Monday, 31 December 2018

Top 5 of 2018: Goals

As 2018 is coming to an end and a new year is quickly on its way the question remains, what's next?  

1.  I would really like to finish sewing some projects that I've cut out many moons ago that have been abandoned for far too long. I started off with finishing OOP Vogue 1306 yesterday and there are a few others on the forgotten pile that I would like to continue working on.  

2.  More charity sewing projects and sewing for kids. Defiantly, more sewing for others.   

3.  Practical sewing.  There will be some selfish sewing.  I could use some new underwear.  

4. Close down the Etsy shop, with the recent increase in fees it just doesn't make sense anymore.  The patterns and other items once they expire won't be renewed.  I believe the last pattern will expire in the spring.  And then I'll figure out what to do with the collection.  

5.  Sew a pair of boot cut jeans.  I'm sure I'm going to have to work on a muslin or two. 

How about you?  Do you have any sewing goals lined up for the new year ahead?  Well, before I sign off I would like to thank you for all your kind words and encouragement in the comment section and sharing a laugh or two at the sewing bloopers as they pop up.  Please know that connecting with like-minded sewing folks fills my heart with joy as I admire your many creations and I am looking forward to the continued inspiration that I find along this journey.  

Happy Sewing!  

And Happy New Year.  

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Long Time in the Making: OOP Vogue 1306

This project has been sitting in my forgotten pile after I goofed and stitched the perfect placket and then ruined it by sewing the gathered bust darts on the wrong side. Thankfully, there was enough left over fabric to cut another front piece. My only fear is that I started my day as day number six with no coffee, will ample amounts of water help to keep me focus?  

I wasn't willing to risk it, and had a coffee because I love the weight of this cotton knit fabric. It would have made me sad if I ruined the last remnant. And if it turned out it would be an item that I'm sure would get a lot of use.

I decided to omit the front placket and make it a plain neckline. It wasn't that I was scared to make the same mistake, I found this photo from Coco's version and thought it would be more practical for my lifestyle. Even though I like the look of the placket opening, without it this would be a more conservative look for work. I'm thrilled with how it turned out. One more change, was to straighten the hemline.

My favourite design feature, the gathered dart, remained. The pattern is now out-of-print (OOP) but there are a couple of copies currently available on Etsy. I'm holding onto my copy as I'm sure there may be another version, maybe with longer sleeves.  

The Stats

Fabric:  2.5 metres

Knit-N-Stable Tape:  2.8 meters

Pattern:  OOP Vogue 1306

Additional Tools and Supplies:  Cutting table, pins, scissors, thread clippers, sewing machine, serger, threads, iron, ironing board, tweezers, measuring gauge, measuring tape, tailor's chalk and coffee.  

Happy Sewing!  

Friday, 28 December 2018

Velvet Loungewear: Vogue 9329

I didn't know what to expect from Vogue 9329.  When this pattern was first released I thought it was cute but not my style with the above knee length shown on the pattern envelope. It wasn't until I saw this version that I gave it a second thought. Melanie is five-two and the length looks lovely on her. I'm a bit shorter than Melanie so the hope is that the length would be more to my comfort level.

It didn't work out as I planned. I planned on making a dress but I do believe I ended up with some sleep / loungewear instead. It wasn't the length that was the issue. The back hemline seems to be raised compared to the front. This was a design element in another Marcy Tilton design that I made and to be completely honest, I don't care for the effect.  And the shoulder seam is moved towards the back and actually doesn't feel all that comfortable and then there is the fit. It's described as "close-fitting through the bust" yet I beg to differ.  I cut a size medium (12-14) and it fits as a loose-fitting pullover dress that feels more like loungewear. Pair with leggings and wool socks and I can hang out in this with a good book and cup of tea.  

The pattern is rated as easy.  However, choosing stretch velvet as my fabric choice added a degree or more to the challenge. I wasn't really looking for a challenge nor am I all smitten with the 2018 velvet trend. This piece of fabric was left over from the 1990s and just waiting to be cleared out of the stash. 

Sewing with Stretch Velvet

Stretch velvet as I mentioned posed some challenges.  The first thing to consider is that it is a fabric with a nap and pile. Laying out the pattern pieces in the same direction that you want the nap to fall is key.  Weights instead of pins worked out best with this fabric. 

When it came to sewing, I used diagonal basting before heading to the sewing machine.  All the seams were sewn with the lightening bolt stitch and finished with the serger.  Using fusible interfacing posed another challenge as I couldn't press this fabric and opted to steam the interfacing.

The Stats

Fabric:  2.2 metres

Interfacing:  0.5 metres

Knit-N-Stable tape:  3 metres

Pattern:  Vogue 9329

Additional Tools and Supplies:  Cutting table, ironing board, iron, scissors, clappers  and other assorted items used as weights, tailor's pencil, serger needle, tweezers, hand needle, threads, and a cup of tea.  

