Springing into my Jeans

I tested Winter Wear Designs (WWD) original Real Deal Jeans AKA RDJs and they are supremely comfortable. As part of her pattern updates the RDJs now have some minor alterations, including an A0 file (easy printing), and an unique waistband construction. Nice one! My original jeans shown here with the WWD Button Up Shirt

The RDJs come in a large range of sizes, have body and leg lengthen lines, which makes a difference if you need to add length in the rise, like I do. Since I made my original pair I have developed a slight sway back. This didn’t matter until I attached the waistband and saw it. Now I know I shall take the waistband off to adjust it . It’s not a hard adjustment and I use this YouTube video for it. After all, we sew to get a better fit – don’t we?

I chose a summer weight stretch cotton. It only has 10% stretch, which is the minimum but the fabric is so pretty! I used a jersey needle as my test sewing left horrid pull marks using an Universal needle. I sewed with a size 12-14 needle throughout; quite a difference from my usual denim sewing needle. I made the legs 1/2″ wider each side as I like them looser – especially when sitting. Shorts here with my Omega blouse.

Someone remarked recently that they thought Winter Wear Designs instructions can be confusing. Well, let’s face it, any good designer will ensure there is appropriate instruction for the pattern level. If you buy an intermediate pattern don’t expect beginner instructions. That’s what Google, YouTube and Pinterest are for. I think this pattern has more than sufficient instruction. As a visual learner I like pictures, whether line drawings or photographs. I also follow the instructions at the beginning of any pattern that states “read all the way through before starting”. Enough said.

I’d intended making capri pants, but made shorts as a muslin (tester). The pattern actually tells you which pieces to use for the muslin, making this process easy. My shorts came together quickly, and looked so pretty I thought I’d unpick them and make them my final garment. This is when I realized I’d used an Universal needle. My final shorts are a tad tighter as I needed to sew inside the original ‘holey’ sewing line. I could have cut out another pair but …

Jeans and pants always look so complicated, but really, they aren’t. If you have wanted to make your own this is a great pattern to start with (and build confidence).IMG_3334.jpg

It doesn’t match but I made the latest WWD ‘wardrobe builder’ pattern The Outer Banks Boat Neck Tee & Tunic to pair with my capris that turned into shorts. This latest pattern is pretty and feminine. It suits mid weights better as I found to my error when I used a lovely light, drapey rayon spandex. Lighter fabrics just don’t want to hold that classic boat neck shape  for long. It is a lovely pattern to make but I still recommend a muslin first.IMG_3329.jpg

Follow the links for the other bloggers this week. I hope you enjoyed the read.

Don’t miss any stops on the Just Jeans Blog Tour
Monday 4/23
Tuesday 4/24
Wednesday 4/25
Thursday 4/26
Friday 4/27
Lisa Dawson for Winter Wear Design
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All Things Small & Beautiful…

“All things small and beautiful, All quilts both great and small” … Not quite the correct words to the hymn, but the sentiments are there. This blog tour is also celebrating Tibeca (the blog tour organizer’s) birthday – so Happy Birthday Ti!!!30742404_10213173798634250_7586149616224043008_o

With birthdays in mind, this month’s blog is about gifts to sew. I have chosen baby quilts and quilting. Talking of which, I had better mail the latest baby girl quilt, or her mum will read about it here.

Quilting is about precision. If you can sew, you can quilt and vice versa. It took me a while to realize that where 1/16″ or a few mm doesn’t make much difference to a garment, it makes a huge amount in quilting. It is very satisfying when my corners are squared and line up nicely. I am quite a free spirit and love to free motion quilt. Once I settle into the rhythm of remembering to breathe, I slide my hands and fabric around under (what I call) the ‘jumpy’ or darning foot. Who darns still? Not me, that foot is for quilting! The secret is moving at a consistent speed and tension. That way the stitches remain the same size. I also put my feed dogs down for less surface tension, and reduce the pressure foot weight to 1-2. I don’t quilt as much as I would like too, but it is a bit of an addiction and leads to many UFOs (Unfinished Objects). Modern sewing machines have a plethora of pretty decorative stitches and I take full advantage when quilting.

I like making baby quilts. Actually I’d love it if queen or king size quilts came together as easily. It’s like making bread or baking; you get an end result really fast. I used to make baby quilts for my friends. Now it seems I am making them for my friends’ children and the women I have met on various sewing groups. I’m also currently hand quilting my ‘marriage quilt’. We have been married 16 years and the quilt has been in progress for almost 4 years. Ho hum, I digress. It will be a blog post on its own but here is a sneak peak.

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On the frame and quilting in progress

Sometimes I succumb to a pattern in a quilting magazine but there are so many free patterns out there that I try not to buy them, and Craftsy is great for them. When I have used a good free pattern I am much more inclined to buy one from the Indie designer. I quilt weekly with a group of lovely ladies and don’t think I’ll need to buy any patterns for a long time.

