Monday, November 19, 2007

Shearling Workshop

We have just completed a five day shearling workshop here at The Academy. Shearling is lambskin leather or suede with the wool still attached. It comes in a variety of colors and lengths. Two students shared a bundle of shearling and made the same jacket using Vogue pattern 8340. One student used long hair Tuscano lamb. Another student lapped the seams of her cream colored shearling allowing the hair to be seen. The last student used Vogue 1266 to make a full length coat. Great job done by all!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Designer Shirts February 7-10, 2008

Ron Collins is returning to teach a 4 day Designer Shirt workshop Feb. 7-10, 2008. Students will create a "one of a kind" shirt as they learn techniques on constructing shirts. They will modify a shirt pattern for a perfect fit. Ron will share amazing information not found in pattern instructions, but used in the "ready-to-wear" industry. Collar bands, double yokes, plackets, cuffs, buttonholes, fusible interfacing, seam finishes and other details will be covered. You will be inspired by the many creative treatments Ron has added to his basic shirts. Here are just a few samples of what is in store for workshop participants! For more information and a registration form contact the Academy at

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Designer Denim Workshop with Ron Collins

Ron Collins was a guest instructor at The Academy teaching students Designer Denim techniques. Here are some of the finished results. Several students made jeans using Sandra Betzina's Vogue 7608 pattern. The fit was good and students got creative with their topstitching and back pocket designs. One student used a Marfy jean pattern and one student designed and drafted her own jacket pattern. Great results by everyone!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Suede Fringed Cape

I have been working on leather garments to show at the creativfestival in Toronto this week. This is a lamb suede cape inspired by Dorothy's garment. I cut all of the fringe by hand using a rotary cutter. There are 180" of 1/8" x 12" fringe! I then hand knotted the fringe in groups of 4, weaving the strands first. The cape is lined with a light weight Italian wool challis.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Leather Workshop

We have just finished another leather workshop here at The Academy. The students are close to finishing their garments. Sue from Belwood made a beautiful cowhide jacket with shawl collar for her daughter. The pattern was from an old Burda magazine. Elizabeth from Hamilton revised a Vogue pattern for this supple suede jacket. Juanita from Chicago used a Simplicity pattern to make a red lambskin dress. Dorothy from Buffalo copied a ready to wear cape, made her own pattern and completed this beautiful cape lined with cashmere. She used the raw edges of the skins as a design detail. Mary Ellen of Buffalo had the same blue leather and used a Vogue pattern for her jacket. Mary from Buffalo used the same leather as my green jacket in a nice red/orange variation to make this Vogue jacket.
A great class with a wonderful group of students!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Shearling Vest Workshop

I have just completed a shearling vest workshop at Creative Styling in Westport, Ontario
During the 3 day workshop participants worked on a vest of their own design. You can see from the photos that shearling comes in all different lengths, textures and colors.

Saturday, September 1, 2007


Here are some photos of necklaces made for Ce Podolak by her friend Susie Montgomery of California. The colorful one is made from pieces of bakelite that had been a baby rattle of Ce's. Notice the extension that allows the wearer to decide on the length of the necklace. The other two are full of interesting trinkets. I saw all of these while I was teaching in Vancouver.
Susie shows her work at the
Mingei International Cultural Art Museum in San Diego, La Jolla Fiber Arts Store, and Earth Spirits in Palm Desert, California. She has sold over 60 necklaces in the past 10 years.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Vancouver Leather Workshop

I have just returned from teaching a leather workshop in Vancouver. We used the facilities at a local high school. The facility was amazing! There were industrial sewing machines, big cutting tables, a wonderful pressing station and large windows. It was a pleasure to teach in such a wonderful setting.

The students had a great time learning to sew with leather. Sue Brown, from Victoria completed a 4 panel skirt in a wonderfully soft aubergine colored leather.
Louise Neveu of Vancouver Island completed the Fearless Jacket #108 in a gorgeous pewter colored metallic leather. Cindy from Vancouver completed a very cute short dress with built in foundation. She used a denim blue/metallic gold leather. Jacque from Seattle designed/drafted her own jacket pattern and completed it out of a nice soft brown leather.

