Friday, 20 January 2017

Plans for 2017

As people who know me are aware, I'm a bit of an obsessive planner. This is a trait that I find helps me stay focused and accomplish what I want to get done. Once and a while, I even follow the plans I come up with. My sewing life is no different. Here are some patterns that I own and have even printed that I have not gotten around to making yet:

I'm not going to lie, I hate buying patterns without making them right away. I am itching to use each and every one of these, and I have had some of them for a shamefully long time. My goal is to sew at least one of each of these by September. I also have some patterns that I would like to make again, and those are:

Hey June Charleston Dress (yes, yet another one...)

I want to do some extra work to the T-shirt pattern - it doesn't fit me super well right out of the package, but it's a good way to practise altering patterns and testing different amounts of slouch for shirts. I love the pants I made so much that I have been hunting for the perfect fabric to make more, but no such luck yet. I have fabric for one or two more Charleston dresses, but I don't think I'll ever be done making more of them.

Lastly, there are tons of patterns that I keep seeing that I would still like to acquire. While all of them are not going to make it to my downloaded pattern list soon, some of them will definitely get purchased in the next year. They are:

Joggers (Either the Mama bear joggers or hudson pants)

Jeans (thinking the ginger jeans, but open to other suggestions)

Flowy Shorts (Magnolia maybe?)

Not on that list is a new tee pattern if I can't get the WBM Tee to fit me that way that I want, and a knit dress with a fitted bodice and flared skirt (maybe the moneta or the boundless knit dress). Those are on my maybe list, but not strong enough contenders that I am confident I will get them in 2017.

I hope everyone is excited to see pictures of my sewing projects for the new year. I know I'm excited to make them and wear them and learn new skills. I'm definitely really looking forward to making patterns from different designers so that I will figure out which ones work best for me and come together easiest. I am also excited to talk so much about sewing that people's ears start to bleed and they fake cardiac arrest to get away from it. Happy (Belated) New Year!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Christmas Gifts

I have been a little radio silent lately because all my sewing energy in the weeks leading up to Christmas was devoted to sewing presents. I spent Christmas in Ottawa with my husband's family, and decided to make my sisters-in-law and mother-in-law the Boyfriend Cardigan from Love Notions. You may remember this pattern from the two that I made a couple months ago, the grey and the green ones, and how I bragged how quick it was to sew. When you commit to making 7 of them, it no longer feels quick. I was originally not going to exchange gifts with my sisters/mom, but we changed our minds about 3 weeks before Christmas, which is why it's 7 cardigans and not 4.

I would have gotten all 7 done if not for coming down with the flu 3 days before we left for Ottawa. Unfortunately, that means that mom still hasn't gotten hers, but it is in progress. I don't have much more to say about them, other than they got great reviews from the receivers, which is why I was willing to put so much time and effort into them in the first place. They've even been getting compliments on them! If you sew gifts for other people, I definitely recommend this pattern because the sizing is flexible and it's a quick sew.

I have one more to make, and then I am going to take a really long break from sewing cardigans. I have so many other things I want to get going on that it will be a while before you see one of these popping up again, although I will definitely be making myself one or two more in the future. I love the blue and burgundy colours, but I might try branching out to a different fabric.

PatternLove Notions Boyfriend Cardigan 
Material: Venice knit from Fabricville
Modifications: I actually was able to use the same size and traced pattern that I used for myself for all sisters. This meant that it didn't fit everyone perfectly, but there is a lot of flexibility with the slouch of the pattern. My mother-in-law and mother got their own sizes. 
Learning: Nothing new!

Coming up: Sewing plans for the new year, and learning to use the serger that my wonderful in-laws got me for Christmas! Words are inadequate to describe how excited I am about this gift. 

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Marled Grey Boyfriend Cardigan

This one is the real deal and I love it. Not only do I love wearing, but I managed to start it and finish it between work and a late Ultimate Frisbee game, so it took me just under 3 hours. This makes it my cheapest garment yet! (my time is valuable) I got the fabric for 50% off, meaning it cost $15+tax for the 2 metres it took to make it, which is reasonable enough. I really hope this fabric is still around and included when Fabricville has the "buy 1 metre get 2 free" sale, at which point I would buy 6 metres in 3 different colours.

The only differences between this cardigan and the green one are the lack of pattern matching required on this one, and I actually added the pockets. This fabric has some horizontal stretch, but absolutely no vertical stretch, so adding pockets and putting things in them won't stretch it out. I don't have much else to add other than I really recommend this fabric for cardigans (it's this one) because of it's coziness. The girl at Fabricville who cut it for me said she used it for leggings, which might now be on my to do list.

This is my last of the nursery photos, hopefully my next ones will be outside. Thank you once again to Ruth!

