Thursday, 31 October 2013

October in Review

I slowly eased back into sewing.

But I can't say the same for stash busting, I've did some serious damage to my stash busting record. Well, here is the year-to-date stash busting adding stats:  

  • 74.06 metres of fabric, 
  • 25 previously unused patterns
  • 10.6 metres of trim
  • 17.50 packages of seam binding,
  • 11 zippers
  • 17 spools of thread
  • 5 sewing machine needles
  • 18 snaps,
  • 3 hook and eye
  • 60 buttons and
  • 3.8 metres of elastic.
And this this year I've added to my stash:
  • 53.4 metres of new fabric
  • 21 new patterns,
  • 2 metre of trim,
  • 15 packages of seam binding, 
  • 8 spools of thread
  • 2 sewing machine needles,
  • 42 buttons
  • 2 new sewing feet
  • 4 metres of elastic.  
Happy Sewing!  

Happy Halloween!

Aren't these Halloween decorations cute? There was no Halloween sewing over at my end. No wee ones in my life to costume and no time to sew up any Halloween decorations.

How about you? Did you do any Halloween sewing?

Happy sewing and Happy Halloween!

Monday, 28 October 2013

In Sewing News Today

Vogue patterns released their Winter/Holiday Collection today.

Yawn. Sorry Vogue, but there wasn't much that I found inspiring this holiday season.

Of course, I was intrigued by a new Marcy Tilton pattern, Vogue 8966. It was the only pattern out of the bunch that made me want to take notice. I think this hat is super cute and totally my style. And I like this scarf which is totally not warm enough for a Winnipeg winter but too darn cute none-the-less.

The rest of the new pattern releases didn't rock my world one bit which is a good thing because I have too many patterns that I need to get to at some point. Sew many projects, sew little time!

In other sewing news, I want to share a tip that I saw on a sewing program this weekend. It was from a quilting segment and a viewer tip in which she cleaned her sewing machine of guck that accumulates when sewing through something sticky. The suggesting was to sew through a package of those wet naps. I didn't have any wet naps on hand but I did dampen a scrap piece of fabric with some rubbing alcohol and run a few stitches through the cloth. It worked! Who knew?

The trim that I was sewing on my denim skirt  was folded and glued with leather glue and my sewing machine needle collected quite a bit of guck along the way. I think next time I find myself with a couple of those wet naps I'm going to throw them into my sewing tool kit.

Anyway, that is all in sewing news today.  What did you think about the Vogue pattern Holiday/Winter release?

Happy Sewing!

Leather Trimmed Denim Skirt

Stash Busting 2013:  Project #36

Fabric Used:     1 metre of dark denim

Pattern Used:   Burda Style 7025

Trim Used:       3 metres of leather trim

Zipper Used:    8" invisible zipper


I have a body shape that is not meant for Burda patterns. It doesn't keep me from picking a Burda pattern up hoping that it will prove me wrong. This was not one of those patterns.  

I cut the skirt out in a size 16, the largest size in the pattern but I also made a mistake when cutting. Instead of placing the centre front on the fold I snipped away not realizing the errors of my way until it came to sit down and sew it.  

Despite my challenging body shape and absent minded cutting I managed to  pull off a wearable skirt that I like. It doesn't look anything like the pattern but I'm good with that.  

The fabric has been in my stash for at least a decade and the leather trim longer than that coming all the way from Toronto when I actually lived there. I think the trim can actually be considered vintage at this point.  

To make the pattern work I left off the back darts and the front pleat and took in the sides to give it some shape. The hip area I had to gradually narrow the side seam allowance so that the skirt wouldn't feel so snug in a bad way. The front and back seam allowances where sewn with a 5/8" seam allowance.

The trim I used on the centre front seam and both side seams and finished off the hem. I love how it looks.  

There is no waistband on this skirt. The pattern calls for a narrow facing and it is suppose to be a lined skirt. I opted out of lining the skirt and felt that it worked by folding and top stitching along the raised waist.  

The invisible zipper, next to the leather trim is my favourite part of this skirt. I tell ya, if it weren't for basting tape that invisible zipper wouldn't look this good.

