A Change in Direction

Posted November 16, 2013 by sewingplums
Categories: sundry messages

I’ve noticed many blogs have a natural life span.
I’ve recently begun wondering if I was repeating myself.
What I wasn’t at all expecting is that I’ve quite suddenly stopped having a head full of ideas about what to say here.

Not that I’ve stopped having ideas but they’re about other things !

So I’ve decided to stop posting here. A good time to stop, with the holiday period coming up.
I may post occasionally when I feel strongly about something. But at the moment anyway, posts won’t appear regularly.

I’m hoping to do more sewing – but for some reason I feel no inclination to blog about it. And happily many people write such good blogs on that.

A four-year commitment, that’s pretty amazing !

Many thanks to you all for your interest.
I’ve found it very rewarding to see how many of you wanted to visit here and see what I had to say.
I’m planning to leave it all available in the hope it continues to be useful for reference.
My most visited posts are ones written several years ago anyway !

Best Wishes to you all, and Many Thanks for your encouragement.

Enjoy sewing lovely life-enhancing clothes.

:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

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Pant/ trouser sewalongs

Posted November 9, 2013 by sewingplums
Categories: sewing technique

Love the extra support from following a sew along ?
I like following detailed instructions with lots of illustrations and demos the first time I do something. I also like instructions from a friendly encouraging voice, even if written !

This is the last of my sewalong series, links to the others are listed on this page.
And no, I’m not planning to post on sewalongs for dresses or blouses :D

If (like me !) you only ever wear one style of pants, here’s a couple of styling ideas :

If you wear casual pants, but want to get away from jeans, YouLookFab has a post full of suggestions.

Once you’ve got a good basic pants pattern, here’s a Craftsy class about altering a pants pattern to make many other pant styles.

I have a couple of posts with ideas on pant fit :
Pant patterns and body shape
Fabric wedges below the waist

In this post, I’ve put the sewalongs in 4 groups :
- pants/ trousers, in 2 sections – on written tutorials and videos/ DVDs,
- jeans,
- sweat pants,
- elastic waist pants – not mentioned here, there are links to several sewalongs in my post on making pyjamas.

- – -

Written tutorials with photos

Colette Clover

”coletteclover”

tissue pattern with side seam zip
sewalong

Sewaholic Thurlow

”thurlow”

tissue pattern
sew along from Ladybird (scroll down for links)

Burda Style 07/2010/ 127 vintage style pants

”burda127”

download pattern
sewalong by A Fashionable Stitch

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DVDs and on-line videos (not free)

Sandra Betzina
pattern Vogue 2948 is oop but supplied with class

”v2948”

Craftsy class (associated class on fitting pants)

The Sewing Guru
Ladies trousers with no pockets, invisible zip, faced waist.
The Sewing Guru course tells you how to draft your own facing pattern so you could adapt Butterick 5391, which is also used in The Sewing Guru skirt course.

”b5391”

pattern
sewalong on-line videos in Collection 10

The Sewing Guru
Men’s trousers with slant pockets, fly zip, waistband.

”v2836”

pattern Vogue 2836, also used by The Sewing Guru in his courses on men’s jackets.
sewalong on-line videos in Collection 5.

Palmer-Pletsch
The pattern they mention is oop.
Their current pants pattern, McCall’s 6567, has more difficult pockets.

”m6567”

There’s also a Palmer-Pletsch chinos pattern, McCall’s 6361 (includes skirt).

”m6361”

‘Pants for Real People – Sewing Techniques’ DVD (also a DVD on pants fit)

-

Those instructions suggest specific patterns, though they can be used with many other patterns.
These 2 are more general, just suggested style elements :

eSewing Workshop
self drafted pattern
sewalong – online videos, can be used with other patterns

You Can Make It
pattern : pants with side pockets, fly zip, fell and welt seams.
sewalong : teaching DVD. These DVDs are cumulative not stand-alone. Level 5 assumes you know the skills taught in Levels 1 to 4.
Level 5 DVD (scroll down page for information)

- – -

Jeans

Kwik Sew 3504 men’s jeans

”k3504”

pattern
sewalong by Male Pattern Boldness (free online written instructions with photos and discussion)

Palmer-Pletsch McCall’s 5894 misses jeans

”m5894”

pattern

2 sewalongs for this pattern :

Palmer-Pletsch
‘Jeans for Real People’ DVD

The Sewing Guru
this is the current version of the jeans pattern used in his
Collection 12 (online videos)

Pattern Review class from Jennifer Stern
Blueprints to Blue Jeans
uses her own jeans pattern.
Includes videos, fitting, styling, sewing.

There are 2 Craftsy courses on making jeans, not linked to specific patterns.

