Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sewing from the ugliest pattern in my stash?..

I may indeed, as it is this week's challenge on Sew Weekly: finding an ugly pattern and making someting really nice out of it.  Here what Mena of Sew Weekly says about the concept:

"This week is all about finding the good in the seemingly bad. In other words, break out those hideous patterns that are at the bottom of your stash and make a stunning creation!"

And the pattern is picked, I just don't know if I will be able to come up with some ideas for a stunning creation. I got it as a part of a bigger pattern lot on eBay and could not get rid of it.  Ick, this patchwork vest...

I am happy i am not the only owner of an ugly pattern. Check the Sew Weekly thread to see more hideous examples of styling and design. Interesting, but most of them are from 70s and 80s... Do you own ugly patterns, and if yes how did they end up in your stash?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sewing gadgetmania: No.6 Rotary Cutter by Alessa of Farbenfreude

Some hate it, others can’t live without it, but the fact is, once you got a grip on it, the rotary cutter offers you the best cutting results. A rotary cutter is the tool Alessa of Farbenfreude really wants to own, so here is her nomination:

Rotary cutter is an innovative cutting tool with a cutting wheel mounted on a handle.  It can cut through multiple layers of thick and thin fabrics in a perfectly straight line without any shifting. It can be used in the right or the left hand and cause less arm and hand strain than scissors. Rotary cutters are available in most sewing notions stores.

I love using rotary cutter for cutting bias strips, or any other bias cutting.

Here are few tips for using the rotary cutter:

Blade Size
Rotary cutter blades size varies from 18mm to 60mm. Larger diameter is better for cutting multiple layers or long straight lines as they roll easier and are sturdier. The smaller blades are more convenient for cutting around curves and any sections of fabrics where you want to have more control of the line.

The Tungsten steel blades are especially sharp and are a standard for most leading rotary cutter manufacturers. Always have some reserve blades, as they dull after a while. Use new(er) blades for delicate fabrics. Use separate blades for cutting paper and polyester as these materials dull the blade faster. If you have to use a rotary cutter for cutting paper, use older blades. I keep a separate blade for silks only and make a little mark on the blade with my Sharpie marker, so I don't confuse blades. 

There is a wide variety of handles available in stores. If possible try to hold it and press it against a surface to see which one is the

Cutting Mats
Self-healing cutting board, or mat, is a necessity if you use a rotary cutter. If possible, go for a size that can accommodate a larger pattern piece, so you won’t need to shift fabric for cutting. Also, 45ยบ guides on the mat for bias cutting are very helpful.

One tip for rotary cutter users is to avoid pinnable cutting mats for cutting thinner or delicate fabrics as the cut fabric edge gets embedded into the mat surface and you will have to pull slightly to release the fabric – a pain for silks and thin knits. Also, because the surface is pinnable it can also be cut into, shortening the life of your blades. Go for hard-to-penetrate PVC polypropylene styrenate mat instead, such as Big Mat by Sewing Emporium 

The downside of using the rotary cutter is the price of cutting mats. Be prepared to pay from $60 to $120 for a decent size mat with guides. But if you don’t mind absence of guides, Judith Neukam, technical editor of Threads Magazine has a great advice: “ … go to your local office-cupply store and buy a low-cost mat designed to protect floors from office-chair wheels.” 

An acrylic (transparent) ruler is very convenient for cutting longer lines. Check quilting stores for ruler – they have a wide variety of ruler in different shapes. I have one longer and one shorter acrylic ruler for cutting, marking and patternmaking. 

Rotary cutters are extremely (!) sharp! Keep them away from children and always make sure the blade is retracted every time you put the rotary cutter down! A special safety latch will prevent cutting accidents. In addition, some rotary cutters  are pressure sensitive (such as Dritz Kai Rotary Cutter) so the blade engages automatically when pressure is applied to the cutter.

Finally, if you are fascinated by rotary cutter and want to learn even more about this tool, check this great article on Threads Magazine website: Rotary Cutters and Mats 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Creating a blog badge with a code for readers

I've seen many sewing blogs recently, hosting either a sew-along, or a give-away, or a series of posts on a specific topic. Usually the bloggers would create a badge, and participants readily grab those to display those on their blog. But how about making it easy for your readers to copy the image and the code in just three steps:

1. copy the code
2. paste it into a new HTML/Javascript widget (on Blogger)
3. Save the widget and Publish the blog

See, for example, the gadgetmania badge on the right. It's so easy, really.

This is the code you need to insert in your HTML/Javascript Widget (on Blogger), and I have colour-coded different parts to explain how to customize the content:


<a href="http://frabjous-fashion.blogspot.com/2011/02/sewing-gadget-mania-no1-ladys-knife.html"><img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-cL5DAtU1z5I/TV7aOTuSaxI/AAAAAAAAAJE/DwGvYCNjAAs/s1600/gadgetmania2.jpg"/></a>

<p>Do you love sewing gadgets? Join the community - grab the code below to display the badge on your blog</p>

<p>Click on the badge to find out how you can win the Little Black Dress book</p>

<textarea name="textarea" cols="30" rows="4" wrap="VIRTUAL">
<a href="http://frabjous-fashion.blogspot.com/2011/02/sewing-gadget-mania-no1-ladys-knife.html"><img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-cL5DAtU1z5I/TV7aOTuSaxI/AAAAAAAAAJE/DwGvYCNjAAs/s1600/gadgetmania2.jpg"/></a>

>>>>> CODE ENDS HERE<<<<<

The PURPLE text is the URL of the page where you want your readers to land when they click the badge. Copy and paste your URL instead.

The BLUE text is the URL of the image/badge - if it's located on your blog, all you need to do is CTRL-CLICK on Mac, and choose COPY LINK. Then paste it instead of the blue-coloured URL in my example.

The GREEN text is the custom text you want to appear between your badge and the text box with the code for readers. Just edit it, or remove it completely. Be careful not delete any of the tags, or anything that is typed in black.

If you don't want to display the code, than delete the part from <textarea to </textarea>

That's it!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Me-Made-March: Outfit 1

After being sidetracked by a nasty cold, and having second thoughts about the level of my commitment to the Me-Made-March, I pulled myself together and thought that I am not giving up, even if I missed the first 5 days. Instead, I will try to catch up on it and will have additional 5 pieces I made myself during March, so at the end it comes to the planned and pledged 31 outfits with at least one me-made garment.

This is Outfit 1: Refashioned boiled wool cardigan I bought years back at H&M. I added buttons and a belt. Not much refashioning, I admit, but I may make it more interesting at some point later.

Phew, no it’s behind me. Who knew it would become that challenging. In addition, letting Mr. Frabjous take pictures of myself posing for a public Flickr group was somewhat funny, but, yay, I made it, my first MMM outfit!!!!

Now, good night everyone! I need to plan tomorrow’s style – this time for the office.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sewing Gadgetmania: No.5 Needle Threader

You may consider this to be one of the most common sewing tools, but it is also the most indispensable, at least for myself.

This especially true if you do a lot of hand sewing and basting. I do my hand sewing using finest Japanese hand sewing needles; and if you have worked with those you know that they have the tiniest needle eye possible. Even with perfect vision and finest motor skills, threading these needles may prove a challenge.

However, the needle threader is also useful for pulling loose threads to the wrong side of the garment, as well as repairing fabric snags.

It's always useful to have several needle threaders at home as they tend to disappear. Yoiu can buy needle threaders on Amazon, eBay, as well as any sewing notion store.

They can be made of plastic, metal, silver and wood. They may be basic or more elaborate. Below are some examples of threaders I found on eBay.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

In-Detail: Paris Fashion Week: Balenciaga

ok, I am still sick, in bed, reading news, and watching latest fashion bits therefore. Balenciaga, being the latest update to the Paris Fashion Week, showed some really inspiring trends for some easy-to-do pieces for the fall, or, even for this spring.

LOVE: The fantasy print and the shimmery (under)lining of the skirt:

HATE, HATE, HATE: Hand-knit leather jackets and vests

Can a woman on the street with at least a hint of breast wear this heavy leather-knit vest that seems to have a look and functionality of a flak jacket? Style.com calls it a couture level innovation, what do you think?.. an inspiration for a finer knit... maybe. The only question is where to get a leather yarn? Knitting with piping? Maybe... in one word, another fantasy project!

LOVE: Neon accents (continued from the previous season, but a welcome trend for gray winter days)



LOVE: Mod Details and quilted yokes

LOVE: Color blocking

So, which ones from the Balenciaga Fall/Winter 2011 trends do you like, or may even try to incorporate in your wardrobe (sewing)?

1. Fantasy prints
2. Shimmery underlining (gorgeous with prints)
3. Hand-knit leather
4. Neon accents
5. Fish-net garments 
6. Mod details
7. Quilted yokes
8. Color blocking

Galliano fired from Dior. What now?

Yes, me too, I was shocked by Galliano's drunken anti-semitic remarks. And yet, I feel sad that such an innovative and original designer had to be such a jerk.

A man who completely reinvented the Dior brand, leading the famous couture house for the last fifteen years, is now facing a trial, said Paris prosecutor's office on Wednesday, March 2, according to NYT. He could face six months in prison and up to $31,000 in fines.

His friends are claiming, he was under much pressure.
“He has always been pretty shy,” said Daphne Guinness, the British socialite. She speculated that the intensity of creative and commercial pressures on designers at global luxury houses may have had an impact on Mr. Galliano’s state of mind. She added, “It makes me terribly worried for him. He has had a couple of tough years.”
Comments by Vogue Italia Editor Franca Sozzani are equally disturbing. 
"While I condemn John's words, I am frightened by how quick these young people were to try to gain notoriety or money while destroying the image of a genius in the process... Exploiting someone’s notoriety to have your own moment of fame is one of the most disgraceful and disloyal things one can do. Any famous person is open to attack or insult, and it’s difficult to defend him when, as in this case, the news goes around the world."

Pretty lame, I would say. Especially the last sentence quoted here... You don't say things like that if you don't believe in it, famous or not, don't you think so?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Blog sick leave...

I apologize for abandoning the blog in these rather crucial days of Me-Made-March and Colette Spring Palette Challenge, but I am having nasty flu and the only thing I can do now is read, drink, sleep, hug my kids and Mr. Frabjous and listen to comforting music,

like this one...

Thank's, Theo, for inspiring this music number :-) Almost all of the posts on Theo's blog are accompanied by music videos.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Gadgetmania Blitz Giveaway: And the winner is....

 ... La Inglesita of La Inglesita and burdaaddict

She correctly recognized the icon for the Sewing Gadgetmania as ....

BEESWAX and a holder

Thank you Erika, Katherine, Arien,  Theo and Suzy for your comments. In fact, I will add beeswax to  the Gadgetmania list as one of the indispensable sewing tools with a regular sewing tools update this Friday.

Back to the winner: La Inglesita won this pattern including a Vogue Paris Original label:

In addition, Magda of MagdaMagda Design Studio won another vintage pattern by linking to gadgetmania

To claim your price, please send me an email to mvk dot fashion at gmail dot com!

Congratulations everyone, and you can still win the great Little Black Dress book by Henry Simon. For more details, read my initial post on Sewing Gadgetmania here.
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