Thursday, January 24, 2019

Mail order arrived!

Woohoo!  my fabric order arrived from BlackBird Fabrics.  I have to tell you that this is a great little Canadian company with wonderful taste in fabrics and great service.  I am so thrilled that they are here in Canada, which means that any order over $100 qualifies for free shipping.

Pop over and see what they offer. Everything I have bought from this company has been absolutely first-rate.  And if you have a friend who sews, combine your orders and get the free shipping. I want to send people over to them, as they need to stay in business!

Ordering from the US is so pricey. I just ordered two samples, just samples, and they cost me $3 for the samples, plus over $16 US for shipping!  It is prohibitively expensive to order from the US, unless you really want something.  And I will order these fabrics, but I was a little shocked to be charged that much for an envelope containing two samples. That should go as letter mail and should only cost $2 in postage. 

From having my own mail order business, I know that the shipping is the thing that does you in. And I had to subsidize my customers' orders heavily because no one would order a thing if they had to pay what the shipping actually cost. I do want these companies to stay in business, because for people like me living in rural areas, we simply don't have access to good fabric.  Once in a while, I will get into Pembroke and then I pick up necessities at Fabricland but the choice of good dressmaker fabrics is limited.  Sometimes there are some gems to be had, but the last time I went there was really nothing that caught my eye.  A lot of junky knits in bins, no decent ribbing to be had in the entire store, and not too much up front in the way of eye candy. 

So getting fabrics like these today is simply putting me over the moon. Now I confess that I am suffering from cabin fever, which is very common in these parts in the months of January and February. And I justify my online purchases as therapy for the SAD aspect of my life here.

(SAD = seasonally affected disorder, in other words: you get depressed by the lack of sunlight)

The oatmeal linen is gorgeous, I bought 3.5 metres for a spring jacket. The print is a viscose twill, I bought enough to make a Kalle tunic shirt, and the knit is for a simple tee as my tees seem to have been depleted over the past year.  I am always on the lookout for decent knits to make t-shirts and this one has a lovely texture to it and is just the right weight for a tee.  Some cotton/lycras are a wee bit too heavy and they seem to get stiffer and stiffer the more they are washed. I hope this one will retain its nice hand.

In the knitting area, I have finished a sweater and have to block it and then sew it together.  Always something on the needles!  Can't sit and watch a movie with my hands inactive.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Back to Sewing

I really enjoy reading sewing blogs, but have noticed that many bloggers are quitting and just using Instagram or Pinterest only. I don't like those forums, as there are only pictures and not much written text so you can't really get to know much about the items.

I do hope that sewing bloggers continue to record their sewing efforts. If not, what will I have to read?

I have been sewing but have been remiss about blogging my finished items.

Since the summer, I have made a Kwik Sew classic shirt from some lovely quilting cotton I bought at Dolans' in Renfrew. It is a black background with tiny leaves in mustard and soft purple (what I would call mauve).  Years ago, I read an article in Threads about coordinating your sewing by using a piece from one finished item and incorporating it into the next garment, thus tying them all together. The result was a kind of artsy-type wardrobe, not to everyone's taste, but an interesting concept.  This cotton has me thinking that I should use the remains of the quilting cotton in another garment, and I can see a shirt-dress that is colour-blocked with this print being used as the border on a solid colour dress.
Hmm, we shall see if I actually get to it.

Then I sewed a Coatigan, at least that seems to be what this sweater-coat garment is being called. I found an independent pattern featured in a blog, but it was from Australia and the printed pattern cost $35 plus the price of shipping. Whoa - way too expensive. I found a very similar pattern in McCalls.

                                                 Image result for McCalls 7476
I ordered a sweater knit from and it is sitting in a box waiting to be cut and sewn. In the meantime, I wanted to make a muslin first and used some black French terry from the stash. The terry has much more body to it than the sweater knit and the result is more like a coat. In fact, because of the colour, I am calling it my "funeral coat". I will be ready for any funeral I have to attend in the near future. As a result of making the muslin, I am going to add 1" to the side seams for better closure and I will shorten the bodice 1" to bring the bottom of that V up higher on me. After all, I am short and the pattern would have been designed for someone 5" taller than me.

Next, I ordered 4 patterns from Grainline Patterns, which came in record time. They have really good service. I made up the Lark Tee in a knit from the stash and it is looking pretty good. I am going to cut down the shoulders and neckline and armscye to a smaller size as they are too big on me, but the body is just right. I can also lose some of the length in both sleeves and body, although I prefer to have the length there before hemming. I really dislike t-shirts that end up being too short, and I have found that I like a deeper hem than most patterns allow for. From the Loes Hinse line of patterns, I have found that a 2" hem on the bottom of a knit top gives it nice weight and it hangs better.

Then I sorted out my pile of fabrics that seem to accumulate in my sewing area. I found a Kalle shirt cut out in a cotton print that I love. I think I bought it from Blackbird Fabrics last spring.  Over the summer, I made 2 Kalle shirtdresses and cut out this blouse. I lengthened the cropped version about 3" in front and 5" in back. Cropped tops on a woman my age are definitely OUT.  This is a lovely pattern, it is so well drafted and the instructions are great. Everything goes together so well, it is a real pleasure to sew.

I do finish my pockets differently, I sew the top facing over to the right side, then flip it over, which brings the sides in, then press and topstitch in place. I also use the Islander burrito technique for the yoke rather than the one that Heather Lou uses. I don't like rolling all that fabric up into a little bundle; too many creases for my taste. Margaret Islander's technique does one side at a time, and there is no bunching up of the body of the shirt inside the yoke.

Now that I am making the Kalle again, I want another shirtdress in it.  I have a teal green cotton blend in the stash that I think would be good. I have to force myself to sew solid colour garments; I am simply drawn to prints time and again. But solids have much more wearability than prints.

Also in January I made a pair of Burda pants from some black rayon/poly/lycra from the stash. So it has been a rather productive time here in my sewing room. I will try and get some photos up here shortly.