Tuesday, 30 April 2019

April in Review...


This month was pretty quiet in the sewing room.  Life happens.  

I did manage to get some sewing done.  There was some sewing of new microwave cozies which surprised me since Christmas is typically when I sell the cozies.  And an order for a cork handbag.  Then there was some rescue sewing to change a dress into a wrap skirt. I made another pullover top only because I had a remnant large enough to use up the last of the beautifully cozy Katia fabric that was just sitting there.    

Sometimes you never know what projects will pass through the workspace.  

Fashion Revolution

Last week was Fashion Revolution week and ever since the tragedy at Rana Plaza I have a sense that there hasn't been a great improvement of transparency in the fashion industry.  Sure stylists appear on talk shows equipped with latest buzz words to make consumers feel good about buying more ready-to-wear fashions while documentary film-makers highlight what actually goes behind the all the marketing.  I just hoped that six years later we would have seen more significant changes in the industry.  

I have come to realize that change has to come from within first and that a global attitude change is a slow process.  

Future Projects

Right now, next month looks like it will be all about shirt making.  I could use a white shirt and then there are some shirts I would like to make as gifts.  I'm also waiting for a special fabric purchase from Mood Fabrics to arrive.  It is for another gift sewing project.  I'm  just in the process of gathering up all the supplies needed.  

Oh, and Vogue patterns just released their summer line.  Thankfully, there's no new patterns on the wish list to distract me from my May sewing plans.  

Me-Made-May '19 is just around the corner.  I'm joining in.  Anyone else?  I like the idea of the flatlay photos that are popping up on #sewover50.  There are two things I'm interested in discovering, what percentage of my wardrobe is actually me-made and how long my me-made items have been in my closet. There was a post that popped up during Fashion Revolution that really struck me as true, "the only sustainable clothes are those in your closet."  So true.  Here's my pledge:  
I, Graca from Sew Essentially Sew, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May 2019. I endeavour to wear my me-made wardrobe, stop buying fabric, sew from my stash and be mindful that sustainable fashion is enjoying what is in my closet.  Oh, one more thing: embrace the art of mending the previously loved items that are waiting to be put back into wardrobe rotation during May 2019.  
Well, that's April in review and a sneak peak at what May might look like.  I'm off to put some work into a white shirt that I have cut out and ready to sew.  

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Rescue Sewing

Do you remember this?

This is BurdaStyle 6321 and I made it last month.  I haven't worn it since.  I tried it on a few times and then after some fiddling and critiquing, it quickly came off.  It just didn't make me feel good while wearing it. The more I fussed with it, the more I realized it wasn't my style really.  There were some things that I did like about it, the double breasted look and pockets.  The fit above the waistline was not my favourite nor was it doing anything for my petite body shape.  So I decided that it would either end up in the donate or rescue pile.  Considering that it was Fashion Revolution week, donating another garment that may or may not find a new home just didn't sit well with my conscious.  

This is all about rescue sewing.  I started by laying it out on the table and cutting at the position of the first functioning button and buttonhole.  Trying it on reveals that it is too loose at the waistline to sew a waistband.  And I struggled to decided how to treat the waistband.  I did have enough left-over fabric to cut a waistband but did I want the bulk?  First I had to give the skirt portion more shape.  There were two darts added to the back where the princess seam was located.  

I decided to finish the skirt with bias tape, turning over and topstitching in place. It was finished with a snap and hook & eye closure at the top.  

Now, this is something I know I will wear.  

Happy Sewing!  

Friday, 26 April 2019

Book Review

Bill Cunningham:  Fashion Climbing A Memoir with Photographs

Penguin Press, New York, 2018

Copyright by The Bill Cunningham Foundation LLC

237 pages

ISNB:  9780525558705 (Hardcopy); 9780525558712 (ebook)

Price:  $36.00 (Cdn)

Bill Cunningham, the famed New York Times cultural anthropologist, is revealed in a fascinating memoir discovered after his passing.  

Bill Cunningham is known to most and portrayed in the 2010 documentary Bill Cunningham New York as the bicycle riding photographer who captured the artistic, political and social commentary presented by New Yorkers through their fashions.  Fashion Climbing is a undated memoir that highlights his young life, influences, love for life and fashion, establishing that serendipity is alive and well.  

"Constant change is the breath of fashion."
~Bill Cunningham~

Fashion Climbing starts out as a memoir of Bill's life as William J., milliner designing under an assumed name as to not embarrass his family who disapproved of his enthusiasm for fashion. It is a epic quest of discovering and appreciating the pure and sheer enjoyment of fashion while being true to oneself.  

