Monday, 31 October 2011

In sewing news today...

"Orange is the happiest colour".  ~Frank Sinatra~

I've had this fabric in my stash for some time now. I picked it up for a song when The Fabric Centre closed down earlier this year. It is a 100% polyester suit weight fabric with a lovely drape to it. I don't usually get excited about polyester fabric. 

I do, however, adore the colour the moment I eyed it. Like Frank Sinatra says, "orange is the happiest colour". And this is not a muted orange, this one sings!  

There is not a lot of yardage here, but enough to make a skirt.  That has been my plan all along. The problem has been locating an orange zipper, until today! 

I happened to be in Mitchell Fabrics, unplanned and not all that pleased about heading out there. But I digress... 

And what did I happen to find, an orange zipper and it made me happy. Now if I could just find some time to sew.  

Seeing Red!   

The twenty metres of taffeta fabric has finally been picked up from Mitchell Fabrics and is currently sitting in the front hallway.

It is beautiful, isn't it?  I like this one better than the sample I picked up on the first visit. This one just screams Christmas! much more so than the first taffeta fabric that was considered. I'm happy that the order wasn't a perfect match with the sample.

I think that it will be nice when it is all done. I'm actually a wee bit excited to see it when it is finished and hanging in the church on Christmas Eve. And can you believe that Christmas is eight weeks away?  Craziness.

Talking about crazy, things here have been beyond stressful and there is no way that I will even be able to start cutting this before the end of the week.

Throw in job hunting that is taking priority over any sewing life since I quit my job a week ago.  That's a whole other story for another time.

Unfortunately, with all this beautiful fabric I have been seeing red.

Any help with placing or picking up this order has been ignored and forgotten. Auuuugggghhhhhh! Yea, I can add this to the list of why I hate sewing for others. After this, no more sewing for others.

Even though the fabric is beautiful and I am looking forward to seeing the bows sewn up and hanging on Christmas Day, the whole experience so far has left me feeling taken advantage of and frustrated. I'm not loving this feeling nor the balance on my Visa. Once I'm reimbursed for the supplies I'll get to work on donating my time and sewing skills. And hopefully then, I'll stop seeing red.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Pattern Give-away Winner!

And the winner of the pattern give-away is...

Que the Random Number Generator!  Oh, wait, no need.  The winner is Angela The Creative Diva!  Que the applause, and Congratulations!

Angela, I have your postal info in a previous email.  I'll drop it in the post this afternoon.

Youth & Ageing

The gals over at Feminist Fashion Bloggers are discussing Youth & Ageing this month.

There is discussion of *gasp* hitting the big four-oh! and even talk about how frustrating it is to be carded. Oh to be young again. Seriously? I have to jump in because so far no one has touched on the topics of menopause or ageism. Of course not, when being carded and contemplating the big four-oh! are the life experiences that have so far been lived it is understandable.  Besides, menopause and ageism are not sexy topics.

Dr. Robert Neil Butler coined the term ageism in 1968 to describe the dismissive treatment that seniors were receiving. Now I'm not a senior by any stretch of the imagination but Mama R is and I have to tell you it is quite scary sometimes to see the lack of patience out there.

Ageism has also helped to fuel a billion dollar cosmetic industry.

Youthfulness has become an cultural obsession, as baby boomers waltz towards retirement. The younger set are rushing to get their botox fix. In modern western culture youthfulness is prized. No new thought here.

It is like we're a culture of addicts in need of some serious rehab. Want perky breasts or a six-pack? There is a quick fix surgical treatment for that, no need to pad a bra or waste time exercising.

We're living in a youth obsessed culture of convenience from our food, health, beauty, or just fill in the blank and we're in denial over our addiction.

And while we're living this youth obsessed culture of convience, we're being callous towards each other in the process. Let's take a few examples from my workplace.

"Do you need to borrow money to colour your hair?" an outspoken co-worker blurts out loud.

On another occasion a former boss suggests that I "shouldn't take it the wrong way" before she questions my motivation for letting my hair go grey. "You look so much younger when you colour your hair", she adds.

It takes a strong person to stand up to the ageism in a work-place. Otherwise you will need a hefty bank account to cover hairdresser bills. And you'll have to be prepared for the backlash for standing up to the cultural norms.

The youth obsessed rhetoric has also echoed from within my own family in the form of "fat" comments from my elderly father and "old hag" comments from my youngest brother. Here gender imbalance intertwines with their ageist rhetoric.

Women deal with callous comments regarding the natural aging process far more times than their male counterparts. Men are often seen as distinguished when they grey. The cruel reach of ageism seems to barely touch men. Consider Hugh Hefner, 85. On second thought, let's not consider Hefner.

Rather let's consider Ari Seth Cohen's blog Advance Style celebrating the stylish and often forgotten older set. He is coming out with a book early next year chronicling the stylish folks that celebrate fashion with confidence that the youth obsessed masses lack while they're shopping at the mall.

Why do so many women buy into the youth obsessed notion of forever 21 young? Why are they buying into the marketing of hair colour, plastic surgery and spa treatments that promise youthfulness? I personally would like to know.

And believe me I've spend some serious coin at the beauty salon. But it was never about looking young. In my youth, I would dye my hair to follow fashion trends, not to try to appear an age that I'm not.

I'm proud of my age, the life I have lived so far, the life yet to come, and the battle scars that have come with it. Oh yes and the curves, I'm proud of the curves thanks to menopause despite what the males in my life express. So am I happy with the way I am, absolutely. I have no desire to be something other than me. But I have to admit, a wee part of me is inspired by the ladies in Advance Style.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Help from the Sewing Goddess

So Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom, household arts, crafts, spinning, weaving, and textiles is helping out today.

Athena is setting down her shield and commanding the sewing powers to step in and help out.

Mama R had a procedure yesterday and has to take it easy for the next five days, especially today. Well, Mama R, for her four-foot-someting frame, is one feisty woman that you can not easily slow down.

Can you believe that Mama R is working away at a pile of mending? Yea, I can't believe it either. See what I mean, Athena.

And bonus for me, I'm getting some help with the mending.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Yea Mitchell Fabric!

Yea Mitchell Fabrics!

I guess you can say that Mitchell Fabrics is Winnipeg version of a Fashion District.  It is a 22 000 square feet of sewer's heaven.

Anyway, Mitchell Fabrics came through with 20 metres of fabric.


Now the catch, the fabric is not a colour match to the fabric sample I picked up weeks ago.

So someone is off to check out the fabric this week. If the colour gets the church's seal of approval then it everything is a go ahead.

That means Vogue 8577 will end up shelved along with Vogue 8752 until this gets done. Priorities. Besides, Christmas Eve is less than nine weeks away, Eeeks!

I'm so glad I'm not making any Christmas gifts this year because it seems that I'm becoming Queen of uncompleted projects.  

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Oops and Pattern Give-Away!

Ooops! Sorry to any readers that got a glimpse of my incomplete post, Matching or Mismatching Plaids. It was set to a scheduled time instead of a draft and life took over my planned blogging time last night. I took it down when I realized my error, I promise to finish it and repost soon.

So I think this goof calls for a Pattern Give-Away. This one is more seasonal appropriate than the last one.

Same rules... leave a post if you are interested in the patterns and have no intention of selling them, instead you will cherish them when they are in your possession, send a link to the finished garment, or don't. But I would love to see what you do with it and how it turns out. And pass them along when you are done with them. The pattern giveaway is open to anyone. I have no problem shipping international. I will draw for these on Sunday, October 30. Good luck to everyone who enters!

So here goes...

Vogue pattern 2907
Misses'/Misses' Petite Pants
Unopened, Sizes 10-12-14
"Flared pants have wide, 2" below waist yokes, side front pockets with piping fly zipper and back welt pockets.  A: tabs and buttons on yoke. B: carriers and purchased pipping used on pockets.  

