Sunday, 31 August 2014

Pattern Give-away: Channel Your Inner Mad [wo]Men

This Sunday's pattern give-away is a nod to the Mad Men television series that will soon be coming to an end. So, this give-away is to help get ready for those Mad Men themed parties.  

Simplicity 3541 channels Peggy (season 4).  
Teen and Junior one-piece dress, reversible top and sash:  (Size 12, Bust 32)  "Simple to make"  Dress has roll collar, kimono sleeves and zipper and kick pleat in back.  Faced sash has purchased buckle and fringe.  Top has wide neckline and back buttons to front.  

Style 2509 will help you channel your inner Megan (season 7).  
Misses' Blouse, Skirt, Trousers and Sleeveless Jacket: (Size 14, Bust 36)  The blouse with collar and front-button fastening has long set-in sleeves gathered into the armholes and into the buttoned cuffs.  The A-line skirt is 5: above average length with waist-band and side zip fastening.  The flared trousers have front zip fastening.  The sleeveless, panelled jacket, lined to the edge, has cut-in armholes, "V" neckline and edge-to-edge front.  

Simplicity 5741 is all about Dr. Faye's cool style (season 4).  
Juniors' and Misses' One-piece dress or Jumper:  (Size 11, Bust 31 1/2)  The A-line dress or jumper has lowered round neckline, back zipper closing, and interesting front seam detail.  View 1 has self-fabric tie bow; long set-in sleeves and zipper closing at wrists.  Sleeveless jumper View 2 has welt pockets.  View 3 features sleeveless dress.  

These three patterns are a Mad [wo]Men package and here is the deal if you are interested in this pattern give-away.  
  • Promise not to sell the patterns.  
  • Promise to give them a good home where they will be cherished, shared and made into fabulous fun party clothes. Hosting a Mad [wo]Men themed party is optional. Cocktails are a must.  
  • Leave a message below (please include a method that I can reach you if you win), I will draw on Wednesday, September 3rd (after my work day) using Random Number Generator.  
  • I will ship internationally.  
Good luck and happy sewing!  

Saturday, 30 August 2014

August in Review...


There was a flurry of activity going on in the sewing space this month. I have two items that I haven't written a review for yet. Soon, coming soon...

I have to say that August turned out to be the month of sewing bloopers. I was making mistakes left, right and centre! Thankfully, I can see the humour in my mistakes and when needed I did have extra fabric to cut and start all over. I was even able to pick up more of the sky-line fabric when it was on sale this weekend. There might be a do-over on Vogue 1385 but for now it is just fine for work.  

RTW Fast

I am happy to report that even though I have been shopping it was not for RTW.

Did you read Sarai's article / post "How to Shop for Inspiration Instead of Clothing?" It was one of the best reads I found this month. Sarai writes about how shopping for clothes is filled with stress but it doesn't mean that she avoids shopping altogether. She shops at high end retailers to get the inside scope and construction techniques and sewing inspiration.

Inc. Lace motocycle style jacket
I've been busy snapping cell phone photos of head turning worthy items. I found this lace motorcycle jacket by Inc. at The Bay. I was not even tempted to pick it up since that would mean a crazy amount of money and alterations to make it fit. It would be much easier to stitch one up from scratch with this pattern from Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick. How cute would a lace moto-style jacket with a peplum be! More spring appropriate than fall though.

I also snapped a photo of this Karl Lagerfeld tweed jacket that I found at an antique shop at The Johnson Terminal (sorry, I can't remember the name of the store). 

What I love about this plaid jacket the most beside that it is made in a yellow plaid is the pockets. Oh my goodness, they were absolutely beautiful, perfectly matched and fully lined.

It looks like a pocket flap but no, it is a patch pocket with a mock pocket flap. Sarai is right, shopping for inspiration is way more fun than shopping for clothes.  

Pattern Give-aways

The summer is coming to an end and so are the pattern give-aways. Back to work next week and a new routine which will put a end to the give-aways for now. The last give-away is set for tomorrow! It has been fun hosting the pattern give-aways and sending these off to people who will appreciate and make fabulous garments with them. Thank you to everyone who entered and messaged me back with links to their finished garments. I do love seeing the patterns made up!

What's next?  

Looks like my sewing frenzy will have to come to an end. I have a few projects for Mama R to take care of and then I'm going to practice teach myself how to do some bound buttonholes. Exciting times! I'm looking to put bound buttonholes on a winter coat I'm getting all excited about. Some slow sewing for sure.  

Well, that's my August in review... 

Added to Stash
70.7 meters
4.2 meters
3.5 meters
Sewing Patterns
Spools of Thread
Sewing Needles
Pant Hooks
0.40 meters
7.2 meters
12 meters
Bias Tape
2 meters
Hook and Eye or other Closures
Basting Tape
7.8 meters
2 rolls

Happy Sewing!  

Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Urban Print Jacket

Stash busting 2014:  Vogue 1385

Fabric:   2.9 metres polyester and linen blend

Pattern:  Vogue 1385

I've wanted a jacket out of Sandra Betzina's top pattern, Vogue 1385, ever since I saw her version in the Vogue Pattern magazine earlier this year. This was found on page 81 of the April/May 2014 issue. 

Betzina states that all she did to change it into the jacket shown was to eliminate the front buttons and pleats on the sleeves.  

I followed Betzina's lead and added a couple more changes. I lengthened the jacket by three inches in order to add side pockets that I borrowed from kAtheRine Tilton's top pattern, Butterick 5891. I didn't adjust the sleeve length at all and it is not quite a long sleeve nor a three-quarter length sleeve. It is somewhere in between. If I make another jacket, I'll have to remember to lengthen the sleeve pattern two inches to have a long sleeve length.

The fabric is a polyester and linen blend that I found in the home decor department. It frays like crazy and was a challenge to press. It worked best to press it with a wool setting followed by the pounding block to tame the seam allowances.

Would you believe that there is another sewing blooper in this project. Can you spot what it might be?

This time the sewing is fine. My mistake is in the size. I cut this in a size A which I don't know what I was thinking because I should have cut a size C. Seriously, I don't know what's up with all my sewing mistakes. It is still wearable and I didn't have plans to put buttons on the jacket anyway. This certainly has turned into the month of sewing bloopers.    

Thankfully, it still worked out.  

I have to tell you, I think this is the coolest pattern with the neckline detailing. If you are worried about constructing this project, stop. Sandra Betzina offers video pattern construction for her Today's Fit patterns including this one. You can find them here at this website for a small fee or you can subscribe and have access to many other videos. I didn't order or view any of the videos but I do think it is a cool idea. 

In addition to the video instructions, Betzina provides additional information in the pattern instructions. She suggests different options for finishing the seams. The jacket is meant to be finished with flat-felled seams but Betzina also includes instructions for French seams using three-thread serging. This design also works well if you would like to finish it with Hong Kong (bound) seams. The instructions were wonderful on this pattern. And so are the neckline pleats and darts--my absolute favourite part of this pattern.   

Happy Sewing!  

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Pattern Give-away Winners

Good morning!  

It is the perfect day for a coat pattern give-away. I woke up to a temperature of +8 (Celsius) a indication that autumn is on its way. And yesterday, my vintage Vogue 1521 coat pattern came in the mail. I'm quite excited about making a coat. I hope you are too.  

So there are two patterns here. First up let's draw for size combination AA. But first I'm going to sort out who entered for this size.  
  1. Annie Case Hanks
  2. Hillary
  3. Kathleen

Congratulations Annie!  Oh dear, Annie did not leave a way that I can reach her. Annie, could you email me at grrracar (at) gmail (dot) com with mailing details and I can pop this in the mail.  

Now for size EE:    
  1. Jecrois EnDieu
  2. cathynd95
  3. MAD14kt
  4. twotoast

Congratulations twotoast! Twotoast blogs over at Spotty Dog Social Club. You'll have to head over and check out her blog.  

