Last bit O’Fall

IMG_2068.jpgBefore all the Christmas  music  and media being pumped on the airways since Nov 1st block out any memory of Fall and Thanksgiving, I thought I would post here pictures of my Fall season. Don’t get me wrong. I am happy for Christmas to come. I just want to use this post  to remind myself of  just what I am thankful for. With families in Paris mourning their loss, refugees fleeing Syria, and even (  good gracious…) too many homeless living my my own home town,   I am wanting to pause and be thankful for my life,  my health, my sewing skills,my friends, my family. You know- thankful for all the big and little stuff in my life.These are so many things that  I have that I know others in the world don’t have  or don’t have access to today.

camp_ws.jpgFirst  to share briefly that I had a  great time at Camp Workroom Social. It was great to get together with like minded sewing people and enjoy sewing together, talking sewing “stuff” in class and in the bunk house, learning some new sewing  tools and techniques to use and  to do it all in the glorious Fall colors  of upstate NY.  The drive up in the bus was a gorgeous  fall scene outside the window and the YMCA camp we stayed in ( FROST VALLEY YMCA CAMP )was AMAZING, spacious and comfortable.  Trust me- I went to “sleep away” camp as a kid every summer. Camp Workroom Social was  glamorous camping -or GLAMPING as it’s known.   For me it seemed the camp really knew how to make a large group of people feel comfortable in the woods. We were rather a large group- about 50 0r so women. And we were not the only group at the camp property  that weekend. The camp  itself was a “well oiled machine” when it came to  feeding and accommodating large groups. We had  a comfortable “bunk house” and the  our group had a private dining room in the large cafeteria building, so  I did not feel like our large group was “banging into” another group on the grounds. There may have been chaos somewhere ( Jennifer our  Head Counselor would have known…) but I didn’t feel it.

The drive up to camp…
We’re here !!




One of many fields at camp… 
Our Bunk house…
Our room..
Cafeteria building…

Outside of sewing, I took on hiking and Archery (gettin’ my “Katniss Everdeen” on)  which really did conjure up memories of my childhood summer camp days.

Archery Field
Sharon as “Katniss”…

Hey – I didn’t forget everything from when I was a kid-I got three bullseye during the archery session.  I figured that wasn’t too bad  since I hadn’t done archery since waaaayyyy back when.

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Although I took a few private walks in the woods, I have included shots from our Saturday morning group hike.  Nothing like a 7:30am hike in the  Fall woods before breakfast and a full day of sewing. Some of you are cringing right now at that thought , but for me it was great.  IMG_2020.jpg IMG_2013.jpg IMG_2010.jpg IMG_2016.jpg IMG_2009 (1).jpg IMG_2018 (1).jpg

We had great weather  with just enough chill in the air, and the Fall colors were at their peak for Upstate NY. We  even experienced 15 minutes of snow fall during one of the chillier days in the afternoon- which made some of  the folks who came from California go wild and take selfies outside in the snow. The Canadians laughed at this.

Since I ended taking up classes that were Fitting with Melissa during the weekend, there was not really a garment to complete for the weekend- like the jeans or the patternmaking or the kids clothes or the  bramaking classes did.  I did learn  a lot during the weekend that I know  will help me fit others and myself better. Also I did come away with an excellently “fit- to- me” basic bodice, sleeve, and pant sloper.  Those slopers alone are priceless. I am armed and ready for any pattern making creativity.

More to come…



Having a cake (— well a picture of one…) and Cindy too!


My Niece sent me this picture that she found on the internet. THIS IS A CAKE, PEOPLE!!  A CAKE!  Isn’t it gorgeous?

I don’t who made it, or  what company created it, but I just thought it was gorgeous and I wanted to preserve this image as part of my blog. This cake  also presented a challenge to me. A challenge I kinda liked.

This image represented an “in- my-face” challenge  that spoke to me and said  “OK little Ms Tailorchick, REACH with your sewing skills and get to the point where you can sew  and create as good as that cake is decorated. DO in fabric what the pastry chef did with butter cream and sugar paste”. I am sure they took a picture of the cake because it represented that pastry chef’s ‘personal best’ at that moment.  Inside of me there is this little woman who is crazy enough to think that I can achieve that level of  creativity in sewing skills with  my own two little  hands.

