The stash may have gotten a wee bit larger in the last few days. Oops.
Tag Archives: fabric
I know most of you care about as much about the intricacies of making fishing vests as you do about, oh, sewage treatment plant design. Nonetheless, if I’m stuck with it, I’m bloody well going to share.
I made some pretty good progress a couple of nights ago when Osiris’s best bud called him out for an airport-layover hangout, but then stalled out over lack of zippers. The vest requires five zippers. Fortunately (?) for me, Fabricland had their Canada Day sale early this year, so today I headed out there with a friend.
I got zippers.
I also made the mistake of looking in the clearance section. Which was fifty percent off.
Stuff that’s just kinda cute at $3, becomes really irresistible at $1.50/m.
And then the awesome cutting-table lady kept getting to almost the end of the bolt and going “Ah, that looks like two metres to me…” when it was really, ah, well, let’s just say the cuts were generous. Er, so the spiderman print I got at Value Village a wee bit back, but I figure it was worth sharing (and it’s actual fabric, not an old bedsheet!). It probably cost more than any of the other fabrics, which are all fairly thin but really nice-feeling knits. And, polkadots!
Oh, yeah, I forgot to photograph this one because the children had absconded with it. This was also like $1.50/m, and it was worth it just for the squeals when they saw it. Few things make my kids happier than slightly-girly camo. It’s lycra. Not good quality lycra, either, but thin, run-prone, easily snagging lycra. Ah well, they’ll be over the moon for the five seconds that it lasts…
My friend bought a couple of metres of the black polkadot, too, and we spent a little while this evening altering the the pattern for New Look 6789, which will be her first “real” attempt at sewing a dress. She’s one of those short, round shapes that can never, ever find anything to fit off the rack, so I really have hopes of getting her hooked. Assuming I can figure out how to fit a body that’s about as different from mine as possible while still being the same species. We did some tissue fitting, and I made my first ever attempt at an FBA. We won’t be able to try actually sewing for a few more days, though—but here’s hoping it works! (And since the fabric was a whole $2/m, no, we’re not making a toile. And no, the pattern’s not for a knit, but it’s a pretty stable, not-very-stretchy knit and I think as long as we interface the upper band and shoulder-straps it’ll be fine.)
I really like this pattern. I’m kind of jealous she’s going to get one before I get a chance to sew it up…
A Fabric Confession.
As Stashoholic Confessionals go, this is not a super big one. But it’s been preying on my mind since I bought the fabric a couple of weeks ago—so bear with me. And the patterns. They were not bought at the same time, but I might as well get it all of my chest in one post, right?
First and best, is the Star Wars sheet.
I don’t feel a huge amount of guilt for this one, frankly. I have been looking for awesome 80s bedsheet material for ages, even before Cation Designs came out with her amazing superhero dresses. And most of what presents itself is either a) all worn out, or b) a modern re-issue in insanely gross poly UGH that I wouldn’t want to make any kid sleep on, never mind actually wear. But finally, after long and patient stalking, I hit upon this most precious of beasts: an original, largely unworn, Star Wars (copyright 1977) fitted single bedsheet. I had to have it.
The only problem is what to do with it. Let Syo sleep on it as is? Make it into a shirt for my husband? Or be selfish (not to mention completely rip of Cation) and create a Star Wars dress for myself?
However, because I was going to have to wait in line to buy the sheet, it pushed me over the edge on another possibility, two metres of textured, seafoam, probably-polyester coating.
I couldn’t resist. I tried, I really did. I walked away and walked back several times.
See, half of me loves this fabric. It’s the same delicate aqua/blue/seafoam colour range that I quite enjoy (see blog theme).
And I love the texture, because while prints don’t usually suck me in, texture does.
But I’m also utterly convinced that made up, it is going to look like a 1970s granny suit.
And I’m not sure quite what there is to be done about it. Because I think done right, it could be great—sweet and formal and old-fashioned without looking like something my grandmother would’ve worn to my parents’ wedding. But I’m not quite sure what that is.
Boxy 60s swing jacket?
Fitted classic jacket?
Add black (or red?) accents to cut the sweetness?
