Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Dress from Vintage Pattern

Despite my lack of posting, I really have been pretty busy.  I started my first dress from a real vintage pattern earlier this year.

Quite some time ago I picked up the really pretty pattern off etsy ( I believe) .  Last summer I was able to go to Terrace and bought some rather bright tourquise fabric.  I really wanted this beautiful navy wool blend, but it was quite pricy and I was concerned about cutting into a really expensive fabric with a pattern I had never made before.

I did my now usual waistline adjustments and had to add a couple inches to the waistline, but in the end it seems to be fitting pretty well.

As you can see it is not completely finished.  I am a little scared of doing the lapped zipper on the side.  I also need to sew on the button on the front and add the snaps underneath the bust to secure the top opening along with the hem.

So at the moment it is waiting for me to feel brave and get the zipper done.  I also want to either make or find a good belt to go around the waist.  It really needs something to break up all that blue.

I have also been playing around with bags again.  I recently came across some pretty vintage photographs at a local antique store.  I have been scanning and printing them onto transfer paper so I can use them to decorate things.

I picked this photo to try since I thought it was really cute and reminded me of time spent with my best friend in elementary school.

The old clothing is also really neat to look at.

I pulled the lace off a shirt which I tried to tea dye and alter, but it was a complete failure.  The lace was still pretty though so it was relocated to this bag.  The rest is made out of another pair of hubby's old jeans which I cut and sewed the jean fabric into the bag and  relocated the pocket as well.  It still needs to be lined but other than that it is pretty much finished I think.

The flea market here in Rupert has been providing some really great stuff recently.  I was able to buy a whole pile of beautiful vintage shell buttons which I am going to use to decorate items.  I was also able to get some old postage stamps which my friend Ayase is going to show me how to make pendants out of them.

I also got a couple really pretty old broaches and clasps from a couple ladies who were clearing out their attics.  Very nice.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

60's Style Dress Take Two

Look at me. Here I am. Still alive and kicking.

Sad thing is, I really have not done much sewing since July.  I went on holidays, brought back a new obsession, and totally ran out of time for sewing.

Thank goodness for work parties.  I wanted to have something new to wear to a work party in Vancouver.

While in Comox in July, I picked up this lovely purple fabric which I cannot remember what it is made of for a second go at the pink 60's dress from this post.

Although I like the dress it had a few issues such as pocket placement and the neckline.

To solve the pocket placement issue, I did my first length adjustment.  I usually don't make these kinds of adjustments as I had never really noticed how badly patterns fit me when it comes to waist length. I am usually just surprised by how much of the fabric at the hem that needs to be cut off to hem it to the correct length.

The pockets on the pink dress were obviously much too low and really accentuated how I needed to shorten the skirt a lot to make it fit better.   You can see in the photo that the pockets are now in a much better place than before.

I decided to take out a total of 2 inches in length in the shirt and I just followed the instructions on the pattern for the shortening.

The new neckline I had to draft myself from scratch.  I used one of my other dresses as an example and drew out the new neckline and retraced the pattern pieces to include this change.

It is lined with a cute cotton fabric which I am proud to say I bought locally!  I discovered a secret fabric store called Fish Skins Fabric has been hiding out in Prince Rupert for the last year or so.   I am also super excited that they are moving the business into a real shop front instead of it just being out of the owners home.  It is so exciting!  Finally a proper fabric store in Rupert. I hope that they will be able to bring in lots of new fabrics with all the space the new store will have.

In the end I think it turned out okay.  I might re-hem it a bit shorter as I think knee length is not the most flattering length for me.  It was finished mid November 2013 just in time for the party.

Hugh bought a new camera for Christmas so I hope to take more fun pictures of Prince Rupert and such this year.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

When plans go awry

I wanted to try out my first bag pattern again in hopes of ironing out some of the issues I had with the first one.  This was successful, but as usual brought on a whole new round of challenges.

Jeans tend to be not super colourful.  They come in blue and black and different shades in between.  Finding colourful jean fabric at the thrift store is pretty much impossible.  So, what's a girl to do?  Fabric dye to the rescue!

Doesn't  it look pretty?
I started with a pair of black jeans.  I was concerned that with jeans being so saturated by dye already they would not pick up any of the new colour so I decided they should be bleached first.  One vat of bleach and a 20 minutes later I had a much lighter fabric to play with.

Into the tub of fabric dye it goes.

 About and hour later I figured it had done its time and I was quite pleased with the colour of the fabric.  They say you should make sure the fabric you are dying has turned 3 shades darker than your chosen shade as some of the dye will wash out when rinsed.  Excitedly I washed out my fabric and then threw it into the washer to get the residual dye out.

This came out of my washer.
What happened to my dark purple??
What happened? I was robbed!  My beautiful purple fabric had washed into a dirty looking light pink.  My mind tried to tell myself it  was now a antiquey rose colour but it was no use.  It just looked like pink fabric that had gone for a roll in the chimney soot. No fair.

I even experimented with a couple swatches to see how it would end up and they were so much nicer than this jean fabric.

I hated the thought of not using the fabric as there was no way I was wasting more fabric dye on a lost cause so I pondered this issue for a while.  How to get this fabric to work?
 Then I remembered the black poly organza I had in my fabric stash.  This came courtesy of my best friend who used it in a Halloween costume and then gifted it to me.  It is sheer and look what happens when I layer it onto the previously icky pink:
oooh pretty
Now it is a muted black with a purple shine though.   Problem solved! It was still a bit of a pain to sew with.  The organza liked to wander off during sewing but with enough pins I was able to convince it to behave.  I still don't like sewing with silky fabrics.

For note, this is what happens when you forget your iron is on the cotton setting and try to iron your polyester fabric.  So not good. I have no idea how I am going to get that off my iron. Oops!

all finished!
the back
Finally I got the whole thing sewn together.

Unfortunately I only have  one strap and I have not found a good place to buy the hardware needed to make my own straps.  Etsy is kind of limited and other places on-line are either super expensive or you have to buy at least 500. It is really frustraiting.

To line the bag I used this cute purple rayon (yes it is actually purple, its looks more blue in this picture) which I got quite a while ago to make a dress out of.  The dress has not really materialized yet, but it was fun to use a bit of the fabric for the lining.  And so Prince Rupert appropriate with the umbrellas.

Check out the matching snap.  With some family consultation with mum and dad I figured out how to paint the plain silver snaps I found and coat them so they will last (I hope).  Now I can make my own to match any bag I make.

Random Rupert 

 We got one nice day this weekend so Hugh and I got outdoors and walked to Morsby Park to take some pictures.  We went down to one of our favorite spots near the lake as it was shady and cool.

It was really nice because all of the lily pads which had been in the pond had bloomed.  The flowers were so pretty and I took tons of pictures.


I hope this coming weekend will be nice.  I am very tired of the rain.  Yesterday there was even a thunderstorm.  Short but loud.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Bag number 2

 So I thought up another bag design this week to finish up the leftover denim  I had from last week's bag.

I was hoping to get this neat 2/3 hexagon pattern on the front of the bag with 5 triangles sewn together.

In the end though it did not quite work out the way I wanted.  I pieced the front panels together three times trying to get the points to match up, but I finally had to concede defeat, it was really not going to work with the jean fabric.  It was just too thick to sew over at the joining point in the middle.

This idea needs some more work.

So I still wanted to finish the bag despite the difficulties I had with the design so I added a button from my stash to cover up the less than awesome points of the triangles.

This bag let me experiment with making my own strap which was also a trial.  Pulling jean fabric though a thin tube with interfaced cotton was really difficult and time consuming.  It turned out pretty good in the end though.  Amazing what an iron will do for you. :)

I don't think I have even used my iron so much as when making these bags.  Everything needs to be ironed to keep the seams flat so they are crisp and easy to sew through with the sewing machine.

I have realized that I really need to make myself some pressing tools such as a tailor's ham so I can iron corners and small tubes without creating even more creases.

I used some of the quilting cotton I bought a while ago off a website.  It came from one of the only internet fabric shops I have been able to find that sells dress fabric that is based in Canada.  There are a few quilting shops, but all their fabric is super expensive and not really the fabric types and weights I want.

I am really enjoying being able to use some of the cottons I have been hording in my fabric stash.  I bought this cotton imagining a really cool geometric 60s dress but when I got the fabric I realized that in large amounts this fabric is a bit hypnotic and really should not be used in greater quantities.

Lucky for me it was perfect for my geometric bag.

After sewing on the button, I added a small snap to keep the bag closed and it was finished.

Timewise this bag took about a day from pattern creation to finishing up with the sewing on of the snap and button. I think it totaled about 8 hours of work. 

If I had not fiddled with the annoying triangles it probably would have been done in half the time which gives me hope if I ever want to make another.

Sadly this marks the end of my denim stash so i am really hoping our local thrift store has a good sale on Tuesday so i can buy some cheap pants so I can continue to make these bags.

I also have my eye on some absolutely beautiful East Indian clothing that was for sale at the thrift store.  They are in gorgeous colours and the embroidery and bead work need to be put on skirts or something.  Can't wait until Tuesday!

Random Rupert

When it stops raining in Prince Rupert everyone gets out of the house.  Hugh and I went for a walk down by the pond and on the way we went by this cute MG.  Prince Rupert has quite a collection of neat cars which always seem to come out of hiding in spring.
This is another of my favorite vehicles that has been parked in front of our apartment building for while.  Check out the all metal bumper!  I can totally see myself driving this truck pulling a horse trailer.  It does have a little bit of rust but for a old vehicle in Prince Rupert it is in pretty good shape.

Monday, 27 May 2013


From old jeans to bag

I have been stockpiling Hugh's old jeans for a little while now. They went though a few different craft ideas but recently I decided that a new bag was in order.

It consists of two pairs of jeans that Hugh had worn out.  The pattern had to be very patchwork inspired since the biggest piece of fabic was still too small to make a bag out of.

I drew my pattern on a piece of muslin.

 Cut them out and then recut the pieces adding extra for seam allowances.  Then I sewed the pieces together and topstitched the seams to make the top and back of the bag.

I cut out the rest of the sides and bottom of the bag and sewed it all together.  I am quite happy with how the patchwork pattern worked out. I have never quilted before and I imagine it has many similar concepts.  The fabrics did make me a little crazy as they liked to change shape after I measured and cut them. Still my rotary cutter and my cutting mat were my best friends for this project.

I lined the bad with this really cute fabric I picked up quite a while ago and had been sitting in my stash waiting for the right project.

And Voila!  New bag.

I took it out for a spin today to the Salmonberry Market.  It is a group of people who get together to sell their handmade items down in front of the courthouse.

There was not a whole lot of people selling as it was pretty cold.  But it was not raining and in Prince Rupert we always consider that as a win.

Today my friend was selling her handmade cards and brooches.  She is a very talented artist and I was super lucky to get first pick of her cute items on her table.

I am hoping that one day I can come up with something nice to sell at the market too,  Maybe bags?  I need to experiment a bit more with fabrics and patterns first I think.

Lastly I when I went outside today I got a big surprise!  My poppies have finally begun to bloom.  I grew them from seeds last year and I was very worried that the winter would be very harsh and kill them off.  Lucky for me that was not the case and they have been flourishing these last couple months.

Isn't she pretty?

Look another potential bloom to the left.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

60s style dress

So I have been working on this dress pretty much since I got the fabric in Terrace a few weeks ago.  It has not been my fastest project because it has been stellar busy at work with the end of personal tax season here.  Originally my plan was to have it done in time for the Bif Naked concert I attended on April 27th.  Not a chance.  Then I thought I could have it done in time for the end of tax season party three days later.  Two days worth of overtime trumped that plan too.  So it has been sadly sitting on Maniko waiting to be hemmed and ironed.

This dress started out really well.  the Burda pattern was generally a dream to trace and cut out.  For once most of my hems lined up and my neck edges all matched up.  This has never happened to me before with a McCalls or Butterick pattern so in the beginning I was pretty happy with the pattern.

As always I had a few issued putting this lovely together.  I cut out all my pieces and was diligently sewing them all together when I realized that I had bought an invisible zipper rather than a regular one.  Argh.
pre sleeves and pressing
 I blame other other lovely Burda pattern I bought the same day for distracting me as it did require an invisible zipper. So I figured a zipper is a zipper and I installed the invisible zipper instead.  That seemed to work out fine until I realized that my fabric had stretched a little in the insertion and now I had some unfortunate wrinkles in the fabric on the back on the dress. oh nooos.  After a bit of fussing with the fabric and the lining I was able to get rid of the majority of the wrinkles but it is still not as perfect as I would like.

I did have another problem right at the end.  No matter how I manipulated the sleeve I could not get it to fit into the armhole.  It was so frustrating.  I even rechecked my pieces and they were exactly the right size.  It was very strange.  As a result there are some annoying puckers in the sleeves which I am not happy with but I did not have any extra fabric to re-cut them.  Next time I make this dress I will be sure to mock out the sleeves and make sure they fit the arm holes.

One of the special things about this dress is that it is fully lined.  I used this to my advantage by sewing the lining first so I could check the fit and the placement of the darts. This worked out pretty well in the body of the dress.  Go figure that the sleeves would not be lined and this is where I had my major fitting problem.  next time I sew a dress with sleeves I am going to do the sleeves as well even if they are not needed for the lining of the dress. 

I want to try this dress again but I plan to shorten the waist a bit so the pockets sit a bit higher but otherwise the pattern fit pretty well.  Really I need to work on getting the pattern to work up without fabric stretching.  I will also line it with real cotton as the polycotton broadcloth would not iron nicely and tended to shrink if it is ironed at a higher temperature.  So annoying.
and pockets!
Check out the cool belt I got from the Salvation Army last Saturday.  Finding plain skinny belts here can be a bit difficult so I was very happy to find this one.

Random Rupert

One thing to think about when buying a house is what possible things could happen in the property around you.  Sometimes horrible neighbours move in next door, sometimes a giant ugly house is built in the neighbourhood and sometimes something big ugly and shiny is built in front of your property which obscures your previously lovely view of the ocean.

These people once had a lovely view of the ocean here in Prince Rupert.

Now they look at these:

Shiny goodness *insert sarcasm here*.

They are two pellet silos which have been recently put up on the CN Railway property here in Prince Rupert.  They are really ugly.

The extra sad thing about this is that the railway has had a lot more traffic with the expansion of the port, Ridley Island and the pellet silos.  This means that these people not only have had their view obscured, they also have to listen to the constant noise of the railway.  We took these pictures on Sunday and the entire time there was the noise of trains moving, coupling and decoupling.   It would drive me nuts I think if I had to live there.  I wonder how much their property values have dropped with the railway becoming so much more active.  And I highly doubt the city will reduce their property assessments because of it as the city really wants every tax dollar they can get.


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Fabric Porn

Oh look what the nice postal boy brought for me today.  It is my winnings from the Girl Charlee giveaway! I believe there is at least 19 yards of yummy knit fabric in these pictures.

The white fabric with black birds is really lightweight.  Not sure what I am going to do with that.  The deep burgundy is also super lovely and a lot heavier than the others.  The red fabric to the right is actually a bit deeper and less orange red than the picture suggests and is going to become a dress.  Not sure about the rest yet. 

I think my favorite is the blue grey one with the yellow birds on it.  It is very pretty and the colour matches the blue/teal fabric really well. I also got 6 yards of black cotton jersey for more black dresses. 

I made this Cynthia Rowley dress with straight long sleeves a couple years ago and I wear it about once a week still.  It is great for both wearing alone with a cool belt and using it under other dresses I have for warmth or to add extra length to a dress which is not as work appropriate otherwise.  Unfortunately the black is no longer as black as it used to be.  I am looking forward to making up another one.  Also, the dress only took a few hours to make which is really awesome!

On the weekend I was super lucky and some friends took me to Terrace to go to Fabricland! 
I was super happy as I have been craving some new fabric and a chance to get some real Burda patterns.  There are some many cute ones I want.

I settled on this sweet 60's dress with sleeves and pockets.  I am really looking for clothing items with pockets as at work they are a godsend. 

I bought some really cute pink cotton for this pattern.  I am thinking cute summer dress!.  I can definitely see this pattern in heavier fabrics as well like linen and even a suiting of some kind.  It really looks like something I could make a few times.  I am always excited to find a pattern I can use more than once.  Patterns are so expensive now.  I have the lining for this cut out already as I want to check the sizing before cutting into my good fabric.  I hope to get it together this weekend.  Maybe I can wear it to the end of tax season party!

In general I find that I like the 1940's clothing/
style the most but I tend to look better in stuff that is more 1960's I think.  I also like 60's clothing as it tends to be more versatile and does not stand out quite as much like you are wearing some sort of costume when you wear it in your everyday life.  There is also a cool cleanness about the styles that I like too and you can really play with fabrics and colour as a result of this simplicity.  And pockets.  I really do love pockets.

Crafting in Progress!
Gray Cardigan
20% done!
Bubblegum Blouse
100% done!
Cranberry Skirt
70% done!