Pinterest Pin

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

'Amateur Hour', or, 'Silk Destroys my Happiness'

Wow, if there's one thing I can't stand it's how imprecise my sewing is. It's something I feel like I'm always struggling with but this really takes the cake.

How? How do you sew with silk? I've only had two sewing failures in the couple of years that I've been sewing and both have been attempts to make silk shirts.

I tried so hard! I:

  • meticulously sandwiched my fabric between tissue and cut it out in a single layer. 
  • used a seam gauge on my machine.
  • used the lowest setting on my iron and used a presscloth and paper
  • followed the instructions to a 't'. 
  • pinned tissue above the top layer so the presser foot wouldn't drag the top layer of fabric

And it looks like crap! To add salt to the wound, I seem to be the only person unable to make this shirt as evidenced by the seemingly billions of fantastic versions of this shirt that have been sewn up by others.

I just can't understand how people actually sew with silk. Ironing it made it look terrible, even though I was so careful.

The facing was made of a double thickness of bias strip but to get it to curve around the neckline, I had to pull it a bit which made it thinner, so the topstitching was wonky and the finish inside looks terrible and it isn't stitched down in places!

Oh, and here's a wonderful close up of the seams.

To get the centre to line up I had to unpick my first and second attempts and baste the seams together. This is the only seam that matches on the whole garment. All of my seams are lumpy and wiggly and so ugly! Some of them are on the bias, too and they're the worst. I couldn't sew a straight line with this stuff to save my life.

How? How do you do it?

Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Crushinator: Is is clothes yet?

Hit further delays with the Crushinator. I've been trying to get my hands on one of these babies since early December and I finally ordered one online yesterday, which means I can expect it to arrive in about 2-4 weeks. Since I'm at a stage where I have to iron the lapels before doing anything else, I'm either going to have to wait for the thingamajig to arrive or go to a sewing place like the Workshop or Make Den and see if they have one I can use.

Unless there's another way around this that I haven't hear of?

On a completely unrelated topic, spellchecker totally recognizes 'thingamajig' as a word. Yes technology.

On another completely unrelated note, I bought some fresh kicks. They have gold lettering so they count as polished weekend. Right? Right. $40, so that brings my monthly total to $115 for January.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Style Crush: Terrible Confession

You guys, I have a confession to make.

My boyfriend out-dresses me on a daily basis. He decided recently that he's going to wear a suit or similar every day. He works at a large university and can pretty much wear whatever he wants. And he wants to wear great clothes.

Look at all the majesty. I have this picture because my sweetheart has decided to not only wear suits every day, but to document his outfits. Yes, yes. He started his own lookbook, so he could remember what he's already worn, and try new things.

He looks so good! Someday I'll have a wardrobe worthy of it's own lookbook. One that includes suspenders.

Course, if I wore suspenders, I would spend the whole day making eighties guy references, so probably best that I forgo the suspenders.

I do love menswear, though. I love that even though at first glace there's much more restriction in what guys can wear for business, it seems like it's easier for guys to look great, their clothes take longer to go out of style (if ever) and they still have subtle ways to inject their personality.

Do you think it's easier for guys to dress well or is it just a the-grass-is-always-greener kind of thing?

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Sparkly Pretty Things

I've been feeling pretty unmotivated, with the Crushinator dragging on so last weekend I decided to do a craft that I could finish nice and easy, and have something pretty at the end.

I'd had my eye on the colourful cut stones at a bead store so I finally just bought some and strung them on thread, nice and simple. Literally they're just beads, thread and a magnetic clasp.

Have you used magnetic clasps to make jewelry? What do you make of them? I like their functionality but they do tend to stick to things (like my sewing machine) and I'm a little afraid to wear them with a watch.

I wish the photo had captured the colours in the moonstone better. I just managed to catch the tail end of a very sunny day for these photos.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Hidden Gem

A few days ago I found a hidden gem in my neighbourhood! Well, technically my friend Brian found it, since he photographed it for a post on BlogTO.

A sweet new sewing studio called The Make Den. Right around the corner from my house!

I'm so excited to have a sewing space right near my house! I met Irene while my friend photographed the place and it sounds like their classes have a strong fitting and drafting component, which may be really perfect. They're a pretty good price, too.

What hidden gem are in your neighbourhood?

Friday, 11 January 2013

Polished Weekends and Shopping

A Slice of Glam posted resolutions that mentioned "polished weekends" which is something that I realize I'm aiming for. I feel like I need to bring my casual/weekend clothes up a notch. I've got a pretty good collection of casual summer dresses but for the cooler (or downright cold) months, I tend to dress in jeans (I have one pair of halfway decent jeans and two others that look terrible and don't fit), t-shirts and cardigans.

I know there's nothing wrong with that but I have trouble bridging the gap and I think the phrase polished weekend sums it up nicely. It might just become my sewing mantra for a bit. Just because it's casual, doesn't mean I can't look polished.

Hey, pictures!
Check out these floral jacquard skinny jeans I bought!

I really don't like buying ready to wear clothes if I can help it but I caved and went to Yorkdale Mall on the weekend with the express intent of buying some polished weekend clothes. It's been years since I shopped the post-Christmas sales. The first store I went into was LOFT and I just bought the above jeans and this cute sweater.

I tried to shop with the same kind of care and plan that I would if I was going to invest the time to make the clothes. I tried to keep a few things in mind:

  • Pieces that would work in a variety of settings
    • Check. I can wear either piece to work if I want. I could even wear them  out to dinner or to a show (by sweetheart's in a band).
  • Move up a level of formality
    • Check. These are both nicer than the clothes that I usually wear on the weekends.
  • Seperates
    • Check. They ain't jumpsuits.
  • Natural fibres
    • Eh, check-ish. the pants have 1% nylon and the sweater has some Rayon
  • Classic shapes and styles
    • Hmm, I honestly don't know how much longer the whole skinny jean thing is gonna last, but the sweater is pretty classic. Its got pretty clean lines and a nice ribbon detail in the back
What are your style or shopping rules? How do you know what will be a good, long-term piece of clothing that will get lots of wear? How do you find your clothing staples?

The two items together cost about $75. As I mentioned in my last post, I'm going to be tracking my budget because I have no idea what I'm spending on clothes!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

A Whole Lotta Spending Money

Hey, do you guys subscribe to Daily Buzz Style? It's a mailing list that sends you a set of blog post links to your inbox. They have a new topic every day. Most of the time I'm not interested but every once and a while I see something interesting.

Yesterday's topic was style resolutions. This post includes the blogger's clothing budget, which is $250 per month. That's $3000 a year! At first I thought that my spending for last year would have been way below that but then I thought about how I tend to buy fewer garments but I spend more money on them (I own two pairs of $300 pants, which I bought two years ago (and still wear constantly)). I've also tried to give myself permission to spend more on things like bras and shoes, since I buy so few new pieces of clothing.

It made me realize that I have no idea how much I spend on what I wear. And I tend to splurge on fabric for the clothes I make.

Do you have a clothing and/or fabric budget? How did you calculate it?

I'm thinking I might try to track my spending on RTW and self-made clothes for the year to see what I really spend.

Oh, and did I mention I got a new job? My first pay was supposed to be direct deposited two weeks ago but it didn't show up. I called payroll and they had made a mistake entering my banking information and then it took them another week to locate the funds and send me a cheque (our payroll department is offsite). Of course, even once I deposited it, the bank put a hold on all but $200 so this week's pay has been deposited and I still don't have access to my last pay. Gah!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

The Crushinator: Adventures in Sleeves

I think my sweetheart would have liked surgeon's cuffs but this jacket is complicated enough.

Umm... so problems with shaping the front. The book I'm using details the construction of women's jackets, and I guess it's pretty different.

I've also come to realize that I probably bought hair canvas that is way too heavy for the fabric and how I want the jacket to look and feel. I can't figure out why I didn't put more thought into what I bought. Gah.

Well, on wards and upwards.

I really have no idea what I'm doing (surprise!)to fix this but so far I've ripped out the front half of the arm seems and taken in a lot more at the dart and cut the armscye further into the front of the jacket. So far it looks like it's helped and I'm gonna steam the crap out of it to try and shape it better.

Next, I'll have to do a bit of a nip/tuck at a couple of places in the back before posting more picks.

Then all I have to do is make up the lining (with the same alterations that I made to the shell) and attach the facings, transfer the alterations to the pattern pieces, finish the lining, add buttons and buttonholes. Like it's easy.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013


Happy New Year!

At first I was planning to use this post to talk about all the things I wished I had gotten done last year and all the things that I'm going to do this year but instead I'm going to talk about how excited I am!

I've definitely been working my way towards taking the leap into learning to draft my own patterns, perfect fit and improve my finishing techniques. A few days ago I was turned on to a bespoke tailoring forum by Chris and it seems like the perfect opportunity for me to learn so much about traditional, professional sewing methods. I'm so excited to learn every last detail!

I feel like there's been a major change in the way I feel about clothes lately. In the past I've felt almost panicky about how I looked in the clothes that I was wearing and not having enough clothes or the right clothes but I'm feeling much more confident lately. Even with the new job, I'm not having trouble finding outfits that I'm happy wearing to the office.

This is totally new to me! Maybe I just finally have the 'right' clothes for me.

Whatever is different, I feel like I don't have to worry about trying to produce clothes quickly (which I was never good at anyway), and now I can focus on making them really excellent and improving my technical understanding.

"It is better to enjoy yourself and have something you are proud to wear rather than being over ambitious and end up having to bin the fruits of your long labour"