Kenneth King Reverse engineer your favorite jeans

Angela Wolf Sewing Designer jeans
recommended patterns listed in class

I don’t usually mention ‘chat and encouragement’ boards, but there’s a huge amount of useful information about sewing jeans in this one :
Pattern Review Jeans Tips and Tricks

- – -

Sweat pants

Hot Patterns Fast and Fabulous tailored trackpants

”hp-track”

tissue pattern (use drapey fabrics, knits not necessary)
YouTube demo

Silhouette patterns 3400 3-piece yoga pants

”sil3400”

tissue pattern
free webcast

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Whew there are a lot of these. Any of them right for you ?

Many thanks to all the people who post the free sewalongs – those do represent a huge amount of generosity and work. Isn’t the internet marvellous !

Hope you enjoy these :D

No guarantee of completeness or quality. This is another use of the internet which is happily growing.

- – -

Links and patterns available November 2013

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Combine fabrics, embellish

Posted November 2, 2013 by sewingplums
Categories: current fashion, personal style

The first ‘avant garde’ post was about architectural shapes.
This post is about adding interesting and unique design elements using all the possibilities of textile surface art – combining fabrics and adding texture and embellishment.

There are so many options for creativity. This post has these sections :
- patterns with basic shapes for fabric combining and embellishment.
- embellishment techniques.
- multi-fabric combining :
. . . different main pattern pieces in different fabrics.
. . . fabric combining in patchwork and other shapes.
- high fashion in ‘artistic’ colours and prints.

There’s many exciting and inspiring ‘art to wear’ sites and blogs, this is just a short guide to a few starting points.
And sorry, just some suggested links. Lots of attractive images if you follow up the links, but I haven’t included many visuals here. I wouldn’t know where to stop :D

- – -

Basic garments for embellishment

There are several patterns with simple shapes specifically for adding your own fabric combination or embellishment.

Fit for Art Tabula Rasa jacket (includes help with fit, other patterns for style changes)

Yvonne Porcella Jacket from The Sewing Workshop (simplest shape, terrible instructions) (gallery here).
There’s also a pdf guide to embellishment for it (not free).

Kayla Kennington has patterns built from rectangles. Her site is not active at present, but her patterns are available from sewingpatterns.com.

Or decorate the simple shapes of peasant workwear such as from Folkwear patterns.

If you just like doing the embellishment without doing the garment construction, use basic existing garments (such as from BlankApparel.com). Though that isn’t a way of getting interesting garment shapes.

- – -

Embellishment Techniques

Many many internet sources of advice on :
- fabric painting, dying, stencilling, stamping, foiling. . .
- hand and machine embroidery, appliqué, texturising, couching, beading, heirloom stitching . . .
- plus sources for delicious ribbons, motifs, trims. . .
And dozens of books too.
Sorry I’m not going to attempt to pick out the good ones !

Perhaps work through a CD by Marcy Tilton on Surface Design, or her many on-line tutorials.

Several Craftsy classes to try :
Decorative seams
Edge finishes
Creative closures
Sewn texture
Stupendous Stitching
Machine embroidery, hand-stitched looks
Hand embellishing knit fabric
Designing details – pockets

Several McCall’s patterns for making fabric flowers.

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Multiple fabric combinations within one garment

This is the current ‘multi-media’ approach to clothes.

See the Style.com Fall 2013 trend reports Crazy Fur section (click on right centre photo) for designer inspiration on using fur, some in combinations.
and Style.com Spring 2013 trend reports Collage Degree section (click on left centre photo) for designer inspiration on combining patterned fabrics.

I love combining fabrics in a quilt, but find it much more difficult in clothes.
Easiest to use fabrics from quilt fabric designers, which are issued in groups of prints specifically designed to co-ordinate.

Whole pattern pieces

The most seen ‘high-street fashion’ multi-fabric look is to have whole pattern pieces in different fabrics, especially in princess seam styles. Many Big4 and Burda patterns in which this is done quite simply, with solids in ‘colour blocking’. ‘Texture blocking’ or ‘multi-media’ print combining are the newest idea.

At the extreme, if you add a CB seam and a waist seam to a princess seam jacket, you’ll have 16 different fabric areas to play with in the body alone. Then add on more fabrics for sleeves, collar, facings :D

Try these sources for more casual patterns in this style :
Design and Planning Concepts
Indygo Junction
Serendipity Studio

Patchwork and other fabric shapes

If you love piecing and quilting, there’s plenty of fashion inspiration for using smaller areas of each fabric too.

There’s a Craftsy class on making a Quilted jacket

And there are many independent pattern designers who provide patterns for ‘wearable art’ pieced and quilted garments. These are just some of them.
Dana Marie
Grainline Gear
Lorraine Torrence Designs
Pavelka Design (sewing patterns link at bottom of page)
Rag Merchant
Taylor Made Designs

Here are a couple of examples.

Silhouette 4013 dress for knits.

”silhouette4013”

McCall’s 6712 top and circular skirt.

”m8712”

The king of print combination is Koos van den Akker at Vogue.
Here’s a slide show of his styles to click through.

- – -

‘Artistic’ high fashion

There’s another route, for people who aren’t so interested in architectural shapes and embellishment.

And that is to wear high fashion shapes in strong prints and strong colours.
YouLookFab gives an example here, from one of those style bloggers who appears to have an unlimited clothing budget.

As in the combining of contrasting prints and textures (see my post with an example), this requires a gifted artistic eye.
There’s a good article on mixing prints and textures here. [Ignore their Style Personality quiz, which only has one style.]

Note there’s no combining of colours or prints within one garment. They’re dramatically combined from separate garments.
But it is a rather different approach to wardrobe building than wearing a couple of neutrals and one accent colour with one quiet print :D

Lots of attractive and dramatic prints around. But take care if you have low contrast colouring or a quieter personality – perhaps these fabrics will swamp your own looks. It is possible to choose prints, textures, colours which ensure people look at you, not the fabric !

- – -

I grinned while pulling this list together. I delight in all clothes. But the styles I actually wear myself are a bit like this – though very quiet versions !

I’m definitely a follower not an innovator in this area, but I’m fascinated by all the possibilities.
I’m particularly entranced by an old set I have from Lois Ericson, which has stencils and machine embroidery software for the same shapes. Almost infinite potential.

- – -

If you love this sort of jacket, enjoy being at the forefront of fashion this season :D

There’s so much rich creativity available for clothes making. If this is your style I’m sure you have your own sources of delight and inspiration.

Do you show your personal style in the jacket shapes you choose ? This season there are quiet or striking versions of :
- tailored blazer,
- drapey or curvy shapes,
- assertive edgy shapes of bomber/ biker/ military,
- architectural shapes.

Or do you prefer simple shapes but delight in the bold or subtle combination of colour, print, texture, embellishment ? There’s a huge range – from overwhelming, challenging, sublime through to modest in scope.

No end to the delicious possibilities :D
Apart from the pleasures of looking at all this – when it comes to what you wear yourself, which makes you feel most happy, comfortable with and true to yourself :D

- – -

Patterns and links available November 2013

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Stylish fleeces and hoodies

Posted October 26, 2013 by sewingplums
Categories: current fashion, personal style

I seem to have been going through a phase where I disagree with everything said by stylists.
Ah well, perhaps it’s a test that I’m clear about my own style.

A style book I looked at recently (Wardrobe Secrets by Emily Neill) said there are no rules about what to wear, except you must never wear a turtle (polo) neck, and it’s good to wear a V-neck.
Oh dear, I feel the cold and with my long neck and long head, I think I look much better in a turtle neck. And I haven’t worn a classic V-neck since school uniform – with my face shape and flat chest they don’t look anywhere near the best I can be.

And Imogen Lamport of Inside-Out Style has a couple of recent posts in which she appears to be anti-fleece and anti-hoodie.

Oh. Hmm. No doubt I’m over-reacting, but there seem to be several sub-texts here :
- that it’s impossible to look stylish and trendy in a fleece or hoodie,
- that everyone wants to look stylish and trendy,
- and that it’s impossible to look stylish and trendy when wearing protective winter outerwear.
(The people who buy Chanel ski jackets would be surprised to hear that :D There’s even a Lands End ‘down to -40 degrees C’ padded jacket in the style worn by all the trendy girls round here.)

Well of course that set me off on a whole lot of trains of thought. Happily there are many recent patterns for ‘Easy Luxe’ elegant fleeces and hoodies.

- – -

Stylish hoodies

McCall’s 6444

”m6444”

Butterick 5791 (includes elastic waist pants)

”b5791”

Vogue 8854.

”v8854”

McCall’s 6603

”m6603”

McCall’s 6849

”m6849”

(Or shorten this dress, Vogue 8806.)

- – -

Stylish fleeces

Some new patterns could be cosy and comfortable in fleece, yet look ‘stylish’ rather than ‘sporty’ (Though why not look sporty-casual if you want to – there are plenty of new patterns. It’s a very popular look round here.)

McCall’s 6658

”m6658”

Vogue 8924

”v8924”

Butterick 5961 by Katherine Tilton

”b5961”

Simplicity 1543 by Patty Reed

”s1543”

Butterick 5816 is said to be for light fabrics. But it was a summer pattern issue, and I think it could work well in warm fabrics too. (Pattern info doesn’t mention using 2 fabrics, very trendy but not clear that there are instructions for it.)

”b5816”

- – -

Well, this is obviously a topic close to my heart, as I keep returning to it.
See my previous posts on
fleeces and hoodies
and on the vague borderline between ultra-casual and loungewear styles.

Hurrah, lots of options for those of us who love ‘Easy Luxe’ :D

And here’s YouLookFab on wearing a hoodie with a blazer – she definitely doesn’t think a hoodies are not for the stylish :D

- – -

Patterns and links available October 2013

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