Mood Fabrics: Here are my picks for Betty Joan

Snow fell all day over New York City.  The streets were very slippery but thankfully it was not bitterly cold and windy.  I felt up to the long trip into Manhattan.  I currently live in a neighborhood where only the local train is available.  Weekends bring many changes to the other lines where I can transfer.  So I decided to stay on the local and read “Dior by Dior” and revisit the early years of Christian Dior’s career.  I was rewarded for my effort when I made it to Mood Fabrics.

Mood Fabrics is located at 225 West 37th Street.  There is a street level store where home decorating fabrics are sold.  To reach Mood Fabric’s nirvana for the home sewista, you must enter the office building next door and take the special elevator that goes direct to the third floor.


When the elevator doors opened I felt dazzled and uplifted.  Here was a little lobby that looked like the formal reception area of a showroom.  At the entrance to the shopping area I had to check my totebag and then was free to browse the many, many, many offerings.


There are two levels I had the time to browse through.  The first was filled with aisles of well organized bolts of silks, satins, organdy, and other fabrics suitable for dressy clothes.  What isn’t on a shelf is in a large circular bin.  Sales Associates are available in every section to answer questions, pull the bolts and help you make a selection.

My vision for the Betty Joan outfit is very practical.  I want to wear it while I’m out and about on a weekend.  I knew I wanted a conservative, chic look to the outfit and decided to go with all natural fibers now that I am sewing for myself.  I was directed to the lower level where cottons, denims and shirting fabrics are available.

Selecting fabrics, trims and threads is not something I do well on my own.  I like to have a knowledgeable Sales Associate answer my many questions as we review what is available.  I am happy to say that the Associate who helped me was excellent and in less than 10 minutes I had my skirt and blouse fabric.


Selecting the buttons took the most time.  There are just so many that I had to look and look again.  There were some novelty buttons in the shape of hearts and stars that were very cute.  I had to resist, though, because they just did not pull together the look I had in mind.


I finally chose a simple button that has a dark grey center that matches the color of the skirt fabric.  The lighter grey at the edge of the button blends nicely with the blouse fabric.  So here we have my choices:  charcoal grey poly/cotton denim for the skirt; 100% cotton shirting in a soft white background with a grey paisley design.

Mood Fabric is a place a sewista can get lost in for hours of delightful  browsing.  For this reason I think it is wise to have some clear idea of what you are looking for before going.  This way you do not wear out your Sales Associate with endless journeys to and from the shelves.  Since I had a screen capture of the pattern envelope illustration that inspired my interpretation of the style that also made it easier for the Associate to offer suggestions.

I’ve already hand washed the fabric so that it is pre-shrunk.  Once it is dry I can cut it out and begin the adventure in bringing this style to life.


1947 Skirt and Blouse Toile Completed: Meet Betty

Happy New Year to all my WordPress friends and followers!  How were your holidays?

During my staycation after Christmas I completed the toile for the draped skirt and blouse based on the sewing pattern illustration below.

The blouse has an unusual variation of a band collar that runs from one end of the front to the other.  It does not have a button hole and button.  Instead, this collar is flat against the neck at the back and then opens with the front of the blouse from the shoulder line to about 3 inches below the collarbone.  It seems like an easy collar to drape.  Also, a high collar is very flattering to a mature woman or a woman with a long, thin neck.

That is not how it turned out when the toile was completed.  The back gapes from the top by 1/4″ and then the gape tapers to nothing at the neckline.  The front does not rest flat when pressed open.  I think that the problem lies in that I draped with the lengthwise grain at center back.  Then I let the fabric drop as the draping continued towards center front.  The result is that the front is slightly on the bias.

In Precision Draping the instructions for collars use the basic drape to create drafts of flat collars.  Band collars are simply drawn using the neckline measurement for the length.  I will try this approach next as I really like the way this collar looks on me.  I just need results where the front lies flat instead of curling up.

The resulting skirt and blouse are a comfortable fit.  There is enough room to walk and sit in the 1947 style pencil skirt and I do not look pear shaped in it.  I plan to make a fabric covered belt for the skirt.  I am not sure if I should make thread belt loops at the side of the skirt or fabric ones.  What do you think?  I’m open to suggestions.

The skirt will have an inverted kick pleat in the back and a slot zipper application.  I would love to make a trip into Manhattan to go fabric shopping.  I think a charcoal grey or navy cotton for the skirt and a white or red cotton for the blouse may be good.  I want to avoid floral prints because then all the details of the blouse such as the shirring at the waist, the lapels, and the buttons will get lost.  Another possibility is to build the color scheme around the vintage glass buttons I bought for the Norma Naomi Carol dress.  In that case I’ll take the buttons with me and then search for a good sales rep to help me make my selection.

I have named this outfit Betty since that was a popular name for girls in the 1940s.  Lauren Bacall was named Betty Joan at birth.  Her cool, understated style is one I’d like to distill into this outfit.  I may add the Joan onto the outfit name depending on the fabric selection I decide.

I will upload photos of the finished pattern in the next posting.  I’ll also include some details about how I combined some features of other draping techniques into the Precision Draping technique.

Holiday Season 2017

Happy Dance Clip Art

Season’s Greetings to all my blog followers and WordPress friends! 

I have been on an extended break from sewing because of professional commitments and family related matters.  I will be back after the holidays to check in with Norma, Naomi, Carol, Hila and my other good friends here.  I am making slow progress on my toile for the 1947 drape featured in the last posting.  It is good progress so I will have many positive learning experiences to share in the months ahead.

In the meantime, I wish you and your families a beautiful holiday season and good health for the year ahead.


EmilyAnn France May



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