Sewing Cafe

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

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Current Class Projects

The hardest part about writing these posts for me is the beginning.  Where do I start?  There is so much going on in class how does one choose what to speak about first?  For lack of any better reason its generally what seems to be floating on top( so to speak) that gets mentioned first and then I just file through the stack...I guess. Of course, there is also the picture issue, some of them turn out better then others, and unfortunately sometimes they don't get taken at all when the actual teaching interferes. 

A note about a change in format - I am using a new camera and still trying to figure the best way to transfer.  The best I could manage for this post was to put them all in a Flicker account.  Just click on the links and they should take you to the picture.  The links are in all caps and when you move your cursor over them they should highlight, click and it will open the picture in another window.

 So let's just begin with this color which I just cannot get out of my head. SUN KISSED APRICOT  These fabrics were purchased by Candy on her recent trip to India.  We believe they are a rayon/silk blend. They have a lovely soft hand and drape.  The floral will be used for a tunic like this ONE and the solid will be the traditional easy pant you see worn there quite a bit.  Candy learned how to make a pattern from a garment so that she could replicate a garment she knows she loves and that fits her correctly. 

Chris continued work on his wool jacket.  You might remember that he made himself a wool shirt.  Winter is approaching so he has been working on completing his outdoor ensemble by adding wool pants and a wool  jacket, which he will wear with his merino wool long underwear and previous Pendelton wool shirt.  He made good progress on his jacket ..installing the sleeves and HEMMING.  He bound his sleeves with strips cut on the grain and applied them much like quilt binding.  The wool he used for the binding was quite thin and not only was very effective but added a nice detail with out adding bulk as a traditional cuff or turned hem would have.

Paula continued work on her Sandra Betzina blouse learning how to install the more complex sleeve placket.  She did a marvelous job...her stitching is getting so accurate. 

Sheila altered a shirt pattern by adding a dart and then continuing to alter to fit.  She also had a fitting on a muslin for a raglan sleeve coat.  After seeing the raglan sleeve I think she has decided to look for a pattern with a set in sleeve due to feeling it was a bit "potato sacky"

Our dear Michelle has moved onto Connecticut....sigh.  Elizabeth had a rough week, poor girl, with her dryer, vacuum and TV all failing on her...what a shock to her budget!  She showed up briefly to discuss her next projects and make sure she purchased the correct interfacing's and interlinings for all but then scooted home for a hot drink in her pj's...sigh.  Just when I had given up thinking that Lisa would arrive, she did.  Here is her ROMAN SHADES she spent the afternoon cutting and prepping the valance which will cover the hardware on the mounting board.

We do some very interesting things in class.  I always leaved inspired and eager to make some things as well.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A DVD Recomendation

Recently I order a DVD by Claire Shaeffer.  Claire has always been one of my preferred instructors, and she has several excellent books  already out there, along with a line of patterns she sells through Vogue. 

She has released a DVD on Couture Basics  which is fantastic!  It is a 2 disc set which shows Claire doing  hand stitches, knots, and hemming techniques, as well as correct pressing and invaluable tools.  One of the bonuses, is to see these stitches and how they are used in her personal collection of Couture garments.  Now before you start thinking that Couture is over your head....many of the stitches and techniques she demonstrates are ones we use in class.  What a wonderful resource when you are not in class!  It is called Basic Couture for a reason, because it is the foundation for all proper sewing and the techniques can be mastered by beginners, how else do you improve but through the practice of sewing done correctly.

I am so pleased that Claire has done this for all of us.  It goes a long way to preserving a fabulous art form.  The techniques are clearly filmed and expertly explained.  Her generosity and love for the craft is certainly conveyed, along with design room tips from famous couture houses.

  Don't hesitate to pick this up as soon as possible.

  I can only hope she is planning on producing more for us.  After all this does only cover the basics.  I will wait with a hopeful heart.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

In the Studio

Now, normally I do not post projects that happen outside of class, but I feel this project is an exception.  Chuck and I have a wonderful client who has asked us to create a replica Wonder Women costume,as worn by Linda Carter. What an honor really! 

The costume was originally designed by Donfeld and I am sure many of you are quite familiar with it, but if you need a refresher you can see some great photos here .

The first order of business for me was to replicate Linda Carters fabulous figure.  Our reference told us that she is 5"9" tall with a  37"bust, 25"waist, 35"hip.  Stunning, but after reviving Chuck I decided to purchase 2 Uniquely you forms, their dressform, and also their pant form which I wanted to combine to make a torso form.  After many measurements and creating a dressform cover that replicated Linda's body we cut apart the standard dressform and glued the pantform to uppertorso.  This turned out to actually be the easy part, because forcing that foam form into her long petite cover was a workout, to say the least.  But I am thrilled with the results!  Today I taped the design lines of her costume onto 1/2 of the form with the results you see here. 

I plan on just looking at it over the next couple of days, to see if any of the proportions start to look wrong or funny. Next week hopefully, I will be able to begin draping the muslin for the main costume pieces.    
 Were you a fan of the show?  Do you like to twirl to change your clothes?  Let me know what you think, and I will keep you posted on the progress.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Fall Schedule begins

It proved to be an interesting week leading up to our 1st day on the Nicolet Campus.  Our new coordinator is Jodi Fox and poor thing she is scrambling a bit to understand the needs of our sewing group.  We are not the ordinary lecture class, but after several e-mails and phone calls, she managed to arrange a room for us with electricity, tables and our ironing equipment.  The room is a little small for our needs but we are all sewing bravely forward while she tries to find a larger space for us.  In the end I know we will get the kinks all worked out, but its an adjustment for us all. 

We have a nice group in the morning, with Candy, Chris, and Michelle, and then in the afternoon we are joined by Elizabeth, Paula, Lisa and a new student Sheila.  You can see her in the background of the above picture, sewing away on a piece of pre-quilted cotton for a jacket.

 Sheila makes some gorgeous quilted jackets and art to wear pieces and has joined us to learn how to make them fit her correctly.

 Chris drafted himself a pant pattern which we then made up a muslin for and we did a fitting.  There was very little correction to be made, just some fullness out of the thigh.  He has purchased some old Amy pants and will be re purposing the wool for his pair of " life in the outdoors" pants.  It is always fun to problem solve with Chris on his specific needs.  An introduction for us all in the requirements of extended outdoor living.  I suppose Chris is accustomed to roughing it...and this is not the first time I have seen him cutting out on the floor, but this is determination baby.

Michelle, I am sad to report will be leaving us soon to move to Connecticut. We will miss her wonderful story's, her fun and exciting color choices, her fantastic jewelry, and her general joi' d'vie.  She is pushing through some UFO's and on Friday free motion quilted a wall hanging she had pieced.  On Saturday she wrapped up a quilted tote, a gorgeous item in warm purple and blue batiks. 

It was great to have Paula back..poor Paula who has had no time for any garment sewing this summer at all!  Shocking!  Her 1st project upon her return....alterations for a bridesmaid dress...hmmm...not exactly what she had spent the summer dreaming about returning to class for...but she managed to do her good deed and get it accomplished by the end of Friday.  This left her free...yes free to launch into a lovely Sandra Betzina blouse.  I am afraid I made her a bit nervous, as I was skeptical about an "Easy" rating on a blouse that has tucks off of the grain!  This is a technique that often works for me....the "Oh..this is going to be so Wow, look at that, its all done, not so bad after all huh?  At least this technique works with Paula, because in reality she loves a challenge although I think "she doth protest to much"  She is doing a beautiful job on her blouse and our next challenge will be her 1st sleeve placket. 

Elizabeth brought an idea inspired by the fabric at to be known as the "Judy Jetson" dress.  She also brought along several different patterns that she thought might achieve the look she was going for although none of them were exactly correct. After discussing the pro's and con's of each, we settled in to a discussion of the pattern changes required and Elizabeth took to her pattern changes like a duck takes to water.  Some people struggle with pattern making, but Elizabeth just "gets it"  it makes sense to her and requires little explanation from me before she is off and running.  Its fun and rewarding to watch. 

Lisa is making good progress on her roman shades, plotting out all of the ring placement and learning how to sew them all on. Her sister in law has decided on and purchased a fabric for a chair she wants to be slipcovered. Now Lisa has already made the pattern for this slipcover and once the shades are complete it will be time to make lots and lots of cording.

Of course none of this has even touched on Saturdays class where we were joined by 4 new Learn to Sew students, but more about them later.

Now it's time for me to do some sewing, 


Thursday, September 9, 2010

September is National Sewing Month....what will you sew?

Its National Sewing Month which means that there are lots of great deals to had out there from our favorite suppliers!  Locally our quilting store is offering some great deals...check it out -  Sew Smart Specials

Along with September comes thoughts of fall fashions and to get us started I thought I would post a link to the Fall Fashion Colors.  There are some beautiful and inspiring choices in this line up.  Why don't we all create a fall style book for ourselves to help organize our fall and winter sewing?...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Adventure Boy!

This summer our young friend James joined us for 2 sewing cafe sessions.  You may remember him from last year when he learned how to use the machine and made a mighty fine bean bag toss game.  This year I was notified ahead of time that he wanted to make a Zorro Mask.  Ahh....the joy of boys, they do love their masks and capes and crime fighting heros.  I secretly believe( although I guess the secret is out now) that somehow my husband and James are related, as the first costume request I had from him was also a Zorro costume.  This gave me a decided advantage because I then knew exactly what kind of mask Zorro wears. 

After some very careful sewing on James part we try the mask on. 

 I assist with the tying on.

Once the knot was secure - the thrust and pare' were expertly executed. 

Once the mask was complete we discovered that there was just enough fabric to make the all important cape
The transformation is now complete!  Watch out you fiends and notion stealing villans.  There's a new masked hero to protect us all.  

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