Tuesday, 31 December 2013

December in Review


There was quite a bit of sewing, a flurry of sewing blew through my sewing table and machines, then no more. It was an exhausting month and all I have to show for it is more fabric and patterns added to the stash.

  • 78.36 metres of fabric, 
  • 26 previously unused patterns
  • 10.6 metres of trim
  • 20.50 packages of seam binding,
  • 12 zippers
  • 17 spools of thread
  • 6 sewing machine needles
  • 18 snaps,
  • 4 hook and eye
  • 60 buttons and
  • 6.8 metres of elastic.
And this this year I've added to my stash:
  • 74.5 metres of new fabric
  • 24 new patterns,
  • 2 metre of trim,
  • 15 packages of seam binding, 
  • 1 zipper,
  • 8 spools of thread
  • 2 sewing machine needles,
  • 42 buttons
  • 2 new sewing feet
  • 4 metres of elastic.  
Moral of the story:  Stash-busting is hard. Keeping New Year's resolutions are even harder.  

Happy Sewing! ( 

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Year in Review: 2013's Unfinished Projects

I had so many plans last year and there are items that are cut out and waiting to be sewn. What can I say, life gets busy and then there is always someone pushing other sewing onto the table. (Must learn to say no!) 

Yes, after the placket incident I lost my menswear sewing mojo. Enough time has past that I feel up for the challenge. Two out of three done leaving one more shirt in a dark blue and black fabric cut and ready to sew.  


Good grief, I can't believe that it has taking this long to finish this one project. Okay, to be completely honest, it is further along than it appears in the picture (20 x 14 squares). But I still have another 20 x 14 square side to sew. I wonder how many years it will take to complete?

Seriously, you do have to admire folks that quilt. This project just goes to show that sewologists are not crafty people.  


This project started out as a wearable muslin for Mama R. It is about three-quarters of the way done. She's a patient woman.  


And I didn't even mention the drawer of cut-out projects.  

How about you? Do you have some unfinished projects that are likely to carry over to 2014?  

Happy Sewing!  


Friday, 27 December 2013

Year in Review: The Tim Gunn Project

Awhile back, I started to take a good hard look at my wardrobe. I was in need of some professional looking basics and I turned to Tim Gunn's advice on the essential pieces that every woman should have in their wardrobe. Of course, I'm not the "all-American classic" kind of gal, but I'm trying to make it my own while putting together a more professional look.


How has the sewing challenge been going? Well, here is my dream edited dream list and the items that I was able to assemble from already made and newly made items to make up the essential piece Mr. Gunn suggests as key pieces.

✄ A classic trench.

I didn't make a "trench coat". It is on my list of things I would like to one day make, but until then I do have a trench alternative, Burda 7304. I'm sure Mr. Gunn would let this slight change slide.

Red Satin
Trenchcoat, Burberry
$4,195.00
It is not that I don't like the classic trench. I would love  something like this. Yes!, my inspiration, in a red satin sateen fabric, oh my goodness, that would be fabulous.

I don't have a classic trench coat pattern nor do I have red sateen sitting in my fabric stash. Sew this is purely a fantasy item.

If I were to chose a trench coat pattern there are three patterns that I think are serious contenders, Sewaholic's Robson Coat, Marfy's F3201 and the Pièce de résistance Vintage Vogue 1521.

Okay, that is enough fantasy play. Moving along...


The Black Dress.

I don't really need another black dress. I do have Vogue 1312 in my wardrobe plus three RTW basic black knit t-shirt dresses that are easy to dress up or down. Do I really need a black dress?

That said, I won't cross it off the list just because this is a want rather than a need item. And there is some beautiful free trade black knit and several patterns (including Marcy Tilton's Single Dress) that might fit the bill. Stay tuned, a black dress just might materialize.

The Classic White Shirt.

This shirt was originally supposed to have long sleeves (long story cut short) but I don't mind the shorter sleeve length. I adjusted the bottom waist and hip area to allow for more ease than the pattern suggested. It is also a problem area that I find when shopping for RTW shirts and blouses. I'm pleased with the outcome even though I wouldn't mind a long sleeve french cuff version in a different fabric [insert lightweight linen since I'm on the in-my-dreams theme].

I might have to revisit this item in the new year. For now, this is a good go-to white shirt when those conservative occasions pop up.




 Dress pants.

Finding a pants pattern that fits and is comfortable has been a long time coming. An epic journey that has taken many twists and turns resulting in absolute failure until now.

