Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sixth Challenge Winner Announced!

Congratulations, Audrey!
Audrey won (3) patterns of her choice from our online store. 
Great use of material!

What a challenge! 
Using a print, panel, and chiffon!
But our designers did an awesome job!
Unfortunately we have to send home one of our designers.
We are sad to see Shams go this week as her design had the lowest score.
She did a great job in our challenge!

Don't forget to stop in on Saturday to see what the next challenge will be!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sixth Challenge: Fabric of OUR Choice

For this week's challenge we sent the designers another surprise.
Each designer receive 2 panels of a striped poly chiffon. 
Additional materials could be used to line the garment or to add detailing. 
However the panels must make up a majority of the piece. 

The winner will receive (3) patterns of THEIR choice from our online store.

This is the panel the contestants received. They received two panels to create their garment. 
Buy a panel now! VERY limited quantities available. Panels available have a slight flaw, but able to work around. We really wanted you to have the opportunity to be inspired by our contestants and create your own garment!





I used the poly chiffon panels from Fabric Mart to make the top from Vogue 1333, a Sandra Betzina pattern. As I was sewing the top, I realized that that the sleeves were very unflattering on my busty figure with my large upper arms, so I had to make some changes after the pattern was cut out and partially sewn. This resulted in more hems than were originally planned, because I now had slits in the sleeves, and the sleeves themselves became flutter sleeves with circle hems (with lots of bias).

I added bust darts for the fit and I added a shirttail hem - I like the casual feel of a shirttail hem. I used tiny 1/16" hems thoughout the top - on the sleeve slits, the flutter sleeve hems, and the shirttail hem.

I experimented using iDye in Kelly Green on a piece of the chiffon. I really liked the resulting green fabric and I used it for the front bands. (I replaced the front facings with narrow front bands and I finished the neckline with a bias strip of the striped chiffon.)

I was originally going to close the top with hammer-on snaps but I felt that they overwhelmed the narrow green bands so, instead, I used sew-on snaps that are invisible from the outside.

I matched the stripe across the center front. I matched it as well as possible at the side seams, but with the bust darts and the fact that the stripes morph - they meander a bit, and change width throughout the panel, so they can't be perfectly matched.

Cold weather has arrived in San Francisco. It's as if we skipped our usually-warm October and went straight to winter. It was very chilly today when I was photographing my spring-like poly chiffon top in the damp fog! This will be a useful top to wear in warm summer weather, over a tank top, as I am wearing it in these pics.

More on my blog:  http://communingwithfabric.blogspot.com



Diane from Gatorbunny Sews





Well….when I opened the envelope and found this fabric, I didn't know what to think.  I love the colors and the stripes look like maypole ribbons, but it's a large print with a busy border and it's not yardage but two scarf panels.  It can be challenging to make a large print flattering and even more challenging trying to make a border print work so deciding on the design was definitely the hardest part.   I started thinking about what Stacy and Clinton would say (from "What Not To Wear") and knew they'd say large prints are good in a simple design and…. keep the stripes vertical.  So that's what I did.  I loosely based the pattern on a top I love that my mom gave me a few years ago (thanks mom!) and put the border print at the hem so the stripes would be vertical.  I rolled the hem on the sleeve and bottom and added a wide smocked bottom which added shape to flatter but kept the blouse flowy. I added pleats and bias binding to the neckline and finished the neck with hand-rolled bias tubing.  I love this blouse and hope Stacy and Clinton approve.  I'm hoping to wear it to a nice dinner very soon….hint, hint.

For more details and pictures, check out my blog, Gatorbunnysews.



Kathy from Kathy Sews






To work with the soft look chiffon creates I made this dress with an ethereal overlay, a blouson bodice and gathered skirt that's a little Studio 54-ish.  I started with a bright but warm cream lining to enhance the delicately muted colors of the sheer fabric. I played with the vertical lines of this art deco style pattern by crisscrossing it over one another on the back bodice and the overlay.  I included a couture hand picked lapped zipper in back, a carefully machine rolled hem along with other hand sewn elements throughout the dress.  I'd wear this adorable little dress to an casually elegant affair on the beachfront or a night out with the girls!  



