Sunday, July 17, 2016

Cool and Fun

Over the last year I have been experimenting with this Butterick B6101 Katherine Tilton pattern. I haven't posted the results of my experimentation because I needed a willing photographer to take a few shots.  After a relatively short canoe trip with my daughter Emma, I conned her into taking some photos. I assume she was just grateful I didn't torture her with an long and arduous paddle.

This pattern is great because it hides any bulges and rolls that might have accumulated over the winter months and provides a cool outfit for the hot summer days. The first attempt was using a dense polyester fabric  trimmed with a 1950's retro pattern accent. Wasn't happy with the neck line, I changed it slightly on my next attempt.

Attempt number 2 was a plum linen that was a big hit although I wasn't happy with the size of the arm holes, they were too big. Must be changed next time around.
Attempt 3 I used a wool jersey and cut up a jacket I no longer wore for the accent pieces. I also added cap sleeves to this version.
The next attempt I used a mixture of linen and a technical supplex fabric. I changed the top of the pattern to make it longer and wearable with just tights. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016


I recently did a pattern swap with a friend of mine! She has been on a collared shirt making kick recently and it inspired me to get moving on one for myself. She is a big fan of the Archer shirt, so I bought the pull-over pack and we did a swapsies

Behold! My Archer:
Lookin' stunned, almost like I didn't set the self timer myself.
 I found the fabric recently, and it was a bit of an inspired moment. I was at Affordable Textiles Ltd in Toronto looking for something completely unrelated and stumbled upon it. After being told by the guy at the front that he himself had a dress shirt out of the same stuff, I knew it was fate.
What do I do with my hands???
 I immediately thought of a 1/2 meter of quilting cotton I had in my stash that would look great as an accent. This took a bit of finicking with the placket but I made it work
 If you saw an attempt at dynamic modelling in my last post, you will see some very un-dynamic modelling in this post. Lets count how many hands on my hips pictures I've taken.

I got the box pleat backwards and didn't care enough to fix it. It's doing its job!
I added an extra 10 cm to the bottom of the pattern, to account for both my long torso and also that I wanted it to look more like a tunic.
This is 3/5 hands-on-hips photos.
Here is a close up of the quilting cotton (featuring a stray thread) I used it for the sleeve placket, inside of the sleeve cuff, the inside of the shirt placket, under collar, and collar stand.
Like my Alder dress, I think this is a versatile piece! Pair it with dress pants or skirt and its office ready, but also looks great with leggings or shorts for casual wear. I'm slowly sewing up the whole Grainline collection!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Alder Shirt Dress, the Perfect Piece (for me)

I'd always really liked the Alder shirt dress from Grainline Studios, the idea of having something loose fitting and comfortable but still having a defined waistline appealed to me. When I saw this version, posted by Jen on the Grainline blog, it gave me a kick it the butt to buy the pattern. Those are my colours! I knew immediately it would become a staple in my wardrobe. As much as I am drawn to the outrageous prints in the store (and buy them because I'm impulsive), I tend to only wear black and grey in real life.

I was really busy and didn't get around to making the dress until fairly recently. Part of this is because of how HUGE the pdf was. I loovvee Grainline's patterns, but their pdfs are often colossal from containing all the views in one file.
I used a black polyester "linen" from the sale rack at Fabricland (evidently my favourite place) It's really light to wear in the heat (tip for wearing all black in the summer). My big gripe with the material is that it was very hard to press. It seemed to melt before it made a crisp fold. Because of this lovely feature, I left out the breast pockets to save myself a headache.

 Something is kinda wonky with the sun+my camera in these photos
Back view!
 I'm trying to be a more dynamic model, as viewed in the below picture. Its going medium.
I've been styling this by having it buttoned up to the top and pairing it with a statement necklace tucked under the collar. I have two favourites making the rounds right now!
For a casual wear, I pair it with white sneakers and my hair up. It can be easily dressed up with flats or kitten heels and a fancier necklace for the collar, and I plan on pairing it with tights and cardigans for winter wear! Its a very versatile piece, and find myself reaching for it most days ("did I wear this the last time I hung out with her??")
 Again, the dynamic modelling is going medium.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Met Gala Sequin Chic

Last week was the Met Gala! One of my favourite things is looking at all the dresses post gala/award show even though the actual event never interests me. One thing that jumped out at my this year, was all the silver sequins!!
Met Gala AKA Silver Sequin Party
Which reminded me of the skirt I made for new years! Which reminded me, I'm super duper behind on blogging my makes :/ I have me-mades dating from August that I need to blog, OOPS. Part of that is because I've been really busy with school, partly because I have tried to focus more on the purpose aspect of my sewing, and being more thoughtful about what I spend my sewing time on.
 So I pulled out my best Kardashian pout and took some snaps of my new years outfit, in May. With a grey t-shirt.
 Don't got those Kardashian hips though :) Can you imagine the fit alterations those ladies would need?!

I used Lekala 5088, three seamed skirt, this time knowing the nuances of the pattern. Although you put your measurements right into Lekala for a personalized pattern, I found it fit large the last time I made it. I found it fit best taking in 5/8 in from the side of the pattern without adding any seam allowances.
I opted for no waistband because I thought it would break up the sequins too much, so I added twill tape to the seam between the lining and sequins to minimize stretching.

The lining was a thicker suiting from the sale section at fabric land. Pretty close colour match!

The fabric has a really neat edge, so I wanted to incorporate it into the final skirt on the bottom edge. I actually had been sitting on this fabric for a while! I bought it when I lived in England and brought it all the way back to Canada before I came up with the perfect use for it.
In retrospect, I should have chosen a pattern with as few darts as possible. This pattern has SIX and I could have easily done with TWO for a decent fit. I wasn't thinking about how much of a pain it is to sew with sequin fabric! The sequins are several layers thick, difficult to cut off, difficult to sew through.
I am already catching up with photos of my back-logged makes! I'll make some effort catching up with posting in the near future :)

Friday, February 26, 2016

Rash-Sun Guard

Sensible Sun-wear

When my two daughters Alex and Emma were young we lived for a short while in Australia and spent countless hours on the beach, where most children are fully clad in front zip sun suits to protect them from the relentless sunshine.

In contrast to Canada where, when the sun does shine, and the weather is warm enough to sport swimwear, we all stripe down and expose as much skin to the sun as possible, with the exception of those who do not possess tan worthy completions. Myself and my youngest daughter Emma were gifted with skin that goes from white to red within minutes of sun exposure, for that reason the Australian sun attire was not abandon when we came back to Canada. The economics of supply and demand in the Canadian swimwear market does not lend itself to full coverage sun attire. The availability of full sun protection beach wear, known on the market as rash-guards, is limited to items plastered with brand names and more appropriate for an 18 year old surfer dude. Nothing really available for the middle aged women with lily white skin, therefore the need to sew ones own sun protection.


When digging for ideas, Alexandra directed me to an American swimwear company Seea that has a few modest designs and some fun colour combinations.

Exhibit 1:

For my first attempt I used the Nettie Top pattern from Closet Case pattern and added a strip under the arm and down the side. I also sectioned the top into 2 pieces to add interest. I have previously used the pattern to make several tops but found it a bit tight around the arm holes, hence the addition of the strip under the arm and down the side, which also added a design element. The bottoms are a separate piece and I used the Watson Bar and Bikini Pattern from Clothes Habit and modified the bottoms into a more modest boy style short.
I was very pleased with the outcome.

Exhibit 2: 

My second attempt was a bit more colourful, I used the GreenStyle Centerfield Raglan T-Shirt Pattern which was a dream to work with and a perfect fit! I sliced up the left arm with a few colours to add interest and I had no choice because I ran out of fabric.

I have a few more ideas, so will create another post when I get some more sewing time.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Urban farmer chic

When I first saw the Turia Dungarees from Pauline Alice pop up on my blog feed, I thought they were kinda silly. Overalls?? For adults? I haven't worn overalls since I was 10 around the farmhouse. But as I saw more and more of them, something in me changed. I needed a pair.

The ones that changed my mind were the floral ones by Lady Sewalot, these chic ones with the slim leg from fruits flowers &clouds, and the SEVEN pairs Yosami made for a charity auction.
I didn't actually expect I'd get a lot of wear out of them (I figured I just needed to get the overall craze out of my system) so I headed to the bargain rack and picked up some grey-scale leopard denim (3 dollas a meter y'all) except I actually wear these all the time. I get so many compliments on them! And they are so comfy. I slimmed down the legs a bit and that's the only thing I changed. Next time I will lengthen the straps a bit, I have a long torso.

Chic overalls, who would have thought. So the pattern calls for 3 yards, but since this is Canada and we use reasonable units of measurement here AKA the metric system I bought 3 meters. I'm also pretty sure my real life super power is really efficient placement of pattern pieces because I only used 1 3/4 m of fabric for this. The only obvious choice here was...

MATCHING BEST FRIEND OVERALLS! I was about 30cm short of being able to make another full length pair, but I think one of each was a good call. Not totally matching but still complementary. I wish I had better photos of us in the matching overalls but it had totally slipped my mind, and my phone camera leaves a lot to be desired. Next time!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Morris Blazer 2.0

I recently finished a second Morris blazer! (My first one is blogged here) My summer sewing fell by the wayside as I mentioned in an earlier post, so I planned a sewing-saturday with a friend so we could finish up some things on our list! It was just the motivation I needed to get my sewing mojo back (now I have 4 garments that I need to sew buttons on, i h8 sewing button holes)
I fell in love with the idea of a "boyfriend" Morris from What Katie Sews and needed to try the same thing. I ended up adding 2.5 inches to the bottom of my pattern (I don't know how tall Katie is but she looks shorter than me at 5'8", she added 2 inches). Other than that I graded from a 6 at the shoulders to 8 at the hips.
I ordered the fabric online, I think I would have preferred something a bit thicker but I am pleased with the slightly unstructured look of the blazer. I opted to leave the cuffs unlined so I could have the textured insides showing when my sleeves are rolled up.

I am wearing it with my favourite Watson bra today!

I'm so happy with how it turned out and have already worn it so much. It is definitely going to become a wardrobe staple this fall!