Monday, 30 June 2014

June in Review...


This month has been all about sewing for others.

Mama R has been patiently waiting for these items and the other was a gift. And there was other sewing for the school. It may not seem like it but it was a busy month at the sewing table.

I entered the Pattern Review Pants contest but failed to get it done in time. I actually failed at getting it done, period. I haven't had a chance to cut out my fabric yet. And the contest was over mid-month. Other items just kept jumping ahead of the line. I would still like to sew up another pair of pants. And now that my annual summer lay-off is here I just might have the time to do it. We'll see...

RTW Fast

I fell off the wagon for about a week when I picked up this skirt.

It is a black polyester skirt from the 424 Fifth Lord & Taylor line. I saw it on an episode of City Line's fashion Friday and loved the longer length of this skirt. It is extremely comfortable and best part, it has pockets. Sometimes this RTW fast is difficult.

I returned it. The guilt was too much. 

I guess a skirt with pockets in on my sewing list now that I no longer have this skirt. I have nicer fabric in my stash than the black polyester that this skirt was made from. I just have to find the time.    

Stash busting

I did add this gorgeous silk fabric to my stash when there was a one-day sale over at Fabricland.

I couldn't resist. I don't know what it was about lack of will-power when it came to shopping this month but I'm telling myself that it was okay since it was 50% off.  

Added to Stash
49.4 meters
2.5 meters
1.5 meters
Sewing Patterns
Spools of Thread
Sewing Needles
Pant Hooks
0.40 meters
1.3 meters
12 meters
Bias Tape
2 meters
Hook and Eye or other Closures
Basting Tape
3.2 meters

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 28 June 2014

In Sewing News Today...

The tablecloths and additional pieces that were added onto my plate to serge and hem are done. Everything is done!

And delivered too. I dropped them off yesterday and it felt great to get them out of here so that I can focus on the projects I planned on doing over the summer. After I finished the rest of my errands, I took a "nap" that lasted nine hours. I can't believe I napped for nine hours. When I woke up from my "nap," I made myself a cup of tea, changed into my pj's and now I can't sleep.

What a crazy busy last week of school. I received a gift certificate to a fabric store from a group of students on the last day of school. Seriously, BEST. GIFT. EVER. If I were to allow myself to be completely selfish I would get one of these,

And this handy tool...

Yup, I would like to spend it on a tailor's board and a clapper. But, I'm going to spend it on something else. Nope, not fabric. I'm going to save it to pick up trim, etc. for September when a co-worker and I are going to run a sewing club with some of the students. I almost squealed with excitement when I typed that! There are students interested in joining a sewing club next year. Can you believe it?

Anyway, I'm going to try to see if I can get some more shut-eye before the sun rises and dream about what my next sewing project might be.

Until then, happy sewing!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

In Sewing News Today...

I'm tired. It is that end of the school year exhausted kind of tired. Two more days to go. 

It is the kind of tired that you don't even want to come home and sew but you do because you have to. The kind of push yourself into sewing that requires a seam ripper near by. I had to use it on the baby onsie that I just made because I picked the wrong knit stitch. removing white thread off a white knit is not my idea of a good time. Thankfully, it worked out without damaging the fabric. I currently have eighteen metres of fabric sitting on my sewing table that I need to cut and sew into three tablecloths. I want to get it done before the end of the school year so I can return it and not be haunted with a work project hanging over my head. It looks like I will be busy tomorrow evening. I have my seam ripper ready just in case.  

Once I have the tablecloths done I hope to take some time off and relax. Maybe finish the book that I can't believe I haven't finished yet!  

Can you believe that I'm not even half way through this book? Also on my summer reading list is this book recommended by Jane and Karen

I've had it in my hot little hands since May. At the rate that I'm getting through these books I might be the last person to finish them.  

Then, hopefully then, my creative sewing mojo will return and I can get back to sewing for the love of sewing. There is a jacket that I promised Mama R late last year that I really should cross off my to-do list.  

Until then, happy sewing!  

Monday, 23 June 2014

Another Baby Gift

Stash busting 2014:  Baby Onsie & Blanket

Fabric:     2 metres for both the blanket and onsie (1 metre for each)

Ribbon:   .5 metre

Snap:       1 medium sized snap

This is another version of McCall's 7367. I've lost track of how many versions of this onsie (view A) I have sewn for babies of friends and co-workers. This one is for a co-worker who is expecting later this summer. I had to finish it up for this week and give it to the expecting mama as our summer lay-off is fast approaching.  

