Saturday, 19 April 2014

Peplum Top

Stash busting 2014:  There's a New Peplum on the Block

Fabric:     1.4 metres of a 100% cotton print.

Zipper:     22" invisible zipper

Pattern:    Vogue 8936

Bias Tape:  44" length

Despite the epic failure of the first peplum top that I made (I still can't believe that Vogue 8815 was voted a Best Pattern by Pattern Review), I decided to give another Vogue peplum pattern a try.

Vogue 8936
This time I made one with princess seams using Vogue 8936

The fabric was a piece that I had in my scrap stash. I used it to make a Marcy Tilton Top/Jacket a couple of years ago. It is a 100% cotton fabric that I picked up at the now close Fabric Centre. Gosh, I miss that place. I'm happy that there was enough fabric to make this top.

The pattern, Vogue 8936, is quite lovely with the way the peplum is cut. I like the princess seams in the front, drape and shape of the peplum and the top-stitching is a nice finish.

I did not like the shape of the neckline and I did re-shape it in the front. I also left out the bodice lining and opted to finish the neckline edge with some black bias tape.

The sewing machine gave me some issues and I stopped mid-sewing to clean the machine after changing the needle and adjusting the tension did not seem to work. The stitching has been off-and-on  since I made the wrap dress. It might be time to take it in for a tune-up? I guess I'll see if the latest cleaning makes a lasting difference. It did make a brief difference and I was able to finish the garment without changing sewing machines.

Back to the pattern, I will agree with Sewmanja that the pattern does run large. For me, it was in the bodice side seams that I had issues. I found that I was running back to the sewing machine and taking in the sides a wee bit more. I started at a size 14, my usual size, and graded up to a larger size at the waist. I'm happy with the new waistline as I do not like things tight fitting. But the side seams above the waist was in some immediate alterations and needed to be taken in (much smaller than my usual size 14 measurements).

I also did the order of things differently when piecing together this project. The instructions suggest sewing the side seams of the bodice first and then the side seams of the peplum before attaching the bodice and peplum pieces together. I didn't do this because I wanted my centre back seam open to sew my invisible zipper.  I sewed the peplum piece to the bodice pieces before sewing the side seams. Then I sewed the invisible zipper and then sewed the side seams.

There seems to be an error in the pattern instructions. Along the sleeve cap it suggests ease stitching between the markings. I found that this was not enough and ripped out that stitching and replaced it with stitching between the notches. It must have been a typo?

All-in-all (now that it is done), I'm happy with all the tweaks and final results.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, 18 April 2014

Would You Wear Your Clothes Inside Out?

You may have noticed a new button and link on the blog. Fashion Revolution Day is coming up on April 24th. Participants are asked to wear their clothes inside out to show the labels on instagram. 

Celina who blogs over at Petit a Petit and Family and Abby who blogs over at Things for Boys is asking the sewing community to get involved. Their take on this global awareness campaign is to
get the online sewing community involved with this initiative by creating the first


of sewists wearing something handmade inside out.  The goal is for all of us to stand together for a united cause and help to show sewing (in all its forms) as an ethical and sustainable alternative to fast fashion and mass consumerism.  It’s one piece in a very large puzzle but by showcasing home sewn items we will help spread the word that in some cases the answer to ‘Who Made Your Clothes?’ can proudly be answered, “ME!”


April 24, 2014 will mark the first anniversary of a horrific and tragic event. One thousand one hundred twenty-nine people died when the unsafe building they were working in collapsed. Over two thousand people were injured. Many lost limbs.

The building that collapsed housed garment factories that catered to the fast-fashion appetite of western countries. Although the building also housed a bank and other shops, these business closed and left the building as soon as cracks were discovered. This was not the case for the garment factories where workers were ordered back to work in this unsafe environment in order to meet shipping deadlines.

This tragedy brought to light the horrific working conditions and little pay that the workers must endure to support their families. It shocked many in the west who were oblivious to these conditions when they picked up that bargain garment.

So, on April 24 we're asked to think about the people who have passed away, those who survived, and those that continue to work in unthinkable working conditions and ask ourselves "who made your clothes?"

I have thought of this social justice issue and how it relates to my sewing. I wrote about it back in February when Debi ask those participating in Sew Grateful Week to reflect on what sewing means to them.

The straw that broke the camel's back were the heart-wrenching reports about the sewing factories overseas. "Made in the U.S.A." or "Made in Canada" disappeared from our western landscape in the past decades as our heads were filled with the promises of globalization. I am no saint when it comes to some of my shopping decisions in the past. I have clothing produced by Joe Fresh and that have "Made in China" and "Made in Bangladesh" and yes, it makes me ill every time another garment factory fire occurs and innocent garment workers are killed. It is not cheap fashion when the high human cost comes to light. 
This past year, I try to think of those who sew our clothes not because it is a hobby rather they are trying to feed their families. I am trying to be more mindful in my decisions and change my shopping behaviour of the past. I have learned to appreciate my sewing skills more than I did in the past. I now think of my sewing skills as more than a hobby. Sewing has become a form of social activism. I know how much I hate it when people take advantage of my sewing abilities and try to get work done for cheap or worse free. Yet when I buy fast-fashion am I not doing the same thing? It is one of the reasons that I joined Sarah's RTW Fast this year. I'm grateful for the community of fasters that have been supportive and inspiring in this journey.
This is an opportunity to stand up and think about where we place value, in people or products. On April 24th, would you wear your clothes inside out and snap a photo? If sew, spread the word.  

