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Wow, there’s only 2 more weeks till Christmas. Lots of planning and preparation for the holiday…oh, the deja vu of last year. This one is a good story and lesson.

Blue Sequinned Pendrell

Exactly one year ago, Mom wanted a top to wear for the office holiday party. There were a couple requests:

  • Festive
  • Shines
  • Can be worn again (to parties/weddings)
  • Age-appropriate
  • Alma Sleeves

Now do note: This was me in the early stages of sewing. With limited knowledge and confidence in sewing a non-quilted cotton, this was a challenge. Time was not on my side: Cut Monday, Sew Wednesday, Finish/Hem Thursday, Party on Friday. On top of that, I was work 9-5pm everyday so sewing was limited to after dinner.

The pattern was undecided until we found the fabric. It was a toss up between the Alma darts or Pendrell princess seams. We picked up this blue velvet and sequinned fabric from Fabricana. The sequins were on overload!! With the sequins, this would be princess seams. I’m sure the fabric yelled “Make Me” as I took the bolt over to the cutting table. This would be one heck of a project, sequins…


We decided on Pendrell view C with short sleeves from Alma with a self-drafted facing. Using an old pair of fabric shears (Dad would go ballistic if I used the nice pair), the fabric was cut and there were sequins everywhere. All the seams were pinned and ready for sewing.


Exam study study study…


Sewing princess seams front and back was a slow process. Had to be extra careful for any fabric tucks or stretches. The sound of the needle puncturing the sequin was scary, you fear the needle could break.


The pattern instructions call for the shoulder seams be sewn first, then the front/back princess seams. I opted for princess seams first then the shoulder. Once the side seams were done, I had Mom try on the garment…

!! Sewer’s Worst Nightmare !!

What could possibly go wrong went wrong. The grainline of the back pieces were different from the front. We failed to notice the direction of the velvet and some pattern pieces were placed upside down to save space…not cool. Can the garment be saved? If the fabric store still has the bolt…


Work 9-5pm…not cool when Mom needs to be at the party by 8pm. I sent Mom back to the fabric store to buy the fabric, cut the pieces correctly, and pin the princess seams. I would carry on sewing right after work and quickly finish the garment.

Clock hits 5pm, out the door I go. Quickly sat down and sewed up the princess, shoulder, and side seams. Mom tried it on and it looks really good sans sleeve. Next was the facing, sleeves, and hem. How to Project Runway designers do this? Make a garment from scratch, style the model, and send them down the runway in a day. I’m already stressing with this one top.

Top was done by 7:15pm. I still have 30min to style Mom and give her a manicure. We paired the flashy top with a pair of dark skinny jeans (aka, my skinny jeans) and Mom’s new pair of navy LK Bennett heels. For the nails, I went with the sparkling Leading Lady from Essie’s Winter 2012 collection. The accent nail was No Place Like Chrome topped with Set in Stones. This offsets the overall blue theme of the outfit.

Finally, I dropped Mom off at the party by 8pm. Oi…Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother sure had it easy with a flick of her wand. What did I learn from this?

  • Do not leave things to the last minute. Finish the garment at least a week before.
  • Make sure all pattern pieces face the same direction (unless the piece is on the inside)
  • Have a clear vision of the outfit before starting the manicure