Monday, December 31, 2012

Year End Round Up - 2012

I notice that a lot of others bloggers do this, and as a newbie, it seems an opportune moment for some housekeeping and sewing reflection!

Firstly, I am tidying up my blog and removing a few of the banners down the side that are relevant for 2012, but not for 2013 - but I really don't want to lose the information behind them.

CIBC Run for the Cure - in October, my father, husband and myself took part in a 5km walk in Calgary, raising money in support of breast cancer.  My mother was a breast cancer survivor who sadly passed away in November 2009.  This really is a bittersweet event - the atmosphere is magical and I would recommend that if you are able to take part in one nearer to home - please consider doing so.  I am happy to report that I raised $390 towards this most noble of causes.

PR Mini Wardrobe Contest - this was my first entry in a sewing competition and my first attempt at sewing a SWAP wardrobe.  I chose quick and easy pieces, and loved making and wearing them.  Thank-you to all who voted, and those who left comments - most kind.

PR Re-Fashion Contest - OK, so I started this with lots of enthusiasm but unfortunately didn't finish.  Well, not yet.  But I will!  The grey corduroy trousers have been taken apart - I just need to piece them back together, transforming them into a skirt.

July: - This year I got back into sewing in July, and kicked off with a number of cotton summer skirts, about nine in total!

August: - This month I completed my K.I.S.S. SWAP and made two skirts, two tops and a long jacket.

November: - Ah yes, November!  This is when I learned all about the lovely sweater knits from and made my Purple Cheetahs.  I also entered the Stitchers Guild competition to make a Winter 6PAC, and introduced pieces for Ikat Winter Collection making a 2 piece dress, traditional twinset out of animal patterned fabric and a black corduroy skirt.

Two shorter Flirty Skirts also made the cut this month - somewhat shorter than I would ordinarily wear, but lovely nonetheless!

Then there was the MacPhee Collection where I made a skirt, a pair of culottes, a top and a cardigan from slinky fabric using Linda MacPhee patterns.

Phew, November was a busy month!

December : -  The biggie for this month was Hubby's dressing gown.  I also made 4 (I think) snoods out of fleece and the heart hand warmer for my brother and SIL.

All in all, I would say that it has not been a shabby year - especially since my sewing did not start until July.  Boy I ha missed it!  About 29 garments (not including the snoods and handwarmer) made in all.  I have made more skirts than anything else - a pause for thought?  Indeed.  I feel that I have made a lot of quick and easy garments to get my sewing off the ground,  I have also attended a fitting class that I intend to put to good use by making more fitted clothes next year.  I have booked onto a course for fitting pants as well - so there should be lots more items in that category next year!

From a blogging perspective, my father and hubby clubbed together and bought me a fancy smancy laptop for Christmas.  I love my iPad, but it is a pain when blogging and this new machine is such a dream to use that I will be commenting more on other blogs instead of planning the replies in my head and then having a minor meltdown when the iPad fails to allow me to post!

And, oh my goodness, there is an 'and' as well!  I have made a commitment to stop buying RTW clothes, and I can honestly say that I have not had any issues so far at all.

Finally - thanks to those that read this blog.  The comments that are made are much appreciated and it thrills me to know that people take the time out to read and then comment.  Thank you all xx

This only leaves me one more thing to say, and that is:


to you and yours - may this year be the best year ever!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Taking Care of Business

I am happy to say that I am busy making the most of a few days off work.  I having been planning, cutting out, and am about to put needle to fabric - that is for tomorrow!  I needed to make one more item for my Ikat Winter Collection (previously mentioned here and here) that is part of the Winter 6PAC on Stitchers Guild.  Today I cut out a cardigan using the pattern that I fitted in my pattern fitting class.  It is from McCalls 4466.  I have made a couple of changes to the pattern - changed the neckline to a slight 'V' shape and I will add a band to make it more 'cardigan' like.  The fabric is a lovely Ponte knit in a burnt orange that I bought from Fabricland.  The fabric is a poly/rayon mix and is incredibly soft.

I have also been making plans for the 2013 SWAP on Stitchers Guild.  The rules are that one is 'to make two 4 or 5 piece collections, with a single other garment that can be worn with both capsules. 

Each collection is either 3 tops and two bottoms, or 2 tops, 1 bottom, and 1 dress, which all form a cohesive group.  The 11th garment should be a jacket or other piece that coordinates with both collections, both in style and color.

These collections can be for different occasions, or in different colorways, or simply reflect two very different styles or images. 

There will be no requirement this year to use a particular fabric or pattern choice, no fussy print matching or need to master any new skill. 

Sewing will begin December 26th, and all garments must be finished by April 30th, 2013.'

The main colors that I am playing with are brown, grey, mustard, red and cream.  Interesting eh?!  For each of the two collections I am planning a 2 core two-pieces (skirt & top or trousers & top) with a co-ordinating cardigan/jacket and another jacket that would work with each mini collection.  So, in total there will be 4 bottoms (skirts/trousers), 4 tops (short sleeved polo necks/shells) and three cardigans/jackets.  I will be using some new patterns - making shorter skirts and attempting to fit trousers, my shell tops will probably be based upon Sorbetto by Collette Patterns, and I am looking forward to trying Vogue 8146 or McCalls 5763 for the final jacket.

This is the first collection of fabrics and from the left I pan to make a 2 piece dress with the grey Aztec print (Christmas pressie fabric!), a solid grey skirt with a fitted yoke and circular flounce, a Sorbetto top with the grey floral and a jacket with the mustard solid (which really needs a good press!):

And here is the fabric for the second collection.  From the left is a brown jersey to make a top.  I also have some poly/rayon jersey in the same color so will make at least one more top and maybe a jersey wrap skirt, (I've just realized that I have missed a patterned brown fabric for another potential Sorbetto.  Oops.  I guess that will just have to stay as a surprise!), some brown corduroy for (hopefully) a pair of trousers, and an cream textured fabric for a cardigan/unstructured jacket.

And here is the collection (less the above mentioned brown patterned fabric!) with some red Ponte knit (a super soft poly/rayon mix) that will be used for another cardigan/unstructured jacket that will work across the whole collection.

As these items are all for work, I am calling this collection 'Taking Care of Business'.

So, having introduced you to my plans, I reserve the right to make changes as and when (well, I did stop off at Fabricland today and they had some FAB-U-LOUS poly/rayon stripey sweater prints and a few metres may have fallen into my basket!)

What about you?  Are you taking part in the 2013 SWAP or do you have another lists that you are working from?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Who's been a Good Girl?

Well, I must have been a little as Santa was very good to me!  It really was a 'sewing' themed Christmas for me this year as far as gifts were concerned, with some knitting thrown in as well.

Amongst the goodies received, I had a box of fabric (I placed the order and hubby picked up the bill!  Some of this fabric will be debuting in the 2013 SWAP on Stitchers Guild.  More details to follow!) and Gertie's book:

Which is full of fabulous 'top tips' not to mention the lovely patterns!  I have a feeling that I will be referring to this book quite a lot in the future!

I also took part in a Secret Santa with Krafty Kat and received these lovely gifts:


The yarn is quite stunning,  As a sock knitter, these will make a lovely, soft cushy pair of socks . . . . for me!  The parcel included some pretty shell buttons and was wrapped up in the delicate blue lace that will become attached to the lining of a skirt sometime in the future!

Thank-you 'swappee', I was truly spoilt!

How about you - were you good?!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Batman Dressing Gown!

No, I am not typing this on Christmas morning - this is a post that I wrote on December 17th, but could not share until today and the garment had been unwrapped!

This story begins about 6 years ago when I sewed up a Lord of the Rings cloak for my hubby out of grey fleece.  It took about 6yds of 60" fabric and wrapped round him like a huge blanket.  He loved this to bits . . . until the day he nearly fell down the stairs as he tripped on the hem (well, it was floor length!)  Since then he has been asking me to shorten it (I don't do alterations) or make him a new one.  And here we are, a number of cold winters later, a new dressing gown!

 My husband is a sci-fi nut, so the pattern had to be something connected to super-heros, and of course fleece is such a dream to sew with, a batman patterned fleece was just the ticket!

Not much else to say really other than as I had cut it out some time ago and lost the front band, I had to piece one from some left over fabric.  Doh!  As the pattern itself looks pieced, I think I may have gotton away with this.  I made sure that there were a couple of deep pockets and the pattern fronts are cut diagonally for snuggly coverage when it is belted up.  I also added belt loops so that should make losing the belt a little harder . . . .oh, and one other thing, the fronts are upside down.  Seriously, I didn't notice the directional pattern and cut out the fronts wrong.  Grrr.  Well, I guess that when he is doing his bat impression and hanging upside down - it will look the right way up.  Won't it?!

Right now, it is all wrapped up under the tree - I will see if he will pose in it after the 'reveal' Christmas morning!

Merry Christmas to you and yours - I hope that Santa was good to you!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Passing it Along

Well this is rather lovely, I was checking my 'must reads' blog roll on the right hand side of this blog (I view this as my personal reading suggestions - the blogs that I enjoy reading are here) and what do I see?  Well, the lovely Judith from sunny Brisbane - which quite frankly has to be as far from snowy Canada as you can get) had presented me with the Premo Primavera Blog Award!  What could that be?  I hear you ask, well, let me enlighten you!  Following a quick bit of (Google) research, I have gleaned the following information . . . . essentially, it is a public thank-you to recognize the people who take time out to comment on your blog and you are encouraged to link to the last nine 'commenters'.  The bonus, of course, is that you get to sample more blogs that you were maybe not aware of as well as some new traffic being redirected to their sites, more comments are made, and so on - they pass on the award to even more bloggers and well, at the end, we all get to linked to lots more interesting blogs!

So, THANK-YOU to the following readers who have left comments on my blog:

Check out So I Sewed This and her fabulous gator pot holders - you have never seen gator pot holders?  Seriously??!!

Then there is/are Kristen and Laura at A Make it Yourself Mom's Diary - the blog design is fabulous and their furniture and dressmaking adventures are great fun to read!  They are part of the the RTW Fast that I am taking part in.

As I Sew It is another RTW Faster who enjoys quilting - she has a great Christmas runner that she has just completed - go and take a look!

Carolyn at Handmade by Carolyn is also 'down under' and makes gorgeous clothes.  Her Blood Orange Top - and the variations, is a great read full of inspiration.

Carola at Snazzy Sew 'n' Sew is another RTW Faster in Perth (can you see the connection yet?!) who temps us all with photos of her cute creations taken outside in the sunshine,  If I tried that today - I would surely have frostbite . . . . . !

Over at A Stitch in Time and Place, some lovely knee length shorts/pants/trousers - are currently taking shape - very cute.

Jilly at Jilly be Joyful has just posted about some useful weights for holding down your pattern as you cut and her Endless Tube Scarf would be great as a late Christmas present.

Goodbye Valentino is the inspiration and encouragement behind the RTW Fast - her blog is full of designer inspiration to keep you on the sewing straight and narrow!

And last, but most definitely not least, there is Peg at Deconstruct, Alter and Create who has introduced me (and many others, I am sure) to the Lagenlook - wow, great for inspiration as well.  My head is buzzing with ideas!

According to Judith I am now supposed to tell you 7 things about myself - so here we go:

1. Many years ago I ran into Prince Edward with a shopping cart when he was a student at Cambridge University (by accident of course) - and he was still kind enough to hold the door open for me!

2. I love dogs and currently have two greyhounds and a collie

3. My favorite season when we lived in the UK was the autumn, but here in Canada, it is winter - I am loving the snow!

4. Having been brought up on BBC TV I love period dramas - my favorite is House of Eliott closely followed by Downton Abbey.

5. Following on from #4, the 1920's is my favorite fashion period.

6. I can knit a pair of socks, two-at-a-time, without looking at a pattern!

7. And finally, until I found blogging, I thought I was a hoarder of patterns, fabric and yarn - but now I know I just have a collection!!!

So a big thank-you all ladies - your comments are most kind and always appreciated!  Let's pass on the love!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Sewing

I really wanted to include some home-made gifts in my gift giving this year - nothing too complicated, just a few, small little treats, and when I saw Kwik Sew 3267 - I knew I had my pattern :)

Yep, I am going to sew the heart, bottom right.  For my brother and his wife.  They will love it - well Sharon will, I am not sure Paul will be so thrilled!  The fabric is a lovely thick fleece that was on sale in FabricLand for the bargain price of $7/m, and this will only take up about half a metre.  But what is it?  To be fair, I wasn't too sure myself, I thought that it was just a huge heart shaped glove that you hold hands with your beloved.  But no, there's more embarrassment!  This is what it all looks like when it is made up (excuse the photo - for once the countertop was very clean and shiny and reflected my arms taking the photo!!)

