Monday, 31 October 2016

October in Review...


Top L to R:  Blue peplum top, Vogue 9056; silk Katherine Tilton top, Butterick 5891; blue and black pinstriped knit skirt, OOP Butterick 5790; black ponte knit skirt, OOP Butterick 5790; black and white pleated top, OOP Butterick 5561; charcoal wool pants, Simplicity 2372.
None of these items were on my fall sewing list. Sometimes plans change.  

RTW Fast:

The only ready-to-wear items that I picked up were undergarments, 2 pairs of panties and six pairs of tights. It is getting harder to find good quality cotton knickers and I really have to find a good pattern.   


Quantity Used from the stash this Month 
Quantity Used this Year
Added to the Stash this year
Basting Tape
1.88 metres
Bias Tape
7.41 metres
Cord Stopper
3 metres
10.0 metres
5 metre
9.6 metres
75.45 metres
87.7 metres
Fusible Tape
1.2 metres
20.60 metres
Hand needles
Hook and Eyes
3.0 metres
10 metres
Lace trim
Pattern (new)
Pattern (previously used)
1.50 metres
2 metres
Serger needles
Serger thread
Sewing machine needles
1.8 metres
1.8 metres

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Another Maxi Skirt

OOP Butterick 5790 made it onto the sewing table once again. 

I made my third version of this skirt.  

It has to be the most comfortable item I can find to wear to work besides Vogue 1410. Since the Lynn Mizono dress is more of an unique style, I figure I could get away with rotating maxi skirts on those days at work when I'm more concerned about comfort over dress code. An elastic waist skirt fulfills both needs.  

This pattern couldn't get anymore basic, actually it consists of one pattern piece laid out on the fold. Easy peasy. The casing for the elastic is folded over from the waistline. 

Let's talk about the fabric, I found this a year or two ago at Fabricland. It looks blue in the above picture but it is actually a blue and black striped knit fabric.  

The pattern piece was laid out along the width so the skirt has vertical pinstripes instead of horizontal stripes. It reminds me of corduroy fabric. It's a 100% polyester knit that handles the pre-treatment process extremely well.

The Stats:  

Fabric:   0.8 metres

Pattern:  OOP Butterick 5790 

Elastic:   1.0 metre 1" width

Thread:   Finished off another spool of thread

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Sewing machine, serger, walking foot, safety pins, pins, cutting table, scissors, thread clippers, thread for the serger and sewing machine, camera, and coffee.  

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Let's Scuba-do This!

Sewing scuba knits has proved to be a challenge in the past. So I've been waiting to get my hands of the latest copy of Vogue Patterns magazine.

Kathryn Brenne wrote a piece on scuba knits, the fabric she used for that beautifully quilted jacket seen on the front cover.
The latest issue of Threads magazine also contains an article on sewing scuba knits. This one is penned by Ryliss Bod.  

After reading these two articles I've come to the conclusion that I'm more confused on sewing scuba knits than before. Although there are some helpful hints in both articles. What I came away with is that this is a fabric you will want to experiment. Bod uncovered the source of my confusion when she wrote, "[w]ithout accurate labeling it's difficult to know which fabric you're purchasing." When fabric stores are giving cute little name like "scuba" and "techno" it doesn't go so far to helping a gal or guy out. Even I have been seeing more and more fabrics that are labelled "unknown fibres" while out shopping at the fabric stores and this is so annoying.  

Bod claims that sewing with these fabrics is easy but if that were the case, I wouldn't have picked up these magazines. The article declares, "[s]ewing scuba fabric is much like sewing any other knit, so give it a try for garments with soft structure." 

I'm sure Bod meant to say it sews like any other polyester multi-blended knit, right? Because I find sewing cotton knits to be whole lot easier to sew, not this fabric.

Well, since I have some fabric left over from this project, there was nothing left to do than get rid make something else with it. Enter a TNT pattern.  

I like the style and fit of this pattern, Vogue 9056

Brenne recommends sewing with a needle with the smallest hole. It seemed to work with preventing the fabric to be pushed into the needle plate. I used a microfibre needle with the smallest size hole. I used the premium polyester thread on the serger even though I don't believe this fabric is capable of fraying. To sew this fabric, I found that silk thread worked the best.  

Am I sold on this fabric? Even though I have a top that I like and I do love the vibrant colours that are available in these fabrics I can't say that I'll be rushing out to buy more of it. I would rather save my pennies for a beautiful piece of wool, silk or linen. I'm just glad that I finally figured out how to sew this fabric without pulling it out from my needle plate.  

The Stats:  

Fabric:   1.5 metres 

Pattern:  Vogue 9056

Knit 'N Stitch:  1.2 metres

Additional Tools and Supplies:  Sewing machine, serger, microfiber sewing needle, scissors, polyester thread for the serger, silk thread for the sewing machine, clippers, pins, iron, ironing board, sleeve ham, tailor's ham, and coffee.  

Happy Sewing!  

Friday, 28 October 2016

Sewing Hope - The Feed SBS

Okay, go grab a box of tissue before you sit down and watch this amazing story.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

The Dressmaker

Have you seen the movie, The Dressmaker? If you haven't yet, I would highly recommend it. I was lucky enough to catch it when it was ever so briefly shown in the theatres here.  

Or better yet, did you catch the exhibit of the clothes? Oh my goodness what a delightful feast for the eyes to see these costumes come alive on the big screen out of the hot Aussie backdrop. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to see the costumes close up.    

The costumes,  that vintage Singer sewing machine, the story, oh and the costumes! 

Kate Winslet plays Tilly who returns to her hometown, after being sent away as a child, to uncover dark secrets of her past.  

But first, let's talk about this golfing outfit Tilly sports in one of the opening scenes. It is perfectly designed with tee holders along the pocket.  

She has her fans and her enemies.  

And despite that she is on a mission and with the most powerful weapon she possesses, her 1951 Singer sewing machine, she's determined to uncover the secrets, lies, and harm committed by the towns folks she transforms.  

It is a tale of revenge and search for truth and how things can unravel quite quickly.  

 I can't wait for the Oscars.

One of my favourite outfits would be the beautifully tailored and understated suit worn by Tilly's mom, Molly.  

Tilly transformed the towns people from the old stuffy clothes of yesteryear with the new revolutionary styles of Balenciaga and Dior. 

When a new dressmaker is recruited to challenge Tilly's arrival back in town, the scene is set for a showdown between the New Look revolution and de-feminizing uniforms of the past decades. 

Tilly has her allies in the showdown. But I'm going to stop here, I don't want to give too much away. Go see it. The Dressmaker is an entertaining story, part dark comedy and part surrealism cleverly stitched together.  

It is enough to make you want to run out and find a vintage Singer sewing machine. But I think I'll pick up the book instead.   

Happy Sewing!  

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Much Ado About Nothing?

Yoga pants have once again made the news. And this time it wasn't Lululemon or Chip Wilson causing people to get up in arms.

The author defended the letter to the editor stating that it was "a joke" after over a hundred protesters showed up outside his door and he received death threats. Yeah, that's no joke. And this is nothing new.  

Yoga pants wearing people are not the first nor will they be the last to be criticized for their style of dress.  Clothing has always been political regardless of the clothing item. History can provide us with many examples, some ending in violence. As the author pointed out mini-skirts also cause quite a stir as well as protests. European countries tried to ban mini-skirts from being worn in public when they appeared in the mid-1960s even though short skirts were not historically new. 

What the author failed to realize is that telling anyone what to wear (or not to wear) isn't a joke, it is politically and culturally charged. It is like telling someone to lose some weight, dye their hair, or fill in the blank with some other judgement. To most people it is insulting and can be perceived as devaluing a person's worth. Most people would react with "it's none of your business," reply or worse as the author found out. 

The yoga pants trend will eventually fade and pass from the public sphere and in it's place will come another item of clothing that will ruffle someone's feathers. The more things change, the more it stays the same.  


If you ask me, I think it is much ado about nothing, fashion trends come and pass. Where are the protests and letters to the editors over the impact on fast-fashion on our environment and the uproar over poor quality man-made fabrics? Hmmm, now there is something to protest over. 

Happy Sewing!  

Monday, 24 October 2016

Monday's Mending Pile

I'm thinking about changing the name of this series to Mama's Mending Pile because it seems like I've been doing a lot of alterations and mending for her lately. This may not be true, it just seems that way.  

This morning instead of eating breakfast (still not feeling all that great), I opted for some quality time at the sewing table. This dress made it to the mending pile all pinned when Mama R found it too long and wanted it shortened. She pinned, I pressed and hand-stitched the hem. We make a good team.  

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Wool Pants

I've been talking about sewing Mama R a pair of wool pants when she gave the seal of approval on the pant pattern found in Simplicity 2372.

