Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Wednesday Showcase

So many of you enjoyed the Summer Bucket list that I posted yesterday. I'm glad that you did. It's such a great reminder to write things down and make them happen, even the simplest things like going to a special place for ice cream :) Margies is a bit of a Chicago institution. The store originally opened in 1921.

A few years ago, the second location opened maybe about a mile from my house...but I have yet to go. Thanks to my little bucket list writing friend, I will be going soon :) They are known for their ice cream confections that come in a clam shell that's as big as your head!!! Smaller sizes are available! 

They also make their own candy. It's a family owned business that has been around for almost 100 years. Now that's amazing! If by chance you are ever in Chicago, by all means, head to Margies! There's a cute story on their website about people who have ventured in, The Beatles, and even Al Capone! A group of men wearing long black coats walked in one day and requested the booth where the Fab Four (the Beatles) had sat. The waitress was a little leery, turns out, they were the Rolling Stones! 

My Wednesday Showcase posts have been a bit few and far between. I know so many of you enjoy these posts, so slowly but surely, I am getting back on the proverbial horse :)

Today I would like to introduce you to a lovely, and especially elegant lady, Irene of Irene's Studio. She lives in Ontario, Canada where she primarily makes clothes for herself, sometimes things for the home. Like many of us, she prefers not to sew for others, but sometimes...that just happens! I think Irene has been following my blog from just about the beginning, so this post is a long time coming. 

Everything Irene does is amazingly beautiful, and she pays close attention to detail. Pay close attention to the picture in the top right hand corner below. The stripes, plaid, triangles are matched perfectly across the garment. Her bound buttonholes are in the lower right hand picture. They are so well done that they are difficult to see!!!

This was a cute story. Irene made the lovely linen tunic on the left, had scraps, so since it was linen, decided to make tea towels. She had the watermelon motifs on another piece of fabric, so thought it would really dress up her towels. With that, the questions began, should she hand applique, machine applique, or fuse? She almost drove herself crazy. Believe it or not,she actually hand appliqued the watermelon pieces to her towels. In the far right picture, you can see just how beautifully they are made. Just amazing!  

This is one woman who can use a scrap! Love the stripe top on the left. She then took the scraps and used them for sleeves with the black fabric, and finally used the very last bit for a cowl scarf.

Here's another example of her creativity with scraps. That top on the right is killer!!!

A simple sheath dress can be the most elegant garment in your wardrobe, and this is a perfect example. She had originally intended to wear this dress for Easter, but it was too cold, so she saved it for Pentecost Sunday. Hey, the Holy Spirit loves a pretty dress too!!! Love the side pleat, and the hand picked lapped zipper, the perfect couture detail. 

I think it's always fun to see patterns made up. Irene took Vogue 7806 and basically made the exact same jacket as is on the cover. Except...she wanted an especially warm jacket so she underlined it in wool. Check out her lovely catch stitched seams.

Finally, when there's a dog in the story, I just can't resist. 
Irene's story about this gown;

Being eaten by this guy;

Appeared in the August/September 2017/Issue 192 of Threads magazine. The picture of the gown above is after it has been saved from the jaws of her pooch :/ You can see her post on how she repaired the gown HERE

No long after Miss Little Bit came to live with us, I had the reconstructive surgery done on my face and jaw. She was especially attached to me from the very beginning, so I was quite worried about leaving her. Once I got back home, she was my constant companion, slept with me, sat with me, would not leave my side, except to eat. One Sunday morning, my husband fed her, I stayed in bed. He shut the door to our bedroom before he left for church. She was so anxious about not being able to get to me that she chewed the back of the rocker on my favorite rocking chair. When my husband got back home, there was a little pile of saw dust on the floor. How could I be upset?!! I had originally thought that I would just sand and stain it, but it's still there. It's become a sweet reminder of all the joy she brought into my life. As upsetting as a destroyed wedding gown must have been initially, I bet it's one of Irene's sweetest memories of her dog :)    

I hope you'll check out Irene's Studio. I think you will love getting to know her.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A Summer Bucket List

I'm back, I'm back, I'm back! 
The cataract surgery on my left eye was last Wednesday. It was done very late in the day. By the time it happened, I was quite anxious, so I ended up having a little more anesthesia, but the surgery went well. The only downside of the anesthesia was that I was quite fatigued and a little dizzy for a few days. I'll see my doctor on Thursday for my one week checkup, so hopefully I'll get a thumbs up, and life will return to being at  least somewhat normal again :)

My husband had been out running a few errands for me over the weekend. When he returned, he said, "look what I found!" When he came out of the store, he looked down, and there was a folded piece of paper laying on the ground. He picked it up. What possessed him to pick it up, I don't know. Most often, people will just walk over a piece of paper laying on the ground. But, he did pick it up, unfolded it, and saw a teenage girl's summer bucket list. When he opened it, and discovered what it was, he looked around trying to find who it might belong to, but he said that no one was around. Rather than just throw it in the garbage, he thought he would bring it home to me. The list is pictured below.

As I read it over, I thought, "what a great and doable list!" 

*Get Tan
*Watch the sunrise on the beach
*Henna (tattoo)
*lolla (Lollapalooza, a music festival)
*Paddle Boarding
*Movie In The Park
*Lacrosse camp with Katie
*Read a good book
*Watch The Sunset
*Have a Summer Fling
*Acai Bowls
*Go On Runs
*Spend the night in the tent
*Go Jet Skiing
*Dance In The Rain
*Skinny Dip (:/)
*Margies (for ice cream)
*See Mamma Mia with Kelsi
*Cubs Game

And finally;


As I read the list, I thought about when the last time was that I was excited about summer and all that it could hold. To be honest, I don't remember. Sad :( As I continued to study the list, I thought, let this be an inspiration. 

*Get tan. I do not want to sit out in the sun and get a tan, but I can go for a spray on tan. 
*Watch The Sunrise. I can get up early, go to the beach and watch the sunrise. After all, it's only a couple of miles away. 
*Henna. How fun would it be to get a henna tattoo?!! 
*Going to Lollapalooza is not my thing, but an evening at the  Grant Park Music Festival would be lovely. Sitting out on the grounds and listening to some classical music under the stars. Lovely!
*A bonfire would be fun. Haven't done that for a very long time.
*Tubing. Again, not in a very long time, but such fun.
*Paddle Boarding. I've thought it would be fun, so why not?!!
*Movie in the park. Last year, we saw Romeo and Juliet in the park. Such fun. I'll see what I can come up with.
*I won't be going to Lacrosse camp with Katie ;)
*Read a good book. I can actually cross that off my list. More about that in an upcoming post. 
*Watch the sunset. I think an evening in Michigan, sitting on the shore and watching the sunset would be so lovely. 
*Have a summer fling. Not quite sure what she meant by this. I won't be having a "fling" in the traditional sense, but maybe there's something nontraditional that I can do :) Any hints???
*Acai Bowls. Sign me up! I've already downloaded a few recipes!
*Go on runs. I won't be running this summer, but I will take some nice long hikes. There's a 15 mile hike that I have been wanting to do.
*Spend the night in the tent. I just don't like to camp, so I will not add this to my list.
*Go jet skiing. Another thing I've wanted to do. I'm sure there's somewhere to rent jet skis here in Chicago.
*Dance in the rain. Why not? :)
*Skinny Dip. That won't happen!
*Margies for ice cream. I can walk there, so that may happen in the next day or two :)
*See Mamma Mia with Kelsi. Well, I won't be seeing anything with Kelsi ;), and I'm not a big fan of Mamma Mia, but there is an opera that I would like to see.
*Cubs game...nah. Not much of a baseball fan. 

What I want to add to my list is;
*Go zip lining
*White water rafting

And again, last but not least;


Maybe this will inspire you as well. We don't have to be a child to enjoy summer and all it has to hold. Write out your summer bucket list. Share it here in the comments. I would love to see some of your ideas for having fun, and things that will make you happy. We'll meet again at the end of summer to see how well we did.

