Thursday, 24 September 2015


#get shirty, #therefashioners2015, A Colourful Canvas

#get shirty, #therefashioners2015, A Colourful Canvas

#get shirty, #therefashioners2015, A Colourful Canvas

#get shirty, #therefashioners2015, A Colourful Canvas

#get shirty, #therefashioners2015, A Colourful Canvas

#get shirty, #therefashioners2015, A Colourful Canvas
#get shirty, #therefashioners2015, A Colourful Canvas

Hallo, hallo everyone. Men readers. Lock down your closets. I'm becoming a bit of a happy scissorhands these days. Yep, this awesomely fun project opened up a creative door...actually, not so much opened a door, as took a whole wall down.  There's something about working within specific parameters that not only pushes me out of my comfort zone, but gets my creative juice least most of the time. You'd think it would be the other way around....limitless choices equals endless possibilities, yes? But for me, the wide open option usually leads to overwhelm and a not so pretty creative melt down.

The Refashioners 2015

The Refashioners 2015 - We Want You Too has been on my radar since mid July. The challenge? Refashion a Mens Button Down Shirt. Of course, in typical Sue form, I mentally filed the info away, knowing I had lots of time before the September 27 deadline rolled around. Fast forward, or just make your way lazily, to late-August. After several uninspired visits to fabric stores, I...only half-jokingly...declared I might as well go back to the thrill of the thrift store hunt....I just wasn't finding the cool and colourful fabrics that my mind-movie plays. {You have a mind-movie too, right?} I didn't have sewing fatigue...but I had a bad case of fabric frustration. Lucky for me, I had a light bulb moment...or more duh looky dat moment.  I mean, could there be a better time to begin my Refashioners 2015 Mens Button Down Shirt restyle? And sweet was end of season sale time at both of my local thrift stores. I snatched up not one, but three shirts for less than $8.00.

So, how did the game play out for me? Well...I began with the intention of remaking my shirts into a quilted jacket, but beyond that, I didn't have any solid construction plans. My interest in quilting was re-ignited after a recent visit with a friend's mother {recognizing me as a kindred spirit, she showed me some of her beautiful quilts}, and also after seeing SewManju's recent post: A Quilted Cotton Boho Jacket. Years ago, I made a couple of machine sewn quilts, but my shirt refashion is my first attempt at quilted clothing. I started by removing the cuffs, shirt button placket, collar and collar band from the blue shirt. With those bits in hand, I began playing around with placement and silhouette. The sleeve cuffs were transformed into epaulets. The front pocket flaps are fashioned from the collar cut in half. The shirt button placket, both buttons and buttonholes, is now a design feature on the back waistline of the jacket. The light blue chambray shirt became the lining and the binding. The shirt pocket became a handy cell phone pocket...note to self, must buy cell phone. The red striped shirt was used for the large welt pockets, two narrow strips of lining, and the flange of the binding. I had to deconstruct the shirt side and sleeve seams in order to quilt the sleeves and the bottom third of the jacket fronts and back.  I used inexpensive polyester batting for the quilting as I was treating this project as a bit of a test run. I have some, probably overly ambitious, plans to execute some more quilting projects this winter. jacket is reversible. It's fully finished on the inside. I used salvaged shirt buttons to back the main buttons, so I can even do it up inside out! My clothing label will show if I wear it inside-out...but hey....that might be to my advantage if I get the urge to promote my blog. You know..hey looky me, looky my blog, and all dat...

I'm really, really happy with how my finished garment looks and's super cozy, but still light! I'm also a little giddy about how this project has opened my eyes to seeing the potential in...eep...everything. rather ginormous thank you to Portia of Makery, for masterminding The Refashioners 2015 Challenge. It's been such great fun playing along. Here is the link to the official Refashioner Challengers. Please do check out the ingenuity of the participants.

Coming soon....a remake of a favourite pattern I originally sewed in the early 1980's. I had hoped to sew this garment in the summer, but....well, please refer back to chapter one re: whining about not finding fabric. Fortunately, my pattern works for fall/winter wear.

Whew! Okay, I'm done now. Thanks for reading my ramble.


Monday, 14 September 2015


Colette Negroni Aloha Shirt, A Colourful Canvas

Colette Negroni Aloha Shirt, A Colourful Canvas

Colette Negroni Aloha Shirt, A Colourful Canvas

Colette Negroni Aloha Shirt, A Colourful Canvas

Hey you! Just me again. Well, not actually me in the pics. That'd be the mister wearing his Colette Negroni Aloha Shirts. Even though many of us are wrapping up pretty much everything summer, I wanted to show you the Hawaiian shirts I made for him back in June. It's not often that G makes an appearance here at A Colourful Canvas...he's usually the guy behind the camera...but a real live man-e-kin really classes up the me-made, don't ya think? And happy me; it didn't take much convincing to get him to model his newest Aloha shirts. Custom made to his specs, from fabric he picked out when we were in Maui last winter....he likes them, he really likes them.

I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that sewing for one's other is risky business. Sure, it can be an awesome bonding experience. Um...but not really. It's much more likely to tax the stablest of relationships...deeply. When I suggested to G that I make him a couple...not just one, but two....aloha shirts, I was clearly in a haze of holiday know the is idyllic and suddenly you're making promises that you just can't keep. Fortunately...I had several months before I had to step up and stitch. So why the angst? Well, often guys think they want hand made clothing, but in reality they want their clothes to fit like they always do, and to feel like they always have, and to look just like all the others in their closet. I well remember a few years back....we went garment shopping. For the mister. The Bay, Canada's major department store, has more than one entire floor devoted to men's clothing. I suggested we divide and conquer....I go in one direction, G in the other; and we meet back in the same spot in twenty minutes. Ten minutes later, I am so loaded down with shirts and trousers I can hardly walk. {The stores I usually go to have shopping carts...Now what does that say about me, wonders she.} Another ten minutes goes by and G saunters up with 1...that's one as in a single...shirt. Seriously. The only thing that gave me even a little bit of confidence making these shirts, is the fact that I've made this pattern for him before, and that he picked out the fabric himself.

Okay, just a few details. The fabric is 100% cotton. I used the Colette Negroni shirt pattern, made before here. I sewed the short sleeved, camp collared version, and I'm happy to report that everything went tickedy-boo.  I had enough fabric that I could pay special attention to pattern matching...yes there is a pocket on the front of those shirts! And...that's it...nothin' more to add.

Thanks, as always, for stopping by. I've got a couple of fun projects in the's nearly finished...and so I expect I'll be back sooner rather than later. Have a good one!

Other Colette Negroni Makes:

Long Sleeved, Stand Up Collar version: here


Monday, 24 August 2015


Hey you! Me again, with a brief fill in on summer's ups. The mister and I enjoyed a little getaway to Whistler where we did lots of hiking and swimming. I sometimes wonder if the only reason we do massive amounts of moderate activity is because we enjoy PUREBREAD so dang much. Here at home, I've been enjoying lounging in our little garden. My flowers are putting on a brilliant show and they've lured in so many hummingbirds and bees and butterflies. It's heavenly! And indoors...I gave my kitchen a little makeover...just painting and decorating..and I sewed new window valances too. One of the perks of renting is that any of the big stuff that may need doing is left to the landlord. It's all very light and airy now, and...after all the cleaning I've done...I've decided there is to be absolutely no cooking allowed. ever. 

Things have been less busy on the sewing front. I feel pretty much complete as far as summer sewing goes...although I am still on the lookout for fabric for a jumpsuit. What I have in mind fabric wise, will transition beautifully into autumn, so the hunt continues. I'm starting to think ahead to cooler, and wetter, weather. Yep. I'm dreaming about jackets and coats. Coats are probably my favourite fall/winter garment to sew. But. We're not there yet. Today it's all about my Bowl of Cherries Dress, sewn back in July. It's been getting so much wear, I was beginning to wonder if it would ever stand still long enough to be snapped for the blog. There's not much new to say about this make...TNT Simplicity 2339 made into a dress with altered collar and facing. The biggie news for me is the skirt silhouette. Looky dat! No gathers or pleats! I hemmed and hawed over making an A-Line version for quite some  time. I'm all about the fit and flare silhouette...or so I thought. It was actually at the mister's insistence, that I surrendered and gave it a go. I don't know if he's developed a keen sense of style or if he was just tired of my 'Whatcha think...dis...dat...should I...could I?' rambles. Either way....this is one easy dress to wear and I love it. Even though it's 100% cotton {Mary Englebreit design}, it's way less wrinkly than any of my gathered or pleated skirts! Especially on the sit side. you can Bowl of Cherries Dress has been Spy Girled. I've had the thrill and here...and it never gets old. Thanks Anne, for giving me the gams I wish I was born with! Anne's 52 Pick-me-up: Cherry/Acceptance is going on this week, and I'm joining in...well you know...wearing bowls of cherries and all. 

Last, but not least, I made a floral hatband.  I love Mary Engelbreit's whimsical artwork, and a whimsical straw hat feels like the right go-with. I followed Suzanne Carillo's DIY FLORAL HAT tutorial. Easy-peasy and oh so much fun to do! Thanks bunches Suzanne! I can see myself making more of these. FYI people...the flowers are attached to my DIY HATBAND and not to the hat itself. So many possibilities!

All righty! Have a lovely one peeps!

Linking up with:
Style Crone: Hat Attack #26
Not Dressed As Lamb: I Will Wear What I Like | 1. Colour