Thursday, 19 March 2015


Simplicity 2339, DYT Type One, A Colourful Canvas

Simplicity 2339, DYT Type One, A Colourful Canvas

Simplicity 2339, DYT Type One, A Colourful Canvas

Simplicity 2339, DYT Type One, A Colourful Canvas

Hey Peeps! Happy to see you again! Things have been ticking along at an easy pace these past few weeks. I have been sewing, but I've been slow sewing. 'What is, and why?' you ask. Well, most textile arts are thoughtful, calming, even meditative. Machine sewing however, has always held for me, an urgent nature. It's been all about the finished garment. Speed is impressive, yes? 'You made that in two days? Impressive!' said the masses a few of my friends each time I paraded out a new outfit. Gradually, over the last year or so, I've been intentionally slowing things down.  I'm taking time to learn new techniques. I tweak patterns and work on improving my hand stitching. I don't rush the fabric selection, or the design, or the finishing details. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy sewing before...I've always loved it. I just wanted to consciously enjoy each step {okay, maybe not taping together PDF patterns...} of the garment making process. And, I'm doing just that! It's funny...if I were to be logical....the older I get, the faster I should sew, LOL {not getting any younger and all, blah, blah, blah}. Okay, there is no wrong sew, slow's all good...I'd love to hear what works for you.

Today's shirt dress, a bit of a hack on Simplicity 2339, keeps with my slow sew theme.  The pattern is a classic fitted shirt with specific pattern pieces based not only on your bust size, but on your cup size too. Although I've been wanting a gingham shirt, I was antsy for a spring dress...I think my shirt dress is a happy compromise.  I could have simplified my life by buying a shirt dress pattern, but I was up to the task for some minor pattern drafting. It wasn't super difficult, but there was strategy involved. I cut out a size smaller than the pattern specs suggested {Simplicity tends to fit large on me}, and cut the shirt front and back pattern pieces to waist length. I added a waistband. I remembered {this is a big deal} to make the front band the full length of my dress, and I drafted front and back skirt pieces...well, I cut three rectangles {too easy to qualify as self drafted}. After gathering the skirt pieces at the waistline, and adding in-seam pockets, I attached the skirt pieces to the waistband/bodice pieces. I attached the skirt lining before sewing on the front band. I love my 99 Pink Balloons Dress; it's definitely in the must do this pattern again category.

I'm attempting to keep my post short and sweet today, but one last thing...Michelle of Michelle, ma belle...tres bien ensemble posted her contribution to the Crazy Dog Lady Sewing Challenge very recently.  It put a major smile on my face. I won't say more; see for yourself...Crazy Dog Lady Sewing: Meet the Pack.

Joining Helena at Gray All Day for Sew It Chic In A Week


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

ORANGE : : PINK : : BURDA COAT 02/2015 #120

Hey guys {and by guys I mostly mean ladies} .... hope all is well with you! After my last post, I pretty much jumped right into working on my orange and pink coat. Not an expected way to find inspiration, but that's the cool thing about inspiration..anywhere, anything. Before I forget....a very big thank you for your suggestions on the photography class conundrum!  Your words really helped me sort things out. I realized that I have not one, but two, Craftsy Photography classes sitting in my Craftsy account. And no. They were not just purchased. Errmm...they've been languishing there for months. You see, as creative as photography is, it's as much, or more so, technical in the beginning. Yes? It's now apparent that self teaching and technical doesn't work that well for me. I also realized that I quite liked the instructor from last year. She's retired, alternates between wearing distance glasses and readers, and she teaches with heart. Oh, and she's quite the brilliant photographer to boot. The loose plan is that I at least review my Craftsy classes over the next few months, and sign up for the spring session providing that the instructor is the same. I did ask about, and was denied, a pro-rated fee last September. I'm sure that won't have changed. The good news is that I'm confident I've forgotten everything I learned in those couple of classes. Yeehaw!

Okay, my coat today is the Burda Double Breasted Coat 02/2015 #120, a recent release from their online site. I was attracted to the silhouette. When it comes to sewing clothing, one has to really imagine how a garment might look on oneself. Garments are modeled on women that are much taller than me {me or I? Visit the Oxford Dictionary here and then tell me}, and I am trying to use discernment when it comes to pattern selection. Although this coat is double breasted, it has minimal embellishment {no collar, sleeve cuffs, or pocket cuffs}. It also has a number of vertical lines. The seaming is very interesting...I know it's impossible to see, but the back bodice is diamond shaped, and the front bodice pieces are triangular. I'm really pleased with the fit, and I'm looking forward to sewing this pattern again in either striped fabric, or with colour blocking. What say you?

