Cozy sweatshirt dress

It’s been ages since I have posted anything on my blog. I have made of course many garments but have not been motivated to take pictures and post…..My co-worker was kind enough to take some pics at lunch so at the least these ones are not blurry.

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A sewist on Instagram posted a picture of an aubergine Renfrew top she made into a dress in organic French terry and I fell in love with it right away. I just had to have one. This was my first time sewing with French terry and it was fantastic to work with and serged like a dream. Cozy-comfortable factor is high!  Though sweatshirt dresses are usually not that flattering, I really could care less when I am wearing it because it just feels so nice.

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I’ve had the Sewaholic pattern for ages but shied away from using it out of sheer laziness. Because these patterns are drafted for B-cup pear shapes it required a lot of grading to fit my measurements. Grading is easy but it just seamed like a lot of work for a t-shirt. I started with size 6 shoulders and sleeves, then to a size 10 bust, to a size 6 waste, and size 2 hips. Size 2 hips! Ha! That’s funny. I used McCalls 6886 knit dress pattern from the hips down and added a cuff to the hem. The terry is sewn with the loop side in for the whole dress except for the cowl which is loop side out for a bit of textured contrast.  It’s a nice effect but hard to see in pictures.

The sleeves were VERY long and I think I cut off 4 inches of length. If you know nothing about sewing and pattern sizing my measurements on this pattern give the image of an inverted triangle with T-rex arms. 

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Despite the potato sackish shape I really, really love this dress and have already gotten a lot of wear out of it. All I have to do is pick either brown or black tights and a pair earrings to go with it and…Boom! Outfit complete.

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Size 2 hips? That ain’t no size 2 booty!!! Thanks for making me feel skinny (ish) Sewaholic.

 

 

Summer sewing wrap up

I took a bit of a  hiatus from blogging this summer and it’s time that I posed an update. I made several garments (dresses, skirts, a tank top and a romper) and will highlight the ones that I have photos of.

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I revisited McCalls 6887, it’s actually a really great pattern. I had a lot of fitting adjustments to make in the first muslin, but I have now really warmed up to it. So in the summer I made 2 of the backless versions. The first is in a green raw silk which makes we want to drape myself in silk. All the time. I didn’t line it and used bias binding to finish the necks, arms and back. The bottom of the back gapes a bit but I fixed it in the next version. Those perfectly matched buttons are vintage from Button Button (they sell buttons). And my first button holes ever, yes, I lost my button hole virginity on this dress. (Make sure you articulate that sentence in your head correctly !)

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Virginia and I on a patio in Yaletown, the night I convinced her to move back to Vancouver.

The second is the same, but in a cotton. I made a small adjustment to the back of dress where there was gaping in the first version. Other than that it’s almost straight out of the package! These dresses are very comfy, and I am loving this pattern the more i think about the dresses.

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Wearing my Sallie romper at the Teahouse in Vancouver with friends

I made a Sallie Romper from Closetcasefiles following her tutorial on how to make the jumpsuit into a romper. This thing is seriously comfortable! I used a bamboo knit which adds to the comfort. I was slow to accept jumpsuit trend but now I am on board. My jumpsuit is also my first garment with leg holes.

Simplicity 1873

Simplicity 1873 – striped version with Thai dress skirt

I had two weddings to attend this summer and I finally got my hands on Simplicity 1873 when I was in California this winter. I am still pissed Simplicity pulled out of the Canadian market especially because I had almost no adjustments to this dress. I did make a wearable muslin in navy blue viscose poplin which has a less fitted look to it due to the fabric relaxing.

The second version I made was for my long time friend Arabella’s wedding for which I was a bridesmaid. Not a lot of adjustments – an FBA, a tuck at the neckline, and letting out the seams by a smidgeon for more comfort for an August wedding.  I could have gone up a size in the bodice but I thought Simplicity was going to pull a large ease surprise on me like McCalls, but the sizing was spot on.This dress is a blush pink jacquard poly crepe, lined in bemberg and I did a really nice job on the garment (very proud of myself) ! It’s does look over fitted to me in pictures, but you will see in the striped version how different fabric choices make bite differences in the fit.

View More: http://photos.pass.us/paulandarabella

No, I did not catch the bouquet!

For my friend Kelly’s wedding I used the same bodice with the large simple pleated skirt from Thai dress pattern. Fully lined, same adjustments as the blush version but more ease from the fabric choice. The stretch cotton sateen made for a roomier dress and gave a nice solid structure to the flared shape of the skirt and crisp pleats. .Such a great pattern, I hope I can wear these dresses out again.

Another weddingDespite my hatred for PDF patterns I have been subscribing to Seamworks magazine. I made a cherry chambray Adelaide dress fits very well. Being a picky seamstress I will make a small FBA and a small adjustment on the straps next time. I picked up the fabric from Joann’s when I was in California earlier this year, along with another cherry print, both are from Gertie’s collection.

Seamworks Adelaide

Seamworks Adelaide

This was a long and hot summer in Vancouver. I saw many bloggists posting linen trapeze dresses that are breezy, and great in the heat. They are interesting dresses. They are not unflattering which is odd since they are essentially extreme a-line tents and I did feel like I was wearing a maternity dress. However, in the heat the linen viscose was an absolute dream. The photograph is not the best, but you get the idea. With a big statement necklace and wedges it is a cute look and an great alternative to my usual fit and flare style. I used a Burda pattern for it using bias binding instead of facings. I ended up taking out about 2 inches from the sides from under the bust dart that I also added. Immediately after I made this dress I made a tank top version from this pattern, same fabric.

Burda trapeze dress

Burda trapeze dress

There are other garments that I made this summer, but these are the ones I have photographs for. I have many plans for fall sewing but I just need to get my sewjo back again.

See Kat Cook!

This dish was a winner at my book club. Do you like the rogue battery in the corner??

This dish was a winner at my book club. Do you like the rogue battery in the corner??

My new work pal Emily recently published her first cook book, Well Fed, Flat Broke  and very kindly gave a copy to me. After making a few recipes and being extremely happy with them I thought I should tell everyone about the yummy recipes I have been making.

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The book is about eating deliciously while on a tight budget. I have to say I was very impressed as soon as I started trying the recipes. I felt Emily’s love of food right away when I started trying her meatless recipes – if a meat eater can make lentil tacos more desirable than beef tacos, she LOVES all food. I am not a vegetarian but those meatless meals were delicious and will all be made again, some already have.

This week I decided to plan my dinners and left over lunches based on a common ingredient. Since I have been so virtuous with lentil tacos, chana masala, roasted aloo ghobi, and lentil sloppy joes, I thought that bacon was a good choice. I started with the leek and bacon barlotto (risotto made with barley) and then pasta shells with bacon, chickpeas and brussels sprouts.

Bacon bacon bacon!

Obviously the dish with bacon starch and wine was a winner, how could it not be? But the pasta was really excellent. The salty bacon with chickpeas and pasta was surprisingly a fantastic combination, layered with a kick from the chillies and the freshness of lemon juice  and zest. The bonus here – I realized I really like brussels sprouts! Cooked with bacon of course……

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Lentil tacos – to die for!

Anyway, if you are looking for new recipes that are based on Vancouver fusion cuisine that is easy on your wallet, I recommend Emily’s book, and you can buy it here on Amazon for pre-order for the April release.

Lentil sloppy joes

See me blog hop

Have you heard about blog hopping? It’s where you answer 4 questions about yourself and ask 2 other bloggers to do the same and post it on your blog. The lovely Lara from Dreaming of Avonlea asked me to participate, so this response will be on her blog September 8th. For anyone who is not familiar with her blog, you are missing out. She sews gorgeous dresses in fabrics that are to die for, and she can refashion dresses to perfection. I want her wardrobe! She also sells her gorgeous creations.

Ok on to the questions:

Why do I write?

I didn’t really start my blog for the art of writing, it was more for a catalogue of my sewing adventures. I started sewing a couple of years ago and have been teaching myself as I go. I found that googling patterns I was interested in brought me into the world of blogging sewists that are generous enough to share their experiences (the good, the bad, the ill-fitting and the ugly) which was very helpful. By ugly I mean the pattern dysfunctions and issues to look out for when making garments, and lets face it we have all come across those issues. Also, I learned about the existence of indie patterns which has opened up a world of well made patterns beyond the Big 4.

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Anyway, back to why I blog. Although I am still learning about sewing, I thought that by posting my projects I could add to this community. Hopefully my projects will help others decide on their projects. I love looking at other sewists’ finished projects. Just seeing how dresses or shirts drape, fit, look in busy prints or blue chambray is so inspiring and really helps the creativity process.

Also it’s pretty addictive. You cyber meet others like you and develop penpal-like friendships (remember those?) over a common interest. It’s amazing the support and advice that you can get from being in the community.

What am I working on?

I am currently working on 2 versions of the Flora dress from By Hand London. Actually one is of course a mishmash with another pattern, which is something I have been a lot of recently. This is due to the lack of fabrics that are 60″ wide that I like. I had a mishap with the first version because of a slippery rayon fabric and an embarrassing cutting job. The full version I hope to have done for a wedding in October, I better get on it !

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How does it differ from other’s of its genre?

Mediocre photography could be what sets my blog apart from others! I use my iphone and add lightening filters in order to see the fabric details when needed.

I am not really sure that it does differ in content. It’s a sewing noob’s journey to a substantially handmade wardrobe while learning new techniques on the way. There are lots of similar blogs out there, and I try to follow all of them. The one thing that makes it different is that my blog is the only one starring “moi”!! Lol.

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How does my writing process work?

Once I sew something to completion I try to take pictures as soon as possible so that I can get it up on my blog so that I don’t procrastinate on it. Once I have some pics that show the important details of the pattern, then I post them and start writing my experiences with the sewing process. I have started taking notes on my projects even if I have made permanent flat pattern adjustments I find it helpful to keep track of all of the minor alterations as I go. I am also starting to jot down design ideas for future projects with my fabric stash in mind.

I have nominated Inge from her blog IngeMaakt.com to participate in the blog hop. Her sewing is fantastic, plus she is a redhead so naturally I feel a connection. Inge has designed her own dress pattern before and her fabric choices are bold and colourful (love!).

I also nominated Kathy from the Nerdy Seamstress. Kathy has been on a bit of a hiatus from the blog, but hopefully she will see my invite and participate. She sews mostly dress and has an amazing eye for fabrics.

These two sewists are blogs that should be checked out!

 

 

 

A Liebster Award !!

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The lovely Kathy from the Nerdy Seamstress nominated me for a Liebster award, which is very sweet considering I just started my blog less than 6 months ago. I am teaching myself how to sew and am learning most of my skills from other bloggers, and now I get to pass my thanks along by nominating other bloggers. I read my nominated blogs all the time; all focused on sewing, all have slightly different and slightly similar fashion preferences. You should really check out their blogs! The Liebster Award has varying rules, this one seams to follow the rule of eleven.

Lady Skater Dress

So before I start talking about the pattern, let me first address the obvious issue here. Yes, I took selfies, and yes I took them in the ladies change room at my gym. No, I am not trying a failed attempt at being artsy, it’s just hard for a single gal to get someone to take my pics during this busy season. So, apologies for the terrible background, however I did play around with my Vintique app to try to dull the background down. I was tempted to put laser effects zinging out of the toilet stall behind me but then thought that might be a little much…..

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Ok, now on to the dress. It’s the Lady Skater Dress that everyone who is afraid of knits attempts it, wins, then has new found courage to attempt other knit projects from then on. This is me included.

The instructions are great and list many tips for knits such as what stitches are the best, and what foot to use.  I printed them out in black and white so I would not have to keep my lap top open, but the black and white illustrations do not show up very well so keep that in mind. It’s a PDF pattern which I am not a fan of, thankfully there are not very many pieces which makes for a simple pattern assembly. This pattern has me dreaming of more versions of this dress, and I received 2 compliments this morning at work.

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Oh the best part of the pattern? NO ALTERATIONS!!! (well, other than hem length but I don’t count that)

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I used a raspberry coloured ponte knit because it’s winter and I wanted something thicker in this cold weather. I wore it twice  during my Paris trip because it really does look great and is so comfortable. I chose the 3/4 length sleeve option, and I am thinking that I should make a short sleeve version in black because that would be a fantastic wardrobe staple. How cute would that look with a denim jacket in the spring, or an orchid coloured cardigan?? The stupid thing is here I am dreaming of a black knit version of this dress when I just bought 8 dreamy French fabrics….Is there such thing as having too many fabrics in your stock pile? 

Les tissues de Paris!

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I just came back from Paris, and of course the only pics I managed to take were of the fabrics that I brought back with me. I was there for work for 4 nights so I did not have much time to shop, but managed to get to the Saint Pierre area and did most of the fabric shopping there. Fabric there is so cheap/reasonably price it’s hard to hold back. I did most of the buying at Les Coupons de Saint Pierre as they sell only 3 meter pieces and which saved a lot of time for me.

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Theses  are the silks that I picked up, only 1.5 metres for the brown and black dots, and 3 of the blue geometric patterned. I see a blouse with a front tie for the brown silk, not sure for the blue yet.


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These two cottons are so soft, I think the one on the left is sateen. I wish I had more room to bring back more of these, they feel that nice. Both were 10 Euros for 3 meters!

 

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This cotton was the same price as the others I think it must be either voile or lawn as it’s slightly sheer and will need to be lined. I love the pattern. And yes I seem to be attracted to blues.

 

This mystery fabric was a super steal, only 5 euros for 3 meters. It’s black with a woven design and has a slight stretch. I am fairly sure it’s a cotton spandex mix, and I am hoping to get a skirt and a dress out of it with some careful planning and cutting.


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I broke my personal rule of staying away from polys and synthetics, but these next two were so pretty and I think they would be nice and summer dresses, either more Vogue 8870’s or maybe a Sewaholic Saltspring or even Cambie dress. For polyester they are surprisingly light and have a lovely drape.

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I did have to calm down on the fabric shopping even though all of this was only 90 Euros which is about $130 Canadian!! I am heading to LA soon and I have to have some money and room in my suitcase for more fabrics of course.

Any suggestions for specific projects for these fabrics??