Thursday, October 24, 2013

ETA California

This past weekend I taught a class and had a booth at ETA California.  This is a sewing conference organized by Peggy Sagers.  The first  ETA was in California 8 years ago after the Sewing Education Conference in Long Beach folded.  ETA = Education in Textile Arts and is devoted to textile education.  Peggy now has ETAs in Dallas, Washington DC, New York, and Chicago.  I also taught at the Dallas ETA last year. That was really fun and the ladies were a hoot.                      

Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos of my classes or the event this year.  The conference consists of a vendor hall and has over 50 classes. The core group of instructors are: Jan Bones (she has great lingerie patterns); Lyla Messinger (great classes on knits, patterns, and owner of The Sewing Place); and Emma Seabrooke (another great instructor  on various techniques).  I did a class on half slips and had a great time and hope to be asked back again next year.

The vendor hall has about 15 booths that include fabric, jewelry, patterns, notions, patterns, and sewing tools.  The price for the conference is very reasonable and usually includes the hotel room.  If you have an ETA in your area, I strongly recommend going and checking it out.  My booth was next to Kandi Christian who teaches heirloom sewing and machine embroidery and has written many articles for various sewing magazines.  During class times the vendor hall is quiet, so she and had got to know each other.  They also had Margot  Silk Forrest and Destiny Carter authors of "Sassy Feet".  they had some really fun classes on how to transform your shoes and purses using paints and embellishments.  The conference has a wide variety of classes.

Here's a link to the brochure

Monday, October 7, 2013

T-Shirt Marathon

After the wedding gown and Chanel inspired jacket, I needed something simple to sew.  I also noted a "hole" in my wardrobe this summer in the lack of t-shirts to go with jeans and/or shorts. I am now working part time (3 days a week) and spend more time in casual clothing then work clothing.  (By the way, 3 days a week is perfect and I love my new schedule.)

I pulled together some 1 yard cuts of fabric and bought a few online and sewed up 6 t-shirts.  I think the thread changes on my serger and coverlock was the most time consuming portion.

The Jalie 2805 and Simplicity 4076 (gathered cf neckline) are almost identical.  The Jalie has the tulip sleeve and the fit is a little more generous.  Because I only had a yard of each fabric (except the pink), I was limited on the details for Vogue 8879 and not able to add the sleeve details which I do like and will most likely make again with the details. I will not add the open back feature. I now have some fun new tee's to wear with jeans this fall. 

The black and grey striped is from Stone Mountain and is a sweater knit; the pink is a rayon knit from FIDM for $1 a yard; a couple are from The Sewing Workshop and are still available. I love prints with letters and this fabric is so soft and washed really nicely; this gold and white striped fabric is a great weight and I'm tempted to buy more. 

Oh, and I finished my Chanel inspired jacket.
I'm not sure if I like it or maybe I'm just tired of looking at it. But I'm so glad it is done.  Here are some details. 
The buttons I purchased from Susan Khalje.

I'm not crazy about the trim either but could not find what I had envisioned so I used grosgrain ribbon and a trim.  I will most likely wear this jacket with jeans.

chain at hem; hook front closure; quilting details

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Sewing and Altering

Last summer I made McCalls 6559
which fit me for about a week.  After that, I gave it my niece to wear.  This summer she returned it - she was "over stripes".  I looked at it and thought, all it needs is about 4 extra inches in the side seam for it to fit me without standing straight and sucking it in  - which you know only happens for about 3 seconds in front of a mirror.  So I cut off the bottom to make it shorter and inserted a godet in one sideseam with the fabric that I eliminated.  I now have a new summer dress to wear to Kauai in a few weeks. You can see the godet on the right side of the photo. (For some reason I was having static issues at the hem.)  Here's the front and back view.

My sewing has been a bit slow the past couple of weeks.  My mom fell and broke her hip, so I've been going back and forth to the hospital everyday to cheer her on in her rehab and to just make sure she is being taken care of.  (Only after her blood pressure kept going up, did I realize they were not giving her her blood pressure meds (I gave them her prescription list of meds when she was admitted - didn't think I needed to check their list), and then it took 2 days to get the doc to put it back on their list, but that's another rant.) My mom gets to go home saturday where I will spend another couple of days with her and my dad to get her situated and comfortable walking with her temporary walker at home).  I think I will bring some fabric and patterns to cut out while I'm there.

I also managed to make the Sewing Workshop's  West End Top which I think is more like a jacket/hoodie.
I used a ponte knit which seems to be perfect for this jacket.  The front of the jacket is unfinished which I am not crazy about.
The band goes to the forward side seams and the hem on the front is unfinished.  I continued the top stitching through this unfinished area to the zip.  (I see I have a thread to trim.)
But I do think it is a cute jacket/hoodie that is very loose fitting. 

