Thursday, August 30, 2012

Announcing the Next Winner of the Pattern Pyramid

And the winner is............Michelle from the Bookworm Sewist!!!!

Congratulations Michelle! 
 Check out her blog for news of the next pyramid....

I have the patterns all ready, set to be mailed asap!

This is the surprise 5th pattern!

Oh, I choose to make the fleece jacket pattern above (and I already have it cut out). I'll post pictures when I finish it....
Thank you everyone for participating and carrying this contest on. I hope it continues for a long, long time....

And I'll be participating in the patterns and postcards swap that is being held at The Perfect Nose. The more people who join the better...look for my patterns here!

Patterns and Postcards swap

I'll be participating in the patterns and postcards swap that is being held at The Perfect Nose. The more people who join the better!


1. Gather any patterns, or magazines you have and aren't going to use anymore. Take good, close-up pictures of them and post them on your blog or flicker. Due this by the end of September.

2. Email or post at The Perfect Nose so that there is one central location to find all the people who are participating (and their patterns).

3. Contact the current owner via her blog to arrange a swap of your pattern for the one you want. Do this in October...

4. Mail your pattern to the new owner along with a postcard (the more outrageous the better). This should be done for the first week in November.

This skirt is made for waist size 28. I had to size up. I just took my measurements and added them to the one piece skirt-body pattern (there is a facing for the button holes and a waistband too. This is such a classic skirt. (Year Published: 1954)

New Look. Sizes 10 -22. I made the top version. I didn't love the sleeves.

Palmer and Pletch Pattern. If you need help fitting pants, make this pattern. Size 16 -22

Basic button-down shirt. Neck size 15. The stamp above the guy in white reads : Tean Action Line featuring Jimmy McNichol! 

Traded with Sew I Sewed This A very quick sew. Size 6 -18

Traded with Sew I Sewed This Size 12. Year published 1978

Connie Crawford Modern fit skirt and vest pattern. Sized L -5X

Traded to Sewisewedthis New Look size 8 -18.

New Look. Size 8 -18

McCalls Misses Size 16, bust 38. I can't find a year on it but I bet it was published in the 70s.

See my next five patterns here
And my third list here

Monday, August 27, 2012

I Got My Copy of Gertie's Book today.......

What a lovely surprise I received today when I picked up the mail. I had pre-ordered my Gertie book, which has a publishing date of September 1st...and I got it today. 

I am just giving you a few pictures so you can get the feel of how fabulous a book this is.....

There are several patterns with detailed instructions on how to fit them ...This pencil skirt is at the top of my list...

And this dress...the price of the book is worth it just for this dress pattern. (And I love that Gertie did all her own modelling.)

The pattern layouts are easy to read and all in one place at the back. I find this  a really well thought-out book - the patterns, the instructions, the pattern lay-outs in one place and the spiral binding....

Saturday, August 25, 2012

All About Bias Tape and Why You Need to Make Your Own

I only discovered bias tape in the last year and I really love it. Sure, I had heard of it when I was younger and learning to sew, but I don't think I used it or if I did, it didn't make a huge impression. Well, this time around, bias tape a much bigger influence on me.

Bias tape is essentially a strip of narrowly and evenly fabric that was cut on the bias. It's main advantage is that when cut on the bias, the "tape" will have more stretch for using to finish curves on hems, seams, or whatever you are using it for. You can buy it ready made in different thicknesses and as double-fold or single-fold.

Bias tape is used to bind straight or curved edges. Because it is cut on the bias, it stretches making sewing on curves easier. It comes in many colours, generally solids, if store-bought. But if you make your own, the possibilities are endless.

Single vs. Double fold

What I found confusing is that single fold bias tape actually has two folds and double fold bias tape has three. The raw edges are folded over on each. So if you realize that, it is easier to keep straight.

Single-fold bias tape makes sewing hem lines a snap. It creates a polished finish and eliminates the need for facing at hemlines. Single-fold bias tape can be used to make a narrow facing, like at a neckline or armhole. Unfold the tape and place the pressed crease-line along the garment seamline. Stitch in place and trim the garment seam allowances narrower than the bias. Turn the bias to the garment wrong side, press to shape and hand- or top-stitch the remaining bias folded edge in place

Double-fold bias tape is used to finish edges too but it is visible on the front of the fabric. This allows for all kinds of effects. It is meant to encase the raw edge when sewn onto the garment.The tape itself is folded such that the underside is just slightly longer than the upper side. This allows for the thickness of the cloth edge thatyou're binding, and assures that you'll catch the lower folded edge when applying the binding by machine.

Making Bias Tape

You need to cut narrow strips of fabric on the bias. Colette  has a fabulous tutorial here. Actually, Colette has two tutorials, one for making shorter strips and one for continuous loop bias tape. 

Carla at the Scientific Seamstress has a printable bias tape maker. I printed it and found it quick easy to use. I wish she sold these in some material that wouldn't burn from the iron. This is the type of gadget that could sell for $10 and every seamstress would own one. It is portable and effeicent. Do follow the link to print your  own -especially if making bias tape is new to you.

Finally there is the Simplicity Bias Tape Maker (and I think one is also put out by Clover). Head over to Fly Away Home to see this baby in action. 
This picture is from Fly Away Home. Just look at the bias tape Lucy made in all those amazing fabrics! No wonder I bought a machine based on this post.

Using Bias Tape:

Whether you're using purchased bias tape or making your own, there are tricks to applying it to be sure it's pucker-free and hugs the edge you're covering.
  • Bias tape can finish almost any raw edge.
  • To bind an edge, begin in an inconspicuous place around the project perimeter, away from a corner to reduce bulk. Slide the raw edge into the bias opening and pin in place.
  • Use straight, zig zag or decorative stitches to sew the bias tape in place
  • Before sewing the bias tape around curves, press the bias tape for a better fit. The bias grain allows the binding to shape to the curve without puckering
  • Bias doesn't ravel, so you can simply cut the tape to the length you need and continue stitching, overlapping the original end about 1/2"
  • If you prefer not to have your stitching show, use the two-step method. Unfold the bias tape and sew to the right of the foldline with right sides (bias tape and fabric) facing. Then fold the bias tape as you normally would and stitch in the ditch or slip stitch the underside down.

 "No Swearing" bias tape sewing video that goes through the process of sewing bias tape on. Its simple to do and an easy 3 minute video to watch.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Ontario Leg of the Pattern Pyramid Contest Starts Today!

Welcome to the next leg of the Pattern Pyramid...

I received an assortment of patterns, both modern and vintage, today from Rachel over at Made with Whimsy.  I'm going to choose one and send the rest on to the winner of this contest.

The Pattern Pyramid is the brainchild of Karen over at Did You Make That?. She received a huge lot of patterns from a friend and generously decided to share them with her blogging friends around the globe.

I'm undecided on which to choose, so I'll leave it at that. I'll pick one in the next few days and leave the winner expecting the remaining that it is a bit of a surprise.
And, with Karen's permission, I've decided to add a five patterns to the  prize. (Only four are pictured because the fifth pattern is a surprise.) Some are new patterns that I received free from Vogue. Last time I ordered patterns they doubled up on some of them and then told me to keep them since they made the mistake. I don't need two of the patterns and so I'm putting the extras into the pyramid... 

vintage pattern

vintage pattern

Rachel made this beautiful zippered pouch in my favourite colour .  (Thank you Rachel!) I don't know what I will make to wrap the  patterns in ...that will be a surprise too. 


  • You can enter by leaving a comment on this post by the end of August 29 but you must have an active blog. I'll mail anywhere, worldwide.
  • If there isn't a way to contact you on your blog, please leave an email address with your comment.
  • The randomly selected winner will pick one pattern to keep for her or himself. The winner will then host her own giveaway and will randomly select a winner, post the remaining patterns to the winner. And so on...

For more information, including details of the charity supported by the very generous donor of the patterns, please see Karen’s post and the code for the Pattern Pyramid button.

Good Luck!!!!

Update: August 30, 2012. The contest is now closed. See today's post for the winner and where to find a future Pattern Pyramid Give-away...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

My New Fall Jacket

I made this jacket out of some fun cotton twill I found this summer.

I actually used twill tape for the trim. It is a casual jacket so I thought I could get away with it and I'm pleased with the results.

Added twill tape on the pocket openings too.

I'm not sure if you can see it in this picture but I finished the seams in  what I call "abbreviated Hong Kiong" seam finished. That is, I pressed the seam to the side and then encased it in bias tape. (Instead of pressing the seam open and encasing each side in bias tape).

I was really unsure about the shoulder pads. I liked them but then I was afraid I would look like a linebacker with them in. So, I used Velcro and made them detachable.

And I encased the store bought shoulder pads in some extra fabric - more as a learning  skill than for any reason.  (I should have finished the seams of the shoulder pads differently. They look terrible here but they are serged.)

And I made a buttonhole. Buttonholes are something I avoid but since getting the Colette pattern for the Beignet, I figured I better start practising. (I am almost finished the Beignet and will post it next week.)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Re-covering an Ottoman and Sewing a Lining for a Basket

I am taking a break from some of my sewing projects to re-organize my home. I re-covered an old ottoman that had become quite tattered over the last few years and I made a canvas lining for a thrift shop basket I bought.
This used to be a nice ottoman until Mr. Muddy Paws (aka Elvis, in the bottom left corner) decided it was his personal  sitting stool and stepping stone....

This is a printed twill cotton that I tried dying brown to soften the home-deco feel of the fabric .  I had wanted to make a dress but since the dye didn't take as well as I would have liked (and I did it twice), I abandoned the idea of a dress and set it aside. Then, I realized it may be a good choice for recovering the ottoman.

I didn't measure, just drape, gauge the size and cut.

It was effortless and I am glad it is finished. It's washer dryer which is good because my dog (whose name is Elvis actually) continues to use it as a stool.

Project #2

This basket was $2.99! It has a lid and is about 2 ft tall. The perfect height for  scarf, hats and gloves  basket for the hallway. (I have these items tucked away in closets and drawers all over the house right now...). I didn't notice until after I bought it that there was only one I just broke it off.

Lining was an easy fit - almost like sewing a pillowcase. If I had to make another, I would make the lining a bit bigger than needed just so it would fit easier. I made it the exact size of the basket and it was a snug fit...

Ta Da!!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How Do You Get Rid of A Musty Smell from Zippers?

Readers, I need your help. I recently found a bag of metal zippers at a thrift shop. There must be 50 zippers in this bag, all in beautiful condition. Well, of course, I grabbed them right away. I am thrilled with my buy ($3.99 for the bag) because I often replace zippers on students' winter jackets at school. 

This buy will save me a lot - I usually pay $3 -5 a zipper. I don't charge the students because I am a teacher and I don't want any misunderstandings coming from an exchange of money. So, I pay for the zippers myself and when all is said and done, it isn't a lot of money at all. But this new stash of zippers will save me money and individual trips to the fabric store. There is only one problem....

The zippers have a musty smell to them. How do I remove the smell? I have had them soaking in Downy but I don't want to do that for too long because the metal may rust. 

So I am appealing to you, dear readers, what can I do? Please let me know know any hints or tricks you've tried or think will work. I am desperate!


I ended up fusing a lot of suggestions together and the musty smell is gone! I washed once with bleach, boiling water and drying them on hot in the dryer. This took a huge part of the smell out. Then I used Lysol, soaked for ten minutes and rinsed with water. And I put them in the dryer again. The smell is all gone - good riddance. Thank you for all your suggestions! 


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