Friday, 31 October 2014

October in Review

First off, Happy Halloween!

Did you make a Halloween costume this year? Someone did ask me if I wanted to sew a costume for their daughter this year. That was a terrifying conversation as it is well-known that sewing is a means of relaxation and I'm not into turning it into a form of torture. 

In yesterday's paper a scary article appeared about the big business and sexualization of Halloween over the years. Curious after reading the article, I popped over to check out the sewing costume selections. Eeeks!  

Butterick 6114
What do you think about the state of Hallowe'en costumes and culture? 


Still on the theme of spooky and terrifying, there was a whole lot of mending and alterations that took up most of my sewing time and threatened to destroy my sewing mojo. I did manage to squeeze out some sewing, a skirt and dress for Mama R and a skirt for myself. 

Top left:  Side pockets on Mama R's skirt.  Center: Mama R's dress.
Top right:  Mama R's skirt (front view).  Bottom right: Skirt (front).
Bottom left:  Skirt (back kick pleat). 
RTW Fast

It is scary to think that the RTW Fast is coming to an end in the next couple of months and I fell off the wagon this late in the game. But I found a curly lambswool vintage jacket and in my defence, there is no way I could recreate that jacket. Never mind that fact that I would never be able to find the materials to recreate the jacket. And if I could, I could never sew it for what I picked up this vintage gem for... So, I'm not going to beat myself up about this purchase. Feels good to come clean on that little slip up.   


Added to Stash
84 meters
4.9 meters
3.5 meters
Sewing Patterns
Spools of Thread
Sewing Needles
Pant Hooks
0.40 meters
9.2 meters
12 meters
Bias Tape
2 meters
Hook and Eye or other Closures
Basting Tape
12.2 meters
6 packages


Monday, 27 October 2014

The Archive Collection

I have to say that I do like the look of McCall's The Archive Collection patterns that have been coming out these recent months. And there are two more patterns released in this Winter/Holiday collection.  

The blouse, McCall's 7053, is lovely with the draped collar and long sleeves. I could see myself wearing this look. And the vest, McCall's 7056, finishes off the skirt from their previous released pattern, McCall's 6993. The three pieces together are a nice look.   

Do you have any favourites from McCall's Winter/Holiday collection?  

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Colour Mama R Beautiful

A reader dropped an email regarding Mama R's recently altered coat. 
please, please try to get some colour into her life
I couldn't agree more.

It does seem like I have been sewing A LOT of black clothing for my mom. I would typically try to put my foot down and try to convince her towards another colour choice but social pressures have been influencing her requests lately.  

Mama R in the past few months has been asking for black clothing because she feared the worst. Her beloved brother was in the hospital for three and a half months and there was a great deal of praying that he would make it. Things were scary for part most of that time and fear set in and then the request for mourning coloured clothing. Thankfully, my uncle is home recovering and our prayers have been answered. Of course, he is still in our prayers for a full recovery. 

You see Mama R is a devote Catholic of Portuguese heritage. If you ever seen the comedy of The Portuguese Kids you'll get the gist of what it is like being Portuguese. She hasn't been asking for black clothes because she likes the colour black, it was to be ready if the worst happened and thankfully, it did not.

There is colour in Mama R's future. These are a few fabrics that are in queue for new dresses and jackets for Mama.

The cream/biege rose patterned fabric in the top left corner is set to become a jacket using Vogue 1385. The green fabric (top right) is for the same but will be my muslin (hopefully wearable muslin). And the floral medium weight cotton will be a dress using Mama R's all-time-favourite pattern, Simplicity 2372.

This satin back crepe fabric is waiting to be turned into a top so that Mama R can wear with her suit.  Not my favourite fabric to sew, but Mama R loves it. She wants it made out of Simplicity 2372.

An this blue and gold lightweight cotton will become another housedress. I wouldn't bet against Simplicity 2372 for this one but you never know if Mama R surprises us.   

So there we have it, these fabrics are the ones that are waiting to colour Mama R beautiful. Well, more beautiful than she already is... But right now, I'm selfishly sewing a dress for moi. Then I will get to work on the satin back crepe top for Mama.  

Happy Sewing!  

Friday, 24 October 2014


This is the beautiful winter coat that Mama R and I found while we were out shopping. Like most RTW items that Mama R finds, it required quite a few  alterations.  

In this photo, the sleeves are in mid-alteration stage but I wanted to snap a photo to show the length of the hem. I wish Mama R would have allowed a before photo because you wouldn't believe this is a size 12 they way she was drowning in the length. But it fit beautifully in the shoulders. 

At the time, it seemed like a reasonable project. Of course, I wasn't thinking about how much I dislike doing alterations. I was smitten with the vintage feel of the style and the shape of that collar.  

