Monthly Archives: February 2012

Pastille help & name this fabric!

So I’ve got as far as sewing up the bodice for my Pastille but I’ve got a problem: my armhole facings just will NOT stay inside! Argh. I am trying to figure out why and what I can do to fix it… any suggestions? Here’s a pic:


On another note, I spotted this fabric at my local store and nabbed it cause it looks and feels EXACTLY like silk charmeuse, but it was marked as ‘mixed fibers’ so it’s a mystery. I thought maybe it was a rayon blend cause rayon can sometimes feel quite silky, but I washed it and it didn’t seem to shrink, so… any ideas? lol


isn’t it gorgeous?? I am thinking a simple bias cut top and maybe a slip… I could live with a whole outfit made of this stuff! lol

Liebster Blog Award

Hi All!!

I’m proud to announce that I was awarded the Liebster Blog award on the weekend, by two of my dear fellow bloggers ^__^ I was pretty surprised, as I’ve only been blogging since the fall, so I’m still pretty new on the scene and don’t really know that many people yet – but am honoured to know these two lovely ladies, Salma of BeautifullySewn who always has words of encouragement and great tutorials, and Janene of Oobop! who as she put it so succinctly, is ‘spookily on the same wavelength’ as myself – thank you both!! I love that we are friends!! XOXO

The rules of accepting this award are:

Rule #1. You must acknowledge the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
Rule # 2. Give this award to 5 other bloggers. Please let them know through a comment on their blog.
Rule #3. Post this wonderful award on your blog.
Rule #4. 
Bask in the glory bestowed upon you and appreciate all the amazing bloggers out there.
Rule# 5. Enjoy and spread the good vibes around.

Here are my five blog picks (I would re-award the two ladies above but I don’t think we’re allowed to do that so, here goes LOL) Not sure if some of these have already won this award, or are over the amount of followers required though, as some don’t say 🙂

Joanne of Stitch and Witter – the first blogger who warmly made me feel part of the community and encouraged me to keep posting despite the fact I felt a bit of an outsider. She also gave me the idea for the fabric stash organizer, inspires me regularly, and always blogs her creations in most creative and beautiful ways 🙂

Lavender at ThreadSquare – a lovely, friendly, inspiring and stylish sewist who blogs her creations in ways that make one think she might secretly be a supermodel, and who also has a wonderful little vintage pattern shop on Etsy 🙂

Lizz at AGoodWardrobe – another lovely, friendly gal whose adventures in pattern draping and wardrobe planning I regularly admire  🙂

Vicki Kate at VickiKateMakes – a wonderful, warm chickadee, who always posts about such enticing products and other delightful ways to spend my money! 🙂 LOL

Erin at MissCrayolaCreepy – who is graciously co-hosting the Sew Colette sewalong (the first sewalong I’ve ever had the pleasure of being part of!) and who also has a gorgeous fluffy kitty who follows her around, much like mine does ^__^

I know there are tons of other awesome bloggers out there, and I’m so grateful that in the short time I’ve been part of this community, that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many and of having these awesome ladies touch my life – thank you!! 🙂


Amanda 🙂

the 1960’s: Mad Men & Simplicity

I have always been a huge fan of the fashion, hair & makeup from the 60’s. When I was a kid, I pored over the pictures of my mum from back then, admiring the clean lines, graphic colours, and sense of playfulness and creativity they conveyed. I proudly told people my mum got married in a pants suit she made herself: a long tunic and wide pants in cream, edged with gold braid – it was gorgeous! 🙂

I have heard about Mad Men a lot lately, and seen countless pics of that style vixen, Joan – but just recently realized it was about an ad agency!! Well hello? I’m a graphic designer so there were two undeniable reasons I should check it out.

So we watched the first episode last night (yay Netflix!) and I loved it! Hello clothes…. but also it was enthralling because of the social stigmas, and cultural differences. I found myself saying, “wow, I could never say that to a client!” or “imagine drinking with your boss in your office!” lol but the creative angst of trying to work with clients and be innovative on cue was all too familiar to me so I totally loved that.

Now to the other part: Simplicity. Not just the style element but… this!!:


I popped into the Sally Ann after work the other day on a whim and look what I found!! The Simplicity sewing book from 1969, complete with tons of detailed info and pics, as well as a hefty section on fitting, including a full section on pants:


with several detailed and photographed instructions for each fitting issue. It also covers style details, finishing, hand stitching, working with special fabrics (the era of faux fur & leather) and lining/interlining 🙂 As an added bonus the center has an insert of 4 glossy full colour spreads of fashion plates:


I was giddy! 🙂

I’ll probably post more once I get a chance to read it more thoroughly as it’s a lot more detailed than most books I’ve seen, and covers a wider variety of topics.

And I’ll definitely be catching up on the Mad Men this weekend! 🙂

The Creative Doldrums

[NB: I love that word “doldrums” – it reminds me of a book I read when I was a kid, The Phantom Tollboth]

Normally, I find inspiration everywhere – in doing research for design projects, in reading other people’s blogs and seeing what they’re creating; in fashion, in advertising and in every aspect of regular life. Often I have dreams about projects i’m working on, even working out problems I’ve come across – it’s very helpful when you wake up with that TA-DA!! fresh in your mind!! LOL.

But recently I’ve been plagued with the designer’s nemesis: chronic tension headaches which turn into migraines, for me. Weekends are my mecca: the only time I really get uninterrupted to really work out problems and gain ground on any projects I’m working on, and I spent half of the last one in bed, totally non-functional, with a massive migraine.

Needless to say, this has put a great damper on my creativity, and my drive and motivation has taken a plummet this week. It doesn’t help that Pastille is kicking my butt!! Ok it’s not the pattern’s fault, let’s face it – blame it on my inexperience, but I thought fitting a basic sheath dress would be a lot more linear and logical. As it turns out, it’s a wild wild ride, friends. LOL. I’m only hoping and praying that the things I’ve learned I can pass on to the next project and maybe it won’t be such a nightmare LOL.

The bright side is that I’m visiting the chiropractor today, for the first time in years, and hoping they’ll be able to fix broken little me LOL. In the meantime, my better half kicked my butt into gear last night and made me work on Pastille for an hour. Evil man. What would I do without him? 🙂

Sew Colette: Fitting Revelations and something to be Sew Grateful for!!

All my life, a good fit has been like a fashion oasis to me. I would spy a beautiful fabric, colour, or style that would entice me to draw nearer, just to find myself wearing the same rumpled, twisted, creased mess as always.

Even with learning about the ‘main body types’ it only confused me more, because I don’t fit any of those categories!! Until yesterday, when I read the post about body shapes on Rhinestones & Telephones and spied a new one I’d never seen… the Strawberry shape. What was this? I thought, and read it. Now THAT sounds a little more like it… but I wasn’t entirely convinced by the post I read, because while the pants looked like something I’d wear comfortably, I’d NEVER wear a bulky long sweater like that, it draws too much attention to my upper body and makes me feel gigantic!!

So I did a little more research and found an amazing article that completely changed my perspective:

THIS ONE!! According to this article, I’m in the same category as Naomi Campbell – WHOOP!! LOL

Another excellent article on styling strawberry:

Dressing for the Strawberry Shape

Now, body image issues are no joke and it’s not surprising that encountering a poor fit in RTW can lead one to have gross misconceptions about one’s body. We are made to believe that good fit = being skinny, and if your clothes don’t fit, you’re too fat. Period. Proportion is never discussed and no one tells us that cup sizes matter for more than just bras. I’m not fat, I just have a big chest! I literally JUST figured this out yesterday – i know… DUH right? It seems so obvious now!!! But when the light bulb went off, I suddenly saw my body in a totally new way – not a freakish disproportionate mess, but a beautiful, unique thing that I suddenly knew I could fit right – the way fit was meant to be… the fit I’ve always dreamed of!!! 🙂

But I only recently found out that the big pattern companies draft for a B cup, and it still didn’t make me clue in that I was buying patterns ALMOST FOUR SIZES TOO BIG because I was buying patterns and RTW to fit my chest…. so inevitably, fabric creased, bunched and pinched in all sorts of areas, and I still never got a good fit. I always thought this was because I needed to lose weight, but even when I was fitness training, and at a competition level body fat percentage, i was still having trouble fitting into a Large top, and why?? Not because i was FAT but because I needed to fit my chest and ribcage. Incidentally, I also could never wear sleeved tops in woven fabrics, because my bicep is apparently too big :/

It is serendipitous that this revelation should come at the end of Sew Grateful week, because even though on the surface, it sounds like a little thing, you have no idea how MASSIVE a relief this is to me, to finally understand my body, the fitting issues i’ve suffered with my entire life, and to finally get a glimmer of an idea of how to get the fit I never thought was possible. I will keep you posted on what adjustments are needed for this body type, in case anyone else is struggling to try and fit theirs! 🙂 It truly is something to be incredibly grateful for, and I am quite literally, a new woman for it.

Sew Colette: Pastille… muslin fail

So it is confirmed: I have a weird freakish upper body with a plethora of fitting issues… or so one would think if one had seen the nightmare of crumpled fabric on me that was supposed to be my Pastille bodice.

I stared at it, pinched fabric, checked the book, made notes, pinned things, twisted and turned, but there were so many things wrong with it I can’t even be sure what I was looking at…. I know it was too big. That much was clear. Loose wrinkles abounded, in all directions, front and back. After I had pinned and drawn in at least an inch on all seams it had begun to look like a garment, albeit a poorly fitted one, but that was enough to convince me a better starting point would be to redraw the bodice a size smaller and start over. Ugh.

I am the forever optimist so I will end on a positive note: the size grading on the skirt part seems to be enough, apart from needing to whack a couple inches off the length (I folded up the pleats on the pattern pieces and cut a plain skirt for the muslin). I find it weird that both Colette patterns I’ve sewn have been long on me, as I’m 5’9″…. oh well, thank goodness for muslins!! 🙂

A new work bag!

So I know I was supposed to work on Pastille this weekend, and I did, kinda- I traced the pattern & cut out my muslin but before I started sewing and getting into the complicated process of fitting, I had a more pressing need: I needed a new work bag. I had a bag to transport my lunch, a book, wallet, keys, and whatever else, like papers etc, but it finally bit the dust last week.

So I went out & got a meter of fabric and some interfacing, and sewed myself up a nice little tote! I know it’s not overly complicated and I used some online tutorials as a guide, but it was my first self drafted pattern!! Check it out:

Inside pockets perfect size for cell phone:


Outside shots:


straps detail:


The best part is that the inside is lined with the same fabric so it’s as nice as the outside:


Sew Colette: Pastille

Well once again I had to ask my UFO to take a raincheque, pack up and clear out to make room for my sewing table’s newest tenant, the Pastille dress I’m doing for the Sew Colette sewalong 🙂

As i am three different sizes, from bust to waist to hip, I traced the pattern pieces, grading sizes like I did with the Meringue. The skirt part was easy, but the bodice was a little trickier. I ended up starting the grade at the bottom of the bust dart, then marking that spot on the back bodice piece using the lengthen/shorten line as reference.

We’ll see how that goes. If it’s a total fail, I’ll trace a straight size for the bodice and do a pivot adjustment. LOL I almost sound like I know what I’m talking about right? In reality I’m totally guessing and will probably end up doing 26 muslins lol.

I’m excited nevertheless – I know I’m gonna learn a TON doing this and maybe even get a cute wearable dress in the bargain! ^__^

On a side note, why oh WHYYYYY do cats always know when you have delicate pattern tissue or expensive fabric on your table??? I swear mine only go up there when there’s something I’d particularly like them to avoid on it 😛

The crime (post surgery):


the culprit: