Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Practical Sewing

UPDATE:  Over at Quiltfixer shared another source for 3/8" plush picot elastic:  Sew Sassy.  Thanks Quiltfixer!

Simplicity 8229 has to be hands down one of the most valuable sewing patterns in my collection. With this pattern I'm able to make the most comfortable panties imaginable.  

The most difficult part of this project is finding the supplies. There was no problem sourcing the cotton knit fabric, it's the 3/8" wide plush picot elastic that is proving to be a bit of a challenge. For this pair I used a 1/2" plush picot elastic that I found at Fabricland. I can't find 3/8" wide elastic anywhere near here in a brick and motor shop. Thankfully, Tany posted a link to this shop, B,Wear, out of Sweden which sells elastic for panties.  

Back to the elastic that I did use for this pair. It worked out great. The only thing that I had to do differently is sew a second row of zig-zag stitching to make sure the elastic was properly stitched in place after it was turned over. It just took a little more thread and time to complete. It was all worth it in the end and it's good to know that the 1/2" elastic works just as well as the 3/8" wide elastic.  

The Stats:  

Fabric:  0.5 metres of cotton knit

Elastic:  2.4 metres of 1/2" wide picot elastic

Pattern:  Simplicity 8229

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

Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

In Sewing News Today...

Did you know that Butterick is having a two day sale on patterns?  $1.99 patterns and that includes the new fall release!  

Katherine Tilton's Butterick 6492 and Butterick 6357 both made the cut. Only two patterns this time. 

I really do like Butterick 6495, the Life Style Wardrobe pattern, and it is a great value (especially during this sale) but I don't need another coordinates pattern. So, it was just the two Katherine Tilton patterns.  

In other sewing news... I finished fixing Mama R's dress hem.  

Last night I picked up some seam binding and re-stitched the hem this morning. She's thrilled with her new dress and I'm equally as thrilled to move onto a new project. I'm thinking Marcy Tilton's Vogue 9052 might be up next. We'll see... 

Until then, happy sewing!  

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Little Black Dress

Simplicity 2372 has made more appearances on this blog than any other pattern. It is the most trusted pattern in my collection and Mama R's favourite dress pattern. I've lost count how many dresses, let alone the other pieces, I've made with this pattern. I've used this pattern to make cotton house dresses and fancier versions. This one is the latest version in a crepe fabric. It is also the shortest version I've made. This one is truly a little black dress.

I don't know what happened, near the finishing of this dress, Mama R tried it on and it appeared to be too long and we agreed on chopping 1 1/2" and turning it up for a 1 1/2" hem. Boy, oh boy it's short! So right now it is heading to the mending pile to see if I can lower the hem. I found some single fold bias tape that I'll sew on and lower it an inch. It should be ready for another fitting tomorrow evening.  But for now...

The usual changes were made to the pattern according to Mama R's preferences.

  • Remove the centre front seam and cut on the fold.  
  • Insert zipper at the centre back (its a pullover style dress but she finds it easier to get out of it with the aid of the zipper).  

  • Lengthen the sleeves.
  • Shortened the length. Yeah, I went too far on this step.  
  • Adjust the neckline width by resizing at the raglan sleeve seam.  
The fabric is a polyester crepe that has been in the fabric stash for years, okay maybe decades. I picked it up so long ago I can't remember where I picked it up. This crepe is unlike the crepes I've seen lately, it has a beautiful weight to it and even Mama R is quite taken by the texture and weight of this piece of fabric. And that is how this fabric finally became a dress for Mom. Well that and the fact that there wasn't enough to make another Vogue 1410 for moi. 

The Stats:  

Fabric:  2 metres heavy-weight polyester crepe

Interfacing:  0.3 metres fusible interfacing

Zipper:  22" invisible zipper

Basting tape:  44" two-faced tape

Pattern:  Simplicity 2372

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Cutting table, pins, tailor's chalk, ruler, measuring tape, polyester thread for the sewing machine, serger, thread, silk thread for hand stitching, sewing machine, walking foot, invisible zipper foot, regular zipper foot, regular foot, screwdriver, scissors, thread clippers, tweezers, iron, ironing board, tailor's ham, many breaks (for stretching and running errands), and some good tunes.  

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Back to Thinking About Summer Sewing

Part of the recommended physio exercises I was given these past few months was the suggestion to exercise in a pool. I already know of the benefits of exercising in a pool (easy on the joints, etc, etc) but I haven't done so because of one reason. 

I can't find a pool outfit that I would feel comfortable enough to exercise in. And they don't make swimsuits like they used to ~sigh~. I really want to find a board short. I haven't found a bathing suit shop here that sells ladies board shorts. And whenever I try to find one in a sporting good store I've been directed to the mens section because apparently they don't make them for women. And they don't look all that comfortable. The ones I find on the internet for women seem to sit lower than I would like them to sit on my body. I don't think I'm asking for much, am I?

Apparently not. According to an article in today's Globe and Mail, some men are finding that "ill-fitting and bland board shorts are unacceptable" as well. Tailored swimwear! Now, this is what I'm thinking about. Well, since I don't have $595 for a custom made swim shorts I think I'll just have to make my own. 

I've already been thinking about making my own swimwear for some time and have been searching high and low for fabric. Both Fabricland and Northwest Fabrics carry swimsuit fabric but not board short quality fabric. I guess there is not a lot of demand for this speciality fabric from the sewing community in a town with a famously short summer season. Luckily, The Fabric Fairy sells a wide range of colours and prints in board short quality fabrics that has me thinking that this project just might be possible.   

I really like the idea of a tailored board short but there is also another pattern for swim shorts that I might be willing to try, Jalie's swim shorts. These however are made from spandex but they have a wide waistband and are supposed to stay put in the water.   

It might be an option. You can't tell by the picture but they are described as having a raised waist for larger sizes where more coverage and support is needed and this pattern has been given wonderful reviews online. I might make it to the pool yet.  

Have you ever sewn swim / board shorts?  

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Butterick's Fall Pattern Release

Oh my, can you believe that there are already fall 2017 patterns being released? Although, I am looking forward to fall, always! (I love autumn.) I haven't even brought out all of my summer time clothing out of storage. And yes, it will seem like in a blink of the eye, autumn will be upon us but I would like to make that off-the-shoulder top and maybe wear it at least once before I think about fall sewing. That said, there are some lovely patterns that have me thinking ahead.  

Of course another Tilton design caught my eye. At first Katherine Tilton's shirt pattern, Butterick 6491, reminds me of a shorter version of Marcy Tilton's coat pattern, Vogue 8934, with the shaped hem. Except this one has tucks instead of darts at the hemline and a different sleeve and collar design. It looks great on the model, and that forest print fabric is fabulous make up in this design. I think I'm more taken by the cream and black coloured fabric, so pretty.  

Butterick 6492 is for sure on my wish list. Not only would I wear this top as part of my everyday wardrobe, I wouldn't mind this as a pyjama top as well. It looks that comfortable and pockets!

I'm not sure if Butterick 6495 will make it into the collection but I really do like that the off-the-shoulder look is being interpreted for fall. I would certainly make that dress maxi length and maybe three-quarter length sleeves and wear it with a vest instead of a cardigan. But realistically, I don't need another dress. 

Oh no, Butterick 6490! I'm not falling this this cape/top style again. Once was more than enough. Okay, maybe I'll try the cape/top style again but if I do it will be giving Donna Karan's OOP Vogue 1417 a try instead. Prairie autumns call for more arm coverage.  

Well, that's enough thinking about fall sewing when I haven't even put a dent into my summer sewing projects. And besides, the only fall sewing I should be thinking about is making dresses for an autumn wedding. But I don't even want to think about that yet.   

Happy Sewing!   

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Happy National Sewing Machine Day!

I just thought that I would share something since today is National Sewing Machine Day. This is the Sewing Machine Orchestra (installation) by Canadian artist Martin Messier.  

It is a journey into the connection between sight, light, and sound with an everyday object (in this case a pre-computerized sewing machine) exploring the emotions and memories they stir.

Enjoy and happy National Sewing Machine day!

Monday, 12 June 2017

The Wild Side of Butterick 6026

I'm not someone who is typically drawn to animal print fabrics but when I spotted this linen fabric there was just something about it that I couldn't resist.  

This 100% linen animal print fabric went for a song during the tail end of Mitchell Fabrics closing sale. If it weren't for the sale I don't think I would have splurged on this little luxury. It was the last 1.4 metres from the bolt and when I picked it up I had no idea what I would make with it. With some creative pattern placement and still keeping the pieces on grain, I was able to use every last bit of this 132 cm wide fabric and squeak out a version B from Butterick 6026.