Quilts should look as good on the backs the front. This means they need careful placement when ‘sandwiching’ the layers together before you quilt them. Or a big mess can result with lots of pleats. Don’t ask me how I know this so well.

I sent a quilt to my newest littlest great-niece in England. I hope her mum, Sophie, likes it. Its the Easy Fat Quarter Quilt by Kate Henderson Quilts trading as Two Little Banshees. I didn’t use fat quarters as I have a lot of small pieces of fabric. It is very soft and girly though. Her sister, Katie, is having another baby in early summer. I already have plans for quilts and things to send. England doesn’t have baby showers like Canada does, so I shall have to show her with gifts from afar.

This is the Star Bright Free Quilt Pattern by SwimBikeQuilt Patterns. I think the lady who owns this website and blog is my kind of woman. This pattern was free, but might be a purchased item now. This pattern is one of my favourites; I think it would be great as a larger quilt (but I must finish my daughter-in-law’s quilt first)! Once again it is for a little girl. This little lady’s grandma sent me a photo of the bedroom decor, so I chose colours to compliment it. I hope she likes it. What I love is how the same pattern can look so different depending on the fabrics and colours used.

Learning new techniques is always fun. Recently I learned the McTavishing method of Free Motion Quilting. It totally appealed to me due to the fluid way of quilting that results in almost a dreamlike quilt. The nice thing is that you set your needle in place and then go from there. I suspect each result will be different and as such, it is open to a lot of interpretation. My small piece has been claimed by one of my soft toys as a duvet. If you look closely I have incorporated my name, my husband’s name, a butterfly, fiddle head, snail and umpty ump hearts. My girlfriend, Harmony has heavily hinted it would be well used to make her little ‘Puffin’ a jacket. Maybe … it would be fun.

That’s about it from me. I hope you enjoyed the rambling dialogue. Do read the other bloggers posts about gifts you can sew. You might be inspired to sew something yourself.
Sunday, April 22nd: Sewing By Ti (intro), With Love In Every Stitch, Sewing With D

23rd: Stitched By Jennie, Tales from a Southern Mom, Aurora Design Fabrics

24th: Sewjourns, Big Fly Notions, Sewing Blue, JOT Designs USA

25th: Sewing By Ti, Auschick Sews, Hazelnut Handmade

26th: Sewing With D, EYMM, Middle River Studio, Aurora Design Fabrics

27th: Our Play Palace, My Sewing Roots, Make it Sew with the Bear and Pea, Seams Sew Lo

Crossing into Spring with La Croix

Seasons change rapidly where I live and it is useful to have layering and versatile pieces in my wardrobe. Welcome into your wardrobe La Croix Cross back (or front) top from Winter Wear Designs.  It’s a pretty top and it’s options include two lengths, sleeveless or varying sleeve lengths, and the opportunity to wear it frontwards or backwards. That all makes it a multi season pattern, meaning there are no complaints from me!

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The top has been around for a while but Suzanne Winter, the designer of Winter Wear Designs has revamped it. I like her new format of simple visual explanations. It makes the information visible at a glance for those times when internet access is spotty.

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I like to play with patterns and this one was no exception. Except I cocked up a few times and, as such, had to delay my post publication date. Oops! Its just as well Suzanne is fond of me – I think! Here come my comedy of errors. Take a seat and learn, or is that laugh

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You’d think I’d know better not to mix knit fabric types and weights – yup, well, what can I say? I chose a soft drapy dusky rose knitted cotton with amazing stretch from Sincerely Rylee fabrics. I paired it with some amazing geometric cotton lycra from Whimsical Fabrics.  The dusky rose picked out the pale grey triangles, so I decided to take a risk – much to my chagrin. Unfortunately the stretch was different, meaning I had a very visible pleat in the rose fabric despite having cut the two fabrics for the cross over together. I ended up adding 5″ to the cotton lycra! I should have used similar fabrics for the contrast. To say the stretch was quite a lot less is an understatement. I’d intended the geometric fabric to be in front, but am so glad I mistakenly put it behind – or you’d be able to see the seam where I added to it.

Still with me? I also decided the neckline was too low and added a wide seam. Not such a bad idea except it was with a curved neck. I also cut the pattern with the neck band and didn’t realize until I was sewing it together … ho hum … more creative sewing to the rescue. I will spare you the rest of my shenanigans but the end result is a very comfortable and flattering top. I think it is hugely versatile and I’d like more. Perhaps I will pay more attention next time and not have to make quite so many corrections?

Follow this link for the opportunity to win $20 of lovely fabric from Simply by Ti, and two of Winter Wear Designs patterns. I love Ti’s fabrics; I’d spend a lot more if I lived States side!

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The more demure side
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Lovely drape
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Super comfy

Disclaimer – A considerable amount of wine was consumed while creating this top. It might be why it took me so long. I am taking the 5th on that one.

I was given the pattern. If I didn’t have it my participation would have been even more sketchy, to say the least. I’d like to publicly thank Suzanne Winter for her tolerance and support – and lovely patterns.

Do have a read of what the other bloggers made. I am sure they were better behaved than me. Not difficult I hear you say! The La Croix pattern is on sale for US$6 until the end of the week – so if you want it you had best get cracking and snap it up.

Check out all the Stops on the Blog Tour:

3/26
Jessica of Jot Designs USA
3/27
3/28
Ilse of Sew Sew Ilse
Patricia of Sew Far North
3/29
Livia of Liviality
Mari of MNW Sews
3/30
Lisa Dawson guest posting at Winter Wear Designs

 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope to back soon!

Omega – the last Letter? No, the last Blouse (you might want to buy)

Omega – the last, the ultimate, the final letter in the Greek alphabet. So says Wikipedia. I suspect Suzanne Winter, Winter Wear Designs’ creator and designer might have considered her options when choosing that name. This pattern does have a ton of options AND a lot of different instructions to go with all those choices. But I have rushed ahead … so backwards we go …

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The Omega is a blouse with a soft Boho feel and a tunic option. I like that blouses are making a resurgence. I don’t wear t-shirts well and the very word blouse brings to mind soft, feminine and well, Me. I didn’t buy the pattern when it came out because I thought  I could recreate by altering a different pattern, which resulted with me looking like I had boobs enough to re-float the Titanic! When the call went out for a blog tour featuring the Omega and the Classic Shell I was eager to see where I’d gone wrong.

There are many options for the Omega including different lengths – and shirt tails, which I love! Yes, I am an 80’s New Romantic! I thought the Omega would be a fabric hog, but it’s amazing what careful pattern placement does. The pattern offers a variety of yokes and I think I could have fun here playing with fabrics and textures. There are clear directions throughout though I don’t recommend deciding to add a lace insert and a lined back keyhole yoke without reading the instructions fully fully. Or doing it with little time to digest the instructions, (or before coffee!). That could be a recipe for disaster!

I kept my blouse simple, sewing the standard yoke, cut to top length (nice to tuck in to a skirt but long enough to cover the bulges), and short sleeves. The sleeves aren’t quite a puff, but lovely and feminine. I am taller than normal so cut the top to the longest top length, as well as adding 1″ above the waistline. These are my normal WWD alterations. I wanted to cut the shirt tail, but fabric restrictions meant I ended up with a slightly curved back; not quite the tail I wanted but pleasing to the eye none the less.

I sewed the blouse according to my bust measurement (a Large). I debated on a full but adjustment (FBA), but the yoke is cut above the bust, leaving adequate space for my boobage to be concealed beneath the soft gathers. I am slightly larger in my waist and hips but stuck with the same size. It flows nicely over my figure and I feel, if not svelte, then slim and pretty.

 

Did I say I was sewing with the Devil’s fabric, the Oh So Pretty Chiffon? Ha! Of course not. Chiffon tends to shape shift and as such I try to cut it out as close to sewing it up as I can. I usually use pattern weights to hold fabric down, but in Chiffon’s case I pin or clip the living Bejesus out of it! I didn’t starch it, but did use a minimal stretch lace seam binding to prevent the shoulder seams and neckline from from stretching. It seems to have worked as I could barely get the damn thing over my head before realizing I hadn’t snipped the seams – whew!

It took longer to trace my pattern off and make my alterations than it did to make the top (well almost). I chose not to sew French seams, but did use my serger to ensure the seams wouldn’t fray. I recently bought a new machine; a solid Bernina. It sounds like a Daimler and sews a dream — even the Chiffon. Yup, Chiffon has so much attitude it deserves it’s name to be capitalized.

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The sky IS that blue

 

I had so much fun I decided to make another – but in sweater knit. I messed with the pattern and added a soft cowl neck and long sleeves. I made it into a dress by adding an extra 6″ to the length. Then I inserted a pocket, because who doesn’t love pockets!

The sweater knit is drapy and a bit more figure ‘hugging’ I stabilized the shoulders with clear seam binding. It is horrid to sew and melts if pressed but it works! The fabric weight pulls down the armsyce. It’s still loose despite increasing the seam allowance.

I added a lace trim over the bodice to cover the fact I sewed it together wrongly. It looks good, but the lace is a bit heavy for the fabric (now there is an oxymoron!).

I mainly constructed this on my serger with reinforcements and fiddly curves on my machine. It is a quick and easy sew – even more so the second time round.

Suzanne will link how to do alter your pattern for knit fabrics during the tour.  this during the Blog Tour.

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The Omega is on sale during the blog tour; The Classic Shell is always a bargain at US$5.

Do read the other Bloggers. There are tutorials, ideas and prizes to be won. Thanks for stopping by and go sew yourself some goodness!

Check out each stop on the tour:

 

Pretty in Pink with Valentine Memories …

Welcome to the Red, White & Pink Blog Tour, and thanks Tibeca for having me along. It’s convenient that one of my sewing groups is also asking, or is that encouraging, us to sew lace this month. As such I made a “Pretty in Pink” dress with lace trims! I like lace: it’s pretty and feminine and is a lot less Itchy & Scratchy than it used to be. I still own the dress I made for my 18th birthday. It’s a cream lace dress over an iridescent blue /purple underdress.  Sadly it doesn’t fit anymore. It is very 80’s and I love it still.

February is a lovely month. because my Sister’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day, and my Uncle Val’s name always reminds me of love and good things romantic like. I dedicate this blog post to them both, but don’t have photos of my uncle. Happy Birthday Chrissie!

But onto the sewing … it’s a pattern hack of another Designer Stitch Pattern, the newly released Synthia blouse. As a tester I made this soft, feminine, romantic top. I love the early Chanel feel of the blouse, how it skims over my lumpy bits yet holds a feminine form. I thought it would make a lovely dress. Oh, it’s also still on sale!

The Synthia blouse is easy to make. I made my top in the shorter length to wear with a skirt. Of course, that is why I am wearing it with leggings in the photos. Go figure! I do like tops I wear with skirts to be shorter than those I wear with trousers.  I made a slight sway back adjustment, which means I pinched out the excess fabric from the back waist to stop it looking like I had a back fabric ‘Joey pouch’. My muslin went on and off without undoing the zipper, so I left it out; and oh the ruffles! The ‘Waterfall’ ruffle is ingenious! It seems a bit disconcerting until you have it all together – then the lightbulb moment occurs and its, “Wow! This really is clever”.

I cut the bodice at waist length for my dress. It would have been a good idea to check the length as the back was about 2″ shorter than the front! A carefully placed extra piece of fabric and hey, no one knew … until now. I didn’t want to spend the time double roll hemming the ruffle and bottom hems, so serged the fabric edges and then sewed the lace on top of it – all 5.5m of it!! I didn’t realize the lace was directional and if you look closely you’ll see that it is one way on the ruffles and upside down (or is that down side up?) on the skirt hem. I’m happy with the result. It’s certainly not a store bought dress!

I copied the lines of a Hot Patterns Casbah Skirt pattern, which made the skirt a quick and dirty affair. I omitted the zipper again, but should have kept it as my DD cup makes it harder to take off a dress than a blouse!

Finally I made another Obi belt, the same belt I featured in my recent blog post. I sewed loads of fancy stitches on it to give it a bit more substance, but should have interfaced it! Syn Obi belt

Photos were interesting. It was blinking cold outside at our local Riverside Park. A lady asked me if I was determined to catch pneumonia while we were traipsing around.  OOPS! We eventually decamped in doors. I paired the dress with one of my favourite hats and some retro looking shoes. All in all I feel glam in a very comfortable dress.

If you like to sew your patterns and need some support with hacking them I encourage you to come on over to Sew Your Pattern Stash FaceBook Group. Our resident Sewing Wise Woman, Roberta, is hosting (and posting) a pattern hack month-long-sew-along. It should be fun and I hope to learn a lot! See Marsha, there were hiccups and errors aplenty on this one! It’s why I am a good seamstress but not a pattern designer. I leave that to the other talented people.

Thanks for dropping by. I hope you had a good read and it made you smile. Please check out the other blogs on the tour …

Let’s get inspired!

February 1st: Sewing By Ti (intro),  Mahlica Designs

2nd: Sewing With D

3rd: Sewing With Sarah

Sunday, February 4th: Tenille’s Thread

5th: My Heart will Sew On

6th: Kathy Kwilts and More

7th: Stitched By Jennie

8th: EYMM

9th: With Love In Every Stitch

10th: The Bear and the Pea Atelier

Sunday, February 11th: Our Play Place

12th: My Sewing Roots

13th: Margarita on the Ross

14th: Very Blissful

15th: Seams Sew Lo

16th: Sew Sew Ilse

17th: Aurora Designs

Sunday, February 18th: Sewing Scientist

19th: Manning the Machine

20th: The Fairy Dust Bin

21st: Hazelnut Handmade

22nd: Kate Will Knit

23rd: Lulu & Celeste

24th: Flaxfield Sewing

Sunday, February 25th: Twinado Alley

26th: Ma Moose

27th: Auschick Sews

28th: Oak Blue Designs

Designer Stitched … With Love to Me!

