It could be said that one of the best tourist attractions is people-watching in the airport.  If you find this to be true, have you ever noticed how a flight attendant’s roller-bag is practically concave — or conversely, witnessed a fellow traveler sweat out the weight of her checked bag?  Ever wonder how some travelers ease through the airport like a trained marathon runner while others look like a loaded down, exhausted Santa?  Isn’t flying supposed to be a convenience and the skies supposed to be friendly?  Maybe tweaking the way you travel could ease the pain… a bit.

 

There is much to be learned from the professional traveler to avoid the luggage struggle.  I consulted with two veteran flight attendants (total of 70 years of flying!) and several frequent flyers to discover their travel habits.

 

 

TEN STEPS TO TRAVELING EFFICIENTLY:

 

Your goal is to pack in one bag, preferably a carry-on. (The Victorinox below was one of Fodor’s 10 Best Carry-on Bags 2014.)

 

 

Know your itinerary and what type of clothes you will need.  Don’t be a procrastinator and start packing at midnight for your 7am flight.  Layout your clothes ahead of time.  Start by choosing one color group or neutrals.  Black was the color of choice from my focus group.  Two pair of black pants to mix with three tops and a sweater will give you versatility and the ability to layer if the temperatures dip.  Our “road-map” (coordinates with multiple of colors) top, PEBBLED, made of wrinkle-free polyspandex or BELLEFLEUR vest are fun ways to add color to your travel wardrobe without compromising space.  Avoid big bulky clothing, and be sure everything mixes or matches to ensure more outfits with fewer pieces.

 

Don’t kill the messenger… now “edit down” your choices to half of the items you think you need.  Packing light doesn’t have to mean going without; just be sure every piece has multiple uses like our OBLIVION trench coat that can double as your LBD.

 

Accessories are your friend.  Scarves were the #1 must-have travel item.  They hit all the criteria; compact, provide a new look to your column of color, and add warmth.  Our GOSSAMER scarf is the perfect choice if you’re packing neutrals or the SIGNATURE scarf for black and denim.  Necklaces are another easy accessory to enhance your look.  Have two sets of jewelry, one silver and one gold, to slip in your carry-on tote.  After a day of sight-seeing, you may be ready for a little dress-up.

My professional travelers unanimously stated they travel with workout gear.  The lightweight tennies are popular for their, uh, weight and the added bonus for travelers, “squishability”!  Dry fit clothing is a practical choice that could easily be rinsed out for another wear; just choose your treadmill wisely.

 

 

Shoes – what woman can travel with two pairs?  They are a space hog, so limiting to two will keep you in the “carry-on club”.  A pair of black heels or boots are a good choice and the must-have tennies account for the second. Don’t forget to use the inside of the shoes to store socks and under garments. (We found the monogrammed shoe bags below on Etsy — a thoughtful holiday gift idea for women or men who travel a lot.)

How much can one fit in a one-quart ziploc bag?  Use hotel toiletries for bathing and moisturizing, and bring your hair and make-up products.  Leave the hair-dryer at home.  It’s another space hog that is not worth its weight. (Pouch below is from FallnDesign, another fun gift/stocking stuffer idea.)

 

 

After the gathering, comes the packing.  Begin by rolling your clothes.  Line the bottom of your bag with the heaviest pieces.  Place your shoes in large ziploc bags, and fill-in the gaps with your scarves and exercise wear, topped with your finer articles, folded in dry cleaner bags.

 

 

Travel day attire – most planes are cold, so travel wearing layers.  Try the comfortable, pull-on TRAVELER pant with the light-weight FLARE jacket, or, the URBAN leggings with the warm and cozy PITCH jacket; top either outfit with the winter-white MARZIPAN scarf for contrast.  Choose between flats or boots, making sure they are comfortable for walking…. or running, as the case may be.

