Friday, 30 September 2011

Adding to the fabric stash...

I really should be trying to use what is in my fabric stash but it seems like I've been adding to it. Here's a recent addition.

I picked up a light beige 100% British wool. It is beautiful, I wish you could glide it through your fingers. I guess you'll just have to take my word for it. The plan is to use it for a skirt. I'm still thinking about which pattern to use.

And 100% polyester fabric, I love the light teal blue background colour and the tiny floral print. This will be for a blouse.

I've been busy show 'n telling my recent fabric finds because I haven't been getting much sewing done lately.  This cold has really taken hit at my energy and motivation this past week.  I hope to get back to the sewing room this weekend.

Until then, Happy Sewing!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Hot off the truck!

Best fabric find EVER!

I just had to pick up this 100% cotton comic print at my local Fabricland. It was sitting on a cart waiting to be put out on display. I think it is just too much fun! Hmmm, now should I make a dress or a blouse?

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Baby Boy Onesie

I'm wrapping up the onesie that I made for my co-worker who recently had a baby boy, hence "baby boy onesie". I thought to share some pictures.

The first photograph captures the true colour of the knit fabric. In the other pictures it appears green, but it is the same fabric (different camera). I didn't use a flash, I think I have to spend some time with the camera and figure out all the settings.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

In sewing news today...


I just heard from the Church office that the burgundy taffeta has been ordered from Mitchell Fabrics. And here I was under the impression that the manager from Mitchell Fabrics Ltd. did not call back. The truth of the matter is that the manager called back right away and shortly after I left the office.

A big shout out to Mitchell Fabrics Ltd. for helping us out on this one.

The church has a beautiful idea for the Christmas Eve decorations. I can't say too much here but maybe they will allow me to take a photo when it is up? It is hard to believe that Advent will begin in two months.

But right now, thanks Mitchell Fabrics Ltd. This wouldn't come together without your help with ordering a large amount of taffeta fabric to a small prairie city!

You don't get this kind of service at the big chain fabric stores.

Hundreds of Buttons... 

There seems to be hundreds of buttons in my collection.  Some are vintage, others are rescued from previously loved garments, and some are from fabric stores. When I claim to have hundreds of buttons in my possession you might be asking, "Why would you go to the fabric store for more?"

Well, I didn't have enough suitable buttons in my collection to finished off the Marcy Tilton jacket that I'm sewing. The fabric is a lightweight evergreen cotton sateen.

And I found nice buttons that I thought would go well. I picked them up at my local Fabricland store. They have a sort of marbleized effect on them.

I checked the pattern book to check how many buttons I would need. A quick glance lead me to mis-read five and headed to the cashier to make my purchase.

I didn't even catch on that I made a mistake until I finished sewing the buttonholes!

The pattern calls for five buttons for View A, I'm making view B.

I refuse to make a special trip to the other side of the river for one more button and instead dig through the hundreds of buttons sitting downstairs.

I found two that I believe will work since the jacket has deep cuffs that will be turned upwards.

I'll just use the rustic looking buttons on the cuffs and the marbleized green buttons on the jacket front.

Problem solved. Not quite.

Did you notice what I sewed onto the cuffs?

Yes, I sewed the wrong buttons on the cuffs.  

Guess what I'll be doing this evening.

Monday, 26 September 2011

And don't forget your girdle!

Who writes this stuff?

While sewing this evening I caught the premiere of Pam Am the newest television series that you can file under Y.U.C.K.

Seriously, do we really need another show about subservient women in retro sexual fantasies?

The girdle reference was enough the first time around, did they really have to throw in another? We get it, part of the uniform.

The show lacked the wit and cleverness of female-centric shows of past generations like Murphy Brown or Maude.

I didn't even find the styling interesting. And not everyone was in uniform.

Okay, maybe a couple of nice looking fedoras were seen on some of the male characters that I did admire. And maybe one or two catchy tunes had me happily sewing along. But that is as far as I'm going on this show. Besides the toe tapping and fedora admiration the show made me feel icky about having an A-line skirt with a kick pleat sitting in my closet. Hollywood, please!, stop ruining the sixties with these cheesy television shows.  

Pan Am.  Wow, I don't know what else to say except I miss the good ol' days of witty intelligent television.

Vogue 8709: Version #2

The Marcy Tilton jacket, Vogue 8709, is coming along nicely. I actually can't wait to wear it. Do you like my stitching? It is the finish for one of the sections of the collar. I thought it was lovely until... 

I noticed that I folded the hem to the right side of the fabric. Oops! I'm going to blame this one on the cold. But who am I kidding? I was just looking for some quality seam ripping time, it's been awhile.

Well, it is almost done! I am just figuring out where to place the buttons and then off to make the buttonholes. It will have to wait for a bit as I head upstairs to prepare dinner. I thought I would leave you with some pictures.

I do love the design for the collar found in this pattern. I chose version B. I finished all the collar edges with a narrow hem instead of cutting one of the pieces on the selvage (as recommended on the pattern piece) or using bias tape like I did on the first jacket. I love the mixture of gathers, pleats and the layers in the collar.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Pressing News!

I'm talking about the kind that uses an iron and ironing board.

There is nothing that stands between that homemade look and that (hopefully) finely-finished look than an iron, ironing board and a tailor's ham.



I will admit that back in the day of home economics class, I was that student the teacher yelled at for trying to postpone pressing. My rebellious wild-child days are long behind me and I've crossed over to the steamy side.

I'm not one to have the pressing equipment near by while I'm sewing. I actually kind of enjoy the short walk to the other room to press the seams and get a bit of a stretch from sitting at the sewing machine. It is the most important exercise of my sewing day.

Thankfully pressing is not ironing. Ironing is a chore, pressing is a technique.

Pressing is the process of lifting the iron and setting it down in the proper position. You can use pressing to accomplish feats not possible with a needle and thread (Vogue Sewing 344).

Some tips that I've learned on the steamy side of life

  1. Extra fabric or scraps left over? Perfect! You may want to keep these to test the fabric's reaction to steam and moisture.  
  2. Know your fabric, including any interfacing you will be using. I like to have a bit of extra fabric, you never know when fusible interfacing will react to pressing. I would have the heat setting according to the fusible interfacing, you can always turn it higher if it is not hot enough to set.    
  3. Try to use the the tip of the iron and work in the same direction as your stitching. It helps to avoid stretching out the fabric.    
  4. If using a steamer avoid direct contact with the fabric in order to prevent water marks and puckering. 
  5. Unless your garment or pattern piece is cut on the bias, try to press with the grain of the fabric.  
  6. Avoid pressing over basting threads or pins so that no imprints or damage are left on the fabric. I learned this one the hard way when I melted the plastic from a pin head onto my fabric.  
  7. A pressing cloth can help to protect your fabric from shine. The best pressing cloth that money can buy is an extra scrap of your fabric. If you don't have enough to use for a pressing cloth chose a fabric that is similar in weight.  
  8. Always press darts on the wrong side of the fabric before continuing to sew seams, it will help to avoid bulkiness at the seam edges when you go to sew those. Besides, it is much easier to get a neat press of the darts before you sew the seams.  
  9. I love this tip from Vogue Sewing, "[u]se brown paper strips to prevent impressions of seam allowances, darts, or pleats from appearing on the right side of your fabric" (344). It works and also handy for removing any wax that might have landed on your fabric while waxing your thread.  
  10. Keep your iron clean to prevent damaging your fabric unnecessarily. I use vinegar as a cleaning agent for my iron's surface and take care to check my iron's surface after using fusible interfacing to make sure there is no leftover residue.  

And the search continues...

I happened to stop by Fabricland earlier this weekend. And what did I find... more new fall fabrics! And burgundy taffeta too!!!

That's the good news.

There is also bad news to go with that, the taffeta fabric at Fabricland is almost double the cost as the bolt that I saw last week at Mitchell's Fabric.

There wasn't enough on the bolt at Mitchell's Fabric to purchase and we're waiting to see if it can be ordered in.... and waiting.

The manager from Mitchell Fabrics has not yet called the church with information as to whether or not fabric can be ordered in. And the last I spoke with the manager, she wasn't able to confirm if it would be at the same price. But we don't know anything because no one has called back!

What is up with that?  It is going on a week now with no follow-up. Strange.

Fabricland has a new bolt of burgundy taffetta but only 13.2 metres which means that the bows will have to be smaller in length. And the fabric is pricier than the swatch from the bolt I found at Mitchell Fabrics. At $14.00/metre and right now it is 30% off, it seems that it was too pricey for the church's budget.

I don't think it is going to happen since on-line pricing appears to fall between the Mitchell's and Fabricland quotes, plus shipping and taxes.

Oh well, I tried. I guess we're back to waiting to see if Mitchell Fabrics will call back with any information.      

Saturday, 24 September 2011

So missed sewing...

I'm not completely over my cold, still sneezing and coughing but thankfully the jack-hammer-inside-my-head feeling is gone.  So I have no excuses for not getting back to the Marcy Tilton jacket.

The pattern instructions suggest marking the stitching line around the corners of the pocket. I did not do this this on the first jacket I made and even though it worked out the first time, I would highly recommend following this tip. I also basted around the pockets, and everything came together nicely.

This is the view from the right side of the fabric. Of course, it needs some pressing.

The pleated peplum is the most challenging part of the jacket.

Although I'm not a my peak energy level, I am kind of happy with what I've accomplished today.

Lets see:

*  Finish sewing cuffs, check!

*  Sew sleeves onto bodice, check!

*  Sew narrow hem on pleated peplum piece, check!

*  Don't screw up pockets, check!

I think I can call it a night and feel good about what I accomplished today.

Besides, the next step is the facing.  That is where I made a sewing mistake on the first one.

I think I'll save that part for the morning when I'm bright eyed and ... well, you know what I mean.

Happy sewing dreams!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

In sewing news today...

No actual sewing... 

I have a full-blown head cold and just sitting here drinking a neo-citron, blowing my nose, and hoping for a restful sleep. So there is no actual sewing activity to report.

The Marcy Tilton jacket will just have to wait, at least until my head stops throbbing.

The waiting game... 

I agreed to do some sewing for the church. But I did have to ask for some help with ordering the supplies needed.

Mama R and I spent our Saturday hitting the fabric stores in search of 15 metres of 150 cm wide burgundy fabric in a town that has been home to the demise of fabric stores. Well, that is not totally accurate, quilting fabric seems to have taken over the floor space of most once-thriving home-sewing fabric space.

But I digress...

I returned to church office to offer my report, a sample of fabric, and a business card that I received from Mitchell Fabrics. Along with the instructions from the sales gal to call the store manager about ordering fabric in for the project.

"Can't you call?" I was asked.

"No, do you know how much I have on my plate right now?" I replied. "I need someone to place the order if this [the fabric] is okay and for it to be paid for and picked up. If you can order the supplies that I need and get them to me, I'll do the sewing." I was feeling kind of proud that I wasn't going to take on more than I can handle.

And then I did ended up speaking to the manager of Mitchell's.

Yup, I'm not very good at putting my foot down.

Long story short, the manager at Mitchell's stated that she'll have to look into it further and was uncertain if the fabric could be ordered at this time. She said she would call the church back.

But no call back as of yet. What's up with that?

Could I possibly have discovered why Mitchell's has vast selection of authentic vintage fabrics?

Hopefully, that's not it and fingers are crossed the store manager will call with news that the fabric can be ordered.

Wow, Burda Style!  

I have in my possession the September 2011 copy of Burda Style. It is almost as difficult to find a copy in the bookstore shelves as fifteen metres of burgundy fabric is in a Winnipeg fabric store.

A peak inside and I discover this dress. Love at first sight!

I think this dress is just too cute. So I bought the magazine despite reading, "[t]he boule silhouette is especially suited for larger women, so we have designed it for tall sizes".

Tall sizes, drats! I still want to give it a try though. I'll just have to tweak the pattern to fit my five-one frame.

Don't ask me when I'll find the time to adjust this pattern and sew it with all the other projects I have piling up.

But a gal can dream, can't she?  Sometimes dreams come true.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

All about sleeves and...

I'm sewing the most important part of the Marcy Tilton Jacket, the sleeve.

The placket has been hand-stitched in place. I know edge stitching would have been quicker but I do like hand-stitching.  

I also stitched the pleats and sleeve seam.  And I fused interfacing to two cuff pieces, just before I ran out of steam.

My sewing has been continuously interrupted by episodes of coughing into my sleeve.  No, not the sleeve I'm sewing, the shirt sleeve I'm wearing (I'm wearing an old shirt).

Yup, I've got a cold.

All this coughing and sneezing the past day has me thinking about our poor sleeves. Recently, it has become fashionable to deposit your germs into your sleeve. Yeah, yuck. But it hasn't always been the cultural norm.  Gotta love vintage public service announcements!

Who knew that things would evolve and it would no longer be fashionable to carry hankies? That's just plain silliness, I think hankerchiefs are fashionable and a fine alternative to the sleeve. Check these out! How cute are these? Not ready to embrace your masculine side, I'm sure there are dainty styles out there too.    


Apparently, cool hankerchiefs like these just haven't caught on yet with the younger set. At the school where I work the children are taught to use their sleeves period, not use your sleeves as an alternative. Besides, why sneeze into a hankie when you have a sleeve? We really have become a culture of convenience. Seriously, who came up with this idea? As if germs don't survive on sleeves.  

I wouldn't dream of sneezing into my newly sewn sleeve. Heavens, I've worked so hard on it. 

Besides this Marcy Tilton jacket pattern has awesome pockets for holding cool hankies. (I really must make some.) 

What do you think, hankies or sleeves?  

Monday, 19 September 2011

Putting down that seam ripper!

The last time I had a block of sewing time I spent it creating a make-work project that involved my seam ripper. 

I'm happy to report that the make-work project has been completed and I'm able to continue work on the Marcy Tilton jacket.  Yippee! 

My most recent sewing mistake occurred when making the opening for the cuff on the sleeve. After stay-stitching and cutting the opening I should have opened the newly cut edge and spread it across the bias cut placket. Silly me.   

It is all under control and I was able to sew the sleeve placket the way it should have been sewn in the first place.

I'm now able to hand-stitch the placket in place before moving on to the sleeve pleats and cuffs.  

That will have to wait until tomorrow, if I'm lucky to score some quality sewing time after my work day, fingers crossed. It would be nice to have the jacket done by the end of the week.  


Saturday, 17 September 2011

In sewing news today...

How do you say "no"?  

I am very selective of who I will sew for. The group is extremely small, me, Mama R, that's it. The group is small because I absolutely despise being taken advantage of, hate it!

No matter how much I tell people I'm too busy to take on sewing work, do not want to take on sewing work, it seems to fall on deaf ears.

And so once again I find myself hating this part of my life.

But it is a project for the church, a project that they want done for the Christmas eve decorations.

How could I say no? I couldn't. It is the power of Catholic guilt.

Yup, not only is there Portuguese guilt, there is also Catholic guilt that causes me to take on sewing projects when I don't have much free time.

Sometimes life sucks. No one thinks of these projects while I'm laid off from work and have the time to invest in the project.

No, I suspect that the act of sewing is often de-valued in the eyes of non-sewers as something that we're able to whip up without any effort.

Yup, sometimes life sucks.

"Ouch!" I yelp, wondering how I got struck by lightening.

Now where was I? Oh yeah, life sucks when you don't have the time and resources to make this an easy project. They are really expecting a miracle here.

Of course, no one from the church is available to come help me scope out supplies. So I'm on my own for that. All I'm given is a photograph, description, and general guidelines. And no budget. I was able to talk Mama R to come along for that important second opinion that I value when I'm venturing into unfamiliar sewing territory.

So, it was off to Mitchell Fabrics to price things out and see if it is even possible. I'm looking to purchase 20 metres of fabric. The fabric has to be burgundy like in the photograph and something maybe with some drape.

Of course, trying to find 20 metres of anything in Winnipeg. Well, wish me luck.

There was a beautiful organza that would have been perfect and only $7.99/metre.  Yeah, for organza! You wouldn't find that price at the big chain fabric stores like Fabricland, my other option in the city.

But there was not enough burgundy organza and it could not be special ordered in, so the search continues.

The salesperson is able to help me out since burgundy is not a popular colour this season. We were able to find some burgundy light-weight taffeta that might work. Of course, there is not enough for the project.

I'm sent off with a clipping from the bolt of fabric and the business card to hand over to the church to make the final decision and place the order.

The manager will be in on Monday and will have to see if it can even be ordered.

If it can be ordered, it could take up to 2 to 3 weeks. And then someone will have to pick it up and pay for it.

If it can come together it really will be beautiful. We'll have to wait and see. I just hope there is enough time.

Since we're here... 

Mama R and I took a peak around Mitchell Fabrics to see what is new.

We found some beautiful brightly coloured knits, pretty but I'm not in the market for knits.

In the sales section, I was delighted to see the ivory and pink fabric that I used for the Vogue 1043 dress earlier this year.

I was surprised that there is still some left on the bolt and even more surprised that the price has gone up significantly since I picked it up.

Mama R and I head downstairs to check out what treasures are to be found. Again we were surprised at the prices, things certainly have changed since our last visit there!

But we did have a fun trip down memory lane checking out the vintage fabric selection.

I did end up scoring a fantastic price on muslin.

I have to admit that it is the first time that I've seen light green muslin. They even had pink!

And you never know when you'll come across the perfect size of snaps for a winter coat! I'll take a couple of those.

I did find a cotton/wool blend vintage plaid that made it home with me.

I thought that I would use it for Vintage Vogue 2401 but when I pulled out the pattern it read that it is not suitable for plaids.

Do I risk it?

I might have to sit on this for awhile and think about it.

And finally some sewing time!  

But I think I might be out of practice!

I finally spent some time in front of the sewing machine. It felt like it has been way too long!

I'm sewing another jacket in green sateen stretch fabric using Vogue pattern 8709.

I think I mentioned that I love this jacket? Well, I'm making another one, that's how much I like it.

The front bodice darts are done. And the bodice back pieces are stitched together. It is starting to look good as I piece together the bodice pieces.

Right now, I'm at the seam-ripping stage.

I'm removing the bias strip at the cuff opening. I don't know what I was thinking.

Maybe that was my problem, I have too much work stuff on my brain. I gotta remove that along with these stitches.  

This might take awhile.  

That's all in sewing news today... 

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Too tired to sew

I never thought it would happen, but I'm just too tired to sew.

It has been about two weeks since I had the opportunity to sit down and enjoy some relaxing sewing time. And I've been itching to get back at it for days, and now that I finally have a free evening, I'm too tired to sew.

I got as far as dragging out the sewing machines and setting them up on the fold away table. Yup, no fancy sewing room here.

I even picked out a project from the many sitting in my sewing drawers. The Marcy Tilton jacket, Vogue 8709.

If it sounds familiar, there is a reason for it. I did make one already and blogged about it here, here, and here.

And then the signs of energy drain started to appear.

I chose a project based on the thread colour found on my sewing machines because I was feeling too tired to change the thread on my serger. That was the first sign that my energy level was not up to par.

And then it was all about transferring markings onto the fabric. The constant yawning slowed down the process.

I think the sleepless night I had last night is catching up with me. And if I try to fight the tiredness any further I'm sure a sewing error is waiting to jump out at me.  So no sewing tonight.

I'm off to recharge my battery and hopefully, fingers crossed, catch some zzz's and a good night's sleep. And hopefully, maybe after work tomorrow, I'll have the energy I need to focus on this project.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Bill Cunningham New York!

Have you seen Bill Cunningham New York? It is a documentary film released earlier this spring. I saw it this weekend and quite enjoyed it.

Bill Cunningham is an eighty-two year old cycling fashion photographer with The New York Times.

He would be best described as a cultural anthropologist documenting street fashion in New York City. A fascinating documentary capturing passion in action and a look at the modest and charming man behind the photographs.

The movie will certainly give you something to think about as Cunningham cycles past a protest to save fashion industry jobs. Cunninghman, observing the world around him with his camera lens, is also astute about the fashion industry. Fashion, Cunningham reveals, is more than getting dressed, corporate profits, recycling designer ideas, functionality, uniformality, it's about...  

You really didn't think I would spoil it for you? Go see it before I give too much away.  

Monday, 12 September 2011

I just received the BEST BIRTHDAY GIFT EVER!

I know, I know my birthday was last month... but this was dropped off this afternoon while I was out and I just have to share my best birthday gift ever!!!

Can you guess what it is? Wait first we have to read the card... 

Thirty-four candles, yup that sounds about right... 

It was!  Thank you awesome family!  

LOVE IT!!!  I can't believe they found one, I've been looking all over the city for one of these!  

Yes, I must blog about my awesome family and my new fabulous pin cushion bracelet!  

The Perfect White Shirt

Is there such a thing?  If I were to dream, the fabric would be white and made from natural fibres. It would have long sleeves, a menswear ...