Mpressive Threadz Studio Blog

Sharing my love of sewing


Monitor vs Actual: I Still Like the Color Combination

I love to see and touch my fabrics.  I love to experience firsthand the colors and the hand of the fabrics, get a sense of the drape and let my mind just go until it settles on a vision of the outfit/design.

A few years ago, I ordered fabric online for the first time.  It was a gigantic leap for me.  I am an ex-New Yorker spoiled by the abundance of independent fabric stores in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx.  I settled in Maryland and I had a hard time settling for the stores and selections available here.  While I appreciate my local Joann Fabric store, I like fine fabrics and that’s not why Joann exists.

Deciding to give online fabric shopping a try, a whole new world opened up.  I found a beautiful brocade in chartreuse yellow and beige online at Fabric Mart with coordinating wool/silk fabric in beige and in chartreuse yellow.  All the fabrics were from the same designer line, so I was confident the fabrics would work together.  I envisioned a brocade vest, beige pants and a chartreuse yellow ¾ length coat.  I ordered beige cotton for a shirt as well.

Well, when I received the fabrics I loved the brocade, but didn’t like the beige color of the wool/silk.  Although the wool/silk was from the same designer line of fabrics, the brocade was more taupe (cool tone) and the beige wool/silk fabric had warm tones.  My eyes and brain would not accept the pairing of these fabrics and that ended the coat, pant, vest ensemble.  A year later I cut the chartreuse yellow fabric and made a sleeveless lined dress combining the bodice from Simplicity 2648 and a self-drafted gore skirt.  I finished the hem of the dress with three rows of topstitching.  I always wore a sweater with the dress.

A few weeks ago I came across the beige fabric and decided to make a jacket. I like the combination of the beige and chartreuse yellow, and decided to make the jacket to coordinate with the dress made two years ago.  Each day I worked on the jacket (Simplicity 2446) for a couple of hours letting the design of the jacket evolved as I made it.  First, the under sleeves, collar and pocket flaps were cut from the chartreuse yellow.  I added inside patch pockets to the lining so I could carry my cell phone with me during a meeting.  One day I got the idea to add chartreuse yellow shoulder inserts before putting the sleeves in.  I didn’t want plain inserts and noticed the topstitching on the hem of the dress, so I topstitched the shoulder inserts and the pocket flaps.  The next day I thought about the collar and decided to topstitch that as well.  The next day, I thought about the under sleeves which were the only place on the jacket that the chartreuse yellow had not been topstitched and I knew I would not be happy leaving the under sleeves plain.  I removed the bottom button from the sleeve vents, topstitched just the under sleeve hems, and sewed the vent buttons back on.

Now that I was happy with the design of the jacket, the hem of the dress haunted my thoughts.  Why?  I had five rows of topstitching on the jacket and only three rows on the dress hem.  The stitching on the jacket was ¼” apart and the stitching on the dress hem was ⅜” apart.  I couldn’t just add two more rows of topstitching to the dress; no, no, noooo.  It’s the little details that bug me sometimes.  I removed the middle row of topstitching on the dress and added three rows of topstitching.  Now, I was happy because ALL the topstitching matched.

While the colors displayed on my monitor when I ordered the fabrics did not match exactly the colors of the fabrics I received, the color combination in the brocade inspired me.  I never would have combined beige with chartreuse yellow, but I like the color combination and I enjoy wearing the dress and jacket.


Homecoming dress and Sewing lessons

First up, fabric shopping for the homecoming dress I learned about last night.  I forgot it was Sunday and we started out too early; the fabrics stores were not open when we arrived.  Some lattes to kill time and a quick stop in Marshall’s and Target.  Finally, Jo-Ann’s open.  My daughter selected V1089 as her starting point.  She selected a red brocade and black satin for her dress.  I suggested satin piping to make the midriff pop.  She couldn’t see my vision of the dress, so I made the muslin in red and black cotton with piping.  The piping grew on her.  I changed the skirt to a circle skirt with side pockets per her request and scooped the back neckline.  We debated the length of the dress.  I thought knee length was best since it was a full circle skirt and she planned to wear flats.  I gave in to her wishes, so it will be fingertip length, which I think will not be as graceful in a full circle skirt.  My husband wanted to know why we don’t just buy a dress.  That’s blasphemy. 

V1089fabric for homecomingmuslin for homecoming dress

I wore the knit top I made yesterday.  It’s almost to my liking.  My daughter thinks it’s nice but doesn’t care much for the print. 

1st try

This afternoon Kira came for her lesson.  She did not bring her circle sample.  She said it looked as bad as the first one.  Instead, she made pajamas for her young son in order to escape the dreaded circles.  We talked about putting the knit binding on the neck of the pajama top.  Then it was Chanel time.  She quilted the back and side back pieces.  We are both excited.  She is very confidence now, so she will quilt the other pieces at home and the next lesson will be stitching the jacket.  Here is a picture for her family and friends to prove she is actually making a Chanel jacket.  She’s tying off the sewing threads between the fabric layers to clean-finish the quilting lines.

Kira working on jacket

A very nice sewing Sunday.



I had to go to New York recently to take care of some business. After taking care of business, I took care of shopping. FABRIC shopping!

I feel sad turning onto 40th Street.  Most of the fabric stores are gone.  I spent so many Saturdays on that street with my brides, shopping for the perfect combination of laces, fabrics and trims for their wedding gowns.  It’s depressing.

First stop, Paron Fabrics.  I see one of the clerks originally from Art Max.  It was great seeing him after all these years.   With his help I select two pieces of wool suiting and two leather skins for a skirt.  While paying for my selection we have a discussion on the shrinking of the Garment District and the demise of all the stores.

The next stop was in Sposabella Laces.  I enter remembering how there were always customers scammed into the small store.  Not anymore.  Only the owner and one staff person in the store during my visit.  We chat. The beading, headpieces and veils were unbelievable and still are. The store has a website, so I can buy their fabulous pieces online.

I head around the block to 39th Street.  I stopped in a supply store for feet for my machine, and other supplies.

I am focused on finding for trim for my Chanel-inspired jacket.  After trying several stores, I wound up at my favorite, M&J Trimming.

It’s time to head back to Port Authority and get back to Maryland.  I pass Bryant Park and the tents for Fashion Week.  I remember back in the day when I worked in midtown and Bryant Park was not safe.  I don’t think the police wanted to be there either back then.  Now there are crowds everywhere; everyone trying to be seen.

Walking up 42nd Street to Port Authority and pass a giant video screen, catching the Double Dutch Divas.  I smile.  They are still jumping after all these years.  I jumped as part of the group about 27 years ago!

Finally, on the bus and heading home, satisfied with my purchases, but not as happy as I thought I would be.  I leave New York with some many memories.