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Sewing that's Retro, Geek, and Chic

Lint Balls of My Life… Plus a Little Giveaway!

I’ve had a couple of freelance costuming jobs this year that I haven’t really blogged about – partly because there wasn’t much to make a complete post and partly because I just never sat down to go through some of the photos I had already shared elsewhere on the internet. Y’know, lint balls of life.

Back in March and April, I spent time working at The Dallas Opera. (You may remember me mentioning my job at the opera because it was during this time I made my Easter dress.)

The costume shop at The Dallas Opera

They did a production of The Aspern Papers, which was a complete costume build. (Yay! A period costume build!) Usually, they either rent the majority of a show’s costumes or pull them from storage, and then just build just a few key pieces for the leads.

There was lots of menswear and tailoring. But I did get to help with the construction of one dress:

Dress from the opera The Aspern Papers

Then I did some work at home (read: not personal projects) like pattern testing Disparate Discipline’s Avocado Hoodie.

In May and June, I once again worked for Shakespeare Festival of Dallas. This year’s summer shows were A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Pericles with costume design by Lyle Huchton.

I had way too much fun sewing Lyle’s designs with the amazing fabrics he bought! You may have realized this from all the photos I posted on Instagram. Here are some of my favorites:

Shakespeare Costumes

This dress for the princess in Pericles was the one I did the most work on.

At the end of June (actually the day after I finished Shakespeare), I met fellow costumer Deborah Lynn Dixon, of Colorado. She stumbled across my blog earlier in the year during a bit of random web surfing. We met for lunch while she was passing through the Dallas Area on business.

She has developed an amazing product and technique for embossing fabric with glitter and paint that can look like intricate beadwork.

The embossing is permanent, flexible, & lightweight, and it can be gently washed or dry cleaned!

You can read more about the embossing process here and here. I can’t wait until she starts marketing her embossing supplies and instructions – I want to try it! (psst! Deborah, you need a blog!)

And just before I started sewing for Shakespeare this year, I applied and was hired to work a part-time job at a local fabric store called Fabrique. It’s a nice little apparel fabric store and the owner is willing to work around my unpredictable freelancing schedule. =)

Fabrique Fabrics

Fabrique has a website but not everything in inventory is listed for online ordering – you just have to ask (phone or email) if you don’t see something you’re looking for on the site. (Right now, there is Free Shipping on orders of $50 or more until August 14!)

So far, I have been pretty good about not bringing all the fabric home with me. I’ve only bought a couple things. One being some of this outer space print chiffon:

There’s still some in stock if anyone else wants some!

I have 3 sewing projects for others in process right now, and I start another long-term freelance costuming job this coming Monday. I’ll share the details of that job and the undisclosed projects as I can in future posts.

Well, enough lint balls. Let’s talk about that giveaway mentioned in the title of this post!

Since I now work part-time at a fabric store, I finally remembered to buy myself some silk organza to use as a press cloth. It’s my favorite type of press cloth because I can actually see what I’m ironing underneath it.

A silk organza press cloth can take a high level of heat while still protecting other fabrics from the iron. And the bonus is it’s see-through!

And I bought myself enough so that I could share!

I have 3 small and 1 slightly larger press cloth to give away to 4 lucky winners!  (The small size is 18.5in x 13.5in. The large one is 18.5in x 18in.)

To enter to win:

  1. Be a sewist/sewcialist who needs a good press cloth.
  2. Leave me a comment on this post and tell me you’d like to enter.
  3. Let everyone know what you are currently sewing in your comment. (Include any related links if you have photos posted somewhere.)

Giveaway is open to all locations. Winners will be chosen at random for the smaller cloths.  The large cloth will go to the submitter of the comment that…um…entertains me the most!

Deadline for entry is closed 11:59pm on Friday, August 16, 2013 United States Central Time (GMT -6). I’ll announce the winners in a post on Saturday August 17. See who won in this post.

Press cloths are neatly serged & standing by to be put in envelopes and mailed to new homes!