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Fancy As It Gets

Stash Busting 2014:  The Fancy Slip

Fabric:   2 metres of slinky polyester (I'm pretty sure it is a polyester) fabric

Thread:   1 spool of white thread polished off from the stash

This is the third slip for Mama R using the out-of-print (OOP) Simpli-city 8666 pattern. It is a little fancier than the other ones with a pink rose print.  

The fabric has been in my stash for a long, long time. I won't even guess how long. I can't even remember where I picked this up. I must have been drunk because it is pink and I'm not that crazy about pink. I'm at a total loss as to how it made it into my fabric stash. Mama R loves the fabric so it worked out well in the end.

I finished the neckline and underarm edges with bias tape that I made with the same fabric as the slip. Crazy difficult to press and I managed to steam the heck out of my thumb. I did not like that part of this project. I do, however, like the finished results.

The straps were recycled from another slip. I think this covers it for slip making for a while. Now to get this item pressed before I deliver it to Mama R.   

Happy Sewing!  

Monday, 14 April 2014

In Sewing News Today...

My sewing mojo is coming back. Well, actually I didn't really lose my sewing mojo. I just didn't have much energy to sew while I was down and out with the pneumonia. I'm feeling better now and hopefully it means that it won't take days and weeks to finish simple sewing projects.  

I gave up drinking coffee over a month ago but I wouldn't mind having this coffee mug. I can use it for my Chai tea lattes.  

Threads magazine published their Designer Techniques The Best of threads Collector's Edition (Summer 2014). I picked it up because one of my 2014 sewing goals is to make a Chanel-esque jacket and there is an article called "Inside a Designer Jacket" by Susan Khalie.  

There is another article by Susan Khalie, "The LBD" (Little Black Dress). It made me sad to see this article because it appeared in another Threads magazine published a few years ago. I don't like buying magazines to find articles on things that have appeared on previous issues that I have already read. Why do they do this? And the dress pattern in a vintage Vogue pattern, circa 1960s. I wish Vogue patterns would re-release this vintage pattern. ~sigh~ 

I'm longing for this fabric. It is the Geek Chic Crossword fabric that Peter over at Male Pattern Boldness used to make a shirt. I think both Peter's shirt and this fabric are too much fun. But I must remind myself that I do not need this fabric instead I'm trying to save for some silk fabric to line the Chanel-esque jacket that I'm planning on making.

That is all in sewing news today...

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 12 April 2014

A Cotton Slip

Stash Busting 2014:  Another Slip for Mama R

Fabric:      2 metres

Bias Tape:  .8 metres

Same pattern, different fabric. This one is made in a light-weight 100% cotton fabric that I recently picked up with plans to make a white shirt. But plans do change on occasions and this is one of them.  

The fabric makes this a perfect summer slip. I finished off the neck and underarm seams with white bias tape that I had sitting in my stash. The hem was finished with a rolled narrow hem. Mama R didn't want any lace or fanciness. Just another simple slip.  

I have one more slip on the sewing table to finish.  

Until then, Happy Sewing!  

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Unsolved Mystery

My latest make was a bit of a challenge. I was working with a knit fabric that was not playing well with the sewing machine. After trying different stitches, lengths and needles I gave up thinking that it was time to take the machine in for servicing.  

I was able to finish my dress on my back-up machine which sewed the fabric without any of the issues that the other machine had encountered. But today I thought to take a look at the machine that was giving me some trouble. Would you believe that it is working perfectly fine. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that it is sewing beautifully, I just wonder what was up last week.  

It is an unsolved mystery as to what was going wrong. Last week I was sewing an interlock knit fabric and today I'm sewing 100% cotton.  

Any ideas?  I still have some interlock knit in my fabric stash. Any suggestions on the best way to handle this fabric?  

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

In Sewing News Today...

I have the pleasure of working at a school. The kids amaze me everyday, I'm really blessed to witness their greatness. This year, I discovered that there are several students who are into sewing. Like really into sewing. It was always my dream that my niece would be into sewing and one day I would have the pleasure to share my creative passion with her. My niece's interests lie elsewhere and she and I do not share a love for sewing. Oh well. I guess it wasn't meant to be... But the newer generation seems to be all into it. 

They make purses, and clothing for their dolls and stuff animals. Sew yesterday, I took a box of fabric scraps to the school where I work. The scrap pieces are fairly large and I thought that the kids might like to pick out some pieces. They were sew into it, going through the box of fabric and telling me what they plan to make. Oh my goodness, it totally made my day. I can't wait to see what they create.  

It seems like sewing is cool, where years ago I knew more than my fair share of folks that made fun of sewing activities. I wonder if it relates to all the prime time television programs that emphasize sewing and the creative process? Shows like Project Runway, Fashion Star, Project Catwalk were all programs that highlighted the creative skills needed to produce clothing. Even The Great British Sewing Bee is gearing up for an American version of the show. I'm not sure when sewing became cool with the kids, I'm just thrilled to see it happen in my life-time and I'm around to witness it.  

And to top off my day, I came home to a package from Vogue patterns. The patterns I ordered arrived in less than two weeks! How awesome is that? Pretty awesome, I'll say. I think, I'm most thrilled about the Vogue 9014 top pattern. It is a lined back buttoned top and I have a beautiful deep red lace fabric that would be perfect for this pattern.   

This will have to go down as the best day in a very long time.  

Happy Sewing!  


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