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!
Category Archive: Sewing
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 »
Inspired by a Kate Spade frock, Melissa from the blog, Melissa Esplin made this easy-peasy tutorial and pattern for a pleated skirt. We love pleated skirts and this one is dramatically classic, with six pleats – three pleats in the front and three in back. Make it in this charming cotton print - strewn with softly delineated flowers on a khaki background and with a watercolor delicate feel.
When I discovered the beautiful and vintage-y modern plaid at Britex, I knew I had found the fabric for which I had been searching. I had in mind a short sleeve button-up shirt for my husband, but wanted something different than classic dress shirting. This fab plaid completely fit the bill! However, once I laid out the fabric and went to cut out my pattern, I realized I had a big challenge ahead of me. Plaid. Matching plaid is one issue; deciding in which direction the plaid should be arranged and the overall layout was the other. Should the plaid on the yoke be diagonal? If the yoke is on the straight grain, could the pockets be diagonal? What about the placket?? I was completely paralyzed by indecision for a while, but after looking at some ready-to-wear men’s tops, I opted to go for a straight-laced version with no diagonally arranged plaid pieces. Really working the 70s vibe of the fabric might look great, but I wanted to be sure my husband would actually wear the shirt!
Papa’s got a brand new bag! Aleah from the blog NoTimeToSew made this nifty messenger bag tutorial with a three panel front and an interior zipper pocket. We love the Japanese cotton linen blend that she used, but think it would be equally fabulous in wool; a little bird told us that our favorite dandy, Monsieur Du Jour, longs for this sewn in classic heathered grey wool flannel.
The world of linings and interlinings can sometimes be mysterious, and because of that, can often be an afterthought. That’s why, when our POP-UP Britex sponsor Apparel Arts ran an article explaining the differences between these unique layers, we asked if we could share it on the Britex Blog. Read on and let us know if you found it helpful!
Silk organza really is a miracle fabric, in my opinion. It is crisp, lightweight, and can perform so many different functions. First off, it makes truly beautiful garments, especially when embroidered. At the other end of the spectrum, it can make an excellent press cloth. Tear it into strips, and it can help to stabilize a zipper opening. I even substitute organza for fusible interfacing on facings. I could go on and on, but perhaps I should get back on point!