Friday, 31 July 2015

July in Review...


I have been laid off from work this month and you're probably wondering what I've been doing with my time. Apparently, not much sewing especially if we compare it to last month. To be completely honest, I've been on recovery mode. Dealing with that cough that wouldn't quite and feeling run down at the beginning of the month, I didn't have the energy or desire to do much sewing. But did manage to get a few things done (three items for Mama R and the rest were for moi).  

Clockwise from top L:  Cardigan:  OOP Butterick 5760, Top:  Butterick 6182, Jacket:  Simplicity 2372, Dress: OOP Vogue 9625, Culottes:  Vogue 9091, Blouse:  Butterick 6097, Dress:  Simplicity 2372,

RTW Fast

I'm not worthy to be considered a RTW faster. I fell off the wagon and picked up work-out gear this month after I became discouraged how these shorts have been holding up. Can you believe the fabric is piling? I'm not impressed.  


Sewing Supplies
Used from Stash (this year)
Additions to the stash (this year)
Basting Tape
4.59 metres

Bias Tape



1.3 metres
.83 metres

60.94 metres
90.6 metres
3.16 metres

Lace Trim
1.2 metres
6 metres
1.9 metres


Hooks and Eyes

7 previously used
21 new
15.2 metres
13 metres
Serger Thread

Sewing Machine Needle


Spools of Thread

3 - 22” invisible
1 - 12" invisible
2 - 8”  invisible
1 - 7" invisible
1 - 8" regular
1 - 18" zipper
1 - 8" invisible
1 - 22" invisible 
Tops / Shirts
Pants / Shorts

Happy Sewing! 

Thursday, 30 July 2015

The Perfect Top Pattern

Stash-busting 2015:  Butterick 6182

The Pattern:

I made a top to match my Marcy Tilton skirt. Actually, it is my wearable muslin. I made this top [with fingers crossed] hoping that it would fit and work out as a match for the skirt. And it did. This pattern is the cat's pajamas

I cut this top as a size 14 and I found that it has a generous amount of ease (not a complaint). I could easily feel comfort- able in a size 12. I really like the bust dart from the centre front seam. And the sleeves are unique and I quite like them. 

I did lengthen the top two inches after reading reviews from my sewing sisters. And then I ended up sewing a 1 3/8" blind hem instead of the 5/8" rolled hem called for on the pattern. I do like it with the longer length. I didn't roll the neckline facing to the inside and them top-stitch as called for in the pattern instructions since my layers of fabric were quite thick at this point. Instead I left the neck binding exposed and topstitched the seam allowance to the top securing it in place. I like how it looks and think I will do this on future versions. This well-drafted pattern came together quickly.  

The Fabric:

This fabric has been in my stash for about 2 1/2 years. I'm not a huge fan of ponte knit but I was quite smitten over this shade of blue. The fabric washes and wears well and even holds up well with the iron on the synthetic setting. I'm sure I'll get a lot a wear out of this outfit. This top will also mix-and-match with other items in my wardrobe which will be nice.  

I sewed this using my walking foot and using the lightning bolt knit stitch on my Janome sewing machine. The walking foot prevented any shifting of the knit that could have occurred if I used my regular presser foot. I couldn't imagine sewing knits without it.  

The Stats:

Fabric:     1.4 metres Ponte Knit $11.07 ($14.00/metre - 50% off + taxes)

Thread:    1 spool finished off. I couldn't tell you how much I paid for the spool, it has been in my stash that long.

Pattern:    Butterick 6182 $11.27 ($19.95 - 50% + taxes)

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

We'll Meet Again...

This past weekend I braved the heat (have I mentioned I can't wait for autumn to arrive?) and drove out to Lower Fort Garry National Historical Site. They were commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the First World War and the 75th of the Second World War with various activities and displays at the historical site.

Did I mention how hot is was this weekend? It was crazy hot and yes, I left the comfort of the great air-conditioned indoors to sit in the scorching heat. The Costume Museum of Canada was presenting a fashion show outlining how political and global issues affected how people lived, played and worked through the clothes they wore. The timeline of the clothing shown spanned from the early nineteen hundreds into the nineteen fifties.  

