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.

~ ~ ~



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

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 PST

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


~ ~ ~
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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST


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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

* 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 PST

EnchBySew-48:Garment Copycatting

I'm learning to copycat a favorite knit top, without cutting the garment apart.

Direct download: FINALdraft4GarmentCopycat_copy_-_LaurelShimer.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 2:29pm PST

Ench By Sew-47: Oscar de La Renta Field Trip

Come along on a field trip to the Oscar De La Renta Exhibit at the De Young Museum in San Francisco

Direct download: FINALOscarDeLaRentaLaurelShimer.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 2:00pm PST

Ready Set Sew! Sewing Style

Ready Set Sew! Sewing my own garments, allows me to define and create my own style.


This Month’s Show 


1) Primeros Pensamientos/First Thoughts

* Defining this sewist’s current style 

* Elements of Style- According to Laurel


-Design Lines and Fit, 

-Fabric and Drape



In reference to wearing fur -We go with what the always charming Felix Bassenak (S.Z. Sakall) said to Elizabeth Lane (aka Barbara Stanwick) in Christmas in Conneticut…

"You need it? Nobody needs a mink coat but a mink!"


2) Entonces/Then

Technicos: Techniques I used for altering M6403, the pattern I used for my black linen summer pants


In Pensamientos Finales, I recall
the importance of 
sewing this maxi jumpsuit

3)) Pensamientos Finales/Final Thoughts

Looking back- Sewing myself as a grownup




M6403 pants pattern - out of print but many copies available on the web

M6076 Palmer and Pletsch princess-seamed shirt


Direct download: FINALcast_EnchantedBySewing_Ready_Set_Sewing_StyleLaurelShimer.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 5:10pm PST

Sewing Pinto's Purse using the free buttercup purse pattern from Rae at MadeByRae. Her original (free) pattern is available at http://www.made-by-rae.com/2009/02/free-buttercup-bag-sewing-pattern/

Rae's pattern is designed for laying out on a fat quarter.

My buttercup purse is an example of green sewing. I created it both from remnants saved in my fabric inventory and scraps from Pinto, a sleeveless princess-seamed shirt I had just finished.


Snapshot of This Month’s Show

Primeros Pensamientos//First Reflections  

Rae has created a number of patterns linked at her site. One of them is this darling free purse. It’s a tiny bag, though you can enlarge the pattern easily on a photocopy machine or extend the pattern freehand. I’ve made several of these purses both in the original small size and also larger versions. The small original, which is big enough to hold my keys, iPhone, iPod and maybe a little cash or a bag for a doggie’s needs, is perfect for a walk or an evening out.


When you visit Rae’s site to download this free pattern, you’ll find the terms of use. It’s free when you’re making it for personal use. Rae sells a licensed-to-sell version of this pattern for only $10. She also links to sewists who sell these licensed buttercup purses from her site.

I often vary the size, construction, and details of this purse.

Technicos/Techniques I use for altering and sew Rae's buttercup purse pattern

Rae includes directions for working at this pattern in the site, along with a how-to-layout the pattern.

The pattern pieces include:

a) Purse Outer Top – I call this the yoke. It shows on the outside

b) Purse Outer Bottom – . It shows on the outside.This is what you see the most of from a distance. This piece has tucks at it’s top edge to give the purse fullness, and make it blouse out from the bottom of the yoke.

c) Lining – The lining extends from the bottom of the outer bottom to the top of the outer top. This piece does not have tucks or gathers.

d) Strap (no pattern piece – Dimensions are Given)

e) Tab/Decorative Button Flap ( no pattern piece – Dimensions are Given)

My Buttercups

1) Turning Scraps into Lining and the Magic of the Zig Zag

2) How I increased the pattern size

  a. 129 percent size

  b. Extend the bottom for a bigger purse

 3) Play with it

            1. Paper

            2. Muslin

            3. Paper towels

 c. Vary strap length

 d. Add rings


4) Interfacing for Light Weight Fabric Body

5) Altering the original details to suit me

6) Considering Embellishment Options


  Pensamientos Finales/Final Thoughts


Buttercup purses Known and Loved – Kept and Given.

A few Buttercups that stand out in my mind


1) Red Toile Evokes Marie Antoinette

2) Think Vintage - Bluebird with Tatting

3) Little Christmas Cowgirl

4) Engagement Celebration

5) Buttercup Dreams …

. . .

I never get tired of using, sewing, or envisioning, these charming accessories. Thanks Rae! Your buttercups purses are just one more thing that keep me… 

Enchanted by Sewing


Direct download: FINALPurseForPintoButtercupLaurelShimerMadeByRae_EnchantedBySewing.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:43pm PST

This month's show is, PART 2 of Embellished and Printed, Reflections from a Historical Exhibit from an Historical Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City - Fashion and Virtue: Textile Patterns and the Print Revolution, 1520–1620

In this Show
*Primeros Pensamientos/First Reflections – Chatting about my sewing and a little more

My Kensington Gardens Shirt - Terminado!/Finished!
*D’accurdo, tambien/OK also
And a little more /y un poco más
At work on Pinto another summer shirt

*Entonces/Then Back to the exhibit at the Metropoliton Museum of Art in NYC - Fashion and Virtue: Textile Patterns and the Print Revolution, 1520–1620

Web Resources
I mentioned the Tanna Lawn fabric for my cur.rent sewing project, that I purchased a few years back from Liberty of London. In this podcast "Laurel Loves London" I talked about a trip to Liberty

One of the items in the exhibit we visit in this cast comes from the Victoria and Albert in London (V&A). Below is a link to a walk I shared with you around the fashion gallery at the V&A.

-Fashion and Virtue: Textile Patterns
and the Print Revolution, 1520–1620

- “The Third Knot”. Interlaced Roundel with Eight Wreaths and a Scalloped Shield in its Center
Artist:Albrecht Dürer (German, Nuremberg 1471–1528 Nuremberg)
Artist:After Leonardo da Vinci (Italian, Vinci 1452–1519 Amboise) (or workshop)
Date:1521 before

- Link to the 10th century block printed lions - that I think would make a great quilt block - Spoonflower would be my ticket! http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/448647

Ancient Egypt print block

Many wonderful links turn up when I searched on 'printed textiles' at the Met

"Nineteenth-Century European Textile Production


Direct download: castFINALPart2PrintesignFabricMetJune_-LAURELSHIMER.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 1:32pm PST

EnchBySew-43 Embellished and Printed Fabric, Historical Reflections

Embellished and Printed Fabric, Reflections from a Historical Exhibit from an Historical Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City - Fashion and Virtue: Textile Patterns and the Print Revolution, 1520–1620

In this Show:

* Primero Pensamientos/First Reflections -
I reflect on this exhibit at the Met and also on how the exhibits I saw there, relate to my own current sewing and my interest in patterned fabrics and their history.

We go to the exhibit together. Remember that this is only Part 1 of this exhibit. I’ll take you back with me again, next month in the June show, for Part 2.

Web Resources
I mentioned the Tanna Lawn fabric for my cur.rent sewing project, that I purchased a few years back from Liberty of London. In this podcast "Laurel Loves London" I talked about a trip to Liberty

One of the items in the exhibit we visit in the current podcast comes from the Victoria and Albert in London (V&A). Below is a link to a walk I shared with you around the fashion gallery at the V&A.

