Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Rose Strewn Riding Peplum

As soon as i became aware of Natalie Chanin's wonderful stencil and applique technique, i knew how i wanted to use it in my own wardrobe. I saw low contrast, neutral-toned stencils and stitching on single layer linen.

I'd say the droopy eyes are due to lack of coffee - but i'm a tea drinker!

Here is my first attempt. I loved the Riding Peplum's strong, sweeping lines. At the same time, the pattern pieces are big and simple, a great canvas for showcasing fabric embellishment.

I used Alabama Chanin's Rose Placement Stencil (which i had used previously on a tee) and acrylic fabric paint and medium to create the roses (the stencil can be downloaded from this page - scroll down). Then i started stitching. I stitched about half of the roses right at the edge of the paint, the others i eyeballed a margin of around a quarter inch between the stitching and the paint.

I used those triangular makeup sponges you get at the drugstore to do the stenciling. I like the crumpled effect you get from the edges of the sponges. The project took awhile, but was not onerous.

I really love the way it turned out! As you know, i constantly complain about not being able to find fascinating, low-contrast detailed fabrics. Traditional Alabama Chanin style fabric embellishment, with two layers of cotton jersey, is overly warm for a large part of the year around here. Using this technique i can get the look without having to take salt pills ;)

Yesterday I purchased Deer and Doe's Bruyere Chemise after seeing Seamstress Erin's beautiful chambray version while eating breakfast. I have a length of white linen which i will make up first, and an Alabama Chanin paisley stencil which i cut out months ago but which has yet to be used (link here, scroll down again). I am thrilled to start on such a useful and stunning garment - white linen blouses have been more and more in play in my recent outfits.

I cannot help but play with hemlines. The hems of the Riding Peplum and the jacket balance each other out by moving in two opposite directions, so even though there's a lot going on it's not jarring. The low contrast between the two low-saturation garments keeps things from being too crazy as well. I always enjoy echoing the lantern shape of this hat by wearing a similarly shaped peplum or skirt. As these jeans approach the end of their useful life, i am happy to report that Uniqlo's $40 jeans are a good fit on me. I just need to get my hiney motivated to buy a pair!

I experienced an interesting synchronicity whilst working on this garment, centered around roses. Curious readers can find the story here. Even without reading the synchronicity, it's obvious that i adore roses in clothing and jewelry. Do any of you have similar talismans?

p.s. i don't want to say anything about posting more coming up in case i jinx it! Please help me by pretending you never read this "p.s." - & have a wonderful day!


  1. Okay you may be receiving this post twice I apologize if that happens. Wow I love the low contrast you are correct it is so flattering to your chosen palette. I like the hand embroidery but I am way too lazy to do it by hand. These days I am really into machine embroidery but I do like how yours looks. I think that the stenciling on the fabric is such a cool technique. I think a hat with roses stenciled on the brim might be quite have given me an idea.
    I think that if I had to pick a talisman it would be fall leaves. Just cant get enough of them all of the shapes and colors. I guess you could say the same thing about roses. The high low hemlines are really a nice touch too. Have missed your posts but I can see you have been busy.

  2. HULLO GORGEOUS!!! oh, i like your hat idea lots! and yes i can see you with your fall incorporate them really nicely, too - that type of thing can get really over the top and kind of tacky but you do it so tastefully and unexpectedly. Plus it goes so well with your coloring - you provide an example for us all :)

    The same goes for your machine embroidery. i have to admit i have been surprised to see what you are able to do with that medium, i had no idea it could be so sophisticated! i have been busy, real life as well as sewing, but i miss blogging. I have been taking outfit pics the last couple weeks pretty regularly - if nothing else i find it's great to have a reference when i want to look good but the brain is all afuzz. Repeat to the rescue!

    Thank you for your sweet comment, Adrienne. Have a great day!!!!

  3. I never read this (hee hee).

    I don't want to jinx you, but I love seeing your clothes - they are so gorgeous and lovely on you. Great work on the stenciling! Now I'll be thinking of you when I use my triangular sponges...on my face!

    Wonderful to see you, Stef!

  4. I love your interpretation of Alabama Chanin! It's so you! It's really sophisticated with the low contrast embellishment.

  5. This is casual elegance at it's best... and the proportions are perfect on you. I love the dappled look of the roses. I think you're on to something here, Steph! Those of us who live in California don't want to wear those double thickness tops. This drapes so much better, too. Brilliant. Remember, when you see that I've made something like this, imitation is the best form of flattery!

  6. Fantastic styling! You look great; I love the restraint and elegance of the low contrast stenciling. The hemline play is perfect, and something I have trouble doing successfully. I have considered the Bruyere Chemise but haven't convinced myself it's the right look for my "shortness". Maybe when I crawl out from under my sweater-lode. Thanks for the inspiration! I continue to love that jacket on you.

  7. wow! That it so dashing! And so low key and elegant.

  8. Hi Sheila! Hi Hi Hi Hi hihihi!!! I always love taking a peek at what you are up to, Sheila! And v. nice to get your 'ephemeral seal of approval', as it were :) Big hug to you!! (heehee, we would make an excellent pair of spies, don't you think?)

    Hi Sharon! thank you! i have to say your last few makes have been bowling me over - complete harmony between technical, aesthetic, and practical considerations. The type of pieces you throw on every day because they are so easy and which become your trademark because of how perfectly they express you. I have been tongue tied at your blog, i need to email you!

    oh Gayle, that is verrry nice to hear your enthusiasm as a fellow norcal-er. And CONGRATS on having your piece in the Puyallyup show! I grinned from ear to ear when i saw it on Marcy's round up, that jacket is like a pinnacle of clothes! wo0t!

    Hi Robyn! thank you, you know i think in the end i am more focussed on 'outfits' than individual garments (much as i drool over then) so i especially appreciate your remarks :)

    You know i am really quite long from the botton of my ribs to the top of my pelvis, so it's an area of the figure where i can get away with doing all sorts of styling stuff. If you're short through the torso it could be tricky to pull off; however at the same time the darts and the waistband inset allow one to easily do quite a bit of subtle shaping thru that area which can be quite slimming. I also think it would be fairly straightforward to stitch down the released pleats below the waistband, which might also reduce the volume.

    If you search for images of the bruyere a number of ladies have posted pictures of their version, which may help you decide....a few have altered the hem/length as well. HTH!

    Hi Claire! Thank you - you know i got the word 'dashing' from a pharmacist i went to regularly, of all people. it was too fun to let it go!

    That silk you gave to Myrna is so beautiful and wonderful for her! I am so excited to see what she does with it!! Have a fun day Claire!

    Happy Day All!! steph

  9. Hello. I've been a lurker on your blog for a few months and really really like your aesthetic. I'm getting back to sewing my wardrobe after a few years of utterly boring purchases. I've been looking back to earlier posts to see where you might have sewn the jacket you're wearing in this post - did you make it or is it RTW? If you did make it, I'd love to know the pattern information.

    Thanks from a reader on Vancouver Island.

  10. Welcome Lorrie, thank you for taking the time to read and comment :)

    I did make this jacket. It's an OOP Anne Klein for Vogue Patterns - i think from the 1990's? i just did some web searching and can't find it (i think i tossed the pattern finally). I did fit it quite a bit more than it shows on the pattern envelope. I'll look around more to see if i can scare up the number for you.

    Have a beautiful day from further down the Pacific edge of the ring of fire! steph

  11. Thanks so much, Steph. I might try experimenting with the seams in the back. They are very flattering.