Saturday, 30 November 2019

November in Review...

This month flew by in a blur of sinus issues. I'm actually surprised that I was able to get any sewing done this month.  

There are a few things I need to sew in the next few weeks but I can't speak of them right now.  Stay tuned.

This month over at The Sewcialists, November has been all about giving back and there is an absolutely lovely and heartwarming post about what this means to some in our sewing community. Over at their website there are also some wonderful ideas of projects that might mean the world to a community or a person in need.

The best out of this month is found over at Love to Sew Podcast, with episode 121, Can You Sew This For Me?  Oh my goodness, this one had me nodding my head in agreement with a chuckle thrown in too. Funny, but also sad and true.

And this month comes to an end with my Fabricland membership. I'm giving up the membership as I look back at the sewing projects I've made this year and realize that the most cherished projects were made with supplies from other sources.   

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 23 November 2019

A New Hat: OOP Vogue 8966

This little project came out of necessity after my hat from last year kept creeping up above my earlobe this week.     

I guess in cleaning and putting away my winter gear last year I shrunk my former wool hat. Luckily, there is everything that I need in my stash of sewing room goodies to correct that situation. I have a remnant piece of Italian wool from Emma One Sock and Marcy Tilton's out-of-print (OOP) Vogue 8966, circa 2013.  

I thought by the photo of the striped hat that it would sit a bit taller. Mine didn't finish with that perceived height (perhaps it was the photo angle?).  I did follow the way the pattern said to close the top but it just looked silly on me so I closed it off further. I think if I make this again, I would double the height and tie a decorative piece of leather to close it off. For now, this little hat will get me through the winter. It's an easy peasy pattern and if you're only going to make Hat E save your money, it's just a rectangular shape and according to my hat size, it's huge.  

I cut 1 1/2" inches from a size medium seam (reduced the size a total of 3" taken in to make it fit). Because of the sizing adjustments that were made the pattern markings were off so I didn't bother with following those any further.   

There are other hat and accessory patterns included that may justify the cost of the pattern. Maybe one day I'll get around to making the scarf and fingerless gloves as some holiday gifts.  

The Stats

Fabric:  0.35 metres

Pattern:  Vogue 8966

Additional Tools and Supplies:  Pins, Scissors, tailor's chalk, sewing machine, walking foot, serger, threads for the machines and hand-stitching, hand sewing needle, thread clippers, and a seam ripper.  

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

What Will You Be Wearing this Winter?

Yesterday in the Toronto Star, Heather Mallick wrote a hysterical opinion piece "Why Canadians Opt for the Same Grim Black Coat Every Winter." I saw myself in this article wearing my black puffer jacket that I picked up second hand as a car coat.  Because.  Wait for it.  It's easy to throw in the wash.  And a lot easier than trying to keep the car clean in the slushy wintery weather.  Am I at risk of being labelled a Canadian stereotype? Only my sewing skills could save me from such a fate.

I wore a colourful coat last winter and will continue to do so again. I would go full out colour me happy as a bubble-bee yellow if I could only find some yellow coating fabric that wasn't polyester. There has been a blue winter coat once gifted that crossed over my worktable.

Oh and the not to be missed and oh so not practical for Canadian winters but oh so chic. The red cape that I put so much work into but sadly hardly have an opportunity to wear.  

I'll admit that there are times that I blend in with the "black Canada Goose parkas and endless puffer jacket" wearing crowd. I'm just glad that sewing gives me an opportunity to break from the crowd. How about you?  Will you be sewing black winterwear or is it colour all the way?    

Happy Sewing!  

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Sewing Pajamas

Did you know that today is National Family Pajama (PJ) Day?  Whether you're from the mindset that matching family outfits are "just wrong" (I'm quoting someone in my life) or if you're of the mindset that they are just plain fun, almost everyone can agree that lounging around wearing pajamas is the ultimate in comfort.

Too much?  Image source.

And sewing pajamas is also a great gift idea for holiday sewing projects. Except, if you matching plaids for a whole family that might be a sewing mojo killer with less than six weeks to go.

Most pattern companies offer at least one pajama pattern and some offer a whole selection of sleepwear patterns including options for the family pooch.  Here's a few fun options if your planning on some holiday sewing.

McCall's 7518

McCall's 5992

Jalie 3244

However you plan to celebrate National Family Pajama day, may it be an event filled with coziness, laughter and the happiest of dreams.

Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

In Sewing News Today...

There hasn't been much sewing since the shirtdress. My sewing mojo is back, I'm just stuck at the prep work stage of my next project. I need to trace out some pattern pieces and because I'm frugal, I just need to tape together a few pieces of tissue paper before I get going.  Six weeks before Christmas and this is a gift project, so I better get moving on this one.  In the meantime, there has been some editing.  

Remember the turtleneck dress I made recently?  It made it back into the workspace after a wear that had me dying to get out of it. It was too hot and that tight-fitting neckline had me thinking that perhaps another skirt would be better with this fabric.   

So I cut off the top and got to work finishing the edge, turning it over to create a casing and finished it off with an elastic waistband.  It's just like the ivory coloured skirt.  I should get more use out of this garment.  The top portion is be cut up for stuffing materials.  

In other sewing news... Have you been following what is going on over with the Sewcialists?  This month's theme is the Giving Challenge, #givesewmuch.  This one is dear to my heart as I'm a firm believer in giving back through sewing.  There are some wonderful ideas for charities and stories of generosity popping up over at the Sewcialists website this month.  I hope you check it out and find some inspiration, if not for this challenge (six weeks before Christmas!) maybe future sewing projects.  

I do have one gift project that will be gifted this month.  

I made this for a friend's grandson who is a big hockey fan.  I had enough to cut one square of this NHL fabric from this project.  

Not really sewing related but something I wouldn't have been able to do if it weren't for some sewing tools.  

I fixed an electrical cord this weekend. All by myself, after some guidance and encouragement at the hardware store followed by watching some YouTube instructional videos. I didn't have a gauge cutter, a fancy little tool for stripping down the covering on the inner wires. I didn't need it. 

With my transferable sewing skills, steady hand, and a sharp pair of thread clippers it was done. No fancy tools required. That's all in sewing new today.  

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 11 November 2019

What We Wear...

Fashion is often associated with a negative message as being frivolous. Humbly, I believe this viewpoint can be the furthest thing from the truth. 

Fashion whether we want to admit it or not is a necessity (just try to walk outside in the cold without anything to protect you from the elements) and quite simply, it's a form of communication of, and changes to social norms. By trying to diminish the roll that fashion plays in history and our lives as a frivolous pursuit is to try to silence others. Creating and wearing fashion, whether it's fast, couturier, ready-to-wear, bespoke, me-made, recycled, vintage, emotionally intelligent clothing or refashioned, speaks volumes about our society, communities and ourselves. It would be frivolous to call it frivolous! Fashion is meant to be a conversation starter not an invitation to pass judgement on others. It is a window into social changes that have and continue to happen all around us.  It is also a symbol of the freedoms that we have gained and hold dear.  

As today is Remembrance Day (Veteran's Day in many parts of the world), let us look at how military inspired clothing details have moved into everyday fashion.

The Trench Coat:  Image source

World War I brought about many societal changes including changes to fashion.  The trench coat is an example of a war era garment that has moved into today's fashion designs.

Vogue Fall 2019 pattern, Image source.

The shirtwaist dress may often be associated with Dior's New Look and the 1950s but it actually goes back further. Before the Great War, women's fashions were dominated with lavish clothing of the Edwardian period and this quickly changed as war broke out and people took to a plainer lifestyle and gender roles shifted as to help the war effort in roles as nurses, factory workers and helping out on the farms.  Certainly austerity played a role but so did the uniforms of this time.

