Enchanted By Sewing

This month we return to San Francisco’s Summer of Love for more retro fashion inspiration. It’s another field trip ‘cast

I’ve been working pretty hard on non-sewing business. Still I love  blue-sky sewing. I’m always keeping an eye out for creative ideas I’ll put to use down the road. Last month and this, I’ve been getting future sewing inspiration from fashions straight out of the Summer of Love.

Last month,  I shared my response to denim fashions from the late sixties social movement known as The Summer of Love. The kind of  clothing on view in the Denimocracy portion of  the San Francisco de Young museum exhibit, we’re visited last month, still affects fashion we sew and wear today. This month we’re making a quick return to San Francisco to look at the part ethnic and historical clothing played in the fashion scene back in those days.

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Direct download: FINALSummerOfLoveEthnicLaurelShimerEnchantedBySewing.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:39am PDT

A denim-embellished, sewing inspiration, field trip to the San Franciso de Young Museum’s 50’th anniversary of the Summer of Love – at the de Young museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, about 4 miles away from the Polo Fields where the Summer of Love’s Human Be In was celebrated.


So just step on in to your time portal of choice and …. Let it all hang out….


- We’ll start with…Pensamientos Primeros: Hey, had you realized that this summer marks the 50’th anniversy of the Summer of Love in San Franciso? Wow – Far Out Sister!


- Entonces  Un excursion / Then a field trip - Join me for a short field trip to the Summer of Love !


- Y en Pensamientos Finales/And in Final Thoughts : A Perpetual Summer  


* * Resources * *

Xilocuatla - Nahuatl




Direct download: FINALSummerOfLovePart1DenimocracyLaurelShimer.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:18am PDT

I'm enchanted by silk.

Pensamientos Primeros/First Thoughts: What is silk and where might it come from? Exploring an historic Japanese Minka Folk House.

Technicos/Techniques – Furoshiki: A no-stitch creation from silk - Marriage of ancient Japanese practicality and art

Pensamientos Finales/Final Thoughts – Dreaming of a Superfluity of Silks in the Alcaiceria Bazaar of Granda Spain - home to the Alhambra Palace

~ ~ ~ Resources !~ ~ ~

What was the fibula reference?

1) Pensamientos Primeros/First Thoughts - Links

Silk was one of the Animal Fibers in this exhibit, which I loved, at the Met



PUSH THE PLUS BUTTON to get more details

ALL OBJECTS shows pictures and text for all items in the exhibit

Other Two Parts of the "Secret Life..." Exhibit



Peace Silk/No Kill/Cruelty Free - I have not studied this. Feel free to post what you know


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Continuado - The Minka House at Kew Gardens, England near Richmond, Easy Day trip from London

2) Furoshiki Sampling


Furoshiki: A folded bag


3) Pensamientos Finales - A Superfluity of Silks - The Alcaiceria, Granada Spain:


Direct download: castFINALEnchantedBySilkLaurelShimerSewingMeEncantaCoser.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 2:03pm PDT

I’ve become more and more enchanted with altering patterns not only to make them fit me well, but also to add I-am-my-own-designer details to what I sew. A patch pocket a very basic pattern alteration project that doesn't take long and adds a lot to the garment I'm sewing. 

Patch pocket alteration is also great for  a first time pattern alteration project, or someone who’s returning to sewing and wants to feel they are adding their own touch to a commercial pattern. 

This month show I talk about how I altered and created a unique patch pocket for my Sukey blouse.

Pensamientos Primeros/First Thoughts: Blue Sky Sewing. How I might use a patch pocket to feel more like my own pattern designer or simply add practicality to my wardrobe and other things I sew and use. 

Technicos/Techniques: How I altered the patch pocket I made for my Sukey Shirt (I expect to blog and cast more about Sukey in the future)

Direct download: castFINALPocketSukey_-_LaurelShimer51217_11.24_AM.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:32am PDT

Part three of my series about my 3-piece Mother-Of-The-Bride (MOB) outfit.
Wrapping up my MOB sewing project -sharing my experiences working on this ensemble.
It’s about- Planning, Patterns, Prick stitching , Perturbation, and Patience.

All 3 garment pieces have involved pattern creation or alteration.

Snapshot of This Month’s Show

- Pensamientos Primeros – Planning and Patterns
Recapping the history of my mob ensemble
a. Camisole slip - See my previous podcast - "A Camisole for the Mother of the Bride"

b. Modified Dirndl skirt

i. Modified dirndl is not the Heidi style traditional alpine look
It's NOT http://www.kaffeeundkuchen.co/home/guide-to-buying-and-wearing-a-dirndl
ii. It's NOT any of these fun skirts! http://vintagedancer.com/1940s/1940s-skirts/
iii. Back in the 80’s I remember a number of the suit patterns I sewed called the style of skirt I just made
a ‘modified dirndl’ – but I can’t find a link quickly. I’ll describe it
iv. What IS a modified dirndl?
1. Somewhat straight skirt
2. Not so straight that walking is inhibited
a. No slits or kick pleats needed
3. Wth a little gathered ease
4. Attached to a waistband

c. Lace over blouse
i. Kept under garments as narrow as possible. Lace blouse loose fit
ii. Downton Abbey inspired lace overblouse
1. Not straight hobbled skirt of Edwardian era

iv. Slightly below waist
v. Loose
vi. Scalloped lace ¾ sleeves and down the open front of blouse
vii. Hem of blouse maybe 3 inches higher than knee length skirt

- Technicos
- Pick Stitch and A hand-sewn zipper

- Pensamientos Finales -Perturbation and Patience


Direct download: FINAL_castMotherOfTheBride_Laurel_Shimer_part3_postcard_MOB.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:40pm PDT

Spring Shirring:In this show I'm continue to share with you, some of my experiences working on my Mother-Of-The-Bride ensemble.

All 3 garment pieces involve  pattern creation or alteration.

Snapshot of This Month’s Show 

1) Pensamientos Primeros/First Thougths 

Shirring? Are we talking sheep? Thoughts on scissors,  shears, and the sewing technique known as ‘shirring’.

2) Entonces inspiración para fruncir/Inspiration for Shirring  


Museum portrait and wardrobe shopping

3) Y finalmente, Technicos /And finally 


Techniques that I’ve used for shirring

Note: Within the Inspiration Section, and at the end of the ‘cast,  I included travel notes for places I like to visit in San Francisco Golden Gate Park for fellow sewists who may be visiting, or to prompt other local sewists to share their own thoughts on this locale.


Direct download: castFINALSpringShirring.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 12:26pm PDT


Part of my 3-piece Mother-Of-The-Bride outfit. I'm also working on a lace over-blouse and a skirt. The camisole I talk about in this show, is Part one of my 3-piece Mother-Of-The-Bride  (MOB) outfit. 

In this show begining to share experiences working on MOB ensemble. 

All 3 garment pieces have involved  pattern creation or alteration.

Snapshot of This Month’s Show 


Pensamientos Primeros - short sewing history to date of my MOBride - -

- Technicos: Jan Bones Lingerie Secrets book,Original pattern  designed for knits, How I altered to use a woven The darts - added plus natural placement,Strap placement

- Pensamientos Finales  - is it worth the trouble?

This podcast is an extension of my regular sewing blog - http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com


Category:general -- posted at: 9:36am PDT

Not long after I finished up my front pleated, mid-weight, denim trousers. Suddenly hit …I was taking my sewing inspiration from trousers I’d sewn in high school – which for me was quite some time ago.

And that inspiration came from fashion designer Betsey Johnson.

What will you hear in this month’s show?

1) Vintage Alley Cat – The Original Betsey Johnson
– In which Laurel is whisked away on a time travel jaunt, reminding her that not all of her sewing projects come from the pages of the here and now.


2) Betsey Briefly – A Timeline
a. Including a bit about how Betsey’s designs iinfluenced my own coming of age sewing

3) -Trousers Inspired by an Alley Cat
In which A woman draws inspiration from her teenaged sewing self. Talk about time travel!

a. The original Betsey Johnson pattern - way back when - was B3289

b. Further ideas for sewing inspired by Betsey Johnson. The Jamie M pattern, I mentioned in this section, - way back when - was B6533 Here's a posting I did showing a little bit of what I talked about in the 'cast. http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2017/01/laced-up-empire-alley-cat-more-betsey.html



Direct download: FINALcastBetseyJohnsonAlleyCat_LAURELSHIMER.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:43am PDT

EnchBySew-50: Tote’in for the Festive Season - Holiday Postcard

This December I’ve put more time into sewing, than blogging about sewing. So though I’ve actually sewn five items – I’ve only blogged about two of them - so far. I’m hoping I'll find some time to post about what I’ve made, next week, because I really enjoy having a sewing journal.


I love looking back through my blog and remembering – oh that’s right Back in Dec of 2016 I made 

* Queen Cordelia – a printed courderoy princess seamed shirt with ¾ len sleeves, fun buttons and some collar embellishment

* A pair of front-pleated denim trousers

* A  night shirt for my husband, 

* A simple flannel baby blanket 

* A flat bottomed tote bag


This Month’s Show is a holiday postcard, focusing on the basic technicos/techniques of sewing a flat-bottomed bag that can serve the combined purpose of being both a tote and gift bag.


Five reasons to know how to sew a tote


1 - Save money or just  be Green: I don’t know about where you live, but around here, we get chargd 10 cents for store bags -it’s really worth remembering your tote bag!


2) Be Arty as well as green and clean up your sewing resource inventory : A tote bag is a handy way to use up fabric scraps and remnents. I serves as a  vehicle for trying out favorite or new embellishment techniques like embroidery, craft button designs, beading, quilting or a collage made of scraps of  lace and trims


 3) A tote bag is a basic sewing project . It’s  a good  way to stare learning to sew, or get back into sewing . It doesn’t take very long and you can practice basic seaming and other sewing techniques.


4) Unlike garment sewing - A tote bag does not require fitting!


5) A tote bag makes a great packable and reusable gift. If you have the resources on hand - You could even decide to make one an hour or so before it’s needed!


I blogged about, a tote I made earlier this month for visitng family members as a holiday gift. That posting includes four photos intended to show basic steps of tote bag sewing.


BTW I included a pound and a half box of biscotti from a wonderful local Italian deli – Diandras in San Mateo at Crystal Springs shopping center . If they ate , or shared, all the cookies during the conference they came for, they could use the tote to carry home their dirty laundry. Back home They can use it for grocery shopping or They can pass it on to somebody else as a gift bag. The bag itself was small and light weight , so it wasn’t going to make trouble when it came to taking their bags back on the airplane.



Technicos/Techniques: How to sew a flat-bottomed tote


Photo Collage and brief summary of basic steps for sewing the tote http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2016/12/green-sewing-tote-bag-for-reusable.html

Direct download: FINALHolidayBagLaurelShimer.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:53pm PDT

* Pensamientos Primeros/First Thoughts: Impact of Color on My Sewing Choices


*Technicos/Techniques: Patterning and Sewing Color

*Pensamientos Finales/Final Thoughts:Searching for Color in San Diego County 

Direct download: FINALFallColors_EnchantedBySewingLaurelShimerNov2016.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:22am PDT