Sunday, December 30, 2012

Peacock Feather Pajama Bottoms

After sewing the Burberry-Inspired Peacoat, I really needed to work on something that did not take a lot of thinking. I've had this peacock feather rayon knit in my stash for a little while now and needed to make something with it now! I made a few infinity scarves with it in the fall, keeping one for myself, but had pajamas in mind originally. I saved myself about 2 yards just for this project.

These pajama bottoms are best for the spring/summer months since they are capri-length. I used Butterick Pattern #5792, which is actually to be made from woven fabrics. It turned out fine though anyway using a knit. The pattern was super easy and would recommend it for a beginner.

A lot of times when I make pants/ shorts/ boxers/ etc with elastic, it is hard to tell the front from the back. So I came up with an idea direct from the clothing companies---use a folded satin ribbon on the back and you'll know exactly how to wear them! I had a satin ribbon with "Artful Addiction" printed on them a couple years ago but never used it. So I used it in these bottoms. (A plain ribbon will work also.)

I wonder what my next sewing project will be??? What are you working on?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Burberry-Inspired Peacoat - Finished!

I've been blogging on Fabric Mart Fabricistas about my progress in a Burberry-Inspired Peacoat. I've finally finished! Rather than blog about it again here, I'm going to just share the final product with you!

I used Simplicity Pattern #2311. Overall it was easier than I thought! It is fully lined, underlined with flannel for extra warmth and has three anchor buttons down the front. The plaid is like a Burberry plaid wool I got at Fabric Mart last year. I lined it in an Italian silk crepe de chine in midnight navy, also from Fabric Mart. I also made a muslin first which was helpful for making sure it was going to fit correctly. It does fit, although I probably could have even made it a little smaller in some areas. I fixed that by overlapping the front flaps more making it a more snug. I also included the belt so it would help make it fit better. I didn't have my dressform while I was making this (it was in use somewhere else), so it was a little more challenging to construct, it but overall, I'm pleased.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I'm back! + Infinity Scarf Tutorial

After a few months on hiatus, it is time to start this blog again. I've been blogging on Fabric Mart's Fabricista Blog and will be highlighting some of my favorite blog posts I've written since I started. Here is one that is great for a last minute gift for the holidays.

Have a person on your gift list, but have no idea what to get for them? Making a gift is the perfect idea and it will be even more thoughtful than a silly little gift they don't really want anyway.

Infinity scarves are super easy and quick to make. They are called infinity scarves because they look like a continuous piece of fabric in a tubular form. You can make them in almost any type of knit. Knits come in so many different prints that you can make one for every outfit in your closet. 

Here is what you will need: 
- Sewing machine
- 1/2 yard of knit fabric (sweater knit, rayon knit, ITY knit, cotton knit, etc)
- Thread to match
- Hand sewing needle

1) Fold the 1/2 yard piece of knit in half the long way. Pin along the entire long edge. 

2) Using a thin zig-zag stitch (almost straight stitch), stitch the long edge. I pull slightly on the front and back of the fabric as it goes through the sewing machine so that when the scarf is finished, it can be stretched and the seam does not break. Serge the seam if possible.

3) Put your hand through one open end and pull the other end through, matching raw edges and seams. Pin together.


4) Sew along the raw edges of this "tube", making sure to leave an opening to turn right side out. Serge if possible. 

This is what the scarf should look like before turning it right side out.

5) Turn the entire scarf right side out. Hand stitch the opening closed. 

You can also make these scarves with 2 yards of fabric, cutting 18" from the selvedge. You will get at least three scarves from this. Making them this way may create a different drape effect.You can make the scarf fuller by using a 3/4 yard piece of fabric or 27" piece of fabric (if you are making it with the 2 yard piece of fabric. 

This fabric is still available on Fabric Mart's website! Check it out now!

Make a scarf for everyone on your list! What will you be making as gifts for the holidays?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Making a lot out of a Little

Because of working at a fabric store, I tend to purchase a lot of the remnant pieces as we finish off the bolt. This print from Anna Sui, was a remnant, only 45" wide and a border print. When people hear the word "border" they tend to cringe because now you have put a little more thought into what to do with it! It was a fun black and blue print on a floral jacquard silk/ cotton. The only problem was there wasn't enough fabric to do anything with it. (Or so I thought...) 