Sew there you have it, it all worked out in the end. And I love my new denim skirt.

Have you ever made something from a pattern that didn't quite work out as planned? Did you like it?

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

The Tim Gunn Project: The Classic White Shirt

Stash Busting 2013:  Project #35

Fabric Used:              2.3 metres

Pattern Used:            Burda Style 7136

Buttons Used:           8  

I lost my sewing mojo at the start of this project but I finally managed to get it done. Finally. It took almost two months to get it off the sewing table.

I know, I'm in shock myself that it took that long to complete. But I digress...

The fabric is from Fabricland and it is listed as a 50% cotton and 50% polyester blend. It frays like crazy! And that makes me wonder if the polyester content might even be higher? Hmmm.

It is a lightweight fabric and it has a nice drape. And its yarns will snag if you're not careful. I'm stash busting a fabric that I picked up this year. Yes, I picked this up specifically for the classic white shirt since I did not have any white fabric in my stash and well, I was suppose to make a classic white shirt.

I would have preferred a white 100% linen (first choice) or 100% cotton but it just was not in the budget for the ones that my heart desired. Sew, I went with the least expensive choice, the cotton/polyester blend.

The pattern is also a 2013 addition to the pattern collection. I picked it up because the blouse has cuff variations including french cuffs. Now you might be wondering how it ended up being a short sleeve shirt. I was working on the placket when I realized that I made a rookie mistake. While shortening the sleeve length I totally neglected the length of the sleeve placket. Well, when I realized that the placket opening would be higher than my elbow I thought it would be best to abandon that idea. Out came the scissors to recreate this as a short sleeve top.

The buttons were also a recent addition to my stash. Can you believe that with all the white and clear buttons in my button tins I could not find eight matching buttons to use on this project.

The buttonholes were super easy with my Janome. I really didn't give much thought to buttonholes until I read Karen's post earlier this week. Karen purchased a new tool for opening buttonholes, the Bernina buttonhole cutter. I was unaware that such a gadget existed. She even mentioned using a seam ripper for opening buttonholes which made me gasp in horror as I recalled one terrifying memory when I destroyed a garment using a seam ripper to open buttonholes.  I've changed my ways since that painful experience.

After admiring what a fine job my Janome buttonhole maker did, I'm ready to open it up.  

First, I fold the button hole in half.  
I then open up the folded buttonhole
and finish clipping the rest.  
I take my clipping scissors and clip a small
hole in the centre of the buttonhole.  

Do you have a different method or trick of the trade for opening buttonholes?

There you have it, the shirt that took two months to complete. Let's see, what's next?

Happy Sewing!  

Thursday, 24 October 2013

A Bed of Maple Leafs

Stash Busting 2013:  Project #34

Fabric Used:              2 metres double-faced faux fur and knit fabric.


This fabric has been in my stash for about a year. I stumbled across it at Mitchell's Fabric. I wasn't looking for a faux fur fabic, instead I was drawn to the bolt because of the print. How Canadian, eh?  

I would have picked up more if there was more on the bolt but I happened to get the last bit of it. I wish you could feel  the faux fur side, it is absolutely devine. 

My first thought was that this would make a cozy wrap coat.  

Without enough for a cozy wrap coat my thoughts moved to a blanket for my bed.  

Nothing fancy about this project. It was put together a simple knit stitch and the edges have an overlock stitch.  

Maybe this blanket is not the greatest idea I've had, I suspect it might be difficult to drag myself out of bed in the morning. 

Until then, happy sewing!

Monday, 21 October 2013

I'm Back!

I finished a second round of anti-biotics on Thursday. Oh my goodness does it ever feel great to breath again without your head feeling like it is going to explode. I am giddy with excitement for the first snow fall to hurry up and get here. The weather forecast has been calling for flurries this weekend. [It will officially mark the end of outdoor mould allergies.] But I digress...

I'm back in the sewing room with energy to actually do some work! Now, I haven't spent a lot of time at the sewing machine. Thirty minutes or so but it is all good since it was a wonderfully busy weekend.

The shirt that I started nearly two months ago is back on the sewing table.

The plan: finish this baby by the end of the week.

Yup, that's the plan.

Happy Sewing!    

Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Classic White Shirt

The classic white shirt is one of the sexiest pieces that you can have in your wardrobe. Don't you think? Or do you consider it an item that makes you want to go yawn?

I think of old black and white movies and Audrey Hepburn when I think of the classic white shirt. Oversized, comfortable and stolen from your man's closet. I don't think that the white shirt will ever go out of style. Styles and details have changed but the white shirt will remain as a wardrobe staple.

Tim Gunn defines the classic white shirt as an essential piece.
Whether paired with dress pants, a skirt or jeans, [the classic white shirt] is always polished and sophisticated. 
Gunn has a good point, the white shirt can be paired with many items. But "polished and sophisticated?" He must have been thinking of movie stars from years gone by.

Obviously Mr. Gunn and I have not met nor was he thinking of me when he made that statement. Unless coffee stains are considered polished and sophisticated. There is a reason I prefer prints! But I digress...

I do have a couple of white shirts in my closet. They're RTW relics that hardly ever see the light of day. Yet, I have a white shirt sitting on the dress form waiting for sleeves and the finishing touches.

I'm not shooting for polished and sophisticated I'll be happy with professional since I have no intention of giving up coffee.

Now that I'm starting to feel a bit better, I just have to get back into my sewing zone and get this thing done. 

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Wake Up and Smell Your Tee-shirt!

Wake up and smell your tee-shirt. Does it stink? It might be a fast-fashion tee-shirt. Those tee-shirts really stink. People have died making fast-fashion. That stinks and makes you think about that $5.00 tee-shirt that is so cheap that you're tempting to pick one up in every colour.

Now stop and think. Someone died making tee-shirts. It sounds ridiculous doesn't it? But sadly, it is not. As a matter of fact, over a thousand people died in one day less than six months ago. And hundreds more have died since that time making fast-fashions for western consumers.

Rescue operations at the Rana Plaza building. Photograph: Rehman Asad/Rehman Asad/Demotix/Corbis
Tee-shirts from bargain retailers are not the only items that are made in far away lands by exploited workers. It is all sorts of garments from a wide range of retailers. Armani, Tommy and Michael Kors are just a few designer brands that have had items produced in the same places as fast-fashion tee-shirts.

The flashy marketing campaigns are a facade for what is behind the product. Workers are paid less than a dollar a day working long hours in unsafe conditions. Many are beaten and threatened. It is not fiction, it is a horror story. A true life horror story.

This shouldn't be anything new unless you have been living under a rock for decades. Naomi Klein's book No Logo published in 1999 examined the road we were travelling where corporations cared more about the marketing of a product than the actual manufacturing of said product. We've been on the slippery slope for quite some time.

Last year, Elizabeth's Cline's Overdressed:  The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion took a look at fast fashion, the race to the bottom and the tricks that retailers do to make consumers think they are getting a real bargain. But we're not. Instead when we purchase fast-fashion we're part of the problem. This post is not meant to lecture. I really hope that it is not coming across as such.

Really, this is a rant. Oh goodness, my wardrobe has ready-to-wear items that I don't know where they were made or under what conditions. I'm trying to change. I'm trying to educate myself. I trying to pay attention to the stories in the news that are warning me that children, women and men are being exploited.

Awareness is a first step.

CBC's Fifth Estate did a story on fast-fashion that aired this weekend. Check it out. You might want to make sure you have a box of kleenex beside you. And the Globe and Mail ran "Spinning Tragedy:  The True Cost of a T-Shirt" this weekend, an investigative piece into the fast-fashion industry like so many other papers have focused their lens. There are so many examples and with the internet it is at the tip of our fingertips.

For my part, I vow to stop buying ready-to-wear and sew my own clothing and to buy fair trade fabric whenever possible.

What about you what will you do to mark today?


Monday, 14 October 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello fellow sewists!

Just popping in to say hello and Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating.

Here in Canada, we're feasting on all kinds of birds (tofu turkey, regular turkey or a plain ol' mix). Check out this link for the thanksgiving dinner made out of felt ready for kids to play with! Isn't that the cutest thing ever?

This year it is quiet around here. I'm on my second round of antibotics to fight the sinus infection that won't quit. Visually, I love this time of the year but the dry leaves mixed with the moisture are the perfect breeding ground for outdoor mould. This seasonal environmental condition mixed with my allergy to mould has been the reason that I've been feeling drained and has been keeping me away from my sewing projects. Don't hate me, but I'm secretly wishing for the first snow fall to hurry up and get here.

Despite things being quiet around here I would like to say I'm thankful for the sewing community that I found. Even though I haven't been sewing, I have been visiting your blogs and have been in awe of all the creativity out there.  Thank you for all your lovely comments and taking the time to visit my own blog.

Well, I hope everyone is enjoying the beauty of the season and wishing you and yours a happy happy!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Lost: Sewing Mojo

I've lost sewing mojo for weeks now. The desire to sew anything has completely disappeared. I've lost my sewing mojo from time to time but not this long.

It doesn't help that I haven't shaken this cold that won't let go.

Last month, I didn't even finish any projects. I have several projects cut and ready to go but without any mojo they are just sitting there.

I think I need a break from the sewing room. Yeah, maybe then I might miss it? So that's what I'm going to do.

Take a break. Grab my camera and catch some autumn shots. Nap. Drink tea. And work on getting rid of this cold once and for all.

Until then, happy sewing!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Sweater Weather

Autumn sweater weather is here and I love this time of the year. Not only do I love the crisp autumn weather, the gorgeous fall colours but it is also the time of year that the Winter/Holiday collections start to appear from the major four pattern companies.

Now, I will admit that I haven't been a big fan of the latest from the big four pattern companies (kAtheRine and Marcy Tilton's design exempted, of course). But this pattern from McCall's caught my eye!

A peplum cardigan sweater pattern! It is McCall's 6844. I wonder if it is in stock at my local fabric store. I'm waiting for them to open so I can give them a call. [Fingers crossed] This just might be the pattern to jump start my sewing mojo.   

Happy Sewing!   

Update:  After spending over an hour on the phone trying to get through to the fabric store the answer is "no, it hasn't come in yet." Bummer. And they are sold out of this pattern on line, which really doesn't matter because it would take too long to get here by regular post. Which is likely for the best since I think I was channeling my inner child when I saw this pattern with "I want it now!"   

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Belt Loops

I finally got behind the sewing peddle. It has been awhile.

No major sewing project but I did return to one that needed to be tweaked. Remember the red denim pants I made using Vogue 1325? I made them without belt loops. And I've regretted that decision for a few weeks now.

Out of the three versions I have made using this pattern, I only thought to add the belt loops to the last pair I made. But I quickly changed my mind when I realized that it would take years to turn over the carriers without the aid of a loop turner.

I'm sure I have one of those in my stash but don't ask me where. Sew, I did the next best thing. I made the belt loops wider. Instead of sewing them according to the pattern instructions, with a narrow seam allowance and turning them I just serged the edge. I then folded the finished edges over and top-stitched in place.     

Walking Foot
The challenge was sewing through all the thickness of the denim. I was fearful that the needle was going to break as my machine growled in protest at certain points.  

Despite the challenge and with the aid of the walking foot and jean-a-ma-jig, I think they turned out okay.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

It just makes you say ahhhh

I have the pleasure to work with little wee angels in an elementary school and I have to tell you they drain me of my energy and fill me with me with things that make me smile and say ahhhh.

Guess what one of those little wee angels told me. That she sews! How cute is that?

And I was blown away considering how so many adults that I know do not know how to sew or even have the desire to learn. And for a fleeting moment in time I felt like the generational gap closed a bit.

When she told me that she sews and showed me the (super cute) little purse she made, one of her classmates added that she also sews. Oh my goodness, it was like music that filled my ears.

It totally made my day.

Happy Sewing!  

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...