Monthly Archives: June 2013

Not dead.



Although that might be easier. Er, not. Quite.

Refugee serger camped out on the computerdesk. #sewdontclean

Refugee serger camped out on the computerdesk. #sewdontclean

To start with the good news, the serger survived her little bath. I left it a week, silica gel-packs stuffed inside (although it occurred to me later that the key part is probably the motor, which is actually mounted on the back, not inside where the gel packs were. I tried to get the cover off the motor but the bolts holding it on were not cooperative and I didn’t want to strip them. So I waited.) Anyway, when I finally dared to start it up a day or two ago, after cleaning and oiling (although I really don’t think the water touched anything that actually moved…), she was fine. Aside from her recurring tension problems, anyway. (I continue playing with the bit of extra thread wrapped around the  needle-thread tension disc.) The White (which is my main sewing machine right now despite being a little temperamental) has some rust on the foot pedal I don’t think was there before, but everything is working.

Wedding Dress Trial #1

Wedding Dress Trial #1

Which is good because I have a month to finish Epona’s wedding dress and five bridesmaid dresses. Holy fucking cow. And work is likely to be at least somewhat insane during that time, too. On the up side, the wedding dress itself is pretty simple (the practice version took two days to sew up, obviously I’d like a bit more time with the real thing) and I could’ve had the first of the bridesmaids dresses finished last night if I hadn’t kept stopping to watch bits of “Oz the Great and Powerful” with the kids and hubs.

Bridesmaid dress bodice... in progress

Bridesmaid dress bodice… in progress.

Which kids are done school now. so no peaceful days of working at home, unless I can manage to bribe my MIL to take them to the lake for a week or something.

Wedding dress back. I'm kinda stoked about how the lacing turned out.

Practice wedding dress back. I’m kinda stoked about how the lacing turned out.

Speaking of the children, it has now been over a decade since I was last pregnant. Happy birthday, Syo!

Syo is now ten.

Syo is now ten.

And I have a late birthday dress cut out for the Waif, but unlikely to be sewn up until the wedding is done. DAMN.

Waif's birthday dress.

Waif’s birthday dress.

Waif just turned five. It is a size 3 pattern. I added an inch of length to the bodice, but it will probably still be too wide. Going for the middle view, of course.

And as a result, I’m spending all my “free time” ogling corset forums and adding and removing things from my fantasy cart at Farthingales.

How’s your summer going, stitchers?



Filed under Sewing


It has been raining here. We don’t handle rain well on the prairies—I don’t own rubber boots, nor a waterproof coat. More to the point, stuff like this happens:


My spanky new Cake patterns got soaked in the mailbox.

Although this was nothing compared to the two inches of water covering the floor of my sewing space Friday evening. Needless to say, no sewing. /cry. I am supposed to be starting a Hummingbird here.

So in lieu of actual sewing, have some more views of Sew Knit N Stretch #000.


Once upon a time there was a cute little (gigantic oversized) matchbook.


Open it up….


And strike a pose!

Ok, well, it amused me. 😛

Think good thoughts for my serger, nothing else of great import was on the floor to get wet. But it wasn’t plugged in and it’s not computerized, so I’m hopeful. *fingerscrossed* I should probably have filled it up with rice…


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Sew Knit N Stretch


One of the most fun things about my Stylish sister-in-law’s recent pattern haul was the relative abundance of independent knit patterns it included. Several belonged to a company called “Sew-Knit-N-Stretch”. According to the Vintage Pattern Wiki, this company was founded in 1967 and changed its name in 1974—to Kwik Sew.

I just realized this “hot pants” pattern (which really pissed Stylish off, as she got all excited about the coat pictured) is numbered “000”

As in, possibly the first Kwik Sew pattern ever?

… I can’t find a date on the outside. Hmm. I am totally tickled by the possibility, though.


Ok, so commenter Jen noticed that the background graphic resembles matches in a book! That is cool, but it also explains something—the other copy of the pattern (did I mention there were two? Stylish kept the other one) has another, “wrapper” piece of paper that folds around the outside from bottom to top. Kind of, y’know, just like a matchbook. The whole thing was fastened together by a staple at the bottom. Kinda, y’know, like a matchbook. ZOMG COOLEST PATTERN PACKAGING EVER!

I now totally want to make these. Which sucks because me and the high-waisted things, we do not get along. I wonder if I could convince Tyo to wear a pair…


Filed under Sewing

In which I make underwear, and ramble


A plethora of (underwear and swimwear) patterns

So it’s no secret that making my own underwear has been a bit of an elusive unicorn for me. The most recent attempt got worn only a couple of times before I chopped off that horrendous elastic and tossed it in a corner to think about what it had done… if when it resurfaces I’ll give it another shot at elastication, because that was really the main problem with that pair. Really, the biggest problem in all these attempts has been me, usually because I wasn’t trying terribly hard to get the elastic binding right.

Purple-flowered swim suit fabric

Purple-flowered swim suit fabric

Yesterday, on a whim and in need of a quick me-project as I languish in an unending doldrum of sewing-for-others, I pulled out every swim-suit and underwear pattern I own, this being a somewhat overlapping group. It felt really nice to dive through my physical patterns, and I even made a few, very paltry, efforts in the direction of organizing them again.  Although I don’t need a new swimsuit particularly, the Swimalong seems to have gotten into my brain at a subconscious level, since I’ve been doing things like buy swimsuit fabric (and elastic, and hooks) and petting my swimsuit patterns, well, since April, really.

I could, of course, always use some underwear…


McCall’s 4471

So I settled, finally, on one I’ve been wanting to make up for quite a while now: McCall’s 4471. I’m not particularly into any of the tops, but view E, the low-rise bottom, looked very much like what I usually look for in underwear. (Or, at least, what I looked for before I became enamoured of boy-cut shorts, but we won’t get into that, yet.) So I pulled it out, exulted that the pattern was uncut and complete (I don’t usually actually check my thrift-store patterns for this until I’m  trying to make something, which is occasionally a source of heartbreak), and traced out the size 12.



My next big advantage, over the last few pairs I’ve tried, is that I am sewing on my White. Seriously, if I can get the motor fixed so it doesn’t stall on startup, that $10 thrift-store machine would be hands-down my favourite machine at the moment. The adjustable presser-foot pressure is SO helpful with knits, especially think and slinky ones. Because, oh yeah, in my hunt through the exceedingly-disorganized fabric pile, which scrap of fabric did I select? Why, none other than the culprit of my last-summer wadders!

Indifferent finishing

Indifferent finishing

Considering what this fabric put me through last time I looked at it, I wasn’t going to attempt anything too fancy for the finishing. Since I didn’t have any matching lingerie elastic, I elected to go with clear elastic in the classic and ever-tacky fold-under-and-topstitch method. Cheesy, you say? Bite me. We’ll call it a (‘nother) muslin. A couple of test-runs suggested that the fabric and elastic slid smoothly together, needling almost no tension on the elastic to make a smooth, yet sturdy, edge.

Very high cut and skinny over the leg

Very high cut and skinny over the leg

So, the construction. This pattern has a single-seam crotch insert, a la storebought underwear but not as nice a finish as if you have a seam at both ends of the crotch lining. I’m not sure how they wanted you to finish the edges, but there’s no binding pieces so I presume they  expect you to do some variant of fold-over-and-topstitch. It’s possible I folded over a little more than was intended, but anyway—the main thing that surprised me was the height of the cut over the leg, and the narrowness of the front right over the leg. I’m more into a lower-cut, 70s style leg these days (or even a boy-short. Yes, the Rosy Ladyshorts are on the to-make list.)

The one thing that was perfect, however, was the rise. Front and back. And this is the first, of all the patterns I’ve tried, that had that right off the bat. So if nothing else, I’m feeling like I can use this pattern as a reference for how other patterns might fit.

In the meantime, I’ll have to give them a wear or three to see how they work out. The elastic that looks so nice and almost-smooth may actually be too loose and ride all over the place. But I’m kinda insanely excited to have red underwear to go with my red T-shirt bra…

*These are some really frickin’ terrible photos. Ugh. However, I wore the undies today, so no more photos will be taken until laundry is done, and possibly not even then, because, well, because.

ETA: they go smashingly with my red T-shirt bra, but may need some little knit ruffles to match properly. They look a little plain. Also, while I think a little more tension on the elastic in the derriere region would have not been a bad thing, they are no worse for sliding around than my storebought undies of a similar cut, and didn’t grow unduly during the day. I will just say, it feels really good to get something at least semi-wearable out of this evil knit. I don’t know that it’s the best for underwear—I suspect it will wear out quite quickly—but it was adequate for testing purposes, anyway. And I’m sufficiently chuffed that I felt comfortable comparing the pieces to this vintage independent pattern from the Stylish Haul and tracing out its largest size. 🙂

Kandel Knits # 73

Kandel Knits # 73


Filed under Sewing

Little to report, Cap’n



I got it into my head that I should sew Osiris shirts for Father’s day. Vogue 8889 shirts. Yes, two shirts. Because I’m braindead. I swear when I get these done I am not sewing anything for anyone else ever again. Oh, wait, there’s that bloody wedding dress. Shite. I hate myself, sometimes.

I’d be less grumpy except that I didn’t get ANY time to work on this last weekend. I meant to be done and on to the second shirt by now. I have a schedule here, peeps. But no, every second I wasn’t working this past weekend had to be spent barbequeuing with the family. Sheesh.

Stylish and her haul

Stylish and her haul

AND then there’s Stylish, who’s grinning like the cat who got the cream because, well, she did. My father-in-law pulled a large box of old patterns from a neighbour’s trash, all for his precious baby!

Pattern diving

Pattern diving

Ok, so I really, really enjoyed going through these patterns with her. There were some gems amid a matrix of 80s monstrosity, mostly 70s, a fair sprinkle of 60s, and even a few 50s patterns. They are well-used, but seem mostly intact. And after she had picked out the ones she wanted to keep (some of which I am totally tracing off at some point, by the way), I got to go through for ones I wanted.

Patterns for me!

Patterns for me!

It’s possible that I kept more than she did… >_< Although she is definitely developing an eye for seeing past the cover art.

Anyway, weren’t we talking about a man’s shirt? Oh, yes.

Shoulder tucks.

Shoulder tucks. Pre-ironing

My favourite feature is the shoulder tucks.  Osiris is the kind of guy who’ll wear his tux shirts around just for kicks, so from the first time I saw this detail I figured it was perfect for him. They are, though, by the nature of the pattern, off grain which makes them ripple a little unevenly. We’ll blame that, rather than my sewing skillz, K? Also, I love my wash-away fabric marker.

Yoke, with tucks.

Yoke, with tucks.

I should’ve photographed the flat-felled seams on the side-panels. They turned out rather nicely, or at least rather more nice than my previous flat-felled seam attempts. This marvelous textured cotton is probably the easiest thing to sew in the known universe, though. The topstitching (I’m using a light grey) isn’t quite perfect—I’m blaming that on inadequate lighting in my sewing dungeon, combined with the lack of working lightbulb in my Featherweight, which is the machine I’m doing the topstitching on. I should really get that poor thing a new bulb. I haven’t sewn with it since before Christmas, really, and I had forgotten how nice it is to use. I really need to re-arrange my basement workspace so… well, so I can do ANYTHING, really.

I didn’t much care for the Vogue yoke instructions. They have you slipstitch the inner shoulder in place and then topstitch. Not a burrito in sight. Sheesh. I’m still up in the air over whether I’ll do the collar. I’d kind of like to try it because it’s cute, and different from other collars I’ve done before, but on the other hand Osiris prefers his shirts mandarin-collared.

The instructions also have you sew the buttonholes after (long after) you stitch down the top and bottom end of the concealed-button-placket-covering-part. Which just seems kinda silly, so I did mine as soon as I had the placket folded up. Which is a nifty piece of fabric origami, by the way. I thought I had it, stitched, and wound up having to rip it out, but once I went and played with the actual pattern-piece the method became clear.

Secret buttonholes!

Secret buttonholes!

I used my Greist buttonholer to make the buttons. It works really well on my White machine (which is what I was sewing the non-topstitching seams on; it’s still set up for straight-stitch only from the wedding dress, and the feed dogs drop, which makes setting up the buttonholer much easier). Of course, since no one can see the buttonholes, it doesn’t matter if they’re a little manky, which makes this a super-awesome style now that I think about it.

Next up: plackets. Possibly collar. Wish me luck, down in my sewing dungeon. I’ll try for a less whiny post next time, but no promises. At least the weather has been gorgeous!


Filed under Sewing