The thoughts, sewing projects, and fabric oglings of a dedicated sewist.

What I'm working on now . . . what I just finished


CB ordered two skirts at the skirt party a couple of weeks ago - this is the first one.  It will be a longer pencil skirt with a zipper slit at the back.  She chose this dark mauve herringbone wool fabric I found at The Economy Shop for $2 and I'm going to line it with the hot pink fabric you see in the background.  I'm doing the skirt with nine panels (three in front, six in back) to get a tailored fit.  Making this skirt also just prompted the purchase of Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide - I've been eager to buy this book for months and I decided that I now had a great reason (how to best finish seams on wool fabric).  I can't wait!

And here's the tunic top I just finished for my friend, Kate, out of Amy Butler fabrics: 


We traded skills - she created these beautiful postcard size gift certificates for me (the holidays are coming!) and is working on a flyer.  In exchange she gets the top!

Highlighting the work of Alisa Burke


My good friend Dr C (she's responsible for the name PoldaPop  and a good bit of what appears in this blog) introduced me to the work of Alisa Burke.  What an inspiration!  She's a painter and mixed-media artist who creates fantastic sewing graffiti and paper crafts and a lot of other wild stuff. 

I fell in love with this pillow when I saw it on her blog.  But then flowers seem to run in the Polderman family.  My husband's parents own a flower shop in Michigan and my husband is so good at growing flowers that we had to research ways to stop our dahlias from growing 7 feet high this summer.  While I love looking at Devon's flowers in the garden, I'm not good at growing them myself (my domain in the garden is the vegetable patch).  But I am drawn to making flowers out of fabric.

I recently started investigating what it would take to print my own fabric designs, and Alisa Burke has a new book out that teaches a number of different ways to print on fabric.  I think her Sew Wild will be on my Christmas list this year!  She has on online class on free motion graffiti, which looks like this:


Alisa Burke also has a series of wreath tutorials on her blog and some are really quite simple to construct.  Here are two of my favorites:

Wreath from toilet paper rolls!

Wreath made from canvas, fabric and buttons - maybe this is where some of my buttons will end up!

And for those of you who like to buy things pre-made, Alisa Burke has a lovely online shop.

Pop Quiz!

Ok .. this quiz definitely counts as silly fun.  But it does force you to make some interesting decisions about "a look".  My result:

Now, I need to find the Goodwill stocking the barely-used Chanel jacket!

Corduroy for grown-ups

I love corduroy for the fall.  It has warmth and weight and texture, it can be casual or more dressy.  I've been hunting for corduroy prints that are suitable for women, as so many of the prints that you find at the chain fabric stores are too little-girlish. Take a look at what I've found!

Hancock Fabric's, Kaleidoscope on Cotton (and this is on sale this month!)


Highlights from after the jump, but you can see all their corduroy here.


Everyone has that item (three or four) in their closet: the skirt or pant that doesn't really work due to fit or style, but that you can't quite throw out because you love the fabric or it cost too much money or it was your favorite pair of jeans before the knees blew out.  I'm glad that you kept it because it can have a second life!

This first picture is of a pair of corduroys that one of my clients had me refashion as a skirt.  The corduroys no longer fit her (too big in places) and so we found some beautiful contrast corduroy fabric by Valori Wells and inserted it in the front and sides.  I love how the skirt has an almost mermaid shape to it. 

Jeans or corduroys to skirt:

I have an old old maxi-skirt I want to try this with - I love the sleeves!  Maxi-skirt to gypsy dress (this picture from boredandcrafty):


And I think this one is so clever!  Long skirt to rockabilly mini (from here):

Peacocks preening ... peacocks round-up . . .

I'm usually drawn to reds - bright red, barn red, burgundy, maroon, brick red, and some pinks and purples.  I even wore 3-inch red Fluevog heels to my wedding, just to have some red to balance out the more innocent colors.  But this fall I'm being pulled towards the greens and blues - turqouise, moss, lime, teal, forest, kelly, and, most of all, that royal peacock blue.

It turns out that I'm not alone.  Remember those fall color trends from Pantone?  


Well, there's an unmistakable "peacock" / "art nouveau" feel to the cool section of the spectrum ... and I'm seeing peacocks everywhere right now!  

Snow in a Teapot

Here's a round-up of some of my favorite peacock fabrics.  I think I'll be making my own fall skirt and handbag out of some of these!

Groove On Dotted Dots Teal/Brown/Green

Brooklyn Heights Fan Green/Blue 

Timeless Treasures

Anna Maria Horner LouLouThi Coreopsis Moss

Tina Givens Opal Owl Magical Forest Blue

From Amy Butler's Soul Blossom collection, Peacock Feathers in turqouise:
Michael Miller Peacock Lane Parade Day Grey:

Today I did see live peacocks at the zoo.  My daughters simultaneously called, "Caw!" at the tops of their voices when they spied them.  These fabric make me want to do the same!

Fabric Designer focus: Dena Designs


My designer focus this week is Dena Designs, who has some warm and vibrant collections through Free Spirit.  Here's her bio from the Free Spirit website:

“Embellish your life,” is Dena’s motto, and her products, books and media exposure have reached a vast number of fans that value friendship, home, family, creativity and self-expression. As President and Creative Director of Dena Designs, Inc., Dena has simultaneously managed the roles of designer, businesswoman, and mom while crafting a hugely successful company, and lifestyle brand.

While many designers rely on perfection, Dena believes that it is the process that makes the project fun and memorable! Her book, Embellish Your Home!, exemplifies Dena’s love of helping people embellish their lives. She does not believe there is some unreachable standard out there to which people must aspire. “I’m always painting,” says Dena, “or adding bits and pieces to something. I love the process! I tell people there’s no ‘right way’ or ‘wrong way.’ If you don’t like it, change it. The whole point is to have fun doing it and get real pleasure out of your results.”

I like that phrase - "embellish your life" - making the small things around us special, unique, interesting.  Here are some of my favorites and favorite combinations:

Many of these would be beautiful for home decorating, or as a dress or skirt.  And I'd love to make a funky Anthropologie-style handbag out of the peacocks!

Digital magazine inspiration ...

If you're eating lunch at your desk (!) and you're surrounded by paper then ... be prepared to be inspired by paper and the sheer versatility of it!  From stationery to jewelry, artwork and beyond  ...  take a look at Paper Runway. Released online quarterly and packed with pages of inspiring images and ideas, easy DIY projects and gorgeous products, I appreciate their focused content (paper!) and how well it’s edited with just under 70 pages so it’s not overwhelming… Some of their spreads really appealed to me this month like these three below…

Read the latest issues as well as back issues right here!
(images: paper runway)

Who knew I had curves?

As some of you know, the skirt style I want to develop this fall is the shapely pencil skirt.  Which is a funny name, as a pencil is anything but shapely. 

I did recently did a body shape quiz and found that my body type is a ruler or rectangle: straight up and down without much curve.  This always made buying store bought clothes challenging (as it is for most of us) because I had to choose between hips that fit with a too-tight waist, or a waist that fit with ear flaps of extra material on my hips.  Finding a pencil skirt that fits would be extra hard as you can't get away with a poor fit - it must fit well.  I can well imagine the frustration of going from shop to shop in the mall trying to find one that fit, only to eventually buy something that almost did, and then feeling vaguely disappointed every time I wore it.

But those days are over for me!  So here's what I came up with, from skirt inspiration to skirt completion.

Diane von Furstenberg, Zip Megs Skirt at Saks


My pattern:

And, ta-da!, I have (some) curves:

I used lightweight dark wash Italian denim with a bit of stretch that I bought months ago from (one of my favorite fabric stores).  Instead of putting zippers on the side seams, I put two in the back: one at the waist and one at the hem that unzips to make a back slit:

I so love this shape that I plan to make two variations, one with a wide waistband and one with a peplum at the hem.  I can't wait to show them to you!