_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

I Can't Do Everything - Maintaining Balance

My family was here on the weekend NOT to celebrate Canada Day although we did. It was the last celebration of my 60th birthday with my children and grandchildren. I got snuggles and hugs, conversation and NOISE. It's so loud to have people, especially children, in the house when you're not used to it but lovely... in a noisy way. 

When I think about all the things I've learned in the last month, I'm thrilled. Right now, I'm exploring an AI based software for editing video in text rather than through the audio and video tracks and it's really fun. I think I'm going to enjoy this part of my new business more than I thought. I am working on my next video for the YouTube channel. It's coming together well and it's taking a tremendous amount of time and energy. New always does. Eventually, it'll flow much easier but for now...

... I've realized that I can't do everything, splitting myself in too many directions while hoping to maintain balance, so this is the last post on this blog and all future posts will be on Bags by Myrna. Although I'll be developing bag patterns and workshops as products, bags won't be the only thing I talk about in the articles or on the channel. LOL - I couldn't keep my conversation that tight even if I tried. I like to "talk". There will be a focus on creativity in a broader way with intermittent products for sale or announcements around workshops. The next YouTube video is a scrap fabric project. 

Bottom line, balance and results are equally important to me. As engaging as this project is - and as much as I needed an engaging project - I also need to generate income so my primary focus is to provide consistent, quality, well developed articles, patterns, videos, and workshops that both support and encourage and sell to generate cash flow. My immediate goal is a once-a-week publication on both the YouTube channel and the articles section of my website starting at the beginning of August.  

Here is a link to the website if you'd like to subscribe there...

And, here is a link to the YouTube channel if you'd like to subscribe there...

Or both.

THANK YOU for sharing this journey with me. I am looking forward to this next chapter and hope you will join me there. 

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - new adventures

Friday, 1 July 2022

Literally My First Video

SO much work for forty-nine seconds. This is literally my first video. I combined three clips, edited the input and output points of each clip, overlapped them so they would fade in and out, and added a gradual zoom in filter to the section with the sewing machine.

I used a program called Shotcut because it was on a list of the top five, free, editing software and there was an absolutely fabulous tutorial that literally walked me through step by step. The facilitator, Kevin, provided the clips so I could follow along and do exactly what he was doing and make a cookie commercial. From there, I was able to make this video without needing to refer back to the tutorial. That's a REALLY GOOD tutorial. 

The video is published on my fledgling YouTube channel. Right now, the channel has an autogenerated URL and when there are 100 subscribers, I can customize the name. If you want to see how it looks, here is the link. Next week, I'll be working on more videos and eventually they'll get to actually being about sewing and bags. The sound of the machine helps in this one. You get to see a bit of my studio too although I want to make quite a few changes.

The video was shot with my new camera. So many new things. I'm also figuring out how to use it too but luckily it's very similar to my previous one, the same brand with similar functions. I did a few clips on the older one and the quality of this one is vastly better so I'm glad I bought it. 

This morning is journal writing, tidying up, and going grocery shopping. My daughter and her family will be here this afternoon until Monday and everyone will be here on Saturday when we're celebrating my birthday. That's the last of the planned events. It's been a fabulous month. I've enjoyed celebrating with friends and family, making things, and learning new skills. Three of my favourite things.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - my first ever video

Wednesday, 29 June 2022

That Completely Cringeworthy, Totally Terrifying, First Video

Thomas Edison died thirty-one years before I was born and somehow he still managed to preach from the fridge daily. Back then, I didn’t know they were his words but I definitely remember them scripted  in gold metallic on a green magnet with the image of a carpenter carrying a hammer over his shoulder. They flashed every time we walked by.  

Fairy dust, a silver bullet, the wave of a magic wand, they all sound good even as we know that success follows work. If you’re not willing to work, you’re not likely to be successful be it making a button hole or developing a business. Improving takes time. The exceptionally bright shine of an overnight success obscures the highly touted ten-thousand hours of prep time that came first. We have to do the work to learn how to do the work because we learn to do by doing.

