Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Going Crackers

 My versions of Elana's crackers. I like the lighter variety, Marcy prefers her's crispy.

Eliminating wheat products
is tricky when it's soup weather
and one love crackers with her soup.

Since discovering this wonderful recipe
I've been dazzling friends with tales and tastes
of my cool crackers
(which go perfectly with Marcy's delish soups). 

Follow this link to get to the super simple recipe.
In browsing Elana's wonderful website I know
I will be trying more healthy treats.
She really knows her stuff and how to keep it simple.
I like that especially.
Elana's Pantry's version
I've been trying some Tilton variations
with great success:
- add a bit of butter (about 1 tsp in small pieces, yum)
- add some chopped fresh rosemary (yum, yum)
- substitute cashew meal (yum)
Bob's Red Mill makes a lovely almond meal/flour.
One bag makes 2 batches of crackers.
They also have many other meal/flours 
that might make cool crackers.
(More playing with food!)
I also found cashew meal and almond meal
at Trader Joe's in the nut section.

So far the crackers have been a big success
alone, with or without soup,
with a bit of cheese,
and with a dollop of salmon salad and a pea shoot sprig.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Butterick 6026 & 6028, Contemporized Classics

Butterick 6028 Pant & 6026 Shirt
 The curve on the front of these pants
is created by the side seam
which adds just 
the right amount of interest 
to this flattering classic trouser.
(Feel free to crop for Summer.)
What the line drawing doesn't show you is
the curve in the side seam.
(I'm assured this will be remedied.)
It's there, I promise.
This version was inspired by 
Marcy's 'Party Pants' contest.

The fly front is really a 'fake',
and I must thank Sandra Betzina
(via Threads magazine)
which made things so much easier for me
when writing directions,
to say nothing of actually stitching the zipper in...
(She says to throw the directions out but in this case I wouldn't.)
The tucks and nipped in waist 
update the shirt with
a new elegance.
Use a #10 Bernina topstitch foot
to keep those tucks in line.
The collar has a stand
which means you can add variety
with a soft collar
or use just the stand for hot weather.
 I went to the book
to remind myself how to best approach
a collar with a stand.
I find this reference book extremely helpful 
and it's always fun
to learn something new.

These pieces (and many others)
will be featured in our fashion show,
'The Vogue & Butterick's Creative Closet', at the
Sew Expo in Puyallup, Washington,
February 27 - March 2, 2014.
9:30AM on Thursday,
1:30PM on Friday,
9:30AM on Saturday.

We are in booth #830.
Please come by if you are attending the Expo --
we have some amazing fabrics --
plus it's always great fun!
Our booth Divas plan their wardrobes
with great care and tremendous talent!
I am blown away by their creativity,
enjoying a carefully crafted new ensemble
every day.

I have just been informed
(thanks Clare!)
that there is an error
in this pattern.
Unfortunately I cannot get into the 'reply'
section on this blog to reply...
And, I am away from my studio for a week
to work the Sew Expo.

The best thing to do for any pattern error
is to contact Butterick directly at:

They are the one's that can make it right
so please contact them.
(I have just sent them an email
but you know that thing about the
'squeeky wheel'.) kt

Butterick (Vogue/McCalls) got right on it!
Here is the reply I got this morning:

Steps 11 & 13 will be changed; 
currently they say to turn in the edges even with the front. 
This step is being removed,
as this shouldn’t happen until step 21. 
We will revise the instructions.
       Consumer Services, Butterick Patterns

Thanks Butterick for the swift service! kt
PS The 'reply' part on this blog
still is not working for me!
What is up with that?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Thanks for the Inspiration Haider!

The moment I saw this coat
I was reminded of Butterick 5960.
Simple classic lines
with many options 
for fabrics and layering.
Haider Ackermann Mens Fall 2014  

A coat over a jacket over a vest.
Two colors, related patterns,
flat texture, piped edge emphasis.

Haider Ackermann Mens Fall 2014

A coat over a vest over a jacket.
Ackermann is a master of layering,
piling texture upon texture,
shiny with rough,
smooth with fuzzy
and warm with warmer.

Haider Ackermann Womens Fall 2013

Ah, a touch of fur!
I know Spring is coming
but Winter is still here and layer upon layer
is a chic way to deal with the cold.
Plus you get bonus points 
for combining textures, patterns, colors and fabrics!

Haider Ackermann Womens Fall 2013
Wouldn't B5960 be great as a vest?
Or with fur used on the inside
 of the front collar?

Butterick 5960

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

twenty fourteen

new moon
new year
new projects
new viewpoints

new compassion
more compassion

good health
new friends
warm friends
new connections
new creative spurts and inspirations

new love
expanding love
deepening love
true love
all love
 (simply surrender dorothy...)

cool surprises
new ease
more ease
(keep it simple sweetie...)

new abundance
new adventures
new courage
new peace
new appreciation
new gratitude
new miracles
sweet magic
new pleasures
loads of laughs

wishing you all this
and more

may your heart's desires be fulfilled
before you even dream them

what can we create?
twenty fourteen

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Toggle Jacket -- Butterick 5994

A sweet semi-fitted jacket with a toggle closure that takes it to another level of interesting and flattering. The sleek lines often seen in body-skimming French clothes work on many body types, including my 5'8" Rubenesque frame and Marcy's 5'5" shorter figure. It's a sure winner when a pattern looks this good on both of us!

Pre-shrink the fabric with washing and/or steaming as you want to avoid any shrinking once the pieces are cut. 

The center front panels, both large and small, are cut exactly the same, with the fabric ‘right’ side up. Each side of the front uses a large panel and a small panel but in opposite ways. On the right front the small panel is on the front (top layer) and the larger panel becomes the facing. On the left front the large panel is on the front (top layer) and the small panel becomes the facing. 

