Saturday, 31 January 2015

January in Review...

New Fabric:

Although, I declared this the year that I was going to shop from my stash instead of the fabric stores, I ended up with these three pieces of fabric.

Top left and right:  100% polyester knits, bottom: 100% silk suiting
My bad.

Ready-to-Wear Fast:

I signed up for my second year of RTW fasting. A year ago I was counting, "[t]hirty-one days down, [t]hree hundred thirty-four more days to go!," but not this year. Could it be that this is getting easier? Not necessarily. I am still tempted by sweaters and I don't knit. I really need to try out those cardigan patterns.


There wasn't a whole lot of sewing this month. I managed to get three projects completed this month. The aqua blue dress for Mama R, a skirt for moi and half of my Jungle January outfit were finished.

Left:  Vogue 8976, Centre:  New Look 6108, Left:  Simplicity 2372
The animal print knit fabric (shown above) is cut using Vogue 8976, the Marcy Tilton jacket. The plan is to pair it with the silver dress above. The two pieces together were to be my Jungle January contribution and I have until the clock strikes midnight. Hmmm, wonder if I can get it done in time?

Sewing Supplies
Used from Stash

Basting Tape
1.12 metres

Bias Tape



9.4 metres
8.8 metres
0.35 metres




Hooks and Eyes

2 previously used
2 new


7 metres
Serger Thread

Sewing Machine Needle


Spools of Thread


1 - 22” invisible
1 - 7”  invisible

Happy Sewing!  

Thursday, 29 January 2015

It's a Good News Day...

Vogue Patterns went on sale today! And the sale includes the new spring patterns. That is the good news, the not so good news is that the Canadian dollar has tanked this week. Whooo wee, I couldn't believe how much the exchange rate came to so I had to modify my order.  

It was tough limiting my order to just three but I did it. And I have to say, it is a good thing too because I have quite the pattern stash that I need to work through. But I just couldn't say no to these ones... 

I'm quite smitten over this jacket. I didn't realize it at first but there is even a shorter version of this jacket included in the pattern. Sweetness! I'm going to make it to go with these pants.

There are three lengths included in these wide pants pattern along with the choice of darts or pleats at the waist. I'll be going with darts.

My final choice was a new Marcy Tilton pattern. I will lengthen the dress but I like the colour blocking possibilities with this one.  

These might take a month to get here since they're coming by snail mail but it is all good. They will be here before the spring. Until then, I should put on my ski pants, warm up the car and get to work  to pay that exchange rate took quite the bite out of my order.

Are you picking up during the sale?  

Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Pin-striped Dress

Stash-busting 2015:  A Marcy Tilton Design

Fabric:                       3.1 metres of striped knit @ $7.01 ($2.00/metre)

Pattern:                     Vogue 8975 @ $8.55 ($5.99 online sale + shipping)

Sewn on:                Janome 4120 QDC using the knit stitch and the regular presser foot. No twin needle sewing was done on this project.    

Seam finish:           Serged on Janome MyLock 234D.  Hems were left down with serged edges.  

The best part of this dress was putting it together. I really did enjoy sewing this one, it is just like putting together a puzzle. The sewing went quickly and as long as you transfer all the markings onto your fabric pieces you shouldn't have any issues. I actually spent more time cutting out the pieces as several pieces were cut as one.

I do wish that it was longer though. I did notice that it falls about knee length on the model on the pattern envelope but since I am only five foot nothing, I thought it would be at a favourable midi length on me. Not so. It is not horrible, I just wish it was a wee bit longer. Since I did not want to lose any length from the dress I did an overlock stitch and left it at that at the hemline.

And I did think that my derrière was getting a little larger because I notice that the back hemline sat higher than the front hemline. I was mistaken as this is mention in the pattern description as a design element. No, seriously, I'm not kidding. The pattern states, "front longer than back." I wish I noticed that before I cut out my fabric!

There are parts of this dress that I absolutely love; the pockets, the overall fit around the bust and shoulder and the sleeves. If I do make another version of this dress, I would raise the front neckline next time but otherwise I also love the finish of the neckline.  

All-in-all, it is an extremely comfortable pullover knit dress.  

This medium weight knit fabric has been in my stash for more than a decade. I picked it up when Fanny Fabrics closed down and even though it wasn't a love-at-first-sight sort of fabric, I picked it up because it was such a good deal. The fabric worked well with this design. It has small pin-strips running through it which highlights the different directional pieces of this design. Total cost for the dress came to $15.56 dress and added bonus it looks like my sewing mojo is back.  

