Friday, 29 August 2014

Simplicity 4750: Pretty Floral Summer Top

This top is made from Simplicity 4750.  I liked this option (View E) because of the cute flouncy sleeve, which I finished using the rolled hem setting on my serger.
This view of the top has two layers.  I decided to accent this design feature by adding a white, cotton eyelet trim.  Since this pattern is intended for woven fabrics, there is a side zipper (the instructions detail how to install a lapped zipper).
The pattern also provides options or an asymmetrical look or a hi-low style, which is currently on trend. 
I think that any of the styles provided in the Simplicity 4750 pattern would look great worn with leggings, or even jeans, and accessorised with a long pendant necklace.

Simplicity 4750 - View E

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Sketch Love

"I got a little bit longer...I got a ways to go..."

Once in a while you hear a song lyric that really resonates with you.  That's how I feel about this lyric from Grouplove's hit song "Ways to Go".  Whenever I hear it, I always get motivated to keep improving my design and illustration skills, one sketch at a time.

Starting my first year of college, I had already done some sewing, but everything on the design side of things was new to me.  I'd never really considered myself as much of a drawer.  In fact, I always believed that people who were good artists were born with the innate ability to draw well.  My fashion design professor at the time, Malcolm Pearcey, taught us that it's just the opposite.  He said that anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort can become a good artist.  To this day, I consider this to be one of the most important things I learned at college because I continue to apply this theory of "practice" to many other areas of my life as well.

First Year Sketch
I thought it would be fun (albeit a little embarrassing) to compare a sketch from my first week at college to a I did in my final year (in first year, I always used to draw sunglasses on my figures because I was scared of drawing eyes).  Even though I still feel like I have a ways to go with my illustrations, I think you will agree that I made quite a bit of progress in those three years.

Third Year Sketch

Click to hear Grouplove's hit song Ways to Go

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

First Skirt I Ever Made

My Sewing Machine
About ten years ago, my parents bought me my first sewing machine (Kenmore Model 385.15318200 from Sears).  It is, in fact, the same sewing machine that I use today.

So, my parents bought me this sewing machine and for a long time it just sat in the box. I never got around to using it...mainly because I didn't know how to sew!  Then, one day I decided that the sewing machine was a much to generous gift to be sitting around in a box, collecting dust.  So I did some research and found that my local fabric store, Fabricland, was offering a sewing class for beginners. 

First Skirt I Ever Made
The class, taught by Fil Nufrio, only cost $100 and was to take place over five consecutive Saturday mornings.  The outline for the course described completing a skirt with a waistband and zipper.  We had several options for patterns from both McCall's and Simplicity, so I choose the skirt (View C) from Simplicity 4885.

It was fall at the time, so I decided to make my skirt from a luxurious grey wool fabric I found at the Fabricland.  I remember that I really loved working with the wool and that it pressed nicely. 

Zig-Zagged Hem
My skirt turned out better than I could have imagined, and I learned a lot of great techniques in that class that I still use in my sewing today.  One detail I was extremely proud of was the way I finished the hem of my skirt.  Because I didn't have a serger at the time, and since it would have been really tough to make a neat, narrow hem, Fil suggested that I use black thread and simply use a short zig-zag stitch to finish the hem of the skirt.  I followed her suggestion and was thrilled with the result.  Not only was it quick and easy, it also added a "lettuce" effect.

When the course was finished, I proudly wore the skirt to work and the compliments I received are ultimately what encouraged me to continue sewing.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Simplicity 1727 View E: Plaid Collar

Recently, I tested out Simplicity 1727 - a pattern for a cute fashion collars.  I recommend this pattern as a great way to use up smaller pieces of woven fabric that you may have left over from other projects.  It's also a great way to showcase fancy buttons.  This pattern comes with nine different views and provides options for small, medium and  large sizes.

The great thing about this accessory, is that it can be worn in the summer with a t-shirt, or in the winter, over a sweater.

The pattern was easy to use and the instructions were easy to follow.  I was able to sew up the collar seen here in under an hour.  I chose to make a sample of 'View E' using a remnant of silk plaid fabric I had left over in my scrap pile.

Monday, 25 August 2014

My Sewing Tip in Threads Magazine

Pick up the August/September 2014 issue of Threads Magazine and check out my sewing tip!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Welcome to The Thomas Report

My name is Carolyn "Care" Thomas and I am on a mission to improve my skills as a fashion designer.  In 2010 I graduated from the Fashion Arts program at Seneca College here in Toronto, Canada, and ever since I have been attempting to make the most of the knowledge and the skills I learned at school.

I am an avid reader, of both fiction and non-fiction, and recently I read a business book that has changed my life.  The book is called, "So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love" by Cal Newport.  I recommend this book to anyone who, like me, has often felt that the search for their "passion" has eluded them.  Rather than having a "Passion Mindset", Newport encourages his readers to have a "Craftsman Mindset" and to grow "Career Capital" by continuously improving on skills that are going to differentiate you in the marketplace by cultivating rare and valuable skills in your field of interest.

In his book, Newport outlines the "Law of Remarkability", which was essentially the inspiration for this blog.  Newport says that in order for "a mission-driven project to succeed, it should be remarkable in two different ways.  First, it must compel people who encounter it to remark about it to others.  Second, it must be launched in a venue that supports such remarking."

So, as I continue to grow and improve my sewing and fashion design skills, and write about my experiences on this blog, I warmly welcome your input and your feedback.

I sincerely hope that my efforts here inspire you to become "so good they can't ignore you" in your field of interest as well.