Tuesday, 29 November 2011

In sewing news today...

I'm thrilled that my Janome sewing machine is back home, safe and sound.  It is working great.  Lint was the suspect that threw the timing off course.

And right now the sewing machines has been put into storage. ~Sigh~  I only had enough time to fix the hem on the green plaid dress.  I still want to add one more button if I can sneak it out of storage.

Yup, it is that time of year.  The most stressful time of the year, Christmas.

Three and a half weeks to get the house in order to host a family dinner. Since I'm living out of cardboard boxes, the sewing machines will have to go into storage to make room for guests.  

It is all good, I really don't need the distraction when I should be focussing on writing cover letters and resumes.  Yes, job hunting and Christmas.  Lucky me.  

Anyway, so sew I won't be around much, but I'll be back when all the festivities are over.  

Sunday, 27 November 2011

When I'm not sewing...

When I'm not sewing, I'm cooking.

Papa R loves chicken pies. He loves them so much that he can't resist them when he finds them on sale.

It is a forbidden love, well it should be, you see those store bought chicken pies are dangerous. Have you checked out the fat and calorie count on one of those babies?

I want Papa R to stick around for many more years so I spent my afternoon making a healthier version, and it passed the taste test. He's a great cook, so it is rare to get a compliment.

I was inspired by a recipe I found in The Looneyspoons Collection.  Seriously, I love this cookbook as much as Papa R loves chicken pies.  I used the "Starving Guy Chicken Pie (2)" recipe for the filling (you can find it here) and instead of making the biscuit crust I used puff pastry that I had at home.  

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Special Fabric Layouts: Plaids.

One of the recent projects that I made for myself was a plaid dress.  I love it, except I wore it to the Opera last night (it's the prairies we're very casual out here) and realized that if I'm going out for dinner first I should add another button just below the waistline. That or exercise. But I digress...

I took great care when cutting out the bodice of the dress. My main concern was to match the plaid.

Commercial patterns will provide guidelines as to whether the design is suitable for plaids. It is typically advised to avoid princess seams and long horizontal darts if considering a pattern design for plaid fabric. Most patterns that are considered appropriate for plaid suggest that additional metrage will be required for matching.

How much extra fabric?

That will depend on size of the pattern plus the size of the plaid repeat. Consideration to whether your plaid is even or uneven plaid will determine the amount of extra fabric required.

Even plaids are easier to work with. And an even plaid is considered suitable for garments with a centre opening, centre seams, or bias cut.

Uneven plaid takes more yardage because it requires a one-way layout. It is more time consuming when laying out the pattern pieces and have fewer style possibilities. Unless, of course the mismatch look is your thing.

 Also keep in mind when purchasing a plaid fabric if it is a print of woven plaid.

I personally avoid printed plaids. But if you do go ahead with a printed plaid you will want to take care to check that the print is not off-grain.

Luckily, I had a lot of metrage of this plaid in my fabric stash.

Since the skirt was flared, I basically focussed on the dark green stripes (crosswise) matching up at the centre front. And it worked out even though the light green stripes did not match with the waistband.

I took care with the crosswise matching before I even laid out my pattern pieces. The crosswise matching was painstaking done from the salvage edge. I pinned the salvage at  two inch intervals.

Crosswise matching is done by placing corresponding notches on identical crossbars, making certain to do all your matching at the seamlines (not your cutting lines).

It is not the best plaid matching that I have done but I'm good with how it turned out. Well, besides that button thing I have to correct.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends!

To anyone celebrating Thanksgiving... Happy gobble gobble!

Here in Canada we celebrated Thanksgiving last month.  There wasn't any celebrating in my circle. Last month was beyond stressful, so I'm all into embracing my neighbour's holiday celebration.

I just want to say that I am thankful that Quilt as Desired called this morning to let me know that my Janome sewing machine is ready to pick up. My sewing machine is home!

I'm thankful for discovering a vibrant, talented, and humorous online sewing community. It really has been a joy reading other sewing blogs, sharing sewing stories and sewing tips. Thanks!

I'm thankful for a wonderful family (most of the time--I'm kidding), and for my friends.  

And I'm also thankful that I have a job interview this afternoon.  And I on that note I should scoot and get ready. Wish me luck!  

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating today.  

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Singer Sewing Machines

I have wonderful childhood memories of my Mom sewing on a Vintage Singer sewing machine.

It is a beautiful machine.  

The ornate metal and wood work on the cabinet demand that the sewist take time to admire the impressive craftsmanship.  

The gold painted figure and script that decorate the machine are full of historical references. This artifact from the past is not only a sewing machine, it is a piece of art.  

There is no fancy craftsmanship or art work decorating this post-war Singer sewing machine.

Mama R's second sewing machine was a electric Singer. This one is strictly business and plastic. The discovery of plastic revolutionized society by introducing a variety of cheaply made products for our consumption.

The modern Singer machines were there to get the job done. And they did. Today, it decided to call quits.

We then dug out the old Vintage Singer from storage and cleaned it off.

Mama R shared stories of her own childhood. Her sisters would sew clothes for the family back in the 1930's and 40's on a sewing machine just like this one.

She said it brought back memories. Her smile revealed they were happy memories.

She dusted it off with care and discovered long lost tins with buttons that were hiding in the small drawers of the cabinet.

And then she sewed.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


It is now approaching day four without my sewing machine.

I'm starting to show withdrawal symptoms.  That hazy feeling of being lost, and a combination of sweats and chills when walking by the now empty spot on the table where my sewing machine once sat.

Not even a nice cup of coffee can snap me out of this. This kind of longing calls for gin.

I know my Janome deserves the spa treatment after all that frantic bow sewing. But I miss my Janome.

Sew, what have I been doing besides cover letter and resume writing. And missing my Janome.

I've been going through some of my patterns. Many of them are in sizes that are way too small for me now. I'm in disbelief that I was actually some of those sizes as I wonder why I have held on to those patterns all these years. What to do with them. I know that I should pass them along or sell them before I fall into class five hoarder status.

And then I came across this Vogue Paris Original pattern and thoughts of ridding the outgrown patterns vanish.  Vogue 1900 skirt and blouses. I start to think the short sleeve oversized blouse might work with the green floral print fabric I picked up months ago. Has it been months ago? I feels like months ago. My brain is in a hazy.

I snap out of it, do I really want to revisit the eighties? The age ruled by Thatcher, Reagan, and Mulroney... there is not enough gin in the world... Stepping away from the floral print and the blouse pattern that calls for shoulder pads. And I was thinking about a shoulder pad blouse on a five-foot-one frame, I need to step away from the gin too.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Fabric Scraps

I'm not a quilter but I have been cutting out squares this evening and I think I'm going to try my hand at making a quilt.

I guess the inspiration to try my hand at quilting came from a trip to Costco.  I made the early morning trip to have my winter tires installed on my car.  There were a group of us waiting and one woman was smart enough to bring along a quilt to finish up some hand stitched details.  It didn't take long for someone to ask her about the beautiful piece of art she was creating.

She surprised many of us when she told us that she quilts as a charity project.  The quilts end up with the Police service for victims.

I didn't think much of it after my snow tires were on my car and I drove off.  Well except for admiring the incredible art work she created and her generous spirit.

That wasn't until I came across the overflowing box of fabric scraps that I have unwittingly collected for some time.

So while I sat there watching an episode of Project Runway (the seventies inspired challenge, luv'd it by the way) I start cutting away at the pile of fabric scraps.

Sew, I think I will try my hand at making a quilt.  It won't be the incredible piece of art the woman at Costco was finishing up. But if I'm lucky, it might be something that might bring some comfort to someone.

So, what do you do with your fabric scraps?  

Sunday, 20 November 2011

In sewing news today...

Something is missing!

My sewing machine is missing.

It is over at Quilt as Desired in the hands of Rob. Rob is the guy that I trust with my all of my sewing machines.

He fixed my Janome serger a few years ago and won me over as a loyal customer. I even picked up my Baby Lock serger there too.

My sewing machine was acting up. I have been putting off a tune up on the machine for some time. I'm trusting Rob to fix one of the buttonhole features that hasn't been working and to correct that skipped stitches that was happening lately.

My fingers are crossed that my sewing machine will be back home sometime this week.

And Score!  

Dropping off the sewing machine at Quilt as Desired, gave me a chance to look at their line of accessories. They tend to carry items that I can't find at my local Fabricland

And I did find something that I just learned about last week while watching an episode of Sewing with Nancy. Basting tape.  

On the episode of Sewing with Nancy this was used when she was re-fashioning shirts and adding a ruffle detail to the front placket. Nancy cut a piece of the basting tape attached it to the ruffle piece she had sewn, peeled off the backing paper and finger pressed it into place on the shirt. Then she was ready to sew! Luv it!  

I'm going to use this for zippers. 

This would be a handy little item for an emergency sewing kit. What a save it would be for reposition a hem that has come apart until you can get home to mend/repair it.

And since I was in the neighbourhood... 

I had to stop into Fabricland, since I was in the neighbourhood. 

Check out what Mama R and I found in the bargain centre.  

This light weight suiting fabric is gorgeous to the touch. I wish you can touch it but you'll have to trust me. It is 65% wool, 32% rayon, 3% spandex content. 

I cut a square and threw it in the wash to see how much it would shrink. I was surprised, not much. Actually hardly anything. I thought for sure with the rayon content there may have been significant shrinkage. But I was presently proven wrong.  

It did fray though, something to watch out for. And can you believe that even though I threw it in the washing machine, it didn't loose it shape or gorgeousness? I'm thinking a suit, or maybe a dress.  

Mama R picked out a pretty 100% polyester satin crepe. It is a nice weight too.  

She is thinking about a new dress.  And I have to say that now that I have some basting tape and a proper invisible zipper foot I'm not worried about tackling this project.   

What was I thinking?  

Sometimes, I think that quilting fabric should never be used for sewing clothing. This is one of those cases.

I wonder if my sewing machine was skipping stitches as a form of protest. Could it be that it was trying to question my sanity at my latest sewing project?

You see I used the vintage cartoon print that I found in the quilting section at Fabricland. I thought it was cute.

I thought it would make a cute shirt, something to wear around the house. So I picked Vogue 8748 for the project.

Seriously, I don't know what I was thinking!

I know the style is oversized, but this is the width of the back! I'm drowning in it! And the print didn't help. What was I thinking?

The fabric is 100% cotton, and perhaps it is a little bit stiff for this shirt. Maybe something light-weight and drape would be better?

Or myabe, I should just pass the pattern on to someone who has the height to pull it off?

Well, either way I can file this one under sewing disaster #___. Yikes, I lost count.  

Sew what is a gal to do?

Since I'm without a sewing machine for about a week or so (fingers crossed it will be less time than that), what is a gal to do?

Mama R has graciously allowed me to use her sewing machine.

It is a good machine that is capable of getting the job done. But I will tell you I'm going to miss that automatic needle threader that my Janome is equipped with.

I think I will take her up on her offer. I do need to revisit my Vogue 8577 that I blogged about here.

There appears to be a little bit of tweaking that needs to be done.

First, I need to take up the lining in the front of the dress.

And second, I need to tweak the hem at the front of the dress so that it overlaps the other side.

Singer to the rescue!

Anyway, that is all in sewing news today.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, 18 November 2011

The Big Reveal!

I almost pulled an all-nighter finishing up my nephew's polar fleece. Almost an all-nighter. I called it quits at 3:30 in the morning.

I thought I would wait to see my nephew today and get him to try it on before I hemmed up the sleeves.

My fear was that it wouldn't be long enough and that I would have to do a narrow hem. You can see that my fear was foolish.

I had to cut two inches off the length and that still allowed for an inch and a half hem.

He didn't want the velcro strips on the front yokes so I left it off.

The Ooops Fleece
I think he feared that the same experience on a previous polar fleece might occur.  A few years ago I made him a fleece that he couldn't fit over his head. Ooops.

I didn't have that problem with this one.  Yippeee!

The back of the polar fleece also had a yoke.

I have to say I enjoyed this pattern. The pieces fit together without any issues.  I didn't even have to ease the sleeve curve.  Luv'd it! I also like the top stitching around the armhole and yoke pieces.

My nephew had some design elements that he wanted for his fleece. A must: kangaroo style pocket in the front.

And I have to tell you after sewing all those bows I was happy to sew those curves on the opening of the pocket.  

So with the sleeve measurements taken care of, I was sent to the sewing machine to finish up the final details.

Mama R helped out by feeding him a big lunch (he does have to fill in that fleece you know).  And then a game of cards. We can't let him run around and burn off calories. It would defeat the purpose of the big lunch.

After a few games he came downstairs to announce that he still wasn't quite happy with the fleece.

How dare he!

I'm teasing. He was right, the front yoke was missing something.

"Buttons" he suggested.

"You want buttons?" I asked.

"Yeah, do you have any blue ones", he replied.

I didn't but we rummaged through my button drawer and came up with some options that might work.

I have to tell you my nephew has good taste in buttons. I think they look great.

Just one more finishing touch, hidden in the side seam. 

I can use these, I'm his only aunt.  

Thursday, 17 November 2011


Can you keep a secret?

I've been busy. I'm working on a polar fleece for my nephew, trying to get it done for tomorrow. I think it might be a long night.

It is suppose to be a surprise, unless of course he reads the blog post. But I digress...

I'm using a Simplicity pattern that has been sitting in my pattern stash for some time.

But I don't want to cut the pattern in the Men's size small that I need. I would like to hold on to this pattern just in case I might need it in the future. You never know, right?

So I've been busy, tracing out the pattern before I cut out the fabric. And then an evening of sewing. It will be sweet if I can get it finished tonight.  

Happy Sewing!


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Re-visiting and celebrating some fun and challenging sewing projects

I just finished the most tedious sewing project that I ever had to sew. It was serging and narrow hemming the bows, feet after feet of straight stitching. They look great, but I don't think I would want to revisit that experience.

So I think today, I would like to revisit and celebrate those sewing projects that were not at all tedious. Some of my favourites that have challenged me in a good way. Enjoy, I'm going to take a break and clean up the machines.  

Pleats, pockets, plackets, and a hem facing.  I loved the challenge this Vogue pattern offered.
Vogue 1220

The pattern was fun and simple, it was the fabric that proved to be challenging.
McCall's NY Collection 2465

Oops, I cut the bias front in two pieces.  It should have been cut on the fold.
The challenge: will the placket work out? It did, but the front facing that was another story.
Thank goodness for seam rippers!
Burda Style 7489 

The dress was a re-make using a simple pattern.
The challenge was hidden in the fabric.  Who knew it would be so difficult to press?
Vogue 7836

Baby sleepers, even though I have made this pattern countless times
I always get confused as to which side to overlap the front.
McCall's  7367

I love the darts on this jacket.
Jacket: Simplicity 2593 (circa 1969)
Dress: Vogue 7836

I absolutely love Marcy Tilton patterns!
They take forever to cut out and there are a lot of pieces but
they are so worth the investment of time and work!
Vogue 8709  

Tuesday, 15 November 2011


I finished!!! I am finally finished sewing 5,772 inches of straight lines. That would make this the most boring sewing project ever. But I'm sure it will look beautiful when it is up.  

And now that I'm done, someone pass me something with some curvy edges.

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...