Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas morning

No pictures yet.
My daughter opened the package that contained the t-neck and fleece pullover I made her.
Her words? "Look, fabwic! Sanks mama." She didn't realize they had been sewn into something.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Great Coat Sew Along not all wool coat

Indecision keeps me from completing many things, so while I have been contemplating design alternatives, I have been working on the "real" GCSA coat instead of the trapunto one.

I purchased a wool blend fabric from Emma One Sock last year. It looked gorgeous and I ordered quickly. As many people know, she who hesitates is lost when ordering from some websites. Small yardages can sell out quickly. It wasn't until I received the piece that I realized two things. That the fabric was not all wool and that there was a metallic fleck to it. I wasn't sure what to think. However the fabric has grown on me and matches a few things I have. OK mainly fabric I have, but a few garments as well. I cut out and began the same pattern as below in the single breasted version, but shortest length. All went swimmingly for a while. I got the pockets done and was working on the side seams when I noticed that one of warp yarns was working it's way out of the fabric. On the not-on-grain side seam and sleeve seams it looked like little caterpillars were growing out of the fabric. The funny thing is that this thread was synthetic, with a metallic yarn through it, so exactly the part that I liked least about the fabric. I tried to ignore it, but I ended up needing to serge the entire coat, which had now been more than half sewn. Retro serging, I call it. I had even double stitched the sleeves in, but I still had to serge them. the seams were really shredding and I was afraid it would fall apart.

Give me all wool anyday.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Trapunto revisited

The second two photos show the as yet "unstuffed" length of the knotwork. I drew the design on Warm and Natural batting, then sitched the unders and overs in a straight stitch through all the layers, backtacking at each stop. To make the section leading onto the fabric (as opposed to the edge) I used a stitch on my Janome that is straight on one side and a multi width zig zag on the other. I had hoped that the stitching would give enough dimension, but decided to add yarn to create more. I trimmed the rest of the batting away close to the zig zag stitching.
For the trapunto, I opened up the start of each line with a seam ripper and pulled acrylic yarn through to the end of that line. I read somewhere that acrylic is better than wool or cotton. It doesn't pack down like wool and lose dimension, nor is it hard and high to sew through like cotton. I used two strand of a worsted weight.
The result has a few puckers from the amount of shape of the design, but this is such a soft wool I hope to be able to press them out to some degree.
I am making the same style coat in another fabric first and then will get to this one. Practicality won out and I am making the warm one first.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas presents

Using different binding/edging finishes on Simplicity 3802 aprons!
If you look closely you can tell by the chocolate stain that the Christmas tree apron has been worn already. The black print has tiny neon kitty heads on it. I am saving the kitty one for a Christmas present.
Also made: bathrobe, mock t-neck, fleece pullover.
Robe from Kwiksew 3509, top pattern taken from RTW.
To finish: scarf, head wrap and apron for Mum, purse for Mum, apron for DB apron for DSIL, lots of jammies.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hats Off for Charity!

There is a local charity that helps out women who live on the streets. It provides them with an occasional meal, a bed to sleep on during the day if needed and clothing. Many street women have a mental illness and really need all the help available.

I have been making hats and scarves to donate to them. Our local chain fabric store used to have a stamp card programme that gave you a gift certificate after you had spent a certain amount of money. I used the stamps to purchase polar fleece fabric and made some basic pillbox style hats with an additional band for warmth. The clips on the three lower ones denote a smaller size. I will need to get some stickers on there.

I also knit a few basic beanie style hats in Paton's Soy Wool Stripe yarn.

This is a hat in boiled wool leftover from a jacket last year and trimmed in faux fur as well as a few velvet and faux fur scarves using B4882. I was at an open house at the weekend to sell some products in order to donate the $, so I made a few other styles also. These are what is leftover and they will also go to the charity.
The hats are a modified version of M3400

Finished Trapunto

I joined the Great Coat Sewalong earlier in the year and am no where near completion on my coat. I have changed my mind about what to do so many times. I finally decided to use some soft black wool twill from stash and put a celtic knotwork design down the centre in trapunto. Well, I have the trapunto stitched with batting and stuffed with acrylic yarn for some more depth.

