Archive for January, 2010


One down, 10 to go

January 30, 2010

I have finished my first shirt for the SWAP.

It’s my button feature and its reconstructed from a much too big silk dress I bought from a thrift store two years ago.

Here is the original dress
red silk dress

It came with a short sleeved over-blouse which I’m hoping to cut down for myself in the future.

This dress is definitely not quite my style but half the time I look at the clothes I see as fabric with potential rather than finished items anyway.

What amazed me most about the reconstruction process is how much fabric gets lost when using a previously made garment as fabric for a new pattern. I had originally hoped to get both a top and a skirt out of this dress and if the patterns I’d wanted to use had been less ambitious, I might have managed. As it was though, after I cut out the pieces for the top, I was left with a single square of fabric that I might be able to make a headscarf or handkerchief out of… if that. So I’m making the skirt out of grey gabardine instead.

blouse front

This is the remarkably small blouse that came out of that large dress. My main challenge with this item is that I required modifications for my generous chest, which, when it comes to sewing is far more of a curse than a blessing. I’m still working on my abilities when it comes to doing a full bust adjustment. I find I tend to overdo it and everything puckers in all the wrong places, so I need to continus practising it.

Of course, it doesn’t help that I keep trying to do it with slippery, unforgiving silks either… but they’re so pretty.

blouse back with buttons

As I said, this  piece is my button feature so here is a back view. It does up with buttons up the back. The original pattern called for a zipper but, on top of resizing it from a 6-8-10 pattern to a 16, I also changed the back to allow for buttonholes.

Here’s a close up of the buttons. I like the way they glow.

buttons close up

The grey skirt is next on the list. Then I will tackle pants for awhile before returning to the tops.



January 12, 2010

Alright, I am officially behind schedule on this SWAP. It’s because I seem to have decided to do this at the exact moment that my job got more hectic and we started hunting for a new apartment which we will (if we get it) be taking possession of on February 1st.

To top it all off, I realized that the pattern I’m following for my first shirt is actually too small. I bought it in a crazy cheap pattern sale knowing I’d have to alter it, and now I do which is going to make a relatively simple shirt more complicated.

Oh well. I’ll just have to step it up a bit.


… In with the new

January 1, 2010

I’ve been reading all the lovely year end reviews written by my favourite bloggers and I realize that I can’t really do much of that this year. It’s partly because I have yet to blog about a few of the things I’ve been creating and it’s partly because sewing has taken a bit of a back seat to my other goals for the year.

For the last few years, I’ve made a list of goals (not resolutions) for things I’d like to accomplish during the upcoming year. This past year, many of these goals have related to my career, health, catching up with friends and other hobbies. Looking at these goals, I’ve actually successfully completed more of them in 2009 than ever before. Unfortunately, this has not resulted in an enormous number of successful sewing projects.

Here are the sewing related goals I made at the beginning of 2009 and how I did.

1. Sew through 2 boxes of fabric – I can’t say I was all that successful at reducing my stash at all. I probably bought about as much fabric as I went through if not a bit more, but before we moved to our new apartment, I did manage to reduce my fabric stash by one photocopy paper box. I have since probably bought enough fabric to refill that box, however

2. Sew Hallowe’en costumes – My costuming background gives me a deep love for the costuming part of Hallowe’en. This year I managed to make Hallowe’en costumes for my sister and 2 of her friends who wanted to be Disney princesses. I will post about these costumes once they send me their photos**hint hint girls**.

3. Take an interest course relating to sewing or fashion – I took a fashion illustration workshop because I kind of can’t draw. I’m not sure how  much it has improved my drawing but I did learn a bit about fashion illustration techniques and the ways in which they are similar to and differ from other types of art and illustration. What helped me most was the message that fashion illustration is as much about my own drawing style as anything else so I’ve been more confident about taking pencil to paper and drawing out my ideas. It was a day well spent.

4. Design and sew 3 items for my husband – this was the goal I was least successful with. I did design and sew him a coat based on something he saw on TV but I did not like how it turned out and I have yet to salvage it into something he could feel comfortable wearing in public.

5. Start a sewing blog – well, I started it…

So these are my sewing related goals for 2010:

1. Post in this blog at least 4 times a month (once a week would be ideal)

2. Complete the Timmel SWAP – I want to make the deadline but I also just want to complete it

3. Take another sewing or fashion class/workshop

4. Fix that coat and create 3 items for my husband

5.  Wear only clothes I have created for a week (excluding foundation garments) – this will get me building my handmade wardrobe

6. Finish the crosstitch – it’s not exactly sewing but it is stitches and I’ve had it FOREVER. If I finish it, I will be so excited.

All in all 2009 was actually a pretty good year for us. The year started off with both of us unemployed and living with my parents. The year has ended with both of us working full time – in our respective fields no less and settling into our new city.

It’s been a blessing and I hope all of you find such blessings in  the New Year.

Happy 2010!!