Sunday, 30 November 2014

November in Review...


It is tough to decide on a favourite make this month. I like them all!

The turtle neck sweater has increased my desire to add a cover-stitch machine to my tools. It is not in the budget though. I need a full-time, second or third job for that little addition.

Christmas Sewing

I haven't even started my Christmas sewing besides thinking about what I want to accomplish. December is going to be a busy month!

Sewing Club

The official end to the sewing club will be happening tomorrow--brownies and juice and handing out their certificates of participation in the morning. But there looks like there will be a few recesses and lunches spent supervising the crew as they finish up their Christmas stockings.

RTW Fast

Black Friday came and passed without any temptation to join the long line-up of shoppers looking for the mythical bargain.


Added to Stash
92.8 meters
5 meters
3.5 meters
Sewing Patterns
Spools of Thread
Sewing Needles
Pant Hooks
0.40 meters
9.2 meters
12 meters
Bias Tape
2 meters
Hook and Eye or other Closures
Basting Tape
12.2 meters
6 packages

Happy Sewing!

Friday, 28 November 2014

My 10 Essentials for Productive Sewing

1.  A reliable sewing machine.

2.  A good great pair of scissors

3.  Chai latte breaks

4.  A good work table

5.  Good tunes

6.  Necessary tools

7.  Wrist pincushion

8.  Free time

9.  Inspiration found from a variety of sources (nature, art galleries, the opera, people watching, blog reading, literature)

10.  Good lighting

What are your essentials for productive sewing?

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Hemline Index

It has been said that you can tell the state of the economy by judging hemline lengths. Back in 1926, economist George Taylor made an observation that the stock market's future could be predicted by the way women dress--or more specifically by the length of their hemlines.

So what does this say about the economy?

I'm working on McCall's 7028 which has that trendy hemline. Now, if a shorter hemline signals that woman are willing to take risks and spending which is good for the economy and longer hemlines are a negative sign for economy, what does this dress say with its higher front and longer back hemline?  

The front of the dress is six inches higher than the back of the dress. I'm not loving' it. And the pattern envelope photo doesn't illustrate this hemline. I wish it did, otherwise I would have adjusted the shape of the hemline.  

Even the line drawings on the back of the envelope give a hint to the trendy hemline on the dress but lacks at illustrating the longer length on the back.  

I'm trying to fix the hemline but it's proving to be as tough as fixing the economy. I think I might need something radical.  

Happy Sewing!  

Thursday, 20 November 2014

It Feels Like Christmas!

I found a few out-of-print patterns that I'm quite excited about. And I gave myself an early Christmas present.  

I'm really excited about Vogue 2453. It is a Donna Karan dress pattern that is actually part of my pattern stash. Sadly my copy is in a size that I am currently not so I quite excited that this is on its way.  

I picked up Vogue 2757 because I think the neckline detail on this top is just divine.

And this dress pattern, Vogue 7960, is the most conservative of the bunch. It will be perfect for work. I'm starting to get excited about Christmas! And with a two week lay-off around Christmas I might even find the time to sew one or two of these up.  

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

The "Devil's Snare"

Can you believe that at one point in history buttons became so popular that the Church denounced them as the "devil's snare?" That's just crazy! 

Thankfully, we live in a time where buttons are celebrated, like today on National Button Day.  

National Button Day, founded in 1938, celebrates button collecting as a hobby. Now I do have quite the collection of buttons but it never started out as a hobby nor was there any intention that it would become a "collection." It just sort of happened. It is kind of like my fabric stash. It just happened.  

I come from a generation where items to be discarded were first looked over for those precious gems that could be reused and recycled. Zippers and buttons would be removed for future sewing or mending projects. It just made sense to save something than throw it out and later regret that wasteful action. And most of my buttons in my collection are just such gems.  

These buttons were saved from a blazer my Mom had made in the 1950s.  

Various vintage buttons I gathered over the years.  

I love these black and white buttons, some are recent and some are from the nineteen sixties.  

I found these coffee cup buttons at Courage My Love back in the nineteen eighties. At the time I thought they would be cute on a cardigan style sweater.  

I found this large rooster button in Gimli, Manitoba. I had to have it since it spoke to my Portuguese heritage. One day I hope to make something that I can proudly display this gem.  

Rugged and manly looking buttons have even found its way into my button stash!  

And fun whimsical buttons too!  

I'm saving these animal print buttons for Jungle January. 

How about you, do you have a button collection?  

Happy National Button Day!  

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

A Pop of Yellow

Stash-busting 2014:  Pleated Neckline Jacket

Fabric:    2.3 metres

Pattern:   Vogue 1385

Take II 

First version
This is my second attempt at this jacket, Vogue 1385. The pattern is actually for a top and the pattern envelope line drawings and photograph show it as a top. However, hidden inside the instructions there is this little tidbit written by Sandra Betzina.
While I initially designed this pattern as a blouse, my last version was in a lightly quilted satin, which I made in the shorter length.  I eliminated all vertical waist darts, which made it boxy--great for those who do not have a waist.  I eliminated the pleat detailing at the bottom of the sleeve, eliminated all closures and left the coat unlined.  I love it!
There's a picture of the said jacket in Vogue Pattern magazine that appeared earlier this year and Shams also has photographs of it on her blog. I think it is a stunning garment and that is why I picked up this pattern.   

When I made this jacket the first time I cut it out in the wrong size. I'm still kicking myself for that blooper. Not too hard mind you because I learned a few things along the way.  
  1.  Don't sew when you're tired.   
  2.  Sometimes it pays to take your time.  
I transferred all the markings with chalk when I made the first version. And I did that again with this version.  

I found that the chalk markings faded on the first version as I worked so I took the time to then baste those chalk marking in a contrasting coloured thread.  

It was worth the time investment when it came to stitching the neckline darts and pleats.

This time I cut the pattern in size C, whereas the first was cut in size A. This time the fit was much more comfortable but I will say that I do find the sizing a bit on the small side. Even though the measurements on the pattern envelope states that C has a bust measurement of thirty-six, I couldn't imagine it as a button front top without adjusting the fit. As a jacket without the vertical darts and buttons I can live with the fit but I certainly won't be using this pattern as a top.

I also cut the jacket as view B, the longer length. I couldn't pull off the look to I shortened it by seven and a half inches.  The sleeves I lengthened by two inches for a full length sleeve and both the jacket and sleeve have one inch hems. 

This fabric is a recent addition to the stash. I couldn't resist when it went on sale for a second time. The pop of yellow that runs though this 100% polyester fabric I just found irresistible. The only drawback is that it frayed like nobody's business so I had to work fast! The upside to that is that I have a new jacket to wear.  

Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

This Skirt Makes Me Happy!

Stash-busting 2014:  Marcy Tilton Skirt

Fabric:   1.9 metres of cotton knit

Pattern:   Vogue 9060

Oh my, I love how comfortable this skirt is and how easy it was to sew!

The fabric is a recent addition to the stash that I found at Fabricland in a bin as cut pieces. I'm so glad that there was enough for this skirt. It is a textured cotton knit. Recently, there has been 50% off sales and I was able to whip this skirt up at a bargain price. 

The pattern, Vogue 9060, is a newly released Marcy Tilton pattern from their Holiday/Winter line. And get this, 
Skirt can be worn front to back and back to front.  
Goodness, I love that description! And did I mention that it is comfortable? Oh so comfortable. The waistband is cut smaller than the skirt opening and there is no elastic. It has a fold over waistband in two different widths but I even went with a smaller width and have a 1" wide waistband. The pattern recommends using a waistband fabric that has a good recovery. And I find this is sufficient. Unless, I loose some weight I don't see any need for an elastic in the casing.  

Along with the changes to the waistband I also omitted the topstitching. 

I might have to make myself another one of these skirts. I like it that much.  

Happy Sewing!  

Monday, 10 November 2014

Over the Moon

Stash-busting 2014:  Turtleneck Sweater

Fabric:   1.6 metres

Thread:  finished off 1 small spool

Pattern:  Burda Style 6990

Oh my goodness! I am over-the-moon happy with this sweater. I made this as a test version and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. This will be a wearable muslin for sure.  

The fabric has been in my stash for several years as well as the burnt orange thread. The fabric was easy to sew, I used my regular presser foot and the knit stitch on my sewing machine. When it came to doing the hem on the sleeves I used a twin needle and continued using the knit stitch. Everything came together quickly and easily.

The pattern is a recent addition. I wasn't sure how it would turn out and to be completely honest there was some doubt as to the fit based on other Burda makes. I have to say my worries were unfounded. 

I used Burda 6990 cutting a size 14 waist up and graded up to a size 20 at the hipline. That is what I love about sewing, you can make something according to your own curves. Yup, I have curves around my hipline that make it hard to find a good fitting RTW turtleneck. I gave the top enough ease so that it wouldn't hug my mid-section and to me the fit is perfect! I love combination sized patterns that make grading up and down so much easier than those vintage single-sized patterns. The raglan sleeves were shortened significantly. I didn't shorten the length on the back and front pieces until I tried it on and then I decided to shorten it by three inches.  

Without a doubt, this pattern is a keeper and I can see more versions on the horizon. If you are looking for a turtleneck sweater or a great tee-shirt, look no further because I would highly recommend this pattern.  

Now I feel ready to cut out this fabric.

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Pleated Neckline Top

Stash-busting 2014:  Simplicity 2372

Fabric:           1 metre of satin back crepe

Interfacing:    0.10 metres

This top is for Mama R. She wanted a top to go with her suit. This fabric has been in my stash for a very long time, to be completely honest I can't remember when I picked it up or what possessed me to pick something up in pink. It must have been a really great sale? I was actually thinking about using it for lining in a Chanel-esque style jacket for myself but Mama R almost fainted at the thought and argued that it was much too nice to be used for lining. So, this piece of fabric became a top for Mama R.  

It is all good since pink, as you may already know, is not my go-to colour and if she likes it and it's stash-busted which makes it a win-win situation. Everything I used for this top was found in my stash which lately has grown out of control. I'm not doing so well on the stash-busting journey this year. But I digress...

The pattern is Mama R's go-to, all-time-favourite pattern, Simplicity 2372. This is the first top we made from this pattern. A few changes to the original design. It was shortened so that it sat about a half inch shorter than her jacket. The sleeves have been lengthened by five inches. The centre front and centre back seams have been removed and were cut on the fold. Mama R is thrilled with this top. She likes the loose fit and the pleated neckline detail. There is already another order for one in black wool crepe a few inches longer. I wonder if she'll ever get tired of this pattern?  

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 8 November 2014

In Sewing News Today...

Laundry day does not typically hold a great deal of excitement but today it did. Do you remember the dress pj's that I made earlier this week? Well, I wore it a couple of evenings this week and slept comfortably in it and then it ended up in the wash. And HALLELUJAH!, it shrunk. I don't believe I have ever been this excited about something shrinking.

It now fits comfortably as a dress! I think Athena, Greek goddess of Arts and Crafts, was smiling laughing and took pity at all the sewing bloopers I've made this year. Yup, Athena's sense of humour was a play here.

I don't have to touch it at all. It shrank perfectly. The pockets are now sitting at the perfect height. The hemline is shortened but still at a midi length. It is crazy, in a good way, how it turned out. And I could have sworn that I pre-shrunk this fabric. I guess not?

So be fore-warned, McCall's 6600 is a very loose style. Perfect for pjs or a dress. The plan is to wear it as a dress now and embrace the prairie gal look now that the temperatures and hovering below the zero mark.  

This week I found a void in my wardrobe. I need sweaters, turtle neck sweaters. Now if it weren't for this RTW fast, I would have run out to the store and picked up a sweater by now. But instead I shopped for patterns and I have two that I would like to try. First is this, Burda 6990, pattern (shown above) and there is also Vogue 8939 that might also work. 

I'm going to test out the Burda pattern tomorrow on some orange knit fabric before I cut into fabric pictured above.  I just want to make certain what pattern will work best. Right now, I'm preshrinking the heck out of the orange and taupe patterned fabric since it is a rayon and spandex blend. I typically run the other way when I see rayon listed on the label but I fell for the print. When I decide on which pattern to cut this fabric and make the top it will go well under this dress/jumper.     

And I finally got my hands on Marcy Tilton's latest skirt pattern that I would like to make with this jacquard knit fabric. One more sewing day tomorrow and I'll have a day off from work on Tuesday so hopefully, I'll be able to fit these projects in this week.  

Well, that's all in sewing news today... 

Happy Sewing!    

Monday, 3 November 2014

Plaid Midi-length Dress

Stash-busting 2014:  Comfy Plaid Dress Pajamas

Fabric:      4 metres of brushed cotton + 0.2 metres of navy cotton sateen

Interfacing:  0.20 fusible interfacing

Pattern:     McCall's 6600

Buttons:    7 black buttons

This pattern has been in my stash for roughly the same amount of time as the fabric--a couple of years now. I didn't purchase the two items with plans to make them together, it just came about when I saw Sara's version over on her blog, Mixed Emotions and started shopping for fabric in my stash. I like Sara's unbelted relax fit. And goodness knows that I love a plaid!  

McCall's 6600 is from their Fashion Star line which offers styling and design suggestions. I like the idea of a longer version and I also wanted to add side pockets. And inspired by Sara's dress, I wanted to go belt-less. I shortened the length on the sleeves, changed the width of the cuffs to make them wider and added eight inches to the length of the dress.

I goofed on the placement of the pockets. Placed at ten and a half inches below the side armhole they sit too low when I try it on belt-less style. If I wear a belt and bellow the top portion I can bring up the pockets to a wearable placement. The trouble with wearing a belt is that it looks awful from the back view. Something about a generous rear, plaids and that back pleat just makes my back end look extra wide.  

The plaid fabric holds a bit of nostalgic fondness as it is the same as a once loved dress from many decades ago. I fondly remember how comfortable and cozy the brushed cotton fabric felt every time I wore the dress. I couldn't resist it when I came across it at the store and I've been sitting on it ever since. Even though the fit wasn't perfect (Sara is right, it does run large), I still love the fabric. It is so cozy, I was thinking that this would make a perfect pair of pajamas!

If I knew from the start that I was making a pair of pajamas I wouldn't have taken the time to contrast the collar stand, the underside of the collar and the underside of the cuffs with navy sateen.  

The buttons have been in my stash for over a decade. I picked up a box of these when Eaton's was liquidating all their stock and store fixtures. I know they're fancier than my Canadian chic fabric but that's how I'm going to roll on this one.  

Yup, this will make a perfect pair of pajamas for the winter.

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...