Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sewing Classes!

Would you like to learn how to sew? I can show you how!

This first project is a great place to start, as it’s all straight lines! You can learn the basic functions of the machine and walk away with a lovely keepsake or gift!

I don’t know about you, but my family LOVES their t-shirts, and we hate to donate or throw away the ones that carry special memories. They might not fit anymore, or maybe are worn with holes or stains, but we just can’t part with them. Let me show you how to easily “upcycle” them into a cozy throw size quilt, like the one shown below.

Over the course of 4 weeks (you choose: Monday or Wednesday evenings), we will spend 2 hours each week cutting, preparing, sewing, constructing, and finishing your quilt. You supply 24-30 t-shirts (and a few other supplies), and I’ll lead you through the process. Don’t have a sewing machine? No worries, I’ll have 4 on hand for you to use.

Mondays (6-8pm): July 10, 17, 24, 31.

Wednesdays (6-8pm): July 12, 19, 26, Aug 2

Class Fee: $80.         Maximum class size: 6 adults

Class 1: bring clean shirts for cutting and fusing
Class 2: sewing shirts together
Class 3: layers and quilting
Class 4: binding

Supplies Needed: 24-30 adult sized t-shirts, thread, fusible interfacing, batting, backing cotton, sewing machine.
Additional supplies (bring if you have, supplied if you don’t): measuring tape, scissors, rotary cutter, clear ruler (min. 15″), safety pins.

Class will be held in my Oxford home: 2345 Hummer Lake Rd., Oxford MI 48371

Register in my website (SHOP tab) for Monday or Wednesday. $40 due at registration, balance due at first class meeting.

Here’s the link: http://couturebykristine.com/shop/

Questions? Email: kristine@couturebykristine.com

Thanks for joining me on this exciting new chapter of my sewing life. I hope to continue to offer classes in garment construction, so let me know what you’d like to learn!

Stay Creative!

Kristine

Please like & share:

Vogue 1387: Panel Chiffon Blouse

IMG_0866 (2)

I found this lovely chiffon print on the bargain table at Haberman Fabrics around March, can you believe it? It screams “summer” to me, but I had so much trouble deciding what garment to make with it. Dress? Skirt? Top? I draped it on my dressform over and over, dug through my patterns over and over… I just couldn’t decide what to do with it. I posted a pic of the fabric on Instagram and a sewing friend (Sewing to Soothe My Soul) commented that she had bought the exact same fabric! A few weeks ago I enlisted her help to motivate me to move forward on this project before the summer ended, by asking her to also stitch up her cut and report back. As she posted her first progress picture on Instagram, I was immediately motivated! It worked!!!

Vogue 1387 is a Rebecca Taylor pattern with two different blouses. I chose the short sleeve pullover version. “Top has self-lined yokes, front pleats, shaped hemline, and very narrow hem. A: Front longer than back, sleeveless, surplice neckline, pullover, fitted through bust, no shoulder seams, elasticized tie ends for casing, underarm inset, and armhole bands.” Even though it’s described as “sleeveless”, I would say it has more of a cap sleeve. I really loved the design details and casual beauty of this top.

V1387_a

V1387_05

Fabric: 2 yards of 60″ wide chiffon panel print from Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, MI. $4.98/yd, so this cute top can in under $10! The pattern layout was quite challenging though, since I wanted to make the best use of the panel print, and had only 2 yards to work with.

IMG_8735 (2)

Did I mention how much I hate single layer cuts???

Modifications: I strayed from the pattern instructions in a few places, mostly because I have a serger, didn’t feel the need to do french seams, and because my fabric was sheer. I skipped the front facing and back yoke, since I wanted to keep the blouse sheer all over. I straight-stitched along the seam line, then serged the edge to finish it cleanly, pressed it over and stitched it down. I also used my serger to finish the bottom with a narrom rolled hem and zig-zagged the elastic onto the waist seam.

IMG_8879 (2) IMG_8881 (2)

I’m really pleased with the final outcome, I think it highlights the panel print perfectly! I also love the style and wearability of the top, that it will work for both work and going out, with jeans or with pencil skirt.

IMG_0869 (2)

I will warn you that the shoulder/armhole pieces are a little challenging, as the outer part is cut on the bias (so I couldn’t match the prints) and there is an inner  armhole piece that gets stitched inside for coverage under the arm. It was a little fussy/frustrating, but again, my serger leaves everything so neat, that I really can’t complain. I also skipped the buttonholes on the front and simply tacked the waist tie bow to the front center.

IMG_0870 (2)

On the back, I was able to place the back shoulder yoke pieces to take advantage of another print feature (Yay!), but now notice that my lower back flounce print placement was a little lopsided. (Boo!). Got very lucky on the stripe matching on the back from center piece to lower flounce (Woohoo!)

IMG_0871 (2)

In conclusion, I’m thrilled with the outcome! The “happy print” of the fabric was well matched with this feminine blouse and I’m quite proud of myself for powering through the “frustration factor” of the chiffon. I’ll definitely be using this pattern again, in fact I’m almost done with a UFO of the other long-sleeved version! Looking forward to “twinning” with my sewing buddy at a future #DetroitSews event or sewing class!

IMG_0872 (2)

Please like & share:

Vogue 1502: Think Outside the Box

IMG_0437 (2)

Sometimes your inspiration image at the start of the project doesn’t match the final product! This project started when I saw the model on the pattern envelope and really liked the dress. But, as the project progressed, things changed…

Vogue 1502

V1502_02

I’m not much for maxi dresses, and the yardage required (5 yds of 60″ wide) didn’t fit anything in my fabric stash, especially not chiffon. I pulled some chiffon that I had, thinking that if I shortened the dress, I’d have enough fabric, but that wasn’t the case. After looking closer at the pattern envelope, I noticed that the fabric recommendations included “border prints”, so I reached for a recent fabric purchase that ended up being perfect! And away we go…

Fabric: 3 lovely yards of navy blue Rayon Batik border print from Haberman Fabrics, purchased earlier this spring. I spied it on a rolling cart, it hadn’t even made it to the sales floor display yet! I can’t resist blue and white dress prints…

Pattern: Vogue 1502 (Tracy Reese)
‘Lined, floor-length dress has close-fitting bodice with front dart tucks, scoop neckline, midriff, back inset, shoulder straps, under bodice, raised waist, side-front and side-back seams on skirt, invisible side zipper, very narrow hem, narrow hem on three-quarter length sleeves, and French seams. Neck binding, facings for underbodice, and continuous bias to finish zipper and armholes.”

Lined? Nope, didn’t do that. The fabric was not sheer and I used my serger to finish all the seams and hems, so French seams weren’t necessary either.

Floor length? Nope, trimmed the skirt pattern pieces down to 24″ in length.

Invisible Zipper? Nope. When I attached the skirt to the bodice, I was able to slip it on with the side seam basted, so I skipped the zipper.

Three-quarter length sleeves: Nope. I had every intention of keeping the sleeves, I even made great use of the border and had excellent print placement! But, when I slipped the dress on after attaching the skirt, the dress just said “I’m an effortless, warm weather dress. Wear me on sunny days with your hair up!” and the sleeves just seemed… matronly and heavy to me. I hate to waste fabric, but it just seemed like the dress was more flattering on me without the sleeves. Here’s the picture I posted on Instagram seeking feedback, and the vast majority of the comments said, “Sleeveless!!!”

Instagram

Construction: I followed the pattern’s instructions for guidance, but made changes along the way, since my fabric wasn’t sheer. For example, the inner “lining” (a cami top and mini skirt) weren’t necessary, although I did require the back bodice lining piece for coverage. I added about 1.5″ to the top edge for additional coverage (to hide the bra strap at center back) and attached the lining piece to the back bodice pieces along the side seams. However, I still needed to tack the lining piece to the sides of the deep “V”, as it was very drapey and wouldn’t stay up where I needed it.

IMG_0424 (2)

The ties are a perfect length, even with the shorter skirt. I just made the bow loops a little longer to pick up the slack, and also realized that I could wrap them around my back and tie them in the front for another cute belting option.

IMG_0420 (2)

This project is an excellent reminder that the picture on the pattern envelope, which is extremely fashionable and a beautiful garment, may not resemble your finished garment, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing! It’s important to look beyond the fabric selection, the length, or the sleeve type, and really look at a garment for it’s “bones”… the design details, the opportunities for thinking outside the box. If I’d ignored this pattern because I’m not a fan of maxi dresses on my body type, I would’ve missed out on a spectacular use for a special fabric in my stash! My favorite parts are all here: the deep v-back, the border print, the flattering style lines. I’m pretty sure I’ll reach for this pattern again, as the construction was very straightforward and the dress really has 4-season opportunity, depending on the fabric selection and the sleeve! Two thumbs up for Vogue 1502 and don’t be afraid to stray from the “norm”!

Please like & share:

A Perfect Coat for Fall

IMG_9325 (2) Sometimes a garment starts with the pattern… Sometimes with a picture from a magazine. This coat started when I laid eyes on the bold print wrapped around a dress form at Haberman Fabrics. The black wings on an ivory field spoke to me, but at the time it was 90 degrees outside and fuzzy wools weren’t begging to be worked with! But a few days later, when I couldn’t stop thinking about that bold print, I ordered up a few yards and started looking for the perfect pattern.

