Saturday, April 26, 2014

Anything Armani Can Do . . .

I can do too!!

So, have you seen the recent Threads magazine - it is one of their specials, and I managed to track down a copy last weekend.

There are some pretty neat articles in here, and one that really caught my attention was about Armani and the construction of pants.  I have made quite a few pairs that I am really happy with - fit wise, but some of my fabric choices were a little lacking.  The fabric itself is not that bad, but it does not feel too good against my skin - once you start wearing lined pants, it is hard to go back!  It was not worth lining the pants as they are a medium/light weight polyester blend and I wanted to wear them throughout the Spring and possibly the summer . . . . and then I read this article:

Now why didn't I think of this?  Half lined pants it is then!  Armani likes to underline (attaching the lining to the main fabric and then treating it as one fabric piece) whereas I prefer my lining to hang free - I find it creates less bulk.  I have some Bemberg Ambiance squirreled away and once I have lined the two pairs of pants - they will be a dream to wear!  I also have two pieces of some very lightweight wool fabric that is in Spring/Summer colours - now I can make them up and know that they will feel good too!

This article also caught my attention - I think that there will be some lovely lingerie in my sewing future!

How about you - are you prepared to altered a 'so-so' garment in order to make it wearable, or would you rather toss it and start afresh?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sidetracked - Mug Rugs

With losing Jess recently I found myself a little distracted and did not want to cut into any of my sooper dooper dressmaking fabric in case I made errors.  But I still wanted to sew.  So I decided to sort out my quilting fabric and make some mug rugs.  Now what is a mug rug I hear you ask?  Well, it is a cute little rug for you to to put your mug on - and it has space for a cake or some cookies.  They make up quickly and are fun to make.  They measure about 4.5" x 9" up to 7" x 10" - it is personal preference really, so this is what I made:

The pattern for the whales mug rug can be purchased here.

I have a feeling that these will make great Christmas gifts - parcel them up with a mug or cup and some nice coffee/tea/hot chocolate - perfect!

I know that a lot of readers are turned off by patchwork/quilty posts on a dressmaking blog, and as I am enjoying this sidetracking and will be indulging this passion a bit more, I have started a blog to specifically for these 'tangents' - if you are interested, pop over and see me at the Patchwork Dog!

Well, I really enjoyed making this (and a number of others!) - but tomorrow I will be cutting out fabric for some clothes, and will be playing with my new machine!  Can't wait!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Days Gone By

Or 'How to Tailor Using Paper . . . .'

Last week I had to fly to Edmonton for work - it is a short flight and after arriving I saw this display:

Yep.  It is a tailored man's cutaway coat - what is so special about that?  Well, if you take a look closely you will see that it is actually made out of pages from a diary.

Wow.  Just wow!  The details and stitching is quite amazing. 

This is the title board - and I love the name of the piece.  I did a quick Google search, and other than Facebook, I could not see anything about this designer/creator.  I wonder if it was part of a student project and if he made it himself.  It really was a nice surprise to see this - who doesn't like an unexpected piece of sewing in their daily life?!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Wardrobe Planning - week 2

Thank-you so much for your comments about my first week of wardrobe planning - I have to say that I recommend it to you all . . . wardrobe planning that is!  I found that my mornings ran a lot more smoothly and that I had a everything that I needed.  So here I am again this week, with my next selection.  I am also showing that jewelry that I have selected as I am trying to use more variety there as well.  So here we go - week two (which is a four day week due to Easter Monday) including the accompanying bling!!

White, cotton Sorbetto top - the fabric is the leftover from one of the dresses that I made for Miss Sharon.  The gored skirt is lined. and black with tiny white dots and the cardi is my purple rayon Burda.  It is going to be warm tomorrow so I will start my week here.

My bling consists of amethyst earrings from a little country shop that I try and call in on when I visit Red Deer each month.  The earrings are made locally and I met the designer when I was in there last.  I always feel good buying locally made goods - especially when I have also met the artisan, it makes them more special.  The net bracelet is one I made many moons ago - I wish I could find the pattern as I have some more beads shouting to be made into jewelry!  These seeds beads have a purple/green iridescence and match the earrings better than this photo gives credit!

Yep, another Sorbetto - this is a natural colored linen and I will wear it with these grey pants and brick cardi.  I like to wear scarves - I tend to wear them rather than necklaces, and this one with the fringe works well.

The bling will be kept simple - Swarovski crystal earrings and a braclet that I made with a kit from my local bead shop.  The bracelet was supposed to be elasticated - but I think that looks rather cheap on me.  Instead, I used beading wire and added a simple clasp and I am very pleased with the look.

You may need to take a seat here as my top is a RTW stretch cotton poplin that is probably a couple of years old now.  I will wear it with the blue franken cardi and my lined houndstooth pants - we are expecting quite a bit of rain this week and a drop in temperatures, so I think that this will work well.

My earrings are from the same Red Deer shop as the purple amethyst earrings above, and the bracelet is one of my Mum's that I came across after unpacking some boxes that have been sealed up since she passed away in 2009.  I don't think that she ever got to wear this, so I am happy to be able to get some use out of it - it is surprising light and dainty.  The earrings are some kind of blue ceramic/glaze and I love wearing them!

And finally;

One more skirt combo to see me through the week - I made the lining a little long and the lace edging peeks out at the bottom - I was going to alter it, but I rather like the look!  I will wear it with a natural colored linen shirt and a pink cardi.  My scarf has some lovely splashes of turquoise in it - hence my earring selection!

Sadly, these are not real turquoise, I can't remember what the stones are, but they are frequently dyed to look like turquoise - and that works for me!  Worn with a simple silver bracelet - that will see me through the week.  This selection has made me realise that I need to make some more tops out of stretch cotton poplin (I have one or two Sorbetto's, but a shirt or two would not go amiss) and I should really get round to sewing up the two black cardis that I have cut out.

Phew - it takes me longer to write the post than it does to make my outfit selections!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Wardrobe Planning

Further to my recent post about wardrobe planning, and remembering posts where other sewists actually plan what they are going to wear each day, I thought that I would put some planning into action.  My new resolution is organize my clothes for work for a week, including jewelry and accessories, in an attempt to vary my wardrobe (no duplicates within a two week period), reduce the amount of clothes in my wardrobe that I just don't wear and identify gaps in clothing that I can then make (the really fun part!).

This week seemed a good week to start - it is a short week due to Good Friday and I am off work on Tuesday - so I only need to plan for three days (I like to ease myself slowly into new challenges!).  So here we go:

Lilac cotton/lycra cardi, grey linen Sorbetto, black linen TNT trousers.

Green Ponte cardi (McCalls 6168), black TNT vest top, cotton 'target' skirt.

Lipstick red cotton long-line cardi, white linen Sorbetto top, black pinstripe TNT trousers.  Although I am wearing the same style cardi for two days running, I will be out of the office on the second day so my colleagues that see me one day will not see me the next!

I have also set up some partitions in a drawer with my jewelry, so that I can mix that up as well, as I find that I tend to wear the same items all the time, and I have rather a lot that just never gets to see the light of day.

So, what have I learned from this so far?  I need to replace the green ponte cardi as the fabric is pilling.  I have purchased some lovely cotton/lycra so will get that made up quite soon,  I also need a a plain black jacket cardi as the one I made recently was rather a failure, although I am wondering about putting a band around the waist to make it look as though I am wearing a belt - that might draw in the excess fabric.  Also, vest tops.  I love my Sorbetto's to bits, but I do need some jersey/knit vest tops - time to pleay with my new machine!!

How about you?  Do you plan ahead, or run round in a panic deciding what to wear as the time ticks down in the morning . . . . ?

Sunday, April 13, 2014


This week was a very sad week for us as we had to say goodbye to our faithful old girl Jess. She was nearly 17 years old, and was the most perfect hound you could ever wish for.

She was a fabulous companion - never too far away from me, even when I was posing for my photo shoots:

She travelled over from the UK with us when we emigrated to Canada in 2004, and adapted really well to her new life, and to Rocky and Hobbes, the greyhounds that we adopted.

Yet, for a dog that never caused any trouble - she didn't bark, chew anything or do anything naughty - she has left a great void in our lives.  Towards the end she became quite poorly, and we miss her terribly.  I just hope that somewhere, she is happily chasing rabbits and squirrels xx