Tag Archive: inspiration

Pretty Toppers – Inspiration

I just wanted to share some more toppers that I like. There are a few design elements that I hope to incorporate into some of my future sewing projects. Enjoy!Cennetta

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A Summer Lookbook (and discount code!) from Oak Fabrics

I hope you all are ready for a Friday treat, because I’ve got one for you! A super cute look book, kits, and a discount code from my local shop (and old employer!) Oak Fabrics featuring our patterns with the amazing … Continue reading

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Inspirational Eye Candy

As part of a Google project on Arts & Culture the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is participating in the project. They have created an amazing and rich website. From here you can explore so many things, including exhibits from their partners (many other museums), historic garments (including a bodice of Elizabeth I), […]

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summer sewing inspiration

The temperatures are up! Here are many summer sewing projects for when it’s hot, hot, hot.

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Free Updates – June 2017!

If you own Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro, you enjoy free updates forever. Really.  Forever.  Many updates work in the background to keep your software compliant with the latest Windows updates. In addition, some PEP updates include new features.  This month, you’ll find three very handy new features.  When you log on to PEP on Monday, […] Read more…

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May at Pauline Alice

May has gone by so fast! We’ve been busy secretly preparing summer patterns but now it’s time to show you some behind-the-scene pictures. Ready? Here’s what we’ve been working one…

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Diane von Furstenberg Stripes

Morning everyone,Today’s post is all about stripe fashionable inspiration.  I viewed one of Diane von Furstenberg 2017 collections and found a few striped garments.  So here goes.

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Resurfacing ..,

My goodness, I been totaling neglecting my blog.  I’ve been Facebooking, Instagramming, and sewing; but no blogging 🙁 I’ve missed it..,  as blogging helps catalog and organize my sewing projects as well as sharing my sewing experiences with…

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How to: Pick Your Wardrobe Capsule Color Palette

Hey hey curvy sewists! Who’s gotten started on wardrobe capsule plotting? I love a good capsule and tend to sew ‘mini-capsules’ — i.e. at least three garments that work together. As a long-time sewist, I’ve gotten over the initial phase — you know, every project is a party dress, when your day-to-day routine is more…

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How to: Pick Your Wardrobe Capsule Color Palette

Hey hey curvy sewists! Who’s gotten started on wardrobe capsule plotting? I love a good capsule and tend to sew ‘mini-capsules’ — i.e. at least three garments that work together. As a long-time sewist, I’ve gotten over the initial phase — you know, every project is a party dress, when your day-to-day routine is more…

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Inspiration for Making the Etta Dress

Inspiration for making the Etta dress

Planning to make the Etta dress? Today I thought I’d share with you some gorgeous Pinspiration to help you decide on colours and prints, and get some styling ideas.

When choosing your fabric, I suggest you pick a medium weight material. You don’t want anything too drapey or the dress might hang a bit funny. If the fabric has a bit of stretch in it, that’s always helpful for a fitted dress like this to make it more comfortable to wear. Look for stretch woven cotton, sateen, triple crepe, crepe-back satin, ponte di roma or stable jacquard knits. The cap sleeve version would also work nicely in brocade, but you might find this kind of material a bit uncomfortable on longer sleeves.

Above – clockwise from top left: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

It’s easy to get drawn to pretty and unusual prints when fabric shopping. But don’t forget the humble solid colour! These can often make the most striking dresses. The V-back collar looks particularly good in a solid as it will stand out more. Try a bright or jewel tone, or even a pastel or cream. Look for textured fabrics too, such as jacquard knits and heavy crepes, to add an extra bit of interest.

Inspiration for making the Etta dress

Clockwise from top left – 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Having said that, if you want to make Etta in a print, make it in a print! Ooh ‘ello… what’s this? The first image seems to be exactly the same fabric that we’ve included in our Etta sewing kits. This pretty rose print dress would be sooooo pretty to wear to a Summer wedding. The style lines on this pattern make it perfect for showing off bold floral prints.

And let’s not forget lemons! I fell in love with the lemon print sateen that we used in our Etta sewing kits – so very Dolce and Gabbana, and perfect for swanning around the Amalfi coast with a limoncello ice cream in your hand (or pretending to at least!).

Inspiration for making the Etta dress

Left to right: 1 / 2 / 3

Not a fan of florals? Modern, graphic prints also look great on this kind of dress. Go for a smaller print if you’re adding the collar to make it more visible – and if you’re making it in stripes, play around with the direction of the strips on the collar. Big prints also work well as the dress isn’t broken up with too many style lines.

Inspiration for making the Etta dress

Clockwise from top left: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Add your own design details to Etta to make it extra special. You could embellish the collar or neckline with beading, or add a little button chain to the faux pockets (I’m obsessed with that orange dress!!). Colour block it, either by simply making the bodice and skirt in different colours, or adding extra seams into the pattern. Or add a little lace or embroidered panel to the bodice or waistline like this pretty red dress.

Etta dress sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

If you’re struggling to imagine what the dress will look like in a particular fabric, take a look at the technical drawing. Relax your eyes and project that colour or print onto the drawing (in your imagination!).

Have fun designing your Etta dress! I’m so excited to see what fabric you pick – do share with us on Instagram @TillyButtons with the hashtag #SewingEtta.

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Ideas to Customize your Stitching

Although written for cross stitchers, this post by Nicholas Pell has lots of fantastic ideas to customize your needlepoint. Some, like adding a quote give you an easy way to make a painted canvas individual. Any easy change for most canvases is the addition of a border. Others, such as isolating a motif, might work […]

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INSPIRATION BEHIND THE NEW PATTERNS…

I went to Japan last year and the street-style there inspired me quite a lot. Particularly in Kyoto, where most women would be wearing the same outfit over and over: a…

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Transform your Needlepoint by Creating your own Stitch Guides

It’s a transformation that never gets old. You see a wonderful canvas and you buy it. You can almost see how lovely it will look stitched — can’t you? Then you get it home and reality sets in. You don’t have a clue how to transform the painted canvas into that stitched masterpiece that lives […]

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Sewing For My Curves: Morven

Heya Everyone!!! I’m Morven and I’m really happy to participate in the Sewing For My Curves series. You can see what I get up to sewing-wise on my Instagram @morvens_handmades and sometimes I even blog about my sewing explorations. Clockwise from top left: Anna dress with Enid sweater, Anna dress, Anna dress My Figure: I…

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Handmade Styling: Cozy Winter Blues

It’s one thing to make a garment you love, but often another to incorporate it seamlessly into your wardrobe – at least that’s what we hear from our customers all of the time. One of the many questions I get … Continue reading

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Valentino Inspired Dress – Fancy Mood Floral Roses Jacquard and Simplicity 1011

Plain and simple:  there is nothing like a beautiful piece of fabric.  Just the mere fact that it is gorgeous makes you imagine how proud you feel to wear something made of it. This is the case with Mood’s Black Malaga Floral Roses Jacquard a…

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Blue Faux Fur – Inspiration

Spring didn’t last too long. Back to winter, and I’m back to thinking about what to make with the Blue Faux Fur I got from Mood Fabrics.Here’s the inspiration I collected.  Any thought?

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The 2017 Oscars Red Carpet

It’s that time again . . . time to gaze longingly at couture gowns I wish I could examine inside and out, and at the same time pick apart the mess that sometimes manages to make it down the red carpet.  This year, I can’t even say that I have a favorite.

But I will say that Viola Davis looks AMAZING in Armani.  Just don’t make me watch her trying to walk in the heels that I assume are hiding under that dress, it will ruin the illusion.  If I am being picky, I am not in love with that clutch with the bracelet.  But really, this is a fabulous look for her, and she should definitely be adding more of that red color to her wardrobe.  Just don’t tromp about like a football player when you look this stunning, please!


Kirsten Dunst chose Dior Haute Couture, and the arched neckline is lovely.  I also really like the slight high-low hemline that shows off the shoes (which I really, really love).  I would have preferred to see this in a color, though.  She wore a lemony colored dress with short sleeves and collar in Cannes earlier this year, and if this gown was that color I think it would have been truly stunning.  But what is with the hair?!  Messy, messy, messy, and it really takes away from the glamour.



And because I miss Evan Rachel Woods in a tux, here is Mahershala Ali – this is how you exude style on the red carpet as a man without looking like you are trying too hard (hello, Pharrell Williams).  Do we think that is a silk/wool blend; oh, how I wish I could get my hands on some of that fabric because it looks yummy.  But wait a second, aren’t his sleeves supposed to show below the jacket?  And the white buttonhole on the lapel is a bit jarring.  So, so close, but not quite perfect. 



Brie Larson is wearing Oscar de la Renta.  Now, there is something I like about this, but all those flounces get lost in the black.  I think a contrasting color would have worked better for the lining to highlight the details.  The bodice looks really good on her frame, but the skirt is a little too late 80s for me to really love this.


I can’t put my finger on why I am drawn to this Elizabeth Kennedy gown on Busy Phillips, but I am intrigued.  Maybe it is the luscious green velvet, or perhaps it is simply because it is so unexpected.  Although, I am having flashes of a vintage movie theatre marquee . . . but I really love the hourglass shape this creates . . . but now I want to see the dress light up.  I am really stuck on this one.  I cannot decide if I love it or hate it.



Taraji Henson looks stunning in velvet Alberta Ferretti.  That neckline is glorious, but I do wish she had taken it easy with the boob tape and/or contouring, because the girls are treading dangerously close to Miss Universe territory.  Not sure about the necklace, and the ring really doesn’t match, or maybe I would rather she keep the ring and get rid of the necklace, but one of them has got to go.  The messy hair works for her – perhaps this is the look that Kirsten Dunst was going for.  Her toe appears to be hanging off the edge of that shoe, but I am going to give her a break because she did not shove her thigh way out of that slit like some classless actress that shall remain nameless.


Dakota Jonson often looks sickly/really uncomfortable on the red carpet, and that trend continues.  This reminds me of a 1940s bridal gown, which I should love.  But girl, do something with your hair, for crying out loud.  Hate the necklace with this Gucci dress, but I think I might like this on someone else, or really anyone who would actually make an effort when getting ready for a huge event, because I just cannot look past the horrible hair.  When I force myself to ignore the head attached to the dress, the fit on the sleeves looks awkward as well.  She really does look like she just rolled out of bed . . . perhaps while wearing the dress, by the looks of the wrinkled skirt.


I love this ankle length ballerina inspired Dior Haute Couture dress.  The shoes are perfection, and surprisingly enough, I think the washed out tone works for Felicity Jones.  Her skin looks really gorgeous.  Maybe it’s the dark hair that keep her from being washed out?  I like the minimal jewelry on this as well.  My only issue here is that she looks rather thick through the middle, which I am going to blame on all of that tulle.  I would say add a thicker belt to corral the frothy fabric, but I do like the delicate look, so not really sure how to fix this one.


Nicole Kidman.  Oh, dear.  What happened here?  This Armani looks like something you would find in the prom clearance section of Macys, the scratchy polyester snagged from being shoved to the back of the rack for months on end.  The color does not work for her – seriously, when is someone going to tell the misguided woman that the monotone look from head to toe just does not work for her?  To top it all off, the hairstyle looks horrendous, and the shoes are too big as well.  The only redeemable things here are the diamonds.  She is built like a model and must have a whole team of people helping her get ready for an event like this – how can it all go so horribly wrong?!?  



Paging Sharon Stone – someone has stolen your Casino dress again – this time it’s Jessica Biel with an assist from Kaufman Franco.  That necklace, though, looks like it was stolen from a Broadway production of The Lion King.  There are enough gold statues at the Oscars, darling, trying to look like one is just embarrassing in a situation like this.



Emma Stone is in Givenchy Haute Couture, and boy would I love to see that bodice up close.  I love the hair, love the jewels, love the makeup, and love the top half of the dress.  Unfortunately, the bottom half looks like she is auditioning for the role of Babette in a Vegas production of Beauty and the Beast.  It is possible that this dress looks wonderful in motion, but at rest, it’s rather sad looking.  And here is another pale skinned woman who looks good in a muted color.



Here we have another Babette look, this one by Marchesa, worn by Olivia Culpo.  The dress is a familiar look for Marchesa, and I seem to recall Georgina Chapman wearing something similar on a red carpet in the recent past.  This particular beaded feather duster works much better than the Givenchy, in my opinion.  But the hair is all kinds of wrong.  Did they gel it like that on her forehead?  I love a good spit curl with a flapper inspired frock, but the trick is to curl the hair into an interesting shape, not paste it down in an oily line.  This just looks like she is desperately trying to hide the fact that she needs to wash her hair, and failing.  I do like that delicate black ribbon and the dark clutch and dark nails.  And I would have liked a darker lip (or anything, really, to distract from that greasy mess on her forehead).


And in the role of Belle, we have Leslie Mann in Zac Posen.  From the shoulders up, she looks adorable.  The dress, however, looks like a contestant on Project Runway threw a bunch of fabric on a dress form and called it a day.  And top it off with a bow at the bust . . . what the heck was he thinking?  Is the skirt supposed to be that wrinkly, because the bodice is not.  I can just imagine Mr. Posen’s snarky comments when this came down the runway:  “Who do you think you are, Charles James?”  That being said, she does look really happy wearing the dress, so that has to count for something.


Janelle Monae did not let me down in the crazy dress department (Helena Bonham Carter would totally wear this, and I am now convinced that they are red carpet cousins).  I am calling this one “Rococo Punk.”  The overlay looks suspiciously shiny like polyester, but I cannot imagine that Elie Saab would use the poly organza from JoAnn Fabrics, so I am going to blame the lighting and hope that it is, in fact, silk.  She looks like a rock and roll princess; it really is incredible how a person can turn a potentially hideous garment into something wonderful with the right look.



So, not a lot of color this year, and nothing that I would give my left kidney to own, but it’s been fun wandering down this year’s red carpet.  Did I miss any of your favorites?