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Now, really...

One of the RTW Fasters posted an article from the Wall Street Journal titled "How Dresses Lost Their Sleeves" which I found quite intriguing. Mama R has been complaining for years now that it is impossible to find a decent dress with sleeves in the retail landscape. And I have to agree with her.

Long sleeved dress for Mama R
In the article, designers admit that dresses with sleeves are a highly sought after commodity with customers and fashion buyers.   

Vogue 8939

So what's up with this sleeveless mystery?

Vogue 1410

The article argues that 
[s]leeve peeves may be rising in part because it is so tricky to make a flattering sleeve that is roomy enough to offer a full range of motion.
Now, really... no one is that naive that they would buy that line. Are they? If a designer actually believes that it is so tricky to make a flattering sleeve that is roomy enough to move in, maybe they need to go back to design school or look to Rhonda's Creative Life for some inspiration and guidance. Rhonda can made sense of the trickiest sleeve designs.

And besides sleeves can be cut on the bias to give more stretch. There is mention of gussets used in the construction of sleeves in the article. But it is quickly dismissed as "expensive."

Vogue 1043
Interestingly, the apparent disappearance of sleeves happened to coincide with the appearance and rise of fast fashion. 

And there, I believe, is the answer to the sleeveless mystery. It is just "too expensive," or should I say, it will eat into their profits to incorporate sleeves into a dress design. In the Fifth Estate documentary "Made in Bangladesh" designer Sujeet Sennik outlined how the goal is to get clothes produced cheaper and cheaper. Sennik recalls his time designing shirts with five buttons and being asked if he could reduce that to three buttons. Is it much of a stretch to believe that the motivation behind the sleeveless dress mystery is the same?

Mama R hasn't purchased a ready-to-wear dress for years. I have been making her dresses because that is the only way that she can wear a dress with sleeves. She's much more comfortable wearing her dresses with sleeves. And there has been no "tricky business" going on while making any dresses with sleeves. 

Just another reason why I sew.

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 25 January 2015

In Sewing News Today...

I figured it out.

That lack of sewing mojo turned out to be a sinus and ear infection. The darn infection stole my sewing mojo. I've been on antibiotics since Friday and I'm starting to feel better. I won't say that I'm feeling 100% but I'm feeling well enough to crack open Claire B. Shaeffer's Couture Sewing Techniques and read the section on bound buttonholes without my head feeling like it is about to explode. 

Don't worry, it is not Ms. Shaeffer's writing style or instructions, it was just the way I'm feeling while my sewing mojo is on hiatus.  When I'm feeling better, I really want to practice making some bound buttonholes and Ms. Shaeffer describes the patch and strip methods used in couture sewing. Have you made bound buttonholes? I'm curious, which method do you prefer?  

In other sewing news, I feel that I might not make the deadline for my Jungle January outfit to take form. Six days until the end of the month. If I was feeling 100% it would be no problem. We'll see how the week goes. Thankfully, everything is cut out.

And there is a new knit in town. I couldn't resist, my bad. It has a art decor feel to it that I really like and I'm thinking that it would make a nice turtle neck dress? I was actually looking for fabric for work. They would like new angel costumes made to be made for the Advent Concerts. And I know how difficult it could be to find reasonably price white fabric. I didn't find any white fabric but I did find the knit. When shopping in a fabric store it is sometimes difficult to stay... "SQUIRREL!"  

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

Happy Sewing!  

Thursday, 22 January 2015

First Sewing Blooper of the Year...

I'm still waiting for my sewing mojo to reappear but I also thought that I would tackle a project that I made in the past, something easy peasy.  

The plan was to use Vogue 1306 the knit top that I previously made. It had been cut out and sitting in the sewing drawer for some time. I should have kept it in the drawer until my sewing mojo returned. First I made the front placket.  

Less than perfect but I could live with it. And then I moved on to the front gathered darts.  

Did you see what I did?  I sewed the darts on the wrong side. Not once, I did it to both darts! I did it with a itty-bitty knit stitch. Geez, this is going to be a something to unstitch. To be completely honest, my first instinct was to trash it. It still is. Mama R saw this disaster and thinks that it could be rescued. All I'm thinking is if I spend time unstitching this and accidentally put a hole in the fabric I'm going to be even more disappointed with myself. Besides, I hate taking out itty-bitty stitching.  