Now to cut out the coat! It is a OOP Vogue pattern # 2449. I plan to do a long single breasted version, with a bit of flair in the skirt. Fortunately it is a timeless style and will still be wearable in years to come. However it won't match the scarf I knit in the summer.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Getting back to real life

Well, the mad rush is over. Now I can slowly try to get back to real life. It usually takes a week or so. Many businesses are busy over the Christmas season, but it is always slow for us then. The rush is October/November and I just cannot afford to turn away orders. So I nearly kill myself with busy and alienate all my family and friends. Not pretty, but it is my life.

I really need to clean up the sewing studio before I attempt any major project, but I really feel like doing something for me. Maybe a hat or a cardigan. Nothing that requires the entire table to cut out. I don't have the energy to clean it off yet.

I did do some wash swatches of my teal knit. I have three yards, so plenty to do the jacket, but I am afraid I will make it and not like the style. If I wash all but the ruffle I won't have enough to do both. With three yards I could get two collarless jackets out. Indecision is the reason nothing gets done around here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Jacket thoughts

photo from Neimen Marcus
There is a discussion on Artisan's Square regarding this Armani jacket with a flounce.
Mardel shows it at great length in her flickr photos. It looks gorgeous and feminine without being too much. I am not really a ruffle person, but I like this jacket.
With the Armani jacket in mind, I recently purchased this pattern.
Erica Bunker has made (twice, I think) and loves it. I think you must to make it twice.
I have a few aspects to consider before I get to it.

I have a teal wool knit and a heavy silk charmeuse that is not too shiny and matches it perfectly so I was thinking of fulling the knit to use for the body and possibly the silk for the flounce. I had initially thought of using the knit for both, but am not sure how I would finish the edge of the flounce. I would use a single layer for it and don't mind that the reverse shows. I could then bind the edge in the silk or serge it in matchign sewing thread or work a blanket stitch on it.

Anyone have any thoughts?

The Armani example has a shawl collar under the flounce that gves it a bit of body and I like that.
In the Vogue pattern the flounce becomes a band around the back without any fullness. I like that, since I have fullness of my own there that I don't want to emphasize. If I do the flounce in silk, would I continue the silk around to the back band also, maintaining the flow of the design and crealing a horizontal band across my bum, or use the wool and possible diminish the interity of the design?

I guess I have lots to think about as I finish up my last few orders.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November 11- Lest we Forget

I can't read this without crying.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
— Lt.-Col. John McCrae

SWAP Fabrics

Above is a silk tweed from www.emmaonesock.com shown with a selection of neutral bottom weights and a raincoat fabric. The bottom weights are a charcoal denim with a coppery reverse, a war greay pinstripe fabric, a darkwash denim and a dark wool with a slight plaid meanswear type.
I could go bright with a silk tweed jacket, or neutral and practical with the rainwear. I am actually thinking of a raincoat with a zip out liner that would carry me from Fall through to Spring.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Gosh- I have been busy at work. I am again starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and am thinking about sewing for me again. Well, that includes the kids and extended family as well.
I have been planning Christmas presents this year. I am trying not to buy too much.

As for recent sewing for myself, I reworked the tapestry jacket below. I shortened it, removed the ribbon trim and added some darts. The fabric was really nice to work with. I didn't think it would press or take darts so well. I finished the teal trosers as well and wore them with a teal top made from leftover fabric from last year's SWAP. If I look frantic in the pictures it is because I kept shutting my eyes in previous photos. My DH was making me laugh and I was trying to keep my eyes open.

I hadn't planned to make it so long and forgot until I had it cut that I have bought extra fabric to make myself a purse from it. I am not sure if there is enough left now.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Cheeky Monkeys



I made these a while ago but just took photos. They are made from a wovern back synthetic fur from FabricMart.com with wool felt. I used a pattern called "Bubbles" but I cannot find it to list the company.
Ava, in the first picture, needs ears yet. I think she is cuter than Otto who was the first attempt. My son prefers Otto, but maybe because Otto is for him and is complete.
They were both pretty homely until I did the sculpting stitches. I had forgotten what a difference that makes. The eyes in Ava were from www.laboursoflove.com in British Columbia. It might be hard to tell, but they have a dark line around the outside and a larger iris that makes them look cuter. The backing is also shaped to indent them. It is hard to sculpt this kind of eye to sink it in, so this really helps in the face shaping.
I named them. I always used to say that I wanted to have four kids and because of my dyslexia I wanted to name them Hannah, Ava, Otto and Bob so I could spell their names right even if I wrote them backwards. My son named his monkey from Build a Bear "Bob" and it seemed to make sense to carry on in the tradition. Guess what the next one will be called?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Embroiderer's Guild

I joined the evening group of the Canadian Embroiderer's Guild in my city again. I haven't been a member for a few years. It was too hard with working full time and being pregnant or with a little baby. I ended up missing so many meetings that I just gave up.
Well I made it to the first meeting, then had to work during the second. I showed up last week, but it was the wrong night. However, they hold a first Tuesday meetup at the church, so I was able to catch up with Maria (one teacher of the course I had missed) and get an update and some paper work.
Last night was the election, then after supper Maisie had a meltdown. Finally I got her dad to take her upstairs and I snuck out. I couldn't get my Guild bag, but I knew I had some crocheting in my purse. Everyone was so nice about it. Grace (the other teacher) let me use her example hoop and fabric to practise some stitches on and then someone else whom I had never met gave me some of her fabric, needles and thread to work with.
I didn't get any crotcheting done, but the camaraderie was great.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thanksgiving, family and some jackets

I took the kids to my mother's/brother's for Thanksgiving this year. My husband could not come, so we took the train. The kids seemed to enjoy it, but it wasn't as exciting as I thought it would be. When someone asked Maisie if she had taken the train, she replied "Not yet."
I finished a jacket for myself before we left, but the weather was very warm and I did not end up bringing it with me. I had enough to cart onto the train, what with needing to bring the car seat and all. Fortunately my sister in law picked uu up about halfway home so we didn't need to wait for 1 1/2 hours at the station for our connection. It was late afternoon and Maisie really needed a nap by that point.

Back to sewing- here is the jacket. I was trying to emulate the style of this image from Vogue patterns. I don't like a raglan sleeve on my sloping shoulders though. I drafted either the neckline too small or the collar too big, so I have turned it down and basted it like that. I want to get a feel for it before I alter it. The fabric is a tapestry from Emma One Sock and ravels like crazy, so changing it will be a nightmare.

I am disapponted, as I usually am when I cut in a hurry, that I cut a long jacket and full length sleeves. I wanted to have of the fabric to make a purse from and now there is not enough. The jacket looked very "patterny" so I sewed on the grosgrain ribbon down the centre fronts to break it up a bit. I will look for a velvet ribbon to replace it. I think the busy-ness of the fabric calls for a trim with more depth than the grosgrain gives.
I tried it on for my family and overheard my husband and son whispering together and giggling. The only thing I could make out was " Why did she make a jacket out of a rug?". Nice guys, eh?

I am also posting one of the white cardigans I made in the summer as well as a teal WIP.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fabrics for me!

The fabric I have been waiting for fabric finally arrived! It coordinates beautifully with these two pieces, which I already had, so a skirt from the wool/rayon in the top photo, a jacket from the silk tweed below and a blouse from the new fabric are in the works. Also planned are a jacket and trousers in a cotton teal that coordinates with teal shown here. I will use the same jacket pattern for both the teal and the silk.
Sewing for me! I am so excited!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Princess Blackie

Two dancers got bored while waiting for me to finish their dress. Blackie never comes into the sewing room unless there are girls there for a fitting. The younger sister in this family LOVES Blackie and the girls decided to try a tiara on her.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Waiting for Fabric

I placed an order in August for some fabric from a place in the US. It has never arrived. The purveyor of the store (Unnamed and with no criticism of them on my part) has been wonderful and twice has offered to re-ship the fabric. Friday is our agreed on deadline, but finally today came a knock on the door, suggesting to my delighted self that the package was here!
Imagine my dismay when it was the Canpar man, picking up a return for a shop in Toronto. Not my sueded charmeuse in peacock at all!
Not only that, the TO store did not let me know they were finally acting. Thankfully that roll of unfusible fusible interfacing was wrapped and ready to go. Actually it had been waiting in my foyer for over a year. Thank goodness I am not much of a housekeeper.

On a happier note, my Maisie wore a dress again today. This is the third day in a row and might even lead to new shoes on her part. Yay, the girl wants to look like a girl! I swore I would not be that kind of Mum, but it turns out I am. I thought I would be resigned to sparkly and swirly and put up with it, but instead I rejoice in it. I wasn't particularly encouraged in this respect as a child, so tutus and tea sets and swirly skirts are just fine with me!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Maisie posing

Maisie decided to wear a pair of pink patent sandals she had been given. I thought she would give it up once I told her she could only wear them with a dress. She hasn't worn a dress since Easter and it was a battle then. Imagine my surprise when she asked to change into the once despised dress! She agreed to wear tights, even!
I put her into the dress I made for her birthday last year and she let me take some pictures of her. Et voila!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Latest dress

This is work and not personal, but it is a picture of something I have sewn recently.
As soon as I can get personal pics I will replace it!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sales, work and my mum

It is the Surprise Memeber's Sales at Fabricland today and tomorrow (and yesterday actually). 50% off on all non sale items. I stocked up an basic satins for work as well as picking up a few peices of teal for me. I got a Ponte de Roma (sp?), some boiled wool, which is really 60% rayon 40% wool, as well as some Bemburg lining. Now if only I had time to get to work on something for myself.
That leads to: I am swamped at work. Most dresses have been started for the regional qualifiers for the World Cahmpoinships. The regionals start the first weekend of November and there are seven of them in North America, with the last one on the first weekend of December. It is full on until they are over. Usually December is dead though, so
1- I get a break and
2- I need to work as much as possible up until then so I have money to tide me over during the lull. My mortgage company doesn't really care if I am busy or not. They just want their money.
Mum has been transferred to a hospital that specializes in rehabilitation and is no too far from her home. She gets therapy in the morning and again in the afternoon. She is able to write and walks a bit with a walker. My sister in law is a saint and goes to see her daily. My brother also visits every day after work.
I spoke to her today on the phone and she sounded like mum. I cried. She even offered to help me sew and then burst out in laughter when I said "Come on down." She is back.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Thanks Leanne and Laura for your comments.
I lost a fair bit of time last week, which really cuts into my non-work sewing. However, since I haven't been able to post any pictures in weeks, that doesn't really matter much, does it?

Mum is feeling much better. Thanks, Laura for asking. She is back in Canada now. My SIL is trying to get her into Shaver Hospital in St. Catharines so she can get more physiotheray than she would in Niagara Falls. Her situation really makes me worried about our health care system. The cuts started with Mike Harris years ago and has continued with the Liberal gov't, but hasn't really affected me or my family much til now. It is easier to form an opinion after having a problem.
Re: the brown pants-I think I will try to add a cuff. The samples I did with just a hem extension looked too bubbly. I have worn the pants on a bad laundry day already, despite the fact that they are missing a hook and bar as well as just having the overlocked hem. No one at the park noticed.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

When she awoke she said "I need this like I need a hole in the head!"

