Wednesday, 31 August 2011

A huge thank you to...

I would like to say a huge thank you to Eugenia for this fabulous post.


You see this is the first time I have sewn an invisible zipper that turned out this nice! Even since buying the proper invisible zipper foot for my Janome machine and reading the article in the September issue of Threads.

What made the difference you ask.  Well, a little stitch called a lockstitch. Thank you Eugenia for explaining what that is. Who knew my machine had one? Obviously, not me.

It is one of the two buttons under the word "AUTO" and it is the button on the left. And just like Eugenia said it stitches a couple of stitches in place. And it worked like a charm when applying the invisible zipper.

One day I really should sit down and read my owner's manual. But with so much sewing to do and fabulous sewing blogs to read, who has the time?

Mama R wearing one of her Vogue dresses
The dress that I'm working on and hosts this beautiful invisible zipper (thanks again Eugenia) is another dress for Mama R. Another version of the tweaked Vogue 7836 pattern.

I just have to press and hem. And then it is on to the jacket, Style 2593, in matching fabric. I can't wait to see how the jacket turns out. It's on the sewing table to tackle tomorrow.

Mama R says the dress is the last one that she'll ask me to sew. Do you believe her? Either do I.

Besides, I hope it is not the last one. It has been fun sewing something that she likes and she actually wears.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

In sewing news today...

I guess this falls under In sewing news yesterday but who's counting?


Yesterday, while watching CityLine's Fashion Friday episode I was thrilled to hear that green is suppose to be the new it colour for fall. I didn't believe it when I heard it, well because CityLine Fashion Friday episodes are one big commercial for the mall / store / label of the week.

According to green is spotlighted as one of Autumn/Winter 2011 colour trends. Who knew? Well, besides the stylist on the telly yesterday.

Now why would I be writing about this as news? Well, I guess it really isn't news if you're someone in the loop. As for me, it is just a coincidence that there are green projects cut and ready to sew in my sewing drawer. Luv it when that happens.

Not sewing... just cutting and planning... 

I'm in the mist of cutting out a few more sewing projects since my summer lay-off is coming to an end. I'm adding a dress and jacket for Mama R that I blogged about here.

The Vintage Vogue coat, Vogue 1083, muslin is finally being cut.

A cotton sateen stretch (in forest green!) is cut to make another version of Vogue 8709. Just luck that I picked out the colour. The first version I blogged about here. I'm going to stick to Version B, I like the cuffs, but I think I might change up the collar somewhat.

A couple of weeks ago (?) I made a black skirt using my fav skirt pattern Vintage Vogue 2885. It is in the donate pile right now. I sewed a lap zipper on the skirt side but it pinches, so I going back to the drawing board.

I decided to try out a different 1940s skirt pattern, Simplicity 4044.

It is similar to the Vogue pattern in many ways. They are both A-lined skirts with a side zipper.  They differ in that the front waist feature curves until the sharp corners in the Vogue pattern and there is no kick pleat in the back.

I really like the look of the pants also. I'm going to cut them out in muslin and give it a try. It has been years since I made a pair of pants. First, I will have to trace out the pattern.  

If they turn out I have a deep brown suiting fabric in mind for the project.

Finally, the new Fall Vogue patterns made it in the Fabricland pattern drawers! I've been waiting to get my hands on this pattern, Vogue 1263, since I first saw it in the Vogue magazine preview email. It has been torture waiting.

Vogue just had a website sale where I could have picked it up for a fraction of what I paid, but I just couldn't wait for it to come in the mail. It would have been about 3-4 weeks for sure. And I already had the fabric picked out waiting for the pattern to cross the border.

I did notice that the fabric amount stated on the envelope didn't quite match with the pattern pieces. Luckily, I had purchased a little more fabric than the envelope asked for and everything worked out. It is all cut and ready to go.  

That's all in sewing news today (and yesterday)... happy sewing!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Winnipeg Tweed Ride

Winnipeg's Second Annual Tweed Ride is around the corner. September 11, 2011 to be exact.