 

The “Monty Hall” tote bag is an essential travel piece.  Smaller planes require you to gate check your roller-bag, so pack your must-have in-flight travel items in your tote.  I-Pad or e-reader (as one flight attendant stated, “very popular with travelers…but also frequently left behind” — been there, done that!) make-up, your quart ziploc bag of liquids, gloves (our black elbow-length leather DIVA or brown suede EXLUSIVE provide dual roles of warmth and “wow”)  hat, snacks, sunglasses, jewelry and compact cross-body bag to use in lieu of the tote once you arrive.

According to the US Department of Travel, the holiday seasons are the busiest long-distance travel times of the year.  Over-booked flights combined with potential winter weather delays can cause havoc on travel plans.  Efficient packing with a roller-bag and tote will ease the pain and provide you with your necessities if you have an unexpected overnight lay/stay-over.  Speaking of packing, being the procrastinator I am, it’s almost midnight and yes, I have a 7am flight.  Time to pack…

 

JoEllyn Slott, Etcetera Sales Consultant

JoEllyn and business partner, Carolyn Crawford, have owned their own Etcetera agency in Germantown, TN, since 2001. They say their goal is to create compliments for their customers, and Etcetera makes that easy!  JoEllyn is a trainer for new sales consultants, and says she is honored to be a guest blogger, having not been published since her high school newspaper.

 

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Let’s talk turkey. (Err, sorry, no pun intended.  I forget that Thanksgiving is right around the corner.)  When you invest in quality merchandise, you expect it to last, and you should.  With a proactive approach, you can help make that happen.  Without proper care, though, you’ll jettison items from your closest way before their time.

 

So, what’s a girl to do?  Taking care of your clothing doesn’t mean hours and hours of meticulous maintenance and cleaning.  It does, however, mean you need to put a little effort into it.

 

GIVE IT A REST

Rotate, rotate, rotate.  Don’t wear anything two days in a row.  Yes, that means your bras, shoes, and handbags, too!  Even if you don’t think you have sweaty feet, your shoes need a chance to breathe. Try this: after wearing a garment, hang it at the end of the rod.  Wear something from the front next time, and so on and so forth.  This way, not only will you give your items a change to rest, you’ll really wear everything you own!

 

PROPERLY STORE YOUR ITEMS

  • Do you remember Joan Crawford in Mommy Dearest?  Well, Joan was right.  Discard any wire hangers you get from the cleaners.  Wire hangers will stretch the shoulders of your garment.  Invest in quality hangers – you will be so glad you did.  (Personally, I love eco-friendly bamboo.)

 

 

 

  • Fold your knits.  Knit fabrics will stretch when hung just from the sheer weight of the garment.

 

  • Empty your handbags before storing.  With the holidays approaching, you may want to take the opportunity to go through all your handbags.  There’s probably enough loose change in the bottom of your bags to buy yourself a little something special.

 

  • Clean your garments before you store them.  This is a must, especially for out-of-season clothes.  To keep the dust bunnies away, purchase inexpensive canvas bags to store out-of-season clothes.

 

 

  • Discard dry cleaning plastic bags.  Those bags are only intended to protect your clothes until you get them home. Leaving your clothes in the bags might trap humidity or make it hard to lose any residual odor from the chemicals.  Storing clothes in plastic bags can allow stains to oxidize and make the clothes harder to clean.

 

 

  • Never iron stained or soiled clothes trying to eek out one more wear.  Ironing dirty clothes sets stains and drives dirt deeper into the fabric.

 

  • Don’t cram your closet –  you want air to circulate around your garments. What’s the point of ironing a garment before you put it away, if it gets wrinkled crammed into too tight a space?  And, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t iron things before putting them away.  You want a working closet that lets you dress in a flash.

 

 

 

LAUNDERING

  • Wash with Care.  If you are going to put things in the washing machine, use the delicate cycle.  If you are not out digging ditches, the delicate cycle will be more than enough to clean your clothes.  Always use cold water, the minimum amount of detergent (less is more), and turn things inside out to protect the fabric from abrasion in the washing machine and to minimize fading.  We all know we should wash similar colors together, but wash compatible fabrics as well.  Wash your jeans separately so rough denim doesn’t rub more delicate items.

