Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chocolate is good for the morale!

Readers, do you reward yourself for hours of monotonous hand sewing? - I am thread tracing this skirt:


I mean, I can cross-stitch without any problem. Once I start cross-stitching I can't stop. I tend to cross stitch everything. I get lost in cross stitching...

Anyway, thread tracing is different. This is something I am not crazy about at all! And this skirt has seven main pieces, plus seven facing pieces. And I am getting tired of it, and at the same time I got to finish it today.

Normally, when there is chocolate in house, I would divide the boring part of my sewing in chunks and reward myself for each part with a piece of chocolate. Yum! Seven pieces - seven chocolates! Plus facing, ooooh.

Source
That's the picture on my tea mug! Yes, I know...

So, I am asking you, do you reward yourself for hard work-in-progress somehow??? I know what I am going to pack as a part of my Baltimore emergency kit! Chocolate is good for the morale, readers! Feel free to confess!

Monday, March 19, 2012

You're a Couture Aficionado if...

Couturemain_large
Source: BurdaStyle

Dear readers, last year I started my couture guest blogging series on BurdaStyle with this small quiz. Almost a year later, and I am revisiting it with a slightly edited post on my own blog. Let's call it celebrating a milestone. What milestone, you may ask? A year of intensive couture learning and ... but more about it later. For now, enjoy the quiz!

So, you are an Haute Couture aficionado if:
  • ...you know the difference between even and uneven basting stitch
  • ...you always have handy a spool of Japanese silk basting thread and at least one pack of the finest hand sewing needles
  • ...you have more than one type of many sewing tools and can justify why you need each of them
  • ...you know the difference between interlining and interfacing
  • ...your F* and S* words are ‘fuse’ and 'serge'
  • ...you have yards of silk organza in your fabric stash
  • ...you know at least four different ways to handle darts
  • ...your seam allowances are often humongous
  • ...you know what beeswax is used for 
  • ...sewing hand-picked zipper or hand-bound buttonholes is a breeze for you
  • ...you often spend more time pressing than sewing
  • ...every time you sew with loosely woven fabric you feel the urge to quilt the lining
  • ...constructing a Chanel-inspired couture jacket is/was on your to-do list…and you can name at least five characteristic features of a couture Chanel jacket
  • ...you have spent more money on sewing courses than on ready-to-wear garments
  • ...your family is versed in most couture and tailoring techniques you use and can explain them to a stranger
  • ...you wonder why this list is so short and are able to add at least twice as many items to it

So, are you couture aficionados, readers? If yes, feel free to continue the list!

Friday, March 16, 2012

My Facebook page is up and running

Dear readers, in case you are active users of Facebook you may want to get updates about my blog from my Facebook page. That means more content, more up-to-date news, favorite links, post sharing with fellow bloggers, sneak peeks on work-in-progress, and the coverage of the upcoming Camp Couture.

Please share your own/favorite facebook pages - I'd love to bring some life to my FB page feed. And, of course, you don't have to, but I would be very happy if you 'like' me on Facebook too. Thank you all!


BurdaStyle April 2012 picks

Readers, do you like BurdaStyle magazine? I am a loyal fan, I have to admit. Have been for the last twenty-five years... I remember holding the first issue published in the former Soviet Union and drooling over styles and styling, home advice columns and exotic cuisine recipes with ingredients noone ever heard of. I kept every issue, until I had to move, again and again and again, traveling from one job to another... And, even when I wasn't sewing I was buying the magazine every now and then, in whatever language it was available, keeping some of my favorite back issues. I got Italian edition in Kosovo, Serbian in Belgrade, Russian in Macedonia, French in Paris, German in Austria... Last year, it has been the first time since long that I was able to subscribe (and sew) again, and so now my collection is growing again.

