Wednesday, 16 July 2014


Summer Sundress Sew-a-long, Stripes

Summer Sundress Sew-a-long, Stripes

Ah...hello my peeps!  We've got some lovely summer heat happening in Vancouver right now!  And lucky me...I had some time off work and was able to sneak away for an impromptu mini holiday for a few days. The mister and I drove up to Whistler to get together with a work colleague of his that was visiting from Texas! Turns out, it was a Texas sized occasion with 24 of us sitting down to dinner at Earls Restaurant.  And I'm here to tell ya that we were enveloped in hospitality, Texas style. We thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our visit!

I wore this stripey sundress all most of the time we were in Whistler.    It's  summer sundress sue style. Not so much strappy, but definitely happy. And why?  Where the skin doth show, sunscreen must go. I don't profess to be the fairest in the land, but I do confess to having sun-sensitive skin.  Sigh. Such is the reality for a redhead.  Life experience has taught me the value of keeping shoulders and other rarely exposed bits of skin safely covered when summer's rays are at their fiercest, so when I stumbled across this cute dress on pinterest I knew it would be a perfect summer make!

A few posts back, I shared my technique for making a t-shirt pattern.  Okay, maybe the word technique is a little fancy schmancy.  After all, all I did was cut apart an old t-shirt. But, it worked!  I've made a few tees already, and how 'bout we call them basic t-shirts, view A. 'bout we call my summer sundress, view B. Yuh-uh! This sundress is a direct descendant of my humble t-shirt.  How to?  Well, I added to the length obviously. And, I added to the side seams, creating an A-line shape. I added some fullness to the sleeves with an inverted pleat, and the ruffled hemline is a looooong, gathered rectangle of fabric.  The ZIPPER, although completely unnecessary, is the design feature I love the most. It's my first exposed zip...{can I get a wahoo}...I know, I'm totally late to that party, but what can I say.  It was a little tricky working that zipper in a knit fabric, but I do love the final outcome, especially where the red stripe intersects with the red zipper.  Hello, is that Vogue Magazine a calling? Since we share the good, the bad, and the ugly here, I must share that I did a little hand stitching at the base of that zipper. After I had sewn the zipper in, I spotted a couple of tiny areas that I was concerned might run, so I hand stitched the corners just to be safe. Knit fabrics don't fray which is a definite yay. They do, however, sometimes run, just like when you snag a pair of nylons. Or...when you give your cat corporal know...the punishing of a cat by picking it up and cuddling it.  Naughty cat has not chosen to be cuddled, and he/she tries desperately to free him/herself from evil clutches of human being. This always involves claws and almost always results in snagged t-shirts.  Erg, where was I?  Oh yes, my dress. I had the most fun figuring out the layout.  This double knit fabric, at a whopping $1.99 meter, was unearthed in the bargain center at Dressew.  I think it might have been there because the pattern repeats, oh, about every 50 feet or so. Seriously, it's not, but the pattern seems almost, nearly random. There are different widths of blue and white stripes, and then a surprise random red stripe thrown in here and there.  And I really, really wanted that red stripe to be featured in my dress, so, yes, I played at that for a while. At the end of the day, it definitely passed the travel test; and I like the dress a lot, and I wanna make another one out of a woven fabric!  I have to tell you, if I like a garment I've made, I always so look forward to making it again...all the ifs, buts, and what just happeneds are sorted out, and garment number two usually goes together in about half the time!

Not much else newsy to far the hives have not reoccurred...keeping my fingers crossed.  I've reintroduced everything except the laundry soap. And I'm thinking that I'll try it again....oh, never.  The mister and I have been heading to local farmer's markets on the weekends, our lofty goal being to visit every community market at least once this season. So far, we've been to a grand total of three, so as I type this I'm thinking that we might need to adjust our intentions. Especially since we seem to make a beeline towards the baking stands. every. time. That and homemade jam.  Homemade jam is experiencing a real renaissance chez A Colourful Canvas.  Big time. All righty, 'nuf said. Thanks ever so much for stopping by!

