Thursday, October 28, 2010

classic with a splash of color

as luck would have it, i went to hancock fabrics yesterday with the idea i'd simply browse some fabric to get a feel for what's available in cottons, fleece, wool blends, brocades and more. i looked on every shelf and display. so unlike me who usually goes straight for what i'm in need of. near the cutting table i stumbled upon some "sportswear wools" and this pretty gray with embroidery jumped out at me right away. it's not super heavy yet will be warm and should drape nicely. it's classy as a traditional gray, yet has some embellishment to make it fun. i think as a long, hooded cloak it will look interesting and playfully elegant. the sales associate and customer in line behind me thought so, too!

i was positively smitten when i saw it was on sale for 40% off. there were only 4 yards left on the bolt so i pulled the pattern to consult the back. it suggested i would only need 4.5 yards for a small and medium in a 60" wide material. furthermore, i knew i had taken a good eight inches off the length. however, to be sure, i drove back home (after a quick stop at the trader joe's next door for some yummy dark chocolate treats...but that's another story!), measured out what would be 4 yards and 60 inches and lay my pattern pieces on top. perfect! i jumped online to consult the hancock webpage. they showed the same fabric at the same discount. but, why wait for shipping when i can make an easy five minute drive, again, and support my own community?

i then found this delicious mauve lining fabric, also 60 inches so 4 yards would do, thread and a frog closure which i will use in place of ties.

and you know who i called first in my excitement over my new fabric and savings? my mom, of course! it was nice to hear a smile in her voice. i promised her a photograph of the finished piece.

time to stop staring and start cutting!

Monday, October 25, 2010

wishful thinking

the next sewing project i've on my mind is to make myself a cloak (i'm calling it a cloak because i like it and its not for halloween...tis the season!). i found a simple pattern and have altered the length to suit my short self.

i'm super excited to get started, but i've the issue of fabric. i want it to be eye catching and functional yet not tacky or cheesy. should anyone have any suggestions on a suitable material that is light to medium weight with nice drape i'd love to hear it. in the meantime, i continue to browse locally and virtually. i need a good 6.5 yards each for the outside and lining so i must be cautious as to what i buy and spend. i'm also shying away from stripes and fabrics with nap because of cost.

why a cape?

i've long admired the capes used by the students at the University of the Azores in Ponta Delgada as seen here in this scanned photograph from the Festival of  Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagros on my visit in may 2002.

i've done some browsing to find out where this tradition originated and i'm assuming it follows that of the University of Coimbra, Portugal found here...

One of the most visible and distinctive traditions is the use of the academic costume of the University of Coimbra, a black suit and cape used on special occasions by the students and which was adopted by other Portuguese universities and is actually used by students of almost all higher education institutions in the city and across the country.

i wore my cap and gown proudly on graduation from university, but why celebrate for just a day when you commit four years of hard work and hard play?

of course, my mom suggested i pursue graduate studies at the (she had ulterior motives) and i'd be granted a cape of my very own. dreamy as that would be, today is about my reality. i won't have the badges associated with my academic pursuits and community involvement, but a cloak i shall have nonetheless!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

circle skirts

the summer of 2010 was unseasonably warm for most of us here in the usa. even shorts felt a bit uncomfortable and in my middle age years, i'm all about the comfort.

i needed something of a new wardrobe, but couldn't find anything i liked or was willing to pay for at your typical retail stores. fortunately for me and those of you who love to sew, i've a machine, fabric and thread ready at my disposal.

i'm also somewhat a creature of habit, particularly if it means a perfect fit.

and so all three of these little fab and funky beauties are the double circle skirt from this collection by favorite things. you can dress them up for a nice evening out to dinner, particularly the longer one, or more casually with a tank, tee, flip flops or in barefeet for hanging out, inside or out!

and because these are double, no slip necessary.

the sweet skirt i am wearing is an embroidered voile in deep lilac/blue.

the one i am holding in my hand is from Anna Maria Horner's line, Little Folks, a voile in coloring garden  - sea (top layer) and little honey - meadow (bottom).

the skirt on clotilde is a floral voile i purchased in the summer of 2008 from Fabric Bliss, an online vendor i don't believe is in service anymore.

the hip skirts are one of the first ever pieces of apparel i made for myself shortly after i started sewing. however, i used a batik. i love the colors and designs available in batiks, but they can be a little stiff. the designers suggested a voile and i would agree. it's seriously flowey and drapey, falls smoothly over your curves or pencil straight if you're taller, thinner. and with these fabrics, wash, dry, wear them slightly wrinkled right out of the dryer or hang them. no ironing necessary!

cutting and sewing is straight forward and easy. i serged all of the seams and double stitched my hems. still, it's a quick little sew.

whether you choose to add the belt loops as i did on two out of the three or not, you can wear it either closer to your waistline or as a hip hugger.

fortunately for me, i'll be able to wear my skirts about 3 out of the 4 seasons. i'd say that's getting the most for my hard earned dollar. and i've no doubt my quality is every bit as good as what's available at a top line retailer.

Monday, October 18, 2010

flower child

are you a facebook user? though i am careful about how i use it, it pays to support your favorite vendors by hitting the "like" button. this online shop, for instance, recently offered fans a 20% discount in celebration of customer appreciation week. what a good time to pick up a few new things!

i mentioned in my previous post that i had veered toward less bright colors and patterns. i believe the above palette is more subtle for me. lol!

when i begin my browsing, i generally head straight for the "quilting fabrics ➝ retro & mod quilting fabrics" and there i found these beautiful prints.

from top to bottom:

peace & flowers

medallions & tile sorbet


guatemalan flora

i've no immediate plans for this yummy goodness. but it makes me happy to touch, to feel, to smell the new fabric, sweet eye candy.

i did make a couple of very cute skirts that i wore repeatedly throughout the summer. when i've a chance i'll snap a photograph and share.

Friday, October 15, 2010

satchel for two

here i am, once again. i've somewhat re-prioritized. and at the top of my list is more time for sewing and designing.

just last week i finished this bag. with a few modifications, it could be the perfect slouchy bag i've been looking for.

i used this pattern. it's quite simple, but the directions could be a bit confusing if you're a beginner. a step or two is missing. i pretty much disregarded the directions and sewed it as i have many other bags.

all the fabrics are from Michelle D'Amore's line, Hippie Chicks, for Marcus Brothers, 2009. it's a little brighter than i've been using lately, but i was able to use up some yardage from previous projects. and i do love the flower chain on the front pocket.

the bag is fully reversible, giving you a pocket inside and out. you could seriously fit a grocery bag of items in the bag!

today fall is in the air after a long, hot summer. ah, bliss. there's nothing i like better than throwing the windows wide open to the air, sky and sun.

peace out!