I started sewing forty-eight years ago when I first sat down at the machine and fell in love. Sewing has become a near daily practice since and in that time I’ve learned a lot and have gotten very good at sewing everything from lingerie to outerwear, traditional quilts to textile art. I’ve refashioned, upcycled, and even made textile jewelry. My preferred plan of attack is to dive deep into a subject, OD-ing on it until my hands flow with ease and my mind bubbles with creativity. Only then does the magic happen.

Although it’s appearing here now, this will be the first article on the new website but it’s nowhere near the first one I’ve written. I enjoy writing nearly as much as sewing. If you’ve been following me for a while, you already know that life took a bit of an unexpected shift earlier this year after which I began looking for an engaging project and increased cash flow. I started Bags By Myrna – a business designing bag patterns, writing articles, developing workshops, and creating a YouTube channel. I’ve been sewing bags since my teens so that part feels comfortable. Everything else is a steep learning curve especially as I’m a self described technical dinosaur.

In the past few months, I’ve set up a website, found an accountability partner, learned about search engine optimization, learned about product photography, learned how to use a vector drawing program to draft PDF patterns printable on a home printer, written and sewn a first pattern, organized the first test sew and used the feedback to edit the text ready for the second test sew. I’ve drawn the rough illustrations and hired an illustrator, outlined an online workshop, started setting up a YouTube channel, gathered most of the starter equipment for making videos, made a list of topics, and watched a LOT of how-to videos. That’s about as much preparation as one can do – or procrastination depending on how you look at it – before it’s time to actually record that completely cringeworthy, total terrifying, first video.

I have decided to embrace inevitable failure and not just to embrace it but to share the process to hopefully encourage anyone else who might be waiting to hop off this fence. When I’ve been the teacher, I’ve told my students that starting is the most important step. You are going nowhere if you don’t start and somewhere if you do. This time I'm the student.

In every how to get started video I’ve watched, the facilitator has said stop overthinking, stop procrastinating, just make a video and then another and another because no matter how much you know now, at some point down the line you’ll look back and recognize, as you cringe, that you’ve made progress. To make progress, you have to start - so start. They sound like my own words coming back at me!

The next steps on my to do list of getting this business going is to write a dozen articles for the website (
of which this is one) before making them live and to record really bad videos until I can’t make really bad videos anymore because I’ve learned enough to do better! I'll link the first one to this article on the website. 

Although a few of these learning curves have had me in tears at times, overall I am thrilled with the progress I am making even as I realize that there are no guarantees. The goal of an engaging project has been met. I am having fun and learning a lot. The goal of increased cash flow is yet to be seen. I can’t control the financial success of the anything. The only thing I can control is my choice day-to-day to do the things I am passionate about like creating, sharing, teaching, supporting, encouraging, and life long learning. That is good and enough for now. Time will tell with the rest.

What have you been putting off?  When will you begin?

These flowers were on my doorstep yesterday morning, sitting in an old metal watering can with no note. It wasn't necessary. I knew exactly who they were from. Three years ago, my friend Mimi decided to grow vegetables only she was so successfully inundated with them that last year she learned how to grow flowers. Regular bouquets appeared on my doorstep all summer, so many that I gave flowers to most of my neighbours. This is the first bouquet this year. I imagine more will show up. It would take me pages to detail her research, efficiency, organization, and learning curve. She's a deep diver too. I love her results. I hope mine impact others positively as well. 

Talk soon – Myrna

Grateful – gorgeous flowers, lots of boxes checked off on my to do list

Monday, 27 June 2022

The First Test Sew

Before my cousin - Karen - arrived, we discussed different activities we could do together and I'd suggested several around knitting only that isn't where she's at right now. She also doesn't sew regularly so I was surprised on Wednesday when she suggested test sewing the pattern. Surprised and thrilled. I really want this pattern to be beginner friendly and having it tested twice - by her and by my friend Francine - is perfect. Both are beginners. 

