Sunday, 31 July 2016

July in Review...


Top L to R:  Striped peplum knit top for me, Vogue 9056; beige lace knit slip for Mama R, Burda 6964; blue dress for Mama R, Simplicity 2372; deep pink floral knit dress for me, Vogue 9060 and 1312; white peplum knit top for me, Vogue 9056; Euro Cup final match dress for me, Vogue 9130; microwave bowl cozies for the Etsy shop, self-drafted; dress for Mama R, Simplicity 2372 and more microwave cozies for the Etsy shop.

By the looks of it, I did quite a bit of sewing this month. Although it did not feel like it.  Maybe it feels like an unproductive month because there was so much more that I hoped to get done.  

RTW Fast:

There was this dress I was tempted by, momentarily, until I saw the fibre content, became uninterested and remembered my RTW fast pledge.

It was the colour and style that had me try it on. Oh my goodness, it is so comfortable to wear and best part, McCall's has a pattern in this style, McCall's 7402. I have to say, I tend to try clothes on to see how a style would look on me before committing to a pattern. I've had enough pattern fails that a little research is a good thing.  

This pattern is on my wish list right now since it is currently out-of-stock at the fabric store and online at MBV. Of course, it is listed as currently on sale. The folks at MBV can be such a tease. Joking aside, my time at the sewing table has halted since I now have a sprained ankle on the mend so it is not like I would get to it anytime soon.  

Once I make it back to the sewing machine, I'll finish the dress I'm working on and then there is a dress and jacket set I would like to work on for Mama R.  At this rate, McCall's 7402 might have to wait until Summer 2017.  

The Stats:

Quantity Used from the stash this Month 
Quantity Used this Year
Added to the Stash this year
Basting Tape
1.48 metres
1.88 metres
Bias Tape
3 metres
5.41 metres
Cord Stopper
3.8 metres
3 metre
13.1 metres
49.15 metres
48.9 metres
Fusible Tape
6.7 metres
9.40 metres
Hand needles
Hook and Eyes
3.0 metres
10 metres
Lace trim
Pattern (new)
Pattern (previously used)
0.50 metres
Serger needles
Serger thread
Sewing machine needles
1.8 metres
1.8 metres

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Slow and Steady...

This week I'm living by the rule "slow and steady wins the race" when it comes to working on the Issey Miyake dress, OOP Vogue 2427. 

I was out of commission this weekend as I tried to regain neck and shoulder movement without aggravating it further. I set the stress to this area into motion when I was cutting out six large pattern pieces on the floor. There was a visit to the doctor's office and physio and applying heat and doing stretches that allowed me a wee bit of time to do some hand stitching.   

The dress is slowly coming together and with each pleat that is basted in place I'm loving this pattern a little more. But I'm stopping here, grateful for the little bit of sewing that I was able to do. And hopefully, tomorrow will be filled with more movement in the sewing room.  

Until then, happy sewing!  

Friday, 22 July 2016

Holy Pin Cushion Batman!

I think I'm getting too old foolish to be on my hands and knees cutting out pattern pieces on the floor because oh-my-goodness am I ever hurting.  

The Issey Miyake dress pattern, OOP Vogue 2427 has several large pattern pieces that are cut from single layers of fabric. And the pattern pieces and fabric were too big to cut from my cutting table. What was a gal to do? It is like Bob Dylan said, 
Behind every beautiful thing, there's been some kind of pain.
And this pattern is a beautiful thing. (Although, I don't think Bob Dylan was talking about sewing.)

It is all cut out now and the sewing machine and serger have been threaded. I even have the buttons ready to go. But I think I'm going to take the rest of the evening to mend.  

Tips for Pain Free Fabric Cutting

  1. Get someone else to do your cutting.  
  2. If that is not possible, get up and move around often. Know your limits and don't spend too much time in one position.  
  3. While you're up and moving throw in a couple of stretches.  
  4. Ice and heat. And followed by ice.  
  5. Rest.  

Of course, I'm sharing these "words of wisdom" after I neglected tips 1 to 3 and learned my lesson. What can I say, I was excited to get started on this project. Step 4 is working, now I'm onto step 5 before I start back on this project. Tomorrow.    

