Thursday, 31 December 2015

December in Review...


It was a hectic month but you couldn't tell by the number of items that came out of the sewing machine. I've had busier months in the sewing room. Mind you the pink onesie was actually sewn months earlier and just blogged this month.   

The List (Top L to R):  Wrap: OOP McCall's 2485, Pullover top: OOP Butterick 5561, Baby Onesie:  OOP McCall's 7367, Dress: OOP Vogue 8939, Wrap top: Butterick 6285, Skirt: Vogue 9060, Child's reversible dress: Vogue 1455.  
RTW Fast:

Just because I'm on a RTW Fast doesn't mean that I can't take a stroll to the change room with an arm full of clothes to try things on, right?

It was research, honest. I didn't pick it up. More on the cape in an upcoming post, stay tuned.


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
3.53 metres

119.54 metres
126.1 metres +
4.96 metres

Lace Trim
1.2 metres
6 metres

1.9 metres


Hooks and Eyes

25 previously used
30 new
31.35 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!  

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Year in Review...

What a year 2015 turned out to be sewing wise! I used over a hundred metres of fabric from my stash but there shouldn't be any back patting going on since I've also added just as much back more than what I busted back into the stash. An epic fail on the goal to use fabric from my stash. My bad. Moving on, I did manage to make just over 50 items this year.  

It was a tough year as my sewing mojo disappeared in the beginning of the year. I struggled to find the joy in sewing, dealing with wrist / hand pain, and trying to get control of my weight throughout the year. Sewing competed with finding time to exercise and family obligations.

I also continued with the RTW Fast this year and struggled with staying on track. I stumbled when it came to clothing for the gym and also picked up a swimsuit. As the year progressed and I had a rotation of exercise gear to keep me going through the week, I found that I didn't miss shopping for clothes and I really wouldn't mind continuing next year.

I did find some joy in sewing little girl dresses this summer when Lynn Mizono designed a reversible dress that is too cute for words. The joy of sewing little girl dresses quickly disappeared when I was asked to make a Laura Ashley girls and 18" doll dress with tiny little seams and rolled hems while working with a swollen hand and wrist. The hand and wrist issues certainly played a part in my lost mojo along with being asked to sew for others. Always a mojo-killer.   

Projects that I hoped to sew at the beginning of the year did not materialize. Those jeans, winter coat and the Chanel-inspired jacket are still in the dream stage this late in the game. Even that Sybil Connolly coat is still sitting on my mannequin waiting for some passion to return to the sewing room. Maybe 2016 will be a more creative year?  

I did manage to get some sewing done. Simple projects were the theme this year. Here is how it broke down. 

There weren't any "wow" garments made this year but at least I had more hits than misses. The misses tended to be items made in poor quality of fabric that were prone to pilling.  


As far as goals go for the upcoming year, I just have one. I want to rediscover the joy in sewing again. 

Happy Sewing and Happy New Year!  


Monday, 28 December 2015

Monday's Mending Pile

First up is this top. It didn't take long for it to end up on the mending pile as it had a small hole at the underarm seam began to expand.  

Can you see it? It happened at the point were the sleeve and side seams meet up. I used the locking stitch when I made this top but it just didn't hold.  

Instead of relying on the sewing machine for this tricky spot, I decided to repair this by hand. I doubled my thread and sewed the seam with a back-stitch. It looks secure. Time will tell if it will hold up.  

Next was something I was asked to do quite awhile ago, hem a pair of pants for Papa R. He's even more patient than Mama R. Actually, he could care less if these were ever hemmed. It is Mama R that keeps him well-dressed and stylish.  

I pinned, basted the pressing line, cut off the excess to a one and a half turn, serged the edges, and basted a second line of basting.  

And then it was ready for a run through the machine for a blind hem.  

Well, that's enough mending / alterations for today. I have about the same amount of patience for mending and alterations as Papa R has for trying on pants. Now, I need to find something to get my creative juices flowing.

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 27 December 2015

My Wonderfully Sleazy Jersey Top

Stash-busting 2015:  Butterick 6285

Okay, if you haven't read this post yet, go there first. This top is so comfortable and not at all sleazy in the 2015 use of the adjective. Thank goodness this ain't 1955 because I really like this fabric and how comfortable it feels.

