Thankful for a New Year!

Happy New Year! May 2014 bring out the best in all!

Here’s what I was working on as the new year approached:

IMG_4546

The Postage Stamp quilt! My first ever finished quilt! I didn’t use a pattern, just played around with what scraps I had and the dissapearing nine patch block (thanks to Blair over at Wise Craft) and some half square triangles (love those).  I started this in October with the intention of making it a gift. It’s not a full size quilt, more like a lap quilt. I played around with the sizing until I thought it was comfortable and chose to quilt it with simple vertical lines. Note to any beginners out there: I advise you not to make your quilting stitch length less than 3mm. Unless you are a real pro and know that you will never rip them out. Anything smaller will make you cross eyed! It has been gifted and it is loved so I’m happy. I’m working on a few more that I’ll share.

and, meet the newest members of my sewing family:

Walking Foot

A walking foot – oh I learned the HARD way that you really do need this for quilting. Um yeah, spending a week ripping out horrible quilting stitches (and then getting help from my mom to complete the task when I wanted to give up and cry) taught me never to ignore the advice of more experienced quilters. There were no instructions on how to install this ginormous presser foot but this tutorial helped tremendously.

and…

Serger

MY SERGER! Oh happy day I am in love with this machine! It’s a Janome 8002d (such a fangirl) and after watching the instructional video three times I can safely say that I know how to thread it!

Serger Threading Guide

In 2014, I want to focus more on pattern manipulation and drafting (sloper I’m looking at you), cutting and sewing on the bias, and of course more quilting and serging. I also want to continue to expand my local circle of sewing friends – I love the energy and creativity when people get together to sew and help each other. And of course, I suppose I should say something about working primarily from my fabric stash before buying new fabric but we’ll see how that goes 🙂

May 2014 bring joy and contentment to all! And so much sewing too!

Advertisements

McCalls 5578 (OOP)

I finished McCalls 5578 dress last week and got around to taking some pictures to share. I’m not as crazy about it as I thought I would be. It’s a cute and easy project and when I saw Sew Tessuti’s version on Burdastyle I thought I would really love it. It’s supposed to look like this:

M5578And mine looks like this ( I eliminated the color blocking, the facings and used bias tape made from the same fabric instead):

IMG_1237

IMG_1241

IMG_1243

I tried it on and It’s not a very flattering look for me as my natural waist is significantly smaller than my bust and hip measurement and I have a long torso (It’s fitting a little tighter on my dressform because I lost a little bit of weight and didn’t adjust it on my dressform). It looks much better with a belt, maybe I’ll make a black Obi belt with it.  I do love the fabric – a light and airy voile. My husband suggested, it would make for great beachwear, so beachwear it is. It wasn’t a totally useless project because I finally got a chance to use my one step buttonhole on my machine and I am impressed!

I’m in a quilty sort of mood lately, finally picked up my Craftsy BOM 2012 quilt and started working on it last week. Let’s see how it goes.

Liberty and Minoru

It’s been a little quiet here lately because we went to London and Paris for a little break, and it was absolutely lovely. It was my first time in London and it truly is such a wonderful place to visit. Each big city has it’s own culture and vibrancy and I love feeling like I’m part of it, even if only for a little while. Only 2 days back and I miss hearing “mind the gap” or “doors will open on the right/left hand side” – Londoners, you guys have an amazing public transportation system! I can’t wait to visit again!

I also made the expected pilgrimage for any sewist visiting London – to Liberty of London on Regent Street and came back with some lovely treats! Tana Lawn (well actually I bought this from the infamous Shaukats – they’re licensed to sell Liberty prints at slightly cheaper price) and an adorable little cross stitch kit by Jane Greenoff with a pattern for the Liberty of London building (a befitting souvenir for a stitcher – this was from Liberty though!). I really love that place (esp the 3rd floor!), I saw the most amazing sewing and crafting things (case in point have you seen Felicity Hall’s DIY handbag kits? On my wishlist!), it was like a little slice of crafting paradise! Back to the fabric, I admire my tana lawn daily, a little creepy I know but it’s so buttery soft and I love the prints! William Morris’ “Strawberry Thief” is one of my favorite classic textile prints.

Liberty treats!

The city of Paris is just so beautiful, and filled with such effortlessly fashionable people. It was chilly there so I was able to admire all the different styles of coats that I saw. I kept thinking “Oh I have to make that for myself!”, so while I didn’t do any fabric shopping in Paris I did get inspired! That’s not to say Londoners aren’t fashionable, they’re very fashionable and I loved reading the fashion magazines there,  but the weather was just too cold and unpredictable (snowstorms, wind, hail, and sunshine all in one day) to actually do as much detailed people watching as I did in Paris.

Before I left for Europe, I went into a last minute sewing frenzy to finish up what I started a year ago – my Minoru jacket! Well it’s complete and I can finally share it with you. I took the pics with a nicer camera (well, my husband took them) and I think they turned out so much nicer. I still have much to learn about proper photo styling though.

IMG_1215 - Copy

The fabric was a durable poly cotton stretch twill, I really love it and I lined it in a red rayon lining. I followed Tasia’s Sew-Along and the instructions were very straightforward. I just love the little details, like the hidden collar hood zipper, the ruffled cuffs, the gathered collar and the elastic waist. I followed Amy from Sew Well’s instruction’s on adding side seam pockets (see the little sliver of red on the hip?), and lined the hood in my own way (I wasn’t happy with the look of sewing it right sides together and turning it inside out). FYI, I found that an 18 inch zipper was too small for the collar zipper, so I got a bigger one and shortened it myself.

IMG_1217 - Copy

I also added the inside pockets but skipped adding velcro closures because I wasn’t sure if the lining could handle it. It probably could but I didn’t want to risk it. I love rayon lining, I’m not sure if its bemberg because it was super cheap and it seems a little lower quality but it still feels so great on my skin!

IMG_1226 - Copy

I also used a little decorative stitching on the little hanging loop, It’s one of my favorite details! Ignore the horrible “stitch in the ditch” – for some reason my  fabric and lining collars and placket’s weren’t lining up so I had to cut some off the top of the lining and that is probably why I couldn’t actually find “the ditch”.

IMG_1223 - Copy

I feel so productive!

Essential Sewing Tools – The Sewing Gauge

I have to thank Liz over at zilredloh for choosing me as the winner of her awesome March Giveaway! Look at all the amazing stuff I won!

March Giveaway goodies from zilredloh!

Guys, that’s a real sewing book from 1957! Can you believe it?! And a belt making kit, and vintage rayon seam binding (I love the stuff!) and vintage buttons!

I also have to thank my sewing gauge, that little inconspicuous but much loved tool that was the subject of discussion in my winning comment (a response to Liz’s question over what sewing tool we wished we had known about when we first started sewing), I said:

“Oh goodness that’s easy, I wish I had invested in a sewing gauge when I first started sewing because my seam allowances were never correct and I ended up with very strange-looking garments and used to get so very frustrated! It’s a good thing I smartened up and got one later!”

Liz suggested I demonstrate how I use my sewing gauge so here it goes, sewing gauge, this one is for you. It is ridiculously easy to use (people who can count with average math skills and a steady hand probably don’t even need it).

Here is how I measure my 3/8″  (1cm) seam allowance, I count three little fractions (marked by small lines at the top). The little blue slider helps position the fabric precisely, use it!

And here’s how to measure a 5/8″ (1.5 cm) seam allowance – count five little lines!

Most patterns call for a 3/8″ or 5/8″ seam allowance.  All you have to do is just count the little lines until they match up with the right fraction of 8. If I’m stitching on slippery fabric (I mean you, chiffon) I just make tiny pen dot marks at the end of my gauge and follow it with my needle (you could use that circle at the top left hand corner to mark your fabric, but people like me get confused because the circle takes up 1/8″ and then I have to add another 1/8″ at the end to even it out – I’m making this sound more complicated than it really is).

I know it might sound unnecessary but I think all beginners need one, it makes the difference in fit and a clean finish for whatever you’re sewing. It’s also ridiculously cheap (unless you want to splurge and buy one designed by those brilliant German and Scandinavian companies). I bought this for 1$ at the local dollar store, and it came with a seam ripper and a needle threader (yay!).

There you have it, the sewing gauge, an essential sewing tool.

My Leibster Shoutouts

Two posts for today!

In January, Laura over at AboutGoodness awarded me a Leibster! From what I gather, the Leibster award is given to bloggers who have under 200 followers, by other fellow bloggers. According to Laura, “Liebster is German for “dear, sweet, kind, nice, good, beloved, lovely, kindly, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.”  Dankeschön Laura (and Google translate)!

The rules of accepting this award are:

Rule #1. You must acknowledge the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
Rule # 2. Give this award to 5 other bloggers. Please let them know through a comment on their blog.
Rule #3. Post this wonderful award on your blog.
Rule #4. 
Bask in the glory bestowed upon you and appreciate all the amazing bloggers out there.
Rule# 5. Enjoy and spread the good vibes around.

It’s taken me some time to gather up some blogs because I’m new to the sewing blogland and I can’t be sure of how many followers they have but these are my pics!

1. Symondezyn – A fellow blogger whose sewing projects (hello blue chiffon blouse!) and graphic illustrations I love.

2.Stir and Stitch – A sewing, baking and crochet blog that regularly makes me hungry for baked goods.

3. She Sews to Conquer – Skylar Chastain makes gorgeous accessories and blogs about them too. I love browsing through her stuff for inspiration and tutorials.

4. Such Wild Love – A blogger/artist with a sewing space that is to DIE for because of the inspirational view! She also finds and posts some of the most beautiful poems I’ve ever read.

5. Miss Make – I love everything about this blog, and her absolutely GENIUS quilt. I must make this.

Check them out and happy sewing folks!

Sew Grateful Week Giveaway Winner!

I hope you all enjoyed Sew Grateful Week as much as I did and a big thank you to Debi for organizing it, I can’t wait to participate in it again! I didn’t win anything this time but I’m just as glad to be part of it and I can’t wait to see how everyone’s projects/patterns turn out!

And now, the winner of Beautifully Sewn’s first ever giveaway is:

Kim you were the 7th commenter on the original giveaway post: “This is a beautiful pattern, it would be fantastic to have the chance to make it. Thanks.”

Congratulations Kim, I can’t wait to see how your blouse (or will you make all three?) turns out! I’ll send you an email shortly!

Thank you so much to everyone who participated!

Happy Sewing (while I sit and watch old runs of “Brideshead Revisited” – oh how I LOVE British period drama’s)!

Sewing and Crafting Resolutions for 2012

Happy New Year!

Not much of a post today other than sharing  my ten sewing and craft related new years resolutions, so here goes:

1. Sew my first quilt via Amy Gibson’s free course on Craftsy, I’m all signed up and super excited about this. I plan on using up my two laundry hampers full of cotton and poly-cotton scraps…yikes!

2. Sewing with the Minoru Sew-Along via Tasia over at Sewaholic. I’ve been counting down the days for this one, I’ve got my fabric picked out and now it’s just a matter of making and fitting my muslin before I cut into my nice fabric. If all goes well this will be my first piece of hand made outerwear!

3. Sewing with my first vintage (or vintage repro) pattern. I found some amazing deals this past holiday season and have some lovely patterns from the 1930’s to 1960’s that I can’t wait to use!

4. More cutting/sewing on the bias, it scares me but its time to face my fears.

5. Stashbusting. Enough said.

6. I need to finish drafting my sloper, it’s just sitting around staring at me saying “finish me! finish me!”.

7. More sewing for the guys in my life. I made a sleek and practical  kindle case for father’s day (via Junie Moon) but after that I was out of ideas (tie silk isn’t always easily available in Canada, the only other idea I thought of).

8. I’ve had this gorgeous embroidery wall-art idea in my mind for a couple months now but it needs to be expressed otherwise I’ll just obsess about planning it, therefore more action and less planning when it comes to embroidery.

9. Knit and/or crochet at least one wearable item this year. Knitting is so therapeutic.

10. More blogging including publishing tutorials and inspiration that have been in draft mode for over a month now.

So that’s that! I thought about resolving to “not buy new fabric/patterns/yarn/craft-sewing books”  but the key to keeping your resolutions is being realistic about them, plus I’m waiting for Gertie’s book to be released so I’m actually looking forward to getting more supplies (yes, patterns are supplies :)).

I’m excited for 2012, lots of new things to learn, try and complete!