Vernon Fashion Studio’s Blog

Archive for November 2011

I sure miss the Thanksgiving 4 day holiday weekend! It is my favorite holiday and we get 4 days to enjoy it…unless you are a misplaced American living in Canada. I get to squeeze Thanksgiving in among all my regular activities. Takes a bit of the joy out of it. But hubby and I had a good turkey dinner on Friday and are having a leftover dinner tonight so all is not lost.

I was busy at the Studio this week. A customer has me making two robes for her to give as gifts. The boy’s robe has to be mailed so I finished it yesterday.

Robes never hang well but you get the idea. The next robe is a gift for her daughter who will be here for Christmas so I have a bit of time to get it done. This pattern is easy to make and fits children/teens/adults.

In the States, JoAnn’s puts Simplicity on sale for 99 cents sometimes. Here, Fabricland puts them on sale for $1.99 a couple times a year. On Friday I picked up these two patterns:

The pattern on the right looks comfy and I could use a new comfy top. In looking at the picture, the collar looks like it can fold over but it doesn’t look like it if I am reading the directions right.  I may need to make a change.

I also attended a Guild workshop on Thursday, to make a fabric Origami Christmas Tree. I forgot to take a picture. I will do a quick post on that later in the week.

Next weekend is Shoparama and we have a booth again this year. Besides promoting the Studio we will be selling aprons that my hubby made and tote bags that I have sewn. It should fun as usual.

I also have gotten my Bond Sweater Knitting Machine out of the closet to take to the Studio. I have two skeins of locally produced alpaca yarn I want to make into scarves. The machine is faster than my knitting them by hand.

I think that is it for this week. Hope you all had a great weekend!

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And just in time too. Hubby’s work Christmas Party was last night.  Took longer than I thought it would which seems to be normal for me. You can see Bea in the chair looking annoyed.

 This is the closest I have come to sewing with couture techniques and it is not bad for a first effort. The skirt is stretch cotton sateen. Very comfortable but I made the waist too loose.

I love the first real snow of the season…the muffled sound of the traffic on the road above our house…the dogs frolicing in the fresh powder…the 10 minute search for my mittens, hat and boots and the five minutes it takes to put them on…hoping the snow blows off the car quickly because I don’t have a scraper in the car…sitting inside watching it falling softly, turning the world white…wondering how long it will last and will I have to shovel the walkway.

These are pics of the organza part of the top. Hopefully I can finish it today.

It actually does hang straight in the front. I must have punched my dress form  or something.

Left side.

Right side of top. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the applique at the center back but it is done also. It is -9C here this morning. Good day to stay inside and sew.


Using black silk thread, I very carefully sewed the motif onto the back fabric. The whole time I was imagining the seamstresses in Paris couture sewing rooms going blind doing this day in and day out. I am excited to be doing this top but glad it isn’t my sole occupation.

I did run into an issue with the organza…it ravels. So if you don’t have enough fabric to turn under the motif, it just ravels right off, leaving you with lots of pokey silk threads sticking out of your sewing.

I used an iron on the silk setting to help turn under the extra fabric and it worked well. Some of the extra fabric was too wide so after pressing I would trim. This seems to be the ideal way to do it…Press first, trim second.

For the silk ribbon flowers, I just took several stitches underneath them to hold the down but for the leaves I used a running stitch. Occassionally, I would run my needle and thread through a bead or sequin that looked loose just to secure them a bit more. Then I carefully tied off under the motif where it won’t show.

Two down…Four to go.

I love my Janome 5030 sewing machine. It is great for garment construction and home dec or small quilting projects BUT when it comes to large wall hangings and lap quilts, it is the pits. It will sew them well but when you have to stuff a wad of fabric through the 6″ bed of this and most other sewing machines, you find its limitations fast. I have spent a lot of time moaning and swearing at the wad of fabric that just won’t move through the hole smoothly and without impacting the needle.

Ever since the Janome 7700 Horizon came out earlier this year, I have been lusting after its 11″ bed. I had a goal of buying one by the end of the year but it didn’t take long to realize that goal was probably unattainable. Elna, a sister company to Janome, makes its own version of the 7700 for less money. It is missing a couple decorative stitches but the trade off was that it had some ingenious built in storage compartments. So I set my sights on that machine.

If you follow Janome, you know they came out with the 12000 Horizon in October. It is a hybrid of the 7700 and the 11000 with added features. You can do regular sewing, quilting and embroidery with a computer interface. It is a lavish machine with all the bells and whistles you could want, with a price to match. It was too much for me. I have a stand alone embroidery machine that I barely use and that much technology would be lost on me. I don’t want to play with my machine, I want to sew.

Lucky for me a lady traded in her barely used 7700 on the new 12000 and I got the phone call.  Hubby and looked at it and decided to go for it.

Isn’t she pretty? She sews like a dream and has enough stitches to keep me happy for many years. And check this out:

A lap quilt through the bed with room to spare and the needle working free and easy! Heaven…I’m in Heaven!

So two of the three lap quilts for Christmas presents are done. Just got the third back from the quilter who quilted the borders for me, yesterday. Tomorrow I will put on the binding, show them next week at Guild meeting then wrap & ship the two out to the States and wrap the third and stash it with the other presents. I need to get things shipped to the States by the end of the month.

Hubby works for London Drugs and he has been busy working on their Christmas party that comes up on the 19th. I need to get my outfit sewn by then and I should make it. The top is the beaded, embroidered, sequined and silk ribboned, silk organza I showed you in a previous post. I honestly am not sure I know what I am doing but common sense says I have to clear the seam allowances of all the fancy stuff so I spent several hours on Tuesday carefully picking out the silk ribbon flowers, beads and sequins. I used Fray Check on the back of the remaining motifs, along the seam allowances, to keep from losing what I want to hang on to. Before:

The white thread is the thread tracing of the seam line. I need to clear about an inch of seam allowance. After:

I did pick out that silver ribbon after I took the picture. I left the embroidery since it shouldn’t interfere with making the seams. Since this is sheer ravely fabric, I want to make french seams at the sides. When you have motifs that extend past the seam line you have two choices: 1. make a regular seam and lose part of the motif in the seam or 2. you can continue the motif on the next fabric piece. To do the second one you have to  do regular seams where you can then applique the motif onto the connecting fabric. In March 2011, Threads magazine #153, page 59, had an article on lapped and appliqued seams. I have used it as reference. I also referenced Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire Shaeffer, page 41-46. French seams are trickier but you can do it .

As you can see there are two sections of motif that extend from the front piece to the back piece. You can also see I did a french seam where I didn’t have motif in the way. I will have to remove the top flower and beading. The thread tracing is the bottom of the armhole. First, is to fold under the excess fabric around the motif, then I will applique the motif onto the back fabric, by hand. This is one time when a sewing machine should not be used.

There are a couple spots where I need filler motifs. Luckily the fabric comes with small sections of motif along the selvedges. The one in the picture is a small roundish one. I think it will end up at the top of the center back. The section in the picture is left side hem so I think a long skinny motif will be appliqued there, angling front to back. That is something you should place with pins then walk away for awhile. When you get back to it, it will be with fresh eyes.

Obviously, there needs to be a lining and that is black silk charmeuse. The back has unadorned silk organza over the charmeuse. I think the skirt will be a pencil skirt of silk charmeuse. I have not totally committed to that yet. I also have some black wool/cashmere fabric I could make a skirt out of.

That is more than enough for now. I will post more about the construction of the top soon.

Just a reminder since I don’t do product reviews very often, I bought this item myself so I am not beholden to any company and free to say what I truly feel about the item.

I love notions and I particularly love notions that I can use in a lot of different ways. Wonder Clips seem to have multiple uses in my sewing room, which makes me very happy. You can buy Wonder Clips in a package of 10 or a package of 50. You may have to look for them at Sewing machine stores and Quilt stores here in Canada and probably also in the US.

Quilters have been using hair clips for years to hold the binding on quilts while they sew it down by hand. I have not tried them but it didn’t appeal to me. Another option is pinning the binding while you sew it down but that would take a lot of pins and would undoubtedly lead to many pin pricks to your legs, tummy and arms. Not a good option. I also have used Wonder Tape to hold my binding in place but that can get expensive for anything over a wall hanging.

So here comes Wonder Clips to save the day.

They are about an inch in length with a flat clear bottom and a curved red top. They are spring action needing a little bit of force to open them. Due to their small size they can be a bit of trouble to use at first but I quickly adapted and was happily clipping binding on lap quilts in no time. I was machine sewing my binding on, stitch in the ditch, and the clips held things in place very well. I then used them to mark the spots that didn’t get caught in the first go round. The problem was me not the clips. They held where I told them to hold.

I said earlier that I like a product that is a multi-tasker and these qualify. I am constructing a silk top made with silk organza and silk charmeuse. When sewing silk you want to avoid using pins as much as possible and then only in the seam allowance. I use silk pins but I still want to avoid pinning outside the seam allowances. The pattern pieces needed to be cut on the fold and I didn’t want to use pins along the fold so I used Wonder Clips.

I just noticed I had two of them upside down. I wouldn’t want to do this with the springy hair clips.

I only bought a package of 10 so I will definately be going back for another package. I definately recommend trying them for yourself. This is a very useful notion.