November 28, 2014

Craftsy Black Friday Sale!

I am so excited to share the news that my Sewing Bras: Construction & Fit is the TOP-SELLING sewing Class at Craftsy! yes, we have broken all sales records and it's only been two months since the class launched! Thanks to all of you who have purchased the class! If you haven't seen that class - the BEST time to buy it is NOW!

Let me share the news about Craftsy's biggest event of the year! I know that this is the season to shower your loved ones with gifts, but why not invest in yourself, too? 

Craftsy is making that just a little easier by marking down ALL online Sewing classes to $19.99 or less, including mine, today through to Monday December 1. Give the gift of learning here!

Trust me, if you've had your eye on a class, now is absolutely the  time to act (you could save more than $30!). Been dreaming about more than one class? Stock up on classes you will enjoy throughout the year, because with Craftsy's unlimited anytime, anywhere access, you can watch your lessons when it's convenient for you - maybe after the holiday rush

Plus, Craftsy is so sure you’ll love your classes, they’ll refund the full value if you are not totally happy with your purchase. There is really no reason not to buy a class for yourself, and maybe even for a lucky loved one (what about your sewing sisters?). Just remember, move fast because this amazing sale ends on Monday and I’m told you won’t see these prices again anytime soon!

Thanks for spending a little of your time with me this year and with my wonderful Craftsy family. I hope you’ll take a moment and do something special for yourself this season. Purchase a Craftsy sewing class today for 19.99 or less during their Black Friday Sale and invest in time well spent this year. Be sure to hurry because the sale ends Monday December 1, 2014 at 11:59 pm Mountain Time.

With Warm Holiday Wishes


November 23, 2014

At the Enchanted Castle - construction ahead

There is a beehive of activity at the store this weekend. We are getting a whole new office and shipping area!

With the release of the Craftsy bra-making class, we do not have enough room for 3 at the computers and the shipping desk. It is, to say the least, a little crowded.

Less than two years ago, we bought the current office set-up and thought we had LOTS of room. I believe I even said at the time "now we have LOTS of room. We should never need more room than this". Never say never.

Lucky for us (or is that foresight and planning?) the desk we bought can be used in the new set-up, and extra bits and bobs added to it, to increase the space. Where the original office space was in the centre of the store, now we are moving to to the front window area, and by putting it there, we can increase the area by over double. 

Here is our old notions wall...yep, that's moved too. Moving to the east side (always wanted to say that!) This area will be part of our new order desk. That ugly cabinet underneath has been transplanted to the fitting room. The thread cabinet? <sigh> I don't know  where that will go yet! Ditto for the paper and book cabinet. I am sure I will be inspired after everything is moved <she says hopefully>

When it is done, I will post a picture, but for now it will have to remain a surprise. If you call in on Monday, please be aware that our phones will be off for an hour or so as they do the switch over, but we will be back to work as soon as we can!

November 16, 2014

Once upon a time - Waist Management

Today Judy, Rochelle and I went on a road trip to see the exhibit called Waist Management - a history of unmentionables showing at the Peel Region Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA) in Brampton. 

Our day started off at Papa Leo's for breakfast. Papa Leo's is housed in a building across from the Henderson hospital on Concession Street in Hamilton . Papa Leo's was highly rated fro brunch on Yelp, so we thought we would give it a try. We were not disappointed! Papa's Eggs were poached  and rested atop avocado (yes!)  with cilantro and roasted red peppers and spiced hash browns. What a scrumptious combination! I would definitely visit Papa Leo again! (why oh why did I not take a picture of this?)

Anyway, on to Brampton. We parked in the back of the PAMA and walked all the way around the building, through the basement and through a tunnel, up the stairs and down a hallway, only to discover that there was a door to the exhibit within 30' of where our car was parked! We paid the admission fee of $3.50 (I am a senior now I guess!) and moved into the exhibit rooms.

The exhibit itself was housed in two rooms and a hallway, but despite its small size, was very impressive from a quality point of view. Most of the things were Canadian and almost all of the garments, I wrote about in the Bra-makers Manual in the History of the Bra chapter. It was extremely self-satisfying to see the things I wrote about in the flesh, so to speak.

This ballet pink below-the-waist corset, unusual for its colour (girdles were take-it-or-leave-it-white!) but also the design is clearly the ancestor of the girdle we came to know and love in later years. There is a centre front busk and two adjustable lacing panels with a godet underneath, but notice the garter attachments - each is attached on either side of the laced godet, and the garter clip suspends on the elastic. The elastic was obviously industrial strength, as it measured over 1" wide!

Here is a close up of the stitching of another corset. Rows and rows of machine stitching with tiny cords inside to add stiffness. Also two hip panels, the back one has lacing which allows you to widen this area if necessary. Notice the laces are tied to the inside so they won't show under clothing.  The second one at the side seam has a contrasting fabric set in. Notice also the tiny decorative stitching on the forward hip!

Here are some bust pads from the 1890s. They were stuffed with horsehair! Can you imagine how itchy that would have been, or what it would smell like if it (God forbid!) got wet? There are also falsies from the 1960s, which I remember well  from my days of custom sewing for others.

Here is a "health" corset which made an appearance in the early part of the 20th century. Lots of bones, and straps that fasten with safety pins (now rusted!)

I also mention  "roll-ups" in my book. These all rubber girdles were impossible to get on except by rolling them up and over your hips. The first versions rolled off the assembly line not long after Dupont developed a way to combine latex (the sap from the rubber tree) with stabilizing chemicals to produce an elastic ("lastex") fabric. This new Lastex changed the intimate apparel industry forever.

Notice this roll-up has little holes. This was to allow the girdle to be more breathable. Apparently, you would have little rivers of sweat without the holes. However, the holes left marks on your body that looked suspiciously like measles spots, although in perfectly even rows!

Here is the famous "Merry Widow" popular in the 1950s. It is hard to see but it has proper bra cups, underwires and garters.

Here is a bra from the 1950s. Bras by this time had a bridge separate from the cups. The bridge was actually made from solid elastic, not stable like we use today. No self-respecting woman would ever leave the house without a girdle on!

The last item in my picture book is the original WonderBra bra, invented in 1961 by Louise Poirier of Montreal who was WonderBra's Canadian designer at the time. This was a push-up bra in an age before pre-formed molded cups. This bra depended on the design of the cups, the cut of the cloth to do the job!

If you have a chance to visit the Waist Management exhibit, it is on until February 16,2015 at the Peel Art gallery, Museum and Archives, 9 Wellington Street in Brampton, Ontario

The website for the PAMA is