Saturday, November 7, 2015

Patchwork Design Elements - IDK?

The fashion design influences of the 1970s have certainly been making its mark in the ateliers of current design houses.  Everything from wide-leg pants, a-line skirts, gauchos (aka culottes), maxi-dresses, ponchos, peasant-style, etc. can been seen on the runways and in clothing stores.

Stella MCartney, $1,220

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I'm Almost a Good Wife

You may recall my sharing with you the invisible zipper I sewed in my Good Wife mock-wrap dress exploded and I had to replace it.

While this zipper set-back seriously cut into my "sewjo" and motivation to complete GW, I was able to complete most of its construction.

on the hanger

Monday, October 19, 2015


When last I left you, I said I was going to stitch Good Wife's side seams and test fit it.  Well, I did that and it appeared to fit well.  But, then I go to place it on my mannequin and the zipper starts splitting.

The Good Wife Update

After publishing this post on how much I loved Alicia Florrick's dress, I am finally at the point where I'm constructing my version using Vogue 8305, which is out of print.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Remnant Repository

Am I the only sewing enthusiast who has a difficult time tossing out fabric remnants from completed projects?  I shared with you that I learned how to sew by watching my mother, and how she would use leftover fabric scraps from her clients' garments for other projects, including helping me augment the wardrobe of my Barbie dolls.  So, I recognize holding on to fabric scraps as a learned behavior from Mommy.

I have found storing my scraps to be a challenge, partly due to the amount of space they required, but also because I wasn't always sure of the amount of usable "yardage" I had on hand.

Remnants were once stored at the bottom of my Sewing Room closet in a small plastic bin, which proved to be woefully inadequate capacity.

Fabric scraps would then find a temporary "home" in the storage drawers I used to categorize and store uncut fabric yardages.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Rebirth of a Leopard...

Who else out there enjoys Pinterest?  I could not begin to count the accumulated hours I've spent on this social media site.  But unlike some others, I feel this one to be quite useful in sparking new ideas and sharing best practices.  I've been on Pinterest for maybe 2 years now, and have created 62 virtual bulletin boards with over 1200 pins.  Trust me when I say that is light-weight compared to some other Pinners whose boards I follow.

One of the pins I saved on my Sewing Inspirations - Skirts board is the image below.  Something about the "casual chic" combination of the animal-print skirt, plain white tee and classic denim jacket really caught my attention.

...something about this combination I love.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Dresser Refinish

I shared with you how busy my spring and summer has been due to the amount of travelling I had to do for work.  Well, now that the travel has slowed down, I've been able to devote time to making my sewing space visually appealing.  I finally got all of my pattern boxes decorated, assembled, labeled and filled.  Yes, a couple of them are decorated differently, and the color saturation on others is a little off, but they're all done.  I will revisit the "odd" units at another time.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

My Spring and Summer Recap

Hey there!  It's been a while, right?  How have you been?  If memory serves correctly, the last time we "talked", I was sharing with you with the process I used to create my pattern storage boxes.  Yeah...I still gotta finish that lesson, don't I?  Let me know if you're still interested in how I assemble and finish them...I'd be glad to share the remaining steps in the process with you.

If you recall, I was still at home recovering from surgery in January.  Well, I returned to my full-time job at the end of February and almost immediately began a busy travel schedule for work.  Between March and August, I've made multiple trips to Jackson, MS as well as Charleston, SC, Chicago and Alpharetta, GA.

Traveling for work can be grueling, and the worst part is time spent away from family and favorite activities which make life enjoyable.  So, what made me feel better about the sacrifices?  FOOD!  I ate quite well, thanks in part to the meal per diem allowance Comcast provides to travelling employees.

While in Jackson, MS, I dined multiple times at Drago's Seafood Restaurant.  This small chain of restaurants started in Louisiana, with the Jackson location being its third.  In fact, the Jackson spot had recently celebrated its grand opening prior to my visit.  They offer an excellent menu of fresh seafood choices, and easily the best cheesecake I've ever had.

Drago's in Jackson, MS

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Making Storage Beautiful - Pt. 4: To Seal or Not to Seal...

...that is the question!

Welcome to this fourth post on creating pattern storage boxes.  I shared with you in an earlier post that I've tried a variety of storage methods for my pattern collection, and I honestly feel the current method I've employed is working the best for me.  The boxes I'm creating are very sturdy and durable while protecting my patterns from dust and light exposure, and will coordinate beautifully with my Sewing Room's planned decor.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Making Storage Beautiful - Part 3: Decorative Paper Prep

Welcome to this third post detailing my steps in creating pattern storage boxes.  In the first two posts, I shared with you the design inspiration for my boxes and the steps involved with the resizing and surface preparation of the cartons being used.  In this post, I will share with you the steps for creating and preparing the papers to decorate the storage box and maintain its continuous decorative pattern.

The tools and supplies you'll need are:

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Another Denim Repair

I've been busy working on clothing repairs for the past couple of days, with a desire to seriously pared down the number of items sitting in the Repair Basket in my Sewing Room.  This basket has a tendency to grow and I am admittedly slothful about clearing these items out, as evidenced from a picture I took in 2012.

I'm happy to say the basket is not as full now as it was then, partly because I've also been purging items that were not worth the effort of repairing.  One such item could easily be my daughter's favorite pair of Levi's.  Instead, I spent time today repairing them.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Making Storage Beautiful - Part 2: The Foundation

The first, and arguable most important, stage in creating my pattern storage boxes is in the gathering and preparation of materials.  I've found through trial-and-error that the quality of the end product depends on this work, and reminds me of a well-known saying that's attributed to Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield:

"Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well."

Pictured are the tools and supplies I used from start to finish, but let's begin with a list of those materials needed during this stage of the process:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Making Storage Beautiful - Part 1: The Inspiration

It's no secret I've been a neglectful blogger, with no published posts between May 2013 and January 2015.  But while my documentation and sharing has been scarce, I have moderated and replied to comments left on various past posts as well as follow my other favorite bloggers.  I've also spent time in my Sewing Room doing...stuff.  Most of my creative energies have been spent making my space organized, visually appealing and creatively inspiring.  On that note, I'd like to share with you the detailed process I follow in making my pattern storage boxes.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Don't You Wanna Put Your Name On It?

I truly enjoy garment construction and love it when a garment's interior is as beautiful as its exterior.   I often examine ready-to-wear garments to figure out the short-cuts the industry uses and try to incorporate them into my garment construction.  Additionally, I continue building my skills to include more advanced couture techniques.  In fact, my blog name, Sew Couture, identifies what I'm working towards - haute couture construction.  Incorporating high-end techniques during construction truly separates "hand made" garments from "home made" ones and differentiates professional from amateur.  That level of detail and professionalism is what I'm working towards, and has moved me to begin labeling my work.

I am actively following 70 different blogs which cover a variety of interests, but the majority of them are sewing-focused and managed by wonderfully creative women who also love sewing, sharing their knowledge and the fruits of their labor.  A number of them also label their work.

Cennetta Burwell - The Mahogany Stylist

Mimi Goodwin - Mimi G. Style

Karen Ways - Sew Many Ways

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Breakfast with Omar, Donna and Jen

In May 2013, I shared with you all my "discovery" of InStyle magazine the prior year, and my appreciate for its goal of covering fashion.  I've since subscribed to the magazine but I find my normal "life" schedule doesn't always afford the opportunity to sit down and flip through each issue - whether by paper or digital.  As a result, I sometimes have to "catch up" on multiple back issues.  This was the case when February arrived last week and I realized I had not yet looked at December and January.

So, this morning while eating my Honey Nut Cheerios (nod to Omar Little), I caught up on all three, marking those pages I wanted to keep for inspiration.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Stash Additions

I have to admit my expectations regarding my post-operative activity level was extremely optimistic, to say the least.  My surgery was on Monday last week, and I expected to be home Tuesday and ready to piddle around in my Sewing Room by Thursday or Friday, at the latest.  In fact, I remember telling my friend, Denise, that I had to get in my final bid on an eBay auction I was watching which ended around 9:45pm that Monday night.  "My surgery is robotic and the hospital has WiFi, so I should be feeling well enough to go online and submit my bid."  I still remember her laughing at me.

Two weeks later, not only did I miss all of my target days and auction deadlines - and I don't even care that I did - but I've had little energy to do much more than surf the internet, watch TV, shower and make my bed (sometimes).  However, prior to surgery, I did win auctions for two separate lots of sewing patterns and I just now feel energetic enough to examine them and share with you what I received.  I'm hoping to have energy tomorrow to actually catalog them, add to my stash and outline my process for you.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Donna Karan Dead Ringer

Tomorrow will mark 14 post-op days, and this evening I am feeling a wee bit "tender" in the abdominal and pelvic area.  Clearly, I'm not ready to run any marathons.  So, this Super Bowl Sunday, I am relaxing, surfing the internet, pinning images on Pinterest and catching up on Facebook.  I'm also researching Vogue and McCall's patterns as JoAnn Fabrics is having a sale on both next weekend.

I've created an online account on McCall's website so I could utilize its Wish List feature, and one pattern I've often added and deleted from this list is Vogue 1361.

V1361, Misses' Dress

Friday, January 30, 2015


One summer evening in July 1975, about 2 weeks before my 10th birthday, I was watching TV when I suddenly felt intense pain in my "stomach", and tearfully sought relief from my mother and father.  After asking questions to clarify where this mysterious pain originated, they simultaneously said, "Yep, her period is coming."  What?  My period?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

At Last, My Project Table has Come Along

I used to be one for making resolutions with each coming of a new year.  However, I've found it more productive to identifying goals I'd like to meet, and then establish a timeline and plan on which to achieve them.  Sometimes the plan works as designed, sometimes not.  The good thing is I'm not holding myself to some ambiguous target and feeling less-than if it's not met.

Included in the goals I've set each year are various household projects, many of which carry over from one year to the next - and that's okay!  Transforming my Sewing Room into a space which sparks inspiration and creativity has consistently been on that list, and I've steadily been making changes to the room and furniture to make this space one in which I love being.  In 2012, I started this process by painting and customizing my self-drafted drop-leaf sewing tabletop.

sewing tabletop and base, before

Monday, January 12, 2015

Nobody is Perfect, but Really?

I spent time Sunday looking at designer garments from various 2015 Spring runway shows.  I know I'm a little late given most of these shows ran between September and October 2014, but better late than never, right?

I would imagine most designers try their hardest to ensure each design is flawless in its appearance before going down the runway - i.e. hanging properly on the models, no wrinkles, no missing or dangling closures, etc.  After all, the runway is where their potential customers first see their designs, and retail buyers are identifying those items they feel will sell within their stores.  So, imagine my surprise when I saw the following runway mishaps.

First, there was the hanging threads on the shoe of Donna Karan's Look #5.  From the runway itself, this would not be noticeable, but you can't help but see it when publishes a close-up picture.

Now, big picture, this really is not a big deal.  The shoe is cute, and at least the model's feet have been properly pedicured and toes painted.  But then, my further navigation yielded more questionable results.

Donna Karan Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear - Look 5 shoe -

Friday, January 9, 2015

DKNY Done Easy

I have a confession to make.  My name is Aisha, and I am a patternholic.  I admit that buying patterns on sale is my weakness.  I love browsing through my JoAnn sale brochures to see which patterns are on sale so I can plan my shopping trips accordingly.  Between my love for pattern sales and the time I worked for So-Fro Fabrics many, many years ago, I have built a collection in excess of 600 primarily consisting of Butterick, McCall's, Vogue and Simplicity.

Like most of the "sewists" whose blogs I follow, I like reviewing ready-to-wear runway styles and picking out those which inspire me to create my own versions.  While surfing on, I fell in love with Look no. 3 from the DKNY Fall 2013 RTW collection and proceeded to search through my pattern collection to see which one I could modify to make my version of this dress - and I think I did settle on one...

Friday, January 2, 2015

Beyond Distressed

Happy New Year!  I pray your Christmas was truly merry and your 2015 is off to a prosperous start.  It has been about 19 months since my last post and I kept telling myself "I have to publish a post! I have to publish a post!"  But, sometimes it seems there's never enough time or energy to do all the things you want.  With that said, I intend to maintain a more regular posting schedule - certainly shorter than every 18 months or so.  (wink)

Though my blogging activity has been stagnant, I have been busy in my Sewing Room and will soon share with you some of the things I've been doing while away, beginning with this project.


left and right legs, before