Sunday, October 30, 2011

No 2: The Essential Trench Coat

One of Tim Gunn’s essential looks is a classic trench. Bernina My Label to the rescue! A recent pattern release was a classic trench coat. What a project but so worth it!

The fabric came from Michael’s Fabrics. It’s a Zegna 100% cotton rainwear fabric. So luxurious… I decided I needed to put leather buttons on it and found the perfect ones at MJ Trim in New York. Finding the leather buckles were another story. The only place I could find them was at Klein’s Haberdashery in London, England. I email them the link for the buttons and asked if the buckles they had would be a match. They said they would be suitable – now that does sound British!

How they got here was really interesting. They couldn’t ship to the US but my cousin is engaged to a guy in England and he said I could send them to his house and he would bring them on his next visit. On the way back to the airport they stopped by to drop them off to me. Now that’s service!
The pattern had the front gun flaps. I also lengthened the coat as I wanted it to be full length.
I lined it with some very nice coat weight lining from Atlanta Thread. I added a back vent and the rain shield to the back.
Needless to say this turned out to be a very lengthy project! I bought some light colored fabric from Michaels for a winter version on this with a quilted lining. I think it will be a while before I do that one.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Style Icons - Lauren Hutton

Image courtesy of More Magazine

This issue came out a few years ago, I really liked this shirt, well I liked the idea of the shirt, and the perfect print. At the time I started looking for suppliers for the fabric, because I couldn't believe it was $985.... I'm an expensive girl.

I've found a number of links if you want to check out her style.

More Magazine "Role Model"

Oprah "Lauren Hutton goes Casual"

Monday, September 26, 2011

Style Icons - Carine Roitfeld

Here we go sexy edgy french women over 50! I was really happy to find some images of her not wearing black, and I love that Bohemian dress. One thing for sure, sky high heels are required for this look.

Corine Roitfeld

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fall 2011 - All Occasion Top

Bergdorf Goodman has their fall collections updated, these are some all occasion tops on offer.

All occassion top

Friday, July 15, 2011

No. 4 White Shirt Inspiration

Some of my favorite inspiration comes from Gorsuch. A number of basic pretty white shirts.

White shirt

From In Style "How to pick a great white shirt"

Here are some from 2008 from the New York Social Diary (You'll have to scroll down to see them all).

From Anne Fontaine...
Anne Fontaine white shirts

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Just a Wee Late

Okay, super late. I had a number of things distract me from participating in this sew along - from other sew alongs to indecision on what to sew. Now that I have a focus for summer-to-fall sewing, I am ready to begin. My upcoming sewing plans include many of Tim's wardrobe basics so hopefully this will go smoothly.

I actually only have nine garments to go. I made another pair of jeans in May, but I have yet to do an updated pattern review. The jeans are black and fit nicely into my wardrobe plan.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Number 1: The LBD

I don’t know what took me so long but I’ve always wanted a little black dress. It seemed kind of ridiculous that I can sew and have virtually anything I want but didn’t have one of those. Well, the Tim Gunn challenge on was just the motivation. I have the princess dress My Label pattern drafted specifically to my measurements. I used it for the day time dress but I thought it would work well for the LBD. I had some black on black striped silk fabric from Michael’s Fabrics that I had received in a bundle a while back. Those bundles are fun when offered! Any fabrics I don’t like become muslins and any I do are a great bargain. Anyone interested in this watch out on the website.

I also lined the dress in black silk charmeuse I ordered from I made the sleeves ¾ because that way it would work during either Winter or Washington’s over air conditioned Summers. There is a slit on the back. This might be the first of several black dresses. Now that I’ve made one I’m inspired to make more!

Friday, May 27, 2011

No 8. Day dress

This is the day dress I did for the Tim Gunn Sewalong on He suggests a day dress and when I got this fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics I knew that’s what it had to be! I think this fabric really has a Tommy Bahama feel to it.

It was the Bernina My Label basic dress pattern but, of course, I had to change some things. I put pockets on the front because I always wished dresses had pockets! Hey, I made it so I can do whatever I want with it! I put the slits in the front as opposed to the one in the back and added a placket neckline. I finally mastered doing plackets so now I want to use them more often!

Monday, May 23, 2011

What is a Blazer anyway?

All blazers are jackets but not all jackets are blazers.... it's beginning to sound like Algebra.

According to Wikipedia

A jacket is a type of sleeved hip- or waist-length garment for the upper torso. A jacket is generally shorter, ending just below the waist, and often lighter. Some jackets are fashionable, while others serve as protective clothing.

Blazer, similar to but more casual than a suit jacket; single- or double-breasted of sturdy material, commonly with metal buttons.

I've even read definitions that include striped cloth school or club colors.

So the search for the Blazer....
When I think of a Blazer, I think of school Thom Browne's collection for Brooks Brother's under the Black Fleece label.
Thom Browne Blazers

The versions.....

Net a porter Blazers 052011

Now to peruse my patterns for possible blazer candidates...

Blazer patterns

I'm thinking 7421 is my best bet, I'll just have to tweak the collar a little, and drop the neckline.

I had to look at what's available at the Vogue website and didn't find a lot, but I did find

McCalls 6172 - Palmer Pletsch jacket in three lengths, and that one on the right looks like a silhouette Stella McCartney has been showing in her spring collections.

McCalls 6172

Butterick 4610 - Looks like a nice pattern for a basic blazer you could do a lot with.
Butterick 4610

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

No. 10 Sweatsuit Alternative .... continued

Here are some simple (easy) patterns for summer skirts, which will also be my sweatsuit alternatives.... because casual clothes are always welcomed.

Vogue 1247 - Rachel Comey (pattern released March 2011) - cotton plaid blend - read more on my blog here.

