McCall’s M7434 peasant top muslin

mccalls-m7434-muslin-compilation

Sometimes you try something different and the result is… questionable.  With a little time off from work this week, I sewed up a muslin of McCall’s 7434, a peasant top that is much more flowy and billowy than anything I would usually wear.  The result?  It’s a head scratcher.  I also chopped off all my hair this past weekend using (gasp!) my fabric shears.  Still questioning the result of that one too.  :)  But, let’s focus on the shirt, shall we?

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More Noodlehead Petal Pouches

noodlehead-petal-pouches-finished

I have a quick project to share today: more Noodlehead Petal Pouches.  I sewed two of these pouches for my swap partner for the recent SewBoston event, and during the event itself, I sewed these two for myself.  Yay!

I really like this pattern, as it makes a nice size bag (these are the larger size), is well designed, and is a great excuse to use up fun fabric scraps.  They only take a few hours each to sew, and you get a fun and functional bag as a result.  When you’re slogging through a large project, the pouches make a great palette cleanser.  :)

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Floral Robson trench: layers coming together

floral-robson-trench-neckline-seam

If you told me in January when I started this coat that it still wouldn’t be finished by November, I wouldn’t have believed you.  Then again, if you told me a week ago that Donald Trump would be the next president of the United States, I wouldn’t have believed you either, but that is a story for an entirely different post.  As for the coat, not only has this been way more work than I had anticipated, but the utter size and weight of this thing makes every step an odyssey, requiring a will of steel to keep it all moving forward.

Two truths:

  1. I am SO ready for this coat to be finished.
  2. There is still so much more work left to do.

Le sigh.

But never fear, things ARE moving forward, albeit at my typical glacially slow pace.  Today I have more in-progress shots to share, as the outer shell comes together and the three layers of the coat become one.  Onward!

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A few questions about Instagram

Final update: Folks, just ignore this entire post.  Apparently I’m an idiot when it comes to technology.  Find me on Instagram @allspiceabounds.  :)

Today I’m going to put myself out there and ask a few potentially dumb questions about Instagram.  I am probably the last person on earth not to jump on the Instagram bandwagon, and I realize that I’m missing out on a lot of awesome sewing-related stuff that happens there.  Technically I have an account, but I’ve never actually used it.  Sewing friends, perhaps you can clear up some of my concerns.

The biggest factor holding me back is privacy.  As far as I can tell, you have to turn on your device’s “location” feature in order to install and use the Instragram app.  Am I understanding this correctly?  If so, this is enough to prevent me from using the service.  I always keep the location feature turned off on my laptop and phone in an attempt to hold on to one of the last shreds of online privacy offered to us.  I realize that I can be tracked to within a short distance of my actual location based on my phone pinging off cell phone towers, but I don’t believe I can be tracked to my exact GPS coordinates if my location feature is turned off.  Please correct me if I’m wrong though – I admit to being somewhat uninformed about how these things work.

My issue with the location feature is safety.  As a woman living in an urban area, I take my personal safety pretty seriously.  (Who doesn’t, right?)  Just within the last 2 weeks, I’ve been a few blocks away from a stabbing incident, a shooting incident, and a sexual assualt.  And these are just the instances I’m aware of.  I feel pretty strongly about keeping my exact location at any given time as private as I can, with the understanding that my ability to do so while using online services is already quite limited.

Friends, can you help me with these questions?

  1. Is turning your location feature on required to use Instagram?
  2. If so, do all your photos get geo-tagged?
  3. Who has access to this information?
  4. Can I turn my location feature off after installing the app and use Instagram without providing location information?
  5. Do you have any concerns about the location-based aspects of Instagram, or am I just being paranoid?

Thanks in advance for any information or advice you can offer.  While I’d like to join the Instagram sewing community, I want to make sure I understand exactly what that entails.

Edited to add:

Here’s what I get when I try to install Instagram on my phone.  Note that I have a Windows phone, and Instagram is only available in beta format for this device.  Perhaps turning your location on is only required for the Windows app?

instagram-location-request

Edited to add (again):

It seems like the Instagram location requirement may be specific to the Microsoft/Windows platform, and in fact is a blanket requirement for nearly all Windows apps.  Check out this forum post and this follow-up for details.  Based on my own research, it also seems to apply to third-party Instagram apps for both Windows phones and Windows-based PCs.  Needless to say, this is pretty sketchy and annoying.  This also explains why most people don’t have to turn on location services to use Instagram but we suckers who purchased Windows phones do.  Oh well!  I refuse to turn my location on, so Instagram will just have to carry on without me.  :)  Thanks to all for your help and info on this.

Noodlehead Petal Pouches for SewBoston swap

noodlehead-petal-pouches-for-sewboston

First of all, thank you for all your support and thoughtful comments on my previous post about Colette.  I write posts like this fairly often and never publish them, but this latest debacle was so egregious that I felt compelled to pull the trigger.  I’m glad to see that the sewing community is moving toward more open and honest feedback, and I hope this trend continues.

This past weekend I attended the first SewBoston, an all-day regional sewing retreat hosted by the Cambridge Modern Quilt Guild.  It was such a wonderful day!  As part of the retreat, I participated in a “sewing room organization” themed swap and whipped up a pair of Noodlehead Petal Pouches for my swap partner.  This was my first time using a Noodlehead pattern, and I was really pleased with both the instructions and the design of the pouch.  It was obvious that Anna put a lot of thought into what otherwise would have been a very simple pattern.  Everything fit together beautifully, and I was particularly pleased with the neat finish on each end of the zipper.

This was also my first time making a zipper pouch (how had I not tried this before??), so I was a little nervous about making a well-constructed item for my swap partner.  Not to mention that my partner happened to be the president of the guild!  No pressure.  :)

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Why Colette’s corrections to the Rue pattern are too little, too late

This post represents my personal opinions.  As this is my personal blog, I reserve the right to share them freely.

Integrity.  I think most of us would agree that this is something we all aspire to in our personal and professional lives.  It’s something that we look for in businesses when we’re choosing the recipients of our hard-earned money.  To me, integrity means honesty, transparency, and a willingness to “do the right thing,” whatever that may be.  Integrity is a characteristic of a well-meaning person who is hopefully worthy of our respect.

Based on the events of the past year or so, I would argue that integrity is something that Colette has been severely lacking.  They have been selling patterns with obvious and glaring flaws, publishing photos of unfinished garments with unsewn hems flopping open, and worst of all, disrespecting their own customers by repeatedly and consistently deleting customer comments that point out these obvious issues.  The only reasonable assumption, in my opinion, is that Colette has been ignoring and, when possible, actively covering up these issues in an attempt to (a) shield unsuspecting customers who might not know any better, and (b) continue to collect their cash.

To me, this is not honest, not transparent, and clearly an unwillingness to do right by their customers.

I think any hope of Colette displaying integrity is now lost.

Too little

Colette’s recent admission that “we made a mistake” with the Rue pattern is admirable, but only if you ignore the fact that (a) they published a pattern with such significant drafting and design issues in the first place (why weren’t these issues caught before the release?), and (b) they refused to acknowledge the issues for so long after the release.  Let’s be honest: everyone is allowed to make mistakes; we’re all human.  But this was a pretty huge pile of mistakes, and it was pretty unsettling to watch them being swept under the rug for so long.

Sending out corrected patterns to customers, as they have now promised, is a solid step in the right direction.  However, if I had purchased the Rue (which I haven’t) and experienced the drafting issues firsthand, I would have demanded a refund.  If you’re reading this and have purchased the Rue, I would encourage you to ask for your money back.  You purchased a defective product from a company with a history of deceiving its customers.  Will you be satisfied with a replacement product from such a company?  Personally, I would want my transaction voided and a complete refund.

Too late

Regardless of how Colette chooses to proceed with the Rue from this point on, I’d argue that their professional reputation has now been irreparably damaged.  In light of their long history of pattern debacles and unprofessional treatment of customers, this rather large debacle with the Rue isn’t all that surprising.  They’ve established their reputation in the sewing pattern business, for better or for worse, and any attempts to rebound from this latest crisis are simply too late, in my opinion.  The damage has been done.  I have officially written off Colette and, sadly, Sarai as its responsible party.

On integrity

As a scientist, I have to be brutally honest and completely transparent about my work on a daily basis.  This is the only way the scientific process can succeed.  I admit it: it’s hard.  We are so used to injecting our opinions into our everyday conversations that it’s really difficult to only report what you observed, nothing more, nothing less.  It’s also really hard to admit when I don’t know something, to admit when I’m wrong, and to admit that I’m imperfect.  But I’m an adult and a professional, and so I do it.  Without academic integrity, my reputation as a scientist could easily be ruined, and my professional aspirations squashed.

Why should any other business be different?

Can someone really sleep at night, knowing that they’re sacrificing their personal and professional integrity in order to swindle people and collect their money?

Sadly, many people can.  I refuse to be one of them.

Sometimes we do business with companies who are deceiving us, but maybe we’re not aware of it.  (In reality, this probably happens to all of us, everyday.)  Sometimes we do business with companies who are deceiving us, but we don’t have another option (e.g., cable companies with local monopolies).  But sometimes, on the rare occasion that we’re pretty damn sure that a company is deceiving us and we actually have a choice as to whether we do business with them or not, why in the world would we choose to give them our business?