The show, stories and information made up for sitting in the hot sun. Many of the costumes were replicas but there were also some original garments. And they were all so stunning in their craftsmanship.  

This was one of the outfits that opened the show, from the early twentieth century. I may be mistaken but I do believe this was a 1919 outfit.  

The hats and footwear were equally exquisite as the clothing.  

It felt as if these could have been costumes from the set of Dowton Abbey.

I quite enjoyed hearing tales of how lace trimming were made by hand, treasured and re-used.  

This is a tennis outfit--how stylish and horribly unpracticable!

The attention to detail!

And the stories and memories woven into these garments. This Parisian ensemble came to a young Prairie woman when a solider, her father, returned from the First World War. 

Even technical sewing secrets were revealed as to how certain design elements held their shape and structure.

It is was a beautiful show on so many levels.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Part II: The Hits and Misses

Part II:  The Hits!  

Butterick 5561 is a pattern that I made with both long and short sleeves. The version with the short sleeves made the miss list but this long sleeve version has to be a favourite make. The top belongs to Mama R but I have been telling myself that I should make a long sleeves version for myself. It would be a good workwear top. Lesson learned from this project:  Don't write off a pattern on the first make.  

This Sandra Betzina dress, Vogue 1234 had to be chopped down to fit my five-foot frame but it still made it to my hit list.  

It is crazy comfortable and even though it is a dress that can balloon up with a good gust of wind, it is perfect with leggings (just in case). Lesson learned from this project:  The seams are not finished on this dress and they have held up very well over the years. Not all fabrics need to have their seams finished on a serger. And I do love sewing patterns that are like putting puzzle pies together, this one was no exception--just remember to transfer all the markings unless you want too much fun!

This out-of-print McCall's pattern, M2465 is as old as this coat.  I've never grown old of it and over the years have change and adjusted the closure on this coat.  

It is too dressy for daywear but it is my go-to item for a night out to the theatre or opera. I used to like wearing it with a pair of black jeans or with a black dress. Either way, I felt like a million bucks in this coat. Lesson learned on this project: It is good to have something in your closet that makes you feel special even if you don't wear it often.

This shirt is no longer in my closet only because I wore it so often the fabric eventually called it quits! But the pattern is still part of my collection and it is still a hit in my books. I wouldn't mind making another on some day. Lesson learned on this project: This is the first project that I made my own bias tape (it was fun but next time I'm going to purchase the bias tape!). 

This is another shirt that makes the hit list. It is a Lynn Mizono design and I enjoyed all the attention to detail like the french seams though-out including the armhole seams. Lesson learned on this project: Sometimes the favourite part of a project are the parts that are inside rather than outside. And you never quite know which pattern envelope your next favourite designer is hiding in.  

If I do recall correctly this coat was quite the challenge to make but it was worth all the work in the end. It was my fabric that posed the greatest challenge. I found it in the home decor department and it unravelled like nobody's business! All of the inside seams were finished with bias tape.  Lesson learned during this project: Sometimes I get a crazy idea in my head and thankfully, there is no turning back!

This is the second version of this Marcy Tilton skirt and both of them are a hit! Lessons learned during this project:  I love the comfort of an elastic waistband. Sewing knits are not scary when you have the proper tools. The lightning bolt stitch, if you have one on your machine, is a wonderful stitch to use. And oh my, invest in a walking foot!

This little jacket is a favourite even though I would do a few things differently next time round. I would underline the fabric to give it more structure but still it makes it on the hit list. This one will go down as a wearable muslin. Lessons learned during this project:  You can find some beautiful cotton fabrics in the home decor department and make a garment that doesn't look like Grandma's couch. Oh yeah, and sewing vintage patterns offers some valuable techniques missing from contemporary patterns like underlining your fabric.

Lynn Mizono became a favourite Vogue designer with this dress pattern. It is crazy comfortable and I have made two version one in a knit and this one in a linen and rayon blend. I don't even mind that it doesn't have pockets.  Lessons learned during this project: I don't like ironing. Oh wait--I already knew that before I made this.

