown to the left (back view) has vines of multicolored embroidery around the neckline and hemline, at the tips of the multilevel train and hand made silk ribbon roses at the waist.  All of her embroidery designs are designed and digitized by her.                     
On the way home, of course I couldn't help but stop at Goodwill (or 2.) I thought I might pick up some cheap jeans on which to practice my newly learned skills. I found three large mens pair at half price. I also was lucky enough to find an older sewing cabinet and chair for $20. I have needed another chair for a while, and the cabinet is a plus and will replace the folding table I have under one of my machines now.  It doesn't have a lift, but has an adjustable shelf which can hold a machine at two different heights. The right side door has metal spool holders, the left side door has a piece that needs to be screwed back on that appears to hold scissors. 


  We are expecting another foot of snow over the next couple of days. When I got home, I unloaded goodies, and then brought in some more wood for the stove. I am planning to practice my jeans skills during the storm.  What did YOU do this weekend??

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Pattern found!

Lo and behold, I got up this morning and found a pattern close to the pink chiffon style I posted about last night!  Vogue 8150 shows an almost identical criss crossed bodice. This one is not V necked, and I'm not wild about the straps, but at least I can get familiar with the techniques. Of course it's rated for advanced sewers, while I consider myself an intermediate.

The odd thing about finding this was the round about way it came about. While having my morning tea, I was googling "tucks vs pleats," trying to pinpoint the difference. This subject came up in our neighborhood knitting (and other various textile hobbies) group last week while someone was adding tucks to the bodice back of a vintage seersucker dress. So up came this page (If you haven't seen this site before, it's very informative for the devoted sewist.) From there I continued onto Part 2 See the picture she has here?

This photo originated from
a blog new to me that I will be reading avidly. Another post on her blog,,  shows a fabulous 80's cocktail dress by St. Gillian described as draped and tucked.
    By using these descriptions I eventually was able to find Vogue 8150 and from there went to Patternreview to check out the reviews I love the web!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Progress on the sewing front

I’ve been fortunate to finally be able to do quite a bit of planning, fabric organizing  AND sewing lately. Spending time in my sewing room is a great de-stressor for me. Is it the same for you?

Telling you all about what I’ve been up to will take a while, but I’ll start with what I did most recently and work backwards. Just as a teaser, though, coming up are stories of making a body double, visiting a sewists’ gathering in the “big city” and I’ve actually made one and a half skirts at another sewing circle here in my own hometown! Best yet, with the help of a sewing teacher, I finally overcame my bodice fitting issues!

But first, what I did last night…
   The reason I’m working backwards is because I’m needing input from some other sewists about an idea I have for a dress for my daughter for her art school graduation. She would love to have one made out of came material and most of what I find is not what I would typically use for a dress. However, in one of our local surplus and salvage stores, I found a sheer polyester in shades of red, coral and black. I’m thinking of combining it with black for something similar to this:              


I also found some photos online of dresses in styles I liked. This one in particular:

But finding a pattern to mimic this is proving to be challenging. I’m thinking there’s a basic V necked sheath underneath and the draped pieces are actually four separate pieces X-ed across front and back, attached at the armholes, shoulders and neckline, then sewn into the side seams.
    I’ve looked online at the big 4 current patterns and didn’t find anything close that was constructed like this. I’ve also looked at some of the indie patterns, but there ARE a lot of indies (is that even a word?) out there now. Has anyone else seen anything similar? Or any other camo fabric I would consider?