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holly jolly christmas: day 3

Congratulations to our Day 2 winner, Stephanie N!

One of my favorite parts about blogging is being in a community of like-minded sewists. It’s so comforting to know that I can say things like “I love fabric” and “I should buy this fabric, right?” and “another floral fabric? here’s my credit card” around you guys, and you just get it. You understand. I can tell you all about the cool fabrics shops I visit and post videos on Instagram Stories of my fabric stash without worrying for one second that you’ll judge me or wonder why it’s so important to me. We’re all friends here.

In a perfect world, I would be able to shop for fabric whenever I want with no concern for money. (I’d wager a guess that most of us feel this way.) Instead, I have to be thoughtful about my purchases. Sometimes I splurge, but most of the time I buy things when I can and when they’re on sale. It’s all about balance. Sometimes I buy things for a specific purpose, but mostly I buy fabric because it’s pretty and inspires me and I have to have it. (Also, my average “buy” amount is 4 yards. I get that question a lot.) When I was in college, I discovered an online store called Fashion Fabrics Club, And I never looked back.

I was the first in my class to find this little gem of a fabric shop, and things quickly got out of hand in the best (and funniest) way. For broke college students in a major that required fabric and supplies purchases, we took whatever help we could get – and FFC has really amazing prices on fabrics. Searching and finding just the right fabric on that site is also like a treasure hunt, so it was even more exciting to find exactly what you were looking for. I’m pretty sure we all showed up to open lab at one time or another with an FFC package that had just been delivered – too excited to open it by ourselves.

Over the years, I have gotten some of the prettiest fabrics from this place, and I knew they would be a perfect fit for this giveaway project. So, the winner of today’s giveaway will be getting $100 gift card to Fashion Fabrics Club – and I’m a tad jealous because that will get you a lot of good stuff. You will have fun spending that, for sure!

Top row, left to right: Vogue 9104, Vogue 8789, McCall’s 6696

Middle row, left to right: Vogue 8379, OOP Vogue, Vogue 8772

Bottom row, left to right: Butterick 6446, Vogue 8788, my design.

Fashion Fabrics Club was also kind enough to provide me with the fabric I used for this project, and it’s one of my favorites of the year. This is a polyester chiffon with tone on tone pearlized daisy sequins. It is absolutely gorgeous.

As with all sequin projects, it’s best to keep it simple. Don’t over complicate it, stick with clean lines and just a few seams. Having already made a sequin dress and skirt this year (both of which were underlined) I kept thinking about doing something a little different. The beauty of this fabric is that it doesn’t scream special occasion so you can get away with it during the day. I used an old, out-of-print unlined jacket pattern, made a couple of adjustments to eliminate some unnecessary seams, and got busy. I love how well this piece came together, and just like the wrap in yesterday’s post, it makes a great gift. (And yes, I know I’m wearing this differently than it’s been designed without the “collar” turned back, but I think it’s a little more modern and fresh this way. Plus, you see less of the wrong side of the fabric.)


I’m a big believer in learning and practicing and always striving to be better, so books and resources are a big part of that. To that end, in today’s giveaway is a copy of Couture Sewing Techniques, which I think is a must have in every seamstress’s library.

Also important? Irons. Irons are super essential. HUSQVARNA VIKING® is providing today’s winner with a SINGER Expert Finish1700 Watt Steam Iron.

The winner of today’s giveaway will receive:

  • A $100 gift card to Fashion Fabrics Club,
  • Couture Sewing Techniques, 
  • and the SINGER Expert Finish1700 Watt Steam Iron.

Big, big thanks to Johari at Fashion Fabrics Club for being so awesome and happy to join us for this giveaway project. I am a customer for life, so hurry up and restock the sateen prints for me! 🙂

And, like I’ve been saying for years, HUSQVARNA VIKING® is the best – and we’ve got even more in store for you to win next week. (Big stuff is coming!) Remember, we’re taking the weekend off so we’ll see you at noon on Monday with three more days of giveaways. Thank you for participating, and good luck!


true royalty: fall sewing projects with the DESIGNER RUBY Royale™

The “here’s what I made with __ machine” posts have quickly become some of my favorites of the year. Everything about this partnership with HUSQVARNA VIKING® is fun (and, boy oh boy, do we have something huge planned for next month!) but I especially like how seamlessly this whole thing fits in with what I would be doing on my own anyway: sewing my little heart out and sharing it with you. And if you’ve followed this blog for any time at all you know that I put my machines through the ringer, and it’s a must that they be up to the challenge.

There are some words that I use pretty consistently in all of these HUSQVARNA VIKING® posts, words like “reliable” and “powerful” and “easy to use” and they certainly apply to the DESIGNER RUBY Royale™. The difference is that now we’re getting into sewing and embroidery machines are that just really, really advanced and super smart. They do all of the things we sewists need and expect them to do, but the ease with which they do them – not to mention all the additional features and ideas and inspiration that comes with them – is enough to make you stop and go, “Wait, this machine can do THAT?!”

I got to use the DESIGNER RUBY Royale™ this fall, and my projects ranged from delicate dresses in rayon challis to intricate special occasion pieces in guipure lace and satin. There was sateen and cotton shirting and ponte knits and trims and underlining and blind hems and topstitching and more zippers than I can count. Funny enough, I find that I use a wider variety of fabrics for fall than I usually do for spring. So, this time around I wanted to focus on that, the variety of fabrics.

Because there were so many invisible zippers involved for these projects, I added a new presser foot to my collection: the clear invisible zipper foot. If you sew a lot of invisible zippers, it’s worth it to have this accessory. I’ve been using the invisible zipper foot that comes with the machine for years and loved it, but this foot takes things up a notch. There’s a channel for the zipper teeth to pass under and the needle sews right next to the teeth. It makes installing thoes pesky zippers even easier, and you can use it in conjunction with the foot that comes in the accessories pack with the machine.

 

One garment at the top of my favorites list is the lemon print skirt from the TÉLIO series. I knew I wanted something longer in length to show off the fabric, but I liked the idea of breaking up the print in an interesting way. Enter, piping! I added the piping in the seam connecting the hem band to the skirt. I got my hands on a clear piping foot ages ago when I realized the value in having an accessory that made adding piping a breeze. And you can use this foot to make your own piping and install it.

I spent the past couple of months moving from project to project, and each new project meant a new fabric. A quick change of your needle and fabric setting is all it takes to go from something like a super lightweight viscose batiste to a guipure lace with underlining and trim. And I know I’ve mentioned the Exclusive SEWING ADVISOR® and EMBROIDERY ADVISOR™ features a million times this year, but it’s worth repeating. That’s where we are with technology now – the machine provides guidance and optimizes your sewing and embroidery without you having to mess with a tension dial or fuss with your thread or worry that your machine can’t handle your fabric.

Prior to this partnership, I never gave much thought to embroidery. It was something that, quite frankly, intimidated me a little. And, I was under the impression that embroidery took forever. And what if the thread breaks? What about the bobbin thread? What’s the deal with stabilizer, anyway? I have to laugh looking back at my hesitations. Embroidery is so easy! (For those who haven’t seen my guide for all things needles and stabilizer, see this post.)

I’ve been practicing and experimenting with embroidery all year, in preparation for a very, very big project I have in mind for a jacket (coming soon!). I’ve tested fabric and stabilizer combinations, tried different needles, evaluated the characteristics of different types of thread, and pretty much just gotten comfortable with the process. The DESIGNER RUBY Royale™ does embroidery like nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s effortless. It’s fun to just look through the sample book, pick out a few things you like, and watch as the machine brings them to life.

I liked one of the designs so much I turned it into a pillow, because you know I love a pretty throw pillow. I used Robison-Anton rayon embroidery thread in coral, and I simply chose a design from the sample book and embroidered it on a medium weight cotton twill with a size 75 embroidery needle and INSPIRA® Tear-A-Way stabilizer. It’s a stabilizer that I’ve used many times before, and I love it.

It’s a good feeling when you can look back and know the work you did was thoughtful and well executed – and that’s how I feel about these projects. Of the few things I do exceptionally well sewing is near the top of the list, but the quality machines I use just make it look extra good. I really believe that using good tools and machines only make us better. And, in the case of the DESIGNER RUBY Royale™ and the other machines I’ve had the pleasure of using this year, a good sewing machine makes it all that much more enjoyable too. And why bother if it isn’t fun, right?!

Hard to believe my year as an ambassador is nearly over, but I think we’ve saved the best for last. I’ll be getting one more machine soon, and I can’t wait to see what it is. We’re putting the finishing touches on a big project for December with tons of content and giveaways, so I’ll post information and dates for that as soon as the project is ready. I’m getting excited just thinking about it! And starting soon, I’m going all in for holiday inspiration – so get ready for lots of sparkle and tulle and everything fancy!

As always, thank you for following along. See you later this week!

the TÉLIO collection: emerald encore

The dress in today’s post wasn’t planned. Originally, the folks at TÉLIO and I were going to end this fall series today with two pretty incredible special occasion pieces. Dresses made with yards and yards of satin and lace and a whole lot of horsehair, but this whole thing has been so much fun that we decided to sneak in an extra week. I’ve been both touched and humbled by the response from all of you too – I think we’ve all had a really great time watching this collection come together. It’s also been tons of fun watching the reaction to each look. I had a feeling the lemon print garments would be a hit, but I’ve been quite surprised by the response to the greens. (Last week’s cozy ponte knit looks in that yummy spruce green have gotten the most views and comments than anything else so far – crazy!) This emerald green rayon batiste from week three was also a winner, and it’s for that reason that we decided to feature it again.

This fabric is available at fabric.com, and not only do I love this color year round, it would also be pretty fantastic for Christmas. Or, another idea is a pretty pajama set with a robe trimmed in some delicate lace or a blouse with statement sleeves or a duster or a full skirt. You get the idea – this fabric makes pretty clothes. I’ll be using it again in the spring to make a maxi dress.

I use rayon all the time. It’s one of my favorite fabrics because it mimics lightweight silk for a fraction of the price, it feels incredible to wear, and it works well in the Texas heat for most of the year. I also love how beautifully it drapes, which is why I chose McCall’s 7566. This pattern is from the spring collection, and I was attracted to it because there are options for a little more coverage without a traditional sleeve. The ruffle and cape-style options are really lovely, and I like the delicate skirt. I wouldn’t recommend this pattern for beginners, because those narrow hems take experience and patience to execute, and gathering the skirt can be a little tedious.

I cut my usual size, but I think the pattern runs a little big. I could easily go down a full size and still have plenty of wearing ease. I cut view A and added a few inches of length to the skirt, and I also used the back bodice piece from view D because I can’t wear things with a low cut back. Other than that, I made no changes. I lined the dress in bemberg rayon, and the lining is navy blue simply because of the three colors I had on hand it looked the best with the emerald. I love that combination though – looks great.

The first dress I made with this fabric was less fitted and had elastic around the waist. Because this dress has a more fitted bodice with a skirt that is gathered onto it, I staystitched the waistline on the bodice. Just like staystitching keeps a neckline or armholes from stretching out of shape, staystitching the waistline does the same thing. I’ve found that it helps keep the bodice stable as you gather the skirt onto the bodice. For heavier, more stable fabrics like sateen or twill, I will often fuse a lightweight interfacing around the waistline. You can do this to rayon too, just be sure to use a lightweight interfacing.

The arrow points to the staystitching around the waistline on the bodice.

Until recently, I had nothing in my closet in this color. I’m happy that’s changed now!

I hope you’re enjoyed this series as much as I have, and I can’t wait for next week. I’ve saved the best for last!