I think this is an adorable pattern but I have to admit that I'm ready to sew something new when it comes to baby clothing. I still recommend this out-of-print pattern if you happen to come across it. I just want a change. But my co-worker mentioned that she didn't get one for her second child last year when I made one for someone else (for the life of me I can't think of what I gave her instead of a baby onsie). Sometimes when there is just too much on my plate, I will admit to hitting the stores for baby shower gifts. Sew, I just had to make another version of the McCall's pattern baby onsie. 

I sewed the onsie using a knit stitch which worked out perfectly until I had to sew the crotch area. There was quite a bit of bulk from the layers overlapping that caused some trouble. Even with the aid of the jean-a-ma-jig I had to abandon the knit stitch after a sewing machine needle broke. Afterwards everything worked out great when I switched to a normal straight stitch to sew through the bulk. It was just the crotch seam that presented the challenge. 

The blanket is a single layer with a serged and rolled hem. Not difficulties or challenges there.  

No idea if it is a baby boy or baby girl so I went with gender neutral colours. The cotton knit and white rib knit fabric used for the onsie I found at Marshall/Northwest Fabrics. I can't remember where I picked up the piece of flannel for the blanket but I do know that it has been in my stash for quite some time. It was about time that I stash-busted this piece of fabric. The white ribbon and snap came from my notions collection stash.

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Sewing Lost Skill or Lost Art?

Huffington Post ran an article on lost skills grandparents have (had) that the author assumes the reader does not. Sewing appears as one of seven "lost skills".
Sewing (and crocheting and quilting and darning)grandmother sewing
These days, if someone gets a hole in their socks or jeans, they generally buy a new pair. Your grandparents, on the other hand, darned old socks and everything else. Sure, a few folks still sew. But due to budget cuts and weak demand, many school systems have dropped sewing classes from the curriculum, meaning fewer young people have the opportunity to learn. Yet many of our readers cited sewing as a lost art they'd like to see revitalized.
Sewing as a lost art! Of course, this article was not a scientifically researched subject. The data originates from a small informal collection from facebook readers. They even threw in a picture of a vintage sewing machine to sew in their point. What ever happened to the good-old days of well-researched objective journalism?

At risk of appearing as not being objective in this subject I'm going to weigh in. I don't think that sewing is a lost art! Oh my goodness, all I have to do is sit at my computer whenever I need help with a certain task and I have a whole library of resources at my fingertips! Most of the youtube videos that I watch for tutorials are posted by young people, not grannies! Sewing is not a lost art when there are hundreds if not thousands of examples of people sharing this skill online through blogs, videos, pinterest, instragram, facebook and twitter! Goodness, how can the author of the article use facebook as their source and miss all the facebook pages dedicated to sewing followers? Never mind the popularity of fashion-themed reality-television shows that have spin-off product lines.

I disagree that "school systems have dropped sewing classes from the curriculum" because of weak demand. I work in a school and trust me I see talented kids with an interest in sewing. If anything our culture has changed since the hey-day of home economics classes. The world is a different place since I was enrolled in home economics classes. We did our research without the aid of the internet. I know the horror! And we survived. We are now in the realm of the "new economy." The fashion industry has changed a lot during this time. The promise of globalization has meant that many jobs were shipped overseas to far-off places where lower wages meant cheaper made and priced clothing. The perceived decline in sewing is a complicated one that the article skirts around.

Sewing as a lost art is not a fact, it is myth. Well, now that I said my two cents worth, I'm off to darn some socks.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Negligee, Duster or Housecoat?

Stash busting 2014:  Housecoat

Fabric Used:  3 metres

Buttons:         5   

Thread:          All thread that was used was found in my thread stash. Light blue for sewing, darker blue for gathering stitches and white thread for the serger. I managed to finish off a spool of serger thread during this project.

Pattern:        Style 1111, circa 1975 and McCall's 9424, circa 1968.

So would you call this a negligee, duster or a housecoat? The Style 1111 pattern that I used refers to this as a negligee. Language evolves, as it should according to the folks who uses it. Mama R would never ask for a negligee. She wanted a housecoat.

