Monday, Monday (nearly Tuesday)

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Hey folks!

What's up for you this week?

Around here there's a visit from the tooth fairy, an exterior inspection by the Vancouver building permit folks, a meeting with the city and the Board of Variance, a birthday party (someone is turning 7), and a silent auction. All on top of regularly scheduled activities. Phew! End April with a bang, why don't we?


Sewing goals for the week include:

  • Fabric shopping for the costume vest (which has been muslined and fitted)
  • Trying my slapdash attempt at fixing the blue circle dress
  • Cutting out another BWOF 05-2007-124 out of a purple print rayon. (see above photo)
  • Begin to work on a small folder project for a friend.

Thankfully, the couch cover project is officially on hold. The family drop-in center has ordered new couches (very similar in style, but slightly different measurements). Once they have the couches in, I will set myself a deadline and get the blessed things DONE!

Weekend Inspiration: April 23

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Image from The Guardian.

I have been cleaning out my sewing area and dreaming of what my sewing space could become. I have come to realize that while I value saving fabric scraps to make into other things, the likelihood of my doing so is slim - as is my physical space.

I gathered together all of my accumulated fabric scraps and paled at the thought of throwing them in the garbage. What can a home sewist do with all of these scraps? Who can turn them into something else?

A Google search for fabric recycling in my area turned up a few thrift stores (which I ignored) and one business: Trans Continental Textile Recycling. They have no website, so I gave them a call. The phone was answered by a very helpful person who listened to my question. She said that they do recycle fabric - both used garments and scraps. They purchase their materials by the pound from local thrift stores. So the best way for me to deal with my scraps is to bag them up and take them to the thrift store of my choice and Trans Continental will give the thrift store some money for them. Hooray!

What do you do with your scraps? Is there a textile recycling program in your area?

In Progress: Butterick 5348 (Drat)

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Hey Everyone,

This morning I hemmed the ruffle and stitched in the gathering stitches on both the ruffle and the skirt. I then attached the skirt and HORRORS! It's no longer cute! It looks like a muu muu!

Check it out:


Hem ruffle has not yet been attached and the sleeves aren't hemmed either.

It looks a tad better in the breeze...

You can tell by my facial expression that I am less than thrilled. So, what can I do from here?

Here's what I have come up with, please feel free to add your own ideas:

  1. Cut the skirt to give it a center back seam and open up all of the center back seams on the bodice. Take the dress in a bit at the band and insert a zipper at the center back.
  2. Cut the skirt to give it a center back seam and open up all of the center back seams on the bodice. Remove the band from both the skirt and the bodice. Make the band smaller. Gather the bodice onto the smaller band. Reattach the skirt and insert a zipper at the center back.
  3. Take out the stitching on one side seam. Snug up the band and the skirt on the side seams and the back and figure out how to insert a zipper in a side seam.
  4. Buy very wide elastic and make a casing inside the band.

I am leaning toward starting with the last option. It's the least intrusive. And the neckline is just so lovely right now. Thinking about taking it apart and sticking a zipper in it makes my stomach hurt.

I retrospect, it would have been nice to use the solid color fabric for the skirt. But the only matching fabric I found was linen. And I would look a wrinkled mess in a matter of moments in a full linen skirt. (Not to mention that it would probably need to be cut on the bias in order to drape well - oh the yardage!)

What do you think? Do you have any other ideas? Sorry to hit everyone with two consecutive requests for help, but there it is.

Ideas Needed!

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Nearly a year ago I agreed to make new slipcovers for the local family drop-in. As loosely arranged things go, it took a LOOOOOOONG time to get to the point of actually sewing something. I am very near that point. The fabric has been purchased and pre-washed (both by me and by the cleaners as my machine wasn't too fond of 7 meters of home dec weight cotton).

The only thing is that I can't come up with anything much better than what they already have. The cover has to be easily removed for washing at least twice a week. The covers they currently (see above photo) have used velcro-style fasteners, but those tangled around the fabric during the wash and so had to be cut off.


My thought is to make something in a similar style, but run a heavy duty industrial zipper along the length of the couch. But should I make essentially two zippered sleeves? One for the couch back and one for the couch seat? Or would it be possible to make one "sleeve", but with two zippers at the meeting of the seat and the back (in cross-section, it would look a bit like a scrunched capital B).

I am kind of leaning toward the two sleeves idea as this seems easier. Did I mention that there are two couches to cover? They are different sizes, but identical construction.

Any help or advice you have on this topic (about the actual construction - not about agreeing to do things that turn out to be difficult/uninspiring) would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, Monday

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Hey Everyone! Here's my sewing to-do list for this week:

  1. Finish the Butterick dress. It's looking really nice so far. I added a contrasting band of fabric between the bodice and the skirt and that is working quite well.
  2. Measure the person who will wear the vest from this costume.

And really, that's it. Once I get this dress done I have to make a serious plan about how much sewing I will get done (and when) for the next month. I have had a few requests from friends and from my girls that I would like to honor, but I need to be realistic.

What are you all up to this week?

Weekend Inspiration: April 16

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Welcome to the weekend, everyone! It's time to think and dream.

Peter (not my little Peter) is wondering if glamour is dead. If glamour equals dressing in an unapproachable way, then for me, yes, glamour is dead. But drama and spark are not.

Kristy made the same dress I made... only hers is actually done! I still have to get someone to help me hem mine...

Neither Carolyn nor I will be placing ads of any sort on our blogs. She has enough readers that she is getting offers. The world at large has yet to discover that I am fabulously opinionated.

Steph has two practices I applaud: avoiding lying in bed unable to sleep for thinking through large/new sewing projects by organizing all of her work in a notebook AND she is making coats for herself and her spouse in an attempt toward sustainability in fashion.

In related news, I am actually slogging through the academic text Sustainable Fashion and Textiles by Kate Fletcher. Style blogger Franca reviewed the book most thoroughly. Even though it took three posts.

Elaine has exposed herself as not all that selfish. Perhaps she should seek medical help, but most certainly you (and I) should send a little something to her friend in Haiti.

Oh. If only I needed this guide to fabric shopping in Paris. Have I ever told you that I've never been off the continent of North America?

I love the colorful top Stephanie made for her sister.

What is inspiring you?

The lead photo is my little Clara. She is an inspiration to me. She generally enjoys life and has a great love of stories. When she plays by herself, she is usually telling stories - making up her own or remixing the ones we have read recently.

In Progress: Butterick 5348

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This dress is in parts and ready to assemble! I have already fused the interfacing to the neckband, so I am ready to sew!

Unfortunately, it is time to get dinner ready.

In the photo above, you can see me on the floor busily cutting out the ruffles with my rotary cutter and quilting ruler. I don't know how other people cut out entire garments with a rotary cutter. I have the second to largest rotary cutter mat (18" x 24") available in my local shop and it is only big enough to do most bodice pieces. For the sake of my vanity, please note that my shirt (BWOF 02-2009-108) is hanging away from my front as I work.

Here are a couple of altered pattern pieces.

This is the back bodice. You can see that I have removed some width. The muslin had a very poofy back and this seemed to fix the problem. I also trimmed off half an inch from the bottom of the center back, through the folded bit and then tapered to nothing at the side seam. My muslin hung much longer in back than in front. I liked where it fell in the front, so I shortened the back.

This is the sleeve. I lengthened it by 3". There is no science to this measurement. The sleeves of my muslin were hitting my arm at an unflattering spot, so I lengthened them. I can always shorten them again if needed.

And here are the fabrics: a swirly brush stroke print cotton pique and a MATCHING linen (purchased at two different stores weeks apart). How excellent is that!? The linen will be used for the neckband and a waistband I am considering adding.

Monday, Monday

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Hey Everyone!

Well, it's Monday. And among other things, today is the day I chart out my week (more or less). Here are my sewing goals for the week:



1. Finish sewing blanket for client. (Down to the ombre rainbow satin binding.) Must be finished tonight.


2. Cut out blue circle fabric into altered pattern pieces of Butterick 5348. Maybe I will have a bit of time for this Tuesday afternoon.
3. Find matching blue fabric for neckband. Wednesday morning, should the fabric gods smile upon me.
4. Begin assembling dress. Wednesday and in bits of time the rest of the week.



5. Read through Kids Sewing Company texts and consider the ins and outs of teaching sewing lessons in the fall. Anytime I'm not doing the other 4 things.

Weekend Inspiration: April 9

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May you enjoy these as much as I did!

Casey is Getting Organized. Her jewelry frames make me wonder if I could figure a way to display buttons or other sewing notions in a similar manner. Sort of tools as art, if you will.

Amanda (who deserves congratulations and regular foot massages) made this lovely blouse. I have that pattern, but am thinking about a lightweight knit rather than a woven. Possible?

Claudine made matching silk trench coats for her young daughters. Let me say that again. Matching. Silk. Trench. Coats.

Sharon whipped up Simplicity 3775 recently. I may now actually order the blessed pattern and make one just like it (different colors).

Sal has a Big Secret. When I read it I wanted to gather my friends together and walk down the street proud and confident in our real fabulousness.

I found this photo on flickr (investigating photo hosting methods as part of my blog overhaul) and am filled with desire to visit exotic places. However, I am not very tolerant of insects. Anyplace that lush must be teeming with them, right?

In the seemingly incessant rain, I found this outfit on What Would a Nerd Wear extremely pleasing. It's something about the juxtaposition of the floral and tulle with the utilitarian rubber.

We are finally at the stage of kitchen planning where we are considering colour, surfaces, etc. I have had this bookmarked for months.

And finally, because of the impending renovations, I am finding most of the entries at Unhappy Hipsters hilarious.

In Progress:

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My intention was to begin posting a regular "In Progress" entry every Wednesday. Unfortunately, this Wednesday was almost entirely consumed by going to and recovering from a dental appointment (Surprise! Let's fix those fillings RIGHT NOW!). So almost nothing related to sewing got done.

I did tidy up my sewing space a bit and pulled out and rearranged my fabrics. But life got the best of me and I wasn't even able to post this until Thursday!

I'll see you all tomorrow with my weekly plan.

Changes Afoot

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Hello friends,

I am changing my blog around a bit over the next few days. My new domain will be www.sewinguptheneighbourhood.com but you should still be able to access my blog using thoughtsfromthesecondfloor.blogspot.com

So no worries everyone. I hope you like the changes!

UPDATE: As luck would have it, I again lost my blogrolls. I will do my best to recover them, but if you know of a blog (perhaps yours - particularly my "Friends Blogs") for which I used to have a link, please leave me a comment with the address.