Wednesday, 29 February 2012

February in Review

Here is a look at my February projects project in review. Just one, it was a slow month.  

I'll admit I don't typically spend this much on one sewing project. Despite spending outside of my normal sewing project budget, I love the design! Sew, I have to say it was totally worth every penny because I have something in my closet that I would never come across in the store. And I know I'm going to get lots of use out of this, it will work with jeans or a dress.  

The Boiled Wool Jacket:

Fabric:  3.3 metres boiled wool (70% off from $40/m), $44.35 
Pattern:  Donna Karan jacket. Vogue 1263, $19.60 
Thread:  $4.78 (I used a whole spool of thread! I guess it was all those flat fell seams and top-stitching.)
Interfacing:  $0.25 (just a wee bit for the inside pocket)
Total Cost:  $68.98
Times worn this month:  None, yet.
Time investment:   26 hours (I was moving slowly, otherwise it shouldn't have taken this long).
Tools used:  Sewing machine, serger, fabric shears, ball-point sewing machine needle, hand sewing needles, thimble, seam ripper, tailor chalk, wax, and pins.
Would I made this again?  Absolutely. I enjoyed working with this pattern. Next time I probably wouldn't use such a heavy fabric and would stick to the recommend fabrics on the pattern.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Vogue 1263 Part II

Here are photos of the Donna Karan jacket, Vogue 1263. Did I mention how much I love this pattern?

I really do like the look of the flat fell seams and the darts at the lower hemline. I made it in a size medium and it is quite roomy. I could easily wear it with a belt.

Okay, here are pictures with me wearing the jacket. This first picture is of me waiting for the 10 seconds on my self-timer to go off on my camera.

 And this second look is the wait, I'm not ready look!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Vogue 1263

It took some time but I'm finally done!

Pocket and dart markings, jacket front.  
Vogue 1263, the Donna Karan jacket is full of delicious detail.

And a lot of work! Besides the flat fell seams there are darts galore and slant pockets in the front that needs interfacing basted and markings to transfer.

Despite all these extra steps that need to be done, it is all worth it in the end.

I did stray from the pattern instructions and ended up exposing the pocket seams allowance.

Jacket front pocket, in progress.
But I'm okay with that considering that the boiled wool fabric that I used is not prone to fraying.

Trimming the lower front corners
before turning over the facing.
The facing sewn in place, I trimmed the corner to get a nice clean edge when I turned the facing to the right side.
Flat fell seams on sleeves.
Next on my list of things to do were the sleeves.  Oh my goodness, the sleeves!

I was not loving the flat fell seams at this point. And for a moment, okay more than an moment, I feared that it wouldn't work.

As I struggled to smooth out a small section of the sleeve, I moved in a manner that made my ribs hurt. It doesn't take much lately. But none-the-less, OUCH!

Finished flat fell seams on undersleeve.
And I cursed the darn sleeve.

Thankfully, the curse did not work and I was able to pull a two piece sleeve out from under my presser foot with the flat fell seam looking better than I had hoped for moments earlier.

Once the sleeves were stitched into place, it was time, well, for another rest break. There were quite a few during this project.

Topstitching and flat fell seams
(bodice back).

And then it was back to work on the finishing touches.

Topstitching and flat fell seams
(jacket front).
Top-stitching was next on the list. And I have to say I'm surprised I didn't break a sewing machine needle doing this task through all the thicknesses of the boiled wool.

The fabric choice was thicker than any of the suggested fabrics on the pattern envelope and the back shawl collar seam proved to be a difficult section to topstitch.

Inside pocket and front facing, hand stitched in place.
The fabric also limited my choice for the hem on the sleeve.

Oversized shawl collar.

I did try a narrow hem but it was not possible with the bulk at the flat fell seams. Sew I serged the edge and turned up the hem one inch. It is one of the few places that I used the serger.

The last bit of housekeeping was slip stitching the pocket to the front facing.

There that's better!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Pattern give-away Time!

There are so many reasons that I can come up with for another pattern give-away. This one is all about the count-down to graduation day and celebrating those who will be celebrating at their proms/graduations.

As you may have read, I have the honour of making my niece her graduation dress. I'm behind schedule, when I had to postpone our planned fabric shopping trip. Yes, YIKES! And now we're trying to re-cordinate our schedules to make it work for a rescheduled trip. Well, at least we can cross off pattern selection and muslin off our list. But I digress...

This is suppose to be a give-away post!    

It seems like everyone is talking about Mad Men prom dresses this year. I guess all the retro inspired television programs has caught on for prom selection. And the pattern give-away too.

Sew, if you are planning on sewing a prom/grad dress or you're totally into the vintage Mad Men vibe and plan on participating in Julia Bobbin's Mad Men Dress Challengefeel free to leave a comment on which pattern you are interested in. I will draw for your choice of one of the three patterns shown here. I just ask that you do not sell them, that you give the pattern a good home and enjoy it. I will ship anywhere. And I will draw for a winner on next Saturday, March 3rd.

Good luck and here are your choices:

Retro Butterick 6582, semi-fitted dress with straight or flared skirt.
Plus a vintage pair of nylon stockings, unopened. 

Retro Butterick 5603, Fitted dresses with flared skirt.
Plus black velvet trim. 

McCall's 6466, Close fitting, boned bodice variations and choice of straight, bubbled, or full skirt.
Plus teal blue ribbon.  

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Flat Fell(ed) Seams

I was trying to get my sewing fix with reading and sitting at the table transferring dart markings. Now I'm ready to put some of the techniques I read about into practice.

But I did discover some interesting things while reading about flat fell seams.  On page 19 the Singer Sewing Skills Reference Book refers to flat felled seams in greater detail than the contemporary sewing books I have on my bookshelf. I have also found that this seam is known by a few other names: flat-fell seam or felled seam.

Over time one thing has not changed, the observation that this is a seam used to achieve a tailored appearance commonly found in men's wear and contemporary sportswear.

My copy of the "Singer Sewing Skills Reference Book" notes that
[m]anufacturers differ in their handling of flat felled seams, but usually the seam edges that are blended are the back seam edge on side seams, the back seam edge on sleeve seams, the sleeve on armhole seams, the garment section on yoke seams and the front seam edge on shoulder seams (20).
Trimming the right side of the seam allowance down 1/4"
I found this observation to be true with sewing instructions too. Vogue 1263 is one of the patterns in my stash that has instructions for flat fell seams.

The Donna Karan design jacket calls for the inclusion of flat fell seams at the centre back seam, upper side back side seams, across the upper and lower back seam, front to front seam and the upper and under sleeve seams. There is a lot of flat felling to be done!

Maybe this might be just the sewing project to ease me back into it. I'll have to be patient and take things slow to achieve a neat flat fell seam.  

Considering the fabric, I trimmed off a wee bit more.
Part of me can understand why some people have opted to omit this decorative and tailored look on their versions of this jacket.

PattyE's jacket looks beautiful and it was tempting to follow her footsteps on the construction of this jacket.

But I like the look of flat fell seams, that or I'll have to admit I'm a glutton for punishment.

The instructions for the flat fell seam found in Vogue 1263 pattern instructions are by far my favourite. 

Fold the uncut seam allowance over tucking 1/4" and press.
I really didn't have to crack open my sewing reference books. But I will admit that it was interesting to compare the different versions of instructions and the historical comparison. 

Sew it was time to put away the books. Besides, I think I've been away from the sewing machines for way too long.  

I did have to tweak it according to my fabric since I am working with a fabric choice heavier in weight than the recommended fabric suggestions.  

Now that it is pressed, I'm ready to stitch close to the edge.
I trimmed off a little more than a quarter inch so that it would be easier to rolled the uncut allowance over the bulk.  

Press the rolled seam allowance with a steam setting. And then it was ready to take to the sewing machine to be stitched down.  

I think it worked out nicely. And I do like the look of this seam. The extra work put into it is well worth it, I think. 

I can't wait till it is all finished. It might take awhile, there are quite a few seams to be flat-felled. And I find the need to take frequent breaks. I'm not sure if it is the rib injury or that I dislike ironing (maybe a bit of both). Well, until then, here's a teaser... 
How it looks on the right side.  

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

In sewing news today...

I've got the green light!  

I've been given the nod that I can return to work! Yippeee! I know, ribs take time to heal and don't do "this" or "that", yadda, yadda.

But he didn't say anything about sewing!

Sew needless to say, I can't wait to get back to the sewing machine!

Since I'm still not in any condition to be cutting out any new patterns, this will be a good time to clean up the projects I already have cut. I think I'll start on that Donna Karan jacket, Vogue 1263. I'll see how far I get done, but first I have to finish marking the endless amount of darts!

Zip, Zipp, Zippers!

Fingers are crossed that Mama R, who is vacationing in Florida, comes across some invisible zippers. I spoke with her last night and they're planning a trip to the fabric store this week.

I'm so nervous with excitement. Not just any kind of invisible zipper. I'm hoping that she comes across some cotton invisible zippers. The last dress that I made for her I used a recycled cotton invisible zipper and WOW, did that ever work well. And it was the best looking zipper that I installed. I prefer the cotton invisible zippers to the nylon ones that I can find here. My hope is that she comes back with as many as she can stuff in her suitcase.

Anyway, that's all in sewing news today (well, except for that sale at Vogue online right now). Check it out for yourself. I'm just signing off so I can get back to sewing.

Happy Sewing!


I was just reading the local paper and they have a picture of the winner of the Louis Riel look-a-like contest. I love the historical costumes. You can find it here.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Happy Louis Riel Day!

Louis Riel's Ceremonial Sash
Today is a holiday in western Canada. It's Louis Riel Day, La Journee Louis Riel, in French. A celebration of a Metis political leader and poet who is also happen to be a controversial historical figure.

Here in Manitoba (a western province in Canada), Riel is considered by many to be a hero, the father of Manitoba. A figure celebrated in our local popular culture. But it is not so in the rest of Canada. Louis Riel Day is not a national holiday.

I recall a trip to Casa Loma in Toronto were I first encounter an opposing view. Louis Riel was portrayed as a prisoner with his prison artifacts on display in the upper level of the castle. And my Ontario relatives revealed their eastern learning that Riel was a traitor. Nothing more. Not even a recognition that he was a talented poet. It was an extremely sad afternoon to hear and see Riel's final days celebrated as a prisoner who was hanged for treason.

Decades later working, in a hotel conflicting view of Riel's role in Canadian History came to head. The new hotel manager (who originated from Eastern Canada) scolded staff for not educating her that Riel might not be an appropriate name for a banquet hall when her idea was shot down by corporate office in Toronto. Just like Canadian literature and fashion, viewpoints are regional.

Truth be told, February 20th does not have any significance to any event in Riel's life. (Other provinces in western Canada celebrate Family Day instead.) Rather this provincial holiday was named by Manitoba school children in a competition to name the holiday back in 2007. Other parts of Canada, particularly Toronto, observe Louis Riel Day as November 16th, the day in 1885 when Riel was executed for treason.  

Whether or not you celebrate the passion of Louis Riel and his life's work, I don't know how one can deny the cultural contribution of the Metis people to our regional fashion landscape.

ceinture fléchée worn as a stole
Typically it is 3 metres in length and worn around the waist.  
Sew let's put aside political divides and take a look at the beautiful artistry created by the Metis people.

The Metis people are associated with the Metis Sash or ceinture fléchée.

The sashes were made out of brightly coloured wool and used by early fur traders as back support while canoeing. They became a commodity traded between fur traders. The sash provided the Metis people with many decorative and practical uses.

On the practical end it was used as rope, towels, washcloths, tourniquet for injuries, saddle blankets, and markers. Decoratively the Metis sash was also used as a coat tie and the colours and patterns identified Metis families.

Many people assume that the long fringes are a decorative feature of the Metis sash but do you know it has a practical purpose?

The long fringe worked as an emergency sewing kit. They were used as extra sewing thread if an emergency mending job occurred while a voyageur was out travelling.

The sash is very much part of Manitoba's landscape, just head over to the Festival du Voyageur and you'll see what I mean. But if you can't make it out there you'll just have to take my word for it.


Canada's First People.  "The Metis."  Goldi Productions Ltd., 2007.  Retrieved on 19 February 2012 <>

CBC News.  "Louis Riel's Sash Returns to Manitoba".  Retrieved on 19 February 2012 <>

Festival du Voyageur. Retrieved on 19 February 2012 <>  "Louis Riel Day in Canada." Retrieved on 19 February 2012 <>

Sunday, 19 February 2012


I thought I would take a peak at the projects that I still have pre-cut. This is a view of the projects I had prepped back in September.

I had big plans on being organized with projects set aside to work on over the winter. But other projects pushed their way ahead of the line like this and that. Oh and there was this too.

I have worked through many of the projects but some still remain.

There is Vintage Vogue 8728. It is cut out of a green stretch velvet fabric. I haven't been able to find a zipper to match this shade of green. And that has been my excuse for not getting this dress done.

I have read over at that when made out of knit fabric that you can do without the zipper, I think I might give it a try.

The plan was to have this dress made for Christmas but it didn't work out. So now I don't have any sense of urgency to get this one done. NEXT!

Another Vintage Vogue dress, Vogue 2787. This pattern takes two zippers and all those gathers.

Hmmm, isn't 2012 suppose to be all about pleats?

Vogue 8534 is a top cut out in a blue knit fabric. I'm just not feeling inspired by this project.


Butterick 5561, I do like this pattern! It is for a top that has a deep pleat in the front.  I have already made two versions of this top. I first made this top for Mama R, and I like it so I made myself one.

This third version I cut out in a green polyester and I'm wondering what I was thinking when I chose that fabric.



I remember when this pattern first came out, I just had to have it.

And I picked it up at 50% off at Fabricland instead of waiting for one of those amazing Vogue online sales. Why? Because I just couldn't wait the six to eight weeks it would take for the pattern to get here. Yet, the pattern is still sitting here. (tsk, tsk) My bad.

I have this Donna Karan jacket cut out in 100% boiled wool and in the most beautiful indigo colour.

I don't know why it is still sitting in my drawer. But I do believe this should be the next project from the drawer of projects waiting to make it to the sewing table.

I think I'll head upstairs, make a cup of coffee and read over the instructions. Flat fell seams I see...

Saturday, 18 February 2012

In sewing news today...

No sewing for me... 

Today is two weeks since my accident and, fingers crossed, I find out on Tuesday if I can return to work next week. I realize that it takes awhile for a rib injury to heal but it would be nice to cross that back-to-work mark.

I will tell you I wouldn't wish a rib injury on anyone.

Besides dealing with pain, the boredom, the fatigue (hard to find a comfortable position to sleep), the worse is not getting any sewing done.

No wait... the worse was missing fabric shopping for grad dress fabric with my niece and sister-in-law.

I really miss sewing (and fabric shopping), just saying. Okay, I'll stop whining.

Sew, I have been spending quite a bit of time with my laptop (and ice pack) getting my sewing fix virtually.

The Return of the Charlie Girl!

Peter at Male Pattern Boldness has wow'd me with the 1970s faux fur coat that he has been shaving, stitching and rocking this week. He has really done an impressive job with this coat. It has been an entertaining adventure in sewing to follow.

Location, Location, Location!

The Sewing Summit, October 11-13, 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah announced their location this week. I spent some time dreaming about going. A gal could dream, can't she? Even though the timing doesn't work. It sounds like it would be fun though.

New Craftsy Course!  

Talking about classes and workshops have you heard that Gertie has another online course? The Starlet Suit Jacket! and it is 50% off, gotta luv that.  Added bonus it includes the pattern for the jacket and skirt. I love the slanted pockets on the jacket. It is a really cute jacket. Are any of you planning on taking Gertie's course?

And celebrating our favourites!

Tilly over at tilly and the buttons posted this:

Many sewing patterns get made up once - if that - and spend the rest of their lives on the shelf. And then there are the special few which are so versatile, wearable and totally gorgeous that they get made up again and again. The names PendrellSorbetto and Ginger have entered the stitcher's vernacular, even if you haven't made them up yourself. Even more bizarrely, some of my non-sewing friends will comment on my "Beignet" rather than my "skirt"! (Ooh that sounds rude.)

We should celebrate these patterns! With the One Week, One Pattern project, the (mini) challenge comes in really pushing the boundaries of the pattern's versatility, finding new and creative ways of restyling similar-looking garments so it doesn't look like you're basically wearing the same outfit all week. Or maybe you've only made one version of the pattern and want the added challenge of wearing the exact same garment all week... and not spilling wine all down it...
What a great idea to celebrate our favourite patterns that seem to be made more than once. I'm trying to break out of my addiction to Vogue 2885 but it is so darn comfortable. I think I now have five skirts in my closet made from the same pattern. And even Mama R had a few versions of a tweaked Vogue pattern sitting in her closet.

I don't know if I can get away with wearing all of my Vogue 2885 skirt version all week. I need pockets at work, I didn't put any pockets on those skirts! Hmmm, maybe I'll discover a new favourite before then?

It will be interesting to see what everyone's favourite repeat pattern is, I'm looking forward to checking it out.

Well, that's all in sewing news for now.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Aren't these buttons adorable? Hope your day is filled with the best Valentine's candy (mmm, cinnamon hearts) and celebrated with the people and things you love!

Oh, and happy sewing!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Sew Grateful Week Give-away Winner!

I've been busy this afternoon, relatively speaking. This is about as busy as I've been all week. But I digress...

I printed off the two blog posts (from here and here) that had all the entries. And I sat down to get to work.

I numbered all the entries according to the date and time they were posted and came up with a list.

And I checked it twice.

All that is left to do is to wish everyone who entered good luck, cue up the drum roll and random number generator.

And the winner of the Vogue 1137 Vintage re-issue pattern is:

Congratulations seeks!

I don't have your email address from your post, but if you would like to email me (grrracar at gmail dot com) with your mailing address I pop it into the mail for you.

Thanks to everyone who entered and visited. And thanks to Debi for hosting a great week! It was fun reading everyone's reflections and checking out what was being sewn.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Thank You!

First, thank you for all the get well wishes. I guess it will just take time.

I've discovered sewing along with laughter is not the best medicine for a rib injury.

I tried to hand sew a hem on a skirt and that was challenging. I never felt so fatigued by a skirt hem. I had to break it down into three sessions. ~sigh~

I'm having a hard time with this rest part of the recovery process. I really would rather be sewing and back at work. And sleep, I really miss a good night's sleep.

But while I'm awake it has been nice to read everyone's comments and reflections on Sew Grateful Week. There are a lot of wonderful give-aways! Thanks Debi for organizing all of this!

I'll be laying low while I'm on the mend but I'll be back on Sunday to announce the winner of the Sew Grateful Week pattern give-away. Don't worry I've spent some of my recovery time jotting down everyone's entries according to the times posted from the two blog posts for the give-away. So it doesn't matter which post you had commented on, the comments are numbered according to the time and date that your comments were made. Good luck to everyone who entered.  

I hope everyone is having a great time in your sewing rooms. I can't wait to join in the creative process again. Hopefully soon.

Until then Happy Sewing!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Sew Grateful Week Give-away!

I just want to re-post the Sew Grateful Week giveaway!

It is open to anyone, anywhere... I will mail internationally. I just ask that you enjoy it, give the pattern a good home and do not sell it. You can leave a message here or at the original post to be counted in for the draw.  I will draw for the pattern give-away on February 12.

It is a Vintage Vogue re-issue pattern, Vogue 1137, dress and coat.  There has been a few robe versions found on that look intriguing using this pattern. I was going to make a version of the dress in plaid as my Sew Grateful Week project but bruised ribs changed my plans for the week.  So I'm just going to chill out and see what everyone else is sewing this week.

Happy Sew Grateful Week!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Sew Grateful to be Sewing for Family and How-to-Books

I have sewn for my extended family over the years. Some of my sewing projects were requested. Others were received with bored looks (not all Christmas gifts go over well). But they have all been made with care and love. I'm sew grateful to share my sewing projects with them over the years.

But over the years I have been sewing for family less and less. I took the hint from those bored looks that the kids are growing up and that teenagers would rather shop at Stitches or Forever 21. That is why I'm so thrilled that my niece is allowing me the pleasure of making her grad dress.

Giorgio Armani Vestment {Source}
But I also have another request in que, a Vestment set. It is a pretty special request.

It doesn't come from a priest...yet. It comes from my thirteen-year-old (soon to be fourteen) nephew.

His plan is to become a priest when he is older. It has been a plan for some time now. He has a beautiful and thoughtful blog where he shares his passion.

His passion for God and the church has been around since he was a wee little boy. Ever since he started school, he was fascinated with the rituals and mysteries of the church. He is quite remarkable. And he has requested a Vestment set.


What do I know about Vestment sets, next to nothing.

I know that they are stunning pieces of clothing filled with symbolism and tradition. But I have never touched or closely inspected a Vestment set.

I'm sew grateful that I have a few years to research the rich history of this important garment before my nephew completes his studies as a seminarian.

Thankfully, there is a book that can help; Lynne Green and Sue Merriam authored a book on the very subject.


Happy Sew Grateful Week!

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