Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Spontaneous Giving

I love spontaneous acts of giving. Especially when everyday people are surprised by the act of kindness.  Unexpected love shows up in all kinds of places and I'd like to share with you some of these acts that have been happening where I live.

Earlier this year, a kind hearted man bought 500 coffees at a national coffee chain and gave them away.  His generosity sparked a chain reaction of coffee gifting across the country.   How cool is that.

In September quilters donated nearly 350 quilts to help residents who were affected by the flooding in Alberta this summer.  I'm sure they feel the love of the person who made it every time they snuggle up in their hand made quilt.

This week, WestJet Airlines surprised the guests on two flights with gifts at the luggage carousel.  The video of he event has been hugely popular on You Tube this week.  If you haven't seen it yet.  Be sure to check out WestJet's Christmas Miracle.   It's just awesome.


I hope these acts of kindness inspire you.


Friday, December 6, 2013

McCalls Early Spring Collection

McCalls recently published their early spring collection.   I'm wondering if they also ship an early spring along with the patterns, we're in a deep freeze here with temperatures dipping to -30C before you account for the wind chill factor and -42C if you include it.!

The collection can be found here McCalls early spring collection.

I adore the fabric in M6883.   I'm not really interested in the pattern because it's such a basic style and I'm sure I have similar patterns in my stash.  But, dear McCalls do tell me where I can find the fabric.

I'm also drawn to M6905, what a cute duo of tote bag designs from Tiny Seamstress Designs. 

I can hardly wait for spring...what about you?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Craftsy Class Sale...Whoo...Hooo...

Earlier this week I reviewed a Craftsy course and at the end of my post I suggested not to pay full price for a Craftsy course as they go on sale.    Well here it is, a rockin' Craftsy Sale.   I piked up three classes from my wish list at $19.99 each.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Craftsy Review

I purchased and iPad a few months ago and now I've become a Craftsy and You Tube junkie.  There's a ton of sewing related videos on You Tube and the Craftsy platform is great for inspiring new sewing projects. My iPad is seeing a lot more of the sewing room than I had expected.

I must admit I've watched more Craftsy classes than I've created projects for.  My review is for one of the courses that I've create a project for.  Design your Own Handbag with Brett Bara.

Brett is a great teacher with lots of experience and tons of great ideas.   The methods that she uses in the class will allow you to create a beautifully finished handbag.   She provides you with the foundation skills and inspires you to add your own design details.  My challenge was picking the details that I wanted to use in my bag.  I decided to keep it simple for my first bag.

The course starts you with planning your project and then walks you through all the steps needed to create your bag.  You'll want to watch course once from start to finish before starting your project as the videos are organized based on construction concepts and don't flow exactly from start to finish.   Although Brett's Craftsy course provides you with the pattern specs for you to draft the pattern, you could also use this as a foundation for any handbag pattern.   

Here's my project based on the pattern included with the course.

Now that I've got the foundations down, I'm exploring all kinds of options.  My Pinterest sewing board is full of handbag samples and the Craftsy platform also allows for students to post their projects.  So, I've got lots of ideas flowing. Currently on my cutting table, is the Metro Bag using the Clover trace and create templates.  I'll be using some of the techniques I learned from the Craftsy course on this bag as well.

I'd definitely recommend Brett's Craftsy course and I have a bunch more Craftsy courses in the queue.  If you are into making totes, bags or zipper pouches there are also a few free classes on the Craftsy platform for you to enjoy as well.

I've also learned not to pay full price for a Craftsy course, put them in your wish list and wait for a sale.   Thanks to all those Craftsy sales, I now have huge list of Craftsy courses in my library for future enjoyment.

Happy Sewing

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sewing Machine Review Janome Memory Craft 6000

A  couple of weeks ago SewMamaSew requested sewing machine reviews from bloggers.   I've seen machine reviews posted on many websites, but this request was different.   The request was for sewing machine reviews for any make or model regardless of age.   So here goes, I'm reviewing my circa 1985 Janome Memory Craft 6000. 

It's an oldie but a goodie, and it's served me well over the years, I bought it new and I paid around $1500.00 . So, in terms of todays dollars it would be $3260.00 based on the Consumer Price Index Inflation Calculator.   In it's day, this model was the top of the line, and the first generation of the computerized home sewing machine models.   Today, it would hardly compare with the top of the line machine.