Butterick 5090
Misses'/Children's/Girls' Jacket, Pants & Hat
Very loose-fitting, unlined, below hip, blouson jacket has collar, dropped shoulders, pockets stitched in place, stitched hems, front exposed zipper and long sleeves with elastic.  Purchased cording for drawstring waist. Tapered pants have elastic waist, side pockets and stitched hems. Hat has crown and brim.  

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

We're shopping for dresses!!!

The highlight of my day was picking up my niece from school. She totally made my day.

"Auntie Graca do you think we could go shopping for grad dresses?" she asked.

"Grad dresses?" I asked with puzzlement.

"Yeah" she said.

"Are you thinking of a ready-to-wear dress or one that you want sewn?" I ask hoping that she wouldn't answer ready-to-wear.

"I would like to go and see dresses and see what I would like first," she said.

Struggling to regain control of the car as I replied, "sure".

Jiminy Cricket! I think she might let me make her a dress. I'm so excited. I can't remember the last time I made my niece a dress. Never mind a special occasion dress.

And a grad dress, I would be so honoured. I didn't get to go to my high school graduation, strict Portuguese family blah, blah, blah so part of me is living vicariously through her. I know, I know, it is her special day. And hey if she wants ready-to-wear I wouldn't hold it against her. I'm just thrilled that she's letting her old aunt share in the planning of one of her special days.

We're going shopping!  

Monday, 24 October 2011

Vogue 8577

Slowly but surely, Vogue 8577 is coming along. It has bumped the jacket that I was previously working on off the sewing table.

So far, I have the bodice pieces of the main fabric sewn together and attached the waistband.

The bodice front has shoulder gathering and the bodice back has a yoke and centre back seam.

The shoulders look a bit wide to me at the moment, don't they?

I guess I'll just have to wait and see how it looks when I attach the sleeves.

I didn't make a muslin for this dress pattern so I'm hoping that all turns out. I figured that I know my size in Vogue patterns and that I would just go with it. I know, my bad.

I've been luck so far [knock on wood] and the stripes on the plaid have for the most part been matching up quite nicely. But there is still the skirt portion to match up. Hopefully, my luck will continue.

The lining has been more of a challenge than matching up the stripes on the plaid.

I'm not a fan of working with slippery fabrics. Taking my time has, so far, been paying off. And I know I will like the way it will feel when it is all put together. So, for now the slow down and sew carefully technique might prove to be worth it in the end. Time will tell.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

We interrupt regular scheduled programming...

An interruption in my regular sewing schedule to participate in The Sew Weekly challenge, Lounging Around!

I've had this fabric in my stash for quite some time.

Now anyone who knows me will probably be saying "little pink flowers, you? Really?"

What can I say? I have pink skeletons in my fabric closet.

What I did like about this fabric was the knit on side and the soft fleece on the other. Perfect for Winnipeg winter loungewear, no? The pattern: Simplicity 2289. I like the collar and pockets big enough to hold a book.

The pattern was easy to work with, only five pattern pieces (front, back, collar, cuff, and pockets). I was able to whip this up in no time.

It is not the best sewing that I've done. But hey, it's not like this sexy number is going to get any close inspection.

Besides it was all about warm weather comfort that I was aiming for. I think I accomplished what I was aiming for with this one, along with being cozy and roomy enough for late night snackin'.

Would I recommend the pattern? Absolutely.    

Saturday, 22 October 2011

An autumn afternoon in the village.

I was bad yesterday when I bought a pendant. I was in Osborne Village picking up my new glasses and peaked into some of funky shops in the neighbourhood to check out the new trends. I couldn't resist. The pendant brought back memories of Portugal and all the beautiful tile work that graced the streets and homes.

I found it at Silver Lotus, a cute little shop that carries handbags, clothing, and tons of unique jewelry pieces. This one was $28 (Cdn).

It was a nice walk through the Village. Oh and these are my new glasses!

Sorry I'm not wearing them for you to see.

Let's just say that the orangey-coral colour matches the blemishes that have appeared on my face this week.

Who gets blemishes in their forties, seriously? But I digress.

The frames are by ooh la-la de Paris and I luv them!

I was looking for frames with some colour. And I like the silver on the arm of the glasses.

Ooh la-la de Paris have so many cute styles. And I love that the Doctors of Optometry who design these glasses also donate from one of their lines to a charity helping abused children. Nice.

I found these frames at Osborne Spectacle Centre. They have been my go-to optical needs people for years.

So that was how I spent an awesome autumn afternoon strolling through Osborne Village.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Nine Weeks!

Nine weeks before Christmas!


Should I be worried about the fabric that has been ordered for the church decorations hasn't yet arrived?

I'm hoping that it gets here soon sew I can get to work.  

How about you? Are you doing any Christmas or charity sewing this holiday season?

Have you in the past?

Do tell, it will take my mind off the fact that I'm waiting.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

In sewing news today...

I'm slowly getting back at it...   

I was fighting a head cold last month and I have a stubborn cough that has overstayed its welcome and has been fighting the eviction notice I served. Stubborn cough.

I think that I'm ready to jump back into all those sewing projects that I have piled up. I did shake things up a bit, the Marcy Tilton jacket that I started is now on the back burner. I'm just not feeling it right now.

But I am feeling like sewing Dresses!  

The thought of sewing dresses are getting my sewing juices going.

I'm working on the silk / cotton blend green plaid dress seen here. I'm using Vogue 8577 for this project.

I like the deep pockets, perfect for work (I have an issue with keys).

The dress is lined. I haven't made a lined dresses in ages. Sew, this might be interesting. It is one of my planned weekend projects.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Sew what?

I've put the Marcy Tilton, Vogue 8752, jacket on ice for awhile. 

I started off really excited about making this jacket. When I first spotted the new fall patterns, I knew the leopard print corduroy I've been saving all these years was meant to be cut. So I cut it out and I started to sew the right front pocket piece. I ever became more excited about the project when I found the perfect buttons. 

But... It has been a rough week, don't ask. 

I haven't even finished, actually, I haven't even started the retro print shirt that I wanted to make last weekend.  

My heart is just not into it right now. I fear I've lost my sewing mojo. 

What is it going to take to get my sewing mojo back.  

I need something to get my creative juices flowing. I checked to see what is happening at the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra tonight. Nothing. Manitoba Opera season doesn't open for another month. No movies in the theatres that I find interesting. And the only play on right now is Grumpy Old Men. No thanks. 

Now what am I going to do? I guess I could tackle that mountain of mending I have to do. Ummm, no. I don't think that would do it. 

Sewing lately has been a chore, literally. Any time I have spent at the sewing machine has been doing things that are un-inspiring and boring.  

I need a shake-up!   

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Pattern give-away Time!

The weather is suppose to be in the normal range this week. That means the weather will be cooling and thoughts will linger towards winter vacations in these parts.  

So in celebration of planning winter vacations there should be a pattern give-away, no?

Here's the first un-cut pattern.

Kwik Sew 2690:

It is a pattern for a Misses' princess line Swim Dress. It has a flared skirt with lining and attached panties. The leg openings and top edge are finished with elastic. View A has an empire waist with gathered front bodice and shoulder straps with elastic. View B has shaped empire waist with self fabric tie at centre front and wide shoulder straps.  

McCall's 3584:

Misses halter dresses have a lined bodice, tucks at bust and back zipper closure. This dress was super easy to put together, it is not the pattern that I used, this one is an un-cut pattern.

Vogue 8733:

I recently made Version B top. I blogged about it here. The pattern also includes shorts and semi-fitted pants. This pattern top is cut in size medium, the pants and shorts remain uncut.

To enter, just leave a message where you would like to go for your dream winter vacation. The draw is open to everyone including international. I will draw for the winner on Tuesday evening (October 18).

Just a few things I ask if you win the patterns. Do not sell them, instead cherish them, use them, and share them.

And happy sewing.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

How many sergers does a gal need?

How many sergers do you have? How many do you think you need?

I only need one. This one.

This is my very first serger and it has served me well over the years.

It is a Janome, the same brand as my sewing machine. I bought it many years ago and I have to admit that is one of my favourite sewing tools. Well, besides my handy-dandy seam ripper.

I don't know how I lived without it. Oh wait, now I remember! Pinking shears. Yes, those days of pinking shears.

I haven't picked up a pair of pinking shears since I purchased my Janome serger.

A couple of years ago a sewing tragedy struck and my Janome serger stopped working. The store were I purchased it had closed down. And I didn't know where to go to get if fixed.

So I went shopping for a new serger. And I found this one.  

A Baby Lock serger. My second serger. Yes, it is younger, and new, and can do all these new fancy tricks. But it is difficult to replace my first serger love.  

I purchased this serger before I discovered that my first serger could be fixed. Rob at Quilt as Desired was able to restore my Janome serger. He did an amazing job.  

So I have two sergers. This one is my back-up serger if, heaven forbid, a second tragedy strikes my precious Janome.

Someone suggested keeping white thread on one serger and black thread on the other so that I wouldn't have to keep changing thread colours. But I really do prefer to sew on my old serger.

The baby lock can do some fancy tricks but I just haven't found the time to sit down and discover all it has to offer. It is on my list of things to do.

This Singer serger is the latest to enter my life. It was the generous gift from a woman who belongs to my church.

I tried to explain that I don't need another sewing machine and that a different home may be more suitable.

"What about your kids?" I asked.

My life on hold.  
But despite my claims, her generousity prevailed and it ended up in the church office for me to pick up.

It is an extremely generous gift. And I am touched that she thought of me. But seriously how many sergers does a gal need?

What I do need is a full-time job.

I need a job that would afford me a roof over my head and I place where I can unpack these boxes.

These boxes are just a few of my belongs that I have stored in the corner of my parent's house. The rest of my belonging, I gave away. I didn't have room for it.

And I don't have room for another serger.

What is a gal to do?

So many sergers, no sewing room to call our own.


Sunday, 9 October 2011

Can you believe it?

I went into my local Fabricland store and walked out with only a pattern. No, seriously. I'm not kidding.

I was on a mission. Vogue patterns have some new patterns and I wanted one.

Vogue 1274 top would be perfect for the retro cartoon print I picked up recently.  

The plan is to make version B this weekend. I know I should be finishing up the Marcy Tilton jacket. But I just can't help myself! I spent most of my weekend mending. I think I mentioned that I hate mending? I need something fun. This project will fit the bill.  

Anyway, I'm off to cut fabric.  Happy sewing!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Love-Hate relationships

Fun sewing!  
I have a love--hate relationship with sewing.

There is something about the creative process that I absolutely love. Shopping for the fabric and having that creative idea materialize or spark your imagination. 

Walking down the aisles of fabric and discovering that one beautiful gem that you just have to take home are moments of absolute joy.   

And then the excitement when you discover the perfect pattern that you can't wait to dig out your sewing tools and carefully cut the fabric.  

The anticipation of it all coming together builds as the sewing machine hums along piercing the fabric with the needle.  

I love that humming sound. The musical sounds that my serger and sewing machine create. It has to be one of the most soothing sounds that I enjoy. Seriously, someone needs to make a relaxation CD based on sewing machine sounds. I would love one for those times of separation from my machines.  

Vogue 8752 in progress
Oh, and the joy of having all those fabric puzzle pieces fit together! Some people like crossword puzzles, others like Sudoku, I love sewing.  

The Marcy Tilton jacket, Vogue 8752, and the Sandra Betzina dress, Vogue 1234, are perfect examples of patterns that remind me of putting together a puzzle. And so many pattern pieces too,  I luv it! 

Sewing for the pure enjoyment of a creative outlet is an escape that I find unmatched. I'm not rushed through the process with deadlines or demands. Nor am I criticized for my work because it is my creative outlet and I'm doing what I love.   

Even if I make a mistake, I can slow down and settle into one of my comfy armchairs. As I remove the stitches with my seam ripper I find it as a form of meditation.   

The ever-growing pile of mending.  
But sewing is not always full of fun and games.  

Oh no. If it were this pile of mending wouldn't be growing. And some of these items have been sitting there for months.  

I don't know why, it is not going to get done on it's own.

For some reason I find no joy what-so-ever in mending.

Repairing is not the same as creating.  

I hate mending and alterations. And I don't think that I'm alone. 

My nephew this week asked me if I could repair his winter jacket. He's fifteen and very capable of repairing it on his own. It is a hand stitching job. And he has the basic sewing skills to get the job done. This is a young man who has made pajama bottoms in a home economics class.  

And a co-worker asked me to shorten a skirt. It is a knit jersey and even though I brought in samples of knit items that I have sewn to demonstrate that I do not have the equipment to make those elegant knit stitches that she was describing. Despite my disclosure that I could not achieve the stitching found in ready-to wear clothing using the equipment that I have, she continued with her request to have it altered.  

And the ever-growing pile of ironing.  
So, I'm not alone in my lack of passion for mending. Other people add to my mending pile.   

What is it? Do you hate mending as much as I do?  

And don't get me started ironing! My ironing pile tends to grow as quicker than my mending pile.

No one can ever accuse me of being a domestic diva.  

So this is how I plan to spend my Thanksgiving weekend. Doing boring sewing chores. 

Hopefully there will be some time left over to get to the exciting fun sewing stuff, like finishing the Marcy Tilton jacket.     

And maybe, fingers crossed, I'll find some time to get outdoor and enjoy some of the beautiful awesomeness that autumn brings. Oh the glorious sound of autumn leaves crunching underneath my footsteps. Another sound I love! So I'll close with some autumn photos.  

Happy sewing and Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating this weekend.  

Doesn't it just make you want to go play or walk through the leaves instead of mending?  



Thursday, 6 October 2011

Thank you!

Thank you Steve Jobs.  

Thank you for making turtlenecks sexy again.  

Thank you for the wisdom that you shared at the 2005 Stanford Commencement Address.  

Thank you for creating the tools I use to reach out and communicate with others.   

Thank you for the awesome fonts.  

And one more thing... 

Thank you for embracing creativity that has lead to all the changes in our lives.  

Rest in peace.  

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Dreams do come true!

I found it, look! Dreams really do come true.

I found an off white 100% wool that I have been dreaming about. I'm beyond thrilled.

And can you believe that I found it in the reduced section of my local Fabricland at 70% off. Luv it!

I also picked up a nude colour lining fabric. The cream colour lining still appeared a wee bit revealing.

A skirt, Burda Style 7283, is what I have in mind for these fabrics.

Just had to share my fabric find... happy sewing!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Finished Projects...

Here are a few photos of some finished projects.


I think the black top might have to go into storage until I drop a few pounds! Nothing reveals that I haven't been doing crunches like knits.

Skirt: Simplicity 4044 (Vintage Re-issue) sewn in an extra-pounds revealing knit
Top: Vogue 8737 sewn in a medium-weight 100% polyester crepe
Favourite wedge sandals: Calvin Klein

Top:  Marcy Tilton Jacket, Vogue 8709
Skirt: Vogue 2885 (Vintage Re-issue)
Favourite wedge sandals: Calvin Klein 

Top:  Vogue 8709, sewn in a light-weight 100% cotton evergreen sateen stretch
Skirt: Vogue 2885 sewn in a heavy weight 100% cotton white sateen stretch
Favourite wedge sandals:  Calvin Klein

In Sewing New Today...

A few months ago the strap on my handbag broke. The leather strap was fine, it was the hardware that gave out. The strapless handbag sat un...