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  • Finished: The Textured Bomber Jacket

    Bomber jackets found on Net-a-Porter: l-r, Isabel Marant, Maison Martin Margiela, Maje Bomber jackets found on Net-a-Porter: l-r, Isabel Marant, Maison Martin Margiela, Maje

    My first sewing obsession of the new year was to make a bomber jacket. Every time I saw a  bomber jacket added to Net-a-Porter or read some fashion editorial about varsity jackets as the latest thing, I decided I had to make one for myself.

    So, hmm, I knew I wanted to make a black bomber jacket, though I didn't intend to make a textured bomber jacket. But readers, even though I work at Mood Fabrics and fabric is my business, I GET OVERWHELMED TOO! I was wandering around our silk department, pattern in hand, and I was an indecisive mess. Drool was practically coming out of my mouth, I was in such a stupor over which fabric to choose. But then our wonderful, longtime sales associate America thrust a bolt of newly arrived Marc Jacobs wool-blend brocade at me and said "Here, this is your fabric." Actually, I think she just wanted me to quit taking up space on the sales floor, but I grabbed a couple yards of it and scurried back to my office downstairs.

    bomber front 1

    And this cotton brocade turned out to be a delight to work with. Don't you just love it when fabric behaves? When a seam presses open perfectly and your stitches disappear into the fabric? We still have some of this brocade available at the Mood NYC store: call 212-730-5003, ask for America (or the silk department) and tell her you want Meg's bomber jacket fabric; $50 a yard and worth every penny.

    bomber detail

    Above, a better glimpse of this textured fabric and some of the jacket details. You can see I opted to use elastic encased in silk satin rather than the called-for ribbing at the waist and cuffs. I tested a couple of knit ribbing options first, including a neoprene, but wasn't happy with them. I do like the contrast of the smooth satin with the textured cotton.

    The zippers are pick-stitched rather than machine-stitched; I think that's a little more elegant. I wish I had gone with a more expensive zipper rather than these ordinary YKK zippers, and that  I had played a little more with zipper treatments before going the exposed zipper route, but oh well, live and learn.

    bomber inside

    I chose not to line this jacket. The cotton fabric would have been fine without a lining but I decided to flatline it instead with some silk organza, just to give it a little wearing ease and a neat appearance when you see the inside of the jacket. (Flatlining is a technique where the fashion fabric and lining fabric are treated as one fabric, rather than constructing the garment first and then attaching the lining.) I basted the silk organza to the cotton brocade pattern pieces before I sewed the pieces together. Which pattern, you ask? It's BurdaStyle 7210, and you can buy it from Simplicity.com; yay, no tracing involved! This pattern is very well drafted in the sleeve area and overall. The only adjustment I made to the pattern itself was to narrow the sleeve width slightly (personal preference), and to omit the front and back flaps. Other construction details: - Seams are either Hong Kong-finished with satin bias tape or serged. - The neckline finish consists of a silk satin bias piece that is lined with some neoprene I had around, just to give it some fullness. - I hate when the zipper tape shows on the wrong side, so I covered it with satin bias tape (handstitched). - Pockets are made from black silk charmeuse I had in my stash.

    bomber inside 2

    Bottom line: Really, really pleased with this jacket, though it ended up being a little more structured in appearance than a typical bomber jacket. I wear it unzipped over a t-shirt or turtleneck, and with jeans or black or tan pants. Sewing construction actually was easy and it all came together fairly quickly. In fact, I'm now working on another interpretation of the bomber jacket, this time in ivory neoprene with lace overlays....

    Thinking about making a bomber jacket? Really, the fabric options for this type of jacket are endless. I'd consider lighter-weight fabrics with some body, soft hand and relaxed drape, maybe a medium-weight satin. Take a look at bomber jackets in stores and online and see what fabrics work best, then go for it!

  • Finished: Prada-Inspired Jacket, with Carolina Herrera Brocade

    Sewing inspiration: Prada Fall 2012 suit. Photo by Marcio Madeira.

    If you've cracked open any of the hefty September fashion magazines, you've seen pages devoted to the bold brocade prints of Prada Fall 2012. Anna Wintour wore the jacket above to the U.S. Open, and it looked stunning on her. So I've been wanting to make my own statement brocade jacket. Finding a geometric print wasn't as important as finding a bold brocade print was. Fortunately I found a dramatic Carolina Herrera brocade print at Mood NYC that I loved, and I turned it into this simple jacket:

    Jacket made with Carolina Herrera silvery brocade from Mood NYC. $50 a yard and worth every penny because this fabric is a delight to sew and press. To purchase, call 212-730-5003 and ask for the Silk department, or send an email to silk@moodfabrics.com.

