Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Coming Up On The Blog

Good Morning Everyone and Happy Tuesday!! I'm feeling more myself once again. Amazing what a little extra sleep can do for you :)
I just quickly wanted to give you a little idea of the projects that will be coming up on the blog in the next few weeks.
1. Ribbon Weaving

The class on ribbon weaving went very well. I was so happy that everyone was able to leave with their sampler pieces. They all asked for a written tutorial, so I thought that if I am going to do the tutorial, it would be nice to share it with everyone.
2. The Collar Drafting Tutorial

So many messaged me about this collar and said that they would love a drafting tutorial. I'm really looking forward to this particular post.
3. Bias Cut Blueprints

A few years back, I was asked to judge a contest for the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals. I came across a dress that was cut on the bias and it had these incredible insets. The dress was absolutely perfect. The judging is blind and the initial round is done on the internet, Finalists are chosen and then the final decision is made at the conference. We were supposed to have a dressform for judging, but for whatever reason, we didn't, so the editor of Threads magazine looked at me and said, "you can wear all of these garments so we'll use you as a model." When I put this bias dress on, I was in LOVE! What an incredible dress. I fought hard for that dress to be a winner. Little did I know that it belonged to Julianne Bramson of Fashion In Harmony. As fate would have it, we met at a class in San Francisco a few years later. Since then we have become friends. She has recently published a book, Bias Cut Blueprints and she gave me a copy to critique. I am SUPER excited. I already know which project will be my first.
4. Our Pant Drafting posts.
Finally....I'm so happy to be getting back to this project. The next post will be up later this afternoon. Once we draw in the darts and true the legs, we'll be ready to cut out the pants and start fitting.
5. The new issue of Sew News is out and I have a new sew along that will be coming up. I think you'll like it, it's another really great bag. I'll announce it tomorrow and of course there will be a give away attached, so be sure to check back.

So, a fairly full agenda :), but a good one I think.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Me Made Mondays

I'm finding more and more that I like structure and it feels so good to get back to a normal routine! I'm all for spontaneity, and I think it's great for creativity, but there's something to be said for routine.
As I shared with you last week, Marina of Farbjous Couture will no longer be doing the Me Made Monday posts and link ups, but she gave me permission to take over. So for the next year, I'll be doing a Me Made Monday post and I invite you to link up. The rules are simple, just wear one garment each week that you've made and post it. Simple! The garment doesn't even have to be worn on Monday! I really like this idea as it will give us all an opportunity to share our Me Mades through out the year and if you want to do the marathon Me Made May...all the better! So I hope you'll join along. 
You may remember what I'm wearing today from this Fabulous Free Pattern Friday post. It's basically just a rectangle with rectangular arms. 
The dress is very comfortable to wear and yes, I do have matching shoes!!
The ties are a faux stretch leather and I also trimmed the hem of the skirt with the faux leather. I thought it worked with the animal print.
Be sure to click on the link and add your pictures. I look forward to seeing what your wearing!

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She's ALIVE!!!

Well, for the most part anyway ;) But I'm home and in the words of Dorothy(Wizard of Oz), "There's no place like home!"
So I thought I would just quickly check in this morning and share a couple of pictures from the expo. I was so busy and just forgot to really take any pictures. So sorry. It was a great experience. I had some of the most wonderful women take my classes. This is not being nice, just honest, I truly enjoyed everyone in my classes. Just such an energetic group and so eager to learn something new. So encouraging for me. The only problem that I had was with my voice. Thankfully I didn't lose it. I had pneumonia when I was in my early 20's and my voice has never been very strong sense. On Friday night I talked to my husband and he could hear that it was going and going fast. I had planned to have dinner with Connie Bontje of http://couturesmith.com/  and Kristine Balinski  of http://kbdesigns74.blogspot.com/, but I decided it was wise to stay in and rest. As I said, I made it through, so all was well in the end.
This picture was taken on Thursday evening by Rhonda Pierce of Schmetz Needles. This is Becky, the Tim Gunn of the American Sewing Expo Passion For Fashion contest. She is truly the mentor extraordinaire! She could give Time Gunn a run for his money!! You may recognize the top I'm wearing. It's from this Fabulous Free Pattern Friday post. I was told that while I was standing in line for lunch, people were taking pictures of my top from behind. Hopefully they weren't for the "don't wear this" file!!
As you walked in the door to the expo, this was the poster that greeted everyone. How incredible is that??? This was the garment that I designed for the Passion For Fashion Contest 3 years ago. It won the Audience Choice Award. My beautiful model Gabriel is standing along side. I think we both felt very honored.
And finally, a little something funny. The convention center is quite large. There are actually 2 large halls. On Saturday and Sunday there is a gun and knife convention in the second hall. A friend of mine shot this picture and I thought it was priceless :) The way the sign reads, you would think there's a gun and knife class at the sewing expo!! Well, in all honesty, I think there are many of us who have at times wanted to use a gun on our machines ;), or at least a knife on a project that has given us fits.    
I'll be back later this afternoon with our Me Made Monday link up post.
Have a wonderful day!

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I'm Speechless!!!

Well, almost speechless anyway ;), but very shocked!!
Late yesterday afternoon, I was putting the finishing touches on my projects for my upcoming classes at the American Sewing Expo when I decided to take a quick break and check my email. Here's what the message said,

 Hello and Congratulations!
The votes are in, and the BurdaStyle community has voted you one of the Top 50 Best Bloggers for Sewing Enthusiasts. A winner’s badge is attached. Please feel free to post this on your blog, social media, email signature, etc.! A PDF will be going live shortly on the site announcing the winners, including a brief description of your blog and your URL. We’ll keep you updated so that you can direct your followers to the BurdaStyle blog.

How did this happen????? I had no idea that there was a contest or any type of voting. I'm just overwhelmed, excited, appreciative, shocked and a little speechless ;) So however this happened, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!

There will not be a Wednesday Showcase post today, so sorry. I have been putting all of my energy into getting ready for the expo. A new class has been added for me to teach, The Power of Spandex. The woman who was supposed to teach the class is ill and had to back out at the last minute. Since I have a background in costume designing, I was asked to fill in. I put together a fabulous pair of footed tights to show the class. I'll blog about them next week. I wish, I wish I had this pattern when I was doing costumes. I was very impressed with how it was drafted and especially the fit. Like I said, more next week. 
Tomorrow, I'll share some pictures of my finished dress that I will be teaching tomorrow. As it turns out, the class is quite small, bad for the expo, but great for me and the people taking the class. We will be drafting the great big sleeve that I showed you last week. I also did a sleeve that is much more wearable, but will beautifully translate to costume work. And I have other surprises in store for them, so we'll be hopping tomorrow, but I think it will be a lot of fun. I hope so anyway!!
If by chance you are coming to the expo, I will be in the social media lounge from 10 to 12 on Friday and I think I will be back again later in the day with Sew News. So please look for me, I would love nothing more than to have the opportunity to meet you. 
Come Monday, everything will be back to normal. I will get back to the pant drafting on Tuesday, so stay tuned for that. 
So my day begins with a big bang!! Thank you for coming by the blog and for supporting me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Colette Patterns Clover Pant Sew Along and a Compliment

Happy Tuesday Everyone!! I hope your week is off to a great start.
My exchange student and his family left yesterday evening. I came home and cried. I'll share more of the story this Sunday evening in my Sunday Night Reflections post. Needless to say, it was a very nice visit.

Too often, we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.  

I received this compliment from Ginger this past weekend and it was so welcomed,
"I uploaded a picture of my Summer Breeze top made into a dress to the Sew News Flickr group. Thought you might like to see it. I made it to wear to my brother's weeding yesterday. Thank you so much for making the sew along videos. I would have never figured out the gathering step if it wasn't for you."
Thank you Ginger!! Sometimes I feel as though I am talking out into the great black void, so it's nice to know that you've actually been helpful and appreciated :)
Here's a picture of Ginger in her lovely dress.

The final week of the Colette Patterns Clover Pant Sew Along is up on the Sew News blog. You can find it here.
And here's the video just in case you might like to take a look :)

As I said in the post, I have now made 3 pairs of pants. I really do like the pattern. But something to keep in mind,each pair that I've made has just a little different fit. The first pair was made out of a cotton and lycra blend, The second pair is wool with a little lycra and the final pair is also a cotton and lycra blend, but the fabric is heavier than the first pair I made. Depending on the weight of the fabric, the type of fabric, and the percentage of stretch, there are always going to be small adjustments to make. So if one pair fits well and the next needs a little tweaking, it's not you!!! Sometimes I think sewing is all about constant tweaking :)
Good luck with your pants and be sure to check out the Flickr page and post your pictures. You can find the Colette Patterns Clover Pant Flickr page here.    

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Me Made Mondays

About a month or so ago, Marina of Frabjous Couture began  Me Made Mondays and invited people to link up. I thought it would be fun as I really enjoyed participating in Me Made May a year ago. I like the idea of posting one garment that I've made and worn during the week and I like the idea of being able to take the journey throughout the year rather than just the one month marathon. Sadly, Marina feels that she will not be able to continue. So rather than completely ditch the project, I asked Marina if she would mind if I would pick up the posts. She was quite happy for me to take on the posts and set up the link party, so for the next year, I will be doing Me Made Mondays. There are very few rules, just wear a garment that you've made during the week, you do not have to wear the garment on Monday. Take pictures and then link to my posts. That's it! From time to time, I would like to showcase your Me Mades during the year. I think it's fun to see what others are doing. So I hope a few of you will link up and take on the challenge of wearing at least one of your beautiful handmade garments every week over the next year.
My entry for this week is a dress I made a while back. It's a knit dress
 that has a godet on one side.
 The dress is asymmetrical..
I took this picture of the dress on the carpet in my bedroom and it blends in a bit, but I think you can at least get an idea of the shape of the dress. It's reminiscent of something you would see in the Japanese pattern books. 

If you would like to join along, just click on the InLinkz button and link up. I look forward to seeing what you're wearing!!  

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

And The Winner Is.....

Happy Sunday Everyone!
So sorry to be missing in action the last few days. I've had quite a bit on my plate with my guests who are visiting from Italy.
I missed posting the winner of the Sew News 1 year subscription yesterday, so I quickly wanted to get that done.  As always, it breaks my heart that I don't have one for everyone one, but who knows, there may be another in the up coming months, so don't lose hope. I will be announcing the next sew along later this week and I do have a magazine to give away. so be sure to check back.
So without further ado, the winner is....

Congratulations Lisa!!!!!
Please be sure to email me at sewbussted@yahoo.com with your mailing address so I can get your subscription in.
Have a wonderful Sunday!

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Sneak Peek

Good Morning and my apologies. I have been so busy and I have not had a chance to concentrate on the next pant drafting post. Please stick with me, it will come, I just need to make a little more progress on a project for my class at the American Sewing Expo.
The American Sewing Expo's focus this year is on costumes. There's a lot more going on, but costumes are the focus. Cosplay and costumes in general are huge. So the class I am doing next Thursday will focus on creating a rather over the top sleeve, but there is a dress that goes with the sleeve, and here's a sneak peek. We will also talk about creating the dress as well. I like to pack as much into a class as I can.
The dress is made out of wool crepe and it's all underlined. I just couldn't help myself. I figure if I'm going to do it I may as well do it right :)
The gown is a little "Morticia Goes to the Ball," but I really like it. There's more coming, obviously!! The big sleeve will only be on one side. The other side will get a different sleeve. The dress has not been pressed by the way.
I should make great headway on the gown today, so please do stick with me on the pant post. As I said, it is coming, I just need to get this project off my to do list.
Remember to sign up for the contest to win a 1 year subscription to Sew News. You can do that here. Remember, you must live in the United States for this one and you must be a follower of this blog. So sorry, I wish I could offer it to everyone.  
Have a wonderful day!

