A Tour of my New Fabric Stash, in Which There Are No Fewer than Two References to Farts

I picked up a few new fabrics! Let me take you on a tour and maybe you can help me decide what to make. I found them all at Designer Fabrics on Queen Street West here in Toronto while on a BLIND FABRIC DATE with someone from Vancouver! I’ll keep you in suspense about that until the end of the post. ๐Ÿ˜›

Also, hello and welcome to new readers who kindly popped by this way last week for a look, after Rhonda of Rhonda’s Creative Life did a lovely review of this blog for her Wednesday Showcase. What a wonderful surprise that was! ๐Ÿ™‚

Right, so let’s tour the latest additions to my fabric stash:

Some new fabrics I bought recently

1. “Dolce & Gabbana” rayon knit with Roman floral print ($10.99/yard).

Just turn your head sideways to enjoy this. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m almost finished sewing the Burda Long Blouse below (05/2015 #111) with this material.ย  The blouse turned out to be a 4-person tent and needs some serious reduction surgery, so pics to come once it has come out of the operating room. (I’m also in the midst of sewing those “joggers”, which I can tell already I’m going to regret…but there will surely be a laughable sad-sack blog post to come out of it.)

Burda 05/2015 #111 Long Blouse #114 Joggers

But I still have plenty more yardage! I went back for seconds when I discovered how hard I’d fallen in love with it. What on earth will I do with all that loud fabric?? Perhaps an actual tent is not a bad idea.

The fabric was labeled as Dolce & Gabbana in the shop, but I’m guessing it’s simply some non-designer fabric “inspired” by D&G’s Spring-Summer 2014 collection, which featured images of roman ruins, roman coins, and florals:


I’m thinking I might make a summer dress with a bit of swing in the skirt. Not too many seams so as to show off the print to its best advantage, yes? But I don’t have anything in mind yet…do you have any suggestions?

2. Black, white & pink lightweight polyester knit, $6.99/yard. I’m thinking I’d like to incorporate a panel of this into a mostly black garment…maybe use it for the side panels of V8871? Or maybe just do the whole dress in it? It would also make a nice infinity scarf. I love the pops of bright pink.

3. Off-white textured stretch polyester, $6.99/yard. This one’s got a bit of body to it. The textured, blocky pattern made me think “mod”, so maybe a short 60’s-style shift dress? I do have this vintage pattern which could work:

But I think I’m leaning towards making another one of Burda’s popular Wrap Blouses (04/2014 #115). The one I made below is 4 inches longer than the pattern calls for, but perhaps I’ll make the white version more cropped & boxy, as I think that might suit the fabric better.ย  Never mind whether or not it would suit my aging pot belly better! But I’ll keep it covered with a white t-shirt underneath anyway, as those front flaps fly in fluttering flatuses*, flagrantly flashing flabbiness otherwise.

4. Black and white textured “animal-ish” print, whichย  is definitely going to turn into this diagonal-seamed shift dress, complete with exposed zipper, from Burda Easy magazine Autumn/Winter 2014 #4G:

5. Japanese printed cotton. Sorry about the wrinkly pic! This has an almost hand-painted look to it and was $13.99/yard.

I’m not usually a big fan of sewing with wovens (it’s more about wearing than sewing, actually — I much prefer to wear knits) but this fabric was pretty inspiring, especially because it has two ‘good sides’ with slightly different colours on each side. Immediately I thought of this halter dress that exploits both sides of a fabric in the design — most of the dress is wrong-side out except for the swoopy thing across the front & shoulder. I’m not sure this style of dress is something I’d be comfortable wearing, but I’m tempted to just sew it anyway because I’m feeling inspired.

If I chicken out on the halter dress — and I probably will; who needs to be farting around with strapless bras in a summer heatwave, anyway? — I think this Lynn Mizono pattern, V1410, would suit the fabric quite well. This is one of those patterns that I bought precisely because it’s a bit weird. Which is also precisely why I am unlikely to wear this one either, but highly likely to sew it.

Right, so the BLIND FABRIC DATE.ย  Vancouver Barbara is someone who comments on this blog every once in a while. She wrote that she fell so in love with the fabric I had used on this dress that she called up King Textiles in Toronto to buy some, but it turns out they wouldn’t agree to ship any unless she bought some huge amount like 12 yards or something. So she did! I thought that was awesome — she’s a woman who knows what she likes! Anyway, Barbara was passing through Toronto recently on her way to exciting places in Europe, and decided to invite me out for a coffee. Am I ever glad she took the chance! What a lovely lady. We chatted about our shared interests in sewing and art and jewelry and then popped into Designer Fabrics and the Workroom to ogle fabric. She was wearing an extraordinary patterned grey & black jacket she sewed with hot pink topstitching all over the intricate pattern — what a showstopper! Anyway, it was great to have the opportunity to meet up with a fellow sewing enthusiast and have it turn out to be such a delightful time. Perhaps when Barbara returns from her travels I’ll convince her to send me some pics of her jacket to share with you.

Thanks for reading! Do let me know if you have any suggestions for what to sew with these new fabrics!

*Most dictionaries will tell you this means fart, but I found one that gives an alternate definition of “a puff of wind”. I was desperate to milk that alliteration for all it was worth. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hey Vogue Knitting, I want my 5 bucks back

Have you seen the hot mess that is the Vogue Knitting Early Fall 2013 edition?

I’m usually happy to buy a download of Vogue Knitting without having first eyeballed the patterns before parting with my cash — usually there are some great patterns and it’s certainly worth a few dollars. But I have three words for you about this issue (or, ok, a few phrases with 3 words in each of them):

Knitted. Varsity. Jackets.

Intarsia. Animal. Faces.

Cropped. Wool. Sweaters.

This is a joke, right? The new April Fools’ Day is in now in June, right?

Just LOOK at these designs.

Vogue knitted varsity jacket. Um, no.

Vogue knitted varsity jacket. Um, no.

More ill-advised varsity jacket designs.

More ill-advised varsity jacket designs.

I’m sure the folks who designed these are smart, talented designers, and did what they could under the circumstances when a Vogue Knitting editor said to them, ‘hey, guys, we’re going in a really exciting direction this time. For this issue we’re gonna do VARSITY JACKETS!’.

Now get a load of this. It has all the latest essential design elements stylish gals want: it’s a vest! It’s a vest with a zipper! It’s made from Christmas colours! And who can resist a green and white puppy! Is this really in Vogue magazine??

A chunky, zippered Christmas vest with a puppy on it. You heard me right.

A chunky, zippered Christmas vest with a puppy on it. You heard me right.

Whoo boy.

Whoo boy.

And there are some cropped sweaters that, to be fair, are lovely if you like cropped sweaters. I don’t see the point of them, personally — if it’s cold enough for a sweater I’d like it to cover my whole torso. I don’t need people wondering aloud, as they do when you tell them you made the cropped sweater you’re wearing, ‘what happened — did you run out of yarn?’.

Here’s a lovely scarf from this issue. I think it’s really sweet that the staff at Vogue Knitting let their kids submit projects from their home ec class.

Screen Shot 2013-06-21 at 12.47.05 PM

Really, these designs are the kind of things that modern knitters spend their time trying to convince others that knitting is NOT all about.

Ok, I think that’s all the snark I can safely afford to withdraw from the Karma bank for now. Here’s the pattern that I would consider knitting from this issue. I like the clean lines, and of course, the colour blocking.

Screen Shot 2013-06-21 at 1.56.38 PM

But ultimately I kinda feel like I want my 5 bucks back.

How about you? What do you think of the patterns in this issue?

New Patterns! But WTF, Butterick.com?

Finally received some patterns I ordered from Butterick.com!

I’m super-excited to make B5559, Maggy London’s pintuck pullover dress. No zipper! Hooray for stretch pullover dresses! I bought some Ponte de Roma from Downtown Fabrics in purple (I just realized it’s the same colour as the model on the package). It was a tough choice between purple and a lovely chartreuse colour, but I figured I’d been going a little chartreuse-crazy lately and the purple would see me through more seasons than the more summery chartreuse.

I wasn’t too happy with the service from Butterick.com. It took them 3 days from the time I placed my order to the time I received notice that the 4 patterns had been shipped. That seems like a long time to find 4 patterns and pop them in an envelope. (Or maybe it just seems like a long time to an obsessive person like me — fair enough.) In the shipping confirmation email it said I would be sent a tracking number shortly. About a week later I emailed saying that I had never received a tracking number and they replied that they didn’t use tracking numbers for shipments to Canada and they were sorry about sending me the standard US email. But then here’s the weird part. The shipment was sent from Whitby, Ontario, which is a city less than 60 km east of Toronto where I am. They charged me $8 for shipping, but the shipping charge on the envelope was only $2.20. I don’t have a problem paying more than the actual mailing cost — I know there’s the cost of the envelope, and, you know, the saliva needed to seal it, and whatever — but that’s a bit spendy for one flat manilla envelope. It’s just frustrating that I had to pay US dollars and ‘international shipping’ rates for one lousy envelope of patterns that, as it turns out, was sent from just down the highway from me. WTF, Butterick.com?


I wish that of all the dozens and dozens of fabric stores on Queen Street West in Toronto, just ONE of them sold paper patterns. I don’t know of any stores in the downtown/central area of Toronto that sell them (which is why I figured buying them online and paying for shipping would be less hassle than getting into the car to go on a long-distance pilgrimage to buy them at the nearest Fabricland). It’s got me wondering whether it’s too much trouble and not enough profit for retailers to carry them or something. Know anything about that? Do you have trouble getting paper patterns where you live?

Noro Magazine Spring/Summer 2013

After checking out the rather uneventful anti-Rob Ford protest at Toronto City Hall this morning, Dave and I scooted over to the Chapters bookstore at Richmond and John Streets for a little browsing. And when I say scooted, I mean we went on our groovy purple electric scooter! Dave bought a Sound on Sound magazine, and I grabbed a Noro Knitting Magazine. (Later we would be perusing our respective magazines, and agreeing that we were both nerds. The only difference is that I’m very likely to read his Sound on Sound magazine as well, whereas he definitely won’t be reading my knitting mag.)

I have a love-hate relationship with Noro Yarn. When I first started knitting, I found it absolutely irresistible! I mean, how could anyone not love a self-striping yarn? Until you realize that maybe stripes aren’t always a good thing. And maybe you don’t like picking twigs out of your yarn every 10 yards or so. I do love Noro’s colourways, though. They always throw in an electric green or something that I think most people would think was out of place…and that’s usually the reason I love it. Anyway, normally I wouldn’t buy a whole magazine dedicated to nothing but self-striping wool, but one look at some of the patterns in the Spring/Summer 2013 issue and I had to have it.

Here are the drool-worthy designs I’ve added to my queue on Ravelry:

Sheer Panel Shift dress by Lori Steinberg in Noro Ayatori and Debbie Bliss Angel

I love the pastel tones in this dress (whaaat?–I’m not usually a pastel kinda girl) and the sheer panels at the waist and above the bust. Not really digging the sheer panels at the sides of the skirt–am I supposed to go commando when wearing this? I’ll just do the skirt without the sheer sides and keep my gitch on.ย  Or maybe I’ll never get around to doing this dress since I have so damn many patterns in my queue!


Lace Maxi Dress by Galina Carroll

Love the colours and the shape of this one! If someone knit this for me, I would most certainly wear it proudly. But knit all that fabric in lace? Someone please hand me a sharp knitting needle so I can preemptively poke my own eyes out. Not in a million years. (Maybe I could do it in a million-and-one years, maybe.)

Short Row ColourBlock Top by Wilma Peers

Short Row ColourBlock Top by Wilma Peers

I love the wedge shaped stripes and neck, the high neckline, and the streamlined look. (I don’t know about that skirt, though–even I, who wears colours and patterns together that my more conservative sister insists don’t go together, would not wear that skirt with that top.) Onto the Ravelry queue it goes….just as soon as I or someone gets this pattern into the Ravelry database.

ON THE OTHER HAND, there are a few doozies of the WTF kind in this issue:

Crochet granny squares are never cool.

Crochet granny squares are never cool.

Crochet granny squares are never cool. Even if you’ve styled them with awesome leggings and shoes. But I feel sorry for crochet, and for grannies, and because I’m a fan of most things homemade, I kinda want to root for the underdog granny square. So if you know of any instances where granny squares have been used and the result has been anything but awful, please bring them to my attention!

Everything is wrong with this.

Everything is wrong with this.

Everything is wrong with this, starting with the fact that it’s a vest. It’s not 1979. The colours, the hood…and did I mention it’s a vest?

Speaking of vests, and knitting late 70s/early 80s fashion, you might want to check out these delightful vest patterns I found in a vintage magazine. (post coming soon)

Actually, now that I look a little more closely at the magazine, there are more WTFs in it than drool-worthy designs. But worth the purchase price for me in the end.

Fabric shops in Toronto

Why are they all a jumbled mess?

Most of the shops along Queen and Spadina are dusty, dim, crammed-to-the-rafters kind of places. The selection is great, for the most part, but when you’re feeling a bit like you need to keep one eye out for mice while you’re looking for a great print for a new sundress, that’s a bit, um, off-putting. Part of me likes the jumbled flea-market feel of some of these shops: you know, no pretension, no wondering whether you’re paying more for the ‘ambience’, blah blah. But I’ve been yearning for a, well, prettier place to shop for fabrics where I can find a little inspiration. Do you know of any such fabric shop that I should check out in Toronto? And please don’t send me to a quilting store where everyone is encouraged to sew some kind of mimsy apron, or where they only carry patterns that cost upwards of $20 and only feature dress designs for librarians. (Sorry, librarians, I know you can be a cool lot.) You know the ones I’m talking about.


Photo from BlogTO. This is one of the more spacious showrooms. And no, this definitely isn’t how I want to shop for fabric.

Last month I went to Portland, Oregon for a conference and came across a very pretty fabric shop downtown called Josephine’s Dry Goods. I’d like to post some pics of the interior of the store, but I was asleep at the switch and didn’t think to get my camera out. Unfortunately they haven’t got many pics even on their own website. But it’s a light-filled, spacious place, with fabrics laid out so you can see them, and plenty of gorgeous garment samples throughout the store for inspiration. We could really use a place like this in Toronto.

A shot of Josephine’s Dry Goods by Amy Hodge

Oh, and don’t even get me started on the inexplicable fact that there aren’t any stores within 10 km of Toronto’s so-called ‘garment district’ — where there are scores of fabric stores — who carry patterns. WTF?ย  Business opportunity, people!