Monday, 30 November 2015

November in Review


I can't believe that I managed to get this much sewing done considering how crazy busy the month has been along with the tendonitis in my wrist acting up.

Clockwise L to R:  Matching child and doll dresses: McCall's 6875, Cardigan: OOP Butterick 5760,
Knit dress: Vogue 9101, Knit dress: OOP Vogue 8939, Angel Costumes x 4:  OOP McCall's 2340,
kAtheRine Tilton jacket:  Butterick 6253, and Empire-waist top: OOP Vogue 8118.   
And there was mending done as well, adding trim and replacing elastic to one of the already-made angel costumes, as well as hemming up a pair of pants for Papa R. Sad to say, he's been waiting a while for the pants to be hemmed.   

RTW Fast:

I will admit to doing some RTW shopping this month. A pair of cotton Elita knickers, they happen to be an allowed item on the RTW list so I'm not going to sweat it. Besides, they are very comfortable and I haven't found cotton knit of that quality in my fabric store travels. Same can be said for the merino wool shawl I found with the funky sixties themed print. So, I'm going to forgive myself on this one as well.   


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

Bias Tape
1.3 metres



1.3 metres
2.63 metres

103.84 metres
124.2 metres
4.16 metres

Lace Trim
1.2 metres
6 metres

1.9 metres


Hooks and Eyes

19 previously used
30 new
28.55 metres
13 metres
Serger Thread

Sewing Machine Needle


Spools of Thread

2 - 22" separating
5 - 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!  

Saturday, 28 November 2015

A Little Selfish Sewing...

Stash-busting 2015:  Vogue 8939

Sometimes you just want to do a little selfish sewing, use an easy-peasy TNT pattern, and whip together a quick make.

The Pattern:

I can not believe that this pattern is already out-of-print. It came out in 2013 but the dress is a classic piece. This is the second one that I have made up using this pattern. It has an average rating, but the dress is super easy to pull together. I actually spent more time looking for the pattern piece for the collar than I did sewing up the dress.  

Yes, my copy of this pattern is missing the collar. I have no idea where it has gone. I hope one day this pattern piece and I will cross paths again. Until then, I borrowed the turtleneck pattern from Burda 6990 to help me out.

The only other changes to the pattern were shortening the sleeves and lengthening the hem. I started off by adding ten inches to the length and then cut off five inches. I wish I added six inches allowing for a one inch hem. This one has the narrowest hem allowance I thought I could get away with, even though it is not my ideal length. I will admit to being happy that it does sit below the knee.

The Fabric:

I found this piece of fabric at Fabricland and picked it up because I was all smitten over the colour. It is a heavier knit and will be great during the winter. It feels like a scuba knit but I can't remember if it was labelled as such. When I spotted this I thought I would make up another Marcy Tilton skirt with this fabric but then I would have to make a top to go with it, so I changed my mind.

I didn't want to top-stitch my hems even though I had a twin needle waiting in the wings. Instead, I finished off the hems with the blind hem foot.  

The Stats:

Fabric:     2 metres polyester knit $24.86 ($22.00 - 50% off + taxes)

Thread:    I've averaged out $3.00 to cover sewing machine, basting, and serger thread used.

Pattern:    Vogue 8939, already priced out in a previous version.    

Additional Tools:  Sewing Machine, serger, cutting table, pins, walking foot, blind-hem foot, and hand sewing needle.  

Friday, 27 November 2015

Pattern Give-away Winner

No one threw their name into the hat for McCall's 6875 this week.  

So, I guess there is no pattern give-away winner. Okay, moving onto the next sewing project... 

Happy Sewing!  

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

In Sewing News Today...

Do you remember these wee little dresses?

I made them last year for a teacher's daughters. They were not a perfect fit last year and were big on the little girls. Well, I was overjoyed to learn that the dresses fit the girls this year (so thankful they didn't out-grown them during the year!) and get this... they want to wear them! It just made me so happy to hear that.  

And then yesterday on the news there was this heartwarming story. Two little sisters who are collecting Christmas dresses for other young girls who might not have a special dress. How special are they to be thinking about others at this time of year.

I'm currently reading Dress Code:  The Naked Truth About Fashion and the two little sisters in the above mentioned news story captured a reference to the movie The Matrix found in the first section of the book.
Human beings are social creatures who also visually communicate with their surroundings.  Clothes place us socially in society (Arntzen 35).   
Clothes can transform a person and make us or a situation feel special. Those little sisters were reminding us of this simple truth.