I encourage you to ask yourself this question and vote with your dollars.

For me, Colette’s attempt to rectify the Rue debacle is far too little, far too late.

Floral Robson trench: more bias binding and lining assembly

floral-robson-trench-collar-with-storm-flaps

Folks, I’ve come to the conclusion that sewing a 3-layered trench coat is no joke.  Not that I thought this was going to be a quick and easy project, but still!  As I get deeper and deeper into the sewing process, I realize just how much more there is to go.  Really, a 3-layered coat means sewing 3 separate coats, not to mention all the little details.  Don’t get me wrong, I am thoroughly enjoying every minute of sewing this coat.  It is just a beast.  :)

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Floral Robson trench: adventures in bias binding

robson-trench-practice-bias-trim

[Oops!  I hit publish on this post before I finished writing it!  Hopefully those of you who read this post early enjoyed my slew of photos with no explanations.🙂 ]

Work on my floral Robson trench continues!  I’m happy to report that I seem to have found some motivation to actually work on this project now that (a) the epic cutting part is complete, and (b) the cool fall weather is arriving.  Today’s installment: bias binding.  One of the defining features of my trench (aside from the beautiful floral fabric, of course!) will be black bias binding that will boldly outline various parts of the coat, including the collar and lapels.

This past weekend I started binding a few of the small pieces: the pocket welts and shoulder epaulettes.  It was… time consuming.  Of course.  This is me we’re talking about, after all.  :)  I’ve been mitering the corners, which is both extremely fiddly and extremely satisfying.  I bound a total of 4 pieces, and each took about 45 minutes!  But, I really like the finished effect, and I think it will give the trench a unique touch.

I took a few in-progress photos of my ad-hoc (aka totally made-up) binding technique.  I’m using what is essentially double-fold bias tape that I cut from a black cotton/linen blend, and I’ve folded over the 5/8″ seam allowance on the part that gets folded over to the back.  The rest of the folds get made during application.  If you have any advice on how to apply the tape and miter the corners better than what I’m doing here, I’m all ears!

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Floral Robson trench: finally finished cutting

sewaholic-robson-trench-hair-canvas-on-front-facings

After many months and what seems like an epic number of hours hunched over my cutting table, I’m happy to report that all the millions of pieces of my floral Robson trench coat are finally cut, interfaced, and ready to sew.  Hooray!  :)

As you can see above, I’m using fusible hair canvas on the front facings to give the lapels a bit of structure.  This is the good stuff from Fashion Sewing Supply.  It’s my first time using it, so we’ll see how it goes!  I opted NOT to use sew-in hair canvas and pad stitch it in, mostly to preserve my sanity.  The lapels may stick out a bit as a result, but I think I’m ok with that.

sewaholic-robson-trench-interfacing-along-hems

I’m using regular interfacing along the jacket and sleeve hems.  I’ve done this before with my Simplicity 2446 blazers to great effect.

sewaholic-robson-trench-pile-of-cut-and-interfaced-pieces

There is quite a large pile of cut pieces currently sitting on my sewing table.  It’s a little overwhelming!  Between the floral outer fabric, flannel interlining, rayon lining, and all the little pieces for the pockets, sleeve tabs, welts, etc…. I think this coat is going to weigh a ton!  Not to mention the awesome black bias binding that is going to be outlining all the major pieces.  :)

readers-digest-complete-guide-to-sewing-interlining-instructions

I’ve been reading up on how to assemble a jacket with both an interlining and lining.  I think I may leave all 3 layers as separate as possible to allow for movement, but I have a feeling I’ll wing it as I start assembling.  One thing I’ve decided is that I won’t be treating the interlining like an underlining (assembling the main fabric and interlining as one) since I don’t want the bulk of the flannel in the major garment seams.  We’ll see if I live to regret this or not!

At this point the sewing has officially begun: I started putting together the interlining pieces over the weekend.  I’m excited!  The cutting on this project was really weighing me down, but now that it’s done and fall is approaching, I’ve found some momentum on this project.  I’ll keep you posted.  :)

Coloring: Koi Pond

johanna-basford-secret-garden-koi-pond-fish-lilipads

“Koi Pond” – Ink design by Johanna Basford in Secret Garden.  Colored by me with Prismacolor Premier colored pencils.  Time to complete: approximately 1 million hours.

Not much else to say except that this one took forever!  Apparently I started it in March, after which it sat neglected for many months.  Finally finished it up over the last few weeks.  There are a few “mistakes,” as usual, but I tell myself that they add character.  :)

Check out the rest of my completed coloring pages in my Finished Project Gallery (scroll down).