Vernon Fashion Studio’s Blog

Archive for January 2011

I have been running ads about my Studio with the thought of bringing in students/clients and it has done that but Tuesday I got more than that.

My personal sewing space has been the last part of the new Studio to be organized so Tuesday I spent the afternoon uncovering my cutting table and setting my machines into place. I had been at it awhile and had a few things to take to the lobby. I glanced out the doors when I was up there and spied a small box outside the door.

There was an index card with my ad stapled to it on top of some fabric. On the index card, in beautiful penmanship, was a note: Linda- A donation for your new studio. Enjoy the surprises and good luck. The note was dated and signed from Barbara.

I carried the box back to my cutting table and started pulling things out. There were several nice fabric scraps on top but the real treasures were below. There was a shoe box full of thread, some were on wooden spools and most looked unused. There was a baggie with several black bobbins with thread on them and a keyring with cards of snaps and hooks & eyes hanging on it.

Looking further into the box, I found books and magazines and newspaper articles from the mid-70’s and older. Some of them are quite fragile. One of the magazines, from the 40’s, had pattern pieces in it. Appears to be a precursor to Marfy in that the pieces are cut out with holes and notches to guide construction but no writing on them. It is a puzzle to be figured out and sewn. What a thrill it was to look at all these treasures that someone had kept for all these years. Some of the items will be put on display with our collection of old machines.

But the most wonderful thing I found in the box, as if the rest wasn’t enough, was a notcher. I have been wanting one but had not found one yet and had not really looked too hard either. And now I have one and it works great.

Sorry for the fuzzy picture.

Thank you Barbara! I know these things have a story and I would love to hear it sometime. So if you are in the neighborhood again, please stop in and introduce yourself.


A good time was had by all, especially by my sister-in-law.

I asked my SIL to act has hostess/greeter for  the GO and she was happy to do something out of the ordinary with her Saturday. She works full time as a Palliative Care Coordinator and is working on her Master’s for Palliative Care Nursing. This has been her life for several years…All work, little play. She use to sew when her kids were young but hasn’t done any sewing or crafting in years. She was like a kid in a candy store on Saturday.

I offered two Make’n Takes and she asked me to show her what they were so she could answer people’s questions. Well, I showed her how to make a machine needle felted needle book. That was it, she was hooked. She sat down and started felting. Visitors enjoyed watching her create her masterpieces. She is a good talker so she was definately a hit.

Then I showed her how to make the pincushion project and she produced a lovely pincushion. She was able to get away from death and dying and enjoy a few hours of craft therapy. Hopefully she feels refreshed. I hope she will take the time to take one of my sewing classes just to have that break from her regular life.

We all need balance in our lives but it can be so hard to find. With my beautiful new Studio, I hope to find that balance for myself.

This is my pincushion. I used a bead in the center of the button and hot fix crystals for the leaf veins. The pattern is from Sew Simple Volume 11 from a couple years ago.

And here are some of the needlebooks I have made:

They were assembled using my Janome FM-725 Felting machine…no thread involved except as decoration. The green book is decorated with wool roving and thread ends. The white you see on the spine is fibers from the white page in the book. The ladybug has black yarn felted down the center to hold the book together. It has two white pages.

For those who don’t know about felting, it is usually done by hand using a barbed needle. There is a pad that you lay the base fabric over then you put whatever you are using to decorate on top then poke the needle through repeatedly until the fibers are all joined together. The needle drives the top fibers into the bottom fibers then brings bottom fibers back up to the top. The pad protects your hand or table top from needle sticks. 

Not all fabrics work well for felting. Wool seems to be the most popular. I was using poly/post-consumer waste felt and it works but it is a bit thin. Wool felt would be better. I save my thread ends for felting projects and bits of scrap fabric and yarn are good items to use besides the wool roving. Check out this post for more ideas for felted projects.

I bought the machine on a whim a couple years ago and everytime I bring it out, I have fun with it. My SIL sure had fun too.

We are not as ready as I would like to be but we will go with it. We can work on it when we don’t have people in the place too.

