Wednesday, December 24, 2008

God Jul og Godt Nytt År!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

I wish for all your 2009 endeavors to be wonderful and prosperous.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Coat on the Fringes

Youngest DD's current fave color is baby blue...

I had no idea how hard it would be to find a plaid boucle in baby blue. But I persevered. Tucked in the upstairs room at International Wools & Silk I found a stunning piece- at $69/yard! What's a mom to do? Well, this mom brought along dad, and ... problem solved. :))

I've been working on the muslin for a few days, and last night's fitting was acceptable. It's SO hard to adjust on this little cutiepie because, aside from the fact that she's six, she is soooo full of life. Her name actually means Life, so at least I got that one right!

I wanted the shape of this Juicy Couture coat...
... and I found this pattern: BWOF 5-2008-133. It's the only princess line pattern I've seen for little girls. I'm using the shell for the empire top, and the two-piece sleeve- great sleeve btw! The notched collar will be draped on the form.

And here's a sneak peak... I started with the fringe :)) It's a double layer of bias cut fabric with a very narrow silver sequined trim in the center.

I'm dying the silk charmeuse lining baby blue and will quilt it on, and use a silver chain at the hem. I have not selected the buttons yet.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Me, Sewing Knit???

Funny what freezing temperatures can do to you... and I'm not talking runny noses and such pleasantries. I actually finished this KNIT coat in record time (for me, that is). 3-4 days is way faster than my usual turtle speed. It's in wool/cashmere from F & S Fabrics, $9.98/yard, lined with a soft rayon knit that I dyed. The color is not perfect but I don't care- it's warm! She bounced out the door this morning, happy as can be.

BWOF 2-2008-131
Here's a look inside the coat.

I draped a shawl collar and extended the center overlap by about 3/4", and cut a front facing.

The Christmas dress was a great success but I haven't got her into a photo yet. It's so cold and she's in school all day. Maybe during the weekend. Thanks for all your nice comments, and to answer Lindsay's question: Oldest DD is going through a "preppy" phase- thanks to "Gossip Girls"... I think a nice tailored jacket would now be something she'd appreciate, and that can be fun. I'm also making a fitted "Chanel" style coat for youngest DD, just got a gorgeous wool plaid boucle yesterday. Like I said; funny what those freezing temperatures will do...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bubblegum 4 Christmas

The dress is done. She won't get it until the 14th because it goes on the advent calendar, but here are the photos on the mannequin (which is a bit bigger and taller). Silk, silk silk... I always end up with silk. But you know, it's a wondrous fiber, not at all what some people might think. It's strong and durable, can be washed in hot water, takes dye with brilliant results, and of course, it feels like a million bucks :)) I had the good sense this time and ordered in bulk from Dharma Trading- one bolt each of black and white habotai, as well as a bolt of 4.5mm white gauze. I use the gauze for nuno felts, which, btw,  I haven't made in more than a year !!  Oh well.
As you can see I manipulated the fabric as I did with my blouse, only this time I used Jet AB crystal beads.

And the shoes... Aren't they gorgeous? And the color matching went pretty well, if I may say so myself :)

Some details: I made a little bow at the back, using the extended bias. That was a tip from Roberta Carr's book. Hook and loop closure. My label under the ruffle.

Here's the lining being attached, and the finished dress inside out.
Vicky asked if I cut the ruffles on the grain: 
Yes. The sheerness of the gauze worked well this way, and the lace is very light as well. I used a 3-1 gather ratio.
Thank you for your well wishes. I feel a little better today, and having this done was a relief. I'm not sure if I'm ready to go into the black, so to speak, but I probably should. I really need that black dress...

Monday, December 8, 2008

I'm Still Here... Sort Of...

It's almost Christmas, and yet I feel quite uninspired. This is usually a happy time- actually anytime is usually a happy time cause that's been my number one thing since I made a promise to myself as a very young child. I'm not going to pin the blame on anything other than myself, so I'm working things through and will see the light again soon :)

I've been making a dress for youngest DD and it's nearly finished. It's built from the ground up- literally. I bought some super-delish shoes and a dress had to be created in honor of their fabulousness.
I used the bodice of this dress (BWOF 11-2008-139) as a base,  and drafted the skirt to incorporate ruffles and lace.
The fabric is silk habotai and silk gauze, and the lace is the same I used for my blouse. I dyed the fabric with Bubblegum Pink procion dye- how appropriate :)) This dress will be called Bubblegum 4 Christmas...

