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’70s Retro Skirt

Among the many projects I have ongoing in connection to Damask Raven is a new wardrobe.  Like many people, I tend to have the wardrobe items I favor and wear over and over again, typically for many years, until they either fall apart, or I out grow them.

Stupid donuts…why do you have to be so tasty?

So decided to make a video of my sewing process.  First up was a new skirt.  And in keeping with my own preference for looser clothing with a little flare, I opted to start with Simplicity Pattern 8019.

Cute right? It turns out REALLY cute in silk.

The first choice was which of the many silks available to me did I want to use?  I opted for Silk Satin, and because I wanted a little body to my skirt, I opted to flat line it with Silk Organza.  In addition to providing flare to the otherwise languid silk satin, by flat lining with silk organza, I am testing a theory about seam slippage.  I think that the organza will add just enough heft and durability to the seams to avoid slippage.  And the only way to see if I’m right is to make the skirt, and wear it a lot.  We’ll see.

On to construction.  Due to how light the individual filaments are, silk can fray quite a bit.  So the first thing I did after cutting out was to serge the lining to the fashion pieces.  This cuts down fraying to none at all and allows for easier construction.  Also allows me to press the seams open in stead of to the sides, which cuts bulk at the waist line.  The other glorious part of flat lining with organza is that I did not need any iron on interfacing at all.  Silk Organza is a FANTASTIC sew in interfacing, so there was no need for additional interfacing pieces to be cut. 

Overall, I love how the skirt turned out; however there are a few things I would do differently.  I would have cut the pieces a little longer so I had room to play with the hem line.  As I plan to wear this skirt often for work, I couldn’t cut it to mini-skirt lengths.  However, with my bodacious-ly curvy butt, I was hard pressed to keep the hem at a decent length.  I also would have cut the organza shorter and brought of the fashion fabric for a blind hem stitch to the organza.  I think the organza added to the difficulty in hemming by adding unneeded bulk at the hem line. 

Things I learned specific to this skirt: How to very carefully create decorative button holes, like the ones I did use from Urban Threads.  You don’t know the meaning of terror until you are on button hole number 5, the other 4 turned out perfectly, and your damn cat jumps on your sewing table

The fuzzy butted jerk face who almost gave me a heart attack.

So here it is.  7 hours of work cut down and sped up to a 20 minute video showing all my hard efforts on this skirt.

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The Greatest Showman

The Greatest Showman, an entrepreneurial love story

I have no problem reviewing books, but have typically steered clear of reviewing movies.  This is due largely to there are enough blogs out there that review and critique the film industry.  Why should my opinion count in this most selective of fields?  And I mostly want to keep the focus of Damask Raven on silk and sewing.  Yet I find I am unable to stop thinking about The Greatest Showman.

I was a little ambivalent about this movie owing to some early conceptions about PT Barnum.  Then I read a review from an unexpected area,  This made me think I should at least go watch the movie. And I am ever so glad I did.  

Telling the start of PT Barnum’s circus, this movie is a love song to the entrepreneurial spirit.  While certainly set in the 19th century, when PT Barnum started his eponymous circus, the costuming is not historical.  It nods to the early Victorian era, but made no pretenses to accuracy, instead choosing to highlight the overarching story in glorious vibrant color.  All of which was underscored by a fantastic soundtrack.

The movie is, yes, a musical.  And the original score is fantastic, filled with heart pumping rhythms and gorgeous harmonies, easy to sing along with.  I may or may not have purchased the soundtrack.  I may or may not listen to this everyday to get me psyched up about chasing my own dreams.  Musicals tend to be hit or miss with me, but this one was a solid strike.  The songs promote and advance the story line, moving everything along to the finish, when I just kind of wanted to stay and watch it again.  

So yes, I loved this movie.  I loved how it told a story of chasing your dreams, pivoting when needed, and becoming everything you can be.  It told important lessons on focusing on your strengths and not chasing public opinion.  On being true to your own vision.  This light telling made me want to learn more about PT Barnum and what other lessons I might be able to learn from him.  Which is everything a good story should do.  It should leave you wanting to know more, to keep seeing through the eyes of the characters involved.  In this, The Greatest Showman lived up to it’s name.

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A brief review for knits

I will readily admit that sewing knit fabrics is not my strongest skill set.  I understand some fundamentals, I understand the zig zag stitch versus straight stitch.  I know that knits are typically serged when not sewn with zig zag stitch on a standard machine.  I do know that any fiber can be knit, including silk.  And that taps me out. So before I really did anything with knitted fabric (cotton to start, sorry), I reached for Sew Knits with Confidence by Nancy Zieman.

Of course, generations of seamstresses grew up watching Sewing with Nancy, but what really brought the book to mind was the sad announcement of Nancy’s passing on November 14, 2017.  After taking a moment to say a quick prayer for Nancy and her family, I realized I had never actually picked up this book which I purchased to learn how to sew with knits.  It is a very quick read, at 127 pages long.  Half of those pages are easily projects, which of course makes sense.  Once the know how has been described, giving you projects to work on so you can immediately apply that knowledge is just good sense.

And of course it was well written, easy to understand, with clear guidelines of the different supplies that make sewing with knits easy.  Nancy clearly explains what the different knits are, how to identify them, and which projects you would use each knit type for.  Nancy explains how to use either a sewing machine or a serger, which pins to use, double needle use on a standard machine, and how to achieve certain effects with a serger.  A lot of it is common sense stuff, once you understand the basic differences between knit and woven fabrics.  Mostly, reading Sew Knits With Confidence carried with it all the nostalgia of watching Nancy on television. 

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That moment when…

That moment when

That moment when you realize you haven’t written a blog post in over two months.  Yikes!  That’s just bad business.  This was not an intentional disconnect.  I’ve been vacillating between blog and vlog or a hybrid thereof.  I’ve been working consistently behind the scenes.  Which would be fine, except that I am also the in front of the scenes person.

So, bluntly, I need to do better.  I may not have the  largest following, but the people who do follow me deserve a little more attention and communication from me.  So here is an up to date status report of Damask Raven.

I have been working on multiple projects and I have video and photography of all projects.  I have been working on updating the website, making it more user friendly and easier to navigate and shop.  I’ve been planning out which events Damask Raven will be vending at this year.  And as soon as I have confirmed dates, I will post them.  I’ve been reading books so I can add reviews to my blog as well.

I have been creating a bona fide work schedule for myself so that I can get back to a regular posting schedule.  I have been searching out new markets and venues.

Mostly at this point I am annoyed with myself.  Two months is an unacceptable length of time between posts.  So I will do better.  I will be more consistent with posting.  So that those of you who have been following along while I build my business can see what progress I make…and be very aware when I backslide in to two months with no communication or progress.

And I am sorry.  To myself for letting Damask Raven’s voice go silent for so long.  And to you for leaving you in the dark about all things silk related for far to long.