Monday, 30 September 2019

September in Review...

Well, National Sewing Month is coming to a close. I would say that it is the first year that I wasn't all that into celebrating this event. Yup, my sewing mojo took a hit this month. There was sewing just not a whole lot of excitement.  

Fabricland acknowledged this American celebration of sewing with a big portable sign at the side of the road advertising a store-wide sale in it's honour. It was a disappointment that once in the store I learnt that the sale didn't apply to certain items. Why was I surprised?

I guess sewing wise, this month was filled with a few disappointments. I made a pullover top with Vogue 1642, a pattern that I couldn't wait to get to work on and then it just didn't work on me. That neckline is huge and it feels like half my head disappears under it. As if I have no neck. It's funny actually but I don't think I'll be wearing this one.  The wool pants that I made from the same pattern just don't sit right even though the other two I made previously worked. I don't know what I did wrong. Something. Then there is Vogue 8939, a pattern that I've sewn so many times before. Where Vogue 1644 neckline was too big and loose, Vogue 8939 turtleneck was tight. Also quite funny when I think about it. At least its a good way to help flatten my hair as I struggle to get it over my head. And then there was the feather trim that I added to Simplicity 8529. I adore this update but whenever I try to wear it with a pair of pants I quickly take it off disappointed with the weight gain that seems to be highlighted at the level of where the feather sit. Maybe that's what got me on this sewing funk. I need to lose weight. Seriously. I need to lose weight. That's why I haven't started the jeans now that I have Vogue 1642 in my sewing room.  

There were some successful sewing projects this month, a men's shirt made with Vogue 8889 and a son's shirt in matching fabric made with vintage Simplicity 4166. They turned out great but I will admit that I was on a deadline to complete these and I pushed through when I wasn't feeling my greatest. It kind of takes the fun out of sewing when you're not feeling up to it. 

Plans for next month, maybe nothing sewing wise. I have no more sewing for others projects to do. But yesterday at church there was a call for "requested items for newcomer families," asking for clothes for baby boys newborn to 2 years.

Previous made OOP McCall's 7367

I do have a go-to newborn onesie pattern that has been a winner over these years but I'm not sure if my wrist can't handle sewing those arm and ankle bands. That part of the project always presents a bit of a struggle. Instead, if I do decide to go ahead and sew, I might break out OOP McCall's 8548. This pattern has size 2 pieces.

Or I might take a much needed break from the sewing machine and take care of me. No more sewing for moi until I drop ten pounds. We'll see how that goes. I'm going to start by making sure I get 10,000 steps in each day. I can't accomplish that sitting at the sewing machine.   

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Boy's Shirt: Vintage Simplicity 4166

Oh my goodness, this project is filled with so much love. I absolutely love sewing clothing for little wee people. This shirt is for an age 5 little boy, a mini-me version to match Dad's shirt.  

I used vintage Simplicity 4166 and made a few changes.  

The plackets were changed to the same style of sleeve plackets as the Dad version. They are the same width as Vogue 8889 but shortened to the same opening length as Simplicity 4166.  

Instead of following the pattern instructions regarding the yoke, I opted for sewing it with the couture method. This technique is similar to the one used on the Dad version.  

The final change was to the back ease. The design calls for soft gathers on the side of the back. After sewing the design as it was meant to be sewn I decided that I wanted to go with a centre back pleat. The pattern piece for the cuff was missing so I just had to improvise and cut one based on the measurements. of the sleeve.    

The Stats

Fabric:  1.1 metres

Interfacing:  0.2 metres fusible

Buttons:  6 recycled

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

Happy Sewing! 

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Men's Shirt: Vogue 8889

I've tried a new (to me) men's shirt pattern, Vogue 8889.  The one thing that I've noticed about the men's shirt patterns currently offered over at Vogue patterns is that the button-down shirt patterns have become more fitted with shaping detail options. Not one of the pattern selection has a back centre pleat I've been used to sewing. So this experience was quite different to sewing McCall's 2447, my go-to men's shirt pattern over the years.   

I chose view C for this project. And my plan was to stick to the pattern instructions while constructing this project but that soon fell to the sidelines. 

Flat Felled Seams

The flat-felled seams for this shirt design are lovely. But they were quite fussy as well, I soon became bored with the time investment that this feature demanded especially since I'm on a time crunch with having this finished. It probably didn't help that I'm sewing this while dealing with a sinus infection and my focus and attention span is limited at the moment. Since this type of enclosed seam is typically used when very sturdy finish is required it seemed to work well with the fitted shirt design. The only seams that were not finished using the flat-felled seam technique were the armhole and side seams. For those I finished the seam with the serger.

I did notice that the flat-felled seam instructions that came with the pattern differ slightly from the one found in my vintage Vogue Sewing and Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing books. The vintage sewing books instruct that the fabric should be wrong sides together for the first stitch on the seamline and to sew the felled seam on the right side.  The instructions from Vogue 8889 call for the felled seams asks for the right sides together and the felled seam to be seam on the wrong side. On this shirt it looks as it's been topstitched from the right side of the shirt and the enclosed nature of the seam is hidden on the inside.   

The Yoke

Vogue 8889 has instructions for a classic shirt yoke with topstitching. Instead, this shirt's yoke has been sewn using the couture method. Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing has this method outlined in it's pages. It's also referred to as the burrito method in online references.

The Placket

The sleeves have a shirt placket pattern piece that works out perfectly without having to make the "3/8" diagonal clip at [the] inner corner of placket."  I would suggest leaving out this step, it really is unnecessary. For sewing the cuffs, I didn't follow the pattern instructions and just did it as I would when sewing McCall's 2447.

There is also a front placket that hides the buttons, this is well designed and easy to complete. I was surprised that it didn't call for interfacing here at first but I have to say, it turned out perfectly.

The Collar

This design incorporates something called a under collar band. I left it off as I didn't see it as being necessary for the person who will be wearing the shirt. Now that the collar is sewn, I can understand it's function with the narrow width of the collar and how it could perform well in order to hold a necktie in place without peeking under the collar edge. It may as well help the narrow collar to sit better than it does without.

Other than these small changes, the pattern turned out well. I don't know if I will have an occasion to make another. This shirt is part of a "Dad and Mini-me" set for a client.

The fabric that I used for this shirt was a light weight 100% cotton. It was prewashed at a regular temperature setting and with warm water followed with a tumble in the dryer and a steam pressing. It handled the pre-treatment and pressing well. I didn't notice a lot a shrinkage, minimal actually. Now to get to work on the mini-me version.  

The Stats

Fabric:  1.9 metres 

Interfacing:  .7 metres

Buttons:  14 (the pattern calls for 15 but I left off the under collar piece and didn't use the two required there.  An extra button was sewn into the inside of the lower front placket.  

PatternVogue 8889

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Cutting table, scissors, measuring tape, pins, measuring gauge, iron, ironing board, tailor's chalk, pin cushions, collar pointer, clapper, sewing machine, walking foot, buttonhole foot, buttonhole cutter, serger, threads, hand-sewing needle, tailor's wax, thimble, and a few breaks to think where to go with this project.  

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 16 September 2019

In Sewing News Today...

Just when thoughts turn to fall sewing, it heats up this week with humidity to make one take refuge in air-conditioned spaces.  Luckily, I haven't packed away the linen pants.  

Despite the return of the heat, my thoughts are still focussed on fall sewing. I'm dreaming of the perfect turtleneck sweater dress. 

This cashmere maxi-length dress is my inspiration piece. Even though I did revisit out-of-print (OOP) Vogue 8939 and made a turtleneck sweater dress I'm still on the hunt for one that I don't have to struggle pulling it over my head.  

And that is how I came across this pattern, OOP Burda 8848. It has raglan sleeve and interestingly enough a zipper in the turtleneck collar from the side shoulder. From what I can make out from the pattern piece illustration on the back envelope, it appears to be a two piece sleeve.  

I have some ponte knit that I can use as a toile fabric. That's when the pattern arrives. 