Also, I forgot to correct an earlier post, where I mislabeled Nancy's bias skirt. The color is not black, but a deep plum, sorry Nancy.
I would also like to thank Ann for providing a link to a photo of a Roberta Carr video, that was very thoughtful of you, Ann- thank you.

I have not forgotten about the bias dress but...  Oh well, all you mommies out there know how it goes.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Creative Christmas Gift

It's been a while since last post, and apologies to all who read my blog. I've been tired and not my usual self. But the good news is that both our shows are doing well in spite of the bad economy, so I have no right to complain.

Youngest daughter is an aspiring designer (among other things- she's six!), and keeps drawing outfits for her future store. She's even taking orders :)) So... I came up with this nifty (I hope) idea of a Christmas present:

I present The Design Portfolio

I bought the folder at a drugstore, created the front picture in Photoshop, printed it on silk fabric, and attached it using Steam-A-Seam.

Inside are photocopies of illustrations from the book below, with additional smaller outlines of same poses so she can design to her hearts content :)) And if she's really productive, mom will print her favorite poses in any size she wants.

She's a hard worker with a keen eye for detail so I'm hopeful this will continue to inspire her. I also bought some wonderful art supply from Blick on line- they have fantastic prices btw.

The bias dress is coming along. I need to cut the sleeves, buy a button and hem it. It gives me curves I never had  :)) Carr's instructions were superb and I loved handling this dress. The hem is even- can you believe it! That's what you get when you do it exactly her way.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Working With Bias

I'm taking a break from my mini wardrobe to work with bias. All thanks to Nancy and her beautiful black skirt which so inspired me.

I have recently added two books to my library: Couture, the Art of Fine Sewing, by Roberta Carr, and Draping for Apparel Design, by Helen Joseph-Armstrong.

The latter has a chapter on draping bias which is very interesting, but Carr's book has detailed info on how to manage bias, from the very first touch and all the way to the finish line, so I'm mostly using her instructions. I'm not draping this time, instead opting to use this BWOF dress as a block (03-2008-115).

I made up a muslin to fit and then cut away SA. Armstrong's book suggests to leave all design detail off below the bust, so I left the waist darts stitched down in the muslin and pressed it flat in order to get the fit in the bias without darts. We'll see if this works... I'm just testing and learning at this point, and thankfully the black silk georgette was had at a bargain ($2.99 a yard at Trim Fabrics) so I won't feel too bad if it goes wrong :)) I will most likely add a bias-cut fitted sleeve, maybe 2/3 length- I just don't look good in sleeveless, and the puff sleeve is not suitable for this fabric.

I have also ordered a grainboard cover from All Brands and will make the board according to Carr's very clear instructions. I can see this becoming one of my most important tools in the future.
If you have a grainboard, please leave a link to a picture of it in the comment, I'm just dying to see everyones nifty tools at this point! As always, when something gets my attention it becomes an obsession :))

Ever wonder why some bias skirts just can't seem to hang even on both sides?... Thread count, friends, it's all about thread count :)) Click below to see how to lay out ALL bias cut fronts and backs. I'm gonna blow it up and hang it on the wall :))

And this made me smile. And no, I will not attempt this... at least not without my grainboard! Roberta Carr shows a wonderful sense of humor in this book and I'm truly sad she passed away. 

So, pictures friends, pretty please!

Monday, November 3, 2008


This was a long time in the making, but it's been so busy with rehearsals and previews. I now only have one item left in my mini wardrobe and hopefully that will be faster (although I doubt that very much since I don't have a clear image in my head of the Big Bird skirt yet.)
As usual, I took these photos with a self timer, so you can't really see the beads sparkle as they do in real life- you know I adore sparkle right :)) Anyway, I'm happy with this blouse, and it goes great with black pants as well. 

The word Habili is Latin and means (according to one website): clothe, clothing, that which may be easily handled, suitable, fit, proper.

Blouse assembly:

Centered tucks:
Making folds on centered tucks:

Monday, October 27, 2008

And we have a name...

Rosanne of She's Sew Unusual. Congratulations! You can email me shipping info at bjorum AT mac dot com.