This was my first Burda PDF pattern. I've long thought that Burda comes up with really creative fashion designs. I can't say I like every pattern, but isn't that kinda the point? They often push the envelope when it comes to style, and I really appreciate that.  But. Oh, you knew there was a but, didn't you? Sewing Burda patterns can be a bit of a nightmare. At least, they were years ago when I sewed their paper doubt you'd find me grumbling, if not sniffling, in a corner. Fast forward to last week....and yes, I had the usual grumbles when it came to assembly, but I am getting much more efficient at the whole thing. Of course, with Burda, you have to add seam allowances.{sigh} And....just so things were a little more interesting, Burda included an additional pattern piece. Huh?  Looks like I have a pattern piece for a collar, if I so choose! The pattern is rated advanced, and yes, I agree. The instructions are a little sketchy, and there are no drawings to assist. The placement lines for the pockets are not in alignment. Whew! Now. Having said all that, the majority of the coat went together beautifully! All my seams lined up, and the set in sleeves were no problem. Seriously, this coat sewed up like a breeze.  I even fancied things up with bound buttonholes from contrasting fabric.

And, can I just ramble a minute about my buttonholes and buttons? Pretty please? That voice inside my head said to do something a little I riffled through my stash not even quite sure what I was looking for. I do love orange paired with blue, and I may or may not have squealed when I matched the blue patterned fabric to the orange and pink. And..well, I think that the blue lining brings it all together. I love the result! And the buttons! I wanted that little extra punch of colour, and I think these do take what could be a ho-hum coat...well, as much as a pink and orange coat can be ho-hum..and elevate it to Sue couture! We, the mister and I, found these at Button Button, a charming little button shop in Vancouver!

PS...this is a complete stash make. The pink and orange fabric has been patiently waiting in the wings for a year or so...I found it in the deep discount bargain department. The blue printed fabric is a fairly recent purchase...I'm thinking of pants...either the Ginger Jeans pattern or my go-to Simplicity 1783. The lining is cotton broadcloth,a thrift store find.

PPS...this is my second Elizabeth Hollick Wall Mural background. See the first one here. Isn't she awesome! 

Worn with my Ginger Jeans.


Monday, 16 February 2015


Oh, hey again.  I know I just posted a few days ago, but it turns out that creative expression doesn't necessarily follow a bimonthly pattern. Oooh could be that I'm feeling a little rebellious. I want to share my most recent beading project...and I want to share

This beaded, wrapped, leather bracelet was pretty straightforward as far as projects go, but oh boy, this baby was a long time in the making..I actually started it in December, and thought I'd have it finished in a turned out to be a bit fiddly working with the long threads, and I have the attention span of a gnat. Early on, I'd whoop with delight if I got half a dozen rows done, about a half hour's effort. Anything beyond that, and I'd feel all cross-eyed and nervy. As work progressed, the beading threads got shorter, and things hummed along much faster.  I didn't plan beyond my initial selection of beads, and happily, I quite like the finished effect. I have to say, my {very} favourite part is the button fastener. It's just two regular buttons, stacked...but, I think it's rather cool looking. For those that get the hankering for their own DIY project, I assure that single wrapped bracelets take much less time.

So, fast backwards to last year, and my pie in the sky dreams of a blog filled with mesmerizing photography. Yeah, um...shall I start at the beginning? April 2014 it was, and  I registered for a photography class.  The start-up date was May 1st with five lessons over five weeks. I was excited, and mentally marked each passing day on the calendar.  It wasn't to be a fancy affair. A Continuing Ed programme offered through the community.  But still, I held high hopes for myself. Finally, I would get my camera off the automatic setting.  After just two lessons, our class got cancelled due to a civic strike.  Sigh. Untended boulevards and accumulating garbage I could take, but I got me some serious wah-wahs when I learned that my long anticipated class was on hold.  Although the strike ended late May, the remaining three classes were cancelled leaving me in a awkward state of learnedness.  In two lessons, I did get my camera off the auto setting.  Can I hear a whoop whoop?  But. I found myself making more oops oops than whoop whoops while trying to take artful pictures.  I would mentally see the money shot in my head.  The perfect composition, the light just so, yada yada yada. The reality, however,  was turning out to be another beast entirely....apparently two classes gave me just the right amount of schooling to give me confidence...I had never fiddled so freely with my camera. It was also painfully obvious that I had no clue as to what exactly I was fiddling with. Oh, I learned the words aperture and shutter speed. But. Their meaning hadn't yet stuck. And. so. I floundered throughout the summer betwixt and between. I was tempted to simply go back to auto mode. I was tempted to spend countless hours on the Internet googling how to be a brilliant photographer in five easy lessons. But honestly, neither option held much appeal; the truth was I had been so looking forward to a real time, real life, classroom setting. I eventually put my camera holding on hold. September would surely come soon enough....and I could resume my class then...

Well, the glossy recycled paper magazine did indeed show up in my mailbox early September. And, yep, there was my class, all five lessons, just like I remembered. But, here's the thing...I had no option but to register and pay for the course in it's entirety and...well...that kinda annoyed me. I had already taken, and paid for, the first two lessons, and it wasn't through any choice of mine that the class didn't continue at the end of the labour dispute. So? I didn't sign up for the course. Um...something to do with the principle of the matter....I believe was the argument in my head.  Sigh...It all sounds a little lame now, doesn't it?

So here I am, another year later and still rather hopeless at this photography thing. Once again, I am pondering the idea of improving my camera skills. I might even be willing to register for the spring 2015 photography course. What would you do? Any and all suggestions greatly appreciated.

This background is yummy fabric! I have orange coats and pink coats, but I don't yet have an orange and pink coat! I think I might have to use this fabric to make a coat!