THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

March 26, 2009

Not Adding to Fluff

Filed under: Musings,sewing,Tutorials — georgene @ 9:35 pm

side-viewLow Bulk Waistband Finish
I don’t know about you, but I don’t need any extra bulk at the waist. No pleats, no fly fronts, with all those layers plus a zipper and a button; no coin pockets, no rivets. No thanks.

unzipped2I have been working on this low bulk waist finish for a while. Using an invisible zipper (and Els’ tutorial every time) I have found a way to have the zipper go all the way up to the top of the waistband. It is similar to Els’ tutorial on facing an invisible zipper, with the addtion of a full waistband.


There is a hook and eye at the top for security, keeping the strain off the top of the zipper, as well as an inner button tab. This works equally well with skirts as with pants. I can wear a close fitting tee and have a smooth waist with no hint of that dreaded muffin top effect.

November 30, 2008

The Dish

Filed under: Georgene,Inspirations,Musings,sewing — georgene @ 12:00 am

It’s a dilemma we have all faced: how to carry the hot dishes to an event. This Thanksgiving we headed over to my brother’s place, and once again I was creating a makeshift newspaper wrapped package to get my Pyrex dish in one piece, still piping hot, to the table miles away.

I couldn’t find a pattern for the first one I saw several years ago: a quilted insulated casserole carrier with handles. There are some clever versions to make. Now I can carry that pie in style. It would make a great gift, too. You can dream up your own versions easily.


I have a few people on my list that would appreciate it. The other DIY gift I am working on this year is a simple chef’s apron. I have lots of people I know who could use one. I don’t know about you, but for me this is the year of the homemade gift.

Here’s instructions for a square cover with handles that uses different inserts to keep your dish hot or cold.

Look at the great quilter’s version with the wooden spoons for handles.

Here are the instructions for round dishes with the drawstring hole in the top for the pan lid to poke through.

I love this one with the rings to pull the handle thru. That makes it very adaptable to for many different sizes and shapes of dish.

A bread blanket is useful too.

Besides using up all your bits and scraps from the stash, you may need to invest in Insul-Bright thermal batting, or Thermaflec, that reflective silver coated fabric. (It comes in plain and quilted.) I am thinking of using this to make a tea cosy, like Rusty Bobbin. It’s great for hot pads and oven mitts too.

Don’t forget about hot rice packs, too, for a great homemade gift idea. (I love the faux hot water bottle idea.)

Keep it warm this winter, and enjoy.drawstring-1

August 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Mademoiselle

Filed under: Designer,Fashion,Musings — phyllisc @ 7:55 pm

125 years ago today, in a small town in rural France, Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel was born to unmarried peasants.  Her mother died when she was 12, and her vagabond father was unable to support his five children.  Gabrielle was sent with her sister to an orphanage, where she larned to sew.  Eventually, around 1910, when she was in her late 20’s, with financial backing from her wealthy lover, she opened a hat shop on Rue Cambon in Paris.  And the rest is history.

June 3, 2008

3 Faces of Yves

Filed under: Designer Inspirations,Fashion,Georgene,Industry,Musings — georgene @ 11:58 pm


As the obituaries and retrospectives of Yves St. Laurent roll in, many are turning to New York Times fashion editor Cathy Horyn’s December 2000 article The Yves of Destruction for a less worshipful glimpse of his life. There are the 2 films by David Teboul, great documentaries, following the life and times of YSL, both sort of hagiographic. I found “5 Ave. Marceau”, the film on his last collection, particularly sad to watch.

My grandmother canceled her subscription to Vogue after St.Laurent took over Dior and the world of fashion changed with the advent of the trapeze and Balenciaga’s saque dress. I was very young. As many young children do, I took on the likes and dislikes of my elders, so I, too, thought the new silhouettes to be unflattering. That didn’t stop me from making doll clothes that followed the look of the times. It was only Barbie and her fashion model wardrobe with the exaggerated curves that changed my output into more shapely clothing.

Eventually I did graduate to making people sized clothing, and started down my path to making my own patterns, eventually studying Haute Couture draping in Paris. My path to the world of fashion design ran right thru Yves St. Laurent’s Paris of excess and fantasy.

I was a lowly design student, an impoverished American living in an 8th floor walk-up maid’s quarters. Occasionally I did get an invitation, a dinner, a night out on the town, but mainly I worked non-stop sewing tiny stitches by hand and learning the underlying theory of the application of cloth to the body that draping is. My Paris was of poverty stricken mended stockings, sandwiches bought at the bakery and eaten on the street because it was half the price of sitting and eating at a café.

I absorbed the St. Laurent esthetic from the streets, the shops, the magazines of Paris. Walking to the Bank of America on the Place Vendome every week to withdraw my $25 a week to live on, I passed some of the greatest design houses and jewelers. As a treat, sometimes we would take our coffee sitting in a sunny spot of the Café de la Paix, next to the Opera, then walk back to the Ecole des Cadres Couture for another grueling afternoon under the Prussian discipline of Mademoiselle Gogel, only a few blocks away. The walking distance from the Opera to the school was not far, but the distance was far greater from that magical world of money and objets d’art, objets du desir, to the dusty upstairs rooms of the school.

So I learned, I learned couture sewing techniques, and draping techniques, technology of textile, and creation of collections the old school way. Then, when I was back in the USA and started working in the industry, I had a slightly different eye when looking at the Paris collections. For several years after I got back, St. Laurent continued to astonish and innovate.

I am not certain when I started to become disappointed, when I saw the continuous recycling of silhouette and pattern. I was angry and disillusioned with St. Laurent. I felt he threw his talent away, he continued to work while resting on his laurels, that there was nothing new. I could pinpoint the same sleeve, the same jacket pattern, drape of a skirt, over and over again, just re-fabricated in some other fabulous couture fabric, recombined with only a small change. This annoyed me. I expected more and better.

Now that a lot of water has flowed under my own bridge, I am less harsh. I feel some sympathy and understand better the ebb and flow of creativity. I salute the re-use of tried and true patterns, and the building of an oeuvre that is predicated on the success of earlier work.

St. Laurent had the opportunity to develop and continue to work with a fine atelier, to have the finest fabrics, and artisans to bring his ideas to life. It’s why I am sad. To whom much is given, much is expected.

The worst part is that one has the impression that he suffered, that he was run over by the drunken taxicabs of life, he turned his back on the treasure that was his.

Imagine if he had been able to maintain a vibrant connection to life and his work instead of withdrawing from the world, what more wonders would have come? The body of work he left behind, the new ways of piercing the world of not only fashion, but art and culture as well, is monumental.

I feel sad, angry, and disappointed. I can only hope that his legacy will not be picked apart and commercialized for the profit of the vultures that brought him to the soft prison he inhabited for his last years.

April 17, 2008

The Elusive Birkin? Not So Much.

Filed under: Accessories,Bag,Designer Inspirations,Fashion,Musings — phyllisc @ 7:16 am

Today’s Boston Globe has a very amusing story about the Birkin, a handbag whose legendary exclusiveness is firmly quashed in the story.

Posh Birkin

And if you like Posh’s Roland Mouret dress Burda WOF did a pretty good knock-off

Erica’s version is really hot!

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