Sunday, 31 July 2011

Pattern Give-away Winner

I promised to draw for the 1970's tribute pattern give-away today.

The group of patterns include Ann Person Stretch and Sew men's slacks, Simplicity hip-hugger bell-bottoms, skirt, and bodysuit, and Vogue Tunic, skirt, and pants... drum roll please.

And the winner is Debi from My Happy Sewing Place.  Debi, if you would e-mail at with mailing details, I can mail out your patterns, I will drop them in the post on Tuesday.

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Let's get cookin'!

Front view, rooster print side
Yesterday, I had an afternoon of sewing at my disposal.

Back view, rooster print side
And would you believe that it was enough time for a coffee run, short trip to the grocery store along with time to cut, sew, rip out the side seam, and complete the Butterick 5263 Apron!

It really is an unusual event to have that span of time devoted to a start-to-finish project.

This was seriously a luxury and I was in sewing heaven.

The apron consists of three pieces: the front, back and pocket. The apron is a size medium and it has a very generous fit.

I did tweak the pattern for the pocket though.  I like the shape but instead of putting seam binding around the edges I added another 1  1/8" to the top edge and a 5/8" seam allowance. I also adjusted the placement slightly from the pattern markings.

The apron has four pockets altogether, two on each side.
Back button closure

Same with the buttons, there is a two sets of buttons sewn on reverse sides.

Reverse side button closure
I found it easier to sew one button at at time and then wrapping the thread around to create a make-shift shank before moving onto the reverse side.

Did you catch that there was some quality seam ripping time devoted to this project?

Yes, I was not paying attention when I was attaching the rooster print to the polka dot print apron pieces together.

First, the apron front and backs were attached by sewing the neckline, back curved edges, armhole curves, and bottom front.  Everything looked great so I clipped the edges and pressed the apron.

Just need to sew the side seams together. Simple, right?

So I thought, and quickly went to work not noticing that while I transported it from the ironing board to my sewing table to pin it I managed to twist the the pieces. I was finished sewing the side seam when I realized that it was twisted. Oops, my bad.

Luckily, I keep the seam ripper close by and it all worked out.

On today's menu:  more sewing, Butterick 5561, and the pattern give-away!.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

In sewing news today...

Project Runway

I know from last season that no good can come from giving up sewing time to watch the program. But I felt that I was drawn to look at a car wreck when I should have been keeping my eye on the road.

No I didn't go looking for it on-line, I saw it in New York, The New York Times to be exact. I couldn't resist to take a peak at the article.

Bed Sheets

The first challenge involved bedding? Okay, sewing with bed sheets isn't that "wacky". Sounds like a yawn for a season premiere. The idea has been around for decades.

And there is so much fabric at your disposal with a bed sheet. I think the real challenge for the designers came in the form of waking up and functioning at 05:00!

Back to bedding, I often check out the designer sheets when I'm shopping at Winners. Some of the fabrics are gorgeous and perfect for summer dresses. And lately there have been some sweet retro vibes found in Liz Claiborne bedding collection. Why not? Besides, there has been some pretty nice deals in the bedding section lately.

You can even find knit fabric bedding! It's like a little mini-fabric department minus all the quilt worshipping and polar fleece. Nothing against quilting or sewing fleece, but do stores really need to dedicate more than 1/2 of the floor space to these fabric types? But I digress...

Do you sew with sheets? If so, what have you made?

Back to the drawing board

Remember the housedress?  Yup, that housedress.

Well it ended up on my sewing table with a whole list of alteration requests. I knew it!

The old bias tape above and the new neckline with the new bias tape.
Of course, one of Mama R's requests was to adjust the neckline! So Sew, I've been busy trying to make it work for Mama R. How can I say no to Mama R? Impossible really, she's too cute and the best mom a gal could ask for. I'm lucky to have her in my life. So, back to work.

Since I had to reshape the neckline, I thought I would nix the store bought seam binding that I initially used. I cut and pressed new seam binding from left over fabric. I'm pleased with like the look of matching bias tape.

Then it was onto the hem, she wanted about an inch taken up. Can you believe that there was actually a fitting for the initial hemline? I guess Mama R just wanted to try it out.

The Baby Jumpsuits

The baby Jumpsuits are finished, finally.

They actually have been done to the point where no more machine stitching was needed, just some hand work.

I was saving the hand sewing of the snaps for my quality outdoor time. I have to say there is no better light to sew in than sunlight.

I should whip up a couple in blue (or a gender neutral colour) soon just in case the expectant babies turn out to be boys!

