Couture Lunacy

Exploring Fashion One Thread At A Time

Leave a comment

Southwestern Top Finished!



I have stuck the sleeve up in the air so you can see the fit on this top. It has curves in all the right places, although I could wish I didn’t have quite so many 🙂



This view gives you a two-sided view of the line of the top. I like the fit on this a lot and will use this adapted pattern often. I used a twin needle to stitch the hems on the bottom and sleeves – pretty neat and looks “store-bought.”



This is the whole top with the drape from the bust line down and shows the flare at the bottom – that flare was obtained simply by doing a FBA on the pattern and rotating the extra dart amount to the bottom. Love it.



And here’s the back of the shirt – the same shape prevails and I like to think it is slimming – maybe not with this wild fabric, but slimming enough. I used my serger for all of the seams. I only needed the sewing machine for the hemming, applying the neckband and doing the shoulder seams because I added clear elastic to them to keep them from sagging. I’m very pleased with the serger and it makes everything neat and tidy.

On to the next wardrobe piece!


1 Comment

The Southwestern Top ……… Update



I put in the sleeves and sewed the side seams up – the top looks gorgeous. I’m hoping I can get a great picture for you tomorrow. The line from the bust, where the top is fitted, to the hem, which is flared – is beautiful and gives this top great shape. I hope to be able to show this well enough in the photo tomorrow.

I’m being told by my photographer son to get as much natural light as I can so the picture will be sharper and it won’t wash out details ……… I will try.

I had a spooky few minutes with this top – learning to use my serger to sew in the sleeves and do the side seams. I am a slow adapter so actually using my serger requires me to jump unknowingly into the project! It’s so silly ——- but I feel accomplished today after getting this much done. Now I just need to finish the edges and hem it and I will use a twin needle for that – I love twin needles!

1 Comment

Sewing Frustration!

Today I seriously almost had a cat fit! I had my shirt all cut out and was starting to sew. Of course the neckband is only 1″ and I needed to fold it in half and iron it. Ok. Well the fabric rolls like crazy. Just to iron it flat I had to pin it all over the place.

So then I thought – ok that’s done – start sewing. My Bernina skipped six or seven stitches just on a sleeve seam. I changed the needle, re-threaded the machine – same thing. I cleaned out the tension discs, put in another needle, same thing. I changed from a jersey needle to a standard point. Same thing.

At this point I’m almost in tears, because this sewing machine has never given me a lot of trouble. So I try to sew on some other fabric, a heavier knit and a woven muslin. No problem. The Bernina does not skip a stitch. Hmm.

I go to my favorite reference, known as the internet and what do I see? Fabrics with lots of lycra and/or nylon act like a trampoline for the needle. Yes, that would be what happened. So before I even started, that top is in the trash. No way I’m frustrating myself for days trying to get the fabric to behave itself. I won’t be buying anything else that looks like that fabric – it looked like scarf fabric except it was a knit. Never again. Luckily there isn’t any more in my sewing room or it would be heading out the door too!

Leave a comment

A Word About Buttonholes

There are things in sewing that scare me. Buttonholes for instance. Zippers too. Things that have to close things I guess.

I have a Bernina 440QE – this sewing machine does everything except cook supper. I love my sewing machine. It has only once given me fits enough to want to take a hammer to it. That was when I was using a dull needle on thick ponte knit. So it skipped stitches and I thought the damn thing was broken. Only took me 5 days to figure out to change the needle. 🙂

Today I had to complete my buttonholes on my purple silk shirt. I don’t know why Bernina persists in giving you a manual when I won’t look at it anyway. Shoot. I started the buttonhole and halfway through I said – oh no I don’t know how to finish this – I could have had a foot long buttonhole.

I stopped. I got out the manual. I read how to do an automatic buttonhole where the machine remembers EXACTLY how long to make the buttonhole and does it all for you after the first one. The most strenuous thing I had to do was hit the quick reverse button. I did it.

I have the placket on the shirt all pinned together so I can stick a marking pencil in the opened buttonholes and mark where to sew on the buttons. They are square little buttons

Pink Shell Button Waechter's Fine Fabrics

Pink Shell Button
Waechter’s Fine Fabrics

And in case you’ve forgotten – here’s the shirt –


This was taken before I had sewn the collar on, etc. It is quite cute. I will be happy to wear this if I get to go to work in July. We shall see how DH is doing and if I can actually leave here for 4 to 6 hours at a time. I hope I can.

Next up – something to serge. I will be so happy to get used to that machine.

Supper making calls me to the kitchen. A nice salad and a steak and hot dogs for DH. I know I’m vegetarian, but every once in a while I go nuts and have to have red meat. And steak is it. Don’t try to make me eat hamburger. Just steak.

Leave a comment

Sewing Notions and The Fear of Not Having THAT One Thing You Need

There are so many “extra” things you need to complete your wardrobe – here are just a few and I’m sure you can think of more ………….


There are several wonderful websites to help you accumulate everything you will need. I like SewTrue for most things – including wonderful patternmaking supplies and hard to find tailoring supplies. Also they have a large thread selection and every weird notion you can name.

Mood Fabrics has a notion department too and it is fantastic. MJ Trim is good for – wait for it – trims. carries pattern tracing material you can sew to fit and it’s $2.15 a yard. Also has muslin which you will need to mock-up your garments.

One thing I love that I cannot live without is my Olfa cutter and mat. I have the 24 x 36 mat and I use it to cut out fabric. An extra supply of blades comes in handy – it needs replacing often if you cut a lot – mine is cutting weird with skipping every so often. I think it’s the cutter itself as I’ve changed the blade and it’s still doing it.

Anything else? Let you imagine run wild.


Leave a comment

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~

Leave a comment

Decisions Decisions

Ok. I got the serger today. It’s cute. Smaller than I thought it would be – but cute. Now here’s the deal – for twice as much (ahem) I can get the top of the line Juki serger that does everything but brush your teeth. I am tempted.

However – and it’s a big however – I have never used a serger. So I’m not sure about this at all. I have resisted a serger until last week when DS offered it to me for Mother’s Day. Hey, it was free – what the hell. Since then I have been panicking. Every time he sees me he says “Now you take it easy with that Mom. Don’t try to do too much at once.” I could slap him. Really. I should have beat him as a child because now he has absolutely no respect for his poor old mother. He thinks I’m stooooopid.

So – rant – I can get the fancy one by sending this one back and putting the fancy one on layaway for three months. I just don’t know what to do. Do I get fancy one or keep this one? Is this one enough for a beginner? I didn’t buy the top of the line Bernina sewing machine – good god they’re only 12K – and I’m happy with my Aurora 440QE. But I don’t know —– the features of the MO 735 are more AND it has a coverstitch.

So dear reader – what would you do? Please comment and make up my mind. The first or the second?



My Mother's Day Present!

My Mother’s Day Present!