Each person has their own glove as well.  What could be more perfect??!!  My brother will be mortified when he opens this Christmas morning, but as it has been made by his sister - he will have to be polite.  Oh the fun!  And my sister-in-law is bound to make him use it!

Fortunately I have a much saner plan for some of the rest of the fleece - a neck warmer for my father.  He is a Liverpool FC supporter and as the fleece is such a gorgeous, rich red, he will wear it with pride.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

McCalls 4466

Enthused with the knowledge that I picked up during my Fits Sew Well sessions last month, I decided to try out the pattern that I had fitted at that time - the jacket from McCalls M4466.

This was an absolutely eye opener.  I have always found that jackets seem to hang off me.  I get the right bust size, but the shoulders are too big, there is too much fabric under the bust and the back is huge.  Oh, and the bust darts - well, I have not been that high and perky for about 25 years!!!

I made my alterations that now appear to include an FBA, some upper back adjustments to allow for my 'hump', and a small amount added to the upper sleeve.  Interestingly this was because I am now fitting a much smaller pattern that fits my upper chest, so sleeves are likely to be a little tighter for me. I also shortened the jacket quite a bit to make it more 'Chanel' like!

I chose a soft, drapey poly/lycra blend that I think has cotton in it as well.  It is truly lovely fabric.

And this is where I am right now - I know that it does not look too much to look at, but the fit is amazing.

Firstly though, I want to point out a couple of details with this jacket.  I have taken my time with this - and really enjoyed the process.  Other than trimming the lining, my overlocker (serger) has been sitting gathering dust with this jacket!  I used my sewing machines for the seams and pressed them open - and what a difference that makes.  I really should be taking my time to do this, rather than just run everything through the overlocker.  The picture above shows the inside front of the jacket and the deep purple lining that I have attached.  I undersewed the inside of the front facings and you can see the stitching here.  It is a lot straighter than the picture suggests!

Oh, and to show off a little - I added one of my labels!!  What a Princess!

Although it does not show very well on Matilda (she is my smaller, but less leggy twin), the back curves follows my body perfectly.

So, the issues that I had were that the sleeve did not fit into the armscye.  There are a couple of reasons for that, one is that as per the instruction in our alteration class, the side seams are 1" tapering to 5/8" under the arm - I forgot that last piece and sewed and trimmed the 1".  Doh!  I had also added extra allowance to the top of the sleevehead to allow for the length lost when adding width to the sleeve.  Both of these alterations made the sleeve too large.  After a little fudging, the sleeve went it nicely.

I also ended up with 'bullet tip' bust points.  Hubby liked the look - very kinky he said!!  Of course I did not really notice this until I had trimmed the darts and had no fabric left to play with.  I followed the advice of a couple of seamstresses that say you should taper the dart at the bust point and sew for a few stitches just a couple of threads inside the fabric fold then sew off the fabric.  They certainly look a lot better now, but I suspect one is slightly lower than the other!  Oops!

I added small shoulder pads to allow the fabric to fall, and they are perfect.  I just need to hem the jacket bottom and sleeves ans well as attached the lining at those points.  Finally - closure.  I had an absolute nightmare with the buttonholer on my Pfaff and my cheap and cheerful Singer.  The buttonholes were great on the test fabric, but not on the actual jacket.  Grrr.  Not too sure what to do about this - other than getting one of my old Singers up and running and using the old 50's/60's buttonhole attachments that I have.  I need to think on this.

But the best thing about this jacket - it fits.  Wow - what have I been missing all these years!

As soon as this is finished, I will get some pictures taken so that I can properly assess the look, but I am so pleased with it so far that I will be using this pattern many more times with different lengths and necklines.  fabulous!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Krafty Kat's Secret Santa

I am a sucker for all things Christmassy - the sparkly lights, dressed trees, snow, happy smiley people, treats, spoiling friends, family and strangers - I could go on . . . . . but the point is, mention something like secret Santa - and I am all over it!  So when KraftyKat spoke about it on her blog - I was there.

Now I can't speak about what I have purchased for my Santee (KraftyKat's excellent new word for the person you are sending a gift to), but I can share the lovely surprise that arrived through the post for me this week:

It has been beautifully wrapped with some very pretty lace that I think will be used to trim some lining on a skirt in the future - and I haven't even opened the gift yet!  It is tucked under the tree, awaiting Christmas Day!

Thank-you KraftyKat for organizing this fun swap - a follow up post will appear in a couple of weeks . . . . .