Online Sewing-Stuff Yardsale Extravaganza!!

This past June I had occasion to do a pretty significant purge of my sewing paraphernalia. For the past several years I’d been renting a room in back of a sewing machine sale & repair shop as my sewing “studio” (more like windowless-hole-in-the-wall, but it did the trick at the time!). However, the building was sold this spring, I knew I wouldn’t be able to find another such arrangement and I was already tired of travelling to sew anyway. Thus, everything was “repatriated” to our condo. It’s not a bad-sized condo, but it’s not a house either. While I knew I’d never be able to make the sewing stuff invisible, I was determined it should be as unobtrusive as possible. This meant a serious purge was needed – something I think is a good and healthy thing to do periodically anyhow and I was overdue.

Long story short, my loss may be your gain!

There hasn’t been much crappy stuff in my stash for years now, so I felt that what’s been purged was too good to go right into the donation bin. I wanted to try and find good homes for as much of it as possible and also try to recoup a small fraction of what I’d spent on it over the years accumulating it. I have an old etsy storefront, so I’m using for an online yard sale, and you can go check it out here.

There’s different kinds of treasures, such as:

Vintage Patterns

HOLD  Vintage early 1960s sewing pattern McCalls 6670 sz 14 - 34 bust

listing for this one here

Burda Magazine back issues

Burda sewing magazine June 2008. In English


Black and purple jaquard fabric yardage

listing for this one here

A few notions and trims

Button assortment!

listing for these guys here

And I still have some unused modern Vogue patterns to list and a few pieces of me-made & vintage clothing.

Go check it out – and tell your friends!

I’m not keeping the listings up until everything sells, only for a month or so – I need this stuff outta here. Whatever doesn’t sell will be donated, so if you see something that catches your eye, don’t wait too long on it.

Happy treasure hunting!

Tree Gown in Action + Another James-Inspired Dress

It only took about 6 months, but here’s my reproduction Tree Gown in action!


Photos were taken by my long sufferingly-devoted friend Stephan at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto – Thanks Steph! ;o)

Not the most inspiring backdrop for these two, but the lighting caught the details of the draping well.



Now that’s classy.

Carolyn 01


The MAC artist who did my make-up deliberately matched my lipstick to the colour of the dress! lol

Carolyn 02b


There were a lot of silly photos along the way. I call this face “Mrph”. You know, like the sound villagers in Minecraft make, lol.




Sooo…… not only did I take on the insane challenge of reproducing a Charles James gown, but I did another one for my friend, Jill!

Her’s is very loosely based on this James gown:

~Rose Clover dress c1953. Designer: Charles James  1906-1978  Medium: Pink silk taffeta, silk satin, and boning~

Jillian 01




I made her a little capelet with the leftover fabrics too.




Jill had some pretty great expressions during picture-taking. I hope she doesn’t mind me posting these, heehee. Hey Jill, lemme know if these are too undignified for you.


I love this pic of her so much.



You can get a sense of the “swoosh” of the Tree gown in these. I’d intended to get some video of its movement, but completely forgot.








I really wish this one was in focus, oh well, the movement still looks cool.









Jill captured wonderfully during a phone conversation, lol.





And then there was the random lime saga. See the lime beside Jill’s hand in the photo above? We noticed it shortly after taking this photo – see below.







Yeah, okay, enough with the lime.








We didn’t get many photos from the ball itself, it’s easy to forget once you get there.

But here’s a photo of my husband, Andrew, and myself taken for the Globe & Mail (I knew my big pink dress was going to clash with Andrew’s dress uniform. I didn’t care) – we got onto the society page! lol

Unfortunately, there are no pictures with my superhero cape :o( There was a little snafu and it didn’t make it to the hotel in time for the photos. I did have it for the evening, but like I said, it’s really easy to forget taking pictures once you’re there.

I guess this means I’ll need another occasion to wear this!

More Summer Dresses!

Whoopsie-doodle, looks like I took an unintended summer break from blogging – but not from sewing!

It’s technically still summer until Sept 20/21, so I’m not too late to post these….right?

Here’s some more of what I’ve been wearing this summer and a bit of where I’ve been, lol.

First up is yet another modified Macaron dress. Pity it’s so washed out in this photo as it was the best one of me. This is at a winery called “The Grange”. My husband and I did a little Prince Edward County winery tour one day. If you’re ever in eastern Ontario during the summer or early fall, I HIGHLY recommend doing this! It’s a spectacularly beautiful area, and a lot of the wine is really good! We came home with…….a goodly supply. ;o)


You can see the colours/patterns better in this shot of the back.


I do have some better photos of the front, but they’re kinda part of another post topic, possibly my next one – I started a new hobby this year ;o)

That behind me, in the photo below, is Chateau Laurier, which means we were in Ottawa. We spent a lovely quick visit to the city and some friends we hadn’t seen in a while. And I was able to re-stock on some tea at one of my favourite suppliers. They used to be in Kingston but closed a couple years ago (and there’s now a frozen yogurt place called “Menchies” – scowl-y face – in its stead).

You can’t tell from this photo, but……

2014-07-18 14.52.09

It’s a Belladone! Since last summer I’d wanted to try it out with a full skirt. Me likey! This is actually the second one I made like this, the first is down below – it got photographed later.

2014-07-18 14.52.19

Hey – who put the edge of that sidewalk there?

2014-07-18 14.51.24

A few weeks later I spent some time in Quebec City with my husband, Andrew. This is another modified Macaron, a la this Modcloth inspiration:

Puppies at Play Dress | Mod Retro Vintage Dresses |

I’ve made this  before, but wanted to try it with my go-to gathered skirt (which I actually do with my ruffler foot).


This dress represents one of those very very rare occasions when I purchased fabric specifically for it. I saw these two fabrics at Fabricland one day early in the summer and just KNEW they’d be perfect for this dress. And I was right! I really love this dress!


This is also Quebec City, but around about the suburb of Ste Foy. This specific little area is called Cap Rouge as it’s at the mouth of the Rouge River. It’s a really cute little heritage-y hamlet with a neat history. This was the site of an early French settlement – and I mean crazy early, like 1530s! Apparently it lasted only a few months.  They did one winter here and then left, I’m somehow not surprised by this.


This is the first full-skirted belladone I made. I used this great vintage or vintage-looking lightweight cotton that I found at Value Village. I didn’t buy it knowing I’d make this dress, but it was purchased the same day as the fabric for the previous dress. And I made this dress sometime in July, which means it was another super quick turn-around for me! Usually I make stuff from fabric I’ve had for years and years.


There are still a couple more dresses I made this summer that haven’t been photographed yet. Maybe I’ll try and get at least one done this weekend. Andrew may be home for the weekend, I can try and rope him into being photographer again – he loves that (that was sarcasm).

How was you summer for sewing? Does this tend to be a productive time for you, inspired by the weather to make sundresses, shorts, Tee’s, swimsuits, what-have-you? Or are you too busy having fun in the sun to get much done? (heehee, see what I did there? Now, no more rhymes now I mean it….anybody want a peanut?)

My MMM’14 Challenge Exception

In my first MeMadeMay post I mentioned that I’d allow myself one exception to the ‘sewing with only Indie patterns’ part of my personal challenge because I’d already planned & started it.

This post is about that dress.

Which was inspired by this dress I saw on Modcloth (probably one of my favourite places for idea shopping, I must confess)

Night Brunch Dress in Fern | Mod Retro Vintage Dresses |

I used this (OOP) Vogue pattern as a starting point for the bodice (how perfect, right!?)


And used a sleeve pattern piece from something I had kicking around.

I may reign in that bow somewhat, but overall I’m really pleased with it.


This was just about the only addition this year to my Canadian Spring wardrobe. I finished it early May and was able to wear it a couple of times during the month thanks to our late spring this year.

However, I was wearing this dress the first time I went bare-legged this year! I’d needed tights for the morning, but when out in the afternoon had to stop in at a coffee shop restroom to take them off because it was just. too. hot. with them on.


The main fabric is a wool blend I got from a store on Queen St in Toronto. The charcoal accent is wool that was leftover from a Zinnia skirt that I’d started. I, um, haven’t finished the skirt because, um, it appears that I may have used the piece I cut for the waistband, um, for some part of this dress without, um, realizing it. I think that mistake deserves a chorus of *facepalm*headdesk*D’OH* I have some little bits of the charcoal wool left with which to piece a waistband, I just won’t feel like doing that now until fall.


But, hey, Pockets!


I do love me some pockets.  Anyway, I did a hand-picked zipper on this and not 100% how I feel about it. The dress is actually a little on the loose side and the zipper is still showing at the waistband, boo. It helps that I generally hardly see it.


I lined the bodice with white cotton and left the skirt unlined. It’s worn with a slip when I’m wearing tights under it. I’m really loving this slip idea! I actually just got some bemberg lining to make a couple of “nude” ones to wear under lighter coloured winter-weight pieces such as this one.


MMM’14 Weeks 3 & 4

Super late post, but I did fulfill my pledge for MeMadeMay’14, both in terms of wearing at least one make from an Indie pattern per week and sewing only with Indie patterns for the month. Now, to be fair/honest I sewed several duplicates of a few patterns. I need new summer dresses and making a couple from the same pattern in a weekend was the most efficient/effective way to achieve this with my available time and applicable Indie patterns.

I’ve combined weeks 3 & 4 because a) I’d be even later if I did a post for each and b) there was a lot of repeat items over these 2 weeks.  But, they were all new makes, so it’s still fun!  The weather’s been funny over the past couple of weeks – very up & down, one day sunny and hot, the next cold and rainy, or sunny but with a strong cool wind. So what ended up happening is that I’d wear a new make on a nice day, plan to wear an older Indie pattern make the next, but the weather wouldn’t co-operate, oh well.  New stuff is more fun to show anyway!

So here we go:

On Tuesday and Wednesday of week 3 I wore 2 modified Macarons I’d made the previous weekend, I then wore them again on Tuesday and Friday of week 4.

Here’s #1:



The floral fabric is a vintage bedsheet from Value Village, the buttons are also vintage that I picked up at a vintage sale somewhere, sometime.


I think the sheet was only a twin size, but that was still wide enough that two panels from selvedge to selvedge made for a very full skirt – which I love!


There have been a fair few exposed zippers sewn this month. They’re just so quick and easy, they really helped me get through dresses in a jiff.


There are pockets, of course.


Full-skirted Macaron #2 (and I have plans for a 3rd!):


I love it when one of my cardigans perfectly matches with a print – without trying.


The matching accent fabric was also a real score. I’d bought the solid years ago as a remnant piece along with some other stuff (again – somewhere, sometime, I don’t remember). It’s a really lovely cotton sateen. I got the vintage cotton print at last year’s More than a Yard Sale fundraiser at the Textile Museum of Canada.  It was a total fluke that these two matched so well – must have been meant to be! Oh! And the buttons are more of the same as on the dress above. I had 6 of them and wasn’t too keen on using only 3 for the first dress. But I was delighted to find they would work for this one as well, so no awkward number of buttons were left over.


Hmm, in person the shoes seem to match better than they do in these photos.


The pockets in this one are placed more towards the front because the skirt is actually made of 3 selvedge to selvedge panels of the fabric. Being a vintage cotton it was only about 35″ wide. So there’s a front piece and two side/back pieces. I rather like having the pockets somewhat forward like this.


This is the 2nd Elisalex dress I made. It was done the same weekend as the first one, but it had problems.  See, this cotton print has stretch to it. I didn’t have any lightweight stretch cotton I could use as a lining. But I wanted to both line the bodice and maintain the stretch factor for a little extra comfort.  My solution? cut the bodice lining (from light pink broadcloth) on the bias.


I’m just so very clever, aren’t I? What a great idea-not-so-much. While the bias-cut lining did have give to it, it still wasn’t as stretchy as the fabric and resulted in weird pulling at the back neckline. It took me a while to figure out what was causing it.


Once I did, I left the dress be for a while because I realized it meant re-doing a lot of the bodice lining seams and finishing. I needed some space from the dress before I fixed it, I took a week’s break.  I’m so glad I went back into it, though. It would have bugged me so much if I’d not fixed it and I wouldn’t have wanted to wear the dress. This would have been a shame because – this fabric! I love the print and colours of this fabric! I don’t know if this colouring totally suits my colouring, but I don’t care.


Instead of regular piping to trim the waist and neckline I did sort of a flat piping (I’m sure there’s a term for this, anyone know?) out of a co-ordinating stretch cotton sateen. The colour isn’t a perfect match, but you don’t really notice with the dress fabric being so busy.

Oh, so I wore this on Thursday or Friday of week 3 and Wednesday of week 4


I made this dress the last full weekend of May but wasn’t able to wear until the last day of May because it got chilly that last week.

I call this: The Mod-Maca-Thorn!


Ooh, indeed, Carolyn.

This dress is a hack of the Macaron combined with the skirt pieces from Colette’s Hawthorn pattern to re-create this dress from Modcloth:

Puppies at Play Dress | Mod Retro Vintage Dresses |


Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. And guess what – it’s another vintage bedsheet from Value Village! I’ve had these sheets a few years now and am so happy to finally start using them (they take up a lot of space on the fabric shelves).


I’m also very happy that the half circle/A-line skirt looks ok on me, I wasn’t completely sure it would, I’ve gotten so used to wearing gathered or box-pleated skirts. The skirt is modified from the pattern as well in that I cut the front on the fold at the centre front line.


There are a couple of issues with it, however.  Firstly, the straps are too far out on the shoulders (hello brastraps!). Fixing this means altering the pattern because the straps are cut in one with the upper band rather than being separate pieces. rather like a yoke. I like having made it that way, it just needs a wee adjustment.

The second issue, also with the straps, is that they’re too long and want to fall off my shoulders. Not difficult to alter on the pattern, however, and the dress itself is still wearable. If we get really hot weather this summer I can see this being worn quite a bit as it’s very lightweight.

And I’ve already got fabric lined up for a second one – hopefully my pattern revisions will do the trick!


This one is sort of a bonus piece. I haven’t actually worn it out yet and it wasn’t finished before the end of May. However, it was started before the end of the month and as (my 3rd) Cambie dress, is another Indie pattern make.


This is one of my absolute favourite patterns, I want so many of these!!!


Oh, and fun fact: apparently coral is the most universally flattering colour for clothing. It supposedly works for most if not all skin tones and colourings!  So this is my 2nd coral dress and I have one more piece of coral fabric (a stretch cotton pique) in the stash.  But I think I’ll leave it for another year.


I’ve started a full-skirted Belladone dress, but sewing’s got sluggish lately and I took my machine in for a check-up this past week, so was without it for a few days.

Now what did I learn/realize by participating in MeMadeMay’14?

1. I need to make an effort to use my Indie patterns more often throughout the year, they’re pretty great! I would have like to add to the collection this month, but really wanted to get use out ones I already had. The way I figure it, the more iterations of a pattern I make, the less the pattern cost for each one.

2. I’m seriously crazy about full-skirted dresses, but I’m ok with it. I love the way they look and find them so, so comfortable as you’ve got no restrictions on the legs whatsoever. Much better than pants, in my opinion. Hey – speaking of pants, have I mentioned that I recently realized I haven’t worn a pair of pants (not including shorts here) in over a year? And I don’t miss ‘em!

3. I came to the conscious realization that my favourite thing to wear is dresses. They really are my preferred garment – fun to make, so easy to wear, no mixing & matching separates. So I’ve made the deliberate decision to make the rest of this year the “Year of the Dress”. I’ve decided that I would really like to have a core collection of dresses for each season, so that will be my sewing focus over the next half-year. I apologize in advance (ok, not really) if that means show & tell on the blog gets repetitive-looking. These dresses will follow a basic formula of fitted bodice + full(ish) skirts.  We’ll see how much variety I come up with within those parameters!

MMM’14 (my) Week 2 Round-up

Well, late again.  But at least by not as much this time.  I was hoping to be able to wear 2 Indie Pattern pieces for my 2nd week, but had to make do with one.

Both are Elisalex dresses from By Hand London that I made last weekend, but the other ended up with some funny pulling at the back neckline and it took time to figure out why.  I’m only just actually fixing it this week.  I’ll explain more when I post it – hopefully as part of this week’s round-up.

So here is Elisalex #1, I wore it on Monday (and over this past weekend as it’s so comfortable and great for cool-ish spring weather).  It’s actually made from drapery-weight fabric I found at Value Village within the last couple of years.  I think it’s a great weight of fabric for this style, especially for helping the skirt hold its shape.

I decided to get snazzy and accessorize with a vintage purse for this photo! lol


I altered the cut of the skirt a little from the pattern.  I find I prefer having a very comfortable amount of leg-room in my skirts/dresses so made the hem fuller than the pattern has it.  I basically ended up cutting the side seams straight and letting the large inverted box pleats do all the shaping.  So, it’s not got as exaggerated a tulip shape as intended, but it suits my tastes and preferences better this way.


This is already a new favourite pattern for me – I envision several more Elisalexes in my future!  It’s just so easy to wear and instantly makes you feel well-dressed


Apart from that I just tweaked it for fit (still a work in progress, but I hope one or two more versions will get it just right!).  I added self-fabric piping at both the neckline and waistline to add a little more definition and give a really clean finish.


I’ve been busy at dress sewing again this past weekend, and so anticipate having lots more to show for myself with my next round-up!

MMM’14 (My) Week One Round-Up (yeah, it’s really late)

My post may (heh, May, geddit? yeah, that was bad) be late, but my first week of the challenge went well.  I wore not one, not two, but 3 pieces of made-from-an-Indie-pattern clothing this week!

On Tuesday I wore this ensemble:


Both pieces are made from Colette patterns.  The blouse is a washed dupioni silk Sencha (version 1) and the skirt is the more recent Zinnia (version 2) in a black wool/lycra blend.


I made the blouse a little over a year ago while I was in the UK, where I got the great big shell buttons I put on the back!  I made the skirt a few weeks ago when I realized I lacked the basic of a black skirt.


To be honest, I haven’t been in love with this blouse, but I really like it with this skirt!  I also really like the skirt, so hopefully there will be more options to wear the blouse with in the not-too-distant-future, lol.

The 3rd piece this week for my challenge got worn on Saturday, my Belladone dress from Deer&Doe that I made last summer.  Yep – Tuesday I was still wearing tights (and a little chilly taking photos without a sweater) and by Saturday I was wearing a summer dress and barelegged.  Actually, the bare legs started on Wednesday – I started walking home after a day of exhibition work and had to stop into a coffee shop for something cold to drink (iced tea) and to take off my tights ’cause it was just too warm!  That first day going bare legged was awesome!! It also ended up being my first day to feel up the new grass with bare feet, lol.

So anyway, these photos were taken at the end of the day (tired), no makeup or anything.  I’m going to try and avoid no makeup photos from now on.  As for the rest of the outfit, in case you’re wondering, the cardigan is Dream of the Crop from Modcloth (I have it in black also but do wish they’d have more colours of these, I love them and am actually willing to buy cute little cardis….for now), the shoes are thrifted (I still can’t call 80s stuff “vintage”) and I made the necklace myself with a vintage enamel brooch as the flower.  Too bad the little red polka dots on the flower don’t show up too well, they make it really cute and fun.


I did have a great little experience in this outfit. Earlier in the day I had to get a few groceries and while walking to the store a woman doing yardwork in front of her house called out to me from across the street to tell me how much she liked my outfit!  What a great boost to an already pretty good day!


I got silly with a couple of the photos – can anyone tell me how to make a gif (is that it?) from these last two photos? heehee



The reason I’m late posting these is that I spent the whole weekend sewing.  I managed to get through 2 Elisalex dresses!  And I can confidently say I’ve found a new favourite pattern – but more on that for the next MMM’14 post – which will hopefully be on time.