Sunday, 30 June 2013

June in Review

Burda 7304

I'm doing a horrible job at that stash busting contest over at Pattern Review. I've got nothing to show for that but earlier this month I did finish the spring coat that I start last month. Sew far this year, I managed to stash-bust a total of:

  • 49.81 metres of fabric, 
  • 17 previously unused patterns
  • 5.6 metres of trim
  • 15 packages of seam binding,
  • 4 zippers
  • 12 spools of thread
  • 3 sewing machine needles
  • 8 snaps,
  • 49 buttons and
  • 2.8 metres of elastic.
And this this year I've added to my stash:
  • 37.4 metres of new fabric
  • 15 new patterns,
  • 2 metre of trim,
  • 15 packages of seam binding, 
  • 7 spools of thread
  • 2 sewing machine needles,
  • 12 buttons
  • 2 new sewing feet
  • 4 metres of elastic.  
Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Quest for a Great Fitting Pair of Pants: Chapter 4

Not much sewing on my pants tonight. I did take them in one and a half inches around the waist from the side and centre front and that seems to have done the trick.

I still have to sew the invisible zipper, decide on the waistband and hem. I'm just not feeling all that great and am going to call it an early night. Hopefully, I will finish them up by the week's end.

I wish I could get my hands on a copy of Pants for Real People. The local library does not carry a copy and I haven't seen any copies in the local bookstores.

Even without the book, I do realize now that I am at least a size smaller in the waist compared to my hip. This will be good information to work with when I tackle my next pair of pants, Vogue 1325.  

But for now, I need to get these Burda "new Marlene Dietrich-style" pants. I have to admit that I had to look up Marlene Dietrich. Here is what I discovered about this Hollywood legend.

Enjoy and Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Quest for a Great Fitting Pair of Pants: Chapter 3

Okay, I'm feeling better about the size I cut these pants out in because they are too big. I could lose some weight but that is another blog post for another time. Back to the pants, I could have gone about two or three sizes small in the waist. I haven't sewn the invisible zipper in the back yet. In these pictures it is pinned with a larger allowance that should be. I think this calls for a piece of pie to celebrate! Kidding.

What I love about this, Burda 7122, pant pattern is the wide leg. One of the big issues I have about wearing pants is being able to also wear my knee braces comfortably. No problem in these.

The only alteration that I have made to the pattern before I cut it out was to the length. No kidding here. I shortened the pattern one inch below the knee and another above the knee. And I still could have gone a couple more inches.  

I'm not sure what's going on in the crotch area and how to fix it but I'm going to wait to figure it out once I have the zipper in place. The other issue is what to do about the waist. I have the high waist sections cut out and ready to go but now I'm thinking about changing directions. I think I might go ahead and cut out the waistband for version A instead of B.

For now, I'm going to call it a night.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 24 June 2013

Happy Monday!

Guess what came in the mail today! Vogue 1847, in my size.

I actually have this pattern in my stash but sadly it is not in my current size. I bought it years ago when it first came out but never got around to making it.

This replacement one will fit. And I have a British wool sitting in my stash that would be perfect for this. Hmmm, version B or version C.

Decisions, decisions...  

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

The Quest for a Great Fitting Pair of Pants: Chapter 2

Just when I thought there was no stopping me, I was stopped in my tracks. I'm totally to blame.

Let's see this weekend I managed to get very little done from my list this weekend.

That Burda pattern that I was heading over to the cutting table with on Saturday evening didn't actually get cut until today.

But there were naps to the sound of a summer rain. Love that!

Now, where was I? Oh yeah, Burda 7122 and the quest for a great fitting pair of pants. I cut them out in, gulp, a size 20. Could it really be? I typically cut dresses, skirts and tops in a size 14 and I have to say that I didn't quite expect that I should be cutting out pants in a size 20. But that is what the measurements say. I can't really say that I have a whole lot of experience with Burda patterns and even with sewing pants or trousers. We'll have to wait and see how these work out.

Well, fingers crossed that they work out without too much tweaking. I'm going to get the machines set up and call it a night. The plan is to start sewing tomorrow after work. But we know how I am with sticking to a plan...

Happy Sewing!

I'm not worthy...

Oh my goodness!  I woke up to a nomination for The Liebster Award! My blog was nominated by Melody over at Sew Melodic. I love your blog by the way (I spent most of the morning reading it--everyone else, you have to check this blog out and I have to say I'm totally in awe with your bridal emergency sewing project.

Thank you, for the nomination. I don't feel like my blog is worthy.
The Liebster Award is a token of recognition that bloggers award to fellow bloggers who they think deserve more recognition. The terminology “Liebster” roughly translates to “Dearest” from German, and the guidelines of this award are as follows:
  • Thank the blogger who gave you the award and link back to them in your acceptance post!
  • Share 11 interesting things about yourself.  Don’t be shy, and don’t worry if they aren't relevant to the topic of your blog.  They aren't supposed to be!
  • Answer the 11 questions that the blogger who awarded you asked in their post.
  • Create your own set of 11 questions for the next recipients of the award.
  • Pass the award to some of your own favorite bloggers!  Each awardee should have less than 200 followers for their blog.
I would like to pass this award to:

Sewing On PinsDeconstruct, Alter and Create and Doobee's Creations. (Sorry for all the homework)

But I would love to know:

1.    How did you learn (or who taught you) to sew?
2.    Who is your favourite fashion designer?
3.    What was your first sewing machine?
4.    What other activities compete for your time?
5.    Do you ever lose your sewing mojo? If so, how do you get it back?
6.    Greatest sewing challenge?
7.    Favourite sewing gadget?
8.    Favourite fabric shop?
9.    Have you ever been on a sewing retreat?
10.  Do you hang out with a local sewing group?
11.  What is your opinion about reality television sewing shows?  


My Homework Assignment

11 Crazy, Interesting or Like-Wise things about me...

1.    I live in the prairies even though my heart is out east where I once-upon-a-time lived.
2.    I don't like country music which makes me an odd-ball in this part of the world. Several friends are convinced that it is the reason I am single.
3.    I'm a dog person who loves wearing cat-eye glasses.
4.    I'm extremely allergic to cats and I have a brother who has six cats as pets along with other various domestic wildlife living at their home.  They are very very clever (the cats and my brother) as it is the perfect excuse to never host a family dinner.  Clever.
5.    My favourite author is José Saramago.
Lynn Mizono {Source}
6.    My favourite designer patterns in my stash are the ones designed by Lynn Mizono, Marcy Tilton and Katherine Tilton.

7.    I sew on a Janome machine, I couldn't imagine sewing on anything else.
8.    My favourite drink is water with fresh lime squeezed into it.  Hold the ice.
9.    I have never sewn a bound buttonhole or bound pocket. Yet.
10.  I have all three Pattern Magic books collecting dust on my bookshelf and I haven't yet made anything from them even though I had grand plans to do so last year. I guess that makes me a procraftinator.
11.  My favourite season is autumn because it is so incredibly beautiful. I dread summers in Winnipeg because of the hot humid temperatures infused with mosquitos.

11 Question Asked and Answered:

1.  What is your favourite item you have ever sewn for yourself?
That is a tough one. If you were to go through my closet you would be convinced that it is a Rachel Comey skirt, Vogue 1247, because I have five versions of this skirt hanging in my closet.  I have a few favourites (this is tough) but if I could only choose one it would have to be Vogue 1312. It is a black linen dress and Lynn Mizono design. It is soooo comfortable and I feel like a million bucks when I wear it. Added bonus, it was fun to sew.  

2.  How many pairs of shoes do you own? 
Too many according to some, you're really not going to make me count and face the fact that I don't need those two pair of Josef Seibel shoes at Costco right now. In my defence, I live in a place that has four seasons. I will admit to less than thirty.  

3.  Do you sew for others?  If so, what kinds of items? 
Reluctantly and rarely. My rule is that I DON'T SEW FOR OTHERS based on my past experiences but it is a rule that has been broken on occasion.  My experience is that people do not appreciate the work and expense that goes into making something and have been conditioned to cheap RTW.  Add to that Winnipeggers are famously known for their cheapness. It is amazing how reluctant people are to take their items to a tailor or professional seamstress to be altered all because they are looking to take advantage of their acquaintances who own a sewing machine.  

I was thrilled to have the honour to make my niece's graduation dress last year. She picked a beautiful slippery fabric for me to sew. I was terrified about inserting the invisible zipper with this fabric, thank goodness for basting tape

During Lent, I did some sew for the church, purficators and mending of some vestment pieces. The most terrifying sewing EVER. The vestments that needed some TLC were beautifully made by the priest's mom. Yeah, no pressure.  

Family is important to me, and I will never turn down any sewing for my family. Although, I secretly wish I didn't have to do any mending and alterations in my perfect sewing fantasies.  

4.  What is your advice for your fellow < 200 followers awards nominees?  
Have fun, embrace your mistakes with a sense of humour--there is a lesson in each and every one of them. And basting tape and a jean-a-ma-jig, two items that I think should be part of everyone's sewing tool-kit.     

5.  Do you have a celebrity you really fancy?  Who?  
Yes. Johnny Depp. Brains, talent, fashionable and he has made me laugh, cry and think in his many of his films. What's not to fancy?    

6.  What/who is your favourite blog/blogger? 
Oh my gosh, there are so many blogs and bloggers that inspire me and more that I've been discovering. Eugenia hasn't blogged in over a year but her posts on inserting an invisible zipper were a life-saver. I'm happy that those posts are still found online at her blog Eugenia's (fabulous) World of Fashion. I am consistently blown away with Carolyn's technical skills over at Handmade by Carolyn. And Kazz, an Austrailian designer who has one of the most creative and entertaining blogs out there along with some great taste in tunes. There are so many to list here (check out my blog roll for other favourites)... 

7.  If you could live in any country, which would it be?
I don't know that I would want to live in any other country besides Canada. Travelling in the past has made be realize how blessed I am. I wish I had the opportunity to travel more though (including seeing more of my own country). Hmmm, to be honest I would like to live somewhere where they have a better selection of fabric. There seems to be a lot of cheap fabrics dumped in the Canadian landscape in recent years. 

8.   Do you have a sewing stash?  What is in it?
Yes!  Doesn't everyone?  Oh my gosh, where to begin!  Fabric, zippers, trim, elastics, bias tape, sewing machine needles, interfacing, patterns, buttons, I think that about covers it.  

9.  What are some things you own that have leopard print on them?
I made a leopard print knit maxi-dress for Jungle January.  

10.  What is the best meal you ever ate?
Hands down it would have to be the steak sandwiches that my sweet, adorable Portuguese aunt made, seriously delicious. I found out that she used lard to make these delicious stripes of heaven on a bun. At first, I was kind of turned off by the fact they were made with lard, but I've come to the dark side.  Mmm, mmm, mmm.  

11.  What is your favourite fabric?  
I could answer this question so many ways.  It makes my soul sing to find fair trade fabrics and organic cotton. I wish there were more of these fabrics available. I typically prefer natural fabrics, wool, silk, linen and cotton. I also love plaid fabrics. But then I did fall in love with a doily print polyester recently. Go figure! I really can't narrow it down to one favourite.  But I will admit that I have a piece of chiffon with a print of the artwork of the great masters that I just can't bring myself to cut--it is just too beautiful.  

Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Quest for a Great Fitting Pair of Pants: Chapter 1

The quiet Manitoba Prairies.   
I rarely wear pants. Sew much sew that people seem to notice when I do. What can I say, it's the prairies, nothing much happens out here.  

I have tried to sew pants in the past but I haven't found a pattern that has
a) totally wow'd me and 
b) fits my quirky body.

I know this is going to be a quest, hopefully not one of epic porportions. I don't have a lot of time.

Now you might be wondering why the rush and why I would want to sew pants now that it is officially summer. Well, let's just add that I also live in a part of the world that is know for the mosquitos. We experienced the rare event of two relatively mosquito-free summers but now the mosquitos are back with a vengeance making up for lost time.

And everyone in these parts have heard the advice that clothing can help in reducing mosquito bites. Now, I really don't rock the mosquito net hat all that well so my next best option is to protect myself with long sleeve shirts and long pants perfumed with a light mist of deet.

Since these pants that I plan to make and wear this summer are likely to be exposed to chemical warfare I'm going to have to chose my fabric carefully.
DEET is an effective solvent,[4] and may dissolve some plasticsrayonspandex, other synthetic fabrics, and painted or varnished surfaces including nail polish.
Okay, all joking aside. I'm more of the enjoying the air-conditioning at a movie theatre rather than the great outdoors kind-of-gal.

But I wasn't kidding about pants. I really am going to try my hand at another pair of pants. I even have a cream cotton sateen in mind for these summer pants.

I'm going to give Burda 7122 a try. I've read some good reviews of this pattern over at Pattern Review about the fit. Hopefully, this is the pant pattern that will wow me.  

Well that's enough joking around, I have my deet-friendly cotton fabric pre-washed, pressed and a cup of coffee. There's no stopping me now as I bid adieu and head over to the cutting table.  

Happy sewing!

Friday, 21 June 2013

Mundane Mending

Yup, that is all that I've been up to lately--mundane mending.

This afternoon was spent hemming up pants for a brother.

"It is just one pair," he said adding, "it will only take you five minutes by machine."

Insert eye roll.

It was more like over two hours of my time and as an extra pair of pants were thrown in. I don't know what I dislike more, the actual mending and alteration work or the fact that people don't seem to understand how much time it takes to do a good job.

Or maybe it is the fact that I seem to be doing mending and alterations for other peeps while my own pile is getting out of hand.

I need a project that is going to get my creative juices flowing again. I think it is time to ignore my own mending pile, pour a glass of wine and look through my pattern stash for some inspiration.  

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 17 June 2013

In Sewing News Today...

Some days I just shouldn't read sewing blogs and click on links to beautifully funky shoes. Oh my goodness, have you seen these?

Thankfully, they are not in my size. Otherwise, I might be tempted to pick up these three and three-quarter high-heeled beauties that would not be the best thing for my knees. Aren't they pretty though? 

Over at Gertie's Blog for Better Sewing, Gertie is also tempting sewing peeps with more gorgeous floral fabrics. I'm going to have to muster all the will-power that I can and remind myself that there is a seasonal lay-off around the corner.  

In other sewing news, I've been busy cleaning and de-cluttering this past week. I'm so ready to spend some quality time with my sewing machines. I have yet to participate in the fabric stash busting contest over at Pattern Review. 

Right now, there is some cut yardage in the laundry room waiting to be pre-washed for a pair of pants. But first, I'm going to have to clear off some mending projects that have been hanging around for far too long. Not my favourite type of sewing--it's a dirty job but someone has to do it. Sadly, that's me. Missing the fun sewing that is hopefully around the corner.  

Happy Sewing!  


Sunday, 16 June 2013

Purging Pretty Things

I know that the weather is getting warmer and the mosquitos are out. It certainly feels like summer has arrived but technically, it is still spring.

I'm spring cleaning and purging pretty things. Yup, I'm digging through my fabric stash to see what is going to stay and what will find a new home.

Most of this pile is destined for a new location. I tried to donate fabric in the past to recreational centres that offer kids programs but none where interested in such items. Apparently, fabric doesn't qualify as craft material. Or it might be a polite way to say that kids don't sew, they play soccer when it is not raining outside.

But I did find this!
Looking for Donations of Fabric and other Sewing Supplies
The Central Park Women's Resource Centre operates a sewing circle for women living in the Central Park neighborhood. They are in need of sewing supplies as well as a wide variety of fabrics for their projects. Manitoba Status of Women will be collecting the donations on their behalf. Please drop off any materials to 409-401York Avenue (Norquay Building across from the Law Courts). Call 945-6281 for more information.
I just picked out two items to offer up in the etsy shop and the rest I'm taking down to to the Norquay Building later this week. I'm sure that someone will appreciate it. Besides, some of the knits and suiting fabric is just too heavy to ship if I offered up over at the etsy shop.

The two pieces that I put up over at etsy are two metre cuts that would make lovely tops.

Well, I have more purging of pretty things to do.

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Faux fabrics to go with that Faux Sales help

Can you believe that I walked into the local fabric store once last week and came out of the store with no fabric. I can't say the same for the other two visits.

They now sell cheap costume jewellery, (yeah, including earring), vases and lots of faux fabrics. Found right beside the silk duponi table was a whole selection of faux silk duponi. I was not impressed with this polyester poser.

Is it just me or have you noticed a decrease in natural fibre fabrics and quality that is less than impressive? Or is this a Winnipeg phenomenon? And what is up with carrying non-sewing gadgets?

And then when I got to the cash register the store manager instead of ringing in my purchase makes a comment regarding the merchandise I picked out.

"This thread is not the buy one get one free," she informs me.

"I know," not looking up as I search through my wallet.

"The polyester thread is on sale," she pushes on.

"No thank you," I said as I unsuccessfully try to cut her sales pitch off.

"Well, the cotton thread is only 20% off," she adds.

"That's fine," I reply.

I can tell you that I do not find shopping at my local fabric store as enjoyable as in the past. The fabric that I find inspiring are few and far between. The fashion fabric labels that appear with man-made fibre content are over-populating the store shelves along with the appearance of "unknown content" stamped across labels where fibre contents used to be displayed.

As I waited in line to pay for my thread I looked around the store and just felt so sad. I miss the fabric selection of my past. Polyester made an appearance to the consumer in the early nineteen fifties but now it seems to have overtaken the floor space in one form or another. I miss the days of feeling silk noir between my fingers as I try to decide on the colour or the by-gone days of finding 100% linen or wool.

I come home and hold a little tighter to those precious gems that sit in my fabric stash wondering if I should cut into them.

Measure twice, cut once. Gather the remnants & ask what have you done. What have you done?

~Night Vale Radio~

Saturday, 8 June 2013

In Sewing News Today...

Just off a big project and tidying up the sewing area. There are a few things that I need to tackle before I think about my next project.

First up, hemming a pair of pants for Papa R. Even Mama R thinks that these will have to be re-hemmed down the road since Papa R is notorious for his lack of patience when it comes to the fitting process.

I believe that in the Portuguese culture bad sewing karma will fall upon your sewing machine if you tell your kin-folk to take their alterations to the tailor. But I have to tell you it is a secret fantasy of mine. I much rather sew something from scratch than mend or alter.

That said, I really can not procraftinate any longer. This weekend will be devoted to all those mending and alteration projects that I just need to get done.  

What is on your sewing table?

Happy Sewing!

Friday, 7 June 2013

New Spring Coat: Burda 7304

Stash Busting 2013:  Project #22

Fabric Used:                  3.2 metres 100% polyester fabric

Pattern Used:               Burda Style 7304

Seam Binding Used:  15 packages of seam binding.

Buttons:                         Six

“The great doilies are stories in crochet, with a beginning, character development, and plot twists, periods of conflict, growth, and redemption. And the best of them have slam-bang endings.” 
~Doris Chan~

This project certainly had its challenges. I don't know where to begin.  

1.  The Fabric!  
I believe that I actually gasped when I first spotted this bolt of fabric in the home decor department. It is a 100% polyester, not the kind of fabric I usually fall head over heels over, rather it was the texture and print that won me over. I fell for the doilies that graced the surface of this fabric.  

This fabric proved to be a challenge to press and finish. Oh my goodness, did it ever fray! I finished all the seams with a bound seam finish. I didn't make my own bias tape. I cheated and picked up several more than several packages of pre-made seam binding.

I went against Burda's advice to use a fulled fabric.
Fulled fabric is a kind of felted wool, the surface of the wool is slightly felted so that the right side looks the same as the wrong side. The quality is smooth, but sturdy, and has a perfect wearing ease. You usually sew jackets from it without lining, which are perfect for autumn and any transitional season. Due to its property, edges need not be neatened, the fabric does not fray and is comparable with fleece.

Garments sewn from fulled fabrics have got volume and stability, and look nice from both sides.
Do I love my fabric? Absolutely! But next time if I reuse this pattern, I will look for a fabric that is suggested by Burda.

2.  Bound Seams!
I love the look of this coat from the inside. All the seam edges are finished with bound seams, it was a lot of work though. This coat would have been pieced together a lot quicker if I serged all the edges. Despite the time-consuming work, I'm glad I bound those fraying seams.

3.  Pressing!
Everyone who sews knows that pressing is one of the most important steps to creating a well-made garment. Sew I won't go on about this step other than thank goodness for my tailor's and sleeve hams.

Despite all the challenges this fabric and project provided, it will go down with one of the most rewarding.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Reasons Why I Sew: Reason # 7

My name is Graca and I am fabricholic.  Today is my twenty-fifth day without adding to my fabric stash.

Some days are tough. I am presently tempted by this gorgeous fabric over at Gertie's etsy shop. And don't even get me started on all the beautiful fabrics found over at Marcy Tilton.

I shouldn't even be looking because I have one serious fabric stash. Some pieces have been in my stash for decades! Others have been gifted.  

I might be in need of an intervention? And needless to say, it is another reason why I sew.  

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

QUICK! Someone pour me a drink...

I need to celebrate that Burda 7304 is almost finished. Yup, that is the excuse that I'll stick to...

I'm at the button hole stage of this project. I have one of those fancy-smancy Janome sewing machines with an automatic buttonholer. I found this video over on YouTube that shows a buttonholer just like the one on my machine. Don't be jealous.  

You see in theory it is the cat's meow. But my admiration for this automatic button hole feature hit a snag today when the perfect buttons would not fit in the button hole foot slot.

"Seriously?" I thought to myself thinking back to all the struggles that I have endured these past few weeks while making this coat.

I wasn't going to let this stop me. But then I realized that I live in a small prairie city and where would I take this to get button holes made. Gawd, I miss living in a large urban centre at times like this. The next option was to hunt through the button stash to see if I can find another large button but just slightly smaller than the perfect buttons that would not fit in my button hole foot.

Long story short... I found one. And this seems to work at making a button hole that I can squeeze the perfect button through. Although sewing will have to wait until tomorrow. Right now, I have to celebrate that it is almost finished.

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Progress on Burda 7304

It has been a week since I sat down to work on the coat. I've been busy fighting a cold, still.

But this weekend I was back at it. Let's see, I've finally finished the sleeves and cuff feature. Along the way I finished off a few more package of bias tape.

Under collar
The only part of the coat that does not have bound seams is the inside of the collar.
Both the upper and under collar have pinked edges.  

Right now I'm finishing the outer edge. Burda suggest using a fulled fabric for this garment. Life would have been so much easier if I listened to this piece of advice.  

Fulled fabric, according to Burda, is a like a felted wool that does not fray. This is not the kind of fabric I chose, so I'm finishing off these edges with more bias tape.

I think it just might be safe to say that I spent more money on bias tape than I have on the fabric.

There is much more work to do but I think it is time to call it a night and make a cup of tea.

Happy Sewing!

Loathsome or Lustful? Leggings

In this weekend's Globe and Mail Russell Smith answers a question from a reader:
Is it true that men in the big cities are starting to wear tights and leggings? If so, is there anything we can do to stop them?
Everyone is a critic lately. I really don't find the look all that shocking, to me it just looks like another reincarnation of a skinny jean.  

Apparently, there are several terms used to describe this fashion trend. Meggings, aka man leggings, are described to be made of a thicker fabric and footless. They are meant to be worn out in public.

Here in Canada we call this footless tight-fitting knit fabric garment by a more manly-man term, long-johns.

It was only a matter of time that these traditionally unseen fashion staple were repackaged for an outer appearance. Seriously, is it really a surprise considering that pajama bottoms, sweat pants and yoga pants have become part of our Canadian suburban landscape in recent years?

I think not.

Would I want my dream man to wear a pair of these? To be completely honest, he could wear whatever he wants as long as he irons. (I'm not as picky as I was in my youth.)

I wouldn't even blink if he wore mantyhose.

As long as he helps out with ironing, he can wear whatever he likes.

I just have one question, if a man wears mantyhose, do you think he should shave his legs?

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Stash Busting...

Pattern Review is hosting another Fabric Stash Contest. According to the contest rules the goal is to reduce your fabric that has been part of your stash for more than six months.

Boy, do I ever have a fabric stash that fits that criteria!

Since I've failed at that not-buying-any-fabric resolution earlier this year, I should give this a try.

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...