Monthly Archives: February 2013

Oonapants!! (Phase 1)



A little while back, I was bemoaning the dearth of fun woolly tights, both in my wardrobe and in the world in general. Several people reminded me that funky leggings could probably suffice, in a pinch, and reminded me of Oona’s prowess in this department.

Kwik Sew

Kwik Sew 1288

Well, this idea niggled and wriggled, and the next thing I know I’ve traced out an old Kwik Sew leggings pattern (adding a snotload of length and shortening the rise in front only) and I’m diving through my stash for anything resembling funky knits. Keep in mind I rarely wear prints, much less wild and funky ones, and haven’t worn leggings since about 1992.

I eventually hunted up this blue fern frond spandex, probably originally swimsuit material, picked up at Value Village a while back. I had been thinking a stretch cheongsam, but, well, Oonapants called.

Back view

Back view

No sooner had I finished them, however, Syo (who, as mentioned, is a leggings purist at the moment), required her own pair. This was fairly easy to whip up, and she launched into wearing them with a wild abandon that would do Oona proud. Myself, I’m having a bit more trouble. They don’t coordinate with any of my dresses, most of which are wild and crazy (or just fluffy) enough on their own. Eventually, I figured I could try wearing them with my black tunic (the storebought inspiration for my Ariadne pattern, by the way), but I still feel like my hips need a bit more emphasis, or at least coverage. I feel top-heavy in just the tunic, not my favourite look.



My head filled with the vision of a simple, short-skirted dress in a simple black (stretch) twill. Now THAT I have in stash. Next thing I know, I’m perusing my patterns with a very specific image in my head: a short black sheath dress, preferably with cut-on capped sleeves and princess seams.

Gertie’s wiggle dress. I am lazy so I totally stole Oona’s photo here, too. Click for source

Eventually, I narrowed it down to the Wiggle Dress from Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing, which I have traced out. But with shorter everything—shorter sleeves, shorter skirt, shorter body. I have traced out the pattern, but I think I had better get back to my long-neglected plaid dress first.

If I don’t get completely distracted by fleece pants in the meantime… (note to self. Must get photos of fleece pants that aren’t grainy and awful.)



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Where you at?

Tanit & Oona Meetup

As  most of you know, I recently relocated from a major (for Canada) city to a fairly minor (even for Canada) city. In terms of family life, this is awesomesauce. In terms of feeling part of the wider world, maybe not so much. I mean, in Cow Town I managed to meet up with such sewing blog luminaries as the Selfish Seamstress and Oonaballoona (not to mention Funnygrrl). I don’t really see those opportunities presenting in Saskabush. Meanwhile, it seems like those New York bloggers are meeting up every other week, and even the GTO crew are getting their act together. /sigh. Jealous.

So now I’m kicking myself for never, while I WAS in a larger centre, trying to get the local bloggers together. I know there were at least a couple of others I never even met, and probably more readers that I don’t even know about. The odds of a sewing blogger meetup out here seem, well, slim, unless Zena dropping by for coffee that one morning counts.

Which is a long, rambly way of saying that, when there ARE other bloggers around, well, wouldn’t it be cool if we linked up more? And how to do that, hmm?

Well, Vicki the Sewing Scientist had a nifty notion the other day and set up a Google Map for anyone who likes to put up your (general!) location, in the hopes of facilitating future in-person networking. Because awesome as a blog is, there’s nothing quite like getting together in person to shop, swap, and squee. So far there’s lots of Canadian bloggers I hadn’t even known about.

I’m going to copy Vicki’s directions, just in case:

Here’s how to participate:

  • Open this link to get to Map the Sewintists
  • Click on the red Edit button on the left
  • Click on the blue pin on the upper left of the map
  • Click on your location to drop the pin
  • A box will open that will allow you to add your name or blog URL in rich text 
  • Save et voilà!  

I would strongly advise people to only pin their general location or closest city, since we don`t want creepers peeping in our windows while we sew in our unders, do we?

So, if you’re not in witness protection or otherwise hiding your location, I think it’s a totally fun way to get a sense of where we’re at—and how many of us there are out there! 🙂


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Absolutely NOT the #Oonapants



In fact, in the world of leggings, if Oonapants are at one (wild, crazy) end of the spectrum, these leggings are at the other. The sober, staid, boring end. But, I needed black leggings for a dance performance last night, and I’ve had this fabric earmarked for something of the sort for well over a year now, so leggings it was.

This has to be one of the fastest pattern-purchase-to-wearable-clothing projects I’ve done in a LONG time. The Crafty Sister-in-Law enticed me out in the morning with a jaunt to Value Village (a whole ‘nother sad tale of enablement, to be related at a future date…), and we decided on a whim to check out the next in our grand tour of the Saskatoon Garment District,* a humble little shop with the rather grand title of “Academy of Fashion Design.”

This shop is one I’ve been meaning to check out for several years, since my mom nosed them out as retailers of Jalie patterns. They are also, as the name suggests, a design school, as well as a Singer retailer/repair shop. They seem to specialize in dance/figure-skating and rodeo fabrics, although they have a little bit of everything. Behind the doors is a long, narrow cavern of fabrics, dotted with treadle sewing machines and French mannequins. I have to say, this is the most at home I’ve felt in a fabric shop, maybe ever. Maybe the prodigious mess reminded me of my own sewing room, or maybe it was the old machines dotting the place, usually half-buried in drifts of fabric. They have a little bit of everything, including the only stretch denim I’ve seen in person outside of Fabricland. And the girl minding the shop… well, I don’t know if she HAS a sewing blog, but peeps, she totally has the vibe. She felt like one of us.

Anyway, I picked up Jalie 2920, a pattern for leggings and stirrup tights. The more obsessive keen-memoried among you may recall that I already have a leggings pattern or two, including one traced out in my size, which I’ve teased you with glimpses of in the past. But, well, I confess shortly after I cut out the blue (as yet un-blogged) leggings, I lost the pattern piece; presumably it got folded up and stuffed in an envelope with something else, because I sure as hell can’t find it. And I have the Kwik Sew ones around Syo’s size, but, well, I was craving more variety in sizes, in particular a size that could be adapted for the Waif, who is nearing five but still has the width of a rather slender toddler. And, well, Jalie.



So I bought the pattern, scurried home, and, after a minor panic when my tracing paper went missing, traced it out. I’m either a size R or S in Jalie sizing, but I went with the S, thinking that over-stretched leggings are not a good look for anyone. Having worn them for a couple of days, this may not have been the best idea… there’s a touch of looseness in the thigh that isn’t quite right.

As I traced, though, confusion set in. I added about three inches to the length (towards the low end for me and Jalie, but when I measured out the inseam of the pattern, I was alarmed to discover it still measured a measly 26″. I don’t do less than 32″, peeps. But then I spied a second pattern piece, meant to be combined with the end of the leg. I had ignored it, thinking it was just for the stirrup version, but maybe it was required for both? I don’t know. I was confused. Anyway, I added it on, roughly seven inches. That seemed to bring things into about the right ball park, right?



Erm, not so right. Those four-way stretch fabrics that stretch in length as well as width. Hrmph. So I will have to cut some off, although figuring out how much to cut off will be the trick. Still, too long is ever so much better than too short. Ever so much.



I had to cut out both legs separately as my previous leggings for Syo had whittled my good jersey into some rather peculiar shapes. I was meticulous about flipping the pattern so that both sides would be mirror image… unfortunately I apparently also flipped my fabric when I was moving it, because both legs wound up cut out with the right side of the fabric on the same side. Fortunately for me, on this particular knit it’s almost impossible to tell the difference… anyone who can is, ah, WAY too close.



I made a slight adjustment to the rise, which may be typical of me and Jalie patterns, lowering the front by about an inch but keeping the back as is. I know the rest of you are all over the high-waisted leggings… Not that I have any intention of sharing my leggings waistband with the public, but I’ll still take hip bulges (which I have anyway) over waist-bulges.

And really, that’s a lot more talking about a terribly boring pair of black leggings than is really merited.

*New Yorkers and other people from real cities with real garment districts, you can snicker politely into your sleeves. The “Saskatoon Garment District” is three smallish fabric shops (and a thrift shop that carries fabric and patterns) that happen to be located within a few blocks of each other downtown.


Filed under Sewing



Leggings for Syo.

Wimping out or taking a quick break? That is the question. This morning, rather than taking on the Dress of Irksomeness, I hunted around for a project that would be quick and satisfying, ideally that could be executed without changing the thread in the sewing machine. I settled, after rather more futzing than I care to admit, for Kwik Sew 1670, and (yet) another pair of leggings for Syo. The last ones I made her are probably the single most-worn item in her wardrobe this winter, since she’s decided she only wears leggings, and she could really use another pair. Well, another five pair, frankly. But we’ll start with one.

