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Albion jacket

Mar 01 2014

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New jacket for Muhtick. This is the Colette Albion pattern. It’s a straight size medium, jacket length but with a lining. It sadly turned out too narrow across the upper back, but at least it looks good when he’s standing still. Just doesn’t work well when he’s driving or using his arms in any way…


This was one of those christmas presents that was like “I haven’t made it yet, but I will make this for you at some point.” It is now March, and the jacket is finally finished.

I was inspired by this lovely jacket that he had bought at some fancy boutique in Gastown, the reason to make another being that the jacket shrrrrunk after being cold water washed and hung to dry! So I wanted to make him a replacement. The original jacket was sort of a denimy chambray type material. I found this dark grey light weight Italian denim at Fabricana, and I actually really liked the reverse side, which is a paler grey. The fabric has been pre-washed and dried. No more shrinking!


The lining is actually cotton ticking meant for down comforters. It is really dense and smooth, and reminiscent of the original jacket’s lining. I added an inner welt pocket for Muhtick’s tablet. His old nexus 7 screen just cracked, which was a bummer, but good news is he just got the new nexus 7 to replace it.


He’s not much of a toggle man, so I put in a zipper instead. It was his idea to go with yellow as an accent colour. I think it looks pretty good with the grey.


Button snaps are to come for the top and bottom of the front placket and the hood overlap. I ordered these pretty cool snaps and a tool to install them from an etsy supplier based in Hong Kong, and the snaps got here after a month of waiting, but the tool that arrived was the wrong one! The seller is sending me the correct one, but it will probably be another month before I get it.


Back view



I added a bias flat piping sort of strip to the back yoke for an accent. I used the ‘right side’ of the material for dark accents throughout (piping, front facing, inner hood, front pocket).




Closeup of the zip. I got a pretty nice one at dressew with a leather pull. I sandwiched it in the facing rather than following the sewalong instructions that leave the zipper tape exposed.  I think it looks pretty sharp.


Muhtick also isn’t an inseam pocket kinda guy, so I just added a front side welt pocket with a zipper for him to keep small items in (keys, bus pass, etc).


Zipper closure


Another mod was to extend the hood front so that it overlaps at the centre, and to add a drawstring. The drawstring is a round elastic. Installed a couple grommets then added a toggle and a bead as a stopper. I think it looks pretty pro.


Also used ribbing for the cuff rather than a button tab at Muhtick’s request.

That is all.

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sewing snark – grey moto jacket

Jun 04 2013

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Well folks, now that summer is upon us, I thought I’d post about a nice warm wool jacket I made. Very timely, I know. I actually made this jacket back in February, and these photos were taken on a particularly sunny day in early March:


The pattern is Burdastyle Larissa. I’ve actually made this once before in a blue twill. That jacket got a lot of wear and was getting quite worn out, so I decided to re-make it in a grey wool blend. I bought the fabric at a boxing day sale at dressew, and then it only took me a little over two years before I actually started making it!


For modifications, I lengthened the torso by a couple inches and shortened the sleeves by an inch or so. I think the original jacket was designed for a tall person with long arms who likes belly bearing jackets. Typical.


I also did some topstitching both for decoration and to sew the sleeve vents shut. I sewed them as directed last time but they always ended up poofing out and making it look like i had a big hunchback. When in fact I only have a small hunchback!


I also made one size smaller than last time, size 40 if I recall, as my last jacket was lined with polar fleece and still was roomy, whereas I lined this one in a lightweight cotton twill I got from Gorgeous Fabrics. I thought perhaps this fabric was too nice to hide in a lining, but  then decided to go for it, because why shouldn’t the inside of my jacket look better than the inside of everyone else’s jackets?

some more pics:





the end, you’re welcome.

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mason jar beeswax candles

Apr 11 2013

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Alrighty folks, are you ready to be blown away by another craft project? We’ve already looked at how to make a vegetable oil candle. Now it’s time for beeswax! In mason jars! In case you didn’t know, mason jars are super hip. And you can do so many things with them! You can make mason jar soap dispensers, use them as mini blender containers, make mason jar pin cushions, or make mason jar candy pedestals. Who doesn’t need a super fugly candy pedestal in their life?? My personal favourite thing to do with mason jars is to store foodstuffs in them. But I digress, let’s get back to the topic of making beeswax candles in mason jars.