This machine has been a real workhorse for me.   It's sewn everything from the finest of silk to leather and jeans.  It's seen a miles of thread and many needles through the years.   Although I don't sew as much as I used to, during the first 15 years of it's life it was operating for at least an hour a day 6 to 7 days a week.   It has only seen the repair shop a few times for a tune up.  Now having said that I'm a stickler for quality needles, quality thread and regular cleaning of the machine.

It features basic and utility stitches, buttonholer and some "embroidery" stitching.   Novelty stitches include an airplane, alligator, penguin, parrot, butterfly, umbrella, numbers and 26 letters of the alphabet in script and block.  The numbers 0-9 are also included.   The size of these designs is quite limited when compared to today's machines, and programming is quite the exercise in a patience as each design is associated with a numeric value that needs to be entered followed by the M button, so to write SUE you would have to punch in 58M 60M 44M. 

There is a wide variety of utility stiches which I have used over the years.  The buttonhole quality is good and you can easily make a corded button hole using the button hole foot.  One unique feature of this machine is it's overclock stitch and foot.  Before I purchased a serger, I used this stitch a lot to finish seams.  It doesn't cut the seam like an serger, but it does a good job of simulating an over lock stitch (considering it only has two threads to work with).

The machine comes with lots of feet that are neatly stored in the top of the machine, each foot has it's own special slot.  I'm sure that saved me from losing them over the years, I still have all the original feet.  The zipper foot is a bit unusual, but does the trick.  The regular foot has a neat feature on it that allows you to sew over "fabric bumps" quite easily.   Hemming jeans is a breeze with this machine.  Over the years I've purchased a number of specialty feet from various suppliers and an ruffler attachment works well on this machine.

If someone is in the market for a machine and can find a well cared for Janome Memory Craft 6000, I'd recommend it.  Definitely take it for a test drive, as machines of this vintage can vary greatly in condition.

I'm considering an upgrade to a new machine in the next year or so. Mostly to take advantage of the computerized embroidery capabilities in today's machines.   Will I ditch the old work horse, absolutely not, I know it well and we've become good friends over the years.


Show Studio Website

A few weeks ago,  I discovered a really cool website that I wanted to share with y'all.   Show Studio the Home of Fashion Film.   Be sure to checkout the fashion and the free patterns they have for download by searching on the term pattern download.

Head over to the Home of Fashion Film


Thursday, July 11, 2013

In doing your own custom dressmaking, be enthusiastic about it—it is a thoroughly fascinating sport!

Don't you just love the title of this post.  I can't take credit for it.  It comes from a 1930s publication called Paris Frocks at Home.   Earlier this week I stumbled up on a website VintageSewing.Info.  It's loaded with great sewing resources from the 1900s to the 1950s.  

I really enjoyed the 1930s lessons from Paris Frocks at Home.  

Here's another sample.

To do successful home custom dressmaking observe these cautions:
  1. Never economize on fabric. Someone has said a garment is never better than its fabric. Do not risk the misfortune of having a shabby garment before the season is over.
  2. Always buy the full amount of material called for by the table on the pattern envelope. Skimping always shows and makes your dressmaking so much more difficult and so much more time-consuming.
  3. Always hold the paper pattern against you to be sure of lengths and widths and general positions of lines, taking note of necessary changes. There can then be no unpleasant surprises in store for you.
  4. Don't copy the best selling design in the biggest department store in your city. Almost anyone can own a Ford.
  5. Pick out a pattern embodying lines which you wear well. This little book contains definite suggestions for doing this if you need to be reassured on this point.

And how about this:

Be yourself as you are and as you want to be. The frocks you wear will achieve this ambition for you. You can create a charmed circle of admiration wherever you go simply by the way you dress. Cultivate your gift for clothes. The puritan virtues concerning dress, while still virtues, are no longer in fashion. Enjoy your clothes.

I'm having so much fun reading these lessons, I hope you will too.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

San Francisco

We just got back from a weekend getaway to San Francisco and what an awesome trip it was.  We arrived Saturday and then flew back to Calgary on Monday.   We had loads of fun touring Alcatraz and then we rented bikes from a shop near Ghirardelli square; biked the Golden Gate bridge & explored the Presidio area.  Bicycling is sure a great way to explore a city as compact as San Francisco.  And if the hills scare you, don't worry you can rent electric bicycles.   We had so much fun with these bikes, they are now on my wish list.

I had hoped on visiting the infamous Britex Fabrics, unfortunately they weren't open when I arrived at their door and I only had a bit of time before we needed to head to the airport.  Oh well...I guess that gives me another reason for a return visit.

To sum it up, got on board a westbound seven thirty seven. Visited the Streets of San Francisco. Our weekend escape included a tour of Alcatraz and renting bikes from a company called Blazing Saddles. I think I just had 1970's flashback....


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Prayers for Alberta

The rain came again this week, and it was fierce. A massive weather system trapped a storm over southern Alberta and the mountain parks. The snowpack in the mountains, the partially frozen landscape combined with the rains sent a rush of water into the Bow, Elbow, Highwood and Sheep rivers. Flooding began in the mountains including Banff and Canmore on Thursday and by Friday many areas of Calgary and Southern Alberta were flooded. Although our home was not affected by the flooding, it's difficult to see the thousands of people in the city where I live being evacuated from their homes.  My thoughts and prayers go out to all the families who were forced to leave their homes.

 Downtown Calgary

In the mountain town of Canmore
Cougar Creek flooding

Fire crews are seen observing the swollen Cougar Creek in Canmore in this photo tweeted by the Canadian Rockies Public Schools

Thursday, June 6, 2013



I'm back from my trip to Hawaii were we enjoyed fun and sun on the island of Oahu.  It was my first experience snorkeling, and I absolutely loved it!  We bought our own gear; matched to our prescription lenses.  We hope to be back to Hawaii soon, perhaps Maui on our next trip.

We stayed in Kailua, but I did manage to make a trip into Honolulu to pick up some souvenirs.  Now for someone who sews, the perfect souvenir is fabric.  Here's some photo's of my Hawaiian fabrics.  A big thank you to Kyle and Shannon for their fabric store recommendations.   Kyle, the timing of your post was perfect, just days before we left on our trip.  I found just what I was looking for...
This first one is a rayon.  I'm hoping to transform it into a Maxi dress; perhaps McCalls 6700, which comes highly recommended on pattern

These next two cotton prints are for summer skirts.  What I have in mind is a simple A line skirt with a yoke.  Hoping to draft my own pattern based on the Craftsy class - Design & Sew your own A Line Skirt.

And finally, these bright cotton prints are going to be lining fabrics for some funky tote bags.  I've yet find the exterior fabrics, but I'm thinking either a dark purple or a silver grey for the mauve one and either a black or dark denim to go with the pink. 
I'm back in Canada now and after several days of rain the sun has finally decided to show up.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Free Pattern Friday

Yes, the folks at craftsy are at it again.  Checkout today's free patterns.

Craftsy Free Pattern
Kirsten Kimono Tee
Today's sewing pattern is pdf download contains the pattern and detailed instructions – including step by step photos – for assembling the pattern and sewing a basic loose fitting t-shirt.

Enjoy and Happy Sewing

Monday, April 29, 2013

Happy Zipper Day!

OK, truth be told, I missed it. April 28th is when we should celebrate Zipper Day; it marks the date that the zipper was launched.

What does one do to celebrate zipper day?
  • create something with a zipper
  • use as many articles as possible using a zipper
  • have all items with broken zippers fixed
  • tell everyone it is zipper day and go out to celebrate
  • take a course on installing zippers
  • learn how to say zipper in as many languages as possible.

Belated Happy Zipper Day!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Number Four, the Bee Finale

Well here it is, episode number four.  What a great series, and rumour has it that there will be another season.

This one was my favourite episode.   Ann is truly spectacular, she has style and she has skill.  Sandra truly loves to sew and her skill shines in this episode as well.   Lauren, amazes me.  She's so young, and although unsure of her ability at times she continues to grow in the complexity of her projects and the results are highlighted in this episode.

I agree with the judges that Ann is truly he best seamstress; but I was secretly cheering for Lauren.  Why? Considering her age and experience she definitely has the eyes and the hands of a seamstress.    When I watched both Lauren and  Tilly in this series, I often found myself reflecting back to when I was younger and although my sewing skills weren't always the best, I wasn't afraid to tackle more complex projects that would allow my skills to grow.  

Well done Sewing Bee participants!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Have you seen Number Three of The Bee

Episode three, of the Great British Sewing be was aired on Tuesday this week and posted to You Tube on Wednesday.   If you haven't seen it yet you can see it here.

Like many bloggers, I'm hooked!  I really hope that they have more to come.    Episode three was bittersweet, we had to say good bye to another contestant, Stuart.   The projects were very creative and well done.  I really admire the participants and their ability to crank out a their projects in a limited time span, especially the jackets.  

I'm looking forward to the forth episode and seeing the projects come to life.

Happy Sewing,

Friday, April 19, 2013

Free Pattern Friday!

I know it's late in the day, but I just discovered Free Pattern Friday on Craftsy

Today I was able to claim this cute pattern.    I'm sure that I have something in my stash to make this!

Happy Sewing

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Now Showing - Episode 3 of the Great British Sewing Bee

Now available for your viewing pleasure, episode 3 of the Bee on You Tube. 


Thank you to the BBC for putting these up on You Tube, so that the rest of the world can enjoy!
Happy viewing and happy sewing

Monday, April 15, 2013

Liebster Award

I received a Liebster award!  Ellen of It's Sewing life nominated my blog.  Thank you Ellen!

OK, to be honest I had no idea what the word Liebster even meant.  A quick Google search revealed that it's a German word meaning darling; beloved, liked very much; affectionate, loving favorite, preferred above others; liked or loved above others.
The award comes with some homework:

1. Answer the 10 questions that were asked by the person who nominated you.
2. Nominate 10 new bloggers that inspire YOU.  Usually, these will be bloggers with 200 followers or less.
3. Ask those bloggers 10 questions of your choice 

Ellen asked me the following questions:
How much time a week/day do you spend on your blog?
I haven't been real consistent with my  blog, my I've resolved to spend a couple hours a week getting my thought out there.
Do you feel like you need to explain yourself if you don't blog for awhile?
Yes, I feel it lets my readers know that I'm a real person and that I'm out here.
How much time a day to you spend READING other people's blogs?
That varies, but I usually spend at least couple of hours reading other blogs, even when I'm not posting, I'm out there in blog world.  I recently got the BlogLovin iphone app, so I can read posts from almost anywhere. 
These awards posts can be time-consuming. Do you cringe a little when you get these kinds of awards? ;)
Not really, as long as the questions are well thought out.  They help encourage posting, and some of the questions can be thought provoking.
Besides reading blogs and writing on your own blog, do you spend a lot of time on the computer?
My day job is in IT, so I'm not going to even try to put a number on it.
Is sewing your primary creative outlet?
What are some of your other creative endeavors?
I enjoy beadwork, various crafts and LEGO. 
Do you join sew a longs?
I haven't joined any sew a longs...yet.  I love following them though.  My only challenge is that my job involves travel, which means I'm away from my sewing machine during the week.
Do you participate in other types of online challenges (sewing or otherwise)? What are they?
Not yet...but it's something I've been considering.  It might be a good motivation for me to sew more
Do you usually complete these challenges or sew along s? Why or why not?  Does not apply...yet.

My nominees, go check them out...

Virginia's Sew Blessed Daughter
Rainy Day Art
Cheap and Picky
The Quirky Peach
The Diligent Dilettante
FrouFrou by lovenicky
The Perfect Pear Pair
110 Creations
Caravan of Beads

Questions for my nominees...
  1. What are your favorite types of projects to undertake?
  2. If a project doesn't turn out as well as you expected, do you still blog about it?  Why or why not?
  3. What project are you most proud of, post a link to the project if you blogged about it?
  4. Why do you blog?
  5. How do you stay inspired to create?
  6. Do you usually have one project on the go, or are you a multi-project person?
  7. Confession time...what is your oldest UFO --- Unfinished Object, and how long has it been since you've worked on it?
  8. What is your favorite colour?
  9. How many times a week do you blog?  Do you think this is too much or too little?
  10. Who inspires you?

Happy sewing and happy blogging

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Craftsy Review

Many of you by now have heard about Craftsy, and I'm sure many have tried their on-line courses.   They have a variety of learn it and make it courses, including several sewing courses.  The courses are hosted by a variety of popular sewing experts including Sandra Betzina, Linda Lee, Kenneth King and many more. 

I really like their platform, you learn through a series of video workshops that you can take at your own pace.  The videos are broken down into modules that allow you work through smaller chunks  which I find helpful as I don't the have luxury of devoting larger blocks of time to taking a course. They also have an iPhone & iPad app that allows you to take their courses with you; I can review the course content while waiting for a flight or while sitting in the doctor's or dentist's office.  They also have a Q&A section and a place for students to post their completed content.

The pricing of the course varies by content.  There are smaller courses available for free and others that vary in price, most are under $50.  Some include the patterns, others do not.   They also feature classes and sale prices that have ranged from 20% to 75% off.  And you can view the course as many times a you want.

I've signed up for a number of courses and have completed viewing the content for Design Your own Handbag, with Brett Bara and Design and Sew an A Line Skirt with Deborah Moebes.   I haven't started my skirt project yet, but I have picked out my fabric and drafted the pattern for my handbag.   Stay tuned for more updates on my projects as well as more specific course reviews.

Have fun learning and Happy Sewing!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Here it is, Episode 2 of the Great British Sewing Bee

Here it is, another two days of intense sewing in London and three challenges.   Intense it was, four hours to sew a pair of men's trousers and six hours to make a blouse. Watch the ladies check out the guys to see how the waistbands should be put together; was it just an excuse to check out their bottoms?  We also get a great history lesson on tailoring.  I was sad to see Tilly go, the blouse that she created was absolutely adorable.   But, we don't have to say goodbye to Tilly as we can always follow her on her blog

Next week, it's the semi finals
Happy Sewing!

Tilly has left the Bee

I haven't been able to find the 2nd episode on You Tube to view it here in Canada, but I've heard lots of buzz about the show on various blogs.   Tilly herself has blogged about the show, and will be having special guests soon.  Follow this link toTilly's blog and get the scoop directly from her.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I can't see the Bee...

So, this week I discover the Great British Sewing Bee on YouTube, and I'm hooked. I was set to catch episode 2 via BBC on-line tonight, only to find out that I'm unable to watch via the BBC on-line from Canada.  What a let down....

So all I can do is read about it on the Metro news web page.  Tilly and Mark have become the latest amateur sewers to depart Great British Sewing Bee.   I'm really hoping the remaining epsidodes make it to You Tube soon.

Cheers and Happy Sewing

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sewing Revival

The BBC has launched a new program and claims that there is a sewing revival in the works.  Do you agree?   It's very exciting to see a renewed interest in the art of sewing.  I wasn't able to find the BBC program, The Great British Sewing Bee on BBC Canada, but thanks to YouTube you can view the first episode.   The Great Sewing Bee on YouTube

What are your thoughts, is there a sewing revival on the horizon?


Friday, March 22, 2013

Wow!  In the business of life time does slip away.   It's hard to believe that it's been several months since my last post.  My lack of sewing has prevented me from posting to my blog.  I haven't really been wanting to do any garment sewing as I've been on a quest to get back to my goal weight.   Thanks to some perseverance and some help from Weight Watchers,  I'm back at my goal and wearing my "skinny jeans" again.  YIPPEE!!

For the past several months I've been lurking in the back ground reading blogs, checking sewing stuff on pintrest, checking out the latest reviews on and I've recently started a few classes on Craftsy.   I've gone through most of the videos for Design a Handbag and Design and Sew an A line skirt.  Now it's time to put all that learning in action!   I'm trying to find some Canadian Sources for handbag hardware and fabrics so that I can get started making bags.   My head is full of ideas, but some days I just can't seem to put the ideas into action.  

If you're looking to find some sewing ideas, I've managed to round up 483 pins on my sewing board checkout my sewing board on pinterest and I'm sure there's more to come...

Does any one else have those times where they spend more time reading about and researching sewing topics than actually sewing?  I'd love to hear about how you get back in the groove...