Master Sewing and Design Certification Program

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sunday's Soup/The Perfect Asparagus Soup

An early Happy Sunday from Chicago! The Haute Couture fashion show is today, so I will be off soon. My garments are ready and my bags are packed, so it should be a fun day. Most of the garments that I will have in the show you've seen before, but I will try and get pictures and share them later this week.
Before I run out the door, I wanted to share this fabulous asparagus soup recipe. This is one that is not only good, but will impress anyone who is a little snobbish about their food. It has an amazing taste, it's easy to make and like I said, will impress any foodie out their. I made it a few nights ago for my husband and he said, "PLEASE remember this recipe!" It comes from Green Kitchen Stories and you can find the recipe HERE.
What makes this soup truly special is first of all, the mix of ingredients, asparagus, fennel and spinach. Then there is a topping that is absolutely delicious and an unexpected cashew cream that is drizzled over the soup.
The recipe for the topping calls for a green chili, I used crushed red pepper and I was very happy with the taste. For the lentils, I found precooked lentils at Trader Joe's, a grocery store here in the U.S.
The recipe says to soak the cashews over night. I did not. I merely put them in a small blender and blended them almost to a paste. I then added the water and lemon juice and I was good to go. By the way, the cashew cream would make a lovely sauce for vegetables, so its a great recipe on its own.
If you like asparagus, I HIGHLY recommend this recipe. I think you'll love it. The only thing I didn't love was the yield, the recipe doesn't make up, enough soup! By all means, double the recipe!!
Have a wonderful day!
Rhonda

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Happy Surprise and a Great Friend

I was working away in my studio yesterday when the mail came. My husband appeared with a magazine in his hand. It was the new issue of Threads Magazine. If you haven't seen it r received it yet, check out the fabulous top that's on the cover. It's a Kenneth King original, but then everything from Kenneth King is original!!! This would be a super fun top to make. In fact, I think it might translate into a few other garments as well.
Nestled back in the Reader's Closet section is my little polka dot skirt that I made last year for Sewing Indie Month. If you are new to the blog, I headed up the pattern hacking category for Sewing Indie Month and had a blast with it, I do like to chop things up!!!
The pattern is the Zlata Skirt Pattern from Stepalica Patterns.
Here's a picture of me in the skirt. I was shocked to receive a message from Threads asking to feature my skirt in the magazine. Honored and shocked! The skirt was sent off back in January, which was great timing since I wouldn't wear it all winter. When it came back home, I pulled it out of the box and wore it the next day. A little like a good friend returning from a long journey. If you would like to see the posts I did on the skirt, you can find them HERE and HERE. 
Thank you Threads!!!!!
I would like to preface this picture by saying that I am greatly blessed to have a friend like Cennetta from The Mahogany Stylist. She has believed in me, listened to me moan, and promoted me every chance she gets. In fact, there's a link on HER blog(not mine)to all the posts I've done for Sew News. My wish is that everyone could have a friend like Cennetta. If you do, count yourself very fortunate.
You may remember the Perfect Travel Dress I did some time ago. Cennetta has made a number of them, she loves them! But check this one out. Talk about VAVAVAVOOM!!! This is her beautiful daughter Lauren, or as I affectionately call her, Miss DeeDee :) The dress was made for our upcoming Haute Couture fashion show this Sunday. You can see more pictures on Cennetta's blog HERE
                                               
In closing, I thought I would share this picture with you. I'm feeling very overwhelmed at the moment, just a lot on my plate. I love this picture because it speaks to me of determination against all odds. When the quest seems insurmountable, it will be, unless you try :)
Happy Friday. I wish for you great friends, happy surprises and something that will make you work hard for the prize!
Rhonda

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Thrifty Thursday/Free Pajama Pant Pattern

When I came across the free peasant dress/top pattern from Martha Stewart, I also found a free pajama pant pattern. It looked simple and easy, just as a pajama pant should be. Now many of us who have been sewing for quite some time probably have a pajama pant in in our collection of patterns. Pajamas really don't change that much, maybe a little design change here and there,but for the most part, pajamas are pajamas. With all of that in mind, I thought I would still give the pattern a try. I realized that there are many who are new to sewing and as I thought about the pattern, I realized that it could possibly meet a lot of other needs, like teaching someone how to sew. For anyone who may be teaching a summer camp, this is a great pattern for teenagers. The parents will also thank you since it's free, just the cost of printing it out. The pattern is easy to sew and easy to download and tape together.
Here's the pattern once it has been taped together. One person commented that they were upset as had the pattern been moved down a bit, 5 sheets of paper could have been saved. That wasn't a huge deal for me, I recycle the paper, so it just went in the recycle bin.
The only issue I had with the pattern was the front crotch.As you can see in the picture below, the lines do not meet up. It turned out not to be an issue. I just smoothed out the line and went on my merry way.
There are a couple of issues with the materials list. 2 yards of 45" wide fabric will not yield a pair of pants. You will need closer to 2 3/4 yards for the pants. Also, 1 yard for the drawstring is too skimpy. Buy at least 1 1/2 yards of ribbon or twill tape. You want enough to go around your lower waist and still have enough to tie a decent bow.
Once you cut the pants out, sew up each leg. I like to try a leg on just to check the crotch depth and how the pant leg is fitting over all. Since this is intended for sleep wear, you're looking for comfort and that means ease in the pattern. There's nothing worse than a tight pair of pajama pants. At least in my book. The pant pattern was quite long. In fact, I cut 3" off the length of the each leg and still had 2" for hemming.
Just in case you are wondering, yes, it's airplanes!!! I really like airplanes ;)
And now for a very bad picture of me in my pajama pants., no makeup and all!!! The fit is great, not at all constricting. I decided to add elastic to my waistband in addition to the ribbon. After all they are pajama pants and rather like not having to deal with tying my pants if I happen to get up at night.  
You can find the free download of the pattern HERE. I also like the fact that there is a video that accompanies the pattern and instructions. A great tool if you are working with someone who is learning to sew. The video can be found just off to the side of the instructions.
So other than the few issues I told you about earlier, I really like my new pair of pajama pants and I will be making more. The pants would be great with the addition of a side seam pocket. Or you could add back hip pockets. You can also cut the pattern down and make drawstring shorts. The pants would make a great summer pant out of a fun cotton print or gauze. Or you could also use them as a cover up for your swimsuit. So lots of possibilities.
A great pairing with the pajama pants would be the free Tonic Tee pattern from SBCC. Remember, there's a short and long sleeve version!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Wednesday Showcase

Good Morning All!, and a very Happy Wednesday to you :) I had my first 6 month eye check up yesterday afternoon and I am very happy to report that there has been no growth or thickening of the moles on my retina, so no detection of cancer, all in all, a great report!!! So I am feeling especially happy today!
Today's featured bloggers truly make me smile. Both are embracing and enjoying their lives and their passions. I especially like what inspired the title of Lori's blog, http://frivolousatlast.com/
A life of pleasure makes even the strongest mind frivolous at last. 
Edward Bulwer-Lytton
As I scrolled through Lori's blog, I quickly realized that she is a very talented and creative person. Of course she sews and makes just the cutest pieces, like this super fun dress. 
 Love this dress that she made for her birthday. I need to go back and read through this post and see if she mentions anything about the piece of artwork in the background. Love that piece!
She said that this outfit was all party on one side and all artsy on the other, a lot like her, as you'll see in an upcoming picture.
 Lori is a very accomplished knitter. Scroll through her blog and you'll see other amazing pieces.
 Not only does she sew and knit beautiful pieces, but look at this amazing ring that she made. Now you see, all artsy on the other side!!!
It was an absolute delight to scroll through Lori's blog. As I said, she makes beautiful clothes, takes amazing pictures, is so very creative and she has a lovely heart. 

Our next blogger has been following my blog FOREVER!!!! Such a lovely lady, Miss Dorothy Dot Dot. Don't you just love that name?!!! She says,
"I am a retired educator, wife, mother of two, and a grandmother of four. Most of my time is spent sewing, knitting, reading,crocheting, cooking, and practicing piano. What a great way to pass the time. My mother was a seamstress and taught me the trade. I'm still practicing and trying to improve through viewing internet videos, blogs, and reading my mother's sewing books."
Dorothy's blog is named appropriately, http://sewingfunthings.blogspot.com/ In each and every picture, you can see Dorothy's joy on her face :)
Now, this outfit is super cute, but if you've read my blog for any amount of time, you know I love a picture of a girl and her dog! Dorothy, give us a better picture of the dog!!!!
 There's a shrug jacket that goes with this skirt, but I chose this picture as I just love the skirt. Scroll through her blog and you'll find the entire outfit.
 Dorothy made this jacket for breast cancer awareness month. What a lovely tribute.
I just had to include this picture. Look at that lovely mane of hair! Dorothy does share some of her styling tips, so check it out.
And finally, Dorothy and I have something in common, actually many things, but in regards of this picture, we both love hats and Dorothy wears them oh so well. As you scroll through her blog, you'll find lovely suits paired with the most beautiful hats. And then there's that lovely smile that accompanies each and every picture.
I hope you'll take a little time to check out Lori and Dorothy's blogs. I know you'll enjoy getting to know them.

Before I go, I thought I would include a picture of my own. I am taking an art class on Tuesday mornings. When I was diagnosed with the moles on my retina and told that they could possibly develop into cancer, like many of us who are shaken by an unexpected prognosis, I realized that time is of the essence and that it's important to make time for things that bring us joy. 
My piece is a work in progress, just like me ;)
Have a joyous day!
Rhonda

