Sunday, July 17, 2011

How to Make a Pair of Cozy and Sweet Ballet Slippers

Click here for PDF version and patterns

These pretty ballet slippers -- a most enjoyable and fun sewing project -- can be made in a leisurely afternoon. Rummage through your left over fabric scraps and notions, get started and before you know it, you will be admiring your handiwork as you pad around in your cozy new slippers.

What you need …
**unless the yardage is noted, lay your patterns on the material to determine the yardage
• Re-cycled denim
• Cotton fabric (pink gingham) for lining
• Cotton fabric (eggplant floral print) for piping, heel trim and ruffles
• 24” x 5/8” wide velvet (raspberry) ribbon, cut in half
• Iron on interfacing
• Cardboard
• Leather, vinyl, denim or another durable material, for the sole
• 1 yard x ¼” wide elastic, cut in half
• Thread, scissors, pins, pencil, needles, sewing machine
PDF (click here) upper, sole and ruffle patterns

Check the fit before you start …
The pattern included is an adult, medium size. To check the fit, stand on the sole pattern. It should peek out around the perimeter of your foot. If you need to reduce or enlarge the pattern, cut the pattern in quarters down the middle, and then extend, or overlap the pieces to fit your foot. Tape together, smooth out the new lines, and apply the changes also to the upper pattern. Then cut an upper and sole out of some leftover fabric, gather the toe and baste the two pieces together. Slip it on, check the fit, and apply any further adjustments to your pattern pieces.

Cut your pieces …
• Cut two denim uppers + two upper interfacings.

• Cut two soles from the durable material.
• For the lining, cut two soles and two uppers out of the pink gingham + two sole and two upper interfacings.

• Cut the floral accent fabric: Cut two bias strips 1” x 24” wide from the floral print for the piping + 4 x half-moon pattern for the ruffle + 2 strips 1 ½” wide x 3” long for the heel trim.

• Transfer all pattern notches.

• Cut two cardboard soles (cutting 3/8” smaller all around the perimeter of the Sole
Pattern. (If you like your slippers more cushiony cut out a pair of foam liners as well.)

Easy to follow sewing instructions…
Denim Upper and Sole:
Iron the interfacing on the back side of the denim uppers and soles.

Sew a row of basting stitches between the toe notches.Stitch the heel together with a 3/8” seam allowance and press open.

Reinforce the heel seam with the cotton floral fabric as follows: Interface 3” strip floral accent fabric. Fold back ¼” seam allowance along each length and press. With wrong sides facing each other, center strip over the heel seam. Pin and trim any excess off the top and bottom so strip aligns with denim edge. Edge stitch along each length. Pull the toe basting thread, easing gathers, so that the toe will curl under softly. With right sides facing, pin the upper to the sole, matching notches. Baste and remove pins. Stitch seam with 3/8” seam allowance. It is a wee bit tricky, so take your time to stitch a neat, curved line, with toe gathers evenly distributed. Turn right side out. With something firm, like a pair of blunt scissors, press firmly on the seam, to give it a pressed finish.

Make Lining:
Iron interfacing to the cotton lining upper and sole.

Following above instructions for the denim, stitch the lining upper to the sole.

Assemble Slipper:
Slip cardboard soles inside slippers.
*If you like your slippers cushiony then slip the foam soles on top of the cardboard.

Slip the linings inside the slippers, smoothing neatly in place. Pin.

Baste together all around the perimeter of the edge.

Trim off any lining that extends beyond denim.

Make the Ruffle:
With wrong sides facing, stitch one pair of ruffles together, sewing ¼” around the half circle shape but not the bottom.

Turn ruffle inside out and press.

Stitch a row of basting stitches ¼”, along the bottom edge. Pull the basting stitches to form soft gathers.

Pin ruffle, centered, aligned with denim edge, to slipper front. Baste and remove pins.

Add Slipper Piping and Elastic:
With right sides facing each other and edges aligned, pin the bias floral fabric all around the perimeter of the slipper edge. Baste, remove pins. Stitch ¼” around the edge.

Zigzag stitch the elastic around the slipper edge as follows: Align the elastic with the slipper edge on the inside, pinning it all around with a little ease. (You only need a little elastic ease for a good fit.) Zigzag stitch down elastic center.

Press the floral bias piping up. Fold it over the edge, and tuck the seam allowance under. Pin it around the perimeter so that you have a neat piped edge.

Hand stitch the piping closed, with the stitching line following the seam join point on the right side, so that your stitches are hidden. Be careful to pull the elastic as you stitch, to maintain the ease.