-Fashion and Virtue: Textile Patterns
and the Print Revolution, 1520–1620

- Link to the 10th century block printed lions - that I think would make a great quilt block - Spoonflower would be my ticket! http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/448647

Ancient Egypt print block

Many wonderful links turn up when I searched on 'printed textiles' at the Met

"Nineteenth-Century European Textile Production


Direct download: CastFINALEmbellished_and_Printed_Fabrics.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 4:52pm PST

This month is a short cast - a mini-cast!


Happily Ever After – A Sewing Story

I mentioned in this episode that I wish I could see the following exhibit at the Met in New York. I can't, but maybe you can! I am planning to buy the book. A docent I met there said it's going to be a really big deal show.


Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology Over 120 pieces of haute couture and ready-to-wear fashion are yours to discover in Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technologyhttp://www.metmuseum.org 

The exhibition explores the creative process and unravels how designers are reconciling the handmade with the machine-made in fashion. Galleries will focus on embroidery, feather work, artificial flowers, and pleating alongside innovative processes such as 3D printing, computer modeling, and more. Opening in early May on through

Direct download: FINALCast42April2016MiniSewingTheStory.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 12:52pm PST

Fit For a Princess - Fitting Princess Seams

What is a princess-seam? A princess-seam is intended to mirror the shape of a woman’s torso. It’s a long, lengthwise curved seam midway between the side seams and the center of the garment. You might see a princess-seam in a women's nightgown, camisole, swim suit, blouse, shirt, dress, or coat. The lines you’ll typically see in a bustier, or merry widow garment, are a good example of princess-seams.


Princess-seams are sewn into the front and/or back of a shirt. They may start at the low or high hip,  the waist , or wherever the bottom of the garment is. In a fitted cropped top they’ll start at that bottom crop point, in a dress or coat, without separate skirt pieces, they are probably at the hemline. A princess-seam usually moves up to the armscye (armhole) or to the shoulder seam.


Often a princess-seamed dress does not have a separate waistline at all, since it does its shaping without darts. A -Line dresses often have princess-seams.


Well executed princess-seams can add a long sliming look. 


In this episode 


Primero /First  -  Royal Reflection – My own ideas about sewing history and choices I made for my recent princess-seam sewing.


Entonces/Then – Technicos for Princess-Seam fitting – What techniques I’ve been using to fit my princess-seamed shirt pattern



* For my princess seam pattern,  I used M6076 0 a Palmer and Pletsch pattern




* Coco  Chanel's Sleeves https://cloningcouture.com/2014/08/04/chanel-and-the-sleeve/



Kunghei fatchoy! (Happy New Year!) Sewing inspired by the Chinese Lunar New Year and the NYC Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit "China Through the Looking Glass".  

Direct download: castFINALYearMonkeyjan2016LaurelShimer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:04pm PST

Ench By Sew-39: Plaid tidings’ to you and all of your kin( *Dolls* too!) Part 2 of Tartans and Plaids  (Winter Holidays Mini-Cast)

Plaid tidings’ to you and all of your kin! During the winter holidays, plaids and tartans look so festive. Dolls are the perfect plaid-sewing partners, because sewing for a doll, gives me the motivation to engage in some sample sewing. And at this time of year they remind me of  dollies, and doll clothes that were sewn for me, at this special time of year – like the mini wardrobe of Barbie clothes my aunt gracie sewed and sent me one winter holiday, as well as the red courderoy jumpers and dotted slip dresses, Mama made for our chatty Kathy dolls, as well as for me and my sister Trisha in the winter I was 4 (with matching girl jumpers).


K.R's green plaid jumper is based on an

 American Girl free doll clothes pattern in "Mollie's Pretty Clothes"


The doll featured in this sewing project is Katie Rose. K.Rose is an Engel-Puppen doll. (Engel-Puppen doll link - has history of these dolls)

Sample sewing may not sound very exciting, but sewing an 18” (think American Girl sized) plaid doll’s dress gave me a chance to – in a very limited amount of time - practice my pattern cutting out skills for plaid fabric, as well as experiment with a new-to-me technique for improved  plaid matching

This  show is all about the technicos/techniques.

My goals with this doll’s dress were to work on:

Primero/First)Careful layout of multiple princess-seamed bodice pieces - definitely less nerve racking for a doll, and gives me confidence to work on the red plaid princess-seamed shirt I’m muslin’ing - as well as the plaid nightshirt I’ll plan to be making soon for my husband.

Entonces/Then)I tried Fusible Thread to decrease slippage during sewing (a new-to-me technique for enhanced/ improved  plaid matching).  Also useful /good idea for sewing on patch pockets  

I used crafster to look for help regarding my challenges with fusible thread.

Response from ~T Read more: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=442125.0#ixzz3ufLODkuJ


She calls for low heat, so I am guessing you just had the iron too hot.

She also describes another technique for using it with aluminum foil as your pressing cloth..letting that cool and peeling it off, to create a design on fabric. Like a dimensional paint overlay technique?

You Craftsters always inspire me to hunt for new ideas   

I Goggled 'Fusible Thread Instruction' for this one. There are more on there as well.


I love using succulents all over the house during the festive season.
This simple arrangement provides the perfect place for Katie Rose to hang out.

American Girl Doll Clothes Patterns - Free http://www.agplaythings.com/AG%20Patterns/DollDressPatterns.html


More Plaid Web Resources





Direct download: castFINALplaidTidingsLaurelShimer.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 1:02pm PST

Ench By Sew-38: Tartans and Plaids - Part 1

At this time of year, I particularly love to sew plaids.

In this Show

*Tartans and Plaids – What’s the difference?

*Tartans – Who’s got the rights to wear them? (Myth Busting)

*Visit to Edinburgh Weaving Mill

* Final Pensamientos...


Direct download: FINALCastTartanPlaidPart1_November2015.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 4:19pm PST

Ench By Sew-37: Savage Beauty of Alexander McQueen (Halloween Style)

October is a month when many of us in the Western Hemisphere get in touch with our own emotions and comfort dealing with

mortality. Folks in my neck of the woods celebrate Dia de Los Muertos – Day of the Dead. Dia de Los Muertos is a day for celebrating ritual death tradition- engaging in crafts, creating and eating special foods, and putting out images – colorful, beautiful, and also macabre – that may touch on a connection with departed family members.

In our neighborhood we put out beautiful pumpkins, scary dancing skeletons and bright lights. Then we celebrate our connection to another world, by welcoming in the trick or treaters- be they costumed beautifully, colorfully, or gruesomely - by handing out free Halloween candy.

Fashion designer Alexander McQueen focused on designing beautifully romantic, avent garde fashion. He also had a strong interest in the macabre. His masters fashion exhibit “Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims”, was a hint that this emerging designer was not going to be run-of-the-mill when it came to setting his artistic tone. Other chilling exhibits followed. “Highland Rape” and “The Widows of Culloden” , among others, carried McQueen’s historically inspired fashion artistry farther into the dark side of the human soul.

Morose? Yes – often- but his work was also drop dead gorgeous. Many of McQueens materials, embellishments design lines, colors, technology and elements inspire my arty-romantic sewing nature, even as I am frightened by other aspects of his work.

As you accompany me in the show, I’ll share the beautiful, and the colorful as well as the scary.  Because that’s what this time of year is all about, where I live.

Direct download: castFINALSavageBeautyAlexanderMcQueen.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 12:58am PST

Fiona, The Irish Laurel Dress (Farewell to Summer)

Dress creation brings out the romantic in me. When I looked ahead to my summer sewing, I thought if I could sew only one garment for the season, it would be a dress. Fiona, the Irish Laurel dress, satisfied my yearning to design and sew the perfect summer frock.