I’m back on the New Year New Sews Blog Tour, this time to tell you about my shenanigans with a new pattern.

I find it interesting how PDF designers name their patterns. Some choose places, some random names and some, like Designer Stitch and Muffin Head Patterns name their patterns after friends – and sometimes their pattern testers. This vest is called Ilse after a lovely lady, who sews a dream and writes a good blog too!

Where I live in B.C. fabric is expensive; especially double sided fabric. After looking at the $54/m fake suede price tag I decided I needed to be a bit more creative about what I used for a new Designer Stitch Pattern, The Ilse Vest. I bought a double sided fleece blanket and pondered on quilting it. I traded some headliner (automobile fabric that I use as a stabilizer in bags) for a half deer skin. It’s lush and soft, but I worried I’d mess it up. Then I saw a piece of upholstery fabric I’d been hoarding. It is pretty and interesting and said “choose me!”, so I did.

This pattern, like all the Designer Stitch patterns, calls for faith on the part of the seamstress as the process can be a bit befuddling. One muddles along then reaches a stage of sewing and, Hey Presto! it all comes together beautifully. Ann Gross, the designer is a sewing teacher, sewing wise woman, and effusive in her praise to her merry band of testers. If you haven’t tried a pattern then do; they really are worth it.

I cut my regular size based on the pattern measurements but added 2″ / 5cm to the bottom band; my standard height adjustment. I wanted to cover my bum, and stop the chill getting to my kidneys – as my mum would say. I chose to fray the garment edges, which is a pattern option. I thought it would be easier. Well, it was and it wasn’t. The good part was not having to turn the narrow belt ties, find the corners and make them sharp. The bad part included it looking like a fluffy toy massacre in my sewing room, the lounge and anywhere else I was fraying fabric.  ‘Himself’ was quietly in the background vacuuming up after me whenever I moved. Bless the man! He gets it from his father.

It took longer for me to trace the pattern from my master copy and make my adjustments than it did to sew it. Honestly! Each part fit together with all the dots and dashes meeting where they were meant to. I loved that the frayed version has four pieces. The more finished / faced version has a couple more but its still countable on one hand.  The vest closes with either a purchased clasp (I think a frog clasp would be pretty), or the included Obi belt. I was a bit anxious about making the Obi belt as my fabric is heavy, so I decided not to try to turn the narrow ties. Instead I folded them in three then secured them together with a pretty stitch. It looks interesting. The beauty of the Obi belt is that it gives the illusion of a waist even if you haven’t got one. It is also an extra layer of warmth; much appreciated in the Great White North.

I decided to double stitch the edges that frayed. I’d already sewn a narrow stitch on the  arm holes, and was concerned they’d pull more fabric than intended. I allowed the same allowance as was indicated for each seam, and used a pretty variegated thread. It came out really well and had the added bonus of not fraying into the fabric by accident.

Once I had finished I looked at it and thought, ‘Oh, I could have made it reversible’. It was one of those Doh! moments. I can’t be bothered to unpick the serger seams (serged to prevent them fraying where I didn’t want them to!), but I might cover the offending seams with  pretty bias tape or ribbon and wear both sides anyway.

To read what everyone else made follow the links below … and Happy Sewing!
Monday, January 1st: Introduction- Sewing by Ti


Sunday, January 7th: Minn’s Things


Sunday, January 14th: Sew Like a Sloth

 

Sunday January 21st: Flaxfield Sewing


Sunday January 28th: Sew Haute Blog

 

 

Same Man, New Sews for the New Year …

It occurred to me a while ago that despite reaching 16 years of wedded bliss I hadn’t sewn anything for my husband AKA ‘Himself’. Actually, that’s not true, I just remembered that I made him a little dressing gown to take on his business trips. Brain fart aside, I felt a bit guilty at the lack of what I call Uniquely Designed and Created Just For You items in his wardrobe. This Blog Tour gave me the incentive to make him something for Christmas and my goal is to make him more clothes in 2018.

The Blog Tour criteria was to make a new pattern, and thought I’d make Himself a hoodie. Well, like most seamstresses I have a lot of patterns, both PDF and paper / traditional. I also have some lush French Terry from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop, which has been in my stash for at least a year or so. The French Terry is 95/5% cotton lycra, which I felt would hold its shape together longer. I haven’t sewn with French Terry before, and honestly struggled a bit identifying which was the inside and which was the outside. Of course, if I’d bothered to look back on the website (or on Simply by Ti) I’d have seen that no matter how small, the loopy side is the inside. Ho hum …

IMG_2730I used a Burda paper pattern, which I find to be pretty much true to size. Himself is on the shorter side but I didn’t need to alter the pattern at all: I always measure the pattern pieces to ensure the sizing is correct. My only comment on Burda patterns is that one needs to have an idea of what they mean, as the instructions are mostly pictorial or line drawings.img_2725.jpg

This pattern has two options and I sewed option B. It is a hoodie with no pockets and a HUGE cowl neck. I’m not sure why I am surprised that cowls are fabric hogs; they do look good though. I also didn’t have any matching trim for the waist and cuff bands so co-ordinated with a dark steely grey. I like the contrast – and fortunately so does he!IMG_2726

The pattern sewed up beautifully, the fabric handled beautifully. There was just one problem … I’d decided the fluffy side (read little loops) were the outside of the fabric. I’d attached the sleeves by the time I thought to look at other French Terry I own and discovered that probably the smooth side was the outside. I then had a wee melt down and thought about unpicking it all … and just so you know … when I sew I sew for duration. I’d used my lightning stitch AND serged / overlocked all the seams (because it looked pretty). What’s a woman to do? Well, I poured a glass of wine and made a friend’s Christmas Stocking while I pondered the options. When Himself came home I showed him a scrap of fabric and innocently asked, “Which side do you think is the outside?” He thought about it and said “this side”, which fortunately was the little loopy side. Onwards and upwards.IMG_2728

Probably the most fun part of making the hoodie was banging in the grommets for the neck tie to go through. Nothing like using a hammer to get rid of any stress, and pre-Christmas there was a lot of that floating about.

Himself loves the hoodie. I am thrilled it was so easy to make – even being a very slow sewer. He’d like a few more to wear when out cycling, going to and from the gym, just because etc … I am pretty chuffed to have made him something he likes. Believe me, my husband has designer tastes in clothes. Now he has his own personal designer to sew for him (when she has time!).

On that note I wish you a fabulous 2018. Sew or play away your January Blues and have fun, wherever you are!

Monday, January 1st: Introduction- Sewing by Ti *** You are here. 😀
Sunday, January 7th: Minn’s Things


Sunday, January 14th: Sew Like a Sloth

15th Sewing With Sarah

 

Sunday January 21st: Flaxfield Sewing


Sunday January 28th: Sew Haute Blog

 

Showing Off My (Winter) Shoulders with EYMM’s Pretty Dress!

Winter isn’t always about covering up. We have recently moved off a ski hill into town. It’s about 60km, a 900m descent in elevation,  and a 5 – 10c increase in temperature. Consequently my wardrobe, while needing a seasonal change, doesn’t warrant the oodles of thermal layers I have become accustomed to wearing over the last few years.  When Everything Your Mama Made and More (EYMM) announced another Blog Tour I thought – Hey, I can actually show more than my nose peeking out! I jumped on the bandwagon and here I am.

The Off the Shoulder Dress and Peplum is, quite frankly, a beautiful design, and like all EYMM patterns comes in a huge range of sizes. My size seems to have increased over the last few years. A friend told me that when you get to your 50’s your waist leaves town. I’m not sure where its gone but it keeps increasing along with the years. Maybe it’s trying for a sympathy vote? Regardless, I had to merge sizes for my waist which was easy as I could choose which sizes to print off. I asked nicely and was sent the A0 file for my printer; no printing and taping for this woman. I’m taller than normal and added 2″ to the sleeves. I made the dress, but cut the peplum bodice length as my dress length (another 2″), I then made the skirt as long as my fabric measurement allowed. Not exactly rocket science but a good way of getting maximum use of all the fabrics I have.

The design is a fabric hog though, and what do you do when you have a lot of knit fabric but its all in 1 – 2m lengths? … and the total dress fabric requirements are up to 4.5m? Well, you look at creative ways to attach pieces of fabric without it looking like you’re a fashion disaster! It seems everyone loves Chambray, but the washed out blue does very little for me. The dress has an option for a gathered or circle skirt. The top, cowl and sleeves are from knit fabric (it helps with pulling it over the head); the circle skirt need knit for the stretch factor over the waist and hips, but the gathered skirt can be woven On my skirt I attached a knitted top to a woven bottom part. The colours are close enough for it not to look like a patchwork, while the heavier woven fabric allows it to swish and lift when I walk and twirl. Lets face it, who doesn’t like a bit of a twirl?

I used a lovely Simply Rylee mixed ‘Surprise Box’ off white jersey for the cowl. The photos really don’t do it justice as the fabric is simply soft and divine. The cowl, by the way is huge! But it looks so pretty and lays so  nicely. I’ve been dubious of cowls since I made one that was so heavy it kept pulling my top down and showing off my cleavage.  This one isn’t like that at all. It could be the fabric, but I think its the design. It’s shaped like a long hourglass and I suspect that is the secret (along with the clever pleating) to it staying in place and looking so lovely.

