The Hollywood Vest

For this, my second Britex project, I got to work with one of my FAVORITE fabrics (again!!):


The Hollywood Vest
After using that scrumptious plaid for my last project, The Woodland Stroll Cape, I wanted to KISS (keep it simple, Seamstress!!) the next effort. When keeping it simple, you need to start with the best quality materials. This incredibly soft, drape-y, lush crème colored wool more than answered. It’s highly textured on one side, smooth on the other and when combined with By Hand London’s Victoria Blazer pattern you have the main ingredients to create your own version of the perfect, Monroe inspired:

Hollywood Vest!
MarilynThere will never be another Marilyn. BUT! With a few (VERY few) pattern tweaks, you (WE!) can have her vest!
The Hollywood Vest

It took one muslin.

muslins(left: seam allowance turned under. right: an additional 5/8 inch turned under)

And two sets of pattern mods.


And BOOM!! Here she is!
The Hollywood Vest

The Hollywood Vest

For deets on how I did it, visit Britex!!!

PS: Thanks to hubby for these pics (more here)!!

This was the project that had all the blurry photos. The second photo shoot was a tiny bit stressful because I was WRONG about my deadline (missed it) and unsure how the second crop of pics would. If any of you have the goods, please share your tips on maintaining image resolution when resizing pics!

The Hollywood Vest


Draping: The Complete Course

You all know the drill by now, right? The awesome people at Laurence King Publishing asked if I wanted to review Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel. Little ole me stumbled into their path when they hosted a pop-up event at Britex and they peeped at their blog. Check the amazing hair on the adorable Karolyn! And can you spot the beautiful Laura Mae?

Britex & Laurence King Pop-Up EventI took about .6 seconds to think it over and replied YES, of course I do!  It was the perfect time as I was already up to my eyeballs in draped projects. But those are cheater makes when it comes to the REAL Drape!

This amazing (HEAVY! Seriously. You could use it to weight train.) book comes with a DVD.


I have to admit, for some unknowable reason, I was expecting a VHS tape! Can you believe it?!?! WHAT was I thinking! lol

I might have been a little tired when I arrived home from work and my hubby told me that a heavy package was waiting for me. This was, literally, 2 days after I got the email from the good peeps at LK, so I wasn’t hopeful that I’d find a book inside. But I DID!! So, excuse my Dumb & Dumber moment. K? Thanx!

Though I didn’t have to try a project from the book to sing its praises, I really, really wanted to. But, everything in my life conspired against finding the time to do so. It’s New York Archives Week and my duties as the Dir. of Communications for A.R.T. have kept me SUPER busy. Things have reached maintenance mode, so I could chill (only a bit!) for a minute. That meant that today was the day.

I didn’t even let this jam packed, suggested tool-kit page stop me.
Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel
Seeing this page had the same effect as waving a red flag in front of a bull!!


But, that would have meant taking a trip and I wanted to dig in, NOW. I forged ahead with my minimalist tool-kit. And for good measure, skipped right over to:
Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

My dress form (which used to reside in Kalkatroona with Ms. Oona) is lacking in the lower pear area. So I thought this swing-y dress was the perfect place to start.

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

I pulled out my iron, put on a movie and got to work.
Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

Sheared off bits!

This was after trim and pin session one.

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

I took Karolyn’s advice to heart when she states: “Check hem, armhole, and neckline shape for attitude.” I have been reading tons of Jane Austen and the “attitude” in which one stands, sits, dances, responds to a query is everything. So I was all over checking the attitude of my work!

Turns out, I didn’t like it. I gave the side seam a second trim. And found that I liked the look of it better.

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

I grabbed some hem tape to stand for in for sticky tape and marked the neckline and armhole.

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

And then marked up the muslin.


Next stop, pattern pieces baby!!

Drape Drape :: The Monster Cowl

Drape Drape :: The Monster Cowl

This monster cowl HAD to be photographed in front of some monster street art!!

Drape Drape :: The Monster Cowl

This is pattern no. 1 from Drape Drape Book 1 made up in some cotton knit I bought while on my last Garment District roam with both visiting and local sewcialists. It’s pretty light weight, so I didn’t serge the seams or the cowl’s interior edge. It would have been too visible from the right side (I also didn’t feel like changing the serger thread, let’s keep it real).

Drape Drape :: The Monster Cowl

I tried to reduce the bewb revealing depth of the cowl by removing some width from the center of the front (1/4 inch) and back (1/2 inch) pattern pieces. I then added that width (+ a bit more based on the width of a fave top) to the side seams. This was partially successful as the front is at a totally comfortable, for me, depth. The back is still suuuuper draaaaaaped.

Check it out!!
Drape Drape :: The Monster Cowl

I also fudged the fit a bit more by increasing the seam allowance (by about one inch) when I attached the F&B at the shoulders.  It was enough for the front, but not the back. That damn bra strap refused to stay hidden. The wind was partially to blame.

 Here’s an outtake of me trying to tuck the top into it.

Drape Drape :: The Monster Cowl
And a funny one of a face I am caught making during these photo shoots ALL THE TIME.
Drape Drape :: The Monster Cowl
Which is why there are so few pictures of me facing the camera on this here blog 😉
Drape Drape :: The Monster Cowl
Know your angles, people!

I might attach some little loops to connect the shoulders to my bra straps for extra security, but as I won’t be wearing this version to work, I think it’s fine to stay,  as is. Version 2.0, which will be baby pink and paired with pencil skirts, will definitely get some. It will also be teeny bit shorter (to hit at the waistband of my bottoms) and I’m contemplating using the front pattern piece to cut the back, too.

What do you all think?

GIVEAWAY CLOSED: Guess That Pattern!!

Hello, again!!

I realized that I forgot the best part of a guessing game,


So, I’ll be giving away two patterns, one to Amanda who guessed which type of oterwear correctly.

It’s a CAPE!!

The other pattern will go to the person (and if more than one, a randomly selected person from that pool) who can guess which pattern it is.

Here’s a photo I posted on instagram while I was tryng to decide on the final finishing.

Britex Fabrics Project #1

I’m so excited to show you the final product!!


Lizzy got it right!

Dotty, Spotty, Victoria!

Dotty, Spotty, Victoria!

Ahem….DUDES!! I made a JACKET!!!


And I love it sooo much I took pics TWICE and still didn’t get them nice and crisp.

So, I LOMO’ed out 😉

Dotty, Spotty, Victoria!

This is By Hand London’s Victoria Blazer, of course!! I’m finally making something when everyone else is! Lol I used a really prettily printed stretch cotton sateen from Which is puuuurfect for it!I I only lined the bodice with cotton (with minimal stretch) because the sleeves were a little snug (I used a smaller seam allowance to make them more comfy) on the size 4.

Excuse me while I reach around to pat myself on the back for this absolutely kick-ass blind stitching job!!

Dotty, Spotty, Victoria!

I initially cut a different shell fabric (see it here on Instagram) but fell out of love with the thought of a white blazer when the summer’s ending, soon. I can see now that the sleeves would have been really awkward in that fabric (a thick-ish, cotton twill) so the change was for the best. I also, based on the informal poll taken on Instagram and By Hand London’s own Elisalex, decided to shorten it a little. The 4 fits in the upper bodice, but it was snug at the hips, which pulled the side seams back, making the pockets awkward. I’d love to make the next size up, in a fabric with more drape, to get the desired slouchy look.

Though, this one ain’t bad!!

Dotty, Spotty, Victoria!

Dotty, Spotty, Victoria!

I took a little collection of pins out to try on the cool lapels, but the wind killed my mood. I painted the lady, bought myself the owls on Ebay and the other three are vintage from my granny.

Dotty, Spotty, Victoria!

Some Victoria details?! Shall we?

Yes, of course!

Dotty, Spotty, Victoria!

Dotty, Spotty, Victoria!

Dotty, Spotty, Victoria!

Dotty, Spotty, Victoria!

Love! This little thing will see so much wear!

Dotty, Spotty, Victoria!

Newest Britex Guest Blogger? ME!

Britex Guest Blogger

You read that right?? I’ll be joining one of my fave ladies, Jen from Grainline, and other super talented sewcialists over on the Britex blog!! I am so stupid excited about it!!

Screen Shot 2013-08-14 at 10.48.02 PM

I also spent time with beautiful and talented sewcialists (and some of their family members) at the Male Pattern Boldness Day Extravagaaaaanza.

AND, thanks to the easy to decision to sew with Victory patterns, I had my picture in Flare, a Canadian fashion magazine!!

From Kristiann @ Victory PatternsThis week has been awesome for sewing news!!

What’s (sew) awesome with you?

Scout Woven Tee Sew-A-Long :: Size & Fabric!!

Scout Sew-A-Long @Kollabora!!

Hiya!! Thanks for all the lurve for my sleeveless Archer!! It’s so damn cold here today, I think sleeved and ruffled Archer might get some wear. Hmph!


About the Sew-A-Long, I’ve posted some tips on choosing the perfect size and fabric for your Scout Woven Tee over on Kollabora.

So, grab a measuring tool, or four ;)….

Choosing The Right Pattern Size

Measure a top you like the fit of…  IMG_7598

Measure your pattern piece…


And make a Scout to fit!


It’s time to go stash diving…

Choosing the Right Fabric for your Pattern

And meet me at