The Clothes Making Mavens Podcast is ready for your enjoyment!

webpageJust a quick note to let you know that the very first episode of my brand new podcast is up on the internet for all to take a listen! Click on over to our brand new website where all the podcast information lives — ClothesMakingMavens.com. (Website looks pretty good, eh? I’m pleased with how that turned out. Harder than sewing a bias silk camisole without stretching, but, like the camisole, worth it in the end!)

For this first episode, Lori from FrivolousAtLast.com and I keep our Sew Small Talk pretty basic with introductions and a little get-to-know-us game. I was unimaginably nervous and sweating the entire time we were recording, but don’t worry, Lori sounds great! And I know that I had to get through the first difficult trial to move on to the next. For the next one, I’m sure all my nervousness will melt away since we are going to talk about my favorite subject – fabric!

The hope is to churn out 2 episodes a month; one Sew Small Talk with Lori and I, and 1 interview with a fun and fascinating guest. Our first guest lined up is Lauren Taylor from Lladybird.com. She and I had a great discussion that I think will be fun to listen to.

It is quite a leap to take, letting the world hear my voice, but I know this will get easier and I have a great podcast partner to have fun with. Let me know what you think, and don’t forget to go to the website and tell us about your most embarrassing makes! I want all of you involved in the discussion, like a huge conference call of sewing love!

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Coming soon — the Clothes Making Mavens Podcast!

You know what’s so amazing about sewing podcasts? That you get to listen to people discuss your favorite pastime while you’re doing your favorite pastime! It’s like having a sewing party at your place but you didn’t have to vacuum or bake banana bread ahead of time!

If you’re a fan of sewing podcasts like I am, then I hope you’ll be happy to hear this news…

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Lori, from FrivolousAtLast.com, and I are producing a podcast! We’re looking forward to sharing our first episode with you very soon!

[Lori jumps around room with excitement, shouting yahoo yaHOOOO YAHOOOOOOOOOOOO…a box of pins goes flying; the microphone gets knocked on the floor. Helena, on the other side of the continent, is still extracting pins from the rug after her last excited outburst.]

We want to include your stories in our podcast, too. So we’ll be asking you a specific question for each episode in hopes that you’ll share some interesting stories with us and with other sewists who will be listening (we hope).

Our first question is: What is the most embarrassing thing you ever sewed that you actually wore out in public? Why did you wear it, and where? How did you feel? Was it embarrassing at the time or only now that you think back on it? Perhaps it was a fashion crime? Or a bad fit? Or likely it was just something that was fashionable in the 80s that you’re horrified by now. (Many of us are horrified by what we wore in the 80s, aren’t we?) I know you’ve got some good stories, so dish, my friends! All the gory details, please!😀

There are several ways you can share your story with us:

  1. Call us at 401-64MAVEN and leave your story on our voicemail. (Long distance charges may apply.)
  2. Visit speakpipe.com/ClothesMakingMavens and record your message using your computer’s built-in or external microphone.
  3. Leave your story in the comments below.
  4. Send your story telepathically directly to my or Helena’s brain. (Results not guaranteed.)

We’d love for you to record your message using one of the first two methods so we can play it back on our podcast. But we’ll also be happy to read some of your written stories aloud, too.

Hope to hear from you very soon! And I’ll keep you posted about when you can listen to our first episode.

My dream job…sewing on a Bernina

Wouldn’t it be amazing to be a Bernina Ambassador?

I have always sewn on Berninas, except for a short time in college after I moved away. My mother has a Bernina 830 Record that she bought shortly after I was born. I learned to sew on it. It is a wonderful, reliable machine.

2 Bernina 830 RecordWhen I went away to college, I could only go a few months before I realized that a sewing machine was a necessity. I don’t remember what kind of a machine I bought, but it was about $100 (a lot of money to me!) and I was glad to have something.

But actually, it sewed very badly. It skipped stitches, the bobbin thread nested, all kinds of annoying problems. I fell out of love with sewing and didn’t sew for a few years. Then, when I was 23, my mom gave me her Bernina 830. Wait — what? Why? Because she had replaced hers with….another Bernina 830. That’s right, she bought the same machine again, used, but still the exact same model. You see, she is a professional seamstress, and on the occasion of her machine being in the shop she was unable to work, so she needed another one. Then, hahaha, she bought another another one! When she had collected 2 backup machines, she ceremoniously gifted me the original beauty as a very meaningful and loving heirloom.

I love that Bernina 830 Record so much and use it constantly, so I recently bought my own backup! It was a very lucky find on Craigslist! This means that my mom has 2 and I have 2. And we live 6 houses away from each other! So on our block, we are armed and ready for any sewing related emergencies. Don’t even get me started on how many Babylocks we have…

What I’m saying is that I kind of already feel like I’m a Bernina Ambassador, at least for my vintage machine. I love it so fiercely.

BERNINA-facebook-fullbleedBut, I do want to point out that Bernina and Kollabora are looking for new BERNINA Ambassadors. And with that lucky position comes the chance to sew on a new Bernina for an entire year! I can only imagine with the new models are like. I have not even taken a peek at the amazing features of them because I’m sure I would create a need! The temptation would be very real.

Take a look at Kollabora to get more info on becoming one of the We All Sew content creators. I threw my hat in the ring for this amazing opportunity, but I know there are quite a few talented seamstresses out there who would like creating projects for all skill levels, from DIY fashion to home decor.

Head over to Kollabora to read more…and good luck to you!

Top 10 patterns I’m looking forward to sewing in 2016

Last year I did a post just like this one and listed what sewing patterns I was looking forward to making in the coming year. I declared that it was not a goal or a promise, just thoughts on what was on my radar for the coming year. Looking back on that list, it is clear that by not making it a commitment, those patterns went unmade, save one. Only 1 out of 10! That is a bit disappointing. My sliver of an excuse was my big move that kept me out of the sewing room for at least 3 months, but still. So this top 10 list is much more of a declaration of sewing challenges I want to climb and clothing items I will actually wear. Imma gonna do it!

  1. Fehr Trade XYT top and Greenstyle Creations Stride tights – Workout wear was on the list last year and I’m really going to do it this year. I am a distance runner, I run almost everyday, so I know that making my own athletic wear will be so rewarding and well loved. Procuring good athletic fabric is a big hurtle here, but I just need to buy some. The styles that Melissa offers are unique, fun and practical. She has wrote so many helpful pieces on demystifying the process, too, so it really seems do-able.
  2. Rosari skirt by Pauline Alice – I have suddenly become obsessed with all of the patterns that Pauline Alice offers. I remember seeing a dress or 2 of hers a few years ago and not being excited, but all of a sudden now I want them all! This new skirt pattern is so good and I know I will wear it a ton, but what about the Turia overalls? What about the Quart coat? The Malvarosa dress? I could go on and on.
  3. A classic French Jacket – Now, I am not going pour 60+ hours into a couture jacket. No, no, no. But I would like to make a machine quilted, tweed coat with some classic details like trim and fringe. I recently tried one on at Nordstrom and felt like exactly 1 million dollars in it. It took every ounce of strength I had to resist buying the beautiful thing – it was on sale for $85 (marked down from like $250) and I knew how beautifully made it was, even if it was not handsewn like a Chanel. Maybe I should have just bought it, since I’m obviously still longing for it. But I knew that there was not room for many such jackets in my ultra casual lifestyle, and I truly want to make one. If I bought the jacket, I probably wouldn’t make one. It will be a labor of love, I’m sure.
  4. Boundless Style by Kristiann Boos – This is such a beautiful book to just look at, I might be tempted to use it simply for inspiration. But there are some really intruiguing patterns included in there, and I do love Victory Patterns. I am not much of a fit and flare dress type person, but some of the bodice and sleeve combinations look so cool! I really want to give them a try, and figure out how to incorporate them into my style so I can wear them. No doubt about it, they are tempting!
  5. The Sydney or Tokyo jackets by Tessuti – Lightweight and flowy, but still adding style. I have seen beautiful versions of both of these jackets, and I know both or either would slip into my wardrobe as “the third piece” when my outfits get boring and basic. The fabric selection will be endlessly exhilerating. Big bold prints, color, texture, who knows? They are cool shapes and have interesting details and just are not boring! I don’t like to sew basics.
  6. Inari_techInari T dress by Named Patterns – This is a shape I love to wear! Boxy, simple, but cool and comfortable. I’m not going to lie, I already muslined this up and made a nightgown, and I really like the fit so far. Again, the fabric choices are endless here, and I’m excited to use some unique woven fabrics. I have a couple ideas to try, like changing the neckline up and putting something into those side seams to emphasize the shape. Those special fabrics that have been hiding in my stash for a few better be scared, because this pattern may launch you under my sewing machine. Important question: This style really demands great shoes, does it not? I’m going to need to buy some new ones, right?
  7. Classic PJs – My previous sleepwear consisted in the thickest fleece pajamas I could find at Costco. Super glamorous image, right? Well, I realized pretty soon after driving over the state line into California that I was going to need a sleepwear overhaul. I have one lonely pair of Colette Madeline bloomers I made years ago and my husband hates, but I had to wear them every night from August to November. I would like a pair of lightweight classic pajamas that I can mix and match, with pants and shorts, and a matching camisole for really hot nights. I really like the Closet Case Files Carolyn pajamas, but the thought of taping all those PDF pages together sounds awful! I do know that her instructions would be super helpful, though. There is also the Butterick 6296 by Lisette, and I have had very good luck with her patterns in the past. There is also the Lakeside PJ set by Grainline Studios. I guess I have a whole night time wardrobe to make, huh?
  8. A Bralette like the Florence by Seamwork or the Anna Crossover by Oh Lulu – I say a bralette because basically I want to get into sewing lingerie “lite”. I don’t want to have to track down too many findings. I don’t want to get hung up on “the perfect fitting” bra. But I do want to dip my toe in the water and make something pretty and delicate and learn some new skills. And they actually might be pretty useful to me, since I work from home and avoid putting all that jazz on for real until I absolutely have to, I can just lounge around in a bralette until I’m good and ready to get dressed. It would be a vast improvement over my old Costco tank tops with the built in shelf bra. And I swear I don’t only shop at Costco.
  9. Popover shirts, tunics and dresses like the Itch to Stich Mila or McCall’s 6885 – I have 2 tops and 2 dresses that are this shape that I have purchased and love. My problem is that they are fairly boring fabric (white cotton, white silk, chambray and teal rayon, all solid colors) and are always too short! I want my shirts to come to my hip, a tunic that covers my bum, and the dress to come to just above my knee. I also want some print and color! I could really go wild with fabric choices in this shape, too, with the added detail of buttons to play with. As I mentioned last year when I said I wanted to learn button up shirts and collars, I can learn those things here!
  10. B6241 jersey dress – This pattern has me all kinds of excited. A cross between athleisure wear and super secret pajamas, but in a dress! It is sporty and cool and made from comfy knit. Look at those gargantuan pockets, too. I imagine myself donning this dress in the morning, loading the pockets up with my phone, snacks, maybe a soda. I’d be set for the day, and would not even need to walk down the long hallway to the kitchen. But no, really, I think I would wear this everyday, and it looks interesting and fun to make. It even has some colorblocking possibilities. Oh, and a zipper. I’m obsessed with zippers.

