The things I end up sewing…

giraffe booties for NuggettI made boots for my dog.  D’ya think he looks embarrassed by the animal print?

fleece dog shoesLeather soles.  Fleece uppers.  Giraffe, of course, although I admit it clashes with the Sherlock coat.  Gotta have some giraffe in a pup’s life, right?dog bootsGrosgrain and velcro closures.  No pattern used – just trace the paws, measure and make it up as you go.

What the heck am I going to be asked to sew next?

seriously bootiesBTW, he jumps and runs and hops around so much like a canine crazy that they fall off, regardless of how tight the velcro closings are pulled.  Stupid boots.

A Harris Hat

tweed hat

I made a hat from remnants of various Harris Tweed projects that have been languishing in my scrap box for the last few years.  Just a little project to ease myself back into sewing after the holiday lull.

tweed flower

The pattern is Vogue 8440.  I stole the idea of turning up the vent edges and adding the flower/trim from a review on PR, since it adds a lot of interest to this very basic pattern.

Harris Tweed hat

I chose to underline it with washed muslin, so it has a softer silhouette and feel than a felt hat.  I lined it with a heavy-ish rayon bemberg, and didn’t bother to put petersham ribbon around the interior band. I’ve worn it several times, and it’s so toasty warm!  It’s also super happy to repel snow and sleet and all other kinds of wintry precipitation.

tweed V8440

Sherlock or Rambo, depending on the mood

Burda 12-2011-148 sherlock

My little puppy, Nuggy-Baby, needed some new winter coats.  The first is rather official-looking, but it’s my favourite, made up from Burda 12/2011 #148.

Burda 12-2011-148 drawing

Both are lined with fleece for warmth.  It’s a dead-easy pattern to whip up.  The front closes with velcro with a button for decoration.

Burda 12-2011-148 plaid front

The coat is kept in place snugly with a belt which is stitched to the CB of the coat.

Burda 12-2011-148 camo buckle

And here’s the “I’m-tough-don’t-mess-with-me” iteration.

Burda 12-2011-148 camo

Oooooo…. Scary tough, aren’t you, Nugget?

The New Woman

My eldest daughter is participating in an Historica fair at her school.  It’s actually required, but it’s still fun.  This year she chose Canadian women’s fashion from the 17th century to the present.  Large scope, yes.  I tried to tell her she bit off a bit more than I thought she could chew, but as she was working with a partner, it’s been manageable.New Woman Part of what the girls wanted to do was wear period dress during their presentations and the fair.  DD’s friend is to be dressed as the “New Woman” c. 1900.  After perusing every single book on the history of fashion that she could get her hands on, DD presented me with a picture and asked me to replicate “if it wasn’t too much trouble”.  Initially I’d thought her friend could just borrow one of the existing ball skirts in my closet (regardless of their bright colours), add a shirtwaist and be done with it.  Easy peasy.

Then I wandered through my local Fabricland looking for a pattern for DD1’s Napoleonic costume and stumbled across a table of taffeta for $4/m.  I used to have a black ball skirt from my performance days, but thrifted it years ago and regretted doing so ever since.  And here was the perfect excuse to have a (completely unnecessary) replacement!! I made it up from Vogue 1015 – an old Belleville Sassoon evening ensemble that was the pattern for the sorely missed original in my closet. I decided to go the whole gamut and put in the lining and the full-length net petticoat with a hem ruffle. V1015 skirtWe added a jabot – not a proper period lace jabot – but one that I slapped together with 1.5 metres of eyelet edging gathered and stitched at regular intervals to a strip of shirting remnant.  And I mean slapped together.  The edges are totally unfinished and the neck band is simply folded over into thirds and stitched together from the right side with a zigzag stitch down the entre length.jabot

It’s not perfect, but it gives the period silhouette, which is what we were aiming for. Then we pulled together an RTW shirt and jacket,  and it looks pretty good for a wannabe costume on 3 days notice! new woman ensemble

The lull after Christmas

PC240019 Christmas is always something that I really look forward to.  The lights, family gatherings, food and general prettiness of all the decorations and colours make it my favourite holiday.  I try to plan ahead so that I don’t get overwhelmed by it all as the day approaches, and even though for the most part I think I am successful at avoiding last minute panic, it’s always nice to sit and enjoy the sense of laziness that occurs after the celebrations are over.  Christmas week, as I used to call it as a child, is wonderful for it’s lack of schedule and rush against the clock that is the norm for the other 358 days of the year; for the rotating meals at various family members’ houses; and the anticipation of New Year’s celebrations.012 This Christmas was a new adventure for me in the area of gift giving, as we decided as a family (well, mom and 3 DDs) to make our gifts. We only exchange with cousins, my dear SIL and my MIL. I chose to make hats for my nieces, SIL and MIL, and my DD1 decided she’d crochet everyone gifts: a scarf for her Tia and Vôvô, and fingerless gloves for the cousins.   For the girls’ hats I used the beret from V7792, and did one in a dark purple velvet, lined with lavender silk shantung shot with turquoise.  I don’t have a model picture of it, but here it is with me modelling the left hand of the pair of fingerless gloves DD1 crocheted.  She used a mauvey stretch yarn with silver metallic threads running through it. DSC04344 The second hat was a red boiled wool-rayon blend from my scrap box.  It was a bit heavy for the pattern, so the shape is more definitive.  I lined it with shot pink taffeta.  The fingerless gloves were made with the same yarn as the purple pair, but in magenta.  The girls were very pleased with the gifts.

Christmas Eve sophia gifts 2You’ve already seen the scarf DD1 made for her Tia in a previous post. I made a red hat using Vogue 8440, View A, from the same boiled wool as my niece’s.  It complemented the scarf perfectly.  V8440 I made a little knot using the instructions from the fabulous Ralph Rucci dress made by Terri, and lined it with black silk shantung. DSC04345DSC04347

The pattern was extremely simple – it consisted of two pieces, one of which was for the band interfacing.  It’s the same piece cut 4 times and stitched together.  And it looks lovely.  I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of it being worn, so you’ll just have to take my word for it!  I made one for my MIL from the black faux Persian lamb that’s been in my stash for years.  You can see a hat made for my daughters of the same fabric here.  I lined her hat with pink silk as she has been recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and started her chemo treatments 3 days prior to Christmas.  She was able to celebrate with us, which was the most wonderful gift that evening.  My DD1 made her a scarf in the same pattern as the one for Tia, only in black and shades of blue, which are my MIL’s preferred colours.

And I’m thrilled to announce we’ve a new member in our family.  I got a hedgehog for Christmas!  I’ve put one on my list for many years, and finally Santa thought maybe I was serious about such a ridiculous request, particularly coming from someone my age!  Ha!pickles

Isn’t she just so CUTE?  We’ve called her Pickles.  With a dog called Nuggett, I think we’ve a food obsession going on in this house….

Pattern Review: Burda 02-2011-102B

B 02-2011-108B front

Yay!  A UFO is off my sewing table!

Pattern Description:  Jacket from the Mamma Mia! collection from the February 2011 issue of Burda Magazine.

Pattern Sizing:  36 – 44

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes, it did.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  This is one of those sewing DSC03479courses that Burda has in their magazine.  To be honest, I glanced at the directions occasionally, but I did not follow them exactly.  I did find their method of attaching the notched collar and facing interesting.  First you completely put together the collar:  under collar, upper collar and collar stand so you have a complete collar without the jacket.  Then attach the front of the facings to where the collar notch begins.  Then you put in the collar proper.  It was a very different method compared to what I’m used to (that being Vogue Patterns’ method of fully assembling the lining with the upper collar and then attaching it all to the jacket as one step.)  I think I like Burda’s method, because it gave me the opportunity to deal with turn of cloth on the collar.  It was also a simpler way of getting things to line up properly.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I liked the shaping of the jacket and the 3/4 length sleeves.

Fabric Used:  Olive green linen from my stash and cotton voile remnants for the seam finishes.  I did not do a Hong Kong finish – I bias bound all the seam edges.  B 02-2011-108B interior

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I did a complete 1-inch FBA.  This was the reason for doing an unlined version in linen that I may or may not wear.  I wanted to see if the adjustment would work with the style, on me.  If it did, bonus!  If not, then I wasn’t sure I’d bother with tweaking it more.  I’m not really crazy about how deep the darts are.  This may be due to linen’s crispness.  Wool would definitely shape better.  Perhaps gathering the front under bust dart along the

Isn’t that a problem with sewing for oneself?  It’s one thing to try on endless garments and styles in a boutique, but one never really knows if the garment you’ve cut and sewn is a) going to fit; b) flatter your figure; or c) be something that you like enough to actually wear.

The other issue I had with this is the armscye and the fit of the sleeves.  And wouldn’t you know it, but Claudine’s post and links therein were the darned answer I was looking for – down to every single minute detail.  I love sewing blog land!  Everyday I learn new things (or, as I said to DH last night, how much I don’t know).  So for the next version, I’ll be re-drafting the sleeves and the armscye.  Surely this is easier if one has a bit of pattern drafting experience (not me) or a clone to fit (I don’t), so I’ll do it the hard way:  making notes about this version and analyzing photographs!

One other note to self:  the high hip adjustment.  I neglected to add that into this version.

I only put one button on, and incorporated the buttonhole into the waist seamline.  I had intended to do bound buttonholes (for practice), but remembered that I hadn’t saved any cutting scraps.  So, only one button!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I do intend to make this up again.  Karin’s tweed version of this is stunning (I’d love to put a link to the post here, but Google won’t let me – her blog at MakingTheSeam has been removed apparently?!?!?!?), and I’m thinking it would be a good style for some broderie anglais I have in my stash.


A couple of little things

I’ve not been that interested in sewing lately, it being September and all.  Trying to get into the new school and extra-curricular activities routine for the coming year has been taking up most of my time, thoughts and energy.  I’ve been doing a little  mental planning and thinking for the fall, but I’ve not done much in the way of actually having something to show for myself.  The UFOs on my sewing table are nagging at me, and I have three garments that need to be tweaked or altered for fall.  So, in my usual procrastinating style, enter Vogue 8722.


I’ve been looking at this pattern for a while, wanting to make up one of these with the tie from my Bea dress because I just don’t like it tied in a bow, tied in a knot with the long ends dangling around, or wrapped around my waist (how I’ve been wearing it).  I wanted something else.  I put the dress on my dress form and played around with different styles, but always ended up with the same problem:  the pattern is just too busy to make up a belt for this particular dress.  I needed a complementary fabric.  And then I got an idea!  Why not make two:  one in red silk taffeta (perfect for my Bea dress) and one in dark brown twill from my remnant box.v8722 closeupWhat do you think?  The belt is quite simple to put together.  It consists of two bias bands of equal size crisscrossed over each other and stitched into firmly interfaced ends that are secured at the centre back with hooks and eyes.  v8722 brownThe twill worked brilliantly because of its heavier weight and sturdy weave.  The pattern actually calls for leather if you have it, but I’m trying to raid my stash instead of purchasing new fabric all the time.  I did not glue the edges down as suggested in the instructions.  I used a small catch stitch for the twill. One end of each bias piece is gathered into the extension; the other is pleated at attached to a piece of elastic about 3 1/2 inches in length. One of each end is secured into the extension, with the seam enclosed in a small piece of lining.v8722 interiorI faced the red silk with identically cut bias pieces to enclose the edges nicely and have an extra layer of fabric for stability.  I did not interface or underline the silk, and although it’s lightweight, it is taffeta and holds up well to wearing.v8722 back

Crazy Mittens

Well, as I’ve made clear in other posts, I do not knit.  Furthermore, I have no interest in learning how to knit, but I greatly appreciate the skill and artistry that goes into making the beautiful things that my knitting friends and fellow bloggers create.

As most of you don’t know, tomorrow is my birthday.  And here’s a very colourful pair of new birthday mittens.

Aren’t they crazy?  I love the thumbs in two different colours.  They are a little treat from a lovely neighbour whose name is Ingrid.  Miss Ingrid is an amazing lady.  She makes soups for the neighbourhood (they’re famous!) and knits hats, slippers and mittens, and is quite involved knitting for the community needs through the local Salvation Army church.  My three girls and I have been the beneficiaries of what I call “Christmas hats” from Miss Ingrid over the last couple of years.  Here’s a peek at some.

ingrids christmas hats

ingrids hats

I love the different patterns and colours.  The last one on the right is my Christmas hat, and the others are my girls’.  They’re pretty and cozy.

Sometimes when I look at the work other creative people do, it makes me wish I could be a little more creative myself, or learn a new skill (like quilting!).  Maybe this coming year…..  Smile

My necklace

Ratanak necklace

This necklace is from Cambodia.  On Saturday, November 19th, I went with my friend Lisa (who makes amazing jewelry) to a benefit concert at The Meeting House in Oakville, Ontario.  An artist I had never heard of called Kelita who was performing, but her concert was to benefit the Ratanak Foundation, an organization that rescues girls from the brothels in Cambodia.  Some of these girls are 5 years old.  FIVE YEARS OLD.  My girls could be one of those girls, sold into rape, servicing 8 to 10 men a night if it wasn’t for the grace of God allowing us to live in the luxury and ease of North America.

Anyways, my necklace was made by one of those precious rescued girls.  Isn’t it beautiful?

Daughters necklace detail

Ratanak partners with several organizations to give these girls a safe place to live, receive much needed medical attention and counseling, and to learn new skills so they can live lives of freedom from abuse and slavery.  Lisa invited me to help her sell some of her creations in support of this much-needed mission of social justice.  Her goal was to support Newsong, where the girls go for healing and recovery.

Lisa's jewellry

This is a picture taken in her home as we were working on getting all the tags put on each piece.  What an honor it was to be there, listening to Kelita’s songs and skits, and seeing the beautiful creations that Lisa had made going like hotcakes in support of setting these young girls free.  Free.  When I’m confronted with the horrors of the way other women and children around the world have to live their lives, I am so grateful – so grateful – that my girls can grow up in safety and health.

L.A. Oppitz Designs yellow necklace

I chose two pieces:  the beautiful yellow jade necklace, and this quirky 34” long stone necklace with copper findings.

L.A. Oppitz Designs long stone necklace

BTW, I’m nagging Lisa to set up her own blog and website so you can see more of her creations and buy a piece for yourself!

long stone necklace detail

Don’t you just love the uniqueness of these stones?  I don’t think you could make two necklaces exactly alike out of these beautiful natural stones.