Friday, 28 February 2014

February in Review

February projects, from top left to right:  Cardigan sweater (McCall's 6844), knit tee-shirt (Vogue 1306), cardigan jacket (Vogue 8916), knit dress (Vogue 9968), knickers (Butterick 6031), Valentine's Day hearts (no pattern used) and plaid pants (Vogue 1325).  


I've managed to blog about quite a few items but to be completely honest some of these items were completed the previous month and I just didn't have the time to blog about them until this month. And the jacket was actually 80% finished before mid-December. Sometimes, I'm slow but rushing to get things done post-knee surgery wasn't such a great idea. I'm all caught up now.

It was a busy month...

This month I went back to work. Yippeee! Despite the bitter cold, it was nice to get out of the house. I'm over it now, it is still so bitterly cold I'm looking forward to the end of the day and plan to stay indoors all weekend. But I digress... I was pretty slow moving at first and sewing was limited to less challenging tasks. Well, maybe I can't honestly say that.

I made a pair of knickers this month which had been a challenging project in the past. The first pair of knickers that I made last year from an online pattern were not quite the right fit or my desired shape. The second pair using a Kwik Sew pattern were an epic fail. A pair of knickers were proving to be a challenge. But these ones were spot on! Butterick 6031 is a keeper. I know I'll be making more panties during the year. I'm on my way to crossing off one of my 2014 sewing goals.

Oh and there is that festive week-long celebration of all things sewing, Sew Grateful Week. Debi over at My Happy Sewing Place has been the gracious host of this event. She does an amazing job organizing this annual event. A pattern give away winner to be announce tomorrow here. Did you enter? And there are more give-aways happening too!

Did I mention that my name and picture appeared in the second issue of Burda Style US? It was a brief mention on the page of unique sewing tools. The spring issue came out on news stands three days ago. Can you guess which sewing tool I said was my favourite?  

And the tally marks are adding up!

Fifty-nine days down, three hundred six more days to go in the 2014 RTW Fast. I'm quite proud to say that I have not purchased any ready-to-wear, vintage or second-hand items. I will admit that I did admire this shirt while at the mall though. And that was it. Even though I did admire (and touch) it, I'm happy to report that it is still at the store (or in someone else's closet).

Ralph Lauen Spring 2014
It was nice to see that peplums are still making an appearance this spring since I do have another peplum top pattern I would like to make.

My stash-busting journey did not go as well as the RTW Fast this month. I became weak at the knees and lost all will-power when a lovely off-white fabric that I had my eye on for about a year and a half came up as 70% off. And then there was a funky print fabric that I spotted in the home decor section that would be perfect for a skirt. What can I say, I'm not perfect. I'll try to be a better stash buster next month.

Stash-busted this year
Added to stash this year
16.1 metres
7.9 metres
1 metre
1 metre
Sewing Patterns
Spools of Thread
Sewing Needles
Pant Hooks
0.40 metres
1.3 metres
6 metres
Bias Tape
0.50 metres
Hook and Eye or other Closures

My goodness, I didn't expect this to be such a long post. Well, that's all for now.  

Happy Sewing!  

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Underlining: The Unseen Hero

Today is Sew Grateful Sewing Project Day.
Showcase your latest sewing project. Whether it's a project using up that pattern that was a present from someone or that you won in a giveaway or using a tutorial someone has prepared, or even a project inspired by someone in the sewing community... the possibilities are nearly endless!
I have nothing to show and tell at this time but this is the project that I've been putting a lot of time and effort into and hopefully by the end of Sew Grateful week I will finally finish it (fingers crossed). It is an underlined dress, I thought I would blog about this process.


One of my 2014 goals is to do...
Learn and incorporate more tailoring and couture techniques into my sewing (more slow sewing).
That is exactly what I've been doing "slow sewing" or more specifically, I've been underlining a dress. 

Have you ever underlined a dress before? 

You may have interlined a garment under another name. According to Kenneth D. King there is often some "confusion surrounding the terms underlining and interlining" (41). King explains that the two terms are interchangeable and refer to the same technique. Flat-lining, a less used term, also refers to the same technique according to King. Gertchen Hirsch, on a recent episode of It's Sew Easy, just like King defined the terms interlining, underlining and flat-lining as being interchangeable.  

However, my 1980 edition of Vogue Sewing refer to interlining and underlining in different terms. According to Vogue Sewing, underlining is "fabric joined in garment seams to give inner shape or support" (31). Interlining is defined as a "layer of fabric between lining and underlining for warmth" (26). The Vogue Sewing book made no reference to flat-lining.  

My copy of Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing defines interlining and underlining much in the same manner as my Vogue Sewing book. Again, there is no reference to flat-lining here. I wonder if flat-lining is a relatively new term?  

This technique is totally new to me. I working on a vintage Vogue 2103 - a Sybil Connolly design, circa 1969, and underlining the dress is part of the Vogue pattern instructions.
Working on a flat surface, pin underlining to wrong side of each matching fabric piece.  Baste through all symbols and along all lines of construction separately, leaving both ends of thread free for easy removal.  
I'm basically basting the organza to my fashion fabric and treating it as one. Even the sleeve is designated to be underlined. In this project, the underlining will not only add structure to the fashion fabric but it will fill out the gathers and pleats found in the dress. Yes, there are pleats found in this dress. Can you guess where? Besides the two at the back shoulder seam there are also four hidden in the facing. A total of ten darts are part of this dress pattern.  

Underlining holds the promise to improve the look, hand and functionality of the fashion fabric. It will help the garment resist wrinkling (gotta love that!) and help a garment to keep its shape longer. I already love the way it drapes and feels with the underlining basted in place.

Now even though it is a new-to-me technique, underlining has been part of quality garment-making for quite some time. We all know that interlining is often applied to tailored garments but Chanel applied this technique in a special way.
Among the older generation of couturiers, Chanel stands out as a craftswoman who applied the very highest standard of finish to her clothes. Those neat little suits owe as much to superb tailoring as they do to the talented designing. Every example offers a new special tip that could well enhance another garment. For example, her light mohair suits were fully interlined with silk chiffon, very carefully and lightly mounted to the fabric to give a delicate extra substance (Kennett 58).
There are many different types of fabric that you can choose for underling a garment. Just as with interfacing you want to choose a fabric that will work with your fashion fabric to give it the amount of structure that you want to achieve. Common underlining fabric choices can range from silk organza, cotton batiste, siri cotton, rayon challis, cotton flannelette, wool felt, wool flannel, bump cloth and even muslin. 

The Vogue dress I am currently working on is underlined with a nylon organza. It has a bit more structure than silk organza and seems to be working well with the suit weight fabric that I have cut as my fashion fabric.   

Some resources suggest cutting out your underlining first and and then your use your underlining to cut your fashion fabric.  I found a Threads article that suggest basting the interlining to the fashion fabric before it is cut. The article noted that "this is much more accurate than cutting the fashion fabric separately" (42). I did not cut my underlining first nor baste it prior to cutting my fashion fabric just because I did not have the work space to so. I cut my fashion fabric first then the underlining separately using the same pattern pieces. I then pinned them together and basted. It worked out fine.  

Even though my layers are basted together, I opted to use a walking foot. I'll admit that I did have a bit of fear that things might shift as I'm sewing. The walking foot, if anything, gave me some added comfort as I sew.  

Do you have any other underlining tips?  


Vogue Sewing.  (Butterick Fashion Marketing Company.)  New York:  Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 1980.  Print.  

Kennett, Frances.  Secrets of the Couturiers.  New York: Exeter Books, 1984.  Print.      

King, Kenneth D.  "You Say Underlining, I Say Interlining: By any name, it's a good way to support fabric."  Threads March 2008: 40 - 43.  Print.   

Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing.  New York:  Reader's Digest Association Inc., 1982.  Print.  

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Some of My Favourite Resources

Share a free pattern, share some vintage sewing resources, share a tutorial or share some great sewing resource links!
Here are some of my favourite sewing resources and links:

Invisible zipper:

Eugenia hasn't blogged in over two years but she's still listed in my blog roll because of the information she has posted about invisible zippers. You can find this information here.

There is also Norma Bucko's article, Sew Invisible Zippers Like a Pro, which appeared in Threads August/September 2011. I have to admit there are several Threads magazines that are part of my go-to resources and this article is a real gem. Not only does Bucko state the benefits of using an "invisible zipper foot made specifically for your sewing machine" she also demonstrates that there is no need to fear if you can not find one at your local sewing machine dealer. Bucko has detailed instructions for installing an invisible zipper with a standard zipper foot. Don't have a hard copy of the September 2011 issue number 156? Don't fret, you can find it online if you are a Thread's insider.

Hand-picked zipper:

I've book-marked this site on my computer because this is a technique that I would like to try.  Neeno over at Sew Me Love has a wonderful tutorial (Good-bye Invisible Zippers & Hello Handpicking!) on hand-pick zippers and she has the most beautiful photographs too.


My favourite tutorial for gussets is found in a sewing pattern, Vogue 1043. The pattern comes with excellent instructions for this style feature.

And I really do consider my 1980 copy of Vogue Sewing as one of my most valuable sewing resources. Vogue Sewing has good instructions and information about gussets. Between my Vogue Sewing and Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing I can find the answers to most of my questions by the turn of a page. I can't recommend enough how valuable a good resource book has been to my sewing.


I love vintage sewing patterns because back-in-the-day dresses were underlined!  I find vintage patterns a rich resource for not-commonly-used sewing techniques.  Even if I don't use the pattern, I often find the instructions a rich source of information and inspiration.

Gertie did a segment on underlining skirts on the program It's Sew Easy. You can view it here.

Well, those are some of my favourite resources.

Happy Sew Grateful Week!

100 Sewing Things I'm Grateful for...

In no particular order...

  1. The online community who share the passion for sewing and "get it" without making fun of the hobby that I enjoy. 
  2. The generous online community who share sewing tips. 
  3. Basting tape. It makes sewing invisible zippers so easy.
  4. A good invisible zipper foot. It is so worth every penny. (Don't waste your money on those plastic ones.)
  5. A tall table designated for cutting. (Easy on the knees and the back.) 
  6. Nancy Zieman and her show Sewing with Nancy.  
  7. Free Saturday afternoons when I have a chance to watch It's Sew Easy episodes.  
  8. Self-threading hand needles.  
  9. The self-threading feature on my sewing machine. 
  10. Vogue 1325, the best pants pattern that I have found.  
  11. Mama R's help. I don't know how I would ever manage to pin up my own pant legs without her assistance.  
  12. Sandra Betzina's Fast Fit was a great resource for fixing my pants fitting issues  
  13. A good pair of fabric shears. (Worth their weight in gold.)  
  14. A good lock for fabric shears. (For those of us without a guy who knows the difference between fabric and paper scissors.)
  15. A good pair of pinking shears. (Ikea sells these but I wouldn't recommend them if you plan to use them on fabric.  Spend the money for a good pair, you might be surprised how much you'll use them.)
  16. Northwest Fabrics.
  17. Silk organza pressing clothes
  18. Pressing hams.
  19. A good iron.  
  20. Eye glasses. I wouldn't be sewing without them!  
  21. A back-up pair of glasses for those days when I can't find my glasses.  
  22. Oh my!  How did I wait this long to mention my Janome sewing machine?  
  23. A back-up sewing machine.  
  24. Self-threading over-lock machines. I don't own one but it is nice to know that someone invented one. One day... 
  25. A Jean-a-ma-Jig! Oh the sewing machine needles that I could have saved pre-jean-a-ma-jig days.  
  26. Vintage McCall's 7870, my favourite Va-va-va-voom skirt.  
  27. Natural fibres.  
  28. Free trade fabric.
  29. People who sew with a social conscience. 
  30. Wednesday morning laughter thanks to Anne over at Pretty Grievances.  
  31. The seam ripper.  
  32. Learning opportunities.  
  33. Sewing a garment that has proper length sleeves
  34. The challenge.  
  35. A walking foot.  
  36. Treadle Sewing Machines.  Everyone should sewing on one of these, at least once.  
  37. Seeing smiles after I sewed something for someone.  
  38. A reliable sewing machine repair person and shop.  
  39. Tools for cleaning the sewing machine.    
  40. Good tunes to sew to.  
  41. Vintage sewing patterns.  
  42. Seeing that the younger generation are showing an interest and taking up sewing!  
  43. Finding references to sewing in literature.  
  44. A good panties pattern. Butterick 6031.  
  45. Finding old favourite patterns in my current size over at etsy or ebay.   
  46. Sewing for Mama R. She is always thankful and never has made me feel taken advantage of--love you Mom!
  47. Time well spent.    
  48. Sewing magazines for inspiration.  
  49. Silk organza for underlining.  
  50. French seams.
  51. Pin tucking feet.
  52. Sewing while standing.  
  53. A sewing machine with a start/stop button that makes sewing standing up possible.  
  54. Clippers built in sewing machines. I'm so spoiled!  
  55. Wrist pin-cushions. Best birthday present ever.  
  56. A fabric stash.  
  57. Stash-busting.  
  58. Designer sewing patterns.
  59. Well-written instructions.
  60. Over-sized snaps.
  61. Fabric shopping in a real store where I can touch and inspect the fabric in person. 
  62. Sewing with silk noir.  
  63. Hand-stitching in the the backyard, in the summer-time, when the sun is out and the mosquitos are not.   
  64. Automatic buttonholer.
  65. The Vogue Sewing Book.
  66. Reader's Digest Sewing Book.
  67. Pattern Magic Sewing Books
  68. Oversized tweezers (for those of us without self-threading sergers). 
  69. Pattern Review and those who take the time to review patterns.   
  70. Port. Yes, there is a need port in the sewing room (it goes hand-in-hand with the seam ripper). 
  71. A curved ruler.  
  72. Tailor's chalk in a variety of colours.
  73. The honour of sewing my niece's graduation dress.  
  74. McNally Robinson Booksellers' great selection of sewing reference books.  
  75. Extra bobbins.  
  76. Cotton sateen.  
  77. Vintage buttons.  
  78. Lace trim.
  79. Lace fabric.  
  80. Bias tape maker
  81. Lock stitch on my sewing machine (especially handy when it comes to sewing zippers).  
  82. Couture Sewing:  The Couture Cardigan Jacket book and DVD by Claire Shaeffer.  
  83. The great feeling of accomplishment after I finish a sewing project.  
  84. Bloggers who challenge and encourage me to sew something that is considered outside of my comfort zone. Yup, I'm a fan of Jungle January festivities.  
  85. Using scraps to make something.
  86. The sharing ideas and sewing stories.  
  87. Fabric shopping in Toronto, some of my most treasured pieces come from back-in-the-day fabric shopping excursions.  
  88. Feathers!  
  89. Wool and cashmere suiting fabric.  
  90. A well-drafted pattern.
  91. Sewing children's clothing and those little awww moments.  
  92. The internet for finding great tips on pre shrinking you fabrics.  
  93. A clothing rack to dry fabric and me-made clothing on.  
  94. A steamer.  
  95. Those moments when children share with me the things that they have sewn. My gosh, I love that!  
  96. Home decor fabrics when they are not used for home decor.  
  97. Silk thread.  
  98. That moment of accomplishment when a mending project is complete.  
  99. Refashion projects that work.  
  100. The perfect fit! 

