Mozart’s Magic Flute, Feb 2-5 Designer, John Pennoyer

In December, John Pennoyer, gave a wonderful talk to the ASG.  A few members of the Guild asked about the production of Mozart’s Magic Flute, performances the first week of February, for which John is the costume and set designer.

The design concept is based on the work of the surrealistic artist, René Magritte, and many these images will be seen throughout the opera.  The production is an adaptation in English originally created for the Canadian Opera Company touring company and perfect for an undergraduate voice program.

All performances in the Sir James Dunn Theatre, Dalhousie Arts Centre and are $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors available in person at the Dal Arts Centre box office or by phone/email as detailed on the poster below.

I’m told tickets are going fast!  (psst!  John himself is appearing onstage in a very special cameo!)







Note from Grandma Norma: Eila wanted to write her story out as she sewed, but we were a bit short of time, so Grandma suggested Siri. (Siri is Apple’s voice recognition software and it doesn’t always get it right, especially when it hears a new voice.) Eila was well aware of the Siri mistakes, but didn’t want to correct them because she thought they were funny! !

Hi my name is Eila and I am seven years old and this is my selling adventure. My grandmother brought her selling machine on this visit. First I did paper sewing on the sewing machine with only the needle it was fun! My brother is 4 and he can sew too, but not on the
We went to dress out and bought the fabric. My brother picked out the fabric for my mom and dad’s pillowcases and then I sewed the fabric. Farley picked out Mickey Mouse fabric for my dad and for my mom he picked out cakes and Holly. When we were showing the pillow cases we so a burrito and then pulled out the middle of the burrito. On the CMC I did French seams and regular seems! !!!
After we sewed pillowcases for our mom and dad I am sewing my own pair of pants that are turquoise.
the-pants-rearFirst we drew out the pattern of all the things we needed and then we sowed the fake pocket and the yolk. On January 3rd I am going to show my pants at school.

First we had to try them on to see if they fit. Even though they still had pansies (pins) in them.
Now I am doing the top stitching of my pants. I just sewed the elastic onto the waistband it was a zigzag stitch I had to do two rows of zigzag stitching. My grandma is going to help me so on the waistband. I don’t have much time left because I want to wear them to marry Poppins the play.
My grandmothers made her pants too and they are the same as mine and they’re almost finished.
And now I am selling the heaven (sewing the hem) together. I just sold the pockets on the back.
My grandma showed me how to erase magic pen I had to rub water onto the fabric where the magic pen was.


Editor’s note: Sew many Good Things in this story – Thank you Eila, and Norma for letting us share this special day.  I see that Norma taught how to sew straight lines, using lined paper; the burrito method; French seams; pattern transferring; fitting; top stitching and how to apply elastic, not to mention pride in hand work!  Good job, Ladies!  This is exactly what our community needs.

ASG meeting Dec. 13 2016



Nationally respected costume designer John Pennoyer gave a wonderful presentation to the Guild.  He took us on an illustrated journey ranging from his costume designs for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, to the inspiration behind Lady Curzon’s vicereine coronation gown, the Peacock Dress designed by Jean-Philippe Worth and ended with illustrations for John’s upcoming costume designs for the 2017 Stratford production of A Winter’s Tale.  His humility, humour and creative genius delighted us all.


Pat’s power stretch socks Peek a Boo pattern

fullsizerender_3Nasirah’s own design of an East Indian dress, pants & handbag

Lucy’s top from Burda 6722

fullsizerender_8Barb’s Thread Theory Dopp kit bags of recycled VV leather jackets

 Minh’s own design hats, in which he extols the power of mathematics
Wearing his no-side-seam leggings; its pattern; hooded bolero combo

Live Long & Prosper                              The Ruby Slip in black

Norma sent her regrets, but has been sewing up a storm, including a Jalie shirt and a well-buttoned backpack


Class January 26 2017        Jalie’s Éléonore pattern

We look forward to sew many interesting and inspiring meetings in 2017!  See you soon.

Next Atlantic Sewing Guild meeting is January 10 2017, 7:00pm at St. Theresa’s, Dublin St..

