Friday, December 30, 2011

Fabulous Free Pattern Friday

The Draped Front Ballerina Top
I'm calling this the Ballerina top as it reminds me of some of the lovely pieces a ballerina will wear while practicing. I love how they always look so lovely even when they don't intend to. This little top is beyond easy, just two big rectangles that have been cut into for the sleeves.
I used a great mesh knit fabric. It even has tiny little sequins woven into it. If you decide to make this top, remember that you must choose a fabric that is the same on front and back. One side of the front has the front side of the fabric facing out the other side of the front top has the back side of the fabric facing out because of the twist that is done to form the drape.   
 It can be worn with the drape in the front or in the back, your choice.
 A view from the side.
The back or as you might like, the front.
Okay, so to draft this little top, you will need your hip measurement and the length that you would like your top to be. I used 20" because that was how much fabric I had and I was determined to use it!

Start with the back. I also used 8" for the sleeves, because once again, this is what my piece of fabric would allow. If you have more fabric, you can make this a long sleeved top. The measurement across the top of the top will be your hip measurement divided in half plus the length that you would like your sleeves to be. Let's say that your hip measurement is 40". Divide that measurement in half which will be 20". The length of my sleeves is 8", so we will need that measurement twice because we have two sleeves, so the final measurement is 36". I wanted a fairly loose sleeve, so I used 8" for the depth of my sleeve. Make sure to measure your arm and add ease for your sleeve. Because this is a rather loose fitting garment, I would use at least 2" of ease for my sleeve.  
Once you have the top portion of your top measured out, draw the lines down your desired length and the bottom line of your top should be half of your hip measurement.   

So now you can see how the drape is formed on the top. The top has a twist at center front. That's just how simple it is.
To compensate for the twist, you will need your full hip measurement for the front of your top. The top line of the pattern is your hip measurement plus the 8" for your sleeve. Measure down the desired depth of your sleeve, I used 8", and then measure over the length of your sleeve. From this point measure down your desired length and then once again, measure over your hip measurement plus the length of your sleeve.
There are only four seams in this top, the two side seams and the two shoulder seams. To sew your top together, match the back to the front on one side. Once that seam has been sewn, twist the front of your top so that the sleeve will match the back sleeve and sew the second side seam. Sew the shoulder seams. the back neck opening is 8", 4" on either side of center back. (8 seems to be a magic number for me today) Turn your edges to finish.
I would post a picture of me in the top, but I look an absolute fright today. I'll look better tomorrow so I'll show you a picture of me in the top tomorrow.
Hope you've all had a wonderful week. It went soooo fast!
See you tomorrow.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fabulous Free Pattern Friday

The Wrap Headband
I have two Fabulous Free Pattern Fridays that I need to catch up with, so I am not early for this week, just catching up. Really and truly I should have posted this before Christmas because this little headband would have made great stocking stuffers, but alas, here I am. This is actually a repost. The headband was always intended to be a part of the Fabulous Free Pattern Friday posts, but it was posted before I changed the title. So for those of you who have been following for a while.....you've seen this before.  
In the original post, the headband was done in cotton as seen in the picture below. The headband in the above picture is made from black stretch velvet. When I have a day that I would rather not fool with my hair, this is my go to accessory.
The headband wraps around the head and forms a small rose as you twist it around.
The instructions can be found here.
It's just a rectangle, a long one, but a rectangle. The addition of the wire is what holds it in place so well.

I thought I would share today's outfit. The pictures make the skirt look like I'm wearing an apron!! The skirt is actually an out of print Sandra Betzina Today's Fit Pattern.
I made mine out of a wool challis and a wool tweed. I did not do the ruching on the side of the skirt that you see in the above picture. Actually, I did and I took it out as it didn't work wellwith the fabric that I chose. I think it would look wonderful in a much lighter weight fabric.   

The wool I used for the skirt is a much darker fabric than what the photograph shows and the overlay does drape like the drawing on the pattern. If by chance you are interested in the pattern, I found only one on the Internet. It's on Ebay and you can find it here.
I would like to send out a warm welcome to the followers. I am SO Very Happy to have you!! And thank you everyone for your lovely comments. I really enjoy hearing from you.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The 6-Gore Skirt

The 6-Gore Skirt With a Flared Hem
We've done the 8-Gore skirt and I showed you a variation of adding lace to the seams of the panels. The math for the 6-Gore skirt is exactly the same as the 8-Gore skirt, just divide by 6 rather than 8.

It's very difficult to see in this picture, but I've added flare to the bottom portion of the panels which gives the the hem of the skirt a very swishy quality when you move. 
 You can see the flare much better in these pictures.
So to do this, follow the instructions for the 8-gore skirt and divide the measurements by however many panels you wish to have. By the way, the more panels, the more swish!!

I wanted my flare to begin at approximately the mid part of my thigh. The length of my skirt is just below my knee. Measure up from your hem to where you would like for your flare to begin. I added 3 inches to either side of my panel. Remember, whatever you add will be times 2. When you sew the panels together, the flare will be on both sides so the 3 inches I added will actually make a 6 inch flare.
Where you started your flare, you will want to round out the angle so that you will not have such a sharp angle when you sew your skirt together. At the hem of the skirt you will want to find the mid point between the center of the panel and the edge of the skirt. In order to have a nice rounded edge to the hem of your skirt, draw an angled line line up from the mid point to the edge of your skirt. The angle should measure 1/2 inch to 1 inch. The more flare you add, the more dramatic the angle will be. If you don't do this, you will have points rather than a nice rounded edge at your seam lines.
The finished pattern.
This is so quick and easy to do and makes such a great skirt.
Good luck and as always, email me if you have any questions. I'll do my best to help.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Age Shoes

I am loving the January issue of Vogue magazine, great articles and fantastic inspiration. This morning I thought I would share a few pictures of some fantastic shoes.

Great platforms from Alejandro Ingelmo

New age from Prada for the bargain price of $1,450.00!!

Prada Flames

Interesting platforms from Proenza Schouler

I fell in love with this curlicue heel from Charlotte Olympia so I went to her website,
and found that she has a wonderful sense of humor with her shoes.

 Like this great pair of piano shoes,

or this wonderful pair of leaves that wrap around the foot. Wonderful!!

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday Morning Inspiration

Good Morning Everyone and welcome to the week between Christmas and New Year's. I think this is my favorite week of the entire year. It's a quiet week, the preparation and anticipation of Christmas is behind me and although the New Year is still ahead, it's a peaceful celebration in our home. Our godson and his family will be with us for two days. We'll laugh and talk, go for a new Year's hike, eat great food and basically just enjoy being together. On my agenda for the week is a bit of sewing, I'll share that with you in another post, but most importantly...I NEED TO CLEAN MY STUDIO!!! What a mess it is. I'm sure there are a few of us singing the same messy studio song today.

My husband's favorite gift this year was a mug I had made for him. His sister had sent some old pictures in with his birthday card. As I looked at them, I thought that they are just too precious to stick into a box or a book that will rarely see the light of day. So what could I do with the pictures that he would really be able to enjoy? I thought about a memory quilt, nice but not quite right, then I came across the Walgreen's website and saw where I could order a photo mug. Score!! So I scanned the photos onto the computer, downloaded them to the Walgreen's website, chose the mug, previewed it and I was finished.  Here are the pictures I used;  
 Carl's brother Bert, his father Edgar and Carl.
Carl on the farm. 
 Another picture of Edgar and the boys.
 Carl in the river with a homemade raft and his dog.......
the Incredible!...Super Dog!...Blitz. As the years have gone by, the stories of this dog have grown every bit as much as any great fish tale.  To hear my husband and his brother talk about this dog, you would swear that the dog could drive a car, speak five languages, fly an airplane......Super Dog.

