Friday, November 7, 2014

happy weekend everyone

The McCall's blog recently posted about their new magazine which is produced in conjunction with Joanne's Fabrics. As I live in Canada and we don't have a Joannes (not sure whether this is good thing or not), I can't have a look at it before I buy it, I was wondering if any of you Americans have had a look at it. Is it worth it?

I was checking out the Burda patterns on the Simplicity website the other day and I noticed something unusual, There seems to be a pattern (Burda 6974) which appears identical to a top that was in Burdastyle magazine, Draped Shirt 02/2013 #113. Is this normal? Or am I a total idiot for never having noticed before? Tell me.

Don't worry about offending me, I am used to feeling stupid foolish.

And I noticed this pattern description. Almost a little frumpy and innocent??? I got to get me some of that, there is nothing more desirable than frumpy when making your own clothes. You could have added that it would look homemade to make it even more attractive.

Burda, you have to get a native English speaker to proof read your pattern descriptions.


Do it soon.


I promise there will be sewing to show off  write about soon. My mojo has been intact but I have been suffering from decision paralysis. So many things to sew, just couldn't decide which pattern and which fabric etc.

Later sewing sisters ♥

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Hello? Is anyone still out there?

Is anyone out there? I wouldn't blame anyone for giving up on me.

First of all, I am admitting I was shamed into this post. Yes, shamed. Fitnottofit nominated me for a Liebster award. Thank you darling girl! I thought I should write a post before responding to the nomination.

Wow. It has been a long time since I posted. Since April 25, 2014 to be exact. I thought I would include the year because it seems like it has been even longer. I have tried to post, really, truly I have. I offer as evidence excerpts from posts I have started and not finished. These may or may not get finished and may or may not show up as completed posts one day. One never knows.

I miss blogging. I have been so busy and so tired that I just haven't been able to manage it.

while back while thrift store shopping, I came across a Singer 500 (aka Rocketeer) for $25. I knew from reading other people's blogs that it was a powerful machine and could be a worthwhile addition to my sewing machine family. Then of course there was it's appearance. To me it looks like a old Buick/Chrysler/Edsel.

 I have been sewing, but it has been of an industrial kind of sewing. The kind of sewing that you have to sew. For work, and not pretty, fashionable clothes. Nope, the kind that is almost no fun at all. Why? I got a new job. Not a job doing what I want, as apparently there is a conspiracy between all employers to not hire me to do the kind of work I want to do. 

Anyway there has been lots of sewing happening in the sewing dungeon, just not blogging. I'm sure we would all agree, that if one is going to slack off on one discipline, blogging is the one that should be given up on. 

Why am I stuck on referring to myself in the third person? No idea, but it feels right. 

Anyhoo, Here is a list of what I have sewn since my last post.

The List 

Clockwise from top left, the bra (obviously, close up of dark brown scout, close up of yellow scout, close up of black pants fabric

turquoise scout, tiny pocket tank, yellow scout

turquoise linen Scout
yellow voile Scout
taupe Scout with matching scarf, to wear on head while visiting a Sikh temple
dark brown voile Scout with some very simple beading around the neckline-because it sooo boring without something extra
taupe Tiny Pocket Tank top
black pants-Loes Hinse Cruise pants, I ♥ this pattern
3 pairs sleep shorts for a friend (no photos)
matronly beige Pin Up Girls Classic band bra that doesn't quite fit

the most boring beige voile scrub ever, but it is cool, not trendy cool, but temperature cool
blue and white pattern print scrub
red and pink print scrub
pink camo print scrub
polka dot scrub
red print scrub
turquoise and black scrub
turquoise linen scrub
white scrub
yellow voile scrub -no photo (in the wash)
dark brown voile scrub-no photo (in the wash too)
green print scrub (which I hated and felt like crap in, so I gave it away to someone who looks great in it)

That is 22 garments in 4 months. I think know that is a record for me. Yes, they are all simple garments, and I was all set to feel like I was taking the easy way out by only sewing simple easy patterns. Then I thought about it and realized that even the clothes I have bought recently have been simple garments. I guess my style has evolved/devolved? to basic stuff. I could be called a style minimalist. That sounds cool, I like it. Although one day I will attempt a Koos van den Akker coat, V1377, V1331 or V1277. I WILL.

Of course, all of you will no doubt notice that scrubs feature prominently on the list. If you can read between?around? the lines above, I am now working in a nursing home, and I have to wear scrubs to work. Almost all commercially made scrubs are made from the devil's fabric, polyester. As most nursing homes have interior temperatures of somewhere between a blast furnace and that of the cauldron at Kilauea (for the comfort of the residents), the blend of poly/cotton makes for a hot and sweaty and uh, um, a rather fragrant body. Cotton and/or /linen is required (at least for me).  That explains the scrubs.

Anyway, that's all I have time for now, please forgive the bad photography, I was racing against the rain, and of course, time.  I promise I will write more soon.

Friday, April 25, 2014

♫ Getting to know you ♪

Heather the Featherweight has been feeling tense lately and can't bring herself to form the nice stitches that I know she is capable of producing so I had to take her to her doctor, aka sewing machine repair.

I was leaving the shop, having a glance at the used machines, like I always do, when we made eye contact. My heart skipped a beat, a Bernina! I have never seen a  used Bernina there before. I had a talk with the owner of the shop and after heming and hawing and sniveling and whining and I don't knowing, she lowered the price to one I could live with. I called The Husband and begged and told him he never had to buy me another gift (something I assume he will forget before Christmas, hi honey!) he immediately said to buy it (which reminded me why I married him).

this is Princess

and this is Princess's wardrobe

Princess is her name and she is a Bernina 1080 Special and she was born in 1992 and I love her. She came with all original everything, and 12 feet, almost everything that I use on a regular basis, thank goodness, cause those suckers cost $$$$.  I will probably buy one of those clever adapters for short shank feet for the feet that weren't included. I will keep and continue to use my old machine as it does a few things that Princess doesn't.

I was able to justify the adoption of Princess as I haven't been thrilled with the stitch quality of the old Kenmore. The tension has been a problem lately as well, sometimes it is okay, sometimes not so much at all. Servicing didn't really help. And strangely, I only noticed now that I never named her, hmm, that says something, doesn't it?

It is so much fun learning how to use a new sewing machine. I am going to have a blast for the next few weeks. I will post again once I have a whole day off to play with her.

Don't you just love new toys?

So now this song is playing in my head, and yes, I know it isn't Julie Andrews singing.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

the post I should have written yesterday, but was unable to...........

Fresh on the heels of the dental work post, here is what I should have written yesterday. I think I was trying to fit too much into one post.

Recently someone IRL asked me how I got started dyeing fabric and or t-shirts. So I thought some of you may be interested in how I got started too. So here goes.

It all started when I started having hot flashes. Now I am not saying I got a little warm and took off a sweater, I am talking about when you are standing on your front porch in bare feet, shorts and a t-shirt to cool off and you are out there for 15 minutes and it it is -20C (-4F) outside. A windbreaker is your winter jacket. You go to Starbucks and order a venti Frappuccino in the dead of winter because coffee is hot. The chair you sat in for 30 minutes is still warm an hour after you got up. Friends insist on driving, because you don't ever put the heat on in your car. In order to sleep you have to have the heat vent closed and the window wide open no matter how cold it is outside. Your husband moves to another bedroom because he is freezing. Wearing long sleeved anything is too warm. You wake up several times a night to change clothes because what little you are wearing is soaking wet. Your mattress is permanently stained from your sweating through the sheets and the mattress protector. I am talking HOT flashes. It was nasty. Not only did I have hot flashes, I was experiencing my own personal summer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Almost everything I owned was too warm, so I went on a search for the thinnest t-shirt to wear at home. I also didn't want to wear a bra so I wanted them to be over sized as well. I found these.

They were exactly what I needed. Cheap, so I could have a lot of them (because of the sweating), v neck and thin. Too thin and sheer to wear without a bra, so I decided I would dye them. 

This is the old packaging for Dylon dyes, and is what I used.
I used Dylon cold water dye available in my local fabric shop and it worked beautifully. If I hadn't found Dylon dye, I would probably have used Rit and would have been disappointed with the results and I wouldn't be writing this post now. Dylon is a fiber reactive dye,  probably a Procion type dye. When I first started dyeing, I would dissolve the dye in water, add salt and a package of  Dylon Cold Dye Fix (which is most likely soda ash). Add the tied t-shirt and follow the instructions that came with the dye. This method is called immersion method.

this is the kind of dye I use for tie dyeing and snow dyeing

I fell in love with dyeing and the fun and excitement of unwrapping your t-shirt or fabric and seeing what you made. It is so much fun.
Finished project
spiral tie dyed t-shirt-this photo from the Jacquard website
Then I wanted to do more, I wanted to do a spiral pattern, which is more than one colour, and I found Jacquard Procion dyes and started dyeing by direct application, in which you soak fabric/t-shirt in soda ash, and apply the dye solution (dye dissolved in water) directly to the fabric. I tie dyed with a friend and her kids, I did group sessions at the assisted living facility where I work. I did it with several friends. I figured out different ways of tying fabric and other resists. I learned a lot.

Then I found a pin on Pinterest (surprise!) that mentioned snow dyeing.Of course that got me interested. Only I had to wait for winter. Which came late this year, and it was beginning to look like it was never going to happen. But eventually it did. Of course I could have used bagged ice instead of snow, but that seems wrong when you live in Canada where we have snow a great deal of the time.

my first try at snow dyeing

A couple of things I learned about dyeing this way.

1. A little of fuchsia goes a very long way. It seems to absorb into the fabric faster than the other colours, so from now on I will use it very sparingly, if at all.

2. Most dyes are made from a mix of dyes and the colours will split when dyeing this way and that is one of the reasons you get such great results. The dyes that are a pure colour don't work very well. Jacquard Medium Blue is pure dye, Cobalt Blue is a better choice, and you will get more interesting results.

3. This isn't my revelation, but was mentioned casually in someone's blog post. When you are dyeing whatever is your primary goal (in my case t-shirts) throw something in the rack underneath to catch the excess dye. I used sheets that I was originally going to use for muslins. I still might. Muslin's don't have to be white. You might get something really amazing.

4. It is impossible to control the results, for instance I did one t-shirt I love the first time around, I tried to duplicate the results the second time I snow dyed. Not even close. So, let go of any control freak tendencies you may have when you do this.

5. Wovens take the dye differently than knits, and therefore have a more delicate look than knits, and the finer the fabric the more interesting the results. I have done 8 t-shirts, 1 was a slub knit (was a little coarse), 2 were fairly fine knit 95% cotton 5% lycra, the other 5 were the Hanes t-shirts mentioned above.  Here is a close up of 4 types of fabric.

6. If you are going to use one container like I did above, all the colours you use should "go" together, because some dye will go where you don't want it to, guaranteed. If you want purple on one t-shirt and orange on another, use different containers and keep them well apart when you are applying the dye.

7. Use caution when using dyes, always wear gloves and when applying the dyes in dry form, wear a mask. You never know if or when you may develop an allergic reaction to a dye. Be careful.
If you get dye on your hands (for whatever reason, no judging, gloves do break) using a pumice stone will help remove the dye, so will washing dishes, sometimes lots of dishes. Believe me, I know.

The sheet is on the top, the slub knit on the left, cotton/lycra  in the middle and the Hanes t-shirt on the right
This photo hasn't  been resized so the file is huge, so you will be able to biggify it to see the details

My Pinterest dyeing board

These websites are great fabric dyeing resources. The first one is what got me started on snow dyeing.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Snow dyeing Part Two-the reveal

Some of you that have a blog will understand how some posts almost write themselves (like yesterdays rant) and other posts are like trying to do your own dental work without training or anesthetic. Painful and slow and bloody. This is a dental work post. There I said it.  I have written and rewritten and rewritten this, it ain't happening. So, without further ado or explanations, here is the reveal.

Even the photos suck on this post.

That's just the way it is sometimes.

I do like the results though.

my favourite-reminds me of Monet's water lily paintings

The Husband says if you squint and use your imagination (and take hallucinogens IMO) this one
looks like Bill The Cat 

sheet-will probably become pj bottoms

close up of previous sheet

another sheet-this one I folded a little-don't love the effect

close up of sheet
If anyone wants to know anything about these t-shirts and sheets, either leave a comment or email me. The well is dry. can't write more...........

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

"do you sew"

Mini Rant On

Three times this week people have volunteered me to sew for them. Two of them I just met for the first time. Where do they get the nerve? I want to buy some. 

The conversation usually starts like this:

"you sew, right?"


I know what's coming next, and I'm sure you do too. At this point my emotional response varies from suppressed rage to disbelief, depending on my blood sugar level.

"I should get you to make me a _______."
"I should get some material and get you to make me a ________."

When someone uses the word material, it irritates the hell out of me. I have always managed to resist the urge to get them to elaborate on what kind of material they are referring to, reading material, insulation material, plastic material, absorbent material, roofing material etc. I refer you to the Merriam Webster Dictionary for details. The term is FABRIC or CLOTH. Let's all say it together, FABRIC OR CLOTH. 

Depending on how well I know the person, and how much I like them, my response varies. But one thing remains constant, I never ever ever say sorry or make any kind of apology. I don`t have to, it is my time and I own it.

"I don't have enough time to sew all the things I want to sew for myself"


"I don't sew for other people unless I am married to them or we have some shared DNA."

This one can take some time for some people to understand. Seriously. Sometimes you can actually smell smoke.


"I don't sew for other people, it makes me suffer from anxiety."


I pretend I didn't hear them and ignore them, this is the easiest, but least satisfying.

or,  combined with one of the other responses 

"I will teach you to sew and you can make it yourself."


"sure, would love to, that will take me around 4 hours, I charge $20 per hour, the pattern will cost $15, and the fabric will cost anywhere from $10-$20 per meter and it will take 2 meters, for a total of over a $135 and it could be more depending on the pattern. When do you want to go shopping for the fabric?"

So far no one has taken me up on the two responses. Thank god.

Why do people always always assume sewing ability is something they should get for free? You wouldn't say to a carpenter, I should get some building material and get you to build me a house, or to a plumber, I should get some copper material and get you to upgrade my master bathroom, or to a mechanic, I should get you to fix my car, it's been making a funny sound. And assume that they would be happy to do it for nothing. Why is sewing so undervalued?

So far this year I have been asked four times to sew for other people. Actually that isn't accurate, it has been assumed by four people this year that I would sew for them. Assumed. My blood pressure is rising just thinking about it. 

How often are you asked to sew for someone else? 

How do you respond when people ask/demand/beg you to sew for them? I would love to know how other people deal with this issue. Tell me.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Snow dyeing Part One

Usually by this time of year we have a fair amount of snow. Of course this year, when I wanted to play with snow dyeing, there is very very little snow. Wednesday and Thursday we got around 5-6 inches. Yippee. Of course I could have bought ice, but that seems wrong.

There are quite a few tutorials online about how to do this, so I won't post links, because there are quite a few. Most people that snow dye or hand dye fabrics for that matter are quilters. Not me, I hate quilting. Passionately. I admire the result but the process is boring as hell. To me.

Some things are no different with snow dyeing than regular dyeing. You still have to soak the items being dyed in soda ash and water. The items should be 100% natural cellulose fibers for optimum results. Two of the t-shirts I dyed are 5% lycra. It shouldn't make too much of a difference, but we will see.

If you are going to snow dye you will need:

Procion MX dyes-I use Jacquard
Soda Ash
Dedicated measuring spoons and stirrers (use only for dyeing)-get at the dollar store
Bucket for soda ash soak
Gloves to protect your hands from the soda ash and the dyes
Plastic containers to hold everything-I used one of the plastic totes intended for under bed storage
Fabric and/or t-shirts to be dyed

I place a sheet in the bottom of the container to catch the excess dye.
The bottles are to hold the racks above the sheet.

This with the racks in place

The t-shirts are soaked in soda ash and scrunched together and placed on
top of the rack. Then three inches of snow is packed on top of the t-shirts.

All three t-shirts with the dye on top of the snow.

This one has just about the right amount of dye sprinkled on the snow.

This one has way too much dye applied. 

This one has the right amount too. 

This was the first time I had tried this technique, so I was guessing how much dye to apply. It worked out not too bad. One of the t-shirts I love, one I like and the third is just ok, I may over dye this one black.

The dyes I used on all three t-shirts were complimentary. If you decide to try this, look into colour mixing to make sure you aren't going to get mud colours. For example, purple and orange make brown. So choose your colours carefully. I wanted the sheet underneath all this to be useable so the colours had to coordinate.

Next post the reveal!