Happy Sewing!     

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Top 5 of 2018: Reflections

Top 5 Reflections:  Looking back, what trends do you see in your sewing?  What have you learned about yourself or changed about your attitude?  

Well, I can't look back with out looking at the statistics first.  

I made a total of 38 items.  Sixteen items for myself.  Fifteen items for Mom.  And seven child clothing pieces that were gifted.  These consisted of:  
  • 2 coats
  • 4 skirts
  • 4 sweaters
  • 12 panties
  • 9 dresses
  • 3 pairs of pants
  • 3 tops
  • 1 jacket
And I managed to de-stash seventy-five metres of fabric, six zippers, five snaps, fourteen metres of elastic, nine and a half metres of Knit-N-Stable tape, forty-five buttons, eight metres of ribbon and interfacing and many spools of thread.  Oh and throw in there a few more than a few sewing machine needles.  

1.  I started 2018 with the realization that avoiding man-made fibres is a healthier alternative for both myself and the environment and I continued on that quest.  A majority of the items that I made (with this exception and the lining and underlining of my winter coat) were items made from natural fibres. 

Solid colour is 100% hemp, floral is 100% cotton.  

2.  It is tough to stick to a Ready-to-wear Fast when you work at an organization that supports charity causes via clothing.  

Yes, I failed at the 2018 RTW Fast.  It was for a cause that I support and even though RTW t-shirts are not my idea of comfortable attire, I will admit that I was quite impressed with the quality of this item.  It's made out of 100% cotton, and not that lightweight cotton we're accustomed to find in the RTW landscape.  This one is made in the Dominican Republic out of heavy cotton.

The second RTW item was a zipper front sweatshirt hoodie with my workplace logo.  It's made in Honduras and is a 50% cotton / 50% polyester garment.  I know, I'm supposed to be avoiding RTW items and man-made fibres so this one turned out to be a double fail on my part. Let's just say, I took one for the team.  

3.  I wasn't tempted by many sewing pattern designs that came out this year.  Everything that I made this year were out of patterns released prior to 2018 or rediscovered in a second hand shop.  

Second hand shop score, uncut and factory-folded.

4.   Sewing for others gave me more joy than sewing for myself.  

5.   I lost a lot of weight this year and I'm trying my best to keep it off.  In that, I've noticed that my me-made wardrobe doesn't fit as it once did.  This dress now needs a belt. My pants hang and the hem needs to be altered so they don't drag on the floor.  There might be a lot of alterations in my near future if I want to hold onto my me-made wardrobe.  Fit continues to be a challenge.  

Happy Sewing!    

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Top 5 of 2018: The Misses

Top 5 Misses: Not everything works out, so this is your chance to share the 5 projects that didn’t turn out, never got worn, were accidentally destroyed in the wash, or were otherwise less successful!

1.  I had high hopes for this project but it wasn't meant to be.  It stalled here when I realized that it wasn't going to fit.

2.  Oh dear, looking back at photos I realize there are more misses than I thought there would be, introducing this little number.  

It's once again about the fit, too snug from the waist to hip area and the pleat doesn't lay flat.  Just. Can't. Breathe.

3.  I miscalculated the placement of the pockets on this dress.  At first, they were placed too low.   And then I tried again only to make things worse and they weren't even and lopsided.  I haven't got around to trying again.  Hopefully, the third time is the charm.    

4.  I don't wear this one too often even though I receive compliments and inquiries every time I do. I guess it's just too fancy and I don't feel comfortable with all the attention it receives.  .  

5.  I didn't preshrink the fabric before I cut this one out which turned out to be okay, so I thought, because it came out a little on the big side.  And then it shrunk width and lengthwise.  Oh, and then there is the hemline on the cowl that should have been rolled the other way.  

Happy Sewing!


Sunday, 16 December 2018

Top 5 of 2018: The Hits

So, I'm supposed to chose the five most worn or most loved makes from 2018. This should be easy because there wasn't a whole lot of sewing this year.  But it's a tough decision.  My most loved makes of the year are not my most worn.  Actually, I'm not sure if they have been getting a lot of wear.  In 2018 I did a lot of charity / gift sewing this year.  So perhaps I'll start with the most worn items.   

The Most Worn List

#1.  This top, made with McCall's 7630, has been worn a great deal.  It's conservative enough to wear to work, neutral colour that goes with many different options and it's raw silk which makes it comfortable even when I was sweating at work during the heat wave.

2.  The summer heat wave did come to an end, seasons changed and I had a need for a winter coat that could keep me warm during a deep freeze. I think I did it with this one, Marcy Tilton's OOP Vogue 8934, melton wool fashion fabric, quilted lining fabric and underlined with microfleece.   

