Sunday, April 26, 2015

Animal Print Raincoat for Tamara

Tamara has been having a very busy and stressful few weeks at work and I thought she needed a little surprise.I had an animal print, water proof fabric in my stash that I knew would be a winner with my DD, I agonized as to whether I should make her a long coat or a more sporty jacket. Well, knowing Tamara ,who is a girly kind of gal, I decided on a long coat so she would be well covered in a downpour on her way to work.

I wanted this to be an easy sew and chose a pattern that didn't have too many seams. Few seams or not, this little number took me the better part of four days to produce!!

I used a pattern copied from Burda Style ( issue 01/09 ) which I used for this jacket.

Well, actually, I only used the front minus the band, the back and the sleeves and somehow they morphed into this coat.

.Now you may be able to guess what took all the time. Yes, the pockets and flaps and the collar made out of faux leather. Pretty cool huh?

In the 70's, I had a jumpsuit that had this style of pocket flaps and I've long wanted to use this design on something. As for the pockets, they are actually double pockets with one sewn over the other. Why , you might ask? Well, I don't know why. I just did!

I find it hard to judge where to place the belt carriers on a garment when the person is 1000 miles away so I sewed three to the back. When I next go to Ottawa, I'll redistribute them if necessary.

As for the orange polka dot lining, it was in my stash so I used it but man was it hard to work with these two slippery fabrics together. Another time, I'd line with a light cotton or silk/cotton. Whoops!. No pic!

No pic of Tam wearing her coat yet but she was delighted with her surprise. It was waiting for her after a week of exhausting work travel . It was definitely worth all the angst I experienced sewing it to hear how much she loves it !

Next, I'm making a long white  lace  dress for my oldest grand-daughter's graduation (it's not her prom dress). Only yesterday, my darling Jessie looked like this while helping me take pictures for my blog when I first started blogging in 2008. How quickly she has grown up!!!! And she has been accepted into the performing arts program at the University of British Columbia ! All the way across the country! I can't bear to even think about it!


Thank you for stopping by! More later from

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sewing Friends are so Special

About five years ago, I decided to try to organize a sewing group to meet at our community hall which had just been renovated. Right from the start, I knew it was something that was needed and appreciated by the ladies who decided to join. It was to become a Winter Sewing Group to help pass those cold snowy days of January to March .

There have been some who have come and gone but most of this year's group have been with me since the beginning . I was a little hesitant to start this January because of the death of my friend Bev last summer in a freak accident. I knew she would be missed and I worried that it would be just too sad without her. In addition, my teacher friend Susan wasn't going to be there to help me as she was travelling all winter.  To my surprise, everyone seemed to get closer than before and of course, all were patient in waiting there turn for help. As well , the ladies helped each other whenever they could.

Here is a group picture taken at my house this past week when we got together for a meal .Most of the ladies are wearing something they've made during our sewing sessions.

Through the years, I've introduced many projects to my sewing friends; the infinity scarf, my own version of the turbie twist, ponchos, wraps, cardis, a topper developed from a favorite Vogue pattern  8605 , Silhouette Patterns" yoga pant from which I've drafted many personal copies  after taking careful measurements.and probably other things as well

Alexa brought many of the items sewn  during the five years.Here are a few.

Marion, who is a quilter, also loves to sew for her little grand-daughters and she and I are both very happy with her yoga pants because they fit her perfectly.

Jeannette and Linda are sisters and they like to sew things they can't find in  stores .


Ruth and Jeananne are also sisters and are very happy with this years projects. Ruth is proud of the fact that she managed to make her own bias tape for the Christmas apron she made

Who could resist taking a pick of the black and white Butterick cardigans that Alexa and Jeannette made. Joyce, like a few of the other women,  is wearing one of the infinity scarves which were a great hit this winter for the second time around.


We ended our sewing session with a wonderful afternoon, a nice meal of Chinese food which Ruth generously provided, wine,  desserts, a photo session and much good will. Winter is over and spring has arrived and we'll each go on to do our own thing knowing that winter will come again and we have Sewing Group to look forward to again next year! And I have to say that I really enjoyed our sewing time together, ladies!

Happy Sewing to all of you.
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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Vogue 8757 + McCall's 5590 = A Retired Lady's Suit

It's late to be showing a winter outfit but I've had this made for a while now. Originally, I was going to make just a jacket out of this faux snake print and faux leather combo but Vogue 8757 called to me from the shelf one day and I had to try it. I later added the skirt to make a suit to attend Swan Lake with my sister Pauline.
For the skirt, I used my TNT pattern for a pencil skirt, McCall's 5590

The faux leather was not top notch quality and gave me no end of trouble with puckered seams .I should have interfaced it (and I may yet buy more fabric and take the jacket apart to do that. !!!) I used my walking foot and that was fine but still,  less than perfect garments resulted. wearable but not perfect.On the other hand the faux snake leather was a dream to work with and has a nice firm hand

Don't you love the collar. I cut off 1" from the depth  of the collar to get this look.

The pattern calls for knit sleeves and as I was not using a knit, I changed up the armscye and the sleeve by copying them from another jacket pattern. I don't love the sleeves and had to open up the lining and go back in and reshape them. Better , but again not perfect. I actually took the sleeves out and resewed them in to get rid of those awful pull lines.

For closures, I used large brass snaps.

