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

Monday, September 7, 2015

Puple(ish) Pinwheel

K. was not keen about this fabric combination when I showed it to her but once I had the idea, I felt an overwhelming compulsion to make it even if K. never wore it.  I'm hoping she has come round.  She loves the polka dots, no question; it's the cotton shirting she wasn't keen on.  Maybe it looked too dull to her?  It doesn't really read as purple until it's paired with something obviously purple.  The fabrics weren't bought together -- I bought the cotton shirting in Hamilton with a top for myself in mind but that went out the window when I got it home I found the crease down the middle was permanently faded.  Boo.  I might have been able to jimmy things around to eke out a top but since it didn't happen right away, it most likely wasn't going to happen but it's lightweight and soft so perfect for this dress.

I bought a metre of the polka dots at Dressew in Vancouver this summer with a 2+2 skirt in mind for Kate.  The selvedge says it's Sevenberry from Japan and is a linen cotton blend.  It's quite hefty and didn't really soften up with washing (although I only washed it once).  It was a slight splurge and the flounce didn't use the whole metre so that made me pause a bit; I like to make the most of "special" fabric but I couldn't get this dress out of my head so cut into it.  I'm sure I'll find some way to use up the remaining odd piece.  

This is the pinwheel dress from Oliver and S and I love this design.  I made size 10 and added an inch to the body.  It's big but realistically we've only got a few more weeks (if that) of warm weather so I wanted to make sure it would fit in the spring, too.

I've made this dress before and found the facings were a bit of a pain when it was worn so I omitted them and finished the top with bias tape.  I also doubled the width of the strap so that it would meet the school dress code.

I love it and I'm glad it's out of my head and in the world.  If K. wears it, that will just be a bonus :)

Fabric: sevenberry linen cotton blend from Dressew in Vancouver, approx. 1/2m  $8.50, cotton shirting from Marina's in Hamilton, approx. 3/4m, $5.00
Pattern: Pinwheel dress, used before (cost per use $3.40)
Total: $13.50

Friday, August 28, 2015

Itch to Stitch Angelia Shorts

The timing of the call for testers for this pattern in May (!!) was serendipitous -- I had spent a couple hours the weekend before looking for some new shorts with no luck and these were just the style I had been looking for.  I also happened to have a block of time that I could devote to making them before the deadline.  I made the testing shorts in denim (pictures at the end of the post), another pair in linen (no pictures, sorry!) and a third pair in twill, which I took pictures of today. I've been meaning to write about these shorts for ages but the hold up has been the pictures.  I find it really hard to take pictures of myself!

The testing process was great.  Kennis set up a facebook page so that we could communicate with her and with the other testers about any issues we were having.  She was very receptive to feedback about fit and the clarity of the instructions (which by the way are great -- very thorough and with plenty of accurate illustrations).

View B is definitely not the quickest to sew but I love all the details that make them look like a pair of ready-to-wear shorts. These totally filled a gap in my wardrobe.

Changes made:
~ In order to accommodate my derriere -- I added a wedge to the back piece to lengthen the back crotch by 1/2" and also extended the back inseam by 1/4".  (I think I could still use a bit more space maybe because the twill pair sit higher than my first pair.  I messed up the zipper install on the denim pair so the waist is about an inch bigger.  That means they tend to slide down under my paunch but also give me a bit more butt room.)
~ I  took a 3/8" wedge out of the front in the twill pair
~ sewed the buttons right through tab on the side without doing a buttonhole
~ I left off the pocket tabs on the twill pair.  They look good but I use my pockets too much to want to fuss with a button.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

l'oiseau creative

This month I got the opportunity to blog over at l'oiseau creative.  J. picked out some fun fabric, check it out here.

They have some fantastic knits (and other fabrics) that you can find here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Lilith and Eve Drapey Blouse

I've come to the realization that I need a deadline; a realistic deadline but a deadline nonetheless.   When I'm sewing for the kids, I tend to finish projects relatively quickly because I know if I leave it for too long, whatever it is wont fit or wont be in season.  Theoretically I shouldn't grow out of clothes while they're waiting to be sewn up (haha!) so, despite my best intentions, I often get excited about something else (usually making something one of the kids "needs") and I put my own projects aside partially finished for weeks or even months.  So I've putting my hand up to test a patterns for women's clothes that I would like to make anyway.

This is the first pattern from Lilith and Eve, LE101 the Drapey Blouse.  I was given a choice of paper or PDF, and I chose paper.  The cost of the pattern and shipping was covered by the company.  It arrived in a large envelope and was printed on quite thick, good quality paper.

With the dollar being so low and shipping costs so high, I went shopping for supplies locally.  My fabric shopping choices are fairly limited and all I found was this rayon which just happens to be covered in a granny-print floral.  The weight and drape were right though (Why, oh why can't fabricland get a decent print with this fabric??  It's really quite nice, flowy and soft, but all the prints look like they should be made into Hawaiian shirts!)

The pattern pieces were well drafted and, despite the very, very brief instructions, it came together quite easily.   My feedback was that more illustrations were needed, as well as more detail given in the written instructions.  I think their intention is to do video tutorials for some of the more difficult parts.  That doesn't really excite me since I don't have the patience to stop and watch a video when I'm working on something.  Plus I don't have a tablet or laptop and my PC is two floors away from my sewing space; I'd rather just have what I need right beside me.

I also didn't like that the instructions came on a huge piece of paper.  I keep my instructions next to my machine when I'm sewing and these were really unwieldy.

Design-wise I think it's a interesting blouse.  It takes quite a bit of fabric to make the curved yokes and the drapey back.  I'm not really sure about the buttoned-all-the-way-up look the models are sporting on the website (likely I'm just not cool enough for that) and I wasn't really keen on the baggy, long sleeves (really long! I have monkey arms and the sleeves are long on me!).  The sleeves are only finished with a band, not a cuff which strikes me as a little too casual for the rest of the blouse but there is a sleeveless version as well.

I finished this in April and I have to confess I haven't worn it.  It's comfortable but the fabric is too, ummm, bold for me.  I thought about making another one and was under the impression that I would be receiving an updated version of the pattern post-testing but I haven't.  I emailed the company (twice!) to ask if there were any significant changes made as a result of testing and they didn't respond.  The first time was over a month ago and then again two weeks ago.  Not sure what's going on there!  I did receive a thank-you package in the mail last week -- a fabric glue stick, some ban roll, a swatch card and a necklace charm -- which was very nice but I'm a little taken aback that they don't respond to emails.  All that being said, I may make this again in better fabric and if they come out with any new designs, I'd be happy to test again.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Girly Secret Agent Trench

The Secret Agent Trench is such a satisfying sew.  I've made it twice before -- once in a ponte knit and once in some sort of stretch suiting.  The ponte was very popular with my girls but the suiting was not and I think it was because it felt quite cool to the touch.

Since K. would be wearing this one on cool days, likely over a dress or short sleeves, I wanted it to be cozy so I underlined it in flannel.  I was going to do a hong kong finish if the seams were too bulky but they were manageable so I just followed the normal directions and bound the seams together.

I did skip lining the sleeves because I was worried about bulk but in hindsight it would have been fine.  The flannel gives the twill a bit more body and warmth but didn't add too much thickness.

I am always thrilled when I find the right buttons in my button jars.  This time I only had 7 of the same button but had two others for the sleeves that are the same colour. Good enough!

It's size 8 and a bit big right now but this kid is growing like a weed.  I think this is the only time it will be worn with the belt as she said it dug into her belly button (?).

And one last picture: I have a hard time getting natural shots of this little ham so I usually ask her do something funny so I can get a real smile out of her.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it backfires.  In this case, I asked her to jump and I got some really great expressions but this one was the only one in focus and she looks like she's levitating.  Or as though she was sitting in a chair and I photoshopped her in here  :)

- Secret Agent Trench, used before (cost per use $6.44)

- stretch twill from JoAnns $25. It was on sale and I had an extra 20% off coupon.  The exchange rate cancelled that out and then some so it worked out to about $12CDN/yd.  I used just over 2 yds.
- flannel lining: ~ $7
- binding: I'm going to say stash since it's been in my sewing cupboard for at least 4 years :)

- Stash!

Total: ~$32

Monday, February 23, 2015

Black and White Hide and Seek

Missy chose this fabric herself more than a year ago when Form and Fabric (no longer in business, sigh) was having a free shipping sale.  Free shipping to Canada is pretty rare so we went a little crazy :).  I didn't think the her excitement over black and white would last but apparently I was wrong.  As I am so often when it comes to making things for my little people!!  She loved her black and white Croquet Dress and, when she was "helping" me tidy up my sewing cupboard last week, requested a Hide and Seek dress made out of these two fabrics.  I try to steer away from quilting cottons for clothes these days but I also try not to turn down a request.

