Thursday, February 26, 2015


I have so enjoyed blogging at Rhinestones & Telephones for the past 7 years.  The new year brings a new look and a new blog. While most of my posts are still available here, many have been archived.

Please join me at my new online home:  A Stitcher's Diary.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


Another trip down The Secret Garden lane today.  This dress is in homage to Martha, Mary's kitchen maid turned lady's maid.  Martha is one of my favourite characters in the book.  I hadn't read (or even really heard) anyone with a Yorkshire accent before reading the book and I remember stumbling over her speech until I got used to it.

With apple cheeks and practicality, Martha teaches Mary what it is to be young; how to play and imagine, as well as how to be self-sufficient.  I remember feeling shocked when I learned that Mary couldn't dress herself at all! I couldn't imagine such a thing.

To be raised so quickly within the household hierarchy would have been almost unheard of within great country houses at the time.  However, with he unexpected arrival of a child into - what is perceived to be - a childless household, someone had to be recruited to look after her.  

I loved when Martha's mother bought Mary a skipping rope and Martha taught her how to use it.  I have vivid memories of learning to skip and distinctly remember the feeling of victory when I successfully learned to jump in.  It was always embarrassing to be the only girl in my group of friends who couldn't do it.  

Growing up, I was mad for skipping games: Had a Little Sportscar, Tell Me Your Birthday, and peppers.  Like Mary, I used to take my orange plastic skipping rope with me and skip around my neighbourhood.  When I was in elementary school, we had a university skipping team that came to my school and put on this amazing demonstration.  Double dutch, handstands, changing partners, all one while the ropes were spinning.  So amazing!

I really love the Lady Skater pattern.  It's the only one I use when sewing knit dresses as the fit is terrific and I love how the skirt drapes.  The fabric is from the first batch of ponte knit I bought from and is warm and soft to wear.  It's an easy dress - perfect for work or home.  Plus, it's forgiving as I've gained weight since starting Prednisone.  Hopefully, we'll find a long-term medication to treat my arthritis and I can start to taper and discontinue the steroids.  

Blue print here, pink print here.
In the meantime, I bought two more rose printed ponte knits that will be sewn into Lady Skater dresses.  Although it's mild now, winter will hit well and truly in the next week or two and having warm and cozy dresses is an essential.  

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Dress: Lady Skater
Leggings: Target
Boots: Target

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Santa's Vacation

I made my hat, too.  It was my first cabling project.

I'm sneaking in a bit of last minute Christmas sewing today.  I bought this print last year with the intent on sewing Chris a funky Christmas Hawaiian-style shirt; however, I've come to realize that I am an essentially selfish seamstress and sewing menswear holds no appeal for me.

For shame, I know. *wink*

This is my second Emery dress and it was just as lovely to sew this time as it was the first.  This bodice is amazing and fit me right out of the envelope with no alterations! I self-lined the bodice and after sewing 16 darts (8 for the fashion fabric and 8 for the lining), I was done with darts!  That really is the only tedious part of sewing with this pattern.

Santa drinking out of a coconut wearing a lei? Yes!

Short sleeves work best for me as I always wear a cardigan.  Long sleeves involve awkward posturing and facial expressions to try and get them to lay right.  I'll be chopping my 11 Claverton dress' sleeves for this reason.

I've been on Prednisone for over a month  now as a short-term treatment option for my arthritis.  My appetite has reached Herculean proportions and I can see the weight gain and facial puffiness in some of these photos.  It does make me feel self-conscious; however, I now get 2 days a week when my pain is significantly dialed down, which is much better than no days at all!  I am posting these, despite my misgivings, to remind myself to feel grateful for my treatment and accept these minor side effects.

The skirt looks super poofy here and so does my bum!

I sew in small doses now, so this dress took me 2 days to make.  I pace myself much more slowly than I did before my diagnosis as I don't want to push myself too far and not be able to sew at all.  Usually I cut out my fabric on one day and then spread the sewing out, depending on the project, over 2 or more days.  It's a good compromise.

The only changes I made to the pattern was to sew a gathered skirt and I used Simplicity 2886 for the pockets.  I love me a good dress with pockets!

Santas, reindeer, and palm trees.  This dress makes me smile. 

I didn't bother with pattern matching at any of the seams.  To be honest, I normally don't as it really doesn't bother me.  The only time I do match the pattern is when I'm sewing striped Renfrews, often with much cursing and frustration, but the end result is worth it.

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Leggings: Target