Category Archives: Couture Clothing

Happy Belated New Year to You!

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Bonjour, Fashion Lovers!

 

Happy belated New Year to each of you! I’m sorry this is coming to you late, but last month right before Christmas, I had surgery, which kind of put my life on hold for a time. However, I am on the mend and doing much better each day. I am in fact almost back to my life as normal, which feels great!

With the extra time on my hands, I have had some time to think and plan for 2017. First, though, I would like to review some of my wins from 2016. Then from there, give you my sewing goals that I will be sharing with you here throughout 2017 and much, much more coming 2017!

IMG_15232016 started as I was leaving on a 10-day vacation with my husband and some dear friends of ours. This trip gave me back my creative mojo, which we all need from time to time to reconnect with that part of us. Once back from our trip, I was back to working and teaching both sewing and yoga classes full time.

 

In late February, I was asked to redesign three vintage bridesmaid dresses. This started months of sketching some ideas, taking apart, re-beading as needed and fittings all before the July wedding. Although stressful and at times wondering what I had gotten myself into, they also assisted me in much growth. There was nothing so exciting to see the smile on the bride not only the day I delivered them but the day of her wedding as well! It was such a pleasure to make her and her husband’s day special!

During the fall of 2016, I started to clean out my own closet and then moved onto designing and sewing new clothes for myself. I have decided to continue that this year and blog about some of the techniques I used along with where I get the inspiration for the designs! I have sketched some ideas and am working on making the patterns for them. Yes, I am pulling out my pattern making skills that I learned many years ago.

Right before Christmas, I finished a few items that I still need to share with you quick before I move onto my sewing goals for 2017!

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Here is a photo of the royal blue wool jacket I started late in the Spring of 2016. However, due to the weather turning so hot rather quickly, I placed it in my studio closet to finish later. Well, “later” came about late October as life got busy with clients items. I have been enjoying wearing the jacket, but have still not sewn on the buttons and snaps to hold it closed. I simply tie the jacket and am wondering if I really do what to add them. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on it: to sew them on or not to sew them on?

IMG_2774The next one is a knit top I made using the Lark Tee by Grainline pattern. I have been wearing this a great deal through my recovery due not only is the 100% bamboo fabric so soft, but the fit is loose and comfortable. I wanted more of a scope neckline, but I do feel I gave it too much. Next time I make this pattern, I think I will be using a different neckline – maybe the boat-style neckline.

 

I also quickly copied making a pattern for lounge pants during early December. They turned out okay, but if I make them again, they will need some tweaking.

Now onto 2017!

I am so excited about this year and the great things it is going to hold for each one of us!

Even though I have designed and sewn many items from wedding gowns to women’s suits to quilts, I still feel there are techniques that I need to work on and improve. So, this year that is what I have decided to work on and share with my readers as I share my projects here:

  • Dusting off my pattern making skills. This means I will be taking my sketches and turning them into clothing to wear.
  • Work on my welt pockets and buttonholes. Even though I know how to make a welt pocket, they are not usually that nice looking.
  • Learn new techniques to copy clothing for both clients and myself. I know I have a few clothes in my wardrobe that I love and want more of them.
  • Learn new techniques to perfect my tailoring skills. Tailoring is a dying art and I would like to keep it going.

These are just a few of my goals and plans for the blog for the upcoming year of 2017! I will be sharing more of them as time goes on, so please keep checking back. I would enjoy hearing what your goals and plans are to make this a great year as well!

 

Happy Sewing!

Patricia

 

 

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Jump On The Faux Fur Trend With Me!

 

 

Who knew that faux fur vests were so big? As I began to research this, which I thought was a new trend, I discovered it was not. In fact, faux fur vests have been around as a staple in winter wardrobes for a number of years now. According to what I am hearing, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

 

Now, I remember faux fur from years ago. This is most likely why I kept looking the other way whenever there was a mention of it. I mean, I remember how fake they looked and the fur matted easily. Not exactly the best look! However, these new faux furs are softer and don’t seem to mat or feel scratchy. At this point, I guess you could say I’m getting on the bandwagon a little late in the game. Better late than never, I guess!