Now my go-to pants pattern has been an Anne Klein pattern, Vogue 1325. I like the high waist and it falls straight from the widest part of my hips. I've actually make three pairs in wool and wool/cashmere blend. One pair in navy, another in a grey and blue pinstripe and the classic black wool pants. And I wouldn't mind making another pair in the near future. It is crazy to think that I actually can't get enough of this pattern.


✄ The Perfect Pair of Jeans.

I'm still working on this one. I did make a pair of red jeans using Vogue 1325 but made the error that I would need more ease because of my fabric choice. I was dead wrong. Since I made those denim pants, I lost a few pounds and now look like I'm drowning in them. Back to the drawing board on this essential item.

Next time I'm try a different pattern though. Something along the lines of a more classic jean style with back and front pockets. I have a couple of "jean" patterns from Butterick and Vogue in my pattern stash to try out. Taking lessons learned the hard way on my pants journey I'll have to take some time and make a muslin first.

✄ The Day Dress.

This project is cut and ready to go! I just need to change the thread colour on the overlock and sewing machines and get to work when I'm ready to head back to the sewing table.





✄ Any Occasion Top. (Replaces Gunn's Cashmere Sweater piece.)

I do feel comfortable crossing this item off the list since I have Vogue 1274, Lynn Mizono's Angel Shirt, as my go-to any occasion top. (If I must.)

It is made with 100% fabric and I feel that the design is funky enough that I would pick this item for an afternoon at the theatre or symphony or a work day. Sure, it doesn't fit under a blazer but I'm okay with that.

That said, I actually wouldn't mind making the shorter version in some silk duponi that I have in my fabric stash, maybe?




✄ The Classic Blazer.

Channel $4,710.00
I would really, really, really love to add a Channel-esque jacket to my wardrobe. Yes, it is not a "blazer" but rules are meant to be broken, right?

The fabric has orange, pinks and yellows and would work beautifully with the day dress project that I have cut out. Mmmm, maybe some navy trim will pull it all together? No clue on the lining fabric.

Okay, back to the list...

✄ Versatile Skirt.

This skirt is make in a black denim and dressed up with leather trim along the hemline, side and front seams. It falls a little longer than what Mr. Gunn suggested last year but I don't care, this skirt works for me. It is made using Burda 7025 and to be completely honest it does not look anything like the pattern. But I like it.

Actually, I have to disagree with Mr. Gunn on his hemline suggestions because I would really like to make a maxi-length skirt using Vogue 1239 or perhaps the recently discovered Vintage NY Collection pattern, McCall's 7870.

Once I hit on the perfect versatile skirt, I plan to use it with a cream coloured wool that has been in the fabric stash for far too long.

 A Sweatsuit Alternative.

This one cracks me up! I've never fell for the sweat pants/suit look. The last thing I ever would want to wear is something that hugs my thighs. So I think I going all out on this one and make something that I know I will comfortable in, another day dress.


The fabric I have in mind for this is a beautiful light-weight wool in a colour that I would not normal pick. Too funny that is it pretty close to the 2014 Pantone Colour of the Year, Radiant Orchid. So glad I went shopping with a friend that day!

Well, as you can see I still have a lot of work and editing to do before I see the end of this project. It will continue as my on-going 2014 work-in-progress. Wonder what the finally ten items will look like when I finally pull it together.

Happy Sewing!


Monday, 23 December 2013

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas! (to those celebrating the holiday)
Hope everyone is having a joyful holiday season celebrated with those you hold dear to your heart.   

And no matter what "holiday season" you celebrate: 
May all your 2014 stitches be right.  

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Going Casual During a Dress-up Holiday

Update:  Wishing all my easterner friends and family a safe Christmas. There has been a snow storm with freezing rain that has knocked out power to thousands of homes. Even though I jest in this post, my thoughts and heart are with you guys. Stay safe and sending well wishes.  

Thank you for all the lovely get well wishes. Your kind words were a real boost and I'm on the mend and actually starting to think dreaming about finishing off some projects. Not quite there yet.

Instead, I've been catching up on my reading since I'm laid up and I have finished reading the December 7th, 2013 Globe and Mail article Relax during the holidays with five cozy but chic looks. It is a look at dressing up casual for the holidays.

Let's face the windchill at this time of year, it is darn chilly out there. And the thought of donning a frock this time of year is only realistic if you're snapping a photo of the latest sewing make to be worn in much warmer temperatures down the road. Or perhaps with your leggings ski pants. 

Heels
For me, the article lost all credibility when a Torontonian spoke about the connection to holiday dressing in the Canadian winter climate, "I want to be that little bit more comfortable, so, instead of a dress, I might wear heels and sweatpants" (Verner). Say what! And the photos that accompanied the article were of outfits styled with cropped pant legs and bare ankles.  

No wonder there is a great divide between the east and west. Silly easterners. I feel I can say that since I was once a silly easterner with a shoe fetish. Gawd, how times have changed.  

or Sorrels? 
For one, I would never equate comfortable with wearing heels. Especially as I'm recovering from a knee arthroscopy. Oh my foolish younger self. (This must be the Tylenol 3's talking?) I would much rather wear a frock and stylish sorrels this holiday season if my foot weren't so swollen and I could squeeze it into a pair of sorrels. But that is a whole other story.  

This holiday season I'm embracing the cas-holiday look minus the j-crewesque "restrained ornamentation" (hold the glitter!) and just rock the flannel pj look. I don't think it would be too much and I know I will be cozy. 

Happy Holidays!  



  



   

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Year in Review: 2013 Disappointing Makes (My Bottom Three Picks)


I was so excited to make a peplum top that I did not sew a muslin. Instead I sewed a ill-fitting top.
The darts were oddly placed and too high up. I was disappointed that I used a sateen fabric that
I really liked for something that did not turn out. Lesson:  stop being in a rush and make a muslin!
   

These were my second attempt at making knickers and no I wasn't aiming for granny panties.
Lesson: Take the time to read reviews before cutting and sewing. 

This garment fell into the 2013 disappointed list because I was in a rush and didn't sew the
pockets.  I was making this jacket as part of a Pattern Review contest and just wanted to get
it done.  Big mistake because I really do miss the pockets.  It has also been sitting in the
mending/fix pile for several months because I'm trying to remove the piling on this double
knit.  Lessons: The only person I should be trying to impress is the person who will wear it
and when it comes to picking out fabrics sometimes you have to trust your instincts about the
rayon content.     

Friday, 20 December 2013

Year in Review: 2013 Favourite Makes (My Top Three Picks)

In no specific order, here are my top three favourite makes this year:

Favourite coat, Burda 7304.
This will go down as the most challenging project I worked on this year but it was worth all the work.

My favourite home decor project.  No pattern used.
Super soft faux fur, reverse side knit fabric.  

Favourite top, Butterick 5891.
 I LOVE THIS PATTERN! The collar has a nice drape that looks great open or closed and it has
pockets! What more can I ask for? Besides the easy simple shape that drapes into a funky top.




Thursday, 19 December 2013

Year in Review: Other Sewing

Despite my dislike fear (you never know if or when you make a horrible mistake) and avoidance of mending, alterations and sewing for others, it did happen this year.










Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Year in Review: Garments

What a year! I managed to make over 30 items for moi, some of my family, and for gifts.

Clockwise L to R: 1. Top, Vogue 1274 2. Baby Onsie, McCall's 7367
3. Men's Shirt, McCall's 2447 4. Most challenging and rewarding
project of 2013, Spring Coat, Burda 7304 5. Bedroom curtains, self-drafted

Clockwise L to R: 1. Navy wool pants and my favourite pattern of 2013: Vogue 1325 2. Floral Top, Burda 7255
3. Messanger Bag 4. Baby Blue Baby Dress, Burda 9752 5. My favourite make of 2013: kAtheRine Tilton Top, Butterick 5891

Clockwise L to R:  1. Knit Fleece, Vogue 8854 2. Plaid Skirt, Vogue 8835
3. Knit Dress, McCall's  6612 4. Knit Dress, Vogue 1312 

Clockwise L to R:  1. Shirt, Burda 7136 2. Leather trimmed denim skirt, Burda 7025 3. Faux fur and knit blanket,
self-drafted 4. Black wool pants, Vogue 1325 5. Gray and blue pinstriped wool and cashmere pants, Vogue 1325 

Clockwise L to R:  1. Skirt, Vogue 1038 2. Vintage Dress, Simplicity 7478
3. Flannel PJ's, McCall's 8525 4. First attempt at making knickers, online pattern
5. Plaid dress, Vogue 8667

Clockwise L to R:  1. Dress, Simplicity 8024 2. Dress, Simplicity 2372 3. First unintentional attempt
at granny knickers, Kwik Sew 2100 4. Red denim pants, Vogue 1325 5. Peplum top, Vogue 8815

Clockwise L to R:  1. Knit sweater,Stretch & Sew 200 2. Black cotton sateen
vest, Simplicity 4763 3. Blue shirtdress, Vintage McCall's 9424 4. Orange
knit skirt, Vogue  86375. Silk duponi top, Centre for Pattern Design, Spiral Top.  
And there were other types of sewing projects that materialized in 2013. More to follow...


Monday, 16 December 2013

Signing Off, Sort Of...

Not for good, just for a bit. And sort of...

Yes, it is that busy time of year when sewing machines are humming making Christmas gifts with care but that is not why I'll be signing off. I'll get to that in a bit. Confession time: I didn't even get any of the Christmas gifts I hoped to finish done. Heck I didn't even get them started.

There was the jacket that I wanted to make for Mama R, Vogue 8916. I didn't even get around to making the changes she wanted to the pattern. This is the one project that breaks my heart that I was unable to finish. This project will have to make it on the top of the list in the new year.  

Most of my sewing time this month was devoted to helping out with sewing Advent concert costumes. The kids who sang like angels looked adorable by-the-way.  

After the concert costumes were complete there was a whole lot of cleaning that was in need to be done. The sewing machines are cleaned and packed away, the basement dusted and vacuumed. 

There were other gifts that I had hoped to make. McCall's 5795 patterns lay unopened and did not materialize into velvet dresses that I hoped to make. Messenger bags, men's shirts, oh the plans I had. Maybe next year I will do a better job at planning for the holidays.  

But for now, I'm going to sign off for a bit. There are some pre-written posts that are scheduled to appear. If I don't comment to any of the upcoming posts don't worry I haven't passed out from excessive amounts of holiday cheer. I'll be getting some much needed rest and relaxation recovery exercises.  

I have a knee arthroscopy coming up in a couple of days and that is why I'll be signing off for a little while. 


Wishing everyone a happy holiday season. See you in a couple of weeks with some real sewing news (that is the plan!). Who knows, I might even tackle that mending pile while I'm laid up.  



Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Are you Superstitious?

Well played Friday-the-13th, well played. It was an interesting day yesterday, let's just leave it at that. But it has me thinking about superstitions and specifically those superstitions around sewing.  

The only one that I remember being told is to never sew anything that I am wearing as in repairing a hem on a skirt that I have on. It was something that an aunt and Mom passed on many moons ago. 

Here are a few that I was able to gather (thanks to the sources listed below):

Bleeding on the seam allowance is good luck.  
If you draw blood from the prick of a needle while making a garment it is a sign that you will be kissed the first time you wear it.  
If you bleed on a visible part of the garment spit on it to remove the stain.  
If you break a needle in a garment, you'll wear it to a wedding.
✄ Whereas, another folklore suggests that if you break a needle in a garment, you will live to wear that garment out.  
If you wear a piece of clothing while it's being sewn, you need to chew on a piece of bread. Otherwise, God will think you're being sewn into your shroud and you will soon die. On another site, I found that it is bad luck to sew clothing while someone is wearing it unless they have thread in their mouth.
✄ In Britain, knotted thread means that an argument will happen. But in the Mediterranean, if knotted thread happens while you're mending a garment it means the owner of the garment will have prosperity and wealth.


✄ If your thread knot tangles while you are sewing it means that someone is talking about you.  
✄ If you happen to sew the project to the garment you are wearing, the number of stitches reveal how many lies you have told.
✄ If you drop a pair of scissors on the floor, it's bad luck unless you step on them before picking them up. 
If you drop your scissors while cutting it means that you will hear bad news.
✄ If you drop scissors on Sunday expect a strange visitor.
✄ If the scissors fall with the points down, it means the dressmaker will be receiving more work. 
✄ If you break one blade from your scissors, a quarrel will happen.  
✄ If you break both blades, then a catastrophe will happen.     
You should never give scissors to a friend, lest the relationship be cut. Therefore, scissors should always be sold.
✄ Don't use your scissors on New Year's Day, lest you cut off your own fortunes.

Never pass a pin without picking it up, it is considered unlucky to do so.
✄ If you drop a needle or pin and it lands eye or head up, you'll have good luck. It it land pointy tip up, not so.
✄ Upsetting a box of pins is a sign that a surprise will happen as long as some pins remain in the box.
Bent pins were thrown down wishing wells.
✄ If you are pinned to your slip during a fitting, you'll enjoy wearing the dress.
Prick your hand with a needle it depends on which hand, left refers to work and the right hand refers to your heart.
✄ Prick you thumb with a needle it means happiness.
✄ Prick your index finger with a needle it means trouble.
✄ Prick your middle finger with a needle it means love.
✄ Prick your ring finger it means a letter is on its way.
✄ Prick your pinky finger it means a farewell.
✄ Single gals who sew a single piece of hair into a wedding dress in couture, will get married within the next year.

