Friday, 30 November 2012

November in Review

Vogue 1247 Skirt

Fabric:  1.5 metres Stretch Cotton (On sale at 50% off), $13.44
Pattern:  Vogue 1247, (reused), $0.00
Thread:  $4.37
Zipper:  $1.68
Basting Tape:  $0.63
Seam binding:  $1.20
Total Cost:  $21.32
Time Investment:  4 hours
Tools Needed:  Sewing machine, serger, measuring tape, ruler, fabric shears, pins, iron, ironing board, sewing machine needles, blind hem foot, walking foot and tailor's chalk.  

Vogue 1245 Top

Fabric:  1.5 metre 100% polyester (on sale at 50% off), $11.76
Pattern:  Vogue 1247, (reused), $0.00
Thread:  $4.37
Total Cost:  $16.13
Time Investment:  Months!, but in actual sit down cutting and sewing time about 6 hours.  
Tools Needed:  Sewing machine, serger, measuring tape, ruler, fabric shears, pins, sewing machine needles, tailor's chalk, iron and ironing board.  

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Christmas Sewing

Oh my! Christmas is one month less than a month away. Are you busy sewing?

I haven't sewn Christmas gifts since the last time I sewed polar fleeces and they didn't go over all that well. It was my fault for not realizing that EMO was in and fleece was out. My bad.  

Upon the realization that I am not at all hip on what is trendy, I stopped sewing Christmas gifts. As a family, we stopped exchanging gifts years ago. And I'm way past the age of exchanging gifts with friends, it is all about low-key get-togethers and charity in my age demographic.     

Call me crazy but there are moments that I miss sewing Christmas gifts. I miss the frantic rush to get projects done because I am a master procraftinator. I miss the joy that I used to get from making a homemade gift and adding the hand stitched details or hand-braided ribbon button loops that were likely missed in the excitement of Christmas. Homemade Christmas gifts are never conceived with the intention to save money or time, they come into being with lots of coffee, love and thoughtfulness.  

The blog-o-sphere is full of stories of negative reaction to homemade Christmas gifts. This tale especially breaks my heart. Living in a world where fashion is cheap and easily accessible homemade has become frowned upon in our consumer culture. It is sad really. 

And there are some heart-warming tales of homemade family gift exchanges. I love reading these! What a great way to discover someone's hidden talent and creativity and get to know someone on a deeper level. Oh, the joys of Christmas sewing.

Are you sewing for Christmas? What are you sewing? Do tell, I would love to hear about it.     

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Photographic Proof

I thought I should post some photographic proof that I actually finished my Vogue 1247 projects.

This is the top that exposed way too much of my business and I tried to alter it after the fact. I took it in at the centre seam but it just ended up creating another problem. Now the left side of the neckline does not mirror the right side.

The bust darts fall below my bust line. I'm not pleased with the way it turned out but it will work as a around the house shirt.  I love the colours in this fabric but I did kick myself several times for picking a slippery type fabric. What was I thinking? I likely would had less of a struggle if I chose a cotton or linen fabric. I french seamed the centre upper front and shoulder seams and the lower front middle section but I gave up after that and turned to my trusty serger to finished the rest of the seams.

And the hem! By the time it came to do the hem I decided that it would become an around-the-house garment sew I just serged the bottom hemline and left it. Done!

The skirt was less of a challenge. I absolutely love this pattern. I lengthened it from the original but that is the only change that I made. It is in a heavy weight navy stretch twill.  

Sew there you have it, photographic proof that I actually finished something this month. (Minus the shirt hem, of course.)

Must run to work... Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 25 November 2012

I love my new cutting table!

I was one of the lucky people who received a Friend and Family pass to shop at Ikea before their big grand opening this week. Let me just say, "I love Ikea."

Well, I loved them before but I really love them today. I have a new cutting/sewing table, thanks to Ikea. I finished setting it up this afternoon.

I don't have a fancy-dancy designated sewing room. Over the years, I've made do with a folding table or cutting fabric out on a cardboard mat on the floor. Not exactly the best scenario if you want to maintain a healthy back. And in recent years, I've been really feeling the back strain of cutting in those positions.

Enough about the past, today I'm looking forward to a bright and happy future. I picked out Vika Artur for my table legs. These are the perfect solution to my cutting issues because it allows the option to adjust the height of your table. And I do love the lower shelves where I can store fabric scraps. If I was a real keener I would have picked up some storage boxes. But I was a gal on a budget.

For the table top, I chose Vika Byske. I couldn't be happier with this table top with its nice smooth finish.

Now if I weren't on a budget and lived in a dream home with a large sewing room with lots of natural light, I would have picked up two of these Varde.

There were two Varde set up (back-to-back) in the showroom near the kitchen and dining room tables. They were the perfect height for my ideal cutting surface and the shelves and drawer space would be perfect for fabric and supplies. Aren't they perfect? My dream sewing room is a vision if nothing else.

But wait! Ikea has more for the sewing enthusiast. They have a textile department that I was dying to check out. And yes, I did stray from my budget and fall victim to my fabric addiction.

I picked up this 100% cotton. Oh my goodness, I can't tell you how great it is to have another fabric option in the city. The prints are fun and seriously, how could I resist this print? I'm thinking about making it into a shirt or maybe a dress for one of my friend's little girl. Hmm, I'm going to have to think about this one.  

Did I mention, I love Ikea?

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Word of the day: Procraftinate

This definition is from a blog called My Roman Apartment. It perfectly describes my lack of ability to finish off a drawer full of sewing projects:  

pro·craf·ti·nate (pr-krft-nt)v. pro·craf·ti·nat·ed, pro·craf·ti·nat·ing, pro·craf·ti·natesv.intr.To put off finishing handiwork because you’ve turned your beloved hobby into a postpone or delay the completion of craft projects to the point of stupidity.

I did try, this afternoon, to finish off one of my UFOs. I really did try. The project that is behind all this procraftinating is Rachel Comey's pullover top, Vogue 1247.  

This project has been waiting for some attention since sometime in May of this year. And today, damn it!, was going to be the day that I was going to finish it.  

I carefully pinned and french seamed and then I tried it on. Oh yes, now I remember why it became a procrafinated object. That darn neckline. I found it quite low for my liking. It sits lower on me than it appears to sit on the model on the pattern envelope. I tried, unsuccessfully, to fix it by taking it in where the neckline and centre front seam meets. It did not work out as I intended and now the neckline does not fall as well on the right side as it does on the left side. It is not really noticeable but I know it is not the best fix.  

I wish I didn't try it on for I feel another bout of procraftinating coming on. Oh why fight it, besides this calls for cookies. 

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Teal Traina Dress

This lovely pattern showed up in the mailbox on Friday just to cheer me up after a really bad week. For a brief moment, it was lined up as my weekend next project.

There is no way that I can get this one done in a weekend. I wish!

Now, I'm wondering if I picked a pattern that is out of my league?

Confession time.  In all my years of sewing,
  1. I have never made bound buttonholes.  
  2. I have never underlined a garment.  
And my research into Teal Traina revealed that a Teal Traina garment was known as a quality garment with couture details.

Of course, I discovered this after I purchased the pattern. And now, it would be just wrong if I tried to cut corners with this beautiful pattern. What is a gal to do? The only thing that I can do, I guess. Have someone else sew it for me.

I'm kidding. I'm going to take the plunge and learn something new, bound buttonholes and the mysteries of underlining. I'm also going to put off this project until Christmas break when I will have more time to focus on the time-consuming details that make this dress so special.

I did open up the pattern and give it a good pressing. The pieces have been cut with pinking shears! The etsy shop seller did mention it in the advertisement but I have to admit I was a wee bit shocked when I discovered that it was actually true.

The extension for the pocket were cut off on the skirt front pieces. But with the help of the instruction illustrations it shouldn't be too much trouble to fix.

Other than a few small tears here in there the pattern pieces are in fairly good shape. I think that I will copy this pattern since it is a lovely one that I would like to hold on to.

I think I also found my fabric for this dress. It is a crepe fabric and even though it appears as a blue/teal colour, it is more on the green side. Sorry, it is a bad photo.

A trip to Mitchell Fabrics might be in order to pick up silk organza for the underlining fabric. And I will for sure use a non-fusible interfacing.

This project will involve much more hand-stitching than I typically put into my garments but I think it will be worth the work.

Thirty-three more sleeps until Christmas break and the start of this project.

Now, I should get back to clearing off my sewing table with the projects that I've already started and have cut out and ready to go.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Finally, Vogue 1247

I finally finished the skirt, Vogue 1247. This is the fifth version of Rachel Comey's skirt awesome-ness. I might have mentioned how much I love this pattern. In case you missed it, here I go again. I can't imagine myself ever getting tired of sewing this skirt. I have plans to make two more in denim, one in blue and the other one in red.

I made this one in a heavy weight navy cotton that has some stretch. It will be perfect for work. I can wear denim at this job so the blue denim version will be a second work skirt.  

Of course, I lengthened it. I also stitched in the ditch around the waistband. I opted for a snap instead of a button for the waistband. Totally thrilled with how the invisible zipper came out and cannot believe that I used to dread sewing invisible zippers. Love it now, who know this day would ever arrive? And I did a blind hem.

And I'm tickled pink with how it turned out and that it is finally finished.  Now, what's next?

UPDATE:  So, I was hired to work part-time at a major retail opening up in Winnipeg the end of the month. At orientation, last month, we were told that we could wear skirts. It is even listed in the employee handbook. And it is the reason that I made a skirt in navy. Today, while picking up my "uniform" (a black and white polo shirt) I was told that no skirts are allowed. Bummer. Black or dark blue jeans yes, but no skirts. Guess I can forget about the plans to make a blue denim version.  

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Once upon a time...

One upon a time, I had a pattern just like this one in my sewing stash. I made the dress and it quickly became one of my favourites. I made it in a light grey colour and it travelled with me all the way to Portugal. I made Version A, the longer length, and loved the centred bust darts and empire waist. It was a comfortable dress that made me feel special. Don't you love dresses that can do that? Like many of my favourite dresses, I outgrew it. ~sigh~  

But wait, this story has a happy ending. Or will soon have a happy ending. I stumbled across it last week and in a moment of weak nostalgia, I ordered it. How could I resist, it was in my size and listed at a very good price. ~happy sigh~

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Who is Teal Traina?

Check out this lovely dress. I was sold on the side front pockets. I'm a sucker for a dress pattern with pockets.

It is a Teal Traina dress which meant absolutely nothing to me until I started doing some research into this "fashion dynamo" from the 1960s. I don't recall ever coming across the name in any of my fashion history books. Have you?

My online research into Teal Traina uncovered a different fashion designer behind the name, Geoffrey Beene. I thought that Teal Traina was an actually designer. Instead, it appears that Teal Traina is the name behind a famous design house where Geoffrey Beene worked in the late fifties and early sixties. Could this be a Geoffrey Beene design?

I don't know but I did come across a fascinating article by Patricia Morrisroe where Teal Traina spoke about his years with designer Geoffrey Beene. And this article made me wonder.

All I do know is that I'm quite smitten over this pattern. And I am busy trying to figure out what fabric to make it out of before it arrives in the post.

Morrisroe, Patricia.  New York Magazine.  American Beauty:  The World of Geoffrey Beene.  Vol. 21, No. 22  30 May 1988. Page 30-39.  

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Still distracted...

Vogue 1247, the latest version of my favourite skirt pattern is still sitting on my sewing table.

I did manage to drag it upstairs with pins, scissors, wax and a needle in hand. The plan was to hand stitch the waistband and snaps while there was a wee bit of sunlight and free time this morning.

I even managed to sew a few stitches before Mama R started to verbally fill my calendar.

Weekends are just a tease, taunting you with the allusion that you might actually have time to yourself to do the things you want need to do. Like yoga or meditation or listen to an episode of The House on CBC Radio. I miss having un-interrupted time for those things. But I digress and besides I am here to help Mama and Papa R.

"When you're finished that would you mind hemming up my dress?" she asked.

"Sure," I reassured her. Just put it downstairs.

She disappeared downstairs and reappeared with a cookie sheet.  "We should make Espigas de Milho before you start your new job," she craftily adds to my list of things to do.

"Can we do them tomorrow?" I foolishly ask.

Convincingly, Mama R replied that it would be better to bake today before the kitchen floor is washed.

"Sure," I surrender, giving up any hope of finishing the skirt today. "Just give me a second to get ready." I was killing time while the Jambalaya on the stove finished cooking and before I tackled the kitchen floor.

Espigas de Milho are these delicious Portuguese Cornmeal cookies. They are so worth the effort and they do take some muscle to get these babies through the cookie press. That is why I agreed to setting aside my sewing to make these with Mama R. They are that good.

Well the kitchen floor is washed and the laundry is done. And Mama R and I had a great time making the house smell delicious.

Maybe tomorrow I'll get around to doing some sewing.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Sew distracted...

I should have my latest Rachel Comey skirt, Vogue 1247, finished but I've been so distracted this evening.

I did manage to sew the front pockets, back zipper, side seams and serge the hemline.

I'm almost done, just the waistband and the hem left to tackle. And I plan on doing an invisible hem on the machine.

But the U.S. election coverage is on the telly this evening. And it is hard to sew when one is biting their nails. What a close race! I have no vested interested in the outcome of this election but I have to say that it is fascinating to watch. Don't worry, I'm not going into a political debate, it is a sewing blog and I plan to keep it that way. I'm just sew distracted and leaving my Rachel Comey skirt until tomorrow. For now, I'm off to make a chai latte and watch the rest of the election coverage.

Happy Sewing!

When I can't sleep...

When I can't sleep, I sew.

I could be reading a few pages from Up and Down by Terry Fallis. I'm only on the second chapter but I fear that I would stay up reading way past my bedtime. It is that good.  

Instead, I'm staying up way past my bedtime sewing. I'm sewing another Rachel Comey skirt, Vogue 1247. Nothing new besides the colour. 

I'm making this one in a navy cotton that has some stretch. The hemline has been extended down to a conservative level. Other than that it has the same details as the other favourite Rachel Comey skirts in my closet. But for now, I'm going to turn off the sewing machine and head up to bed. Hopefully, now I'll fall asleep.   

I've got the darts taken care of for now. Tomorrow will be for the zipper and hopefully, I'll have pictures to show 'n tell of the finished product. 

Happy Sewing!  (and good-night)

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Oh my goodness!

This pattern, McCall's 8823, has to be one of my favourite dress patterns of sewing years past. It is a Lida Baday design, circa 1997.

It is an unlined pullover dress with a mock back wrap. I made it in a black silk and cotton blend. And it received a lot of wear. It was one comfortable dress.

It has been many moons since I was a size 6 but I've had a difficult time parting with this pattern. It has always been in my plans to try and grade this pattern up several sizes.

Yikes, four sizes up. I did mention it was many moons ago, right? Yup, I am now a size 14. Don't ask me when that happened. All I know it was sometime from many moons ago to now. And I'm good with it, I have no desire to be a size 6 again. I do, however, want to add this dress into my wardrobe again.

Sew, you'll never guess what I stumbled across this evening. Oh my goodness, yes! I found this McCall's pattern in my (current) size over at Etsy. Of course, I ordered it right away. I can't wait for it to get here.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

October in Review

Oh my goodness!  Where did the month go?  I can't believe that it is already November 3rd and I missed my month end wrap up.  It was a crazy busy week though.  Anyway, here is what I was up to last month.  Not much, just these two items.  

Vintage Shirtwaist Dress

Fabric:   3 metres 100% Cotton Rosedale Sateen (Giarding) Porcelain $94.08, found in the reduced section $30.24 
Pattern:  Advance 8436 found this over at (used for the first time), I believe I spent $18.00 but don't quote me on that... 
Thread:  $4.87
Buttons:  $8.06 
Snaps:  $0.12
Total Cost:  $61.29
Times Worn this Month:
Time Investment:
Tools Needed:  Sewing machine, serger, buttonhole foot, measuring tape, fabric shears, universal sewing machine needles, pins, seam ripper, sewing needles, iron and tailor's chalk.

Mattress Pillow

Fabric:  Sheets (from Mama R's stash), $0.00
Filling:  $30.00
Thread:  $4.87
Elastic:  1.00
Total Cost:  $35.87
Time Investment:  
Tools Needed:  Sewing machine, serger, measuring tape, fabric shears, pins, seam ripper, tailor's chalk, iron.  

The Perfect White Shirt

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