Calvin Klein Faux Fur Vest from Macy's

Calvin Klein Faux Fur Vest from Macy’s.

As I was looking online, I found faux fur vests for sale by some top designers. Although they are cool, I like the fact that I was able to choose my own color and type of faux fur and make it the way I wanted to for less in most cases!

Calvin Klein Faux Fur Vest from Macy's.

Calvin Klein Faux Fur Vest from Macy’s.

 

 

BCBGenerations Faux Fur Vest from Bloomingdale's.

BCBGenerations Faux Fur Vest from Bloomingdale’s.

 

 

 

There are many types of faux fur that on the market these days and they are great to work with. You see, I haven’t worked with faux fur since my children were little and even then, that was only a couple of times at most.

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Here is my finished faux fur vest that I made as a class sample. I will be teaching a faux fur vest class at JoAnn Fabrics & Crafts in Madison, Wisconsin on the 21st of November. The pattern is McCall’s 8219. It was an easy pattern to use; however, I would still suggest that you know how to sew prior to signing up for this class.

 

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I think you will find this be a fun trendy addition to your fall/winter 2016-2017 wardrobe. If you can’t make this class I mentioned above, contact me via email. I’d be happy to set up a one-on-one class to teach you how to make the vest. If you are looking for a tailor in the Madison, Wisconsin area to make a custom faux fur vest for you, contact me via email.

 

Back to the faux fur vest and the two modifications that I made to the pattern itself to make me comfortable as I wear it. One of the modifications was adding to the length at the bottom of the vest. You see, I have a long torso and like my back to be covered if I should have to bend over! I often make this adjustment when I use a purchased pattern. When I design my own pattern, I take this into consideration while measuring and drafting my patterns.

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The second modification was to make the neckline a V-neck instead of rounded. Here is a photo showing how I folded and pinned the pattern piece for the front of the vest. Once these were done, I was ready to lay out and cut each piece.

 

I’ll let you in on a little secret that helped me work with an unfamiliar fabric: It had been a while since I worked with faux fur, so I checked out a few tutorials on YouTube before cutting out and sewing it. I found it to help immensely! If you have questions about working with the fur, this is a great place to look for extra help and information.

 

When it came to sewing the faux fur, I used the needle size 14. Then I changed the needle to a size 8 for sewing the lining. The lining fabric I choose to use is called Posh, which is a polyester lining fabric from JoAnn Fabrics.

 

I really enjoyed making this faux fur vest overall – other than the mess it made in my studio! (The stray fibers and scraps only became an issue while I had other clients’ projects going at the same time. I began to use my lint roller often, but it was well worth it all.) With all that said, this was a fun way to give a little trendy look into my fall/winter wardrobe! What do you think: will you join me on this trendy bandwagon?

 

 

Happy Sewing!

Patricia

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Closet Clean Out Has Happened!

Discarded pile of clothes!

Discarded pile of clothes!

 

Yay…It’s finally done! I have cleaned out my closet.

 

I don’t know if anyone can relate to this, but it’s so easy to put off cleaning out a closet, a drawer or anywhere else that needs cleaning. Well, that is what somewhat happened in the last few weeks. Not to mention, we had Labor Day weekend in there which was also my husband & my anniversary. That was followed by a mini vacation to beautiful Door County for relaxation and cycling!

Beautiful Door County, WI

However, with all that said it’s now full steam ahead on the rebuilding of my wardrobe. I have taken some time to make a fabric stash notebook, which will go shopping with me. Knowing what you have and what you want to make or purchase will help make wise choice and not waste money with items you really are not going to wear.

