Saturday, 21 October 2017

In Sewing News Today...

I forgot how happy french seams make me. Giddy happy. I'm currently working on Vogue 1503 which has french seams and a pieced front. It's a fun project. Although, I'm scratching my head as to why Rachel Comey would suggest encasing the armhole seam with double fold bias tape after all the labour intensive work of french seams.  

The french seams are beautiful. I want more french seams. Lynn Mizono's Vogue 1274 has french seams even where the sleeve is inserted into the armhole. I'm going to go with Lynn Mizono's suggestion on how to finish the armhole. Why add more bulk with seam binding?  

In other news that has me scratching my head, new fall fabrics found at the local fabric/quilt/home decor/and knick-knack store. Lots of polyester and man-made fibres. I'll be honest, it's not my favourite. Goodness, do I miss the gorgeous wools and organic cottons that used to be found at Mitchell Fabrics. But I digress. What really shocked me was the price increases found this season. New stock of sequin polyester taffeta priced at $70/metre. Even with the 50% membership sale discount that's an ouch price for polyester. Yeah, polyester. Similar to this. Apparently, the price of sequins are behind the price increase. [insert a chuckle and eye roll here]. I'm thinking back to something I read in Overdressed:  The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline. Cline exposed how manufacturers use decorative features like sequins to make a synthetic fibre appear as a good or luxury item. I guess it is where we place value and sometimes, as Cline points out, we're blinded by the bling.   

Oh and speaking of value, there is an on-line all-brand sale happening at MBV until tomorrow. 

Well, that's all in sewing news today.  

Happy Sewing!  

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Silk Eva Dress

I will admit, I'm dying to sew something new. But I couldn't deny that the Eva dress is one fabulous pattern. And time was ticking away and this is not the time to try something new. It's time to go with something that I know will work and just get it done. This is a special occasion dress.   

And words can not express how happy I am right now. It's been an insane week of trying to get sewing projects done by the weekend.

Along the way there were injuries, boo-boos, bandages, heating pads, medications and quality time with the seam ripper. But in the end, everything worked out and words can not express the amount of relief I feel.

Nothing new to say about the construction of the Eva dress. I made it with basically the same changes as the others. Oh, but the armhole seam I sewed an 1/2" seam instead of 5/8" on the others. The rest of the seams were sewn with a 5/8" seam allowance. The fabric is a silk that I found in the home decor department. It was pre-treated with a tumble through a wash cycle and a spin in the dryer. All on the delicate cycles.   

The Stats:

Fabric:  3 metres 100% silk

Fusible Tape:  1 metres Knit-N-Stable tape

Needle:  Microtex 60/8

Seam binding:  2.5 metres

Pattern:  The Eva dress by Tessuti patterns

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Cutting table, measuring tape, silk pins, scissors, thread clippers, iron, ironing board, organza pressing cloth, tailor's ham, sleeve roll, sewing machine, walking foot, serger, threads, and a seam ripper.  

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

And Now the Matching Jacket

This is a project that a week ago was no where on my radar along with this dress. It's funny how plans can quickly change.

This is the same pattern that I used for the black wool jacket but with one more change. Mama R didn't like how the lining fabric showed when she moved her arm. In the original pattern instructions the sleeve and the lining are to be stitched together at the wrist. On this one I extended the sleeve length an additional inch and a half to give the appearance of a facing with the fashion fabric and to hide the lining fabric if Mom were to lift up her arms.

It did mean that I strayed from the pattern instructions to accommodate this latest request. I didn't mind. Actually, I found it easier this time around since I didn't have to hand-stitch the sleeve lining at the sleeve cap.

Instead, I flat sewed the sleeve cap instead of doing a set-in sleeve both on the fashion fabric and lining. Then I sewed the bodice and sleeve sides. I also left the wrist open and an opening at the bottom back to pull the jacket to the right sides instead of pulling it through an open armhole. I thought it was much easier. The final step was to slip stitch the openings closed.

Oh, and this one I added a little Vogue label. I know it's not an actual Vogue designer pattern but with all the changes that Mom requested I think it makes it an Mama R Vogue designer original and worthy of a label.

The fabric as previous mentioned a bargain find from Fabricland. It was quite narrow in width compared to other piece of satin back crepe I've found in the past. I started with five and a half metres and thought for sure I would have enough for two dresses and a jacket, I'm only left with 1.4 metres. This piece of fabric is 115 cm (45") wide.  Maybe there is enough for a top someday?

The Stats:

Fabric:  2.1 metres 100% polyester

Interfacing:  0.5 metres horsehair interfacing

Underlining: 1.2  metres organza

Needles:  2 Klasse Sharps, size 70 (broke one while sewing too close to pins.  My bad.)

Thread:  1 more spool polished off

Pattern:  OOP Vogue 8916

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Cutting table, pins, ruler, measuring tape, scissors, thread clippers, sewing machine, walking foot, serger, tweezers, canned air, ironing board, iron, Polysporin® (knocked the iron over and it landed on my arm), pain meds, tailor's ham, sleeve roll, pressing block / clapper, pressing cloth, damp cloth (for wiping off water stains from the iron! Thankfully, it worked.) hand needle, silk thread, tea, coffee, and some good tunes.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

In Sewing News Today...

I'm feeling under the weather and trying to push through some sewing projects that I need done by the weekend. It's been a rough day of nose blowing, back soreness, and a burn to my arm when I knocked over the iron. Sometimes I don't know when to call it quits. Luckily, I was distracted by the email alert that the new Vogue pattern release came out this evening.  

I have to admit there are more than a few designs that I admire. Although I'm surprised that there weren't any pantsuits in the holiday collection. Anyway, here are some of my favourite looks.   

Now, the last thing I need is another dress pattern but I do like the waistline detail on Vogue 1566. A jigsaw puzzle dress.   

Vogue 1567 is my favourite pattern of this collection. It might be safe to say that Paco Peralta is one of my favourite Vogue designers.   

Vogue 1570 might make it into my pattern collection if I were twenty pounds lighter and five inches taller. It's the wrap front on the pants that really caught my attention.

Vogue 1572 caught my eye about a week ago when Carlos was online tempting everyone with the new collection. A square neckline, peplum and wide leg pants, some of my favourite details.   


Did I mention how thrilled I am to see wide leg pants that sit at the natural to high waistline? And I like that these Vogue 9282 pants have a the back zipper and button front details.  

A couple of Marcy Tilton designs caught my eye, Vogue 9283 a skirt pattern that reminds me of OOP Vogue 8637.  

Vogue 9287 is a loose-fitting jacket that looks awfully comfortable.   

Oh and this accessories pattern, Vogue 9291, by Kathryn Brenne! If only it came out in the previous release, it would have been perfect for this weekend's outing. 

There is one more pattern that has caught my eye recently, it's Simplicity 8529. It's currently on back order and on the top of my wish list along with Vogue 1567.  
How about you? Are there any holiday patterns that have caught your attention?  

Happy Sewing!  

Monday, 9 October 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all of the Canadian sewing people out there who are celebrating this weekend, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that you're having a wonderful celebration.    

And wishing you a bit of sewing time as well.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Yes, It's Another Simplicity 2372

The only change is that Mama R asked me to lengthen it another inch. You know just to mix things up. Kidding aside, why mess with a good thing?  

She love the pleats around the neckline and sleeve and how comfortable it is to wear. There were a few changes made to the original pattern.  

This pullover dress was given an invisible zipper for easier exit. The sleeves were lengthen, the neckline adjusted and the centre front seam line was removed and cut on the foldline. There is no request for pockets because she is asking for a matching jacket which will have pockets.  

The fabric was a bargain, literally. I found it in the bargain centre much to my surprise. It's a 100% polyester satin back crepe. Mama R loves this fabric. So it was a no-brainer as to whether or not to pick it up and I picked up all five metres on the bolt. And then when I showed it to Mama R she wasn't convinced that it would be a good colour. Oy! I'm glad she came around because I think it's a lovely colour for her.  

