Friday, December 24, 2010


Been so busy. Went Christmas shopping yesterday. First time.
Felt like a guy.

Monday, October 25, 2010

a Bit of Whimsy

I was able to attend the Creativ Festival in Toronto on the weekend. It was a bit of a surprise. I like to have a plan of attack and since I hadn't expected to go I did not feel organized. I was able to spend nearly an hour there and did a good runaround to try to get an overview of the trends in sewing nowadays. Sometimes working in your basement and focussing on one thing completely blots everything else from your consciousness.
I picked up two books and some yarns that co-ordinates well with other yarns already in m possession. Also a pile of things for work, like trims threads, interfacing and leather tape. They don't really count though, do they?
On the way out I saw Kenneth King pulling a red wheelie suitcase. I thought it was a MAJOR celebrity sighting until my husband picked me up. He had seen the Dalai Lama get out of his car about 10 feet away and go into the Royal York Hotel.
I still think my sighting wins. It was KENNETH KING! Also there wasn't a pane of glass between us. That makes it better, right?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Little Ones

First is my crazy girl on her first day of school. No point just standing at the door smiling in your uniform when you can be hamming it up like this.

Next is my second tiny dress. Actually this is the smallest Irish Dance dress I have ever made. The dancer is a petite four year old. The skirt is from a mis-cut in the Spring. I thought it was too small to use for anything at all. The day after I ruined a piece of expensive fabric from Dubai I recieved a call from a Mum looking for a tiny dress. Isn't that the perfect co-incidence?
The rest was loosely based on Snow White. The big ovals were created for giant rhinestones that the mother ordered from the US and put on herself. The little one did well at her first big competition too. I even have a photos of her wearing a sash and on a podium!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Machine embroidery

I finally have the machine back and it seems to be running well now. It has cost a fortune, but will be worth it is this really is a good repair.
This is the first project I have worked on with it.
It is a silk valance with a hand beaded edge using a glass pearl and sparkly small bead. I like the edging.
The fabric is a silk duoppioni that the client supplied. It marks like the Dickens. I had to use a cloth on the wheel of the machine, wear gloves and still got oily smudges on the first embroidery. I tried to get them out with a stain removing dauber but it left other marks as it dried so I washed the whole thing with Sunlight dish liquid. Here it is wet on the left and the replacement on the right. You can see the wax line of where the fold backs will be on the wet one. The silk was fused twice; once with a soft weft insertion interfacing, then with fusible fleece.
I am not sure about the beading on the design though. I tried stitching the design in beads, couching it and tambour stitching them it. Finally I satin stitched the design and added beads over the stitching. It isn't completed yet. I will bead it all if I decide to use it this way but I am not sure what to think. Any opinions? Should I keep beading or leave it plain?
(Sorry, Blogger keeps rotating the one picture.)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Machinery and dresses

Here is the last dress I made on my old embroidery machine. I have an industrial zig zag that has been modified to be used for satin stitch. It needed a new hook and the repairman "forgot" to put it in. He said he thought it best to try to save me money by not changing it yet. This is the same repairman who told me it would probably need a new hook every year or so. I have paid $300 to get it fixed so far and it hasn't been fixed yet. Now it needs another shop service, hook and house call, so another $350 or so. Nope, he doesn't warranty his work, why do you ask? Apparently is was a silly question when I asked. Thanks for saving me some $$ Tom.

This is the first dress made on the new machine. It was a very used, but very well taken care of, industrial darning machine. It goes to 12mm wide and has no feet or feed dogs. I have a lot of practising to do with it to get it right. It hold so many possibilities for free motion embroidery so I am quite excited about it. The best part is that is cost $100, so 1/3 of the cost of my non-repair so far!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

dress contruction pics

These are the only construction pics I can upload right now. The dress was made from guipure lace over satin and lined with a lightweight silk shantung. It was an outdoor summer wedding on a very hot day and it didn't rain (much). The bride is slim hipped and larger in the shoulders and bust, so she chose a simple sheath with a bit of a mermaid flare at the knee.
Blogger keeps freezing on me so I will end here.

A wedding dress

I had a bride this Spring! I love doing bridal, but haven't had much time for it lately.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Catching Up

I began a 6 week Artist/Educator Foundations course on May 1. I also work full time and have small/medium kids so I didn't really have time for this. However, I am SO glad I took it!
I have learned so much about myself, about art and about working with school aged learners.
The entire thing was a whirlwind of complications; many self created.
I had applied for the arts/ed course and was placed on a waiting list. It was to start on the day of the local feis (Irish Dance competition for the civilians) which I was willing to miss to take the classes. I was disappointed to be waitlisted but, because I was geared up to take a course (any course apparently), I then signed up for a Friday/Saturday full day bra making class. I paid in full and then found out I was in the first course. So I had the first Saturday booked with a feis, a bra making class and the first day of a six week course.
I don't remember much since then, but I have two new bras and a pile of new friends!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bright and shiny

Colourful, creative, poofy, sparkly, loud, garish (well, sometimes), fun, happy, pretty. over the top...
How else would you describe these?

Thursday, April 22, 2010


The feis season is picking up! Here are two more dresses done.
This one was shipped, so no pictures of it on the dancer yet.
This dancer requested a "Garden dress"
This one has a shawl made in the same technque as the recent scarves.
My birthday is coming up and for it I get a day to myself to make myself something.
For a mum who works fulltime and has a pre-school child this is heaven itself!
p.s. the hat wasn't accepted into the show. Oh, well...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Leaves Falling Overhead

Update- the hat was delivered to a Guild member who is transporting a carload to Fergus today to be juried for Threadworks2010. This is my first entry into any juried show. It doesn't matter to me if it is accepted. Of course, it would be great if it was, I just really wanted to get something done for the show.
Rosalind suggested the name I used: Leaves Falling Overhead. Cute and clever, Rosalind. I love it, thank you!

Leaf Hat

Crowning glory Trees
Trunks Lining in shot silk
Tam on a ham!
This hat was made in the theme of "Trees". I was very literal in my interpretation but it has some subtle Canadian symbolism thrown in. The dark base has copper flecks is represents the Canadian Shield and our natural resources which form the base of our geography and our economy, the top represents our society's basis on a cultural mosaic, and throughout the leaves and lining the top is a red/turquoise shot silk that represents the French/English union that our country was founded on.
I used the scarf technique of bias strips of silk and wool to represent tree trunks and the leaf applique for the tree top. I hoped to put it in a juried show but am not sure if I will since I missed my shipping deadline. I thought it was due next weekend. Ooops.
I am trying to reach a Guild member who is travelling with a car load of items to drop off but cannot find her email.
Now to think of a name. "Slip into Fall" is the current favourite.
I love the name Rosalind has suggested- Leaves Falling Overhead- and so it has been named. Thanks Rosalind!

Sunday, April 11, 2010


I am working on an applique design of autumn leaves. The plan is to make a beret type hat with it.

Cut out and laid out.

Half stitched. I used a satin stitch in a toning burgundy/brown colour.
Stitching done.
I think this would be a gorgeous pillow. The problem is that kids and cats sit on them and lie on them and sometimes even spit up on them (mainly the cats nowadays). Hopefully a hat will be treated with more respect. Although, knowing both my kids and my cats you never can tell.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Thanks to everyone for your recent comments. My little girl really is growing up. She is learning to read and has a large personality. She takes up a lot of time. I am trying to enjoy it now because I know I will miss it when she starts school in September. I can't believe how soon that is!
A friend pointed out that I haven't done much for myself lately, and took my child for a while to give me a bit of time to do so. These scarves are the result.
I had a lot of bias strips left over from all the Irish dresses we have made over the years. I decided to serge them together in similar colourways and made some scarves. I used three threads on the serger set in a really close stitch and pulled on the strips as the went through to create a ripply effect.
This one is shades of purple with some pinkish purples and serged in purple. It photographs very blue. There are a few poly satins, some acetate satins, silk, metallic silk and some poly satin back shantungs. In this one I made long strips with many colours in each then serged them together.
The turquoise one is my favourite. I have given it to a friend. She looks after Maisie every Thursday for me for free so I try to make her something every week or so as a thank you.
The fabrics are a lot of acetate satins in teals and turquoise with some silks and some metallic silks as well. I made long strips of one colour, then serged all the strands together. It was very stripe-y so I cut the scarf at 45 degrees and serged it back together, making sure the stripes didn't match up. I like the effect.

The last one is I cut from leftover velvet burnout on chiffon yardage. I cut bias strips in 2" and 1.5" widths. I serged the strips together to make long strands, then serged the strips together, alternating between right and wrong sides. I also alternated the stitching between strands so that it showed on one row, but was underneath on the next.
Once I had all the rows together I cut them apart on a 45 degree angle in both directions and serged them back together, flipping each piece so the right side strip was butted against a wrong side strip. The chiffon tended to pull out so I had to reduce the density of the stitch to prevent that. I plan to add some beading to them in the lower 4-8" or so.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Maisie's Easter Dress

This is the dress I made Maisie for Easter, sans the brown waist ribbon.

This is what she wore: a purchased dress from Nana.

Take a bow, Maisie!
Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A pillow

A friend had a medical procedure this week involving needles in her back and a lot of bedrest. I don't know how it went yet.
I decided to make her a pillow as a get well wish. She loves birds on things so I appliqued some linen and made her this pillow. I fused the linen with a synthetic interfacing to help ward off creases and then underlined the front secion with flannel for some body. It has an envelope style back.
I had an extra, so there is one in the Etsy store as well.

Monday, March 22, 2010

More pictures

Interior of bag. For some reason blogspot wants this rotated.

I have a black bag started, but the black suede is not as deep in value as the brown was compared to the leather so I am searching for another option. I saved the negative cuts and stitched those down on some brown suede. It created a very different look to the positive cut.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Another Irish Dance dress

This one has a skirt in poly shantung rather than plain satin. I used a 4 thread rolled hem on my serger to create the turquoise line. The previous dress shown was serged over a ribbon. This one is more balanced from front to back of the ruffles. This aspect is important as both sides show.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Purse kick

So I guess I am on a purse kick now. This one is my first all leather purse. I often use leather trim but have never made an all leather bag.
This isn't a great photo so I will need to take more as soon as I can. The bag has a large front pocket with appliqued leather on suede. It is stitched with a straight stitch set at a 3 on my Husqvarna Mega Quilter. I had to leave long tails on all the interior shapes, pull through the threads and tie them off before cutting. Fortunately many shapes began and ended at the edge.
I tried to cut all of the shapes leaving the negative ones in undamaged condition. I am not sure if it will work, but I want to try using them as a negative applique.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Some handbags

I have been very busy with work sewing and no time for personal sewing, but NEEDED to make something else. I saw a purse style I like at Anthropologie and tried to emulate the style. The purse is called "Flash-And-Fete Clutch" and I cannot seem to link directly to it.

This one is made from tapestry fabric and lined in a snake embossed synthetic suede. Licarrit from Artisan's Square used to have a tutorial on her blog, but I couldn't find it so I had to wing it.
It has a zipp closure and a snap to hold the flap down. I put a topstitched fisheye dart in the underside to encourage it to flip over. I used a heavy cotton fuse inside and it is very firm. I went softer on the next one.
I put a pocket in the back, using the same fabrics.

Then I had to go and get all applique-ish with the design.

This one is a bit shorter, more like the original from Anthropologie. I used a synthetic sude in turquoise over brown cotton. I did this as reverse applique, but didn't love the result so I satin stitched over the edges.
I was going to applique the entire front, but realized half the design would be covered by the flap, so I cut the piece and used part on the base and part on the flap. They kind of line up with a little gap between.

It is lined in Kasha sating and there is a banded pocket in this one as well. I interfaced every piece with a soft interfacing, but would go a bit firmer next time. It takes a few to get it right.
It seems a bit three bears-ish. The first was too hard, the second was too soft, perhaps next will be the baby bear one and be just right.