Tag Archives: inspiration

Happy Tartan Day!

The Fashion History Museum‘s monthly newsletter landed in my In-Box this morning and first item of business was announcing today is National Tartan Day. As Wiki has it,

“Tartan Day is a North American celebration of Scottish heritage on 6 April, the date on which the Declaration of Arbroath was signed in 1320. It originated in Canada in the mid-1980s. It spread to other communities of the Scottish diaspora in the 1990s. In Australia, a similar International Tartan Day is held on 1 July, the anniversary of the repeal of the 1747 Act of Proscription that banned the wearing of tartan.”

Thought I’d pass that along in case anyone has some tartan in their closet. 😉 But if not . . . . .

Image from Great Scot https://greatscotscotland.com/

You may have already seen this on other social media sites, but if not, check out Great Scot, the company that’s made a new plaid in honor of Ukraine, and is busy weaving more yardage for all the orders they’re getting. From their home page:

“With every single Ukraine Forever tartan item we make, sell and ship we will donate funds to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, run by the UK’s Disasters Emergency Committee.

“We also have a donation option on our checkout page; we will match the value of any donation made up to £20.

Thank you.”

The new tartan has been named the Ukraine Forever Tartan, and it’s beautiful! Click over to the company for a video to see it being woven.

Now back to the Cambridge, Ontario Fashion History Museum

They’re a lovely smallish museum housed in an old post office building, and have some interesting things to exhibit. (Ever heard of bead strings? 😲 Me neither. Imagine all those antique beeeeads. . . .)

Today’s addition to their YouTube collection gave me several new ideas for some of my own pieces – more repair/recycle/up-cycle! All I need is time to get to them all! If you’re curious, look for the 38 minute interview with Carol Campbell.

Psss . . . . . just in case you’re wondering about that pile of giant paper. It’s been reduced to 5 neat piles of pattern pieces, scraps tossed, and planning begun. 😅

Yes, I know there are only 4 piles. The 5th got cut out after this piccie. Reeeally!

🌻 💕 🇺🇦 💕 🌻

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edible?

Thought I’d liven up this Monday with a quick question. Hope nobody minds (or is squeamish). I did have it for lunch today and it was tastier than I’d anticipated.

How many ingredients can you name? (I’ve put the list of ingredients down at the bottom.)

After lunch I had the radio on low enough so I don’t hear the announcer. Suddenly something came on that sent me back to university days.

At first I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I listen to a classical station and this was choral, which they never do unless it’s from an opera or oratorio.

I quickly grabbed my headphones to plug in so I could turn up the volume, then sang along quietly. (These apartments are not sound-proofed.)

After singing the piece in the uni’s choir, I taught it at the high school my first year out of college. I also chose it for the school’s graduation ceremony.

Given all that’s going on in the world these days, I found it surprisingly appropriate and quite moving.

Maybe some of you know the poem, by Robert Frost. I’ll copy it out below for those who prefer to read their poetry. But if you’d like to hear Garrison Keillor reading it, plus his introduction, click the title’s link to go to him.

(Note: He was reading this in 2017, and goes on with other items as normal for this particular radio program.)

Choose Something Like a Star – by Robert Frost

O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud—
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.
Some mystery becomes the proud.
But to be wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.
Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat.
Say something! And it says, ‘I burn.’
But say with what degree of heat.
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.
Use language we can comprehend.
Tell us what elements you blend.
It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.
And steadfast as Keats’ Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.

For those who’d like to hear the choral piece, written by American composer Randall Thompson, here’s a recording via YouTube.

Performed by the New York Choral Society with the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Richard Auldon Clark, from the album “The Testament Of Freedom/Frostiana” on Koch International.

If you’re still with me you deserve a big piece of your favourite cake! And here’s what went into my bowl of leftovers ~ potato, sausage, diced apples, a tiny bit of chicken breast, carrots, mushrooms, and a sprinkling of sunflower seeds. Plus the chicken broth.

And looots of garlic! 😆

Season of Light

Finding sewing friends online has brought me great inspiration and joy for which I am eternally grateful.

An additional pleasure has been learning more about customs in other parts of the world, and one of them is the Winter Solstice.

This year I remembered and made up my own little solstice wreath. No log fire to curl up in front of, and I don’t generally do a tree, but candle light is always magical for me.  Which reminds me ~

Thursday at 10 A.M. (U.S. East Coast time) I’ll be listening to the annual Kings’ College (Cambridge) Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.

