THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

October 11, 2008

In Amsterdam with Els

Not me, unfortnately, but Kathleen Fasanella, who met up with Els on her recent trip to Amsterdam.  She did a great post of her visit on Fashion-Incubator, and Els honey, you are rocking those eye glass frames!

August 31, 2007

The Hostess Cupcake Dress

Some of you may recognize this dress, published in Threads as an illustration for my article on snoop shopping. What you probably don’t know is that this dress was a joint Sewing Divas effort. I made the pattern, Diva Emeritus Ann sewed it, and Phyllis did the embellishing. All of this was done by phone and e-mail, a great collaborative dress!


I started with a sketch based on a top purchased at retail. There was to be no embellishing around the neck, just some lace trim and an organza rosette at the center front waist. organza-roses.jpg

However, in the way that sketches have of changing as they begin to take shape in RL (Real Life), the original concept had to shift with the requirements of the situation. What happened? First of all, I had to get the sample made FAST – I could not send off to China to get the sample made. Second, BB (Big Boss) wanted the sample to be in chocolate brown silk chiffon. No chance of dyed to match trim….so I went to the trim stash to see what I could come up with, and purchased a couple of other things to toss in there. I sent all of the disparate elements to Phyllis and she made it into a lyrical cohesive embellishment that added enormously to the final allure of the dress. proposed-embellishment-mockup.jpg Here’s what I sent her, and just see how she put it together in the final dress above! The tea-dying of all the elements took away some of the white icing on the cupcake look that we struggled with (hence the dress’ nickname).

Phyllis’ hand made silk rose at the waistband was the real icing though, with her strands of beads cascading down, far better than the tacky ivory flower pin I sent her, or the organza roses with the trailing ends seen in the photo from the shop in Hong Kong. Phyllis’ embellishment is what made this cupcake dress so yummy!

April 26, 2007

It’s Not Super Triple Secret Any Longer

Filed under: Closures,Divas in the Press,Fabric,Gorgeous Things,Uncategorized — Gorgeous Things @ 5:23 pm

I haven’t been posting much lately because of work loads and things competing for my time. But I did just get a notice that the project, which I have been calling the “Super Triple Secret Project” has just been put out for public consumption at Threads Magazine. You can see it in the current issue of Threads, and it is online (without all the photos) here.

The article started thanks to the striped dress, which I made for myself last year for a summer dress. The pattern is New Look 6557. I changed the waistband pattern, as well as the grain alignments on several of the pattern pieces. I love this dress, and in warm weather I wear it frequently. Of course, I’m sure they had to safety pin it to within an inch of it’s life to fit the model, but it looks pretty good, I think.

The “fun” part of the project, and the Super Triple Secret part that had me tearing my hair out, was the white jacket. Now, that is one gorgeous, gorgeous jacket! I based it on a D-Squared look from the spring 2006 RTW line. I used a McCalls pattern as the basis, and you can see the process I went through to convert the pattern on my blog. It’s made from two silk fabrics, a duppioni that has nubby 1 inch wide stripes woven into it, and a novelty silk ottoman-type, that was woven in such a way that it had a quilted effect. The fabric was double faced with uneven horizontal stripes woven through it. And there was silk batting between the layers. When I opened the package from Threads containing the fabrics, I gasped in surprise and pleasure, they were that lovely.

Sewing with them? Hmmmmm, that was another issue. The duppioni was just fine. I love duppioni because it sews up well and is very easy to manipulate. The quilted silk, on the other hand, was an unmitigated rhymes-with-witch. I have two sewing machines in my sewing room. One is a Pfaff with differential feed, the other is an industrial Juki. I decided right out of the gate that the Juki would not work with this fabric. So first I tried sewing a seam with the Pfaff. Because of the horizontal quilting, I was super, super careful cutting the fabric so the lines would match across the seams of this princess style pattern. When dealing with a fabric like this, always, always cut out your pattern pieces in a single-layer layout. I did so, and it gave me control over the placement of the design and grain lines.

Under the presser foot, though, this fabric took on a Bad Diva personality. It loved to shift and move around, even with the differential feed turned on. I hand basted all the seams, and I even ended up recutting some pattern pieces to compensate for the shifting. Gah! It still didn’t want to cooperate! I did finally beat it into submission, but it cost me dearly in the number of gray hairs I got from it.

Finally, I did finish the jacket, after crying “Uncle!” to my editor, Jennifer Sauer. You can see the front view of the jacket in the magazine article (not online). But for your previewing pleasure, here’s a picture of the jacket as it sat on my dress form before I sent it off (and before I did the final press):
The Kathleen Battle of all fabrics!

Happy sewing!

February 19, 2007

The Sewing Divas is a BFF!

Filed under: Divas in the Press — Gorgeous Things @ 3:40 pm

This is rather fun. I was perusing Taunton Press’ new beSewStylish website, and in their blogroll of Favorites, what should be there but The Sewing Divas! That’s nice recognition, and unsolicited, which makes it even nicer. Three of us (Georgene, Gigi, and Gorgeous Things) are occasional contributors to Threads, but none of us had any idea that this blog was going to be listed. If you are a new sewist, I highly recommend beSewStylish and the companion publication, SewStylish. They have lots of tips in one place, and are laid out in an easy-to-read format.

Happy Sewing!

September 21, 2006

Divas in the Press

Filed under: Divas in the Press — Gorgeous Things @ 9:42 am

Hey, check it out! We’re a “Blog to Fill Your Spool” according to the Washington Post. The link above is a companion piece to the article which can be found here. You do have to sign up to read it. The article is titled “Sewing, So Fashionable”, and describes how sewing seems to be on an upswing. Especially among teens and twenty-somethings, the trend is toward more of a “whip it up and wear it tonight” attitude, rather than a methodical pattern development approach that prior generations have used.

Needless to say, this is a wonderful trend. I’d love to see a whole new generation of Divas out there sewing. And it is gratifying to see our humble little blog listed along G Street Fabrics, DressADay, Threads Magazine, StitchLounge and others.

Another fun thing is that we never contacted, nor were contacted by, the Washington Post. This was a completely unsolicited referral. But to the folks at the Washington Post, we’d love to do a Sewing Divas column (å la Manolo) if you’re game!

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