Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Days Gone By

Or 'How to Tailor Using Paper . . . .'

Last week I had to fly to Edmonton for work - it is a short flight and after arriving I saw this display:

Yep.  It is a tailored man's cutaway coat - what is so special about that?  Well, if you take a look closely you will see that it is actually made out of pages from a diary.

Wow.  Just wow!  The details and stitching is quite amazing. 

This is the title board - and I love the name of the piece.  I did a quick Google search, and other than Facebook, I could not see anything about this designer/creator.  I wonder if it was part of a student project and if he made it himself.  It really was a nice surprise to see this - who doesn't like an unexpected piece of sewing in their daily life?!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Wardrobe Planning - week 2

Thank-you so much for your comments about my first week of wardrobe planning - I have to say that I recommend it to you all . . . wardrobe planning that is!  I found that my mornings ran a lot more smoothly and that I had a everything that I needed.  So here I am again this week, with my next selection.  I am also showing that jewelry that I have selected as I am trying to use more variety there as well.  So here we go - week two (which is a four day week due to Easter Monday) including the accompanying bling!!

White, cotton Sorbetto top - the fabric is the leftover from one of the dresses that I made for Miss Sharon.  The gored skirt is lined. and black with tiny white dots and the cardi is my purple rayon Burda.  It is going to be warm tomorrow so I will start my week here.

My bling consists of amethyst earrings from a little country shop that I try and call in on when I visit Red Deer each month.  The earrings are made locally and I met the designer when I was in there last.  I always feel good buying locally made goods - especially when I have also met the artisan, it makes them more special.  The net bracelet is one I made many moons ago - I wish I could find the pattern as I have some more beads shouting to be made into jewelry!  These seeds beads have a purple/green iridescence and match the earrings better than this photo gives credit!

Yep, another Sorbetto - this is a natural colored linen and I will wear it with these grey pants and brick cardi.  I like to wear scarves - I tend to wear them rather than necklaces, and this one with the fringe works well.

The bling will be kept simple - Swarovski crystal earrings and a braclet that I made with a kit from my local bead shop.  The bracelet was supposed to be elasticated - but I think that looks rather cheap on me.  Instead, I used beading wire and added a simple clasp and I am very pleased with the look.

You may need to take a seat here as my top is a RTW stretch cotton poplin that is probably a couple of years old now.  I will wear it with the blue franken cardi and my lined houndstooth pants - we are expecting quite a bit of rain this week and a drop in temperatures, so I think that this will work well.

My earrings are from the same Red Deer shop as the purple amethyst earrings above, and the bracelet is one of my Mum's that I came across after unpacking some boxes that have been sealed up since she passed away in 2009.  I don't think that she ever got to wear this, so I am happy to be able to get some use out of it - it is surprising light and dainty.  The earrings are some kind of blue ceramic/glaze and I love wearing them!

And finally;

One more skirt combo to see me through the week - I made the lining a little long and the lace edging peeks out at the bottom - I was going to alter it, but I rather like the look!  I will wear it with a natural colored linen shirt and a pink cardi.  My scarf has some lovely splashes of turquoise in it - hence my earring selection!

Sadly, these are not real turquoise, I can't remember what the stones are, but they are frequently dyed to look like turquoise - and that works for me!  Worn with a simple silver bracelet - that will see me through the week.  This selection has made me realise that I need to make some more tops out of stretch cotton poplin (I have one or two Sorbetto's, but a shirt or two would not go amiss) and I should really get round to sewing up the two black cardis that I have cut out.

Phew - it takes me longer to write the post than it does to make my outfit selections!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Wardrobe Planning

Further to my recent post about wardrobe planning, and remembering posts where other sewists actually plan what they are going to wear each day, I thought that I would put some planning into action.  My new resolution is organize my clothes for work for a week, including jewelry and accessories, in an attempt to vary my wardrobe (no duplicates within a two week period), reduce the amount of clothes in my wardrobe that I just don't wear and identify gaps in clothing that I can then make (the really fun part!).

This week seemed a good week to start - it is a short week due to Good Friday and I am off work on Tuesday - so I only need to plan for three days (I like to ease myself slowly into new challenges!).  So here we go:

Lilac cotton/lycra cardi, grey linen Sorbetto, black linen TNT trousers.

Green Ponte cardi (McCalls 6168), black TNT vest top, cotton 'target' skirt.

Lipstick red cotton long-line cardi, white linen Sorbetto top, black pinstripe TNT trousers.  Although I am wearing the same style cardi for two days running, I will be out of the office on the second day so my colleagues that see me one day will not see me the next!

I have also set up some partitions in a drawer with my jewelry, so that I can mix that up as well, as I find that I tend to wear the same items all the time, and I have rather a lot that just never gets to see the light of day.

So, what have I learned from this so far?  I need to replace the green ponte cardi as the fabric is pilling.  I have purchased some lovely cotton/lycra so will get that made up quite soon,  I also need a a plain black jacket cardi as the one I made recently was rather a failure, although I am wondering about putting a band around the waist to make it look as though I am wearing a belt - that might draw in the excess fabric.  Also, vest tops.  I love my Sorbetto's to bits, but I do need some jersey/knit vest tops - time to pleay with my new machine!!

How about you?  Do you plan ahead, or run round in a panic deciding what to wear as the time ticks down in the morning . . . . ?

Sunday, April 13, 2014


This week was a very sad week for us as we had to say goodbye to our faithful old girl Jess. She was nearly 17 years old, and was the most perfect hound you could ever wish for.

She was a fabulous companion - never too far away from me, even when I was posing for my photo shoots:

She travelled over from the UK with us when we emigrated to Canada in 2004, and adapted really well to her new life, and to Rocky and Hobbes, the greyhounds that we adopted.

Yet, for a dog that never caused any trouble - she didn't bark, chew anything or do anything naughty - she has left a great void in our lives.  Towards the end she became quite poorly, and we miss her terribly.  I just hope that somewhere, she is happily chasing rabbits and squirrels xx

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A New Addition, Same 'Ole Weather and Wardrobe Planning

Well, after much planning, thinking, shall I/shan't I . . . . . I bought home a lovely new toy this weekend . . . . . a Janome Coverstitch machine.  And I am in love!!

I make an awful lot of garments out of knitted/jersey fabric, and it makes sense to have a machine that will give me a professional finish to my hems.  I also bought a foot that would allow me stitch a row of stitching either side of a seam - a sort of 'stitch in the ditch' with a needle sewing either side.  Let's just say that there will be a few more cardigans in my near future, and I aim to redo a few hems of some of my current cardis.  I bought my machine from Beatrice at Sewing World - great service, lovely saleperson - thank-you Beatrice!

I am also in the planning stages of making a winter coat.  Yes, I know.  I live in the Northern hemisphere and it is nearly April, but here in central Alberta we are in our 6th month of winter and I need some more outdoor clothing.  Global warming - my a%$e!!

Having just complained about the weather, it did give me some good information to work with regarding wardrobe planning.  Essentially I live in a country that is 50% winter/50% summer (ish!!) and it makes sense that my wardrobe contents should echo that . . . and then I read a post on the Vivienne files.  I have been following this blog for quite some time as I love the author's wardrobe planning - quite inspirational.  This most recent post talks about how many clothes one really needs in a wardrobe - and working towards that goal.  By splitting your clothing into seasons, establishing usage of garments (work, stay at home, professional etc) and how often you would like to wear them in a given period, gives you some numbers to work with.  Now, I have read about this before, and it never really resonated because it did not give me an actual number - and I love numbers!  But this time it did, and now I am planning a wardrobe that will work for me during these two distinct seasons, and with minimal repetition - wearing each item no more than twice on one month.  So watch this space for more updates!!

How about you - any new toys recently?  What about your weather - much better than mine, I'll bet!  And your wardrobe - any magic numbers work for you?!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ladybird, Ladybird (don't) Fly Away Home

Last Christmas, Mr. SDSC surprised me with a totally unexpected present - a spinning wheel.

It is a Schacht Ladybird and is very cute.  The only problem was - I had no idea how to spin.  So my poor little 'bug sat all alone awaiting the day that I could find someone to teach me how to spin.  And woohoo -  at last I have found some tuition with the Heritage Weavers and Spinners.  Now, before you get thinking that I will be spinning and weaving the fabric for my dressmaking - let me show you my first skein:

I should have put something next to it for scale, suffice to say that I was not aiming for a thick/thin novelty yarn, but come the apocolypse I will have warm toes and fingers!!  Here is some of my spun yarn waiting to be plied like the skein above:

Yes.  It is a little 'twisty' - I have a long way to go :)

But that leads me onto some knitting that I finished off at the weekend.  A couple of years ago - before the dressmaking bug came and bit my behind, I was churning out a pair of socks every one to two weeks.  I now have more than 100 pairs and have knitted some for Mr. SDSC, my father and a few special people.  Somehow, I lost my 'knit' and have had a few pairs on the needles for a while.  Including these which I have now finished.

Sorry for the pasty legs - but there is still no sight of Spring in this part of the Northern hemisphere . . . . .

For these socks I have used a self striping yarn - the yarn is dyed in such a manner that you knit round and round and the yarn knits up in stripes.  I love blues and yellows - very seasidey!

So, I have my 'knit' back again, and I am thrilled.  I find that during the week I like to plan my sewing, but do not have the enthusiasm to actually do anything about it.  Most likely because once I start, I don't want to stop and go to bed!  So this means that I can now knit in the evenings whilst planning my sewing.  Perfect!

How about you - what post apocalypse skills do you have?!  Talking of which, have you seen the BBC2 series Tudor Monastery Farm?  It is a UK documentary about life in the Tudor period in the UK and includes shepherding, sheep shearing, spinning, etc.,  It is fascinating - the kind of show that makes you wonder why you are not milking your own sheep to make cheese, or spinning yarn to make your own fabric.  Here are some You Tube links.  It is currently being shown on the Knowledge Channel here in Canada.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Hit and a Miss . . . . .

Wow, a bit of a roller coaster weekend this week.  I spent quite a bit of time this weekend playing around with a couple of patterns that have been popular with others, to make my own versions.  First of all, I have to admit to being a bit of a stalker as far as Miss Carolyn is concerned, and a number of items that I have made have been inspired by her fabulous blog.  One of her favourite TNT patterns is Burda 8869, a twinset pattern.

After many months scouring Ebay, I finally snagged a copy from a seller in France.  Delivery was super quick and I was ready to go.  I used a lovely rayon blend jersey knit from Fabric.com in a deep, deep purple.  And I love it:

I probably should have checked to make sure that my fronts were level . . .

It looks a bit 'blocky' on some of these photos, but as the fabric is so fluid and light, it actually hangs and moves very well.

This collar band is one of main reasons that I wanted this pattern.  I love a well fitting collar band, and this one is just perfect.  I also top-stitch like crazy on my knit cardigans - it keeps the seams in check and I think it elevates the finish of the garment.  The button band has a 1" finished width - I mistakenly added seam allowances to the band . . . . I couldn't find any English instructions, and didn't read the writing on the front of the pattern envelope that stated that seam allowances were added . . . .so my band is a little wider than the pattern design.

That is the centre back - honest!!  To help reduce bulk, I machine stitched the centre back collar band seam, press the seam open and then top-stitch the seam allowances down either side of the seam.  And I am not sure where that grey wig came from . . . . . !!

And do you like my fancy smancy earrings?  Would you believe that they were bought with Air Miles.  Love them!  Very sparkly, and although not what I would usually go out and buy, I am very pleased with them.

So, Burda 8869 - a definate hit.  I plan on making a lot of these - and I may well add buttons/buttonholes to this one.  We will see.  I should mention that I used the shoulder, armhole and sleeves from my favorite pattern ever - McCalls 6168.  I narrowed the shoulder seam by 1" and the fit is great.

Next up was McCalls 6844 - a gorgeous casual jacket that has been made up by many fashionistas and is almost too cute for words.  I love frills and peplums, and got to work on this jacket.  I used some super soft cotton lycra fabric - a little bit pricey but great quality.  I chose black - a great workhorse colour for my wardrobe.  And it all went downhill from there.  To be fair, the jacket made up a dream - I compared the pieces to some of my other cardis and knew that I would not have an issue with the sleeves as other sewists had commented on.  Only 2m of fabric - which I thought was pretty good as the peplum was likely to take up quite a bit of fabric.

The front view was ok

I know, it is a little hard to see due to the colour of the fabric.

Maybe a little bulky around the hip area - and I am NOT bulky in that area.  I bypassed the traditional English pear shape quite skillfully. (And I totally lifted that phrase from Philippa.  She put it so eloquently!)  I am more of a apple, 

But whoa!  Look at all that extra fabric in the back, and it is not just peplum.

Sheesh - a very unflattering side silhouette if ever I saw one.  Straight off to wadderville for this garment.  I was particularly disappointed as I had a great idea for taming the front lapels - maybe I will try one of the other views that does not have the peplum  . . . . . we will see.  McCalls 6844 - not for me.

I have to say that I was rather underwhelmed by this, and sat down to knit some socks instead - more on that during the week.

How about you?  Did you have a good weekend sewing?  And how have you fared with patterns that others have had a lot of success with?