[Click on image for source]

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Getting a “Tweedy” Effect in Needlepoint

Connie Pickering Stover is a fiber artist making lovely needlepoint and mixed media projects. A distinctive characteristic of her work is the tweeded effect, which you can see clearly in the picture here of her Starborn work. On her site se has a tutorial about achieving this tweeded effect in your own stitching. Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2017Original content […]

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Smallness – Senior Process

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My senior collection is about the interaction of light and wind and how, when connected together, they create a transcending feeling of smallness.

I almost used broken shards of glass as one of the main elements. It was a time in my life where I didn’t feel entirely whole. But after advice from my mentor and praying and searching, I decided on something so much better.

What I really hope is that the materials, together, will interact with the true elements of this design: the wind and the light and the unexplainable aura that resonates from them. If I can do this, I can echo to others the absolute greatest feeling I’ve ever experienced—the feeling of staring up at the night sky, watching the stars reflect their light, feeling the wind against my skin, and suddenly realizing how amazingly small we are.

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Roman Mosaic Needlepoint

Roman mosaics make compelling inspiration for needlepoint. You can find vintage books of charts adapting them to needlepoint, you can find projects doing the same (such as my Bath Mosaic). Among my favorite Roman mosaics are the dogs from Pompeii. The folks at Needlepaint have turned three of them into needlepoint. They have also written […]

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Roman Mosaic Needlepoint

Roman mosaics make compelling inspiration for needlepoint. You can find vintage books of charts adapting them to needlepoint, you can find projects doing the same (such as my Bath Mosaic). Among my favorite Roman mosaics are the dogs from Pompeii. The folks at Needlepaint have turned three of them into needlepoint. They have also written […]

The post Roman Mosaic Needlepoint appeared first on Nuts about Needlepoint.

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oliver + s capsule wardrobe

Make clothes for your kids alongside your virtual sewing pals during Kid’s Clothes Week which will be taking place February 20-26. This time around there is an optional capsule wardrobe theme. Happy sewing!

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Harmony in Head

It’s midway through the day and I’m thinking three rows ahead, down at my knitting. It’s been 6 hours and whoa. I have completed, wait for it…wait for it… Three. Whole. Inches. 😐  This is a decent accomplishment, but I’m not admiring these fresh stitches. I’m calculating those three inches, into hours, and multiplying them by the knitting yield of the full piece, and then dividing that by seven and then counting down the few remaining days I have left until my critique with the dean. (10 days).
At this rate I should finish this single layer of my first look by, mm, next Tuesday.

I realize this same time comparison has actually been going through my head all day on repeat.  Inch by inch, hour by hour, day by day, minute by minute stitch by stitch by cup of coffee, by stich, I have been calculating my deadlines. The moment when I finish this piece, so I may move onto the next and begin calculating again, but as exhausting as it is to think about and as exhausting as this is to read, you should all know that there is a time when this chess game in my head quiets.

Two days a week, on Monday and Wednesday mornings, I have an art history class and it is my favorite moment of the entire week. It’s a time when I get to sit and pause and just look at artwork.  It’s so soothing. I’m not thinking in terms of a plan and a deadline. There’s no pressure. My boyfriend and I sit aside each other, both of our minds moving a mile a minute, admiring art, coming up with new ideas, and laughing at our professor’s ridiculous, interpretive, dancing. Yes, this really happens.

It’s a pause.  It’s a soak.  I always have a pen and paper ready, but not to write down the names of the artists or the dates of the paintings we cover in class; I have an entire notebook willed with new ideas.

As an artist, we need pauses. Soaks. We need to be inspired without the pressure of creating. Because when you’re not looking for something beautiful, is often when you find beauty in things the most.

Here are some of my favorites art pieces that I should have written in my notebook:

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Who is Blue Hair Girl?

Welcome, Blue Hair Girl! What do you get when you mix machine embroidery, a quirky sense of humor and streaks of blue hair? The launch of a new brand from Designs in Machine Embroidery. Blue Hair Girl is a fresh and quirky approach to embroidery! Managing Editor, Denise Holguin, has been in the machine embroidery […] Read more…

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spring inspiration round-up

Bring on spring! As you transition into spring sewing, here is a round-up to offer you lots of wonderful inspiration.

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pantone spring colors inspiration

Here is a lot of colorful eye candy for you today. Be inspired by the Pantone spring 2017 colors for your Oliver + S sewing.

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Inspiration – The Vertical Lines of Valentino Fall 2016

I love looking at fashion show pictures of different designers.  It is such a great source of inspiration.  One of my favorite designers is Valentino.  The designs are so elegant, classy and full of different design elements.  With …

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Inspiration – The Vertical Lines of Valentino Fall 2016

I love looking at fashion show pictures of different designers.  It is such a great source of inspiration.  One of my favorite designers is Valentino.  The designs are so elegant, classy and full of different design elements.  With …

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