Sunday, 11 January 2015


Camas Blouse, Thread Theory, A Colourful Canvas,

Camas Blouse, Thread Theory, A Colourful Canvas,

A Colourful Canvas, Camas Blouse, Thread Theory

 Camas Blouse, Thread Theory, A Colourful Canvas,

Hello and Happy January. While many of my 40+ blogging friends are decidedly low key about the new year {which is all good}, it appears that the sewing community is abuzz with anticipation. I have been happily immersed in your world, voraciously reading about your sewing goals for 2015, your hits and misses from 2014, and the many challenges and pledges that seem to be popping up on various blogs! Me? I ease into the new year, rarely making plans, let alone resolutions. But all this enthusiasm has inspired me to reflect on what I've done in the past and what I might like to do differently in the future. One thing that has become clear, is that an important and growing part of the online sewing community is still quite new to me, and that is the world of independent {or Indie} sewing pattern companies! Yes, I have a few Indie makes, but I've barely scratched the surface. This year I'm looking forward to sewing more patterns designed by these {mostly} young, {and all} talented women. And. I can think of no better way to start my new year than with a pattern very recently released by Thread Theory, an almost-local based business. {They're on Vancouver Island.} Without further adieu, please do say hello to the Camas Blouse...

Before I launch into a good ramble about this make, I want to give a quick heads up to my non-sewing friends....Because this is a new pattern, I'm going to go into a little greater detail about my sewing experience...something I rarely do when modeling garments made from patterns no longer in print.  If your eyes begin to glaze over, or worse...roll back in your head....please, please, skip right on past the next few paragraphs.

Okay, the Camas Blouse...I sewed a straight size 8, although I'm a size 6 at the waist and hip. The finished garment fits beautifully...well, except the neckline...the neckline is too low for me. Fortunately, a camisole provides both comfort and some extra winter warmth. The pattern is designed for knit fabrics, with the option of using a woven fabric for the yoke. {I used woven cotton gingham for the yoke and placket.}  So, what is it with knit fabrics? I find it so hard to find knit fabrics that I like.  So many of them strike me as either looking dated or just plain dull. When I happened upon this blue and pink patterned knit at Value Village for $2.99, I decided to just buy it and treat this first make as a test garment for fit.  I mean are getting a bit of a pyjama vibe, aren't you? Now, and I'm keeping it real here...I know this is not high fashion...sometimes an armful of bracelets just isn't enough to elevate a look...but, it is super comfortable...kinda pyjamas. It was a great way to work out any pattern quirks, and I can see wearing this top casually.  Whatever we think, I'm joining lovely Patti at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday.  I think we can all agree I'm nothing if not pretty visible.

All righty. Sewing this was pretty much a breeze. There aren't many pattern pieces and they all matched precisely. The pattern instructions were very clear and easy to follow, although I did experience one umermhmmm moment. One of the final steps is to top-stitch the placket seam line. It was the illustration beside this instruction that had me slightly confused. It shows the top-stitching along the outer edge of the placket. That didn't look quite right to me so I sewed my top stitching along the other side of the placket, a scant 1/8" from the seam line that attaches the placket to the garment. The end result effectively securing the placket facing to the placket front. I think that was the intention of the pattern designer, although I'm not entirely certain.

One little word of caution: Be mindful when sewing said placket to the garment...the pattern instructions clearly state to sew the longest side of the curved neck placket to the shirt neckline. The potentially tricky thing is that the other {wrong}side of the placket seems to fit just fine...ask me how I know. Yep, despite the reminder, I initially sewed my placket on incorrectly, which resulted in a placket that stood up at the back of the neck instead of lying flat. With some careful stitch ripping, I was able to correct my error. If you aren't having to ease in extra fabric, you might be making the same boo-boo I made.

Overall, I'm really pleased with the pattern, and I anticipate sewing another one just as soon as I find some awesome fabric! I will do a simple alteration to raise that neckline, and that's about it. For those that care to know, this pattern is only available in PDF, and I clearly have not yet found my rhythm when it comes to taping together twenty or so pieces of copy paper.  I'd go as far as to say that I find it tedious matching everything up. My cats, on the other hand, delight in skidding across my nearly constructed paper puzzle, effectively destroying my efforts. And. I admit it. I do say a little ouch when I purchase Indie patterns. They are not inexpensive.  The Camas Blouse is $11.00 (Canadian $ for me), which is quite significantly more than the sixty-nine cents I spend at the thrift store. Having said that, I am so appreciative of the heart that goes into these patterns. I'm still a bit giddy about having met Tasia from Sewaholic. These young designers have so much passion for what they do, and that really says a lot to me. I also understand that production costs are higher for these small companies.  So, even though you'll still see me making big four pattern company designs, I'm eagerly beginning to explore many of the Indie design companies!  In fact...I'm heading east to Montreal for my next make...


My other Indie makes:

Sunday, 28 December 2014


A Colourful Canvas, Simplicity 2444, DYT Type One

A Colourful Canvas, Simplicity 2444, DYT Type One

Oh brrrr! Outdoor photos in December! In Vancouver! In my Pretty Party Dress! Trust me, it was a very short few minutes sans puffy jacket.  Okay...'nuf said about my foolish ways...I want to catch you up on a couple of stellar happenings chez A Colourful Canvas.  First words really to describe how much fun my most recent blogger meet up've been introduced to Suzanne from Suzanne Carillo before here...When Suzanne and I first/last met in May 2014, we conspired to have the most awesome Melanie of Bag and a Beret join us at our next visit...and all came together just a few weeks ago. {Errmmm...that reads like it took us eight months to secure an attendance with The Diva Miz Baggs Herself...hahaha} The three of us Canadian peeps spent the day in Gastown, Vancouver's oldest historic neighbourhood. Lunch, long and leisurely as per Suzanne's request {we aim to entertain our out-of-town guests in the style they are accustomed to}, followed by some cool and quirky thrift store shopping, made for three very happy blog friends.  Melanie and Suzanne, both brilliantly funny writers, have waxed poetic about the day here and here....and, errm...I don't want to come off as a bossy boots, but I am strongly encouraging you to read their posts...NOW...No. Wait. Not NOW NOW...but NOW, right after you've read my post NOW.  And by the way, both Melanie and Suzanne; they's not just funny gals, they are wildly creative...ROCKSTAR PAINTED PANTS AND JACKET and Society6/Suzanne Carillo

Suzanne, Sue and Melanie

Up next, My Pretty Party Dress. and isn't it ironic, my dress today was sewn from the fabric I purchased when Suzanne and I shopped together in the spring. Whaaaat? I know. A little bit of finesse was required when laying out my trusty Simplicity see the fabric was a finished piece, like a sari I think, and each end had an embroidered edge and then the flower pattern was artfully woven from each end back towards the middle of the yardage (about 1.5m in length). The front and back skirt rectangles were cut from each end, and then I played around a bit aiming for the most pleasing bodice layout. Although this is pattern 2444, it is my heavily altered version, originally drafted for my Betty Draper Roses Dress. A reader had asked for instructions on altering the bodice as I've done; it involves a good deal of pattern drafting, making a new seam, transferring the dart ease into those seams, etc. Although I managed to figure it out for myself, I haven't worked up the courage to do a tutorial. Is this something that many of you would like to see? On my Pretty Party Dress, I chose to gather the bodice rather than pleating it..which worked just so-so.  The embroidered flowers refused to be gathered, and even after two attempts, things look a bit uneven. Lucky for me, the pattern is busy enough that even I don't notice it, and nor should you, unless you are spending a little too much time looking at, well you know....mwahahahaha. The only other minor hiccup appears to be the length of the hem lining, maybe just a little too long. I didn't allow for wind gusts whilst standing on a rock at the winter. The good news? This lightweight, as in almost sheer, fabric was well suited to an invisible zipper. And I'm beginning to love the sleeveless version of this dress more and more. 

Okay, you've been subjected to Simplicity 2444 for two posts in a row, {not intended I promise}, and you're done. Over it. I get it. Let's move on. If sewing an invisible zipper in lightweight fabric is good news, then the imminent arrival of 2015 can only be better news.  New year, new patterns! Now, you're excited, yes? I have purchased a couple of Indie Pattern downloads that I'm eager to try.  But, here's the thang...that whole printing off and taping together thang. I'm a little overwhelmed even thinking about it. So, my question for my readers that sew these Indie patterns ....However do you store these patterns after printing? Do you try and fold them? Or do you remove all the tape and stack the papers together? Or roll them up...and then store them, how

My other bit of stellar news is that I received a very special package in the mail just before Christmas.  The lovely ladies, liZ and Elizabeth from Project Sewn, drew my name from the proverbial hat for their latest, and probably final, Project Sewn Linky Party. To say I was overwhelmed with my gifts would be an understatement.  Thank you so very much, not only for your generous gift, but also for hosting the fabulous Project Sewn Competition! I discovered a lot of talented sewers, and was inspired over and over, by both the official contestants and also the sew-along participants!  

Squeeeee!!! Whimsical, colourful, and outstanding quality!

Last, but not least...I want to wish you a Happy Christmas Season...and if not your most heartfelt wishes for a blessed wintertime...things have been quiet here...our Christmas Day guest list dwindled down from a comfortable group of six to just the two of us, the mister and I...I admit I was a bit anxious about it all...I have very conflicted feelings about all the merriment that blankets the planet at this time of year. It's with a bit of relief that I can say that the day was really quite lovely...we were blessed with the gift of time...I baked chocolate ginger cookies...we walked along our beach in brilliant afternoon sunshine...we cooked a traditional Christmas dinner minus the pressure to have everything anything on the table at a certain time...and we puttered away at the annual jigsaw puzzle. Truthfully, with the exception of my over-the-top tree, Christmas is pretty low-key chez A Colourful Canvas. Even so, I now have an even greater appreciation for simplicity. Thank you all for reading my little blog in 2014!  I'm really looking forward to sharing more creativity, colour and whimsy in 2015! See you next year! 

Joining up with Patti of Not Dead Yet Style for her final Visible Monday of the year!

Other Simplicity 2444 Makes:


Monday, 8 December 2014


Simplicity 2444, Dressing Your Truth Type One

Simplicity 2444, Dressing Your Truth Type One

Simplicity 2444, Dressing Your Truth Type One

Simplicity 2444, Dressing Your Truth Type One

Aloha! The mister and I are just back from a holiday in Hawaii, and despite the decidedly dark and gloomy weather here in Vancouver, I'm in a rather glorious, if slightly hazy, bliss.  A couple of weeks of uninterrupted do-nothing time apparently has that effect on me. 

Ah yes, decadently idle, although one afternoon, while languishing on a chaise lounge, I was inspired to jot out a blog post. The funny thing is, as I look at it now, I'm convinced it's overly wordy for my current mood. {And to be completely honest, I'm having trouble actually reading my penciled scribble....mawahahaha...} So! I've unilaterally decided that fewer words allow for a greater appreciation for a pretty sunset photo!

I shared a brief peak of my dress here, while hinting at a warm weather vacation. And it turned out that my Maui Maxi Dress, made with Simplicity 2444's bodice and self drafted skirt, was indeed the perfect holiday dress. Talk about easy-peasy; I just added a couple of bracelets and my favourite jelly sandals {shoes optional} and I was good to go. And, my fleeting moment of genius? I shortened the bodice just enough so that the waistline sits above my natural waist. The result? Extra comfort....which really means extra room for Mai Tai's and macadamia nuts. Mwaahahaha! know?....I didn't even attempt pattern matching with this wild butterfly print, so I was pretty much gob-smacked when I saw how brilliant the bodice back looks. So. not. planned. Not much else to say except consider me sold on the maxi dress for resort wear. But...but, hang on a sec....I still totally can not imagine myself wearing a long dress or skirt on the rainy streets of Vancouver. I'm not saying never, but....well, I'm just not there yet.  

En route to the airport, we squeaked in a quick shopping trip to two Kahului fabric stores...Fabric Mart and Sew Special.  Here's a quick look at what I purchased; left to right: from Fabric Mart, a couple of cotton prints for shirts for the mister and two pieces of swimsuit is a pinky coral animal print, and the other is a navy blue and red {not black and orange}, and from Sew Special, the 'Fun Flops' print cotton by Loralei Designs.

And last, but not least....I left shortly after my last published post and did not get a chance to reply to your lovely comments. I did read them all though, thank you everyone!  One comment in particular gave me a little ah-ha moment....Greetje of No Fear of Fashion, articulated what I was unable to put into words. She suggested I "Style it up instead of down perhaps? To create a contrast? People tell me that this usually works: creating a tension by combining opposites." Makes perfect sense to me, thanks Greetje!  

And that's all she wrote for today...thanks for reading! I'm sure I'll find masses of work waiting for me at the office Monday, but I will be catching up with you soon!  Happy to be linking up with the lovely Patti of Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday!

Other Simplicity 2444 makes: