Friday, April 4, 2014

Organizing My New Sewing Room...Part 1

Most of you have probably seen my new sewing room at Sew Passionista by DIANA and I thank you for the comments.To avoid a too long post, I'm doing only Part One of two parts, tonight.

I wanted to give a few details of how I organized my new space in hopes of maybe helping someone else who wants to reorganize her space.

I spent many hours thinking about, drawing and searching the internet  for ideas for my new room but I think many years of a small crowded space and a lot of sewing experience were my best guides to achieve what I wanted .

More than anything, I didn't want any clutter and I had to have enough room so my cutting table would fit in the middle of the room.. I think I achieved all that.

There had to be a cohesiveness about the furnishings. For this, I relied on the Internet. I started with my main wall units. My search finally took me to Canadian Tire and these closet organizers. They are also found at

At first I only wanted two towers but my husband was really sure I would need three and he was right.

Almost all of my fabrics found a place here. The large baskets at the bottom used to be in my family room under a shuffle board game which we donated to our community center. It held toys and games for grandchildren . Now they hold my fabrics for coats, suits, and linings. I even took pictures of each fabric as I layered them in the baskets so I would know where everything is.

The rolled up fabrics are my lighter knits. I grouped denims and sportswear fabrics on one shelf and heavier knits on another. Whites have their own space as well. So do printed fabrics and quilting flannels. ( I don't quilt so I don't know why I bought those!).

Other baskets hold my Threads, Vogue Patterns, and Burda magazines. I have baskets of larger scraps like denims in one basket and leathers, real and faux as well as suede in another. Laces and fancies are here.

This shelf holds my small collection of sewing books and pattern books which I get from Fabricville from time to time. Patterns are in covered shoe boxes on the top shelves.

The drawers hold silks, interfacings and materials for pattern drafting and alterations.

I left my more expensive wool fabrics in the closet in my old sewing room so they wouldn't be exposed to too much light.

Pretty much my whole stash is on these shelves. I donated many pieces to the Craft College in a a nearby city.

Here is my pressing station. Everything I need during the ironing process is close at hand here,

My inspiration board is also my project planning board.

. This basket also holds pattern papers, rulers, my sleeve board and whatnot.

My grandchildren keep me company while I practice my craft.

If I haven't bored you too much, visit me again later in the week and I'll show How I organized my sewing station .

Sunday, February 9, 2014

My Uniquely You Dressform

It's been a while since I posted here. It occurred to me that I could share my Uniquely You dress form experience.

I did a lot of research before I decided to order my new dress form. I watched this video which was a great help. I found my Uniquely You at for the lowest price and it arrived promptly.

You chose your size according to the chart below

And it arrives looking like this

Now if I hadn't done my research, I would have been in shock to see those pointy boobs!! And I wouldn't have known to use a serrated knife to cut off some of the excess.I ended up cutting off quite a bit .

The form comes with a cover and mine fit me quite well right out of the box, but I did alter it quite a bit to accommodate my narrow shoulders and flat hips. I lacked the courage to show you photos of me wearing the cover. Also, the instructions said not to skip any steps and being a very literal person, I followed each one religiously and I have a feeling, needlessly. The excercise took me four hours!

Oh and I couldn't have gotten the cover on me without the help of my hubby to zip me up and then again to get in on the form!

The instruction warns you to make the cover slightly smaller than yourself  (and it gives you a formula to follow) because the high density foam of the form would stretch out the fabric of the cover and it did. I had to take it in a lot and I still ended up with an extra inch everywhere. I have a feeling I should have ordered my form a size smaller than I did. My measurements fall within the Small category and because of my bust, I chose Small 5 and I should have chosen the 4.

Still I'm happy with my new acquisition . It is much closer to my matronly shape than my Diana dress form which I'll keep to use for my DD.

Here's what it looks like finished

The boobs are kind of flat and I could add the tips that I cut off but no way am I taking that thing off again!

I do recommend this dress form if, like me your shape has changed with the years or if you were not born with the ideal figure represented by most dress forms.

Hope this is useful to somebody!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pockets with a Difference, Part 1

For a long time I've been wanting to write posts about different types of pockets. I'm therefore going to say that this is the first in a series.

This week's pocket is one I got from Vogue 8065 which I've made many times as you see in the composite below.

 I pretty much changed the pockets a little for each version.  I'll explain how these pockets are constructed  and I'll include my new version.

There are two pattern pieces for these pockets. ( if you want to make them, the pocket which I've placed on grain in the photo. measures about 10" by10"   but shaped as you can see. The facing piece is 6" by 3". )

1. First mark carefully the placement of the pockets on the inside of your garment. Baste around this placement so you can see the placement on the outside of the garment.

2.  Now mark the placement of the opening of the pocket on the outside of the garment using the facing pattern piece.. On the inside interface this spot to support the opening.

3. On the wrong side of the facing piece, mark the lines for the opening of the pocket and stitch so it is visible on the right side.. On this version,  I used a welt opening.   

4 .Place the facing piece in the marked position on the right side of the garment. and stitch along the stitching line. ( In my newest version of these pockets, I added a pocket flap. This must be placed between the garment and  facing and then stitched.)

5. Clip carefully from top to bottom of the welt and turn this  to the inside and press carefully.


6.On the outside,top stitch around the facing following the basting stitches. Top stitch around the welt opening .

Now you are ready to sew the pocket to the wrong side of your garment.

5. Finish around the wrong side of the pocket using a Hong Kong finish or by serging..

6. Using Steam-a-Seam, affix the pocket to the marked placement lines

7. Turn your garment to the right side and using the basting line as a guide, top stitch around the pocket once or twice, whichever you prefer.( On my newest version, I sewed trim around the outside of my pockets).
Your pocket is complete! Isn't it lovely and a nice design detail for a coat, skirt, or in a smaller version , a top or dress?

Here are closeups of the pockets on the garments in my collage.

In this one , the opening is in the middle of the pocket and not on the side.

For this one, I worked from  the wrong side of the coat to bring the slot facing to the outside.

For this one, I slanted the opening a bit.

My newest version. To see more on this coat , look here at Sew Passionista by DIANA.

You could make smaller versions of this pocket, change the placement of the opening. Sew the pocket to the outside instead of the inside as I've done, and I'm sure we could think of other ways to use this great pocket technique.
You can read more at Sew Passionista by DIANA.
I do hope you are having a great time sewing something wonderful!
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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Flat Felled Seams

I just posted this jacket on SewPassionista by DIANA which I made reversible using flat felled seams. I thought I'd show you how I managed to make even the sleeves look really professional (IMO).

1. I sewed 5/8" seams and trimmed one side to a generous 1/8".  (It's important to think out to which side    you want to press and top stitch your seams before trimming one side )

2. I folded the remaining seam 1/8",pressed and hand basted it to be sure it would stay folded.

3. I then pressed the basted seam over to cover the trimmed side.( You could also baste again to be sure but I pinned down the seam from the right side and that worked  well for me)

4. I top stitched at 3/8" using a  stitch length  of 4 because my fabric was quite bulky and Gutterman Extra Strong thread with a size 14 jeans needle in my machine and polyester thread to match the print side in my bobbin..

I only did one row of top stitching rather than the usual.two for flat felled seams as I just didn't want to push my luck.

5. For the sleeves, I sewed them in flat (that is before sewing side seams )  and used the above steps.  I then sewed the underarm and side seams all in one and flat felled  in the same way as all other seams. I top stitched using matching rather than contrasting thread for the sleeves and side seams.

    Here is a sleeve on the print side.

To complete my reversible jacket, I turned all finishing seams including collar,lapels, center front,hem and sleeve hems under 1/8",basting and then turning again and top stitching.

I made buttonholes on the right side as usual and sewed buttons on
the opposite side sewing two buttons at the same time .

I really enjoyed the process of making this reversible jacket and matching jeans. (No they are not reversible!)  I hope I've inspired someone out there to tackle a project they think will be too challenging. Remember to take it one step at a time and before you know it, you too will have a garment to be proud of1

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

A New Take on the Hong Kong Finish

I've just finished the dress that is part of my Pattern Review Mini Wardrobe Contest entry. See here at Sew Passionista by DIANA. So now I'm hard at work on a brown denim suit for my sister Gloria.

In a way, it's a piece of cake because ,except for being smaller busted than me, the two of us are exactly the same size. My Sandrs Betzina jeans fit her perfectly!

The jacket is this OOP Burda pattern  8605,

that I love and have made many times before including here, and here, and here, etc.

I love a Hong Kong seam finish which I blogged about before  in this post. But up until now, I've always applied it after sewing the various seams together. Well, I got the bright idea ,this time, and many of you probably already do this, to apply the finish before I join most of the seams together and it's so much easier this way. Who knew?!

Here are the various parts of the jacket with the animal print charmeuse strips already applied.

I'm just so tickled about this!

If I were ever to sell garments made by me, this jacket would be the thing. I love making this. I don't think I'll ever get tired of this pattern.

Here are a couple of shots of more examples of  this great Burda pattern.

My most favorite is the white denim one. The oldest is the red mini whale corduroy one made 10 years ago and  that I still wear.still wear. the most recent one is the black/pink print which gets me compliments evry time i wear it. I'm planning a new version in early spring.

Do you have a special pattern in your collection that just won't stop producing ideas for new versions?
Let's talk!

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