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Vogue 1250/Adding Sleeves

A few of you had asked about adding sleeves to Vogue 1250. By now you can see that it is really a very versatile pattern, dress, top, top with sleeves and even an evening gown. 
Adding sleeves to the pattern is really not a difficult task, it just took a little thought.
 The original pattern has a bit of a cap sleeve, or extended shoulder.
The pattern is designed so that there is no actual side seam, basically just a side seam dart. So the back of the skirt is part of the front pattern.  
 In order to add a sleeve, the back skirt will need to be cut away from the front.
If you would like to leave the back waist seam, you may do so, but I decided to get rid of the seam and have 1 less sewing step. I overlapped the top and the skirt and just pinned to 2 together. Keep in mind that the back top is cut on the fold, but the back skirt has a seam. The center back line is marked on the skirt, so line up the center back with the fold line of the top. One thing to keep in mind, a center back seam does offer 1 more area for making fitting adjustments, so you may want to add a seam to the center back rather than cutting it on the fold.
 When I made my gown, I left the back waist seam, but I added a seam to the center back of my top.
Now that the pattern has been cut apart, we are ready to add the sleeves.
Begin with the back. Extend the shoulder line the length that you will need for a long sleeve. Begin the curved line at the double notches. Measure your bicep and then divide that measurement in half to determine the width of the sleeve. You only need half of the measurement since this is only half of the sleeve.
The finished sleeve addition. Take not that I did not taper the sleeve. You will not want a sleeve this wide at your wrist. So measure you wrist and taper the sleeve, or go ahead and cut the sleeve out and then taper it when you try it on for fitting.
The front is just a little different from the back, but you will begin in the same manner. Extend the shoulder line.
Because of the drape and the pleat, the front shoulder is actually tipped down. Follow the shoulder line and extend the line out.
The underarm curve will be a little more dramatic. Begin at the double notch just as you did for the back and curve the line. The width of the sleeve will be the same measurement that you used for the back, half of your bicep measurement.
The final pattern. Once again, I have not tapered the wrist, but you will want to do this either now or in your fitting.
Since we cut the back skirt away from the front pattern, we will need to add seam allowance to the front and back skirt along the side. Forgive my scratchy line, I will go back and clean that up!
Now that my front sleeve has been added, I can show you why we removed the back skirt from the front of the pattern. As you can see, it would have been in the way and we would not have been able to add the sleeve.
So that's it!
A few comments were also made about the fit of my pieces versus the fit of the dress on the pattern envelope. If anyone would like a demonstration on how I did my fitting, let me know and I will be happy to do one last post on fitting.

Decades of Style Arches Skirt Sew Along Week 2

The second week of the Decades of Style Arches Skirt sew along is up on the Sew News blog. You can find the post HERE. This week is all about underlining, pattern marking, and how to match up the front of the skirt and obtain that flawless center point.
For the blog post, I added a little something more. I found this lovely piece of piping that works perfectly with my fabric.
 In the post, I show you how to add the piping to the arch,
 and then obtain that perfect center point.
 A preview of my new skirt! I am in love with this skirt!!!
I've included the video here for you to take a look at. In the video, I talk quite a bit about the underlining and marking of the pattern and I also show you how to lay the pieces together to create the front of the skirt. Take note that I didn't have the piping when I did the video. The piping really makes the front of the skirt pop.


I'm so happy that I found the piping as it really gives the front of the skirt that special touch that it needed. So as you think about putting your skirt together, you may want to think about adding a special trim or piping and accenting the interesting arch detail on the skirt.
Happy Sewing!!!
Rhonda

Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday Morning Inspiration

A few weeks back, I did a Monday Morning Inspiration post on lacing details. So many of you found the garment pictured below quite interesting. Yes, the yoke is from a pair of shoes!! 
After I did the post, I decided to Google the image and try and learn a little more about the person behind the design. Her name is Adrienne Antonson. She has a clothing line called State and she is also a very accomplished sculpture artist. I found her to be so fascinating and thought that you too may enjoy a closer look.
As I researched her work, I came across this video of her 2012 winter collection. I thought I would share it as I found it quite interesting and I loved seeing the clothing move. It's quite short, just a little over 2 minutes long. Beautifully done.

STATE // Fall_Winter 2012 from Hilo Media on Vimeo.

Adrienne was featured in a Design Sponge article which you can see HERE. My favorite picture from the article was a shot of her sewing machine.
I think that the shot of her sewing machine coincides with her design philosophy.
"For the label of clothing I design, STATE, I choose to use sustainable materials and local manufacturing.  All garments are made in the New York Garment District, or in the STATE studio in rural Georgia. Each piece is one of a kind or part of a limited batch, and is finished off with hand cut tags, natural dyes, hand painted patterns, and other sculptural and unexpected details.  STATE aims to create pieces that you wear for years – season to season, trend to trend. They’re practical, utilitarian, and unique.
While my sculptural work is quite different from my design work, both processes are meticulous and result in detailed pieces that encourage consideration of the materials.
My sculptural work focuses on making life-like objects from human hair and other non-traditional fibers.  I work with human hair because of its immediacy, its beauty and flaws. As an artistic material, human hair is remarkably resourceful.  The material never fails to attract and repulse almost simultaneously, a response I enjoy. As I continue to work with hair, it encapsulates the survivalist notions I find compelling and am excited to explore." 
A few pieces from her current collection.



Her sculpture work is fascinating. You can see more of her work HERE and learn about the medium that she uses to create these pieces.

I never would have thought that a top made from repurposed materials would lead to such an interesting and talented person. But then again, anyone who sees a yoke in an old leather shoe has to be a truly unique and fascinating individual.
Have a wonderful day!
Rhonda