Friday, April 28, 2017

About Time!

Last spring I was at the mall with my girls and noticed flowy, floral pants everywhere. I came home, picked out what remained of this sheet, cut out a pants pattern and got to work.

First up, the sheet was a 50-50 poly/cotton blend. So while it doesn't wrinkle, it doesn't quite have enough flow.

Second, I have a bad habit of not checking the pattern placement before cutting. This time I didn't even think about it, considering it was a large pattern. I neatly folded my fabric and cut. I don't really care for how both legs match, and I probably could never replicate that again if I tried.

This is after I re-sized them
Third. "Flowy" is not the same as hugely oversized. I put these on, and they fell off. I had bought the pattern (New Look 6354) at Value Village and although the envelope felt full, the pattern had been cut, to a smaller size than me. So I added what I felt I needed, based on the info on the envelope.  The hips were HUGE. I was pissed because that was a lot of wasted fabric. I had already sewn on the waistband, and I didn't want to just sew up the sides all the way up (it's a wide, bias cut band).

So, they sat while I got distracted with other projects. Finally, in March, I was in a lull, and decided to tackle them again. I took off at least an inch from each side of the seam at the top, and 2" each outer side (4" per leg) at the thigh. Since they weren't draping, they needed to be much more streamlined.

The family is not amused by them. The girls instantly recognized that I had a sunhat in the same fabric and they are petrified I will wear them at the same time. I won't. I promise.

My husband was like...they're okay for at home but don't go out in public. Once I trimmed them down and I put on the white shirt, he did think they were better.  I'm unsure of what kind of white top I need. This t shirt has an elastic bottom and I don't think it's right. Plus, it's worn out. Would a woven shirt be a better choice? I don't like how you can see the pants through the t shirt. But a woven shirt would also be a looser fit and with the pants being on the fuller side, I'm afraid I'll look like a little floral box.

I wanted to like this pants pattern so much because it's simple, no zipper, very similar to some RTW pants I have and love. It just needs a lot of tinkering, which will change based on the fabric. Like, if I had used a stretch twill, I would be cutting SO much smaller!!  I will try the pattern again, because it's very versatile, but without pockets, actually, the pattern I made from my favourite pants is a better option for me. I can easily (?) add a bias band instead of a knit band to my pattern, right?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Another Accessory

One of the first things I sewed, without a pattern, was a lampshade...more like a fabric cover for a wire tapered barrel shaped lampshade. I measured around it...but didn't realize the shape I'd be cutting was not a rectangle and didn't buy enough fabric.
Another project was a needle roll for my double point needles. I knit a long strip on my KnitSmart knitting machine and felted it. Then I sewed fabric to make the inside. I really didn't know how to order it, how to plan it, etc, and most of it ended up being top stitched. I thought I was clever because I sewed on a flap to cover the tip end so they couldn't slide out.
As I've progressed, I've had a few of these projects. The Internet, especially Pinterest, have helped as there is now a pattern for almost everything. Almost.

My husband bought me a new phone. My old one was so old I couldn't run any apps anymore, or even take selfies. It's a great new phone...but since it's a refurbished phone and not the latest and greatest, the case selection was lame. The salesman said to buy from Amazon and after checking a few places, I finally did find some cases on Amazon--though two I picked out wouldn't mail to Canada! In the meantime though, I needed something to protect it in my knitting bag, coat pocket, etc. "Gorilla Glass" is tough, but I'm not sure about knitting needles!

I knew what I wanted. A zippered bag, with a wrist strap, and a clear plastic screen area. When sizing, I made sure to make the zipper at least the size of the phone, remembering that some of the zipper length is lost once sewn in. I did the little tabs over the zipper. I wanted it lined with PUL. I  thought I had it all figured out, top stitching around the plastic window, thinking I was nearly done. Then, I realized something. I actually don't remember what that was now! But for some reason, I could not finish it with the PUL on the front piece! I think I wouldn't be able to turn the bag right side out after sewing it together. So I changed it so the PUL was only on the back piece.

In the process of trying to press the window edges down to top stitch, the plastic got hit by some steam. And distorted. A couple weeks ago, I found the heavier plastic I had wanted to use. Oh well. This is still usable. Some people are amazed by it, some people think it's hokey, but last night something leaked in my band bag and there was only a bit of water on my phone, between the cover and the phone back. It could have been way worse if my phone was in the bag loose!

I added two male halves of the snap so it could be a large loop or I could make it snug around my wrist. The ribbon wasn't double sided so I did sew it together to make it reversible. And yes, I did trim those threads. I was just so excited to share a photo on Instagram LOL.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


My youngest is a budding vlogger/YouTuber. She has trouble though setting up the iPad to record, or the camera, or her iPod. She also likes to sit at her desk and watch videos  and make up tutorials. So I thought she might like a little pillow stand.

I used this tutorial . It seemed to work fine.  I used plastic pellets I got from Weighted For You, for the ramp bumper and the lower half of the pyramid. The top half is stuffing, which is easier when you're trying to hand stitch the opening closed. Not sure if the pellets are beneficial, but they do provide a nice weight to it.

