With this project, I decided to venture into a different color palette and try out a fabric with some subtle jewel tones—brilliant blue, emerald green, and purple. I was mostly drawn to the metallic characteristics of this French floral novelty blend (I particularly love working with metallic brocades for my dress designs), but I knew this polyester, acetate, and metallic combo was going to be a challenge. I knew two things going into this. First, serging was a must. This fabric has an incredibly soft, wool-like hand to it—super luxurious feeling—but it also has a tendency to fray given its loose weave. Second, I would definitely need to line the dress for breathability, and also to keep the loose threads from snagging. Click here to read more »
Category Archive: Sewing Techniques
Our retro queen Guest Blogger Laura Mae of Lilacs & Lace has a fabulous new project in store for us. There are so many details to this gala outfit that we have decided to break down the process into many fabulous technique-rich posts. Part 1 offers tons of pattern handling tips. Part 2 is a thorough bound buttonholes walk-through. Part 3? You’ll just have to wait and see.
[Britex has generously provided the fabric and sewing supplies for a dress I will be wearing to a formal event in October. I will be sharing some of the steps and construction techniques with you as I work on this project over the next couple of months. All materials were selected in-store.]
Hello everyone! I am back with a tutorial on finishing edges with Hug Snug Rayon Seam Binding from Britex Fabrics, and will be using this rose strewn soft and sheer cotton/silk voile fabric from Britex Fabrics.
Different fabrics require different finishing techniques, but this is my absolute favorite. And best of all, it requires only a straight stitch from a basic machine! Click here to read more »
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.
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 »
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!