Guys, I *bled* for this one

Ok, who else has done this? I sewed through my finger for this shirt! And you might be just as surprised as I was to find out, given that this blog is generally littered with expletives, that I remained rather calm and collected when it happened. I sat quietly holding my finger thinking, “I’m only going to react if I just broke my twin needle, and if I did I’m gonna absolutely lose my shit.” The needle was miraculously intact; my finger not so much. Me? I remained miraculously calm. And didn’t get any blood on this white fabric. (Funny, my husband and #unsungsewingbloghero was inquiring about Sewzilla just today, expressing his relief that she hasn’t shown up around these parts for a pretty long while. Sewzilla was almost unleashed that day but for the intact twin needle. I’m sure she’ll visit again another day sometime soon.)


I chalk the accident up to having recently purchased a new sewing machine, with which I’ve been having huge troubles in terms of sewing lightweight knit fabrics. So after pfaffing around* with the new machine to no avail, I switched back to my old machine, which has a bit more space around the needle mechanism. Seems my old-machine-muscle-memory didn’t kick in fast enough and I just got a little too damn CLOSE. I’m grateful it wasn’t a mishap with the serger, which could have been a whole lot worse. Once I accidentally neglected to remove a pin before it got to the serger knife and the pin broke in half and flew off into the air (and happily not into my eye).

Anyway, it wasn’t a bad injury — the needle went though the side of my fingertip creating a bit of a gash but it healed up fairly quickly.

How about you? Got any good sewing injury stories to swap? Or near misses? Such an extreme sport this is!


Anyway, about this shirt. Nothing too exciting here, but I needed a basic long sleeved tee…because you can never have too many. (Or, on second thought, actually, maybe you can have too many.) In any case, I thought I’d try Vogue 1389, a Donna Karan pattern featuring a blazer, skirt, and fitted tee. The tee design has side seams that curve around to the back, which I think you can see in the pic above, and a wide neckband. I modified mine so it had full-length sleeves instead of 3/4 and I left off the cuff bands.


I had a helluva time getting this collar to lie flat! Evidence: here’s the first hilariously lame-ass try at sewing it in…

After a few rippings-out and re-sewings, it’s still not quite perfect, but I can live with it. The necklineĀ rides up away from my shoulders while I’m wearing it. But if I were a gorgeous young model I’m sure it would sit perfectly and not dare budge like it does in the pattern photo below. (Did someone elongate the model’s neck in Photoshop? No one can possibly have a neck that long in real life, can they??)

Vogue 1389

Verdict: this top is a pretty quick sew (depending on whether your neckband sewing skills are better than mine, of course) and it’s a very good wardrobe basic. Be warned that it is designed with quite a lot of negative ease, so it’s very fitted, which for my comfort level makes it not so great for wearing on its own but very good for layering under other things in colder weather.

Thanks for stopping by for a look! And a very happy Thanksgiving weekend to Canadian readers! No doubt with the federal election coming up next week, there will be plenty of family fights around the table. Bring lots of wine!

*ohmygod it feels like I’ve been waiting my whole sewing blog life to use that pun! THAT FEELS SO GOOD! I’ll freely admit that neither of my sewing machines are Pfaffs but I just could not pass up an opportunity for a bad pun. Pfaffing around!!!! I slay myself. (At least I slay someone.) Here’s the definition of faff in case you have no idea wtf I’m talking about. Apparently it’s a British thing.

Selja Knot Tee

Hi friends! This is just a really quick post to share with you a simple T-shirt I made using Named Clothing’s Selja Knot Tee Pattern. (And to update you on some online sew-offs you might want to cast a vote in — scroll down for that.)

Selja Knot Tee - Named Clothing

The Selja Knot Tee has a bit of an A-line shape which is taking me a little getting used to. I normally go for a more fitted waist on my tees.

Selja Knot Tee Line Drawing

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 3.48.22 PM

Oh, just STAWPIT, you cute young thing.

I love Named Clothing’s slightly bizarre pattern photos. And I heard through the blogovine that they’re going to release their new Fall/Winter collection soon, so I’m excited about that, despite the fact that my home office is starting to look like a sewing pattern hoarder’s paradise.

Selja Knot Tee - Named Clothing

I used a medium-weight beige knit I think I picked up at one of my usual haunts, Downtown Fabrics on Queen Street West in Toronto. Look at me, not falling for some loud, colourful, highly patterned fabric! I’m actually remembering that neutrals and solid colours are, well, WEARABLE. Normally I have a closet full of mismatched separates that can’t be put together to build an outfit, but I’m learning to outsmart myself on that front. I pick up a loud patterned fabric in a store and say “HA! I’m smarter than you THINK I am, self! I’m going to find a NEUTRAL fabric that will actually WORK in my wardrobe! HA!!” Then I look around, wondering if I said that out loud, and leave as quickly as possible after I’ve paid for my loud patterned fabric selections.

Selja Knot Tee - Named Clothing

What do you think — wear it knotted or not knotted?