PatternLove Notions Boyfriend Cardigan on sale for $5 (USD)
Material: Sweater knit from Fabricville for $7.50/m
Modifications: I added 3 inches to the body and to the sleeves.  I was going to grade out the hips but totally forgot, and since it's open it's not a big deal.
Learning: Nothing new!
Total Cost: $15 +tax for fabric, pattern was factored in for the last one = $17.25

My super awesome photo bomber

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Green Striped Boyfriend Cardigan

When Love Notions had a sale on their Boyfriend Cardigan I decided it was a good time for me to grab the pattern. As someone who is perpetually cold, cozy cardigans are a necessity in my freezing cold office. I was planning to improve my knitting and start knitting myself cardigans and sweaters, but there is no way that is happening on time to get me a wearable sweater for this winter. I contemplated buying one or two to add to my wardrobe, but I find most of them have sleeves that are too short and tight, are too flimsy, or are too heavy for the amount of warmth they provide.

Enter, cardigan sewing! I generally like cardigans with buttons, but decided to risk making an open one this time because I liked everything else about it. I've been wearing it now for a couple of weeks, and I'm extremely happy with it. My fall pinterest board has a lot of sweaters, and this one fits in with the vibe I'm going for.

I found the fabric that I wanted a cardigan out of, a marled grey sweater knit, but at $15/m I was hesitant to use it for my first time making a pattern. I picked it up when it was on sale for 50% off, but I also looked in the sale section with the help of a lovely lady that worked at the fabric store and found this green striped knit for $4/m and bought 3 metres of it for a wearable muslin. I love wearable muslins, and since the pattern was so easy, I'm happy with this one.

This cardigan came together really fast, which is a major bonus considering how many I've decided I need in my wardrobe. There were not gotchas, no missed instructions and almost nothing new to learn. My biggest takeaway about pattern-matching. I was much better at it at the end of the project than at the beginning, and pins didn't really help me - they matched up better when I was just eyeballing it. Overall, the stripes don't match up very well, but it doesn't bother me. It's still cozy, and it fits me the way I want it to.

Look how cozy it looks

: Love Notions Boyfriend Cardigan on sale for $5 (USD)
Material: Green knit from Fabricville for $4/m
Modifications: I added 3 inches to the body and to the sleeves.  I was going to grade out the hips but totally forgot, and since it's open it's not a big deal.
Learning: Cardigan sewing is my jam, pattern matching is not.
Total Cost: $8 for fabric, $9.37 for the pattern (conversion rate and tax did a number on that one) = $17.37

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Purple Adelaide Dress

I know this is a summer dress, and we're already way into fall, but I knew this was a pattern I could knock off my list in less than a week. I wanted a quick win to gain some sewing momentum, and I need to get more of my sewing todo list accomplished so I can buy new fabric! Those who follow me on instagram may have seen that I prematurely bought new fabric, but that's no surprise. Is there a support group for spouses of people who buy too much fabric? I think my husband would feel the need to attend.

On to the dress. This is a relatively lightweight woven material that I picked up from the sale section of Fabricville for about $3/metre, labeled "unknown fibres" (which seems to be how they label them all). I wasn't sure if I was going to need to increase the size of the armsythe, but I tried in on after I assembled the pieces and discovered that it was almost cutting off circulation to my arms. Luckily, increasing the armhole size was easy, and I will keep it in mind for modifying patterns in the future. I added 2 inches to the bodice length and 3 inches to the bottom in hopes that it will fit me with minor adjustments.

The snaps were possibly my favourite part of this dress. Getting out a hammer and installing them was therapeutic, and I might look for more excuses in the future to use them. Maybe bibs for friend's baby showers? For those afraid of installing snaps, fear not! I needed to make a decision regarding the snaps around my bust: either let it gape a little, add another snap, or add an invisible snap. I decided to add the snap for now, with the option in the future to remove it and use an invisible one. Pro tip: If you want to remove a snap, use a flat-head screwdriver to pry it apart. I learned this because I accidentally installed the female side backwards after I had install the male side.

The bias binding at the neck and sleeves went awfully. It turns out that while I got better at knit binding, I have a long way to go for using woven binding. I'm still not happy with how the neckline turned out (is anyone surprised?) and the sleeves are only half decent, but I spent so much more time on this dress than I intended that I gave up. I did one of the sleeves 4 times. Moral of the story: I still have a lot to learn. Thank you to the lovely Ruth for these pictures in the church nursery between the potluck and hanging of the greens, it turns out getting pictures of a summer dress in the almost winter is difficult.


Pattern: Adelaide by Colette Patterns
Material: Printed purple woven similar to quilting cotton from Fabricville (3$/m)
Modifications: Added 2 inches to the bodice, 3 inches in length and increased armsythe size. In the future I'm going to add some length at the top of the dress to make it a bit lower and widen the straps, the bust darts sit a bit too high on me.
Learning: How to install snaps! I also finally got to use the bias binding creating doohickys I bought off amazon, and they are super fun.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Another pair of pants

Recently I sat down and did some wardrobe planning for my fall clothing. I collected pins (this pinterest board) for inspiration, I wrote down all the clothing that I owned and came up with a list of things that I want to sew to fill in gaps. Naturally, there are more things on the list than I will have time to get to this year, but I am alright with that - I am good at prioritizing... sometimes.

Anyway, that was all to introduce my latest pair of pants! My colours for the fall are shades of burgundy, shades of green/blue, and neutrals. I already have black, navy and maroon pants, so these pants fall in the shades of green category, at a teal-like colour. I actually went to the fabric store to buy more of an olive-green woven material to make a pair of pants, but I didn't find anything that I liked, and fell in love with this fabric (in part because it was $4 per metre). I was testing the chi-town chino pants at the time, and wanted to use that pattern to copy the concept of this pair of pants.

These pants went together really easily. Try two of a pattern naturally goes better than try one. That being said, I'm not a huge fan of them. I like them well enough to wear them, and they are really comfortable, but for some reason they look a bit nineties to me. They also are going to start pilling really soon. I'm glad I finally made a pair of pants with back patch pockets and a button for the front closure. I discovered that I can make buttonholes on my sewing machine without a special foot (they may not be perfect, but they do the trick!), and I even installed the button with my machine.

When I told Alina I was planning on making these pants, she suggested that I might want to use a pattern that was meant for stretch fabrics instead of trying to modify this pattern, and she was definitely right. You don't learn if you don't try though! I used a woven quilting cotton for the pockets and waistband, and while it worked fine for the pockets, the waistband turned out wavy, and I should have added some more interfacing.


PatternChi-town pants by Alina (Free because I was a tester)
Material: Teal knit fabric from Fabricville
Modifications: Full seat adjustment, added about 4 inches in length and took them in a lot so they have negative ease.
Learning: Listen to a pattern designer when she suggests a different pattern, she's probably right. On the bright side, I learned to do a button closure and patch pockets, and that sewing a knit to a woven is as difficult as people say. Also, I finally figured out that when the back piece is longer than the front piece when putting together pants, you should ease them into being the same length, not just attach and cut off the extra.

Bonus picture of the view from our trip to York Redoubt
I still like the fabric, and I think I have enough left to make myself a dress :) Next up: finally getting around to making the Adelaide I've been meaning to for months!

Monday, 3 October 2016

Sea-foam Green Charleston Dress

I have been looking for mint coloured fabric for a Charleston dress since I bought the pattern, specifically this version. It's a colour I love for wearing in the summer, but don't have nearly enough of in my wardrobe. I managed to find this scuba knit for buy 1 metre, get 2 free at Fabricville, and came home with 3 yards of fabric instead of just the zipper and buttons that I went to purchase (Don't be surprised if you see a sports bra and capris in this fabric in the future. 3 metres is a lot). I sewed this in the 2 weeks leading up to a friend's wedding in my rare spare time and cut it pretty close, timing wise. There was a lot of basting and adjusting to get it just right, and I'm really happy with the result.

I'm a little sad that I didn't find this fabric and make this dress at the beginning of the summer so that I could wear it for the summer months, but I'm sure I will love the colour just as much next year. I made a point not to rush this dress, despite the deadline, and did my absolute best to line up the seams on the skirt and bodice. As you may be able to tell in the pictures, that didn't happen and I was tired of taking out basing and re-sewing at that point. I'm not super thrilled about the armholes and needed to adjust them a little to get rid of some gaping, but some steam helped say them flatter and made the topstitching less visible.

This is hands down my best neckband yet, I think I have it figured out finally! We will see when I make the next dress (I'm an addict, I know) or shirt, but I am cautiously optimistic! I'm hoping to get better at sleeveless binding, but I think my next few will have some sort of sleeves, so I'm not concerned yet. The fabric is borderline fluorescent, which I love.

Ally has gone back to school and our frisbee season ended, which means getting together for pictures is more difficult, but I found another photographer to help me out. Thank you so much, Ruth!


PatternCharleston Dress from Hey June
Material: Sea-foam Green Scuba Knit from Fabricville, $15/m and buy 1 get 2 free
Modifications: Added 2.5 inches to the body, 3 inches to the skirt, increased the size of the armsythes to accommodate my shoulders properly, and graded in at the waist. I still didn't add a zipper since the fabric has about 50% stretch, and I added an elastic to the waist to add structure.
Learning: I'm still working on getting the binding right on knit clothing (neckbands and armhole finishings are still a pain), but I get better each time I do it. This dress gets easier every time I make it.

Next Up: More pants!