New Classes for Early 2017

We have the following 3 classes confirmed.

  1.  Our first day-time class on a week-day is Jeans in a Day with Tory LeBlanc.  (Thursday, January 26)
  2.  Serger Basics with Pat Nicholson. (Saturday, February 11)
  3.  (this class is now confirmed) Serger Beyond the Basics with Pat Nicholson (Saturday, March 11)


Want to sew a great pair of jeans but are leery of the time commitment? Or fitting challenges?
Using Jalie Patterns’ Eleanore pants pattern (click for link), you can make a wonderful pair of stretch denim jeans in a day! Designed with a traditional back yoke, butt pockets and double top stitching, this slim legged pant has traditional jean styling. However, the mock fly front, faux front pockets, and elastic waist make these pull-on jeans an easy sew.
Once you have perfected the fit, you can easily “hack” the pattern to make them in the traditional way with a zipper fly, functioning front pockets and a button waistband with belt loops when you have extra time to sew these details. (Handout/links provided as part of the class.)
This class is primarily a sewing class, rather than a fitting class. Minor fitting tweaks that can be addressed during the cutting/sewing process are part of the sewing process and are expected. For major adjustments, expect to use class time to make muslins (1 or more), working towards developing a custom pull-on jean pattern.
Jalie patterns can be purchased at the Halifax Fabricville or online at (available as an instant electronic download or as a standard paper pattern that will be shipped). The pattern calls for 60″ stretch denim, with at least 20% stretch and has good recovery. Fabricville has some lovely stretch denim at the Halifax store, but please note it is only 45″ wide. You must buy extra! You can make this pattern with any stretch woven fabric, provided it meets the stretch/recovery requirements.

Please contact Tory if you have any questions or concerns.


In this class we will learn how to thread your serger for 4 thread overlock, also 3 thread wide and narrow overlock. We will go over the different parts of your serger and what they do and when to use them.  Please bring your serger and different colors of thread ( colors corresponding to the colors of your tension discs would be helpful) also bring some scraps of different fabrics you might use .  Bring  your serger manual and any accessories that came with your machine.


In this class we will learn about the other stitches on your serger. We can start with rolled hem and flatlock, then depending on people’s machines cover hem, chain stitch, 4 and/or 5 thread safety stitch.  We can also talk about specialty feet any specialty feet you’re interested in, if time permits.  

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 $35 for Guild members and $40 for non-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, Halifax

Hindsight is best: ASG meeting 8/11/16


Ever wish you didn’t have to keep reinventing the wheel when you’re working with notions you’ve used before?  Lorna suggests making up recipe cards with examples of various items such as button sizes, elastics and knit fabric samples: no more starting from scratch every. single. time!


These dazzlingly useful bendy light strip kits will light up all our lives: easy to install & if slight additions ordered to a kit, then two machines can be illuminated for ~$70. Cndn.. Inspired Lighting kits.  Happy Holidays & Happy eyes from you to you?


Since Lorna was already in full steam, she started off the Quickies with ideas to use – of all things –Tyvek (the house construction moisture barrier)!  It is made of olefin, is waterproof and breathable & comes in 10’w for ~$1.35/foot.  She even experimented with painting on it.  She shows a shoe bag  in this “fabric”, as well as a fast scarf/hood project & a couple of thin knit hats that can be layered for extra warmth – rather like preemie caps for big’uns!

Barb was inspired by a necklace given to her to create her own button necklaces – a lovely interesting way to highlight (& use up, ahem) some of our ever-growing button stashes.

Rhea is both upcycling & making quickies with slippers from wool sweaters (you can line with fleece). as well as  cozy flannelette sheets for jimjams (*see Australian “pyjamas”).   Slipper pattern can be found here: new use for old sweaters.

Mary showed us Brenda‘s apple mug rugs – very easy  technique that was a bonus lesson Brenda added to the recent ASG table runners class.  Kathleen‘s easy “technique” was ordering cotton/linen fat quarters from Spoonflower :a few seams & you’ve made a great-for-gift tea towel. (There are hundreds from which to choose.)

Lori used origami methods & her “teacher’s” voices to show us her tree decorations & the tutorial can be found here: Katrina’s fabric ornament (another way to use those special buttons).    Elizabeth presented us another use for hardware store items: her box-bottom bags use window screening, one of which was augmented with Disney fabric for her G.D., who will also be pleased with the “I Spy” dolly quilt (click image to look at all those little things she can search out!)

Nancy had many ideas & samples of fast projects she’s done, including bookmarks; book-straps; seat-belt covers; and cute little zippered pouches.  She’s suggested we have a skate around sites like Craftsy’s free patterns; Sew Sweetness; and Lazy Girl Designs.


Suzanne‘s children are lucky to have such a dedicated Mom – who else do you know that would take such great care & time for Hallowe’en costumes?  We have here the modern-day Robin (of Batman fame), as well as Alexander Hamilton, direct from the Broadway musical.


Anita‘s Yabut top; Mary‘s Butterick 5954 fleece top with fullness excised f & b; Kathleen‘s OOP McCall’s 6553.

Bev sewing up the Classics: Ruby Slip and the ever-adaptable Loes Hinse 5110 Sweater.  ~Knock knock: when is your sweater a housecoat?~

Nancy made up a dopp bag with another free Craftsy pattern (fusible foam for stability) in a lovely vintage upholstery linen she scored at our “favourite importer”.   She and Lorna approached the Cloudsplitter Summit Pack in radically different materials: Nancy in some of her linen & Lorna in Tyvek from the hardware store.

Norma has found more paisley for a shorts version of Silhouette jeans and has worked her embroidery magic on a golf shirt from above-noted fave importer, to coordinate a vacation outfit.


TwofersPat presents a much-altered red McCall’s 7382 dress (who needs that big V in the front anyway?), while wearing the OOP McCall’s Palmer/Pletsch 6792.
Elizabeth made two quilted star table toppers – one for autumn & one for winter by Fons & Porter.

Marilyn sewed up a burgundy & a green top for her sister from KS 3915.  And she’s finished OOP Simplicity coat 7803, designed around a hand-embroidered wool scarf from Nazirah, sleeve inserts of vy-nel & old purses from one of our favourite importers & a great lining we can just see peeking out of the bottom.

What better way to finish up our meeting than with Rhea‘s aptly-named Friendship Quilt, shown with help from Anita, who aided in sewing it all together after Rhea had cut all the raggedy jeans, then proceeded to break her arm.  As ever, friendship to conclude our meeting. – & Edgar helps to fly us out into the night with tales from HalCon 2017, where he created a full Tuxedo Mask outfit & had his subsequent TV debut.

Please send or bring your survey questionnaires – we need your input!

Next Atlantic Sewing Guild meeting is December 13, 7:00pm at St. Theresa’s, Dublin St..  Our guest speaker is John Pennoyer of Dalhousie Costume Studies Department.

ASG announces Guest Speaker JOHN PENNOYER for December 13 meeting


John Pennoyer is an accomplished artist and internationally-respected theatre designer, and Lecturer of Costume Studies at Dalhousie University. After receiving his BA from McMaster University, John Pennoyer began his theatrical career as a props apprentice at Stratford, Ontario in 1972. Three years and several theatres later, he began design training under Daphne Dare, Stratford’s first Head of Design. In 1976 Pennoyer designed Robin Phillip’s production of Hamlet. This was followed by Ghosts, The Devils, Henry IV Parts 1 & 2, Henry V, Henry VI, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Measure for Measure, Pericles, Twelfth Night and Of Mice and Men, among others done at Stratford, Ontario.

Pennoyer has also designed for Tarragon Theatre, Young Peoples’ Theatre, Le Theatre du P’tit Bonheur, the National Ballet of Canada, and the Canadian Opera Company. Outside of Toronto, he has worked for Le Theatre du Trident in Quebec City, the Banff Centre, Shakespeare & Co. in Lenox Ma, the Minneapolis Children’s Theatre, the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, the Welsh National Opera, and Tawandang Brewery in Bangkok.

Mr. Pennoyer is currently a lecturer and designer in the Costume Studies program, a part of the  Fountain School of Performing Arts at Dalhousie University.  He is currently designing sets and costumes for the upcoming Dal Opera production of Magic Flute, performances February 2 through 5 at the Sir James Dunn Theatre.

Please join us in welcoming JOHN PENNOYER to our holiday meeting on DecEMBER 13 2016.

Retreat to the Sea Side Sewing



Happy Happy Happy

F working on fitting with internet access (hurray!); M works on coat; B preparing to cut out a suit

K sewed knits; S did multiple covers for her multiple machines; L worked on project “That Shall Not Be Named” for her brother (n.b. her Mom’s Featherweight)

P hit high numbers of finished projects; C produced both navy & black pants; S wearing & sewing the coat toile

L preparing to visit one of the 3 cutting tables; N concentrating on pressing at one of 2 stations

Big bright room with 2 ramp access & 2 walls of windows (also known as a Double-Double in Canada).  Extra room to figure out dye problems by inspecting the entire 5.2 meters
Plenty of expert help and consultation

img_2265Sewing outside on the deck was an option, as was hailing those out for a walk, from the upper deck.  F‘s sewing caddy is a both beautiful & useful.  She tells us that she will consider doing a class…

Above you will see some of the finished (or almost) items from the grand weekend we shared.



Oct 11 Meeting – Show & Tell

Touching beats ordering on the net!


Marilyn is surely one of our most productive members.
She shows us the easy pattern top pattern she found
“somewhere in the ether”,
made up in flowered fabric from the Grandmothers’ Sale.
Lucky Sister will be the recipient of this Simplicity 1540 jacket
which features a 2-way zip & instructions that leave much to be desired.
Edgar had a great idea to customize one of his famous shirts.
There will be no spilly-hands cell phone pockets with his extra pocket placement under the standard pocket spot.
(excellent for when you need to take a bow)
Leanne points out Jalie Élénore 3461 pull-on jeans in which she was surprised to find a no-interface waistband which uses unstretched
1″  elastic that does the job well.
For this technique, the Sandra Betzina Power Sewing Book goes into good detail.

Pat’s student wanted a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” dress style for her graduation, which Pat translated in McCall’s 7085, a basic black woolen which has an extra lush touch of embroidery for the bottom edge.
Her grandson’s Hallowe’en policeman costume was very specially created from his mom’s old paramedic shirt as well as using the reflective tape from her uniform’s pants. The pants also yielded fabric for the hat, along with fake leather for the brim from
Nancy’s Wondrous Stash. (you see – there really is rhyme & reason for every bit of it)
Elizabeth and Nazirah inspect each others’ bowlie creations inspired by our last class where they learned the coiling technique from Brenda.
(it seems all The Creatives talk with their hands…)


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 happens), 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 – thanks S!

In the “Clinique bag:
1. Heat & Bond
2. Fix it tape
3. Wonder tape
4. Design Plus
a) Fusible Bias
b) Fusible Superfine
c) Double Sided
5. Transparent Scotch tape
– Awl
– Fray Stop
– Spray adhesive
1. Yellow
2. 7″  with seam guide
3. measuring tape
– straight pins of choice
1. rotary cutter
2. ergonomic Fiskars, 12″
3. snips
4. paper scissors
5. duck bill scissors
– nylon sock to check for needle burrs
– magnet to pick up spilled pins
– sticky labels to mark right/left or font/back
– extension cord
– bandaids
Pop Top container in Clinique Bag:
– pencil
– pen
– yellow chalk
– seam ripper
– eraser
– Zieman 5-in-1 tool (ruler with slider)
– tweezers
– spray starch
– apron if removing a lot of thread
– medical paper roll
– fabric
– interfacing
– pattern
– lining
– muslin
– hams
– pressing cloth
– clapper
– stabilizers on a roll
Speciality Rulers
– French curve
– quilting rules
Thread kit
– special threads
– multi-spool holder
Needle Bag
– universal needles
– speciality needles
– hand sewing needles
– bees’ wax
– stabilizers
– floss threaders
– tracing paper
– smooth tracing wheel
Foot bag
– speciality feet
– foot control
– electric cord
– tool box
– spare bobbins
– thread for project
– note book
– foot book
– machine user manual