Velvet Ribbon Bows:
Tightly tie two small bows. Cut bow ends at diagonal angle.

Hand tack bows to cover the join point of the ruffle.

Pad around with a big smile and enjoy!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sew a shower bonnet from re-cycled plastic and fabric scraps

Above is a "Jazzy" shower bonnet. It is lined in a green re-cycled plastic bag, with a nylon lace overlay, and fun ribbon scraps and odd buttons rummaged from notions box. Below is another version, this one made from an old vintage, polyester California State scarf. These bonnets take an hour maximum to make, and are so practical and fun - and decorative and cheery in the bathroom. This is how you sew them...

Gather together your materials - above, is a vintage polyester scarf, a green plastic bag pulled from the re-cycle bin, 1 yard of 1" wide turquoise gingham ribbon + (not in the photo) 1 yard of 1/4" wide elastic, 1 yard of 1" wide yellow gingham ribbon, red thread.


Cut the scarf in a circle, with a 20" diameter. Repeat with the green plastic.

With wrong sides facing, align the two circles together, and stitch all around, 5/8" from the edge.

Sew the turquoise ribbon around the edge.

Make a casing for the elastic with the yellow ribbon. Align the yellow ribbon 1/2" from the edge of the turquoise ribbon. Stitch with a zigzag stitch, 1/2" from the edge. Stitch a second row, 1/8" from the other edge, leaving a 2" gap to pull the elastic through the casing.

Slip the elastic through the gap, pulling it through, pin the ends to together, to an ease that is comfortable for your head. Stitch elastic closed, and clip excess.

Fold back excess ribbon to form a bow, and tack with a button, or two.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

February Fashion Screensaver

Click here to download or print your free February screensaver)
When I create a monthly screensaver, I simply can't anticipate where it will lead. It just sort of happens, with the fashion story unfolding, as I sketch. This month, is no exception.
Starting with the center of the month - Valentine's Day, I thought everything would be pink, but instead it grew into a story about discovery. One sketch is an inquisitive portrait. But (hidden to the viewer) she is wearing USLU Airlines Nail Polish "LAS (or Las Vegas) Eau de Colette.” Described as a “blued hex perfumed” polish, it sounds lovely, and, unexpected, like, a blue valentine. I haven't smelled it, but doesn't it seem like a reason to visit Paris and go to Colette? The other sketch is of a woman, as a dandy, strutting all her fashion on the outside. Sporting a printed floral, bell bottomed, pantsuit, with hair dyed to match, or almost match, her poppy velvet beret. She is wearing Dior’s sparkly nails “Mandarin Orange.”

Fashion is fun, and releasing one’s fashion desires feels soo good. It is also the best defense to fend off those bitter cold and dark winter days that are bound to happy all month long.
All kinds of wonders and delights await us in February. It is only up to us, to open our heart, follow new paths, and discover and enrich our life and those around us with the delights of the unexpected.
Wishing you to enjoy February, in all it's glory!
P.S. The LOVE poster is from YSL, dated 1992.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Emmanuelle Alt appointed Editor of French Vogue

Carine Roitfeld (former Editor) and Emmanuelle Alt (on left, future editor)
photograph courtesy of
I adore French Vogue and how Carine Roitfeld has re-invented it these last few years, without limits, and using it as a vehicle for her personal expression about women, luxury fashion and lifestyle. Then suddenly, the carpet was whipped up unexpectedly and she resigned. It has just been annouced that her partner in crime, Emmanuelle Alt, has been appointed the new Editor in Chief. This is a woman with a more nonchalant style, less sexy, more tom-boyish (actually the petit bateau striped top in the January screensaver post just below is dedicated to her ... ) and I do hope she is fearless and shares with us all her inner wishes about life, fashion and being a woman. It was sooo fun with Carine (who personally I hope creates something ravishing ...), but I am certain it will be just as amazing with Emmanuelle!
A New Year, a fresh start, new faces, places and thoughts. It is all so positiviely invigorating. Change is wonderful. Embrace it while you can.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

January fashion sketch screensaver

(click here to download the January screensaver)
There is nothing like a strong winter spell (at least in my part of the world) to make layering everyone's fashion statement. After loosing gloves and hats, without a moment to spare, a lofty, very 70s red wool boucle, was quickly knit into a fluffy hat, ... and that delicious red color, meant it was time to wear the old patched (it's in my book!) ski sweater, that my Mom had knit so very long ago, layer it over a couple of t- shirts (one was not enough,) leggings under overly patched jeans, and finally a pair of hand knit RL argyle socks were stretched on top of the jeans to keep the warmth inside. Feeling wrapped and bundled up, felt cozy and protected on a bitter winter day, especially, when Chanel "Le Vernis Riva" was gleaming on one's nails.2011 -- it sounds like a number that very recently, seemed so far, far, away, into the future, that it was only for the imagination and not for the reality ... but here we are, with a new year in front of us. I do hope that each and every one of you enjoys a fruitful year, and that all your hopes and wishes come true.
Best wishes,

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Upstairs Downstairs - a sumptuous BBC fashion delight!

On BBC tonight, in just a few minutes - is the last episode of a beautifully conceived revival of “Upstairs Downstairs.” Set in 1936, in London, it is a story of the lives of an aristocratic family (upstairs) and their household help (downstairs.) I am swooning over the retro clothes (Amy Roberts) AND the interiors (Eve Stewart).
The women’s clothes are simply marvelous. One woman is dressed gorgeously eccentric, reflecting an Eastern influence - you feel the touch of silk velvets, hand woven silk crepes, hand beading and piecework, which is worn unexpectedly with a pair of shocking peacock green stockings popping out of sturdy leather shoes – streaming long scarves or bright coral jewelry – with her pet monkey and brilliant heirloom tiara as props … while another character is all sultry and pale, with chiffons in flesh tones, or shades from the white of the eyes, something you can’t put a finger on, because it is so fragile and beautiful – and all of it contrasting beautifully with dark brunette hair or blood red lipstick. Another woman is dressed with all out glamour - but it’s her coarsely knitted beret worn with an expensive fox cape-let which makes it so real, and a body skimming (in this case serious vintage couture wear) fully beaded evening gown which is the ultimate dress because of the extraordinary way it fits – how it glides over the body and then the beauty of the hair styling, make-up and jewelry.
The men are equally turned out, with immaculately tailored and fitted tuxedos – here as with the women, the beauty is in the perfection, the fit, the way the clothes glide effortlessly, move so easily, it their charm, and that sort of made-to-order feeling is a luxury not seen today.
The household help have beautiful lace detailing, tiny tucked and pleated bibs, pretty, sanguine starched caps and interesting collar shapes. The men wear fitted salmon striped silk waistcoats. Everyone is turned out in tip to toe splendor, from sunrise to sunset, and you glimpse or just feel that no possible detail has been forgotten, and assume that all their undergarments must be of the period as well to get this kind of ease of fit. The shoes are sturdy but fine, with a medium proportioned curved heel (silly me, why did I discard an old pair of Maud Frizon shoes from years ago with just that heel ... .)
The settings are sumptuous, with interesting moldings, colors, dark silk wallpapers, the glow from side table lamps - all setting a stage of beauty. As I scurried around to find out about the stage designer, I discovered that she adopted her colors to best show off the beauty of the leading women. The settings dictate the moods, the manner of walking. There is a revealing interview with the actor Adrian Scarborough who plays the butler, who mentions: "My favourite room was the kitchen pantry. There were shelves and shelves of provisions, boxes and jars from the period along with home-made preserves and chutneys, bottled beetroot and pickled onions.”
Admittedly, the story line moves slowly, but maybe that reflects the reality of the pacing of life in 1936, which would be so different from our lives today. No matter, I am swooning over the series. It celebrates fashion and style as we embrace it today – ageless, and as a tool to bring out the character and emotions of the women, expressing her personality and individuality and beauty. I’m off to see the last episode and to bring some fresh retro beauty into my wardrobe!
(And the photos are from BBC.)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Free November fashion screensaver

Fur, faux fur,
Plums and winter berries,
Layering, with a personal allure and style all one's own...
Like the freedom of personal expression felt in the 60s, pull out old, new and borrowed from your closet, and layer it on with creative liberty.
The cape was sketched in fur, the thought being - that it was a re-fashioned fur - but when I finished sketching, it had become a cape of feathers. And the little "Juliet" plum velvet vest, is patched with old denim, and found in my book, Denim Revolution. Postcards scanned into photoshop make up the background, one of the ceiling of the "Salotto di Psiche" (Psyche Room) in the Tea Palace in Mantova, Italy -- and the other of music from Troldaugen, Norway, with the phrase "Det Forste motes sodme," roughly, translating as -- the sweet taste of the first meeting. November is lush, filled with art, music, friends, family. All of it swept up in the beauty of the last, lingering, leaves of autumn.
Best wishes to one and all,
for a lovely month,