 

  • Lingerie should always be hand washed.   Fill a sink with lukewarm water and a mild detergent.  I love Nordstrom’s Delicate Fabric Wash and Stain Remover.  It comes in purple (lavender) or pink (exclusive scent).  You do NOT need a lot of detergent – one capful will do the job.  Add your bras and panties and let them soak 10-15 minutes.  While submerged, press on each one to release any trapped oils and dirt.  I rinse by removing the lingerie and refilling the sink with clean water, re-submerge the lingerie and swish it around.  I repeat this a second time.  To dry, squeeze (don’t wring) out as much water as you can.  Reshape your lingerie and lay it out on a clean, dry white towel or on a drying rack.

 

If you just can’t go the hand-washing route and insist on tossing your bras in the washing machine, make sure you fasten the bra clasps.  This will help prevent underwires from turning and hooks from ripping holes in your lace.

 

  • Never, Never, Never use the Dryer.  Think of the dryer as an invention of the Devil!  While dryers are great for cotton towels and sheets, heat is the worst enemy to your clothes. Instead, lay your garments on a clean, white towel and let Mother Nature do the work.

 

OOPS, I DID IT AGAIN (the dreaded spill)

Many factors contribute to stains -– the nature of the stain, the type of fabric, and the colorfastness.  Some stains, like ink and paint, can be impossible.  The problem with “miracle” stain removers is just, well, it’s pretty much a miracle if they get the job done.  When a spill happens, don’t wait.  Tackle the stain as soon as you can.  Never rub clothing, just blot the stained area.  Rubbing can permanently damage the fabric.  And, if you can’t get it out, take it to the drycleaner and tell them what you have already tried.  They may be able to help, but time is of the essence.  Don’t wait.

 

 

Even if you haven’t spilled anything on your clothes, there are culprits lurking in the dark!  Have you ever hung up a garment thinking it was clean and stain free, only to pull it out of the closet and see a dreaded stain, weakened fabric, or loss of color?  Perspiration, deodorant, antiperspirant, fruit juice, alcohol, perfume, toothpaste, soap, and hair products can cause stains, loss of color, and weaken the fabric.  You can help prevent some of this by dressing after you’ve put on your makeup, brushed your teeth, and coiffed your ‘do.

 

TO CLEAN OR NOT TO CLEAN (that is, Dry Clean)

That IS the question, isn’t it?  Are you familiar with these symbols?  They are quite helpful when it comes to understanding cleaning methods.

 

 

Be aware, manufacturers are required to list just one method of cleaning on their garments.  If the tag says DRY CLEAN ONLY, I would take the garment to the cleaners. However, if the tag says DRY CLEAN, that means it is the recommended method, not the only method.

 

Manufacturers attach dry cleaning labels to protect themselves and to protect you from you!  You can’t blame them, really.  They have no idea how you will clean the garment at home.  If you ruin it by throwing it in hot water with bleach and then blasting it in the dryer, it’s certainly not their fault.  By applying Dry Clean labels, manufacturers are recommending you take the garment to someone who knows what they are doing and giving themselves a little insurance policy.  Fair enough.

 

 

Laundering at home can save you a lot of money in dry cleaning bills, but not if you ruin your clothes.