This dress was a very satisfying project for my arty romantic style. In between sewing summer essentials - shorts and tees - I worked off and on to determine what design lines spoke to me about summer, mock up a miniature sloper pattern to test my ideas, draft a pattern from my sloper, and then finally to sew up Fiona, while summer was still on!

*Pensamientos Primeros - Thinking through my idea for this summer dress

*Technicos - Pattern Drafting and Kissing Zipper using a Prick Stitch

*Pensamientos Finales - Fiona's Design Lines have roots in my own history


Direct download: castDraftFINAL4FIONA.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:58am PST

Ench By Sew-35:Enchanted by Charles James - 20'th Century Fashion History

Enchanted by Charles James - Stepping into a liminal space to study and enjoy glorious fashion designs and analyze the construction of those garments is the kind of thing that keeps me … enchanted by sewing.

Hey let’s go to the show together! 


Links and notes- http://EnchantedBySewing.blogspot.com



Some months the Enchanted by Sewing podcast, journals my own sewing project accomplishments, techniques and creative ideas. Other times I share the source of  some of my sewing inspiration. This month is inspiration time, as I take you along on an another in-the-,moment fashon exhibit - a visit to the beautiful Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco , where I went repeatedly to  view the exhibit, High Style: The Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection  exhibit of the Brooklyn Fashion Museum.


This collection – which is housed  and curated by the Metropoliton Museum of Art  in NY City- includes a wide range of the work of 20’th century designers and couturiers.

There was no way I could share all of what I saw with you.

By my third visit, I realized that , despite the charms of designers and coturiers in the exhibit- Elsa Schiaparelli and Madeleine Vionnet, just to name a few of the big names, and some that have been almost forgotten- the hands-down winner for sharing with you, was Charles James. That’s because James, and his clients and admirers, worked to see to it, that more than his beautiful garments were saved in this collection, to motivate and educate future sewists, designers and couturiers. This historical treasure trove includes sketches and muslins which really tell the story of how he worked, and what went into the garments he fashioned. They are an inspiration for the creative process.

The body of Charles James work extends from the 1930s into the1950s. The garments he designed, constructed and created were worn by high society types like  Austine Hearst, the wife of Mr. William Randolph Hearst, Jr., Millicent Rogers and Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney. They were also made for women with less blue blood like Jeanne Bultman the wife of the artist Fritz Bultman, and Gypsy Rose Lee!

James didn’t just sketch up a gown and expect others to produce it. He worked in the true couture tradition (some say the only American designer who did). He draped fabric in complex ways to get what he was after. Often he created specialized support systems under his gowns, to enhance and extend their third dimensions . Charles James also used fabric in studied ways working with color, light and reflectivity in addition to the hang or drape of the material. He also focused on developing seaming techniques that molded the fabric into directions he wanted it to move.


Direct download: casFINALCharlesJamesLaurelShimerEnchantedBySewing.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:59am PST

This month’s show is Fairy Inspired… Fairy Gardens that is– where my sewing (like my gardening)  knows,  It’s the Story that makes it.

I was feeling pretty serious about my sewing when I got back into town last month. I was thinking that any day I’d get on with some serious pattern drafting work.

Well, I haven’t! As a matter of fact whenever I thought about doing intense pattern work – either drafting or pattern alteration – I just found something else to do. And, as this has been an unusually busy summer for me, both professionally and personally, it was easy to put sewing off.

Finally I just quit worry about what I’d planned to do, and responded to materials and projects that were singing out to me from the bins over my machine. And I was, once more, reminded of Lori Van Monnans’s advice to ‘sew forth now’.

Sometimes you just gotta sew. By just responding to what I had on hand, I was working on getting in some summer garment essentials. They were essential because there items I really use at this time of year, and also essential to my happiness. It doesn’ t always matter whether I’m carrying through on garments I blue sky about. What matters is that I respond to my essential need to sew because, sewing enchants me.

In this month’s show

1) Recent summer essential sewing – Journaling about what’s useful additions I’ve sewn for my summer armoire.

Lucy Locket's Mobile Pocket Bag http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2015/06/lucky-lockets-mobile-device-pocket-bag.html

A new Tapestry Cap - http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2015/06/replacing-my-tapestry-cap.html

Enchanted by Sewing(Aug 2014) Capping Off Summer - Creating a simple pattern for, and sewing a cap http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/08/ench-by-sew-023-capping-off-summer.html

-Singing the Blues Tee - Pattern drafted from my moulage http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2015/07/sewing-summer-essentials-singing-blues.html

Rose Embellished Straight Skirt - Pattern drafted from my sloper http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2015/06/terminado-rose-embellished-straight.html

2) Technicos: Techniques I used to complete My Rose Embellished Denim Straight Skirt – Sloper to Pattern, and embellishment techniques

Enchanted By Sewing Show (May 2015) Parlez Vous French Pattern Drafting ?http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2015/05/ench-by-sew-32-parlez-vous-french.html

3) Fairy Gardens Inspire My Sewing 

Whether gardening or sewing – it’s the story that makes the creation

Postcard from California - How to Introduce a Fairy to a California Garden (Fairy Gardens)


Both these Disney Garden books inspire my theme gardening style. I like the tabbed-cookbook style of DISNEY'S GARDENING WITH MICKEY when I want to quickly review the steps for creating a hanging basket or well illustrated how-tos for small topiaries. (There's lots of good info for larger topiaries and garden sculpting as well - I just haven't tried it out) In addition, there is good gardening (yard or pots) basic techniques as well as many recommendations for plants that work well for specific themes and temperatures. I highly recommend it, because I have used it a lot over a period of several years.


I also turn regularly to my Secrets of Disney's Glorious Gardens book. It has a lot of similar techniques and information as DISNEY'S GARDENING WITH MICKEY and it also has lovely, lovely photos that inspire me. So when I want to sit down and just get ideas for themes or gardening styles, I pour through the photos in this book.


Fairy magic is definitely adding a little more enchantment to my life, when it comes to gardening. 

And ….It’s also given me a better understanding of how to keep my sewing enchanting.


Direct download: CastFINALJuly2015SewFlowFairiesFairyGarden.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 2:23pm PST

Ench By Sew-33:Back in Town

After three weeks vacation in England and Scotland, I'm not yet caught up and engaged in my sewing projects. I am, however, reflecting on historical and travel sewing inspiration from my trip, putting some good hard thought into planning sewing projects, and continuing to learn about working on my sewing pattern skills, using my sloper and moulage patterns.


Quick Fashion: When it comes to a summer state of sewing sometimes I just want to zip zap up 3 tees in a tried and true pattern and never mind about careful seam finishes or hems – maybe a deconstructed neckline or too. Other times I want to focus on slow careful pattern work, practice my sewing techniques and create a garment that I expect to see me through a number of seasons.


Slow Fashion: I also like to put time into developing patterns with personally crafted fit, carefully finished seams and well-thought techniques.


Planned Sewing: Other times I need to step back from sewing and give my fabric and pattern inventory and choice of sewing projects a good solid overhaul.


This Month:

1) Field trip to England and Scotland 

(7 days London, 5 days in Lake District (2 travel/3 self-guided walking holiday, 2+ days Edinburgh)


In and amongst our activities,  I encountered textile and sewing information and inspiration.


For travel to use with audio books and in flight movies, and tired evenings, I took along hand embroidery, and practiced stitches on a piece of natural linen scrap. I took this lovely little book,

Embroidered & Embellished: 85 Stitches Using Thread, Floss, Ribbon, Beads & More • Step-by-Step Visual Guide along on my iPad.