And I'm quite taken with Butterick 6026, a Katherine Tilton design, as well. Let's talk about this pattern. I was a little concerned about the "fitted top" description on the back but after reviewing the finished measurements I felt more relaxed about proceeding. It was the pin tucking design featured on the sleeve hem, front neckline and bodice that drew me to the pattern.

Since I like to have some ease around the mid-section I left off the back darts and after trying it on after basting the sides I went down to a 3/8" seam allowance instead of a 5/8 seam allowance. I cut the top as a size 14 around the neckline, shoulder and armhole and cut a size 16 from the side seam. I like the amount of ease it now has but next time I'll adjust the pattern piece. There was no adjustment to the hem length at all. My favourite part are the pin tucks.     

After asking for some guidance on the button from instagram followers, I went with these vintage black and white buttons.  They were on a card of six for seventy cents, that old.

Oh, and the pin tucks! Even though I own a pin tuck foot I went with the method illustrated in my sewing machine manual.

It calls for the blind hem foot and to move the needle shaft to the left. Using the guide on the foot, run the folded edge of the fabric up to the guide and stitch. It turned out perfectly and there was no need to switch to a double needle. If you're interest in using a pin-tuck foot method this is a good tutorial. But I have to say, I'm really pleased with how it turned out with the blind hem foot method. The pin tucks took the most time for marking, pressing and then stitching and was worth the effort. I think they're just lovely.

I pre-treated the fabric with a tumble through the washing machine and then dryer and of course a good pressing. I typically pre-treat my fabric with the same method that I'll wash it after it's made into something. But I don't plan on tossing this through the machines. I'm quite smitten with how it turned out and plan to launder it with some tender hand washing.

And for someone who isn't typically drawn to an animal print, I can't wait to wear this one.

The Stats:

Fabric:  1.4 metres printed linen

Buttons:  7 - 1/2" vintage buttons

Pattern:  Butterick 6026

Thread:  100% cotton thread for sewing, 100% polyester threads for the serger and basting .

Additional Tools and Supplies:  Sewing machine, buttonhole foot, blind hem foot, regular foot, walking foot, serger, pins, pin cushions, cutting table, iron, ironing board, scissors, thread clippers, measuring tape, ruler, sewing and knitting gauge, tailor's ham, sleeve ham, hand needle, wax, threads, chai tea breaks, stretching breaks, and breaks to watch a bit of the Tony Awards.

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 10 June 2017

In Sewing News Today...

Good morning lovely sewing community!   

First up, have you checked out Google Arts & Culture "We Wear Culture" site yet? Meg from McCall's Pattern Company posted a link to the site on their Facebook page and my goodness what a treat! It's perfect for people like me who don't have access to all the fabulous museum exhibits that some of you other bloggers have been privileged to explore. Thanks for sharing those on your blogs by the way. Big name fashion and textile exhibits don't seem to hit the prairies unless it is a mentioned on the pages of a magazine or found mentioned on the internet. And that is one of the reasons why I think this site is so fabulous. This is such a rich resource to explore for inspiration and contemplation.   

One of my favourites I recommend checking out "Appearances Can Be Deceiving" is a look at Frida Kahlo's wardrobe, not only does it give you a glimpse into some of the items found at her home, the site zooms in to let you inspect the images closer. As well this exhibit even explores how designers like Jean Paul Gaultier and Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy were influenced by Frida Kahlo's garments.  

Not only does "We Wear Culture" feature close looks at museum exhibits, it also explores the environmental and political aspects of how and why we dress. Livia Firth, founder and creative director of Eco-Age, wrote The True Cost of Fast Fashion exploring new words and realities created out of fast-fashion. This site has everything I could have dreamed for, well almost everything. Another artist's wardrobe is currently on display in New York that I would love to have a closer glimpse at, as O'Keeffe sewed her own wardrobe. Perhaps I'll stumble upon it while exploring the site, for now there is so much to explore.  

In other exhibit news... I recently went to the Canadian Museum of Human Rights (CMHR) to see Freedom of Expression in Latin America to see some powerful textile art used to communicate when freedom of speech was under attack.

These textiles were created by Chilean women. They are called arpilleras and they were banned by the Augusto Pinochet's government (1973-1990). Chilean women smuggled arpilleras abroad depicting what was happening in their country.  

This arpillera tells the story of Carmen Gloria Quintana, an eighteen year old protester, burnt alive in 1986 for protesting against the dictatorship of Pinochet's government.  

This arpillera depicts the woman dancing the cueca, a traditional Chilean courtship dance alone in the memory of the men who disappeared. It became a symbol of resistance against the government.  

This arpillera tells the story of how the church provided a safe gathering space for the mothers, wives and daughters of the missing men to create their powerful visual messages.  

Quote found at the CMHR

Even though I went to the CMHR to see the Freedom of Expression in Latin America exhibit there were other exhibits that I had an impact on my visit. The CMHR contains other exhibits and tells stories where textiles and clothing are represented in human rights issues.  

The REDress Project, artist:  Jaime Black 2010 to present.  

The REDress Project, an ongoing public art exhibit brings to the forefront the disturbing rate and pattern of violence that Aboriginal, Inuit and Metis women face compared to other Canadian women.  

Quote found at the CMHR

Communication, resistance, celebration and expression are part of our textile world. 

Metis textile part of the Louis Riel exhibit.  
There are many reasons and stories that are part of the stitches sewn over time. It is all around us if we're willing to take the time to explore, create, and think about how and why we sew.  

Happy Sewing!  

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Is it Getting Too Expensive to Sew?

I read somewhere yesterday morning, I wish I could find it now, that someone was considering selling their machines because of the increasing cost of sewing.


What do you think, is it getting too expensive to sew?

I can see her point as the other day, I picked up an invisible zipper for $5.50 (Cdn $) before taxes. Six dollars and twenty-two cents if you calculate that with the taxes. That is an increase of 41% from a couple of weeks ago and the last time I looked at zippers, they were three dollars and ninety cents before taxes. Even Value Village increased the re-sale price of donated sewing machines with a 38% mark-up! Now, it's not just sewing supplies, housing prices, groceries (remember the eight dollar cauliflower of 2015 that went down to $7.99 in 2016), just about everything now-a-days is being affected by price increases even though the rate of inflation has remained low. It really broke my heart to read someone would consider giving up sewing altogether because of the increasing costs even though I have experienced sticker shock as well.

Making clothing was once seen as an activity of austerity. But this is not the case now-a-days. Depending on how much your willing to spend you can dole out some serious cash for sewing retreats and expensive computerized embroidery machines. Like everything else, sewing costs more than it once did. But are recent price increases of 38 to 41% for basic supplies justified? After a decline in home sewing over the recent decades, sewing one's own clothes is seeing a resurgence. Could this renewed interest in sewing be what's behind the increase in prices seen at the stores? We'll likely never know for sure, price increases are often blamed on fuel costs and the low dollar, but it is hard to miss that it's happening during a period when sewing is popularized on television (do people still watch TV?) and on social media sites.  As Gail Vaz Oxlade once told a participant on her show who was trying to sell their car, "it's only worth what someone is willing to pay for it."

I still believe that it is far more economical to sew one's own clothes than to purchase ready-to-wear. Yes, I can pick up a cute Knot Front Tee-shirt from Joe Fresh for twenty-four dollars and break my four-year RTW Fast (don't worry it won't happen, I'm still committed to the fast) but it is a polyester and rayon blend. Not exactly my favourite fibre content. Even though there is some polyester and rayons in my current wardrobe (I'm trying to change my foolish ways), my preference is for natural fibres and these are getting to be more and more difficult to find in RTW clothing. I can still find these natural fibres in the fabric stores. Clothing made in cheaper man-made fibres have a higher cost to them over time. How long would that RTW item in a man-made fibre last compared to a home sewn item in natural fibre item? My money is on the home sewn natural fibre one. And with a bit of creative manoeuvring you can come up with your knot front tee.

I can tell you, I feel it's worth it in the long run to make something in a fabric that has superior qualities to that of the man-made fibres found in the RTW sections of the store. We have to compare and consider how long and well it will last before dismissing the act of sewing clothes as too expensive. And let's not forget fit! When I sew, I fit my project to my shape and avoid the expense and time of having something altered.

So how can one save while sewing?

Plan your projects.  This way you can shop with a plan, when a sale comes on at the local fabric store you'll have a list of what you need.  This is the time that I stock up on that premium thread for my serger!

You don't need all the fancy equipment. Sure it's nice to have but there are also tutorials to make your own tailor's ham and beautiful garments have been created on simple sewing machines of a certain vintage. I remember my Mom sewing us fantastic clothes on a treadle sewing machine, no zig zag or fancy stitches. And some swear by vintage machines.

Know your fabrics. If there is anything that I've learned the hard way, it is better to buy quality fabrics. Natural fibres last longer and wear better than most man-made fibres. You don't have to wash wools as often because wool has a natural anti-bacterial property to it, saving even more money on laundering.

Second hand stores often sell zippers and notions in bundles, even if you only use one zipper, it is cheaper to pay for the bundle zippers than buy one zipper at full price at the fabric store. I use threads found in these bundles for basting.

Here in Canada it is getting harder to find patterns we want at our fabric stores. Independent labels, Simplicity and New Look patterns are no longer found here and the focus in retail has been on the Big Four (McCall's, Vogue, Butterick and Kwik Sew). If you shop for the others adding in shipping cost and the exchange rate, it can be a shock to the system. Check out sites like eBay and Etsy for their offerings. You might be surprised what deals are to be found on current Simplicity and New Look patterns. It is how I got my hands on Simplicity 8229 which as it turned out to be worth it's weight in gold. And now that I found a good source for picot elastic (thanks, Tany!), I'll soon be making more.

These are just a few of my suggestions.  How about you, do you have any other suggestions for keeping sewing projects on budget?

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 5 June 2017

Monday's Mending Pile

Today is World Environment Day and we're all supposed to get outside and connect with nature. I rather be sewing. I will make some time to walk this evening. That's about as far as I plan to go since the cankerworms are creeping me out and I'm not a huge fan of the heat. I'm just waiting for it to cool off before I venture out into the great outdoors.   

Instead, I thought I should mark this day by getting to work on the over flowing mending pile. It felt like a marathon mending day. Maybe because I typically try to avoid mending whenever possible. Needless to say I'm pretty happy I've got these done and out of the mending pile. And I feel that I did my small part to help the environment.  

First up was an easy alteration to one of Mama R. This dress made it to the mending pile because she wanted the sleeves shortened. It was an easy fit, shortened by one and a half inches, serged and top-stitched with an inch hem.  

These armhole tears need a little more effort. Yes, both armholes required some tender lovin' care.  

First I had to treat the tears with Fray Check™ and then went off to find something to patch up the tears.  

The patches that I had in my sewing basket were too thick to use on this light-weight cotton as well as the area of the tear. Instead I decided to use some pieces of interfacing. I patched up the reverse sides as well and it gave the area the stability that I was hoping for and it looks good from the right side of the fabric. This should buy me some time until I can get another replacement housedress made for Mama R.   

And can you guess what that is in the upper right hand corner of the picture? If you guessed a darning egg, you're correct! I received this lovely item as a gift from one of my former co-workers. First time I've used it. I typically use an old lightbulb. Check me out, being all environmental and re-using household items for mending. Oh yeah, I didn't use the old lightbulb this time.  

Instead, I used the darning egg to repair this massive hole in one of my wool socks. And it worked quite well. I didn't want to use the polyester or silk thread in my stash for this repair and opted for black embroidery thread. 

So am I ready to get rid of those old light bulbs from my sewing basket? No, even though I love the darning egg. It is perfect for mending socks but I will keep the old light bulbs for when I need to repair and mend nylons and pantyhose. Wow, did I just date myself there?  

Well, that's all in mending news. Happy World Environment Day everyone!  

Sunday, 4 June 2017

In Sewing News Today...

The mending pile is getting out of control.

It's not quite this bad but it feels like it.

To the point that it is distracting me from deciding on the next sewing project.

Sewing is supposed to be relaxing. I wish I felt that way about mending.

If we believe the hype.

And then there's mending for the folks that is making its way into my mending pile.

I can't say no to those I love. I've tried, and then this happened.

I'm kidding, I would never say no to my Mom's requests.

She was actually hiding this from me and tried to mend it herself. It is this dress, Butterick 6182. But it didn't work out because it is actually the fabric that is torn and she tried to fix it without a patch.

I want her to throw it out.

Not because I have a strong dislike for mending.

I want to replace it with a new dress.

Mama R doesn't think it is necessary even though it is showing bleach stains.  Her reasoning is that she wears it as a housedress. ~sigh~

I'm not giving up even though I will try to repair it.  

The new replacement dress will be in a stretch cotton sateen since I've also had the some underarm strain on my version of Butterick 6182 which caused a trip to the mending pile.

I think Butterick 6182 could benefit from a fabric with some stretch.

I'm thinking about making an off-the-shoulder top after I work through the mending pile.

I know, I've been talking about making one for awhile now.

Considering that I don't like the heat and mosquitos, I typically seek indoor spaces with air conditioning during the summer months so maybe this is not the most practical summer sewing project.

I'm going to do it anyway.

I'm going to make the McCall's 7543 version of this trend.

I just can't decide on my fabric.  I have 1.4 metres of the animal print linen fabric but I think I'll go with the blue and white cotton to test out the style and pattern. But do I need two off-the-shoulder tops?

And will I finish it before the summer season flies by?

I have a black crepe dress and black wool jacket in queue for Mama R that I promised I would make her.

So much to sew!

You would think that being unemployed would mean I have lots of time to sew.

It's not so. Job hunting is a full-time job.  

And recovery from a back and tailbone injury on top of unemployment stress played havoc with the sewing mojo.

Maybe that's why I'm not relaxed in the sewing room.

And explains the lack of creativity with those easy peasy tee-shirts that been filling up the blog.

But I am thankful for the time to heal and focus on my recovery.

The creativity in the sewing room will come when it's the right time.

Inhale, exhale... [reaching for diffuser]

Feeling grateful.

Stretching and off to do some mending.

Happy sewing!

Saturday, 3 June 2017

I Can't Stop Sewing...

It seems like I can't stop sewing tee-shirts. I'm still quite happy with Vogue 9057 so why not?  

And now that I know I like the fit of this pattern, there is no fear of cutting into the cotton knits from my stash. This cotton knit is the cat's meow. It is a light-weight cotton knit that I found at my local Fabricland store. It is the perfect weight to make knickers but I made this taupe coloured tee-shirt to wear with a skirt I made a couple of years ago which I just didn't seem to have anything to wear with it. 

I like that the colour of this knit matches the decorative ribbon that is part of the skirt. Now that the weather is hot and summer-like, I'm happy that I now can pull together a warm-weather outfit.  

The best part of these tee-shirts is how neatly the neckline and hems are finished. I couldn't have achieved this neckline without using Knit-N-Stable™ tape.  It is a 100% polyester stretchy fusible seam tape and it gives the edges some structure allowing for a clean finish. If you can find this in your local store, I would highly recommend picking some up. I don't know how I lived without it. Oh yeah, my sewing pre-Knit-N-Stable tape looked like this.  

As far as modifications to the pattern, I made the same changes as the last few but this time I shortened this tee-shirt by another 1 1/2" since I'll be wearing it with an A-line skirt. Even though it is shorter than the other tee-shirts, I'm still happy with the length even if I wear it with something else.  

The Stats:  

Fabric:  1.4 metres 

Fusible tape:  2.8 metres Knit-N-Stable™ tape 

Pattern:  Vogue 9057

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Cutting table, pins, pin cushions, iron, ironing board, scissors, tailor's chalk, ruler, measuring tape, sewing & knitting gauge, sewing machine, walking foot, serger, threads, breaks to do some stretching exercises and for some chai tea, and as always good tunes.  

Happy Sewing!  

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Me-Made-May Round-up

So the big question is how did I do with this year's Me-Made-May pledge.
I Graça, of Sew Essentially Sew, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May 2017.  I plan on being more mindful of the fabrics that I chose to wear, the environmental impact of my sewing decisions, and to pass along the clothes that don't fit and replace them with items that reflect my life-style and values.  
Be more mindful of the fabrics that I chose to wear.  

I feel that I can check this one off as accomplished, even though it is a work in progress. The fabrics that tend to last and look the best after several wears and washes are those with natural fibre content.

In the news there has been reports on how micro-plastics have been polluting our waters and wildlife. It is not just from discarded water bottles and plastic food wraps or plastic bags, fleece fabrics have also been singled out. The fabric choices that I make as a consumer have a far reaching impact beyond my sewing workspace and closet. It is not only fleece, the shelves at fabric stores are filled with dubious fibre content labels. The California Proposition 65 labels appear here on clothing and handbags found in the retail landscape. I just wish that it applied to fabric sold in the fabric stores and that we had a similar system here in Canada to help consumers make informed decisions. Even without these labels, I know that I prefer natural fibres and more of my sewing projects are reflecting this bias.

Be more mindful of the environmental impact of my sewing decision.  

This is an ongoing learning process. This goes beyond choosing the "right" or ethical fabric. I have to constantly be mindful of the waste that goes on during the cutting process. I tend to collect a lot of scraps and I have to remind myself that yes, one person's trash is another's treasure.

I collect piece of fabric to donate to my school teacher friends for craft and school projects. When I worked at a school and ran the sewing club, some of the older students used to come to me to ask if I had a "piece of fabric" because they forgot to bring some and it was a shops day. And you should have seen how thrilled the students were when I brought in a collection of fabric pieces. They would create toys for their pets, headbands, and bracelets. It was great to see how excited their creative minds were at the sight of craft supplies. And I should be more careful with how much fabric I buy to cut down on the left-over scraps that are left behind. I'll admit that I tend to pick up a little more than what I typically need for a project, "just in case."  

Part of the sewing process entails pre-treating the fabrics before I cut out a project. I realize that the way I chose to prewash and shrink my fabric also has an environmental impact. I've noticed that vintage sewing books offer pretreatment solutions that are less harmful to the environment than the methods I sometimes use out of convenience.

Pass along the clothes that don't fit.  

Check, but it is also an on-going progress.

Replace the clothes that don't fit with items that reflect my life-style and values.  

Again this is an on-going process. I didn't take daily photos of what I wore during the month of May but I can tell you that everyday is a me-made-day. During the month, I wore more trousers than I did dresses which kind of shocked me. I don't own any RTW trousers for the simple fact that I can't find any that fit. I could use more and this month I found a wonderful bias cut pattern that I just need to tweak the fit and I'll be working on the next few weeks. And there is one more tee-shirt on the cutting table.

Well, that's my Me-Made-May 2017 round-up. I won't say, until next year because what I've learned from this year is that it's an on-going process and everyday is a me-made-day.  

Happy Sewing!

May in Review...


My sewing focused on my Me-Made-May pledge to clean up my wardrobe of all those ill-fitting garments that were taking up room in my closet and drawers. I'm not a hoarder, so why am I holding onto these things? Oh, did that sound like denial? Oh yes, denial! There was that belief that I would lose weight and return to the size I was back-in-the-day.

Clockwise L to R:  Multi-coloured polyester knit top, Vogue 9057; yellow polyester top, Vogue 9057; burgundy cotton knit top, Vogue 9057; multi-coloured polyester knit top, Vogue 9057 (first muslined copy); digital print cotton top, Vogue 9057; graffiti print rayon/lycra top times 2 (second version not shown here), Vogue 9057; bias cut wool pants, OOP Vogue 8887.

There were tee-shirts labelled "small" but for some reason they were still hanging around [denial]. So my Me-Made-May quest was update my wardrobe with clothes that fit and that I can actually use. In the progress, Mama R became impressed with the Marcy Tilton top pattern as well and I ended up making more for her as I perfected the fit. I experimented with the polyester knits in my stash before I committed to cutting into the cotton knits. I'm ready now and there's actually a taupe cotton knit version on the cutting table so I will have something to go with this skirt which has been waiting for something to go with it.    

RTW & Fabric Fasts:

I don't think I picked up any fabric this month... no wait, there was a metre of printed linen on my last trip to Mitchell Fabrics. My bad. Oh and there was some lining fabric. Yeah, I failed at the Fabric Fast for the fifth consecutive month. I did well on the RTW fast though. It is getting easier now that my sewing skills are improving and I've found some good techniques to achieve the look I want out of my sewing projects. [singing the praises of Knit-N-Stitch and basting tape].

The Stats:

Quantity Used from the stash this Month 
Quantity Used this Year
Added to the Stash this year
Basting Tape

2.72 metres
Bias Tape
0.5 metres
3.6 metres


Cord Stopper

8.3 metres
6 metres
14.2 metres
62 metres
52.5 metres
Fusible Tape
19.46 metres
31.46 metres
6 rolls
Hand needles

Hook and Eyes


5.3 metres
6 metres
Lace trim
2.6 metres
Pattern (new)
Pattern (previously used--TNT)
1.1 metres
1.1 metres
1.1 metres
Serger needles

Serger thread
Sewing machine needles

2 metres
7 metres


Happy Sewing! 

Practical Sewing

UPDATE:  Over at Quiltfixer shared another source for 3/8" plush picot elastic:   Sew Sassy .  Thanks Quiltfixer! ...