If you’re wondering why my ironing board is backwards, read this post.

And one last thing that a lot of you might be interested in: the sale of vintage sewing patterns at Vintage Martini is being discontinued. They just uploaded a ton of new listings and they are marked down to almost nothing! Go check out the great patterns (after you comment of course)!

50 responses to “Lint Balls of My Life… Plus a Little Giveaway!

  1. agirlinwinter August 9, 2013 at 8:58 am

    You have the best job in the world. Seriously. I’d love a new press cloth, but I don’t think it would be fair to expect you to send it overseas 🙂 Anyway, I’m finishing off a Butterick blouse – just need to create the buttonholes and sew on the buttons. After that, I’ve got another version of my 1944 shirt dress.

    • Brooke August 9, 2013 at 9:03 am

      You are entered then! I figured this is something small that can be folded tiny and mailed in a regular envelope, so overseas is no problem. (Besides, I need to get some shipping practice in for when I open my Esty shop!)

      I can’t wait to see your new blouse and another shirt dress will be great! Nice practical sewing but fun to wear stuff! =)

  2. theseedsof3 August 9, 2013 at 9:08 am

    I don’t know how entertaining I will be, but

    1) I AM a sewcialist
    2) I don’t currently have a press cloth and desperately need one
    3) I don’t have one because all the ones I have tried in the past were not see through and I really, really, really want to see what I am pressing (who wouldn’t?)
    4) things I am currently sewing: a second Hawthorn, a second Bonny Knit Sailor Top, a Tiramisu for my sister, and a #sewingdare hack. None of these are blogged, yet, but previous ones are at

    Now, I also thought I would comment on your ironing board. I took one look at the caption and thought “It’s backwards?!? But that’s how mine is!” I have always set up my ironing board that way. My mom taught me how to iron my dad’s work shirts when I was a wee lass and this is how she set up the ironing board (in from the TV while watching a Beta tape copy of Neil Diamond: Live at the Greek. Every week. Seriously, Neil Diamond every time. Some people like the Beatles, some Elvis, many are not aware there IS a third choice).

    Sweet Caroline, da, da, da, ……….

    • Brooke August 9, 2013 at 9:18 am

      Wow – what a list of current sewing projects! (I will have to browse your blog more when I have extra time but I enjoyed the few posts I saw so far!)

      Yay! Someone else irons backwards! Someday, I want to build myself a new ironing table that is rectangular and has no tapered end.

      lol – I’m gonna have that song stuck in my head all day now! Great story! =)

  3. aem2 August 9, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Well, I’m supposed to be working on a bunch of projects this month: but so far I’ve only finished the Bombshell swimsuit. I’m sure if I had a silk organza pressing cloth, I’d be much further along. 🙂

    Yeah, yeah, it’s a poor carpenter who blames her tools…

    That Pericles dress is gorgeous. And I kinda want to make those v-neck dresses on your wall now.

    • Brooke August 9, 2013 at 9:20 am

      I love your version of the Bombshell swimsuit!

      Thanks! I had a lot of fun building that dress! And those dress outlines are Vera Wang sketches I painted on my wall.

  4. Becky August 9, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Wow, what gorgeous dresses! And that space chiffon is pretty fun, too. 🙂

    I’m currently sewing gifts for a good friend’s upcoming bridal shower– an Anthropologie-inspired apron, which is done, and placemats, which I’m still finishing up. Unfortunately, she’s one of the RL friends who does occasionally look at my blog, so I can’t post about it yet!

  5. Leila August 9, 2013 at 10:12 am

    You already were generous to me and sent me a press cloth- thank you- so I won’t enter for another one but I wanted to say that I’m really interested in that embossing technique. Can’t wait to read more about it! And, yes, you do get the best jobs. 🙂

    • Brooke August 9, 2013 at 10:18 am

      You were the reason I actually remembered to get myself the silk organza in the first place! So in a way, you are the reason for this giveaway, hehe.

      I think Deborah plans to have some classes for the embossing – I don’t think she has a clue how all the sewcialists would just eat that stuff up!

