Saturday, 28 February 2015

February in Review...


Vogue 8939
There hasn't been much sewing this month because the brutally cold weather and cold season has been playing havoc on my sewing mojo.  I did manage however to pull off one dress before this head cold had a chance to overstay its welcome. Actually this cold was never welcomed.  

I made big plans this month, forty chemo caps to be donated to Manitoba Cancer Care. I've managed to gather up my fabrics. And I have the pattern that I wish to use. But that is it. I really must get moving on this project. A co-worker of mine has offered to help out with cutting. How sweet is that--and totally appreciated now that I am behind schedule. 

Vogue 1521 Spring coat pattern
Most of my pre-Lent season sewing has been on the vintage Vogue coat. Lots of hand-stitching and behind-the-scene stitching. I can't wait to finish this project and wear it in the spring.

RTW Fast

I stumbled this month.  Do you remember when I saw this sweater?  

I picked it up and brought it home to measure and plot out my own version in a cotton knit. Well, I did return it only to be tempted by it once again when this cashmere sweater was further reduced down to 75% off. I'm justifying this RTW fast fail with the fact that it has been very cold this winter, it fits and of course, I'm weak. And surprisingly, I can live with myself. 

Yeah, it hasn't been a good month for sticking to the plans.

Sewing Supplies
Used from Stash
Additions to the stash
Basting Tape
1.12 metres

Bias Tape



1.3 metres

12.4 metres
13.8 metres
0.35 metres




Hooks and Eyes

2 previously used
3 new

7 metres
Serger Thread

Sewing Machine Needle


Spools of Thread


1 - 22” invisible
1 - 7”  invisible

Items Totals-to-date

Monday, 23 February 2015

In Sewing News Today...

This seems to sum up my weekend.

Would you believe that this was the second weekend where we're under an extreme weather warning with the windchill between minus forty to minus fifty. For the whole weekend. ~sigh~

It was the same as last weekend I went out for lunch with a friend and then to the art gallery. A trip to the art gallery usually helps to jump-start my sewing mojo that has been stalling lately. But it was even too cold in there! Shortly after we arrived, after freezing as we crossed the six traffic lanes to get from the parkade to the gallery, this happened.  

Yup, the fire alarm went off! Don't let those hat-less figures fool you, it was cold outside and then it was cold in the art gallery. I couldn't shake off the chilled-to-the-bone feeling all weekend when a head cold decided to take hold.

Needless to say, there has hardly been any sewing this week. Lots of pill popping, nose blowing but little sewing.

The best medicine came in the form of mail when the absolutely lovely and generous Nakisha sent this pattern my way, Squeealll!

It is Butterick 6185, one of the new spring patterns. It is not even in the stores up here yet! Although I haven't sewn much this week, I have picked out my fabric for this project. A red and white cotton stretch fabric that I found last year, for the dress. And a white denim fabric for the unlined jacket.

I might have to take a break from the vintage spring coat to whip up this outfit. Boy, I can't wait for spring to get here!

In other sewing news, did you hear about the McCall's Pattern Company sew-along?

Are you going to join? I'm thinking about it. I do have enough wrap dresses. There is this woven version and this vintage version. And my absolute favourite and most challenging wrap dress. So why would I want to join in the wrap dress sew-along?

I am hoping for some tips on sewing knits. I have the perfect knit fabric, the same quality as the burgundy coloured wrap dress but if memory serves me correctly the fabric was a bit of a challenge to sew with and I'm hoping for some pointers along the way.

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

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Pattern Give-away Winner...

First off, apologies that I'm a day late announcing the pattern give-away winner. I'm fighting a cold and the winter blues. When will it end? But I digress... 

The winner of McCall's 6993, The Archive Collection skirt pattern is 

Congratulations Jackie!  I'll send you an email shortly.  

Happy Sewing!  

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The Lenten Sewing Project

Let's face it, I'm not the give up my coffee (I've tried and tried) or heaven forbid chocolate kind-of-gal. Who came up with that sort of silliness when the stores are filling up with chocolate bunnies to tempt everyone anyway? But I digress...

My goal this year during the Lent season is to make chemo caps to donate to Manitoba Cancer Care. I plan to use McCall's 6521.

McCall's 6521

These three styles are the ones that I would like to focus on.  

The challenge would be to make forty chemo caps for the "forty days" of Lent. Yeah, I know there are technically more than forty days between Ash Wednesday and Easter but lets start with forty for now and see how that goes...   
I'm so happy I decided not to give up coffee for Lent, I might need it. ;)  How about you, is there any charity sewing projects on your sewing table?

Happy Sewing!  


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

National Random Acts of Kindness Day!

Perfect day for a pattern give-away, don't you think? So in hono[u]r of National Random Acts of Kindness day, I thought I would give-away McCall's 6993 from their Archive Collection. This pattern is from circa 1933.

It is an unopened and uncut multi-sized pattern. It includes sizes 14 to 22. Here's the deal: promise not to sell it rather use it, share it and make fabulously retro skirts with it. That's it. 