The Stats:  

Fabric:  2 metres 100% polyester satin back crepe

Interfacing:  0.3 metres fusible interfacing

Zipper:  22" invisible zipper

Basting Tape:  44" two side tape

Thread:  5 spools (mostly used up on the serger)

Pattern:  Simplicity 2372

Additional Tools and Supplies:  Cutting table, silk pins, scissors, thread clippers, ruler, measuring tape, measurement gauge, sewing machine, invisible zipper foot, zipper foot, walking foot, regular foot, serger, tweezers, iron, ironing board, tailor's sleeve, and a tailor's ham.  

Happy Sewing!  

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Wool Jacket: OOP Vogue 8916

Wool jacket is such an insufficient description. I wish you could stroke it and feel how beautifully soft it feels, inside and out. The softest wool on the outside lined with silk. I'm so pleased with how it turned out. And my fingers are crossed that Mom feels the same way as this one is for her.  

It's made with out-of-print (OOP) Vogue 8916, a pattern I've made before, so Mama R knew exactly what she wants in a new jacket. First, it had to be a black jacket. Check. Then she asked for an extra inch in the length of the sleeves. And that was an easy on to check off as well.    

The challenge came in my fabric choice. The wool was fantastic to work with, it was the silk I chose to line the jacket with that presented a new experience and a few challenges. I used Microtex needles and I have to say they were worth every penny. The challenge regarding these needles came to threading them. The hole was too small for the automatic threader to push the thread through. I've been spoiled and it took some time to finally thread the needle. I used silk thread and silk pins to sew the lining pieces after hand basting.

Another challenge came in how to cut out the pattern pieces and I used the sandwich between layers of tissue paper method which worked out great. The fabric was prone to fraying and I did spend quite a bit of time hand-stitching the inside of the jacket and pocket edges. I think it was time well spent even if the inside won't be seen.

The inside is underlined with organza and the front piece was interfaced with fusible horsehair interfacing. The fabrics were pretreated for shrinkage. The wool was pre-treated with the damp towel and dryer method and then steam pressed. The silk was pretreated with a tumble through the washing machine and dryer on the delicate cycles and then steam pressed under an organza pressing cloth. All handled the pretreatment process without any issues.  

The Stats:  

Fashion Fabric:  1.2 metres 100% wool

Underlining:  1.2 metres organza

Fusible Horsehair:  0.5 metres

Lining:  1.1 metres 100% silk

Pattern:  OOP Vogue 8916

Needles:  2 - Microtex sewing machine needles 

Additional Tools and Supplies:  Sewing machine, serger, walking foot, cutting table, scissors,  thread clippers, silk pins, measuring tape, rulers, tailor's chalk, iron, ironing board, pressing block / clapper, sleeve ham, tailor's ham, pressing mitt, threads, hand needles and coffee.

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 30 September 2017

September in Review...


I had big plans for National Sewing Month.
National Sewing Month begins tomorrow and the theme is to sew for the beauty of it. I have quite a bit of sewing to do for my beautiful Mom. She wants a new jacket in black. I have a lovely napped wool fabric set aside for that project and splurged on some silk lining. And then she would like another dress in a navy satin back crepe. There is an Eva dress to make for a friend. For myself I would really like to concentrate on sewing some comfortable pieces of sleepwear. I'll see how these plans work out.    

So how did I do? That new jacket for my Mom is in the works. It's all cut out, the underlining is hand-stitched to the fashion fabric and that's about it. I have two weeks to get it done. Yikes! I did manage to get her dress done this month. And same with the Eva dress for my friend. I actually made two, one didn't work out and then there was some unforeseen pattern grading before sewing a second one. Sleepwear for myself didn't even make it onto the radar.  

Clockwise Top L to R: Microwave cozy, no pattern used; (centre) linen Eva dress, Tessuti patterns; silk infinity scarf, no pattern used; satin back crepe dress, Simplicity 2372; (bottom L corner) linen Eva dress, Tessuti patterns.  
As seen above two unplanned items made it out of the sewing workspace. A silk infinity scarf when this beautiful fabric went on sale. And I sold another microwave cozy, this one was a made-to-order request.    

The Fasts:

I can't say that I stayed away from buying any fabric this month (see the silk infinity scarf) but I do believe I lost my desire to shop for fabric after recording my fabric collection in binders. 

Yes, it certainly was an eye-opening experience. This just might be the thing that helps me stay on track. 

The Stats:

Quantity Used from the stash this Month 
Quantity Used this Year
Added to the Stash this year
Basting Tape
1 metre
4.83 metres
Bias Tape
 5.6 metres
21.2 metres
10 metres


Cord Stopper


32.3 metres
38 metres
9.3 metres
103.9 metres
Fusible Tape
 2 metres
43.26 metres
6 rolls
Hand needles

Hook and Eyes

0.5 metres
7.2 metres
6 metres
Lace trim
2.6 metres
Pattern (new)

Pattern (previously used--TNT)

1.1 metres
5.3 metres
Serger needles

Serger thread

Sewing machine needles

2 metres
7 metres


The Plans

I don't even know if I should attempt to make plans since this month's plans turned out to be such a disaster. But here goes, 
  1. Sew that cardigan style jacket for Mom.  This one is a priority.  
  2. I need a fancy dress for an upcoming event in two weeks.  I was thinking about another Eva dress in a grey silk fabric but I'm not all that excited about sewing another version of the dress. I might have over-dosed on the pattern. But if I don't sew it, I have no idea what will replace it.    
  3. A jacket to go with said fancy dress. 
  4. I still want to sew some sleepwear.  
  5. And could you believe that I entered the coat contest over at Pattern Review. I have OOP Vogue 1213 that looks like a fun pattern to try. We'll see if there is time.    

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

The Blue Linen Eva Dress

Okay, I've made a few of these but the latest one was the wrong size. So much so that I had to do some research into how to grade the pattern to achieve the correct size.  

After getting the nod that the muslin was a good fit, I got to work cutting a new dress.  

I'm thrilled that this project is finished and I can't wait to deliver it to my friend. I hope she likes it.  

The Stats:  

Fabric:  3 metres 100% linen

Bias Tape:  3 metres

Thread:  finished off 1 spool

Knit-N-Stable tape:  1 metre

Pattern:  The Eva dress by Tessuti Patterns

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Burda pattern paper, pencils, pens, cutting table, pins, pin cushions, scissors, thread clippers, sewing machine, serger, threads, iron, ironing board, measuring tape, rulers (straight and curved), tweezers, screw driver, and coffee.  

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 24 September 2017

In Sewing News Today...

I picked up some new cotton fabrics recently to make microwave cozies and here is the latest one.

I'm calling this one, "Waiter, there's a fly in my microwave bowl cozy!" Haha, sometimes I crack myself up. I really need to replenish the microwave bowl cozy stock for the upcoming holiday season but I've been busy with other projects.  

One thing I've been busy with this past week is pattern grading. And the pattern that I was trying to grade worked out! I was pretty thrilled and it has given me the confidence to work on a pattern that is in a smaller size than I need.  

I've made this jumpsuit back-in-the-day when I was a smaller size and I wouldn't mind to make another one so once I get all the projects I have on the go done I'll be able to tackle this project. I have some navy sateen fabric in mind for this project.  

First up is to fix the Eva dress for my friend.  

I might actually have to start from scratch if I can't make the skirt portion work with the new bodice. And then I need to get to work on a wool jacket for Mama R.  I'll be using out-of-print (OOP) Vogue 8916 and know the changes she likes so there is have the battle won. I just need to find the time.  

And then I need a special occasion outfit for myself. I plan to make another Eva dress in a steel grey silk with a black velvet jacket using this pattern.   

I haven't used this pattern yet so fingers crossed it works out because I don't think I have time to sew a muslin. The two jackets and silk Eva dress have to be complete in less than three weeks. Yikes! And the linen Eva dress is up first. It's going to be a busy couple of weeks. Throw in there that I signed up to enter a coat project in the Pattern Review Coat contest next month. Oy! Well, I should get busy and stop procrastinating.  

Happy Sewing!  

Friday, 22 September 2017

With Some Focus, Careful Measurements, and Coffee...

I was able to grade a pattern.

This is the first time that I have actually sat down and tried to grade a pattern by hand. It's a big deal to me. This just might open up a whole world of possibilities. But before I get ahead of myself. I used two different methods. First, I tried the shifting method. The promise is that "this is simpler, quicker, and quite as accurate as the [marking and slashing method] (Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences, 17)." But it came with a warning that "the beginner will do well to master the [marking-and-slashing method] before taking up [the shifting method]." 

I have to agree. The marking-and-slashing method was certainly more time consuming but I have to admit that I felt more confident doing this method over the shifting method.  I found that my side seam and shoulder seam were off by an 1/16" to 1/8" when I did the shifting method, where I didn't have any issues when I did the marking-and-slashing method. 

I was most worried about how the sleeves would turn out on the marking-and-slashing method but they fit perfectly. That has made this little vintage Pattern Designing book a treasured item in my workspace.  

All that is left is to have these muslins fitted. Fingers are crossed they work out.  

Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Grading for a Larger Size

This will be good practice. That's what I'm telling myself.

Remember the latest Eva dress that I made for a friend. Well, it's back to the drawing board on this one. It doesn't fit. I've been informed that the sleeves and bodice are too tight. My linen dress was given as a test garment and I proceeded after being told that it was a size too small. Sadly and foolishly, I proceeded without seeing it on my friend or getting her measurements and just went ahead with sewing the largest size that the Eva dress came in. I know, I know, what the heck was I thinking? This is why I typically stay away from sewing for others--fit. Fit is always the biggest challenge.   

There is only enough linen fabric to make one more Eva dress so I have to make a muslin. I should have made a muslin in the first place.  

Grading a pattern. Yeah if you listen to all those folks trying to sell patterns on Etsy they'll have you convinced that it is an easy process. They must be professionals. And why is it that there are no modern sewing books that help with grading a pattern? There is a lot of information out there about alterations but there is a difference. Grading is used to change a size whereas alterations are more specific changes to a certain area of an individual's shape. I guess it's deemed un-necessary in the day of multi-sized patterns.  

The only mention of grading for changes in size can be found in my vintage sewing books from the  early to mid-1900s or my vintage Threads magazines.  
Grading, or the increasing or decreasing of the size of the pattern, is a fundamental process of pattern making that every user of patterns should understand, especially the professional worker (Women's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences, Ltd.). 
And this is why I shouldn't be sewing for others. I found some encouragement in the April/May 2017 edition of Sew News when I read, "[g]rading up two or three sizes is definitely possible, though it's easier on simpler patterns with few pieces." The Eva dress is a simple design. I can do this!  

Threads magazine, September 2006 (number 126), warns that "pattern sizes and ready-to-wear sizes aren't the same. As a general rule, your pattern size will be two or more sizes larger than your usual ready-to-wear size." This makes sense as to why the Eva dress didn't fit my friend. I only wish I discovered this important piece of information before I worked on the dress.    

I do like that the Women's Institute of Domestic Arts and Science book on Pattern Designing explains how to do both the slash and spreading method as well as the shifting method.  Threads magazine, June / July 1990 (number 29), also contains an excellent article. Off-the-Chart Sizes by Nancy Bryant details the slash and spread method for sizes up to 22 and grading measurements for collars and cuffs. I am going to try the shifting method since it is a simple design without any darts.  

Well, stay tuned and we'll see how this turns out.  

Happy Sewing!     

Friday, 15 September 2017

One More Copy: Simplicity 2372

Just over three years ago I made Mama R a navy satin crepe dress. I was surprised when she recently asked for another one. Hmmm, curious, I inquired what was up. Apparently, the original has some water stains from when it was pressed and water leaked from her iron.

Of course, it was no problem since I still had some left over fabric. When we found this satin back crepe fabric in the bargain centre at Fabricland years ago, we picked up all that was on the bolt. There was more than five metres for sure because I was able to make two dresses and a cardigan style jacket. It was a good deal and even though I was reluctant back then to sew satin back crepe, I have since overcome my apprehension as I learned a few tricks along the way.

This is the last of the fabric in this colour. I wish I could say that it was the last of the polyester satin back crepe but I picked up some more in a light blue colour thinking that Mama R would like it. I was wrong. No idea what I'm going to do with the last of the satin back crepe in my stash. Satin back crepe robe? But I digress... The fabric was pre-treated with a tumble through the washing machine, a tumble through the dryer and a good press before it made it to the cutting table.

The pattern is Mama R's go-to-favourite, Simplicity 2372. Same changes as the last half dozen or so that I've made previous to this one, so I won't bore you with anymore details. The only other change that was new was to the hem. I had to baste this one three times before I got the length right. Mama R was trying it on with a new pair of shoes.

The Stats:

Fabric:  2.3 metres

Interfacing:  0.5 fusible

Zipper:  22" invisible zipper

Basting tape:  44" double sided tape

Pattern:  Simplicity 2372

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Cutting table, pins, scissors, sewing machine, invisible zipper foot, regular zipper foot, blind hem foot, serger, threads, iron, ironing board, sleeve ham, tailor's ham, hand needle, and coffee.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Updating With Some Parisan Logic

I've been cleaning out my closet. I'm clearing out all of the items that are taking up room in my closet that I don't enjoy wearing or just don't fit into my current lifestyle. My new philosophy is that life is too short to wear uncomfortable clothes or anything that doesn't make you feel your best.  

First up is this t-shirt.

Made in August 2016, this gray polyester knit t-shirt is the worst for pilling. And I really dislike fabrics that do not hold up. Call me a fabric snob but I don't hold a lot of trust in the polyesters that I'm seeing in the stores.  Parisan Logic to apply here:  sew with quality fabrics.  

Talking about less-than-desirable polyester fabric, I would really like to throw this one out but I'll hold on to it for awhile longer because I could wear it to work where I wouldn't mind if it gets ruined. I work in a dusty environment where there is a lot of physical work, not somewhere I want to wear my best clothes. Parisan logic:  Say no to trends.  Just because scuba knit was the new fabric everyone was sewing doesn't mean it would work for me.  

Another polyester knit that doesn't cut it. It's too warm to wear in the summer and it doesn't keep me warm in the winter. This was actually my muslin it helped to see that the neckline was too wide so I guess it served it's purpose.  Parisan logic:  Know what works.  

What was I thinking when I made sleeveless pullover top in a boiled wool?  Oh yeah, I was thinking about wearing it with that gray t-shirt. It's just not practical.  Parisan logic:  think capsule wardrobe.  

Yeah, another polyester garment. But that is not why this one is getting the boot. Not everyone looks good in a wrap dress. I'm one of those people. Parisan logic:  A good fit is everything.   

That includes this one too. It was conservative enough for working in a catholic school but it wasn't my style. I did like working with the vintage pattern and underlining a garment.  Parisan logic:  Dress for yourself, and only yourself.  

This Lynn Mizono top was a fun make. And I do love the cotton print but the sleeves are too wide and don't quite work for my lifestyle.  Parisan logic:  Simplicity is king.  

Well, even though I'm saying good-bye to these pieces I don't regret making them. Okay, maybe the pilling polyester and scuba knit. Just kidding. All of these pieces have taught me some valuable lessons, increased my sewing skills and I had fun sewing them.  

Happy Sewing!  

In Sewing News Today...

I forgot how happy french seams make me. Giddy happy. I'm currently working on Vogue 1503 which has french seams and a pieced front. I...