I like Burda a lot for it offers several features in every issue, and each of this features has a set of coordinated looks that would allow anyone to create a mini wardrobe. April issue was no exception, with my favorite La Siciliana trend. It seems no coincidence that I was just recently admiring Fall 2012 collection by Dolce and Gabbana... So, off we go, here are my favorites from the recent issue:

Cachecoer 126 A



I adore this blouse - well, it is very sheer, but with a nice corselet underneath it will look less provocative. It is a potential candidate for my Camp Couture, or I may even do it before I go and focus on the corselet instead. It is a very simple style that shouldn't take long, the only thing is that, depending on lace, I may need to stabilize/ reinforce it, but more construction thoughts in a later post.

Skirt 118B
This skirt is a tiny bit too tight here, readers. What I love most are the structural seams and the high waist. It is a winner skirt and will look flattering on curvy women. Recommended fabric is cotton satin, but I am considering using peau de soie, or medium-weight silk twill, both perfectly suitable for fitted styles.

Blouse 117
Another favorite - it is so easy, and I love that back flounce. The belt pattern is also included, and I am planning to make one as well.
Alberta Ferretti exclusive designer pattern
A beautiful and sophisticated dress, it is really timeless even though it comes from Alberta Ferretti's 2009 Pre-Fall collection. They even used the original image of the dress. The brooch is important, so I make be hunting a suitable piece these days if I'll decide to make this dress. It looks like a perfect theater or cocktail look, easy enough to feel comfortable and yet quite chic.


Have you picked your favorite Burda styles yet?


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

'Pimp my' pencil skirt

Readers, tell me, honestly, what do you think of pencil skirts. I love(d) them but I keep on thinking on how you can make them more special, how to add a personal touch that represents you as a character. For example, I am a lace addict, and, when in Mood, I spend most time at their lace remnants box. I got wonderful pieces there, readers... But back to pencil skirts! I always look for those nice details, such as lace, for example, to embellish pencil skirts. Or, forget lace! Add structural lines (=seams), pockets, plackets, trims.... and and and

I think the Fall 2012 Dolce & Gabbana collection demonstrated  a few creative ways to do exactly that - make a simple pencil skirt special, using construction lines, prints, and lace. Check it out yourself, here are my favorites (source: Stylebistro):

upholstery-style fabric is in again, and I am happy, because I have a beautiful one in my stash. I think this combination of lace and flower print is beautiful!

very cute lace - it has this three-dimensional effect that has some edginess because of the material used for this lace. I wonder what it is though... Anyway, with the right type of fabric, this is an easy project even for a beginner.

Instant upgrade for a 'boring' black pencil skirt - a vertical guipure lace panel. And, slimming! If you decide to use this effect, apply by hand and stabilize the panel by basting it with matching thread to the fashion fabric.

So simple, but the lace makes it so romantic. The jacket is underlined with organza, I believe, see the crispiness of it. I woudl underline the skirt as will, and experiment with nude and off-white colors for organza

Gorgeous! My absolute favourite! For a DIY be careful with the placement of the middle panel - it can be a key for how your hips look! On this skirt, it is placed just under the hip line. The top and the bottom portions are dramatic enough to shift the emphasis from the middle panel. And, at the end, if you are worried about widening your hips, skip the middle panel alltogether - it will still look beautiful (provided you have similarly dramatic scallops on your lace) As a true couture enthusiast I would question a straight seam that attaches the bottom lace panel to the fashion fabric, but it may be a design choice...
I love the combination of two different lace types on this skirt - not a quick project if you haven't got a piece that has the laces combined!

 Did you like these skirts, readers? Which one is your favourite?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Couture techniques & a mystery netting

I am having very very busy days on all fronts, but today there is something I had to share with you! Look at this:



I was looking for this fabric  for months, on eBay, on Etsy, in online stores, in the Garment District. In vain. But last week I passed by one of my favorite stores and asked them if they had Swiss Illusion. - They had no idea what I was talking about. - Netting in flesh color, maybe? - They discussed it and said that they had an unidentified bolt in their storage, which may be what I was looking for.

Ten minutes later.... Yay! That was it, can you imagine! They said they had no idea what it was - a close-out piece that was bought along with bolts of other fabric. Well, I packed my three-yards of this this weightless treasure and hurried home.

