Friday, 18 April 2014

Would You Wear Your Clothes Inside Out?

You may have noticed a new button and link on the blog. Fashion Revolution Day is coming up on April 24th. Participants are asked to wear their clothes inside out to show the labels on instagram. 

Celina who blogs over at Petit a Petit and Family and Abby who blogs over at Things for Boys is asking the sewing community to get involved. Their take on this global awareness campaign is to
get the online sewing community involved with this initiative by creating the first


of sewists wearing something handmade inside out.  The goal is for all of us to stand together for a united cause and help to show sewing (in all its forms) as an ethical and sustainable alternative to fast fashion and mass consumerism.  It’s one piece in a very large puzzle but by showcasing home sewn items we will help spread the word that in some cases the answer to ‘Who Made Your Clothes?’ can proudly be answered, “ME!”


April 24, 2014 will mark the first anniversary of a horrific and tragic event. One thousand one hundred twenty-nine people died when the unsafe building they were working in collapsed. Over two thousand people were injured. Many lost limbs.

The building that collapsed housed garment factories that catered to the fast-fashion appetite of western countries. Although the building also housed a bank and other shops, these business closed and left the building as soon as cracks were discovered. This was not the case for the garment factories where workers were ordered back to work in this unsafe environment in order to meet shipping deadlines.

This tragedy brought to light the horrific working conditions and little pay that the workers must endure to support their families. It shocked many in the west who were oblivious to these conditions when they picked up that bargain garment.

So, on April 24 we're asked to think about the people who have passed away, those who survived, and those that continue to work in unthinkable working conditions and ask ourselves "who made your clothes?"

I have thought of this social justice issue and how it relates to my sewing. I wrote about it back in February when Debi ask those participating in Sew Grateful Week to reflect on what sewing means to them.

The straw that broke the camel's back were the heart-wrenching reports about the sewing factories overseas. "Made in the U.S.A." or "Made in Canada" disappeared from our western landscape in the past decades as our heads were filled with the promises of globalization. I am no saint when it comes to some of my shopping decisions in the past. I have clothing produced by Joe Fresh and that have "Made in China" and "Made in Bangladesh" and yes, it makes me ill every time another garment factory fire occurs and innocent garment workers are killed. It is not cheap fashion when the high human cost comes to light. 
This past year, I try to think of those who sew our clothes not because it is a hobby rather they are trying to feed their families. I am trying to be more mindful in my decisions and change my shopping behaviour of the past. I have learned to appreciate my sewing skills more than I did in the past. I now think of my sewing skills as more than a hobby. Sewing has become a form of social activism. I know how much I hate it when people take advantage of my sewing abilities and try to get work done for cheap or worse free. Yet when I buy fast-fashion am I not doing the same thing? It is one of the reasons that I joined Sarah's RTW Fast this year. I'm grateful for the community of fasters that have been supportive and inspiring in this journey.
This is an opportunity to stand up and think about where we place value, in people or products. Would you wear your clothes inside out on April 24th? If sew, spread the word.  

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Fancy As It Gets

Stash Busting 2014:  The Fancy Slip

Fabric:   2 metres of slinky polyester (I'm pretty sure it is a polyester) fabric

Thread:   1 spool of white thread polished off from the stash

This is the third slip for Mama R using the out-of-print (OOP) Simpli-city 8666 pattern. It is a little fancier than the other ones with a pink rose print.  

The fabric has been in my stash for a long, long time. I won't even guess how long. I can't even remember where I picked this up. I must have been drunk because it is pink and I'm not that crazy about pink. I'm at a total loss as to how it made it into my fabric stash. Mama R loves the fabric so it worked out well in the end.

I finished the neckline and underarm edges with bias tape that I made with the same fabric as the slip. Crazy difficult to press and I managed to steam the heck out of my thumb. I did not like that part of this project. I do, however, like the finished results.

The straps were recycled from another slip. I think this covers it for slip making for a while. Now to get this item pressed before I deliver it to Mama R.   

Happy Sewing!  

Monday, 14 April 2014

In Sewing News Today...

My sewing mojo is coming back. Well, actually I didn't really lose my sewing mojo. I just didn't have much energy to sew while I was down and out with the pneumonia. I'm feeling better now and hopefully it means that it won't take days and weeks to finish simple sewing projects.  

I gave up drinking coffee over a month ago but I wouldn't mind having this coffee mug. I can use it for my Chai tea lattes.  

Threads magazine published their Designer Techniques The Best of threads Collector's Edition (Summer 2014). I picked it up because one of my 2014 sewing goals is to make a Chanel-esque jacket and there is an article called "Inside a Designer Jacket" by Susan Khalie.  

There is another article by Susan Khalie, "The LBD" (Little Black Dress). It made me sad to see this article because it appeared in another Threads magazine published a few years ago. I don't like buying magazines to find articles on things that have appeared on previous issues that I have already read. Why do they do this? And the dress pattern in a vintage Vogue pattern, circa 1960s. I wish Vogue patterns would re-release this vintage pattern. ~sigh~ 

I'm longing for this fabric. It is the Geek Chic Crossword fabric that Peter over at Male Pattern Boldness used to make a shirt. I think both Peter's shirt and this fabric are too much fun. But I must remind myself that I do not need this fabric instead I'm trying to save for some silk fabric to line the Chanel-esque jacket that I'm planning on making.

That is all in sewing news today...

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 12 April 2014

A Cotton Slip

Stash Busting 2014:  Another Slip for Mama R

Fabric:      2 metres

Bias Tape:  .8 metres

Same pattern, different fabric. This one is made in a light-weight 100% cotton fabric that I recently picked up with plans to make a white shirt. But plans do change on occasions and this is one of them.  

The fabric makes this a perfect summer slip. I finished off the neck and underarm seams with white bias tape that I had sitting in my stash. The hem was finished with a rolled narrow hem. Mama R didn't want any lace or fanciness. Just another simple slip.  

I have one more slip on the sewing table to finish.  

Until then, Happy Sewing!  

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Unsolved Mystery

My latest make was a bit of a challenge. I was working with a knit fabric that was not playing well with the sewing machine. After trying different stitches, lengths and needles I gave up thinking that it was time to take the machine in for servicing.  

I was able to finish my dress on my back-up machine which sewed the fabric without any of the issues that the other machine had encountered. But today I thought to take a look at the machine that was giving me some trouble. Would you believe that it is working perfectly fine. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that it is sewing beautifully, I just wonder what was up last week.  

It is an unsolved mystery as to what was going wrong. Last week I was sewing an interlock knit fabric and today I'm sewing 100% cotton.  

Any ideas?  I still have some interlock knit in my fabric stash. Any suggestions on the best way to handle this fabric?  

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

In Sewing News Today...

I have the pleasure of working at a school. The kids amaze me everyday, I'm really blessed to witness their greatness. This year, I discovered that there are several students who are into sewing. Like really into sewing. It was always my dream that my niece would be into sewing and one day I would have the pleasure to share my creative passion with her. My niece's interests lie elsewhere and she and I do not share a love for sewing. Oh well. I guess it wasn't meant to be... But the newer generation seems to be all into it. 

They make purses, and clothing for their dolls and stuff animals. Sew yesterday, I took a box of fabric scraps to the school where I work. The scrap pieces are fairly large and I thought that the kids might like to pick out some pieces. They were sew into it, going through the box of fabric and telling me what they plan to make. Oh my goodness, it totally made my day. I can't wait to see what they create.  

It seems like sewing is cool, where years ago I knew more than my fair share of folks that made fun of sewing activities. I wonder if it relates to all the prime time television programs that emphasize sewing and the creative process? Shows like Project Runway, Fashion Star, Project Catwalk were all programs that highlighted the creative skills needed to produce clothing. Even The Great British Sewing Bee is gearing up for an American version of the show. I'm not sure when sewing became cool with the kids, I'm just thrilled to see it happen in my life-time and I'm around to witness it.  

And to top off my day, I came home to a package from Vogue patterns. The patterns I ordered arrived in less than two weeks! How awesome is that? Pretty awesome, I'll say. I think, I'm most thrilled about the Vogue 9014 top pattern. It is a lined back buttoned top and I have a beautiful deep red lace fabric that would be perfect for this pattern.   

This will have to go down as the best day in a very long time.  

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 5 April 2014

It's A Wrap!

Stash busting 2014:  The Wrap Dress

Fabric:   3.8 metre, 100% polyester knit

Pattern:  Vogue 8896

Thread:   polyester thread found in the stash

Vogue 8896 has been on my wish list for quite some time. There was an issue with getting my hands on the proper size. But thankfully, that all got sorted out and I've come to terms with purchasing my patterns on-line from now on. This pattern is rated "very easy" but my fabric proved to challenge this claim.

The fabric is a beautiful deep red colour in a polyester interlock knit with an equally beautiful drape. This fabric has been in my stash for a very, very long time. I picked it up because I loved the colour and it sat in my stash because I was scared to sew this knit. And I did have some difficulties working with this knit.

My initial thought was to work with a ball point needle and the knit stitch on my sewing machine but that plan did not work all that well. Fabric was being pushed down the metal plate and there were moments struggling to release it that I thought the fabric would be damaged. I moved to a micro-fibre needle and again the same problem occurred. I decided to abandon the knit stitch and try a regular straight stitch only to encounter a new problem, skipped stitches. I didn't know what to do so I gave up and switched sewing machines.

The older Janome worked well with this fabric. I didn't return to a knit stitch and opted for a normal straight stitch. The seams are double stitched and serged. Why mess with something that is working? I'll have to go back and check out the other machine, it might be time for a tune-up. I'm just grateful that the project is finished. I plan to wear it out to the opera this evening. Yes, a wrap dress might seem to be a bit casual for the opera but this is Winnipeg. Ninety percent of the population here live in jeans and/or yoga pants. I think I can get away with a wrap dress.  

The wrap dress will be prefect as my day dress for the Tim Gunn sewing challenge. Can you believe that 2014 marks the 40th anniversary of the wrap dress?  

Many people will attribute the wrap dress to Diane von Furstenberg and the nineteen seventies but it was Betsy Johnson's wrap dress that was featured in Vogue on September 1, 1967. The height of popularity for the wrap dress happened in the nineteen seventies and made von Furstenberg a very wealthy women. Her timing was impeccable. By 1975 Vogue declares it the year of the wrap dress. Everyone is designing a wrap dress from Furstenberg to Halston to Anne Klien.  By 1978, Women's Wear Daily declares that the wrap dress is passe. Premature, yes as the wrap dress is revived in the nineteen nineties and is considered a classic to this day. 

The pattern, Vogue 8896, is perfect. I would highly recommend it without a doubt. I didn't shorten the pattern when I cut out my fabric. I knew I wanted a longer length wrap dress and that is exactly what I got. It could have easily been a maxi dress on my five foot frame. Instead, I ended up chopping four inches off the length and now it falls just above my ankles. I love the length. I also lengthened the sleeves which now sit just above my elbow. The hem on the skirt is top-stitched. The hem on the sleeves I tried to use my blind hem foot but that didn't work so I did a hand stitch for the sleeve hem. Despite all the challenges and change in plans, I am quite pleased with the final result and my new dress.

Happy Sewing!



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