Friday, December 31, 2010

Swimsuit Coverup Update

The swimsuit coverup is complete, and I'm very pleased with the results.   I will also be posting my first review on pattern review.  I've been a member for several months now, but haven't posted a review.  This will be my first review.

Pattern Review
Loose fitting, unlined Jacket. I made this as a swimsuit cover up.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, but surprised the instructions did not include stay stitching the neckline to prevent stretching.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Easy Pattern, nice for knits and wovens.
Fabric Used: Multi-coloured lightweight woven slightly sheer batiste like fabric
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
No design changes were made.
Small change made to the construction of the ties. Because the fabric I used frayed quite easily, folding under the edge was difficult. Decided to knot the end instead.
Also stay stitched the neckline and hems to prevent stretching and distortion
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes
Conclusion: Would Recommend this pattern.

On another note; here's the results of a Christmas Eve project I worked on.  A 3D puzzle, how cool is that!

Last Call - Vogue Pattern Giveaway

Today is the last day to enter my Vogue Pattern Giveaway.   I'm giving away a Vogue Pattern 1205 - a fabulous dress by designer Kay Unger. This is a new uncut pattern in size 8-10-12-14.  Be sure to follow the link to the original post to enter.

Check your fabric stash, if it includes the following, this pattern may be for you:

FABRICS: † Moderate Stretch Knits Only. Lightweight Double Knit and Lightweight Jersey. Also for Contrast A: Stretch Charmeuse. Lining: Tricot and Stretch Georgette. Unsuitable for obvious diagonals.

I'll be announcing the winner this weekend.  


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Project Update, Fabric Giveaway and Pattern Giveaway

Happy Happy Happy, not quite new year....

I'm procrastinating packing up the Christmas decorations for another year, so instead of making it a major project I decided to do a little each day with the goal of having it all packed up by January 1st.

I'm making progress on my beach coverup.  Although it's a simple project that could have been sewn up in one afternoon, I'm doing that in bits and pieces too.

Tis the season for giveaways and Retro Mummy has a fantastic fabric giveaway, be sure to check it out.  Also, don't forget you still have a few days left to enter my Vogue Pattern Giveaway


Monday, December 27, 2010

The Christmas rush is over

The rush is over, and I now a have a few days of quiet time before heading back to work.  Under the Christmas tree this year, was the perfect companion for blog reading, web surfing and pattern reading.  A Nespresso machine, isn't she a beauty.

On the cutting table this week is Butterick 5224.  We're headed to the Dominican Republic in a couple of weeks and thought I'd make this as a nice beach cover up.  The pattern is a two hour express pattern, the lone  review on can be found here.

Now that New Year's is just around the corner, I'm sure that everyone is thinking about celebrations and resolutions.   This year we're starting the new year with the New Year's Resolution run/walk.   In 2011 my goals are to become more active physically, spiritually and creatively.

There's still time to enter my Vogue Pattern Giveaway and be sure to vote in my reader poll on the right side of my bog.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Vogue Pattern Giveaway

I've just put a new gadget on my blog, a polling gadget. To encourage participation and help grow my readership I'm sponsoring my first ever blog giveaway.   I'm giving away a Vogue Pattern 1205 - a fabulous dress by designer Kay Unger.  This is a new pattern in size 8-10-12-14.

To enter the contest take the poll and leave a comment on this post, I'd love to hear why you'd like to have this pattern or how you would add your personal style to this dress.  Maybe you have a fantastic piece of fabric in your stash that is perfect for this dress or perhaps you have creative touch that you'd like to show off using this pattern.

The contest ends on December 31st.

Good Luck

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Helps for Troubled Sewers...Your Sewing Problem?

I think I spend more time reading sewing books and reading sewing patterns than I do sewing.  And I love reading vintage pattern books and instruction sheets.   Today when I was digging through the closet trying to find the Christmas wrapping paper I was slightly distracted by a couple of Vintage sewing books.   I had to chuckle at the subtitle on the cover...Helps for Troubled Sewers and on the back Your Sewing Problem? bring it to SINGER....  This lovely Simplicity Sewing Book was published in 1935 and the cover sounds more like an invitation to attend a support meeting than a sewing book.

Some things never change, here is some advice regarding pattern sizing from page 10 "Don't, however, think you live and die the same size...Check these measures once each season.  Your ready to wear size does not help you here."  

And some things do change, from page 26 "MACHINE STITCHING is recommended for all seams.  If you have no machine, ask a friend to stitch your dress, or take it to a machine store"  I wonder how responsive my local sewing machine dealer would be if  I took my sewing project to them for stitching.   Any bloggers out there willing to give this a try?  ....I double dare you ;-)


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Never Underestimate the Power of a Woman with a Sewing Machine!

Feeling Stichy posted this cute saying and I couldn't wait to share it with all my on-line sewing peeps! Another business trip has kept me far..far away from my sewing projects. Tonight was "hang out" on line night and I got caught up with the sewing blog community. Here's some are some of the highlights of my travels through the cyber sewing space.

...turning back time with a little vintage
I absolutely adore Evie's vintage creation. Such an elegant dress in a radiant blue. Sew amazing! She even has the perfect finishing touches, love the shoes and the seamed stockings. The weather is cooling off and Lemondrop Vintage is cuddling up with the soon to arrive little lemondrop in a cozy vintage sweater.

One less UFO -
How many of us have a few UnFinishedObjects in our stash. Sewing projects that we started; but never finished. Paul Simon sings about 50 Ways to Leave your Lover. There must be at least 50 ways to recover that UFO...just slip into the stash...make a new plan... Check out Sharon's project from two years ago that she recently finished. Great job on such an unique skirt.

New Looks from Old Patterns
I just adore it when I see new styles adapted from old patterns. The caftan pattern that the writer of The Sew Convert Blog used to create her fabulous tops from reminds me of a caftan pattern that my mom used to make caftans for me, my sister, my aunt and herself. The new look to an old style is a great example of how creative you can get with sewing patterns.

A new seamstress.
I love it when I hear about little ones being inspired to sew. I started sewing early. Harvey's Seat Belt Blog shared a story of an up an coming seamstress. What is Harvey's Seat Belt Blog all about? If you're into handbags...and I do love have to check these guys out. In 1997, when installing seat belts in a 1950's Buick, they came up with the idea of making a matching seat belt. Now they make hundreds of seat belt bags. So cool!

Speaking of Handbags, I recently discovered The Miche Bag. A handbag with interchange able shells. I'm wondering if any bloggers out there have tried making custom shells for the Miche Bag.'s getting late and I have another presentation tomorrow, so...
Type at you later!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Project Completed...what's next.

This week's sewing project for Operation Christmas Child is complete.   Here's photo of the four pairs of shorts.   We've filled the shoe boxes with school supplies, some toiletries and now we just need to get a few small toys and our packages are complete. 

What's next...I have a ton of sewing projects in the queue, but I'm stalling on what to start next.   Here in Canada winter is quickly approaching, but my mind is on my January vacation to the Dominican Republic so I"m thinking more in terms of summer clothes. 

I've also got a few small projects to tackle as well.  My husband has asked me to shorten the sleeves on a few of his Eddie Bauer shirts.  I love the fabric that they use for the Eddie Bauer wrinkle resistant shirts.  So I"m thinking the that I may just recycle the excess fabric.  Yesterday, I discovered a blog called noodlehead and found a cute gathered clutch pattern.

What's next...decisions...decision...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Operation Christmas Child

This week I'm working on putting together some children's shorts from McCall's Stitch and Save 5216.  It a pajama pattern, easily adapted to shorts by cutting off the length.  I'm making four pairs, two in a purple print for girls and two from the blue print for boys.  I don't know the recipient of these shorts, as they will be included in packages that we are putting together for the the relief organization Samaritan's Purse.   As part of their Operation Christmas Child campaign our family is packing four shoe boxes.   Shoe box destinations vary from year to year, and shoe box collection week is coming up in mid November.  Check out Samaritan's Purse  or Samaritan's Purse Canada for more information on how you can particpate in this project.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fantastic Bloggers

I spent alot of time this month reading all the fantastic blogs out there.   Some blogs of note that I wanted to highlight are as follows: A great inspiration, especially since many of her creations are self drafted.  This week she posted a tutorial on how to take a basic t-shirt pattern and convert it to a cowl neck pattern.  You can find the tutorial here. took advantage of the Leleka free patterns download that I blogged about last month and there are some examples of her creations on her blog.  Leleka top and Skirt

At the blog, Patterns, Scissors, Cloth you can find step by step tutorials Here's an example; tricks of the trade.  A great step by step tutorials with photos taken throughout the process.
Carolyn took her creativity one step further and shows us six different ways of wearing her self stitched creation.  She certainly made me stop and begin to "think out of the box" when she took a top she created a while back and blended it with existing wardrobe pieces to create six signature outfits.   Great job Carolyn, I admire your creativity.

Sue at QuiltSewSue has taken two hobbies sewing and working out at the gym.  Check out her post where she shows off her great new skort from a Jalie Pattern 2796

Being a pattern junkie myself, I really enjoy the commentaries on   I get flooded with memories of learning to sew whenever she posts patterns from the 70's

To all you sewing boggers out there, keep on sewing and keep on sharing

Monday, October 4, 2010

I'm still here...

It's been a couple of weeks since I last posted and I wanted to let you know that I'm still out here.  With fall upon us in Canada, I spent the past few weekends out in the mountains enjoying the last few weeks of hiking season  .I have a few sewing projects in the queue that I hope to show you soon.  In the meantime, enjoy these photos of the Canadian Rockies.  


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

BMV Patterns of the Week and Free Pattern Downloads

Lots of pattern news this week.

Once again BMV is featuring some great patterns in their pattern of the week. First one is Butterick 5054, I like view D. I'm not sure if you'd call this a handbag or a backpack, but it sure is cute. The second is McCalls 6076, a basic shirt pattern and the third is V8665. Both the Vogue and the McCalls patterns look like great wardrobe builders. This week I decided to order all three, I'm hoping that the shipping doesn't take too long as I'm eager to try these out. Especially the backpack styled bag.

I also stumbled upon a Russian pattern website called Lekala and this month they are offering free pattern downloads during the month of September, yes that's right free. The only caveat is that they are available in two sizes 42 and 44.

On the sewing front, I've managed to finish off the second pair or lounge pants that I blogged about in August. Photos to come later.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

More Creativity Unleashed

In August, I wrote a post about creative bloggers.  The trend continues, I've come across more great bloggers with wonderful tutorials. 
  1. Feeling the need to be Antropologie ruffly chic, here's a tutorial of a ruffled chiffon scarf
  2. How about some new life for an old denim skirt
  3. his one is for a laptop bag, but could easily be adjusted for to make a tote bag as well.  
  4. I'm seeing lots of refashioned t-shirts and this one has a nice girly touch. 
  5. And, how many times have you had a wrap top, that just lets "the girls" pop!  Well here's a tutorial for inserting a modesty panel.  
  6. How about being proud of your creations and designing your own labels.  Kristy at Lower Your Presser Foot has some instructions on how to create your own custom labels
  7. Check out this darling shirt makeover,  
  8. And, I never even thought to check out Ikea for fabric, maybe it's just and Australian thing, or perhaps I just haven't been paying attention when shopping at Ikea.
Another wow and a great big thank you to all the bloggers out there!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hats off to Vogue Pattern of the Week

Each week, BMV features a pattern of the week.  Subscribers can purchase the pattern of the week at a hugely discounted price.  This week's feature pattern is Vogue 8681 - Patricia Underwood patchwork hats.   I like hats, but never tried to sew one.   So, this looks like a perfect opportunity.  What I like about this hat pattern is that you could use one solid colour for a simple hat or you could add some "funkiness" and make it with a mix of colours and/or textures.   You could go with new fabric, remnants or you could refashion some old clothing into a hat.  Perhaps you have a small amount of some great vintage fabric that needs a project; this could be your pattern.   I placed my order today, I can hardly wait until it arrives.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Treadle Sewing Machine

A few weeks ago, we went out on a day trip to a saskatoon farm to go berry picking.   We picked up my mother in law and we were parked by a house that was undergoing renovations.  Dumped in the yard in a pile of debris I saw the remains of a Singer treadle sewing machine.  I commented on how sad it was to see the remants of what was once a beatiful machine.   My mother in law then asked me if I wanted a Singer Treadle Sewing Machine.  She then makes a phone call to her sister, and a few hours later I become the proud owner of my first treadle sewing machine.   It originally belonged to my husband's grandmother.

I still have a lot to learn about the workings of a treadle machine, but I've began to do a bit of research.  With the help of the Singer Serial Number webpage I was able to find out that this machine was manufacture in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec, Canada in 1948. 

I'm so happy to take this lovely machine out of storage and give it a home.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sewing Blogs

Who needs a sewing class when there are so many great bloggers out there posting tutorials.   Recently, I discovered this tutuorial for an Anthropologie inspired ruffle skirt.  Amber at Ruffles and Roses has so many great tutorials on her blog.  Take a look at her Tank Dress Tutorial.   And be sure to checkout her recent post which includes a giveaway.  Thank you Amber for sharing your creativity with us.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fast and Easy

I'm currently training for a marathon, and as the distances in my training plan increase the less time I have for sewing.  Instead of putting my sewing projects on the back burner, I decided that I'd work on a fast and easy project. I  was inspired by the Life is Good Women's Lounge Pants,   My version was made with Butterick 5153 and instead of  full length I opted for a 3/4 cropped length.  The pattern is very quick to sew.  My first pair is finished and I'll be making a second pair in pink button print,

Monday, August 2, 2010


Once again,  I am amazed at the creativity of my fellow sewing enthusiasts out in blog land.  Today,  The Selfish Seamstress blogged about her recent project, a chic hat she made from a pair of plaid pants Follow this link to see this amazing project.   I love how she lined it with multicolour pieces, of lining; this brings back memories of my mom's big box of fabric scraps.    While surfing I also came across a blogger, Sharon, who wrote a tutorial on refashioning a mens dress shirt into a camisole.  Inspired by Anthropologie but not willing to pay the Anthropologie price tag, Sharon offers us a great way to get great style and recycle at the same time.  And then there's Angie, at Sew I Thought who took a potato sack of a dress and used it to create a fabulous skirt Check out this skirt.  Angie also did a refashion of a way to big 80's suit into a sundress.  Although she wasn't happy with the fit of the end product, I think it's an amazing refashion.  Have a look at the before and after shots.  And at the blog Bytes and Bobbins you'll find a refashion of a skirt into a dress Yes, a skirt refashioned into a dress. Usually, it's the other way around.   Oh and I just adore the peasant top that was recently posted on the blog My Gramma Said. The blog post has a complete tutorial.

Wow! With all these creative ideas I'm so happy I sew. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Finding the perfect fabric...

Ever have one of those projects where you know exactly what kind of fabric you want and you can't find it?  A while back I blogged about the asymmetrical top in the June 2010 issue of Burda Style.  You can see the original post here.   This weekend I decided that I'd head out to get some plain t-shirt knit to make this top in a basic black or navy to go with jeans or capri pants.   There are three fabric stores within a 1/2 hour drive of my home, 2 Fabriclands and a local store called Fabric Depot.   First stop, Fabric depot...closed for holidays.   Fabricland, both stores left me empty handed.   Well, not really only empty handed in terms of getting the fabric I needed for the asymmetrical top.   Patterns were on sale so I did scoop up some new ones for my collection...not that I needed any.  
Butterick 5498, tunic length open front jackets with raglan sleeves
Butterick 5493, collection of tunics with embellished fronts
McCalls 5989, robe, nighties and pyjama sets
McCalls 5941, pantsuit with a kimono inspired jacket by Palmer/Pletsch

The asymmetrical top project is on hold until I find the right fabric.  In the meantime, I'll head to the sewing room and work on projects that have a matching set...fabric and pattern.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Busy sewing

Ever have one of those time periods where you spend alot of time on sewing related tasks but you never actually do any sewing. For the past two weeks I've been reading sewing books, perusing the latest issues of Vogue Patterns and Burda Style and checking out everyone else's projects on various sewing blogs. Getting lots of inspiration, but not alot of sewing going on.

I am particularly inspired by a number of bloggers who are into vintage sewing. It's amazing to see patterns of the past adapted to today's looks. is one of the bloggers I've stumbled across. I love how she creates retro garments, all for less than $25.00. At the Pins and Needles blog I oohed and aahed at the great vintage shirt project It never ceases to amaze me the amount of talent there is out here in blog land.

Another contributing factor to my lack of sewing has been the fact that I haven't been home much. After getting back from Spain, we had a few days at home and then we headed out to British Columbia for a family reunion. For me it wasn't really a "reunion" as there were a number of cousins that I met for the first time (that is if you don't count meeting via Facebook). We had a great time and even had the opportunity to climb the family know you've married a hillbilly when the family has their own mountain. After that we headed out to St John's Newfoundland, and then back to Alberta where we spent some time hiking in Banff.

The coming weeks look equally busy. Mid August I'm walking the Reykjavik Marathon in Iceland and I'm also headed to Toronto for a business trip at the end of July. I hear there's some great fabric stores in the garment district of Toronto. If anyone in blog land has any recommendations, let me know.

Happy Sewing!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Back from Vacation

I'm back from vacation, over a span of 15 days my husband and I walked 325km in Northern Spain, from Leon to Santiago de Compostella. With a couple of weeks to go before I return back to work, I'm hoping to get back to my sewing projects.

Waiting for me in my mailbox when I got home, was the June issue of Burda style. They're lots of great ideas in it. The pattern I really like is Burda 143, an asymmetric V neck top with shoulders that extend into cap sleeves. The only concern I have is that the pattern is a plus size, and I'm not. So, my challenge is to either scale down the pattern or choose one of my existing top patterns and redraft it using the Burda style pattern as a basis. ...decisions...decisions...


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

On Vacation

Summer hasn't quite arrived in Calgary, but it has in Spain. So, we're off for a few weeks of travels on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. My husband and I are walking 325km of the Way of St James. For those who are interested in our travels you can visit our blog at

I ordered a subscription to Burda Style today, hoping that it will be in my mailbox shortly after I arrive home. Amanda's June picks prompted me to sign up sooner rather than later, check them out at

type at you later....


Monday, May 24, 2010

Fashions from Anthropologie
I recently discovered a site called Anthropologie, many of the fashions here remind me of the romantic styles of the 70's. I especially like the Sky Stories Blouse (blue), it reminds me so much of handkerchief blouses that were so popular then. Sewing classes in Home Ec produced many versions of a similar style. I'm really happy to see that that border prints are back. Now if I could just find something similar in the fabric stores here in Canada. The Lucinda Blouse (white) reminds me of another one of my learn to sew projects, only mine was pink with ecru lace trim. Sew lovely indeed!


Sewing Diploma

Project complete! My moms sewing diploma is framed. I went with a very classic black frame, with the detail on the frame picking up some of the detail in the diploma itself. Rather than going for a plain matting, I selected a simple textured pattern. I think it turned out lovely, and will be proudly displayed in my sewing room. Looking at it brings back many memories of my mom teaching me sew and spending many hours with me helping me refine my sewing skills.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Update on the Sixty Year old Unfinished Project

Just wanted to give ya'll an update on the framing of my mom's sewing diploma. Yes it's back from the framers and it looks fabulous. I promise to post a photo in the next week or so.
Stay tuned...Christiana

Sewing Pattern Junkie

Confession...I'm a sewing pattern junkie. My collection extends beyond three digits. And lately I've been on a series of business trips, I'm in the fifth week of six. So what's a girl to do when she's having trouble sleeping and her sewing machine is miles away. Surf the web and check out the sewing sites. This weeks I've been perusing the sewing pattern sites and I've got my eye on McCalls 6123, it's a Kay Whitt Design for A Line tunic and dress. I can envision many variations of this style. Summer prints dress in red and white, a cute tunic in an ethnic print and a great holiday dress in a jewel tone satin, with a slightly different shade accenting the bottom, perhaps a few beads along the neckline...oh the ideas just keep flowing on this one.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

No Sewing

Well not much progress on the sewing front. Work has been keeping me away from my sewing room...very far away. First Vancouver, then Winnipeg and this week Toronto. The time away has allowed me to catch up on other blogs and I must say there's a lot of great sewing blogs out there. YIPPEE....the art of sewing is still alive.

I also discovered the pattern review site Loads of great information, one can spend days there...


Friday, April 30, 2010


I'm always amazed at the creativity of sewists and fibre artists. Especially when everyday things can be recycled through sewing. So, when I found a sewing pattern that used window screen and turned it into a tote, I just had to try it out. Then, I read another article that talked about making a pillow cover from a T-shirt, another sewing project was born.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Completion of the Sixty Year Old Unfinshed Project

We moved to Calgary last July, and although I setup my sewing room months ago the walls are bare. So this weekend I decided it was time to decorate those bare walls. One of the things that I've been carrying around with me for over 15 years is my mom's dressmaking diploma. A diploma that she earned in Holland in 1949. For years, my mom said she was going to frame it and display it in her sewing area. When she passed away in 1993, the diploma was given to me. And for over 16 years I've been saying I'm going to frame it and hang it in my sewing area. It took over sixty years, but that diploma is finally getting framed. It will be ready in a couple of weeks and I'm so excited to be able to display it in my sewing room.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vogue Patterns

While learning to sew, Simplicity and McCalls sewing patterns were my patterns of choice. They were cheap and you could buy them at the local department store. Once I had the confidence to tackle a Vogue pattern I was hooked on the designer touches and started to pay attention to how the garmet looked on the inside and the outside. I still have some of those cherished Vogue patterns in my stash. Here's a peek at a couple of favorites.