3.  Paco Peralta's Vogue 1567 skirt pattern caught my eye when it was released in 2017 but it wasn't until early this year that I finally got around to making one in a silk wool blend fabric.  Then a second British wool navy version was made later in the year and the two of them have become most worn items for sure.  

4.  Another skirt made it to the most worn list, Rachel Comey's OOP Vogue 1247.  This one became a replacement for one that was ready to be retired.  It's a comfortable work wear basic.

5.  These pajama bottoms might be a recent make but they are quickly becoming a go-to item.

The Most Loved List

Now, the most loved sewing projects are a totally different list.  The most loved items I sewed were not for me, they were gifted to others.

1.  A cardigan sweater made with the most beautiful Italian virgin wool that I picked up with a gift certificate to EmmaOneSock I was lucky enough to win during National Sewing month.

2.  Little girl dresses!

3.  I was over-the-moon thrilled when I discovered this vintage pattern at a second hand store in mint condition.  I used some vintage denim that has aged in my stash.

4.  And a little wee jacket.

5.  The simplest things that came from the sewing machine seemed to bring the most joy.

Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Vogue 9217: PJ Bottoms

Flannel pajamas, could there be anything more cozy? A good book, a cup of warm milk, a pair of wool socks, and flannel jammies and I'm soon ready for bed. But not quite yet. I still have a pajama top to make to go with these bottoms.

First let me talk about Vogue 9217, it has become my go-to pajama bottom pattern. 

This pants pattern is a quick make because it's perfectly drafted. I love that it has generously sized pockets and a partial elastic waist.  Of course, I shortened the length and on these ones I changed the shape of the hemline since these are my winter pajama bottoms and keeping my feet warm is key.  

Looking at the line drawing for this pattern, the rest of the pattern options could also work as sleep or lounge wear. I've only used the pants pattern for this type of sewing.  

This fabric jumped out of the large selection of flannels. Moose wearing plaid, how cute! I found this cotton flannel at Northwest Fabrics and left some on the bolt.  It's super soft. Of course, I pre-treated the fabric and there was a noticeable shrinkage. No surprise there. What was a surprise was when the sale person who was cutting out my fabric told me that I didn't need as much as I requested. She informed me that she made pants with only one metre of fabric. And when I pointed out that it was a narrow width piece she insisted that one metre would suffice. I don't know if she thought I was making shorts or trying to save the fabric for herself. It is a pretty cute print. Needless to say, I'm glad that I stuck to my calculations and it turned out it was just enough.  

The Stats

Fabric:  2.7 metres

Elastic:  0.7 metres

Pattern:  Vogue 9217

Additional Supplies & Tools:  Cutting table, pins, pin cushion, tailor's chalk, scissors, iron, ironing board, sewing machine, serger, threads, and seam ripper.  

Happy Sewing!


Sunday, 25 November 2018

Living Dangerously

The latest version of Simplicity 8529 is in a winter white. A very dangerous colour for a coffee and tea drinker.  

To be honest, I was actually thinking about using this mystery knit fabric for Vogue 9330 but it wasn't enough yardage for the muslin. It was, however, the perfect amount for Simplicity 8529.   

This pattern has turned out to be a favourite for sure. It is well drafted and all the piece go together with no issues. It's certainly an easy project for a beginner.  

Version A is my favourite of all the versions offered in this pattern.  There is a certain vintage vibe with that funnel neckline that I just adore. And the relaxed fit is very comfortable.   

The Stats

Fabric:  1.5 metres

PatternSimplicity 8529

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Sewing machine, walking foot, serger, threads, pins, tailor's chalk, iron, ironing board, scissors, and a hand sewing needle.

Happy Sewing!  

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

To Be Gifted...

I don't personally know any little gals that could use a little dress but I truly enjoy sewing Vogue 1455.  So I'm really thrilled when I have an opportunity to make one.  I'm sad to report that this is now an out-of-print (OOP) pattern because this is such a cute dress.  It is still available on the Vogue website as an OOP pattern so if you want to give it a try, it's still available but for a limited time and at the OOP pattern price.  

When I offer to make a dress for someone's daughter, my only request is that I get to choose the fabric.  I'm trying to use up fabric from the stash.  This is my favourite side, it's reversible. It's a white and black floral print and 100% cotton.

The reverse side is a combination of floral prints. The hem band is a 100% cotton and I'm not sure if the main body fabric is a linen.  It feels like a linen but it's been in my stash for so long that I'm not 100% sure.  All I know it that I think it's cute and I'm thrilled that I have finally made something worthy of this fabric.

Fingers are crossed that it will make the little gal it will be gifted to very happy.

The Stats:  

Fabric:  2.6 metres

Ribbon:  1.5 metres

Pattern:  OOP Vogue 1455

Buttons:  4 - 3/8" buttons

Additional Supplies & Tools:  Cutting table, scissors, pins, tailor's chalk, sewing machine, button hole foot, serger, threads, thread clippers, iron, ironing board and an audio book playing in the background while I sewed. 

Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Holiday Sewing

It's that time of year, when sewing machines are humming and busily working overdrive to made the holidays a little extra special.

Or maybe not... Are you still wondering what to make for your special love ones?

1.  How about the old stand-by, pajamas?

I'm my humble opinion, there is nothing more comfortable than a two piece pajama top and bottoms set. And there are so many options available by the big four and independent pattern companies alike for the whole family.

Fabricland and Fabricville are even carrying NHL licensed hockey themed flannel, cotton and knits for those hockey loving folks on your list this year. Too casual? Dress up the pajama look with silk. Kathryn Brenne wrote a wonderful article for Vogue Patterns Magazine on sewing silk pajamas. But the big question remains, is it okay to wear your pj's out as streetwear when you're hitting the boxing day sales? Well, that's up to you, if you don't mind a look that's so 2017.     

2.  If you live in a climate that has four distinct season and where you're at is more closely associated with North Pole type weather. How about a soup bowl cozy?

These are easy to make. 

3.  Talking about cozy and easy to make, how about a pair of mittens. Don't worry if you don't know how to knit. This is a great way to up-cycle an once-upon-a-time favourite sweater or use up pieces of wool fabric that is laying around and could be felted.  

Well, the question remains, what will you be sewing this holiday season?  

Sunday, 18 November 2018

What to do with Fabulous Fabric?

Back in September I won a gift certificate to EmmaOneSock.  Carolyn from Diary of a Sewing Fanatic was hosting the give-away as part of National Sewing month. It took a while to final decide on a fabric. I finally went with a virgin 100% wool from Italy. 

I knew that I wanted something warm and that I wouldn't be able to easily find here.  I was thinking a pullover sweater for moi but when it arrived I knew that my plans would have to be modified. This fabric was too beautiful and it would make a beautiful cardigan for my Mom. But she was reluctant.  I didn't understand until she told me that she wasn't quite happy with the pattern I had been using for her cardigan sweaters was not fitting the way she like. That is why I went to work on the cardigan last weekend.  I wanted to show her that I could fix the pattern to her liking and it was then that she let me get to work on this wool.  

But let me back up a bit... 

This was the first time I ordered fabric online without seeing or handling the fabric first. It wasn't an impulse selection. I researched the selections on the website. So how was the shopping experience. It was as fabulous as this fabric. Seriously, the website is easy to navigate and I like how they organize the fabric selections and the detailed description of the fabric. The checkout process was seamlessly easy. And I was beyond impressed with how carefully the fabric was packaged when it arrived in the mail. I was skeptical, and no I'm not wasn't bribed with another gift certificate to sing their praises here.  I'm genuinely impressed with the experience and would honestly recommend checking out the fabrics they offer.  

It was such a joy working with this fabric and making someone happy. Isn't that what sewing is all about.  

The Stats:  

Fabric:  1.6 metres

Pattern:  OOP Butterick 5760

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Cutting table, pins, tailor's chalk, scissors, steam iron, ironing board, sleeve ham, tailor's ham, pressing mitt, pressing cloth, sewing machine, walking foot, jean-a-ma-jig, thread clippers, serger, threads, hand needle and a thimble.  

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Boiled Wool Cardigan: OOP Butterick 5760

It's finished but I think I might take this cardigan back to the sewing table and add some lined pockets.

I'm undecided on the pockets. Maybe I'll sleep on it and decide in the morning.  

This project is a basically Butterick 5760 with the neckline raised and narrowed with the aid of OOP Kwik Sew 573. And then it was lowered in the front by and inch and trimmed back by five eighths of an inch. The hemline was shorted by a quarter inch and the sleeves were also shortened. 

The fabric is a boiled wool blend that I found in the clearance section marked down 70% off a few years ago. It had a border embroidery design that had some damage to it but with some careful placement I was able to cut to sleeves with no evidence of any embroidery flaws. 

The front and backs were cut on the side without the embroidery design. It is a classic and simply design but I think the details on the sleeves add a little something. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  

Fabric:  1.5 metres

Pattern:  Butterick 5760

Additional Supplies &Tools:  Sewing machine, serger, cutting table, pins, scissors, tracing paper, pens, ruler, iron, ironing board, clapper, walking foot, jean-a-ma-jig, threads, hand-sewing needle, tweezers, mini-vacuum, lint brush, and a cup of tea.  

Happy Sewing!   

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