Saturday, March 30, 2013

French Jacket

Couture Sewing at its Best


Several years ago I had the honor and privilege to be able to take a French Jacket class with Susan Khalje.  My family was perplexed that I would be taking a sewing class, especially one in another state that lasted five days.  They had the mistaken idea that I already knew all there was to know about sewing.  Boy were they wrong.  The more classes I take, the more I learn how terribly much I don't know.
The class was phenomenal.  I bought my fabric, a Chanel fabric, from Helen Haughey.  Aside for the fact that it was extremely susceptible to raveling, it was very easy with which to work.
We started the class by showing up the night before with our muslins marked and put together, and Susan did a first round of fitting.  From there we fit and refit until we got it perfect.  At that point we cut the muslin out on the actual sewing line, placed it on the fashion fabric and thread traced it.  When we cut it out, we included a minimum 0ne-inch seam allowances. 
The lining was quilted to the fashion fabric, hand tying the threads between the fashion fabric and the lining fabric.  Tedious, but beautiful in the end.
Once the jacket was together, sleeves and linings, we added the infamous "Chanel" braid trim.  And, of course, finished with the chain along the hem.
I was so inspired by this class, that it led me to take several more of her classes, and I am not finished yet. 
I then made a blouse to match the lining.  And the blouse is made 100 % by hand.  No sewing machine on this one!

Friday, March 22, 2013



According to the calendar spring is here.  According to what it looks and feels like outside, winter is hanging around.  I have continued to work with faux fur and have made several vests and one more purse.  I have also donated some of my faux fur vests to fund-raising auctions, and they have generated a very nice price.  Those who bought them, loved them and there were others who asked if I would make them one if they donated the same amount of money to the cause.  A very nice way to help.

This vest is "mink" with black leather trim on the pockets, up the sides of the zipper and the color.

This one is considered "lynx".  It is much fluffier (if there is such a word).  The purse has a rope shoulder strap and a rhinestone button closure.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cozy and Warm

Robe and Slippers    

Well, to continue with my friend's incredible creative patterns and tutorials, Rhonda's Creative Live, I took her up on her request that followers might want to make her fleece slippers for cold winter days and nights at home.  They were so warm and comfy that I decided to add a fleece bathrobe to match.  Both items were so quick and easy to make.  Slippers took about an hour and the robe, maybe two hours. 
     Because fleece does not ravel, I simply sewed 5/8 inch seams with no finishing, added a zipper up the front along with pockets and I was off and running.
     I can't begin to tell you how nice and warm this robe is.  I hate to take it off and get dressed!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Winter Cold

Winter Cold

After the wedding it is back to the cold weather and skiing in Vermont.  I made a Faux Fur Hoodie Jacket, lined in a gold and bronze satin, with a purse to match.
The fur was quite easy with which to work.  I simply used a very narrow, short zigzag stitch over the edges of the seam.  Do NOT iron this fabric.  It melts!!  I just finger pressed the seam from the fur side and brushed (with my fingers) the fur over the seam.  I inset pockets into the side seams.
The faux fur was purchased from Donna Salyer Fabulous Furs in Covington, Kentucky.  She has several different furs, and I have worked with many of them.  I will share the other photos as we advance with this blog.
The jacket is very warm, and everyone loves it.

I trimmed the purse in faux leather.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

My Daughter's Wedding

My Daughter's Wedding 

My daughter got married on March 16, 2013,  in a lovely chapel in Pigeon, Forge, Tennessee.  She has been a single mom for 23 years.  Her youngest daughter is a senior at Eastern Kentucky University with a major in Fashion Design, so she basically designed her mother's wedding dress; I made the pattern; and we sewed it together. 

Lani (my daughter) then asked me to make an heirloom dress for her soon-to-be granddaughter.

And then to complete the wedding project, I made a suit and blouse for myself.  I have to give the suit jacket total credit to my friend, Rhonda Buss of Rhonda's Creative Life.  I wasn't sure how to create the pleats on the lapel the way I wanted, and she graciously created a pattern on her website.  She called it "Jenny's Jacket," and it worked perfectly into what I had in mind.  I lined the jacket with a floral print silk and then made a blouse to match.  And I was even able to find shoes to match the blouse.