Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Saying goodbye

I feel like I need to write but really don't have the words I want to say. There's no eloquence in my writing, it's just words on paper. My youngest brother's calling is writing. he expresses so much meaning and emotion with his words.

My world fell apart 13 days ago. You know my Mom's been in the nursing home with Alzheimers for the past 7 years. She hasn't known anyone for about 3 or 4 of those. On the 18th my sister called - Mom had failed and was being moved to palliative care. She had signed a DNR so there was no care other than morphine for pain. It was just a matter of time. Friday morning the phone rang again "get home". In the midst of a winter storm and holiday travel, I could only get the train - a 24-hour trip by the time I finally arrived in Saint John. I was positive I was too late but I and 2 nephews who were travelling from Edmonton made it on time.

Everyone who was coming, made it. Mom was never left alone and the nursing home accommodated us all. Mom failed Sunday night and we all had time to say our goodbyes. Early Monday morning she passed peacefully with my eldest sister by her side. We had to get through Christmas before the visitation and funeral mass.

Mom lived for Christmas. When Father Doug was speaking with the family during the visitation all of the memories were about the holidays - cookie decorating, music, food, family. Mom would never have wanted the holidays to be affected by her death, but how appropriate it seemed that she went home at this time. We are all so glad that her suffering is over, but it has left a big gaping hole in our hearts.

Mom loved all us kids and would have been so proud that we grew up to be loving and close to each other. During the waiting and through the whole week no one was alone. There was always someone to lean on when we needed it. With so many of us, no one had to do more than they could handle, there was always someone to step in.

Now, I don't know what I'm feeling. It's been so long since she recognized me, but she was always there . When I went home, I could still talk to her even though she couldn't respond. That's gone now and I'm not sure how I'm going to wrap my brain around it.

I love you Mom.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

More Little Girl Sewing - Jalie 3022

One of these days, I'll make something for me !

Right now though, 'J' needed more shorts for gym class and her mama couldn't find any - seems navy shorts in September is just too much to ask for - seriously ?! Anyway, I picked up Jalie 3022 thinking I'd try it for her and get a bit of practice before trying the yoga pant for ME !

Here are the tabletop pics...


coverstitching on back seam and hem

waistband (WHY do the iPads rotate pictures ??? yippee, I figured out how to 'unrotate' them !)

....and... real' pics...

These were the draft pair. They were passed to mama on Monday and got pics at the 'trying on' stage. Yesterday they were worn all day at school. Her only quibble ? She wants the colour-blocked waistband - with her school name embroidered across it !!! Um, yeah, so plain white it is LOL.

They fit great and she was very comfortable all day, including in gym class. I thought, from the pics (that I've seen but her mama hasn't sent to me yet) that the crotch to waist is too long, but she was comfy so I'm not sure I ought to play with it. Now, I'll cut the rest of the fabric to hopefully get 3 more pairs. These are just navy, but I know now her other school colour is white, so colour blocking is an option for the school shorts. Two plain and two with the white band will be plenty for school, but I'm sure she'd like yoga pants with a bright waist as well (note to self size up 2 sizes). For me, I'll trace my size out soon.

The PR review is linked but...

Pattern Rating: Highly Recommend

Fabric: Cotton-Lycra Knit [See other projects in this fabric]

Pattern Description: Yoga pants (A) that are fitted through the hips and thighs and slightly flared from the knee down. The wide faced two-piece waistband allows for fun color blocking. A seam at the back of the leg provides flattering fit and easy adjustment. The shorts (B) are great for the beach or for dance or gym practice.

Pattern Sizing: child's 2 to women's 22 - I made a size K in shorts

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yep, other than lengthening the leg

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, although I used both the written and the pictures (the pics did not always seem clear to me). And now that one pair is done, I see just how easy they are to put together - the next ones should be QUICK :-)

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Really, really like the 2-piece back leg for shaping and the possibility of colour-blocking the waistband.

Fabric Used: cotton-lycra from Club Tissus. It's a pretty sturdy fabric, medium weight, I guess. It felt right and turns out it's exactly the stretch called for in the pattern.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I originally traced a size I based on verbal instructions but after measuring 'J', it turns out she's right in the size K, where she ought to be for her age, at least for Jalie which are pretty close to RTW measurements. I wanted a bike short - the only alteration was a longer leg, a 7-inch inseam.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? oh yeah

Conclusion: WINNER !

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Gifty Sewing

This project was done about a month ago, but I hadn't got to blogging it.

I can get my fix of little girl sewing with the daughter of a friend from work.
A few years ago I made her a couple of sundresses 1st one and 2 more, but seems to me we didn't have much of a summer that year and I'm pretty sure she didn't get a whole lotta use out of them.

This year she turned 7 and they were planning a cupcake party. During a weekend in Toronto, our friends took us to Lens Mills and I found this...

Couldn't pass it up, bought a meter, didn't know what to do with it, DH suggested an apron. J and her mommy cook together so it was a good idea. I found an online tutorial for both the apron and a chef's hat and it turned out pretty well.

The apron is reversible.

Her mom invited me to help out at the party. Actually, she just invited me to attend but with 7 little girls in attendance, it took both of us to keep up with them LOL
Here are pics - full permission to use them.

It's a shame she's so camera shy LOL

Friday, May 24, 2013

The right tool for the job

Haven't been around much lately, and you know, there's actually a bit been going on so it means possible upcoming posts - Yay    ! A little gift sewing, a skirt for me (but not yet finished), a bit of bodice fitting (for M6506),

But today, today I really had a thought come home to me (steam coming out of the ears and all ! LOL)
DH is big on the right tool for the job. I'm getting better (used to be in the camp of 'use a handy butter knife instead of going to find a screwdriver' :-)

I need a top to go with the new skirt that's almost finished and finally decided to try Sorbetto. I think it'll work.

source coletterie.com

I printed off the pattern the other day and hadn't yet cut the pages down to size and taped them together.

I started to do this last night and stopped. Why ?
Well, for paper trimming, you got your scissors...

You got your personal trimmer...

We have both scissors and trimmer at home.

BUT at work we've got THIS !...

That sucker is 60-inches wide and I put it to good use this morning.
Perfectly trimming 16 pages of pattern took about 10 minutes - Fabulous !

Sunday, March 31, 2013


I hope you all have a wonderful day !

Monday, March 25, 2013


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I don't use Google Reader but it's all over on Jul 1 - apparently I needed to 'claim my blog' to set up Bloglovin - hopefully it worked and you can follow me there :-)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Last one for now - Jalie 2005

5 versions so far - blue/black print/ lime green / pink / burgundy / dull green
...all v-necks, 3 long sleeves, elbow length sleeve and short sleeve.

Looking at the pink version, I still wanted to bring the shoulder point in some more and work on the wrinkles at the bust and underarm.

Burgundy was up next - I made a narrow shoulder adjustment and overshot the mark on the shoulder point by A LOT LOL.  I'm not too worried about it.  The day I did the pattern adjustments for this one, I was using sewing as a 'keep my mind off of things' activity.  To start, she's doing fine now, but a few weeks ago, my Mom had a grand mal seizure which is common with global alzheimers. I don't think it was her first one, although it had the most effect. She also has osteoporosis and the seizure ended up breaking her hip. She needed surgery to do a partial hip replacement with the only goal to be pain-free. Mom doesn't walk any more, of course, so it didn't need to be weight-bearing. Within 2 days of realizing the problem, she had her surgery - on a Saturday...evening ! Around here, that would be unheard of. Mom could have waited a long time in Montreal...I'm glad she was home.  Anyway, the next day we were still waiting for updates and I needed to keep busy. In hindsight, I should have stopped after all the adjustments were done and the new pattern traced but BEFORE I cut out the fabric :-)

The green one - what did I do ? hmm...moved the shoulder point out a bit - 1/2-inch, I think and lowered the armhole about 1-inch. The wrinkles are not all gone but they have noticeably shifted. The front hem is a bit high. I could probably add a bit more to the FBA, but all in all I could make this one up 'as is' and be happy.

Looking at the pictures, most of what catches my eye are problems with the fabric. This is a really loose, stretchy knit - comfy, but loose. Every single seam was sewn with wonder tape and basted with the walking foot before serging. It's really comfortable but I have a feeling it's not going to make it through too many washes before it's all out of shape.

A silly pic. Hubby was quick on the button LOL

I've joined Faye's 2013 Essential Top Sew-A-Long (linked in the sidebar) and have pulled out some of my top patterns. I think I want to play with a different pattern for a while.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Jalie 2005 - next round

I guess my focus is on tees at the moment :-)

The next version of Jalie 2005 was finished Sunday. This post would have been too, if I hadn't misplaced the post-it note I used to write down everything I did !

So, with the green tee (and its pattern) in hand, literally, I pulled down my fitting books and got to work. Fast Fit,  Fitting Finesse and The Perfect Fit were all put to good use. I looked up and tagged all my wrinkles everywhere I could find 'em. Not all the books showed them all but where they showed up in more than one book, I had choices in how to fix them.

Fast Fit was a good start - at the beginning of the book there is a specific order of alterations list.  I followed it step by step and did the alterations I needed. This is the summary (the sticky has lots more notes - it's amazing what you can fit on a 3x3 inch square piece of paper LOL)
  • Forward shoulder - another 3/4-inch - shoulder seam is still not on shoulder bone
  • Body length - I had already added 3 inches - no change 
  • Sleeves
    • Sleeves need more length - they feel too short - added 2 inches 
    • Sleeves need to be more tapered at the cuff - they're too wide. - decreased 1-inch at each side
    • I used PhatChick's (Thanks !) directions for adjusting the sleeve with a forward shoulder adjustment. I found these while digging around on PR.
    • Diagonal wrinkles on sleeves - oops, forgot about these - they're still there :-)
  • Narrow shoulder -  3/4-inch - armhole seam is still not quite right over shoulder bone.
  • Narrow neck - by 3/4-inch and also lowered the V-neck down 1-inch
    • Bust
      • FBA - 1/2" - not sure if it was enough after all - but there aren't any horizontal wrinkles to show the bust is too tight - so I think it's ok (note - it did NOT help the horizontal underarm wrinkles - at least not much).
    • Body
      • More width in the body - completely forgot this too, but it doesn't feel as fitted as the green one does.
    I did the alterations one at a time over the week, a little bit each evening. By Friday, it was ready and so I went right home to work on it. Got the main seams done Friday and the 'fixing' done Saturday.

    Once it was made up (no, I didn't baste, just serged it all together, sleeves included, except the neckband) I tried it on. It seemed ok except the shoulders both gaped right at my neck. I ran the shoulders through the serger taking off 1/4-inch at the neck tapering to nothing at the shoulder point - and those all-important sleeves that were already attached.  That worked, no more gaping. Quite happy with the neck on this one.

    Neckband was next and it was so EASY. The Jalie technique again. The basting didn't shift. The point of the V stayed put and the serging was so smooth and even.  I have to say, each version of this top has been made with a thicker knit than the previous - from the lightweight print to a lightweight (but heavier than the print) cotton interlock to this cotton interlock. There's not much recovery and not so much stretch, but man, is it ever easy to sew !

    Here's the result:

    The back could use a swayback adjustment. I don't want a CB seam so won't worry about this. Also, I used wonder tape to do the hem and it's not washed out yet so the hem is tighter around the hips than it will be after a wash.
    Those diagonal underarm wrinkles are another story - I don't mind some wrinkles but I'd like to reduce these at least some.
    Do I need to lower the armhole ?

    The front: still have work to do. The only thing I'm completely happy with is the neck.
    There's diagonal pulling pointing to the shoulder point.
    The wrinkles above the bust are less and in the side pics below you can see there are still vertical folds at the underarm.
    The shoulder width is not narrowed enough - yet.
    The sleeves are extra long on purpose, but in this sturdy knit it created the wrinkles all the way up to the elbow.
    The diagonal wrinkles at the top - more sleeve cap height ? maybe

    The sides: you might be able to see my shoulder point is still forward of the shoulder seam as well as all the extra fabric at the underarm, both front and back.

    Back to the drawing board. But this one will be worn as well, indoors anyway. It's heavy enough to feel like a cosy sweater. :-)

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

    Sewing in progress - back soon

    how's that for accountability ?

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

    Have you mapped yourself ?

    Knowing just how much I enjoy my meetups with ConnieSue and Reethi, I thought this was very cool !

    Another Sewing Scientist set up this map the other day and it's already full of pins. Go check it out :-)

    Tuesday, February 19, 2013

    Jalie 2005

    Hey everyone - I didn't plan on a long break, but it's been a weird start to the year. Not bad, just wasn't getting much done...especially sewing.

    This past October, I 'quickly' (never a good thing) sewed up a Jalie 2005. I really wanted a 'sewn by me' something to wear with the girls in Toronto. Yeah, so it didn't work. Too tight, too short, too everything.

    This is the second version. Same fabric as the October wadder. I like it, I'm glad there was enough for a 2nd attempt. It's not perfect, but comfy and I wear it all the time. There were a lot of adjustments. I winged the tracing. It's sort of a T at the shoulders, kind of a V below the armscye, a little wider at the hips. Forward shoulder adjustment. Lengthened, a lot. The body by maybe 4-inches. Lengthened the sleeves from 3/4 to full-length. Widened the sleeves at the bicep - but not enough. It's a really snug sleeve LOL - only wearable because the knit is so soft. I thought it needed an FBA - did I measure ? *snicker* um, nope - I thought and guessed and picked a number. Oh, and I completely forgot how to do an FBA...course I've only done a couple. Did I check my book ? nope again LOL I remembered where the lines go but did not cut them right so when I spread the pattern nothing opened up properly. So I kind of smooshed it down, used lots of tape and crossed my fingers. You do NOT want to see that pattern piece. It's a wonder this thing actually resembles a t-shirt at all. Anyway, here it is.

    I used the Jalie instruction for a V-neck and it worked out pretty well. It's even all round - color me surprised.

    So, while I could call this a success, there's plenty wrong with it. The print is hiding wrinkles. The neck feels wide. The shoulders are hanging a full inch or more from my shoulder point. Sleeves need a 'touch' more room.

    Next version - I decided to be more methodical. I took my measurements and picked a different size. I measured in at a W. Ok - but there was no way I could start with W in the shoulders so I kept T there and swung out to W at the underarm. W all the way down. Grabbed a solid knit I picked up from Fabricville's liquidation table ($2/m I think) and sewed it up.

    The question in your minds should be 'did you check it against your previous version before you sewed it up ?' I believe we all know the answer to that :-)

    Alrighty then, here we are. Version 2. Worse than the last one. Or at least all the problems are visible ! Isn't it a rule or something, that each version is supposed to get BETTER ?

    Mucho wrinkles - Pic below shows them in all their glory - here's what I think:
    • First things first - don't look at the neck ! It was not the success the first one was LOL
    • FBA needed. It 'might' also help the horizontal wrinkles at my underarm.Diagonal wrinkles on either side of V-neck. I'm thinking these may be less if I narrow the neck a bit - an inch ?
    • Diagonal wrinkles on sleeves - just notice them - need to recheck the books for the fix.
    • Vertical wrinkles at armhole - shoulder needs to be moved in to the shoulder point where it should be.
    • Sleeves need more length - they feel too short.
    • Sleeves need to be more tapered at the cuff - they're too wide.
    • Forward shoulder - another 1.5 cm
    • More width in the body - it's a bit snugger than the first one.

    Did I miss anything - over-think it ? Don't think so. But I finally did pull out both versions of the pattern tracing and match them. Guess what I found ? After all my tweaking of my original T/V sized pattern, that original is the right body width and the right width over the bust. Both of which I would have known if I'd checked first - someone slap me. The armhole is also a better shape (because of the funky FBA) and I don't have the horizontal wrinkles above the bust in that tee. oy !

    My success of the week ! You know I was looking for a multi-grain bread recipe. Well, I tried 5 and haven't made any since the end of September. I got sick then Christmas cookie baking took over. Last weekend, I tried a no-knead, bake in a dutch oven bread. FAIL ! Sunday, DH asked what I wanted to do. Well, I had bread making on my mind and decided to go back to square one and start with what I knew. My sister has a FABULOUS recipe for regular white bread. If you remember I made it with my Dad a while back Here and Here
    Well, I switched out 2 cups of white flour with 12-grain and made up a half-recipe. The toast was so/so but the bread !! OMG the bread is really good :-) Next time I'll use 3 cups 12-grain flour but the only thing I'm going to try to actually change is the crust - I'd rather a softer crust. Now THIS was where I should have started !

    We booked an extra long weekend and I've enjoyed every minute of it - 4 grand days ! Tomorrow it's back to work.