Friday, 22 January 2016

Vintage Apron À La Liberty of London!

This is an awesome apron!  I want to wear it out to the grocery store! I'm so glad I decided to use my Liberty of London fabric for this project.  It turned out to be a match made in heaven!  This print is called "Ricardo's Blooms".  A little too sweet and bright for everyday garments, but I've discovered that it's perfect for kitchen paraphernalia.  I already have a set of napkins planned with the leftover fabric.  Yes, they are cut out and waiting to be stitched.


 Anyways,  this is Vogue 8643 a vintage reprint from 1952.

I thought this would be a quick sewing project.  But I was wrong.  It turned out to be a lot more involved than I expected.  Part of that was my fault because I decided to underline every single piece, which I admit was totally worth the result.


 This midriff piece is tacked in place to the waistband so that it's scalloped lower edge floats over the gathers.  I love that effect, very well thought out, very couture.  Those old patterns were high quality.

The bib curves over the shoulders and around the neck, closing with a button.

So, here is the inside view.  I underlined every piece of fabric with cotton batiste.  I'm really glad I decided to do that because it added some body to the thin cotton lawn without being stiff like quilting cotton.  This also made the gathers extra lush and made the colour of the print brighter.  Overall, I believe the underlining elevated the quality and feel of this apron.  

 I did a clean finish on all the seam allowances.


Here is a close-up of one of the tacks under the midriff piece.


Construction Details!


There was a bit of hand stitching involved.

To keep the gathers fluffy I first hand basted the skirt to the waistband.  Then when machine stitching I used my left hand to maneuver the gathers, so they don't get too flattened in one direction.

Here's a close up of the scallops and trimming of the seam allowance.

I hand basted the eyelet ruffle before machine stitching.


I did something different than the pattern instructions when it came to attaching the bib to the midriff piece.  The diagram and instructions didn't make sense to me, so I just did my own thing.  I ended up doing a sort of sandwich technique.  It took me a while to align everything just right, and it worked.  I'm just not sure it's the best thing to do.  The lovely shape seems to disappear and flatten out.  If I make this again, I'll try something different to allow the shape of the midriff band to stand out.

Well, that's it for my Vintage Apron!  I'm going to enjoy wearing it around the house if not out at the grocery store. 

Happy Sewing!

Friday, 15 January 2016

Needle-turn Appliqué Interlude

I thought I would share a project I've recently started.  It's the Lotus quilt pattern by Jinny Beyer in the Amazon colourway.  I'm working on the appliqué corner square.  I've been working on this intermittently between other sewing projects and it's a great project for a change from machine sewing.  


This is what the finished quilt will (hopefully) look like.  I love Lonestar designs; I love doing appliqué, and Jinny Beyer is my hero when it comes to quilting.  The appliqué designs are so elegant and intricate.  This is definitely a big challenge for me.  The appliqué pieces are layered in such a way that you really need to pay attention to the order of operations.  In the photo above, I've pre-assembled the 3-piece flower and basted them together before pinning it to the background fabric.




Then I use the pattern to align the pieces together.  



 Then I baste the section down and start stitching using a fell stitch.  There are many ways to do appliqué, but I love the needle turn appliqué method because of its accuracy, precision and invisible stitches.  Well, actually, I think I also love it because it's just slower and more meditative.  It's kind of like knitting.  All you have to think about is the stitch you're making right now.  It's very relaxing, like doing a puzzle or painting really.

This quilt is NOT going to be finished anytime soon.  It's a large 98" square quilt which is a large queen size bordering on King.  I'm even thinking of hand quilting it (gasp).  This is going to be my quilt masterpiece so it will be a long term project that I take my time on to make sure it's the best it can be. 


I have lots of other garment sewing in my queue as well as some machine quilting that I will share when finished.  I would have finished my Vintage Apron by now if I didn't have to order more fabric for its completion. (Hurry up mailman and bring me more Liberty fabric!)  In the meantime, I'm enjoying my needle turn appliqué interlude.


Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Year in Review 2015


Well, it's the end of another year of sewing adventures.  Looking back, I noticed that I've had some difficult challenges and learned a lot.  One of the reasons I even do this blog is a kind of record keeping for myself.  For example, if I decide to sew something up again I can go back and see what adjustments I had made etc. Because after a couple of years, I may not remember exactly what I did.  The second reason is to inspire others to start sewing or continue to enjoy their sewing and perhaps see it as a continual adventure.  I know reading sewing blogs is initially what inspired me to challenge myself sewing-wise and of course, I love seeing what fellow sewists are making!  The third reason, which I recently discovered is that I get to look back over time and see changes and trends in what I've learned.


This year, I learned some new couture sewing techniques.  I kicked off the year by discovering the magic of underlining with silk organza.  I also got to practice some couture hand sewing techniques with my Garden Party Dress, complete with first-time ever hand picked zipper!  This book by Claire Shaeffer has been a fantastic resource.  It's a very high-quality sewing book for anyone interested couture sewing.  I pretty much devoured it as soon as it arrived in the mail! 

 



Secondly, I feel a lot more confident in the fitting process.  A few years ago, fitting used to be a complete mystery to me.  Other than lengthening patterns, I used to just hope that if I followed the instructions, maybe I'll get something wearable.  Ok, I am a HUGE advocate for learning to fit once you've learned basic sewing skills.  The reason is that it will make your garments look great.  If your garments look and feel great, you'll enjoy your sewing that much more.  So pleeeease, don't be afraid to learn fitting.  It's so worth it.  I promise!  Ok, I'll stop my rant now.  So, anyways,  I've been determined to get a great fit with each garment I made this year, and I made fitting the number one step in pretty much each project.  I made, at least, one muslin for each garment I sewed this year.  It was not entirely free of frustration as evidenced by my Granville fitting woes but in the end, it's worth it.  I know, it feels like a lot of work when you just want to get sewing, but if you slow down, focus on one step at a time, you won't feel rushed.  Also, the more you practice, the easier it becomes.  I'm sure I still have LOTS to learn about fitting because with sewing, the learning never stops.


In the quilting arena:  I couldn't believe it when I actually finished hand quilting my Sanctuary Quilt!  I've definitely learned a lot about quilting by hand this year.  Although I still like to quilt some projects by machine,  I've discovered I also love the look of hand quilting.   I haven't posted much about my quilting projects so I promise I'll post some soon!




This year I also started a bit of knitting which I hope to post more of as things progress. 

Overall a pretty good sewing year, I'd say!


Some Goals for 2016

1. Continue to make fitting a priority for all garments

2.  Learn some tailoring techniques

3.  Learn more couture sewing techniques

4.  Work on more intricate (and beautiful) quilts

5.  Draft my own bodice sloper

6.  Draft my own pants sloper

7.  Do some knitting but not too much!

I'm looking forward to a wonderful 2016.  I wish everyone happiness, health, and love.  And remember to enjoy your hobbies because hobbies are the spice of life, right?

Happy New Year and
Happy Sewing!






Sunday, 27 December 2015

Sneak peek Snapshot!

Here's a candid, unaltered snapshot of what is happening on my sewing table at this moment in time. Nope,  I didn't clean up my pins or my scissors.  Nor did I arrange anything specifically for this shot. This is an action shot!  A little window into the happenings, progress and mess on my sewing table.  Yes,  I'm showing the sewing world my messy table, and I'm proud of it.  So here it is!


Be proud of your messy sewing table and
Happy Sewing !!

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Completed: Wool Dress

I finished my winter wool dress.  Yay!  This is McCall's 7014 view A. 


I finally got some photo's of myself wearing it so now you can tell what it looks like on a real person!




I made it in a stretch wool herringbone fabric and lined it with Bemberg Rayon.  When I ordered the fabric, I was not aware that it was a stretch wool; otherwise, I wouldn't have bought it.  But I decided to use it anyways and see how it goes.


Well, I think it turned out ok, but it was not my favourite fabric to work with.  It was annoying and didn't hold a crease very well.  It was thick and bulky too.  By the end, I couldn't wait for it to be finished.  The rayon lining was getting annoying too.  I think next time I'd like to try lining with silk charmeuse



Anyways,  Here's the full-length view.  So, when I first prepared the fabric, I couldn't decide whether to use the darker side or, the lighter side, so I used both!  This created a side panel look.  Pretty cool hey?

Here's the zipper.  I did a hand picked zipper, which I love because not only does it look good but I feel I have more control doing it by hand.


I also did some hand topstitching on the front and back princess seams.



Constructions Details!

So, I made two muslins before sewing this up.  I ended up using a size 12 C bodice grading to size 14 at waist and hip.  I did a 3/8" forward shoulder adjustment.  I lengthened the bodice by 1" and I bowed in the darts for a better fit.  I'll add some photos of me wearing it as soon as I get them.


I always love the part of attaching the lining!


Getting ready for fell-stitching.  I know they always call it slip stitching in the instructions, but I think mine is more of a fell stitch.

This is where I get to sit down and relax with some hand sewing.



Well, that about wraps up my winter wool dress.  I'm sure I'll have a chance to wear it this winter.  It was fun, but I'm glad it's done because I can't wait to get my hands on this luscious Liberty of London cotton lawn just waiting to be made into a gorgeous '50s apron!


Until next time, 
Happy Sewing and Merry Christmas!



Friday, 27 November 2015

Winter Sewing Plans

Winter is upon us, and there's a blanket of white snow now.  So, I'm definitely not in the mood for sewing summer dresses.  In addition to knitting, I've been thinking about planning out what to sew this winter.  Here are a few of my ideas.  I'm not sure if I'll sew them all but seeing as winter is the longest season for us; it's not entirely impossible.

The first one is McCall's 7014.  I've actually just started "muslining" this one.  I'm doing view A, which is the sleeveless straight skirt variation.  I'm also interested in view C and D or maybe even view A with sleeves.  This is a lined dress which, when made with wool and paired with cozy leotards would be perfect for winter!



 This is the fabric that I'm planning on using for the dress.  It's a stretch wool fabric.  This is a close-up photo to show the tiny herringbone pattern.  From afar it actually just looks like a dark brown fabric.



 I'd also like to make my husband a nice tailored sports coat.  I found this Burda pattern that I thought was nice.  I'm not so sure about the distracting fabric choice for the model in the photo for view B, but that's why we have line drawings, right?


 The next one is Vogue 8643 which is a vintage reprint. I've wanted to make myself this apron for a long time, but there's always something else that bumps it down the queue.  It should be a really easy project to whip up too.  I like view E, which is the full apron with the really cute front bib with eyelet ruffling.  I love vintage aprons, and I think it would look incredible in a small floral print.



Speaking of vintage, I really love vintage jackets.  In particular, 1940s jackets.  There are no modern patterns that can compare.  1940's jackets are very flattering.  They button up higher and have a more fitted feminine shape.  I have this pattern that I used to make my vintage wool skirt in a cashmere wool fabric.  I believe I have enough of that fabric to make the matching jacket.  I definitely would make the jacket on the left.


 And, last but not least if there's time, I would like to make a long sleeved dress like this.  Check out this fitting video by the designer Melissa Watson.  She's wearing the dress in the video, and it looks lovely on her.



That's about it for now.  Things may change, and I don't think I'll finish all of these projects especially with my knitting and quilting on the side.  But at least I have a general guide, so there will always be something on my sewing table during the winter.


Here's a photo of some of my succulents planted together in a little community.  They seem pretty happy together, and they keep me company in my sewing room.

Thanks for reading my blog and

Happy Sewing!

Friday, 23 October 2015

Northman Mittens

I finished my Northman Mittens!  I've wanted to make myself a new pair of fall mittens for a while.  The steering wheel is starting to get cold in the morning!  



Interestingly, the inspiration to finally knit these mittens came while I was on vacation recently in Turkey.  We toured a carpet centre where women demonstrated how they made carpets by hand.  Their work was amazing.  The silk carpets were amazingly soft and the colours were so vibrant.  Each carpet design was more incredible than the last.  You can see how they hang the pattern in front of them.  This reminded me of a Fairisle knitting pattern.


Seeing this beautiful handwork inspired the Fairisle knitter in me and I started these mittens soon after my return.  However, I don't think these mittens are technically Fairisle.


I did a two colour cast on and a Latvian braid which I really like.  I think I'll use this more often.  I even mirrored the braid direction on the other mitten.  I used alpaca yarn which is really soft and warm.  It's even warmer than wool.


Oh yeah and I also started off doing a lining but I didn't like the way it felt inside the mitten.  There was some wrinkling inside that drove me nuts.  It bothered me so much that I decided to frog the lining and forget about it altogether.  Even thinking about it bothers me.  It's kind of like nails on a chalkboard.  I don't know if this is normal but maybe the lining needs to be smaller.


I made excellent use of this magnetic pattern holder thingie-do.  You know how it's hard to follow a Fairisle pattern sometimes.  I used to fold a piece of loose-leaf in half and tape it to the chart and then move it for each row.  Well, this magnetic thing is so much more efficient.  I received it in a large bag of vintage knitting paraphernalia from my mother in law.  It belonged to my husband's grandmother so I'm very thankful to her.


Although I have some fall sewing projects in queue, my knitting phase continues!

Thanks for reading my blog and



Happy Knitting!