Friday, 13 September 2013

1st Sewing Club Meeting

We had our 1st Sewing Club Meeting tonight at Starbucks and I forgot to take a picture as there was a last minute rush to leave at the end as Corinne's husband arrived to pick her up and I had to pick my daughter up from work.

Anyway, we had a great time!!!!  There were just 3 of us and I don't know if a 4th could've gotten a word in edgewise as we chatted up a storm.

Carley, Corinne and I (will put their blogs/websites below) told our life stories then actually got around to talking about sewing also.  It's wonderful when you get together with people who share the same passion for your hobby.

If you live in Greater Vancouver and would like to join our little group please drop me a line ( and we'll have a chat.

Turns out I did take a picture afterall ... here we are :)

Monday, 9 September 2013

I Love Lucy ... fabric find.

Made these coasters from this great fabric I found with that old I Love Lucy Chocolate Factory episode.

My 89 year old Aunt just had a birthday and I made a "mug rug" for her out of this fabric.  She loved it.

It's great when you get a fabric that not only you like the look of, but that it brings back a lot of fond memories.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Cute Mini Skirt

Had to get these pics quickly while daughter was getting ready to go out.  This is the mini skirt I made for her using the video tutorial from Stitchless TV.  Had to make a ton of adjustments to get it to fit just right but absolutely love the idea that it's self-lining and no hems.  
Made one in black also.  The fabric is from Lulu Lemon so really good quality and because the pattern is self-lining it's really thick so there are no panty lines or anything.

Hey, maybe I should make one for myself.  There's nothing sexier than a 52 year old woman in a tight mini skirt :).  Right?!  Oh never mind.

Call me at 604-944-7479 (Vancouver, BC)
Email me at

Sewing Club Start-up!!!

Finally have the Sewing Club starting on September 13th ... yippee!!!

Hoping there will be around 8-10 of us all talking about sewing.  I've been a lonely sewer for many years as never had friends who sew.  Not only that, but I've been hesitant to even talk about sewing with non-sewers for fear they'll hand me a pile of clothes to be mended or altered.

Our new Sewing Club will be meeting in Coquitlam and if you think you'd like to join us please send me an email (  This is for intermediate to advanced sewers or those in the business of sewing in some way.  It's NOT a networking group, but rather a group of passionate sewers looking to make friends to talk to about sewing.

Some of the topics we'll be discussing at our gatherings:

  • best places to buy fabrics
  • what sewing/overlocking/embroidery/quilting machines we have
  • what types of sewing we enjoy and what's a chore
  • laughing over sewing disasters
  • bringing along projects to show 
  • doing trades with fabrics and accessories
  • Etsy ... always a mystery to me
  • selling at markets
  • sewing shortcuts
  • sewing techniques

I'll be taking pictures and will post them on here.  

Call me:  604-944-7479
Email me:

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Sewing Room Update ... AGAIN

I consider myself pretty good at organizing and cleaning.  My sewing room was like the ugly duckling of my home as always looked so cluttered.  So, today I went at my sewing room big time.  Gutted the whole thing and virtually started from scratch.

Biggest change was getting rid of the couch in there.  I had that there for when people would visit and sit and talk to me while I sewed.  Well, that never seemed to happen anyway, just became a spot to dump old afghans.  It's in the hall waiting for my son to move it down to the rec room.  Could only just get it out of the sewing room myself as it's a sofa bed and not light ... ugh.

Here are the updated pics:

 This tote bag is what I made for future sewing students as their project.  
 Put the curtains back up on the closet which is full of my huge rolls of fabric.  Made room on the floor there to unroll and cut out fabric, should work well.
 This is Ethel, she's very quiet.
 I moved my basic sewing machine from the end desk and put it in the middle desk so it's right in front of the window for students.  It's all cleaned, oiled and ready to go.  Really looking forward to teaching people how to sew.

Please check out my new Sewing Lessons Page.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Updated/Organized Sewing Room Tour

I deleted my previous tour as it was just too messy.  This doesn't look much better in pics but in person it's way better.  Moved most of those huge bolts into the corner of the closet so the ironing board has room now.

 This is my work table in the centre of the room.  On the end is a white dresser which holds all my fabric scraps and other odds and ends:

Brother XL-5500.  Bent it a bit when sewing bulky dog beds for shelters ... ugh.
Kenmore basic 4-thread serger/overlocker.  I had this same one in Australia and it had the name Janome on it ... exact same machine.
My "baby", got it about 8 months ago.  It's a Janome 6600.  Highly recommend it if you've got the space.  The only real drawback is it doesn't have a free arm but the Brother has one so don't miss it.
 These are my current sewing projects I'm working on:

The giant leather buttons on the left are one of my best all time finds.  The others are great too but just plastic so not quite as exciting.  Got them all at the Our Social Fabric sale for a great deal.  Haven't a clue what I'm going to do with them all yet but looking for sewing groups to join in Vancouver so assume we'd be sharing and trading stuff.  Anyone know of a social sewing group?  No Meetups for sewers unfortunately.

 Found these at a thrift store for $8, $8, and $4.  Used the eyelet trim on lots of baby dresses so far ... excellent stuff!!!  

 This is my favourite but tends to bunch up and look kinda messy.  Need to find the right project for it and will probably sew it all down so it doesn't look messy, not sure yet?
 This is the last dress I made using the eyelet trim.  The flower in the center has a crochet flower under the eyelet trim flower I made ... really pretty.  Added the yellow buttons and ribbon for a touch of colour, really happy with the way it turned out.  Going to put this on Etsy.  Boxes contain my "completed" projects:  gifts or items to sell.
Would love to see pictures of your sewing room also.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Sewing with Scraps & Upholstery Samples ... & other super cheap deals!!!

On Sunday I went to the latest Our Social Fabric sale and I overheard this woman saying she likes the upholstery fabric samples but wouldn't have a clue what to do with them.  Well, have I got ideas for her!!!

If there's one thing I'm good at, it's being creative about how to use up scraps and odds and ends.  That's what I get the most satisfaction out of.  It's easy to go out and spend a fortune on gorgeous fabrics and create something, but it's far more challenging and fun to make something from nothing.

Here are a few of my latest projects using scraps and upholstery samples I got for free at a little Mom & Pop  furniture upholstering store on Main Street (near 6th Street), Vancouver months ago.  

Now, I want to make it clear I do not consider myself a great sewer at all. I'm very experienced but also very impatient so tend to rush thru things and take shortcuts.  I spend more time on gifts, but none of these are gifts, they're just for me.  

Here's a kitchen mat which is all from the fabric sample book I got for free except for the backing fabric which is a painters drop cloth I bought from hardware store.  It's great hardy fabric for projects like this ... and it's super cheap!  

This is, again, from the samples except the backing which is from ugly old curtains I made about 25 years ago and kept just for backing fabric.  The memory foam filling is from Jysk as they had a damaged single mattress topper that they sold for just $10.  I used most of it doubled up for dog beds and this office chair was just the scraps.

These were from old curtains I bought at thrift store.  Used curtains are great as have little wear and tons of fabric.  Remember to wash used stuff 2-3 times before using.  Love the retro colours which work really well together.  Made pillows for the living room out of these fabrics too.

Same as the yellow fabric above but used the wrong side for the main part of this travel kleenex holder.

I went thru a massive coffee cozy phase for awhile there.  Put them in Xmas crackers, gave them to friends, etc.  The brown was from a fabric sample, other is a scrap from some fabric I bought to make kids' items (see Etsy).  The patch where I put my business name is from the above painters dropcloth.

This is my makeup bag I carry in my purse.  Used the dropcloth, an old burlap coffee bean sack and leftover fabric I bought for some wallets I made (see Etsy shop).

This purse I made from this really heavy corduroy fabric I found at a thrift store.  Thought it would come in handy for bags as it's super thick and sturdy, not appropriate for clothing at all.  The d-rings I used for the straps were super cheap for a big bag of them at Dressew (don't us Vancouver-ites loooooove that place!).  The button is just used as an accent as used velcro inside as closure.  This is one of hundreds of buttons I bought at Our Social Fabric sale.  They're leather and absolutely gorgeous.  I even did the water test to make sure they're real leather, soaked them overnight in water.  I put them on Etsy and if they sell I'll probably use that money to donate to one of my causes (don't even get me started on those!).

Love wrist pin cushions but, the one I've been using forever had was one of those plastic grips which always irritated my skin.  Finally made myself this super comfortable one ... all scraps.  Even the stuffing was from an old pillow.  Oh yeah, the velcro was a purchase, but found that at thrift store, a whole bag of different coloured velcro strips for $4!!!  BTW, don't use self-adhesive velcro unless you want a sticky needle, and could even affect your bobbin ... yuck.

Here's my latest Our Social Fabric haul.  3 huge rolls of elastic for $5 each!!!  The top one is for lingerie.  I used to make a lot of undies for my daughter and I out of old t-shirts so will get busy making more now that I have this huge roll.  Although she's 18 now so doubt she'll want to wear my homemade undies anymore, LOL.  Will find many other uses too.  It's all more than I can use of course so will give some away BUT I'm planning on using a lot of the bottom stuff to help use up more scraps of fabric.  Here's how:  I'm going to sew a ton of my samples and other fabrics together like patchwork and make kids pants out of them.  Will donate them to a charity.

I just threw this one in.  I had this old t-shirt I never wore so cut off the neckline and used scraps from an old torn blouse to make a new neck feature.  I've worn it a few times and decided I don't like the colour on me, is why I never wore it in the first place.  Will donate it to thrift store but love the idea and plan on doing it with other shirts.

Please share your ideas, am sure you have way fancier ones than me and I'd love to see them.


Thursday, 21 February 2013

6 of my Favourite YouTube Sewing Channels

I get a lot of sewing inspiration and help re. on Youtube.  Here are just a few of my favourite channels.  They're all not only great sewists, but are great at teaching the rest of us:

1.  Tree

Tree is in England and I love her enthusiastic, no nonsense style.  Here is her apron video which I used to make a bunch of aprons for friends and also to sell on Etsy:

Here is my version of Tree's apron:

I omitted the pocket because I didn't want to block the recipes.

I put them on Etsy but, of course, not 1 has sold. Really difficult to get going on Etsy until you get a following.  My instinct was to say "unless" but thought "until" sounded more optimistic, LOL.

Here's my Etsy apron link:

2.  Jenny

Jenny is a quilter who owns her own quilting shop.  I'm not a quilter (started it years ago and didn't have time for the time I know it would take up as it's obsessive ... one day) but love her videos as you can always get inspiration and advice from enthusiastic, creative people.  

3.  BeCraftsy

Not a person specifically, but a company that hires people to sell tutorials you buy on-line.  I just watch their videos as lots of short little tutorials on there that are helpful.

This one's great about how to get the perfect corner:

4.  Brian

This video of all the drafts of shirts he bought was boggling to me.  I simply don't have that type of patience, but sure admire it.  

5.  Niler

Love her videos as she's a great seamstress but is great at teaching us simpletons the trick of the trade.

6.  Vanessa

She's one of the instructors hired by Craftsy I believe, or one of those companies who sell tutorials.  Anyway, she must be a popular on-line sewist as seems to be given a lot of stuff to give away, etc.  She's one of my favourites, does excellent videos.

That's it for now, I really have to get back to work.  Sewing is just my hobby and I tend to waste too much time on it.

I'd love to hear about your favourite sewing Youtubers, Etsy Sellers, Bloggers, etc.


Sunday, 17 February 2013

Fabric Hoarding ... Help!!!

Okay ... here's my dirty little secret.  I think I've become a fabric hoarder.  I live for the hunt of the next best fabric, button, etc.  Was excitedly telling a friend yesterday about how I'm finding all this great fabric and he said, "How about sewing something Lisa?"

Well ...

Um ...

He just doesn't get it does he?  It's not about sewing, it's about the "stash".

Okay, maybe I have a problem.  Can you relate to this?  I'll show you pictures of my fabric if you show me yours.

Not quite ready for that yet, want to organize it first, then will take pictures.  But this is how I suspect it looks now:

And this is my goal:

Happy Hoarding,


Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Fabric Haul - my crazy obsession

I was downtown (Vancouver) last night meeting a friend for dinner.  I'm stuck out here in the suburbs (blah, am a city girl) so whenever I've got something on downtown I get there early and walk around looking for interesting shops to check out first.

Oh yeah, before I get into my "haul", I want to mention this great little clothing store on Main & 8th called "adhesif".  From what I can tell everything in there is from local designers, sewists, jewellry makers, etc. and most is from recycled materials.  Some really interesting stuff in there.

So, on my way back downtown I walked past this little upholstery store and asked if they had any old fabric sample books they'd be willing to sell to me.  The nicest older couple and they gave me these 2 huge books of samples for free.  Price on each sample is $90 so quality stuff.

Once home later that night it took me awhile to take the books apart, tons of huge staples. But now have all the samples ready to use.  They have this paper border which just tears away, no glue residue leftover.  I don't want to run them thru the wash as they're quite intricate threading which would all unravel so will sew first, then wash the made items.

Here are the pics of my "haul":

The last picture is where I cut one sample in half and joined it onto a coordinating sample and will make a bag out of this.

Here's the embarrassing part.  When I met up with my friend my arms were dragging on the ground as I'd carried these huge books for about 20 minutes in the pouring rain switching hands with books and umbrella.  So, the embarrassing part is how excited I was to get all this beautiful fabric for free.  What is it about us sewists and our fabric?!  We're nuts!!!  We see everything thru our fabric haul eyes and say, "I know what I could make out of that!!!"  The sad part is that we don't sew nearly as much as we haul.

I'm sad though as have no friends who sew, have no one to talk to about this crazy obsession which is why I started this blog.  I know there are loads of you out there who are the same way as I read your crazy blogs and chuckle.  When I was showing my friend all my wonderful new fabrics I was met with a glazed over "you're nuts" type of look so tried to cool it a bit and not look so excited, LOL.

Tell me about your hauls.  I'd especially love to hear from others in Vancouver and where you shop.

... just remembered I got a huge bolt of fabric for $15 ($500-700 value) last week, will have to blog that one too.

There, got that out of my system ... back to work now :).


Sunday, 27 January 2013

Baby Gift (blanket, ribbon chewy, bag)

Here's a gift set I made for my ex-husband's niece who just had a baby boy, I have it on Etsy also:

I hate to say this but I'm just not happy with it.  I was just getting back into sewing a few months ago when I made this and think the fabric, although soft, is kinda old fashioned.  I was just out of touch with what's going on out there in the baby world and thought this was cute.  I still think it's cute, but would make it out of very different fabric next time round.  I put it on Etsy but don't expect it to raise a lot of excitement :).

Anyway, funny what just a few weeks of obsessing over Etsy, Pinterest and other on-line sewing sites will do to your taste.  I'm now lurking around all the thrift stores with all the other Etsy sewists looking for that special find, you know, the vintage fabric.  Spotted a huge hunk of vintage fabric years ago and turned it into a bed spread which my daughter asked for when I was re-decorating her room over the Summer, so she's now got that beloved find.  Ohhhhh, all the things I could've made with that now that I'm back into sewing.  I keep asking if she still likes it and she goes on about how great it is ... blah blah blah ... whatever ...

It's not that I have a hard time finding fabric at thrift stores, tons of sewists are dropping fabric off there ... yippee!!!  It's just that I haven't found anything quite as special as that huge hunk of beautiful fabric just laying on her bed under a pile of clothes, college books, etc.  I'm not bitter ... really ... did that sound convincing?!

I'm going to do another blog about my latest thrift haul.  There was a 50% off sale at Value Village last week and I came home with 75+ yards of fabric for $75 ... unreal!!!  Some is special, other is just filler fabric, for linings, etc.  Anyway, will blog that one later.

Here's another picture of the baby set I made:
I guess it's kinda cute but I find it frustrating looking back on stuff I made knowing I'd have done it very differently only a few short months down the road.

Do you have any projects you'd like to change?  Something you've made and gifted and would like to get back and re-do?  If so, I'd love to hear about it as I can't be the only one :).


Saturday, 26 January 2013

Owl Apron

This simple apron turned into a lot of work because of the owl:
It was a Xmas gift to my son who loves to cook and also loves owls.  He didn't seem that thrilled with it, but then, he's 23 and probably would've been happier with a video game, cash or beer.  This wasn't, of course, all he got, but he didn't jump up and down as I'd hoped (ha ha).

The owl is done with freestyle/free motion embroidery but I can't remember whether or not I used my old machine, or new sewing machine.  Doesn't matter, was just going to make the point that you don't need a special machine to do this with as my old machine is a cheap one I got at London Drugs about 7 years ago.  Only reason I upgraded was that I bent the shaft of the old one sewing dog beds for shelters.  Should've known those 20 layers were too much for any non-industrial machine.  Oh well, stupid and paid the price.

So, back to the owl.  This was my 1st attempt at free motion embroidery but I really liked the scribble type of artsy style which I figured was the most forgiving anyway, so worked out well.  Here's a close-up:
And another not-so-close-up:
I couldn't have been happier with the way it turned out considering I expected it to be in the trash.  By the way, I have a pile of sewing disasters I instantly rip apart and turn into scraps.  So this was a pleasant surprise.  I obviously didn't do it right on the apron for fear of wrecking the whole thing.  I like the applique look anyway.

What took the longest was finding the right picture to print out then transfer (used freezer paper) onto fabric. Most pictures are solid, not just outlines.  I learned that you should look up owl "cartoon" as cartoons are often just outlines so you don't need a whole printer ink cartridge to print it out with!

Your comments, advice and own project links are always welcome.