… future’s so bright I gotta wear shades!

Seriously, it’s been a HOT summer.  No rainfall the whole month of July, not a shower or drizzle.  The temperatures are supposed to get up to 33 C (91.4 F) this week!  It’s a good thing I took the opportunity to run outside today and take my blog photos – I think I will be hiding inside with the fan or an air conditioner the rest of the week!

Let me tell you about my “Tower Dress”.  I love that name.  I’ve named my dress after one of my favourite prints – called a “Tower” print, 92% polyester, 8% spandex.  I love how the odd white leaf POPS out at you.

For my Tower Dress I used this McCall’s pattern, M6503, view B.  It has fold back facings for a collar and a wrap bodice.  I can’t wait to try some of the other bodice versions.  The only pattern changes I made were to omit the side zipper (mine’s made from a knit fabric), lower the waistband about an inch (I’m not fond of high waisted garments), sew shut the wrap bodice (I find them to be a bother), and add piping (my new fetish!). I think this type of dress is available from lots of pattern makers, including the Indie pattern producers.

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THE Biggest Sewing Room in Canada!

So what DID I do on my summer vacation?

Courtesy of "The Young Canadians" website

Courtesy of “The Young Canadians” website

I was overjoyed to be allowed behind the locked doors of the Calgary Stampede Sewing Room!

With two costume designers and over a dozen volunteer staff, the Calgary Stampede Sewing Room builds costumes and does fittings for The Young Canadians, who for over 50 years have been performing in the Grandstand Show at the Calgary Stampede every July, with additional performances throughout the year – such as their Spring Show and the Christmas Show.

That means costumes for 66 performers in the Senior Company (aged 14 to 21), 48 performers in the Apprentice Company (aged 11 to 14) and 48 performers in the Junior Company (aged 7 to 11).  For the Grandstand Show there could easily be 1,800 costume changes, with some changes being done in 45 seconds!  Two semi trailers are loaded up with costumes, etc. and are taken over to the TransAlta Grandstand to be used as dressing rooms for the performers!

It’s a rock concert quality show with over 10 miles of electrical cable, a dozen computers and 60,000 watts of power for the 17,000 seats sold and the 8,000 standees!

The Young Canadians School of Performing Arts holds auditions every August and once accepted, performers receive tuition free training in musical theatre, dance, voice and other performing arts, funded by the Calgary Stampede Foundation and the Grandstand Show’s sponsor, TransAlta.  Many students go on to successful careers in the performing arts.

But let’s get back to the start, the Sewing Room!  It is a large and cluttered space, jammed with over 80,000 costumes and 700 bins of accessories.  Each year 9,000 items of clothing make up 2,500 costumes for The Young Canadians’ shows.

Enough talk… Let’s click on the first image to start the show (with running commentary from me, of course!)

Hopefully you can tell how excited I was to see all this Imagination and Artistry.  Let’s just say that I have found my “Happy Place” – “The Biggest Sewing Room in Canada” – I think I would like to retire here!

Happy Sewing – especially to the designers and sewists and volunteers at the Calgary Stampede Sewing Room!  Thank you, sincerely, for letting me visit!

* All photos are the property of “Nice dress!  Thanks, I made it!!”  All Imagination and Artistry is the property of the people behind the Calgary Stampede TransAlta Grandstand Show!

** Statistics obtained from Roy Wright and The Young Canadians website.  Thank you!

Question and Answer Period!

A Blog Buddy has asked what settings I use on my Janome My Lock 334 serger for a rolled hem, since we have the same machine, and since she does not have the manual for her machine.

Well to start, I have a selection of reference books, my next favourite thing to buy besides fabric and notions! They might help – like my “Singer Sewing Step By Step” and my “Claire Shaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide”, along with my serger manual.


Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!!


Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!!

There are a lot of sewists looking online for that manual.  The best they can find is the manual for the MyLock 634D, which they all claim is close.  It can be downloaded as a PDF from the Janome site. I can’t believe some sites have the MyLock 334 manual for sale for $14.99.  EBay has it for $9.99.

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My babies….

I thought I would take a break from my sewing this lovely long Easter weekend to show you my babies, both Janomes just by co-incidence. I did not buy them together and at the time I was looking for each I wanted the best and most reliable I could get in my budget.  I read lots of articles, like this one from Consumer Reports.  If you Google “how to buy a sewing machine/serger” or other variations that phrase, you will get hundreds of articles!  Even Craftsy has an article.   I thought this one was cool too.  When I was looking, the winners were Janome.

My serger is a Janome “MyLock 334”.  It has seen a few years.  It is my first and only serger and still running strong, although I know it is pretty basic to what is out there nowadays!


I just found the pamphlet for it.  It has handwritten on it $595.00 and 16/6/90 – I guess that means it is 24 years old?


It is pretty easy to thread, being an older serger.  It even has a colourful diagram attached on the inside to follow when threading.  It can do a rolled hem and a couple of other edging stitches.

Now unfortunately when I just opened it up to show you I saw a whole cupful of dust, thread, fabric cuttings and goo inside my serger.  Eww.  Long overdue for a clean out!  TIP:  when blowing crap out of your machine, don’t breathe in and close your eyes! 😖 (I learned that from experience.)


There, that’s better!


My other baby, my sewing machine, is a Janome “3160 QDC”.  This I purchased in December 2011.


Even though I ran fabric through it sampling all 60 stitches, I still haven’t used it to its potential when sewing my projects!

You can remove the storage box and have a free arm for sleeves or …


it also came with a quilting table and quilting accessories – the most notable of which is the “walking foot”.  Now I am not a quilter, but I just had to try it all out!


Quilted placemats – which I do enjoy making.


What kind of machines do you use? New or old? Are you happy with them?  Love to hear from you!