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.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Top- Skirt- Coat

Well, the coat still needs buttons. The top is another tunic, using BWOF pattern 02-2009-110.

This fabric was gifted to me by none other than Richard, the owner of F & S Fabrics. Think I could possibly be one of his best customers? :)) He is a sweetheart, like everyone at that store. Love them all. It is a silk charmeuse printed in panels and no one could quite figure out how to put it together. The panels had words printed next to them, like "Tie band", "Front", etc. but no directions, or a picture of the garment came with the bolt. It was a little tricky to get the layout right, and I had to patch one sleeve at the bottom, and also take in the front pleat by 3".



Next up, the Big Bird skirt :)) I bought this last year as part of the mini wardrobe plan. That plan ended up a mini-mini-plan, I never got around to the skirt...
But I always liked the fun fabric so I took the easy route and made it as a simple pencil skirt, the same pattern I used for the Gucci knockoff: 07-2008-127. I lined it with silk charmeuse... what else, right! I also made this skirt in leftover houndstooth, the same fabric I used for the Chanel trim. Maybe I'll get a picture of that later; it's more of a mini cause I had very little left. But I'm thinking that the tunic would be a wild pairing with that skirt- notice the dash of houndstooth in the silk print ;)

DH just brought me buttons for the coat so I'll finish that off tonight I hope. It's a simple loose coat, nothing special. But it's warm, and that is something I can appreciate right now. When we go to Pasadena in the evening it's really cold, at least for LA, it's in the forties sometimes.

The coat I'm planning to make (as I mentioned in the last post) is a designer (forgot which one) ottoman, really interesting pattern, and not something I ordinarily would pick. But gotta be wild occasionally :)) And yes; the pattern drawing is missing a bust dart- what's with that?...

And I know, I know... several of you keep nudging me to complete the Balmain... And I will. I have to attack the sleeve; my nemesis. That's what's holding me back, just for now. Promise. It will need my full attention, and that's not possible at present. Right now I keep sewing because it's keeps me sane (and I like some new clothes to wear :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Coat with Lapels!

BWOF 12-2009-126

Just a quick post to show my excitement- BWOF finally has a coat pattern with lapels! I have about two years worth of issues, and this is first time they included this (at least in regular sizes.)
Lindsay T: About the Etro coat... yea, see, remember :) I wanna make one too, and this pattern is perfect!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Baby Has Arrived

The day of Opening Night...

It's been a long and winding road getting here, but- and I know this sounds cliche, but it's the truth, nonetheless- it has been worth every twist and turn. We began readings of this show many years ago, in a small 33 seat "hole in the wall" theater called the Empty Stage. We would invite friends and business colleagues and eventually, investors. DH began his career as a stage actor, but then spent more than thirty years writing, directing and producing movies, so the whole concept of live theater and "how it's done" was new, and- very often, full of misinformation.

One thing I should mention is that DH is not your typical "artist". He is an extremely smart business man as well; something he learned the hard way. Hollywood is ruthless, it's either sink or swim. The fact that we are here today, with a show that went from a workshop at a 99 seat theater straight to a 650 seat, is greatly due to his ability to combine art and commerce. One rarely survive without the other. And as long as you keep your head on straight and don't loose your integrity, it's doable and highly rewarding.

This past month has been an outstanding experience. Sheldon Epps (Artistic Director) and Stephen Eich (Executive Director) along with staff and crew, are a unique bunch of people, I tell you! The smooth, collaborative spirit that has prevailed this entire production is astounding and I feel so fortunate to be part of it.
Thank you!!!

And to all my loyal blogger friends: Thank you for still stopping by in spite of a very off-topic period of posts. I miss being able to get into the sewing projects I have planned, but hopefully it won't be much longer. The only sewing related aspects of my life recently has been collaborating with our fantastic costume designer, Lizz Wolf. Maybe I should do an interview with her? You all will LOVE the costumes- out of this world fabulous!

I'm leaving you with a few links in case you're interested to know more about the production:

Monday, November 2, 2009

So very tired...

Tech week is past half-time, and I'm pretty exhausted. Me and everyone else. The high octane mind power paired with stop and go motion is an experience like nothing else I've done. This is a big show in a big theater; projections, set, sound, costume, everything is big, and DH and I are doing our best to ensure the story and performers are equally big.

There is nothing I rather be doing in this world, theater is magical, and so are the people. Pasadena Playhouse Artistic Director, Sheldon Epps, is fantastic. He has created a home-away-from-home for us, and the collaboration within all departments is second to none.

Tech rehearsal- bring a flashlight :)

So, not much sewing going on. We've been staying at a hotel for the past few days to avoid the 45 minute schlep back and forth, a major deal when you work 12 hour shifts. I did get a LBD nearly finished but it still needs buttons and hemming. Maybe I'll get that done in time for the preview opening this Friday. The Balmain jacket has to wait, I just can't wrap my head around anything complicated right now.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chunks Of Randomness

Oscar de la Renta, glass pearl ribbon necklace

I've spent a small fortune. On supplies. And I'm not a jewelry maker. Cindy Ann warned me, but did I listen? Oh no... Three days were spent adding items to my cart at Firemountain Gems. You know, it's really Balmain's fault!! All that research into sparkle- you know how I love sparkle! So I guess I'll be making jewelry now. And - hopefully- so will DD 1. Like the title suggests, randomness will be involved on ALL levels. I'm a structured creature (no news to those of you who've been reading the blog/ reviews for a while) but I like to break it up in the accessory department.
The picture represents the idea not the product. I don't want to knockoff anything, just study and be inspired. Kinda like how I learned to sew. Time will tell if it will work this time. But at least I know how to use a magnifier :))

Off to rehearsal...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

This Is Heavy

Think I can build some muscle wearing this :)) Should have weighed the front before attaching but will do before sleeves and the rest of the trim is done so you all can get a good laugh. :)) I'm almost done with the back stay, and then it will be on to the sleeves. Marji suggested to cut them on bias and I think that can work; they will look slender that way without compromising comfort. But some form of support has to be applied at the upper sleeve where all the trim will go and at the bottom sleeve as well. I'm also pondering if I should make the facings in canvas. That's what the original jacket is made from- something I found out too late. I'm using double wool crepe and live in Los Angeles :) Very clever, Birgitte!!

I'm also thinking about the sleeve length. If I do a cropped sleeve I'll be breaking the rules of proper design: jacket and sleeve hem should not be on the same line because it will make you look boxy. Me not like boxy! Also; being wool, isn't it nice to actually have a warm arm not just a warm body? What do you all think?

Thank you for all the nice comments. DD was SO enjoying them :))
Lindsay T; she couldn't believe her eyes when you mentioned Blair Waldorf!!! She thought that was soo cool!
Gry; Yes, I know exactly what you are referring to when it comes to Casual Scandia!! Thankfully, things are quite different here in Los Angeles, and DD dresses up a lot.
Cindy Ann; your "wild applause" made her burst out laughing!!
Rachel; the jacket is 04-2008-120, skirt is 01-2008-127, and blouse is 08-2009-103 with flounce from 117 from same issue. All Burda World Of Fashion Magazine.
Trena; you would be perfect in this- make it!! You and DD have very similar shape.
Uta; Yes, she wears these glasses when she's not putting in her contacts. Can't see a thing without them :))

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ms. Wintour's Assistant

My little girl isn't so little anymore. But she's still adorable, and thankfully, as sweet she always was.

A quick photo shoot before the sunset. She loves the whole shebang and so do I. It was also fun to make and not too much work. Not that I'm promising her another suit in the near future!

I'm back to the Balmain! Finished the front trim the day before yesterday and the shell was put together today. It's getting colder so I'm eager to get it done, can probably wear it to one of the functions at the theater, maybe even the opening but I'm not sure. It will look best with a pair of bleached jeans like they showed on the runway. Jeans and opening?? Like I said, not sure.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

That Was Easy :))

Especially if you actually post something instead of hitting the return key... lol.

What I meant to say was: The Cuffs and neck froth were fast and easy to make. There.

Below are a few details of the construction.

I promise promise :)) I will get pictures of DD in all this Chanel extravaganza, but between her butterfly lifestyle and my Monk-like personality, getting a photo shoot set up is, to put it mildly, a tad difficult. :)) But it will be done. The reviews are written as well, so no more excuses!


Friday, October 2, 2009

Neck Froth Lift-Off

DD is well again, thank you for all your kind thoughts. It was not the flue, just a cold. She's wearing her suit and blouse to Dress Up Friday at school today :)) Yes Nancy, she's back home and is going to a school in the Valley. I think she's very happy about that; last night she went to the dress form and hugged her new suit and then me. Nothing like a few years away to make you appreciate what you have :))

Neck froth:
I figured out, after some tinkering, that the edges of the pleats need to be ironed out to create the froth- gotta have that cappuccino look :)) The picture shows the top edges ironed and is just a test to see how much needs to be gathered and chopped off. The lace is also pleated (ready made from Mood) and the black strip is duchess satin left over from my Gucci skirt.

And the brooch. Isn't it gorgeous? I found it on If you haven't already checked out that site, do it. They have so many wonderful things, the majority of which is antique or vintage.

And thank you Marji; Fortuny pleats is the correct name for these pleats. Here are a few tidbits taken from Wikipedia:
Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo (1871-1949), Spanish fashion designer, famous for the Delphos gown; a gown based on the ancient Grecian style. He is also remembered for his brightly colored pleated gowns.

I appreciate all your comments on the last post; thank you.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


This is an unusual post and I apologize in advance. But I have to speak my mind because I am simply enraged.
Certain people of the Hollywood elite has apparently decided that a crime is not a crime when the person charged is a talented member of their inner circle.

In yesterday's Los Angeles Times, Steve Lopez wrote a piece, which included part of the 13 year-old girl's testimony.
It will make your heart drop.
That is, if you have a heart.
And maybe, a daughter.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Flounc-ing Around

The flounce on BWOF from 08-2009-117, as done in the pattern, is too wide out on the shoulder so I'm playing with the neck pleat to make it fall more toward the center, along the button band. I'm using a stretch silk charmeuse, flat side out. The flounce edges was hand rolled, and I see that the left and right flounce move differently at the bottom edge so I must have done something wrong.
The bodice is BWOF 08-2009-103. I had to let out some of the front dart because it's very fitted, which is somewhat odd because the back is not. I'll chop off quite a bit of the length as well.

Just got the call from school that oldest DD has flue symptoms... :(