Wednesday, 17 September 2014


A Colourful Canvas, Sewaholic, Cambie Dress
A Colourful Canvas, Sewaholic, Cambie Dress

A Colourful Canvas, Sewaholic, Cambie Dress, DYT Type One

Hi everyone! Let's jump right into today's post. This past weekend was some kind of special!  I met two lovely sewing bloggers on Saturday...Silvia from Sewing Princess and Tasia from Sewaholic. Silvia has been touring Canada and Vancouver was her last stop before returning home to Italy.   She wanted to visit with Tasia as well as myself, and I suggested that the three of us get together. Tasia and Silvia, who have known each other for a long time, are both so warm and friendly. I felt plain lucky to have been able to sit down and visit with them both.  We met at a local Starbucks and fell easily into conversation. Lots of chat about sewing and blogging and travel. After our cups were empty, we headed up to Tasia's office for the real fun!  Now, some of my lovely readers may not know this, but Tasia is at the helm of her own sewing pattern business! Whaaaatttt? Yes, it's true! She designs, drafts, prints and sells patterns, with a specific emphasis on designing for the pear shaped woman.  So, needless to say, her office was a Pandora's box for Silvia and I. And when Tasia opened her samples bin, things got downright giddy.  It's not's not any day...that you can try on a garment made by the designer herself. {{{sigh}}} It was so much fun.  Thanks bunches to you both for such a lovely morning. 

I'm sure it's no surprise that I chose to wear one of Tasia's designs.  Yep!  I got busy sewing my Cambie Dress as soon as I learned we were to meet.  It was a breeze to sew. The instructions were very clear and she includes the steps to sewing in the dress lining.  I'm really happy with the fit. I took in the neckline a little bit to prevent any gaping, and shortened the bodice 1", but otherwise no alterations.  I know, I know, I usually make several pattern tweaks, but I really wanted to honor Tasia's vision. And besides, my two must-do alterations, adding pockets and a lining, are standard for the Cambie Dress. I'll definitely be using the skirt pattern for future makes.  Do you notice the pocket position? The skirt side seams sit slightly forward and towards the center front of the garment. The pockets are in those seams, and the placement feels really natural. And...since we're having a real close looky-loo at those seams, I'm gonna tell you that matching those chevron stripes was like, like...I have no not. easy.

After our visit, the mister and I headed on down to Cambie Village for a stroll and lunch. Tasia names her patterns after local neighbourhoods in and around Vancouver.  I thought it was pretty cool that some of the street banners had dress forms on them!  Hello! I wanted to take more photos, but unfortunately our camera refused.  Battery. down. and. out. Fortunately, the mister's phone takes a pretty decent photograph!  After we got home, we charged the battery and snapped a few extra outfit photos.  Looking back, I actually like my turquoise flats with this dress. Yay! I also can no longer deny that fall is in the air.  My plan is to style my Cambie Dress with a denim jacket, tights and boots when we get those first chilly days.

Okay, I promised minimal words, and here I am penning a novel...I'm nothing if not consistent...but on Sunday we saw Elton John in concert, and that was a very memorable concert for me.  Hanging out with over 18,000 people, most of us over fifty, {and boy was that a raucous train ride home, not}, being familiar with every song, and eating nearly confiscated banana bread...does it get any better than that? I think not...

Sorry for the odd photo Elton! We love you!

***Edit: Taking a cue from Dana, Connie and Curtise! Bonus points for working an Elton John song into your comment!***
Dress : : Me-Made, Sewaholic Cambie
Tote Bag : : Thrifted, Lilly Pulitzer

Monday, 15 September 2014


I've been nominated by two lovely Canadian bloggers for the current Why Do I Write Blog Hop that's making it's way through the blogosphere.  Although it's always nice super cool to be thought worthy of by my peeps, I get vaguely panicky...I always think I have nothing interesting to say about myself. This blog hop, however, is a little different, with three of the four questions relating to writing. Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm still panicking. But it's a focused panic.  I mean, why do I write?

Before I get to the questions I want to thank Margo and Heather for thinking of me. Margo, from Creating In The Gap, hails from Nova Scotia, Canada. I've not yet made it to the Maritime provinces, but I definitely want to dip my toes in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean one day. I want to see the incredible Bay of Fundy with it's massive tides, visit the home of my beloved Anne of Green Gables, and take in the beauty of the colourful architecture in Saint John's, Newfoundland. Margo has impeccable style...think Jacquie O and Audrey Hepburn, and she's gorgeous, and she's got serious sewing skills. That's like a hat trick in hockey, eh? Her blog posts are all kinds of pretty from her makes to the beautiful scenery. A little closer to home is Heather, from Where Heather Grows. Heather's home base is Calgary, Alberta. Calgary had a freak snowstorm a few days ago, so no, I'm in no particular hurry to go there. Heather travels a lot, {I can understand why...snow! in summer!} and she also spends a lot of time in my home province of B.C. Heather has a fun, casual style with lots of funky pattern mixing. She has fabulous pink hair, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that she has three adorable senior pugs. Thank you both for nominating me!

So why do I write? I guess the obvious answer would be so that we, you and I, can connect. I write, you comment...BAM...we've made a connection.  {It's a little more complex, but you get the idea.} Okay, seriously, I think a big reason I write is because it gives me a voice, and a voice I can EDIT. Take this post for example...I've written one {edit}two paragraphs and I've hit the backspace button eleventy hundred times. I can't edit like that when I'm talking.  I mean...I could...but...really...not. Imagine it....blah-di-de-blah-blah...oops....rewind...please un-hear what I just said. Nu-uh. When I write, I can be much wittier {hopes she}, and dare I say funnier {hopes she}, than I could ever be in real time. I'm quite shy in large groups, and although I've learned to circulate, I can't say I'm particularly captivating. I'm too busy trying not to say anything offensive, or embarrassing. When I write, I can take time and care with what I say. The how I say it is a little trickier to convey.  I like the dot, dot, thoughtful pauses, don't you?

Right now I am working on my first Cambie dress. It will be finished by the time this post goes to press...and yes, you'll see it soon. I have a pair of white cotton twill shorts that are finished except for the closure. I must do that tomorrow so I can get a few wears in before it's too cold. I'm also slowly working my way through an online art class on lettering and I just signed up for two more self paced art classes.  Our Pacific Northwest weather has been fabulous and those art classes will likely languish until the autumn rains arrive.

You may not know this, but my blog wasn't even a sewing blog in it's early days, and I'm hesitant to define it has one now. It has always been a creative blog, but the emphasis was more on personal style...I posted mostly thrifted clothing with the occasional DIY. After receiving super supportive and positive feedback on a few of my me-made outfits, the creative direction of A Colourful Canvas started to shift towards clothing that I've sewn for myself.  I love where my blog is at right now...equal measures of sewing and personal style. I love that I have friends and followers from both the forty plus personal style community and the friendly and supportive sewing community. I think this makes my blog just a little different from other sewing blogs.

I hope you haven't been holding your breath waiting for the big reveal on my writing process.  Why?Well, I'm pretty sure I don't have a writing process.  I just kind of flounder around hoping for the best. Through trial and error, I've learned that my writing flows best when I'm sitting at my computer...maybe because I can edit, edit, edit.  I might jot down some ideas in my notebook, but I type much faster than I write, so the keyboard is my friend.  Writing a blog post usually goes something like this...I usually have a plan of what day I want to publish a post, and I generally wait until the day before to write my content. I guess I like the stress.  I sit down, click on New Post, and then stare blankly at the screen, thinking I have nothing interesting to write about, and how boring am I, and why do I have a blog anyways.  I rarely have a topic in mind, except discussing the content of the photos. It's only after I've started typing, that an idea, or a story begins to take shape.  Once I get a dialogue started, it can really take off. Of course, the more words I have, the more I get to edit. After the initial writing, I'll take a break, come back, edit, break, edit, add my photos, edit. And that's it, my {non} writing process. It's not magical, it kinda, sorta works, and I would love to learn the secret, any secret, that might make my process easier.

Okay, without further adieu, here are my nominations...

A gal you are no doubt familiar with...the inimitable...

  Roisin of Dolly Clackett

Roisin could write the phone book and I'd be hooked. I love her writing style.  When I go to her blog, I know I'm in for an entertaining read and that I'll be staying for more than a few minutes. She makes writing look easy, but I know it's a talent that few possess. It'll be fun to read why she writes and what her process is. PS...don't you just love this dress!

And my second nomination is:

Hana from Velvet Ribbon

Hana, originally from Indonesia, lives in Macau.  I met Hana during Me-Made-May and she is a sweetheart. I asked her to participate because, not only is she a talented sewer, but she blogs in English which is not her first language.  There is a small army of sewing bloggers that I follow that write English {as their second language} blogs, and I am so appreciative and in awe of each of you. I'm curious if Hana translates her blog posts from her native language or if she writes them in English. those polka dots!

One last thing before I let you go. I want to share with you my interview with Sylvia of 40 + Style. Sylvia asked some really great questions of me...questions that relate to creating your own unique style by sewing your own clothing. I know I've subjected you to a lot of my ramble today, but I'd love for you to pop over and read my interview.  Next post...minimal writing...I promise.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014


Hey peeps! Yikes! I can not believe it's September.  August was a whirlwind of fun-ness.  Lots of beach time, walks, live theatre...we rocked and sang along with the cast of  Red Rock Diner, and we attended Bard On The Beach, a local, brilliant, Shakespearean Theatre Company.  Bard stages four plays every summer, and we so enjoyed The Tempest this year that we may try and squeeze in one more play before they wrap up at the end of September. What else? Oh yes, farmers markets almost every weekend. Lots of eating al fresco. The emphasis this past month was on activities that were easy enough to do with a broken toe, wah wah. On August 1st, as I was entering my hair salon, I somehow managed to slam the door into my toe. It wasn't just ouch, but tears in my eye, white faced pain ouch!  The bottom of the door must have been sharp too...there was blood...I was cut.  I can't really imagine how it happened; after all, I open doors all the time. Ironically, one of the salon employees had a similar thing happen the week earlier. So. Bad. Door.

Let's move on, shall we.  Am I the only one that feels that the summer season gets short changed? Each of the four seasons is allotted three months, but the moment we flip that calendar to September, we say adieu to summer. Yes, it's true, there is that undeniable change in the air here in the Pacific Northwest, and yes, the kids are heading back to school, and the days are growing shorter, but it is still summer. And I'm hanging on to it for just as long as I can. I declare that the only end of summer blues for me will be this dress. I love this dress! I was long on the hunt for blue and white striped woven fabric. Yet when it finally showed up in the drapery department of my local fabric store, at $30.00/m, I hesitated. I balked. I walked. But I kept coming back. Every time I popped into the fabric store, I would make a beeline to my coveted fabric, and not long after, I was rewarded with a 50% off sale tag. Sold! That whole drama {not really but...} happened way back in June. Sometimes when I love a fabric so dearly, I get anxious about the cut, cut, sew. And. I was stalled on the pattern choice. Which was dumb, because I knew exactly the look I was going for {errm...scroll up} My go-to bodice pattern, Simplicity 2444, with it's four diagonal darts seemed a less than stellar choice for a stripey fabric. It wasn't until I had completed my Michael Miller Pink Top, that I had my ah-ha moment. Simplicity New Look 6799 was just the silhouette I was looking for. My Springtime In Paris Dress, which fits me so well and is so comfortable, would be perfect in stripes! I did a few alterations, number one being moving the zipper to the side seam {keeps those stripes lookin' good from the rear view}.  I still managed to wangle side seam pockets, which was a little tricky on the zippered side. big. Whoop! I wanted the skirt fuller than the pattern version, so I made a self drafted skirt, pleated it with generously deep pleats, and used horsehair trim on the hem to keep things extra flirty. I was extra mindful of the stripes alignment...the stripes match right from the neckline pieces, to the bodice, the waistband, and skirt pieces!  It's funny, I'm funny...I'm pretty sure I would not have had the patience for that attention to detail when I was younger, but now that I'm on the better side of fifty, I really find myself enjoying the whole sewing process, including the puzzling bits.

I've sewn three blue and white striped garments this summer!  I know well enough to nevah say nevah, but I think I might be done.  might. be. done.

And...well Hot Dog! I've unintentionally started a theme here...New Look 6799 four seasons. Currently in my collection....the travel ready Springtime In Paris Dress, and the looky-me End of Summer Blues Dress. Will there be autumn and winter versions? Honestly, the way it often goes with me, is that as soon as I call myself to task on something, my creative ego gets all crazy and refuses to cooperate. But, let's give it a whirl, shall we...

Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, thanks for spending a few minutes in my little world.

Dress : :  Me-Made, New Look 6799
Shoes : : Payless
Purse : : Thrifted
Earrings : : Me-Made

Linking up with:

The ever lovely Patti of Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday