Archive for August, 2010

I promise this will be my last post on Skirting Couture! Here are a few blurry snapshots from the weekend workshop.


All of us worked at our own pace, and on our choice of 3 different skirt patterns. I was lucky to get the room with an extravagant amount of table-space per seamstress. Aaaaah, the luxury!  Look at all those pretty skirts in process.

a new Friend

I shared my table with Timshel. Couldn’t believe all we had in common!  She made her skirt in the gorgeous Azalea Small Gathering from Good Folks.

my skirt in "small gathering"

Isn’t it lovely?  Timshel was making one of the harder skirt styles, which required much more cutting.  It’s going to be beautiful.


Oh, and look what I found in Timshel’s photostream! See, it’s Anna’s zipper coil drawing. Fabulous, right (wink, wink)? It was very helpful in understanding the invisible zipper.

But for all the learning and sewing, there was an equal share of socializing.  A room full of ladies sharing this passion.  New friends and new blogs.  I’m sure that was half the fun!


And shopping. At the last minute, when our class time was truly over but no one wanted to leave, the ladies hovered around the table full of Anna Maria Horner goodness and bought up fabrics like they were going out of style (and many are going out of print, after all).


The Skirting Couture weekend workshop was an amazing treat that could only have been improved by you all being there too.  I wish you were!  Next time….


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Thank-you, thank-you for your comments and advice on Decisions, decisions.  The first morning of Anna Maria Horner’s  Skirting Couture workshop, I still didn’t know which fabric I would use!  So, completely unlike me.  But, after setting up my sewing machine I just knew that I would reach for the Natura by Alexander Henry.


I think my inner “Type A” drive to use up a fabric that I had no other inspiration for won out over other factors.  But, your advice to use the cheaper or less-loved fabric in class and the Anna Maria Horner Little Folks fabric for a second go at the pattern was wise, very wise.   The trouble is I can’t imagine when I’ll be making a second skirt.  Between Christmas sewing and do. Good Stitches, I feel I’ve a very busy season ahead.  If only my father-in-law would enjoy a handmade skirt!  Ok, scratch that.

Ms. Alexia

Back to the class. Please say hello to Ms. Alexia. She’s Anna’s assistant and a wonderful teacher (in fact she teaches bunches of classes in Nashville). Alexia’s also the beauty that graces some of Anna’s pattern covers, so perhaps you will recognize her! And, yes, this photo is blurry. Unfortunately many of them are as I’m still learning the basics of using my husband’s fancy camera. Sorry! See that phone in the back? It’s in focus :).


As I was saying. Here is Alexia demonstrating the mysterious invisible zipper installation. Turns out it is rather easy. As easy as she and Anna promised, really. I won’t try to explain it here, because there are real tutorials out there. But, Alexia gave us a live demo while Anna drew diagrams with a fading blue dry erase marker. I wonder if anyone else was thinking as Anna drew pictures of zipper coils, “Wow, and she really draws her fabrics out too, just like that. Just as easy.” Yes, I know, I’m hopeless.


Here is the zipper halfway sewn in. See how it pulls back the fabric and “hides”?

Gladly, I was able to try my hand at installing my invisible zipper while still in class.  Every so often it was “Alexia, am I doing this right?”  My goodness, she is p-a-t-i-e-n-t.  But other than having a bobbin problem that required rethreading mid-way through…


I was able to get the zipper in without a hitch! Credit the good instructions, friends. And speaking of friends, I shared my looooong table with the sweetest mama-to-be. Thanks for the pictures, Timshel!

Zipper success

With the zipper finished, my skirt outer is complete. It looks skirt-like and even fits! Wow, who would have thought?

My skirt

Now I can definitely say that I’m glad I went with the Alexander Henry. This skirt is totally “me”. I’m considering adding a peak-a-boo lining with either a solid or small black/white print showing to add that extra handmade zing. What do you think? I’m also considering going lining-free, because I’m lazy (and perhaps not so modest? Were I grew up, in California, you just wear nude panties). And now, here is my invisible zipper.

