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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Project 5: Quilted chiffon wrap skirt and jacket

This project is totally out of control!

It started out as a dress, using McCall's M6520 pattern. The dress is designed with a raglan top and bottom connected by a drawstring in a casing. After cutting out all the pieces, I realized that there was no way I would ever wear this as a dress using this fabric! 

 The material is a weird, wrinkle-free, slippery polyester I found at JoAnn's, not unlike a shower curtain liner. I probably paid $5 for it. I really don't know why I bought it, except I liked the impressionist flowers floating on the black background. I'd like to believe it has a Prada vibe to it. I decided to make a wrap skirt and cropped jacket instead, and tone down the print with some quilting.

 I quilted some purple chiffon to the sleeve cuffs. Looks pretty cool. 

To create the cropped jacket, I made some facing pattern pieces. I fused black, woven polyester interfacing to the purple chiffon to give it some body, then hand sewed the facings to the jacket.  I need hem the jacket but I am going to wait until the skirt is finished and see what length looks the best. It looks like a blob on the hanger, but it fits great!

The skirt seemed skimpy, so I decided to use black pique to create an underlining and lining. Underlinings are used extensively in couture sewing and can really change the feel of a fabric. Hopefully,the skirt will feel more luxurious and not like a shower curtain anymore. Tip: Wash everything first before you sew!

Using my walking foot, I machined stitched chiffon to the top section of the skirt. I might shred the chiffon  between the stitching, and I have to decide before I finish the waistband and front skirt edges.

So far, So good!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Dress becomes a skirt

 Finished my wrap skirt! 
The gingham is from a $3.99 3X dress from Old Navy.
The floral fabric is a cotton japanese print from Stitch Lab
which has very cool fabric.
For fun, I added some kick pleats in the back. 
You can see what the floral fabric looked like before.

Using a free motion embroidery pressure foot I machine stitched around the flowers I wanted to keep. This is a take on the ancient embroidery technique called Mola, which I learned at a class at Sew Much More. Carefully, I cut around the flowers revealing the gingham below. 

 I came up with the idea of lacing the front like a corset. After marking the fabric with a pen, I made tiny button holes using my buttonhole foot. Having the bow at the top makes it easy to take on and off. 

A matching acid yellow cord add just a touch of fun. 
I love all the contrasting colors against the plaid. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Draping 101

I am channelling my inner project runway. I am going to a party in Orlando that is "resort casual". I found this great orange-red drapey rayon at Tex-Styles fabric shop yesterday (it looks pink in the picture). I have to whip this together by tomorrow!!! 

1) I draped the material around the form using the elastic band.
2) Just above the elastic band, I marked the cut line with a water-based fabric pen. 
3) I laid the fabric on the floor and trued up the line with my french curve.
4) I cut the piece out, using the line as a guide. It curved, mmm, interesting.
4) It is on the bias so I let it sit overnight to see how much it would stretch. 

Now I have to make the waistband and do a side seam and voila! 
It is never that simple, though, right? I should probably make a paper pattern before anything, in case it turns out fabulous. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My wrap skirt is coming a long. I've reverse appliqued the floral cotton so the flowers look like they are cascading down the front. The seam is well hidden so you can't see where the wrap starts and stops. I put in a kick pleat but it looks kind of silly, so I might get rid of it. 
Here is a closer look at the flowers. I am trying to figure out house to do the closure. I purchased some acid yellow cording and think I want to lace it, but probable need to reinforce it from the inside somehow. I am happy with it so far!

Monday, March 5, 2012

 Today we started drawing clothes in Fashion Illustration class at Austin School for Fashion Design. It is much more fun than drawing the croches but I can see why you have to learn about proportions first.
  Next, we colored our drawings with pastels and added a bit of marker to make details pop.
Practice, practice, practice!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

 I decided to make a wrap skirt because I just couldn't envision a new dress. I am already sick of this fabric, but I saw a gingham skirt in Vogue (from Marc Jacobs spring collection) I got re-inspired. His skirt is "leth-aw" (Mark Jacobs). And this is only practice... 

I cut off the sleeves and made a two side panels, one back and one front panel. It looks a little wacky but the seams are straight. I added darts to the back to shape it a bit. 
 I had been looking for a cute print to use for reverse applique and decided this would also look great as the skirt facing. Using my french curve, I made the pattern by tracing the top part of the skirt and making it 1 1/2" wide. 
 I cut the facing pattern in half to conserve fabric. I'll just stitch the back seam together after the interfacing is on.

I cut some pieces of fusible interfacing and ironed them on. 
I serged the bottom edge, sewed the seams together, clipped the layers, ironed and edge stitched. So far, so good. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Face off

 Today at Fashion Illustration Class at Austin School of Fashion Design, we learned how to draw faces. Once again, I am struck by how mathematical it is when you boil it down, step by step. We started with an oval, quartered it, drew eyes on the half way point, cut that in half, added the nose, cut that in half, added the lips. My picture is on the left, the instructor's in the middle and another student's picture on the right. They are all so different!
The hair is harder to draw than you think.You have to add lines bit by bit and make sure to create shadows. She looks like she could use a bit more hair. 
 Here we added color, blending it with our fingers. Highlighting is created by erasing away color to add a 3-D effect to the hair.
Here is my final version. My instructor told me to make the neck skinnier and shorten her chin. It was super fun doing her eye makeup! Not bad for my first shot. The truth is you can learn anything with a good teacher. I love this school.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fleece Blanket Part 1

I've decided to make a Black and Red Lake Travis spirit fleece blanket using the technique I learned during my weekend workshop at I laid the laundered fleece on my ping pong table. Clamps, leftover from my days of working on, made it easy to gently tug and spread the fabric on the surface. 

I used plain copy paper and blocked out the LT design to make sure the scale would work.

Using my heart shaped chalk liner ( a gift from Martha Pullen), I drew guidelines. Get yourself one - you will love it.

I made my own stencil using poster-board and an exacto knife. The florid L remind me of practicing my name in elementary school! 

Here is the dried paint. Most of it will get cut away to created the textile.

Here is the whole quilt spray painted. Part 2 - the sewing!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

One shoe on, one shoe off

Up until now, I have been battling with sketching clothes on my ipad using Sketch book pro. It's a great program, but I found my drawings to be lopsided. Forget drawing the head - and the figure was impossible. It is against my nature to draw such skinny legs and arms!  So, that is why I am so excited! First day of Fashion Illustration Class at Austin School of Fashion Design.  Learning how to draw a fashion croqui is quite interesting. It is very mathematical. For fashion illustration purposes, proportions are important and must be exact. If anything is slightly off, your eye will tend to be distracted and not focus on the clothes. Now, I must practice practice practice. Eventually, my own style will develop. One can only hope! Once we learned how to draw the feet, I couldn't help designing a shoe. I can already see how this is going to be very helpful and fun when drawing my clothes. 

Friday, February 10, 2012


ARrrg! The last twenty hours working on my custom pants pattern. After  altering the pattern with adjustments to my second mock up, I made my wearable mock up. The good news? I got pretty good at using the cover-stitch function on my new serger (see picture). The bad news is, this one fits the worst of all three. When I took out the wrinkles below the butt, somehow the pivot made the crotch seam too small. Now, it is like a junior pant barely coming up past my underwear - not the high-waist jean I envisioned. Also, it is now too tight all through the hips. Obviously, I did something wrong when I redrew the crotch. Not sure if this is even salvageable because the pattern has so little seam allowance that it is impossible to add enough here and there. 

(Still had fun despite all the problems. It is the only way to learn!!!)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Kitchen remodel

I am super excited to see my story published at HGTV's new website, My background in interior design, construction and writing makes it a great fit for me. I was lucky enough to work with my old Southern Progress buddies, who did an awesome job. Way to go Missie and Brian!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Reinventing a $4 dress

In my never ending quest to hone my fitting skills, buying XL dresses from the sale rack has become a favorite activity. I scored this size 3X plaid dress from Old Navy's extra, extra sale rack for $4 dollars. It is a least a yard of fabric, and since it is already cut out like a dress, it will cut some corners while I practice tayloring. It is hard to fit sleeves and shoulders and this will show me exactly what specific adjustments do in respect to the original size of the garment. Also, the plaid makes it easy to drape the fabric on grain - something all beginners need to practice. 

I am less than thrilled with the placement of the front pockets (Old Navy designer, what were you thinking?), so I was excited to come across this blog, where the author does an amazing job with a similar oversized, unfitted outfit. I can only hope that mine will work out as well! 

Back to the front pocket issue: The author suggested turning the dress around and using the back as the front. You can look at her genius here:

So far, I've opened the side seam and taken off the sleeves.....

My Blob Dress project
'via Blog this'