A classic...The Spiral Cowl Collar

Monday, October 31, 2011

 Yes, I sewed for myself again!  Yes, it's yet another Cowl-neck tunic!
But before you think I am being redundant please remember:
  1. It's autumn, and I live near Buffalo....brrrr
  2. I have more than one ugly neck scar to hide.
This version features a applied cowl collar that has been "spiraled" before being sewn to the neckline. I love how a Spiral Cowl always drapes in nice even folds and covers the neck seam...rather than just "flopping down".  

Do we all know how to "spiral" a cowl ?  If you would like a quick tutorial, let me know in 'comments'...I'd be happy to snap some pics when I make another of this style in Stretch Velour ;)

Tutorial- Angled Ruche Cowl Collar Tunic

Sunday, October 30, 2011

This tunic is the latest in the "OMG Pam is Sewing For Herself !" series of garments ;)  It is an original hand-drafted design of mine, and features a classic cowl collar that has been diagonally ruched. 
Here is a close-up of the finished collar...
^ Click to enlarge ^

Even though I drafted the pattern for my tunic, it is very easy to do with any pattern that has an applied cowl collar, like this style from Vogue, #8670.  

From cutting out the pattern pieces to wearing my top out to dinner...took less than 1.5 hours!   I enjoy "almost instant" sewing-gratification, don't you?

Here is how the Angled Ruche Cowl Collar is made...

First, stitch the long seam of the cowl collar. It will look similar to this--

For my tunic, I made the cowl collar "tube" using these measurements:
(20" long) x (the circumference of the neck edge + seam allowance).

< Click to enlarge


Next the collar was turned  WRONG sides together, hiding the seam allowances inside. Note--the seam is the CB of the cowl collar. 
Then a diagonal line was chalked across the Front of the collar at a random angle--

^ Click to enlarge ^

Following the chalked line, loose running stitches (using black thread) were worked through only the front layers of the collar. The stitches are about 1/2" long, and the line of stitching was anchored (knotted) at the bottom edge--
^ Click to enlarge ^

Next, the thread tail at the top of the collar was pulled to make the ruche, as shown below. Then several small stitches were taken and a small knot was made to secure the gathered (ruched) collar--
^ Click to enlarge ^

To attach the collar to the bodice, both the ruched cowl collar and the neck-edge of the bodice were marked at their 4 "quarter points" with pins--
^ Click to enlarge ^

The "Angled Ruche" cowl collar was attached to the neck-edge by matching the quarter-mark points (right side of collar to right side of bodice), then aligning all the edges as they were stitched together.       

All that was left to finish my "Angled Ruche Cowl" was setting the sleeves and stitching the hems :)

I will probably make another of this style soon,  perhaps positioning the ruche to the side (near the shoulder seam point) of the neckline...or maybe running 2 lines of ruching vertically at Center Front...or 2 lines in a \ / shape...or....  Well, the possibilities are endless!

Last minute Halloween.. Plaza District and Dig it are the place!

Saturday, October 29, 2011
I will be out at the Gazette Halloween Parade with our artist pal Felix Matos handing out flyers but stop by Dig It! tonite to hang with Art, he will be showing old Count Gregore clips as a prequel to the Count's return to TV on Channel 52 tonite at 11pm. The store will be open til 9pm for any of your last minute Halloween needs PLUS we will be open SUNDAY this week from 12-6p and late MOnday 12-8pm for those last minute ghouls looking for a blast from the past assemble to complete their party wear!

Come on out and check out the goods!

New Custom-Milled INTERFACING

Thursday, October 27, 2011
NEW styles of interfacing have arrived  at Fashion Sewing Supply !

  • PRO-WEFT Supreme MEDIUM-weight Fusible INTERFACING 66"
  • PRO-TAILOR Classic Fusible HAIR CLOTH/CANVAS 68" 
 To see these NEW custom-milled Interfacings, 
along with all of our other Professional-Grade Interfacings,

    Sewing for ME! ...and a simple Pattern "Up-Sizing" Method.

    Saturday, October 22, 2011
    I already told you about the dreadful state of my wardrobe...it feels so good to be doing something about it!   Last week I made a few pairs of new pants, and this morning I finished this draped cowl Tunic...shown here with a "vintage" necklace that totally hides one of my neck scars :) 

    The pattern I used for this top is my absolute favorite cowl pattern, Ottobre Design (Woman) issue 02/09, #5. However,  I have "up-sized" since I last made one of these, so I needed to "up-size" the pattern.  I didn't need to change much in the back, but I needed to add more room in the front. So, since this is a simple pattern for knit fabrics with a cut-on facing...my options for accomplishing this could be much less 'textbook' than if I was making changes to a pattern designed for woven fabrics.

    So, here is what I did..to the Front of the tunic only--

    I just moved the Center Front about 1" away from the fold of the fabric, and cut straight across at the top edge, and at the hem edge.  That's it!  

    Now I had a front garment piece that gave me the 2" of extra room I needed for the "extra" that exists on my front at the moment ;)   Adding that extra width also made the cowl a little deeper...a side-effect I happen to like. 

    Doing a "quickie" pattern alteration  like this worked for me because this is a simple knit silhouette.  Standard pattern alteration methods are best when you need to Up-Size a more complicated style, especially when designed for woven fabrics.

    SEWING NOTES-- Fabrics shown were purchased at www.GorgeousFabrics.com  Ottobre Patterns can be found at www.OttobreDesign.com

    Hey YOu

    Friday, October 21, 2011
    Come in Today to the Plaza District... Why because of great vintage and retro shops! Bad Granny's Bazaar UrBaNoLoGy and Velvet Monkey Salons Vintage Boutique! plus here at Dig It! we Just got a load of new tees, hot disco pants, killer winter coats and so much more..its a great time to come to the Plaza also Retrokc is moving to 1708 NW 16th! An awesome store front and more space!.....Can you Dig! it...

    The completed jacket, and my modelling career

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011
    My Cad and the Dandy jacket was finished a while ago, but I've been lacking a decent photo of me in it. I had hoped to make use of some that were taken at a garden party back in August, but it seems I spent my entire time either with my eyes closed or with half a canape stuffed in my mouth. Not the sort of elegance we're after on this blog.

    It's actually a little ironic that I don't have any photos of me in the jacket, seeing as I recently wore it for a Cad and the Dandy photoshoot, to help them produce some material for their website. They've promised me one of the resulting photos to use on the blog but, in the meantime, here is a video in which I feature (briefly and somewhat strangely) wearing the new jacket. Don't ask me what the newspaper was about, although I can tell you the final photo does work better than you might think!

    (The very paranoid amongst my readers might question whether my volunteering as an occasional Cad and the Dandy model makes me a less objective blogger, or suggests some sort of suspicious business relationship between me and them. All I would say is that I volunteered to be a model because I like Cad and the Dandy, and I like Cad and the Dandy because they make terrific suits. I wouldn't have gone back after the first couple if I wasn't extremely happy with them, and if I continue to write positively about them then it is entirely hearfelt. They have only a passing awareness of or interest in this blog and have never tried to influence what I write. Nor would I let them. Nuff said, I trust.)

    Now open Mondays!

    Monday, October 17, 2011
    We went ahead and expanded our hours to being open an extra day for your shopping enjoyment! Whoohoo so we are now open Mon 12-7 and tues-sat 11-7 and remember every 2nd friday of the month we are open late til 11pm for our neighborhoods artwalk called Live on the Plaza!

    Closet Crisis...

    Do you remember when I told you that I was going to sew a new shirt for Roger?   

    Well that was before I cleaned our closets this past weekend, and realized that he has dozens of shirts and several pairs of pants, suits, ties, etc...and saw that my closet is depressingly empty.  I mean, really...the state of my wardrobe is seriously embarrassing...sigh...

    So starting today I am going to make time every day for the next 2-3 weeks to sew for MYSELF, for a change!   Well...I might squeeze a couple of children's outfits for Julianna and Brooklyn into the mix...but most of the "sewing action" will be for me me me me me!   I have just started to lose the 30 pounds (!!!) that piled onto my body over the past year....before and after surgeries while the docs were trying to get my thyroid hormones and other stuff balanced.  

    Now that I am on the proper medications, I feel great, but not confident enough yet to be seen in skirts or dresses. That won't stop me though...I have lots of wonderful fabrics for pants, tops, and jackets that I can't wait to get my hands (and scissors) on!  None of the garments that I sew now will be very complicated.  Waistbands will need some elastic (abdominal swelling)...but that's OK, I am not wearing anything "tucked-in" now anyway.  And a little creativity will be needed...there are some very ugly scars on my neck that I'd like to cover while they are still fading.   I see variations of cowl-neck tunics in my immediate future ;)

    My first thought was to wait to make new clothes until my figure was back to normal...but who knows how long that might take?  So phooey on that!  I want new clothes and I want them now!  
    Do I sound selfish?  I hope not, because this self-indulgence feels pretty darned good ;)

    I'll post what I make here...including a few tips and techniques...so stay tuned.

    WTH is this ? ...and Cool New Stuff Coming!

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    WTHeck is right...isn't it pitiful? 

    This quick pair of denim pants and a bag full of blouse "pieces" ready to be stitched,    is all I've been able to accomplish since the sale started at         Fashion Sewing Supply.   I knew our elastic was popular, but I never imagined it was quite this popular: I've cut well over 900 yards in just a few days, and have a stack of orders to fill!  But I am certainly not complaining, I'm truly grateful...the hordes of people after me to pay outstanding medical bills will  hopefully stop pestering me...for a while ;)

    But enough with the kvetching....
    Exciting NEW styles of Interfacing are on the way!  

    I've developed some wonderful new Traditional Sew-in Hair Canvas (sometimes called Hymo) that is 50% hair and 50% wool...NO synthentics...and it's 63" wide.   It is the type and quality that is sought after by the finest tailors in the world...but...we have had it steamed for you so it's ready to use right away! No pre-treatment is necessary...none-nada-zilch!  It does Not shrink. At. All.

    We have the same quality 50/50 Hair Canvas (68" wide) that's been specially woven to accept the application of the wonderfully flexible fusible resin we've become known for.  Again, this new Fusible Hair Canvas needs no pre-treating...the yardage has been thoroughly steamed...it does NOT shrink.

    Does it get better?  Yes!

     I've also had a fabulous new Medium-weight Fusible Weft with a unique texture milled in Charcoal black and Ivory just for Fashion Sewing Supply, ...and OMG it's TDF !  As always, we've done the pre-shrinking for you...and it's even washable after fusing it to your fabric :)

    I am just waiting for the rolls to get here (5-6 days more days), before I can put them up for sale on www.FashionSewingSupply.com.  Maybe I should have waited before telling you about them...but after developing and testing them for months, I am just so excited that they are almost here!

    If you want to be notified when they arrive, just sign up for the Fashion Sewing Supply Newsletter (tan box on the the left of the blog page).

    OK... Now I have to go catch a bite to eat, catch my breath, and then get back to work...I am so glad I love my job!