Clever Charlotte

Another PBS It's Sew Easy Segment

carla macklinComment

We wanted to share with you our latest recorded segment as seen on It’s Sew Easy Public Television show.  In this segment, Carla describes how she uses bias binding on the Galena Dress

What fun it is to join the folks at It's Sew Easy TV to record "how-to" videos for beginner sewers!  Hopefully this video inspires to give the Galena a try, or to attempt to use bias binding on another fun project of your choice. 

Clever Charlote Galena Dress

Clever Charlotte dress... in Paper??

carla macklinComment

We wanted to share the most amazing art project by Cleveland-based artist Aimee Lee that features our Olivine Dress Pattern.  Take a look at these dresses:

And guess what?  They are constructed out of Aimee's very own hand-made paper!  Don't they look like they could be worn by a flower girl at a summer wedding?? (Aimee tells me she does not add notions so these dresses would be difficult to put on without the zipper in the back!) Aimee is an artist specializing in the creation of Hanji (Korean Paper).  She creates the paper using an ancient paper making technique that dates back over 2,000 years, then uses the paper as the textile for these dresses. Here are some other examples of Aimee's beautiful work. 

Do her paper flourishes inspire you to try to create a similar look in fabric?  

Join Aimee for her show opening entitled "Clothed, Dresses as Works of Art" at Stillpoint Gallery in Cleveland the evening of March 3rd from 6:30-8pm.  

Thanks, Aimee, for inspiring us sewists to get off our duff and make a new spring dress.  We have no excuse not to... after all, we don't have to make the fabric with our own bare hands!!

Clever Charlotte partners with McCalls, Brings patterns to Jo-Ann Fabrics Stores!

Community, Patterns, Shop News, Uncategorized, Tulip Top & Bermuda Short, Sandpiper Capri & Top, Raven Hoodie & Pants, Orchid Top & Skirt, Olivine Dress, Chickadee Blouse & Skirt, Kestrel Coatcarla macklinComment
CleverCharlotteJoAnns

We are so pleased to announce our partnership with The McCall Pattern Company to bring Clever Charlotte patterns to JoAnn Stores across the nation!  We've been working with the fine folks at The McCall Pattern Company to expand our reach to sewers across the Nation.  Not only are our patterns available on the McCall's Website, they are also available at your nearest JoAnn Store!

Our patterns can be found on the JoAnn Store's Green Pepper Rack, next to some other fun pattern companies.  We think they will catch the modern sewist's eye as he or she walks by, no?

Our patterns can be found on the JoAnn Store's Green Pepper Rack, next to some other fun pattern companies.  We think they will catch the modern sewist's eye as he or she walks by, no?

Now these patterns can be purchased on your next stop to your local, convenient JoAnn Store!

Now these patterns can be purchased on your next stop to your local, convenient JoAnn Store!

Check us out on PBS's It's Sew Easy Show

carla macklinComment

We have some exciting news here at Clever Charlotte:  We are making our TV debut this Thursday June 23!  As seen on It's Sew Easy Public Television Show, here is our segment on how to finish the neckline and armholes of a lined, sleeveless bodice such as our Versatile Vest! Check out our segment and watch for other terrific sewing segments from the fine folks at It's Sew Easy.

 

 

Quick-sew Hostess Gift

Clever Charleycarla macklinComment

Are you in shock that the holidays are here?!  They caught me by surprise, too, but was able to find a little time to whip up two new Wine Jackets to present as hostess gifts at some upcoming holiday parties.  Luckily these Wine Jackets accommodate all standard red, white, and champagne wine bottle sizes...I'm not yet sure what libation I am gifting to whom.  

I used the Clever Charley Wine Jacket Sewing Kit to make these two wine jackets. The Kit contains the pattern, instructions and all notions to complete one wine jacket. Fabric is not included in the Kit but if you are like me it's easy to find some fun quilting weight fat quarters in the stash to  make these Jackets. I made one modification to the Kit: instead of using the chalk fabric included for the tags I decided to use some green wool felt.  Using felt allowed me to practice my hand and machine embroidery skills, both of which need more attention!

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These Wine Jackets take less than an hour to sew and are such a great way to dress up gifts.  Use coupon code FESTIVE2015 for 20% off Wine Jackets and other Clever Charlotte and Clever Charley products now through December 24th.  Cheers!

Halloween at Hogwarts

Orchid Top & Skirt, Raven Hoodie & Pants, In the Craft Roomcarla macklinComment
Halloween is nearly upon us and with a second grader fully entrenched in the Harry Potter series, I needed to figure out a Hermione Granger halloween costume ASAP. 