Sunday, October 3, 2010

October Fashion screensaver

(as a fellow blogger, just click here for the October screensaver)
Welcome to October!
It seems that every country (and religion) has their own festival, for make-believe and costume dress-up. I guess it's because we all have a need to pretend, to allow ourselves an opportunity to release and express a fantasy or another side of our character. In the states, it's the holiday of Halloween that everyone goes all out while in Brazil or Switzerland they have Carnival. Whatever your nation, whatever your inclination, be creative and make your own costume, surprise yourself!
Wishing you a lovely month,

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Halloween fantasy mask

This magical mask, has been posted before - but I've decided to make it my signature statement for Halloween on both of my blogs. It wonderfully fulfills and stimulates the desire to create something unexpected for any mysterious parties or trick-or-treating as we head into October. Originally, named a Venetian Fantasy Mask, it was created for Denim Revolution, but when we couldn't squeeze it in - it became a freebie. All the how-tos are right here, on craftzine.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Rodarte Spring 2011 return to nature

Spring 2011 collections started in New York, continued to London, are happening right now in Milan and soon will, en wrap Paris. Via the inventiveness of the Internet, there is much for everyone to see and learn about the collections, the designers, the fashion shows and the behind the scenes creative talents who make these presentations so sumptuously remarkable and influential. Once those "talents" and their techniques were privy to a select group of fashion editors and key store buyers, but today you can whip around the web and find more and more detailed information about who does what, and with a little searching - some how-to photos to support their processes.
Being a romantic, I was totally swooned over by the Mulleavy sisters’ “Rodarte”– chiefly, their accessories – meaning all the accessories including the hair and makeup as well as the shoes and belts.Seventies suburban Californian, the Redwood forest, Big Sur and the rugged Bay area inspiration for the collection has been well documented, but actually, how and why it happened has no significance for me. I was drawn in by the fantasy of feeling closer to nature. The hand carved barrettes, in raw chunky wood become so beautiful with the shapes of butterflies, beetles and branches. They stimulate and intertwine with one’s own colorful associations and imagination of nature with the interpretation and softness of this artist's hand carved image. These feelings are carried over into the hair, make-up, shoes and belts. (click here for Vogue's how-to and scoop.) The golden hues of an imagined golden flecked frost, deep in the forest, added a magical glow to the make-up with their carefully gold-dipped eyelashes, lips and cheeks. The slightly disheveled hair with uncommon streaks of texture feels like a pile of windswept leaves. It all has the hand of craftsmanship combined with a personal voice from the designers which spurs my desire to collect, own, make and find a way to be part of this natural beauty.
And even though I love the clothes, my style would be to wear all their accessories with my own jeans, cashmere and silk, with more streamlined and wrapped dresses, allowing them to glow with the touch of sun and moonlight and no competition and truly become a part of my life, and feel I am in the forest, even though I am in the city. Uhmmm… .

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Dress I Made

Dutch product designer Renske Solkesz is documenting on her new blog her personal challenge to create her own wardrobe. She is commited to wear only clothing of her own design that has been created with her own hands. Renske is searching and exploring her clothing needs and desires following a pure, sincere and beautiful design philosophy. She is not creating a utilitarian wardrobe of basics, but a wardrobe of her emotional, aesthetic as well as her practical needs and visions.

There are belts:

Scarves, skirts,

dresses and more.
Personal challenges reveal and surprise. They take commitment, energy and power. Her blog is her way of revealing and sharing her artistic story.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Free September Fashion Wallpaper

as your screensaver or to print a copy)
Each month, when I sit down to create the calendar, I surprise myself with the final results. Even though I start with a planned thought and direction, regardless the wallpaper takes on a life of its own, developing and evolving as I sketch, until I am content that I have sincerely expressed the mood that I feel about fashion and style - at that moment.
This month I knew I wanted to include a project from my book, since the special sale - of $10.00 (click here! for info) is continuing and so sketching the little Russian caplet project from the book was a natural.

With it's faux-fur collar, and rugged frayed edges it captures a way to re-cycle your old jeans to fend off that first gust of fall with carefree style.

