2013 ESSENTIAL TOPS SEW-A-LONG FINISHED PROJECTS

June 23, 2016

June 20, 2016

THE FUNNY THING ABOUT FABRIC AND SEWING...

...is that the longer you stay away from it, the more it tends to intimidate you in the slightest of ways.  Indecisiveness about what to make next (because you have toooo many pattern choices), what size to cut,  do I bother making a muslin or not, can keep you stalled for days, even weeks - because sew friends we know that once it's cut, it's cut and there is no turning back.  But fabric is only fabric and we buy it to cut it - right?  Fabric is NOT MEANT TO BE KEPT FOREVER LINDA!

I've had two cuts of this bright, sun shiny yellow outlet in my stash forever.  I can't remember buying it, so it probably came from Ebony.  You remember Ebony, of the Glam Doll.  I just didn't know what I wanted to make with it.  But this summer I have visions of eyelet dancing on my brain, and there are several different colors in stash, but I'll start here.
NewLook 6459
 The top calls for back/front neckline and armhole facings that are interfaced, but because of the nature of eyelet I think I'll underline this one with the closest match I could find of batiste called sheer mist.  Now I'm wondering if my top will miss having the structure of the interfaced facings.  Mmmm, decisions, decisions.  I'll be sure to let you know in the next episode of "The Funny Thing about Fabric and Sewing:....

Thought I'd share a  picture of Ebony since she's done so much to help keep my fabric addiction alive and kicking.
My friend Ebony with son Cory, carrying her soon to be born second son.  We can't wait to meet him later this summer.

June 14, 2016

THE SEWING GOURMET CREATES ANOTHER DOLLHOUSE DELIGHT...

...it's been a while since The Sewing Gourment made an appearance on the blog, but I was so proud of my accomplishment in making another DollHouse Delight today that I just had to share.  You've heard of the DollHouse - right?, that's where I live.

I've always loved Chicken Parmigiana but was a little timid in trying the recipe.  I love the dish as prepared at the Olive Garden (as well as their Eggplant Parmigiana), but I don't necessarily want to make a trip there to get it every time I want the dish.  It was time for me to step up and give it a try.  Believe it or not, I love manipulating food ingredients as much as I love manipulating fabric and patterns.  Today I Googled many recipes but decided to experiment with this one from Food Network.

CHICKEN PARMIGIANA served at the DollHouse today
I was so very happy with my results!, and it wasn't hard to prepare in a little less than 1 hour.  The hardest part was flattening the chicken breasts with a mallet - I really don't enjoy that part but it is a necessary part of the process.  The recipe even has you make your own marinara sauce and I used fresh basil from my container garden from the back yard.  I served the dish with thin spaghetti and side salad -  and it was delicious!  Surprisingly, it even tastes good cold.  I've never tried it, but some people make this into a sandwich - now that sounds even more wonderful!  Please let me know if you decide to try it, and let me know me know what you think...  

June 11, 2016

SHOULDER EXPOSE...

...last weekend I decided I'd make my first summer garment.  That's right, my first.  My life had been topsy-turvy since the end of March - so as you could see there was NO Sewing going on here at all.  So, a quick trip to Joann's with my sewing friends resulted in...

a cut of polyester voile following me home begging to become one of summer's hottest trends - the off shoulder top (not that it's new - it has just cycled itself back around again).  The Fabric:  a muted lavender/green/gold floral print that reminded me of  summer vineyards sprinkled with tiny little sparkly sequins that resemble the fresh morning dew.  
How's that for a run on sentence of a fabric description?
  
I stepped out of the box a little with this one - sparkly little sequins never show up in my closet, and neither do off shoulder tops.  But with so many of them popping up all over the internet sewing arena Sheri, Erica, Candice Melanie, Andrea, Brittany; and then Margo issued her off shouldered challenge - do you dare Linda Faye?, Yes I do!, I just had to have one in some form or fashion.  There are a oodles of pattern choices out there one could choose from, but since I loved what Margo did with McCall's 6558 - and because was already in stash - and so darned cute, it's the one I opted for...

McCall's 6558

Playing around with my Cannon Rebel which I'm finally determined to learn how to use.  Such a learning challenge!  LOVE MY NEW TOP!  Picture shows my house badly in need of a pressure washing bath - mmmm maybe later this summer.



The colors of my new top matched a pair of pants made several summers ago exactly.  Cell phone picture at work is sometimes the best that I can do.

RATING:  Very easy make; beginner friendly.
                  Pattern offers several style variations.

I think this top will get lots of wear this summer, and I will make it again.  It's so nice to finally be sewing again, so now on to the next project. 

I am so very nosey! I'd like all my readers to tell me what's on their sewing agendas this weekend???  Be the first to spill the beans...

 

June 7, 2016

FRESH...

... 
  •  like your first breath of crisp morning air
  •  as in something  new and inviting
  •  exhilarating
That explains FRESH in a nutshell,  and that is exactly what I thought when I happened across Shari William's blog My Daily Threadz about a year ago.  The first thing you'll notice upon arrival is the upbeat, positive, often inspirational quotes that opens each and every MDT post.  Shari thinks of her blog as her "Vacation Home"; what a wonderful analogy!  She's extended an invitation for us to pay a visit, and even asks that we bring along a friend.  The gracious hostess says that we "don't need to bring a thing -  she'll take care of all the rest as we explore the world of fashion using needle and thread".  So, are you ready...





I saw your most recent fabric haul on Periscope Shari – oh my, how beautiful!   I can’t help envying people who live in or near one of the great fabric Mecca’s.  What are your favorite fabric sources/stores?
·        Do you order fabric online?
·        What are your favorite fabrics to work with?
·        What yardage guidelines do you use when purchasing fabric?

SHARI:  To be honest I thought my favorite place to shop for fabric would be New York but to my surprise it wasn’t.  Now I’m not sure if it was just me but the shops that I was interested in visiting weren’t in close proximity to one another instead they were pretty scattered.  I guess it could be that I’m just use to the fabric district in Los Angeles where everything is close together or within close walking distance.  Now the selection and sheer beauty of the fabric in New York was amazing but then again the cost was unbelievably expensive.  I was later told that I was in the designer area not really the ideal place to shop so next time I will plan better. LOL With that being said I would still say my favorite place to shop for fabric is right here in Los Angeles.  Everything is close together, the price can be negotiated, they usually have everything I need and it’s not far from home.

I do order fabric online but very rarely! I like being able to feel and fully experience the beauty of fabric before I purchase it.  Online shopping is okay from time to time but not my favorite thing to do at all.


·        My favorite fabric to work with would be a great quality Ponte Knit, Gabardine, Challis, Crepe and SCUBA! lol I can never get enough of these lovely textiles and try to keep them stocked in my fabric stash. 
   
          I really don’t follow a guideline for how many yards I’m going to buy when I shop.   There are times when I have a project in mind and other times I simply let the fabric speak to me so there’s never really a set amount that I go in a store ready to buy.  Of course some would argue that this is crazy, a waste of time not to mention money, but I disagree.  Even when I do have a project in mind if the fabric is fabulous and at the right price point I tend to buy large quantities.  Doing it this way allows me to see how the fabric works/manipulates, moves and feels when being used for various styles.  Plus buying extra is great for giveaways and sharing with the rest of my sew family which I try to do as often as I can.

 
 
 
I love your designs and their modernistic-retro vibe.   Can you summarize your fashion esthetic?
SHARI:   You know people have asked me this question a million times and it’s still hard for me to answer!  I think of myself as EVERY WOMAN! You know kind of like Marie Osmond, sometimes I’m a little bit country and other days I’m a little bit rock n roll!  Well not exactly country or rock & roll but you get my drift.  I simply love fashion so what I wear and make tend to reflect how I’m feeling at that time in my life.  Sometimes I’m retro because I’m remembering simpler times from my childhood and other times I’ll wear more modern pieces because I’m feeling strong and confident.  Then I have my classic chic moments when I simply want to convey a lady like femininity that speaks for itself what I refer to as my Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera moments.  So it’s hard to put me in one category and say “Yes that’s me” because tomorrow I’m likely to be someone else and I actually like it that way.   However if you tied me down and made me choose I would say I like simple classic chic styles and tend to design within those realms.
  