As gender-roles shifted in this time, so did gender specific dress codes.  Skirts became shorter, as they often do in times of austerity. Not only did the styles change with the changing gender roles so did the fabrics used to make clothing, moving away from elaborate lace designs of the Edwardian period to chambray fabrics and somber colours reflecting the times.  This is where we see the appearance and rise of the shirtdress.

1918 Shirtdresses, Image Source

The shirtdress moved into iconic status when Dior took this garment and updated it with lavish fabric and a generous skirt marking the end of the war and austerity measures of the past wars. As it was easily adapted as a comfortable garment for different roles of the war era, it remains as a staple in today's fashions.

Vogue Summer 2019 Collection, image source.

The updated shirtdress is a trend for Spring 2020. Which leads to the question, had the shirtdress ever went out of style once women realized the freedom and comfort it provided?

The jumpsuit had it's humble beginning during the war years as it appeared as a form of overalls.  

Page from an Eaton's catalogue, circa 1918.  Image source.

Overalls and the jumpsuit were designed for women to "help solve the labour problem" according to an Eaton's catalogue advertisement.  Women played a key role in the war effort taking up jobs that were traditionally held by men back home on the farms and working in factories that made supplies and equipment for the war effort.

Simplicity Vintage Fashion, Image source.
Overalls continued in popularity when the second world war broke out and Rosie the Riveter appeared as a propaganda icon that emerged from this time as a way to encourage women to help out in the war effort.  This fictional character wearing this iconic fashion is found today not only in vintage pattern releases, also in the freedom and comfort of this garment redesigned over the century since it first appeared.

Vogue Fall 2019 Collection, image source.

As we thank and pay respect for the men and women who played a role in the freedoms we hold dear, let us remember that our freedoms (and yes, even our fashions) were created in a history of tragedy, sacrifice and austerity.

Happy Sewing!  

Monday, 4 November 2019

Shirt to Dress: OOP McCall's 7546, Vogue 8934 and Vogue 1503

Sometimes you come across a shirt pattern that has design details that you just want to rework into a shirtdress.  That is how I feel about out-of-print (OOP) McCall's 7546. This is the third shirtdress I've made with this pattern.  Would you believe I've never used this pattern as it was designed?  And I have some fun 100% cotton fabric that I found in the home décor department a while back for this latest version.  It's the perfect weight for a shirt, or in this case a shirtdress.  

First, there were a few changes made to the pattern design in addition to adjusting the length.  I've made this with view A, added side pockets from Marcy Tilton's Vogue 8934 and swapped the sleeve, sleeve placket and cuff pattern pieces with Rachel Comey's Vogue 1503.  

I'm going to pause here and recommend an article from the September 2019 issue of Threads Magazine (No. 204).  Stephani L. Miller wrote a wonderfully detailed account of how to adjust a shirt pattern into a fabulous shirtdress in the article "Shirt to Dress:  Get Extended Benefits From Your Favo[u]rite Blouse Pattern."

One thing that I will note, is that I rarely use the button placement given on a pattern.  Unless, it's a men's shirt.  Never, if it is something for myself.  Do you?  I know that I'm no where the height of a pattern model, it's just best that I try the garment on and then go from there.  And that is basically what Miller suggests in the "Shirt to Dress" article.  Her tip for customizing the button placement for a full bust, find the apex level and then work from there.  I think it's a great suggestion for all shapes not just for full busts.  I find that pattern designs are often mimicking RTW clothes and in this current moment of economic austerity and fast-fashions, RTW designs are not generous with buttons.  That's what I find so rewarding with sewing my own shirt dress, I can sew as many buttons as my heart desires.

The buttons were a mixture of two different sets.  For the cuffs I used the black and white two-hole buttons that I found in my button collection.  They were perfect for the print, however there were only five.  The buttons hidden in the front placket are a four-hole black button that I found at Northwest Fabrics for a dollar.  They were perfect and a bargain.  Ten buttons were used in the front placket and four used for the cuffs.  There were enough of the four-hole solid black buttons for all the buttons needed.  However, I really like how the black and white buttons looked with this print and since they were the only buttons that are exposed when wearing this garment, I thought why not go ahead and use them.