Okay, now I’m picturing it with Simplicity 5291, with black piping, the sleeved jacket and maybe the flippy skirt to match if there’s enough fabric…
… all keeping in mind that I’m on a coat restriction until I finish Osiris’s frock coat, which is cut (except for the lining) and languishing on my ironing board pending a bit more interfacing.
Incidentally, a burn test on the green fabric proved (as usual, at least for me) confusing: The fire sustained itself, but barely; it melted into a hard, black bead and left a yellowish-brown ash. The smell was like wood or paper burning—almost pleasant. I’m guessing maybe a poly-rayon blend, because I’m quite sure it’s not any of the other plant-based fibres, but really I don’t know.
And then there were patterns.
Nothing obscenely amazing, but the pattern-collection creep continues:
Simplicity 3751—a cute, loose blouse pattern. AKA not anything like what I usually wear. And yet—cute. And different enough from most of my other patterns that I thought I could justify it. Also, look at the cool new price! I’m happy to report they appear to have abandoned their bagged-pattern tactic, too.
New Look 6789—A cute sundress/wardrobe pattern. I am kinda obsessed with summery dresses right now, I fear.
Butterick 5165—I know! A housecoat pattern. It’s almost… unjustifiable. In my defense, though, it’s a cute 70s pattern (you know my weakness for those) and it’s not actually a straight rectangle, unlike every housecoat pattern I’ve seen from the last thirty years. And, well, I can fantasize that I might somehow, mysteriously, look good in a housecoat like this. (I don’t. Waist-tie, blousing, etc. are all big Tanit-Isis no-nos.)
Simplicity 8510—Yes, it’s 80s men’s, but it’s a simple tee/pullover with some interesting options in the details, which is always key with men’s patterns. And I figure if I go down a size or two, (which I should be able to as this is an S/M), it would reduce the excessive 80s ease.
Whew! There, I feel a weigh lifted. I have confessed my fabric- and pattern-buying sins.
Now if only I could start sewing faster than buying…
Fabricland, the Canadian generic fabric chain, was having one of their fairly regular sales this past weekend, with pretty much everything in store 50% off. This exciting news prompted me to finally (after many attempts and broken engagements on both sides) to get together with Funnygrrl of Falling Through Your Clothes. Astoundingly, we actually pulled it off.
The sewing gods were feeling magnanimous, for we both managed to arrive at Fabricland, find parking (not a small feat!), and even recognize each other. It was also the warmest day of the year yet, to the point where my children were running around the back yard in their booty shorts (the daytime high reached 13C), so I actually got to wear my springy coat for the first time this year! Very non-creatively I wore this exact outfit. With these boots.
While Ms. Falling was remarkably restrained (peeps, her Fabricland membership had lapsed!) I, um, was not. Erm.
I’d like to maintain I was not whimsical or frivolous, but the fact is I was pretty darn excessive.
Dude. They had hair canvas. In the clearance. For $4/m. At 50% off. (original price was about $14/m) I bought 4m. In hindsight I should’ve bought the whole bolt. I also re-stocked my other typical interfacings, but that’s not quite as astounding as finding good interfacing in the clearance section.
Hmm. I knew there was a reason why I don’t like fabric posts. Mine, that is. I buy boring fabric! I mean, how can I compete with this? I bought denim—red cotton twill (Tyo wants red jeans) and a couple of remnants of a really nice dark-wash. Where the heck was this colour denim when it was on the bolts? If I want to make jeans from them I’ll have to piece, but I’m thinking it might be worth it.) I splurged on some basic black athletic knit, the type of beefy cotton-lycra blend that’s normally over $20/m in these parts. Even at 50% off it’s still kinda pricey, but a) this stuff never goes on clearance and b) you never find it in thrift stores, either.
Best of all was Funnygrrl’s contribution, though—aside from a pay-it-forward pattern, she offered me my choice of linens—black with white embroidered border, or white with black. The idea is something along the lines of she keeps the other piece and we make “twin” garments. There’s not a huge amount, but enough for a skirt or a slim dress, I think. Possibly from the pattern she gave me (also photographed) but there’s so many adorable dress patterns in my stash at the moment I may be paralyzed by indecision. This is the (much more interesting) kind of fabric I ogle but never actually jump on, so getting it as a present is AWESOME. I am now paging avidly through the dress patterns on my iPhone sewing app…
Well, that’s part of the problem, anyway. I’d rather be sewing, but shopping is a quick fix.
