Monday, December 20, 2010

Season's Greetings

Just back from NYC and below is the only photo I have to show for it; Cartier's lovely gift-wrapped building.

My apologies  for such a long absence. It's been a very busy time and I'm looking forward to a week of Christmas calm with the family.

I missed DD's skating recital... but the DVD and photos showed me all I need to know, she has worked so hard and improved so much and I'm very proud of her. The dress she's wearing is a Jalie pattern, I made it a few months ago from fabric bought at Spandex House on my last NYC visit.

Thank you to all for visiting and commenting, and thank you to those who continue to write blogposts, it's always inspiring.
I wish you

A Merry Christmas - A Happy Holiday
A Prosperous and Happy New Year

Sunday, November 7, 2010

La Roux-Look What You Do!

Yes, this is the jacket after
a weekend of Halloween partying...

DD got me to hurry up and finish the jacket- something I DON'T like! The result is never what I want, and this time was no different. The lining and vent seams are not to my normal standards but what can you do? She wanted to wear it Friday before Halloween so I sewed till my fingers bled- literally. Good thing this jacket is cotton and washable!

I never had time to finish the buttonholes before she started wearing it and when she came home and I looked at that collar... That's it! I thought. Why bother. She'd been spraying her hair red to look like La Roux.

But then I started scrubbing, using a nail brush, cold, then hot, water and lots of soap. Nearly all came out, but I see the jacket is still dirty in some places. What, did she roll in a pile a dirt?... Teenagers...

Here are some shots from today after finishing the buttonholes and buttons. My gravity feed iron water tank came crashing down from the ceiling on Friday while I was in a frenzy to the finish line, but isn't that always how it goes. Anyway, that's why the pressing is not happening at the moment.

The original jacket by
Jean-Charles de Castelbajac

La Roux must have made a patch on the lower left front pocket, covering up the green with a black and white scribble paint. I painted a white pocket using Jacquard fabric paint. Because this is a fitted jacket whereas the original is straight cut, I had to use some trickery to get a balanced angular effect. The lower pockets are cut straight parallel to center front and the corners are not at 90 degree angle to one another. I shaped it on the form to get the best effect.

Likewise, the rectangles on the side/back had to undergo a little "optical illusion" as well. I used Steam A Seam to temporary bond in place and then hand stitched.

Below is how I did all the binding, curtesy of Roberta Carr, of course! She doesn't mention Steam A Seam but I'm sure she'd approve of cutting corners once in a while, don't you think?

ClaireOKC asked if I've taken any classes with Roberta Carr:
I wish! Her book is a treasure-trove of helpful information and I can only imagine how wonderful she must have been in person.


Sleeve vent

Working vent

The pattern I used was BurdaStyle 11-2009-119, doubt a review would be very useful. Can't even remember what changes I made... DD is very happy, people wanted to know where she got her jacket, and everyone knew who she was dressed up as.  Guess La Roux is a big deal. And now, thanks to a good scrubbing, she can continue to wear it. Just don't let anyone look too closely at the finishes!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


What I'm working on...

DD loves La Roux's style so she asked me if I could make her the Mondrian inspired jacket she wears in the music video "Bulletproof". She wants to wear it for Halloween so I could easily have made a simple version but I really like the jacket and Mondrian, the artist, so I'm making a fitted version she can enjoy past the one day holiday :-)
I'm using BurdaStyle 11-2009-119, and it's been pretty painless so far. Roberta Carr has excellent instructions on binding and I'll post on that later. It's all cotton except for the yellow pocket, which is a stretch vinyl.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hello again

That was quite a long break. We spent the last 7 weeks in NYC but I still got a few garments made, one of which is a complete wadder. It just goes to show that having a dressform is crucial whenever you delve into untested territory. It doesn't hurt to have a little space around you too, and a large mirror...

I have a Brother Innovis 450 that the hotel stores for me, and so far I'm pretty pleased with its performance, although the buttonholes were not great. But tell me which machine has that feature down cold! Should have looked up Lindsay T's place cause we're staying smack in Midtown and it takes me minutes to get to anywhere.

I have grown to love New York City. It's so immediate; you step outside and, BAM! Life hits you, whether you like it or not :-) Highly recommended if you happen to be a bit of a recluse, like I have become over the years. I especially enjoy West Village, such a wonderful, vibrant community. The one thing I do miss when I'm there is the excellent Mexican food that you get here in Los Angeles. I mean, it's excellent no matter where you buy it; taco truck, strip mall, restaurant... The best food I had in NYC came from the carts. One in particular, just around the corner from the hotel: Kwik Meal. Sooo good- and that green sauce, spicy and flavorful... On the other hand, the more expensive restaurants have, so far, not impressed me. Maybe it's due to the high turnover here in LA and the extreme competition. It could also be that the fusion cuisine that dominates the LA dining scene has jaded my taste buds; I'm craving small firework explosions with every bite. 