Images mean different things to different people.  There is something about this cake image that is  challenging ( inspiring ??) and saying to me  REACH FOR IT, Girl-JUST REACH FOR IT !!! Reach for those better sewing skills. Not to prove anything to anyone.  Not to ” worship ” sewing or feel that the craft is ” ALL of life” and everyone who sews should be  or feel  like I feel. Not at all. But really just for my own personal satisfaction. Really just to find and   to express the limits of my own creativity through sewing.  If others can find the way to express their creativity with that kind of excellence, and I want to do that as well, why can’t I? Why can’t I reach for that? Looking at this cake makes me  want to at least try. What the heck- got nothin’ to lose. And my sewing skills might get better.

Yeah, yeah there are books to consult, and senior sewists to seek out and to learn technique from. There are past notes from  my sewing teachers and mentors to read and re-read, and finding the time to practice sewing skill and technique so that they are executed well in the garment takes time I barely have in my schedule.  But doing this kind of stuff is what makes the sewing journey interesting and fun for me. This is MY version of sewing.  I don’t only sew to cloth myself, I sew for the fun of creating “something from nothing” and expressing any artistic streak that I might have. Stretching and challenging my sewing skills to do something new or something BETTER QUALITY than I did before, and seeing the results that I feel have reached a higher standard or a better “personal best” in sewing than what I had before I “stretched”,  is just plain old fashioned PRICELESS.

THERE— I have had my cake. Now I have Cindy too.

Cindy Vintage dress

So here is further boasting about my students. As mentioned and  promised in my last post- I was able to coax a picture from Cindy of herself wearing the vintage dress she was working on to wear to a friend’s August  wedding. Here Cindy is featured in the finished dress she made.  I think she looks great. I think the print she chose was just the right one for her and her happy personality. I think she was just the right “arm candy” for  her “Mr Man”  at the wedding.

Okay- Cindy gave me permission to mention that SHE KNOWS, PEOPLE that her center front may be what she called  “a little wonky”. *SIGH* NO MATTER, Cindy. I think  you looked good in the dress on that day, and  If I had not mentioned it to YOU– dear reader—  you may or may not have noticed anything about Cindy’s  dress center front.  I know what Cindy’s pattern looked like, I see the results she achieved, I can tell where she had a “make it work” moment with the Pattern and how her sewing results were different from the pattern, but I’m not telling.

AND C’MON everyone – let’s be real. Not EVERY day is ” expressing sewing creativity with excellence” day.  That’s why sewing is a skill that is ‘practiced’ and the enjoyment should come from working through the sewing process as well as getting the results. At least I think so. And haven’t  ALL of us sewing folk out there in blog-land had  “make it work” moments? ( aka-  Using “creative ”  sewing technique with ” different” results. Or sewing late into the night to get the garment finished  for the next day. Then there is the other favorite—sewing and finishing up the garment up to 10 minutes before we wear it out the door— all for the sake of wearing the PLANNED sewn garment we WANTED to wear on THE DAY we WANTED to wear it. That is why we “make it work” when we have to.

Anyway- Good job Cindy!  We’ll work on “wonky” later. No worries!

Jeans for me and the “emergency bride” ( I’ll explain ) in my next post.

Happy Summer’s done. Bring on the Fall.

Summertime in the city..

What am I doing for the summer- now that it’s half over? Obviously not blogging. Having a great “staycation” time in the city visiting museums,  doing some sewing working on “UFO’s” ( unidentified fabric objects ) in the sewing room,  and I am teaching-working with students who have not left the city for the summer.

OK friends- time to boast on  some of my students. These are the people who inspire me to sew. WHY? Because the quality that ties them all together( and that I so admire..) is that they are not afraid to try something new in learning sewing technique and to go BOLD in what they want to learn to sew and create. They inspire me to have that same  attitude and quality about my sewing goals. I so enjoy sewing with them.

I love Cindy.  She always wants to do something new that she has never done before in sewing. Cindy is working on a  vintage  style dress to wear to a  late summer wedding. It’s a pattern that has LOTS of darts ( which help support the fit) sprouting from a very interesting placed side princess seam line. She may be a little camera shy with that dress but I will see what picture of her in  the finished dress I can coax out of her.

Then there is Claire.IMG_4988

Claire has not been sewing for years on end, but  between YouTube, her mom, and just plain old tenacity, Ms. Claire taught herself how to sew. She pulls me along to offer her any fine tuning input when she needs it. She finished this dress two weeks ago to wear it to a wedding in Nantucket. It’s blue lace upon cream colored silk. Claire had never worked with lace before. I think she got great results. Just the “arm candy” for her guy’s arm that I hoped she would be in the dress.