Another shared custom that will be a bit different this year, but still wonderful to hear.

“One feature of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols that is especially important to the College has always been the participation of the congregation of College members and members of the public. We regret to say that this year we are not able to have a congregation in the Chapel.

“We are sorry to disappoint those who were thinking that they might like to attend. We hope that you will be able to enjoy the broadcast and to assist with this we will be publishing the order of service on this website.”

Stephen Cherry
Dean of Chapel
26 November 2020

I generally listen online via BBC World. All the details are in the link above.

Borrowing a tradition and adding an American twist – An old theatre buff and friend from Washington (D.C.) sent me a link to an hour-long radio-style rendering of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

It’s from the historic Ford’s Theatre downtown. (Yes, that Ford’s Theatre, as in Lincoln’s … you know.) I thought some of you might be interested.

Fair Warning: It’s only available through 1st of January 2021. Scroll down for a 6-minute description of how they made the program, and  several downloadable colouring pages.

Wishing you all a wealth of Happiness

Filled with Love & Joy & Light

xx❤️xx❤️xx❤️xx❤️xx❤️xx❤️xx

in search of …

Over on the left is a photo of a much loved, 10+ year-old tunic (nightshirt? minidress?) I’d love to re-create. It’s never piled, feels absolutely wonderful, but has developed holes along strain areas—elbows and sleeve head, etc.

Last year I tried shortening the sleeves and adding a remnant, but the fabric just didn’t work. I couldn’t face making a new version, but I kept the original.

After resurrecting it again during Autumn’s Wardrobe Review & Grand Purge I thought again about recreating it. If only I could find a similar fabric. So the search began.

There’s no fashion fabric store nearby, so online is my only option. After searching a few sites, I got to Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, just outside Chicago.

After finding an option or three and procrastinating for weeks as we do, just to be sure, I finally tried to order swatches. Paypal seems to be permanently blocked, or their system can’t handle my having used two different emails over the years, so I called the store a couple of days later.

In talking with the office I realised they sell past copies of their seasonally-curated collections—$3 for over 40 swatches, some of which would be out of stock, but not the ones I wanted. And they also had a swatch card of all their combed cotton-Lycra knits (17 swatches for $5).

The downside was waiting a week before these were mailed, and 3 more days before receipt; however, no postage fee. If memory serves, they didn’t list a faster service unless I wanted to fly to Chicago & pick up in-store. Not!

What else is new? Two full bags of donations waiting for a few more additions before being dropped off at Goodwill… Finished another great Louise Penny book and am in the middle of her A Rule Against Murder… A nice holiday on Thursday followed by a long holiday weekend, lots of wonderful fabrics to be grateful for and continue sewing, and some of the nicest sewing friends all over the world.

🍂 🦃 Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates this week, and Happy Week to those who don’t! 🦃 🍂

on creativity

Was “wasting” away this Monday morning, after breakfast, reading through articles from Lizzie’s current Vintage Traveler Miscellany, and decided to read about the women weavers of the Bauhaus. Women?? Hmmm…..might be interesting . . .

Nice, I thought after reading the article, then noticed the photo of a living fibre artist from the group, surrounded by oodles of huge wonderful colour. Just the thing to brighten a dreary Monday morning!

Billed as “defiant art,” it was a fascinating journey from history into current art. What was very revealing came at the end… and spoiler alert… I’m going to leave you hanging.

The artist asks the interviewer:

“Do you cook?” she asked me.

“No,” I said.

“Do you garden?”

“No.”

“Do you sew?”

“No.” I blushed, unsure how to justify myself and suddenly reconsidering my life choices.

“Well, you see,” Hicks said, . . . . .”

Leaving it there to point out she included sewing.

SEWING!

Speaking of which, ahem, about those buttons in the top photo. They’ve just been reclaimed from a never-worn blouse which I found whilst going through packed away wardrobe. Now that winter weather is definitely here… at least this week and last… I’ve just about completed that phase of my dream wardrobe makeover.

And since it’s also Macro Monday, here’s one more piccie. Enjoy!

unpicking pockets (aka, refashioning)

This has become a somewhat muddled accumulation of maybe too many things, and if I ever get all the old links linked properly it will be a minor miracle, which is why I’ve been putting off writing, but here goes . . .

Sewing terminology:
  • Refashion – To make changes to an existing garment, such as cutting a dress to make a skirt, or blouse; or combining pieces of fabric from several different garments to make a new garment.
  • Seam ripper – A small tool used to remove stitches.
  • Unpick – To unpick is to carefully remove stitching, frequently, a seam or seams.

This summer—still considering it’s summer as we’re still having some 80 degree days— I’ve been doing more refashioning than new fashion.

Must say its felt like an obstacle, like an unending pile of repairs to be completed before going on to the fun of sewing something new.

Thus, it’s been surprising to read online that refashioning is so current. What? I’m on-trend?! 😳

What’s being/been chopped up? Basically, dresses made roughly five years ago. I hadn’t been inclined to wear them at all this summer, and needed more tops, so . . .

Also several hems were raised from the waist instead of re-hemming as there were hem features I didn’t want to disturb. Oh, and several pockets got added to existing items. Plus two pockets removed from a dress-that’s-now-a-blouse.

Then along came Love to Sew’s Refashioning podcast, including great suggestions I can use for a certain very holey linen knit. (Intentionally misspelt because it’s faaar from “holy.” 🥴)

Do popover and at least scroll through all the wonderful examples listed. Just looking at them should give you ideas. It did for me.

Then The Fold Line included a very intriguing BBC programme about forecasting trends…

“When the distinguished trends forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort provides her vision of the future in her General Trends Books, her pronouncements are eagerly awaited by those working in the worlds of fashion and design. She talks to Mary about the reasons behind the one forecast she’s made that the fashion world hasn’t wanted to hear – Fashion is dead. However it’s not all bad news as she shares her thoughts about the trends she thinks will be influencing what we’ll be wearing in the very near future…”

Her web site mentions concepts of forgiveness, understanding, comprehension, and compassion.

Li Edelkoort: “We need to trust our instincts to build a better future, full with genuine love towards ourselves and others, even those at fault. . . Desire needs to be embedded in empathy.”

In keeping with her thoughts, I do feel good about my summer’s very different kind of sewing, partly because some old favourites are “new” again, and combine with other pieces for more use.

Now for the refashioning thus far . . .

The rayon top (used to be a dress) works well with the cut offs made several summers ago. I’d like to make another set or two like these, as they are in constant rotation. (Click pic to go to 2013 dress.)

This green cotton print was originally made in 2013 and got a lot of wear. When I decided to cut it off I cut it a bit longer, because of the neckline gathers. They make the waist wider.

That meant I needed to cut into the two side seam pockets. That meant I needed to unpick those pockets. (Now the title makes sense. 😉) However, that wider waist is making me a tad nervous because it can get windy here… we shall see how it works.

The black linen skirt I’ve paired with this is one of the skirts shortened from the waist to save the skirt vent. It was originally a full length RTW dress I cut into a skirt and blouse. (Click pic to see original green dress; no photo of original RTW dress.)

Phew. If you’ve made it all the way you deserve a treat. Your choice! I’m opting for dark chocolate… 🍫

what i didn’t do on my summer vacation

A couple of days into my impromptu Labor Day Week of vacation somebody decided it was time to pay a visit. Perhaps you’ve heard? A little thing called Dorian.

This is one dangerous, dithery dame. Definitely not to be taken lightly. Certainly not a dame to be invited into a sewing circle. So I had to drop a few plans to start prepping.

Thus, vacation is being “extended” until she decides to “make that turn” away from the coastline and hopefully into the total oblivion she so richly deserves.

My ickle sewing spot is positioned far enough off the coast to avoid a direct visit, if she makes that turn. Everybody cross your extremities, pleeze!

So. What have I planned to keep me occupied Thursday and Friday?

Those thoughtful Canadians, Caroline & Helen of Love to Sew had a great podcast last week about planning your dream wardrobe. If anybody needs that, I do.

A HUGE Thank You to you both!

As the eagle-eyed amongst you may observe, there’s also a PDF in that piccie, ready to be assembled and tried out. You know, in case one should have nothing to do.

🤣 L.O.L.!!! 🤣

Fingers & tootsies crossed, will be back with you shortly with a wardrobe report. Meanwhile, be safe, Lovely Ones. 😘 ❣️ 😘

PS/Mystery lovers, did you see this article? I can vouch for Tey as being extremely enjoyable… 😁

PPS/(My thanks to she-knows-who for printing. 😉)