Many Wonderful Large London Museums are free: Victoria and Albert (free) (Fee for special Alexander McQueen exhibit – Savage Beauty) 

Imperial War Museum (free) – Fashion on the Ration 1940s Street Style exhibit http://www.iwm.org.uk/exhibitions/iwm-london/fashion-on-the-ration

Museum of London (free)

The Queens Gallery (Moderate Cost - worth it) – painting paradise became scavenger hunt for pooches (get your ticket stamped for free return for a year)


Conversation Starters - Greeting friendly pooches and their people.

On our treks between museums and scenic places, we enjoyed greenery, statuary and ornamental waters, not to mention horses, dogs, people and kids, in the big parks Holland Park, Kensington Gardens,  Regents Park, St James Park.


Mid Week break for More Green with Country Feel, easy access from London

Osterly Park (free estate/park area and/or paid access

to Neoclassical Robert Adam (Regency Era Architect/Designer) historic house and formal gardens) A good mid-week break - 30 minutes from Kensington by train -


Robert Adam ‘one of the most fashionable architects in Eng’ also designed furniture to match the rooms at Osterly, which they still have!


Mickeldore - Self-guided walking holiday in England. They setup up the B&B, schlep your luggage and give you maps and directions. Well worth it. We have used for two or our three walking trips in the U.K. (They don't have a Cornwall trip or we would have used them for all 3!) http://www.mickledore.co.uk/


Wool  - Lake District - We stayed at Askhill Farm B&B (http://www.loweswatercam.co.uk/Askhill_Farm_Stay.htm ) There, I learned a little something about current challenges in English wool market chatting with my hosts


Tartan Weaving Mill: Edinburgh On the Royal Mile, just down from The Castle Tartans /Plaids Weaving ( http://www.royal-mile.com/interest/tartanweavingmill.html) Sure, it's primarily a gift store, but there are tidbits for the fabric savy on more than one floor.


Jaquard Loom and other Looms are on Display - National Museum of Scotland (Wonderful Museum) Extensive Exhibit area on textiles



2) Technicos: Fitted Tee Shirt – Sloper to Pattern, Putting Nibble On



3) Purging – Pains and Pleasures - Please post your own thoughts


Direct download: CastFINALBackInTownSummerJune2015.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:19pm PST

I first signed up for Lynda Maynards' French Pattern Drafting Class to help me improve my fit and alteration of commercial patterns and was surprised to find that Lynda's class opened my eyes to the idea of drafting my own patterns - an aspect of sewing I’d never expected I’d get involved with, and frankly considered beyond my skills.

Studying with a teacher like Lynda and being inspired to try new things – that’s the kind of thing that keeps me, enchanted by sewing!

1) Pensamientos Primeros – The Art of French Pattern Drafting


My Pattern Work Postings


Early Days in Pattern Drafting Class - Includes Kenneth King Link http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2015/02/drafting-my-back-block-learning-pattern.html


More from Class http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2015/02/french-pattern-draftingmoulage-first.html 




 Using My Sloper and Moulage to Draft Patterns





     Parlez Vous Flared Skirt? http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2015/04/pattern-work-parlez-vous-flared-skirt.html



Pattern Work on Pinterest:Links to many pattern drafting and design resources  https://www.pinterest.com/lrshimer/0-sewing-pattern-work/


2) Technicos  - On Wearing Ease Going from a Moulage to a Sloper and Back Again



3) Pensamientos Finales – My sloper...A garment for any occasion?

Direct download: CastFINALParlezVousFrenchPatternDrafting.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:35am PST

Ench By Sew-31: Historical Bathing Beauties

Bathing and swim wear has certainly changed from the cover-em-up days. This month I’m sharing a walk around an historical bathing suit exhibit I saw at the Vancouver Maritime Museum in the fall of 2014. I get a kick out of hearing and reading about how bathing suits have changed over time, and thinking about what a shock people must have had to suddenly start seeing others, especially women, revealing so much of their flesh on beaches! The big changes in swim suit styling around the 1920’s seem to have been about the time when the  sport changed from ‘bathing’ to ‘swimming’ in the English speaking world. It wasn’t enough just to immerse ourselves in water outside, as we did indoors anymore. Now more people wanted to get some exercise when they went into a pool, river or ocean.

Direct download: FINALBathingVancouverEnchantedBySewingLaurelShimer_-_42815_2.05_PM.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:46pm PST

Ench By Sew-030: Hats Off to Downtown Abbey!

This Month's Show - Hats Off to Downton Abbey!

In this month's Enchanted by Sewing show, I talk about the role Downton Abbey played in inspiring  the hats I've been making. I also share what I've learned about how to make hats, and a variety of historical and modern links.


In this Month's Show

1)  Pensamientos Primeros – Making Hats -  inspired by Downton Abbey , and enabled by local milliner Wayne Wichern


Why do I love to watch Downton Abbey over and over ?

1) The Romantic setting

2) The fantastic British trained actors

3) The Fashions - my favorite part of Downton Abbey.

The best part of the those fashions? -  Hats! 


 2)  Technicos A summary of the Techniques I learned something about while making Hats with Wayne Wichern

3)  Pensamientos Finales – Pretty as a Picture Hat - Grandomther Lily’s Wedding 

Direct download: castFINALHATSoffDowntonAbbeyEnchantedBySewingLaurelShimer.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 5:13pm PST

Ench By Sew-029: The Importance of Scrap 
A cada quien su gusto – To each her own
As well as being useful and cost effective, using up the Scrap from our garment sewing, opens up a world of personal creativity, as well 
Coming up with different ideas for utilizing my scraps, keeps me . . .  Enchanted by Sewing.
The Enchanted by Sewing Podcast is, an extension of my regular sewing blog - Me Encanta Coser,  (http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com) which,  roughly translated means, Enchanted By Sewing
My blog is written in English. The name celebrates the historical and modern use of the beautiful Spanish Language in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, where I live.
* * *
Clearly, scrap is important to the newest member of our household, Izzie the teenaged tabby cat.

Scraps are just as important to me as they are to any cat. Working with scrap, gets my mental processes humming,in ways not so different than they do for Izzie. I have a habit of going to my scrap bins when I feel the need to get a little jolt of playfulness. That’s something I think our young cat can relate to.

I like to work on my scrap habit. It’s good for the planet, and it reminds me that I don’t always have to purchase a new product, 
to make something useful, fun or really beautiful. To top it all off,  focusing on playing, oh I mean experimenting!, with my scrap,
gives me a chance to build more neural pathways - It sparks my creative juices, just like it does for Izzie the Teenaged Tabby Cat. 

 A cada quien su gusto! Or, maybe you say To each her own!

Izzie says, Just get out the scrap, let’s play!
Here’s what I talk about, in this month’s show, “The importance of scrap”, recorded in February of 2015
1)Pensamientos Primeros
Scrap – Rags, Patches and Snips.  How useful a sewists leftovers can be!

Scraps are sewing leftovers. I call some of my  larger scraps, remnants, These are scraps, from which, I might still make another tee shirt, a camisole or  maybe a tote bag or little purse .  

Entonces/Then there are the smaller remnents odds and ends– not big enough for a whole garment, but quite useful for a variety 
of projects and make -do challenges. 

Finally there are my snips – tiny bits and pieces, and strips that are just too pretty to toss. These bits and pieces are what really bring my creativity to life.
 * * *
I'm sorry I lost the link to this site.
I remember it was a public site in Australia
 Yup that’s me singing that old hit, "Ragg Mopp" , once sung by the Tenriers and the Aames Bros. Rags might be considered kind of  lowly to some folks, but in fact these leftovers have been important for a lot more than wiping up spills and polishing cars throughout history. Rag mops and rag rugs are just a few of those very utilitarian, and sometimes beautiful ways to repurpose strips of old or new fabric.

1.Ragg Mopps and Raggggg Rugggggs
iii. Nice link to Little House Living a woman who makes her own rag rugs for her own home.

According to this link, rag mops are the best mop in the world, and the author says the that professionial cleaners in many countries swear by them.

 I’d love to hear from listeners who’ve made either of these raggy kind of projects. How patient do you have to be? I’m thinking of trying out something more basic along these lines like coasters. Could you maybe braid and curl up hot pads from repurposed scrap or old clothes?

Follow the Drinking Gourd - The Spiritual 

SewRuth, who I think hails from Ireland, had several ideas I hadn’t thought of. She had some very nice photos and how-to for belts, covered jewlery - bracelets, watch straps  and embellishment for handbags.. I’m going to revisit the tutorial part of that posting when I think about making a belt from scrap I also really liked her idea about making an obi .That posting is definitely worth a visit if you’re into using up your scrap in an artistic way. 

A couple of postings about the buttercup purse pattern, including a free pattern link
Do you love butter? In Praise of the Buttercup Purse. http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2012/09/do-you-love-butter-in-praise-of.html

2)Entonces/Then - Technicos – How I sew appliqué
I have my own way of doing a somewhat deconstructed appliqué

AngelLea has her own ideas  


3)Pensamientos Finales/Final Thoughts – A Story of Scrap
Direct download: castdraft5c64KBFINALScrap.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:25pm PST

Ench By Sew-028: A Very Fitting Sewing Day With Susan

Recently I went to visit with my buddy, Susan, and her household’s two dogs, Bruce and Bain. You’ll hear Bain’s comments at various times during the show, just the way you occasionally hear some of the audio from things in my house like the train that runs just behind our yard. I’m partial to including a little locally occurring audio ,because it adds another sense to the personal journal style of the show.

Don’t you feel like you know Susan by now?  I’m always mentioning her and the time we’ve spent together in this show. This month I got a chance to share a sewing day at Susan’s house with you. It started out as an interview, but it became a duologue – even when I cut out several of the places where I interrupted!

Pensamientos Primeros/First Thoughts . . . we talked  about our sewing relationship and some of the non-sewing things that give you a sense of who Susan is and what drew us together.

Entonces/Then . . . we talked about some of the things that she learned about fitting patterns, that I’ve benefitted from over the past couple years.

This month's Pensamientos Finales/Final Thoughts . . .  are scattered throughout the show as we each share with you a little something about where Susan is living. The area she’s recently moved to has a very long-term historic role in agriculture and pre-agriculture, within California, that has provided people with both food, fabric,  and more, for over 4,000 years. 


Direct download: CastFINAL14OfficeSusanFittingJan2015.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:08pm PST

Ench By Sew-027: Festive Holiday Tees and Tes - Our best holiday episode ever!

Socializing at this time of year, sharing a cup of tea and a light meal, admiring something a friend has made, engaging together with a sewing project, and getting advice on it, that’s the kind of thing that keeps me . . . enchanted by sewing.

Our best holiday episode ever!

Of course, every year it's better than the last :-)

Listening Option I) You can listen to the show right on the web by clicking on this link



~ OR ~

Listening Option II)  Click on this link to iTunes  to download this and other Enchanted by Sewing shows to your mobile device (iPhone, Android, etc.) free from iTunes 

( https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/enchanted-by-sewing/id566370325)



The Enchanted by Sewing Podcast is, an extension of my regular sewing blog - Me Encanta Coser,  (http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com) which,  roughly translated means, Enchanted By Sewing 


My blog is written in English. The name celebrates the historical and modern use of the beautiful Spanish Language in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, where I live. 


This show is created, produced and brought to you by Laurel Shimer. 


This month’s show  is  *Festive Holiday Tees and Tea*


1) Holiday Tees and More 


* Crafternoon - Finishing my beaded cap, started in Vancouver



* Three Tees - Tee Shirts 


i. Rumpelstiltskin Cowl Neck Top (M6078 - tried and true pattern) http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/12/spinning-straw-into-gold-my.html

ii. Two versions of the Princess Laurel Tee V8323

FUTURE LINKS UNDER CONTSTRUCTION - When I blog them, I'll add them:-)


1. Floral velour (Test Garment - but I'm wearing it all the time!) http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/10/princess-seamed-tee-shirt-pattern-work.html

2. A plain Red version - still a little work to do finishing up the neckband. Perfect for Christmas and Valentines day, but it will see plenty of other use.




* Ivy –A new shirtdress from my tried-and-true M3623 pattern, Inspired by Mrs. Obama!

- http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/11/terminado-ivys-ready-for-holidays-raw.html

- Mrs. Obama’s Arms Inspire Shirt Dress Sewing http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/11/romancing-dress-mrs-obama-arms-inspire.html


- Fabric from a favorite local and online store – Exotic Silks/Thai Silks http://www.exoticsilks.com

- Wrap-up posting about my first shirt dress project, "Peaches and Cream" http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/09/terminado-completing-peaches-and.html


* Julia Morgan – Arts and Crafts movement architect http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Morgan

YWCA Hostess House in Palo Alto, built in 1918 and later to become the site of the MacArthur Park Restaurant[17]


*Technicos – Green Sewing Gifts* Covered books and chou chous

Use up those beautiful remnants and scraps

FUTURE LINKS UNDER CONSTRUCTION - When I blog them, I'll add them:-)


I created a pattern for my fabric book cover from a paper bag first. 13 step tutorial http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Paper-Bag-Book-Cover



*Come on over for holiday tea and sewing* In the show, I share lighter holiday offerings, inspired by three sewing and tea parties I've gone to or been hostess at recently. I wish you could have come too!


a. To drink I'd offer Roibos tea with milk and  Easy Microwave No-Sugar Cocoa (you can have sugar if you want!) made with soy milk or non-fat milk 

  I like these cocoa powders (non-sweetened varieties) Cadbury, Schafen Bergen, Ghirardhelli, Trader Joes, Droste

b. Laurel's Holiday Lights Pumpkin Gingerbread 


c. Blueberry muffins (Whoops! Not the Mayo Clinic it's from the Harvard School of Public Health - chock full of blueberries!) 

I substitute white whole wheat flour for the all-purpose. Love the texture of the almond meal and the flavors of the orange zest and blueberry. Made them twice in short order. Very popular with my family.  



d. Persimmon oatmeal cookies - I didn't have the psyllium husks and substituted some applesauce for the persimmon when I ran short. They were great anyway!




e. Laurel's London Loaf - A very light schoosh-of-oatmeal and lemon peel bread http://simpleromantic.blogspot.com/2010/08/for-anna-london-loaf.html


f. Harry Potter's Bath Buns, like Hagrid never made


I have the The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook  this Bath Bun recipe came from  (someone else has typed up on this page) and I made these buns for supper one night, along with a nice meaty beef stew. I used golden raisins. Many recipes in the book are heavy on the butter, but this much less so. Delicious, very holiday tasting with the caraway seeds.


g. Laurel's Dried fruit truffles

Quick Recipe Recap, For more description, listen in to the later part of this month's podcast

Food processor -  Take out all pits! 

