She sewed my new blue jeans…

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Tools of the [sewing] trade
I have started to teach 6 co-workers, who range in age from 26-40, how to sew. We meet each Friday afternoon and spend a few hours sharing lunch, chatting, and discussing all things sewing.  Three are novice seamstresses and the others rank somewhere along the beginner spectrum.  I’ve been sewing for as long as I can remember so I had to really think back to what my grandmother and mother taught me, and combine that with what I learned during my fashion design training to create my own ‘learn to sew’ series.  In other words, always begin with the baby steps.

The first baby step will be to assemble a basic sewing kit, which will come in handy whether one ends up sewing or not.  I’ve suggest visiting JoAnn or Walmart or surfing Amazon to purchase the following:

Over the summer my plan is to teach the group hand sewing stitches and techniques, sewing machine use and maintenance, fabric and pattern skills, and help the group with their first sewing projects (which include a pillow/comforter set for a doll, making a throw pillow cover with a zipper, a full skirt, and a table runner).

Are you a sewer?  What sorts of things do you like to make? Do you have any tips or wisdom I can pass along to my sewing circle? I’d love to know…

*House of the Rising SunThe Animals

Long cool woman in a black dress…

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Last weekend I made myself a kimono dress.  Next up is a dress guaranteed to remind me of 70’s summers spent attending concerts like Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, and the Dead.  I had at least 3 different versions of this dress as a teen and loved each one.

The Alice & Olivia Spring 2017 runway look pictured above reminds me of those maxi dresses of my youth.  To recreate the look I plan on using lightweight solid rayon challis for the skirt, a contrasting embroidered cotton print for the bodice and straps, and some complimentary jacquard and satin ribbons for the trim.  All I need to complete the look is a pair of hoop earrings, some espadrille wedgies and a concert ticket (or two)!

*Long Cool Woman (in a black dress)The Hollies

Summer’s here and the time is right…

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It doesn’t matter what you wear

Even though summer doesn’t officially begin until June 21st the season always starts on Memorial Day weekend for me.  I can finally pull out my lightweight clothing, go to the beach, and work in the garden (and on my tan) until the skeeters drive me inside.  I tend toward no-fuss easy pieces, with dresses being my ‘go to’ item to wear – or make.

With rain in the forecast this weekend I plan on recreating one of my favorite looks from the Spring 2017 runways – the kimono wrap dress.  It’s such a classic style that flatters most wearers regardless of size or shape.  Plus, kimonos are incredibly easy garments to make.  You can find patterns at Burda and Vogue, and almost any solid or print fabric from gauzes to embroidered cottons to silks will work.  After that, all you need are some sexy shoes and a minimalist piece of jewelry to be ready for dancing in the streets (or anywhere else your summer takes you).

*Dancing in the Street  – Martha and the Vandellas

My coat of many colors…

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2 Bombers 4 Ways

This spring fashion is all about the Statement Jacket!  The variety of styles and treatments available to buy or make is endless and only limited by the wearer’s imagination (or pocketbook). Today I’m showcasing two versions of the bomber jacket that would be easy to make if you are so inclined.

I really like Joie’s Mace Floral Silk Bomber Jacket.  If you are going to make a similar look there are endless fabric choices to choose from.  Silk, cotton, velvet – almost any fabric would work well.  I’m leaning toward some sort of silk brocade with cord trim and a satin lining to make my own version of the look.

The Elie Tahari Glenna Sheer Floral Lace Bomber Jacket is another favorite of mine.  It’s a look designed for casual sex appeal and could be dressed up or down.  I’d love to make something similar in the sequin and beaded tulle (which would weigh a ton but look awesome!) but will settle for using a burnout fabric instead. Once I’ve finished I’ll wear it with a black tank, faded boyfriend jeans and black sandal – the perfect outfit for a night of clubbing in Miami next month.

Next up…denim jackets done 3 ways.

 

Velvet if you please…

Last week I featured my first Fall 2016 Trends – ‘Recreating the Runway’ looks, which focused on leopard.  Next up…velvet.

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Part 1: a DIY take on Elie Saab Fall 2016 – the Skirt

Models who walked Elie Saab’s Fall 2016 show looked like groupies on their way to an exclusive after-party, decked out in their finest laces, leathers and velvets.  The outfit pictured above could work for any age or size and would be very easy to make. Start with any basic full skit pattern, extending  the length and adding pockets if necessary. Use a burnout velvet for the skirt and a sheer black fabric for the lining. Make a full-sleeved turtleneck blouse in a rich organza or a lightweight knit or skip this step and use a turtleneck you already have.  Finish recreating the look with lace-up pumps, a wide western belt, chandelier earrings, and a few tassel or lariat necklaces.

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Part 2: a DIY take on A.L.C Fall 2016 – the Coat/Dress Ensemble

I did not technically see this A.L.C. look stroll down the runway. Instead, I stumbled upon this coat and dress at the Neiman Marcus site while searching for shoes. A google search later and I had discovered designer Andrea Lieberman’s richly colored, elegantly simple creations.  To recreate this look I’d make the Burda trenchcoat in a silk velvet with a satin lining, leaving off the front pockets and transferring the right flap to the left.  I’ve opted for a simple sheath dress pattern made from a stretch velvet in the same color as the coat fabric. Since it’s important that the coat and dress are the exact same color you might need to choose one fabric to make both.  Complete the look with a great pair of gold heels (the higher the better), some simple gold jewelry, and a deep red lipstick…and an after-party or two!

Fashion…turn to the left

I have loved fashion ever since I can remember.  Maybe it’s because I come from a long line of tailors and seamstresses (I learned to sew and embroider before I was 5) or maybe it’s because my mom and my aunts were so stylish that it rubbed off on me. Whatever the reason, when the seasons change I find myself scouring the world of fashion (including WWD, Vogue, and The Cut) to find out what’s hot.

This fall the hottest trends that appeal most to me are leopard, velvet, florals, dressed up bohemian, and the colors navy, pumpkin spice, and grey (naturally). Today I am posting the first in a series of ‘Recreating the Runway’ boards that combine my favorite fall looks with my love of sewing…

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Part 1: a DIY take on Alice & Olivia Fall 2016 – the Coat

Leopard is, as always, a top trend. Alice & Olivia were responsible for one of my favorite Fall 2016 shows, sending 70’s rock-n-roller fashion down the runway.  This particular outfit really caught my eye since it would be simple to recreate (and look good on rocker chicks of any size or age).  I would lengthen the pattern to just below the knee and use large shoulder pads to give the coat some body, using a rich red silk for the lining.  A black or gold lining would look fabulous too. After finishing add a silk rose lapel pin (like this beauty from Etsy) and rock on!

 

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Part 2: a DIY take on Alice & Olivia Fall 2016 – the Dress

An easy-to-make classic wrap dress completes the look.  The A&O dress has the left front wrapping over the right so you might need to manipulate whatever pattern you choose to get the same effect.  I love the silky prints I found at Jo Ann Fabricswhich compliment the coat beautifully. I love a strong shoulder so I would use pads to give the dress some shape whether the pattern calls for it or not.  All you need to complete the look is a wide leather belt wedge knee-high bootsand a great concert or rock club to wear it to!  Rock on.