Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sewing Buttons in the Car

That's me, I'm sewing on the buttons in the car! This is typical of me at Christmas, there's always one or two last minute sewing projects. Only, these shirts were begun two weeks ago!

I still can't believe that I actually finished (except for the buttons) the two shirts for my boys before supper yesterday. But then I've been burning the midnight oil almost every night this week. I can feel the crash coming on, and the only way to stave it off is with many cups of tea. Thank goodness for all the Tim Hortens on the highway (every small town in Canada has at least one!)

Here's as few pics of them so far. (I hope they're not upside down, cause it looks like this blogger app on my smart phone has flipped them! – Updated: I fixed this once I got home!) I'll post more details when I get back.

Merry Christmas!

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(This is the best I can get from these two munchkins!)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Finishing Touches…

Just a note to post some finished objects, one sewing related, and one not!

The resized knit top from Sears came out all right. It’s wearable, but I’ll see if I can tweak the front knot a bit more as it still bulges a bit. Here are the Before and After shots:

2012-10-03 001  2012-10-08 002

The fabric was a *b^gger* to sew; it’s one of those really thin, slippery knits that will NOT stay put! Can you imagine, 4 hours to fix this? Nuts!! So here’s what I did:

  1. Cut off the sleeves at the armhole seam
  2. Sew the new shoulder seams about 1 inch down, to lift up the Plunging V-neck
  3. Open up the side seams a couple of inches down from the armhole seam, and the same on the sleeve
  4. Sew the sleeves back in, sort of on the flat
  5. Resew the side seam and back down the sleeve (I didn’t take the seams in, just resewed it)
  6. Added clear elastic to the bottom of the side seams for a ruched effect
  7. Fiddled with the front knot (there’s a CF seam there!) to reduce the weird bulging

And now that I have a fairly nice top, there is nowhere to wear it. ~sigh~ Yet! It’s too damn cold in the house to put this on without a fleece or cardi! As I said in a previous post, this type of sewing would not have even occurred to me had it not been for following Beth’s fabulous refashioning blog, The Renegade Seamstress.

On a last note, here’s a picture of our Finally finished kitchen, with it’s new backsplash. We did it a couple of weeks ago, and it only took a few days. The longest day was actually putting the tiles (in sections) on the wall, and cutting and filling in the edges. Then a couple of days to rest (the tiles, that is) and half a day to grout.

 The new backsplashThe new backsplash

Oh, and those are 4 new lights too. I think we put them up back in September, and what a difference they make over the old ones. No problem seeing the dirt mess with those on!

The two t-shirts I wanted to compare during my Home Alone did get sewn up, but are still awaiting some fitting adjustments. But I’ve decided to put them on hold (yah, more UFOs!!), since winter isn’t the best time for this type of garment, and I am in DIRE NEED of actual “Cake” clothing. I have an idea…!Winking smile

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A White Ruby Slip

Or rather, a camisole. I wanted to test this before making a full length version, because well I am now unable to make a pattern without first making a toile first. There. It’s funny, until 3 years ago, I’d made only …ONE. And I’d made many skirt suits, 3 winter coats before then. I have been converted. But I digress.

Back to the Ruby Slip/Camisole.

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It’s a *tiny* bit snug under the bust, but it’s good everywhere else. Not bad for a toile! The lace wasn’t wide enough so I had to piece it, and it actually turned out fine. Too bad the lace isn’t very soft. But the (poly) satin is really nice, and I’ve got enough left over for another one.

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The fabric was actually pretty easy to hem, it didn’t slip around as much as I’d thought it would. Following Sherry’s sew-along for the slip was great.

As I was making the tubes for the shoulder straps, I stumbled upon an easy way to turn them right side out. After following Sherry’s directions I used a large needle (wool?) and tied the long thread around the eye in such a way that made it easy to remove at the end. Here’s some pics…

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Make sure you leave the tail end of the seam’s thread at least as long as the tube. Push a loop of thread through the eye…

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…and hold the needle hard against your finger.

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Take the loop and wrap it over the top of the needle…

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…then pull it tight. When you insert the needle, eye first, into the tube the thread will not come loose.

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Here’s the neat part, after it comes out the other end, you just need to pull the needle back and release/pull the thread loop back over the eye. It’s a good idea to wrap the thread end around your finger twice so it doesn’t just slip right back inside.

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And wiggle/turn it right side out.

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One very important point I will need to remember next time I make tubes, is to make sure to sew it down the middle of the folded strip! My tubes are a bit tightly packed with the seam allowances, and I wasn’t going to trim that skimpy seam!

Next time, I’ll show you the transformed RTW top I bought that was too big!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Home Alone!

Here I sit, alone in the new kitchen. Yep, I’ve been absent from sewing for several months, but not from “creating”! This summer, while my husband was unemployed (since the end of May) we completely renovated our kitchen. By ourselves. Nuts? Crazy? In hindsight, perhaps! 34 days of hard slog, and the boys were at home for most of it…they had the best time watching all the TV they wanted! But it was worth it. (Photos at the end if you’re interested.)

Anyway, before I show you that, here’s a peak at what I’ve got planned for this weekend. My first EVER weekend at home…alone. By myself. NO kids. NO husband. (They’re all at his sister’s for 2 nights, 4 hours away) Sewing! Can you say HEAVEN!!! Gawd, I feel so selfish!

1.    After a mere, what, 9 months, I cut out the fabric for Sherry’s Ruby Slip. The pattern’s been traced since I downloaded it last December, and I’ve had the fabric in stash since before that.

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The fabric is nothing fancy, I think it’s a polyester satin, but it will be a wearable muslin in camisole length. And as the lace is no where near wide enough I’ll be patching bits together. Once I get the fit worked out I’ll be making a full length slip.

2.    The BCT (Basic Canvas Tee) from Stephanie at 3hourspast. Again, I’ve had this pattern since Stephanie first introduced it, but only just traced it this afternoon.

3.    The Kirsten Kimono Tee from Maria Denmark. I’ll be sewing muslins for both tops tomorrow so I can compare the fit. On paper they look quite different.

4.    A refashion/resize of a top I bought last week at the Sears store that’s closing this weekend. There was hardly anything left in the store, but my mum and I both found something for the ridiculous amount of $7! Ordinarily the top would not be worn all the way down, but ruched about the waist/hip; it’s just too big and that neckline is… plunging!

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After months of seeing Beth’s fantastic refashions I’m finally going to have a go with her techniques. I would never in a million years have even thought of buying this top had it not been for seeing how Beth does it! Go figure! (By the way, check out her latest refashion, the art deco dress! It’s awesome!)

5.    Finish the adjustments on my Pants block. Jeez I’ve been dragging my feet on this, but I’ve got to get it done. I desperately need pants, and I’ve got fabric in stash for at least 3 pairs.

I’ve been working here in the kitchen all afternoon, tracing the patterns and cutting out the fabric, right on the counter/bar since it’s so fabulously huge!

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And here’s the before and after photos (note: the walls were also repainted, in the entire space; everything is off-white now)

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I took pics at the end of most days while we were doing it, and put them in an album on flickr. For posterity. I still have to pinch myself, it seemed like an eternity. And we were totally Exhausted by the end, I was actually sick of being in here and just wanted to get out of the house.

So, here’s a few stats:

  • 40 work-days to completely finish the kitchen. We put the plinths, baseboards, ceiling lights and finished the painting a couple of weeks after that last photo.
  • ~700 screws used to eliminate all the squeaks in the subfloor, and to anchor the new base floor onto the subfloor. We installed the cork boards on top of that.
  • 489 unread sewing posts on the day of the last photo above.
  • 6 weeks to read through ALL of those posts, no kidding.

Man I’ve missed sewing. It sure is good to be back! I’ve got another post in the works to show you what I was about to start sewing just before we started the renos in mid July, and only got to sew up a muslin last week. It’ll have to wait, it’s ICING!! And right now, I need CAKE.

Have a great weekend.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Chaos Theory – a butterfly flaps its wings…

…and starts a chain reaction that results in a hurricane on the other side of the ocean. Well, that’s the theory. In my case, it began with the simple decision to buy a new sofa.

Before I go on, yes, there has actually been *some* sewing going on, but not nearly as much as I’d planned. This all began early in March, we bought a new sofa, something we’d been thinking of for many months but couldn’t find the right one. Until then. So, the chain reaction.

  1. Old sofa would move to the basement family room, so…
  2. Family room sofa bed would be moved out to the office, but…
  3. office is not big enough for the sofa bed, so…
  4. switch the office with the kids TV room, but…
  5. the computer desk is too big in the new office with the sofa bed, so…
  6. we bought a small IKEA desk, and…
  7. (this is the key!) the old computer desk would be GREAT for my sewing room as a pressing/ironing area! BUT…
  8. the sewing room was a MESS and CRAMPED, so…
  9. I rearranged the sewing room and the old computer desk fit perfectly! then…
  10. I made the new ironing pad and was able to do a little sewing again. FINALLY!!!

new ironing pad

I made this from the Singer book, Sewing for the Home.

new ironing pad  new ironing pad

The one thing I would add to the directions in the book, is that the staples should be at least 1/2 inch! I don’t know how many didn’t go in, the layers at the corners were pretty thick. I love it, what a treat to have such a large pressing area, and it fits pretty snugly. The great thing about this is that if I need to use another sewing machine it just pops out, it’s portable.

I can’t find any of the BEFORE shots, so here’s the AFTER shots:

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And after all this, we then decided we’d need to repaint the whole living/dining/kitchen room (it’s all open concept, high ceilings), get a new counter top and make it an eat-at bar, but we’d better move the stove away from the eat-at area for safety, so, WTH, we’re now going to rip out the 50 year old kitchen and put in a new IKEA one!!! And that means that the big cabinet in the sewing room which contains my good stash will be moved to the kitchen and I’ll have to find another shelf for it! Can we say “design creep”!!

As soon as the IKEA kitchen sale event is on, sometime in July, we’re starting the reno, so I won’t be doing much sewing. Hopefully I’ll be able to do a little something in August!

Have a great summer!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Copying a Favourite Top, and Variations

Last summer I had meant to write about this series of tops, but life seemed to be too busy for any blogging, so here it is almost a year later. At least this is the right season, and we’ve been getting some pretty hot days lately (last weekend it hit 30 Celsius!)

One of my favourite RTW knit sports tank tops was starting to look a little… well, rundown! Without actually pulling it apart I just traced around it. This is the first copy in a lovely, drapey pink from Darrell Thomas, made a couple of inches longer than the original:

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and the original (FILA tank, circa 2005):

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There’s a lot of puddling at the lower back of my pink top, so for the second version I just sewed a horizontal dart (wedge) across the back just under the armhole; it’s about halfway down the back, which in hindsight is not the most pleasing, so in future I’ll *try* making the alteration over in the side seam and hemline. This one, by the way, is made in a bamboo/cotton blend with a little bit of spandex, from Wazoodle a couple of years ago (I think they still carry this type of fabric). It became another absolute favourite, and now it is also looking a little over-worn!

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Then I thought, why not a dress? The thing though, was to add enough ease so it would just skim over my tummy and behind! I measured my abdomen at the fullest point (side to side) and graded only the front piece out from the bust level, then measured my behind at the widest part (side to side) and graded out only on the back piece from the back dart. This kept the side seams vertical, with no pulling. This is it, in a basic cotton knit without spandex from the remnant table at Fabricland:

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Now, I’m not wearing a slip, and I don’t think I wore one last summer either. In hindsight (pun intended!) I think a slip IS needed. The back of the dress is sitting on my backside! Ooooh, not good!

All three pieces got worn loads of times last summer. Almost everyday. They were great to have running around with the boys at parks and places. I’ll definitely make some more for this year, but perhaps I’ll shelve the dress idea? Or is it that it’s also a bit too long? Maybe hem it to or above the knee?

I’d love to get some feedback here, what are your thoughts?

Friday, May 18, 2012

New Goodies! Patterns and Dreams

Since I’ve been buying the Burda Style magazine on a monthly basis, I’ve not bothered much with patterns. That is, until now. I’d been adding more patterns to my wish list on PR, but it took their last $6.99 Vogue sale to push me over the edge! 4 patterns later (that’s a lot for me!) I thought I might as well just get the others I’d been wanting!