If the tendonitis in my hand wasn't acting up, I would so be sewing little girl Christmas dresses to help those kids reach there thirty-nine hundred dress goal. But that won't be happening. I hope they reach their goal though.

And those little blue silk dresses...

The teacher who requested them sent the most adorable pictures of her daughter and doll wearing their new dresses. I'm so relieved that the dresses fit. The holidays are all about making others feel special, isn't it?

One more Christmas dress to make and then I can get to work on the projects I have piling up on the sidelines. And a new top for Mama R, she's a patient woman. But I digress... It is hard to believe that December is around the corner and I haven't got around to sewing a fraction of the things I planned to sew at the beginning of the year. Maybe next month year?

Happy Sewing!


Monday, 23 November 2015

Pattern Give-away

Well, I need to find a good home for McCall's 6875. It is a cute pattern and all, but I can honestly say, that I won't be sewing this up again. Would you like to give it a try?  

Pattern has been cut to child size 3.  

It is an Laura Ashley design for a matching set of dresses. Child and 18" doll sizes. I did cut this child dress pattern to a size 3 so if you're looking for a pattern for itty bitty dresses, this might be the pattern for you.  

Itty-bitty dresses all made up. Give-away is for the pattern only.  
I am willing to ship internationally. Please note that I will be shipping regular mail via Canada Post and it might take some time for international packages to arrive and it might not arrive prior to Christmas. If this sound fine and you promise to not to sell it, then go ahead and leave a comment below and I will draw for the pattern on Friday.   

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Warning: Pretty Darn Cute Dresses

Stash-busting 2015:  Matching Child and Doll Dresses

I wasn't going to sew for my co-worker's children this year but one of the teachers that I work with asked if I would make a matching dress for her daughter and her American Girl® doll for her upcoming birthday. She said that American Girl® doll clothing cost about eighty dollars [insert jaw drop] and she didn't want to spend that kind of money. Yes, everybody wants you to sew for them so they can save money [insert eye roll and slowly shaking head]. After checking out the website, I see that a matching dress and doll outfit would come to that much. I thought it was for one! After sewing a combination girl and doll outfit I don't think that eighty dollars is unreasonable nor warrants a jaw drop. But I digress... I already had the angel costumes to work on and told her that I can't make any promises. Well, I was able to finish the costumes prior to her daughter's birthday so how can I say no?   


I only agreed to this because the pattern the teacher picked out doesn't have sleeves. I remember what a pain in my finger tips it was to sew these sleeves into these tiny armhole openings and I wasn't willing to go back there. I paid for all the materials so that I had control over the fabric I would be sewing. Heaven knows I would be swearing like a drunken sailor if I have to sew tiny curves with slippery fabric. I told the teacher that this would be her Christmas gift in exchange for some bit of creative control. Yup, go ahead call me a sucker? Okay, moving on... Despite giving up fabric, supplies, my free time and a bit of sanity during the busiest time of the year, I do have to say these matching dresses are pretty darn cute.

The Pattern:

The teacher picked out McCall's 6875 for her daughter. It is a Laura Ashley pattern with a gathered skirt. I do have to say that McCall's does offer a wide selection of children patterns including matching 18" doll outfits. Who knew this was such a big thing?

McCall's 6875
I am not a fan of sewing dolls clothes. I have to admit that I do admire folks who have the patience and skill to maneuver those quarter inch seams. I had more fun sewing the little girls' dress over the doll dress.

I will admit that even though I'm thrilled with how these dresses turned out, I am not a huge fan of this pattern for several reasons.

  • There is no notch marking on the front skirt to match up with the bodice front. There are notches for the back pieces.  
  • I did not find the instruction sheets easy to follow. The instructions were given for version A unless otherwise specified.  
  • I did not like the front band which looks like it is part of the belt but it is not. It is a pattern piece that is folded in half and the raw edges match up with the bottom of the bodice. It is held into place at the waist and side seams. I left this off because it just seemed silly and I thought would only function as a crumb holder since it is not stitched down on the upper folded edge. Plus, it would add unnecessary bulk at the side seam where the back ties were stitched in place.  
  • I didn't also like how the lining and sleeves were handled so I changed how things were pieced together.  
If you head over to Pattern Review I seem to be alone in my complaints. People who have sewn with this pattern love the instructions and highly recommend the pattern. I don't know if I would go that far. Actually, I wouldn't. I think Vogue 1455 is my favourite girls' dress. But again, I digress...

