Angela speaks

A letter from Angela Gladwin


Dear Atlantic Sewing Guild,

Sew, I would like to talk about Sewing Retreats, or the packing up of notions & supplies for those fun times. If you are like me at my first which I attended in May 2018, you will have lots of containers and bags to hold all these notions … and I do mean lots!  I eventually narrowed it down to one bag, & sewed it up at that ASG Seaside Sewing event.  I am very happy with the amount it will hold.


There are many bags of similar design out in the great wide net, under many recognizable names.  The bag I started with was offered free to one & all (thank you Ruby).  I have been re-tweaking the design & process over the summer as I make many more, including one for my sister-in-law. (It’s always Gifting Season!)

This is a great bag to use up those scraps that multiply when we’re not looking.  For these, I used four different sewing themed fabrics.  You can make one to colour coordinate your personal style.  Or be wild and use up to 12 different fabrics!

Atlantic Sewing Guild has asked me to present this bag class for you

September 29/18.

Join us & sew up your own Seaside Bag to corral your sewing supplies & notions; beauty items; children’s toys. (see where I am going with this?—-Tame All The Things!)

See you soon!

Supply list will be provided with registration at ASG first meeting on September 13.

Classes, Registration and Payment

  • Classes are full day (9:30 AM set-up for 10:00 to 4:00 PM) unless otherwise stated.
  • Full day class is $40 for Guild members .
  • Registration for all classes will be on a first come, first served basis.
  • Registration will be first done at Guild Meetings, then via email to the Guild afterward.
  • Post dated cheques will not be accepted for registration of a class.
  • If the classes fill up, you can put your name on a waiting list.
  • All classes have to be paid up before the class date or you will lose your spot!
  • Classes held at Halifax Christian Church at 51 Farnham Gate Road (see map link below)

Map to Halifax Christian Church link

pdf’s your new BFF


On April 10/18 Faye told 2 friends & they told 2 friends and sew on & sew on & sew on

FAYE UNRAVELS THE MYSTERIES OF .pdf’s in her well thought out & carefully prepared presentation

Although .pdf’s are all over the internet & we know they can be such useful tools, many of our members were stumped to interpret how to actually make use of them.  Faye enlightened us with great info, including a real slide show (how long has it been?) along with examples of how she’s used .pdf’s.  Several of the guild have tried to use Portable Document File patterns (previously thought of as “pretty damn fasts”), but had no idea of the specifics that could manipulate them for our best use.  Come to think of it, of course a test square is actually there for a reason – & it is so good to know that there is actually a way to control their sizing, rather than throwing hands in air & walking away.  And who knew that registration marks serve the very same purpose as notches on our “real patterns”; putting the patterns onto USB’s will take up less space than keeping everything on your computer; & that it’s actually a good & useful idea to make a file name include all the words you can think of to describe it’s contents?! (that last bit was a revelation – & now we don’t have to remember the one arcane & clever phrase we’d used that one time only for naming purposes).  Thanks so much, Friend Faye!

corner crowds collage

Our 2 Friends & Our 2 Friends & Our 2 Friends do SEW & TELL

Sheila collage2

Sheila shows us how to turn a pair of husband pants into a skirt for herself – a little knack she picked up in the Refashion Class with Lorna & Angela




IMG_4843Reina snaps her cuffs, showing her cheery By Hand London wool coat.  Of course, we also wanted to have a look at that great Heather dress. IMG_4834  No question there will be several of these snappy numbers sewn by ASG members in future!

There it is! Nancy’s sew cozy terry Butterick jumpsuit!IMG_4846


IMG_4854Angela did a great job calling members to her Refashion Class with Lorna & Angela. Here’s one of her refashions from skirt into dress!

Lorna’s New Look “scuba-ish” dressIMG_4861 with a flip of the fabric face between top & bottom.