 The finished mug,
with Blitz as the showcased photo.
What I found so interesting is how my husband viewed the photos once they were on the mug, precious before but they had now taken on a new meaning for him. As he looked at the pictures of he and his brother with their father, he began to talk about the wonderful times and the adventures they had together. Until now, Carl would from time to time talk about his father and some of his antics, but not with the same sweetness that he now portrayed.
The last years of Edgar's life were very difficult. He owned a wholesale greeting card company. The big guns, Hallmark and American Greetings had begun to take hold, Mom and Pop stores were disappearing. The business as he had known it was quickly slipping away. The stress that he was under finally took its toll on his health and he suffered a stroke. His family had to take over, money was extremely tight. Then he suffered a second stroke and died. The memories of those last dark days clouded over the happier memories of a father who enjoyed a good time.
Carl's father has always had a special place in my heart. He too was a pilot, in fact he made his first solo flight fifty years to the day that I made mine. The first time your instructor gets out of the plane and you are totally in control is a day that will forever be etched in the mind of every pilot. When my instructor told me that he would not be getting back in the plane with me, I asked him where he was going. He then told me that I was ready to go alone. I was petrified. He assured me that I was ready. I shook his hand and told him that I was grateful for everything he had done for me. As I pulled away, I waved goodbye. Then when I got to the end of the runway, I suddenly had the most overwhelming sense of Carl's father. I never knew him. He died long, long before I ever met my husband. A sense of calmness came over me and off I went. I made my three take-offs and landings and came back to pick up my instructor. After we arrived back at Midway I told him that I felt as though I had not flown alone. He too is a rather spiritual man and he said that maybe I didn't. On my next solo flight, I was once again nervous. I took-off, came around to land and for the first time felt that I really could do this. On my second take-off, a hawk took off with me and flew right along side the airplane. Just as I was about to make my turn, the hawk turned in the opposite direction and flew away. A coincidence, maybe, but at that point I knew that I was on my own and that I was quite capable.
Life takes so many twists and turns leaving us with the memory of the heartaches that can be attached to those times. For my husband, a picture was able to take him back and help him remember a father who loved his family and left them with a legacy of laughter, courage and determination.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Wishes

When I made this dress, I killed a few birds with one stone, our Red Challenge for Haute Couture, my Fabulous Free Pattern Friday entry and a new Christmas dress for me.  
 I wore the dress Saturday. The pictures aren't the best, but at least you get an idea of how the dress looks on a body.

 It was a lovely evening.
 I made a new fascinator to wear with my dress.
 I used a gold and ecru poinsettia, added some feathers along with the red glitter floral pieces.
For the center, I made gold stamens with rhinestones on the ends and added pearls to the center of the flower.
A piece of glitter tulle was added to the back. The headpiece was a huge hit and it was so simple to make.
I'm going to take a very small break from the blog for the remainder of this week. I'll be back on Monday, December 26th.
Wishing you a lovely Holiday Season and a Very Merry Christmas!

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Fabulous Free Pattern Friday

For those of you who have been following me for a while, you know that I made this skirt last Christmas.

You won't believe how easy it is to make.

You may remember that the top I'm wearing was in last year's Thread's Dec./Jan. issue. A number of you have made it. You're probably wondering, when will the pattern be available?!!
The skirt is nothing more than a yoke and eight panels. The panels are not like the eight-gore skirt, they are true rectangular panels.
To begin, use a skirt that fits and cut a yoke from that skirt. To cut a yoke, measure down from the waistline 9" all the way around the skirt. Make sure to add seam allowance to your new yoke.
To make the panels, measure the circumference of your yoke, for demonstration purposes, we'll use 32". Divide this number by 8. The result will be 4. We are making box pleats so you will need to multiply 4 x 3 which will equal 12".  Measure down from the bottom of your yoke the desired length of your skirt.   
To form the scalloped bottom of the skirt, extend the lines on either side of your pattern down far enough that you will be able to connect the side lines to the center at a 45 degree angle as you see in the picture below.
You will need a notch at the center of your pattern. On either side of the center line, divide your pattern into thirds. Put another notch on the third that is closest to the edge of your pattern.

You will need to put a notch for sewing purposes at the line that you determined as your desired length of your skirt.

To form the box pleats, fold on the notch that is closest to the edge of your pattern.

 Your box pleats will look like the above picture.
To form the scallop at the hem of your skirt, stitch along the 45 degree angle. Before you cut out your pattern, be sure to add seam allowances. I used 1/4" on the 45 degree angles and 1/2" on the sides of my panels.
 In this picture, you can see that I stitched the 45 degree angle.
 In this picture you can see the stitched angle and the seam where I stitched the panel to the next panel. You can also see a fold line. This is where the point will be turned up,
 and tacked back to the angled line.(You can also see that I did not finish my seams....bad, bad me)

So that is just how easy this skirt is to make, a yoke and eight rectangular panels.
This skirt would also be spectacular as a full, floor length skirt.
Good luck and as always, if you decide to give it a try and have a problem, I'm always here to help.

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