- 12 dried apricots, 6 medjdool dates, 6 dried plums/prunes

- 2 full graham crackers, 2 t almond meal (optional)

- zest of one orange or lemon 

Pulse the food processor till all broken up

- drizzle in enough honey to get mixture to hold together (maybe 1 teaspoon?)


- Press plain cocoa powder (no sugar or fat added) through a sieve so that it's all a fine powder

- Roll mixture into a lot of little balls

- Roll balls in cocoa

- Store in your cutest tin!


Direct download: FINALcastFestiveTeaAndTeesdec2014.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 2:33pm PST


Recently I visited western Canada - Vancouver BC - for a six days trip. My husband attended a conference for GSA. Not being a geologist, I went along for fun!

 I’ve taken four trips to Vancouver in the last six years. It's a place we really love to go. We are all really drawn to the city and the vicinity. We identify with the city as fellow westerners. There is a strong bond of shared history and culture, between people in the western Americas, particularly down along the coast. There's also a lot of ross culture with my home in the San Francisco Bay area. 

That said, there is a spice of difference and Canadian feeling. We feel both comfortable, and excited with the sights sounds and smells(!). 

 In the show I discuss . . . 

On this trip, my sewist's heart was drawn to embellishment. I kept that in mind when I


- Shopped

- Looked for inspiration for sewing projects

- Designed and Worked on a small sewing project


I also included a lot of travel notes. You'll hear about how my interest in very accessible forms of Native American art in Vancouver, 

the out of doors, and local city life affected my sewing ideas and the shape of my travel style.


~ ~ ~

Web Resources

Sunset Inn and Suites – Burnaby St, West End, just off Davie



Button Button - A Unique, Artistic Button Experience


Button Button is on the edge of Gas Town. It's where the Steam Clock is. Yup, it was being renovated when I was there!



DresSew http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/10/californian-visits-vancouver-bc-sewing.html



Bead store Granville island

In the Net Loft building


5 - 1666 Johnston Street, V6H 3S2

T: 604.682.2323 | F: 604.682.1303

Located in the Net Loft Beadworks is the ultimate destination for all of your jewellery making needs. Choose from thousands of different beads; from pearls to shells to glass and everything in between, and materials for making earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and more. Ask the helpful staff for tips, and you can even create your one-of-a-kind accessories in-store. We also offer classes.






Stanley Park is a huge fantastic city park. Wonderful views of the water, water activities, biking, walking. Woods too - take your pick.


-Native American Art Good locations there

-Behind Maritime Museum Mungo Martin Totem Pole

-Totem Poles, Spirit Park in Stanley Park

-MOA, UBC, carvings, crests on totem poles, bentwood boxes, modern and ancient sculptures






Vanier Park


Museum of Vancouver http://www.museumofvancouver.ca


Through early March 2015, If you’re in the area! Exhibit - From Rationing to Ravishing




Maritime Museum - nearby Museum of Vancouver

Babes and Bathers, History of the Swimsuit



Direct download: CastFINALNov2014VancouverEmbellishmentD6.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 6:36pm PST

Ench By Sew-025: Restyling

This month’s show  is “ Restylin’.

It all came about when I started shaking the dreams from my hair. Restylin' is about my transition in sewing and wardrobe style . It involves looking at patterns, and working my brain around how it makes sense for clothes to fit me.

The Enchanted by Sewing Podcast is, an extension of my regular sewing blog - Me Encanta Coser, which,  roughly translated means, Enchanted By Sewing 


My blog is written in English. The name celebrates the historical and modern use of the beautiful Spanish Language in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, where I live. 

This month I’m working on creating two tee shirts M6078 and V8323. The details are in these blog postings from MeEncantaCoser.blogspot.com

V8323 - Princess Seamed - Katherine Tilton Tee http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/10/princess-seamed-tee-shirt-pattern-work.html

M6078 - Retro Style Polka Dot Cowl Neck Knit top - Reminiscent of I Love Lucy http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/10/reworking-retro-style-polka-dot-tee.html


1)Pensamientos Primeros

– (Sewing) For my wardrobe’s sake (How about those red accents!)


Reworking my sewing style/methods. Pattern alteration experiences.

3)Pensamientos Finales

Transitions - Restyling  

David Crosby sang, 

“I almost cut my hair

It happened just the other day . . .”


Redefining what I want to create


* * *

Restyling has me  shaking the dreams from my hair.   That’s just one more thing that keeps me . . . 

Enchanted by Sewing.

Direct download: FINALCastOct2014RestylingEnchantedBySewing.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 5:36pm PST

This month I sewed two dresses – a shirtdress for me and a fitted sleeveless bodice full shirt for my daughter. There was a lot going on emotion ‘wise for our family this month and I sewed those dresses for a siginificant family event. Creating something tangible was a way to work through those emotions.


In this September 2014 episode

 1)         Pensamientos Primero s


Entonces/Then  . . .

 2) Technicos 

How I altered a new-ONLY-to-me shirtdress pattern  to fit and flatter me

3)         Pensamientos Finales

Wrapping up Summer and  the Fun Fall Sewing Questionaire – Visit the Show Notes http://EnchantedBySewing.blogspot.com to post your responses to the questions J


Sewing up fall – whether it’s imaginary experience or creating something tangible – is one of the things that keeps me Enchanted by Sewing.


This show is

created, produced and brought to you by me! - Laurel Shimer.


THE Enchanted by Sewing PODCAST IS, An  EXTENSION OF my regular sewing blog - Me Encanta Coser, which,  roughly translated means, Enchanted By Sewing


My blog is written in English. The name celebrates the historical and modern use of the beautiful Spanish Language in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, where I live

Direct download: castFINALSHIRTDRESSINGSept2014.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 6:34pm PST

Ench By Sew-023: Capping off Summer, The Tapestry Cap (Technicos/Techniques)

I’ve worked on a couple of different sewing projects in August. Of the four I’ve worked on I’ve finished three - a wardrobe building elastic waist black denim skirt (like the blue one I finished in June and have been wearing so much), another semi-fitted sleeveless cotton blouse (like Amaryllis the subject of last months 'cast - I haven't post about this yet, but plan to soon) and a tapestry cap.


That cap is especially important to me. As you might have noticed in previous shows I am kind of a preacher when it comes to protecting our skin from the elements. I listened back to my shows from the last couple of months, and it seemed like I went into great detail in both ones about wearing my sun screen and a cap whenever I head out the door, whether for a walk or even a ride in the car.


I figured if it was so important to me, it was time to do an episode about the kind of skin protecting garment I’ve made a few times now, sharing the techniques and some of my inspiration.


1)         Pensamientos Primeros/First Thoughts

Why do I need to make my own caps and hats?


Wayne Wichern's Millinery is in the San Francisco Bay Area. I took my first millinery class at Cañada College, from Wayne. He has a lovely private studio where he conducts further workshops and open lab. He's a wonderful man and teacher .http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2013/09/matters-millinery-making-my-own-hats.html


 2) Technicos/Techniques  


 How I create caps, based on the "Good Hat Day Hat (cap)" in the first One Yard Wonders Book.



3)         Pensamientos Finales/Final Thoughts

Blue Skies Hat Sewing, Ideas for future hats and caps I hope and plan to make


I've got plans to take Wayne's 3 day workshops. Wayne Wichern's Millinery is in the San Francisco Bay Area. I took my first millinery class from Wayne. He also has a studio for more intense workshops and open labs. He's a wonderful man and teacher - http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2013/09/matters-millinery-making-my-own-hats.html


There's a pretty cloche-esque hat pattern in this magazine, which has a lot of other fun stuff as well.