      I do love the variety of my jobs even when some of the jobs really aren’t fun. It’s been a good year for fun though! =)

  6. Judy Galligan August 9, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Ooh I would love a pressing cloth..I have been looking for a source for silk organza. Any hints?

    Your job working with different theater’s and the customs sounds most interesting, wish I were younger. You must learn a lot …Lucy girl

    • Brooke August 9, 2013 at 2:44 pm

      Thanks! I enjoy my random jobs as a freelancer. =)

      Well, the source for the silk organza I used for the press cloths in the giveaway was from Fabrique (the store where I’ve started working part-time). I’m not seeing it listed on the website but I know it’s in the store. You can call or email (here’s the contact page) them about price/color etc. and there’s free shipping right now until Aug. 14! =)

    • Judy Galligan August 9, 2013 at 4:55 pm

      Many thanks I will give them a call. Jkg

  7. laurahoj August 9, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    I want to be entered in the giveaway! I am so excited for that new embossing technique. I hope it will be available soon. I am currently making a Tiramisu dress. I am so slow- all I have to do is sew the side seams of the skirt- I have already done the side seams from the sleeve opening to the top of the pockets. I should really just get it done!

  8. Bird and Bicycle August 9, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Ha! I love your costuming skillz!!! The handwork is just amazing. Also, I don’t even own a press cloth! I use whatever scrap piece of fabric I have near me or none at all. I never thought about making one!

    I am sewing up a skirt or two from Disparate Disciplines summer crisp pattern. I have no pictures but will be blogging about it tomorrow! 🙂

    And I have three wristlets cut out for gifts – making them production like style they go fast.

    What a thoughtful giveaway! 🙂

    • Brooke August 9, 2013 at 2:49 pm

      Aww thanks! I tend to use scraps of muslin as press cloths too but they end up disappearing when I need them for a mockup, hehe. Now that I have something that’s designated as a press cloth, I won’t lose it. =)

      I can’t wait to see your skirt tomorrow! Looks like such a fun pattern!

      Those wristlets are addicting to make because they are tiny and fast. Perfect for gifts!

  9. Karen August 9, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    A press cloth with a serged edge?? Count me in. And yes, isn’t silk organza a miracle fabric? This was a fun post to read – I love hearing about your costuming projects!

    • Brooke August 9, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      Your name’s in the hat then! It’s funny how things I have at work (like serged press cloths) seem so common but really aren’t. I’m so glad you enjoyed reading about my freelancing! =)

  10. zibergirl August 9, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    My ironing board is set up in that direction because I’m left-handed. It throws everyone else in the house for a loop! Next to my sewing machine, it’s the object that gets the most use while I am sewing. Currently I’m sewing a 4th Hawthorn and I just finished a wool capelet. I’d love a great pressing cloth, that lets you see what you are ironing. Please throw my name in the hat. Thanks.

    • Brooke August 9, 2013 at 7:28 pm

      Mine is set up that way because I don’t like the pointy end – lack of surface area!

      Wow a 4th version of anything is impressive! I bet the wool caplet will be wonderful for winter! Your name has been added! =)

  11. IngeMaakt August 9, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Your job(s) sound so lovely! I would love a chance to win a press cloth, I don’t own one but sometimes use a cotton napkin as a substitute. It doesn’t work too well though. At the moment I’m working on a (hopefully wearable) muslin for MariaDenmarks Edith pattern, and it looks quite promising 🙂

    • Brooke August 9, 2013 at 7:30 pm

      Thanks! My job has been more fun than usual recently. =)

      Good luck with your muslin – I hope it turns out better than you expect! I look forward to seeing it! =)

  12. sewexhausted August 9, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    A press cloth! From silk organza! Ooo- I would love one. An iron IS after all a sewcialists best friend! I saw the embossing on twitter and think it is so neat! It would make such a great addition to a fancy dress or costume. And I am really looking forward to seeing what you make from the outer space fabric. Whatever it is will be “out of this world” I am sure! At this moment I am making a purse/ bag with ballerina fabric for a gift. I am also going to finish up a few of those unfinished projects I talked about in this post- But I really want to start something new! *HELP! I need some discipline!* ~Laurie

    • Brooke August 9, 2013 at 7:34 pm

      Yes, I cannot live without my iron when I sew! I’m still pondering that space fabric – need to find the perfect pattern to use.

      You can do it! You are so close to being finished with some of those things you already started! But I totally understand the being distracted with another new project – too many ideas and not enough time to finish any of them before you have others trying to take over!

  13. Elizabeth August 9, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    I’d love a press cloth. Just yesterday I used a clean rag from an old sheet to press the back center seam for Shylock. He needed a little more room in the shoulders.

    I just finished some costuming for San Jose Youth Shakespeare. Our current play opened last night – The Merchant of Venice. We were able to re-use Company costumes except for three gowns, a doublet and four hats. I did the finishing work on the gowns and doublets. I had fun sewing what I have dubbed Castle Hats. The upturned brim looks like turrets. We sewed so many new costumes for Romeo and Juliet (May 2013) that it was nice to pull from the stash for this play! Please check out our company and our costumes (!) at:

    By the way, you don’t have the ironing board the wrong way! I discovered years ago the advantages of using it that direction.

    • Brooke August 9, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      Your theatre company looks so fun! I love that you are getting kids involved with Shakespeare so young! Theatre costuming is always a little “beg, borrow, and steal”, hehe.

      My ironing board is set up the way a proper British butler would set it up. (Glad to know others who like it that way!) It confuses a lot of people who have been made to think ironing boards with the stupid iron rests are the correct orientation. I like an ironing table best. =)

  14. Capri Montgomery August 10, 2013 at 2:54 am

    Wow, that is amazing work. I love the costumes.

  15. Gjeometry August 11, 2013 at 12:57 am

    Oh, I’m so happy that your meeting with the costume designer went well!! I remember you mentioning it on twitter! What an awesome technique. I sometimes can’t believe a) how many things there are to know in sewing – technique, fabric, etc. and b) how much creativity and originality you can put into every project. Honestly, it is like a gift that keeps on giving. I’m so thrilled I stumbled upon sewing just 7 short months ago because it was just sitting there, apparently for years, WAITING for me to discover it and all the amazing sewcialists and bloggers that go along with it. (warm fuzzy 🙂 ) p.s. Oh, and by the way, not sure if you could notice a pause there, since, you know, I’m actually typing and not speaking….but that outer space print chiffon fabric is so fabulous, it made me pass out for a bit. I’m okay now. No need for calls to emergency. What, pray-tell, are you going to make with it????

    • Brooke August 11, 2013 at 12:13 pm

      Thanks! I’m glad you discovered sewing too! You’ve come so far so fast – I am seriously impressed! Only 7 months?!

      I have not decided what I’m going to make with the outer space fabric yet. I’m thinking dress, but I need to find the right style/pattern to use – the print much be shown off to the fullest! =)

  16. KayoticSewing August 11, 2013 at 7:01 am

    Ooooh!!What a cool giveaway..

    1. Yes, I’m a sewist who really needs a good press cloth. I think I slept through the class where they teach you when to stop pressing. Every article I’ve read about pressing asks me to just press the heck out of the fabric; so I just do that. But my scorched Black tee – which is the softest knit ever, tells me I’ve gone a bit too far.

    2. Yes, I’d love to enter on this giveaway.

    3. What am I currently sewing – I just cracked the code (f.i.n.a.l.l.y) on sewing/fitting the knit sheath dress – a tweaked Burda pattern with darts rotated from armhole to side seam. Who needs darts that act as bust pointers?? As in – Lookie! I’m here!! Really? Who comes with these ideas? I love princess seams but armhole darts are just NOT my thing! So tweak I did, And I LOVE it! It’s still not on my blog yet, waiting for pictures but I’m already wearing this dress to death. And I’m cutting a miilion or two repeats of this pattern next. Today I’m working on my first repeat. Woohoo!

    Congratulations on your new assignments and the cool fabric store job! Let there be more fabric! 🙂 Your friend has a really nifty idea there in using the glitter to stand in for beadwork. And I bet they look gorgeous on stage. Yes, she needs a blog and maybe teach classes on her techniques. Craftsy, maybe?

    • Brooke August 11, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      Thanks for your comment! I’ll put your name in the hat! =)

      Congratulations on getting the fit right on your dress pattern! That is always so satisfying when you get to that point and want to make multiples.

      I hope Deborah sets up a blog soon! I know she was thinking of doing in-person classes to teach her embossing, but Craftsy might be a good option too. She’s not into all the tech stuff, but I will be sure to mention that idea to her.

  17. Bobbi August 11, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Please enter me in the contest!
    Right now I’m getting ready to work on the Simplicity version of the DVF wrap dress. I just finished a vintage-inspired wiggle dress.
    I’m going to check out that embossing link – I’m already getting ideas and I haven’t even looked yet!

    • Brooke August 11, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      I’m working on a wrap dress myself – mine’s from a vintage ’60s pattern. I bet your vintage-inspired dress is so much fun to wear!

      Thanks for your comment! You’ve been entered in the drawing. =)

  18. Aleksandra @ Liveaboard Takes the Suburbs August 13, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    I would love to enter! I am currently between projects. Just finished a super cute retro Butterick hundreds… next up is a pair of pants. (Currently on a vacation, so not until next week!)

    Love seeing your costume projects by the way. You should show us more if you have time! 🙂

  19. Chuleenan August 15, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Oh my – such fabulous fabrics on those costumes!

    Please enter me in your giveaway – I do need to use a press cloth – noticed a bit of fusible on my iron plate earlier this week. 😦 So the timing of your giveaway is perfect!

    I’m working on a skirt –
    and lining some hats: blue velvet –

    Oh, and I’m finishing my fourth Hummingbird Sewing Cake top. No photos of that one yet but here’s a photo of the first one I made:

    • Brooke August 15, 2013 at 8:36 pm

      The fabrics really were great for the costumes! I’ve always said I can sew anything as long as I like the fabric.

      Pull a used dryer sheet from your laundry room trash to clean the fusible from your iron. Just iron over the used dryer sheet and any light residue should come off on the sheet. And it smells good when you do it – like laundry.

      Lovely hats and pretty clothing fabrics! I really like the cobalt Hummingbird top! I kept thinking I had followed you on Instagram but I guess I never did. I’ve now fixed that and entered you in the drawing! =)

  20. shawnta715 August 16, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    I found you being nosy through a twitter conversation and I’m in awe!!! The work that you get to do is so cool! I’m also excited to see another North Texas sewist. I’m in the Fort Worth/Keller area. I would love a press cloth. Recently bought a clapper so a press cloth would make me official :). I’m currently working on a Sewaholic Saltspring, and a dress and blouse out of Violette Field Threads Josesphine for my daughter. All have been talked about this week on the blog:

    • Brooke August 16, 2013 at 5:41 pm

      Thanks so much! I’m glad you stopped by my blog! I’ll have to browse yours when I have a little more time.

      Yay, for another sewing Texan! You’re not far from me at all! =)

  21. Pingback: The Sorting Hat Has (Sort of) Spoken | Custom Style

  22. Martin Partlan (@martinpartlan) August 18, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    You are so talented. Beautiful, beautiful work.

  23. Dustin August 23, 2013 at 6:57 am

    I’m WAY too late for the press cloth comp, but atleast I know what to make one from now, I’ll check the remnant bin for silk organza next time I go fabric shopping. But anyhow, I have to say that the glitter+glue embossing technique looks amazing! It would be so effective and time-saving in place of embroidery/beading for stage costumes, the audience wouldn’t even be able to tell.

    • Brooke August 23, 2013 at 6:52 pm

      The time-saving is the main reason Deborah developed the embossing – it really is cool! Glad to see you making an appearance online again. =)

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