 

These are the guidelines I use:

 

  • Is it colorfast?  Test to see if the garment is colorfast by dabbing a wet cotton swab on the garment in an inconspicuous area (inside seam, for example).  If the dye comes off, head to the drycleaners.
  • Does it have a lining?  Best not to risk it.  Anything with a lining goes to the drycleaners.
  • Don’t try this at home.  I have tried most of these fabrics and ended up with disastrous results.  Acetate, fur, suede, taffeta, intricate stitching, beadwork, sequins, leather, suede, feathers, detailed appliques – all go to the drycleaners.
  • Practice makes perfect.  Before trying your favorite silk blouse or wool sweater, practice on old, ready-for-the-trash garments.  I’ve had both good and poor result.
  • Probably a safe bet.  Acrylic, cotton, cashmere, linen, nylon, and polyester.  I have great luck with washing ETCETERA’s ponte leggings and jersey knits.  However, remember the Dry Clean label.  Enter at your own risk.

 

LEATHER, SUEDE, AND FUR

Leather, suede, and fur garments are investment pieces and should be treated as such.  They require special expertise for proper care, as cleaning leather, suede, and fur is quite different from a fabric garment.  Before turning your precious investment pieces to your local drycleaner, ask questions.  You ask for referrals for a haircut, well, a bad haircut will grow out.  A ruined leather, suede, or fur pieces is an entirely different matter.

 

 

 

 

For storing, leather and suede are subject to mildew.  Make sure your leather and suede pieces are thoroughly dry before putting them away for the season.  Always store in breathable garment bags.

 

Arrow Fabricare in Kansas City, Missouri, is the leather and suede guru in the country.  If you do not have a qualified leather/suede specialist in your area, you can ship your items to Arrow.  They are fantastic.

 

Also, for general information on maintenance of leather and suede, here’s a YouTube video by Bruce Gershon, owner and third generation of Arrow.  You’ll find other tips from Bruce on YouTube.

 

I love my ETCETERA pieces, and I want to wear them for a long, long time.  A little extra step here and there to make sure I’m doing all I can to keep them in tiptop shape is worth it!

 

 Claudia Phillips is an Etcetera Area Development Manager in the Tar Heel State of North Carolina. A Chicago, transplant, Claudia is a born fashionista. While playing Barbie with her young girlfriends, Claudia loved helping the other “Barbies” get dressed for the big interview, courtroom case, or night on the town with Ken. A certified master stylist, Claudia loves sharing her expertise by training sales consultants to help in her mission to make America beautiful – one woman at a time.

 

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Although sparkle and metallics seem to always dazzle us during the holidays and on the red carpet, the ‘shine’ fashion trend is here to stay for a while!  In fact, the shine element continued to be a strong presence in Spring 2015 runway designs, through the use of reflective metallics in glamorous gold tones and shimmering silvers, as well as bold, glossy jewel tones.

 

 

The versatility of luxe fabrics has evolved, and wearing shine or sparkle makes a stylish statement whether you are dressing for fall, winter, spring or summer. This means we can keep our shine on — and make a splash any day of the week!

 

Don’t just think of the bling-bling as your one-time party outfit: be bold, and add some pieces into your wardrobe with fabrics that have lasting, shiny effects. Metallic, satin, shiny silk, crystal embellishments, and foiled fabrics are all rich textures that can be integrated into your everyday wardrobe.

 

METALLICS

ETCETERA’s VICTORIAN skirt is an eye-catching piece that serves not only as the focal point for an elegant Holiday outfit, but also creates a chic day look when paired with a soft pink sweater or white blouse. The golden threads add a wonderful lustre, for a regal look we love.

 

 

Designers are excited about infusing metallics into suits like EXCALIBUR, adding a little sass to your 9-to-5 regime. This suit also creates a chic menswear look for a party or night out. If all-out shimmer is a little too adventurous for you, one of these statement pieces will do the trick.  Or you can just add patent heels, a shiny clutch or metallic skirt with contrasting textures to achieve an on-trend look that isn’t over the top.

 

 

Who can resist the color combinations in Etcetera’s AMARYLLIS skirt? Pair it with PERFECT, our amazing black velvet top, and you have a divine evening outfit!

 

 

CHARMEUSE AND SILK

ETCETERA’s LOLITA pencil skirt is another sleek skirt that easily transitions from day to night. Of course, it pairs well with white, black and bright pink. I love pulling it together with ARTSY, a silk crepe de chine watercolor floral print blouse, for a rich, in-vogue artistic look. Don’t be afraid to go all out and wear art-inspired statement jewelry pieces, too. It’s all about creating your own bold, individual look!

 

 

You can go simple with your shine, too. Mix ETCETERA’S APHRODITE blouse with other light pieces, such as our UNDENIABLE cream coat or LIMESTONE pants, for an understated and elegant glow.

 

 

The PENNY blouse, paired with our TAPESTRY pants, also makes an elegantly understated Fall and Holiday look. And, without a doubt, I think every girl who wants to shine just a little should own GLISTEN, ETCETERA’s stretch satin, slim-leg ankle pant. They are sleek, sexy and make a statement all on their own. For a touch of bling, you can add the ADORNED jacket, the shimmery GUMDROP blouse or even a pair of sexy Louboutins (top image).

 


Trust me — you don’t have to be too flashy to sparkle like a star! You can get your shine on any day with perfect pairings, and ETCETERA has so many fabulous pieces to help you find the right glow. It’s not too late to place your Holiday order; contact your ETCETERA consultant, and shine on!

 

 

Lynette Earley, Interim Area Manager

 

Lynette is one of Etcetera’s bloggers who will share her thoughts on trends, style, fashion and fun with her sunny, southern charm. When Lynette is not busy managing and recruiting as an ETCETERA ADM in central Florida, she is likely serving others in some way.  A self-proclaimed busy bee, Lynette is the consummate volunteer, teen-age boy mom, free-lance writer, pink freak and girly girl who loves traveling, reading, exercising, yoga, fashion, girlfriends and beach time!

 

 

 

 

 

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My partner, Linda, and I love a challenge, and get particular enjoyment from dressing our professional clients. While some are looking for a new suit for days when they have important meetings, it’s more often the case that they need “business casual” options. I have increasingly noticed it can be tricky for these women to strike the right balance in their wardrobe, and I started thinking about the evolution of professional dressing in recent years.

 

With influences from J. Crew, Banana Republic, and Silicon Valley sensations like Steve Jobs, the  ’90′s  found us succumbing to khakis and jeans on Fridays, which lead to a general downgrading of dress throughout the week.

 

 

Fortunately, both men and women eventually recognized the empowering effect of upscale dressing. As superficial as it may be, image matters. That first impression can mean the difference between landing a new client or winning the confidence of one’s boss and coworkers.

 

 

As a result, professional dress standards have improved, but expectations vary from one business to the next. Whether it’s Casual Friday or every day — how does the savvy professional navigate the murky fashion waters in order to look polished, yet effortless and comfortable?  Some basic guidelines may help.

 

1. KEEP IT COVERED

Your classy appearance is a reflection of your judgement. If you work in an office full of sartorially exuberant 20-somethings, don’t be tempted. Resist the urge to dabble in any look that could be construed as attention-seeking or sexy — take the high road! Fortunately, skirt length styles have gotten longer this year, making it easier to be chic and professional.

 

2. KEEP IT NEUTRAL

With neutrals coming in rich shades of grey, navy, brown, tan, winter white, and elegant black, the possibilities are endless. Etcetera’s HIPSTER jacket (below, with our TRUFFLE top and NIGHTFALL pant) incorporates black, espresso, winter white, and pops of metallic copper — all neutrals, but so appealing when blended together.

 

 

 

If you exercise restraint in your outfit, take your ensemble from “safe” to “stylish” with a pop of interesting jewelry, a belt, and/or a beautiful scarf in an accent color. Just one or two accent pieces will do the trick — less is more. Below, our INDULGE cardigan, HALEY sweater, and HERRINGBONE pant are enriched by our SIGNATURE scarf and ARTEMIS gold belt… and, well, a fabulous red Alexander Wang pump.

 

 

Introducing a beautiful hue from a top or jacket adds drama, and maintains your highbrow look as long as the rest of the outfit is neutral. Our WOODLAND spruce green brushed stretch cotton jacket is flattering to women of many palettes, and perks up the monochromatic NOVEL sweater and NIGHTFALL pant, below.

 

 

3. KEEP IT CLASSIC

At Etcetera, we’re all about “Classic with a twist” — timeless beauty, but never boring. Here’s how:

 

Fabric: Etcetera’s designers are masters at sourcing the gorgeous fabrics that take our fashions far beyond the humdrum realm of department store options. One of my favorite fabrics from the Fall collection is in the QUALIFIED skirt — a weave of saffron, vicuna, camel, pumpkin, and black that reads as a neutral solid from a distance. We paired it with the pale pink MITERED sweater and BALSAMIC velveteen jacket — an unexpected combo that creates a more effortless look.

 

 

Cut: The cut and detail in Etcetera’s designs strike the perfect balance between being incredibly flattering to the figure, but never vampy.

 

Style: Etcetera’s designs are always fashion forward in the sense of being dialed in to couture style, yet they don’t look dated after one or two seasons. Coming or going, there’s always an intriguing, figure-enhancing feature, as in our JULIE skirt, where the primary interest is in the back; it’s shown here with the FAVORITE turtleneck.

 

TOP TEN ESSENTIALS

So, now that you know how to create your Business Casual look, it’s time to assess your closet for the basics  – perhaps some updates are in order?

 

1. Closed-toe black pumps: stylish, yes, but also comfortable.

 

2. A classic handbag; preferably one that latches closed to hide messy contents

 

3. A basic cardigan: Our DARKNESS cardigan is super-soft, with a flattering, interesting knit pattern.

 

4. A few easy-care tops: non-wrinkle-prone, handy for travel

 

5. A versatile black blazer: our MAESTRO jacket is a workhorse — stunning as a suit, but also fabulous with jeans.

 

6. A basic black skirt: in a style that suits your figure type. Our URBAN stretch pencil skirt is elegant, yet comfy and versatile.

 

7. A beautifully tailored black or grey pant: I’m obsessed with our  black houndstooth-textured MAESTRO pant and our figure-flattering GRAVEL pant.

 

8. A fresh white blouse: I advocate getting a new one every year, such as this year’s popular GARDENIA style.

 

9. A versatile dress: one that is professional by day, but can take you out after hours, such as our TRANSITION grey knit dress.

 

10. Patterned tights: whether a textured/patterned tight is a “need” or a “want” is debatable; I fall into the former camp.

 

 

 

All this being said, I know that in many offices, such as where my daughter works (DreamWorks!) anything but jeans would look out of place. I encourage them to defy the mainstream and express their fashion flair with a chic sweater or jacket over their jeans.

 

“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”
- Coco Chanel

Barbara Bisel, Sales Consultant

Barbara is an almost-native Californian living in the San Francisco East Bay. Prior to joining Etcetera she was active in apparel design and construction, marketing, and philanthropic work primarily in the Arts and education. After having been Area Development Manager and Social Media Manager for Etcetera, she joined forces with the ultimate authority on successfully mixing unexpected combinations, Etcetera sales consultant Linda Zappala. Together they delight in providing personal wardrobing service and helping their clients to attain “Compliments and Confidence.”

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Warning – after reading this article, your perspective on fine clothing may never be the same!  At least that is what happened to me when I learned to sew about 15 years ago.  I’d always been around sewing: my mother did exquisite heirloom handwork and smocked dresses for my sister and me; my grandmother famously made pajamas for all of her 7 grandchildren every Christmas.

 

But I really hadn’t learned how to sew until, on a whim, I signed up for a sewing class at the local community college in the late 90’s.  “Clothing Construction 101” was quite a learning experience!  By the end of the class I had my very own elastic waist pull on skirt and a matching pullover top, which come to think of it, sort of resembled hospital scrubs.  I continued sewing, eventually learning how to make buttonholes and apply zippers, and I now view fashion differently than I did in my “non-sewing” days.  Let me teach you a few of the basics which I think you will find interesting and informative.

