Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sewing Pattern Variations: Pendleton Dress



One of the many things I love about sewing is the customization. We all get more value from from our patterns when we can change it up and make them more than once. What girl can’t use a few extra outfits?!

However, the pattern cover can be deceiving. With limited time and space - and to keep it to the point (but cute and appealing) - we must choose only a few "looks" to show it off. 

Ideas don't spring from nowhere, so a few more photos really helps. You may have seen these before ;-)
VIEW A in Houndstooth and Velveteen
VIEW A in Chambray and Pique
VIEW B in a cotton floral print
Pendleton View B Variation


Today I'm sharing a Pendleton variation that is casual and fun, something more than the straight up version on the package. None of these options require altering the pattern or any special skills, but hopefully it will get you thinking about your own variations.


The changes I made:
  •  3 buttons following the front instead of a bow
  •  rick rack versus piping
  • omit the elastic from the bell sleeve (add a facing)
  • back zipper instead of side zipper

My fabric is a comfortable (pre-washed) cotton that is a bit thicker than the other versions shown above. This is great for the bell sleeve because it helps hold the pretty shape and gives a little more structure to the dress too. 


My adventure got started with the gray fabric in my stash of course, but the fun didn't get started until I found these adorable buttons a the store. They deserve to be a focal point.

 The rick rack came next. There are three widths of rick-rack, and this one is the Jumbo size. Centering the rick rack down the seam allowance is made easier by basting the seam on the dress first. The thread leaves a trail to follow so to speak. Lift the rick rack at intervals to center it along the basting while basting to the dress. This photo shows the finished front.

 Making View B without the collar, there is the option of changing the zipper from the side seam to the center back. Simply mark the zipper length on your dress and sew a centered zipper instead of a lapped zipper.


Leave out the elastic on the View B sleeve and it takes on the lovely bell shape. To add the rick rack to the sleeve edge, I needed to make a facing of course, and then top stitched everything in place with the top stitching thread to add the same dash of color. Use top stitching thread for the upper spool only. I use standard thread for the bobbin. You may need to play with the tension a little bit too.
From cute to colorized in 4 easy steps. What do you think?  Shop for this pattern here:
http://www.sewchicpatterns.com/pendleton.html

Have a great sewing day!
 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

ASG Conference 2015 San Diego review

ASG Conference - What a Weekend!

I wore this outfit in the Saturday Fashion Show

My booth!
I recently returned from the American Sewing Guild Conference in sun-drenched San Diego. It was a busy few days, filled with workshops, lectures and fashion. Some of my favorite things had nothing to do with vintage, and that's partly why I go to this type of event -- to mix and mingle with craftspeople who have found their own niche. It's great to share our experiences and learn from each other!


Southern Belle, Simplicity #1061 poster and Tia on display.
Andrea hand painted the flowers on her jumpsuit
I met so many great people!


At the fashion show, Andrea Schewe pulled me aside and said "Is your name Lauren?" (An easy mistake, right?) She was looking for someone her sister asked her to meet. So it turns out I wasn't the right "Lauren" but we discovered our common thread as Simplicity designers, and she is such an easy lady to like! 

Here I am with Andrea, costume pattern designer extraordinaire at Simplicity. I learned she has been working for them for 30 years!  Recall those Titanic dresses that we all fell in love with? Yup, she's the one.  I still have my pattern too! Follow Andrea's blog here: http://www.andreaschewedesign.com/blog


You need to know about Bobbi Bullard. She is an embroidery designer and now she has a new way to teach kids (or anyone) to sew. She has started the Kids Sewing Studio, offering sewing classes for every age and ability, but what caught my eye was this idea of making a complete sewing class in a box! She has projects for the absolute beginner and for those with basic skills and they are so reasonably priced at $30. This is a great way to get started!

Bobbi Bullard and her friendly helpers.

No more excuses!

My next-door booth neighbors are talented bead jewelry designers from the San Diego Bead Society. It was so fun to exchange ideas and get to know them.They became one of our best customers, and hear this -- they don't even sew! I told them about the Simplicity 1061 sew along and they promised to join in.


Check out these amazing necklaces made by some of the members:

This award-winning bead necklace takes "statement" to a new level!

This necklace was made from vintage buttons


Meeting Diana Cavagnaro (dianacavagnaro.com) was amazing. She creates one-of-a-kind custom chic hats -- worn at the Kentucky Derby and by many celebrities. She also teaches millinery (hat making), has written many articles about her craft, and volunteered for years with the American Cancer Society. In fact, she was responsible for creating and donating more than 2,000 hats to cancer patients. I loved seeing her gorgeous creations and learning a little about the life of a hat-designer to the stars, and so much more! 

A few of Diana's millinery videos.
Diana and her talented staff!


