For novice sewers (and really anyone!), we have rounded up some basic suggestions for sewing project success:
1. Measure yourself carefully and buy your pattern according to your measurements; pattern sizing and ready-to-wear sizing are radically different.
2. Read the pattern’s directions all the way through first, and then follow them as you construct the project.
3. Use a fresh needle for each larger project.
4. Don’t stint on thread, but buy matching, good quality thread.
5. Use fabric that you truly adore, not just because it is on sale or you kind of like it.
6. Iron your seams as you go.
Stacy and BurdaStyle have several suggestions for sewing machine maintenance, including change your needles often, clean and dust your machine after each project, oil your machine as recommended by your manual, and tighten loose screws. We have found that by following these simple hints, many machine issues are resolved.
This short cape by the talented team at Thunderlily would be a dashing wrap for that in-between season that takes place after winter’s last chill, but before cherry blossoms are spreading their delicate pink petals across Japanese Tea Garden. We adore the vintage look and the asymmetrical zigzag buttoned front. The open source pattern and directions are posted as a PDF on the BurdaStyle. We think this cape would glamorous be in a deep, berry pink velveteen lined in grey stripped silk. Think pink!
“Think pink! Think pink! When you shop for summer clothes.
Think pink! Think pink! If you want that quel-que chose.
Red is dead, blue is through,
Green’s obscene, brown’s taboo.
And there is not the slightest excuse for plum or puce
Think pink! Forget that Dior says black and rust.
Think pink! Who cares if the new look has no bust.
Now, I wouldn’t presume to tell a woman
What a woman oughtta think,
But tell her if she’s gotta think: think pink!
(By R. Edens)
After all the quickly sewn holiday gewgaws that I’ve been making, I feel the need for continuity…for a long project that will fill my nights and whose beauty will unfold slowly. Lilian discovered these vintage cross-stitch patterns in her aunt’s attic, and then digitized, archived, and published the collection online at Gancedo.eu. Here is Winter from the Four Seasons collection; two thoughtful birds perched together on a wire, wings tight against their chilly chests and trees barren of leaves. I’m also fond of the Months of the Year collection, with the playful couple ice skating, planting their garden, flower plucking, grape stomping and more. These are perfect projects to while away the remainder of the winter and the spring! Aida cloth is available on Britex Fabrics’ 4th floor, and needles and floss is available on our 3rd floor.
Our new favorite cross-stitch toy is MyPhotoStitch, a magical free online cross-stitch conversion tool. Just in time to prepare for February 14th, we have converted a vintage Valentine ’s Day card of three angelic cupids carrying giant pots of heart-shaped flowers into a cross-stitch pattern PDF. The possibilities are endless…..cross-stitch zombies for Halloween, your favorite tot for mother’s day, or create your own personalized family crest with a mélange of symbols (because every family is special!)
Anytime is top hat time, and here are instructions from the über talented Jenn at Instructables on how to make a leather top hat and from Katie at BurdaStyle on how to make a fabric one (part I & part II). Everyone looks more glamorously mysterious in a top hat; like someone who eats caviar and blini for lunch, cavorts in Trevi Fountain at midnight, and breaks into tap dance moves….well, at the drop of a hat! Britex carries many hat-making materials on the 3rd and 4th floors including buckram, hat pin findings, millinery wire, veiling and silk flowers.
“I just got an invitation through the mails:
“Your presence requested this evening, it’s formal
A top hat, a white tie and tails”
Nothing now could take the wind out of my sails
Because I’m invited to step out this evening
With top hat, white tie and tails
I’m puttin’ on my top hat
Tyin’ up my white tie
Brushin’ off my tails”
(By I. Berlin)
Stefan, costumière extraordinaire has documented making his progress making a corset for a friend. His instructions span several months of process of corset creation, and include extremely clear written instructions and photographs. The busk insertion section is amazingly clarifying. He uses professional corset-making supplies including busks, coutil, and spiral boning….all items that Britex now carries on the 3rd and 2nd floors! Please email M. Du Jour at Britex Fabrics if you want to buy corset-making supplies, and you will be guided to the correct department.
Linda, StitchNation, and VogueKnitting have joined forces to bring us unstoppable cuteness in the form of a pattern for a knit infant and toddler size hat and mittens. From the glowing pink ear interiors and chubby paw pads, to the practical under-the-chin button fastening, this set will keep your little bear toasty all winter!
Heidi of MyPaperCrane crafted a PDF tutorial for this groovy Harry Potter felt doll! He even has a removable robe and gigantic round spectacles….just like the real Harry Potter! All you need is felt, embroidery floss, and a needle, stuffing, a couple of pipe cleaners, fabric glue, a stick, and pins. She made it using a sewing machine, but it would also be easy to hand-sew. This is a great toy for Potter fans of all ages.
Jessica from HowAboutOrange posted this tutorial on how to make super-cute fabric-covered thumb-tacks. This would be a fabulous way to use up tiny scraps of fabric, and to accessorize your bulletin board. Some made up in fabric printed with tiny teapots and teacups would be delicious in the kitchen holding up a collection of vintage recipe booklets – Cakes Men Like…..yum!
Paris is swell. Designer Elsa Schiaparelli worked in collaboration with avant-garde artist Jean Cocteau in 1937 to design a jacket for that year’s Autumn collection. The jacket was embroidered with a woman caressing the waist of the wearer, and long blonde glittering locks cascading down one sleeve, with the embroidering being executed by the couture embroidery house of Lesage. This stunning garment is made of linen, gilded metallic thread embroidery, beads, and paillettes. This is in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.