Harris Tweed from where?!

VV tweed finds
Harris tweed & wool plaid

I’ve always been intrigued by fellow bloggers’ thrift finds, especially of the sewing kind.  My local Salvation Army and Value Village carry a lot of linens, but nothing that looks like I’d like to introduce it to my living space.  However, out of curiosity, and with a couple of free hours last Friday morning between appointments and waiting for my kids’ summer camps to end,  I popped into a very large VV that is not in my neighbourhood.  Mostly out of curiosity, mind you, and with not much faith that I’d actually find something interesting.  I was game to look through the enormous store just to see what they had and entertain myself until responsibility called again.

Imagine my surprise at finding Harris tweed (on the left above).  Now, I have no way of knowing for sure if this is the real deal, as there was no label attached, but here’s my arguments in favour.  First, the weave is fairly dense and identical to all the Harris that I have in my stash, purchased directly from weavers in the Outer Hebrides.  Second, it’s only a single width (35″ wide), which is a very odd width to find in tweed anywhere, and is very typical of Harris tweed.  You can purchase it in a double width, which is more around 60″ or more if you like, but the traditional weaving width of Harris is the single width.  And there’s about 3 yards of it, to boot!  It also has little bits of what I call “extraneous wool” fibres here and there that I’ve also noticed is a characteristic of the Harris that I’ve in my stash.

The plaid on the right is not Harris tweed, but a medium-weight wool that I will probably make into a circle skirt.  There is about 4 yards of it, and it’s 60″ wide – enough to match pattern if I decide to make a jacket instead.  There was wool crepe, a moth-eaten hand-embroidered real cashmiri pashmina, various sorts of lining and cotton velveteen, to mention just a few other treats in the store.  Oh, and a couple of fur coats in excellent condition that I didn’t buy, but inspected very closely.

So I must say, I’m no longer skeptical about thrift fabric finds in my (driving) area.  I think I might make it a regular thing… when I’m not working hard stash bustin’!

Bette Boop is the parting shot for today.  It’s an offshoot of the original in my grandmother’s prairie garden that apparently came over from Switzerland in the mid 1800’s with her grandmother.  I always have a dickens of a time getting it to bloom, and am thrilled that it’s happy to do just that this year.

bette boop
Bette Boop

The shorts factory is closed

shorts for dd1

Thank God.  Although I think I benefited from the zipper practice five times in a row.  At least with shorts things go together quickly,  if you’re not the occasional idiot, like me.  Take the plaid pair, for instance.  (DD1 had been eyeing the plaid fabrics at Fabricland all spring, and since they were on sale last week, I caved for this pair. It’s actually a pretty plaid with silver metallic threads running through the design.)  I’ve already made them twice, so that means I know what I’m doing, right?  HA!!  The first pair were lovely and true to design.  The second pair I actually managed to put together in a mirror version (zipper on the right side instead of the left), and this plaid pair actually required a hook & eye closure because I didn’t follow the directions, but went merrily (arrogantly?) along my way.  I added the waistband after putting in the side zip instead of before putting in the zip.   This is a chronic complaint in my life, and even spreads to flapper pie, which I’ve made countless times… all for the same dear friend…. and all of them different, yet from the same set of directions.   Inconsistency is a annoying character trait.

However, the other two pairs at centre and right are Burda 3-2011-131,  which I was able to put together bee-yew-tifully, in the right order of construction, and I might add, they are identical.  So I can be consistent if I put my mind to it (or take enough breaks from the sewing table).  DD1 wasn’t sure about the fabric, but I convinced her they would be a wardrobe staple in a serviceable fabric in the khaki family of colours.  She reluctantly agreed to the darker pair and has already seen the use of them over the weekend.

B 3-2011-131

Pattern:  Burda 3-2011-131 in sizes 36-44.  I made up view A only.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes – except for the pockets.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Well, yes.  This was the “extra sewing course” in Burda’s June issue, so I could be my lazy self and just glance at the drawings as I went a long instead of actually having to read instructions.  The shorts include a fly zipper with an underlap.  The fly facing is a separate piece that is sewn on  instead of being cut as an extension to the front piece.  Burda’s instructions for this were really good, I thought.  Maybe it helped that they included the line drawings for their sewing course, but their techniques worked really well.  The results look good from the inside as well as the outside.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  DD1 chose the pattern for these again, and preferred the shorter version to the Bermuda length.  She liked the classic look of these shorts, and I liked the simplicity of putting them together.

P7170005Fabric Used:  Both pairs  are from a stretch cotton denim.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I did not include the inseam pockets for this design.  I did use a contrasting gingham (lighter pair) and a yellow/white striped poplin (darker pair) for the waistband lining and the zipper underlap.  On the darker pair I used a clamp-on hook & eye set instead of the recommended button.

