Thursday, 31 August 2017

August in Review...


Clockwise top L to R:  Silk dress, Tessuti Patterns Eva dress; black and taupe sateen dress, Simplicity 2372; black ITY knit dress, Vogue 9268; cotton apron, out-of-print (OOP) Butterick 5263, six pairs of cotton knit panties, Simplicity 8229. 
The Fasts:

I will admit that I almost fell off the ready-to-wear (RTW) fast a week ago when I spotted an ankle length wool sweater coat at Winners. Almost. My will power failed me in the fabric store. I picked up the quilting fabric for Mama R's new apron when clearance fabrics were marked down an additional 50% off. My bad. There were some others that made it into the fabric stash. Oh and there was lovely silk satin to line a jacket for Mama R. I'll try again next month.    

The Stats:

Quantity Used from the stash this Month 
Quantity Used this Year
Added to the Stash this year
Basting Tape
0 metres
3.83 metres
Bias Tape
9.1 metres
15.6 metres
10 metres


Cord Stopper

16.8 metres
32.3 metres
38 metres
15 metres
94.6 metres
Fusible Tape
4 metres
43.26 metres
6 rolls
Hand needles

Hook and Eyes

0.5 metres
6.7 metres
6 metres
Lace trim
2.6 metres
Pattern (new)
Pattern (previously used--TNT)

1.1 metres
5.3 metres
Serger needles

Serger thread

Sewing machine needles



2 metres
7 metres


The Plans:

National Sewing Month begins tomorrow and the theme is to sew for the beauty of it. I have quite a bit of sewing to do for my beautiful Mom. She wants a new jacket in black. I have a lovely napped wool fabric set aside for that project and splurged on some silk lining. And then she would like another dress in a navy satin back crepe. There is an Eva dress to make for a friend. For myself I would really like to concentrate on sewing some comfortable pieces of sleepwear. I'll see how these plans work out.    

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 28 August 2017

In Sewing News Today...

Good morning lovely people! I'm in the most amazing mood because the leaves are starting to fall off the trees and that is a sure-tell-all sign that autumn is fast approaching. I love autumn and the idea of fall sewing. And the fabric stores are starting to fill their shelves with fall fabrics. 

Polyester knit fabric I couldn't resist.  Source:  Fabricland 
Lots of polyester which doesn't necessarily make me happy because I'd rather have a natural fibre wardrobe and polyester doesn't do a great job at keeping me warm on those cooler days fast approaching. I will admit that I did pick up a piece just because of the lovely paisley design. I'm a sucker for a paisley. I did however resist the beautiful rose printed scuba knit, recalling the sewing and wear challenges from the last time I sewed with those knits. And to tell the truth I have enough to sew as I did stock up on lots of lovely wool suiting pieces when Mitchell Fabrics closed.  

I've been thinking about what charity sewing I want to do this year and while going though my fabric stash I realized that I have quite a bit of wool coating fabric. I'm going to dig out my copy of Vogue 9219 and make a couple of little girl coats for Koats for Kids, a local charity that supplies warm winter clothes to kids.  

Their website states that they are in need of girls and boys coats sizes 4 to 10. I think that I can dig through my extensive collection of winter hats and gloves to donate some of those items now that I'm no longer working as a TA in the school system. I used to carry around extra gloves and mitts during recess duties for the kids that came to school without or were wearing ones that were soaked from playing in the snow. Well, now that I've got some plans in place for some cool weather sewing, I should get to work gathering all the supplies. 

Well, that's all in sewing news today.  

Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Unselfish Sewing: The Panties Edition

I have a whole list of items that I need to sew for Mama R including cotton undies.  

I turned to my favourite pattern of 2017, Simplicity 8229, for this task. Cutting out six pairs at once, this project became an activity of production sewing.  

There is one pair not like the others. Can you spot it? It's hiding at the bottom of the pile.

Six are in a cotton knit and the Sunday's best pair on the right are stretch lace underlined with lightweight cotton knit. All of the knit and lace fabrics were sourced from Fabricland. The picot elastic is found at Northwest Fabrics.  The pattern, well the pattern is quickly becoming my favourite of 2017 even though I've only made the panties. I'm a fan of this pattern because the fit is perfect and it's a well drafted pattern with well written instructions and illustrations. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this one.

The Stats:

Fabric:  4 metres

Elastic:  16.8 metres

Pattern:  Simplicity 8229

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Sewing machine, walking foot, cutting table, scissors, clippers, tweezers, iron, ironing board, serger, threads (for the sewing machine and serger), ball point needle, brushes, sewing machine vacuum to clean the machine of lint and dust, good tunes, many breaks to stretch, heating pad for the back after sitting too long, and coffee.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 21 August 2017

Strawberry Fields Apron

I picked up this strawberry field print quilting cotton fabric and seam binding yesterday to make Mom an apron. She's been waiting for an apron for a long time a very long time. Mama R really liked the apron I made six years ago with OOP Butterick 5263. Except she didn't want a reversible one. She said it was too heavy to wear.  

She just wanted a simple single layer apron that could protect her dresses when working in the kitchen. I still used OOP Butterick 5263 to recreate one for Mama R. Instead of sewing two layers together, I finished the edges of the neckline, armhole and hem with red seam binding.   

I had some really cute buttons that I wanted to put on the back but Mama R wasn't having any of that, insisting that she's just going to pull it over her head and wouldn't want to fuss with buttons. The back is stitched closed, after using my seam ripper to remove the first attempt at a buttonhole. 

And look at how cute she is in her new apron!  

The Stats:  

Fabric:  2 metres 100% cotton  

Bias Tape:  2 packages of pre-made bias tape.  

Pattern:  OOP Butterick 5263

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Cutting table, pins, scissors, ruler, measuring tape, sewing machine, walking foot, buttonhole foot, tailor's chalk, iron, ironing board, serger, 4 spools of threads (cotton for the sewing machine and polyester threads for the serger), seam ripper, and coffee.  

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Retail Therapy...

Okay, my birthday was low key this year. First year in almost a decade that I worked on my actual birthday. This is great news because I'm usually laid off for the summers. And lay-offs are difficult. But my birthday also fell when one of my oldest and dearest friends was packing up and moving away. Of course, I wish her and her husband well but it's sad to see them move. So, some retail therapy was in order. This is my excuse for breaking my fabric fast this month and I'm sticking to it.     

I found these lovely fabrics at my local Fabricland store. They are going to be made into things for others but they just make me happy.  

Seriously, how awesome is this print? I want to frame it but instead I'm going to turn this fabric into some reusable shopping bags. It was one of the home decor fabrics.   

This one is a quilting cotton that I'm reserving for some more microwave bowl cozies.  

Same with this fly print, I wish the colour showed up better, the background colour is actually blue. I thought it's a hilarious print for soup bowl cozies. 

I love this strawberry field print, another quilting cotton but this one is reserved for an apron for Mama R.  

I did do some selfish shopping as well. A little birthday present for myself.    

I do love a paisley design and this red and black knit caught my eye. It is part of the new fall line showed up at the store. And I picked up two metres to make myself another Marcy Tilton skirt, Vogue 9060. Now, I just need to get to work.  

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 19 August 2017

It's Like It's My Birthday Or Something

Ever since Fabricland/Fabricville stopped carrying Simplicity patterns the only way to get those lovely patterns has been to order them online or search for them on Etsy or Ebay. So, since they disappeared from the Canadian retail brick-n-motor landscape my Simplicity pattern purchases dropped significantly. It's sad because they have some really cool designers lately and many have been TNT patterns.  

And some super cute kids patterns as well. Seriously, how cute is this pattern?  

Well, that all changed when I spotted this instagram post. It's like they knew I didn't have a chance to celebrate my birthday earlier this week and they wanted to mark the occasion. So I picked up a couple of birthday presents for moi. Squeal! Okay, there's also a pattern for Mama R.  

Yes, all those must-have-essential and too-cute-for-words patterns are available at 40% off with the discount code found on their instagram post for this weekend. 