Domestic Armor  

I made some chicken stock the other day, a Jamie Oliver recipe that I found here, (and that I would recommend). And while I was straining the stock, I was thinking that I really could have used that apron that I was planning on making a few weeks back. (That was a long winded sentence, wasn't it?)

I was distracted with house dresses. But now that I have no more excuses I really should get to work on this project this weekend.

I'm going to change the fabric choice up a bit before I cut it out.

I'm still going to stick with the rooster print, who couldn't use a little good luck in the kitchen?

I decided on a light green and white polka-dot print fabric for the reverse side.

And that is all in sewing news today (in this corner of the world)... back to sewing!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Project What?

Thursday evening was the season 9 premiere of Project Runway. Much to my surprise and relief it won't air on the Canadian networks the same time as in the U.S.  Luckily, I won't be tempted to give up an hour of my life to scripted drama.  

The interest that I initially had in the show has diminished. I'll admit, after last season it finally became obvious to me that the contestant(s) with the creative ideas or talent aren't the ones that the judges seem to want to promote. G-a-a-asp!

I am actually looking forward to the new PR parodies that are soon to follow, and I'll be able to catch those the same time as my American friends. 

I'm facing the sad fact that Project Runway is about television, not designing clothes.

Did awarding Gretchen the top honour last season create a lot of buzz? Certainly! Do you think that the blog-a-sphere would still be buzzing if Mondo won last season? I doubt it.

Finley Peter Dunne said, "there ain't no news in being good". I think that it applies to the reality television, I mean scripted drama, formula that Project Runway was fallen into. Or maybe that formula has always been there and I was too busy drooling over the fabric selection at Mood that the designers had to choose from. Yes, I will miss following the designers into Mood to check out what fabric they chose, but I can also check out Mood's selection here. Problem solved!

Well, here's to less television and more time sewing. Now, I wonder if my sewing time will last past Project Runway season nine's arrival into the Canadian airways?

Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Pattern Give-away continues

Dresses!  Today's pattern give-away is all about Vintage Vogue dress patterns (two of them) from the 1940's.

Not the early forties rather the New Look styles that appeared after the war.  When restrictions on the fashion industry were challenged and hemlines fell from abundant amounts of skirt fabric defining an hour-glass figure.

If you're interested and a follower of the blog, just leave a comment on this post and I will draw for these ones on Monday.

So first up:

Vintage Vogue 2289, circa 1948, in size 8.

The pattern is in excellent condition and uncut.

Includes the pattern for the dress with a gathered neckline, cap sleeves, slightly flared skirt and belt.

And next:

Vintage Vogue 2787, circa 1948, in sizes 6, 8, and 10.

The pattern is in excellent condition and uncut.

Misses' A-line dress has shaped bodice front and cap sleeves.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Pattern Give-away

To celebrate breaking the 10 followers landmark... woohoo!  I thought an appropriate way to celebrate would be to give away some patterns. Follow the blog (more pattern give-aways to come!) and leave a comment on this post if you're interested in the following patterns. I'll draw from the comments left here on Sunday, July 31st.

So I thought we would celebrate ... the seventies, the era when wearing clothes was all about individual expression rather than fitting in.  

This one is for the gents (or the special gentleman in your life) out there. Pattern No. 1700, Men's Slacks and Shorts by Ann Person.

Ann Person started the Stretch & Sew pattern company in the 1960s. And she penned A Primer on Sewing KnitsThreads magazine piece in 2008.

This pattern, circa 1969, was designed for knit fabrics. Don't worry if you can't find some authentic double knit, golf-course-worthy, plaid because it is also suitable for wool and cotton fabrics choices. The pattern contains sizes 30-32-34-36-38

The pattern is uncut.

And comes with complete instructions.

And can you think of anything that screams the seventies more than a pattern for Hip-Hugger Bell-Bottom Pants?

This Simplicity pattern 9562 has never been cut, the pattern pieces and instructions are in excellent shape.  The pattern envelope, as you can see, has seen some wear and tear.

Vintage 1971 pattern for body-suit, bias-cut skirt, and hip-hugger bell-bottom pants!  The pattern is a Misses' size 8.

The body-suit is designed for knit fabric.

The hip-hugger pants are designed to be worn one inch below the normal waistline.

And jumping ahead to the late seventies...

Vogue 7170 in size 6.  Wow, it has been years since I was size 6 but I digress...

The pattern is cut but all the piece are here. The envelope has seen a bit of wear and tear.

The pattern: Misses' Dress or Tunic, Skirt and Pants.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011


Jean Paul Gaultier has created quite a stir with his Fall 2011/12 Couture collection.

