Saturday, 30 April 2011

This post has absolutely nothing to do with sewing

Tanit-Isis and I were talking about the upcoming election on her blog the other day, and I just had to share this little tidbit of Canadian content for any foreign readers of my blog.  Hell, for any Canadian readers who haven't yet seen this site (if such a citizen exists!):

We really need to get out and vote guys.  Even if you do vote Conservative, I won't hold it against you (as long as you don't admit it to me).  If there is anyone in your household that is over 18 and they haven't yet voted, kick their butt out to the polling station.  If they need some incentive, promise to sew them something nice.

Hey, I guess this post does have something to do with sewing after all.

Friday, 29 April 2011

McCall's makes A Single Man Dress?

McCall's has a new pattern that is styled in a similar way to my Single Man Dress.  Although looking back now, there are a lot of things I would alter in that dress.  See how they did the seaming to create the white panel?  I just stitched a panel on the front of the dress because I couldn't figure out a way to do it neatly back in November.  But I guess that's why I'm keeping track of my progress on this blog: so I can see where I've improved and where I still need some work ;)


Guess what just arrived in my mailbox... Simplicity 2591!  Angela from RiAnge creations offered it to me when I put out my desperate plea for a copy - and then it arrived like a wonderful birthday present :)  If I weren't leaving town in a couple of days I would have that pattern traced, cut and basted by bedtime tonight.  I think I am going to make a blatant rip-off of Farah's, which was a copy of Adey's which was based on Michelle Tan's Renee 1950s Retro Dress.  This is starting to become a meme.....

Monday, 25 April 2011


When I started sewing again last summer, I decided to take a quick look online for some free patterns.  I stumbled upon Elaine's Coffee Date Dress, which led me to Burdastyle, which opened up a whole world of sewing blogs that I never knew existed.  A great help when I can't figure something out, and a great inspiration  when I fear I'm straying into Becky Home-ec-y territory!

And now Katja from Of Dreams and Seams  has passed on Beangirl's cheeky IAAT award ;)  Am I?

1) What size shoe do you wear?  If you wear a size 7, can I borrow your shoes?
My left foot is around 7.5 and my right around 8, so shoes never fit properly.  The left shoe is always flopping off or the right is too tight, but at least they seem to have gone back to their normal size after the general body trauma that is pregnancy and childbirth.....

2) 30's or 60's?
Uh......'30s evening wear and '60s daywear.  

3)  Have you ever kissed someone you shouldn't have?
Like someone else's man (or woman)?  No, never.  How boring is that!

4) Have you ever been poisoned?  Was it by the girlfriend of the person you kissed??  That is awesomely "Knot's Landing".
I think I may have been.  It was almost 20 years ago in Hong Kong.  I brushed it off as some kind of shellfish poisoning or something, but looking back now as a wiser adult, I don't think shellfish poisoning makes everything go black and dizzy.  

5) Who's on your "Celebrity Free Pass" list?
Since we're playing with reality here, I say Leonard Cohen in 1967.  What?  I'm Canadian.  I'm "of a certain age".  I was a bookworm-ish teenager in the '80s. 'Nuff said.  
(Although now that I'm an exhausted mom of 2 pre-schoolers, I can't really imagine getting up enough energy to actually use the Free Pass.  There's a song by fellow Canadian Nancy White called "Leonard Cohen's Never Gonna Bring my Groceries In".  Google the lyrics:  that's me.)


Since I'm taking a little trip back in time to the '80s tomorrow night by going to a Duran Duran concert with some other 40-something friends of mine, I'll take John Taylor.  But 1982 John Taylor, before the speedballs and what I imagine must have been the microbia of 100s of rabid groupies took their toll .....*shudder*....

I've got to go finish my '80s dress for the Sew Weekly Challenge, so it's ready for the concert tomorrow night, so I'll pass it on to some worthy bloggers when I get a chance.  

Monday, 18 April 2011

Simplicity 2591? Are you out there?

Ok, I should have bought it before it went OOP.  But it wasn't available at my local Fabricville, and I didn't want to pay $17 shipping from the US.

Then I saw laceumbrella's version.

Then stitchywitchy's

Then Farah's

And of course Adey's

and these:  here and here and  here!

Now I can't find it anywhere.  Checked all the pattern stores in Montreal.  Checked etsy.  Checked ebay.  It's only available on, but it will cost me ~$30US.  Ugh.  And may be slapped with extra taxes and duty at the border by Canadian Customs.  Ugh.

Damn damn damn damn.  Anyone have #2591 (cut or uncut) that they want to sell me?  Please?

