I could not be more excited to announce that I am a new brand ambassador for BERNINA brand sewing machines!! I’ve been sewing on BERNINA machines professionally for almost 30 years. To say that I am a loyalist, would be an understatement. Having sewn and taught sewing on many brands of machines, I can say none have the precision stitching like BERNINA. Being an ambassador for BERNINA has been a dream of mine, I’m honored to be apart of the BERNINA family. I am excited to show you all what the B590 embroidery machine is capable of.
A special thank you to @sewingbloggers and @tabithasewer for the encouragement and mentoring me through this process, you have been so generous, and I appreciate you. My daughter @jennywecker, my sewing buddy for the past 20 years, we are geeking out for sure over this news! Lastly, to the folks over at @kneedle9999 Sew machine warehouse here in Los Angeles, a good sewing machine dealer is essential to being able to maintain and utilizing your machine to its fullest potential.
For me, this project was all about inspiration. I’ve said it many times; inspiration for me comes in the most unexpected ways. Recently I was thinking about shows that my Mother always watched in the early ’70s; she was a devoted Mary Tyler Moore show watcher. In the opening sequence, Mary throwing her beret in the air. This got me thinking of berets, and I remembered a @lovetosewpodcast interviewing @ericabunker and her talking about her Mothers style in the ’70s and that she wore a sequin beret. I told you inspiration comes in all forms. I sort of collect all of these over time and let the creation come into focus.
I purchased the green sweater knit fabric from the @ninaramelfabricbox a while ago. I am inspired all the time by @mydailythreads style aesthetic. We are kindred spirits, I’m convinced. Her fabric boxes are unique, and when I want to treat myself, to stalk her lives to see what is coming next.
I made a lined sweater wrap coat using @vogue pattern #1758.
An added twist was I made a detachable lavender fur collar; I purchased the fur from @fabricmart.
My pants I wanted a proper 70s silhouette, and when I saw @ravenmaureens version of @mimigstyle @simplicity #8655, I was like, “there they are!”
I made them with a wool blend plaid from @melanted fabrics; this fabric is straight-up delicious. I threw myself a little sewing challenge by using the fabric on the bias.
My top is the Monroe turtleneck by @tessutipatterns that I made out of a deep plum Ponte knit also from @melanatedfabrics. Beginning sewers, this is a perfect pattern for you, especially if there is any intimidation with sewing knits.
The reversible sequin beret I made with leftover stash using a pattern from pspatterns and styles on Etsy.
My Katie Spade purse in thrift from@goodwillsoca and my vintage purple sunglasses and boots are thrift from @poshmark, and all put together with that theme song in the background
Where do I find inspiration? I have a serious list.
I love vintage 1970’s fashion but, I also fashion from iconic people
like: Bianca Jagger, Stevie Nicks, Cher & Elton John, Farrah, Sarah Jessica Parker, and I did a whole blog post on Jill Winebanks creating a refashion of the “Mini skirt prosecuter” of the Watergate days.
I love fashion designers like; Missoni, Ralph Lauren, Alexander Mcqueen, and Gucci.
I refashion a leather jacket paying homage to the vintage appliqued leather jackets by East-West musical instrument Co.
I’ve also been inspired by photographer’s work like Satoshi Saikusa and films by Wes Anderson.
This past year I was inspired by @Mimigstyle duster pattern, and it was a first for me making a garment because I was inspired by what and who I saw on the pattern envelope.
The music, is inspired by memories of my father playing this song while driving down our street in Hawaii. Playing percussion on the stirring wheel with his college class ring, good times in 1972.
I’ve been sewing since I was 8 years old, I’m 53 now. I have worked to earn my own money since I was 12. I’ve sewn professionally since 1987, My grandmother sewed for 70 years, My mother’s sews, my sister’s sew, my brother, sewed, my daughter sews, my son is an artist, my nephew and nieces sew.
I have been fiercely loyal to numerous sewing brands, check your databases, newsletters, lists & rewards programs, I have supported YOU.
In the last two weeks, I’ve watched and listened really carefully to see who amongst us are, in fact, allies to our Black makers in our community. I’ve heard my friends of color tell their experiences of racism in stores. They’ve shared a lack of representation in brand marketing. I see the amount of time and money spent to make incredible creative art. They tag and promote all these same brands(for free). Hearing their point of view is giving me great pause.
Who amongst us are allies? I’m asking myself, “if I were them, what would I need to see change to be willing to support these brands again?” It’s one thing to say, “I support you.” The trust has already been broken; disappointment has already set in. Loyalty and trust are earned. They require action—tangible evidence of change, the change that is the brand’s standard now, and ongoing. Without communication of precisely what you are doing to support Black makers, I’m struggling to lend mine to your brands.
If I’m feeling this way, I’m wondering how many of you Black makers and allies of black makers are feeling the same way too?
Last month the folks at Mood fabrics reached out to ask me if I would like to create a project using some of Moods great fabrics and their #moodsewciety downloadable patterns. Umm, yes, please!
I’ve lived in Los Angeles since 2004, and I’ve been shopping at Mood fabric ever since. I’ve also been downloading the #freesewpatterns from Moodsewciety since it’s inception. I am an avid pattern hacker as well as a PDF pattern user.
I decided I wanted to make a suit. My version of a “street style” tuxedo. I love a jacket with tails. For my project, I used the Gladiolus jacket pattern
For my pants I made the Nasrin pants pattern
I chose a Metallic Jacquard from Mood, which I love and a twill acetate gray lining. When it comes to jacket linings, I want a fabric that presses well, and acetate I know works well for lining suits and jackets.
Whenever I use a pants pattern new to me, I always make a muslin first. I have many pants muslins that I’ve trued and kept as a proportion reference. For instance, I’m really particular how I like pants to fits, especially pleated pants. I place my pleats after the muslin is finished, last, so they are where I want them and as deep as I want them.
I made a tuxedo stripe down the outside of each pant leg and the center of the jacket sleeves. I did this by making leather bias strips silver leather snakeskin 1 inch wide and teal leather lambskin 1/2 inch wide.
This is a lined jacket. The only change I added was a 1/2 inch shoulder pad.
In the 1980’s I was in high school and loved fashion. I love learning the history of fashion designers and loved to try to recreate the looks of these iconic people. Back then, I always had a part-time job, with the sole purpose of going to our local “Piece Goods” store to buy fabric. Watching this documentary, I was reminded of all the times I would be inspired by a Ralph Lauren ad in a magazine. This is where my pattern hacking skills began. Today I seldom sew a pattern in it’s original suggested view. For these looks, I was a pattern tester for the @PatternScout “Byrdie Button Up blouse #byrdiebuttonup. I decided to make both views so two blouses. View A I hacked the look slightly by adding a double ruffle down each side of the placket.
View B, with it’s tuxedo looking pin tucks, I added a one inch ruffle to the top the the Nehru collar.
I made a tiered midi length velvet skirt out of vintage velvet I got at an estate sale I went to 3 weeks ago.
Everything else I’m wearing in each look is thrifted with one exception, My large leather concho belt. I purchased it over 12 years ago in a Ralph Lauren store in Las Vegas.
My secret weapon with my creating and blogging is in photographing each look. My husband David, my #instahusband is often my photographer but the another added bonus is he is a maker himself an avid wood worker of @prowellbuilt. David built my back drop from reclaimed wood he found for free advertised on “Let go” (literally left in a random alley here in the valley.) Yes thrift Gods! Yes! We believe!!
As a costume designer and wardrobe stylist I often shop thrift. One because when you are dressing a character/talent of a different period of time, it’s the most cost effective way to create their costume wardrobe look. Custom builds, they aint cheap! Two as a stylist there is nothing like I good accent piece that can’t be found in regular retail or designers current collection. I like that touch of the unexspected.
Personally, I dress this way. I like a nod to the past fashion. I also like researching popular brands of the past in fashion. Kind of like the “one hit wonders” of the fashion world. I’ve mentioned before I have a personal affinity to fashion of the 1970’s. Can’t really say why other than I think for me it’s when I really began to notice fashion as a young person. I’ve been told many times I look like Farrah Fawcett, which can we stop right here to say OMG! You could not pay me I higher compliment, and I definitely do not feel worthy of it. Ok, Ok, back thrifting.
I thrift from alot of places, any city, any time and online quiet a bit. When I’m on location I always check out the local thrift and Op shops. I have found amazing things in the most random places. Like a vintage (70’s) stadium length Yak fur and leather coat (I promiss it’s amazing) in Davenport, Iowa
I also collect some of these obscure less remembered fahion brands. One of which is Vakko leather jackets. I have a couple and what I love is their buttery soft leather, truly beautiful. Vakko’s hay day for leather jackets to me was more late 80 and 90’s but the company it’s self started in millenary in Istanbul, Turkey in 1934.
So I recently acquired a metallic silver leather Vakko jacket from a new online thrift and vintage shop (Instagram) called @theneutralshop_ Warlene Rene’ @warlenerene is the owner and curator of Amazing thrift!!
You must go check out her feed and get ready to shop. Hopefully I won’t regret sharing this gem cause I have to restrain myself on the daily not to click “add to cart” it’s that good.
The rest of this outfit, also all thrift. My skirt is from @savers in Salt Lake city, Utah. Snake skin boots @poshmark and all of the jewerly in from @goodwillsocal.
That’s all for now, there will be more thrift adventures I’ll be sharing here in the future. Take care and Happy thrifting!
I love a good sewing challenge. You’d think with my real job, a Costume designer/Wardrobe stylist for film and television, I’d have my fill of challenges. There definitely are plenty of them, but something about chasing that unique idea, really getting to be truly creative never gets old. Unconventional ones, don’t get me started.
So I’ve been trying some sewing challenges lately on Instagram. The most recent one I participated in was the #Flashbacksewingchallenge. Basically, you get to pick what period you want the garment to represent. I picked the 1970’s. I love 70’s fashion, always have. I was thinking about it and wondered why is that? In the late ’70s is when I first learned to sew, and I think it’s when I first became aware of fashion and clothing. What people wore and why. I can remember looking through my older brothers junior high yearbook and literally studying every person, picture, haircut, handbag, and shoe. This should have been a clue since I didn’t even go to this school, and by the time I did, none of these people would be there. My older brother had a big influence on me and my younger siblings. He was the one to bring new music into the home along with being the TV remote control commander. So Sugar Hill Gang, The Rolling Stones (Beast of Burden), Michael Jackson (Jackson 5 all the way to Off the Wall) Sonny and Cher show, Laugh-in, Happy Days, Soul Train and American Bandstand and Star Trek waaaay too much Star Trek, I’m officially allergic to that one.
So for this challenge I wanted one big ball of all that! I found an inspiration picture on Pinterest of Cher in a beaded stripe two-piece outfit next to Elton John in a Gold rhinestoned suit with his infamous rhinestoned glasses.
So my version mimics a nod to Chers wardrobe in a Elton John setting with his glasses.
I made the jump suit hacking two patterns. Buterrick 4343 dress to just a one shoulder bodice and used a Vintage Simplicity 7214, a pant suit pattern, just the pants. The fabric is from Joann Fabric and is a rainbow sequined stripped fabric. Each piece cut out one at a time to match strips. A little more time consuming, but I remove all the sequins from the selvages before sewing because I love my Bernina sewing machine and I’m not trying to press my luck.
This challenge was a blast to do and I have to thank @faithstjues and @winmichele on Instagram for hosting it. Please do check out the hashtags #Flashbacksewingchallenge on Instagram there are some amazing makers out here.
“Oh Candy and Ronnie have you seen them yet? Oh but they’re so spaced out Be-Be-Bennie and the Jets“
On September 1, 1962, my Mother and father were married in Long Island, New York My Mom is the oldest of five kids and the first daughter. In 1962 she was 18 years old, a good Catholic girl, obedient and honest. My maternal grandmother, very fashionable and a proficient seamstress was very much in charge. Who’s getting married? I don’t know that I have ever heard much about the planning or the dress shopping, other than my Mothers dress was made of Peau de soie. Peau de soie, a fancy French name for a silk or rayon dress fabric with a smooth, satiny texture and a subtle ribbed or grained surface. In French, it literally means “skin of silk.” The only story I had ever heard was that my grandmothers dress for my Mother’s wedding, cost more than my Mother’s wedding dress. Hmmm, I’m thinking I’m giving a little side eye to this factoid, but I’ll continue. My grandmothers “Mother of the bride” dress was a beautiful Ecru sheath dress, made entirely out of Alencon lace and lined in silk crepe de chine. After closer inspection, I think she made this dress. My grandmother always loved this dress, even swore she would be buried in it one day and I will say she looked stunning in it. Both my grandmothers always carried themselves with confidence and both exemplified the belief that as a woman you “keep” yourself up. You give a dam. Aging is inevitable, self-loathing is a choice.
So when I got married in 1987, the 1st time, yes life ain’t perfect, I knew exactly what I wanted to wear. I was 20 years old and had been sewing since I was 8 years old. You would have thought I would want to make my own dress. The truth is, it had never crossed my mind. My Mothers wedding to my Father was so beautiful. I had studied their black and white wedding album for years, and I do mean study! I imagined my day to look just like my Mothers.
So I wore my Mother’s dress. My grandmother has had it hermetically sealed after my Mom’s wedding day. The first time I opened the beautiful gold box with the window underneath the front flap, it was the first time the dress had seen sunlight and been touched since 1962.
To give you perspective, I’m 5’6,” and on the day I weighed 128 lbs, 36″ x 27″ x 36″, I told you I’ve sewn a long time I knew every stat, even back then.
I pulled the dress out, stepped into it, my Mother buttoned up all 72 covered buttons up the back. Like a Cinderella glass slipper, it fits perfect, no alteration.
So now the refashioning, the day my Mom got married she left her wedding with an outfit change. A sheath dress suit, the jacket was cropped and 3/4 sleeved. From what I could tell it is shantung silk. I said to you I studied.
So I wanted to have a leaving outfit too. I decided to ask my grandmother for her dress. Reluctantly, she gave it to me. “I want that back, I’m being buried in that dress!”
So it being the 80’s and all, out of a champagne colored satin, I made some puffy sleeves that got narrower to the wrist and came to a point at the center of the top of my hand, just like my Mothers wedding dress sleeve. I hand sewed them into the arms eye to be able to remove them after the wedding so I could return it the way I received it, sleeveless. My grandmother said “Or else!”
Today, I still have both these dresses. Cleaned bagged and stored. I love them both so much. They make me think of my young Mother and my young fancy grandmother. My grandmothers dress is my personal gauge, when it fits, I’m in check. Come on guys you all know you have a pair of jeans like this.