Tag Archives: fabrics

cool cammie wednesday

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Had a re-do idea lying around, and extra skirt fabric, so spent yesterday listening to audiobooks and sewing – hooray!

The first was a really nice blouse from California days. Being multi-striped, it matched everything.  It washed nicely, and I was glad to have rediscovered it when going through storage before moving.

But when I’d wear it on these hot & humid summer days I soon found the fabric and design – poly in the cotton, the collar & sleeves – were too uncomfortable.  I hated to trash it, but what to do???

Ah!  A pattern on the summer board gave me an idea, and yesterday I acted. You can see from the photos it succeeded and a good blouse was updated into a cool cammie.

Energized by success, I got the leftover rayon from that instrument skirt and made another cammie ~ see?!

Success is a good thing!

radiant raveling rayon

Here’s another project that’s been aged for several years, getting worked on periodically, and now it’s on a hanger, almost done.

This started out in California as luxurious rayon in a true sunflower shade of yellow. I’d decided to use a favourite jacket pattern which for some reason I later decided to toss out ~ the pattern, not the fabric ~ maybe because I had several versions already in me closet, and this was cut out.

Time passed.  This jacket didn’t get sewn. More time passed.  The pieces didn’t get traced either.  Occasionally I’d remember the luscious rayon, but mostly I forgot it.

Then I decided to get it out and trace it, after tracing out that Burda blouse. Then one day I actually dragged it out and started sewing it.

Mind you, I first had to deal with the raveling issue.  As in, MASSIVE raveling.  To the point where it might have altered the size downward.  Not a good omen, as I wanted to use this as a largish, floaty protector from a hot sun.

It ain’t gonna happen.  The fabric’s too heavy.  But the good news is it still fits, and I’ve got the pattern for future versions.

Meanwhile, this is still on a hanger, awaiting more inspiration & patience.

Am I the only one that does this?!

i’m going to Rio next week ! ! !


Well, not me actually, but my winter swap package will be, to Sewing for Me.  Whoo-hoo! ! !

Luckily, we both have the same colouring, so my fabrics will look good with her complexion.  I’ve checked Wikipedia and see the average temperature year round is low 70s (F), so the fabrics will be light & medium weight – more will fit into that box!

Wanna see what’s going?  Oh-no!  You’ll have to wait until it arrives in Rio, and read about it on her blog. 😉

Hee-hee! ! !

By then I should have her package, and we’ll both be posting!

Thanks again to wonderful  Dresses & Me for putting the swap together, just before going to U.K.


Today I finally buckled down and sewed up a pair of curtains that the large lounge window’s been needing. I cheated. I only used lining fabric.  Since I know I’ll not be here long, am sticking with what I brought from my previous windows. It’s all the same blackout fabric.

What’s that, you ask? Ah-ha!  Blackout fabric is a way to keep 100% of the light out of a room, and insulate from temperature and noise in the bargain. And it is white (but I’ve seen cream, too).

These days we need all the insulation we can get!

There are a few things to remember when working with this fabric.  As you can see at the top, once you’ve made a seam, it stays because the fabric is punctured. If you’re using this as lining, that might not be a big deal. It isn’t for me just now. On the other hand, it you’re looking for a different effect, this could be terrific!

Another thing you don’t have to worry about is fraying. Although I did use pinking shears, it was only because I felt like it.  🙂 As you see, I also did a teeny tiny shirttail hem.  Made me feel better before I slapped them up on the windows.

This is a heavy fabric. I used a denim needle and lengthened my stitch 1 mm or so, with regular poly thread, which I’ve always used.

Most home dec fabric shops should have this, which runs about $8 a yard, USD, at 54″ wide. I’ve always washed it in cold water & dried in low heat. After a few years, it may start slight fraying on the selveges, and the lining may start to crack, but it’s minor.  And besides, nothing lasts forever.

Except this heat wave.

2013 winter swap ~ yes, i do mean **now**


Penny over at Dresses and Me ( in New Zealand) is hosting a winter swap. Southern Hemisphere seasons are opposite of Northern Hemisphere, so she really can say Winter.

Hurray!  Have seen other swaps and am amazed and more than slightly envious at how people view their partners, and was green with envy to participate. Hee-hee!

If you’re interested, and have a sewing blog (so your partner can see what you like) click onto Penny’s blog post and sign up right away – there is a time limit!

Kat at Modern Vintage Cupcakes also just posted an interview with Penny about her online store and her personal sewing likes – quite interesting!