BTW, if anyone by chance knows who the list above belongs to, let me know. I would love to return it. At the very least, a great big thank you to this child for opening my eyes to some fun filled days :)

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Stephen Burrows Challenge Coat

Today is cataract removal day :(  I was told to call the day before the surgery to find out what time I should arrive. To my great disappointment, I have to wait until 3 this afternoon to arrive, so the surgery probably won't take place at least until 4. Here I sit, hungry, thirsty, and thinking. Regardless of what everyone has told me about it being such a simple procedure, it's concerning when it's happening to you. Oh well, I've been through worse, and this too shall pass. 

I had promised to share my Stephen Burrows coat that I did for the Haute Couture fashion show. This was such a fun project!

The 2 pieces below are the original garments designed by Stephen Burrows. I've read conflicting stories on the piece. Some call it a coat, while others called it a coat dress. I decided that I would make the piece as a true coat as I would get more wear out of it.  

The first step was to find the fabric. I went with merino wool, so the colors are not as vibrant as those that Stephen Burrows used.

Next was the pattern. In retrospect, I probably should have drafted it myself, but I came across the Butterick pattern below, 6143. With some changes, I thought I would get the basic shape that I wanted. 

The skirt of the coat was far too full, so I pinned out some of the fullness to get the shape that I wanted.

For the bodice, since it is knit fabric, I ended up using Londa's Creative Threads Terrific 'T" pattern as a base. The shoulder was changed a bit. Below you can see how I laid the sleeve over the sleeve of the original coat pattern. I used the width of the sleeve, and lowered the cap to halfway between the top of the t-shirt sleeve and the coat sleeve cap.  

I used a fusible knit interfacing on the knit fabric where there were not multiple layers of fabric. Since I made a coat rather than a dress, the fabric needed a bit more stability.

I determined where I would use the different colors. The green knit was laid over the yellow, and then the band of navy blue knit was laid in place. I sewed the navy to the green and then flipped it over and hand sewed the bottom edge to the green.

The same process was done on the bodice. I also basted all the pieces together around the edge so that everything would remain in place.

With all the stripes coming together at center front, it makes inserting the zipper a little bit of a challenge. To ensure that the stripes did come together at center front, I basted the zipper in place prior to stitching. Once the zipper was stitched in place and I was happy with how the stripes matched, I did a catch stitch to hold the seam allowance in place.

Then came the challenge of the lining. Since the coat is a knit fabric, I needed a knit lining, but I still wanted to have some slip to it as a typical lining has so that it would slide on over whatever I wear underneath. A few years ago, the Haute Couture Club of Chicago celebrated our 50th anniversary. One of our members, Renee Liepins designed the fabric you see below. If you would like to see some of her other wonderful fabric designs, you can find them HERE on Spoonflower. This is a lovely knit that has a very nice slip to it. The only problem was that I didn't have enough to do the entire coat. But, I had the solid gray that matched, so all in all it worked out. 

Here's a closeup of the knit fabric. Look closely and you'll see the HC in the pattern. 

The back of my finished coat.

 The front unzipped. 

And finally, the front zipped. I really did match the stripes :)

I so enjoyed this project, so much so that I think I would like to copy another design. If I can find complimenting stripes, then this little outfit is in my future. I know, I know, I am not supposed to be shopping for fabric!!!

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Monday Morning Inspiration/Studio Progress and The Luxury of Sight

Happy Monday from a very rainy Chicago! My garden is bursting with all the rain we've had. Always a silver lining :)

I apologize for not keeping up with the blog the last few days. Life! 

My studio cleanup project is coming along. Although, I felt as though I had made very little progress, until I watched the first video I shot. So, I have a bit of advice for those of you who are riding along in the same cleanup boat that I am in ;), do a before video! I realized that as I have gone along, I quickly forgot what it looked like before, and all I could see was what still needs to be done. So yes, do a before video. When I went back and watched the pre-cleanup video, I was able to celebrate my accomplishment, at least my accomplishment to date :)   

For those of you who may have missed the first video of my studio, here it is in all it's disastrous glory.

This video was shot after a week and a few days after my beginning. I am not overwhelming myself with the cleanup effort, if I have an hour, great, if I only have 30 minutes, that's great too. 

I shared with a friend of mine that I was a little apprehensive about doing a before video. There was a little (a lot!) of shame involved, I'll admit, but there was also the fear of judgement. What surprised me was how many of you wrote back and shared your own stories of clutter and disarray. Thank you. 

Now for something truly inspirational...

Kristina from Ann Arbor, MI sent me an email last week and told me about a young woman whom she heard speak at her local library. Her name is Camilla Chiriboga and she is truly a young woman on a mission. 

I will let her introduce herself and share her mission as she does it best :)

"My passion lies at the intersection of fashion, health and technology. I design to provide the tools for people to simply enjoy their bodies and lives. I believe clothing should be made for everyone to enjoy the luxury of looking good and feeling comfortable and confident. I seek to celebrate people who are usually underestimated, and in this way, help boost their self-confidence to enjoy a fuller part in society, while feeling more highly valued and respected. Design for me is the tool to provide functional features that will improve daily lives, creating garments that will serve to empower our bodies and minds. This way allowing us to confidently embrace who we are and shape who we want to be through fashion." 

I especially loved the video below. It gives you added insight into what Camilla is doing, as well as the beautiful stories of those who have to deal with the loss of sight. 

You can find Camilla's website HERE. Click on the tabs across the top of her site to see more of her work. 

So many of us take for granted the gift of our sight, and the "luxury" we have of being able to create, show the world our style, and feel good in our clothes. I hope meeting Camilla has meant as much to you as it has to me.

Have a wonderful week!


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Thursday, May 17, 2018

And The Winner Is...

Good Morning!

I apologize for not getting to the giveaway yesterday. Sadly, our internet went down, and quite honestly, I did not feel like hiking off to Starbucks, or the library. But, we are back online, and all is right with the world once again ;)

The winner of Londa's Terrific 'T' pattern is Linda T of Seams Well. She has not been blogging too much lately. Maybe this will nudge her along ;) 

Congratulations Linda! Email me at sewbussted@yahoo.com with your info so I can pass it along to Londa. 

I finished my Stephen Burrows inspired coat for the Haute Couture fashion show. I'll be back a little later today with pictures and how I put it all together. 

My studio clean up is coming along. Not where I want it to be...yet, but coming along. I'll have a little video of the progress up tomorrow. And then on Saturday, look for a new T-shirt Tango post. 

Have a wonderful day!

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Monday, May 14, 2018

Monday Morning Inspiration/Carolina Herrera and Embellishment

It seems like the more I delve into my studio cleaning process, the bigger mess I make! At one point, I had a big space cleaned off of my cutting table, then I tackled a pile of things that needed to be organized, and the table is once again cluttered. Although I am farrrr from having the project completed, I am making progress, and that feels so very good :) A new video later this week.

We all have bits and pieces of fabrics that could be used for something especially creative. 

I wasn't able to find where this picture originated, if someone knows, let me know in the comments as I would love to showcase this person's work. Absolutely amazing embellishment. 

The rose on this t-shirt from Dior is just denim scraps that have been appliqued. Such a fun idea, and it really steps up a plain white t-shirt.   

This is a bit time consuming, but such a lovely embellishment. 

I especially love the work of Carolina Herrera. I decided to take a look at her Pre-Fall collection. You can see it HEREMany of the pieces are embellished with a combination of embroidery and applique.

I think I would put this flower near the hem of the coat, it would make less of a statement. Love the sleeves!

The coat on the left below features cross-stitch embroidery, while the dress on the right is a combination of embroidery and applique.

Love the cross-stitching that was done along the edge of the jacket. 
Take note of the sleeves on the black top. A nice take on the bell sleeve. And again, embroidery and applique are featured on the skirt. Love the aline wrap skirt too!