~sigh~ I want my sewing mojo back!  

Happy Sewing...

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

They're Here!

I thought they would never get here, but they just arrived. I got my hands on the February / March issue of Vogue Pattern magazine on Christmas eve and have been patiently waiting (and waiting and waiting) for them to be released.

And then cheeky Vogue Patterns sent out a teaser with a few of the new Vogue patterns soon to be hitting the stores. And I continued to wait.

But they finally arrived and it feels like Christmas all over. I am quite excited about this release. Do you want to see some of my favourites?

Vogue 9096
Oh my goodness, I actually gasped when I first laid eyes on Vogue 9096. I am quite smitten with the front detailing on this jacket. I wonder if I will be able to shorten it a wee bit?  

Vogue 1437
And this is another jacket, Vogue 1437, I'm tempted by... 

Vogue 1440
The top and jacket, Vogue 1440, are also on my wish list. The jacket has possibilities for some fun colour blocking options. 

Vogue 1442
This dress, Vogue 1442, is on the top of my wish list. I couldn't get away with wearing it to work but this will be a cool and comfortable dress for those hot summer days.  

Vogue 9077
Vogue 9077 is more work appropriate and it has pockets!  

Vogue 9081
This is the dress pattern that I was waiting for and thought that would work will with my animal print fabric I picked up for Jungle January (but I already cut it out of a Marcy Tilton pattern).  I still want Vogue 9081 though.  

Vogue 9083
I had to show this one. It won't make it to my collection unless I regain my girlish figure but I just love the detachable collar detail, tre chic!  

Vogue 9089
Marcy Tilton's Vogue 9089 has made it to my wish list.  

Vogue 9091 
And finally, Vogue 9091, a pair of wide legged pants!  

How about you, do you have any favourite Vogue spring release patterns on your list?  

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 18 January 2015

In Sewing News Today...

I walked into Fabricland and made a purchase without a membership card. I can't remember when that has ever happened in the past. I have vowed not to renew my membership this year. I don't need any fabric but I was in need of some ribbon for my Jungle January jacket.

And that is what I bought, just what I needed, some ribbon. The only ribbon that I had in my stash that was more on the pink side than masala.

I walked out of there with spending less than three dollars! Despite my fabric stash stumble the second day into the new year, I'm quite pleased with myself this time around. No fabric came home with me even though they were having a buy 1 metre, get 2 metres free sale. Although, I'm sure it had more to do with feeling a bit under the weather than any impressive level of will power as there was some teal coloured sateen fabric that caught my eye.   

Now, despite the fact that I have everything to sew my Jungle January outfit I haven't yet sewn one stitch. Would you believe that it took over a week to cut out the Marcy Tilton dress and jacket pattern pieces? 

I'm not sure what happened to my sewing mojo but it was a real struggle to get sewing done after those little velvet dresses. I was just burnt out after all the holiday sewing and rushing. I just didn't have anymore reserved energy for sewing and most nights, I would rather read or try to catch up on sleep. I guess sometimes you just need a break.

Before my mojo when into hiatus, I had big plans to tackle bound buttonholes and start on the Sybil Connolly Vintage Vogue spring coat. Now I'm wimping out on challenging projects and any sewing has been simple and those are taking forever to get done. Whoever or whatever stole my mojo, I'd like it back.

I think the Jungle January project, Vogue 8975, will have to take a back seat until I feel better and more focussed since it has been described as a "puzzle pattern." And although I enjoy puzzle patterns I would be quite sad if I messed this project up.

Anyway, that's all in sewing news today...

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 17 January 2015

A Wearable Muslin

Stash-busting 2015:  A-line Skirt

Fabrics:                      1.6 metres printed cotton @ $11.53 ($6.78/metre) + 0.2 metre of fusible interfacing @ $0.95 ($6.78/metre) = $12.48

Basting Tape:          0.35 metres @ $0.98/metre = $0.34

Zipper:                       7 inch invisible zipper @ $0.50

Pattern:                      New Look 6108 = $6.72

Sewn on:                  Janome 4120 QDC using straight stitch for seams and top-stitching, blind hem foot used for the hem and stitched-in-the-ditch using a walking foot for the waistband.   

Hand-stitching:    Basting the hemline before taking it to the sewing machine to finish. And slip-stitching a small section of the waistband facing where it meets up with the zipper.   

Seam finish:            Serged on Janome MyLock 234D

This fabric is a 100% cotton print which I found on sale at the home decor department at Fabricland about a year or so ago. I can't exactly remember when I picked it up. The price was right for the weight of the cotton. The initial plan was to make a jacket from this fabric.  

The red invisible zipper was part of a notions grab bag that I found at the Salvation Army. I like shopping for vintage notions there because sometimes, like this time, I find cotton invisible zippers. Although the main colour of my fabric is a burnt orange there is some red accents in the fabric and the zipper tab colour doesn't stand out.  

The total cost of this project came to $19.04 which is a real bargain in my eyes because I have a garment that 

✓  is in a natural fabric
✓  fits!
✓  has orange, the happiest colour in the world, in it and
✓  has pockets

Gotta a love it when a pattern works out straight out of the envelope. It is a keeper for sure. I would certainly recommend this pattern if you like the A-line skirt style. I think it is a fun and easy pattern for beginners as well.  

I should note that I didn't follow the pattern instructions while sewing this pattern. The pattern calls for a lap zipper. I inserted an invisible zipper instead and therefore changed the order of construction.  First I sewed the back darts, attached the back waistband pieces and then sewed the invisible zipper. Then I moved onto the front pockets, waistband and then attached the front to back at the side seams. And it all worked out fine. It is a pretty straight-forward pattern. 

Happy Sewing!  

Thursday, 15 January 2015

National Hat Day!

I'm not sure about the history of National Hat Day, regardless it is a fine thing to celebrate. We all wear hats for various reasons. 

These past few weeks I've been wearing a hat hats for warmth. Earlier this week when we had wind chills in the minus forties, I would wear two knit hats layered over each other without any concern over how silly I look. Besides, 
A person carries off the hat.  Hats are about emotion.  It is all about how it makes you feel.  ~Phillip Treacy~
And I like to feel toasty warm.

In the summer, I wear a hat to protect myself from the sun. But I also wear hats for fashion. I'm fond of the retro look of newspaper boy style caps.

Vogue 9044
And I've been know to tune into an episode of Downton Abbey every now and then for a look at the fashions and hats.

Our reasons for wearing hats may have changed over the decades and seasons but today I hope you wear your hat with a sense of fun and celebration!

Happy Hat Day!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

In Sewing News Today...

I've decided on my 2015 Jungle January outfit. Sort of...

The pattern, Vogue 8975, has been in my pattern stash for almost a year now. The pattern is for a dress and jacket. If I had enough of the animal print knit I would have made the dress but I bought the rest of the bolt which isn't enough for the dress. Although, it is the perfect amount for the jacket (1.6 metres). Or it could work as the contrasting fabric if I do make view B of the dress without the jacket.  

What do you think?  
  1. The dress in the solid grey colour with the animal print jacket or
  2. Just the dress mixed with both fabrics

It is on the cutting table waiting for a final decision, hopefully by the weekend.  

Yesterday, Vogue patterns gave us a teaser of their upcoming patterns with a promise that they will soon appear. I'm still waiting. No sign of them yet and spring is only seventy-two days away (according to the radio announcer this afternoon). I have my hands on the Vogue Pattern magazine but the patterns that I'm most tempted by were not featured in their sneak peek. And there is a colour blocked knit dress pattern featured that would work nicely with the above fabrics as well.  

It is not the harsh blowing snow outside that makes one feel like spring will never get here rather the waiting for the new spring patterns. I jest, as I try to patiently wait.  

In the meantime, I've been finding time to read which has been cutting into my sewing time. I just finished reading "I Am Malala" a memoir on the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner. I highly recommend this book if you're looking for another read to add to your own list.  

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

Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

And Now the Dress

Stash-busting 2015:  Long-sleeved dress

Fabrics:                      3 metres satin @ $23.73 ($7.91/metre) + 0.15 metre of fusible interfacing @  $1.02 ($6.78/metre) = $24.75

Basting Tape:          1.12 metres @ $0.98/metre = $1.10

Needle:                       $0.62

Zipper:                       22 inch invisible zipper @ $3.57

Pattern:                      Simplicity 2372

Sewn on:                  Janome 4120 QDC using straight stitch for seams and blind hem for the hems. 

Hand-stitching:    Slip sttich (blind stitch) strategically stitched along facing and basting before hemming.  

Seam finish:            Serged on Janome MyLock 234D

Are you feeling a sense of deja vu?  No worries, you did see something like this a couple of days ago when I made a top using this very pattern and this very same fabric. Mama R likes both that much.  

There are a few changes made to the pattern that you may notice from the pattern illustration to finished garment. The centre front seam has been removed, short sleeves lengthened to full sleeves, and there is a centre back invisible zipper.  

I picked up this fabric to make myself a top but Mama R loved it so. So I gave it to her--all of it. ~sigh~ It would have made a lovely top with McCall's 7053 but it wasn't meant to be. It kind of breaks my heart a bit thinking about it. No more, not thinking about it. All the fabric is used up. Moving on... 

The total cost of materials used to make the dress came to $30.04 and how happy Mama R is with her new dress makes this dress priceless. It is all well worth losing this gorgeous piece of fabric just to see her smile and the hugs. Priceless.   

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Fabric Porn

Warning:  I am not responsible for corrupting or enabling any other fabricholics. 

Anne over at Pretty Grievances wrote,
NO fabric porn? I want to see!!!
regarding my epic fail at my 2015 fabric fast. You asked for it, fabric porn.  

This is the silk suiting fabric that I picked up

The picture doesn't do the fabric justice. I wish you could rub your fingers across the surface of this fabric, "you can hear its music" (Kelby 204). There is a scene in The Pink Suit where Kate unwraps a length of pink boucle exposing its raw beauty and her own passion. It is one of my favourite scenes in the book. And it describes how I feel about this fabric.  

The other fabric I picked up in hono[u]r of Jungle January.  

I'm sure this is what Anne was waiting to see. Sorry, I made you wait for this one. It is a lightweight knit with marsala spots. How 2015 is this! I'm pretty excited about this year's animal print fabric. I do believe that I have a lipstick colo[u]r to match these spots. I have to decide on a sweater pattern and finish off the current project on my sewing table and then I'll get to work on the sweater.  

Well, that's it for fabric porn. Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Book Review: The Pink Suit

The Pink Suit by Nicole Mary Kelby
Published by:  Little, Brown and Company (a division of Hachette Book Group Inc.)
ISBN:  978-0-316-23565-5
Retail:  $29.00 Canada / $26.00 US

The length of time that it took to read this book is not a reflection of how much I enjoyed it. Instead, it is a reflection of how busy my life can get along with how much I wanted to savour the descriptions of hand stitched haute couture art.  

The Pink Suit is rich in details that have been woven from facts into an exquisite piece of fiction. Kelby has created a masterpiece that anyone who has an interest in history, pop culture or the art of sewing would enjoy.  

The story captures the search for equilibrium between reality and fantasy that characters in the novel try to create and navigate through their work and lives. Kate takes us on a historical romp through a time where innocence is lost for the protagonist and a nation through the back streets and service elevators of the fashion districts inspired and lifted from the runways of Paris.

This is truly an enjoyable read that I can not recommend enough. If you haven't yet read this gem, you might want to consider putting this on your "must read list."

Happy Sewing (and reading)!

Friday, 2 January 2015

In Sewing News Today...

Two days into the new year and I've already failed at one of my sewing goals. I bought fabric. I don't know who I was trying to kid with that goal. Maybe myself? Crappy start to the day so...

Yup, good ol' fashion retail therapy. I bought a piece of silk suiting fabric and a fun animal print knit. I'm thinking about a Jungle January garment. Stay tuned.  

I found the fabric at Mitchell's and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they are now selling New Look patterns. So happy. Fabricland stopped selling New Look and Simplicity patterns last year. They also changed their membership discount where Butterick patterns only get a 40% discount for members. At Mitchell Fabrics you can still get 50% off and no membership required.  

I did pick up New Look 6106, an A-line skirt with front pockets. This will be perfect for work and I like the below the knee length. I just have to get another dress for Mama R off the sewing table and then I will be able to start on this skirt pattern.   

Happy Sewing!  

Thursday, 1 January 2015

2015 Sewing Goals...

New year, new sewing goals.

 Get out of my comfort zone and learn new techniques.

  Fabric store fast (or shop my own stash).

  Continue with the RTW fast.

  Learn how to make bound buttonholes.

  Make a pair of lined pants.

  Make that winter coat I've been talking about making for years now.

  Make a Chanel-esque cardigan jacket.

  Make a tailored jacket.

  Make some workout clothes and use them!

  Make a pair of jeans.

  Clear out the sewing drawer of all those unfinished sewing projects.

Wishing you the best that 2015 has to offer and a creative year of fun and productive sewing!  How about you, do you have any sewing goals for 2015?

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...