Apparently, the instructions are very thorough. Karen is the type to read them through from beginning to end before starting and she said about halfway through reading she started to wonder what she'd gotten herself into and if she could possibly do this. She did, fabulously. She also said that as she began to work through the steps, it all came together so well that her panic subsided and she was having fun. YES YES! 

Above left, she's block fusing the interfacing/fleece to the fabrics before cutting out the individual pieces and above right, she's just finished putting the interior pocket together.

I'm almost seventeen months older so we're close in age although we grew up a long distance apart and didn't spend much time together. We still live quite far apart but reconnected in adulthood and the older we get, the more alike we are which is very fun to explore especially for me as I have limited contact with extended family. 

Karen has excellent attention to detail which I really appreciated as she went through the pattern step by step. Not only did she proof and edit, she confirmed where further illustrations are needed. I was able to experience how a beginner responded to what I thought I said and, THANKFULLY, there were very few changes. I wrote how-to for years but it's been a long time since my last pattern. It's nice to know I haven't lost the ability. 

This is at the end of the following section where the interior pocket has been sewn to the lining and the lining is completely formed. The next section, the exterior bag, is almost identical so this is a point of comfort in the process. 

We started about mid morning, took a break for lunch, worked through the afternoon, went out for dinner, and finished early evening. The lining fabric was one I used for a pair of pants several years ago so I tried to find the pants to give to her only I think I cut them up BUT... I did find another pair using the same Burda pattern used for the floral cigarette pants and they fit her fabulously with the alterations I use for my own shape which shows how identical our figures are as well. Maybe - VBG - I'll get a request for a copy of the pattern since they are such a simple sew. How fun would that be!

You can see that we wear a similar "uniform" of a black top with a brighter lower garment although her jewelry is far more understated that my typical statement necklace. LOL - I sent her home with a Myrna piece. 

The exterior fabric is denim left over from some jeans I made several weeks ago. Since it's dark, it doesn't show up too well against her black shirt but you get an idea of the finished size. It has a snap closure and four buttons as embellishment. The handles are webbing. It was designed to be easy for beginners and a blank canvas for textile artists. 

The first test sew was successful. Today, I am making the suggested changes to the pattern, working on search engine optimization for my website, and looking into hiring an illustrator for the images I can't draw myself... yet. I want to get the first three patterns and two workshops done by mid September so rather than frustrate myself with what I can't draw, it seems better to hire someone for the more three dimensional images and then, when the pace slows down, I'll figure out how to do that too because...

... there have been many situations where I let my inability to do something hold me back and then when I learned how, I wondered why I waited so long. I used to hire someone to do my buttonholes and insert zippers and I avoided features like welt pockets because I didn't know how to make them. Instead of stitching in the ditch with quilting, I always stitched 1/4" away because I was afraid of not hitting the ditch perfectly. Now, I can do all of those techniques with ease. It took starting and practicing until I'd done it enough times that the work flowed easily. I'm not ready to learn how to draw with paper and pencil but I do believe I'm ready to learn how to draw electronically. YES YES!

Talk soon - Myrna

- a cousin-friend, a visit from family

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Floral Cigarette Pants

Yesterday, my cousin and I drove about twenty minutes out of town and then hiked up to Margaret Falls. We went in the morning before the forecasted rain and the weather was fabulous, warm but not too hot. We've had so much rain lately that there was a lot of water running over the falls sending the spray further back onto the rocks than I've seen before. It's a gorgeous area; a hike I always enjoy. 

I finished the Burda 7062 floral cigarette pants on Monday morning and wore them on the hike so she could take a picture. I don't usually have a photographer along and I'm subconscious taking my own photos in public although there wasn't anyone else around this time so it would have worked... this time. 

I'm really pleased with how they turned out. The only change I'll make next time is to shorten the front crotch curve 1 3/4" so the waistband will sit in the correct spot. I have less tummy curve again and I'm more than okay with that change. They are wearable so I won't be altering them but I am going to keep this pattern in mind for the fall when I will need new pants. SUCH an easy sew.

I really like this Hemnes cabinet from Ikea that is finally back in stock only the price is significantly higher than it was two years ago when I first started looking at it for my studio. If I remember correctly, it's up almost $200.00. I'd like two for sure, three hopefully, so maybe not... or perhaps they are something to work toward... a reward for milestones along my business pathway... as those milestones pay out. That's fun motivation. 

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a sunny morning, yummy ice-cream

Monday, 20 June 2022

Celebrate Plan B - Off Topic

Three months ago today, I arrived home from the retreat in Ashland with some plans - A and B. Although I wasn't expecting it to happen, it would have been lovely if plan A had been possible. It wasn't and that meant some significant changes in many areas of my life, particularly in relationships and finances. 

Going forward, I needed an engaging project and a way to generate cash flow so I decided to start the bag business but deep down, I was afraid it wouldn't work. As I said in an earlier post, I hadn't felt like myself in a long time and starting, stopping, changing, and quitting so many things in the last decade had left me feeling insecure, unconfident, and not knowing. The old me, absolutely yes she could do it. The current me, I wasn't so sure.

This morning, I'm taking a minute to celebrate that not only am I still doing the work, I have made significant progress. And I'm having fun. And I feel like I'm on the right path. Am I'm growing and stretching and learning. And it's a huge relief to feel just a little bit more like myself again. A little bit. There's a long way to go and I want that feeling to continue to improve. 

After a difficult start at another site, I was able to develop my new website in Wix.com. When I was so frustrated that I was in tears, I fully intended to hire someone but couldn't find the right person at the right price and then, when a little niggle suggested going back to Wix, I did and it worked and YES YES! It's a God thing. I'm grateful.

For the site, I created a logo in Affinity Designer that will also be part of  the copyright information in the patterns. I had never used this program before and don't have a lot of experience with any drawing program so thankfully there were some excellent tutorials on YouTube. I am more and more grateful for YouTube every time I want to learn something new. 

Also in Affinity, I learned how to draw each pattern piece, add the seam allowances, lay them out over several pages, and import them into a word file that will print them out perfectly aligned on letter size paper. I'd intended to hire someone to do these drawings and I'm glad I tried them first. It's so much easier when I can do the parts of the business myself and not have to wait on others. Right now, I'm exploring printing accurately on A4 size paper, hoping it can be done with margin settings but I don't know yet. I do know that I can figure it out. 

On Saturday, I re-stitched the basic tote bag and re-took the pictures. They are only okay. On Sunday, I looked through all the bag making patterns I have in stash and set aside the ones that I think have good illustrations. NONE of them were photographs. I looked at how they were drawn and I think I can manage a lot of what I need myself and perhaps only hire someone for more three dimensional images. I'd want their drawings to be in a file format that I could then manipulate in the future so I don't have to keep hiring someone for virtually the same shape. 

As I was re-stitching the bag, I was able to tweak the instructions and they are now formatted in a PDF with the images and the pattern pieces - ready to be test sewn by my friend Francine who does not sew and has never made a bag which is exactly the profile I need. I'm so grateful she's willing to do this. I'll be able to see where I've not provided the information that a beginner needs but isn't obvious to me at this stage in my creative journey. And in-between, I'll keep working on new drawn images. 

There is very little left to do before the first pattern is complete so I'm starting to research shooting and editing videos. To prevent any fears from holding me back, I am thinking of documenting that learning curve as part of starting my YouTube channel. My hope is that sharing my not knowing will help me move forward because I'm all about supporting and encouraging others. I know I've been looking for videos like this. 

SO... the off topic part. While I'm celebrating all the work I've done on the business over the last three months, more importantly, I am celebrating the healing I am beginning to see happening within myself. If you've never felt so fragile, like glass, that you might shatter at the slightest thing, you won't be able to relate to what I'm writing but if you have, you can, and you know it's a scary place. 