Audrey from Sew Tawdrey




The fabric for this challenge was chiffon,  a lovely light fabric, but not the easiest to sew.  A “pretty chiffon panel print”  was what we received.  The print was actually stripes with a border print at the bottom of the panel.  I like to wear chiffon tunics over cami’s and leggings or skinny pants. So comfortable and pretty. And that is what I decided to sew from this fabric. The pattern for the tunic is from Mrs. Stylebook pattern magazine. Published quarterly in Japan, the magazine contains pattern drafting instructions for women’s garments.   Tunics are pretty basic, but this one had two layers of shaped flounces sewn to the bottom edges, a button placket extending from hem to upper edge of the collar, and the collar is a rectangle shape gathered to the neckline edge. I cut the garment and sleeves from the stripes and the flounces from the border area.  Chiffon can be prone to raveling. To control that tendency, the flounces were finished with a serged rolled hem, which is a great way to put a narrow hem on a light weight fabric.  All straight garment seams were French seams, which encloses the raw edges, and other, curved, internal seams were serged.  The front button placket and collar was made from a coordinating ombre  poly organza to give the eye somewhere to rest when viewing this busy print and drawing it upward to the face. Silk organza was used as interfacing in the front button placket. This tunic is fun to wear, comfortable, light weight and the flounces “swish” when I walk.



Shannon from Shanni Loves





For this challenge I chose to use my fabric to create something comfortable to lounge around the house in.  I wanted something I wouldn't be embarrassed to answer the door in when the mail man came knocking with a big box of fabric.  I first considered shorts and a tank, nah too easy.  Then I thought about a jumpsuit pattern I have but I thought the stripes of the fabric might be a little too much.  After browsing Pinterest, I discovered quite a few striped chiffon jumpsuits so I decided to give it a go after all.  I guess you never know until you try, right?!  I used two different patterns to get my look.  For the top I used Grainline's Scout Tee.  I thought it would be nice to have a solid color around the neckline so I added the solid white fabric on the front and back.  I also added an invisible zipper to the center back.  For the pants I used the bottoms out of McCall's 6083 jumpsuit pattern.  I shortened and tapered them in so they wouldn't as be as full as the pattern intends.  Since the waistband is elastic I decided to also add elastic around the leg hems.  I then added faux ties to the waist and pant legs.  The jumpsuit is fully lined.  The outfit has served it's lounge purpose and I'm still waiting on that mail man to show up with that box of fabric!   As always, check out my blog for more details. 



Were you inspired by what these ladies did? Well you can try it out yourself! We have a limited supply of these panels so head on over to our website to get your panel now! (Please note that the panels for sale ended up having a tiny flaw in them. We did not realize this literally until Monday morning when getting it together for the website. The flaw is hardly noticeable and should be able to be worked around. Sorry for the inconvenience!)

Voting ends on Wednesday at midnight. 



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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sixth Challenge Announced!

Fabric of OUR Choice
Surprise!
A box of beautiful fabric just showed up at your door and you need to make something to wear this weekend! For this challenge, we are going to send each designer material for the next challenge.
But they do not know what they will be getting!
Unlike the Bundle Challenge, the designers will be working with the same fabric.

5 Seamstresses will compete in this challenge.
You will have one week to complete this challenge.
Challenge: Using the fabric we have selected for you, challenge yourself by making a unique garment and working with a material you may not have used before to create one well-made garment. You can use a pattern of you choice to construct your garment. 
You will be judged on creativity, functionality, craftsmanship, and fit. 
The winner will receive (3) Patterns on YOUR Choice from fabricmartfabrics.com

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fifth Challenge Winner Announced!

Congratulations, Diane! 
Diane's look was classy, fashionable, and looked great on her! 
She won a silk mystery bundle from our retail store in Sinking Spring, PA. 

Unfortunately we have to send someone home this week.
Meghan's look received the lowest score in this challenge. 
She will be greatly missed  in our competition!
We loved her beautiful work in our past challenges! 

Check back here on Saturday to see what the sixth challenge will be!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fifth Challenge: Timeless Classic

If you have ever attempted a vintage pattern, you know how difficult this challenge is!
Vintage patterns often have pleats, darts, collars, and gathering.
But let's not forget the curve ball of sizing and fitting!
For this challenge they were able to choose their own pattern and materials.
Vintage patterns can be found online or at yard sales/estate sales and thrift shops.
The pattern must be at least 20 years old to be considered vintage.
We gave our seamstresses 2 weeks to complete this challenge encouraging them to take their time to really focus on perfecting the fit and details of their garment.
Vote for your favorite design at the bottom of this post!

Shannon from Shanni Loves
I was really excited to get to sew up one of my vintage patterns from my stash.  I chose McCall's 2282 from 1970 because it had the same feel of a navy blue shirt dress I had seen on Pinterest that I had pinned to my Inspiration board (and let me tell ya how exciting to finally sew up some of that pinned inspiration!).  Also I would like to convey how hard it was for me to stick with the solid navy blue fabric I chose.  I will always pick a print over a solid. I even sewed up my muslin in a print and had to talk myself into NOT finishing it and submitting it as the finished product.  I made my own personal challenge of a sewing a solid for this project as my wardrobe is really lacking.   I always feel so uniform in solid colors but after wearing this dress I've learned it's all in the styling.  Solids are very versatile and I can't wait to make more!  To recreate my Pinterest inspiration I modified my pattern by extending the button placket, as you can see the original button placket stops just below the waist as one version is a pant dress.  I also eliminated the side panels, altered the back piece to cut on the fold of fabric (I didn't want a CB seam), narrowed the sleeves and added faux sleeve cuffs and self drafted sleeve tabs.  After a tissue fitting I determined I also needed to narrow the shoulders and shorten the waistline.  I also added back contour darts to get a slimmer fit.  The fabric I chose is a Donna Karan cotton.  It's unnoticeable in these pictures but there is a very subtle tone on tone polka dot pattern in the fabric.  The fabric was also rather sheer and because of this I chose to fully line the dress, luckily I had just enough fabric.  I have a feeling this dress will be in heavy rotation in my closet.  It's very comfortable to wear and can be styled so many ways.  Perfect for the changing temps. In the Fall I can pair it with a chunky scarf and boots and in the Spring a statement necklace and some flats.  And I never forget a belt.  As always check out my blog for pictures of the inspiration dress and a closer look at the fabric.    






Shams from Communing with Fabric
 
For my vintage entry, I made Simplicity 3931, from 1953. I purchased the pattern on Etsy - it doesn't seem to have been used. (Bless my pattern hoarding fore mother!)
This pattern was beautifully drafted, but required a some fitting, particularly a tricky full bust adjustment. I made 4 muslins and two versions of this dress - the first one was a fail, due to poor fabric choice. (I can't blame this fail on the pattern!)
This pattern features 6 shoulder tucks (not gathers, but carefully positioned tucks), two side seam bust darts (that I added), two back shoulder darts, two back waist darts, and the skirt has six pleats into the front bodice. The pattern also features 3 darts in the back of each sleeve (above the hem), ruching at the hem of the sleeve, and side seam pockets.
Such lovely, classic details! I knew that this would be a flattering silhouette for my large bust.
Other than the changes I made for the fit (adding bust darts, widening the waist, narrowing the shoulders, lengthening center front of the bodice), I made the pattern exactly as designed. I modernized the pattern by using a modern fabric. This fabric is a beefy neoprene-like knit - a very stable knit, and features an animal-like texture. This fabric handled the tucks, darts and pleats beautifully.
I have never considered myself a "vintage" girl. I was born in the late 50s, so it seemed a bit weird, at first, to sew clothing like my mother used to wear (I draw the line at the girdle or its modern equivalent, Spanx), but I'm sold! I can see sewing more vintage patterns. They are beautifully drafted and include such interesting details that modern patterns lack.
For more information about my process (including the failed dress) and a lot more pictures, see my blog.


Diane from Gatorbunny Sews
 
 
 For this challenge,  I chose an early sixties "wiggle dress" pattern that is beautifully classic yet still modern.  I'm not a sewer to sew something for sewing's sake, so it was important to choose something that I want to wear.  I pulled this black and crimson rayon blend brocade out of my stash and thought it was the perfect (and thankfully softer and drapier) homage to the brocades of the sixties.  One of my favorite parts of this challenge was opening the pattern.  All of the pieces were there and had been meticulously cut and marked by the previous seamstress.  I know it's nerdy but it made me happy to use a pattern that someone else had taken such care with.  It's nice to be part of the sewing tradition. Fit is one of the criteria for judging so I took my time grading the pattern up and making sure it fit well.  I lowered the neckline, widened the collar and made a slight aline skirt with darts instead of a straight skirt with pleats (more flattering on me.)  I put in a side seam invisible zipper and shortened the sleeve from the original pattern. For detail, I added a front placket with peau de soie piping and covered buttons.  I matched the fabric on both fronts and placket so the entire bodice is one continuous design.  Although I made all of these changes I still feel that I stayed true to the "wiggle dress" feeling of the pattern while making the dress wearable for me.  
For more information and photos please visit my blog.





Meghan from Made by Meg
Peter Pan collars are everywhere right now, but I was surprised to see one on a 1953 McCall's pattern at my local antique fair. Doing a little more research, I found that that the style has been around since at least 1905, and popular almost every decade since! After adjusting for fit (and making at least 6 muslins!) I sewed up the pattern as intended, leaving in all the original darts, tucks and details and only adjusting the hem length. To make the dress look young and fresh almost sixty years after it was originally published, I used a dark sequined fabric fro the collar and incorporated bright colors in both the dress and styling. The pattern also includes a side zipper, button placket down the front, and lined cuffs designed to be folded up. Even though the pattern is straight out of the 1950s, I could totally see myself wearing this to the company holiday party or a fun night out!






Kathy from Kathy Sews
 I chose a 1943 wrap shirt dress pattern from DuBarry.  It was wartime-- women were rationing, working with what they had and keeping it simple when this pattern was sold for 15 cents at Woolworth.  Clean lines, a feminine shape and a smart style led me to make this World War II era garment.  To update the pattern, I shortened the hem by about 7 inches and the sleeve length about 4 inches.  I also decreased the very loose look of the bust by removing the extra material and pleating in front and skipped the shoulder pads.  I used red & white polka dot cotton poplin for the bodice and a navy blue linen & silk for the skirt.  I added a cotton lining to the skirt and underlined the waistband and collar for structure.  I used all vintage notions.  I hand sewed all stitching that would be apparent on the outside.  To see my process and loads more images check out my blog Kathy Sews.    






Audrey from Sew Tawdrey

I love the clothes of the 1930’s. The linear silhouettes with lots of style details and seaming. The pattern for the dress I made is from a 1931 issues of a German sewing magazine called  Praktische Damen und Kinder Mode - Practical Women's and Children's Fashions.  The patterns in this magazine  are offered in only one size and have to be traced from an insert. I can’t read German,  so  I referenced  several sewing books published  in 1927  and  1935 for instructions on the unique features of this dress, the godets and narrow sleeve with a long dart from wrist to elbow.  The dress  has V shaped lace inset in the bodice, lace sleeves and a lace skirt border with  godets, which echo the angular lines of the bodice inset.  The fabrics used are a  mint green poly blend knit and matching lace. The lace insert in the bodice is lined, all other lace pieces are not. 

Voting Ends on Wednesday at midnight.
(You can vote for more than one!)

Good luck everyone!
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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Fifth Challenge Announced!

Timeless Classics
Vintage dresses are made up of clean lines, darts, pleats, buttons, and feminine shapes.
But most importantly, they are about a great fit!

6 Seamstresses will compete in this challenge.
You will have 2 weeks to complete this challenge.

Challenge: Sewing a garment from a vintage pattern is challenging. The pintucks, pleats, and precise fit can be difficult to master. Choose a vintage pattern and modernize the piece. You can modernixe your piece with styling, embellishment, or fabric. 
You will be judge on difficulty, craftsmanship, how fashion forward your look is, and FIT!
Take your time, you will have two weeks to make it perfect!
The winner will receive a Silk Bundle (6 yards). 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fourth Challenge Winner Announced!

Congratulations, Shannon!
Shannon won a notion assortment from the Fabric Mart retail store!
Everyone did a wonderful job and this was a difficult challenge to judge! 
(Make sure you check out our Fashion Challenge page up top if you have questions about how we score the contestants.) 

Unfortunately, Nicole's look received the lowest score this week and we have to "send her home."
We loved having Nicole join us! She made gorgeous garments!

Please check in on Saturday to see what our next challenge is! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fourth Challenge: Little Black Dress

This week's challenge was all about the classic little black dress. 
For this challenge we asked them to create a story for us.
Their dress should be able to tell us a story.
 Where they are going? Who they are going with? What will they be doing?

Make sure to vote for your favorite design below! 

Audrey from Sew Tawdrey




Channeling my name sake Audrey Hepburn, (my mother was a huge fan)  I will be wearing my version of a LBD Audrey made famous in the movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961). I will be wearing it when my husband and I attend the opening night festivities for the exhibit “Hollywood Costume”  at the VA Museum of Fine Arts on Nov 9th.
How appropriate it is to wear an iconic dress to an exhibit that explores the central role costume design plays in cinematic storytelling. My dress is sleeveless with a cowl neckline, and a gathered pegged skirt trimmed with feathers. The fabric is black wool challis, lined in Bemberg rayon.



Shannon from Shanni Loves




Where am I going in my LBD?  Hmmm I don't get out much so excuse me as I let my imagination run wild.  I imagine a night out with my husband to a fancy schmancy restaurant.  While waiting for a table at the bar I will order one of those drinks with the olive...Martini right?  After stuffing myself with veal scaloppine piccata and creme brulee (ooh sounds fancy right? I totally googled it) and one too many martini's we decide to throw caution to the wind and ditch all the fanciness for some real fun by visiting the bar next door for some dancing and karaoke.  After a rather embarrassing rendition of "Pour Some Sugar on Me" we decide to call it a night.  We make it home safely where our pug Vito is patiently waiting for his doggie bag.   Check out my blog for construction details of the dress but more importantly a picture of our fat little pug Vito.






For this challenge, I have made a dress to wear to the Opening Night of the Fall Antique Show at Fort Mason

One of San Francisco's most popular social events, it also benefits the Enterprise for High School Students (EHSS), a non-profit career development agency serving San Francisco youth. The opening night is a festival of eating, drinking, music, socializing, of seeing, and of being seen. You can view photos of a past show:  http://www.newyorksocialdiary.com/socialdiary/2006/06_23_06/socialdiary06_23_06.php

My Little Black Dress, McCalls #6028, features a slim silhouette and is fitted via front and back princess seams, with a slit in hem the left front princess seam. The front yoke, and the back neckline, are embellished with silver-colored, two-prong studs made from nickel and steel - these strong studs required some effort to install. The back is finished with an exposed zipper.

You can read more about the construction of the dress, and details about the studs, on my blog.




Diane from Gatorbunny Sews




My dream date is some time out with my husband and since he only puts a tie on for weddings and funerals, a formal black dress just wouldn't work.  So....my dream date is breakfast at the beach.

My husband and I love to go out to breakfast. On any given day you can find us at the local bagel store. The beach restores my soul so making the 20 minute drive on a beautiful morning to the beach seems like the perfect date.


I made a wrap dress out of black handkerchief linen from my stash and trimmed it with cream bias tape. I embroidered a floral design on the waistband and lined the top in the same black linen. I decided not to line the skirt because it would be too heavy and lose it's "swish" which is very important in a sundress!





Meghan from Made by Meg



(Meg's dress is black, but because of the mustard background and the lighting it may show up dark blue on your screen.)

Meet "Christine." She's the talk of the town, daring and fashion forward, and yet dark and mysterious. You can find her at the opera or ball gala, but catch her quick! She appears for a moment at the top of the stairs, her dress swirling around her in the night, and the next moment she's vanished back into the shadows with nothing but the tail of her cape disappearing into the crowd. At least this is how I picture myself when I wear this dress ;)

To create the look of the elusive temptress for a fancy night out, I combined the sexy form-fitting LBD with the mystery of a flowing black cape. But the real mystery was in the construction, with figuring out how to connect these two contradictory pieces together. This is done at the shoulder seems and front chest, and some rather tricky corner seams. For added fullness, the back cape contains two vents hidden in the seams. I love this dress for when I want to get noticed without revealing too much, just like Christine!



Kathy from Kathy Sews




I'll be wearing my Little Black Dress on a perfect weekend away in New York City with my amazing husband.  With two nights on the town I needed two dresses!  We'll have minimal space in our bag we'll take on the train into the city... so I simply made a fully reversible LBD! One side is my version of the classic LBD, a feminine and form-fitting 1960s sheath dress that dips low in back-- perfect for dinner and drinks out, then off to the Whitney Museum's Biennial.  On night two (after a day of fabric shopping in the Garment District, of course) I'll flip the dress over to the sassy and bold print for a night that starts with a spicy feast at an Indian restaurant and then off to a jazz club for some fantastic live music and drinks.  For more on how I made my dress check out my blog Kathy Sews.







 I chose a simple, clean, A-line dress and modified the back by adding a keyhole cut-out and 2 vintage jade-green buttons.  I'm all about classic lines with an surprising element.  This dress is made out of a cashmere/wool blend and is absolutely luxurious.  I am going to see the San Francisco Ballet perform Cinderella at Lincoln Center in a few weeks and this is the dress I am going to wear!  It's elegant, rich, and timeless.  That's how a night out in your LBD should feel!



Voting ends Wednesday at Midnight!
Remember: Have fun!

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