Friday, May 26, 2017

Thoughts on Me Made May

I didn't join in on Me Made May this year -- obviously -- for a few different reasons. One was simply that I knew I was having company for two weeks and would be offline for much of the month! (and it was glorious)

But another is that I now wear about 70% Me Mades all the time, so didn't feel that I needed to push myself this year. I know, you can sign up with a challenge shaped to fit you, but I didn't think of anything interesting or inspiring enough to get me going back in April. Also, I am finding more and more that I'm feeling overscheduled and overcommitted to so many things -- I need to take a break and not challenge myself right now! 

And I have to admit, thinking of taking all those photos exhausted me just in contemplating the month. But now that I have a new phone that can actually take decent pics, and I know the year ahead is looking a little less busy, I think I'll get back to blogging more regularly. Just not on anyone's schedule but mine ;)

I've still enjoyed seeing Me Made May posts and love the initiative. It's great to see enthusiasm for handmade clothing and fashion. So if you're participating, thanks for the inspiration! Maybe I'll join in again in 2018...

photos via Unsplash


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I Wore Blue for Weeks...and No-one Noticed

I carried out a small experiment over the last two weeks, rather by accident. I wore three of my handmade dresses over three days, and realized they were all in shades of blue. This made me wonder how long I could continue. Turns out I have more blue clothing than I thought!

The interesting thing was that as I examined my closet each day, putting more unexpected outfits together in order to keep on my blue streak, nobody noticed. No-one at work, coworker or customer, seemed to notice any theme at all. Nobody commented on the lengthy repetition of blue of all kinds.

As sewists, we often feel critical of our own makes -- oh, but the zipper isn't perfect, the stripes aren't exactly matched at the side seam, the collar isn't perfectly symmetrical, and so on. Nobody else but us (and perhaps a few sewing friends) will ever see those so-called mistakes, but sometimes they are all we see, instead of the beautiful finished garment that we are wearing.

The last two weeks showed me that not only do others not notice our small errors, they often don't notice anything at all! What was I wearing yesterday? you might ask someone. They will have no clue. Because really, your appearance isn't all that important to them. If you wear a clown suit every day for two weeks people might start to wonder, but dress neatly and averagely and rest assured that NO-ONE CARES what you're wearing.

So wear what you want, don't apologize for your good-enough sewing, don't limit yourself to wearing only styles that you think hide your 'trouble spots' -- own them. Nobody else is going to care; hey, they probably won't even notice your outfit at all! This is a strangely comforting thought.

But after I finish my next two blue projects, I'm probably going to try to branch out colourwise, just a little bit, and brighten up my closet. Blue's not even my favourite colour! What about you? Do you tend to sew in one palette -- intentionally or not? If so, which one -- and why?

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Cat's Away Dress: a Fabricville project

I finished this dress, my latest project for the Fabricville Blog, a week or two ago. But then the weather turned back into something a little more seasonal, so I couldn't wear it outside to get any pics without turning a shade of blue that would clash with the dress - finally a sunny and not absolutely freezing day arrived & I enjoyed taking some photos to share with you.

To learn more about this dress, check out my post at the Fabricville blog!

It's McCalls 7534 and it's made with a Fabricville quilting cotton -- yes it's true, I can't resist fun prints! Considering my last Fabricville dress was made of quilting cotton adorned with marching elephants, I thought it was only fair that these playful mice got their chance.

I made a few small alterations, including adding pockets -- of course -- but didn't have to change much about this pattern to make it fit me. More information will be shared shortly when my Fabricville Blog post goes up!

But I'll leave you with this. Since this IS a dress featuring mice playing while the cat's away (including this image)

I simply had to get out my own hula hoop and play a bit in the backyard. Enjoy!



Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Burda Magazine "Kimono Sweatshirt"

Burda Challenge accepted!

I did it -- I made my first pattern from my stack of Burda magazines! This oversized top comes from February 2017's issue (though if you don't have this issue you can always buy just this pattern from the BurdaStyle website too.)

I have at least a year's worth of Burda mags, and have even traced off a couple of patterns already, but I finally used one of my magazines to make a pattern, start to finish. All the factors came together: the pattern was rated "very easy" and is cute, I found the most amazing knit at the thrift store, and the weather is cold right now but I know it won't last long so if I wanted to make this sweatshirt I'd better do it right quick!

This was indeed a very easy pattern, though Burda instructions, as always, assume some sewing knowledge. The only tricky part of this pattern was the inset kangaroo pocket on an angled seam -- I had to read the instructions over three times before I kind of understood the process, and then only with some advance pinning and flipping before I stitched anything down. Of course once it's done it seems pretty obvious. Although Burda never mentions that after sewing the inside top edges of the pocket bag together, you should really slipstitch it to the inside of the top, otherwise the pocket bag sags down below the hem in a very unsightly manner.

I enjoyed making this one, especially since I remembered to add on the seam allowance while cutting, whew...though it's so oversize it probably would have still fit, haha. As this is my first Burda, I didn't quite have a good handle on their sizing, so cut this all in size 44. I think next time I'll cut 42 at shoulders and 44 at hip for a better fit - this is a little larger around the bust than I'd prefer, and really a little larger all around than the model photo.

But with the triangular inset and the fact that I'm not unpicking a zigzag stitch from a sweater knit, I'm going with this look and calling this my Kimono Sweatshirt. On my next try I may follow Lisa's Carolina Handmade's lead and fold an inch out of front centre & back to get it a little closer fitting around the body.

I do love the way the back swings though!

It's super comfortable and matches wonderfully with my vintage Japanese beads (yay!) I wore it to work today and my very accommodating coworker once again took some quick snaps out in the blinding sun in our back parking lot. So please excuse my closed eyes in some of these photos :) In the sun I was quite comfortable despite the cold wind... Spring really is in the air. I'll have to wear this as much as possible before the weather turns and I start in on my summer dresses.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Denim Knit KwikSew 3757

I made something! Yes, I finally finished a project in 2017.

It's a dress that I've been wanting to make for a long time, KwikSew 3757,  a casual dress that originally caught my eye with its cool pockets. I had just enough of a denim coloured knit in my stash to make this, in View A (I had no interest in a drawstring around my hip area).

So I cut it pretty much as the pattern shows -- I added a couple of inches to the bottom when I cut it out so that it wouldn't be too short, but there was no need. I ended up having to trim it by 3" before hemming, so I just added and removed the same amount of fabric, grr.

The pockets do end up at  the widest part of you, assuming you're average height - I think I'd raise the pocket by at least an inch next go round. They are great pockets though, and pretty close to the right placement.

I was planning on copying Patti from PR & adding in some flat piping to accentuate the seams, but decided that I didn't want the curve of the pocket highlighting my hip/thigh, so just ran it to the top of the pocket. It adds a bit of a vertical line and I think that helps with my figure and this dress. I just used the reverse side of the fabric for the silvery piping & made a neckband as well, instead of using facings.
Simple back view, all one piece

It was a fairly straightforward dress, other than adding in the piping & neckband, and went together quickly. I like the casual feel of it, and have worn it both alone with funky tights and with a matching cardigan (with deep enough armholes to accommodate the fairly large sleeve on the dress). It's a very comfortable, simple dress but I feel quite put together in it. So nice to get going with a quick project again! I feel like this dress would fall a bit more smoothly if the knit was a bit more fluid, though. I love this denim knit but it is very lightweight and yet somehow with body. The good part about that is that it isn't inclined to cling, too badly.

Anyhow, a fun, easy and comfortable dress that I could take pictures of, outside, in February! That's weird enough in itself, never mind the weirdness of finally FINISHING a project ;) Some of the old KwikSew's that I've made have turned out to be my favourite things, and this dress has a good chance of being added to that list.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Top Five Reflections and Goals, 2016

To finish off 2016, I'm taking a moment to reflect back on the sewing year and to set some goals for the next.

 image via British Library flickr stream


  • Having a #sewingfail (or 3 in a row) really cramped my sewing style this year. I have to keep on without letting non-successful projects get me down.

  • When I enter contests or even sew-alongs I get sewing block - I don't think they are for me!
  • But, I also need a workplan so I always have a project in the queue. That way I will always have the next thing ready to pick up and won't waste time procrastinating on making a decision about what to start!
via Library of Congress flickr stream


1. Use my stash. My experience of having to move my sewing supplies out of my sewing area and back this fall meant I really experienced how much I have in my stash. I could sew all year without buying a single piece of fabric. That's most likely not going to stop me from doing so, but, I am aiming to use more stash than I add this year.

2. Make something for my husband. I've been promising him something for a while now, so it's time to bite the bullet and start a menswear project (thinking of Vogue 8987 right now)

3. Watch my Craftsy classes! I've probably got about 20 classes and have only watched 5 all the way though. Time to get busy with the learning!

4. Keep learning new skills - see #3!

5. Tangential to my sewing goals is a desire to improve my blog layout and photography skills. This one is a nonessential but one I still want to try to get to.

Musician June Christy sewing, via Library of Congress flickr stream

So that's what my sewing year looks like in retrospect, and I'm hoping when I do this exercise next year I'll be able to reflect that I've met some of these goals.

Wishing you all the best ever sewing year ahead!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Top Five Hits & Misses of 2016

Well, since I've hardly been blogging this year, I'm going to jump back in with Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow's Top Fives project.

For my first post, I'm combing my hits and misses. 

As for the hits, even though I didn't really sew all that much this year, I made some wonderful pieces. My favourites, as usual, are mostly dresses! These are all pieces that I've worn a lot and feel comfortable in, both for their fit and their style. Some were learning experiences that went well, some were easy makes that I immediately loved.

McCalls 7351 - my first shirtdress!

The Sally Shirtdress by Sew Serendipity

Colette's knit Moneta

Stretch & Sew's Cowl Neck Blouson #305

And the outlier, the True Bias Sutton Blouse

As for misses, well, I've documented a couple of disasters this year. My attempt at the Sew House Seven Mississippi Top was not a success, partly because of fabric and partly because the style didn't suit me. That was quickly followed up by the debacle of McCalls 7115, an oversize dress that looked terrible on me & went straight to the upcycle pile. And then, there was my next dress project, Vogue 1499, which I tried making from a beautiful rayon challis but which was the third cursed project in a row and I couldn't even take photos I was so bummed by it. Because of the fabric it's also in the upcycle pile now.

The 'miss' that isn't terrible but that I just have not worn more than once is my Simplicity 1317 luxe sweatshirt. It's just not really my style at all. Plus the gathers at the front neckband make me nuts.

And lastly, the only other real "miss" of the year is the fact that I hardly did any sewing, relatively speaking. Busy days at work, lots of extra projects, and a lengthy loss of sewjo really affected my sewing this year. While my own life was pretty average and stable, world events really exhausted me and reduced my motivation for much of the year.

And I miss it! Hopefully I won't have the same missing sewjo in 2017. And that there will be even more hits in the new year.