Month: March 2019

design & elevate

i met romulus sim, aka studio romuu, at foundation coffee house in the centre of manchester’s northern quarter, during the first week of his debut print exhibition there.

specialising in line drawings that celebrate architectural elevations, detail and geometry, all of the pieces rom has on display have been inspired by his first-hand experience of the buildings, both from a personal and architectural perspective. when i ask him to pick a favourite, he quickly hones in on manchester’s (decidedly wes anderson) midland hotel – my personal favourite too – for a very touching reason: it’s where he got married, several years ago. although the marriage may not have lasted, he’s still drawn to the edwardian baroque architecture of the hotel’s grand facade, designed in the early 1900s by charles trubshaw, full of sweeping arches, balconies and sculpted panels – it must have been an absolute joy to sketch!

having studied architecture at the university of manchester, rom now works at a architectural practice in the city by day, while spending his evenings and weekends working on his architectural draughting. he’s only recently started selling his work online, but has already received multiple orders and bespoke commissions from his growing instagram audience, which gave him the push he needed to pull together his first exhibition at foundation.

running from 4 feb – 1 mar, the exhibition features many timeless architectural icons including the arc de triomphe, eiffel tower, big ben, st. paul’s cathedral, trellick tower, andrewes house at the barbican, and the aforementioned midland hotel. all are available to purchase from the coffee house (and posted out next day), but if you can’t make it along don’t worry – all are available via rom’s website too. he’s also open to  commissions and has produced a number of bespoke cultural landmark designs for clients, as well as drawings of private homes. perfect for any architecture or minimalism geek (uh, hello!), rom’s drawings make a great gift to commemorate a special occasion, first-time meeting or your favourite spot in a cherished city.

a strong purveyor of sustainable art, all of rom’s drawings are printed on responsibly sourced, archival quality art paper, and packaged in acid-free recycled tissue and eco-friendly art tubes.

as a long-term manchester resident i thought rom would make the perfect candidate for my next secret city q&a! read on to find out his top tips for exploring the city..

rom, studio romuu

how long have you lived in greater manchester, and whereabouts are you based?

15 years and counting! i’m currently based in the lovely suburb of prestwich, but have mostly lived in the city centre during my time here.

what drew you to the city initially?

the buzz and perks of a big city like london, without the price tag, which means i don’t have to sell one of my kidneys to own a place here.

what’s your favourite thing about the city?

the grit and raw charm of the city’s industrial heritage.

best place for a morning cuppa?

oh this is hard! either foundation or ezra & gil.

favourite place for a design-fix?

this is more an art-fix but the whitworth gallery is both a stunning building to visit architecturally, and always holds amazing exhibitions and installations.

can you share an insider’s secret spot you’ve discovered in the city?

not a secret but i love the little back streets that spur off dale street which often remind of 1930s new york. i also love grub at fairfield and their plant powered sundays.

favourite way to spend a weekend in the city?

i’m quite the over-caffeinated city boy and will always love checking out a new café, bar or food venue and trying out a new cuisine (i’m quite adventurous with food so will try anything at least once). i love a pop-up event/festival, and visiting a good exhibition. when the weather is nice it’s sometimes lovely to get out of the city for walks. heaton park is great in the summer, and day out in the peaks is always brilliant!

The post design & elevate appeared first on fabric of my life | UK interior design, lifestyle & travel blog.

Finished – The so-close-to-being-ingeniously-awesome Style Arc Keely Top

I hate being cold. I also hate the vast majority of RTW nursing/breastfeeding clothes. The few that I’ve purchased are pretty ugly, badly fitting and poorly made (oh dear god the absolute craptastic quality…. gives me hives…). Sitting under a small person for a few hours a day gives one plenty of thinking time, and I got to thinking about making a warm sweater-type top that had some sneaky boob access without lifting from underneath, exposing my belly to the cold. I remember when Lisa from Paprika Patterns altered her Jasper to have invisible zips in the princess seams but I wanted something even more discreet than that.

One day I was stroking fabric down at The Cloth Shop and I saw a sample of the Style Arc Keely Knit top – a knit top with ruffles sewn into angled princess seams. Those ruffles would completely hide some boob zips! I tried on the sample to confirm I wouldn’t look utterly ridiculous and was convinced it was a cracker of an idea. The sample was a 16 – I’d normally wear a 12, but I liked the relaxed fit of the 16 on me and I figured a slightly more relaxed fit would allow more layers underneath and help me avoid an FBA. It was clearly too wide in the shoulders but fit nicely everywhere else, so that was the size I went with.

Using this tutorial from Itch to Stitch I did a narrow shoulder adjustment of 1cm. I also did my standard forward shoulder adjustment of 1cm. I increased the princess seams SA to 15mm to make the zip insertion less fiddly. The seams were stabilised with fusible knit stay tape before basting the frills to the CF pieces, overlocking each edge separately and then inserting the invisible zips. My fabric is a deep charcoal felted wool knit from Rathdowne Remnants. To make the zip insertion as stress free as possible I used bright pink tailors tacks to mark all the notches rather than snipping into seam allowances. I chose 20cm zips, centred right over the apex of my bust thinking that would be plenty of room, but sadly didn’t take into account the curve of my bust and the actual size of the openings…. more on that later….

I decided to finish the sleeves with cuffs and a hem band to continue with that sportier sweater vibe, but didn’t have enough fabric for a hem band. I got around it by overlocking the hem and turning up once to make a wide casing and threading with elastic.

And the verdict…. it’s so close to being awesome. So damn close. But the zips are just a wee bit too short to be effortlessly practical. I thought about changing them, I really did. But the fabric has turned out to be not that great (it pills like crazy) and I just couldn’t bear investing more time in what was a pretty mammoth project for me. So disappointing! I still wear it of course, and have used the zips a couple of times, but to be honest I just yank it up – the little bloke got so frustrated with me gaffing through the holes that it just wasn’t worth the hassle…. so the lesson here kids is if you want to try this at home use zips that go from the shoulder seam to well below the bust. Then you’ll be winning. (BTW I am wearing a pink top underneath in this pic…. just so you know!)

In terms of the actual pattern as you’d expect with Style Arc is beautifully drafted. The neckband went in perfectly, and those frills taper so perfectly. The only uncertainty I had was whether the top edges are to be caught in the shoulder seams or not. I ended up catching just a little of the top edge to stop them flapping about. I’m not sure I’d make this again with the frills and princess seams, but I really like the pattern as a basic crew neck slim fitting sweater, and will no doubt use it as a basic sweater block in the future.

I’ve not given up on the idea though, and have my sights firmly fixed on View B of the Hey June Halifax hoodie and those angled side seams….

Surprise Spring Sale!

Surprise Spring Sale!

Fabric Collections Now at $7.50/yd

Spring ahead to sewing with these beautiful collections, now on sale for $7.50/yd. And visit our Sale Section to sort by price for even steeper deals!

Darling Meadow Fabric Poster
Flora Folk Fabric poster Hawthorne Supply Co
Mix Tape Fabric Libs Elliot at Hawthorne Supply Co
Hakuna Matata Fabric Poster
Collage Fotor
Jubilee Fabric Poster
Dream Fabric Poster Makower Uk at Hawthorne Supply Co
Birdsong Fabric Poster Windham at Hawthorne Supply Co b
Paint Fabric Poster Andover at Hawthorne Supply CO
Over the Rainbow Fabric Poster Michael Miller at Hawthorne Supply Co
Science Fair 2 Fabric Poster
Neverland Fabric Poster
Wanderers Weekend Fabric Poster
Tahoe Flannel Fabric Robert Kaufman at Hawthorne Supply Co
Dragonheart Fabric Poster Makower UK at Hawthorne Supply Co
Out of This World Fabric Poster

Organic On Sale for $9.95/yd

Tout Petit fabric poster
Fanciful Fabric Poster Rae Hoekstra for Cloud 9 at Hawthorne Supply Co

Thank you so much for reading along with us, and for your continued support of our little shop!

Kindest regards and happy making!

Lindsay and Charlie

A double gauze top, crinkle gauze pants, and the ACC Craft Fair

Hola! I am still recovering from last weekend. My dear friend Margy came to visit for 4 days. We had a packed schedule, including a day at the ACC Craft Fair in Fort Mason with lunch at nearby Greens.

I’ve also been sewing!


Double Gauze Top

A bit dark in the early morning fog

I’ve been buying double gauze for several years now, so I have a small stash. I most recently bought a light teal, Nani Iro, double gauze fabric for my trip to Florence last June, and then I didn’t get around to sewing it.

If you aren’t familiar with double gauze, it’s quite literally two layers of cotton gauze fabric. It’s woven in such a way that the two layers are connected every half inch or so. The main advantage to being doubled is that it’s less transparent. It wrinkles, but its wrinkles aren’t like the sharp creases that you’d see in linen. Another advantage is that each layer can feature a different print – polka dots on one side and stripes on the other, for example. Double gauze works best with more fitted styles, such as button front shirts—it doesn’t drape very well. It’s cool to wear in hot weather and is very popular in Japan, where I think it was invented. I have double gauze from Japan, and double gauze from China (purchased years ago at JoAnn’s) and the Japanese gauze is higher quality.

I purchased 1.5 meters of this double gauze from Etsy. It’s called Kokka Ori-some, has a double border, and comes in several colorways. The reverse side is a plain cream color. I was surprised that I purchased only 1.5 meters, but I vaguely remember that the vendor only had that much.

I decided to use McCalls 7387, a shirt dress in several lengths. I particularly liked the large pleat at the center back that tapers to nothing at the hem. This means that the hem is cut on a straight line – perfect for my border print. I wanted to make view B, the tunic view, but this view calls for 3-1/4 yards of a 45″ fabric, and I had 1.62 yards of 41″ fabric. I would have to get creative. I made the following changes:

  • I started with a size large and did an FBA, resulting in a side bust dart.
  • I omitted the short sleeves on View B. I would have liked to use the sleeve bands on View A, but I didn’t have enough fabric, nor did I have a contrasting fabric that I liked. I just turned the raw sleeve edges twice to the inside and hand stitched.
  • I cut most of the top out on the cross grain to take advantage of the border print.
  • I omitted the bust pockets because I hate pockets on my large bust.
  • View B is designed for the back to be a few inches longer than the front. I lengthened the front so they’d be the same length.
  • I added width to the front with an FBA, but I also needed to add width to the back. (It is fairly close fitting at bust level.) I sliced the back yoke vertically where I wanted to add width and added 1″. I wanted to place the bottom of the yoke on the border, so I couldn’t fold out the width at the shoulder, because it would create a curve at the bottom of the yoke. I had to use shoulder darts. (This is fine, just not what one would normally do if one wasn’t dealing with a border print.)
  • I decided that since the pleat on the back piece was so deep, that I didn’t want to also slice that piece and add the same amount (1″) that I added to the yoke. So I just made the pleat a bit less deep (2″ less, to be precise). This worked fine.
  • The only thing I dislike about this otherwise cute pattern is the one-piece collar. I didn’t have enough fabric for the collar, but if I had I would have swapped it out for a 2-piece collar. I would have preferred a collar, but had to make do without. I finished the neckline with self bias that I pieced together.
  • I cut the four button bands along the border, so they were cross grain.
  • The pattern is designed with a hidden button placket. One of my local peeps, Rose, warned me that others found the instructions horrible for this part of the pattern. I decided I didn’t want a hidden button placket, because I really enjoy using fun buttons, but I glanced at the directions and she is right—they are awful.
  • I didn’t have enough fabric for a self lined yoke. I scrambled through my scrap piles and didn’t find much that was suitable, so I finally decided to cut the yoke lining from a silver poly organza. I cut it on the bias and used the burrito technique to install it. I quickly realized this wouldn’t work. The fabrics did not play well together, so I cut out the organza, leaving a seam allowance that I later turned under and sewed by hand. This was fine because the yoke is already a double layer, thanks to the double gauze.

The pattern sewed up very quickly—I had no issues. I used up most every bit of the fabric. I particularly like the deep pleat at CB that tapers to nothing. For that reason alone, I’d make this pattern again, but next time with a 2-pc collar and the sleeve bands . I purchased some cute buttons at Britex with two different hole patterns. I alternated between the two buttons down the button band.

I selected these buttons…
…from this purchase! (The color in this pic is more accurate.)
I liked the final top
I purchased these fun “beaded ballerina sneaker shoes” in Florence, made by Ash
Closeup of the beading
Vogue 7387

White Crinkle Gauze Pants

I decided to experiment with some wide legged pants for hot weather. To this end, I bought two pieces of crinkle gauze—white and teal—from Etsy, to make a wide legged pant. The crinkle gauze is also a double gauze. I asked my friend Georgene how they make the fabric crinkle in a 100% cotton gauze, and she told me that “the yarn in the weft (usually only the weft) is twisted/creped, so in processing it crinkles up and makes the lengthwise wrinkles that are characteristic.”

I’ve never been comfortable wearing a wide legged pant. I feel it makes me look short and dumpy, but I thought I’d give it a try. Be open minded, and all. I’m OK with a wide leg that tapers at the hem, with darts, shaping, or gathers. I figured that I’d try the full leg, and if I don’t like it, I can always gather it or add darts at the hem.

It wasn’t a huge risk plus, this fabric was pretty cheap.

I started with McCalls 7164, view B. This pattern is also suitable for a border print, by the way. Each leg, for my size (Medium), has a 27-1/2″ circumference. Yowza. My changes to the pattern were minimal:

  • I shortened each leg by 2-1/2″.
  • I omitted the pockets for this test version.
  • The rise was long for me, so I just turned down the raw edge at the top 1″, and made a casing for elastic. Easy peasy.

These pants were a very quick sew, especially as I simplified the waistband and omitted the pockets.

What do I think about them? Well, I looked in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw. These legs were too wide. But I generally hold my final opinion until I see the photos.

I tried the tunic with three silhouettes: leggings, straight legged pants, and these wide legged pants. I predicted that I would prefer the straight legged, slight cropped, pants best.

From left to right: Laura leggings (Style Arc pattern), Straight-legged stretch crepe pants (Eileen Fisher, a bit wrinkled), Crinkle gauze pants (McCalls 7164)

I was wrong.

In the photos, I think that the wide legged pants look best. I wore this outfit one of the days I was out and about with Margy. Every time I saw my reflection with those wide legs, I cringed. I really hated the look. But I accept that they look OK in person. (Margy and others certainly thought so.) But I still hate them and may contain some of that fullness with tucks.

I haven’t decided what to do with the teal crinkle gauze yet.

I had fun playing with my jewelry as I tried on different pants.

Left to right: Shell necklace purchased at least 10 years ago from Dressed to Kill, Patti Wells Peacock necklace purchased at Style 16, Lampwork glass necklace purchased on Etsy
McCalls 7164

Margy’s Visit and the ACC Craft Fair

A few pics from Margy’s visit. It was wonderful to see her!

Our first great meal…
…but not our last!
We visited the Phyllis Boutique in Palo Alto, and saw the amazing Sandra!
Margy loved Sandra as much as I do! Sandra painted these shoes, just as she painted the shoes she was wearing on my last visit
Sandra also made her own bracelets, but she has no time to make any for sale! (We tried to convince her.)
At the ACC Craft Show we ran into Mary Boalt, who made her beautiful top! A social media person from ACC asked to take our picture and then sent it to me.
My outfit, minus hat. The shibori vest was a gift and I made the reversible 6-gore skirt using my own pattern and a Britex fabric.
I wore this hat to the ACC show…
…but Margy and I each bought a new hat from artist Lauri Chambers
I also bought a felted jacket
Which features a cat shaped pocket
The back of the jacket is beautiful, and you can see the fun heels on my otherwise black boots
Before taking Margy to the airport, we enjoyed the Queen’s Tea at Lovejoy’s Tea Room. My friend and colleague, Kathy, joined us and took this pic


I did something fun!

I commissioned a fashion illustration.

Oops, I forgot to take off my work badge

This illustration was drawn by the very talented Charo Cassandra. I paid for it via Etsy, and directed her to some of my photos. She chose a pic of me wearing my self-made duster. I love her interpretation!

Charo lives and works in San Francisco, so we arranged to meet in the Embarcadero (where I work) for the hand off. She is completely lovely!

I highly recommend commissioning a fashion illustration from Charo. It makes a special memento as a gift for yourself, or have her render a drawing for a friend. She sells cards of her illustrations, and bags that she sews, too. You can contact this multi-faceted artist through her Instagram profile, or put it on your Christmas list. I loved collaborating with her!

This weekend is Outside Lands, an annual, loud, outdoor concert at Golden Gate Park that I can hear from my home miles away. It’s a perfect weekend to sew and not leave the house, but I admit that hours of “boom boom boom” gets old. Rebecca L, a blog reader, came across this street sign in Winters, CA. I LOVE IT! Thanks for the pic, Rebecca! I want to see this in person ’cause, “It’s Shams’ way or the highway!”

Have a great week!

Blogiversary and Giveaway!!!

I went to Britex for buttons, but I found one or two other things!
In fact, I found a beautiful charcoal stretch crepe—what I call a unicorn fabric because it’s so rare!


It’s my EIGHTH Blogiversary today! WOOT!

I thought that I hadn’t blogged that much in the last year, but I checked and I published 24 posts, many of them quite long. That’s more blogging than I’d realized!


Where is my focus these days? It’s in multiple places:

  • I am posting more to Instagram. It’s much easier to throw up a quick photo with a sentence or two than to spend hours: taking pics, uploading pics from the camera to the laptop, editing pics, uploading pics to the cloud, writing a blog post with tons ‘o pics and links, and cross posting to social media.

  • My work requires focus (and occasional overtime), and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. I’m often too tired in the evenings to do more than stare, glassy-eyed, at a monitor. I was happy to achieve a promotion in this year, so it paid off!

  • I am trying to get out more. Enjoy the activities that the bay area has to offer.

  • I’m reading more! I was an avid reader when young, but had gotten away from it. Most recently I’ve been enjoying the Louise Penny Inspector Gamache series.

  • I’ve been traveling! Travel is so important to me, and I had to virtually give it up while raising kids as a single mom—I couldn’t afford it. Returning to travel has been an enormous joy. This year I traveled to Munich, Paris, Florence, Milan, and NYC. I have several trips already planned for the coming year, including Japan and London.

  • I’ve started tracking my OOTD (Outfit of the Day). I’m tweaking my style, and keeping track of my OOTD (not EVERY day, but many days), is helpful while I sort things out. This is a personal journey and I’m not sharing it publicly.

  • One thing that hasn’t changed: I am so happy when I have uninterrupted time to sew! Along those lines, I have an almost-done top that I will be sharing soon. (The buttons for said top are in the Britex bag in the above pic, which also contains 30 yards of the waistband elastic I like, and 15 spools of white/cream thread. I NEVER used to sew so much white/cream.) If I hadn’t been reading last Sunday afternoon, the top would be finished!

I used to post blog statistics on my blogiversary posts. I’m not bothering with that, though I achieved over 3 million page views this year! WOAH! That first million took awhile, but going from 2 to 3 million took less than 2 years.


Susan of Smuggler’s Daughter has generously offered a giveaway in honor of my 8th Blogiversary! Leave a comment on this post and I will draw 3 names: one person will receive the 1st prize of a $50 gift certificate, and two runners up will each receive a $25 gift certificate.

I will perform the drawing next Friday (9/1), and will announce the winner here, so check back!

Susan posts new fabric every Friday, so check it out!

Thanks for your kind and generous offer, Susan!


Just a few more pics.

I was shopping at Phyllis Boutique in Palo Alto recently and had fun with fellow shopper, Silvia.
She came to lunch several days later!
Of course I must include the gorgeous Sandra! She’s wearing shoes that she painted, and just look at the giant pleated pocket on her tunic!
I enjoyed watching 80% of the eclipse from my office in the Embarcadero. Kathy, who took this pic, realized that not only can you see the Bay Bridge reflected in the window behind me…
But at the right angle, you could see the eclipse!
The aforementioned Kathy
It was a mostly overcast day but a hole burned through, allowing us to see, thank goodness!
My eldest daughter is in Thailand, having some adventures of her own! She’s always had a simpatico relationship with animals, and it shows in these pics

Have a great weekend! I hope to be back soon with a new garment to show. (If I can keep my nose out of a book.)

Trend Report: Pleats

Pleating was a top detail for Fall 2019, seen in a variety of ways on every garment imaginable. From schoolgirl silhouettes to Parisian styles, pleating can give an ensemble a whole new vibe. Pleating in a garment may seem simple, but the act of pleating fabric is quite arduous. Thankfully, Mood has a wide variety of pre-pleated fabrics, so you can design with ease! Let’s take a look at the best pleats that graced the runway this season.