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

One of the Most Comfortable Dresses I've Made: Vogue 9268

One of the fall 2017 Vogue Pattern release patterns that caught my eye was Kathryn Brenne's Vogue 9268. I couldn't wait to get to work on this one, a pattern for a knit dress with that side drape, I was instantly sold.  

As soon as it hit the local fabric store, I picked up my copy. Despite the fact that it is currently on sale on the MBV website, I couldn't wait for it to make it's way through the postal system. Would you believe it sold out on the website at the beginning of the sale? Actually, it's not that hard to believe. I have noticed that it is back in stock and it's still on sale for another day. But I digress...

This was meant to be my toile. I used some interlock twist yarn (Ity) knit fabric just because I had a lot of this fabric in my stash and it's a two-way stretch with the required crossgrain stretch. I actually have a cotton knit that I want to make this pattern up in but I will admit the Ity knit has a lovely drape. 

I did have to tweak the pattern, a wee bit. Okay, a lot. I'm talking about the length and my five-foot-one frame. Love that there were markings to lengthen or shorten the skirt portion. Even with cutting the shorter version, I still had to adjust the length. 

I could actually benefit from shortening the sleeves a little more. Maybe on the next one, I'll make it with three-quarter length sleeves. And I did change the shape of the neckline. Instead of the V-neck shape, I changed it to a rounded neckline referring to the changes I made to the Marcy Tilton tops, Vogue 9057

I used Knit-N-Stable™ on neckline, sleeve and hem instead of cutting out the interfacing pieces. I love that this pattern comes with pattern pieces for interfacing the hem. The only pattern pieces I used were the dress front, back, and the sleeve. The dress is cut out as a size medium and I made one more change. I cut the front and back pattern piece on the fold, eliminating the centre seams. I quite like it without the centre seams.  

Now, I need to get busy on the cotton knit version.  

The Stats:

Fabric:  4.2 metres polyester knit (I used more than the required amount because of a cutting error and had to re-cut the dress front piece.)

Fusible Tape:  3 metres Knit-N-Stable 

Pattern:  Vogue 9268

Additional Tools and Supplies:  Pins, tape, cutting table, scissors, thread clippers, sewing machine, serger, walking foot, iron, ironing board, measuring tape, curved ruler, tailor's chalk, and coffee.

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 13 August 2017

My Day of Sewing Bloopers

I should have been able to sew up Simplicity 2372 with my eyes closed. I've made so many versions of this pattern, it should have been an easy peasy project.  

And to be honest, looking at it now you wouldn't believe the bloopers that occurred along the way. Maybe sewing while stuffed up and a sinus headache wasn't the best idea, but I had promised Mom I would sew this earlier in the week. And I was itching to do sewing after six days of not, I was starting to experience withdrawal symptoms.   

The first blooper came when I tried to zip up the zipper and realized it was all twisted. I wish I could say that this is the first time this has happened but that wouldn't be truthful. I haven't been sleeping well this week with being all stuffed up so we can throw in there lack of sleep this week. Now, that is being truthful. But sometimes you just have to feed the need to sew and work past the tiredness.  

I'm glad that I did because I was able to fix the issue before calling it a night. Everything was going well until it came to the pockets. When I clipped a big hole in it.   

Yes, I did. Snipped right through the upper corner of the pocket. It's amazing that Mom even has another dress hanging in her closet.  

The fabric is a fairly recent find. I found this beautiful floral print stretch sateen at Fabricland. The lining fabric is from the now-closed Mitchell Fabrics and has been in my stash for a long time. And the interfacing used was a light-weight fusible interfacing. Both fabrics were pre-treated with a tumble through the washing machine and dryer and pressed before they were cut.  

The dress pattern is from Simplicity 2372 and has been modified to Mom's requests,

  • Zipper in the back
  • Centre front seam removed and cut on the fold
  • Hemline shortened
  • Sleeve lengtened
  • Neckline adjustments
Despite all the bloopers that occurred in the past twenty-four hours, I'm thrilled with how everything worked out in the end.  

The Stats:  

Fabric:  2.10 metres

Interfacing:  0.5 metres

Zipper:  22" invisible zipper

Pattern:  Simplicity 2372

Additional Tools and Supplies:  Sewing machine, serger, threads, hand needle, seam ripper, blind hem foot, walking foot, regular foot, invisible zipper foot, zipper foot, iron, ironing board, scissors, thread clippers, rulers, measuring tape, pins, pin cushions, tailor's ham, sleeve roll, tailor's chalk, good tunes (The White Stripes), tea, coffee, and there was an attempt to take a nap.  

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Advice for Beginners

Yesterday, I was approached by someone who doesn't sew but wants to learn. They wanted advice on purchasing a sewing machine. The advice I offered was to do the research and try it out before making a decision. I also shared my thoughts on my own sewing machines and how the one that cost the least amount of money was a true treasure.  

It is hard to give a recommendation for a sewing machine because I think it is a very personal decision and that it depends on what you want to make, the type of sewing you want to do, and how much time and expense you want to invest. But I shared what information I thought would be helpful even though I didn't feel I was the best source. I don't have an extensive knowledge of the many brands out there. I feel strongly that someone has to do their own research. 

And I was asked about what patterns I sew with and well, as you all know, I'm basically a Vogue pattern sewer. I like the fit and I enjoy the challenge of their designer patterns. But for a beginner, I recommended trying McCall's "Learn to Sew for Fun" patterns. I think that McCall's does an excellent job with offering beginner patterns. 

So, it has me thinking about what sewing advice I would give a beginner. 
  1. Practice. No one is born a naturally skilled sewer, it takes practice.   
  2. Invest in a seam ripper. We all make mistakes so don't ever get discouraged if you have to dig out a seam ripper.  
  3. Hand-stitching is just as important as knowing how to machine stitch. Don't underestimate the importance of those unseen hand stitches to the final look of your project.  
  4. Never throw out the fabric scraps after you finish cutting out your project. Keep them near by to practice on, it is a good way to check the quality of your needle and test out your stitching and tension before you get started.   
  5. One needle does not fit all
  6. There is a difference between pressing and ironing. Never skip on pressing as you sew. It will make a world of difference in the final outcome.  
  7. Don't sew over pins! Please don't. It could cause your needle to break, damage your fabric or worse.  
  8. Take care to cut your pattern following the grain line markings and transferring all the required markings. The investment in time will pay off in the end. Pattern instruction sheets have a glossary of terms that you should read and understand before you begin work on your pattern. Just like following a recipe, read the instructions first before starting a project.   
  9. Wax your thread to prevent it from getting tangled when hand-stitching or sewing on buttons.  
  10. Have fun! Sewing is supposed to be relaxing. If it's not, it's time to get up put on some good tunes, dance a little, make a cup of tea or do something else. Give yourself permission to enjoy the creative process. It's all about the journey of discovery. Enjoy it.  
That's it, now that I've given it more thought, my sewing advice for beginners.  

Happy Sewing!  

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

I Need a Plan!

There is nothing like a rainy August day and a few leaves on the ground to make me realize that summer will soon be coming to an end. And the sad part of this is that I haven't gotten around to sewing plans that I wanted to make. Part recovery from the injury, part lost sewing mojo and part life just got in the way.  

I picked up this pattern back in November 2016 (pre-injury) with plans to have that top made in time for the summer. I have still yet to make it. 

This Oki Style pattern was picked up over a year ago (March 2016) and I was crazy excited about sewing this up, still am. Life just got busy and it fell to the sides.  

Does this happen to you? Big plans that sometimes don't come to be because of unforeseen circumstances or procrastination or perhaps a lack of planning. Or perhaps you try out a pattern and then you spend the next few weeks remaking it because it's too fabulous (insert Eva dress that I've been distracted with lately).  

Or are you the type of sewist that I envy who can stick to a plan regardless of what life and pattern companies throw at us?  

The only plan I have in the near further is to make a dress for Mom and then an Eva dress for a friend. And then maybe I'll get to making a sewing plan for myself.  

Happy Sewing!  

Monday, 7 August 2017

For Some Reason...

I feel like eating a piece of Lemon Meringue pie. It might be because I skipped dinner last night to work on this dress. Plus throw in my sweet tooth into the mix. Or perhaps it's the colours of this silk fabric?    

This is the latest version of the Eva dress by Tessuti patterns. Oh. My. Goodness. This might be my favourite version so far and not because it's invoking thoughts of pie.  

I made all the changes to this dress as I did the last version and I'm just thrilled with the final fit. I changed the shape of the neckline by raising it all around by 1" providing more coverage and still allowing the design to remain a pullover style. The short sleeves were lengthened another inch and a half. The seam allowances were sewn with 5/8" instead of 1/2" allowances. The pockets were raised an inch and the hem was shortened by two inches.  

Inside look.  

Even though there was enough fabric to make my own seam binding, I used up some left over seam bindings that I found in my stash. I used some regular old white double seam binding for the neckline and sleeves. I didn't have enough for the hem but I did have just enough satin binding left over from this project. It felt good to use up supplies from the stash.    

Once again, I didn't follow the instructions, changing the order of construction. The only reason is that I felt comfortable doing it my way. Why set-in fitted sleeves when you can flat pin them? This is a perfectly drafted pattern making it easy to do.  
  1. Sew the shoulder seams.  As mentioned previously I made this dress with 5/8" seam allowances. Press open.  
  2. Reinforce the neckline seam with Knit-N-Stable fusible tape. Insert seam binding.
  3. Flat pin the sleeve cap to the armhole seam.  
  4. Sew the centre front and back seam of the upper skirt.  
  5. Attach the upper skirt to the bodice pieces.
  6. Sew the centre front and back seam of the lower skirt.
  7. Attach the lower skirt to the upper skirt matching centre seams.   
  8. Serge curve edges of the pocket pieces.  
  9. Attach the pockets to the upper skirt section with 3/8" seam.  
  10. Serge the raw edges of the pockets and press open.  
  11. Pin the sides, pockets and sleeves and stitch.  
  12. Finish the sleeve hem with seam binding.  
  13. Finish the lower skirt hem with seam binding.    

The fabric is a silk fabric that I found in the home decor department.  

If it looks familiar, you might have seen it in another colour when I made this top. It is a medium-weight silk that I found at my local Fabricland store. I often find treasured pieces of fabric in the home decor department and these were some of my favourite finds. And there is still some left on the bolt. It was pre-treated with a tumble through the washing machine and dryer and a pressing on the silk setting. It handled the pre-treatment process very well. I will say that I had to work quickly and carefully with this fabric. The threads on the cross-grain certainly frayed as I work and if I wasn't careful the wrist pin cushion I was using would catch on some of those fraying threads. The seams down the sides didn't fray as much as the hems.  

Well, the latest version of the Eva dress will be the last one for awhile. There are other projects that I need to get to and Mama R has been patiently waiting for another dress or two. I should get to work on those.    

The Stats:  

Fabric:  2.7 metres 100% silk

Seam binding:  2.8 metres 

Fusible Tape:  1 metre Knit-N-Stable™ tape

Pattern:  The Eva Dress by Tessuti patterns

Additional Tools and Supplies:  Cutting table, silk pins, scissors, thread clippers, iron, ironing board, sewing machine, walking foot, serger, threads for the sewing machine and serger, measuring tape, tailor's chalk, tailor's ham, sleeve ham, good tunes and coffee.  

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Out of Necessity Came a Good Idea

I don't know why I didn't organize my fabric stash like this in the beginning, I never thought of it until I lost a couple of treasures.  

I've lost this piece of fabric. No clue where it can be, yet. I'm still searching. I just know that it is lost in that sewing space that could use some serious organization. 

The final straw came when I couldn't locate this wool fabric that I had in mind for Tessuti's Kyoto Vest pattern. The wool binding I've been swooning over is currently on sale at Fabricland so I picked some up. Excited at the prospect of sewing this project, I went searching for the fabric I had in mind. Of course, I couldn't find it until I started tidying up and many hours later.  

Marie Kondo doesn't have a chapter on organizing fabric in her New York Times Best Seller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Which leads me to consider that there might be a best seller if one of us could leave our sewing spaces and write a book dedicated to organizing sewing spaces.  But I digress... 

I put my pinking shears and stapler to good use and started clipping a small piece of each fabric and started to document the what and where of my fabric stash.  

I knew I had a big fabric stash, I just didn't realize how big until I started measuring and listing it on sheets of paper.  

It feels great to have this documented and to be able to quickly find where I have stored it without dragging out and searching bins, uncertain if it were actually there. Another bonus is how much easier it will be to consider a fabric from the stash for a project. I am really hoping that this organizational binder of my fabric will help with the fabric fast. Fingers crossed.  

Now, if I can just find that yellow and white silk fabric.  

Happy Sewing!   

Thursday, 3 August 2017

In Sewing News Today...

Vogue released their Fall 2017 collection last night and over on Instagram this afternoon, things got quite political over this pattern.  

Yup, Vogue 9266 stirred up some heated rhetoric when someone commented that it appears as an endorsement of a political figure by Vogue Patterns. The message has since been removed but there is evidence of it lingering on other's comments. I think that was a bit of a stretch and it is unfortunate that the photo and illustration of the said outfit was the same colour as the one worn by the political figure's wife. It certainly does look like a copy of a now famous outfit and does invoke some pretty strong emotions. It's the copy part of this pattern that doesn't sit well with me. I don't want to look like someone else or copy some one's style, that is the reason why I sew but I have to admit when Carlos posted a video about this jacket, I didn't make the connection. I just loved the jacket. It's the only part of the pattern I'm interested in. Now, I'm thinking about another jacket pattern that I have in my collection that may also work with the Eva dress pattern.  

OOP Vogue 8717 has the short bolero look that I'm looking for. I just might go with this pattern instead and just avoid any negative attention that the other pattern sadly is attracting. It is a lovely design but better safe than sorry. And besides, the Vogue 8717 is just as lovely.  

In other sewing news, I'm looking forward to the long weekend because I will have three consecutive days off and I plan to be sewing. Hmmm, now what to sew?  

Well, that's all in sewing news today.  Happy Sewing!  

Wednesday, 2 August 2017


Have you seen the new Fall 2017 release from Vogue?  I became aware when Marcy Tilton sent out an email for her new pattern, Vogue 9272, which led me to the Vogue Pattern site and then ~gasp!~ I think I might be tempted by more than a few on this release.  

The Marcy Tilton top pattern in question that caught my eye. I have to admit that I really like the fit the armhole on this and the amount of ease around the mid-section, now I can be really tempted by this one.  

Oh and this dress, Vogue 1559!  Off-the-shoulder shirtdress, seriously Vogue!  Squeal, love it.
But then this one, Vogue 1553, might be a better choice. I wouldn't have to drop any pounds and suck in my stomach.  
For some reason, I do like Vogue 1556.  It is not really my style, but I think it is that belted waist. It wouldn't work on my body type though, so moving along.
 Vogue 1564 is a cute raincoat. Not on the need list but I did stop to admire it.  
Now, Vogue 9266, I need that jacket pattern. Upcoming formal event and that jacket would look good with Tessuti's Eva dress pattern. Too bad the pattern illustration reminds me of that first lady look what's-her-name wore. I'm going to have to make it funky to wipe that imagery out of my mind. I'm not looking for a pseudo celebrity copy-cat look.    

Oh and Kathryn Brenne, you're quickly becoming one of my favourite designers. Excuse the fan-girl moment but this Vogue 9268 design is swoon-worthy.  

And who is this Julio Cesar? Vogue 9269 is a sweet shirtdress. I'm glad to see all the shirt dresses this season. If I thought I could pull it off, I would lengthen it for sure.  

I'm starting to get excited about fall sewing. How about you, any favourites?

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...