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Inspired by Childhood Sew Weekly Challenge

1976 - Grade 1

Over at Sew Weekly, the inspiration this time around is Photos from Childhood.  Since I don't have very many photos at my place, and my parents are traveling and can't send me any right now, you'll just have to let your mind wander back to the '70s.....calico, bohemian, handmade, macrame, crewel embroidery... Everyone's Mom made their clothes and they all wore wrap-around skirts like this Simplicity 7876.  In fact, I think my Mom *did* have this pattern way back when.

So here's my version:  2011 does 1976.

Super fun to take these photos, but I have to find another backdrop to use.  That bookshelf is so visually busy (and messy.  I should really do a spring cleaning.  Yeah, that's going to happen sometime soon.)

Sewing notes:  I shorted by about 8" because it was too stiff and dumpy looking.  Because it had a lining, I was able to turn all the seams inward to give it a clean, finished look.  I made one for my daughter, but trying to get her into it this morning was like trying to dress one of the cats.  She *really* doesn't like the boho style. Only 2 and full of such strong fashion opinions son OTOH told me that I looked beautiful and he wanted to see how I was going to finish the hem, so I may start teaching him to sew a bit.  I was only about 6 when my Mom started letting me use her Singer Featherweight in 1976.

ps.  Oops, forgot to add the Sewing Through the Decades countdown!

1940s  1950s  1960s  1970s  1980s  1990s  2000s  2010s

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Leibster Award

So I'm new to this sewing + blogging thing, but the lovely Charlotte of sew far sew good has given me the Leibster Award.  This is apparently for newer blogs with fewer than 300 followers (well, I certainly fall into that category, don't I!), in order to recognize them and possibly attract more followers that may be interested.  Thanks Charlotte!  

I'll nominate, in no particular order:
1.  A.J.A. of Doing What Comes Naturally in Western NC; a woman after my own heart:  loves sewing, veg gardening and bf her little daughter.
2.  Farah of farah makes stuff; another Canadian with two little ones who somehow finds time to make dresses I want too.
3.   Katja of Of Dreams and Seams; I fell in love with her 1935 linen dress on Burdastyle last year, and now she has a blog too.

I'm still in a maple syrup coma from cabane a sucre today, and the new Upstairs Downstairs is premiering on PBS, so I'd better go!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Ever heard of couching? I hadn't.

I've been enamoured of beaded collars since visiting Africa for the first time a few years ago.  They are beautifully worked and frame the face in such a lovely way.  Here are photos of some that I took at the anthropology section of the art gallery in Stellenbosch (with my pocket camera when no one was looking, hence the poor quality):




I couldn't find any that I liked for sale in Cape Town (except for some dusty overpriced necklace-style ones at Pan African Market) so I came home disappointed.  I've been thinking that I could make a modern version myself, using a detachable collar like this one and adding some glass seed beads.

Well, I whipped up the peter pan collar in about an hour, including cutting time (give it a try, it's instant sewing gratification!).  I used black linen from one of my thrift shop outings, cutting three layers and using one as interfacing.  I added some cotton ties instead of a delicate ribbon as suggested in the pattern, because I thought that it might be very heavy by the time all the beads are added.

After I did my first line of beading, I looked at it and thought, "Now that can't be right.":


Maybe I should have done some research about beading before plowing ahead :)  Because, you know, there's this newfangled thing called the Internets that lets you find information from the sky!!

After about 10 seconds of googling, I found many, many tutorials and learned all about 3-bead backstitching and couching.  Now it looks like this:

Much better, but boy of boy, does it take a long time.  Just doing one line of blue beads took more than an hour (granted, I was watching Carey Grant and Katherine Hepburn in A Philadelphia Story and then talking to my MIL on the phone, so it may go more quickly next time.)

This is going to be a long project folks.  I may end up posting the finished collar by the time winter rolls around.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Featured Project!

Super cool:  My Venda skirt was a Featured Project on Burdastyle today!  I loved that fabric as soon as I saw it in the shop, but wasn't sure if it would be too loud to get away with in dark, grey Montreal.  Guess I should go out on a fabric limb more often!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

An idea I've been toying with for a while, which may or may not work:



(images from and

Friday, 1 April 2011

Cape Town to Canada (hopefully a continuing series)

Yay!  I finished my Venda skirt.  It only took me 3 evenings to get it sewn (what should have been about 3 hours total for a regular, childless person).  Here I am checking out the great deals available next week at Fabricville:  Dress forms for $200!  5 patterns for $5!  Buy 1m fashion fabric get 2 free!  You know where I'm going to be on April 4th.  

I love that the stripe ended up on the hem, which meant that I could sew very carefully in the 1mm white stripe on my machine.  No hand hemming!  Yes!

Here's a "Sewing Scientist in Action Shot":  me and a colleague running our assay on the High Throughput robot today, hoping to get a drug lead from our natural compound fraction library.  We have been waiting weeks to get our hands on this robot.  Nerdgasm. 

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