Wednesday, March 30, 2016


I do like necklaces, and since I made the Tina Given's inspired ones last year, I have made quite a few pairs.  I have about 5 or 6 leather straps that I can then swap the beads in and out using lobster clips.

This is one of the wider straps - about 3/4" and the beads are faux turquoise and quite lightweight.  I need to restring the beads though as I put the lobster clips on the bead portion, whereas it would make sense (and cost less money!) to have them on the straps . . . . .

I wore this with my Sweet Violet tunic and it went rather well!

I recently attended an adult education class on Silversmithing and made some stacked silver rings . . . .

In three hours, I made five sterling silver rings.  It involved measuring and cutting the silver - we used different types, flat, domed, round, soldering it into a ring, then hammering it into shape and adding decoration.

They are not perfect - and considering they are all supposed to be the same size, I need to practice more, but it was really fun.  I would really like to make some wider ones with stones in . . . . oh dear, I feel another hobby coming on!!

There are some longer courses that cover other aspects of silversmithing in jewelry, so I may well be signing up for more courses!

Have you tried jewelry making?  Care to share?!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sweet Violet - with a Side of Oprah

The new Tina Givens patterns are gorgeous and with some new shaped pants and a 1920's styled tunic, they had my name all over them!  The patterns released released with 'money off', so Violet and Oprah made their way to me via the intertubes.  They are pdfs, and I have to say that unlike a lot of other, I rather enjoy the process of taping paper together, tracing off the pattern parts . . . . call me crazy (CRAZY!!)

This is the Violet tunic made from leftover linen/rayon fabrics.  These fabrics are from last summer's makes!  I didn't have enough of any of the colours for the binding so used some leftover patterned fabric.  And I love it!  I made this pretty much straight from the pattern - I made the largest size and my one alteration was to piece the front gathered skirt.  The original pattern has the front sides and gathered skirt (seen here in white) as being one piece.  I just knew that I'd have an issue attaching the front panel (in blue) to the one piece sides and skirt (all that clipping into corners, not my idea of fun!), so I just cut the fronts all the way down to the hem and cut the gathered piece separately.  I was then able to sew the blue panel to the white gathered skirt, then sew the two side panels on to the centre panel - I don't think you can see the difference, and if you can, it really doesn't matter!

The natural coloured trim are bias cut gathered strips - so no finishing required there and the back is solid natural.

Naturally there are pockets.  Most useful!  I bound the neckline, arms and bottom of the tunic with bias cut strips, 1 1/2" wide, folded in half and attached with a three step zigzag.  It gives a lovely 'finished finish' if you know what I mean!

It's rather boring on the back - then what would you expect with beige?!  I did attach a scrap of fabric (same fabric as the bias binding) to the back, and on the inside in the exact same place is another scrap with my label on.

It looks a little wonky, but it is a 6"x3" rectangle.  Honest!  I didn't add the gathering on the back as the guidelines are right were I have my rounded upper back and that would have looked awful.  I am happy with it being plain.

This is a little shorter than I thought it would be be - it is certainly a tunic rather than a dress.  I did lose a couple of inches in length due to my seam allowances on the blue panel - I must have used deeper ones than the pattern suggested, but I have adjusted my pattern and my next version will be that little bit longer.  (of course there is another version already cut out and partially made . . . . !)

I am really pleased that I made this up - I wanted to try the dropped/extended shoulder and I am pleased with the look on my 'not a stick insect' figure.  I will likely try some of the other TG tunics with cut on sleeves.

The jeans are the the Oprah pants. cut from a lightweight denim with 3% spandex.  I cut the medium size but extended the crotch curve to the largest size so that the legs were wider for my chunky pins!!  I made regular in-seam pockets using the Jacqueline pocket (I used that on the Violet tunic as well) and finished off the crotch seam and inside leg seam with top and edge stitching in regular thread that is the same amber colour as regular jeans top stitching.

Yep, the crotch is dropped (and it is quite 'pouchy' and the front) - and that may not be your thing, but who can tell under tunics?  They certainly are comfy!

Oh yes, well spotted - that is Noddy fabric inside the pockets!!  And why not?

The fabric looks more grey here . . . . I think that the picture is a bit over exposed.  For the hem, I serged the edge, pressed that to the right side and then folded up and inch (to the right side) and edge stitched the hem down with the same amber coloured thread that I used for the edge and top stitching.

And of course I had to add a label - especially as the front and back pieces are the same.  The brown fabric is Kraft-Tex and is also known as 'vegan leather'.  It is the same fabric used by Levi's and other jeans makers after they stopped using leather on the back of their designs.  I sewed it to the right side of my right butt cheek - no-one can see, but I know it is there!

And here is my 'Merchant and Mills' inspired photo!

Talking of Merchant and Mills, I ordered the book from Amazon after seeing the gorgeous garments that the lovely Ruth had made and featured on her blog, Core Couture.  It was supposed to be a Christmas present to myself, but will finally be here in a couple of weeks.  I know that there was a later publishing date here in Canada, but still! 

I picked up the shoes from my local outdoor shop, Mountain Equipment Co-op, reduced from a stupidly high number to $39 on the label, and just $19 at the till!  Woohoo!  They are canvas and have rugged sole - yet are as light as a feather.

So here we go - my first Spring outfit.  As the tunic is made out of leftovers from last year, it will go with lots of the cropped pants that I made, and of course the jeans will work with the slips and jackets that I have in my closet - lots of combinations waiting to be worn!

How is your Spring sewing coming along?

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Caterpillar Green Phi Socks

Caterpillar Green Yarns produce some lovely yarn dyed in Beautiful British Columbia.  Not a million miles from me, and it looked gorgeous.  I signed up for an email to advise me of the shop updates (this yarn sells out FAST!) and bought some Phi last week.

How gorgeous is that?  It is actually dyed in such a manner that you can knit a self striping shawl (the pattern is called Phi for You and can be found here on Ravelry) and as much as I like shawls, I crave socks.  So I 'caked' the yarn and made some socks!  The yarn has cashmere in it and is very cushy, so I knew they would be fabulous socks . . . . .

There is nothing special about the sock pattern - just my standard top down pattern, knit two at a time (I don't think I could knit a plain, one colour sock, any other way!)  More details on my Ravelry page.

All in all, a quick easy project, some new toasty socks and I have briefly satiated my yearning for Caterpillargreen Yarn . . . . . only briefly though!  I'll be watching out for the next shop update!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Power of Pinterest

I write and maintain this blog as a reminder to myself of what I have made, and any adjustments/changes made, and also as my contribution to the sewing and knitting community.  The fact that anyone reads my ramblings is a source of great pleasure, especially when comments are made - I love reading feedback and chatting with my readers.

When I am blogging regularly, I get a steady number of visitors a day, it varies depending upon how often I blog or what the topics are - some of the posts are more popular than other , so I was amazed to see these numbers leap ten fold for about a week in November.  When I looked at the 'source' of these visitors, they were all coming from Pinterest.  But what could be the picture that has caused this?

And it is from this post.  So, if you are in the game of wanting lots of visitors and spreading your name on the intertubes - get yourself pinned!

Fortunately things are back to normal now, and interestingly, despite all the visits, I don't think that I picked up 'followers'.  This is not a whinge or whine (I'm happy in my little corner of the 'tubes), just an observation . . . . . . although it was pretty cool 'going viral' for a few days!

How about you?  Have you have a photo or a post that went crazy?  Do share!!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Tina Givens with a Side of Krista Larson

I managed to get some good sewing in over the last couple of weeks, and have some goodies to share!

I am a big fan of Tina Givens - although I do need to make a number of alterations for the patterns to suit me.  Having said that, once those alterations are done, sewing them up in very quick and easy!  I also follow a Facebook page for Kati Koos - a shop in San Francisco that stocks TG ready made clothes as well as a number of other designers including Krista Larson.  Lots of eye candy happening there . . . . including this ensemble:

Source Kati Koos

I really liked the plaid skirt, and had seen versions (check out the Nikki skirt) that looked like the TG Patrica skirt.  So I though that I would make one . . . . . The TG Patricia skirt is essentially a deep yoke, with the main skirt attached in gathers to the bottom and gathered at the hem.  I have made a few versions of the skirt, and have added a binding at the bottom about 54" wide.  I can walk quite comfortably in this but could do with a little more stretch.  So I thought I'd try a version with a narrow 1/2" elastic in the bottom hem.

The fabric is a very lightweight 100% cotton - a lawn/hankerchief weight but not sheer.  The plaid is printed rather than woven, but the colours were lovely - a deep burgundy red, cream and teal - a bit like a dirty turquoise.

Worn here with my cream linen Zelda.

And a new cardi . . . . . I know!  This is view C from my much used McCalls 6168.  The cardi is a raised neckline - the shoulder seams continue up the side of your neck.  No facings.  I cut 1.5" strips of fabric, folded in half and pressed, and sewed them all around the neck/front/edges.  This is the same process that I use for a lot of my slips and jackets.

The fronts are really long!  I think I cut them on the cross grain instead of the straight grain and they have stretched a little.  Not a problem - but I think that explains why the front tips are longer than the pattern indicates!  The fabric is a very lightweight rayon that holds a press.  My corners were not the best, but a good pressing and they look better than they have any right to do!

There is quite a lot of fabric in this cardi - close on 3m.  I like it but I'm not sure if I'd make another.  I think I prefer the waterfall cardi's where the front pieces are extended to wrap around the back.  This will get a lot of wear though!

The fabric matches the skirt beautifully though!  And this is with a Sorbetto that is lot shorter in length.

I also finished a pair of chocolate linen Plinkas.  This is a free pattern from TG.  I was totally inspired by this version, and so I went to work!

There are lots of pleats!

These photos are taken with my TG Cara in cream linen.

I did make a few changes.  I actually mostly used the pattern  that I had adapted from the Phoebe pattern.  Basically, rather than have a one piece trouser leg, I have standard front and back pieces that fit me comfortably, and no dropped crotch.  This allows me to have side seam pockets :)  The leg widths are the same as the pattern though, as are the various horizontal pleats and the attached pleats.

I have to say that these trousers are yet another design that I enjoyed making, when I put them on I was a little unsure of the design, but now I can see photos of them being worn . . . . I love them!  I am somewhat wary of looking like an extra on 'Little House on the Prairie'.  I'm not sure if I would wear these to work - but I'd certainly wear them out and about!

So, what have you been making?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Burns Night

January 25th is the anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, the famed Scottish poet, and accordingly haggis is eaten, whiskey is drunk and a good time is had by all.  Which is appropriate as apparently Mr. Burns rather had an eye for the ladies and knew a good time when he saw it.

I attended a Burns Supper over the weekend and it was rather fun.  Their were a number of Scots present, dressed accordingly and the haggis was piped in and addressed (apparently Burns loved haggis so much he wrote a poem about it!):

And we ate and made merry!  For some reason the haggis was vegetarian (?!), which of course made it edible (!) but that was rather strange!  It was served with beef and veggies and a lovely evening was had by all.  I wore one of my purple outfits and felt well dressed and comfy!  I have thought a couple of times about making a kilt - probably a bit longer than is traditional, but using the same techniques.  Maybe later this year!  I did buy some lovely plaid wool, but I keep dipping into it to make other things like the checked skirt here and the bag, here!

I did get some sewing done this weekend - I made a couple of items for my SIL who is in the Eastern Star and needed some 'whites'.  Unfortunately she is not well at all, and her medication is making her feel uncomfortable and I able to make her a Tina Givens skirt and tunic so that she could dress appropriately but still feel good.  She was thrilled, I was humbled :)  No photos unfortunately as this was a rush job - she asked late Friday for a couple of items, I made them Saturday to give to her at the Burn's Supper that evening.

A lovely weekend - I've got a couple more garments under the needle right now, then really must get cracking on my PJ's for the Artisan Square SWAP!

How is your sewing coming along?  Are you full of verve for the New Year?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Purple Raine

I love purple.  Not sure if this is a case of 'always have', but I do.  I prefer the blue end of the scale, and when I my local fabric shop had a sale of 50% everything, including the bargain basement fabrics (they seem to be a mix of really of cheap tat, and fabric that has just been cleared off the shelves to let other fabric on), I was all over it like a rash!  Unfortunately, the content labels are usually ripped off, so it is a bit of a gamble as to whether you have a bargain or not.  However, at $2.50/m, I picked up a few yards!

First of all is this lovely purple rayon jersey.  I made a skirt, top and longline cardi (and there is still 3 or 4 metres left!  Purple underwear anyone?!

Sorry about the pics - this was the best that I could get even after touching them up.  The light is really funny at this time of year - you think you have it sorted and it is nice an bright . . . . and then the colours don't play nice.

The skirt is Simplicity 4221, and I have made this many times.  It is a four gore, elastic waisted skirt.  Very easy to make, and with a full lining it feels lovely to wear!

The top is Kwik Sew 3752, which I've made before, in fact, I've made this 'two piece' dress on a couple of occasions, and it is very easy to make and wear.  I made a cowl/polo neck (not really sure how this would be categorised!) because I do like something round my neck, and it also stops the neckline stretching out if I misjudge the band length for the neck!

The cardi is my trusty McCalls 6168 and as the jersey is so soft and drapey, the sleeves are a little on the long side.  I'll probably push them up my arms a little so all is good!

It is pretty hard to see the details of these garments due to them all being the same colour - I probably could have just wrapped the fabric round me and the photos would have looked the same!  So to prove that I did do some sewing, I took a couple of pics with some trousers:

And I also tried the cardi with some Summer Lagenlook (a little creased, seems like these garments have been in the closet a looooong time!  And oh boy - look at those legs!  Milk bottles eat you heart out!!

I'm not sure how long the fabric will last - if it will pill, but until then, I will enjoy wearing it as it is very snuggly!  I did change the neckline a little - I cut out the regular pattern pieces, and rather than face the cardi I just added a 3" strip of fabric, folded in half lengthways to the front and neck edge (on the wrong side), folded it to the right side and edge stitched it down.  A nice finish that I am happy with.

After making three purple garments, whey not make another?  It made sense as I had the thread in the serger!  So I cut out and made a another Simplicity 2154.  I have a few of these that I wear regularly to work, or with jeans and it is a great little top.  I did make a purple one a year or so ago - but made a total hash of the buttonholes and I don't wear it!

This fabric definitely has a large percentage of cotton in it, and the front looks a little like a rib with the wrong side being smooth.  There wasn't so much of this for sale - but enough for this cardi, and probably another 'fabric light' top!

I used some cute patterned ribbon for the button-band (teapots and tea cups!)

And look, I had a helper!

Little Nico is still trying to work out how this household runs.  No doubt he finds it quite amusing!

Do you have a favourite colour?  A passion for purple perhaps?