Burda Odyssey Part III

Still chugging along like the little engine that could on this project! At this rate, maybe I’ll be done by next spring! I’m a little more than halfway thru the project but certain parts haven’t been easy! I’m having to read each instruction several times; although they’re written okay, I prefer the slow and steady approach. After all, there are no do-overs with leather!

I already thwarted a near catastrophe – not looking to make another! While sewing the pockets on the lower panels, I unintentionally left a 1-1/2 inch hole between the pocket edge and the horizontal seam which I didn’t notice until AFTER I topstitched the seam!

Poor seaming!

There was some serious handwringing going on! I had to try to hand stitch between the two topstitched layers (yikes!). Surprisingly, it turned out pretty well!

Neatened seams

Still to do:
attach fur to the lining (mom’s job)


Attach lining to the leather

I need to go make something else to curtail my excitement!


Burda Odyssey Part II

I have a new appreciation for the term “patience is a virtue” which I’ve seriously developed since working on this leather project! It took a good 2 hours just to get the right layout before cutting. Some of the skins have imperfections or holes which I had to navigate around for the best layout.

I’ve cut all my pieces out. I’m amazed at the amount of scrap leather left over!

I’m already envisioning small projects from the scrap! Maybe an obi belt, clutch bag (Craftsy has a class on purse making I’m considering buying-perfect timing) and definitely some jewelry elements. I just have to find the time!

Anyway, back to the current project. The leather was not as difficult to sew as I had imagined. In fact, it was a dream to sew! My fear of topstitching has not diminished.

The topstitching really gives it character, aside from reinforcing the seams, of course! Some of my topstitching is not as nice (ok straight!) as I would like it but I’m not going to sweat over it!

Although, I used binder clips to hold the pieces, they still shifted a bit. Thankfully, it’s not a big deal since the lining will be attached to the top and bottom.

So the pattern calls for fake fur, but I decided to use real fur only beause I already had it on hand. My mom and I found two mink stoles at a Salvation Army last year. My mom makes beautiful cashmere/wool capes and adds fur collars.

Mom’s work

Beautiful brocade lining

That was the intention of the $25 (total) I spent on that purchase!

Oh the treasures you find in a good thrift store! I’ve also found very interesting jewelry that I take apart to use in jewelry designs. Brooches and earrings can become pendants with a litte ingenuity! You just have to have an open mind. Besides, there’s a dual benefit in thrifting: the creative aspect but more importantly, the money I spend goes toward helping people in need. Can’t beat that feeling!

The only design element I’ve changed is that my fur collar will be detachable. I figure I’ll get more wear out of this piece with a detachable collar.

Since this project requires such a slow hand and I’m such an exciteable person, I decided to give myself some immediate gratification by making a top

using McCalls 6571

and a bracelet! My creative juices were flowin last weekend! All in an effort to contain my excitement over the Burda project.

What’s left to do: Sew in the pockets, attach the bottom panels, attach the lining, then the fur. Hopefully, I’ll be able to wear it by Christmas! Until next time…

My Sewing Expo Adventure

Last weekend, I visited the much anticipated Michigan Sewing Expo.  I got there reasonably early in the morning to a packed parking lot.  Vendors with every sewing, quilting and knitting gadget imaginable filled the showroom.  I was really looking forward to dropping some serious cash at Vogue Fabrics.

Expo showroom

Two years ago, I found some incredible deals there but since I was a novice I didn’t do nearly the damage I was prepared to do this time.  Sadly, I was very disappointed!  First of all, their space was really condensed from what they had 2 years ago, so the fabric was not as accessible.  It took too much effort to look thru tightly compacted bolts or the fabric remnants piled high on top of each other in one big heap! There was way too much personal space invasion happening as people were attempting to pass thru the very narrow aisle way!  I walked away with only 2 lousy purchases!

Habermans on the other hand, did not disappoint (they rarely do!).  Their fabric was easily accessible.  The selection and prices were great.  I had no problem finding some great pieces.  I even bought fabric that wasn’t on clearance- something I rarely do!  Like this silk wool from Italy.

Italian silk wool

Absolutely gorgeous and super soft.  I’m almost afraid to cut it!   It would look great as a jacket which would showcase the beautiful fabric.  Problems is: I’ve never made a jacket before and I’m slightly, kinda, absolutely terrified of ruining my fabric!   The pattern I chose seems fairly uncomplicated but I have fitting issues as in I’m not that great at it!

View E

Maybe I should stick to making the skirt I had originally intended to make!

Habermans also had this very cool pop art upholstery fabric.  It had images of Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Grace Jones, Kool and the Gang and many more.  What a conversation piece but at $47 a yard, a picture of the fabric will have to do!


After hours of perusing and spending, I was ready to go home and caress my beautiful fabrics as I make a home for them in my stash.

“Feed Me Kenmore”

I ran into Gertie who was there teaching a class.

Photo op with Gertie

She’s even prettier in person and was nice enough to pose for a picture.  I told her she was like a sewing rock star and I was happy to have met her.  What a perfect way to end my expo shopping adventure!

Fabric Store Groupie

 Is there a clinical diagnosis for people like me (and probably you too if you’re reading this post!) that spend too much time in the fabric store?  I am compelled to visit the fabric store at least once a week.  If the fabric store was a band, I’d be considered a groupie!  Swooning over the rock star hoping to catch his eye.  Well, in this case, the fabric is the rock star that I get to take home again and again and again!  My fabric stash is getting outrageous!  I can’t sew fast enough to use my lovely finds.  My mother who has been sewing for nearly 50 years, has very little in her stash so she shops out of mine!  She’s a project shopper, buying mostly when she has a project in mind.  We are definitely polar opposites! 

I need to curtail my groupism for a while since the sewing expo is coming at the end of the month where I’ll be in full groupie mode!  Afterall, 3 years ago, the expo is where I discovered the PR community, bought Deepika’s book and really, really fell in love with all things sewing!

The challenge for me is how to organize my stash so I’l know what I have. Right now, all my fabric is kept in a storage container. When I need to retrieve anything, it’s like dumpster diving! And very time consuming!    


 In my online research, I found that there are many articles on this very topic!  The consensus is that using comic book boards or cardboard to fold your fabric around is the best way to store it.  It transforms the fabric into a fabric library!  http://www.everythingetsy.com/2012/05/lots-of-fabric-storage-ideas-organize-it/

                   fabric storage                                                                           

Sounded good to me until I read another board that said it’s not a good idea to fold the fabric because after a long period, the fabric becomes brittle at the fold.  So, my search continued. 

Other sewists comments suggested rolling the fabric, preferrably on tubes or bolts collected from the fabric store. 

Cathe Holden from http://justsomethingimade.com/2009/07/organizing-fabric-remnants/ offers these pretty label downloads for free.  This is the method I plan to use (minus the trunk!).  So the tube collecting begins.