When I think of negligee, I think of costumes from the 1960s television show Bewitched. Negligee, the word, feels so retro. The pattern I used is just that, retro.

What makes this feel more like a housecoat is the fabric. It is a lightweight cotton and polyester blend that puckered after being pre-treated and resembled a seersucker fabric. I associate negligee in sheer flimsy fabric yet the suggested fabrics on the back of the envelope read,
[l]ingerie cottons, seersucker, gingham, lawn, voile, winceyette, crepe, silk [and] tricot jersey.  
This Style pattern defines negligee quite differently than the stylists and costume designers on the set of Bewitched. Sew, I'm just going to go with Mama R's description, housecoat.  

I actually used two patterns to complete this garment, Style 1111 and McCall's 9424. I used all the pieces for the negligee housecoat except for the sleeve. Mama R wasn't sold on the puffy gathered sleeve so I adapted the sleeve pattern from McCall's 9424 adding some length to the short sleeve pattern.

I picked up Style 1111 at the local second-hand shop. It was in rough shape and missing pattern pieces, thankfully none of the missing pieces were for the negligee housecoat. I will have to transfer and recreate a new pattern since the pattern pieces are fragile, torn and taped. And I really would like to keep a copy of this pattern.

As I mentioned the fabric is a cotton and polyester blend. This fabric was not in my stash and I picked it up this weekend specifically for this project.

It has an embroidered edge that I was able to work into the sleeve and hemline by cutting the pieces on the cross-grain.

The back yoke and yoke facing has darts from the neckline. It gives the garment lovely shaping that I would never find in a ready-to-wear housecoat. Details like these give the garment a lovely fit.  

As per Mama R's request, I added patch pockets.

The buttons were from Mama R's own button stash.

And that is it, a new housecoat for Mama R.

Happy Sewing!

She Likes It!

She likes it!  

Oh my goodness, you don't know how relieved I am that Mama R is happy with her new housecoat. I'm over the moon after that epic fail on the first housecoat last week.  

It is not quite done, this is just the first fitting. I still have to find buttons and sew on some pockets and then it will be done. These tasks will have to wait until the end of my work day, errands and the watching Portugal/Germany World Cup match highlights.  

If everything goes according to plan, I hope to have this finished and in Mama R's hand this evening.  

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 15 June 2014

In Sewing News Today...

No one entered for the most recent pattern give-away. Sew, I won't be drawing for the McCall's 6767 today.  

In the news this week, it was reported that Canadian designer Lida Baday will be closing up her design business. Lida Baday designed patterns for McCall's back in the 1990s. I thought I would share a couple of her patterns that are part of my collection.

One of my past favourite makes was a black silk Lida Baday dress, McCall's 8823. It was a slim fitting mock back wrap dress.

When a copy of this pattern appeared on etsy, in my current size, I picked it up.  There are plans to one day reintroduce this dress back into my wardrobe.

I have also picked up some more Lida Baday patterns along the way.

There is McCall's 8943 that I used to make a white french cuffed shirt. And one more pattern...

It is McCall's 8246 a lined side buttoned dress that I have yet to make.

It is sad to read that Lida Baday is closing up shop but thankfully some of her designs will still be available through her now-vintage pattern line with McCall's.

In other sewing news, I'm trying to make Mama R a new house coat. This will be my second attempt after that epic failure. I went fabric shopping and picked out a fabric that I think will work nicely for a housecoat.

The pattern is a vintage find and I was starting to wonder if the project was even going to happen as I unfolded pattern pieces that weren't even Style pattern pieces. Two of the pieces were Butterick pattern pieces! The nightgown front and back pieces were missing and the housecoat yoke pieces were taped with a reshaped neckline and had the back darts removed. Thankfully, I was able to untape the changes without ruining the shape of the pattern pieces and all the pattern pieces were found.

Talking about vintage patterns, I entered Pattern Review's Vintage Contest. I didn't win. No surprise. What was a surprise is that Beanchor entry didn't win. She entered a stunning Diane Von Furstenberg (DVF) dress. Her entry was timely with a Diane Von Furstenberg exhibit celebrating the 40th anniversary popularity of the wrap dress. She used a vintage DVF Vogue pattern, vintage fabric and vintage tools. How did she not win? I'm in absolute disbelief.  

I'm also in disbelief that while I was at the fabric store picking up fabric for the housecoat I didn't pick up this embroidered fabric that I was swooning over.

It is 100% silk with little parrots embroidered on it. I thought it would be too much fun made into a midi-length skirt.  

That was until I saw the price which I believe was $36.00 per metre. It is still at the store. I really don't need a silk parrot skirt.

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

Happy Sewing!  

Friday, 13 June 2014

Sewing Machine Day!

Did you know that the folks in the United States and United Kingdom are celebrating Sewing Machine Day?

Yup, June 13th is Sewing Machine Day.

My mother had a Singer treadle sewing machine. I wasn't allowed to touch it but like the bad kid that I was, I didn't do like I was told. I used to sneak downstairs and try to sneak some sewing time with the forbidden machine when my mom was at work and my dad was asleep. 

In school, back-in-the-day when they offered home economics classes, I started sewing on a electronic Singer sewing machine. Years later, a Singer sewing machine was my first sewing machine purchase. It didn't last very long and when I was looking for a new machine a friend recommended a Janome sewing machine. I've been a loyal Janome sewing machine user ever since my first Janome.  

How about you?  What sewing machine(s) do you sew with?  

Happy Sewing Machine Day!    

Pattern Give-away Time: Jones New York Pattern

Next up I have McCall's 6767, a Jones New York jacket and Dress/Jumper pattern up for grabs.

This size 18 pattern is from 1993.
Misses' Lined Jacket and Dress/Jumper in two lengths:  Loose fitting jacket with shoulder pads has front darts, welt pockets with flaps, center back and side back seams and two piece sleeves with vent and button trim. Sleeveless dress/jumper has front darts, side front seams and back bell seam into side back seams.  
Same deal as the last pattern give-away.  Promise not to sell it, give it a good home where you will use it and share it. Just leave a message below with a way that I can contact you if you win and I will draw for this on Sunday.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Loungewear for Mama R

Stash busting 2014:  Butterick 3576

Fabric:    3.4 metres

Pattern:   Vintage Butterick 3576, circa 1970s

Buttons:  7 clear buttons

Have you ever sewn anything that you are too ashamed to even photograph? I have.

Mama R wanted a housecoat for some time now. She even had the fabric picked out. Sadly, it did not turn out. The pattern, Butterick 3576, was an uninspiring pattern at best. The fabric was not my choice at all. Mama R offered it for the housecoat because she was trying to stash bust. The two together created an epic fail. Um, I mean I created an epic fail.

I don't even want to photograph it. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Mama R has it earmarked for the next donation pick-up. It is that bad.

Well, at least I can admit that I sometimes sew ugly things.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Pattern Give-away Winner

The winner of Simplicity 9999 dress pattern is

Carolyn! Congratulations Carolyn.  


Monday, 9 June 2014

Pattern Give-away Time: Sailor's dress pattern

It is a fine time to sew a sailor's dress, don't you think?

I have a vintage Simplicity pattern, circa 1981, up for grabs.
Misses' Pullover Dress has full skirt, elastic waistline casing, cut-in armholes, front slit opening with loop and button closure and pleated button belt. Braid trimmed view 1 has sailor collar, tie and patch pockets.  
It is a size 10 pattern. I just ask that you give it a good home, promise not to sell it, use it, share it and make something awesome with it. Yup, that is it.

Oh, wait!

And leave a message below if you are interested and a way that I can reach you if you win. I will draw for this pattern on Wednesday. And I do ship internationally.

Stay tuned, there is more to come.

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

In Sewing News Today...

I signed up for The Pants Contest over at Pattern Review. The plan has been to make a pair of pants using Vogue 8887. I chose this pattern for the challenge. You see, they're underlined and it has a gross grain ribbon waist treatment.  

I've never sewn an underlined pair of pants. Plus they have pockets and cuffs. Sew far, the challenge has been pretreating my fabric. Yup, I haven't even cut them out yet. I picked out an olive green linen and lining. I serged the edges and threw them into the washing machine on the delicate cycle.  

Everything appeared to come out fine until I was pressing the last bit of my linen and noticed spots. These spots were not there before I pretreated my fabric. I suspect they are fabric softener stains. And they are stubborn.  

