Adventures in Italy and France with my BSF: Part 2 Paris

The second two weeks of our trip were in Paris. Of course, this was before the terrorist attacks. Paris was colorful, lively and simply a delightful place and we are all hoping for a return to it’s former self soon.

We wandered the first day and caught up on a little sleep before taking a cooking class the second night. The food in Paris is great everywhere, from small café, to street vendor to restaurant. There was a lot of walking on our tour, which was a good balance with lots of eating and wine!


Monkfish on a bed of ratatouille at our cooking class

Marcy and Katherine Tilton were knowledgable and fun guides who planned an inside tour for our group. The very first afternoon we had an introduction to their friend Dominique who brought in examples from her exquisite collection of little black dresses.


Dominique, Katherine and Marcy at our introduction meeting.

There is no way to cover all of our experiences in a post, but a few of the highlights were the couture flower maker…


Each Petal is hand dyed then hand formed with heat and wax with special tools.


the Korea Now! exhibit at the Musée Les Arts Decoratifs-Mode et Textile…


Contemporary gown with a traditional Korean influence


the Alber Elbaz-Lanvin exhibit…


Sweater knit by me, upstaged by some fabulous draping on the mannequins

Giverny in the fall…


Monet’s pond at Giverny

and then Monet’s water lily rooms at the Musée de l’Orangerie…


We’re wearing the clothes we made!

and of course SHOPPING! both window and…


This is just some of the purchases. My cat doesn’t want me to sew the scrumptious silk velvet.

The best thing? Being greeted with a beautiful bouquet of roses and a hug when I walked into my door!Welcom-Back-Roses

Unintentional Capsule Wardrobe

Last week I went to Elfriede’s Fine Fabrics in Boulder and had an unintentional fabric buying extravaganza! My patient husband just sat at a table and worked on his iPad, while the bolts were stacking up for cutting. If you have never been to Elfriede’s you are missing out on one of the great independent fabric stores that are too few already. She specializes in high-end natural fibers like liberty cottons, luscious silks, gorgeous wools, camel hair, cashmere, high quality knits and a small but wonderful selection of quilting cottons.

Next fall I need a raincoat for my trip to Paris. Colorado is rainy this spring so making the coat now makes sense. I had already picked out a vintage pattern that was reversible so I could have a raincoat on one side and wool on the other. A Marie Osmond pattern…I have no shame when it comes to getting the look I want!

Butterick6269frontThe helpful saleswomen convinced me that a tightly woven wool would do the trick rather than an actual raincoat fabric. I know I can waterproof the fabric if need be. The only problem is that Elfriede’s Fabrics had too many gorgeous wools to pick from. After narrowing it down to about 10 bolts(!), I told them I couldn’t decide and just wanted to browse around the store to clear my head. That’s when I found this rayon paisley fabric that was perfect for me. My colors: orange, brown, olive & black plus a few interesting accent tones like mustard and a grayish teal blue sealed the deal. It was instant love! I plan on making a maxi skirt (with a lovely blue lining) and will use the scraps to make a scarf.

Paisly-RayonI took the bolt over to the wools and the answer appeared. Two of the wools, a rusty orange and an olive green stood out instantly. OK baby, I was on a roll! (There is a twist to the coat at the end of this adventure.)

Coat-woolWithout intention, a capsule wardrobe was developing on the cutting table. I asked about bottom weight knits for some pants. Again, they pulled some out and it was easy to choose. I’m not sure if your computer is showing the colors correctly but these two stable bottom weight knits look great in the ensemble. The grey has a blue cast that looks wonderful with the print above.

Bottom-weight_webAll of us are having fun at this point and the saleswomen start pulling out more things for me to choose from. I picked this silk charmeuse for a blouse. At their suggestion, I’m going to sew it with the matte side out so it’s a little less dressy.

geometric-silkAt this point another employee, Melissa, stopped in and I discovered she had made a shirt I admired in the window. It was a pattern that I owned, but had never noticed the shirt.

2495178378_b5a1d5cfec_zWhy stop now?, I thought as I spied one last spectacular fabric. An olive-green embroidered silk. Not an everyday fabric, or could it be if made into a vest with casual details?

Embroidered-silk 2I have a pattern like that at home! I mean this is basically khaki green isn’t it? An embroidered safari style vest would be very wearable, but have a little pizzazz in this fabric. I’ll figure out a better solution for those stringy things.