Until then, happy sewing stretching!  

Thursday, 21 July 2016

In Sewing News Today...

Good morning lovely sewing people, 

So what is on your sewing table? 

After browsing the latest makes on Pattern Review, I got a kick was inspired to sew an OOP Issey Miyake pattern, Vogue 2427, that made it into my stash this year.  

Did you see Sarah's version over at Pattern Review? I actually gasped when I saw it, it is beautiful and I love that she did it in a stripe. My pattern sat in my stash because I feared that it would be too small as I purchased a size 12 and this pattern comes from the days when patterns came in single-sized envelopes.  

Sarah was gracious enough to respond to my question about how "loose-fitting" this pattern worked out to be in the end.  
Hi Graca.It is loose fitting in the sleeves and shoulders but fits at the waist and across the front.I think you could move the buttons over a bit and perhaps add some at the sides.Hope that helps and I look forward to your version!
With these words of encouragement, I opened this treasure and much to my delight I believe that a size 12 will work based on the amount of ease labelled at the bust and hip points. So last night, I pressed six metres of teal coloured pre-treated cotton sateen and carefully cut out the tissue pattern piece. The pattern pieces are large and it looks like I will have to cut some of these single layered pieces from floor level. My body might not be thrilled at the prospect of cutting from the floor but I'm pretty excited about this project. There are darts and tucks that remind me of the shaping of Donna Karan's Vogue 1263. I'm pretty excited about this challenge. It's been a while since I've been this excited about a sewing project. I hope to cut out my fabric later this afternoon.  

In other sewing news... Did you see the latest releases from Vogue and McCall's? There were a couple that I was interested in enough to click a little further but nothing that would make it to the shopping cart.  

McCall's 7435 is cute but really, I have enough patterns for loose-fitting tops. I don't need another one.  

And I do like the hooded jacket in McCall's 7441, but I don't think I need to draw attention to my booty. 

I'm finding more inspiration and desire to sew from my OOP patterns in my collection this fall. Gawd, I'm going to miss Issey Miyake, DKNY, and Donna Karan designs. What about you, did you find inspiration in the new fall release?  

Happy Sewing!   


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Another Peplum Top

Well, it didn't take me long to stitch up another peplum top once I found where I put the pattern pieces. I was close to running out to the store to pick up another copy of the pattern. I revisited Vogue 9056 and can I say how comfortable this top is to wear. I love the raised waist on this one so I'm happy I found the pattern pieces. I accidentally put them in another pattern envelope.  

The fabric is a super soft cotton knit that I picked up at Northwest Fabrics this year. I really like this fabric as it has some stability to it and is not as light-weight and see-through as many of the cottons I'm seeing at other fabric stores. I picked it up for a song too. 

It should have been a quick make if I didn't mistakenly sew the wrong side of the back piece to the right side of the front. I think I spent more time removing the stitching than I did fusing and hemming the peplum. Silly me. To be completely honest, you couldn't tell the difference if you were far away, but I would know. So, I set out to painstakingly remove those tiny knit stitches without damaging the fabric. It was worth it in the end.  

The Stats:  

Fabric:   1.4 metres

Fusible Tape:  2 metres

Pattern:   Vogue 9056

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Janome sewing machine and serger, ball point sewing machine needle, polyester thread for both machines, cutting table, pins, scissors, thread clippers, tweezers, iron, ironing board, sleeve roll, tailor's ham, seam ripper, chai tea latte, a break to shake my head, and a good night's sleep before finishing the project.   

Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Can I Tell You a Secret?


I love sewing knits. Seriously, I'm not joking. Yes, there was once-upon-a-time when I feared tackling a knit project, wondering how I'm going to finish those hems and raw edges. 

Vogue 9101 Serged skirt hem has been
left unfinished. Hand-stitched sleeve hems. 
And goodness knows, I've had my fair share of sewing bloopers with knits along the way. 

Back in the beginning, wobbly hems. 
I've picked up a few tips since this lime green made-for-the-donate-pile knit top. I stitched that wobbly hem with a regular foot and knit stitch. I know a walking foot and ball point needle is often recommended for sewing knits but my favourite trick I picked up has to be this little roll of magic.

