Thursday, December 27, 2007

Dressing for New Years Eve

For New Years this year I decided that I don't want to be sparkly or glittery. I want to be classic and understated (riigghhtt Connie!)

With that in mind I am in the middle of this Christine Jonson wrap dress. Yes I have finally admitted to myself that a REAL VonFurstenberg wrap will not be gracing my pattern stash in the near future. $150.00 (ebay) for a pattern is more than I am willing to spend! I can live with that! There have been times that my bid finger has been itching to hit the button though! But keep looking for me Louie!

So here it is so far. Recognize the fabric?I added a collar. It was not originally a pattern piece, but the company sent a pattern addition to me last year and I like the look of it. I know, I know- a collar is basically a rectangle. But they WERE nice enough as to go through the trouble of mailing the addition to everyone who bought the pattern. It was the least I could to to try it out.

I think I want to add cuffs to the sleeves. Not the cuffs that are included in the pattern. By the way the sleeves are 3/4 length.

I am in the middle of deciding how I should treat the bodice attaching to the skirt. The skirt is a bit heavy feeling, and I think some twill tape or something like that is neccessary to help stabilize it.
Any suggestions?

Have you ever made a wrap dress? If so, which one, and did you like it? Did it compare favourably to the Von Furstenberg classic?

On a similar note, I fell in love with this Von Furstenberg dress at Holt Renfrew Last Chance. Even at the clearance price I couldn't justify it- and it WAS a size O, so it would fit my right leg perfectly!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas

I received this from a friend and would like to share it with you.

Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas. My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant." I did not have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise. So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a seat on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song. Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas," I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment - songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. So, when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was surprised and delighted by the title. Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads. Those in the front row- center stage - held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song. As the class would sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love." The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down - totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W". The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one's mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W". Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together. A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood - the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities. For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear: "CHRISTWAS LOVE"

May your Christmas be filled with Love, Laughter, Family and Friends.
Love to all,


Saturday, December 22, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

What a week- I found out the hard way this week that I am allergic to Amoxillin! Suffice it to say that my face looked like a chipmunk and my lips looked like I was addicted to collagen injections ! I am feeling like a normal human being now although for a few days I actually spent most of my time in bed- getting nothing accomplished!

I decided that I want to make aprons for my sisters, sisters in law and both moms. That means 8 more aprons to be done by Monday. Yes I am nuts! Luckily I have all the fabric I need, and there are lots of hours in a day.

Newly married Katelyn came over today for some sewing help. The entrance to her basement has no door and is right at her entrance. Her two new grandmothers are coming over for a visit tomorrow and she wants it to look "nice". We (I only helped with measuring and pinning. She did all the sewing! ) got the panel done in record time. The grommets had us fretting for a few minutes as we could not get them to "lock" with just hand pressure and a hammer was not doing the job either. We grabbed an old hardcover book, centred everything and gave the book a good hard whack. That did the trick.

Oh yes -I have some news! Good news! I got another job. Now most of you who read this do not know much about my non-sewing life. I do have a job- I am a farmer. Buuutt if I am not super, over busy I get bored, so I am always on the lookout for something that sounds interesting. The new job - and yes I still get to keep my old job too- involves doing insurance adjusting for a government agricultural agency. It should not be fullfull time - that means at times it will be full time and other times not so busy. I am looking forward to starting in two weeks! As Kate would say "Yay Me!"
Some Christmas photos to angel..the last christmas ornament the girls ever gave to my grandmother...this ornament made by my motherHerman the cata paperpieced nativity scene that I - appropriately finished while on a tour of Israel, the girls stockings made years ago and a Santa that my mom made many years ago. Treasures all

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Are you all CrAzY?

People, there was a snowstorm today. To quote Environment Canada, "a Crippling Snowstorm"!

So what do you do? I mean, the kids are driving you crazy, and you want to relax, so you drop the darlings off at the local ski hill. Yes, I know, you can't get to church, but the ski hill- yes-sir-ee!

