October Sewing Challenge – New Look 6036

For our first group sewing challenge at DenverSews, Jamie challenged us to use a fabric we’d been holding on to for a long time. Wow, I had so much leeway with this challenge! Almost all of my fabric has been in my stash for a very long time. In order to narrow the field, I focused on making sure the fabric I chose was something I was absolutely terrified to use. For me that meant choosing an expensive fabric which also had sentimental value. Most of my fabric stash consists of cheap thrift store fabrics, and I’m not afraid to use those – if I mess up with thrift store fabric, it can easily be replaced. Continue reading

October Sewing Challenge – Jill’s Results Burda 8155

I was quite excited about the first sewing challenge and knew straight away what I was going to make. But, then I became paralyzed with fear in actually cutting it. I thought I should have a few options as back up in case my fears got the best of me.

First off I have an apron that I made from fabric that my mom recently gave me from the 70’s or 60’s. I remember this fabric well. My mom made my older sister a dress with a Humpty Dumpty appliqué on it as well as a matching purse. I remember getting the purse later (most likely I just took it). I didn’t have much left and I thought an apron was perfect. This apron I will use, and every time I’ll think of my mom and sister in her Humpty Dumpty dress.

Second one is an antique lush cut silk velvet damask upholstery fabric remnant. It has floral pattern and scrolls through out. The velvet is very thick and still has a nice raise to it.  I bought it at an antique show, the dealer was very vague about where he got it (they don’t like to reveal their sources) but I no doubt believe it’s from the 40’s or 50’s.

trio front side

close up of pillow


 The moment I saw it I knew it had to be a pillow. This pillow form is 20″ x 20″ and I only needed to square it up so I didn’t lose much of the fabric.  I’ve had this in my stash for about 15 years give or take. I added the trim and a complimentary fabric for the back. This pillow will probably never see the light of day after today. With two boys who care a fig about silk or velvet, I’m not sure where I will put it.cutting fabric

full frontal pillows original


Last is this piece. This was the fabric that made me feel completely inept. It’s a silk brocade, from another antique show. Not sure of its actual age but I’ve had it close to 20 years. I never wear bright red near my face so I always had a skirt in mind for this. You can see the reverse is just as beautiful. I used Burda 8155. I thought the fabric should really shine here so I didn’t do any flounces or flourishes, just a basic darted skirt, plus there isn’t much here only a yard or so. This skirt is VERY fitted. It’s almost a wiggle skirt. If my thighs get any bigger I will need to take it out.

skirt collage
On Jamies’ recommendation I lined it. The lining is a white silk I had in my stash, again from my mom. She bought the most amazing silks when she visited Lake Como, Italy and she gave them to me along with the apron fabric above when she was cleaning out her studio.

   Tip: when collecting vintage silks and brocades roll them up using gift wrapping tubes to avoid fold creases.

I sewed French seams on the lining and a pinking and zig zag finish on the skirt with a back invisible zipper. I went into sewing this like astronauts preparing for lift off.

·        Purchased a new rotary blade & new silk pins

·        Bought silk thread

·        Practiced with invisible zipper insertion

·        Cut out fabric with sandwich method

·        Cleaned iron

·        Purchased stabilizer for sewing the slippery fabric

·        Planned a day for sewing, no distractions (ya right)

·        Sewed the lining first as a second fit test

A few detail shots

The Inside


simple hem
zig zag seams

Near invisible darts!

perfect dart
Unfortunately I have no blouse for this that’s why the cropped photo. I’m going to wear this at my moms birthday party in January. Enough time to make something appropriate.

The result is absolutely beautiful, I’m so proud of it though. And, it feels so good to finally use these fabrics!

Remember the first cut is the hardest!


October Sewing Challenge – Jane’s Results: McCalls 6346

M6346 Collage

When Jamie threw down the gauntlet to use a fabric you’ve been hanging onto a longtime, I knew this was the push I needed to finish/redo my failed attempt with Cynthia Rowley’s Simplicity 2406 Continue reading

October’s Sewing Challenge – Suede


I purchased a little piece of leather suede from Colorado Fabrics a few years ago with the intention of trying to make something out of it someday. That day finally came with Jamie’s challenge! I decided to try two things: general sewing and machine embroidery with suede. Continue reading

Anna Sui Silk Kimono (October Challenge)

Anna Sui Silk Panel

Does this fabric look familiar to you? A month ago I laid down a challenge to my fellow DSC bloggers:

Use a fabric that you’ve been hanging onto a long time. We probably all have fabrics in our stash that we love so much we’re afraid to cut into them… but they’re not doing us any good sitting in a closet. Be brave and cut into it! It doesn’t have to be silk or anything fancy, just something you’ve hung onto for awhile. Continue reading

Off-Topic: An analysis of why commercial patterns fall short in fitting standards


Having a hard time fitting patterns? Learn more on how patterns are made, a history of pattern co. and more.

Originally posted on Retro Glam:

Ms. Debra Lee McLendon wrote her Master of Science thesis on the topic of why commercial sewing patterns fail to meet the fitting needs of most of the population here in the United States. As a former patternmaker and designer she is well aware of the shortcomings of commercial patternmakers and pursued this topic in her graduate work.

When I used commercial patterns I was never, ever satisfied with the fit, even after alterations were made. Even now as I read posts and blogs about sewing, I can see how different patterns, even those from the smaller independent companies selling online, can give different bloggers and forum members the same problems. With the high cost of patterns this should not be.

Not everyone has the time to devote to drafting their own patterns and this should not be the only alternative.

I’m still working my way through the almost 160…

View original 790 more words

QoM – What does it take to be an Advanced Seamstress?


Most of us that sew a fair amount consider ourselves either Advanced Beginner or Intermediate sewers. We’ve moved past sewing straight lines and we can do things like insert zippers, make wearable clothing sometimes, and tackle a more complicated craft project like a bag with numerous pockets and closures. But what keeps us from calling ourselves Advanced sewers? This is the Question of the Month. What would it take for you to call yourself an Advanced Seamstress? Continue reading