A Rosy Sewing Year

It seems that every new sewing year – at least for me – does not start right on time, as I am always finishing up a project from the month of December. Such is the case in this early January of 2018. However, that does not keep me from planning and dreaming about the coats and jackets, dresses and blouses to come. I can’t help but think of the new year at hand as a “rosy sewing year,” because the fabrics that are in my queue right now share a common theme – so many are predominantly red or pink or peach or floral, a bouquet of colors and textures.

First up is this red and black “hounds tooth” boucle which I found at Mendel Goldberg. Yes, it will be a Classic French jacket, with a sheath dress to match.

I am planning some variations in detail and trim for this jacket and dress, about which I am excited. It is a big project, so I hope January gives me lots of sewing time! No doubt this will spill over into February…

As I mentioned in one of my December posts, I hope to make a coat from this vintage purple boucle I am so fortunate to own.

A few years ago I found this silk charmeuse (also at Mendel Goldberg) which I intend to use for a coordinating dress with the coat.

Other silks I would love to concentrate on this year are purchases made several years ago from Britex Fabrics in San Francisco:

This is a French crepe de chine.

This silk helps satisfy my penchant for polka dots.

Then there are two linens I never got to in 2017, one a geometric red and the other a ecru and black floral. I assume they are waiting patiently for me. Add to all this my determination to sew for my two little granddaughters and – there’s the year! (And can I possibly finish another classic French jacket next Fall?  We will see.)

But let me complete 2017 first. Whatever made me think I should start (and could possibly finish) another dress for myself in December I will never know. But that’s exactly what went through my head. I had plans to make taffeta “Cinderella” dresses for my granddaughters for Christmas presents, but thought I would sneak in some personal sewing time before I started on that project. Perhaps it was the pattern that made me do it? Or was it the fabric?

When I purchased this pattern at the end of last summer, I really had no idea when I would be using it; I just did not want to miss the opportunity to own it, knowing that I would surely use it someday. Little did I know that someday would be just a couple of months later.

Now it just so happened that I had draped this fabric, below, over my dress form so I could admire it while I worked on other things. I purchased this silk charmeuse from Mendel Goldberg fabrics in 2016 as an end cut, three yards in length.

I knew with three yards I would be able to use a dress pattern which called for more than normal yardage, and I had found a pattern in my collection which I thought I would use:

My idea was to lengthen the sleeves to three-quarter length.

But something just did not seem right. I could not get excited about that pattern in that fabric, even with three-quarter sleeves. Well, I had one of those proverbial light bulb moments when it occurred to me to use the Guy Larouche pattern for the champagne-colored, floral silk. It seems to be a perfect match. The bodice of the pattern is cut on the diagonal, and the meandering flower and vine motif in the fabric lends itself to both straight of grain and diagonal placement. I made my muslin (with quite a few alterations) and was really quite excited about the draped back, shown here in muslin:

And here is the front, minus one sleeve. The front neckline is a bit unusual and I think it will be flattering.

I got as far as transferring the markings onto the silk organza underlining, cutting out the fashion fabric, and basting the two layers together, all ready to start sewing. Then reality hit like a sledgehammer! I had to get those dresses for my granddaughters finished in time for Christmas (which I did, after some frantic sewing – and they love them, which made it all worthwhile!)

Just in case anyone would like to see these dresses, here they are. Big bows in back, and the sleeves are adorned with little bows. Very girly!

So that’s how I am now at this point, finishing up 2017, with the hope of starting the new sewing year one of these days – with my Guy Laroche dress perched in my closet, awaiting its debut. May the New Year be rosy and kind to all of us, and may it end with many sewing dreams fulfilled!


Filed under Boucle for French style jackets, Chanel-type jackets, Coats, Linen, Moygashel linen, Polka dots, Sewing for children, silk, Uncategorized, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1960s

25 responses to “A Rosy Sewing Year

  1. alaniasheeley

    Your vintage purple boucle is on track with Pantone’s color of the year. It will make a beautiful coat.

  2. Wendy M

    Everything you make is just beautiful. You really inspire me to expand my sewing. I’ve been wanting to try a Chanel jacket, but haven’t ventured there yet. I absolutely love the Guy Larouche dress pattern. Definitely my style. Can’t wait to see that finished. Of course those dresses for your granddaughters are gorgeous and I’m sure were a hit. Thanks for the inspiration you give me in all of your posts.

    • Thank you for your lovely comment, Wendy! I highly recommend doing your first “Chanel” jacket in a class, either with a teacher (Susan Khalje sets the standard for the construction of these jackets) or in an online class. There is nothing that complicated about these jackets, but they do take a lot of time.
      I am so happy to know I give your inspiration!