Oh wait! There is more. Just do something nice for someone else today. You know, a random act of kindness. I will ship internationally, if you agree to the requests above, leave a message below. I will draw for the pattern on Saturday, February 21st. 

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Sewing Invisibly

Say Whaaaaaaaat?!

Okay, I'm working on vintage Vogue 1521, a Sybil Connolly couture pattern and I came upon this set of instructions.  
Baste LOWER FRONT INTERFACING 4 to wrong side of LOWER FRONT 5.  Sewing invisibly along foldline and hemline.  
What does "sewing invisibly" mean? A quick google search left me with more questions than answers like this conversation. If "sewing invisibly" means the blind hem or slip-stitch why wouldn't the instructions just say to do that?  

I turned to my sewing library to help me clear up all this confusion. It took some time working through a pile of books but I think I discovered a description in my 1980 edition of Vogue Sewing that makes more sense. 
When interfacing a garment section that has a foldline along one edge, such as a collar, cuff, waistband or front edge (BINGO!) with extended facing, the interfacing should be trimmed at the foldline if the edge will be topstitched or edge stitched... Secure interfacing to garment along the foldline with long running stitches spaced about 1/2" (13 mm) apart, with only a tiny invisible stitch catching the garment fabric (156).  
Okay, that makes sense. 

Wrong side of the fabric 

Right side of the fabric
I'm only on step 5 (out of 69) and I'm on the second new-to-me technique. I wonder what other techniques I might learn along the way...  

Have you ever been confused by terminology used in a vintage pattern?

Happy Sewing!   

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Bound buttonholes

There is a sense of fear that has stopped me dead-in-my-tracks when it comes to tackling bound buttonholes.  There, I said it.  

I've been procrastinating on my spring coat project, vintage Vogue 1521, all because it calls for bound buttonholes.  Yeah, I know it sounds silly in the age of the internet and with all the resources out there. But it is true.  

I've been reading a lot hoping that I will find some courage along the way.  Claire Shaefer's revised and updated Couture Sewing Techniques goes into some detail on how to do both the patch and strip methods.  

Tasia St. Germaine's The Sewtionary An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques and Definitions uses the strip method. The best part is the amount of detail and photographs that guide you through each step.  

I guess I needed the visual hand-holding that I found in Tasia's directions. Her instructions are spread out over six pages and include a total of twenty photographs along the way. And it one of the things that I love this about her book. 

My first bound buttonholes! They are not perfect but they are something that I can live with, despite the puckering that happened in some corners. I though I was being careful. I'm willing to try them out on future garment. Practice makes perfect, one can only hope.

I read that Karen Ball's ebook (Karen from Did You Make That fame) contains forty photographs and is highlighted with rave reviews. But I think next time I'm going to give Rhonda Buss' bound buttonhole method a try. Has anyone used any of these resources? Or do you have a different technique that you favour?  

Happy Sewing!  

Monday, 9 February 2015

The Tim Gunn Project: The Missing Pieces.

Okay, I'll admit there are times when I stand in front of my closet doors and think that I don't have anything to wear. Like this morning, when it was Maui Monday at work. I had nothing in my closet to fit the day's theme. But I digress... 

Sometimes, when it is not themed-dress days at work, I still find myself struggling to pick an outfit. I'm guilty of sewing items that I want over things that I need. So, I thought it might be a good time to do some assessing of my wardrobe and revisit Tim Gunn's Guide to Style for some help.

1.  I'm covered in the Basic Black Dress department. No need to say anymore on this topic.  

2.  Day Dress department is well taken care of as well.  

3.  I have one Classic White Shirt that I absolutely love but I have to admit that I wouldn't mind adding another long sleeve white shirt.

4.  And here we have a missing piece, the Classic Blazer.   

Oh, and I've been meaning to add one of these to my wardrobe for quite some time now...

5.  No need for anymore Dress Pants.  

6.  Ah, the Trench Coat.  I don't need a trench coat but I do have one cut out, waiting for me to get over my fear of bound buttonholes. And it is cut in red sateen fabric, it will be a fun coat to wear when the weather warms up.  

7.  I really need to make a well-fitting Pair of Jeans.  

8.  The Skirt department is well-taken care of, as well.  

9.  Cashmere Sweater is already found in my wardrobe. 

10.  Sweatsuit Alternative is a hard one for me. I'm not a the sort of person who wears exercise gear or yoga wear out in public.  But if I were to add an indulgence piece or two that I would like, I would say a cardigan sweater or perhaps a vest.  

Now that I have a plan, I just need to find some sewing mojo, time and get to work.  

Happy Sewing!  

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

The Creative World lost a Great Talent

Have you ever heard of Koos Van Den Akker? If you're a fan of Vogue patterns you're likely familiar with the name. If you are not familiar with the name for sure you are familiar with his work.  


Koos Van Den Akker, a Dutch fashion designer who was based out of New York City, is the designer name behind the Cosby sweater. Remember those multi-coloured and textured sweaters that became popular in the 1990s?  


Sadly, Koos Van Den Akker, a great talent and creative artist passed away today. He was the brilliant designer whose career started at Christian Dior and whose designs were carried by Vogue patterns for the home sewist.

My pattern collection consists of just a few examples of his work (even though I admire many more of his designs) carried by Vogue patterns. It is a sad day for the creative world that lost a great talent.  

In Sewing News Today...

I picked up a ready-to-wear item. Don't worry, I have already returned it. I was shopping for inspiration not for clothes. The item in question is a Lord and Taylor cashmere pullover sweater with a boat neckline. I wish I could find cashmere knit fabric like this in the fabric stores but no such luck.  

I love the way this sweater fits and that is the reason that it made it home with me. It laid on my cutting table as I measured it up to New Look 6838, a pattern that I had sitting in my pattern collection for way too long.  

I want to make a boat-neck top with a three-quarter length sleeve just like that blue Lord and Taylor sweater. There has been several reviews online about the fit of this pattern and since I no longer have a girlish figure and don't usually sew with New Look patterns I thought I could use a little help. I traced out the outline onto my pattern pieces. 

I have some scrap pieces of knit fabric that I plan to use for my muslin. I don't have enough of the the striped fabric to do the whole project so I might use the scrap piece of knit for one sleeve and perhaps pockets. I'm just trying to figure out how I want to treat the neckline. The pattern calls for the neckline to be finished with a rolled hem but I'm considering lining the top.

And talking about knit tops, remember this blooper? Guess what I found today while looking for knit fabric for the New Look top.  

Yup, that is enough left over piece of the same fabric to cut out an new front and placket. Oh my goodness, you can't imagine how thrilled I was to find this piece of fabric. I honestly didn't think that I had any left. The top was cut out a long time ago. I completely forgot that there was some left over.  

I've  been going through my scrap pile for another reason. There are some pieces big enough for my Lenten Sewing project. There is even enough of the animal print knit to use for the project I have in mind and it is a soft knit, so it will work well. But I digress...  

This year I plan to sew chemo caps for Cancer Care Manitoba. They accept hand-make chemo caps and have two ways that they can be distributed. They either can sell them or give them away through one of their programs. I'm requesting that they are given away. I'm going to use McCall's 6521. The plan is to have forty chemo caps completed by Easter weekend. Anyone want to join the thimble party?   

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

Monday, 2 February 2015

More Spring Patterns

How clever that Butterick patterns releases their new spring pattern on Groundhog's day! 

Butterick 6169
I do like the moto-style jacket and check out the dress it comes with...

Butterick 6169

I'm not a fan of the hi-low hemline but look at those front pockets!

Butterick 6180

This kAtheRine Tilton skirt looks so comfortable. I'm not a huge fan of the wide fold-over waistband but I do like the length and how the pattern is pieced together.

Butterick 6185
I find this dress to be too cute even though it is not really my style. It is the collar that I like.  

Butterick 6185
How cute is that collar over the collar-less jacket. Tre chic, I think!  

Do you have any favourites?  

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Vogue 8939, The Extended Version

Stash busting 2015:  The Diamond Dress

Fabric:            3 metres of medium weight knit @ $44.04 ($12.99/metre)

Pattern:           Vogue 8939 @ $9.04

Sewn on:       Janome 4120 QDC using the knit stitch and the regular presser foot. All seams were double stitched with exception of the hems that were stitched with a twin needle.    

Seam finish:    Serged on Janome MyLock 234D.  

I'm not sure why the fabric looks like there is some teal colour in it but trust me there is not any. This is what the fabric really looks like, strictly grey, white and black.

I found this medium weight knit at Northwest Fabrics. I really like the pattern and texture of this knit.  

I made this dress using Vogue 8939 which is knee length dress adding ten inches to make it a longer length. So happy that this is a multi-sized pattern. I cut a size 14 around the neck, shoulders and bust line and then extended outwards towards the waist and hip area since I want a more relaxed fit than the close fitting dress.  

I'm thrilled with how it turned out. After seeing Erica B's version I wanted to make my own version. I totally understand why she made more than one, it is such a comfortable dress.     

Happy Sewing!  

In Sewing News Today...

Vogue Patterns posted a cheeky picture and question on their Facebook page this morning that I had a chuckle over.

The photo credit goes to Lauren from Lladybird. Too funny. So far, the polling shows that most will be sewing this Superbowl Sunday but the results might be a wee bit bias.  

I've put aside the Vogue 8975 jacket for another time. It is all cut out but I'm not all that motivated to sew a light weight knit when we're under an extreme cold warning this weekend. Would you believe that the snow was melting last weekend? And of course, Jungle January is over. There were some lovely makes last month. Have you been following Ann's blog and all the wild creations?   

I broke out Vogue 8939 this morning and am adjusting the pattern to make it a midi-length dress after seeing Erica B's version.   

I'm going to make it in this knit and I think the high neck and long sleeves will keep me warmer than a light-weight knit jacket.  

What about you, will you be sewing or watching the game today? Well, that is all in sewing news today... 

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...