08 Nov Lagniappes

Many years ago my dear friend from New Orleans introduced me to the word lagniappe, a word Mark Twain describes as worth travelling to New Orleans to get.
A lagniappe is a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase (such as a 13th doughnut when buying a dozen), or more broadly, “something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure.”

I might be stretching the meaning here, but my new garments certainly bring the word to mind for they were partially obtained gratuitously……. and I do consider those couple inches of extra fabric to be a small gift……. Maybe I just like this nifty word, but when I bought fabric for these garments

I received enough to make these, bringing the 13th doughnut to mind.

The garments are really nothing to get excited about unless you are me – in need of a few pieces to pull separates together – and my new simple pieces should take me far.

Through the years I’ve been reluctant to buy a black skirt with an elastic waistband. Like RTW Faster Andi I knew I could make one but I never got around to it. Then I saw this Eileen Fisher skirt for $158.


I think my skirt is close enough and I expect it will bring new life to several old tops. I regret not making one years ago!

Using Style Arc’s Diana pattern, I made the silk jersey tank  in one hour. Am I the last person on earth to discover Steam–a–Seam? I used this magical bonding material to finish the armholes and the neckline – no stretching or puckering! Where have I been?

Lastly is the silk tank I thought would be simple to put together.

Using this Kwik Sew pattern, I made a muslin first.The front required a few nips and tucks, but the back needed major surgery. I spent an entire morning making multiple back muslins. The good news is the back fits beautifully and without darts. After all of the work I put into achieving a perfect back muslin, I now hope I can integrate it into other patterns. Suggestions on how to do this are appreciated. 🙂 

So…… lots of unexpected and possible ensembles here. Maybe one would describe these little bonuses as lagniappes, however I bet Mark Twain used the word with far more flair!

Until soon.

No Comments
  • artattack024
    Posted at 16:40h, 08 November Reply

    Well, I bet Mark Twain’s wardrobe didn’t have flair and yours does. Super cute pieces to fill in with. They all look boutique chic…well done.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:45h, 09 November Reply

      Thank you, Dorcas! If Mark Twain’s wardrobe didn’t have flair it’s because he didn’t care about clothes – “Be careless in your dress if you will, but keep a tidy soul.” 🙂

      • Sally
        Posted at 10:32h, 10 November Reply

        I especially like bonus number 4! The background in that photo really highlights the pretty fabric!

        • goodbyevalentino
          Posted at 18:38h, 11 November Reply

          I think the expert photographer really knew how to showcase the fabric ! 🙂 🙂

  • carolinascallin
    Posted at 16:51h, 08 November Reply

    LOVE the tops and the skirt! Very familiar with ‘lagniappe’, and agree that having enough fabric left over to make those lovely pieces is definitely a little something extra! Beautifully done, as usual! I’ve used steam a seam on valences, but haven’t used it as you did yet. Adding that to my arsenal 🙂

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:46h, 09 November Reply

      Many thanks, Cheryl! Hope your sewing is going well.

  • Pauline Droy
    Posted at 16:53h, 08 November Reply

    great looking pieces – I agree they look boutique chic and I am sure you will find other ensembles too.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:47h, 09 November Reply

      Thank you so much, Pauline! The skirt seems to go with just about everything 🙂

  • carolinascallin
    Posted at 16:53h, 08 November Reply

    BTW…couldn’t tell…did you top stitch your armhole seams? (I agree…steam a seam is amazing!)

  • Marnita Parry
    Posted at 16:55h, 08 November Reply

    I wish I could just go ahead and bite the bullet and just try and make one simple something for myself. What you have done over the last year is incredible! I keep reading hoping that I will soon take that leap of faith.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:49h, 09 November Reply

      Thank you, Marnita – when you are ready it will happen! I know you didn’t ask for my advice, but I found starting with a skirt was a good place to begin. Good luck 🙂

  • Lynn
    Posted at 17:11h, 08 November Reply

    Those pieces have gorgeous colors for fall, you will get a lot of wear from them. I forget about steam a seam. Did you use it twice on the armholes, each time you turned the edge ?

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:51h, 09 November Reply

      Hi Lynn! That’s exactly what I did and I love this stuff especially on hard to handle fabrics. Many thanks for writing!

  • Shams
    Posted at 18:38h, 08 November Reply

    Good for you to make tanks from your leftover pieces!! I am not so disciplined usually.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:55h, 09 November Reply

      Thank you, Shams! I usually don’t have enough leftover fabric to use for anything – these were definitely bonus pieces 🙂

  • Denny
    Posted at 19:23h, 08 November Reply

    Fabulous tops, but I live in Australia and I know we are the last to get all the latest inventions, so could you please explain the following quote from you: “Am I the last person on earth to discover Steam–a–Seam? I used this magical bonding material to finish the armholes and the neckline – no stretching or puckering! Where have I been?”…… I have no idea about this mystery product yet I am usually in-the-know about latest products but this has escaped me!

    • CherryPix
      Posted at 19:43h, 08 November Reply

      Denny – I’m in Australia too – I found Steam-a-Seam at Spotlight (Rockdale, Sydney) – it comes in both 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch widths…remarkable stuff!!

      • Denny
        Posted at 20:37h, 08 November Reply

        Thank you so much CherryPix. I hope our Spotlight on the Gold Coast carries this product too.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:58h, 09 November Reply

      Hi Denny! – Steam a Seam is fabulous for hard to handle fabrics. Now that you know it exists in Australia I recommend you give it a try 🙂 Thanks for writing!

    • CJ
      Posted at 14:53h, 09 November Reply

      I found steam a seam in my Spotlight too, Burleigh Heads Qld. Also found a viliseofix iron on bias binding strip that helps with necklines and armholes, a Burda mag pattern listed it as a notion so I went hunting, lovely to use.

  • CherryPix
    Posted at 19:25h, 08 November Reply

    A new word and more gorgeous fabrics/clothes to be inspired by …these are nice lagniappes, thank you! I just ‘discovered’ the wonders of Steam-a-seam too…only tried it on slinky knits so far…but now that I see what great results you’ve had on silky wovens, I’m going to try that too!

    • CherryPix
      Posted at 19:46h, 08 November Reply

      Oh, hang on, just re-read your post and realised you used the Steam-a-seam on silk jersey…ie a knit fabric. Wonder if SoS works just as well on wovens? I imagine it would…

  • jillybe
    Posted at 21:11h, 08 November Reply

    Lagniappes is one of my all time favorite words as well 🙂 And I love the concept of thinking of those extra bits of fabric as lagniappes!

    I still think of Steam a Seam as “cheating” for some reason…but I manage to “cheat” with it as often as possible! 😉

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:59h, 09 November Reply

      Hi Jilly – I’m quickly becoming a Steam a Seam addict!!

  • Carolyn
    Posted at 22:22h, 08 November Reply

    What a great use of a few extra inches! Basics are always a good sew, to me!

  • Heather
    Posted at 22:44h, 08 November Reply

    The ladies above already asked my questions regarding top stitching the steam a seam, so I’ll just tell you how great your tanks look! I can’t believe this never occurred to me. I have leftover fabric and was just lamenting at my lack of under layers for dressing. (Even in MN, I can’t stand much more than a tank under a cardi – I run warm)

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:02h, 09 November Reply

      Thank you, Heather! Rarely do I have so much fabric leftover but these last three pieces took a fraction of my yardage. My next post is about an under layer – I’m all about lightweight clothes under sweaters 🙂

  • Alethia
    Posted at 23:35h, 08 November Reply

    You are so creative in the subjects of your blog posts as you are in creating your clothes, I love it!
    I really does me no good to keep watching your post, I just drool knowing that I cannot sew a thing right now. I am banned from my sewing room by (by my family) ; on orders to rest. I want to sew and create clothes for me right now.
    It is awe-inspiring watching you create your wardrobe, knowing that you have not been doing this for very long.. You have such an eye for color and style. You know how to pair just the right fabric with just the right pattern. Keep up the great work!
    BTW, I have learned of two things through this post. 1. I love the word lagniappes~ great meaning. And, 2. I have never heard of steam-a-seam. I always say you learn something mew everyday.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:10h, 09 November Reply

      Thank you so much, Alethia for your super comment! I actually learned to sew when I was 16 and sewed clothes for myself off and on until my children were born – then I sewed for them when they were young, but for the last 20 years I did very little sewing for myself. When I came back 15 months ago, I knew what styles of clothes I liked which has really made sewing fun now. I have also learned sooooo much during the past 15 months.
      I really hope you are back to sewing soon 🙂

      • Alethia
        Posted at 07:53h, 09 November Reply

        LOL! That explains it then. I mistook your your start again 15 mos. ago as your beginning. I thought, ” This woman is really good to have just started sewing, wow!!”
        And, it really does make a difference and gives you an even greater joy for this heart when you know what you want. Continued success to you!

  • Phil
    Posted at 02:13h, 09 November Reply

    That really is a great fit in the back there – wish I could help with advice on transferring the fit but sadly do not have the knowledge. I love what you have sewn and think you will get so much wear from these pieces that will tie your wardrobe together!

  • Lori
    Posted at 04:06h, 09 November Reply

    Great looking “extra” garments. I share your feelings about those little extras of fabric, such a nice bonus.

  • SheriNJ
    Posted at 07:56h, 09 November Reply

    I love when I get those extra “free” inches. Great job, as always! You a such an inspiration.

  • Laura
    Posted at 08:46h, 09 November Reply

    Oh I love steam a seam! Learned all about from Louise Cutting of Cutting Line Design…..use it whenever I want to stabilize an area rather than pinning. Great tops, yes it is a lagniappe! Laura

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:53h, 10 November Reply

      Hi Laura! Glad to know I’m getting the hang of the word and many thanks for writing!

  • Beth (SunnyGal Studio)
    Posted at 11:13h, 09 November Reply

    great use of the remaining fabric, perfect term for it. I am fanatical about cutting out with the least possible fabric (never use the pattern layout) and have found quite a few lagniappes.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:53h, 10 November Reply

      Thank you, Beth! I’m still marveling over your latest jacket 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Julie Starr
    Posted at 11:47h, 09 November Reply

    Another wonderful post! I first became familiar with the term Lagniappe reading a newspaper column with that title in New Orleans many years ago. It intrigued me enough to look up the meaning and I’ve loved it ever since. On the Steam a Seam comment; if you’re the last person to learn about it then I must be the second last. I just used it on a wrap top with (seemingly) miles of hemming and I’ll never be without it again. Gorgeous sewing on your tops, as always. Such nice bonuses!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:54h, 10 November Reply

      Thank you so much, Julie! I’ve been meaning to asked you about fabric shopping in Charleston. Where do you shop?

      • Julie Starr
        Posted at 09:06h, 11 November Reply

        Since The Dressing Room on King St closed in July the only independent that I know of is Five Eighth Seams, which is a very cute shop but they carry primarily Amy Butler type cottons with a few linens and knits. We don’t even have a Joann’s, although one is opening here next spring. Hancock is about it, I’m afraid!

  • Teri
    Posted at 14:58h, 09 November Reply

    Yay! I love sewing bonuses. I figure when I use what’s left, it makes it FREE:) Your tops are adorable as well as your skirt. Just lovely.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:55h, 10 November Reply

      Thank you, Teri. They are most definitely free! 🙂

  • Karen
    Posted at 17:06h, 09 November Reply

    I think you have used the word perfectly, and Twain would be proud – and you should be proud of these lovely, useful creations. I always worry whether to make more than one garment out of a piece of cloth (when I have leftovers) – will I get tired of the fabric, will people remember the fabric from one outfit to the next, will I look like the children in The Sound of Music in their matching outfits made from the draperies???? But then, it IS so practical – and if the fabric is gorgeous (like yours) – well, why not??

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:57h, 10 November Reply

      If I can make Mark Twain proud of my use of words, then I’ve done a good days work 🙂 Rarely do I re-use fabric but there was simply too much of it and I couldn’t resist. Good practice work if nothing else!

  • sew20something
    Posted at 17:32h, 09 November Reply

    Ohhh, now I’m really wanting to make a black elastic waisted skirt! I like the thin profile, I don’t know why I always associate elastic waists with really full skirts! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:59h, 10 November Reply

      Many thanks for writing! The next time I make a skirt with an elastic waist I’m going to try to make it even slimmer although this one works fine 🙂

      • Mary Lynn
        Posted at 23:53h, 26 May Reply

        This was so long ago, I’m not sure it will register. However I came by a circuitous route from your pattern review today 5/26/14 on Pattern Review. What is the pattern for your
        elastic skirt? I’m sure it’s simple, but I’m not that creative. How are the wedding plans coming? I can’t believe how the times flies, Mine have had their 2nd anniversary and are expecting in Nov and just bought their first house 30 minutes from Kiawah! Maybe a chance to do some smocking 🙂 So exciting!

  • Ruth
    Posted at 04:26h, 10 November Reply

    Isn’t it wonderful to get the 13th? I once worked for a company who gave every employee a 13th month pay cheque at Christmas – those days are gone now! Lovely capsule wardrobe and great prints and patterns to wear with the solid colours.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 08:00h, 10 November Reply

      Now THAT’S a lagniappe! Many thanks for writing, Ruth!

  • Leslie R.
    Posted at 23:27h, 10 November Reply

    I’ve been a fan of Steam A Seam for a while, but recently discovered a second cousin, Wonder Tape. It works a bit like SAS, but it’s more lightweight and washes out. I love it for hemming knits…

  • Style Arc Creative Cate Top | {as I sew it}
    Posted at 18:26h, 11 November Reply

    […] fabric, is that said something now free?  I think so.  Sara, over at Goodbye Valentino posted this just this week.  Before I read it, I was planning to make a top out of my left over fabric from […]

  • Lorraine
    Posted at 22:15h, 11 November Reply

    What a great idea – I love ‘free’ clothes and squeezing a garment out of some fabric that was leftover from another project is always very satisfying. I love the name ‘Lagniappes’ – it sounds very ‘designer’!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 08:14h, 24 November Reply

      Thank you, Lorraine! Lagniappes does sound rather designer now that you mention it 🙂

  • Lexley- Brisbane AU
    Posted at 04:24h, 13 November Reply

    I use tape for everything….Under patch pockets so u don’t have to remove pins thus crooked alignment; zippers so seams stay straight, any place where removing pins could distort the seam or fabric….and by the way, u look just lovely as usual, and I am so glad u’r still blogging after yr 12 months were up! love yr site and love following yr journey! No wonder Mood fabrics picked u!
    Brisbane AU

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 08:13h, 24 November Reply

      Thank you, Lexley! It’s always nice hearing from you 🙂 I’ve since been told that Steam-a-Seam washes out. Would you mind commenting?

  • gingermakes
    Posted at 17:26h, 16 November Reply

    Wow, what gorgeous, useful, and FREE little pieces! Love all of these! I’ve never used Steam-A-Seam, but I’ve got to dig some up! It sounds amazing!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 08:11h, 24 November Reply

      Thank you, Ginger! That steam-a-seam is miraculous, but I believe I need to stitch as well. Someone mentioned it washes out. These freebies may be my trial and error project 🙂

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