 

 

THE SEAM ALLOWANCE – Your new best friend!

So for you beginners, a seam allowance is the amount of fabric beyond the seam when the garment is turned inside out.  Standard seam allowance is 5/8 of an inch.  However, in a quality garment, the seam allowance can be as much as 1 inch.  What this means for you is that the garment can more easily be let out to accommodate changes in your figure over time.

 

 

One great example of a taiilor-friendly seam allowance can be seen in Etcetera’s ESPRESSO pant from the Fall collection and the similar GRAVEL pant (below) from Holiday.  The waistband of this style is a tailor’s dream come true!  For example, if the pants fit great through the legs and hips but are a little tight in the waist, there is enough fabric in the waistband to let it out for a perfect fit.  Seam allowances can enable alterations in dresses and skirts too, as long as there is enough fabric.  The bigger the seam allowance, the better your chance for that perfect fit!

 

 

FRENCH SEAMS, ENTREDEUX AND APPLIQUE’ – oui, oui, oui

 

Now that you’re paying attention to the details, you’ll start noticing all of the ways a quality garment can be enhanced with special stitches such as quilting, appliqué and entredeux.  Quilting adds loft to a garment and can even change the look of the fabric.  Etcetera’s ARTISANAL skirt from the Fall collection is a great example of the effect of quilting.  The skirt fabric is backed with netting and decoratively quilted in a floral design.  This transforms the fabric into the look of a unique faux leather – all due to the extra effort it took to quilt the fabric.

 

 

The PITCH jacket is expertly quilted in a channel design, creating warmth as well as visual interest.

 

 

Similarly, fabric can be decoratively stitched or embroidered onto another fabric, in a technique called appliqué, to make the garment much more interesting. Etcetera’s OKAPI pencil skirt has a zebra patterned brown velvet reverse appliqué on top of a white cotton background.  The effect is vibrant and stunning, with so much depth!

 

 

 

Entredeux, also known as faggoting, is another interesting stitching technique that joins two pieces of fabric, or can even be used to attach lace to a garment:

 

 

On Etcetera’s PALACE blouse, decorative entredeux is attached at the button placket and cuffs, creating interest and femininity; the TEMPTRESS blouse has 5 rows of faggoting ribbon trim along with gathered lace ruffles —  I’ve never seen such a gorgeous black blouse, due in large part to the stitching embellishments.

 

 

Finally, another special stitching technique is the French seam, where seams are double-folded and double-stitched together to totally enclose and hide the raw edge:

 

 

In Etcetera’s JEWELTONES circle skirt from the Holiday collection, each panel is French-seamed, which creates a very flattering drape to this leopard print skirt.

 

 

LACE ME UP!

 

No discussion of dressmaker details would be complete without mentioning lace, and since it is one of the season’s hottest trends you will see it everywhere.  Etcetera’s KITTY sweater, BEWITCH knit top, and PARIS dress use it as a trim, while the FEMME dress (below) and DATENIGHT knit top use it for the sleeves and the back of the garment.  Even where no actual lace is used, lace designs are printed onto fabrics, such as the DARKEDGE and SERAFINA dresses.  Lace is light, airy and oh-so-feminine.

 

 

I hope that this introduction to dressmaker details inspires you to take delight in the little things that turn a garment into a work of art.  Who knows — maybe your local community college or fabric store has a clothing construction class you’d like to join!

 

Margaret Cavin has been an Etcetera Sales Consultant for 8 exciting years.  She loves helping her customers create a closet full of clothes they love to wear and when she’s not reading InStyle or rearranging closets, she loves to run and stay physically fit.  A native Floridian, Margaret also loves exploring National Parks and learning about different countries and cultures.

 

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