Monday, March 10, 2008

Embellishing a Garment - Part II

I know I promised to talk about what I do and how I do it...but honestly I am just too dang tired to think right now. I should have written this post out earlier, and I meant too...but that day job it just keeps rearin' its ugly head!

Instead I'm going to answer a few questions and make an observation...

Observation first...

When you are from out-of-town and go into any of the trim shops in NYC, you should come with a plan or just to look! Because it is hard to explain to anyone who has never been here before how much trim, ribbons, appliques, buttons, etc. are in the stores...and it is overwhelming. Even when M&J was a tiny store, there was so much jammed in there, it was like a cacaphony of trim...all singing a different song! *LOL*

So if you are a first time visitor...come with an idea of what you would like and a price range! That last part ~ the price range is very important because most stores have something in every range and you will probably fall in love with the $45 per yard ribbon...because it is prominently displayed and looks so beautiful, etcera, etcera, etcera.

I have taken quite a few people through the district and the trim shops and most just lose their minds in the trim shops! So a plan is very helpful!

Next questions:

Nancy K asked, "What is your process on buying trim?"

The same one that I have on buying fabric...whatever speaks to me! *LOL* Seriously, though I do have a lot of trim that I bought because I saw it and I liked it...because I had an idea for it but it didn't come to fruition...because it inspired me...

Sometimes I do head to the district to buy trim especially for a pattern but that is rare. I mostly fish around in my trimmings drawer and see if there is something there that goes with what I'm seeing in my minds eye and there usually is. That's mostly because I don't buy trimmings with a plan, I just buy what I like.

Someone asked in a private email how I store trim?


And here are pics of my trimmings in my sewing armorie and on the back of my sewing table. I like the digging process...

Renee asked, "How do I use trim to dress up a plain garment?"

This is more of an inspired kinda question... y'know what inspires me. Usually when I plan the garment, I have a picture in my mind's eye...and sometimes the garment seems naked like it needs something, that's when I go looking for something to give it flavor! Or, I will have a great piece of trim that I just scored and I will want to add it to something so the project can get built around the decorative embellishment. That is definitely what happened with this Simplicity dress:

Or I can be inspired by a photo in a magazine or catalog or on the internet and want to interpret what I've seen...that's how this jacket and tank came to be..and the trim and buttons were totally from my stash!

Sometimes a color in the garment is crying out to be enhanced, so I will use trim to bring the color out, as in this dress:

But mostly, I see it, so I add it! Not really a primer in adding embellishment I know, but I will have more detailed stuff in the next post, I promise!!!


  1. Buying what you like and inspires you sounds like a good plan to me!

  2. I don't think I have a knack for embellishing. Yours are lovely and subtle. I think I would get heavy-handed and end up looking a hot mess!

  3. I like when you mentioned flavour like if you are cooking and the dish tastes kind of bland so you need to spice it up. I must remember that. I love that red tea dyed dress.

  4. Wah! I want to go trim shopping with you too (picture me on floor drumming my heels)!! I am going to come to NY and visit, someday....

  5. I love your use of trim - subtle and elegant.

    Yes, I think NYC could be sensory overload if you don't have a plan. There is a one quilt shop around here like that - the biggest in the US. If I don't walk in looking for only a few specific things, I will literally walk out with a headache.

  6. I love embellishments and refrain from it... b/c I can go overboard.

  7. I'm right there with you. I once spent an hour in M&J picking out buttons. For one sweater, I touched every single red button in the store. I think the staff was ready to kill me and never so happy to see a customer pay and go as when I did!

  8. shop with a PLAN?? That's what you're supposed to do? hmmm, maybe, someday.
    Thanks to the link to the crochet lace Coldwater Creek jacket and your interpretation of it. I'd not seen that one.
    I do enjoy your sensibility when it comes to embellishment. Not over-the-top but subtle and tasteful.

  9. How much do you buy when it strikes your eye and you don't have a plan?
    One thing that I noticed in your photos is the subtle, not in your face, use of trim that make your garments stand out.

  10. I saw a Martha Stewart show once where she took the viewer into a NYC ribbon store. As you said, there were there were tons and tons of ribbon, beautiful ribbon to chose from. I would definitely have to shop with a plan. Currently, I have a small bin with trim that I like, but haven't been creative enough to incorporate them into garments. Maybe I'll try a little harder this spring/summer. You are definitely a pro at it and I'm sure to follow your lead.

    Thanks, Carolyn. You are always so inspiring.

  11. Embellishing is something I would like to learn how to more of.You do a great job doing that!

  12. Cmarie12-- your sewing and your "eye" for WHAT to sew are fabulous. I believe that is rare. You have terrific skills and look great in what you create. Mfedna


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