"Sure", I said when asked if it could be altered.

The coat had a lovely drape, it was fully lined and even had a removable liner for extra warmth. This would work as a spring coat as well. 

The sleeves were the biggest pain of all the fix-ups. I cut off about four inches and then turned them up another 1 3/8" along with adjusting the sleeve lining. The sleeves had a mock sleeve vent which is hardly noticeable and inner buttons that had to be moved for the inner liner.  

The coat length was shortened by nine inches and there was a back vent that Mama R wanted closed. There is now a 1" hem on the coat and the lining is another inch shorter.  

The inner liner was much less complicated and time consuming. It required a simple hem on the sleeves and bottom.  

To be completely honest there were more than a few moments that I thought about giving up on this project. It is not my favourite kind of sewing. But I'm glad that I stuck it out. Mama R is pleased with how it turned out and I'm pleased that I can do some actual sewing--the non-alteration kind.

Happy Sewing!  

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Sufferin' succotash!

My goodness, what is it with shipping costs?  

I once paid eight dollars to Vogue Patterns to ship out some patterns that arrived from a Canadian destination and had postage marked on the envelope that was less than two dollars. I was not impressed.  

Last week, Colette Patterns posted on their blog that they have lowered shipping costs and that international customers will especially notice a difference. Thrilled to read this, I went to order Moneta. Shipping costs for the one pattern came to eight dollars and sixty-five cents. Now if that was a lowered shipping cost, I would hate to think how much it was before. Then Colette Pattern posted another shipping cost related message again today. 
So many of you inquired about where to get Dahlia if you aren’t in the US and don’t want to deal with international shipping. I thought I’d post a rundown of retailers who may have it first in your area.
So I looked at the list, found a retailer located in Canada and proceed to check it out. Yes, they have the Moneta pattern and they ship. [small happy dance] But I was a little shocked to see that the price of the pattern is higher than Colette's own website and so is the shipping!  

Sufferin' Succotash! The total cost jumped to over thirty dollars. It's cheaper to order the pattern from Colette Patterns and deal with their international costs! And all because I'm not a fan of PDF patterns. I have to start drafting my own patterns.  

Happy Sewing!  


Monday, 20 October 2014

Oscar de la Renta

Always relevant and inspiring Oscar de la Renta passed away today. Not only did he design for the rich and famous, he made his designs accessible to the home sewist. He came onto the fashion scene in the nineteen fifties and produced designs offered by Vogue for most of his career.  

Circa 1960s

Circa 1970s

Circa 1970s

Circa 1980s

Circa 1980s

Circa 1980s

Circa 2000s

Circa 2000s
His range of designs included day dresses to evening dresses and couture to ready-to-wear styles. His enormous talent will surely be missed.  

Sunday, 19 October 2014

In Sewing News Today...

Good morning! New day and I am feeling optimistic about that coat. I'm still not a fan about alterations but a little patch work hidden on the inside of the coat will be our little secret. 


Something that may not be a secret is my love of quality fabric and a good bargain. Yesterday, I found myself at Fabricland searching for some linen fabric that I saw last time I was there and neglected to pick up. It was in the discounted section and where else in this city would I find solid coloured 100% linen at $15.00/metre? 

I was kicking myself last week for not picking it up. Thankfully, I found it on the bottom shelf in the darkest corner of the store and there was enough for what I have in mind. 

It may not look all that impressive sitting here but I think it would be lovely made up in that Sybil Connolly dress I picked up a few weeks ago.  

I'm planning ahead as this will be a spring 2015 project.  

I also found this lovely floral print deeply discounted in the home decor department. It is a 100% cotton and would be perfect as a jacket.  

For this floral fabric, I'm thinking about using Vogue 8333. It is a pattern that has been in my stash for a few years waiting to be made up. I'll need to make a toile first.  

I also found a beautiful Wilmington Jacquard priced at $37.00/metre. Even at 50% off this weekend it's not in the budget and is still at the store. Check me out with some self-control!  

But I will admit that I did consider blowing the budget. I was thinking that this fabric would make a lovely jacket using Sandra Betzina's pleated neckline pattern. But I really don't need another one, I just love the pop of yellow.  

Well, that's enough day-dreaming planning for now. I should get back to that coat.  

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 18 October 2014

In Sewing News Today...

I'm am dying to get to my sewing machine and feel like I'm doing something creative. Instead, I'm working on an alteration project for Mama R. I really hate doing alterations but I love my Mom which explains why I doing something I rather not be doing.

It is a fully lined winter coat that has a removable liner for warmth. It really is a beautiful coat and I know she'll look great when it is finished. Do you want to know the kicker? I was the one who found the coat for her. And now I'm kicking myself. I can't really complain as Mama R is willing to help.  

She's also willing to drive me bananas over this project. I had her try on the coat so that we could measure a sleeve. What's that saying, measure a million times, cut once?


Well, I measured, I pinned, I even basted a line of stitches so I knew where to fold it up. Of course all the measuring, pinning and basting were done when Mama R was trying on the coat. And then I cut the sleeve, I re-enforced the sleeve with fusible interfacing and I cut the sleeve lining. Mama R tries on the coat since she's around and asks that I take it down half an inch.  


This is why I don't do alterations for people. I don't know how Fit for a Queen does it but that person is a saint. I hope her clients realize that and I wish I had some of her patience because right now I'm ready to throw the coat in the corner and start on some selfish sewing.   

But I won't.  

I've called it quits for the night and I am going to sleep on it and try to figure out how I'm going to make it work by adding another 1/2" to the sleeve length after I cut it. For now, that's tomorrow's sewing problem to solve. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

A Peek Inside My Sewing Drawers

I have seven projects cut, packed away in my sewing drawer and waiting to be taken to the sewing table and stitched up. But I have been busy with mending and alteration projects.

1.  This blouse with bow details is cut out in a mint coloured silk. The plan was to make it this summer and when I finished it to make a pair of cream coloured pants to go with it.  That didn't happen. Instead, it has been sitting in my sewing drawer for months.

If I can get this to the sewing table soon, it just might turn out to be a lovely holiday season item.   
2.  This lovely Sybil Connolly coat is cut and ready to go ever since is landed in the mail. Okay, maybe a couple of days afterwards. I have it cut out in a red sateen fabric as my test run. If all goes well, I will cut out another winter version. But first I have to make my test garment.  
3.  Here is another project that I cut out with plans to make and wear it this past summer. It didn't happen but if it does make it to the sewing table this season I can get some wear out of it.

And if I do recall the first version of this top was a quick sew.  
4.  Now this pattern I'm almost embarrassed to tell you has been cut out for years. Yes, I said years [holding head in shame].

I cut it out in a green polyester for Mama R after I made her a blue version. She wears the first version but complained that she didn't like the width of the hemline created by the front pleat. Now she says it is her most comfortable top. I guess it grew on her and that would be the motivation I might need to get it done.  
5.  [still holding head in shame] This dress has also been cut out for years. I do believe that I actually started transferring dots and squares before it returned to the drawer. I really like the fabric and the vintage style of the dress so I can't explain why it is taking me so long to get this project done.  
6.  Here is another project that I cut out this summer as soon as it arrived in the mail. It is cut out of some left-over cotton fabric to test out the fit. The plan was to make this version and if all works out I have a lovely cream coloured wool fabric in mind for a final version.  
7.  I had cut three versions of this men's shirt for one of my brothers. I made two but the navy and black print fabric remains cut and unsewn in my sewing drawer. My bad. 

I was just using fabric from my stash for years and it was shirt projects that I gifted to him. I wonder if my brother remembers that there is a third shirt coming?  

Well, I've confessed the dark side of my sewing. Sometimes I fall behind and neglect the projects I have in queue. The plan is once I get one more alteration project finished for Mama R, I will clear out the sewing drawer of these projects. And fingers crossed the plan is that I finish them by the end of November. 

Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Tackling That Ever Growing Mending Pile

Part III

Sometimes my mending and alteration pile increases in size with things that aren't even my own. I have no problem saying no to other people's mending except when it comes to my parents. 

Papa R never asks me to hem pants. Mama R does that for him. If you were to ask Papa R he would say that he doesn't need anymore pants but Mama R makes sure he looks as good as she does. So two pairs of pants found their way to my work table this weekend. I had to endure his complaining, "it's good enough," while I sat on the floor pinning his pants. Of course I was disturbing him with this task during one of his favourite television shows, The Price is Right. How dare I?  

Thankfully, Papa R played along and I was able to pin the pants to Mama R's satisfaction. Once they were done I showed him and he comments that he could have done it with scissors and tape. Obviously, I didn't not inherit my love of sewing from my dad.  

✄ ✄ ✄

The next item was a recently made item for Mama R. She requested a different elastic waist treatment for the skirt I made for her. Bless her heart she took out the stitching for me.  

I used the same elastic but instead of sewing a casing and then running the elastic through, I marked off the centre front and side seams on both the elastic and skirt.  

Stretching the elastic I zig-zag stitched in to the upper served edge. Then I used a stretch stitch to secure the lower edge of the elastic to the skirt. I then folded over the elastic towards the wrong side of the fabric and stitched in place. This worked out to be a much more flattering finish. The gathers sat evenly and appeared less bulky.  