Knit-N-Staple™tape. Have you ever used this product? If you haven't, I would really suggest giving this a try. I first picked this up after working on this wrap dress where I used twill tape at the shoulders and I wasn't 100% happy with the bulky feel. The next wrap dress, I used Knit-N-Stable tape. It was a technique called for while making this Katherine Tilton top. Even though I don't believe I will be revisiting Vogue 8710, I can say I'm really happy that Katherine Tilton's instructions lead me to discover this project.  

This product is what I use to finish those raw edges that call for a narrow hem.

And would you believe this smooth finish was achieved with the knit stitch and regular foot that came with my machine. What a difference it made from that lime green top from back-in-the-day. Crazy! Now you know my secret behind my knit sewing love affair. Give it a try. 

Now, maybe I should go back and finish that hem on the pink dress?   

Happy Sewing!  

Friday, 15 July 2016

New Dress for Mama R

As soon as I finished this dress, Mama R deposited another length of fabric on my sewing table. She's sneaky that way. The fabric is a remnant from a previous make and I was able to squeak out another dress.

The pattern has been seen before, Simplicity 2372. She loves the fit of this dress pattern and let's just say that I've lost count of how many times I've sewn up a version of this dress.

The same usual changes reoccured in this dress: removed the centre front seam, inserted an invisible zipper, adjusted the sizing of the raglan seam, lengthen the sleeve and shortened the dress. Oh yes, and added pockets.   

I seem to have finally mastered invisible zippers and despite this being a 100% polyester fabric I didn't have any issues inserting it. It has been a long journey getting to this point in my sewing. I couldn't have done it without guidance from sewing magazines, the online community, my iron, some basting tape, and investing in invisible zipper foot.  

This last bit of fabric has been part of the stash for more years than I care to remember. If memory doesn't fail me, I do believe I picked this up when Fanny Fabrics were closing down in the city. A very long time ago. It has been pre-treated with a tumble in the washing machine followed with a tumble in the dryer and it handled the laundry process without any issues. Wrinkles came out with a low heat temperature on the wrong side of the fabric. The right side has a suede-like finish and doesn't accept iron heat as readily.  

The hems on the sleeve and dress were done by hand. All-in-all, Mama R is pleased to have another version of Simplicity 2372 in her closet.   

The Stats:  

Fabric:  2.3 metres

Basting Tape:  1.08 metres

Zipper:  22" invisible zipper

Pattern:  Simplicity 2372

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Sewing, serger, walking foot, invisible zipper foot, zipper foot, cutting table, scissors, pins, thread clippers, screwdriver, iron, ironing board, hand needle, basting thread, threads for the serger, hand-stitching and sewing machine, a nap, snacks, and chai tea latte.  

Happy Sewing!  

Thursday, 14 July 2016

National Tape Measure Day

Yes, there is a day celebrating that oh-so-important tool in our sewing baskets.  

The tape measure, often worn as a fashion accessory by sewists and tailors who know the importance of a fabric's grain. 

Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Do These Stripes Make Me Look Like Beetlejuice?

I made a new peplum top and to make optimal use of the small pieces of striped knit that I was trying to use up, I think I ended up with sleeves that reminds me of Beetlejuice.  

Do you want to see? Okay, don't say that I didn't warn you.  

I had two remnants of striped fabrics that were similar weight and both were two-way stretch allowing me to play around directionally with the pattern pieces. The pattern, Vogue 9056, is my idea of perfect. The raised waist works for my body shape so this pattern will go down as my favourite peplum make.  

Vogue patterns weren't kidding when they rated this as "very easy" as I managed to whip this up in no time. I didn't even look at the instructions. 

The pattern calls for a "raw edge finish" but I decided to finish the edges with fusible interfacing tape, serge the edge and turn over once and stitched it with the knit stitch on my sewing machine. I can see myself making another one before the summer is over. It is so comfortable and I really like the fit.  

The Stats:  

Fabric:   1.4 metres 

Pattern:  Vogue 9056

Fusible Interfacing:  2 metres

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Sewing machine, serger, walking foot, thread, scissors, pins, cutting table, thread clippers, iron, ironing board and coffee.  

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Euro Cup Dress

I don't know if you have heard, Portugal has made it to the final match! Big game this afternoon. And such an occasion calls for a new dress, right? Sure, I could have picked up a Euro Cup official Portugal tee-shirt but what fun would that be?  

It was at Northwest fabrics when I came across these cotton knit fabrics that the thought of  a Euro dress started to form in my head. I browsed through their pattern book and decided to go with Kwik Sew 4173, silly me. Thankfully, the Kwik Sew pattern was not available at the only store in the city that carries Kwik Sew patterns and I had to resort to finding an alternative. I picked up two metres of the red and green and one metre of the yellow knit fabrics with only an idea to make a Euro dress. I did consider making a top, Vogue 9130, but then remembered I had a perfectly cool Marcy Tilton dress pattern that would be perfect for colour-blocking with the colours of the Portuguese flag. 

And that is the pattern I used, Vogue 9081. It is the first time I used this pattern that has been in my stash for quite some time. And goodness, is it ever comfortable, I can't believe it took me so long to make this one. I love everything about this pattern.  

I cut the shoulder and armhole as a size 12 and the rest as a size 14. The pattern was super easy to sew which worked out great because I was on a time crunch. Most of my time was spent cutting the three different colours out in single layers. Let's just say, it was a late night and there was lots of coffee involved.  

This was at the point that I left things last night in order to get some sleep. 

I got up early and finished up the hem in time to head to church to say a few prayers before the big game.  

Either way, whoever wins, it will certainly be an exciting game. And I ended up with a new dress that I really like.  

The only change that I made to the dress was when it came to do the neckline. Instead of keeping one shoulder seam open, attaching the neckline binding, stitching in the ditch, and then carefully trimming the excess fabric, I decided to go another route. I sewed the bias cut strips together, folded it in half and then stitched it with a 1/2" seam allowance. I appreciate the extra coverage this alternative allowed. 

For the hem, I used the fusible bias interfacing. I really like the clean finish and structure it gives to the hem. All hems were hand-stiched and the dress was sewn with a walking foot and knit stitch.   

The Stats:  

Fabric:   3.3 metres cotton knit

Fusible bias interfacing:  1.5 metres

Pattern:   Vogue 9081

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Janome sewing machine, serger, walking foot, cutting table, pins, scissors, thread clippers, hand needle, iron, ironing board, coffee, and more coffee.

So, will you be watching the big match?  

Happy Sewing!  

Friday, 8 July 2016

A Few Snips Here and...

Well, I found the roll of fusible stretch tape that I was looking for. And after a few snips here and there to remove the bias mess I made of the neckline. I then trimmed and reshaped the armhole and neckline before fusing the bias fusible strips. It worked better than I hoped it would.  

The fusible tape gave the fabric the structure that it needed to be folded over and top-stitched creating a nice clean finish.  I also used it on the bottom hem. For the straps, I used some vintage bronze coloured bias tape from Mama R's stash. Seriously, it must have originated from the seventies. But it worked perfectly with this fabric.  

And the best part, Mama R is over-the-moon with her new slip.  

The Stats:  

Fabric:           1.2 metres knit lace

Knit Bias Tape:   2 metres  

Fusible Tape:     3.2 metres

Bias Tape:        1 metre  

Pattern:          Burda Style 6964

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Janome sewing machine and serger, new sewing machine needle, walking foot, scissors, thread clippers, pins, cutting table, iron, ironing board, time to sleep on it and figure out my next move, coffee, and breaks here and there.  

Happy Sewing!  

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Working On a Plan

Do people wear slips anymore?

You see if you were to scan the retail landscape, you might come to the conclusion that slips have become obsolete. According to a co-worker, slips are what Grandmas wear and have gone out of style with dinosaurs and panty-hose. But then again these words of wisdom are from a younger generation of people who wear leggings like they're pants. Kids, they say the darnest things. 

Thankfully, sewing pattern companies do not share this "youthful wisdom" and we can still find slip patterns out there even when it is hard to find the perfect fitting slip in the retail landscape. 

I decided to give Burda Style 6964 a try. This slip is for Mama R and it is only a coincidence that Mama R also happens to be a grandma. I've made her two successful slip with an OOP Simplicity pattern but I thought with the fabric I found, I would give the Burda pattern a try. It is not working out as well as I hope it would.

I cut the neckline and armhole as a size 14 and then graded up a few sizes to give Mama R the amount of ease she likes around her mid-section. The body of the slip is perfect, the neckline sits quite low and I made an error with the finish along the neckline.

The pattern called for fold over elastic and I pick some up while at the fabric store. It didn't match the fabric and when I was at the table to get it cut I was shown another option that matched my fabric sample. So I bought that instead.

My mistake was turning it into bias tape. It's way too heavy as bias tape for the slip. What I should have done was cut it in half lengthwise and then just folded it. Oh well, chalk this up to I now know better for next time. And I'm not so keen on the narrow straps. Oh and did I mention that it seems a little wide? So it is sitting on the dress form as I try to figure out how I'm going to save this project. I think I'll need to sleep on it and find that roll of fusible interfacing. I'm working on a plan to fix this and hopefully come up with a wearable slip for Mama R.    

Happy Sewing!  

New Fall Vogues

Okay, this is a first. There is only one pattern in the whole release that I'm excited about. 

Vogue 1515
Vogue 1515 is a Sandra Betzina design and I love the ruffled collar on the top and asymmetrical shape to the skirt. 

I can't believe there is only one pattern that I'm excited about this release. This is a good thing, I have a lot on my sewing to-do list.  

How about you, are there any on your can't-wait-to-get-my-hands-on list from the new Fall patterns? Or are you like me and surprised at the selection?  

Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Knit Dress

Remember when I picked up this knit fabric eight months ago? I know it's still shocking that this even managed to end up in my stash considering how much I claim to dislike pink but you really have to see it to realize that it is more of a raspberry colour than pink. But I digress... This fabric was an unexpected find while shopping at Mitchell Fabrics.  

I've been holding onto it thinking that I would make another Marcy Tilton skirt, Vogue 9060, because I picked up the last two metres and didn't think there was enough to make a dress. I was wrong. There was 2.2 metres and with some creative pattern piece placement and black knit lining fabric for the bodice pieces, I was able to squeak out a dress! A DRESS WITH LONG SLEEVES!!!  

Remember this dress? The one that I merged my two favourite patterns to create a dress. Well, that is what I did here. The bodice and sleeves are from Lynn Mizono's dress pattern, Vogue 1312, and the lower portion of the dress are from Marcy Tilton's skirt pattern, Vogue 9060.  

I like this version even more than the sleeveless version. It is so comfortable. I don't know what else to say about this dress besides I can't wait to wear it.   

The Stats:  

Fabric:    2.2 metres

Lining:    0.5 metres

Patterns:  Vogue 9060 and Vogue 1312

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Sewing machine, serger, serger needle, walking foot, pins, scissors, thread clippers, screwdriver, cutting table, and coffee breaks.   

Happy Sewing!  

Monday, 4 July 2016

A House Dress?

Hello lovely sewing people!

How are you? I'm officially laid off from work. It is with mixed feelings that I have some time to be in the sewing workspace. Absolute joy to be sewing again mixed with the normal stress over being laid-off. Oh well, it is what it is, and I'll just have to make the best of it.  So, I'm sewing.

Mama R requested another "housedress" a few months ago. So this project became a priority now that I have some free time. Just one problem, I think it is too nice to be a "housedress."

Webster defines a housedress as "a dress with simple lines that is suitable for housework and is made usually of washable fabric."

Housedress {Source}
I don't see this latest dress for Mama R as a housedress. Yes, it is made out of a washable fabric but I wouldn't call it a garment with simple lines. The pattern is Mama R's favourite, Simplicity 2372, with those beautiful tucks at the sleeve and neckline that give it a lovely shape. And there is nothing simple about the lined pockets on this dress.

Show me a housedress that has lined pockets. The pattern had the usual adjustments and design changes done. 

