Sewing and lifestyle blog of a wannabe "full-time vixen"

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Spiffy Elbow Patch Mending Project

My friend Victor asked me a while ago if I could help him mend one of his shirts. He had worn out the elbows in this blue casual button up shirt and was wondering if I could put elbow patches on them.

He had tried sewing the holes shut himself but as you can see, he does not quite have the skill to give it that professional finish. He told me he’d just been wearing the sleeves rolled up anyways so no one saw his “handiwork”.

So I undid his handiwork and surveyed the real damage.

I had to think for a while how I was going to go about this process. I came across this blog post:

It was very informative and was the tutorial I liked the most. You see, I was wracking my brain trying to figure out how to finish the edges of the elbow patches. Use a turned under hem all around? I had a feeling it wouldn’t be as clean a finish on the oval shaped template I was using. For a square, rectangle, or more angular patch shape, that might be just fine.

The tutorial I found is ingenious though – make the patch out of two layers of fabric and sew them right sides together. Then leave a gap so you can flip it inside out after pinking the edges and iron that sucker down so it’s perfectly flat and oval. Then hand stitch the open gap.

I then hand stitched the oval elbow pads to the shirt with my trusty uneven slipstitch. I couldn’t use my sewing machine because the sleeves are much too narrow to jam into it. Plus the hand-sewing looks just lovely. I also used a whipstitch on the inside to sew the hole down to the patch. You can’t see it on the outside because I took care not to pierce the upper layer of the patch. I preferred the slipstitch to the blanket stitch for a more modern look. So many of the patching tutorials I came across recommended the blanket stitch. The blanket stitch is a little too rustic or crafty looking for my friend’s sense of style.

Now I know I keep mentioning this slipstitch of mine and for those not in the know, you may be wondering what it is. I scanned my Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing (I have a pristine copy of the older edition from the 70s, it’s amazing!) and provided the section on slipstitching below. If you click on the image, you can see the full size scan.

I learned how to do this hand stitch back in high school. It is one of my most used hand stitches because if you do it right, you will have a truly invisible and sturdy seam. I often use it to join the inside of the waistband or a facing to the interior of a garment for an invisible finish and prefer this to stitching in the ditch whenever possible. I prefer hand stitching for finishing off my garments to give it the nicest interior I can. Hand stitching is also such a soothing task and I’ll often sit and listen to Ted Talks or documentaries for a quiet moment to myself.

A Sneak Peak…

So I haven’t updated this blog in a while. Without getting too personal, there have been a lot of things happening over late fall/winter/early spring. I’ve been knitting, taking fashion design classes which require tons of homework, and trying to overcome procrastination. Yep, I’ll admit it, I have a problem with it. Most people do, so I’m not too ashamed and I’ve been working on developing good work habits. I think I’m starting to get out of my lack of sewing mojo! I’ve been working on a new spring project, and will be done in a week or so.

Here is some eyelet lace trim that I dyed tonight for the project. This used to be pure white!

This is my first time experimenting with dyes. I didn’t use anything fancy, just some all purpose Dylon dye that was on sale at Fabricland and cost less than two dollars. The colour is “Pagoda Red” and I’m satisfied with how it turned out. It’s currently soaking in a mix of vinegar and water to help it set a bit more. The colour looks a lot nicer in person and I look forward to more dye experiments. I would love to dye more trims which is a fun place to start for a beginner.

Now I understand the Dylon dye I used isn’t totally colourfast, which is totally fine for me and the purposes of my project. Next time I’d like to use a nicer dye that is actually fabric reactive.

I’m excited about the project I’m working on. It’s a dress and it’s gonna be quite girly and pretty. I hope to get pictures soon to share!

I still have other older projects to photograph, including the dress I finished and wore on New Years Eve. So my goal is to update this blog at a bare minimum of a biweekly schedule. See ya later for now!

Buttons for Ears

I’m behind on my blog posts due to it being summer (so many things to do!) and spending a lot more time on social events then personal development (i.e. sewing, knitting, crafting). But I’ll throw this short little post out there! I made some fabric covered button earrings for a friend’s birthday this past weekend. They are the first time I’ve made such a thing even though the idea has been swirling around in my head for a while.

I think they’re adorable! And I can see myself making a bajillion of these things for myself and for friends. They’re pretty easy to make so I’ll probably write a photo tutorial later this month.

EDIT: If you do a quick google search of “fabric covered button earrings” you’ll find plenty of tutorials so I won’t bother making one of my own, would seem pretty redundant. If you need help making your own, feel free to ask me any questions. Cheers!

Summer Sewing

Sneak peak of the current project I’m working on. Just taking a bit of a break with garment photoshoots which will resume next week.

I’ve been REALLY productive this week in practically all aspects of my life. My boyfriend has been/is away for a week and I decided to take advantage of his time away to do two things: sew like the dickens and start exercising again.

I’m proud to say that I’ve managed to do both! I enjoy both activities quite a lot and now I find myself looking forward to my next “fix” of either activity.

I also started keeping a log book of hours spent sewing right on the table where my sewing machine sits and it helps greatly in achieving my minimum goal of sewing for 7 hours or more a week (so at least one hour a day). So far since Monday, I have sewn for 7.5 hours already, spread out among four days.

I think part of my new-found vigor is due in part to a book I’ve been reading titled “Get Out of Your Own Way” by Robert Cooper. The book is about explaining some of your brain’s less productive habits through neuroscience and then giving methods for overcoming such brain obstacles so you can be more productive. Some of the advice doesn’t really apply to me (such as working in teams on a business project) but I still find those sections interesting and a little bit useful since it gives me insights into workplace politics and such.

I also watched Moonrise Kingdom this week by myself before it the theatres in Vancouver and enjoyed it superbly (I have this fondness of watching films by myself if it’s the right film. I watched Black Swan by myself and it was amazing). I totally have a costume crush on Suzy and all the costumes in the film. But specifically Suzy of course.

Check out this website for more examples:

I have been wanting to make dresses like these for at least a year or more now. I really need to get on this! They’re simple and classic and oh so girly. *swoon* I especially want to make a red dress with a Chelsea collar!

So here’s a hip, hip, hooray! for getting back on the sewing bandwagon. It has been a frustrating spring so I’m glad I’m over my slump.

Goo Set-eru!

 So my co-worker Vicky went on a trip to Asia a while ago and brought me back this device…

It’s called “Goo Set” and it’s pretty easy to use (although it came with an instructional cd/dvd on top of their instruction sheet for those who really need help figuring it out) and so here I go this morning…

I used the diluted Lottabody setting lotion that I use for my other curling projects on my hair and then let these sit for a bit. I had to head off to work so I used the blow dryer to speed things up at one point when it still wasn’t completely dry. Here is the result!

It’s not supposed to be very curly although I think next time I’ll try other hair products to put in my hair (I’ve got a variety!) and see which one induces the best results. After 5 hours my hair was quickly reverting back to normal though. I still like this! I would use it again just to give my straight hair a little somethin’-somethin’ for those days I don’t want to be plain ol’ me. This device only cost about $15 CAD so I’d say that’s a decent price for this thing.

I don’t like using hair straighteners or curlers or any kind of heated device on my hair. Also, I just really suck at using a hair curler. I have really bad hand-eye coordination so I really prefer methods where I just stick something in my hair and let it sit.

The best thing about this product? I kept saying “Goo Set-eru” in a cliche Japanese schoolgirl voice at work when I first got this. Goo Set-eru! Goo Set-eru! (My other co-worker Jen and her boyfriend will add the suffix “-eru” to anything you want to Japanify.)

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