The Sewing Workshop patterns have some nice instructions.  I made a S/M. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

French Jacket with Susan Khalje - Day 1

Earlier this month, I took a 5 day couture sewing class with Susan Khalje. I wanted to make a Chanel style jacket.  There were 12 students in the class and it was hosted at an ASG member's home.  (Yes, she had a very large nice home that fit all 12 students and their supplies nicely.)  I showed up on time with my muslin prepared and ready work very hard and learn all I could.
The pattern I chose was Vogue 8804 because I liked the 3/4 sleeves and short length.  I was going to omit the buttons and overlap and use centerfront coat hook closures.  I quickly learned that it might be difficult (some said impossible) to make a Chanel jacket in 5 days and was discouraged and told I should make a regular jacket (with organza underlining).  I wanted to learn how to make a Chanel jacket and was willing to go back to the hotel each night and work until midnight if I had.  Then I learned that my pattern choice was not optimal due to the back darts and the grain of the sleeves.  It was suggested I use Vogue 7975.
This meant I had to make an entirely new muslin and all I could think about is losing one of my 5 days working on a muslin.  One of the other students loaned me her Vogue 7975 and another loaned me some muslin, and I quickly put together another muslin while Susan was fitting the muslins of the other students.  (I don't have any photos of the new muslin because as you can imagine I was frantically working trying to get caught up.)  I managed to get my new muslin done that morning, fitted that afternoon, stitch lines redrawn thread traced and ready to cut out my fashion fabric. Fortunately most of my fitting issues are pretty easy:  taking in the bust, letting out in the hips, expanding the bicep of the sleeve, and some lengthening here and there. By the end of the day I was ready to cut my fashion fabric which I purchased about a year ago from Fabric Mart Fabrics. I managed to pin my pattern pieces to my fabric before the class ended on day 1.  You can see my fabric on the floor in the hotel ready for cutting.

I had to match the plaids and line up the pattern pieces so that everything matched after sewn.  I will cut the three piece sleeves out later because those needed matching and the plaid lines might change after a few more fittings. The main jacket pieces were roughly cut out using 2" seam allowances.
That evening I basted every stitch line. Each line/side basted is a separate piece of thread.
And also basted on the stitch line some silk organza to the shoulder/sleeve area of the 4 side jacket pieces. Susan said it was not necessary to do the entire armseye, just the upper portion. 
The next day I was going to baste the jacket together for another fitting.


While I search for trim for my Chanel/French Jacket I decided to take a break from garments and make  a sewing machine cover.  Inside the Fall issue of Stitch magazine there is a really cute sewing machine cover.  I found the fabric as shown at a local-ish store in Laguna, California called  Sewing Party. The cover has a cute patchwork spool of thread and some really cute sewing related fabric.  It was fairly easy to sew up in a few hours (I had to read and re-read instructions a few times to figure out what they were talking about and still not sure I got it right, but it does look the same.)  The cover is quilted with some simple lines and lined with white cotton muslin. 

Can you see the "spool"?

I got some trim samples from Britex but am not excited about any of them.  I've been scouring the internet looking for trim.  If you have any suggestions on where to get trim for a Chanel/French style jacket let me know.  I'm looking for something off white with maybe a little black and coffee colors.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Where Has the Summer Gone.... Has it really been 3 months?

I cannot believe I haven't posted anything for almost 3 months! I think after the wedding dress I took a break and that break turned into 3 months. I have so much to catch up on.

First, the wedding gown, finished and the happy bride and groom.  The dress was a success.  It fit beautifully, stayed on and in place, and my niece looked beautiful.  I did a full review of the dress PatternReview

Here's the mother of the bride (sorry for the poor quality, and it was a windy day).  The wedding ceremony was at the Presidio overlooking San Francisco Bay.
Both dresses were a challenge to work on.  I am very happy with they way they turned out.

The following is a photo summary of what I've been working on these past couple of months

So you can see, I've still been sewing and churning out garments.  I just recently returned from a 5 day Susan Khalje Couture class. My project was the Chanel/French jacket.  ooo-la-la.  I am now searching for the perfect trim.  I took photos of the construction process and will be posting soon with lots of photos.. promise!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Huntington Library and Gardens, Pasadena, California

Warning: this is not sewing related......

I work in Pasadena at Caltech as does one of my sisters (I have three).   About once a week, during our lunch hour,  she and I go over to Huntington Library and Gardens to wander around .  We like looking at the gardens and just being outside, however, today it was hot (and I was hungry and cranky and didn't really want to wander too much) so we went inside some of the gorgeous buildings to see some of the exhibits.  Here's some photos

I thought these light bulbs were interesting

 A view out one of the gallery windows
My sister and I