  • Remove the centre front seam and cut on the fold.
  • Insert an invisible zipper in the back.
  • Sleeve adjustment to the length and sizing.  
  • Patch pocket, this time I lined the pocket.  
  • Shorten the hem length.
So, I failed on making Mama R a housedress but I think I made a fine looking dress. And check out those pockets.

The fabric is a medium-weight 100% cotton that I found in Fabricland's home decor department. It has been at the store for years while I admired it and patiently waited for it to come down in price. And the day finally came that I brought home enough to make myself a dress. When Mama R admired it, how could I say no. So I went back to the store and pick up some more yardage. You didn't expect me to give up my yardage, did you? Who knows, there might be a Mom & Me photoshoot in the near future. Just kidding.  

Back to the fabric... this exclusive Fabricland print was pre-treated with a tumble in the washing machine followed by one in the dryer. The cotton required a pressing prior to cutting and I have to say, this fabric handled the pretreatment process wonderfully.  

The Stats:

Fabric:    2.2 metres 100% medium weight cotton

Zipper:    22" invisible zipper

Basting Tape:  44" two-sided basting tape

Interfacing:  0.10 metres

Lining:     0.20 metres

Pattern:    Simplicity 2372

Thread:    100% polyester

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Janome sewing machine, blind hem foot, invisible zipper foot, zipper foot, serger, scissors, iron, ironing board, measuring tape, tailor's ham, pins, wrist pin cushion, breaks, coffee, and tunes.

Now, I still have to make Mama a housedress.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, 1 July 2016

Donna Karan & DKNY patterns

Did you read Vogue's announcement regarding Donna Karan and DKNY patterns? 
As of July 14, 2016, we will no longer sell Donna Karan and DKNY patterns (current & out-of-print styles). 
I was quite sad to read this announcement since I  have been a fan of her designs for many years. I guess, I really shouldn't be surprised considering that Karan's creative design contributions have diminished over the years. I just never wanted to consider that this time would come. And yet, it has come, a time to reminisce on some of my favourite Donna Karan and DKNY designs carried by Vogue patterns that have made it into my collection over the years .  

My favourite Donna Karan make would have to be Vogue 1263. I like this pattern so much, I've made two versions of this jacket. The details on this shawl collar jacket are divine.  

And there are more Donna Karan and DKNY patterns in my collection.  

This jumper and dress pattern, OOP Vogue 2586, has been in my collection for years, circa 1990. I haven't even opened it even though I still adore this design.  

Vogue 1465 is the most recent Donna Karan design to become part of my collect. This pattern purchase was influenced by Tany's gorgeous version of this top and jacket.  

OOP Vogue 2648, circa 1991, is another pattern that I've been meaning to make for quite some time. I have a light-weight linen that would work for this loose-fitting shirt.  

OOP Vogue 2453, circa 2000, is another pattern that I have yet to sew. So many patterns, so little time.   

Now this pattern, OOP Vogue 2092, I have made up a few times when I was the size on the envelope.  This is my eldest Donna Karan design, circa 1988. It was the first Donna Karan design that I made and since then I was hooked.    

DKNY OOP Vogue 2091 is on my want to make list since I found it in the current size, circa 2001.  

I have two copies of Vogue 1175, circa 2010, in my collection. I picked up the second copy when I saw Bunny's version sewn and worn as a jumper. l loved the length and the change she made to the hem. Another one on my want to make list.  

I was thrilled to add this Donna Karan design for the cape-like top, Vogue 1417, after seeing this made up by Catherine Daze.

I added this one to the collection for the top and skirt--love that the skirt is high waisted and after seeing this version of the top I was sold.  

This dress pattern, Vogue 1281, is one of those designs that I love but wonder what occasion this could possibly fit into my prairie lifestyle? Maybe one day, I'll figure it out. It was Carolyn's version make out of recycled tee-shirts that sold me on the possibility.  

And of course, Vogue 1038, I've been talking about making this one up for some time now. Soon. I have the fabric pre-washed, pressed, and waiting to be cut out. 

How about you, do you have a favourite Donna Karan or DKNY design that you've made?  

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...