I think the nice day will work against us, attendance wise, since it is a good day for skiing and other outdoor pursuits. If you are in the area, please stop by for goodies and the Make ‘n Takes. Leftover goodies is a bad thing for my waistline.

I may still have to hide some things in closets or in my car but we are definately making progress in getting the new Studio ready for its Grand Opening on Saturday. I even think the lovely new bathroom vanity will be in and useable, in time!

I will probably head over tonight and do some cleaning and more organizing.

Plus I need to make my list of things to set up and buy for the Make ‘N Takes and the refreshments. Got some great cookies from Gumtree Catering, one of my neighbors, that are very yummy! There won’t be much on the walls but hopefully, no one will mind.

Well, back to work. I doubt there are organizing fairies out there to help me.

We finished moving our stuff out of the old Studio. Hubby will go back tomorrow to remove the signs. It got dark before we got to the chore. It was a bit sad, taking that last look around but that space helped me get to this point so I am smiling.

The sewing room is set up with power where we need it. I just need to clear out a few more things and sweep the floor.

There is a week until the Grand Opening so we have some work to do this week. My regular work is light for this week so we will make it. The only issue is the bathroom. The cabinet and new sink have not been installed yet. I am getting concerned.

That is the latest. More later.

The Studio should be up and operational by the end of the weekend. The trades are done and most of the contents have been moved from the old to the new.

I did have a Beginning Sewing Class in there on Monday night. We really weren’t ready but we made it work. Unfortunately my work schedule for this week has been brutal. I have to give up going to the quilt Guild One Day Retreat tomorrow in favor of doing work. Much disappointment over that.

The most beautiful fabric arrived here, from Gorgeous Fabrics, today. It is a yard of the beaded, embroidered black silk organza from a top American design house, Ann showcased a few weeks ago and it is absolutely to die for!

So that is the quick update. If you are in the vicinity of the Studio this weekend, I would accept offers of help and make sure you mark the following Saturday for the Grand Opening of the new Studio. I hope see lots of smiling faces that day.

Of all four of the  posts for this series, this is the hardest one to write. Once you buy the dressform and get it home, the task of making it reflect you is very individual. And to add another degree of difficulty, some garments we make will require a slight adjustment to the dressform.

We all know that when you make or buy a garment it is a good idea to wear the undergarments or foundation pieces you will wear with the garment. If you mostly sew for daytime wear then you will set up your dressform based on your everyday undergarments. Mostly, I am referring to your bra but body shapers also need to be taken into consideration. If you set up your dressform based on your everyday undergarments and you make an evening gown then you will need to adjust your dressform for your evening bra or for going without a bra. The fit of the garment will be different so you have to make the adjustments.

And just to state the obvious, if you gain or loss weight, you will have to adjust the dressform.

The materials you need to pad out your dressform depend on how much you need to pad it. If all your measurements are within the range of the dressform then you will need less padding. In my case, all three of my main measurements are within a couple inches of each other. I am considered a rectangle shape, so I set the dressform for my bust and hip measurements.

Dressforms have hourglass shapes that can’t really be changed. I have two options for dealing with my waist measurement: 1. I can generally not sew garments with fitted waists or 2. I can pad out the waist to my measurement. Generally, I don’t make things with fitted waists and for skirts I just use myself as the dressform. I have trained my Hubby to pin hems for me.

To pad a dressform you can use batting, foam of various widths, an old bra stuffed with polyfill and stretchy fabric like they use to make skating outfits. You may have to experiment with different materials so you get a smooth shape, not lumpy and bumpy. Make sure it is pinable also. That is a feature of a dressform you don’t want to lose.

As you are padding make sure you take lots of measurements of yourself and the dressform. When padding the bust make sure you get the bust point in the right place. Dressform busts are more perky than many of us are so you may have to add padding lower than the the bust on the form and take measurements from the sideseam to bust point and shoulder to bust point to position the padding or bra correctly.

The most important thing about this exercise is to be honest with yourself about your figure. The more honest you are the more useful the dressform will be to you. Feel free to email me with your individual questions about dressforms and I will be happy to help.

Happy sewing with your dressform.