Saturday, April 22, 2017

Take A Peek/A Vintage Garment That Is Beautifully Made

A number of years ago, I found a wonderful vintage evening suit that transcends time. 

The dress is simple in design, but made of the most beautiful fabric. It includes a jacket, perfect for chilly evenings. And even better, it has hidden pockets.

For those of us who sew, the interior of the dress and jacket are just as interesting as the outside, if not more, so I thought you might like to take a look inside.

If you have any questions, be sure to ask, Or if I can take a close up picture of something, just let me know.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Sewbussted's Material Witness/Fishman's Fabrics, Chicago's Premier Fabric Store

Today is National Drink Tea Day! How perfect, grab a cup of tea, and enjoy a brand new episode of Sewbussted Material Witness! If you prefer coffee, that's okay too ;)

I found this interview to be especially interesting and inspiring. So many of us watch as fabric store after fabric store closes, and of course we fear the worse...where will we be able to find fabric? Many have turned to the internet, but it's just not the same as being able to go into a store and become intoxicated by everything we see. 

Fishman's has been a resource for couture fabrics for over 100 years. Here you will find 80 shades of Bemberg lining, always at $10.00 per yard. 

They also carry 38 shades of silk charmuese, a must lining in any couture garment.

A little over one half of the store is devoted to clothing fabrics,

With an entire wall of woolens for bespoke men's wear. 

In the video, you'll learn that they even offer more, a free swatch service, unique fabrics from Italian manufacturers, and re-orderable fabrics. 

As you enter the store, there is a wall devoted to the history of Fishman's, featuring the impact that the store has had on Chicago as well as the life of so many who have entered through the front door.

And finally, a tribute to Gregg's father, Jerry Fishman, a wonderful man who made everyone who entered the store feel as though they were the most important person in the world. In the video you'll learn why he is pictured in an airplane. 

I hope you've enjoyed this episode of Sewbussted Material Witness :)

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Wednesday Showcase

The smallest gesture can have an enormous impact.

My husband and I belong to a ballroom dance club. It's a little on the Downton Abbey side as the men must wear a tuxedo, the women must wear a formal gown. There are dance cards. A woman is never to left alone at a table. I tend to roll my eyes at a few of the rules, but all in all, it's fun, and I enjoy meeting and talking with the other members. 

There are a few couples that I especially enjoy. I had the opportunity to dance with one gentleman that I think is just delightful. As we danced, he mentioned the Christmas card that I sent to he and his wife. He went on to say, "you just don't know how much that meant to us." 

I love sending Christmas cards, but this year was a little difficult. For years now, my husband and I have done picture cards, and my little dog Little Bit typically had a place of honor. 

Poor little dog...one year I found a pair of fabric antlers that I thought I would strap to her head. Then I got the bright idea to take her out to the airport and sit her on the cowling of the airplane as if she were Rudolph leading the sleigh. She had a very different idea about doing this and I ended up having to just hold her in my arms. Over the years, there have been pictures of us hiking, and pictures with special get-ups(a term used in the south for outfits that are rather questionable). It's a miracle that the little dog loved me as much as she did! ;)

I almost talked myself into not sending out cards this past year. But, for me, a card is like a small gift, a gesture to show that I have thought of the person to whom it is sent. And so, as difficult as it was, our simple little card was put together, just the three of us, my husband, Gracie, and me. Little did I know that months later I too would be given a gift.

It's been a few weeks since we've had a Wednesday Showcase post, so we are well overdue!

First up today is Anne of quite simply, Anne's Blog. Unlike many of us, she did not have the opportunity to sew when she was a teenager, but now that she is retired, she has taken on the challenge as an outlet for her hidden creativity. The blog gives her a place to chart her progress. As you'll see below, she has done an incredible job!

Not only did she make her daughter's gown, she also made the bridesmaid's dresses. So lovely.   

This beyond adorable shirt was made for her grandson. This is a shirt that I would like to have in my wardrobe!!!

Anne is so very generous with her time. She even sews for her mom. This was an especially thoughtful gift as her mother is now legally blind, and the fabric was from her stash.

Anne says that she has a very difficult time finding RTW clothes that will fit, so all the more that she wants to sew for herself. She goes into great detail about the changes she makes in her patterns. Here she is pictured in a Cashmerette Concord Tee. The room she is standing in is to die for!!! I would LOVE a garden room like this.

Be sure to pop over and say hi to Anne. I know you'll enjoy getting to know her.

Next up is Claire of Domestic Coquinette. She sews on her dining room table in New York City and creates pieces that anyone would love to have in their wardrobe.

She is especially proud of her "Bombshell" bridesmaid's dress. I think there are a lot of bridesmaids who would be especially jealous of such a beautiful dress! You can read all about her journey to create this dress HERE.  

She copied an Anna Sui dress. Claire's is on the left, and the original on the right. I like Claire's :)

Claire made this beautiful lace dress for her rehearsal dinner. Not a full length picture, but you can see that it is spot on perfect!

Not at all afraid of a challenge, she rubbed off a favorite dress and created this super cute piece for her sister's engagement party.

Claire also enjoys sharing her adventures and travels with those who stop by her blog. She is truly a delight in every way. 

Before I go, I thought I would share something that really made me laugh...

Have a wonderful day!

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Monday Morning Inspiration/Bring On Spring!

Spring has sprung here in Chicago, but Mother Nature can be an evil woman this time of year! In years past, I have been lured by her temptation that spring is truly here, gone out, worked in my garden, planted flowers, only to have a dip in the temperatures, and then loose everything. So...I wait until Mother's Day weekend to do any planting. But until then, I fill the house with flowers, open the doors and windows, and enjoy the warm air. 

Back in February, I shared with you the delightful work of Meredith Wing. She is a fashion illustrator who designs under the name Moomooi. Her designs aren't exactly fashion, but vegetables, fruit, leaves, all artfully arranged on fashion figures. Meredith is such an inspiration as she is the perfect example of do what you truly love, add in a little luck, and you will succeed.

I was so captivated by her work, so I searched around and found the Feel Unique website, and ordered her tote bag and makeup bag. Even prettier in person than they are on the site.

The other pieces that are offered;
Makeup brush
I-phone case
Travel Pouch

I think these would be a lovely gift for a young woman graduating from high school. If your purchase totals $15.00 or more, shipping is free in the U.S. I love free shipping :)

Last week, I did a post about my knitting projects that I have challenged myself to complete during 2017. I also vowed not to purchase another project until I thinned the project stash. Well, I must confess that I broke down and purchased another project. I'm disappointed in myself (only a little!), but I just fell in love with these crocheted boots from Lion Brand Yarn. As I told you last week, I can crochet, but not well, so it's going to be all the more of a challenge for me to get these made. But, since I really want them, maybe I'll be all the more motivated. We'll see :/ 

Bell shaped sleeves have become the rage this year.

This morning when I opened my email, I saw a fun challenge from McCall's.  

All you have to do is make up McCall's 7542, submit your make, and you just may win! Get all of the details on the McCall's blog HERE. The grand prize is pretty sweet! And even better, the pattern is on sale for $2.49.  
I look at it this way, even if you don't win the big prize, you'll walk away with a cute new piece for your spring wardrobe. You can gets lots of inspiration HERE on Pinterest for your own makes.

My next interview for Sewbussted's Material Witness was postponed last week, but will happen tomorrow. I am so excited!!! So it should be up this Friday. 

If you haven't done so already, go buy a few flowers to enjoy at home or in your office. A beautiful flower always puts a smile on my face :)

Have a wonderful week!

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Friday, April 14, 2017

Empowering Others

One of my favorite television programs is, "Pit Bulls and Parolees." If you haven't seen the show, it's about a woman, Tia, who is committed to saving pit bull dogs, and giving those who have been incarcerated a chance at making it once they leave prison. Not all of the dogs can be saved, and not all of those who come to work at the facility end up a success story. But, many do. 

A friend emailed me about an event that will take place here in Chicago on April 29, 2017, called Knit Around The Clock. This is a fund raiser for a group called Committed Knitters. You can check them out HERE on Facebook. They are a   group of women who once a week, teach women how to knit and crochet at the Cook County jail. The outreach doesn't end at the jail. When the women are released, the group continues to follow up with them to ensure success once they are back out in the world.  

They do need donations. A downtown store called Loopy Yarns will accept donations. You can also find them HERE on Facebook. If you attend the event on April 29th, donations will be accepted then as well.

On Tuesday, I shared my goal of completing 12 knitting projects this year. Many need to be completed, so they are not start to finish projects. My initial goal was to complete at least 1 project each month. The only problem is that it's now April, the 4th month of the year, and none are completely finished. Close, but not finished :/

I felt that I needed a jump start, so I went through my selected projects and decided that I could get one completed, a scarf. 

I had taken a class with Nora Gaughan while I was in Maine a few summers ago. She had given us a set of 6 different samples to do. I had thought that I would do the samples, but make them into a scarf. I didn't like it, and there it sat. So when I looked at it on Tuesday, I realized that my only option was to rip the entire thing apart, but choose a pattern that I like and just do the 1 pattern for the entire length of the scarf. I'm happy!!! I sat down over the last 3 evenings and knitted away. So now I can mark at least 1 project off the list. 

What I am the most excited about is finding out about the Committed Knitters program. So inspiring. What a wonderful resource for duplicate needles, and yarn that I know I am not going to use. My initial goal was just to thin the stash, but I also wrote that one of my goals was to find a home for the things I could not use, or did not want. See, this whole thing of writing it down really does make it happen. And even better, the resource came to me, I didn't even have to look for it!

If you know of resources like Committed Knitters that needs needles and yarn, please leave a message. If there are enough, I can compile them into resource list.  

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Adventure Awaits!/Rocky Mountain Sewing Adventure

For me, there is nothing better than combining my love for the outdoors, and...well, just about anything creative! 

Although I live in the city, I'm most at home in the mountains. I love the fresh air, the beautiful scenery, and the ease of the everyday pace. I am especially excited about offering what I think will be a wonderful opportunity to learn, relax, and rejuvenate at our very first....

June 10-16, 2017


*The trip includes transportation from Denver International Airport as well as return transportation. You MUST make arrangements to arrive no later than 1:00 p.m.  

*6 nights accommodations at the Indian Peaks Resort. The condos have 2 private bedrooms, with 2 private baths, and each condo comes with a beautifully maintained hot tub. The kitchens are well stocked, so you may cook as you wish.

*1 relaxing massage.

*A 1-day class at the Tandy Leather Outlet in Denver, with transportation. We will be learning the art of leather tooling. Time to shop will also be included.

*A guided, daily morning hike, with a longer hike on Wednesday afternoon for anyone interested.

*3 days of instruction with Helen Haughey. The workshop will give you the opportunity to make a couture sheath dress.

*1 day leather workshop with Rhonda Buss. We will be making a bag, using zippers, and learning how to properly work with leather.

*A welcoming dinner on Saturday evening. Rhonda will have homemade soups to choose from, a salad, fresh bread, and dessert.

The sheath workshop will take place at the Historic Fraser Church. The room is lovely, with a large stone fireplace on one wall. So if it's chilly, we can light a fire! The sheath workshop will take place on Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

The leather workshop will take place at the Fraser Public Library on Thursday. 

Transportation to both venues will be provided. 

An optional workshop will be taught on Tuesday night at The Fabric Nook in Granby, Colorado. You will have the opportunity to create the Row By Row Design. A design that is unique to The Fabric Nook. Transportation to and from Granby will be provided. The cost of the workshop is $50.00 and includes the kit. 

Not included in the cost of the adventure:
*Airfare to and from Denver, Colorado
*Daily meals 

If all of this sounds exciting, and you would like to participate, please download the registration form HERE.

Once your registration has been received, you will receive a supply list.

Remember, the adventure is only open to 10 participants.

I hope to see you in Colorado!

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Write it Down, Make It Happen

A quick update on the sewing adventure that Helen Haughey and I will be hosting in June. All of the information will be up on the blog first thing tomorrow. I'm really excited as I think it is going to be such a fun experience. 

It seems that if you are creative, it's rare that you enjoy doing just one thing. In the past, I've shared that I began at an early age doing embroidery and hand sewing. That lead to knitting, crocheting, and ultimately tatting, taught by my grandmother, and all of which she did beautifully. While I love to tat, my first passion after sewing is probably knitting. Crocheting has a never been a real passion, just something I know how to do, but not super well.

Quite a few years ago, I met and became friends with a wonderful woman who had the most incredible knit shop in Houston. This place was simply amazing. Friends of mine in Chicago were always surprised to hear me say that I waited to do any yarn shopping until I got back to Houston. After all, Houston is not exactly the sweater capitol of the United States. Maybe a few light weight wool sweaters, and cotton pieces, but not the heavy duty things we need in a colder climate. But, my friend carried it all. Her shop was like a knitting wonderland. And trust me, my eyes would glaze over when I entered the store, and all memory of the projects I had waiting at home seemed to magically jump right out of my head. 

