Sewing Machine thoughts….

It has been a while…
I had been planning on sharing the following thoughts with my sewing classes, but then decided to  add it here. They can read it here along with anyone else who might be looking at purchasing a sewing machine for their own personal use or in order to best participate in classes.

So you want to start sewing regularily…

What is your sewing machine status ?

Option 1:

“I have a machine that I love and know how to use. It has all its parts, and manual.”

GREAT – Read through the manual and start practising with scrap fabrics to get to know the machine.  Use good quality thread, not the cheap stuff, and make sure to have a pack or two of needles of various sizes to test out.

Option 2:

“I was given a used machine but I don’t know how to use it.”

Do you have the manual?

“Yes”.   Read it and see option 1…

“No.”  Go get it online, then go to yes.

Option 3:

“I was given a used machine but it’s not working right.”

Have you done yes of option 2?

  • The manual shows “cleaning and oiling.”  Do that.

Still broken?

Take it to get tuned up professionally…

  • -ask at a nearby fabric/ sewing supply store for recommendations
  • – search online for local repair shops.

It cannot be saved? Buy a New or Refurbished one.

What type of machine should I get?

My domestic machine – a truck, good with basic sewing, buttonholes and stretch sewing

Minimum requirements for a domestic machine that will serve you well :

  1. Manual < remember you can get it online>
  2. Functions that are ideal:
  • Straight stitch with at least 4 stitch length options
  • Zig zag stitch with at least 4 stitch width options
  • Basic foot to allow for straight and zigzag
  • Zipper foot < optional invisible / hidden zipper foot

You can do almost all of the basic machine sewing with a lower cost machine.

Extra embroidery stitches are nice to have it you hope to do some deceorative work, but can also come later.

Do I need an industrial machine?

Not right away – most domestic machines can do most jobs.

Always ensure you have :

    • the correct needle size and
    • proper feet/ techniques for the materials you are sewing.

If you choose to get an industrial machine – follow the same steps above – manual, practice, correct needles, etc.

My industrial – straight stitches only

Do I need a serger/ overlock/cover lock machine?

Not yet – wait to see what direction you will go in for your sewing adventures/ work.

Some domestic machines have a “cover stitch ” option and foot, and that will serve until you decide how important it is to be able to trim and serge at the same time. A zigzag stitch can also work for finsihing fabric edges – just test the tension to make sure it’s not too tight.

If you do decide you want one, again, a basic domestic 3-5 thread serger/ overlock can do most finishing for general sewing.

My coverlock – high end domestic, does all the serger/ overlock/ coverlock things!

If you choose to make larger quantites of leisure wear/ athletic wear/ stretch wear, research and test the industrial options before investing.

Short and to the point, but if you have thoughts, add them in the comments!

Using every last bit of beautiful fabric pieces with TAVMasks

I realized a long time ago that I love making custom pieces for people.  This includes anything from helping finish off an already begun project, to creating new pieces from vintage gowns, to all styles of weddings and to making TAVMasks – made to order.

And then sometimes I just have pieces of fabric that will work well for one purpose, so I may as well whip up something so that folks who just want to buy what they see  can enjoy a TAV Creations original too…

So, without further ado…click on each for more details


EMAIL ME if you are interested !

And please check out the TAVMasks made to order page if you prefer solids or some other print options!

Client: I started this project… Me: Sure – bring it on over!

My elevator pitch used to be: ” I sew, I dance; I teach both.”

I have retired from performing and teaching dance< Belly and Bollywood>, but I still am lucky enough to be able to keep up the creativity with my sewing work.

Every once in a while, I am lucky enough to be able to assist another sewist in the completion of their projects that may have gotten away from them, their lives have become too busy, or whatever the reason…

Here’s the latest – and I love it – I want one for me now ! I don’t need one though… sigh…

TADA~ and yes, it will look better with a body inside and a bit of aging from laundering..

Click on the first thumbnail and hit the right arrow to go along for the journey!

So…. yes!
If you need help finishing a project, let me know and let’s co-create something amazing!

So, you already have a 2 layer mask….Now What?

If you decided early to go with a breathable fabric mask to reduce your impact on the environment and keep others safe – yay!

You may have purchased a Style 1E/1T TAVMask from me to help support an Ottawa based business, or you may have purchased from one of the many other awesome sewists who have been doing their part to try to help keep everyone a bit safer.

So, now it should be a 3 layer mask, but yours has no pocket to insert either a reusable or disposable filter!!!  And you have a few of them!!


TAVMask Shaped Filter Insert $8.