Will be posting about my package as soon as it arrived, so stay tuned!

indie pattern update & a linty life lesson

thanks to Folkwear owner Kate Mathews for photo permission!
thanks to Folkwear owner Kate Mathews for photo permission!

Speaking of ease, it’s accidental that I’m using Folkwear’s Metro Middy Blouse as my indie pattern, but fortuitous because there’s so much ease in this style, and it’s easy to see.  If you look closely at the piccies on the left, you can see the fullness billowing at the hem lines.

After doing a loose-fitting with the pattern pieces, I decided to use slightly smaller sizing that I’d use for a pattern with less ease. Also shortened the sleeve length a tad. It’s hot & humid just now, which is nasty weather as far as I’m concerned, but have resisted my usual impulse to ‘chop sleeves off now’ by remembering this is to wear in air conditioning.

Am thinking about adding some edging embroidery with this, but can’t visualise details yet.  The pattern includes designs typical of the 20s, but I’m thinking of a different look. But that’s the last step, so onward!

Early one day last week I thought I’d spend an hour either zigzagging or serging the edges of the linen-cotton blend before I started sewing it, and sat down at the machines. Began with the zigzag… tried regular tension, then loosened it up. Still not too pleased, so went to the serger, without changing all threads (which is why some are black instead of white). Neater than the zigzag, I thought, despite mis-matched thread.  Proceeded to unwrap new cones of white thread, preparatory to threading. That’s when the trouble started.

There were loose threads sticking out of the bottom of one cone. No way could I have ripped them when taking off the wrapping. I was super extra special careful.  Rats. Serging temporarily not an option.

Being in the mood to do something, I went back to zigzagging edges, until I got to the small curved back neck facing. There, the machine started chewing instead of stitching.  After it did it several times I checked the bobbin, then decided to see if there were any stray threads stuck somewhere.

No threads.  Just gobs of lint, as in never seen so much this side of terry cloth.  AGH — panic stations!  This machine was just serviced!  What did I do???   After I calmed down, which took dark chocolate & leaving the scene of the crime to faff about a bit, I remembered all the lint that came off the fabric during the wash & dry cycle.  I’d laundered it a second time, I lost respect for the fabric… but also in my judgment, for thinking the fabric was ok to use. But there was also a teeny, niggly thought that I might not have cleaned the machine after my last project…

Finally, I decided to just go ahead and sew, thinking this would be an expensive & unplanned muslin (term for trial garment usually made out of inexpensive fabric for fitting purposes, not for wearing). Following Folkwear’s easy-to-read directions, the back & fronts came together quickly, as did gathering the sleeve tops & seams.

Then came the crucial moment: Before I could sew further, I needed to get shoulder & side seam edges finished in whichever method I was going to use. Postponing a decision, I reached for the iron to press those seams flat, and have a think.

I realized I hadn’t enjoyed working with the fabric after I started feeling I was ‘wasting’ my time with inferior fabric. After more thought, I realized finally admitted I’d made that entire Burda blouse, but hadn’t brushed the bobbin case before starting this project.  Uh-oh.  User error. wagging finger, apologies to fabric, hang head in shame.

pressed shell awaiting sleeves
pressed shell awaiting sleeves

The fabric did iron nicely, so am beginning to think better of this project.  It  also reminded  me of a RTW linen/cotton blouse I’ve had for years. That started out feeling heavy & slightly too fuzzy for hot weather wear.  After seasons of laundering, it’s just fine. Maybe I should start throwing this in with every wash load …

What do you think?!

a gathered sleeve awaits being sewn into blouse
a gathered sleeve pinned into arm hole awaits being sewn into blouse

weekly photo challenge: world through your eyes

fabric piles on chair (yes, there IS a chair underneath) - reminding me I want to use these SOON
fabric piles on chair (yes, there IS a chair underneath) – reminding me I want to use these SOON

Well, you know I’m thinking fabric and colour and pattern all the time, so what better things to share in this week’s challenge?

Warning!  You are about to enter into the strange and wonderful thought processes of moi, matching fabric with pattern, style & colour.  Proceed with caution!

retro-inspired Balenciaga
Balenciaga dress – 20s fashion that’s very current: Love it!
(click to go to original post on Mizhattan.com)
summer pattern board
summer pattern board

Inspiration: On left is a feminine and fresh Balenciaga that, minus that fuzzy hat, would look great for a 1920s day or night on the town.

On the right is my current wish list/pattern board, which I see all the time. It contains patterns from 1930s to 2013 styles.

It’s supposed to remind me of all those gorgeous things I want to make & wear NOW!

(Hope the un-subliminal messaging works – hee-hee!)

