Posts made in January, 2013

Coco Chanel – Thank you for the little black dress!

Posted on Jan 28, 2013 | 2 comments

I have a fascination with Mademoiselle Coco Chanel that seems to keep growing. I can’t claim I developed this interest all by myself though… it was partially kindled by my son, Jared, who dubbed me “Coco” a few years back because of my on-going sewing projects. I didn’t even know he knew who she was! I proudly accepted my nickname but realized that I needed to know something about this woman so I began doing my homework.

Coco was born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel in Saumar France on August 19, 1883 to an unmarried laundry woman in a workhouse in the Loire Valley.  Considering that this went against the grain of society in that era, Coco tried to disguise her past.  She changed her year of birth, changed the story of her youth as well as various other things which has made it difficult for those that want to tell her story to get it straight.

As the story goes, her mother died when she was 6, leaving her father with five children, some of which he farmed out to relatives.  He sent Coco to the orphanage of the Catholic monastery of Aubazine and it was there that she learned to sew.   At 18 she left the orphanage and at this point is where it truly begins…  Her journey that one day takes her to the top of a fashion empire.  Interestingly, she did not immediately start with the designing of clothes; it was hats that caught her fancy.

I am no Coco nor would I dare compare myself to such an amazing woman, but for some reason I feel an understanding or a connection to her.  Maybe it is her passion that I identify with…I don’t know, but whatever the reason, I have found myself wanting to know everything I can so I have spent a lot of time surfing the web for anything Coco Chanel.  I have ordered several books from Amazon and have recently watched several movies about her.  Three autobiography movies have been done, each telling basically the same story though there are some subtle differences between them.


The most recent…

Coco Avant (before) Chanel was filmed in France in 2009

Coco before Chanel

Audrey Tautou did a beautiful job at playing the part of Coco in her early life as Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel.  You learn how she got her nickname and watch her journey towards becoming the fashion icon of today.  I enjoyed the film immensely, though it would have been even better if there were sub-titles since it is all in French.   I streamed it and for some reason (who knows!) I was not given an option for sub-titles so I had to follow the story with my eyes, leaving my ears to trail behind, hanging onto a few French words here and there that I knew.  Yes, I watched a 111 minute movie all in French with no sub-titles!  Either you will think I am very dedicated or crazy, but that’s okay.  It’s all for Coco!


The second movie I watched was…

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Fitting and fitting and welts oh no!

Posted on Jan 21, 2013 | 0 comments

Okay… so I have started working on the Vogue 1051 pants project and…and…was fortunate that I used some old stash fabric for my first pair! I discovered the error in my ways and will make future adjustments for fit in the proper location.  There, I admitted it – I messed up!

  moving right along…

Note to self: Since my goal is to make pants that truly fit me, are comfortable, look professional and make my butt look good, then the number of re-dos is immaterial! Ha!  What a play on words.


Now on to cutting out muslin #2 for second pair of pants.

# 1 -Muslin Number 2 for Vogue 1051 Pants

 Yes, still using scissors and not a rotary cutter.  (I admit that I am a coward that needs more courage!)

I folded the tissue above the crotch line (the fold nearest the waist) to raise the crotch line to the fitting point that I found comfortable with the first muslin.  For me this was a 5/8 inch fold that adds up to 1 ¼ inches being removed when I cut the muslin fabric.  Yes…I am sort of short, sort of!

The second fold in the tissue (the one at the crotch line) is now in the proper place, uhem… which is why muslin #2. It is also 5/8 inches for a total of 1 ¼ inches of fabric that I am removing because the top of the leg is where there is bagginess under my derrière.

Sometime later…

Well this is interesting…tried on the basted together muslin #2 and there is still some bagging happening at the base of my back side so I decided to take up a smidge more of the fabric.  I made a 5/8 inch fold (okay, a little more than a smidge)  just below the crotch line, basted it in place and then tried it on.  The muslin fit so well that I decided to use it as my main front and back pattern pieces.

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Stop for a moment and Take a breath

Posted on Jan 20, 2013 | 0 comments

Faery by my bed


This is a fairy figurine that I purchased several years ago because it reminded me of my baby girl who is just about all grown up!  But this fairy also reminds me of other things too which is why she sits on my night stand next to my bed.  She is there to remind me to slow down, to remember to take care of myself and to reflect on the things that truly matter to me…So for this moment my readers, I need to set aside sewing, stop and take a breath and share some thoughts with you.

I have spent the last 4 months birthing this blog.  Yes birthing, because while I have been so excited to do this project, it has been a bit laboring.  I am my geek squad that developed this site as well as the writer/author and the sewing artist who is suppose to be sewing so I have something to blog about!  I am certain things will smooth out soon, but be patient with me as I work through the bugs.

As for why I decided to create this site – well…I think it was several things.  For one, I’ve really been inspired by other fellow bloggers.  There are some wonderful sites on the internet, beautifully done and that provide a wealth of sewing information.

Then…the other reason – a good friend of mine, Gina, feels that I should teach sewing classes.  I adore her confidence in my abilities but wish that I could feel as sure.  It occurred to me after mulling her suggestion around a bit that maybe a blog site would be a good starting place to entertain this notion.  Only time will tell and because I love adventures, I will press on and see where I end up!

I look forward to the months and seasons to come and maybe at some point in the future we will find a way to come together in Paris as sewing artists, to share our creative thoughts and abilities of sewing over a wonderful glass of wine!  Okay…break is over and time to get back to work!  “Tata for Now!”

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When winter hits, the pants come out!

Posted on Jan 10, 2013 | Comments Off on When winter hits, the pants come out!

I love to wear dresses or skirts with tops because they are usually a lot less restrictive and easy to move in.  However, when I get cold…out come the pants!  To make sure we are on the same page, when I talk about pants, I am talking about dress slacks, maybe cargo or a straight leg slimming everyday pant, but not jeans.  Hey I love jeans, but just not on me!  I have a hard time feeling comfortable in them.  Regardless of the brand or style, they never seem to fit me properly, which is why the up and coming Silhouettes # 3300 project…can’t wait! 

Now…back to pants.  Overall, I have had decent luck getting a good fit with pants that I have purchased, but I feel it is time to break free from the chains that have kept me prisoner to store bought pants, face my fear and learn to make my own…that fit!  Then on to jeans! 

For starters, I decided to try this Vogue 1051 Alice + Olivia pattern because I liked the overall style.



Vogue 1051


They have a wide waist band which I find comfortable, a slightly flared leg, and welt pockets in the front and back which are intimidating to me because I don’t do enough welts though that is about to change!

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