Category Archives: Notions

Simplicity 2508 – Part II

I did manage to get everything cut out last night, woohoo! The pattern calls for several pieces to be cut on the bias (which is very cool if you are working with corduroy) but didn’t work out so great with my velvet. The pieces rippled unattractively so I recut them on the straight of grain. Fusible interfacing would have tamed them but this particular velvet didn’t fuse as nicely as I would have liked. Instead, I fused Armo Weft (I still have several bolts of it!) onto cotton batiste and then attached it to my fabric with little dots of glue stick. Actually, my “cotton batiste” was some old Touch of Gold interfacing that I had lying around. I’ll never use it again so I figured this was a good way to use it up.

I completed all of the little detail pieces: the collar, welts, tabs and back belt. Tomorrow I’ll work on the sleeve ruffle and interfacing the body of the jacket. I love getting all the little bits finished and then, voila!, you have a completed garment.


Last week I finally ordered some of the Japanese basting thread that Claire Shaeffer recommends in her new DVD and it arrived today! I found the best price and lowest shipping charges for this at The Sewing Place.


The YKK Excella zips I ordered from Zipperstop also arrived. These will be going on my black lambskin jacket that I hope to make next month.


That’s it for today. I’m saying a little prayer that the rest of my week is b-o-r-i-n-g so that I can finish this project before the weekend!



Filed under Notions, Simplicity, Year of the Jacket

Zippers: Another Obsession

For years, I have been obsessed with zippers. Let’s face it, the right zipper can make the difference between “homemade” and “designer”. I am not ashamed to admit that I own hundreds of zippers. Whenever I see good ones I buy them and buy them LONG because I can always shorten them, after all.

Purse and separating zippers have been a particular thorn in my side because they are so hard to find in the colors I want. I had so many nice comments about the cool RiRi zipper I used in my orange clutch. When RiRi first started selling in the States, they had quite a few interesting finishes and styles. Now, I can’t find anything but the ones with multi-colored teeth, grrr. Anyway, I was searching online and came across these YKK Excella rainbow zips so I ordered two, a 22″ and a 7″. They looked nice and were less expensive than the RiRi. Well, they arrived today and I. LOVE. THEM. The quality is very, very good and I actually prefer a plain metal pull to one that’s painted because it will stay nice looking for much longer.


I also bought a YKK brown separating zip with a nice pull because I thought it would come in handy sometime. I have the same zip in black and red and really like it. Zippers don’t go bad, ya know?


You can get these Excella zips in closed-bottom or separating styles from ZipperStop on Etsy. The prices are reasonable and the shipping is fast. For some odd reason, they do not have these particular zips on their regular website.


Filed under Notions

Vogue 8196 – Planning stages

A couple of weeks ago, I remembered that I had about 5 yards of black wool gauze in my “collection”. I thought it would be perfect for this Vogue pattern:


I decided that I’d like to use Cluny lace (vs. a more delicate lace) to keep it from being too froufrou. Since I couldn’t find anything of good quality locally I decided to take a chance and order online. I found what looked to be some really pretty vintage laces at Deb’s Lace & Trims for a very good price. Well, the laces came today and I am very pleased! These are exactly what I had in mind – they weren’t sold as coordinates but I thought they went together very well.


Parting shot: The past few days, I’ve noticed that my old girl Kanga has been pushing the decorative pillow/sham off of the regular sleeping pillows for her daytime nap. She usually sleeps in the chair next to the bed but I guess she was ready for a change.



Filed under Fabric, Kitties, Notions, Vogue

Simplicity 3786 – Final

I finished up the blouse this morning – yay! I’m pleased with how this turned out. I do want to say that this pattern is very oversized! There is so much ease through the waist and hip that I was able to remove 4″ and still have over 5″ left – yikes. All of that volume would be fine in a drapey fabric, I suppose. But on someone 5’3″ tall it’s going to be overwhelming. After taking the sides in so much it is still loose and tunic-y but shows my figure just enough. I also shortened the bodice by 4″, making it just the right length to wear out with pants or shorts or to wear tucked into a pair of jeans. And, I found the front slit needed to be opened up a little so I restitched it about 2″ lower. It’s more flattering and easier to get over my head.




I decided that I will mostly wear this particular one out (vs. tucked in) so I added the gathered detail at the back to give it a little more shape. I made my own bias tape instead of using the prepackaged tape which I find stiff and bulky.


I also used 3/8″ elastic instead of the 1/4″ that the pattern called for. It just happened to be the first thing I grabbed from the cupboard.


I like to use my specialty presser feet whenever I can so I pulled out my 1/4″ rolled hem foot to speed things along.


Here’s a closeup of the collar band. I used Sheer Elegance fusible from Fashion Sewing Supply which provided just the right amount of support. As always, I fused both the inner and outer bands.


I have a quick errand to run and then I’ll be back in my sewing room cutting out my dotted Swiss! The Dolphins are playing tonight so that means I’ll get to sew while my honey watches the game.


Filed under Notions, Simplicity

Fashion Sewing Supply

My friend Pam over at Fashion Sewing Supply is having a 4th of July sale through the 8th! If you haven’t tried her interfacings, you absolutely must. The quality is top-notch, better than anything you’ve tried before: no shrinkage, no bubbling, no boardy feeling. The sheer is a great all-purpose interfacing and the weft is wonderful for all of your tailoring projects. The low-temp interfacings are great for fabrics that are too sensitive for traditional fusibles.

Fashion Sewing Supply

Check out Pam’s notions while you are there – I’m crazy about the seam gauges I bought from her. Pam is an incredible sewer as well, do have a look at some of her inspiring projects. She just completed a vintage shirt for her husband that now has been combing Ebay and Etsy for men’s shirt patterns!

That’s it for me for the next week or so. I hope to be well-rested and raring to sew when I return. 🙂 TTFN!

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Filed under Notions

A Perfect Sewing Day!

It started out good – last night’s leftover Mexican food for breakfast – and only got better from there. Up until 15 minutes ago, I was still in my robe SEWING!!! For my VACATION!!! Then reality set in and I was forced to go to the pool store. 🙂 Now I’m back and ready to cut out a few more tops but, first, I wanted to share my last two (for now) versions of Kwik-Sew 3616. Both are sleeveless with buttons/loops at the center front.

The first is a mystery fabric from my collection. Someone gave this to me and I wasn’t that wild about it at first but it’s grown on me. It is amazingly silky-soft! I thought about matching the print across the front but I thought it would be too much of a horizontal where I don’t need it.


This is one of those fabrics I can’t seem to resist: a challenging print! This one came from Bestonline Fabrics (link on the sidebar). It was actually kind of difficult to find a pattern with pieces that would fit the panels. Still, I had to cut the upper fronts across the grain to fit them in – thank goodness for the 4-way stretch.


This is the back. Here you can see what the yardage looked like as a whole.


I found these *perfect* buttons in my collection. This is why, unless you live near the garment district, you also need a button stash! I think I bought these about 10 years ago. It’s kind of hard to see but they are clear acrylic with tiny rhinestones.


Back to the cutting room!


Filed under Fabric, Kwik-Sew, Notions

Quilt and tunic – plugging away!

I’ve been kind of hacking away at my two current projects – a little bit every day!

I am LOVING my quilting setup! Until my Consew 105 is ready to bring home I decided to use my Singer 20U for the quilt. It has a table behind it making it perfect for large projects. I like the fact that I can work on the quilt for a few minutes and then just put the needle down, turn it off and leave everything until next time. It’s great because I don’t feel the need to hurry up and finish and it doesn’t interfere with my garment sewing.


I’m happy with the way it’s turning out. Nothing earthshattering but I thought it would be a great way to practice my freemotion work and I’ll end up with something perfect for curling up on the couch.


The tunic has been cut out as well. Because the fabric is very wispy and slithery I taped it to my cutting board so that everything would stay on grain while I was cutting.


I also pulled out the box of extra-fine Clover pins that I bought several years ago. They are really nice for chiffons but you do need to “weave” them in because they will otherwise fall out. I’m not really a big pinner but I wanted to use a few on the darts to keep everything straight.


Parting shot:

The Phals are blooming! Most of you don’t know this but years ago (before I became a mother) I was very heavily into orchids. They are, without a doubt, my very favorite flower. These days, I stick mainly to the easy ones that don’t require much attention. My phaelonopsis always spoil me with flowers and I love having them around the house!



Filed under Burda WOF, Fabric, misc., Notions, Quilting

Milly Tunic – Part III

I didn’t get a lot done today – Daylight Savings Time is really kicking my butt! But, I did manage to finish the neckline facing, attach the neckline ties and set the eyelets.

First, I marked the seamline and the topstitching line on the lower bodice. You can barely see the lines because I used white chalk. I marked the eyelet placement with the pink pencil.


Next, I fused a strip of interfacing (Palmer/Pletsch Sheer) over the eyelet placement dots before punching the holes.


Here, the eyelets have been set. These are your regular garden-variety Dritz eyelets that come in a bulk pack of assorted colors. They are cheap, readily available and I’ve had no problems with the paint chipping off. I will have to use a zipper foot to stitch both the seam and the topstitching as it’s pretty tight on both sides.


A tool I could not live without: the Prym Vario Plus plier kit. I bought this ages ago from Birch Street Clothing and love it so much that I had a friend pick me up a spare when she was in Germany. I think I paid $49.95 for it around 18 years ago – they really haven’t gone up much in price since. I use it for eyelets, anorak snaps and Color Snaps. As you can see, it’s not looking real neat and tidy but after all these years I know which pieces I need even if they’re not in their special spot.



Filed under Burda WOF, Fabric, Notions

A few of my favorite things…

I received a request today from Diane in Michigan:

“Could you talk a bit about some of your preferences: i.e. elastic, interfacing, thread, etc. I want to stock up and have just recieved an email regarding a sale on Pro Stretch elastic, which I’ve never used before. Also, I’m looking for quality interfacing, especially for knits. What are your favs?

It doesn’t take much to get me to talk about some of my favorite sewing supplies!


*Pro-Stretch Elastic from Sew Exciting

*Stitch-Through Elastic from Casual Elegance (this is the Loes Hinse elastic)

These elastics can be trimmed down to a narrower width because they are knitted!

*1/4″ plain-edge knitted lingerie elastic – fantastic for necklines on knit tops! I can usually find it at JoAnn’s (I try to buy an entire roll if they have it)


All Palmer Pletsch interfacings – the Sheer is my favorite. It is a very light, yet crisp, knitted interfacing. I’d buy Sheer by the bolt if I could!

All interfacings from Sew Exciting
– these are a Sewing Diva favorite!


*Mettler Metrosene long-staple polyester for general sewing

*Gutermann long-staple polyester when I can’t find the right color in Mettler

*Coats & Clark Fine Thread for lightweight fabrics and fine shirtings. It’s located at the top of the C&C rack.

*Guterman silk-thread for basting and sewing wools – it melds right into the fabric

*Gutermann topstitching thread – comes in a ton of great colors

*YLI Jeans thread – Some funky colors and variegated shades for topstitching

*Woolly Nylon for use on the bobbin when twin-needle stitching

*Mettler Metrocor serger thread. It’s so smooth and fine you can also use it on your regular machine for lightweight fabrics.

*Maxi-Lock cone thread. Not my #1 choice but it works well and is readily available in a wide selection of colors – about 99% of my cone thread is Maxi-Lock.

*Gutermann upholstery thread is a wonderful strong thread for sewing upholstery, leather purses and even for topstitching. Keep in mind that not all domestic machines will like sewing with heavy thread (I use an industrial) so test first.

Other favorite notions:

*Steam-A-Seam Lite 1/4″ – I love this stuff! If you have trouble with wavy hems on your knits you can fuse the hem up with SAS before stitching. Unlike most fusible products your fabric will retain it’s stretch due to the honeycomb construction of the tape. There is a double-stick version available – Steam-A-Seam Lite 2.

*Clover bias tape makers – accept no substitutes, the ones from Dritz don’t even come close.

*Gingher Appliqué scissors – I could not live without at least two pair because I’m always misplacing them. I had the bill rounded on one pair to avoid catching/snagging knit fabrics.

*Olfa Ergonomic Rotary Cutter – don’t know how I ever lived without it! I put my dull blades in a separate cutter marked for paper use – great for trimming patterns and photos.

*Fine pins from Japan – anything else feels like a nail to me. Stock up when you find them! Clover Patchwork Pins are really nice too. Even finer than the Japanese pins, I keep a box around for chiffons.


Filed under Notions

Organza-edged lingerie elastic

So many of you have asked about the organza-edged elastic that I felt the need to talk about it some more! Here is a close-up photo of it used as a sleeve finish on another garment. I believe I bought this particular one at MJ Trims in NYC a couple of years ago but I’m not 100% positive. It’s a very pretty and super-simple way to finish a neckline. Just serge it on, turn in and topstitch.


I did a quick search on Ebay for “organza elastic” and came up with quite a few auctions for it: Ebay auctions so it’s readily available. You might also do a search for “ruffled elastic”.


Filed under Embellishments, New York Garment District, Notions