Kwick Sew 3930The coat twist story: I couldn’t figure out what size to make the coat. My measurements said a size 16 and that just didn’t seem right. I decided to take a wool in my stash to make a wearable muslin. I can always make it shorter than the intended raincoat. This fabric also came from Elfriede’s but I also saw it a week later on Marcy Tilton’s site. Elfriede and Marcy both love quality fabrics!

squiggel-wool_webThe muslin (size 12) is going so well that I looked in my stash for the reverse side and found this gorgeous silk plaid that I was saving for a shirt. Yummy!

Squiggle-Plaid-coat-fabric_webThe problem is, do I even need the originally planned coat? Time will tell, but as a summary, I’m including two mood boards I made on Adobe illustrator with the above fabrics, the two coat options, and some additional textiles from my stash. A large portion of these items will go to Paris with me. I’m way ahead of my fall planning, but after all it is my favorite season.

Paris-Mood-BoardNotes: The zebraesque striped cashmere/wool is yummy soft and came from A poncho or ruana is always a practical addition to my fall wardrobe.  The hip black plastic coated knit (no longer available) is from and should make a great motorcycle jacket.   The pant pattern is Marcy Tilton’s slim pant Vogue 8859.


I’m back!

Multiple trips and then family visiting has kept me away from my blog, but I’m back with new ideas and a few new skills and techniques to incorporate that I can’t wait to share.

But first I have to finish my show and tell of my trip to Ashland for the DOL retreat. The town on Ashland is a fantastic arts town with beautiful scenery, but the shopping is what caught my eye! The downtown has textile shops of yarn and fabric and a bead shop.Fabric-Purchase1web

As you can see I went a little crazy with the fabric, but they were so beautiful, and I don’t buy woven textiles often so this is a new start for me. Notice the little cat on the umbrella fabric…cute without being too cute. Several of these fabrics look different but great on both sides allowing for some interesting details.Fabric-Purchase-2web

Then there are fabulous clothing stores in all price ranges including a wonderful resale shop, and SHOES!!! My shoe enabler husband (is he a catch or what?) took me shoe shopping and I ended up with 4 pairs of new shoes. Ashland-Shoes-BrightwebImelda eat your heart out. Aren’t these cool and unusual?Ashland-Shoes1web

I have cleaned up my studio after returning from a small steel smithing class and promise that next week I will start to show more hand-made projects, including what I learned about working with steel. So exciting!

Design Outside the Lines Retreat



I just returned from a fantastic vacation. We spent 4 days at a house on the beach in Bandon, Oregon We found a lovely restaurant or two and read a lot of books. During the day I walked on the beach and collected small pieces of driftwood. I had to ship boxes home full of wood, textiles and clothes!

Afterwards we went to the lovely town of Ashland Oregon, which is the home of Diane Ericson and one of the locations for her Design Outside the Lines Retreats. I can’t even begin to describe the inspiration I obtained from Diane the other guest teachers Gwen Spencer, Mary Glenn, Miles Frode, and the other attendees. Each day we would all show up wearing something we made and there was a cacophony of oohs and awes all over the room!

Diane gave us an overview of putting together pieces of fabric as inspiration for making a garment. She often starts with one of these fabric collages and then decides what to make out of it. We drew, stamped, sewed and embroidered to make some truly unique textiles. I think this one will turn into a small purse at some point, but it also may end up on a jacket.Stitching-Sample-DOLweb

Gwen taught us how to make slippers. We all received kits with the padding and patterns that she had developed. I just had a few bits of hand stitching to do when I returned home. Diane’s stencils adorn the little black dupioni silk pieces.Ashland-DOL-Slippers_web

Miles, a talented and enthusiastic artist, gave an inspiring talk on painting, stenciling and stamping on fabric. He also taught us several easy ways to make our own custom stamps. I bought a piece of his hand painted fabric and will be waiting for the perfect placement.Miles Frode fabric

Mary Glenn showed us an easy way to make a lined handbag. I can’t wait to make one, but I ran out of time at the retreat. She was also our fitting specialist and everyone kept her so busy she needed a sign up sheet! I finally got together with her on the last day and had a lesson on tissue fitting. I learned so much in that half hour, and I think I know how to approach fit in a better way now. There is so much more to learn…

The next blog will be about what I collected and purchased in Oregon! Lets just say that Ashland has great shopping, and that my husband is a fabric and shoe enabler.