Month: March 2019

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress

The Tunic Bible Embroidered Dress

The Tunic Bible recently went to #1 on Amazon, here’s how you can embroider your own tunic dress!

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. Thank you for your support!

 

I recently ordered a copy of The Tunic Bible by Sarah Gunn and Julie Starr of Goodbye Valentino. If you haven’t seen their sewing blog, it’s full of beautiful classic styles, perfect for us midlife ladies. The book recently exploded on Amazon with the trending Instagram hashtags #sewover50 and #sew50visible. The idea of this challenge is to make a pattern that has a woman over 50 on the cover. Silly me, I thought this was going to be easy, but there are very few of them in the 4 big pattern companies. This led me to the Tunic Bible, and I am hooked!

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

The book has a basic pattern and pages upon pages of ways you can customize your look. One of the styles I loved the most had an embroidered neckline, and I was thrilled to be able to try out my embroidery functions on my new “old” Huskavarna Viking sewing machine. After a bit of research I discovered that I needed embroidery files with HUS capability for my machine. Refer to your manual to find out what kind of file you need as it is different for each machine.

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

This floral design was purchased from Urban Threads. It’s a one color design, but looks different with dark blue thread on my blue and white stripe fabric. Because embroidery is completely new to me, I wasn’t willing to spend a lot of money for this project. I used an old Ralph Lauren bed sheet from the thrift store! My purchase was $1.50, plus the embroidery file which was $4.99. Not bad for an entire dress!

The embroidery file was easy to download to my computer, transfer to a USB memory stick and plugin to my sewing machine. I traced the pattern of the bib design on the fabric with a heat soluble marking pen instead of cutting it out. I stabilized the fabric with embroidery stabilizer in the hoop before embroidering.

The design took about 15 minutes to stitch and I had a lot of fun watching it come together, it is rather mesmerizing!

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

The sleeves were even easier to embroider. Instead of purchasing a new design, I used two rows of heirloom vine stitches that came with my Huskavarna Designer SE sewing machine. Be sure to put a scrap of embroidery backing behind the rows of stitching for best result. After the embroidery was finished, it was time to assemble the pattern and finish the sleeve hem.

This design is very simple, but I love how it turned out!

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

With a simple dress such as this, the embroidery takes center stage. It was very easy to make and fits wonderfully! This is the first pattern I haven’t had to do major alterations on in a long time. I’m so ready to wear it!

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

I’ve got another tunic dress in the works that I will share with you soon! Meanwhile, head over to Amazon and purchase your copy of the Tunic Bible. Also, be sure to follow me on Instagram for more on the current hashtag challenges!

More Inspiration

If you loved this project, here are a few others you will also enjoy!

Wool Pleated Skirt : 7 Secrets to Sewing it Correctly

Neapolitan Quilt with Riley Blake

Self Draft a Simple Sequin Skirt

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress

Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity

 

Don’t forget to Pin this post for later!

Embroidered Tunic Bible Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

Please follow and like us:
Classic Wool Pleated Skirt: 7 Secrets to Sewing it Right

Classic Wool Pleated Skirt: 7 Secrets to Sewing it Right

Classic Wool Pleated Skirt:

7 Secrets to Sewing it Right

 

A classic wool pleated skirt like this one is not hard to sew. Here are my 7 secrets to sewing it right for a professional look!

Classic Wool Pleated Skirt | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. Thank you for your support!

 

Classic Wool Pleated Skirt

It’s been a long time since I had a pleated skirt like this one as part of my wardrobe. There was a time when I owned 5 or 6 of these classic skirts, one for every occasion! I am determined to wear more classics, as I find that they suit my “over 50” figure better than most modern designs. I found this beautiful embroidered wool at a thrift shop while on vacation in Florida. The wool works so well with pleats, it makes nice crisp corners and holds the shape so easily. If you’ve been wanting a pleated wool skirt like this one, my 7 secrets will guarantee sewing success!

Classic Wool Pleated Skirt | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

Classic Wool Pleated Skirt | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

7 Secrets to a Pleated Skirt

  1. Pleats are very easy to make. Simply fold the fabric edges together and baste along the top edge. Most patterns have the folds marked with arrows either left or right.
  2. It only takes a few pleats to make a statement. This skirt (view B) has 3 pleats, an inverted pleat at center front plus one on the left and right. The back is the same, but you could easily have gathers in the back if you wish.
  3. Use only crisp woven fabric for pleats, most knits do not work unless they are pleated by the manufacturer. Fabrics like wool, linen, cotton or poly/cotton blends work well.
  4. When using wool, place strips of paper (I use brown craft paper) under each of the pleats when pressing to keep the wool from “marking”. Wool marks easily, and once it’s marked you cannot get those marks to go away.
  5. Always use a press cloth and lots of steam when pressing wool.  (Speaking of irons…I’ve heard so many good things about this iron. They’re on super sale at the moment if you’re needing a new iron!)
  6. You can make any gathered skirt into a pleated skirt. Simply replace the gathers with folded fabric pleats. Baste in place along the top edge, then check the fit.
  7. You can easily alter pleats by making them larger or smaller to fit your shape. A good size is a 1″ pleat, this skirt has pleats that are 2″ wide and 2″ apart.

