Monday, April 30, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

From the not so world famous Canadian Band, The Arrogant Worms. If you ever have a chance to see them, I highly recommend it, good for all members of the family, except the sense of humour impaired. 

Unfortunately they do not produce videos, this is the least offensive YouTube video of this song. Enjoy.

Because it is my birthday another favourite. Rippy the Gator. Sorry for the potential ear worms.

I also highly recommend The Assumption Song, if you don't have children listening.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pyjama Party Time, Part Two

Karen requested that we indulge her and show our bedtime reading material. I don't have a bedside table, I have a bedside bookcase. A small bookcase, but still a bookcase. See.

I actually tidied it up and put some books away.
 There is usually piles of books on the floor,

In Karen's own words:

"As well as hearing about your new jim jams, I also want to hear about or see your bedtime reading. What book is on your bedside table or loaded onto your ereader? Graphic novel, YA fiction, trashy mag, sewing book – bring it on. I work in publishing, I love hearing about these things! We can all get loads of new reading recommendations, as well as pyjama inspiration."

I rarely read fiction when I get into bed, because once I start reading a novel I do not stop until it is finished. There are obviously exceptions to this, but if the book is less than three hundred pages I will finish it in less than a day. Most of my bedtime reading is nonfiction. Lately I haven't been reading many novels at all.

Current reads.

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts-Gabor Maté. If you have or know someone with addiction issues, this is a must read. A friend of mine actually has two copies, one for her and one to lend out. A real eye opener.

The Power of Habit-by Charles Duhigg. I love this book and I can't recommend it highly enough if you have habits you wish to change. Helped me make the decision to join my gym.

The Happiness Project-by Gretchen Rubin. Really good, fun read.

Flip the Switch-by Jim Karas. One of the rare books to get you mentally prepared to start a diet or lifestyle change.

Flip the Switch-by Robert Cooper. I only bought this because I had one already with this name and I thought it was funny. This book is more about the chemical processes of losing weight and how to help them along. The two books work quite well together, one is the mental aspect and the other physical.

Tastebuds and Molecules-Francois Chartier. The Art and Science of Food, Wine and Flavor. This book was named the Best Cookbook in the World in the category of Innovation at the 2010 Paris World Cookbook Awards. If you are a foodie you should read this or at least take it out of the library.

Death Comes to Pemberley-by P. D. James. As a diehard Austen fan, I loved this.

Some of you with good eyes may notice some of these books have library stickers on the spines. Be assured I did not steal these. Our local library has a massive book sale every year and sells books (donated and discarded from the library system) for the grand price of $1. One year our household spent $200 on books. The sale takes place over three days and I have actually booked days off to be able to go everyday, sometimes more than once a day.

This is just a very small selection of the books in our house. If anyone wants to ask about any book pictured her but not mentioned, please don't hesitate to ask.

Top shelf-right.

Top shelf-left.

Bottom shelf-right.

Bottom shelf-left.

Middle shelf-left.

Middle shelf-right.

It's Pyjama Party Time, Part One

And I am suffering from clever writers block. I seem to be unable to be amusing, I have been working on this post for several hours now and keep on deleting everything I have written. So I am giving up and boring this will have to be. Buck up and suffer through it people. I would do it for you.

As discussed in a previous post I used Simplicity 5364 and used a lovely raspberry plaid seersucka (there you go Anne). I will not go into the sizing of this pattern for a second time. I mentioned previously that I was a little short on fabric and was going to make capris. When laying out the pattern I realized I could cut it on the cross grain and make the PJ's full length. So I did.

Jasper (left) and Ricky indicating their approval of the new pyjamas. The t-shirt I already had and it matches perfectly.

This seersucka is a very firm fabric, other seersuckas I have seen have been lighter weight and have had a softer hand. This stuff is kinda springy. It takes a press very well, but I am certain that after washing the seam allowance would bounce back and dig into me. So being somewhat resistant to having to iron pyjamas (lazy slob that I am), I decided to edge stitch all the seam allowances down. Worked like a hot damn. I, of course did this after I had assembled the side seams and inner leg seam, so some muttering, cursing and having the tongue in the right position was required. The other thing I did differently was the waist, the directions called for just elastic, I prefer elastic with a drawstring as well. I like being able to make the waist tighter or looser as the case may be. So I made two buttonholes and thread a string thingy through it. Easy peasy.

I expect everyone to be dazzled by my ability to match plaids.  You can just see the edge stitching.

The waist, the pink stringy thing matches the fabric exactly, but you wouldn't know this by this picture.

After all the issues with fit were resolved, these went together very easily, and I am already planning to make another pair. I think I may have sewing OCD, if I sew something successfully, I feel compelled to make it again and again and again and again. You know how it goes, if one of something is good twenty-seven must be better, right? Obviously.

I mentioned that I made a pair for my friend as well. She consented to modelling them for me and all of you. Be sure to notice her clever accessorizing. The turquoise socks matching her fleece jacket. Such a slave to fashion. Her jammies are made from cotton flannelette, thrifted also. At some point in the near future I will be making a top to match the bottoms as I have several miles more of this, or maybe it just seems like it. It is such a happy print, isn't it? Insulin anyone?

All in all a very successful project. See Part two for my reading material on my bedside table.

Edited: I forgot to thank Karen for a really fun and easy sew along. Great job Karen! Thank You!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Simplicity 5364

The Titanic

Rant mode on.

I joined The Pyjama Party, hosted by Karen, and instead of buying the pattern she suggested (Simplicity 2721) I used one I already had, but had never used (Simplicity 5364). I thought there was no need to buy another pattern as really how different could they be, right? They were both just one pattern piece and therefore super easy. I can't speak for 2721, but 5364 is sized huge. Massive. Gargantuan. Titanic. Enormous. Colossal. Voluminous. Capacious. Humongous. Did I mention they fit big? I actually made two pairs, one for me and one for a friend of mine (S). The ones for me I cut according to the sized indicated on the envelope (XL), the ones for my friend I made a size smaller than her measurements (M, I had a feeling).  I sewed mine up and they were as I think I may have mentioned a tad big. I then took in the leg seam two inches each side. Still big. At this point I was very close to having a temper tantrum, so I put mine aside and started on S's,  thinking as I cut them smaller they would maybe perhaps almost fit. Nope. Even though I should have fit an XL I could actually get the Mediums on my body, I couldn't move or breathe or anything but they were on. That is how big they are. I took her inner seam in two inches each side as well. Still didn't fit.

I don`t know why these people are smiling. Notice the lack of a photograph of the pyjamas. 

At this point I was seriously pissed and was wondering how someone would go about bringing a class action suit on pattern companies that fuck up the sizing on their patterns. No, I am not kidding. I was that angry. So I decided to take the rest of the day off.

I really didn't want to give up on my pretty seersucka (aka seersucker), So I ironed each pant leg in half, then cut a side seam, making the back of the pants an inch larger than the front. I then sewed up the side seam on each side, taking them in another 2 inches on each leg. This was sufficient to make both pairs work. So all in all I took each leg in 4 inches, and they are not even close to fitting snugly, but you will have to wait until April 28 to see the reveal.

Now I know some of you will say I should have know better and tissue fit these before cutting them out. To you who say that, I say shut the f up. Kidding. I agree, if I was making a fitted garment. I am not small (working on it) and when someone who is large takes in a pant leg 4 inches each side and the legs are still loose, that is ridiculous, totally ridiculous. A new sewist would have made these, and not knowing how to fix them, likely would have put them aside and maybe would be discouraged enough to stop sewing.

Why do pattern companies do this, why would they make such a poorly sized and designed pattern, and why do they keep on doing it over and over again. I guess my question is, why do we not hold pattern companies responsible for their products?  I can't think of anything else that we buy that we would be as willing to accept a poor quality product with such inconsistent results, and that we would buy again and again. We seem to be willing to accept poor instructions, inconsistent sizing, and if the pattern doesn't work out, we assume it is our fault. I think this is wrong.

BTW, when I say pattern companies, I mean McCalls, Butterick, Vogue (aka Vague) and Simplicity. The smaller independant companies seem to produce a superior product, perhaps because they use multiple pattern testers, and also because they feel accountable to their customers. Clearly the big 4 do not.

Rant mode off.

PS-I love my new PJs and the way they fit now.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Score! not Goal. Score!

I really wanted to join the Pyjama Party that Karen is hosting, but I didn't want to use the fabric I had (of course, duh), I wanted seersucker like some of the cool people are using. Of course, my local poor excuse for a fabric store had no cotton seersucker, polycrap only. So today, I was out and about wandering about my fair city and I decided to drop in Value Village, not expecting them to have anything, because, well you know if you expect them to have anything they never do, and if you go with no purpose in mind they will have something. I think that may be the longest sentence ever. Whatever. The open mind game worked. They had this.
Yes. They had a piece of cotton seersucker!
I just about sh!t. Ask and the universe provides, or in my case, whine and snivel and be annoying and the universe provides, if only just to shut you up. I may be a tad short of fabric so I may have to add a cuff at the bottom for length. Needless to say I am thrilled. I will be doing my first sew along, I am late in starting, but I am certain I can catch up.

They also had this. It is a knit. You all know what I do with knits. I make panties, which I promised a while back not to post about, so I won't. It is a small piece so I couldn't do much with it anyway.

More underwear coming. 
Now I just have to figure out how to put the Pyjama Party badge on my blog. I bet that will be fun and no cursing or swearing will be involved.

Have a good weekend.

Monday, April 16, 2012


There seems to be more than the usual number of posts about FBAs and being busty on sewing blogs lately. A friend of mine sent me the link for this site, and I thought some of you may enjoy the humor. Hey, if you can't laugh at boobs what can you laugh at?


Built-In Umbrella.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


In my post from yesterday, I think some people may have misunderstood me, I hope to make clear what I meant with the following two points. 

2. It bugs me that there are sewing bloggers out there with a large number of followers and you never ever see them commenting on other sewing blogs, so I have stopped reading their blogs. Does this bug you too?

9. Do you think it is bad manners not to comment on comments made on your blog?

The easier one first.

9. I am not judging anyone who doesn't comment on each and every comment made on their blog, I usually do and when I don't I feel like I am being rude. I am Canadian and we are just grown that way.  I heard a joke once that "Canadians apologize to mail boxes when they bump into them". It is kinda true.

2. This one takes a little more explaining. I don't expect anyone to comment on my blog, ever. However it really makes my day when someone does, and I am truly grateful for each and every comment.  There are a few bloggers out there who do really great work, and get a ton of comments and compliments (and rightly so). However, there are a few that I have never seen a comment from on anyone's blog, ever, and I read a lot of blogs.  I really want to be clear, it isn't that they don't comment on my blog, it is that they don't appear to comment on any blog.

IMHO there are several kinds of sewing bloggers. There is the kind that I am, no great amount of skill, great taste (goes without saying, notice no smiley face) and no tutorials, I make stuff and say look at this and that is about it. Then there is Carolyn, Shams and Gertie and many others who make awesome clothes and wardrobes and instruct and inspire us. These kind of bloggers contribute (again IMO) a ton to the online sewing community, if they never participated in the online sewing community other than their blogs, so what. They have earned it. It is when it is the kind of blogger that makes something, does a post on it, gets a ton of comments and compliments and then doesn't pay it forward that bugs me. It makes me feel used. Maybe they do comment on blogs that I don't see, maybe my cold is making me bitchy, maybe I'm wrong.  I know we all can't comment on every single blog post we read, but come on, every now and then.  Anyway, my point was if someone doesn't support other sewists, I am not going to support them.  I don't expect anyone else to feel the same way.

Thank you for reading and commenting LOL 8-)  !!!  Yes, that is me being sarcastic. Have a good weekend.

Edited April 16,2012

Okay Ladies (for some of you I use that term loosely, you know who you are), 
I have to eat my words on #2 oops, sounds really wrong. There were three bloggers I was specifically referring to, and just yesterday I found comments from two of them on a few blogs. So I  offer my apologies to these two bloggers, even though they and no one else knows who they are. I am removing the negativity that I sent in to the world with them in mind. When I am done typing this I will be doing the dance of apology, which consists of a middle aged woman with short hair standing straight up wearing mock Crocs and a clashing bath robe holding a struggling Paperanian, dancing while believing she actually has rhythm and coordination. 

Friday, April 13, 2012


a photo from last summer

I feel the need to ramble and rant a little today. No sewing happening here, fighting a cold and an infected hang nail, ugh.

1. It bugs me when people write a post with LOL at the end of every sentence. If something you wrote is funny, I don't need to be told.

2. It bugs me that there are sewing bloggers out there with a large number of followers and you never ever see them commenting on other sewing blogs, so I have stopped reading their blogs. Does this bug you too?

3. I feel like the only person that doesn't want to sew or wear vintage clothing. I appreciate the beauty of them, but they feel a bit costume-y on me. I suspect this may be an age related thing.

4. We are finally experiencing something resembling Spring! It seems like we had a really long winter.

5.  I just joined a gym. This is huge. Seriously. Huge. I have never joined a gym before. The place is a all in one kind of place, there is a 50 meter lap pool, three water slides, a Flowrider (you can learn to surf on this thing), a wave pool, a 12000 square foot strength and cardio center. I have been swimming badly for 5 out of the last 7 days, my plan is to get used to the water and swimming and in a month start weight training. I have noticed my stress level and depression is/are waaaay down. Awesome.

6. I read blogs on Bloglovin', love it, it is so easy to keep up with all of them. Too many of them. I just updated the blogs I follow so as to make sure that I am following everyone who is following me. See #2 above.  I think I had missed only one.

7.  I know Sunday it is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, but enough already with the TV documentaries or docudramas, whatever. Stop.

8.  I have to get a new job and I will need clothes, so I am trying to come up with a SWAP. I have almost no clothes for a business environment. I find it so much easier to buy a workable wardrobe, for some reason I tend to sew randomly, making a bunch of unrelated stuff, none of which works together. I am finding this really difficult.

9. Do you think it is bad manners not to comment on comments made on your blog?

10. When the fack will Fabricland have their annual pattern sale, there are some Vogue's I need desperately. As well as some McCalls and Simplicitys. I wish I lived closer to the US border so I could make a short trip to a Joann's to stock up during their more frequent sales.

Not quite a rant. But close enough. That's all folks.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

a cautionary tale

I am sure you have all experienced (maybe not you Australians) the discomfort of having a sock slip down inside your boot, the feeling of helplessness while the sock creeps lower and lower, and begins bunching up in the toe, making it all you can think about while you are on the bus or whatever.

I had a similar experience today with a different garment. Underwear. It was an interesting and unpleasant sensation. They were made from a piece of crushed velour (I have been going through the stash and if it is a knit, it is being turned into underwear). I made the mistake of cutting them in one piece so the nap went down in the front and up in the back. Don't do this. Really.  Every movement ratcheted the panties lower and lower on my butt, and the fabric somehow began to pool up in the front (I don't wear low rise jeans and the fabric was still  pooled above the waist). They got so low on my butt that the only thing keeping them on the back of my body at all was the fact that they had leg holes and my legs were in them. Of course I was at work and it didn't seem right somehow to stick my hand down the back of my jeans to try to yank them back into place. Eventually I did. It didn't help. They would immediately return to their inevitable trip down my butt. I think they were trying to do somersaults.  It really was quite funny, but where is the fun if you can't share with someone, and this definitely falls under TMI for people at work.

I bet you think these are just an innocent pair of panties. Wrong.
They are an instrument of torture.

Moral of the story is "if you make underwear out of fabric with a nap, DO NOT cut the fabric in one piece and make sure the nap goes down in front and back".

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The day dawns

The tension is in the air. People are uneasy. When will it happen? Who will win?

Election Night Crowd (Wellington, 1931) by William Hall Raine.

All these questions will be answered soon.

Drumroll please. ratatat ratatat ratatat.

The winner of the vintage patterns is: Tanit-Isis! Who I am certain will go on in her sewing career to make lots of dresses with gathered waists. A fellow Canadian.

The winner (?? this is debatable) of the orangey goodness stuff is: Seraphinalina! Another fellow Canadian, hmm, is this fixed people?

The winner of the vintage notions is: Carolyn!  An Australian! I am redeemed, but we did keep it within the Commonwealth.

Seriously though, winners please email me with mailing addresses and I will get the packages in the mail to you. If any of you who didn't win the patterns would like a look at the instructions I can photocopy them and get copies to you as well, you might be able to draft your own versions. So once again email me with addresses, and which or all of the copies of the pattern instructions you would like. My email address is "ellecsews at gmail dot com".

Congratulations to those of you whose randomly assigned number came up and I am sorry not all of you are   getting cool or uncool vintage stuff this time around. I promise there will be more giveaways.