Tuesday, 31 March 2015

March in Review...


Most of my time earlier this month was spent working on the spring coat. Wait, I should correct myself here.  Most of my time this month was spent with my seam ripper and taking out stitches on my spring coat. In an attempt to keep my spirits up, I stitched up a few simple projects.  

Not bad for a month worth of sewing that started off where I felt under the weather and ended wearing a wrist brace.  

RTW Fast

I fell off the wagon again when I found a pair of exercise pants that fit. I have several patterns for exercise outfits but they are in sizes too small. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. I can admit that this year I'm a bad RTW faster. And I picked up some undies too.  

The Stats

I was also bad when it came to adding to my stash--both patterns and fabric. I have a lot of sewing to do if I'm going to put a dent in my list-of-things-to-do.  

Sewing Supplies
Used from Stash
Additions to the stash
Basting Tape
1.47 metres

Bias Tape



1.3 metres

19.95 metres
27.9 metres
0.35 metres




Hooks and Eyes

2 previously used
7 new

7 metres
Serger Thread

Sewing Machine Needle


Spools of Thread

1 - 22” invisible
1 - 7”  invisible
1 - 8" invisible
1 - 18" zipper
1 - 8" invisible

Sunday, 29 March 2015

It's here!

Call it what you like, work lay-off, sew-cation, spring break. It's here.

It is finally here. The snow is almost all gone. The days are getting longer. Temperatures are hitting the plus digits. We're exposed to more sunshine, glorious sunshine that makes hand-stitching pleasurable. I was so looking forward to spring break.

There were plans, grand plans. Finish the Sybil Connolly spring coat and start on the Isaac Mizrahi top after I stitched those chemo caps. And then clear off the cutting table and cut out that wrap dress... Oh the plans!

And then this happened. Yup, that is my right hand in a brace along with two weeks worth of anti-inflammatory meds. Nothing too serious [fingers crossed on my left hand], just a tendon issue and orders to rest it. But sew much for my sew-cation. 

The up side of the brace is that I can now drive and turn the key in the ignition without the pain reminding me to use my left hand for those simple tasks. 

Which was great because I was able to get to the bookstore where I found this, Gods and Kings:  The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano.  I haven't yet finished The Lost Art of Dress (my bookshelf is very much like my sewing table--lots on the go!) but I think this latest book will help take my mind off the lack of activity going on in the sewing room. I can't wait to dive into it!   

How about you, what are you reading and sewing?  

Happy Sewing!  

Friday, 27 March 2015

Perplexed by Pantyhoses

So what do you think about pantyhose?


I ask this question because a funny thing happened at work yesterday. A little gal snuck up behind me, bend down and touch my leg and then ran off. I was perplexed by what could have caused this behaviour. But then realized that the only difference in my appearance was that I was wearing pantyhose with a skirt after a long winter of ski-pants, wool pants or fleece lined tights. The little gal was probably equally perplexed by this new look to my leg.

When I retold this story to one of my co-workers she exclaimed, "pantyhose are gross!"

Let's just say there is quite a big age gap between us. I happen to like wearing dresses and skirts. And yes, pantyhose too. I never would have considered them "gross" but her comment and what happened earlier in the day did make me think about the shrinking hosiery department in the retail landscape.  

Linda Przybyszewski in her book The Lost Art of Dress points out that in 1959 pantyhose came onto the fashion scene liberating women from wearing girdles to hold up stockings. But it took the rise of the hemlines in the 1960s for pantyhose to skyrocket as the preferred hosiery choice.

McCall's 7915: 1960's stockings pattern
{Source:  Etsy)
Przybyszewski states, "[b]y 1970, pantyhoses made up 70% of the hosiery market." Hosiery doesn't command the same value in retail as it did in the past. I recall hosiery departments of the past occupying greater retail space and salient positions than they currently do.

Could the decline of pantyhose in the retail market have something to do with the popularity of the maxi-dress or is it a generational revolt? What do you think? Have you ever made your own stockings, tights or pantyhose?

Happy sewing!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Knit Lace Tee-shirt

Stash-busting 2015:  Vogue 8524

Fabric:                  1 metre knit fabric @ $5.65 ($10.00/metre - 50% off + taxes)

Pattern:                 Vogue 8534 @ $10.29 (5.99 + taxes + shipping)

Sewn On:              Janome 4120QDC using a regular presser foot for knit stitching, walking foot for the twin needle hem.

Seam Finish:        Serged on a Janome My Lock serger.

Let me say that I love everything about this pattern and I am thrilled with how this top turned out! And to be completely honest, I don't know why it has taken me so long to make up this easy tee-shirt. From cutting to stitching you can whip this top up in no time.  

Vogue 8534: pre-hemmed

Let's talk about this fabric!  

I only picked up a metre piece of this fabric because it was the only piece found in this bin of texturized knits. I fell for the lace-y texture of this knit and I had no idea what I would do with it when I bought it. I actually had it set aside for one of the chemo caps but changed my mind when the need for a top to go with the skirt came up. I'm so glad that I was able to squeeze out a top from this piece of fabric. Although, it would have made a cute cap too.   

Now, let's talk about the pattern, Vogue 8534. It is an out-of-print pattern but you still can find it on the Vogue website in the out-of-print section but keep in mind that it may not be available for much longer. I made version A with the front pleats (love) and the kimono style sleeves (also love). Actually, there are no dislikes about this pattern. Absolutely, none.  

Some people over at Pattern Review expressed a dislike for the unfinished neckline but I actually don't mind it. I guess because my knit is stable enough to keep its shape in that area. I just serged the area and left it. I think if I were to make this top in a knit with more drape I would add a seam allowance and neck facing. But I like the way it looks here in this fabric.   

I took my time with the hem finish though. I shortened the pattern length by one inch when I cut out my fabric and then shortened it another two inches after I tried it on. I still had enough length to hem it up an inch. The sleeves are supposed to be hemmed up 5/8" inch but I didn't want to do a rolled hem as illustrated in the pattern instructions, so I just finished it off with twin needle stitching as the bottom hem.  

If you stumble across this pattern I would say get it! It made a comfortable top that I'm sure I will get a lot of wear out of this spring and summer.

Total cost of basic materials for this awesome tee-shirt is $15.94.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 23 March 2015

Burda Skirt

Stash-busting 2015:  New Spring Skirt

Fabric:                  1.55 metres cotton fabric with decorative ribbon design @ $8.76 ($5.00/metre + taxes)

Zipper:                  8 inch invisible zipper @ $1.36 ($2.40 @ 50% off + taxes)

Pattern:                 Burda 6766 @ $7.62 ($8.99 - 25% off + taxes)

Basting Tape:     0.35 metres @ 0.34 ($0.98/metre)

Sewn On:              Janome 4120QDC using a regular presser foot for straight stitching, invisible zipper foot for the zipper and blind hem foot for the hem.

Seam Finish:        Serged on a Janome My Lock serger.

Hand-stitching:  Slip-stitched the inside of the waistband.

This fabric has been in my stash for more decades than I care to remember at this moment. Yes, I do believe that it has been in my stash for that long. I held onto this piece of fabric this long trying to decide on what to do with it and then I spotted Burda 6766! I really wanted to showcase the decorative trim sewn onto this 100% cotton fabric and felt that something without too many seams would work best.

The pattern has no front seam and waistband and a back piece. Three easy pieces. What was not so easy is trying to figure out my size in a Burda pattern. Am I the only one in North America that is struggling with converting to European sizing? I'm a straight size 14 with Vogue patterns. Burda patterns not so.

According to the pattern measurement chart, it suggests to cut the skirt according to my hip measurement. Size 20 according to the measurement chart. I did this and I'm happy with the generous amount of ease around my hips. But the fit at the waist was off--way off. The large waist on the skirt was even too big for the size 20 waistband.

I tried to fix this issue by taking in the side seams and tapering down five inches below the waist edge. I was then able to sew the waistband in place but the waist still fits big on me. I can easily take it in a another inch. That said this skirt as is would work for those bloated days. I'm trying to lose weight so I can see this skirt ending up on the cutting table again.

I can see myself (positive visualization here) taking it from the centre back seam and re-inserting the invisible zipper. I know it sounds like a lot of work by by tackling the alterations from the centre back seam I will be able to fix the placement of the back darts which are way off as a size 20 dart.   

Although I personally had fitting issues with this pattern, I wouldn't discourage anyone from giving this pattern a try. It is a great basic pattern and I will try it out again just at a smaller size and another dart placement in the back. Love the longer length and the option to add a decorative hemline finish.

Total cost for basic materials to make the skirt came to $18.08. And it is a unique skirt that I wouldn't see duplicated when walking down the street. Sweet. Sometimes there is a benefit to holding onto to fabric for awhile.  

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

In Sewing News Today...

 The spring coat is still on my mind. Silver Mom asked me an important question, 
The pattern description also specifies that the sleeve is cut on the bias. Is your sleeve cut on the bias?
Yes, they were cut on the bias. My bad. I should had considered the fabric that I was working with has stretch in it and cutting the sleeves on the bias would only add to the amount of stretch. Thankfully, I have enough left-over fabric to cut another set of sleeves on the grain-line. I would have cut it on the cross-grain if I had a long enough width but we'll see if this works out.  

Summer F-T thought that it "looks like the sleeve wasn't drafted well" but I don't want to say that even though it does look that way. So far this coat pattern has proved to be a well-drafted and beautiful pattern. I think Silver Mom is correct when she asked if I corrected assessed my fabric choice with the design of this pattern. I did not.  

Hopefully, [fingers crossed] the new set of sleeves will work out. 

I also broke down and purchase a pressing mitt which will help with pressing those shoulder seams. I just found the weight of the coat to be too much for getting around the pressing ham. It looks like I am all set, I just need to sit down and remove those seams so I can get back to the sleeves.  

Meg over at McCall's has also been helpful with another project that I'm working on, the wrap dress. 

I was hoping for more advice and guidance from the much anticipated section on sewing with knits when I wrote this, 

I was also hoping for more in regards to this topic. The last knit wrap dress I made I had a great deal of difficulty with sewing my knit fabric and I was hoping for more guidance and help in this department. I did use a ball point needle and sewed tried both the knit stitch (lighting bolt stitch) on my machine and the straight stitch and still had trouble. I do believe I spent a great deal of time digging out bunches of fabric pushed through the needle plate. Oh well…

Meg promptly replied to those of us who are challenged by sewing knit fabrics. Thank you Meg! Her suggestion to my previous wrap dress sewing frustrations is
Meg Carter

Hi Graca! I would try starting the seam on a piece of tissue paper first. And sewing with tissue under the fabric might be worth a test. But I wouldn’t stabilize the seams with interfacing as that may affect the hand of the fabric too much. I wish I could be of more help but I’ve never had this happen with any of my machines. Curious!

I'm going to give it a try. I have tissue paper in my stash and again with fingers crossed this will be a solution that works. I can not properly express how thankful I am for the online sewing community and all the advice they are willing to share. Thank you!!!

I also have to give a shout out to those working in fabric stores who also share their knowledge. I stopped by my local fabric store where one of the lovely and knowledgable sales ladies suggested these needles for my knit fabric. Again, fingers crossed.  

Well, that is all in sewing news today... 

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 21 March 2015

National Quilting Day!

I'm not a quilter. Yes, I did recently finish a quilt but that was one rare occasion and it took three years to complete. And there are those sweater blankets that I like to make. But deep down I'm more of an admirer of quilts.  

And I really admire quilted clothing. Have you seen all those kantha quilt jackets that have been popping up all over the internet recently? They're absolutely gorgeous and look so comfortable. I have no plans to jump in an join in the kantha quilt fun but today on National Quilting Day I thought I would take a tour of other's creative quilted clothing projects.   


{Source:  Pinterest}
{Source:  Pinterest}

{Source:  Threads magazine}

{Source:  Pinterest}

How about you, do you use quilting techniques in you sewing projects?

Happy Sewing and National Quilting Day!


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