Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Frabjous Couture's Me Made Mondays

If you have not been following Frabjous Couture's new(relatively new anyway)weekly post, she has decided to make Me Made May a weekly event. If you would like to commit to a weekly Me Made Garment, be sure to check out her blog. The garment does not need to be worn on Monday, just one day during the week. It's a nice opportunity to showcase garments throughout the year and an easy challenge to commit to just one day out of the week.
About a month ago I got the dress I did for the Sew It All television program back. They keep everything until they are sure they won't need it, so it can be quite a while before you get it back. You may remember that this is the Perfect Travel Dress.You can find the tutorial here. I wore the dress to church and when I left home, the sleeves were pulled up. During mass, they came down as it was so cold in the church and I needed something over my arms.
 My hibiscus is in bloom and it matches the dress!
 Rectangles, I love them!
Some of you have seen the Sew It All episode where I talk about how to make the dress. They sent me the DVD and I have yet to open it and take a look :( I really should!!
Hope you are or you have had a great day!

A Peek Inside My Collection

I received a message this morning from one of the editor's at Sew News and she said,
"Wow, your MTD post has been the most successful of ALL TIME."
So needless, to say, I am very honored and even more, humbled by your support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 
A number of you commented about pieces I have in my collection and said that you would like to see. Now of course, seeing in person is the best, but since that's impossible, I thought that from time to time I would pull a piece out that I think is especially interesting and share it. The jacket that I'm sharing today is well over 100 years old and it is exquisite.
It's a beautiful piece of linen covered in handmade lace. Sadly, the true color did not come through as it is actually a lovely buttercup yellow rather than ivory. The lace is ivory except for the small taffeta pieces that are in the middle of the flowers.
The back.
 A close up of the stitching detail.
 The lace on the shoulder.
This is the best close up shot I could get of the lace. The lace is truly perfection.
The center back.
 Lace was even sewn under the arm.
The jacket is held together with hooks down the front.
Take note that as lovely as this jacket is, the stitching is not absolutely perfect.
It's lined with silk taffeta and it is disintegrating, so it really needs to be replaced. I think I know someone that could do that ;) The jacket is underlined and the lace was then sewn to both layers.
Vintage and antique garments and fabrics are becoming more and more difficult to find, but they are still out there, so always be sure to look if you visit a thrift store as you never know what treasure you may find.
I'll be back a little later with a link for Frabjous Couture's Me Made Monday post.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Meet The Designer On Sew News

Earlier this summer, I received a very unexpected email from Sew News that said that they would like to feature me(WOW, me!!!)as the August Designer of The Month. What an amazing honor, truly!
If you would like to read the article, here's a link, http://www.sewnews.com/blogs/sewing/2014/08/15/meet-the-designer-rhonda-buss-and-enter-to-win-a-prize/ The best part about the article is that there's a prize attached.
All you have to do is scroll to the bottom of the article and answer a question. Don't worry, there's no wrong answer. So hope on over. The drawing will be this upcoming Friday, August 22nd.
Good Luck!!!
Hey, someone's going to win, so why not you?!!!

Monday Morning Inspiration

The iconic white shirt, we love them and yet we, at least I, never seem to have enough in my wardrobe. So here are a few fun ideas.
Soft ruffles and a classic collar.
A long fitted shirt with black buttons accenting the collar and French cuffs.
 Fun, fussy sleeves.
 A tuxedo shirt.
 A classic shirt with a pleated back. Would be fun with jeans.
 Stitching detail.
Wrapped and tied.
 From Donna Karan

 Add a few hard accents like zippered pockets and gold buttons.
A double collar.
 Or maybe make a number of interchangeable collars so the shirt always looks fresh and new.
 This is more of a t-shirt, but a lovely accent, or a pop of color around the shirt would be pretty.
 A bow accent. You can find a pattern from Ralph Pink and make a fitted version.
Or how about turning it all around and buttoning it up the back?
Hope this gives you a little inspiration to add a few fun white shirts to your wardrobe.
Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Night Reflections

To find real peace you have to let the armor go.
Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world. Don't let anything stand in the way of the light that shines through you. 
Risk being seen for who you really are,
 in all of your beautiful glory.

My Favorite Summer Salads

There is nothing better in my book than being able to go out my front door and pick fresh tomatoes and peppers. In fact, my husband has caught me standing in front of my tomatoes, eating the tomatoes right off the vine. Hey, they are good!! To me, they are better than candy. I don't have a large garden by no means, just a few tomatoes, banana peppers, a cayenne pepper bush, fresh basil, chives and sage. A rather eclectic mix I guess.
There are 2 salads that I love to make, so I thought I would share them with you. 
The ingredients for the first salad are;

Fresh Blueberries  
Cherry Tomatoes, I like a mixture of varieties. This year I grew the red and the orange.
1 Banana Pepper, I like the hot variety
Toasted Pine Nuts
Feta Cheese, I like Bulgarian Feta the best 
Romaine Lettuce
I simply tear up my lettuce, sprinkle on the tomatoes, then the peppers, blueberries, feta and finally the pine nuts and serve with fresh ground sea salt and ground black pepper. I love the mix of the sweet blueberries with the spicy peppers with the creamy feta. I serve the salad with a raspberry walnut vinaigrette. And shame on me, I do not make my own. For those of you here in America, try the Newman's Own brand. It's my favorite.  

The second salad that I love is beyond simple. A friend of mine grows heirloom tomatoes. They are so rich in flavor. She too has caught me in her garden eating a tomato like it was an apple.
For this salad, I simply slice the tomatoes and arrange them on a plate. Sprinkle the tomatoes with fresh ground sea salt, and a little red pepper. I then chop a small hand full of fresh basil and sprinkle it over the tomatoes. The next layer is crumbled feta and chopped fresh chives. I then sprinkle on a good quality olive oil and about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. I top it off with a little fresh ground black pepper and I have lunch! I like to serve the salad with a piece of French bread as the sauce that is left on the plate is too good to leave behind and the French bread is perfect for sopping it up.

If you have a favorite salad concoction, let me know. I'd love to give it a try!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Make Your Own Leather Soho Slouch Tote

I really can't call this a Fabulous Free Pattern Friday piece as this was done by The Weekend Designer back in August of 2008. And since no pattern was published, it really doesn't fit in the Thrifty Thursday file either. 
But it's a great bag that is super easy to make, so in the event that you haven't seen this bag, I think you'll really enjoy making one for yourself.
The suede bag was originally sold in the Sundance catalog, and like most things in the catalog, it was very nice, but fairly expensive. 
They came in a lovely selection of colors.
I didn't have a piece of suede that was of a suitable weight, so I made mine out of  a supple piece of leather. As long as I don't carry bricks in the bag, the lighter weight of leather should be fine.  
You can find all of the detailed instructions for this bag here.

In the instructions for the bag, there is a graph for the pattern.
Rather than make you count the tiny squares, I thought I would just draw it out for you. You can see that the bag is really nothing more than a few connected rectangles.
The width across the bottom is 9"
The side length is 11"
The length of the handle is 9"
And my apologies, I neglected to add that the width of the handle is 2 1/2" 
I did not draw out the bottom of the bag, but it is a simple 9" square.
In order to achieve the curved edge on my handle, I used my curved ruler, but to be honest, you can easily draw the curve in by hand. 
In order to have the same exact curve on either side, I simply folded the pattern in half and then cut the handle out.
If you have never sewn with leather or suede, I encourage you to give it a try. To be honest, I absolutely love sewing with leather. The leather comes as a skin and there will be imperfections. In the picture below you can see a hole in the lower left hand corner. So when choosing a skin, look carefully at the piece before purchasing it. If there was a large imperfection in the center, it would really limit the possibilities of what I could do with the skin.
The instructions from the Weekend Designer says to cut the handle on the fold. This would not allow me to make the best use the leather, so I decided to just add a seam to the top of my handle. One of the nice things about leather is that is no grain, so you can turn your pieces in whatever way you like as you see below. I have marked my pieces on the wrong side of the leather.
The bag has 4 sides, so since I didn't cut the handle on the fold, I will need to cut 4. I was able to get 3 sides out of 1 skin. 
Once all of the pieces have been cut, it's time to start sewing them together. Leather can be a little tricky especially since you can't pin it. The instructions say to use mounting tape. I have never used tape on any leather project. If you would like, you can use paper clips to hold the pieces together as you sew. You can also use a walking foot. But to be honest, I don't use either. Just take your time, be patient and practice a little with some of your scraps and I think you'll get the hang of sewing with leather. One thing to keep in mind is that you must use a leather needle. Please don't try to use a regular needle. The leather needle has a special point specifically for sewing leather. It makes all the difference in the world.
Once you sew the seam, I used 1/4" seams on this bag, you can either glue down the seams with rubber cement, or you can top stitch them. I prefer to top stitch my seams. It must have been the angle at which I took the picture as my stitches look like they are on an angle, but they really aren't.
Once the seams for the sides of the bag have been sewn, you'll then attach the bottom. Pay close attention to the fact that the seams of the bag do not match up to the corners of the bottom. The seams of the bag match the center of the bottom of the bag. It can be a little tricky, but you can top stitch the seams around the bottom of the bag. Just take your time.
 Since I didn't cut my handles on the fold, I simply over lapped the 2 ends and sewed them together.
 My finished bag.
You can see that the bag is quite roomy. If you would like a hard bottom, you can always cut a piece of chip board, a thick cardboard, and place it in the bottom of the bag. I rather like the soft, easy feel of the bag.
If you have never sewn with leather or suede, I urge you to give it a try. This is a great first time project. If you are a little concerned about spending the money for leather for a first time project, there are a lot of home dec fabrics that mimic leather, so that's a nice alternative.
The Weekend Designer no longer writes at that address. You can find him at http://bagntell.wordpress.com/ 
The blog is full of wonderful information and projects. He also has a Craftsy class that teaches you how to work with leather and you can find it here.