I included the picture below to point out the sleeves on the orange top. So pretty.


The dress on the right below...why not go bold?!! Take note of the white lining, a little "made ya look" touch to the dress :)
Now, I am REALLY going to date myself, I rather like the white go-go boots ;) 

I love embellished pieces. It takes them from, oh that's nice, to WOW! So, if you are clearing out and cleaning up as I am, just choose a few pieces that you think you will use, and then let the rest go. Just remember, if you are sewing, you are always creating scraps, so no need to keep everything :) Something I am repeating over and over to myself...there will be more, there will be more, let this go :) 

Have a wonderful week!

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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sunday's Soup/Lentil Harvest Soup

I am SOOOO excited!!!

As I've shared many times, I enjoy the blog, Design Sponge. A few weeks back, there was a contest sponsored by Design Sponge to introduce a new cookbook, Coconuts and Collards.

For a chance to win, the challenge was to share what food reminds you the most of home. Here is what I wrote;

When I think of home, I think of my grandmother's kitchen, a rather sparse space in comparison to today's kitchen, a small enamel topped table, a large Hoosier cabinet, a sink that stood on legs, and a massive stove. She loved to make muffins with Malt-O-Meal cereal. She kept them in a pan in the lower section of her Hoosier cabinet, always on hand for that unexpected visitor. Just the right amount of sweet to accompany a cup of tea.

I thought the recipe was lost once she died, but to my surprise, it's on the box, and called Magic Muffins. Such a fitting name.

I do not keep them on hand as she did, but when I need to feel her presence, I make a batch, sit down with a cup of tea, and she is there, if only in spirit. 

What an honor it is to have been chosen the winner. 
Once the book arrives, I will share lots more of what's inside. Can't wait! :)

Today's soup recipe is just a twist on other soups I've shared. When I've had to eat things for a period of time that are a little rich for my diet, be it because of having guests, or traveling, I begin to crave something that's basic and nourishing. That's what this soup is, very basic, but quite nourishing. And then, there's the added bonus of...it tastes really good! I'm calling it Lentil Harvest Soup as there's basically a harvest of garden vegetables, with lentils providing protein.

The recipe is simple and quick enough for a weeknight meal. Be sure to add the sweet potato. Adds just a bit of sweet which is so nice. Leftovers are great for lunches! 

Lentil Harvest Soup
printable recipe

1 cup red lentils
1 large onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 28 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
3 large carrots sliced
2 cups chopped kale
3 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil
6-8 cups vegetable broth
salt and black pepper to taste

Begin by placing the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions and cook until tender. Add garlic and continue to saute for another minute to bring out the flavor, but not burn.

Add lentils, cubed sweet potato, carrots, tomatoes, kale, dried oregano, and 6 cups of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender, approximately 20 minutes. The lentils will absorb some of the broth, so adjust once lentils are tender. 

Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Serve and enjoy! 

When I eat a bowl of soup, I am so bad about drinking the broth out first and then enjoying the vegetables. 

As always, if you decide to give it a try, I hope you enjoy the soup!

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Thursday, May 10, 2018

T-Shirt Tango/Cowl Neck Tee

Thanks so much to all of you who sent such supportive messages on my post about my extremely out of control studio. Stay tuned for next week's video. The cleanup will not be completed, but progress will be made. Some of you asked questions. I will answer those questions when I do the next video. 

The beginning of the T-Shirt Tango posts! Always fun to start something new :)

We'll begin with the Cowl Neck Tee. As you'll see, it's very easy to do.

I'm using Londa's Creative Threads Terrific T pattern. If by chance you missed yesterday's post, I am sponsoring a giveaway of the pattern, so be sure to visit THIS post and leave a message for a chance to win.

I like this pattern as it's truly a basic pattern. I am using the round neckline that sits just at the base of the neck. Her pattern offers a straight side seam which gives a relaxed fit, or a tapered side seam for a little more fit through the waistline. 

