Thursday, 21 May 2015


So... I kind of disappeared there for a while (like, you know, 6 months). Anyway, let's just agree that blogging is hard and move on, ok?

So what have I been up to? In real life news, I finally got myself a job back in December (meaning I was unemployed for a crappy 3 months). Really, that's about the only thing I have to report about my life outside the sewing room.

And I have actually been sewing and a have a small backlog of things to blog. Plus I fell down a bit of a cosplay rabbit hole, so I have a costume completed as well. And I'm currently working on a Lady Skater dress ('bout time).

So the next step is to get my butt in gear and get some photos of my backlog of projects. Fingers crossed it doesn't take another 6 months!

Friday, 28 November 2014

Making Decisions... wanna help?

Ok, here's the thing. I've recently gotten really interesting in historical clothing. Not for the first time, but anyway, my intense love of Victorian fashion is once again rearing up. I want to talk about it. Which, for me, means I want to blog about it. And not just Victorian. I've found a Regency ball talking place 3 hours from me at the end of February that I would love to attend (I'm on the waiting list, since it's sold out). I'm interesting in pretty much everything from Rococo to the Swinging Sixties.

So what's the problem? Well, I'm still going to be making modern clothes for day-to-day wear. So basically, my sewing is going to be a mish-mash of modern and historical in the foreseeable future and that's where I'm a bit stuck. Do I keep everything all on one blog, posting a modern skater dress one week, then rambling on about corsets and petticoats the next? I'm worried if I do this, modern sewers who might read my blog will be bored to tears by the historical stuff and historical sewers will just skip it because, well, boring modern stuff. Should I even care? Not many people honestly read this blog, so should I just say screw it and talk about what I want, went I want? Or should I leave this blog for modern stuff and start a second blog for everything historical? This would keep everything nice and separate (which would make me happy too). However, that's 2 blogs to manage instead of one and would probably mean fewer updates, although, if we're honest, consistent updating is not really a strong point of this blog anyway. And which blog is Bobbins and Bustles? I feel like that's more fitting for a historical blog, but I've mostly been using it for modern sewing, so it's kind of confusing to move pretty much everything to a different blog and the people who do follow me on Bloglovin would probably be a might confused.

Anyway, I'm going to think on this for a while, but if you have an opinion, I'd love to hear it. And if not, well, consider this your warning if things get weird in here.

But it's so fluffy and pretty!!! Source

Friday, 14 November 2014

Fancy-Shmancy Purse: Burda 8136

While I was at a friend's wedding this summer, I found a major hole in my wardrobe: a fancy evening purse. I have another friend's wedding coming up in January (outdoors in the Canadian Rockies - BRRR!!), so I figured I would make myself an evening purse for that occasion.

I went with Burda 8136 as it was in my stash from when I first started sewing and I bought every pattern I remotely liked from the bargain bin at Fabricland. I made view A, but added a strap, since I have a fear about losing a clutch purse as it can't be attached to me in some way.

For this one, I used black taffeta from my stash that I think I originally bought at Fabricland to trim Simplicity 2512 in my early sewing years (3-4 years ago ???). This skirt eventually ended up in the bin due to some intense gathering drama and a poor fit. So now this taffeta goes on to be a purse! I used some white poly lining for a nice contrast (same as the lining of my A-line skirt). I interfaced the bag with some pretty light interfacing, since that's what I had on hand, but I now regret not using something more substantial to give the bag a bit more structure. It will work fine though.

As I mentioned, I wanted to add a strap to prevent me from losing my purse (as fancy events often mean alcohol for this girl). I was originally going to use some chain, but I couldn't find any I liked on my notions trip to Fabricland. So instead I got some kind of pleather trim that has plastic laced through it. I tested it a bit and figured it would be strong enough. After all, this is the kind of purse that holds keys, phone, ID, cash and lip gloss only. It's a bit of a contrast from the taffeta of the bag, but I think it works okay.

This was my first time in a while sewing with a Big 4 pattern and I found I kind of missed the hand-holding you get with lots of indie patterns. I'm still not sure if I did a couple parts right. For example, on the front part that is pleated, it had you baste the hem at the very start, then never said anything else about it. So I'm not sure if I was supposed to actually hem that or just leave it folded up. I just left it and so far it hasn't flipped out, so I guess that's good.

Other than that, it was pretty simple to put together. It took me a couple tried to figure out have to tuck the zipper end to the inside, especially because I didn't leave myself much room to do it. I didn't like that there was no finishing on the end of the zipper.

I can't see myself making this pattern again until my purse falls apart. I'm not crazy about any of the other designs, especially because I like a bit bigger purse for day-to-day. But I am looking forward to taking this one to my next fancy event.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Colour-blocked A-line Skirt

I'm sure many sewists active on the interwebs were aware of the Surprise Sewing Bee Contest going on over at Pattern Review. For fun, I decided to give it a try. The first round challenge was to make at A-line skirt. It's a bit different sewing something you are told to, since I almost only sew for myself and generally make whatever I want. It required a waistband, lining, zipper, closure and hem.

I went through my patterns and the only thing I had that really fit the challenge was the A-line Variation of the Pencil Skirt found in Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing. Basically, I added 3 inches to the hem on both front and back, then re-drew the side seam lines to meet up with the original lines at the hip. I also omitted the back kick pleat. To make things a bit more interesting, I added some colour-blocking that matched the contrast waistband. Oh, and I added pockets, since I hate not having access to pockets. But more on that later.

I made this with two kinds of twill I had hanging around in my stash. The black twill came from Walmart s few years ago (2011?) back when the ones here still cut fabric. The grey is Galaxy twill from Fabricland last winter. It was pretty interesting to see the differences between these two twills. The biggest difference is that the black twill attracts cat hair like no one's business, while the grey does not.

When I did a test fitting on this skirt, it was really tight and the waist was REALLY high and I didn't find it comfortable at all. So I chopped 1.5 inches off the top of the skirt. I think it was a bit too much, as now it's a bit too loose (plus a bit of weight loss on my part I think). But it's pretty comfortable and I likely won't tuck my shirts in when I wear it. In fact, I'm not crazy about the shirt-tucked-in look I have in the photos, but I needed them in for the contest and wanted to show the waistband. Plus, I think it helped the proportions of the colour-blocking. Also, this skirt was really long! I think it's designed to hit somewhere below the knee, but I don't think that's a good look for me, so I hemmed it really deep to hit above my knee.

Finally, the pockets. I mess up on these and didn't realize until the skirt was pretty much finished. I drafted my own pocket bag because it is pretty simple when you have your brain working. But I completely forgot to add the seam allowance ! So these pockets are pretty darn snug. I can still cram my hands into them, so they will work, but it's a lot tougher than it should be. But look! My crazy cat lady fabric is back! Hooray!

Overall, I think I have a very wearable, season-appropriate (yay!) skirt. It's not my favourite skirt ever, but I think I will wear it quite a bit with tights through winter. Unfortunately, I didn't qualify to move on in the competition, but I'm still pretty happy with how things turned out.

Pattern: altered Pencil Skirt from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing
Fabric: ~0.5 m black twill from Walmart, ~0.5 m grey galaxy twill from Fabricland and 1 m slightly pinkish poly lining from Fabricland.
Notions: 9 inch grey zipper, 1 pleather-covered button and thread (black, grey and white)

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Sewing Magazine Party!

Earlier this week, I was browsing on Kijiji (Canada's version of Craigslist) and I found someone selling a bunch of old sewing magazines for cheap. So I emailed and we arranged to meet up and closed the deal!

I'm pretty excited because I think I got a pretty awesome deal. Altogether, I got 30 magazines for $20! Here's the breakdown of what I got:

13 Burda World of Fashion (July 2004 - August 2006)
1 Burda Petite E802 (not sure of year)
2 Australian Stitches (2001)
1 Ann Person Make It Fun & Easy (1980)
1 Pfaff Creative No. 2
1 Vogue (April/May 2004)
1 Sew Beautiful (2001)
10 Threads (Nov. 1998-May 2006)

So a lot of stuff from the early-mid-2000's with a few older ones thrown in. I haven't had a chance to look through most of them yet, but I've already found a jacket I'm dying to make. So scary to think that the seller's boyfriend wanted to throw all of these into the recycling!

In other sewing magazine news, has everyone heard about the new sewing magazine from Colette patterns: Seamwork? If you still haven't signed up for the preview, you can do so here. You'll even be entered to win a subscription (and if you use my link, I will get a second entry).

Monday, 3 November 2014

Crazy Cat Lady Sorbetto

When I heard about the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge, I knew it was something I had to do. Because I am ridiculous. I excitedly headed out to the local fabric store to see what I could find. The answer? Almost nothing. Nothing in the garment fabrics and only one cat pattern in the quilting section, which was all kinds of derpy. So what's an overly excited sewist to do? Buy it anyways!

Cat Lady Sorbetto

That's how I ended up with a length of beige fabric covered in half-derpy cats. And my one and only beige top. It's not a colour I usually wear, since it washes me out, but it's for a good reason. Behold, my crazy cat lady Sorbetto!

Cat Lady Sorbetto

This was my first time making my own bias tape, so that was a success in itself (minus the part where I burnt my finger on iron steam). As far as alternations, I lengthened the top by 2 inches, omitted the box pleat and shortened the shoulder straps in an attempt to stop the neckline and armholes from gaping.

Cat Lady Sorbetto

And that's the biggest issue I had was once again a gaping neckline. I shortened the shoulder straps and it helped a bit. In fact, it looked not bad until I added the bias tape, which made it much worse. This is the same issue I had with my first Sorbetto, so I think I'm going to have to make a hollow chest adjustment if I make this pattern again.

Cat Lady Sorbetto

I actually ended up planning my entire Halloween costume around this top. Yep, I went as a crazy cat lady. Including hair rollers, fluffy pink bathrobe, slippers and a purse full of stuffed cats (stuffies, not taxidermy fyi). Unfortunately (?), no photos of the costume have surfaced yet, although I know they are hiding on a couple sd cards somewhere. If I find them, I'll add them to the post so you can see me in my crazy cat lady glory.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Megan Makes a Quilt (or two)

As you may or may not know, besides this blog, I also run a book blog (Megan Likes Books, if you're interested). With that, I joined a group of fellow bloggers while I was living in Edmonton and we would meet up every month or so. One of them recently became a first time mom and another will be in just two weeks! Someone suggested we all make quilt squares based on our favourite childhood books and make them baby quilts. Everyone agreed this was a good idea and, since I'm the only one with a sewing machine, I volunteered to put them together.

And this is where I learned a few things from my first time sewing with others.

1. Don't expect everyone who initially agrees to follow through.

Of the people who originally signed up, a few had to drop out due to time constraints. We were already short on squares to begin with, so this meant fewer personalized squares and more plain fabric squares.

2. Be flexible.

We agreed squares would be 6.5 x 6.5 inches. When the submitted squares arrived, some were cut a bit wonky, so lining things up was a bit difficult. One lady misread the instructions and her squares were quite a bit bigger. So I decided to be flexible and changed up my plans for the quilt to put her large squares in the center. They are the cute Beatrice Potter squares that she quilted to be kind of 3D, which is cool.

Once everyone's squares had arrived, I was feeling a bit of a time crunch, so I didn't make any personalized squares myself. I was also shocked how difficult it was to find bookish quilting fabric. I found hamburgers, but no books. I did find some Richard Scary fabric which I was loved and the little boys in the one fabric kind of reminded me of the boy from Where the Wild Things Are. The other two fabric are kind of generic baby.

The Winnie the Pooh is actually cross-stitched!
The backing is a special baby fleece that I just thought was cute. The batting is some kind of natural fibre product in a package I bought because the store was packed and I didn't want to go back into the cutting table line (there was a huge sale going on). The edges are bound in extra-wide, double fold bias tape I originally bought to bind the insides of my Albion I'll be starting soon. But the ribbon I was originally going to use ended up not working out, so I made due.

So this is my first time attempting a quilt of any kind. I think it turned out not too bad. Not everything lines up and the corners are a bit dodgy (on both, even though I tried a different method on each). It's not 100% square, as I found when I was folding it. Although it's nowhere near as bad as the angle of the photos makes it look. But I doubt the babies will care! And the mom's seemed to really like them!

Do you recognize any of your favourite childhood books in there? Besides the Richard Scary fabric I mentioned, there's also Peter Rabbit, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh and Harry Potter!