Halloween is nearly upon us and with a second grader fully entrenched in the Harry Potter series, I needed to figure out a Hermione Granger halloween costume ASAP. 

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Lucky for me I had to look no further than Clever Charlotte's Raven and Orchid Patterns! I used a modified Raven Hoodie to create the Hogwarts Cape, similar to a cape I made and blogged about a few years back. In addition to the modifications outlined in the previous blog post, I added a 2"center back pleat to add fullness to the garment. This was super easy to accomplish by adjusting the layout of the center back pattern piece 1" away from the fold. 

I added patch pockets inside and out to store ingredients for special potions and a magic wand. Our "wand" happens to be a chopstick, but Evelyn is excellent at making magic with it. I purchased the Griffindor patch on Etsy.com to complete the cape. 

I added patch pockets inside and out to store ingredients for special potions and a magic wand. Our "wand" happens to be a chopstick, but Evelyn is excellent at making magic with it. I purchased the Griffindor patch on Etsy.com to complete the cape. 

Hermione4

Making the skirt for the costume required no modifications to the Orchid Skirt Pattern. While Hermione's costume in the movies is much more heavily pleated, I thought the Orchid was close enough. 

I found the men's tie on amazon.com and tailored it to fit her small frame. Really, though, this was unnecessary as so much of it is hidden by her cardigan sweater. 

I found the men's tie on amazon.com and tailored it to fit her small frame. Really, though, this was unnecessary as so much of it is hidden by her cardigan sweater. 

My little Hermione couldn't me more pleased with how the costume turned out and can't wait to hit the streets on the 31st!  Happy halloween!

My little Hermione couldn't me more pleased with how the costume turned out and can't wait to hit the streets on the 31st!  Happy halloween!

Back to School 2015

Orchid Top & Skirt, Patternscarla macklinComment

Someone is excited to start Kindergarten!  To celebrate the occasion I sewed up an Orchid Top & Skirt this week. 

CleverCharlotteOrchidOutfit

I chose a nice sky blue corduroy for the skirt and paired it with some vintage fabric I found at a house sale over the summer.  Love those house sales.

CleverCharlotteOrchidOutfit

I love the classic look of this outfit for back-to-school.  My daughter loves it too since it doesn't inhibit her balancing act. 

CleverCharlotteOrchidOutfit

I chose simple white buttons for the back placket so as not to distract from the bold pattern in the blouse.

CleverCharlotteOrchidOutfit

Now that schooldays are upon us, are you, too, back at your sewing machine??

CleverCharlotteOrchidOutfit

NEW: Clever Charley Sewing Kits

carla macklinComment

The time has come to make a big announcement:  Clever Charlotte has a new baby sister, Clever Charley!

We have been hard at work for the last 9 months (yes, craft product gestation is similar to that of humans) to create Clever Charley: a collection of nine sewing kits designed to inspire young and old alike. Clever Charley Sewing Kits are 'Fast & Friendly' sewing projects that anyone who has turned on a sewing machine in the past should be able to tackle. They are even easier to sew than our children's patterns, making them the perfect jumping off point for the beginner sewist.

You know that 12 year old girl in your life? Picture her preparing a couple Fortune Tellers before her friends arrive for a sleepover. What about a grandmother making a set of matching Flutter Skirts for her triplet grandaughters to wear for their holiday dinner? Perhaps you know a 10-year-old boy who would ask his mother to help him sew his first project: the Kids Craft Belt before their summer road trip.  Or consider the delight on a boy's face when a mom presents her son with a Clever Cape she has sewn in his favorite super hero's colors. Clever Charley Sewing Kits are here to inspire and delight people and create a path to quick sewing success.

Each boxed kit contains a sewing pattern, a set of instructions, and all the notions you need to complete your project. All that is left is to add some fun fabric from your extensive fabric stash.   The best part of the Clever Charley Kits is that they are designed for use with Fat Quarters (18" x 21"), which vastly expands the opportunity for fun fabric combinations. 

We hope you will buy a kit for yourself and a kit for a friend.  And throw in a Clever Charlotte sewing pattern, too... they are 20% off until August 5th with this coupon code: SUMMER15!

The Dye Job

carla macklinComment
dyeddress1

It's practically summer in the northern hemisphere and in between end-of-school ice cream parties and trips to the outdoor pool, I've found a few minutes to experiment with a new dying technique using the fabulous dyes at Dharma Trading Company.  I made this dress recently using an old pattern of mine and some leftover bridal scraps (100% silk peau de soie and organza). I was interested in using dyes to produce a very organic and random pattern of color and after some experimentation found a great technique I'll describe below.

The first steps are to identify a dungeon-y basement where you can make a mess and hire a mess-making pro as your assistant. Cover everything of value with plastic!

dyedress2.jpg

Equipment: I ordered several colors of this Fiber Reactive Dye from Dharma. It is compatible with many types of natural fibers. In addition to the dye, you'll also need some Soda Ash Fixer, which is inexpensive and allows the dye to bond with the fiber. The soda ash is recommended mainly for cellulose and has some warnings with protein-based silk, but I have not experienced any trouble using it with the silks I've chosen. You'll also need a small strainer like this one, a plastic spoon or two, plastic gloves, and some plastic sheeting. 

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The panels of this dress were pre-sewn before dying. It is difficult to see, but the organza is overlain on the peau de soie and the layers interacted nicely with the dye. I submerged the front panel and the two back panels in a gallon of water with a cup of the soda ash fixer and let soak for about 1/2 hr.

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After wringing out the excess water gently, I spread the pieces of the dress on top of the plastic sheeting, making sure that they laid as flat as possible with no overlaps. I spooned out about 1/8 teaspoon of the powdered dye (for this dress I only used 150 Gunmetal Gray) into the strainer and started sifting it over the panels from 3 feet height, tapping the strainer as I moved above the fabric to release more dye. I repeated with additional partial spoonfulls of dye until I reached the right coverage I was looking for. This sprinkling step takes some practice and I'd recommend trying some scraps first to get your desired effect. 

dyedress6.jpg

Because the fabric is wet, the powder sinks in and spreads in random patterns. If you sift more heavily, you get darker blobs of solid color.  If you sift more lightly, you get delicate patterns made from each grain of dye. If you look closely at the dress, there are many colors of dye in the gunmetal gray jar: pinks, yellows, greens, blues. The overall effect is quite nice! 

Below is another example using yucca green and gunmetal gray on a silk crepe de chine.

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 And here is a combo of two reds: misty rose and dances with raisins.

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After letting the panels of the dress dry completely, I rinsed them under cool water, laying them out as flat as possible (not bunching in a ball) to avoid dye from transferring to other areas of the fabric. After the rinse, I let the panels dry again, ironed them, then finished sewing them into the dress.  I think the result is pretty fun and I plan do do many more dresses using this technique!

dyedress9.jpg

A Kestrel Coat for my Valentine

carla macklinComment

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!  In celebration, I made a new Kestrel Coat for my darling Valentine.  She needed a new coat for dress-up occasions , having outgrown versions from the past.  My newly seven year old is now sporting the Size 7 Kestrel Coat, with a few modifications.

The first change I made was to turn the two piece sleeve into a single piece to save time and fabric (and avoid one more opportunity to mis-match more plaid lines). I simply measured my daughter from underarm to wrist and extended the top sleeve to match this new length. Additionally, I lengthened the hem 2 “ to cover more of her hips and keep her tad bit cozier this chilly winter.

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kestrelcoat2

I chose a windowpane plaid wool purchased log ago from Britex Fabrics in San Francisco and lined the jacket with a navy duppioni of unknown provenance. Because the wool and silk weren't substantial enough for this weekend's subzero windchill, I also interlined the jacket with another light-weight wool from my stash. I quilted this interlining to the duppioni lining so that they would hang as one layer.  The horizontal quilt lines are nearly impossible to see in the photo below because they blend with the grain of the duppioni.  Inside I added a quick patch pocket and finally put one of the 50 decorative stitches on my machine to use. This pocket is perfect for little treasures (or a pack of tissues for the cold she is suffering). The hearts are to celebrate Valentine's Day and to remind her how much I love her every time she wears the coat.

kestrelpocketinside

I tried my darndest to cut the pattern pieces so that both directions of plaid would align across pieces, but I  failed along most seams to create a smooth transition.  I'm going to blame the fabric... I am certain those lines aren't printed in a true grid manner!

kestrelcoat3

The vintage buttons I used were found in an estate sale a few years back. They are a beautiful gray opalescent quality plastic. I get so excited when I find a whole set of old buttons sewn to their cardboard backing!  

kestrelcoatbuttons

What have you made your Valentine this season?

kestrelcoatsilly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selfishly Sewing in 2015

In the Workroom, Inspirationcarla macklinComment
couturesewingtechniques

Look what came in the mail today!  I am so excited about reading these books that I needed to share. While January was filled to the brim with a yet-to-be-disclosed Clever Charlotte project, I have managed to find a few minutes each night after the kids are asleep to work on some wardrobe upgrades.

