sunday sewing

sunday sewing

My sewing table Sunday afternoon . . .

Once that pair was done, decided to begin the second pair, and had planned to French seam them.

I’d overlocked all the edges Saturday, and thought on Sunday that I’d try getting out my zipper foot to get really close to the edge on that first seam.

Nope. Got off track after a couple of inches and had to rip out.

Then turned the machine back on to begin sewing again… but forgot to re-position the needle.

my needle box

my needle box

One broken needle. OUCH!

Then panic began as I couldn’t seem to get the new needle to line up with the threader.

The dealer I’d gone to several years ago has just closed. I began imagining life without a functioning sewing machine.

!  !  !  !  😱 !  !  !  ! (silent wails of horror)

Took a long time out… ate chocolate… did a few stretching exercises… watched a bit more of the original version of “Cold Comfort Farm” on YouTube … and finally went back to the machine.

Turned the wheel just a bit before switching on, and heard the usual snap into position as I flicked the switch.

I saw the needle go up in the correct position, the threader worked, and I heaved a HUGE sigh of relief.

But decided to re-think those French seams. 😊

haven't gotten back to these quite yet

haven’t gotten back to these quite yet

old & new dress forms

old & new dress forms


Prunella Scales as Miss Mapp, with Diva's dress form behind her

Prunella Scales as Miss Mapp, with Diva’s dress form behind her.

I came across this scene of Miss Mapp sitting in front of Diva’s sewing room, dress form behind her.

It reminded me that there have been 2 distinctly different dress forms, the older one, below, is probably based on a Gold dress form, and looks more like real people’s bodies.

from my library Mary Brooks Picken's Singer Sewing Book

from my library
Mary Brooks Picken’s Singer Sewing Book

The current forms, one of which is the Wolf brand, is based on a figure about 10 heads high, and not proportioned for many of us.

I’ve been searching the web for a Gold dress form, but so far, no luck.

Getting back to Mapp and Lucia briefly, I learned Friday that BBC started a new version in 2014.

Checked amazon, and they’re not out yet in the DVD format we use here in North America.  Am grateful I was able to plug into YouTube and watch all 3 episodes during the door-painting.

Great way to sit through paint drying!

As you see on the upper left, my door was painted a lovely shade of blue.

dress & look slender: disguising figure irregularities

dress & look slender: disguising figure irregularities

Ever thought about clothing as a way to overcome figure irregularities? I sure have!

I’m learning there are basic art principles I can use when choosing patterns, fabrics, colours, and accessories to disguise the bits I wish weren’t there.

Here’s an entire book about applying these principles to dress:

Dress and Look Slender, by Jane Warren Wells (also listed under Mary Brooks Picken), 1924; Personal Arts Company; available on Cornell University’s HEARTH collection.

You might look at the Table of Contents first, to see which chapter(s) you’d like to see. (The examples below are from “Lines that Slenderize and Lines That Don’t,” in the first chapter.)

Hint!  I always re-read the Help section because I forget how to navigate their system. 😉

I wish there were a more up-to-date book to recommend, but they’d be under copyright, and the principles would be the same. Hope you don’t mind the vintage-ness.

click any picture to go directly to the source

page 18

Dress & Look Slender p 18

page 19

Dress & Look Slender p19

page 22

Dress & Look Slender p22

page 23

Dress & Look Slender p23

a good day gleams amid chaos

a good day gleams amid chaos

For a better look at the gleaming brass AND fabric, click.

Sometimes a day can turn right-side up in a tic.

Firstly, the lovely package from Thimberlia’s give-away arrived – yeah!!! Cannot thank her enough for sending these all the way from the U.K. Extra-extra-extra special treats!!!

Secondly, enough breezes kicked in so I didn’t have to spend another night in an hotel.



Should explain my ickle flat is detached on 5 sides, in a very strange arrangement in a complex of mostly traditionally attached-&-stacked flats. Below are before & after photos. Those windows on the right aren’t mine. Soo the brown doors at the ends of hallways? those will go!


Am submitting this to both Ailsa’s & WordPress’ photo challenges.

PS/All the doors get painted this coming Thursday… fingers crossed!

watching paint dry… or not

watching paint dry… or not

Surmounting the daily question of how bad the fumes would get was the more burning question: WHEN am I gonna get to that linen dress I’ve been wanting to sew?

Maybe tomorrow? F-I-N-A-L-L-Y!

Nah, I haven’t cut it out yet today, but the sun hasn’t set yet. 😊

There’s a problem with last summer’s favourite pattern, Vogue 1236. The shoulder seam always pulls forward.

what's wrong?

see how this pulls forward?
drives me crazy!

This appears to be a pattern problem: The back is high and the additional length of the front piece lowers the entire front.

Does that make sense?

Wish I could get a better side view of this, to check for other possible causes.

Moving right along, the other pattern from last summer, McCall’s 6117, doesn’t have the problem, so that’s my choice.



Are they done with the painting?

Uh, there’s still the front door . . .

sneaking this in real fast ~

sneaking this in real fast ~

Lounging last night whilst taking a wee weekend break from the construction chaos and saw Candice Huffine on the cover of Washington Post Magazine.

 “Maybe this new era really is more than ever about being and loving yourself? If that is the generation we are in, that is an awesome one to be a part of because everyone fits in it.”  Candice Huffine

Yes, Lovely One ~ couldn’t agree more!

V8813 – old lady dress?

V8813 – old lady dress?

V8813Am faffing about this weekend, wishing the malodorous fumes from the outside painting would stop entering this tiny box as I don’t appreciate  the corresponding headache. (Sorry for the whine.)

Don’t let the new photo on the right confuse you!

In my cyberspace sleuthing to see who’s done what with this pattern, saw some who wondered if it was an old lady dress.

Is that why they changed the photo?

I know I can faff about some of the strangest things… but given that reprinting a pattern jacket (cover? folder??) costs time and money, am wondering why they did.

What do you think???

Looking at the new photo brought more questions to mind ~

  • Belt all that fabric around my waist? Are they serious?
  • A belt that wide would cover half my you-know-whats!
  • How many heads high is that model (the same model as the original pattern)??

Guess I’m more of an old lady than I thought . . .  or something.  😀 Meanwhile, goal for today: read pattern directions & note changes I want to make… do those center front gathers/pleats first  . . . . . .      (maybe play with my pin tuck foot?)


V8813 – other versions & fabrics

V8813 – other versions & fabrics

Other bloggers’ versions of V8813

  • Thornberry: here & here (really like her gathered pockets)
  • Sew Forward  (note to self: check length before cutting & lengthen below pockets if needed)
  • Particularly like Jilly Be Joyful’s version as it looks like jacket-over-sheath, which I know is slimming.
  • Note to self: do centre front gathers pleats before assembling (see Marcy Tilton’s video at bottom)

What do you think of my 2 stashed fabrics below, the darker rayon challis for outside, the mustard handkerchief linen for that central front panel?

  • Do you think these will look and work well together?
  • Think I could use the mustard for the back’s top panel? Or make the back all black challis?

examples from bloggers of other patterns with similar potential

Designer Marcy Tilton did a video of how to sew & press the centre detail. It supposed to be teensy pleats, not gathers.

Just to clarify, here’s a video on gather from an American sewing magazine Threads’ editor.