Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fabricland, I am tired of waiting.........

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Fabricland,

I have been waiting for some time now for you to have what has turned into your annual pattern sale. I have given up hope of it ever happening. BMV also known as Butterick Vogue McCalls is having a sale this weekend, and even though I would rather buy from a local shop, I bought patterns online. Quite a few actually, and I would have bought them all from you should you have had them at a reasonable price. Even though your reasonable price is twice what I paid at BMV. So this means you have lost a sale. And as we all know if you had actually got me into one of your stores, I would have bought more than just patterns, some notions perhaps, a spool or two of thread, some fabric. There are online sales on patterns all the time, and Joann's (in the US) has pattern sales often. Seeing as how most of the Canadian population lives within driving distance of the US border, we all can go there and take advantage of their sales. Which I may do from now on, because I will never buy a pattern from you unless you have them on sale.

Mr and Mrs Fabricland, are you aware of the internet? I ask because I wonder how on earth you have the nerve to charge $20+ per meter for silk noil, when I can purchase it online for sometimes less than $10 and undyed for less than $5 per yard? You do know that anyone can go onto the internet and find these items, right? I am aware that I would have to pay for the shipping, but it would still be cheaper than buying from you, even with a membership.

Mr and Mrs Fabricland, I feel our relationship isn't working for me anymore, you charge too much for almost everything, your stores aren't pleasant to shop in, and as I mentioned, your patterns are overpriced. I feel like I am being taken advantage of. Everything I buy from you, I can purchase online and cheaper at that.  You need to change, because I won't.

Yours truly,

Elle C

PS-you should spell check your advertising. There are often spelling mistakes and that annoys me too.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Liebster Award! The Sunshine Award!

I was given the Sunshine Award and the Liebster award recently by Bundana  and Heather also gave me The Liebster Award. I am certain however, that Heather is just trying to get a particular piece of fabric from me. I can be bribed people. Awards work, as does cash, sewing books I don't already own, or Burda magazines and horsehair braid, (not that I have a need for it, I just want some) which I can't find locally. Just saying.

The Sunshine Award 

The Sunshine Award I have already received, but I have no idea how to put the picture on my blog page. To be honest I haven`t tried, I expected the first time I was given the award to be a one off and it would never happen again so it wouldn't matter.

Edited May 17 3:55
The first time I received The Sunshine Award I nominated the required/suggested 5 people and somehow it doesn't seem right to nominate another 5, but a couple of the people I gave the award to the last time didn't play (no criticism implied), and KC has asked for a trade, she already has The Liebster Award, but not the Sunshine Award. 

So without Further Ado! I hereby bestow The Sunshine Award upon :

KC  from The Sewcratic Method. I suspect we are twins separated at birth. With one exception she knits. Well too. I only knit simple things badly.  In her last post everything she sewed, I had sewed or it was on my list.  If we are as I suspect, twins, I had to nominate her, we are family after all.

Thank you very much Bundana and Heather, it is really lovely to feel valued. Really. No sarcasm at all. I know, it's unusual.

Here are my answers to the Sunshine Award questions.

Favourite Animal: Dogs. Always dogs. We live with four of them and often take care of friends dogs when they go away.

Favourite Number: 3. That is my name in numerology.

Favourite Non-Alcoholic Drink: Can't have just one. Earl Grey Tea, French Roast Coffee and Pepsi.

Facebook or Twitter: Neither, Pinterest. I find Facebook sometimes a little too much like being in High School. No offense intended to anyone.

My Passion: Dogs, reading and sewing.

Getting or Giving Presents: Giving. There is no better feeling than when you find the perfect gift for someone and they love it.

Favourite Pattern: The last one I looked at. Usually a Marcy Tilton pattern.

Favourite Day of the Week: .A day that my husband and I have off together, there aren't many of these.

Favourite Flower: Old Fashioned Pink Roses, but they have to be fragrant. Lavender is my second favorite.

Favourite celebrity role model:  Katherine Hepburn. She was stylish, smart and lived her life exactly the way she chose. Love her.

The Liebster Award 

If you receive the award, you should: 

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you. 

2. Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog. 

3. Copy and paste the award on your blog. 

4. Hope that the people you've sent the award to forward it to their five favourite bloggers and keep it going!

My picks for the Liebster Award are:

Dixie  from Needle and Brush. She sews like a dream, loves Marcy Tilton patterns as much as I do, but she actually sews them instead of just fondling them like me. She also works at Sawyer Brook , so she knows her fabrics. She is also the only person I know of besides me who has a copy of Heart Steps, by Julia Cameron. I love that book.

Andrea from Satin Bird Designs. She is in the midst of a fitting challenge right now and I am enjoying watching her suffer progress. She lives in Florida and delights in torturing me with photographs of beaches near her home. I will get her back this summer with photographs of fruit that doesn't grow in Florida, at least I think I will.

Steph from 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World. I am pretty sure she has more than 200 followers, but I am giving her the award anyway. She is an amazing and generous sewist, her video on using a binding foot helped me tremendously. I learn something from her with every post.

Mary Nanna from Make It Smirk. She always make me smirk when I read her blog. I fully expect she won't have the time to forward this award on, as these days she seems to be confined to the kitchen. I always enjoy reading about her latest creations and her fitting issues.

That's all folks. Thank you again Heather and Bundana. Heather, could you email me at the e-address above? Thanks.

PS-does anyone have an idea how to get the award thingys on my blog?

Monday, May 14, 2012

New Feature! Book Review Monday-Little Green Dresses

I never mentioned when I reviewed Chic and Simple Sewing, that I was asked to review it, as I was with this book. I have decide to implement Book Review Monday. I have a lot of sewing books and this may help other people and will give me a good reason to read them all again.

I have been having a heck of a time writing this review. I feel like I should like this book more than I do. For one this book is published by Taunton Press, the publishers of Threads Magazine and IMO some of the best sewing books ever published, period.

I am clearly not the target audience for this book, which clearly is twenty somethings,judging by the length of the skirts. On the cover it says there is "50 Original Patterns", there really isn't, at least not in the usual sense, the way that Sew Everything Workshop, Sew U, etc. etc. do. There are what appear to be (I haven't tried them) very good directions for drafting your own patterns. The concept of this book is taking apart existing clothes (your own or thrifted) and cutting new garments. Clearly a worthy goal. Have a look at some photos.

I think we can all agree that some of the clothes are less than attractive.

Anyway. The thing about this book is if you were so inclined to remake older garments into new clothes, you would put your own stamp on them and they would come out looking completely different.

Aside from the actual sewn clothes, the styling for the clothes sucks, as does the makeup and hair for the models. The photography isn't great either. They should have done a much better job of editing this book, as it is, the book looks old and dated, much older than 2006 when it was published.

The supervisors, left. Ricky, right Jasper.

Would I recommend this book. A definite maybe. IF you want to restyle your clothes, maybe. I would still take it out of the library or have a seat in your local bookstore and take your time deciding before handing over Ms. Visa Card.

Anyone out there disagree or agree? Comments?

Next week, Sewing Lingerie That Fits by Karen Morris, published by Taunton Press.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Spring, Sewing OCD and other stuff

It's spring! The sour cherry tree is in bloom. Soon I will be making sour cherry jelly.
I have never suspected that I had OCD until recently. Whenever I sew something I feel is successful, I feel compelled to make more. You know the theory, if one is good, 17 must be better. I should go and buy the new Claire Schaeffer Chanel style jacket pattern. 8-D

It has nothing to do with need, either. First it was panties, of course you do wear (I hope so) a new fresh clean pair every day, so sewing lots of them is probably a good idea or at least not insane.  Pyjama bottoms are another matter. How many pairs does one person need? I have now made 5 pairs. I love them. They are almost all I wear at home now, and they are especially nice to wear while sewing, you can slip them off easily to try on whatever you are sewing. Which, in my case is of course, pyjama bottoms. Because I have sewing OCD. So I sew pyjama bottoms. Repeat.
I bought the middle fabric to make a scrub, I have absolutely no idea where the other two came from. 

After the first successful ones made for the Pyjama Party, I went through the stash and pulled out fabrics that I know in a million years I would never use for anything else. I must have been fabric shopping with really low blood sugar or on cold medication or channeling crazy people from the eighties, or thrifting during a dry spell and got desperate (this is the most likely).

Left Sunglasses fabric, nice cotton. Middle fabric rayon/cotton blend. Right fabric what in God's name was I thinking?

Of course the course of pj making cannot run smooth. The weird dark print (middle one)  I managed to cut 2 left sides so for the right side I had to cut on the cross grain, so pattern matching wasn't going to happen. This was a little hard for me, I have a compulsion obsession thing about matching patterns. I fully expected the sewing gods to strike me dead or curse my serger or something, but even though the print isn't the nicest I have ever bought, the fabric has a beautiful drape and I love it, I wish I could buy more of this exact fabric, but seeing as how this stuff has aged a very very long time, it ain't ever gonna happen. Oh well.

It is a lot of pink at once, I kind of feel like I
bathed in Pepto Bismol, when I wear them.
I have made my first Sorbetto, strangely even though I have broad shoulders and am clearly in the size 18 range, it fits a little large, but that is fine. That could be also because I made it from quilting cotton that I bought last weekend, probably would be nicer in fabric that had some drape and didn't behave like computer paper. Since this is to sleep in, I decided I wouldn't bother to try to fit it, the next time I will play around with it. I have read about people that whip one of these up in 90 minutes. I think I must be the slowest sewist in existence, it took me four hours. I lengthened the top as well, but actually made it too long, so I got lazy (bored with it actually) and just serged a rolled hem finish. I am thinking this could work nicely for the neck and armholes as well (at least in quilting cotton), not of course if you were going to wear it in public.

close up of rolled edge and fabric

Good news, one of my diets is going well, the shopping diet has been a success! I feel unable to maintain a cold turkey level of no thrifting, however. Tanit-Isis tortured me yesterday by posting the patterns she bought at that home of thrifty goodness, Value Village. I am now certain that all the out of print sewing books I have ever wanted are there now calling to me, along with bolts of shimmering silks and crisp linens mistakenly marked at $5.99 for the whole bolt, and rolls and rolls of serger thread and petersham, and horsehair, and the first Claire Schaeffer Chanel jacket pattern, uncut. Well that's enough, you get the point. I am going today. I will be there banging on the door when they open. I am sure they have missed me. The staff have probably started wearing black arm bands.

This is Barney playing coy. There is no point to this photo being included in this
post. Barney is always, most of the time, sometimes occasionally a good boy,
so I thought he should have his picture here today. Barney's hobby is breaking out of
the yard and taking himself for a walk, and terrifying the humans in the process.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Book review-edited and giveaway winner.

I was going to make you all read till the end of the post before I announced the winner of the book. I changed my mind. The winner is........Madalynne!!!

Madalynne if you could email me at ellecsews at gmail dot com with your mailing address I will get this off to you.

Before we go to the book review, The Husband caught up with the blog, and didn't blow a gasket or anything, if anything he thought it was funny. I think he might be thinking I do these things in order to have something to write about. Which is so not the case. I am not going to tell him that, now that I have an excuse to buy more fabric. No, I am not serious. The shopping diet is back on. New rules. No garage sales, no thrift stores, no shopping malls, no fabric stores unless I have a chaperone   ( I need elastic). Grocery stores and drug stores (chemists or pharmacies for you Brits) only. My thanks to everyone for supporting and enabling me.

Anyway on to the book review of Chic and Simple Sewing. I had written a scathing post about this book. Almost all the garments are awful, I mean really bad. I just can't publish the post as I had written it, I am Canadian, and we are known for being nice, and even though I am not always nice (ask Tanit-Isis), I cannot bring myself to be mean, or at least as mean as I was in the original post. So I will let the photographs speak for themselves.
The cover looks pretty good, doesn't it? Wait.

This is the LBD (little black dress). Lovely isn't it?
Perfect for hiding all those pesky curves.
Note, I did not cut off the top of the models head, it
was that way in the book.

I like the fun of having your hem hang unevenly,
the mark of a free spirit, right?

This is the sundress. Don't you just love
the little house on the prairie ruffle and the flappy sleeves?
I don't know why they don't like the top of this models head.

This is the tie front strapless dress. You get all the
fun of an uneven hem and shapelessness in one garment.
The blurry photograph is my fault, I couldn't be bothered to
take another one.

This is "The Trench" it is a coat, I tell you that because it could be hard to tell with no closures.
Notice the edges self bound with fabric that seems to be too heavy for that purpose. 

This is the cape, notice how there appears to be nothing worn under it? That is because the neck is too wide.
This appears to be the same pattern as the wrap around skirt. At least this time they left the model's head intact.
The photograph really was this blurry.
There are a couple of garments in this book that aren't as bad as these, but they really aren't that great that they are worth the price of the book (except of course if you paid $1 for it like I did).

To summarize. DON'T BUY THIS BOOK. Sorry, I will stop yelling now. There are far far better books out there that have patterns included, Sew Everything Workshop by Diana Rupp,  or Sew U by Wendy Mullin, Eviana Hartman and Beci Orpin. 

For those of you who think this was a mean critique, it isn't even close to the one that I am not publishing.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Oops I did it again. Damn.

Have you ever wondered if we exist just for the amusement of some higher power (or God/Goddess if you wish)?

Do you remember me saying two posts back that I was going on a shopping diet (never mind the food diet that I am failing miserably on)? You don't remember, well I did.  The very next day I bought a shitload bunch of fabric and a several piles of books. I was good for one day.


Today I am driving home from work, feeling quite smug about my decision NOT to go back to the book sale and buy a pile of more books, because as you know I am on a shopping diet. What do I see out of the corner of my eye? Garage Sale. Oh, I say to myself, it is only a couple of blocks from home, what can it hurt? Side bar, I live in a fairly well to do neighborhood (I am not, but the neighbors are) usually they have  a ton of stuff for kids or nothing I want or can afford

I of course, had to find the one garage sale in my town that had fabric. Yup. Fabric. For about $1 a meter. It was and still is, quilting cotton, but thanks to the evil Karen and her equally evil Pyjama Party, I now recognize the potential goodness of quilting cottons for pyjamas. And cute Sorbettos to go with the bottoms. Lots and lots and lots of Sorbettos and pyjama bottoms. Dear readers. I bought it all. 20 meters of fabric give or take a meter or two.

Wanna see? Of course you do.
Aren't all the colours pretty? I especially like the pale pink print, I am seeing  an entire sleepwear wardrobe, from it
Sorbetto night shirt, long PJ bottoms, short pj bottoms, Sorbetto top and a dressing gown. Maybe a head wrap too.

By the way, does anyone out there know of a way to block The Husband from reading this? I am thinking (seriously) of only having this post up for a day and then hiding it for a while. Oh well.

Friday, May 4, 2012

the shopping diet starts today. absolutely. yup. this time I mean it. for sure.

I was very bad yesterday.  See.  Don't tell The Husband. Oh, wait he reads this sometimes. Oh  sh!t.

I went to two thrift stores and bought six pieces of fabric. They are:

5.5 meters of tan and white cotton seersucka
2 meters of black ponte! at a thrift store!! you must admit this deserves extra exclamation points!!!
1.5 meters of a lovely soft grey heathered knit
1.5 meters of navy and white polka dot polyester
4.5 meters of black and white print, I think it is swimsuit fabric
1.5 meters of a very interesting double sided olive and black fabric- it is actually two fabrics sort of sewn together, I love it, but have no idea what to do with it. If I had enough I would make a jacket.

Then S. (rubber duck PJ friend, she'll love that description) and I went to a library book sale. I spent $34 on 34 books. I bought 8 sewing books, 7 photography books and a bunch of novels for Aunt Edna.

close up of the olive and black fabric-if I could I might marry this fabric 

the seersucka

Before you all write me off as a selfish braggart who just likes to flaunt my good fortune, I have something for a special someone out there. They had one of these books at the sale and I already have one, but I felt certain it could make someone happy.

I saw a few of these on Ebay for $15 TO $20

Edited-this is one of Sewing Pattern Reviews top 15 sewing books.

So toss your name in the virtual hat. I will send this anywhere, but if you are overseas (i. e.  not in North America) it will be sent by rowboat, cause shipping will be expensive. The random number generation will happen Monday, May 7. Have a good weekend everyone.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

This post started out asking for opinions. Then it changed.

I got a little birthday cheque from an aunt and I want to have something to show for it, not just have it wander away into nothingness. So I need your opinions.

Pants for Real People: Fit and Sew for Any Body (Sewing for Real People series)Product Details

Making Trousers for Men & Women: A Multimedia Sewing Workshop

I have decided that I can buy two of these, but which two? I am leaning towards Pants for Real People and Making Trousers. I adore David Page Coffin's other book Shirtmaking, it appeals greatly to the anal retentive perfectionist part of me. This one sounds like it is much the same. Sewing Porn. At least for me. After writing all this I have decided. Making Trousers is on the list. For sure. Now tell me which one of the other two, or both. Just now I have decided I need them all. Sh!t. You are all enabling me now. Never mind all of the above. I just ordered them all. Oh, that is totally pathetic. I can go from maybe one book to all three while typing a paragraph. Must. Work. On. Impulse. Control. Maybe I should buy a book for that. 8-)

For my birthday I received a much needed piece of plywood to go under my cutting mat, it is exactly the right width and 4 inches longer. Perfect. The best part is the joy The Husband got from telling everyone that his wife wanted a piece of plywood for her birthday. I received a great Joby Gorillapod SLR Zoom Tripod, from Aunt Edna. The Friend that I made the quacktacular (thank you Heather, love that word!)  PJ bottoms for got me this book. It had been on my wish list for a while. Thank you S.

Fabric for Fashion: The Swatch Book

This book may not be all that if you live in a place where there is an good fabric shop that you can go into and casually inquire where the silk organza is. At my store they would be unlikely to know that there is actually something called silk organza let alone where it would be if they actually had any. Anyway, on to the book. There is 100 samples of fabric in this book. The samples are mostly undyed so as not to distract from the actual properties of the fabric.

Some photos of the pages.

Silk satin, Viscose satin, Acetate satin, Polyester satin

All of these samples have Lycra, nylon, cotton poplin, cotton knit, silk satin,silk jersey,silk seersucker
this page compares fabrics of the same weave but different fibers

All in all for me this is a must have book. There is no substitute for actually knowing exactly what a fabric looks and feels like. Especially if you are going to completely disregard the fabrics suggested on the pattern envelope. Like I would ever do that. Oh wait I did, and blogged about it here.