Tuesday, 13 February 2018

The Verdict is In

Back in November, I embarked on a little experiment to see if wearing a natural fibre wardrobe would have an impact on my allergies and sinus issues.  

It appears that it did. As the camera went up my nose, it was the clearest picture I've seen. Coincidence? I don't think so. When a change in lifestyle could produce such drastic results it's hard to ignore. And this winter, even with the brutal cold and wind chills, has been the first winter I remember living here that I haven't used an inhaler. [knock on wood]. Coincidence?   

It's official, I'm now going to clear my closet of all of the man-made fabrics that I have put into storage since the beginning of this journey. I can't tell you what fibres are the culprit, or if it's dyes, or chemical treatments on the fabric. All I know is that I'm feeling better since this lifestyle change and I'm going to stick to it. Life is too short to be dealing with allergy and sinus issues.  

It all started when I made this jacket, Kwik Sew 4197. So, without a doubt, this jacket is the first to go. There is a small part of me that is a bit sad to see it go as it was a jacket that really wanted to sew and it is quite warm. But I'm sure I'll get over it.  

This turtleneck sweater dress, out-of-print (OOP) Vogue 8939, has been a winter time staple but since is has a petroleum based fibre content I'm going to let it go as well.  

Another petroleum based fibre made into a dress that I loved wearing because of the print. It will also be leaving the wardrobe. If I could survive three and a half months without them, I'm sure I can let them go for good.  

But giving up this spring coat, OOP Burda Style 7304, will hurt the most. ~sigh~  I hope it will find a good home.

Do any of your sewing projects leave your closet and end up in other places than you intended?

Happy sewing!

Monday, 12 February 2018

In Sewing News Today...

I will admit that I'm getting tired with this winter's wind chills and extreme cold warnings. Not even a little groundhog folklore cheered me up earlier this month when this fictional groundhog predicted an early spring.  

I can't even wrap my head around the thought of sewing warm weather garments. It seems like such an unimaginable and foreign concept. Yet, sewing peeps are posting pictures of floral fabrics over on the McCall's Facebook group and Instragram. All the while I'm freezing and thinking I just want to crawl under a big pile of blankets and hibernate. Yes, my sewing mojo has taken a hit.  

I've cut into some of the wool fabric that I picked up when Mitchell Fabrics closed last year. The plan is to make a dress by merging design elements from McCall's 7546 and Vogue 1503. I plan on lengthening McCall's 7546 to a dress version and using the sleeve and placket from Vogue 1503.  Oh, and pockets would be nice. I just don't have enough sewing mojo to tackle it.  

I did spend part of my weekend organizing my button collection. How can a person have a large collection but yet not be able to find suitable buttons for a project?  

This called for a trip to the fabric store. With luck on my side and layers of clothes to keep the cold at bay, I found these buttons matching my olive coloured fabric. They were marked down 70% and I didn't even need a membership card. [insert happy dance here]

I don't know when I'm going to dig myself out of a pile of blankets and get back to sewing. Waking up to windchills of minus forty degrees Celsius is not all that encouraging.  

Happy Sewing!   

Thursday, 1 February 2018

January in Review...

Seriously, January has been a blur when I think about at it. I didn't make any sewing plans since I knew my free time would be filled with driving others to appointments. It worked out okay since all the snow shovelling played havoc on my wrists and my sewing mojo. But I did manage to get some sewing done.

The Keepers:  

Navy Rachel Comey skirt, out-of-print Vogue 1247. I found all the supplies and notions from my stash using 1.1 metres of sateen, 1 metre of interfacing, a zipper, a recycled snap and reusing a favourite pattern. This skirt replaced a navy skirt that ended up being cut up for rags.  

When I made this pink wool sweater and blogged about it, I was not willing to admit that it's my favourite colour but things have changed. Never say never. I actually like how it looks on my sun deprived skin and it's been an item that I seen to reach for quite often. All materials and supplies were from the stash, 1.4 metres of wool fabric and Simplicity 8529.

The green and red plaid skirt is my favourite make. Paco Peralta's Vogue 1567 design makes me so happy with those fantastic pockets that drape from the sides.

Words can't describe how great I feel while wearing this skirt. It's fun and different and I like it. The three metres of fabric that I used for this project came from my stash and the sewing pattern has been in my collection for a few months. But I did have to hit the store for an invisible zipper, seam binding and some thread.  

The Fail:

Doggie booties were not even on my radar until I met the sweetest little dog who was travelling in the bitter cold without any footwear. That's when I went to work on a set of booties made out of scraps from my coat.

My initial plan was to use Velcro to hold them in place but this doggie's sitter insisted on ties. I'm surprised they stayed on its little paws as long as they did. I think I need to stick to sewing clothes for people.

The beginning of the year, I joined the 2018 RTW Fast and in addition I went further with vowing to stay away from purchasing fabric and patterns as well. Would you believe that I didn't even look at fabric when I went to get my zipper and thread for the latest sewing project? Thirty-one days down, three hundred thirty-four more days to go. All of the items I made were made with patterns and fabric purchased prior to the start of the year. I have a stash that should keep me going for the year and it would be nice to downsize. 

So what's in the plans for February? I'm anxiously waiting to see if there is any noticeable difference to the interior of my sinuses in a couple of weeks.  It has now been three months that I've stopped wearing any clothes that contain man-made fibres. I certainly feel better and have noticed a difference. This is the first winter that I haven't had a need for an inhaler. Coincidence? We'll see.  

Until then, happy sewing!

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Vogue 1567: Mad About My New Plaid Skirt

Vogue 1567 turned out to be such a fun project to sew. And I'm thrilled with the final product.

This is such a unique design and it has the most satisfying pockets.

It did come with some challenges though. The pattern pieces are quite large and demand 150 cm wide fabric to make it fit unless you want to chop it up and cut it on the cross grain. That is what I did to make my 115 cm wide fabric work. I cut the front as two pieces, the skirt and the facing which worked out just fine. And there was also some sizing issues that I need to address. The pattern had to be shortened five inches. Paco Peralta's design comes with adjustment lines to make this an effortless process. 

The fabric is decades old, a piece that originates from Toronto. It is a wool / silk / cotton blend and it handled the pre-treatment well. I pressed the fabric on the wool setting with steam.

I don't know what else to say except it's comfortable and I can't wait to wear it.   

The Stats:  

Fabric:  3 metres

Zipper:  55 cm invisible zipper, cut down to 25.5 cm

Seam binding:  2.3 metres 

PatternVogue 1567

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Cutting table, scissors, pins, measuring tape, iron, ironing board, thread clippers, thread, sewing machine, serger, walking foot, regular sewing machine foot, invisible zipper foot, and regular zipper foot, hand needle, tailor's chalk, ruler, tailor's wax, seam ripper, screwdriver, and coffee. 

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Movie Review: Phantom Thread

Photo credit: IMDb photo gallery {Source}

Phantom Thread is a surprisingly fine film. I'll admit that I wasn't all that thrilled about going to see a film labelled as a "romance / drama," just like films with lots of violence, it's not my favourite genre. I was convinced otherwise to check out this film by the courtier aspect woven into the film's story. Who wouldn't want to see a film filled with works of art created out of fabric?

I'll admit it is a pleasantly surprising story line. Set in the 1950s, this film has an Alfred Hitchcock vibe mixed with dark comedy undertones. It did however seem to be lost on my fellow movie viewers. Parts of the film that brought laughter to my lips were not shared in the theatre.

The costumes were beautiful. Alma, a woman fetishized by Reynolds, a British womanizing fashion designer, is beautifully dressed in stunning garments. I wish I could find a photo of the lace bodiced dress with front pockets that Alma wears in a fashion show scene. The costumes are stunning. But they somehow play second to the story. Reynolds meets his creative match when he tries to use Alma as a human mannequin. Throw in a seemingly creepy relationship that Reynolds has with his dead mother and business partner sister, Cyril, and it becomes a creative battle of wits. Will it be Cyril that manages her brother and muses like she manages the house and business. Or perhaps it's Reynolds, the bullying narcissist, who tries to manage his environment and those he allows into it. Don't count out, Alma, the understated country waitress and latest muse, who comes into the relationship with her own creative genius that should not be underestimated.

