Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sewing In the News: Shailene Woodley, Sewist

I just read an article about Shailene Woodley's teenage obsession with sewing. I was thrilled to read it. I think sewing is a great hobby and I love that it is making a resurgence in popularity.

In the article, she is quoted "In my opinion, you can be brave and jump off trains, but the truest form of bravery and courage is to wake up every single day and to be ourselves."

I would go one further than Shailene, I think it is important to have hobbies. And I think it is girls and women who don't take this for granted. The men and boys I know naturally pursue their interests - whether it is sports or model airplanes or music. But a lot of girls and women do not and I think that is more than just too bad. I think it contributes to all kinds of problems that women encounter in their lives. Women who have hobbies, such as sewing, have an identity, a community and a pursuit that is all their own. And what could be wrong with that?

What do I get from sewing? Well, I get the support of an online sewing community, I get to spend my time in a pursuit at which I enjoy and I see improvement, I get compliments from friends who sew and those who do not. I get a lot from sewing - much more than just pulling thread through cloth. And I bet most of you would say the same thing.

Actresses who sew:

Katharne Heigel,
Katie Holmes,
Gwen Stefani,
Hillary Duff
Brittany Spears

And not to leave the men out:

Arquette learns to sew
David Arquette
Chris Martin

But best of all: our sewing-blogging world celebrities

B6094Gertie (I love her butterick patterns - this is her new one B6094. I just had to order this and the jacket she recently came out with.)

Simplicity Misses' and Miss Petite Knit Dress 1276
Mimi G ( I love her new Simplicity line)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sewing in the News: Angel's Sewn Hugs

Angel is a school girl in Texas who has made it her goal to love and care for people she doesn't know. She does it by making blankets (and they are nice blankets) for sick kids in the hospital. She custom designs each blanket to reflect the interests of the child and she calls these blankets her "hugs", which is nice because blankets are a warm hug. I find this so meaningful because when I was a child I was alone in the hospital for a few days. I was so homesick. I remember visualizing the bedtime routine in my house and just feeling the most profound sense of loneliness. I would have loved one of her blankets to comfort me. And I am glad that Angel is making them. Angel's hugs mean a lot to those children. What a selfless act and what a profound one too.

The video details how Telus helped Angel with a new sewing room (and what a room it is...) so that she can keep on doing what she is doing...

                                           This video is such a nice tribute to Angel's work.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Typing-Themed Ginger Skirt and a Pattern Diet

 My latest Ginger skirt:

I found this fabric at a thrift store and I had just enough for a Ginger skirt. I love the print. It is a heavy cotton twill fabric, probably purchases in the home dec section. I love the typewriter font and I finally got around to making this skirt this week. It is amazing how this skirt looks so different in different fabrics. My next Ginger will be a space-themed one, provided I can find fabric in a space theme for one. (I am giving a technology in education talk in August and I plan to wear a space age/technology skirt to it.)

This is the first butterfly I've seen this year. It stopped on the bricks outside my backdoor and graciously waited until I grabbed my camera to take a picture.Thank you butterfly.
 Pattern Diet

It's summer and I've been organizing my sewing room. I am amazed at how many patterns I've amassed.(Yup, amassed. I have hundreds!) Some I will likely never get to. So despite the new patterns at McCalls and the members' sale this weekend, I am on pattern diet. No more Big 4 patterns. Period. I will not restrict myself on indie patterns though. I love them, they are easy and I want to support the online sewing community. Sewaholic has two patterns coming out this summer and Colette has one coming out in July. Cake Patterns should have a new line this fall ( I LOVE all CAKE patterns and their wonderful sizing system). And of course, then there is Style Arc and my recently discovered Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick. I love their Manhattan Pants pattern.

Pros to the Pattern Diet
  • Save money
  • Stop amassing Big 4 patterns
  • Force myself to use the patterns I have now (I have tons)
  • Use more indie patterns
  • Find new (to me) Indie pattern designers
  • End up making clothes that fit and that look good from well-designed indie patterns
  • Since many indie designers have pdf file patterns, no need to store patterns at home

Friday, July 4, 2014

Help! Teaching Sewing In Middle School

In the fall, I am thinking about running a sewing club after school. I am going to have to get the school to buy some sewing machines. I prefer the older mechanical ones to the new computerized ones. And I am hoping to spend only $400 on them. And then I have to buy an iron.
File:Sewing Machine.JPG
Photos from Wikicommons

So this summer, along with all the sewing I am doing, I am also putting together the things I will have to cover in my sewing classes. I've always considered myself a learner in sewing rather than a teacher. So this a bit of a turn-around for me.

I think the first sewing project will be a pencil case. It is easy and quick. It is also practical. And it will either motivate my students or let them realize that sewing is not for them. Then the second project will be pajamas. I am looking at the free patterns available on McCalls and for the students.
File:Sewing machine parts a.png
Photo showing the wheel and backstitch level on a mechanical Singer.