Forties Pleats

The pleat really came into its own during the forties, blossoming just as Christian Dior’s “New Silhouette” made its mark. Alena Akhmadullina’s lovely beige skirt and matching sweater are paired beautifully with fur vest and belt, while Alessandra Rich allows the lovely dress with a pleated skirt to speak for itself. Burberry’s bar suit features a stunning pop of metallic trim woven throughout the skirt, and Chocheng’s soybean dress is sweet and stylish.

Alena Akhmadullina | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Alena Akhmadullina | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Alessandra Rich | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Alessandra Rich | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Burberry | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Burberry | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Chocheng | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Chocheng | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Get your pleat on with these fabrics:

Emerald Pleated Stretch Satin

Emerald Pleated Stretch Satin

Heliotrope Purple Accordion Pleated Chiffon

Heliotrope Purple Accordion Pleated Chiffon

Partial Pleats

Designers were splicing pleats with straight fabrics, layering them together to create a beautiful depth and texture. Alena Akhmadullina’s sweetheart dress features a skirt of metallic pleating, and Alice + Olivia utilizes layers of pleated fabric for a thick silhouette. Christian Cowan’s phenomenal jumpsuit exchanged leg slits for leg pleats, while Christian Dior’s denim dress is pleated in the front and smooth on the sides.

Alena Akhmadullina | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Alena Akhmadullina | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Alice + Olivia | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Alice + Olivia | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Christian Cowan | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Christian Cowan | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Christian Dior | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Christian Dior | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Get partial for pleating with these fabrics:

Woodbine Pleated Velour

Woodbine Pleated Velour

Seashell Pink Accordion Pleated Chiffon

Seashell Pink Accordion Pleated Chiffon

Peek-a-Boo Pleats

Designers were playing peek-a-boo, allowing colors to pop from behind well-placed pleats. Altuzarra showed gold and black pleats that gave a royal, art-deco vibe, while Balmain featured a pleated houndstooth cape that showed a pop of black in between the houndstooth. Celine’s chainlink print ended excellently, giving the appearance of stripes as the skirt billows out to reveal the black contrast accordion pleat and Cividini featured two-toned pleating on a casual skirt.

Altuzarra | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Altuzarra | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Balmain | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Balmain | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Celine | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Celine | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Cividini | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Cividini | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Peek on these pleats:

Italian Black Floral Pleated Lace

Italian Black Floral Pleated Lace

Ski Patrol Pleated Velour

Ski Patrol Pleated Velour

Skirt Pleats

Pleated skirts are a staple, and should be in every style guru’s wardrobe. Alexandre Vauthier shows that you can wear white whenever with a lovely all white skirt and blouse set, sans the black pussy bow, and Alice + Olivia utilize the loud prints we know and love for a pleated maxi skirt. Beaufille featured a drop waist mini skirt, the pleats starting around the upper thigh, while Christopher John Rodgers showed a print mixed pleated skirt with a classic leg slit.

Alexandre Vauthier | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Alexandre Vauthier | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Alice + Olivia | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Alice + Olivia | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Beaufille | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Beaufille | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Christopher John Rodgers | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Christopher John Rodgers | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Don’t skirt around these pleats:

Light Brown Pleated Stretch Satin

Light Brown Pleated Stretch Satin

Pacific Blue Pleated Velour

Pacific Blue Pleated Velour

Unusual Pleats

There are certain places we expect pleats. Skirts and dresses, along bodices, sometimes as a trim. But fashion is about innovation, and some designers are taking style where ever they damn well pleat. Alberta Ferretti creates an entire button-up blouse, sleeves and all, out of some expertly placed lame pleats, while Altuzarra showed a tiered dress with ruffle detailing made of pleats. Christian Siriano managed to make some stunning pants from pleated fabric, slightly slimmer than Mood’s own pleated pant! Valentino showed a stunning dress where the bodice was made of gathered pleats that are splayed out like a sunrise, made even more stunning by the marvelous Adut Akech.

Alberta Ferretti | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Alberta Ferretti | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Altuzarra | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Altuzarra | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Christian Siriano | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Christian Siriano | Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Valentino | Spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Valentino | Spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Get unusual with these pleats:

Radiant Orchid Pleated Stretch Satin

Radiant Orchid Pleated Stretch Satin

Black Accordion Pleated Chiffon

Black Accordion Pleated Chiffon

Will you be wearing pleats this season? I love Celine’s style, but Adut Akech has me convinced I need a pleated chiffon evening gown for… honestly, for wearing around the house and pretending I’m going to a fancy gala with Alessandro Michelle. Let me know what you think in the comments!

The post Trend Report: Pleats appeared first on Mood Sewciety.

Designing for Makers: Thinking About the End Product

How to Get Your Designs Featured on Products | Spoonflower Blog

How often do you think about what your designs will actually be made into or who will be using your design? If you have an idea of how makers may use your designs on products in the future, it can help you to create print and pattern offerings that will look incredible on everything from apparel to statement wallpaper (and get your name out there!) If thinking about the end use makes your creation process feel daunting, fear not! In the sixth installment of the Spoonflower Seller Handbook, we are covering tips for designing for end products and how to interact with makers.

Let’s start at the beginning: inspiration hits and you are ready to create your next best-selling surface design. You begin the initial sketches and creative exercises that will bring your ideas to life as seamless surface designs. But what’s next? How do you know if your design will actually be popular and successful in the Spoonflower Marketplace? By envisioning the products people will create with your artwork, you can more thoughtfully design prints and surface designs for different use cases.

How to Get Your Designs Featured on Products | Spoonflower Blog
Designer Jeanetta Gonzales shows how one design can look completely different on products when made in various scales.

Previewing Designs on Products

Before you swatch your design and make it for sale in your Spoonflower shop, visualize how your prints will look in real life using the product previews on our sister home décor site Roostery. These mock-ups will help you see how your design would look on a variety of home dec items. You will begin to see that items such as a duvet cover or curtains that have larger surface areas work well with larger scale designs, while smaller items like napkins and bags work well with designs that have a smaller scale. As designer Jeanetta Gonzales shares in her blog series, the scale of your design can dictate the overall look and feel of a product. Previewing your patterns on Roostery allows you to critique your designs on multiple products and make changes to ensure that your work looks the absolute best when it is for sale.

Creating Your Own Mockups

If the previews available through Roostery and aren’t enough to fulfill your personal product mockup goals, being able to create your own mock-up is a very useful tool for bringing designs to “life”! One of our favorite tutorials by illustrator Denise Anne shows you step by step instructions on how to digitally present your designs on shirt mock-ups — a great tool to envision prints on apparel. Designer julia_dreams utilizes stock photography to present her new coordinates and collections as rolls of fabric, so that her customers and fans can easily see how the designs work together visually.

Learn more about showcasing your designs with photography in article four of the Spoonflower Seller Handbook.

Networking 101

One of the greatest skills you can have as a designer on Spoonflower (after designing, of course!) is being able to connect with people who make items with your prints! If you get a notification on social media or a message on Spoonflower that a maker has used your design on a swimsuit or a pair of baby leggings, reach out to them! Introduce yourself or say hello again, thank them for using your design and ask if you can reshare the picture (providing credit to them, of course). This is a great way to build your relationship with this maker and connect with potential new clients!

Designer Crystal Walen highlights how customers are using her designs on her Instagram feed.

Pro tip: Did you know you can create an automated Thank You message that will be sent to customers when they order one of your designs? This is a great way to connect with handmade business owners who are using your designs on their products. Active on social media? We recommend including your social media handles to encourage sharing (and tagging) pictures of their final projects!

How to Get Your Designs Featured on Products | Spoonflower Blog

Many people need to be shown what is possible so that they can envision making something for themselves. For example, let’s say I make swimsuits and I like your designs. I might not make the connection to use your patterns on my own handmade swimwear unless you show me examples of your designs being used in garments elsewhere. Now that you reshared a beautiful image of a dress with your design, I can see how the scale would look on apparel, and now I can’t wait to reach out to you and see if we could work together on something amazing for my swimwear line.

How to Get Your Designs Featured on Products | Spoonflower Blog
Hawaiian Rainforest by honoluludesign

Be proactive in creating partnerships. Some of our coolest partnerships and community connection stories result from makers and Spoonflower designers joining forces and collaborating with a specific product in mind.

Designer Annie Chen (lemonni in the Marketplace) collaborated with a local furniture company to create one-of-kind pieces for the home featuring her designs on Spoonflower fabric. After meeting the company in person, Annie took a leap of faith and sent them an email with the idea to collaborate. Remember, the worst thing someone can say is: “No, thanks!”

Last year, Indiesew founder Allie Olson and designer Dan Lehman joined forces to create a show-stopping collection of fabric (learn more about the collaboration here). Both based in Colorado, the two met through mutual friends and after some small talk, some big talk, and lots of hard work, they produced an amazing collection of printed fabric for sewing apparel based on designs Dan created and sold in his Spoonflower shop.

How to Get Your Designs Featured on Products | Spoonflower Blog
Allie Olson preps samples for the Indiesew x Dan Lehman collection launch.

Another example of a fabulous partnership is this incredible room revamp that Jewel Marlowe presented in the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge. The interior blogger collaborated with designer Ashley Peterson to create a cohesive design collection called The Bold and the Beautiful, which was then used to transform Jewel’s space.

How to Get Your Designs Featured on Products | Spoonflower Blog
Combined with the sheen of Celosia Velvet™, Ashley’s designs took on a whole new level of elegance in Jewel’s home.

The strength of your community, your connections, and your possibilities is only limited by how far you’re willing to reach. By thinking about how your patterns will become products and networking with the community, you can take your designs to the next level!

A Shacket for Shams


Linen Shacket

I recently attended a gathering where two sewists had made Katherine Tilton’s Shacket, Butterick 6491. Some of you know Ann Smith, one of the sewists, and her shacket was great! I had the pattern in my stash, but seeing hers moved it waaaay up in the queue.

Katherine Tilton’s Shacket, Butterick 6491
It looks great, right?!

My version is more shirt than jacket. I used a beautiful printed linen purchased from Emma One Sock. The only difference between view A and view B is the pattern layout. View B is designed for border prints, so requires more fabric. I made a size large (16-18), which is typical for me. I added an FBA, which gave me a bit more needed width. View A calls for 3-1/2 yards of 45″ fabric, or 3 yards of 60″. I had 2-1/2 yards of 52″ fabric.

Why do I keep doing this to myself? I managed to squeeze mine out of the yardage I had with only small scraps left over. Here are my changes to the pattern:

  • Shortened the 3-pc sleeve by 1″.
  • Cut some parts of the shacket on the cross grain to make the layout work with less fabric.
  • Performed a vertical only FBA. (In other words, I added no length to the front, I removed it.)
  • Performs a forward shoulder adjustment.
  • Performed a 3/8″ rounded back adjustment. (My first!!! Oh, the glories of aging.)

I purchased the unique buttons at Britex, on sale for $1 each!

OK, it’s done. I can wear it, but I’m not sure that I like it on me. Notice how unbalanced the hem is? I made the pattern as designed, and it’s nowhere near that wonky on Ann or anyone else who has made it. I assume that, because my hips are so narrow, they don’t hold the hem up as designed. I should have fixed it, but I didn’t notice the extreme wonky-ness until I took the pics. I’m not sure I like it well enough to fix the hem.

I decided to experiment, once again, with the width of my pants legs. The next pic shows the shacket with my chiffon/challis pants and was actually the first pic I took. I’m wearing the pants backwards, just for the photo—so you only see challis and no chiffon. I also wore heavier jewelry in this pic. When I saw the resulting image, I decided it might work better with a narrower pant and lighter jewelry.

So… I don’t know! I love the collar, I love the linen fabric, the sleeves are good…

I’ll wear it a few times and see if it grows on me.

Butterick 6491

Artistry in Fashion 2017

See that necklace in the lower left? Scroll down to see me wearing it. 🙂

This year Artistry in Fashion (or AIF, as we call it), is on Saturday, September 23rd and the guest speaker is Sandra Betzina. If you are anywhere near Redwood City, CA that day, you should come!!!

Bakelite Party and Other Stuff

I must say that Instagram has opened up a whole new world for me. I’ve been able to speak directly with designers and fashionistas that I admire. I’ve commissioned wearable art and jewelry, and I learned about Bakelite parties that happen 10 minutes from my house!

I attended a Bakelite party a week ago. I learned so much from some serious collectors and met some really nice, really passionate people!

I also came away with some fabulous bracelets. 🙂

Some of the bracelets for sale, organized by color
I took pics of what some of the other shoppers were purchasing (or at least trying on)
This shopper was visiting from Australia!
I purchased the 3 bracelets closest to my hand. I already owned the ribbed black bracelet, which is Lucite, not Bakelite.
The best thing that I learned?!
One husband watched me struggle getting bracelets on and off my wrist, over my giant knuckles. My hands were becoming more scraped and more sore. He asked why I wasn’t using a plastic bag. What?!?! Why?!?! Because I had never heard of that trick! Another husband gave me one of his scented bags for picking up dog poop.
OMG, it worked like a charm!!!

We’re having a spate of hot weather here. It was 97° F in San Francisco today, which is most unusual! It gave me an excuse to wear my Eccentric Designs necklace, made from old eyeglasses. (I prefer wearing it on days that I don’t wear an overcoat.) I purchased this piece from Winnie (of Eccentric Designs) at Artistry in Fashion two years ago. Winnie will be there again this year! Just sayin’. 🙂
You can’t really see in the pic above, but I’m also wearing these caged earrings, also purchased from Winnie!
I had put these shoes away, thinking I wouldn’t wear them again until next spring, but I retrieved them today! I enjoyed this view while talking on the phone to DD1, who returned from Thailand last night.
Ciao, Thailand! Until next time!

This is a 3-day weekend in the U.S. Stay cool, and stay safe, wherever you may be! (I’m thinking of the folks in the flood zones, and am grateful that my work matches charitable donations.)

A Furrific Winter Wreath

I am not good about decorating for the holidays. I love the idea of it, but when I think about how temporary it all is, and how I will drag my behind when it comes to taking everything back down and putting it away, I am filled with dread. So I’ve been wracking my brain for a wreath idea that will have a winter theme rather than a Christmas one, so I can leave it up longer. And then a few days ago, while scanning the shelves of my sewing room, I found myself gazing at my little collection of faux fur scraps. It seems like almost any time I work with fur, I end up with a big chunk left over, and because it’s costly, I ALWAYS keep it. Well, now it’s time to put that fur to work! All I needed for this project was a piece a little smaller than 40 x 7 inches.

Here’s how my wreath came to be:

First, I used an inexpensive steak knife to saw through the foam wreath form.

Once I had cut through the whole thing, the opening popped apart a little, which is perfect for sliding the fur on.

2-fur-wreath.jpgNext, I measured around the thickness of the wreath.

3-fur-wreath.jpgAnd then I measured the circumference of the entire wreath circle.

4-fur-wreath.jpgMy wreath was about 5 5/8 inches thick and 37 1/2 inches around, so I measured out a 6 1/4 by 40 inch rectangle on my fur, marking it with a permanent marker on the wrong side of the fabric.

5-fur-wreath.jpgTo cut faux fur, it’s best to cut from the wrong side, sliding the blade of your scissors underneath the nap of the fur. This will help prevent fuzzy bits of fluff from flying all over your work area, and will retain almost all of your fur.

6-fur-wreath.jpgHere you can see how carefully cutting from the wrong side preserves your faux fur fabric — there aren’t very many stray bits of fur at all.

Next, I sewed my rectangle into a long tube, tucking the fur into the seam as I went.

8-fur-wreath.jpgOnce my tube was stitched, I turned it right side out. It looked like a very glamorous snake at this point.

9-fur-wreath.jpgTo get my tube of fur onto the wreath form, I slid it onto one of the cut ends of the circle, and worked it onto the form, sliding a little on at a time and working the bulk of it around the circle.

10-fur-wreath.jpgWhen my circle was covered, I had a few extra inches of fur, which I cut off, tucking the edges in.

11-fur-wreath.jpgI used a quick slip stitch to join the cut ends of my fur and close the circle up.

To dress things up, I tied a satin ribbon around a piece of black tulle and made a bow, then pinned it onto my wreath. Voila! A piece of decor I can leave up well into February without looking like I’m just lazy (even though I am)!

13-fur-wreath.jpgOf course, this wreath can’t live outside for very long on our uncovered porch, so I moved it indoors, where I will enjoy it all winter long.

I love that this is an easy, quick projects — perfect for the holiday decor remedial like me!

Park Life: on John Claudius Loudon, the father of the modern park

Arboretum et fruticetum Britannicum: an engraving from one of Loudon’s books. Image: Wikimedia Commons/public domain.

Where did parks begin? Where was the first park? Who created it?

These questions aren’t actually as unanswerable as they might first appear. If you’re talking about purpose-built public parks as opposed to private gardens or common land, there’s an at least plausible answer in Derby, which at the very least is home to what might be the oldest extant example in Britain.

The Arboretum was created in 1840 by Joseph Strutt, a public-minded (ish) industrialist. His intricately landscaped park was designed to give the workers (e.g. the ones in his own cotton mills) somewhere for recreation and exercise on the two half-days off he generously gave them.

Loudon. Image: Royal Horticultural Society/Wikimedia Commons.

Strutt may have paid for it, but the real credit should perhaps go to its designer, John Claudius Loudon: he even provided the name, having been the first person to apply the word arboretum to curated botanical gardens. You thought you were having fun in a park: Loudon was trying to trick you into learning about trees.

Loudon is a now slightly obscure figure, having been eclipsed by those he influenced. A pseudo-self-made Scot (his father was a farmer who was at least successful enough to ensure his kid got an education), by the time he was 30 he’d made a fortune introducing new farming and gardening methods to southern England.

At this point, not dissuaded by – for example – the Napoleonic Wars, he sent himself on a Grand Tour of Europe. This was to, in his own words, cast off “confining coil of insular thought”, but he was especially seeking to increase his botanical knowledge. Along the way he picked up a strain of social liberalism, particularly focussed on the importance of public, ideally green, spaces.

Practical efforts in this area were hindered by discovering on his return from Europe that a dodgy investment meant he was broke, and later through health problems that highly excellent 19th-century medicine eventually attempted to cure by cutting off one of his arms. But he wrote extensively, contributing to the Encyclopedia Britannica and publishing Encyclopedias, magazines and various other works of his own, primarily on the subject of landscape gardening, but also tackling the design of everything from pubs to cemeteries.

The preservation and development of green space within the city was something Loudon thought about throughout his life. In fact, his first published writing was a letter about the importance of public squares in London as “breathing zones”.

One of his most intriguing ideas in this arena was sadly never developed, or at least never documented, beyond an initial thought: a proposal to surround London with a ‘promenade’, a circular route around the city that would link, to his mind, its most important features. It would run from Hyde Park, south over Vauxhall Bridge to the (now vanished) Vauxhall Gardens, then through south London to Greenwich Park. At that point, Loudon got really ambitious, with a proposed Thames crossing consisting of an iron bridge big enough for ships to sail under. On the other side the route would run in some unspecified way to meet what’s now the City Road, run up to Marylebone and back down to Hyde Park.

This proposal, which he charmingly noted would be inexpensive “with the exception of the bridge” (no, really?), would provide a day’s tour (presumably horse-propelled if you actually wanted enough time to stop and see anything) of the most interesting gardens, scenery and objects close to London. He was clearly on to something: not only the importance of urban green spaces in themselves, but the fact that within a city they could act almost in concert. Today London has several orbital walking routes which link its parks – although massive garden-based bridges, not so much.

Loudon’s green belt plan. Image:

In 1829 “Hints on Breathing Places for the Metropolis, and for Country Towns and Villages, on fixed Principles”, Loudon would go on to make an even bolder proposal: not just for what we’d now call the green belt, but green belts plural, alternating rings of city and countryside/garden which as a city expanded could keep going until they hit the sea. Although he accepted the grandiosity of such a plan perhaps made it unlikely (the fact that the following year he married a science fiction novelist feels contextually notable here), he emphasises that the important thing is the basic principle: that towns and cities should be planned in such a way that no-one has to live more than a quarter mile from some kind of park, garden or piece of countryside.

Loudon may have seen his legacy as his writings: three years after completing the Arboretum in Derby, he died having spent almost every penny to his name on publishing various expansive and expensive tomes to share his knowledge and promote his ideas, which might seem to have been a bit of fool’s errand given no-one much reads them now. But it’s at least highly probable that Ebenezer Howard, father of the garden city movement, had read Loudon’s ideas.

And while that Derby park may not be world famous itself, it was highly influential on the parks that came after it – including something called Central Park in somewhere called New York, for which the Arboretum was a direct inspiration. Loudon lives on.