Classic Wool Pleated Skirt | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

The bottom of this skirt has the embroidery. I love this touch as it adds the perfect amount of flair to this classic piece. The border conceals a 2″ hand stitched hem. The wool doesn’t require a lot of finishing, instead of serging the seams I just used pinking shears.

Classic Wool Pleated Skirt | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

I must apologize, I don’t know what’s going on with my camera lately but all my photos seem to be grainy looking. Technology, arrrrgh! I added pockets to the skirt, definitely a plus!

Classic Wool Pleated Skirt | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

I paired the skirt with a cashmere sweater, also from the thrift store. A narrow black patent leather belt and some Mary Jane shoes were the perfect accessories for this look.

 

More Inspiration

If you enjoyed this skirt tutorial, here are a few more posts you will love!

How to Measure for Pattern Alterations

3 Step Buffalo Check Cardigan

Self Draft a Simple Sequin Skirt

Dinner Date Dress Sew Along

Easy Cut & Sew Sweater

 

Don’t forget to Pin this post for later!

Classic Wool Pleated Skirt | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

Please follow and like us:
Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity

 

Every woman needs a LBD (little black dress) in her closet. My latest dress make is this Simplicity pattern that is perfect for a night out on the town!

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. Thank you for your support!

Every girl needs a LBD in their closet. Some of us even have several (Me!) to chose from for different occasions. Since it seems that I am always scrambling at the last minute to find something appropriate to wear, I have decided to make a bunch of dresses to have on hand. Black is always my go-to color. It’s elegant, dressy and I feel comfortable in it. Perhaps a bit too comfortable at times. Some of my comfort comes from being a plus size gal, I’m a ready to wear size 20. The dark black color is more flattering to my round figure, as are matte fabrics. I tend to avoid anything shiny because it emphasizes my bumps and rolls. In this Simplicity design, I used contrasting satin for the trim to dress things up and still keep it as flattering as possible.

This Simplicity pattern is not an easy sew. It has a lot of bad reviews on the sewing pattern review site, Pattern Review. However, I decided to try it because I really like the style and I am not intimidated by bad reviews. It’s always my mission to discover the problem with the pattern and let you know how to fix it!

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

Simplicity #8534 Pattern Review

1. The biggest problem with this pattern is the facings. There are TONS of them, even for the sleeve cuff! I dislike facings as I feel they never stay in place and are not used much in ready to wear. Facings are confusing for most sewers, especially beginners. Instead of the facings I used homemade bias binding in contrasting black satin. Bias binding is easy to make, if you add a bit of starch to the satin as you go along it becomes crisp and easy to sew. Problem solved!

2. Fitted styles like this one require lots of fitting! (That seems self-explanatory.) Since this dress is very fitted, I recommend you make a muslin first before cutting it out of your fashion fabric. My fabric came from the thrift store and was a bargain at only $.60 so I wasn’t worried about messing it up. I made my pattern adjustments, cut and fitted the dress on the form first. I then made more adjustments, and basted it together for a second and third fitting. This design is not typically suited to someone with a thick waist but I love it anyway and I think it turned out quite well despite all of the fitting work.

3. Many of the negative comments on Pattern Review had to do with the front jabot or ruffle. This piece is actually circular and cascades down the front in ruffles when it’s hung from the waist. My soft satin fabric worked well for this, but I can see if you had a more rigid material it might not sit the way you like. My advice is to cut it and play with it a bit, but don’t stress about this unique design feature. It’s not a perfect rigid type of thing, it will move and cascade as you wear the dress which is the beauty of this style.

4. The overlapping bodice can be tricky to fit. The bodice has bias edge that will stretch over the bust. I had to take mine in twice in this area. A stay stitch will help to control the bias, but you will need to take it in if it stretches too much.

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

5. Shoulder seams in this dress are very different, with yet more facings. I simplified the shoulders by removing the facings and using only bias binding to finish. This made the process so much easier and less confusing to overlap the seams! The satin binding adds a design detail to the matte fabric. I prefer a lower neckline as it is more flattering to my figure than a high neck like the original pattern design, so I angled the shoulder seam a bit at the top of the neck for a vintage look and dropped the front neck a few inches.

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

The back is easier to sew than the front of the dress. I keep forgetting to do an adjustment for a sway back, but this one came out better than my last attempt and I am happy with it.  Be sure to baste your zipper in place before you stitch, or use a bit of fusible seam tape to secure it before stitching. Long zippers are hard to work with so just do the best you can.

I wasn’t sure I would like the open back of this dress, but I think its nice. It’s not too low or revealing for someone like me (#sewover50) and I don’t own anything else with an open back. Unfortunately, the back neck has more facings to deal with, this time I left them in place. You really do need the facing here to support the button and buttonhole. I found a lovely rhinestone button to finish off the back of the dress with some simple bling!