I wish I could attend but the starting point is at Assiniboine Park and the ride is about 10 km into the downtown. Yeah, not going to happen no matter how much I would like to participate.

You see it would mean a 34.5 km to get to the park and back even before the 10 km leisurely bike ride. And driving to the park with my bike? Well, just plain silliness. Besides, my post-accident knee won't be able to handle the 20 km there-and-back ride no matter how leisurely it is.

I do think that checking out all the tweed attired riders and taking some photos might be in order? A perfect excuse to get to the park and enjoy the gorgeous fall colours that are about to appear. And maybe brunch afterwards.  Now what to wear for the occasion?

Thursday, 25 August 2011

One more for Mama R

The last dress for Mama R is not exactly the last dress. Mama R likes to keep my busy. So she gave me another piece of fabric from her stash requesting a dress. Another version of the tweaked Vogue 7836 dress (the fabric and dress seen here).

Anyway, it is really nice fabric, a medium weight polyester suiting and it has a bit of stretch. I think that it will work out well. The fabric is wide enough that I was able to lay out the dress front and back pieces side-by-side. That left a significant amount of left over fabric. What to do?  

Mama R decided if there was enough fabric left over that she would like a jacket to go with it, and there was!  

So this will be her new ensemble:  

The pattern for the jacket, Style 2593, is Vintage 1969 from Mama R's pattern stash. I love it! It is a lined jacket with front buttons, paneled front, and darted elbow sleeves. 

I did notice that there is a wee bit of a discrepancy in the measurements from 1969 to present day that I will to take into account before I finish cutting out the jacket.  

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Our favourite version

This has to be my favourite version of the dress from the Vogue 7836 pattern and I've made a few over the summer.

I think with all the practice that I've had sewing with this pattern, I was able to cut down my speed since the first version I've made.  

Although, I do love the print and the soft velvet-like texture of the fabric I have to say it was the most challenging fabric that I worked with this summer.

The other versions were made using cotton, cotton stretch, or cotton sateen fabrics. This version was a medium weight polyester and the wrong side of the fabric had a bit of slipperiness to it.

It also was a challenge to iron. I found at the polyester setting the temperature was not hot enough to do a good job on the bias tape.

I set the iron at the wool setting to make it work. That had me scared that it might be too hot and damage the fabric, but thankfully it worked out fine.  

Once I had the bias tape pressed, it was easy to attach to the neckline and to hand stitch in place.

The slipperiness of the wrong side of the fabric also made it a challenge sewing the invisible zipper. I'm sure more practice is needed in that department. It just didn't turn out as well as it did on the dresses made out of the cotton fabric.

Oh and the darts, sewing those darts with this fabric was more challenging than usual.    

 So here is Mama R posing in her new dress. Check her out rockin' those socks!

 And the back view

 No she's not posing for the camera. That's her hurry up and take the picture pose.

And this is her you're not finished yet pose.

I think that she is quite happy with the dress because I never get her to pose this long to get this many photos. Or maybe it's that she's watching the television playing in the other corner of the room to notice that I've taken this many photos?

So how did the photo session end?

Yup, this is fabric for one more dress request. It's a good thing I have two more weeks before my summer lay-off is over.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Sew Weekly Challenge

Did you see the challenge this week at The Sew Weekly? It is all about the seventies, love it or hate it The Sew Weekly folks are trying to inspired and update the seventies look for the 21st century. The seventies look? There were so many looks, where to begin!

I grew up in the seventies... ah, an age of innocence, well as innocent as Pink Floyd and Peter Frampton can get, until I discovered punk in my final year of high school.

I'm proud to say that I was no disco baby and there are no glitter skeletons in my closet.

But there are some authentic seventies patterns that I was able to dig up.

Do you want to have a look?

McCall's 6443, Tunic, skirt, and pants. I purchased this pattern through my home economics teacher during my high school years. I can't believe that I have held on to these patterns.  Circa 1978.

McCall's 6159, vests, circa 1979. Another home economics class pattern. I remember vests were big in the seventies.  

Vogue 9646, jacket. Second-hand store find.  