Wish I had more of this to go around as all of you are so deserving. Maybe now I won't over-think when I see some fabulous fabric, just grab it. Living five minutes away from F & S Fabrics has it rewards :)) It's good to know so many share my taste, because fabric shopping is the only kind I truly love, and you've all given me the perfect excuse- thank you! :))

Cat And A Hat

Inspector Thumbelina

It's Monday October 27 and I'm as eager as anyone to find out who will receive a big package in the mail soon :)) I've written everyone's name on the same size/type paper. Those who know me will attest to the fact that I'm fair to the point of over-kill. Maybe that's why I don't gamble... As I write this I yet do not know  who's name will be pulled from the hat, and just want to thank all of you for visiting my blog. Like I pointed out last time, I do not have a huge amount of stash, but I think the idea of matching fabric/person is a good one so I will continue to do this when the opportunity presents itself.
And now I will ask my assistant to pull (that will be my husband, presently on the phone as usual)...
Stay tuned :))

Monday, October 20, 2008

Need Boucle?

5 yards/60 wide to be exact, and in one piece. It's gorgeous... coral pink, flesh, off-white, tan, gray, gold metallic... and deep, dark brown. That's right. Brown.

I bought it on Ebay and the description said Black. I don't wear brown. I like brown, just don't have anything in my wardrobe... shoes, tops, purses, belts you name it... Everything goes with black. It was advertised as a Chanel fabric, but who knows if that is true or not. To me it didn't matter, I just like it and it has the 'look' of Chanel. I think the content is mostly wool. It needs a dry cleaning cause it has a slightly musty smell as if it had been stored away for a while. 

This fantastic piece (which I originally planned to use for my Chanel jacket) needs to find a new home. I had thought to make a long, Chanel-esque coat- think it would look stunning and the yardage is there, but a suit would be fab of course.

If you like Chanel and the colors suit your taste/style/preference, let me know, and I'll pay the shipping as well. I'm just not a stash-kinda-girl and would rather have it out of my home and into yours if you really want to make something out of it. If more than one would like it I'll draw from a hat :)) Let's make the deadline Sunday October 26, and I'll post on Monday October 27.

And thank you for all the well-wishes on "Million Dollar Quartet". It's going strong with sold-out houses, and moves to the Apollo on October 31. We also had our very first preview of "Baby It's You", at the Coast Playhouse in West Hollywood yesterday. A fantastic experience. My little DD is now singing Shirelles day and night, with a few Chuck Jackson and The Isley Brothers thrown in for good measure...

Our girls, from left to right...
Berlando Drake, Crystal Starr Knighton, Natalie Wachen, Paulette Ivory

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

We Have A Hit

Million Dollar Quartet opened Sunday in Chicago, and today the reviews are in.

DH and I started on this journey many years ago and it's been a steep uphill battle every step of the way. There were plenty of times when we questioned our sanity, yet our vision was steadfast and we carried on with push-through and determination.

When I first met DH he was making movies. But he was tired of the low expectation of content and characters that had been gradually seeping into the studio system. The new decision makers were either too young, flat-out ignorant, or both, to care about the output. And he didn't want to conform and make $300 million action pics where dialog is an afterthought and special effect is the star.
I remember well when he first mentioned American Hot Wax, the movie he directed about Alan Freed. We were sitting at the bar at Dan Tana's, our favorite hangout and where we first met. He wanted to make the movie into a Broadway show...

It was 1991.
That's how he is. Everything he dreams up is always way ahead of the pack. 
After we got married he still wrote movies, and sold them for good money, but his heart was elsewhere. In 1998 he began compiling material on American pop history. Having been the first to put a soundtrack of radio hits in a movie, Dusty And Sweets McGee, this was not a stretch for him. He grew up in Houston, Texas and the car radio was always on.

In the years that followed, American Pop Anthology was developed. I could write a book about all the characters, investors, con artists, we have served coffee at our house. Instead, I'll just say this: A lesser man would not still be standing. I often liken DH to The Little Red Hen... and I'm now ready for the onslaught :))
He is a genius. Those who know him well agree.

Congratulations, my darling. And on to the next...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Build-A-Blouse and Other Musings

There are presently too many ideas running amok in my mind, which have moved me to do something a little out of the ordinary (for me.)

Presenting the Build-A-Blouse:

It's like a puzzle and I'm having way too much fun. Visions of sugarplums and fairies, vintage grace and modern comfort. Individualism.

This whole couture thing has made me realize that I do love the itsy-bitsy details, and that hand sewing is my friend, not my nemesis.

Nancy asked a couple of questions in the last post regarding my skirt, and they were very good. Nancy, are you secretly reading my mind?!

"Is it comfortable?"
Yes. I made it a bit loose at the waist so I don't have to "suck it in", and can eat when I'm hungry :)) I can also sit quite comfortably without it riding up.

"Do you find that it fits your lifestyle and you have occasion to wear it?"
It does NOT fit my lifestyle :)) At least not my day-to-day living. I wear jeans and tees mostly. BUT... I do occasionally have to venture out "into the circles" so to speak, and on those occasions  I'm VERY picky. I want Barney's and Neiman's, not Macy's. I'm also thrifty (well, not at the fabric store...), so paying thousands for something I wear maybe a couple times a year is a hard pill to swallow. I've always been that way- in good times and bad- and it's highly unlikely that will ever change.

And... I like to be the only one with that exact outfit :)) Unless you go the highest price-point, we're talking waaay up there, that is nearly impossible to guarantee, especially here in Tinseltown. I'm pretty sure many of you have that in the back of your mind as well, maybe it's what drove us to sewing in the first place.

So coming full circle here; couture fits my sewing preference. It challenges me and keeps me extremely interested. I can buy jeans and tees for basically the price it would cost me to make them, and they fit me well (for now), so I feel I'd be wasting my time. I'll still make RTW when something has enough unique qualities about it to make it worth my time. And of course, for the children (well, one is fifteen so she won't be too thrilled with that label!) I will make anything they want- as long as I get to put my own spin on it :))

Its very liberating to know my motivations, and Pattern Review has played a big part in finding my way "home". Before, I never looked at my work, never wrote a single note, never took any pictures. Deepika has done so much more than simply asking us to review a pattern. She has created a database for us to store our individual sewing history, and I cannot thank her enough. Big hug, Deepika!

And big hugs to all of you too! Your comments and questions are so appreciated, as they are helpful, inspiring and encouraging.

PS. I just received an article about "Million Dollar Quartet" (still in previews at The Goodman in Chicago). Rock it out, Boys!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Gucci Inspired Skirt

First off: Thank you everyone for comments on this skirt construction- I'm so happy to hear that some of my excitement rubbed off :)) The skirt has been done for a while but taking pictures is truly a chore isn't it! I dread it and put it off until guilt starts eating at me. 

A huge Thank You is in order to both Lisa Laree and Mary Beth for giving me a blog award. It is so greatly appreciated and I'll do my best to deserve it.

Then a clarification: The picture in the previous post shows the inside of the skirt insertion. The reason it looks black is due to the seam allowance that has been pressed onto the insertion, the black fabric lays over the pink.

Okay, here comes the pictures! I'm in the process of dreaming up the blouse to go with this skirt (a slight change of plans from the original inspiration blouse) so disregard the all-black combo I'm wearing. Notice the one-pink lace :)) I'm in that kind of mood.

And can you say VOGUE!!!... LOL

Some more construction photos...

Okay, time to write the review. That too has been done a while back :)) I usually write while I'm sewing. Do any of you do that?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Can You Say Decadent. And Art Deco.

Let's just put them together cause they belong together: Decadent Art Deco! The lushness of working the duchess silk into clean crisp lines... oh the exhilaration of it all! Can you tell I'm happy :))

So duchess silk ain't just for bridal anymore... Picture this:

Fitted dress with or without sleeves, and insertion design of your choice on sleeves, waist, hip, neckline, back... possibilities endless.

How about a coat or jacket, how stunning would that be!! And remember; the insertion does not have to be a different color. Same color/different texture is sublime as well.

So, bottom line; you gotta try this. If it's a new technique, skip the corners and practice with straight lines first. Measure everything exact, and sew exactly as measured. 
There is no trick, no expertise, just measurements and careful basting.

I think I will try rounded or circular insertions next. But I have to keep in mind that Art Deco lines work with my body, not against it, so any rounded curves will have to be kept to a minimum. But for you LauraLo, I'd recommend heading straight for the rounded shapes which will look stunning on your hourglass figure ;-)

And even though I'm presently drooling over my silk, I can see this on other textures as well. But there is something absolutely fabulous about the shine and body of duchess silk that works so well with this technique.
Anyway, here's how I'm finishing the inside of the insertion:
After pressing the seam allowances onto the insertion, I catch-stitched the seam allowance in place. I will be adding  silk organza underlining next, which will cover and shield the raw seams.

