Tag Archives: sewing notions

Fortunately, unfortunately

New Fabric Scissors!

Fortunately, I got some fun new sewing stuff in the mail this week. I was especially excited to try out the Seam-Gauge Guide.

Unfortunately, when I went to try it, my fabric scissors were nowhere to be found.

Fortunately, this motivated me to clean up my sewing room.

Unfortunately, I STILL couldn’t find them.

Fortunately, I’d been thinking of getting another pair anyway, since my old ones no longer cut to the very tip, which makes notching difficult.

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of time in my week-days lately to trot off to the fabric store.

Fortunately, there’s a shop called Sewing World on my walk from work to the train. They sell sewing machines, sewing gizmos, and notions, albeit with a bit of a focus on the quilter.

Unfortunately they’re usually closed by the time I leave work.

Fortunately, one morning this week I managed to get in early enough to stop on my way too work.

Unfortunately they have about eighty bazillion different sizes, styles, and price-points of scissors to choose from.

Fortunately, the lady working was willing to pull out about a dozen, mostly Ginghers, and provide fabric samples for me to snip up.

Unfortunately, the best-quality Ginghers have metal handles. This makes them very pretty and sturdy, but sets off some nerve damage in my thumb.

Fortunately, she pulled out another kind that cut even better than the Ginghers.

Unfortunately, they were really large. This wasn’t a problem for the blade length so much as that my fingers flopped around in the handle. Maybe they’re men’s fabric scissors.

Fortunately, the lady promptly called up her supplier and ordered in a couple of pairs of the same kind in a smaller model.

Unfortunately, they won’t be in until next week at the earliest and I need scissors right away. However, I didn’t want to buy an expensive pair when there was a pretty good chance I’d be coming back for the freakin’ sweet crazy ones in a week or two.

Fortunately, there were some “Featherweight” Ginghers, which while not as awesome as the regular Ginghers, were still pretty sweet, and most importantly, have a plastic handle and are much cheaper. So I have new fabric scissors!

Unfortunately, the plastic extends along the blades, making an odd lump, so that even though the seam allowance gauges still stick, they angle downward too sharply to really work, plus the magnetism isn’t quite as strong so it would get knocked off easily.

Fortunately, I might even have time to come to my senses about the price of those godlike scissors by the time they’re in stock.

Although I wouldn’t bet on it.

And in the meantime, I have new scissors anyway! And they snip! So my notches will (hopefully) no longer resemble irregular blobs somewhere in the general vicinity of where they’re marked on the pattern. Hooray!

PS: writing in that “fortunately, unfortunately” format is kinda addictive. I find my thoughts now composing everything as a series of fortunate and unfortunate happenings.



Filed under Sewing

The weird and wonderful world

Assorted notions

Of vintage sewing knickknacks.

Top: Black "Kashmir Jacketing", centre: polkadot voile; bottom: red and black coating

I mentioned previously that after a bit of a hiatus, my most recent Value Village trip was, ah, fruitful. The fabrics shown to the left are all substantial chunks: 2m of the black, four of the voile, and three of the red/black coating. My husband has attempted to claim the black for his frock coat, although there’s only 2m so I’m doubtful it’ll be enough. The voile has me thinking of retro sundresses (gee, bit surprise), inspired perhaps by this Burdastyle pattern.

The red coating… I don’t know, but there’s 3m, how could I resist? It’s quite heavy and might even be wool(ish). I may have a slight “problem” with coating fabrics…

More patterns I don't need

I couldn’t quite walk out without these patterns, either, despite the fact that I’m pretty sure my pattern stash is nearing critical mass (or at least the point where I’m going to have to start organizing it on something other than the principal of superposition*. The kids’ pattern on the right is cute and summery, just the thing. I was a bit more hesitant about the Kwik Sew dancewear, but I’ve been wanting to make myself another pair of yoga pants forever, and I figure it can’t be too hard to reduce the rise, and everyone loves Kwik Sew patterns and says they’re not as awful as the illustrations, so I went for it. And the corsets… well, c’mon, who can resist a “genuine” (or at least passably historical) corset pattern?

some nifty books



I’m pretty sure I’ve heard recomendations of the book on the right… I’ll let you know once I’ve had a chance to peruse it. The book on the left… well, that kinda speaks for itself. I love Art Nouveau.

More fabric-coverable buttons

Coverable buttons. Apparently these ones don’t need a special setter/tool. And there’s a package of square ones! I’ve never seen square coverable buttons. I’m beginning to have rather a collection of these… I must actually try some sometime.

Weird needlepoint buttons

I think the oddest thing, this round, though, is these needlepoint buttons. Have these been on the fabric store shelves the whole time and I just haven’t noticed? I do tend to steer clear of the plastic canvas section. And yet, I’m oddly intrigued. I have a feeling that, if covered with a really nice yarn, they could be quite lovely, especially if you were a knitter and wanted buttons whose texture matched the knit… Or maybe they’re just irredeemably weird. I don’t knit, so I’m not likely to find out, I suppose… I have seen some vintage thread-wrapped buttons that are gorgeous, and perhaps you could get (with a LOT of patience) a similar look with these…)

In Me-Made June News


Today was a wee bit grueling, culminating in the assembly of a futon so that our impending guests won’t be condemned to the (ever-leaking) air mattress. It was also grey and sprinkly, although I managed not to get actually rained on, doubtless due to the protective properties of the umbrella I actually thought to pack.

My skinny cargoes and frankenshirt. The shirt remains one of my all-time favourite knit projects, despite the fact that the bodice wasn’t quite long enough (so I haven’t hemmed it) and the twin-needle topstitching on the wrists has broken from over-stretching. Also the fabric, another one of those rayon-doubleknit things, has pilled a bit. I still love it.

The skinny cargoes have held up quite well also, albeit not quite as long. The only real problem is that I forgot that the pocket lining I used (the same asian-inspirted remnant I used for the binding in the 70s jacket) hadn’t been pre-washed (don’t worry, I washed it before using it on the jacket). It has shrunk. Not catastrophically, but just enough that there’s a bit of slackness over the front thigh, even though they don’t feel loose. Pooh. These are great pants when I want to feel tough and competent and a little bit edgy. As in, they’re not at all in keeping with the soft-pretty-spring thing I’ve had going on in most of my sewing the last few months. Ah, well. They were just what I needed today.

*geology joke, don’t mind me…


Filed under Sewing

The joy and pain of thrift store patterns

Thrift store buttons!

There’s been a bit of a sewing-type drought at my local Value Village for the last couple of months, so it was with some excitement that I realized there were actually fabrics on the rack this time, not just encroaching curtains, and even a few baggies of random zippers (expensive and not intriguing) and metal buttons (inexpensive and in sets still on their cards—yay!). Needless to say I walked out with the buttons. I managed to resist the fabrics, mostly due to excessive stashing last week.

Simplicity 8613, from 1978

There were also a few 70s patterns, in a misses’ 12, which is close enough to my size. I restrained myself, though, and just picked up the cutest one: isn’t this an adorable jacket? And look at that neat little waistband shaping on the skirt! Pattern includes jacket, skirt, and pants.

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Buying thrift store patterns (as opposed to from a reputable second-hand pattern vendor) is an obvious crapshoot. No way are the employees going through every single envelope to make sure the pattern is complete, never mind in good condition—not when they’re selling for less than a buck apiece.

Yup, this adorable pattern is incomplete. Half the pants are missing, as is that cute little waistband detail, and the first page of the instructions.

Fortunately for me, all the pieces of the jacket (what really drew me to it) are there (uncut!), and the instruction page that is left is the one for the jacket as well. So tragedy is averted. Most of the skirt pattern is there, too, except for that cute waistband, which I guess will be good if I get the hankering for an a-line, mid-length skirt.

Well, it could happen…

So, at least at this point, tragedy has been averted. Not that I really needed another jacket to want to make up. But hey, I’m sure I have enough fabric!

In Me-Made March news,

a fairy boring (not to mention weird hair) day. Sorry, kittens (or, as Patty would say, platypuses), it can’t be circle skirts and fluffy shirts every day. On the upside, it’s sunny!

Me-Made March, day 17

The Frankenpattern shirt
Skinny Cargoes

Oh, and happy St. Patrick’s day, to all you who are out there getting soused in honour of it ;). Apparently they started the breathalyzer-stops here at six AM this morning…


Filed under Sewing

Retail therapy, thrift-store-sewing-notions style.


A consolation score


The school bus schedule changed today, and according to Tyo the bus would be coming five minutes later as they are now the last stop to get on before the bus goes to the school. So we went out five minutes later than our usual time.

And, naturally, the girls missed the bus.

Now that the weather is no longer motorcycle friendly, we are back to being a one-vehicle family, which means my hubby takes off at 7:00 am with the car. Which leaves me with two kids and a complex web of public transit between us and the school. It’s not actually that far as the crow flies, but the buses and train just don’t connect well.

So we trudged off towards the nearest city bus stop. While I was inside the 7-11 getting change to get the girls on the bus (I have a pass as I take public transit to work), the bus came and went (not one that would take us right to their school, but within about a 10-minute walk at offpsring-speed). So, swearing quietly (me, not the kids), we trudged the block further to the train station. The train doesn’t go to the school, but it does go to a stop that has other buses that go by the school. We caught the train, although each of their tickets cost me extra because I still didn’t have quite the right change. We went to (what I thought) was the stop. We waited. Eventually the bus with a number we wanted came. We got on the bus.

The bus proceeded to toodle around in exactly the wrong area for about 40 minutes, before dropping us back where we started. Apparently it had the right number, but the wrong name underneath (usually this means that it’s going along the same route in the opposite direction, so it’ll still get you there EVENTUALLY. Apparently not in this case). It’s really embarrassing getting off a bus at the exact same stop you got on at. Ah, well. At least it gave us a chance to drill Syo’s spelling. She managed to score 0/10 on her last weekly spelling test. I think that takes talent, don’t you?

We started walking.

It takes about 20 minute to walk from the train station to the kids’ school. It only takes about 45 minutes to walk all the way from our house to the school. Granted speeds with offspring in tow are still a little less than optimal, but they’re not that bad. I got the kids to school an hour and a half after they first missed the bus.

Should’ve just walked the whole way.

So on the way home (walking) I stopped at Value Village to console myself. I staunchly resisted the several colours and weights of denims, and some rather interesting brocades. I did succumb to this rather lovely grey/cream wool (on the left in the top photo—would’n’t that make a lovely spring jacket?) and two packages of vintage zippers, still in their little paper cases. Including a bunch of invisible zips, which I don’t have any of. And a bleached old blue flannel duvet cover that will do nicely for the next round of muslin/underlining for Tyo’s coat (on the right).

Whenever I can get the pattern printed.

These zippers are really darling.



Regular zips


Most are in the 7 to 9″ range, good for skirts or pants. One’s a pink 14″ regular, and another’s a white 18″ invisible. I guess I need to make a white dress for it :).



Some invisible zips


And don’t they come in the most adorable little packages, complete with instructions inside?



More zips... the oldest, if price is a guide.


I really do hope I can convince myself to use them. Something about that old packaging is so precious…

Also, it occurs to me that I somehow missed out on the obligatory “Hallowe’en Post”. So here’s a picture. The only actual sewing I did was Syo’s red gauntlets (well, and the jacket Tyo used, but that was last summer and thoroughly blogged already). Syo’s costume wasn’t really warm enough… I should’ve made her put another layer underneath the shirt, even with the very mild weather we had on Sunday. She was pretty cold and grumpy by the time we got home, which is when this picture was taken.


The Zombie Punk and the Fire Fairy



Filed under Sewing

The inexorable allure of vintage sewing notions

Today I ran errands. This is always rather perilous, as it offers me the opportunity to pop into shops that I really should avoid. For example, while waiting for my husband’s prescriptions to be filled I could a) wander around the pharmacy fidgetting, or b) pop across the street to Value Village.

I don’t really need to tell you which option I pursued.




The mass of heavy denim I had spotted the other day was still there. It is now in my laundry basket awaiting laundering. What I hadn’t planned on taking home: a whole bag of random bias-binding, rick-rack, and piping, and another of shoulder pads. Those little mixed baggies are deadly, I tell you.

So, the tally? About eight packages of bias binding, three of which are in colours I would expect to use.

An four or five pairs of shoulder pads. All but one look like this:


shoulder-pad: end view.


They’re quite thick, but the open ends mean if I want to remove some of the padding it won’t be hard.

About four packets of seam-binding, mostly NOT in colours I use


Mending kit as advertising. And I thought grocery lists were sneaky!



Other side of the mending kit


Two little portable mending kits, including this rather cute one.


Red and silver rick-rack; originally sold at Eaton's for about $0.25.


Two packets of small rickrack (although I’m charmed by some recent uses of rickrack I’ve seen, I still can’t get over the tackiness entirely. It’s an issue I’m working on.) Eaton’s was a long-time staple of Canadian department stores; it went belly-up in the 90s, but I couldn’t even tell you when they stopped carrying sewing supplies. Before my time, anyway.



Blue piping. Probably too grubby and worn to use.


And one rather grubby packet of piping in a lovely pale blue.


Lovely (?) lace


And a bunch of old cream lace with pink flowers. Like the rickrack, I’m torn between “quaintly charming” and “ugh-70s-tacky”. At the moment it’s in the “bag of Petticoat Stuff” in the fabric room. If I decide I can’t live with the coral flowers, perhaps I could find a fabric dye pen or paint them.

I’m not sure why I get such a charge out of these random binges of sewing acquisition. It’s got something to do with my stereotype of the proper stash, modeled on my mother’s long-gone sewing paraphernalia (most of which I plundered mercilessly as an adolescent). Some of these bits I’d almost be reluctant to use—they seem more like museum pieces, to be preserved for posterity. (snerk) I do have to be careful of this, as we’re borderline hoarders in my family. I suppose worst-case scenario I open an etsy shop ;). Except that would require (ulp!) MAILING stuff. (Sad but true… you’ll probably never see me host a giveaway. Not because I’m selfish or ungrateful or even don’t want to give stuff away… but because I’m the world’s worst procrastinator when it comes to posting stuff.

Anyway, Tyo has a presentation tomorrow on How To Make A Zombie. Her ingredient list included sage, bay-leaf, chili powder, red water, ketchup, mushrooms, and eyeballs. When I was out this afternoon, I looked for those round chocolates with foil that looks like eyeballs, but couldn’t find any, so we were forced to improvise. I’ll leave you with the result:





Tomorrow, pants update, I promise. 🙂


Filed under Sewing