Sahira always delights us with garments she creates for her lucky daughter IMG_4869IMG_4863IMG_4871

Our FriendPat’s Irish dance costumes are the stuff fantasy is made of – stunning stuff for those little performers!IMG_4898

Rhea in ASG perennial favourite, Jalie Hélène, as she shows us her granddaughter’s lovingly modified Pretty in Pink Love Notions Little Laundry Day TeeIMG_4905




And our Other Friend Pat in her cozy Burda cocoon, as we witness the beginning of her adventures in sewing All -the-Jeans-Pants & Skirts! Pat collage



We’ll be telling 2 friends & they’ll tell 2 friends to sew on & Sew Right On Atlantic Sewing Guild Friends!

portraits collage corner crowds

ASG FB link

ASG email



Sheila MacDonald, our long-term Atlantic Sewing Guild member is known for her organizational skills and persistence in finishing projects to high standards.  She has graciously given us the list of items that are included in her sewing luggage for those wonderful times when sewing away from home – at one of our classes; “SIN Saturdays” (Sew It Now), or longer sewing retreats.  We know that if we’ve forgotten something (other than the sewing machine – & yes, it has happened), Sheila probably has “several somethings” to help us out!  Following is the checklist she reviews when heading out (rather like an airline pilot, she is!).  It would be hard to think of something that Sheila has forgotten.  For those of us with upcoming Seaside Sewing, this will be a great help – thank-you Sheila for keeping us up-to-date!

Sheila's updated list


Mary Baxter is undoubtedly one of our Atlantic Sewing Guild’s most experienced fitting gurus.  She proves to us that there is no body quirk that can’t be adjusted for and she is unfailingly generous in helping us figure out where and how to work on our patterns.  Most of us aim for a great fit in our garment sewing, so we asked Mary if she would share a few thoughts on the order she uses to make well-fitting outfits.

A few ideas from Mary:

I have been asked in what order do I alter a pattern?  Before I answer that question, here’s one to answer first:

How to choose the right pattern size?

The majority of us work from a purchased pattern. Most pattern companies follow a standard body measurement and a minimum fitting ease added of: bust 2.5″, waist 1″, hip 2″.

Body measurements + ease (fitting ease & design ease) = fashion silhouette.

The finished garment measurements on the pattern clue you in as to how much ease is included in the garment. You can establish the amount of ease you prefer by measuring your favourite garments.

Fitting is easier if you chose the right sized pattern based on 3 measurements:

1. bust: patterns are typically designed for a B cup (with the exception of patterns that provide various bust sizes). If you are larger than the standard B cup and your bust measurement is larger by  2″ (or more)  than your upper chest measurement, then use the upper chest measurement. The upper chest reflects the body’s frame, a better fit will be achieved and the garment will hang nicely from the the shoulders.

2. waist: place the waist where you prefer to wear your pants or skirts and use this measurement.

3. hip: use measurement at the fullest part. This measurement is often a standard 7- 9″ below the  waist but may be higher if there is  a full tummy.

For a good fit, trust your measurements. Then compare your measurements to the pattern, make alterations and then fine tune when fitting.

A current, comprehensive measurement chart is an essential tool for fitting. Always trust your measurements and measure both sides of your body in case there is any asymmetry.  Fitting takes time but once you have determined your body shape/measurements, it becomes easier to make the pattern adjustments.106-measurement-chart-01

(One of our own members, Barbara Emodi has two excellent articles in past issues of Threads magazine. How to Take Measurements is in issue #106 and How To Measure a Pattern to Assess Fit is in #112.)

Pattern Adjustments

Keep the original pattern intact and start by copying (tracing) the main pieces of the pattern. (I will not be explaining how to go about the alterations. There are various methods and articles on-line or in sewing books that cover this process.)

I start the alteration process with the length, both front and back which includes:

1. shoulder to bust in front, shoulder to waist in back

2. bust to waist

3. waist to hip

4. hip to hem, front and back

5. sleeve, shoulder to elbow, elbow to wrist

Next, I adjust the width:

1. back ( narrow or broad)

2. high round back ( if your clothing pulls towards the back & off the shoulder)

3. shoulder ( narrow, wide and slope)

4. upper chest ( narrow or wide)

5. bust (possibly a large bust adjustment)

6. waist

7. tummy & hip

8. sleeve

After these adjustments are done, pin the darts and then the seams wrong sides together. Carefully try the pattern on to assess and refine.

Make a muslin

Take the fitting one step further: make a muslin out of fabric similar to the fashion fabric you will be using for your garment.  After the fit has been fine tuned you can either take the muslin apart and use it as a pattern or transfer the final adjustments from the muslin onto your paper pattern.  Then cut your altered pattern from your fashion fabric.

The alteration and fitting process takes time but the end result is a well fitted garment and a huge sense of satisfaction.

Thanks, Mary for a very helpful article!

Next Atlantic Sewing Guild meeting is  Tuesday, February 14, 7pm at St. Theresa’s, corner of Dublin & North Streets, Halifax

How to Read a Sewing Pattern Resource

Faye wanted to share this useful post from the Sewing Loft blog on How to Read a Sewing Pattern

Thanks, Faye! Very useful indeed! Don’t tell the other members but I don’t actually know how to read a sewing pattern! 🙂

That’s what happens when you go generate or draw your own all the time, or stop and do things your own way the minute you hit a step you don’t like or approve of!

Sewing an Easy or Casual Single “Mattress”

Sewing an Easy or Casual Single “Mattress”

I’m sure you won’t need my “instructions”, but you might like my idea of an alternative version of this SIY (sew-it-yourself) “mattress” using curtains or big print fabric rather than a bunch of little pillowcases sewn together.

I won’t be able to try this till April, or May, with my upcoming trip. However, I’ve tested the instructions outlined with paper to know it works.

22 Fashion Infographics You Might Want to Have

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope it will be a good sewing one for you!

First post of the year is this great post I found via Pinterest. The original article states you need these infographics in your life, but I think I can do without the harem pants one… being a guy. lol

They have some fantastic infographics, though, like this one below.

I hope you’ll like the rest (click on link above) as much!

Types of Textiles

Making a Body Double Class

On Saturday, Guild Members Fran, Kathleen and I took part in the Making a Body Double Class given by our President, Josée.

The class was very informative, enjoyable and interesting, with something really useful for us sewists at the end, a dress form just like our own bodies!

Josée had a fairly easy and easy to follow set of instructions with garbage bags, packing tape, scissors, exacto knife, Sharpie pens, and weight on end of string (plumb weight). The process was methodical to tape on three layers, with short tape strips for areas with more curvature. The first was to be done slowly to get the shaping right, mostly up and down but sometimes in the direction of curvature. The second crossed that perpendicularly, and the third was back in the same direction as the first, for some strength.

Then came markings of gravity lines, where a weight on a string hangs from the front, back and sides. Contrast that with where you look visually centred, in case you aren’t ideally shaped and/or bent in those areas. This helps you put seams where they look aesthetically pleasing rather than where gravity lines are that pattern lines tend to be built on cause they are designed for more symmetric and uniform bodies than most of us have.

Notches were then put on like zippers (but not so close like real zipper teeth are) so that when we were cut out at the back, we would know how to line up the marks to close and fill the body doubles again. A horizontal line was also made so that we would know how high to properly mount the body double. Good for full length gown or pants gauging as well. We did this, as well as got the body double made, in shoes we normally wore for the same heights and body stature.

Finally, we were cut out of our body shells. We will mount and stuff the body doubles later.

I didn’t have someone to work on so Josée was nice enough to do a full body double for me, and not just the torso like a dress form. I will make use of this making body armour style costumes where arm and leg joint lengths and thicknesses, will be key. They would be next to impossible to measure accurately on my own, and cumbersome to do with others measuring as it would be a trial and error process throughout that would require lots of remeasurement and eyeballing. That person would be there almost the entire time, in other words, but not with my body double! Picture is at the bottom.

Thanks to Josée and classmates for a wonderful, enjoyable and useful class! If Josée ever offers it again, I’m sure I can speak for my classmates that we would highly recommend it!

body double