Are you self-taught, Home Ec, or Fashion Design School – can you tell us your sewing story?
SHARI:  While I did go to design school back in UHMMM (clears throat) let’s just say back in the day most of what I’ve learned about sewing I taught myself.  Although some might consider me an expert I would definitely beg to differ.  Okay so I’m no beginner but I’m no expert either! I have so much more to learn and the funny thing is I’m in no rush! LOL.
 

A passion for sewing oozes from your blog posts, what fuels this passion?
SHARI:  This is a really great question and I wish I had a great answer for you. LOL The thing is I never really loved to sew but I love to design and my mind is always thinking of ways to make women look and feel good about themselves.  The reason I sew is because I’m driven by my desire to see the visions in my head come to life.  The truth is if I could hire someone to sew every design that pops into my head I probably would (no kidding).  Now don’t get me wrong I do enjoy the peace and relaxation that comes from sitting in my studio and sewing but my career and life in general prevent me from enjoying it as much as I probably could.

What are your favorite garments to sew?
SHARI:  My favorite garments to sew would definitely be anything off the shoulders and of course a great jumpsuit!  I absolutely love sewing these two styles and can whip them up in my sleep!

What are some of the most challenging garment(s) you’ve ever sewn?
SHARI:  Wow the most challenging garments I’ve ever sewn would have to be my sequined pieces.  Talk about wanting to through something across the room and run it over with my car a couple of times! SHEESH! Yes while the results are fabulous the tedious time consuming, needle popping chore of it all is enough to drive anyone insane!  The challenging part is having to remove just the right amount of sequins from your seams to not only allow for a smooth well-constructed garment but to minimize your chances of breaking needles and damaging your machine.  Not a fun process at all! Just thinking about it now gives me the shakes! LOL.


What do you like most about your sewing space?
SHARI:  I love everything about my sewing space and I do mean everything! From my lounge and changing area to my drafting and constructing space I love every square foot!  There are times when I will go in my studio with the intent of sewing something fabulous but unfortunately my lounge area will call out to me and I know it’s probably best if I just chill.  There is a calming affect that my space has over me and that is something I never want to lose.



What are your most useful sewing tools?
SHARI:  Believe it or not my most useful sewing tools are my seam ripper, Iron, Ham/seam roll, my dress forms and of course my machines (my babies).  I mean who among us hasn’t had one of those days when your seam ripper was your best friend!  I do most of my sewing in the evening after work and I’m up until midnight or later so in my haste I have been known to sew something incorrectly and not catch it until I’m done. It’s so frustrating, but hey that’s what seam rippers are for!  Having a good iron/ironing supplies are crucial to the sewing process, thus not taking the time to iron as you go and once you’re done can and most often will affect the outcome of your garment.  Although having a dress form is not something you have to have to sew they are great tools to have with regard to fit and being able to create your own garments from scratch.   Of course no dress form is exact with regard to your own personal measurements unless you have it custom made but there are kits available to help you achieve the most comparable fit for you.

How extensive is your sewing reference library? What books on your shelf would you recommend?
SHARI:  You know I don’t have a big personal library mainly because I’m so close to several fashion schools that allow the public to visit and do research at their facilities that I simply haven’t felt the need to invest the money in building my own.  I will however say that the few I do have are those I felt I couldn’t do without and I would definitely recommend others.   Right now I have the revised edition of the Vogue Sewing book, Modern Pattern Design, The Fashion Designers Textile Directory, Readers Digest Guide to Sewing and lastly for those interested in draping the Drape Series books 1-3.




