Adventures and Misadventures of Sewing

Adventures and Misadventures of Sewing


TG Tunic.Bloom Dress.1.

Although this Tina Givens pattern is called the “Bloom Dress,” it’s more like a tunic at this length and with the front slit. It really is an easy pattern but, of course, I have a hard time reading patterns and this freebie comes with almost no instruction.  I also didn’t choose the type of flimsyish fabric they recommended which landed me in a quandary or two.  I ended up with too much bulk in all the wrong places and a fabric that unravelled if you blinked at it.

So, the local sewing machine shop, Marie’s Sewing Center in Woburn, has a “sewing cafe”, a time when you can make an appointment and bring something in that you’re having trouble with and you’ll get a one-on-one assistant which was a fabulous experience.  Theresa was very knowledgeable and had a bunch of tricks up her sleeve that she generously imparted on me.

TG Bloom. front Slit.

She also gave me the great idea to use a thin fabric for most of the pockets, leaving only enough of the real dress fabric where it might show.  Well, that turned into one of my typical sewing nightmares as I proceeded to rip out the pockets that were already sewn in and remake them with a thin cotton.  But then when I sewed them back on, did it wrong twice and in two different ways!  UGH!  Yes, I was swearing.  BUT what a difference!  Now they lay in there nice and flat.

TG Bllom Dress 1. neckline.

The neckline was another problem.  No matter how lightly I thought I was hand stitching that interfacing in, it was still bunching up just enough to look unkempt and the little stitches puckered. These patterns neglect to mention a lot of the usual details such as clipping the curves and I had forgotten to do that. Besides that, Theresa showed me an unusual stitch that in the end, never showed at all.

I also got to use a serger for the first time and that was a blast!

TG Bloom. Sleeve

Later on, at home,  when I finally got to the sleeves, I found that the way the pattern was cut I somehow ended up with a lot of bunched fabric where the top of the pocket meets the bottom of the sleeve on the sides.  So, armed with newly acquired bravery after my sewing session with Theresa, I re-cut the pattern to flow smoothly and much to my surprise it worked out seamlessly.


Today’s Voice is Beth Berman’s

Today’s Voice is Beth Berman’s

Pre-Treated Cotton

Hello and thank you Janis for inviting me to share on your blog. I love surface design and my two favorite tools are thickened dye and hot soy wax. The idea just popped into my mind one day to mix up both black and grey thickened dye. I thought it would be interesting to take globs (technical term) of thickened dye, smear it here and there on the fabric then scrunch up the fabric and see how it came out. First of all I wanted crisp lines so I had to apply the thickened dye to dry fabric. I knew if I used the light grey color first, the viscose print paste would color the fabric and at the same time act as a bit of a blocking agent to keep the black from overpowering the grey. This is what I did:

oneI rarely NEED pre-treated cotton since most of my dye work is wet. This was the perfect occasion for nice dry pre-treated cotton. I wanted the thickened dye to “stick” to the spot I put it and not wick like it might on wet cotton.


I used both grey and black (MX Cotton Black 602a). I made the grey with a scant plastic knife tip of MX 602a and about 2/3C of print paste. The black was also 2/3 cup of print paste with a level tablespoon (dark) of MX602a. Below you can see I hadn’t blended the MX powder well with the print paste. Colors are splitting out. Hopefully it won’t be distracting.


I LOVE this grey and will do more with it later. I only applied the dye to one side of the fabric, crumpling it and doing a small amount of smearing. I want CRISP lines.

FourI covered it with plastic and let it batch under heated rice bags.

SixI absolutely LOVE the outcome. It was just what I was going for.

SevenFront above, back below


NineFront above and back below. Either side is a winner.


Beth blogs at

Linking up with Off The Wall Friday.


Family Stories-A Series Begun

Family Stories-A Series Begun

This is a series of three so far, all 12 x12 on gallery wrapped canvas.  I’m not so crazy about the first one because I cut off my great grandmother’s head and it didn’t turn out very square – somehow it got stretched out.   I don’t actually know everyone in these photos but they were all part of the Family Collection that cam down from my mother and father. These are from the paternal side of the family.  So, they are mostly all relatives who did live nearby or in Montreal or greater Quebec. Some may be family friends or neighbors.

Family Stories 1.
Top left would be my uncle Roger in back, not sure who he’s with.  Roger died at 14 years.  Although he was in a car accident, he died of appenditis.  They were trying to figure out how he was injured but it turned out to be no injury at all. To his right on top is my great grandmother, “Mimi,” Rose Delima Caron. Underneath her in the center is my grandfather “Pa”, Leon Doucette, mechanic, on the right with a co-worker. Top right is my father, Paul Doucette and beneath him is my aunt “Sister,” who died as a child, not long after this picture was taken. I have no idea who is in the bottom left photo but he’s a photogenic lad with a good pose. Bottom center, my grandmother, Native Caron ii in between 2 other young women.  Again. I don’t know who the handsome three men on the right are, but they offset the 3 women nicely.

I did much better on the second one. I’m definitely happy with the combination of these old photos with my naturally dyed and printed fabric.

Family Stories 2.
Nativa Blanche Caron, my grandmother, quite a good looking young woman with a magnificent hat is on the left.  I know that it might have been about that time that she was making those hats.  Her father, Elzear Caron, the first to emigrate to this country as an empoyee of Goodyear Rubber Factory, with whom he was a union steward, is in the center. I’m guessing it’s probably one of his relatives to his right in her music room.

They might be getting better as I go along.  I hope so because I plan on doing some more.  Maybe quite a few more…

Family Stories 3.
The focal piece here is , I think, my great uncle Edward Caron, at least that’s what it says on the back of the picture. 1909, 11.5 months old.I always thought it was a girl but that’s not what it says.  Top right is  a young schoolgirl, Nativa again and beneath her, 2 of my father’s cousins on a small pony – Elzear and Paul Caron. Elzie died as a young man and Paul, “Ziggy” lived to be 89 years old and just left us last week, may he rest in peace with all those who went before him.