Monday, 16 February 2015


Oh, hey again.  I know I just posted a few days ago, but it turns out that creative expression doesn't necessarily follow a bimonthly pattern. Oooh could be that I'm feeling a little rebellious. I want to share my most recent beading project...and I want to share

This beaded, wrapped, leather bracelet was pretty straightforward as far as projects go, but oh boy, this baby was a long time in the making..I actually started it in December, and thought I'd have it finished in a turned out to be a bit fiddly working with the long threads, and I have the attention span of a gnat. Early on, I'd whoop with delight if I got half a dozen rows done, about a half hour's effort. Anything beyond that, and I'd feel all cross-eyed and nervy. As work progressed, the beading threads got shorter, and things hummed along much faster.  I didn't plan beyond my initial selection of beads, and happily, I quite like the finished effect. I have to say, my {very} favourite part is the button fastener. It's just two regular buttons, stacked...but, I think it's rather cool looking. For those that get the hankering for their own DIY project, I assure that single wrapped bracelets take much less time.

So, fast backwards to last year, and my pie in the sky dreams of a blog filled with mesmerizing photography. Yeah, um...shall I start at the beginning? April 2014 it was, and  I registered for a photography class.  The start-up date was May 1st with five lessons over five weeks. I was excited, and mentally marked each passing day on the calendar.  It wasn't to be a fancy affair. A Continuing Ed programme offered through the community.  But still, I held high hopes for myself. Finally, I would get my camera off the automatic setting.  After just two lessons, our class got cancelled due to a civic strike.  Sigh. Untended boulevards and accumulating garbage I could take, but I got me some serious wah-wahs when I learned that my long anticipated class was on hold.  Although the strike ended late May, the remaining three classes were cancelled leaving me in a awkward state of learnedness.  In two lessons, I did get my camera off the auto setting.  Can I hear a whoop whoop?  But. I found myself making more oops oops than whoop whoops while trying to take artful pictures.  I would mentally see the money shot in my head.  The perfect composition, the light just so, yada yada yada. The reality, however,  was turning out to be another beast entirely....apparently two classes gave me just the right amount of schooling to give me confidence...I had never fiddled so freely with my camera. It was also painfully obvious that I had no clue as to what exactly I was fiddling with. Oh, I learned the words aperture and shutter speed. But. Their meaning hadn't yet stuck. And. so. I floundered throughout the summer betwixt and between. I was tempted to simply go back to auto mode. I was tempted to spend countless hours on the Internet googling how to be a brilliant photographer in five easy lessons. But honestly, neither option held much appeal; the truth was I had been so looking forward to a real time, real life, classroom setting. I eventually put my camera holding on hold. September would surely come soon enough....and I could resume my class then...

Well, the glossy recycled paper magazine did indeed show up in my mailbox early September. And, yep, there was my class, all five lessons, just like I remembered. But, here's the thing...I had no option but to register and pay for the course in it's entirety and...well...that kinda annoyed me. I had already taken, and paid for, the first two lessons, and it wasn't through any choice of mine that the class didn't continue at the end of the labour dispute. So? I didn't sign up for the course. Um...something to do with the principle of the matter....I believe was the argument in my head.  Sigh...It all sounds a little lame now, doesn't it?

So here I am, another year later and still rather hopeless at this photography thing. Once again, I am pondering the idea of improving my camera skills. I might even be willing to register for the spring 2015 photography course. What would you do? Any and all suggestions greatly appreciated.

This background is yummy fabric! I have orange coats and pink coats, but I don't yet have an orange and pink coat! I think I might have to use this fabric to make a coat!


