Friday, December 31, 2010

A Festive Coat for Festive New Years Occasions

First off, Happy New Years All!
I hope you all have a wonderful, prosperous, and gratifying 2011!

Secondly, it’s confession time here at the Cordelia Files.
 Today, I must profess that I LOVE COATS!
All coats, any type will do, I’m not one to discriminate.
I love wearing them, I love designing them, I love making them, I love looking at them hanging in my closet, I love wearing them around with nothing on underneath.
Um, wait, scratch that one, I was just testing to see if you were really paying attention.

And I especially love how sometimes a girl just needs a fancy coat.
 Which I did.
 Because the Holiday Season was amongst us and Holiday Season = cold weather and fancy parties.
 So I made myself a fancy little festive number.

I like to call this my Red Lace Coat.
Cause I used Chantilly lace layered over red Italian wool to make it.

When designing this coat I asked myself, “What Would Jacquie O Wear?” and created a coat I like to imagine could be worn to White House celebration.

In Honor of Jacquie I used Big O self covered buttons.

With matching Big O bound buttonholes.

And for the record, I am in LOVE with my new camera which allowed me to take shots like these!
All that detail captured!

I hand beaded the collar,

And did the same for the welt pocket flap.

And I was especially proud of myself for deciding to let the galloon of the lace hang off the front edges.

It is lined with a polka dot charmeuse, and even though it is polyester, I don’t care cause it is soft and luxurious and feel like butter on my skin.

I threw in a gold piping detail for good measure.

And, as I do with most of my coats, I embroidered a quote in the facing.
"When in doubt, wear red." ~Bill Blass

Happy 2011, and may the new year bring you a bounty of beautiful coats!

Happy Coat Wearing
~Melisa & Cordelia

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Snugly PJ's for a Nasty Day.

Today, because the wind is howlin’ through my windows with more force than the Big Bad Wolf, because the weather can’t decide if it wants to rain, or blizzard, or just drop little balls of ice on my head, and because it’s just downright cold, I was inspired to share a pair of snugly PJ bottoms I made.

I didn't have enough of my fabric, so I added a band at the hem, cause I hate it when my PJ pants are too short. 

And, naturally, this was the perfect place to add a little rick rack, just cause I could.

If only I could put on these little beauties, make a pot of hot chocolate, crawl into bed and read my book , The Dressmaker, all day, I would be one happy little seamstress. Alas, there are cold people out there who need winter coats made, so I’m off to work on Alex’s Civil War greatcoat instead.

~Melisa & Cordleia

Happy Winter

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Few Things I’ve Been Working On But Couldn’t Share Cause They Were Presents.

Here are a few of the projects I’ve been working on lately but I couldn’t share yet because they were presents and I didn’t want to spoil the surprise, cause , you know, chances are good that if you are reading this you may have been on the receiving end.

A few needle cases for the knitters in my life.

An apron for the cooks in my life.

And a few scarfs for the robot lovers in my life.

I wove strips of the fabric together to make this design.

 All this sewing has Oadie tuckered out.  Guess what Oadie, we're still not done with the Christmas sewing!
So, you better get on that. 

~Melisa & Cordelia

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hello Beautifully Dressed BFF

I would like to take a minute to introduce you to my new BFF Samantha, Sam for short.

“Hello Sam,” says Cordelia.
“Hello Cordelia,” says Sam.

For the last several months Cordelia and I have been using this camera to record our adventures.

 Even though this camera has some good qualities, such as it’s green and fits in my pocket, it also had a few undesirable qualities such as the flash has gone, and its battery life is akin to the attention span of a 3rd grader. So it was time for us to move on.

As luck would have it, the all magical and mighty Santa brought us Sam for Christmas! We were thrilled! THANK YOU Santa!

Well Sam was feeling a bit exposed so I decided to make her a nifty little designer camera strap. Plus now I’ll be able to easily distinguish Sam from The Papa Hart’s camera which happens to be a slightly more mature yet identical model.

Actually, I didn’t make a whole new camera strap, I just made a cozy to slide on the existing strap. It was a little easier than trying to track down all the hardware to make a strap from scratch, and I figure that this way when Sam wants a new outfit it’ll be easier to switch out.

Here are the directions to make your own designer camera strap cozy if you wish:

First you will need to take a few measurements.

Measure the width of the strap. Sam’s was 1.5” wide. Double this measurement so you can wrap the fabric all the way around the strap and add 1” for seam allowances and a little extra space to slide on. So I ended up with a measurement of 4”.

Now measure the distance from leather end to leather end. Sam’s was 23.5”. Add 1” for seam allowance so we ended up needing 24.5”

Now you are ready to cut a fabric strip to these measurements. Only I divided the length in half and cut two strips cause A. I only had ¼” yd of the fabric and if I cut it on the cross grain the birds would not have looked as nice, and B. So I could flip the direction of the birds so half of them would not end up standing on their heads. You don’t want your birds standing on their heads—no telling what shenanigans they’ll come up with when all that blood rushes to their brains.

If you have two strips, place right sides together and sew the short ends with a ½” Seam allowance—this will become the center back seam. Press the seam open.


Cut a length of mid-weight, fusible interfacing the same size as the strap. Iron this onto the wrong side of the fabric.

Fold the fabric in half hotdog style with right sides together. 
 Sew the seam using a 3/8" Seam Allowance.

Press the seam open.

Attach a large safety pin to one side and use the safety pin to turn the tube right side out.

Press the tube so the seam is down the center of the back.

Attach the safety pin to the end of the camera strap and use it to help you slide the cozy over the strap.

Once you have the cozy in place, fold the ends in ½” to finish them—the folded edge should but up right next to the leather end bit of the existing strap.

Topstitch through all the layers. Repeat for the other side.

You now have a beautiful new outfit for your camera.

Go make one, your camera will be happier and now you won’t have to worry about accidentally taking a series of incriminating pictures with someone else’s camera!

Happy Dress Up
~Melisa & Cordelia

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas in New Mexico the Second

Every year on Christmas Eve, The Hart Family bundles up and heads to  Albuquerque Old Town to wonder around and look at Luminarias.

A luminaria is simply a brown paper bag filled with sand and a candle and it provides a worm glow at night. 

To make of your own, fold down the top edge of a lunch sized brown paper bag, fill the bag about 3” deep with sand and place a candle in the middle

Luminarias originate from the 1800’s.  Small bonfires were built to guide people to Christmas Mass.  Often they were set out during Las Posadas (the symbolic representation of Mary and Joseph seeking shelter in Bethlehem from a number of homes before Jesus was born).

Now luminarias are used to decorate the paths to doors and people also outline the roofline of their homes with the inviting decorations.

These luminarias form the Zia Sun Symbol, New Mexico's insignia. 
To the Zia Indians 4 is the sacred number as it is embodied in the earth (4 main directions), in the year (seasons), in the day, ( sunrise, noon, evening and night), in life,( childhood, youth, manhood and old age).  Everything is bound together in a circle of life and love, without beginning and without end.

Here are a few more of the luminarias I saw last night.

Merry Christmas
~Melisa & Cordelia