to remind you of
your ASG cohorts

~whose STASHES are renowned
& who we will see again soon
at 1st meeting of

1 collage

8 collageyRibbet collage

5 collage

3 collage

2 collage

4 collage

Ending collage

(As promised no names are attached to these wondrous “Collections
so have fun figuring out who goes with what!)

DON’T MISS Atlantic Sewing Guild
FIRST MEETING of 2019-2019 season

THURSDAY September 13, 2018, 7PM

(please come Early to register & chat) 

First meeting at New Location:

Trinity Anglican Church
321 Main Ave.,
(above Dunbrack St., near top of Geizer’s Hill)

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

About that Origami Quilt Idea

In January, I wrote about the idea of an origami quilt. Basically, use a crease pattern or what the origami would be like if unfolded again to a square with fold marks.


These are available as vector files to scale as large as you like. Use one of these crease patterns to create pieces for a quilt. Quilt it together into a giant square quilt and fold it back to the origami.

You’d have to imagine what that might look like, but it might not be easy considering each shape would be a different colour, shade and/or pattern. However, last weekend, at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) Artist for a Day event, I had a chance to turn some paper making exercise they had into something to help you envision what I was envisioning. So here’s what a quilted crease pattern might look like

Pretend it’s a fabric quilt. Now fold it back into origami format again and you might get something like this.

And as an aside, if anybody ever comes across a cheap and large piece of tie dyed fabric, please let me know. I can turn it into a square like this…

And fold it into a totally different, free form flowing, different kind of origami after adding a little interfacing on the back for stiffness. 🙂

Monthly Spark Nov 2015: One Piece Garments

November’s meeting was fantastic with 44 members turning out, amazing Christmas quickies projects members showed how to do, fantastic show and tell items that showcased new members, new talent and new levels of talent for some! A lady named Sheila MacDonald also donated some wonderful fabric and sewing supplies that our members were delighted to have. Thank you Sheila! More will be posted later from these events in the form of pictures, links and so on… and sooner than last month’s content! Apologies from a very busy person! 🙂

This month’s Monthly Spark idea is to sew “garments” which’s patterns is “essentially” one piece. “Garments” can be something worn, or not if you want to try a bowl holder, or other household items, or whatever you can come up with. What is “essentially”? Essentially, it means you can do the garment without any other pieces you might choose to add, like pockets, trims or other decorative features. If you need something like a string to make it work, that’ll be OK as you’d just buy the string, not make it in a pattern.

Some people will have sewn things with only one piece in the pattern, but others might not have. For either, here are some options for you to consider, from simple to more exotic. Click on pictures to enlarge.

Bandanas are triangular, or triangular-ish, while headbands are long rectangular-ish.

These are circular, or circular-ish.

These are elongated rectangular-ish, with a lot of ways to wear!

These tend to be shorter rectangular-ish than scarves, but can be more chic. They are often knitted, but can be sewn like this Craftsy blog entry shows. I am planning on making some of these. There’s a simpler tutorial here but I think it’s oversimplified.

Neck warmer
Neck warmer

These can be anything from triangular-ish to square-ish, to rectangular-ish, and more likely quadrilateral-ish. Here’s a nice one below, with a handle put on, but you could really just cut two slits to create a less attractive handle, so it falls in the “essentially” leeway allowed. 🙂

Tuck Shawl
Tuck Shawl

And speaking of wraps, how’s about

This site has a nice tutorial to make what’s seen below. You’ll have to fit it to you, though, of course.

Wrap Pants
Wrap Pants

This is more about how you wear a square Hermes scarf sort of garment than anything else, but it counts. Sew a square and wear creatively! This site even has cards you can print out to remind yourself of all the creative ways you can wear a square! If you like this sort of thing, you’ll never have sewn so many squares in your life, and can have a wardrobe of it, too!

Square scarf wearing
Square scarf wearing

These rectangles are like the square scarfs in that they give new meaning to “it’s all in how you wear it”. I’m not going to post pics of beach cover ups cause most are just pics of women’s crotches with fabric for background, and most of you would know what I’m talking about.

Cover Up Dress
Cover Up Dress

Did you know you could make underwear can be made in one piece?

One piece underwear
One piece underwear

But seriously. Why sew underwear when you can sew thongs??? I was going to bring these for Christmas quickies, but I thought of them as underwear and not sexy thongs, so I didn’t. People probably wouldn’t want to get underwear for Christmas, but thongs, if from the right person? Probably a small hell yeah! These might save you a small fortune in the long run if you make your own. I’ll blog more about it in the future when it’s colder out and we might need something slightly hot to warm up our lives. 😉

One piece thongs
One piece thongs

Dresses? One piece dresses? Am I serious? Definitely! Here’s the Armhole dress and Whirlaway that Butterick had in the good old days seen below. You’ll have to figure it out, though, as it’s no longer sold.

Armhole Dress
Armhole Dress
Whirlaway dress
Whirlaway dress

I’m not sure of the proper name or pattern for these, but one looks like what’s below. There’s a tutorial here. Men were intended to wear these as well as women. You can try modifying the Whirlaway dress above with this to add sleeve if you want.

Caftan / Viking Coat
Caftan / Viking Coat

You will need one of these for cooking sushi. 😉

Japanese apron
Japanese apron

OMG!!! I want to do this to ALL of my towels! Here’s how.

Topsy Towel
Topsy Towel

OMG2!!! Try making this by these instructions! I need to get some chairs for my apt!

buttoned chair covers

Those are just some ideas to get you started. I’m sure there are a LOT more out there. Please feel free to share ideas in the Comments section. And anything you make that you have a picture of, please share as well! I can’t wait to see what people come up with, whenever they do it because these Monthly Spark ideas are only timely for when we share them, not when you do them.


Enhance and Bless Your Sewing with Symbolic Stitches

Here’s a fun idea and game to add a little creativity to your sewing with stitches. Look your stitch dashboard on your machine. Give each or some meanings, especially the decorative ones, but even the basic ones you use a lot. Give them meanings as if they were symbols for luck, longevity, health, prosperity, etc.

Then keep these in mind when you sew and have to use a stitch, especially a visible decorative stitch, to “bless” your garment with luck, prosperity, etc. Choose the stitch best suited for the purpose of your garment, like prosperity for a professional garment, health for pyjamas in which you sleep and rest a lot, and so on!

Attached is a sample stitch board, which may have some common stitches to your machine, but you should really use your own machine’s stitch selection for this to be practical.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Introducing the Monthly Spark

At the last Sewing Guild meeting, I introduced a quick new feature to our meetings to help give people ideas and/or inspiration with their sewing. It was called the Monthly Spark.

The Monthly Spark is a monthly idea that people can take up at any time, not necessarily for the month. Hopefully, it will often be a different way of thinking not typical to how people usually go planning or getting ideas for their sewing projects. Whatever the idea is, though, it will be easy enough to describe that a minute should be all it takes. It will also be general enough to be inclusive for all who sew, whether they take the idea as is, or put a spin on it for their liking.

October Monthly Spark

The Monthly Spark for October is to make a type of garment you’ve never made before, or a version of a garment quite different from any such garment you’ve ever made before. The former is easy to explain, like a cloak if you’ve never made a cloak before, or maybe a garment from another culture. The latter could be a style of dress quite different from any dress you had ever made in terms of how it’s put together, pieces to the pattern, how it’s worn, etc.

Each Month Spark idea will be announced at our monthly meeting, and shared here and on our Facebook Group for anyone interested.


Invent Me a Thread That Changes Colour As Needed

As a maker of many garments which contain multi-coloured solids, the thing I hate the most about it is having to change threads so often! All the more because the way I sew, I serge all the seams and edges, and sew them down, on top of sewing the pieces together first to have a guideline for serging those seams. You might not think this thread matters but it does against white if the white isn’t opaque enough you can’t see anything dark beneath it, like gabardine.

So this led me to thinking how cool would it be if someone invented a thread that changed colour as needed?

Piping dream you say? I say nay!

They have all kinds of thermal materials these days you can heat to get different colours, and retain it once the heat is removed. I’m sure someone can be spun to threads. Heck, never mind just threads. They can probably get you spider web strength threads that would slice through your body if you were to get your clothing caught in something, or rip it, rather than break any seams!

And how would it change colours as needed, you might ask?

Easy. Have a little heating cube element the thread passes through before it hits the needle. You program the colour and it comes out that colour. Just make sure you change the colour some small distance before hitting the next colour to get it close.

Now, you don’t need this to change to every seven shades between each of the seven colours in the rainbow. No. Just every shade of the rainbow is enough. Or even a variety of darks and lights for each spool you buy. But just some variety would save a lot of time and annoying nuisance!

Just imagine!

Unfortunately, that’s all you might be able to do about it now. But one day, they’ll have this and sewing multi-coloured garments can be fun again!

Actually, now that I think about it, I studied once under a professor of materials science. Maybe I’ll call her up and see how she’s doing and what she thinks about this piping dream of mine. 🙂