It should have been an easy project as Mama R didn't want the side pockets. But I messed up, and yes, I'm going to blame it on the sinus infection I had when I first started to sew these pants. It took me awhile to finally deliver a finished product. But I digress...

I should know better, not to sew when I'm not feeling good. Sometimes, I can't help it.

I raised the fold over waistband by four inches without checking back on the changes I made on the trial pair. And that was too much. I should have only raised it by three inches with a two inch fold over.

Note to self:  Record pattern changes on the pattern pieces.  (Three inches adjustment with a 2" fold-over!)

So, it's back to the drawing board to unstitch. What should have taken me an afternoon to sew took more than a few days. But I think it all worked out in the end. Once everything was unstitched and the elastic removed I trimmed off an inch on top and went back to work.

I couldn't remember how much I shortened the first pair but did recall that Mama R found the hem too short so I cut the pattern as it came out of the envelope knowing full well that it would be too long on my four foot-something Mom. I eventually ended up trimming five inches off the length and sewing a two inch hem. Of course, this time I wasn't taking any chances and made her try them on a few times before I cut them shorter.

Since these pants have an elastic waist and no pockets I added a "hand made" label to the back seam.

The fabric is a 100% British wool that has been sitting in my stash. I did pre-treat it with a wash on the delicate cycle and a tumble through the dryer. It handled the pre-treatment process wonderfully and this fabric was an absolute pleasure to sew.

The Stats:

Fabric:   2 metres British wool

Pattern:  Simplicity 2372

Elastic:  1 metre 1 3/4" wide elastic

Additional Tools and Supplies:  Sewing machine, serger, sewing machine needle, scissors, thread clippers, pins, cutting table, safety pins, iron, ironing board, seam ripper, label, blind hem foot, regular sewing machine foot, a whole lot of patience, cough syrup, kleenex, and tea with honey and lemon.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

In Sewing News Today ...

Sometimes I feel like Dug the Dog when it comes to my sewing focus lately.  


Yup, SQUIRREL! Last night McCall's released their Winter / Holiday line. Have you seen it? There is a jacket that I'm all smitten over.  

Goodness knows that I'm crazy for a peplum and check out those beautiful pleats on the back peplum!  ~swoon~  It's beautiful. But I really don't need another jacket pattern. I recently picked up SBCC's peplum moto jacket pattern. 

And I haven't even cracked it open yet. And there is this Vogue pattern that has been in my collection for years now. 

OOP Vogue 8866

Another peplum jacket pattern that I haven't cracked open yet. 

And one more peplum jacket, Vogue 1517, that recently found it's home in my pattern collection. Help! I might have a problem when it comes to peplum jacket patterns.  

So, that is my question of the day: Do you have a collection of patterns that you just had to have when they came out and they're sitting in your collection collecting dust? Or is it just me?  

Happy Sewing!   

Monday, 17 October 2016

Monday's Mending Pile

Nothing like laundry day and ironing to reveal more items destined for the mending pile.

It seems a major stress point in my clothing could be found at the armhole curve, as shown on this shirt.   

It's not only on the right side of the shirt, this stress hole is mirrored on the left side. A quick change of thread on the sewing machine and it was an easy fix.  

Mama R also had a similar stress point on her dress.

Maybe next time I'm sewing around the underarm curve on a sewing project I should do a double stitch. It couldn't hurt, and might save a trip to the mending pile.  

Well, that is all in mending news today...

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Pleated Pull-over Top

I'm revisiting out-of-print Butterick 5561 for Mama R, it is the third version that I've made for her. Interesting thing came up when I offered a beautiful polyester crepe to be make with this pattern. She hesitated and tried to talk me out of it.  

Insert #5, the perplexed face.

"What's up?," I ask. Mama R had said in the past that she likes this fabric and she never complained about the two previous versions of OOP Butterick 5561. Getting her to talk was like trying to unstitch a knit stitch from a scuba knit with a traditional seam ripper. Oh the pain! But finally the deep dark secret unraveled.

The woman of mystery finally reveals, "this fabric is just like this one. It doesn't fit as well as the other one."

Still perplexed by this revelation I ask, "What do you mean?" I can't imagine that the fit would be any different since I used the same pattern and size for both tops.

"I'll show you," she said as she removes it from the hanger and tries it on. "It's wider here and lower in the front. When I bend down you can see down there," she shyly adds.

"Can you try on the other one?" And to my shock I starting to see that she's right. Okay, Mama R is always right but sometimes I like to think I know what I'm talking about when it comes to sewing. So wrong.