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Sew Grateful Week: Reflection Post.

This is the day to reflect on the role sewing has played in our lives, reflecting on those who have been supportive in our journey and reflecting on what the online community means to us!  What are you sew grateful for? 
This past year the role of sewing took a different turn in my life. This past year, I read two books, recommended by other bloggers, that left a lasting impression, Shocked: My Mother, Schiaparelli, and Me and Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. And there were the heart-wrenching reports of conditions at overseas sewing factories. How can one's look at clothing and sewing not be affected after reading and contemplating these words and images? Personally, the words and imagines are still with me.

Shocked:  My Mother, Schiaparelli, and Me is part autobiographical, part fantasy, part nostalgic look at the roles that fashion and literature play at impacting one's life. I would read pages from the book to Mama R and listened to sewing stories from when she and her sisters were young. I'm grateful for the time that the book brought us together in conversation. There was something in those pages that made me want to take the time in my sewing and cherish the time spent creating a quality item that seems lost in time in the era of fast-fashion garments. The book is a treasure of wisdom that is shared between mothers and daughters not only from the author's but also from the other protagonist in the book.

Only the rich can afford cheap clothes.  If something you see looks worth twice its price, you may be sure the illusion will not last.  What you buy must be good.  Cut is of the first importance, and cut of course implies fit (197).  ~Schiaparelli's advice on the correct way to dress.  
Overdressed:  The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion was an interesting and tough read. The book had a part new-journalism part documentary style of writing. I was intrigued by the subject but distracted by the choppy writing. Despite that I continued reading encouraged by the many bloggers that said it was worth sticking to the end.  They were right. It was a book that held a mirror up for me to see the kind of shopper I had become. I have a tee-shirt that began pilling after only a couple of wears. I knew should have known better to proceed with caution after reading the word rayon on the label but I liked the twisted drape feature at the waistline and it was cheaply priced to match the cheap fabric. I didn't need to buy the tee-shirt but I was blinded into thinking it was a good value by the ultra-cheap price. Yup, I was duped. Many of us have been duped at retail outlets that fast-fashion is a better value than the effort and time of our own sewing skills. It is not true! I know that now. I guess I just needed Elizabeth Cline and Schiaparelli to remind me of that and set me on a journey.