I took the basic pattern and created a sloper. To do this, I removed the seam allowances and then transferred the pattern to a piece of poster board. By removing the seam allowances, I will never be confused once I begin manipulating the pattern as to where I need to add seam allowance and where the seam allowance was left on the pattern. I know that I need to add seam allowance to each and every seam.    

Now that I have a basic sloper, I can trace around it to begin my design. 

I did not want my cowl neckline to fall too far below my bust area, so I measured down 3" below my armhole and squared a line across the front bodice pattern. 

Cut on the line from center front to the side seam, being careful not to cut through the edge.
I spread my cutline open 3 1/2". For a less dramatic drape, 2 1/2" will be fine.

Rather than cut the entire pattern all over again, I simply taped the piece I had cut onto another piece of paper to develop my cowl. 
The center front edge of the pattern was extended up.
I did not want the neckline to be close to my neck, so I marked the shoulder 2" from the shoulder edge. From that point I developed my cowl facing. 

In the picture below, you can see that my ruler is resting along side the center front line that was extended from the original pattern. From the neckline to the top of the cowl facing, measure up 7". From the 7" mark, round a line back to the mark that was made to establish a 2" wide shoulder seam.  

The final pattern. You do not need to cut the pattern as  a full front as I did. The pattern can be placed on the fold of your fabric. 

Remember to reduce the shoulder seam on the back pattern to 2" as you did the front. 

If you would like construction instructions, let me know and I will be happy to do a video and walk you through it.

Cowl neck tees are wonderful to have in your pattern collection. This tee can be worn with jeans, and paired with a skirt. The pattern can also be extended into a dress, so it is extremely versatile.


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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

My Studio, and a Giveaway!

I can never buy another piece of fabric for the rest of my life!

I spent 3 hours in my studio yesterday afternoon clearing off shelves and organizing fabric. Here's the worst part of it, I am no where near finished!!! For quite some time, I have wanted to clean up and organize my studio. For far too long, I've gone from 1 project to the next without cleaning in between. 
I am beyond mortified to share the video below. You will see that even Gracie holds her head in shame. 

As I went through my fabric, I realized that I own some of the most amazing pieces. The idea of not buying fabric is heartbreaking, but what I have vowed to hold true to my goal, and not purchase anything until September 1st. At that point, I will assess how I am doing and go from there. That's 3 months, so that should give me plenty of time to begin to look into my soul and discover a little more about my obsession with fabric. Stay tuned for more posts on my progress. As some of you know, I have tried to set this as a goal in the past, and failed. This time I am taking a little different approach. Rather than try to find a huge block of time to clean, I am giving myself a small pocket of time each day. I had planned to only do an hour yesterday, but became immersed and just kept going. That's okay. Today I will may only do 30 minutes. 

Since the beginning of the year, I have had a goal to read through certain books of the Bible. The goal I set for myself was to read the books of Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Job, Ecclesiastes, the books of Wisdom and Sirach(from the Catholic Bible), and finish out the year by reading through the New Testament. By setting small daily goals, I have finished Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Wisdom, and I am currently reading through Job. Now, reading books from the Bible is not for everyone, and I understand, but what I have learned from my goal is that by setting small daily goals, it adds up to big goals accomplished. It's just amazing! So, I am translating that same goal setting strategy to my studio space. 

Now for something fun!!!

Londa, of Londa's Creative Threads is sponsoring a give away here on the blog. Some of you have already purchased her Terrific T pattern, so whoever wins will have the opportunity to choose from her Terrific T

OR, her Trendy Tunic Tops pattern.

I will begin a new segment on the blog tomorrow on using a basic t-shirt pattern to create lots of fun tops. Londa's tee is perfect for this. But, if you've already purchased the t-shirt pattern, you can still enter the giveaway and try for the Trendy Tunics pattern. Very generous of Londa :)

To enter, just leave a message on this post. I will announce the winner next Wednesday, May 16, 2018.   

Good Luck!

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