Thursday, November 16, 2017

Frankie Day 1

Today I had the extreme luxury of a full day of sewing. That really is as good as it gets. Quiet time in my sewing studio with no sound except sewing sound.

silk charmeuse for Frankie; maybe pants with the wool plaid
It was a good day to start the new Sewing Workshop pattern, Frankie. There is a sew-along going on via Facebook with tips and hints on the Sewing Workshop blog, so I have virtual sewing companions.

Wanting to use what I have in stash, I finally settled on a piece of silk charmeuse. It is solid navy with a pebble texture. Let's just say I am flying without a net. No experience with the pattern. No toile/muslin to make sure it fits. The worst possible fabric to sew. I do like a challenge.

Kenneth King once said he'd rather chew broken glass than sew with charmeuse. And I get that. It is like sewing on jello. But look at how luscious it is:

Really, it will be worth it, right?

Using pressing templates for center fronts
The pattern has interesting lines and I scratched my head more than once while working through it today. I had skimmed the instructions ahead of time, but some just do not make sense to me until I have the fabric in my hand. For example there is a piece labeled front/side. There is no side seam, as this one piece wraps from the front into the back. There is an underarm dart that runs under the arm about half way down.

The back piece contains an inverted pleat and it underlaps the front/side piece, rather than simply being sewn right-sides-together. That sewing was a leap of faith. And it worked out exactly right!

I used silk thread to baste the back pleat in place. I still have sad feelings about the time I made a pleated skirt from silk charmeuse. I basted the pleats in place with cotton machine sewing thread. Of course, when I removed the basting, I had little holes down both sides of each pleat. Everytime I put it one, I grimaced. It was a lesson well-learned.

French seams in progress
The pattern instructs you to *finish* edges at several junctures. I think that this means serging, but I feel like that would be too heavy handed for this fabric. So far I've used a mix of mock-felled seam and French seams. So glad I did not try any of this late in the day!

French seams in the shoulders
My last step today was to attach the collar. This part at least is quite straight-forward. I interfaced the collar with washed silk organza. This gives it some body without being stiff.

Collar needs hand-sewing to fininsh
So far, so good, but fingers crossed.

On a sad note, I feel I must mention the passing of Nancy Zieman (1953-2017). I wonder how many sewists all over the world have been influenced by her via the long-running TV show, Sewing With Nancy. I know that she inspired me on many occasions. Years ago when I had not yet discovered the American Sewing Guild and there was no social media, I sewed in isolation. I could always count on Nancy's show to record on VHS and later DVR. I could never get up that early on Saturdays, but I played the recordings later and enjoyed them very much. I felt like I had a sewing pal. The largest quilt I ever made was based on one of her shows. I still love that quilt. You will be missed, especially on Saturday mornings  afternoons, dear Nancy.


  1. Oh no! RIP Nancy, I loved her show too.

  2. Your Frankie is lovely, even at this stage. Not the pattern you'd see used on a Nancy show, but if it weren't for her, very few of us would tackle anything beyond the basic Big 4 patterns sewn in plain fabrics. I hope you'll wear your elegant Frankie in her honor. If she had known you, she'd have been so proud. You always do amazing work.

  3. That really is some luscious fabric and I love the texture. Interesting pattern as well. Would love to hear your thoughts on the wearability test of the pattern when you are complete.

    Ditto your sentiments on Nancy. I also live in the Atlanta area and early Saturday's were a little rough so like you VHS and later DVR was the answer. Still DVR every week and will continue as long as they air her shows. I may have seen them already, but you never know what you may have missed the first time and pick up the second time around.

  4. Martha,
    The Patricia Rose pattern was ordered in the paper. I don't have a working printer and just can't be bothered with the taping. I got to really love one to order a PDF

  5. Thanks for turning me on to this wonderful pattern. Yours is looking wonderful, I can't wait to see how it turns out. And I too will miss Miss Nancy, she was an inspiration.