I did cut out lining pieces, but I didn't use all of them. I used the sleeve lining as a sleeve facing instead of lining the bodice. Mostly because I was working with small pattern pieces and with the tendonitis in my hand acting up this weekend, a tight deadline with the little gal's birthday coming up this week, and a drive-way to shovel, I didn't want to deal with turning pieces over and all the hand-stitching. I do have to admit that I do like the finishing and there is less bulk. 

I stitched the sleeve with the facing at the hemline before sewing the sleeve to the bodice pieces. The edge at the underarm was finished on the serger and then rolled hemmed. For the neckline, I used bias tape and top-stitched.

I couldn't find a 14" zipper to match my fabric so I used a 22" zipper and cut it short.

I sewed an invisible zipper, just because I love the way it looks. In order to sew the invisible zipper I sewed the skirt to the back bodice first straying from the pattern instructions.

The little girl's dress was sewn in a size 3.

Sewing the doll dress did not go as smoothly as the little girls' dress. I had a hard time working with the 1/4" seam allowances for one. And turning over the ties on the doll dress was painful. I wish I had a loop turner in my tool kit for that part of the project.

And just when I thought I was finished, I realized that I had goofed.

Out came the seam ripper because I sewed both strips of the Velco® to the inside. Oops! Thankfully, the stickiness didn't damage the fabric and it was reapplied to the proper side.

The Fabric:

I had four fabrics that I was willing to sew the dresses out of and the teacher picked out the blue raw silk. This was much to my delight because it is one of my favourite fabrics to sew. I did warn her that it is silk and will require delicate care instructions but that did not seem to be an issue. I pre-treated the fabric by steaming it in order not to compromise the hand and drape of the fabric.    Although raw silk can be machine washed, I prefer to hand wash with a gentle soap.

The fabric was a very narrow width and the skirt pieces did not fit and could not be cut on the grain line. Instead, they were cut on the cross grain. Same with the ties.   

The Stats:

Fabric:  3.2 metres $$39.78 ($22.00 / metre - 50% off + taxes)

Zipper:  22" invisible zipper $3.53 ($3.90 - 20% off + taxes)

Velco:    25 cm $2.47 ($2.19 + taxes)

Seam binding:  1 package $2.26 ($2.50 - 20% off + taxes)

Basting tape:     30" length $0.00 (Birthday gift)

Pattern:  McCall's 6875 $9.57 ($15.95 - 40% off + taxes)

Thread:  I have budgeted $4.00 for the thread used in the serger and sewing machine. 

Additional Supplies & Tools:  Sewing machine, serger, shears, pins, steam iron, ironing board, cutting table, and seam ripper.

Happy Sewing!  


Saturday, 21 November 2015

In Sewing News Today...

I'm back in the sewing space ready to clear off the unplanned Christmas gifts that have entered my workspace. I was all set to do Christmas baking in the cutest tea cups for the teachers I work with but plans changed. I have another Vogue 1455 dress cut out earlier this week. There was enough Indigo Wax Katagami fabric left over from this project to cut one side of the upper dress. It is a beautiful cotton so I'm thrilled I'll be able to do one side in this fabric. And I love this pattern so I'm actually looking forward to making another one. I believe this will be the seventh one I've made in various sizes.  

And this evening I cut two dresses using McCall's 6875. I'm not as excited about this project. It is cute and all but looking over the instructions I think I might need to make a Bodum® of coffee before I get started.  

Butterick 6285 is the pattern that has kick-started my sewing mojo. I found the pattern at my local Fabricland store, much to my delight, since this is from their Winter/Holiday collection and I feared it may not be in stock. Now, I'm all set for Gertie's sew-a-long due to start in a couple of days.  And that would be why I need to clear off these little dresses from my sewing table. It looks like I have a busy weekend ahead.

How about you? Anyone else joining the wrap top sew-a-long?

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

In Sewing News Today...

The other day, someone yelled out to me, "you have to make another angel costume!" No "good morning" greeting. No "thank you" what's so ever for the four costumes that I had already made. Just a demand that I make one more. Out of the mouths of babes.    

There is no fifth costume in the wings. There is no more white fabric and there is way too much on my sewing table. People around me are sucking the joy of sewing out of me. I don't even want to go into the sewing space after I get home from work. Right now, I have a little girl and doll outfit to make. Not looking forward to this project. Not at all. It is a guilt project. There is no joy in it at all.  

