Friday, April 17, 2015

It's Jewelry Day

After my longer is possibly better hemline epiphany, I had a chat with myself along the lines of not everything is wrong, build on what you know, pick what feels comfortable. I decided to sew a pencil skirt in denim with a buttoned opening at center front. I'm very comfortable in this style of skirt. I love denim. And the buttons and seaming will provide a strong vertical line that is slimming. It's a dark denim that will be very wearable on the cruise - not too casual, not too fancy - and the colour and shape will go well with all the tops I've sewn already

The pattern I'm using is out of print McCall's 3830, the longest length. I'm working on that for my hour this morning and then I have journal writing and two appointments and then...

... it's jewelry day. When I had my coaching call with Diane on Monday, I asked her to give me a jewelry assignment rather than a sewing one because my sewing is concentrated on the cruise right now and because I really want to get started with the jewelry. The studio is almost ready depending which direction you look in - LOL.

My yarn and knitting supplies are stored in the armoire and the jewelry making supplies are in the closet where I've built a work table. Both close away to keep the room neat, clean, and multi-purpose. Yesterday, my friend curled up in the chair while I sat on the couch and we knit and talked for three hours. It's a very comfortable space except...

... it's not quite ready. This wall needs some pictures and all that stuff on the desk needs to find a home in the closet. The desk is painted except for that middle drawer that was being repaired when I painted the rest of it. After the fact painting is tough doing. I think once I start actually to make some pieces I'll be more motivated but for today, I'll scoop all that stuff into a box and start working on my assignment - a brooch.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - my grandson is two today. Happy Birthday Daimon. Grandma loves you LOTS and LOTS and LOTS and....

Blessed are those who spoil and snuggle, hug and hope, pray and pamper, boast and brag... for they shall be called Grandmothers. 
- unknown

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Climbing Out Of The Box

Have you ever put on a favourite outfit, one that one you've worn time and again, and then stood in front of the mirror and thought ugh this looks horrible on me? Me too. Just yesterday in fact.

Looking at those two pictures in yesterday's posting of the tank with the more angled hemline and the one with the traditional hemline was a a mini epiphany. Face-to-face with the mirror, the traditional hemline feels right but when I put those pictures side-by-side, I can't miss the fact that the softer, more draped hemline is far more flattering.

This isn't the first time this has happened. I need to look closer before I chop off a hemline because not only is the drape and angle better, I'm starting to think that I need more length as well. When I saw it in the mirror, I didn't like the angle fuchsia hemline (above left) but in the picture I think it has potential. Same with the black tank. Perhaps that explains why Vogue 8691 (far right) is my favourite pattern. It would seem that magically and by complete accident, I hit on the not straight, flowing hemline that works good on me. I sewed it in the same black knit as that middle tank and LOVE IT.

This is really not a good time for epiphanies around the styles I've been wearing forever. I thought I could sew safe for the cruise by picking the familiar and suddenly safe is feeling somewhat frumpy and fat. Go figure. Yesterday, I sewed Simplicity 2058 - a six gore skirt - in the black knit and it turned out great, feels good on, and looking in the mirror, I'm not sure. It's definitely a classic but I'm not feeling classic.

It seems to me that perhaps it's not the clothes that are the problem. Perhaps, I'm the problem. I can see in these pictures that the tops with soft curving hemlines are flattering and it makes me wonder what I could do differently with bottoms that would also be more flattering. And at the same time, I recognize that I'll need to learn how to see a different look in the mirror, adjust to the change, and feel fantastic in it.

AND THEN... just when I was thinking about it... a woman came into Starbucks where I was journalling wearing exactly the top I had wanted to sew and I realized I still want to sew it. And wear it. And feel comfortable in it. This strange is that me; does it look good? question is - apparently - part of climbing out of the box and moving in new directions. I'm going to try Butterick 5925 but first another skirt.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - digital images, eyes to see

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. 
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Definitely A YES YES Fabric

Since downsizing and streamlining my goals for the cruise collection, I've been making tremendous progress and yesterday, I reached a significant point. I finished...

... the seven tops. They are - left to right - a black knit t-shirt, a fuchsia knit tank, a black and white paisley t-shirt, a black knit tank, a blue print t-shirt, a sleeveless white linen blouse, and a sleeveless floral collared blouse. I look at that small selection and start to panic but I really do think it'll be enough.

The black t-shirt and tank are sewn from the light-weight ponte purchased from It's a yummy fabric. It sews beautifully. Presses beautifully. And feels gorgeous on. It's just the right weight to skim and flatter the body without clinging. Right now, it's listed under new fabrics on Marcy's site but you can also find it by searching for light weight ponte. Along with black, there is also Blue Grotto, Stem Green, Caribe Turquoise, Aqua Velvet, and Dior Gray. Definitely a YES YES fabric.

I started out the tank working with Vogue 9057, tracing it on fold and angling the curve in two directions as shown above left. It looked too long and not full enough and yet looking at the picture, I can see it had potential. That's the wonderful thing about digital images. They remove some of the emotions and let me see more of what's real. I can see that to be more adventurous with my clothes, I'm going to need more to get comfortable with both tunic lengths and different hem angles only right now is not the time.

Right now, I went for what was safe and copied the hemline and side shaping of my T & T pattern onto the tissue and then curved the front and back hemlines ever so slightly so they weren't a line straight across and then I pinned the pattern...

... to the top and cut off the extra hemline. Wearing the shorter hemline feels more comfortable. It's that feel and look thing again. It sure is hard to make a change but I can see that it's worth exploring a longer tunic length.

Katherine Tilton's Butterick 6101 is on my to sew list. Once I finish the cruise collection, the plan is to sew several garments for the Design Outside the Lines retreat that are a bit braver, a bit different, and see if I can evolve my style in a slightly more edgy direction. Hopefully I'll have time to sew those.

With the seven tops, I included the black and white paisley t-shirt sewn a few months ago and with the bottoms, I'll include a pair of black striped pants sewn last year and the blue linen skirt started last month. It just needs the waistband finished. That's two down, five to go. I - finally - feel like I'm getting somewhere.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - seven tops

Nothing happens until you decide. Make a decision and watch your life move forward. 
- Oprah Winfrey

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sleeveless Floral Blouse

Several of the projects I've been working on for the cruise collection have started with not enough fabric which is - as I've said before - a great starting point because it stretches me to think about the possibilities and the how. It also adds an element of mystery and challenge to this series of simple garments.


The floral fabric I used for this sleeveless version of the out of print Butterick 5678 was bought several years ago and made into a short skirt that - unfortunately - looked like a beach ball on my hips. I never wore it. It was immediately rolled up with the rest of the remnants and put back in stash for a remake.

Because the blouse pattern has princess seams with smaller pieces, it was easier to fit them onto the remnants but there was only enough fabric for the main pieces and not enough for sleeves or bias armhole binding so I decided to use a black for the binding and then I used it for the inner collar stand as well  to help connect the solid black with the rest of the garment.

The top stitching was done in white because all along I thought the buttons and button holes would be white - until I made the sample and black was obviously so much better.

Above is the button hole stitched and below is the same buttonhole with the white space in the middle colored in with a black felt marker. It finished off the edges and makes for a cleaner look. Touching up with felt markers has become one of my "tricks of the trade".

I'm really pleased with how this sleeveless blouse turned out. It's a crisp cotton so I'll like it even better once it's been worn and softened a bit but I think it's going to be a very versatile top. Even though I'm sewing basic garments for the cruise collection, I'm still trying to stretch myself in new directions. Sleeveless is new. Floral is new. A woven blouse is new. And so is sewing an entire collection. It's fun to see it coming together.

My grateful today needs a little explaining. It's a shiny new (to us) car. My husband loves mechanics, music, computers, and motorcycles. For as long as I've known him, he's had at last one motorcycle. For his 50th birthday, I bought him a "crotch rocket" - built for speed. Due to his illness, he hasn't been able to ride it for the past year and a half and this weekend he made the decision to sell it. This is the equivalent of me selling my sewing machine. Tough. Thankfully, also on the weekend, he bought a sporty little car that the guys at his work say is just like the bike, too much machine for an "old man" like him. In other words, perfect. I hope it'll take some of the sting out of saying goodbye to his bike. The level of pain that he lives with each day reminds me to take care of - and be grateful for - my health. Pain is not for sissies.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a shiny new (to us) car.

Take chances, make mistakes. That's how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave. 
- Mary Tyler Moore

Monday, April 13, 2015

Planning The Black Knit Group

All is not completely back to normal but it has definitely improved even though it was Saturday before I felt well enough to sew. This was both good in terms of finally getting back into the studio and frustrating in terms of wasting the entire week although - to be fair - it wasn't totally wasted. I did a lot of knitting and finished some gifts and that part was great especially as knitting lets me think which in turn allowed me to plan the black knit group.

Last week, I received my order from which contained the black rainwear for my raincoat and some black light-weight ponte from the same fabric line as the blue above. It's FABULOUS just like the description states and perfect for...


... interpreting some ideas from one of my favourite lines of clothing - Sympli. This is a Canadian company based in Vancouver, BC that I discovered a few years ago. Although I don't own any of their clothing, I'm fascinated by the layering aspects. If you click through to the site and look at the collections, you'll see that the garments are all shown on the same model which also allows you to see the illusions each style creates. That alone is fascinating but it also allows me to chose the lines that will flatter my figure.

The ponte I bought from Marcy reminds me of the fabrics used in these collections. It has to be quality to get the right swish and flow in the garments. When I looked at the site a few weeks ago, there were pages with information about each garment and a price but not this week when I went looking for the links. Perhaps I was looking at a different site but the prices in my notes will give you an idea. The first top is the Mimic Top for $139.00. The next blue one is the Go To T for $129.00 and the third one is the Getaway Hoodie for $189.00.

The Mimic Top earlier and the  Duo Diva Top above have similar lines to my favourite Katherine Tilton pattern Vogue 8691 and since that pattern is goof proofed and tested, I'll use it and my version will cost $27.00. Numbers like that make me glad I sew.

The Tulip Pant reminds me of Marcy's out of print Vogue 8712. As designed, the pants are more capri length. When I sewed them in July of 2012, I lengthened them and used a very stable knit. I've worn these pants a lot. They go well with many different styles of tops and would - IMHO -  look great in the black knit.

I'm not as confident with a skirt pattern. I think I "should" sew an A-line skirt but I don't find those as flattering to my figure as is so often stated. Soft is an important factor otherwise they just keep widening the hips which can also be true of a straight skirt that is wide all the way down. There has to be some kind of taper which is not necessarily the best shape for walking around on a holiday. I love the tulip shape but it doesn't layer as well as some styles.

What I'd really like is something fun like Marcy's Vogue 9060 which - again - may not layer as well with tops although I have sewn it already so I can try different tops on with it before committing. AND... I could try on some of the Sympli clothing. Using the store locator, there is - supposedly although I've never seen this line there - one retailer here in town and three just over an hour away but no rush. I have plenty to sew first.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - feeling somewhat better

Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live in. 
- Unknown