Monthly Archives: February 2012

Heading to Sew expo…

I am off to Puyallup today to help set up for all the fashion shows that featured in Sew Expo, the biggest sewing fair in the country. Practically right in my own back yard!! I hope to blog about it, but since I have also been masquerading as a laptop-repair-tech these past 2 days, it might not happen till next week. Just like MacArthur, tho, I promise to return!

 

Happy sewing,

 

Maris Olsen

Oscar night

I really don’t care a whit who gets the Oscar for any category most years, but I do like watching the red carpet.  This year I even managed to get a huge load of ironing done while viewing – bonus!

My favorite look for the evening was Penelope Cruz. I thought she completely captured the iconic elegance of Grace Kelly, and I loved, loved, loved her ensemble.

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A close second favorite was Tina Fey. A girl after my own heart (often seen in black), I thought her custom Carolina Herrera black peplum gown was another stunner. Though I am not sure anything will ever top the short black lace Oscar de la Renta dress she wore to the Mark Twain award ceremony in my book….just saying.

Tina

What did you think? Any new favorites last night? I probably should have been sewing instead of viewing, but I am going to finish those jeans I never entered into the PatternReview contest TODAY. I will!

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

Boundless creativity results in PJs and “uglies”

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I am constantly amazed by kids – their creativity, attention to details, and the unique ways they approach the art of sewing – sometimes I learn as much as they do! Yesterday was one of those days. I spent most of the morning sewing with my special pal, Jodie. She has her own sewing machine (thanks to her sweet grandma!), and we planned a simple pajama pant project to help her get more comfortable using her machine without adult help (subtext = her totally awesome mom is not that helpful in the sewing department 😉 ).

Well, make pajama pants we did. But since I had needed to trace off a pattern in her size before she could get started, Jodie decided to make a few “ugly dolls” while she was waiting on me. She had brought one along that she made earlier, and I thought these small dolls would make the perfect “pocket treasure” for the Dresses ‘Round the World project. Sweet Jodie offered to show me her process, and make 6 dolls to go with my completed dresses.

I let her go thru my scrap basket for any fabrics she wanted to use, and after finding some rayon velvets and cottons, she got started. All I supplied was a little scrap fabric and batting for stuffing – she supplied all the creativity and energy to get the work done.  I think they are just ador-a-belle, and it’s easy to imagine the pleasure they will give little girls without much to call their own. Awesome work, Jodie!

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Oh yes, we did finish her green leopard print pajama pants, too. But the highlight of the day for me was learning how to make ugly dolls from my favorite ten year-old. Thanks for the great sewing time, Jodie!

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Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

Elliott Berman Textiles – New York City garment district

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Oh the loveliness of this new-to-me fabric store – Elliott Berman Textiles – carrying mostly imported fabrics of top-notch quality. I visited last week during a whirlwind trip east, and I definitely could have spent much longer browsing and buying.  I promise that you will not be able to leave sans purchase, there are just too many beautiful fabrics begging to come home with you. I was restrained only by my pocketbook, not by any lack of gorgeous silk, cotton, viscose, and wool options.

I love this navy, black, and off-white skyline viscose print jersey. I plan to make a simple T to let the print shine, but I may do something interesting with the neckline. Perfect with jeans.

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I love white T shirts, and regardless of how careful I am with laundering, they really do not look top notch more than one season. And finding the rightweight, stretch factor, opaque-ness can be a challenge, so naturally I had to snatch up 3 yards of this silky, gorgeous, white viscose knit.  At least enough for 2 Ts. YUM.

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I could not resist this ador-a-belle pink and red small floral print for my precious new DGD – in BOTH cotton voile and viscose jersey! I think baby Oona will be getting some smocked dresses and baby leggings sometime soon…sweet!

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If you get to New York, please try to stop by this delightful gem. Matthew and Eugenia were so gracious and lovely, and clearly have an eye for the “good stuff”. I don’t think you will be disappointed. And did I mention they will send you swatches? Call and let them know what fabrics/weight/colors you are looking for, and they will pull from their current inventory. Almost like having a fabric personal shopper! 🙂

Elliott Berman Textiles
225 West 35th Street, 7th Floor
New York, New York
800-609-6072

Happy sewing!

MarisOlsen

Another Simplicity 3775—DONE!

If you are intimidated by sewing knits, I want to encourage you to GET OVER IT! Knits are very forgiving, and we all love wearing them. Comfortable, easy care, available in a wide variety of colors, textures, and prints – what’s not to love? You don’t need a serger to successfully sew with knits, and most patterns for knits have simple design lines that make construction easy and quick. Like my latest version of Simplicity 3775. This pattern was voted a “Best Pattern of 2007” and a “Hall of Fame 2009” design on PatternReview.com – for good reason. It is a flattering design, easy to sew, and makes up in a snap. Perfect!

Simplicity 3775 Blue Grey Black Knit

I made the “crossover top” view of the dress in a black and cream zebra print a long while back, and have worn that dress a few million times.  Love it. Love it so much I need a few more versions, and now am at +1. I was a little neutral about this print initially, but I LOVE it made up. Keeps me in my black and white wardrobe basics, but with a little punch.

I decided to add the neckline self-fabric binding, but also add a bit of stretchy trim accent. The trim was a bear to put on – took 2 tries and I still may have to adjust it a little down the road – but for now I am calling it done. On my second try I pressed the dress and binding (yes you can press knits), and then carefully pinned the trim just slightly above the seamline. Since the trim is rather thick, it wanted to wander while I was stitching with a narrow and long-ish zig-zag stitch. Adds a little pizazz, don’t you think?

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Ooohhh, the very best news ever about this dress is I finally completely and totally tamed my coverstitch machine! I switched the looper thread to wooly nylon, and also reduced the looper thread tension to almost nothing. NO TUNNELING. NONE. NADA. ZIP!!! Pretty exciting, eh? Look Ma, an absolutely flat hem!

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And the looper is all even and stretchy!

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And just because I know you want to see it again, here is the skirt hem front – also behaving itself nicely.

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And another shot of the lovely loopy backside!

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I am so excited about taming this machine that has been driving me crazy I might even write up a tutorial on how to achieve this loveliness. But not tonight. I really have to clean up the sewing room before students arrive tomorrow.

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

 

Jeans stall….insert knit dress and top

True confessions. I rarely start and complete a single sewing project without at least one interruption. When the kids were younger it might have been a costume needed for a play, an outfit for a special dance or party, but now it is just my crazy, random ways. I know. I committed to the PatternReview.com jeans contest. And there is still a good chance I will enter a pair of jeans. But today I got waylaid by a knit dress and T-shirt that were begging to be made. Yes, begging.

Hands down my favorite daytime knit dress pattern – Simplicity 3775. I think it is OOP now.

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And this Jalie T-shirt has a little flounce and a little twist, and since Jalie is currently my favorite brand of patterns, I had to give this a try!

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I am going to make View C of the dress, but with 3/4 sleeves, and I am using a stylized animal-ish print of blues, greys, a bit of white, and black. I like it!

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And since I cannot keep black and white out of my wardrobe for very long, here is the definite animal print for the T. Cheetah?

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I promise. More on the jeans later.

 

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

 

 

Kwik-Sew now part of McCalls patterns

News Flash: Kwik-Sew is now owned by the McCall’s pattern company. The good news for me is that Kwik-Sew patterns will be part of the McCall’s consolidated online shopping cart, which I love. I buy many of my patterns online, so this merger will definitely be more convenient for me. The bad news…..too soon to tell.

I really like Kwik-Sew patterns. I think they are well-drafted and generally employ good construction techniques. I particularly like them for my beginning students, and I use them as well for simple garments in my wardrobe. Kerstin Martensson is the founder of Kwik-Sew, and she originally focused on patterns for stretch fabrics. She is now deceased, and her son Eric McMaster has been running the company since 2002. The history of Kwik-Sew is an interesting one, and definitely a testimony to Kerstin’s vision and hard work.

I hope Kwik-Sew will be able to retain their uniqueness after this merger, especially after the dust settles a bit. IMHO Kwik-Sew is a great alternative to the McCall’s family of patterns, and I hope they continue to provide a distinct pattern option for all sewists.