Friday, 13 February 2015


Ginger Skinny Jeans, A Colourful Canvas
Ginger Skinny Jeans, A Colourful Canvas

Ginger Skinny Jeans, A Colourful Canvas

Ginger Skinny Jeans, A Colourful Canvas

Ginger Skinny Jeans, A Colourful Canvas

Hi everyone! They's be rainy days here in Vancouver. I was optimistically hoping for outdoor is warm enough after all...but unfortunately, it's just way too soggy. I don't think I'm usually one to chatter on about the weather....and it's not really so much  the weather as the season that's beginning to get to me. WINTER. w.i.n.t.e.r. Winter always feels like the longest of the four seasons to me. In my little part of the world, temperatures are blessedly benign, but the shorter days, the longer nights, and the often gloomy skies, make for a loooong season. Give me an endless summer any day!  The good okay news is that I have many interests to keep myself busy...stitching, reading, and watching season two of The Great British Sewing Bee {yes season two, so please no spoilers on the current season, :)} have literally been saving me from a rainy day. At least until. now. this. moment. I am now rather anxiously looking for those early signs of spring. Lucky here on the wet coast...I know it won't be daffodils are standing tall and stately ready to burst into bloom, and I haven't had the car heater on full blast. Last weekend the mister and I were out and about enjoying lunch and some window shopping in one of our favourite Vancouver neighbourhoods. Jackets were unzipped, and, I was able to wear my distressed jeans with panache...who knew how breezy ripped jeans could be...{oh, just about everybody and their mother, sez you}. And, speaking of unzipped jackets, it's gotta be nearly time to ditch the down puffy coats in favour of a few of my favourite springtime coats.

I'm back with my second pair of Ginger Jeans. Sewing the same pattern back to back is a great way to get better sewing skills. If you are a novice sewer, do give it a go.  This time, my Gingers are darker, softer, quieter....more yin than yang...{and I'm clearly, or maybe not so clearly, comparing to my distressed Gingers, seen here.} These are, noticeably...non-distressed...and, hopefully...non-distressing. Although the silhouette is decidedly classic, I did sneak in a couple of details that add a little bit of fun.  I used yummy ice cream printed cotton for both the pocket lining and the hem...when my jeans are cuffed, the whimsical print is revealed. I also created a colourful tag to sew to the back pocket, 'cause that's just how I roll around here, and I added a colourful panel to the fly shield. Throw...erm, I guess that should be sew... in a hot pink zipper and colourful serged seams, and you've got classic with a twist! And an homage to my classic Ginger Skinnies? Classic gingham with a bow-tie!

I've now sewn this pattern with both a stretch and a non-stretch denim fabric. This dark blue fabric has added lycra. It wasn't labeled with the percentage...but I'm guessing it has around 2-3%.  I cut out the same {*mostly} view A, in the same size, for both pairs. When it came to construction, I sewed a narrower (3/8") outside side seam on my distressed jeans, and I sewed a wider (3/4") outside side seam on my classics. So, I'd say to go up about one size from your measurements for a non-stretch fabric. And the *mostly? This time I made the legs skinnier than on my distressed jeans. Not quite so skinny as view B, but definitely more than my first make. Now, I am completely satisfied with the fit here, but I think I'll try view B next time. It's always fun to change things up a bit. Let's see anything else? Oh, I interfaced the waistband.  No matter the quality of fusible interfacing I buy, I find myself underwhelmed with the result. Sometimes I get wrinkling and bubbling occurring after only a few runs through the laundry. {insert sad face here} To prevent sad face, I did things a little differently this time...I fused medium weight woven interfacing onto cotton/poly broadcloth and created the perfect weight sew on interfacing. So far it feels marvelous dahling; hopefully I've banished wrinkling for-evah! Now to work a miracle for zee face, non?

EDIT:  I've had a few email inquiries about sizing. Let me attempt to further clarify the fitting of non-stretch versus stretch, shall I? The bad news? It all depends on the fabric you are going to be working with. Some just have more stretch than others. Even with non-stretch fabric, I think a heavier denim will be a little less forgiving than a lighter weight one. That being said, there is good news! We are dealing with horizontal stretch only. Both my non-stretch distressed jeans and my stretch jeans have the same fit lengthwise. When constructing the non-stretch pair, it was an exercise in adding additional width, particularly around the torso, hip, and thigh area. I found that I could successfully add that necessary additional width to the outside side seams only, without negatively affecting the finished look of the jeans. Adding about 3/8" on each outside upper seam worked well for me. Depending on how much ease you want, and the weave of your fabric, I'd think it prudent to cut your pattern pieces between 3/8" - 1/2" bigger along your outside upper side can always go smaller, but you can never go bigger. I do hope this helps, but please feel free to email me with any further questions!

So, has spring touched your part of the globe? Or are you making do with potted primulas at the kitchen window? Thanks always, for stopping by and saying Hi!

Distressed Ginger Jeans
Burda 7255 Blouse with Bow Tie

I'm linking up with Helena at Gray All Day for Sew it Chic in a Week, her new weekly women's garment link up party! If you've been sewing, please come and join in! Also linking to Dawn Lucy's Fun Fashion Friday at Fashion Should Be Fun. Wheee...another invite...I'm also joining Sheila at Ephemera for Shoe Shine.


Sunday, 25 January 2015


Ginger Jeans, Closet Case Files, A Colourful Canvas

Ginger Jeans, Closet Case Files, A Colourful Canvas

Ginger Jeans, Closet Case Files, A Colourful Canvas

Ginger Jeans, Closet Case Files, A Colourful Canvas

Ginger Jeans, Closet Case Files, A Colourful Canvas

I may, or may not, have worn damp jeans when in my teenage years. In my defense, it was the seventies, and to get that coveted fit...well, you put your jeans on before they were completely dry. As the denim dried, the fabric shrunk...just right.  Of course, as the days rolled by, the fabric eased...knees and bottoms got baggy, and waistbands got looser. Why? Well, due to the unique weave of denim, the cotton fibers gently stretch with wear. These days, a lot of denim gets a boost of stretch with the addition of spandex/lyrca/elastane synthetic fibers. There's no longer the need (need?...hahaha) for donning wet jeans...but, on the flip side, that fabric can stretch out in a single wear.  I weighed in on both fabrications, looked at my limited choices in the local fabric stores, and settled on buying both traditional denim and stretch denim! This pair, my first Ginger Jeans make, is sewn with 100% cotton....and no, I did not put them on damp.  I still think I got a killer fit, thank you very much! I sewed version A, the stovepipe silhouette and I added a little length (5/8") to the rise. The finished look is very much the distressed, slightly easy, fit I was hoping for.

Why sew jeans in the first place? Well, I was drawn to the idea of imprinting some of my own personality on an article of clothing that is an almost everyday wear. When I started seeing Ginger Skinny Jeans by Closet Case Files, I thought, here's my chance to have a little fun.  And fun I did have.  It started with the pocket lining (not shown), a cheery, flowery print.  I used the same print for a ripped patch, and I also lined my back pockets...that way the lining fabric peaks through the rips.  I also finished the seam edges at the bottom of the jeans...when I roll them up, I get another little bit of individuality. The zipper and top stitching thread, both lilac!  And the obvious? Distressed denim. Something I've been wanting to have a go at for some time. I almost ditched the plan due to the cross-wise thread being blue, not white (bleach softened the blue to a light pink). In the end, I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out, although I'm hoping they look more aged with future laundering.

So, do you like distressed jeans? Did you put on your jeans damp? Does it feel wrong to you to mangle perfectly good fabric? With these jeans, I did the major cuts before I had even begun sewing them together. I was pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to do it after completing my garment. To rephrase; technically, I could have attacked at any time with a seam ripper and scissors, but I know myself well enough to doubt my ability to intentionally destroy a brand new make.

I'm looking forward to sewing the pattern again with my stretch denim. I want to try the super skinny version, and by necessity, I'll be refitting the pattern....we all know how fun (not) that is....mwahahahahaha. The good news is that this was, for me, a very straightforward make. And Heather Lou has so many cool tips for making your jeans look professionally done.  The pocket tips are superb! I can't help it...I've been totally eyeballing the rear pockets on women's jeans since this make...GAH.  There does appear to be one misprint in the pattern instructions. The written instructions advise to edge finish the fly front extension on the right leg only. The online sewalong instructs to finish the left leg...I sewed the right leg, and yep, it's the left leg that I should have finished. Ah well, I was able to trim it a bit with pinking shears.

'nuf said.  Hope you are all enjoying January 2015. I'll see you soon...

*EDIT: Please see my new post,  Classic Ginger Skinny Jeans, where I discuss the fit of non-stretch versus stretch denim.

Linking up with Patti of Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday
Also linking up with Helena of Gray All Day for Sew It Chic in a Week - her first weekly link up!