Friday, June 17, 2011

Stanley Cup Final - the aftermath

I'm sorry to say that this is not going to be a sewing related post. Frankly there hasn't been enough sewing done in this house to warrant one. :-( There will be one soon though, I promise.

In the meantime I wanted to take a quiet minute or two and write a bit about a rather bizarre local event that some of you might have heard about in the news. They're calling it Riot 2011 or The Stanley Cup Riot or the Vancouver Riot.

It was a travesty, it was sad and awful and is in no way something that Vancouver or BC is proud of. For those who don't know the story the Vancouver Canucks made it to the final round of the Stanley Cup. They fought hard and took it to 7 games. That final game was played in Vancouver. We lost. And then some people got really stupid. There were fires and looting and people got hurt. Lots more people got scared.
The only good thing to say about the riot is that no one died.

We as BCers are ashamed at how a small group of people acted. We just ask that people remember that it was only a small group and that it in no way represents the rest of us.

There are some good things that happened during and after the event and I would like to focus on that.
There were people who stood up for what was right and there were more people that stood up for them.
A lot of people came out into Vancouver where some of the worst damage and looting happened and helped clean it up yesterday.
After 2 police vehicles were burned Wednesday night another police car was found today covered in notes of gratitude and well wishes for the Vancouver police. It is a beautiful sight.
Some people have realized that what they did  Wednesday night was wrong and have come forward and turned themselves in. I applaud them for doing the right thing. I know that admitting you're wrong is never easy. Wednesday night they were people to be ashamed of, today I can feel a small piece of pride in what they did today.

This is not an event to be celebrated but perhaps, if we learned from it, we can celebrate that.


PS  To all those people who posted about their "accomplishments" during the looting or posed after being caught on camera being the rest of the world a favour and don't procreate..Please!!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

It's Polyester Pants time!

Yep, you read that right folks.
My next project (delaying my actual sewing for me! Which I will write about later) is a pair of 1970's polyester pants. Miss C is doing a project for school and needs a costume for it so .... here we go.

I'm going to be using a vintage pattern from a Golden Hands books, specifically this one. The pattern for the pants on the cover is included in the book.

I have a small collection of these 1970's Golden Hands books. They're kind of fun and luckily they all seem to have their sewing patterns still in them. Each issue had a free sewing pattern stapled to the middle of the book.

The pants are actually rather cool because they don't have a zipper front but instead one that buttons up, kind of like sailors pants. I don't remember having a pair of these but then I think I lived in jeans pretty much through the 70's. LOL

Here's another interesting feature of the pattern;

This is the whole pattern piece for the pant back. Not very long huh?

That's because part way down it says "Cut on this line and insert 18.5 inches".
I found that really interesting. I'm not sure if this was just to save paper or maybe to make the magazine less bulky...? No matter the reason it's neat. Naturally I didn't cut it there but rather traced the pattern to the size I needed and added the 18.5 inches while I was tracing.

So hopefully today I'll get everything cut out and the markings placed. Then it will be easy to get some little bits of sewing done during the week.
I find if I have everything cut out I can fit in 15 or 20 minutes of sewing during the week, but if I have to cut stuff out I stall until the weekend. Weird huh?
Well, off to continue working.


Monday, May 2, 2011

It's now complete

We had a lovely weekend here and since sunny weekends seem to equal me wanting to sew I managed to turn a remnant into an apron for Miss S's costume so maybe people will stop telling her she's very "fancy".
shrug I know, I don't understand how a fairly plain dress with about $2 worth of trim can be fancy...but there you have it.
So this is (hopefully) the final costume for Miss S.
It dang well better be the final costume....the play is in 2 days!

Here's a quick snapshot of the gusset I did for the dancing.

Basically I opened up the arm hole seam up until ...the notches probably? Then I had Miss S put the dress on and raise her arms. I measured the gap that opened and made sure it was going to be enough and not put any strain on the arm hole. From there I just made this football shaped thing (cut on the bias for maximum stretch) that was the length of the portion of the seam I let out by the width of the gap created.
Pin, sew and done! FYI I sewed the gusset in by hand as I felt I'd have more control. I was right. If I was to do this again I would sew one side of the gusset down and then sew the sleeve in going across the gusset rather than the armhole. But of course I was doing this after so....hand sewing was easier.