It was a fun distraction and a film worth seeing not just for Mark Bridges' costume work, but also for the clever story mimicking the style of post-war era Hitchcock films.

Well, right now I should get back to sewing. I still have a skirt to sew.  

Happy Sewing (or sewing distractions)!  

Thursday, 25 January 2018

In Sewing News Today...

Sewing has been minimal around here. Life has been busy and throw in a cold, I've been meh about sewing. Until now... 

I picked up this pattern, Vogue 1567, last year when it came out and I had plans to make it to wear to Christmas festivities but plans change and it fell to the side as gift sewing took priority. It's back on the table as this weekend is the start of the New Music Festival, my favourite time of the year, and I feel like dressing up for the occasion.  

Best part, it's rated "easy" and I have think I can pull off an "easy" project before Saturday night. But the question remains, how is a pattern that calls for a Hong Kong finish applied to the seams rated "easy"?

I do have enough fabric to cut bias strips but I'm thinking that I might skip this classic and beautiful seam finish in order to save time. I'm thinking about finishing the seam on the serger instead. Right now I'm pressing my fabric and thinking what the heck am I thinking? Even though I love this red plaid silk and pattern does list silk satin and taffeta as suitable fabric choices, this beautiful silk might be too lightweight for a January event. STOP THE PRESSING!  

So now, my fabric choice has changed. Stay tuned.  

In other sewing news, Vogue patterns released their new spring patterns last night. And just like the McCall's Early Spring release, I'm meh about it as well. There is nothing that has my creative juices working overtime like this Paco Peralta pattern, Vogue 1567, from a previous release.  Hmmm, maybe that's it, there wasn't any new Paco Peralta designs in this release.   

Well, that's all in sewing news today.  

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Where Our Recycled Clothes End Up

Last night, CBC's Investigative Consumer program Marketplace did a episode, "Clothing Waste:  Fashion's Dirty Secret", on retailer's recycled clothing programs. They travelled to New York and interviewed Elizabeth Cline, author of Overdressed:  The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. Although they did touch on the quality of the fabrics used in ready-to-wear I think they missed the mark on a very important underlining story. It is not missed in Cline's book though. They did focus on Clines definition of the clothing deficit myth. Many of the clothing items that we think are going to clothe the poor are in fact getting resold and ending up across the ocean where many are destroyed in landfill fires. Charity shops and now clothing retails are over run by our cast-offs that they can not recycle because of the blended fibre content.

It is easier to recycle a 100% cotton t-shirt but most t-shirts today are made with fibre blends that are not easily recycled. It is cheaper for a manufacturer to produce a garment with petroleum based synthetic fibres and that is why we see the trend of having these fibres mixed with natural fibres and sold as a "cotton" shirt.

As described in the investigative piece, the clothing industry is built on a flawed business model dependent on over consumption and a society not willing to repair or mend their clothing. Instead, we're encouraged to discard them for a retailer discount or because they were purchased initially so cheaply that we do not see the value in taking care of them.

So how did this story become an investigative journalism piece in light that Cline's observations have been out there since 2012? East African nations are imposing tariffs and in some cases a ban on second hand clothing imported from North America.

Contemporary clothing and house hold products are having another negative effect on our lives as seen when this story came out this week. Vince MacKenzie, a director with the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs points out that "fires today grow more quickly because many furnishing and consumer products are made of plastic and other petroleum products." Yeah, that includes all those clothes stuffed into closets made out of synthetic fibres or coated with fomaldehyde finishes.

I agree that we need to take care of our clothing and mend over discarding but we also need to consider the impact that the petroleum industry is having in our textile choices and the impact it has on our lives.

Does fibre content impact your fabric or clothing purchases?

The Verdict is In

Back in November, I embarked on a little experiment to see if wearing a natural fibre wardrobe would have an impact on my allergies and si...