  3. Karen Mizzi

    Ah! I love reading your articles. You always inspire me to sew more (which I’m not sure is possible). I’ve set myself the challenge of creating one couture gown per month as well as getting work for my customers done. The big challenge for 2018 will be to make myself a classic French jacket (first ever) and if it wasn’t for you writing about it I would probably never attempt it. How hard can it be? Lol. Thank you for all the sewing love.

    • Hi Karen! I know you can do a classic French jacket – it really is not that difficult, just very time intensive. I think it’s so good to set challenges for oneself – it helps me to use my time more wisely so I can fit in more sewing time! Happy 2018 to you and thank you for sending the sewing love back again!

  4. I would so love to line that purple boucle with the silk charmeuse! Such beautiful fabrics…I can’t wait to see what you create! Happy 2018!

    • Ah, I would also love to be able to line that purple boucle with the floral silk, and that would have been my intent, had there been enough yardage of the charmeuse. I do intend to add some interior detailing with the charmeuse, such as lining the ends of the sleeves with it. It’s going to be fun!
      Happy 2018 to you as well!

  5. Oooh LoVE the purple Boucle! I’m going to look out for your finished coat. 🙂

  6. I have made no sewing plans for this year yet!! But after reading this post, I am ready to pull out my patterns and yardage and start planning! Love those fabrics and the girls dresses are so perfect for their age! Long skirts to twirl in, bows and frills, they will want to sleep in them!

    • I am a planner at heart, but fashion sewing has taught me to be flexible as well. I don’t beat myself up if the plans change over the course of the year, as they most certainly will!
      The girls loved their dresses! I think they will get many fun hours of play time in them. So fun!

  7. Absolutely beautiful fabrics! I always enjoy watching as you create fabulous garments. Planning your sewing schedule sounds like a great idea. I would love to organize my own projects and then stick to the schedule. Happy New Year.

    • Well, sticking to a schedule is always the trick! There are no guarantees, but I do like to make a plan for at least the first half of the year – and after that, who knows? Happy New Year to you as well!

  8. Oh that charmeuse is such a wonderful match to the vintage boucle – and it’s absolutely making me want to sew another boucle type garment as I’ve not yet done the whole boucle and matching printed charmeuse thing! Just solid charmeuse… and that makes me a little sad.
    I love that neckline on the Guy Laroche dress – kind of an inverted bateau neckline? I think it’s incredibly flattering. Super looking forward to seeing how this turns out! Wonderfully. I’m sure 🙂

    • I have never used boucle for a full length coat, so it’s going to take some study – or perhaps a couture sewing class with Susan, to proceed properly! But I am super excited about that charmeuse I found to go with it. So much to sew… !!

  9. Mery

    What marvelous timing to end the year with such satisfying projects completed and now you have gorgeous embroidered silk charmeuse and pattern fitted, cut out and ready to sew. Now that’s a good way to start a year! Did you get to fully enjoy your holiday outfit? I don’t see how you had time to wear it, but if you did I’m sure it garnered compliments galore. The satisfaction of delighted children who know you made something so special with love is one of life’s best blessings.
    A part of you is there in their Cinderella/princess/Frozen play (play, a trying-on of life). I once delighted a 3 yr old (who enjoyed playing dress-up more than any child I’ve ever known) with an over-the-top frilly dress-up dress, complete with elastic loops so she’d be able to button it for a year or two, in her favorite color. When she was 5 and I was chatting with her about her role as flower girl in upcoming wedding, I playfully asked her advice about what I should wear. Her eyes got big and she exclaimed, “You could wear my purple dress!” (that same dress-up costume). She’s nearly grown now, and I’ll always think of her enthusiastic sharing of her favorite thing. I didn’t realize until then how much they continue to associate us with their gift.
    Perhaps this cold spell will afford you extra time to sew? Personally, my old farmhouse floors are too cold to look forward to sewing in heavy socks and snow boots (being so accustomed to hot weather I think 60 degrees is freezing…but I’m seriously sympathetic for those truly suffering), but once I get started on something fun it’s fine.
    Your blog is better than any magazine and it’s fun though look forward to the next installment.

    • What a sweet story about the purple dress and the now nearly grown 3-year-old! You are quite correct – I remember so well connections between sewn gifts and the person who made them. It’s a lovely thing to think that might be how one is remembered!
      The charmeuse is actually not embroidered – it is printed! But it certainly looks embroidered, doesn’t it? I figured I’d better get busy on it as my husband saw it draped on my dress form and promptly said that if I didn’t intend to use it, he could have a tailor use it for a sport coat lining!
      I’m getting a bit tired of this frigid weather, but it does lend itself to staying indoors and sewing!

  10. Mery

    “ A sport coat lining!” I keep chuckling over a comeback for that.

  11. Oh the dresses you’ll sew! As a dot fancier, that polka dot fabric sings out to me….and the Guy LaRoche pattern is fabulous! Love the neckline and the draped back. I hope that’s near the front of your lineup, shall be waiting to see it all finished up!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.