“The Italian Tenor Liked It” outfit!

So, there is a story about why I picked this photo. You really can’t see the atomic-print halter top and 6-gore a-line skirt all that well, covered up as it is with the last-minute jacket purchased due to the chilly weather. My face is somewhat obscured by my huge sun hat and you miss the glamourous hiking boots I am wearing due to cropping. (They were a rental – I was trucking around Mt. Etna and didn’t have footwear suitable for scrambling over chunks of lava.) But it is a really cute outfit! Really! It became my favourite me-made outfit, partly because the (cute) Italian tenor I met on the trip was raving about how much he liked my style. Works for me.

Name and Location: Ruthanne Edward from Ottawa, Ontario. Yes, that is in Canada, not Kansas or California.

Blog: I don’t have a sewing related one, but it is on my to do list.

How long have you been sewing: I bought my sewing machine in the spring of 2010. Before that, I made a jersey baseball shirt in grade 8 Home Ec.

Why did you want to commit to The Sew Weekly Challenge: I am the Queen of procrastination! There is always something that needs to be done first, like Angry Birds to be played, youtube vids of cute cats to watch… Before I know it, it has been weeks without getting my machine going. I still consider myself a beginner sewist and the only way I will improve is to actually sew stuff. External deadlines are my friend. I loved following along last year, seeing all the different ways everyone put their own spin on the challenges. I read about how much being a part of it meant to Deb, Veronica, Sarah, Adey and Oona, how it helped them become better sewists and the great community that is part of TSW. I’d be a fool not to take part!

What do you love most about sewing garments: The amazing sense of accomplishment when I finish a project. Yes sir, I made that with my own 2 hands. The first thing I made once I got my machine was just a simple apron, but I am still ridiculously proud of it. (I matched those stripes like nobody’s business!) I hope that doesn’t go away as I become more experienced.

What do you hate most about sewing garments: I am soooooooo slow. Turtle speed. Glacial. Ice ages come and go while I am making a skirt. Not because I procrastinate and don’t get around to finishing it, I am just a really slow sewer. Those patterns that say “one-hour skirt/shirt/dress”? Ya, right. I know that will improve with more practice, but I do get quite frustrated at how long things seem to take me.

What do you want to accomplish this year with regard to the challenge: I have started up a nice little pattern collection, vintage and modern with a vintage feel. I have a whole tote bin filled with fabric and lots and lots of plans for just what it will all get made into. In 2011, I made 1 crinoline, 1 skirt (for a friend), 1/2 a peasant blouse and a muslin for a dress. That is it, for the whole year. I would wear vintage styles everyday if I had enough clothes to do it. I feel so much better when I do wear my vintage styles (and set my hair), but I still have a lot of clothes in my closet that don’t fit in with that. By the end of 2012, I would like to have enough duds in my styles of choice to wear it full-time. There, I said it, a goal out loud. Check back at the end of the year, we will see how I did.

Your biggest non-sewing goal of 2012: I am a professional storyteller for my day job and this is the year I will really start to live up to my real potential and abilities as a performing artist. All kinds of personal and artistic development to be done.

What are your favorite sewing/fashion blogs: Since I am a vintage fashion lover, most of the blogs I follow are in that vein. Casey’s Elegant Musings, Coletterie, Gertie, Diary of a Vintage Girl, Retro Chick, Vintage Vixen, New Vintage Lady.

Let the sewing begin!





Ruthanne has loved vintage styles since she was a teenager, especially the late 30s to early 50s. It was only about 2 years ago she realized she could actually wear those styles herself. Now she sets her hair in pin curls before bed and has learned how to sew so she can wear the kind of beautiful clothes she has always wanted.


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  1. I like it too, those Italian tenors have the best taste…. tee hee

  2. I’m absurdly slow too. Like, it’s taken me almost 37 hours on the dress I’m working on now, and I’m still not done! It’s nice to know someone else is struggling with speed too, and I’m not the only one who can’t whip out a dress in one day (or even a weekend!). :) Maybe we can both pick up the pace this year.

  3. Don’t get too frustrated by time. I started sewing a tunic a couple of days ago that I thought would take me a few hours. After ten hours of sewing it still isn’t finished. And I stupidly thought I could sew both the tunic and a skirt in the same day! I’ve been sewing for more than five years and still haven’t learnt that I simply cannot sew something in a couple of hours.

  4. Ruthanne Edward

    Thanks for the reassurance! I know some of it is that my skills are still pretty basic and I make lots of mistakes. Takes a lot of time to correct those and it all adds up. The project I am starting in the morning for the buttonhole challenge is pretty ambitious in terms of detail work. I really hope I will be able to get it done in time. It will be spectacular if I do. Maybe even worth another trip to Italy to see if the tenors approve of it!

  5. You don’t loose the ‘I Made It!’ feeling of pride – it is always a kick particularly when a compliment is given. Don’t worry about the slow – you are not alone there.