In the meantime, I'm trying to find my sewing mojo to work on another men's shirt. I need to get this one done for next week along with a matching mini-me version in a size 5 boys. While cutting out the pattern pieces, I came across a piece that had me quite perplexed. 

It is for an under collar band. It is meant to be stitched to the underside of the collar. This is a completely new feature to me that I've never encountered previously. As far as I'm able to determine, it's purpose appears to be to hold a necktie securely in place. 

Unless of course, I'm mistaken? Have you sewn an undercollar band in a men's shirt or heard of one?  I need to stop thinking about this and just get to work on the shirt since I don't have any intention of sewing this piece onto the collar. If holding a tie in place is indeed it's function I know the recipient of the shirt would feel that it would be unnecessary. 

Things that make you go hmmm.  

Happy Sewing!


Friday, 13 September 2019

Fall / Winter 2019 - 2020 Fashion Trend: Updating Simplicity 8529

This season, one of the hottest fashion trends to hit the runways has been feathers. I've gotta tell ya, a gal can have some fun with this one.  Now that I'm older and wear comfortable shoes, I don't tend to follow the trends as closely as I used to but this one just makes me giddy with happiness. It also makes me think how I can work this into my plain old prairie gal lifestyle without ruffling too many feathers (sorry, couldn't resist).  

2019 - 2020 Fall / Winter Collection

Okay, maybe not this much fun. Like I mentioned, I do live in the prairies and winter is coming. 

Valentino 2019 - 2020 Fall / Winter

Even the Valentino feather covered coat might be a bit much for this part of the world. But I digress. I'm supposed to be having some fun with this one. And I do have some feather trim in my stash. I kid you not. It's a Toronto find which would mean that it has been in my stash for decades.  

Let's see, I made this sweater, Simplicity 8529, a couple of seasons ago and since then it has shrunk and it still fits. But it could use some attention. Feathers might just do the trick to bring it back to the forefront of my wardrobe choices.

Front view

I was being conservative with this one and just added it to the hem. I first thought to attach it to the inside of the hemline with snaps so that it could easily be removed. I nixed that thought and went with hand stitching it in place with some silk thread.  

Back view

Nothing as elaborate as the designer looks but I'm okay with that and feeling a little bit trendy.  

The Stats

Previously sewn:  Simplicity 8529 made in November 2017

Feather trim:  1.10 metres

Thread:  100% silk

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Hand-sewing needles, scissors.  

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Winter Staple: Vogue 8939

I've made a few turtleneck dresses over the years but would you believe none of them are currently part of my wardrobe. I'm making this one out of a polyester cable motif knit. I know! I said I was staying away from polyester, but this fabric was in the stash before I made that declaration. I'm just trying to use up what's in the fabric stash.

I do love the colour and the cable knit design on this fabric. Hopefully, it will hold up and not pill or become a static magnetic like the others. We'll see how it holds up as being an autumn staple. Right now I'm pleased with a long sleeve dress that should keep me warm as the temperatures cool.

Hope to one day make this in a wool or dare I dream, a cashmere knit. Emma One Sock currently has some wool double knit in stock. I need to use what is in my stash though.

The pattern is Vogue 8939, currently out-of-print. In the past, I lengthened the pattern ten inches but this time, I was limited by my fabric length and only had enough to lengthen it by six inches. It's the perfect length! The sleeves of course were shortened. I will admit that the project as a whole is not perfect. I find that I need some muscle to pull this dress over I head when putting it on and taking it off because for some reason the neck is quite snug. I don't recall this being an issue with the others.

The Stats

Fabric:  2.1 metres quilted cable matelassé knit

Needle:  Ball point

Interfacing:  0.5 metres Knit-N-Stable tape

Pattern:  OOP Vogue 8939

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Cutting table, pins, pin cushions, scissors, thread clippers, screwdriver, walking foot, sewing machine, serger, threads, clapper, tailor's chalk, and tea.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Book Review

My Journey:  Donna Karan

Author(s):  Donna Karan with Kathleen Boyes

ISBN:  978-1-101-88349-5

Publisher:  Ballantine Books, 2015

Canadian price:  $39.00 (Hardcopy)

My Journey has been on my want-to-read list for quite some time. But since it's release several years ago I just haven't made the time to sit down and read it. It just happened to be one of the books that the local library was selling from their collection at a deep discount. It seemed like my last chance to finally read it. The crisp pages and binding that appeared to have never been cracked open made me wonder if it had ever been signed out. It sparked a feeling of sadness bringing me back to when I learned that Vogue Patterns would no longer be carrying Donna Karan and DKNY patterns.

My desire to read this book is attributed to the fact that I've been a huge fan of Donna Karan's designs and have, over the years, sewn many of her Vogue designer patterns.

Out-of-print Vogue 2092, circa 1988. 
This was one of the first Donna Karan patterns that entered my collection.

I wanted so much to enjoy this book as much as I have enjoyed sewing her designs over the years.

OOP Vogue 1262, circa 2011.  Another favourite Donna Karan design.
The book didn't capture the joy that the designs brought to my sewing table. Sure, there were parts that I found interesting and things I learned about Karan's career that I was previously unaware of. I enjoyed reading about Karan's time at Anne Klein in the nineteen seventies and the menswear line and dressing a president. And the concept of seven easy pieces! But there was an underlining sadness that never seemed to escape from it's pages.  

What I didn't enjoy is how the book begins with the dark chapter Born into Fashion. Honestly, if I weren't a fan of her creative work, the start of this book would have been enough of a turn-off to abandon what laid ahead in the pages that follow. Despite the constant celebrity name-dropping peppered throughout the pages (I wasn't impressed), it is a story about a resilient woman who has overcome a great deal in her life. In that, it is a wonderful book. As far as being a reader who enjoyed sewing her designs, it didn't deliver any new inspiration or desire to revisit some of those old Donna Karan patterns. Maybe one day.

OOP Vogue 1175, still to be made one day.
Happy Sewing!  


Monday, 9 September 2019

Third Time's the Charm: Vogue 1642 Wool Pants

Vogue 1642 is one of the fabulous patterns released from the Vogue Fall 2019 line. It is the forth time I visited this pattern, the third time for the pants.
The first pair of pants that I made with Vogue 1642 were quite comfortable and I knew I wanted to revisit this pattern.  The next pair there were some miscalculations. These pants are just right! I shortened the length two inches from the second pair and then another 1/2" on the left leg to adjust for a scoliosis consequence.  The crotch length were adjusted to be the same height as on the size 14 and I cut the side seams half way between the L and XL sizing. I like the looser fit so that the fact that one hip is high than the other is not as noticeable.

I can't stress enough how comfortable these pants are and how thrilled I am that the waistline actually sits at the waist. Bonus that there are side pockets!  

The fabric is a British wool suiting fabric that has been in the stash for far too long. It was previously pretreated so that was one step I didn't have to worry about. To get the best pressed seams, I found the clapper and lots of steam came in handy. I can throw these in the washing machine without worrying if they shrink since if they do they will likely still fit.  

The Stats

Fabric:  2.1 metres 

Interfacing:  0.7 metres fusible

Elastic:  1.2 metres

PatternVogue 1642

Additional Tools and Supplies:  Pins, pin cushion, cutting table, iron, ironing board, tailor's chalk, hand sewing needle, tailor's wax, threads, sewing machine, scissors, thread clippers, serger, measuring tape, measuring gauge, walking foot, screwdriver, chai tea latte.  

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Is it Getting Too Expensive to Sew?

Or are the folks that are doing the pricing at Fabricland insane?

So, I have an Assembly Line pattern that I don't want to cut into. I would like to preserve this pattern and trace out the pattern pieces. I just needed to pick up some more tracing paper. In the past, I've always used Burda brand paper for these tasks just because of the generous sheet size that I wouldn't have to tape together. Plus, I like having the grid lines.  

I think I almost fainted when I saw the price:  $20.99 (Cdn + 13% taxes) for the plain sheets and $24.99 (Cdn + 13% taxes) for the grid sheets. I only walked the plain sheet package over to the cash desk because the store had all these 50% off for "National Sewing Month" only to be told that this item was excluded from the sale.  