Cline's book made me realize that not only are fast-fashion and ready-to-wear items are being made with plastic by-products, the fabric stores in my neighbourhood are also filling up with the same fabrics found in the retail landscape. If I want quality natural fabrics that have been disappearing from my local fabric store at an alarming rate, I have to stop being enticed by the lower price for lower quality fabrics. Yes, as a fabric shopper my judgement is flawed at times. I'm still sad when I look at the Marcy Tilton skirt that I made that has been pilling at the hip area. Now, I do realize that natural fabrics do pill but not as quickly as man-made fabrics. I wish I made the skirt in a good quality cotton knit instead of the rayon blend double knit. Maybe I would still be enjoying the fruits of my labour if I did.

The straw that broke the camel's back were the heart-wrenching reports about the sewing factories overseas. "Made in the U.S.A." or "Made in Canada" disappeared from our western landscape in the past decades as our heads were filled with the promises of globalization. I am no saint when it comes to some of my shopping decisions in the past. I have clothing produced by Joe Fresh and that have "Made in China" and "Made in Bangladesh" and yes, it makes me ill every time another garment factory fire occurs and innocent garment workers are killed. It is not cheap fashion when the high human cost comes to light.

This past year, I try to think of those who sew our clothes not because it is a hobby rather they are trying to feed their families. I am trying to be more mindful in my decisions and change my shopping behaviour of the past. I have learned to appreciate my sewing skills more than I did in the past. I now think of my sewing skills as more than a hobby. Sewing has become a form of social activism. I know how much I hate it when people take advantage of my sewing abilities and try to get work done for cheap or worse free. Yet when I buy fast-fashion am I not doing the same thing? It is one of the reasons that I joined Sarah's RTW Fast this year. I'm grateful for the community of fasters that have been supportive and inspiring in this journey.

And I still strive to improve my skills. I have slowed-down in my sewing. I realize sewing is not a race. I don't need to make "X" number of garments. With slow-sewing, I am able to create clothing that is a higher quality than the ones that I can find in ready-to-wear options. And I love the look of Hong Kong, bound and French seams even if they are unseen when I wear my garment and no one will ever know the amount of effort that I put into these seam finishes. To me they were worth the time and effort.

I developed a deeper appreciation for the sewing skills that I have and those people who played a role in inspiring and developing the passion I have for sewing. Of course, there is Mama R who was an inspiration growing up. There has been so many people along the way (Don Urban over at urbandon and Katja over at Of Dreams and Seams), through their books (Claire Shaeffer), blogs and journalism (too many to mention here but feel free to refer to my blogroll), who have helped to shape the sewist that I am today. And I can't wait to see where the journey will lead to next.

Thank you to all of you who blog about and share your sewing stories and reactions to world events. The conversations are important. You all continue to show me that sewing is more than a hobby.


Monday, 24 February 2014

Sew Grateful Give-away

It is that lovely time of year, Sew Grateful Week! Thanks Debi for organizing and hosting the events.  

I have so much to be grateful for, I'm not sure where to begin. Sewing wise, I'm grateful for the community of sewists that inspire me to try new techniques and patterns. I appreciate all the stories and laughs shared with other sewists who share the same passion and get it.  

I'm grateful that even when a project doesn't work out that I have been challenged and learn something new.  

I'm grateful for that great feeling I get when I host a give-away knowing that a pattern is going to someone who is looking forward to sewing it up!  

So, let's get to it!  

This is an unopened out-of-print pattern, Vogue 1773. It is a multi-sized pattern, sizes 8-10-12. And it is rated easy! The description from the pattern envelope
Misses' Dress:  A-line dress, above ankle variations, has side zipper.  A:  sleeveless, close-fitting shaped, dropped waist, contrast bodice with front insets and bias skirt with front tucks.  B:  contrast nect binding with button/loop, front slit and above elbow sleeves.  C:  insets, skirt with side front and side back seams and long sleeves.  B, C:  fitted bodice.  A, C: No provision for above-waist adjustments.    

It is open to anyone, anywhere... I will mail internationally. I just ask that you enjoy it, give the pattern a good home and do not sell it. Just leave a message below, mention what you're grateful for and I will draw for this pattern on March 1st (right after my morning coffee).  

Happy Sew Grateful Week!  

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Decisions, Decisions! Bold and Beautiful Buttons

I am making this jacket again. It is Vogue 1263, a Donna Karan design. I should correct that statement: I'm making this jacket right after I finish my Sybil Connolly dress.

I would really like to put a large button onto the latest version of this jacket. And I spent this week looking for a large button that I wanted to use. I found it but I also found another large button that I think just might work better with my fabric. Hmmm... 

Which button do you think I should use? I like them both which is making it a tough decision.     

Thursday, 20 February 2014

In Sewing News Today...

I mentioned that I went to the fabric store this past weekend. I actually went there in search of fabric to finish off my Sybil Connolly dress. Yes, I'm over my "I'll never sew this dress ever again" moment. I'm happy that I was able to find some fabric left and the project is back on the work table even though this dress is proving to be quite the challenge. Good thing I enjoy a good challenge (when I'm not having a moment).

Besides, the dress is orange and navy and well...

How can I not finish it? That would just be wrong. The lining facing piece is cut out and as soon as I find some free time I'll get right to work. There will be some serious hand-stitching so I might leave it until the weekend.

In other sewing news, the sewing drawer was getting low on projects so I spent this past long weekend cutting and restocking.

I have a lovely cream coloured fabric cut out to make a jacket and thought about this button.

I picked it up while in Gimli and I have been saving it for just the right project. And now I can't find it.

The horror! Now, I have to turn my sewing space upside down in search of the button. The upside is that at least my sewing space is getting organized. It has been long overdue. I hope I find the button.    

Well, that's all in sewing news today.  

Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Knickers: The Third Time's the Charm

Stash Busting 2014: Knickers

Fabric:    0.5 metres of a cotton lycra blend

Elastic:    2 metres of elastic (I'm guessing here)

Pattern:   Butterick 6031


Thank you Gertie!  

I am so please with your panties pattern, Butterick 6031, I can hardly put my thoughts into words.  

The butt coverage is awesome!  

In the photo of the pattern envelope it looks as if it may be a boy cut pair of panties but it is not. These panties are way sexier than any boy cut panties. Not that I was looking for sexy. I was looking for comfort and I found that in this pattern.  

Now, I did add an extra wide elastic for the waist. And the top of the elastic sits higher than my natural waistline but I'm all good with that. These knickers will be perfect to wear with an empire waist dress. I actually want to make another pair just like these ones.

Otherwise, I think I will raise the front a wee higher so that it sits on my natural waist and use the recommended elastic width. The fit other than my preference for a higher waistline is perfect.

I can't wait to make some more!

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Mad for Plaid Pants

Stash-busting 2014: Plaid Wool Pants

Fabric:     2.1 metres of wool

Pants Hook:   1 pant hook

Thread:    I managed to finish off another spool of thread (and then some) from my stash.

Bias Tape:  about 30 inches

Zipper:    7" regular zipper


These plaid pants are the forth pair that I now have in my closet using Vogue 1325. Have I mentioned how much I love this pattern? This pattern is turning out to be my to-go-to pattern for pants. I like the raised waist line and the front pockets. Aww, heck. I love everything about this pattern.

I can't say the same for my plaid matching.  It looks fine where the fronts and backs meet at the centres. It doesn't look so fine where the front and backs meet on the side seam and inner legs. Oh well. It doesn't stop me from lovin' these latest pair of pants.

The fabric that I used is a heavier weight wool than the other three I've made. It has been cold, damn cold in these parts. Of course now that I have these pants done this is the forecast for the upcoming week.

Monday, 17 February
Cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Low minus 11. High minus 1.
Tuesday, 18 February
Sunny. Low minus 8. High minus 7.
Wednesday, 19 February
Periods of snow. Low minus 12. High minus 6.
Thursday, 20 February
Cloudy with 60 percent chance of flurries. Low minus 5. High minus 4.
Friday, 21 February
Sunny. Low minus 15. High minus 9.

Yup, single digits temperatures. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that we are will experience single digit temperatures. But it would have been perfect if I had these pants earlier last week, they are that toasty warm. No long johns needed with these wool pants.

I scored this gorgeous plaid fabric at Mitchell Fabrics many moons ago. It is 100% wool. Found deep in the basement in their vintage fabric collection, it is a true treasure. I still have enough yardage to make another garment. It did like to fray. I serged the seam allowance and finished off the inside facing with seam binding. It was a bit of a challenge to press, but a good blast of steam took care of the seams. The pockets and fly are lined with lining fabric found in my stash also. And I opted not to interface the front fly and facing pieces since the fabric has good body.

The thread was stash-busted from some left-over thread I picked up when I made Vogue 1312. It was a perfect match. The bias tape was stash-busted too. It was left-over bias tape from the spring coat project. The zipper was stash-busted also but I had to dump out my zipper drawer and do some digging before I found one that worked. It was a close call as to whether or not I would have to run out to the store. It is not a perfect match, the zipper is a little lighter in colour than my fashion fabric but it works none-the-less. Gotta love stash-busting!

Not much else to mention about these pants. Other than maybe I should make a linen pair for summer? Or perhaps a pair in white denim?

Happy Sewing!

Friday, 14 February 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Things were not at all festive this past Christmas. I have to try to make up for that this holiday. And this is how I tried to do it.  

The fabric is scraps left over from my skirt. It is a printed cotton fabric that I found in the home decor department. The cut up pieces are padding scraps left over from the mattress pad I made for Mama R. And the white twill tape was found in my stash.  

I cut out a heart shape free-hand and then copied it for the other side. With wrong sides together I sewed them up with a blanket stitch leaving a small opening to stuff them. Once they were stuffed I took them back to the sewing machine to close off the opening.  

I've made a whole bunch of them so I can heart-bomb the house this Valentine's Day!

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

In Sewing News Today...

There hasn't been much sewing again this week... I'm still working on this dress. It has been taking me forever to finish.

I've already decided that I will never make this dress ever again. The details are driving my crazy. I know it's the details that makes this dress so fabulous. But seriously, eight darts in the bodice lining! Really?   

And I forgot to cut a lining piece for the band that is suppose to go right under the darts. And I don't think I have any more of this fabric left. I'm exhausted by this dress. So it is sitting on the dress form as I move onto something new.

I'm doing a small craft project for the upcoming holiday.

We're in desperate need of some cheerfulness to help fight this deep-freeze and windchill that does not want to quit. I even find it too cold to sew when I come in from outside.

It has been so bone-chilling cold that I cut out another pair of pants using Vogue 1325. It is a heavier weight wool than the other three I have sitting in my closet.

Hopefully, these new pairs will keep me warm through this last stretch of winter.

Happy Sewing! (And stay warm.)

Monday, 10 February 2014

Revisiting an Old Fave for a New Maxi Dress

Stash busting 2014:  Vogue 9968

Fabric:     1.8 metre knit fabric.

Thread:    Black thread for the overlock machine and left-over blue thread for the sewing machine.


Vogue 9968 has been in my pattern stash since it came out in 1998. It is rightly rated "very easy" as this pattern consists of two pattern pieces.  

I made this dress as a wearable muslin since I was a different shape since the last time I sewed this up. I added to the side seams hoping that the dress will fit and luckily it does. This is one comfortable dress. 

The fabric may look familiar. Yes, it is the exact same fabric that I used to make the cardigan. Ideally, I would have made it in a cotton knit but I have so much of this fabric that I would like to stash bust that I used it instead. I was not trying to make a coordinating piece. I picked up this fabric dirt cheap from an establishment that was going out of business and I still have enough of this fabric to sew another garment.  

But for now I think I can move onto another knit. I'm thinking a cotton knit fabric since the pattern is still usable and summer spring is hopefully around the corner.

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Cardigan Sweater

Stash busting 2014:  McCall's 6844

Fabric:     1.7 metre knit fabric

Thread:    I used up some blue thread that has been kicking around in my thread stash for some time and just used some black thread for the overlock machine.


This is another fabric that has been in my stash for a long time. I believe I purchased this fabric from Fanny Fabrics when they were closing their doors many moons ago.

I used this fabric as a wearable muslin as I tried out McCall's 6844. This sweater won't be my last. I do like this pattern but for me it is not perfect. Close, very close, but not perfect.

This is a petite-able pattern but foolishly I chose to not to use the petite adjustment markings. I cut version B out at first and then decided that it was too long and re-cut the hemline using version A's hemline markings. I know that the dropped back hemline is the look of the moment but I'm not really sold that it is the look for me. I don't hate it, I could just take it or leave it. I think on the next one I will leave it.

I didn't like the wide shoulder seam and dropped armhole. I did go back and take in the armhole at the upper sleeve cap. On the next make I will reshape this area perhaps going down a couple of sizes. Otherwise, I do like the fit.

I agree with others that this cardigan does not need any interfacing and I'm glad I followed the advice of others who worked with this pattern before me.

Until the next one, Happy Sewing!      

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Mama's New Jacket

Stash-busting 2014:  Project #2 Mama's New Jacket

Fabric:     1.2 metres of velvet denim and 1 metre of lining fabric. 

Thread:   Black thread from the thread stash, used in the overlook and sewing machines.   

Sewing Goals Achieved with this project:   None even though the pattern has set in sleeves that require the sleeve lining to be slipstitched over the seam. The jacket pattern also recommends interfacing the front sections. Based on my fabric choice I chose not to apply these techniques.  

Equipment used for this project:  Janome sewing machine, Janome overlock machine, scissors, iron, ironing board, tailor's ham, sleeve ham, and a new universal sewing machine needle. 


I started this project last year, the last few steps took quite some time to get done. By the time December rolled around I just had the sleeves to insert. And then the curveballs flew and then Mama R's jacket fell to the sidelines. While I was on the mend I had lots of time to hand-stitch the sleeves in place. Here it is, finally, a wearable muslin  new jacket for Mama R.  

The pattern:

To be completely honest, Vogue 8916 did not immediately strike me as something that I would like to make. I picked up the pattern because Mama R liked the jacket when I was scoping out Channel-esque style jacket patterns. And now I have to say, I'm a fan of this pattern too. I actually wouldn't mind making one for myself sometime. 

It is a loose-fitting, lined jacket with front side seams which conceal front pockets. The back has shoulder darts and three-quarter length sleeves.  

The fabric:

This fabric has been in my fabric stash for a long, long time. I actually was surprised to see something that looked just like it here. Except Oona's fabric has some stretch in it and she picked it up at Mood Fabric in New York City. The one from my stash does not have any stretch and was found on the prairies. The navy blue lining fabric was also from my stash. Mama R was not sold on the fabric at first. I picked this as a wearable muslin. Luckily, she's warming up to it now that the jacket is done. 

I was this close to having a new jacket.  

I guess I'll have to make my own someday. 

I was trying to use the fabric as a wearable muslin before I cut into the wool and silk blend that I have in mind for her actual jacket. The "actual jacket" was suppose to be her Christmas present but that didn't work out as planned. 

I decided not to add the lining to the sleeves at the last minute. Mostly because of the bulk and weight on the jacket fabric. There could be a wee bit of laziness in there too, although I am blaming it on low energy during my recovery. The inside of the jacket (front and back) are lined but not the sleeves. I only did this with the wearable muslin and do not plan to do this on the actual jacket. For the same reason, I chose not to interface the jacket front piece, I didn't think it needed it based on the fabric weight. 

Since there was quite some bulk to contend with, I basted the sleeve and stitched all the layers using my walking foot. The sleeve hem is finished with a lace trim and hand hemmed into place. 

Final Verdict:

Even though Mama R is pleased with her new jacket she would like some changes for the "actual jacket" when I get around to it. She likes the the style and fit for the most part. She would just like some more length. The sleeves on the wearable muslin were made into long sleeves. She would like to keep that change and add another inch to the length of the jacket. Easy enough. I think the length looks fine as is, but she's the boss.  

Happy Sewing!   

Monday, 3 February 2014

Spring is the time...

Did you hear the great news this weekend?

Winnipeg Willow
Winnipeg Willow predicted an early spring. Yeah, I know that other American groundhog predicted another six weeks of winter (sorry guys). But up here, I think I can handle the alterations on my ski-pants knowing that they will soon be put away for another season.

And I can start dreaming about making this dress for spring's arrival. I'll have to lengthen the hemline first.

Vintage Simplicity pattern, circa 1968

Maybe in this fabric.

100% cotton found at Marshall Fabrics

Spring is the time of plans and projects.
~Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Happy Sewing!

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