Monday, December 28, 2009


Coco Chanel before 1914

Her profile as exquisite as the clothes she designed. All images are taken from the book I received for Christmas:

CHANEL, Collections and Creations
by Daniele Bott.

I love this book. The photos are gorgeous and there is so much good information. I'm also a sucker for bold quotations, which this book has in spades. One of my faves below:

Now I never need to make excuses, Coco paved the way. Brilliant!

A photo worth a thousand words
(or yards of fabric):
This is next on my list; a quilted lining in grids, isn't it magnificent!

How would you like to powder
you nose with little beauty?

Buttons. Priceless.

An illustration by Karl Lagerfeld.

Bring this one along for
your next manicure :))

The Camellia:
'There are a hundred ways
to wear a flower.'

I'm fascinated and spellbound. Chanel speaks to my soul. Next year I'm diving head first into all aspects, every detail. I want to be bold, fearless, put on my magnifiers and sew, sew, sew. I will buy fine sharp hand needles and silk thread in bulk.


The coatdress was a success- thank you for your comments and maybe your crossed fingers that it would fit :)) DD is 16.... just cut her own hair short... and dyed it jet black... Okay then. A picture could come later. Or not. And I thought it was hard to get myself in front of a camera. I will take a picture of the gray coat very soon. Remember the Dior coat? Never worn it, still has some basting threads in it, but it's done. Even have a review ready. Maybe DH will buy me some gray boots... we like to do our personal shopping after Christmas :))

I hope you all had a peaceful Christmas/holiday.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Must Be Dreaming...

... About spring :))

This coat dress happened because the fabric I ordered was not as chartreuse as I thought, more like a spring green. Which does not work for me. Chartreuse is a finicky color and I should have known better. Maybe I'll post a picture later with all the fabrics I now have labeled chartreuse, if I take the picture in natural light it will show how different they all are- ranging from spring green to mustard!
I've wanted to make this coat dress for DD ever since it first came out, BWOF 02-2008-117. She has the perfect figure for it; small upper body and waist, swayback and full hips. The fabric, from Fabric Mart, is silk shantung and the lining is silk chiffon and charmeuse; here's a link, they still have some left:

No shoulder pads so it can be worn both ways.

This is not a difficult pattern, but because I lined it- and I wanted her to be able to wear it both ways- I had to change a few things. Most importantly: I used casings instead of shirring elastic at the waist. Quite tricky, but the final result is good. Of course, I haven't tried it on her yet, so we shall see, it will go under the tree. I also didn't have fusible batting, so I used regular, which takes a little extra effort- the walking foot came in handy here. A lot of thread was used for this project :))

Speaking of thread... I left loose tails at each end of each topstitching, which then was woven into each seam... yes, that's a lot of work, but it looks much better this way.

The snaps were covered with fabric and carefully stitched on in the same formation; itsy bitsy details but for me worth the extra work.

The label is on the outside.

And about my coat: It's done just need to attach the buttons, and slipstitch the lining side seam closed. I'm not in love with it but it will work over white jeans. Next time I'll cut a 36, this coat is roomier than I thought it would be.

To all my readers:

Have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday!!!
Thank you for visiting, I so appreciate it.
Hugs and love,

Monday, December 14, 2009

What A Display!

Look closely... This is a window display... for a clothing store! I took this picture in late November on Robertson Boulevard, you know that celebrity/paparazzi crowded couple of blocks in West Hollywood. These are all vintage machines, and the display covers a few more windows. I had to go in and check, but they were not for sale :( On second thought, maybe a good thing?...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Lapel and Buttonholes

Two firsts for me:
A lapel roll
Triangular bound buttonholes.

And of course both techniques came from Roberta Carr :))
The lapel roll is constructed using cotton cording and hair canvas. I couldn't find the very thick cording so I used many thinner ones instead. Not perfect but it works. I held my powerful gravity iron upright and added plenty of steam and then let it cool off.

The triangular buttonholes were surprisingly easy. I used the same silk charmeuse I'm using for lining and they look pretty good and tie in with the angular design of both the fabric and the coat. And the fabric markers arrived and, although not completely fixing the problem, reduces it a bit.
Below is the facing buttonhole which I just did as a regular rectangle.

Thank you Digs for that fabulous explanation on ottoman fabric. Here's the page Ottoman fabric at
I didn't know this resource existed so a double thank you for that.

And Nancy; so happy the sleeves on your fabulous jacket worked out!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Other Coat

You may remember I was quite enthused about the coat in Burda's December issue, and I had just the right fabric waiting in the stash. This is a designer ottoman bought at Moods a few months ago, it came in panels and I bought two and got a partial one thrown in because it had been swatched. The colors are so not me, but the design is, so I decided what the heck... Think I can only wear this with white or I'll look awful :)) Or maybe I'll give it away...

Yes, that's a fire! I have a fireplace in my room :))

I'm using Roberta Carr's instruction on gathering the sleeve cap. She says to create your own notches by measuring down 2" from top of cap and draw a line out to each side. The new notches are always quite a bit up from where the pattern has them, but I've now done this many times and it works. The cap looks much better this way (when you follow the rest of her instructions of course.) The black in the below photo is a lightweight interfacing that I used on the entire coat.

Now; the problem.
I've never worked (or studied close up) ottoman fabric before so I don't know if this is standard, but in my case the back and the fill threads (which gives those lines) are white. The outside threads are very delicate and separate by the stitching, you can see in the below pictures.

The lapel...

The collar stand... This was the first (and only!) topstitching I did. I placed an order at DharmaTrading for fabric markers and hopefully that will solve the problem.

This is a GREAT PATTERN! BWOF 12-2009-126. So sleek, slightly fitted, a side panel so no side seams, perfectly placed pockets. Collar stand. I made a lapel roll and will use that to steam the lapels in place.

It is SO COLD here in Los Angeles!!! I've already put my cashmere coat to good use, and I'll be making a coat for youngest DD as well, in fuchsia lambswool from They have some great deals over there so check it out :))

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Peek at "Baby It's You!"

Pasadena Playhouse has posted a preview video of "Baby It's You!", which has been extended by the way :)) The audience response has been amazing and the playhouse is seeing a wealth of new patrons, many of which have never been to a theater before. We got some very mixed reviews after opening night, and I can't blame the critics. The show was not ready; we had sound issues, and the performers needed time to settle into this new- and very big- space. Like DH said in one interview, "This show has a lot of moving parts..."
But settled in they have, and we get bopping heads, laughter, a few tears, and standing ovations. I still plan to interview our costume designer, but in the meantime, check out the video to see some of the costumes :))

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Coat (or, what's left of it)

I made so many mistakes, so in the end, what was supposed to be a regular black coat, is now a jacket/coat with lace inserts, and the nap runs the wrong way...

BWOF 11-2009-114

The fabric is a black cashmere I got on sale at Fabric Mart back in March, the lining is silk charmeuse.

I interfaced the entire coat with lightweight fusible and interfaced the hems with hair canvas. The pattern is very easy and quick (if you actually pay attention to naps and such...) and the coat is roomy enough to wear heavy stuff underneath.