Thursday, September 27, 2012

K.I.S.S. - the reveal

Well, all the sewing is complete on my wardrobe and I am absolutely thrilled! I have already worn the patterned skirt and white top to work and received many compliments - the skirt is rather swishy and that was apparently very attractive!

Some of the photos are rather poor - I am usually photographing hand-knitted socks and shawls and I have not yet worked out my 'pose' yet.  Hubby did a good job though, but next time I will be working him harder!!

So, here we go - 

View 1 - skirt 1, top 1, jacket.  As you can see I am perfecting the 'one legged model' look!

View 2 - skirt 1, top 1.  I have had to take in the hip-band on the top as it is rather wide and it kept falling down my skirt.  It fits well now!

View 3 - skirt 1, top 2.  Hmm.  I can now see what my yoga teacher keeps telling me off about - relax those shoulders!!

View 4 - skirt 1, top 2, jacket.  I've seen the' hands on hips pose' work very well for other bloggers!!

View 5 - skirt 2, top 2.  Here I am all in black - none of the 'front' photos look very good, so here is the back.  It was interesting to see that the black really drains the color from me - it is funny what you see in photos of yourself that you do not see in the mirror.  I absolutely love the sleeves on this top - all loose and 'dolmany' in the arm then nice and snug in the wrist.  I will probably have to reduce the size of the hip-band on this top as well . . . !

View 6 - skirt 2, top 2, jacket - posing for all I'm worth!!

View 7 - skirt 1, top 2.  I think that the white top is more flattering color-wise.  Working those shades!!

View 8 - skirt 2, top1, jacket.  And the last 'look'  Eight in total - who's a thought it?!

Just one more (view 8 again) this just shows that all those hours watching 'America's Next Top Model' are clearly paying off!!

And here is my composite photo:

So, what do you think??

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

K.I.S.S. - part 4

My visitors have now returned back home - and as lovely as it was to have them, it has been great to get back to my sewing!  I had my Pfaff serviced and it runs like a dream now.  I had forgotten how quiet and smooth it ran.  Lovely, lovely!

My black skirt was a doddle - other than the fact that it is somewhat shorter as I did not measure the fabric beforehand, but hey - it all worked out!  The skirt is lined with a fabulous patterned silky polyester fabric and has a deep lace border.

It is pretty hard to photograph black (as you know), but I hope that you get the gist!!

The jacket (in my opinion) is great.  It is fully lined and feels very luxe!  I used plain white lining for the sleeves as they will not be on view, but matched up the lining for the rest of the jacket with the fashion fabri.c  It glides on and off like a favorite robe - in fact the pattern is not too dissimilar!

Here is the centre back seam with the pleat sewn down for a few inches for ease.

I hand stitched the band by hand - I absolutely love hand sewing and this was a dream to sew!

I feel kinda good using the white lining for the sleeves - it was a short leftover length of fabric that would not have been good for much else . . .

But it looks good!  The lining is a little loose to allow for movement.

So there you have it - I am going to work on the actual pattern reviews as well as completing the composite photos to show all the garments.  No rest for the wicked . . . . !

Monday, September 24, 2012

Singer 127

I find this blog most useful as a record of what I have been up to - sewing, travels, knitting, hounds etc, and as such I use the blogroll (Must Reads) on the right hand side as my personal reading list.  It followed that as I was writing little notes to myself about my sewing machines that I should record them here (as I tend to lose little notes written to myself . . . .) so I thought that I would start with one of the vintage machines that I have acquired - a few photos, some historical details - so let me introduce you to my treadle machine:

From what I have been able to find on the internet, this is a 127, meaning that it is a full size machine.  The cabinet is in not bad shape although there is a piece of wood between the two drawers on the right that has come off.  The piece is in one of the drawers, so I will get hubby to mend that for me.  It is rather dusty though . . . .

I saw it advertised locally on KIJIJI and am very pleased with it.  It had been in a family for many years and I look forward to getting it up an running!

 I was most excited to find lots of buttons in the drawers . .

The machine also seems in good condition.  I have not seen any rust, but then it is very hard for anything to rust here in Alberta as it is so dry.

It came complete with the manual as well as various feet.

The serial number of JA731257 indicates that it was manufactured in 1924 in Clydebank, Scotland.  This is rather good to know as my mother was a Scot and a seamstress.  She would be tickled to know that I had this machine.  I remember her mother, my grandmother, using a treadle in the front room of the house when I was a child.  I have not been able to identify these decals yet, but they are rather beautiful interlocking hearts.

This photo reminds me of the posters that you see in the vets surgery that indicate whether your dog is underweight, overweight or just right.  Based upon this picture, I think my machine is underweight!!

A couple of the identifying features of a 127 are the twin slide plates - you can see them open on the picture above, and the long skinny shuttle known as a 'vibrating' shuttle.

And finally, here is the front drawer with some old wooden cotton reels.  I plan to empty the drawers and save all the goodies in glass jars in my studio.  (I used to have a sewing room, but I am currently auditioning the title 'Studio'!)

So there we have it.  A gorgeous piece of history that I look forward to getting to work, and using.  Then I guess the fun will start as I learn to 'treadle'!

The websites that I used for my research were:

Singer and ISMACS - for identifying serial numbers and this site to identify the model.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Labelled with Love!

This is rather a paradox really, because as soon as I purchase clothing, I immediately cut out/un-pick the clothing labels.  I find that they tickle and irritate the back of my neck.  So what was I thinking??  Well, I don't know, but I fancied my own 'designer' labels!

And here they are - I am rather pleased with them and will be sewing them into all of my garments that I have sewn.  They will be particularly useful as I do like elasticated waist skirts and it can be hard to distinguish between the front and the back!

I feel quite the professional now!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

K.I.S.S. - part 3

The white top story . . .

I am really pleased with how my black top has turned out for my SWAP, but I know that I can improve upon it.  And as I do not have enough of my white jersey, I have had to do some serious thinking and this is what I came up with:

This is the original Kwik Sew pattern - long sleeved version:

photo from

And this is a less 'fabric hungry' top that caught my attention (the pink version).  The reason I like these two tops are that they have hop bands.  As I am essentially a 'V' shape - wider shoulders than hips, I find that tops that fit my shoulders, bust etc are swimming with fabric around my hips, these band help pull the fabric in and give me some definition.  And being plus-sized, I need all the definition I can get!!

 photo from

As the neckline on the Kwik Sew pattern had such a fantastic neckline and width, I kept that, but used the sleeves, length, and band off the Simplicity pattern.  Oh, how I love it!  I had 1.5yds of 60" fabric, I had to put in a centre back seam to be able to fit all the pattern pieces on, but it worked.  I could had still decreased a couple of inches more from the hip band, but I have a feeling that this may end up being my 'go to' top.  It is perfect for work, will work with skirts and trousers and will be comfy under jackets.

Here is a sneak peak of the neckline with the centre back seam:

Here you can see the sleeve and hip band.  I serged the sleeve edges then used Stitch Witchery to hold up the hems.  I love the professional finish that it gives - no puckering or risk of wobbly stitching.  I am happy to continue this way until Santa buys me a cover-stitch machine!!


And that is where I am right now.  Three pieces completed, as well as working on my black skirt and camel colored jacket.  I cannot believe how well this is going so far, but as I have visitors from the UK arriving this weekend, for the next 10 days so I am glad that I have a 'jump' on my collection!

Friday, September 7, 2012


Last year I went on a knitting retreat in Tofino organized by Knits by the Sea and hosted by Cookie A, the most fabulous knitter-come-designer.  She really is an inspiration and if you ever get chance to take a class with her, it is something that I am sure you will treasure.

Here she is, in person, teaching us about 'suckage'.  Yep, really - but you know, she is quite right.  When you use cables, the fabric 'sucks in' and becomes tighter.  All very clever!

 And yes, she is holding my knitting !!

 And as glorious as Tofino is . . . .

 Boy, it rains!!

Anyhow, reminiscing aside, I have decided that I want to have a go at knitting the socks from her books, starting with Sock Innovation.  The first pair of socks is called Glynis (I mentioned them on this posting), and here they are:


The pattern was an easy one, but don’t forget to check out the errata as there is an error in the chart for the top of the foot, row 8.

These socks will be gifts, not sure who for yet, but I would like to build a stock pile of a few pairs for those special people in my life . . . and it helps to keep the yarn band for those all important washing instructions and yarn composition . . . . ! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

K.I.S.S. - part 2

Woo hoo!  I have something to show for my sewing.  One of the best things about using 'easy' patterns' is the instant gratification that you get.  I like to use my serger/overlocker as often as possible - I really like tidy, neat seams, and this makes sewing even quicker!

And so, I have now completed my patterned skirt and black top :-)  But boy, aren't 'flat' clothes hard to photograph?  I will get hubby to photograph a 'shoot at the end of the sewing, and until then I plan to post little 'taster' photos - well to be honest they are the photos that came out the best!!

Here is a little peek at my patterned skirt with the white lining and lace trim.

 And an even closer, close up!!

Just to recap, I used Simplicity 4221 view E size 24 for my skirt and Kwik Sew 3752 View A size 2X for the top.  The skirt I love - I will need to get some better pictures as it looks waaaay better than these photos show.  Noting much to comment about with regard to the skirt, so let's take a look at the black top.

Well, I like some aspects of it, but others I would change.  Next time round I will shorten the top by 4" and decrease the width of the hip band by 2".  But the good points are the cuffs are really neat - they fit like a dream and look lovely.  Also, the neckline worked out to be much better than I could have imagined.  It is a thin strip of fabric, sewn into a band and attached to the neck.  Simple right?  Well actually, yes it is!!  I serged the neckband on and it looks absolutely fabulous.  This was the only part of this garment that I was concerned about - I thought that I might have to put in a facing and did not fancy it at all.  I managed to get a good close up - but the color it is not quite true - I had to play around with light saturation to show the details.  In reality it is a lovely rich black.

Both of these items are so quick - for the skirt I serged the panel seams of the skirt and the lining (press), serged the lining and skirt together at the waist, serged the bottom of the lining and the bottom of the lining (press), turned up the hem on the skirt and sewed one row of stitching, sewed the channel for the elastic, threaded through the elastic and added the lace.  PRESS!!

For the top I serged the hip bands, cuffs and the neck band into tubes, sewed the shoulder and side seams (press), attach the hip band, cuffs and neckband.  PRESS!  And that was it. Done.

Wow :-)

So, what's next??!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

K.I.S.S. - part 1

I am a lazy sewer, I baulk from changing threads and like to sew as many seams with the same thread before going to the ironing board.  As my serger was threaded with white thread, that is where I must begin.  But first, the cutting out . . . . and my first lesson - check the length of fabric before committing to certain patterns . . . . sigh!  The patterned skirt, black top and key piece jacket were fine.  No problems there.  I have cut out a white lining for this skirt and it will have a band of white lace around the bottom,  This fabric is rather lovely and appears to be quite crease resistant.

I am hoping that the vertical striping won't have any issues with the panels and I rather like the animal print, subtle effective!

Turns out that I did not have as much lining as I thought, so I had to run out to get more . . . . oh well, I am now good to go and managed to get a great match with the camel colored fabric for my key piece jacket.

That was the good news.  Turns out I was rather short on the black fabric, but managed to get over that by making the skirt about 5" shorter, taking the length from the waistband.  I am intrigued to know how this will look as it is rather short for me - I prefer the longer look, just showing a peek of ankle!!  I also realised that I did not have any black lace.  Really?  I must be slipping!

And the white top.  I had forgotten that I cut out a couple of vests from the fabric a few months ago (and never completed them) leaving me really short - I am not sure what I am going to do now as Fabricland (my nearest fabric outlet) only had cheap looking but expensive (@ $20/m) white jersey.  Hmmmm.  I will need to think this over but in the meantime, white-thread-sewing, here I come!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A SWAP called K.I.S.S

I have decided to take part in a sewing competition on Pattern Review - it is a SWAP (Sewing With A Plan) for a mini wardrobe and the instructions are as follows:

Mini-Wardrobe Contest - Expand Your Wardrobe

This is a contest to create a 5-piece wardrobe in 4 weeks. Four of these pieces must be sewn during the contest period.

**The 5th piece, known as the KEY item, can be something you already own, something you purchase, something you have made in the past or something you make during the contest. The KEY item must work with all the other pieces. It needs to co-ordinate with the other four ITEMS, but need not be included in every OUTFIT.**

These 5 items must combine to make a minimum of 6 different outfits.

I am so excited to take part, I have got my 'sew' back and I want to use it!  I plan to make up some basics using classic, basic colors that I can then build upon.  I am also going to use some patterns that I have not used before.

So here are my fabric choices:

On the left is a camel colored suiting that is super soft and has some stretch to it.  It is most likely a poly/lycra mix.  It washed really well and has a fabulous drape to it.  I have 10yds so will be able to make some more matching items. 

The middle two fabrics are off white and black cotton/lycra jersey.  They are both very soft mmmmmm!

Finally, on the right is a fabulous patterned rayon(?) that I bought a couple of years ago when my friend ran a fabric shop.  How I wish I had bought more fabric from her (I have a feeling that all these fabrics may have come from her shop).  She used to stock good quality fabrics - not a huge selection of dress fabrics as she mainly sold quilting fabric - but nonetheless, lovely fabrics.

There is a fifth fabric, a black poly/lycra suiting that is also very soft but thicker than the camel suiting

So, what will I make?  I plan to make two tops (using the jersey) from Kwik Sew 3752 view A.  The pattern description states 'loose fitting pull-over batwing style tops have a scoop neckline with neckband, and a wide close fitting waistband.  View A has sleeves have wide cuffs.  So far it has not been reviewed on Pattern Review . . . I guess I will be the first!

I will use Simplicity 4221 for the skirts.  I LOVE this pattern.  I have used it before to make some summer skirts with pretty cotton prints and a cotton lining.  These two skirts will have nylon linings so that I can wear them during the winter with stockings.  I will, of course, add lace to the linings (I think that it adds the personal touch and feels most luxurious).  The skirts are made up of four panels and rather than have CF, CB and side seams, I offset the seams so that they fall to the right and left on the front and also on the back.  They have elasticated waists and will be fun, quick 'sews'! 

And last, but not least, my 'key' piece - a long jacket using McCalls 2912 - a vintage pattern (hey, the 80's are vintage, c'mon!!) that I recently bought off Etsy.  The description reads: Easy fitting unlined jacket has front bands, extended shoulders and contrast variations.  I will be spicing it up a little by fully lining the jacket.

I nearly forgot to mention - how many outfits will this all make?  Well, the answer is 8:

Top 1 + Skirt 1
Top 2 + Skirt 1
Top 2 + Skirt 2 
Top 2 + Skirt 2

And the jacket with each outfit makes 8.

As all the patterns are all easy ones, I am calling this collection the K.I.S.S. Project - (Keep It Simple Stupid!).

Let the games being :-)