Sunday, December 22, 2013

Iced In...Lots of time to sew

I've been away and quite busy for awhile...but I've got my sewing mojo back and I plan to finish something this week...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What the Hell is This?

This is from the new Vogue Patterns released yesterday...And I ask again, what the hell is this?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thursday, October 3, 2013

I Plan to Finish My Roll Coat This Weekend...

I haven't had time to finish my roll coat lately. I've been pretty busy at work. Things should start to get into a manageable routine soon enough, so I can get back to sewing soon.

I think I can salvage my sleeves - I've added wedges to them and they are more roomy. Pics on the weekend.

I also have been thinking about sewing a lot...I bought some Style Arc patterns and of course, the Zinnia skirt pattern from Colette. I also bought some Craftsy courses (see below). I enrolled in the free sewing machine course and then they emailed me the "buy another for $25 offer" and I took them up on it 4 fold...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Roll Collar Jacket Update

A quick update on my roll collar jacket - I finished the collar and I decided I need patch pockets because I didn't like wear (oops!) where the inseam ones sat and how much bulk they added. I also added belt loops - and I'll make a belt. The hold up is that while the jacket fits nicely, it isn't a fall jacket unless I can get a sweater under it. I need to widen the armholes and since I didn't make a muslin, I'm thinking a wedge shaped piece added to the coat and lining will have to work. Oh, and then I'm adding buttons - in keeping with my Scary September Challenge

Monday, September 16, 2013

My Version of Angela Kane's Roll Collar Coat

Above are the line drawings and advertisements for Angela Kane's Roll Collar Coat. I love her website. Her patterns are basics and they come with easy to follow instructions and videos to help. This is a great teaching website. I also like that her patterns are made to size and you have your choice of sizes once you sign up for her yearly membership - which is about $25 Cdn.
 See the link at the left hand side of this post.

I decided to make this coat with four buttons as part of my Scary September Challenge. I downloaded and printed the pattern last week. I measured the amount of fabric I would need on a table top, marking off 150 cm width and assuming it would be somewhere near 3 metres. I bought 3 and a half metres even though my measuring called for 3.1 metres.

This coat pattern is made to be played with - and that is something I have done often this year....

I am adding three to four buttons to the coat. That is for sure. I may change the length and also make patch pockets. We'll see....I think what I like about sewing right now (and it changes all the time....) is the ability to customize patterns.

Faux Suede

My fabric is a faux suede I picked up on sale a few years ago. I think I paid $4 a metre for it. I remember at the time the saleslady saying that suede doesn't have a grain. But there is some sort of netting on the back and I Googled it. It appears that faux suede can be a weave so I didn't risk it. I cut on the grain. That wasn't a hardship since I am used to measuring and cutting on the grain. 

And it definitely had a nap, so I cut with all pieces facing the same direction. Measure once - take a break - go over the layout and then cut. That's what I've learned to do. And since I almost cut this wrong, I am glad I do it.

Some Great Points About Printed Patterns:

I decided to cut my fabric on a single layer because it is napped. I really don't like working with napped fabrics but I have found that working on a single layer works better for me. So I printed the pattern twice and just flipped the pattern pieces so I could arrange and cut all pieces at once. This is a nice perk of printed patterns.

I also decided, after I cut my main fabric, to cut apart the second set to use for interfacing pieces and for lining pieces. Again, a nice perk of printed patterns. (I used a winter lining from my stash in a steel grey. I would have preferred a loud, unexpected print but I am limited to my stash right now...)

The sleeves of this pattern were set-in and I haven't put in sleeves that way since high school. I decided to follow the tutorials to a "T" because they are really teaching videos and I want to learn. I forgot about the gathering used to edge in the set-in sleeve and spent some time wondering why the sleeves were gathered in the instructions but not in the diagrams. Silly me!

Here is where I am at so far...actually I am on lesson 10 (of 17) in the video tutorials!

I need to sew the facing, the sleeves, pockets and sides. I need to finish this fall jacket quickly since the fall weather is here now... Last Wednesday we had a humidex reading of 40' C and on Friday we were at 13 'C....

This jacket is fun and easy to make...I have a link to Angela Kane's patterns to the left of this post....

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

McCalls 5929 A Buttondown with Ruffles

It is very hot here today - unusually hot for September. So I am thinking long sleeve shirts and fall jackets. I'm always out of season. Seriously, the weather is supposed to be more seasonal in a day or two.

Week 2 of the Button down Shirts for the Scary September Challenge


Here is my version in a pink cotton linen blend. I loved working with this fabric after the slippery fabric I used to make the Brenda Blouse....

I re-arranged the format of those ruffles a bit. I think the next time I make this, I will leave the position of the ruffles alone.

This is a close-up of the ruffles. I don't care for how they are sewn onto the outside of the shirt but then, I can't see another way of doing it. Maybe it is just the curve of the ruffles that exposes that more?

So...I am finished one shirt, 3/4 finished the other and heading into my third for the third weekend of September. I am thrilled that I am right on schedule. Sometimes when I fall behind on these challenges, I never catch up. Not this time! I am thrilled with this Scary September Challenge!

And I have even cut out my fabric and lining for a fall coat!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Scary September Challenge...A Button-down Shirt/Blouse Each Week

On the Road to Sew Wear has a challenge (the Scary September Challenge) that is perfect for me. First, being a teacher, the new year comes twice a year: once in January, like everyone else, and once in September, at the beginning of the school year. This is the time for me to begin a new sewing habit. So for the Scary September challenge I am going to make a button-down blouse/shirt each week. 

Here is the pattern (last month's freebie from Style Arc) 

Versatile blouse with gathering at the front
Style Arc Patterns' Brenda Blouse

And here is what I have done so far...

The fabric is slippery (a polyester rayon blend) so next time I will use tissue paper (and since next time is in the next two weeks, I will really be able to report on the difference tissue paper can make). I learned this tip from Gertie's blog.

I looked over the Style Arc instructions which were adequate. I would have no problem making this shirt with the instructions provided, even though I haven't made a button-down blouse before. The instructions were clear and the drawings were fabulous. (Maybe I'm a visual learner?) However, I was lucky enough to have read closely the tutorial series by SarahLizSewStyle  as it was posted. 
I have gone back to it to read different parts again. I am going to have to pick up New Look 6963 for this challenge...

Monday, September 2, 2013

My Saltspring Dress Variation No. 1

I love the Saltspring Dress because it just seems like the perfect basic dress pattern to play with. I followed some of the instructions and then improvised my own changes. I am completely finished one dress - made in a polyester - and am nearly finished the second dress made in the recommended rayon challis. I already have my fabric for a third version - and this time I'll make the long dress.

Also, sorry for the blurry pics. I am still getting used to a new camera. And I never read the instructions to these things. Its all trial-and-error with me. 

I fit the straps instead of tying them....

I found the length a bit short for my taste so I added a contrasting waistband (and I attempted to do a chevron waistband and it isn't perfect but I do like it). Oh! And I added a ruffle at the bottom just because I was playing...

Again, it isn't perfect but I am learning a lot and growing my confidence....

Because I added the chevron, I took out about three inches from the bodice, which is why I added the ruffle. I wanted the extra length.

Now, I am still finishing up my rayon challis version. It is a lot closer to the original pattern except for the straps, which I changed significantly. I should get that one posted by Wednesday. After that I am on to the next challenge from On Road to Sew Wear's Scary September Challenge...I'm making buttondowns (or what I call buttondowns anyway. You know those men's style shirts with the buttons down the front. ) I'm going to try to make one a week... I'll post pattern, fabric and progress later this week this weekend....

Scary September
Scary September Sewing Contest

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Day of Sewing and Other Stuff

 Image of 1303 Saltspring Dress

 I plan to spend the day finishing my Saltspring Dress for the sew along. It is actually a sew-along-behind-everyone-else because I have to do more than one or two seams at a time. I am an all-in sewist...


Here is a link to a great give-away from Gentleman Jim at the Fine Art of Tailoring. I've been following his blog for a month now and I've learned so much....He is giving away ten copies of his DVD on tailoring to ten lucky posters. So go on over to his blog and enter the contest. (And follow his blog because it is great....). Just read this post on darts and tell me you didn't learn something!!!

And this is the last week of summer vacation before the schools open for the new school year next week. So I will have to get into the groove of sewing on weekends and one night a week again. I did a lot of sewing this summer - four skirts, two t shirts (both turned out wonky) and two dresses. I plan to make my back-to-school bag for carrying all that teacher stuff...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Almost Finished a Forgotten Project (Simplicity 2657) and I Like the Results

Even though this project took me forever to complete (I just have to do the hem), I found it to be a fabulous pattern. The fit was fantastic and the instructions were super clear. I will definitely make this one again and again!
It was the fabric that really messed me up. This is a super cool, cotton border print. And I really messed up cutting it out. I had to make the contrasting blue seams in order to save it....

Oh, and I chose to use shirring on the back - it fit a bit funny and I thought shirring would hide it. I used this tutorial to guide me and I found it was quite easy to do... It also hides that I didn't match the dots on the bodice front and back

And while I fretted about putting in the zipper with shirred fabric it was a breeze.

This is what it looks like now....I still have the hem to sew and then I will get some shots of me wearing it. And now, back to finishing up my Saltspring dress for the Sewaholic sew along.....

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Quick Skirt

I finally made the Vogue 1247 skirt in some washed denim from my stash. I added 4 inches to the skirt length...and I still feel it is too short. I will make it again but maybe add an extra inch or so.

I have my brown matte striped fabric pinned in a single layer on the cross grain of the fabric. I should have those pants finished by the weekend. I spent the summer makings skirts and now I need to think about pants for back to work....

Also, I happened upon this fun video on CTV news about a 14 year old sewing

Monday, August 12, 2013

Matte Stripes on the Crossgrain

Not the greatest picture, sorry about that. This is the fabulous fabric I bought a few weeks ago. A stronger stretch cotton-poly with matte stripes. I love it and bought it immediately. The problem is the stripes are on the cross-grain. I want to make pants with them and believe me, I don't need stripes going horizontally around my body. So I've been looking into cutting these pants on the cross-grain....

The Problem (I posted this on patternreview...)

I bought some cotton-poly blend fabric that has a bit of stretch because I loved the colour and the matte monochromatic stripes on it. I want to make pants. What I didn't realize until I got home was that the stripes are on the cross-grain, going from selvage to selvage. What do I do? Can I cut pants on the cross-grain. What are the pros and cons of this? Any advice is appreciated.

I really have no experience with cutting on the cross-grain. (Although I have lots of experience for cutting off-grain. I went about a year in high school when I just didn't care/believe that cutting on grain was that important!)


Crash course on grain (from Threads)
Grain is the direction of a fabric's yarns in a woven fabric: lengthwise and crosswise. In knit fabrics, the yarns interloop, so the following don't apply.
Lengthwise Lengthwise grain is commonly referred to as "grain" or "straight grain" on commercial patterns. It's marked by an arrow on the pattern piece, indicating the direction in which the pattern should be placed on the fabric. Lengthwise grain lies parallel to the selvages and has little or no stretch. Therefore, in most garments, lengthwise grain runs perpendicular to the ground.

Crosswise Crosswise grain, also called "cross-grain," is made from the yarns woven over and under the lengthwise yarns at a 90-degree angle. Crosswise grain has more stretch than lengthwise grain, thanks to the over/under weaving, which naturally provides less tension. In most garments, crosswise grain runs around the body, parallel to the floor.

Bias—not technically a grain refers to any line diagonal to the lengthwise and crosswise grains. "True bias" is a cut made on an angle 45 degrees to the selvage. It has the most stretch and gives fabric a flowing drape over the body. Because of the inherent elasticity of bias, it requires special care in cutting and sewing to utilize the stretch without distorting the fabric.


That because the greatest stretch was lengthwise it would actually work out if I cut the pattern on the cross-grain because you want the greatest area of stretch to go around the body.

Did You Know: 

  • A lot of couture sewing has waistbands cut on the cross-grain?
  • Kwik Sew patterns often give a choice of cutting waistbands on the length-wise or cross-wise grain?
  • Border prints are understood to be made for cutting on the cross-wise grain?

What I have to think about:

Lengthwise is better for stretch (even the little bit that is built in with the weaving), for strength and general drape-ability. But that doesn't mean you can't cut on the cross-wise grain. It's just always a toss up.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Fabricland Isn't Carrying Simplicity Patterns Anymore...

Yes, Fabricland won't be carrying Simplicity patterns after August 1st, 2013. Something about an increase in costs. Generally I side with Fabricland on very few issues. But on this one I agree. Simplicity has written off its Canadian customers. Which is too bad, since of the Big 4, I find the cut and sizing the best. And I like what Simplicity has to offer. 

I've tried ordering off the Simplicity website but they have farmed the Canadian distribution out to another company who charges insane postal rates. (And I'm Canadian, I'm used to paying insane shipping from the States...). So what to do? 

Well, since I swore off Big 4 patterns for a year (and have fallen in love with Colette Patterns, Style Arc, Cake, and Sewaholic Patterns!!!), it really isn't my issue right now. But it should be Simplicity's issue. What company wants to tick customers off so much that they stop wanting your products?

Honestly, when the new Autumn pattern line was released yesterday, I thought it was a bit lackluster...

This top appealed at first but then I thought it must need a very thin knit for all that fabric twisting....
And this looked nice too until I realized it is made in a heavy knit. What? I live in Canada! I need a real coat!

 Of course, some of there retro patterns from the summer 
are great ...but not in the cards for me....

Other than the $3.99 sale on pattern review, I think if I wanted to pick up a Simplicity pattern, I would really have to download it from the site. Something I don't like to do since it is only available to me for one year rather than for 3 -5 downloads which would be more fair.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Oh Why Do I Buy Cheap Fabrics? A green T-shirt and a Black skirt and a lesson learned...

I've been using up some of the fabrics in my stash. I pick up a lot of fabric at thrift stores and some at the sale counters. And the poor quality is really disappointing. I have to learn to shop for better fabrics so that my time is spent well in sewing clothes I like to wear...

This is a short sleeved Renfrew cowl-neck. It looks okay but the fabric is thin and really horrid to the touch.

This is a simple pull-on skirt made of something polyester-rayon and stretchy. It looks okay but again, it feels like plastic. I did add a pocket to this pattern which I am quite proud of...

And a green Renfrew T-shirt with a wonky neck...

SO I guess these are barely wearable muslins and I need to invest in some better fabrics ...and I live near a fabric district where they are plentiful and reasonably priced. I have no excuse. Live and learn I guess....

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Handmade Gift

As a teacher, I am blessed to receive so many gifts. This is the handbag I am using this summer, a gift from a student made by her mother. I can't imagine a more suitable summer bag. I believe I will use it for many years....

 Again, the whole bag was made crocheted using a nylon rope. It isn't jute which would be less fluid in its appearance. Jute is sometimes crochet into baskets but generally not handbags. (And the lovely pumpkin colour you see is the right colour- they didn't use that bright orange construction rope!)

The handles of the bag are simply continued in the round but not attached. It is a really simple and elegant design.

And it is roomy enough to be used as a tote, although this summer I am using it as a handbag.

A close-up so you can admire the work that went into this beautiful gift....

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Simplicity 4236

Here is my version of Simplicity 4236. I used a thin, thin cotton in my stash for the print and the boarder (in an exact match) is in cotton broadcloth. It is lined in broadcloth too.

The skirt on the packet looks like it was made in a boarder print, I improvised by adding a solid boarder. I also lined this skirt.


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