Lastly there’s Jil.

IMG_1875 I taught a bra sewing seminar in New Jersey  couple of weeks ago to a group of women that I know through the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals (ASDP). A gal from the American Sewing Guild joined in as well. Bless her heart- the gal fro ASG drove 2hrs from  just outside of Philidelphia  just to get to our class and learn how to make bras for herself. Yep- again inspirational tenacity in wanting to learn how to sew something new!

In order for everyone to learn bra making  for the first time  and not worry about trying to fit their own size as yet, I gave everyone in the class the same sample size to sew up. It just so happened that the class sample was Jil’s size. ( *SIGH*… wished that was ME when I first learned… Anyway-) I was really happy for Jil as she finished her first bra, put it on HOT off the sewing machine- and it fit. Knowing Jil she will probably do more creative tweaking to the pattern here and there to really customize it for herself. I wouldn’t be surprised in the coming months to see Jil flashing her lingerie at us in monthly meetings for “show and tell” garment review. I’m sure it will be pretty!

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Another gal in the group-Gloria- gave us the most interesting bra- and the best laugh- of the class. Gloria was in the middle of telling the group an interesting story- just keeping the fun conversation going while we were all sewing. The funny thing was, when I did my classroom “rounds” to check on  and support everyone, I checked in on Gloria’s bra sample.  I noticed Gloria had done the most interesting configuration of bra cup insertion. Left cup in the right cup space. Right cup in the left cup space with shoulder straps in the center( see photo below). Just the thought of what that bra would do to the nipple direction of ANY woman’s Boobs made us all (including Gloria)  laugh.


I continue on with the rest of my summer sewing and  will start Fall sewing. I want to get some tailoring done, but I really want to get some clothes done to wear because I have plans to go to Camp Workroom Social. I will not be teaching, but I am going to enjoy the  sewing company and I am thinking it it will be a great Fall sewing retreat for me. Don’t want to be “naked in the woods” so I better get to sewing up the wools in my stash.

I am committed to the finishing up of my jeans UFO that I have have for  LOOOOG while now. Almost done!

IMG_1886 IMG_0772 IMG_0789IMG_1679 IMG_1680 IMG_1887 IMG_1874 Almost done!!

Happy summer!

Happy Spring- YAY !!

FINALLY…  Spring has sprung.  YAY !!!  VERY happy about winter being past. It’s still a little cool in the air on certain days though, so I am still wearing long sleeve stuff and lightweight wool jackets.

In honor of me wanting to challenge myself and not just LOOK at clothes in magazines and duplicate them “verbatim” anymore, I decided to make something fresh for myself and do  what I call a little “fashion design math” SO…


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Simple, NOT “reinventing the wheel” type of top. White textured silk from B&J fabrics, NYC. Very comfortable to wear. Should’ve had it sewn in time to wear to church on Easter Sunday, but  LIFE got to be LIFE and I didn’t get it done. NO WORRIES. I will dress it up with slacks or even “dress it down” with  my hair in a bun, pressed jeans and Dansko clogs for causal Sundays. We’ll see. Sewing makes it SO NICE to do what I want with my own wardrobe.

This “bell” sleeve variation or  “tulip” sleeve variation as some would call it, is kind of a different style for me, but with the spring weather this season I decided I wanted to push the envelop of what  style I would wear. I think I like doing this fashion math thing. I might try mixing stuff that seems crazy to mix ( like 1940’s with 1960’s ..) and see what I come up with. I at least hope not to get bored in the sewing room.

Is my version of fashion math going to create earth shattering  “never before seen styles”? Nope! I am sure  I got folks lookin’ at this top and saying ” I got a ( Vogue, Burda, pattern “X” fill in the blank company…) pattern for that ! ”  Mazeltov !!  Then we’ll both look good and have fun wearing this top’s style and celebrate that we know how to sew. I enjoyed draping the pattern  for the top and trying out  a new recipe I got for drafting the  basic sleeve pattern ( –recipe soon coming your way Cindy !). I took the  basic recipe and modified it to include the bell/tulip at the bottom.

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Had stitching  on the lining. Yep- can be done by machine, but what else would I do watching TV?  Ok, call me crazy. But  I like investing hand sewing into the garment.
Hand stitching on the lining. Yep- can be done by machine, but what else would I do watching TV? Ok, call me crazy. But I like investing hand sewing into the garment.

