In the Workroom

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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.


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,






09 May 2013

Coming Soon: A New Pattern!

4 Comments Design Updates, In the Workroom

Faithful readers, please don’t think we have fallen off the face of the earth.  The last month has been extremely hectic for both of us gals here at Clever Charlotte.  I am in the process of a move to a new home in the adjacent community, though still within walking distance to Erin.  Erin has been lawyering around town to keep her cerebral juices flowing.  Every spare creative moment we’ve had we are putting towards our newest pattern, due out in a couple weeks.   Yes!  A new pattern for summertime!

Well…. it’s not exactly true that ALL of my creative moments are directed to the new release.  Of course I’ve had a few little home-decor projects for the new digs, mostly for the girls’ rooms. I found matching upholstered headboards at our local thrift store and I’m embarrassed to say how little I paid.  Combined with free leftover pink ikat fabric from my mother’s stash, I rid the world of a little more chintz.






“But what about matching curtains?” you ask?  Here they are:


I had so much fun at my first attempt at grommet-top curtains.  I found the hardware at Rowley.  All you need are the grommets, a little plastic setter, and a mallet.  Easy peasy!

OK.  Back to work on the new pattern.  No more home-dec projects until the release!



20 Mar 2013

Press On

2 Comments In the Workroom

So, I’m back.  I haven’t been doing much sewing these last few weeks (though I have been thinking of such things, for sure), but I have been…letterpressing!


I have been dying to try a printing class at Cleveland’s local printing coop, Zygote Press, and was excited when my weekend schedule afforded me the chance to spend two whole days there.

Letterpressing Our Thank You Cards at Zygote Press

We were supposed to design and print a business card for our class project.  I designed a card to include with Clever Charlotte orders instead, so look for one of these cards in a Clever Charlotte package coming your way soon!

Sneak Peak at Our Thank You Cards

We printed our cards on a Chandler & Price, one of the leading platen presses of its day and still highly sought after. The C&P also happened to be  made right here in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.–see?

Letterpressing Our Thank You Cards

Letterpressing Our Thank You Cards

Before starting out on the C&P, we ginned up a hand-cranked Vandercook to proof our designs. Here are the 4 student works being locked up in the bed–

Letterpressing Our Thank You Cards

Letterpressing Our Thank You Cards

There were lots of other fun, old-timey things in the studio to photograph–

The Challenge Machinery Co.

I can’t wait to get back into the studio to finish up my cards, hopefully in a custom color, and who knows what other fun projects!

Letterpressing Our Thank You Cards

Happy pressing!

~ Erin

18 Jan 2013

Oh Spring, where art thou?

5 Comments In the Workroom, Olivine Dress

I just wanted to share with you our newest Olivine Dress look that is hot off the (home) assembly line.  Made with a gorgeous silk gingham and accented with Liberty of London’s Susanna print below, we hope this look will inspire our followers to start thinking SPRING!  Doesn’t this print evoke images of your  little one romping through the tulips gathering Easter eggs?

With the holidays behind us, Cleveland is looking rather dreary these days, and we just can’t help ourselves from sewing for spring.  It’s never too early for positive thinking!

Reminder: there is one more weekend left of our SALE! 20% off all orders with code “welcome2013″.  Take advantage of a purchase now, especially since shipping costs to those beyond our U.S. borders will drastically increase on Jan 27th (due to the US Post Office, not us here at Clever Charlotte!).

Happy Sewing!


16 Aug 2012

Behind the Red Carpet Glam: AW12

6 Comments In the Workroom

Ha!  The thought of our little make shift photography studio in the basement being equated to Vogue cover looks is a humerous thought.  A few out-takes from this month’s shoot–

Why yes, that is the laundry room we’re shooting in.

These three are always itching to get in front of the camera.

These two, not so much.

Checking email, maybe, but more likely just playing Words with Friends between shots.

Happy sewing!

02 Aug 2012


4 Comments In the Workroom

Here’s a little peak at what I have going on in the studio today–

What’s really going on is me wasting time with the new lens I got earlier this year. Playing with the focus, trying to perfect my blur.

Perfect your blur–

~ Erin