For years I have been working on the perfect pants pattern for my petite and curvy bottom half.  I haven’t yet completed my quest, but I am getting closer with each muslin I make. I made 4 pants muslins in January so I must be really close, right?

pantsfitting

My hope is to get some good guidance from The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting by Sarah Veblen. My main issue is getting a straight hang with a large thigh and large calf protruding in opposite directions while retaining a slip fit. Any tips for me?

winterduchesstop1

In addition to the pants quest, I made a new top last week. I modified one of my favorite dress patterns and used some duchess silk and organza fabric scraps from a wedding dress project.  I love a project that has a lot of hand sewing that I can do in front of stupid reality TV in the evenings.

winterduchesstop2

This top will be perfect camouflage if I decide to play hide and seek outside this week.  Happy Sewing!

winterscene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skirt Fixation and Seasonal Sale

Orchid Top & Skirt, Community, Chickadee Blouse & Skirtcarla macklinComment

Happy holidays from the ladies of Clever Charlotte.  It has been a busy season for us, though you wouldn't know it by the lack of blog posts.  Here is a quick update on some terrific reviews of our skirt patterns by Skirt Fixation

Audrey and her gals at Skirt Fixation have been busy elves sewing up our Orchid and Chickadee patterns. Using Mabel Madison and vintage fabrics, they have created some really stellar outfits. 

Audrey and her gals at Skirt Fixation have been busy elves sewing up our Orchid and Chickadee patterns. Using Mabel Madison and vintage fabrics, they have created some really stellar outfits. 

What lovely outfits modeled by super sweet Annie. As the holiday season wanes, we know you'll be ready to get back to your sewing machines. Use this inspiration, along with the 20% off coupon below, to get sewing!


Once Upon a Thread...

In the Craft Room, Eider Tuniccarla macklinComment
I'm so excited to show you what recently came out of my sewing room. This look is inspired by No Big Dill sewist, blogger, and mom-extraordinaire Katy Dill's Once Upon a Thread sewalong!  Thanks Katy for the kick-in-the-rear to make something fun. 

I'm so excited to show you what recently came out of my sewing room. This look is inspired by No Big Dill sewist, blogger, and mom-extraordinaire Katy Dill's Once Upon a Thread sewalong!  Thanks Katy for the kick-in-the-rear to make something fun. 

I asked Evelyn about her current favorite book and again she named a Mo Willems favorite:  "Should I Share My Ice Cream?" (Mo, in case you are reading this blog, the answer is "no" in every situation.) 

I asked Evelyn about her current favorite book and again she named a Mo Willems favorite:  "Should I Share My Ice Cream?" (Mo, in case you are reading this blog, the answer is "no" in every situation.) 

Evelyn has enough pink in her wardrobe so I chose to evoke Gerald, the kind elephant in the "Piggy and Gerald" series of first-readers, as my inspiration. I chose a gray linen fabric left over from my bedroom curtain project (!).

Evelyn has enough pink in her wardrobe so I chose to evoke Gerald, the kind elephant in the "Piggy and Gerald" series of first-readers, as my inspiration. I chose a gray linen fabric left over from my bedroom curtain project (!).

The tunic is Clever Charlotte's Eider Tunic with some modifications.  I shortened the sleeves, moving the pin tucks upward, and reduced the width of the yoke to make it a little more 'elephantine'.  Doesn't the shape look a little like Gerald's trunk??!

The tunic is Clever Charlotte's Eider Tunic with some modifications.  I shortened the sleeves, moving the pin tucks upward, and reduced the width of the yoke to make it a little more 'elephantine'.  Doesn't the shape look a little like Gerald's trunk??!

I zig-zagged around some ice cream shapes and hand-tacked them to a patch pocket. Mint chocolate chip, I suppose, but I forgot to add the chips.

I zig-zagged around some ice cream shapes and hand-tacked them to a patch pocket. Mint chocolate chip, I suppose, but I forgot to add the chips.

She needed a new first-grade outfit that would take her into the fall. She has already asked to wear it tomorrow to school.  

She needed a new first-grade outfit that would take her into the fall. She has already asked to wear it tomorrow to school.  

Thanks, Katy, for the lovely post on our Peony and Tulip patterns!  It's so fun to see your work.


Belt Magazine Sewing in the City

carla macklinComment

Today I am so excited to share with you an article written all about sewing in my hometown of Cleveland!  The author, Salma Ahmad, writes about the robust history of sewing in Cleveland and sewing's resurgence in the younger generation.  I couldn't agree more with her analysis and was so excited to be interviewed.  We, Clevelanders, are lucky to have several inspirational sewing stores nestled in wonderful arts districts, surrounded and supported by diverse communities. Come visit us!