Couture Lunacy

Exploring Fashion One Thread At A Time

Wear What You Sew

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One rule I make for myself when I sew garments is that I must wear everything I sew. This does mean that, on occasion, I have projects I do not finish. I don’t have many. The last one was this dress made from a Marcy Tilton pattern



I like Marcy’s patterns. They are sometimes complex to put together. Like this one was, I found it easier to just put it together in my own order. The cut out was the hardest part as some pieces needed to be cut and flipped and others cocked oddly from usual pattern layouts.

I can’t find a picture of the dress I made. It must be on the other log-in I have. At any rate, let me describe this for you. I used a green/brown tie dye look jersey with a crepe feel to it. For the bottom and side panels I used one of those fabrics with ruffles stitched every inch or so over mesh. It was in a lovely brown/grey/blue and coordinated well with the main fabric. The only problem was the give in the fabrics.

I made this dress in the largest size and then found that the fabric stretched out so much my hands couldn’t reach the pockets. I worked and worked at this dress. While I was trimming the seams to finish them – the unthinkable happened. I cut a 3″ hole in the back of the dress. After all that work. I covered it with a 3″ piece of fabric sewn over the back at the top of the skirt. Okay, but not great.

Then I put the dress on. I could only think of a frump. She did advertise this as a French House Dress but it  just looked like a house dress on me. I put it away. I’m not sure if I trashed it yet or not because I love the ruffled fabric and can probably use that as a sleeve or trim for something. Probably I have enough for an overlay on a tee-shirt. At any rate, this was definitely a wadder.

Given the difficulty of the layout, the sewing instructions and the general appearance of the dress bagging, I don’t think I’ll ever do this again. If I do, it will be out of fabric with less stretch and more oomph. It can be done out of a woven, but I would need to do a FBA on this with using a woven. We’ll see. Right now I have many more choices so this will wait until I need another challenge.

Sewing beautiful clothing to me means simple clothing. Clothing with good lines that skim the body and don’t WEAR the body. I don’t want my clothes to be the first thing people see. Instead of “Look at that top” I want them to think “Wow she looks good.” I don’t want my clothes to announce my presence in the room.

Since I was 17 and blue jeans became the norm – yes blue jeans were not everyday wear until 1969 – I have been most comfortable in jeans. I do dress up occasionally if I need to for work or a special event. Then I will still wear pants, but usually black pants.  When I did antique and quilt shows I would dress artsy. I am a great fan of Flax clothing. These are remarkably simple pieces that coordinate beautifully and have that air of an artist at a gallery.

A simple jacket is absolutely a requirement in my closet. Actually more than one! This is my newest pattern just received from Style Arc in Australia



This has very simple lines but will be flexible enough to wear with jeans or dress pants. I also purchased her Diana top



to wear under the Abby cardigan. This top is simple. I do find keeping the V-neck in a shirt difficult when sewing, but a little interfacing at the V makes this a lot easier. Chloe also suggests using swimsuit elastic around the neckline to prevent stretching and this is a great idea. I have clear elastic I used in sleeves and on the shoulders to prevent those areas from “growing” so this will work well around the neckline.

Both of these patterns have infinite possibilities. They can be dressy, casual or really dressy. And Style Arc patterns are one piece – in Diana there is simply the front and the back in full size pieces. There’s no need to cut on a fold so you can place a print where you want it to be without difficulty. The instructions assume that you know how to sew. It is not that a beginner can’t do these patterns at all. These two in particular are great for beginners. It is just that you must be willing to look things up if you get lost or don’t understand a construction step. And Chloe is awesome about emailing you back if you need a bit of help. She also has sewing tutorials on the website.

Fashion week just happened in Paris. I do get quite a lot of inspiration from couture clothing. This year for me it is about color and texture. I am looking forward to incorporating some of these concepts into the patterns I make for myself. It’s scary but it’s fun. Now if I could just get the hang of the surface design thing. I’m thinking silkscreen would be best but I don’t want to use someone else’s designs. So I’m back to the drawing board! I love unique ……………..



Author: Jennifer

I came from a family who made things. My father was a carpenter with a passion for making furniture. My mother sewed, crocheted, cooked and made a home on a shoestring. My grandmothers both quilted. As a teenager, I found batik through a wonderful art teacher who allowed me the freedom to batik yards of fabric. I then cut them up into a pattern and wore the item I made. I was ecstatic. I painted in my teens and twenties and my parents gracefully supplied me with oil paints and turpentine. When I needed an easel, my father took me to the shop where he worked and made me one. When he found unused and unwanted canvas, he brought it home and stretched it for me with wood from his shop at home. I was indulged at every step of the way. I wasn't ever told that I could not do something or that I should not do something. I was given freedom to chose my path in life. A blessed life I have lived, for sure.

One thought on “Wear What You Sew

  1. I like the jacket pattern.

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