Tag Archive: Simplicity

CONFERENCE 2017 RECAP (PIC HEAVY)

HI DARLINGS! I am so thankful for every single person who helps bring this conference to life every year. We work on this for eight months out of the year, and it is all consuming the last three months leading up to the big day. This year we almost didn’t get pics to recap, LOL […]

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NEW MIMI G PRE-FALL PATTERNS! SIMPLICITY 8426 + 8427

HI DARLINGS! I feel like I have been gone forever but you all know that every year starting in late May my posts are not as frequent because the summer conference takes up all our time but it is over now and I am back! I will have recap pics of the conference for you […]

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Tropical seersucker capris

Cross two things off my summer sewing to-do list: work out a hidden inseam pocket, and sew capris. Done and done! Frankly, I’m elated about these capris, even though they just appear to be a simple project at first glance. And technically they kind of are, but they signify a… read more »

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Simplicity 4403 coat in plaid boucle

The subtitle for this post should be “all the interfacings” as I think I used a little bit of every type in this project. I’m coming around to the opinion that interfacing is the secret ingredient of sewing – along the lines of butter as the not-so-secret ingredient that makes so many dishes taste delicious.

Back to sewing: I recently made a coat for a sewing client using a familiar fabric. When she brought the project over I had to laugh, and then said “a coat?” Eek, I already had one bout with this fabric in a different color way when I made myself a Chanel-ish jacket a couple of years ago.  So plaid…yup. Although in its favor this is an even plaid so it does make matching slightly less painful.

Let’s start with that plaid matching. Not sure if you can see due to the dark color that this pattern is a shoulder princess seamed style, which I think is very pretty and nice to fit, it gives a very feminine look although it does mean more seams to match.

boucle coat front close up

I’m really happy with the way it turned out, including the sleeves where the pink lines continue across  nicely. This is both due to careful matching when cutting out and but also to a well designed pattern with a good sleeve.

It’s difficult to see in this photo but for a plaid I like to cut out one piece and then flip it over and use the cut out piece as a template to pattern match the plaid for its mirror image. So you can see the under sleeve pinned onto the fabric all lined up. And my trusty roll of blue painters tape. Every piece gets marked on the wrong size with a piece of tape as I cut out because I hate to realize later that I have lost the plot in terms of right and wrong side. Even if the sides are indistinguishable I live in fear that a finished garment will have a color difference in one piece due to being wrong side out. And this fabric is impossible to tell one side from the other but my mind is calmer when all pieces are marked 🙂 and I can just sew on autopilot without thinking about that detail.

boucle coat cutting out

Here’s the pattern envelope. I think it is from 2005 or so. There are 17 versions on Pattern Review and lots of really good and different variations that people have sewn over the subsequent years. Perhaps coat patterns don’t change as much as other garments because this actual coat looks very contemporary to me. The giveaway that ages this pattern photo are the shoes on the model on the left in the grey coat. Can you imagine walking in those and trying to keep them on your feet?

Simplicity 4403 pattern envelope

Back to the topic of interfacing. Since this fabric does not have a lot of body and is kind of dressy due to the slight sparkle of the fibers, I suggested that I do it in a soft tailoring style, kind of like a boucle jacket but coat length. It’s the type of coat that can be close fitting, it will be worn over a dress or a silk blouse, so not needing to have ease to accommodate winter layers.

With that in mind I started with silk organza for the coat center fronts, stitched in by machine. I suppose I could have used a fusible but I liked the feeling of the silk organza combined with the boucle.

You can see the whiskery threads of my tailor’s tacks, in pale green and then the stitching of the buttonhole welts in a dark red. My contact lens/eyeglass prescription is off the charts (seriously folks, the proverbial coke bottle eyeglasses*) so I always use a thread that I can easily see. In a fabric like this the stitches will never show and it makes sewing and seeing so much easier.

boucle coat sewing bound buttonholes

Once the bound buttonholes are done I baste them shut and even though there is a lot left to do it is downhill from here. Until a project is about 80% finished, then the finish line seems interminable.

