Couture Lunacy

Exploring Fashion One Thread At A Time


It is Almost a Sweater!


I have crossed a milestone and am in the home stretch! My Boxy by Joji is almost done. I am shaping the back and shoulders now. Only a few more rows and I can put the shoulder seams together – I have to learn how to do a 3-needle cast off – and then I do the neck edging and add the sleeves and cuffs!

The color of my Boxy is this

dusty pink

This is alpaca and it has spoiled any other fiber for me. It is super soft and light and makes a beautiful fabric. I tried knitting with some wool and alpaca blend – which I will do – but it was scratchier than alpaca. I am hooked on this yarn. Luckily I can get it at Nordic Mart in California and it comes in lovely colors.

On the sewing front, the fabrics are washed, the table is cleaned off, I’ve done my countertop work for this morning and now I can cut something out. Ready to rock with the serger for sure!

I am grabbing the camera after I wash up – since Gigi of Rethinking Reality wants pictures – and I will post a bunch here in a few minutes! Time to get breakfast on for DH. Luckily he eats cold cereal …………….




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The Dream of My Life


English: New York City skyline - seen from the...

English: New York City skyline – seen from the Staten Island Ferry Deutsch: New York City Skyline – von der Staten Island Fähre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


There is something I have always wanted to do, ever since I was small. I can remember laying in bed at night in the 60s day dreaming about clothes. Pink and black were my theme then. Jackie Kennedy was the first lady and her fashion sense was amazing to an 11-year-old. I wanted to look good in clothes.


I read Glamour magazine and Seventeen in the late 60s. There was a school in New York City that advertised in both magazines. The Patricia Stevens School – for what? I can’t remember but I know they trained models and fashion designers. I wanted to go to that school. I wanted to live in New York City.


I hadn’t – at that point – been anywhere other than Champaign, Illinois, a hunting camp in the UP of Michigan and a swampy nasty place in Arkansas. We went to Florida when I was 3 – California when I was 6, but I don’t remember much about those trips. I had also been in Chicago – which involved a long trip, lots of traffic, my dad not minding traffic rules, the car breaking down and not finding a hotel room ————- nightmare.


I still had a picture of New York City as exciting, exhilarating and magnetic. I saw myself living in a garden apartment decorated in yellow floral fabrics with a small garden off the back. It had lots of windows. My dream did not happen, but it is still there.


I am 61 now. I am the primary caregiver for a spouse who will have to live in a nursing home as soon as we can get him into one. I have been taking care of him at home for 3 years. This past weekend my son and I crossed a line where we knew that we cannot do this anymore. It is a 24/7 job and there are aspects of it that aren’t possible for us. My son is hanging by a thread and would do almost anything to get out of this situation. He is a great help but he is ready to leave just to have a break. I am ready to leave. 


In the midst of all of this I dream. I sew and make most of my clothes. I received a serger as a gift from my son for Mother’s Day – to this point I had used my Bernina Aurora 440QE and took double steps to sew and overlock seams. My Bernina is perfect.


I have started creating my own patterns, adjusting patterns to fit and draping. I received a dress form from same son for Christmas of 2009 and I have been set free since then. It is the best tool in any sewing room.


I just purchased a book on fashion illustration. I got it two days ago and I have already sat down with my pencils (and eraser) and sketched elements of faces. I have glanced through the whole book. I am enthralled.


I am back to my dream of being a fashion designer. I will be happy even if the fashions I design are only for me. But I would be happier if they were for everyone. 


I have set a goal. Next year I will apply to be on Project Runway – how scary is that? I will make it – and if I don’t – well I will have tried.


I like the flow of the top

I like the flow of the top


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Taking the Day Off!

I have been BUSY. I’ve been selling stuff  like hotcakes and I have been packing, shipping and haunting the internet.

I have a million things to do. I’m still working on my lovely fuchsia sari silk blouse. We’re at the putting the back and front together step. The front button band is done and it looks lovely. I can’t wait to finish this.

As you all know – I received my first serger as a gift this week! What excitement! Yesterday – after only two days – I successfully mastered threading it – and this was the biggest drawback to me actually getting a serger all these years. Voila’ I now can serge!

I’ve been reading blogs where someone has liked another sewing blog – and then they say the sewing blogger has been sewing for three years and is an expert. Non. Sorry. Hate to disagree. I’ve looked at the items the expert has made and they don’t fit. They look homemade on the outside – I can’t imagine what the inside looks like.

Sewing – like every other worthwhile pursuit – takes time and experience. This may be just sour grapes – I have a lot of those little buggers hanging around which I try to kill regularly. But I have learned to really sew well over 50 years. There is no garment or design I cannot master. There are a few I won’t make – like jeans. As long as I can find foxy fitting jeans somewhere – I’m not going to mess with those. I also don’t make my underwear – and that’s about it – I make everything else – including coats.

Here’s one I made a couple of years ago – I love the pattern. It is an Issey Miyake and I’ve made the shirt too – not the pants yet but they are on the burner.

V1476This coat needs to be made out of fabric that is not heavy. It isn’t appropriate in a heavy coating fabric because the coat is so heavy you can’t wear it! That’s unfortunately what I did in this photo


I love the coat but I tried to wear it a couple of times and whew it is super duper heavy. So next I am going to make it out of a lighter fabric and maybe even raincoating. Speaking of rainwear – I am getting this fabric for another project here

M6531I’m making view D which is the furthest on the right. And I’m using this


Fabric like this is why I shop at Emma One Sock. This is absolutely knock down drop dead gorgeous! My serger will come in handy on this project!

Today I am going to sew, do laundry, fold laundry (it’s been sitting around forever) cook a decent supper – we’ve had pizza a lot lately – and chill. I packed up my spinning wheel – it was as much trouble to take apart as it was to put together. It is leaving today for California. If I ever decide to spin again I am going to get the top of the line wheel rather than a basic one. I want the Majacraft Aura

maj-0114.detailand when I have $1100 or more to blow – it will come here. I haven’t given up (I never do) but I need a better wheel if this is going to work ………………… have fun – and keep on sewing~

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Another Learning Curve!

My Mother's Day Present!

My Mother’s Day Present!

I am so excited! Today my Juki 644D Serger is arriving! My lovely one and only DS bought this for me for Mother’s Day.

First I have to tell you that I am a clutz. I do not have gumby fingers. I think I have a mechanical block of some kind. I am a late adapter, as my DS has said ………….

I have had numerous problems with sewing machines. I used my Grandma Nannie’s White sewing machine when I started. Mom had traded her machine for Grandma’s when Grandma moved to California. It didn’t zig or zag. It sewed. I don’t even think it had a buttonhole on it.

Then I got a Kenmore. We’ll just leave that there ………. and then when I was teaching beginning quilting, I went next door to a sewing machine shop and purchased an Elna Top 300. I think the guy saw me coming. That was the worst sewing machine I have ever tried to sew on. This sucker made me learn to quilt by hand and I didn’t even attempt to sew clothing. It would jam every time I started to sew – thread nests all over. It was horrid. I took it back to see if he could fix it and poof he didn’t. I gave it to Goodwill and I’m so sorry …………..

When we moved to Maine – I got a Bernina for my next birthday in January 2008. I made 4 quilts in rapid succession machine-quilting each one with the BSR. Yetch. Big king-size quilts don’t fit under the machine very well. After the quilts I branched back into sewing clothes.

My whole closet is full of tops and jackets I MADE. I wear them. I love them. I had made several that were longer with assymetrical hemlines. I took those a year later and made them into tee shirts. I love sewing on my Bernina.

Without a serger though, every seam takes two or three more steps. I started overcasting each piece of the pattern and then sewing it together. Sometimes I sew the seams and then overcast both together. Or I will do a Hong Kong seam or a french seam on a woven.

I have wanted a serger since 2010 when the local shop here started carrying Bernina. I checked on the price – and after I picked myself up off the floor – I started checking on the internet for an alternative. You can’t buy a new Bernina online.

I read where Juki actually makes the Bernina serger line and several sewists said that the machine they had looked just like a Juki. Juki sergers are much more affordable – voila! So I chose a Juki 644D! When DS told me I could choose my serger AND he would pay for overnight shipping – I was over the moon – or the sun or something!

It will be here today. I also ordered thread, knowing that you can’t sew without it. (tee as in hee). And luckily the serger comes with needles so I can see which ones to get. This one uses regular sewing machine needles. I also got a book, being a slow adapter – I will need all the help I can get. Just looking at the threading on the Juki website made my mind fitz. I can do this but maybe I will need to learn a lot first.

I’m looking forward to being able to do a rolled hem and also to sew and cut the seam all at once. DS bought me a dress form one Christmas (this is the best kid in the world) and now with the dress form, the Bernina and the serger – there is no stopping me. I might even start my own clothing line ……………… whoot!