In case you haven’t been following them, there are a couple of online sewing contests happening now that you might be interested in. Me, I’m a sucker for a good knock-down, drag-out sewing rumble:

  • Sew Mama Sew is hosting the Super Online Sewing Match, and those poor round 5 contestants have to sew a duffle coat! Jeez. I’m going to cast several votes for ALL those poor sewists just cuz they had to sew a damn duffle coat. I might even send them a Get Well Soon or a My Deepest Sympathies card.
  • Refashion Runway is on round 3 over at the Renegade Seamstress, where after refashioning something in gingham last week (and managing not to look too much like they got dressed using scraps from Auntie Em’s quilting basket), the contestants have fashioned handbags out of old garments this week. Interesting! Go vote!

Thanks for stopping by. šŸ˜€

Time for a Sea Change: Head for the Mountains

I have a giant girl-crush on Debbie of Lily Sage and Co. I’ve raved here about her stunning makes before, so I was excited to try one of her patterns: the Sea Change Top.

Sea Change Top

The front panel is lightweight cotton knit with a panel print of mountain scenery from Mood. Ironically I passed over this fabric the first time I saw it last time I was in NYC — for some reason I was feeling morose and foolishly left without any. Then I saw Debbie post a top she made with this fabric , which looked great, so I had to have some for myself and ordered it online. The things a girl-crush makes you do!

For the back and trim I used a beige knit from one of my local fabric stores, which probably was just a little too heavy-weight for this design. I sewed the Extra Small and made the bottom band longer than called for so the top wouldn’t be quite so cropped.

Sea Change Top

Sober second thought looking at these pictures tells me I may have gone a little overboard on the range of colours in this outfit — but I love those pants, and I shoehorn them into outfits where they don’t really belong all the time. They’re Yoga Jeans by Montreal’s Second Denim Co. (made in Canada!), skinny ankle pants in watermelon. Yesterday I found the same pair in “citron”, which is the loudest, happiest shade of greenish yellow and makes me absolutely GLEEFUL, and they were on SALE, so more ill-advised colour combination outfits are in my near future, no doubt!


I’m honestly not sure I’m going to wear this a lot. It might be a bit too fussy for me. I don’t mean fussy in a covered-in-ruffles-and-bows kind of way, but the bagginess and big-ass kimono sleeves make me self conscious while I have it on, so I fuss around making sure it’s all sitting where it’s supposed to. There’s a certain way to sit with your elbows forward on a table that would give anyone nearby major side-boob viewage up the sleeves. (Well, as major a side-boob as one could get with these barely-fill-an-A-cup girls.) But I have only worn this once so far, so I’ll give it another couple of tries and see if it grows on me (and please not literally — it’s quite big enough already).

Sea Change Top

At first glance I thought the collar band seemed way too small to fit with the very large neck opening, but after quite a bit of wrestling and a little bit of cursing it worked out well. But the finished neck opening is quite wide, so be aware of that if you intend to try this pattern and prefer a neckband that doesn’t drift down towards your shoulders. Overall this was an easy top to put together. Debbie’s pattern is well laid out with clear instructions.


Ranta in Roma: iCandy T-shirt


World’s fastest sew: the iCandy T-shirt (a free pattern — link below). Fun design details: the shoulder seams sit forward on the front of the Tee, and the back is a couple of inches longer than the front.


This t-shirt was lucky enough to have its debut in Rome! (And its model is lucky enough to currently be on vacation in Italy!) Ironically, the fabric is Italian-made, but I got it in Toronto from Downtown Fabrics at 436 Queen Street West. Anyone who’s shopped there knows that the shop owner makes lots of lame jokes (“For you? Only one yard avail-ee-able!”) and also makes you read out the label on each fabric he shows you: “Look at this! What does that label say?” If you don’t play along, he answers for you: “Ee-talian!!!! Best quality! Look at this one! Tell me what’s on that label!” “Ee-talian!!!,” I shout back.

I think it’s viscose. One day I will start writing down what the hell I’m buying when I actually buy it. It’s got amazing drape. I have enough of both the patterned fabric and the solid turquoise to make something else…a swishy skirt, maybe?


In other news, I got brand new Brother electronic sewing machine! In related news, it doesn’t work properly! I used it on this T-shirt but it kept eating the fabric…sucking it right down into the mouth of the feed dogs. Since I got the machine only a few days before leaving for Italy, I didn’t have the time or the inclination to figure out WTF so I finished the T-shirt with a zigzag stitch on my old Singer machine, which chose this very same moment to simply refuse to sew a twin needle stitch. I got this MF done with only hours to spare before it was time to leave for the airport, nerves a bit frazzled, but calmed by the thought of vacation. I’ll wrestle the new machine into submission when I get home…I’ll need the exercise to work off all the pasta, cheese, and gelato I’ve been eating.


I mentioned the iCandy T-shirt is a free pattern. <RANT>Here’s the link, but be warned: there is so much extra advertising garbage on that page that your internet connection will suddenly slow right down while the page AUTOMATICALLY loads no fewer than FOUR unwanted video advertisements.Ā  Seriously? What a pain in the ass. So if you don’t mind either paying for all that extra data download, or patiently tracking down all the video windows to click the pause buttons, then there’s a cute, easy T-shirt pattern waiting as your reward. I’m happy that crafty bloggers are able to pay themselves through advertising on their sites but visiting that page was just ridiculous.</RANT>


One other note about the pattern: it comes only in size medium, but it is such a simple design — it’s just 3 pieces: front, back, neckband —Ā  that you can easily modify it for other sizes. I cut & sewed the medium for a slightly baggy fit. I like this combination of fabrics and I’m sure I’ll wear this T-shirt a lot.