Two piece lace dress

I have been selected to show 10 looks at a runway show on September 28th.

It will be thrown by the Thorn organization. Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher’s non profit organization to combat child sex trafficking.

It is just the excuse I needed to get my hands into this raspberry chantilly lace.

Oh my!

I used my skirt sloper to make this pencil skirt with “nude” cotton lawn lining and hidden credit card pocket.

It is light as a feather.

I had to drape the little high low crop top and it was simple enough that I have decided to share my process.

First “draw” your lines onto your dress form. I used a narrow brown ribbon I had in my trim drawer.

There is no need to mark the center front and back because the dress form has a seam.

I call her my room mate. She has been with me since I studied design at Parsons in NYC in 2007. Lordy.

Anyway

Then you cut a couple of rectangles bigger in all directions than your widest measurements of the front and back.

Fold the center front line for stability and pin it on the dress form.

Smooth it up the neck line and across the shoulder pinning into the form at all seam intersections.

Smooth across the hip clipping at the princess line to release the tension.

Continue smoothing your fabric to the side seam and pinch out the excess into a dart.

You can play with the direction of this dart as long as it points to the apex of the bust.

Mark your intersections with crosses and your curves with small dots. Remove the front draping and proceed to the back.

Now take them both off the dress form and get out your curved rulers and a clear 2×18 and a micron pen or sharp pencil

Use the curved ruler to smooth out your dotted curves and your clear ruler to add seam allowance.

Pinch and pin the dart to draw the side seam.

That’s how you get this notch shape to sew the dart into the side seam.

Repeat for the back and cut away excess fabric.

Now it’s time to check your work.

Pin the dart and the side seams and see if your lines fit together smoothly.

Notice my bottom side seam hem is off by a quarter inch. 🤦‍♀️

No big deal. Just use your curves ruler to make that jagged line into a graceful curve.

Pin it on the dress form to check your work again.

Looks good.

Now cut the lining and try it on.

I cut the center front on the fold and the center back with a 1″ seam allowance for a zipper.

Fits fine. Now it’s time to cut the lace and underlining.

Treat them as if they are one. Sew the dart and put it on the dress form.

Now time for the lining.

I put the right sides together at the neck and the hemline. Then bound the armholes and applied scalloped edging to the hem.

To apply the scallop use lots of pins, first straight stitch it on then zig zag. You can see it from the back.

But not from the front!

Now it’s time to apply the separating zipper.

And finish the inside of the garment with Hong Kong technique.

Try it on the dress form

Perfect. Add a couple hooks and eyes and you are all done.

I think it will make a nice little prim/ sexy statement on the runway.

I might also wear it out on Friday night in Vegas on my next shopping trip.

Oh la la!

Make All The Yoga Tops!

I went to yoga class the other day. Uxia taught us about opening our heart chakras.

The yoga teachers at Soul Tree Yoga in Lafayette are always wearing some neat tops. I often come away feeling inspired to sew.

Today my muscles are sore and the snow from yesterday’s storm is lingering in my garden. It’s the perfect day to sew up a couple cool tops for me to wear.

Here is what you need if you want to make some too.

A front, a back, a 2″ x 60″ band and a serger.

I used our bamboo jersey because it’s the best. It is washable, dryable, fast growing, low water, no pesticide naturally anti microbial fabric that resists pilling and has a soft hand with great drape and weight. Can you tell I’m a fan? It’s 60″ wide and $18/ yard and all of the tops you will see in this post were made from 1 length – for me that’s between 5/8th and 7/8th of a yard.

For the pattern I cut up a shirt I liked the fit of from Mud Coffee in New York once I had worn it out. I traced it onto paper and it has been my go to pattern for tank tops and t-shirts and dresses ever since.

First pin the shoulders and side seams right sides together.

Then serge those seems. The rule of thumb Costume Shop Maven Rita Sclavunos taught me all those years ago at Trinity College was that one should serge from in to out and from up to down. Thanks Rita.

It should look like this when you are done.

Now take your two inch band, fold in half and lay the raw edges down along the neck opening. You are estimating how long your neck and will be. This changes for me every time as I tweak my neckline for layering.

Now pick up the band at the spot where it overlaps itself. Eyeball what 80% of the length of the neck hole opening is and cut the band there.

Your neck line must be shorter than the neck hole opening.

Now serge the short ends of the band together to make your neck band loop.

Fold the band in half again and place the seam you just created at the center back of the shirt and pin.

Now fold the band in half so that you have the exact opposite point from the pin folded. Also fold the shirt so that you can see the center front line.

Now pin these two points together.

Continue finding the halfway point between these pins on both the band and the neck opening of the top and pin. Note: these will not be the shoulder seams.

Pin these points.

Repeat til you have 8 pins in your neckline.

Now serge your 3 raw edges together starting at the center back.

Tug the neckline gentle to stretch it flat to the band while you are serging.

When you get all the way around the neckline you can even out the angle caused from driving the serger onto the seam at the beginning.

Tie off your serger tails in a double knot close to the serging and press with steam iron.

Pressing will make a wobbly looking neck band much nicer.

Now repeat the neck band technique for both armholes.

If you have a coverstitch machine you probably don’t need this tutorial but now would be the time to turn up your hem with the cover stitch machine and top stitch the serging down around the neck and armholes. Below I used my cover stitch machine on this navy t-shirt.

If you don’t have a cover stitch you can twin needle stitch to fake it.

Or just serge the hem.. or even leave it raw.

This fabric won’t fray and I don’t think my yoga teachers will mind a raw edge.

Once you have these basic techniques down you can get fancy with the details.

Slash the back to show off your spine or a contrasting tank or sports bra underneath.

Make an overlapping shoulder peakaboo low back?

Add sleeves and serged on bottom band?

Use a cute print? This is for my 4 year old daughter. She is much more patient when I sew if I am making something for her 🤣

Now I hope you are inspired to make your own yoga tops. Get creative and show us what you come up with.

Bye bye.

Warm Weather Quilt

It has been far too Arctic here for far too long. I had to do something to fight back.

For a long time I have been dreaming of an orange quilt in Kaffe Fassett range. I had about a yard the really orange print with roses that I had been hanging onto for just this moment.

It is the one in the front left.

I brought it into the shop and pick out those other prints to go with it. Kaffe Fassett prints lend themselves so well to big squares. They are beautiful and powerful when presented this way- and in my time crunch momtrepreneur life quick and powerful is always the way to go.

When picking colors for this quilt I wanted that hot, sweaty radiating heat of summertime to be reflected in each one of the prints- and only florals. These are cut into 10″ squares.

Once I had these picked out it just seemed kind of clear that I needed to sash these squares in blue Millifiore.

Its a really beautiful print they have put out in zillions of colors.

For me it really let hot squares stand out.

I bought all we had left. About 2.5 yards- not knowing what exactly how much I would need. I knew I wouldn’t mind having some left over.. 😊

Now I had to pick my layout.

I had cut 2″x10″ rectangles of Millifiore and sewed them to the bottom of each square when I took these photos.

I find it useful sometimes to photograph potential layouts in black and white to check the value.

After deciding what goes where I stitched the columns together in long strips making sure to iron each seam.

Then I cut the long 2″ strips of sashing for the vertical pieces and laid them down between my columns to see the effect. You can see the sashing is longer than the columns. I cut the extras off and put them into the binding at the end.

Now stitch them all together, then lay it down to have a look at it.

At this point it is customary for the Quality Control Team to come by and check things out. This project got a pass from both officers. 😅

I put a poll put on Facebook and Instagram and you all overwhelmingly agreed that there should be no borders on this quilt.

That suited me just fine because I plan to quilt this bad boy myself on my regular machine and it was ready 70″x70″

I got some bamboo batting. I have decided to eliminate all plastic that I can from my life and that includes the 80/20 batting I have always used before. I got it at Quilters Corner in Erie and I was very pleased with it. It was clingy in a good way and I found it both soft and easy to work with.

They didn’t have anything I wanted for backing though so I hoofed it back into Boulder to see what Elfriede’s could do.

lol and behold I found the most sumptuous luscious verdant Japanese chrysanthemum print in color Forest. I got about 4.75 yards. More than I technically needed by I wanted enough so I could match the prints up on the back.

Why go to all this trouble to have a mismatched back?

Here is your first peak of the backing and my quilting glorious quilting system.

I am addicted to quilting but I cannot afford to hire anyone to do my long arming. I have to make it work with my Bernina 155 Virtuosa and this lovely burrito technique.

Start in the center and work your way out. Take your time. It’s not that bad- and it’s certainly not perfect.

I decided to follow the prints with my free motion quilting.

It’s kind of mesmerizing after a while. Like coloring in a coloring book.

Finish with a 1/4″ binding in blue Millifiore.

I call this my Warm Weather Quilt, trying to channel spring in the making of it. It turns out I’ve finished it just in time for the Arctic Bomb Cyclone they are forecasting for tomorrow.

Oh well..

At least I will have it to wrap up in!

What do you think?

Silk Poncho

Sometimes it pays to be the fabric buyer.

I found this extraordinary 4 ply silk crepe last time I went shopping for the shop and our vendor only had two left- one of which was the sample which he sold to me for cash. It has been sitting in my sacred fabric pile ever since. I didn’t think to take a photo before I cut the neck hole and turned up the corners.

Then I saw the Christian Dior exhibit at the Denver Art museum.. I came home emboldened and inspired. Ready to fearlessly cut my stash.

I used the back neck pattern for a woven shirt I know fits me placing it carefully so that the poncho would be bias cut and the motif was symmetrical front and back. I cut the back neck curve with a rotary cutter on my self healing mat.

Then I cut a strip of silk charmeuse on the straight of grain. Placed it around the widest part of my head so that it went over easily but snugly when I pulled it up and down. That’s how big I wanted to make my neck line. I don’t want to cut any more of this gorgeous textile than I have to. I measured around the back neck line I had already cut with my ribbon and And using the remainder of the length I found the V front. I ended up with a cut like this.

I carefully bound the neckline so the matte side of the silk would face out. This is a silk crepe paisley and I didn’t want satin on the neckline stealing the show. I chose a V because I have had crew neck ponchos ride up and choke me. No thanks.

Once the neckline is bound it’s important to take that little tuck at the front center so it lays flat

Next I roll gemmed all 4 sides. I used cream for the wrongs side and orange for the right side. It’s hardly visible. What do you think?

Now try it on! Hold out your arms to the side points and see how much you want to turn up so you can use your hands.

I turned mine up 7″ from point to fold.

I used burgundy silk thread. Can you see my stitches?

Bring the two corners that interact the hem together and attach them with a secure hand stitch. This will give you a spot for your hands to help the poncho move like sleeves.

Now try it on again!

Wear it with skinny jeans and boots.

This is a 1 size fits all pattern. What do you think?

Three Silk Infinity Scarf

This three tone silk scarf was an experiment that turned out well so I’ve made a little tutorial on how to make It below.

The hardest part will be to pick three silks you like together.

I picked a Liberty of London crepe de chine 54″ wide, an iridescent chiffon 54″ wide and a pale blue charmeuse 45″ wide. I had all these in my stash.

For the bigger scarf use two lengths of charmeuse and one length of each of your other two fabrics.

Cut either three or four strips 12″ by the width of the silk.

Lay your strips end to end to make a super long strip and sew the short ends together. In one short end leave a gap 3-4″

You will need to pull the whole scarf through this hole so it’s very important.

Sew with chiffon up so you can see what’s happening beneath.

This is the full length of the pieces strip for the smaller scarf using only one width of each silk. Still super long.

Fold the long strip in half right sides together and cut at the fold.

Then sew both of the long sides of the rectangle making sure to back stitch at the start and end of each seam.

Then reach through the tube you have made gathering it onto your arm.

Pull the far side of the tube inside the tube so the raw edges match up with the near side of the tube.

Sew around this circle

Now it’s time to find the short hole you left in one of the short seams.

Pull your scarf through it til right sides are out.

Press the seam allowance of the short opening so you have a nice crisp edge to work with.

Pinch these newly pressed folds between the thumb and forefinger on your left hand as you slip stitch it closed with the right hand.

Press your scarf so that the seam is as close to the fold as possible all the way around both long edges.

Here is the scarf using 3 lengths of silk.

Here is the scarf using 4 lengths of silk.

I hope you found this tutorial instructive. Please leave feedback or make your own and post a photo!

Quick charmeuse and chiffon scarf

A quick two tone scarf in silk charmeuse and chiffon. The possible combinations are endless. Here is a quick tutorial so you can make your own. You can use the design feature on our website to make your own combinations .

Find them here

First pick a silk charmeuse print and pair it with a chiffon. I picked a print we had this past summer and one of our iridescent chiffons.

Snip through the selvage and rip through the width of the fabric for a quick clean and straight edge.

Sew around all 4 sides leaving a gap of 3-4”. Sew with chiffon up so you can see what you’re doing!

Don’t worry about your selvage or ragged edges. Clip your corners and cut them off

All cleaned up and ready to flip. Pull it through the hole so the right sides are out.

Gently massage the corners into place with your fingers.

Press flat.

Admire the loveliness!

Topstitch around all 4 sides. This will close the hole. It will also keep the two sides from migrating around and make a nice clean finish.

Then press again and you are done!

Quick silk chiffon scarf

Here is a nice 30 minute project for a snowy day! A silk scarf using our 54” wide iridescent chiffon. Choose 3/4 of a yard of any one of our lovely colors to make this beautiful and functional gift. They’re actually warm, feel great on your neck and chest and also fold up tiny to tuck in your bag when not needed.

Fold your rectangle of chiffon in half matching the selvage and sew 3 sides leaving a small gap of 3-4”

I ripped my chiffon to save time. You can clean it up later

Clip your corners and clean up the ragged edges

Pull your scarf through the hole so the right side is out

Press your opening to create a crisp fold for slip stitching

Needle and thread passes easily through silk chiffon

Now tie it in lots of different ways and enjoy! Or tuck into your holiday gift closet for later.