My linen fabric went in the wash for another tumble minus the fabric softener this time. It came out a wee bit better but there are still remains visible stains. Right now it is soaking and waiting for another tumble in the washing machine. Fingers are crossed that the stains come off this time. I doubt that I will have enough time to finish them for the contest. None-the-less I hope the fabric can be saved and I'll be able to make these pants for the summer. 

While I spent my day trying to pre-treat a piece of fabric, I did manage to do some sewing. It falls under  the ugliest thing I ever sewed. And it is for Mama R. Some days are just not meant to be spent sewing. I could try to blame it on the sinus infection and cough but I shouldn't. I should have trusted my instincts.  But I didn't.   

Hopefully, Sunday will be a better sewing day. I picked up McCall's 6654 and plan to make another maxi skirt to replace the one that was destroyed by weeds last summer. 

Well, that's all in sewing news today.  

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 7 June 2014

A Repeat Performance!

Stash busting 2014: Mama R's Favourite Dress Pattern

Fabric:     2 metres

Zipper:    22" invisible zipper

Basting Tape:    44" length

Thread:   I managed to polished off two previously used spools

Mama R can't seem to get enough of this dress pattern, Simplicity 2372. I think if I didn't try to talk her into another pattern every now and then she would have a wardrobe full of dresses made with this pattern. I really should recopy this pattern onto a sturdier paper as I'm sure this won't be the last time I use this pattern.

This is another repeat performance, different fabric though.  

The fabric was found in the home decor department at Fabricland earlier this year. I picked this fabric with thoughts of sewing a sailor's styled dress. Let's just say sometimes plans change and this is one of those occasions. I don't mind that I'm losing this fabric to Mama R, honest. I think it looks lovely with this Simplicity pattern and really I don't need another dress, never mind a sailor's style dress. Since this dress style took less fabric than the Vogue dress I originally thought of making it in, I now have enough fabric to make a top or maybe a skirt.

The fabric is a 100% cotton sateen, has a lovely hand and despite being a home decor fabric it is perfect for this dress. I was careful with the pattern placement since there is a repeat directional pattern to this fabric.

The thread and zipper used in this project have been in my stash longer than the fabric. I stash busted my last navy invisible zipper. And I actually used different shades of blues to put this together, trying to use the partially used spools of thread found in my stash. It worked out great since there's no top-stitching. I did save the one spool of thread that matched the fabric perfectly for the blind hem and the narrow hem on the sleeves.

No surprise that Mama R is pleased with her new dress, it is after all her favourite dress pattern.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 2 June 2014

We've Come a Long Way, Baby!

A few years ago there was dread associated with installing an invisible zipper. I longed to learn the secret behind those perfectly hidden invisible zippers I would inspect in ready-to-wear garments. I was at the time sewing with one of those plastic invisible zipper foots. Big mistake. 

Invisible zippers and I have come a long way. Since that time, I have mended my ways and picked up a few tricks along the way. First you'll need to gather some tools for the job.  

1.  A quality invisible zipper foot. Invest in an invisible zipper foot specifically for your sewing machine. Trust me, those plastic ones you can find in fabric stores are not worth the time or expense.  

2.    Regular zipper foot.  

3.    Invisible zipper.  

4.    Thread.  

5.    Scissors for clipping loose threads if you need. My latest machine has a built in thread clipper.   

6.    Basting Tape.  

7.    An iron.  

8.    And of course, your garment.  

The first thing I do is finish the seam of the garment where I plan to insert the invisible zipper. I usually finish the edge using my serger.  

Then I prep my zipper by pressing the coils open. Don't skip this step! I found that it makes a world of difference. Next, I tape the edge of my finished edge with a length of basting tape nearly matching the length of the invisible zipper. I don't use pins. The basting tape works like a charm and dissolves during laundering. You can find basting tape in various widths. I find that the longer the zipper the wider the basting tape I like to use.  

Using a quality invisible zipper foot meant for your specific machine, go ahead and stitch each side of the invisible zipper in place. I start at the top with a locking stitch and work my way down. I only use the regular zipper foot to stitch the centre back pieces below the zipper. Using the regular zipper foot allows me to sew close to the bottom edge of the zipper.  

And there you have it, my stress-free method for sewing an invisible zipper.  

June in Review...

As things start to re-open in this part of the country, there is certainly a shift in how I view things that I took for granted pre-pandemi...