I made this top with hopes of wearing it for Christmas Eve festivities but I working in the kitchen before shovelling more snow, I was too pooped to get dressed up. I did not get dressed up at all over the holidays and if I didn't have to go out I would have been quite happy in loungewear.   

The Pattern:  

This is a new release from Butterick's Winter / Holiday collection. Butterick 6285 comes with only two pattern pieces for the top. The front, back, and sleeves are drafted into one pattern piece. The other pattern piece is for the tie. It should be noted that I did not change the length of the pattern piece if you compare my version to the pattern envelope illustration and photo. Gertie did mention that there was a difference from the pattern piece and sample shown.

Love that this is self-lined and I didn't have to worry about finishing the seams. The down side to that is all the hand-sewing unless of course you like hand-sewing. The sleeve and lining are slip-stitched at the hemline. I will admit that I was tempted to serge the two together and then use my blind hem foot to finish off the hem. It was the thought of the bulk that put a stop to that plan.

The fit has me wanting to make some changes the next time I sew with this pattern. I find that it sort of gaps where it wraps around at the bust. It might be my fabric though. The fit and length of the sleeves is perfect. And I'm still a little perplexed about the back darts since this is a knit top. Even though I feel I could go with less ease across the bust I would like more ease around the mid-section. That or maybe I just need to do some more sit-ups and step away from the Christmas treats.

The Fabric:

I found this jersey fabric at Northwest Fabric earlier this year and picked it up just because of the colour. I had no specific project in mind for this fabric but it just happened that it was just enough for this wrap top. Sweet!  

It has a generous amount of stretch and recovery in both the width and length of the fabric. Now, is it a two-way or is it a four-way (tomato, tomatoe). Just kidding, I'm going to go with describing this as a four-way stretch fabric.  

I did find it challenging to sew even with a walking foot. My fabric pushed through the feed plate when I was turning a corner. Luckily, I was able to push it through with a small screw driver without damaging the fabric.  

The Stats:

Fabric:   2.4 metres $24.38 ($8.99 / metres + taxes)

Thread:  $2.14 

Pattern:  Butterick 6285 $13.55 ($19.95 - 40% off + taxes)

Additional tools and supplies:  Sewing machine, pins, scissors, walking foot, sewing books, a Bodum® of coffee (or two), and a whole bunch of time spent distracted investigating this thing called four way stretch.  

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 26 December 2015

My Favourite Skirt Pattern Revisited

Stash-busting 2015:  Vogue 9060

I will admit that when I first picked up this skirt pattern, I did not anticipate how much I would love this design. This is the third version I have made of this skirt. Is it any surprise that it is a Marcy Tilton design? The Tilton sister have designed some of my favourite patterns.  

The Pattern:

What's left to say about Vogue 9060 besides I absolutely love how easy and comfortable this make is to wear. It is a well drafted pattern and the pieces fit to get perfectly.  

I did, however, make some changes. Nothing too drastic. I reduced the width of the waistband and added an inch wide elastic just for the feeling of security.  

The Fabric:

The skirt is made in a black crepe knit found at Fabricland. It is a 100% polyester and it's easy to care for, machine wash and dry. Gotta love that. I sewed the seams on my sewing machine using the knit (lightning bolt) stitch and a walking foot.  

The Stats:

Fabric:      1.8 metres $20.34 ($20.00 / metre - 50% off + taxes)

Elastic:      0.90 metres of red (I didn't have any black elastic and you can't tell, shhh!) 1" wide elastic $1.51 ($1.34 + taxes)

Pattern:     Already priced out in previous versions

Thread:   I'm going to say $4.00 to cover the cost of the sewing machine and serger threads.  

Additional Tools and Supplies:  Sewing machine, serger, pins, scissors, jean-a-ma-jig, walking foot, hand sewing needle, good tunes (Sounds of the Season and Dean Martin), four hours of free time squeezed out of holiday craziness, wrist brace, and a cup 2 cups of coffee.   

Happy Sewing!  

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Happy Holidays!

To you and yours, for which ever festivities you celebrate, wishing all of you a happy holiday!

And may all our sewing wishes [fingers crossed] come true.

Happy Sewing too!

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Gertie's Wrap Top Sew-along: Progress Report

Step #1:  Supplies
✄  I found some left over blue thread in my stash.  
✄  And there is no need to worry about serger thread since this is a self-lined wrap top. Sweet!

Ready to sew the ties right after I investigate this stretch issue.  

Step #2:  Ties and Stretch
✄  I didn't make any changes to the tie pattern piece only because I was limited by my fabric yardage. But I'm certainly glad that Gertie wrote this post and stated that, "[i]t happens that there's a discrepancy in the length of the warp ties on the pattern and the sample." 
✄  She also discussed the amount and directional stretch that knit fabrics offer. And that if you're fabric has a four-way (length and width-wise stretch) the ties will have wrap around the body further.  
✄  There was also a tug and pull (bad pun, forgive me it is pre-coffee writing) discussion in the comment section over the use of one vs. two way stretch or is it two vs four way stretch. I do believe it was laid to rest as a previous years vs. modern terminology. The geek in me started thinking about previous archaeological digs at the lower level of Mitchell Fabrics.  

And then I sat down with a few of my sewing books with this distraction. It might take me awhile to get this top done even though I am planning on wearing it as part of my Christmas Eve outfit. Like I was saying, I started to think about those vintage knits found in the basement of Mitchell Fabrics that have hardly any stretch. But yet it is called a knit from by-gone days. I do recall that many of these fabrics were listed with a fibre content of acrylic and came in some funky prints. They don't make fabric like that anymore. Thank goodness (although some of those prints are quite fun). So could these be those knits that were referred to as one-way stretch?

The first book I was distracted by was Sew A Fine Seam by Violet I. Wilson, circa 1955. Even though Wilson outlined in great detail the difference between circular knit and flat knitting fabric along with variations, there was no mention of directional stretch. There was one strong statement that stood out regarding stretchy jersey fabrics.
Sleazy, stretchy jersey fabrics are most unsatisfactory in every way. They are difficult to sew, cling to the body and do not keep their shape. Unless the style chosen has considerable fullness, it is best to line the skirt with a firm, light weight taffeta.  This is a good procedure for any wool fabric dress or skirt and is practiced by all good custom dressmaker, tailors and high-priced manufacturers (Wilson, 34).  

Sleazy, stretchy jersey fabrics?


Sleazy as in "thin or poor in texture, as a fabric; cheap; flimsy," I'm sure. I hope. Hmmm, wonder what Ms. Violet I. Wilson thinks about the current fabrics used to make ready-to-wear? Well, needless to say, I'm still going to make a sleazy top for Christmas. Now back to this stretch thing that has been taking me away from my sewing

Next up, I blew the dust off my Vogue Sewing book, circa 1980. Knits certainly have changed since Wilson wrote her book. Jerseys are paired with the adjective "soft" rather than "sleazy." Amazing what a couple decades and new technologies can do to change the perception of knit fabrics. Vogue Sewing contains information about stable, stretchable, and two-way stretchable knits. No mention of four-way stretch fabrics.

Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, circa 1978, didn't have any mention of two or four-way knits. Instead, it categorized knits as slight, moderate, or super stretch and outlined the importance of testing a knit on a gauge typically found on pattern envelopes to determine if a knit is suitable for a particular style.

I did however find a definition that uses the terms two and four-way stretch. Any surprise that it is a recently published sewing book? The Sewtionary:  An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques + Definitions by Tasia St. Germaine of Sewaholic, circa 2014.
Knit fabrics may stretch in one direction, across the width (two-way stretch) or stretch both across the width and length of the fabric (four-way stretch).

Back darts, why?  

So there you have it. Definitions and language change just like knit fabrics have over time. Now, if most current knit fabrics allow for closer-fit garments without taffeta and elaborate design details, why would Gertie put back darts into this pattern?

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Gertie's Wrap Top Sew-Along

I'm trying to play catch-up! I've already picked up my pattern, Butterick 6285, and I decided on this knit fabric from the stash.

But time has been just slipping away I've been easily distracted. 


So many sewing projects, so little time! You know how the excuse goes. Well, this week I am laid off from work and the plan is to play catch up. Some serious catch-up. I am even going to change my  fabric. 

I'm trying to be practical as a wrap top in this fabric will go with more things in my closet. I really like the feather print knit but there is a larger yardage that I need for the top and I think it would be best if I saved it for a dress. So I'm changing to the blue knit.   

Gertie's sew-along hasn't wrapped up so I better get busy... 

Happy Sewing!  

