Tag Archives: fabric

Shirt Progress and mana (I mean fabric) from heaven

Shirt collar

There has been sewing happening, albeit of the “one seam a day” variety. The shirt is taking form. I considered and tested doing flat-felled seams, but have abandoned the idea for this project, anyway. Maybe the next one…

Shirt back

Last week I got an unexpected call from an Aunt—she and my uncle were on their way into town and wanted to take us for dinner. Mr. Isis feeling a bit sickly, the girls and I trotted off to the far side of town (in rush hour traffic) and had a lovely dinner with them, over the course of which my aunt mentioned that she had three boxes of fabric in the car for me.

Free Fabric

Now, as has been mentioned before, I am not one to look gift fabric in the fibre content (or whatever), but I also knew that my aunt probably did most of her stitching fifteen to thirty years ago.

Yes, ladies and gents, the 80s called, it wants its fabric back.

"Heirloom" fabric

I am pretty sure I recall my cousins wearing sweaters of this gorgeous period fabric in, oh, 1988. Tyo figures it would make a good nightie. Or boxers. Or housecoat. I was thinking interlining inside a jacket where it will never irradiate another eyeball again. We’ll see.

Cottons

On a more promising note, there were some nice cottons. I quite like the paisley print, and the colour of the pink broadcloth. And see the red polkadot on the bottom left? Look familiar?

Yes, I now have two metres MORE of the exact same fabric I used for my niece’s and Syo’s polkadot dresses.

Faves

I think my personal favourite of the whole lot is these two, though. The tan colour is a a fleece/fun-fur thing, the black print is a weird, faintly stretchy woven that for some reason I really like. I’m picturing the two together in a fur-lined hoodie of some kind… maybe similar to this one. Although my fabrics are not quite so lush.

There’s also a strange snowman quilt-kit-thingy half-completed. It scares me.

Anyway, thank you Auntie for the hand-me-downs. I shall do my best to make sure they get the usage they deserve. 😉

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My Grandma’s Stash

Quilts from my Grandma

My father’s mother was the family quilter. I’ve mentioned my quilt before, and I believe she was also the source of the homemade christmas undies I used to get each year (my mother frequently received a matching pair). I am sad to say I was not particularly thrilled by these (not by the homemade factor, but by the slippery satiny tricot used), and when I was eight or nine finally managed to express this to my mother. The flow of home-made undies stopped—just in time for me to decide I did actually like satiny underthings after all. Kids, I tell ya.

A few years back, grandma moved from the farm to a little one-bedroom in a seniors’ complex in town. As she was giving away a good number of things, I held my breath hoping for something sewing-related, but alas received only a few photos and knicknacks. Her little cabinet sewing machine still sits in her new bedroom, with a small chair in front of it, ready to be opened out of the cabinet should the need arise. I do wonder where the cutting mat and rotary cutter got to—I suspect one of my aunts nabbed them.

Grandma's Stash

Anyway, apparently Grandma has gotten wind of my sewing exploits, because this summer she decided to send me a few small bags of old stash. Being quilter’s stash, it’s a bit different from my usual sorts. A lot of small pieces, which will be perfect for pocket linings and waistband facings, although I’m a little terrified to wash them and have them half-ravel away, some are so small. My grandma predates the concept of quilter’s cotton—most of these are poly-cotton blends if not pure polyester; they have the softness and drape of a lettuce leaf. But I have never been one to look free fabric in the drape. 😉

There are a few larger pieces—some flannel with a cute bear print, intended, no doubt, for the back of a girl’s quilt; a medium-sized piece of red and white check that wants to be a tablecloth for picnics. And, the oddest prize of them all, two pieces that appear to be intended for pillowcases, with large prints from the 80s movie Black Hole.

Now, personally I didn’t care for the movie when I first saw it and don’t like it much better now that it doesn’t completely terrify the crap out of me, but my husband, on the other hand, has quite the soft spot for it. So Black Hole pillowcases he will have.

They’ll go with the Transformers pillowcase  that recently emerged from a box of stuff I had abandoned at my father’s. I assume it must have been admixed from my brother’s stuff (also abandoned at my father’s), although I have no idea where he would’ve gotten a Transformers pillowcase. We’re the right age, but my mother was not the kind  to buy her kids themed bedsheets.

I know this fabric!

I don’t know how old most of this fabric is, but there is one piece I recognized. As a very small child I had a home-made (not by me) barbie cowgirl outfit—blue denim skirt and vest, blue-flowered blouse. And the blouse was made of this exact fabric. I had always sort of assumed my mom made that outfit, but maybe it was from Grandma. Or maybe my mom passed the fabric on to Grandma after. Or… who knows. One of the scraps here looks to be a rather shapeless sleeve that was cut but never stitched up into a garment…

Ok, I admit it, I’m pretty stoked about those Black Hole pillowcases, too.

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Madly off in all directions

The Scissors Family

The crunch is here and as usual I’m not ready.  Precious minutes are trickling away when I could be Accomplishing Things. So, I’ll keep this brief.

Sewing World called and the psycho-god scissors were in (pictured bottom right). My willpower shredded under their seductive snipping, and they came home with me. Cutting with them is almost like… hmm, maybe I won’t go there. Let’s just say cutting may no longer be my least favourite part of sewing. The blades are very short, something on the packaging it touting equal length for blade and handle as being important for some reason. Oookay, if you say so. All I know is they cut like… mmmm…. ok, just give me a moment (fans self). The most comfy for the hands are still the old blue ones, though.

Fabric: for niece's dress (left) and my Lonsdale (right). Yes, a print!

I bought fabric.

I started a dress.

It’s neither Lonsdale nor for me. *headdesk*

Dress in progress. Not for me. Obviously.

Underskirt for dress for niece.

It’s for my four-year-old niece, who very cleverly spent most of the two days I was down there at the end of June telling me how much she loves me, and also how much she loves the red sundress and wants one just like it. Sometimes not even in the same sentence. It’s based off a pattern from the Young Image magazine (I added the front ruching), but as usual I’m off in my own little universe so the finished product will be “inspired by” at best. Also, can you spot my goof in the picture?

I’ve made a bit more progress on the coat, then got stalled because I needed more trim. Because 4m of three different kinds of trim was obviously not enough, and I’m a complete idiot for thinking under any circumstances that it would be.

And, I’m going to feel really guilty that I have a home-made present for my niece and not for my daughter whose birthday is on Sunday.

*headdesk*

And I really want to start my Lonsdale…

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Honest, Officer!

Fabricland Sale Scores (a small part of the total)

That  fabric just threw itself in front of me!

It’s been a bad week on the fabric front. Or a good one, depending on your perspective. Fabricland had their Canada Day sale early, so almost everything in the store was 50% off. Cue time to stock up on lining, interfacing, and other basics. And there was a whole rack of stretch denim in various bright, springy colours—and I went with cream. Boring, I know, but these are totally becoming some awesome capris as soon as I have time to sit down to sew without my head spinning round. There will be piping*. And of course some more black coating for the jacket the hubby wants, which I’ll get to some day. Gawd.

Thrift Store Scores

Then, after dropping Tyo’s birthday treat off to her classroom yesterday (it HAD to be ice-cream bars. Which of course she couldn’t just take on the school bust with her, they’d be melted long before she got to school), I stopped by my Value Village. I wasn’t expecting much (having been just a few days ago) but it’s on the way home.

Apparently after my last visit (when there was no fabric worth mentioning) they busted out the good stuff. I walked out with 3m of sturdy black non-stretch denim (I may have to break down and make my hubby a pair), a similar amount of something that feels like a very lightweight wool, and about a kajillion metres of white starched cotton with this interesting bit of lacework (that only barely shows in the photo) on the one end. That may in fact be hand-worked lace, although I don’t know enough about such things to be sure. And some nifty notions, including tracing paper and a bunch of heavy-duty snaps and rivets.

Kid-Mades in progress

A bit of the kid-sewing has gotten done. Tyo’s almost finished Syo’s present (the white), although since the party is today I’m not 100% sure the last bits will get done. I opted to have her make it underlined, so I serged the voile to the gauze along the major edges and had her do the seams.  This also pre-finished the edges and took care of her rather, ah, ragged cutting job. Syo did a bit of  work on the dresses for the nieces, meaning we got them cut out, managing to remember that we really need all the fairies with their heads pointing up (bloody directional prints). Cutting two different sizes of the same dress at the same time is actually useful for fabric conservation, though, as you can put the front of the smaller size beside the back of the larger size and vice versa and get a little lest waste. Which is good since I only had about 1m of this stuff.

Don’t tell Tyo I said it, but Syo’s a bit better at this sewing thing. She pays more attention to things like sewing her seams straight and keeping her seam-allowances accurate.

In Me-Made June news:

June 24

June 24

Hmm, this is a Me-Made record: four items. Only because I’m wearing two toppers, but anyway.

Cropped Jean Jacket
Vintage Shrug
Boring yet incredibly useful tank-top
Gored knit skirt

I don’t wear this skirt much, partly because I really only have the one shirt (the tank top) that I think it really works with. Not quite sure why that is. The jean jacket colour-scheme is a bit out of place with this outfit, but my other jackets were all too warm, while I wasn’t quite ready to leave the house just with the shrug.
I’m happy to report that the shrug, which has been getting a LOT of use, survived its first machine washing unscathed, even with the large snag in the back I had to clip. I should make about three more of these, seriously.

June 25

June 25

Today, I will be wrangling 23 children for five hours (a double-decker end-of-school-year birthday party). Fortunately I think I’ve bribed at least a couple of other mothers to hang out with me (the hubby’s at work), but it’s still going to be insane. Wish me well. I was tempted to dress fancy, but I’m thinking comfort and ease of movement are the way to go. Especially as there’s a reasonable chance I’ll have to dodge water-balloons this afternoon.

Winged Cardi
JJ blouse (my first me-made everyday wearable! A little over a year old now, it’s holding up well despite its unfinished seams.
Bell-bottoms

And now, I’d better get cleaning before the hordes descend…

*inspired by details on some of my kids’ jeans. Seriously, kids’ jeans have the BEST details. Grown-up ones are so boring by comparison…

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More patterns I don’t need

Thrift store patterns and fabric

I never used to buy patterns. In fact, I had a positive phobia of paying for patterns for a LONG time. But then, I never used to buy fabric, either. So I guess it’s just another example of how far I’ve come (or how the mighty have fallen, depending on your perspective, I guess).

Yesterday, I popped very briefly into my local Value Village. I was secretly hoping for more Japanese pattern magazines, but that’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime find. I did, however, walk out with two kids patterns (somehow I’m more susceptible to kids patterns, or maybe I’m just in a kids-sewing rut at the moment…) and this awesome cotton dragon-print curtain. The patterns are basic, but mindful of the raves Kwik Sew gets I decided to pick it up, and the Simplicity sleepwear set is cute and simple and totally uncut. The patterns are simple enough that the kids could probably stitch them up themselves, although convincing them that they’re interesting enough to try may take a bit more work.

I really love the curtain, too. It’s not a big curtain. I was thinking of turning it into an apron for me when I got it, but am also tempted to make it (with the addition of some coordinating fabric) into a sundress for Tyo, maybe. The print might be cool and tough enough to actually get her into a dress.

Young Image, My Image

Or not. She’s been in tomboy mode long enough now that I actually have a hard time picturing her in anything dressy. But the musing brings me to my next recent pattern acquisition, which includes some really cool kids sundresses. Yes, I jumped on yet another bandwagon and ordered two issues of My Image, the newest pattern magazine on the block. Or blog, as the case may be. What can I say? They emailed me with a 25% off coupon, which brought the price down to roughly what I’d pay for an issue of Burda Style, even with shipping from Europe. The envelope squeaked in right before the current postal strike escalated into a lockout and the dribbling mail delivery screeched to a complete halt. I miss my mail, especially as there were a couple of other goodies I was hoping to receive soon. /sigh.

My Image, winter 2010/2011

Anyway, I ordered the winter women’s version (which includes 11 womens’ patterns and five children’s patterns) and the summer kids-only version. So all in all it turned out to be a pretty big haul for the kids, pattern-wise. And while there are some nice patterns in the adult section, it’s really some of the kid ones that are making me squee. Like the empire-waisted coat third down on the right in the image above. And basically all of the sundresses in the summery kids issue, below:

Young Image, summer 2011

Plus some of the other pieces I can totally see Tyo in. I will admit I’m not super-enthused with their made up samples (which you can peruse in their entirety on the website linked above). They look great and are well-photographed, don’t get me wrong, and I like that they have multiple versions of each pattern. But the designers seem to lean heavily towards intense prints. Again, not a bad thing in and of itself, but it tends to obscure, rather than highlight, the really nifty seaming of some of these patterns. Some of these patterns are crying out for colour-blocking, too, to highlight those nifty panels.

Anyway. As if that weren’t enough potential-kid-sewing, the children have become enchanted with the idea of making some sundresses for their little cousins, whom they are going to visit in a few weeks. Last night I had quite the little sweatshop going on in the basement just before bed; Syo was tracing out patterns, Tyo was ironing the fabric. She’s much more industrious about that than I am, by the way.

In Me-Made June news, here’s a catchup that finally gets me up to date:

June 19

June 19

Posing with R2 at our local comic convention. I felt a little sad not to be dressed as Catwoman or Princess Leia, but I figured this outfit could, with a little massaging, pass as steampunk.

Apparently my husband really likes steampunk. This is odd to me because he pretty much hates anything antique.

I should really pick open the lining of this skirt and add some boning. I knew it probably should have it when I made it, but I didn’t have any on hand so tried to do the job with heavy interfacing. Silly me. I am happy to report that by the very end of the day I was actually a little too warm in my (beyond)high-waisted wool skirt.

Corset-Waist skirt
50s shrug (Free multisize pattern now available! 😉 )
Absolutely boring tank-top

June 20

MMJ 20

An almost summery day, interspersing warm sun with sudden thunderstorms. Which I guess is the definition of June. I think this is a pretty good almost-summer outfit, simple but cute.

50s Shrug again. I’ve been getting a LOT of use out of this version. It’s great for throwing on top of a plain tank or short-sleeve shirt to spice it up a little and add a tiny bit of warmth. Unfortunately my fancy knit got a major snag in the back and I’m not sure how long it will last before that turns into a big hole.
Very old tank One of my first knit projects from last summer.
Jalie Jean capris I’m very glad my best attempts to screw these up failed. They remain one of my favourite denim makes yet.

June 21

MMJ 21---Happy Solstice!

Another simple, cute, summery outfit. I love that my ironing board matches my shoes.

Jalie 2908 capris
Crazy cowl topThis is one of my favourite knit tops at the moment. I really should make a jillion more, but I hacked up the pattern in my attempts to refine it, and wasn’t as satisfied with any of my changes as I was with this original. Joke’s on me!

Oh, yes, and happy Solstice! It actually feel summery here today (forecast high of 23C!… sad that I’m rejoicing over that, I know). I love the long days—light at 4, dark only well after 10. I like that they’ll now start getting shorter less, but am comforting myself that the hottest part of summer is still to come.

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That horrible sinking feeling…

Simplicity 6023

You know, where you start sewing something together and it’s just not quite right. Your fabric isn’t behaving the way you envisioned. You mess up a seam and don’t notice until it’s graded. You begin to suspect that your arbitrary alterations weren’t the right ones after all…

Erm, I’m not the only one who gets this way, right?

I have gotten the front bodice constructed for Simplicity 6023. After experimenting with knit interfacing, I decided to use an extra layer of the black linen (actually a linen-cotton-lycra blend, really quite yummy) for interfacing instead. And I decided I would make piping (from one of my scant scraps of the plaid) to edge the neckline and cuffs. Then I sewed the three layers of the front yoke piece together (one half, anyway), notched, graded, and realized that I had forgotten the piping. Rrrripit. Add in the piping. Flip around, and realize that the linen is quite a bit sturdier than the plaid fabric and really doesn’t need the extra layer for interfacing.

Use the pinking shears to remove as much of that extra layer from the middle as I can, because I’m way too half-assed to unpick again.

Manage to trim the piping too much at the corner, so it’s fraying a bit when clipped.

Fuck it.

Anyway, it looks cute. I have a sinking feeling I should’ve raised the armscye without raising the neckline, and shortened the bodice lower down. Or perhaps left it, as it’s designed to hit above the natural waist (which probably means it would hit right at my waist).

Argh.

Probably, it will all be fine. I like piping. I like plaid. I have a great excuse for not even trying to match my plaids. The black detailing looks pretty sharp. The neckline may be higher than I wanted, but that’s hardly the end of the world. At least I’m pretty sure this one will be large enough (if not a bit too large, given the stretch in both my fabrics)

After all this self-drafted stuff with seam allowances of 1cm or less, the 1.5 (5/8″) regular seam allowance seems positively excessive. Especially in nice, minimally fraying fabrics like these.

Springy coat---now with shoulder pad!

On the subject of the Springy Coat (may I just say that working on two projects at once, when you only have one sewing machine, is REALLY ANNOYING? I have spent way too much time re-threading in the last three days) I put my shoulder-pads and sleeve heads/wadding in as per the latest installment of the RTW, and am HAPPY. I love how it just ups the look that little bit. It was kinda a pain since I’ve already (contra the sewalong) stitched my lining to my facings (I did this before sewing the facing on to the main coat, as I didn’t think I’d be capable of getting the piping right while wrestling the whole coat), but I managed. I will take a moment to note my jealousy that Steph has already finished her jacket.

New Coating

Oh, and while I was at Fabricland picking up the black linen, this coating followed me home. I’ve been keeping an eye out for something with a good drape for Simplicity 8613. I was thinking either cream (I know, I’m making an off-white coat right now) or blue or coral, and this combined two out of three.

I think a fabric diet is in order. I seem to binge every few months, and then fast for a while, but I’m not getting stuff sewn at quite the rate that I’m buying. I’m not anti-stash, mind you—I especially like to have on hand various “basic” fabrics, like denim, plain-coloured knits, lining—but I also don’t want it to get out of hand.

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Whew!

Five days of blog silence, haven’t done that in a while. I don’t think I even went dead that long at Christmas…

Dashing home is always hectic, and for whatever reason this time was even more so—but despite a lack of both sewing and blogging, there was no shortage of sewing-related talk and, more to the point, fabric shopping. In particular, thrift-store fabric shopping. My mom took me to her favourite little thrift-shop, which seems to have a particularly large fabric section (not sure if the fact that it’s run by Mennonites plays a role in this or not…)

Thrift store fabrics

And, well, I went a little overboard. BUT, I stuck to my “palette” and came away with mostly springy colours, mostly in lengths that should be large enough to make at least some of my dresses. Of course there were a couple of heavier plaids that snuck in, but I did resist the 4m of lavender coating/upholstry fabric (virtually identical weave, though not colour, to the stuff I’m making my springy coat out of… otherwise I’m sure it would be with me now. I’m actually kinda regretting letting that go… I might have to send my mom back for it…)

More patterns than are good for me (but at $.50/each, how can you resist?)

They also have an entire pattern-cabinet, which I dug through meticulously, and came home with probably more patterns than I should have. But I was good! No more dresses! There are a few more skirts than is probably wise, though, and I won’t get into the jackets yet…

But aside from all that yumminess (which I can’t think too much about as I have to catch up on my coat and do a couple of other things before I can think about ANYTHING else… I’ll rhapsodize in more detail later), I have to show you the bestest of all finds.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned before, but everything I know about thrifting I learned from my mommy. She was thrifting back in the 70s when you actually could find real antiques for a buck or two at a yard sale…

And a few weeks ago, she found me a Greist buttonholer attachment.

The Buttonholer

I haven’t actually used it yet. It’s possible it’s completely non-functional. But it’s pristine, still in its box, with five templates, manual, feed-dog cover—and it fits on my machine!

Buttonholer contents

And it cost her  $1.99.

’nuff said.

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