Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Be Bold, Be Fierce, Be YOU!

From the Boardroom to the Ballroom!

Fabric Mart Challenge - See what the other ladies made! (LINK HERE)

The day to night look was such a bit of a challenge in deciding what I really wanted to create to add to my collection of vibrant colors.  I wanted to create 2 pieces that fits my personal style; one garment that I was familiar with creating and another one that I always wanted to create and had fears.   The idea of creating and  wearing a sweetheart bodice with my love of skirts was ideal for the night look as I could cover with a jacket or cardigan from my closet to wear during the day.  I chose to select vibrant colors that can transition from one season to the next.  I wanted to show versatility omitting the typically greys and dark tones that we tend to wear in the business arena.

The Sweetheart Bodice
I am in love with bodice, bustier and corsets and opted to create a sweetheart bodice with loops to secure the back.  I choose to use a pattern that I purchased on Etsy from craftyalex  shop (here) that I can reuse and modify for future projects.  The pattern is a sweetheart cut line with panels that would work perfect with the off white denim stretch fabric from my stash.  This pattern was so easy to cut as it has 4 pieces, and great visuals with clear easy instructions that I could follow. I watched several YouTube videos before on sweetheart bustier and bodice constructions to learn how to create the case for the  boning and other techniques such as top stitching to have a clean and smooth finish.  I opted to remove the zipper for this project as I plan to wear this bodice over a fitted classic shirt in the future.

Even though this was an easy sew, the bust area curve and loops required careful execution for a smooth clean finish.  The loops and the details in the back took double the time than it took to sew the bodice.  I had prior knowledge working  with loops from a previous project but opted to use the perfect white cording from my stash.  I carefully used my tape (as a placement test for the loops) and the circumference of my sharpie to ensure that each loop had the exact measurement.  I then taped to ensure placement and position and pinned to my dress form before hand stitching all 12 loops.


 This task was extremely tedious as I measured the markings 1 inch apart and then  and used a needle to fully secure before going to the machine to finish the project. I opted to stitch the loop on the inside lining, folding over about ½ inch to close it up and then double stitching to complete the finish. The simplicity cording that I found at Joann Fabrics was absolutely perfect and gave it a beautiful finish.  


I was in limbo about adding more details or creating straps but the beauty and simplicity of the white on the dress form was spectacular with the bold colors from the skirt. Looking back and having worn the bodice all day before the shoot, I would have added boning to all seams to have a more structured look. The instructions only required boning for the front bust area. I noticed that after a while, the denim started to stretch even more than I anticipated. I am very happy with the technique and finish but the next time I create this project, I would consider straps and adding boning in between each panel. I would also add a single piece of fabric to cover the straps in the back.






The Gathered Full Circle Skirt - Ankara Print (Holland/Dutch wax fabric).
I really wanted to use up the last of my ankara print (cotton) fabric that I purchased this past summer in Washington DC on vacation (Thanks Feesewcrafty for taking me to the store!).  I love sewing skirts with bold prints because of its vibrant color palettes and endless possibilities with tops.  The ankara fabric has a lot of structure and is typically used to create hats, blazers, skirts and dresses.  I love the hues as I can wear this skirt both in the fall and spring here in Florida.  I wanted a super full circle skirt so I opted to cut a circle skirt that was double the measurement of my waist and gather it.  


Cutting the circle skirt was a bit of a challenge on my table so I opted to use my floor instead.  I carefully used my tape measure crawling around in a circle and marking with a chalk.  I then used my curve ruler to connect the markings for the front piece.

 Once the front was done, the headache of matching the seams of the prints for the back took a bit of concentration.  Mind you based on the waist measurement that I used, I had to cut 2 pieces on fold and made my life easier but cutting 1 and placing the other on top as both pieces were identical. I was able to use almost 6 yards and did not even have enough left for a skirt for my daughter.



The gathering technique that I choose was using the sewing machine  to create a single loose stitch and changing my settings to stitch length 5 and tension 3 so that it would be easier to gather.  I simply hand gathered the front separate from the back based on my waist measurements and then secured it with a tight stitch before connecting the seams.  I know having a gather foot would have made my life so much easier. The remaining fabric was used create to create a 2.5 inch waistband. I opted to add an extra inch to my waist measurement  as I knew that I will be wearing the skirt with a lightweight sweater or cardigan tucked in. After the skirt was gathered and the waistband was attached, I decided to shorten by cutting 2 inches off. I measures again from the waistband to ensure that the length matched all around.