I’m super into beeswax candles because they create negative ions, which in turn create positive vibes. This is true. Google it. I found this amazing store near where I live called Wicks and Wax. They sell wicks, and they sell wax! They are also very friendly and helpful.  I got a couple bags of beeswax there, and also some HTP 83 wicks which were recommended for the beeswax.

I found an old pot and floated it on top of a wider pot of water. This worked pretty well. Melted the wax right up.

I prepped my jars. Put some wicks in there and supported them with chopsticks. Really high level stuff.

Then I poured in a little bit of wax into the bottom to secure the wick, and once secure I filled the jars the rest of the way with wax. Unlike paraffin wax, beeswax keeps its form pretty well and you don’t need to top it up once it’s hardened. It does shrink a tiny bit, but doesn’t form huge craters. Here they are just after being poured:

Pretty! They also give off a nice glow.
mason jar beeswax cnadle

Including the cost of the jars, the wax and the wick, each candle worked out to be less than 3 bux, which is super cheap for beeswax candles of this size. Once the candles are burned up, if you freeze them a few hours the wax will shrink and you can easily get the leftover wax out of the jar, and you can remelt it to make more candles. How thrifty!

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sewing snark – brown shirt

Mar 12 2013

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As my interest in posting photos of bicycles owned by people with low self esteem has waned, I have decided that it is time to find a more sustainable line of content. I will now be posting more of my sewn items here. I have sewn many things since the inception of this website, but very few (only one in fact) have been posted. This is because I’m a lazy bastard. It is also because I don’t really have a strong desire to put myself out there. To allow things that I have created to be scrutinized. I’m too insecure and vain at the same time. Well, I’m going to try and get over that and post a bit more, for the better of the site. Since clearly my contribution will better the site. Alrighty, on with the sewing content!


Here is a shirt that I made for one Muhtick (the curator of metapause). I used pattern 129 from the 05/2011 issue of Burdastyle. The link is to the Russian Burdastyle site, which has far more content and user activity than the American one. And if you check out the projects posted there for this pattern, you will also find amazing style!


I cut the smallest size (48), which fit him well in the neck and shoulders, although I tapered the pattern in to give it a slimmer fit by slashing the pattern pieces up the middle then overlapping the bottom hem line by a couple centimetres. I only sewed on the collar stand and not the collar, as this is a style that Mr. M likes, and I’m also happy with it as it means I don’t have to sew a collar! For the top button placket I made a separate pattern piece rather than just folding the fabric under. For the sleeve plackets I used this method posted by Pam at her blog. Other methods for sewing sleeve plackets seem kind of daunting and finicky, but I find this to be quite easy and straightforward.

I used a bottom weight stretch cotton, so it’s quite thick. The pattern is actually a tiny herringbone, and Muhtick preferred the textured reverse side of the fabric so the wrong side has become the right side. The contrasting stitching was also his vision. What style!




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How to make a tote bag

Aug 01 2012

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Today we will be making a hand screen printed tote bag. Must be made out of hand screen printed fabric or it won’t work. There are probably already about a thousand tutorials on how to make a tote bag, but this one will be better than all of them.

Here’s my fabric.

Here’s a pdf file of my image that you can use if you aren’t original enough to come up with your own triangles!

Using 0.5″ seam allowances, folding down 1.5″ on each end, and sewing 4″ sides, an 18″ x 33″ piece of fabric will make a bag that is 4″ deep x 14″ wide x 13″ high. The long edge of the fabric is ([height x 2] + depth + 3″), the short edge is (width + depth + 1″).

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How to make canvas wall art

Jun 03 2012

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New craft snark! Today we are going to be making some canvas wall art for much cheaper than they would charge you in one of those poster art places. For example this canvas is about 13.5″x18″, and cost less than $10, but would cost about $73 to get done at my local art store.


  • an image printed onto canvas
  • 3/4″ by 3/4″ lengths of wood
  • a brother with power tools
  • staple gun (with staples, duh)


First, pick out your image. This one here is by Muhtik, the curator of Metapause. It is pretty sweet. I printed a bunch of images at spoonflower. A 36″ x 54″ piece of cotton canvas of my own design cost $27 including shipping, and I was able to fit several images onto it. Only problem, which I learned too late (i.e. after I got the fabric in the mail) is that dark colours that are similar do not print well together, from their website: “Black stripes on a dark-grey background are a bad idea.” Do you know what’s a bad idea? Getting printers that can’t print dark colours that are similar! Oh wellllll.

Here’s all the images I printed. I separated them by a few inches each. Some printed better than others.

Here’s the resulting printed canvas.

The next step is the easiest one… get your brother to make up some wooden frames to match the size of your image.

Next, stretch your canvas over your wood frame, trying to keep the grainline of the fabric square to the frame. Staple in place. Buy a better staple gun than I did.

Here we go, only took about 200 staples, of which at least 10% stuck.

beeoooteefulllll. I probably should have ironed it, and stretched it a bit tighter.

ooooh, ahhhh. I do wish the image had printed nicer than it did, to do the artwork justice. But now I know, high contrast images would work better. I still enjoy the canvas as is. And you should too! You are welcome for this informative DIY. And for any schmuck out there who does not know what DIY means: get with the times!

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How to make a vegetable oil candle

Jan 16 2012

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Today I will be showing you how to make an oil burning candle out of items you probably already have at home. The candles use vegetable oil, so the next time your paraffin candle burning “friends” come over, you can be sure to point out your moral superiority with your petroleum-free mood lighting.


  • small jar
  • cotton or linen for wick
  • nail
  • hammer
  • sandpaper (optional)
  • vegetable oil

  • A baby food sized jar or smaller is best, so that you don’t have to fill it with too much oil at a time. The wick should be a loosely woven material. I tried using kitchen twine and it was too tightly wound to effectively suck up the oil. Here I’m using a cotton shoelace, which I’ve found works well. Make sure it’s a natural fibre, you can tell by the way it burns or melts. Melting is bad. Probably best to test this outdoors in a fire-safe manner. I’m just using some canola oil for the fuel because it works and it’s cheap. Olive oil gives off less odour, but the only time I notice the smell of the canola oil is when the candle is blown out. Smells kinda like popcorn.

    This step is optional, but I like to sand off the paint that’s on the surface, for aesthetic purposes.

    See? Looks so much better than having some Scottish dude with a wick in the middle of him.

    Gently hammer just the tip of the nail into the lid, to make a little holes. Hammer small holes as close together as you can, to make a line slightly narrower than your wick material.

    Now hammer the nail all the way through the small hole to widen it. Because your little holes were close together, the full width of the nail should be enough that your holes are joined together.

    See? All joined together. Doing the little holes first then the big holes is much much easier than just trying to make big holes beside each other that will join up. If you don’t trust me, I suggest that you try just going for the big holes. Enjoy your failure!!

    Insert your wick to have about 1/4″ sticking out of the lid. Too long of a wick and it will smoke and burn through oil faster than the appropriately sized wick.

    Fill the jar with oil, and attach lid. The first time using your candle you can either wait for the wick to soak up the oil, or if you are an impatient bastard (like me), just dip the wick into the oil until it’s saturated.

    Light your candle. Revel in your resourcefulness. This little candle, which is probably about 30mL, burned for over 5 hours.

    Here’s a candle I made with a larger jar. I filled the bottom of the jar with water so that I didn’t have to use a mass amount of oil at a time. The reason being that I don’t use these candles every day, so I don’t want to put so much oil in there that it will go rancid before I use it up. I’ve heard of people adding food colouring etc. to the water layer. IMHO that is tacky as shit so don’t do that.

    Please only make these candles if you are capable of handling candles safely. The snarkster and are not liable for any fires that you start.

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    How to make stamps

    Jan 06 2012

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    Everyone loves rubber stamps right? I will now impart my wisdom to you and show you how you can make your own.


    • linoleum sheet
    • wood blocks
    • lino cutter
    • box cutter or X-Acto knife
    • craft glue
    • pencil (not shown, but you should know what these look like)

    You can get the linoleum sheets and lino cutting supplies from a craft or art supply store. I got this kit and some lino from my local art store. To get the woodblocks you will have to have a brother with a table saw.

    Trace around your wood block

    then cut out a piece of lino to size. Probably best to do this on a cutting mat or an old magazine.

    using a pencil, draw out your design

    line up your pencil drawing with your piece of lino and transfer the pencil image using pressure.

    Ta da! Note that if you are using text, the image will be backwards, which is what you want so that your final image will be not backwards.

    Carve out your design. Always cut away from yourself… you know… so that you don’t cut yourself.

    Glue your lino to your block. Wait for it to dry. Or not. Your choice.

    Now that is a good looking stamp.

    Stamp! I used printing ink and a brayer. You could also use a stamp pad. Or fabric ink onto fabric.

    Here is another stamp I made.

    You could test out your stamp and clean up any bits of lino that protrude enough to leave ink marks. My preferred method is to say they add character and leave them.

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