Coming clean 

Butterick 6241

Butterick 6241. I love this pattern and I love the fabric, but the odds are I wouldn’t’ve splurged on either if it weren’t a store project.

So, a while back there was a bit of a kerfuffle in blogland about sponsored and otherwise compensated posts, projects, patterns, etc., and the need for transparency about such things. And I didn’t have a thing to say on the subject, because let’s face it, I’m barely managing to blog projects these days, never mind actually think about ethics and transparency and things like that and then write about it. Except that actually I do. Because, though I haven’t mentioned it on here, I’ve been working part time at my local Fabricland for almost three years now, and aside from the lovely people I work with, one of the major things that keeps me there is the chief perk—the staff projects.


Sense & Sensibility Patterns Regency Stays. The fact that it was a project that was going to hang was a big factor in me picking this fabulous embroidered silk for the outer layer of the stays, rather than a boring but more accurate cotton or coutil.

You see, rather like the Mood Sewing Network, but with much less prestige and a much smaller viewing audience, every  month I have the opportunity to pick out a project, within a budget, based on the fabrics and patterns available at my store. I make it up, it hangs for a month, inspiring customers and giving me (hopefully) plenty of opportunities to yack about how much I loved the fabric or pattern or technique, and then I trot it home and it’s mine, all mine.


Vogue 9106 (on the to-blog list)

I haven’t really wanted to blog about working there, because a) who wants to write about work, and b) I don’t want to feel like I’m either a corporate shill if I only say nice stuff, or an unprofessional employee if I say nasty stuff. But I have increasingly felt the need to come clean about which of my projects that I blog here are staff projects, because while the projects themselves are very self directed, it definitely does affect my choice of both fabric and patterns. While I would probably still be getting most of my fabric from Fabricland (local selections are fairly limited and heavily quilt-centric otherwise) projects give me the chance to use brand-new fabrics, rather than haunting the sale racks, and also to play with things I would not be able to afford. (Though the project budget is pretty limited, too.) And frankly with working there and at my day job, my sewing time is very limited, and a lot of it does end up being projects.


McCall’s bomber and Jalie dress.

Initially I just didn’t blog shop projects—I’m not being paid for the blogging, after all, the projects have hung on display as per requirements, my obligation is met. But first and foremost this blog is my sewing journal, and I like to record the alterations I make, the changes, the struggles I have. Especially for years later when I can’t even remember what I did. And a lot of my own creativity goes into these things—I want to share that. Some of my very favourite things I make these days are projects


I used my project budget to help me explore applique techniques on knits in this sweatshirt for my husband. Good sweatshirt fleece is EXPENSIVE!

I don’t have time to go back over three years of posts and point out the culprits (though a large number of them are decorating this post), but I want to put it out there, for the sake of honesty, and being able to tell the whole story in the future. If you want to know about a specific project, please ask.

Rear view

I get to play with crazy, new-to-me fabric.

The second best thing about projects (after free patterns and fabric), is the deadline! They have to be completed within a fairly tight time-limit, so shit gets done. A luscious fabric doesn`t get purchased and then lurk in stash for heartbreaking months or years.

I am content.

Something by Butterick.

The flip side, of course, is that a lot of the stash doesn`t get touched.


The Gertie slip. I love this one so much. I need five more.


Drape Drape top and Burda jeggings.

Because of the tight deadline, it can be hard to pick complicated projects—it`s much easier to go with something you can whip up quickly.


I was so excited when this McCall`s coat pattern came out, and when we got this camo twill it tied in so perfectly.

But sometimes there`s just no resisting. When the right fabric and pattern come together, you’re off.


This Vader dress was another casualty of the early ‘not blogging projects’ policy.



Hallowe’en Project



Father’s Day project


What's right

Simplicity knit dress.


It'll do.

This was my very first store project!


So that’s it. Mea culpa. I hope you aren’t mad (but if you are, well, I get it.) Going forward, I will be mentioning which projects are shop projects, which is a big relief because sometimes a big part of the story of why I picked a particular project is to do with that, and I do’t want to edit those stories out. Sometimes, they`re even pretty funny.



Filed under Sewing

23 responses to “Coming clean 

  1. gilliancrafts

    Oooh, the scandel!!! 😛 If I’d ever stopped to think about it, I would have assumed you sewed for Fabricland samples… I can’t say it bothers me in the least that you blog those things. I’d be sad if you didn’t! Makes sense to mention it here though – and I’m looking forward to you stories about how projects come about!

  2. It looks like you’ve been having fun doing it. I’m a tad jealous.

  3. Wow, I love your first store project and how you accessorized it. All of your projects are lovely, I’m sure they’re an inspiration to people at Fabricland. Not sure what you’re coming clean about. It’s not like your blog has ads popping up everywhere, or other annoying things. I think the thing about blogs-for-profit is that they take on a different agenda, and become manipulative as opposed to authentic. As you say, this is your sewing journal, that comes across clearly.

  4. What fun projects and what a nice fringe benefit! I don’t see any reason for apologies.

  5. Sox

    A million years ago I used to work for F’land. The store projects were good for trying new fabric I wouldn’t have bought otherwise. Your projects would definitely inspire many people!

  6. How fun that you have a chance to comingle with fabric, like, professionally!

  7. Cherie

    I agree with Kristen, that only makes you a professional! I, too, see no need for apologies, but love reading your thoughts on why you chose fabric & pattern for the make! And, my word, you are one busy lady, don’t know how you do it!

  8. Ann

    And you feel the need to apologize for having a job and that part of that job is getting to sew things. No apologies needed. Yours is a sewing blog a very good sewing blog and not putting the shop projects , that are sewing projects, would make it, not as good. I appreciate that you let us know that your fabric budget is aided by your sewing for your work but, it is a nice thing for you not a mark against. I like your style and your skill. I don’t think you have used any special fabrics that are out of working class reach. The only complaint I have, and this came after I read your other post for today, is that your are too young and, too cute, to have such a lovely young lady for a daughter. I love the flannel shirt. I also agree that it is nice not to be smothered in ads.

  9. Heather (Thing I Make, Plus Rocks)

    You don’t have anything to come clean about, nor apologize for! That’s an awesome job and I’m insanely jealous of you, but that doesn’t mean that your posts and stories are invalid just because you get a chance to sew samples for a fabric shop where your supplies are covered. I’m glad you told us though, but only because now you’ll tell us more about your projects! 🙂

    Love that Vader dress, btw. Will you blog about it sometime?

  10. “I am shocked, shocked that there is gambling in this establishment!” – Captain Renault, “Casablanca”
    I think it’s sweet you did this. And VADER dress? Give it up NOW!

  11. I wish Fabricland would also allow sewing bloggers in on the deal. Fabricville has opened up to online shopping, and I heard through the grapevine that Fabricland will be getting computers in (!!! Can you imagine!) and maybe, one day, have electronic records of stock and sell online. Maybe then they’ll be able to open shop projects up to bloggers too.

    Honey, I considered a part time job at Fabricland just for the staff projects. All’s fair in love and free fabric. 😀

  12. You’re really lucky! I get to do the same thing at my job, basically… But the things I make belong to the store unless I buy the materials. Do you do the sewing work outside of your work hours? I work on my projects on Saturdays (when we aren’t allowed to restock shelves, only help customers or do demonstrations) because I refuse to put any unpaid time into making things I’ll never wear/use.

  13. What a great job perk! Thanks for sharing.

  14. Kate

    I want to know -all- the stories! They’re always so much fun. Also, I have that flocked spider-web stuff in red, hope my dress looks as good as yours!

  15. Very thoughtful post and I echo the sentiments above, no need to apologise. I’ve never had the impression your posts were shilling for Fabricland, as you said, your blog is personal. As far as I understand, your obligation to Fabricland extends as far as making and displaying the garment in store, the blog belongs to you, right? It’s like when I blog about making a costume for someone else – they’ve paid for the materials but I’ve done all the work and I’m happy to share and chat about it. Excellent job perk though!!

  16. sewitorthrowit

    I think it’s a really great policy that the store projects are yours to keep after they’ve been displayed. Seems like the fact that the garments belong to the stitcher keeps each piece true to a real person’s aesthetic, which is so much more interesting than if they were made to please a vague idea of who the viewer/customer is and what they might like to see or buy.
    Also it’s really interesting to see what people choose when money is no object, or at least less of an object.
    Ain’t mad atcha.

  17. I am completely unbothered by your confession! It does explain why you have so much more sewing activity on IG than I’ve seen on your blog.

    I totally understand the deadline thing forcing you to be productive! I get amazing amounts done for work sewing and then I usually end up losing steam on my own personal projects. On top of that, the work projects I do that are the most interesting are usually the ones I have to keep secret for so long that I either forget exact details or I have just generally moved on and don’t get around to blogging about when I finally can. I have to admit I’m a little jealous of you being able to share so much of your projects as you go. Glad you’ve decided to blog more of the details in the future! =)

  18. Absolutely no need to apologise! That’s a great perk, and as you say, this is your journal. I think where people can get frustrated is when they’ve followed a blog and made decisions based on the recommendations or comments of that blogger trusting that those recommendations are un-influenced, and then discover that somewhere along the way those ringing, hyped, hyperlinked, effusive recommendations were bought and paid for. Even then, personally I think it’s their blog and their lives and caveat emptor. Your projects are interesting, lovely to look at, and I’ve never seen anything in this that was promoting anything to the detriment of the story you’re telling. I’m just excited that I’ll get to see more stuff!

  19. Nope, not mad. Wistful that I don’t get work perks that involve sewing for free. 🙂

  20. Dianna

    I just happened across your wonderful blog this evening. I actually am googling specific patterns to see images of them actually made up. I am considering Vogue 9106 which you posted with a caption that it was post to come. My only reservation about making the dress is the way the gathers look in the skirt. It looks like it is quite complicated, like it is worked into the skirt at an odd spot. What level of sewing would you rate the dress please? I am not new to sewing, but am not advanced either. Back in the day, long ago, I had a part time job working the fabric department for a TG&Y store (I was the only that knew how to cut fabric) and when the manager realized I did indeed know how to sew he had me start making store displays for the department. I loved it, made gifts for my nieces, outfits for myself, and got paid to do it. Only draw back was I had to leave it up for two months before it could come home.

    • I do still need to do that post! I never really got pictures of the dress I liked, though it is quite cute. (Just maybe not quite “me”?) the gathers look a lot more complicated than they are—once you see the pattern pieces it is quite obvious. There is a bit of fudging of the seam allowance where the gathering ends, but it’s basically just sewing the tip of a very narrow dart. 🙂

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