Continue reading

Capsule Wardrobe Update – Weeks 1 & 2

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Hi all! Here is a little update on how my capsule wardrobe experiment is coming along. I’ve learned a lot these past 2 weeks and I’m going to make adjustments to the capsule along the way. Let’s take a look at how things looked on week 1:

Outfits week 1

It was chilly that week, and I mostly wanted to wear pants. Honestly, it has to be pretty warm for me to want to wear a skirt. We do have some cooler days and I walk my daughter to school, so I mostly reach for pants. And on the day we went to Disneyland, I had to dress as warmly as I could since we stayed out so late. I was glad I included knee boots in the wardrobe. Those can warm up any outfit.

My favorite outfit of the week was my ikat jeans, white shirt and gray jacket. This silhouette of slim pants, flowy top and cropped jacket is my favorite to wear. That is my best observation from week 1.

Outfits Week2

And on week 2, my observation really bears out, eh? I wore that gray jacket again, but now that I have my new pink Morris blazer, maybe I’ll give it a rest. It was still chilly, if you can believe it! I guess this is “winter” here in SoCal.

From this week I finally figured out what was bugging me about those leather and ponte pants — the front crotch length! I get extra fabric bunching up there basically anytime I move. HATE IT! So, my first adjustment to the capsule is to get rid of those leather jeggings (I’ll wear them with longer tops that cover that front part. The legs fit really well and they are comfy!) and replace them with my black Jamie jeans.

I also decided that 2 pink tops is silly, so I will swap out my pink Aurora tank with that white T-shirt I have on under my Morris blazer in the pic above. Having 2 white shirts seems like a much wiser plan and I like the shorter length that still goes well under my cropped jackets.

So, those are my deep thoughts on the wardrobe so far!  I’ll be getting my newest Morris blazer up on the blog this week and the tutorial that goes along with it. What do you guys think? Any thoughts on mixing and matching these pieces? I still have 2 tops and another jacket/thingy to add to it, which is fun to plan.

Winter 2016 Capsule Wardrobe: An experiment

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Here is my first attempt at a capsule wardrobe for Winter 2016. After doing a bit of research, making lists and revising them, and then revising again, these are the pieces that I came up with.

