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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Faux Leather Fabric

I can’t believe how much I’m enjoying experimenting with fabric manipulation. Last night, as I was searching for my next project, I decided to use this faux leather fabric that I purchased at Joann’s fabrics. As I was studying the fabric, as beautiful as it is, I thought I could still make it more exciting. I want all my dresses to be exciting. I did some additional research on fabric manipulation and got inspired to sew some pleats down on this fabric before I even cut out anything. I already started the pleating process this morning and I’m contemplating between both these patterns to use on my next dress. I used Butterick 5851 on last weeks dress as a reference. I’m sure once I’m done pleating the fabric, it will talk to me.
It’s fascinating for me to develop and learn new sewing skills and techniques with every dress I create. Even while wearing these dresses, I learn from them. The way each wears, feels and moves. I love to learn new things and see ideas at work. I enjoy following sewing blogs and see what the rest of the sewing world is up to. I’m also going to order these two books, Couture Sewing Techniques,
by Claire B. Shaeffer and The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Colette Wolff. I’m wondering if anyone else out there shares similar interests with any recommendations on fabric manipulating. Well, have a good day everyone and let’s see what develops in the sewing studio this upcoming week. “sew” exciting!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Shining in the Sun

Well, here it is folks! After two weeks, here’s my piece of what I’m calling wearable art. Working with this dress was a real challenge. So much so, that I only worked on it for short periods at a time. I’m really pleased with the fit, especially on the neckline and the bodice itself. I’m excited with the texture and overall feel of it. It illuminates with body movement. The fabric fibers too, are visually interesting. It’s a perfect piece to wear this Fall season. It’s as vibrant as autumn’s changing leaves shining in the sun. Have a great weekend everyone. And as always, thank you for sharing in my sewing journey.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sewing really pays off

This time of year at the end of the summer, I usually go in search of the end of season clearance sale on suits. I don’t even look at the size, because most of the time they need some sort of alterations anyway. I’m fortunate enough to tailor them myself and therefore save a great deal on alterations as well. To my surprise, this season, I didn’t find any suits that I liked. This was a first. Either, I’m spoiling myself with my me-made wardrobe or my taste is growing beyond ordinary looking suits. My husband recently suggested that I look into making my own suits, considering I wear them most of the time in my professional life. Even though I’ve made suits in the past, I still prefer to create dresses. They are just so much fun and exciting to see come together.

While strolling through the mall, I could not help myself but to take a look at some of the dresses for some sewing inspiration. All I found was skinny dresses for, well you know, skinny young women. Not only were they too low cut and too short, but also extremely pricy, even on sale. Meanwhile, I wore one of my own beautiful summer linen dress and shoppers were taking notice. This made me feel “sew” special. So much so, that after leaving the mall empty handed, I made a quick stop on the way back home at a larger Joann’s Fabric store. I just wanted to take a peek at their fabric sale. This is a good time of the year for sales. To my surprise, I was so inspired with so many beautiful fabrics. Some were 40% off and others at $3.00 a yard on the red tag final clearance sale. So, I went a little crazy and just started throwing bolts of fabrics in my shopping cart. I picked up five pieces of fabric, an autumn colored silk, an offwhite charmeuse, a red and blue floral linen and purple and gray jersey. And the best part, all this fabric cost a lot less than one suit on sale. Sewing really pays off. I like sale and clearance fabrics. It gives me a lot of freedom to experiment with new sewing techniques and styles without any worries of ruining anything.

 Speaking of freedom of to trying new things…this week’s project is very interesting. I’m working on it a little at a time. It’s like putting together a puzzle and you are the puzzle creator as well as the puzzle assembler. This is one crazy project. So far, the fit is looking great. I still need some more time. Some projects just can’t compromise to dead lines. I’m taking my time on this one. It’s just so unique. By Friday, I will post what it looks like, finished or not. I promise! And as always, thanks for sharing in my sewing adventures. Have a great day everyone!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

All Torn Up

All torn up. Hello everyone! After finally finishing sewing all the torn fabric strips to the entire material, I realized that the dress pattern I initially chose for this fabric was not going to work out.

The new design on the fabric is not suited for pleats or gatherings. I had to work with the new lines and texture that were created by the strips. After some inspiration, I found this 1930’s dress sketch and thought, wow, that’s it.

Of course, I’ll never find a pattern for the dress. So, I created my own version on the dress form. I have to admit that I fought back fear in cutting up this dress. Considering the amount of time I invested in the material, the last thing I want to do is ruin it. But, what the heck, I built up courage and just cut it all up. I actually felt a bit like Edward scissors hands. Well, here it is, cut and styled. The designing layout is always exciting for me. I can’t seem to stop myself. I just go, go, go. Then, I look at the dress form and ask myself, now how am I going to sew all these pieces together? And most importantly, is it going to work?

 Well, I don’t know yet. Give me a few day in the sewing studio and we shall see. Till then, hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend and as always thank you for sharing in my sewing journey.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Fabric Manipulation

Half way into the week, and I’m still working with this fabric. I’m sewing 1¼ inches of strips all way through the orange lining. I’m blown away as to how vibrant it looks. The color just radiates with movement and light. It’s the first time I’ve ever attempted something like this. I’ve pleated fabric before, but never sewn this amount of strips. I have two more yards to finish before cutting the dress. If I finish the fabric this week, I’ll be in a good place to work on the dress next week. This project is very exciting, very fulfilling. I’m hoping to do some more research on fabric manipulation. Amazing stuff. Enjoy!

Friday, August 15, 2014

The “Michi Kanji” Dress

Hello everyone! Just a quick sewing update. It’s been a while since I’ve sewn for myself. I’ve been busy. However, I’m enjoying wearing all my dresses. I wore this dress last night to special event. You may remember, I made this dress in 2014. I’m attaching last night’s picture to the original post. It’s interesting to follow the life of a homemade dress. I can tell you that they last a lot longer than store bought dresses. They fit better too. I have an emotional attachment to them. After all, it’s something one makes and follows through a long process from idea to fabric to dress. The other interesting thing, I’m very cautious about maintaining my weight. I’d hate to not fit into them. It’s not something that is easily replaceable. In closing, I am working on another 1920’s style dress. I hope to have it ready soon. Give me a couple more weeks. Meanwhile, I hope your exploring new ideas and creating things only you can create… and as always, thank you for sharing in our sewing journey. Debora


The “Michi Kanji” Dress

Here it is folks. After a fun week of creating and sewing as you go, this is what I came up with. Just about everything was going by the original design, until I had the first fitting and did not like how fitted it actually was on the sides. I thought of just cutting up higher slits, but I wasn’t comfortable with that either. I would need to wear it with pants and I thought it would just make the outfit too heavy. So, I came up with the idea of fans on the sides. I thought that would be a perfect match and kind of interesting while walking in the dress. Sure enough it’s very visually interesting. So much so, it’s probably the most exotic looking dress I’ve ever made. Overall, I did not have much difficulty in sewing this dress. I used myself for all fittings. I did not use the dressform other than draping and displaying. The neckline is held together with a few snaps and there is an invisible side zipper.

I love how the fan flows as I walk and move in this dress. I just don’t know what kind of reaction I will get from people when I actually wear this thing. The sleeves are just below the elbows. At some point, if I choose, I can actually remove the sleeves and just keep the dress sleeveless. I left a finished edging around the armhole for that purpose. Just in case the dress just turns out to be too much to be seen.

Funny how once you start making your own clothe, people become more accepting about what you wear. So far, I’ve gotten nothing but wonderful smiles, complements and lots of surprises when I tell people that "I made it." This one is definitely a conversation piece. Well, that’s it for now. I’m already looking forwards to next week’s project. I have a couple of things in mind. Till then, thank you for sharing in my sewing journey. Enjoy.

Friday, August 8, 2014

“Pitter Patter”

Hello everyone. Hope you had a good week. Like most of you, I’m sure, my week went by too quickly. I didn’t have as much time for sewing as I would have liked. Even so, I’m happy to have the chance to make this beautiful simple kimono. It’s called “Pitter Patter” by Waverly fabrics. I can see why they named it “Pitter Patter.” It takes you to that special place by the pond full of life and just enough soft rain to wake you up to see it‘s full glory. It’s easily wearable with an old pair of jeans. It’s cut at the waistline, which makes it an everyday versatile wardrobe piece. The fabric is from JoAnn’s fabric store. It came from the upholstery department. Great strong durable cotton. Can’t wait to wear it.

Also this week, my new cloth cutting machine came in. My old one broke on me and even after I had it repaired, I damaged it again. I can’t do without one of these. This cutting machine is the best investment for any serious sewist. I love having the best tools avaible when I’m creating. It saves valuable time as well as precious hands. Any artist can appreciate that.

This morning, I was playing around with the thought of next weeks project and just started draping this beautiful cotton print fabric. It is titled “Michi Kanji.” I had no idea what it meant, until I looked it up. It has something to do with “path,” or “road” in connotation to some sort of spiritual path. Sounds good to me. I was hoping it meant something special. I really liked the fabric pattern as well as the red and black mix of color. Something about red and black is always so sharp looking.

I got so excited about draping, that I just kept going until I came up with what you see before you. Now, I must warn you, draping is one thing, sewing is another. It looks great on the dressform. However, dressforms as we all know are lifeless hard pieces of cardboard wrapped tight in perfect linen. The human body is so alive with flesh and incredible movement, beautiful in all its different shapes and forms.
I’m not sure where I’m going with this style just yet. I envision zippers. Maybe around the front neckline as well as the side slits and another in the back. I want to make this dress as fitted as possible. I placed some darts on both front and back as well as sides. Can’t wait for the first fitting.

Well, that’s it for this week folks. I’m happy to hear from some of you who are enjoying following these posts. It’s also very exciting and encouraging to see some of you in person giving me feedback. I had one lady tell me she would like to see me make some more matching bags to my dresses. Love it. I think she’s onto something. There’s’ always something special about a complete matching outfit. It definitely says “homemade.” Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for sharing in my personal sewing journey.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

#40 Dress

Here’s my very simple summer laid back dress. I feel like a true “home” girl in it. It rained all day today. I managed to get these photos taken just outside the backyard entry.

The pattern print is very old world. I’m starting to enjoy the cotton feel of my dresses now. At first, I wasn’t too crazy about using cotton to make dresses. But, if you stay away from anything too gathered, especially at the waistline, you’ll be just fine with the fit.

The other thing I’m loving, is experimenting with colorful linings. It’s a lot of fun to add color to your “underworld.”


And finally, the pockets! I’m very pleased with the outside pockets. They too are lined in vibrant green. I’m fixated on pockets now. I find comfort in them, especially walking along in public. It places my arms and hands at ease. Well, that's it for this week. Let's see what nexts week brings.

Good night everyone and as always, thank you for sharing in my personal sewing adventures.

Friday, August 1, 2014

simple summer laid back dress

Hello everyone. Yes, I finished this weeks dress. It’s a very simple summer laid back dress. I enjoyed making it. It went so fast, I did not even have time to take pictures of the sewing process. If you care for the details, just look back on the previous posts. The pattern is the same as last week. The skirt however is much more slimming. I hope that when I wear it, I can capture the details of the outside pockets. Just love them.

This fabric is really exciting me. I want to make something with it immediately. I’m just not sure what? At first I was thinking a Kimono, but I also envision a dress. It’s laying out on my cutting table calling out for me to breath life into it. How can I not? Let’s see what comes out of it. Fun!!!

This is Mara Pedro from Portugal, a very young promising Fado Singer. She is here in New Bedford performing at the Museum Café for the 100th year celebration of the “Madeira Feast.” I met her last night while hosting for a local cable show. She is just remarkable. I complemented her on her lovely dress and she proudly told me her grandmother made it for her. Wow! She shared with me that the blue wrap skirt is an inspiration of the world famous Portuguese tile called “Azulejo.” She’s so spectacular. I’m happy to see sewing still runs in so many families worldwide. I’m hoping to see her perform a full show this Saturday night. Can’t wait!