Couture Lunacy

Exploring Fashion One Thread At A Time


Fashion Finds and Patterns to Make Them

It will come to no surprise to any of you that I LOVE clothes. I always have. I was pretty particular about what I would wear even at the age of 5. Mom tried to put me in ruffles and lace – let’s just say that didn’t work out so well for her. If she’d tried bright colors and clean lines, she’d have been nearer the mark.

I was browsing through some new “styles you must have” type magazine articles and I found these items.

I also found, with the exception of the seamed jacket, patterns for all of these. Yes ma’am you can make them. The only item that would require a tad bit of experience is the white jacket. And that’s not impossible for even a new sewer. It has clean, simple lines and would be lined. It is a fantastic look for wearing with anything.

These are the patterns I’ve found.



This looks EXACTLY like the tank top I found. Only it will be much much cheaper if you make it!



The marvelous jacket which also will enable you to make several for the price of one. That’s why sewing your own clothing is so much better than buying it.

And lastly



I have discussed leggings and me. We don’t mix well. I’m a bit long in the tooth for these at any rate. Also the body shape isn’t flattered by leggings. I am not, however, adverse to wearing them in the house. Or sleeping in them!

These are just a few examples of how you can make the current fashion trends for a fraction of the cost. All of the patterns are available from And their patterns FIT. They do expect you to know some sewing terms, but whatever you need to do you can find assists on their website and also on the web.





I Need Help Finding Something and Here’s How to Get Good Clothes Cheap

A few weeks ago I saw a really cute boxy boatneck top on It was a colorblock and it was pink over gray. It was super-oversized and had long sleeves. I want that tee. Of course, once the sale is over, it is no longer on Zulily. I have done so many google searches I’m ready to try bing.

If anyone out there has seen this or knows what brand it is – let me know. Whimper.

Thanks to a WP post I found Free People! I went to their site and yes, they are geared to skinny women, but a lot of their tops would work for any size as they too are oversized and awesome. They are kind of pricey so I will probably be doing the theft thing with a pair of scissors and my sewing machine. I love thieving styles!

Here’s how I do it. I look at the top I want to copy. I figure out what the main pattern piece elements are. I get out my trusty pattern material which costs $2.15 a yard at and I start drawing out the shapes – aided by my straight edge and a flexible french curve. I approximate the shape and fit it to my size.

Most RTW is pretty simple. You can see the shape in the top easily. I would have more trouble with pants, but I have so many pants patterns that I love I just use those and tart them up a bit.

I get inspiration from the embellishments of RTW too. There may be two or more fabrics used. As long as they’re the same weight and will hang the same, they’re good to use together. You wouldn’t mix a woven and a knit because they act different when on and one would drag the other down. I prefer fabrics with some drape and give. I find I use knits a lot for casual clothes (and dressy for jackets and pants) and woven fabrics for more classic styles. My last project, the Origami blouse, I used a crinkle cotton with a lot of give and the pattern was also oversized. This shirt is comfortable and I wore it yesterday. It’s very cool too in hot humid weather as it doesn’t cling anywhere.

Shortly I’m going to get a scanner so I can show you some of my concept drawings for clothes. I was going to use a tablet but I’m not an early adopter of new technology! Ha! Actually DS talked himself out of a $2500 tablet for digital illustration and has decided to keep his current tablet. Thankfully.

Dresses and skirts are also easy to copy from RTW. I highly recommend a draping class from Paul Gallo which is on On Craftsy you can find hundreds of garment construction classes to broaden your toolbox. The Tilton sisters have one on making tee shirts – they do a lot of surface design work and are a fun couple of people to watch. Their creative juices flow out of the computer.

If you’re like me, you have sewing patterns. In each of these patterns are components of a style that you can take and mix with another pattern to get the look you want. Don’t be afraid to mix and match! I have various patterns for tops that I change the neckline on, make longer, change the drape, add sleeves and embellishments. You can do anything to your pattern to make it yours – but I would highly recommend you trace it off onto pattern material. You never know when you might want to make another style from that pattern and you will need the original pattern intact as it was in the beginning.

All you need to make clothing from RTW inspiration is your eyes, your tools and a sewing machine. I find a dress form to be helpful too and there’s a good one that is adjustable to your measurements. I think it was $165. It has simplified my life no end. I can see what something looks like on my double and I know it will look fine on me.

Hey – if you find that shirt I’m talking about – let me know – I’m going to steal it too.


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Making Art – And Whatever Made You Think Someone Would Buy It?


I’m sure it was Winston Churchill who said that to keep doing the same things and expecting a different outcome is insanity. Consider me insane.

I’ve been some kind of an artist for over 50 years. I started with oil painting, then progressed to batik and ended up with wall hangings. I still paint – I make things – I do not CRAFT. I am not part of the Arts and Crap movement.

My work has been published in Great American Quilts 1992, Best Loved Traditional Quilt Patterns, Our Favorite Scrap Quilts, Better Homes and Gardens Scrap Quilts and Patchwork Quilt Tsushin – a quilting magazine from Japan.

My work is in private collections in Grosse Pointe, MI, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Tokyo and Sydney, Australia. I have a piece entitled “The Wall” on permanent exhibition at the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield, MI. I have been represented by a gallery on PEI, Canada and in shows throughout the United States

I dye fabrics, paint them – apply stuff to them and occasionally fuse them together. I make what I like. I don’t do commissions although I have sold all of my work with the exception of the one you see above and one other.

I do find that selling my work is burdensome. I had a gallery that represented me on PEI. I sold most everything with the owner’s immense help and hefty percentage cut. That was back in the day when people had money to spend. They don’t now. Or if they do, they don’t spend it on anything they truly can live without.

Which leaves an artist artisting and not eating. I know how Van Gogh felt when he cut off his ear. He should have cut off his arms. Would have made more sense. Or did he do that for the love of his life? Either way – stupid.

We own some pretty cool art too – stuff we bought. We can’t sell it either. A rip-off auction place offered me $100 per item even though they were selling a painting by the same artist whose work we have – for $5000. I didn’t expect $5000 but I sure didn’t expect $100. How much profit margin is that?

I make my clothes now – as most of you who read this know. I don’t make art. I don’t need anymore stuff on my walls and my creative outlet is satisfied with constructing clothes. I knit too. I like sweaters. I like big cozy sweaters and knitting is satisfying – if you don’t screw up – but I now know how to fix a screw up so instead of telling myself I can’t make a mistake – I make them and fix them.

When I’m older – if I live long enough to be older – I might make art again. I always have ideas. My ideas are surely not popular – but they are mine.



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Sewing Blind ………

I am so amazed at pattern instructions that skip something! McCalls seems to be pretty good at skipping instructions or giving wrong information as in the Hoodie that called for a 24″ zipper and REALLY needed a 28″. Honestly – I had the DAMNED cutest houndstooth zipper in black and white I

Illustration: Magnus Överengen

Illustration: Magnus Överengen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

wanted to use …………. and instead I have to use black snap tape – anyway – on to another pattern whose instructions are loopy – another McCalls.

Here’s the pattern – you’ve all seen it –

Gorgeous Silk Blouse  McCall 6605 Version B

Gorgeous Silk Blouse
McCall 6605 Version B

This is cute. So far my replica in silk is working out just as cute – however there is a nasty instruction problemo. They have you put on the collar/tie before you have sewn the shoulders together – now isn’t that kinda hard? I mean how am I supposed to do that??????????? Luckily I am not a new sewer because if I were I would be pulling my hair out and cussing McCalls up one side and down another. But this is sloppy – first the wrong notions info on the pattern for the zipper for this hoodie


And then the poor instructions on the shirt. It has me wanting to apply for a job at McCalls. As an editor/proofreader/whatever. Really folks you CAN do better.

So my day in the sewing room ended up with me having to cut out a new collar/tie as the one in the pattern for some reason isn’t long enough – I stitched it onto the neck at the back and I’m going to hand sew it over the seam and then stitch down the tie part. Much simpler than what they say to do.

I am noshing at the reins on this silk shirt – I want to cut something out to serge but I know if I put this away it will be forever until I take it out again. I have the two side seams, buttonholes, buttons and the hem on the bottom and sleeves to do and it will be finished. Hopefully tomorrow and I can go on to something new – and exciting.

Speaking of exciting – I purchased this book

fashion illustration

and it’s 608 pages of fantastic tips and drawing exercises for fashion illustration for designers – hence the weird title – and I am sketching like mad while listening to DH snore. I am enjoying this!

I finally received my 20 yards of pattern material – which is sewable – so my new patterns from this book will be reality too


I think there’s something organic about the Japanese styles. They aren’t contrived or over the top like runway clothing. The outfits in the book are wearable. Between this and Drape Drape 3 and my fledgling designs on my own – I should be set for sewing patterns for quite a while. Now for more fabric …………….

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Pictures Today!

I finally brought the Nikon D50 down so I can hook it up to the laptop and transfer pictures.  Somehow I would love to get these on the same floor. Hmm I’ll have to think on that.

First I have some pictures of the progress on the fantastic purple shirt here

McCall's 6605

McCall’s 6605

And here’s mine so far



And I thought you might want to see some of my quilts = traditional ones this time

The quilt in pink was machine pieced and quilted using my Bernina with the BSR (stitch regulator). Doing large quilts on the machine is boring. Really boring. I prefer hand quilting both for the appearance and the pleasure of doing this. The Russian Sunflower quilt is all hand pieced, hand appliqued and hand quilted every 1/4 in the sunflowers and in a rose leaf and crosshatch pattern in the plain setting blocks. Each sunflower has 45 pieces and piecing those tiny little triangles was a pain – so was cutting them out – and then I appliqued the sunflowers onto the base fabric. I must say I do love it!

Many things to do today so I’ll keep this short – have a great day!



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Inspiration or the Fine Art of Theft

I’m off again today – in the sewing room because yesterday I baked bread and meditated. I’m for sure sewing today …….

Here’s a group of things that I found that I want to “incorporate” into my designs ———— enjoy!