I have to admit I like this method better than the one given on the pattern directions.   

Another three items knocked off the mending and alterations pile, made it feel like a productive weekend. How about you? Do other's mending and alterations projects end up on your sewing table?  

Happy Sewing!  

Monday, 13 October 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all my Canadian readers and anyone else celebrating the holiday weekend, Happy Thanksgiving!  

Besides the obvious list, family, friends, job, roof over my head, food, clothes on my back, and pumpkin pie. I'm  also thankful for an extra day off this weekend and maybe the chance to fit in some sewing time.  

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Tackling that Ever-Growing Mending Pile

Part II

Can you believe that this vest has already made it to the mending pile? It didn't take long at all, it actually made it to the mending pile before I had a chance to wear it out in public. Yes, it was part of my blooper-filled August sewing.   

The seam finish on this vest are French seams and being a silk fabric I was dealing with some fraying. I believe that I had cut a rather large hole in the side seam when I was trimming back some frayed threads that showed through my French seams. My bad.  

I used Fray Check to control the fraying and to allow for the narrowest seam allowance over the hole. It was near the bottom hemline at the side seam and I didn't want to have too much bulk at the hem allowance. Thankfully, the repair worked out without drawing attention to the repair.  

 ✄ ✄ ✄

This jacket also made it to the mending pile. I was wearing it out recently and the opening of the pocket seams were opening up.  

It was a quick fix that shouldn't had been in the mending pile at all. I wish I could blame it on waiting until I changed the thread colour on the sewing machine but nope I can't do that. There has been black thread in the sewing machine for some weeks now.  My bad. 

And of course, I could have avoided this mending pile visit if I only reinforced those decorative seams when I cut out the pocket as I refashioned the jacket. I know, I should have known better but in my defence I do believe I was in a T-3 induced state after knee surgery and sewing in short spurts while standing up in order to keep my leg straight.  

✄ ✄ ✄

These ski pants have been in my wardrobe for two years now and I'm almost embarrassed to tell you that it has been that long that these have been waiting to be shortened. I could have taken them into get altered but I would hate to think how much I would be charged with the inner elasticized and outer leg with metal snaps to be shortened. Besides, I could [umm] do this, if I would stop packing it away for the summer!  

With the inner leg alteration I didn't want to cut off the elastic and reinsert it. So instead, I tucked a section all around just above the elastic and then serged off the excess.

The outer leg was more difficult and it is not perfect. I had the challenge of the snaps on the lower section to work around and the fact that one leg is shorter than the other by half an inch. Here I shortened it while I kept the pant leg a little longer knowing that I can hook it up in the back with the loop and snap that was part of the design.

I didn't stress over finishing the hem, I just served the edge and left it. If I do decide on finishing it with a hem in a couple of years (okay, at least I'm honest about my readiness to do mending), I'll finish it with twill or bias tape. But for now, I'm okay with it.

Well, that is three items knocked off the mending and alteration pile and can you believe I have hardly put a dent into it? More to come...

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Downloadable Patterns

I feel like I'm alone on my lack of fondness for downloadable patterns. Now don't get me wrong, I have used downloadable (PDF file) patterns but I'm just not a fan.  

I guess I'm just an old-fashion kind-of-gal but I would rather have a printed pattern pre-packaged with an envelope for storage.

Yes, PDF sewing patterns are great if you want something NOW! and just can't wait. But a big part of sewing is about patience. I don't mind ordering my patterns online and waiting for them to get here via snail mail. I like the thrill of seeing a package in the mail box weeks later. It gives me time to think and shop my stash for fabric and notions at a leisurely pace.  

But then on the other hand I'm not very patient at times. I rather not spend my time waiting for the printer to print off sheets of paper that I will then have to tape together. Once they are taped together, I will have to cut before I can start pinning these taped pattern pieces to some fabric. And never mind the cost of the ink cartridges on a home printer, not cheap in these parts. So I really don't see the savings in time or money. Yet more and more pattern companies are offering free and at an additional cost PDF file patterns. Even Butterick and Burda offer PDF patterns.  

Jenna Cardi

One of the pattern companies offering PDF file patterns is Muse. They currently have the cutest cardigan pattern (Jenna Cardi) but it is only offered as a downloadable pattern and that stopped me dead in my tracks. I didn't want it anymore. I didn't want to print it off and tape the pattern pieces together. Nope, lost all interest in it.

Am I the only one who doesn't like PDF patterns?

Happy Sewing!


In Sewing New Today...

A few months ago the strap on my handbag broke. The leather strap was fine, it was the hardware that gave out. The strapless handbag sat un...