How did I not see it before? Or better question would be: how did I not consider that different fabric will affect the fit of a garment? I'm going to blame it on the current sinus infection.

I need a plan. At first, I thought I would change the shape of the neckline so that it would sit higher all around. But then the brain fog lifted and I thought what if I cut the raglan sleeve seams as a size smaller? I proceeded only with the thought that if it doesn't work I have enough of this beautiful polyester crepe and another copy of OOP Butterick 5561 to try again. I wasn't dealing with a whole lot of energy to copy the pattern or make a muslin.

Thankfully, the smaller sized seam was just the trick to raise the neckline. The pattern was also shortened in the sleeve and top hems. I didn't interface the facing pieces because I didn't have similar weight interfacing in my stash. And the hems were all finished with a 5/8" rolled hem.

The fabric has been in my stash for possibly decades? Let's just say that it has been part of the stash for a long time. I do believe that I picked it up when Fanny Fabrics closed down and I bought a whole lot of it. I actually have a dress cut of this fabric.  And there enough fabric left to make a dress or another top. It was pretreated with a tumble in the washing machine and dryer. No issues with the pretreatment process.

Now, there is just one problem. This top will look great with my last sewing project. I might have to raid her closet. Just kidding Mom.

The Stats:

Fabric:  1.7 metres

Pattern:  OOP Butterick 5561

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Sewing machine, serger, cutting table, scissors, pins, thread for the the serger and sewing machine, iron, ironing board, and a whole lot of love for Mama R.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 10 October 2016

Basic Black Skirt

Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating this weekend. I hope those who were celebrating all that we are thankful for, have full hearts and bellies.  

It was nice to have a long weekend because it was mostly spent in bed. Sinus infection, a Thanksgiving tradition. I was premature in my excitement that snow was in the weather forecast last week as not a flake of snow was seen in these parts. ~sigh~

I did manage to get dressed today and make it down to the sewing machine. I wanted to sew but my pounding head wasn't into anything too challenging. 

Out-of-print Butterick 5790 was just the project with two seams, an elastic waist, and hem. The pattern is not my current size but since I made it work with this version it is back in rotation as a keeper. The fabric, a black ponte knit, would create a basic wardrobe piece that would be comfortable to wear to work.  

It should have been an easy project but I spent quite a bit of time sewing the side seams trying out different needles before I found a stretch needle that didn't unravel or break my thread. Once I found the perfect needle it was smooth sewing. I shortened the length by two inches and sewed a one inch hem.  

The Stats:  

Fabric:   1.10 metres 

Elastic:  1 metre

Pattern:  OOP Butterick 5790

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Sewing machine, serger, pins, cutting table, scissors, thread clippers, sewing machine needles, polyester thread, cough syrup, kleenex, tylenol, and tea.  

Happy Sewing!  

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

I Thought It Would Never Get Here...

This evening's news contains the word

Yup, snow. I will admit that I'm pretty excited and grateful to hear this (don't hate me). Not only does this mark the end of allergy season... [insert happy dance] Guess what came in the mail today?  

A vintage ski suit pattern, Kwik Sew 760!  

I want to make these for work where I spend quite a bit of time outdoors. I have a pair of snow pants from Costco that sit at the waistline and don't keep me warm if there is a wind blowing the cold up my jacket. And I don't want to spend over $500 for a bib-style ski-pant that I know won't fit me off the rack.

The goal is to make a proper fitting pair that aren't bunched up in the legs. This Kwik Sew pattern seems to be a good start. I'm going to need pockets, lots of pockets. Can you believe the ski-pant pattern doesn't come with pockets? And a muslin.   

Have you ever made ski-pants? This will be a new challenge for me. Any tips?

But first, I have some sewing to do for Mama R.  

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 3 October 2016

Monday's Mending Pile

I'm so impressed with Sweden right now. I've never been there, maybe one day. It sounds like such a progressive and cool place to visit.  


Sweden is looking at giving tax breaks to those who embrace the "make do and mend" philosophy. Per Bolund, Sweden's Minister for Financial Markets and Consumer Affairs, states that their vision isn't necessarily about consuming less rather consuming better. Amen to that!  
There is an increased knowledge that we need to make our things last longer in order to reduce materials’ consumption. ~Per Bolund.  
It is about time. After decades of cheap clothing and goods being produced to fall apart at least there is someone seeing the devastating environmental impact this is having on the world.  

Happy Mending!


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...