And sometimes things go terribly wrong!

I have been hard at work sewing lately, although I took a quick break to go to the cottage.  So I only got some crochet done.  Go a weekend without some kind of crafting?  Yeah, NOT gonna happen!

Sewing classes have been going really well.  I have started working on the dress for

Simplicity 3506 and so far so good.  I cut out a 22 in the shoulders and gradually widening out to a 28 in the hips.  This was a great learning pattern for me, because it is the first time I have done any gathering, put in darts or installed a zipper.  Each thing took at least 3 tries.  But I am happy with it and it fits really well!   I still need to finish the seams, add the arm and neck facings and hem, but it should be done soon.

And that is the good news!  Now for the disasters!

So, from this pattern I also cut out the pants…and boy i should have cut a 26 with a 24 in the crotch, because when i tried them on, they were GIGANTIC!  sigh.  So last night I removed the elastic, and took it in a good inch on each side.  I am also going to use a draw string and elastic combo instead of just elastic, and make them capris instead of pants.  In the middle of this process I ran out of thread…

So you will remember the green skirt I had started from

Simplicity 1920 Well I finished it AND the belt and I was pretty happy with it I thought. But you know what?  It was also kinda big.  So I decided I would also take it in and instead of elastic, I would use the same elastic, draw-string combo as for the pants.  So I opened up the waistband and removed the elastic. I managed to rig up a tie with a piece of elastic in the middle and I took the skirt in a good inch on either side again.  But as I was trying to put in button holes (for the tie to go through), I ran out of green thread…*$^@#&*!!!

Breath SJ, breath!

So I had also cut out a plain tank top pattern in fuchsia knit.  I was being so smart, I cut out a 22 in the top and widened it out enough to fit through the bust and waist.  I started assembling it and so far, so good and then I finished the neck line and tried it on…AAARRRRGGGGHHHH @#&@$#&&#$&*$*#&%^%&@#&!

The damnable thing went almost halfway down the front showing an excessive amount of cleavage, and the shoulders were still too wide and the arm holes too small!

It was at this point last night that I decided it was time to go do something else.  So I did.

I have a couple of ideas for making it work for me, and adding some decorative elements…I might tackle that tonight, or just wait till the weekend.

So the red pants and the green skirt are on hold until I can get to Fabricland and get more thread (thankfully I kept the sticker with the colour code on it).  In the mean time I have lots of fabric to wash and items to cut out from my last trip to Fabricland from the weekend.  My Aunt who does costuming for a local theatre popped by on the weekend, with some great kids fabric for me, so I bought some patterns for my 4-year-old niece.   As well as a bunch of fabric to cut out more stuff for myself.  My DH also issued me a sewing challenge for a case for his, oh I can’t remember what it is called, but it measures electrical current or something like that. I wish I could book a week off work and just lock myself into my craft room!   I have an urge to make some chain maille too.  But of course the weather is so nice out, I like to spend as much time as I can in my garden.  Good problems to have 😉

 

A Slightly Tragic Occurance

I know it has been a couple of weeks since my last post. It isn’t for lack of anything going on however. I was keenly sewing away the week before last when the worst happened. The 25 year old Jenome finally gave up the ghost. The motherboard wasn’t in great shape by then, but it finally decided it had had enough. Right in the middle of working on a top!  Thankfully, my excellent neighbour came to the rescue and let me borrow her Singer, which was  until I got a new one.  Sadly, the top I was working on was also a disaster.  It should have been a simple v-neck sleeveless top in a knit.  But for some reason, which I discovered later, the top was huge in the neck and shoulders and fit perfect everywhere else…huh.  I had cut a 26 or a 28 , I can’t remember, but it did NOT fit.  SIGH!  So I might try to make something from it later, but for now it will sit in a drawer.  It was during this fiasco that my machine died, and I used my friend’s Singer to finish the hem and arm holes and then add some ill-advised darts…oh dear.  I did NOT take any pictures of it.

So after a long consultation with my mum and her best friend who was always like an aunt to me, both of whom are extremely accomplished seamstresses.  We decided that my mum and step-dad would come and visit for the weekend and mum and I would go shopping for a new machine.  Both my mum and Aunt Carol are Jenome users, and won’t buy anything else, so both recommended that I get a Jenome as well.   I had planned to get a fair amount of things done on Friday before they arrived, which I had off from work, but unfortunately I threw out my back on Wednesday morning.  I ended up spending a very painful day at work, and then didn’t actually manage to get OUT of bed on Thursday, although I did crochet a fair bit!  Still, My parents arrived on Friday afternoon, and Saturday, my mum and I went to the Sewing Machine Hospital on Merivale to shop for a new machine.  The Sewing Machine Hospital specializes in Jenome and Pfaff Machines.  I looked at the one my mum has, the Jenome 4120, but it was a lot more $ than I wanted to spend, and did a lot more than I really needed.  So I can home with a brand new Jenome 3160!

 

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Isn’t it Pretty?!  I couldn’t wait to get it set up and start using it, so I did!  I had cut out a number of projects during the week while my machine was out of commission.

I had visited the Fabricland in Kanata again and picked up more great fabric.

So I cut out Simplicity 1620 in a pretty white and blue floral cotton,  The top that is the same as the dress.

photo 1  I cut out a smaller size on top this time, and it fits a lot better!  What my mum and I discovered as we were going through my pattern collection and taking the necessary measurements, is that above my bust, I am about a size 22, and my back is even narrower.  My bust is somewhere between a size 24 and 26, and my waist and hips are a perfect 28.  This complicates matters when it comes to making a dress or top, however, we managed to work out how to adjust a couple of the patterns so that they will fit me perfectly!  So this top I cut out a 26 for the yoke, and a 28 for the body, but I made the pleats larger so that it would fit into the yoke.

My mum also showed me how to do seams in a much more finished manner.  I put in a row of stitching at 5/8″ and 3/8″ inches, and then trim to the 3/8″ line, then overcast the edges.

I also cut out Simplicity 1920 in a brilliant Kelly green!

photo 2  This is a perfect fit in a 28.  However, I can’t quite figure out the final instructions for the slit and the hem, so I am taking it to my sewing class on Wednesday for the teachers help.  This was Sunday evening and Mum was already on the road home at this point.  I cut the belt out in the same green fabric as well.

I have also cut out the pants from  Simplicity 3506 in a lovely red linen, but I haven’t started assembling these yet.  Maybe tomorrow evening.

 

The sewing adventure continues!

The dress is finished! It is not the neatest sewing job ever, and I will need to continue to practice. I did have trouble getting the bias tape in nicely, but managed it in the end. I also opted for a machined hem instead of hand stitched. Still, I am pretty pleased with the results.

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I am planning on wearing it tomorrow for Mother’s day brunch, which we are hosting. So I have been itching to get back to the Kanata Fabricland before it closes, and Mother’s Day was the perfect excuse, because of course I needed to make a new tablecloth for the occasion. Obviously.
So I got a lovely neutral floral.

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I also got, a heavy knit in both white and hot pink (3 metres each), a royal blue knit with embroidered white flowers (1.6 metres, all that was left) and a sateen knit in kelly green. Everything is washed, dried and ready to cut out. Table cloths are easy, fold, press, sew. So I figured I would also assemble the top in the blue wave patterned knit. Oh my gods, that fabric was a pain in the ass to work with! It was impossible to press the edges down so my hems and seams are all over the place. I also cut out a 28, and I really needed a 26, so I had to take it in and that was awkward. Still, as long as you don’t look too closely, it looks pretty cute.

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I also cut out a simple v-neck sleeveless top in the white before I figured I should ascend from my crafty cave.

and sew on

and sew on and sew on.

It’s been a busy craft week this week!   The last time I was in Michael’s buying feathers for hair combs, I also took home a collection of glass pearls in pink and chocolate brown, of various sizes.   So besides to take a break from doing chain maille, I made this elegant (at least I think so) graduated pearl necklace with matching earrings.

graduated Chocolate Pearls  I will have to get some better pictures and get it up on Etsy.

