Saturday, January 31, 2015

Burda January Challenge Finished: Stretch-Asymmetrical-Top-01-2015

A bunch of us from patternreview decided to have a monthly Burda challenge. This is the top that I quickly whipped up today. I love the fabric and need to fix the hem but overall I like the top.

January 2015 Burda Magazine # 129

I have a subscription until February (actually, I just received the Feb issue this week) and I planned to re-subscribe except Burda seems to be selling their monthly magazines on their website for $19.99 and each of the patterns prints separately. Since I loath tracing patterns, I think this may be the way for me....

Yes, it is January 31st and I just got in under the deadline. Actually I have two more quick tops from Burda to finish up tomorrow - one is a novice pattern from a few years ago, but the instructions aren't for novices, and the other is the wool sweatshirt that I've seen made up already on patternreview. 

Back to this shirt - it was a quick make. The pieces are well drafted and I like the asymmetrical hemline. I do have to fix my hem a little - tomorrow - but otherwise I like it. I would suggest that others use a heavier knit than I did. I believe my fabric is a light weight slinky single knit  - I'm not sure it is from my stash - and I used this very thorough post from One Little Minute Blog to determine what it was.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Canadian Sewing History: Joan O'Malley and Sewing the First Modern Canadian Flag Over 50 Years Ago

I have a guilty pleasure. I read Kijiji ads for sewing machines all the time. I am an addict. I just love reading about these machine - and sometimes I even buy one or I try to. (A few weeks ago someone was selling a Bernina 801 for $20 and I was going to snap it up - even if I had to invest $100 in parts and fixing it up it would still be a great deal...but it was gone by the time I got there.)

I came across a cool ad for a Singer 328 (which looks like my Singer 401). The  person posting this ad had a unique selling point....I have provided the link but since it will be taken down when sold I thought I would also copy it here...

Singer 328K Singer Sewing Machine, and Carrying Case Sault Ste. Marie Ontario image 1

"It's the same Singer model that Joan O'Malley sewed the first Canadian Maple Leaf flag 50 years ago."...(for $35)

What a great piece of Canadian Sewing History....I mean we have all heard of the seamstress who made the American Flag, Betsy Ross.

Betsy Ross and the American Flag


  • Ross wasn't credited with sewing the first American flag in her lifetime
  •  In fact, her story was first publicly relayed to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania nearly a century later, in 1870, by her grandson, William Canby. 
  • Ross often recalled to her grandson a visit she had received in late May or early June of 1776 from three men: General George Washington, Robert Morris and George Ross. During this meeting, she was allegedly presented with a sketch of a flag that featured 13 red and white stripes and 13 six-pointed stars, and was asked if she could create a flag to match the proposed design.
  • No official documentation has been found to confirm that Betsy Ross was responsible for creating the very first flag, but it is conceivable that Colonel George Ross—the uncle of Betsy’s recently deceased husband, John—recommended her for the job as a favor to his relative. 
  • Betsy may also have been acquainted with both Washington and Morris, who were reported to have worshiped at the same church she attended.
  • It has also been established that Ross did indeed make flags, as evidenced by a receipt for the sum of more than 14 pounds paid to her on May 29, 1777, by the Pennsylvania State Navy Board for making “ships colors.”
  • Betsy Ross is believed to have sewn the flag but there is some dispute as to who designed it...

But who was Joan O'Malley?

Photo Source

(Based on a story here from the Ottawa Citizen)

Liberal Party leader Lester B Pearson in 1963 when he was running for Prime Minister of Canada. He promised that if elected, he would deliver a new national flag for Canada. Pearson was elected (albeit to a minority government) and he did begin the process for a new flag. Canadians were consulted - and responded with 6000 design suggestions - and heated debates over the choices were soon dominating Parliament. There was even a fist fight! (And people think Canadians are boring!)

Eventually, the choices were narrowed to three:
  1. one with a sprig of three red maple leaves and blue borders favoured by Pearson, the Pearson Pennant as it became known
      2. another based on the Red Ensign, for which Progressive Conservative leader and                  former prime minister John Diefenbaker valiantly fought
     3. and one with a single leaf and red borders (the eventual winner)

A month later, Prime Minister Pearson asked for the prototypes of all three flags to be brought to him at his residence, 24 Sussex Drive, so that he could fly each when he went to his cottage that weekend. 

The designs only existed on paper. And Donovan O'Malley thought of his daughter who loved to sew. And so he called her one night in November 1964. And she set to work. But she worked on only one flag and it was the only candidate that flew for Prime Minister Pearson at his cottage. 

Donovan O'Malley loved to brag: "Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag. Joan is going to sew the first Canadian flag."

Against two other designs on paper, the flag that O'Malley made easily won the day. How could a drawing compare with the majesty of a real flag flapping in the wind? 

“Sewing the flag was not easy,” she recalled in an interview on the 30th anniversary of the flag. “I was no professional — I had just sewed some of my clothes before this. My sewing machine wasn’t made for such heavy material." (Oh don't we all know non-sewers who think our sewing skills are akin to magic!)

Today, 50 years later, O’Malley, now a grandmother, admits that at the time she felt no great sense of accomplishment at what she’d done, no sense that she’d earned a mention in the history books.
“I didn’t think we were making history that night; now I see I was fortunate to be part of the birth of our flag. But at the time — I was told not to say anything because it was a secret — I thought, ‘Thank God that’s over, I’m tired.’”
And about her dad - “he was so excited to do this project. He loved Canada because it gave him a better life, and to have his daughter sew the Canadian flag, he was so proud.
“Afterwards, whenever my father would see the flag, he’d say ‘there’s Joan’s flag.’”

Joan O'Malley poses for a photo on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday with the sewing machine she used to sew the first red Maple Leaf flag 50 years ago.
Photo Source   Joan O'Malley(with her Singer 328) were honoured in Ottawa for her work in making the first Canadian Flag.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Winner of Vintage Burda Magazine and Thoughts on Marfy

First, the winner of the vintage Burda Magazine is sarahlizsewstyle and I'll send an email to her shortly. Your magazine will be posted as soon as I get your address. Stay tuned for the next draw in February.

Marfy has some beautiful patterns. But, boy are they expensive at approximately $20 each (Cdn). They have just listed their newest catalogue on the McCalls Patterns Website. It is filled with patterns I would love to sew (like I don't have enough in my sewing queue... ). But if you buy the catalogue you get 20 free patterns. The catalogue is $35 and the shipping to Canada is $35 so $70/20 works out to $3.50 each pattern. sounds like a fantastic deal.

marfy promoI am not sure how it works. Does anyone know? (I love all three patterns in the picture). I know Marfy patterns don't come with instructions but I live in the online world...if I run into trouble I'll ask around online. Besides, I think I am an experienced enough sewist at this point that I should be able to tackle it.

Do we get to pick 20 patterns? Are they mailed separately? 
Anyone ever tried them?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Finished Project - McCalls 6252 Pajamas

Line ArtM6252, Misses'/Men's/Teen Boys' Tops, Pants And Dog Blanket

I bought this pattern a while ago and I love it because it comes with a dog outfit too! I have a basset hound and I have dreams of sewing us matching pjs. The only problem is that he is a dog's dog and won't wear any of the myriad of coats I already have for him...(or the boots, which he needs because his paw swells from the cold). Look at the tops on this pattern - I am thinking of making them up in sweatshirt fabric and wearing them outside the house.

So I decided to make myself some pj bottoms. I made them some time ago and am just getting around to posting it now. The pattern is excellent and true to size (I made pjs from another pattern a few years back and the sizing was so off, I decided to just throw out the pattern rather than take notes for next time.)

I used a flannel from my stash

I put in elastic because I hate drawstring only pjs.

But I did add a decorative drawstring!
Hems...on a lot of these type of patterns I never get around to finishing them but this time I did.

These pjs are a lot more fitted than many, but I prefer them that way.

McCalls 6252 - done and I will make them again! Oh, check out this post to enter in Friday's raffle for a vintage Burda magazine!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year and A Vintage Burda Magazine Give Away

Happy New Year Everyone....

First, I need to recap the last several months of 2014. I've been MIA in the blogosphere and my sewing has been non-existent. While I was always thinking about sewing and mentally getting a list of possible makes together in my mind, the truth is that fall 2014 was just too busy for anything but work. First, I am back to teaching grade 7 again and I have a good class. But a homeroom class always has some challenges and the first few months of any school year can be demanding. Second, I was enrolled in a partial in-class/online course. And I think the course administrators were determined to make this course heavy. I've taken a lot of additional qualification courses and while there is some work involved, it is so geared to your classroom that it melds with your everyday teacher work. Not this one. I had a few written assignments each week, an online discussion and then roughly 12 hours of in-class work as well as two large assignments for that. And that is all supposed to be handled outside of the 40 hour work week. I was just too tired to sew or blog while in that class....but now it is complete. It was the best and most challenging teacher course I've taken and I made lots of new friends. I've learned a lot and now I have time to sew.

And in the middle of all this - when I falling asleep as soon as I got home from work and sometimes even in class - I learned that I am anemic. I think I've always been borderline but now I am thoroughly anemic. Which means I have to take iron pills daily - and honestly, while I still have slower days, the pills have helped a lot.

My first project be completed this week sometime is likely a Renfrew - my tried and true pattern. I need a few shirts and I have some great navy jersey with a thin white stripe that will be great in a Renfrew. Tasia of Sewaholic promises two patterns this week, so maybe it will be a indie pattern month. I've learned that indie patterns cost more but also fit better and sew up more easily. Colette Patterns is having a Violet sew-along which I am thrilled about. It's part of their pattern-of-the-month promotion (I really need tops and I have that pattern.) 

And I have tons of fabric in my stash to make up a Violet or two. Especially since they promise to give hints and tips on making changes to the pattern - I'm hoping for sleeve variations (which I think is a no-brainer) and a peplum! that I've caught you up on my is my surprise. I found a stack - a stack!- of vintage Burdas at a thrift store a few months ago. They are all from 1979 I believe. And I am going to raffle off one issue a month until they are gone. 

This is the German language edition of the January 1979 Burda. It has an English language insert and the pattern pages too. Everything is there! 

This contest is open to every follower of this blog who leaves a comment by January 16th. I'll ship anywhere in the world. Good luck!

1)  Follow me on Blogger, Google Plus, Bloglovin or even by email.

2) Leave a comment below, before January 16, 2015.

Good Luck and Happy New Year!


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