This top is one of my absolute favourites.  Sometimes I wear it as a top and other times it is worn as a jacket. Whenever I'm wearing it I feel great. And it has pockets!

What I think I love the most about this top is the fabric.  Lessons learned during this project:  I love sewing and wearing garments made in natural fabrics (even if I have to spend time ironing).

This blouse is a hit because I had sew much fun sewing this up.   Lessons learned during this project: Sometimes I get confused with what should have been the easiest task--the front closure.

This skirt surprised me with how much I like it.  I thought I wouldn't pull off the straight skirt look but I don't care how it looks--I love it and it is quite comfortable. Lessons learned during this project: Tucks and pleats give this skirt a comfortable fit and the double kick-pleat in the back it the cat's meow!

McCall's 9264 made it to the miss list but the dress from this pattern is a hit.  I love the shape created by unusual darts in the bodice front. Lessons learned during this project:  Sewing an invisible zipper is tricky when your inserting into a lined bodice. Let's just say you might want to keep the seam ripper near by.

There are more hits (Vogue 1325 pants!) and misses (Style 4666!) in my sewing repertoire but one thing is certain. I enjoy sewing the most when I'm challenged and I wouldn't trade any of my misses for all hits because it has been a fun journey. And there is nothing like discovering a TNT pattern.

How about you? What are your hits and misses?

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, 23 July 2015

More Fall Patterns...

Have you checked out Butterick's release of their Fall 2015 patterns?  Oh, I might be in trouble with this one.

Butterick 6253

Butterick 6253 is a kAtheRine Tilton design and I love everything about it. You can make it out of knit or sweatshirt fleece (comfy!) and it has pockets (love pockets!) and it has a hood. I need this pattern!  

Butterick 6254
Butterick 6254 is another kAtheRine Tilton design that caught my eye. Of course, I would have to lengthen this coat dress to cover my knees but look at it--another knit comfortable design. 

Butterick 6259
From their Retro pattern line appears Butterick 6259. I'm not sure that it will make it to my pattern collection but I do love that collar on the double breasted jacket. It is cute.  

Butterick 6243
This dress wouldn't work for me, nor would the back-buttoned jacket. I'm sure I would pull a back muscle just getting into it, but I do think that jacket is too cute.  

Butterick 6261
Now Connie Crawford's Butterick 6261 is more suited for me with the front button closure. The only thing this pattern needs are some pockets.  

Yes, I do believe that I'm going to add those two kAtheRine Tilton patterns to my collection. How about you, are you tempted by any of the Butterick Fall patterns? Or are you too busy with summer-time sewing?  

Happy Sewing!  

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Hits and Misses: Part I

Do you ever stand in front of your closet and think I have nothing to wear! even though you are staring at a full closet?

I feel like that sometimes when I struggle to find something to match one of my separates. And I just stand there looking at some of the fun projects that I have made in the past and ponder what was I thinking...  

Welcome to my Hits and Misses issue. First up, Part I:  the misses. These are not only my own rejects but also ones that Mama R has rejected over time.  

Vogue 8667
1.  This dress, Vogue 8667, only made it out of my closet once before it ended up in the donate pile. I found it too restricting especially in the shoulder and arm area. My mistake with this one was not making a muslin and choosing a style that is not really me--I fell for everyone's rave review over on pattern review. My fabric choice wasn't the best match for this pattern as well--for someone who embraces the urban lifestyle it does look Little House on the Prairie-ish.  Lessons to be learned: just because a pattern looks great on someone else doesn't mean it will look good on me.   

Vogue 8839
2.  Vogue 8839 was a pattern that I couldn't wait to make. In my haste I neglected to observe that it might be too long. And I broke the budget when I purchased this felted wool ponte knit fabric. It didn't launder well.  It has long disappeared from my closet. Lessons to be learned:  Make a muslin and when lusting over pricey fabric purchase a sample and pre-treat it to see how it handles.  

3.  To go with Vogue 8839, I made this orange coloured skirt. The orange ponte knit matched the the contrasting fabric on the jacket. Even though I loved wearing this skirt and wore it often the fabric did not hold up well. The skirt pilled at the hip area where my purse would hit. It became unsightly and I quickly fell out of love with this skirt. Lesson to be learned:  Sometimes that bargain ponte knit turns out to be not so.  

4.  I decided to make this top from Burda's vintage pattern collection after seeing others make fabulous versions.  My mistake was not paying attention to styles that work for my body shape and jumping on the vintage bandwagon. This top ended up in the donation pile after I rescued those buttons. Lesson to be learned: make a muslin. Yet, I seem to keep forgetting to do this!

5.  And here is another project just like the Burda top. I made it after reading this was voted Best Pattern over on Pattern Review. I used a piece of fabric that I wish I didn't after seeing that the pattern was an absolute flop. I'm still shocked that this pattern was voted as one of the best because of the dart placement in the front. I was too embarrassed to donate this one, it went straight into the trash. Lesson to be learned:  Another fine example as to why one might want to make a muslin.  

6.  This dress was made for Mama R. I thought she would look lovely in this baby blue crepe fabric but she did tell me that she thought the colour was too light for her age. I think she's crazy for thinking such a thing.  Lesson to be learned:  It doesn't matter what I think. What is important is the opinion of the woman who will be wearing the garment.  

7.  I made these jeans in the excitement of discovering a pants pattern that fit. My mistake was thinking that I should add to the seam allowance because I was sewing denim. Don't ask me what I was thinking. They ended up feeling loose and after I lost some weight they became ill-fitted ending up in the donation pile. And using denim for these pants didn't turn out to be the best fabric chose I've made. Lesson to be learned:  Pay attention to those fabric suggestions on a pattern envelope and don't doubt the sizing that worked just because you're using a different fabric.   

8.  This dress is made from a vintage Vogue pattern. Here again, I didn't sew a muslin before hand. Instead, I dove right into the project. It turned out to be a bit snug from the waist to hip area but I was lucky enough to squeak by with the narrowest seam allowance. My fashion fabrics worked out well for this project but it was the unseen fabrics that posed the problem. This is my first underlined dress and it is the underlining that makes this dress a miss. Yup, I used a cheap nylon organza. Lesson to be learned: Don't cheap out on the fabric closest to your skin.

9.  This skirt is a vintage Perry Ellis design. It's made in a floral print denim that I didn't mind using to try this pattern out. The high fitted, corset-like waistband did not work with my body type. It would have worked when this pattern original hit the market and I actually had a waistline. Lesson to be learned: Body types change and just because a style may have worked in the past doesn't mean it will still work in the present.

10.  Oh my goodness, I love the idea of this vintage Vogue pattern. The button back in the A-line skirt, I was sure it would work for me. But I was wrong and so was my fabric choice. The large circular pattern only mimicked the apple shape that my body had become. Lesson to be learned:  Stop spending so much time at the sewing machine and get to the gym. And maybe that home decor fabric should just be used for home decor stuff.

11.  Goodness knows I love a peplm. So after the epic fail of the first front darted peplum top, I was certain that a princess seamed front would be the answer. I jumped in with the last bit of a much-loved cotton print and wouldn't you know it--I should have made a muslin first!  Lesson to be learned:  Take your time and damn it!, make a muslin!

12.  This dress is made from a vintage Simplicity wrap dress pattern. It is made with a cotton/polyester eyelet and underlined with a yellow cotton. It is presently sitting in my closet and in theory it should be getting a lot of use this summer but I have yet to put it on. Last year I received many compliments on it but to tell the truth it just doesn't give me a lot of joy.  Lesson to be learned:  Fix it or lose it. If I'm not wearing something I should make room in the closet for those pieces that really work.

13.  The only thing that is wrong with this pair of underwear is the fabric. The pattern is fantastic and so is the lace but the fair trade organic cotton did not hold up as well.  This item has long disappeared from my underwear drawer.  Lesson to be learned:  Even feel-good purchases might not hold up to the hype.

14.  And this is the same problem that I had with this cotton knit eyelet fabric. I was pleased with the pattern and was thrilled to have some colour in my wardrobe but then small holes started to appear in the knit. It is still in the my wardrobe as a nightshirt but I have to tell ya, I miss wearing this as the garment it was intended to be.  Lesson to be learned:  A bargain is not always a bargain.

