Friday, 31 August 2012

August in Review

Issey Miyake Pants

Fabric:   2.3 metres stretch cotton sateen fabric, $20.61
Interfacing:  .5 metres, $2.80 
Pattern:  Vogue 1309 (purchased during on-line sale), $6.71
Thread:  $4.87
Button:  Recycled, $0.00
Pant Hook and Bar set:  $0.44
Total Cost:  $35.43
Times Worn this Month:  twice
Time Investment:  6 hours
Tools Needed:  Sewing machine, serger, walking foot, zipper foot, buttonhole foot, measuring tape, fabric shears, universal sewing machine needles, pins, seam ripper, tailor's ham, sewing needles, iron and tailor's chaulk.
Would I make it again? Quite possibly.  

Little Girls' Summer Dresses:  J's Dress

Fabric:  1.4 metres 100% cotton,  $4.70 + .70 metre of contrast trim, $6.27 + .40 lining,  $2.69, $13.66
Interfacing:  $2.80
Pattern:  Simplicity 5540, $9.92
Thread:  $4.87
Buttons:  Recycled, $0.00
Elastic:  .20 metre, $0.45
Total Cost:  $31.70
Time Investment:  7 hours
Tools Needed:  Sewing machine, serger, buttonhole foot, measuring tape, fabric shears, universal sewing machine needles, pins, iron, tailor's chalk.  

Birthday Dress

Fabric:  4.2 metres of Linen Blend, $22.58
Interfacing:  $5.20
Pattern:  Vogue 1312, $22.95
Thread:  $4.87
Zipper:  $4.37
Total Cost:  $59.97
Time Investment:  
Tools Needed:  Sewing machine, serger, invisible zipper foot, measuring tape, fabric shears, universal sewing machine needles, pins, iron, tailor's chalk, seam ripper.  

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Sewing stats

Tomorrow I'll be posting another month's sewing statistics and I realized that I didn't do a mid-point summary. I have to say looking at my sewing statistics has been interesting. Sew, for this post I'm looking at the first half of 2012, January to June.

In the first half of the year, I've made 7  skirts, 7 dresses, 4 tops and 1 jacket. A total of 19 garments. And one set of curtains.

I still have a ton of alteration and mending projects that I did not complete. But as you can see I busy. Besides, I don't like doing alterations and mending. There, I said it. That feels better. Moving along:

  • The average cost per garment came to $32.56 (excluding the cost of sewing machines, sewing machine  maintenance and the cost of various sewing tools used).  

  • The most expensive garment made during the months of January to June was the graduation dress for my niece. It cost $111.91 in Canadian dollars and countless sleepless nights because I wanted it to be perfect and everything she hoped for.  

  • The least expensive garment made during this period was the Burda Style 7517 dress. It came in at $11.58 and it was the least stressful item, I lost no sleep during the sewing process.  

I discovered quite a bit during this six month sewing process:   

I discovered that Vogue 1247 has the most amazing fit for a skirt and with my new body shape high waisted skirts are not the way to go. Although I do love the look of a high waisted skirts, I'll have to stop sewing them, Burda 7283, until I can locate my lost waist.   

I discovered a love for vintage patterns. Vintage Vogue 9229 taught me that it is okay to omit interfacing and the dress will turn out just fine and other wonderful techniques.

The perforated pattern makes transferring markings a breeze. I wish modern patterns were perforated.  

I discovered that sometimes you need to walk away from a project, Vogue 8748, and take some time to appreciate it. And when you come back to it with a new perspective you can end up with something that is truly appreciated.  

Vogue 1263 was the most satisfying project of the first half of the year. I was sewing it in very small chunks of time with very large breaks in between as I recovered from three cracked ribs after a car accident. Armed with a huge desire to do something, anything, a bottle of Tylenol 3 and taking things slow I ended up with some beautiful flat felled seams. I'm sure my stitching would have been much straighter if I eliminated the Tylenol 3's.  

Butterick 55679 taught me that I have a lot to learn about sewing with knits. And that not all knit stitches on your sewing machine work for all types of knits. Plus, it is always good to have an extra painting t-shirt.

Simplicity 2398 taught me that no matter how much my niece argues that she is a "jeans and t-shirt" gal and that she "doesn't care about fashion" (I know, teenagers are so cruel). I discover that she was lying by the smile she wore with her graduation dress.

That smile healed the old wounds and next time she tries to argue such nonsense, I know better.

And my most rewarding projects have been the ones that I made for others. I may not like to sew for others based on some past experiences but Mama R and my niece do not fall in this category. They were very appreciative of the items they received earlier this year. It is amazing the power that a simple "thank you" holds and the joy it can bring. Equal to the joy I typically get from sewing.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Mini-Wardrobe Storyboard Planning

Pattern Review is hosting a Mini Wardrobe contest coming up September 1st to 30th. I'm going to give this a whirl. I'm planning out what I would like my mini wardrobe to be within the perimeters of the contest.

  • Five piece mini-wardrobe
  • Four pieces to be sewn during the month of September
  • Fifth piece, "known as the key item" could be something that is already sewn or part of your existing wardrobe.  
There are so many options. Do I include a dress? Skirts? Pants? There are so many options!  

Vogue 8837 will make the mix for sure.  

I was thinking about a vest, Burda 7769, to go with this skirt. Made in a beautiful black silk that I purchased recently it would be an easy transition piece.  

But I'm still on the fence with that idea.  

For a top I've got Burda 7220 on my mind.

The picture didn't pick up the blue very well but it will match the blue in the fabric I chose for the Vogue skirt above.

I will also work with the colour orange.

Vogue 1247 is a true and tested pattern. And I do love the colour orange!

It would work with the Burda shirt and even with the black silk vest if I go that route.

If I don't go with the Burda vest in black silk I would make this Marcy Tilton jacket in a combination of orange and cream knit.

I'm thinking that it will work with the black skirt and the orange skirt.

But is that too much orange? Is there such a thing?

If I do go with the black silk vest I can omit the Marcy Tilton jacket and go with the Lynn Mizono dress that I love.

A black silk vest over the long sleeve lightweight wool might work, no?

Or I can forget about the black silk vest and the Lynn Mizono dress and go with another top made in the black silk.

The hooded shirt, McCall's 5640, was a favourite shirt back in the day. I'm not opposed to revisiting this pattern. I'll have to do some grading up if I revisit this pattern.

Oh my, so many decisions! I'm going to have to pour myself a glass of port for some serious thinking.

Vest or jacket?  Mmm, if only I could make six pieces.

Are you planning a mini-wardrobe for the upcoming season or Pattern Review contest?

Monday, 27 August 2012

In Sewing News Today...

Can you believe that it is nearly the end of August?

Even though it has been a long summer, lay-offs are never fun, in some ways it has flown by.

I didn't get nearly as much sewing done as I hoped. The Pattern Magic books were unopened over the summer. And the Pattern Magic Bow dress that I hoped to make in the orange linen never came to be. Actually, I didn't get much of anything I had hoped for done. July was spent fighting the pneumonia and a cough that still won't quit. And I spent most of the weekend packing away cotton and other summer fabrics that I hoped to sew into some projects. Maybe next year.

I'm working on finishing H's pink and yellow Simplicity 5540 dress. I hope to have pictures of the two dresses up sometime this week.

But then I think that is it for summer-time sewing.

Now, it is time to seriously think about what else I want to add into my autumn wardrobe. This is my favourite time of the year. Sew, I'm not at all sad about shortly moving into the autumn season.  

I can't really say that I need to add anything. These next few projects fall into the want category.

Pleased with how Vogue 1312 turned out, the plan is to make an autumn/winter appropriate version. This next version will be in this 100% lightweight wool fabric, with sleeves.

And I found some fabric to make Vogue 8839 out of, a polar fleece knit. This fabric is from last year's stock but at $38/metre it stayed on the store shelve.

This weekend it was reduced to $10/metre. What can I say, a gal must budget when laid-off from work.

This will be the first ever polar fleece item that I have ever made for myself.

But I've made many for others. Mostly for my niece, nephews and my best friend. But I've never got around to making one for me. It will be perfect for work since I'm always cold at work.

And this will surely take a bite out of those chilly autumn mornings that are just around the corner. The fleece is so soft, I can't wait for those chilly autumn mornings to arrive.

And I'll be sewing some more baby jumpers for a gal friend that is having a baby in October. I'm going with a cream colour knit, I figure it will be a safe colour since I don't know if I'm sewing for a baby girl or a baby boy.

In other sewing news, I found this button. And well, I couldn't resist.

It is a rooster button!

According to Portuguese folklore, the rooster is a symbol of honesty, integrity, trust and honour. The Barcelos Rooster has long signified faith, justice and good luck in Portuguese culture. And many Portuguese homes have a Barcelos Rooster in their kitchens.

But how many Portuguese folk can say they have a rooster button?

I don't have a specific project in mind for this button, I just thought it was too cute and reminded me of the Barcelos rooster.

I found the button in a quaint little sewing and quilting shop in Gimli last weekend. They had some lovely knit and cotton fabrics too. And all I walked out with was a button. One beautiful button.

That is all in sewing news today in my corner of the world. What about you, are your sewing plans changing with a new season(s) around the corner?

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Pattern Give-away Winner is...

Good morning!

Well, as promised I've drawn for the winner of Vogue 1312 after my morning coffee and romp through the weekend edition of the national and local newspapers. Russell Smith wrote some interesting thoughts on women, men and the colour grey. But I digress... (I'll share later)

Sew, the winner of the fabulous Lynn Mizono designer dress pattern is prttynpnk! Congratulations! I do expect to see a Vogue pose on your blog when you finish the dress. I'm sorry, I forgot to mention that as one of the contest rules.

If you don't already know prttynpnk has a wonder blog, Pretty Grievances. She never fails to keep me in stitches every Wednesday morning and then some.

Prttynpnk, I can't wait to see the dress you make. If you email me at grrracar (at) gmail (dot) com I can send it on its way.  

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Pattern Give-away! (Vogue 1312)

Guess what came in the mail yesterday? Yup that Vogue 1312 that I ordered back when it first came out during the on-line sale. The Pony-Express driver dropped in the mailbox. ~sigh~ The pattern that I wanted to sew for my birthday arrived three days after my birthday. Taking too long to get here, I scooped up the one I used when the new Vogue patterns arrived at Fabricland. Yea, that wasn't my finest moment in patience. But it was supposed to be my birthday dress.  My excuse, I'm sticking to it.    


Sew, what am I going to do with two Vogue 1312 patterns. I guess, I could host another give-away.

Here is the deal.  If you are a follower of this blog, promise not to sell it, promise to give it a good home, use it, share it, make fabulous dresses with this pattern and have fun along the way.

Then leave a comment below stating which of the window ledge funny Vogue poses from the new Vogue pattern releases is your favourite (the one that made you chuckle or shake your head or raise your eyebrow) and I will draw for this Vogue 1312 pattern on Sunday, right after my morning coffee.

I plan to sleep in and then enjoy my morning coffee at a leisurely pace, just so you know.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Talking about Vogue 1312

I thought I should post this photo as to how I achieved the hemline adjustment for the dress I made this weekend.

Over at Pattern Review Dorothy wrote:
I'm just about to make this dress, so I'm very happy to see your review. I'm most interested in how much you shortened it - it looks like four inches?
Yes, exactly! I think we're on the same page. I folded up the lower side, lower back and lower front pattern pieces. I slid the measuring tape to illustrate how the pattern piece was folded up four inches. If I unfold this pattern piece it measures eight inches longer. I only folded it up four inches. Does that make sense?  That was it, I didn't touch the skirt front or skirt back pattern pieces.

I was happy with the length with this adjustment, but whatever works for you. I'm only five-one so this worked for me.

I hope this photo did a better job explaining what I was trying to achieve in words over at Pattern Review. Apologies if I wasn't clear with the review.

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Photos in "the dress"... Vogue 1312

Well, you asked for it, you got it.

Here are some photos of the dress, Vogue 1312. I wore it out for my birthday dinner. Do I look fifty? But I digress...

Black is such a tough colour to photograph, but I hope you get a sense of what it looks like.

Since the details of the dress are hard to see I thought I would pose beside the fancy automobile. Don't be impressed, it's not mine.

For those asking about the hem adjustment that I made, I'm hoping that the photos will give you an idea of the length.

Let's get one thing straight, I'm short. I stand five-foot-one, five-foot-two in these shoes.

The skirt has five pattern pieces: skirt front, skirt back, lower side, lower front and lower back. Even though the skirt front and back has markings for lengthening and shortening, I didn't end up modifying these pieces. I almost did, I even got as far as pinning the pattern pieces. But I wasn't certain that it was going to work out.

Sew, I chose to shorten the skirt from the lower side, lower front and lower back pattern pieces. I raised the hemline edge of the pattern up four inches. And it worked for me. I'm quite pleased with the how the skirt pieces fell into place.

It is the only adjustment that I made to the pattern. The next one, yes I plan to make another, I would like to cut the bodice a size smaller. I found that it has quite a bit of ease around the bust.

Now just for laughs...

Let me try to do that Vogue model pose.
Yup, I feel fifty. Someone help me back up!  

Vogue 1312, (my new favourite dress pattern)

If only I were 5' 7"... 
This is my birthday dress was suppose to be my birthday dress.  By the time my birthday arrived Vogue 1312 was still sitting on my sewing table.  I'm a wee bit behind schedule by two days. But it is all good because I've been invited out for dinner tonight and now I have something to wear.

In this photo I'm trying to shorten the dress because well I'm not as tall as a Vogue model that is getting ready to jump out of the high rise window. Oh Vogue and your silly fashion stylists.

Anyway back to the pattern... I knew I had to shorten the dress but I wasn't all that sure about where to shorten. There are "lengthen or shorten here" tags on two sides of the upper skirt but only one "lengthen or shorten here" tag the lower skirt pieces. Pattern piece don't seem to be matching. I gave up with trying to shorten the the upper skirt portion and only took up the hemline. Guess, I'll see how that works out. My sewing life would be sew much easier if I were a half foot taller.

It all worked out great. I'm happy with the length. The pattern was super easy to put together. I can't stress enough if you want to sew a stress-free invisible zipper invest in basting tape. Greatest invention ever!

Hemline finished with a roll hem.  
I love the width and height of the neckline. What am I going on for, I love everything about this dress. Here are some photos I quickly snapped in the backyard. Maybe, I'll get a photo in the dress tonight.

I made the dress in a linen and rayon blend. I normally avoid rayon but this fabric was on sale dirt cheap and I figured why not. I do like the fabric but I do worry about the wrinkle and shrinkage factor.

I did preshrink it, I just hope there are no surprises in the future.

My form is drowning in this dress!  Not a size 14 and I didn't pin the back.

Looks like I'm going to have to give it a good pressing before I slip it on.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

What to Wear Cycling!

Wondering what to wear while cycling? How about a Hovding. A Hovding is a collar that you wear that holds "an invisible" bicycle helmet. Seriously, there are these two Swedish industrial designers who have designed an invisible bicycle helmet. It is an airbag shaped helmet that is stuffed into a collar and only deployed when there is an impact.

Cool, eh?

I've been an avid cyclist with exception of this summer. But being under the weather this summer cycling has been the last thing on my mind. I love cycling, hate wearing a helmet.

Yea, I know... hold all the safety issues about wearing a helmet. I could totally get into this. It even has a black box. You can read more about it here. I heard about it here there is a cool video that you could check out too.


Monday, 13 August 2012

In Sewing News Today...

I stopped into Fabricland on Friday and guess what. They just received the new fall Vogue patterns. I'm still waiting for these Vogue patterns that I order way back when they had an on-line sale. For something being ship 2,661 km away it certainly is taking its sweet time getting here. I believe it is being sent Pony Express off the beaten path.

The Vogue patterns that I picked up this weekend were ones that I complete missed weeks ago during the on-line sale.

First up is this kArtRine Tilton skirt, Vogue 8837.

This pattern has no zipper or buttons rather a self-line yoke and elastic. Sounds easy. My favourite detail is that hemline.

I also picked up this black double knit fabric that has felting. It is gorgeous, I wish you could touch it. The felted pieces are so soft. I did splurge on this 1.2 metre fabric purchase, an early birthday present for moi.

The second skirt pattern, Vogue 8835, was picked up with this 100% wool plaid in mind. I want to make the longer version. Have I mentioned how thrilled I am that the hemlines are dropping?

The fabric is something that was in my fabric stash. I love plaids, just not a huge fan of cutting and lining up the plaid.

I'm old school where I pin and baste my fabric before laying out my pattern pieces. Home Economics class circa 1979. But no one seems to do that anymore. Anyone?

For this project I'm going to use The Selfish Seamstress method of plaid matching. It seems quicker than the old school method I've been using.

I picked up a metal zipper for this skirt and plan to get out of my comfort zone and attempt an exposed zipper. My first one. Thank goodness for basting tape.

Continuing on the theme of covering up my knees for the 2012-13 winter season I added McCall's 6612 to my pattern stash.

I'm cutting it out in a colourful acrylic knit. I know that acrylic gets a bad rap with sewists and crafters but I love the colours.

I'm going to make the long  version but add long sleeves. The plan is to have this done as my Christmas dress.

Of course, all of these will have to wait. I still have to get to the second Simplicity 5540 dress that is on my sewing table. And I still have to get rid of this cough that is still hanging around and ruining my evening sewing time. On that note, that's all in sewing news today. I'm off to make a cup of tea.

Happy Sewing!    

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Almost done!

Here it is, Simplicity 5540, almost done! I just have seven red buttons (one of them seen in the upper left corner) to sew in place.

I think this pattern is too cute for words. The elastic in the upper pocket gives the pocket a nice shape. It is my favourite design feature. And I do like the topstitching.

The bodice is lined, I used a pale yellow lining. But not the skirt.

The pattern comes with shorts that is shown on the pattern envelope with the dress. And I discovered that if I do some creative pattern placement, I'll be able to cut a pair of shorts too.

That is what is up next before I get to H's dress and shorts. But I should get to those buttons first.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Simplicity 5540: Take One, Two, and...

I have to say that I didn't think that it was going to take me this long to sew Simplicity 5540. I just couldn't keep my focus on this project this weekend. I guess I'm on laid-back long weekend mode like the rest of my Canadian folks.

But there were no movies playing in the theatre that I wanted to watch. I'm waiting for Life of Pi to hit the theatres. I'm not into camping, so that was out.  Nothing appealing theatre-wise was playing this weekend.

So, what did I manage to get accomplished deep in my sew procrastination mode?  

Not much.  

Today, the last day of the long weekend, I tried to get back to the sewing machine to finish off Simplicity 5540.  

There were a few blunders that I must share.  

 Bunder #1:  Beware of automatic thread clippers when sewing gathering stitches. I'm sewing this dress on a Janome 4120 which has a built-in thread clipper.

I love this feature on my sewing machine but I totally forgot about it when I started my gathering stitches. Oops. Cut! And Take Two!

Bunder #2:  Beware when cutting multi-sized patterns. The dress was suppose to be cut using the size seven measurements. But I goofed and managed to cut one of the skirt pieces in a size six.

Luckily it was the length, sew I can fix it by doing a narrow hem instead of the 1 1/2" hem recommended on the pattern piece. Oops. Cut! And Take Three!

This is about the point where I decided that there is really nothing wrong with a little procrastination on this project. It must be a sign that I need to get out and enjoy the long weekend.

Sew, that's is what I did. Since there was nothing playing in the movie theatres that I cared to see, it was off to see what nature had to offer.

I walked away from the sewing machine and went to hang out with friends. We had a lovely walk through the park and grabbed a bite to eat. It was the perfect afternoon. Just what I needed to recharge my batteries.

With scenery like this, I can tackle Simplicity 5540 later.

Happy Sewing!

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...