Sunday, April 24, 2016

Museums & Craft Shows & Thrift Stores, Oh my

I was lucky enough to get into the Big City a couple of times recently for some exciting crafty adventures. Living large... :)

My first trip was to Toronto's Textile Museum. This was a small, easily visited museum in the short time I had to pop over to it after meetings all day. I was most intrigued by the Eutopia exhibit. Unlike a utopia, a eutopia is an ideal but achievable future: the textiles shown were often activist projects or community building ones.

It was so interesting to see textiles used as activist material - craftivism is something I am very, very fascinated by so this was a great show to see. There was a neat interactive bit in which museum goers were invited to fill out a postcard stating their own ideal of eutopia. It looked like cross-stitch but is just a printed card; I like it.

One real highlight for me is that I got to see a real-life painting by Christi Belcourt in this exhibit. She's a wonderful Métis artist whom I recently found as a result of her collaboration with Valentino for their Resort 2016 line. I just love her work, which is inspired by the beadwork and culture of her Métis heritage. (if you are interested in this kind of beadwork, she's also written a book on the subject).   I recommend visiting this museum - they have a wonderful gift shop as well.

april 24 and 25 2015

The next big adventure that I had came thanks to friends who were attending the Creativ Festival in Mississauga and invited me to join them. Thank goodness it just happened to be my day off. I spent a day at this fun event, becoming saturated with colour and fabric and IDEAS! No, I don't need to take on one more crafting habit, but it sure is hard to say no to some of the wonderful things I saw.

I ended up focusing on my latest obsession, and this was the result:

I picked up one or two items at many of the booths I visited and now have a lot of new-to-me threads to experiment with. I was particularly thrilled at the wide choices in cotton perle, and the discovery of some glow-in-the-dark thread! Fun times.

The Creativ Festival also has free sessions you can attend throughout the day, and I was so pleased to meet Sherri of Thread Riding Hood, who was doing one of the presentations. If you haven't visited her blog, you've got to check it out. Tons of fun tutorials and great posts too.

One of the things I was excited about was meeting Maria Rypan of Rypan Designs. She's a Ukrainian beading expert who I've followed online for a long time, despite the fact that I don't do beading (my dad does a lot of it, though). I've always been impressed by her Ukrainian patterns and it was a real honour to meet her and chat with her for 15 minutes about her beading and about Ukraine. I was thrilled to meet her; she's like a beading rock star to little old Ukrainian Canadian me!

And then closer to home this week, I picked up this interesting little bundle at a local thrift store for only $2. It was folded into a small bag, with a tangle of threads on one side. When I opened it up, I was very pleased.

I think I'll finish it. Though I don't have a long dresser to lay it on, I'll find a way to use it. And not only does it come with all the remaining threads to finish the pattern, for some reason, there are 2 cards of ecru floche tucked in as well, one holding the needles that this embroiderer was using to work on this project. Love this.

And speaking of embroidery, I've been neglecting my big project which I started months ago - but finally have made some progress on it. Here's where I am now:

What creative adventures have you taken lately? Share any links or stories in the comments!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

M-M-M-My Moneta!

I was singing a song when I finished this dress! I love it.

I've had the Colette Moneta pattern for ages, but just hadn't got around to taping the pdf together & tracing it -- a common issue with many of my pdf patterns -- love them for accessibility, but hate them for how long it takes me to get around to tracing them. I found a great tracing material at the dollar store a few weeks back, though (it's a plant covering material that is almost identical to interfacing) and so I went crazy and traced off four pdfs in one weekend. Now I'm starting to work on them.

I'm glad I tried the Moneta first. Not only have I had the pattern for a while, I've had this gorgeous rayon knit earmarked for it for months now as well.It is an astonishingly soft and smooth fabric.

The Moneta is marked as an easy, beginner pattern. Not too many pieces, and with fairly simple techniques. All the fold under and stitch finishings are not exactly to my taste - while it worked on the sleeve and fortunately on the hem as well, with a bit of a press, folding under and stitching the neckline gave me a (sadly predictable) wavy neckline. I don't know why I thought it would save time to do it that way. 

To fix it, I measured the neckline and it was about 28" around. I certainly didn't want to enlarge it with a facing & seam, as it is already as wide as I could bear without major bra strappage going on. So I cut a neckband that was 26" by 2", and attached like a t-shirt neckband. It worked well, smoothing out the waviness of the original neckline as well as filling it in by nearly an inch. Perfection.

I love the side seam pockets and the gathered skirt. So comfortable and useful. I used the clear elastic method of gathering the skirt which Colette recommends, and I found it very easy and very convenient. No shifting around gathers while sewing to try to evenly distribute them. I even had a friend (who is not a sewist) comment on my even gathers the first time I wore it :)

This dress went together very quickly. I cut it and sewed it all on a Sunday. I had to make a few minor fitting adjustments; I cut Medium at the neck and shoulders, grading out to Large at the waist. I also pinched a 1/2" out of the centre front, as per usual on most things I make. Next time I make it I'll make a 1/2" swayback adjustment so it sits better. Otherwise this was a pretty darn good fit on the first go.

I'm enjoying my colourful Moneta, and know I'll be making another in future. This is the only Colette pattern that I've tried for which I hardly had to make any adjustments. Knits are so forgiving...and swishy!


Location: Confederation Park, Stratford. One of my favourite places, with pines and birches galore.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Agatha Christie Fabricville Dress

I have some exciting news to share with you all... I'm now participating in the Fabricville Blogger Network!

Fabricville is a large national chain here in Canada, and they are just beginning a blogger project, similar to those in other countries like the Minerva blog network, and of course the Mood Sewing Network. As a Canadian, I'm very happy to see a national chain start this kind of project here, and am even happier that I was accepted as a partner blogger.

My first dress was a super fun project.

Pop on over to Fabricville's blog to get the full story on this Agatha Christie inspired dress.

This was a great first project for this new initiative, and I look forward to working with Fabricville for more wonderful makes.