All participants did a great job and I will post more photos once the projects are finished.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Leather Needle Case

This is the leather needle case which is included in the Sewing Leather CD. You can print the pattern and instructions for the needle case from the new CD. It is a great little project to give leather a try. You will have the opportunity to try sewing with leather, insert a zipper, create a bound buttonhole (the easiest one you will ever make!) and cover a button. The needle case is perfect for carrying to class or stashing in your knitting bag. There is a zippered pocket, a pin cushion and a ribbon tie to hold your scissors. It was designed by Kathryn Brenne.
I am off to teach a leather jacket workshop this week in Vancouver. Next week I will have photos of the student's creations!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Color Vie Silk screening

I have been on vacation this week and had my nieces from Calgary visiting. I introduced them to silk screening using Colour Vie products. I picked up the starter kit at the spring festival in Toronto.

It is easy to mix the dyes. A few drops of pigment and resfix are added to the base. Colours can be mixed together to create any colour needed. The girls cut their designs out of newspaper and placed them on some muslin as a trial. We placed the blank silk screen over top of the design and used a squeegee to pull the paint over the design. After the initial trial printing, the newspaper will stick to the screen and it is easy to reprint the design over and over.

The supplies are all water soluble and non toxic so it is easy to clean the screen with soap and water and start again. Once the fabric is dry, the design is heat set with an iron.

After the girls were finished silk screening, they customized their T-shirts by cutting up the sleeves and necklines.

All of the supplies are available from

Next I am going to try sewing up the Material Things T-shirt out of a plain rayon jersey and silk screening my own design onto it.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Classic T-shirt & Picchu-Picchu Sweater

I finished off a sweater this week that I started earlier this year. It was a free pattern from

It is made from Berroco Ultra Alpaca a blend of 50% Alpaca and 50% wool. It is a wonderfully soft yarn! Skill level is rated as intermediate. I made it in size Small.

The T-shirt is made from a Pucci inspired print that I found in New York during our Springtime in NY trip. I used Cecelia Podolak's Classic T-shirt pattern #109. It is one of the best fitting T-shirt patterns I have found! I have now made several master patterns with various scooped necklines traced off of my ready to wear favorites. This T-shirt neckline is scooped more than the original pattern. I like this pattern so much that I am offering a 10% discount and free shipping until Aug. 14. E-mail me at for this special offer.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Leather Jacket

Green is the new black! These are the buzz words I have been hearing for the past month.
This is the leather jacket I made this week using Material Things The Classics Fitted Jacket pattern #108. It will be the sample for the West Coast Leather workshop I am teaching in Vancouver August 19-24. Cecelia Podolak's patterns can be viewed at The pattern was designed for leather and makes good use of the skins. Ce's patterns fit like better ready to wear. Her guide sheets are packed with great industry tips.
The jacket is made from beautiful lambskin, which was dyed various shades of green. The coloring is similar to jade. It has a front zipper closure and invisible zipper front pockets. The sleeves have small slits, allowing them to be worn down or turned back. I highlighted the seaming with edge stitching.
To encourage you to try sewing on leather, I am offering this pattern at 10% discount with free shipping until Aug. 5, 2007. E-mail me at for this special offer.
With this pattern and my Sewing Leather CD you can give leather a try!

Friday, July 13, 2007

New Suede Skirt

This summer I am working on several new leather garments to help promote my new Sewing Leather CD this fall. Here is a great suede skirt made from one skin using Simplicity 9825. I omitted the CF seam and put an invisible zipper in the back. The yoke makes good use of the skin. The skin was purchased with the tie dye print. The top is Vogue 2814, an Issey Miyake, pattern. It is made from a lightweight wool jersey. I washed the jersey first on a delicate cycle in cold water. It felted just slightly. The neck and hem edges are raw and top stitched.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Vogue 8397

Here are the new pants from Marcy Tilton's trio of pants pattern for Vogue. I love the pants! They are very fast and easy to make up and comfortable to wear. I made them out of a rayon blend doubleknit from It has the perfect weight and drape. Fiber content is: 38% rayon, 35% polyester, 23% nylon and 4% spandex.
The pants have vertical seams in the front, which make them very slimming.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Vogue pattern 2971

Here are photos of the new Vogue Koos pattern. I love it! I purchased all of the fabrics on my Springtime in New York trip this year. The black/white stripe is a knit fabric. The panel down the front of the skirt is sewn on, stitched in rows and then cut apart. It is cut on the diagonal so it won't fray. Be sure to use your notches and check the pattern instructions for sewing the skirt together. It is not difficult, just unusual.