And Mardel; I didn't do all of last post in one day!! Oh my goodness, no! I had already fitted the muslin and drawn  the design way back, before I even started the Chanel jacket. And the insertion was done over a few days. I'm really really slow :))

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Gucci-Inspired Skirt Using Insertion Technique

Guess I'm into couture at the moment, mostly due to my mini-wardrobe plan, and, of course, the Chanel jacket. This skirt is actually not that complicated as long as I follow my own rules: Mark all seam lines, and baste with a surgeon's precision. And most of all; do not work while tired :-) 
Here's the link to the inspiration skirt
And here's a link to my mini-wardrobe.
As you can see I switched the colors around. It's now black with light pink inserts. My dd suggested this and I actually agree. I'm also planning to make the white "Big Bird" skirt so this gives the wardrobe a little more versatility in terms of light/dark.

I didn't get much done today since I spent hours at the theater choreographing moves for the girls playing the Shirelles. But what fun that was- they are superb with fantastic personalities.
Anyway, below are pictures of the process so far. I think I will underline the skirt with silk organza when the insertion is done and still add a lining to the waist facing like the pattern calls for.


Where I'm at...

Thank you again, everyone, for all the fantastic comments you left me, both here and over on Pattern Review. I'm actually blown away by it. Speechless really. 

And I will keep my promise and make something simple. After the mini-wardrobe is complete:-)) And Lindsay asked if I'll get some wear out of the jacket, living in LA and all, and I sure hope so. There are usually plenty of days during the "winter" when temperatures drop to the point of "Okay, I'm freezing now!" In the 60's or so. I know, I know, but I had my share of cold when I resided next to Santa Claus, and I'll never do that again!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Me In Chanel On A Hot Day With Dirty Hair

As promised, but what a day to chose to do this... Please excuse the blurred photos, dirty hair and funny up-do, a combo of self-timer, scatter-brain and yes, laziness. I'm already on to my next project -the Gucci inspired skirt in my wardrobe plan- and I will post on that next. Thank you everyone for your wonderful compliments on this jacket, it truly warms my heart. And I do adore it.  And all of you :))

Monday, September 15, 2008

Blog Awards

Sigrid passed these three awards on to me, and I'm very honored. Thank you, Sigrid. She summarized the rules:

1. Select 6/10 bloggers to whom you would like to give this award.

I'm quite new to blogging so I chose to go with those I'm most familiar with and whose blogs are mainly about sewing, although I'm sure they've all been awarded already.
In no particular order:

Melissa- I love reading about her sewing adventures and her family life. Having met her in person I'm also a bit influenced :)) She is so sweet and the way she communicated with my little one was quite special. Yup, she's a keeper!

Belinda- Her work speaks for itself. Always meticulous, she includes helpful info and has a large and loyal following, which now includes me :)) She may be "Sew 4 Fun", but that does not exclude a high degree of professionalism.

Lindsay- We know her as the NYC gal who's shopping all the time :)) If I ever get myself cross country, she'd be the first person I'd like to meet. She's also an excellent writer and has fun polls that make me think.

Vicky- She was one of the first to find my very obscure Mac blog and left messages, which speaks volumes. She's very dear to my heart, so- yes, I adore her. She has also raised two fabulous daughters. The three of them look like sisters.

Marji- Like so many others, this woman has inspired me tremendously. She is is a wealth of knowledge which she readily shares with anyone. Her posts are top priority, even when she writes about her other passion, sailing.

Kathleen- I'm not sure if she can post/participate in these awards on her website, but I want to award her just the same. She is brilliant, fun and so generous with her time and expertise. Her book is by my side always.

Nancy- Here I'm being partial again:)) After meeting her at LA PR weekend, I was struck by her soft natured-ness. She makes beautiful clothes and writes detailed info with pictures on her fitting and sewing. Her students are very fortunate indeed.

2. Put the award - prize on your blog and indicate who gave it to you by identifying her/his blog.

3. Paste theses rules on your blog.

4. Write 6 of your most important values and 6 negative points you condemn (for the Premio al esfuerzo personal award only.)

I'm choosing to sum things up :))
Important: Personal ethics and integrity.
Negative: Lack of the above.

5. Inform the recipients by leaving a comment on their blog.

Well, I think that's it. I still haven't gotten around to taking the pictures, but I will, promise :)