First spring top done. Now on to more!  IMG_1709

Snowy Day sewing

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Snow Day + cabin fever ( WHEN will  snow STOP and Spring come ??? ) + RARE little bit of time on my hands to sew for myself = a “pretty in pink” bit of lingerie to add to my collection. This isn’t my first time entry to the “bra sewing rodeo”, but I noticed in “blogdom” within the past 4-6 months that folks have ‘discovered’ bra sewing and have posted their results. I just wanted to join in the fray- especially with a snowy day and  a full sewing room. I am SO happy to see more sewing women  ( especially the fuller sized women…) taking on the challenge and creating their own bras and lingerie. They are  going on the learning curve journey of making the garments FIT, and creating and designing pretty things for themselves. It represents  a woman being THAT MUCH MORE empowered and made free from the tyranny of retail bra sellers- who just may not “get it” when it comes to sizing and  fit in the bra market.  You GO girls !! Oh yeah- did I forget to say Happy 2015? Must be the snow blindness! Happy 2015. May you all be well, prosperous, healthy and blessed! Keep stitchin’ !! SB

Happy Birthday Pattern Review !!

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I went to a GREAT birthday party last Friday. It was a party to celebrate Pattern Review and it’s youthful and vibrant 13 years in helping sewng people connect with each other and share in community on the internet.  The Party was held at Elliot Berman Fabrics in NYC. The  theme for the party go-ers was  to dress in the kind of garment that reflected your favorite era of fashion. I chose to wear a corset simply because a corset ( or it’s slightly different cousin the STAY..) to me best represents that commom garment which was the support underneath  MULTIPLE eras of beautiful womens fashion. From Medieval, to Renaisance, to Puritan, to American Civil War era, to the Victorian era,  to 1980’s Maddona, to Dita Von Teese and Lady Gaga, ya gonna find a corset worn proudly by SOME woman at any given era.

I chose to wear a corset I made for myself from a Laughing Moon pattern just so I could have one for myself. I got hooked on corsets when I took the Beverly Johnson  Bramakers course a little while back.  Beverly has a great Craftsy course on bra making these days. At the time I went,  Beverly included corset making as part of the  8 week professional bra making course I took. Once I put on my first corset in that class–  I was SOLD on them and addicted to making them !!! I think (hope ? ) that I may have made a  mini convert to corsets in Deepika when she tried this corset on at the PR Birthday Party. Even if you never make a corset for yourself, if you learn how, the sewing skills to make a corset “cross train”  well to help in  making Bridal wear and prom wear, and yes all the popular vintage styles.

photo 3 (1)  The corset I made is the “SILVERADO” which has the bust gussets. The other view- “The Dore'”  is plain without gussets. I found the included instructions easy to follow, although I will confess that I veered off the included pattern instruction as I learned a lot from Beverly on how to make  any corset pattern work to get the fit and finish I wanted. I altered the LM pattern in the back because I do have such a curvey sway in the back. BOY-OH-BOY does this garment feel good when it is on and laced up. It supports my back, supports and shapes my bust,  and supports my whole torso posture. and feels like a comfortable “exo-skeleton”. ( For those of you who care- NO I am not a “tight” lacer. I have no interest in reshaping my lower rib cage or inner organs!  And for you  corset purists – NO-I did not match the print. Next time! )

The out-ter layer floral fabric  of this garment is cotton from The City Quilter. I just liked the print and decided to use it. I lined the cotton fabric with a thin cotton polyester to support the cotton print fabric.  Inside I used a fabric called COUTIL which is a tightly woven strong cotton fabric made to put up with all the “pull” force that is needed to lace up and wear the garment. I added what s called a “modesty panel” in the back so my skin would not show through the back lacing. I used metal coil boning, and I have my own grommet setting machine to set the grommets in the back.

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In the final analysis, a corset is what you make it to be. A corset may not be for everybody, but when  a well fitted  corset is worn, it can make one feel comfortable, confident, supported, and ready to take on the world. I would say though that a corset does make a woman have a need to “fit” into the context of the world she lives in. Wearing a corset for 17hrs and needing to live in NYC and take the subway everyday is NOT  like living in 18th or 19th  century England or USA for the same 17hrs( a.k.a- having servants to daily get in and out of the thing..). But I could take a corset, a billowy silk blouse, some skinny jeans and  leather boots  for a 5 hr party night at a friend’s place. I always bring a change of clothes for  when the party’s over and the corset comes off. That will do !! And- Hey- you do the same thing with heels!! 🙂

Pattern Review PR Day NYC Fall 2014


Inspiration and Best Regards!

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Ya Know… I will always be grateful for the “15 minutes of fame” I received  back when  Gerties’  first book came out. How often does someone say “thank you” to you and have it be such a public and permanent published record? I don’t think it happens in a common manner to everybody.  Gretchen was kind enough to acknowledge me in her first book.  THE LEAST I can do is to use a pattern from the first book as inspiration to show in my blog, while wishing her BEST REGARDS and success on her second book.  As it stands now, my fifteen minutes of “fame with Gertie” are DONE, and I am quite satisfied with those minutes.  I don’t necessarily need any more.

As a side note..Gertie has lovers, and Gertie has haters.  What I find SO ironic ( and a lot amusing..) is that as time has rolled on,  and I peruse over my  Bloglovin’ list and the general “sewing webdom”, I have observed the  lists of those that love her either grow or fluctuate between love and hate. While those lists change, some  of Gerties’ haters have become vocal enough ( and some of their own blogs have  become more popular enough) in order  for them to earn haters of their own.  The Haters have gained haters!! Oy- what a mess!!

In any event –you guys know my philosophy.  Instead of being a  Gertie hater ( OR a “diary of a sewing fanatic” hater, OR a “male pattern boldness” hater, OR even a “so and so at MOOD sewing network” hater…) and posting that  hating foolishness all over the internet,  I would say to the haters: let your fingers  and sewing machine PRODUCE. Let your hands  “show out ” for all the expertise that you might  claim to have,  that is so-called “higher”, better or more deserving of  attention coming to you on the internet, than you feel other  more famous bloggers might  deserve.  Just keep sewing.

Granted—You too may end up being  the one who gets noticed by sponsors and gets the book deal, or the  online video teaching spotlight.  You have to know, though, that getting noticed comes with your own special set of haters, contoured to you, who won’t feel that you deserve to be famous either because of whatever they find lacking in your sewing skills or your blogged life. ( I am sure Gretchen and all those other popular bloggers are smart, and they IGNORE the haters. Sadly the haters still persist. People are funny that way !!!).

OR what could happen is you may NOT get the book deal, or the Pattern company perks, or the online presence, but you WILL have a wardrobe of nice looking clothes. Just keep sewing!

I guess for me, having the nice looking, well made, well fitting clothes in my closet is the foundation point! The well made clothes will last me longer than the fleeting 15 mins of internet fame.  For me, teaching people how to sew and helping them get to the level of  sewing skill that they want to reach, so that THEY can make clothing for themselves, is the foundation point. Whatever else comes to me after that, time will tell. I’ll  just keep it simple, keep it movin’, and keep enjoying sewing.

Okay, then…..



 IMG_1134 MAKES:



IMG_0833 This is the Sultry Sheath bodice pattern “straight out of the box” or shall I say from the back of the book. For me it needed  way more fitting around the bust.

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I eliminated the side seams to the skirt with my new skirt draping because of the amount of  yardage of fabric I had in hand for the skirts of both dresses

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YES !! I wanted the 1940’s “linebacker” shoulder pads for this look. If ya gonna go vintage –GO for it!


Yellow cotton blend  Pique’ from Fabrics & Fabrics, NYC. Dress lined in white cotton.

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The Little Black(ish) Dress

IMG_1163 This black Jacquard weave fabric for the second look is Chanel fabric that I WON last year at a Pattern Review event for “The Little Black Dress” held at Elliot Berman Fabrics.  The Jacquard is an “all over” weave that looks like an overlapping Chrysanthemum floral pattern. At the Pattern Review event last year , myself and a team of  new-found sewing friends put together  fabric remnants, paperclips, rubber bands and creativity to come up with an impromptu  evening gown that won a friendly event fashion competition. My prize was 1 1/2 yards of this wonderful fabric which I have had in my  fabric stash. ( I will say that I feel  Cousin Cathy looked chic that evening, and rightly won the LBD fashion show.) The green silk blend satin in the bodice is also  from my fabric stash.

In the pattern for  the second look I decided to add a scalloped and beaded Godet detail to the back skirt seam. I added it in at the last minute before finishing the dress- just cause I could. It wasn’t perfect results ( I think I stretched ALL kinds of bias grains with the “last minute-ness” manipulation of the scallop even with stabilizing interfacing for the scalloped faced edge…) but I enjoy the look and I made it work for me.  I interlined the skirt with cotton from my fabric stash to support the Jacquard from behind. I split the folds of the skirt dart fullnesses down the middle and cross stitched them open and  flat down to the skirt interlining to hold them in place and not be bulky in the dress.  I broke up some of the  beaded trim to get individual beads to sew for the  tacking down  of the scallops in the back seam detail. I also did some ”light” tailoring on the bolero to support the shaping of the jacket. The beaded trim is from M & J Trim, NYC.

