Sewing Bloggers United for a Meet-up!

On Saturday, I was fortunate enough to attend my very first sewing blogger’s meet-up in Toronto, ON in Canada.  I made Cake Pops for the first time, for everybody.  They were a lot of fun to make, and I’m going to include the recipe at the end of the post.Cake Pops

Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow (who also made everybody colour coordinating name-tags!) and Adrienne from All Style and All Substance instigated (organized) this fantastic event for us, there were 18 of us in total, and I’ve linked to everybody in this post!  We all met up in the Fashion District, at Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue and carried on to visit fabric stores in the area.Sewists at the Blogging MeetupLeft to Right:  Andi from How Unseamly; Kristian from Victory Patterns; Dana from Wardrobe Dysfunction; Adrienne from All Style and All Substance; Sarah from Pattern Vault; Anastasia, sewist.Sewists on Queen StreetFrom Left to Right:  Vicki from Another Sewing Scientist; Sandra, JustSew; Chloe from Button and Needle;  Reethi from Weekend Crafting; Tracey, sewist; Debbie from Sew Debbie; Jagoda, FitNottoFit (in front).

Me, walkng alongside Queen W mural

Yours truly, walking alongside a mural on Queen St. W.

After this, we all met up at Tequila Bookworm, to eat, drink, exchange sewing stashes and be merry.  And we accomplished all of the above, with gusto!All of us around the tableFour people at the front, from left, Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow; Kay from Gently Down the Seam; Cathy from Seraphinalina and Kristin from K-Line.

Many of the attendees wore items that they had sewn themselves and it was such a thrill to see it all in person.

Everybody's Sewing Stashes on the Table

Everybody’s sewing stashes laid out on the table, waiting for the big exchange

Sewing Stuff I Brought

Sewing Stuff I Brought

Cake Pops

And Cake Pops

Vultures Sifting Through Stashes

Vultures Sifting Through Sewing Stashes.  Me, on the right, double-fisted with sewing loot! :)

Stuff I Got

Fabulous Stuff I Got

Thank you to everybody for coming out and making the day so successful.  I had a blast and enjoyed meeting and chatting with all of you!

Recipe for Cake Pops

Ingredients: (makes 20 pops)

  • Cake mix (either make your own cake or use your favourite mix)
  • 1 box instant pudding and pie filling mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk / almond milk / soy milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup Icing (make your own or use your favourite ready-to-use icing)
  • 1 packet flavoring for icing (I used strawberry)
  • 3 bags Candy Melts (cocoa, pink and white)
  • Cake decorating sprinkles (in a variety of coordinating colours)
  • 20 lollipop sticks

Instructions:

  1. In large bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, milk or milk substitute and oil.  Beat with mixer for 2 minutes and pour into a prepared 9 X 13 inch pan.
  2. Bake 30 – 35 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  3. Divide cake in half and use only half for cake pops.  Crumble cooled cake into crumbs with no large pieces remaining.
  4. Add flavour packet to icing, and add 1/2 cup icing slowly to crumbs, combining until mixture forms like a dough.  Form into tablespoon size balls, rolling in your hands until smooth.
  5. Refrigerate cake balls for 2 hours.
  6. IMG_3396Melt Candy Melts in separate small bowls until smooth.  Dip one end of lollipop sticks into candy melts and then insert into the cake balls.
  7. Wait until lollipop stick in cake pops have firmed, then dip cake pops into melted Candy Melts, varying the colours and layers.
  8. While Candy Melt mixture is still wet on cake pops, dip into cake decorating sprinkles.  Wait for Candy Melt mixture to dry on cake pops.
  9. Eat.Cake Pop

Sewing with Cats: Kitty Has Graciously Accepted An Award!

Most of you know, by now, the infamous Kitty, who is my sidekick, my Super Sewing Hero and my friend.  (The term, Super Sewing Hero was coined by blogger, Chris Lucas, and Kitty likes it!!).  He has graciously accepted an award: the much coveted Sewing With Cats Blog Award! Sewing With Cats Blog AwardThis award has generously been bestowed upon him from the exuberant science and cat enthusiast, Cindy, from Cation Designs.  She is a woman after my own heart as I am also a science freak, as education and profession can attest to, and cat lover, as Kitty can attest to.  Kitty had promised Cation Designs that he would dress for the occasion, to which she replied “If Kitty dresses up, it will be the best thing ever!!” (here, in the comments section).

So, without further ado, here is Kitty accepting his well deserved (his words) award. Kitty Accepting His Award Wardrobe Change 3What, you wanted him to wear a tuxedo?!  How ridiculous would that be?? A cat in a tuxedo!  And, he also took the time out for a wardrobe change during the awards ceremony.  Because that’s just the kind of Kitty he is.  Kitty Accepting His AwardGood Kitty.

One of the questions from Cation Designs that I’m to answer when accepting this award is as follows:Kitty Accepting His Award 2

  • Question (Cation Designs):  Are you ever afraid to post too many pictures of your helpful feline assistant on your blog, for fear of being labeled a crazy cat lady?  
  • Answer (Gjeometry):  Apparently not. 
Kittty Accepting His Award Wardrobe Change 2

“Help Me”

I obtained Kitty from an animal shelter, as I did all my pets (I had another cat and a dog, both my firsts and both of whom have now passed on. –WE MISS YOU!–).  And, when the time is right, I look forward to having another homeless pet adopt me, hopefully in the near future.  But, for now, It’s Kitty and I, teamed up to wreak havoc on fabric everywhere.

Thank you, Cation Designs, for such an honour.

Kitty Ironing

Kitty Ironing

Kitty Cutting Fabric

Kitty Cutting Fabric

Kitty Sewing

Kitty Sewing

Kitty Resting Up After All That Hard Work

Kitty Resting Up After All That Hard Work

And now that his momma knows how to sew, he can look forward to wardrobe highlights such as this:  Matching Mom and Kitty Outfits by the lovely and talented Cherry Pix.  After viewing her gorgeous renfrew tops, scroll down to the bottom of the post.  You’ll thank me.  :)

You Spilled Blueberries and Batwings All Over my Knit Tops!

Still continuing on with the fun of sewing knits.  I made the T-shirt pattern from the Craftsy Sewing With Knits course.  It actually started out as stark white jersey fabric.  Whiter than white can be white. White fabricAnd I thought, “it’s too white”.  So, I decided to dye it.  In the interest of environmental and health safety, I wanted to use something natural.  I have dyed things with tea before, and they came out a lovely sepia tone.  But wanted this one to be more colourful.  Have you ever been to somebody’s house and everything is completely white?  I mean, everything, furniture, pillows, curtains, rugs.  Not only does being there make one REALLY nervous, but, what are the two things you pray they don’t serve you?  Blueberry juice and red wine!!  So, those were the winners for the dyeing process.dyeing with blueberry and wine  I sewed up the T-Shirt first, then let it soak for about half an hour in the offending-to-white liquids.  Et, voila!!  It came out a subtle purple-grey tone.  I made the XXS, as I did with the fleece hoodie, but this one was not as roomy.  I would make the XS next time.  Knit Tee For the next knit top, I drafted my own pattern with instructions from the book, Downtown DIY Sewing by Alice Chadwick.  It included a body, cuffs, waistband and interfaced neck facing.Pattern DraftingI used gridded pattern paper.  I could only find paper with the grid in inches and my rulers are in metric, but not a big problem.  The grid makes it so much easier to measure and draft, and I highly recommend it!  And this was the end result:Dolman  Sleeve Knit TopIt is a printed jersey and was my first time using a directional pattern, stripes and a geometric floral band, and it lined up out quite well.  The pattern is a dolman / batwing sleeve style, remember those?  Dolman  Sleeve Knit Top 3I was having a twitter conversation with Charlotte from Seamripped and she was working on her own project and asked if the batwing look will come back in style.  I said “yes!” and have since found a lot of sites with batwing / dolman sleeve fashions that look quite stylish.  I like this shirt as it is a dressed up version of casual.  A bit like a fancier, more interesting sweatshirt, with all the comfort maintained.  Dolman  Sleeve Knit Top 2Update:  I have since worn this top and the neck facing would periodically turn toward the outside.  So, I followed some advice to stitch along the shoulder seams, stitching in the ditch, and through the neck facing.  I did this using a triple stretch stitch and it is really helping to hold the neck facing inside the top.

And the Winner of Pattern Pyramid and Sew Grateful Giveaway Is……

Oooooh, excitement has been palpable, here at Pattern Pyramid central.  As most of you know, this original idea was started by Karen at Did you Make That? and has been kept going by other wonderful sewing bloggers around the world starting their own Pyramid!  Here is the information about this Pattern Pyramid that I was lucky enough to win and to it, I also added a Sew Grateful Giveaway gift, consisting of a book titled “I Made It Myself“.

So, we began with printing out all the entrants, like so:Pattern Pyramid EntrantsThen, Kitty donned his track suit, and began warming up for the official officiating ceremony.Kitty in TracksuitKitty likes to pace himself and start out slow.Kitty Beginning Warm-UpKitty Beginning Warm-Up 2  Okay, VERY slow, but he did not want to get ahead of himself.  Before you know it, since Kitty is quite an impressive athlete, his warm-up turns into a frenzy of herculean feats.  So much so, that it is often difficult to capture his powerful and agile qualities on film.  Kitty tends to leap right out of camera view!!Kitty Warming Up

Kitty Jumping Right out of Camera View!!

Kitty Warming Up 2Afterwards, when kitty was all limber, the entrants names were attached to the official Olympic Kitty Torch, like so:  Names Attached to Kitty ToyKitty took his job very seriously, staked out the Torch carefully looking for his best port of entry.Kitty Staking out TorchKitty Staking out Torch 2Kitty Staking out Torch 3

Kitty approached from different vantage points, meticulously stalking the Torch, trying to mentally out-wit it.  Approaching From Differnt AnglesBegging the question, “Will Kitty actually pounce on Torch, thereby selecting a winning name???”  Kitty “tests” the Torch, sizing up his opponent’s strength and skill.  Testing the Torch Just when you thought it was all only a mind game, Kitty GOES FOR IT!!Kitty Goes For It 2  Kitty Goes For ItAMAZING!!!  Will these feats of unbelievable artistic athleticism result in a name being revealed??? Or will we have to do this all over again??  A tense yet exciting moment!  Let’s wait and see….A Name Comes DownAnd, a name comes down!!!!  Torn valiantly from the Olympic Torch by our very own brave Kitty.  Well done Sir!!!  Kitty investigates the winning name.Kitty Investigates the NameAnd the winner is Kaitui Kiwi!!!!The Winning NameCongratulations to Kaitui Kiwi from The Curious Kiwi.  We are all so Happy for you!!  And Pattern Pyramid gets to travel, yet again, to the area of the land down under, all the way to Wellington, New Zealand!  It is getting out its sunscreen now.  Kitty is Very Happy For You

Kitty is Very Happy For You!!

Kitty is Very Happy For You!!

I will contact you, Kaitui Kiwi for your snail mail and then send off the Pattern Pyramid and the “I Made it Myself” book to you.

Fearless February Project: Burda Style 7441

I am currently at work on my Fearless February Project.  This sew-along was started by Victoria, and her blog, Ten Thousand Hours of Sewing, is based on the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

In the book, Gladwell expounds the value of the “10,000 Hour Rule”, where success and mastery of something can be achieved but requires 10,000 hours of practice.  It makes me feel really motivated and positive about my sewing since as a beginner, I sometimes feel overwhelmed with all there is to learn.  But, with this idea in mind, I believe that I can achieve success in sewing!

I’m a fan of Gladwell’s writing and if you have not checked him out, he has published several books and they all infuse a fresh twist into the subjects of modern psychology and philosophy.

Okay, with that in mind, here is the Fearless February Project:  Burda Style Pants 7441.Burda 7441 Pattern  I began this project last year before ever having sewn a thing, and it was far too overwhelming.  And, in retrospect, it was not a good choice for an absolute beginner for several reasons: 1) The pattern is a Burda and I have been told they can be notorious for not providing the most detailed or complete instructions.  2) It is rated as a 3 out of 4 on a difficulty level.  3) Tailored pants are more difficult to sew than a simple skirt or top.  And, 4) These pants have a lot going on including, two different styles of pockets, darts, pleats, zipper.

However, with some experience under my belt, a slew of practice hours logged and a variety of projects completed, I felt ready to tackle these pants again.

All pattern pieces have been cut out, including lining and interfacing.  Pants Pattern Pieces Cut Out

The very first task (after sewing the back darts) was to construct the back welt pockets.  Wow, these were difficult to understand, the directions and pictures were not very explanatory and there seemed to be a few placement marks missing on the pattern pieces (i.e., sew lines for piping and pocket attachment).  But, with the help of my sewing teacher, and a few tears, I have now completed the back welt pockets!!  Back Welt PocketBack Welt Pocket InsideThere was a definite learning curve, and, one pocket looks better from the outside while the other pocket worked out nicely from the inside.  So, for the next pants, I should be able to construct a pocket that looks good from both the outside and inside.  I am now on to the front of the pants.  Wish me luck!

Pattern Pyramid COMBINED with Sew Grateful Week Giveaway!

Oooooooh!  Yes, indeed.  Pattern Pyramid arrived yesterday from the lovely and talented Amanda at Symon Sez, so exciting!  This pattern pyramid was originally started by the charismatic bundle of joy, Anne at Pretty Grievances.  It has been quite the world traveller, visiting various continents and countries, enjoying cocktails, romps on the beach, did some shopping and even bought some cute souvenirs for the little pyramids, at home.pyramidsThe Pyramid began with Velosewer, as the first winner.  It then went on to The Material Lady and next to Mrs. Mole at Fit for a Queen.  After this, Pattern Pyramid enjoyed it’s journey to Tulle and Tweed and straight on to my predecessor, the previously mentioned Symon Sez.  Fabulous!

Now, I also wanted to participate in Sew Grateful Weekhosted by My Happy Sewing Place, where bloggers can take the time to thank their readership and other bloggers for their ideas, comments, inspiration, humour, support, shares, insanity, mild profanity and many other things you can think of that put a smile on your face and make you feel loved.  So, with both events looming and with the addition of recently hosting a Pay It Forward event on my blog just 5 days ago, I realized I can’t do it all!!! I’m not a machine!!!!  :).

So, I decided to combine the two events and I am going to add a gift for Sew Grateful Week to the Pattern Pyramid for the next winner to keep.  I racked my brain to try to discover ‘what does an experienced sewist that has everything, need?’  I came up with the answer “I don’t know”.  Yes, a long, hard contemplative second that was.

So, I thought since many experienced sewers have so much, and they are constantly trying to just work through their stashes,  and also because I am a new sewer, I wanted to give a shout out to other newbies and try to light the fire of sewing and crafting inspiration!  So, I chose a book called:  I Made it Myself.  9781407553641_439_480  It is the absolute perfect gift for a brand new sewer.  Some of you must have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, younger siblings, neighbours, that you would like to inspire to learn to sew and create.  This book includes: a sewing kit, a variety of projects to complete, tonnes of pictures, instructions, a fabric and stitches glossary and templates to use to create a variety of fashion and accessory items.  (FYI, on the back it says, suitable for ages 7+ years, and I can see it working all the way up to a teenager, or even older!  Hey, we’re all kids at heart).

Ok, now on to the Pattern Pyramid Specs.  This is how it arrived, all tan and rested, a lovely globe spanning holiday it’s having, for sure.

Top Row:  Small Sizes, Middle Row:  Medium to X-Large Sizes, Bottom Row: Plus Sizes

Top Row: Small Sizes, Middle Row: Medium to X-Large Sizes, Bottom Row: Plus Sizes

Kitty went in to thoroughly peruse Pattern Pyramid. Kitty Peruses Pattern Pyramid 2 He investigated, he took his time, but finally, he selected the winning Pattern.  Note:  Kitty’s tail points directly at the winning pattern selection.  Clever Kitty!Kitty Chooses a Pattern

Pattern to Take Out

Pattern Removed to Keep

To the left is the pattern that I removed to keep for myself.  I will sew and eventually blog this item.  Stay tuned for that fun!

And below, is the pattern I chose to add back into the Pyramid.  It is a top and pants set, and the top has princess seams up the front and back, it is lined and has a front button closure.

Pattern Replaced Back into Pyramid

Pattern Replaced Back into Pyramid

The pattern was purchased before I had ever sewn anything.  I got it home, THEN checked the size….not even close.  So, hopefully somebody who is this size will be able to enjoy it.  Here is a more detailed breakdown of what is in the Pyramid:

Small Size Patterns:  clothing 8-12;  bra 32 A,B,C,D

Small Size Patterns: clothing US 8 – 12 (Eur.34-38); bra 32 A to D (Eur.70 B to E)

Medium to X-Large Patterns

Medium to X-Large Patterns: US 14 to 22 (Eur. 40 to 48)

Plus Size Patterns: XXL to 6X; 18 to 28 (Eur. 44 to 54)

Plus Size Patterns: XXL to 6X; US 18 to 28 (Eur. 44 to 54)

New Pattern Pyramid

New Pattern Pyramid

A quick synopsis of the RULES of Pattern Pyramid for those who are not familiar:

  1. Anyone, anywhere can enter the giveaway by posting a comment below by Sunday February 17, 2013.
  2. You must have an active blog.
  3. A winner will be randomly selected and contacted.  I will then post (mail) the pyramid to you, plus the Sew Grateful Week gift (I Made It Myself book).  Oh, how will Kitty top the last giveaway draw officiating tactics???  He is confident he can.  Don’t worry.
  4. The winner will then select a pattern to keep, add a pattern of their own back into the Pyramid and host their own giveaway. They will randomly select another winner and post (mail) the remaining patterns to that person, and etc.

Yippee!!  Good luck everybody!!  And Thank You to everyone for stopping by my blog to say hi!  I AM sew grateful.  :)  Feel free to follow my blog and/or my facebook page, as well, if you don’t already.  And let me know where I can follow yours!

Stretchy Fleecy Hoody? Oh Goody.

My first attempt at sewing with knits!  This one is made from a stretch knit microfleece.  Blue Fleece Hoodie3I’m afraid I was completely unable to shake the joy of animal prints ingrained in me by Jungle January, so I lined the hood with blue leopard print fabric.  Seemed the obvious choice.  I may have an animal print addiction; therapy might be necessary.

I am currently taking the Sewing With Knits class through Craftsy and this is the first project.  The pattern is from the class, except for the lining in the hood.  I added the lining, by constructing another hood out of the leopard print fabric, a thin knit jersey, and sewing it to the hood.Hood lining

hoodBecause I don’t have a serger / overlocker, I used the stretch stitch on my regular sewing machine (two stitches forward, one stitch back), it takes a long time and uses a lot of thread, but I think it looks better than a narrow zig-zag.  I also used an overlock stitch on the exposed seams on the hood and lining and a twin needle for the sleeve and bottom hems.  Fleece Hoodie showing hood lining