Quick overview if you have not read/heard/been bombarded with the idea of the capsule wardrobe: It is a limited collection of clothes that you can mix and match to create an array of outfits. The point is that every piece is one that you love and feel good in, and that even in those limited choices, every outfit you pull together will make you feel great and reflect your personal style without you having to amass a mountain of clothes. It will be easier to get dressed in the morning, easier to shop for, and you’ll be better equipped to express your real style. Cool idea, right?

When the idea struck me to create (and then blog) a capsule wardrobe, I imagined a comepletely handmade collection that fit my lifestyle, taste and was perfectly tailored to me. The challenge was that I do not have enough handmades at this time and for this season to put that together immediately. Should I wait and make the 8-10 pieces I dream of and then put the collection together? But then it will no longer be winter, and I won’t be able to wear the clothes. And I wasn’t sure which pieces were the perfect pieces anyway. So I set my perfectionist dreams aside and decided to put together a capsule about half and half, with a few plans for new pieces thrown in as I see fit.

My goal in doing this: I want a better sense of my style and what I feel good in, I want to see how I can be creative with the clothes I have now, and I want a clearer picture of what I’m missing for the future. I hope to use these insights for a Spring 2016 capsule. And I thought it would be fun! Clothes are so purely fun to me!

Hnadmade Capsule wardrobe bottoms

I’m already learning a bunch from making my list and photographing it for you guys. The plan I am going to follow prescribes 37 pieces…8 bottoms, 10 tops, 8 jackets, 8 pairs of shoes and 3 dresses or jumpsuits. I’m going create outfits and try to comb my hair for pictures 4 days a week and I’ll post about how it all goes together. Continue reading

Sew it Chic in a Week #21

Light Chic

Some busy weeks are here for me, and so I have decided to put a pause on the Sew it Chic series for a short while. I hope by next week I’ll be able to share some news and you’ll understand why things are going to be crazy around here for the rest of the summer. This news also means less sewing this summer….wah! But it should be great in the long run!

I had the pleasure of being the Featured Maker over on Kollabora.com this week. You can read my interview here. To coincide with the feature, the ladies at Kollabora asked if I would like to put my patterns on sale on their site. Of course I said yes, that sounds great. So Monday I marked down my patterns from their original $6.95 to $5.50 for the sale. But the sale actually started on Tuesday, and so they didn’t know I had already taken a markdown and marked them down another 20% to $4.40! So, what I’m saying is, if you’d like to try out one of my patterns, they are marked down 40% over on Kollabora so get ’em while they’re hot (until June 30th)! I love a sale!


Here are the informal rules for the link up party:

  • Women’s garments only
  • Made or blogged in the past week only – to avoid reposts.
  • The party is open for a week, until next Friday.
  • You don’t have to blog to join in! Link up your Pattern Review, your Kollabora project or even an Instagram pic. I know there are so many lovely things made that we never see because not everyone is crazy enough to blog. I also have one person who emails me the pictures so I can get them up here.

Optional additional ideas:

  • If you are on a blogging platform that supports links, please link back to http://www.grayallday.com by using the Sew it Chic in a Week button in the sidebar, or just a simple mention in the text of your post. That way more people will find the party!
  • Look around and share a comment or 2 with a neighbor. I don’t mind admitting that I savor blog comments as much as a new manicure. They are encouraging and build community.

[inlinkz_linkup id=539655 mode=1]


 

Seamwork’s Aurora tanks all week long

Colette Seamwork Aurora tank 5Summer has arrived and I’m woefully unprepared. I’ve been obsessed with making jackets and now that I’ve made my floral moto, I want to make all the motos. But jackets take time, and at this moment at least, are not very seasonally appropriate. So I’ve decided to take a bit of a pause from that and spend a week making a bunch of the new Aurora tank from Seamwork magazine by Colette.

Why the Aurora, do you ask? Well, because I love it, obviously. Ha! Let me elaborate. First, it is knit, which makes it stretchy and comfy. The fit is snug in the bust but relaxed in the waist; my favorite. It only takes a 2 hours, so I can make a whole stable of them for the warm weather. Best of all, you can mix 2 fabrics!!!! Oh do I have some fun combinations in mind!!!!

So every day this week I will be making and showing off another Aurora tank. I’ll perfect the fit and use up some of my knit stash. It will be a very useful addition to my wardrobe, I think.

Would you like to join me? I will round up all the Auroras I make in a post, but I would love to include yours if you want to make one or two, too! It would be great to have a whole gallery of them to share the possibilities of this cute pattern. You can link to your version in the comments or email me pictures if you don’t have a blog. Be sure and include details on what fabrics you use, so we can see what works well!