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday Morning Hello

Happy Wednesday Everyone!!! I am in the throws of getting ready for the American Sewing Expo and I still have a lot to do, so no Wednesday Showcase today. The next pant drafting post will be up later today.
I thought I would show you the third ribbon weaving project that we'll do in the Ribbon Weaving Class (page 7 of the brochure) at the expo. This one makes you think a bit, so it's a good exercise for the brain ;)
The piece is backed with a piece of velvet. It will become a skirt. There will be beads sewn into the intersections of the red ribbon. I am super excited about this piece!
Although I am not doing a Wednesday Showcase post today, I would still like to give a shout out to Mel of http://mel-allwrappedup.blogspot.com.au/ She just sent me the loveliest note to let me know that she had used my tutorial for drafting a peg skirt. Here's her note,

"HI Rhonda, can't thank you enough for putting together this tutorial, love the yellow dress in part 1, and the step by step drafting help with the mini paper pattern pieces. I was very happy with the way my skirt turned out following your tutorial, I've posted it here http://mel-allwrappedup.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/self-drafted-peg-skirt.html and linked to your blog a couple of times. Can't wait to give the dress a go."

And here's her beautiful creation,
with and without a belt. Didn't she do an amazing job?!!!
Be sure to hop over and check out her blog. If you would like to find the peg skirt tutorial, you can find it here and here. It thrills my heart to know that I've helped someone grow a little in their skills. Thanks so much for giving the peg skirt a try Mel!!
May we all have a wonderful and productive day!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Colette Patterns Clover Pant Sew Along and a Little Surprise!!

Week 3 of the Colette Patterns Clover Pant Sew Along is up on the Sew News blog. This week we are talking about markings as well as assembling the pant. You can find the post here, and I added the video below if you would like to take a look.

Now for a fabulous surprise, I'm giving away a 1 year subscription to Sew News!!!!!! That's right, an entire year, not just one magazine!!
There are a few restrictions;
1. You must be a follower of this blog either through Bloglovin or sign up to the follower list.
2. You must live in the United States. I always like to include everyone, but this time I just can't, so sorry.
3. Leave a comment on this post and tell me how you follow the blog either Bloglovin or through the follower list. The follower list is the box on the right hand side of the blog that says, "Join This Site."

What a wonderful giveaway!!!
I will announce the winner this Saturday, September 20, 2014.
Good Luck!

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The Winter Coat Part 2

So many of you seemed to enjoy the coat inspiration post I did yesterday. I'm so happy that you did! One coat seems to have stood out to a number of you because of the collar.
It is a very pretty collar.
You may remember the outfit I did for the Passion For Fashion contest I participated in 2 years ago. The collar is bigger, but basically the same principle.

I have a vintage coat that I've had for some time that also has a similar collar.
 This collar is basically a very large shawl collar as you can see when it is opened up.
But here's what I love. To obtain the shaping, there are a series of darts all around the collar. Beautiful.
 The collar is actually hand sewn to the back of the coat.
This collar is rather over the top, but the collar on the white coat is very sensible and pretty. I will be more than happy to do a tutorial on drafting the collar. Let me know if this is something you would like to see. The perfect coat pattern for the white coat would be the Sewaholic Robson coat. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday Morning Inspiration

The winter coat, what was once something that spent more time hanging in my closet than on my body has now become one my most necessary garments. When I first came back to Chicago, I had a coat that I thought would keep me warm, but it was like wearing a t-shirt in a blizzard!! So needless to say, coats have become a very important part of my wardrobe. I need to make a new coat this year, not that I don't have quite a few, but I do need to replace one. While looking around for ideas, I came across a few details that I thought were rather pretty, so I thought I would share them.
I love everything about this first coat, pretty, feminine and fun sleeves!
Pretty collar.
A vintage coat. Great shoulder detail and I love a swing coat. Allows for lots of layers underneath.
Sleek. Check out the double welt on the pockets.
Another great collar. I love the touch of a ruffle at the waistline.

A very interesting cocoon. Love the asymmetrical detail of the collar.
Sleeves are a little short for a Chicago winter, but I love the black detailing.
A zippered back vent. Fun!
I really like this coat. Check out the sleeves.
This little coat is from Burberry. I like the unexpected flap in the skirt.
This is all out fun. The only detail that I don't care for is the pleated detail down the center front.
Not for winter, but pretty detail nonetheless.
Another not for winter jacket, but I really like the detailing on the skirt. I was thinking that this might be something I could adapt for the felted wool jacket I recently made.
So pretty.
Love the mix of wool and knit. Another coat great for layering.
I rarely wear short little coats, keeps my top warm while my bottom freezes!!! But I think this is so nice. It just needs to be stretched into a long version :) Love the bag too!
And finally, a not for winter coat as it is, but I do like the basic shape. It just needs a collar. Maybe the collar from the white coat up above.
Have you come across a fun coat design? I would love to see it!! Just leave a comment and a link.
Have a wonderful week!

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Night Reflections

 Heroes are made by the paths they choose, 
not the powers they are graced with.

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Sunday's Soup

I recently found this recipe for Tomato, Basil and Parmesan Soup on Pinterest. It looked interesting, so I decided to give it a try. I especially liked the fact that it was made in a crockpot. I did make a number of changes though. The basic ingredients are the same as the original recipe except for the addition of the chicken sausage. Well, you can read the original recipe and then you can compare it to what I've posted below and then decide what you would like to do :)

Rhonda's Version of Crockpot Tomato, Basil and Parmesan Soup

4 14 ounce cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
8 cups broth, chicken or vegetable, your choice
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups diced celery
1 cup diced onion
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 Tablespoons Dried basil
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 pound chicken sausage
salt and pepper to taste
leftover Parmesan rinds or 1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

Saute onions in a little olive oil until golden. Remove casings from sausage and add to onions. Brown sausage. Add celery and carrots and continue to cook for about 5 minutes on a medium flame.
Combine tomatoes, broth, oregano and basil in a crockpot. Add sausage and onion mixture. I like to save the hard ends of Parmesan for soups. If you have some, add them now. If not, the grated Parmesan will be added later.
Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
Before serving, melt butter and combine with flour. Stirring constantly, cook over a medium flame for approximately 5 minutes. The flour mixture will turn to a beautiful golden brown. Add to soup.
Warm half and half and then add to soup mixture. Add grated Parmesan cheese if you have not cooked the soup with the rinds.
Cover and cook on low for about 30 minutes, or until you are ready to serve. Remove Parmesan rinds before serving.
If you look at the original recipe, you will see that I basically doubled almost all of the ingredients with the exception of the onion, butter/flour mixture and the half and half. The end product is a hearty soup that is not heavy. I love being able to make up soups in my crockpot and have them cook all day. Such a nice and easy way to cook. We have guests coming from Italy at the end of this week, so I'm anxious to see what they think of the soup. They arrive rather late on Thursday, so I thought a soup dinner would be a nice welcome after a long journey.

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Preparing for The American Sewing Expo

I've been working on my samples for the ribbon weaving class that I will be teaching at The American Sewing Expo. So I thought I would share 2 of my samples. I think they are rather pretty :)

I have another to share that is a little more involved than these are. While in class I will talk about practical applications and I'll have other examples as well. I think it is going to be a fun class! You can find the class on page 7 of the brochure, http://www.americansewingexpo.com/2014/2014_Reg_Broch_Download_LR2.pdf

If you are attending the expo, I will be in the Social Media Lounge on Friday from 10 to 12. Stop by, I would love to meet you in person!

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