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Profile for KennethDKing - Threads


New York, NY, US

Member Since: 05/01/2009

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An Inside Look at Vintage Dior Strapless Gowns from the 1950s

Peek inside two garments from the study collection at the Fashion Institute of Technology to see how the designer constructed a mid-20th century bodice.

The Square-Cut Armhole

A simple vintage jacket reveals an attractive and unusual feature. Here's how to make it.

Vintage Sewing Tools: The Singer Bound Buttonhole Maker

If you've seen this tool but never knew what it was for, here's the answer.

Guided Photo Tour: The Red Alpaca Loden Coat

I have always had a fondness for Tyrolean clothes, especially loden coats. Here's one I saw recently in a thrift shop.

How to Sew a Velvet Frock Coat

My Fortuny frock coat now has a little brother. Read along to find out how I constructed a modified frock coat using a vintage velvet bedspread.

Kenneth D. King's Print Mixing Principles

A proven formula for stylish combinations.

How to Draft an Action-Back Pattern Piece

This vintage jacket has some interesting detail. The feature I like most is known as the "action back." Follow along to learn how to draft this detail.

Make a Fortuny Envelope Jewelry Bag

I was called upon to create some jewelry bags from Fortuny fabric, and here are the results. The patternwork outlined will help you to design any size bag you need.

How to Sew a Vintage Stand-Away Collar

I recently came across a charming coat with a collar that looks complex but is easy to make. Follow along to learn how to create this vintage look based on a rolled collar.

The Hybrid Lapel Facing

This Yves Saint Laurent jacket is deceptively simple, but it was constructed with a sophisticated trick.

How to Make a Fortuny Gladstone Bag, The Finale

This third post in the Fortuny Gladstone Bag series explains how to insert the lining into the vintage accessory.

How to Make a Fortuny Gladstone Bag, Part 2

To complete the bag's main body, end gussets were added.

Gift to Sew: Easy and Classic Wool Scarf

Finish the long edges and fringe the ends. Follow along to learn how easy it is to make this classic wool scarf.

How to Make a Fortuny Gladstone Bag, Part 1

This is the first in a three-part blog series documenting how I made a Gladstone bag out of Fortuny fabric, from a vintage model.

Faux Fur Collar and Cuffs

Direct the nap with darts for polished results.

The Loden Coat Sleeve, Part 2

Now that we have the pattern pieces for the loden coat sleeve, it's time to construct it.

The Loden Coat Sleeve, Part 1

This shoulder detail on the loden coat has always intrigued me, so I decided to figure out how to create it.

Tailoring with Felted Wool, Part 4: The Felted "Bark" Coat is Finished

After installing the sleeves, lining, and closures, we have a spiffy coat. Read more to find out how I completed my tailored felted wool coat.

Start to Finish, an Embroidered Fortuny Frock Coat

Kenneth D. King channels the 18th century and the 1960s in a Fortuny jeans jacket.

Cotton Twill Origami Top

The 2015 Threads design challenge for its contributing editors, featured in "The Cotton Call," #179 (June/July 2015), was a lot of fun. In this tutorial, I'll take you through my process making an origami top using cotton twill tape.

Tailoring with Felted Wool, Part 3: How to Add Facings

Now that the body of the felted wool "bark" coat is together, the collar and facings need to be attached.

Designer Update: Mimi Prober Earns Widespread Recognition for Her Lace Creations

Mimi Prober, whom you remember from "Saving Lace," featured on the cover and inside Threads #166 (April/May 2013), is enjoying greater success. Read more for the inside scoop.

Tailoring with Felted Wool, Part 2: How to Sew a Decorative Welt Pocket

I’m working on the tailored felted wool coat, which features a unique design resembling tree bark, and wanted a new pocket style for it. Follow along as I demonstrate how to add a decorative welt pocket.

Tailoring with Felted Wool, Part 1: The Bark Coat Project

I was recently given a quantity of very high-grade wool felt. This is what I chose to make from it.

The Tailored Jacket: How to Make a Surgeon's Cuff, Part 2

In Part 2 of how to make a surgeon's cuff, we learn how to line the sleeve.

The Tailored Jacket: How to Make a Surgeon's Cuff, Part 1

As a bonus to the DVD workshop "Smart Tailoring with Kenneth D. King," I'm going to show you a variation of the tailored cuff. Follow these steps to learn how to sew a cuff with working buttonholes, also known as a "surgeon's cuff."

How to Shape a Tailored Collar

Classic tailoring shapes lasting layers. Kenneth D. King shares his method for creating a beautifully tailored collar in this masterclass.

Stay the Fly and Anchor the Pockets

I needed to figure out how to make this pocket for one of my clients, so I'm bringing you along on the journey.

An Easy Way to Accurately Pleat Ribbon for Trims

I've figured out an easy way to pleat ribbons or strips of fabric. Read more to find out how to create the template I use to make pleated ribbon trim.

How to Create 3d-Bubble Trim

Add dimension to your next garment with this vintage technique.

Make a Mary Poppins-Style Carpetbag: Part 2

We're now ready to finish this colorful carpetbag! I'll show you how to add the lining, frame, and handles.

Make a Mary Poppins-Style Carpetbag: Part 1

This is a two-part blog series on how I created an old-fashioned carpetbag using the scraps from my kilim carpet coat. Even Mary Poppins would envy this bag!

Mimi/New York's Debut Collection for Fashion Week!

We were introduced to the beautiful creations of Mimi Prober on the cover of Threads #166 (April/May 2013). Here's what she's up to now.

Sew a Hidden Lapel

New seams and folds create the illusion of a lapel on this intriguing jacket front.

How to Draft a Square Sleeve Cap

The strong shoulder is a silhouette that seems to be here to stay for a while. Kenneth D. King shows you step-by-step how easy it is to draft this stylish sleeve style.

How to Replace a Sleeve Lining

I hit the jackpot recently at the local thrift, with this venerable morning coat. I needed to reline the sleeves and thought you might enjoy seeing it!

Kenneth D. King's Kilim Carpet Coat: The Big Finish

We're at the end of our journey with the kilim coat.

An Inside Look at Wig Design

A master wig designer coifs characters a stitch at a time.

Kenneth D. King Featured on

I'm very flattered to be featured in's "Portrait of a Seamster (Couturier) blog series!

The Box Pleat Experiments, Part 2: Cross drape trim

This is the second installment of the box-pleat trims. I call this a cross drape, because the fold forms a cross over the box pleated ribbon.

The Box Pleat Experiments, Part One: Single and Double Garland Trim

Recently, I was experimenting with box pleating ribbon to see what I could devise. This is the first of a two-post series on my results.

The Kilim Carpet Coat: Installing Shoulder Pads and Facings

We press ahead with the carpet coat, which is starting to look like a garment!

The Fortuny Jacket is Finished

I recently delivered the Fortuny jacket to its proud owner. Here are some detail shots.

The Kilim Carpet Coat : Adding the Collar and Sleeves

Progress is being made on this unusual coat. I'm learning (and swearing a little) as I go! See how I build the collar and install the sleeves.

Another Look at Kenneth D. King's Sewing Space

Learn more about Kenneth's collections, notions, and sewing machines.

How to Make a Coat from Two Kilim Carpets

This begins a short series on a car coat I made from a pair of beautiful Kilim carpets!

Behind the Scenes of Penn & Fletcher

Tour the sanctuary of elegant embroidery.

How to Re-create a Vintage Modernist Bag

Recently, I bought this modernist bag at a local vintage store. Deceptively simple in looks, it yielded some surprises!

How to Create Fluted Ribbon Trim

Sculpt a vintage-inspired embellishment.

How to Make a Peplum Jacket

Add this figure-flattering detail to your favorite jacket pattern.

Inside a Splendid Embroidered Vest

Eye Candy Supreme! Every now and then, I come across a piece at a flea market that I have no hope of wearing, but it's so splendid that I can't leave it behind. This is one such piece.

Create Boning with Heavy-Duty Zip Ties

I wanted to make myself a new gym bag for spring and found another use for zip ties!

Make your Dress Form Work for Multiple Figures

Sew removeable covers for a custom fitting dress form.

A Beautiful Hem for a Four-Ply Silk Crepe

For those like me who dread hemming 4-ply silk crepe, my friend Lynda Maynard comes to the rescue!

Re-Create Pleated Edging

I found this pillow cover at the flea market recently. The trim along the edge is what caught my fancy, and I determined to figure out how to re-create it.

How to Sew Gussets

To improve range of motion, use this vintage technique.

Create Dramatic Texture and Detail with Curved Tucks

Layered bias strips create texture and detail.

How to Add a Twisted Bias Strip Panel

A bias-strip insertion adds eye-catching detail.

A Trick for Working with Raw Silk

I got some nifty raw silk from Mood recently for a spring jacket. Working with this fabric presents some challenges!

The Fortuny Jacket: Finessing the Facing

Finess a selvage to run along a lapel--this was my challenge! This is another installment in the Fortuny Jacket series.

Add a Gusset to a Sew-In Sleeve

Author Kenneth D. King focuses on the set-in sleeve gusset.

My New Iron!

For Christmas, I bought some new equipment for my business, namely a portable leather walking foot sewing machine, and a new iron.

How to Make a Snail Frog Closure

I chose to use a snail frog as a closure for an upcoming project in Threads. This is part of a class that I teach on, and I excerpt it here!

A Quick Fix for a Baggy Blue Coat

I bought this blue coat recently at a thrift shop. Since it was only $3.00 I didn't want to go through too much effort to fix it!

More Fortuny! Yes, More!

Recently I was commissioned by a customer to make a jacket from fabric she purchased this summer at the Palazzo Fortuny. This starts a series of posts documenting the progress of this jacket.

The Big Reveal

Finally after several requests (and some time for you all to rest up), to celebrate the New Year, the hair jacket makes its debut, with the full-on photo shoot. There was hair, makeup, and a wind machine involved!

The Pink Horsie Jacket!

This is a treasure I found while visiting Toronto.

How to Miter the Inside Corner of a Hong Kong Finish

This is a technique I showed my students at F.I.T. recently.

Using Buttons as Embellishment

Find out what Kenneth D. King created when he inherited 75 pounds of antique uniform buttons.

How to Make Bubble Fabric Trim

I found a vintage jacket at the thrift shop recently with this great trim, and decided that I wanted to figure out how to do it.

A Glimpse of a Project in Progress

This is a project I'm working on, which will be done before the holidays. Just a teaser...

Another Way to Make Pleated-Ribbon Trim

A correspondent recently emailed me with a photo of a trim which she couldn't figure out how to do. In order to spread the wealth, I decided to outline it for you all.

Making a Side Seam Read True

A reader had a question about how to make a side seam read true on a garment, so here's the answer!

Creating a Back Neckline Dart for Better Fit

Kenneth D. King was teaching the moulage in Tacoma recently, and had a woman who needed a neck dart in back. This is how he did it!

How to Make Hairpin Lace

"Hairpin lace" evokes various images, but when worked in different materials and different scale, is another thing entirely.

How to Add a Twisted Bias-Strip Panel

Twisted bias strips elevate a basic garment from corporate to chic.

Roll Hemming a Curve Made Easy

Working with lame is easier than you think.

How to Make a Lovely Pleated-Ribbon Trim

Kenneth D. King demonstrates how to make this creative embellishment.

How to Reweave Woven Fabrics

Learn how to use the technique of reweaving to repair a hole in your garment.

A Beautiful Embroidered Beaded Bodice

Check out the complex combination of embroidery found on this beaded bodice.

An Exquisite Beaded Embroidery Sleeve

This is an eye-candy post, where you get to see some stellar embroidery examples.

Master the Hand Stitch

When sewn properly, they are as strong as machine-sewn stitches, and you can do them almost as quickly.

A Fabulous Fur Handbag

Here is another use for the fantasy fur used in the jacket.

How to Make Ribbon Trim

Learn how to sew an easy but beautiful manipulated-ribbon trim that can be used in a variety of applications!

Slashing Just for Fun

Try the the slashing technique found in Threads issue #159 on a pair of jeans.

A Fix for a Baggy Seat

Here is a better way to alter pants to decrease a baggy seat.

Repeat and Reverse Embellishments

Simplify the process of duplicating an embellishment with this technique.

How to Sew a Hong Kong Finish

In this article, designer Kenneth D. King takes you step-by-step through a Hong Kong finish.

Shaped Twisted Bias Insertions

In this online extra to the Threads issue 158 article "Garnish with a twist," you will learn a third variation on creating bias-strip insertions.

The Big Finish - Completing the Fantasy Fur Jacket

The final installment to the epic series of posts on making this hairy beast! We'll be covering lining the jacket, as well as final details in this post.

Front Edge and Shoulder Pads for Fantasy Fur Jacket

After making the facing, we're going to finish the front edge,and create a custom shoulder pad.

Corsets from the Hardware Store!

Some of my students told me of using zip ties as a substitute for whalebone in corsets, and--it works!

Sewing the Facing Gusset for the Fantasy Fur Jacket

This is a trick I do on occasion when I want to eliminate seams in the outer edges of collar or neckline facings. It is especially pertinent for this project.

From Botch Job to Beautiful in an Afternoon!

Because I loved the fabric so much, I had to figure out how to turn this nightmare into something dreamy.

Installing the Front Band to the Fantasy Fur Jacket

Here's the next installment in the continuing series, installing the front band to the fantasy fur jacket.

Leather Lacing for Fantasy Fur Jacket

This is the process by which I determined the kind and placement of the lacing that holds the leather yoke to the fantasy fur.

Embroiderers, or those who love it--some good news!

There is going to be a conference on embroidery in November 2011, sponsored by two of the premiere embroidery houses in the world--Penn and Fletcher in New York, and Hand and Lock, London!

A New Improved Seam Roll

I love pressing over a seam roll. Here's how to make a new and improved version!

The Yoke Pattern for a Fantasy Fur Jacket

Once the body of my jacket was constructed, I needed to finalize the pattern for the yoke, before cutting into the leather. Here's how I did it.

Interlining a Slit Pocket

See the fur construction involving the slit pocket, as well as sewing the seams in this fantasy fur jacket.

Installing a Pocket Bag into a Slit Pocket

Learn how to finish a pocket in part 3 of Kenneth's Fantasy Fur Jacket.

Fantasy fur, installment 2: Creating a slit pocket in the fur

Continuing with the process of making this showy fantasy fur jacket, I'll show you how I engineered a slit pocket into the fur.

Sewing with creative materials

Here's a peek at my latest project: working with synthetic hair to make fantasy fur.

Eliminate Buildup in Your Seam Allowances

Reconfigure a pattern to divert the seam from the edges of tailored details.

How to Make a Perfect Notched Lapel

Notched lapels are one of the hallmarks of good tailoring, and there's no reason to consider them impossible.

How to Fine Tune a Bodice Front

Learn how to read muslin, pinning the problem areas, and making the pattern adjustments.

How to Fit Your Garment

Learn the three basic principles to the fitting your garment.

The Felted Wool Sweater--Updated

See the image of the finished camp sweater so many of your requested.

Martha Stewart--again!

Even though it's a repeat, I'm going to be on Martha Stewart again!

The Kermit-Green Jacket

I figured out a way to save this severely worn green jacket, which haunted my dreams, from the Salvation Army.

The Double Cloth Patch Pocket

This is a companion article to the double-sided cloth article in the magazine (Issue 152 Dec 2010/Jan 2011). I received some questions about how I handled the pocket, so I thought I'd post a how-to!

The Bullfighter's Jacket

Pure eye candy--a magnificent example of gold bullion work for you to savor!

Staying a Neckline and Armhole

Staying a neckline or armhole will ensure that you have a polished, professional, gap-free look when making garments with a scoop neck or a sleeveless armhole.

Kenneth will be on Martha Stewart!

This is a shameless plug--I'm going to be on Martha Stewart's show, Wednesday September 22!

Staying a Curve with Crossgrain Muslin

Use a strip of crossgrain muslin, to stay a curved armhole before you construct the jacket.

The Fortuny Jacket

People asked to see the rest of the ensemble after seeing the post of the Fortuny shirt. I don't have a good photo of the jeans just yet, but here's a cute one of the jacket, taken at a recent Threads photo shoot.

The Fortuny Shirt

I came into a large piece of Fortuny printed cotton recently. I chose to make a shirt, which presented a challenge when finishing the armhole.

Organza beaded "feather" edge

This is a variation of a trim I make for my souffle sweaters. It is an elegant trimming for evening clothes, but I actually like it combined with a salt-and-pepper tweed.

Braided Belt: The Next Generation

Braided belts remain a fashion classic. This is another in my series of belts that I wanted to figure out!

Princess seams, and other treacherous curves!

There seems to be some confusion about sewing an inside seam to an outside seam, without puckering one side or the other. I'm posting this, to help all of those people I've talked to, who have this question.

Moulage class, a shameless plug, for those who are interested...

I've had people ask when I was next giving a bodice moulage (French method) class in Manhattan. I have dates!

How to make a Chrysanthemum flower

This extravagant blossom is suitable for trimming hats, or ball gowns. For its drama, it's surprisingly easy to make!

Ribbon Braid

This stunning ribbon braid is easy to create, and can add a touch of embellishment to any project!

Cut-on Gusset

This technique from the classic Norfolk jacket provides incredible mobility for your arms while allowing for a closely fitting bodice

Circular Ribbon Flower Redux

Spring has sprung, and this "extended play" version of the circular ribbon flower will be the perfect trim for all of those airy sundresses!

The Circular Ribbon Flower

This lovely ribbon flower is most versatile--trim a hat with a small version, or scale it up for a wonderful ruffled cuff!

Moving Flare in a Skirt

Understanding how fullness is added and arranged in a flare skirt, can give you an understanding of how fitting principles work.

Perfect Pleated Edging

Polyester organza is durable for edging, but can be difficult to manage. Kenneth shows a trick he figured out for making the pleating come out perfect.

How to do a Blanket Stitch

This stitch is primarily used decoratively as an edge stitch.

Sewing with the Bobbin Thread

When making tucks or darts in transparent fabrics, this trick will enable you to end the stitching line perfectly!

How to Make a Knotted Belt

Elaborate-looking knotting techniques can sometimes be quite easy to do! This beautiful knotted belt reveals itself to be a simple braiding pattern, made lavish by the use of multiple decorative cords.

How to Do a Slipstitch

Here is another useful stitch to know. This stitch is great for hemming and finishing.

Silk Lotus Flower

The silk lotus flower is an easy but lush flower, that would be suitable for adding a bit of dash and color to any ensemble. Made up in silk dupione or silk tafetta, it can work for evening or day clothes.

How to do a Pickstitch

This strong, decorative stitch can be used to install zippers in difficult fabrics or understitch seam allowance on facings.