So, in order from least guilty to most guilty:
Tasia is a sweetie at the best of times, and while I resisted all through the pre-sales of both these patterns, the deluge of awesome internet versions and her birthday sale totally put me over the edge. Plus, even though the shop was down when I tried to use it (overloaded by others drawn in by the sale), she replied to my plaintive email (delivered in obnoxious triplicate—OOPS! 😦 ) the very next day and was super-quick to put together an email invoice at the sale rate. And I had my patterns in only four days—hooray for in-Canada shipping! And supporting an independent small business, yadda yadda. So I am refusing to allow myself to feel guilty for this one.
Thrift store books
Circumstances conspired to have me at Value Village not one, not two, but three times this week, and different things appeared every time. I doubt you’re terribly interested in the shoes Tyo picked out for her Gr. 6 grad this spring, or the Pampered Chef stoneware, but two sewing books did throw themselves at me (I resisted another beginner-level one as I already have several of those and the only one you really need is Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing anyway 😉 )
Fabric Savvy by Sandra Betzina. I’ve heard good things about this one. And aside from a no-illustrations 70s paperback, I didn’t have any other books on different fabric types and how to work with them. So yeah, it was coming home. Although so much of what I sew with is bargain-store mystery (and even if it’s not, I’m abysmal at remembering what it is I’ve actually bought) I’m not sure how useful it’ll be. But it’s one of those resources you ought to have, right?
I like the layout and illustrations—the front is a big alphabetical section on different fabric types and how to work with them, including laundering, needles, thread, sewing-machine feet, and seam-finishes. And it’s got the coil-binding so it lies flat open, which seems to be considered a bonus. I can’t say I’ve felt the need to have one of my reference books open on the table while sewing yet, but if I did, it would be great.
The back has quick overviews of the seam-finishes and other techniques referred to in the front. It’s a great idea and the drawings are lovely, although I’m not sure I’d be able to figure all the techniques out if I were a complete beginner.
Then there was this one:
The Easy Guide to Sewing Tops & T-Shirts, by Marcy Tilton (which I did a bang-up job photographing :P). I bought this more because I really like the other couple of books I have in this series than because I was sucked in by the cover or even content. But I do like how these books are set up—to help you take a basic pattern and adjust it and construct it just that bit above and beyond the basic standard instructions.
It has some interesting tips, including favouring stitching seams with a regular straight stitch (I’m guessing Marcy wears her knits looser than I often do) and the “cheater knit FBA” that I’ve read about online but never seen endorsed in an actual sewing book.
Thrift store fabric
I should’ve resisted, because the price, while low, was not great for the length available, which is less than half a metre. But It’s absolutely perfect to make a bunnyhug for Tyo. Except, of course, there wasn’t enough fleece, so I had to go back and hunt down an oversize men’s sweatshirt in black to fill in the other pieces. But I already have the pattern traced out (Jalie 2795), so assuming I get it sewn up with sufficient speed, I won’t feel too guilty for stash-building.
And this would be the maximum-guilt item, because it didn’t come from the thrift store. Rather, we were at the book-store looking for a birthday present and I made the mistake of showing this book to Tyo. Tyo has a big black plastic bag of clothing sitting on her closet floor waiting to head to the thrift store, so she’s over the moon at the prospect of getting to turn it into monsters instead. And it’s a pretty cute book, with charming, wacky creatures. My only dislike is that there are no actual patterns—the book gives you detailed instructions for drawing out the pattern pieces (a lot of which are rectangles) on the clothes you’re de-constructing, but that’s not so helpful if you don’t have the exact same garment they’re deconstructing.
However, it shouldn’t be too hard to improvise—I’m just hoping Tyo can achieve some degree of independence on these projects, since my actual interest in making stuffed monsters is, um, fairly limited.
Ehm. So there it is, the whole shameful, consumeristic list. I did get a bit of pattern tracing done this week, so it’s conceivable that a finished item might make an appearance. I hope so. I’m getting tired of writing “look what I bought” posts, as I’m sure you’re getting bored of reading them.
And thanks, everyone, for your commiserating on my last post. Even if this one is basically an illustration of how I’m entirely my own problem. /sigh.
