Sewing Cafe

Patterns, Tutorials and Works in Progress from the Sewing Studio of Lynne Williams

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Claire Schaeffer- Chanel and That Suit class review

I have recently returned from a fabulous sewing adventure in Palm Springs Calif.  After many years of hopeful desire I have finally realized my dream of taking a class with Claire Shaeffer.

If you don't know about Claire I suggest you head over to Amazon where she has many books for sale, or Threads where she has countless articles that she has contributed.  She is a leading educator in the art and craft of fashion sewing and a major collector of vintage couture fashion.

Your week begins having dinner at Claire's home, being introduced to her husband, well behaved dogs and  fellow students. It ends with regretful partings, half of a Chanel jacket and as many supplies as you can pack into a large flat rate shipping box.

The highlights for me outside of the 100+ degree weather and the familiar landscape were....


Seeing Chanel Couture garments up close and personal

Claire is incredibly generous with her time, energy and knowledge.  Every day new jackets would arrive at class for us to pour over, take pictures of, discuss and discover.

She took delight in pointing out to us the unusual details and amazing techniques used to create these beautiful garments.
Under collar detail of a Chanel couture jacket 

Pocket detail of a Chanel jacket

 We not only got to see the jackets, but vests, skirts and blouses that accompanied them.

#2 - Instruction

Claire would demonstrate the techniques we would need for each days sewing.  Thread basting, seaming, making trims, buttonholes, setting sleeves, shaping collars, etc.  It was a lot of information, a lot of sewing and a lot of fun!!  Although I own many of her books, have watched her DVD's  and sew almost every day of my life, there is nothing like watching someone stitch with accuracy and efficiency to help you improve your skills and learn new ones.

#3 - More Instruction

After learning a new technique and creating a sample being able to compare my work to the work done in the Chanel workroom...valuable beyond all measure!!
  One day I asked Claire about a certain hard to obtain pattern book..on the following day, not only had she brought in that book but every other book she had on the subject so that I could determine for myself which would be the most valuable for me to own.  It was a generous thing to do and extremely helpful for me.  She did this in various ways for each and every one of us!

#4 - The Other Participants

Claire has an assistant.  The dear Linda Homan, who we could confess our mistakes to, ask assistance from and who generally took care of us and Claire making all things run smoothly.
My fellow students were, bloggers, teachers, " beginners" and re-beginners. They were kind, supportive, encouraging and tired. It is a bit of a marathon, between getting to know people, looking at each new garment that was brought in, learning new techniques and trying to keep up with the days agenda, but so worth it. 

In summary, I had a great time, I cannot wait to take another class from her and I would encourage any of you who want to expand your sewing skills, regardless of your interest in Chanel or your level of experience to do so without hesitation. 
 Make it happen, you will not regret it.

If you would like to see more and learn more about Claire's class head over to La Sewista for a fab review

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Story Board Design Challange

I know , I know you have not heard from me in ages...simply ages.  The good news is that the Super Hero Business over at Williams Studio 2 is keeping us very busy.  The bad news, less time for personal sewing and a lot less time for blogging about personal sewing.

In an effort though to expand my horizons I have decided to enter a design challenge for the ASE this coming September. 
 Step 1 - Story Board - Check!
Step 2 - Sketches
Step 3 - Pattern/ drape final design
Step 4 - the wind...and between costumes

I have not had the pleasure of creating a story board in quite a while.  This was fun and after all the musing only required an hour of my time to produce.  

Have any of you ever entered sewing or design contests?
Any recommendations, suggestions or warnings? - lol

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Developing the Love of Sewing - Trolls

What is it about sewing that is so engaging?  What were your first sewing projects?  Why do some of us remember sewing with such great pleasure while others found it to be horribly frustrating?

For me, those first projects were dolls and small stuffed animals.  We used to draw figures onto old sheets, cut around them, sew around them, stuff them with....old pantyhose(waste not want not) and Voila a new friend to play with was born.  
learning to sew with fun simple projects

My dear mother is the treasure keeper.  She has managed to preserve objects from my childhood which are only passed on to me when she deems that I will care enough to continue to care for them.  One of my motto's in life is..." Have I used this in the last 2 years? No! Than I can get rid of it"  You might not know that I have an abhorrence of clutter when you visit my studio, but I dislike cluttered, closets, drawers and cupboards.  This causes my Mother to act with due discretion when passing on objects that she has kept safely tucked away until she feels I would deem it important enough to continue to treasure it as well.

A number of years ago she presented me with some of the clothes I had made for myself as a child along with dolls and their wardrobes.  Whenever you received a doll from my mother it came with a complete wardrobe and of course a case to store it all in.  What a Gift!!

Here I am in midlife and these items have become very dear to me.  In fact I find myself, like many others stalking ebay and etsy to find my lost treasures.  Those items that were simply so abused by use they just didn't survive my childhood.  

Needless to say some of those items were sewing patterns.  
This pattern, recently found on ebay is one of those treasured patterns.  The trolls name is Melodie and we had many adventures together, most of them in am orange Jeep actually, but all of them in garments made from this pattern, McCalls 7589 Felt Togs for Trolls.  My sisters and I made so many of these garments over the years that the patterns were transferred to cardboard(discarded cereal boxes) several times.  
They are simple, clever and oh so flippn cute!!!

Believe it or not you used to be able to find lovely wool felt at your local fabric store, alas no more, but rest assured I will  be ordering felt shortly so that Melodie can model some new togs.

I am curious, Did you sew from patterns as a child or like to make your own?
Do you know a child who enjoys sewing small things?
Did you develop a love of sewing as a child or later in life?

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