So, I didn't sew today. I made muffins and then washed the kitchen floor. There is more joy in washing the kitchen floor than there is in sewing right now. Some days the thought of sewing just makes you feel sad. Today is one of those days.

Now, I'm going to listen to some Xavier Rudd tunes and eat carrot cake muffins. Maybe tomorrow I'll feel differently about sewing.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Hot Pink Dress

Stash-busting 2015:  Vogue 9101

Okay, I will admit that there was once upon a time that I would never believe that a hot pink dress would be part of my wardrobe. I have since learned to never say never. Now, I just need want a pair of floral Doc Martens to pull this dress off. 

The Pattern:  

Vogue 9101 is a recent addition to my pattern collection. It is for a very comfortable pullover dress with a close fitting bodice, raised waistline and very, VERY, full skirt. 

The dress is cut as a straight size 14 with one error. I happened to cut the bodice front on the fold instead of cutting and stitching a centre front seam. This turned out to be a happy mistake because I really like the fit and feel that if I didn't have this 1 1/4" extra ease, the dress bodice may have been too tight.  

I raised and changed the shape to a curved neckline, as well as lengthening the short sleeves to full length. These were the only changes until I came to the hem. On my five-one frame it just skims ankle length and makes me wonder just how tall are those gals on the pattern illustration? I cut three inches off for a midi-length dress. The hem is finished with a three-thread overlock finish.    

Can I just say that I really like this pattern. Not only is this a quick sewing project, this pattern is well drafted. And I really like the self-lined bodice front. I can see myself making another one in a cotton knit for the summer. This pattern is a keeper that I certainly plan to revisit.    

The Fabric:

The fabric is a recent addition that I found at Fabricland. I was actually searching for a crepe knit to make this pattern but this textured polyester captured my attention because of its hand. This is not typically a colour that I would go for. As matter of fact, I was torn between this fabric and a teal blue knit. The teal blue knit was lighter in weight so I went with the hot pink. Never thought I would be typing those words but then again, never say never.  

I pre-treated the fabric with a tumble in the washing machine and dryer. It handled this process quite well. My only trouble with the fabric was cutting it out.  

Since it was a heavier knit and the skirt pattern piece was so wide, wider than the table width, I thought that I had to cut the skirt pieces by laying the fabric on the floor. The thought of this almost resulted in abandonment until Mama R came up with the perfect solution. Lay out the cardboard cutting surface I was going to use on the floor over the edge of the table. I'll tell you, Mama R is a genius! It worked perfectly as I held up the overhang with the top of two chairs and my knees and back were saved from floor fabric cutting.  

When it came to sewing this fabric, I used the lightning bolt stitch on my sewing machine and a walking foot. I found that if I went slowly while stitching that I didn't have too many issues. Although starting at the beginning of a seam did provide its own challenges. I just had to make certain that I had a length of upper thread to gently tug at through the back of the walking foot in order to make sure my fabric didn't end up pushed down towards the bobbin case and feed plate.  

The hem was supposed to be a rolled hem but I found my fabric to be quite difficult to sew a rolled hemline so I went with three thread serged edge. 

                                                                             The Stats:

Fabric:     4 metres $46.80 ($18.00 - 50% off + taxes)

Pattern:    Vogue 9101 $13.56 ($29.95 reduced to $12.00 in-store sale + taxes)

Thread:    I have budgeted $4.00 for the thread used in the serger and sewing machine.  

Needle:    I had to replace one of the serger needles during the making of this project. $0.76 ($5.40 for a package of four - 50% off + taxes) 

Additional Tools:  Janome sewing machine, serger, walking foot, steam iron, cutting table, cutting mat, scissors and pins.  

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Pattern Give-away Winner

Good Morning!

Butterick 6253 will be finding a home with...

Congratulation Dk's Wife!  If you could drop me an e-mail, grrracar (at) gmail (dot) com, and let me know where to mail it, I'll pop it in the mail for you.

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Weekend Wear

Stash-busting 2015:  Butterick 6253

I've wanted to make another hooded jacket since I made my first one. And here it is!

The Pattern:

Butterick 6253 is one of my favourite patterns released this year. It is a kAtheRine Tilton design, need I say more?  

I have no dislikes about this design and love everything about it. It has pockets, a hood and it is crazy comfortable which makes me happy. Oh so sew, happy! 

The pattern is well drafted and everything came together nicely. I didn't follow the directions all that closely on this one since I've already made one and it is pretty simple to put together once you already had a go at it. I should mention that I typically sew a size 14 (medium) but this is described as a "loose-fitting" jacket so I went with a small (size 8-10). I'm glad that I did use the smaller size because I like the fit around the shoulders, upper bodice and sleeves. And since I'm a petite sized gal, just skimming five feet, I shortened the length on the two lower tiers. This alteration gave me the length I wanted and it didn't throw off the proportions of the tiers.     

The Fabric:

I picked up this sweatshirt fleece at Fabricland a couple of months ago. This sweatshirt fleece has a higher percentage of cotton than the first jacket I made. It has more body to it as well and even though it's cotton it feels quite warm. Perfect for this weather. The fabric was pre-treated with a tumble in the washing machine and dryer on a normal setting before I cut into it. And it handled this treatment very well.  

I used cotton twill tape along the shoulder and the front edge where the zipper was inserted. I used a two-way separating zipper. I would have loved to use a bright coloured metal zipper on the front, maybe orange or yellow, but I couldn't find one long enough. There are lots of plastic zippers in longer lengths but they look cheap. I didn't want the cheap look, I wanted fun. Even though, I didn't find the zipper I had in mind, I'm thrilled with the look of the two-way zipper.  

Oh and the finger, the throbbing has stopped and it's healing nicely. I can't believe that I ran the sewing machine needle into my finger. Such a rookie move!  

I guess it was just a reminder to not rush a sewing project.  

The Stats:

Fabric:    2.6 metres $23.50 ($16.00 - 50% off + taxes) 

Ribbon:  2.5 metres $0.99 ($0.35 + taxes)

Zipper:    2-way separating zipper $12.40 ($21.95 - 50% off + taxes)

Thread:   $3.00 for the thread used in the sewing machine and serger.  

Additional Tools:  Serger, sewing machine, scissors, pins, cutting table, tweezers, screwdriver, walking foot and zipper foot.  

Happy Sewing!  

P.S.  If you would like to give this pattern a try, I'll be drawing for a uncut Butterick 6253 tomorrow. If you're interested leave a comment here.  

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Pattern Give-away

kAtheRine Tilton's hooded jacket, Butterick 6253, is hands down my favourite make in recent months. I have to admit that my wearable muslin has been my go-to favourite item in my closet that I reach for on the weekends.  

I like it so much that I'm currently working on a second jacket. 

I hope to post pictures soon but I'm taking a break from the throbbing finger that collided with the sewing machine needle when I was sewing the zipper. But I digress...  

I have a brand spanking new (uncut and unopened) copy of Butterick 6253 looking for a good home. There is a catch though, 
  • Promise not to sell it and to give it a good home where it will be used and cherished and shared.  
  • Leave a comment about your favourite go-to weekend wear that you've made or what has been your favourite Tilton pattern that you've made.  
  • Leave a comment by Sunday morning (November 15)
  • Yup, that about it.   

It is open to blog followers in Canada and the U.S.  This multi-sized pattern includes XS (4-6), S (8-10) and M (12-14). Details from the pattern envelope:
Misses' Jacket:  Loose-fitting, unlined jacket has hood, wrong side shows, neck facing, seam detail, side pockets, sleeves, cuffs and exposed front zipper.  B:  Self-drawstring.  A, B:  Raw edge finish.  C:  stitched hem.  A, C:  Rolled seams on hood and purchased trim and drawstring.  B, C:  Pockets stitched in place.   

Good luck and happy (and safe) sewing!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

A Cardigan for Mama R

Stash-busting 2015:  Butterick 5760

Mama R has been waiting for another cardigan since I made her this one. She's a very patient woman.  

The Pattern:  

This cardigan is made with OOP Butterick 5760. There's not much to say about the pattern right now other than it is well drafted and an easy make. The pattern also includes a dress, pants and blazer patterns but I've only made the cardigan so far.    

I shortened the length by an inch, the sleeves by two inches and instead of interfacing the front band as asked for in the instructions I used gross-grain ribbon on the underside of the facing. Mama R didn't want any buttons or buttonholes so this made it a quick make.   

The Fabric:

Would you believe me if I told you that I picked up this medium weight cotton knit for 99¢ / metre?  I recently found this at Northwest Fabrics. If there was more on the bolt, I might have been tempted to pick up more yardage. It looked like it was from end pieces shipped in from another business. I did manage to pick up the last 1.1 metres and thankfully it was enough to make the cardigan.  

The fabric was pre-treated in the washing machine and then the dryer at regular settings and there are no complaints about how it handled. Sewing-wise, I stitched this with the lightning bolt stitch and used the walking foot.  

The Stats:
Fabric:     1.1 metres $1.23 ($0.99 / metre + taxes)

Ribbon:   1.3 metres $0.51 ($0.35 / metre + taxes)

Pattern:    OOP Butterick 5760, already priced out with this one.

Thread:   Averaged out $3.00 for this project. I finished off two cones of serger threads during this project.

Needle:  $0.76 ($5.40 for a package of four - 50% off + taxes) Broke a serger needle during this project.  

Additional tools:  Janome sewing machine and serger, walking foot, cutting table, scissors, dressmaker's chalk, and a hand needle.  

Happy Sewing!  

Monday, 9 November 2015

Charcoal Grey Top

Stash busting 2015:  OOP Vogue 8118

This is a perfect addition to my winter work wardrobe and I have Carolyn from Diary of a Sewing Fanatic to thank. Thank you!  

The Pattern:

OOP pattern, Vogue 8118, looks simple but there are some special design features. There is so much that I like adore about this pattern.

  • The two piece sleeves are the cat's meow!
  • It's petite-able! and I totally took advantage of this feature.  
  • Multi-sized pattern which I fully utilized with a size 14 at the shoulders and bust, size 16 at the waist and graded to a 18 towards the hemline.
  • The empire waist and bust pleats.  

I made version B with the three-quarter length sleeves which look more like full-length sleeves on me. I'm good with it. I did omit the ribbon ties and that would be the only change that I made. I find that the hem feels a little uneven and the fit feels a bit loose around the bust line but I do realize that it is because I left off the ribbon ties. When I pull the top where the ties would be, the hemline is perfect. So I'm kind of on the fence as to whether or not I'm going to add ties. I'll have to check out the ribbon selection next time I'm at the store since there is no more grey ribbon in my stash. Although, I do like the loose comfortable fit.      

The Fabric:

The fabric is a charcoal grey satin-back crepe has been in the stash for many moons. Okay, I know in recent memory there was a time that I had a strong dislike to sewing this fabric. Oh, those foolish days! 

Before I started on my cut pieces, I tested out how my needle, thread and stitch length choices would work tougher on a scrap piece of fabric. I changed the needle to a sharp needle 70/10, sewed the project with 100% polyester thread, and used small stitches (2.4 on my Janome machine). Once I felt confident to start sewing my fabric, I changed to a walking foot to help with those curved seams on slippery fabric. Seriously, if you do not have a walking foot I really do recommend adding one to your tool kit. Also wonderful for sewing knits but I digress... 

Honestly, this fabric would not be in my fabric stash if it weren't for Mama R. It is her favourite fabric and we picked it up when it made it to the discount section. There is still enough to make Mama R a dress. I made the top in this fabric because it is one of the recommended fabrics and I wanted a top in a heavier weight for cooler weather coming that is here. I have to admit that I do like the way the fabric turned out. Who knew?

I did not pre-treat the fabric before I cut it out. It is polyester and I don't recall much shrinkage after using this fabric in the past. I plan to wash it in the delicate cycle and hang it to dry as I wear it. As far as pressing goes, I steam pressed the seams as I sewed using the synthetic setting and it handled the process well.

The Stats:

Fabric:   2 metres $12.20 ($18.00 / metre - 70% off + taxes)

Pattern:  Free!  Thank you Carolyn!

Thread:  I have calculated $3.00 for the thread used on the serger and sewing machine.

Needle: $0.76 ($5.40 for a package of four - 50% off + taxes)

Additional Tools:   Janome sewing machine, serger with a walking foot and sharp 70/10 needle. I used a tailor's ham and steam iron for pressing.

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 8 November 2015


Hallelujah!, my sinuses are starting to clear up, the swelling of my right side of my face is setting down, my head has stopped pounding (thanks to meds) and the forth and final angel costume is done! I can now tackle some of the projects waiting in queue. Umm, I mean, Queue the singing angels. Hallelujah!    