K. specified the "lacy" fabric (as she called it) be used on the yoke and the sleeves.  She also requested a band on the bottom but I talked her out of it (mean mom!).

The buttons were sent to me by one of my mom's friends and although one is bigger than the others, K. thought they were the perfect choice.  I love having a huge button stash to go to when I'm finishing something!

You can't really tell from far away but I did include the welt pockets.  (I didn't give K. the choice of having the welts in the contrasting fabric. bad me!).

I think I'm going to pretend I haven't finished this yet and give it to K. on her birthday weekend.  She loves new clothes for special occasions and, although the party is only a couple of weeks away, it's surprising how quickly something becomes "old" to her.  I probably don't help matters by making her new thing all the time but I enjoy it so I'm not going to apologize :p

Pattern: Hide and Seek $0, used once before
Fabric: Moda, Shades of Black, ~$10
Buttons: Stash

Total: ~$10

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Late to the Peplum Party

More than a year and a half ago, I won a $50 gift card and a Colette pattern from Harts Fabric. Excited, I ordered 5 (!) yards of fabric and the Hawthorn pattern, fully intending to make myself a dress.  When it arrived, I chickened out and decided to try the blouse version first using some soft cotton plaid I'd bought on sale at fabricland.  

I jumped right in and things were going well; I'd finished the hard parts - the collar, the sleeve plackets, etc. but then the cuffs didn't fit properly so I abandoned it.  For 18 months.   I don't know if peplums are still in fashion nor do I really care I'm just glad to not have this still haunting me from my sewing cupboard!

I can't remember what size I made or if I made any changes other than grading to a larger size from the bust (maybe?) down.  I do remember that even with the larger size, I had to let out the seams a bit were the top joins the peplum.  That makes me think either peplums are not for me or this one hits me too low?  And now I'm thinking that the area under the bust is too loose.  

Cue awkard photos of me staring out the window because I don't know what to do with my face  . . .

And here's the only picture that I managed to take of the back.  I'm an even more difficult subject than my kids!

I like the neckline and the collar and am proud of my cuffs (although they're far from perfect!) but I'm on the fence about the top as a whole.  I think I'll reserve judgement until I try wearing it for a day or two.

(I can't see myself ever making the dress since I've come to the realization that I'm really not a dress person so I still have that 5 yards of fabric for something else.  Does the dress version really call for 5 yards??  )

Pattern: Colette Hawthorn - Free!
Fabric: Cotton Plaid - approx. $7.00
Buttons: Stash

Total: $7.00

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Chambray Hide and Seek Tunic

I've felt pretty lethargic the last couple of months so I haven't done much sewing.  But the days are getting longer and I'm starting to feel a bit better.  I also broke down and bought a SAD light -- this one -- that I've been using when I first get up in the morning so maybe that's helping?  Even if it's a placebo, it's worth it :)  I had a burst of energy yesterday and sewed something from start to finish.  I rarely do that even at the best of times but what a feeling of accomplishment!  It's the little things, right?

I bought the pattern -- the Hide and Seek Dress/Tunic -- during the last O+S pattern sale. I had given away a bunch of my handmades that the girls had outgrown. One the people I mailed a dress to sent me a gift card to on the day of the day of the sale so I didn't hesitate to spend it.   I think this might be my new favourite pattern :).  It came together so nicely and looks fantastic. 

The purple fabric is a really soft cotton chambray I bought at fabricland (I used it before for this costume and this dress but just had a little bit left).  The lace yoke is bit of drapery fabric that I basted to the top front panel before sewing up the tunic.  

I used the view B but then added a couple of extra inches in length so it ended up being slightly long for a tunic.  Dresses don't work with snowpants and, according to K., neither do jeans so tunics and leggings are perfect for the next couple of months :)

She's pleased with it and wanted to put it on right away.  As usual she's a moving target so this was the only in-focus picture I was able to get of her wearing it.  It is so cute and suits her so well :)

Pattern: O+S Hide and Seek, bought with a gift card
Fabric: Purple Chambray approx. $3, drapery fabric approx. $.50
Buttons: Stash
Total: $3.50