French and Colonial Knots for Embroidery

White embroidery is a cool and elegant summer look. There are a variety of embroidery stitches, but the French knot and Colonial knot provide interesting texture to a design.

How to do a Fell Stitch

The fell stitch is used to appliqué one layer of fabric to another.

Leather Passementerie

Elegant passementerie can be woven from thin leather cord, making an extravagant trimming for any garment.

How to Sew a Catch Stitch

Kenneth King shows you two versions of this handy stitch.

Sheer Seams and Edges

A contemporary couturier shares techniques for making neat, narrow finishes on sheer and lightweight fabrics.

recent comments

Re: The Square-Cut Armhole

To psfws1963: No, I bought the jacket to illustrate this armhole for my patternmaking classes at FIT. Since it's such a lady-like jacket, I couldn't wear it successfully, so no duplication.

Re: Vintage Sewing Tools: The Singer Bound Buttonhole Maker

Thanks for all your comments!

I myself have easier ways to do this, but wanted to see if it worked, and then share the knowledge. Not my favorite way, but it does indeed work. It's amazing the different devices that were invented to accomplish this task.

I have the scans on PDF, so email me through Threads, and I can email them out.

Re: Guided Photo Tour: The Red Alpaca Loden Coat

I'm glad you all are enjoying this. A good use of the smart phone.

I'm working on another vintage coat right now, trying to dissect the interesting pocket.

Re: Guided Photo Tour: The Red Alpaca Loden Coat

Thanks--I am a convert to the smart phone, precisely so I can document items just like this!

Re: How to Sew a Velvet Frock Coat

Thanks for the kind words, Cynsew! And as for Sandra Betzina, I truly adore her.

Re: How to Sew a Velvet Frock Coat

Thanks for the kind words, everyone! This project was really fun to make, and I got to wear it the first time, at a book signing event at the Fortuny showroom.

To KarenQuiltsTexas: This is my hair clipper, which I also used when I had a dog. You can get them anywhere.

To KiwiLee: The vents at the back are just that--vents. I topstitched the leading edge, which makes them "read" like pleats, and the returns are tacked together with swing tacks on the inside of the jacket.

Re: How to Draft an Action-Back Pattern Piece

It's a useful concept, that can be adapted to many kinds of garments!

Re: How to Draft an Action-Back Pattern Piece

Thanks for the kind words! And to user-6175145, I'm glad my posting enticed you to become an Insider!

Re: Make a Fortuny Envelope Jewelry Bag

That's correct, Krawz. The red line is the reference line.

I can't quire remember the measurements but I believe the large one was 7 inches by 5 inches, the smaller was 4 inches by 6 inches.

Glad you enjoy the post!

Re: How to Sew a Vintage Stand-Away Collar

Having the collar stand away from the neck creates the illusion of a longer neck, which is really elegant.

Re: Sewing Inspiration: Susan Khalje Shares Couture Work by Her Students

Everyone who was under Susan's watchful eye can testify to the quality of her classes. I'm honored to call her a colleague!

Re: How to Make a Fortuny Gladstone Bag, The Finale


Re: The Hybrid Lapel Facing

Glad you enjoy the post!

Re: How to Make a Fortuny Gladstone Bag, The Finale


Re: How to Make a Fortuny Gladstone Bag, The Finale

Thanks for the kind words!

This piece worked out really well, and Fortuny is interested in seeing if we can market them. The challenge will be finding suitable hardware, but I'm pursuing it!

Re: Video: How to Fit Sleeves the Hip-Hop Way

And in regards to the funny clothes, I'm not shy about looking ridiculous to make a point.

Re: Video: How to Fit Sleeves the Hip-Hop Way

to tinainanderson: Generally I don't measure the cap height on the body, but how it's done:

Place a ruler snug up under your arm, parallel to the floor. Then take another ruler, and sit it on the shoulder where your armhole seam will by, making that ruler parallel to the floor. Measure the distance between these two rulers, and that's a cap height.

Re: Video: How to Fit Sleeves the Hip-Hop Way

To Grandma2six: If you have a full bicep, and want to have a smaller armscye, you'll raise the underarm of the bodice to reduce the armscye measurement--the "rule" is that you raise (or lower to increase) by half the amount. For example, if you want to reduce the armscye by 1 inch, raise the underarm by 1/2 inch--the total decrease will come out as 1 inch.

You will do the same thing to the sleeve by raising the underarm up, half the total amount of change.

Now, to increase the bicep so the sleeve will fit onto the bodice, you'll raise the bicep line by swinging the two halves of the armscye up, which reduces the cap height by raising the bicep line.

It's a balancing act here, and you can create two sleeves that will fit onto the same bodice: For more smooth appearance, you'll have a higher cap, a shorter bicep. For more mobility, you'll have a shorter cap height, and a longer bicep.

Re: How to Make a Fortuny Gladstone Bag, Part 1

Sadly there's no place that I know of for a pattern. I used the dissected bag for mine...

Re: How to Make a Fortuny Gladstone Bag, Part 2

To VickyGrainger: That's good information to know! I'll research that. Is there a certain age of life jacket, or a particular kind?

Re: How to Make a Fortuny Gladstone Bag, Part 2

Thanks for the kind words! And best wishes of health and happiness to you in 2016!

Re: Gift to Sew: Easy and Classic Wool Scarf

Hello, all!

Thanks for all the kind words!

As to the question of length and width: it's a personal one, but I prefer a scarf two yards long by at least 15-18 inches wide.

As for fringing the ends first, point taken--this post really was more to show the sewing of the long edges, though. Sorry to distress those who think this tutorial incomplete.

I wish you all a happy healthy 2016!

Re: How to Make a Fortuny Gladstone Bag, Part 1

To Gailete: I'm glad you find the posts interesting! Just because one won't have use for some of what I make, that doesn't mean one can't enjoy acquiring knowledge just for its own sake. It makes life far more interesting.

Re: How to Make a Fortuny Gladstone Bag, Part 1

To AterlierDesigns: I ourchased them at Pacific Trimmings in New York ( They have a good range of things.

As for hand saddle stitching, there is a "starter kit" at Tandy leather, that has the book and the essential tools needed to learn. That's how I did...

Re: How to Make a Fortuny Gladstone Bag, Part 1

Thanks for the kind words!

If you'd like to see the finished bag, you can follow me on Instagram (kennethdking), as I have photos there...

Re: More on Vicki Vasilopoulos, Creator of "Men of the Cloth"

Thanks! I really liked her a lot, and admire the film.

Thanks for the kind words about being the first articles you read!

Re: Screening of "Men of the Cloth": a Film About Master Tailors

I'll be on the panel discussion after the film in Toronto--everyone who can be there, please! Be there?

Re: The Loden Coat Sleeve, Part 2

Glad you enjoyed it, Jenny--I look forward to seeing what you make with it!

Re: The Loden Coat Sleeve, Part 1

It is a variation of the half lining. The difference here, is that the sleeve hangs from this structure inside, instead of being set into the bodice. So, the fabric needs to be a little more robust than the traditional half lining.

Re: Tailoring with Felted Wool, Part 4: The Felted "Bark" Coat is Finished

Thanks again, everyone--this was a really fun challenge, and it's fun to wear.

Re: The Loden Coat Sleeve, Part 1

There's nothing to be reluctant about being a sewing voyeur--it's a wholesome activity!

Re: Tailoring with Felted Wool, Part 4: The Felted "Bark" Coat is Finished

Thanks for the kind words!

Re: Start to Finish, an Embroidered Fortuny Frock Coat

Thanks, JennyD!

Re: Start to Finish, an Embroidered Fortuny Frock Coat

Thanks, SuperiorLiz! I actually have a copy, given by one of my students!

Re: Start to Finish, an Embroidered Fortuny Frock Coat

To FemSub: I wash my Fortuny jeans in the washer and dry in the dryer. This piece, though, will have to be dry-cleaned, just to be gentler on the embroidery.

Re: Start to Finish, an Embroidered Fortuny Frock Coat

To Rabia: My apologies about that other, repackaged book. I had no idea that the UK publisher had the right to re-title it and get a new ISBN number. That said, thanks so much for the kind words!

Re: Start to Finish, an Embroidered Fortuny Frock Coat

Thank, everyone, for the kind words! I'm really enjoying this piece--I can really wear it only a few times a year, but when I do, I really feel fine in it. I have another Fortuny fabric, a rosy beige ground with copper printing. I'm hoping next year, to do another version of this, only in differing shades of metallic threads, golds and coppers mainly. Watch this space!

To chrisch : A project like this is really planned out ahead of time. I needed to make sure placement of the embroidery on the fronts was situated so the pattern of the Fortuny fabric reads across the center. Also, the patternmaking had to be thought out before construction, so I could finish the tops of the vents, as well as the backs of the pocket flaps--hence the deep facing in front and the half lining at the back. And also, chrisch, while it's nice to do things for others, aren't you worth some time on your own embroidery machine?

Re: Start to Finish, an Embroidered Fortuny Frock Coat

Out of the 40 hours of total stitching time, I used 6 hours as the sampling time. So 34 hours for the sewing time--it was a really complicated, layered design.

As the good people at Penn and Fletcher told me, they charged $10,000.00 a jacket for the original embroidery--so allowing me to run the program, and just charging me for materials (since I had some idea as to how to run these machines) was a really nice gesture.

I would encourage you to make something for yourself, though--it's a luxury, but not. I wear this, and always hand out cards, so it will generate future business.

Re: Start to Finish, an Embroidered Fortuny Frock Coat

Thanks, Mira!

It was a lot of fun to make!

Re: Start to Finish, an Embroidered Fortuny Frock Coat

Thanks, hmacski! You can make these jeans if you follow the post--they take time to get as shredded as they are here, so don't be disappointed if they aren't as furry as you'd like on first washing. These have had some time to age and weather.

Re: Start to Finish, an Embroidered Fortuny Frock Coat

I'm being photographed on the 19th, so watch this space!

Re: Start to Finish, an Embroidered Fortuny Frock Coat

Wait until I get photos of me in the coat!

Thanks for all the kind words....

Re: Cotton Twill Origami Top

I din't know the weight (I just bought blind online), but go with a medium-weight tape, and you'll be good.

Something to know: Hand wash these in cold water, as the twill tape fabric shrinks of you machine wash. Or: machine wash before making the garment.

Re: Cotton Twill Origami Top

There's a place online called Cheep Trims. That's where I got them.

Re: Tailoring with Felted Wool, Part 2: How to Sew a Decorative Welt Pocket

You're very kind! This pocket just came to me in a flash, when I was designing this coat.

Re: Tailoring with Felted Wool, Part 1: The Bark Coat Project

To Soexperimental: This can run vertically as well as horizontally, as well as diagonally. After you join the side seams of the bodice, you can put seams in wherever you wish.

To JennyEbner: Thanks for the kind words!

Re: Tailoring with Felted Wool, Part 1: The Bark Coat Project

There seem to be some inquiries about the electric perforating tool. This is such a rare item, that I traded one of my embellished jackets (about $4500.00) to get one.

I've tried a google search, and can't run any to ground. To, if you're looking, you just need to keep your eyes peeled at tag sales or other odd places that sell old stuff.

Rare. Really.

Re: Tailoring with Felted Wool, Part 1: The Bark Coat Project

To Sewknitcro: I used a double thickness of this thread, and it seems strong enough for this kind of work. I also used Gutermann Sews Everything thread in the bobbin for more strength.

To the rest, I'm glad I've inspired you to go to your workrooms!

Re: Video: Kenneth D. King's Essential Sewing Tool Kit, Part 4

Patriciasew, it does weigh a lot--I'd say at least five pounds. If I hit someone with it, it would knock them down. But it does have everything I need when traveling and sewing!

Re: Tailoring with Felted Wool, Part 1: The Bark Coat Project

My pleasure, Odeboy. I love process, and used this also to talk to my students at FIT about process. The finished coat is really fun to wear--most people don't register right away that this isn't a fabric I bought like this.

I like that element of surprise--the realization that something apparently simple is way more complex than the first impression suggests. It's only after looking at the finished coat for a few minutes, that people realize that the fabric didn't start out this way.

Re: Tailoring with Felted Wool, Part 1: The Bark Coat Project

Thanks! Just wait until you see the finished piece--it turned out really nicely...

Re: Video: Kenneth D. King's Essential Sewing Tool Kit, Part 4

I adore Judy Neukam!

Re: Video: Kenneth D. King's Essential Sewing Tool Kit, Part 2

Thanks, everyone, for the kind words!

The bag, I'm told, can be bought from Bed Bath and Beyond. This one was bought for me years ago at Target, but they discontinued it--a shame, as it's so useful!

Re: Video: Kenneth D. King's Essential Sewing Tool Kit, Part 1

The case was bought at Target--it's a traveling toiletries case. Target doesn't make it any more, but Bed Bath and Beyond has one that's similar!

Re: The Tailored Jacket: How to Make a Surgeon's Cuff, Part 1

Thanks, Leine!

This lining installs somewhat like the sleeve lining I showed on the morning coat a time back--this is the link to that post:

Re: Threads' Judith Neukam Earns ASDP Lifetime Achievement Award

A long-deserved honor for a wonderful, wise, and vastly knowledgeable woman!

Re: How to Shape a Tailored Collar

The pad stitching in a circle maintains the stretch of the bias, making the under collar more malleable. Pad stitching following the roll line will lock some of the bias, making for a more difficult time stretching the collar edge and neck seam edge.

I've seen both done, but I find for this kind of collar, the circles seem to work better.

Re: Video: Prevent Disappearing Ink From Vanishing Too Soon

Love her! Adore you, Judy!

Re: Watch It's Sew Easy Episode 512 Online

She's sooooooo good on camera!

Re: Stay the Fly and Anchor the Pockets

My instinct says not to use lycra--the pull horizontally would cause the lycra to curl,and make a ridge inside the skirt. Stay with a woven fabric on this one.

Re: Stay the Fly and Anchor the Pockets

Thanks for that Jcorte!

It's all an acquired skill, and I'm glad that I can make it clear.

I should also give a shout-out to Judy Neukam and Evamarie Gomez, who do the tech editing--they keep me on the rails and sounding intelligent!

Re: Stay the Fly and Anchor the Pockets

The phrase is actually "two-fer"--autocorrect kicked in here!

Re: Stay the Fly and Anchor the Pockets

You're too kind!

It was a "two-fee" I needed to figure out how to make this for my client, so sharing it was a bonus!

Re: Stay the Fly and Anchor the Pockets

Thanks for that, Leine!

Re: Stay the Fly and Anchor the Pockets

You're very welcome! I'm glad you enjoy reading my posts!

Re: Stay the Fly and Anchor the Pockets

I don't know of a pattern that incorporates this detail, so that's why I had to figure out how to draft it. Easy enough to do!

And yes, the stay is also flattering and tummy-controlling!

Re: Pat's Custom Buttons and Belts for Sale

I'm absolutely heartbroken, but glad for Pat, who deserves a happy and healthy retirement. I do hope someone will come forward to buy the business and continue her work. She's the only resource I know in the country for these lines of custom buttons.

Re: An Easy Way to Accurately Pleat Ribbon for Trims

Thanks for the kind words!

Re: An Easy Way to Accurately Pleat Ribbon for Trims

Glad to be of help!

Re: An Easy Way to Accurately Pleat Ribbon for Trims

Glad you all like this technique! I'm basically lazy so wanted to find an easy way to avoid work, and here it is!

Re: Make a Mary Poppins-Style Carpetbag: Part 1

to tfor1--click the "view all" phrase at the bottom of the page...

Re: How to Replace a Sleeve Lining

To Cyd88: I agree that the white would be too start to line the entire coat, but the sleeves were all I lined. The original sleeve lining being white with a black stripe was where I took my cue. The sleeves generally were lined with a fabric such as this for two reasons--the initial one, being that the shirt sleeves were generally white as well, so the lining wouldn't "read" when the jacket was worn.

Also, it was assumed that the sleeve linings would wear out faster than the body, so a different fabric would be used anyway for the replacement.

Re: How to Draft a Square Sleeve Cap

To user-1146366: You don't have to modify the armscye on the bodice for this sleeve, unless you want it to sit further up the shoulder. The point of the darts in the cap, is to reduce the armhole of the sleeve to match the bodice.

Re: Kenneth D. King's Kilim Carpet Coat: The Big Finish

To Blue Wisteria--you missed the two other earlier posts on the coat. I get it--you disapprove of me cutting into this matched set of carpets, and I respect your opinion.

Please be sure to state your objection on the two other posts for the coat, so nobody will miss them, please?

Re: Make a Mary Poppins-Style Carpetbag: Part 1

To Neucarol: I didi reinforce the insides of the loops that attach the handle to the bag, with another layer of thinner leather, contact-cemented in place. It did dual duty of finishing the inside of the loop and strengthening the leather for more durability.

Re: Make a Mary Poppins-Style Carpetbag: Part 2

A source for the edge paint!

Re: Make a Mary Poppins-Style Carpetbag: Part 2

To Playinhooky: I did indeed glue the pieces in place temporarily before stitching. I used the glue called "goop", because it dries quickly. And for blacking the edges, you can get edge blacking from Tandy, but I used a product called Goya from Japan--it has more shine.

And to you, and Dori A--the reason I used only one row of stitching on the under-portion of the frame--a mistake. I confess. I cut the leather a little too narrow for two rows of stitching, not factoring in the turn of cloth, lie I knw to do in fabric. A stupid mistake, but this was a good save.

To user-1116680 : The chair, is actually a settee (you can't see this in the photo) but I upholstered it as well. Yes, I know some upholstery!

To user-3075240: I used a notched tracing wheel to mark the stitch placement,and then an awl (not a stitching awl, just a plain pointed one) to punch the holes as I was stitching. I've used the tools that punch a number of holes (they look like forks) when I do lacing, but for this, I used the tracing wheels. How I learned it in the book I bought on the topic!

Re: How to Draft a Square Sleeve Cap

It will indeed work on narrow shoulders--you want to make a custom shoulder pad, but yes you can!

Re: Make a Mary Poppins-Style Carpetbag: Part 1

I bought the deluxe hand stitching set. The link:

Re: Make a Mary Poppins-Style Carpetbag: Part 1

To ca2james: I sewed the corners as I did, as a design detail. They will stick out in the finished piece. On the next one I did (a smaller one), I made the bace completely differently. I used a double thickness of mat board for the stiffening.

To micksmom2: This is the 18" long frame--a large bag.

To Divaweava: It isn't scratchy against the skin, but I haven't carried it in the summer--I regard it a winter bag.

To Dakota75: This is a two-part post. The finished bag will come later.

And, as for whether or not to cut up a carpet for a bag and coat (earlier posts), that's a difference of philosophy. Susan Khalje's husband, who is a carpet dealer, said it would be OK and not disrespectful. I respect his knowledge and opinion on these matters.