Thank you for everyone who entered and offered to give these patterns a good home. One more give-away scheduled for next Sunday.  

Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

In Sewing News Today...

Remember the knit dress that I made last month? The one that is not even a month old.  
I made it from a light-weight eyelet embroidered knit fabric that I found in the bargain knit section of Fabricland. It was marked down to 70% off the regular price. I thought I scored such a great deal.  

Turns out, it wasn't such a great deal after all. 

I found these holes when I put it on the other day. It is right in the front of the dress. I can't believe it. They were not there when I cut and finished sewing the dress. And I even took care when I laundered it washing it in the delicate cycle with other knits. 

Now, my knit dress is in the mending pile to try to be selvaged.  I doubt that I can fix these holes without it being noticeable, so once mended the dress will become a night-shirt. You can't have too many night-shirts.  

Bummer on the fabric. Oh well, lesson learned, sometimes a bargain is not a bargain.  

I am finally tackling trying to tackle my mending and alteration pile which I typically avoid like the plague. I hurt  re-injured my ribs on the weekend when I bending down to the bottom of the freezer. Someone really needs to design a chest freezer for short people.

I have Vogue 1385 on the sewing table waiting to transfer all those markings but it hurts to bend down right now. Maybe it was the sewing gods telling me to get busy on the out-of-control mending pile before I head back to work. It is not working out too well because the T-2's are making me drowsy. Or maybe it is that mending and alterations bore me?  In other sewing news...

Would you believe me if I told you I walked into Mitchell Fabrics on Saturday and walked out with only a metre and a half of fair trade cotton knit? Yup, despite all the beautiful fall wools and printed silk charmeuse that I was dreaming about as they draped around my fingers I just walked out with the cotton knit. The plan is to do some practical sewing and make a few more pairs of knickers.

While at Mitchell Fabrics I saw and gasped at the most beautiful fabric I laid my fingers on. It was a 100% cashmere coat weight priced at $250 a metre.  Oh my goodness, it was gorgeous and oh-so-very expensive for this gal's budget. But I did appreciate every second we spent together.

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

See you tomorrow with the announcement of the pattern give-away winners. Did you enter?

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 25 August 2014

McCall's New Fall Patterns

McCall's just released their new Fall Patterns today. 

This pattern, McCall's 7021, is for a knit peplum top with an even hem and three quarter length sleeves!!! I like the neckline too. I'm going pick this one up for sure.  

Love this coat pattern, McCall's 7025. Sadly, it is not practical for the windy city. Besides, I have a lovely Sybil Connolly coat pattern on its way.  But OH MY GOODNESS, is this McCall's coat ever cute.

Here is a practical pattern for my local and life-style. It reminds me of a few vintage patterns that Mama R has sitting in her pattern stash. I'm going to have to show her this pattern, McCall's 7014. She'll get a kick of this classic dress updated with A, B, and C cup sizing.  

Were there any patterns that you can't wait to get your hands on?  

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Pattern Give-away: Vintage Vogue Coat Pattern

I've been thinking about sewing a winter coat (again). I found a new pattern which is on its way so I thought that these pattern need to find a good home. 

This Sunday's pattern give-away is for a gorgeous original 1953 design, Vogue 1083, my original choice for a winter coat. Both patterns are unopened and uncut. One is for size AA which includes sizes 6, 8, 10, 12 and the other is for EE which includes sizes 14, 16, 18, 20.    

I will draw two winners for each size combination. Here's the drill, 
  • Promise not to sell them.  
  • Provide a good home where they will be cherished, shared and made into fabulous garments.  
  • Please leave a message below stating which combination size you would like and with a way that I can reach you if you win. 
  • I will draw for these patterns on Wednesday, August 27th.  
  • This pattern give-away is open to everyone, I will ship internationally.  
Pattern details, 
Misses' Coat:  Lined and interlined, flared, loose-fitting coat , below mid-calf length has shaped collar, dropped shoulders, side seam pockets and back yoke.  Wide bracelet length sleeves may be worn turned up to form deep cuffs.  A:  no closures.  B:  Button and bound buttonholes.  A, B:  wide topstitching.  
Good luck and happy sewing!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Lynn Mizono Dress

Fabric:     3 metres

Pattern:    Vogue 1410

Thread:    Polished off another spool of thread.

