Monday, December 8, 2008

Handknits and Leather

Just in time for the holidays! Here is a quick knit that I designed and made this past week. It was inspired by something we saw on the Paris trip. Using 4 balls of Colinette yarn One Zero in colorway Velvet Bilberry I cast on 127 stitches on size 6.5mm needles. Work in k1, p1 rib for 22 inches or until yarn is almost finished. Cast off in rib. Block the rectangle fanning it out slightly towards the bottom. Fold the top edge down 9 inches. I created a closure using purple leather and a pewter colored buckle from my stash.
The capelet can be worn off to the side, centered in front or any number of ways.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Shearling Workshop

We have just completed another successful shearling workshop. All of the students did a tremendous job on their jackets. We had some interesting projects. The workshop began with a shopping day in Toronto where students found some unique skins for their projects. One student made a full length coat out of shearling which was dark brown suede on the outside and dyed in a geometric print on the inside. Another student used skins with a metallic finish. Quite unusual were the skins used by another student who made a knee length coat. The skins had been factory fused with denim which was then burnished or laser finished with a floral design. The coat was an interesting denim on the outside but inside was beautiful gold shearling wool. E-mail me at for information on the 2009 workshop. A great job done by all!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Koos van den Akker Master Techniques Workshop April 29-May 3, 2009

The Academy of fine Sewing & Design is excited to host a 5 day workshop featuring New York designer Koos van den Akker. Koos is a master at using garments as a canvas for his unusual collaborations of color and collage techniques. Students will have the opportunity to work on one of the many patterns he has designed for Vogue Patterns. This is a wonderful chance to study with someone so creative! For more information visit

Paris Design and Inspiration Tour 2008

We have just returned from an inspiring trip to Paris. Highlights of the tour included a private tour of the Yves Saint Laurent workroom and archives, a cooking class at the Cordon Bleu, an embroidery class at the House of Lesage, a fashion show, a visit to a leather tradesman trained at Hermes and of course fabric shopping! The week concluded with trend forecasting storyboard presentations by the students. Great students, great food, loads of inspiration and a great time had by all! If you are interested in the Paris 2009 please e-mail me for more information.

Leather workshops

I ran two leather workshops this fall. Several students made jackets and one designed and drafted her own skirt pattern. Another created her own pattern for a panelled coat and used printed suede and lambskin. Students are often surprised at how easy leather is to sew, on a domestic sewing machine. All garments turned out beautifully! If you are unable to attend one of my leather workshops, Sewing Leather, a virtual CD contains everything I know about working with leather. For more information about the CD visit my website at

Friday, June 6, 2008

New York Fashion Tour

We had a fantastic tour of New York last week! Some of the high lights included a walking tour of fabric, button, trim and bead shops, a private lecture at FIT, a visit to M&S Schmalberg and a visit with Koos van den Akker at his studio. Participants came back with lots of fabric and inspiration!
Contact The Academy to register
for the 2009 Springtime in NY tour.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Issey Miyake Jacket

This is the new Issey Miyake pattern for Vogue V1052. I made it out of silk dupioni, underlined with silk organza and lined with china silk. It has a four button closure which is hidden underneath the collar. The back has ties. The collar is a draped double collar. I turned the edges under twice to finish. The entire garment was stitched with Tire 50 weight machine twist silk thread.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

knitted shawl

This is my latest knitting project. It was a kit I purchased at the knitting expo in Chicago. The shawl is Merging Colors Adagio Shawl designed by Candace Eisner Strick It is made from lace weight merino yarn dyed in 8 different shades. Three strands of yarn are always used and as new colors are introduced, a strand at a time, it gives a beautiful gradation of color. Candace provides more than enough yarn so I made the shawl about 4" longer than the pattern called for as I am fairly tall. It is finished with a ruffle and picot crocheted trim along the edges. It was a fun project to knit.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Shearling Jacket

Shearling is lamb leather or suede with the wool still attached. It comes in a variety of colors, lengths and finishes.
This is a shearling coat I just finished for my husband. It is a very dark brown/black suede with a bit of a distressed finish. The wool is short, tightly curled and is called snowy top. The underneath is a dark brown and the top is cream colored. I used Neue Mode pattern 23090 with lapped seam construction. All of the seams are double topstitched with Gutermann topstitching thread. The buttons are horn buttons. I made bound buttonholes and stitched a patch of the shaved suede to the wrong side to finish them off.
The Academy of fine Sewing & Design is offering a Shearling Jacket workshop November 12-16, 2008.

Designer Scarves

Here are a variety of men's and women's scarves I have recently completed. The North Bay Film Festival organizers asked me to create 2 men's scarves as gifts for actor Rupinder Nagra and producer David Miller of the film Amal. Amal is one of Canada's top 10 films this year.
The first scarf is made from a piece of ruched taffeta and chenille yarns I purchased in Paris. It is in shades of black, navy and red. I made it wide and long enough to wrap around the neck and tie in a big knot. I used some of the selvedge as a fringe at the ends.
The second scarf is an opera/evening scarf made from a beautiful piece of silk crushed velvet purchased in New York and co ordinated with satin. It is in shades of olive, brown and burgundy. I basted the layers together to prevent the velvet from creeping. For more tips on sewing with velvet see my article in the Oct/Nov 06 issue of Vogue pattern magazine.
Shown on the shearling coat I made for my husband is an alpaca scarf. I knit the faux cable scarf out of Baby Twist from Alpaca with a Twist. The pattern was designed by Margaret Della Rossa of Village Yarns in Toronto. Contact for His 'n Hers Winter Accessories pattern and/or kit.
The red alpaca shawl/scarf is perfect for Valentine's Day! I knit this out of 100% alpaca from Misty Alpaca. The pattern I used is #077 Silk Alpaca Babushka from Mac & Me
It is worn with the V in front and the ends wrapped around the neck and tied. The lace edging is 12 rows of knitting picked up along the edge once the shawl is complete.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Leather Skirts

A leather skirt is a simple first project to make o
ut of leather. Here are 3 skirts done in lambskin. The straight skirt was made from Ce Podolak's Fearless Skirt #103. The green suede skirt was made from a Vogue pattern. I used YLI Pearl Crown rayon to embellish the seams. The A line skirt with yoke was made from a Simplicity pattern. All have an invisible zipper closure.
I will be teaching a 2 day Leather Skirt workshop at the Oakville Sewing Center February 15/16. Students will meet at Perfect Leather in Toronto the first morning to purchase their skins. More information is available from