Okay, that was a lot of non-sewing related info. Nuff. Let's see if I can remember what I made:

BurdaStyle 08-2010-123
I made these in a metallic peach stretch fabric, pretty wild,
will wear with long loose shirt, clogs or sleek heels
Used riri zippers, LOVE THEM- the zippers I mean!
Ok, the pants are pretty cool too... But they run BIG!
I took in inches and inches due to the very stretchy fabric.
And I also eliminated the horizontal leg seam.

BurdaStyle 08-2010-121 (the wadder)
I used gray silk chiffon, both solid and leopard print,
the fabric is lovely, the dress is a tent.
I saved it in hopes of making something else. We're talkin'
yards and yards here...

BurdaStyle 08-2010-126
Yes!!!! This is an awesome vest! I'm turning myself into Annie Hall!

I'll try and post pictures of the finished items soon, in the meantime, here are some construction shots of the vest. The fabric is a beautiful fine wool suiting from Mood.

That's it for now.

Oh almost forgot: I'm still waiting to hear from the Silk Winner: A Sewn Wardrobe. I left you a message, please contact me at bjorum at mac dot com so I can send you the fabric. If I don't hear from you within a week I will do another drawing from the comment pool. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Silk Winner

A lot of you wanted this piece, a total of 48 comments, although sewsincere and rosemarie refrained from entering, so the random numbers went from 1 to 46:

Which means: A SEWN WARDROBE is the winner, congratulations!!!

Please email me where to ship bjorum at mac dot com

Here are a couple of shots from the house on the beach in Laguna. I could sit on the patio and watch my DD run in and out of the ocean or dig for sand crabs... and the life guard was right beneath... Needless to say it was the most relaxing vacation I ever had since becoming a mom 17 years ago. Dolphins and whales, a giant tree growing into the house, nature is awesome.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Still at the beach...

... So the drawing will have to wait just a bit longer. I don't have internetservice, typing this on my iPhone. The weather in Laguna is fantastic and I don't want to leave. We're staying right on the beach and I feel like a new person, completely rejuvenated.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Yes I'm finally finishing up the review, and you my dearest will of course have first dibs on the photos :)

DH came home with a brand new camera and boy is it good; Canon EOS 7D... And I got a remote control so now I can take pictures in all kinds of places.

As you can see I had to add a design detail... the sleeves were waaay to long after hanging on the form  so long (remember I cut them on bias). I shortened them in two different places and added some fabric DH brought home from Moods.

If I only had a waist like this...

And here I am... This first one is how I like to wear it, open and casual- except I normally wear clogs not sky-high platforms...

The black jeans I wore to the Tonys. And the platforms. Boy was it a long show...

My hair looked way better at the Tonys :)
Notice the remote, and also the black bag- it's a shoe bag,
this was before I actually put them on...

Now I don't feel so guilty :) The pictures is the hard part I and I dread taking them. Next will be the review. I'm posting some more pictures on Flickr, mostly construction photos here's the link

Silk Giveaway

I told you :)

This piece has been in my stash for a year or more; a gorgeous European silk metallic constructed of two layers.
Two layers held together with gold metallic thread

The drape is wonderful yet it is perfect for more structured garments as well. I bought this to make a Chanel style suit, something inspired by Chanel's Spring '09 couture collection.

If you have a Pantone chart, the color is close to Pantone Winter White 11-0507 TPX or Cloud Cream 12-0804 TPX.

And that's why I'm giving it away. It has a warm tone which is a no-no for me. This is a generous 3 yards, 52" wide,  plenty to make a stunning outfit cause there's no matching involved. And, you could pair it with silk chiffon as it appears the Chanel suit above has done on the sleeves. I'd even insert silk charmeuse in the front slit on skirt :)
On the other hand, if you're unfamiliar with silk, this fabric is not difficult to work with and could be a great project for a basic suit or jacket, and it won't cost you a dime :), well, almost. I'd still recommend you buy silk thread and silk lining...

The fabric can be used on both sides to create a design effect
If this is a color you can wear or you want to make something for someone special, leave me a comment on this post. I won't be back until August 22 so let's make the drawing Monday August 23.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Here I am in the latest silk creation, Burda Tunic 02-2009110 and Burda skirt 03-2010-105.

Side zipper and re-beading to complete design
Both fabrics were bought at B&J Fabrics in NYC. The black is silk chiffon with three types of beads: black round and rectangular, and silver rectangular. The tunic is in a super lush silk charmeuse. I made it a bit looser this time to accommodate movement- yes, I wear this when I choreograph :) it has such wonderful drape. I also lengthened it 1".

I had very little of the beaded fabric( $$$ ) so I couldn't make a complete match on the sides, although the left side (see above) comes pretty close. But since this design isn't too obvious I just created new design lines by re-beading. Also, I never wear ANYTHING tucked in anymore so I don't have to worry about the upper part. The skirt also ended up a lot shorter and sits on the hips. I wanted to take more photos, but my camera fell off the tripod! Yes it broke, well the flash broke, so DH is off to get a new one. Did you know we've been married for nearly 18 years? That's a LIFETIME here in Hollyweird...

I did manage to take photos BEFORE the accident so below you can see some of the work  I did.

Daisy asked where I buy my silk fabrics:
The plain white and black I buy mostly from Dharma Trading, and some from the Silk Connection.
Katy mentioned Thai Silks and I buy from them too, they have some lovely prints. Then locally, I have F&S Fabrics five minutes away and Moods is about ten minutes... yes, I know, I have it goood...

I have several pieces in my stash and some I don't think I'll use (wrong colors for me), so watch out :) There will be another giveaway muy pronto! We're taking a little break from the hustle and bustle to spend time on the beach in Laguna, and then we're off to NYC.

And to the last giveaway winners; thank you, I received your mailing addresses and the magnifiers will ship tomorrow.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Giveaway Winners

There were 40 comments but one was a double post and one was from a previous satisfied winner, Bunny, :) so the random number went from 1 to 38:



Congratulations to you both! Let me know where to ship. bjorum at mac dot com

And thank you everyone; I loved reading how magnifiers would aid you in the sewing room -and, like Melissa, how you could use them for other things as well. I use them when my little one gets a splinter or anything else that is tiny, just like the dermatologist wears a similar contraption during an examination. I wish you all could have one right this minute, but at least I'll keep giving them away, so don't despair! 

I also started thinking about something else I buy in bulk: SILK! I often buy it by the bolt; charmeuse. crepe, chiffon, organza... black or white. You know I like to dye, so the white is very handy :) But black is my favorite color and I use it constantly.

Any interest in a giveaway? Wish you had some silk for a project you've got lined up?

Magnifiers and silk; two items I cannot live without :)

Sunday, August 1, 2010


It's about time for another Magnifier Giveaway don't you think?

Save those precious eyes!

You have this fabric to thank, it inspired me to share the love :) 
Cutting/picking/threading black thread on black fabric is a lot easier when wearing magnifiers

I'm giving away two. Any country and continent, preferably on planet Earth :), just leave a comment on this post and you're in. Random drawing will be this Friday, August 6th.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dropped shoulder tunic

Another version of one my favorite tops, this time with dropped shoulders, pleated sleeves and contrast details:

Silk tunic BWOF 02-2009-110

This charmeuse print was bought at B&J Fabrics while in NYC, which is also where I bought the metallic tweed for the jacket. The contrast is cut from a vintage piece I had in my stash; black silk chiffon and silver metallic stripes. I made a modesty panel for the front, I think Catbird was the one who thought to do that on her recent gorgeous version of this tunic. Thank you, such an excellent idea! I also closed the bottom part of the top even more than my earlier versions.

Below are pages taken from one of my favorite books, 
Dress Design, Draping and Pattern making,
Marion S. Hillhouse & Evelyn A. Mansfield

FIRST PAGE                                                                            SECOND PAGE

My altered pattern

I made an earlier top using this same technique, the link below

The details on this tunic is not very easy to see in pictures but I really like it in person. Very understated. I'm planning a black and silver skirt (also from B&J).

It's so much fun adding details. Do you have any favorites to share?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

RTW Sleeve Lining

I'm sure there are better photos of this process somewhere on the web. The main trick is in the very beginning: The SA have to be folded in and pinned in place so you know where to line up the hem and lining. Once you pull that sleeve out it can get awfully confusing without it. This example is with a zipped vent but the rest is exactly the same. I also want to say that Kathleen Fasanella's book explains exactly how to draft/construct the lining, so if you don't already own a copy it is so worth the money just for that alone. It's the only way I do linings. (Except for Chanel style jackets.)




I'm glad to be back to blogging and thank you all for the nice comments on the jacket. I was in the process of writing the review when I realized that this sleeve construction is very hard to describe without pictures. Thank goodness for Blogland and Adobe Photoshop! I'll probably be back with a few more, but I've also signed up with Flickr. iWeb changed format so now I can't get direct links to jpg's- what a shame! Mac, I love thee but that was very NOT COOL! Many of my links on PR don't work, but I'll get to them- someday!