Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Costume Update

My sister's steampunk plaid costume has a lovely hat!

I didn't make it, but a talented woman in Scotland (Terri Tovill) did. As you can see, she used some of the tartan in the design. Now, I really can't wait to see the whole costume! I better get back to work.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Simplicity 1819 Part 5

I've been working away on my sister's Steampunk Plaid Extroridinare costume. The skirt is finished and now it's on to the corset. Right now I'm deciding how to place the plaid on the corset. Here are some options...

1) match corset stripes to stripes on skirt
2) mirror stripes on corset and don't worry about matching skirt
3) go 45 degrees with the stripes and create a bit of a chevron effect

My sister has picked option 2, which I think looks good. What do you think?

I'm actually having fun playing with plaid. If you are trying to use plaid, Sunni at A Fashionable Stitch has been writing about sewing with plaid and I recommend checking it out.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Simplicity 1819 Part 4

I'm still making progress on my sister's steampunk costume from Simiplicity 1819. I've had a few glitches along the way. Here are some of my notes.

The weight of the fabric is so much, that the front darts began to unsew themselves.

I don't think I tied very good knots. I went back and made sure that I tied square knots and also applied clear nail polish on them. I hope they will now hold or I will have to go back and hand sew the darts. Blech!

I sewed the front and the back of the skirts together without too many issues. There are as many as about 10 layers of fabric at some points along the side seams!

It's almost 1 cm (1/4") thick!
Luckily, the fabric is easy for my machine to pierce. I went back over the side seams with my serger to finish them. I have just been pinking the other seams.

I did not bother lining the bustle fabric, since the tartan looks good on both sides. Instead, I hemmed the edges and put bias tape on the lower centre back seam.

This is the size of the bustle when assembled:

It's about as tall as me!
So, with an already heavy skirt, there is a lot more fabric yet to be added on. If you are making this pattern or a similar one, I definitely recommend going with a lighter fabric. My sister might have to wear suspenders to keep her skirt on!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sewaholic Alma

I needed to take a break from the dress I've been making my sister, so I made myself an blouse using the Sewaholic Alma pattern.

  • Cotton bedsheet
  • Zipper
  • Interfacing
  • Bias Tape
I already had all of the materials, so I did not have to spend and money. I love this cotton bedsheet, which you might recognize from my Burdastyle Ute wearable muslin. This shirt is also technically a wearable muslin. I wanted to use this cheaper material before cutting into some Libery Tana Lawn that I purchased (more Alma's to come!).

I love this cute fabric!

Sewaholic Alma 1204


I first made a size 8, which was a size just below my measurements. But, this seemed too big - I was able to remove the shirt without having to use the zipper. Luckily, I had only cut out the back and front pieces, so I didn't spend too much time on it. I then made a size 6, which fits perfectly without alterations. I don't think I've ever had a blouse that fit so well!

I knew that the Sewaholic patterns would probably fit my top proportions well. I have a 35" bust and 30" waist, which is close to the pattern proportions. And much closer than other pattern companies.

Since I will be making more Almas, I decided to have a little fun with this one. I created my own neckline.

I also decided to play with the sleeves. I thought I would make them even poofier! I did a slash and spread on the sleeve pattern piece hem edge. This added more fabric that I gathered to match the orginal sleeve end width. I used bias tape to finish the hem.

What I Learned

It was really fun and easy to alter this pattern. I also appreciated that I did not have to do much fitting - this gave me more confidence to play around a bit.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Simplicity 1819 Part 3

I've started sewing the final version of Simplicity 1819: Steampunk Plaid Dress Extrordinaire semi-colon Really Complicated Costume for Sister! So far, I have put together the front of the skirt.

Front view
I'm doing my best to match up the stripes in the plaid. It has been really easy fabric to work with so far. I like the cascade overskirt, but it really does take a lot of fabric.

Side view. No skirt back yet...

I'm not sure if I like the darker stripes going up and down or if I should have made them horizontal. What do you think?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sunday, July 7, 2013

More Sewing Patterns

I've put up some more sewing patterns in my shop: Shop Tiffany's Notions. Including this great number from the late 1980's.:

Butterick 6433: 1980's dress with ruffles! It's just so 1980's! I was too young at the time to have a dress like this, but I totally remember looking up to the older girls in middle and high school (or on tv) with awesome, frilly, pastel coloured dresses like this. And, in case you are wondering, yes, it has shoulder pads!

I could see something coming back into fashion with this newest generation of teens - as things usually do. :)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

New Look 6867

About 4 years ago, when I first attempted to get back into sewing, I only made one thing: a simple summer dress. This dress is from New Look 6867.

It turned out pretty well, but I just got too busy until recently to get back into sewing.

  • Some sort of cotton (I forget...)
  • Zipper
  • Interfacing
From what I can remember, the materials did not cost very much. This dress does not use a whole lot of fabric (only about 2 yards of 45" wide fabric).

When I saw this floral fabric at the fabric shop, I just had to buy it and make something with it. The funny thing is, the pattern and colours are probably more fashionable now then when I bought it.


New Look  6867

The pattern comes with a summer dress and a cute jacket with a sweetheart neckline. I'll probably make the jacket someday, but so far I only made the dress (view A).


I made a size 14. I didn't make any alterations, except for tacking the front and back bust flaps together at the centre. This dress was a little too revealing without that. Possibly, someone with a fuller bust could keep it together better. I probably should have made a small bust adjustment or gone a size down for my bust.

From an angle that isn't too bad - it get's worse (or better in my hubby's opinion)

Unfortunately, even with this fix, it is still a little too revealing to wear around the office. Maybe that's why the pattern also comes with a jacket.

What I Learned

This dress is great for beginners. It helped me brush up on my sewing skills that I had neglected for over a decade.

At the time that I made this dress, I was unsure of how to finish the seams. So, I just pressed them out and left them at the 5/8" width. After 4 years, they are still holding up fine, so I guess fancy seams aren't always a necessity.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Pencil Skirt Challenge

I've finished my latest sewing challenge from my sewing group Stitch Once, Rip Twice. The challenge was to make a pencil skirt by July 1st.

With my travelling to England and having family over, I didn't have time or much money to make a pencil skirt from scratch. Instead I bought two skirts and turned them into pencil skirts. I hope that these two skirts that I half worked on will count as having completed the challenge (1/2 + 1/2 = 1

I picked up two skirts from a local used store. I was able to find two wool skirts that were made in Canada for only a dollar each. Score! They both fit me in the waist, but had a lot of extra fabric in other places.

The first skirt is a good quality, vintage pencil skirt.


It didn't need much work to turn this navy blue wool skirt into a pencil skirt that fit me. All it needed was to bring the hips in a little (funny enough, I discovered I wasn't the first to do this alteration to the skirt - another woman had done the exact same thing before me).


Here is the skirt after the alteration and with a nice top and belt.

I tried a couple of different tops to see what looked best. Because I have a bit of a swayback and a small chest, the skirt definitely looks better from the front than the sides. But, the bright belt helps give me a waist.

After v.2

I wasn't sure pencil skirts were for me, but after trying on a pencil skirt that actually fits me, I think I might actually start wearing them.

The second skirt needed a lot more work. It is not as good quality, even though it is wool. And it started out as a large maxi skirt.


It wasn't very flattering. I'm not even sure if such a skirt was ever in fashion. Maybe it was in the 90's - people wore a lot of bad fitting clothes then.

For this skirt, I needed to bring in the hips and shorten the hem. On the plus side, I now have extra wool fabric for making a tailor's ham.


At first, I brought in the hips too much and then it made my swayback look worse. It seemed as if I was sticking my gut out! I let the hips back out a little bit and it now looks ok. I don't like the grey skirt as much as the blue one, but I think it gets a pass. It would probably look better if I wore a belt with it, as well.

Sadly, it is now way too hot to wear these skirts. Yesterday, I was sweating while trying to sew by hand - it's so much harder to hold a needle with swollen, sweaty fingers! Today is supposed to be 38'C outside (about 99'F). Too hot for wool! But, they will be ready for later on in the summer.

I only spent $2 on materials, so I definitely recommend other sewers should check out the used stores for skirts that can be made into pencil skirts.