Archive for July, 2010

Shangri-la Treasures

July 22, 2010



This is the store I visited today in Berkeley and you will not believe your eyes, it is like walking in a museum with your own personal guide, the sales assistant. Amazing things! Gorgeous raw silk and cashmere jackets, lined in silk, hand applique details that are out of this world. Hand knit lace scarves in the most wonderful thin yarn that has been carefully hand spun and knitted to perfection. Hand embroidered scarves, boiled wool scarves, hand painted silk scarves…

But you should visit while in the area to see the detailing on the sewn clothes: Reversible silk quilted jackets, trimmed with bias silk tape, with the most perfect tubing made out of silk for buttons, those knotted buttons, perfect bound pockets. I wanted to touch and feel everything in that store. Just amazing! I was ashamed to walk in there in my basic Target store bought attire.. 😦

The jewelry tells a whole other story: silver earring and precious stones in the most special settings. Roughed rings with moving parts, everything is really hand picked and the whole experience is amazing.

I found a pretty yellow piece of cotton fabric, paid a fortune for it, she said it is hand painted, but I do not believe it is.

It will become a dress.

Then, the packaging is another story, no plastic, all hand made paper, hand stamped, just gorgeous.

Next coat

July 22, 2010

I really like how the BurdaStyle book coat ended up. It has a somewhat military trench coat feel.

It was finished last Friday and I’ll get another chance to see it again on Monday before it is off for 18 months at BurdaStyle.

I don’t think I’m allowed to post pictures of the finished product or the sketches, so you will have to wait for the Book and it is a long wait till fall 2011. I totally think it will be worth the wait. Designers working on these projects are from 15 different countries and I’m sure every creation will be very unique. Plus the book will give everyone the opportunity to alter the patterns and recreate the designs.

I have learned/remembered a lot about sewing coats. Next time I will do all the couture touches, like in the Vogue book and next coats will be a little bit more feminine.

Armani put out an extraordinary wearable collection for fall 2010, and a lot of the colors are muted beige and creamy colors, but the cut is everything.

The latest Vogue Magazine has a page describing Beige as not being so boring when paired up with leopard print or bold colors like Red, Green or Purple (not all at once).

Who else is sewing for the book?






Angela Atkin:





Julietta :












Did I miss someone? I’d like to hear who else is sewing for the book.

My Coat

July 16, 2010

Is sewn!

All I need is to add snaps and sew on the belt loops.

I realized last night that the snap fastener I have does not match the snaps I got, so this means another trip to the store.

I also need some buttonhole thread for the belt loops, I do not have the right color.

I also want to get some trim for the belt, at least where the loops were sewn in place, to cover the seam. With the visible seam it looks very amateurish.

I’ll take some pictures of it tonight.

Flickr Group for BurdaStyle Book Projects

July 15, 2010

For the progress, fabrics, notions, disscussions, etc…

Please join if you’d like.

More sewing

July 15, 2010

I have made a lot of progress yesterday on the coat, or today, cause I did stay till after 1AM.

Note to self: stop sewing so late and in a hurry… I caught my finger in the sewing machine!

I love my Brother sewing machine, but it has a defect by design. I would call that a bug, others would say it is a feature. It is programmed to stop with the needle always in a preset position: either up or down. So, no matter if I take my foot of the power pedal, the machine has a mind of its own and takes one more step, to bring that needle in the preset position. After years and years of sewing on normal machines, I still can’t get over this issue. So late, last night as I was attaching the sleeve with the lining, in a tight circle, and by machine, with the rest of the coat on my left side, creeping into the seam, as I was trying to pull out the unwanted fabric from underneath the teeth of my Brother, bang! My finger gets caught by the screw on the right side of the needle, lifted up and pressed under the machine body. Believe me, there is no room for a finger up there… It is not that bad, just a scratch and feels like someone closed the door on it. Now I know how powerful my Brother is. Funny how they designed it with all the sensors that notify you that you are running out of thread and you forgot to move something, pull a level or lower presser foot…but it doesn’t stop when a finger gets stuck. I also noticed something even more scarier about it, I hope I never get to experience that “first finger”. When you go over some very thick fabric it cannot penetrate, it tries again and again, very rapidly punching the needle downwards…what if that is was finger???? Then either the needle breaks or it stop saying some silly error message, like the protection mechanism kicked in…right.

Wish I did a muslin first.

Note to self: lengthen the bodice! you have a long torso. The pattern is designed for a 168cm high woman, I’m 171, so I figured the difference is no that big, it should work. But my torso is toooo long: now the waist line is uncomfortably high. It does not look bad, just feels weird tying a belt around my ribs.