So invisible

Are you really still here? I can’t believe how long this post is! And, I still have more pictures to share from class. Let’s save those for tomorrow. Shall we?

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I could tell you that our vacation is off to a wonderful start.  That we’re all having fun.  About the children’s first horseback ride ever or the amazing art experience at the Frist.  But, I know you really just want the dish on Anna Maria Horner, on the class, on her fabric (yes, Innocent Crush!!!).

lovely little temptations

on Anna

If you read her blog you can’t be surprised to hear that Anna Maria Horner is friendly, approachable and completely charming.  I’ll say even more friendly in person, if that’s possible.  I was truly nervous about the whole thing.  Not just about meeting Anna, but about the whole class experience.  But, just as it is here in crafty blogland, the ladies at the Skirting Couture class were beyond nice.  I’m far from a social butterfly, but I already feel among friends.

Ok, back to Anna.  She’s quite genuine.  Her love for fabric, for fun and for her family pour out all at once.  Like a true southern lady, she made everyone feel welcome and comfortable.  And that’s why I don’t think anyone could feel very star-struck once they’ve met her.  She’s all too nice for all that.

Proper Attire in Progress

On class

For class, we’re creating with one of Anna Maria Horner’s soon-to-release skirt patterns, Proper Attire Skirt.

Anna began the class by sharing her story – how she journeyed from college years studying drawing to her gig as a fabric designer (among other talents).  She was actually designing other products like stationary and gift wrap when Freespirit fabrics approached her with an offer for fabric design.

After an opportunity for all students to introduce themselves and confess to fear of the invisible zipper, Anna treated us to a mini-lecture on the basics of fashion draping.  She demonstrated draping, pining and cutting fabric to create a pattern template on a dress form, and made sure we all understood the difference between body measurements and finished measurements, allowing for ease.

Information is good.

After lunch we were all eager to get started.  And then came the hard part – which style of skirt and which fabric?

beautiful bolts

on Innocent Crush

Oh, the fabrics!  Anna brought a gorgeous selection of Good Folks and Little Folks.  She also brought a sample of each skirt style made in Innocent Crush, her new collection to release this fall.  Remember that pretty patchwork she posted to her blog yesterday as Afloat in Patchwork? She had turned that work of art into a pretty gathered skirt.  And the waistband is a scrumptious velveteen.

Innocent Crush Velveteen

I didn’t know what to think when I heard that Innocent Crush would include velveteens.  Velveteens?  Just touching it convinced me.  Soft, but not solid velvet.  Not too heavy, not too much.  And if anyone else wondered at velveteen, I suppose we should all know better than to doubt Anna Maria Horner’s instinct for substrates after those crazy-fabulous Little Folks voiles.  So velveteens… for slippers? a robe?  a cuddly plushie?  a baby quilt?  ahhhh, I SEE!

A few more peaks at Innocent Crush!

Anna's Proper Attire Skirt

Innocent Crush

Innocent Crush is scheduled to hit stores this November.  It’ll include cotton voiles, a bunch of quilting cottons and velveteens too!

More class tomorrow.  And, yes, I feel completely blessed to be here!

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Decisions, decisions.

Today we are off to Nashville!  It’s a much-anticipated family vacation and my opportunity to take class with the fabulous Anna Maria Horner.  After doing some wishing and praying (and begging), I was granted a late entry into Anna’s “Skirting Couture” workshop.  Yes, we’re making skirts, and I still haven’t chosen a fabric.

To begin with, I’m just intimidated.  My attempts at sewing clothing before have been frustrating, to say the least.  And, this isn’t just a skirt – it’s to be lined and have an invisible zipper!  On the one hand, the weekend workshop is a wonderful opportunity for me to learn some new skills with a real-live teacher to help.  That’ll be a first!  On the other hand, I’m afraid I’ll destroy my supplies, be the dork of the class and not even like what I make (entirely my fault, of course).  And then there’s the thought, what if I annoy Anna Maria and she doesn’t like me at all?  (Wait, is this still high school?).  Ahem.  And there’s all my cards.