Elastic:     1 metre of elastic cord

Cord Stopper:    1

Oh my gosh, I actually laughed when I saw the shape of the pattern pieces when I first opened this pattern. My hips were begging the rest of my body to do a happy dance. And I do believe that I did give into that plea. I didn't have to worry about this dress fitting over my hips!   

There are only two pattern pieces, front and back. The armhole and neckline are finished with a roll hem. I did have some bias tape in my stash that I was thinking about using around the neckline and armholes but the narrow hem worked fine.

I really like this pattern. I'm quickly becoming a huge Lynn Mizono fan.  This is the third Mizono design that I have constructed and I like them all.  The dress is constructed with french seams and the total seam allowance ends up being 3/4" (1/4" trimmed to 1/8" then sewn 1/2"). The large seam allowances hold the inner buttons that allow for draping and adjustable lengths. I didn't include the inner buttons or hemline buttonhole since I just plan to wear this at the longest length. The dress also drapes with the front elastic cord and stopper in place.

The fabric I picked up the in home decor department. It is a lightweight 100% polyester that has been embroidered.

It is not the recommended fabric for this project. Instead, this pattern recommends fabrics (stretch poplin, seersucker, silk dupioni, and lightweight wool crepe) that have more drape. I do have some silk and wool crepe in my stash but I wanted to try a version out first before I cut into my good fabric.   I know my fabric choice is unconventional and I'm good with that.

I found that I didn't need 3 metres of fabric as suggested on the pattern envelope. I used about 2.4 metres and even managed to cut out large patch pockets with the scraps. That said, I did shorten the pattern.  

The dress pulls together quite quickly. I made this in an afternoon. I spent some time basting the fold and stitching lines. Totally unnecessary if I chose a different fabric I only did it because of the slippery-ness of my fabric.

I think if I were to change anything on this pattern it would be to change the shape of the neckline. I would certainly raise the front neckline and shorten the shoulder seam. I actually took in the shoulder seam another 5/8" after trying it on. Minor changes and an easy fix. And for sure I would add pockets again. I actually copied Demented Fairy's dress that has pockets added--it was a great idea!

Happy Sewing!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Vogue 1325: Dress Pants

The Tim Gunn Project (Fall / Winter Edition):  Wardrobe Basics, The Dress Pants

Fabric:           2.1 metres 100% wool

Interfacing:   Actually, I used up some of my interfacing scraps.

Zipper:          7" regular zipper

I am delighted to report that there were no sewing bloopers in the creation of this project. Although, there was that issue with the serger while making these pants the ugliness in the inside where no one will see it. This is the best pants pattern that I have used. I like the pockets, raised waistline and the fact that it fits my hips! 

Vogue 1325
The fabric is the same as the previous garment and has been in my fabric stash for some time. It is a British wool that was marked down by 70% at Fabricland awhile back. I can't believe that I scored this fabric at such a good deal. It has a beautiful hand. The zipper was a recent purchase specifically for this project along with the thread. I didn't use any lining fabric since the wool was pretty light-weight, I used the fashion fabric for the inside pockets. The interfacing came from my fabric stash--I just had to be creative with the pattern piece placement to get all the pieces cut out. It felt good to stash-bust those small pieces of interfacing.  

These pants are perfect for work. They are conservative enough to keep the boss happy. They have roomy pockets to keep my keys near by. And they are wide enough in the leg that I can wear my knee brace without looking obvious. What's not to like?

This makes the fifth pair of pants that I made using this pattern and I'm thinking one more in a light beige / taupe colour. Or is that a non-colour? Anyway, I just can't get enough of this pattern.  

Happy Sewing!  

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Is it Time for a New Serger?

My Janome serger (overlock machine) has been giving me a bit of trouble of late. So much trouble that I don't want to sew on this machine anymore! I can't believe I just said that.  

This keeps happening, the thread jumps out of it proper loop and ends up in the other thread loop. It does this while I'm serging.

It should look and stay like this while I'm serging but it does not. Instead, it jumps out of its proper position (green loop) and ends up the the blue loop.

And it makes my finished edges look like this. Not only is it ugly it is as if it is eating my fabric edge.  It is not the tension, and it does it even after it has been cleaned. 

It doesn't matter how slow I sew, eventually the threads above lock and when I investigate what happened below, I'm re-threading it again and again to correct the same problem. I could take it in to the shop for a tune-up and see if they can find the problem. But will that solve the problem? Could it be time to invest in a new serger? I can't afford it right now (summer lay-off) but I could start saving my pennies. One thing is for sure, it is time to sharpen my non-serger seam finishing techniques. 

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Tim Gunn Project: Spring/Summer Edition

Can you believe that the major four pattern companies have already released autumn patterns and the fabric stores are filling with wool and knit fabrics. Where did the summer go?

Before I get ready to pack away my spring / summer clothes and tend to my autumn / winter wardrobe, dI thought I would share what my "10 Essential Pieces" (the Spring / Summer edition) turned out to be.  

The Trench Spring Coat

I made this coat last year using the now out-of-print Burda 7304. It took some time to complete and by the time I finished it it was getting too warm to wear it. This spring, I got much more use out of it and compliments too.  

The Little Black Dress

I made this dress, Vogue 1312, a couple of years ago in a linen blend. It is still one of my favourite garments despite being a chore to iron. 

But this summer there was a new black dress on the scene. I made this using an out-of-print pattern, McCall's 8823. A gal can't have too many black dresses, right?  

The Classic White Shirt

This is my absolute favourite white shirt because of the french cuffs. There are also other details that make this pattern, out-of-print McCall's 8943 a winner. I like the front and back tucks, the sleeve pleats and wonderful fit. I wore it more in the spring than during my summer lay-off. It is a perfect work shirt.

4.  Classic Dress Pants

I made these pants using Vogue 1325. They are made in a light grey with blue pinstripe, light-weight, wool and cashmere blend. Despite being a wool blend, they still worked for the spring / summer fabric wise. Colour wise, I could have gone with something lighter.

This pattern is a gem but I will admit that I didn't fit into "a size" rather a combination of sizes. This pattern thankfully is a multi-sized pattern. Sandra Betzina's Fast Fit: Easy Pattern Alterations for Every Figure was a huge help in finding my perfect fit.  

5.  A Perfect Pair of Jeans Another pair of dress pants.  

I have yet to make a pair of jeans even though I do have Sandra Betzina's jean pattern. It is on my list of want-to-make-one-day items. But to be completely honest, I'm not a regular jean-wearing kind of gal. Maybe some day I'll get around to trying this jean pattern.

Instead, I would opt to replace this not-so-essential to my spring / summer wardrobe with another light-weight pair of wool pants using Vogue 1325. I actually wore these black pair more than the grey ones.

6.  A Day Dress

I made this wrap dress, Vogue 8784, recently, towards the summer but I still have been wearing it as much as I can since the weather has recently been quite hot. I'm sure it will make another appearance next summer too.

7.  An Occasion Top

This top was made using kAthaRine Tilton's Butterick pattern. I love this top, Butterick 5891, it has pockets and I feel like a million bucks when I wear it. It is made with 100% cotton fabric.

8.  A Nice Skirt 

This skirt has been in my closet for several seasons and it always comes out when the weather warms up! I don't think I will ever tire of this one. It is made from the now out-of-print Vintage Vogue 2885.  

9.  The Right Jacket

I've always wanted a Chanel-esque jacket and I had big plans to make one over the summer. It didn't happen. I made four cardigan style jackets this year but all four were for Mama R. The all-occasion top worked as my summer jacket when I wore the latest little black dress.

10.  Sweatsuit Alternative

I've never been a sweatsuit-kind-of-gal and to be completely honest, I never understood the appeal of the trend. I've always been into dresses so this was an easy pick for me. My sweatsuit alternative, or most comfortable item I own that is great for running around in, would be Vogue 1234.

And that is what ended up being my final 10 9 edited essential pieces this spring / summer season.  Now, to start thinking about my essential autumn / winter edition.

Happy Sewing!  

Monday, 18 August 2014

Years ago...

I've been talking about making a winter coat for years now. I can trace it back to 2011 on this blog. I had the pattern picked out, Vintage Vogue 1083. I even cut out a muslin. But I chickened out of the winter coat project many times over the years.  

Now, I'm thinking about making a winter coat once again. There is a new pattern I have in mind. It is another Vintage Vogue pattern. It is a Sybil Connolly design! I've had my eye on this pattern for quite some time.

I love everything about this design but I just admired it from the distance as it sat for sale at the $52.00 (USD), plus another $11.00 for shipping and of course throw in the exchange rate. It was just too rich for my blood, even after reading The Coat Route.  

Today, I found another Sybil Connolly coat pattern in my size for much less a very reasonable price and [squealing with delight], it is on its way! 

I still have the coating fabric in my stash. No chickening out this time. I believe I'm ready for the challenge and I'm excited about the pattern I'll be working with so there are no excuses.  

Now, I just have to clear off the sewing projects I have on the go before this pattern arrives. Have you ever made a winter coat? Any advice?  

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 17 August 2014

In Sewing News Today...

Today's my birthday!

I'm taking a day off from sewing and the summer pattern give-aways. Next Sunday, I'll resume the pattern give-away, so stay tuned.

Did you see Nancy D's dress? Nancy is one of the pattern give-away winners and she already made the dress! I am totally delighted that she left a message and link to her website and more importantly that she made the dress and likes it! It is nice to know that the patterns are finding good homes where creative people and sewing up lovely things with them.

My summer lay-off is coming to an end soon and to tell you the truth, I am so ready to go back to work and then again I'm not ready. I had big sewing plans that didn't materialize but the sewing that I did do so far has been rewarding and comical when I think about all those sewing bloopers. Goodness! I'm starting to focus on my autumn sewing needs, mainly pants. And at some point I should do more than look at that mending pile!

But not today, it's my birthday!  

And I have sewing kits to sew for the kids that have signed up for the sewing club this year. Thirteen sewing kits! I haven't even started yet. I going to have to get hopping on this project. The kids will be making Christmas stockings. My co-worker will be showing them how to do cross stitching to decorate their stockings and I will be showing them how to do a blanket stitch to sew the two stocking pieces together. I will be making sewing kits for the kids to keep their sewing supplies all together.

But not today, it's my birthday!

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Is it a Jumper or a Dress?

The Tim Gunn Project (Fall / Winter Edition): The Day Dress (Jumper)

Fabric:   2.2 metres of British Wool
               0.5 metres of lining fabric

Zipper:   22" invisible zipper

Pattern:  McCall's 9264 (out-of-print)

I am starting to think about my 10 essential pieces for the upcoming fall/winter season. This project has been on my want-to-make list since I found a previous loved pattern, McCall's 9264 and made another version. My favourite detail are the front bodice darts and square neckline.   

I did make a few changes to this latest version.  I raised the front neckline another inch from the last version making it a total of 2" higher than the original cutting line on the pattern. I also lengthened the hemline by four inches, added side pockets and opted for an invisible zipper instead of the lap zipper suggested on the pattern.  

The fabric has been in my stash for quite some time. It is 100% wool that I found at Fabricland a couple of years ago. I've been sitting on this waiting for the right project to come along. The lining fabric has been sitting in my stash for much longer. The only part of the dress that is lined is the bodice. The pockets are cut out of the fashion fabric.   

This is not how I intend to wear it come the cooler weather. The plan is to wear it as a jumper with a black top underneath.  

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...