The situation I am working through is the long term impact of what is called a neurodiverse ASD relationship between a neurotypical person and one with Asperger's. As I've researched the topic, I'm struck by how many people are being diagnosed with Asperger's much later in life. I think that's because so much more is known about it now and therefore diagnosis are more common. It's unfortunate that help wasn't available sooner and a tremendous relief to identify the situation and what is possible.

The difficulties within the relationship are typically misunderstood by non-specialists whose advice centers around the neurotypical person adjusting and accommodating the one with Aspberger's. That's just not possible forever in everything. At the same time, it's virtually impossible to talk to a friend and feel heard or supported because unless you're living it, you don't have a clue . From the outside, it looks "normal" which can leave the neurotypical person feeling unseen, unheard, and like they don't matter and that's a downward spiral. 

I wanted to link the list of symptoms on this page in case you might be dealing with something similar. If so, I have a clue what you're going through. I have 20/27 of these symptoms and that was a huge wake-up call for me. The author, Mark Hutton, has very informative videos on YouTube. It's his channel that led us to the answers we needed and what I appreciated most was his honesty - that he said outright what you don't want to and absolutely need to hear - it won't change. That has helped me tremendously as has...

... starting this new business. It's both old and new. I've done something similar before and virtually every aspect of how it is done now from software to marketing is new. I love learning and I'm enjoying figuring things out and moving forward. It's like a sewing a really great fitting pair of jeans. There's a whole lot of muslins and tweaking and then many pairs down the line... ta da... finally... you've got the pair you wanted and you can make another. I'm looking forward to the first video, the second pattern, and a different kind of on-line workshop than I've taught before, one with videos. YES YES.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - three month celebration 

Friday, 17 June 2022

Reverse Sewing

First thing... a question... I'll be working on the videos for a YouTube channel and online workshops soon and would love some feedback on the types of things that irritate you when watching a video as well as the types of backdrops that seem to work best. I've never done videos like this before and it would really help me to get started. THANK YOU. 

Yesterday was super busy so the plan was to finish sewing some pants this morning and then write a post about them only that didn't happen. I cut and prepared the waistband and then inserted the legs into each other to sew the crotch seam and, they didn't match. A front was attempting to line up with a back and that only happens when you've sewn the back legs together and the front legs together instead of sewing a back to a front. Sigh... even after decades of sewing, these thing can happen. I spent the morning hour reverse sewing. They're correctly pinned now and ready to move ahead.

I'm making Burda 7062, a slim leg pant that I've lengthened slightly. It's an "easy" sew with only the front, back, and waistband pieces, five in total. I wasn't sure which of my previous versions would fit my current size so I sewed some shorts to test the one most likely and it fit perfectly. YES YES. I re-drew a clean copy since that one was quite battered, wrote the current date and my finished measurements on it, and now I'll have that one going forward. 

The fabric is a cotton blend, upholstery fabric, bought in the bargain center some time last year when I was collecting fun pant fabrics for my stash. I'd realized earlier this week that I had enough pants, skirts, and dresses for the summer but thought I might need more tops until yesterday when I sorted through my box of alternate sizes. I have enough of them too. What a lovely bonus since I've got other things going on. 

The pile on the right in the above image is the pattern pieces cut out. The much bigger pile on the left is the remnants. How to organize and use remnants is an ongoing conversation for anyone who sews. I know that I want to maximize their potential as well as my investment. There is enough here to make several  handbags as well as enhance with further surface design. That's something I want to write about in an article on my new website when I get to that point. 

The site - www.bagsbymyrna.com - is now live and if you go to my previous website - www.myrnagiesbrecht.com - you'll be forwarded to the new one and I managed to figure all that out and get it working correctly. YES YES. If you visit, the sign-up box is for further information about patterns and workshops. Eventually, once I have the articles page set-up, there will be a notification subscription box for whenever a new article is posted as there is for this blog. They are two separate things. EDIT: June 19th - apparently they are not separate things. I can only have one subscription box so it's for both. 

The draft of the first pattern is written and I've drawn the pattern pieces to fit on letter size paper to be printed on a home printer. I don't actually have a printer. Mine broke last year and since I was rarely using it, I didn't replace it then but will now so I can be my own student, print out the pieces, tape them together, and test the shape while re-taking the pictures I accidentally deleted. It's looking good so far and I'm hopeful it will be finished by the end of the month although I'm very busy next week with my cousin visiting... which may mean fewer posts. We'll be enjoying food, fun, and family together.  

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - significant progress with the website/patterns

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

It Might Look Like Nothing...

It's 4:00 pm on Tuesday afternoon at the end of a long and successful day. YES YES. As soon as I publish this post, I will turn everything off and do something not work because....

... while this might look like nothing, it's a LOT of something. I switched to Wix for designing the new site and it was MUCH easier plus the help is a phone call as opposed to text which I much prefer. The domain isn't connected yet but should be by the end of today and then the site can go live and I can start filling in the details. The goal is to have it functioning well by mid September at the latest, hopefully earlier.  By that I mean with the free pattern, a free workshop, a number of articles, several videos connected to a YouTube channel, and ideally some products for sale as well. Learning to record videos will be my next learning curve. 

THIS is a really big something. I was able to draw, copy, and offset the distance of the seam allowance a sample pattern piece in a program called Affinity Designer. Today, I'll watch a video about publishing PDF patterns and decide if I'll do all the work in that program or only the pattern pieces to use in Word. Either way, I am a lot closer and far less frustrated than I was on Friday. No tears today. I'd be doing the squiggly, wiggly, happy dance except...

... that when I went to upload the picture of this tote, the images were gone, all of them, and they were the step-by-steps of the first pattern. I was planning to sew it again to film it for the free workshop and luckily, I bought enough fabric for the tester to use the same ones but I'm not sure if I have enough for three more bags. I'll figure that out and then - hopefully - sew another one to take new pictures and continue writing the pattern. Sigh... these things happen... it's manageable... it's not world peace. 

Talk soon - Myrna

- significant progress

Monday, 13 June 2022

The Option Of Pretty

Last week was unbelievably frustrating. I spent the entire week attempting to create my new website and work on the bag patterns and no matter which tutorial I followed, or how many times I talked to the help line, it just did NOT go the way  "they" said it would. 

Since I have more time than money, I wanted to do the work myself - until I ended up in tears. That's when I gave up. This is definitely not worth that kind of stress so I have decided to hire help. With the website, I'll be able to manage it once it's set up and ready but I'll let someone else get it to that stage and the same with the patterns. I'll hire someone to draw the templates for the first group and then, once things are flowing smoothly, I'll have them teach me how to do it myself. This is what I did in the past and it worked then. I'm sure it will work now. 

I ignored anything to do with work over the weekend and finished planting and decorating in the back yard. We'd had so much rain that there were plants waiting weeks to be planted as well as décor items to hang up. I'm still waiting for my swing stand. Once that comes, it'll clean up quite a bit.

These chimes were a gift from my cousin who is coming to visit next week. I definitely wanted them up before she got here. My neighbour says she enjoys chimes so I hung them on the divider between our two decks. It's not very windy there so they won't be chiming constantly and driving another neighbour crazy but I can tinkle them every time I walk by and that's lovely. Since they are healing chimes - LOL - they may get tinkled often as I attempt to learn more technical systems for work. 

Until the end of next week when my cousin goes home, any sewing I do will be for me. Not only does my pattern writing need to catch up with my notes, I could use that nurturing focus of me sewing. The colourful print at left is some fabric a friend sent for my birthday. I wanted to make it into something I'd see often so I decided to make pillowcases for my bed adding a fuchsia flange and a striped band. 

The flange colour changed a few times and I thought I'd settled on blue until I put the fabrics in my room and realized that it definitely had to be a shade of pink. The room is pink, grey, and floral so far. The plan is to add a floral wall paper behind the headboard and you can see in the picture at right that the ceiling is pink. The wall in front of the bed has a huge floral painting done by a friend and there are two very old paintings in antique frames on the window wall as well as a vase of flowers on the dresser. I find it soothing although someone recently said it looked rather plain. Probably it is when compared to the rest of my house but that's okay. I like it. 