Brace yourself for a whiny post. I’m resisting, but I’m pretty sure that’s what’s going to come out.
I spent a good three or four hours in the sewing room over the weekend, not sewing a single stitch (actually that’s a lie, but anyway).
I was trying to organize my patterns.
Emphasis on trying.
In the last few months my pattern collection has gotten a bit, um, bloated. Bernie’s gift really put it over the top, but seriously, I was in trouble well before that. In particular, I’ve reached the point where I can no longer keep a reasonable mental catalogue of the patterns I have.
Now, in theory I’m prepared for that. I even have a pricey (if somewhat defective) little app on my iPhone for tracking patterns, stash, projects, etc, and I’ve made a half-ass attempt to enter at least the most important patterns into it. I have photos of most of my patterns, somewhere on the computer and somewhere on the blog, so I could potentially make a spreadsheet or database or *something*
The problem is, handy as all that electronic organization might be (and I do much better with electronic organization than with real-life organization), when I’m considering a project, what I really want to do is sit there and dive—through the fabric, of course, but through the patterns, too. Little pictures on a screen (especially a phone-size screen) just aren’t tactile enough. And since I can no longer think “hmm, I’d like to make a dress,” and bring to mind a reasonable list of the dress patterns I have, that means I need to actually sort my physical patterns.
I had started this back in the summer. I got a tall plastic set of drawers for the sewing room, which holds notions in the three top drawers and patterns in the three big bottom drawers. I sorted out the stash of kids’ patterns, too, into a large shoe-box (boot-box, really) and that worked fairly well since when the kids wanted to plan the next project I should make them (eyeroll). But I never made any pretext of sorting the patterns in those three drawers—two held patterns I’d made up, which I generally give a big manilla envelope and, if I’m really organized, print out a photo of the finished project to stick to. This works well because it gives me somewhere to store printed-out patterns, patterns that don’t come with an envelope (like Jalie’s), and holds whatever excess tracings I have, which don’t always fit in the original envelope. But it does take up a lot of space.
So on Saturday, I went through patterns, photographing and adding a whole bunch to my phone app, and beginning the rudiments of sorting. I’m most concerned to sort by type. But I don’t want to lose all my special independent patterns in with the regular ones (currently this is Colette, Sewaholic, and Folkwear. Not sure why I don’t include Jalie in this group…). And then there’s the really old vintage ones (fifties mostly) that I don’t want to get wrecked with too much pawing through. So they need their own place. And I’d really like to keep the jackets and sweaters separate from the other tops. And…
Well, you can see what’s happening. No way are all those categories happening in three drawers (even with dividers), nevermind that the patterns were already overflowing the drawers.
So I co-opted all the shoeboxes I could find, but now I have five shoeboxes kicking around the sewing room floor, which is considerably less than ideal. I can label them, which will help, but they’re still… floating. And in danger of getting stepped on, or buried by fabric.
Which brings me to another issue. The stash is out of control. Or at least, overflowing. I want to sew it down. But the projects in my head keep failing to line up with the fabrics on hand. What is necessary is letting the fabric lead. But how do I pick which fabric? There’s so many luscious and awesome ones to go with. Not to mention all the little bits that I’d like to use up—kids clothes, *something*. I made some of the last remnant of the Where’s Waldo fabric into another bralette, which was going to be for Tyo but the elastic straps weren’t long enough, so it’s gone to Syo (who’s super happy about it even though I can’t figure out why she would even *want* a bralette), but Tyo still wants one of her own.
And at the crux of it, everything is too messy.
I’m not one of nature’s tidy people. I can generally work just fine surrounded by a complete disaster (and tend to generate such a disaster if one wasn’t present to start with). It’s a constant trial to my husband, whose neat-freak tendencies border on the obsessive. But right now, there isn’t even room to work. Or at least, to work on anything big—hence the bralettes and other mini-projects I’ve been coming out with lately. Add to that the general lack of mental energy to contribute and, well, the situation isn’t quite paralysis, but it’s not far off, either. Can’t clean, too much stuff, it just doesn’t fit in the space. Need to sew it up. Can’t decide what to sew—too much to choose from. Can’t sew anything large—not enough room. Need more room—got to clean up. And round and round I go…
One partial solution would be to buy more organizational stuff—another set of shelves for fabric or drawers for patterns. But with a move on the horizon, I really, really don’t want to add to the furniture in the house, either.
And, just to illustrate the extent of my problem, here’s last week’s thrift store aquisitions (the fabrics and patterns at the local Value Village have recently been reinvigorated after several stagnant months, and I’m relieved to report that the attempt to sell the patterns bagged seems to have lapsed—this last batch were even quite cheap!)
Fabric. I’ve been trying to be good about the thrift store fabrics, only biting when it’s a fabric/colour/quality on “the list”. Both these pieces were. On the left is a very thick sweater-knit with an almost Persian-lamb type texture, in a rich red colour that would be AWESOME… whenever I figure out what kind of a style would work for it. There’s 2m, so plenty to play with. On the right is a dull purple/grey fleece, also extra-thick. I suspect it will become a housecoat for Syo, although it’s so thick I’m tempted to just get some binding for the edges and call it a blanket.
The patterns are rather more whimsical. I couldn’t resist the Kwik Sew men’s dance wear on the left, even though my husband would probably disown me if I actually made him one (I don’t have a plain men’s tee pattern, though, and this one looks fine if you just lengthen it). I also don’t have any little boys to sew suits for, but cmon—a Vogue little boy’s suit, with single and double breasted options? For less than fifty cents—how could I resist?
The 70s tracksuit in the middle falls into that awkward sizing in between Syo and myself. I currently have sweaters, bunnyhugs, and hoodies on the brain, which may explain why I couldn’t just leave it. The late-70s vibe reminds me so much of things I wore as a small child (I was born in 1980, but grew up in hand-me-downs)… which isn’t necessarily a good thing, but, I dunno. I’m feeling nostalgic, I suppose.
It’s also uncut and comes in two sizes, each printed in a different colour. Nifty!
Yup, that was whiny. Sorry. Have a great week!
(and other odds and ends.)
It’s been a long and hectic week, finishing Hallowe’en costumes and trying to get the house into something resembling order*. I did, however, spend a remarkable amount of time in the sewing room, partly in the desperate Hallowe’en Final Push and partly because it’s a handy place from which to supervise the children’s attempts to reclaim the basement, aka playroom, aka guest room, into something an adult might be able to tolerate sleeping in.
Anyway, in a vain attempt to impose order on chaos (as with the rest of my life), let’s have Fun With Headings:
They were worn! (There were no last minute back-outs. This is worth commenting on, as Tyo nearly refused to wear hers to the school Hallowe’en Dance on Friday.)
There were the inevitable snit-fits over wearing tights under leggings. Seriously, kids, why did you think I bought both?
I’m pretty sure Syo forgot to take her yellow and blue pompoms out with her, despite the fact that I thoughtfully attached them to hair-elastics so she could put them around her wrists and have her hands free for holding the treat-bag. And they even survived being worn in her hair all weekend. /sigh.
Tyo never did come up with weapons that were suitable to her costume. Babydoll wields two katanas and a gun with charms hanging from it. We have any number of toy katanas and at least one toy gun in the basement mess, but none were deemed worthy. Or she forgot.
We had the first snow of the season yesterday morning (this is actually remarkably late), and the daytime high was only 6C. It can’t have been more than a couple of degrees above freezing when the kids went out. Nonetheless, Syo survived in just her cheerleader outfit and velvet leotard and leggings (over tights). I really like how the velvet leggings turned out—I’ll have to get better photos later. I’m sure she’ll be wearing them lots, anyway.
Tyo, as you can see in the top photo, is not quite as much of a trooper and added a white bunnyhug. I can’t blame her, anyway.
In fact, I can’t complain about anything, as my mother-in-law and her husband took the girls out for their first go-round and then my husband took them out for the second, so I sat on my butt and handed out candy all night. We had about 30 kids come by, just enough to completely clean out all the candy we had. D’oh.
Also, the kids have no school the day after Hallowe’en! Even though it’s the middle of the week! Man, we would’ve killed to have the day after Hallowe’en off school… (mutter… kids these days… mutter)
Tyo has been harping on the chair project, lately. I am approaching this with the same enthusiasm I have for all home-dec projects, but she is remarkably persistent (although remarkably unhelpful with things like pinning pattern pieces and stuff.) Anyway, we got the first pieces cut and stuffed over the weekend: two bolster-type pillows that will be the arms of the chair. I’m noticing that they’re not very big—the chair seems more toddler-sized than my-kids-sized. Ah, well. The kids stuffed them with scraps. They didn’t use up nearly enough. I wanted to start with the arms, since I figure if I stall on the rest of the chair, bolster-cushions are still frequently useful, even when they’re scrap-stuffed and not particularly soft/squooshy.
Incidentally, scrap-stuffed pillows are heavy.
Another hold-up on the chair has been that I didn’t have enough of any home-dec weight fabric I was willing to part with (at least that would be good for sitting on—I have some scratchy curtain-type material pegged for coats). Fortunately, one of the things my MIL wanted to do yesterday was trawl thrift stores, and I nabbed this velveteen-esque fabric. I think there’ll be enough. It’s a little hard to tell as the pattern assumes you’re going to use three different fabrics so it doesn’t give you a total on the metrage. Meterage? Yardage. Y’know.
Since I was going through scraps, I decided on a whim to tackle another uncharacteristically-crafty project that’s been lurking in the back of my head:
I may have mentioned at some point my extended family’s obsession with Tim Horton’s coffee. This might, alternatively, be termed Canadian Crack. Not being a coffee drinker myself, I can’t tell you if it’s actually good coffee or not, but whatever they put in it (the rumour is MSG, which is probably completely unfounded), people are willing to line up ’round the block for the stuff. Despite the cups having crappy lids and, more to the point, none of those nice heat-shield paper sleeves.
Anyway, back in the summer, whilst creek-adventuring, we found a reusable coffee-cup sleeve, made of quilting-cotton and a thin layer of batting. It was quite cute and I imagine someone eco-conscious was very sad they’d lost it. And of course, it looked stupidly easy to make.
So when I stumbled upon the scraps of my (very, very expensive) interlining from my winter coat, I couldn’t help but scurry upstairs, liberate a Timmy’s cup from the garbage, create a curved pattern by marking off parallel lines on the side of the cup and then cutting it up and spreading it flat. Some bits and bobs of coating and a few interesting construction issues later, I have (almost) coffee coats. All they need is a big button for the elastic loop to fit around. I am holding off until I have another cup to judge the size of so I get the button in (at least roughly) the right place.
Sewing up Scraps:
Still in a scrap-busting mood, I decided I must do what I could with the scraps from Syo’s costume, and determined to whip her up a little, fitted tee if I could. I pulled out a knit sloper I had made her last summer, traced it off, added cap-sleeves, forgot seam allowances, and stitched it up (with added band-sleeves.)
Naturally, it doesn’t quite fit. She can wriggle into it, but it’s very snug (the sloper was more for a leotard/swimsuit lycra type fabric). I guess we’ll be passing it on to one of my nieces. Anyway, none of the remaining scraps are more than two inches wide, so I think I’ve done well. I even had to piece the band for the neckline.
Next up? I don’t know! I’ve been ogling my blazer and coat patterns, but I don’t have much time right now so I’m hesitant to commit to a serious project. I’m already pretty sure I’m wimping out on NaNoWriMo despite the best idea ever (next year!). If Tyo’s lucky I’ll finish up the stuffed chair while I’m waffling.
Oh, yeah. I bought fabric. And patterns. The patterns are odd—they were part of some kind of set (it looks brutally 80s to me, although the dates are mid-90s), but these were the only patterns that were sufficiently classic to catch my attention. They refer to cards for the instructions (no instructions in the envelopes as far as I can tell), which I assume were part of the larger set, but didn’t seem to be there at the thrift store. I can’t even determine the company with certainty, but the sizing is standard Big 4.
The fabric is a sturdy, non-stretch denim with a bit of a stripe. I’m such a sucker for denim.
And I found Syo winter boots (which she’s wearing in the Hallowe’en photos) for five bucks. So, win.
*as my inlaws arrived Sunday night—incidentally a day before I was expecting them. It has become traditional since we moved away from the rest of the family to try surprise everyone else with your visit—our crowning glory was arriving at 10 pm last New Years’ Eve without telling a soul we were coming—so I can’t complain, as we started it.