boucle coat coat front without sleeves

Let’s pause here and mention how un-ravelly this fabric is. Annoying as anything. Big long strands want to come off with every shift of the pattern pieces. Threads everywhere. OK grumbling over for now. Although I decided I need to buy a new vacuum this week because I have killed my current one by feeding it a steady diet of stray pins and long threads. Oh well, I got about 10 years out of it.

boucle coat unravel fabric

The collar has both silk organza on the upper collar and then fusible on the lower. Front facings also have lightweight fusible (ProSheer Elegance) as well as the upper part of the side front panel. I think across the back also, in the shape of a back stay I put the fusible. It helps when the sections that marry together, such as the upper part of the front princess seam, and then the shoulder area area are all interfaced or otherwise changed to have the same drape and weight so the coat seems to hang better. Also the sleeve has some weft interfacing across the upper part, and then a bias wool sleeve head.

boucle coat close up sleeve inside

I don’t know what this is showing, maybe the fusible on the facing. And some of my favorite tools.

boucle coat buttonholes finished

So this is the unlovely look at the inside of the coat. I always kind of laugh to see how the guts look before they are covered up by a pretty lining. I did change the pockets to be on the side seams instead of the princess seams which I don’t think looks right. Just my preference. And I did check on the pocket placement on the muslin, the owner of this coat is quite tall and it’s nice to have the pockets in just the right place.

boucle coat inside without lining

One last finishing detail, you know I just about never bag the lining – I just like the control that sewing the lining in by hand provides. Plus it behaves better and the coat front is more sleek retaining its shape and not pulling anywhere. However to get that result the front facing must be stitched down to the coat front piece. Shown here in pink silk thread, using catch stitches which are secure but also have a bit of give.

boucle coat hand stitching facing

I’m sorry but I only took a couple of pictures once the coat was finished and none on the owner. My dress form is a bit too small for the coat plus the skirt is slightly a-line so it hangs off a bit but you get the idea.   Wouldn’t this look great with a salmon pink or coral color dress underneath?

boucle coat front on form1

boucle coat back on form

The lining is a chocolate brown Ambiance rayon.

boucle coat lining

Now time to admire those buttons – I tried so many selections from the wall of buttons at Stone Mountain and these were the one and only that looked good with this fabric. Not good but great!  The copper color complemented the coat fabric and they were a bit glossy, kind of like this coat. Score! Stone Mountain’s wall of buttons never fails me.

 boucle coat front facing and buttons

So that’s the scoop on this slightly out of season boucle coat. However living in the bay area the owner can pop over to San Francisco for a night out and have a coat that is hopefully just right for our fickle sunny one minute and foggy the next weather.

Up next I am finishing another shift dress for myself that strikes me as an homage to the Summer of Love, plus some steps out of my comfort zone and a foray into shirt dresses.

Last weekend’s Shift dress class at Hello Stitch was great – I’m really enjoying hanging out there and meeting lots of new stitchers.
For July we are repeating classes on sewing tunic tops and skirts plus just added a button-down shirt class.  By that I mean button front, collared shirt – so pick your pattern and join us!

Happy weekend sewing,
Beth

* footnote:  my reference above to coke-bottle eyeglasses is something that was often said when I was a kid, that someone’s glasses were like coke bottles, meaning that the lenses were so thick they were like the glass at the bottom of coke bottle. Being that there are not many glass coke bottles and improvements in eyeglass lenses to make them thinner I guess this phrase is on the way out. Do you think in a few years we will still say dial the phone? Officially on a tangent now…I still have an old dial phone in the garage which I kept for when the big quake happens and the cordless phones are all useless. However now the home phone is digital so I guess the dial phone is useless. Drat.

For today’s garden photo – it’s hydrangea time. I planted a couple of new ones this spring, so I hope to have a rainbow of different shades. We’re expecting 100˚F here on Sunday, I’m cooking, and of course my thermostat decided to croak today, but I replaced it and hopefully all will be well and truly Air Conditioned on Sunday at dinnertime!

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Inside Simplicity 1590

Last week I shared my second #VintagePledge of the year, a sweet 1940s blouse made using the reproduction pattern Simplicity 1590. My post about it mainly focused on my collaboration with Spoonflower and the cute fabric they sent me, but I th…

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Spoonflower Succulents

Whoop, I’m on a roll with my #VintagePledge! Thanks to Spoonflower’s British Blog Hop I’ve now tackled my second make – a 1940s blouse with reproduction Simplicity 1590 – just the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s to go.

The American fabric/wallpaper/gift-wrap design and print company kindly invited myself and eight fellow bloggers to help celebrate a year and a half of its Berlin-based factory. Having a European branch is good news for everyone on this side of the pond, because you can order in your own currency and the delivery times are much speedier!

I would have happily picked wallpaper, but as we’re not currently decorating I decided to stick to sewing. I toyed with the idea of designing my own print, but wisely put my trust in the fabulous many designers registered on Spoonflower.

My project was very much dictated by the print, because once I found Succulents I was instantly smitten. When I decorate my sewing room I’m seriously tempted to paper a wall with this print AND make matching cushion covers!!!

However, falling for this print scuppered my plans for a dress as I don’t usually favour light-coloured backgrounds, so I compromised with a blouse instead. I was then gutted not to find a cotton voile on Spoonflower’s extensive list of fabrics, but I was so determined that I went ahead and ordered it in the Kona Cotton Ultra instead.

I knew all along that a quilting cotton is not the optimum fabric for a blouse like this, but I powered on with pig-headed stubbornness and luckily it’s wearable in a dramatically structured sort of way. I wouldn’t use quilting cotton again for this blouse, but I’m gonna own the drama nonetheless. It’s like wearing a bustle!

So, aside from picking an inappropriate fabric type for my project, what is Spoonflower’s Kona Cotton Ultra actually like? Well, I won’t lie, I’ve handled nicer quilting cottons before. It’s very canvas-like and a little scratchy, so if I was paying £17.71 per yard myself, I wouldn’t order it for a dressmaking project again. It may well be perfectly acceptable for crafty projects though and it can be ordered by the fay quarter, which is a good way to test the waters I guess. Also, it gets top marks for the printing quality, as the colours and vibrancy are great and there was no visible fading/bleeding after I washed it.

Out of curiosity I also asked for a swatch pack and what I would be very tempted by is their Organic Cotton Sateen Ultra, which feels really lovely. It is a whopping £25.16 per yard though! I was also quite taken with the quality of their jerseys and performance/sportswear fabrics, all of which seem to be a nice quality too. To get a more rounded opinion of Spoonflower, have a look at what blog hoppers The Fold Line, A Million Dresses, Sew Manju, Almond Rock and House of Pinheiro said, with final contributions from So, Zo…What do you know? and Kestrel Makes coming next week.

Have you designed for or bought from Spoonflower before? What did you think? One thing’s for sure, I might have to go back at some point for the remaining prints that stole my heart – Cacti in Mugs, Succulent Garden and Cactus Flowers.
As for Simplicity 1590, I’ll do a separate post and possibly vlog on the fit, construction and how it compares to original vintage patterns soon.
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They’re Here, They’re Here! PREORDER the New Madalynne X Simplicity Patterns!

I’ve been giving you snippets and sneak peeks at my new patterns with Simplicity and today, I can finally talk about it. It’s Facebook official. My first collaboration was a dream come true. I remember flipping through the catalogs at Joann’s and Walmart. Never in a million years did I think I would have a pattern… patterns! Before

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Let’s Talk Bras: Join Me At Brooklyn Craft Company

This summer is going to be cray cray around these parts. In June, I’m jetting off to California to teach at Mimi G’s Sewing Conference, and in August, I’ll be making a very sentimental trip to Lake Okoboji. My mom grew up in Sioux City, but spent her summers on the lake. Lace Okoboji is a

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All Sewn Up: Madalynne 8228 Blush Pink + Yellow Kit

I’ve shown you images of the fabric and notions in the Madalynne lingerie kits, but what does (or should) the final product look like? Let me show you! Here is the Madalynne X Simplicity 8228 all sewn up using the blush pink and yellow kit. I’m the type of person who becomes obsessed with things.

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Pride and Prejudice Preparation

Every year, I get together with one of my best friends and we spend a weekend together watching Pride and Prejudice (BBC, 1995), stuffing our faces with cheese, and drinking lots of wine.  We started this in 2004 I think, and since then we’ve both moved around quite a lot, changed careers, got married, and […]

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SEW SEW DEF MAGAZINE ISSUE 02 NOW LIVE!

HI DARLINGS! I am so excited about this issue. We have really done an amazing job of putting this issue together and I know you are going to be BLOWN AWAY!! Not only is the issue full of great stuff (104 pages to be exact) but we have the amazing Ashley Nell Tipton Winner of […]

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New Pattern Roundup for April 2017

It’s that time again…end of another month, and time for another roundup of the new pattern releases–this time we’re taking a look at new patterns that were released in the month of April! I’ll give you a quick hint as to what you’ll be seeing a lot of in this post: as they continue to…

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My Favorite Madalynne X Simplicity Ladies: April

‘Scuse me while I get a little korny here, but seeing all of the variations and iterations of the Madalynne X Simplicity 8228 and 8229 is an incredible feeling. Get out your cell phones- like righ now. yes, I mean this second! – and search the hashtag #bramakingwithmadalynne. Lurk all the lacy photos like it’s

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DIY PLEATED SLEEVE TOP AND DENIM SKIRT

HI DARLINGS! I am wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday. I am sitting on the couch doing this write-up and catching up on the latest episode of Chicago Fire, lol. I have not been able to watch TV in so long because of the insane schedule we are on and let me tell you I […]

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Sponsor Feature: Rustic Gem Jewelry

At each and every bra workshop, details count. Details, details, details. The fabric and trims, the food, the decor – I try as much as I can to have it all “go”. Included in that are the goody bags. No party – and my workshops ARE a party – would be complete without a goody bag. Amirite or amirite?

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A ‘Continental’ Bra Making with Madalynne Workshop

Excuse me while I step onto my soapbox… Last Saturday was the 16th Bra Making with Madalynne workshop. Sixteen, woot woot! It was a ‘Continental’ Class with folks traveling from Virginia, Florida, Texas and California to attend. I’m blushing 🙂 Stepping off my soap box now… At the beginning of the day, students are usually quiet.

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Amanda vs Simplicity 2648

For a lady who has been sewing for five years I really don’t have much in the way of party dresses. In fact, in the lead up to Frocktails the only party options I had was my Tiki dress or my tulle skirt. Pretty rad stuff but those wardrobe stats aren’t great. So I did […]

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Summer Simplicity

The Simplicity Summer catalog has been released, and they even managed to get their website updated in time!  That has not happened since the website revamp, so perhaps things are going to improve as far as that goes . . .  


With no new vintage to gush over, my favorite design by far is the American Duchess version of that famous red Outlander gown (Simplicity has recolored the dress to be a greenish teal for the website, so not sure what that is about?).  With the panniers, this dress is very unsuitable for my daily life, but it is really gorgeous.  Swanning about in over 8 yards of fabric sounds pretty darn fabulous, actually.  Just not sure that I would be able to squeeze into my car – otherwise it would certainly be fun to show up wearing something like this to work!  I haven’t dressed up for Halloween for a few years now . . . maybe that will have to change . . .


The Cynthia Rowley top/dress is cute, but I already have a ton of her patterns, and rarely make them up.  And I am not so sure that skinny off-the-shoulder elasticized piece looks especially comfortable, so I am going to have to think about this one.


While I have not seen the new Beauty and the Beast movie, I was very disappointed by stills of the yellow gown, especially the bodice treatment.  But looking at the line drawing for Simplicity’s version, I actually like the flounces on the skirt back very much.


They also have the cartoon version of the yellow gown, made up in a particularly horrible polyester satin.  My skin is getting itchy just looking at that thing.  The model does not look terribly pleased, either.  Someone please destroy all of the Casa Collection satin and embellished organza – the world would be a much better place for it!


Simplicity is also jumping on the pattern hacking bandwagon.  Is this not what everyone already does with a pattern?  I suppose it could be helpful to a beginner who might not otherwise understand just how easy it is to add a ruffle or shorten a hem or scoop out a neckline.  Do you think they include instructions on how to properly draft those changes?  I may take a peek at the insert on this pattern next time I stop by the big box fabric store.  (I have to admit that when I first started using dress patterns, I thought that the instructions should be followed verbatim, so they may be onto something!)


I guess that means there is only one pattern that will definitely be coming home with me this season, but it’s a good one!  Now if only 8 yards of glorious silk would suddenly appear in my apartment I could get started . . .

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Follow Along! Bra Making with Madalynne Tomorrow!

Another day, another Bra Making workshop! Just a quick heads up that tomorrow I’m teaching 6 wonderful ladies how to make a bra at my Bra Making with Madalynne workshop. This is the last session before my summer classes kick off, where I’ll be debuting 3 new patterns with Simplicity and collaborating with Spoonflower and

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Out With The Old, In With The New I Spring Clean Your Undie Drawer

I am reminding myself of my mother today when she would tell me to wash my face and brush my teeth every night. Thanks ma! Because of her nightly reminders, I have a pretty decent complexion and half pearly whites as I creep up to 30-years-old. Yikes! So spring has sprung. That’s right y’all, time to refresh.

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Eep! Crotch Linings Explained

Crotch lining is like the word moist. For some, it’s NBD to say. For others, let’s just say it doesn’t roll off the tip of their tongue mellifluously. I think it’s better than saying genital lining, don’t you think? Perspective people! It’s all about perspective. Crotch linings are a necessary component of undies, however, they aren’t discussed much.

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UPDATE! Madalynne x Simplicity 8228 Kits

You guys – errr… ladies – I’m absolutely shocked about the positive response from the release of my kits this past week.I listed 30 kits listed for preorder, hesitating to put up more as I wasn’t sure if folks would be interested. It was just a test to dip me toe into offering kits for my

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Hearts on Hearts – Mood Playful Jersey Knit Kwik Sew K4028

Worn with Simplicity faux leather leggings S1372Today I’d like to showcase a lovely light weight jersey knit, Charcoal Hearts Poly Jersey Gray/White Hearts.  The print is exactly as it’s name states.   It’s perfect for a fun, funky top or a c…

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NEW SIMPLICITY SUMMER PATTERNS 2 OF 2

HI DARLINGS! I have been wanting to design an athleisure pattern for some time now especially since I started to get a lot more serious about my body and health. This pattern is designed based on all the things I need in my workout gear. I hate my arms being cold but sometimes don’t want anything else on. […]

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NEW MIMI G SIMPLICITY SUMMER PATTERNS 1 OF 2

HI DARLINGS! After such a successful launch of SEW SEW DEF MAGAZINE, we are still on a high and have already started the finishing touches on the May issue. It has been CRAZY TOWN at the office, lol but I don’t think I know any other way to have things. This week we are excited about […]

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DIY BLUE JUMPSUIT + PATTERN REVIEW S8333

HI DARLINGS! I am running on fumes this week working on SEW SEW DEF, It’s almost that time and we are so excited but really tired, lol. Today’s #DIY is an easy and really great jumper by SIMPLICITY. I did a pattern review for you below and will leave you with that. I hope you […]

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DIY STRIPED SHIRT DRESS + PATTERN REVIEW S8340

HI DARLINGS! I hope you are all having a wonderful Tuesday. We are crazy busy at the studio gearing up for the launch of SEW SEW DEF® but I did manage to squeeze in a few sew days so I would have some #DIY’s to post. This SIMPLICITY PATTERN #8340 is everything! I am going to make […]

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Pattern Review: Simplicity 8345 Plus Size Dress by Ashley Nell Tipton

I was asked to review a new pattern from Simplicity, #8345, a new one from Ashley Nell Tipton. Simplicity describes the pattern as follows: “Ashley Nell Tipton bodycon dresses are sized for stretch knits… One and two-piece dresses have optional color or fabric blocking to flatter your curves. Straps are designed in two widths and…

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DIY BROCADE JUMPSUIT

HI DARLINGS! So I have been wanting to re-make my SIMPLICITY PATTERN #8060 (purchase pattern HERE) in a less traditional fabric so when I came across this fabric in a different colorway than the one I made HERE I decided it would be perfect for my jumpsuit. I wanted to dress it up by using the brocade […]

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DIY WHITE TWO PIECE

HI DARLINGS! I am in NY and freezing my butt off and since back home they are enjoying 85 degree weather I am super jelous, lol. I took photos of this DIY Two Piece just before leaving and I love it so much. The pants are actually the same Cynthia Rowley pattern I made (HERE). […]

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