Saturday, 30 November 2013

November in Review

This has been a very busy month but you wouldn't tell by the amount of sewing I managed to accomplish. Only one pair of pants and it took the whole month to finish.  

I did manage to do some damage to stash-busting stats though. Here is the year-to-date stash busting adding stats:  

  • 76.16 metres of fabric, 
  • 25 previously unused patterns
  • 10.6 metres of trim
  • 17.50 packages of seam binding,
  • 12 zippers
  • 17 spools of thread
  • 6 sewing machine needles
  • 18 snaps,
  • 4 hook and eye
  • 60 buttons and
  • 3.8 metres of elastic.
And this this year I've added to my stash:
  • 70.4 metres of new fabric
  • 21 new patterns,
  • 2 metre of trim,
  • 15 packages of seam binding, 
  • 1 zipper,
  • 8 spools of thread
  • 2 sewing machine needles,
  • 42 buttons
  • 2 new sewing feet
  • 4 metres of elastic.  
Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Tim Gunn Project: Black Wool Dress Pants

Stash-busting 2013:  Project # 37

Fabric Used:    2.1 metres of Italian wool suiting

Pattern Used:  Vogue 1325

Zipper Used:    8" zipper

Pants Hook Used:  1


Vogue 1325 is my go-to pattern for pants. They have a perfect fit, roomy pockets and a comfortable high waist. What more could a gal ask for?  

Sew, it was a no-brainer when it came adding another pair of pants to my wardrobe. It is Winter-peg and well, some days (like today) are just too chilly for a skirt.

The black Italian wool has been in my stash for over a year, maybe even two years. I've been saving it for a good pair of dress pants. I found it at Mitchell Fabrics and I do have to say they do have a great selection of wool. To pre-shrink the fabric, I threw it in the dryer with two damp bath towels. It turned out beautifully, I laid it out on my bed to dry completely and there was no need to press the fabric before I cut it out.

The zipper has also been in my stash for quite some time. It does feel good to stash-bust some of these items even if stash-busting does seem like a slow process is one step forward, one step back at times. Baby steps.

Well, now that the pants are finally done... On to Christmas sewing...

Happy Sewing!  

Monday, 25 November 2013

I Am One Lucky Lady

Remember last weekend when I told you about the long-lost scissors that I found rusting away in the garage?  

Yup, these ones. Oh gawd, how I missed these. I actually gave up hope of every finding them. I stumbled upon them while finding a good home for an artificial Christmas tree.  

Despite all the rust, I was really happy to have them in my possession once again. But I was at a complete lost as how to restore them to their past glory.  

This task called for some internet research. Vinegar was the popular advice for remov-ing rust. So I gave it a try. After about an hour sitting in a vase with straight vinegar there was some improvement.   

There still remains some rust after the soak in vinegar.  

Another suggestion found online was to use WD-40.  

It worked! The last bit of rust wiped off easily.    

And the best part is that it cuts well too. I'm one luckily lady. All that is left to do is take Elle C's advice and get myself one of these. Great idea, eh? Thanks Elle!  

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 24 November 2013


Marshall/Northwest Fabrics
Yesterday, I was like a kid in a candy store. A friend took me to Marshall/Northwest Fabrics here in the city (they also have locations in Alberta). I never heard about this place until Heather from Sewing on Pins and later a co-worker mentioned it but still it took this long to make it there. Lucky for me, my friend drove otherwise I would have been lost for sure. It is in the other end of town in unfamiliar territory but it is so worth the trip.

This place is incredible beyond belief.

They have a huge selection of knit fabrics that the other fabric stores in the city don't have in stock. And the prices. Oh my goodness! I couldn't believe the prices. Let's just say that I was well under the budget that I set for myself.

I didn't buy any knit fabric because there is enough in my stash to keep me busy for quite some time. I did pick up other items though.  

Like this gorgeous houndstooth that I would like to make into a Channel-like jacket. I picked up Vogue 8804 from Claire Shaeffer's Custom Couture Collection for this fabric. I will for sure make a muslin before I cut into this beauty. The fabric was a quarter of the price listed at the other fabric store in the city. Don't rush out there looking for this though. There wasn't much left on the bolt and I snagged the last bit of it. Hopefully, they will put more out so someone else can enjoy this fabric.  

This graphic print caught my eye right away. It is a 100% cotton and a perfect shirt weight. It is not a quilting cotton weight so it has a fairly nice drape. It could also make a cute dress. I have no pattern in mind for this, I just fell for it and in the cart it went. Hmmm, a shirt or a dress?  

GRRR, I picked up this grey and black denim weight stretch cotton in anticipation of Jungle January 2: Style Safari. That is all I have to say right now about this purchase.

"Yes, Virginia. Pigs do fly."

I know, I'm almost as shocked that I added pink fabric to the cart. Somedays, I don't know who I am! In all seriousness, this is a lightweight 100% wool that is absolutely divine to the touch. With that, and the encouragement of my shopping pal it remained in the cart. This gorgeous wool will be used for Vogue 1186, a vintage Teal Traina dress with bodice tucks.

I also picked up some silk organza, very reasonably priced, to underline these fabrics. Well it is official, with this fabric haul my 2013 stash-busting journey was an epic failure. But it was so worth it.  

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

New Butterick Patterns

Oh my goodness!

Butterick patterns released new patterns and boy-oh-boy there is one that is a sight for tired eyes and an achy body. It was a long day between two jobs but I digress...

Have you seen kAtheRine Tilton's latest pattern? It is Butterick 5986.

I'm quite smitten with the easy wearing style and the draped hemline of this dress. My only problem with this pattern is finding the time to sew it up.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Downton Abbey Fabric Line

Anyone who knows me knows that I watch Downton Abbey for the clothes and the wonderful details.

The hats, the gloves, the glamour and the exquisite attention to detail is enough to make one giddy with inspiration. Don't you just want to head straight to the sewing room and transfer some of those delightful details into the next creation?  

But the fabric and those delightful prints... if only I could get my hands on the fabric. And now I can! Andover Fabrics is behind the line.

It is almost enough to make me want to take up quilting.


A blouse perhaps....

Oh the possibilites!

Happy Sewing indeed!

Monday, 18 November 2013

In Sewing News Today...

Can you believe I had the weekend off and did not manage to finish the pair of pants still sitting on my cutting table?

I did manage to start on the front fly.  But, I'm barely half way done.

Yup. At the rate the year's end will get here before I hem these pants.

Sew, what kept me from sewing this weekend. A whole lot of errands and Christmas baking.

I made ginger bread cookies. It was our first real snowfall, the drag out the shovel kind of snowfall. It seemed like an appropriate time for Christmas cookies. What I should have been doing was shortening those ski-pants that have been in my mending/alteration pile for about a year. But I digress...

Talking about Christmas (I do realize that was a really bad segue) I think I might make myself a little something. I've had this pattern in my stash for quite sometime and this fabric is a recent addition. Can you believe I picked it up for $3.00/metre on a clearance sale?

I picked up enough fabric with Marcy Tilton's coat, Vogue 8934, on my mind. To be honest I don't need a spring coat considering that I made one earlier this year. Was this fabric doomed to be another impulse purchase to take up room in my stash bins?

Luckily, no. It struck me that the fabric would be perfect for the kimono. I'm quite excited at the thought of this project. It just might be the fire I need to get these pants and that Sybil Connolly dress done. Sew much to sew, sew little time! I wonder if I could get these three projects done in the next forty-two days?

What the scissors would likely look like
if they weren't in the garage.  {Source}
In other sewing news, I found a long lost pair of treasured tailor scissors. I gave up hope years ago of ever finding them. I should be happy but they were in the garage. And they have rust on them. I have no idea if they are in any shape to cut fabric again and if they can be repaired.

Of course, no one will admit to taking them or has any idea how they ended up in the garage. My fingers are crossed that I can get the rust off and then send them off to get sharpened. Another thing to add to my ever growing list of things to do.

Well, that's all in sewing news today.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Slow Sewing Movement

What does the slow sewing movement mean to you? When I think about it, it brings images of the farm-to-table of the slow food movement.

According to a Wikipedia entry on the slow movement, it all began in the late 1980s as a cultural shift to slowing down life's fast pace. The movement was summarized decades later as
[A] cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better. The Slow philosophy is not about doing things at a snail's pace. It's about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savoring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It's about quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting (Honore).
This, in theory, is a great philosophy. It is the excuse philosophy that I have adapted with Vogue 1325. It is the excuse reason why I'm managed to sew the front and pockets of these pants in one week. But who's counting?

Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

In Sewing News Today...

A Change of Plans:

There is a dress cut out in the happiest colour in the world but black and white has been ruling my sewing table as of late. The plan last week was to start on this project but my schedule did not allow for any sewing time. And then it started to turn cold suggesting that snow and winter was on its way. Sew, my sewing plans have changed. And I'm taking a slight departure from the Tim Gunn Sewing Challenge.  

Right now, I'm sewing another pair of Anne Klien pants, Vogue 1325. These will be the fourth pair that I have cut this year. One pair was made in red denim and the other two were in wool suiting in navy and a wool/cashmere grey/blue pinstripe

Can you tell how much I like this pattern? This pair will be another pair of wool dress pants but this time in black. A good neutral colour, perfect for work and will work with a lot of tops already in my wardrobe.   

I will admit to planning on making another pair after this one. I'm thinking in a blue denim but I won't add any ease like I mistakenly did with the red denim pants.

The dress will have to wait.

New Fabric:

My bad. I hit the fabric section and found this 3/8" wide black stripe on a white background. It is 100% cotton and the weight of a denim fabric. I love it and my first thoughts were towards a shirt dress but I'm now leaning towards a skirt.

I do have a Marcy Tilton skirt pattern, Vogue 8561. I'm sort of on the fence with the pattern though.

What I would love to make with this fabric is a back-buttoned skirt, or more specifically, Vogue 1918.

This pattern is current-ly avail-able at Etsy but not in my size. I think it would work with the stripe. Hmmm, but it is not in my size. Luckily, I have some time to think about it since there are a few projects that need to be finished first.

Who knows maybe this pattern might appear in my size in the meantime?

Sewing Machine Maintence:

And I finally sat down and did some maintenance on the sewing machine. It has been long over due. The lint has been removed and the needle changed, finally. Do you take the time to do regular basic sewing machine maintenance or are you like me and let is slide at times?

Well, that is all that is new in sewing news today.

Happy Sewing!


Monday, 11 November 2013

Let's Talk About Pilling

Someone needs to sit down and have a serious talk with this man. 

His name is Chip Wilson and he is the founder of Lululemon. He failed this week at Communications 101 when he blamed pilling that occurs on Lululemon's newer yoga pants on the wearer. Oh. Yes. He. Did.

Someone needs to talk to him about fabric and this thing called pilling. It is about fabric, not people. It is quite sad really because Lululemon does some wonderful charity work. I'm not endorsing their products since my hips are not made for Lululemon products and if I were in need of yoga pants, I would grab some of that gorgeous fair trade organic cotton knit I found at Mitchell Fabrics and sew myself a pair. But I'm saving that fabulous fabric for Marcy Tilton's shingle dress. And I'm starting to get off topic.  

Pilling is the process that results in the formation of ball of fibre, or pills as they are known, that settle on the surface of fabric. 

Ah, yes. Mr. Wilson was correct this week when he stated, "there has always been pilling." This is true. Mr. Wilson also spoke of Lululemon as "a technology company that strives to push its technology as far as possible" (Hulsman, Yahoo Finance). Also true. Poor Mr. Wilson should had stopped there and left woman's thighs putting pressure on his tech fabric alone. ~sigh~ And then the media storm blew into town this week to cover the blunder. Instead of educating the consumer on Fabrics 101, the media criticized Mr. Wilson for his response to the technical problems with his products. Learning opportunity blown.   

The Lululemon website describes their "signature fabric" used to make their yoga pants as a

four-way stretch Luon™ fabric - Full-On Luon™ is a high-performance fabric that gives major support and coverage with a cottony-soft feel

Pilling does occur in all fabrics. We all know that and have even experienced pilling in our own clothing, right? What some consumers don't know is that with the invention of synthetic fibres came the undesirable pilling syndrome. Lululemon's signature fabric is not a natural fabric, rather it is a synthenic. Pilling should not be a surprise here. It should be expected. This phenomenon has been around since synthetic fabrics hit the stage. It is not new to Lululemon's products.  

Now, in natural fabrics we don't notice pilling as much because the collected fibres tend to fall off the fabric and instead of pills we observe wear and tear over time. Whereas, with synthetic fabrics that are significantly cheaper to produce the trade off is the undesirable pilling syndrome. It is not to say that synthetic or tech fabrics are bad and natural fabrics are superior. Both have their pros and cons.

That said, consumers need to educate themselves since school divisions have been cutting home economics courses for decades now. And some business leaders need to recognize their strengths/weaknesses and hire communication experts. Maybe tell the consumer what the fibre content is made up instead the mysterious "Luon" label. And everyone needs to just calm down and take a pill. (Sorry, bad pun.) Besides, yoga pants are easy to sew if you don't like what you find at the store.

Happy Sewing!  


Sunday, 10 November 2013

Pattern Give-Away Winners!

Yes, I do know I did say I would draw for these pattern after my morning coffee. But in my defence, this is actually my first coffee of the day that I am enjoying. It was a very busy day, but I digress...

Sew, I'll stop chatting and lets get right to it.

There were three people who were interested in the Butterick 5603.
  1. Renee G
  2. Eirini
  3. MAD14KT
True Random Number Generator was summoned for the big event and the winner is... 

Renee G.  Congratulations Renee, if you can contact me at grrraca (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address details I will pop it into the mail.

Next up is 6582 for which there were four interested entrants:

  1. Rachelle
  2. Mary
  3. Sox 7
  4. My heart is here
True Random Number Generator chose...

Rachelle.  Congratulations Rachelle! If you would kindly email me at grrracar (at) gmail (dot) com with your postage information I will drop it in the mail.

It is Remembrance Day tomorrow and I believe that the post office is closed. Sew, if it doesn't get dropped in the post tomorrow, Tuesday for sure.

Congratulations to the winners and thanks for visiting the blog and entering. Oh and Happy Sewing! 

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Pattern Give-away Time!

Can you believe that there are only fifty-seven more days until New Year's Eve?

I know! Crazy, isn't it. I thought it would be a good time to start planning for the upcoming holiday festivities with a pattern give-away. Well, actually two pattern give-aways.

You guys know the drill. Promise to give these patterns a good home, do not re-sell them but share them if you like. I ship internationally but remember that some European destinations it could take 4 to 6 weeks via Canada Post. It might be cutting it close for a new New Year's frock.  

I picked these two Butterick Retro patterns for the pattern give-away based on some beautiful versions I found on-line. I found them to be inspiring versions if you're interested in checking them out.

First up is Butterick 5603. This is an un-cut and un-opening multi-sized pattern (6-8-10-12). The pattern is rated "easy" and described as "[f]itted dresses A, B, C with flared skirt, below mid-knee, have lined bodice, princess seams and side zipper. A: bateau neckline with band and bow at upper and lower bodice edges. B: tie wrapped around each shoulder and knotted forms bow. C: bodice crosses at front and back."

Last year, Julia Bobbin made a festive version in red that she tweaked a bit to resemble Joanie's back buttoned dress from Mad Men. She did an amazing job to come up with one stunning dress, go on head over and have a peak.

Next up is Butterick 6582. This is also a un-cut and un-opened multi-sized pattern (sizes 12-14-16). This pattern is rated "average" and described as a "semi-fitted dress, mid-calf has gathered shoulders and back zipper. A: attached bow. A, B: straight, back vent. C: flared."

You must check out FullertonRegan's silk duponi version of this dress.

If you are interested in creating a holiday frock with one of these patterns just leave your name and tell me which one you want to be entered for B5603 or B6582. The lucky winners will be announced on Sunday, November 10th. (right after my morning coffee). Good luck!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Who is this Sybil Connolly of Dublin?

Who is this Sybil Connolly of Dublin?

To be completely honest until a couple of months ago I knew nothing of Sybil Connolly. I find this shocking since I am an avid Vogue pattern sewer and love vintage patterns. And she is someone who designed for Vogue Couturier Design line of patterns. How could I have missed this talent all these years?  

I only recently discovered Sybil Connolly's designs when shopping over at Etsy. I stumbled across Vogue 2103, circa 1969, and immediately fell for this A-lined dress pattern. The pattern description does not do it justice, simply stated as  "[s]emi-fitted A-line dress has front yoke gathered to shaped inset band. Short sleeves and jewel neckline." This pattern is much, much more!  

There is no mention of the dart shaping on the inside of the dress or the underlining. Details the give a garment the look and feel of quality and exquisite shaping.  

The pattern flap only hints at the details that are hiding inside the pattern envelope.
SYBIL CONNOLLY, the leader of the Irish couture, has merited widespread recognition and publicity beyond the realm of her native Ireland.  Unassuming at first glance, her clothes are famous for every design ingredient put into them . . . from their shape-minded silhouettes to their perfection of detail and proportion.  
I can't wait to get behind the sewing machine and piece this together. But there will be little details to take care of first. This will be the first dress that I underline and I have a synthetic organza that is a close match to my fashion fabric. Don't gasp, silk organza is not in the budget at this time and the synthetic organza seems like it will work nicely. [Fingers crossed.]

I'm quite excited to work on this project especially now that I have been discovering more about this designer. The dress will be part of my Tim Gunn's 10 Essential items, number two, the day dress.

What is on your sewing table?

  Happy Sewing!  

What Will You Be Wearing this Winter?

Yesterday in the Toronto Star, Heather Mallick wrote a hysterical opinion piece " Why Canadians Opt for the Same Grim Black Coat Every...