Simplicity 2451 - View C - stretch denim - for a closer look.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

No. 4 White Shirt

This my interpretation of the white shirt. I used the Bernina My Label tailored shirt pattern and using David Coffin’s book and DVD I flat felled the seams and did the placket the way he instructed. It’s much more professional than the one that came with the pattern. The fabric came from G Street Fabric and is a white on white stripe.

I could not resist using the embroidery on my Bernina Artista 165E to do a monogram on the cuff. When I originally got that machine I didn’t realize how much I would use the embroidery but it’s great for things like this.

No. 3 Classic Dress Pants

These are my completed black pants. I used the Bernina My Label flared pants but narrowed the leg. I also omitted the back pockets as I didn’t see any reason for them. The back is much smoother this way. I used a classic fly front and belt loops. The fabric was a black on black stripe silk suiting fabric I got in a Michael’s Fabric bundle a while back.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

No. 5 - Jeans that make you look great

Vogue 1034 - Sandra Betzina... thank you.

Finished Jean back

Finished jean front

Not as the designer intended but my version has no pockets (equals no bulk), added length, and a dark wash. These will be a nice basic under hip length tops, and very comfortable.

Monday, February 21, 2011

No. 3 Classic Dress Pants

These are Vogue 8156, they are a dark dark Navy wool crepe, with a back flap welt pocket. I really like this pattern and I'll be sewing them up again very soon.


8156 front

The belt loops were eliminated giving the pants a simpler line. The cuffs were eliminated so that I could wear them with heels :).

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

No. 10 Sweatsuit Alternative... linen pants & infinity top

Here's my selection for a sweatsuit alternative.

Top - Lightweight Rayon Spandex twisty top....

Front cross

Paired with some linen pants.

Hmmm I wonder how else I can wear this top!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Any Occasion Top - Completed!

Blog post here.  Pattern review here.

I feel a bit disappointed with how this turned out, mainly because of the clear elastic being so stiff.  I hope it will soften up in the wash.  The top itself is very soft and cozy, however!

Black stash fabrics

In preparation for the black dress and black pants, I have "sourced" from my stash the following fabrics.

Tasmania stretch superfine wool

Tropical weight wool twill

Crinkle Silk Chiffon

Embroidered Silk Crepe

Silk metallic chiffon

I thought maybe it would be better to consider the fabric first, since I'm sewing from stash, then pick the style for the fabric selected. Considering how much I like black, there is very little of it in my stash, I suppose it's because, it's not as exciting as a lighter color, or because shopping online for black fabric doesn't inspire me.

Monday, February 7, 2011

In Style Magazine Tim Gunn's Must Haves

This is handy, a slide show on the IS In Style Magazine website for
Tim's must haves.

Bravo TV still has some clips of Tim Gunn's Guide to Style episodes if you're looking for inspiration.

Friday, February 4, 2011

No. 8 -Day Dress done Vogue 1220 Donna Karan

Embroidered cotton dress with self sash.... from Vogue's latest pattern releases for Spring.

What is This?

Welcome to the Tim Gunn Sew Along. A group of women dedicated to fashion who have bravely decided to create the 10 Essential pieces!!

Available on Amazon

(From Tim's book "A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style")

1. Basic Black Dress - The basic black dress has been around for a long time. It is often called the "Little Black Dress", and it's true that shorter skirts on the basic black dress, when they hit you in the right place, can be more flattering than a long black dress.

2. Trench Coat - The trench coat is one of the pieces that is both classic and currently a hot fashion item. Most any store sells this piece now. It is great for fall and you can pick it up in a wide range of lengths.

3. Classic Dress Pants - Although it doesn't say black, this is probably what you want to look for. Black is flattering on all figures and goes with everything.

4. White Shirt - The white shirt is a definite classic. But it can also come in many different styles to make it look trendy and not dated or like a man's piece of clothing. Find one that accentuates your best attributes and minimizes trouble spots. For example, if you have wide shoulders, stay away from large collars.

5. Jeans - Everyone has a pair of jeans, but does everyone have a pair of jeans that make them look great? The wider leg, low-rise jean style has been popular (and still is) but a narrower leg is coming back along with a higher waist, which eliminates the unflattering "muffin top" look.

6. Any Occasion Top - Find something you look great in that can look respectable under a jacket but bring on the fun after hours.

7. Skirt - If you need dress pants then you also need a skirt. A skirt is womanly and can be flirty or businesslike. Nowadays women do not wear many skirts or dresses, which makes a lot of them fall into a rut of dressing sloppily or like men. See number 8.

8. Day Dress - Women also are not wearing as many dresses anymore. It was certainly liberating to go from the '50s when women wore dresses every day to wearing more practical pants for gardening, exercising, and so forth. But the dress does not have to be abandoned altogether. They can be very flattering, and there is nothing wrong with "dressing up" for daytime.

9. Blazer - The blazer sounds very masculine, but when you get the right one with a proper shape it is not. Women's blazers should follow the silhouette of a woman's body and accent the hourglass curve at her waist. It is also a perfect piece to put with the skirt or dress pants, and white shirt. Or make it casual with a pair of jeans.

10. Sweat Suit Alternative - As mentioned before, women wear fewer skirts and dresses these days. But some women have taken casual to the extreme and spend days on end in sweat suits. It is possible to be casual and comfortable without looking like a slob. Find a comfortable material (that's why this doesn't say jeans again denim is not as comfortable as a nice soft cotton) that you would want to wear every day. It could be khakis, cords, a cotton dress, or much more.

Bonus: One Indulgent Trendy Item

.... and don't even ask.... We Will Make It Work!!

A list of the Sewing Fashionistas and their blogs....




Relynn Dare