Vernon Fashion Studio’s Blog

Archive for May 2009

It is Friday and the shift dress is still laying on the cutting table waiting for its hem! DH did pin the hem for me and I have it turned under but there I stopped. So this weekend, I swear I will get to the Studio and finish it.

Actually, DH and I have been putting a lot of time and effort into promoting the Studio and looking for jobs. I met with my friend Maytee yesterday at the Immigration Society to get some resume pointers for job hunting in a down economy then spent part of the afternoon revamping my resumes. DH went to Community Futures for the same reason and then worked on his resumes. I hate job hunting in the best of times but these times make it worse.

If any of you know of any retail jobs available in the Vernon area, please let me know. I am looking for part-time.

Back to sewing. I did get some work done on the blouse that will go with the skirt and hat. Should have it done by the end of the week.

Next up is fixing a mistake I made when sewing a silk charmeuse dress last fall. It was a big mistake and it has taken me awhile to figure out how to fix it. Silk is a sturdy fabric but very unforgiving. I will post about the dress when I get it done. And I will take pics of the work as I go along.

Have a great weekend!


Let’s talk hem lengths. Hems are usually the last thing we do when making an outfit and there are several decisions to make when we get to this step but none are more important than the length. If we get the length wrong the whole garment can be compromised and we won’t wear what we have so lovingly made.

First, we have to establish the correct length.  For some of us we can figure out the front lenght and use that figure for the sides and back also. Most of us will need a different length in the back than we do in the front. Why? Because we have tummy’s and bottoms.

For example, for skirts I have the same side and center front measurements but my center back is about 2″ longer.

DSC00120As you can see from this picture, the skirt back is longer. Looks odd on the hanger but it is perfect on me. This is something you need to be aware of when buying RTW. We have all seen women with hems that are longer in the front and shorter in the back. Bending over is a bad thing in that case.

So how do we avoid this problem? Deciding on the length is a two person job. First the pin-er helps you find the right length in front while you, the pin-ee, stand up straight. Make sure you are wearing shoes with the same heel height you will wear with the garment. The pin-er then takes the measurement from the floor to the hem and as you turn they use pins to mark the finished hem lenght.

When I was a kid, my Mom had a hemming guide. It had metal feet with a small length of yard stick attached and a metal adjustable hem pinner attachment. Some of you may remember these useful items from your childhoods. Dressforms often come with pin hemming attachments similar to my mothers hem guide. Also, there are chalk hemmers available that let you do it yourself. I have one of those and they work well.

My DH found an old hem guide like my mothers in a an antique store so keep your eye out for them. My mother doesn’t have hers anymore so I hope my sister has it.

Need help pinning your garments? I can do it for you at the Studio for a nominal cost or as part of an Open Sewing Class. Want to learn more about hems? Call for a private lesson or to attend an Open Sewing Class.

I have been sewing slower than usual lately but I did finish this flirty skirt with a ruffle and a matching bucket hat. The fabric is a cotton sateen from Fabricland. The skirt is Kwik Sew #3276 and the hat is Kwik Sew #3397.

DSC00115This skirt is a simple A-line with an elastic waist. I like elastic waists for the comfort of them. I know that makeover experts on TV prefer fitted waists but I feel there are times when elastic is ok.




The ruffle at the bottom was my addition to the skirt. I made the skirt then had my DH pin hem it at just above my knee. I then made a ruffle with a finished size of 5″ wide so the hem ends up at just below my knee.

The ruffle was done in four sections with each twice the length of  one quarter of the hem line. That gave plenty of ruffle to suit me.


Next I made the bucket hat. These are very in for this season and an easy item to make. I think the interfacing I used was too heavy so I will use a lighter weight next time. The only issue I have is with the lining. It has no way to stay in place so it flops around. If you decorate the hat that would help the lining stay put. I don’t intend to decorate this hat so I will try doing some stitch in the ditch by hand. That should help. Anyone who has another suggestion, please leave a comment

Obviously this outfit needs a blouse and that is on the cutting table right now. I chose a red lightweight cotton from my stash for a supplice style top. More about it later.

So, would I recommend these patterns: yes. The skirt is simple and can be easily customized. The hat pattern has scarf, bag and glove patterns also. Most of us can get good usage from the patterns.

Will I use them again: yes. I have already promised a hat to my mother and I expect to make a couple more for myself also. I am thinking about doing one in silk charmeuse. That could be very fancy.

Besides the blouse on the cutting table, I have a shift dress on the dressform that is just waiting for buttons and a hem to be finished. Hopefully I can get that done this weekend.

Happy sewing everyone!

I held two Zipper Application Workshops yesterday with some surprising results. I shared my two secrets for three successful zipper installations: Centered/Slot, Placket and Invisible.

This was a hands-on workshop with participates creating samples to take home for reference. We used black broadcloth, white thread and light to medium colored zippers. Every stitch we made showed, especially the mistakes. The ladies participating in the class covered a range from beginning to experienced sewists. When we did the Centered and Placket samples, they came out pretty good for everyone. We all needed practice with the Placket zipper but agreed it was a good one to use in side seams and slim skirts.

I saved the Invisible zipper for last since it is deemed the hardest and least used. I based this installation on Els’ tutorial at Sewing Diva’s with a couple twists of my own. Surprise and shock! Everyone produced a beautiful sample and agreed that this was the zipper to use for most all skirt, pants, dress and blouse applications. This application is no more difficult than putting in a Centered zipper and the finished element is to die for.

Look for Zipper Workshops this fall to learn my two secrets for perfect zippers and how to install an invisible zipper like a professional.

Check out the Sewing Diva’s Blog. Click on link in right hand column.

In an earlier post I talked about Lady Bea and how she loves to watch Project Runway with me. I mentioned we have two dogs so I thought I’d tell you about Sadie. She is a poodle/shi tzu mix and she is a deconstructionist. She likes to tear things apart and spread the parts all over the floor.

When Bea was younger we got her a doggie bed for livingroom. She loves it and its nice cushy cushion. This cushion is loose in the bed but fits tightly. Bea never took it out.

Sadie had been with us for a very short time when she removed the cushion and proceeded to rip all the foam out of the cushion. The back was like a pillow sham overlap closing and she just held it open and ripped bits off the foam.

When she turned 1 year old I thought she could be trusted so it was time to replace the foam. I picked up some 1″ foam and made a new cushion. Bea laid down in the bed with the new cushion and smiled with happiness. I then left the house for the Studio and hubby was upstairs in his office space. When he came down, there was foam everywhere. Sadie had shredded it again within 15 minutes of my having replaced it!

So I got more foam AND a separating zipper. I cut out a new foam piece and sewed the separating zipper in. I then used a safety pin to block the zipper pull from being pulled down. I put the new cushion in the doggie bed. Two days later I found the safety pin on the carpet several feet from the bed. so I went over and checked. Sure enough Sadie had pulled the safety pin off but it was still zipped. The next day there was foam all over the livingroom floor again! There was a 1″-1 1/2″ area not covered by the zipper and she got her nuzzle in there and started ripping pieces of foam out of the cushion.

This time I am putting in a new piece of foam and sewing the rest of the opening shut and sewing a thread zipper stop next to the closed zipper pull. That has to stop her…right?

Planning to attend the Spring Sew-cial? As a Blog reader you can get an extra ticket for the Hourly and Grand Prize drawings by simply telling me what TV program Lady Beatrice likes to watch, when you register. And of course the answer is in this Blog. I wouldn’t make it too hard for you to earn the extra tickets, now would I?

Happy reading!


Tuesday, June 2nd
5 to 10pm
$25 due by May 29th
Bring any Fashion, Home Dec, Craft or Quilting project(s) to work on. There will be lots of help if you need it.
Email to register & pay no later than May 29th.
Come enjoy a great evening! You will be glad you did!