Archive for 2013

22 Dec 2013

Pre-Order Orchid and New Year’s Sale (A little early)

2 Comments Orchid Top & Skirt, Shop News

Our New Orchid Pattern is Up for Sale

We are happy to announce that our newest pattern, Orchid, is now in the shop and we are accepting pre-orders.  

Now through January 5th, you can also get 20% off all other Clever Charlotte patterns!

See our original post announcing Orchid by clicking here.

Orchid Top & Skirt Back View
For our cover look, we used a plum poplin for the top and a quilting cotton for the bow.  The top has raglan sleeves and if you look closely at the photo above, you can just see the shoulder dart we’ve added to provide a nice soft curve.

The skirt is a medium weight poly brocade in a funky gold and silver weave for an overall sophisticated look. When selecting a fabric for the skirt, we recommend choosing a medium-to-heavy weight fabric that will hold a good crease.

Orchid Skirt Close Up

A few things about Pre-Orders and Our New Year’s Sale:

1. We currently anticipate mailing out the first shipment of patterns the week of January 6th, but we cannot guarantee the exact ship date yet. We pride ourselves on fast turn-around times for all our orders and pre-orders are no different. We will do our best to communicate any notable shipping delays.

2. Since all of our orders process through PayPal, payment for any pre-orders will be processed at the time of order and not at the time of shipment.

3. If an order includes the new Orchid pattern, we will ship all other items at the same time. If you want other items sooner, you will have to place a separate order.

4. Don’t forget to use the Code “Happy2014″ at check out to save 20% on all our other patterns.

We hope you have a happy holiday and a great start to your (sewing) year!

~Erin & Carla

20 Dec 2013

Our Holiday Present to You: A NEW Clever Charlotte Pattern!

7 Comments Orchid Top & Skirt

The little elves at Clever Charlotte have a new pattern to introduce to you, complete with a “bow on top”!

Introducing: Clever Charlotte Orchid Top & Skirt

Meet Orchid, our 13th pattern!

Think holiday parties and orchestra concerts on a snowy winter’s evening.

There’s a little bit of nostalgia wrapped up in our pleated skirt and vintage, buttoned-back Top with contrasting front bow tie.

The fitted waist skirt has deep box pleats and a side zipper.

Ooh, and speaking of the button placket, here’s the view from the back — just the project to use those heirloom silver buttons you inherited from your Aunt Mildred, don’t you think?

orchid back

We invite you to preorder before the holiday, with shipping to commence after the first week of 2014.  What better way to kick off your sewing projects in the New Year!

Look for an announcement this weekend in your inbox and here on the site about the start of pre-sales.


Happy holidays and happy sewing!

~ Erin & Carla

15 Dec 2013

Emergency Formal Wear

2 Comments In the Workroom

Happy Holidays to all the Clever Charlotte fans out there.  Erin and I have been hard at work to bring you all a shiny new present next week, but in the meantime I wanted to share with you a new creation, or really a re-worked creation that I needed for a holiday party this weekend.


Purple Dress2This is the original dress I made a couple years ago.  I wore it to a party and promptly spilled something oily straight down the front.  Rats.


While I’ve never been much of a draper, I decided to use this beautiful silk chiffon I picked up in NYC during Fashion Week to rework the original dress. The picture does not do this chiffon justice… the ethereal pattern is reminiscent of a celestial nebula, don’t you think?

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download<br /><br /><br /><br />
the highest resolution version available.

From: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap110609.html

Here’s what I did:  I began by pinning the middle of the 2-yard length of chiffon to the bust, leaving several extra inches above the original dress. I tried to keep the grainline of the chiffon horizontal to the dress form, but only had moderate success with this.


I began pleating the bodice, eyeballing the depth and placement of pleats.  This step took some trial and correction, but wasn’t that difficult.


HolidayDress105After the pleats were pinned in place around the front and back, I removed the dress from the dress form and hand-tacked them down with stitches that are nearly invisible from the front. I then folded the raw edge on the bodice towards the inside of the dress to create a finished neckline.  There is a separate row of stitches inside the dress to keep the chiffon from peeking out.

HolidayDress102Can you see the horizontal lines of pinpricks at the top of the bodice, the waist, and under bust?

The original dress had an invisible zipper, which I had to rip out in order to sandwich the chiffon between the zipper and original fabric.

HolidayDress106I hand sewed the zipper back in because I felt I had more control this way than running it through the machine and risking the machine pulling and stretching the chiffon. I did use the machine to finish off the center back seam below the zipper.  Holding the threads as I began sewing, I was able not to stretch the fabric out of shape too much along this seam.

These steps only took me about 2 hours… much less time than having to create a new dress for my event. The hand-rolled hem took another 2 hrs to complete, but I accomplished this step in front of the TV, so it hardly counts as time spent on the dress!  I didn’t snap a photo of my hand-rolled hem because it looks so darn awful, but I with the movement of the chiffon, I don’t think anyone at the party noticed.


Here’s the final look.  Not too shabby for one of my first attempts at chiffon (as long as no one looks too close).  Does anyone out there have tips on dealing with chiffon?  Any classes/books that tackle this impossibly slippy shifty fabric?  I’d love to hear about them.


Happy holidays and stay tuned for your holiday surprise!


Happy Sewing,






29 Nov 2013

Flip This Chickadee + Special Sale!

1 Comment Chickadee Blouse & Skirt

Flip This Pattern: Clever Charlotte Chickadee Blouse Pattern

This may be old news to some of you out there, but Clever Charlotte will be the featured pattern designer for Frances Suzanne’s Flip This Pattern in January. We’re celebrating by putting our Chickadee Blouse & Skirt pattern on super-duper sale!

Flip This Pattern

If you don’t already know about Flip This Pattern, here’s the skinny: an indie children’s pattern is featured each month.  3-4 guest bloggers will take the pattern and have fun with it (aka “flip” it).  For those of you at home, you can sew-along too, with prizes to boot. There are still 6 months left in this unique series and it’s a great way to get find out about all the truly remarkable indie pattern companies out there. 

Guest Bloggers

Be sure to check out Frances Suzanne throughout the month of January to see the re-designs of our Chickadee Blouse & Skirt pattern that all you creative types come up with.  Here is the line up of talented guest bloggers-competitors who have already been hard at work planning something exciting to show you in January:

Heidi of Green Doodle
Cindy of Siestas and Sewing
Janice of So-Cal Sewing Mom
Al of  Shaffer Sisters

Chickadee on Sale until 12/15

Plan ahead today with our Super Special Chickadee Sale – Just $10 until 12/15!  That’s the lowest price we have ever offered on our patterns!! No coupon needed–the price is already marked in the shop, so plan ahead today for your January, post-holiday sewing projects.  

Click here to see some other Chickadee looks on our site and, of course, you can take a look through our Flickr group.

* * * * *

Today I am so excited to be sharing a Chickadee Blouse sewn by my friend, Tara, for her not-quite-2 year old, Miss E.  [Miss E was last spotted on our blog snuggling up to her new quilt].

Clever Charlotte Chickadee Blouse Pattern sizes 2T-8

Tara made a size 2T with added length to the hem so Miss E can grow into it.  She also lengthened the sleeves by an inch, which was helpful in giving the sleeves some “poof” with the gathered elastic cuff.  The fabric is Denyse Schmidt’s Flea Market Fancy ‘Posie’ in quilting cotton. So sweet, don’t you agree?

Clever Charlotte Chickadee Blouse Pattern sizes 2T-8

Happy Belated Thanksgiving, everyone!  Now go get all your holiday shopping done so you have time to Flip This Chickadee!

Happy Sewing,


29 Oct 2013


Comments Off Of Note


Halloween 4

Halloween is here and I’m excited to show you what I’ve been up to in the workroom. After a brief debate about princesses and fairies, the girls chose costumes from the animal kingdom this year (insert sigh of relief). Evelyn decided upon a monarch butterfly costume which, to my luck, Erin already made for a previous  Halloween.  It is a gorgeous and accurate reproduction of the butterfly, complete with iridescent silk.

Monarch Butterfly costume

A few minimal changes and it the monarch is perfectly sized for her. Wren asked specifically for an orange ladybug costume, which I was happy to create by using some black buckram I picked up from Michaels Arts and Crafts store, some leftover bits of orange silk, black ¼” elastic, and a button.

Halloween 8

In the spirit of Erin’s costume, I chose to reverse applique the ladybug spots which was easily accomplished by tracing the bottom of a glass jar in a random pattern over the wings, then stitching just outside my traced lines.  I trimmed each circle about 1/8” from the stitch lines to expose the black buckram underneath.  The edges of the wings are finished with bias strips of the same orange fabric.

Halloween 10

I positioned a button and button hole at the top of the wings to allow them to rotate freely as Wren ‘flies’ through the air.

Halloween 7

The wings are secured with some black elastic at the shoulders and wrists.

Halloween 9

To complete the look I fashioned a little triangle out of the orange fabric and made a waist strap of elastic (this is *NOT* a G-string although it strongly resembles one worn backwards).

Halloween 11

With the wings open, I think this little butt piece makes the outfit.

Halloween 2

A quick pair of antenna fashioned out of large pipe cleaners later, my little lady bug is ready to to hunt some candy!

Halloween 5

What are your kiddos wearing this Halloween??

08 Oct 2013

In the Workroom

1 Comment Of Note



While hard at work on some fantastic new Clever Charlotte projects, I thought I’d share what I whipped up a fragmented 6-hr interlude in my work schedule.  A new dress!  And gold!  I’ve been so obsessed with a gold color pallet lately… from shiny brass lighting fixtures in my home to what I wear on my person.  Gold is back in a big way.


This dress was inspired by Oscar de la Renta.  I wanted a very full skirt ala Oscar that spills from a tight waistline. The 2″ darts are sewn short so that the differential in the dart from fold to point creates a lot of fullness. The princess bodice is easy to tailor and fits me like a glove… but not so much the dress form.  You can see it pulling across the back. Sadly she, like most others, is a bit bustier than me.


Here’s a side view.  Notice the pockets.  All formal wear should have pockets, don’t you think?  Being petite at 5’1″, I wonder if this is going to make me too wide below the waist seam…. high heels should help.

Inspired by a conversations I had with a friend during a recent visit to the Western Reserve Historical Society’s Dior and More exhibit, I decided to make a facinator to match the ensemble.  Facinator = frothy little poof of a hat.


I used a facinator backing purchased from a millinery supply company.  It’s open sinamay backing allowed me to attach the 6 gold embellishments around the edge and the large ‘gold’ brooch in the center.  I stuck in the feathers because all facinators need a bit of movement, don’t you think?

IMG_2464Sneek peak of the back of the facinator.  Not as pretty as the front.



Ready for the party!  And I promise to be back at the Clever Charlotte work table as soon as I recover from my hangover. Cheers!