From there it went to pony tails like on MADMEN, and then elegantly manicured finger nails, which were sketched with Serge Luten’s “Sang-Bleu” nail polish –

-- interesting and unique colors on finger nails are turning quickly into the key accessory this fall.  All of that is wrapped with thoughts about searching as an artist surrounded with the backdrop of André Masson’s “Leonardo da Vince et Isabella D’Este.” This woman may be in New York, Berlin or London, in the countryside, just somewhere where there is a stimulating mood to search, ponder and try to make sense of life, politics, art, the future and our roots.
Wishing one and all and yours a wonderful September!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Barneys New York Denim Competition

Barneys has offered up a style challenge.
 --- Get out your favorite blue jeans, the ones that are truly you ---
and style them up with your most daring, outrageous, runway vision.
Then snap a photo and email it to the Barneys fashion directors.
The prize - 5 x $500 gift certificates !!
and to take part in a NYC/Barneys fashion fun and games competition.
I hope you take the challenge,
release your imagination and enter -
 hope you win!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Les Khakis de Chanel

Just wanted to pass the word-
before the limited quantities of Chanel's hottest nail polish disappear in their boutiques in
NYC (with a complimentary manicure ! no less at the Chanel Boutique on Spring Street),
as well as in London and Paris --
Chanel's special nail polish collection of three colors, created for
Vogue's Fashion Night Out - that look like this ...
on nail-polish maven Sophy Robson.
So perfect!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Soft and southern, heirloom style

Creole Sha explained that my post triggered the idea -- but this design duo gave it their signature, romantic touch - turning a pair of old denim jeans into soft feminine panties.

I adore them and wanted to share them with you.

All their designs on their etsy shop have that feeling of a hot, carefree, late afternoon in the south. 
The lazy luxury of hand-dyed family heirlooms … makes the last of the hot summer days feel lost in time and especially cool … .
Thank you Creole Sha for sharing your New Orleans style.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Oohh la la Half Price Book Sale !

This denim beret is from my sewing book, Denim Revolution. The contrast of softly worn blue denim embellished with ornate gold and velvet trims creates a very cool look.  I am delighted that it is right now featured on the craftzine blog right here – jump over and check it out.

And having that feature --- triggered the decision to have a super, back-to-school book sale! 
Right now, Denim Revolution is available for: 
(I also ship internationally, but must charge for the shipping)

I do hope you will buy my book
and that it will inspire you to dream about what you can make,
with all your individual charm and sewing skills
to freshen your wardrobe
with hip new accessories and clothes
just in time for the new fall season.

Isabel Toledo "Court" shoes at Payless

Aren't they divine!  All that style for only 35 Euros! 
Her husband, Ruben Toledo has always been my numero uno illustrator.  
I never tire from browsing through his imaginative, simply sublime, Nordstorm catalogues ... .

Saturday, July 31, 2010

August 2010 fashion screensaver is here!

(as a fellow blogger, just click here to download
and use this month's screensaver or to print yourself a copy)

August always feels like back-to-school mode no matter how many years have passed since one last registered for classes.  The stores and magazines are filled with dreamy designer inventions styled and chosen by the editors.  They hope that we will take the delicious bite and wrap ourselves in something new - that we will be infused through their creativity with fresh energy and glamour as we prepare to pounce on the new fall challenges. Just the right pièce de résistance is so very invigorating.
In sketching this month's calendar, my thoughts drifted to denim worn simply with white cotton camisoles - the timeless way of dressing.  The look that found its way into brush and paint are from my book, Denim Revolution -- the ornate poet's beret with brass buttons and elaborate ribbons and the harlequin trousers with their plush ruby insets and gold braided bows.  Fun to make and so cool to wear.

Wishing one and all to enjoy August's gracious, grand finale,
of the sweet summer,

Liberty cotton lawn blouse, so pretty to wear and lovely to sew

Last summer I bought some luscious fabrics from Liberty of London.
And since then, have thought and mused about what to make.
Finally, after waiting way toooo long, I've started to sew.

Using NewLook pattern 6483 as the base,
An easy pattern, with a good fit that can be adopted to personal whims.

What I did:
- To the front pattern, I folded the front dart closed and slashed the neckline to add some soft fullness.
- To the sleeve pattern, the cap was slashed - to add some soft gathers in the cap.
- The seam allowance has been turned back and edge stitched.
- The cuff and hem were hand rolled and hand stitched, because the fabric is so yummy I just wanted to hand sew.
-Two vintage buttons were used at the back neck.
-I used silk thread, the fabric is fine and I think it is a better match with a silk thread. 

The print is Miranda, the fabric, Liberty's celebrated cotton lawn.
When you sew this fabric, and of course wear it,
you understand why it is so legendary and has such a devoted loyalty.
All the scraps have been rolled up and stowed away for something special in the future.
so here I am - in my new uniform,
the Liberty blouse, a sweater knit from linen yarn found in Milan
and patched and mended jeans.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The July fashion screensaver

Finally ('s only July 18th after all)
the July screensaver has arrived!
With this denim trimmed vintage slip as the inspiration for the sketch,
I wish one and all a most happy second half of July.
And may you stretch your summer weekend
with an extra dose of lasting, lovely pleasure!
Best wishes,