When I stumbled upon the piece in my stash, I thought to myself, today is the day I'm going to find something to do with this. I folded the 1 1/8 yard piece in half, so selvedges met. I held it up to my waist and thought this would make a cute skirt! But I was really thinking about a tunic dress, so I raised the fold just below my bust and it was perfect. After cutting the piece in half at the fold, I baste-stitched the top of each piece to create gathers. After much altering and cutting, I got a suitable "bottom half." I had some black ponte knit that worked great for the top of the tunic. I hand-drafted the top and after a few alterations, sewed it to the bottom half. I was having some problems with ballooning of the skirt section because of the gathers and the nature of this heavier silk/cotton. So I bias-cut a ribbon from a small section of leftover fabric. It really finished the garment off nicely!

I haven't done very many self drafted patterns before, so I would say this was a successful attempt. I learned a lot about measuring myself, which I will then translate into times when I do use patterns. My experience in making clothes with patterns definitely helped me when trying to draw appropriate shapes for the bodice front and back.   

The picture doesn't to the tunic justice. I was anxious to get it on my blog, so I didn't even do my hair or put tights or leggings on, or shoes for that matter! It is a little too short to wear as a normal dress, so I will be wearing leggings or tights. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fabric Depot -- Portland, OR

I hate that I haven't had time to write a new post, but I've been so busy! With spring in full swing I am spending most of my time outside in the yard! Now that it is taken care of for the moment, it is time to start blogging again!

My next post will be a review of Fabric Depot in Portland, OR. I've been wanting to post reviews of all the fabric stores I've been to on my trips, so here we go...

Fabric Depot is like a mecca for everything sewing and crafts. I walked in a side door but was immediately faced with a huge classroom space. Fabric Depot is the headquarters for Palmer/ Pletch schools, so I'm sure they have to carry fabrics for the students in the classes. For those of you that don't know what Palmer/ Pletch is, it is a sewing school that sewers go through to get certified to teach professional P/P classes in their area. People from all over the country travel to Portland for this special opportunity.

After turning the corner, I see a huge space in front of me FILLED with all types of different fabrics. They have the fabrics separated into categories including Evening and Bridal, Quilting, Fashion Fabrics, Home Decor and more. I was amazed by the selection they had. I envision it is a lot like the old fabric stores in Reading, PA would have been like -- Levine's, So-Fro Fabrics, etc. One interesting thing was that they mark their bolts by showing where they got it. Of course I had to go around and look for all the Fabric Mart fabric...haha!

One thing that stuck out was their selection of "Mood Fabrics -- Direct from NYC" section. This was a selection of fabrics directly from the ever so popular Mood Fabrics in NYC. I thought that was a neat way to merchandise the product. They are bringing Mood Fabrics right to the customer that may not be able to travel to NYC.

Who doesn't love a yard sale? Well there is one in Fabric Depot all the time! They recently opened a "Yard Sale" room where they have deep discounts on apparel, quilting and home decor fabrics as well as notions and other goodies. 

Maybe it is a good thing there are not too many fabric stores in our area...I think I would spend all my money on fabric. Fabric Depot is definitely great for all sewers, whether you're an expert or just starting out. By the looks of it, if you don't find what you're looking for at Fabric're not going to find it anywhere else.  

Friday, April 13, 2012

Stitches - Seattle, WA

After spending two days inside at the Seattle International Textile Expo, it was nice to get out and around Seattle. I was really excited to not only meet some of our customers, but also to see all the fabrics! Even though I work at a fabric store and assist in buying fabrics (basically meaning I can buy whatever fabric I want...within reason) it is hard for me to resist not buying more! If I like the fabric and it inspires me, I want it. But because I had 3 suitcases almost all filled to capacity, I was more restricted. So throughout my entire trip, I did not bu ANY fabric!! Believe me, it took a lot of will power, but I'm kinda proud of myself!

The first fabric store I visited was Stitches, located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. It was located near one of the colleges in Seattle, although not entirely geared toward the students. When you drive up you cannot help but miss Stitches. The front windows are framed with lime green and bubblegum pink paint. And when peering in the window, you see packed shelves of fabric, a notions wall, and bins of colorful yarns. 

Stitches carries a nice range of fashion fabrics including, denim, silks, linen, cotton, woolens, knits, costume fabrics, furs and more. The selection of fashion fabrics is great because there is a little bit of everything. There are also quilting cotton prints appropriate for fashion and oilcloth perfect for aprons, raincoats and tableclothes. 

Need a notion in a bind? This is the place to go! There is an entire wall of notions. If you can't find it here, then there is no such thing! I need some cording to make a seat cushion and just have not gotten to our loca Joann Fabrics to buy it. I was almost tempted to buy it from Stitches because they had exactly what I was looking for! Although I declined from the purchase, can you believe I would travel all the way across the country just to get basic cording!?!  I thought it was crazy too....

Check out the pic with samples from some of their classes. I wish they were closer so I could take a class! The pants in the picture are from an Echino linen blend border print. I've always loved these fabrics, but really had no idea what to do with them. I'm definitely going to make myself a pair of pants like this. Stitches offers classes for both beginners and experienced sewers almost every day of the week. Check out their website for class descriptions and times. They also carry a range of ribbons and trims for costumes, garments, accessories and more. So if you're in the Seattle area and you're feeling creative, check out Stitches to get everything you need from a fun and funky fabric store!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My first trip to the Pacific Northwest - Part One

I had the amazing opportunity to travel to the Pacific Northwest to sell our fabric line at the Seattle International Textile Expo AND visit many of our current customers. I went into some of the top fabric stores in the northwest and met some awesome indie designers. I will record my adventures in a few different parts, so stay tuned for more posts!

My adventure started on Saturday, March 10. I left Philadelphia for my 13-day fabric bonanza! This was my first trip alone, so I was nervous and excited all at the same time! Had a layover in Chicago - Midway, then made it to rainy Seattle at 3:40pm. Lugging 3 LARGE suitcases, a laptop bag and a purse, I made my way to my rental car. (I was literally pulling almost 150 lbs of luggage....) It turned out to be a 2012 Toyota Camry with only 60 miles on it and bluetooth, so I could connect my phone! Of course my GPS wasn't finding my location (because I was in a parking garage) so I had to blindly decide which way to go when I got outside. Thankfully I chose the correct way and ended up in downtown Seattle without the GPS! (The GPS wouldn't locate me, so all I had were the signs on the road, in a place I had never been before.) After driving in circles on the one-way streets I finally found the Red Lion Hotel I was staying at.

The next few days consisted of showing our fabric line at the Seattle International Textile Expo -- meeting designers and small manufacturers who were current customers and also met a lot of new customers. There were some really new and interesting creations as well as more traditional garments with a mix of whimsy! One designer was producing "girlie boxer shorts". Another was making more traditional jackets and coats, but with interesting buttons and tucks and pleats in unconventional places.

One designer in particular was Lisa Vian Hunter. She was recently on NBC's Fashion Star. She created a little black dress style dress in a variety of different colors and fabrics. She was picked by Macy's to have her garments featured in their stores. Her line contains a lot of classic and trendy styles in fun prints, basic solids and flowy silks.


Finding my way through Seattle was definitely an adventure with the one-way streets, the yield to pedestrians (that are everywhere!), and the traffic lights in the middle of the block. Although it rained the whole time I was there, I had the chance to see the Pike Place Market. This market is known for the fish throwing, which I had the chance to see. It was also fun to see the artisans selling their wares in the cold and damp weather. 


 Still to come...Fabric store reviews and my trip to Portland, OR!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Handmade in Portland

While waiting for my next appointment (on my trip to Portland, OR), I came across a super cute shop called Little Things. Little Things is on Lovejoy St. in the Pearl District of Portland. I was greeted by the cheerful owner, Andrea Angell, who took me on a quick tour of her tiny shop. The store carries handmade goods made by local artisans. While the store was filled with a variety of jewelry pieces, there were also Kokka linen change purses, "Portland" prints and artsy picture frames. I had to get myself a piece of Portland, so I bought a pair of earrings from Moss Handmade.

Moss Handmade 
The earrings shown in the picture to the right are not the earrings I bought, but the picture gives you a really good example of the delicate crocheted pieces. The crochet work is so tiny! The earrings have a modern, vintage feel with beads adorning the bottom of the circle. The prices are also reasonable and would make a great gift!

Crocheted jewelry must be a popular trend in Portland, because I found another crochet jewelry artist, Amira Mednick. Her work is a little more expensive than Moss, but for good reasons. She pairs beads and thread by crocheting them on hammered brass. She also makes earrings using heavier thread knots and beads for more of a color pendant. 

Amira Mednick (Above and Below)

Portland's artisan and design community is surely thriving. There are a number of neighborhoods with boutiques, consignment shops, home decor shops and more. Portland is definitely the place to go if you like to support handmade, local made and independent designers. NE Alberta Street and Pearl District are all great places to find local art and design. Check back later for more!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dress in a Night

Tonight I made myself a knit dress. The fabric is from Fabric Mart (what a surprise...haha). It is an ITY Knit (95% Polyester, 5% Lycra) I used this piece of fabric as one of our drapes at a trade show, so once we were done with it in wholesale, I got the drape! The dress is made from Simplicity 2369, which is a newer design from the pattern company. It is a fake wrap top with a plastic buckle on the left side.

I had no problems making the dress, it was really easy. I was able to sew it all in an evening (2-hours really). I cut it out the day before, but I just can't believe how quick I whipped it up! 

I would not really do anything different to the process. It was straightforward and was very quick. It is a great dress for traveling and perfect for spring into summer. PLUS the coral color in the print is similar to PANTONE Color of the Year 2012.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Experiment with foil nails

I came across foil nails in the January 2012 issue of Lucky Magazine. The kind they were showing in the magazine were ikat print nails. They were so cool!! So I had to have them. NCLA makes awesome prints, but since then I've seen Sally Hansen carry them as well. So last night I gave them a try.

First you have to make sure your nails are dry and clean. Put a coat of clear polish on. Then peel a foil off and put the rounded edge along your cuticle. (tr other end has a little tab so you can peel it off the paper. Then once you have it in place, press down in all directions. Once it is secure, use a nail file to "cut" the foil. Voila! You now have foiled nails! Just put a coat of clear gloss on top and your done.

Now that I've had them on for a day, I had to put some more clear polish on because the tips chipped a little. But I've washed dishes a few times and used my hands more and they seem to be staying on!

I think the next time I put them on, they will go on even better since I now know what I'm doing!!

Looks great!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fabric Organization Idea

I recently came up with a new way to organize my fabric stash. I'm sure its not a "new" idea, but I really like it and have tried it out and it really works! I posted this in my Julie's Pick January 2012 newsletter and will now share it with the world.

A new year always brings about new ideas on how to organize your life. This year I would like to organize my fabric and sewing supplies. I just got married in August and moved, so it was about time that I do this. I have a closet full of fashion fabrics, a big tub of woolens, 2 plastic drawers full of more fabric (fashion and quilting) and a section of another closet filled with quilting cottons. Plus I have a few bins of fabric that my parents just brought over to my house! So I had to figure out a way to organize all of this.

I first started with my fashion fabrics. I took everything out of the closet it is stored in and measured each piece. While doing that, I cut a small swatch and stapled it to an index card.

Then I labeled how many yards I had, the content, and the width. I also tried to write down when I bought the fabric and if it had a specific designer. In the top left corner of the index card, I wrote the "category" -- silk, linen, cotton, knits, lining, woolens, etc. I used a different color marker for each category.

Then I placed all the cards in a file box with tabs labeled by the color of the category. I ended up having 2 file boxes because the linens, woolens, rayons and others did not fit in my first box. Now when you are ready to figure out which fabric to use for your next project, just get your pattern, your file box and start designing. This is also helpful so you don't have a "fabri-lanche" of fabric falling out of the closet on you! You just grab one fabric out of your closet rather than sifting through the piles and piles of fabric. Have Fun!!

Supplies Needed: Scissors, matches or lighter (if you need to identify the content), file box(es), file tables, index cards, variety of colored markers, pen, stapler, and of course your fasbric stash!

Now that I've gone through the process of selecting the fabrics (using the card system) that I will use with my pattern, I've added a few other ideas. 

- When you are finished with your garment, write down the name of the pattern you used with the corresponding fabric. (I like keeping a log of what I make and when I make it!)

- If you do not use the entire amount of fabric, cross out the original yardage and write what is left. Then put your fabric back "in stock". 

- If you have a HUGE stash and have a hard time finding your fabrics, you could mark on the cards what shelf or container it is stored it. Then you would also have to label your shelves or containers with a symbol.

If you would like to share this in newsletters, blogs, etc. I definitely don't mind, but please give me credit! 

I have yet to do this with my quilting cotton stash. That will be a whole other index card box in itself!! (who knows maybe more!!!)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Textile Show in NYC!

So this week I will be selling fabric at the DG Expo in NYC! I'm really excited because this is the first ever expo for this organization. Hope to see current customers and meet new customers we can help in the future! The show is only open to designers and fabric stores---or anyone that is looking for wholesale fabrics. I'm really excited to be here and my hotel is awesome! I'm staying at The New Yorker Hotel. It is amazing! There are art deco accents everywhere and you can really see the old and new together.

Never thought I would spend the Super Bowl in NYC while the NY Giants are in the Super Bowl, but it was really fun! My childhood friend Nicole and I hung out at Stout NYC a local bar in the Madison Square area. It was a fun experience to be in the midst of both Patriot and Giants fans.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Same pattern, different print!

As promised in last post, I made another knit top from Simplicity's 1916, just in a different print. This was a remnant piece of fabric with a large hole in the middle of the yard and a flaw in the fabric. I got this from Fabric Mart last year. It was in Julie's Picks. I was able to cut out the top minus the 3/4 length sleeves. I turned it into a sleeveless top. Looks great!

For those of you that don't know, I work at Fabric Mart and help select many of the fabrics you see on our website. I'm Julie, from Julie's Picks, and also select all the fabrics for each mailer. Most of my time is spent selling our fabrics wholesale to designers, small manufacturers and independent fabric stores. To learn more at Fabric Mart and Julie's Picks see our website:

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Knit Top Success!!

I'm so excited that this top turned out well! I have had so many garments not turn out, that I feel like I'm finally getting better at sewing. This is Simplicity 1916 Misses Knit Top. The fabric is from Fabric Mart (of course, right!?) It was a remnant piece from last year and is not available online anymore. Although you may not be able to see it, there are pleats at the bust and gathers under the bust. It has 3/4 length sleeves and is so comfortable. I could make this shirt out of 10 different knit prints! I also was able to get a really nice double stitch on the hem without a double needle. 

I finished the top tonight and immediately cut out another top from the same pattern. The next top will have no sleeves, or short sleeves--not sure which I will do yet-- because the fabric has a flaw I need to work around. I definitely recommend this pattern to anyone. It is easy and is also flattering. I

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

This weekend I made a muslin for a casual dolman sleeve dress from McCall pattern 6112. I wanted to make it out of a printed knit, but didn't want to waste the knit if the dress didn't fit or I didn't like the style. So I chose a black rayon knit to make the dress. This is actually the first time I made a muslin. (Most of the time I'm too lazy to make them!) But I wanted to make a muslin that I could use rather than just throw away.

I really like the way it turned out. It is super comfy and I could wear it around the house or out shopping. The only change I would make is to shorten the sleeves a little bit. Since the dress is plain, adding a belt or scarf around the waist would add some color and texture. The long necklace, as shown in the picture, can add some sparkle. I can't wait to make the printed knit dress!

Monday, January 23, 2012

First fashion of the year!

Since I'm in the Fabric Stash Contest on Pattern Review, I have really been in the mood to make clothing again! I really missed making clothes, so I'm excited to get started. My first fashion of the year was Vogue 8710, a Katherine Tilton knit top. The fabric is a rayon knit that came from After finishing it, I wasn't thrilled with the turn out. It was fun to make, but the knit didn't agree with me. It puckered in places that it shouldn't and didn't hang very well. The pattern called for it to be cut out the opposite of how you usually cut the bodice,so the fabric laid a lot different.

The only nice thing about it is that I could wear it to bed. Haha! It was not flattering at all and I do not think it is worth trying to alter it. So it will go in the pajama drawer. May try the pattern again in a different fabric.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My Sewing Room Curtains!

The second project of the year are a set of 3 curtains for my sewing room! I used "Sew Now, Sew Wow" from Alexander Henry. I saved this fabric from my online fabric store on etsy. When I was choosing a color to paint my sewing room I had to keep this fabric in mind. I came across this sewing room in another blog:

I wish I could give someone credit, but I don't remember where it came from! I also have an old kitchen table that I really wanted to incorporate into the room as a cutting table. And the colors in these pictures just reminded me of the Sew Now Sew Wow! fabric. So I chose a paint color similar to the one in the picture and the trim is a very pale blue, almost white. So here are my curtains! We still have to finish painting the closet doors, so I will post pictures of the finished room, when we finish!

The curtains were really easy to make. I sewed a hem on the sides and bottom, then put a pocket at the top... and that's it! For 3 windows it took a total of 5 yards. 

Breezeway Seat Cushion

I joined the Fabric Stash Contest on Pattern Review. The contest is for the whole month of January. I wasn't going to sign up, but decided I needed something to help me get motivated. So my first project was a seat cushion. This seat cushion is for the breezeway at the back door of our house.

The seat cushion is made from "Bird Seed" from Alexander Henry. This was also my first time using cording in a project. I had a little bit of trouble working with the cording because I did not cut the fabric into bias strips. covered the cording with regular fabric strips that did not turn corners as well as if made with bias strips. I used the zipper foot to attach the cording to the fabric. Then sewed it like I was making a pillow, and turned it right side out. I stuffed the foam into the cushion and hand-sewed the end together.

Anything I would do different? I would research more information on how to make cushions. I was figuring it out as I was going, so I would look for better ways of making them.

I really like the way the cushion looks in the breezeway. It adds personality to the space!

And we're off...

I'm going to start this! I had a blog once but failed to update it. I posted in it once during 2010 and once in 2011. I'm going to make an effort at this!