More Inspiration

If you enjoyed this pattern review, here are a few others you will love!

Sewing Pattern Hoarding: They Don’t Want You to Stop

Renaissance Costume Pattern Review

3 Step Easy T-Shirt Pattern Hack

How to Read a Sewing Pattern Envelope

How to Shorten Sewing Pattern Sleeves the Right Way

 

Don’t forget to Pin this post for later!

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

Please follow and like us:
Fashion Photo Shoot Behind the Scenes: What You Always Wanted to Know

Fashion Photo Shoot Behind the Scenes: What You Always Wanted to Know

Fashion Photo Shoot Behind the Scenes: What You Always Wanted to Know

 

Recently I was asked to style a fashion photo shoot for a local photographer, here’s what you always wanted to know about working behind the scenes!

Behind the Scenes at a Fashion Photo Shoot|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

Behind the Scenes Collaborations

One of the things I have been working on behind the scenes is collaborating with other local businesses. Last summer I worked with local photographer, Alyssa Eidness, on a photo shoot with my Gertie Inspired Vintage Party Dress. You can read more about it in this post. 

Recently, Alyssa (who specializes in Senior photography), asked me to help style these lovely young professional models for a senior photo shoot at a local hotel. I have never styled models before and it was a new experience for me. It was so much fun! For a long time I have been collecting a number of vintage clothing items and accessories for my own photography, and I was happy to share what I had with them for these photos.

Behind the Scenes at a Fashion Photo Shoot|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

The Edgewater Hotel has undergone a massive renovation the last few years. It sits right on the shore of the lake, which gives it a beautiful view of the ice covered water. This hotel is a popular spot for weddings and other special events in Madison. I haven’t been there in years, and I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived on shoot day at how elegant and beautiful it is since the renovation!

Behind the Scenes at a Fashion Photo Shoot|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

Styling Logistics

We were able to take over an entire room for hair, makeup, and wardrobe needs. The models had a few of their own things with them and we tried on a number of different outfits and combinations to find what worked the best for everyone. We were able to have two different ensembles for each of the three girls which gave us lots of photo options. The models hair and make up was done by Ultimate Hair and Makeup, a local stylist and makeup artist. She did an amazing job!

I never realized how much preparation goes into fashion shoots like this one. The girls were either in makeup, wardrobe, or in front of the camera all day long. (Don’t forget to mention this when finding models for your next shoot.) I can only imagine how exhausted they were at the end of the day! In addition, they were inside, out in the cold, and running around in high heels from one location to the next. Definitely not an easy job, but they looked fantastic on camera despite it all!

Behind the Scenes at a Fashion Photo Shoot|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

Networking for Common Goals

A local jewelry designer generously supplied all of the jewelry used for the photo shoot. Melissa was so sweet. We got along famously and I am now completely smitten with her work! Melissa Jenkins Designs has some incredible jewelry, you can order here through her website. 

One of my future goals is to work with more locals businesses on some plus-size photo shoots, hopefully featuring my own designs for us ladies over 5o! More to come in the near future.

It was so much fun meeting new people at this event, stepping out of my comfort zone, and working together towards a common business goal. We are all part of a local business networking organization called Tuesdays Together which helps businesses connect with others in their area and build real relationships with people to further our business needs. Each month they have a free meeting and workshop. It’s been a great way to meet other small business owners, learn different things about creative business and marketing. Hopefully, we will have another opportunity to work together again soon! To learn more about Tuesdays Together in your area, see this website.

Behind the Scenes at a Fashion Photo Shoot|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

Sharing the Common Result

The gentleman in this photo is Wesley, another team member from this fun project. He is a videographer from Spoken Frame Media who put together this video of the entire photo shoot for our photographer Alyssa Eidness.The video is so impressive. I would love to do more video work with him someday soon! Together we were able to create an impressive and professional result that none of us could have achieved on our own. It’s amazing what you can achieve as a team. This experience was a great place to start and made me realize that I need to do more in the community, and build more local business relationships.

 

Are you interested in seeing how the entire Senior photo shoot project came together? Check out the full video that was made for social media below!

Behind the scenes | seniors

It's finally here!!!!video by Spoken Frame Media

Posted by Alyssa Eidsness Photography on Friday, February 15, 2019

 

If you live in the Madison, WI area and are interested in my styling services or other collaboration, contact me at jessica@chambrayblues.com. I’d love to hear from you!

More Inspiration

If you liked this post, here are some others you will enjoy:

Gertie Inspired Vintage Party Dress

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress

Make Nine, Top Makes of the Year

Mens Thrifted Shirt Upcycle Hack in 7 Steps

Self Draft a Simple Sequin Skirt

 

Don’t forget to Pin this post for later!

Behind the Scenes at a Fashion Photo Shoot|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

 

Please follow and like us: