Monday, April 11, 2016

Finlayson in Indigo Interlock

I rarely sew for my husband.  Despite that, he's always been supportive of my hobby (obsession?), never commenting on how much I spend on material and even scouting out fabric shops for me to peruse when we go on family trips.  Yep, he's a keeper!  So when this fabric arrived and it wasn't exactly the colour I was expecting but happened to be the colour of his favourite hockey team, I knew what to do with it.  (side note: you can now get a swatch card for this fabric line, which is great because it's often hard to get a true sense of colour from a photo).   

So I told him I was making him a sweater and consulted him on pattern choice.  Well, kind of -- the Finlayson from Thread Theory is the only mens sweater pattern I own so I asked him if he would be okay with that style.  Thankfully he said yes!    

This fabric really is lovely --  very soft and a perfect weight, not too thick but definitely not flimsy.  It's easy to work with, too, with since it doesn't curl or shift like some knit fabrics.  Being able to get good quality coordinating ribbing is also fantastic.   I used the ribbing for the cuffs and waistband and it matches perfectly.  

And I can attest to the durabilty of the interlock --  I ordered an extra metre because I knew I wanted to make something adult-sized so when I was cutting out the sweater I was thinking about what I could do with the "scraps".  They ended up being big enough to make a pair of shorts (Jalie 3351) for me so I sewed those up right away.  I've been wearing and washing them at least once a week since then and the fabric has held up well -- no pilling or stretching.  They look just as good as when I made them back in February!  

Of course I really should have made the sweater first because it took me awhile to get back to it.  I don't think my husband quite believed that I actually would finish but he's happy that I did!   

As I was taking pictures, I realized that both of these are totally Canadian projects -- the fabric is manufactured and produced in Canada and sold by a Canadian retailer, both the patterns are by Canadian designers and they were sewn up by a Canadian.  Pretty good, eh?   

Patterns: Thread Theory Finlayson Sweater, Jalie Swim Shorts (both used before)
Fabric: Interlock from l'oiseau 
I received 1 metre in exchange for a blog post, I purchase the 2nd metre + the coordinating ribbing ~$24

Monday, April 4, 2016

Blaverry Gracie

K. has a massive wardrobe of clothes and definitely doesn't need anything new. She's so enthusiastic and appreciative whenever I do make her something that I get a lot of joy from making her new things, though :).  And I knew she would love the Gracie dress by Blaverry.

It's a quick sew and, because of the slim fit, doesn't require very much fabric.  The heart fabric is a super soft, cozy sweatshirt fabric from l'oiseau (it was a presale and is not available any more but they have lots of lovely retail fabrics and another presale event coming up).

This is a straight size 8 and the only change I made was to sew up the side seams using a 1/4" SA instead of 3/8".  The sweatshirt fabric has a bit of stretch but I didn't want it to be too tight.

As you can tell, she likes it :)

Pattern: Gracie by Blaverry given to me free of charge in exchange for this promotion
Fabric: Falling Hearts from l'oiseau, used approx 1/2 yard $8, blue cotton lycra approx. $6
Total: approx. $14

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Decklyn in Denim

Decklyn was the first pattern that caught my eye when I first came across Blaverry but somehow it never made it to the top of the sewing queue.  Until now that is; I was given the pattern to promote for the "Blaverry Blasters" group and sometimes deadline can be a wonderful thing :)

Am I ever glad I had the opportunity to sew this up; my daughter has told me several times (daily) just how much she loves it. In fact last night, she told me that when she outgrows it, she'd like another one just the same.  I was afraid a jacket like this would be frivolous -- depending on the season, my girls either wear a winter coat or go out in just a t-shirt -- but that hasn't been the case at all.  J's worn it everywhere she's been in the past week, under her winter coat and in place of a cardigan or sweater. Only much more fashionable :).

According to her measurements, J. (age 10) would be about a size 8.  She doesn't like things to be too fitted and I thought it wouldn't get worn until spring (silly me!), so I traced off a size 12.  We talked about fabric options and I showed her some different ideas but she had a her heart set on denim.  No contrast, just denim with a matching navy lining, some bright topstitching and two of the fancy buttons we'd just received from a friend in Korea.  Perfect, I had all of that already in my sewing cupboard.
What I didn't have in my stash were the zippers.  My local shop didn't have the right size matching metal zips so I made do with what they did have.  I think it would look so much better if they all matched but my daughter doesn't mind.

My shop also didn't have a 16" navy metal zip so I bought an 18" and then lengthened the jacket by an inch and a half to accommodate it.  It turns out I didn't need to do that since the designer recommends folding the excess zipper at the top to fit the length of the jacket.  My daughter likes the longer length in any event so it worked out for the best.

She was very patient as I tried to get some decent pictures in some not so good light
but this is her "enough already Mom, I have stuff to do!" face :)

Pattern: Decklyn by Blaverry, free in exchange for this promotion
Fabric: stretch denim, used approx. 1m, $8
Lining: stash
Zippers: Fabricland, $7
Buttons: Gift

Total: $15

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Princess Anna Coronation Gown

This was one of those ridiculous projects that I convinced myself had to be done.  My daughter is in Brownies and when I first found out the troop's winter sleepover camp was Frozen-themed I vaguely thought about making a dress up dress.  I dismissed the idea though since it was camp after all; not a place for dress up clothes!  But then the week before camp, the leader sent out the itinery: it included a coronation feast in which the girls were invited to wear their fanciest dress!

So I started on Monday night and finished the final steps (the painting on the bodice) just before we ran out the door to camp on Friday.  I work full time and am not a fast seamstress so I was just happy to get it finished.  And now I'm trying really hard to ignore the fact that the sleeves don't match up with the bodice and the pleats are uneven, lol!

Pattern: Vogue 7681, cost $9.03US
Fabric: cotton velour from Fabricland, approx. $20, chiffon for the sleeves $1.70
Zipper, elastic, gold accents: stash
Fabric paint: on hand (Canucks green from a shirt I made for my husband plus some purple and blue)
Total: approx. $30

Monday, January 11, 2016

Blaverry Finn

A couple of weeks ago I received an email asking for applicants to join a marketing team for Blaverry.  I had often admired the clean lines and modern aesthetics of this pattern company and I figured my girls would love them too so I applied.  The first pattern I was given to make was the Finn Top.  It's a knit top with a three sleeve options (short, long and 3/4 length) and a waterfall peplum.

I normally consult my daughters before I make anything for them but my eldest was at a sleepover and my youngest doesn't need any clothes so I just went ahead and made it.  J.'s measurements put her in a size 8 so that's what I made, with an extra 1 1/2" added to the length of the bodice.

The pattern is a PDF and comes in layers so, if you choose, you can print off only the size you need. However, it goes up to size 16 so I printed off all the sizes.  I'm much more likely to make something a second time if I don't have to assemble the PDF again and I can definately see myself making other versions of this!  I was pleased to see that the pattern lines for the various sizes are different colours, which made tracing super easy.

The main fabric is a really lovely merino wool/tencel blend I bought through a local facebook group. The only reason I didn't hoard it all for myself was because I have 4m so plenty to make something for me too :)  The contrast sleeves are made from a scrap of French terry.  

I think it looks super cute and is a great "tween" style.  J. however feels the bodice is a bit tight and she's not sure about the peplum :(.   

So Miss 7-year-old-of-the-overflowing-closet was pleased to take it off her hands :)

The pattern is well drafted and the instructions are brief but sufficient.  There are no notches on any of the pattern pieces but I didn't have any difficulty putting it together.  I look forward to trying other Blaverry patterns!

Pattern: Finn by Blaverry (free in exchange for this promotion)
Fabric: navy merino wool/tencel from OOM ethikwear approx. $9.50
Total: $9.50 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

My new "uniform" - the Mila Shirt

I've made four Itch to Stitch patterns so far (the Angelia Shorts, Irena Knit Top, Liana Jeans and of course the Mila Shirt) and am now a dedicated fangirl :) (and also an affiliate, all of the above are affiliate links).  Kennis' patterns are well drafted and the instructions are fantastic.

With a two piece collar, placket, sleeve tabs, cuffs, etc., the Mila Shirt is not exactly a quick sew but it is a satisfying one.  I love the two that I've made so much that I think they might push my (multiple) Tovas out of top spot for my "uniform" of choice.  With the gathers at the front and the pleat at the back, the Mila definately trumps the Tova in comfort.  Of course, having the different cup sizes included in the pattern helps, too.   I've never done an FBA but I should really learn how.  Or I can just use patterns that are drafted for a D cup :)

I made this one out of a navy linen-rayon blend.  Which proved really hard to photograph, it's not shiny in real life, I promise!

I had to cut my head off this one, I don't know what I was doing with my face!

I will likely usually wear this with the sleeves rolled up but I did add 1 1/2" to the length sleeves to account for my monkey arms in case I want to wear them down.

My 7 year old insisted on the square sparkly buttons and I think it was a good choice!

Pattern: Mila Shirt (free in exchange for testing)
Fabric: Linen Rayon blend from Dressew $15
Buttons: stash
Total: $15

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas sewing

My girls had a couple of on stage performances this month -- both were in the choir at school and both also had recitals at the music school where they take lessons.  I knew festive dresses were in order but I really wasn't planning on making them.  But after a couple of unsuccessful forays to the mall, it seemed easier just to look for fabric.  J. had a very definite idea in mind of what she wanted and we just weren't finding it in the shops.  Both of the local fabric shops happened to be closed for renovations at this time but luckily for us ecoequitable was having one of their "fill-a-bag" sales (you can load up a grocery bag with as much donated fabric as you can stuff in for $15.  The proceeds go towards their training programs, including sewing for employment geared toward people in need). Thankfully we found 2m of this red cotton velour (I think that's what it is anyway).  It was the right colour and weight and has a bit of stretch.  Plus it's nice and soft.

The pattern is McCalls 7079, a good basic pattern that I've made once before.  I altered the sleeves to make them 3/4 length and added a couple of inches to each of the skirts.

(The skirt looks really wonky in this picture.  I *think* it's just because of the way she's standing 
but it really makes me want to go back and measure it!!)

By request, I also added an inch and a half to the length of the bodice for K.  

I had some "jewels" and beads I'd salvaged off a shirt that ended up being worn to rags so I sewed them to the necklines for a bit of sparkle.

The girls also had pyjama day at school so needed some new duds.  I hadn't planned on making these either but we made a trip to the states in November (Disneyworld!) and I did a bit of fabric shopping while we were travelling.  It seemed a bit mean to make the kids hang out in a fabric store and not pick anything for themselves so we came away with some flannel.  Unfortunately since I was distracted by my own list, I didn't buy enough to actually make the pjs I promised them.  So K. ended up with two different sleeves and J. ended up with bottoms cut on the cross grain.

My little helper -- she loves to bake!

I didn't get any pictures of J's when I finished them and then they tore in the second week of wear.  I don't know if that's crappy fabric, bad fit or the fact that I cut them on the cross grain.   She's excited about a patch on her butt though so all is not lost, lol!

The pattern is the Sleepover Pajamas from Oliver and S.  The only change I made was to shorten the front and back crotch by an inch and a half -- they were really long and droopy!

I had ordered fabric from Purpleseamstress in September for Christmas nighties (which are, of course, not suitable for December school pj days!).  J's is kind of short because the penguin fabric shrunk a lot -- like 6 inches! -- and I only ordered a yard.

K's is the O+S Hopscotch dress and J's is Jalie 3245.  I debated about using the hopscotch pattern for both but it runs small and I wasn't sure that a 12 would fit J.  Due to limited fabric, the back of K's is solid red.  I like the quality of the solids from purpleseamstress but wont order from them again until the dollar improves.  Including shipping and exchange, these used almost $30 worth of fabric!!

And lastly, I didn't make the shirt and can't take credit for the saying but I did add the lettering in fabric paint on a tee for my husband :).

Pattern: McCalls 7079, used before (cost per use $2.26US)
Fabric: approx. $8 for both
Beading: recycled

Pattern: Sleepover, used before (cost per use $3.98)
Fabric: $10US for Ks, $8.50US for Js
Buttons: stash

Pattern: Hopscotch, used before (cost per use $5.36)
Jalie Raglan, used before (cost per use $4.55)
Fabric: used approx. 2 yards $28.83 for both

Monday, November 23, 2015

Mila Shirt

I had such a great experience testing the Angelia Shorts for Itch to Stitch that I jumped at the chance to test the Mila Shirt.  I don't have much to say about this except that I love it.  The instructions are great and the fit is spot on (and the pattern includes cup sizes A to DD!).  The only change I made to this one was to lengthen the sleeves by 2" and shorten the body by 2".  I like the shorter length but I wish I'd thought to tone down the curve on the side, though -- it shows off the muffin top if I lift my arms up, lol.

The Mila pattern is currently being sold as part of the Indiesew Winter 2016 Collection or you can buy it as a on it's own in paper or PDF format.  After November 30, it will be available in PDF  at  

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Princess Leia

My 7 year old's first choice of costume was the nurse from Animaniacs. I vetoed that after watching one clip, lol.  Not yet, please!  (Actually, not ever, thank-you-very-much!).   I suggested a few other things which were all soundly rejected and was pleased when she came up with Princess Leia on her own -- a comfortable, recognizable, easy to execute costume that is age appropriate; perfect!

I used the Oliver and S field trip tee yet again, in size 10, lengthened to an a-line dress and with bell sleeves. The only other change I made was to double the size of the neck band.  She didn't want a mock turtle neck so this was my compromise.

The belt is the embroidered edge of the sheet I used to make her older sister's costume.  It's not exactly authentic but she's happy with it.

The buns were the hardest part -- for a tough cookie, she's got a very sensitive scalp and a very low tolerance for anything being the least bit uncomfortable on her head.  It took me a couple of tries to get them in and then apparently the buns weren't tight enough to her head.   She was wearing the costume to the Halloween party for her Brownie troop last night and I wanted to get photos of it in a (relatively) pristine state.  The loose buns prompted a huge meltdown with me pleading for a just a couple of pictures before it got too dark.  This was the response, oh my goodness I love this kid!:

I did fix them before the party, I just wanted a picture before the light was gone!  Mean mom, lol!

Fabric: white cotton interlock from value village -- super score: almost 6m for $8.  Tonnes left for other things
Pattern: oliver and s field trip tee.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Crescent Skirt

J. is now shopping in the women's section -- size 7 shoes and size 0 shorts for the start of school! She's only 10 *wail*.  But on the plus side, it opens up a whole new world: shopping trips that don't need to be limited to Justice (ugg!) and sewing projects using patterns I've bought for myself.  Although that's not actually true in this case -- I bought this pattern specifically for her (I doubt it would do much to flatter my much larger hips) but the option is there.

This is the Crescent Skirt from Sewaholic.  The waistband has lots of interesting seaming and the finishes are great, including twill tape for stability inside the pockets and on the waist.  I was happy to have the sewalong pictures from the Sewaholic website when it came time to insert the zipper, though, because the instructions did not make sense to me.  My zipper is still a bit wonky but oh well!

I like the pieced yoke but will probably just cut two facings if I make it again for J.: the details are lost unless you tuck your shirt in, which she will likely never do!

I made view B as I knew J. would like the fullness.  Based on her measurements, I cut size 2 but I think a 0 would have fit her more like the pattern intends.  As it is, it sits well below her natural waist but she seems happy with the fit.  She loves the pockets as they're big enough to fit a paperback, a huge plus for a kid who carries a book everywhere she goes.

The fabric is a mid-weight cotton chambray (maybe?) that I bought off someone on a fb group.  Despite her face in this picture, she really likes it.  It's been worn 4 times in the past week so I think it's a winner :)

Pattern: Crescent Skirt $12.63
Fabric: cotton chambray $6
Zipper: ~$2.00
Total: $20.63