Saturday, 31 October 2015

October in Review...


Vogue 8430 and McCall's 2340
It has not been a productive sewing month. If I'm not mistaken, I do believe this has been my least productive sewing month, ever. With exception of the time I was recovering from knee surgery. Life has been busy lately and that's my excuse. And I will admit that I'm not all that inspired by McCall's 2340 costume pattern. But I do have to get it done in the next couple of weeks. 

RTW Fast:

I fell off the RTW Fast bandwagon once again when it picked up a couple of sweaters.


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

Bias Tape
0.5 metres



1.3 metres
1.63 metres

89.94 metres
124.2 metres
4.16 metres

Lace Trim
1.2 metres
6 metres
1.9 metres


Hooks and Eyes

16 previously used
26 new
24.75 metres
13 metres
Serger Thread

Sewing Machine Needle


Spools of Thread

1 - 22" separating
4 - 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
Coats / Cape

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Marcy Tilton Jacket

It might be a prairie thing but I'm a gal that loves plaid. So, I was a wee bit disappointed when I read Vogue's recommendation, "[u]nsuitable for obvious diagonals, plaids or stripes" on Vogue 8430's envelope.  

Thankfully, I came across Marcy's Tilton's fabric recommendation for a plaid for her pattern.  

Usually, I don't follow fabric recommendations but I came across the most luxurious melton plaid fabric my fingers happily danced across with loving strokes thrown in. I wish you could feel this fabric.  

I tossed and turned while I thought what to do with this fabric, risk making a jacket or make another wrap. Do I really need another wrap? I really wanted a jacket made out of this but I didn't want to end up with a mistake.  

The Pattern:

Marcy Tilton call this her "all-time best selling Vogue pattern" and there are over thirty reviews found on Pattern Review dot com which back up the claim. 

It is an easy-peasy pattern to put together as there are a total of four pattern pieces, back, left front, right front and sleeves and the edges are left unfinished. Needless to say this is a quick make. The pattern has a longer back than the front where the side seams meet but I decided to even the front pieces with the back as I prefer an even hem.  

Marcy Tilton has a well-deserved following because her patterns have those unexpected details that making sewing her patterns an absolute joy. I really like the cut out "dart" in the lower part of the sleeve. I have fun trying out different decorative stitches on my machine.  

I chose the botton left stitch instead of a zig-zag stitch for the sleeve.  

The pattern comes with felting instructions for unfelted fabrics. I don't have the sewing machine or attachments for this kind of embellishment so I by-passed those directions.   

I should mention that this pattern runs large and is described as "very-loose fitting." After the Kathryn Brenne pattern experience with the "very loose fitting" rating I decided to go with a size small. And I'm glad that I did. I love the fit and beside rolling up the sleeves, it is my idea of a perfect fit. 

The Fabric:

I can't stress how cozy and soft this fabric is to the touch. I found this piece at Mitchell's Fabric here in the city. It is a Melton check with a fibre content that consists of 64% polyester, 34% viscose, and 2% spandex. I know, who would ever think that polyester could feel this luxurious? Not me, as my fingers gravitated towards the bolt. At 30% off I was able to talk myself into this purchase quite easily.  

Since I didn't use a felted fabric and the fabric I did choose has some polyester there was some fraying. Not much, but enough that I couldn't leave the edges unfinished. I one point I did consider sewing a hand stitched blanket stitch with some embroidery thread but that would mean that I would have to wait longer to wear it. Instead, I went with a serged edge.  

I didn't pre-shrink the fabric. I know, my bad. But if it does shrink, it will still fit as there is a generous amount of ease though out.  

The Stats:  

Fabric:   1.3 metres $23.56 ($22.95 - 30% off + taxes)

Pattern:  Vogue 8430 $5.65 ($5.00 sale price + taxes)

Thread:   I'm going to say $1.00 towards this cost since the seams were not finished on the serger.  

This is my favourite fall make so far.  

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 24 October 2015

♡ Plaids

I just finished cutting this fabric out this evening and can't wait to stitch it up tomorrow.  

Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 20 October 2015


Yesterday was a big day here in Canada. It was election day. 

Usually, when I have the television on I'm sewing. But I couldn't sew because the election results were pouring in and if you blinked you missed something or worse, drove a sewing needle into one's finger.  

I'm happy to report that no sewing machine needles entered any part of my body yesterday and I feel safe to continue sewing today.  

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Angel Costume

This is one of four angel costumes that I am making for my workplace's Advent concert. I do enjoy the seasonal concert much more than this type of sewing. Although, I am thrilled that I have one done almost done.   

The Pattern:  

Out-of-print (OOP) McCall's 2340 is the pattern that was chosen for this project.  Only three pieces so you would think that it would be a quick make but somehow it was not the case. Maybe because the pieces are so large and awkward to sew. It is a style that calls for a rope belt that controls all the fullness around the waist.

It is kind of scary that it fits my mannequin stand because this is suppose to be a size medium, kids size 8-10! All that is left to do is the hem but I'm going to hold off on that until I have all of the costumes done and have the kids try them on.  

I really like the shape of the sleeves as they reach towards the hem they widen. I don't like how much fabric this pattern eats up and seems to waste along the way. I chose to cut the sleeves on the cross-grain just because I was trying to be economical on the layout. I will admit to some fear as to whether or not I'll be able to squeak out four costumes from the twelve metres of fabric that I picked up.   

The Fabric:  

I found this fabric at Mitchell Fabrics in the spring. I was hoping to use white sheets for this project because earlier in the spring Target, here in Canada, was packing up and leaving while promising great sales. Sadly, no such sales and they packed up their white sheets as well.  

It may not had been the fabric I hoped to be sewing but it does look nice. The label on this bolt of fabric stated that it's a cotton but it also has a sheen to it. And it is slippery which is making it a challenge to sew. And it frays like nobody's business so I'm quite doubtful of that cotton listing on the label. It wrinkles like cotton and handles the cotton setting on my iron. I still have my doubts.  

I did pre-shrink the fabric and it did shrink significantly in the width. I didn't re-measure the length because after ironing I had enough and just wanted to get it back onto a bolt.   

The Stats:

I'll post stats when I finish all four costumes. So, is anyone else working on Christmas sewing projects?  

Happy Sewing!  

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Merrily Mending Away: Hems

It is all about the fit, isn't it?

I have an issue with shirt lengths. I find on the ready-to-wear tops in my wardrobe, the hems are too long and even though the top fits every where else I tend to look frumpy in a top that is too long on me. Even when I sew a top for myself, I find that I have to adjust or cut the hem length. Sew, it shouldn't be any surprise that I would have to adjust the length on RTW tops as well.

This is a bias cut Anne Klein top that has been in my wardrobe for far too long (years!) before I cut off some length. It first ended up on the mending / alteration rotation when I took in the shoulder seam because it sat a little low in the neckline. Yet it was years later that I finally fixed the hem length. My bad. What can I say besides I really don't like mending and alterations. I've only merrily mended it because I love this peacock feather print.

This is another RTW top that had an ill-fitting hem for my petite sized height. It had a shirt-tail hemline that made it awkward to wear.

So, I removed the hem, pressed and then chopped off the shirt tails from the front and back.

I'm much happier with the final outcome. I'm able to wear it under a jacket without having tails hanging from underneath.

To be completely honest, I don't know why it took me so long to do this simple task. Oh yeah, I don't like mending. Funny how after all that procrastination and putting things off how good it feels to finally get the chore done. And I have two tops back in rotation as well!

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Dressing According to Dress Codes

What is it about the topic of dress codes that brings out the cat claws in people?


There is a saying that you should avoid topics like religion and politics but I think that dress codes is another. No one likes to have their personal style questioned and vague phrases like "professional attire" can be interpreted different ways especially in our present-day culture of disposable, fast-fashion and relaxed attire.

Sadly, instead of discretely questioning policies with the folks who make the dress code policies, some people prefer to compare themselves to others. At a recent gathering of colleagues one comment emerged that people who wear make-up and [colour] their hair but dress casually are more "professional" than someone who doesn't dress casually and doesn't wear make-up.


I would fall under the category of someone who doesn't typically wears make-up to work. Typically, my make-up routine consists of sunscreen and lip balm. Clear coloured mascara if it's picture day. I didn't take offence, heck, I've made more than my fair share of fashion faux pas over the last half century. I actually found it to be a comical comment that made me laugh. And it is not that I feel that any of my colleagues dress in a non-professional manner because I don't care what others wear. I have enough trouble picking out my own look for a day of recess duties, paint brush washing, swing pushing, and kneeling on the floor trying to unjam the photocopier. My day is filled with enough to do to care what others are wearing. As far as my own look, I like getting dressed up. I wear dresses and skirts and pants and most of my wardrobe is me-made so you have an idea of how I dress for work. Just minus the make-up and dyed hair-do.

That said, I felt sorry for the RTW buying folks that have to figure out this enigma. Trying to solve the true meaning of "professional attire" is a riddle when you are bombarded with conflicting cultural messages in the retail landscape. 

Never mind that there will always be conflicting views of appropriate attire between generations. Now-a-days casual dress is epidemic and evident at the theatre, opera, places of worship. Is it any wonder that it has found its way into our workplaces?

And don't get me started on the fibre content in the ready-to-wear clothing. Oh, too late... Not only are clothing manufacturers cutting cost by passing off simplified unimaginative styles as the "new look" (try to find a dress with sleeves now-a-days) they are using cheap man-made fabrics that will pill the moment you walk out of the store. Oh, who am I kidding? I've seen pilled clothing hanging in the stores.

This is where I feel blessed that I learned how to sew.

I can sew things like this Issey Miyake dress (if I ever find the time to sew for myself again!).

Or this Butterick pleated peplum shirt is a favourite piece for work. These are items that I would never come across in the RTW selection at the mall. And I'm not hostage to the acrylic, rayon and polyester pilling, youth-obsessed, options that seem to dominate the RTW landscape. But not everyone has this option. And that contributes to finding "professional attire" so tough.

I really think that cutting home economic programs in schools was a huge mistake. We lost the skills to be astute shoppers demanding quality workmanship, styles and fabrics. We've opened a pandora's box in the quest for cheap and fast-fashion and the question has to be asked can we realistically expect dress standards of by-gone days in today's present culture? Have we gone too far?  

Well, that was my two cents. What do you think about dress codes? Do you sew or shop for your work wardrobe?

Happy Sewing!

Friday, 9 October 2015

And the Work Keeps Piling Up!

I have an angel helping me out with the angel costumes. I came home from work to find out that Mama R had finished ironing the cloth for the costumes. I swear that woman is an angel living amongst us. It was a huge help as my issue with tendonitis has been acting up again this week.

The clock is ticking and I have less than eight weeks to get them done. And with that Mama R asked if I would make her another dress, jacket and top with some silver satin back crepe that we picked up years ago. Sometimes the things I promised her that I would make end up on the back burner as other things like angel costumes push their way to the front of the line. I need to learn how to say NO sometimes especially with this tendonitis issue. Yet there is so much I want to do but it just doesn't materialize. This would explain my fabric stash.   

Sewing as a form as enjoyment and relaxation has been slipping away recently and I find it's replaced as a chore. I don't want that. I think I need to find some good tunes to help feed the soul while I sew.  Any suggestions?  

Or maybe I need to take a break this weekend, enjoy the autumn splendour and recharge my batteries.  How about you, do you ever feel overwhelmed with sewing?  

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 5 October 2015

Pressing and Ironing

One of my least favourite chores has to be ironing. It has been a life-long dislike that jeopardized my Home Economics mark back-in-the-day. You see back then I didn't realize the difference between ironing and pressing--other than it uses the same tools which I just thought it couldn't be good thing.