The Vogue haul:

New patterns, May 2012

The V8146 shift dress is currently being used in Darrell’s dress class at Darrel Thomas, and since I can never get to any class on a weekday supper time I thought I’d work on it myself (and go to see Darrell for fitting help… if needed!)

V8641 is for my Mum, whom I owe some pants (fabric sitting for over a year) and a winter coat (I made a wearable muslin in fleece last fall, unblogged as yet.)

V8646 is for me! I want a knit wrap dress. Last year I also bought Christine Jonson’s wrap dress pattern, so I’ll compare the two and see what I can make first with fabric from stash. I think it might be the Vogue.

V8747. I’ve seen it in the latest issue of threads magazine. Art Attack also made one here, I love that fabric! It looks lovely on everybody else too, so hopefully it will on me!

Oh, and then there’s the Vogue pattern 8648 that came with signing up for the The Couture Dress with Susan Khalje on Craftsy.

Now, the precious…

New patterns, May 2012

I’m sure I don’t have to explain these Colette patterns! Especially the Beignet. Everyone’s version looks fantastic. Just google it and go to the google images, it’s staggering how many have been made. I’m dying to start on one, it’s actually a physical *need*. (I wonder if I can eek out a Beignet from 1m of 150cm wide? I’ll *trrry*!) And the Rooibos just looks so classy, but this will have to wait.

New patterns, May 2012 

The Okashi bag from Paradiso Designs has been in my wish list for years. One day soon, but I’ll have to find fabric for this one. It’s not going to be easy choosing.

Did anybody else see Madalynne’s post on these undies? The pattern looks fun, and with the sewalong on Sarah’s blog it should go pretty smoothly. I hope. Finally, some classy undies!

New patterns, May 2012

These are not all going on my todo list… right away, that is. I’ve got my sewing room to de-clutter first so I can squeeze another table in there from the office, which is being moved to another room where the kids watch TV… oh, it’s a nightmare! A domino effect created by buying a new sofa! Oh man, why do I do this to myself?!

Just dream, and touch the fabric fondly!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Umm…Another One!

Well, this is how I work. It’s also how I buy clothes. When I find something that fits reasonably well, I buy all the colours that look good or fair on me! I’m pretty sure many women are like this, hell, who has time to shop, try on clothes…it’s just too damn frustrating! It’s why I sew! I only go shopping with my Mum when she reminds me it’s been a couple of months since we’ve had a mum-daughter day, so I also use it to snoop shop.

So, another Sorbetto! (The 4th is being cut out as soon as I finish writing this.) It works. I’ve had compliments on them, and another sewist has written down the details of where to get the pattern.

This is a simple cotton print from Fabricland, who never give much info on the fabric type. It’s a nice light weight type, and launders well! Not much ironing needed. The skirt is a burda style pattern from 2 years ago, blogged here, which I just fixed - the waist was way too big… by nearly 2 inches! Anyway, I love this skirt, and it’s so nice to be able to wear a top tucked in.

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I have to say, of the 3 Sorbettos to date, this is my favourite. It goes so well with this skirt and jeans, it is going to be worn to death! Navy is a great basic colour, and I have 2 more pieces of navy fabric that are destined to be skirts in the very near future. They will be different patterns though!

So a few details:

  1. It also took less than a yard, but because it was only 43 inches wide after laundering I wasn’t able to include the front box pleat. Not that I mind, it looks fine without it.
  2. I pinched out a *tiny* dart at the neckline on the tissue, for the front and back pieces, and the neckline does sit better than the second version.
  3. I lowered the front hem at center by 3/8 inch, tapering to 0 at the sides. It seems to look a bit better than the second version.

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But now look at the side view! The front hem pops out a bit like a maternity top! WTF!!! This did not manifest itself on the second version since the fabric was more drapey. So, one more little tweak to make.

Then I’m going to start playing with the pattern; I can see converting the bust darts to princess seams, and using a combined neckline/armhole facing that I saw *somewhere* (where? a book? online?) There is some very lovely silk charmeuse waiting!