I learned to make clean, even flanges from a friend who sewed theater costumes before she retired. She said stitch the flange to the first layer of fabric using the folded edge as a guide. In this case, I used the inside left edge of the open toe foot and moved the needle as far to the right as possible. 

For the next step, the main pillow fabric and the band fabric were pinned right sides together with the flange in the middle and the previous stitches on top and visible. I then stitched over them to secure the three layers together. The idea is to stitch exactly on the previous stitches or ever so slightly to the left of them otherwise...

... that original row of stitching will be visible on the front. I used white thread so you could see what happens. If I'd used fuchsia thread to match the flange, it wouldn't be so visible. To fix this, you can either re-stitch moving over slightly or remove the visible stitches since the second row of stitching is holding the layers together. 

How pretty are these! With home décor, as with fashion sewing, I love that I am able to create exactly what I want and not rely on what's on trend or in the stores. The quilt is made from some sheets I bought at Ikea and the bed skirt is from fabric I found in the bargain center. The headboard was $5.00 at the thrift store. I added remnants of paintable wallpaper in a beadboard pattern and used leftover cabinet paint to refashion it. 

The throw is knit with double strands of Cotton Faire in a seed stitch pattern. I made one of these and gave it to a friend after she lost her house in a fire and another that I kept for myself. My grandsons were here when I worked on them so it often reminds me of our time together. 


My gas tank was so empty the other day that the light had come on. Filling it from absolutely empty to completely full cost $86.71 Canadian or $67.84 US. I drive a Toyota Matrix which is quite good on gas. I turned to talk about the gas price with the person next to me and realized he was driving a truck. He said his last fill up was $274.00 ($215.00) and we laughed that I couldn't "complain" to him before having a more of serious talk about the impact of the rising cost of everything on so many people and how grateful we were to be warm, dry, safe, fed, clothed, and loved. I think it's amazing to have the option of pretty. I am grateful. 

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a lovely gift, new pillow cases

Wednesday, 8 June 2022

Polka Dot Pants

Today's post is late which might happen a few times this month with the ongoing birthday celebrations and lots of visitors. This morning, I have a coffee date with a friend that I'm looking forward to and this afternoon, time in the studio. The purse is still kicking and screaming so I guess I didn't find the path but it is slowly finishing and I've learned a lot. Hopefully today. 

I decided it was worth it to alter the polka dot pants and now I'll be realtering my already altered pattern. This version is better than the pair sewn with that altered pattern. With these, I didn't want to redo the cuff so I took off the waistband, lowered that seam, took in the excess ease by adding a seam along the sides tapered into the existing dart at the cuff. That left the cuff the original size and I think it works better than the version with the altered cuff. 

Here's a blurry front shot. The crotch curve is working really well and there is just the right amount of ease for me. I'm quite pleased with the fit. I copied this pattern from RTW, from a pair of Oska pants. It is very similar to OOP Vogue 8712 which I also have and this pattern has more curving and fitting details. Oska is a German brand that fits me really well. I've copied two pairs of their pants so far and they along with a Burda pattern are my top three pant patterns. I always check for them when I'm in a consignment shop hoping to develop another pattern that I really love.  

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - great pants

Monday, 6 June 2022

A Great Date

Creative adventures were a part of my life long before I read Julia Cameron's book The Artist Way and learned about artist dates. I've always felt it was important to gather inspiration and to take a freshened perspective back to my work in the studio. And I love learning. THAT is good and enough BUT a great date is more than just inspiration - it's also confirmation. 

On Saturday, I went to Creative Chaos, a huge arts & crafts fair in Vernon about forty-five minutes away and wandered through three buildings filled with booths and vendors. I paid particular attention to the jewelry and the bag booths. With both, I thought about the hopes and dreams invested in producing that much inventory - and the pressure. 

