Other Interests

Blog Hop And Why I Sew

Thanks to my friend and sewing mentor, Diana of Sew Passionista, who nominated me for this blog hop. I'll keep my answers short, so you can get back to sewing!

Why Do I Write?

While I was still teaching, my friend and former principal suggested I start a blog about what I knew about teaching special education and working with students in the public school system who were on the Autism Spectrum. I was retiring that year, and she felt that I had knowledge that needed to be shared. So, that is what you see in my labels. After I retired and moved 1600 km away, I knew that I didn't have the same connections to write authoritatively about that subject.

I had bought myself a basic sewing machine as a retirement present, and through sewing, I was able to meet people like Diana, and her sewing students, who have now become cherished friends. Sewing became my passion, and I decided the blog would be a record of what I am learning, as well as a way for my friends and family back in Ontario to see what I was doing.

How Does My Writing Process Work?

I try to remember to take photos as I work, and then get my husband to take photos of me in the finished product. Despite sewing every day, I find it hard to get the photos done. I think it is because I am not confident in styling the finished product. This is an area that I need to work on, and I visit many blogs to see what works.

I find the writing part fairly easy, as I just figure I am talking to like-minded sewists. It is not surprising that people who sew are generous, creative, and love to teach and share what they know.

What Am I Working On Now?

Karen and I are finishing up tunics from Sandra Betzina V1101 that we started in the summer, but got side tracked with the jean jackets. Those pocket details, and using stripes are a challenge! But, with Diana's sew-along which is linked above, I know we will be pleased with the end result. My next goal is to become more comfortable with techniques for working with knits.

One area on which I hope to improve is to choose the right fabrics and to get a feel for what fabrics fit specific patterns. Diana mixes a number of patterns and fabrics. She makes it look easy, but I find it quite a challenge.

I am also working on revamping my blog. I have had difficulty deleting my former postings on teaching, but that is in the past, and I am fully embracing the sewing world and its creative potential. Sewing is a great way to spend the day and it leads you to finding the best friends. It provides life long learning, and gives me great satisfaction.

Who Do I Nominate?

Well, I would like to nominate  Gillian at Crafting a Rainbow. I check out her videos about fabric choices. She is a relatively new sewist, starting in 2012, which is the year I retired. Her sister has a knitting blog, which is another hobby that I love.

So, enough about me! What are you sewing? Why do you blog?

My Mother's Colors: Quilted Wall Hanging



My mother and I have a lot in common. We try new things. We love colors, and tend to overdose on the same cool tones, before moving on.

These ARE my mother's colors, at the moment. She had a beautiful water color painting above the master bed, but it has faded in the light. When she saw this quilt kit made up at a local quilt shop, she bought it and said, "Donna can make that."

I was happy to oblige. It sewed up very quickly. Being a kit, the fabric was cut into manageable pieces and only needed trimming to size. There are four large blocks, a border and binding.

And, I LOVED working with the colors. I bought some gold thread, and borrowed my friend's stencil to do the star in the middle of the gold/purple squares. Everything was free motion quilted, except for the border, where I used the walking foot and decided to do a wavy pattern with the zig zag stretch stitch on my basic Janome sewing machine.

At first, I tried to do a clover leaf and meandering pattern on the large flowered blocks, but the quilting took away from the flowers, so I switched to invisible thread and quilted around the flowers. That worked better, but now I know how the Emperor's Clothes were stitched!

I washed it in cold water, and love the wrinkled, old look the cotton batting gave to this lap quilt/wall hanging. I added some corner flaps and a middle hanger square for a dowel rod to slide through. Bill will have no problem hanging this above the bed.



Now, to fit it in my carry on luggage for my trip to Ontario!


Sandra Betzina's Jean Jacket Vogue 7610


Under the direction of Diana, at The Sewing Passionista, my sewing friend, Karen and I were inspired to sew jean jackets, with a lighter fabric before tackling denim. Of course, I was drawn to the water like Monet colours of this cotton in an Annette Stretch Pique Print, 97% cotton 3% spandex. I promise, to start moving away from the Monet color scheme, but I do love those blues, mauves, and limes. And, when Karen is finished her jacket, I'll post photos, so you can see what a normal person chooses.

I also really wish this jacket pattern was still in print. It has ABCD bust choices, so it fits very well, without having to do a Full Bust Adjustment.

What I Learned:
I did practise a lot of top stitching, but for the jean jacket in denim, I will use top stitching thread, or Extra Strong Guterman. Here, I tried double thread on top, and regular polyester in the bottom, but didn't like that some of the stitches looked loose, so I kept to single polyester on top, and changed colours, as I do seem to have a variety of mauves, blues, and navy threads!

I also learned more about working with stripes: they require more planning than I like!
 As I was cutting this out, I was trying to keep the stripes in the 5 pattern pieces for the back fairly cohesive. I laid the fabric out in a single layer because I do have some issues with poor spatial awareness, and with the irregular stripe, I felt that I needed to take my time. The blue stripe tended to appear irregularly, and when it wasn't centered, it made the jacket seem to be lopsided, so I chose to center it. Well, BIG MISTAKE. When I sewed it together, I felt an affinity for the Pepe Le P, and a voice from some sewing mentor in the past, rose up saying, "Never put a bold stripe down the middle of your back." Unfortunately the voice came after it was sewn and top stitched, so I had to think of a solution.

Voila! I cut out a piece without that bold stripe and matched the V, then pinned it below the yoke, top stitched it and deleted the mistake.



 I felt pretty proud of myself, because the stripe really bothered me, once I had sewn the body together.
I used a striking green fabric for the under collar, cuff linings, and facings, and used snaps, rather than buttons. I kept the snaps a little low key as I didn't want to have the jacket look "jeweled or bedazzeled", despite the bright colors!
For those of you who like stop motion, seasick-inducing automatic gifs from Goggle. I figure if I watch it, I feel like I have exercised. 


Cotton Mesh Tunic

So, I was a little worried that this would read as a Macrame Plant Pot Hanging, but I actually love it! I was thinking that I would make an open front cardi cut on the bias, but there would have been a lot of threads hanging. Instead, I used Vogue 8504, with the asymmetrical neckband, where I used twill tape to stabilize the neckline.


I carefully matched all the side seams, and the shoulder seams. There are no darts, and it just fits loosely. I can use it as a cover-up, if I every get to a beach.

It feels great, very natural, clean, and hides any little figure bulges from the summer treats!


I used a small zig zag to do the seams and finished with the serger. Using the serger is what I imagine people feel when they drive a race car . . . a little danger at a high speed. Like running with scissors!

I also bought this fabric in black. I want to make a different pattern. Any ideas?
Just another one of those beautiful fall days!