So, what is it? I saw it for the first time in a beautiful vintage garment, and then, again, in Baltimore - Susan Khalje brought a small piece of it to demonstrate how she works with Chantilly or Alençon lace. She calls it Swiss Illusion -  a sheer but strong netting used as a lace underlay in mostly close-fitting styles.

Some of you may have used organza to underlay fragile lace, so you may ask what is the difference. Well, the main difference is that organza is a woven, and Swiss illusion is a knit. So, organza would give a stronger structure, while Swiss Illusion will remain some flexibility. Also, in my opinion, organza is more opaque than Swiss Illusion, so if you want to achieve that nude effect - use it.

This fabric is relatively expensive at $30 a yard, so, if you find it, use it sparingly. But for details, such as lace yoke, or sleeves - you won't need much, and a yard will take you a long way.


What about your readers, how, or do you underlay expensive lace. Share your thoughts!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Planning for another Camp Couture!

Readers, have I told you that I am going to another couture class with Susan Khalje end of March! It wasn't planned, but in the last minute things just worked out perfectly, and there were/are still couple of seats in the class available. Is anyone from you going as well?


Well, there are a few things I want to work on there:
  • a corselet  that I can wear as a separate piece or under sheer blouses. 
  • a simple Chantilly lace blouse is also on the list, and, finally, 
  • a bias silk slip with lace, which I want to start there
I definitely want to finish two. This time I will need to focus on what I want to accomplish and stick to my plan, so not a single minute of this six-day course is wasted. I am saying this because last time I went to Baltimore I packed a bag full of different projects, fabrics and notions. As a result I had difficulties focusing on a single project... I just didn't spend enough time preparing for the class. I had quite a busy month then and packed without a clear plan.

Ok, I learnt my lesson, and here is what I am going to do! In the week preceding the course, I will
  • make muslins for all three projects, and
  • fit them, so Susan needs to help with final touches only
  • choose the fabric (hopefully from my stash),
  • prepare all the notions I need to complete the projects without wasting time for shopping in the neighbourhood Jo-Ann's,
  • select only essential tools I need for these projects (I tend to drag along too much - not clothes but all the sewing stuff).
I hope this works, as I still participate in the Sew Colette Sew-Along hosted by the charming Sarah of Rhinestones & Telephones and testing the first pattern by Suzy of Suzy Sewing (you go, girl!). Besides that, I am starting a new and very exciting project which may last as long as one year, but more about it later, once all details are in place. All I can say is that projects made in the Couture School will be part of it.

But back to class planning! Have you attended sewing classes? Any tips on how to best prepare for an outside class, besides zillions of other projects, three demanding kids, a husband and bugs that keep the entire family sick all this time? I would accept all the proposals, including meditation, yoga poses and using essence sticks! Please!.. anyone?!





Friday, March 2, 2012

Gadgetmania: a round-up of guest posts! Thank you!

Readers, this week was very busy with birthday celebrations, school visits, and, of course, sewing. I will post updates on the projects I managed to finish and new techniques I tried. But today, I want to get back to my traditional Friday Gadgetmania posts.

First of all, many thanks to these fabulous ladies who invested their time researching sewing tools and shared the results with you here:

 Astrid of Frøken Hanghøj, blogging about award-winning Needle Twister

Gwen of Gwynhug.com, who offered The Original "How much Fabric?" cards as a giveaway to Frabjous Couture readers


Maris Olsen of Sew Maris, giving an overview of her favourite KAI Scissors


Rachel of House of Pinheiro, who blogged about her favourite marking and tracing tools.

Carmen of CarmencitaB, revealing  unconventional use of glue in sewing.

Vicki of VickiKateMakes, who explained to use the importance of the thread twist.

Ruth of SewRuth, sharing with us her adventures in finding a new dress form


Laura Bolčina of My Little Nook, who contributed not one, but two posts on rulers! The first covered straight rulers, and the second dealt with curves.



 
Thank you, ladies! I was so flattered that you chose Frabjous Couture to write about sewing tools and notions!

We heard so much about useful tools, so I want to ask you what were some of the most useless sewing tools you came across??? All your nominations will be featured in a separate post! 

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