Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Happy Birthday My Baby

A Fashion Cake for you, my darling :)) You amaze me every single day. 

Photo taken from

From this...

... to this...

All our love,
Mom, dad and sis.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Is This Really Silk Shantung?

That's what the label said but look at the picture to see how it drapes! I thought shantung was similar to dupioni... It does have a few tiny slubs which makes for a great texture, but it's quite light and so soft. Anyone knows what this might be?

I interfaced the entire body with a very fine woven fusible and also added silk organza underlining. I get a techno vibe from this coat which is fine by me :)) It's also very straight cut, another plus for my body type.
I'm not getting much done at the moment. This week was packed with rehearsals and new material,  and weekends are the busiest since that's when we're running the show. Not complaining though :)) It's a lot of fun putting up a show, just wish I could get to my tools a little more often. Hope all of you have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sharing the Love

I was nominated for this super cute award by Lori, Sigrid, Ann and Dana; Thank You! I love all your blogs, in fact, I love too many blogs and hence my feed is getting out of control :) What to do...  Well, if that's the worst of my problems, YAY, lucky me :))

Here are the rules:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received your award.

This award has been granted to a good portion of my sewing sistahs so I'm using this opportunity to share the love with blogs I recently added/discovered.

Rosanne of She's Sew Unusual: She is expecting so head on over and congratulate!

Gry of From the Stash: She's moving from Copenhagen to Oxford, another congrats is in order!

Jenni of Sew YLD: She JUST started a blog, many of you already know her from Pattern Review under the name Yorkshire Lass. Please go and welcome her!


And to answer a couple of questions from last post:

RachelMM would like to know where I found my gravity feed iron:
I bought it online from CleanerSupply, here's a direct link
It's fantastic, and so is their costumer service. When it turned out the water tank was faulty, they shipped a new one within days.
I go a lot of information over on Pattern Review from reading the boards, and here's a link where you'll find the info on exactly how to install the hook in the ceiling. I printed it out and gave it to the guy who did the work for me:

Rosanne wanted to know how I found my inspiration coat:
I've been using the yoox website as an inspiration destination for a long time. They carry many high-end items from a myriad of designers and their search feature makes it so easy. I usually pick a main category, then search by HIGH PRICE FIRST :)) That's when you get the good stuff! When I find something I like, I bookmark that item so it will be there to view in close-up even after it sold. Here's an example:
Bluemarine Coat on yoox (that I knocked off last year)
So make sure you bookmark!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Using the Grainboard 4 Pintucks

Thank you to LoriSigridAnn, and Dana for nominating me for the Sisterhood Award, I will do a separate post on that. It's been really busy in my life lately...

Still very excited about my grainboard :)) I've been putting it to use the last couple of days. First to trace and cut patterns, then to cut a muslin, and finally for pintucks.

Here are a few more followups to questions about the grainboard:
Joanne asks : But where to store it? On top of the cutting table? On top of the cutting mat that sits on the cutting table? No accidental cuts on the grain muslin?
And Sew A Beginner asks: Can you use rotary cutters on the grainboard?

I've been storing the grainboard on the cutting table, but when I need to move it, it will easily lean up against the wall. I have a cutting mat to use with the rotary cutter- which I only use to cut quilt blocks and bias. I never use a rotary cutter for anything else. With scissors you have complete control, which is a must in couture. The scissors will not cut into the grainboard because the surface is pulled very tight, but you can not use a rotary cutter on the grainboard. I don't quilt much, and now I will use the grainboard for bias strips as well, so the rotary cutter and mat won't be of much use.
And thank you Katy for alerting me to the faulty Baby It's You link. The website is under construction and will hopefully be up and running soon.

Ann said: I have a spaceboard (51"x33")which I bought years ago. I love mine too and always use it. 
I also use mine to draft patterns on, and to trace patterns. If you use a tracing wheel to trace, it perforates the paper underneath nicely and you just follow this to cut out your pattern pieces.
Found a picture here:

Thank you Ann for the info on your spaceboard. I have a question for you: Is it a hard surface or can you pin into it? I usually trace patterns with a marker- I buy large rolls of the cheap tracing paper from the art supply store and just place it over the pattern.

Edit to update:
Ann answered; yes, you can pin into the spaceboard, and she included  a link to photos of how she uses it. I thought this to be so helpful, I asked if I could post the link here. She kindly agreed. Thanks Ann!

So in conclusion; if you don't have the time/space/interest- fill in the rest:)- for a grainboard, a spaceboard is a great alternative.

Okay time for the pintucks part :))

Here's my inspiration coat. This is a bad picture, go to yoox where you can zoom in : Christian Dior Coat.

And this is the pattern I'm using, BWOF 1-2009-115

As it turns out I like the pattern so much I think I'm keeping most of the details and then add the pintuck section, pockets, belt/cuff straps and the button spacing. I might add pintucks on the yoke as well as inside on the upper facing and the under collar. The double collar is really cool- you can flip one up. I also like that it's very relaxed, not so fitted. I mostly wear my jackets and coats open. Here's the muslin.

Okay the pintucks. I need them to be really even and straight and the grainboard is FABULOUS for this. My new gravity feed iron doesn't hurt either :)) I'm using the walking foot and 3mm stitch length. The fabric is a silk shantung (at least that was what the label said), but it's really soft and drapey. I fuse-interfaced for the pintucks but think I'll use silk organza underlining for the coat.
What are you all sewing/dreaming about? It's time for another giveaway, I need some ideas :))

Monday, March 2, 2009

Why I Need a Grainboard

This is to finish yesterday's post- as I posted it I knew it didn't cover the why's at all. My bad (hate that term, yet here I'm using it, go figure!)

I had to laugh at Berry's comment;
Grainboard??!! At first I got scared (I'm easily impressed), what is a grainboard? Thanks to your detailed info I feel way smarter this morning ;o)

I'm glad you feel smarter although you're already plenty smart as it is.

Lindsay ask the BIG WHY;
Birgitte, I have a cardboard fold-up cutting board that has grainlines on it. It's not as wonderful as what you made, of course, but wouldn't you get the same result from both? Can you enlighten me here? Thanks!

Thank you, Lindsay. It most certainly needs- no, deserves!, a better explanation than I provided.

Let me start of with this:
I've been sewing for longer than I care to remember- on and off, but still... And I never knew I needed a grainboard. I was doing just fine, a few hits and misses, but generally my garments were wearable.
Then, some time ago, and I know my loyal readers were part of that discovery, couture became my passion. Since then my viewpoint on all things sewing related has changed dramatically, and that, of course, includes all the tools.

Couture is detail. Every detail counts.
This is how I see the grainboard becoming my best friend :))

You can lie out the fabric and it will STAY THERE. No more slipping and sliding, distorting the grain.

You can pin the pattern VERTICALLY so you get accurate markings and cutting.

You can PRESS THE FABRIC RIGHT THERE and cut, no need to move it from one place to another. Perfect for fusing interfacing.

BIAS will be much easier to handle with accuracy.

There will most likely be other uses I discover along the way. If any of you have additional things to add to that list, please post it, or leave a comment, and I'll do an update.

Here is a photo with a quote from Roberta Carr:

That was the long explanation. The short one: You don't need a grainboard like you need scissors, needle and thread. You need it like you need that PERFECT BUTTON to go with your jacket :))
It's all in the details!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I Finally Did It! My Grainboard is DONE!

It's soooo cool, and I'm soooo happy! I've kept putting it off, yet every time I start cutting a new project I'm so angry at myself for not getting it done. DH got me the blankets yesterday so I was all out of excuses. Actually, my other excuse was that I needed my new gravity feed iron to be hooked up in the ceiling, and he got that done too. Well not him personally... he's not your typical DIY kinda guy. But ask him about restoring a vintage Porsche and you will get more info than you care to know :)) So my iron was set... until I tried filling up the tank. It's got a leak at the bottom where the plastic is spliced :( I emailed the dealer so hopefully I get a replacement. But it was back to my leaky, sputtering Rowenta.

For those of you who still don't own a copy of Roberta Carr's "Couture, the Art of Fine Sewing", I know Bunny is as devoted as I am :)), you might be wondering just what all the fuss is about regarding a grainboard. I can't speak for other couture books since this is the only one I have, but so far each and every thing I've used from her book is absolutely fantastic, so of course when she says a grainboard is needed, then it's NEEDED! It's a large padded surface to be used for graining-up and cutting fabric, and also as a large pressing surface.

I took some pictures of the process of putting it together, but it will in no way replace her book. You will most definitely need it to get the job done right.

First off, I got the cover from AllBrands
You will also need good quality muslin fabric, wool blankets, and a plywood 1/2" thick cut to measure 36" by 54".

And these tools:

If you'd like to take the grainboard journey, click below in order of appearance :))

I want to thank Angela of RiAnge Creations. Every time I use Carr's book I think of you, Angela. It was your post on her passing that made me go and buy the book. I'm forever grateful.