Monday, April 25, 2011

It's done

No pictures of todays work as it's a dull rainy day here today but I'm happy to's done!
The gussets are in and they worked out well; the Villager can stretch for her dance. I'm very happy with it and hopefully the teacher will be too.
Here's a bonus pic of the Villager dancing.....

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Villager Costume progress

So today sees the villager costume virtually complete!
In fact it would be complete if it wasn't for the fact that said villager is dancing during the play and apparently needs to raise her arms above her head.
So today I've been researching gussets. I've done gussets before in T-tunics so I'm starting from scratch (thank goodness). As of right now I'm tending towards the thought of a football shaped gusset rather than a square; just seems easier. I've taken the seam apart and asked Miss S to raise her arm and a 1 1/2" gusset is looking like what I'll need.
For now it's time to let the brain work on it while I do something else like watch Amazing Race. Yes, my Sunday night guilty pleasure.
Here's a picture of all the trim done though I think it makes a real difference. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Saturday Progress

Wow! It's been just over a day since I posted on the dress and I can't believe how much I've gotten done.
I'm not a fast sewer so this has been a real journey for me. I think the difference here is that I've made this dress before which isn't something I do very often. It has really helped.

So, what have I gotten done?
Yesterday the main parts of the body got sewn together and then I took the back and inserted the zipper. I figured it would be easier to do that while the back wasn't attached to the rest of the dress - less material to cart around. After pinning I decided to pick stitch the zipper in. Call me a perfectionist but the thought of having an obvious zipper in a "medieval" dress just irked me. I knew though that I don't have time to do lacing so....a fairly innocuous zipper seemed the solution. Plus I like hand sewing.
The sleeves got their cuffs on and then I hand stitched the ribbon on while they were still flat. To me it seemed only logical and easier to do that before the sleeve seam went in. The ribbon looks really nice and stitching on the flat allows the ends to be hidden in the seam.

Today I started with sewing the back to the front and doing the first official dress try on. It looks pretty good but it did need to be let out a bit. I was actually expecting that so it didn't bother me since I'd already planned it out in my head.
The reason I was expecting it is that the first dress was made out of a knit that we found on the clearance rack so it's fit was a bit looser and more forgiving. It was so forgiving that the first dress actually has no zipper at all!
I got that done and approved by Miss S and then moved on to the sleeves. The sleeves and facing are all attached now but I need to play with the sleeves a bit. They're a very close fit and hence don't have a lot of reach to them. When you're dancing you need 'reach' so I'm going to add an underarm gusset in a bit. My brain is currently thinking on that.
While my brain simmers I got the facing sewed on and pressed and understitched and pressed again. I don't know that I've ever understitched before but I have to say I will certainly do it again! It made the facing look so nice.

Right now it's time to walk the dog again and then I'll work on hand sewing the ribbon around the neck line. I want to do that before I tack the facing down so the facing can hide all the stitches. We have a bunch of movies for the long weekend that I borrowed from the library plus HP and the Deathly Hollows Part 1 that I bought so I'll have lots to pick from when I do the handsewing.
That's it for today although I'll try and add a picture later today too.


Presenting picture!

If I was really going to give in to my perfectionism I'd be worried about the bodice wrinkles but frankly I haven't got the time. Probably a good thing, don't you think? lol

Friday, April 22, 2011

Villager Costume Friday

Allrighty! here's todays update on the villager costume for Miss S.
First a picture to show the colours;

The green isn't really showing up well, hopefully when the dress is done I can get a better picture but the ribbon is pretty darn close (at least on my monitor!).
I got 4 m of ribbon and right now I'm not sure where it's going to go. The pattern has it at the neckline and the join of the sleeve/cuff. I'm not sure if I like the sleeve/cuff thing. I'll probably make it all up and then decide. Especially as the ribbon is something that may get done after the first deadline.
Mrs B wants the costume by Tuesday but the play isn't until the 4/5 of May so.....what she sees on Tuesday may not be the final version LOL

So far I've gotten the pattern redraft done (the neckline needed to go up a touch and I had CRAZILY thrown out or lost the bits of the bottom the straightens the hemline!)

All the cutting out is done and all the serging is done as well.

I always serge the bottoms of facings so I don't have to finish them another way and I also serged the bottom hem (in case it's not hemmed for Tuesday) and the bottom of the sleeve (ditto).

Not bad for not even noon here.

Time for a break now and the dog needs a walk.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bi-polar Seamstress?

A little while ago the Sew Weekly question of the day (to win one of the wonderful pin cushions!) was three words that would describe your approach to sewing this year. I said "little bits, regularly". I then explained that I need to try that out because I seem to go in fits and starts with sewing; sewing like a crazy woman for a period of time and then not touching sewing for an age because I's burned out. A bit bi-polar in the sewing am I. There doesn't seem to be a middle ground and I know that's something I need to work on because I know I'll be happier that way.

Sadly it doesn't look like it going to happen right away.

In Miss S's school they do a musical every year. This year is The Princess and the Pea and Miss S is a villager. Villagers are to wear a floor length, long sleeved "medieval" dress. Really the teacher isn't  all that picky except for sleeves and skirt length but um.....I'm a bit of a perfectionist and a bit of a costume snob so I couldn't exact take Miss S's 1909 skirt and add a ruffle or something >shudder<
Nope, just couldn't do it!

Instead I decided to use a pattern from Miss C's 2008 Hallowe'en costume.
Here it is made up as a pink and black witch;
I know, doesn't seem particularly medieval but if you look at the pattern envelope;
 You can see how medieval could be used to describe it. I'll be doing the long version but without the yoke and collar and decidedly no angel sleeves this time around! The material is a sage-y sort of green and we found some lovely plum (?) velvet ribbon to oomph it up. I'll do pics tomorrow if the sunshine holds.

So now that we have the teachers okay, that's what I will be spending my holiday weekend doing.....sewing like a maniac...again! Costumes are due Tuesday. >sigh<


Monday, April 18, 2011

A Winning Scarf

A while ago Sally over at Already Pretty (one of my favorite blogs - check it out if you don't read it already!) did a give away for a 360 scarf from Winter Scarf. I thought it was a neat concept and since it was open to international entries, entered and forgot about it knowing I'd never win.

Ha! Shows you what I know!

I did win, got to pick my colour and my size (yep they have sizes, because of how they're made) and once I got it...fell in love!

It's a really neat concept in that it's kind of like an old fashioned ascot sort of thing with velcro. Go to the site, they explain it MUCH better! LOL

Here's what it looks like (picture is from the website and hopefully I'll be forgiven for borrowing it for my little review )

Bottom line is that I got it, thought it was interesting, wore it a couple of times and became a complete convert to it. I totally love my scarf and I wear it pretty much every day. I especially love to wear it walking the dog because there's lots of bending over for the picking up, dog poop! Which is the LAST time in the world that you want to scarf to untie and drop down onto the ground! Or worse, miss the ground. Ewwwwww.
That's never a problem with the 360 scarf. It never falls or untucks or gets into my face when I'm bending over or wrestling with the dog. It's total heaven. Plus, since I got mine in the plum and pink it's a lovely pop of colour up by my face too! And we all know how that can make you feel better...about walking a dog in freezing rain...okay, it might not make you feel better then, but the colour is great and when it's horrible out you can tuck your chin into the folds of the scarf and keep warm! LOL

Anyway, I love this scarf and if you're tired of scarves untucking or flopping in your face you should think about getting one! Plus they have cool matching accessories. I think I need to treat myself to the hat for next winter since (theoretically) this winter is over (if you ignore the snowfall last Thursday!!!!!)


(PS - I didn't get this scarf in trade for a review, I won it fair and square and just love it so much I wanted to share!)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mending and Winning

When I first thought about this post, as I was driving to work (I do a lot of writing in my head at various times, driving alone being one of them) the original thought was that it was about 2 separate things; the mending I had done on the weekend and the neat prize I won a couple of Monday's ago (being that I take forever to post things.)

But as I continued to drive it occurred to me that my mending was kind of like winning too. Hmmm How? Well, I'll explain in a bit.

This weekend I decided to get some mending done that had needed doing for a while. First up was Miss S's pj pants that she got for Christmas a couple of years ago. The girls both wear those pj pants a lot so they're already wearing thin and Miss S caught hers on something and gave them a lovely tear.
I also had her jeans to fix...again! I swear I will never buy jeans from Sirens again! Never never never! I have no idea how many times I have fixed those 2 silly things but I swear they're going to drive me nuts. Then I decided that maybe I should do some mending for myself.

I know! What a concept!
A mom that actually does something for herself every once in  a while. LOL It's so rare I just had to write about it.

I have a t-shirt I bought quite a while ago that is a lovely colour and even has some visual interest with embroidery/surface work. It's a good colour for me and much nicer than most of my wardrobe (or at least so my kids tell me) because of the embroidery. The problem? The backside of all the embroidery and stitches Drives Me NUTS! It itches like crazy and I can't stand to wear the thing for more than about 1/2 an hour. So it has sat in the sewing room since the first time I wore it.

Saturday I found some very light weight knit that came from...well, ...goodness knows where! I honestly don't remember when or where I got it (yeah, I'm a sewing hoarder, does that surprise anyone? Not anyone that knows me, trust me lol). Anyway I took that and basted some pieces on the back of the embroidery area just basting around the general area leaving lots of room around the design to work with.

Then, while watching some TV I did some very tiny stitches from  the right side to really sew it down. When that was done, I went around to the back again, took out the basting stitches and trimmed the "embroidery cover" a little closer to the little stitches.

It doesn't look like anything great from the back but I wore it to work this week, a couple of people noticed the "new" shirt and complimented me on it AND it didn't itch a bit!

Yay! So I won there for sure; a new shirt to wear that didn't cost me a penny and time spent watching TV that I didn't eat. That's a huge thing for me and something I always have to be careful of. Win and win!

Now on to my winning something from somewhere else (rather than my closet).

If you read the Sew Weekly (and if you don't, you should!) then you've seen the amazing pin cushions she's been posting about for people to win. I have to say that it totally blew me away the things that people have thought up and done for pin cushions. I thought there were maybe 2 kinds and I can't be happier to have been proven wrong! There are some increadible, gorgeous, funny, cute and/or adorable pin cushions out there folks. You'd be amazed. Even more amazing for me.....I won one! Can you imagine?
This is the gorgeous one that I won;
Beautiful huh? I love the colour especially. A good 1/3 of my wardrobe is red so it's kind of obvious I like it, wouldn't you say?
If you want to see more of Jane's lovely creations check out her Etsy store Jane Foster Designs
I really like her Doves here.  The detail is divine!

Now I can't give you a review of Jane's pin cushions but I will as soon as my little parcel get's here.
In the meantime I'm going to work on a review of a scarf I won earlier this year that richly deserves the glowing review it will get. Stay tuned for that!


Saturday, April 2, 2011

That Dog!!!!

I swear the dog is either going to kill me (stress) or himself if we're not careful.
As you know, (at least you do if you've been reading this blog lately) Scooby is still getting out. Even though we fixed the crappy fence on the east side of the house, Hou-doggi was still turning up outside the back yard.
Last night we thing we think we figured out how.

Yesterday we resurrected his old lead line that we put him on when we first got him. We stopped using it because he managed to tangle himself around anything and everything he could reach in the backyard and then howling about and driving the neighbours nuts. For this version we planned on just having him on it only when we were home and checking him regularly to make sure he wasn't tangled.

It was a good thing we had that plan because last night when Miss S went to check on him she found him virtually hanging himself on the gate on the west side of the house!

