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Couture With Susan Khalje

Is the fact that Susan Khalje has a couture dressmaking class on Craftsy on anyone else’s radar?!

Craftsy is a pretty great site which features online classes on a wide variety of making including sewing, gardening, knitting, quilting, and more. You pay to sign up for the class and then have unlimited access and can also ask questions directly of the instructor.  Neat, huh? The first Craftsy class I signed up for is one by one of my favorite sewing bloggers, Gertie of Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Susan Khalje, she is quite the accomplished couture seamstress. She began in a couture house in New York and is now an editor at Threads Magazine.  Imagine, taking what’s almost a one on one class with her - whenever you want - in your house!

Ok, I know I sound like a commercial for Craftsy but I’m that excited.  What about you? Will you be signing up?

A Vintage Notion

Mention vintage to most makers and their hearts skip - whether it’s fashion and style, home decor, notions and tools, or methods and techniques, there is an appreciation for the past.  There are different reasons for admiring vintage and one of them for me is honoring what led us as makers, sewists, designers, and stylists to where we are today.

My mother taught me how to sew I am not only appreciative for the technical skills she gave me, but sewing and creating was also one of the ways we bonded throughout my childhood.

Of course the love of vintage is not always so philosophical - check out the packaging and typefaces on these needle packs! There is something so charming about having such an ornate label on such a little envelope.

The image below of “The Perfect Pinker,” is what was used instead of pinking shears. Opposite the zig-zag wheel there is a smooth metal wheel and the fabric just glides through. How ingenious!

These notions were given to me by a neighbor’s (who passed away some time ago) family.  She had all sorts of vintage goodies left over in her stash and I feel happy that I could preserve some tools which were used in a previous generation for making, an endeavor that I am passionate about today.

Do you have a soft spot for vintage? What’s the draw for you?

Holiday Fashion

Hi Readers! I thought about it was time to make a post about the dresses that I made for the holiday season.  The first you got a glimpse of in this post where I was especially excited about the tulip sleeves. Here’s the finished dress:

                                   

For the base pattern, I used the Dirndl Dress that comes with the Built By Wendy Dresses book (which I highly recommend). I then made the sleeve modification as well as lengthening the skirt by three inches.

The next dress I wore on New Year’s Eve:

                                        

For this dress I used McCalls M6460 pattern and made version C. The only modification I made was unintentional… I didn’t use a contrast band of fabric for the hem because I was crunched for time. You may call me Ms. Procrastinator.

I wasn’t thrilled with the results and the main reason is because the chiffon I used for the yoke was so hard to work with! I definitely need more practice working with difficult fabrics. Feel free to pass on any useful techniques!

The last dress I made is definitely my favorite:

                                    

I used Simplicity’s 4070 and made version B. I made no design modifications, I only widened the skirt and the skirt lining in the hips (a mod a make to almost every pattern).  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture from the night but I wore this dress to my company’s holiday party paired with this beautiful updo from {this is glamorous} and some red lipstick.

So there you have my holiday fashions! Now on to some desperately needed everyday clothes. Work appropriate dresses, here I come.

Silk Charmeuse, A Love Story

Stopping by the fabric store, or any crafty type shop is a test of my willpower. I nearly always have to suppress the urge to run around like a crazy person, pile everything into my arms and/or basket, and purchase it in the midst of a craft supply induced haze before I realize what I’ve done.

Occasionally I’ll visit a local shop on my lunch break if I need something for a current project. Today it was a packet of hooks and eyes, and a couple zippers. Simple right? Well then I saw this beautiful faux fur remnant for only five dollars that was perfect for the faux fur capelet project which has been floating around my head for the past couple weeks.

                               

Ok, so if I have the fur, might as well get something to line my capelet with… It was then readers, that I saw the most beautiful silk charmeuse:

                               

Now the picture doesn’t do it nearly enough justice but I swear, this charmeuse is like a field of flowers and a cup of tea by the fire all rolled into one, it’s THAT awesome.

For the capelet, I’m envisioning something along the lines of this:

                     

Has there ever been a time when you’ve found true love in a fabric/craft/yarn store and just can’t leave it behind? 

The Power of the Pillow: Envelope Style

Hi friends! Start your week off right and make your own envelope style pillow cover in the first tutorial of A Maker’s Affair Home Decor Series: The Power of the Pillow.

1. First you’ll need to cut three pieces of fabric.  

The first piece will be the front of your pillow cover. It should be the size you want your finished pillow to be plus seam allowances. (I used 1/2 inch seam allowances therefore I added 1 inch on to each side of my square)

The other two pieces will be the envelope back. They should be the same height as your front piece and half the length plus about five inches.  So, if you’re making a 16” x 16” pillow, after you add 1/2 inch seam allowances, these two pieces will be 17” x 13.5” (17 x 8.5+5). Make sense?

(The length doesn’t have to be super exact, you just want to make sure you have enough overlap so the pillow form stays secure inside the cover.)

2. Next, hem one long edge of each of the back pieces.  These hemmed edges will be forming the “envelope.” Fold the fabric 1/2” to the wrong side and press.

Then fold 1/2” again, press and pin.

Now sew the hem in place with a straight stitch.

3. Now you’re ready to sandwich all three pieces.  With right sides together, align one of the hemmed back pieces on top of the front piece so the raw edges match up and the hemmed edge is in the middle.

Do the same with the other back piece on the opposite side and pin all the way around.

4. Stitch around all four sides.

Pivot around the corners by lowering your needle, raising the presser foot, and turning the fabric.

5. Once you’ve stitched around the entire square (make sure to backstitch at the end!) snip your thread and clip your corners to remove the bulk.

6. Next, finish your seams.  I simply used pinking shears but you can you a serger, overcast stitch, zigzag stitch, etc.

7. Now it’s time to press your seams.  This can be a bit tricky if you don’t have a seam roll - I used the very tip of my ironing board.

8. Now flip your pillow cover and insert your pillow form. Voila!

Make one of these and I promise your couch will be very pleased with you.

If you have any questions or would like to share what you’ve made please comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Color Inspiration

This peachy pink color palette creates the perfect mood for the warm, sweet days of late summer.  

                             

                                                  

                

                                

Wouldn’t the cami above be divine for a romantic August evening? Click on the photo for a Threads article on how to make your own using high-end couture techniques!