Dress : : Me-Made
Sandals : : American Eagle for Payless
Starfish Earrings : : Me-Made from buttons

Linking Up with Handmade By Heather B for Summer Sundress Sew-a-long

Tuesday, 1 July 2014


Simplicity 2444, Dressing Your Truth Type One

I've got an old birdhouse in the garden.  I've had it for years... it was one of those things I picked up second hand. I sometimes nose around garage sales and thrift stores and buy questionable goods and call them garden art. When we moved into our current home, my birdhouse sat forlornly on the back stairs.  For years. Last fall, during my autumn yard clean-up, I decided it was time to let it go...but. I couldn't. so. I didn't.  I hung it in the wisteria vine and promised to deal with it come spring. Well, spring blossomed, and with it came a lovely pair of chickadees. And yes! They chose that old and tired birdhouse to be their honeymoon cottage. I was surprised, delighted, and thoroughly conflicted about the fact that my little bird hotel (they don't stay long) was smack dab in the middle of cat country.  I have two cats. Two cats that go outside with moderate supervision.  We have a fenced in garden, and my cats are, for the most part, disinclined to jump over, crawl through, or otherwise attempt to explore beyond their confines.  And why would they?  Especially given the fact that their provider of all things earthly has now generously provided front row, interactive, live entertainment.  Sigh.  I assigned myself to guard duty...lounging on a nearby chaise...with a book...and a bevy...I know, I know, it was a tough gig, but someone had to do it.  I also set up a little perimeter fence underneath the birdhouse in an effort to give the young parents at least a little privacy.  I imagine it would be disconcerting having a keen eyed cat sitting directly below one's doorstep 24/7.  Not that my cats are out there 24/7...but I do like to dramatize my boring stories at least a little.  And this story really has no drama. Which is actually very good. Because cats and birds and drama in the same story has a sinister sound to it.   Mama and Papa bird nested,  and then proceeded to feed and nurture those chattering baby chickadees incessantly for a couple of weeks. Then...BAM...they literally flew the coop.  The nest, once a very busy hub, was suddenly very still.  The very next morning the young birds were spotted sitting in our bamboo patch, fluffier versions of their parents.  It was as if they wanted us to know they had their wings and all was well.

So yes, I have been a bit bird obsessed lately.  If you're a blogger, and you've posted anything bird patterned recently, you probably knew this.  As much as one can swoon in a comment, I have been swooning. Most, errr let's make that all, of your bird patterns are pretty...pretty birds, pretty colours. I adore them. Truly. I do.  With that being said, this cartoonish print squawked hello the minute I saw it.  I tried. I tried really, really hard to ignore it, but even when I was at the far end of the store, outta sight, I could hear it calling me. And. Sometimes you just have to give in.  Just like my I'm a Bird in Paradise Dress; this dress, my Birds of a Feather Dress, makes me smile. Big. It's whimsical, it's colourful, and it's me.  Not too much to say about the construction.  The pattern is identical to my previous bird dress, with one exception.  I inserted a centered zipper instead of an invisible one. Why? I wanted a matching turquoise zipper, that's all. sez me.

Okay, real quick now and then I'll let ya go...I got a crazy case of hives last week, and I've been beyond itchy. I think it might be new laundry detergent.  I usually buy Tide Free and Gentle powder, but I bought the liquid TF&G.   The grown-up me knows not to scratch, but, seriously, look at the dress I just sewed. I think I need to wear oven mitts secured to my wrists with duct tape.  Although not entirely gone, they did resolve well enough to allow me to thoroughly enjoy seeing Spamalot this's a hilariously funny musical comedy spawned from Monty Python and The Holy Grail. Oh My Goodness! We did laugh out loud a lot! I've got a new striped, yes STRIPED, sewing project ready to go! I'm planning to sew a summer sundress, and I'm still on the search for the perfect palazzo pants fabric. Weather's been...meh...and...the wisteria vine seems to be dying. We can't understand it. It had a great show of blooms, and then, just, nothing...not much leaf development, and what's there looks limp and lifeless. I am trying look on the bright side of life ala Spamalot, but things are not looking that bright in that corner of the garden right now.

Happy Canada Day to my Canadian Peeps! 
And an early Happy 4th of July to my American Cousins!

Dress :: Me-Made Simplicity 2444
Shoes :: Nine West

Linking up with The Sewcialists for Oonapalooza

Monday, 16 June 2014


Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.  I just thought it would be later.  Like, much, much later. Like in my eighties, later.  Last week, at the Sally Ann, I was cheerfully asked if the senior's discount applied to my purchase me!  Really?  No. Really? Whaaaaatt?  And! To make the whole experience just a little more memorable, I was buying one item, a t-shirt for $1.99.  My senior's saving?  Twenty cents. Sigh...I guess it's all good.  At least I can say that's one of those firsts that's done, finis, know, like the first time I was addressed as Ma'am. Or the first time I was asked if I needed help out with my groceries.  I've lived through it. It wasn't so bad. And to be honest, at the time I thought it was funny. Of course, I did. NOT. see it coming. at. all. The incident occurred while I was out on my lunch hour, and I'll tell ya, as the afternoon wore on, I did become a little indigent about the whole thing. My colleagues were appropriately outraged along with least when they weren't laughing. That evening, the mister...well he belly laughed out loud. {I love this man!} He opined that the clerk was obviously of the age where EVERY one over thirty is old.  Not true; I swear the woman that asked was older than I. The other big question? What exactly is the magic number for the coveted 10% discount? In the interest of reporting with integrity, I did check to find out exactly what the age is for eligibility for a seniors' discount.  I mean, what if it was forty? No, it's not forty, but we all knew that.  Six Zero. Sixty. That is the age, whereupon one is eligible for a senior's discount.  I guess I'm relieved it's not sixty-five. Why me? I dunno. Maybe it was random. Or. Maybe every eleventy hundredth person gets asked regardless of how young or old they look. Or. Maybe, just maybe,  I look sixty.  Okay, I've had my rant. I intend no offense to those sixty or better. I actually look forward to being sixty and better. Just not today.

Now, can I please chat about my t-shirt?  First up, about that $1.99 t-shirt bought at that place. It was with the sole intent of transforming it into a pattern. {It became a lesson in humility, but I digress.}   Anyhoo, I bought a t-shirt that fit just right, and then I carefully cut it apart and drafted a pattern from it.  Just a basic tee. Nothing fancy.  Design tweaks can happen down the road after I've test driven knit fabrics a few times. I have sewn them before, but it's been a long time since I've been behind that wheel.  So far I've made two tees; this one and a plain white one, and I'm pleased with how they've turned out.  The fit is good, the stripes match up pretty good, it's pretty much all good.  I stabilized the shoulder seams and neckline with Stay-Tape, and I stabilized the hems with knit interfacing.  I used a twin needle on the hems.  I also used a twin needle around the neckline, but, I think in future, I might just sew a single row of stitching. The double row of stitching around the neckline ribbing almost makes the white tee look like a man's undershirt. errgg. This isn't a super creative make, but it's supremely comfortable, and if I can find fun cotton jersey knits, there will be more me-made t-shirts in my future.

It's been a busy week or two here...since I saw you last, the mister and I have been to see Wicked!  Live theatre is a favourite pastime for us, and we really, really enjoyed the show.  I've also been outdoors potting red geraniums with sweet alyssum, bacopa, and purple lobelia.  We've had pretty typical June weather...partly cloudy with a 60% chance of showers...which basically means anything and everything goes.  I've been sewing, and plotting new projects. I've also been enjoying some good reads. Author Peter Robinson writes an intelligent mystery series.  He's a fellow Canadian, born in Britain.  His stories are set in England and revolve around Chief Inspector Banks.  He's written about twenty in the series, so it's lookin' to be a fine summer and then some.  Okay friends!  Thanks ever so much for reading! 'Til next time...

T-shirt ::  Me-Made, my own pattern
Jeans ::   SWS Denim, Thrifted
Jacket :: Joe Fresh, Thrifted
Espradrilles :: Aldo
Straw Handbag :: Thrifted

Linking up with Sacramento and Rosy for Share in Style: Denim

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