Thursday, 31 March 2016

March in Review...


It was a slow start earlier in the month as I continued to feel under the weather. Despite this I did manage to get some sewing done. I finished the cape which I'm so proud of, it was quite the journey and I learned techniques that I longed to learn. It has to be one of the most rewarding sewing projects I've made. I didn't do any Lent sewing projects this year since I wasn't feeling all that well and wasn't coming home from work with a whole lot of extra energy especially after working overtime as well. It was nice to end the month with another lay-off to catch my breath and finally spend some time with the sewing machines.

RTW Fast:

Okay, I stumbled on my RTW fast journey this month. Sweaters have always been my downfall when it comes to RTW fasting. And this is where I stumbled this month, a cotton knit wrap and a cotton/cashmere cardigan. Yes, I could sew these items but I wouldn't have found similar fabric.  


Quantity Used from the stash this Month
Quantity Used this Year
Added to the Stash this year
Basting Tape
0.40 metres
Bias Tape
0.01 metres
1.2 metres
2 metres
12.8 metres
26.15 metres
35.2 metres
Hand needles
Hook and Eyes
2.9 metres
3.50 metres
10 metres
Lace trim
Pattern (new)
Pattern (previously used)
0.50 metres
0.50 metres
Serger needles
Serger thread
Sewing machine needles
2.2 metres
2.2 metres
1.8 metres

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Cozy in Pink Part II

Stash Busting 2016:  Vogue 9193, The Pants

I picked up this pattern, Vogue 9193, for the pants because with those pockets I thought they would work as gym wear. I'll have somewhere to put my iPod while I'm working out.

And then when I looked closely at the pattern I thought paired with the tunic it would also make a lovely pair of pajamas. These pajama bottoms are my wearable muslin for the exercise pants I plan to make.  

I really like that this pattern has an elasticized waist and is loose-fitting in the hip area. As a pear-shaped gal, I appreciate patterns like these. It was another selling-feature that made me pick up this pattern. And it did not disappoint. Now I do know that making these two pieces in velour and wearing them together makes me look like I'm embracing my inner

Betty White

And I'm starting to understand the allure of velour tracksuits, but I promise, these are strictly nightwear. I have my inner Betty White under control for the time being.

“I'm a teenager trapped in an old body.” 

This pants pattern will be cherished as another tried and true (TNT) pattern. I don't know that I will sew another top from this pattern since tunics and petite stature are not usually a good mix but these pants, love 'em. I didn't even have to adjust the length on this one. I did cut the crotch at a size 14 and cut the sides as a size 16 just because of the pear shape but I could have easily cut a size 14 without any fitting issues.

The fabric (from Northwest Fabrics) proved to be a pain in the wrist, as I struggled to match up the edges when sewing seams that were prone to curling in opposite directions. After sewing this pattern in velour, I'm inclined to toss the remaining three metres into the donate pile but it is so soft and comfortable. And well, Betty White might just be onto something.

The Stats:

Fabric:     2.2 metres

Elastic:     1.2 metres

Pattern:     Vogue 9193

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Sewing machine, serger, walking foot, pins, scissors, thread, thread clippers, coffee, and the radio playing in the background.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 28 March 2016

Cozy in Pink

Stash-busting 2016:  Vogue 9193

Marcy Tilton's new release, Vogue 9193, screams loungewear to me and since I could use another pair of pajamas that is what I've been working on.

I have been working on struggling with the tunic today and I'm done. Well, not done according to the pattern instructions but I've decided to be creative in my doneness.  

Now don't get me wrong, I really like this pattern and it is easy to put together. Marcy Tilton has released another fun and well-drafted pattern. My struggles were not pattern related, instead it was my darn fabric choice that presented all the challenges that I encountered while piecing this tunic together.  

I chose a pink velour (yeah, I can't believe I just typed that) that has been sitting in my stash. Now let me explain before you go on reminding me of my claim that I don't like pink and velour garments. I stumbled on a lot of fabric that Northwest Fabrics was selling off from no longer in business business and well, these fabrics were $3.99 / metre or 99¢ / metre if I took the remaining bolt. I thought what the heck at 99¢ how can you go wrong? Yes, it could be described as a moment of insanity that this fabric ended up in my stash but it does make cute baby onesies. Anyway, I digress... 

This fabric proved to be a challenge to cut and to sew because of how the fabric naturally wanted to curl and it drove me to discard the neck piece and just leave the ends finished on the serger. And you know what, I'm good with it because it is just a pajama top.

The Stats:

Fabric:   1.8 metres

Pattern:  Vogue 9193

Additioanl Tools and Supplies:  Sewing machine, serger, scissors, pins, thread, thread clippers, tweezers, tailor's chalk and Leonard Cohen tunes.

Now, I think I need a break before I tackle the matching pants.

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Can a Woman Have Enough Wrap Dresses?

Stash-busting 2016: Vintage Vogue 7014

Last year McCall's hosted a wrap dress sew-along and I was thrilled at the prospect of sewing another wrap dress.  But I didn't get my act together because I was trying to figure out how to change the current wrap dress patterns into my dream wrap dress.  

I love the simplicity of the bodice on this vintage DVF dress pattern. The patterns in my stash (Vogue 8896 and 8379) have gathers or pleating that I really didn't want as part of the next wrap dress design. And even though vintage Vogue 1548 is easily found all over the web, it is not a pattern that fits within my sewing budget. So enters vintage Vogue 7014, a Koko Beall design, circa 1999.  

I found this pattern over at a few months ago and love that it has long sleeves, pockets, no waistline seam and it did not cost an arm and a leg. It is also rated "very easy," what's not to love. Good-bye Diane, hello Koko! I just found another pattern to swoon over.
This dress is literally a quick make and a well drafted pattern. It will certainly be cherished and filed away as a tried and true (TNT) pattern. I do plan to make another wrap dress with this pattern. I took advantage of the multi-sized and petite option this pattern offers. I cut the shoulder at a size 12, the rest of the dress as a size 14, shortened the sleeves and let out a little ease at the centre back waist area curve. I did originally cut the dress as version B hemline but chose to shorten it to the version A length after I tried it on. I wouldn't mind if it were a couple of inches longer but I'm not going to worry about it on this dress.

My fabric, found at Fabricland, is a 100% polyester animal print knit. It is a light-weight knit that appeared with the spring fabric selection earlier this year. It will be perfect for when the weather warms up even though I made it with long sleeves. The fabric was pre-treated with a tumble in the washing machine and dryer and it handled the synthetic heat setting on the iron quite well.

The Stats:

Fabric:       3 metres 100% polyester knit

Twill tape:   0.40 metres cotton twill

Interfacing:   1.6 metres fusible interfacing

Pattern:       OOP Vogue 7014

Thread:     I used quite a bit of thread with this project. I finished off a spool of serger thread and one spool of thread on the sewing machine. All those double stitched seams.

Needles:     90/14 Stretch sewing machine needle and hand sewing needle.

Additional Supplies and Tools:  Sewing machine, serger, walking foot, scissors, thread clippers, cutting table, pins, measuring tape, seam ripper, coffee, and good tunes.

Happy Sewing!  

Friday, 25 March 2016

In Sewing News Today...

Have you seen the new McCall's patterns? And their new fancy website. I like it. I'm also trying to be good. I really shouldn't look at the website, so I won't be tempted. Like I'm tempted to order this pattern.   

McCall's 7384 The Archive Collection

I'm not picking it up because I have nowhere to wear a dress like this and I am still shocked by something I read over at laSewist's Wednesday's Words post,
Pattern companies don't sell patterns; they sell dreams.  75% of patterns purchased never even get opened by the person who purchased them.  Look in your own storage, and tell me I'm not wrong on this... right?" Mimi of Shop the Garment District
And I gulped as I thought about my own pattern collection. Did I fall into that statistic? I certainly do have a collection of patterns that have never been opened. I was relieved that it wasn't as high as 75% of my collection but still we're talking about half have not yet been opened.  

I am taking the pledge to stop buying patterns for the remainder of the year and make do with what I have in my pattern stash. Thankfully, this pledge comes after I picked up this latest Marcy Tilton pattern.  

Vogue 9193
I have some pink (I know, I claim not to like pink) velour ready to cut this top and pants pattern in. Don't worry, it won't be an outfit for the public sphere, I thought that it would make a comfortable lounge / sleepwear outfit. Back to the colour, I only picked up this fabric (many, many metres of it) because it was on sale for ninety-nine cents a metre. I couldn't go wrong at that price, even if it is pink. And it does work well for little baby girl onesies. I just want to try out this pattern and see how it fits before I cut into some black ponte knit sitting in my stash. But first, I should finish cutting out the new wrap dress pattern I found on etsy a few weeks ago.  

Well, that's all in sewing news today. How about you, are you tempted by any of the new summer patterns or are you trying to work through your own pattern collection?  

Happy Sewing!   

Monday, 21 March 2016

Monday's Mending Pile

It has been awhile since I have done a mending post even though I have quite the pile. Today's item came to light while I was switching over my fall / winter to spring / summer wardrobe options. I'm being hopeful here as there is still some snow on the ground.  

I made this vintage wrap dress, Simplicity 8032, back in 2014 and to be completely honest, I don't believe I wore it last year once. It's the length I wasn't all that happy with and I got to work removing  three inches of length.    

Since it was underlined in the yellow cotton I first stitched a line where I wanted to cut the length, catching both layers together. I cut 1/8" below the stitching and then took it to the serger to finish the edge of the two layers. Once that was done it was smooth sailing with a top-stitched 3/4" hemline. This now makes the dress one inch longer than the original hemline.  

Next up, I was second guessing my button choice. I thought the vintage button that I had used looked a bit Victorian, not really the look I was going for. I searched in my button collection and found a yellow one and since it matches the underlining seen through the eyelet, I went with it. Now that looks more spring / summer appropriate.   

Even though my dress is nearly two years old, I almost feel like I have a new one to wear.  

Happy Mending Monday!  

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Pattern Give-away Winner

Well, I am bit late. In my defence, I've been sick and spending way too much time at medical facilities rather than the sewing room.  But I digress... 

I promised to pick a new winner if I had not heard from Nurse Bennett by Friday evening (yesterday) and I haven't so... 

I will be contacting Nova as the pattern winner.  

Happy Sewing!  

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Hello Pattern Give-away Winner

Hello Nurse Bennett?

Are you reading this? I would like to send off this pattern but I have no way to reach you. Could you please contact me at grrracar (at) gmail (dot) com

You forgot to leave a way that I could reach you.  

  • Promise to give it a good home where it will not be sold.  
  • Use it, make something fabulous, share the detail.  Share the pattern.
  • Leave a message in  the comment section that includes a way that I can contact you, if you win.
  • And do tell, do you think Easter outfits are oh-so Steel Magnolia era costume dressing or is there a place for Easter outfits in 2016? 
So here is the deal. If I do not hear from Nurse Bennett by Friday evening, I will draw another entry from the original list of entries, and only a name drawn that has contact information will win the pattern.  I hope that is fair to everyone. Including a way that I can contact you if you win was one of the conditions to the give-away.  

Until then, Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Countdown to Easter Pattern Give-away Winner

Congratulations Nurse Bennett!

Young Nurse Bennett shared this little gem, 
Well, I still prefer to have a new dress, blouse, jacket, SOMETHING, new to wear on Easter. Our little one (he is six) will be sporting new clothes to church, as our tradition. I think here in our area of the South it's a tradition many still hold on to and most ladies won't bring out their sandals and certainly won't wear white ones until Easter.
Yea, for new Easter outfits. I remember getting something new for Easter too. Well, I should send off an email to Nurse Bennett to let her know her pattern will be on its way as soon as I know where in the south to send it too.  

Until next time (more to come), happy sewing!

Monday, 14 March 2016


I haven't been sewing anything impressive. What is impressive is that I actually did some sewing.

And the fact that I actually ended up with a pillow. You see I'm still fighting the never-ending cough with cough syrup that makes me feel quite drowsy whenever I take some, like yesterday, just before I sat down to make this simple project.  

Good grief!  Would you believe that I sewed half of the pillow before I realized that the bobbin was empty? And on the first pillow I forgot to leave an opening for filling it with stuffing.  

Pillow cover from Fabricland

It is amazing that Mama R ended up with some resemblance of a pillow to stuff into her new cushion covers.  

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Countdown to Easter: Pattern Give-away

So, it doesn't seem like anyone is making any Easter outfits.  

Steel Magnolia {Source}

Could it be that it has become so nineteen eighty something to dress in an easter bonnet and frilly dress? Or are you making something but keeping it under wraps for a couple more weeks?  

Today's offering is an OOP jacket pattern, Vogue 8931.  
Misses' Jacket:  Loose-fitting, lined jacket has collar variations, peplum, and two-piece sleeves.  A, B:  Flaps and concealed fly button closing.  Combination size E5: (14, 16, 18, 20, 22).  

I could see this with denim on the upper portion and then a sateen print on the peplum to match a pencil skirt.  

Fabricland Colour Trends {Source}

Or perhaps in a dark denim on top and a yellow and steel gray on the bottom portion?  

Fabricland Colour Trends {Source}

But I digress... this isn't about my Easter outfit. What would you do with this jacket pattern if you win, would you colour-block or make in one colour?  

So here is the deal, I will ship this new, factory-folded pattern internationally.  I just ask something in exchange.  
  • Promise to give it a good home where it will not be sold.  
  • Use it, make something fabulous, share the detail.  Share the pattern.
  • Leave a message in  the comment section that includes a way that I can contact you, if you win.
  • And do tell, do you think Easter outfits are oh-so Steel Magnolia era costume dressing or is there a place for Easter outfits in 2016?  
I will draw for this pattern on Tuesday, March 15th.  

Until then, good luck and happy sewing!  

Friday, 11 March 2016

Countdown to Easter Pattern Give-away Winner!

The winner of Butterick 5891 is...

Congratulations MAD14kt!  I'll send you an email and as soon as I hear back from you I'll pop it into the mail.

Stay tuned, another pattern coming up tomorrow.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Countdown to Easter Pattern Give-away!

Welcome to the Countdown to Easter Pattern Give-away, first up is one of my all time favourite patterns, Butterick 5891.  

It is a kAtheRine Tilton design, in combination sizes 8, 10, 12, 14, 16
Loose-fitting top has collar variations, side pockets (left side A, B), and shaped hemline.  A, B:  Raised neckline, mock neck/lower bands, front pleated peplum and narrow hem.  C, D:  Folded, single layer collar, and stitched hems.  Wrong side shows on hemlines and collar C, D.  
I still consider the top I made with this pattern one of my favourite pieces. So here is the deal, I will ship this new, factory folded pattern internationally but I have something to ask.
  • Promise to give it a good home where it will not be sold.  
  • Use it, make something fabulous, share the details. Share the pattern.  
  • Leave a message in the comment section that includes a way that I can contact you, if you win.  
  • Oh and do tell, are you making an Easter outfit for yourself or someone else?  
I will draw for this pattern on Friday, March 11, 2016.  

Good luck and happy sewing!  

In Sewing News Today...

I've been sick for what feels like forever. It started with a stomach bug last month and now a nasty cold is making its rounds at work. And a cough that takes an inhaler to control. Blah, blah, blah...  

I guess it explains why it took me forever to finish the cape and the decrease in sewing activity around here. My sewing mojo has been buried under a pile of tissues.  

It is Lent when I try to sew for charity and I don't even have the energy or motivation to get though that type of sewing. I'm even counting down to my next lay-off from work. I never count down to a lay-off! Well, never say never. Now that the snow is melting it is a bad time for my allergies. ~sigh~

And I'm not even counting down to do any sewing even though I have these waiting in the wings.

The plan to make OOP Vogue 2427 in linen is currently on hold.  Even though I'm dying to get started on this until I actually try to get started on it and the couch starts calling my name. Fingers are crossed that I actually make this one as my 2016 Easter dress.  

So, as I try to regain my sewing mojo I thought I should do something productive instead. Let's do some pattern give-aways for the remainder of Lent. Starting this afternoon, I'll pull some of my favourite patterns from my collection (no, my Easter dress pattern is not up for grabs.  Sorry guys) and will continue with until Easter.

Stay tuned, first one is coming up this afternoon.

Happy Sewing!  

Monday, 7 March 2016

Wants vs. Needs

Vogue patterns released some more patterns and I'm trying to be good and work with what I have in my stash but I need this one,

Marcy Tilton's Vogue 9193. You see I need gym pants and these would totally work.  

Now onto wants.  

Vogue 1503

I have too many blouse and shirt patterns to justify another one as a need. What I need is to get to work on making up the patterns that I already have sitting around the sewing work table. But look at those pockets. ♡

Vogue 9181

And I so want this pants pattern, boot-leg cut pants for curvy figures. Was Vogue patterns reading my mind or what?  If I break down and fulfill my want list I have to pick up this one to go with Vogue 1503.  

How about you?  Are there any patterns that fall into your want or need list?  

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Modern Update to a Vintage Cape Pattern: The Final Chapter

Stash-busting 2016:  OOP Simplicity 6680 and OOP Vogue 8863

Did you see the Sew the Trends:  London & Milan Fashion Week, Fall '16 report over at Burda Style? Well, I was pretty thrilled to see that "statement capes" will be a look to sew for Autumn 2016. I can check that one off my list!

I never play without my cape. 
~Bela Lugosi~

This cape was a long time coming and it wasn't until I tried on a Kate Spade cape back in December that I really got to work.

My cape became a marriage between two sewing patterns, Simplicity 6680 and Vogue 8863, inspired by some details and measurements of the cape I tried on that day.  

This was just the project that I needed to kick-start my sewing mojo. This project was a fantastic challenge filled with sewing techniques that I longed to master. I spent a small fortune on the supplies for a garment that will have a limited time of wearability but it's worth every penny spent on it because of how this project makes me feel.

The buttonhole opening on the facing was finished off using the method from Tasia St. Germaine's Sewtionary and it worked out quite well.

I marked where my buttonholes meet on the facing and then cover it with fusible interfacing, shiny side up.

Once sewn, clipped and turned to the wrong side of the fabric, it is pressed and the fusible interfacing works like a charm at keeping the shape of the buttonhole facing until it is hand-stitched in place. That Mrs. Sewholic is one smart lady. The cape is finished with a cotton backed satin lining which was hand-stitched to the facing. 

The Stats:  

Fabric:      2.3 metres melton wool

Lining:      2.9 metres cotton backed satin lining

Interfacing:  1.3 metres of hair canvas

Piping:       1.8 metres

Buttons:     4 - 1" buttons

Thread:      4 spools of premium serger thread, cotton thread for the sewing machine, and silk thread for the pad stitching.

Pattern:      Vintage Simplicity 6680 and Vogue 8863

Time:         I invested 36 hours into the creation of this garment.

Additional Tools and Supplies:  Sewing machine, serger, clapper, tailor's ham, steam iron, ironing board, pressing mitt, thimble, tailor's chalk, walking foot, zipper foot, seam ripper, Podcast #29 Claire Shaeffer Haute Couture Revealed (encouraging me to invest the time into all that basting and hand-stitching) from, hand needles, Chai latte breaks, sewing books (Sew a Fine Seam, Vogue Sewing, Sewtionary, and Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing) box of kleenex, tylenol, coffee, more kleenex, tylenol and coffee.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

I Did It Again...

I said, "no," again. 

It happened when I was asked if I do alterations before more details appeared. The person with the question has three pair of pants they want to recreate.  

Which leads me to the question, when are alterations and recreating pants even in the same ball park? Pants are hard as many of us have blogged about our own fitting issues to recreate the ideal fit on a pair of pants, never mind the amount of work that goes into sewing pants. More work than just doing alterations. 

I was lucky to have stumbled upon OOP Vogue 1325 a few of years ago and it is the only style of pants that I have in my closet. I believe I've made a total of six versions of this pattern. Yes, I would like to try other styles and even make myself a pair of jeans but it is a lot of work to get the fit right and lately, my sewing mojo is not all that to be desired. If I were to torture myself with another pair of pants it would be fo moi. I'm selfish that way. Besides, I have a few pants patterns waiting for that day to appear.  

I did try my best to help. I offered names of people who are seeking sewing work and local businesses that are actually set up to do this type of work. But, that kind of help was not wanted. The person moved on to ask another person they know who sews. 

And this is why I strongly believe that Home Economics should be an integral part on ones education, it involves reading, mathematics, problem solving in order to create a garment. It could teach one to do things for themselves but to also teach them the value and skill involved. It is interesting that a few short months ago everyone was talking about buying from local businesses and artisans for their Christmas gifts but when it comes to everyday needs, these people are not sought out. It is sad really. Quite sad. It must be hard to have a sewing / tailoring business in this type of environment. 

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...