Tag Archives: Meet-Ups

Chillin’ Down Home

All y’all* remember a couple of weeks back when Vicki the Sewing Scientist launched her grand ambitious plan to map the people-who-sew-and-talk-about-it-on-the-internet**? Well, I was pretty happy to pin myself on there, but I was totally not expecting it to yield such awesome fruit! Within a few hours, I discovered I had a fellow sewologist** right in my own back yard—Erin of Trumbelina Sews.



The nice thing about meeting up with people in Saskabush is that, no matter where in town they live, they’re not very far away. It only took us a week or so to coordinate a meetup at a coffee shop that just happens to be one of the hangouts from my high school hipster days. In fact, I bought the Xena Dress at a vintage store (now sadly gone) in the very same building…



So aside from revisiting my misspent youth, I got to spend a few hours chatting it up with Erin. I mean, it was no sprawling New York do (OK, I was looking for a link for one of those but there are too many!) or posh UK meetup, but damn that trip-over-your-own-tongue, old-friend-you-just-met feeling is the best. She brought a stack of patterns for me to peruse, and I brought nothing. which is totally lame-sauce of me. It’s not that I mean to be stingy about my patterns mind you, but the stash is so kind of ungodly huge at this point that I just sort of flail and fumble and preemptively give up. And the fabrics are still mostly in boxes.

Yes, we were actually together!

Yes, we were actually together!

Anyway, it was a totally rocking time, and I am totally stoked about future possibilities—crawls through the Saskatoon Garment District, thrift store pattern hunting, and all the other possibilities of having another victim fellow sewilizer** at hand. Well, other than my sisters-in-law, who of course are their own particular variety of awesome. And the next time the NYC or London sewistas** are going at it, I totally know who I’m gonna call to fend off the green-eyed monster.

And yes, obviously I suck at selfies. Where’s my tripod when I need it?

And yes, it’s still that fucking snowy here. We got another couple of inches today.

*I feel obliged to point out that Canadians don’t actually talk like this; I picked it up during about five minutes I spent in Texas several years ago, because it’s just too damn cute.

**insert your favourite collective noun here: sewintist, stitcher, sewer, sewist, sewcialist…



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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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Funnygrrl’s Dress (the Making Of)


Pattern & Fabric

Whew! That Promaballoona really took it out of me. I need a weekend after my weekend.

Ok, so, finally, here is the actual post about the making of  Simplicity 5549, view B, otherwise known as the Funnygrrl Dress.

This dress was perfect for several reasons—cute, shaped empire waist, relatively straight hem, and, most importantly for this project, it would fit on the 1.5 m of fabric I had at my disposal. WIN.

I made the size 12, with all my usual alterations—petite (both at the shoulder and 3 cm  removed above the waist in the skirt), square shoulder, and swayback. Lots and lots of swayback. I probably could’ve gotten away without the square shoulder—I’m beginning to think I shouldn’t bother with that one for strappy, narrow-shouldered patterns. Other than that, the alterations worked great!

I cut out the bodice in my “lining fabric” (aka white bedsheet from the thrift store) and basted it up quickly to check the fit, making a few minor tweaks. The most significant was to lower the neckline. I dropped it 2 cm, and widened a little bit as well—3 or 4 cm would’ve been fine. It was very, ah, demure. I should probably have paid a little more attention to the length of the “shorter” skirt on the model, as well. It reaches easily to the bottom of her knee, which is a good two or three inches longer than I like. I don’t usually pay attention to skirt lengths since I always figure I’ll just hem it at the end, but of course that’s not how it works with a border embroidery motif. D’oh.


Obviously, the dress needed black piping on the bodice to go with the black embroidery on the skirt. Pipe, pipe pipety pipe.  I am pleased to report that not only has the last of the black piping Claire sent me last winter been used up, but it was used up with only inches to spare (as you can see in the photo). I tried to be very careful not to stretch the piping while sewing, this time, lest I end up with puckery fabric. This worked well, but since I ended up with a fair bit of gapiness at the underarm, I’m thinking some pulling might’ve been in order, at least there.


I confess, I did not even look at the instructions for this dress. I promise when I have a little more time for sewing, I will start reading instructions again. In this case, I figured a construction order just like the Sewaholic Cambie would work just fine (only backwards)—and it did. Did I mention I really like the back of this dress? The straps widen and angle in towards the middle and it’s REALLY CUTE. Not to mention bra-strap covering, for those of you for whom that is a major issue. Also, unlike the Spiderman Dress, I think I nailed the swayback adjustment this time. WOOT! Having the extra darts for shaping certainly helps, too.

Look at that back fit!

Halfway through construction I realized I had no idea if I had any kind of suitable zipper or not. Some diving through the stash produced another vintage, metal-toothed invisible zipper in an off white colour. Not perfect, but close enough for an invisible zipper, especially if the alternative was delaying construction until I can visit a fabric store. I am trying really hard to avoid fabric stores right now. I’ve started packing up my stash for our pending move, and it’s, ah, traumatic.

Full length

I did zero matching of the embroidered motifs. I considered it for about half a second, but frankly, I was lucky to get the dress out of the amount of fabric I had period. There was only about 3″ of wiggle room along the width of the hem, not enough to match anything


I gotta say, it’s easy to quibble about little things like the gaping under the arm and the length of the skirt, but really—I am so stoked over how this turned out. The back is AWESOME. The fit over the hips is close but good. It’s cute, not too over the top, and easy to wear. I love the back, not something I usually get to say. So yeah! I’m going to call it a win. 🙂

Nothing procrastinates like procrastination…

Thanks, Funnygrrl! 


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Funnygrrl’s Dress—The Meetup

Funnygrrl & I

My fellow Cow Town citizen, Funnygrrl, who blogs at Falling Through Your Clothes, and I first met up (after a LOT of missed opportunities) last spring, for a very exciting fabric-shop and coffee date, where she gave me a bit of rather pretty fabric and I talked her into buying a rather expensive serger.

Now, my fairly intense enabling aside, Funnygrrl first presented two pieces of fabric, both lovely linens with an identical embroidered border motif—one in black with white embroidery, one in white with black. I would take one, she would take the other, and at some point in the future we would have lovely “twin” dresses to remember each other by.


Well, as they say, The Future Is Now. A little while back, as the panic of my impending move descended, I realized if I wanted to have the twin dress meetup, as fantasized, before hundreds of kilometres come to separate us, I had better get stitching. So I put on my big girl panties and started cutting Simplicity 5549. By some miracle, Funnygrrl’s head was in the same place, and when I emailed her to let her know I was cutting fabric, we wound up being able to schedule a quick coffee to catch up and photograph our dresses together, as nature intended. Now, I actually have a whole post written up about the dress itself, but when I tried to glom the meetup onto it, it was just getting long, so I’ll post that one tomorrow. Or maybe after the Promaballoona dust settles.

I am an angelic presence, apparently. My camera really did not like the lighting in there.

Funnygrrl and I met up at a local indoor garden (actually the top floor of a mall) called the Devonian Gardens, where us pale, sun-starved northerners can go to pretend we’re somewhere, well, other than the cold and frozen north (which isn’t cold and frozen at this time of year, although it was chilly and rainy, hence my tights.) I was all excited by the name, and while the garden itself is beautiful, I must confess to a teeny, tiny bit of disappointment that none of my favourite transitional fossils were making an appearance.* But other than that it was lovely, especially since it was pretty grey and chilly outside.

Big Wall Of Green. Funnygrrl’s camera handles my dress somewhat better than mine.

Very big. Very green. Very wall.

Fun in the (artificial) sun

It’s probably just as well you can’t see my dress very well—I’d been wearing it all day and was definitely sporting the rumpled linen look, although it didn’t get quite as bad as I had feared it might.

Funnygrrl & Tanit-Isis

Funnygrrl even brought spanky blog shoes to change into for the photos—clever woman! I am wearing my ubiquitous, desperately-need-to-be-replaced ballet flats. In fairness, they didn’t need to be replaced desperately until last weekend, when I forgot my water shoes and wound up spending the whole day wading in the river, wearing them. Oops. Do you have blog shoes? I confess, I have a whole box.

Thanks, Funnygrrl!

Photo credit for these goes to Funnygrrl (except for the one where my dress is looking truly angelic), since a) her camera’s better than mine, and b) it’s silly enough having one person running around working the self-timer, never mind both of us. So I mostly let her do it.

Oh, aside from taking photos like a pair of tourists in oddly complementary outfits, we sat and talked. And talked and talked. Until it started getting dark on us, basically. I love hanging with sewing peeps.

Acanthostega, a Devonian tetrapod with gills, toes, and a tail-fin.

*Er. It occurs to me that that was probably even more obscure than my usual run-of-the-mill science jokes. So the Devonian Period is a stage of geological history that happened roughly between 400 and 350 million years ago. It was marked by the evolution of the first full-canopy forest ecosystems and, most interestingly from a vertebrate-centric point of view, the first land vertebrates. Panderichthys, Tiktaalik, and Acanthostega are progressively less fish-like examples of the fish-tetrapod transition, which happened in the late Devonian and has to be one of the neatest “events” in evolutionary history. And Acanthostega had eight toes. Does it get any cooler than that?


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In which Tanit-Isis buys fabric and socializes with a real, in-the-flesh person.

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.

Extra-grainy iPhone photo.

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.

The boring (and sort of justifiable)

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.

Unnecessary (but practical!) stash-building

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…


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Imagine the scene…

The Location

A crisp summer evening (did I mention the climate here SUCKS?) in the perilous region of the city known as “Downtown”. This is the natural habitat of the stylish and hip, such as the Selfish Seamstress, but an area I usually view only as on safari, through the glass of the train windows.

I arrive early, having allowed myself both getting-lost time and finding-parking time, and end up needing neither. There it is, the appointed coffee-shop, lurking in all its trendy glory (and it’s open late). Such places used to be my stomping-ground, back before domestic bliss replaced teenage angst, back in the days when I, too, lived Downtown. I take up residence on one of the several benches outside, and pretend to play with my ipod. Mostly, I am watching.

For Her.

My thoughts race back to the chance comment left on her wonderful blog, months ago, that revealed my general location. Although I read religiously, I rarely comment since there are usually fifty or more comments before mine that have said everything that could possibly be said. My surprise at receiving an email a few days later admitting to being in the same general vicinity (and shopping at the same depressing fabric-store chain). This when I had no idea we even shared a country! A few more emails, and by a miracle we are even in the same city! (Not such a big miracle, as it’s the largest city in the province). In fact, we are associated with the same University, although in very different departments and at very different levels.

And then—there she is! So petite and stylish and elegant in her Hikaru Jacket and her Jalie Jeans! Her topstitching makes me want to cry. She shows me the nearby newstand that carries Burda (my first Burda Magazine!)… and buys me a hot chocolate! (made with melted chocolate! With whipped cream!).

She gives me patterns. Including THIS one! (Since she never actually made the dress, I assume she decided it fell into the Frumpy category. Nevertheless, it is a charming gift, despite the fact that Her Selfishness buys patterns in the 6-10 size range and I normally fit a miss’s 12 😉 )

We talk about sewing, and dance, and sewing, and driving vs. not driving in cities, and sewing, and (amateur) modeling, and sewing, and how we started sewing, and cell phones, and sewing, and not having real-life sewing friends, and sewing, and…

all of a sudden it is  ten o’clock at night. The handsome Dan comes and plucks the Selfish Seamstress away, and I drive home in a floaty haze of happiness, cradling my Burda in my lap. And yes, it is sometime on this drive home that it occurs to me that we took no pictures.

The next day, still on a brush-with-blogging-and-sewing-greatness high, I traced out this jacket… and we all know how that went (it’s currently wadded in a ball under my bed, waiting for resuscitation).

It wasn’t until later, in the cold light of Wadderville, that it occurred to me to wonder about the Selfish One’s motivations. Obviously she could not be really enjoying my company. This concerned me quite a bit. But then it dawned on me… The Selfish Seamstress may have no friends, but she adores flattery. And really, aren’t I the perfect agent? My sewing skills are no match for hers—I am far below the level of a Nemesis—and I am perfectly willing to gush more-or-less endlessly over her sophisticated creations. And if I do grow boring, or stalkerish, or too demanding, well, she’s leaving the country in a few weeks.

Which means my brush with greatness will remain just that—a brush. But I can now say it, the way my Grandma still talks about having tea with the Queen as a little girl… I once had hot chocolate with the Selfish Seamstress!

And, as a bonus, her shout-out (besides bringing unprecedented hit-numbers to my low-key little blog here) brought to my attention the fact that an old friend from my dance-costume-making days, whose skillz (especially in the finishing department) I have long admired and envied, has started her own blog, Blood, Sweatshop & Tears! Nifty!

So if you did come here via Her Selfishness, thank you for taking the time! And if you didn’t, well… you can always say you knew me first! (LMAO)


Filed under Sewing