Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Walking on Sunshine

I'm back!

It's been a busy few weeks for me between work, birthday parties and the usual day to day things that keep me hopping.  But I have had some time for craftiness!  Today I'm going to wax poetic about the Patterns for Pirates Sunshine Dress* that I sewed up for this year's Maxi dress sew along.  The Sunshine Dress hadn't even been on my radar at all despite being released a year ago and suddenly I was completely smitten and had to make it.

It has pockets, just as any good dress should have! :)

The reason it suddenly popped onto my radar was that I have a slight obsession with the custom fabric shops that are all over Facebook these days.  I joined one group, Blended Threads, which somehow led me to another group, True North Fabrics, that led me to Kiss My Stash, which led me to Elevated Fashion Fabrics which led me to Sew Sew English.  (I clearly need help.  Send some sort of intervention now!!!!)

The common things I kept noticing throughout all the groups was mention of DBP.  Now what the heck is DBP???  Double Brushed Poly, or as I've seen it referred to as "Unicorn fur" or something along those mythical lines.  I was skeptical.  Polyester?  Brushed?  Twice?  It made me think of the old nighties and pjs from the seventies and early eighties that were definitely polyester - sort of scratchy on the inside, but kind of soft and fuzzy on the outside.  Everyone was raving about it though.  And the prints that I was seeing coming up in the various groups were stunning.  So finally I bit the bullet.  I am so absolutely and easily led.  I bought a couple of yards on a pre-order from Blended Threads.  I'd bought a few different fabrics this spring from her already and been really impressed with the quality and the customer service.  Plus she's practically local being in Saskatchewan, so I felt like she wouldn't lead me astray at all.

(PS: I'm walking here, not practicing standing like a flamingo...)

The fabric came and it is glorious.  Soft and luxurious.  Nothing like those old pjs and nighties at all. But then I wasn't sure what to make with it.  It seemed too special to make just anything.  I was flummoxed as to what would be suitable. Then a sew along showed up for the P4P Sunshine dress in the Sew Sew English Facebook group and I kept looking at all the gorgeous finished dresses.  The cut seemed to flatter so many different figures and everyone seemed to be on the DBP bandwagon, so I hopped on too.   The more the merrier!

And boy am I glad I did.  First off, the pattern is fabulous.  No adjustments nor muslin for that matter were made, I went on blind faith alone.  Oh!  I did cut a smaller skirt size just because of fabric constraints and well, quite frankly I didn't feel my hips needed quite as much width of fabric as the pattern called for.  But that's more a size blending thing than an actual pattern adjustment in my books.  So fit is spot on out of the package (Ok, off the printer, if we're going to quibble), and now lets talk about ease of sewing.  Nothing challenging about it at all.  Instructions were top notch. Everything lined up beautifully.  The end result looks like it is a lot harder to acheive than it actually is.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy as my little boys would say.

And Double Brushed Poly?  Well, it's safe to say I've drunk the Koolaid.  Not only does it feel luxurious, but it sews like a dream.  It doesn't shift or slip and slide while sewing like other drapey knits would!  So I'm in.  I've got a couple more yards headed my way from Sew Sew English and just received a couple from Elevated Fashion Fabrics.

After sewing up my dress I can definitely say I'm thoroughly impressed with Patterns for Pirates and am really looking forward to sewing up the other patterns I have  since bought from them!  But first? I think I might have to make another DBP Sunshine Dress or two...




Tuesday, July 04, 2017

The Solution to I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!!!

Recently I quickly realized as the temperatures warmed up that I had pretty much nothing to wear that was suitable for work.  In the past in my life as a stay at home come spring it was pretty much the "season of no pants" until the temps dropped again in fall.  So I have a closet that is positively jam packed full of dresses and not much else save for a few blouses that are, ahem, a bit too snug and/or short on me.  Only now that I'm working in an environment that requires pants I noticed a pretty huge deficit in my warm weather wardrobe so over the last several weeks I've been slowly plugging away at filling that hole.  The sewist's solution to "I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!!!!"? Obviously grab some fabric, a pattern and head to the sewing machine!

You'll have seen pictures of these "solutions" on my Instagram already possibly, but I thought I'd share them here too with a bit more detail.

EYMM Kymy's Dolman

First I made Kymy's Dolman Top from Everything Your Mama Made.  I LIVE in this top.  The jersey was an inexpensive fabric from Fabricland and it's light weight and perfect.  I made the banded version so that it's more tunic length than tee shirt length because there is nothing more annoying than feeling like my shirt is too short when I'm reaching up to put a motor back on a shelf.  Kind of hard to pull a shirt down when your hands are full and you're on a ladder.  LOL!  I think the only change I made to this one from the pattern was the neckline.  I made it a touch narrower and scooped it a touch lower than the pattern (good thing too or it would've been way to high even for a boat neck!).  Then instead of turning and topstitching I cut a strip of fabric and bound the neckline.  I feel it gives it a cleaner, neater finish.

EYMM Kymy's Dolman


Next up was Sew Over It's Lulu top.  This pattern came out earlier in the spring.  I chose a gauzy cotton for it and then decided I really didn't like the fabric a whole lot and wished I stuck with my initial choice which was a bit more structured lightweight denim-y polka dot print.  I was feeling like I was overheating at the time in the fabric store and after standing at the cutting table for what felt like forever waiting my turn I suddenly changed my mind and grabbed the gauzy fabric that was right beside the table and set my first choice aside.  Buyers remorse set in pretty quickly, but I decided to sew it up anyways.  I need to do a bit of an alteration with the pattern for next time but I'm not sure what.  I think it may need a tiny broad back adjustment.  Also I'm still not sure how I feel about the fabric itself, but it is definitely comfy and cool so that is a big bonus!

Sew Over It Lulu

Then since two short sleeve shirts don't quite cut it - they have to go in the laundry once in a while - I just made another tee last week.  This one was made using a print jersey I picked up last fall on sale from Craftsy.  It's a really nice quality and so soft.  It's a bit thicker than maybe optimal for summer, but not too bad, plus birdies!!  I love them!  I still have almost three metres of it left to make a shirt of some sort for fall/winter too!  The pattern I used was the Cowl Neck from Patterns by Moo oops! Apparently now called Sewing Geek.  I think I've had this pattern on my computer since the very early days of PDF patterns.  I've had it for several years anyways and just never bothered to do anything with it.  Not sure why because I sewed this one exactly as designed just blending between sizes at the hip and I'm pretty darn pleased with it.

Sewing Geek Cowl Neck


Not sure what's next for me.  As per usual I've got eleventy billion different projects in the wings and just slightly less on the go.  I've got a Corriedale batt I'm in the midst of spinning, I have a stack of patterns and fabric waiting for something to happen to them, I'm partway through my Untangling Knots Anaheim Cardi and need to make my dress for the annual Outfit Along.  So, you know, its pretty much same old, same old here.  LOL

Thursday, June 22, 2017

#sewtogetherforsummer

So it's been awhile but I'm back with a new project!  I've actually done some other sewing too, but I'll tell you about that another day.  Today I want to talk about my #sewtogetherforsummer shirtdress!

Sew Over It Penny

#sewtogetherforsummer just finished yesterday, but for the past three months sewists around the globe have been sewing up shirtdresses as a part of the Instagram based sew along hosted by Sarah @sewsarahsmith, Susy @sewing_in_spain and Monika @rocco.sienna.  It's been an inspiring and motivating three months of seeing all the different patterns and variations being made up.

For my part I was consumed with indecision on which pattern to choose.  It was a toss up between either Sew Over It's Vintage Shirtdress or Cashmerette's Harrison Shirtdress.  I got as far as printing each pattern off and assembling the PDF sheets together, but that was it.  I just couldn't make up my mind, couldn't find fabric that spoke to me and honestly figured it was going to just be another case of good intentions gone astray for me.

Then the Penny Dress was released to the Sew Over It PDF Pattern Club at the end of the first week of June. I've never bought a pattern, printed it off, assembled it and bought fabric so quickly in my life.  It was THE PERFECT PATTERN.  I love the way it looks on Lisa Comfort in the official photos!

I whipped home from work, fabric in hand, threw it in the washer and dryer then set to work cutting it out.  I started by cutting the bodice, then quickly realized something had gone terribly, terribly wrong and I didn't have enough fabric for the skirt.  I was so incredibly frustrated.  I had no way of getting to the fabric store until Monday at the earliest and there went my weekend plans of making a new dress.  URGH...  whilst I was busy berating myself for obviously not following the lay out plans as carefully as I should have an email came out with the errata for the fabric requirements.  So that Monday I was like a woman possessed.  Zipped over to the fabric store after work, grabbed another 2.5 metres of fabric for the skirt, got home and did the whole pre-wash and dry thing and got the skirt cut out. I wasn't about to be deterred by something like insufficient yardage.  I even made self-covered buttons for it.

Of course life being busy life I didn't get a chance to sew again until Sunday, but I knew it was going to go together easily and be such a great make.  Except it wasn't.  Don't get me wrong.  It sewed together like a dream.   All I had left after a short couple hours of work was hems and buttons. (Remember those buttons?  Turns out they were about twice as big as they needed to be for the button placket.  Arggghhh.) So I tried the dress on and pinned the bodice shut.  OH. MY. EVER-LOVING WORD.  It was possibly the most unflattering make I've ever made.

I looked nothing like I envisioned in it.  I felt miserable and a whole lot of bitter negative self talk was going on in my head for the rest of the day and into the next.  I was so distraught and discouraged. And then at some point I remembered something I'd heard Stasia Savasuk say on a podcast interview a few months back.  It was something a long the lines of "It's not you.  It's the pants.  Change the damn pants."  And that thought kept running through my head, slowly silencing all the negativity.  It isn't me the problem.  Technically it's not even the dress that's the problem.  It's the style of the dress that was the problem for my figure.

I'm not happy about it, but like it or not I no longer have the small waisted hour glass figure I once had.  My hip/waist ratio is pretty indistinguishable and the dress cut right across the widest part of my apple shaped body.  The elasticated waist only served to emphasize it making me look much larger than I am.  I needed to selvage what looked like a frumpy old lady dress and make it into something I'd be happy with.  While I pondered things I made a new set of covered buttons.

Then I continued my mission by taking the elastic out and tried it on again.  It was like a tent, but taking the elastic out brought the waistline down to a much better spot on my body (it's amazing how much a little bit will fix things!).  I could already see there was potential for the dress after all so I went ahead the other morning and before work I took the bodice off the skirt and cut off fabric from the sides of the bodice tapering down from the armhole to waist.  I then took the one piece skirt and carefully cut down the sides of the skirt.  I basted the bodice and tried it on and it was already 100 times better.  I took close to eight inches off the total circumference of the waistline and it made a world of difference.


Yesterday morning I set to work stitching.  Because I had side seams now I figured I might as well add pockets while I was at it!  I only had about fifteen minutes to work on it, so I chose to do button holes first.  After work I attached bodice to skirt and did the hem.  With much trepidation I tried it on again and fell in love.  The fit is now exactly how I like it, it skims over curves instead of cutting across them and I think it's new modified version is the perfect shirt dress for what I wanted!  I'm so happy with it and want to make another of my version right away! I wish I'd taken photos of the initial dress so that I could show you the before and after, but I didn't take them because at the time I felt so awful I didn't want to be seen by anyone in it.

Sew Over It Penny

I've seen loads of gorgeous Penny dresses made as designed by loads of different women of different shapes and that's great.  It is a lovely pattern done with the quality that I've come to expect from Sew Over It and I'm still really happy that I bought the pattern and made it.  I can even see the benefit of having made it the way it was designed in the first place.  It may not have been the silhouette for me but it taught me a thing or two about acceptance of my self and as silly as it may sound I feel somewhat empowered by coming out on the other side of it all feeling fantastic about my self and about my skills as a seamstress.  To top it all off I snuck in just under the wire for the #sewtogetherforsummer sew along finishing at 6:20pm of yesterday's deadline!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Continuing on with My #sewoveritsummer


Sew Over It Heather Dress

I've checked another project off my list and made myself a summer version of the Heather Dress and I couldn't be happier about it!  I practically lived in my quilted jersey version this past fall and winter so I knew I wanted to make a short sleeve one for warmer weather.  It's the perfect dress for just throwing on.  No fuss, no muss.  Dress it up, dress it down.  It doesn't matter, it just feels great wearing it.  And pockets.  Oh those pockets.  I do love me some big pockets!

There's not too much to say about this one that I didn't already say when I made my winter one.  I sewed it pretty much directly from the envelope (Ok, printer since it was a PDF) and shortened the hemline about 2" before hemming it.  I did add a bit of stabilizing clear elastic along the shoulder seams because I was using a lightweight knit but those are the only changes I did to it from the original design/instructions.

I have my eye on a really pretty grey and yellow print jersey at the local Fabricland that I really want to make another Heather with, but it's going to have to go on sale or they're going to have to put out another 50% off email coupon before I take the plunge on buying it, because I refuse to spend $20/metre for a dress especially given right now I rarely have the opportunity to wear a dress since my weekday wardrobe consists of jeans and steel toes... And yet I keep making dresses and buying fabric for dresses and dreaming of dresses.  Huh.  Logic was possibly never my strong point! LOL

Sew Over It Heather Dress

I'm not sure what project to tackle next.  Perhaps I'll grab my list, close my eyes, point and see what I land on!




Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Combining Two Crafty Loves

I'm back with another Sew Over It garment.  What did I tell you?  It's going to be a #sewoveritsummer LOL

This time it's a Betty and I've combined two of my crafty loves into one dress.  Last summer when I found the Cotton and Steel yarn ball fabric from the Cat Lady collection on Craftsy I had to snap it up.  It was a ridiculous purchase in which although the sale price was great, the shipping was insane.  It was before Craftsy lowered their shipping costs and I paid more in shipping then I did for the fabric.  But hello!  Fabric.  With yarn on it!!!!!!  Sometimes you just need to be a bit frivolous and ridiculous.



I knew the minute I saw the fabric that it was destined to be a Betty dress.  I've never made Betty before so first things first.  I whipped up a muslin.  And then I did nothing.  I needed to do some alterations and I was perplexed how.  I just could not wrap my head around it so there it sat.  Untouched until a few weeks ago when I decided it was silly to just let it languish and come hell or high water I was going to get it figured out.  

Really the biggest problem was gaping in the V at the back.  I knew that if I pinched out the excess into a dart it solved it, but who wants darts there?  So on my pattern I created the dart where the gaping was then rotated it into the back waist darts.  Problem solved.  I also made the neckline a little deeper and a little less wide, widened the shoulders a smidge, did a sloped shoulder adjustment and finally added a bit of length to the bottom of the bodice.  Sewed up another muslin and was quite pleased with the fit, so cut out and sewed up the dress.  Of course my muslin was playing tricks on me and once the dress was finished I tried it on and gaping was happening everywhere.  Damn it.


I ended up fudging things a bit rather than go back to the drawing board and cut a new bodice because I was pretty tight on fabric at this point as is.  I took up almost an inch in the shoulders and shaved a little off the side seams and that has solved the problems for the most part, except I now have bust darts pointing way off course and some weird bunching at the lower armscye.  I am not going to quibble though.  I'm willing to bet only a seamstress would even look at the darts at all and if they're rude enough to point out that they are looking at my bust that closely then I'm really not interested in talking to them anyways! Ha ha!  In retrospect it occurs to me that perhaps a lot of my problems would have been solved if I'd gone down a size... sadly that didn't occur to me until after the fact.  


On the plus side of things, this is number three for my #2017MakeNine!  More bonuses are that I added pockets (used my favourite pockets which are from the Emery Dress pattern), my invisible zip went in without a hitch (thank you double sided tape - where have you been all my life?!?!) and most importantly I LOVE my new dress!  


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Spring Sewing Plans or #sewoveritsummer

The other day I as I sat pairing fabrics and patterns in my head I thought it might be better if I actually wrote them down on a list so they wouldn't get lost in my mental filing cabinet.




Of course I'm being unrealistic in my goals here, because goodness knows that a) I rarely sit down to my sewing machine anymore and b) I still have knitting goal lists floating about that I wrote out about ten years ago and never did a single project of because if nothing else I am fickle.  Today's MUST DO project is not necessarily going to still be next week's MUST DO project.

I noticed a few things about this list besides my delusions of productivity.  I have a heck of a lot fabric.  I should not be buying more.  And yet... well.  Don't judge. There are much worse vices I could have.  The next thing I noticed was that out of 18 projects, ten of them involve Sew Over It patterns (actually there's an 11th needs to be added to the list.  I realized just now that I have the perfect fabric for the newly released Eve dress... Eve wasn't out when I wrote the list and I had totally forgotten about the fabric that I have in mind for it.  I definitely need to get my hands on that pattern!)

In light of the patterns, I thought maybe I should just go ahead and declare 2017 a #sewoveritsummer  because my wardrobe is going to be overwhelmingly designed by Sew Over It.

Would you believe that I already have one of my makes done?  Last week I picked up some rayon voile at the fabric store and thought it would be perfect for Susie although the details of the collar do get a little lost in the print.  My two Susie blouses I made last year were so well loved, but the fit needed a bit of tweaking so I knew I had to tackle that before I did anything.  I was pretty sure that I needed to do a broad back adjustment because while my blouses from last year are fine when I'm wearing them and not moving my arms, the minute I move my arms it feels tight across the upper back, and getting out of them just about requires the jaws of life to extricate me.  In my search for information I came across a video that made the adjustment really easy to do.  I extended the back sleeve a bit too to match up with the side seam and it was exactly what I needed.  I did a half inch adjustment on either side, which was a touch on the generous side, but at least I know what I need to do now and my blouse is totally wearable and very comfortable.  I also gently curved the hemline for a shirt tail hem rather than more straight across feeling that is a more flattering look.  (although I realize that I neglected to get any photos of the bottom of the top so you'll just have to imagine it!)


