Saturday, June 29, 2013

Poppy Tote and a Top Tip

I have been following a great blog by a young seamstress who made a very cute tote bag.  Do pop over and check out her blog - she is hugely talented :)

So, I knew I had to make me one of these totes, so I hot tailed it over to Megan Neilsen's blog (the designer of the tote) for the details.

And here we have it - pretty cute!

The fabric is a gorgeous duck canvas and I added a bit of plastic canvas in the bottom to give it some shape.  I wanted to share a Top Tip (argh, I really can't remember where it came from - did I read it somewhere, or was I told it - if it is your top tip, please let me know so that I can give you credit!) that I have been using for years.  It is a foolproof way sewing straight, accurate stitches and all you need is a Post It pad.  I'll let the pictures do the talking!

Yep, pretty simple isn't it?!  Simply take the back off a pad of Post It notes, and stick them on your machine to act as a guide as you sew.  All you do is butt your fabric up against the pad and you will sew a perfectly straight row of stitches.  I find it really helpful when I am sewing two rows of stitches close to each othe (no need for a double needle) and when I need to stitch a distance that is not marked on my machine.  When you are done, remove the pad, and next time you want to use it, take off the bottom 'note' and you have a fresh (non-sticky) sticky strip to stick to your machine.  I find that to get the best results, have the sticky strip on the left of the pad where your fabric run along it.

Well, that is my top tip - what is yours?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Spring Sewing Swap - 2013

I can't resist a swap - purchasing/making/selecting goodies for someone who, like you, just loves to sew as much as you do.  It is waaaay to much fun!  So when Kerry of Kestral Makes announced a Spring Swap - I was all over like a rash.  Yes indeedy!  The lovely Philippa of Gloria & Me was selected to be my swap partner, and I couldn't have been more thrilled!  My parcel of goodies arrived earlier this week, but due to the terrible flooding we have had in Southern Alberta (I wasn't directly affected other than being advised by our fantastic Mayor, Naheed Nenshi, that downtown Calgary was closed for the best part of a week so no driving into the office!) I didn't pick it up until yesterday.

So without further ado, here are the fabulous goodies that I received:

 A quick peek inside that lovely sparkly bag . . . . I see beads, fabric, chocolate . . . .

Magazines, thread, beading wire, lavender . . . . .

Just look!  I am so excited about this magazine. I have seen it on the newstands, but UK magazines are exorbitantly priced over here, so this is a real treat!

The fabric is so cute - I love seasidey things, so I will have fun playing with this gorgeous fabric.  Philippa also included matching thread (oh, she is gooood!) as well as a plain co-ordinating fabric.

And did you see how everything was color co-ordinated. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

Oh, and the chocolate?  Well, it is my favorite and I can't get it here in Canada.  Mmmmmmmmm :)

Love it.  Love it all.  Thank-you Kerry for organizing this fabulous swap, and thank-you Philippa for your thoughtful, fantastic gifts xx

And what did Philippa receive?  Well, I know she has received the parcel, so as soon as she puts up the post, I will link to it from here.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Pointer Sisters Dress

Oh yes, 'I'm So Excited, and I Just Can't Hide It', etc, etc, etc!!

After posting a muslin that really did me no favours at all, I received some great suggestions and comments from my lovely readers - thank-you so much!  And then we moved house, and I made some other garments and all the time felt terribly guilty that I did not follow up on these suggestions.  So here we are!  Based (very loosely) upon Simplicity 7740, I made a wearable muslin and I am toltally thrilled with the results:

Pretty cute huh?!  OK, so you can't really see much here - but that was the point of using a busy print!  So here are a few more photos:

Just look how short it is - you can almost see my underwears!!  I cut off about 6" (thanks gMarie) which is huge for me!  I am an 'ankle skimming' kinda-girl, but this length is certainly much more fashion-forward with this style and a lot less frumpy!

I had to add darts on the back neckline and make an adjustment to the back centre back seam to account for my promising dowagers hump (sigh), my parents were right - stand up straight and stop hunching your shoulders, they kept telling me as I was growing up . . . . .

I really like the way it fits round my waist and butt - I took loads in on the side seams and there is a sway back adjustment as well.

Apologies for the headless shots - either my hair was not behaving or Mr. SDSC managed to catch a less than flattering expression (obviously not my fault!!)

I know that there is still lots of room for improvement, but I am so pleased with this.  I ended up with just bust darts in the front (thanks Carolyn!) but added a very long vertical dart from my hips almost up to my shoulder blades in the back.  I bound the arms and neckline with bias binding, used an invisible zip and lined the dress (with a rather cheap lining - it is a wearable muslin after all!) and I feel very summery in it!

Here are a few close up photos:

I do like to add something in the inside of a vent like a button, or the eye of a 'hook and eye', as this helps stabilize the vent and prevent it tearing during wear.  I had a small shell button that fit the bill perfectly here!  I also like to sew down the lining either side of the vent to hold it all in place - elsewhere it just hangs free!

It is likely that I will wear a cardigan with this - I am not totally comfortable with flashing my upper arms:

So, what do you think?  I am ready to try another dress - in a solid color, and it will interesting to see how that works out.  This is what I have chosen:

Finally - thanks for the comments,past, present and future!  I learn so much from what you all say :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

And Now for Something Completely Different!

I have been really busy with my dressmaking and have made a number of lovely skirts and trousers as well as (almost) finished a blouse/top that just needs buttons and buttonholes.  Unfortunately, due to work schedules, Mr. SDSC and I haven't managed to get it together for a photo shoot, and my other photographer, the 'Old Folk' (my father), has taken himself off for a one month 'European Tour' (well, the UK and Tenerife!), as that leaves me somewhat high and dry, I decided to sew something that I could photograph myself!

I totally copied was inspired by Svetlana's patchwork place-mats and knew that I had to sew me some of them!  The fabric I bought about 8 years ago when we first moved to Canada.  I spent about 6 months working in a quilting shop and built up a rather impressive collection of quilting fabric - including this:

The fabrics were purchased for a quilt top (the pattern is somewhere safe!) and I really need to start using up all the lovely fabric in my stash instead of 'saving it for something special' - because everything we sew is special, right?

It took me quite some time to get my head around purchasing fabric in the $15-$20/m range, cutting it up into small pieces to then sew it up again into something larger (although it does sound like dressmaking doesn't it!!), but I persevered and overcame, and I do like making small quilted items.  I really like the precision aspect - using my 1/4" foot on my machine, straight stitching only, lots of pressing and trimming, it satisfies the OCD streak in me!  I made 6 place-mats, two in each design using the dimensions that Svetlana mentioned in her tutorial.  And I love them!  I kept the quilting simple - 2" (approximately!!!) squares with a hand-stitched border.  I did try a machined border but I wasn't too keen on the look.

I backed the place-mats with rectangles cut from some Ikea pillow cases.  I use Ikea duvet covers and the cheap duvets as dog beds, but have a surplus of pillow cases!

And guess what?  Svetlana has added another post with more place-mats . . . oh well, I wanted some in Christmas fabric as well, the temptress!!!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

I Reserve the Right . . .

. . . . to occasionally talk about things other than sewing, knitting and dogs.  And this is one of those times.

I bought some face cream at the weekend - I always get sucked in by the blurb - you know the stuff:

  • Reduce Wrinkles
  • Brighten Skin
  • Even out Tones
  • Blah, blah, blah
  • etc, etc, etc
And I know that they don't really make any difference - well, not to me anyway, and that is OK - the way I look at it, my skin would look much worse if I didn't use these super dooper creams!.  What really ticks me off with this product is the packaging - and this was rather shocking.  Let me show you what was in the box:

Looks good, right?  It happens to be my usual size - 50ml (any bigger and I get fed up with the smell, consistency etc.)

But look at it alongside the box:

Hmm, perspective is a little off, but the jar is HALF THE SIZE of the box.  Seriously - is this 'settling', just like with Corn Flakes that 'settle in transit'?  Or maybe the jar has evaporated a little?  I was really disappointed in this - not because of the size of the jar, as I mentioned above, I usually by my face cream in this size, but the fact Garnier appear to think that I need to be duped into buying a large, half-empty box in order to use their product. 

Shame on you Garnier - just use properly sized boxes so that this customer does not feel conned.  

Oh, and the face cream?  It is actually rather good . . . .

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Plus Pattern Pyramid - Winner!

Drum Roll Please!

Oh, I'm going to make you wait just a little longer!  Let me tell you what I chose and what I am contributing.  Firstly, these two patterns are staying home with me:

I absolutely love these two Vogue patterns - I don't even recall seeing them in the patterns books, but here they are!  In fact, I swapped Vogue for Vogue!  I love slouchy cardigans and V8659 really fits the bill.  It has some princess seaming for some subtle shaping and easy, lazy dolman sleeves.  It is a winner all round for me!  At the other end of the scale, I need to make some more jackets, and V8623 looks just perfect.  I find that the large collars really work at framing my face - I know that for some people it works and others it doesn't, fortunately it works for me!

I nearly chose the bias tops as well - such a great pattern, but I think that two patterns will suit me well.

I am contributing these two Vogue patterns:

They both are very cute - who doesn't want some frilly undies and the draped front tops are smart in a casual kind of way.  I hope that they find a good home!

So, who gets to choose?

Congratulations to Laura of Sew Miss Oz - please send me an email with your details and I will get the pyramid mailed off to your this week.  Please drop over to her blog to say hello and get involved in the next leg!

I have to say that I really enjoyed this whole process - it is true what they say, one man's junk is another man's treasure (although I feel really bad equating sewing patterns to junk, but you get my drift!)