Monday, 21 December 2015

Monday's Mending Pile

Recently, I mentioned that I don't like mending my own clothes and as you can imagine my mending pile has again gotten out of control. I guess things happen for a reason as it made me realize that it is high time that I sat down and got to work. There are some favourite pieces that have been neglected in the mending pile. Like this Marcy Tilton jacket.  

Vogue 8709: a 2011 vintage make.
Goodness, it has been a long time since that hair colour!  
It has been in the mending pile for over six months which is quite sad because I like this jacket. I tore a hole in the sleeve near the placket when it got caught on the door at work. Luckily, I still have some small pieces of this fabric and thought that I could patch it.

I was able to repair the tears by hand-stitching after pre-treating the tear with Fray-Check® without making a patch. To do this I used a slip stitch (blind stitch) but instead of stitching from the outside of the garment, I stitched from the inside. No fray strands of thread showed because they were pre-treated. 

Of course, when I thought I was finished mending the left sleeve and was ironing the jacket, I noticed the right sleeve had a similar repair to do. Oi!  

Now that this is ready to wear again, I think I will take this out of my work clothes rotation. I like this one too much to risk another rip and trip to the mending pile.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

2015 Favourite Makes

Vogue 9060, a Marcy Tilton design and the most comfortable skirt in my closet. This is my second version and there is another on that has been in the plans for months. I can't get enough of this pattern.   

Vogue 9096 is a lined jacket without sleeves but yet I can't get enough of this jacket. Perhaps it is the 100% cotton jacquard rose motif fabric or the ease of wear or the unconvential design that I like. I really like this make. 

Vogue 1455, a Lynn Mizono design and the most fun I had this year was making up seven different versions of this dress.  In my eyes, this design is beyond cute.  

Vintage Simplicity 4166, a geek-chic look for a little boy who likes to wear shirts and ties.   

Simplicity 2372, Mama R's all-time-favourite pattern.  Jacket and dress made up in a cotton sateen, a perfect summer-time look. Even though I'm made countless versions of this dress (first time sewing the jacket), this made it to the favourite list because of how happy Mama R is with this outfit.   

OOP Butterick 5760, a cardigan sweater for Mama R made it to the favourite list because of how well the fabric worked with this pattern and the look of the gross grain ribbon on the band facings.  

OOP Butterick 5790, maxi-length skirt. Comfortable and funky fabric--win, win.

Vogue 8016 jacket made in a wool tweed.  Even though I've seen this motif in the RTW landscape, I've only found this wool tweed at Mitchell's and I wish you could see and touch this fabric, it really is beautiful.  

Butterick 6182, one of the most comfortable tops I own made up in a teal crepe.

Vogue 8975, another Marcy Tilton design made in a oh-so-soft animal print knit.

Butterick 6097, seriously I can't recommended this pattern enough. It is the cat's meow!  I love everything about this pattern.  The ease is spot on and it is a well-drafted pattern.  

Butterick 6253, a kAtheRine Tilton design. This is the second one I've made and even though I already have two I wouldn't mind another one in a quilted knit that I've spotted at the fabric store recently.  Or perhaps a summer version in that tie-dyed cotton fabric I spotted over at Northwest Fabrics awhile ago?  

OOP Vogue 8939 made it onto my favourite list because I'm all smitten over this colour.  

OOP McCall's 7367 made it to the favourite list because this velour fabric is oh-so-soft and I could just stroke all-day-long.  This little onesie is a so cuddle worthy.  

What were your favourite makes of 2015?  

Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Pink 'n Soft

Stash-busting 2015:  Baby Onsie

This little onesie is for a co-worker's baby shower, but I was missing from work the day of the shower. It has been handed off to my co-worker's friend yesterday who will deliver it this weekend.

The Pattern:

McCall's 7367 has been in my pattern stash for a very long time and the little once is my go-to baby shower gift. I've made so many of them over the years that I've honestly lost count.  
Memories are stitched with love.  ~Author Unknown
And I do love this pattern. I wish I had this pattern when my niece and nephews were wee little things. I would have certainly made a few more over the years. It is well-drafted and easy to sew. It is an out-of-print pattern but if you do happen to find a copy I would recommend picking it up for this is an item you're looking to sew.  

The Fabric:

Pink velour! Now, is the little gal this is going to be gifted to going to be one stylish little gal, or what? I've been spotting velour in the fabric store this fall before I realized that it was fall's hottest fabric. Luckily, I spotted this super soft baby pink velour at Northwest Fabrics before they caught wind of velour's recently upgraded fabric status as it was priced in a manner that actually made me buy pink fabric.  Eight metres of it as matter of fact. I'm not quite sure what is up with all the pink fabric that has found it's way into my fabric stash this past year other than I do like a good bargain.  

I thought that this fabric would make some comfy pyjama's but darn it, it also made a cute onesie as well. I contrasted the facing, leg and sleeve bands with a ivory coloured knit.  

Both fabrics were pre-treated with a tumble through the washing machine and dryer and held up very well. I stitched the onesie using a knit (lightning bolt) stitch and interfaced it with knit fusible. Instead of a button and buttonhole I used a medium sized snap.  

The Stats:

Fabric:          1 metre velour

Contrast:       0.60 metre cotton knit

Interfacing:   0.60 metre  

Snap:             1 - 15 mm snap

Needle:          1 serger needle

Ribbon:          0.50 metres of cotton twill tape

Pattern:          OOP McCall's 7367

Additional Tools and supplies:  Sewing machine, serger, serger needle, walking foot, seam ripper, pins, scissors, seven hours of labour, and one Bodum® of coffee.   

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 12 December 2015

In Sewing News Today...

The early spring patterns from McCall's were released this week. Spring. I haven't got around to the fall clothes I want to make. Regardless, it is always fun to check out the new sewing pattern releases but there is something about McCall's patterns that makes me feel old and out-of-the-loop. Like these types of patterns:

McCall's 7340

Yeah, Yaya Han. No clue about this whole genre of patterns and what-not.  

McCall's 7341
I first spotted Yaya Han patterns around Halloween on the McCall's website and thought it was well, for Halloween. But apparently not. I'm going to chalk this up to not being a sci-fi gal and from the pre-video game era. And then Barbara from Sewing on the Edge posted this and I felt like I found another community of like-minded sewing-folks within the sewing community. Although, it is fun to see what the young ones are sewing.

Now, this Nancy Zieman pattern is more my speed. Give me comfort and a pair of birkenstocks over fantasy, padding and bunion-making heels any day. Yup, I'm embracing my oldness.

McCall's 7331
Talking about sewing-folks within the sewing community, I did have the pleasure of meeting Sox from Finished Threads this week. I knew of Sox via the blog and she was kind enough to send me a message a little while ago when I was whining about the pain in my wrist. Thank you again for reaching out.

Sox recommend a physio-therapist who has been an absolute gift. Get this, this wonderful  physiotherapist is a fellow sewer and she gets it when I described the pain and swelling that interferes with my enjoyment of sewing. This week, I was sitting in the waiting room reading a book when Sox happened to be sitting near by and asked if I might be me. Small world. It was pretty cool to meet her in person and personally thank her for the recommendation.

Pysio-therapy has been helping enormously, the swelling in my wrist and hand was not from tendonitis so another brace was prescribed, and it has made a world of difference.  

In other sewing news, the show went on and the kids were perfect. I almost had a heart-attack when one of the kids had their costume laying on the floor and the fact that it's cotton and visions of wrinkles and ironing popped into my head. Thankfully, children fill the room with the cutest things they say, laughter filled the room, and the costume was hung up before any wrinkles could set in. Mental note:  never sew angel costumes in cotton fabric.  


This week's holiday busy-ness was punctuated with seven little words uttered the morning of the Advent concert. A co-worker asked me if I would mend a jacket. Not even a "good-morning" or "how are you?" just a "I have a favour to ask you." Those seven little words are never a good sign. ~sigh~ Nothing says Merry Christmas like "will you mend my clothes?" As if I didn't have enough on my mind that morning. But I digress...  

I don't like mending my own clothes, never mind someone else's. I don't get people sometimes (I'm going to chalk it up to holiday craziness taking hold), I would never ask someone to do my household chores. But people seem to think it is okay to ask me to do theirs, why? I think that is why I'm so beat, I just can't figure some people out and I'm exhausted with people asking me to sew for them. People need to stop. Like right now! I need to start collecting business cards from seamstresses who actually are looking for this type of work just when these scenarios happen because people have no clue the amount of work that goes into mending and the insane pile of my own mending. Come to think of it. Maybe I should take some of my mending in to get mended.  

Would that be bad?  

Anyway, I wish you all a wonderful and relaxing weekend before all the Christmas craziness settles in and may all you holiday sewing be fun.  

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...