I re-traced the pattern and made a few changes this time. I had already narrowed the size 8 and lowered the rise in the front for a more “modern” fit. This time I lengthened the leg (the originals were drafted for 3/4 length, but frankly it’s full-length weather here, and will be a while yet, and I curved in a bit more in the thigh area, since they’d been a little loose there  in the past.

No cute motorcycle photos this time, alas.



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Hang Time


Stitching a lapped, piped seam

I’m teetering in that awful mid-project spot, peeps. I’ve hit a few snags—pattern match? Fail! Where’d all that ease come from?—it’s hard to imagine it being awesome when it’s done. The promise of the pattern illustration has faded, and the reality isn’t winning me over yet.


Yeah, that pattern. That promise.

Usually, I rely on momentum to get me through this phase (and really, while not all projects have it, it’s pretty common). But I’ve been sewing at the pace of a snail lately, what with constantly running into “I could sew but I need THAT”, with THAT being everything from piping (no, Tanit, one package is never enough) to lining to that pattern piece I had last week, dammit.

And with the whining out of the way—fitting photos! Because that makes everything better!?!

I did do a muslin. Really.

(Click image to view larger)

So, re fit—the left-hand side under the arm is the opening and I did a piss-poor job of pinning it shut, so focus on the right for the fit. Aside from the complete pattern-match fail at back and the fact that it’s way more high-cut than the picture seems to suggest (and no, I did not do any preemptive petiting here), what do we see?. The biggest thing that’s annoying me is that blousing in the back. I don’t get along well with blousing. I can certainly take it in, either at the CB seam or the sides. The waist seems a bit long at the sides, not so much at the CF. Maybe shorten all around the waist except at the CF? The hip yoke seems really short, too. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to re-cut the skirt pieces as I think I cut them WAY short (since I was expecting the yoke to come down to, oh around my hip crease….) That might be a good thing, though, as I can try again with the plaid-matching. There’s lots of material left, fortunately.

I was planning to not pipe the waist seam (I prefer not to emphasize my waist) but to pipe the bottom of the yoke.

The fact that Osiris got Skyrim for Christmas might just have a little bit to do with my slow going.* I’m a sucker for an open-world Fantasy RPG, even if it does have a few too many load screens… and while the thrill of discovering even more mysterious zombie-filled ruins may not outweigh the thrill of a new dress, when it’s accompanied by hunny-cuddles and laziness, well, I’m distractable, especially when the dress is being problematic.

Bodice, flat.

Bodice, flat.

That being said, I’m cautiously pleased with how the piped yoke went together with the lapped seam—I suck at lapped seams bigtime, but they are infinitely easier with piping and lots and lots of pins. Oh, and a stitch-in-the-ditch foot/attachment, courtesy of my Pfaff 360′s attachment kit (which you can kinda see in the very top photo). I generally pin as little as possible, but I don’t trust myself to keep a lapped seam together without it. There was too much length in the bust panels along the bottom seam, so I wound up gathering them a bit at the lower-centre corner. I could’ve skipped it and just trimmed off the excess length from the side, but I kinda like the gathering. I don’t remember any extra length from my muslin (which I graded differently, /headdesk) so I’m not sure if the problem is the pattern or me…

What do you do during that mid-project slump? I’m fighting the urge to start something else tooth and nail, because I loathe UFOs…

*Seriously, I am the Ultimate Gamer Girlfriend(TM). Not only do I like the videogames… I like watching him play them! Yeah, I know, embarrassing.


PS I feel like this was the whiniest of whiny posts ever, and I’ve gone over it fifteen times and I can’t seem to de-moan it any further, so bear with me, k? Or better yet, share your latest whine in the comments. 😉


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Those who can’t sew…


Especially when certain crafty sisters-in-law suggest treks to new-to-us thrift stores. And then it turns out that said thrift stores are having ridiculous sales. Everything in the image above cost me about three dollars.

The rest of the day was spent scouting half the fabric stores in town for silk charmeuse (the score is 1 out of 3, though I suspect it will fall to 1/6, if I do make it to the others. And I don’t even want to tell you how expensive it is), and bravangelizing to my SILs. We have pretty much decided we all need to do a proper fitting at one of the really good bra stores in town. Of which there are rather fewer than fabric stores, frankly.

All of which was thoroughly enjoyable, maybe even as good as a sewing blogger meetup. But this has been sitting on my ironing board taunting me all week. Maybe tomorrow?


Filed under Sewing