✄ A bride can sew a swan's feather into her husband's pillow to ensure fidelity.
✄ Sew a pillowcase on New Years Eve to hold all of your troubles.
Never leave sewing undone on New Year's Day, as it will stay that way for the next year.
✄ Never start a garment on Friday unless you can finish it that same day.
✄ Don't sew on Sunday as you will have to rip out all of those stitches when you get to heaven.
✄ Do not sew on Sunday without a thimble as harm could be around the corner.
✄ If you tear a hole in a new dress the first time you wear it, you'll have a new one before that one is worn out.  
✄ If you put your petticoat on inside out it's okay as long as you wear it that way the whole day. If you switch it's bad luck.
✄ If you sew a shirt during the dark of the moon, it will creep up and out of the wearer's trousers. To avoid this problem, put sugar in your shoes.
✄ British tailors carry a thimble in their pocket for good luck.

How about you, are you superstitious when it comes to your sewing? Have you heard any superstitions or variations not listed here? Do tell! I would love to hear them.

Happy Sewing!

Sources:  

German, R. (Couturier).  Tailor Supersititions. 6 December 2009. Retrieved online 13 December 2013: http://rgerman.wordpress.com/2009/12/06/tailor-superstitions/

Rohifing, Londa.  Londa's Creative Threads.  Sewing Superstitions.  18 July 2013.  Retrieved online 13 December 2013: http://blog.londasfiles.com/?p=1870

Superstitions Online.  Sewing and Knitting. 23 November 2011.  Retrieved online 13 December 2013: http://superstitionsonline.com/sewing-and-knitting/



Thursday, 12 December 2013

Holiday Dressing

What's your holiday dressing style?


Or is it more like this?


There is much to do about dressing during the holidays. I'm not going to offer advice here other than wear what makes you feel confident and comfortable. Besides, I'm a wear-your-pj's-whenever-you-can kinda gal, so who am to give holiday fashion advice?

I rather hear what you think about the dressing for the holidays. Are you more fun or formal when it comes to holiday dressing? Or do you just skip the festive dressing and stick to the usual wardrobe attire?



Tuesday, 10 December 2013

In Sewing News Today...

{Source}

There has been no sewing since finishing off the concert costumes Sunday night. Instead, I spent the evening cleaning up the workspace and machines. I'm not finished. There is a great deal more to put away and clean up when I come home from work. It will certainly be nice to get rid of all the clutter that ensued with that unexpected project. 

While I was cleaning, I started to wonder who I was kidding? You know, when I wrote about trying to start and finish a lined jacket for Mama R. Sometimes I can be such a dreamer. Foolish, silly dreamer.

I'm trying to get things ready, just eight more days and then I'll be forced to slow down. It will be the perfect time for some slow sewing.  

{Source}

Yup, I said slow sewing. That actually should be my 2014 sewing resolution, slow sewing: take things slow, enjoy the process, pay attention to detail, do more hand sewing. Haha, I wonder how long that would last?

Well, since I'll be laid up for awhile I'm trying to gather up all the mending and hand sewing that I might feel up to doing. The plan is to keep it near by incase the sewing bug hits.  

{Source}

I think I'll cut and throw in the pattern pieces that I'll need to baste with underlining too. Sooo, much to do. But first, I have got to warm up the car and get to work.

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Back to Regular Scheduled Sewing...

WooHoo! 

The stars for the Advent concert at the school are all done. Oh my goodness, what a relief to have those finished. The kids have been asking when they would be finished and I promised to have them done by Monday. As the words passed my lips, I cringed at the thought of all that I have on my plate.  

There must have been a sewing goddess, angel or Christmas elf looking over the project because I'm not sure how I managed to pull it off this weekend. I'm just thankful that they are done.  

Now, it is back to regular scheduled sewing. I have ten days to fit in some sewing before my scheduled knee surgery. The big thing on my plate is a jacket for Mama R. I don't know if I'm going to be able to get it done in time for Christmas but I'm going to give it a try.  

I've been working on this pattern, Vogue 8916. The wearable muslin is not finished but it is at the point that Mama R knows what modifications she would like to the pattern.  

She would like the neckline curve dropped in the front, add about an inch to the length and adjust the sleeves to be long sleeves.  

Simple enough.  

I just have to squeeze this little project into what little time is left after work, appointments, shopping and cleaning up for the holidays. I just hope the sewing goddess, angel and Christmas elf don't go too far. I might need more of their help. How about you, are you doing any Christmas sewing? 

Happy Sewing!  








Day 2 Photo Challenge: Positive Changes

For my photo challenge today I have to acknowledge Peter Lappin's blog [Male Pattern Boldness] post from 2012. This post set me on ...