Life seems to take twists and turns that we never really expect, and the same held true for my friend. She had never wanted or expected to have a baby, but as fate would have it, she became pregnant and her passions changed. She no longer wanted to run the store, she wanted time at home with her child, and who could blame her? 

Her closing the store was probably a favor to me as well as I amassed quite a collection of projects. A few years ago, I learned of Lorna's Laces and that she has a warehouse sale on occasion, not the same as my friend's store, but this too added to my collection. And it also doesn't help that Lorna's Laces is merely blocks away from my home :/

So this year I decided that I am not purchasing anything new, I MUST begin to thin the stash. My goal is to finish 12 projects by the end of the year. I'm already behind. But, if I have nothing else, I do have blind faith :) 

I began the year with this scarf project from Rowan Yarns. If you subscribe to their magazine, you get a free project(just what I needed!). This is the first time that I have not been happy with a Rowan yarn. It's the Rowan, Alpaca Colour yarn. If you look at the picture below, you can see how the yarn does not have a consistent color. The dye lot was the same on all the skeins. 

I decided that I would weave a small cord of coordinating yarn through the lacing, so I purchased a yarn that picks up the darker color in the yarn. I'll also use it in the fringe. So much for thinking that I had a project finished.

The next project that I have been working on is a shawl with yarn from Lorna's Laces. The yarn is lovely, but it's like knitting with thread, and there's nothing to the pattern to hold my interest, so I am bored beyond belief!!! The only saving grace is that I think I will really enjoy having the shawl once it's finished.

Once I get the shawl completed, I have a few quick to knit projects that will hopefully get me back on schedule.

This one will be super fast, it's just a little neck piece from Classic Elite Yarns. It was a thank you gift for attending the Yoga and Knitting Adventure in Maine a couple of years ago. 

A number of years ago, I knitted a pair of felted clog slippers for my husband. He LOVED them! So much so that he completely wore them out. He'll be thrilled to get a new pair.

When I went to the Knitting and Yoga Adventure in Maine, I ended up skipping the knitting as I preferred to hike and then go to the yoga classes. The project that we were supposed to do was a cabled neck scarf. 

I've only knitted 1 pair of socks in my entire life. Like many who begin to knit socks, I enjoyed the first, the second was a bit laborious, but I am determined to get this pair finished. The yarn is really quite lovely, so maybe that will help.

I really need to get this little sweater finished as I think I'll truly enjoy having it in my wardrobe. Here again, it's rather boring, and nothing to really hold my attention, but the yarn is so lovely, so once again, I'm determined. At least I hope so ;)

This will be the bigger project of the year. I purchased the variegated yarn below at a Lorna's Laces warehouse sale. 

 I finally decided upon this sweater from a Rowan  book. This is something I know I will enjoy on cold days.

I could have paddled to China faster than I have moved on this sweater!!! It's done in Rowan yarn and it's from a Kaffe Fasset book. I know I am going to enjoy throwing it on with jeans, just a matter of buckling down and getting it done. Basically, the front and back are finished, I just need to do the sleeves.

The last 3 projects are a scarf, a hat, and a bag, so not intense projects. I'll share those once I get to them.

Last year I read a book entitled, "Write It Down and Make It Happen." A few years back, I wrote down a dream that I had for our church. What I had hoped for was huge and not something I could accomplish on my own. But, I wrote it down, and I was amazed to see how it all came together last year. I had a part in making it happen, but seeing how it all unfolded was exciting and renewed my faith. 

Another day, I'll share a book that I put together a month or so ago where I can write and dream for 2017, and maybe beyond. My knitting list is in the book, so I am believing that this will happen. Then next year I can dream about 12 more projects. Yep, there's at least 12 more waiting in the attic!

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Monday Morning Inspiration/Victoria Beckham

This past weekend, the temperatures here in Chicago were FABULOUS!!! If you've seen the video, you know that I was out at the airport on Saturday. So sorry about the poor quality of the video, but hopefully you get at least an idea. 

There was a time that I absolutely hated windy days. I was struggling to learn to fly, everything seemed rather overwhelming, but my instructor would not give up on me, and...he made sure that I received the absolute best education that he could possibly bestow. I remember one particular day, the winds were awful, in fact, my hair was blowing out at a 90 degree angle. When I got the weather briefing and heard what the winds were, I thought that we would surely stay on the ground that day. As I relayed the briefing to my instructor, he stood there puffing on his pipe(he had kind of a General MacArthur look to him), and then said, "ya ready?" Not really a question, but a statement. So off we went. At one point, a gust of air grabbed the plane, and I almost popped out of my seat. He laughed and said, "ride em cowgirl!" I was not one bit happy, then, but in the long run, I am grateful :) 

The Victoria Beckham collection for Target hit the stores this past weekend and, at least here in Chicago, they could not have had a better weather day to launch the collection. In fact, most, if not all of the pieces are no longer available on their website. 

This collection is very bright and lots of fun. The show piece of the collection is the modified car wash skirt and top. Very reminiscent of Pierre Cardin.

For me, the collection evokes memories of some of my favorite pieces that I wore as a child in the early 70's.

The colors really pop. I especially like the orange collection. On the right is a large detail of the pocket on a skirt.

This looks like a fun to wear piece whether you wear it as a top or dress.  

I love the 2 scarves that were offered with the collection. Sadly, they too are sold out.

I think the collection is quite fun and inspirational, but for those of us who sew, easy to duplicate. I am hoping that the scarves might be available soon as I would REALLY like to have the bee scarf. I love bees :)

Have a wonderful day, and I hope that wherever you are that the weather gods will bring you a lovely day :)

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sewbussted's Material Witness/Come Fly With Me!

A VERY HAPPY Sunday to all of you!

Well, I thought I would give something a try. I thought it would be fun for you to tag along with me and experience a takeoff and landing. So, with my I-phone taped above my compass, off I went. The problem is how the camera sees the propeller. At one point, it actually looks like the propeller stops and starts going in the opposite direction!!!!! Now, that would truly be an OMG moment!!! I am going to talk to a friend who does a lot of aerial photography and see if there is something that I can easily do so that the propeller doesn't look like a bent line running through the picture. 

It was a very windy day, so in the first portion of the video the wind is a factor. The video is far from perfect, but you might enjoy going on a little virtual ride with me. 

Enjoy :)

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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Sewing Adventure!

I have some very exciting news!

Have you ever dreamed of getting away to a place where you can sew, learn, and rejuvenate? 
Well, today I have a little sneak peek at what I have been working on.

Helen Haughey and I have paired up to offer a unique escape to Winter Park/Fraser, Colorado. 

All who attend will need to arrive in Denver, Colorado on Saturday, June 10, 2017. From there, we will drive up to the mountains, about a 2 hour drive. 

We'll be staying at the Indian Peaks Resort. The condos are 2 bedroom/2 bath condos, with fully equipped kitchens. Each condo includes a private hot tub that is beautifully maintained.

For those who would like to join me, we will do invigorating morning hikes along the Fraser River. This is a flat trail, so quite easy to do, but a great way to start the day.

Beginning on Sunday, Helen will be teaching her class on making the Perfect Shift Dress. Class will be held at the historic Fraser Church. Transportation to and from the church will be provided.

On Monday, we'll take a break and head into Denver where we will visit the Tandy Leather outlet and have a private class on leather tooling. Tuesday and Wednesday, we'll be back in WinterPark/Fraser where we will continue the class with Helen Haughey.

If you are up for it, we'll take a break from sewing on Wednesday afternoon and head to the Bonfils-Staton Outdoor Center where I will lead a hike along the Jim Creek Trail.

If a less rigorous hike is desired, we can do the circuit that just touches on the Jim Creek Trail. Both are beautiful, especially in June.

On Thursday, I will be teaching a full day class on leather.

Included in the experience will be a relaxing massage for each participant.

We will also be offering an extra activity for those who would like to participate and do a piecing project. Tina from The Fabric Nook in Granby, Colorado will be teaching a class on doing her Row By Row Design. This is an optional class, and will most likely take place on Tuesday evening. 

The adventure will end on Friday when we will return to Denver and say goodbye.

Later this week, I will have the pricing together along with info on how to sign up. We will be keeping the adventure to no more than 10 participants. 

Doesn't this sound fun?!! I know I'm excited :)

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