I plan to use the free class from Craftsy to introduce them to threading the machine. I figure introducing them to Craftsy is a great way to get them to use the other free classes as a resource.

I have also come across some great websites for creativity. Here is one on toilet paper dresses. This one celebrates 15 dresses made from recycled products.   And this dress made of paper comes with a downloadable instruction sheet. I figure that students in particular have to see the creativity and work that goes into this process.

I am really going into this with an idealistic view of the class. Any thoughts/suggestions/warnings?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Finished Skirt - McCalls 6706

I have to admit, I wasn't sure about this pattern from the beginning. I liked the cover look but I wasn't sure it was for me. Still, I gave it a try. And while it isn't perfect, it is something I will wear (with the tweaking I did.)

Line Art
Here are the line drawings. I was going to make view D but I cut out the pieces for view C and didn't care for the asymmetrical skirt so I reworked it to look something like view A. (line drawing and cover photo from McCalls site.

I used a polyester knit fabric. So I had to cut out a size smaller than I did. Lots of reworking there. Then I had to add a band across the bottom to make up for the removal of the asymmetrical cut. Ugh. Lots of headaches, but I persevered.

 I ended up making the A-line feature of this skirt less - I did keep the basic shape but I made it less steep. 
Conclusion: This pattern is okay but the dramatic shape is just not me. I am getting better at sewing though, because I was able to work, and work a bit more, to save this skirt.

What's up next? An Adele Top from Style Arc in a fabulous fabric. It is cut out and waiting for me on my cutting table...

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Dollar Store Bag Re-Inforced and Refashioned...Sort -of

 My dollar store find had three things going for it: 

  1. I loved the design
  2. It was $2 
  3. I needed a tote bag for the summer

It also had quite a few things wrong with it:

  1. The fabric has a gross outdoor fabric feel 
  2. The stitching was not overly secure - in fact, it looked machine basted
  3. The zipper wasn't secured
  4. The handles frayed on one of the bags in the store....
I found these cool tote bags on a rack with a whole bunch of loud ugly tote bags at my local Dollarama. I loved the fabric. But after careful inspection I knew that I would need to do a lot of re-sewing...Still for $2 a piece, how could I walk away. (Look even my basset hound Elvis likes this fabric!)I decided to re-enforce the seams with another row of stitching and take off the fabric handles and restitch them entirely...

Can you see the top-stitching across the top of this bag. This was the stitching used for the entire bag. It looks more like a basting stitch than anything else. Also, the zipper was coming apart from the bag (it was sewn with the same basting stitch).

I removed the lining and zipper from the outer shell fo the bag and re-sewed every seam. It took about ten minutes - largely because it is easy to removed basting stitches.The outer-shell fabric had backing like you see on some tablecloths.

I had a few bags...just in case I needed the extra fabric for reinforcements....
Looking at the extra bag, I decided my tote needed an outside pocket...
Ta-da! My re-enforced dollar store summer bag with an extra outside pocket sewn on. What should I have added? Well, some sort of fold over latch with a snap or a buttonhole. The fabric is so cheap - definitely an outdoor fabric made of cheap polyester - that I found it difficult to work with. It frayed and frayed when I was re-sewing the seams. I had to finish every seam with a zig-zag stitch too. I guess they don't do that in Dollarama land where these are made....

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Tried and True T-Shirt Pattern Search - The Second Attempt, New Look 6230

I cut out two of these and the second should be finished tonight. This first one I am quite pleased with the finished shirt.
I bought this fabric a few months ago and am only getting around to it now. I took the green fabric from my stash. It is a bit thinner than the main fabric but still works nicely.

I made the skirt last summer, from New Look 6235.
Better than the last t-shirt but still not a TNT.. I need to try others.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

My search for the Tried-and-True Summer Top Pattern

Tried and True Summer Pattern Trial #1:  The Scout Woven Tee
From the Grainline webstore

  • that it is a woven tee pattern
  • the scoop neck
  • four pattern pieces (or three if you make your own bias tape or for that matter, buy it)
  • Even with four added waist darts and scooping out an inch from the bodice on either side, it is still rather shapeless.
  • This is a pattern for woven fabrics with a lot of drape or knit fabrics

Monday, May 26, 2014

Poppins Bag Sewalong with Hot Mess (and the Belcarra Sewalong and the Mabel Sewalong too)

Introducing the..........Mommy Poppins Bag Sewalong from hot mess more or less
Mommy Poppins Bag Pattern
The bag is a pdf pattern that can be purchased from for $9 and the instructions are in comic book style...they're worth the $9 bucks alone

Mommy Poppins Bag Pattern - Sample Page -
Pics from

More information and dates for the sewalong will be along shortly from Hot Mess. I am very excited. I need someone to help me along in a project like sewing a bag - and I've always wanted a super cool bag like this one!

Please join us!

Okay, so right now...I am into sewing again. I seem to get some time and get very excited and then work becomes busy and I fall away for awhile. I have two short sew-along coming up. One for the Belcarra top from Sewaholic - I am in the middle of this sewalong - and starting next weekend, I will be doing the Mabel sewalong. Do you want to know what sold me on this skirt? One of Sarai's blog posts has a subtitle "better than sweatpants" and I thought "yes"! This skirt will be perfect for sitting around the house in all summer and short jaunts to the dog-park or the library. (I always dream of a lazy summer and it never pans out...)

Mabel Sewalong


Sunday, May 25, 2014

McCalls 6896 or What Should Have Been a One Night Quick- Make

MISSES'/MISS PETITE TOPS: Close-fitting and flared tops have neckline variations, princess seams and back zipper. (from the McCalls Website)

When I cut this pattern out, I thought it would be a quick project. The sizing ran way too large! I took in inches. I had a lot of trouble with the sizing. I find McCalls sometimes runs large.

I ended up making a few that were really done to save the top. Again, because this ran so big, I had to take in the princess seams about an inch and the side seams about two inches. Because of that the sleeves were way too big, so I gathered them to get them to fit. I was a bit worried about the end result, but I like the gathered sleeves. oh, and I shortened the peplum a bit too. I do like how it turned out though and I will make this top again.

Also, I need a new camera...this one is junk. Sorry for the sepia tones, I have no idea why it is doing that....

Monday, May 19, 2014

Update on My Trenchcoat Vogue 8884

Okay, so I love the fabric but not as a coat....this almost ended up an unfinished project, except that I love the fabric...but on this trench it is too loud. One of my friends suggested I think of this trench almost as a blazer and wear it only with black plants....

I just love the buttons I found for this coat...

Added tabs to the shoulders, so that it would be more trench like...

I'm not sure if you can see the storm-flap

As a trench-blazer (only to worn with black or green skirt or pants) I think I can do...this isn't finished yet..I have to put in the lining and make the buttonholes and belt...but I think this is saveable. Which also means that another is in my future...and that seems to be how I learn in sewing. Making the same pattern a few times....

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I've Been Pre-Ordering Lots of New Sewing Books on Amazon

Links provided are to, which I like because they don't charge your credit card until they ship. Also, I find they usually have the best deals going. (Also, isn't this odd: the blogger spellchecker keeps underlining pre-order as a spelling mistake and suggests "pee order" instead!). Also I am almost finished my spring coat...I'll post on it within a few days. By the weekend at the latest.

Sewtionary from Tasia at Sewaholic. 

Gertie's second book. It looks like another winner. I love the quilted skirt on the cover.

Gertie Sews Vintage Casual: A Modern Guide to Sportswear Styles of the 1940s and 1950s. Published in September.


Burdastyle Modern Sewing - Wardrobe Essentials - published in the fall.


Tilly's first book.

Love at First Stitch: Demystifying Dressmaking

It looks really promising. Published in October - a happy birthday pre-ordered -gift to me.

The Magic Pattern Book: Sew 6 Patterns into 36 Different Styles! Published in the late summer.

Burdastyle Modern Sewing - Dresses For Every Occasion - published next Jan (2015)



The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits. It is already published of course. I bought the e-book. It isn't available on yet.


The best thing about all these new sewing books is that the publication dates are pretty nicely staggered to one book every month or so...which is nice for budgeting.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Kerry Cargo Pants: Finished Project

And these two innocent looking creatures, usually attempt to malign my sewing projects by sitting on pattern pieces, or running away with them, or simply rolling all over them covering my garments with hair.

Pattern Description: (from Style Arc Website)
Safari style straight leg cargo pant with drawstring and pleated pockets. There is an optional tab for 3/4 leg option.

Pattern Sizing: sizes 6 -30

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except for the changes I made.

Were the instructions easy to follow? They were brief yet adequate.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I wanted a pair of cargo pants and I am glad I bought this pattern fot that end. I made some changes but I think the pattern is excellent. I liked the fit and the shape of the pants. This is a really flattering pattern!

Fabric Used:
A very thin Corduroy cotton fabric. 

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

Kerry Cargo pant sewing pattern
This is the pattern ad from Style Arc.

I made a fly and waist band, because I prefer that to a drawstring. I may make these with the drawstring later, but I think the drawstring makes these pants a lot more casual. I wanted to wear them to work, so a waistband just seemed better. I also added an extra pair of pocket flaps (but not real pockets) further down the leg and I added a drawstring closure at the hems.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes and yes. I love these pants and I get compliments on them all the time. I will definitely make these pants again and again.


I love these pants and highly recommend them. The fit is amazing. I love Style Arc for the excellent fit.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...