These costumes are to be used for the Advent concert at my workplace. They're made out of 100% cotton which I hope will keep the little angels cool while they are under those bright lights. I can't wait to see them up on stage in a couple of weeks.

                                                                               The Stats:

Fabric:    Total fabric yardage used:  13.3 metres.  1.3 metres of cotton sateen $12.34 ($28.00 / metre - 70% off + taxes). The other 12 metres of fabric were covered by my workplace at a cost of $73.09: $5.99 / metre - 10% school discount + taxes) 

Pattern:   OOP McCall's 2340, $11.23

Thread:    $6.10 (I finished off three small spools of thread plus serger thread on the serger.)

Hook & Eyes:  $0.23, 4 sets from my stash  

Additional Tools:   Sewing machine, serger, walking foot, iron, pins, scissors, and a hand needle.  

                                                                                  ✄ ✄ ✄

Talking about angels... Carolyn from Diary of a Sewing Fanatic recently sent me this pattern. 

She really is an angel because I left a comment about how much I liked the pattern and would have to search online for it, not thinking that I would be entered but I won. And then I felt immensely guilty because I live in Canada and the give-away was open to local entries (honest, I missed that part when I left my comment). This angel sent the pattern anyway. Thank you Carolyn! This will be the first project to make it onto the sewing table. I'm quite excited to make this one after seeing Carolyn's version. She made a beautiful version in a panel print, you can check it out here. I hope to have it done soon as I do believe this style would be perfect for work. 

What about you, do you have any special sewing angels in your life? 

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 7 November 2015

The Yellow Brick Road

There's a Globe and Mail essay, As a Plus-Sized Woman, I Have a Right to Buy Clothing That Fits My Body currently floating around on the web. It appeared in the paper earlier last week. It's a piece that echoes what many have found out about ready-to-wear. And many of the issues she describes can easily be related to any sized person.
[Clothes] are shoddily designed and executed with poor fabrics... Most women I know would be delighted to find stores stocked with tops and pants made from breathable fabrics – cotton, linen and other natural materials. 
I agree with the author, Katherine Adlam, that the modern day retail landscape offers an over abundance of polyester and other fabrics that do not breath well. I see it here whenever I'm window shopping at my local mall and creeping into the fabric stores as well. Her comments about bling dressing covering up shapeless styles echoes Elizabeth L. Cline's insights found in Overdressed:  The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion on the same issue. 

But can we, the consumers of ready-to-wear clothing and cheap polyester fabric, be to blame? Nothing is cheap unless you exploit someone in the process. Is our desire for convenience and our want for things to be cheap driving this shift towards shapeless polyester products. And in turn, consumers are the ones that are exploited along with the underpaid garment workers who create cheap fashion. It is interesting to read that the author of this piece still demands quality from the retail market when there are talented seamstresses and tailors who are willing and able to provide the product this consumer is seeking. I wonder if the author lives in a area where someone could provide this service? Although, she does mention her desire for quality supplies and techniques.  
And please use good threads and finish your seams properly. Nothing is worse for anyone than a seam unravelling, revealing our plump bodies in all their glory.
Do consumers have the right to demand quality fabrics, threads and seam finishes if they're not looking at what is driving the shift in standards, style and fit. The author thinks that it is her "right" to demand such luxuries from a fast-fashion environment. Good for her! But it is a long journey back to the yellow brick road.  

Home sewists appreciate the time and skill that goes into creating a quality and stylish garment that fits. It is one of the many reasons that we sew. But I also find that good quality fabrics, threads, trims are becoming scarce in the retail landscape as well.  

I think Adlam's piece is not only a call for  a wake up call to the skills many have discarded over the past decades and that we all have to become more vocal. The comments section to this article are equally an interesting read. Many have commented about learning how to sew because they were seeking many qualities not found in the retail landscape. It makes me thankful for the people who inspire me in my sewing journey, the skills and equipment that I have acquired over the years, and that Mama R and I are not limited to the choices offered in the current retail market. 

Happy Sewing!  


Tuesday, 3 November 2015

One More to Go...

Well, there is one more angel costume on the table. This will be the forth and final costume that I ran out of fabric to complete.

I was able to score enough white sateen to cut the back pieces. This is the fabric that I wish all four costumes could be made out of but at $28.00 / metre there is no way it would fit in the budget. It is lovely fabric and I only splurged on this piece because I found it marked down 70% off. I have enough of the original fabric to cut the front, sleeves and facing pieces. Even though it won't be in the same fabric, I think it will work out as the sateen has some sheen to it. I guess we'll see how it turns out.