Colette Seamwork Aurora tank2My first version I sewed up a straight size small in an athletic mesh and raspberry ITY knit. Well, I added 2 inches in length of course. It is cute! I’m liking it so far.

Some notes: It is a bit snug around the bust, but this mesh is less stretchy than some other knits I will be using. The thing I don’t like is how the pulling distorts the cute gathers at the strap attachment. Will that happen in the other versions, even if the knit is stretchier? I am tempted to just add a half inch in the bust.

Colette Seamwork Aurora tank 4The neckline is very modest. Since the mesh of this version is transparent, a higher neckline is appropriate. But in future versions I’m going to drop that neckline by at least an inch and a half. I will show you that alterations when I make it.

Colette Seamwork Aurora tank 1

I love the shape of the hemline! One of my favorite features.

I followed the directions closely, except for connecting the front straps. I deviated by clean finishing the strap connection and will post a tutorial on how to accomplish this. It is tricky to visualize, so I will have to take some pictures and maybe draw some diagrams. But it looks so much better and will hold up better over time, also.

So that’s the start of Aurora week! I’m heading right back into the sewing room to cut out version number 2! Meet you back here tomorrow.

 

Sew it Chic in a Week #18

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Another week has flown by as I play catch-up from my trip. Doesn’t it seem like you spend nearly a week preparing for your trip by planning, completing projects, packing, cleaning your house…then you go on your trip. Fun! Then it takes another week of recovery by doing laundry, work, and family responsibilities? I am just now calming down enough to sit at my sewing machine again.

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Peek at my fabric haul!

FabricfromLA2Right now I am muslining some patterns so I can sew up my beautiful new fabric from LA. I am also muslining up a new dress design. Don’t hold your breath for that one, folks, since I am the slowest designer ever.  But in my head it is cute and just what I want to wear all summer. Yes, I know, I should get a move on if I want to wear it for even a portion of this summer. Maybe it will be ready for my Australian and New Zealand friends?

 


barbarajane1This week’s featured seamstress is the talented Barbara from barbarajanemade.com. Last week she shared a sleek and stunning Vogue 1399 peplum dress which everyone loved! Here are her answers to our probing seamstress questions…

What’s your motivation to sew?
I sew as a creative outlet. I used to paint and draw, now I sew, and sew. I love the colour, fabric and the magic of creating something new. I also love that I get to wear clothes that fit, in colours I like, in fabrics I probably couldn’t afford in ready-to-wear clothes. I also enjoy being part of the sewing blogging community, have met some lovely people and I am always inspired and learning something.
BarbaraJane2
My favorite thing about sewing?
I like that I’m always learning and improving my skills. I like planning and dreaming about my next make. My imaginery sewing list is so long.
My least favorite thing about sewing?
I think it’s putting together pdf patterns and then storing them. Though I’ve just figured out a solution to this, so something I’ve learnt recently about sewing is, to trace the pdfs to vilene. They are then easy to store rolled up in cardboard tubes. A vilene pattern can be written on, is strong and is also easy to use, often not even needing pattern weights.
Thanks for hosting this link-up Helena and happy stitching everyone.

Since I have time to really peruse the entries this week I am anxious to get started! Here are the short and sweet rules for the link up party:

  • Women’s garments only
  • Made or blogged in the past week only – to avoid reposts.
  • The party is open for a week, until next Friday, and I’ll open a new one Saturday. Feel free to link up every once in a while or try to complete a garment every week!
  • You don’t have to blog to join in! Link up your Pattern Review, your Kollabora project or even an Instagram pic. I know there are so many lovely things made that we never see because not everyone is crazy enough to blog. I also have one person who emails me the pictures so I can get them up here.

Optional additional ideas:

  • If you are on a blogging platform that supports links, please link back to http://www.grayallday.com by using the Sew it Chic in a Week button in the sidebar, or just a simple mention in the text of your post. That way more people will find the party!
  • Look around and share a comment or 2 with a neighbor. I don’t mind admitting that I savor blog comments as much as a fun-filled vacation. They are encouraging and build community.

[inlinkz_linkup id=533453 mode=1]

Burdastyle 8/2014 #110 Floral shorts

BurdaShortsI think we can all relate to the fact that sometimes, despite your grand plans, you end up with a wadder. That has happened to me a couple times lately. But then sometimes you sew a project and it turns out so well that you realize your skills are improving and forward progress is being made! These BurdaStyle Magazine 8/2014 #110 shorts went that way, thank goodness! Continue reading