Cut! – Miss Potter – Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter's costume

Well the Cut! exhibit certainly gave me a lot of blog-fodder, so here’s another costume – this time from Miss Potter, a movie (that I frankly never heard of – which isn’t a terrible thing, since I’m not a big movie fan anyways…) about Beatrix Potter.

Poster for the costume - click for full version

The costume description poster (click for a larger view) describes the movie as:

“Miss Potter (2006)

The story of Beatrix Potter, author of the best-selling children’s book ‘ The tale of Peter Rabbit’, and her struggle for love, happiness and success.

Set in London, 1870’s

The day ensemble consists of a ruched beige silk bustled skirt with lace trim and a high-necked jacket with ore ruching and lace trim as well as a crocheted-covered buttons.”

Beatrix Potter's costume

I suppose either I’m not in an inspired mood at the moment, or the costume didn’t strike me as particularly inspiring, because I don’t really have much to say about this one…  I don’t think that the ruching is all that attractive (although on tiny little Renee Zellweger perhaps it would be ok!) so it’s not an element I’d want to repeat.  The colour is bland and boring, the poofs and lace seem dowdy with the cut of the outfit overall, the only thing that I find even mildly interesting is the shape of the skirt – though it looks a bit off where the front part meets the back at the side seam…

Beatrix Potter's costume

Well, the buttons are kind of nice I suppose, and I do like the way the front fullness is gathered with the lines of ruching – though again, not something I would want to reproduce to the extent done here.

Beatrix Potter's costume

Pst… what is that last button doing down there – there isn’t even a buttonhole…

Beatrix Potter's costume

Why is the back fabric all pleated at the shoulders?  The ruching here isn’t just controlling the fabric, they’ve actually added in additional fabric.  Not really attractive to me…

Beatrix Potter's costume

Ruching! Puffs! Lace!

Beatrix Potter's costume

Again, a bit overdone for me… too much fabric without enough of an impact.

Ok.. so if you see something I don’t in this costume, let me know in the comments below.  Maybe there’s a context that since I haven’t seen the movie I’m not aware of? Perhaps I’m just in an uninspired mood!

Fabric shopping in Maui

Yep, Maui!  As I write this (this is a scheduled post, so it won’t go up until after I get back.. privacy, youknow?) I’m sitting in a hotel room in Maui, Hawaii, and got back today from a shopping trip to Kahului where I visited three different fabric stores, and thought that I’d share my experiences, along with the fabrics I’ll be bringing back home to Calgary to add to the stash.

Sew Special

Fabric from Sew Special

My first stop was Sew Special, located in the Kaahumanu Center.  This is inside a lovely open-air mall, and it’s a regular retail-sized store.  (Rather than one of the big fabric stores that I’ve visited elsewhere.)  It’s very clean and well-organized, with reasonably good space between the aisles.  It’s largely a quilting shop, with patterns, quilting fabrics, some notions, and a small section of dress fabrics in the back.  I found the quilting kits really attractive (especially the sashiko quilting pattern + fabric kits) but on the expensive side.  (The one I was looking at was a beautiful sea turtle, wall hanging, but it was $63.00 so it stayed on the shelf…).  The staff were really friendly and helpful (especially showing us lots of owl-print fabrics when I commented on a few cute ones near the cutting table), but not pushy in any way.

Finished quilted panel from Sew Special (shot with my iPhone). Click for larger photo

However, I did pick up a few OTHER fabrics at Sew Special – a lovely koi fish print on a teal background (it also came on a black background) ($11.99/yard I think) and three panels (also $11.99/panel I think) one a geisha, one cranes, and the third a tidal wave and a koi. They had the last one made up, which I snapped with my iPhone.  I think that if I hadn’t seen it made up, I might not have picked it up.

One of the fabrics I was looking for was a Hawaiian print for a dress.  They did have some (I think priced at $5.99/yard) but very limited selection, and nothing that really appealed to me.

After going to the Kaahumanu Centre, we headed down the same street to the Maui Mall area – where we thought we’d find Fabric Mart – however after having no luck we popped into a shop and found out that they had moved from the location I had found online… Since I had originally looked up shops last year when we were first planning this trip – I had out-of-date information.  So, we headed to the Kanaha Pond Waterfowl Refuge, and then from there to the Discount Fabric Warehouse on the Hana Highway.

Discount Fabric Warehouse

Fabric from Discount Fabric Warehouse

Finding the Discount Fabric Warehouse was the first challenge, since I hadn’t marked our map with the location before leaving the hotel (and my laptop with GoogleMaps…) and we found TOO many buildings that didn’t have address numbers on them.  Or- at least not very visibly.  Also, although the address makes it sound like the building faces the highway, it doesn’t – so we needed a few passes before figuring out where it was.

Upon entry, there was a very friendly shop clerk, but later on when I was shopping, I found the staff less helpful than I really wanted.  I liked the turtle print above – but only found it in orange.  I asked if they had any other colours, and was told that I would need to look through what they had for it.  Their selection of Hawaiian print fabrics wasn’t extensive – but they were all very well displayed and easy to look at.  Most clerks at fabric stores I’m accustomed to have at least some idea of the fabrics they have if they have it in multiple colours, so I didn’t think it was a strange request… but eventually I found mustard yellow, brown, and then finally the green above.  I was really looking for a navy blue, plum, red, or black – something more in my colour scheme, but I couldn’t find any.  The Hawaiian fabric was between $4.99 and $5.99 per yard.

I also picked up a panel of the Mt. Fuji print which I have the sneaking suspicion that I might already have, since I saw it a while back and really liked it….  I also saw a number of Asian prints, mostly priced at $5.99/yard) including some different sushi prints that I really liked.  There was the sushi print with the names above on blue and red, plus the sushi meal print directly below in red, blue, and this grey/black, and the one below it (sushi without names) in black and red.

I ended picking up 4 yards of the one on the very bottom… kind of thinking of the Steampunk In Tokyo costume idea… though I haven’t really fleshed out yet what that will be…

Fabric from Discount Fabric Warehouse

Discount Fabric Warehouse has a fairly large selection of fabric, but at least half are cottons or poly-cotton blends. (So very quilting-friendly.)  There were a lot of dress and costume fabrics as well, but not a lot of colour ways.  The prices were generally slightly better than Sew Special, though there were a few items that I liked, but found a bit too expensive to pick up.  (A nice devore satin for starters…) They also had a few gorgeous colours of spandex velvet ($15.99/yard) which I toyed with… but I’d want at least 4 yards, and that would start getting really heavy and bulky to pack to come home again.  (I only packed my suitcase 2/3 full on the flight here though!)   Although most of the fabrics seemed to be priced just slightly better than Sew Special – I did find some of the same fabric I’d bought earlier – and instead of $11.99/yard, it was $13.99/yard – so ‘discount’ might not be entirely accurate!  It appears from their website that Discount Fabric Warehouse is a chain on several of the islands.  The shop also had a small pattern section and a small notions section too.

Fabric Mart

Fabric from Fabric Mart

Finally, as we were heading out of town, we saw Fabric Mart on the road heading out of town! Such good luck!  This is a shop crammed full of fabric – much of which is in the window (ak! sunshine = sun bleaching!) and much of it on shelves completely out of sight and relatively inaccessible.  There is a HUGE selection of Hawaiian prints – think of a colour, and they’ll have it.  Think of a (typical) motif – they’ll have it! (Mind you, I didn’t see any of the turtle print I had picked up just a few blocks earlier – but Fabric Mart is so stuffed, it’s entirely possible that I just couldn’t see it under all of the others. The Hawaiian print fabrics were also the best price I’ve seen so far – $2.99-$4.99/yard – with plenty of selection at the lower price.

There’s also a decent quilting fabric section – though equally difficult to browse through, and then a fairly decent fashion fabric section including taffeta, sheers, laces, PVC/vinyl, fun fur, and swimsuit knits.  I really liked some of the glitter PVCs (what fun!) but I don’t think it will wear as well as I would want it to for what I have in mind.  I think it was $14.99 (but don’t quote me on that..).  There was also a small notion section which I found kind of difficult to look through unfortunately, but I really wasn’t looking for anything in particular, and there was nothing special there that I wouldn’t find at home anyways.


Last time we were in Hawaii (on the big island) I ended up actually picking up some fabric from Wal-Mart (they still have a cut fabric section…).  They had lots of cotton poly prints but also lots of rayons, and I found a few things there I liked.  This time in Maui the Wal-Mart seemed to have 3x the number of bolts of fabric, also the poly-cotton and rayon Hawaiian prints – but unfortunately nothing really appealed to me.  The prices were good – but I don’t remember the exact prices – I think most of the poly-cotton was in the $5.49/yard range, though I could be mistaken.

 Maui Quilt Shop

On a different day we also headed into Kihei, Maui, and hit the Maui Quilt Shop.  It certainly is a classic Quilt Shop – very small, and packed tight with lots of ideas, samples, fabrics, and patterns.  I found it a little too tight actually, and know that I missed some things that were hidden under other things.  Also, because it was so tight, having just a few other shoppers in there made it very crowded and difficult to get at things.  I really wanted to get a little bit of a beautiful turtle print – but skipped it just because it seemed like such a hassle.

Another disappointment, I could have sworn that I had seen their kits on their website for a very good price, but when I looked back at the website before going – those prices had been removed.  Once there, I found that the prices were not as good as I had hoped – the same Sashiko kit that I had considered at Sew Special for $63.00 was $70.00 at the Maui Quilt Shop; which was just too dear for me to justify.  I did however, pick up a cute little turtle pattern and fabric kit (for $10.xx and $30.xx respectively) but it was only after I had left that I realized why the pattern looked so familiar.  It’s made by a Calgary company! I could have easily picked it up here I’m sure… but oh well!  Sorry no photos – maybe once I have it made up!

The need to de-stash

Pattern by Jay D

In the continuing saga of our home renovations and interior redecorating, my sewing, crafting, and costuming space was next to be viewed with a critical eye.   The changes that were proposed were indented to serve the same needs for storage as existing solutions, but with a more united look.  However, there isn’t nearly as much space anymore… and I can certainly take the chance to weed through things anyways as I put it all back!

So, for opinions wanted!  Should I try to de-stash on Etsy or Ebay or one of those sorts of ways? (Selling the stash extras for a bit of extra cash.) Garage sale in the summer?  Or should I just give it away to crafty friends or save it for the “church sale” (where they sell off craft stuff and fabrics with money raised going to the grandmothers raising their grandchildren left orphaned due to HIV/AIDS )?  Freecycle? For the clothing, does anyone have suggestions for consignment stores?

So far I have:

  • A number of silk, leather, and velvet/velveteen garments – I originally kept them to re-source the fabric, but with the storage-space reduction, I just don’t have the space for all of it…  All of it is in great shape, mostly sizes 2-8, some near-new styles, some vintage styles. Most of it is evening/semi-formal/etc…
  • Notions like zippers, buttons, etc. – mostly off colours that I’ll never use in clothing like orange, yellow, hot pink, etc.
  • Quilt batting (the fuzzy polyester type, not the flat cotton type)
  • SCA encampment stuff like tablecloths (to hide coolers), platters, tent decoration, etc..
  • Art supplies like paints and things (mostly watercolour, almost all of it used…)
  • Patterns – mostly separates in sizes 10-16
  • Loads of random craft things like ribbon flowers, home dec accessories, wacky Japanese things from Daiso in Vancouver, etc..


(Please respond in the comments section, rather than on Facebook or Twitter…)

Book Review: Jelly Roll Quilts

Image from - click for the original

In my ongoing search to find a cool pattern to effectively use my recently purchased Jelly Rolls, I picked up a few books, all by Pam and Nicky Lintott.  This book, which I believe is their first on the topic, is a great book illustrating different quilt patterns using these cool, pre-cut and selected fabric assortments.

There are a number of different quilt patterns included, and they give the dimensions for the quilts they demonstrate – so if you want to make one larger you can estimate how much more fabric you’ll need, or alternately, how much you might have left over if you plan on making one that is smaller.  Although I don’t always care for their colour choices (too bright, or too much contrast for my personal taste), they also have illustrations showing the quilt pattern.  I find these somewhat easier to look at, evaluate the pattern, and see if it’s something that I might want to do.

I also like the addition of the variation quilts.  I can imagine that for the designers, making two quilts that are the same except for a colour variation might become kind of boring, but I think this is a great idea for those of us who can’t really connect with a pattern if the colourway is distracting or doesn’t appeal to our sense of colour harmony.

At the back of the book they include a small quilted tote (use up all of those leftover pieces!) as well as a short section on quilting terms and techniques.

There are a few patterns in here that I really like – first the “bars of gold” -which I’ve known previously as Chinese Coins. It looks pretty simple, but I imagine doing it so the colours blend from one to the other just like they are displayed in the Jelly Roll.  There is also a pattern for a Lone Star quilt – I’ve been wanting to tackle a Lone Star quilt for a while, and have another book full of ideas, but perhaps a Jelly Roll is a good place to start?

Ah.. now if only I had a workable sewing room and the time to sew!

Book Review: Hats in Vogue since 1910

Finished hat on my Styrofoam head (keep in mind the head is smaller than my own..)

In preparation for the Millinery class I took, I started looking at a number of books on hats.  While my main interest was on hat-making rather than just beautiful books on hats themselves, a little inspiration never hurts!

One of the books I picked up was Hats in Vogue since 1910 – written by Christina Probert.  It was published in 1981, and the age is showing in the publication – the most “modern” hats in the book are distinctly 1980’s – and having lived through the 80’s (however young I was), I find the level of taste of 80’s fashions really questionable.

The majority of the images are taken from the pages of Vogue magazine, so this book is as much about hats as it is about what Vogue found fashionable and interesting at the times when the images were published.  A number of the images are paintings with little detail  – more just an impression of the hat rather than something to really learn from.  Some are very nice illustrations – much more useful.  The majority of the images are photographs though, and in many cases the photographs are editorialized – so a hat becomes just an element in the fashion story rather than the story itself.  This makes for a nice photo, but not the most useful photograph.

Ultimately, I took this book back – it just didn’t give me what I was looking for.

Oh… and I couldn’t find a photo of the cover anywhere online… so instead you get a photo of one of my hats from the millinery class!


(Along with an apology I’ve been such a bad blogger lately….  between vacation, a still-chaos-ridden sewing space, and a crazy-work-and-social-life, I haven’t been able to make DDD a priority!)