I also met another designer I now admire. Julianne Bramson was one of the founders of the vintage reproduction line "Decades of Fashion." To start that line of patterns she said she bought about $10,000 in vintage patterns! She is now co-owner of Fashion in Harmony following her love for the 1930's bias cut in a modern way. This accomplished lady specializes in everything bias cut! In fact, she co-authored a book Bias Cut Blueprints that takes you from picking the right fabric, teaching a fun-to-sew method of bias cut clothing and customizing your piece, and, maybe most important, getting a great fit.
Julianne Bramson, from Fashion in Harmony
We spent a lot of time chatting and ended up trading patterns. It's so fun to meet someone who really loves what she does and is sharing her expertise with the rest of us. If you love the look of bias cut,  I recommend you check out her website and her book!

 It was a very very busy few weeks leading up to this event and the three days I was in San Diego flew by, but I had a great time and met some fabulous people. Thanks to all of you for being some of the highlights my weekend!

Until we meet again have a great sewing, designing or beading day!

Laura

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Tutorial: How to Sew a Side Seam Pocket

With the exception of the Simplicity 1061 sew along (which I am neck deep in the middle of), it's been a while since I've posted a tutorial so I figured it was time to address our baggage needs. We all carry a cell phone these days and where to put it is always the question. My bra, at least, was not made to take care of this need, so why not put pockets in everything? No more undressing to answer a phone call! I like that.

As part of the sew along, I've made a pocket pattern to go into our skirt.
 
 

1. Down load the pattern by clicking on link below. Cut 2 from contrasting or fashion fabric. Though not as strong, you may choose to use lining fabric too. Being limited by page size, this pattern and opening are small, but big enough to house your phone. If you'd like to enlarge your pattern, lengthen the pattern about 1 inch below the notch.

http://www.sewchicpatterns.com/images/pocket_simplicity_1061.pdf

2. With right sides together, pin the pocket to skirt front and back at the right side seam. Remember that the left side seam has the zipper, so only one pocket on this project.









3. Sew to side seam using a 3/8" seam allowance

4. Press pocket and seam to outside.

5. With front and back side seams and pocket edge matching, sew as directed on the photo. 

6. Press pocket to skirt front. Baste at upper edge. Complete your skirt as directed in the guide.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

"Mixing Patterns" Article in Threads magazine

Threads Inspires with Reader-Written Expertise

Make it Yours
What do you do when you picture a garment in your mind but can't find just what you are looking for in the pattern catalogs? Ever tried putting two (or more) patterns together? It may sound intimidating, but it can be done. My article "Mixing Patterns" walks you through the steps of combining two patterns to create that perfect piece.
Let's say you don't like the sleeve on your pattern. You want it bigger, smaller, longer, whatever. Wouldn't you just take a sleeve from another pattern and try to edge and ease it into place any way you could without another thought? There is a better way, and that's what my article is all about.



Here's part of the article. Get the magazine to read the whole thing!

How many of you read Threads magazine? It's one of my all-time favorites and one I've subscribed to for many years. In fact, my collection goes all the way back to 1998. But the current issue is special because the dress I made (for the article) is on the cover. I really liked the way it turned out, and they did a wonderful job with the photos- they came out fabulous. How lucky am I?? Thanks Threads! You guys are great!



Decades of Design

My favorite cover. Ever.

Why do I like Threads?
It's a magazine for designers. And that's who we are! Whether you're a veteran like me who starts with an idea and takes it to finished product, or someone who is passionate about sewing but maybe just wants to embellish a garment or learn a new technique, there really is something for both the beginning and the advanced sewists. I certainly don't try everything suggested, but every issue definitely sparks my imagination, and the articles are always interesting.

One of my favorite features is "UpClose" on the back cover. Each issue shows a garment with some kind of unique detail. Then there's an up-close picture of the detail. Even better, inside the magazine are often instructions on how to do it yourself!

UpClose from March 2008



Specializing in Original
We love vintage details and embellishments. Whether designed decades ago (remember Nicholas Ungar: Vintage Treasure Hunt?) or of more recent origin, Threads is full of ideas that inspire me. Why? Because you don't see these ideas in every store, in every mall. Last year while attending a conference in Las Vegas I went shopping. I hadn't really shopped for about a year. And, boy, I wasn't inspired. Every store had the same pink and tan separates! That's fine if you want to look like every other gal -- lace booty shorts anyone? But I'm looking for something a little more original. Threads gives me something surprising and wonderful with each issue.

Waist detail from the March 1998 issue.

Hands On Expertise
Reader-written, the articles are full of suggestions for sewists at all levels. The articles show and tell you how to master both basic and advanced techniques. With time and practice, you can improve your sewing skills so you'll be able to achieve the look you want with greater ease. Teaching each other is a great way to minimize the learning curve! Don't forget to use my Sewing Tips & Techniques page as another source for the tricks of our trade.

Learn to love zippers!

Need some tips on hand stitching? Here they are!

Sewing projects don't have to take weeks!

If you also love Threads (or are now thinking you should), what would you like to see featured? They have asked me to, and I would love to write another article, so let me know your ideas!

Where do you get inspiration and how do you express it? I've said it before (and I'll keep saying it) -- I love to see what you've made! Keep those pictures coming.

Have a great sewing day,

Laura




Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sew Alongs Great Way to Learn to Sew

In the "old" days, everyone knew how to sew. Girls watched mom and grandma at the machine and were expected to also learn to sew in order to do their part and keep the family moving along. For the frugal family, sewing was essential. Wade Laboissonniere in "Blueprints of Fashion" says that an early 1950's survey shows that housewives made 21-27 garments a year. That's 2 garments a month! In those days everyone knew how to make a gathered skirt with a waistband from three panels of fabric sewn together.These days it's more rare to find mothers and grandmothers that can teach these well practiced techniques, and with time always at a premium, it's no wonder everyone reaches for any quickest to-the-point answers available on YouTube.

Following a sew along for a specific pattern is a great way to find success with a project because you get training specific to that pattern. I am now 2 weeks into my first sew along with Simplicity 1061, and it is as time consuming as I expected, but even more crazy, I put the start date right before leaving to teach at the ASG conference! Together with not having internet available at our site in San Diego, dealing with credit card fraud while on my trip, files arriving late and refusing to be transferred over the internet, week 2 ended up being sent out  little later than expected. Please accept my apology.

I'm hoping for smooth sailing from here on out, and that you will find some nuggets of wisdom embedded in my own personal methods by and by.

If you haven't joined yet, I invite you to do so. Soon I will be inviting everyone by email to join the sew along pinterest board too. Sort of like Craftsy, I can enjoy your progress too. We each gain satisfaction in our efforts knowing we can help our fellow enthusiast along their way.

Sign up here:
 http://www.sewchicpatterns.com/simplicity.html

As you sew, post comments or questions about week 1 here:

http://sewchicpatterns.blogspot.com/p/simplicity-sew-along-week-1.html

and week 2 here:
http://sewchicpatterns.blogspot.com/p/v-behaviorurldefaultvmlo.html

Have a great sewing day!




Monday, July 6, 2015

Sew Along for New Pattern Release!

Hooray! It's really really here!

Just in case you didn't see my Facebook post, Simplicity #1061 (AKA "Pongo") is now available in stores and online in the Simplicity Fall Catalog! Here in Oregon you can also get it at JoAnn and Hobby Lobby.





As you select your fabric and notions, please keep in mind that just as clothing manufacturers often use different calculations to come up with their sizing charts, so do pattern makers. If you are used to choosing your size based on my size chart, be aware that Simplicity sizing does not equal Sew Chic sizing! 
Here's my Sew Chic size chart:
Sizes
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
Bust
32”
33”
34”
35”
36.5”
38”
40”
42”
45”
Waist
25”
26”
27”
28”
29.5”
31”
33”
35”
38”
Hip
35”
36”
37”
38”
39.5”
41”
43”
45”
48”
Back Waist
15.5”
16”
16.5”
16.75”
17”
17.25”
17.5”
17.75”
18”
 
Compare it to the Simplicity chart below and you'll see what I'm talking about! A Sew Chic size 10 is NOT a Simplicity size 10. There is a big difference, and it will translate to a dress that won't fit if you don't pay attention. Check (yep -- this means getting out the measuring tape) and compare YOUR measurements with those on the pattern before deciding on a size!

Simplicity size chart:

Sizes
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
20
Bust
29 ½”
30 ½”
31 ½”
32 ½”
34”
36”
38”
40”
42”
Waist
22”
23”
24”
25”
26 ½”
28”
30”
32”
34”
Hip
31 ½”
32 ½”
33 ½”
34 ½”
36
38”
40”
42”
44”
Back Waist
15 ½”
15 ½”
15 ¾”
16”
16 ¼”
16 ½”
16 ¾”
17”
17 ¼”
 

Sew Along with Me

If you read my previous post on the evolution of this pattern you'll remember that I promised a Sew Along. I know you want this fun summer combo! And my intention for creating the Sew Along is to encourage you to start and finish it! Sign up, and starting July 13th you'll get a weekly Sew Along delivered to your inbox.




I'd also really like to see what fabric you choose and how it turns out! So send me a picture when you are done!

Thanks for all your support and comments about my new pattern release.

Have a great sewing day,

Laura