Re: Sew a Hidden Lapel


It was fun to have a challenge to figure out in the Sit And Sew, and help someone get what they wanted to make...

Re: How to Draft a Square Sleeve Cap

Thanks for the kind words, folks!

To Rit: You do in deed want to add seam allowances to the draft--I always show a drafting process with just finished stitching lines for clarity.

This sleeve will fit exactly into the same armhole, as you don't change the circumference of the sleeve armhole in the draft.

Re: Kenneth D. King's Kilim Carpet Coat: The Big Finish

To rkr4cds1: Thanks for the kind words! It isn't often that I get recognized in airports, and it's a pleasant surprise when it happens.

These jeans are a new pair, as the ones in the post have aged. They keep shredding, which is really beautiful, and I've had to darn some of the intersections together (using red thread so it's part of the process). Eventually they will completely disintegrate, so I started a new pair, to replace them when they go. These are that pair.

All the best!

Re: How to Replace a Sleeve Lining

to motherofsons : You can do a hybrid of machine and hand sewing on the leather. I just recently changed a lining in my beloved leather coat, and this is how I proceeded.

After taking the lining out, and using it as the pattern for the new lining, you'll sew the entire lining--body and sleeves--as one unit. Then:

Machine sew the lining to the facing, by putting the pieces right sides together--the lining will be outside the coat, wrong side visible, when you do this. You can pin in the seam allowances all around the facing, to position the lining. Then, machine the lining to the facing from hem, all around the facing, to the opposite hem.

Turn the jacket and lining right side out. Slip the lining sleeves into the jacket sleeves.

To finish the sleeve cuffs and lining hem, I used the existing holes of the machine stitching, and with needle and thread, hand slip-stitched the lining cuff, and hem, to the original stitching. This way, you don't have to force the hand sewing needle through the leather--let the existing holes of the stitching do the job.

Let me know if this is clear?

Re: How to Replace a Sleeve Lining

To user-2255285: Hand sewing needles are somewhat a matter of personal preference. I prefer the Bohin brand from France--I like sewing with the #10 milliners needles. These are sharp, thin, and slightly longer than the standard hand sewing needles. Since I use beading needles in embellishment quite a bit, my hand wants a longer needle.

Bohin is a good brand, as is Milward (hard to find), and Richard Hemming and Son. Also Clover needles are good. Keep in mind--as in the materials of sewing ( such as good thread), a good-quality needle makes work much faster and more even.

Re: How to Replace a Sleeve Lining

To oopsgramma: This jacket isn't irreversibly damaged by the addition of the fruity lining--if someone wanted to they could still replace it with a period-appropriate lining--they could repeat the process outlined here, with the appropriate lining choice. So saying that the value of the coat went down the tubes, is a bit of an exaggeration.

The piece, while wonderful, isn't museum quality condition because of the fading and the few small moth holes (as one museum curator I know advised me--I had thought about donating). That's why I didn't feel compelled to match the lining to the original. And, besides, since I'm wearing it and not donating, I wanted to have some fun!

Re: How to Replace a Sleeve Lining

To user-681854: I just got back from a wedding over the holidays, held in Hawaii because the groom's family lives in Australia. What a fun group of people they were. I'd love to go teach there, and scour your Op shops!

Re: How to Replace a Sleeve Lining

The Salvation Army I shop at is in New York--there are several and they yield quite a number of cool things. The trick, however, is to keep going back--this piece just appeared one day, and would have been gone if I hadn't snared it.

I love wearing it!

Re: Kenneth D. King's Kilim Carpet Coat: The Big Finish

To Maddie: I really enjoyed meeting you, and think you did a really swell job with your piece on me for your blog! Thanks for the kind words! Next time you're in My Fair City, you'll have to see the messenger bag I made (after the carpet bag) out of the remaining scraps of the carpet!

To LuvThreadsMagazine: "Boyfriend Probation"--really funny! I'm going to show this post to my boyfriend, as I'm sure he'll get a kick out of it. By the way, he would have made coffee of he woke up first, but as I'm an early riser, I had to bite the bullet and learn. So we should go easy on him...

Re: Kenneth D. King's Kilim Carpet Coat: The Big Finish

To Couture Academic: The turquoise boots came from the resale shop as well! I'm glad I helped youth open your eyes about materials, as this broadens the range of what one can create. Another advantage is that the materials you find on other venues enable you to make more individual pieces--the materials aren't currently on offer in the shops!

And--recycling! Always a good thing, and historically what people did with materials, as they were far more dear in earlier times.

To GalaxyGreeThings: I can do ALMOST everything. Cooking, not so much. I had to learn how to make coffee recently when my boyfriend and I were in Maui--there was no coffee cart 20 feet away from my front door, like there is here in New York!

Re: Kenneth D. King's Kilim Carpet Coat: The Big Finish

Thanks for all the kind words! This coat was indeed worth the effort, and I'm planning on enjoying it for years to come!

About sewing machines: I have an old-school Bernina so it plowed through this fabric easily. But, if I were to have another machine, it would be a long-arm machine--it would have made all of the construction easier, as the arms on many household machines are way too short to accommodate the mass of this much carpet.

To Soucieville: The coat is a bit stiff but no more than one made from boiled wool. It is indeed a between seasons coat, though--the weave is dense and the wind doesn't cut through, but since it's unlined, it isn't suited to these really frigid temperatures we're seeing this week!

To user-933140: It appears more difficult than it actually is. Just go slow and steady, and you can do it. The class I teach on Craftsy (The Carefree fly-front coat) really covers the fundamentals on how to make this.

To user-3049124: You don't necessarily have to use matching carpets for this. I just lucked out, that Susan Khalje and her husband Qadir were kind enough to give me a matched set. But I rather like the idea of using mis-matched carpets for a coat. Haunt the resale shops, and I'm sure you can find a couple of beautiful carpets, for not much money.

Re: Video: How to Create Curved Tucks

To Jenny: You'd want to use a thinner fabric underneath, such as muslin, or batiste--then the weight will be less.

Re: Video: How to Create Curved Tucks

To SahronPicone: The beauty of that kind of application is that there were no pick stitches visible--just two folded edges that met up cleanly.

Re: Video: How to Create Curved Tucks

To Tzipi: I you're going to cover a skirt with this technique, you'll want a fabric with a little more body than muslin (cotton duck, perhaps), that you'll make the skirt base from.

As for length of bias strips, I just cut them the full length of the fabric bias, and trim then down to length from there...

To SharonPicone: I did a strapless gown with this technique, stitched to a corselet foundation. Very effective. A tip on how to manage the zipper in this case--I used ban roll waistband stiffening, stitched back of the strips to the ban roll, the folded the ban roll back, leaving a clean fold with a rigid edge. Then the back of the work got pick stitched to the zipper of the corselet. Labor-intensive to get all the folds to "read" perfectly across the zipper, but well worth it.

Re: Video: How to Create Curved Tucks

Thanks for the kind comments!

To answer questions:

To KWS1313: A French binding, is a bias binding used to finish neck edges and armholes. The beauty of this binding is that it's easier to manage than other bias bindings, and finishes to look the same on both sides.

It's a bias strip that is cut 6 times wider than the desired finished width, plus 1/4". So, if you want a 1/2" wide finished binding, you'll cut the strip 6 times 1/2"=3", plus 1/4", for 3 1/4" width of the bias strip. You'll press this strip in half, and sew it to the body of the piece, matching the raw edges. Sew at just shy of 1/2". The strip will fold up at the stitching line, then over the cut edges, where the folded edge will get slipstitched to the back of the work on the seam line.

To Smockerlady: I'd love to be invited to the UK!

This vest pattern is a princess line pattern from Vogue, I believe. The lining was a bridal satin, that was cut with the princess lines intact, as the foundation layer was. It needed a lining, as the stitching looks to ragged for my taste, to go unlined.
And you're correct in assuming that this technique can be used on any garment, just have a foundation layer behind where you want to put the curved tucks, so you have something to attach to.

To user2315379: I believe there is a photo in the article we did on Threads, showing the lining. The lining, though, was unremarkable--just bridal satin with the princess line sewn in.

To GalaxyGreeThings: Thanks for the compliment! My students at FIT loved this technique, as the method they learn there is rather more difficult, and to my eye, doesn't give as good a result. It really is simple, I don't make it look simple....

To Kiti63: I'd love to see this done in water-friendly fabrics, and I believe it will work. Generally you'd see this on the bust area, which generally has some supporting structure anyway--you'd look like Esther Williams!

Re: Kenneth D. King Featured on

You're funny--thanks!

Re: The Box Pleat Experiments, Part One: Single and Double Garland Trim

Indeed it would! Stay tuned for the other part of this series, for more trim for your powder room!

Re: The Box Pleat Experiments, Part One: Single and Double Garland Trim

Thanks for the kind words!

Regarding Dr. vs. Mr: It's Mr. I'm not educated enough to claim the title of Doctor--that's an honor reserved for those who have done the hard work and study to earn that degree. But I'm flattered by those who used it. My students at F.I.T. call me "Professor", which I think is charming.

To msa4y: No mistake. Making the sample in paper (I'm the one who did the samples and photos here) looks a little different than when you do it in fabric. Optical illusion, but the instructions are correct. When I photographed the sequence, I did the paper and ribbon side by side, to duplicate in ribbon what I did on paper.

To Smockerlady: I think this would look well as a hem on a dress, or as an edge all around the perimeter of a large chiffon scarf or wrap. Especially if you use a wide ribbon (4-6" wide)--then it would read more like the fur border on the grey chiffon scarf that Marilyn Monroe was photographed in.

Re: The Kilim Carpet Coat : Adding the Collar and Sleeves

To Sewmarj: I used the pinked blade on the rotary cutter--a pinked edge is considered a finished edge, especially when using a dense fabric like boiled wool.

Re: The Kilim Carpet Coat: Installing Shoulder Pads and Facings

To Carolebarrel: These were new carpets--that's how I was able to get a matched pair. Susan Khalje's husband Qadir is a reputable dealer who sells only first-rate goods, and if he does have an antique in his showroom it's been thoroughly cleaned, so that isn't an issue here. Also, I did tumble the carpets in the dryer (mentioned in the first post) for an hour, to limber then up.

To dpog: I used Gutermann polyester thread and a size 16 universal needle. I went through an entire pack--this was sewing on carpet. Stitch length was short--2.0mm. For thicker fabrics with thicker thread, I use either a topstitching needle and thicker thread, or an embroidery needle with the thread. For thicker fabrics I also have a portable leather, walking foot machine that I use--it seems to "like" the thicker fabrics and threads.

Re: The Kilim Carpet Coat: Installing Shoulder Pads and Facings

To 902001: The shoulder pads will be under the back half lining (the gold brocade in the photos near the end) so there's no need to cover them with lining. They will be completely out of sight in the finished jacket.

Re: The Kilim Carpet Coat: Installing Shoulder Pads and Facings

To Ree65: The coat isn't light, but it's no heavier than any other wool overcoat that might be made with a boiled wool. The weight isn't the issue--it was the relative stiffness of the carpet that made for some challenges. But it's not uncomfortable to wear!

As for the shoulder pads, I tried it on without them, and it collapsed a little at the shoulders, so the pads, while adding thickness, were needed.

Re: The Fortuny Jacket is Finished

The fabric is block printed by hand in Italy (Venice, actually), on a fine cotton twill. Quite a special fabric.

Re: The Fortuny Jacket is Finished

The link to the blog post where I show this corset is:

Re: The Fortuny Jacket is Finished

It would indeed! I made a pair of jeans out of some (she was kind enough to get extra so I could!) and with the scraps I did a version of my Edwardian men's corset for evening, which I'll use as a cummerbund.

With the small, odd scraps I made note cards and gift package cards, so as not to waste ANY of the fabric.

Re: The Kilim Carpet Coat : Adding the Collar and Sleeves

You can find out about them from this link on her web site...

Re: Project Runway Season 12, Episode 10: "Project Runway SuperFan!"

I had Helen Castillo as a student in couture construction when she was at the Fashion Institute of Technology, so was delighted to see she won here. A good student with a good eye and good technical skills--I hope she wins!

Re: The Kilim Carpet Coat : Adding the Collar and Sleeves

This post seems to have inspired tales of recycling--I think that's a good idea, and makes for clothes that have that "something extra".

As for photos of me in the coat, I'm working on that!

Re: The Kilim Carpet Coat : Adding the Collar and Sleeves

Regarding the stiffness of the lilim: The kilim is rather flexible, because I tumbled it in the dryer for an hour, so it won't wear as stiffly as one might think. I've worn it around then house (it's finished) and it will wear relatively comfortably outside. It will loosen up more, as I plan on wearing it a lot this winter.

This is definitely a fun coat, not for everyone, but I'll have some laughs when I wear it. I'm making a "Mary Poppins" bag from the scraps of the kilim--another blog series in the making...

Re: How to Make a Coat from Two Kilim Carpets

There will be four posts for this coat, so collar and sleeves will follow--stay tuned!

Re: How to Re-create a Vintage Modernist Bag

To Velma: I'm keeping it open for a couple months, and posting the results in October, so please, do submit!

Re: How to Make a Coat from Two Kilim Carpets

To Luvthreadsmagazine: I used my Reliable i500 steam iron for this, along with the water, and the mallet. It really penetrates though, well, carpet!

To HarmonyQ: Yes indeed it was Cockeysville--I stand corrected. Susan's husband has some spectacular carpets in his gallery there! And, yes-whacky!

To Gigidear: I used my Bernina 1260 to sew this. The machine did well going through the carpet, but I dulled a couple packs of size 16 needles! The one drawback came when sewing the sleeves (there are four posts total for this)--the arm of the machine could have been longer, and that would make sewing the sleeve easier.

To the rest: Thanks for the kind words!

Re: How to Create Fluted Ribbon Trim

My pleasure! It's a good trim!

Re: How to Re-create a Vintage Modernist Bag

To thedudesews: Are you indeed a "dude"? If so, this is great news--I wish more men sewed, as it's a skill I liken to woodworking (not to say women don't do woodworking), so I think more men might take an interest if presented in the right way (whatever that looks like)....

Breaking down the barriers of what is considered "men's work" and "women's work"--I think we're in exciting times that way. All good.

Re: How to Re-create a Vintage Modernist Bag

To Hmacski and the others who want to take up this challenge: Email your photos to me at:

I'll do a separate post on the results of the challenge to re-create this bag!

Re: How to Re-create a Vintage Modernist Bag

Hmacski, I don't know how to answer that. I'll get the answer, though...

Re: How to Re-create a Vintage Modernist Bag

To HarmonyQ: You're funny!

I go to the gym every day just so I don't have to decide which days to go. But I'm not looking like a Chippendale model, that's for sure. But I do look stylish while walking to the gym!

Re: How to Re-create a Vintage Modernist Bag

In regards to making the pattern available: As I said before, I don't feel comfortable broadcasting a pattern without the designer's consent. He may be gone, but I know how I'd feel if someone was doing this to one of my designs. It's my respect to him.

Dear Readers, do as Hmacski is doing--experiment and see if you can figure it out--like a puzzle. I've already given scale--the bag is 12" at its highest point. Using that dimension, you can figure out all the others by studying the photos from the different angles.

The way I experiment with handbag shapes is to cut the from oak tag (the paper they use for manila folders) and tape the pieces together to make a model. That way I can see if the proportions, capacity, and design is what I intend. This bag is an easy experiment in using that technique.

Threads has the smartest readers! I know you all can do it, so I challenge you to figure it out! And do post the results....

Re: How to Re-create a Vintage Modernist Bag

To LuvThreadsMagazine: You're too kind!

And funny!

Re: How to Re-create a Vintage Modernist Bag

To Josefly: I read that mention on the internet, and believe that it was a misspelling, like I did. The reference was that the jewelry was carried by Bloomingdale's and Milton Heffing, which implies that Milton Heffing was a shop, which Milton Hefling turns out to be.

Re: How to Re-create a Vintage Modernist Bag

It looks like it is Milton Hefling, and the tote bag you all mentioned looks to be the same style. This is what I like about our readers--I can always learn something!

In regards to how to rub off a pattern: I used a piece of silk organza, and some low-tack masking tape(rolled up so I could stick the organza to the bag) and attached it to each piece. Then just took a pencil and drew the edges of the bag onto the organza. Traced these out onto paper, and--voila! A pattern.

I'm not planning on downloading the pattern, as I prefer to respect the designer's intellectual property. I'll probably make one for myself, and play around with the proportions, and maybe for a client, but I don't feel good about broadcasting a pattern without the designer's consent.

It's relatively easy, though, and if you want to print off the blog post and enlarge it on the photocopier, you'll have a good starting point. The size of the bag at its tallest point is 12", which will give an idea of scale.....

As for where to get leather--I get my leather from Leather Impact, or Zodiac (when the customer has deep pockets). Both are here in New York.

And sadly I won;'t be in Toronto this fall, but perhaps next year!

Re: How to Re-create a Vintage Modernist Bag

Please do, Helen, and post the results!

Re: Inside a Splendid Embroidered Vest

To Designs:

You're so right--getting to see these pieces makes me want to make something as wonderful. I may not directly copy the piece, but there are elements (in this case the petal edge, and woven-leather trim) that will eventually show up elsewhere.

And besides, it's so pretty to look at--I have it hanging over my work table right now.

Re: Inside a Splendid Embroidered Vest

Thanks for the information as to the origins of this piece--I was guessing where it came from, but more exact information is always appreciated.

As to age, that's a big question mark. A friend who studies costume history thinks the colors are early to mid-twentieth century, but if someone among you, Dear Readers, has more accurate information, I'm all ears.

As for publishing the design, it hadn't occurred to me to do that. The photos, though, are detailed, and I'm sure some enterprising person could figure that one out? The motifs are primarily blanket stitch, with chain stitch and some stem stitch. Some of the cords are couched as well.

All in all a magnificent piece, and this is why I wanted to share it with you all!

Re: Create Boning with Heavy-Duty Zip Ties

I'm not the only one here who's inventive--I've learned a few tricks just reading these posts!

Re: Create Boning with Heavy-Duty Zip Ties

I marvel at the inventiveness of our readers!

Good ideas all...

And thanks, Shaydaisy, for that resource!

Re: Create Boning with Heavy-Duty Zip Ties

To Lillydesigns: It proved to be a little too fancy (read: non-durable) to use as a gym bag. The fabric (which I quilted to a black cotton duck) snags a bit, so I retired it as a gym bag.....

In regards to those thin packing strips you all are referring to: When I worked in window display, and we needed to upholster a wall, I used the stripping (instead of cardboard strips) to "seam" the fabric selvedge to selvedge. (We had a bolt of it in the shipping department on the dock.) You can use it as a stand-in for cardboard stripping that you usually use in upholstery.

After you staple the first length of fabric to the wall on the selvedges, put the second length right-sides together with the first, lining up the selvedges--run a length of the plastic stripping along one selvedge and staple through all of the layers. You can then fold the second length of fabric over the strip, wrong side to the wall, and staple the opposite selvedge to the wall. The strip makes a sharp edge that looks like a seam, and enables you to put enough tension on the fabric by pulling the opposite selvedge and stapling, to get a smooth surface.

I encourage my students at FIT to not only know about sewing, but other kinds of handy work--solutions come from these other disciplines, and exposure to materials from other disciplines can be used in sewing! As you all have proved.

Re: Create Boning with Heavy-Duty Zip Ties

To Laharet: Charles James used the same kind of basket reed to make some of those shaped skirts on his ball gowns, so you're on firm ground here. I also applaud these kinds of solutions when under the gun--I worked in window display years ago, and we understood done was better than perfect, so whatever product got the results, we used.

To Lynnelle: This boning provides quite a bit of support, but for the bust you mention, I'd go with flat steel--it has the needed strength. If you don't have access or are in a time crunch, double rows of the zip ties would give a good support. It really is amazingly stiff.

Re: Make your Dress Form Work for Multiple Figures

That depends on the figure you're working with. Our model had a bust lower than the form, but she also had more girth--I was able to build out the form with padding enough to lower the bust.

I'm assuming that in your case you don't have sufficient girth to correct this. In your case, this would require building out the form with poster board and padding, to raise the shoulder/neck area. In this case, you'd not be making a removable cover, but attaching this rigid structure to your form.

I'd first figure out the pattern pieces by draping fabric onto the neck and shoulder area, then cutting t hem out in heavy poster board and gluing them together. You'll be duplicating the neck/shoulder area, which you then would attach to the form with thin nails or bank pins, inserting padding to stabilize the structure.

It sounds like a nosebleed but really isn't--I used to do it when I worked in window display--a hot glue gun is useful here.

Does this make sense?

Re: How to Sew Gussets

Glad you were able to use it!

Re: A Beautiful Hem for a Four-Ply Silk Crepe

To NinaLBoston: I wouldn't underline this fabric because you want it to be fluid--that's part of its beauty. However, a trick I learned from my boyfriend who designed costumes for Broadway--he learned this from one of the A-list costume shops--line the garment with another layer of the same fabric. I tried this on a gown I did last summer, and WOW! it gave so much more weight and drape, and when she sat down, no lining was apparent.

To Idasew: The beauty of this technique is that it's soft, and flexible, not stiff. It moves beautifully.

To JDTailor: I used this technique, to make a thin, flexible hem. The hug snug doesn't look as finished to my eye--one can dye the tulle to match the fabric. Turning the hem up makes it bulkier, and the hand stitches REALLY visible. That to my eye was too obvious and rough-looking for what I wanted to achieve.

To Bsquared: I use a double thickness, so I have a fold at the top edge of the strip. Though the netting doesn't ravel, the cut edges catch every piece of lint to catch on your stockings, making the skirt unpleasant to wear. Having a fold there eliminates this issue. It also gives slightly more body when turning the hem.

And to the rest, thanks for the kind words! All hail Lynda Maynard!

Re: A Beautiful Hem for a Four-Ply Silk Crepe

To Cloff: I've found that the beading needle and stitch length look neat and tidy--the photos may make them look larger but they are 1/4" apart. Needle choice is a personal matter, and with such a fine thread, I find the #10 beading needle is exactly correct for the result I want. It seems you found a different choice that works for you. Different ways to do the same thing. That's the beauty of sewing.

To User 2592692: The red squares are the pressing surface of the pressing table--not anything else. Sorry for the confusion! This treatment is good for any fine, drapey opaque fabrics that need a light touch for the hem.

Re: A Beautiful Hem for a Four-Ply Silk Crepe

To Simplypat: Actually I use a gentle tension to begin with, so the stitches are somewhat loose, but giving it a gentle tug is another way of doing just that. The pint, we're both making here--loose stitches won't show from the front as readily.

And again, thanks to my friend Lynda Maynard--a brilliant sew-ist, and teacher, and a lovely person!

Re: Re-Create Pleated Edging

I'm glad you all are liking this! It was a lot of fun to puzzle through...

Re: Re-Create Pleated Edging

Thanks for the kind comments!

In regards to the amount of ribbon length needed, it is approximately 3-4 times the finished length. I generally assume I'll need a little more here, but that is a good round number.

I saw the Fashion and Impressionism show at the Met, and it was indeed dazzling--if you have a chance, and are in Chicago, it's a must-see. The clothes, some of them actual garments depicted in the paintings, are worth the trip!

Re: The Fortuny Jacket: Finessing the Facing

You're too kind...

Really, though, if we all stick together and remind each other of these kinds of ideas (which is one advantage of blogs like this), it can only lead to more good in the world. And there's never too much of that.

Re: How to Embroider Garments Like Penn & Fletcher

This company is the Lesage of the United States. They do such extraordinary work! The possibility of learning from them is really exciting, and I'm going to keep looking in on them to see how this is all progressing. Stay tuned!

Re: The Fortuny Jacket: Finessing the Facing

To Couture Academic--Bravo! The comment on fear is always relevant, and something to keep in mind especially in these troubling times.

Whether it be fear of what others think of one's clothes, or fear of what travails or disasters one encounters in daily life, there is power in pushing past fear and living life in satisfying and affirming ways.

Who says fashion is frivolous?!?

Re: The Fortuny Jacket: Finessing the Facing

I just delivered the jacket on Tuesday, so took it in to class beforehand. (We were meeting right after class.) It's good that my students see that I still do this as part of my business.

When I showed my students this detail, they were all over it--after asking me the question: Can you DO that?!?" I of course reminded them that, as a designer, one can do anything one wants. You just have to know how. Which I then showed them.

When I get a photo of the client, I'll post the rest of the jacket process. She was delighted with the results.

Re: The Fortuny Jacket: Finessing the Facing

Not to worry about that missing apostrophe...

Re: Announcing Smart Fitting with Kenneth D. King!

Judy should do comedy, if she ever decides to change careers! I adore this!

Re: Announcing Smart Fitting with Kenneth D. King!

When do we get to see the charming promos with Judy Neukam?

Re: A Trick for Working with Raw Silk

To Whoneedlesthis: Thanks for the kind words! As for the stay tape and the silk organza interfacing--If your cardigan style jacket has a V-neckline, the stay tape along the neckline would be just the ticket. And the silk organza interlining will keep the seams from pulling in the finished garment, so it's a good idea.

Re: A Trick for Working with Raw Silk

to user-1116275: You could use a fusible to back this fabric as well, if you want to. It will change the drape of the fabric a bit, but that's an option for stabilizing this fabric.

Re: A Trick for Working with Raw Silk

To Lastminutelady: I didn't use an underlining on this jacket because it's a spring unlined jacket. I'm teaching a jacket class on (filming next week) and this jacket was one of the practice runs.

I did finish the seam allowances with Hong Kong binding from the lining fabric, and made a deep front facing from the fashion fabric, and half back lining out of the lining fabric.

This fabric, though loosely-woven, is surprisingly resistant to stretching and bagging at the elbows, so that's a reason I felt safe not interlining it.

As for interlining, I'd use a silk organza for this fabric for stability if I were lining it fully. That would help to keep the seams from pulling loose. In this case, though, since the jacket is loosely-fitted, there isn't as much stress on the seams. Also, I sewed the seams with a shorter stitch--2.0mm, rather than the 2.5mm that my machine defaults to. Under the arms I used a 1.5mm stitch length. Shorter stitching lengths here will also keep the seams from pulling loose.

Re: A Trick for Working with Raw Silk

I've gotten some questions about terminology, so to clear things up: The fabric I call raw silk is often referred to as silk suiting. Many raw silks are one color. This technique works on all of them.

Re: A Trick for Working with Raw Silk

To Fairviewfarm: I may not shake the pieces, but the normal handling that the garment sections get when constructing does the same thing. This is why I needed to stay the edges. It's not an issue of handling carefully or carelessly with this fabric--the weave just jumps apart at the slightest movement.

I'd made a jacket out of this fabric without doing this, and before long the seam allowances were really ragged (and in a couple of cases non-existent ) which made finishing the garment difficult. I just finished another one where I did this technique, and the seam allowances are intact. The time spent in the set-up paid off in time saved repairing the ragged seam allowances.

For all of those who love the serger: I'd say by all means serge the fabric, if you feel it gets the result you want. Like everything in sewing--test, test, test.

Some people don't have sergers, and some (like me) don't like the distortion they sometimes impose on the curves by stretching. But it's a viable option. I'm just presenting another.

To user2435674: I bind the seam allowances before sewing the seam--it's easier to manage individual garment sections for a more accurate result, rather than wrestling with an entire garment.

To Torilynn: The thread loops are a marking device, called thread tracing. If you look in the photos, you see that I pull the fabric apart, which pulls the loops flat against the fabric--cut the threads between the two layers of fabric to separate the layers. This way you have a guide line to zig zag stitch onto, knowing exactly where the cut line will fall.

Thread tracing is less work than basting the lines on each section individually--you get both pieces marked in one pass.

To JDtailor: I'd avoid bound buttonholes in this particular fabric, as it's so loose and unstable. But if you were working with something loosely woven and not so thick, using really short machine stitches (0.5mm or shorter) to sew the welts of the buttonholes, will give a secure result. Also, this is one of the times I'd make an exception for fusible--I'd just fuse the area where the buttonholes are (pellon is better), and after the buttonholes are set, pull away the pellon and trim close.

Re: A Trick for Working with Raw Silk

Also, to Michalina:

Since you'd like to know of other books I've written:

The book I wrote is called "Cool Couture", which is re-named and re-packaged in the UK as a book called "Home Sewing Couture Techniques". Different cover, name, and ISBN number, same book. So, I want to give a heads-up to everyone out there. If you've bought one or the other, you have the book.

It wasn't something I knew about--the UK publisher re-did the cover and title, for some reason. There's been some bad feelings towards me, assuming (I can understand) that I wanted to gull people into buying the same book again.

So please, Dear Readers, know that both are the same book.

I also have books on a variety of subjects, on CD on my web site, which is

Re: A Trick for Working with Raw Silk

To Yourwildestdreams: I use fraying an edge in construction--I did an article a while back in Threads called "brush fringe", which was just that. So--embrace the frayed edges!

To Mariesaite: You could use an iron-on interfacing, but I tend to avoid them. I experimented with one to solve this problem, and the time spend/payoff wasn't there. This, really, took less time.

To Sewmarj: Yes, you could do exactly that. The one caveat: making sure the paper pattern is exactly placed the same on both pieces. Thread tracing, while a bit tedious, ensures that both pieces will be stayed and cut the same.

To Nanasattic: Serging would do two things, both undesirable: First, it would stretch the curves, distorting the fit of the garment. Also, since the yarns in the weave are really thick, the serging sometimes falls off the edge. The thick yarns can also jam up the blades on the machine.

And to copperwoman: Fray check is another option for fixing this, but I imagine you bought it in large quantities to fix the seam allowances. I'll have to try that.

A question I had in class today about this was: what seam finish do I use? I use a Hong Kong finish, binding over the zig zag stitch, so in the finished piece it will be invisible.

Re: A Trick for Working with Raw Silk

To LuvThreadsMagazine,

You're funny!

Re: My New Iron!

My apologies to our readers who are being assaulted by these spammers. I've asked that these posts be taken down, and the posters banned from doing it again....

Re: How to Make a Snail Frog Closure


This cord is just filled cord, made in the usual way with the tubing turner and bias strips, pulling the filling into the cord when turning the bias tube right side out.

The ends of the cord are hidden under the frog--stitched in place, and then just cut off, as is shown in the lesson. No fancy finishing for the ends, because they aren't going to show.

Best of luck in the exhibit!

Re: A Quick Fix for a Baggy Blue Coat

Thanks for the kind words!

You get the point about "tools" for your tool box. Tools can be actual items, or ideas, or techniques that you have in your imagination to solve a challenge you have. I'm always telling my students at the Fashion Institute of Technology, that if they know their craft they can do anything.

The beauty of sewing is that there's always something to learn--that's what has kept my interest for so long.

By the way, though the coat looks kind-of dowdy on the hanger, it really does look sharp in wearing. But it's a one-season wonder, and I'll be passing it on once the spring sets in.

Re: A Quick Fix for a Baggy Blue Coat


The jacket is a shawl lapel jacket with a really built-up shoulder and flanges (remember those?) to give a real linebacker silhouette. No real news there. This is big, big coat from about 1991. What appeals to me about how gigantic this coat is, is that I can wear it over a blazer AND a sweater. There's plenty of room.

To Krutter, the silhouette and sheer size of this coat are what account for the really baggy sleeves--there's also a deep, deep armhole. For the little I paid for this jacket, and the silhouette as designed, I'd not touch the sleeves.

There are times you can't do anything else but a fix to the back, otherwise it impacts the rest of the garment, either looks-wise or fit-wise. This is one of those times.

Re: More Fortuny! Yes, More!

The sleeve formers, which have the curve that matches the curve of a tailored sleeve, slip into, and shape, the sleeve. You sew the sleeve, and compress the former--slip it into the sleeve where the spring pushes the two wooden bows outward. You then steam the sleeve to set the shape.

Re: More Fortuny! Yes, More!

I didn't hem the sleeves yet, as I want to check fit on the customer before committing. But once the sleeves are hemmed, I'll go back ad stretch and steam them again.

Re: More Fortuny! Yes, More!

As for where to see scheduled classes: I'm working on a re-vamp of my web site, that will have an "events" page. Check back to my site ( in March, for that page.

Re: More Fortuny! Yes, More!

To CFields: I cut the interlining on-grain. The fabric itself was just a little off-grain, but cutting both off-grain would result in a real mess once the piece was dry cleaned.

In answer to how much I charge, I prefer not to state prices in blog posts. It is, in part, to honor the privacy of the client. But know that, it's not inexpensive! That much I can say.

A little aside about pricing and price for those out there who do this for their livelihood: Never compete on price. There's always someone who will work cheaper. Offer more value.

Sometimes when I'm traveling around to teach, I'll hear the odd comment, the gist of which is "I don't have to make a living on my work, my husband/wife/trust fund makes this possible." These people don't charge a lot for their work.

My response is usually a variation of, "If, God forbid, something happened to your husband/wife/trust fund, and you couldn't make a living on your work, that means your husband/wife/trust fund is subsidizing your customers."

That, and it makes it more difficult for those of us who do indeed need to support ourselves on our work. I either will charge full price, or give it away if it's friends or family. That seems to work for me.

So, do yourself and your husband/wife/trust fund a favor, and charge a fair price for your work. Fair being a price that benefits both parties equally--you get what your labor deserves, your customer gets good value. It shows respect for the years of knowledge, research, and practice that you have accumulated.

I'll step off the soap box now. Thank you.

Re: More Fortuny! Yes, More!

In regards to matching the pattern at the seams--that's my aim. I like the pattern to flow smoothly at certain places, such as the hem or across the front near the shoulders. So, yes--I determine where the seam line is when laying out, and make sure the pattern reads across it.

As for the crocking of the metallics on Fortuny fabrics--yes, there is some of that, but not any more than other metallic-printed fabrics I've worked with. I've even machine washed the Fortuny metallics, and don't find it a problem. But if you'd like to create your own interpretation of Fortuny, that's a good creative project! You'd be making it somewhat like they do in Venice--by hand.

Re: More Fortuny! Yes, More!

And, regarding the Fortuny fabric:

You can put the word "Fortuny" in the search box here, and see other posts I've done on this exceptional fabric. Mariano Fortuny worked in the early 20th century. He produced exceptional printed textiles for interiors and clothing in Venice, and they are still being produced today, as he did them originally--block-printed by hand in Italy. This is the "Orfeo" pattern.

They cost the world. Really.

Their web site is:

Initially I was given a bolt of the stuff which is the first time I used it, hence the posts already on Fortuny that I've done in the past. That pattern was called "Caravaggio".

But getting to work on some again for a customer is still thrilling. When I get done with the jacket, if there's any left over, I get to keep it to make myself a pair of jeans.

Re: More Fortuny! Yes, More!

In regards to the sleeve shapers (also called "sleeve formers"):

These are regarded as pressing tools--they are curved hardwood bows separated by leaf springs. You compress the two together, slip them into the sleeve, and release. They hold the sleeve taut and to shape (curved for the bend in the tailored sleeve), to enable you to steam the sleeve to shape. I regard these as a nice luxury, after you purchase the big-deal iron.

You can get them at Atlanta Thread company. The link is:

Regarding the iron, I bought the Reliable i500, which is dreamy. I've written another post on it that will post later, but know that this is a really sweet, capable iron. Not inexpensive, but well-worth the money!

And to Yumjo: The twill I used is the same weight as the ground fabric, really a shirt-weight twill. This gives a little body to the jacket, but not too thick or stiff, which is what she wanted. A jacket that looks nice but feels relaxed.

And for the reference to asymmetrical: Everyone has variations from right to left side, but this customer's asymmetries are very pronounced. Cutting a garment that appears balanced in this case is a bit of a challenge, but when the garment fits, with the patterned fabric, the asymmetry won't be really apparent. It's only bad fit that draws attention to these things.

And as for the next installment: I call it "Finessing the facing". Stay tuned!

Re: More Fortuny! Yes, More!

Glad to be of help!

Re: The Big Reveal


You want to alter a trouser equally on inseam and outseam. Otherwise you'll introduce a twist to the trouser leg.

When narrowing trousers, you want to take the alteration off equally from the inseam and outseam. If you want to remove a total of 2" width, you'd take off 1" at the outseam, and 1" on the inseam. Taper up to the knee area or a little higher. This way you won't alter the hip or crotch area, but the legs will have a narrower silhouette.

Re: The Pink Horsie Jacket!

And to Keltiknotyes: I did indeed name him "Horsie". My boyfriend, who has done dressage in the past, says the word "horsy" is an adjective, as in "horsy people", but the actual animal can be called "horsie"--it's a kiddie term, as in "horsie rides"-- so that's what I named him, as he's so whimsical. The cowboy, I guess, is "Roberto Rogers".....?

None of this makes much logical sense but isn't it fun?

Re: The Pink Horsie Jacket!

Sadly the right shoulder is distorted because it was crooked on a hanger for quite a long time. I replaced shoulder pads to see if that would help, and it did, but I'm reluctant to take the seam apart or otherwise monkey with it, as I don't think I can help it much. So I'll just pose more asymmetrically so it isn't so noticeable.

Re: The Pink Horsie Jacket!

Thanks for the kind comments!

As for how does leather become shocking pink? I believe it's because it's tickled pink to be made up into this fabulous jacket!

