Pearls of Joy

Someone once said, “The pearl is the queen of gems and the gem of queens.” And just happens to be my favorite piece of jewelry. I wear them no matter what I’m doing or where I’m going. . They make my outfit complete and a little extravagant. Imagine how very happy I was when I started seeing pearls pop up in fashion for spring!

I think a string of pearls with blue jeans is very classy. But ON blue jeans – Awesome!


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Dressing up a pair of shoes with pearls – Perfect!

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Evening wear and pearls are a no brainier. But these dresses for daytime with just a touch of pearls are just the thing to make a style statement.

How about handbags – It will easily take any outfit from boring to captivating.

Chanel would smile at the re-introduction of wearing pearls in a different way. Pearls are always elegant and graceful. So, get out your needle and thread and sew a few randomly on the front your T-shirt or around the sleeve edges. Dress up a jean jacket. There are dozens of ways to sprinkle them on your clothes and give your spring fashion a lovely upgrade. As Jackie O once said, “Pearls are always appropriate.”

From Runway to Sewing Room

A lesson I did back in March for my adult students was on the Spring/Summer fashion and how to take what we see on the runway and actually add it to our everyday closet, via the sewing room. I thought I would do a condensed version here…..

For Spring & Summer, the designers were all thinking big, bold and bright this year. Big dramatic ruffles and fearless colors. Sunshine yellow and bright candy pink are 2 colors that are seen on all the runways. And there’s only one rule: Wear LOTS of it. Next to color, there’s stripes from bold to banker – and they’re everywhere. Geometric prints are making a splash and metallic finishes abound. It’s going to be a season of unapologetic glam. After seasons of the ’70s, we’ve finally moved onto another decade—the ’80s and all the glitz that implies! Sequins and shimmer set the runways on fire during Fashion Week. Minis are out and long sparkling sheaths are in.

The softer side of fashion includes the most striking florals ever created, worn from head to toe. Designers were flirting with lingerie adding lace and delicate bows & ribbons to everyday attire. And bare shoulders are in every collection. Get set for your most romantic summer yet.

Even the basics need to be reinvented every once in a while and this season it’s the trench coat. Designers were putting a personal stamp on this wardrobe essential. And Khaki once again is playing an important role. Designers are pairing it with floral making it look fresh.

Much more than a trend, the jumpsuit is now a seasonal staple that tops ones’ wishlists as an easy piece for summer. It’s perfect for evening glamour and daytime cool.

Now let’s go from the runways of the world to our sewing room and turn out some key pieces that will take us right into summer.

1. Summer 2017 looks bright. So the first thing to add this year is Color, and at the top of the list is pink, as in candy pink, baby pink, deep cherry and raspberry. The second is yellow, from lemon to fluorescent.
Making a simple top or skirt in a bright color is the perfect way to easily add a punch of color straight away. And the skirts this year are a little longer, moving away from the minis.

A stylish top and one of my favorites is Vogue 9187. It’s a breeze to put together and looks wonderful on many different body types. Pair that with a pencil skirt in a slim banker stripe – perfection.

2. Florals are always showing up in spring fashion. The key is to make them look up to date. McCall’s dress patterns: 7591 or 7595 would be terrific. Full length halter top dresses that bare the shoulders are stylish and tasteful. A nice blouse pattern is M7358, in a floral, would be beautiful.

3. As far as trench coats go, Burda has a perfectly marvelous one! Gathered Trench Coat #103. A different style for Plus sizes, but just as beautiful, Burda Trench Coat #123. Under the trench – Slim pants, cropped at the ankle with a floral sleeveless top.

4. McCalls and Butterick both have the right idea for everyday jumpers with so many to choose from. Billowy, loose-fitting jumpers to semi tailored. Long sleeves with cold shoulder detail and off the shoulder boho styles. Jumpers go together swiftly you can make a few of them up in no time. For an evening look, try Butterick 6130. Very Classy.

5. Evening glam. I love dressing up to go out. Even it it’s just to the pub with friends, I still add a little evening glitz. Lace accents have been in style for a few years and they’re still going strong. So, If you haven’t added a lace skirt to your wardrobe, do it this year. A quick pattern is M6654, and the length is perfect. Also, M6418 is a cute top with lace variations. Pick up some fabric with a touch of metallic threads to make that jumpsuit out of, or a flowy top.

That should get you started! Spring is my favorite time of year. And after a long winter of dull clothes, spring colors are an energetic shot in the arm. Enjoy it!

A Creative Outlet

I remember sewing in our dining room as a teen. One evening my grandfather walked through the room, stopped, watched me for a few minutes and said, “You really ought to do something with that someday.”

Fast forward about 25 years –  Driving home from vacation, I was staring out the window. My husband asked what I was in such deep thought about. I complained about work and said, “I want to start my own business.” I told him my ideas for Sew In Style and his response, “Then do it!”..…….I love that man.

I’ve been captivated by sewing in one form or another since I was about 10. Since then, I’ve learned as much about sewing as I could. I love sharing my passion with the next generation and Today I own a sewing school for kids. I started with one student and a lot of tenacity. After 11 years, I’ve had over 3000 kids & teens take lessons from me. I teach adults too, but my devotion is to kids …and they’re so much more fun to sew with.

 A lot has changed since I first opened my doors. Sewing is no longer taught in any of the middle or high schools. The really terrific fabric stores have all but vanished, taking with them the quality wools, silks, and linens. The kids have changed, too. In many of them I don’t see the desire to be creative. Playing sports has become so important. Down time, if there is any, is spent glued to a device. I have students who have never built a snowman or sand castle. In fact, playing – just playing outside – isn’t done.

At the end of the day my job is to inspire. Opening that creative door for a new student is incredible. I love what I do! To have a nine year old sit down in front of a sewing machine and after one class create something of her very own that she can be proud of, is such a delight! I guide them and encourage them. But they’ve made a treasure on their own. It’s amazing to see how thrilled they are with that first project. And what a wonderful skill they’re now learning. I’ve had students of mine go on to study fashion, costume design, and fashion illustration I also have students who want to be doctors, accountants or engineers and are happy just having a creative outlet. I introduce them to various aspects of sewing: clothing construction, design, quilting, home decor etc.  And even at a young age, kids know what they like It really doesn’t matter what they create – it’s just important that they do! They learn essential life skills while elevating their confidence! confidence is elevated! We all need a positive way to express ourselves and I’m very happy to have the opportunity to help kids find a unique form of self-expression through sewing.