Cutting the buttonholes took some serious tools considering the thickness of the interfaced front placket.  I used a 9 mm buttonhole cutter, a hammer and a chopping block.

The Stats

Fabric:  3 metres

Interfacing:  1.2 metres fusible

Buttons:  14

Needle:  Universal needle for the sewing machine

Patterns:  McCall's 7546, Vogue 8934 and Vogue 1503

Additional Supplies & Tools:  Cutting table, scissors, pins, pin cushions, tailor's chalk, measuring tape, ruler, measuring gauge, thread clippers, tweezers, serger, sewing machine, buttonhole foot, threads (100% silk thread for hand stitching, 100% cotton thread for machine sewing and Gutterman serger thread), walking foot, screwdriver, buttonhole cutter, cutting board, hammer, a few breaks here and there, a whole lot of procraftination, and coffee.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Sewing Mojo on Hiatus?

First thing, I have to say when one's sewing mojo has gone on hiatus is it's okay to cut yourself some slack.  It happens to all of us.  Actually, it recently happened to me.  Again.  Many other sewing folks will suggest sewing a simple project to get you going.  Perhaps that can work, but maybe a break from sewing might be just what you need.  I know, gift giving season is just around the corner but if a break from sewing is what is in the air don't force yourself to get gift sewing projects done.  Give yourself some time to recharge.  Here are some tips that might work.  

1.  Take Your Time, it's okay.  

Life changes take time to adjust and it's okay to take the time for yourself.

Image source:  Crafty Individuals

If it's a personal issue, new baby, or other matters that needs attending to, take the time.  Sewing will always be there and we can't do it all no matter how hard we might try.  Burn out is not fun, don't go there.  Give yourself the time to recharge and rediscover the joy of sewing.

2.  Cheat

Sewing doesn't have to be inclusive, it's okay to cheat on this hobby with another.  We're creative folks and you can't restrict creativity, right? Who knows maybe the other hobby can incorporate sewing into it down the road.

I enjoy spending time in the kitchen, I find it relaxing to play with ingredients and create in the kitchen.  I just consider time away from the sewing workspace as a time to focus on the other activities I enjoy.

3.  Read a Good Book

Sometimes you can find inspiration and rediscover that love for sewing in the pages of a good novel or sewing manual.  I always wanted to learn how to fix sewing machines and I was lucky enough to find a book on the subject at my local library.

But it's not even sewing related books that help me find my way back to the sewing workspace.  Right now, I'm reading a series of books by the New York Times best-selling author Immaculee Ilibagiza.  Although these books are not voluminous in nature, they are books that address an enormous story to comprehend and the time to slow down and think about what you've just read.  Take the time to read and pause, it's part of the journey.  You may be surprised how it will affect your sewing and motivation down the road.

4.  Volunteer

Volunteering can lead you back to sewing with a new prospective.  Whether you volunteer at a homeless shelter, at a retirement centre or the cancer unit at your local hospital you may discover a new sewing project that can bring joy to someone's life.

You can even share your sewing knowledge with others, take the time and help others realize the joy that sewing has brought into your own life.  Is there a newcomer family or an after school program that can benefit from the knowledge that you can pass along.  I promise, any of these would make your heart full.

5.  Take a Walk and Get Some Exercise

Okay, for the most part sewing can be quite the sedentary activity.  And when you consider how sewing machines have evolved from the treadle machines that required movement of a variety of human body parts to activate machine movement to the impressive computerized machines that can almost sew a garment on it's own, maybe a lack of sewing mojo might be good for our health.

Whatever you do, don't force yourself to get back to it.  Sewing will always be there when you're ready.  Sometimes a break is just what you need to rediscover the joy.

Happy Sewing!  

Pullover Dress: Vintage Vogue 1606

  This summer Vogue Patterns released Vogue 1691 an easy to wear pullover dress.  I was smitten with this style but unwilling to pick up t...