Tuesday, March 29, 2011

something soon?

So I:
- have been keeping up with Me-Made-March, although not documenting it.
- haven't gotten a bit of sewing done since last week, other than cutting out two pieces of bodice lining for my next project.
- hope to get working tomorrow morning, and have something to share by the evening (fingers crossed).

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I think I'm in love...

...with Colette Patterns. I just finished my first Sencha blouse, and it went together so nicely. The instructions are detailed and easy to follow, the pattern was well drafted (everything matched up like it should), and most importantly, it looks really nice finished.

so cute!

The only thing I will change for the next one is an added a couple of inches to the length above the waist. I should have thought to do this to begin with, (for someone so short, I have a strangely long torso) but I didn't, so the waist contouring and the tucks are all about two inches too high.

I might also as a little bit of width along the center front, because the bust has no real ease, and the sleeves sit a little strangely if I stretch my arm up high and then down again (which probably isn't a problem for most people, but I do it all day at work). Or maybe I'll just try cutting a 6 instead of a 4, see if that fixes it.

But anyway, I used a poly/cotton blend black gingham, and some super cute buttons made of faceted clear plastic with a metallic backing that makes them extra sparkly. 

ooh, shiny

I almost went with some red vintage buttons I have in stash, but it makes me so happy looking at them that I couldn't bare using them on the back of something, lol.

I love these so much

And now that I've shared, it's off to bed :).

Friday, March 18, 2011

finally moving on

The pink and grey plaid shirt is finally finished! There are a few things about it I would have tried harder to make perfect (like the very weirdly fitting sleeve caps) if it were a fabric I loved, instead of just liked, but in general I'm pretty pleased with it. I used simplicity 8399 (from 1968), with a few alterations.

I took in one inch from both the front and back pieces between the arm and waist, and added back waist darts so it didn't hang like a pillowcase (ha ha).

And most exciting, I made my very first fabric covered buttons! I used a kit from my local fabric store, and it worked quite well. The buttonholes ended up right on the grey block of the plaid, so I used that part for the buttons to match. One of the back pieces didn't want to stick, so I had to take pliers to it. It got a little mangled, but I just used that one for the bottom, as it will be hidden when the shirt is tucked in.

I'm pretty happy with the pattern matching on the front too (I didn't even try to match the side seem or the shoulders, maybe next time). I was nervous about putting in a collar, but it was actually quite easy.

And that's it! I even finally got a tripod, so taking pictures of finished projects no longer involves a stack of boxes on the kitchen table and hope that they won't fall over. Tomorrow, on to a black gingham Sencha.


Just so you know, I haven't been forgetting about my Me-Made-March pledge, I just haven't been photographing it, because at this point all the outfits are repeats. It is an enlightening project, I'm realising just how few clothes I actually have. And I keep almost getting tripped up by a couple of skirts that are not me-made, but also not ready to wear, rather hand made to my specs by a lovely online store called In the Starlight, which is sadly no longer in existence. I love those two so much I assume when I'm half asleep and getting dressed that I made them, ha ha.

Now for the running out the door to work :P.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Between work and being completely thrown off kilter by the time change, I haven't made much progress in any sewing this week. I have hopes for this weekend though, because of all the wonderful spring sewing supplies that came in the post for me this week! So much inspiration, I can't wait to make (and wear) some nice spring dresses.

Pretty fabrics from fabric.com

four dresses, two shirts, and a petticoat to be

My Colette Patterns order showed up!

Ceylon, Lady Gray, Chantilly, and Sencha

And I finally got my sewing scissors sharpened. Why didn't I do this a year ago when I started sewing again?! They even sound sharper, and it was only 6$. the store is on the way home from work, it wasn't even out of the way, and they where done in about 5 minutes. I can't wait to cut something out. (maybe a black gingham Sencha?)

So the plan is: finish the silly plaid shirt tomorrow, and then have all weekend to start on something fun, colourful, and perfect for spring :).

Saturday, March 12, 2011

progress, finally

With Betty-the-Janome happily back in her place on my coffee table, I'm finally making progress on the pink and grey plaid shirt. I catch: I can't seem to care about it. I know I need more shirts, and that it will be very cute, etc, but all I can think about are pretty dresses with matching half jackets, fourties trousers, sweet little tops in brightly coloured silks. Spring is popping up all over, and it's whispering to me to make gingham dresses, not flannel shirts. Unfortunately, all of the projects I'm excited about have either the pattern or the fabric (or both) still in the post, so I'll just have to bide my time.

shapeless box of a shirt

So far, I have the darts, side, and shoulder seams sewn and edged in bias tape, with the sleeves about to be put in. I'm a little nervous about those; not only have I not set in sleeves since grade nine home ec, but after unthinkingly taking in the side seam on the blouse body, my sleeve hole is two inches smaller than it started out being. Pinning that much out of the arm seam made for awkwardly snug sleeves, so I'm going to try either gathers or tucks in the sleeve cap to take up the extra slack. With some luck it will look like an interesting design feature instead of a slapdash fix, ha ha. My first attempt at pattern matching didn't work very well, I will have to read up on it in my lovely new sewing books before trying it again.

side seam pattern matching = fail

After that I guess I'm done for the night, as I realised when I went to cut it out that I'm right out of interfacing for the collar and button strips. Oh dear, that means it's off to the fabric store for me tomorrow morning, with all their pretty spring fabrics... and a fifty percent off everything sale... Somehow I think I'll be coming home with more than interfacing ;).

As far as me-made-march goes, I've been good about remembering to do it, but not so much about the photographing. Days 6, 7, and 11 somehow got missed, but here's the rest of the week:

day 8/12

Me made pink peasant skirt, with black/white striped shirt on day 8, black/pink striped shirt on day 12.

day 9

Me made pink ruffle shirt, with a lovely pink skirt from the now closed In The Starlight website.

day 10

Me made red peasant top with me made grey corduroy jumper skirt.

And next week I'll try to remember pictures every day, and hopefully some new wardrobe additions to show off :).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

back soon, I swear...

There hasn't been a lot of action on the sewing front in Sarah land this week. My machine is in the shop, having some divets in the bobbin case case thing (technical, I know) filed smooth again, and I'm going a little bit stir crazy from lack of sewing, but hope to be back in business soon. The pink plaid shirt is all cut out and ready to go, and I'm going shopping this weekend for experimental panty-making-experiment supplies, so there's lots to do once I have poor old Betty (otherwise known as the Janome mystyle100) back.

Also, I finally bought a bunch of Colette patterns that I had been ogling from a distance for a while now, and fabric to make them in, all in the mail and being impatiently waited for. Get ready to be inundated with different variations of these once they show up :). If you haven't heard of Colette Patterns, go check them out, now. So very pretty. And their blog is full of helpful hints and tips to make your sewing even more lovely, as well as designer bios and all sorts of other goodies.

I was just going to at least post some me-made-march pictures, before realising that my camera batteries are too dead to even copy pictures to my computer. We've pretty much run the gamut of my wardrobe at the moment though, from here on it's just the same things in different combination anyway.  Definitely time to get on sewing more everyday staple pieces.

It's not a post without some eye candy though, so here's a sneak peak of my most recent etsy finds.

Butterick 6582 repro wiggle dress

McCall's 9755

Don't you just love the scalloped neckline? And the jacket! It makes me swoon just thinking of the possible fabric combinations.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

challenge outfits

As I have yet to get up and do something productive with my next project, here are days 3 to 6 of the me-made-march challenge.

day 3
Full length, self drafted, ruffled peasant skirt, made from my christmas present fabric, and a matching blouse (new look 6599) with ruffled lace trim and heart buttons. I still have some extra fabric left over to make a matching corset and shrug, one of these days. 

day 4

And this is when I ran out of self made shirts, ha ha. Self drafted corduroy and satin kilt with black eyelet trim.

day 5

 One of my first sewing projects, two layer ruffled skirt with ribbons sewn into the waistband on top and between the layers, which can be tied together to gather the top skirt layer at each side seam. I rarely use it, but it's nice to have in case I feel like dressing like a bar wench, ha ha.

