The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation


I do a lot of talking on this blog about fashion, and it seems lately about red carpet fashion – mostly cause this is the run-up to the finale of red carpet season, the Oscars, at the end of the month.

I do this, cause yes, it’s fun to sew, and yes, you save money doing this and yada, yada, yada.  But for me sewing would not only be boring, but it certainly wouldn’t have the draw for me that it does without fashion.  And I do follow the latest trends in Paris, New York, Milan and London, and on the street (which is what the real folks are wearing).  I do this cause I want to stay current with what I’m sewing.

Why sew something that is old or out-dated, or that doesn’t make you look fresh and current, no matter how modern it looks.  That’s the design part that we all have in us when we’re sewing – that’s the part that we can all make use of, that we have the option of doing with our garments, that folks that purchase their garment can only dream about.

I had a new student class over the week and weekend, and it’s so much fun when I begin to teach them not only how to insert the collar to the collar band then to the shirt, but to teach them how we can customize that collar for what we want it to do.  Customizations like:  do you want to wear this collar up or down or rolled or really creased hard (that’s not really the style these days, but it is an option).  My students look at me like I’ve just asked them if they want me to schedule them to have dinner with Justin Beiber or George Clooney (depending upon their age!!!!).  It’s an expression of pure shock on their face.

Suddenly they begin to realize how not only the little details make a difference but how to construct those details.  One student wants to wear her collar up, the other student wants to wear her collar rolled down – there’s a technique for both, and both students got to see the difference between the two.

That’s just the beginning of the customizations that can occur on a shirt/blouse (we’re making Simplicity 2339, which is one of my fav shirt patterns right now).

Some others are:

  • buttoning the cuff to match at the end of the cuffs (with four buttons, and no button hole, with an elastic cord secured around one button and the other flipping in and out of the cord)
  • buttoning so that the cuffs can turn up (button to button and the don’t over lap but button like cufflinks)
  • making the sleeve 3/4 with a vent (a nice detail other than just a hem) and a nice 3″ facing
  • making a shirt tail (where the sides are a little shorter than front or back) hem
  • making the hem a little longer in front, or shorter in front
  • placing the stance (the place where the top button will be…..this means that you will have buttons all the way to the top, but you will choose where that correct button placement is so that the girls naturally stay home!)
  • making the bodice very fitted and more formal, or keeping it straight and very casual

Those are just a few of the detail finishes and assembly techniques that can make a shirt a beloved member of your wardrobe.

So when I talk about making your clothes investment clothes and making them so that they will last in your wardrobe for 10 years or more, this is what I’m referring to.  I like my collars to stand up in back and every one of my shirts and blouses do this naturally.  They are all a joy to wear.  Some are 15 years old, some are 20 and some are 2, but they are all a pleasure to wear, because they fit well, and they are totally customized for me.

I’m afraid I can’t buy clothes any more from the stores because they are so misreably fitted and otherwise designed that I can’t even begin to feel comfortable in them.

That is the one caveats about doing this – you will spoil yourself and won’t be able to or want to purchase RTW ever again!

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