The rayon voile is super comfortable to wear, but was a bit of a beast to cut out and sew.  It was so darn slippery and wanted to slide away at every turn, but I managed to get it on grain with a bit of patience and determination (and more than just a bit of flouncing and bad words).

I was really excited to have a new spring top just in time for some sunshine and warm weather yesterday!


I also finished a Betty dress yesterday, it's been mostly done since Easter weekend, but still needed hemming.  I got put off a bit when it got really cold last weekend and then decided to be full fledged winter, complete with snow again for a few days.  But the sunshine inspired me yesterday and my machine was already threaded with blue from my blouse so I did a quick machine hem on the Betty before turning the machine off for the day.  I'll try and get pictures soon of it!

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Killing Two Birds with One Spinning Wheel

When the sewing mojo was failing me (or more aptly sewing success was alluding me), I gave the sewing machine a bit of a break and took out my basket of fibre and sat down at the spinning wheel instead.  After spinning some Doodles In String Merino that I'd bought from Ram Wools Co-op when I took my drop spindle class last spring over the Christmas holidays I hadn't done much of anything at all really with my wheel.


It felt great to get back to my spinning that I'd been ignoring for awhile.  It wasn't being ignored for anything beyond a lack of time and energy, but I was worried that so many weeks away and I'd be back to square one with my very beginner abilities.  In the beginning of January I had started working on a batt from Tog and Thel that I'd bought at the Manitoba Fibre Festival last fall so I figured it would be thick and thin spun anyways with it's four beautiful ounces of Jacob, Icelandic, Merino, Merino Tencel and Mohair blended together.  



It was such a pleasure to spin.  I enjoyed seeing the different fibres and colours as they twisted together.  And while it is thick and thin in spots I'm getting more consistent with how I spin, so it's not as noticeable.   A lot of the thick and thin came from big blobby bits of fluff that didn't get attenuated as much as other bits sometimes on purpose, sometimes by accident, but I am pleased with the end result.  It's fluffy and cozy and while I have no idea what I'll make with it, I am very pleased to have it in my yarn stash!



Another bonus to all the spinning was that I realized early into resuming work with my Tog and Thel batt that the motion of treaddling was exactly the same motion as the very boring, but very necessary exercises that my doctor prescribed for my foot injury.  Killing two birds with one spinning wheel. Doing something I love while getting something I loathe out of the way!  Talk about a win-win situation.  


So as soon as I finished plying up the Tog and Thel I took out another squishy gorgeous bit of fibre I'd bought at the fibre festival.  This one was from Manjusha Farms located in southeast Manitoba.  It's a deliciously soft merino/bamboo blend and I spun the four ounce braid up in record short time - it only took a week from start to finish.  Getting up and spinning before work.  Spinning while supper cooked.  Spinning before bed.


I'm beyond thrilled with how the merino/bamboo turned out.  It almost felt like cheating it was so very easy to spin.  Again, it's not perfect - there are some thick and thin bits, but it's the most consistent I've done yet, and the final result makes me so happy!



It still amazes me that I can take a bit of fluff and turn it into yarn that, when I finally decide what to use it for, I'll be able to actually make something with it.  I do have a slight obsession with spinning local fibres.  I find it even more exciting to know exactly where the fibre came from and as a result find myself counting down the months until the fibre festival again (I've got a few to go given it's not until the fall...) Not too mention dreaming of some day owning sheep or mohair goats of my own.  Or maybe an alpaca.  Of course I know absolutely NOTHING about raising sheep, goats or alpaca, but a spinner can dream, right?


In the meantime I think I'll be calling on my neighbour up the way at Prairie's Edge Wool Farm to see if I can go visit her and her sheep and the very adorable Max the Goat.  (If you're at all interested in the Manitoba Fibre Festival you'll no doubt know exactly who Max is.  If you're not up to speed he's the incredibly personable, incredibly sweet angora goat that won all our hearts last year and continues to enjoy fame as he grows up)  Her shetland, and shetland/alpaca blend fibres were some of the first I ever spun and it was glorious. I have a wee bit left from last fall in my spinning basket and I definitely want more!  I have daily exercising to be doing after all!