My Sense of Style and love for Ankara Prints!


Shoes: Steve Madden (here)
Cardigan: NY and Company (here)
Bag: Zara (old)

In am in love with modern day fashion using bold prints and colors with a touch of the '50s intertwined with a bit of '70s flair. This look that I choose to create and style with my cardigan is  oh so perfect for a board meeting and a night out salsa dancing after a wine tasting event. I truly enjoyed creating 2 pieces for this project that is a true reflection of my personal style. I had an amazing time capturing the beauty and flow of this look especially the skirt. I am in love with bold prints that make a statement the minute you walk through the door. The geometric shapes, the pattern details, the colors, the texture and flow is oh so perfect for the transition of my style from day to night.  In closing I will continue to be bold, be fierce, but most importantly, be me!



Amazing SHOTS captured by Michael: Photos by Ernie

Follow him on Instagram (photoernie)

Thanks for stopping by and ONE LOVE!!

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Standing Tall through Irma the Storm - Rocking my Classic Fall Brunch dress

When life throws you lemon, take it and make strawberry L E M O N A D E!



I was so excited to create the pattern as I had made something similar before and it was a HIT.  I contemplated modifying the sleeves and hacking other patterns, adding a unique trim, using a solid color and adding a pieces of my favorite ankara cotton (African Print) fabric until the storm decided to visit my city, Miami, Florida.  Nonetheless, I would NOT allow  mother nature and Hurricane Irma to defeat me and NOT submit a beautiful dress for Challenge 2. 

I planned on standing tall through Irma the storm and would make something classic that depicts my sense of style and submitted it days before the storm hit. I wasn’t quite sure if I had to evacuate to a shelter and did NOT want to wait until last minute just in case I had to leave home on Thursday or Friday. I had less than a day to make it and knew that I  had NO time to run to my local store to get all the bells and whistles needed to make the dress that I had originally had planned in my head.



Fall knit prints are non existent in my stash and I had to settle for this beautiful Scuba Knit that I had purchased at JoAnn Fabrics.  I love cutting into floral prints as I love perfect alignment of colors or pattern details  and felt this was  perfect for fall based on the color palette.   I am definitely planning on wearing this to a BRUNCH in early October that I had planned on attending this past Sunday. I wanted to make sure that my layout was absolutely perfect and that the center would depict the flow of fall flowers from the center neckline to the bottom of the front. Moreover, being  an island girl and a Floridian, fall here is like summer as we wear sandals most time of the year and boots is NOT a big trend unless the temperature drops to the 60s.  

I chose to do view A as it was, classic with a perfect length for transitioning to fall here in South Florida. To top it off, the fit  would show off  just enough of my curves.  I opted to grade the size to accommodate my hips and adjusted it to fit my sense of style.  Modifications were a must to have a clean smooth fitted silhouette. I decided to preserve the beauty of this classic pattern focusing more on the fit and made slight modifications to the sleeves as most of my local family owned fabric stores were closed where I would purchase trimmings.



Pattern Modifications
Graded the size 8 and 10 based on the finished measurement on the pattern (Decided to cut a size smaller as I wanted a more fitted look)
Added 4 inches to the length of VIEW A based on my height to fall right at the knee
Added a BELL sleeve to draw less attention to the hips and to elongate my physique
Bell long sleeves (Doubled the width of the sleeve, gathered it adding more gathers to the center and attached it to the sleeves)

The FIT and PRINT

I am happy with the fit, the print and the simplicity of the dress with the modifications of the sleeves.  The dress fits amazing and I loved the  way it turned out even with the challenges that I had to face.  Having been through a few hurricanes (Andrew and Gilbert)  and other life challenges, I have  learned that life still goes on no matter your circumstances may be.  Irma may  have caused the stores to close and may have put a damper in my spirit  but I refused to allow it to get the better of me.  There are so many challenges and setbacks in this world, but I wanted to create my favourite fall dress style using this classic fall print for my upcoming brunch.