I still don't like ironing yet that is how I spent my free time this evening, ironing trying to iron twelve metres of pre-washed fabric for the angel costumes. I couldn't do it. 

I'm done for the evening, maybe tomorrow I'll try to do the rest. I might have to pick up wine to finish the job (just kidding). Ironing this much at once amplifies the tediousness of the task that just just seems never-ending. Yet I don't mind pressing as much as I do ironing.  

Pressing while I sew, I don't find tedious. It is actually a welcome break to get up, stretch, and walk over to the ironing board. Pressing, unlike ironing, I find to be part of the creative process. I wonder why I see ironing in the same light.  

Yet there are those who enjoy ironing. Maybe I need to take up mindful meditation during my marathon ironing sessions? Find the beauty in the hissing sound of the iron, the smoothness of the iron as it glides back and forth over the nubbly twill surface of the cotton fabric.  

Or I could just pick up some wine. We'll just have to wait and see what tomorrow will bring.  

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Finding Inspiration...

I discovered a lovely little dress shop here in Winnipeg. It's called daddy's girl and they feature the most exquisite statement pieces I've seen in the city. Walking through the store was the most joyful shopping experience I can remember having here in Winnipeg. I didn't break the budget only because the funkiest dress I've tried on in a long time didn't fit me, otherwise I would have broke my RTW fast. And that dress would have been worth it.  

They carried a few pieces that I admired from Australia that would be suitable for Winnipeg's cooler weather. I could have gotten myself in so much trouble there if I weren't working with an overweight petite shape! I did leave with a similar item to Sleevey Wonders in a black mesh. Under garments are allowed in the RTW fast, so I'm okay. It cost me a fraction of what a Sleevey Wonder would have and I didn't have to shop online and wait weeks for it to cross the border. 

The best part of my visit to this little gem was chatting with the owners Mea Adams and her daughter. Mea complimented me on my jacket and when I mentioned that I made it and that it was a kAthRine Tilton design they knew exactly who and what I was talking about. You see Mea is a sewer as well. I knew there was a reason I like love this shop! She told me she had a Vogue pattern book under her desk and my respect for her and her shop grew even more and we had a lovely chat about sewing machines and our shared wish that we had more time to sew. It was one of my highlights of the weekend.  

Well, that and finding some beautiful fabric pieces at Fabricland. Do you want to see?

I picked up this mock cable knit fabric for my kAtheRine Tilton coat dress, Butterick 6254. There wasn't enough yardage in the wine colour so I picked up the white for the sleeves and collar.

It feels like a polyester but it is listed as "100% unknown fibres" on the label. I really dislike not knowing what I'm buying but I like the fabric more than that annoyance.

I also picked up some green polyester fabric even though I prefer natural fibres it was the colour that I was all smitten over. I'm thinking this will become another Marcy Tilton skirt, Vogue 9060.

I've found inspiration to sew this weekend, that's for sure. Now, I just need to find the time.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, 2 October 2015

In Sewing News Today...

I'm a little freaked-out that we're already into October, although, I do love this time of year. This would be because it has hit home that there are nine weeks before the Advent concert and I have four angel costumes to sew. I'll be sewing OOP McCall's 2340 for this project and I really should start it this weekend.

That will mean I will need to put this pattern away.

I've already started what I hope to be a wearable muslin of Butterick 6254. I lengthened it by ten inches and now see that I will have to cut it shorter. And I shortened the sleeves but now see that I shortened them too much. And this is why I don't sew for others ;)

I've only sewn one side seam and noticed that the side pockets sit a little low for me. But over all, I do like this pattern. There is still a lot more work to do on this but I really should put it aside and get to those costumes. 

In other sewing news, this pattern is back on my wish list after seeing a version on Pattern Review which someone made an X-Small size. They mentioned that they typically sew a Medium--just like me and I was thrilled to see how beautiful it fit in the smaller size.  

Sew much to sew, so little time! But life is good (the swelling in my hand settled down) and it is always nice to have something to look forward to in the sewing room.  

How about you, what's on your sewing table?  

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...