December 31, 2010

There's No Place Like (a) Home!

DC Threads has a permanent home! Two years and two hundred sewists later DC Threads finally has a pillow upon which to rest its head! Allison (a sweet friend and co-founder of DC Threads) has opened a sewing studio in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of DC that can accomodate our DC Threads programming! So, starting next weekend Bits of Thread Sewing Studio will be the new home to DC Threads! Look for lots more chic sewing opportunities!


October 18, 2010

Bits of Sewing Here and There

This Fall has been REALLY busy - lots of activity at my day job but not so much in the sewing studio! I'm happy to report that I am co-authoring a book chapter for work (very exciting) but not so happy to report that the task has been way more stressful and time consuming than I had planned! That said, the deadline for the editor is November 1st so I am already planning my celebratory trip to NYC! In the meantime, I wanted to share with you a dress that I made in September. I crafted it from a cut of hearty Italian cotton that I have had in my stash for years! The motif is HUGE and the repeat is even longer so I perseverated over the design for years. And as you can see I just went for plain SIMPLE! How about those strategically placed bodice motifs! Can you tell that I was getting a little bored??? Oh well, a girl needs SOMETHING to fill out the upper half of her garment - why not use an optical illusion!!!!! Not sure how much I will wear it but I finally cut the fabric!! Hope to get back to the sewing machine soon!



September 26, 2010

Sew Local, Know Local!

Thanks Betz White!!!!!
For your compelling philosophy of thoughtful and environmentally-sensitive creativity and for your willingness to share locally!

Yesterday Betz White shared with a small group of metro DC ASG sewists her approach to sewing, her concern for, and interest in, the green sewing/crafting movement, gave us a look at her fabulous line of felted and green clothing and crafts, and provided us a glimpse onto the set of the Martha Stewart Living Show!

Take few minutes and check out her amazing talent - it will be time well-spent! Click here to view: Sew Beautifully; Tread Lightly.

Betz is the author of two books---
(from Amazon: Warm Fuzzies is filled with techniques, tips and patterns for creating over 30 cute and colorful felted items made from cast-away sweaters, including cozy pillows and throws as well as comfortable hats, scarves, pincushions and handbags)

(From Amazon: By its nature, do-it-yourself sewing is environmentally friendly. In Sewing Green, Betz White takes stitching to an even higher level of sustainability, presenting 25 projects made from "repurposed" thrift-store and back-of-the-closet finds and organic fabrics.)

These books are both terrific - I read Sewing Green last night (before I give it to Ava - sorry girlfriend but I couldn't resist!).
It is a great book for beginning and seasoned sewists - lots of ideas!

Here are a few photos of our time with Betz. She brought along every project described in the books ! They are as beautiful in person as they are photographed in the books!

I'm hoping that our DC Threads Sewing Lounge crew will have the chance to meet her in the near future.

The "Hot Doggie" felted sweater

Warm Fuzzie Confections!

Green Sewing Creations

Thanks again Betz!!!


September 12, 2010

Sewing Accomplished!

Not certain where or when my sewing inertia was overcome but I have been productive lately!

I need new DRESSES for work! I'm tired of getting up at "o'dark:30" and trying to find, iron and don multiple garments in an effort to look presentable (if not fab!). So dresses are my new best friend.

Now I do love a good DVF-inspired wrap dress - so I reached into my stash and pulled out a piece of Mood-divinely-soft-geometric-cotton-knit and Butterick 4976....

and here's the finished garment. The only change I made to the pattern was to NOT attach the self-belt so I would have more belting options.

....with the self-belt

....and then with a black patent belt (I love me my patent).

The only other alteration was to add a little elastic trim to the inside of each bodice piece to keep the front from "gapping" - it seems to have worked!

I've been working on a couple of more garments so I will post my progress soon!

Live! That's the message! Live!

I hope Ann S won't mind that I share her words of wisdom with my tiny blogsphere but I just think that she is spot on.
Click her for her words of wisdom: Gorgeous Things

September 3, 2010

Radio Silence

Facebook has eaten my sewing blog!

July 11, 2010

Lots of ideas and some sewing progress!

Nothing too much to show for my sewing labors but I have several projects on the ironing board so I hope for some completed garments soon! In the meantime, I have a couple of projects incubating and I need your collective creative souls to send me some guidance!

The Textile Museum is hosting another FAB-U-LOUS "PM @ the TM" garden cocktail party in August. All are encouraged to don their finest Mad Men garments! I have loads of ideas - here are a couple....