And the buttons--they might be bone--definitely not ivory or plastic. I was surprised that they weren't silver, either, but who was I to quibble? The unexpected here is really nice--it blends with the front border in a way that silver might not.....

Re: Using Buttons as Embellishment

To Heidelat: As for caring for this, since it won't be worn frequently (for obvious reasons!), brushing and airing is all it will need. The fabric is a very stout wool Me,ton, so soil won't dig in very easily. If I get something on it, spot cleaning is the only option here.

Re: How to Miter the Inside Corner of a Hong Kong Finish

To Jodie: Thanks for the kind words! I had to chuckle, though--"wholesome"? It's sweet of you to say that, but my friends would differ on that particular adjective.

Thanks for giving me a smile today!

Re: How to Miter the Inside Corner of a Hong Kong Finish

To JPadden: The photo with the red thread and running stitch, is the back of the work, which will lie against the fabric when the skirt gets hemmed. Flip the work over, and the last photo is the front of the word. That's why you don't see the raw edge in the last photo--it's there along with the red running stitches, on the back of the work.

Re: How to Miter the Inside Corner of a Hong Kong Finish

To Mariastephens: This finish is on the hem allowance of a skirt with back vent--the raw edge needs the nice finish, and my students had a difficult time mastering this, so this is how I figured out how to show it. Now the blog is posted, I'll refer them here to print it off so they can keep it with their notes....

Re: Using Buttons as Embellishment

To both of you, it's my privilege to have you (and all my other Dear Readers) reading my writings....when we all conspire to inspire, then only good can result!

Re: Using Buttons as Embellishment

To Couture Academic:

Thanks for the encouragement! I actually wore the jacket for Thanksgiving yesterday--with a white pleat front evening shirt complete with shirt studs and my grandpa's gold cuff links, black brocade corset, fabulous shoes, and torn up jeans. A real hit. The crowd, which was quite an arty Manhattan crowd, "got it", as you did.

To answer your questions:

Did I always have that experimental spirit? Well, in a way yes. I was always an odd duck--a chubby sissy kid in Kansas and Oklahoma, who sewed for Barbie, made things, and liked clothes waaaay too much for a boy. So early on, I understood that I wasn't going to fit in, and in a way, that freed me to do what I wanted to do, in many different areas of my life. Sometimes I ponder the early days, and all the hazing that I got. There were times I wished I'd fit in, just so I didn't have to duck the physical and emotional bullying I endured. But I understood it wasn't possible.

However, that experience really has served me well. I do what I want to do, in as many areas of my life as I can. (There are always areas where one does things one would rather not do, but to keep those to the absolute minimum--that's my aim.) I operate on the principle that it's easier to ask forgiveness than ask permission. In my life as well as in my work.

I feel bad for people who fit in, or are always trying to fit in (unless that's what makes you happy--then I wholeheartedly support it). "Fitting in" when that's not what one wants to do, is a tremendous drain on creative energy that could be expended on other, more interesting and satisfying pursuits. Since my default position is that I'm an odd duck (a friend calls me a "specialty item", not to the popular taste), I am free to experiment.

As for the time limit thing: I believe that learning the craft is key in making good work. But learning the craft is a life-long pursuit--I'm still learning, and want to always know more. There are many ways to achieve a certain result, and I want to know as many as I can, so I can choose the best way. So don't handicap yourself by some artificial illusion of a time limit.

In regards to learning the craft, a very smart professor said to me in the beginning of my career, that one should make the process of creation so invisible that one had to accept the work on aesthetics alone. If the craft was so polished that it was invisible, then I could get away with anything aesthetically--nothing then was a fluke. That appealed to my sense of independence. So, study and make things, learn the "rules" so to speak.

There will come a time, though, when you will know to start stepping out of the box--your heart will tell you when it's time. When you step out, know that part of this journey includes taking risks, and the possibility of making mistakes. Some posters here thought this jacket was a big mistake--see also the posts on "fantasy fur" for more hilarious comments in that vein--oy! When I was given these buttons, I was willing to risk making that mistake, and this jacket is what I got. And it was a load of fun to make.

You mention fear--of wasting time or materials. Really, it's not a waste, if you've learned something, enjoyed the process, or fed your soul in some way. Sometimes it's disappointing if the work doesn't turn out exactly as you'd seen it in your head. But it can sometimes turn out much different and better--and you would have missed that if you had given in to that fear. So when you can, let go of that.

Really, don't be afraid to burn though materials, be they fabric, buttons (!) or anything else. The worst that can happen, is that you'll learn something (even if that is that "this didn't work out so well"), but you'll also discover something.

This is a really satisfying journey, and it sounds like you'd like to put your foot on the path. Some people want or need permission to go do this. You have mine. But more importantly, you have your own permission to do this. You gave it to yourself, by asking these questions.

Re: Using Buttons as Embellishment

Since I stitched canvas to the back of the areas where the buttons are, they don't press through and stick me. So the canvas does dual duty--it supports the weight of the buttons so the fashion fabric doesn't have to do all the heavy lifting,
and protects the lining and the wearer (me) from the shanks of the buttons!

Re: Using Buttons as Embellishment

Thanks again for all the kind words! It's heartening to know that most of you, Dear Readers, get my real point in posting things like this, which is education--even in such a throw-away, kooky piece there's something to be learned.

In heavy embellishment, there's always a possibility of shrinkage (something I discovered through bitter experience), so I'm glad that my mistake can benefit you all out there...

Now, off to decide what I'm going to wear this with for my fab invitation for Thanksgiving!

Re: Using Buttons as Embellishment

To Crisch: A good question here! There wasn't any batting between jacket and lining--I used the layers of canvas to absorb the strain of the buttons on the outer fabric, but since the shanks were between the outer fabric and canvas (for the most part), I don't feel the shanks through the lining. So no batting was necessary.

Re: Using Buttons as Embellishment

Thanks for the kind words! This is just a folly I wanted to make, and share the process with you all. I'm going to wear it to a really fab Thanksgiving dinner at one of my Park Avenue gals' house, where it will be a smashing success.

Some comments:

To Brocadegoddess: I was referencing the idea of the Pearly Kings when I decided to do this jacket. So, while not an original concept (and I'm the first to admit it), it is my particular take on that idea. I was going for a cross between the Pearly Kings and a matador jacket. And it has a really sweet jingling sound when I wear it.

And, to those who seem a bit puzzled or challenged by this jacket: I've said this in posts before and will say it again. I'm flattered when people are amused by or like what I make, but I design for myself, and for those who pay me. My own taste, or the taste of my customers, is all I really care about. Since this was for my own pleasure, this is what I came up with, and I look fabulous in it.

If we all liked the same things, the world would be a boring place, with no new ideas or points of view. Variety is what makes up that beautiful blend of people all over the world. However, if something isn't to your taste, saying just that is a legitimate comment. Learn from the sewing information and leave the aesthetics aside. I'm puzzled, though, by words like "tacky" and "scarey". Are they really necessary?

Re: Using Buttons as Embellishment

This jacket weighs in at over 25 pounds--those buttons are solid brass. But since the weight is distributed evenly, it isn't oppressive to wear. Quite the contrary--really fun to wear!

Re: Roll Hemming a Curve Made Easy

The knife is by a company called "Air Nouveau", and if you google it there are some suppliers on the internet who have it.

Re: A Glimpse of a Project in Progress

Chaps--now that's funny but not unlikely!

Re: How to Make a Snail Frog Closure

Here's a link for the Chinese knot....

Re: How to Make a Snail Frog Closure

Brenda, the knot is a simple Chinese knot (also called a monkey fist knot). It's been published in the magazine a couple or three times.

Re: How to Make a Snail Frog Closure

The class runs periodically--if you email Deepika through the site, she'll schedule it.

Re: How to Make a Snail Frog Closure

To Wezi:

You want to stitch the intersections of the frog after you work it, but no, you can skip the sealer. The ends will be hidden inside and underneath. But--if you want to, you can go in and use a little fray check.

Re: How to Make Bubble Fabric Trim

yes--you can easily make the pounce bag, just as you say!

Re: How to Make Bubble Fabric Trim

To answer some questions:

Regarding machine settings: On my Bernina, the foot shown is a darning foot, which I use as a free-motion foot. You can drop the feed dogs or not, as you're moving everything by hand. If you have a specific plate and foot for free-motion stitching on your machine, then you might use this.

As for the beads, yes--inexpensive plastic, cork, or wood are best, as they are lighter. I do like the weight a glass bead gives this trim, though.

As for uses: The jacket I found had this applied like a Chanel jacket trim. The jacket was a classic cardigan style, the trim on the edges and pockets.

Cutting the strip on the bias seems to work better, but I've tried it on the straight grain and it seemed to work OK as well. The only difference, is the edges of the strip--they get a little ragged-looking when cut on the straight grain, whereas on the bias they fray nicely.

And as for attaching: Yes, you'll hand-stitch it from behind, or hide the stitches in the folds of the fabric.

For some, removing a trim before cleaning is a headache, so I don't recommend this trim for those people. I, however, am willing to go through all manner of effort to look fabulous. Just funny that way.

Re: Another Way to Make Pleated-Ribbon Trim

Thanks for the kind words, Nani!

Re: Making a Side Seam Read True

To GinnyLynn: I blush! Thank you for such kind words--comparing me to Alexander McQueen even! I don't think I'm in his league, but I do passionately love what I do, and think about it constantly.

You are right about making muslins, though--in the book on John Galliano (sadly disgraced as he should be for saying such things), the author tells that, in his atelier, there at least three, and sometimes up to six muslins made before fabric is cut. This bit of information made me feel better about my abilities--I thought I was just stupid that I couldn't do it all on the first shot.

I think we have a couple of "take-aways" here, that we all might agree upon: That there are many ways to achieve a particular end, and that making muslins is a valuable process.

Re: Another Way to Make Pleated-Ribbon Trim

To Countess: I second your shout-out about Candice Kling! She is the person who singlehandedly revived these kinds of techniques, and rarely gets full credit for doing so. And she's an exceptional teacher. If anyone reading has a chance to take a class with her, excellent time well-spent!

And, as to where to apply this trim: The photo send by the reader who asked me the how to make it showed the trim decorating the edge of an oversized peter pan collar. Trimming edges, both straight and curved, is what I'd suggest. Using it in a large scale works very well for home furnishings. Hatbands for trimming hats, at the waist on a christening gown--the uses are almost endless. Evening or day clothes. You name it!

Re: Making a Side Seam Read True

Indeed there is, CFields!

When I was trying to get my head around fitting, I wanted to find the underlying principle--for me it's the net gain/net loss/no net change concept. I find that this underlying principle is what undergirds the different methods of altering patterns. It gives me a framework within which to reason out a solution.

The slash and spread/fold method is one of the ways, and others are outlined in Threads as well as other publications. As long as the finished result fits, however you get there, gets you there. And that's what I love about this discipline. The different ways to get there, and learning new ones.

Re: Making a Side Seam Read True

To answer Marie SG: There are different ways to get to a solution. When I draft from scratch, even though the system I use is quite accurate, I find I need to do this. If you can draft a pattern that accounts for this accurately, then that's another way to get there.

I'm assuming here, that most of the readers here are starting with a commercial pattern, not drafting from scratch. So this particular fix is useful to them.

There are different ways to get to a solution, depending on the experience and amount of available time the individual has to work on a project. Some have the time to learn how to draft and take the time to do that, others want to start with a commercial pattern and work from there.

In other words, there's more than one way to get to a solution, and, as long as you arrive at a solution that works, it doesn't matter how you get there.

Perhaps you might like to do a post illustrating your method, so we all can learn? I'm always up for learning something new! That's the beauty of this particular discipline--there's always something new to learn!

Re: Making a Side Seam Read True

To answer Flatcad: You write:

"If starting from fabric, fix the pattern before cutting. If not, the seam allowance of already sewn garments would probably be insufficient to allow for this alteration."

Indeed, one strives to fix this in the draft. But if you left wide seam allowances and fixed this in alteration, then took the garment apart and compared it to the pattern, it would look like the pattern fix we're discussing here. Same thing, moving fabric from one side of the seam to the other, to straighten the seam.

Different ways of getting there, both work.

Re: Making a Side Seam Read True

And to Moviegirl: Glad I could confirm what you already know!

This is a concept I swim upstream with teaching at F.I.T. There's the "industry" way of looking at a pattern, that involves a fantasy world of dress forms and impossibly slim models, so they don't have this question arise.

But when one is making custom clothing, the imperative is to fit and flatter any figure. And the solutions will sometimes look unorthodox to my colleagues in ready to wear. But I tell my students, that however the pattern looks, as long as it reads correctly ON THE FIGURE THEY'RE DRESSING, that's the gold standard, and the correct pattern for that figure.

Re: Making a Side Seam Read True

Again, to MarieSG: Also, look at my explanation using the stacks of coins. It really solves the problem of lack of fabric in one area and too much in another. This is a fix that I've used for years, and I know it works.

It all has to do with the concept of "no net change" across a seam.

Re: Making a Side Seam Read True


To answer Marie SG: Even if you have enough wearing ease in the garment, be it a skirt, trouser or whatever, this is a case of how the flesh is distributed on either side of the midline. Since fabric is essentially a grid, there's an imaginary midline through the "cylinder" that the body is. Sometimes the flesh is more to the front of this midline, sometimes it's to the back.

Imagine two stacks of coins, one perfectly stacked into a cylinder, and one that is stacked onto a wobbly stack. Both would require a tube (skirt) of the same circumference to fit, but in the second case, the side seams would be wobbly.

This may seem to be an esoteric explanation, but it's how it was explained to me by a man at a party who studies physics.

To answer CFields: Yes, you will have side seams that are curved to an extent. You won't have to ease anything, as both seams are the same length. You will, however, need to stretch the seam allowances on the inside curves (such as you would for a princess line) so you don't end up easing one onto another. It may be a little more effort in construction, but it's worth the effort to have the side seams hang straight--when they are plumb with the floor, it flatters the figure considerably.

To KharminJ: Exactly right! Ideally you want to correct things earlier on, but my experience is that somethings just are better dealt with in the muslin, instead of essentially "guessing" at where a side seam would fall. It's easier to just take out the ruler and draw the seam where it needs to be on the muslin.

Re: Creating a Back Neckline Dart for Better Fit

A perfect use for this technique, and one I didn't think of--in costuming! Thanks for the comment--I learned something today! That's one of the many benefits of doing what I do--I get to learn new things frequently. Good stuff.

Re: Creating a Back Neckline Dart for Better Fit

In regards to design features that will flatter this neckline:

I recommended to her, that the neck seam not go all the way to the base of the neck--cut it away about 1" from the base of the neck, and then create a standing collar, about 1 1/2" high. Having the collar standing literally in the middle of this curve, will visually make it flatten out by stopping the eye at the collar, not all the way up to the base of the neck.

She would also look well with the boat neckline cut away from the neck with the little standing collar--it will play up her strong shoulders, frame her face, and direct the eye away from the curve at the base of her neck.

Re: Creating a Back Neckline Dart for Better Fit

To Mrs. HGW:

You're on the right track. Good work!

As for what the angle is, I was going by instinct here. The vertical line on the draft represents the back width, and if you look at the figure here, she's wide all the way up, with strong square shoulders. The angle where the shoulder met the armhole looked too flat to properly reflect this particular figure. So I followed the 'lead" of the vertical back width line to determine the proper angle of intersection. An educated guess.

Part of figuring this out, is experience: making literally hundreds of these moulages--I can tell by the draft of a measurement went wrong, and in this case, where a special condition exists.

The "shark fin" as I call it, is an indicator that you're trying to take too much shaping into a seam. Our model had just this problem when altering patterns in that region. I see this also on side seams on skirts where there is an hourglass figure--tiny waist and fuller hips. When I see this, I know that I need to add a dart or two to divide up this shaping so it takes in more gradually.

In any method of altering a pattern, I strongly recommend marking the stitching lines onto the pattern, and copying the pattern onto white paper--kraft paper, the "project paper" you get at the office supply store, butcher paper--any paper that has body will help you to alter.

Also, working from stitching lines, and then later adding back the seam allowances, will eliminate confusion in altering. Some try to save time by not doing this, but in the end, get a little lost. As I'm a little dyslexic, I know I have to take the time to do this step before proceeding.

Re: Creating a Back Neckline Dart for Better Fit

Good comments all!

As for the moulage--sorry I didn't define that.

A moulage is a draft from the measurements of the figure, that I learned from my teacher Simmin (pronounced Simone). She got her master's degree in haute couture patternmaking at the Ecole Guerre-Lavigne in Paris. The moulage fits like a second skin, and is used in a variety of ways. Firstly, it is how I generate slopers from measurements so I can draft patterns for my customers.

Since it's drafted with no wearing ease, it can be used to cover a dress form--it is the method I used to get the cover for the article on padding a form to match a figure.

It also is my foundation draft for strapless garments. Since they need to fit snugly, this is the perfect starting point.

And as to the question of having side seams true:

This is a no net change between the front and back at the side. When fitting, I take a straightedge, and draw the seam line plumb with the floor, right where I want it. Take the garment apart, and transfer these marks to the pattern.

Then, it's a matter of moving the seamline where it deviates from this line, by either taking from the back and adding to the front, or vice versa. I'll do a blog post to explain this--I'm always looking for ideas for posts, and this is a good one. Stay tuned!

Re: Creating a Back Neckline Dart for Better Fit

Thanks for the kind words! As for global economics, that would be a stretch (I fell asleep many times in Econ class in college), because I can't balance a checkbook. But I do understand geometry.

As for the "before" photo of the draft, it looks like the first photo in the lessons. As I was just working on instinct, we hadn't made u a muslin yet--this draft she's wearing is the first shot. She gave me a big hug and kiss after we zipped it up, as she'd not ever had a first muslin fit as well before. Good success, and all of Ryliss's students in her school in Tacoma got to see something new.

(As an aside, Susan Khalje and I are doing a sit and sew in Tacoma for Ryliss in November.)

To the question of how to approach knits, I'd put the darts in knits as well. There seems to be this idea out there that we always need to eliminate darts, and, wherever one can, then, yes. But darts give shaping, and having darts at the neckline is preferable to gapping--the gapping draws the eye there much more than a dart would.

As for yokes--an excellent solution for hiding the darts. You'd draft the horizontal yoke style line so it passes right under the points of the darts--separate the yoke piece from the main body, and then just fold closed, and tape the darts. The shaping provided by the neck darts would then be transferred into the seam joining the yoke to the main body, and nobody would be any the wiser.

Re: How to Make Hairpin Lace

The "Sewing Olympiad"--funny, and a compliment!

As for purchasing a loom--they can be got from knitting suppliers or some art stores. They are readily available...

For purchasing ribbon in quantity--try Daytona on 39th Street in New York, or Fashion Company in San Francisco--buying by the roll makes it less expensive per yard as well.

Re: How to Make a Lovely Pleated-Ribbon Trim

"not fear the sheer"---that's a good phrase! Sounds like a mantra for sewing....

Re: Roll Hemming a Curve Made Easy

In answer to the question of hems on a finished garment (I assume this is ready to wear) curling: Aside from taking the hems out and re-doing them, there's nothing else you can do. Ready to wear clothing is constructed to different standards, and they press the heck out of a hem once they've sewn it, so it will lie flat on the hanger in the store. But once you wash it and press it, the incorrect stitching will make it curl.

I wish there were another solution.

Re: Roll Hemming a Curve Made Easy

To Linda74sews: I find that when I encounter a straight grain portion of a curve, stretching the fabric slightly while pressing, before doing this technique, will help make the hem roll well. The object of the game in navigating this section, is to make the folded edge of the hem allowance a little longer, which helps it to roll.

Re: Roll Hemming a Curve Made Easy

To answer about avoiding pinholes:

Try paper clips. binder clips, or any other clamping-type device, similar to what you'd use for sewing leather. Also, if you buy the really good silk pins that Susan Khalje sells, you'll also avoid this problem.

Re: Roll Hemming a Curve Made Easy

To torilynn,

Really the method for hemming the curve works on any fabric, not just lame. This excerpt happened to be from a longer piece on working with lame' fabrics, so the bonus information here was using the stencil cutter to cut the lame' so it doesn't fray. So the headline is really the point of the post, but sorry for any confusion I may have caused by not mentioning the lame' fabric in the headline!

To NinaLBoston: Yes, you can use the stencil cutter on any man-made fiber that is thermoplastic (nylon, acetate, polyester) but not on the cellulose-based fibers (rayon). It doesn't work on natural fibers, however.

Re: Roll Hemming a Curve Made Easy

Also, Divaweava, lots of pins.

Re: Roll Hemming a Curve Made Easy

To Divaweava:

You want to trim the paper to match the curve of the fabric, instead of trying to keep the edge of the fabric even with the edge of the tape. This way, you know that both edges are lined up exactly and correctly, and you can sew an even distance from the edge all the way.

Re: Roll Hemming a Curve Made Easy

In regards to the stencil cutter--any kind will do, but I have worked with several models and prefer the one by Air nouveau. Just my preference. But it is indeed electric.

As for the foot, this is just the transparent sewing foot on my Bernina--nothing special. I find I use that as my standard foot on the machine now, because one can see through it.

And yes, it can control other fabrics--I use this sometimes on chiffons and other slippery fabrics.

Re: Roll Hemming a Curve Made Easy

The hot knife shown is from a place called Air Nouveau Marketing, in New Jersey. Their number is 732)223-7878. I bought this one through the web site:

Re: How to Make a Lovely Pleated-Ribbon Trim

In regards to attaching the trim, you would indeed sew it at the center of the trim. If you want to tack down the ribbon at the edges you can, but to my eye, tis looks too restricted and tied-down.

In regards to the request for the information on the ribbon trim in the current issue, click the link in the text of this blog to get to it.

Re: How to Make a Lovely Pleated-Ribbon Trim

Thanks for the kind words!

In answer to how much ribbon this requires, I generally assume a 3:1 ratio. Sadly I didn't keep track of how much the technique ate up, but 3:1 is a good rule of thumb....

Re: A Beautiful Embroidered Beaded Bodice

Yumjo, the organza is single-layer all around. On the neckline, there's another layer of organza to stay the neckline to keep the line true, but the body is really only one layer. Silk is an amazingly strong fiber, if stored properly, but of course this garment wouldn't be worn to dig a ditch...

Re: A Beautiful Embroidered Beaded Bodice

The base fabric for this piece is indeed silk organza. It's stronger than one thinks, and I see it quite a bit when looking at this kind of work...

Re: A Beautiful Embroidered Beaded Bodice

Thanks for the comments!

This piece, like the one in the last post, came from the same source. I'm told this was made in India, and the work here is really exceptional. The variety and beauty of the stitches really astonishes.

Im not planning on making a finished garment from this, as I want to preserve it for posterity. The work is so wonderful, it should survive intact.

Re: An Exquisite Beaded Embroidery Sleeve

I realize in retrospect that the comment about India was out of bounds, and apologize for it. In the rag trade, we see the low end of embroidery from India (as well as other countries) which was where that comment came from, which doesn't excuse it.

I'd love to see the beautiful work that they do there, as would others here I'm sure. If there's a way to post it here, please, do?

Thanks for the kind words, about my work, the Moulage class, and my doggie (may she rest in peace)!

Re: An Exquisite Beaded Embroidery Sleeve

The tambour work on the non-loopy large flowers is a chain stitch worked in a zig zag pattern, where the loops are pulled up through the fabric to lie parallel n the front, but look like a zig zag from the back. It's a little hard to explain but a correspondent of mine looked at the piece and pronounced that this was indeed tambour, and he's in the business, so I took him at his word.

Re: An Exquisite Beaded Embroidery Sleeve

An additional comment on the tambour embroidery--if you can see the "loops" of the chain stitch on the face side of the embroidery, that means that the piece was worked face side up. As you can see on this example, there's quite a bit of the chain stitch visible on the front, which means the design was worked face side up.

When the tambour work is done with the face side down, the stitching will look like a machine straight stitch on the face side.

Re: An Exquisite Beaded Embroidery Sleeve

Glad you all like this post!

As I understand it, the work is from India, but exceptional quality. This is one of a pair of sleeves, that were made as a sample for a designer but not used. I'm keeping them as a good example, not using them in any project. Somehow using them in a piece, seems disrespectful.

As for the question of working on organza, it's a common practice but not always done, especially for tambour work, as it's called. This is because, for many of the stitches, the design is marked on the back of the work, and the front is face down. If the embroiderer can see through the fabric to do the work, this is a distinct advantage. The chenille work, as well as the bullion work, though, is done with the work face up.

The question about appliques: These are done on organza--I've seen man-made as well as silk fiber organza used. Working on the organza reduces bulk, so that when the applique is sewn to the garment, you control the thickness built up in that area.

My understanding, is that this is mostly done on silk organza, but I don't see why a man-made fiber couldn't be substituted--as a matter of fact I personally prefer it. Man-made fibers will last longer than natural fibers. But when making, or purchasing this kind of work, durability isn't the primary concern.

Regarding the yellow thread funning across the back, it doesn't show from the front because the other ornament is dense enough to hide it. This garment most likely would have been lined with another layer of the silk organza, to tidy up the inside and keep the stitches from scratching the wearer.

Re: A Fabulous Fur Handbag

To answer the question as to where to get the fur--read my posts on "fantasy fur"--I made the fur from hair weave and clown hair. The posts will show you how.

I got the idea for the bag when I was showing the sample piece to a friend--she commented that it would make a great bag, and--viola! And as for a pattern--there isn't one. I just drafted this up myself. Not too complicated, just a square tote, with a yoke attached. You could do it by adapting any tote pattern you choose.

This bag, as well as it's elder sibling the jacket, is not for everyone (as some comments below attest), and one could say I'm obsessed with this fur. I'm obsessed with my work--period. The obsession changes over time and with the things I'm exploring. That's why I've lasted as long as I have--the obsession to push forward and take risks creatively is more important than worrying about people's opinions. It's what makes me get up in the morning.

Re: How to Make Ribbon Trim

In regards to my books, my current book, of which I'm most proud, is called "Cool Couture", and can be got on (Also know that in the UK, they re-packaged this book under another title, ISBN number, and cover--why, I don't know. Don't be fooled into buying both. Buy Cool Couture.)

I also did a book called "Designer Bead Embroidery" in 2006 (translated into French in 2007), and lastly, my first book was called "Designer Techniques" (I HATED that title and cover!) in 1996. That one is out of print, and Cool Couture is the book I wanted that one to be.

Thanks for asking!

Re: How to Make Ribbon Trim

For the question about only using silk ribbon for this trim--no! I use whatever will make up well, so, whether you like natural fibers or man-made, this will make up nicely!

And, I join my voice in another shout-out about Candice Kling's book "The Artful Ribbon", it is one of those that should be in everyone's library. She is the (for lack of a better word) Elder Stateswoman of this kind of work. She was researching these techniques and reviving them way before most of us knew they existed. That these techniques continue into the future is mainly because of her efforts.

Word has it from good sources, that she's working on another book. I'll keep you posted as to its progress...

Re: How to Make Ribbon Trim


I'm glad that you all like this trim! It was lovely on the inside of that stole, and this is a trim that can go many places.

The question that keeps coming up--how to attach? I just slip-stitch it to the ground, tunneling the thread under the fabric between units and catching the trim at the stitching points.

And yes, if you use a decorative embroidery thread while working this, the back of the work will also look nice.

Another variation, is to make two or more lengths of this, and sew them together parallel at the stitching points--it makes a fuller trim, one that, if you use three lengths stitched together, would make a nice finish on an edge of, say a scarf, or, even a quilt.

Enjoy, folks!

Re: A Fix for a Baggy Seat

To MakeitfitTrish:

The only way I can explain this, is that it's magic. It changes the relationship of the trouser back leg to the front. I realize it's different than the fix I show in my trouser CD, but over time I've found this to be easier, and work as well as the other way.

If you really look, there is indeed a net loss in that region (based on the area added back at the hem--you could just shorten the front leg a corresponding amount so the inseam and outseam measure the same length), but I refer to it as a no net gain, to eliminate confusion.

I wish I could answer better, but that's all I've got on this one...

Re: Slashing Just for Fun

To answer rkr4cds1 :

Yes indeed I did, and you have a sharp eye! It doesn't show up as well in this photo, as I'm standing in 3/4 view, but you picked it up!

Making the legs symmetrical seemed like it would "read" as a purchased fabric instead of a design imposed on an existing garment. I figured that if it looked strange I could just go back and cut the missing holes and make the legs symmetrical.

Once I tried them on after the first washing, I made a couple of cuts here and there to make the design "read" from one leg to another better and across the outseams. It was easier to do this after the jeans were washed and I could better see the results in three dimensions.

And you're right about the "bloom" concealing most of the skin underneath. If the jeans were too tight, that might not be the case, but the slashing also has the advantage of adding some wearing ease with the stretch generated by the cutting, so while some skin shows (which is what I wanted), it doesn't look unseemly. (Or so I think--others may disagree.)

Re: Slashing Just for Fun

To Joanely, and her comment about my clothing getting more interesting over time, which I view as a compliment:

Moving to New York gave me a good chance to reinvent myself in many ways. One such way was my "look". After I dropped the weight and now work out regularly, I can better appreciate the axion "Fashion favors the slim". To reinvent my look, I've found that I like juxtaposing the high and the low in an outfit--it's a study in contrasts. So, watch this space, as I go further in experimenting with this idea.

And be amused, be amused. As I am.

For example of what this juxtaposition means, the photo of me in this post--I don't believe for a moment I'd have been mistaken for a homeless person. The jacket was vintage Lord and Taylor, the boots were Luccesi, the sunglasses were Alain Mikli bought in Paris--throw in my Tiffany Atlas watch, and that's the high.

The t-shirt, was printed with Hindu deities bought from a Tibetan shop on St. Marks Place, and the jeans, of course, were old run down jeans I re-purposed for this post. That was the low. All together it worked. And it's fun to wear!

Re: Slashing Just for Fun

And to Beckster:

Thanks! You got it right--and, it isn't life or death.

Re: Slashing Just for Fun

In response to Darylquilts:

I haven't stopped laughing for the last five minutes! "A man my age?" Really? That's hilarious! I love it when people give me a good laugh! Well done.

Are you familiar with Iris Apfel? Here's a link to an article about her in the New York Times:

My favorite quote from the article is the last sentence: “that when you don’t dress like everybody else, you don’t have to think like everybody else.”

Words to live by. And I do. My clothing pleases me, and I can communicate whomever I happen to be at a particular time, through my wardrobe. Getting dressed is a supreme pleasure for me

I hope to look as fabulous as Ms. Apfel does when I'm her age, and I'm starting now. She's showing us that enjoying getting dressed--enjoying the expression of communicating through clothing, exploring fashion in an inventive and adventurous way, isn't something reserved only for the young. It's a healthy message.

Re: Slashing Just for Fun

To answer your question, Blackfabric, I'm finishing up on a CD book on working with leather and fur, so keep an eye out here, and I'll post when it will be available..

Re: Slashing Just for Fun


This is a fun technique to do and wear. I found that after a couple more washings, the effect got a little fuzzier, and "bloomed" more. I've tried it on other fabrics since, and the effect varies by weave, with a twill weave giving results I like better. Putting fabric behind the slits is an option when one is making a garment from scratch (like we did in the magazine article), but the work-around here, is either tights (or in winter, my red long johns) underneath, or making sure the cuts fall below the modesty level of the wearer.

To Quiltinfool, yes, the kids do indeed like these jeans. I've been shouted out many times on the streets by the younger ones.

In response to Georgiana, the jeans were well past their prime, so instead of ruining a good pair, or throwing these away, I gave them a new look, and extended their life. They have become a "go-to" pair, and I have to make sure not to wear them too much. Interesting, though, the symbolism people attach to things--If I hadn't referred to it as "slashing", but as "strategic cutting" (which is what I'm doing, with the plotted-out grid, and is something that's historically inspired from the times of Henry the Eighth), might the psychological implication of violence have arisen? Interesting question. She is indeed right in saying the jeans look good on me--thanks for the compliment!

Re: A Fix for a Baggy Seat

to mcones1: No--that's a different alteration. This one applies to ripples that are roughly parallel to the floor...

Re: A Fix for a Baggy Seat

I especially like JDTailor's answer--Since I generally start from scratch, I don't do alterations so much, so having that answer here really completes the information!

Re: Shaped Twisted Bias Insertions

In answer to the question of length of strips, I find that they work well when they are 3 times, to 4 times longer than the width. So, the wider the strip, the longer they can be.

I showed this on a skirt, but this technique can be used anywhere, as some of the comments here reflect. (I also understand about not wanting to draw attention to my midsection!) We chose a skirt for the model, because it required less construction, and would allow the technique to show well without the distraction of the rest of the garment details. But this technique looks well on a back and front shoulder yoke, or as trim for cuffs, down the center of a sleeve, or at the hem of a garment--quilts, too!

Glad you all are enjoying this!

Re: The Big Finish - Completing the Fantasy Fur Jacket

Thanks for all the kind comments--this has been a fun project, and I do look fabulous in it. I'm working with our photographers to get some spiffy photos (both front and back) of me in the jacket, as i feel your patience should be rewarded with a good look at the jacket "in situ".

And for those who can't imagine wearing this, that's OK. One needs the proper location (New York for me), social set (my Park Ave. gals or my students at FIT who were all over this), and events to wear it to. So, in my world, it's entirely wearable and appropriate.

And, to paraphrase Diana Vreeland again, it's not ugly I object to (she was referring to vulgarity but they are related), it's having no style that I object to. I'd rather take a chance on wearing something that is too far out there, than pass looking invisible.

And boy oh boy, I'm not invisible with this jacket!

Re: Front Edge and Shoulder Pads for Fantasy Fur Jacket

To Josefly:

There's an amazing woman here in New York named Iris Apfel. (I got to meet her at a Ralph Rucci show once. Fab!) Ms. Apfel is an iconoclast of style, and was the subject of an article in the New York Times recently (the link is:

Have a look at her personal style. You may like it or not, but she is who she is, and unabashedly so. I hope to look like that when I get to her age (which is somewhere around 90).

She is quoted in that article as saying: “...that when you don’t dress like everybody else, you don’t have to think like everybody else.”

So true, and a statement that resonates with me. We all communicate through fashion, consciously or unconsciously. It's a good barometer of one's state of mind.

Re: Front Edge and Shoulder Pads for Fantasy Fur Jacket

I've said time and time again, that fashion is so interesting because, if for no other reason, that one person's fabulous is another person's poison. If we all liked the same things, the world would be a dull place.

So, one may or may not decide whether the expert construction and technique excuses a monstrosity or not, but ultimately it's the person doing the designing and constructing, and the person wearing it, who decide that. That's what I, as a designer, am called to do.

And just because one might not wear it, that doesn't mean it's not wearable. It may not be wearable by one person, but is eminently wearable by another (in this case, me, and I look fabulous, I might add). I'm working on getting a photo of me in the jacket, because I do indeed look so fab in it!

At the risk of sounding snarky here, and with all due respect: If you don't like the jacket, or feel we've devoted too much time to it, there's a good variety of information posted here from other contributors, so you have many other informative and entertaining posts to read. You can pass on reading the future posts on this jacket--I won't be offended.

My endeavor here, was to show process. I've had many people say they'd like to see how my process works, and the blog posts seemed to be the best way to do it. As I try to bring a variety of information to my blog posts, I can't please everyone, with every blog post.

Re: Front Edge and Shoulder Pads for Fantasy Fur Jacket

Thanks for the kind comments, especially the ones about preserving the jacket for the future. I have work in the permanent collections of the De Young Museum in San Francisco, the L.A. County Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum, and the Victoria and Albert. So, there's precedent....

Re: Front Edge and Shoulder Pads for Fantasy Fur Jacket

Oak tag board, also known as tag board, is the kind of paper that manila file folders is made from. You can substitute any posterboard, or cardboard, for this work. Im just happened to have the tag board handy.

Tag board (oak tag) is what is used to make sloper patterns for drafting garments in design workrooms--just a little factoid for your enjoyment!

Re: Corsets from the Hardware Store!

I adore, and really resonate with the comment on purism versus affordable function. This may be because I come from a retail window display training, not an art background.

In window display (theater costuming and set design are similar disciplines), one doesn't stand on what the "correct" technique or material is. One needs to get a job done in a fixed amount of time with the materials at hand. So there are times I "sewed" draperies with a hand stapler and hemmed them with duct tape, used foam rubber caulking (it comes in different diameters and accepts latex paint well) to make elaborate crown moldings, and made ice cream from semi-set-up plaster scooped out with an ice cream scoop and painted with latex paint.

So, while I can appreciate using the correct materials when doing a particular thing, I'm not averse to substituting when time constraints, or lack of available materials keeps me from delivering something on time. So, I feel fortunate that I got a window display training and not an art training--I've met people in the art world who, like Immc writes, look down at my (and others') work because of some of my materials choices.

But my customers, as well as some museums (like the Victoria and Albert) think otherwise and have my work in their permanent collections. So much for purism.

This is a long way of saying, that the more we know about different materials and techniques, gives us more versatility and flexibility in our work, and enhances creativity--a really desirable outcome. Something I think we all agree on!

Re: Corsets from the Hardware Store!

I apologize for the double post--working in-flight can be so distracting!

Re: Corsets from the Hardware Store!

For those comments regarding the drawbacks for the zip ties, indeed there are. They aren't a substitute in all cases for spring steel or spiral steel, but another resource to consider when making a project (especially if you are in a time crunch and don't have the proper materials on hand.

As for the comfort in wearing, the fabrics on this corset are silk and cotton, and there is quite a bit of space between the bones, so the garment is comfortable to wear. But it is a bit thick from the thickness of the zip ties, but I don't have too much aversion to that.

Besides, these corsets I made (I did three of them that weekend) were an experiment, so I really expected nothing more. Having something that I could wear afterward was just a bonus!

Re: Corsets from the Hardware Store!

In response to Puterdame, the show was called Sewing Today, and the host was a lovely woman named Nancy Fleming, who was Miss America 1961 (her talent was sewing). Sewing With Nancy is still on-air and is hosted by Nancy Ziehman, another lovely woman.

As for the shirt book, that would be David Coffin, who was an editor for this fine publication for a number of years--he has a book out on Trouser construction now, which is excellent. My book, called Cool Couture, is still selling briskly.

Re: Corsets from the Hardware Store!

In response to Puterdame, the show was called Sewing Today, and the host was a lovely woman named Nancy Fleming, who was Miss America 1961 (her talent was sewing). Sewing With Nancy is still on-air and is hosted by Nancy Ziehman, another lovely woman.

As for the shirt book, that would be David Coffin, who was an editor for this fine publication for a number of years--he has a book out on Trouser construction now, which is excellent. My book, called Cool Couture, is still selling briskly.

For those comments regarding the drawbacks for the zip ties, indeed there are. They aren't a substitute in all cases for spring steel or spiral steel, but another resource to consider when making a project (especially if you are in a time crunch and don't have the proper materials on hand.

As for the comfort in wearing, the fabrics on this corset are silk and cotton, and there is quite a bit of space between the bones, so the garment is comfortable to wear. But it is a bit thick from the thickness of the zip ties, but I don't have too much aversion to that.

Besides, these corsets I made (I did three of them that weekend) were an experiment, so I really expected nothing more. Having something that I could wear afterward was just a bonus!

Re: Corsets from the Hardware Store!

Thanks for the compliment, but I'd say I'm more of a disciple (of fashion)! And besides, it wasn't my idea, I'm just the one passing it along...

Re: Sewing the Facing Gusset for the Fantasy Fur Jacket

There's no real way to entirely eliminate the puckers when sewing the weft and ribbon together. Using a zig zag stitch helps, but that's why I make the pieces of fabric before cutting--where there are puckers, there's shrinkage as well.

Re: A Pretty Blue Coat

In regards to pressing those seams flat, this is a napped melton (or it looks like it), and giving the seams a hard press would put a great deal of shine on the fabric. Personally, I like the soft effect--makes the fabric look thicker and more cushiony, and is consistent with the soft color.

Re: Embroiderers, or those who love it--some good news!

This is hand embroidery---quite beautiful, and this particular example, which is called bullion embroidery, is also quite costly for materials.

Re: From Botch Job to Beautiful in an Afternoon!

Regarding the shadow applique dress: It is vintage, actually, and the technique was inspired by the dress, but I didn't actually make the dress. Thanks for thinking that I did though--it is really a lovely thing.

Re: Installing the Front Band to the Fantasy Fur Jacket

To Lauriediane:

Thanks for the comment about riding on a horse at sunset. I've worn this jacket a couple of times before the weather turned warm, and it does indeed look better in motion than on a form--there's something about the hair's movement that gives it life and doesn't make it look as ponderous as it may seem in photos.

Re: From Botch Job to Beautiful in an Afternoon!

Regarding the size of the armhole, I really didn't think of wearing it over a jacket until I was finished--the botch job was sooooo big, that a very large armhole was what was needed. I figured it would be under a jacket, so that wouldn't matter, but them tried it on over a jacket, and--there you are!

Re: From Botch Job to Beautiful in an Afternoon!

Thanks for the kind words, Ustabahippie! I think it's fun to re-purpose something that has potential but just "needs something".

But let's not pile on about the viewpoints on hand stitching-people are evolving at different points along this path we all call sewing. I remember early on, wondering why one does or doesn't do a certain thing a certain way, but it was through making lots of things, and observing the results, that I myself came to the desire to do things a certain way.

Also, to defend the uneven stitching: I had a studio partner in San Francisco, who did graphic arts, and she had a saying: "Good enough for what it's for." And that's a valid outlook--as I said in my last comment, I've done the Frankenstein stitches. On costumes, that would be worn once, that someone needed as a favor at the last minute. But I threatened them with bodily harm if they told anyone I actually sewed them. But I did. So, in those cases, the stitches shown in the photo I posted, would have looked exactly like what I did.

I guess what I'm trying to say, is that one can evaluate the methods used on a case by case basis, deciding what is "good enough for what it's for", and what needs the extra effort. Over time, with more practice and a trained eye, I believe people who sew come to want to do it well, because of the tangible and intangible benefits of doing so.

Re: From Botch Job to Beautiful in an Afternoon!

To answer comments:

Regarding the cold tape, you get that at leather or furrier suppliers, like J. Bauer in New York. There's also a 1/4" wide black masking tape you can get from photography suppliers that does well.

As for the deep armholes, and a view of the jacket "before"--I actually couldn't wear it, as the person who altered brought the armhole and shoulder way in. It actually pulled up off my shoulders about 4". The armhole was made so deep, because the initial botch was so big. I would have liked it smaller, but proportionally as well as technically, it had to be large.

As for the jacket I show it with, it's a "standard issue" Guatemalan jacket, and yes, I'll do a post on it and a couple of others I own.

Also a good idea is a post for the French binding, which I believe is also treated in Claire Schaeffer's book on couture sewing. Also, a post on making pleats hang closed and crisp--I can do that. It's a really easy trick.

Regarding the comment on the hand stitching: I've done that kind of stitching, which I call '"Frankenstein stitches", but only INSIDE a lining where they won't show. We all do it, even though we may not admit to it. It's just when the stitches are on view like that-perhaps it wasn't the best way to show just what a botch job this was but it was what I decided at the time--if the stitches are on view, it's the same amount of time to sew them even as it is to make them uneven.

Really, with a little practice ( and only a little, along with some rhythmic music strangely enough), one can get the stitches even. Also, I find that ironing the thread before you thread the needle, whether you wax it (natural fibers) or not (man-made fibers), makes for more even stitches, just because the thread travels more smoothly through the fabric. When the thread doesn't snarl while stitching, you don't break rhythm and the stitches will be more even. Also spinning the needle counter-clockwise every so often while sewing, will keep the thread from twisting and snarling.

This exploration of even stitching falls under my general feeling that, if you want ready to wear, it's less expensive from a time and money standpoint, to just buy it. There's immense satisfaction to making something nice. I still secretly enjoy it when people say with evident surprise, "You MADE that?!?" (They do. Really. Even though they know what I do for a living.) It is, in part, because my hand stitches are even.

Re: Installing the Front Band to the Fantasy Fur Jacket

To The Thread Lady--

Thanks for posting this! I'm very pleased that you "got" what I'm trying to do here, showing process. It's important, when pushing forward in any endeavor, that you are willing to take some risks. Sometimes those risks get commented upon (pro and con, see below), but you can't let that stop you.

Also, when pushing forward, it helps to not be too fearful of "doing it wrong"--perfectionism, I say, is a disease--we should try for the illusion of perfection, not actual perfection.

Lastly, you are getting it, that the craft itself adds to the aesthetics of a piece. I had a jewelry teacher years ago in San Francisco, who used to say that if you make the process so seamless that it's invisible, people will have to accept or reject a piece on aesthetics alone. Part of that seamlessness, is not skipping the steps, because it will always tell on you.

And you understand--I feel good that I've helped contribute to that.

Re: Installing the Front Band to the Fantasy Fur Jacket

Interesting comments, as always!

I appreciate the kind words of support and compliments, which communicates that these people understand the purpose of this particular series of posts. It was my intention to show process, and the different technical issues and solutions, in "real time" so to speak. So to those who have been following with interest, thank you!

As for aesthetics, I've posted earlier that fashion is a wonderful thing--one person's fabulous is another person's poison. When it's all said and done, though, I work to please myself and my customers. Though it may not be conventionally handsome, or stylish in a commercial sense, I look fabulous in this jacket, and have worn it a couple of times here in New York.

Re: The Bullfighter's Jacket

to sbailey,

I really don't know how to go about it, but would love some information on the maker if you come across any. I googled them but came away with nothing. Having a vest by them--wow, what a treasure, and something one could wear a lot more than this piece. Just as a guide, I paid US$100.00 for it at a flea market here in New York. A deal, I know, but it isn't i pristine condition.

Re: Interlining a Slit Pocket

To Beth:

Work backwards in my posts, and you'll see one called Fantasy fur. I made the fur, actually...

Re: Leather Lacing for Fantasy Fur Jacket

to prterrier:

Thanks for the suggestions! I'm using the synthetic lacing for this project, precisely for the reason you mentioned--the synthetic has a cotton core so doesn't stretch quite so much.

And yes, Barge cement is a good product that I use on occasion, but I just happened to have a whole can of the contact cement from another project so wanted to use it up...

Re: A New Improved Seam Roll

A further comment on padding: I do pad my pressing table, and sleeve board. An old wool blanket, single thickness, is what I find works best. Others prefer more padding on their pressing tables, but yes, the flat surfaces need padding.

But as for the seam roll, I like the hard surface, to get a flat seam without running the risk of embossing the seam allowances into the fabric surrounding the seam. I did some experimentation when I first learned of a seam roll. I was not a fan of the sawdust-filled one as it flattened out, and when I was using railing dowel I arrived at this preference for no padding, which, is just that--a preference--not carved on stone.

I'm glad you all are enjoying this post. We felt you might like a break from the opus fantasy fur jacket!

Re: A New Improved Seam Roll

In response to Stillsewing: I adore my sleeve board, and it's never far from my pressing table. I also use this seam roll on top of the sleeve board id I want to get most of the rest of the garment out of the way for pressing. It has about 9 inches between the foot and the board, so I can get quite a bit of a garment between the two layers. It's not collapsible, but that isn't quite an issue with me, as I leave all my working tools out.

As for questions about covers and padding: As I said earlier, I prefer no padding and just a cover, but pad with whatever you like, as long as it is a natural fiber. Wool woks as well as cotton.

And the comment about hardwood railing is very good--I use hardwood, because it won't flatten out, but didn't know that with steam, that the pitch will bleed from pine or other softwoods. But it makes sense.

Re: A New Improved Seam Roll


As for the question of how much padding--none. I prefer it very hard as opposed to with padding, as one gets a really flat seam that way. As to the padding for the ironing board that has the reflective surface....also no.

The purpose of these tools in addition to being a pressing surface, is to draw the heat and moisture through and away from the fabric, for a good press. The coverings with a reflective surface work counter to that, and don't give the same results. If you want to cover it with a bit of padding, one layer of cotton flannelette underneath the muslin will be just the ticket--natural fibers will do the same as the wood, because they, too are cellulose, as is the wood.

Re: The Yoke Pattern for a Fantasy Fur Jacket

Hello, Rabia,

Thanks for the kind words! The coat is finished (awaiting a photo of me in it), and I'm working on a messenger bag out of the same fantasy fur and leather. it's coming along nicely, and will make some fashionista very happy...

Re: Interlining a Slit Pocket

This information translates well to fur, both real and fake. With fur, there are different ways to handle different seams--I give a class on about fur, and, as a teaser, I'm working on an article in an upcoming issue of Sewstylish on sewing fake fur.

In future posts, you'll see some information on working with leather, as the yoke for this jacket will be leather, with lacing. So stay tuned.

As for the mess, that's part of the challenge. I cut the fur from the back with a really sharp fur knife. A sharp exacto blade or single-edge razor blade works as well. Cutting from the back minimizes the amount of pile you lose. If you're in any way sensitive or allergic, a kerchief or dust mask over your nose is recommended.

Also, keep the vacuum cleaner right by your side--after you cut a piece, vacuum the edges of that piece and any of the nap that comes loose. This will minimize the amount that will get stuck to your lip gloss/up your nose/stuck to your facial hair (in my case). Take those few moments to vacuum while cutting, then vacuum again after cutting, and you'll have less mess to deal with.

Re: Sewing with creative materials

Thanks, Threadjunkie! A good tip, which I'll adapt to this situation!

Re: The Blog for Men Who Sew (And the Women Who Sew For Them)

I think Peter, and his blog, are really good for getting more men into sewing! Really, if you think about it, the discipline of sewing is somewhat like woodworking, which is a traditionally "male" occupation. There's measuring, drafting, layout, assembling things in a particular order--and there are machines and hand tools involved.

The fact that Peter started out, not that long ago, and he's making things that look custom made instead of home-made, should give heart to anyone wanting to learn the craft. His way of coming to the world of sewing shows in how he presents himself and the blog, in that he gives permission to just--GO!-- and give it a try.

I'm glad that he's hugely successful.

Re: Sewing with creative materials

To Kathrynlena:

I haven't tried curling the hair, but I believe you can do that somewhat with synthetic. I'm working on the jacket now,and will have to touch up with some trimming when I get it done, to better blend the layers together. Really, it's like a wig for your body, so style away!

Re: Princess seams, and other treacherous curves!

To CutterDraper: I was taught to clip perpendicular, as others were taught to clip at an angle. I like my way because I catch the seam allowances down, and having that little angled end of the clipped seam allowance flapping away isn't to my taste.

It's one of those preference things, both ways being applicable...

Re: Sewing with creative materials

Hello, Butis!

A handbag is the next project I had in mind for the fur--mine would be a messenger bag--somewhat large, for day wear. But your idea for something small and delicate for evening would be cool as well. Creativity--that's what it's all about!

Re: Sewing with creative materials

That's the spirit, CFields! It always makes me happy to see the creativity of our readers in action. I wouldn't have thought of making doll hair this way!

You'll find that when you construct doll hair this way, the weft won't be visible (as opposed to stitching the weft directly to the fabric) because the succeeding ribbon will cover it.

For a smaller scale like a doll's head, you'll use a narrower ribbon, of course. One thing to keep in mind however you use this technique--choose a ribbon color slightly darker than the hair that will go over it. This will blend better. I tried a lighter-colored ribbon when making my sample for this piece, and it showed too much through the hair.

Re: Sewing with creative materials

A shout-out to Austin, then, as another center of fashion! Glad to hear that you're inspired, and would love to see your take on this technique when you're finished!

Re: Sewing with creative materials

I've posted a photo of the last hair weave coat I made, for you all to enjoy (or not)...

Re: Sewing with creative materials

Hello, all,

To those who like this, expect more posts regarding the technical details, like slit pockets. This whole project is really engaging to me in an engineering sense, and so I'm showing you all my "process", as I figure out how to make this particular project. My aim is to speak to those who may be engaged in costuming or other wild projects, and need out-of-the-ordinary construction solutions.

To Auntiesewandsew: I laughed about the comment of "punk Cousin It". I heard words to that effect just yesterday, and that's partly what I'm wanting to do with this jacket.

For those for whom it isn't their cup of tea, not to worry. That's what's so wonderful about fashion--one person's fabulous is another person's poison. When it's all said and done, I dress and design to please myself (and clients) and everyone else's opinion is just that. I know I'm fabulous, and that's all that matters.

I admit it's an extreme garment, not for the faint of heart or for places outside New York, Paris, or Berlin. But as a creative person, if I don't take some risks and possibly fall on my face aesthetically, then the whole thing gets boring. There will be a leather yoke (you'll see it later) that tames the whole thing down a bit, but I do admit, when I got it al basted together, my first reaction was that I'd gone too far. But I tried it on, and--WOW! Fabulous.

Showing this technique in this color range, doesn't mean it can't be made in more subtle shades (I see it in grey hair). Perhaps the large scale of this is off-putting to some. Another application for this, which I'm doing next, is handbags, which contains the size.

But when it's all said and done, this series of blog posts is more inspiration/process, rather than making something you could wear to church. There's plenty of that information around. While I enjoy posting and writing about things that one could indeed wear to church, every now and then I need to kick the boundaries out--it's refreshing.

And to Norabora: Threads is a magazine for technique, not a fashion magazine. We look to what is happening in fashion, but in the end, technique is what we're about. As a Contributing Editor, I'm proud to be associated with Threads, as it is highly regarded in the needle arts world. We strive to make things that people might want to wear, but as I said above about fashion, one person's fabulous is another person's poison. Trying to be all things to all people is the death of any venture, and one can't please everyone. Threads does what it does well, which is to publish a magazine that strives to bring its readers good technique and solid information in every issue.

Re: The Felted Wool Sweater--Updated

to Quertygirl: The order of construction doesn't inhibit or affect mobility. As long as all of the seams on a garment are sewn to the pattern specifications, the garment will fit and wear the same--the order of construction makes no difference in fit or mobility. Setting a sleeve to the bodice flat, and then sewing the underarm seam of the sleeve along with the side seam of the bodice, just simplifies construction.

Re: The Felted Wool Sweater--Updated

To Ordinary Princess:

I sewed the sleeve to the bodice, and then sewed the bodice side seam and underarm seam on the sleeve all in one shot--when installing a sleeve with one underam seam, that's the easiest way.

Re: The Felted Wool Sweater--Updated

To rk4cds1--

This is why I was reluctant to post an entire photo! As I said in an earlier post, it's just a dumb sweater. But it does read better, and work aesthetically, in person. And that's why I didn't initially post a photo. I do things for a reason.

It is precisely the contrast of the detail, and the texture of the fabric, that I was going for. And as for trying to accomplish too much--again, that's what I was going for.

So, perhaps, next time I don't post a photo, could we all agree to just enjoy the technique? It's less wounding to me than reading a post that sounds like someone talking smack about my taste, which is what this post felt like.

Re: The Felted Wool Sweater--Updated


I'm glad you all are enjoying t his post--so, to address questions and comments.

To all of you who wanted to see me in the sweater: Sadly, I didn't have anyone around to photograph me in it. Everyone was away for the holidays, that's why I was sewing clothes for myself.

As for the design, it was my own pattern--I wanted to make a boat neck style sweater pattern for myself--it's just a basic pullover, no closures, a little taper at the waist. Nothing special, no collars or details. Very plain.

To Lauriediane and jothwade: Sewing the sleeve is a bit of a challenge--I sewed it from the right side, but turned the sleeve inside out before beginning. You have to go a little at a time, and the sleeve sort-of stacks up around the needle and presser foot before you're done. So, I thread basted it first before sewing. The saddle stitching came after.

To sassy crafter: I got the fabric from a place here in NYC called "Fabrics For Less" on 38th Street.

To cerogersmom: Not so--when you overlap the cut edge (which is a seam line) onto the chalk-marked stitching line on the sleeve, you have put the garment together "at the seamline". By sewing 3/8" in, though the machine stitching ON THE BODICE is 3/8" inside the stitching line, it is compensated for because the machine stitching on the sleeve is 3/8" out onto the seam allowance. So there's no net change in fit.

Imagine the joining of the cut edge on the bodice to the marked stitching line, as a proper seam--Sew the seam, press both seam allowances to the bodice, and then the 3/8" in would just be topstitching. Here we eliminate the first row of stitching-the topstitching is what's holding things together.

Re: The Kermit-Green Jacket

I'm glad you all liked this tip--I felt rather clever when I came up with it, as I really liked the green, and this jacket wouldn't let me leave it behind.

To Sue: Yes I take all my thrift finds to the cleaners. If you want to kill the moth eggs and such, you can also take that sealed bag, and throw it into the freezer for three or four days, and do the same thing. I learned that from a friend who owned parrots and saved the feathers (also a protein fiber attractive to moths). Of course, since I don't cook, my freezer is free for this sort of thing.

To Joannely--yes, this works for cuffs as well, and I had to do it for this jacket--good call there!

Re: The Double Cloth Patch Pocket

In response to Aly, Threads did an article on Ralph Rucci, and in that article, treated the issue of sewing seams and edges with double cloth--if you're looking for some good information, I'd refer you and everyone else to that article.

Re: The Double Cloth Patch Pocket

Hello, all!

Interesting comments about this pocket! With regards to Suzannity's comments about how Threads publishes a variety of techniques, it is true that there are a number of ways to do a particular thing. That means that there is room for pdevore's way, as well as mine, as well as other ways to install this pocket. That's the beauty of learning differing techniques--you can decide, based on whatever requirements you have regarding time, appearance, durability, etc.--which technique to use. If someone says that there's only ONE way to do something, they are, at best, misinformed.

As this was an inside pocket, I wanted it not to show from the outside, hence the pick stitching. Also, I didn't want the stitching from the outside pockets to show on the inside.

Also, the classic way to finish an edge for double cloth, is to turn the seam allowances in and slip stitch. I personally like that appearance--also, my particular customer would immediately know it was hand done, which elevates it in terms of price and desirability to them. A machine finish would, to their eyes, look somehow wrong. But, if you want to stitch the edge by machine, and like the appearance, then by all means--there's no incorrect way here, depending on the appearance and uses you put the garment through.

As for how to choose which technique to use and when--that's a difficult question to answer, because it is such a matter of personal preference and experience. It may sound like a dodge, but I've found that knowing which technique to use for a particular garment, (and in my case, to appeal to a particular customer) is something I've arrived at by both studying many kinds of garments, as well as making many kinds of garments, over the years.

Re: The Fortuny Jacket

To Boofsmom, I bought the jeans that way (in one of those off-price shops down on Lower Broadway), so I can't answer how it's done. Sorry I couldn't be of help there.

And to Rabia-- That's the beauty of fashion--one person's fashion is another person's tacky. If we all agreed on what was good and what was not good, wouldn't life be boring? I like the idea of being cavalier with something so fine by combining it with something so down-market. (And for the record, my fly is not open, but you can see my underwear through one of the holes in the jeans--it's the flash of red and green on my upper thigh.)

Diana Vreeland, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Magazine in the 1960's summed it up best. To paraphrase, she said that she didn't mind vulgarity (or in other words, tackiness), it was having NO style that she was opposed to. My fashion choices may sometimes disagree with others' tastes, but I dress to please myself. It's one of my supreme joys in life--standing in front of my closet and deciding who I want to be for a particular day or event, and then deciding what that will look like.

Re: The Bullfighter's Jacket

Oh, and for the record, yes--I looked (and look) fabulous in it!

Re: The Bullfighter's Jacket

To answer questions about the jacket:

As for fabric, it looks like a taffeta, as it is rather thin. The understructure is what gives it body. There are some scuffs on the surface of the fabric, but no tearing, so the fabric is remarkably durable.

As for age, my sense is that this is 20-30 years old, but I have no hard proof of that. My assumption is drawn from the pearlescent white faceted beads on the epaulettes--those I don't remember seeing until the late 70's or early -80's--but again, I don't have hard information.

I believe the jackets are used over and over again, as they are really built like tanks. This one, I assume, saw many fights before it was retired. As for cleaning, that I can't answer, but I assume that some form of spot cleaning is what is done.

AS for the sleeve, it is sewn at the cap tot he armhole, and connected for 4-5" at most. The armhole itself is rather high, and the bodice fits very closely, so the piece is easy to move around in--once you get into it.

Getting in, and out, is a wrestle, and assistance is recommended. I actually got stuck in this jacket for about an hour, and had these absurd visions of my dead body being found, stuck in the jacket. But, alas, I got out!

Thanks to Lizothelake, for the history lesson--I'm always glad to read more information about his subject.

And, full disclosure: I don't condone bullfighting. I just like the jacket.

Re: Staying a Neckline and Armhole

I like silk over polyester, because polyester has too much "sproing". You could substitute cotton organdy, as it's also thin, and presses flat. The polyester, though not ideal, would be my last choice but in a pinch I've used it.

Re: Staying a Curve with Crossgrain Muslin

To Gwynnerose, you'd not press everything towards the raw edge of the seam allowance. When installing the facing or sleeve, you'll stitch through just the single layer of muslin flat against the back of the fashion fabric--if you wish, after sewing, you can trim the excess on the body side of the seam down to 1/8"

Re: Moving Flare in a Skirt

Removing flare from a sleeve works the same way as you would for a skirt. You fold the flare out of the section of the muslin where you want it removed,and then transfer that to the pattern. You'll make the alteration as a wedge shape, all the way to the armhole seam.

Re: Staying a Neckline and Armhole

To answer the question about the dual tracing wheel--It's made by Clover, and you can get them from Clover dealers. Also, try The Sewing Place, or the Clothilde catalog. One way or the other, you can get them...

Re: Princess seams, and other treacherous curves!

To French Tart:

The description you mention, is still indeed a princess seam, whether it hits right across the bust or not--princess seams by definition being vertical seams up and down a garment (excluding side seams).

As far as where the placement of where the princess seam should go, the general rule I use is that it shouldn't cross the bust point, but should be 1/4"-1/2" outside--this looks better on the figure. It narrows in at the waist, to reinforce the "wider at the bust, narrower at the waist" line.

As for anything else, you use your eye to determine the placement, and this is all judged on a case by case basis. You can get narrow black tape at the art supply store or a photographic supplier--tape that on your garment, to determine where the seam looks best.

Re: The Fortuny Shirt

To Fortuny Fanatic:

Would you like to work a trade, some of mine for some of yours?

Re: Staying a Neckline and Armhole

To answer a couple more questions:

If you're staying transparent fabrics such as chiffon, one layer of organza will serve well. If you're worried about the organza showing, the last resort is to use the self-fabric cut on the lengthwise grain--chiffon is a little more fluid than organza but will do the job.

And, if you're staying knits, it eliminates the stretch, so you'll want to make sure you can get your head through a neck opening, or make other provisions for getting it over the head (plackets, buttons and loops, etc.)

Re: Staying a Neckline and Armhole


To answer a couple of questions>

Yes, when the strip is pressed in half lengthwise, then both layers of the organza are caught into the seam--more strength. If you are staying a chiffon, you can use a single layer.

And, the strips aren't pressed towards the seam allowances. When you sew the facings on, everything is flat. If you're concerned about excess bulk inside the garment, then, after you sew the facings on, you can trim to 1/4" on the garment side of the stitching line. That will keep everything from bunching and showing through over the life of the garment.

Re: The Fortuny Shirt

There is a question as to where I got the snaps: There's a place called "Pacific Trimmings", on 38th street between 7th and 8th Avenues in New York. They have a wide assortment of really cool snaps, quite a variety of designs and finishes. I believe they have a web site, which is:

Re: Staying a Curve with Crossgrain Muslin

To Memmy-- Do try this on the waist seam of a faced waistband. When you are shaping the strip, make sure to pull all the stretch out--this just involves really pulling on the strip while you're pressing. Then, your waist bands won't stretch over time.

And for all who don't care where my commas are placed--thanks for your indulgence! The editors at Threads have their hands full editing the magazine, so there are times when they can't get to the posts to clean things up.

Re: Staying a Curve with Crossgrain Muslin

This strip of muslin is sewn into the seam when you sew the sleeve in, so it will stay in the seam in the final garment. The muslin should be a thinner muslin, like a shirt weight. Then, you don't add too much bulk to the seam.

It can also be used anywhere you have a curve that needs to be stayed anywhere on the garment--on armholes, neck edges, pocket edges--anywhere there is a curved seam that you don't want to stretch out before you sew the final stitching line.

Since this is on the back (wrong) side of the fabric, you won't see it in the final garment. If you're worried about excess bulk, you can trim it to 1/8" from the final seam line after the seam is sewn. Then, just enough of the fabric will catch in the seam to keep the curve from stretching over the life of the garment.

Re: Organza beaded "feather" edge

Regarding the question of beads falling: When you pull the end of the organza feathers through the bed twice, that keeps them on pretty well with friction. (I've never lost any.) But if you want a little "insurance", you can do a tiny dot of Fray-check on the hole once the bead is on, and that will set it.

As for cleaning, a gentle hand wash for the garment is recommended.

And, as for why I didn't show a finished garment--I'm limited to 20 photos for the post. Also, the readers of Threads are of such a high caliber, that I know they all will see a new technique and immediately get going with their imaginations and use the technique in amazing ways!

Re: Organza beaded "feather" edge


Thanks for the kind words!

Regarding the question of finishing and cutting, this organza is polyester, so I use a hot stencil cutter (the one quilters use for stencils) to cut the organza. That way there is no fraying--the edges are sealed. So, you can dry clean or wash ith no problem.

In answer to the question: Do I stay awake nights? In short, yes.....

Re: Princess seams, and other treacherous curves!

I want to thank you all for the kind comments!

TO answer questions: To Jackie50, the pattern determines the curves, and that, you get from fitting on the person. If you match the seam lines, the outer clipped edges of the seam allowances will spread exactly the amount they need to, without you having to do anything. One thing to remember--make sure you mark all your matching notches from your pattern to the fabric. Then everything will work smoothly.

To Twilight Dancer, regarding the show "Sewing Today": Nancy Fleming, who was the host, was really wonderful to me, and I can't say anything bad about her. She took a lot of time to make me feel comfortable in front of a camera (she did lots of TV in her career), and was generally a lovely woman. Just what you'd expect from a Miss America. If anything came across in the videos, it was because I was the nervous one, and didn't reflect on her. A truly lovely gal.

To Wanda J,and establishing my own sewing-content site: I teach on Patternreview, and feel fortunate to be associated with that site, and it's inventor Deepika Prakash. She's worked really hard to provide a community where people who love sewing can connect, all over the world. I couldn't even begin to compete with that (nor do I want to, as it's a boatload of work), because she "wrote the book" on doing it well. I highly encourage you all to check them out if you haven't. Also, she has a book coming out in the fall, which I am a contributor to.

To Mynick: I'm with you onthis. I assumed for a long time that people were taught this, but it seems, not. I saw this in my students at FIT, as well as seasoned sew-ers, so that's why I posted this.

Re: How to make a Chrysanthemum flower

THis flower can be made from wide ribbon or strips of organza, either will do. Cutting on the bias won't work here, as the petals are very long and thin--the bias would make them pull apart very quickly.

You can use polyester organza and the hot knife, and this gives a sealed edge so they don't ravel. Otherwise, they will ravel over time, but I think this adds to the charm of the flower.

Another suggestion, if you are using silk organza, is to curl the petals with a small diameter curling iron before you make the flower. This will give a completely different look, one that is smaller in diameter but fuller in texture.

Re: Ribbon Braid

Hello, everyone!

The main question that seems to be appearing here is: what the heck do you use this for? Fiona has a good idea for trimming the Chanel style jacket, and rally, trimming edges of garments, pockets, and the like, is what this braid is best suited for. It's flexible, so you can easily go around curves, and the abundance of folds in the fabric will conceal stitches well.

Another idea is to make it from different widths or textures of ribbon, and use it, sewn in stripes (generally vertical) onto the body of a garment. I'd go with the narrower ribbon for this, as you don't want to visually add too much bulk, and a wider ribbon, which would suit well for an edge, won't work well for an all-over stripe.

As for the summer camp memories, I never went--but I remember making a braid out of gum wrappers (remember those?) that is similar to this. I should investigate that, to see if it translates to fabric...

Re: Cut-on Gusset

To Makeitfittrish: Yes, you could just add the extra to the undersleeve. I've seen this done in Ballet jackets--but the construction is a little trickier and klunkier. Having the undersleeve extend down the side as I showed, I think looks cool, and from a construction standpoint is easier to set in.

Re: Cut-on Gusset

To Adagiolane: Thanks for the kind words!
Yes, this sleeve is one of a genre of sleeves that one saw in clothing of the mid 20th century and before. These sleeves, sadly have fallen out of use with the advent of improved stretch fabrics, but they are still worthwhile to know about.

Re: Cut-on Gusset

To Villa: I would determine the amount the shirt hangs over the shoulders first. Then, you can make a vertical line mid-shoulder (both front and back pattern pieces) that is parallel to the center front or back. Fold this amount out parallel to raise the shoulder--it will also reduce the total circumference of the shirt.

If you just want to reduce the shoulder width, slash the pattern down from the shoulder to the intersection of the armhole/side seam. Make sure not to disturb the armhole curve. Pivot the armhole back at the shoulder, pivoting on the point where the armhole and side seams intersect. Essentially you are rotating the armhole towards the center, at the shoulder. Then, draft new shoulder lines from the armhole to neck.

Did that make sense?

Re: Cut-on Gusset

To Fwren: I don't know of a pattern for the trouser with a gusset, nor have I cut such a pattern. So, sadly I can't answer this one...

Re: Cut-on Gusset

To Josefly: I wouldn't use this on a sleeve that has too low of an armhole, because I think it would look sloppy--there is a rule-of-thumb here. The higher the armhole, the narrower the sleeve can be. The narrower the sleeve, the more negative space between sleeve and body. The more negative space between sleeve and body, the trimmer the entire figure (read: waist) appears.

But the original coat I saw this on, was indeed a coat that had to fit over clothes. In the final analysis, though, I'd make a test garment before I made it in real fabric anyway, to evaluate the appearance.

Re: Cut-on Gusset

To Muffie--I don't use commercial patterns so don't know if there's one available. I think not--this sleeve falls under the "specialty taste" category. But if you use the instructions here, you can graft it onto a patter you already have.

Re: Cut-on Gusset

To Quiltbeads: Yes, you can enlarge the under sleeve, and some on the upper sleeve, to accomodate the bicep, then you can do this technique. It will then accomodate the arm, and let you have a smaller armhole.

Re: Cut-on Gusset

To SNikwas--I used a standard dinner jacket pattern I had, with a two part sleeve, for this demonstration--sorry for your confusion. The concept came from a Norfolk jacket which I purchased at a flea market, but as I wanted to demonstrate HOW to draft it onto an existing pattern, I used an existing pattern. Sorry you got confused by this.

Re: Moving Flare in a Skirt

To Vquilter,
In the case of net gain, the drag lines indicate a bind, or an insufficient amount of fabric along the line. (Somewhat like the guy with the beer belly, wearing a too-tight shirt, where the belly causes the buttons to pull, making horizontal drag lines. The gaps on that shirt indicate how much extra fabric it wants across the front, so it can relax.

Keeping this (rather unattractive, yet useful) image in mind, imagine the center front of the shirt as the slash line you need to make 90 degrees to the drag line. If you were to unbutton the shirt (sorry), you would get a gap, that would tell you how much to add across the front to make the shirt fit the beer belly.

That's why you need to cut the muslin 90 degrees to the drag line. When the muslin spreads, it "tells" you how much area you need to add to that region of the pattern to adjust. When you add to this region, it by definition will change the outline shape of the pattern piece. Sometimes the pattern will look strange to the eye, but as long as it "reads" properly in the body, it's correct.

Re: Moving Flare in a Skirt

To Denisesews,

The differences in the outlines of the pattern are very subtle--to the casual glance, the pattern really looks the same. The changes that occur, were explained to me by someone I met at a party whose hobby is physics (go figure!). He said,t hat fabric is a grid, and this all had something to do with lines of tension and vectors. Textile Maven expressed that well in her (I think her?) post. So, just changing the angle of the dart won't effect any change here.

Re: Moving Flare in a Skirt

To Smockerlady,
The jewelry findings on the cuff, are vintage old stock. I purchased them probably 15 years ago from a small bead store going out of business. However, if you keep an eye out, in bead stores and places that sell jewelry findings, you can find similar things to create a similar look.

Re: Perfect Pleated Edging

This is a response to Kuf, who asks how the pleating gets to the tape--you pull it out of the pleater, after it cools, then lay it onto the tape, and pin. ake sure to let the fabric cool off first, so the pleats are set properly.

Re: How to Make a Knotted Belt

By the way, for those not familiar with my web site, it is:

Re: How to Make a Knotted Belt


First of all, thanks for the kind words--I blush!

I am reticent to give yardage, as I find that the different diameter cords make up into differing lengths--meaning that a really thick cord will yield less length for a yard, than a thinner cord.

When approaching a project such as this, I'll buy extra cord, and mark a yard increment with thread on each one I'm weaving with--then when I get to the thread marks, I know for sure what finished length I get per yard of cord.

When working with cords or ribbons, I find that 8 times the finished length, if I'm estimating before buying yardage, will give sufficient material to do the job.

As for the question of what to do to fasten it: On the example shown,they sewed all the cord ends together, leaving one of them long enough for a loop--then, they wrapped the stitching with a length of rattail cord to cover all of the raggedy ends and stitching. On the opposit end, they put the loop end through a brass hook before sewing it down.

You could also make a leather "sleeve" somewhat cone-shaped, and put the ends inside that, and stitch across to close.

I hope this is all helpful....

Re: French and Colonial Knots for Embroidery

Hello, all!

To answer some comments here:
As for the smocking, I don't do a lot of it, but if I were going to get a piece that was as wide as I needed, it would have to be done by hand. I had a smocking pleater machine once, but was frustrated by exactly this issue. It takes some time to do the hand work (running the stitches in rows after all that marking), but to my knowledge, that's the way to approach it.

I would like to clarify,that this is not my work (embroidery), but a vintage piece I found. I would love to claim it, it is so fine--really really an exquisite piece of work. The monogram is satin stitch over a padding--my guess is split stitch underneath the satin stitching.

As for the cordonnet thread, it's a garden variety cordonnet I bought at Daytona Trimmings in New York. I believe it's rayon, but could be cotton--I threw the label away long ago so don't know the fiber content.