So, chin up, I’m going to Nashville.  I’m bringing along two fabric options because I really couldn’t decide.  Hoping you could help me with that!  The skirt I’m making is a fairly common style with gathers that fall all around from under a wide drop yoke/waistband.  I think it’s to look something like this one made by my friend Amanda of Little Cumulus, but with not quite as long of a drop yoke.

Anyhoo, here are my fabric options.

Option 1

Option 1:  familiar quilting cotton.  a fabric I have no other use for.  would have to make drop yoke/waistband out of the ash gray as shown, because do not have enough of print.  the birds are great, and I like this kind of over-sized, open print for a skirt.  a little too rainbow bright for a grown woman, perhaps?  still, I think I would wear it.  my husband says I will (yes, I am surprised he has an opinion on that).

Option 2

Option 2:  silky cotton voile (by Anna Maria, no less).  a fabric I purchased for this project and it was pricey.  afraid it will slip when I sew.  afraid I will destroy it (I could save it for something else).  the colors in the print are more “me” for clothes.  the print is a little small and may make me look bigger?  Aria thinks this fabric is dreamy.  she is right.

Please help me decide!

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Eggplant Purple!

I have this thing for purple.  It started when I was very little.  My mom decided (I think it was mostly her) that purple was my color and pink was my sister’s.  I always said purple was my favorite color until I hit the teen years.  Then, in wild rebelliousness, I claimed green.  Now, I can’t name a single color.  I just ADORE them all!  But… at the same time, I seem to land on purple again and again.

Like way back when I chose the colors for my online maternity store.

Or, when I chose a color scheme for the living room:  brick red, burnt orange, eggplant purple and green… ok, and black and brown too).

Our livingroom

Or, when I chose a wall color for my laundry room.  (I can’t show you a picture of that because I chose the WRONG paint color.  It’s rather embarrassing.  I should never be allowed to choose the actual paint chip for a room.  The idea, yes, the actual shade, no).

So, when my husband asked me what color he should paint the new furniture he’s made for our living room, I immediately thought, “Eggplant Purple!”  It was a hard sell, but he agreed to a dark eggplant for the media storage table if we went with black for the TV stand.  Fair.

And, here it is… my first piece of colored furniture ever!

Eggplant media cabinet

I think we chose a nice shade, even though the red brick behind it makes it look pretty darn purple.  What do you think?  At first we finished it with round pull-knobs, but those looked ridiculous with the boxy design (we’re IKEA fans).  The new nobs still look small, but they blend I think.

And, yes, I am totally blessed to have a man who makes us furniture!  Over the years he’s made us countless pieces and right now he’s actually making a new front door.  ( I didn’t know you could do that!)  Before you get too jealous, let me tell you a dirty secret:  he’s a quilt-hater.  Can’t get him to like ’em, no matter what.  I keep showing him new, cool/modern designs but he won’t budge, persistently refusing to let me make a quilt for our bed.  Miraculously, I still love him.

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Do you Like?

Here’s how your sewing machine cover looks so far…

Sewing Machine Cover WIP

Do you like how it’s coming, partner?

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Lyla’s Banner

A very special little girl is turning two the day before my birthday. I so enjoyed making this name banner for her bedroom!

Lyla's banner

The letters were cut from an unwanted felted wool sweater and machine appliqued. I wonder if her mother will be able to place that sweater from our high school days.

with felted wool letters

The flowers at each end are adapted from Sandi Henderson’s Sewing Bits and Pieces.  Although she used them for sachets, I knew immediately that I wanted to use them for a name banner.  As per Sandi’s directions, the petals are cut from wool felt and fused on the linen.  From there the embroidery was pure play.

Lyla's daisy

Don’t you love Sandi’s generous use of french knots? And, here’s the other one.  I added the little dragonfly since Lyla’s room has a girly bug theme.

Lyla's wildflower

Happy Birthday, Lyla!  A package is on its way to you this week.

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