McCall's 6436, skirts, circa 1979. Another home economics class purchase.

Simplicity 5048, Men's western shirt, vest, and pants, circa 1979. Very Dukes of Hazzard don't you think? Mama R used this pattern to make shirts and vests for my brother back in the day.    

I don't know, will this be the week I participate in The Sew Weekly challenge? I'm tempted!

Monday, 22 August 2011

In sewing news today...

Lost my sewing focus this morning... 

Today is a tough day to focus on sewing despite the every growing pile of projects to tackle.

My morning was spent in shock watching the morning news coverage.  Today started as a sad day for Canadians as we lost a passionate champion for our country.

The Honourable Jack Layton passed away this morning. As the official leader of the opposition he captured the imagination of Canadians.

The Honourable Layton recently stepped down as the party's leader to fight his latest battle with cancer. He promised to fight this battle and return to the House of Commons. And by the national shock expressed today at the announcement of his passing, many of us believed and hoped that he would return.

Along with many Canadians, I admired his passion for political discourse and respect for other's views.

During his battle with cancer, his passion for Canada and Canadians never faded. It is evident in the love letter he left for Canadians. I'll warn you that you may tear up if you want to read it here, but I thought I would share his parting words at the end of his letter.

"... love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful, and optimistic. And we'll change the world." 

The Honourable Layton, always the optimist. Your optimism in the world will be missed. Rest in peace.  

New dress for Mama R... 

Mama R has one more dress request. Does it ever end? Just kidding Mom.

I forgot to take a photo of the fabric before I cut it but here's a photo of the scraps. I think the paisley print is just lovely. And I love the deep wine and green colours, perfect for a fall/winter dress, no?

The fabric is cut using the tweaked Vogue 7836 pattern that I blogged about here.

Mama R just asks that it has three quarter length sleeves for this latest version.

I think this will jump the queue and become my next project (as soon as I get my focus back) and before I start on the muslin for the winter coat.

Yup, the Winter Coat...

I think I'm feeling ready to tackle the winter coat, Vintage Vogue 1083 shortly.

This weekend the mornings have started to cool off just to remind us that autumn is about to make an appearance shortly. It has warmed up again, +33 this afternoon (that's Winnipeg for you), but just the kick in the pants that I needed to get me going on this project.

I stopped by Fabricland this afternoon to pick up some Horsehair interfacing, more tailor's chalk, and large snaps that I want to use instead of a button.

I'm not ready to cut the fabric just yet, muslin first. Besides, I need to pre-treat the fabric and interfacing while I work on the muslin.

And I will need to practice my tailor tack technique. I think it was in the seventies when I last transfered pattern markings with tailor tacks. I think I just dated myself.

On that note, that's all in sewing news today.

Triple, triple... stat!

So it was a rough start to the morning. I promised Mama R I would finish her dress but YIKES! No more cream, how could that be? And hours away from when the grocery stores open. It was too late to go back to bed, I'm awake now. This calls for drastic measures.

I grab my car keys and head down to the closest Tim Horton's, the only coffee shop open at the moment, to feed my caffeine addiction. Not my favourite coffee, that would be Second Cup's Ethiopian Lima but they're not open. 

Even though Tim's is not the best tasting coffee I've had they do have cream and I have that caffeine addiction. Enough cream and hopefully I can mask their coffee taste. But it didn't work. Well, what can I expect for $1.64? At least it will get me going until the grocery stores open, right?  

Now I should mention that I'm making McCall's 9007 "2 Hour Dress" and it hasn't worked out to be a "2 Hour Dress". 

Let's see: 

Pre-washing the fabric:   20 minutes in the washing machine, 40 minutes in the dryer
Cutting out the fabric:     45 minutes
Markings:                        5 minutes
Change thread (serger):   10 minutes
Sewing the zipper:          Okay, that was uber-quick, 10 minutes tops
Sewing shoulder seams:  A minute
Sewing side seams:         5 minutes
First fitting:                     10 minutes
Seam rip side seams:       10 minutes
Reshape neckline:           5 minutes
Serge seams:                   10 minutes
Ease armhole:                  3 minutes
Armhole seams:               5 minutes
More serging:                  5 minutes
Make bias tape:               15 minutes
Finish neckline:               20 minutes
Finish sleeve:                   20 minutes (hand-stitching)
Finish hem:                      40 minutes (hand-stitching)
Final pressing:                 10 minutes

Mama R's final fitting
Pattern companies can be so misleading! Or maybe it took me longer because I didn't have all the necessary fixings for my morning coffee?  

But it is all good because I'm pleased with how it is turning out and most importantly so is Mama R.  

No more alteration requests at the final fitting. So I'm set to head out side into the perfect sewing light and hand stitch away.

Well, until the grocery store opens... 


Sunday, 21 August 2011

Another Dress for Mama R...

McCall's 9007, circa 1997, has been in my pattern stash... well, since 1997. I guess I'm a little behind in my sewing.

This would be a perfect dress for the stretch cotton print fabric picked up at Fabricland recently. After sewing a couple of garments in black I felt the need to interact with some colour.  

I thought that McCall's 9007 would be a nice pattern for Mama R and chose View D (the red dress on the envelope). I chose this style because has a relaxed neck opening at the front.

It wasn't relaxed enough and tweaking was required. I shouldn't be surprised. I think she sends me back to the cutting board just to toy with me.

With the V-neck cut away I'll discard the front and back facings and make some bias-tape to finish the neckline.

Other changes to the pattern were simple, three-quarter length sleeves instead of the full length and some additional ease to the side and front seams.

My favourite part of the dress has to be the invisible zipper. Ever since I added a invisible zipper foot to my sewing machine accessories zippers have to be my favourite sewing task to accomplish. Who knew that's all it would take?

Back View
Front View
See how nice the invisible zipper looks. And no basting, cutting zipper application time down significantly. Luv it!

It is almost done.
I just have to cut some bias strips and iron them through the bias tape maker to finish off the neckline. Then some pressing, hemming and Voila!  Mama R has a new dress.

But I think I'll leave that till the morning.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Snubbing Ready-to-Wear...

I think I'm becoming a bit of a snob.

I don't know how it happened but I was shopping this morning with Mama R. Actually, we weren't shopping, we didn't buy anything. There wasn't anything that we wanted to buy, not even at 70% off.

Mama R and I were looking and observing that we could construct what-ever garment in much nicer fabric and with sleeves!

And do retailers actually think that people will purchase damaged merchandise just because it has a designer label and a 70% off sticker? Seriously, people.

Although it was an interesting outing, it made me think seriously about the gift and equipment that I have at my disposal. I have to stop buying ready-to-wear (RTW) clothing. It is really sad out there!

So that is my vow... no more RTW clothing for me and Mama R. We deserve the best and it's not found in the stores.

Thank goodness for Fabricland and Mitchell Fabrics.  I think I can do this. Well, except for a Donna Karan undergarment now in then. Eww, I really am a snob.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Thank you Kate!

I'm was just reading an Associate Press article, Hosiery making a comeback with return to polished, ladylike looks, by Samantha Critchell.

Yippeee! I don't know about you but I luv wearing hoisery.  To me there is nothing that finishes off a look and feels better than a silky leg.

I even like the look of a fun pair of tights, one of my favourite ways to add some plaid to a simple black dress.

I think it is the perfect accessory for changing up an outfit. And I don't mind the warmth it provides in those cold Winnipeg winters.

I have a drawer full of fun hose and tights that are sometimes part of my wardrobe. I think I've become a bit know for my love of tights when the principle at the school where I work wanted to be my partner when it was "dress like your twin day". I was a wee bit horrified that I was pigeon-holed into having "a look"... when did that happen? The kids guessed right away that the principle was dressing like Ms. R. Scary, I never thought that I was considered a costume dresser. That's Winnipeg for ya, if you don't dress in the jeans and tee-shirt mold you must be wearing a costume.    

But I digress. Critchell credits the Middleton sisters, the Duchess of Cambridge and Pippa, as one of the influences that are bringing back the polished leg look. Surely, I wouldn't be perceived as wearing a costume with this celebrity endorsement?  

And I do agree with Stacey and Clint from What Not to Wear, that seam stockings rule an evening look. I don't know what I would do if I ever got a run in my Donna Karan black seamed tights! Oh I don't even what to think about it, they were so hard to find.

Now I wonder what Stacey and Clinton would say about Mantyhose?  

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Black clothes don't photograph well...

Black clothes don't photograph well but it doesn't stop me from adding them to my wardrobe.

I bet you can't even tell that the completed garments are the backdrop for the patterns. I told you they don't photograph well.

I used my favourite skirt pattern, Vogue 2885, to make another one in black.

It is the pattern for a slightly flared skirt with a back pleat that I just can't get enough of, this is version number four.

And the second black item is a knit top using Vogue 8737. Absolutely luv this pattern.

It has an off-centered shoulder seam and waist gathering.

Can you believe there are only two pattern pieces to this top?

The front and back are cut from the same pattern piece. The second pattern piece is the facing for the neckline.

An extremely easy top to whip up in an hour, seriously.

I like the way it fits and it feels very comfortable making it a pattern that I would highly recommend.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

New Haircut

So this is what I looked like this morning. Another year older.

Actually that is me with hat head, thank goodness for hat head. I have a thick head of hair that has a mind of its own, otherwise known as a natural wave. It drives me crazy in the summer humidity!

What's that? I swear, I didn't have crow's feet yesterday. It just creeps up on ya!  

Anyway, off to run some errands, have lunch, pick up Mama R and us two gals went off to get our hair cut.

And a lot of hair was cut even before Mama R made it to the chair.

I think besides the hair I also lost about a pound while at the salon. I guess it was all that hair weighing me down.

My hairdresser was shocked that I didn't want a colour. She kept on brushing the dark hair over to cover the gray. And I kept moving it to reveal the gray.

Maybe because it is something new that appeals to me, but I like it.

This is me with my new pixie haircut.

And this is Mama R with her new do. She looks so cute, doesn't she?

Mama R is feeling fine so we're off to The Forks Historical Site have a ice cream and do some people watching.

No one dresses up in this town, so when we had our fill of spandex wearing cyclists ... Seriously, where is the creativity in that?

... We were off to the antique market in The Johnson Terminal to drool over the vintage clothing, hats and shoes.

And we had a few giggles of the artifacts that are considered antiques that happen to look exactly like things at home.

It was a perfect afternoon hanging out with Mama R. Now to top off the perfect day with a glass of port and check out what else the new issue of Threads has in store.


It's my birthday!

Yup, it's my birthday. And today I'm celebrating by not giving a hoot about what anyone thinks. In other words I'm getting a haircut. And I'm embracing my gray.

I tried in the past to embrace the gray to much unwelcome criticism.

"You look like an old hag" my brother lets out over lunch nearly a year ago about the gray hair that I tried to embrace.

He wasn't the only one.

"Are you too poor to get a hair colour?" a co-worker asks about the gray appearing in my newly cut bob. "I can lend you the money if you want" she laughs.

Oh but there is more, I kid you not.

"Why do you want gray hair?" my boss at the time asks me. "You look so much younger when you dye your hair" she tries to soften the blow adding "don't take it the wrong way."

I eventually broke down in a moment of weakness and dyed my hair. And I hated it. I hated that I let other people's opinion dictate how I looked. That was the first and last time because I like the way gray hair looks.  

I'm celebrating my birthday by celebrating the authentic me.

I have a haircut appointment and no more colour, I'm thinking a pixie haircut to show off the gray.

I'm hoping for something like this photo but with the hot grayness that Jamie Lee Curtis sports. I use to have it short and I liked it so no big stretch there.

And then some port! So here is a toast to being authentic and never letting other's opinion dictate how we look.



Back to School Face Masks

These polka-dot cotton face masks are to be gifted as part of require back-to-school gear. Not much to say except, of course, I revisisted t...