Thanks for stopping by and ONE LOVE!!!

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

“Rock Star meets Class” 
One Shoulder Classic White Peplum Top


Fashion Challenge 5 - Week 1 - A Blank Slate (here)



TOP: DIY Challenge #1
Pants: New York and Company
Shoes: Steve Madden
Clutch: DIY (my first DIY clutch)


As a sewist who hates to create non-wearable muslin, when I first received my package with 2 yards of it, I wasn’t quite sure what this white muslin was for.  At first, I thought they will probably give us a challenge to create a muslim of a pattern and then use another fabric for the final project.  When I read the challenge “A BLANK slate” I envisioned endless possibilities but one must be creative to bring it to life. I envisioned 2 different looks but the cotton would NOT work based on the style.
TOP: DIY Challenge #1
Skirt: DIY
Clutch - Make up bag from Victoria Secrets

At first, I wanted to make a skirt lined with tulle but felt it would have been way too easy and would not take me out of my comfort level. I have made mainly skirts for almost 3 years and have mastered it.  I went to the drawing board, pinterest, magazines, window shopping and browsed photos of some of my favorite fashion icons including former first lady Michelle Obama.  I spent a day in limbo but after sleeping on it, the year of the drama ruffle sleeves came to mind.  After a day of planning, I knew exactly what I wanted to create.  I wanted to create a fashionable piece that I can wear to classy dinner with a rock star or an event at New York fashion week.


 I wanted to bring out my creative juices and opted to use a 1 shoulder as my base or bodice and add drama to it.  The pattern that I chose was Simplicity 8386 View B as I wanted a fitted look.  I opted to use a piece of white jersey knit that matched perfectly with the muslin fabric.


This took strategic planning as I wanted the front to be appealing and eye catching and HAD to create a true muslin with some other cotton fabric from my stash to determine the length and placement of the ruffle.

The peplum bottom was so much easier than the ruffles as I had a deeper understanding of making self-drafted circle skirt. I opted for mid hip and made a full circle skirt with a finished length of 13 inches.  I first started out with the TUBE base with a one shoulder strap and wanted to see how it would look.  For some reason, it did not bring out the statement of the ruffles the way I wanted it to fall. Again, I went back to the drawing board and I tested it on a different top and found that the asymmetrical worked out perfect.

Bottom Layer Ruffle
I drafted the ruffle pattern to get the right length to cover the shoulder area and leaving an opening for the armpit. I lucked out with my first attempt of 5 inches which sat well on the dress form. I first pinned the paper pattern on my dress form and tried different technique to create the ruffle.  I played with it for at least 15 minutes until it was positioned correctly.   My first attempt was to use one single layer of pellon light to mid weight and 1 layer of fabric, I did NOT get the effect that I envisioned and I then decided to add another layer of pellon and double the fabric for the bottom layer. 

Top Layer Ruffle
I wanted it to be more lightweight to fall perfectly in place with the bottom so I decided on a single layer of fabric on each side and used the flower leftover lining from the peplum lining as my top layer.  I knew at first it would work as the single layer of interface would have been perfect for the fall.  I was amazed the minute I pinned it and definitely will be making another one or something similar for my next Diner En Blanc (all white event)



The Finish - Designer techniques
I ensured that I had a super clean finish by using my bias tape hem on the top layer rather than the serger.  I went into a few top designer stores and checked out their stitching techniques before finishing my garment.  I noticed that lining in most designer garments are common and wanted to make sure that my ruffles and peplum were lined.


I am truly happy with the way it turned out and will be taking more fashion risks during this Challenge and with my upcoming Fall Projects.  Little did I know that “a blank slate” white garment can come to life as simple as it may look with a little bit of sleeve drama.  I love the entire piece and the detachable peplum was just  icing on the cake as I can wear the top without it. I will have multiple use and may use the peplum to jazz up a boring bodycon dress in the future.  I plan to wear this again and again and can’t wait to make the black.

If you need any assistance, feel free to shoot me an email at marica.mitchell@gmail.com or leave a comment below.  I will be more than happy to assist.

Thanks for stopping by and ONE LOVE!







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