Can you share several sewing tips that would help others take their sewing skills to the next level?
SHARI:  The first thing I would suggest is know your skill level and stay there until you master it! So often I see folks out in social media land sewing garments well beyond their skill level and it shows!  I say master the basics and once you’ve done that then move on!  There is no magic pill you can take to become a better sewer it’s all about the time you put into mastering the craft. Secondly I would say if you don’t know don’t be afraid to ask! Heck I don’t know everything and there are those in my circle who know more than I do so I make it a point to ask before screwing up a crap load of fabric.  I would also recommend investing in certain membership opportunities that can help teach you based on your skill level such as, Burda Style, University of Fashion and Craftsy all of which have fabulous recorded sewing/drafting classes.   Lastly I would say take your time, this sewing game is not a race.  The only one you have to please is yourself and the moment you start trying to compete with what others are doing and how quickly they’re doing it is the moment you need to reevaluate why you want to sew.   


For a FRESHER look at West Coast designer/blogger/entrepreneur Shari Williams, be sure to follow here on these platforms as well (it will be hard to miss her - she's everywhere):
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o   Youtube: Shari Williams  (Will be converting to My Daily Threadz soon)
o   BlogLovin: My Daily Threadz
o   Periscope: My Daily Threadz
o   Twitter: My Daily Threadz
o   Skype: My Daily Threadz
o   Facetime: MyDailyThreadz
o   Google+: Shari Williams (Will be converting to MyDailyThreadz soon)

June 1, 2016

SOMETIMES IT'S IN YOUR OWN BACK YARD...

... I LOVE Named Patterns - yes I do!, as I love lots of other independent pattern companies, yet I'm  always just a little bit hesitant to purchase.  Most are just a little out of my reach because it involves international shipping, or lets not mention long PDF taping sessions, currency that I don't understand, and a pattern company that I am unfamiliar with.   I've been experiencing a recent pattern obsession ya'll - which isn't a bit strange for me.  I've fallen in love with this pattern


Aren't these just the perfect summer pants?!  Made up in just the right fabric (that you know already exists in my stash, I know I'd enjoy wearing these and that they would get HEAVY rotation in the wardrobe line up.  But then again, I just didn't want to order.  Just as I had enlisted my friend Myra  (who has helped me find other elusive patterns) to help me nail down a similar obtainable Big 4 pattern, I typed "crossover pants images" into a Google search and looky what popped up.  I LOVE GOOGLE!

The very best part of it all is I'm blessed to have this May 2012 issue of Burda Style Magazine in my possession so I don't have to go on a search for it (I grow tired of searching).  Sometimes what we want can be found right in our own back yards - or a drawer of our night stand in this case.   Even though I will not be able to trace today - there is tomorrow...

May 30, 2016

A MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE...

...my Dad was so young when he joined the Army that his Mother had to sign for his enlistment. Over 36,000 American lives were lost in the Korean Conflict, but the Good Lord brought my Father safely home to live out his 81 years. He lived to see his children and grand children grown, and to see his great-grand children. What a Mighty God we serve!

 Rest in Peace James "Rattlesnake" Coley!

BOOKS ACQUIRED

  • Pants Sewing Guide
  • Denim Revolution
  • Pants for Real People
  • Jackets for Real Peopls
  • Easy, Easier, Easiest Tailoring - Palmer & Pletsch - Gifted
  • The Sewing Machine Attachment Handbook
  • Ribbon Crafts
  • Professional Sewing Techniques for Designers
  • Successful Serging
  • Making Trousers for Men and Women
  • Couture Sewing Techniques
  • Singer - Perfect Plus
  • Cool Couture
  • Couture, The Fine Art of Sewing
  • Singer Sewing Reference Library - Tailoring - GIFTED
  • The Perfect Fit: The Classic Guide to Altering Patterns - Creative Publishing International
  • Fit for Real People
  • DK-The Complete Book of Sewing