Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Few Of My Favourite Things

I went looking at my pictures and saw this collage I had put together showing the clothing I had made from Oct 1, 2010 to October 31, 2011. It isn’t every thing I had made, just my favourite pieces.
The two dresses on the bottom are minus the crystals and they still look great.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fabric Gift Bags

These Christmas gift bags are so much fun to make though they do take time. I really like the fact they can be used every year.


I first learned out to make these bags at Embroidery Club a couple of years ago. The bag was for a wine bottle and I ended up adapting it to get a gift bag. I don’t do the embroidery any more and won’t unless it is a gift for a special person.

For these bags you will need:

  • 2 – 13” squares of printed fabric (Christmas or otherwise)
  • 2 – 13” squares of light weight interfacing
  • 2 – 4 x 13” rectangles for the cuff of the bag. It can be plain, marbled, or a small print.
  • 2 – 4 x 13” rectangles of light weight interfacing
  • 2 – 13 x 16.5” rectangles of lining fabric (I use broadcloth)
  • 2 – 13 x 16.5” rectangles of light weight interfacing
          I cut this bags lining and interfacing only 16” for a small amount of the cuff turned to the inside of the bag.
  • ribbon
  • Optional 2 – 1 x 13” pieces of a contrasting fabric ( will make the bag with them this time)


Iron the interfacing on to all the pieces of the bag. Trim interfacing that shows if necessary.

Fold the 2 pieces of 1 x 13” pieces in half so they are 1/2” x 13”.


Lay the long thin pieces onto the cuffs with raw edges to raw edges. Pin into place and stitch 1/8” from raw edge.


Pin the raw edge of the stitched piece to the top of the bag making sure any print is going in the right direction. Stitch in place using a 1/4” seam. Press seam allowance up to the cuff.


Mark the button hole in the center of one piece. I marked 1” from the seam line and then marked the button hole up 1/4” from that line.


Stitch the button hole starting at the bottom of the top line. My button hole is 13 mm and they can be as long as 15 mm. Snip the button hole open. I apply Fray Block prior to cutting the button hole open. Your choice.


Pin one side together making sure the cuffs and the little trim match nicely. Sew with 1/4” seam allowance. Press the seam open. Repeat with the other side.


Pin the bottom together and sew a 1/4” seam from the stitching line to the stitching line of each side seam. Do not sew the piece of seam allowance that is a single layer.


Press the bottom seam allowance open. Next take the side seam and bottom seam and match them up to make a triangle. Pin through both the seams and smooth out so there are no folds on both sides.


Using a 6” ruler and the 45 degree lines, have the triangle of the fabric match up to the triangle on the ruler.


I use a chalk liner to make a stitching line across the the base of the triangle. As  you can see I have set the line coming down the seam at 3” but you can do 2” or 2.5” if you wish. Sew across the chalk line. I do both of these at the same time.


Fold and press the stitch line so the triangle flips up the side seam.


Your outer bag is done. The lining is done the same way except you do not add a cuff at the top and you leave an opening in one of the side seams. That is where you will turn your bag to the right side.


Both the lining and outer bags are done. Have the lining turned inside out. 


Take the outer bag and put into the lining. Match up the side seams and pin around the top. Stitch the tops of the two bags together with a 1/4” seam.


Pull the outer bag through the opening in the lining so both bags are now right side out.


I press the joining seam towards the outer bag. Push the lining into the outer bag and arrange to fit. Mine had a bit of the cuff on the inside (just trying something new).


I used a quilting marker on my sewing machine and stitched 1” down on the print of the outer bag. I then used my ditch foot to sew in the ditch where the print meets the cuff. This makes a casing for the ribbon.


At the top of the cuff, I top stitched 1/4” down. I ladder stitch the opening in the lining to close it up neatly. Then I threaded a ribbon through the button hole to tie the bag shut.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Cabbage Rolls

We had those yummy cabbage rolls last night. They are not the ones in which you use a tomato based sauce to cook them in. Nor does the meat have rice in them. Many years ago (1984 I think) a friend gave me her recipe.
Country Cabbage Rolls
Cabbage- simmer in a pot of water to wilt. Drain reserving the 1.5 to 2 cups water. You will need 16 to 20 leaves.
3/4 lb. ground pork 1 lb. lean hamburger
2 medium eggs 1 box Chicken or Turkey flavoured Stove Top Dressing
1 clove garlic chopped finely 1 medium onion chopped finely
Crush the Stove Top Dressing until it coarse. Set aside 1/4 cup for sauce if you wish to. Mix all ingredients into a bowl and let sit to blend the flavours.
1/4 cup butter or margarine 1/4 cup flour
1.5 cups cabbage water broth 1 chicken bullion cube
1 can cream of celery soup  
Make sure the cabbage water broth is hot and dissolve chicken bullion cube in it.
Melt butter in a pot. Add flour and cook for a minute or two. Add liquid and stir until thick. Add cream of celery soup. If the sauce is too thick add more cabbage liquid. You can stir in the Stove Top Dressing if you want to.
To Assemble:
Mix 1/4 cup meat stuffing in each leaf. Roll and tuck the cabbage leaf around and place into a large 9 x 13” pan. You might need a smaller pan also. Pour the sauce over the cabbage rolls and cover with foil. Bake at 350F for 1 1/4 hours. Remove and skim off fat if necessary. Spoon on 1 cup sour cream, sprinkle with paprika and bake 15 minutes longer. (We do not do this step – personal choice).
If you feel that you have enough for 2 meals, divide into 2 equal size baking dishes, cook one and refrigerate the other. Do Not Freeze.

Cuff Tutorial

Sunday was cooler than Saturday by a lot. Enough that people in the higher levels couldn’t start their trucks if they weren’t plugged in. We are suppose to warm up some though. Let’s wait and see though as the forecast could be wrong.
Yesterday morning I let out the darts on the blue blouse and shortened them by 4”. That gave Queen Emma more room she needed through the hips.

When I was down in Nanaimo, Ron Collins talked to me about the flap on the pockets of the Spousal Unit’s shirt. I was not to worry about the depth of the seam allowances and to focus on matching the bias to the shirt. I never transferred that thought to the cuffs until I watched Ron do it on the DVD #10 Shirts and Blouses. All my fussing about the cuffs was solved. I made sure the sleeves opening was the same for both sleeves and then proceeded.
1. Pin the cuff onto the sleeve leaving about 3/8 to 1/2” seam allowance on the one end and pinning around.
2. Sew the cuff on, trim the seam and press the seam towards the cuff. Notice I have turned under 5/8” at the other edge of the cuff.
3. Pin the cuffs together so the folded edge is slightly lower than the stitched edge. This is so the folded edge will cover the seam when turned.
4. Using a ruler to help you, mark the stitching line where you have pinned. It should be a couple of threads away from the continuous lap for the turn of cloth.
5. Stitch on the marked line, cut at top on an angle and trim the seam allowance to about 1/4”. Press open.
6. Turn the cuff and press so it is nice and neat. I put Steam-A-Seam on the folded edge and when I am ready to do the final pressing of the cuff, I remove the paper covering and press it into place. Stitch close to the edge using an edging foot.
7. The finished cuff.
I then inserted one sleeve and didn’t need to worry about adjusting the sleeve cap. It looks might good.
Wrinkled and I know I need to do a couple of adjustments to the side seams prior to finishing this blouse.

Until tomorrow..................

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Setting in Sleeves

They sky looked like snow yesterday morning when we got up. By the time it was light outside it was snowing. Just enough to cover the ground and disappear in the afternoon. No one was singing “Let it Snow”.

The Spousal Unit sealed the clear plywood ceiling in the master bedroom yesterday morning. He put on the second coat after lunch. Windows were opened and a fan was running but we still smelled some fumes. By dinner time, he had half of the bedroom closet framed in. A good day’s work. He will continue working in there today.

For the first part of the morning I worked on the jacket. I did photograph putting in the sleeves. These are the instructions that Ron Collins gave us when I was in Nanaimo in late September. Here is what I did with the instructions I wrote down after doing this with Ron.

1. Sew side seams of sleeves.

2. Cut Tailor’s Pride (horsehair canvas) 1 1/4” wide on the true bias.


3. Starting at notch, put strip 1/16” from edge and needle about a fat 1/2” from edge of sleeve.


4. Back stitch to hold strip in place. If your pressure foot lifts up like mine does, turn this feature off so the pressure foot holds everything tight when you stop.

5. Pull the strip hard and sew 1 to 1 1/2”. Stop, Pull again.

6. Stop pulling 1/2” before and after the center dot (which I had snipped).

7. Continue pulling the strip and sewing to the last notch. Back stitch to secure.

8. Insert sleeve into jacket pinning it into place. I matched up the shoulder and under arm seams and all the markings I had transferred from the pattern. I used a lot of pins.


9. Stitch the sleeve into the jacket with the sleeve closest to the feed dogs to ease in the sleeve. I start from the shoulder seam and go around. I also use the free arm on my machine as it is easier to control the fabric.


10. Double stitch from back to front notches under the arm. Trim that piece to 1/4”. I stitched a little less than a 1/4” from the seam though I will double stitch the next time. Both ways work.


11. Where the sleeve waves from the gathering


Cut V’s out of the sleeve only so it lies flat.


12. I finger pressed the canvas to the sleeve prior to pressing it with the iron.


I was going to do a sleeve wrap also but ended up not doing it. After asking about it, I thought it would be overkill.

I got to thinking that I had seen a YouTube video on this so I searched for it. Gertie's New Blog For Better Sewing had the video so I added it here.

She is using a wool/mohair fabric and she does not notch the fullness out of the sleeve when she is done. Otherwise it is the same as what Ron showed.

Today I am going to start a blouse that will be worn under the above jacket. I felt some pressure to finish the jacket last night and do the blouse today. But I did not feel stressed. That is good as I do not plan on going down that trail again.

On top of it all, a girl pre ordered her dress for next year’s Miss Rodeo Canada competition. That is one of my limited number of spaces filled.

Until tomorrow.................

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pictures Of Wedding

Yesterday was a day that didn’t allow me to sew. I had a meeting at noon and another one at 5 p.m. The rest of the hours were spent preparing for those meetings.

To recap on the Rodeo Queen sewing, I heard back from the last two clients. They loved their articles of clothing. All items fit perfectly so I am happy.

I got some pictures of the wedding I did the sewing for. We were invited but we didn’t go due to the number of people and the Spousal Unit’s condition (we didn’t know what we know today). Here is a line up of the pictures.

The bridesmaid’s dresses showing the detail.

bridesmaids dresses

The Bride’s dress showing the detail.

janna dress

The Bride’s fascinator.

janna wedding2

Everyone in their dresses. They got hauled to the wedding in a stock trailer. What fun.

janna wedding5

The Bride and her father. The bride wears a dress made from her mom’s and grandmother’s dress and her dad wears her grandfather’s cowboy boots which grandpa wore on his wedding day.

janna wedding1

The garter I made. It is very symbolic – something old – satin from grandma’s dress, something new – the lace, something borrowed – the flowers from her mother’s dress, and something blue – the blue crystals on the flowers.

janna wedding4

The wedding party and oh so western.

janna wedding6

And the Bride after the wedding ceremony.

janna dress1

All I can say is – what a wonderful ranch wedding and not sticking to but sticking to tradition.

Until tomorrow......................

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Learning Bias

When I was Nanaimo doing the Ron Collins sewing extravaganza, I started a western shirt for the Spousal Unit. I wanted to learn the tricks of doing bias; what you can do and can’t do when making a shirt. So Ron got me to do the all out bias shirt.

Here is a synopsis of what I learned:

1. The body of the shirt needs to be on the straight of the grain. That is the support or foundation for the bias.

2. The yokes were cut on the bias matching up the best I could and having the front bias meet in the middle. As these are laid on the body of the shirt, no extra preparation was needed.

3. The pockets were cut on the bias and no extra preparation was needed as they are sewn onto the body of the shirt.

4. The top pocket flaps were cut on the bias and the under flaps cut on the straight of the grain. The interfacing was cut on the straight of the grain. This gives the bias part lots of stability as they are not sewn securely to the shirt; only the top part is.

5. The cuff was cut on the bias and the interfacing on the straight of grain to stabilize it. If you have a 2 piece cuff, the top part is cut on the bias and the under part and interfacing cut on the straight of grain.

6. The sleeve placket was cut on the bias but not interfaced as it was sewn onto the sleeve which is on the straight of the grain.

7. The front button band was cut on the bias and the interfacing was cut on the straight of grain to stabilize it.

The fabric I used was a shirting fabric I bought at Fabricana. It is 60” wide and pricey at 15.98 a meter. I bought 3 meters of it as I was going to do bias. I will buy this brand of shirting fabric again as it is a delight to work with.

I spent a lot of time laying out the pattern so the pieces cut on the bias were going in the right direction and the horizontal lines matched at the side seams. Had a couple of sweats and heart palpations doing it but I succeeded.

When sewing, I took my time making sure everything was placed so it looked pleasant to the eye. Ron helped me get the pocket flaps so the lines matched the pockets.  The bias sewing was basically done before I left Nanaimo and I could tackle the rest at home.


Waiting for the snaps. The Spousal Unit really likes this shirt which makes me happy.


The sleeve placket cut on the bias. I am happy with the results even if the lines go in the wrong direction. My fault and I will correct it on the next shirt.


The Spousal Unit will put white snaps on this shirt as he does not like buttons. His choice as he wears the shirt.

This is a basic western shirt that I bought and tweaked to what I wanted. The yokes, pockets, pocket flaps and sleeve placket are the design elements I wanted and worked on to get them on this shirt.

I have ordered another western shirt pattern for the Spousal Unit – McCalls 6044 View E.


I also have Burda 7767 for a dress shirt for the Spousal Unit.


Until Tuesday as we are off to visit the Spousal Unit’s sister today and to the Cancer Clinic on Monday.