    You know I have a serious thing for brocade fabrics. If your only exposure to brocades sold by the yard is what you see in the chain stores, you may find my brocade addiction baffling. I don't mean to come off like a big old fabric snob (though I am one, admittedly), but there is a huge difference in quality between their brocades and the brocades Mood sells and designers like Carolina Herrera use in their collections. I mean, which is yummier: a mass-produced cookie from a bag in the grocery aisle, or a fresh-from-the-oven cookie made with the best ingredients? Same thing here. Better brocades from Europe are a delight to sew and work with, and they always look expensive to wear.

    Ok, stepping off my pedestal now and giving you the details about the jacket. I used an out-of-print Vogue pattern, 8541, changing the long jacket view into one long piece rather than seaming it at the waist. No lining needed, just finished the seams Hong Kong style. Added side pockets (seriously, why do pattern makers omit pockets all the time? I need 'em!). The jacket looks good worn open or buttoned and belted. Very pleased with it and now moving on to sewing a leather top for fall; details to come.

    I love how sometimes this CH brocade looks silver and maroon, sometimes silver and black. Carolina used this particular fabric for beautiful gowns and dresses.
    No lining, just Hong Kong seams. This was the most time-consuming part of the jacket.
    Here are some CH brocades I love that you can find online at moodfabrics.com:
    Carolina Herrera Brocade 300687
    Carolina Herrera Silk Metallic Brocade FS19519C
    Watch your emails from Mood for more Carolina inspiration! Not a Mood newsletter subscriber? Sign up here for fashion inspiration and sales.
  • Finished: Brocade Pants

    My slim brocade pants made from fabric I coveted in the Mood NYC store. There are a few yards left of this same fabric in a lighter colorway, $40/yd. Call or email the silk department (silk@moodfabrics.com) and ask them to recommend similar brocades if this is gone.

    Oh how I love these pants! Can't you see them paired with a boxy cashmere sweater or a crisp white shirt? These pants are proof that the right fabric is everything when it comes to making your own clothes.

    The details:

    • Inspiration: a pair of Stella McCartney silk brocade pants I saw at Saks ($965)
    • Pattern: a vintage pattern from my stash, but you can find this design from just about any big pattern company. I made a muslin first and found I needed to lengthen them by about two inches so they'd hit my ankle (I'm 5'7"). No waistband, slim-leg pants, very basic design that works well on just about every body
    • Construction:  Incredibly easy. Invisible zip in the side seam; faced waistband. Pants are so easy to make I'm not sure why I don't make more of them. Must ponder this.
    I love everything about this fabric. It was wonderful to sew with, and look at how sharp that pressed crease is.
    I used petersham ribbon from my stash to edge the waistband facing for a neat finish.
      Can't make it to our NYC or LA stores to look for fabric like the one I used here? These are some brocades from MoodFabrics.com that I think would make an equally cool pair of pants: 300714, 300687, 300738, 300747, and FP19599C. What I am sewing now: I love the Prada fall 2012 collection, with its bold brocade fabrics and boxy jackets with matching pants. (Have you noticed I have a thing for brocade?) I found a stunning Carolina Herrera brocade here in the store and I'm making a long jacket out of it. More to come...  
  • In the Mood to Sew With...Brocades

    Fall 2012 brocade fashions from Carolina Herrera, Rochas, Proenza Schouler

    Hey readers, let's talk about brocade. Brocade is absolutely one of my most favorite fabrics to sew. Quality brocade of silk, silk blends or first-rate polyester is a joy to sew with: It presses neatly, usually has an interesting texture or sheen, and always looks expensive. Brocades can range from a weight suitable for jackets, skirts, dresses and slim pants, then all the way to heavier weights suitable for drapes and upholstery.

    Besides being a mellow fabric to sew (excluding the cheap brocades that fray like crazy), the reason brocade is one of my go-to fabrics is that everything I make with it looks great and becomes a favorite piece that I wear year after year. Trust me, that's not a claim I can make for many of the garments I sew; I still make some real dogs every now and then.  Right now I'm thinking about making a pair of slim brocade pants, maybe like these from Stella McCartney:

    Stella McCartney slim brocade pants, $965, Saks.
    Checking out Mood's brocades is always fun, because I think we have one of the best selections around.
    You could spend a whole day at Mood NYC just trying to decide which brocade to pick. If I need to get work done I make sure I stay away from this part of the store.

    If you can't get to our stores, there is plenty to choose from at MoodFabrics.com, like these two cool brocades:

    We have this lightweight gray floral brocade in our stores and online. From Italy, $50/yd. I'm thinking I might use this for my Stella McCartney-style slim pants. Because it's a really chic fabric.
    At $14/yd, not as pricey as the brocade above but still really gorgeous is this metallic poly brocade.
    I haven't made fitted pants in awhile, but I'm so tired of wearing jeans all the time that I'm committed to sew more pants this fall and winter. Speaking of, have you started your fall and winter sewing yet? Tell me about it!
  • Finished: Italian Brocade Sheath Dress

    I'm calling this my Anna Wintour dress, because it reminds me of the brightly patterned sheath dresses the Vogue editor favors. I like the classic and timeless appeal of this particular design. It looks like it might stay in style for a few years, right? I figure this dress will be my number one pick to wear to weddings, graduations and other spring/summer events.

    Ok, so here are the construction details, to recap:
    • Used McCalls 6460, and I highly recommend this basic pattern with different cup sizes. I made a muslin and worked it enough so the finished dress fit me like a glove. The only variance I made was to omit the bias binding around the neck (more just a lack of time factor than anything else).
    • Fabric is a poly-blend brocade from Mood, available in the NYC store and LA stores, and here at Moodfabrics.com. Take a look at this photo below and you can see how vivid the colors are and how interesting the texture is.

    • Interlined the entire dress with silk organza. This did two things: Gave the fashion fabric a little more body, so it does not wrinkle at all, and allowed me to hide catch-stitching in the organza rather than in the brocade.
    • Lining is fuchsia silk charmeuse, which I attached to the dress by fell-stitching at the neck, sleeves and back zipper seam.
    • Back zipper is pick-stitched. Originally I had inserted an invisible zipper, but I did not like the way it pulled and showed the teeth (told you this dress was close-fitting), so I opted for a pick-stitched zipper. (Do not be afraid of pick-stitched zippers: They are fast and easy to insert.)
    • If you want to make a dress quickly, go with a raglan sleeve pattern. You can save a lot of time if you don't have to obsess over a perfect sleeve head. (I'm a sleeve-head obsesser.)
    • I had the fabric-covered belt done by a woman in California who makes covered belts and buckles. She works quickly and her rates are reasonable (unfortunately she does not have an online site.) Details: Pat's Custom Buttons and Belts. Call her at 1-209-369-5410 to receive a catalog, or write to her at Pat Mahoney, PO Box 335, Lodi, CA 95241.
    Bottom line: This dress is a keeper! The fabric is a little pricier than what I usually spend on fabric, but it is the star of the dress and looks rich and expensive. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, and family members were very complimentary when I wore it to a Father's Day dinner last Sunday. (Usually I have to fish for compliments from my husband and kids, as in "Ahem, would you please look up from the TV and tell me how wonderful I look in this [insert article of clothing here] I made?" I'm needy when it comes to compliments about the things I've sewn.)

    • • • • • •

    Speaking of Italian brocades, we just got in a huge shipment of beautiful and unique brocades from Italy. Some really stunning fabrics in this collection, and now they're also available at MoodFabrics.com.

    • • • • • •

    Birthday boy Swatch with his fans in the NYC store today.
    Happy 5th birthday to our beloved mascot Swatch! He's been coming to the store with owner Eric Sauma since he was a wee pup, and he is definitely our most popular salesperson. The Mood staff loves Swatch too, and we miss him when he takes a day off due to rain or snow (he does not like either). XOXO to you, Swatchie!  
  • Halloween Contest Entry #30

    Elizabeth B.'s Costume

    Elizabeth B.'s Costume

    Elizabeth B.'s Costume was made with a Brocade and satin.
    For more information on how to enter the Mood Fabrics 2011 Halloween Costume Contest and complete contest rules for a chance to win a $100 Gift Card to MoodFabrics.com please visit www.moodfabrics.com/halloween2011/ Rate your favorite costume below!
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