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I had a “whoopsie” moment with the black bodice lining. I went cutting crazy and cut the dress bodice lining by mistake, then RAN OUT of black lining fabric to fix it.  Didn’t want to wait to get more black lining, so I shopped my fabric stash for grey lining. I ended up piecing the bodice lining in a very unorthodox manner, but I think it works. photo 1 photo 2

Did some hand sewing to put in the dress lining especially around the inside of the godet.

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photo 1f Sultry sheath 1d Sultry sheath 1e

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I thought  myself SO cute, and felt so frisky in that bolero, and fringe beaded dress and my gloves, that I could not stay still for the camera.There I am twisting and turning in that dress. Too much!! Anyway, I think I will have a good time this Christmas in this dress !!

As TIME and life journeys move on, our paths have not crossed, and I don’t really have  much contact with Ms. Gertie these days.  Although like many of you I do look in on her blog, I’m not really a “follower” of  her vintage style. A lot of the sewing tips Gretchen shares are catered to her fans and followers and that’s VERY OK. But I search out the internet for things a little deeper or meatier. I look for what I call “legacy sewing knowledge”-  trying learn stuff from those whose arthritic fingers may no longer have the skill to DO the sewing work, but that have the oral or written sewing traditions that they can teach me and pass on– before they themselves pass on. Sadly, I had once received information  through various voices that Gretchen lost contact with me a few years back as she may have thought I was hater.  Well as I said, I am not necessarily a vintage follower, but I am also not a hater!  If I was a hater, Gretchen,—- girlfriend,  I would be vocal, and you would know it.

As it stands-  I wish you Best Regards and  happy success! Thanks again for my 15 min of fame and  for the Inspiration for my Christmas 2014 outfit.

Congratulations on your new book! Meaning it to sound in the most encouraging manner, I say  to you:  Do Yo Thang !!

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For Cindy and Rosie. The Blue Lace Dress- for a friend of a friend!

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I’ve checked my WordPress stats!! Not very many folks come to peek at my blog. I’m ok with that for now. Am I trying to become the next “big thing” in sewing? Not really. You are only as good as the last thing you have sewn and posted. In addition peoples’ attention spans are pretty short, and they  are always looking for the next “NEW” thing you’ve sewn.  For me–  I like to take my time making clothes.  I can’t do “skirt-a-day”, “dress-a-week”, sadly not even “garment-a-month”. Like most folks, my life is more than sewing. And it can be exhausting trying to sew and compete for blog attention.  I think you knew that!

Anyway… I am going to take the opportunity that I have, with no one looking, to show Cindy and Rosie what I made ( since I think they are two of the only four people who peeked at this blog in the week…).

So — Rosie introduced me to Robyn, who introduced me to a friend of a friend. I made a dress for the Friend to wear to an upcoming special family event. I am showing it off because the dress is one of my favorite colors and I am very happy with how the lace neckline turned out.

It’s Midnight Blue lace from neck- to- knees. The lace is an overlay dress upon a matching  midnight blue silk organza and silk crepe dress. The dress is lined in black silk charmeuse- just for a little change from all the blue.

What I enjoyed the most was cutting the flat lace edging from the goods and  doing the “old couture school” hand sewing in shaping  the lace to form the  circular neckline.  I used a technique that Susan Khalje uses all the time to support the neckline with black “Hug Snug” seam binding tape. I was grateful to find and to underline the lace with the silk organza that matched perfectly so that I could keep the dress sheer  at the chest area and sleeves.

Unfortunately the Friend was in the process of moving out of state and needed the dress quickly, so I could not do ALL the couture touches that I wanted to do within the lace to eliminate the seams at the bust and “fish eye” darts and the side seams, but those seams and darts are hidden in the beauty of the lace, and I am happy with the results. Seemingly- the Friend was happy as well.

My goal was to make the Friend look like “arm candy” as she enters the room on  her husband’s arm on that special day. I hope she sends me a picture of herself in the dress on that day to prove it so!

Blue Lace Dress 1Blue Lace dress 1a Blue Lace Dress 1c Blue Lace Dress 2Blue Lace Dress 3Blue Lace Dress 4Blue Lace Dress 6Blue Lace Dress 6a      Lastly- I thought I would show you two gals what I did with my sewing space.  Changed it up since I returned from Berlin  this past May. Cindy has seen it, and maybe Rosie doesn’t really care, but I was inspired by Oonaballoona who recently posted her sewing space. I figured- what the heck? Only good friends looking anyway. See you gals soon!


Happy Fall, y’all -and “What I Did on my Summer Vacation!”


Even though it has been a little on the warm side in the city through Labor Day, for the past few days I can say that I have  begun to feel the slight cooling of  the breezes  that feels like early Fall – especially at night time. Because of that I am just going to go ahead and say HAPPY FALL SEASON !! Let the  wool sewing begin!

Maybe for some of you the wool sewing already started.  Maybe for some of you, your Fall winter  sewing is done and you are starting Christmas stuff. I ain’t mad at ya, I’m just not as organized. Happy sewing to you, anyway!!

So– what did I do for summer?

After my Berlin trip this past spring, I didn’t really go far from home for the summer. Took a trip to see family in the Midwest  and then came back to NYC.

And the answer to the question is YES- I DID GO TO  SEE CHARLES JAMES AT THE MET. Everybody and their Grandma, MeeMaw, big Sister, big Mama, and cousin Betsy went to go  see Charles James this summer at the Met.  And ya know what?? EVERYBODY blogged about it. Or Tweeted it. Or Pinned it. Or talked about it on TV. Goodness me!

OF COURSE it was gorgeous, but for a  brief moment there I couldn’t read about anything else on anyone’s blog except for Charles James. For the briefest moment it got to be a little redundant reading on the sewing blogs (everyone GUSHING with emotion…), but  I DO respect and understand people’s excitement. I am not trying to be snobbish or “Debbie Down-er” in any way  about people being excited about the exhibit.  I guess I am just spoiled.   I had gotten to see some of the dresses before, as they had been on display at various exhibits at the Brooklyn museum  or at my Alma Mater F.I.T. over the years. But YES, I was glad to FINALLY  get “up close and personal ” with some of  the gowns and see a little bit of  how  Mr James’ creative mind was thinking, and observe his technique, as his glorious creations were artfully deconstructed in the exhibit.  That being said—- It won’t be me, but I am sure SOMEBODY, somewhere (maybe cousin Betsy…)  is in a sewing room RIGHT NOW draping, and pinning, and shaping interfacing and boning,  and will be wearing some pseudo Jamesian “Tree” or “Clover” looking gown for Christmas.   To say one of  my favorite phrases again… I ain’t mad at ya ! You GO, girl ! Go ahead, strut your stuff,  and wear that Charles James knock off, and may the Force be with you !! Merry Christmas !

What else did I do for my summer vacation?? I went to WINTERTHUR !!


Winterthur ( WIN-TER-TOOR ) is a museum in the Baltimore, MD area that once served as the home of the wealthy DuPont family. In it’s time, Winterthur was a stately, American country home that had both the family economic systems and  the servants in place, and did MOST resemble the kind of  British country home portrayed in the PBS drama series Downton Abbey.  The exhibit at Winterthur  consists of many of the key character costumes from season 1 and 2 of the PBS Downton series. If you are a fan of the series, you get to see on display the actual clothes worn by the actors in the film. As a sewing person, it was good to see really good period costuming done well, and the clothes  from the series were the focus and the “stars” of the exhibit. But the exhibit  also  tries to give the viewer information in order to paint a picture of how  the Dupont family  household( where the exhibit is housed) was a  sort of LIVE and almost parallel, Amercan version of  the  portrayed British family, in the manner of how they lived and carried on a  large household with servants.  Of course we know that the British royal family, and  even the family living in the Castle portrayed as “Downton Abbey”, today, still live in the manner of the portrayed Downton! Some days I wish that  was me !

And -oh Yeah-God bless Kate! Pregnant again!

I believe the Downton exhibit is “up” until January 4, 2015, If you are going, YOU NEED TO  CONTACT WINTERTHUR AND GET TICKETS TO GET INTO THE EXHIBIT!! The tickets were free, but you do need to get them in order to make an appointment to see the exhibit.

Enjoy the pictures!




NOW I guess it’s after Memorial Day so I’ll JUST SAY HAPPY SUMMER !!

Some of you may know that I recently took a trip abroad to visit friends who live in Europe. My plans were to visit Berlin, Germany and then travel on to Paris, France with said friends. Well LIFE HAPPENS, and  travel plans changed. YES- I DID travel to Berlin and had THE BEST of fun times with my friends.  But NO-I did not get to Paris.  BUT- Lord willing– Paris will still be THERE when I am ready to go to Europe again.  (Sorry Cindy- NO Parisian fabric shopping jaunts this time. Besides,  the dollar was SO weak, it kind of made shopping for fabric  purchases somewhat prohibitive.  I had the “exchange rate blues” knowing that for every 100 Euros I would take from the ATM, about  $150.00 American dollars w/ fees would leave my pocket-OUCH!!)

I took a lot of  sight seeing type tourist  pictures at famous sites in the city that I had visited.  Berlin is a CLEAN, quaint,  and a very efficiently run city. There are some beautiful public parks and places to see in the city!! Some of them you can see in pics I have posted below.   Went to the Brandenburg Gate, visited the Berlin Chapel, saw the  Fernsehturm- an iconic television tower in Berlin, visited the Charlottensburg Palace and gardens and rode the Berlin subway. ( The subway cars in Berlin are colored a BRIGHT canary yellow. The first time you see them it’s sort of a surprise to a New Yorker— who is used to seeing  giant silver trains coming out of the tunnels. Ya get used to the yellow fast enough! It’s just another Subway- really! CLEANER, but just another subway.  Additionally not all doors of the subway cars open automatically once the train arrives to the station. One must push a button on the individual train door you want to enter or exit in order to open the individual subway car doors and get on or off the train!!   My girlfriend mentioned that it was an efficient way for the City of Berlin to save energy- not needing to open ALL doors, on ALL trains, EVERY single station . I don’t think that would work with the 8.8 million people crushing through the NYC subway system, but it works in Berlin, Germany! You KNOW you are a tourist in Berlin when you  miss your subway stop because the train pulls out of the station, and you are ON the train because you did not push the button to open the door to get OFF the train!!! YEP- You’re a real tourist then!! )

.The Brandenburg Gate The Berlin Chapel Fernsehturm in Berlin 2 Berlin Subway Charlottensburg Palace Front Courtyard Charlottensburg Palace statueCharlottensburg Palace Gardens

One of the highlights of my being in Berlin was finding the  main sewing shops. Shows you where my REAL heart is, huh!? My girlfriend who is there, is a “sewing friend”  so she understood my need for checking out what I could find in the way of where most folks get their sewing supplies in Berlin. I felt like I was “at home” when we walked into “IDEE” ( EEE- DAY-ah. OK, forgive my bad American pronunciation if I even “spell-pronounced” it wrong.) OK,  so it may  be considered a “big box” crafts store, but IDEE felt like a slightly higher end, better version of Jo-Anne’s. Great  fabrics selections, Liberty of London cottons,  and great  silks.  Basic sewing supplies. NO sewing machines for sale at IDEE.  Just decent fabric.

IdeeInside Idee 2Inside Idee 1

Lastly I was able to get to the “meat ” of the matter and visit a sewing shop! Remember those?   Shops that were usually highlighting one sewing machine brand or another, but they were  specifically there for you to gain access to buy  a sewing MACHINE- not necessarily fabric or supplies, just the machine! Of course they service machines too.  In Berlin, Germany OF COURSE I was expecting to see a PFAFF shop since historically Pfaff is a German made brand. These shops are VERY rare in Manhattan, NYC- if they exist anymore at all. Except for City Quilter, the closest sewing shop for me is not so close in Queens, NY. They dont make those kind of stores anymore in NYC. They can’t afford the  Manhattan rents.   Because of the rarity of that kind of shop, I had to have a pic of me in front of one in Berlin.

Also in Berlin, I found that  there are tailor shops EVERYWHERE. I could not walk within a 10 block radius of where I was staying and not find 3 to 4 storefront businesses where people were  sewing garments for sale ( a particular custom corset and lingerie shop comes to mind) or doing custom tailoring and  alterations or both.  One shop I saw made custom clothing for clients and  had handmade  custom designs in standard sizes for sale, did clothing alterations and tailoring, and had sewing classes in the back room- all in one shop! For me that shop was a little slice of sewing heaven to see.

Anyway– all in all I found that, in the sewing shops,  even though I may not have spoken German,  I did speak SEWING. Seemingly sewing and the sharing of sewing technique  is HANDS ON and can be shown as a universal language between sewing people! WUNDERBAR!!

Sewing Shop in Berlin   Glückliche Sewing ( Happy Sewing) TO ALL!!