Note to self: Leave a lot more hem allowance on the sleeves! Lot: like 15 cm more. When I added the shoulders, the sleeves got shorted with the thickness of the shoulder…Lucky my design called for cuffs, lucky I made them big.

All this agony for putting the cuffs on the sleeves, the sleeve header and shoulders, the lining with the piping…now all is left is the hem, finishing the front sides and snaps!

It looks pretty good, but I don’t know how to finish the hem line and the front sides in the center. Normally I either do a topstitch or just iron it, but this time it seems that ironing will not work, since it doesn’t lay with a smooth edge. Since the corners are round, how far do I topstitch? Could I go all the way around to the back vent? or just down till the curved edge? Any clues?


Oh, and here are the links I studies yesterday to help with the process:

Have a look at Tany’s lining next to back facing and hem facing and lining.

Nameless tutorial 2 shows how the hem facing is done:

All about sleeve-heads:

Now here I’m not sure I did it right, because the sleeves are so puffy. Another Note to self: no more puffy sleeve heads! I don’t like them and I find them hard to sew.

All about shoulder pads:

After all, I ended up buying mine, time is of the essence.

Tonight I will try to put a snap in.


July 14, 2010

The month of July was supposed to be reserved for the BurdaStyle Book sewing project.

I downloaded the pattern on July 1st and received the fabric by that day, so I was ready to go…

Go camping that is, to wonderful Rainbow Springs, FL, on the 4th of July weekend.

I wish I did have a month for sewing only…yeah…who does?


I was caught between the camping trip, planning a B-day party,

days of overcoming the after-party effects and a trip to San Francisco starting Saturday.

Time & Progress

All I have left for completing the BurdaStyle Book project, are 3 more nights and that includes doing laundry and packing for the trip. I probably lost a few pounds since I didn’t have time to cook and I might even be dehydrated…

I did come a long way though, loosing a few hours of sleep over it last night, but it is starting to look like something put together finally.

I finished the assembly of the lining, top and bottom front and back pieces, with pockets and the collar is done, all I need is sleeves with cuffs, some topstitching, putting all together, adding snaps, labels. So I can probably finish it in time. You guessed it, it is a coat! A trench and I really needed one. I know I’m in Florida, but I travel and it gets very cold for about 2 days here during winter… I tried to keep it as light as possible, so it will work great! I haven’t sewn a coat in a looong time, but I used to sew everything from camel hair long pile wool to fake fur and ski suits… I do miss the seasons, I can’t stress that enough.

Fabrics and notions for the BurdaStyle Book project

The fabric I received is from Britex Fabrics (I think it is this link). It is a wonderful suede like fabric, kind of khaki, olive green, it changes color with the light. I hope after all my pressing of the seams it will not show, I should have used a towel so that the pile doesn’t go flat looking shiny in pressed spots…oh well I think it is ok, meaning not that bad.

I managed to find a dark green silk dupioni for the lining on sale at the local craft store, so I bought lots of it, enough that I can probably even make a dress out of. It was narrow so I got twice all the added length of the body, length and arms.

For closures I will use snaps, since it is a time saver, hopefully they will work well through this thick fabric. Although given enough time, I would have done those triangular bound buttonholes with leather buttons…oh well, snaps will make it look more modern or maybe military.

Given more time, I would have added leather like piping all around the detailed seams, without the time, I just did some topstitching with regular thread…

I spent more then one hour at the local craft store yesterday looking for snaps, belt rings, piping, a little chain for the hanger.

It was really slow in the store, only 2 assistants, each busy, long lines, so I got the snaps, belt rings and decided to make my own piping, since none in the store would have worked.


I found some orange strips of silk dupioni and some thicker shoe lace kind of yarn, in my extensive stash of stuff.

I wrapped the ribbon around the yarn and starting sewing, using the zipper machine feet, as close the the yarn as possible. Using the zig zag sheers I cut the allowance to about 1.5 cm, that will go into the sewn seam between the fabrics.

The piping I will use only between the facings and the lining. Since everything is so khaki and dark green, a little orange detail will brighten it, even if it only shows when I take off the coat. I might even think that the inside so far is nicer, since it has more details, but simple is elegant, so I’ll just have to wait to see the whole thing done. Soon…! Soon!

BurdaStyle Book

July 1, 2010

Something nice to look forward to from BurdaStyle (click on the image for more details):

THE BOOK will be out in fall 2011, and I will have busy month of July sewing a project for this book.

I have received the fabric and pattern, and I promise I’ll blog about it if I’m allowed.

The creation will stay with BurdaStyle for a while to be photographed and worn by models.

Wish me luck!

Oh, and I’m not out of practice with sewing, I have been sewing, I just have to catch up on my blogging.

I guess it is better this way, sew more – less talk.