Direct download: CastFINALAug2014CappingOffSummerENCHANTEDbySEWING.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:36pm PST

In my slow sewing July, I focused on sewing just one pink and white striped seersucker sleeveless blouse.  Like my  CA Summer skies shirt– (that was blue and white checked seersucker shirt ) I sewed and talked about last months show, my new sleeveless blouse, who I call Amaryllis (in honor of the musical, "The Music Man"),  has quickly become an important staple of my summer wardrobe. And sewing a few more blouses, as a result of what I thought and learned about sewing this most recent garment, is something I’m considering when it comes to more summer sewing.


In this month’s show


1)Pensamientos Primeros

Slow Summer Sewing – Budgeting my sewing time and energy and coming out on top by improving sewing skills. Increasing my wardrobe choices. It’s about Feeling satisfied with my sewing recreation time and output. The show notes (http://EnchantedBySewing.blogspot.com) include links to the slow living movement, including the slow stitching movement.

2) Entonces, Technicos y Mas

i) What’s a shirt what’s a blouse?

ii) About Amaryllis, a summer blouse

iii) Technicos –My Amarylis Blouse

-More Seersucker Sewing

-       Sleeveless blouse facings

-Seam Finishes - Cut and Pink

-Altering a shirt pattern to become a blouse


3)Pensamientos Finales Blue Skies Sewing

I can't sew it all at once, but I can dream

Direct download: AMARYLLISFINALCastJuly2014.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:55am PST

Ench By Sew-021- CA Summer Skies Sewing


I know your June weather may not be the same as mine. Here in CA it’s time for summer skies, a little more heat, and a vacation feeling whether or not we’re able to leave town. (Hey,  feel free to post about what kind of sewing your climate inspires below!)


Sometimes I’m able to take an actual summer vacation and other years I focus on treating the summer like a vacation, even when I don’t leave the San Francisco Bay Area, where I live. This summer I was able to take a mini vacation weekend trip to Disneyland this year. As a matter of fact I just got back☺  I went with my beautiful, kind and funny , young adult daughter. Getting to bond her at this age is really fun!  I took along a newly finished garment from my summer wardrobe on the trip and I’ll talk more about sewing that in the show. I’m going to continue to focus on treating the rest of the summer like a vacation, no matter what I get to do. And I’m going to continue to sew for my summer vacation, no matter how far afield of home I manage to go.


This Month's Topics

- Planning my Summer Vacation Sewing

- What I've sewn for summer so far

- Technicos/Techniques for Sewing Seersucker

Direct download: FINALJune2014CASummerSkiesVacationSewing.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 12:22pm PST

Pensamientos Primero  

Reflecting on Making

For some people, sewing is just practical . For another segment of society, and I’m one of them, sewing is an important creative outlet that helps us to stay healthy and happy.

-Entonces /Then

She B. Coole

Live talk from our local Makers Faire includes extempore  interview with professional embroideress (Tapistres?) Barbara Coole (B. Coole)

oB. Coole Shares

•Thoughts on the realities of garment sewers investing both time and money into modern machine embroidery equipment and know-how

•Her advice on choosing an embroidery machine


-Pensimentos Finales:  What I’m thinking now, when it comes to my dream embroidery machine

~ ~ ~

Direct download: FINALMindMakerMay2014.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:44pm PST

A bustier is an alluring garment, one many women would like to wear - if they dare. When I began to notice that women of all shapes, sizes and ages sewed and wore their bustiers with pleasure and pride, I decided to take a chance and learn to sew this very structured garment, that can be designed to flatter a wide variety of figure types.

Last month I talked about Cut and Cloth

This month I focus on Construction

Direct download: castFINALBustiersPART_2_APRIL_2014ENCHANTEDBYSEWING.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 2:38pm PST

A bustier is an alluring garment, one many women would like to wear - if they dare. When I began to notice that women of all shapes, sizes and ages sewed and wore their bustiers with pleasure and pride, I decided to take a chance and learn to sew this very structured garment, that can be designed to flatter a wide variety of figure types.

This episode emphasizes Cut and Cloth. Next month's episode focuses on Construction.


Direct download: castFINALBustiersPART1.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:30am PST


Is that garment you're sewing a shirt or a blouse? Is it the collar stand, or lack thereof that makes you decide one way or another? How about set-in sleeves versus dropped? Maybe it's your choice of fabric.... This month Laurel talks about her experiences creating her No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Shirt, with a Butterick pattern that sometimes says shirt and other times blouse. She also discusses sewing techniques that say shirt, and chats a little about the history of shirts and shirty language (with special attention to a scene from a Harry Potter book ).


 This podcast is an extension of  my on-web sewing life journal Me Encanta Coser, a blog that tells the story of an arty-romantic plain sewist in CA. My blog is written in English. The blogs name, and occasional references, pays tribute to the beautiful Spanish language which is a part of both the history and modern culture of the San Francisco Bay area, where I live.

Direct download: castFINALShirtyRerunFeb2014.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:14am PST

Ench By Sew-16 Quinceañeras, Weddings and More

An interview with Esther, owner of a local sewing business, Tocci Quinces & More

Highlights of our conversation include:

- How Esther learned to sew on the job sewing in Mexico for a maquiladora in Mexico City and how her desire for a different life for herself and her daughters, motivated her to come to the US, where she trained for and worked at medical jobs for several years. 

- Eventual acquisition of her business

- Esther’s dreams, experiences and plans for the sewing and business education, that are helping her to grow her business.

- Flights of fancy from both ladies in regards to sewing inspiration for specialized Mexican techniques and garments.

Show Notes at http://EnchantedBySewing.blogspot.com, include links to cutural, artistic, and geographic resources.

Direct download: FINALJan2014InterviewEstherDraft1.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:09pm PST

Ench By Sew-15 Festive Time Fabric Quiz - Made for California

Show Notes : http://enchantedbysewing.blogspot.com. This month I’m taking a leaf out of the book of some of the podcasts and columnists I enjoy, who run a themed quiz during the winter holidays. I’ve always enjoyed taking these kinds of mini tests,  and feeling like a smarty pants when I’m  able to answer their questions. I also get a kick out of trying to wow my family with my knowledge of trivia on various subjects.

They are rarely impressed.

My own, Enchanted by Sewing holiday quiz is focused around four fabrics that work well for sewing, wearing and enjoying here in California’s temperate San Francisco Bay Area. So pull up a few bolts of your favorite stuff, plop down on top, and let’s get started. And don’t forget to keep score!

During the audio quiz... you will be ranking four fabrics in terms of their strength. At that time, I sing you a little fabric themed tune. Since cotton is one of the fabrics in the quiz, I thought you might enjoy my updated version of the old "Boll Weevil" song. The lyrics I adapted are in the show notes http://enchantedbysewing.blogspot.com

Direct download: CastHolidayQuizDec2013FINALENCHANTEDBySewingPodcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:08pm PST

It's a good time of year to consider how rethinking of women’s societal roles and life choices has affected attitudes towards the use of aprons, and take a free trips through time as well. Free apron pattern download and discussion of sewing techniques.

Direct download: CastApronologyMarieAntoinetteBettyCrockerEnchantedBySewingPodcastNov13.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:15am PST

Ench By Sew-13 Jeans Style Sewing – Skirting the Issue

I was intimidated by sewing well fitting jeans, in addition to learning how to achieve an authentic jeans-styling look when it comes to fabric, hardware, and embellishment. So, I put aside fit issues, for the time being, 

and created a jeans-style skirt.

Direct download: EnchantedBySewingJeansStyleSkirtingIssueFinalCastOct2013Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:43am PST

Ench By Sew-12 Dress Forms



My experiences creating a) a Duct Tape Dress Form (with a friend) b) a Uniquely You Dress Form (Instructor Judith Jackson) 

1)What is a dress form? (also see Sew Forth Now Podcast) 

2)Why I wanted a dress form3)Body Issues and your Team

4)Two types of dress forms I experienced


6)Materials (tools)   and Resources (web stuff)

7)Safety- Cautions about Standing - also -Working around kids - Two good reasons not to !


8)Social Comfort/Body Issues  and Your Team 

9)How I've used my dress forms and other Ideas for Use - Wedding/Special Occasion Sewing?

10) Technicos: In-depth details about how I made these two different styles of dress forms


~ ~ ~

Show Notes http://EnchantedBySewing.blogspot.com



Direct download: draft5_dress_formENCHANTEDbySewingFINAL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:43am PST

Ench By Sew-11 Fashion Engineering for Work and Play (Interview)

Professional and weekend wear are well integrated in Susan's wardrobe. Business casual is her everyday look and skirts and dresses are important for Susan's girly-girl style, whether at home or work.

No coyotes or mountain lions slipped through the parking lot (as we'd both hoped they might), but snakes alive, did we have a good time talking late into the night! Come along and listen in.

Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:30pm PST

Professional and weekend wear are well integrated in Susan's wardrobe. Business casual is her everyday look and skirts and dresses are important for Susan's girly-girl style, whether at home or work.

No coyotes or mountain lions slipped through the parking lot (as we'd both hoped they might), but snakes alive, did we have a good time talking late into the night! Come along and listen in.

Direct download: SnakesAliveFINALCast11Aug_2013EnchantedBySewingPodcastSUSANS.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 1:12am PST

California Sewist seeks inspiration at the Victoria and Albert

In the June Enchanted by Swing podcast I shared some of my favorite sewist sights in London: Tana Lawn fabric at Liberty, street fashion and a trip to a special exhibit at Buckingham Palace.

Before the show returns to a California sewing scene,  I take you along with me on a tour of the Victoria and Albert fashion gallery. It's just like we're walking the floor together (and yes - we do take a tea break too), looking at all the details dear to a sewists heart. Did you see that cuff? How did they make those roses? What is giving that bodice it's structure? 

Yes, the sights and sounds (even some of my camera clicks) of the gallery are all there. It's an in-the-moment show.

Direct download: VandAPART1EnchantedBySewingJuly_2013.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:21am PST

California Sewist seeks inspiration at the Victoria and Albert

In the June Enchanted by Swing podcast I shared some of my favorite sewist sights in London: Tana Lawn fabric at Liberty, street fashion and a trip to a special exhibit at Buckingham Palace.

Before the show returns to a California sewing scene,  I take you along with me on a tour of the Victoria and Albert fashion gallery. It's just like we're walking the floor together (and yes - we do take a tea break too), looking at all the details dear to a sewists heart. Did you see that cuff? How did they make those roses? What is giving that bodice it's structure? 

Yes, the sights and sounds (even some of my camera clicks) of the gallery are all there. It's an in-the-moment show.

Direct download: VandAPART2EnchantedBySewingJuly_2013.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:13am PST

London's got what a sewist yearns for, historically inspired fabric and fashion, not to mention the regular inspirations we bring back from vacation tripping in an historically rich area. When this California sewist vacations in London she does more than promenade along the Thames. She visits historic Liberty to buy soft delicate Tana Lawn fabric and the Victoria and Albert to study historic fashion. She also looks both ways before she crosses the street (cuz she can never remember which way the traffic flows) to take camera phone photos of street fashion.

Direct download: FINALCastLondonJune2013.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:58am PST

In celebration of Mother’s Day… Laurel reflects on her own experiences with mother-daughter sewing. She also finds out that this relationship doesn’t always fit into a traditional pattern. This conversation with sewing cohorts, who happen to be related, may surprise you as much as it did the show hostess.

Direct download: MOthersDayMay2013EnchBySewing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:35pm PST

This interview is about more than sewing, it's about a Californian who admits to having fun with her two teenage sons, drawn together by their shared joy in living history....What first drew me to Laura is that, in addition to costume sewing, she has a flair for  integrating elements of costume sewing into her daily wardrobe. She sews for well-known living history events, such as the Renaisance Faire and Civil War Reenactment Days. Our conversation about her experiences creating unique agreements for  local personal theater - the Nor C Cal Pirate Expo had us both laughing, and me reaching for the edit button when it came time to clean up this interview to keep this podcast rated 'clean'!

Direct download: FINALPIRATEQUEENMarch2013Cast_3.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 3:29pm PST

Vests give freedom of movement, are a way to showcase fabric, and provide a touch of formality in a casual world. Includes a nod to history, vest patterns and technique for an alternative way to sew a lined or reversible vest . Pensamientos: Tutus vs. Tofu contrasts plain sewing basics with sewing enchantment.

Direct download: FINALJan2013Cast.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:18am PST

Our Best Holiday Issue Ever! Sewing Nightgowns, Robes, Men’s Nightshirts, and Ideas for Pajama Sewing. Laurel is a classic romantic when it comes to nightwear sewing. This month she shares some of her favorite night garment sewing patterns, thoughts on winter gown and robe fabrics, and an audio tutorial on sewing tucks.  The show also includes an informative interview with Anthony G., another student in the Cañada Fashion Sewing Program, some of which was surprising to Laurel when it came to what Anthony shared about natural fibers and Harry Truman!

Direct download: FINALDec2012Cast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:10pm PST

Reflections on trouser-wearing ladies in past, recent and modern times including Marie Antoinette, Katherine Hepburn and Doris Day, as well as Laurel's own memories of the struggles over changing cultural attitudes. Discussion of trouser patterns used by the hostess, ideas for sewing fabric and thread belt loops, and specialized techniques for creating in-seam pockets. Includes a lively interview-conversation with Sally-Ann, another student in the Cañada Fashion Sewing Program.

Direct download: NovemberLadyWearsTrousers.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:15pm PST

Why I find dress sewing enchanting. How I’ve been working on making that enchantment both a time for special occasion sewingand also a time to add to the practical part of my regular, daily arty-romantic California wardrobe.

Includes reflections on dress fashion history as well as techniques for sewing a fitted facing at a dress neckline.


Direct download: ENCH002.FINAL.PODCASTOctober.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 6:37pm PST

1)  An extension of  my sewing blog http://MeEncantaCoser.blogspot.com

2)  Celebrating National Sewing month 

Personal Style, Designs, Building Sewing Skill Set

Short Interview with Kayla, a local fashion student

3)Tee Time – Sewing The ubiquitous tee shirt is the modern day equivalent of great-great grandmother's calico dress

4) Tee Time Patterns – New, Used and Altered

5) Tee Time Techniques with help from Kayla 

6) September Sewing Basket

7) Contact

Show Notes and Comments


8) Next Months Theme and Pensamientos on Sewing Enchantment

Direct download: EnchBySew001TeeTimeSewing.mp3_Ubiquitous_Tee_Shirt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:42pm PST