15.  This pleated neckline and the fabric would make this a favourite if only I made a muslin and took care in cutting out the proper size. Yes, this jacket came out during the summer of sewing bloopers. Thankfully, I was able to snag some more of that gorgeous fabric.  I don't have the heart to give it away, I'm waiting to ask a friend if they would like it. Lesson to be learned:  Double check your sizing before you pick up those scissors! Oh yeah, and make a muslin!

16.  This dress quickly made it to the donate pile after a co-worker commented that it looked like a costume. I wasn't happy with the high-low hemline and my choice of a winter white dress in a wintery grey town that turned the hemline into a epic mess when I wore it out. Lesson to be learned:  Even though I like the monochromatic ivory / winter white look, it doesn't work in a slushy winter town.

17.   This is a recent make that is still sitting in my closet but hasn't been getting a lot of wear. Those bell sleeves! What was I thinking?  Lesson to be learned:  Not all fashion trends work and when in doubt there is nothing wrong with trying it on at a fashion outlet before investing those valuable hours in the sewing room.

18.  This shirt recently made it to the donation pile. I like this shirt and the print but I just felt like my wardrobe needs to grow up a bit. It is the only reason that this shirt and I parted ways. Lesson to be learned:  Sometimes you'll outgrow things.

19.  This dress has long disappeared from my closet. I just didn't feel comfortable in it. Lesson to be learned:  Should have made a muslin.

20.  There is so much that is wrong with this make. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I do believe that I might have worn this one before it was trashed. This top was made before I discovered the knit (lightning bolt) stitch and a walking foot. Lesson to be learned:  Investing in the proper tools could save you from tragedies like this.

21.  This is another garment that I can't find too much fault with other than I've just out-grown it and it is time to part ways.  Lesson to be learned: Sleeveless sundresses are just not my thing anymore until I get these arms back in shape.

22.  Oh my, sometimes I join in on sew-alongs just for the fun of it and end up with something that just isn't me.  Lesson to be learned:  It's fun to be part of the sewing community but it doesn't mean I have to make what everyone else is making.

23.  This unlined silk jacket ended up in the donation pile after much care and work was put into creating it. I just didn't get the fit right and I felt that the bottom button would pop open if I moved or took a deep breath.  Lesson to be learned:  Comfort is everything and I really should learn how to do a sway back adjustment.

24.  This was my very first Jungle January project. I didn't make a muslin and jumped right in by adding more width to the dress. Instead of creating the sleek style I was aiming for I ended up with a dress that would make Mrs. Roper proud. Lesson to be learned:  Sometimes winging it doesn't work out as you hope it would.

25.  In theory I love everything about this dress and I put so much work into it. Yet, it still is not part of my closet--instead, it was given away.  Lesson to be learned:  The people at Vogue know what they are talking about with their "figure flattery" ratings.  

26.Talking about figure flattering looks, a tunic on a petite frame--not so figure flattering.  Lesson to be learned:  Some trends just don't work on the petite frame.  

27.  I really liked this dress but then I gained some more weight and it just became too snug and uncomfortable. It landed in the donate pile some time ago.  Lesson to be learned:  Gotta make time for the gym!  Oh, and sleeve gussets are the cat's meow.  

28.  This back buttoned top made it to the donate pile even though I like the style. It was the polyester fabric that I found too clingy and made this unpleasant to wear.  Lesson to be learned:  I rather be comfortable than carry around a can of Static Guard.  

29.  Even though this top is made in cotton and doesn't cling, it became a fashion miss in my books. The short sleeves didn't work for me. I've used this pattern for Mama R and made her a long sleeve version which I really like.  Lesson to be learned:  Some patterns deserve a second chance.  

30. There was a lot of work that went into this fully lined dress and then I had to go and shorten it. Big mistake. I didn't like it in the shortened (mid-knee) new length and just didn't feel comfortable in it. And why did I shorten it--because I was following a trend rather than being happy with what I had.  Lesson to be learned:  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.  

Well, those are some of my wardrobe misses as I look to assess and fit my wardrobe.  Stay tune to Part II:  The Hits.  

Happy Sewing!  

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