Thursday, 31 January 2013

January in Review...

McCall's 6612
McCall's 8525
Vogue 1312
Vogue 8854
Simplicity 7478
Vogue 8825
Sew, are you wondering how I did on the first month of my Sewing Resolutions?

Not great, I did stumble. And it certainly was a challenge.

I did walk into a fabric store once because I was in need of thread and some more basting tape to complete my Vogue 1312 dress.

I am happy to report that I was able to escape without any fabric or patterns.  

And in a moment of weakness, I did go shopping for envelopes and came home with two ready-to-wear (RTW) items. I noticed that I shop when I am bored or feeling blue.

I returned the two sweaters with a bad case of buyer's remorse and the realization that I'm an emotional shopper. This might be the also be the reason that my fabric stash got out of hand.  

This is more challenging than I thought it would be, but all-in-all there are no presently no new RTW items in my closet. And I managed to stash-bust a total of

  • 15.4 metres of fabric
  • 5 previously unused patterns,
  • 3.1 metres of trim
  • 2 zippers
  • 3 spools of thread
  • 2 sewing machine needles
  • 3 snaps and 
  • 9 buttons.
Added to my stash this month:

  • 5 spools of thread, 
  • 1 package of basting tape.  

Happy Sewing!  

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

In Sewing News Today...

I'm back at the sewing room after a bit of a slump. We've had a break from the deep freeze and my teeth stopped chattering this weekend, that is good enough to get back to sewing.

On the cutting table is a dark chocolate brown suiting fabric. The fabric is for the Vogue 1038 skirt. I picked this fabric from my stash to go with the animal print I picked up for Jungle January. The fabric has been in my stash for so many years, I actually lost count. If it weren't for the Jungle January fabric I likely wouldn't even have pulled out this fabric out.

I do realize that floor length skirts are not the best option for my five-one frame. I shortened the pattern and I'm sure I'm going to have to chop off some of the length. I wish I had the height to pull it off but I don't. It is not stopping me from trying this pattern. Over at pattern review it received rave reviews for the fit. I did have to adjust the pattern I purchased several years ago when I was not a size 14. My fingers are crossed that it works out.

I fear won't have this outfit finished by the end of the month considering that it will be tomorrow. I'm a little behind in my Jungle January plans because of a combination of procraftination and other projects.

Oh and that muff! I'll never get to that muff in time. Maybe next year? But the shirt, Burda 7188 in the animal print, will make it to the sewing machine sooner than that, I hope. That's the plan, a little late to the party.

I've also been busy cutting other items. I have another flannel nightshirt cut out using McCall's 8525. I have to say that I love this pattern. If you're looking for a nightshirt pattern and you come across this on ebay or etsy I would say go for it.

I'm searching through my fabric stash for some denim for girls' shirtdress. I have quite a bit of denim in all sorts of weights and colours.

I found this red denim which happens to be the little gal's favourite colour. How perfect! Almost. I'm not sure because it feels a little heavy for a little girls' dress. I think I'll still be searching through my stash.

That's all in sewing news today. Well, I should get outside and brush the snow off the car and get to work.

Happy Sewing to those lucky to have a day off to sew!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Oh what was I thinking?

What was I thinking when I said I "make do or do without"? That was the dumbest thing I ever said this year. Of course, I said that before I saw the new Vogue Spring 2013 patterns. Have you seen their new patterns? Oh, the temptation!  

The bodice on this dress is so pretty.
Vogue 1340

And this dress looks so comfortable.  I could use another comfortable dress.
Vogue 1336

Okay, my hips won't have enough room in this dress but I love this neckline.  Maybe a tee-shirt?
Vogue 1341

And it comes with a coat too!
Vogue 8875
Another pretty dress.
Vogue 8875

Oh my goodness!  I absolutely love this dress.
Vogue 8876

Ohhh, so pretty!
Vogue 8882

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Simplicity 7478

Stash Busting 2013:  Project #6

Fabric Used:   2 metres of navy fabric from Mama R's stash.

Pattern Used:  Vintage pattern found last year over at Etsy, Simplicity 7478.  

Zipper Used:   55 cm invisible zipper.


After a bit of tweaking, Mama R has a new dress.

Simplicity 7478, the modified tent dress with the yoke forming a cowl neckline didn't get the Mama R seal of approval right away. She loved the cut of the neckline, the cowl, however, was not her style.  

She did ask that I sew it on just so that she could see how it looked.

This cowl has tucks at the back and a one and a quarter inch hemline turned in on the edge.

I made this neckline work for Mama R by opening up the tucks and trimming the yoke down to 1 1/4" from the seamline.  I serged the edge and stitched in the ditch.

The finished revision is more to Mama R's liking, she's quite pleased with its shape.

I have to say that I like both necklines. I don't have a preference to one over the other. I do agree that the new finish does suit Mama R. And this would have to be the first dress that she didn't ask me to re-cut the neckline. Score!

We both like the placement of the dart, it is perfect. This pattern is for sure a keeper.

The one thing about this pattern is the hemline. It looks like a short style on the pattern illustration but the illustrator took some creative licence with this cover. The finished back length on the dress: forty and a half inches. I trimmed four inches off and the dress has a two inch hem.

I might have to borrow this pattern later and make a cute summer dress for myself.

Until then, Happy Sewing!

Monday, 21 January 2013

1960s Grooviness...

A weekend with no sewing was a uneventful weekend indeed. It was all about work and snow clearing. Well, some snow clearing. It is bitterly cold and it's supposed to last for the week. That means that the rest of the snow clearing can wait until the weather warms up to normal Winter-peg temperatures.

With the cold weather encouraging me to stay indoors, I hope to get back to sewing this week. I've been working on a groovy dress for Mama R.

I found this lovely vintage pattern, Simplicity 7478, over at Etsy. There are typically three things that Mama R requests in a dress.

  1. A comfortable neckline
  2. Pockets
  3. Sleeves
This pattern have two out of three request items. The pockets will be an easy addition to the pattern.

It is cut in a mystery woven fabric that I suspect is a polyester fabric. I know I can do a burn test if I was really curious. I'm not. It is just a test fabric that might work out to be a wearable muslin.

The pattern, circa 1967, is a "modified 'tent' dress [with a] yoke forming cowl neckline, back zipper, loops and buttons." It has an armscye dart and I couldn't be more pleased with the fit in the bust area.

I have not yet sewn on the cowl neckline nor the sleeves. Hopefully, I'll finish this up shortly.

Until then, happy sewing!  

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Cycling and Fashion...

McCall's Patterns recently came out with their new spring patterns. Some of the patterns are quite cute. I know I'm suppose to do some sewing with the patterns that I have in my stash but a gal can look, right?

These patterns caught my eye not because they are anything that I want to add to my pattern stash. I found them interesting because they chose to style some of their spring patterns with bicycles. I love that yellow bike! But this is a sewing blog, so lets take a look at the patterns.

The "Damn, I keep falling off my bike because I'm wearing four inch
spiked heals" tunic. McCall's 6702.   

The "When is my boyfriend going to get a car?" dress.  McCall's 6706

The "Look I can pop a wheelie!" dress. McCall's 6701

The "forget this I'm waiting for a cab" outfit. McCall's 6709

The "do I really have to look like a teenager to ride a bike?" look.
McCall's 6710.
Okay, I like this one. Some legging with it and this would work. McCall's 6696.
And can you believe the model is wearing practical footwear in this shot?
Don't worry, I won't break my sewing resolution on this pattern, I have enough shirt dress patterns to keep me going.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Some progress...

There has been some progress with the quilt. This evening I managed to piece together another fifty-six squares and I now have couple of rows to attach to my larger quilt piece.

The last few days I've been cutting squares from fabric in my scrap pile and sewing. Just a wee bit of cutting and sewing at a time added up to this.

Nothing much to brag about but seeing it laid out on the carpet has me thinking that I might one day finish it.

Well, I should get ready for bed. I have a early start tomorrow.

Good night and Happy Sewing!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Reasons Why I Sew: Reason # 5

Reasons Why I Sew:  Reason # 5:  

I have way too much fabric and notions not to be sewing and a pledge to do some stash busting.

I still have fabric in my possession from the good old days when I lived in Toronto, over two decades ago. That's just crazy. And almost shameful.

Well, I've got to get back to sewing through a small mountain of fabric.

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 13 January 2013

New Wool Skirt

Stash-busting 2013:  Project #5

Fabric Used:   1.8 metre of plaid wool.  It has been in my fabric stash since June 2012, when I discovered it in the bargain section of the fabric store reduced down to 70% off. Did I need this piece of wool? No. I just can't figure out if I'm a bigger sucker for a bargain or for beautiful plaid fabric. It might be both.

Interfacing:      2, 3/4" wide and 8" long strips busted out of my sewing stash.

Pattern Used:  Vogue 8835, a recent addition to my pattern stash in the fall of 2012.

Zipper:               7" regular zipper, has been in my sewing stash for years now.


The Vogue pattern was spot on with a very easy pattern rating. It would be great skirt pattern for beginners too. This is going into my favourite pile of patterns because the fit is also spot on. I'm so pleased.

I used Janet Pray's technique for sewing a centred zipper. You can check out her segment on It's Sew Easy that is posted on their website right now.

I cut two 3/4" strips of fusible interfacing and fused them to the edge of the fabric where I plan to sew my zipper. There is no basting the zipper opening closed in her technique.

Instead she kept it open pressing 5/8" allowance. The chalk markings on my skirt are for those that are less experienced or fearful of zipper applications.

I'm not afraid to admit my fear, sew away I chalked. I marked off a line from my pressed under seam allowance 1/4" away from the edge.

I'm ready to sew but I had some difficulty at this stage. My wool fabric and zipper proved to be too bulky and awkward to place under the presser foot easily.

I solve this issue with a small piece of basting tape that I used to attach the top of the zipper.  That was it, I didn't pin, baste or use anymore basting tape. I followed Janet's technique and for the most part it worked like a charm.

My fabric proved to be a challenge and if I could I would have used the jean-a-mag-jig I would have to get over the thickest part of my fabric.

It is not the best looking zipper application but I'm not disappointed either. I am quite pleased with the plaid matching below the zipper. Once I installed the zipper the perfectly matched plaid shifted. I'm okay with this imperfection since the jacket and sweater I plan to wear with it will hide this flaw in my work.

Janet's technique would be wonderful on a fabric that didn't have seam bulk to contend with and I'm going to revisit this to test out my theory.

I made a small change with the lining for the skirt facing/
waist-band. I chose to a different fabric than the wool I used for the skirt and I didn't feel like working with lining fabric. Instead I had some left over British wool that was perfect for the job. It is light weight, has some structure and allowed me to omit the interfacing called for in the pattern.

Overall, I'm quite pleased with my new skirt. I didn't make any design changes to the skirt and I don't think I would in the future. This pattern is perfect. I just have to work on my zipper application. I'm going to have to practice this new technique.  

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

In Sewing News Today...

It is the perfect weekend to sew, lots of snow outside to shovel and a healthy sense of procrastination lead me straight to my sewing workspace. And it is warm inside.

My big plan was to tackle McCall's 9264.  It was suppose to be an easy project, just four pattern pieces. I thought I could whip it up in no time. You see I cut it out before I went back to work this week. I was all proud of myself with my organizational skills, I even show 'n tell'd about it this week.

I took it out of the drawer and started mark-ing the darts.

I carefully unfolded the pattern instructions and ran my hand across the printed words and instructions. I was all set to go, sew I thought.

Step one looked simple enough, it is darts. And besides, I made this dress back-in-the-day.

Oh my!  What have I done? My bodice piece does not look like the pattern piece in the illustration!

I can't believe I goofed before I even poked a needle into my fabric. I was suppose to cut the bodice on the fold above the darts. Oops!

And I did this to both the bodice front and lining pieces. Luckily, I have enough left-over floral fabric to re-cut another bodice. I plan to do that when I have a healthy dose of coffee running through my system. I'm not sure if I have enough left-over silk for the lining. But it is all good, I'm sure I have other lining fabric that I can use. Instead of cutting last night I moved onto another project.

I pulled Vogue 8835 out of the drawer. I figure that a pattern rated "very easy" would make me feel better about making that silly error with the McCall's pattern.

It didn't quite work because this pattern calls for a centred zipper. I haven't sewn one of these in quite some time. Not since I mastered invisible zippers using basting tape. But an invisible zipper won't work here.

I went searching and came across the latest episode of It's Sew Easy. Have you seen this show? I don't get it up here on the telly but they post their episodes on the internet. This week's episode they have Janet Pray demonstrating how to sew a centred zipper without pins or basting tape. It is a technique that she says they use on the factory floor. I thought this might be interesting to check out.

I enjoyed the segment and I'm off to try her technique. Just the zipper and front yoke lining to install and then I'm done my next stash-busting project. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Until then, Happy Sewing!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Just in the nick of time...

Stash-busting 2013:  Project #4

Fabric Used:   1.6 metres of Sweater knit fleece.  I picked up this fabric at Fabricland in the summer of 2012. It finally went on sale, reduced further down to $10.00/metre. The original price was $32.00/metre.  Did I need more fabric in my stash?  No, but it looked so pretty and felt so soft.

Pattern Used:  Vogue 8854, I picked this pattern recently as soon as it was released as part of the Winter 2012 line. It was a last minute change, I had a completely different pattern picked out for the fabric.

Snaps Used:   3, 15 mm snaps. I have several packages of these in my sewing stash. I use them instead of back waistband buttons on skirts. They worked perfect here too.


Dinner and theatre plans preempted my plans to finish sewing Vogue 8854 last night. This evening I was back at it and managed to finish my knit fleece. And just in the nick of time...
Blizzard warning in effect.
Cloudy. Periods of freezing drizzle beginning near midnight. Wind south 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low minus 8.
Snow and blowing snow. Blizzard developing late in the afternoon. Snowfall amount 5 cm. Wind north 40 km/h gusting to 60. Temperature falling to minus 13 in the afternoon.
Friday night
Blizzard. Snowfall amount 10 to 15 cm. Wind north 50 km/h gusting to 70. Low minus 17. Wind chill minus 27.

It looks like I will be staying indoors this weekend and sewing until the snow stops. Then I'll have to head outside to shovel some of that snow, which will be the perfect time to try out my new polar fleece.

I know it doesn't quite look like the pattern illustration or photographs. Most noticeable change is the hemline.

I found the hemline too long on me, so I shortened it. Keep in mind, I am short stating at five foot one. And  a half on a good day. I didn't keep the original shape of the hemline, instead I cut it straight across starting at the side seams.

 I do love the collar and the front closure. I did not add the button and loop as suggested in the pattern.

I chose to close the front using three 15 mm snaps. No snaps on the collar, I happy without any here.

The sweater fleece has a kangaroo style pocket in the front. If I were to make any changes to the pattern, it would be to this pocket. A little wider and this pocket would be my idea of perfect.

I did abandon the instructions when it came to the sleeves. I didn't see the reason for sewing the side and sleeve before setting it in as a fitted sleeve. I chose to attach the sleeve to the armhole before sewing up the sides instead. There was no need for easing the sleeve into place.

The fabric has been in my stash since the fall of 2012. There might be enough left over fabric to make some small project in the near future.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

A polar fleece for moi!

This is what I am working on right now, a polar fleece for moi!

Last year I picked up this double sided knit and fleece with Vogue 8839 in mind. But when Vogue 8854 was released I changed my mind. I thought this pattern looked so cozy, I just couldn't resist.

This will be the first fleece that I have made for myself. It seems odd saying that considering the number of fleeces that I have made for others over the past. I just never got around to making one for myself until now.

To piece together this project I am staying loyal to my walking foot and a knit stitch on my machine. I think this walking foot might be one of my all time favourite sewing machine attachments. I can't seem to sing it praises enough.

I'm living dangerously and embracing the horizontal design of this fabric. It might make me look fat but I'm going to throw caution to the wind. Besides, it is winter in Winnipeg, ski-pants already make me look fat. This will keep me toasty and that's good enough for me.

It is almost done but I have to stop now and call it a night. I likely won't be able to finish this until Thursday after work but I thought I would post a sneak peak of what is coming up.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

In Sewing News Today...

Well, my Christmas lay-off is officially over and I'm back to work this week. [sigh of relief] Lay-offs are tough even though I will miss the extra free time to sew.

I managed to get a bit of sewing done and to get several projects cut and ready to go.

First up, will be this vintage Simplicity pattern. I picked it up last year over at with Mama R in mind.

She gave the green light on the pattern and handed over some navy mystery fabric that has been in her own stash for some time. The stash busting continues.

I also want to continue working on that quilt. My goodness, it is taking me much more time than I thought it would.
Wonder if I could finish it up this year?

I have this double faced fabric that is fleece on one side and knit on the other.

It is cut out using Vogue 8854.
These two Vogue patterns are finally cut also. Vogue 8835 is cut out in a plaid wool and I even have enough fabric for a purse. Wonder if there is enough for a vest instead?

Vogue 1306 is cut out in a yellow and black polka dot knit. I think it will be cute for the summer.

I even had enough left over fabric to squeeze out a baby sleeper.

And then there is the McCall's 9264 dress cut in the floral print.

Perfect for Valentine's, not that I have any big plans for Valentine's Day or anything.

Besides a few other surprises up my sleeves, this should keep me busy for the next little while.

Happy Sewing!

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 ...