Even though the collection has underpinning of the dark side of fantasy with hints of goth he balances it off with fanciful, colourful feathers!

From the hard lines of leather to the soft draping of his gowns his collection was nothing short of fantastical.

Gautier certainly is in tune of the feather's re-appearance in popular culture and clothing... or more precise, headgear and purses.

Feathers for some time have been a staple in the Kate-inspired fascinator looks that have trickled down to the retail stores in the suburban malls.

Gautier took it delightfully further!

Black feathers I used on a black
sequined dress once-upon-another
Of course, when the spectacle of the couture show is over how does one wear feathers?

Can the look be toned down and translated into the simple lives of the home sewer?

Or are they the trimming of fanciful can-can, samba or pow-wow costumes.

The conservative fabric store selections found here in the prairies hardly translate into the styles of the Paris runways.

None of the feathers found in my sewing supplies were discovered in Winnipeg. I came across them in the fabric district expeditions in Toronto and Montreal.

I have to say I'm excited at the possible opportunity and inspiration to use these trimming in a new creation. Likely, nothing as exciting as Gauthier's designs (I wish!), probably more in line with decorating a winter muff.

How about you? Are you inspired by what is shown in the couture collections? Would you use these delicious trimmings in your sewing projects? Do tell!

Monday, 25 July 2011

A complete detour from my plans

I've been sewing items that are a complete detour from my sewing plans from earlier this summer. I've been sewing baby clothes. Can't blame me for the detour can you? It was easy since baby clothes are so adorable.

This McCall's pattern has seen a great deal of use over the years, it is my staple baby gift pattern. I've had this pattern since 1994 when it came out and the pattern pieces are starting to show a lot of wear and tear.  I think it is time to copy the McCall's 7367, Infants layette pattern onto some new paper.

I love sewing the asymmetrical jumpsuit. It has ribbon ties inside and a button closure. The pattern comes with preemie, newborn, small, and medium sizes. I always sew the medium size which fits 16 to 18 pounds or 7 to 8 kg.

Three of my co-works are expecting this year, two are expecting next month and the third is expecting at the end of the year. Sew, I'm getting ready for the upcoming baby showers.

Of course, the expecting mums do not want to know the sex of their babies before they are born! So I'm left guessing, it is a fifty-fifty chance that I'm right or not. Either way I couldn't resist using these fabrics

I chose girly knit fabrics, the one on the right has red and pink hearts and the one on the left is my favourite with a pale yellow background with little pink roses. I have some blue knit that I can make up with some yellow embroidery top-stitching and maybe some fish buttons in case the babies turn out to boys!

The jumpsuit with the little red and pink hearts is almost finished. You may have noticed that the overlapped front is different than on the pattern photo. Yes, that was another my bad moment, but I actually like it too and it is why I left it instead of enjoying some quality seam ripper time. I think the blue ones I plan to make I will lap the front the other direction.

Instead of using contrasting ribbing I chose the same fabric as the jumpsuit. It works.  

For the closure I going to skip the button and buttonhole since the stores are full of these wonderful snap closures! You can find them in any size from teeny-tiny to coat size worthy.

And to decorate the closure area I thought I would add these little roses. What do you think, are the roses too much or will they work?

Sunday, 24 July 2011

New look...

I was going through my closet recently, deciding what is donate-worthy, what fits, and what-not. And I came to my Andrea Katz Object (AKO) jumpsuit that I made last year.

I blogged about it here, outlining why the jumpsuit didn't end up looking anything like the photograph on the Vogue 1185 pattern shown.

I liked the jumpsuit. I was able to make it look somewhat like the photograph, okay perhaps not. I'll let you decide.

I didn't want to give it away, but I was considering how I could change it to be more function-able to fit my lifestyle.

Front View
Well, if you haven't figured me out by now... I love wearing skirts and dresses over pants or jumpsuits. I just feel more comfortable that way even though I do like the look.

Back View
And that is what I did. I changed the jumpsuit into a dress.

I cut off the cuffs.  Cut up and along the inside leg seam and then tapered off the soon-to-be skirt front and back with chalk.

Stitched it, tried it on, decided it looked cute and went to work finishing it off.

I have to say I love it a million times better as a dress.

I don't have long legs to pull off a jumpsuit look but I think I can work the the dress look.

I was happy with the length, so I serged the bottom skirt and finish it off with a narrow hem.

I think I will hold onto the pattern for a bit longer and just make note of the changes to make it a dress instead. I think I wouldn't mind making it again, without the initial jumpsuit drama.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Mama's got a brand new dress!