Do me and the other adults who give freely of their time so you can get your shopping/sleeping done wouldya? Teach them basic manners ie: not line cutting, staying out of out of bound areas and thowing out their garbage? Tell them to leave the little kids alone and respect their elders.
Members of the Canadian Ski Patrol (including me and My Mike) thank you.
Sorry for the rant - it was a tough afternoon!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Aprons

Christmas is approaching way, way too quickly! I just realized this afternoon that I have yet to get a package together for my sister and her family in Alberta! We don't exchange gifts, but I like to send a little something out to her. The rest of the family all live within 40 minutes of each other, Jeremy's family is in Wales, and she does get a little lonely at Christmas time. At least that is what I tell myself- I know I would!

What a better night than tonights stormy one to get her apron drafted, sewn and reviewed!

You all remember the fabric-

(Hey wow - Blogger has changed! I can see the photo in draft view-how cool is that!)

Next was the "opportunity" to draft my own pattern as-

a) I do not have the perfect pattern at home
b) the perfect pattern is a McCalls that goes on sale NEXT week
c) I lost the Ebay bid on the set of 4 vintage apron patterns that I Really Wanted
d) It is too stormy to get out to Fabricland

So - after searching online for "free" "apron" "pattern" for a really, really long time, I decided to draft my own.

Here is what I came up with- I took a rectangle of fabric 18" X 32. I wanted a few gathers at the hip line, so I softly gathered a 4 inch section that was 4 inches from the centre. (on the top edge of course!)
Hemmed the bottom.
Sewed on the waistband, basically a 3" X 29 inch contrasting fabric, adjusting the gathers to fit.
Narrow hemmed the side seams.

Made two ties about 3 inches wide and 36 inches long. Narrow hemmed 3 sides.
I like the look of a pleated tie, so I made a pleat where I was going to attach it to the waistband.
Then I sewed the ties on. On the photo I crossed them to the front and tied them there.

I found this pocked on my searches. I cannot take credit for the original design, but I did tweak it to my needs. ie made it bigger and the tie ends fatter. Here is the website where it can be found POCKETPDF

Voila la apron for my little sister- well she is over 40 but she is still younger than me!

Merry Christmas Lisa!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I don't usually post reviews here, but in order to make the people who are not PatternReview readers happy, I will start.

Christine Johnson 426. Princess Seamed Shirred Top

In advance- sorry for any lack of continuity in this review. I began this review when I made the first(brown top). It has been languishing in draft form until I made two more and decided that I really needed to get this finished.

There are no photos of the #1 top - the brown one. It is nice - Really! If you do not yet have this pattern - stop here and order it NOW! I know there are a myriad of reviews for this top, but wanted to add my 2cents (Canadian).

Pattern Description: Close-fitting, pullover, wrap top with gathered waistline detail and sleeve variations

Pattern Sizing: XS to XL. I made a Small and tapered to Medium at the hip.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? OMgoodness - yes! I actually hugged myself I loved it so much!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Easy as pie! I actually used them as I wanted to know if they made sense. They did!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love that it fit me right out of the envelope. The neckline hugs just as it should and is low but not too low.
I can see that a few more situps are in order - get thyself to the gym more often Connie- but I think a medium would have ended up too large in the bust area. A note to the very tiny people here- I am not a small boned person and I used a small- I think even the XS may be too large for my daughters who wear a RTW 4. I have the feeling that I am going to find out though!

Fabric Used:
I've made this top 3 times now.
#1 was a luscious thin chocolate brown knit that I either got from EOS or Wazoodle. I think it was EOS. I wish my fabric stash was organized! (in fact I really should just make that a priority as I just discovered that I have 2 identical green linen pieces of fabric - both purchased recently for pants- I do not remember buying EITHER!)
#2 was a cool geometric print from EOS
#3 a lovely graphic knit from Metro Textiles in NYC. This must be my personal best in the "NYC purchase to garment" category! I have Christine Jonsons wrap dress cut out in this fabric already as well!

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
#1 In order to make the neckline a bit more interesting, I added some elastic with a very pretty picot edge. As well as looking "pretty" it helped to keep the neckline tight. I turned the neck edge under and hand basted (I do like hand basting) then topstitched the elastic on with 2 rows of stitching. I am embarrassed to say that I looked at my new coverstitch machine while I used my sewing machine to sew the elastic on- I am still not as confident with it as I should be mainly because I would rather sew than practice - bad Connie - practice makes perfect. I make the excuse that I wanted to get something actually SEWN, as there has not been much time for that lately.

The Two New Tops

#2 was made straight from the pattern with no alterations.
#3 I trimmed the neck edge with some black very very narrow fold over elastic. I got this last year in NYC at MJ Trims (I think!) I serged the edge first, then hand basted both sides on individually. Very finickity but well worth it in the end. Oh I almost forgot to mention that I coverstitched this baby - Yeah finally made friends with the machine! Looking closer I can see that my grain line was off a bit- I was pretty careful so I may check the grain line on the pattern piece next time.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Oh yes! I love, love, love this pattern! Easy and looks good too!
It took about 2 hours from start to finish. Did I mention that I think this pattern is wonderful?

Fast, easy to put together and looks fantastic on so many body types! This was just the pattern I needed to shoot me out of my sewing slump!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

My "New" Friend

I made a new friend today. More specifically, I made up with an old one! My Pfaff Coverstitch 4852! I have been on "hello, how are you?" superficial, kind of rocky terms with her since she came into my life -oh my gosh- almost 3 years ago! She was not tooo horribly an expensive friend at first. I brought her home for $900. Outfitting her with jewellery was more costly- and even more so when I realized that I had no idea how these accessories actually worked!
So she sat there. Decorative but not horribly funtional. I did make Mike a nice pair of boxers. They only cost $1000.00 if you figure it our using dollar cost averaging! Then I roll hemmed a dress. Okay the underwear then only cost $500.00!
I roll hemmed 20 6 feet long table runners for the wedding. Boxer cost - $250.00

"Darn it all" I said to myself this morning. Actually I said "damm", but..well you know! "I am going to conquer this thing today!" I am mechanically inclined. I drive and can fix(well sometimes!) a combine for goddness sakes! This little glorified sewing machine was NOT going to continue its life in this house as a drape horse for fabric any longer!

So I reintroduced myself politely. I read a few blogs and some PatternReview threads on coverstitch machines. Since this lady was going to have dedicated Coverstitch usage, I read the manual. Cover to cover. Three times. All I got for my troubles was a snarly mess. So I started over URGGHH
The second best advice I read said that one should thread using different colours to properly analyze the problem. Well Eureka! I was always assuming that the bottom looper was the culprit, when actually the left needle path was not threaded perfectly! I had not "flossed" the thread in the tension disc.
Then it ws accessory time. I had the "M" foot and the hemmer guide. I found this great website from the UK that has a myriad of videos pertaining to Pfaff feet and other accessories. That made it a cinch!
Hemmer Guide

Ahhhh now we are friends. Soon to be best of friends I am sure!

Friday, December 07, 2007

I should be sewing!

And I am! I'm working slowly on my SWAP- I will do an update on it soon! I am in the midst of a blasted silk charmeuse blouse that is bugging the heck out of me. I finished that BWOF dress-finally got the kinks out of my system. I have a myriad of almost but not quite finished projects that I do not want to blog about till I get - further... and photos taken...and happier about...
But what? I keep on getting sidetracked and start new projects that are "so cute" and "oh I need to make that"
Frinstance? Our Santa Clause Parade is the 14th of December and I "offered" to make Elf costumes for 2 of the Council members...
Lauren wants a I decided I need one too...
A friend is having a Christmas party on Saturday and I wanted to craft up some ornaments as a hostess gift for her...
And all of the blogs that I have been reading lately have been going on and on about the most adorable aprons...Connie you don't wear aprons! Yes, but I WOULD if I had those cute aprons...I might even be tempted to make all of those delicious holiday cookies and squares and pies....
Aprons like these...

So what's a girl to do? Finger shop and wait by the mailbox for these fabrics...

Maybe I should sew whilst I am waiting for that Tonic Living order. Or I will be naked under those aprons! And it is cold out beside that mailbox!
Check out my newest fav CD- Ann Murray and friends- I love Ann!