I mentioned that the last time I purchased this item it was eight dollars and the person at the cash desk tried to tell me that I was mistaken and that it's never been that low.  She said the price went up from $16.00.  That just annoyed me and I left the item there. Besides, I wasn't willing to pay $16.79 (Cdn + taxes, the price it would have been with the 20% Fabricland membership discount) for tissue paper.  

Of course, I had to check my last package out and yes, it was eight dollars. That's almost a 300% mark-up from the last time I purchased a package. And double what I can pick up on Instead, I stopped off at the Dollar Store and picked up a couple of packages of tissue paper for $1.25 (Cdn + taxes).  I think I can live without the grid lines knowing that I didn't support a mark-up I honestly can not justify. 

How about you, have you noticed price increases at the fabric store lately?  Don't even get me started on buttons! LOL.  And what cost saving measures do you take in your sewing?  

Happy Sewing!  

Monday, 2 September 2019

Pullover Top: Vogue 1642

To be completely honest, I would have never in a million years consider sewing this pullover top in a floral print until Carlos posted a picture of one on Instagram last week. I was all smitten over the thought of choosing a print that wasn't even on my radar for Vogue 1642.  

Now if you're thinking that I might look like Mort from Bazooka Joe comics, you might be right.

The neckline is huge on my petite frame. Or perhaps it's my short neck? I could have easily have shortened the height of the collar. If you're considering this pattern and you have a petite frame maybe construct the collar and give it a test ride before you commit.

I will be wearing it with a turtleneck sweater or a tank top underneath for sure.  This is quite roomy and if I weren't wearing anything underneath, well I could be exposing more than I intended. Because of the loose-fit, I would consider this as outerwear rather than a top. This would be perfect as an outwear piece for skiing, or other winter activities where layering is key. The sleeves are quite generous as well making it perfect for layering.

I adore the pleated pockets and will for sure be borrowing the pattern for other projects. But I'm not sure that I will be revisiting this pattern. One is enough, I'll be packing this away until spring.

The fabric has been in the stash for a few years. It's a medium weight 100% cotton that I found in the home décor department. It was pre-treated with a tumble in the washing machine, dryer and steam pressed. I couldn't find a 12" (30 cm) zipper in the stores if my life depended on it so I just went with a 14" zipper found in my stash and just cut it to the required length.

The Stats

Fabric:  2.3 metres

Interfacing:  0.7 metres of fusible interfacing

Lining:  0.5 metres

Basting Tape:   24" two-sided tape

D-Ring:  1 

Grosgrain Ribbon:  0.10 metre

Zipper:  14" regular 

PatternVogue 1642, Fall 2019 collection

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Cutting table, measuring tape, pins, pin cushions, scissors, tailor's chalk, ruler, iron, ironing board, sewing machine, walking foot, zipper foot, screwdriver, thread clippers, serger, threads, clapper, and tea.

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 1 September 2019

In Sewing News Today...

Today is the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit this month in New York. This is a follow-up to the 2016 Paris Agreement. It is also a time for myself personally to reflect on my own lifestyle choices including sewing. I try to make thoughtful decisions in the projects I make. It hasn't always been the case. 

I'm certainly a work in progress. There has been a historic trail of polyester and rayon in my past sewing projects. I'm trying to change my ways, become more thoughtful of the materials that I use and recycle in order to care for creation.  

There is a line at the end of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Sequel, "if our leaders refuse to lead, citizens of the world will."

Today is also the start of #sewyourselfsustainable by New Craft House which I hope will be an insightful look at what I've been doing and how I can improve.  

Today is the start of #seweverydayseptember another Instagram look into the lives of people who sew. And of course, 

Today marks the beginning of National Sewing Month in the United States. This year's theme is sewing is your path to self-expression.  

There is a lot of ways to celebrate, think and express ourselves through our sewing this month. Will you be joining in?  

Happy Sewing!

The Perfect White Shirt

Is there such a thing?  If I were to dream, the fabric would be white and made from natural fibres. It would have long sleeves, a menswear ...