Monday, December 26, 2011

Goodbye, 2011

As the year draws to a close, I cannot help but look back at all that I failed to accomplish (Happy New Year!) and this little guy tops the sewing category list. It's a Built by Wendy Simplicity 3966 pattern and my first attempt at making a coat. I suppose the problem is that already, at this stage of the sewing process, I find the coat rather bulky and unflattering. As a result, I'm not inspired to make the lining, facings, and button holes, which would take time away from other activities, like, lying face flat on my bed, looking out the window, reading a book, etc.

What a dilemma!  

Only 2012 can tell what fate lies in store for the little guy.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Wow, who would have thought that making a pair of underwear would be so satisfying. I think it's because it's a practical and utilitarian object, and that, in turn, makes me think that it has to be constructed by someone who knows their stuff and will create a sturdy product, much like a bridge or a jet engine.

Anyway, I'm no engineer but this underwear came out quite nicely. They're based on a commercial pattern that my friend shared with me from a workshop that she took.

Wendy the cat likes them, too.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lazarus Top

I finally finished this top, which has gone through so many permutations, it barely resembles the pattern I originally used for it (hence my christening it Lazarus).

The pattern was 01/2011 Burda magazine's pattern #123, a long boat-neck knit top with three quarter sleeves. Initially, I wanted to make a peter pan collar for it and shorten it to waist-length, otherwise leaving the pattern as is. I am, however, afflicted with some sort of Peter Pan curse, which renders me unable to make a peter pan-collared shirt. I have denounced peter pan collars (despite loving them) many a time because of this, but I always come crawling back and delude myself thinking, "This time, I will succeed!"

Anyway, I did not succeed and was forced to angrily chop off the collar of this shirt about three times before I gave up and decided to salvage what remained of it by making a front panel out of a contrasting fabric (I used the remains of my last project out of the Japanese Stylish Dress Book called Billowy Blouse.) I also gathered the front and made contrasting sleeve cuffs.

Having no photographer on hand, the shirt is modelled by a trusty hanger and some cooperative logs and branches.

The pattern
In other news, Christmas came early for me and an I received a package filled with so many cool vintage buttons. Aren't buttons so great?


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bye, Bye, Sleeves

I bought these two beautiful vintage blouses many, many years ago, at a thrift store. Though they seemed like something I would wear regularly, I probably wore each blouse a single time, which is so weird.

A few months ago, the question of why I wasn't wearing them began to keep me up at night. And then a light bulb went off and I realized I had to alter them somehow.

I took out my trusty seam ripper and tore out the sleeves. Though pretty, they were gathered and somewhat puffy, resulting in an overall fit that drowned my body and (because these beauties are 100% polyester) made me feel uncomfortable and overheated. On the blue blouse, I took narrow bias tape and encased the raw sleeve openings and the edge of the front. On the yellow blouse, I folded the raw sleeve openings in and topstitched them. The result: two new short-sleeve tops that I actually enjoy wearing.

The poet Milosz and I compete in the best bow category
See you later, sleeves!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ditch the Tomato

I suppose a good place to start (my blog, that is) is by making something to stick my pins in. 

Yesterday I took out a book called Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson from the Toronto public library. For some reason, in all this time, I have failed to consider the library a source of sewing books. It's a good money-saver; and if I like the book and find that I'll be referring to it regularly, well, then I can always purchase it.

Hoverson's book caught my eye about a year ago when I spotted her colour-wheel quilt on the Internet. It's aesthetically pleasing in not a quilt-like way at all, and brings me back to Ms. Ichnatowych's grade ten art class, where we painted colour-wheels and the fact of red being complementary to green, and blue to yellow became forever engrained in my mind. (Also, I have forgiven her for her tactless inquiry as to whether I am bulimic [I wasn't], delivered in a well-meaning whisper but audible, I am certain, to at least ten or twelve other students.)

Since as this point in my life I don't feel ready to make any of the quilts in Hoverson's book, I went for the significantly smaller-scale project titled "Kelly's Pincushions." This pincushion project is good if you have fabric that you adore but of which you have tiny, very tiny remains. (You will need eight pieces of fabric in total, and a button-top is a nice option, I think.) In the final product, I couldn't get the embroidery thread to stay in place in between some of the pincushion "slices," but I guess that's the beauty of hand-made stuff.

the candidates

the result

the competition

While on the subject of pincushions, I should mention that last spring my friend bought me this beautiful little walnut-shell based pincushion at a sewing store and studio called Our Patterned Hand in London, England. It's made by Bev Alvarez and looks pretty enough to eat. (I also got a cool tote-making kit from Our Patterned Hand, which I shall write about in not-too-long a time.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Jane B.

I should mention where the name of my blog comes from. Well, it's an homage to one of my favourite novels, Jane Bowles's Two Serious Ladies. My secret goal is to make things that would meet the approval of its heroines.

Jane Bowles is just so great.

A kitten AND a parrot? It's too much!