This is counter-intuitive so be sure you understand this to avoid using your seam ripper...

Interface the pocket facings and fronts as shown on the pattern. Check the front pieces carefully so you stitch the pocket facings on the correct edge of the jacket front.

Using blue masking tape to label each piece is a really good idea here.

If using leather, make sure it's soft. (I used a piece of black shiny leather on the sample and must admit it reads 'plastic' to me in the photos.)

The whole jacket would be stunning constructed out of a soft leather, suede or lightweight Ultrasuede.

Use a piece of computer paper on top of the leather to assure that things work smoothly. And of course practice, practice, practice.

Use a purchased toggle or make one. When sewing leather remember to make sample pieces (I use a Teflon foot and a #90 needle). Double-faced tape holds the leather in place in lieu of pins. Two buttons back to back will give the toggle more heft.

Leather can be pressed but best to use a dry iron (it is a skin after all). Make an extra long strip about 1" wide; fold in half, press and stitch 1/8" from the folded edge. Then trim the 'raw' edges close to the stitching so they are straight. Next cut the strip into two shorter pieces, one that can be threaded through a button or stitched to a button and he other knotted into a loop.


Place the finished toggle parts onto the pattern pieces to determine final placement and make any necessary adjustments before stitching to the jacket.

Toggles can be really fun to make but if you don’t want to use a toggle closure you could make a tie from self-fabric or use a lovely ribbon.

This pattern can be used with a sturdier knit like a ponte or a stretch woven. Marcy has lots of fabulous wovens that would be great in this jacket including: Sissinghurst Cotton panels, Grey or Moss Plaid cotton, Blue Cat Stretch DenimGrey Denim Dot, Versaille, or Black Velvet Denim. (I do love denim in all its incarnations!) Knits that would work well include: Sherlock Houndstooth, Calais or Tin Tin (all of which could be combined with Stanford or Leland), Obsidan and Stone Grey

This Thanksgiving Day 
I am grateful for so many things 
one of which 
is the simple joy of sewing. 

Much appreciation and love
 to everyone reading this.
As always, happy stitching!

Friday, November 22, 2013


Butterick 5986 is super simple to sew together.

It gets a bit more complicated when you come       
to folding/stitching the hem together ‘correctly’.
But really, with something like this
what is ‘right’
is only limited by your creativity.
(And hopefully I wrote the directions
so you understand them.)

Part of the dress 'hem' is stitched together 
to form 'corners' that drape
while the other side has an elastic casing
to gather the hem.

I like to mark the hemline notches
with a piece of masking tape 
(blue so it doesn't harm the fabric).
I write a letter or number on the tape
to help remind me what matches up
with what.

Always, after writing the directions
and sending everything off to Butterick,
I get more ideas of things
that could happen with the pattern.

 This tip comes from my friend Alex
who made the dress and decided she wanted
a more stable shoulder line.
So she added one...

First stitch together the body of the dress.
Try it on, arrange the neckline
and mark your shoulder line with pins.
Draw this line on the inside of the dress with chalk.
Iron a (1/4” to 3/8” wide) strip
of fusible interfacing on the line.
Stitch this strip in place
along the shoulder line.
Then continue sewing the dress.

I made a version with sleeves
using the same
purple and black graded stripe fabric
as shown on the pattern sample.

Any of the great stripes and other mid-weight knits
will work well for this dress.

 You want to use a knit fabric 
with some softness and drape like the
I used in this version of the pattern sample.

The dress shape skims the body
in a most flattering way.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Paris Mélange

Always a bittersweet time,
these final days in Paris.

Blue skies appearing after grey and rainy days
are appreciated.

A great apron
(but not for sale)
at the Sunday market.
He says he'll have some to sell
when we return next year...

Free range foies gras
seems an oxymoron
but M. Lafitte is quite proud of his product.
Bringing some foie gras with truffles back
to our friend Carol.

Words make an
 unforgettable t-shirt.

Great graphics
make an
unforgettable bathroom door.

at pillar 239
in the Palais de Tokyo,
after enjoying 'Virgule, etc.'
a retrospective look at the
marvelous shoes of Roger Vivier.

feather shoe by Roger Vivier

Designer Azzedine Alaïa
dazzled with his creative genius
at the newly renovated
Palais Galliera.

Alaïa's dress for Tina Turner

This Alaïa
Glacier wool dress
is available online
for €3,037.

And then...
at Le Bon Marché

I really think that
All Saints Day
is just too early
for the Christmas decorations
to appear...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Paris Color

Myrna at the mercerie

There may be more than 50
shades of grey in Paris
but color (and camaraderie) abounds as well.

cafe smiles from Bobbie, Yvette and Jan

brousing buttons with Myrna, Elaine and Marcy

We've been doing lots of shopping
for fabric and notions,
clothing and accessories
(plus shoes of course),
in various hues, patterns, textures and styles.

Such fun shopping Paris,
sharing and wearing
our finds with each other.

blotter paper from hand painting silk flower petals

Watching a silk flower being created
from start to finish
is mesmerizing
and amazing.

tiny hand made silk flowers

 The French are very proud
of their fine craftsmanship --
and well they should be.

Hermes window in yellows
Hermes window in reds

Then there's Hermes --
whose windows are always gorgeous
bright and beautiful!

But for me 
nothing compares to Giverny.

pink leaves, red berries

I am always left
a bit breathless
by the colors of Autumn.

on the path
boats and bamboo

So much beauty,
water, greenery, respite 
and tranquility
even when filled with people.

Paris rainbow

Rainbows appeared over Paris,
sometimes double as this one
(viewed from inside the bus)
peeking in and out of the trees
as we rode along the Seine.


After the rainbow
a stunning sunset
to light our way home.
(or off to more shopping...)