This evening the fabric has been pre-treated with a tumble in the washing machine and dryer. It's just laying on the ironing board waiting for a good pressing before I settle into my workspace and get this  cut and sewn.

I'm beat though. My sinuses are acting up and my back is aching. Even though there is one more to go and I can't wait to get these finished, it will have to wait until later this week.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 2 November 2015

My Day of Marathon Sewing...

I might be finished almost finished sewing the costumes! I just have the eye and hook closure to hand-stitch in place. I can squeeze some hand-stitching into my lunch break. I feel like I lost my weekend to a marathon sewing blitz. And last night, I'm icing my sore shoulders after sewing all those rolled hems. I'm so happy (and can hardly believe) that I managed to get two cut and all sewing up.   

The big mug of coffee certainly helped. And the fact that I didn't leave the sewing room since the morning and neglected all housework. It was a day of caffeine infused marathon sewing and there is a mess to clean up when I get home. It is all good because it feels great to have this off the sewing table.

These make three angels costumes. The first one can be found here. And the bad news:

There were supposed to be four but with a wee bit of fabric remaining on the bolt and I wasn't able to squeak out four costumes. This is likely because the fabric wasn't wide enough to cut the sleeve on the grain line and I had to place the sleeve pattern (x 3) on the cross grain taking up more yardage. Would you believe that this simple costume takes over three metres of fabric? There is no yardage information on the pattern envelope, it is found on the instruction sheet in yard-measurement only. I may have mis-calculated when I purchased twelve metres of fabric as it is obvious that I do not have enough. I should note that if you're going to make view A/H note that the widest point of the sleeve measures 80 cm (31 1/2 inches). Oh well, mistakes happen. Today's task is to find a solution. Maybe a different fabric for the back?     

I haven't seen anymore of the fabric when I was last at Mitchell Fabrics. I'll have to wait and see what they want to do at work. Or maybe I could make the forth in another fabric?

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 1 November 2015

In Sewing News Today...

I've tried to quit coffee but much like this year's RTW fast I stumble every now and then. It is when doing some marathon sewing that I most miss having a cup of joe near by to keep me motivated.  Maybe that explains the decline of productive sewing?  

I need all the help that I can get since my sewing mojo is back and I have a whole stack of fabric that I would like to get my hands on once the costumes are done.  

Do you want to see?

This is a medium weight cotton knit that I picked up for 99¢ / metre. Yeah, that wasn't a typo. I recently found this piece at Northwest Fabrics. It will be another cardigan sweater for Mama R just like this one. I even found navy ribbon for the front band pieces. 

This fabric might look familiar. I made a Kathryn Brenne jacket with this fabric a little while ago but sadly, I'm not a tall, lean, Vogue model and it didn't fit like it did on the model on the pattern envelope. I'm going to try to remake this one in a smaller size. I'm just happy there was still more of this at the store.

I've had my eye on this 100% cotton fabric for years. I found it reduced to 70% off and I picked up enough for a dress.

This is a knit fabric that I found at Mitchell Fabrics and I scored the last two metres. I would have picked up another metre if there was more for a dress but even so, I think it would be lovely as a Marcy Tilton skirt.

I found this knit fabric at Northwest, it is quite soft and it would work for chemo caps.

This is a bubble textured polyester. I didn't pick up much of this fabric as I'm thinking of using this for the bodice and sleeves of a dress and mixing it with something else from my stash.

This fabric is not new, it has been in my stash for over a year but I'm quite excited to sew this light-weight tweed because I recently found this pattern in my size.

The plan is to make the main part of the dress with the tweed and the sleeve and upper bodice in a pink knit that I have in my stash.

And I picked up a few patterns.

There are baskets of patterns, many of them current stock, that are found at Fabricland. And they are priced from $2.00 to $5.00, seriously. Not. Kidding. They are stamped from a Saskatchewan location and ended up here. And they are in perfect condition. I don't know why they are on sale this cheap, but it is one of those "START THE CAR!" shopping moments.

Anyway, those are my plans once I pump myself up with some coffee and get to work on the rest of the costumes. The first one was delivered this past week and it was tried on by one of our angels. I'm thrilled to report that it fits and those sleeves make the costume! Two more are cut and ready to go. That said, I should get back to work.

Happy Sewing!

June in Review...

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