Saturday, 30 April 2016

April in Review...

Is it true?  Are update posts boring?  I found this posted in the sewing blog sphere and I thought about my monthly blog updates.  

Update posts aren't usually interesting but... 

I'm still going to continue with them because for me it is a record and keeps me accountable to my sewing and budgetary goals. I really hope it is not boring for those visiting this blog. If it is please feel free to skip this post but I do hope you return another time.  

Sewing:

There were two projects that didn't get made up this month. The print wrap dress and the floral jacket are still on my wish-list. The wrap dress is cut and a few seams have been stitched, so hopefully soon it will be finished.  The jacket is still a dream folded up neatly within the yardage of fabric.

Top L to R: Blue lace top, OOP McCall's 7946; Fashion
Revolution Necklace; Minty wrap dress, OOP Vogue 7014;
Silk dress, Vogue 1410; Cotton knit top, OOP Vogue 8710.  
Beside finishing (and starting) the wrap dress and jacket, next month, I would like to make a pair of pants for moi, and a new dress and slip for Mama R. Being told to rest the hand is throwing a curve ball into my sewing plans though. We'll just have to wait and see how far I get with these plans.  

RTW Fast:

Actually, I didn't pick up any ready-to-wear items this month.  Woohoo! And next month is Me-Made-May '16 which I pledge to participate.  

I have to admit I do like this activity because it hits home that I have a me-made wardrobe that I like and which fits me better than RTW. And it is a good exercise in finding out what needs there are to fill (besides undies--really need to sew some undergarments).    

The Stats:


Supplies
Quantity Used from the stash this Month 
Quantity Used this Year
Added to the Stash this year
Basting Tape
0
0.40 metres
0
Bias Tape
2 metres
2.01 metres
0
Buttons
0
19
0
Chain
0
0
0
Cord Stopper
1
1
1
Elastic
1 metre
3.8 metres
1 metre
Fabric
8.1 metres
27.65 metres
30.9 metres
Fusible Tape
0.40 metres
0.40 metres
0
Hand needles
0
0
0
Hook and Eyes
0
0
0
Interfacing
0
1.60 metres
10 metres
Lace trim
0
0
0
Pattern (new)
1
7
6
Pattern (previously used)
3
5
0
Ribbon
0
0.50 metres
0
Serger needles
0
0
0
Serger thread
1
1
0
Sewing machine needles
1
6
0
Snaps
0
0
0
Thread
2
5
24
Trim
0
1.8 metres
1.8 metres
Velcro
0
0
0
Zipper
0
1
2




Thursday, 28 April 2016

Tendonitis is Tripping Up My Sewing Plans

There hasn't been much sewing since my right hand ballooned up earlier this week. Not only was it ugly, like bull-frog ugly. 

No offensive meant towards bull-frogs.  I'm sure
there is another bull-frog out there that finds
this one quite attractive. 

It also hurt to move my fingers. It kind of freaked me out and lead to a panicked call to a physiotherapist. So, long story short... I've been advised to take a break from sewing until things settle and wear this thing again.  


I think my next sewing project should be designing a more attractive cage to keep my thumb straight that doesn't have velcro. Velcro ruins my clothes. Yeah, I know I can just cover it with a cut sock but it is warming up and it is, well, ugly.  

Talking about the good, bad and ugly, I picked up a new book at the library.  


I admire this man's wit, to me he is a wise person who highlights how fashion is more than material things in our closet. It is about history, politics, innovation, culture, subcultures, fitting in, protesting and expressing ourselves. I know this book will keep me entertained and occupied while I take a break from the sewing room because I've always enjoyed Gunn's blunt, witty, and astute observations.  

  




Monday, 25 April 2016

Do You Follow Trends?

I wouldn't define myself as a trendy person. By the time I get around to sewing the "latest trend" it is typically gone. I watch for the latest must have fashion trends just for entertainment, rarely because I'm dying to jump in. But here is a "must-have fashion trend for 2016" that I must admit I do like. The off-the-shoulder look.  

Dress by H&M, Top by Zara.
{Source}

Of course, this look has no place in my everyday life without a deluxe roll of double sided tape. Working in a school environment is a very physical job, this is not the sort of look I could pull off at work life. If I were a woman of leisure or off to some beach side restaurant to have lunch, it might work.

bcgb {Source}

I was surprised that this look is being shown as a to-watch-trend but I couldn't find too much evidence of it in the new spring releases from McCall's, Butterick, and Vogue.







I was, however, able to find some off-the-shoulder looks in the current offerings from previous releases. With the exception of Gertie's new one-shoulder dress.  Nothing as modern edgy and chic as the black RTW top from Zara shown above. The pattern offerings from the major four pattern companies seem to be mostly made up of reincarnated seventies bohemian chic. 

Lovely if you can pull off the look but I'm a middle aged (ouch, that hurt) lady with a bit of a mid-section (need to hit the gym) who fantasizes of being dressed as stylishly as the folks on Advanced Style. Except, I'm eating Nicoise Salad at some beach-side restaurant somewhere in Europe. I'm not asking for much, am I? 

Should I side-step this trend as Sandra Halliday warns?  

Call me foolish or call me a risk-taker, but I think I found a pattern in my stash that might work despite Halliday's dire warnings. Vogue 1038 is a dramatic off-the-shoulder tunic that looks stunning with capris.  I know this to be true because a fabulous version has been modelled by Tia Dia over at Mezzo Couture. Forget about trying to recreate that Zara top, I'll be sewing this Donna Karan design (and will make my own Nicoise Salad). 


How about you, will you be sewing the off-the-shoulder look this season?  

Happy Sewing!  


Sunday, 24 April 2016

"GET YOU PAWS OFF MY FABRIC!"

I have Rachel Comey's Vogue 1507 in queue to be sewn. 


I can't wait to get to work on these pants and I have some white denim that I'm planning on using. Just one problem, I need a zipper. Vogue patterns failed to mention on the notions list and in Vogue pattern magazine that the 6" exposed zipper needs to be a separating zipper. In this town, no such thing exists. Trust me, I've looked.  

This afternoon, I was looking through Mitchell Fabrics and even though I did not find the exact size of zipper I needed, I did pick one up slightly longer hoping that I will be able to make it work.  

Once I found the notions I needed, I thought that I would take a look at the fabrics. Since I was there, why not?  After taking a look up stairs I went downstairs to the Annex where I found some striped knit and I walked by a pile of knit fabric on the ledge near the stairs. There was this cherry red cotton knit that I went to pick up when at the wall of home decor fabric a saleswoman helping two young men, yells in my direction, "GET YOUR PAWS OFF MY FABRIC!"  

Top of her lungs she yells across at me. She startled the young men who were standing beside her and they quickly turned towards me. I'm sure people upstairs heard because she was right beside the open staircase. Totally embarrassed I step away from the cotton knit and quickly went upstairs.  

I paid for my items and quickly left the store. And driving home, I just felt angry at myself that I let someone's unprofessional behaviour made me leave. It made me angry because I didn't knowingly or deliberately do anything wrong. I'm sure she could have handled the situation differently. And when I got home, I called the store to speak to a manager. But there was no manager, there was only a supervisor and it was the woman who yelled at me.  

We spoke. She apologized. I'm still not sure why she told me to get my "paws" (which I find very offensive) off her fabric. To be completely honest, I don't really care. She did me a favour, I didn't need to add anymore fabric to my stash. I just wanted an apology for the way to spoke to me. And I think I'm officially turned off from fabric shopping. Thank goodness I have quite the stash to keep me occupied in the meantime.  


Fashion Revolution Week 2016

Today, marks the end of Fashion Revolution week and the anniversary of the tragedy at Rana Plaza. Today in Bangladesh, protesters are once again demanding justice. 

{Source}

Bangladesh is home to four million garment workers many who work in unsafe conditions for little pay while big brand labels like H & M and Joe Fresh continue to have their products made in South Asia. There were over forty officials including the owner of Rana Plaza who were arrested following the tragedy, yet no one has been convicted since the 2013 building collapse. Media attention following the tragedy highlighted promises that working conditions would change but little has happened since that time. Are we doomed to stand idly by as western consumers continue to gush over cheaply made and priced fast-fashion?

H & M Grand Opening {Source}
Photo credit:  Wayne Glowacki, Winnipeg Free Press
This year's focus was on the people and businesses in our own community that are part of the fashion industry. I wonder if a focus on customers might be another angle to generate awareness. People did ask me about the necklace I made out of labels and it gave me an opportunity to explain. It was wonderful to have the discussions I did and to see the shocked look on the faces when I shared facts about the environmental and human rights issues surrounding the fashion industry. The necklace will go down as my favourite item I have sewn this year. It gave me hope as it was a vehicle to share some awareness not only with others but also with myself.      

  




Friday, 22 April 2016

Fashion Revolution Week 2016

Show your label.

{Source}

I don't wear my clothing inside out on Fashion Revolution day because well, dress code. But I found a way to display my labels. I borrowed this idea from Gayle Ortiz

{Source}
Isn't it cool? I've wanted to make one for quite some time and finally I collected enough labels.  


I played around with placement,


changed my mind and then came up with this!  


It is not as fabulous as Gayle Ortiz's version but it will work for the purpose, to try and inspire thought and discussion. 


I sewed the labels onto a black melton wool background with a snap closure.  





Thursday, 21 April 2016

Fashion Revolution Week 2016

Faux Label or Faux Fur?

I'm going to turn a corner from Fashion Revolution Week's theme of featuring our own fashion community because there is something that I read that has haunted me for quite some time.

{Source}

It has to do with fur, faux fur. There is a lot of it in the fabric stores. I never really gave much thought to it because I alway thought of it as a man-made fabric. And other than that, I wasn't really drawn to sewing a faux fur garment. But ever since reading this below, I've been thinking about faux fur every time I pass by a bolt or cut of faux fur at the store.  
Garments made from dog and cat fur are sold in markets and stores, as well as on China’s version of eBay, called taobao.com — often as jackets or vests but also as fashion accessories, trinkets and trims, even as cat-fur car seat upholstery and dog-pelt mattress covers.
Mona Lung, a Beijing-based project officer for the animal rights group ACTAsia, estimates two million cats and dogs are slaughtered each year in China.
The U.S., European Union and Australia have laws that ban importing cat and dog fur, whether it’s trim on a parka or the cuff on leather gloves.
Canada has no restrictions on fur imports, except for endangered species.
According to Industry Canada, 60 per cent of all fur garments that enter Canada come from China, trade worth about $12 million annually.
-
Because the cat and dog fur is often exported from China as trim on inexpensive garments, the U.S. tightened its ban in 2010 by requiring that all fur products be labeled — even those valued under $150 — for country of origin and species.
Canada has no similar requirements, despite the introduction of several private member’s bills in Parliament. Activists say that Canada could become a dumping ground for this fur.

But even if a country has laws about products being labeled it doesn't mean that you're getting the right information.
Once fur is mislabeled it is almost impossible to determine the species because of the harsh tanning, dying and shearing processes, explains Judith Eger, senior curator of mammals in the department of natural history at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Heart-breaking and beyond cruel that this could even remotely be true. ~sigh~  Not only should we consider the human rights denied to many working in the garment industry during Fashion Revolution week, there are environmental and animal rights that are being callously disregarded by some. Yet, Peta suggests that faux fur "can be a good alternative" for those who want the look of real fur. I don't know what the answer is here. I just know that stories like these have profoundly made me think about what we wear.





Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Fashion Revolution Week 2016

Recently, I was at a talk given by Naomi Klein, author of No Logo, The Shock Doctrine, and most recently, This Changes Everything. She is also a film maker and social activist. During her talk Klein mentioned India's Earth Sciences Minister, Harsh Vardhan, comments that India's recent deadly heatwave was a result of climate change and the impact that the garment industry has had on climate change.  

Such an un-glamorous topic. But an important one because it made me think about the carbon foot-print my own sewing has on the environment.   

{Source}
It is not just global fashion brands, some of those textile fibres end up in fabric stores. In recent years, I have noticed a trend in the aisles of the fabric stores. "UNKNOWN FIBRES" boldly stamped across fabric tags. Shouldn't I also be asking who makes my fabrics?    

{Source}
But hold on a second! Fashion is part of the oil industry. Annually, the global production of textile fibres consumes 33 trillion gallons of oil. We don't like to think about it when we're at the fabric store and looking at those gorgeous colours lining the tables with bolt after bolt of fabric. Have you notice that there is a LOT of polyester out there? The main ingredient to produce polyester is ethylene, which is derived from petroleum. Not so hard to imagine now.  

{Source}
One trillion gallons of water are consumed in the global production of textile fibres.  1 000 000 000 000 gallons.

This is enough to get me to start thinking about my own fabric purchases. Sadly I should admit that my fabric stash has a high quantity of polyester. I have to admit that it is getting harder and harder to find natural fibre fabrics.  But that can not become an excuse.  

In my community my favourite fabric store is Mitchell Fabrics. They sell a LOT of polyester as well, but they also sell organic cotton, fair trade knits, and natural fibre fabrics.

{Source}

So today's shout out is to Mitchell Fabrics for making a conscious effort to offer fair trade and organic fabrics.  It is the place in the city that I can find silk, cotton, linen, wool suiting with or without man-made fibre content.  Unlike the other fabric stores in the city that seem to think it is okay to slap "Unknown Fibre" labels on their bolts if they even have a label. 


I know that I would like to know who, where, and how my fabrics are produced. I want to become more conscious about the carbon footprint my own sewing is leaving by what kind of fabrics and supplies I settle and search for along the way.   

How about you, has environmental and human rights issues played a role in your fabric purchases?


Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Fashion Revolution Week 2016

The people at Fashion Revolution are asking "who are the people in your life that make, repair, pick, design, rework, style, and salvage your clothing?"  

Mama R, an angel in disguise.

This wonderful woman used to make me jumpers from recycled coats and other items she could find. There wasn't much money when we were growing up to go "fabric shopping" for whatever we wanted. Budget was always a dictating factor. I have to tell you that my memory of Mama R growing up is that she was alway very stylish. She doesn't sew me little jumpers anymore, instead she will repair the metal clasp on my pants every now and then. Bless her heart, she knows that I don't like mending. In return, I will gladly sew anything her heart desires. Right now, her heart's desire is for a new slip. The pattern is on the cutting table to be traced off.      




Monday, 18 April 2016

Fashion Revolution Week 2016



This is the first year Fashion Revolution Day expands into Fashion Revolution week. It developed from the heart-wrenching observation and remembrance of the tragedy at Rana Plaza on April  24, 2013.  Many of the designers and labels behind the clothing supplied to western consumers claimed that they were unaware of the working conditions where their clothing was produced.  

{Source}

On December 2, 2015 the people behind the Fashion Revolution movement published a white paper on the need for transparency in the supply chain within the fashion industry. You can read about it here. Not only is transparency important so is awareness. 

Which leads us to this year's focus, not only should we ask questions about the fashions made far away but those made close to home.

Who are the people in your life that make, repair, pick, design, rework, style and salvage your clothing?  This year, [the folks at Fashion Revolution] are asking for picture and video content that highlights the fashion industry around YOU.
  • Your local tailor. 
  • The pickers at your favourite vintage shop. 
  • Your neighbour who knit you a scarf. 
  • The owner of the eco baby clothing store around the corner. 
  • Your grandmother the quilter. 
  • Your niece who has committed to 1 year without buying anything new. 
  • Your father who taught you how to repair the button on your jacket. 
  • The designer you read about who makes a ZERO waste clothing line and you just ordered a garment.
As many of you know, I've been trying to RTW fast for three years now. I haven't always been successful at completely cutting out RTW from my wardrobe. Some items are beyond my current skill set (ski-pants, sweaters, and bras) or are made out of materials that I can not easily find (cashmere and other desirable natural fibres). And lets face it, I could never be a RTW faster if it weren't for a community of people backing me up. It takes a village to make it through this journey.  

Here's to a week of asking tough questions, learning from those tough questions, re-examining our own habits, and mindful sewing!




Sunday, 17 April 2016

Stretch Lace Knit Top


A pullover top has been on my want-to-make list ever since I got my hot little hands on this out-of-print pattern, McCall's 7946. This project jumped queue when I finished the latest version of the Lynn Mizono dress and decided that it needs something underneath if I'm going to be comfortable when I wear it out in public.  


I was scared to cut the pattern though, just in case it needed some tweaking at some point. So I traced out the multi-sized pattern to fit my latest curves. Once I accounted for more ease in the mid-section, I was ready to get to work.  I love the fit of this top, there was enough ease around the arms and the bust area, and then I graded up a couple of sizes towards the hemline. Of course, I did my usual shortening of the sleeves and hemline. I also changed the order of construction laid out in the instructions. Instead of a set-in sleeve, I sewed the shoulder seams, then the sleeve and finally the sleeve and sides at the same time.  

My fabric was a recent find at Fabricland and I was thrilled with my purchase until I spotted this flaw. It is difficult to notice, but it is a repair to a tear/hole in the lower part of the front.  Can you spot it?  


My disappointment didn't last too long because a) it was on sale and b) no one besides us will end up seeing it. This top is just to wear underneath something else. 


I did have enough left over fabric to cut another front but decided against it in the end. It really wasn't a big deal and I just wanted to get to work on the top. Besides with the left over fabric, I think I might be able to make a pair of knickers.   

The fabric was pre-treated with a tumble in the washing machine followed by another tumble through the dryer. It handled the pre-treatment process like a champ and I don't foresee any issues with laundering it in the future.   


The Stats:  

Fabric:     1.5 metres of stretch lace knit

Pattern:    OOP McCall's 7946

Paper:      1/2 sheet of Burda tracing paper

Additional Tools and Supplies:  Sewing machine, walking foot, serger, thread, scissors, pins, pencil, tailor's chalk, coffee times two and about three hours of my time.  

Happy Sewing!  



OOP Vogue 8887: Cuffed Trousers

This is my test garment of out-of-print (OOP) Vogue 8887. There is so much that I like about this pattern. First off, the fabric is cut on ...