Mama's got a(nother) brand new dress!

And yes, she is happy with it, finally.  I'm happy too.

The dress is made in the 100% cotton stretch sateen print that I found in the sale section. I scored the last 2 metres of fabric and for a moment I feared that there wouldn't be enough to make the dress. Yikes, and there wasn't anymore fabric to go back to get!

This called for some creative problem solving, right after some coffee and thinking.

Luckily, the fabric didn't have a nap or pattern matching to contend with. I was able to fold the piece of fabric so that the salvages would not meet.

First, I would have to remove 3 1/2 inches from the dress hem. It is typically where I would hem the dress but I'll get to how I fixed this new problem.

I folded the fabric so that one of the fabric's salvage edges was about 9 1/2 inches from the fold and that was enough to cut out the dress front on the fold and the sleeves. This left me with a 2 metre length of single layer fabric with one salvage edge. It was enough to fold in half matching the salvage edge in order to fit the dress back. And enough scraps to cut out some pockets and bias strips!

I cut enough strips of fabric to make the bias tape for the neckline and used some for the dress hemline. It worked out great, second problem solved!

Bias tape is easy to make. I think that it gave the dress a nice pulled together look that I wouldn't have achieved if I used store bought bias tape. It is so easy, why not! Here is a link to the Vogue tunic that explains how simple it is to make your own bias tape.

Even though I did serge the bias tape shown in the picture, it was an unnecessary step. Since the tape is cut on the bias an unfinished edge would not unravel. I could have folded the edge under and hemmed it in place. So many options, all work equally well.

Even the lap zipper worked out nicely! The zipper is typically my nemesis but the sewing gods were on my side today.

Love it when things work out!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Stylish Cycling

I've fallen behind in my newspaper reading and trying to catch up. In doing so, I came across a Globe and Mail article about cycling to office without the hassle of changing when you get to work. I wasn't impressed with the article.

I think the article missed on some pointers for "how to cycle in style".

First, I have to disagree with the knapsack as the essential cycling accessory. Why would you want to have the additional weight to carry on your back while your riding? Not only could your knapsack contribute to back strain or throwing off your balance if you turn suddenly, it is just not comfortable on those long trips in the warm weather. To me cycling in style is a combination of being safe and unburdened.

I personally like the saddle bags I installed on my bike. I have not regretted the money I invested in that little purchase. Not only does it take a load off my back, it prevents back tire splashes from appearing on my back of my clothing.

And what is all this about riding in heels? Seriously? You see women walking to the subway, bus stops, home in their business attire and runners. And then you see women cycling in heels.

What is the point? Especially when there are so many stylish shoes with good arch support.

If anything I have learned it would be treat your feet right and it will pay you back ten fold, and you can always throw the heels for the office in your saddle bag.

It seems that the newspapers have been running oh so many articles about how to dress while cycling but do we really need the fashion advice?

I say dress how you like, what makes you feel comfortable. I think in North America there is a tendency of over-romanticizing the European cities filled with stylish cyclists. I think if your comfortable, you'll be wearing a smile and that is the best fashion accessory anyone can have.

Cheers for safe and stylish cycling!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Dreaming about Fall 2011

I found the fabric that I want to sew into one of the new Vogue patterns in the fall 2011 catalogue... I can't wait until they get here!

It is an indigo colour boiled wool that I found at Fabricland.

Even better, I found it in the sale section! Regular priced at $40.00/metre (Cdn), I picked it up 70% off. There were some other fabulous colours too, peacock blue, pink, orange, purple.

I picked the indigo because I thought it would go well with this orange fabric.

I have been holding on to it for awhile but I think I'm ready to commit to making a 1940s style skirt.

I picked this beautiful orange fabric up at the Fabric Center an amazing store that sadly closed its doors earlier this year. The Fabric Center carried some beautiful and unique fabrics and a stunning collection of bridal and lace fabric unmatched in the city.

It is getting to be a challenge to find quality fabric in the city as more and more fabric stores are either closing or converting their store to attract the quilters. But that is another story.

One more sewing project that I'm planning is a winter coat. Yes, I said a winter coat.

I'm thinking Vintage Vogue 1083. It has been more than a few years since I've sewn a project that big but I'm looking forward to the challenge. I just have to find suitable lining fabric and hopefully get started once I clear up the projects I have lined up.  

Happy National Sewing Machine Day!

How to Celebrate?   Treat your machine to some tender loving care.  Maybe your sewing machine has some lint that could use some clea...