Which brings me to fabric bought last December,  but meant for this summer because they’re very light cottons.

2 light weight 100% cotton fabrics
2 light weight 100% cotton fabrics
(ignore the beige with berry branches at top right)

really wanted to use the white with cherries for Folkwear’s Metro Middy Blouse, but when I started laying out the pattern Sunday afternoon I realized there wasn’t enough. Rats! (Went with medium weight linen & cotton blend for that pattern, but that’s another post.)

Still thinking in blouse & skirt mode, I wandered over to me board of patterns …  I kept seeing the red, in me mind’s eye, as a circle skirt.  Scanning the  pattern board, I started thinking about elongating the bodice of Folkwear’s 1930s Day Dress.  Hmm… that might work as a blouse – just button it down the front a bit more.  Plus, it’s high on my Must Make This Summer list.

click to move to Folkwear's page!
click to move to Folkwear’s page!

A light bulb moment!  Why not go whole hog & make a skirt & blouse instead of a dress, using the bottom right view.  That’s my  Plan B… to see if there’s enough of both fabrics to make a tail on the bodice for a blouse, & a waist band for a separate skirt.

In your mind’s eye, can you visualise cherries on white fabric for the blouse, with maybe the red for the collar & sleeves? Then I’d do the skirt with the solid red, and maybe cherry fabric for the adorable pockets?? If there’s enough fabric….. and must use some cute buttons… that cherry fab needs cute buttons…

If not, no doubt there’s a Plan C or D or even E available, all from the pattern board.  Decisions!

(Have temporarily given up the idea of a circle skirt outta this red, of course.)  But not the idea of doing a circle skirt.  😉

(Oh, that ‘extra’ beige fabric with the berry branches? It’s slightly heavier 100% cotton & perfect for a-nother blouse with longer sleeves to wear with that skirt.)

Sometimes I wonder about meself… and need another creative person to bounce an idea off of.

Sew, what do you think?

indie pattern & another stashed project

this fabulucious buttery rayon has been aging for... easily a decade, until I could trace the pieces so I'd have the pattern, whoch I tossed - waaaahhhh!!!
this fabulucious buttery rayon has been aging for… easily a decade, until I could trace the pieces so I’d have the pattern, which I foolishly tossed – waaaahhhh!!!

indie pattern challenge

The linen-cotton fabric ordered from amazon arrived Friday night and got laundered Saturday.  Yes, amazon does have fabric & the provider listed is fabric.com ~ it’s the exact same fabric! But goodness ~ it had more lint than a heavy cotton bath towel. Am thinking to laundry & dry once more before cutting out my Middy Blouse.  Why’d I order from amazon? I needed to get some notions that were a little less dear than on fabric.com, and a couple of things fabric.com didn’t have.

another project from the vault…

The story behind the yellow rayon above began aaages ago.  The fabric is another stashed California fabric.  The colour, which doesn’t reproduce quite correctly, is a wonderful sunflower yellow, not too bright, with a hint of that brown sunflower centre with the yummy seeds. Have 2 other unlined pull-ons from the pattern, but cannot locate the pattern online. Mind you, also can’t remember the pattern company or year, either!  I just remember thinking that if I left the pieces all cut out I could toss the pattern & copy from the pieces for another pattern, then sew it up. Ten-plus years later, it’s finally getting done.

forgot to mention yesterday…

black & gold lanalux by Lana Yarns
black & gold lanalux by Lana Yarns

Dragged another project out over the weekend, but this one’s knitting. Found this yarn 2 or 3 years ago, and thought it would make a soft, glittery evening shawl. Got it started and almost done, then shelved it. Now hope to get it finished. 1 ball of yarn to go!  (Details over on ravelry.)

All for now, Lovelies ~ happy sewing!

burda challenge completed!

completed blouse
completed blouse
will definitely wear casually!

Making this 4-piece Burda pattern has been interesting.  It’s the first time I remember making a sample using an old sheet – always wanted to use an old sheet!

That gave me a healthy sense of freedom, knowing I wasn’t working on expensive fabric, or having to come up with a usable piece of clothing. Should I do some piping? Maybe add lace to the sleeve or hem?  Finally, I decided to add another set of tucks at the neckline, and do a seam up the back, using a button closure.

However, in this case I eventually felt the sheet had a little too much body for the style. I should have used a single knit – like the lovely bamboo jersey I originally planned for this project.  But as the overall style isn’t particularly flattering, I’m glad I stuck with the sheet!

Veddy veddy interesting to finally work on a Burda pattern, and I’m grateful I kept at it and completed this challenge!