Saturday, June 30, 2012

Vogue 8581

This is the top I was hoping for when I made the Honey Blouse (here and here).  The vogue pattern specifies two way stretch knit but I don't really see why you couldn't use a woven -- there are no closures but the neckline is wide enough even if the fabric doesn't stretch.  Although my measurements are more like 18, I cut this in size 16  and I think it fits fairly well.  It's missing the little details of the Honey Blouse -- the twisted neck band and the ties but those would be easy to add.

It's from the Very Easy Vogue line and that is true -- there are 5 pattern pieces and not even one full page of directions.  The only thing that was time consuming was sorting out the gathers on the neckline and then hand (!!) sewing the neck binding down.  The hand sewing sort of surprised me. Although it gives a nice finish on the inside, machine stitching it would make this top that much quicker to make (and it's already a really quick sew). 

The pattern calls for 3/4" elastic.  I had enough for the arms but used 1/2" for the waist and I think I like it better -- I think the larger size is unnecessary. 

The fabric is a cotton lycra knit from Girl Charlee.  It's slightly heavier than I think would be ideal for this top but I wanted to try out the pattern.  They seem to be sold out of it now but it was $11.50 for 2 yards and I think it was something crazy like 70 inches wide.  I have enough left over for another top. 

I used a twin needle to sew the side seams, which gives a bit of stretch and a very cool looking stitch underneath.  I used my walking foot for everything else -- once I figured out how to put it on, lol.  I use it quite a bit but I guess I was tired when I started and I couldn't figure it out.  It took me walking away and doing something else before I realized the reason it wouldn't fit was because the presser foot was down.  Duh.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Linen Twirly Dress

Since I was paying for shipping anyway (and, it turns out, brokerage fees) I ordered a bunch of off cuts (they call them "doggie bags") from  J. was there when I opened the box and requested these three all be used for dress for her (the colours are sphinx, ceramic and meadow).  Hmmm, colour blocking -- she's very on-trend.   

I was inspired by the Sunshine Dress tutorial from Skirt As A Top.  As that tutorial suggests, I used the Circle Skirt tutorial at MADE.  However, I didn't have enough fabric to cut a full skirt from the main fabric so I made a full circle pattern, drew the radiating lines, numbered them (very important!!!)  and cut the pattern instead.  I had no idea how to figure out where the grainlines should be (or if that even matters on a skirt like this) so I laid the pieces any old way on the fabric to make them fit.  I added 5/8" seam allowances to all the pieces so I could do French seams.

My girl is almost 7 so the itty bitty baby dress bodice suggested in the tutorial wouldn't work. Instead, I used the top from Butterick B4282, along with the tabs and covered buttons from the The Cottage Home tutorial for the Party Dress (which was a huge hit last year and is still being worn).

I was going to do the radiating lines on top as well (like the tutorial) but my hubby thought that might be over the top.  I think in this case he probably was right (although it looks fantastic in the original).  So instead of lining the bodice like I planned, I finished the edges with bias tape to add a bit more colour to the top.  

When I tried to attach the bodice, it ended up being about an inch and a half too big for the top of the skirt.  I took in each of the sides 3/4" but it still her fit well.  I should have stuck with the smaller size anyway and just added length -- this pattern is quite wide. 

She's very happy with it, especially since I bought her new breaded, sparkly sandals that have the same blues.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dinosaur Loot Bags

My eldest turns 7 tomorrow, and a couple of years ago she decided she wanted to become a palaeontologist when she grows up.  The Museum of Nature here in Ottawa offers parties and one of them just happens to be dinosaur-themed so it seemed a perfect (if expensive) fit.  But we're not doing it at home, yay!

This year, I also decided not to buy any dollar store *cough* crap for loot bags: we're giving each kid a 4D Dinosaur Puzzle from Tedco toys and one of these lovely themey-but-not-too-themey (I hope) pencil cases.

I tried the Perfect Box Tutorial at Make it Modern but although it's well written and easy to follow, I decided I couldn't live with unfinished seams inside.   So in the end, I used the Fully Lined Zippered Box Pouch tutorial over at It's a Pretty Modern Life again.  It's a great tutorial -- the only  thing I would suggest is basting the tabs on to the bag before stitching up the bottom edges.  It would be easier than trying to make them line up while stitching up the sides and keeping the lining out of the way.  Of course this piece of insight came to me after I had already stitched up 8 of the bottoms ;). 

The main fabric is Rex Twill from  It's a medium weight twill and is actually quite soft.  I was worried that with the large scale of this print, the dinosaurs would end up stuck in seams and corners but it actually worked out pretty well -- with no fussy cutting!  The print repeats in lines 8 1/2" apart so I cut my pieces to 8 1/2" x 11" and still used 12" zippers (I think the tutorial called for pieces 7" x 10" but the larger size was fine).  

I used grey Kona cotton for the lining and interfaced them with quilt batting so they're lovely and squishy.  I used twill tape for the tabs/handles because making them would have put me over the edge, I think :).  

The icing on the top (for me anyway) are the colourful zippers.   I told J. I don't really want to her to give them away as I just want to line them up and look at them ;).  I got the zippers from zipit  on etsy.  That shop is obviously run by someone who loves colour and has a sense of humour -- included in the the package was a fortune telling fish, which fascinated my kids.  (And a free kaleidoscope zipper pull, fun!). 

Kudos to those who sew for a living -- although surprisingly enough, I did enjoy the relative mindlessness of putting these together assembly-line style (especially the magic of finishing the last step and having 9 completed bags!!), I don't think I would have the stamina to do it regularly.

And, yes, I will let my daughter give them away :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

O + S Ice Cream Dress

This is such a sweet pattern.  I have the larger size but graded it down to a four for my littlest.  I kept the size five length for the bottom two sections and added an inch to the middle because my girls don't like anything too short (here's hoping that lasts!!).  If I were to do it again, I would add a little more length to the yoke, too, to keep the proportions as they are written in the pattern. 

The main fabric is from the Far Far Away II line and I just have scraps left.  I was short a couple of inches on one side so added some pink to the sleeve back to make it up.  Hopefully it's not all that noticeable!   And it's probably a good thing that I didn't have enough of the pink roses for the yoke or the hem of this dress -- I wouldn't have been able to resist using it and that might have been too much of a good thing ;).

I used lightweight shirting to line the yoke and hem as I didn't want it to be too heavy.   I double stitched the pockets to make sure that they can carry rocks and other important treasures.

Miss Thing wondered why Rapunzel is not smiling.  A happy moon button might distract her from that :).

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Teacher Gift

Last weekend J. and I went to a  community fair sponsored by the art centre.  There were lots of cool things for the kids to do including trying out silk screen printing.  The kids chose the print and the colour and the artist helped them make one print on paper and one print on fabric.  J. was enthralled by the whole process as well as the result so when we got home I helped her make it into a pillow.  She chose the fabrics from my scrap bin, I cut them and she and I sewed them up together.  She was very good at lining the pieces up and getting them ready for sewing.  She also liked pressing the pedal but was a bit nervous about guiding the fabric through.  I stood behind her and did that while she got some good practice in controlling her speed ;). 

We stitched up the four sides randomly but they turned out suprisingly balanced.  It's now stuffed and ready to go -- three weeks early, yay!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I had high hopes for this pattern.  I'd seen so many lovely versions online and it looked like it would be great for a basic top that didn't use a ton of fabric.  When I'm standing still it's fine but I don't think I have the patience to tinker with it to make it work in real life :). 

The neck is too wide -- when I bend over, everything is on display.  The chest/back are tight enough that when I move I have to readjust.  And the bust darts are way too high and migrate even higher when I lift my arms. 

The main fabric is left over from my first tova and the bias tape I made myself.  I used the same tutorial for cap sleeves as I used for my short sleeved tova (which, by the way, I've worn several times.  I've decided against any changes other than to stitch up the front placket a little bit.  It definitely serves it's purpose of being a nice cool top for the summer -- and, of course, I mean cool in the temperature sense :)).

Monday, June 4, 2012

Lisette Passport Jacket - Simplicity 2209

This jacket has been waiting for the finishing touches for about 2 months now.  It's made of the stretch denim I bought at DressSew in Vancouver last summer (the rest went to family reunion dresses here and here). 

The only reason this took so long to finish was that it was super short and I didn't know how to hem it to try to maintain all the length I could.  In the end, I bound the bottom in bias tape and slipstitched it.  It doesn't make for a very crisp hem, though, and is especially wonky where it meets the jacket facing.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Vogue 1247 - Skirt

I'd read lots of great reviews about this skirt but now that mine's done I'm underwhelmed.  I think the linen that I used (this one) is a bit too heavy for the pockets -- they sort of droop.  I had planned to make them out of the voile I used for the binding until I looked at the pieces and realized that the front yoke and the back of pockets are the same piece.  I should have at least cut the front from voile to make it a bit lighter.

I'm also not sure it's the most flattering cut for me, although it might be alright with a different top.  The fit is good and the only changes I made were to to the length -- I added about 5 inches.  The original length is short.  I don't think I would've even worn it that short in my teens let alone my 30s!

The suggestions for finishing this skirt make it quite lovely inside, too bad no one will ever see it!

I obviously had a bit of trouble with my hem being visible even though I slipstitched it (and my stitches were quite small).   How else could I have done it?