Cabbage Rose by William J.  {source}

Chinchilla Pillbox by William J. {source}

Fanciful Feather Hat by William J. {source}

Floral Cocktail Hat by William J. {source}

Silk Chiffon Leaf Hat by William J. {source}

Star Shaped Cocktail Hat by William J. {source}

Taupe Wool Felt Hat by William J. {source}

The Best Feather Hat by William J. {source}

My only disappointment with this memoir is that the photographs of William J's creations found within its pages are all black and white photographs.  I longed for colourful images as Cunningham's writing style is not as fanciful of his millinery creations and written descriptions of materials used were lacking the visual beauty that inspired Bill in his creative process. Thankfully, there are colourful examples of his work that remain from his millinery career.  

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

What has Changed?

It has been six years since the collapse at Rana Plaza that took the lives of over a thousand people and placed a spotlight on the working conditions of people who create fashion fashions.  

I will be honest, what happened six years ago had and continues to have an impact on the way I lived my life and my own consumerism following the tragedy at Rana Plaza.  I didn't buy into the pleas not to boycott the manufacturers that exploited workers overseas.  Instead, it made me take a hard long look at some items that were sitting in my closet and my own consumerism.  

Years ago, I purchased a down filled jacket from Joe Fresh when the label first appeared in my local grocery store.  Yup, a grocery store.  I was blown away with ignorance at the low price tag not even considering who was actually paying for it while the label made a profit.  

The Joe Fresh brand is going strong despite attempts to sue the brand and they're still manufacturing their line overseas.  However, I have to say that despite their perky and upbeat advertising campaigns, I'm no longer interested in what they are selling. My shopping habits have changed not only in ready-to-wear but in the fabrics I choose to sew.  

I am no longer seduced by the latest man-made fabrics to hit the market.  I question the meaning of the new buzz words filling the fashion landscapes.  Sustainability and organic without transparency seems to be another marketing trap to draw you into to purchasing the latest offerings.  

I read more. I read about subjects that are not so glamorous because I no longer want to be that ignorant shopper.  I am slowly changing and in doing so I hope to change my part of the world.  That is what Fashion Revolution means to me.  

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Simplicity 8529

This latest project is all about coziness and the best part is that I was able to use up the last bit of Kitia fabric left over from this project.  It's basically the coziest sweatshirt fleece ever and yes while everyone in this part of the sewing sphere is thinking spring, I know I'm going to get lots of wear out of this one.

The pattern, Simplicity 8529, is a keeper and this is actually my fifth version. Each one is unique as the fabric choices make a difference as to how this drapes on the body. The one thing that they all share is how easy and quickly this project comes together. This is the perfect project for a beginner. It's a well-drafted pattern, minimal pieces that fit together quickly and the added bonus are the excellent instructions included in this pattern. This Simplicity pattern offers sewing techniques for sewing knits and using an overlock/serger.   

The Stats

Fabric:  1.4 metres

Interfacing:  2 metres of Knit-N-Stable tape

PatternSimplicity 8529

Additional Supplies & Tools:  Cutting table, scissors, pins, pin cushion, iron, ironing board, tailor's chalk, threads, sewing machine, walking foot, serger, thread clippers, hand sewing needle and a chai tea latte.  

Happy Sewing!   

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Seeing Double: McCall's 7851

I made another cork handbag revisiting McCall's 7851. This one is for someone else. I hope they like it.  

The one difference is found in the handle. Instead of purchasing a piece of pre-packaged and cut suede leather from the fabric store that I have to piece together. I went shopping for leather at the second hand store and found a men's leather jacket that worked out amazingly well and I was able to cut out the length needed with no problem and piecing.  I should mention that I made a mistake on the first one and the back, longer strap is actually half the size that it was intended to be, oops. The pattern piece was meant to be cut on the fold. I didn't do it here as well as the person requesting this one wanted it just as the first was made.  

The fabrics are the same as the previous version, cork fabric with a cotton backing and the lining fabric is a canvas weight that was interfaced.  

The Stats:  

Fabric:  0.6 metres of cork fabric, 0.6 metres of canvas, 0.4 metres of contrast fabric

Interfacing:  0.6 metres of fusible interfacing

Basting tape:  0.10 metres double sided tape

Pattern:  McCall's 7851, circa 2018.  

Additional Tools and Supplies:  Cutting table, pins, pin cushion, tailor's chalk, clothes pins, sewing machine, walking foot, scissors, thread clippers, heavy weight thread and a leather sewing machine needle.  

Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Wear Red

Today marks Equal Pay Day, it's not an arbitrary date.  Today's date is a symbol of how far in the calendar year women must work to earn what the other gender earned in the prior year, for the same work.  

Photo source
So why wear red?  Wear red to communicate.  Red is meant to symbolize how long women and minorities are in the red with their pay.  It is a way to communicate this issue when you don't have the opportunity to go out and protest.  Wear red.  Red is meant to speak on this issue loudly in a culture of gag orders.  Wear red to be seen and heard on an important issue.  

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...