Other Interests

Sewing Notes and Learning Experiences

I have been sewing almost every day, but have made a few duds. I tried very hard to follow directions to do a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) on some shirts that I made. I love Pam Howard's Classic Shirt class on Craftsy. She has such a calm, methodical way of explaining things, that I'm sure my heart rate and blood pressure drop as I sew with her telling me what to do in the background. I made 3 different shirts which have very good tailoring techniques, but the FBAs did not work out. One of the shirts looked billowy enough to not need the FBA, in fact, it didn't even call for a dart, so I made the size that measured right. The billowy part is in the back and the damn bust is too tight!! How did that happen?????

I made a really nice blouse a couple of years ago, but I chose TABLECLOTH fabric. I still love the fabric, but MAN, it can get hot. Now that I know more, but way less than I need to know about fabric choice, I am self-conscious about wearing it. So, I'm going to remove the buttons, and cut it up as demonstration pieces for my project binder.

Yes, I said Project Binder. It is about time, that I made samples of what I am learning. It will help when I need to find the method. It will be an heirloom for some obscure relative who will think I was amazing--perhaps 50 years from now!! And, I have visions of one my friend, Deb shared with me. She has the most beautiful penmanship and kept her notes in beautiful binders from about 30 years ago. I saw them once and was instantly smitten by the idea. Mine will not be so beautiful, but everyone needs something to which to aspire. So far, I have made a sample of Kenneth D. King's origami patch pocket, and Kathy Ruddy's cheater pocket. Also, I have bras that are in the process of being refined. (I am at the point where I love two bras, and neither one has straps that fall off the shoulder.)

I am starting to keep notes on what I am making. When I realize how far I have come in 3 years of sewing, it pleases me. But, when I realize that something could be improved, I turn back to the garment and cannot for the life of me remember if I had made a change. So, I need a system.

I'd love it if you could share some of ways you keep records of your sewing growth! And I do mean growth--every mistake leads to a new "Aha!" Right?

If I keep notes, some future seamstress will be very happy with me--that is, if my children don't just burn all my stuff in some Viking Funeral Pyre on the St. John River.

Hudson Bay Blanket

 Here is the finished front of the quilt. And here are the 8 1/2 inch panels with a more modern take for the back. I plan on making these float in a navy background, and inserting 4 varying sized black stripes to echo the way the Hudson Bay Company determined the size of the blankets, when they were folded.

Our grandson is ready to move into his 'big boy bed' and our daughter wanted to make the room a Canadiana style room. What is more Canadian than the woolen Hudson's Bay Blanket, made in England? Well, this quilt based on that design with fabric from Ontario and sewn in New Brunswick will soon be finished. I'm hoping my Acadian friend will long arm quilt it.

As a personal touch, I'm designing a modern take on the traditional HBC blanket for the back of the quilt. Once my daughter and grandson see it, I'll share it here. 

Jean Pencil Skirt Pattern drafted by ME!

My jeans skirt is finished, and I am so pleased with the results. I used my skirt sloper to lay out the pattern. This sloper was developed with the Craftsy class with Suzy Furrer. It is a course I highly recommend, if you are interested in drafting your own patterns and adding details.

The reason why I have gone to drafting patterns is that I really am conscious of how I want the clothes to fit my body, which like all bodies, has a few fitting challenges. As I age "gracefully", I notice certain areas which are flatter, and some that have 'bloomed'! What's with that?

However, I have good health, a wonderful life with a terrific husband, three smart, kind kids, a terrific son-in-law and a beautiful grandson, who is two years old, today!

So, this skirt fits very well.

I received the jeans fabric from my friend, Diana and I bought the cotton contrasting fabric from Fabricville. The denim was also used when I made my son-in-law's manly apron to match my grandson's tool belt. (I should post those, now that they have been given as gifts!)
 I drew up a pencil skirt that only came in 1/2 inch rather than 1 inch, which Suzy demonstrates. I added an accordian pleat in the back with a different fabric, as this jean material is quite heavy, and I wanted to play around with a contrasting color.

I added the pockets, which Suzy Furrer demonstrates in the class, and used the contrasting fabric to reduce bulk.

The fly zipper is the first one that I have installed, and I watched Kathy Ruddy's Craftsy course, One Pattern, Many Looks. Again, Craftsy has provided a top notch teacher, who makes you believe that you can produce beautiful clothes that fit.

As an aside, I signed up to go to CreativFestival in Mississauga, Ontario in April, where Kathy Ruddy is teaching a number of FREE workshops. She is so personable. I feel like she is sitting beside me, which she is because I play her class while I am sewing. She has excellent tips, and is so down to earth.

 I thought I'd show you the inside of my skirt.You can see the zipper shield, the pocket bags, and the use of the selvedge on the hem.

My sewing buddy, Karen was generous enough to lend me her Janome Memory Craft 6500 to use while she was in Florida. I have named her Genevieve (pronounce it the French way---plus chic!) She has purred along, every stitch of the way.

I also used my serger, having had the knife recently replaced after half of it flew off in a sewing mishap.
Here are two details of the fly front zipper, and the belt loops. (The belt loops were also guided by Kathy Ruddy's teaching.) Once again, I have received the benefit of the incredible kindness and skills of my sewing friends. When I want to rush through something and get it done, I think of Diana of Sewing Passionista, who has taught me to look at the inside of the garment and make it look beautiful, too. If you ever want to make friends, take up sewing!
From This to . . . . .
and this!

The Fitting Process and Suzy Furrer on Craftsy

As you can see the weather has been cooperating in my sewing adventure. Who wants to go out in the regular Wednesday-Thursday, and Saturday to Sunday snowstorm that has been the pattern in the Maritimes, this winter? Much better to stay in and have the computer playing my Craftsy classes while I follow along with my drafting tools.

Suzy Furrer is very generous in getting back to you quickly with accurate and encouraging advice. She is a gem, and I highly recommend all her courses. Also, someone is trying to sell her book for $500 on Amazon, but she sells it on her website for $55.00 American. It is top of my list to buy, as soon as our Canadian dollar goes back up, even a little!

 am working my way through Suzy Furrer's bodice sloper and made my moulage. I had some adjustments to make, which I have done, but then lost my oomph to see if it fit. 

Plus, getting my husband to pin me in is an interruption to what he is doing, and I hate the unflattering photos of myself, although I did post the first batch to Suzy and she gave me some excellent alterations to make. When did my back get fat? I know I shrunk 1 and 1/2 inches but does that mean my skin has to fold over above my waist like that? When I had thyroid issues my weight was always under what it should have been. This aging process is hard, when I am focused so intently on fitting my body.. Oh well, I'm healthy and enjoying this sewing life. Once I figure all my fitting challenges, I will be able to camoflauge them--perhaps I will end up sewing tents. Ha Ha!

I also have been making the skirt slopers, also from Suzy Furrer's class. The A-line fit very well, but I don't think it is a style that suits me. But, I made the skirt out of that scarlet fern pattern, inserted an invisible zipper, lined it and drafted the waistband. I think my sewing was good, but that kind of skirt often rides up on me.

So, then I drafted the flared skirt. It has a much nicer silhouette for me. I decided that I would try a bias cut, and lower the skirt and add a waistband. I checked the measurements on my summer skirt sloper from the NB course, and the measurements were the same, so added that to the mix. One thing I am proud of is that I have not bought any new fabric. I am using what is in my stash. However, using the right fabric will also have an effect on the right drape, so again, something else to consider. When I am happy with the fit, I will be able to buy the right fabric and build a wardrobe that goes together.

I learned: 

1. I cannot flip, rotate, or slide patterns on the bias. (Sorry to all my students who had to endure my transformational geometry lessons.

2. I used 100% cotton with baby blue background and tiny brown polka dots. Tod hated the pattern, which did not meet in a cheveron at the seams, like I 'planned'. I think it is cute, but really, should I be wearing cute clothes?

3. I really like the yoke style, and I think this skirt would stay at my waist, but somehow, it came out 3 inches too big. I cannot for the life of me figure out why. I added 1/2 inch seam allowances, and put the CF on the fold, so that isn't where an extra 1 inch came from. I  re-measured the pattern and it gave me the correct waist measurement. I had to close out my darts to add the insertions for the flares, so should I have taken the darts off the sides as well? I thought if I closed the darts to find the lines of insertions for the flares, which started at the high hip, and came from the leg of the closed dart, that I had already created the waist shaping.  I know that I didn't lose weight--because measuring my waist is what I did first!

 I also sewed up a sample of the shrug from The Sewing Workshop, by Linda Lee. It would have been fine, but I decided to add a binding to all the edges as it wasn't a knit that curled, and that kind of took away from the drapey-ness of the top. My serger got a work out, and it was excellent. I ensured there were no pins to break my knife, as that last mistake cost me 42.75 plus gas to St. John.

So, with every dozen mistakes I make a day, I am learning LOTS!!!! Despite a winter of sewing, my wardrobe has gone down--not up, but when I finish making all these errors and actually finding patterns that are TNTs (finally figured out what that meant), I will have a great wardrobe.