With the jewelry, I wanted to see if there was anything that made me regret my decision to change course and there wasn't. Instead, I was reminded of the overwhelm of too much inventory with nowhere for it to go and of the small market for the kinds of pieces I create. There was nothing at all like my work there which doesn't always indicate opportunity. 

With the bags, I paid attention to the quality of the workmanship and of the supplies used and to the prices which were ridiculous IMHO for a handmade item. The larger lined bags with two zippers, a frame, handles, and hardware were $55.00. Wallets were $35 with snaps, dividers, card pockets, and a zipped change pocket. Add interfacing, thread, and other studio expenses and even with streamlined sewing and wholesale purchasing, that's barely above cost not including labour or profit. 

I talked to several vendors who sold more expensive, one-of-a-kind items and asked what reaction they were getting to their prices. Thankfully some were willing to share that it was mixed with fewer sales although the two gentleman selling leather products that included belts and wallets seemed to be doing quite well. They were very busy. Considering the date, I wondered if people were buying Father's Day gifts. 

I came away with confirmation, SO GLAD that I had decided to take a different path by supporting the process and not producing the product. This feels very comfortable. Along with everything I enjoy about designing and writing a pattern, it also allows me to make singular items rather than multiples and to eventually follow up other tickles. Down the line, I want to have hand painted fabrics and one-of-a-kind buttons for sale at my in-person classes. Later. Right now, the focus is patterns and online workshops.

These are examples (from Pinterest) of what I call flat handbags. This is one of the styles I'll be exploring in my book as well as developing several patterns around. It's both great for beginners and perfect as a blank canvas. There are endless ways to fill the form. 

This weekend, I've been working on a rectangular version that has been kicking and screaming and generally not co-operating. Obviously, I was going in the wrong direction - VBG. These 2 1/2" squares were spaced, pinned in place, and stitched to a denim background where they looked like blotches - not the look I was going for - and a lot of work. 

After trying to figure out a way forward that didn't involve a seam ripper, I eventually picked them all back off, butted the shapes, and sewed them (both sets) into one piece six rows by eleven rows. I was happier with that and the bag has continued to develop from there at a much faster pace. Not that I'm in a hurry but it always amuses me how stuttering and slow it can be until I catch up with my artist's vision. I think we're on the same page now. 

I mentioned in Friday's post that I was finishing a pair of pants to wear for my birthday dinner. I did and I didn't. When they were done, I put them on and they still felt way too big even though I'd already taken them in some. Because of the tipped shape of my waist, the top of the waistband needs to sit at my waist or there's bunching below. Apparently, I've lost some tummy rounding because when I pinned out that bunching, it was 1 1/2" at center front across to the side seam and then tapered to nothing at center back. 

Along the side seam, I could pin out 2 1/2" on each side or 5" in total from the waist through the cuff to the hemline. When I tried the pinned version on, the less ease looked far more attractive than too much fabric. Yesterday, I finished adjusting the pattern and cutting out another version. I'll see how that works before deciding if I'll alter these. I really like the fabric but I'm not sure it's worth the work. 


Last Thursday when I went hairspray and fabric shopping in Kelowna, I looked for denim for jeans as well as fun prints to make pants or skirts with. I bought the three above left which are all quilt cotton and the denim top right which is a medium weight. The other two fabrics were at a second store in Vernon that I stopped at on the way home. I didn't buy them Thursday but I did go back to get them on Saturday.

The dark yellow ochre with dots, which is totally my style but so not my colour,  just would not get out of my mind. I thought about making funky pants with it for the whole time in-between. The lighter weight denim is a fabric I've used before and really liked. I hadn't remembered buying it at that store until I saw it again and since those pants are too big, I bought it again to sew them smaller. 

I had a delightful weekend and a good start to my next decade. It was filled with creativity, adventure, family, and friends - good food - some chocolate - flowers and gifts. I enjoyed it very much. 

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a lovely birthday weekend