Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Speaker at Cañada College and More!


Speaker at Cañada College!

Last summer I was approached about two separate speaking engagements. The first was for Haute Couture Société. The other was for Cañada College's Fashion Department.

I was very flattered and agreed to both.

The event is to be held at Cañada College in Redwood City, on Saturday, April 16th, at 7:30pm. Space is limited so, if you would like to come, please RSVP to

I believe there will be some light refreshments. And it's always fun to meet other sewers! (I promise, it will be fun!)

I have to tell you, this will be my last speaking engagement for the foreseeable future. It takes so much time to prep for these things.

I hope to see you there!

Oh, I almost forgot! The folks at Cañada College asked me to do an interview. Check it out!

A Wadder

After returning from a recent getaway, I wanted to sew something quick.

Of course, sometimes "quick" really isn't quick.

I had a novelty knit that I acquired when my friend Sue was de-stashing last year. I wanted to make it up and, after much thought, I decided to use a pattern I had purchased some time ago, the Paprika sweater/dress by Jasper Patterns.

I bought this pattern back when Dilliander made a couple of nice versions.

I loved the collar!

I had even printed the pattern and instructions out.

But I still had to tape together the 44-page print out. (Maybe one of these days I'll try going to the copy shop...)

I traced off a size 9. (The pattern goes from size 1 to 10.) The 9 is drafted for a 46.5" bust with a finished dimension of 47.5". The 9 is drafted for a 39" waist with a finished dimension of 46".

The resulting top was far too big! My only alteration was to shave off fullness at the hip. The reported finished width was off, as the finished waist on mine was 48", as you can see in the following pic, and the bust was even larger (the bust is not laid out completely flat):

It seemed particularly loose through the back.

I could have salvaged the top. There are no side seams, but there are front and back princess seams, which allow fine tuning the fit, but I decided against it. I didn't like how the collar lay, at least in this knit.

If I do make this again, I'll trace off a smaller size and will be more careful when choosing the fabric.

Tracing Paper - A Brilliant Idea

Over two years ago Gayle Ortiz gave me a wonderful tip. A tip that I had passed on to others but hadn't tried myself until recently!

I'm not sure if its her original idea, but it's a good one!

She went to the party store and bought a wedding aisle runner. It comes on a roll. It's similar to non-woven interfacing or Swedish tracing paper. It's nice and wide at 36".

And it's very cheap!

A roll costs about $20 and comes with 100 feet, or over 33 yards. Thatsalotta tracings!

For comparison, Swedish tracing paper is 29" wide and about 10 yards for $16, at least that's today's price on Amazon.

I haven't used Swedish tracing paper in years, so I can't comment on precisely how they compare, but the aisle runner works very well! I used it to trace off the Paprika Jasper and it was very easy to see through. It's much sturdier than tissue paper. You can sew through it—it's designed to handle a bride's stilettos, after all. ;)

I bought mine on Amazon for $22, but I see it's currently listed at $25, so the price is a bit volatile.

It arrived in a box that was 5 feet long though, inside, it was in a 3-foot long box that was labeled as coming from Oriental Trading. I didn't check the price on the Oriental Trading website, but that might be a cheaper way to obtain it. Or head to your local party store!

Whistler, B.C.

Taken on the flight from Oakland to Seattle, I think this is Mt Shasta

I mentioned that I was missing Puyallup Sew Expo this year because my boss scheduled a team building trip to Whistler at the same time.

No, I'm not complaining.

A bus ride from Seattle to Whistler. Here we are passing through Squamish

The snow portion of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics were held at Whistler, which is about one hour from Vancouver, by car

I had first heard of Whistler back in the early '90s. I was thrilled to have a chance to go, even though I don't ski!

Luckily there was more snow this year than last year, though it's still not up to normal levels. The weather was glorious while we were there.

I went dog sledding with several colleagues.

It was fun! My sled mate is Kathy, friend and colleague. Hal is our driver.


I went inner tubing at Coca Cola Tube Park. I have always wanted to try inner tubing!

The tubing runs. It was pretty deserted on a Thursday afternoon!

The view as we rode up the conveyor belt to the top of the tubing run.

I rode the glass bottomed, Peak-to-Peak Gondola between Whistler Peak and Blackcomb Peak.

Several times.

View from Whistler Peak

Glass bottomed gondola

View from Blackcomb Peak
It was fun, but I did miss Puyallup. I hope to go next year!

Thrummed Mittens

I wanted to share something Kathy made for our trip to Whistler.

She's a knitter and she decided to make some thrummed mittens. I had heard of thrummed mittens but was curious to see how hers would knit up and how they would work, in practice. I had never seen real live thrummed mittens, but then there's not much need for such heavy duty hand coverings in the San Francisco Bay Area.

If you aren't familiar with this term, thrumming is a technique where tiny tufts of wool roving are knitted into a garment.

The fluffy part of the roving is on the inside and, with wear, it felts and creates an even warmer layer.

Pretty clever, but the inside looks freakishly weird.

The inside of the mittens

She used a pattern from Knitting New Mittens and Gloves: Warm and Adorn Your Hands in 28 Innovative Ways.

Her mittens were so cute and kept her hands cozy. As you can see when we went dog sledding:

Satin Moon Fabrics

I'm sorry to report that Satin Moon Fabrics, on Clement Street in San Francisco, is closing at the end of 2016. This was a special store, run by two truly unique sisters. I always enjoyed visiting.

In 2010, the San Francisco Chronicle published a piece on the Miyamoto sisters.

They've been threatening to retire for years, and it's finally going to happen.

I definitely plan to squeeze in another visit or three before the end of the year!


I am half way finished with another garment—this one is slated for my trip to Paris.

If all goes well.

I leave you with a cartoon that came across my Facebook page. It amused me.

I tried to locate the name of the artist to link to her site and give her credit, but was unable to figure it out. If you know, please leave a comment!

Have a great week!


  1. Your trip looks amazing! I've never been out that way and might have to bump it to the top of the list now.

  2. Hi Shams,
    The wedding aisle runner wasn't my idea but it's a keeper. I'm on my second roll, they last forever tho. I like one called French Surest Lace Church Aisle Runner. It's sold by CashCo 1000. It's 100' for abut 40 bucks. More expensive but I just like this brand, it's not to thick and not too think...the Goldilocks thing!
    Great post. My inner wadder jumped for joy to see your's and then I felt bad, shame on me! But I believe it's important to show others that we ALL have wadders!

    1. Thanks for that info, Gayle. And LOL on your reaction to my wadder! I don't mind at all! Wadders are just part of the process and not to be feared. Maybe minimized, though. ;)

    2. I need to learn the lesson of the wadder. I think I get stuck for fear of the wadder, when I'd learn so much more by forging ahead.

  3. Great pics looks like a wonderful trip. Love the idea of the wedding runner for tracing. I seem to go through a lot of the stuff.

  4. I definitely missed you at Sew Expo this year! It was one of the best things about last year's expo seeing you. I'm not sure about Expo next year because I really want to do London/Paris before they stop letting Americans visit. Oh and congrats on speaking at Canada College - I would really love to hear you cause I bet your show 'n tell is fabulous!

    1. Carolyn, I did miss Puyallup, but won't do to complain! :) I really enjoyed your blog posts about it - so thanks for sharing. I am sorry if you won't be going next year, but I TOTALLY understand! Paris is a huge deal for me in 2016!

  5. One more - I'm sorry to hear about Satin Moon. When I went to San Francisco years ago it was an interesting store to visit. It seems that as each store owner retires, we're losing another treasure!

    1. Exactly! It's so hard to run a successful brick and mortar fabric store these days, that the stores are disappearing, either from insolvency, or from retirement. It's sad!

  6. I'm sad to hear that Satin Moon is closing. I don't shop there that often because their stuff is a bit pricey, but it's always fun to look. I loved the fact that no matter what the weather was like, the two sisters always seemed to be swathed in black and/or grey :)

    1. So true! They had a Goth vibe before Goth was a "thing". Betty, it's so nice to hear from you! Today I am wearing the 3D printed earrings that I bought from your Etsy shop!

  7. I worked at a living history museum with an on-site chapel that was rented out for weddings. Most brides used aisle runner and left it after the ceremony, so the museum staff always had free access--helpful since most of us made our own costuming. You might try asking wedding venues to obtain it slightly used, but free.

  8. I haven't been to Whistler in a billion years (slight exaggeration), but a bit of trivia for Whistler buffs. My dad was in charge of the crew that brought power to Whistler in the late 60's. It's hard to imagine Whistler without electricity!

    One year I will make it to Puyallup too!

    1. That's pretty cool about your father, Elle! You definitely should try to make it to Puyallup at least once!

  9. I'm sorry to see Paper Moon go. I'm clear up in Portland OR, so have only shopped once, but it was really fun. I drooled there and bought a couple things, then went crazy at the discount shop down the street. Is it still there?

    1. Yes, Satin Moon is a unique store! The store "down the street" is Fabrix. Fabrix is still on Clement Street, but moved several blocks further away from Satin Moon. They moved over a year ago due to earthquake retrofitting.

  10. There were no snow sports at SewExpo, and I adore the gondola in Whistler so I think you made the right choice.
    I always miss Satin Moon in SFCA. This is a motivator.
    But mostly, thanks for the tip on the runner paper. I have heard that before, but just didn't connect it. I pay 25$ for a 50 yd roll of 33wide yellow tracing paper. Going to check out the display and costume store this next week; I am running low.....
    Thanks Sweetie!

  11. Hi folks -- Quick note about the wedding aisle runner: I just received my roll from an Amazon seller, I think it is the same one Shams linked to. It has nice transparency (I can read most details of a dollar bill through it) and should be very useful for tracing Burda patterns. HOWEVER the runner is weak & shreds fairly easily in the narrow direction, but is much stronger in the long (100 feet long) direction. Also it takes some markers and pencils more easily than others. So be prepared to experiment!