I'm think of crafting this Michael Kors sheath pattern from a sleek late 50's - early 60's fabric.
Any ideas about sources of vintage (or vintage-era) fabric??

And I soooooo want to re-create this - a vintage Hermes Trompe-l'oeil dress.

One rub.....I have no experience with painting on fabric. What fabric should I use for the dress? Any advice on the type of paint I should use? Any artists out there who would like to collaborate on this project??



June 9, 2010

Ava Rocks Strasburg's Debut

Ava, protege extraordinaire, rocked He-Is-God Strasburg's MLB debut with this rocking Nats skirt - handcrafted by Ava in my studio! I think it ranks high enough to be Strasburg's 15th K. And CDR looks FAB as well!


June 6, 2010

Special K - Special Day

I've been crisis sewing the past week and a half. Kristen, my good friend and drumming mentor, and Kweku, her love and soulmate, got married on Saturday after a whirlwind courtship! Kristen asked me to help make her wedding dress about 2 weeks ago - and, oh yea, she said: "Do you think you could also make something for my mom and dad to wear to the ceremony? That won't take too long, will it?" Oh........well...........!

So somehow between a my "real job", a trip to Eagles Mere for a family reunion, and myriad other of life's obligations (in those 2 weeks) - I finished the top to her wedding garment, a tunic for her dad and a dress for her mom.

Kweku's sister gave to Kristen a wedding skirt and top made from exquisite Ghanian fabric. The skirt fit her like a kid glove. But the top of the garment, shall we say, did not! I so wish we had taken a photo of the original top as it was quite remarkable in its design and construction. So I draped a new top for her (thanks to Susan Khalje's course) and after three fittings in so many days - here is the finished product! The fabric is a fine cotton batik with gold wax is just amazingly beautiful.

And here is Kristen, her mom - Patrice, her dad - Dwight, and her sister - Erin.
Her dad's tunic is made from Ghanian fabric that Kweku and Kristen brought to me from Ghana. I used Simplicity 3704 for his tunic - what a treat to make a garment for her dad to wear at her wedding.
Her mom's dress (doesn't she look like an African Audrey Hepburn?) also is an African batik but purchased here in DC. I literally threw her garment together the night before the wedding. I only had her measurements and no luxury of fitting - so I draped the dress on my new best friend, Roxy - my dress form - and much to my surprise the dress fit her as if I knew what I was doing - phew!

And, of course, I needed something to wear - so, 2 hours before the wedding, I picked out a lovely piece of fabric that Kweku brought to me and voile! All you need is a rectangle of fabulous fabric, a little elastic, and one seam! ! (P.S. - Isn't his smile to DIE for!!!)

And some images from the ceremony!
The parents of the bride and groom must tie a knot in the middle of a length of Kente clothe and then the bride and groom tie a knot on top of the parents' knot.

The entire wedding party is wrapped in a ginormous piece of Kente cloth and the priest pronounces the bride and groom married while all are enveloped in the fabric!

Beautiful people. Beautiful day.................

April 30, 2010

Keeping the memory of loved ones close....

Tracy Grant, a Washington Post writer and editor, penned this lovely article, "Cleaning Out a Shared Closet After a Spouse's Death Is Not Mere Housekeeping", about finally confronting and dealing with her deceased husband's clothes. It's a wonderful piece that deals, simultaneously, with house-keeping and soul-keeping. I wrote to Tracy and thanked her for sharing her experience and offered her a suggestion about how to re-purpose those flannel shirts that she thought would never be used again:
Make pillows.
To hug.
In bed.
To remember.

Betz White, Stitch Beautifully; Tread Lightly, offers some great hints about how to re-purpose beloved sweaters, shirts, and jackets into pillows.

Thanks Tracy. Thanks Betz.


April 25, 2010

Can One Live on Buldoc and Muslin Alone???

Okay, stop whatever it is that you are doing and IMMEDIATELY register for Susan Khalje's Draping Class with Julien Cristofoli. As always, Susan has a true gift for getting these sorts of opportunities just right for the audience, content, time and space. As someone who has a finite amount of time and resources it is very reassuring to know that her classes will be worth every moment and penny. Twelve sewists from all corners of the US gathered in Baltimore and spent four days learning the art of moulage. About half of the group owned, or were planning to start, their own design/sewing enterprise and the other half were there to better their skills for personal sewing (I am in the latter basket). Julien is an UBER skilled teacher and incredible designer - he pushed every design limit I had last week - what a pleasure! Enjoy the photos of our time together...