 The slope is quite fine for using on the kitchen counter when cooking, on the arm of the couch or at the table when eating, but my daughter finds it a little too sloped for at her desk, and absolutely no good for filming. It's a combination of the slope of the pyramid and the length of the "ramp".

 And it was totally no good for the iPad Mini in it's Lifecase.

Making the ramp adjustable would be good. I saw a tip about putting a pencil into the slots made by the top stitching, but they weren't wide enough for any of my pencils. A knitting needle might work.  Having the ramp be shorter would also help. I've been thinking about the geometry of making the slope less. Each triangle would then not be the same shape. Good thing my husband is a mechanical engineer!

I would definitely make more of these. It's pretty quick, fairly small material investment. You could add to the time but reduce cost by doing patchwork.

Friday, April 14, 2017


In the past few years, we've gone to my aunt and uncle's to learn how to do pysanky--the Ukrainian Easter egg decorating tradition. It's interesting to see the kids' progression and interpretation each time. This year, we knew quite in advanced when we were going, and as I was digging through my fabric stash one day, it hit me.

I HAD to make a shirt with this awesome fabric I bought a long time ago. I think I bought it at Wal-Mart in Orangeville, so that would have been probably before 2008. I really started sewing after Megan was born, Nov 2005--though I didn't sew much right then, I started becoming a sewer then. I loved how this fabric was somewhat abstract, sort of cheeky and humourous, and also "nice". A velvet with gold glitter. But I never knew what to make. I didn't want to end up with a Matryoshka face on my butt :)

I used the same pattern as the previous shirt (incorporating some fitting changes), New Look 6143. I think the armholes ended up a smidge too small this time, and there are horizontal wrinkles just below the armhole, which looks like too much length?

I purposely placed the centre dolls upside down. The ones on the back are right side up. I didn't want a doll face on my boob. And it makes you look twice to actually notice the dolls.
I tried to do a lettuce hem but it wasn't working too well. It seemed to curl under.
 The dividing band on the egg, with my initials and date.  I tried to really get detail this time. The dots are two colours, the spikes alternate colours, etc.
 Free form is hard for me. I like symmetry, but I also find it difficult to get the precision I require to soothe my OCD.

The main side of the egg was inspired by my shirt! My aunt has learned about washing and rubbing the egg after dyeing to get more vibrant colours and closer shading. After dyeing the face colour, she rubbed it off the face, and I covered the entire face except the green eyes, red lips and cheek spots with the wax. I did realize after that while I got the white dot in the iris, the green iris, and the whites of the eyes, I forgot to do the pupil! I was going to sharpie it in after before I took the photo but forgot. I also seemed to have forgotten that the black is in the middle of the eye, not around the green LOL. And I think I forgot eyebrows? LOL.

I'm planning to post all the process pictures of the eggs on my Instagram page, since the photos are on my phone.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Well, Hello There

I've been busy sewing and posting on Instagram. And just busy with life. Add to that camera camera was broken so I was using the iPad, another camera, my husband's collecting up all the pictures from different places was annoying. And my youngest is constantly taking the camera to make her own videos. Then, I got a new phone, with a pretty good camera, and I could post to Instagram with it, but couldn't seem to get the OneDrive to work to transfer pictures onto the computer. Now my regular camera is fixed (YAY! Thanks hubby!) so hopefully I will get back to posting.

Sewing. You all know I have a love-hate relations ship with it. The True Tracy Way exposes itself a lot when I sew. Like. Many years ago I found this sweater weight knit fabric in a remnants bin. I thought it would make a cozy dress since there was enough. But when I got it home and unrolled it, I found that the purple accents had missed spots in the middle!! Frustrated, I folded it back up into the stash.  I've not forgotten it though and decided enough was enough.  I dug it out and fully unrolled it. I saw that the fabric was really wide and the missing spots were only in a vertical line up the middle. I could most likely still fit pieces around that. I picked a pattern (New Look 6143), and read the reviews on

This is sideways!
Why can nothing be easy for me? The reviews were not particularly good. The armholes were too low, reducing mobility. Well, that explained the issue with some of the other shirts I've sewn! How to fix it? I googled and searched and everything either just said "raise the armhole" (but what about the sleeves?!) or was way too complicated or too easy (shown on a sleeveless top). Finally I found it. Cut a box around the bottom of the armhole. Raise that up, add new tissue to the side seam. Reduce the sleeve head by the amount you raised the armhole. It seemed too easy!

I found a great video explaining all this too, though she said it wasn't 1:1, but more like shorten the armhole twice what the difference was. I figured it was easier to trim the sleeve down than to add length after it's cut.

I finally cut it out, and basted it together. I was quite impressed! Though the fabric seemed itchy! Tweaked the armhole a smidge more then serged it together and added the neck facing and hems. Then I sat down to pick out the basting. Except that I forgot I had to change a serger thread and it was a different colour and I thought it was the basting...

Originally I thought it was two shades of grey, plus purple. But I was wearing brown pants, and it looked fine.
The kids and hubby approved of this shirt. They said it looked store bought. Which, to an unconfident sewer, is the best compliment!  Especially compared to what they said about some pants I made...