B6254

Butterick 6254 (by Katherine Tilton) was just what I had in mind, with a good length to showcase the large print. With the raglan type sleeve, it also gave me the chance to add in a nice solid contrast, which I found at Joann’s as a nice black embroidered faux leather. The vintage button closures were found at the American Sewing Expo, and are a lovely mix of mostly black with a swirl of grey swimming inside. Acrylic Blend Coating: 2.5 yds, 60″ wide. Embroidered leather: 1.5 yds, 60″ wide. 9 large buttons and snaps.IMG_9329 (2)

I left it unlined, as the weather right now is just a bit chilly… but, I know that colder temps are coming, so I’ll likely add a lining that can be added/removed with the changing seasons. The wings were actually printed on the crossgrain, so I was very careful as I cut the front pieces, making sure that the thinner “band of birds” was centered properly and that the left and right sides matched with the few smaller horizontal stripes. I used an additional band of birds so that the left and right front bands would match, as well.

IMG_9311 (2)

My favorite thing about the print is the strong vertical strip of winds on the back, with the negative colored birds centered in the wings’ reflection. There is a “southwest vibe” to the print (if you look near my hips, you’ll see a sideways long horn skull), but to me it says “winter’s coming”, with the absence of color, with lots of white and tones of gray. Regardless, it’s quite warm and exactly what I was hoping when I envisioned it as I began!

Here’s a close-up of the contrast and the leather in the back with the top-stitching. My only regret is not taking more care along that top back seam to make the embroidery match, but those pieces were quite large and I didn’t think I had enough fabric to make it work.

IMG_9327

All in all, I’m quite pleased with it. It’s so soft and cozy, and I absolutely love the mix of hard and soft. One of a kind, and all mine!

IMG_9324 (2)

 

Please like & share:

From Wedding to Baptism

 

IMG_2238 (2)

What do you do with your wedding dress after the big day? Preserve and store it away in hopes that someday your daughter or granddaughter may want to wear it? This lucky lady has always wanted her gown made into baptismal outfits for her grandchildren. It’s something that I’m told she’s wanted done for a long time, so when her 50th birthday rolled around this year, her daughter thought that this would be a great gift for the future grandchildren (there aren’t any yet)!

FullSizeRender_2

The dress was originally worn in the early 90s, with a bodice of heavily embroidered and beaded lace and a skirt of silk taffeta. The short sleeves were quite voluminous, with additional beading and the back of the skirt (when not bustled) contained a nice amount of extra fabric.

FullSizeRender

Since the gender of the future grandchildren are unknown, we agreed that making a gown for a girl and a romper for a boy made the most sense. Butterick 6045 was the ideal pattern because it contained both garments (along with additional accessory items like booties and a bonnet).

B6045

I carefully deconstructed the dress, removing the many foundation layers beneath the skirt (lining, crinoline with netting) and when I further took the skirt apart, found 7 panels of taffeta to work with. The storage box had been involved in a basement flood, so there were some minor water marking stains on the skirt, but I was able to work around it. The bodice lace was stitched into the bodice seams, so I had narrow sections of the lace to work with, but thankfully there was a piece large enough to get the baby girl bodice front cut from completely.

IMG_1725 IMG_1745

The sleeves were voluminous and I very much wanted to make use of the same sleeve motifs in the baby girl gown. You can see how the baby sleeve size compares to the wedding dress sleeve!
IMG_1846 IMG_2106

Beneath the skirt of the wedding gown was a satin trimmed crinoline, which I felt also needed to be included.  It definitely adds some volume to the baptismal gown!
IMG_2107

The baby boy romper was much more straight forward, with no lace. The buttons were purchased, as the only other buttons on the original wedding dress were the ones for bustling the skirt and were just a tad too plain (clear and flat). Snap closures were also purchased and hand-stitched to close the bottom of the romper pants and also on the back of both garments to keep them closed.

IMG_2250 (2) IMG_2254

There was enough fabric in the skirt of the wedding dress to also used it as a lining and to make the sleeve double layered (as a single layer was a little sheer. I left the sleeves open on the girl gown (used elastic on the bottom of the boy sleeves) and added a satin ribbon at the waist to better differentiate the bodice from the skirt.

IMG_2242

IMG_2240 (2)The floral motif on the skirt was a final addition, as there were two more embroidered roses left and I felt that I really added a nice touch to the skirt. There was an entire skirt panel remaining untouched and a fair amount of lace, if there was ever the need for an additional keepsake, like a bridal purse or “something old”.

All in all, I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to do this project, as it’s something that I’ve always wanted to try and do.  Looking forward to the chance to do it again!

 

 

Please like & share: