No trip to Portland is complete, to me, without a trip to Xtabay Vintage. This place is the Bomb! it’s so lovely and special inside and one can’t help but absorb that glamor that oozes from every corner. I was lucky to run into the owner Liz Gross, who was kind enough to grant me an interview. She’s owned & operated Xtabay for quite some time now and the shop (both in person and online) have become a fixture in the vintage clothing community. Read on to meet Liz and find out about this extraordinary business and woman behind it:Read More
Every year my daughter & I go to Portland, Oregon, to visit my best friend, Angie and her family. It’s always one of the highlights of my year. Do you have a friend who just “gets” you? Well, Angie is that friend to me and she & her family always welcome us with open arms.
We both LOVE shopping and so does Emma, so it was fun day to be had by all, when Angie mentioned she needed to go buy some mirrors for the winery & tasting room, she and her husband, Matt are building. Their wine is really lovely by the way. Love & Squalor does a fabulous Riesling and they also make very special Pinot Noir for which they are gaining some critical acclaim. Go Love & Squalor!!!
Our first stop was Monticello Antique Marketplace. The building is very large and houses many little booths operated by an eclectic array of vendors with lovely pieces in every one.Read More
Tweed Rides have become popular around California and other parts of the US. What is a Tweed Ride you ask? That’s what a lot of people asked me when I told them my plans for that Sunday afternoon. Well, Tweed Rides seem to have a few things in common - Bicycles (mostly vintage), Downtown Streets and a bunch of people wearing Tweed. I’m not sure why all these people do this, but, as you may have realized, I really love an excuse to get dressed up and/or make an outfit for occasions like these.Read More
I recently had the opportunity to interview our new Fashion Illustration and Design Instructor, for the Fashion Studies Course, Julie Ann Silverman. She comes to us from Southern California where she has been a swimwear designer for the last 20 years. She is amazingly talented, and a wonderful Instructor. I’ll be breaking her interview into several parts as she has revealed so many little diamonds in this one interview, that it is too hard to absorb all at once. I love her take on developing your own style so read on below to find out more.Read More
Today’s post is about a 1920’s Short Car Coat I finished just last week. The fabric for the jacket/coat has been in my stash for the last several years. I was planning on making it to go with the blouse and skirt I’m wearing in the photos, for Miss Fisher Con, which was almost 1 year ago (already?). It didn’t quite happen in the time I originally planned to make it, but an occasion came up and It seemed like a faster make than finishing a sweater, so off I went.Read More
It’s been busy over here at The Sewing Room and finishing this ensemble took some time. I think the blouse was one of my longest running projects in quite sometime. Partially, because of other projects that got in the way and also because I did a LOT of hand finishing.Read More
Guest Post from Jo Anne Yada (AKA Ms. Y)
I recently had the pleasure of collaborating with the fabulous Jennifer Serr, owner of The Sewing Room, to design a holiday window display. I wanted to highlight her business in a fun, festive, and vintage way to showcase the amazing creativity that represents her and her business. I wanted to do more than hang some lights and set up a tree; I wanted to give the message to all those walking by that this is indeed a creative space where you can make adorable sewing projects. And so I decided to make some vintage-inspired dolls out of sewing materials to add to the display.Read More
Last month on a beautiful fall evening, Michaan’s Auction House opened up it’s doors to the Alameda Point Vintage Fashion Faire produced by Sandra Michaan with a little help from Jonathan Belmares and a host of a dozen (or more) others. This is an annual (and sometimes bi-annual) event that happens at the Point and the opening of the event is really quite special, happening the first evening of this, weekend long, event.Read More
Every year the Art Deco Society of California puts on the The Gatsby Summer Afternoon. This Gatsby Event is the highlight of my year, as far as vintage events go, and this year was no exception. The weather was perfect (high 70 degrees and breezy), the picnics were exquisite and the company eclectic and entertaining.
For this year’s ensemble, I chose to replicate a look that my grandmother wore (see photo above) in one of her modeling photos. I’ve admired this dress for years and have not quite had the nerve to re-create it until now. That front neck detail with the capelet and ruching really had me flummoxed.Read More
I’m getting ready to put together a Fall outfit and am very excited about working with some of the fabrics I’ve put aside - lots of luscious wools and silks in gold tones. And I bought a terrific 1930’s hat at the Alameda Point Vintage Fashion Faire, last weekend. So when Wardrobe Shop and Nataya approached me to do a sponsored blog post with this article, I couldn’t refuse.Read More
I fell in love with this style when I paged through the Fall 2014 issue of Vogue Knitting Magazine and stopped on page 44. I’m kind of a sucker for a well styled layout and this was no exception (you can see a bit of the magazine in a photo below). What I really thought, however, was that this sweater would be a great accompaniment to my several Colette Parfait Parfait Dresses (Pattern Review coming soon). And pictured here in this post, it pairs perfectly with this dress.Read More
A 1920's evening gown is not quite complete with out an evening cloak, a headpiece and the right jewels. Luckily for me, I had a lovely piece of velvet and some pink silk crepe-de-chine along with matching crepe back satin, tucked up on my fabric shelf just waiting to be used.Read More
Anyone who knows me, knows I LIVE in striped T's. I made the one pictured as a sample for some upcoming classes that I'll be teaching. It has long sleeves, a Bateau neck with a button shoulder/sleeve vents with grosgrain trim and side vents at the bottom opening. It's made from a beautiful navy blue and white synthetic yarn dyed striped (the stripe is knitted into the fabric as opposed to printing on top of the fabric) double knit, purchased from Piedmont Fabric. The gold nautical star buttons and vintage striped rayon grosgrain ribbon at the neck and sleeve vents were acquired from the ReCrafting Co. I made the pattern for this Breton Striped T-Shirt, using my body measurements. I'm fairly happy with the fit. I would only make the armhole and bicep a little smaller to match the slim fit of the body. I'll make those changes on the next one I make up.Read More
What are your Sewing Plans for the New Year? I already have a long list of things I would like to accomplish with the knowledge that there probably won't be time for everything on my list. In any regard, I'm very excited to get started. Take a look below at some of the things in the works....Read More
This outfit all began after a short trip around the corner to my local crafting consignment shop, where I found the amazing fabric for the blouse featured in this post. The print (Asian Art Deco?) was irresistible and there was just enough of it to scrape out a blouse. Next up was a search for the perfect 1930's blouse pattern. That proved to be a little easier said than done, as I had trouble finding a blouse pattern that suited the fabric. I did settle on a gorgeous 1930's dress pattern with a fabulous neck bow, that could be converted into a blouse and skirt.Read More
In my recent post, December Red, I showed a red wool 1930's skirt and coat. This 1930's style skirt is a bit of an ode to skirts worn by the Honorable Miss Phryne Fisher, in Miss Fisher's Murder Mystery series. Her character is quite fashion forward for the 1928-1929 timeline the series is set in and her clothing and style, in general, seem to echo both decades (1920's & 1930's). So, I needed a top to pair with this skirt in my quest for a Miss Fisher Wardrobe.Read More
In the 1970's my aunt Sharon made our family an Advent Calendar. It's crafted almost entirely of acrylic felt and quite a testament to the crafting movement of the era. I'm very sentimental about it, even though we were not particularly religious, growing up. I just remember waking up each day, excited to put another ornament on the tree. Thankfully, my mom kept it around for the years after I left home and then gave it to me later on. We carry on this tradition at home today and my 14 year old daughter feels as sentimental about it as I do.
A few months ago, one of my dear Bridal clients (from when I did that) dropped by to donate some sewing materials her son acquired from an estate sale. Inside were these tiny little ornaments, exquisitely and painstakingly beaded. I knew they would come into some use, when I saw that they were all Christmas themed. So that is what led me to re-make this wonderful holiday craft. I've put together 6 kits that we are selling ($50 each) with either a mustard or Aqua background. You can buy them from me, or make your own using the directions below. Either way, I hope you enjoy! And Happy Holidays to you and your families!
Directions for Advent Calendar:
Materials list -
- Craft Felt - Wool or acrylic in multiple colors - 1 rectangle measuring 36 1/2" long x 17" wide, 3 rectangles measuring 2 1/2" long x 17" wide (for pockets) in the same background color, 3/4 yard green for the tree and misc. felt squares for the ornaments.
- Ribbon or cord for the ornaments - 2 yards narrow width (1/8" or smaller)
- Cotton holiday print fabric for ornaments - I bought several fat quarters and then cut out the shapes as they were the perfect size. Note: You may have to do some hunting around to find the right fabric, or just make more ornaments out of felt. Our calendar has little pieces of holiday cards with ribbon hangers glued on in addition to the felt ornaments.
- Various additional tiny ornaments that are small enough to put in the pockets - I bought these from a craft store. note: you need 24 ornaments in all, so it's nice to have a few that are already made.
- A small amount of polyester or cotton fiberfill for stuffing the ornaments.
- 1 package of large red sequins - I think ours were 8mm and you will need 24 total.
- 24 small glass beads - these are used in combination with the sequins and the ornaments will hang from these
- (1) 3/8" diameter wooden dowel 18" long - I had an 1/8" whole drilled 1/2" away from each end.
- 36" of narrow (1/16") cording for the hanger.
- Misc. beads and sequins for decorating the ornaments.
- Thread, sewing machine, waxy tracing paper (for transferring numbers), tracing wheel and all your standard sewing tools.
STEP ONE making the fabric ornaments -
- Cut around shapes leaving 1/8"-1/4" seam allowance. You will need two for each ornament.
- Cut a 3" piece of narrow ribbon or cord for the hanger and pin in place as indicated in the photo.
- Place right sides together and pin around outer edge.
- Stitch around outside edge, leaving small space along the bottom, to turn right side out.
- Turn ornament right side out and stuff with a little bit of fiberfill.
- Fold seam allowances to inside and pin in place. Hand stitch closed, using a slip stitch or ladder stitch.
STEP TWO - Making the Felt Ornaments
- Cut two pieces of felt in the shape you want (we have a diamond shape and a rectangle pictured).
- Cut 3" long piece of narrow ribbon or cord and pin to wrong side of felt at top of ornament, as indicated in the photo.
- Place a small amount of fiberfill on wrong side of one piece and place the other side of the ornament with wrong sides together.
- Pin around outside edge then stitch together around entire outside, making sure to catch the hanger in your stitches.
- Decorate your ornaments with top stitching or beads as you desire.
STEP THREE - Prepping the pocket rectangles
- Sew a decorative stitch across the top edge (on long edge) of each pocket rectangle. I use this same stitch for all the decorative stitching on the back ground pieces and the pockets, but feel free to change it if you want to use more of the stitches your machine offers. Note: you do not want to use stitches that will be wider than 1/4" as this will make the pockets too small.
- Trim the rectangles to fit the background width.
STEP FOUR - Transferring the numbers to the pockets.
- In my kit, I've created a template for the numbers. If you are doing this on your own, you will need to create a template. It's easy to do in Microsoft Word or Google docs. You will just need to create a TABLE with columns measuring 2" wide x 2 1/2" tall with 1/8" wide columns in between. Find a font you like and type in numbers 1-24 in each of the larger cells. Pick a font size that works so that the numbers fill up the box.
- Print and cut out, your numbers, then tape them together in 3 rows: 1-8, 9-16 & 17-24. Make sure they fit within the 17" width with 1/4" space on the outer edges.
- Transfer the numbers to the pocket rectangles using tracing paper and a smooth edged tracing wheel.
- Filling in the Numbers - I stitched on the transferred numbers using a machine straight stitch and had to go over them a few times. You can also hand embroider the numbers or use fabric paint. The original calendar was done using fabric paint.
STEP FIVE - Creating the dowel casing
- Fold top edge of calendar rectangle (background) to back side 1 3/4" & pin in place.
- Using a decorative stitch, sew a line of stitching across the top edge using 1/2" seam allowance.
- Using the same decorative stitch, sew another line of stitching across the top edge using 1" or 1 1/4" seam allowance. There should be at least a 3/4" space between the stitch lines.
STEP SIX - Finishing the Pockets
- Place the finished pocket rectangles at the bottom of the background rectangle on the front side. The rectangles should be flush to the sides and bottom edge and 1/2" apart. Pin in place.
- Using a decorative stitch, stitch around the outside edge of background rectangle, starting and ending at the lower dowel casing stitch line,You do NOT want to stitch through your casing. Also, make sure your decorative stitch lands about 1/8" away from outer edge.
- Mark vertical lines, either with chalk or a steam away pen, between the numbers. Then, stitch between the numbers, vertically, along those lines, using your decorative stitch.
STEP SEVEN - Attaching the Tree
- In my kit, the trees have been pre-cut . If you are making this on your own, you will need to create a tree pattern. Ours measures 20" long x 16" at the widest point. There are 5 branch points on each side tapering in fullness from bottom to top.
- Place your tree evenly between the two sides and between the pockets and the bottom edge of dowel casing. Pin Trunk in place.
- Using a decorative stitch, stitch trunk in place, around it's three edges.
- Pin tree in place so it won't move and, using a decorative stitch, stitch swags diagonally across tree.
- Note: the original calendar had the tree glued in place in various spots. I chose not to clue, but to sew, in order to secure the tree in place.
- Mark the spots of your sequins by placing 24 pins through the tree in an organized fashion. Take a look at the finished tree for general placement.
STEP EIGHT - Sewing on the sequins (ornament holders)
- Divide a strand of embroidery floss into sections. Mine has 6 plies and I divided into two strands of 3 plies each.
- Thread a needle with your floss and, from the back side, pock through the tree at one of the pinned positions. Leaving about 1 1/2" of thread on the back side, load a Sequin (curved edges up) and a bead onto the needle. Push the sequin and pin down the thread to the tree.
- Now, put your needle through the sequin again and back through the tree to the back side of the calendar. The sewn bead will secure the sequin in place.
- Using both ends of your floss tie a double knot to finish securing the bead and sequin in place.
- Trim your thread, and repeat for the other 23 sequin/bead ornament holders.
STEP NINE - Dowel & Hanger
- Push dowel through casing at top edge of calendar, leaving 1/2" exposed on each end.
- Using a 36" long piece of 1/16" diameter cording, thread through holes on each end of dowel. (Ends of cording should exit holes toward bottom of calendar. )
- Double or triple knot cording ends on each side, to prevent from exiting holes.
- Note: if you do not have a drill to make 1/8" holes in dowel, just make a slip knot loop at each end of cording and slip on to dowel ends.
You are All Done! Just place ornaments in pockets and hang on the wall on December 1st.
Until next time, Happy Sewing!
In this post, two recently finished projects will be highlighted, but will the main focus will be on MEASURING. The Bay Area Sewists met up at The Sewing Room a couple of weeks ago to talk with me about pattern measuring.Read More
Sooooo Excited to finish this sweater. I started in late June of this year when my friend and I estimated it would take 100+ hours to finish. Ha! I have no idea how long it really took but I just finished it last week. Hooray. And it's a beauty. So excited to go through my closet and see what I can wear it with...Read More
I've been looking to finish my own "French (Chanel inspired) Jacket" this year so I turned to an expert for some inspiration and encouragement in doing so. Susan Khalje is THE expert and has been making, teaching how to make and writing about making these Iconic pieces for many years. She is also my own Couture instructorRead More