I was a little leery of just how much give is in this fabric, having made up a skirt for myself that was true to size, but grew a full size over the course of wearing it for a day. So I cut the first (darker) pair a size 36 without seam allowances. They are a little small, and the inseam pockets gaped, so I eliminated the pockets in both versions. However, they are super comfy, according to DD1 because the fabric is so soft and gives so much.

The 2nd pair I made up with seam allowances, and she is happy with the fit.  I personally think they fit much better than the first, and I probably could have included the inseam pockets, but I didn’t, and she doesn’t care.  Oh.  And I added belt-loops at her request.

Conclusion:  I’m liking these shorts, especially with the classic line that they have.  The Bermuda length that Burda pictures in their magazine is of a lightweight wool gabardine, and it looks quite dressy.  Considering how simply these went together, I’m tempted to make myself a dressy pair.  Yeah, right.  I own one pair of shorts, and I haven’t worn them since 2006.

Summer has finally begun


Yes, it’s official.  Today is the first day of summer holidays for my DDs.  And it’s a wrap on Me Made June.  I must say I’m not sorry to see the end of trying to decide what me-mades I’m wearing today, and then taking (postable)pictures.  At some point I may post an overview, but let me catch up on outfits first.

MMJ Day 29 – Outfit:  RTW top and me made capris from Vogue 8094, worn several times this month!   Stuart Weitzmann clogs, picked up for a song (almost literally), and extremely comfortable.

MMJ Day 30 – Outfit: Susannah dress, blogged here

MMJ 30

Until the next post….

After slacking comes diligence….

N1 dressAnd diligence produces results…. in an evening.  Yesterday evening, to be precise.  Well, it helps that the dress is an “easy” dress and that I’ve made it before!!!  Ah, yes…. the first dress for Niece 1 is complete!  Yay!  I used Vogue 8380, and made some changes to accommodate growth over the next year or so.

The fabric is a vivid purple cotton voile with a crazy multi-coloured cotton print in a flowery sketchy sort of design.  I used the multi-coloured cotton for the neckline tie and the armhole and waistband facings.  The tie is intended to sit in a bow at the left shoulder, but because the purple fabric is so plain, I moved the bow to the front.

Pattern alterations:  At the CF of the casing I added a buttonhole so that IN1 neckline could tie the bow there.  I just thought it would look nicer than off to the side.  Besides, I didn’t quite have enough fabric, so I had to piece the bodice at the CB and the CF.  The tie at the centre camouflages the piecing seam.

I also added about 12 inches of width in the back waistband and bodice to match the width of the back skirt.  Then I sewed two channels for 3/4” wide elastic and threaded that through to bring fit to the waistline.  It will accommodate her growth over the next year or so, I hope.

I omitted the side zipper because of the elastic waist.  It should go over DN’s head easily enough.  I shortened the bodice by about 1 N1 backinch, and the skirt by about 4 inches, as she’s only 8 years old.  The only other change I made was to tack the centre of the tie at the CB through all layers of the casing so that it will not move around.

Thoughts:  This is a really cute pattern, and easy enough to put together.  The instructions are well written, and although I made a lot of changes, it was helpful to refer to them for the basic construction of the dress.

In Me Made June news….MMJ 28

Day 28 outfit:  Yesterday was a 3H (hot, hazy & humid) day here in Toronto, V2864so I dressed simply and coolly (temperature wise, that is).  Dress is a red cotton pique version of OOP Vogue 2864 lined in bemberg.  It’s comfortable and washes well.  The only thing I don’t like about it particularly is that it does stretch out of shape as I wear it because the fabric has no lycra.  Whatever.  It’s casual for a casual day.

And the cherries are almost ready for picking.  We’ve two – TWO – trees of black cherries in our back yard.  I do not like cherries.  Sad, but true.



in the sewing department, that is.  I haven’t stitched a thing since my last post, which is going to result in a rush for the finish line this weekend.  My dear nieces’ dresses are due. But I’ve been dutifully documenting my me-mades, though.  Only two days left and then I can stop fussing with pictures so much.   Taking a daily picture of what I’m wearing gets easier with the doing, but it does take up time that I would probably use for, um….. sewing!

MMJ Day 27

MMJ 27

This is probably not the best photo, but I couldn’t resist posting it, since Nuggett is all interested in what (the heck?) I’m doing.

Outfit: Dress is Vogue 2902, cardigan by Olsen.   I’m trying to drum up the energy to actually do something this morning, but that didn’t happen. It was a particularly useless Monday.


Supermoon 2011

This has nothing to do with sewing, but this past weekend we were treated to what astronomers called a “supermoon”.  It last happened in the mid 1990’s where the moon is closer than usual to the earth.  This time around, though, it happened to be a full moon.

supermoonBrilliant, eh?  It was like being in the middle of the morning when I took this picture in my backyard around 8:00 pm.  I love the luminescence of big full moon, especially the typical harvest moon, or a big moon in the middle of winter.  Always brings a “wow!” smile to my face.