Adding Bling with Fabric Stencils, Sew-On Jewels, and Sequins

fabric stencils

Printing using fabric stencils is one of the easiest ways to decorate a garment in need of a bit of excitement.  To tell you the truth, the princess I “borrowed” for the photo shoot a couple weeks ago for the Easy Princess Dress Pattern didn’t like the costume at first.  Who can blame her?  There was no tiara, no jewels or slippers and most importantly no bling on the dress to make her feel special. The costume she wore was made of satin.  Plain satin can be a flat and somewhat boring fabric if it doesn’t have a little bling on it.  Satin is like a blank canvas where you can paint, embroider and glue things to it to make it more exciting and beautiful. So I set about to liven up the Easy Princess Dress and in the process I wanted to … Continue reading

Sustainable Sewing: How your hobby saves the planet

sustainable sewing

What’s Sustainable Sewing? The whole idea behind “sustainability” in general and sustainable sewing in specific is that of leaving a minimal impact on the planet.  This idea incorporates issues like carbon footprint, waste creation and disposal, and labor practices.  Nowadays, producers and designers are always under public scrutiny and those who operate without eco-integrity face an onslaught of negative press, particularly in social media, given the connectivity made possible by the internet. When it comes to fashion and sewing, among other things, sustainability means quality and durability as well as the incorporation of more timeless designs that can be worn for years rather than replaced or thrown away as soon as the style or fad changes.  A garment represents sustainable sewing when it is well-constructed (ie. made-to-last) out of eco-friendly natural fibre fabrics that will last longer than your standard disposable/cheap … Continue reading

A Visit to the World’s Finest Fabric Shop

finest fabric shop

I know, I know..this is a big assertion, “the world’s finest fabric shop..”  After all, the world’s a big place and there are a lot of good fabric shops, but please read on and you’ll understand.  As I’ve written about many times before, I’ve been sewing all my life.  I’ve also been fortunate enough to have lived in quite a few different countries and travelled a lot.  So as you can imagine, I’ve seen a lot of fabric shops in my day.  All that being said, nothing could have prepared me for what I discovered in Florence, Italy a few weeks ago when we were on holiday there. I was walking down one of the beautiful side streets just next to the famous Duomo and I saw this window display with some of the most lovely fabrics I’d ever seen. I found myself … Continue reading

Contemporary Quilt Makers Who Paint With Fabric

contemporary quilt

We do not know exactly when and where quilting originated but there is no doubt that it was used as garment, decoration and furnishing in many parts of the world many ages ago.  From the carved ivory figure of a Pharaoh of the Egyptian First Dynasty to a quilted floor covering in Mongolia and quilted garments of the European knights- quilt making is an art that has been passed on for many generations. In the United States of America, the first reference to quilts goes back to the 17th century and the earliest surviving American quilt is the Saltonstall quilt that dates back to 1704. Quilt making flourished in the 1800’s as European colonists came to the country finding a home in the Great Plains, where quilts were sewn for bed, door and window covers, floor mats and sometimes used … Continue reading

Sewing trip to Denver

Are you any good at keeping a secret?  We’ve had to keep something very exciting under wraps for a few months now, but soon will be the time for the big reveal.  Keep your eyes peeled for an announcement of the details soon here on the site.  Maybe sign up to the newsletter if you haven’t already done so, so you don’t miss the news. In the meantime, here are a few photos from a recent trip I took to Denver.  I stayed in the rather funky Curtis Hotel right in downtown.  Very retro!  I wish I had one of the Star Trek rooms, but mine was rather more tame, on Floor 9 – the Big Hair floor apparently!  Still a very fun place to stay if you get a chance to go to Denver for some sightseeing. It’s a … Continue reading

The Minimalism Art Movement in Fashion Sewing

fashion sewing

Minimalism in fashion sewing emerged in 1914 when Madeleine Vonnet, the French fashion designer who established her first fashion house in Paris in 1912, introduced her signature bias cut to her Grecian dress. In 1964, Andre Courges created his space age look with a dress embellished by squares, trapezoids and triangles and the art movement attracted a lot of attention. As a counterpoint to abstract expressionism in the late 60’s, this high-brow art first produced paintings and sculptures without any external allusion as opposed to the emotion-filled Abstract expressionism. And since art movements like cubism, abstract expressionism and pop art have always been connected with fashion since the 19th century, minimalism also started to inspire sewing fashion. Minimalist fashion designers renounced existing art as a surge of new inspirations and revived styles led them to question established limits between several … Continue reading

Sewing Classes: A Cool Business Idea

sewing classes

In the last couple of years, sewing is getting new and enthusiastic interest from kids and teens, so much so that starting a sewing classes business is becoming a cool idea!  We’ve written a lot before sewing for profit, sewing and selling and how to transform your sewing passion into something profitable.  Here’s what I think is another great sewing business idea. There is no doubt that the growing interest in sewing amongst young people is enhanced by the popularity of the long running Project Runway TV show, a popular reality TV show  where new and promising designers compete by designing and creating their own clothes. There is also a growing trend in turning old clothing into teen accessories like tote bags and the like. Plus if you’ve been browsing the internet lately, you will likely notice that there’s a subculture online … Continue reading

Sewing Vintage Clothing Has Never Been This Easy

sewing vintage clothing

Haven’t you fantasized about being a 1930’s woman wearing that elegant dress that your favorite Hollywood actress wore during her time?  Perhaps you’re looking forward to sewing your own dropped-waist dress, just like the ones which were in style during the early ‘1920s.  If so, let’s take a quick look at the possibility of sewing vintage clothing during the time of Information Technology. (See our recent article The Wandering Waistline Explained for more the dropped-waist and other vintage styles.) Patterns for Sewing Vintage Clothing are Readily Available on the Internet: When we say vintage clothing, we refer to garments that were in style between 20 and 100 years ago that are representative of their era. They are either used, manufactured, handmade or new, which means it comes from dead stock. It’s important to take note that the meaning of vintage is fluid … Continue reading

Tracing the pillow through history

Pillow History

Remember the last time you slept without your pillow?  I know someone who simply will not travel –no matter when, no matter where– without his own pillow, (my hubby)..  The “thing weighs a ton” and enjoys a ritual:  1. spread the “thing” flat in the suitcase taking half of the available space.  2. When reaching the new location take out of the suitcase, punch it back in shape and display on the right side of the bed.  I simply can not imagine him sleeping without his favorite pillow for, as most of you women know, the man becomes the pain in the neck he’s got.  If  you’re like him you may even think about skipping sleep if you don’t have your favorite pillow.  Yes, a life without pillows is a hard life indeed and pillows covered in dainty pillowcases sure make life a … Continue reading

Getting To Know Your Own Sewing Personality

sewing personality

Sewing is considered both a skill and an art and just like the other artists, we all have our own distinct style or sewing personality, if you will.  You see, it’s just like in the art world where Pablo Picasso is different from Salvador Dali and Frida Kahlo is certainly worlds apart from Vincent Van Gogh! A survey done by Dr Stian Reimers determined that it is our personalities that largely determine our preferences in art, whether we are art lovers or practitioners. The same survey shows that extroverts tend to prefer art that doesn’t endeavour to paint reality while introverts appreciate realism more. And together with experience and emotional quotient, personality drives you to prefer impressionism, abstract art, pop art, surrealism, realism or cubism and the like. So do you happen to know your own sewing personality? The Different Types of Sewing … Continue reading

Why do we use the baby swaddle?

baby swaddle

So why do we use the baby swaddle? Swaddling is the the age-old practice of wrapping a newborn up tight and cozy in a blanket, in order to restrict the movement of limbs. It helps to keep the baby on it’s back and makes for a sounder sleep with less upsets and tears. The practice dates back millennia and has been practiced in varying degrees throughout history. Statues and engravings from Cyprus and Crete, depicting babes in a swaddled state, date back as far as 4500 years. In the Christian Bible, Mary is said to have wrapped her newborn baby Jesus in swaddling clothes, before placing him in the manger. The original swaddling garb was a linen cloth which was bound tight with bandage-like strips. Common practice was to wash and oil the baby down after birth and immediately bind … Continue reading