 

While on our mini vacation we took one day off of cycling to shop. They have some great little boutiques to look throughout Door County. I didn’t find any pieces that really jumped off the rack at me, but I did take notice of details that are big right now as well as pieces that may work in my new wardrobe. Here is an idea that I have begun to use, we all have phones that can take photos. So, if you see a piece of clothing that you like but it’s not jumping off the rack at you take a photo of it. I find this not only helps me as I am sewing to put in a touch of designer detail, but it really helps me start to look at what my style currently is. Remember, our tastes in clothing and styles are always changing.

 

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Here is my current sewing project on the machine. It is a soft bamboo striped knit top that I will be using Grainline’s Lark pattern. I am excited to start sewing since I cut this top out before going on our vacation. Make sure to follow me on Instagram to see it as I finish it this week and start another.

 

I am also pattern testing a pair of men’s cycling leggings for another indie pattern company. I will be sharing those in the coming blog as well as with Instagram photos. Keep an eye out for those. Maybe I can even get my husband to model them for a photo!

 

Happy Sewing,

 

Patricia

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Pack Your Bags, You’re Going On A Trip With Me!

Not My Closet, But Close!

Not My Closet, But Close!

 

Yes…! It’s true you’re going on a trip with me!

 

The trip you’re going on with me is to rebuild my wardrobe. Let me give you a little background on my wardrobe: I haven’t done much with it up until about a year and a half ago. Yes, I just let it go. I guess I was so busy with other stuff in life, which I know we can all relate to. However, it has really come to my attention that it needs help and I will be sharing with each of you what I sew or purchase to build my wardrobe. While doing so, I hope to inspire each of you to take a look at your own wardrobe. I look forward to helping in any way that I can. Let’s start at square one on this process.

 

At this point of the season, I don’t know about you, but I am beginning to hate almost everything in my closet. I have only added a few pieces this season, which is due to a busy schedule and our Wisconsin summer weather being so hot. A few years ago, I did clean through my closet. At that time, I took out about 4 to 5 garbage bags of clothes that I shouldn’t have kept around this long. I loved the clean feeling and thought I would quickly replace them. That did not happen and so now, I am in dire need of rebuilding my closet – not only clothes for when I’m not working, but for my professional life as well.

 

My first step is going through my closet in the next few days again. This time, I’ll get rid of the items I thought I may wear but haven’t or the clothing that is in rough shape. Then I will decide what I will keep, I’ll ask myself questions like “what still fits well and looks great on me?” and “what do I still love and wear regularly?”

 

Then, I will be making notes, collecting photos and making sketches in my special notebook that I just picked up at Target. I will start planning out what I will need first. I really love having basic, classic styles in neutral colors. From there, I’ll add a few fun colorful items that will make my classic styles pop!

First New Item For My Wardrobe! Kimono Rayon Jacket, New Look 6438.

First New Item For My Wardrobe! Kimono Rayon Jacket, New Look 6438.

As you know, I love to design and sew clothing, so I will most likely be making a lot of my new pieces. Some items will be bought, but I can’t wait to have unique pieces in my wardrobe that I made myself. I will be doing weekly blogs about this process. For more up-to-date photos and information, please follow me over on Instagram! (There is a link in the sidebar to make it easy to find.) Additionally, you could also sign up for my newsletter that will be starting in September again.

 

I am excited to be sharing this trip with you! Let’s go on a fashion adventure!

 

Side note: I want to let you know that I have not forgotten to share the redesigned bridesmaid dresses with all of you. I just heard from the bride and groom this week that the photos should be coming very soon. I look forward to sharing them with all of you as soon as I get them!

Happy Sewing!

Patricia

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Tailoring Menu of Services and Contact Information

Business Card

Business Card

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Finding Perfectly Fitting Jeans Isn’t Hard At All! 

 

My Finished Jeans!

 

 

 

 

Have you ever finally found a perfect pair of jeans that you look and feel amazing in? Then, in a few months, you go back to the store to buy another pair only to find them sold out or no longer available? The frustration quickly sets in because you’re back to searching for yet another perfect pair.

You feel ‘Ugh, no! Not AGAIN.’

Well, I am here to let you know that you are not alone. I am hearing frustrated women from all age groups, sizes and shapes feeling the same way. In fact, I have been there so many times myself.

It is time to put a stop to this frustration. Yes, I said “STOP” the insanity of jean shopping. I just did it! My secret? I made these jeans myself using Angela Wolf’s jean pattern!

I know what you’re thinking, ‘I couldn’t do that because it’s too hard’. Well, that’s not true because they were rather easy. If you don’t sew, you may consider having someone, such as a tailor like myself, make them to perfectly fit your body.

The first step was to take all the measurements you will use to determine the size and compare them with the pattern’s finished garment measurements, which you will find on the back of the pattern booklet. There is also a note by Angela with a few suggestions for choosing the correct pattern size to ensure you have a great fitting pair of jeans when finished.

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To get the perfect fit for my new jeans, I measured a pair of my favorite store bought jeans. The jeans I chose fit me really well. (Of course, not completely perfect but close nonetheless.) I like where they hit my hips and I felt the waist could sit a bit higher in the back since “plumber’s crack” isn’t overly attractive.

I used both my own body and the store bought jeans to take measurements for determining the correct pattern size. It took a total of 15 minutes! Then, I was ready to read through the guide booklet of directions. The booklet was filled with step-by-step instructions, which would be very helpful for a beginner sewer. To be honest, with many years of sewing clothing experience under my belt, I pretty much skimmed them until I started the sewing process.

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Now, I was ready to cut out the pattern pieces. I know this all sounds like it took me hours, but I can honestly say it didn’t. If it had taken hours, my attention would have been out the door. (I love to sew, but this preparation is not usually my favorite part of getting a finished garment that I will love.)

As I got started, I needed to make a few personal decisions on how I wanted my jeans to look. I choose to use red thread for all my topstitching, but you choose the color that you like. This is where you make your garment personal to you! I totally love this part of sewing my own clothes. Very quickly after starting to sew my jeans, it wasn’t long before they took shape and the excitement set into finishing them.

Jeans back pocket

Jeans back pocket

 

 

Before waist band was attached.

Before waist band was attached.

Now that I have had the opportunity to wear my new jeans not once but a couple of times, I can say I am very happy with the finished garment! I like how they fit my curves and especially where the waist hits me.

However, with that being said, I am not so happy with the fabric I chose. When I purchased it in late December with hopes of making jeans at some point this year, I liked the feel of the fabric. Now, I feel it might have too much stretch in it for my taste. So far, they don’t seem to be stretching all that much but I wonder about after some more wears and washes if they will. My advice on choosing the denim is to think about what you like ahead of purchasing the fabric. Take time to pull on the fabric in the store. (I know everyone is different with their own tastes on how they want the fabric they wear to feel. So, this is just a suggestion!)

Side View of Jeans

Front of Jeans

 

To bring you up to date on other projects I have been working on as of late, the big one has been redesigning 1960’s vintage bridesmaid dresses. I can say they are finished with a very happy bride to be, along with happy bridesmaids. The wedding is at the end of July, which is in a week or so.  I will be sharing more information about how I went about transforming them, as well photos in the next few weeks.

As I step into this new adventure of combining my writing and designing clothing, I will be sharing a weekly update of my designs and the sewing process, along with other fashion information. So stay tuned for tips, techniques, and much more coming!

Happy Sewing!

Patricia

Business Card

Business Card

 

 

 

 

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Couture: What is it mean?

Dress Style I love.Couture means the design and manufacture of fashionable clothes to a client’s specific requirements and measurements.

Basically, it is the process of making clothing to fit your body instead your body fitting the clothes on the rack.

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This is Cool! I Could Not Wait to Share It With You.

BurdaStyle Pattern #106

BurdaStyle Pattern #106

 

I just downloaded my first pattern and then printed it out to piece together. It also comes with instructions on putting together even though it is an easy pattern in the first place. It has been so much fun getting back into sewing and learning all these new skill to pair with old skills that have been with me for years.

 

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So, here is a photo of the pattern. It is a BurdaStyle that I totally fell in love with the first time I saw it. To be honest, I looked at it a number of times before clicking the button to purchase it. It was just a little scary on one hand, yet exciting to take a step into the unknown for me. I found a YouTube to assist me in understanding how to piece it all together.

In case you have never had the experience of a downloadable pattern here is a little overview for you. This is what the stack of pieces look like when they come off the printer.

There are notches and numbers that correspond together. This will give you an idea what sides go together. One sheet you trim the paper back to the printed line while the other you leave. Line up the trim paper to the other sheet’s line and tape.

Here is part of the pieces taped together. Yes, it takes some time but it is worth it in the long run. I can see downloading more patterns from all the different pattern companies in the future. I will be starting this project soon and will share the finished blouse for all of you to see.

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I hope you found this helpful! If you have questions or comments, always feel free to leave them here. I will respond as soon as possible.

Happy Summer Sewing to all of you!

Patricia

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6 Wardrobe Essentials Every Woman Needs

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How often do you look into your closet and think to yourself, “I have thought nothing to wear,” even though your closet is overflowing with clothes? You are not alone; in fact, this is more common than you may think.

However, what if you already have these key garments in your wardrobe? Pieces of clothing like this will never let you down, and they always are available to help you create a winning outfit. Do not worry, you can still look trendy and up to date with the current styles. This also means that through the seasons you can still include your favorite colors and styles as well. Combine the basics with favorite trendy and colorful clothing and you can create stunning ensembles that you’ll love.

Speaking of the basics, here are some key essentials you need in your wardrobe. These basics will help you look and feel fabulous every day.

1. Black Classic Pumps – These pumps should be close-toed and simple with a heel of about 2 to 2 ½ inches. If the cost is a factor black pumps should be your first purchase, followed by a navy. From there invest in the fun trendy colors.

2. Simple Styled Black or Navy Cardigan– Keeping the color a solid black or navy will make it more versatile. Consider investing in a natural fiber for longer wear and easier care.

3. Black or Navy Suit – This suit should include a tailored trouser, blazer, and a skirt. Again, it is a great idea to invest a little extra money so that you’ll have a suit made with a natural fiber. This will provide you with longer wear, not to mention natural fibers are great for all seasons too. Make sure it fits your figure, and if it does not, do not hesitate to have it altered because you are worth it.

4. Tailored Fitting Jeans – Since companies are now leaning towards having a few casual dress days a year, having a tailored pair of jean can be the key to still looking professional and pulled together on those days. These jeans will help you look fantastic when you’re at your kids soccer game, family picnic or just running to the mall.

5. Tailored Fitting Chinos – These fitted trousers are another go-to garment for those casual dress days or to just go out to dinner during the weekend. Having a nice tailored pair of pants in your wardrobe will help you feel great and confident about yourself every time you put them on.

6. Trench Coat – A classic trench coat that comes in a length that goes to your knees is irreplaceable. Buying one in either black, navy or camel will keep it timeless. When purchasing a trench coat consider finding one with a removable lining since this allow you to keep it for many years.

Remember that once you have the basics you can throw in a splash of color with a blouse or knit top, for example. You can jazz up your silhouette further with a great pair of shoes and a scarf, along with having a stylish bag on your arm to pull the look together. Never underestimate how versatile each of these accessories and items of clothing can be for building wardrobe essentials.

By taking a little time and making sure, you have wardrobe essentials you will be ready for any event that comes your way. These beautiful basics can take you from the office to a happy hour, or even to a networking get together. In addition, you can head out to a nice dinner with your loved ones or friends any day of the week in wardrobe basics. So, before you purchase another garment, consider investing in the wardrobe essentials that you need. Then you can have fun combining clothing essentials with other stylish pieces and accessories for a winning wardrobe.

Written for Ladies Life Blog.

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