Day 6 (today) is just day 3s skirt and a rtw top. 

Bonus Jewellery shot from day 2, self made dangley earrings and super cute octopus pendant from etsy.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


I went shopping this afternoon at some of my favourite used book stores, and made some great finds.

The Complete Book of Sewing by Constance Talbot. Copyright 1943, revised 1949. This one looks to have just about anything you might want to know about fabric selection, construction methods, and sewing for the home. It's chock full of beautiful vintage illustrations and black and white photographs. Even if I didn't sew this would be interesting historically.

Vogue Fitting by the Butterick Company. Copyright 1984. While the colour photo gallery at the beginning is very, very eighties, the actual information is timeless, and helpfully illustrated. A cursory flip through has already turned up several fitting tips that will be quite helpful. I have a feeling this one will be open on my sewing table more often than on the shelf.

And finally, Needlework and Cutting Out by Agnes Walker. Fifth edition, dated 1907.

I doubt I will use this as an actual manual, but how could I resist an edwardian sewing book? It appears to be a book for sewing teachers, and has instructions on how to give lessons on different techniques.

The best part of this one is the hand scripted note in the front, presenting it as a gift to Mrs. M. Green.

It says "Presented to Mrs. M. Green by her co-workers as a token of love and respect toward her, owing to her leaving her native land for British Columbia", and is signed by eight of said co-workers and dated August 20th, 1908. I wonder who Mrs. Green was, where she had moved from, what she did (presumably something to do with teaching sewing, but who did she teach?).

Not a bad haul for just under 30$ :). I find it interesting that they are each separated by approximately forty years. Maybe I can eventually fill in the gaps, a study by decade of what was thought pertinent knowledge for home sewers.

Also, I finally decide on a pattern for the plaid shirt. In the effort of not ending up with too much bulk in such a warm fabric, I'm going with the '69 Simplicity. First though, to drag my sewing machine to the shop for a look over. After breaking a needle on my last project (and having to take the plate out to track down and remove the broken needle end), it has decided to make a not very happy sound when stitching, and I don't want to risk damaging anything even more by using it anyway. Should be good for some funny looks on the bus.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

decisions, decisions

I desperately need more blouses. Skirts are so tempting to make, and then I end up with nothing but lovely fancy skirts paired with t-shirts, not good. In my stash is this pretty pink/black/grey plaid, just calling out to be made into something while the weather is still cold enough to  wear it.

wouldn't this be great with a black pencil skirt?

This is definitely up next on the cutting table, I'm just having trouble deciding which of these shirts it wants to be. The Smooth Sailing blouse from the ever talented Lauren at Wearing History?

very Katharine Hepburn

Or the short sleeved version of this Simplicity pattern I got from my grandmother?
c. 1969

On the one hand, if I use the first one, it will give me the chance to work any kinks out of the pattern before I make it up in a fancy gold fabric I have waiting in the wings. On the other hand, my grandmother's notes on the second one indicate that it won't need much tweaking (it evidently fit her, and we're pretty much the same size and shape), and as this is my first try at either inset sleeves or a collar, not having to worry about the rest of it too much would be nice. I had meant to pick one and start cutting it out this morning, but too much procrastinating (and watching Muppets Tonight on my computer) has left me with no time, so it looks like I have till tonight to decide. In the meantime, here are my outfits for the first two days of me-made-march:

top adapted from butterick 3906, self drafted corduroy jumper

the circus skirt, new look 6599 blouse