Saturday my DH and I were exploring Kanata and I insisted we stop in at the Fabricland there, which is sadly closing, but at which pretty much everything is 60% off!  Oh my goodness, self-control was going to be needed!

I was looking for black 1/2″ wide, singlefold bias tape for my dress, along with some tracing paper and a wheel.  No tracing paper or wheel to be found and the only bias tape in the size I needed that was even close was beige, so I got the beige because it accented the dress nicely which has beige in the pattern.   However, what I DID find was a TON of fabric on sale.  I was like a kid in a candy store!

I came away with three different fabrics, 11 metres in total, the bias tape and lots of thread for less than $100!

Fabricland Score!

The black and white fabric is cotton with some stretch, the blue floral is 100% cotton and the blue wavy fabric is a knit.  I have already cut out a little t-shirt in the knit from this pattern.  I think I am going to make the tunic pattern that is the same as the dress I am making in the blue floral.

New Picture  I may attempt to assemble this on my own and then cut out something else for next weeks class.  Ambitious I know!

Yesterday evening was sewing class, and I started to assemble my spiffy new dress! It was a lot harder than I thought it would be to get the pleats right and lining everything up properly. Still, the overall construction of the dress if fairly simple, and that wonderful wonderful Janome still purrs its perfect lullaby. It also includes features such as built-in seam allowance markers on the bed of the machine and little numbers to help you thread the machine with ease (which is good because I forgot the instruction booklet at home).

I was really hoping and expecting to finish the dress in class and maybe even start out on the shirt I cut out, but getting the pieces together properly and getting the bias tape in took a bit longer than expected.  I got pretty far though and now all that is left to do is to finish the neck, and hem the sleeves and bottom.

Of course I had to try it on as soon as it went together, and it fits great and is quite comfortable! I am going to whip up a little tie belt to go with it as well.

I figured I would practice my modeling skills 😉

Unfinished Dress

I will get a better picture once the dress is actually finished.

and sew forth!

Well my faithful readers, I have settled in nicely to my new and improved craft room, and I have been fairly busy!

The first project in the new room was my first ever fascinator.

fascinating

I made it by hot gluing satin to cardboard and adding rhinestones and filigree metal pieces.  It’s pretty cute, but I think it would go best with a messy up-do, it’s a bit big.

Next were some feathered hair combs for a friend of mine who was going to a charity gala. She also borrowed a necklace from my inventory and I made her a pair of earrings to match and for her to keep.I have never made anything like this before, and I have very little experience with feathers…the get EVERYWHERE!

feathers!

I had a few false starts and burned myself more than once with the hot glue gun, but in the end, I am pretty happy with the results.

hair combs

I like the one on the bottom the best, I think the less symmetrical look is more appealing, and that is the one I gave to my friend to wear.  I used small pieces of black satin and flat back crystals.  I used hot glue for the feathers and satin and epoxy for the crystals.

Then I broke out the shop-vac, and removed the excess plumage from my work area, and my clothes, and waited for the rest of them to finally descend to the ground so I could vacuum them up too.

Other than feathers and sparkly bits, I have been back to my chainmailling ways!

I made a bunch of rainbow  byzantine bracelets.

rainbows

I love these, I made them with different, types of attaching chains, a simple 2-2 chain, byzantine and box chain, and a 2-2 in black nickel as well.

I also finally got to use some great pastel jump rings I got from the Ring Lord months ago, before the great reno began.

pink box chain

Pastel Pink anodized aluminum in a light box chain.

blueblackbyzantine

 

and the pastel blue anodized aluminum and black nickel in a byzantine pattern with three rings in each section instead of two.

But now on to the even more exciting goings on in the World of Wearable Miscellany.  I have started sewing classes at a local high school!

Now, I grew up around sewing.  My mom has been making my clothes since I was a baby.  There were many nights I fell asleep listening to the soothing sounds of her Janome purring away in the room down the hall.  So many times I have stepped on dropped pins and needles and had to pull them out of my poor little kid foot!  Sadly, like knitting and crochet, sewing was not something I have been adept at since I was a child.  In the case of knitting, both my poor grandmothers attempted to teach me many times throughout my childhood.  However, it wasn’t until my 20’s when my sister-in-law attempted my instruction that it finally stuck.

So even though I have spent my entire life around sewing,  I have only ever a few times actually constructed anything myself, Usually gift bags and pillow cases.  When I expressed some desire to learn to sew a number of years back.  My mother gave me her vintage Singer machine, and I mean VINTAGE.  This puppy was built during the 1950’s.  And after a few electrical adjustments, it runs really well.   It isn’t the type built into a table, but was one of the early “portable” models.  It comes with a handy case that you can carry it around in, although since I think it is either steel or cast iron, it weighs a ton!  It doesn’t a lot of fancy stitches or anything, just forwards and backwards, but for most of my sewing up until now, this has been more than sufficient.

This past Easter holiday, we were visiting with my family in the GTA, and my mum and I went off to the local fabric land, Simplicity patterns were on sale and I needed some proper fabric scissors.  As we discussed the various attributes of our sewing machines, she suggested that I might need something more advanced than the Singer, something that could do things like button holes and overcasting.  Then she gave me her recently retired Janome, the very same Jenome that had been lulling me to sleep since the mid 1980’s!  It’s was retired mid-way through my wedding dress when it developed a problem with its onboard computer.  It still runs just fine though and I am delighted to have it!   There is a lot of family history in both of these machines!

Sew, I showed up to my first sewing class last week, we went over what we will be doing in the course, taking measurements, and learning about the different tools of the trade.   Great teacher, very knowledgeable, and pleasant.

Yesterday evening was class #2 and we all started to cut out our patterns and fabric, ready to start sewing next week.  I chose a Simplicity pattern, and a lovely cotton fabric for a summer dress.   Thankfully, for a first kick at the can, this pattern only had 4 pieces!   YES!

and sew forth

It still took a little fancy maneuvering to get the pattern pieces all on right, because all 4 pieces needed to be cut on the fold.  Thankfully I had plenty of fabric to work with.  Now

Now, before next week, I have to pick up some 1/2″ wide single fold bias tape and then we get sewing!

Till Next Time!

The Great Craft Room Renovation – Part IV – FINISHED!

Coming to you live(ish) from the completed craft room.  My Sparkly Sanctuary, My Homemade Haven, My Crafting Cave!

At last posting, we had finished laying the laminate flooring.  Since then we have painted and installed the baseboard and quarter-round, which really made a difference to the over all look of the room, it looks much more finished.

As we looked around the freshly painted and newly floored room, we realized just how incredibly crappy the ceiling tiles and fluorescent lights looked (one of which didn’t have a cover).  So off to RONA we went and bought brand new ceiling tiles and new (and most importantly MATCHING) covers for the fluorescent lights).   For this activity, we needed some safety gear since we would be working with fiberglass insulation.

We couldn’t just demolish the old ceiling willy nilly either, as we had to make sure that we recorded all the measurements and the placement of the old tiles so that we knew where to put the new ones.   So this meant, that as my DH removed each tile, I measured and charted each one.  Now, it would never have occurred to me to hide things above the ceiling, but apparently, it did to the previous inhabitants of my home.  Above the ceiling tiles, my DH discovered two VHS tapes of a certain nature (they were very clearly labelled)…in the immortal words of the excellent George Takei..”OH MYYYY”.   We were expecting to find things like dead mice or bits of plastic.  So that was a surprise.  At any rate, once we stopped laughing ourselves silly, my DH carried on with cutting the new ceiling tiles to size, and I painted the plastic grid they sit in.  Having the fresh new ceiling tiles, is a huge improvement, it makes the room even fresher and brighter.

So all that was left to do was clean up the floor where a few spots of paint had fallen and then move back in, but for the big shopping trip to IKEA!

The first things to be moved in where my new plastic storage towers, with their new labels with everything from yarns by weight to scrapbook paper and paints.  Two have been moved into the closet (the ones with paint, and scrapbook supplies), the four that contain, my sewing and yarn craft supplies are in the main room.

We hit up the IKEA last week, and I purchased a Billy bookcase with doors (polypropylene and not glass), two plastic bag dispensers and a trash bin (but not to be used for plastic bags OR trash).  Thanks to an ingenious posting on Pinterest, they have been mounted to the inside of the closet for storing rolls of gift wrap and gift bags.  Actually I will take credit for using the trash bin for gift bags,  I just got the plastic bag dispenser idea from Pinterest. Hehehe.  I also got a big frame for my Matisse poster that I have had since I was probably a pre-teen and though it is in really rough shape, now that it is framed it has a cool vintage look.  Oh wait, that was more than 20 years ago…it IS vintage!  I am not going to think about that.

Assembling IKEA furniture is always fun, although occasionally frustrating.  Assembling a large Billy bookcase in the middle of a not very large room, went fairly smoothly until it came time to slide in the back piece.  That was tricky, although between my DH and I we managed to slide it in with the bookcase on its side instead of on its front.

So the bookcase was assembled, wall mounted, and then the doors added, the desk and sideboard were moved back in, the posters were famed and hung, the clothes rail installed in the closet and my gift wrap holders were stuck in their places..

Once all this was done I spent a lot of the weekend, finding the right homes for all my stuff and making sure it was all organized. Now all I need is a week off work to spend playing in my new favorite room!

I came back down today to write this blog post and unfortunately my gift bag holder had fallen off the wall, the sticky thing didn’t stick enough.  So I fastened it and the roll holders more securely with screws.  Now it’s perfect!  I really could not have done this without my amazing husband, he did all of the difficult construction work, he’s the best.

So that is it folks.  I hope you have enjoyed the ride as much as I have and now I have to go make something. Sorry the pictures are out of order, the set up is different on the iPad.

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The Great Craft Room Renovation – Part III

Hello again!   Well as anyone who follows my twitter feed will no doubt already be aware, we have made great strides in the renovation over the last week and especially this past weekend.

We left off last time having finished the first coat of primer.  Well, I won’t kid you, this took 3, THREE, coats of primer to cover all of the blue!   Here it was after two coats.

Craft Room 5  You would be amazed at just how much of the blue was still visible at this point.

Friday evening I completed the 3rd and final coat of primer as well as the first coat of primer on the baseboard.  Saturday I did the first coat of paint on the walls.  I decided to go with Decorators White, for two reasons.  1) it’s a nice clean, but warm white. 2) we already had a gallon and a bit left over from the hallway and I only needed to buy 1 more gallon.

Sunday morning, with the help of my DH I completed the 2nd and final coat of paint on the walls and the baseboard.  Now it was time for the floor!

I knew going in that this would be the most taxing part of the renovation, especially for my DH.  I was not wrong!

Craft Room 6

The first step was vacuuming the floor and scraping off any blobs of paint or drywall compound.  Next, we had to put down the underlayment.  This came in large sheets folded accordion style, which were rather cumbersome, albeit delicate.  So we decided to do half the floor at a time, since you mustn’t walk on the underlayment until you get the floor boards down.  Laminate flooring is supposed to be quick and easy, what a crock!  It’s a pain in the butt folks, you snap one section together and the other side comes out again, you fix the other side and the side you just snapped in comes apart.  My poor DH!

It took from 12:30 – 3 to get to the half-way point, despite my DH’s overall handiness!

Craft Room 7

So here we broke for a late lunch.

It took another couple of hours to finish the job which required some creative sawing on my DH’s part.  But we did it!

Craft Room 8

And as much as laminate flooring is a pain, it looks great!  I love the rough cottage look to the this flooring.

So the only construction tasks left to do are putting the baseboard back, adding some quarter round, touching up the paint and adding a clothes rail in the closet.  Then comes the trip to IKEA!