My mum just had surgery in a hospital in Buffalo. She was on a blood thinner and must have knocked her head which started her bleeding out. Her Doctor did not listen to her concerns and put her on antibiotics without doing any bloodwork. Well, she got sicker and sicker and finally my sister took her to Emergency. They found the bleed and wanted to admit her, but there were no beds available in Canada. She was considered stable until she passed out and could not be resussitated which bumped her up to critical. They planned tp put her in an ambulance to Hamilton, but she awoke when they tried to intubate her. Bump, down she went to stable, no more need for surgery! Then they realized she was still bleeding, couldn't get her to Hamilton so shipped her off to another country for surgery. Good God.
She had a hole bored into her skull tonight and the excess blood removed. She woke up in recovery and could recognize my brother and sister and sister in law. Thank heavens. My husband and I are going to see her tomorrow. It is a five or six hour round trip, but we should make it back before school gets out.

August Sewing, part 2

I managed to get one pair of trousers cut and sewn. However, I forgot to add hem allowance, so they were cut off to cropped pants. I did need me some cropped pants though. I have worn them a lot. I cut and sewed another pair, but again without a hem. They are the right length now without a hem. I don't want to wear them with serging around the bottom, but am at a loss for what else to do.
I did manage to knit a sweater and two scarves though. We were in the car a lot last month.

Monday, August 18, 2008

August Sewing

It seems that I will not be getting much personal sewing done in August.
We were away in Northern Ontario for a week, and then my husband took a long weekend golf trip as soon as we returned. Neither of which left me with much personal time at all, much less sewing time. I don't like to sew around the little one yet. She has no fear and sharp, shiny things like scissors and pins fascinate her.
I have promised to make my son a stuffed monkey and will hopefully get that done and show a picture. Maisie did help me trace off the pattern and played nicely beside me which let me cut some of it. Then she decided she had to cut something (anthing!) with my best scissors because the were blue. I let her, with my hands on the scissors as well but it still got dangerous.
For anything else we will just have to see what happens after Saturday. It should slow down a little after that.

Monday, August 11, 2008

July Sewing

I know this is no longer July, but I did finish more in July. We left for holiday the morning of the first of August, so I haven't had a chance to mention them. I hope to have photos soon.
I was able to complete a white cotton pique jacket from Mcalls 5329. http://img.sewingtoday.com/cat/40000/itm_img/M5329.jpg
I omitted the empire band and added about 4" to the sleeves instead of the ruffle. I might add the band at some point. Since I have young children, I wanted this to be machine washable. The cut of the collar is good for this, since it is sewn on and not a revere (sp). I also chose not to line it.
While I was doing the mock up I decided to cut it in a lace-ish fabric that had been hanging around. I changes the neckline shape to a smoother "V",didn't sew the darts, added a facing on the top side in the pique and made a quick, no-close cardigan.
I am hoping to get pictures of all these up soon.
ETA: I forgot something: I didn't list those two blue garments I made in July, bringing the total up to eleven!
I admit that the skirt was a UFO but had to be recut, fitted and finished and the top was cut and sewn in July.

So for July:
2 Teal t's
1 Brown print skirt
1 Khaki skirt
2 White cardigans
1 Denim trousers
1 white jacket
1 Blue skirt with cream embroidered edge hemline.
1 Blue tie front top with cream embroidered edge sleeves
That comes to a whopping ELEVEN garments!
I won't be able to do this again though. I hope to get three done for August and doubt if I can.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

More July Sewing

Finished the denim trousers. I hesitate to call them jeans, although I did try to treat them like jeans initially. I topstitched the outer side seams and fly area with cream heavy-ish thread. It made a nice stand out detail, but was too bright for the dark denim. I think it needs to be used as a more decorative effect to work, like on pockets and in rows and rows of topstitching, rather than my two little areas. I discovered this once I had completed the pants, so instead of taking them apart and redoing it, I took the lazy route and coloursed over the thread with a Sharpie marker in a brownish gold. Looks just fine to me and saved a fair bit of time.

This blog looks prety boring. I have to learn how to use my new digital camera soon. Maybe after our little holiday.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I am trying to empty out the sewing room of items that need repair or completion. There have been a lot of these.
I have finished a skirt that was nearly done.
Almost finished a top that matches it. I was mainly cut out and fitted already. It looks cute and I will try to get pictures. I need to pick up more thread and buttons. The inner thread was a bit dark to use for topstitching/buttonholes. I got around this when doing the zipper by hand picking it. The fabric is pretty. It is a denim-ish blue with flocked dot overall and a 6" cream embroidered edging on it. I cut an 8 gore skirt to use the edge at the hem without too much bulk at the waist. There was a little bit left, so I used that at the sleeve edge. I have about 4" of edge and some yardage left, so I might make a v-neck tank and fill in the "V" with the embroidered bit.
I have found two pairs of teal-ish trousers cut out for SWAP, a pair of trouser jeans cut recently and a black and white silk jacket from last December. There is also a pair of taupe cotton trousers that need to CB seam sewn up and a pair of camel trousers that need a new hook. I am going to cut out a pair of brown trousers (to use the trouser pattern from fabric rather than paper) and try to get the jeans finished next. The teals can wait until August when I hope to make another capsule.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Monday Sewing

I spent too much time on Monday trying to fit an a-line coat on me. I have given up. I think I am too curvy to not have some shaping seams or some kind of darting.
I may try it again, but for now I have given up.

I have started to sew a white cardigan that I cut out for the SWAP back in February. I miscut it and was so frustrated I just put it aside. I was using a pattern for a top, but cut it up the centre for a no-close cardigan. I meant to rotate the gathering at the CF bust area into either an armhole dart or an underbust dart and left it at the CF. It is a fairly substantial knit, so gathering it there would be very bulky. I wasn't sure how to finish the edge. I ended up pleating it and binding the entire edge in satin bias, then applying a decorative elastic over the edge. It looks fine as long as it sits properly. I will add a hook and always need to have it close or else it sags around the bust and any kind of sagging around the bust is out as far as I am concerned.
Also, I found the three Vogue patterns I had misplaced. Of course, now I don't have time for them, but at least I know I didn't throw them out.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

July Sewing

I work every weekend. Not all day on both days, but usually a full day or both mornings. It is convenient for people come for fittings on weekends, so I do it. The idea was that I would take Monday off, like a hairdresser, but that hasn't been working, either. Well, I am determined to take at least part of Mondays to do some personal sewing. This week I made a short sleeved top in teal and started a brown/teal/camel skirt in a feather print. I liked the t a lot, but needed an FBA. I ended up darting the t into the armscye, which I don't love, and taking out the excess in the sleeve. It made the sleeve a bit tight, but it it wearable. I cut another in the same fabric but with 3/4 length sleeves and eased the dart end into the sideseam. Now I look like I have lumpy underarms, so I might re-do that into a side seam dart. Otherwise I like both t's.
Last Monday I made a skirt in a tan/robin's egg blue reversible cotton from EOS. I did not take advantage of the blue at all though. It started out as a gored a-line with a flared section on all but the centre front section. I ended up straightening the side seams so that I didn't look quite so big. Now is is a bit snug across the thighs, but only when I sit. I figure I can wear it when I walk somewhere, just not for a car ride. I can easily hike it up to sit on the ground at the park, for example. When I have lost the recently gained 10 pounds it should still be fine.
Tan skirt with flared hem Detail showing side front seam
Oooh, I also purchased a new brown purse. I was trying on all the expensive ones at Winners, but this one ($39.95) stayed on my shoulder best. That was enough for me and home it came.
New purse!
It looks a bit shiny and plastic-y in the picture, but it really is leather and looks it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Canada Day

Yesterday was Canada Day. We dressed in red and white and took the kids to a local park for a walk and picnic. I wore my very comfortable new tan pants.
Maisie enjoyed the Merry-go-round and wouldn't get off after the first ride. It was a good thing I had purchased some extra tickets.
We had to change horses from "Baby black one." to "Brown one.", then finally onto the "BIG white one." Everything is either big or baby.
Notice the mismatched socks. Leo did it first and Maisie had to copy. This pose is actually uncontrived, despite the face that Leo pulling.
Maisie is wearing a pair of shorts I made her brother ten years ago. They have certainly held up.