I hadn't thought to check how far the lead line would let him go on that side and apparently Scooby figured it would let him go out over the gate.
Well, it didn't so he ended up hung up "on" the gate instead of outside it. Poor guy. He doesn't seem to be hurt but he was sure upset last night and so were we. He's all safe now and his lead line no longer let's him get to the gate.
Now at least we know where to start with the continuation of the plank fence re-make.....yay.
Yeah, I'm one of those crazy people that tries to find the good in things.

For this weekend though I'm going take some time off from fencing and try and get some sewing done. I still have my swing jacket to finish and the pile of mending isn't going away on it's own. :-(
Wish me luck!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Dog fence fail!

Well his precious furriness,

 >she says with just a touch of sarcasm< 
known as Scooby, has managed to find a new way to get out.

~sad face~ 

As of today he has gotten out 3 time since we finished the fencing and right now we can't figure out where or how. We suspect we know the how though. The only thing I can think of, since he's not going through the fence or under is, is that he's going over. Admittedly it's not very high but he's never gone over before :-(

Looks like we're covering ALL the chain link with 5/6 foot planks.

Rona is going to looooooove me!
My sewing machine and serger, on the  other hand, are going to think I don't love them. :-( But I do! I really really do!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hou-doggie? Dog-dini?

I'm not quite sure what to call him but I can tell you that lately all my creative brain power has gone to this gorgeous face and keeping him safe.

Apparently after 3 and a half years of happily living in the backyard with no troubles (excluding the odd hole and terrorized squirrels) Scooby decided to wander out and visit the neighbourhood!  We have no idea what prompted this escape and the following ones (6? 7? I think I've lost count!) but we have now spent the last 2 months plus a bit trying to make our green chain link fence so he can't get out. Or is that make over?


First you have to understand that this fence is not the best. We have five sections of fence around our backyard. The back, the east side and the east gate section are all made from good quality chain link and was well done. The west side and the west fence are...umm....crap! Seriously this section looks like it was made from stuff found at a garage sale or on a scrap heap or in a junk yard or something! The uprights aren't straight, the fence leans and the chain link is never quite big enough!
When we first got Scooby I was rather leery of the fence which led us to put him on one of those long leads attached to the closeline. He then proceeded to wrap himself around anything and everything he could reach in the back yard; the grape arbour, the patio posts, the clothesline get the picture I'm sure. So, we had to abandon that, and let him loose in the yard...and that went really well! He never dug under the fence, he never tried to jump the fence, in fact he never seemed to really think about the fence.

Until recently.
He started by going through a section in the gate, then beside that spot, and so on and so on!

At first we tried to patch (with wire fencing zap-strapped on!) the pieces he was going through but very quickly we realized that patch work fixes just weren't going to work and another solution had to be found.

I thought about replacing that section but I wasn't sure we could afford to hire someone to do it and when I asked around...our fence was too small for any larger contractor to bother with and we didn't know anyone who could do fence work who was smaller or a handy man. I suppose I could have advertised or something but I'm kind of a hands on type of gal so I started thinking. I also thought about running a whole new section of fence, but that would entail concrete and this is just not a good time of the year for that and we needed a solution ASAP.

Here's what I came up with - planks!
Yep, I decided to put a wood fence up ...over, the chain link. See, chain link (as I discovered) isn't the best fencing for dogs. On top of everything else....they can climb it. Since one of Scooby's escapes was up and over a piece of fence, I decided that planks were the way to go.
Now I had a format, and the start of a plan but how to get the planks up? Well here's what my crazy brain came up with.
First - uprights; attach wooden uprights to the current metal upright with u-bolts to start and later with zap straps. The u-bolts led to more problems than I wanted and the zap straps were not only cheap but fast!

Then - screw cross pieces of wood to the uprights (those cross pieces are horizontal by the way, I used my level, it's true!)

3rd - screw planks to the uprights.

Voila! A fence.
By using the existing infrastructure I made a new fence by myself (with Miss S's help - it's her dog after all!) and did it without having to dig or take down the old fence and make the yard even easier to escape!
Here's the first section we finished - the gate part. If you look closely at the left hand side you can see how straight the fence is....not. The plank is straight. The upright you can see is attached to the metal post so....Fence, not so straight!
Then Scooby did this down the other section of the green fence.

How you ask? Well I caught him trying to make another and he did it by grabbing fencing in his mouth and then flinging his rather large body side to side until a hole opened up big enough to squueze out of. Our neighbour apparantly caught him too and yelled at him. That didn't stop him for long though.

So here's our "wonderful" fence, hopefully complete. Hopefully this is the end of my fence building career.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011


This weekend the backyard said it was Spring!

Look at all those lovely snowdrops!

Today though; the backyard is snowcovered and soggy. And I'm jury rigging a fence to keep Hou-doggie in (or is that Dog-dini??)

I can't wait for real spring. Maybe then my doldrums will disappear.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Guest Post

Hi, this is Cathi's daughter C. My mother has done nothing these past few months so I wanted to update the blog for her. Wasn't that nice of me? LAWL Anyway, I'm doing good, and more than my mother apparently. Guitar is going well, I can play two songs now. OK I just know the cords, I just can't get my fingers to move fast enough, I have that problem a lot. Picking classes for high school soon. That won't be fun :( Maybe I'll go into science honers, that might be fun. Oh, speaking of science, since I wanted to gross everyone out, we cut little worm things in half and now they're going to grow their bodies back. OK That's all I can think of. Hope you didn't mind me wasting your time today :P Bye <3

Monday, January 3, 2011

Produce Bags

Well, even though I managed to squander a large part of my last day off before heading back to the work world I did manage to get some sewing done today! Yay! 4 lovely new bags to take to the grocery store for my veggies. Aren't they pretty?

All of this started when I was surfing looking for information and inspiration for Christmas gift bags. That led me to reusable grocery bags (which I do have a fair number of already) and then produce bags.
Produce bags? The thought had frankly never occurred to me but when I started to think about the number of little plastic bags I was bringing home and the amount of energy and oil products used to create them (even though I reuse them at least once and recycle them) ...well, it made total sense to me. 

So, like a good librarian, I did some research and decided on what I wanted; 1- easy to make, 2 - washable, 3 - use either stash or thrifted material, 4 - very lightweight material so not to add too much to the cost of the produce, 5 - fairly see through material so the store clerks could see what I have easily. 
I searched the stash to no result to off to the thrift store I went.

There I found some material (probably for/from curtains) that seemed to suit. It was a pretty big piece (especially for the $3 I spent!) so I have lots left for another batch of these if I ever feel the need.
(I also found a nice piece of vinyl which I plan to use to recover one of the footstools the cats of clawed to virtual death, but that will be another post another day.)

Construction was pretty straight forward. First I cut a strip off the end of the fabric about as wide as one of the grocery store plastic bags plus a wee bit (for seams). Then I just folded the material in half and cut, then in half again and cut again. For the sewing I first serged across what would be the top edges and then serged the three sides closed. After serging I did a combo straight/zigzag stitch seam to add some strength. This material is pretty ravel-y and produce can be pretty heavy; I figured better safe than sorry.

The drawstring closure was the fun part of this project. I got to use a foot for my sewing machine I don't remember ever using before. Here it is.

I believe this is called a cording foot and it's advantage is that it holds the cord you want to sew over so that you don't have to worry about keeping it where it won't (in this case) get caught in the stitches. In some cases you might want your cording to get caught but for this I wanted the cord to move freely back and forth under the zigzag stitches I was sewing over top. This makes a channel for the cord to move around in and is a really fast and easy to make a drawstring. (FYI it's also a great way to gather long lengths of material! Sew over a cord, pull up, sew down the gathers and voila!)

And there you have it! I now have 4 lovely produce bags with some pretty purple drawstrings and I'm ready to go buy veggies and be a little bit greener this year.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

The best laid plans

I had great plans today to show some of my "green" sewing that is the plan for 2011 laptop died.
So I spent the day getting my old PC up and running in the sewing room instead of in the basement (which my teenager has basically taken over!!!!)
One USB wireless connection and about a zillion updates later....and I'm back!

But now dinner needs to be made and there's no sun for photography. Hopefully tomorrow.