3 layers of fabric – 1 Organic cotton/ hemp blend for support; 1 layer polypropylene for filtering; 1 layer organic cotton sateen for comfort with support boning to gentle hold the mask away from your lips but still allow it to sit securely against your face.
Organic cotton side rests against the face for comfort.
Support in the centre added, creating that bit of space between the mouth and mask…
burgundy organic cotton/ hemp on the side that will settle into the two layer mask…Small size shown here.
All TAVMask sizes will be available. The Standard size and Small sizes are shown here.
standard size TAVMask with the filter insert in place

I now have receive and can provide the appropriate polypropylene, but there are some suggestions that may help you add your own filter in the meantime:

In September 2020 this article was published by the University of British Columbia and it suggests dry baby wipes work well..

and the latest from

Filters add an extra layer of protection against COVID-19 by trapping small infectious particles. Consider wearing a mask that includes a filter or filter material as one of its layers, such as:

non-woven polypropylene fabric, which can be found as:
a craft fabric
the non-woven fabric that’s used to make some reusable shopping bags
a disposable filter inserted into a pocket on the mask
Reusable masks with a non-woven filter layer should be washed daily, and can be washed multiple times. Disposable filters should be changed daily or as directed by the manufacturer.

Replacing your mask elastic

As you wear and wash your reusable cloth face mask, you may need to replace your elastic. Or you may want to change from elastic to ties or vice versa.
This quick photo tutorial is one way to quickly make the change!
Some sewing required! But you can choose to sew by hand if you find have a machine.

Instructions for tutorial – these are on the video too, but it runs fast, so read through then visit the video to see what I mean!:

If you have been wearing and washing your mask, elastic wears out, and you may want to replace it.

1-Get in as close as you can and cut it off. It is fine if little bits remain.

2-Without over stretching, measure the old elastic. Remember it has already stretched a bit, so this amount will work with new elastic as it already includes what you will sew as “seam allowance”.

3-Cut replacement pieces* the same length; they can be a different width.

4-Pin the new elastic* into the corners < as shown> lining up the cut edge with the finished edge of the mask, on the inside.

5- Sew the elastic by machine or by hand about ¼ inch to 1 cm < ⅜ inch> from the edge.

6- Flip the elastic out, and flip the mask over with the outside facing up.

7- Sew a second row of stitches along the edge of the mask, catching the elastic and encasing the cut edge.

8- On the inside your see the folded edge and stitching line holding the new elastic* securely.

9-And on the outside, your mask has some extra sewing, but you know you will be able to replace this elastic* in the future by undoing your stitching lines.

*If replacing elastic with ties, I have found, approximately  14 inches for the bottom two and 16 inches for the top two ties work for most people.

click on the photo for the video

Presenting the #TAVMASK Pouch!

I have been making #TAVMasks for a while now, and I have been meaning to offer a reusable bag of holding or pouch for the past few weeks.

Today is the day!

Washable, and reusable, the fabric options will be varied but I will likely go with  the Burgundy Hemp/ Organic cotton for durability and sustainability.

Note: the prototype is in the natural colour, but that is no longer available < I used leftover bits>so I’ll be looking at options as we go along !

Pricing to be determined, but for now, I’ll be sending out some to testers, and if you place an order for a TAVMask this week < July 13-19>, you’ll get one included in your order!

outside of fabric mask may get contaminated when wearing…
Fold the mask to contain the foreign germs < your germs are on the inside , which is ok for you to touch> so the outside is folded together.
You can also fold the mask a second time to make it more compact or scrunch it, but keep that outer layer contained.
With the outer side of the mask fully folded onto itself, you can then slip your mask into the washable, reusable pouch, and use the loop to attach it to your bag, or wherever!
and for good measure, you can tuck your ties or elastics into the bag as well!


#NewNormal for TAV Creations…

As Ontario looks at how to reopen businesses, I also am looking at how to safely conduct business in my  highly up-close and personal main operations.

I specialize in custom garments, making them with multiple appointments to ensure the look and fit are what my clientele wants in…

  • Bridal wear
  • Proms
  • Dance costumes

And even with these jobs I am often still looking at at least one fitting to ensure a good final result when providing…

  • Tailoring
  • bridal alterations
  • clothing repairs and renovations….

So what to do?

I have been making masks steadily since March 2020 , and I will continue to do so as demand exists, that will be one of the streams of income I will be dedicating time to. Curious? email me 

Be sure to use  #TAVMasketeer or #TAVMaskateer if you post a selfie in one I’ve made for you!

No-contact alterations will be available

 – you mark it, I sew it can work reasonably well for pant and sleeve hems, and likely straight skirts…contact me if you have projects like this to get finished!

This will also work for curtain hems, and repairs of clothing!

Resuming fittings with safety protocols in effect:

For my bridal clients and custom clientele who are looking at having their special garment made or altered/ tailored for a future event, I have been postponing fittings until we have a better flattening of the curve happening.  As we begin to open up, I will be looking at slowly setting up more appointments with the following protocols in place for my health and yours.

 both of us wearing masks -if you have your own cloth mask, cool, if not, let me know and I’ll make you one and will wash and  iron it to kill off germs right before you come.
wearing disposable plastic gloves or washing hands immediately upon entering < if you prefer to bring your own soap, I won’t be insulted, or you can use our bar soap in the bathroom>
-personal items kept to a minimum and put on the removable sheet on the futon in the studio – it gets removed and laundered after every appointment.
limit it to just 1 person coming in. We can set up a FaceTime or Skype over our internet with whoever wishes they could be here but cannot.
more efficient fittings…Fittings presently are  limited to 20-30 minutes, and I hope to reduce that, depending on what needs to be discussed.
I also plan to offer variety of platforms for video chats in advance of even meeting – so let me know if you want to explore that option!
Above all, I want to keep sewing, contributing to the economy and helping others when I can with donations when possible.
I look forward to the new adventures in creativity we will go on together!

Soap Bag – New pouch by TAV Creations

I was just gifted some amazing Chaga Soap off cuts from Eleven Bees and I wanted to make sure I could use them easily.

So… obviously – TAV Creations Soap Bag!

Based on my original eco-friendly designs created years ago – flip top pouches in Organic Cotton/ hemp blend muslin, I used my own fabric offcuts from making bags to create this little guy!

Little flip top pouch for soap slivers
Soap slivers from Eleven Bees
Soap Bag full of slivers
Soapy, foamy, Success!

Couture Adventures 2020: Focus on: The Traveller

I am super grateful to the folks who joined me this fall/winter in being my models/co-creators/willing superheroes to showcase my skills as a designer.
This year, the nature of my “collection” is more “adventures”– #TAVCreationsAngels Assemble !
Each week I plan to focus on one of these amazing people and the character and creation we produced !


Today, let’s talk about The Traveller.

Travelling through time with flare, The Traveller once was a delicate maid, with a flowing dress and gentle smile. She has evolved into a fierce no-nonsense character, with her dress evolving as well into a sharply styled jacket, and worn here with an ivory gown remade into a walking skirt, along with a lovely sleeveless blouse for the times she needs to really move!

The Design:

The Traveller  was a bridesmaid in the lovely teal satin dress many years ago. And the dress waited for a new life.

As the Downton Abby High Tea approached, and costumes were on the minds of the attendees, we had some fun deciding to use her dress to make her outfit for the tea!  

Striking a pose
Bridesmaid gown REMADE into jacket


Remake of 2 dresses into Jacket and skirt :

Labour: $945

The wedding dress used to make the skirt was one of the many donated pieces found in the TAV Creations reclaimed textiles stashes and the ensemble came together!


    • Bridesmaid dress to remake into jacket
    • Wedding dress to remake into skirt

Blouse  – sleeveless shell with ruffle collar
Labour = $90


  • .75m cotton rayon blend
  • .5m lace for ruffle




White satin wide brim hat with blue accent and lace and satin roses
Labour $280


  • 1m buckram
  • 1m wire
  • Matching satin and accessory fabric accents
Those back details….

Couture Adventures 2020: Focus on: PheonixQueen

I am super grateful to the folks who joined me this fall/winter in being my models/co-creators/willing superheroes to showcase my skills as a designer.
This year, the nature of my “collection” is more “adventures”– #TAVCreationsAngels Assemble !
Each week I plan to focus on one of these amazing people and the character and creation we produced !


Today, let’s talk about The PheonixQueen !

Gold and red, textured silk and embroidered silk satin with elegant feathers, The PhoenixQueen rose to the occasion as a  TAV Creations Angel Superhero!

PhoenixQueen – getting casual – because…pants!
Dark and Dramatic – absolutely!

The Design

Custom evening ensemble:
Overdress Labour: $550
Pants: Labour $200

Venetia’s two-piece evening set features the comfort of a robe and pyjama pants in luxurious silk. We discussed many options as we were creating this original TAV Creations outfit, and were so pleased with the final look!

On a personal note: the red and gold silks came from a prolific Ottawa performer and teacher, Anjali < Anne-Marie Gaston> who passed away in 2018, after dedicating her life to bringing her love of Odissi and Bharatnyam style dance to Ottawa and beyond. These fabrics would have been used by her for back drops, for future costume pieces, etc. so it was bittersweet to have the opportunity to collect many of her fabrics and give them new life. #phoenix #usewhatyougot

NOTE: Pockets in the side seams of the overdress – yes! 

And the Chinese silk collar, made from a small remnant piece of fabric collected years ago,  brings colour and softness to the neckline!


  • Gold silk 4m
  • Red Chinese silk .75m
  • Button 


  • Red thai silk 2 m
  • Elastic 

Matching headband $40

  • Red silk remnants that match
  • Elastic 
Gold and red silk wrap gown over pants – with pockets!!!