February 11, 2018

The Goodbye Valentino RTW fast--January Report

I'm one of  the members of the Goodbye Valentino Ready to Wear Fast 2018.  Sewing what I wear was a lifestyle choice for me long before I joined the fast, so why am I participating?  There are great prizes.  This is a chance to elevate sewing as a viable life option.  I get a chance to stretch my sewing skills with a group of like minded tailors and seamstresses and it is fun being part of a group that sews, participating in the discussion and seeing what other people make and how it fits in their lives.

Since January 1, my only purchases have been fabrics.  I've been shopping with my family and not been tempted to buy myself any RTW.  I'm also not over-compensating by purchasing all kinds of clothing for the rest of family, something I did the last time I tried a RTW Fast. The Fast has really made me think about why I purchase clothing instead of spending time in the sewing room.

We had a series of heated discussions this week about 'allowed to purchase' and 'Not allowed to Purchase' over on the private Facebook Group.  For those who aren't members of the Fast, the official rules are no purchases except for your dream Wedding dress, undergarments and uniforms.  I don't shop for the 'emotional satisfaction' or buy things because they are a bargain, but I do shop second hand. I realized I buy second hand RTW when I have unanticipated lifestyle needs combined with a lack of time, energy or resources to solve the need with sewing.  

I've done one  RTW fast before, February to February.  I bought nothing that year except for one item: a coat. I was at a conference in late May.  I had packed for my trip based on a forecast of warm spring weather. And it snowed. In Canada, particularly at Universities and other institutions, central heat gets turned off the beginning of April. It was late May.  It was cold, inside the buildings and out. I wore that coat to bed over everything else I brought, I was so cold.  But I still remember how guilty I felt breaking my fast.  I think now in the same circumstances, I would do the same thing  but without the guilt. In my personal opinion, safety trumps Fasting. 
The 'Is buying ski wear allowed?' discussion on the board hit a weird place in my gut. I know with enough time, energy, and resources you can problem solve your way through any sewing project--snow gear, wedding dress, rain wear, winter coat, undergarments--and be proud of yourself after the fact. But if I was in the unexpected situation and needed a ski suit in two days and my friends didn't have something I could borrow, I would have bought a pair of snow pants and a jacket and not stressed about it. Safety trumps fasting and I know that I would lack resources and time to get the job done safely in that situation.

Maintaining a RTW fast or having a sewing lifestyle over the long term, requires learning how to accurately anticipate what you need and having the skills, resources and time to sew to meet those needs.  Taking the coat as an example, I had an unexpected lifestyle need and I lacked access to sewing machines and fabric store.  I also had very limited time between sessions at the conference.  The  emergency shopping trip for something to wear to my goddaughter's wedding came as a result of a failure to plan ahead properly and a lack of time and energy to solve the problem with sewing because I didn't realize the dress I had chosen to wear to my goddaughter's wedding didn't fit me until I put it on before the rehearsal dinner. And sometimes things come up that are totally not anticipated.  After my concussion in the fall, I needed clothing for therapy that was not dress pants (all I owned at the time).  Lack of energy and time upright sent me to the second hand store to buy sweat pants to wear to therapy instead of the sewing room even though I have everything I need to make sweat pants in my stash.

So, looking at all of this, I realize I need to think and sew more 'long term' than I am now if I want to make it to the end of the fast without having to 'buy a coat'.  I will likely need a funeral dress in the next six months (my grandmother is ill) and that means I should start thinking about sewing it now instead of realizing the night before getting on the plane I need a dress to wear. 

December 30, 2017

Wedding dress reveal

Hello dear readers.  This is the wedding dress reveal.  While I designed and made the dress, it was beaded by many hands and the last fitting was accomplished with my daughter Nicole's help.

We hand placed every single motif on the dress.  This is half of the skirt filling my 17' living room.

The under layer--a sparkle organza that shed, a lot, everywhere.

The picture that decided how we were going to make the back of the dress

'Oh Cr... I lost a beading needle somewhere under here!'

Beading, beading, beading

Details of the back trim and zipper

It has pockets!

I made a simple pearl edged veil to complete the outfit from the leftovers of the lace netting.

August 15, 2017

I became a Pirate!

 Sewing with Patterns for Pirates patterns, A Review:

I'm starting my year of 'using what you have and sewing what is there' with a bang and a whole lot of new clothes.  It is time to use and review all those patterns hiding in my stash.  Why am I keeping all of this flat clothing potential?  It is time to use, and keep or let go depending on the results.  Someone else will be blessed by my decision making I am sure. 

MiniWardrobe Contest:  Two weeks, nine garments.

 Patterns for Pirates had a fall 'sew 9 items in two weeks' mini-wardrobe contest.  This is a new to me pattern  company.  Until I sewed for the contest, I had only ever tried their peg leg pattern and the essential tank top.  But I am a sucker for wardrobe contests and I had to give it a go.

I used mostly stash fabric for this contest.  The flower print, the black and white stripe and the light grey sweater knit fabrics were both new purchases but everything else has been marinating in my stash for more than a year. 

I started late--five days before the deadline (I was working on the wedding dress).  In the end, I sewed 20 different garments.  I am not the only person in the Pirate Community who sewed multiple 9 garment wardrobes. Quite a few people sewed me and mini-me wardrobes.  I'm not even close to the highest number of garments sewn in two weeks.  At least one person made four 'mini-wardrobes' so 36 garments.  I only made two sets of nine garments.

Well, 19 garments because the white shirt got thrown in at the last minute or 20 if you count the leggings I made and promptly gave to my daughter because the fabric did not have enough stretch for my body lol. 

Patterns for Pirates: A Review

P4P is a downloadable pdf pattern company (aka, purchase, print, tape the pattern together).  They design modern stylish patterns for everyday life in a respectable size range (from very small (XXS) to 3XL) which means I can sew with them for my sister who is a size 4 and my SIL who is on the larger end of the size range.  They  have maternity add-ons to their patterns.

 The patterns are 'no trim' pdf patterns; you can put them together with a glue stick and you don't lose the lines of the pattern at the edges of the paper.   Many (but not all) of their patterns have pdf layers.  That means you can print a single size instead of having to find your line in the many sizes (after printing and trimming a Jalie pattern, I would say this is a definite bonus).  You can also print two or three sizes to easily grade between them. 

The patterns are modestly priced (averaging about 7-10 dollars US each) and offer family bundle packs. They allow you to sew for others and sell the items made from their patterns at no extra cost.  

The woman's pattern block is based on a realistic curvy body shape. I have a generous 'european' curvy backside and I measure on the smaller end of the XL. I do not have to grade between sizes to get a pattern to reflect my waist curve.  The back rise on their pants reflects a curvy body shape and has a significantly longer back rise.  (Translation: if you need the StyleArc Flat bottom Flo pants,  these patterns are going to take work for you to get them to fit.)

Their block is based on an average height of  5'4" which is significantly shorter than the big4's block of an average height of 5'8".  I still had to shorten the patterns but I'm 5'1" if I measure right after I see the chiropractor.  On average, I took out an inch above the armhole, an inch between waist and hip on the tops and one to three inches between waist and the floor on the pants and the maxidress (a far cry from the average 7-10 inches I take out of most patterns).

Most of their patterns are designed for stretch fabrics, anywhere from 30 to 100% stretch.I have only tried the women's patterns and I haven't tried any of their patterns for wovens (none of them but the Linen Loungers appealed to me) but I made seven of their knit patterns. 


I love these patterns.  They fit the way they say they will (always a bonus!) and for every pattern you can see what they look like on lots of different sized and shaped people.  There is reasonable ease in the patterns I tried, in other words, they fit like they say they will.  The pants have decent sized pockets.  My iphone6 fits in my front pocket of my Sos pants.  They have lots of options in every pattern and they don't cost an arm and a leg. 

They also have an amazing community in their private Facebook group.  Lots of support if you need help with a pattern or a technique or need to figure out how to make a pattern work for you.  I am in good company with my crazy love of sewing an instant wardrobe. It made me feel better to know I am not the only crazy person who sews a wardrobe in four days.

You can try their legging pattern and skirt pattern for free. And that includes the maternity add on to the leggings and the color blocked version of their legging with pockets

I wish they would put up a top pattern for free as well because I think that they would sell more patterns if you could try both a top and bottom.  That said, I am sure there will be a lot more garments made from patterns by this company in my future. 

My first set: Sos Pants and the Essential Tank.  The tank fits exactly like a tank top I purchased and love.  The  pile of fabric is the plan of what is to come.  My sewing room looked like this when I started. 

Sos Pants made from stretch denim, and the Essential Tee without a band. The essential Tee fits like a tee shirt I purchased and wore out.  I am thrilled to find a tee shirt that is not tight across my belly and hips. Notice the clean sewing room.
Essential Tee and Sos pants. These pants are like the Jalie Elanor stretch jeans but they have real front  pockets!  I straightened the pants from an inch above the knee to hem so they are not tight on my calves.  I can roll them up to capris, no problem.
Sos Pants in black ponte, Essential Tee with a band in a rayon sweater knit. Wow, I need to clean that mirror.
Sunshine dress maxi with a lot more skirt than the pattern calls for because I wanted the fullness. I didn't put pockets in the skirt and I am going to add them. I wore this dress to karaoke with my daughter and goddaughter.  And how do other people get such good selfies?   These are my first selfies and they are no where near that good. You can't see the decent coverage on this dress.

August 5, 2017

The Wedding Dress

I'm reviving this blog to document my fibre frolics.

It probably won't be a lot of writing.  Once a month would be good.  But I  want to do a year of sewing stash patterns, in imitation of Sewing Pattern Review's Stash Pattern contest, and I thought that the blog would be the prefect place to document the journey. I collect patterns.  I need to use them or let them go. 

First up will be the Patterns for Pirates patterns I have in the stash.  I have a few I have tried and many that I need to sew that are all printed and ready to tape together. 

The other big project is the remake of  my goddaughter's wedding dress. We are adding a custom lace layer to her dress, complete with changing the top part.  Right now the skirt is taking up my dining room table while I bead and  there are beads and pearls and sparkles all over the house.  It is a little crazy.

But that is normal for Fibres and Fashion in the Fast Lane.

January 26, 2015

XL adults coat, supposed to fit a 46" hip.

I received an XL child's coat, with a 42" hip.  Needless to say, it does not fit.  I'm annoyed because I sent photographic proof, and got no response.  So here is the coat:

November 16, 2014

Just a little sewing

The sewing bee is on over at Sewing Pattern review.  I decided to enter, failed to finish my skirt on time, and then decided to go for the sew along part.

This is the result for the sew along for Round two.  Five men's silk shirts (two of them dupioni!) to this:

The lightest blue shirt will end up becoming a tank top, but it isn't finished yet.  The jacket is #518 Fantasia jacket.  It is an expensive pattern, and I love the shape, but it didn't have seam allowances added so I avoided using it for years.  I finally decided to just cut the pattern up and use it  The skirt is Lekala 5088, the free three seam skirt.  If you haven't tried them yet, you should.  It is a perfect fit.   

I didn't have enough shirt to cut the length I needed for the pieces, so the jacket is a little shorter than I want, but I still like it.  The front band is made from the front band of the dark blue shirt.  It means I can button the whole thing up, or wear it open if I want.  I didn't add the optional ties or darts, but I will for the next one. 

I lined the skirt, and used a petrasham waistband because I definitely didn't have enough fabric anywhere to make a full length waist band.  The back of the skirt is the front of a shirt with buttons all the way down.

I have to say that I love this outfit!  It is so comfortable.  My husband would not let me move the cutting board or the pins when we too the pictures. 

July 18, 2014

Long time, no post!


Last November, I took over as Youth Group Leader, and that killed all forward momentum as far as sewing was concerned, along with all knitting and almost all other forms of creative life.  I said I would be able to do the job until February; they hired a lovely replacement for me as of the end of May.  She is a fabulous replacement, and will be excellent at the job.  I really like her, and so do the kids which is the important thing.  

I survived writing a novel, and a novella, having my child register for University nearly six hours away, and we have almost  almost bought a house.  Paperwork continues to take left turns, but we are buying a house.

Now, I am going back to sewing (and writing), as much because I have to decide to either move it or lose it, and there is a contest to use stashed patterns at the moment.  Sew sew sew.

I have been totally inspired by Vivienne's Starting from Scratch series.  A fellow blogger has summarized all the post links  and given a link to the discussion on Stitcher's Guild, too.  And you can buy the wardrobe guides (which you should because they are awesome).  So between this inspiration and the contests, and the fact that I have time in between packing boxes, I am sewing.

Some sewing was successful, and will have pictures.  Some of it will not.

On my current fail and give up on the pattern because I do not want to move it list:
1.  Scout Tshirt, loved by many, but it did not work for my body.  It was bad, so bad I threw the garment in the trash.  I did not enter it into the pattern stash contest.  It is well drafted.  It is a great pattern.  I am short and curved; it is neither.  I looked like I was wearing a sac.  It had straight side seams.  

2.  Favourite Top Pattern
I'm sad this one was a fail because it is comfortable and loose and perfect for a summer top.  Unfortunately, it is straight and square, and I am short and curved.  I will put up a picture because it is a great pattern.  It just doesn't work on me.

3.  Tank Top
This one is maddening because it should work.  I ordered a pattern based on my measurements but did not make a couple of needed adjustments.  It has straight sides.  I do not.  The armholes were too low (right--remember those adjustments?  this was part of them), the top was too short, the sides were too straight.

Recognize a pattern here?  Yeah, by now, I should, too.

Oh, but there were also sucesses!

1.  These pants
Fabulous!  Muslin fit first time out.  Final pants needed about a half inch scoop in the back, and the front waistband lowered for my tilted waist, an adjustment that I need to do for nearly every pair of pants.  But, length, waist size, hip size, proportions, drafting--all excellent and looks great on me.  And they are so comfortable.  These are on my make again list.

2.  These One Seams
Yes, they look like pj pants (and one seams are really pj pants when all is said and done), but I am wearing them right now.  Minor changes at the waist, same as above, and otherwise fabulous.  I will be making more of these.  These are narrow leg pull on pants.

3.  The White Shirt
This one was awesome.  I finally figured out I should start with a free pattern to determine my adjustments.  I've worn this shirt a couple of days now, and it is really comfortable.  The only thing is that the sleeve pattern was three inches too short--easy to fix (and check for on further patterns).

4.  The T-shirt
Fabulous pattern, fabulous drafting, fits perfectly.  Drafted for petites.  Free.   I love it.  I will be making many more.

5.  Maxi Skirt  
Love it.  Fits as is, no changes.   Double layer skirt.  Will make more than one. 

So, tomorrow when I wash the shirt, pictures.