Sunday, 25 January 2015


Ginger Jeans, Closet Case Files, A Colourful Canvas

Ginger Jeans, Closet Case Files, A Colourful Canvas

Ginger Jeans, Closet Case Files, A Colourful Canvas

Ginger Jeans, Closet Case Files, A Colourful Canvas

Ginger Jeans, Closet Case Files, A Colourful Canvas

I may, or may not, have worn damp jeans when in my teenage years. In my defense, it was the seventies, and to get that coveted fit...well, you put your jeans on before they were completely dry. As the denim dried, the fabric shrunk...just right.  Of course, as the days rolled by, the fabric eased...knees and bottoms got baggy, and waistbands got looser. Why? Well, due to the unique weave of denim, the cotton fibers gently stretch with wear. These days, a lot of denim gets a boost of stretch with the addition of spandex/lyrca/elastane synthetic fibers. There's no longer the need (need?...hahaha) for donning wet jeans...but, on the flip side, that fabric can stretch out in a single wear.  I weighed in on both fabrications, looked at my limited choices in the local fabric stores, and settled on buying both traditional denim and stretch denim! This pair, my first Ginger Jeans make, is sewn with 100% cotton....and no, I did not put them on damp.  I still think I got a killer fit, thank you very much! I sewed version A, the stovepipe silhouette and I added a little length (5/8") to the rise. The finished look is very much the distressed, slightly easy, fit I was hoping for.

Why sew jeans in the first place? Well, I was drawn to the idea of imprinting some of my own personality on an article of clothing that is an almost everyday wear. When I started seeing Ginger Skinny Jeans by Closet Case Files, I thought, here's my chance to have a little fun.  And fun I did have.  It started with the pocket lining (not shown), a cheery, flowery print.  I used the same print for a ripped patch, and I also lined my back pockets...that way the lining fabric peaks through the rips.  I also finished the seam edges at the bottom of the jeans...when I roll them up, I get another little bit of individuality. The zipper and top stitching thread, both lilac!  And the obvious? Distressed denim. Something I've been wanting to have a go at for some time. I almost ditched the plan due to the cross-wise thread being blue, not white (bleach softened the blue to a light pink). In the end, I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out, although I'm hoping they look more aged with future laundering.

So, do you like distressed jeans? Did you put on your jeans damp? Does it feel wrong to you to mangle perfectly good fabric? With these jeans, I did the major cuts before I had even begun sewing them together. I was pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to do it after completing my garment. To rephrase; technically, I could have attacked at any time with a seam ripper and scissors, but I know myself well enough to doubt my ability to intentionally destroy a brand new make.

I'm looking forward to sewing the pattern again with my stretch denim. I want to try the super skinny version, and by necessity, I'll be refitting the pattern....we all know how fun (not) that is....mwahahahahaha. The good news is that this was, for me, a very straightforward make. And Heather Lou has so many cool tips for making your jeans look professionally done.  The pocket tips are superb! I can't help it...I've been totally eyeballing the rear pockets on women's jeans since this make...GAH.  There does appear to be one misprint in the pattern instructions. The written instructions advise to edge finish the fly front extension on the right leg only. The online sewalong instructs to finish the left leg...I sewed the right leg, and yep, it's the left leg that I should have finished. Ah well, I was able to trim it a bit with pinking shears.

'nuf said.  Hope you are all enjoying January 2015. I'll see you soon...

Linking up with Patti of Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday


Sunday, 11 January 2015


Camas Blouse, Thread Theory, A Colourful Canvas,

Camas Blouse, Thread Theory, A Colourful Canvas,

A Colourful Canvas, Camas Blouse, Thread Theory

 Camas Blouse, Thread Theory, A Colourful Canvas,

Hello and Happy January. While many of my 40+ blogging friends are decidedly low key about the new year {which is all good}, it appears that the sewing community is abuzz with anticipation. I have been happily immersed in your world, voraciously reading about your sewing goals for 2015, your hits and misses from 2014, and the many challenges and pledges that seem to be popping up on various blogs! Me? I ease into the new year, rarely making plans, let alone resolutions. But all this enthusiasm has inspired me to reflect on what I've done in the past and what I might like to do differently in the future. One thing that has become clear, is that an important and growing part of the online sewing community is still quite new to me, and that is the world of independent {or Indie} sewing pattern companies! Yes, I have a few Indie makes, but I've barely scratched the surface. This year I'm looking forward to sewing more patterns designed by these {mostly} young, {and all} talented women. And. I can think of no better way to start my new year than with a pattern very recently released by Thread Theory, an almost-local based business. {They're on Vancouver Island.} Without further adieu, please do say hello to the Camas Blouse...

Before I launch into a good ramble about this make, I want to give a quick heads up to my non-sewing friends....Because this is a new pattern, I'm going to go into a little greater detail about my sewing experience...something I rarely do when modeling garments made from patterns no longer in print.  If your eyes begin to glaze over, or worse...roll back in your head....please, please, skip right on past the next few paragraphs.

Okay, the Camas Blouse...I sewed a straight size 8, although I'm a size 6 at the waist and hip. The finished garment fits beautifully...well, except the neckline...the neckline is too low for me. Fortunately, a camisole provides both comfort and some extra winter warmth. The pattern is designed for knit fabrics, with the option of using a woven fabric for the yoke. {I used woven cotton gingham for the yoke and placket.}  So, what is it with knit fabrics? I find it so hard to find knit fabrics that I like.  So many of them strike me as either looking dated or just plain dull. When I happened upon this blue and pink patterned knit at Value Village for $2.99, I decided to just buy it and treat this first make as a test garment for fit.  I mean are getting a bit of a pyjama vibe, aren't you? Now, and I'm keeping it real here...I know this is not high fashion...sometimes an armful of bracelets just isn't enough to elevate a look...but, it is super comfortable...kinda pyjamas. It was a great way to work out any pattern quirks, and I can see wearing this top casually.  Whatever we think, I'm joining lovely Patti at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday.  I think we can all agree I'm nothing if not pretty visible.

All righty. Sewing this was pretty much a breeze. There aren't many pattern pieces and they all matched precisely. The pattern instructions were very clear and easy to follow, although I did experience one umermhmmm moment. One of the final steps is to top-stitch the placket seam line. It was the illustration beside this instruction that had me slightly confused. It shows the top-stitching along the outer edge of the placket. That didn't look quite right to me so I sewed my top stitching along the other side of the placket, a scant 1/8" from the seam line that attaches the placket to the garment. The end result effectively securing the placket facing to the placket front. I think that was the intention of the pattern designer, although I'm not entirely certain.

One little word of caution: Be mindful when sewing said placket to the garment...the pattern instructions clearly state to sew the longest side of the curved neck placket to the shirt neckline. The potentially tricky thing is that the other {wrong}side of the placket seems to fit just fine...ask me how I know. Yep, despite the reminder, I initially sewed my placket on incorrectly, which resulted in a placket that stood up at the back of the neck instead of lying flat. With some careful stitch ripping, I was able to correct my error. If you aren't having to ease in extra fabric, you might be making the same boo-boo I made.

Overall, I'm really pleased with the pattern, and I anticipate sewing another one just as soon as I find some awesome fabric! I will do a simple alteration to raise that neckline, and that's about it. For those that care to know, this pattern is only available in PDF, and I clearly have not yet found my rhythm when it comes to taping together twenty or so pieces of copy paper.  I'd go as far as to say that I find it tedious matching everything up. My cats, on the other hand, delight in skidding across my nearly constructed paper puzzle, effectively destroying my efforts. And. I admit it. I do say a little ouch when I purchase Indie patterns. They are not inexpensive.  The Camas Blouse is $11.00 (Canadian $ for me), which is quite significantly more than the sixty-nine cents I spend at the thrift store. Having said that, I am so appreciative of the heart that goes into these patterns. I'm still a bit giddy about having met Tasia from Sewaholic. These young designers have so much passion for what they do, and that really says a lot to me. I also understand that production costs are higher for these small companies.  So, even though you'll still see me making big four pattern company designs, I'm eagerly beginning to explore many of the Indie design companies!  In fact...I'm heading east to Montreal for my next make...


My other Indie makes:

Sunday, 28 December 2014


A Colourful Canvas, Simplicity 2444, DYT Type One

A Colourful Canvas, Simplicity 2444, DYT Type One

Oh brrrr! Outdoor photos in December! In Vancouver! In my Pretty Party Dress! Trust me, it was a very short few minutes sans puffy jacket.  Okay...'nuf said about my foolish ways...I want to catch you up on a couple of stellar happenings chez A Colourful Canvas.  First words really to describe how much fun my most recent blogger meet up've been introduced to Suzanne from Suzanne Carillo before here...When Suzanne and I first/last met in May 2014, we conspired to have the most awesome Melanie of Bag and a Beret join us at our next visit...and all came together just a few weeks ago. {Errmmm...that reads like it took us eight months to secure an attendance with The Diva Miz Baggs Herself...hahaha} The three of us Canadian peeps spent the day in Gastown, Vancouver's oldest historic neighbourhood. Lunch, long and leisurely as per Suzanne's request {we aim to entertain our out-of-town guests in the style they are accustomed to}, followed by some cool and quirky thrift store shopping, made for three very happy blog friends.  Melanie and Suzanne, both brilliantly funny writers, have waxed poetic about the day here and here....and, errm...I don't want to come off as a bossy boots, but I am strongly encouraging you to read their posts...NOW...No. Wait. Not NOW NOW...but NOW, right after you've read my post NOW.  And by the way, both Melanie and Suzanne; they's not just funny gals, they are wildly creative...ROCKSTAR PAINTED PANTS AND JACKET and Society6/Suzanne Carillo

Suzanne, Sue and Melanie

Up next, My Pretty Party Dress. and isn't it ironic, my dress today was sewn from the fabric I purchased when Suzanne and I shopped together in the spring. Whaaaat? I know. A little bit of finesse was required when laying out my trusty Simplicity see the fabric was a finished piece, like a sari I think, and each end had an embroidered edge and then the flower pattern was artfully woven from each end back towards the middle of the yardage (about 1.5m in length). The front and back skirt rectangles were cut from each end, and then I played around a bit aiming for the most pleasing bodice layout. Although this is pattern 2444, it is my heavily altered version, originally drafted for my Betty Draper Roses Dress. A reader had asked for instructions on altering the bodice as I've done; it involves a good deal of pattern drafting, making a new seam, transferring the dart ease into those seams, etc. Although I managed to figure it out for myself, I haven't worked up the courage to do a tutorial. Is this something that many of you would like to see? On my Pretty Party Dress, I chose to gather the bodice rather than pleating it..which worked just so-so.  The embroidered flowers refused to be gathered, and even after two attempts, things look a bit uneven. Lucky for me, the pattern is busy enough that even I don't notice it, and nor should you, unless you are spending a little too much time looking at, well you know....mwahahahaha. The only other minor hiccup appears to be the length of the hem lining, maybe just a little too long. I didn't allow for wind gusts whilst standing on a rock at the winter. The good news? This lightweight, as in almost sheer, fabric was well suited to an invisible zipper. And I'm beginning to love the sleeveless version of this dress more and more. 

Okay, you've been subjected to Simplicity 2444 for two posts in a row, {not intended I promise}, and you're done. Over it. I get it. Let's move on. If sewing an invisible zipper in lightweight fabric is good news, then the imminent arrival of 2015 can only be better news.  New year, new patterns! Now, you're excited, yes? I have purchased a couple of Indie Pattern downloads that I'm eager to try.  But, here's the thang...that whole printing off and taping together thang. I'm a little overwhelmed even thinking about it. So, my question for my readers that sew these Indie patterns ....However do you store these patterns after printing? Do you try and fold them? Or do you remove all the tape and stack the papers together? Or roll them up...and then store them, how

My other bit of stellar news is that I received a very special package in the mail just before Christmas.  The lovely ladies, liZ and Elizabeth from Project Sewn, drew my name from the proverbial hat for their latest, and probably final, Project Sewn Linky Party. To say I was overwhelmed with my gifts would be an understatement.  Thank you so very much, not only for your generous gift, but also for hosting the fabulous Project Sewn Competition! I discovered a lot of talented sewers, and was inspired over and over, by both the official contestants and also the sew-along participants!  

Squeeeee!!! Whimsical, colourful, and outstanding quality!

Last, but not least...I want to wish you a Happy Christmas Season...and if not your most heartfelt wishes for a blessed wintertime...things have been quiet here...our Christmas Day guest list dwindled down from a comfortable group of six to just the two of us, the mister and I...I admit I was a bit anxious about it all...I have very conflicted feelings about all the merriment that blankets the planet at this time of year. It's with a bit of relief that I can say that the day was really quite lovely...we were blessed with the gift of time...I baked chocolate ginger cookies...we walked along our beach in brilliant afternoon sunshine...we cooked a traditional Christmas dinner minus the pressure to have everything anything on the table at a certain time...and we puttered away at the annual jigsaw puzzle. Truthfully, with the exception of my over-the-top tree, Christmas is pretty low-key chez A Colourful Canvas. Even so, I now have an even greater appreciation for simplicity. Thank you all for reading my little blog in 2014!  I'm really looking forward to sharing more creativity, colour and whimsy in 2015! See you next year! 

Joining up with Patti of Not Dead Yet Style for her final Visible Monday of the year!

Other Simplicity 2444 Makes: