The handy creative folks at “How to Love Your Home” made this awesome video tutorial on making classic Roman shades without using a sewing machine. Roman shades are a simple, fabric-friendly way to dress up a window; we love using linen for Roman shades for a tailored and natural look. We adore this combination of periwinkle linen and bittersweet brown grosgrain trim – so restful and lush!
Category Archive: Sewing
When I saw the thick, bold charcoal and oatmeal colored stripes on this textured linen blend, I immediately thought of playing with contrasting stripes and creating a strong, structured silhouette for a high-fashion fall look. In this blog post, I’ll walk you through how to update an existing pattern and share some helpful design and patternmaking tips along the way.
It seems like tissue knits are everywhere lately, and with good reason, they’re amazing for summer layering. They make a nice light layer for cool evenings or, if you’re in Chicago like I am, all these cool days we’re having lately. Tissue knits can be a bit intimidating, they’re so thin, wispy, and roll like crazy, so I’m here to show you how I work with them.
I was lucky enough to be able to make two tees in this amazing Japanese tissue knit, the first I went with these classic tomato and cream stripes and in the second I did a bit of color-blocking with this amazing neon yellow and charcoal grey. These knits are so light and airy, I couldn’t believe it. Serious dream town. In this tutorial I’m using my Hemlock Tee pattern which I created just for these tissue knits. You can download the pattern for free here at Grainline Studios.
Hello fellow sewing enthusiasts! I’m Laura Mae from Lilacs & Lace. It will probably come as no surprise that I am a huge fan of vintage patterns. I adore reproductions, which are generally a little more forgiving because of the added markings and updated instructions, free of damage and strange smells. But there is something wonderful about working with a vintage pattern that is decades old. Some have written notes or postmarks, and even contain newspaper clippings, or facing pieces cut from newsprint. I love to imagine what the original purchaser had in mind when she picked out her pattern!
I chose a beautiful lightweight navy wool for this mail order pattern from the late 1940s. A classic fabric for a classic silhouette!
If the idea of working with a vintage pattern intimidates you, here are a few hints. Click here to read more »
It is sullenly overcast with brief bursts of uncertain sunlight – perfect San Francisco summertime weather. I’m off to meander in North Beach. My plan and my attire are meticulously laid out; worn jeans, a white shirt, a caramel vintage cardigan, red suede desert boots, a café au lait, then a long satisfying prowl through the narrow aisles of City Lights bookstore, a Luciano Special sandwich and an Orangina from Molinari Delicatessen, a Napoleon from Stella’s, and then a languorous mid-day picnic in Washington Square Park. Later, I’ll tip my two-tone caramel and baby blue silk newsboy cap over my eyes and do a little cloud watching, interspersed with reading The Edges of Time from Kay Ryan’s book The Best of It, New and Selected Poems.
“It is at the edges
that time thins.
Time which had been
dense and viscous
as amber suspending
intentions like bees
unseizes them. A
from stacks of
put-off things or
just in back. A
racket of claims now,
as time flattens. A
glittering fan of things
competing to happen,
brilliant and urgent
as fish when seas
We have a super sewing crush on Miz. Elaine May, AKA The Selfish Seamstress. She is a fabulously quirky combination of smart aleck attitude and red hot talent! She created this pattern for a sophisticated sleeveless cowl-neck sweater in size XS-S. The pattern is a simple three pieces and designed for knits. We’d love to see it made up in this soft burnt orange sweater knit– perfect for an afternoon drooling over the lushly colored paintings at the Diebenkorn exhibit!
This dress is actually a remix of my favorite dress pattern, Made by Rae’s Washi Dress, and though as I sewed it I was calling it “Frankenwashi,” I came up with a prettier moniker now that it’s all done. Named after one of our favorite coffee shops and alluding to the rich and complex color of the fabric—I’m calling it the Ristretto Dress!
My favorite sewing challenge is to take a proven, great-fitting, well-written pattern and modify it into something new. I do it when I sew for my kids all the time, but haven’t ventured into doing it for myself too often yet.
By turns slinky….and then elegant, sometimes we just want to go crazy and cut everything on the bias! Here are directions from Fashion Service magazine (August 1931, pg. 14) for a 1930s Magic Bias Slip: “Falling into the lines of each individual figure as if by magic, this slip, ultra modern because of its bias cut, is a perfect foundation under fitted frocks. And it’s as fascinating to work out as a picture puzzle, built up, as it is, from squares and triangles of fabric.” This is brought to us by James, costumier and archivist from Dressmaking Research. He says, “Now I read meticulously for any mention of cut and construction, illustrated or not, to expand the information in my archive. Over the years I have learned a great deal from primary source materials. For example, images and information on petticoats and understructures fascinate me because I believe they are the “key” to a silhouette. The diagrams I have found pertaining to Capes, Cloaks, Mantles, and similar garments are enthralling in their ingenuity and simplicity.” We greatly admire his dedication to preserving and maintaining this fabulous educational archive for us. Hint: Make one of silk fabric for a chic yet airy summertime frock!
Jazz Age novel, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald stars the beautifully glamorous Daisy and the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby. With the recent release of the film, The Great Gatsby, we’re spending this summer dreaming of silk frocks, twilight lawn parties, dapper tuxedos, and fountains of champagne. Vintage Sewing Reference Library has a wonderful collection of sewing books online, including 1926—The New-Way Course in Fashionable Clothes-Making Correspondence course; it is lavishly illustrated and comes with complete instructions for learning the art of clothes-making. Includes 56+ lessons covering everything you could want to know about sewing in the 1920’s from basic stitches to opening your own dress shop.
I’m excited to join Britex Fabrics as a guest blogger starting this summer. As a San Francisco native, I’ve been shopping at Britex ever since middle school – even before I could sew – and I also had my West Coast book launch party there last December.
In addition to being a fashion designer, I also teach sewing, patternmaking, and draping classes in New York and beyond. I often run across students who are intimidated to sew with silk (and I don’t blame them!). In my inaugural post, I’m going to share some tips on working with silk as I walk you through the process of creating one of my dress designs – a lightweight draped cocoon dress that works great for hot New York summers, but that can also be paired with opaque tights when the temperature drops. Click here to read more »