As you see, I cut up the skirt pattern to form  princess seams so it would match up with the jacket.

A peek at the lace trimmed lining. Pretty, isn't it?

Here is the jacket worn with the new brown jeans I just finished. I was on my way to have a root canal in this photo ! (Yuck! ) One of my snaps isn't done up. That's why the jacket isn't hanging right.

For dressy casual...

And here is how I've worn it it  to go to church.


Well, that's it for winter sewing. I'm happily cutting out and sewing some spring pieces. A dark navy raw silk topper is in the works !

Thanks for stopping by to take a look. I really hope you all had time to sew this weekend.

More later from

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A White Transitional Jacket

I wanted to make another version of Silhouette Patterns Zoanne's Cape but this time with raised armholes and corresponding sleeves.My sewing group really liked my first version and a couple of the ladies are interested in making one  and I wanted to fix that too low armscye problem.

 I stood in my sewing room staring at my fabrics until my eyes settled on a piece of white quilted in black  fabric I had used for this top and which I bought when I used the rust version for my sister's jacket made last fall. I bought the fabric at Fabricville but it was available at Marci  The white is sold out but there are other colours.

Here is my new favorite jacket. I absolutely love it. The photo just doesn't do it justice.

Of course , as you see I made many style changes to the pattern but the front, back and neckline were unchanged except for the length .

Here is what I did.

I used the armscye  and upper sleeve  from a different jacket pattern (V1264 ).

I  added 7 inches to the  length.

I wanted to  follow the lines of the design in the fabric so instead of the slanted front, I dropped it straight down but  the overlap is the same as the original.

I added slanted patch pockets.

The collar is a a rectangle instead of the shaped one of the pattern and measures 6" by the length of the neckline.I curved the corners and trimmed with self fabric.

For the buttons,I stacked white buttons on black  but instead of buttonholes, I used snap closures.

I used no facings. All the edges were  finished  by wrapping various strips of  fabric ,then  stitching and trimming.

It was  a fairly quick sew . The changes I made to the armscye and sleeves made all the difference. I've worn it and have gotten plenty of compliments from friends and strangers alike.

This is just the right jacket for this time of year which is finally warming up.

And it's roomy enough to wear over cardigans and bulkier tops too.

Next up, I'm working on a really cool faux leather suit that I want to wear to the ballet  (Swan Lake)  next week with my sister.

Happy Sewing from

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Mixing Fabrics, Patterns, and Colours

I've decided I'm not going to show you every little thing I make anymore because some of the things I make are necessarily very ordinary but having said that , I do want to show you a couple of tops I made this winter because I love mixing fabrics and textures together and I think my new tops are a good example.

But first here is a collage of just some of the garments I've made in the past where I mixed fabrics together.

My first top is M6922  and I used 3 fabrics. My rule of thumb is to use each fabric at least twice in the garment so as you see, that's what I did in this sweatshirt which I love.

The cable knit came from a poncho I made a couple of years ago but didn't  wear.The floral is a cotton/poly from Fabricmart and the stripe is from Fabricville.

( I was trying to find a spot in my house that wasn't too sunny! )

In my second top ,I used a piece of very soft faux fur, a heavy ponte, and a pretty textured floral knit salvaged from this top which I just never wore. I used M7093 and I have to admit, I didn't get the fit right on this one but it's cute isn't it. I especially like the cuffs which were my second spot for the faux fur.

But do you know what the best thing about these garments is? The fun I had creating them and finding the fabrics to use for each (all from my stash,BTW) If, like my sewing friend Donna, you are intrigued by mixing up fabrics. prints, etc. , do give it a try. It's just so much fun!

I have a really great jacket to show you next time and I'm working on an edgy suit for an event I'm attending so come back and see me soon, won't you?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Little Jacket....Silhouette Patterns Zoanne's Cape

Peggy Saggers recently did a webcast on her pattern, Zoanne's Cape which isn't at all a cape !?!? ??. She showed several versions  of the jacket and I was inspired to try my own since I happened to have the pattern on hand. My goal was to present it as a project for my winter Sewing Group as it is a simple pattern with only four pieces.

 Here is my version.

Peggy doesn't include facings in this pattern but I added facings (scuba knit) which I pressed toward the right side and stitched down to resemble piping. The photos don't show that very well!

I also added patch pockets and my toggle closures with leather ends are from my stash. My Janome sewed through them like butter.

The fabric is from Vogue and is a wonderful quality ,double knit jacquard. I wasn't as pleased with the pattern as I was with the lovely texture of this one and decided to use it as a trial garment not really caring if it ended up wearable. Well ,I've worn it a couple of times and have gotten lovely compliments including from my husband so I have changed my mind about it.

Now, about the pattern. It has a flaw, as far as I'm concerned. I know that Peggy uses one inch shoulder pads and I did add 1/2" ones ( it isn't the 80's after all!) but even so, the armscye on this one is way too low IMO. It comes out being a little uncomfortable through the chest but because my fabric is quite stretchy, I can put up with that.

For this reason ,I decided against using this jacket as a project for my group ,but I made the mistake of showing it to them anyway and they loved it. A couple of the ladies would like to try it so I'm going to fix the armscye, thus the sleeves too, make another sample, (you can imagine I have way too many clothes) , draft a pattern for each of them and let them make one .

It looks oriental don't you think?

That's all for now.I hope you found time to sew this weekend!