The dress came together easily; instructions were concise and well written. I sew slowly and carefully, and even taking my time, I made this is a week. I always trace off my master pattern until I know what size I need. Apart from my standard EYMM alterations I was good to go with this pattern. I used my trusty Serger for the majority of the sewing. I love how it finishes the seams on ravelling fabric. I also used my regular machine with a wooly nylon thread in the bottom for the cowl construction. I always sew knits in my serger with wooly nylon in the loopers. It leads to many less popped seams. While I now bypass the ‘Knits 101’ section on the patterns, it is nice to have them there for anyone needing support or a refresher.

EYMM has donated a $20 store gift card to me to give away. While I don’t have a daughter I think this is a lovely design for adult or child; especially so for the Tweens. If you’d like to enter the giveaway please submit a comment on my blog. I shall randomly choose a winner on December 16th. Please ensure I have your email in order to contact you!

In the meanwhile follow the link to check out the other blog posts. We all made the ladies’ version, but the children’s version looks lovely too. I wore mine out today to a party, and received many unsolicited compliments. I also twirled like  5 year old. Yes, a little girl in your life will quite possibly love this.

Off-the-Shoulder-blog-tour-graphic-web

Don’t miss any of the stops by the creative ladies on the Off The Shoulder�Tour this week! Each�blogger�is giving away a $20�gift card to EYMM! (Keep in mind that the links below won�t work until their scheduled date, but feel free to click through and check out their other blog posts anytime.)

Dec. 8 – Tour Kick Off at EYMM

Dec. 9 – Sewing Scientist

Dec. 10 – House of Estrela

Dec. 11 – With Love in Every Stitch

Dec. 12 – Blessed x Five

Dec. 13 – Tour Roundup at EYMM

Grab yourself a copy of�the pattern�while it’s on sale during the tour!�The�Women’s Off the Shoulder Dress & Peplum Top�AND�the Off the Shoulder Top & Tunic for Women or Girls�are all�25% off (no coupon needed, prices as marked) in the�EYMM shop�until 11:59pm PST on�December 14, 2017.

Finally, thanks for stopping by. I didn’t receive any compensation for participating in this blog tour as I already owned the pattern. I do, however, feel stunning in such a pretty flattering dress. Thanks EYMM! I shall make more of these; maybe in time for Christmas!

 

Fall and my EYMM Comfort Clothes

Welcome to the EYMM Fall Tour! The lovely thing about this tour is that Kymy, the EYMM owner and designer, has given a $20 store credit for me to pass on to one of my readers. To enter this giveaway, please make a comment. If you are new to my blog and you’d like to sign up, I’d love you to! I will need your email addresses to contact the winner. Links to all patterns are at the bottom of the post.

I have also started Chiropractic treatment and much as the Chiropractor is discrete, wearing a skirt when your knee is pushed up around your chest can lead to a world of impropriety! I hate wearing structured pants and find leggings more comfortable. I also hate the initial stages of making any pattern. I sew to have clothes fit me properly; part of that process is adapting the pattern to my shape. It’s never an easy start but is so very worthwhile when its done.

Is it me or isn't it?
Is it a yes or a no?

Piko style tops have been all the rage this summer. I didn’t think the Piko Top would suit me as I have curves, and it is frankly, a Potato Sack shaped top. While its a great loose top, it did nothing for me. After trying on my finished article, which I will spare you the photos of, I cut out a lot of fabric using my trusty French Curve. I thought it looked ok until my husband looked at me and said, “Wow. Will you wear anything that baggy?” I expect I might take some more volume from the sides but for now it is a loose, very comfortable and warm top. It will be great for layering in our chilly winters. Don’t be put off as there is a great pattern hack on the website.

When I read ‘compression leggings’ I had a few worried thoughts. If my body is compressed somewhere it is bound to leak out elsewhere. I was imagining mega muffin tops!! Imagine my relief when that wasn’t the case.

Comfy, comfy, comfy
Make all the shorts!

I liked the leggings so much that I made them twice: as shorts and as leggings. Previously if I am honest, I have always made PegLeg Leggings; I am now a convert to the Get Moving Leggings, and hope they get me moving! I added 3/4″ to the body, then 2″ to the legs (yes, even the shorts). I also merged sizes as my waist seems to have gone on a permanent vacation. I didn’t add the little gusset as didn’t need it. There was plenty room for my booty and I feel that particular part of me is pushed up pertly! Don’t discourage me now – please!

IMG_2207
Does my bum look big in this?

These leggings are super comfortable, so much so I was wearing the shorts (which were my muslin) round the house all day.  I didn’t want to show off my pasty legs so you are treated to my red legs instead! I made the full length leggings in a super tight sparkly fabric. For those who have read my blog before I used the same compression type fabric to make the EYMM Essential Undies. I’ve already washed some lovely green cotton lycra for more leggings.  I think they will make great PJ pants in a lightweight fabric.

Thanks for dropping by and please follow the links to the other bloggers for their perspectives. As I said above, leave a comment to be entered to win an EYMM $20 store credit.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to you all

Make sure to stop by all the amazing stops on the Cozy Up to Fall Tour!! (Keep in mind that the links below won�t work until their scheduled date, but feel free to click through and check out their other blog posts anytime.)

Oct. 3 – Tour Kick-off at EYMM

Oct. 4 – Capture, Craft, and Cook and Boutique Birdie

Oct. 5 – Sprouting JubeJube and EYMM

Oct. 6 – Pretty and Precious�and House of Estrela

Oct. 7 – Analog Bytes and Connected By A Thread

Oct. 8 – Adventures With Bubba and Bug and With Love in Every Stitch�and Beri Bee Designs

Oct. 9 – Five Blessings and Lulu & Celeste�and�Creative Counselor

Oct. 10- Tour Roundup on EYMM

During the tour,�all featured patterns are on sale (save even more by buying the youth/adult bundles!) …�the Four Seasons Cardigan (both women’s and girl’s), the Piko Top (both women’s and girl’s), and the Leggings Bundle (‘Get Moving’ Leggings for women and Jocelyn’s Leggings for girls). Use coupon code FALL17 to save 30% off these 6 patterns and/or 3 bundles in the EYMM shop, but only until 11:59pm on October 11, 2017.

Falling for Kristen – my new fitted Dress

It must be Love – With a little help from Designer Stitch 

I’m no stranger to sewing well made apparel, with the sewing attitude and perfectionism coming from my mother. I was recently accepted into a group of very special ladies who test patterns for Designer Stitch. For some daft reason I applied to test the Kristen Dress. Daft, as it’s a fitted dress and I don’t wear those much any more. I have a rare condition (C1 Esterase Deficiency). Follow the link if you want more information on that, but the long and short is that I swell up rapidly and suddenly. I have changed from wearing fitted clothes to loose and baggy; comfortable but not exactly flattering. I was filled with glee at being accepted, then worried at ‘how the heck will I wear this?’. In for a penny, in for a pound though, and off I went to the fabric store (any excuse!).

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Rayon I love thee – mainly

As always with a new designer or pattern company I had to work out where I fitted in the size range. Designer Stitch has their own size range. Don’t try to put yourself into what number you think you fit in. Just follow the instructions for measuring the many and various parts of you and write them down. Then make a toile or muslin. I struggled a bit with the muslin as my shape can change from day to day. I made 2, then progressed to use my good fabric. The resulting bodice  swamped me so badly that no photos were taken. Back to the drawing board. I then asked for help and with a little adjusting I had the perfect fit. Part of my problem was the I am used to looser clothing. As such, anything fitted felt tight when it wasn’t.

 

Fortunately I had bought a lot of that lovely flowy rayon fabric. It also was a shape shifter and acted like chiffon. I decided to treat it that way to stop it distorting and almost causing me to blow a fuse! I kept thinking about the Harry Potter Dementers flying through the air as the fabric moved around. When I tried to unpick my (what I mistakenly thought was my final) bodice the thread left holes in the fabric. In the end I tore the zip out, threw it at the bin, then cut another one. The last time I had cared this much about a dress was when I made my son & daughter-in-law’s bridesmaid dresses and bride’s going away dress. Like this dress, by the time I was on the final one I had memorized the instructions.

 

But Kristen … why did I fall for you? The pattern is well written, and there are lots of diagrams and line drawings. The pattern is an intermediate one, or for or advanced beginners who can think for themselves and not need their hands holding. The pattern has a layers function, allowing one to choose to print certain sizes. This is great if you know what size you are. If you are new to Designer Stitch I’d advise printing off one size either side just in case. Like a lot of patterns there are several steps to putting together different sections of the dress. All I can say is have (blind) faith it will all turn out really well, because it did. I like the professional touches in the instructions to under stitch and set the sleeves in once the side seams are sewn. Many patterns now go for the ‘quick & dirty’ methods to produce a garment as quickly as possible; not Kristen. My mum will be proud of this dress. Designer Stitch also has a FaceBook page and a website to check out.

Kristen has a lovely retro feel, and Ann Gross, the designer has drawn her influence from Valentino’s latest catwalk trend. Ruffles are having a resurgence, but I think this dress also has a 40’s feel to it. The bodice has princess seams which fit beautifully, emphasizing the bust  line and giving all figures a lovely shape. That perfect bodice fit comes from individually sized bodice pieces from B – DD (E) cups. It’s hard to see where my actual waist is sometimes as it sits several inches above my belly button. Once correctly sized I look 10 lbs lighter. Score! There are ruffles around the neckline and down the centre front. Do be careful to pin those ruffles in place, because if you don’t they can look a bit drunk if adrift. Not a good look at all! I chose to add a shorter softly flowing sleeve, which comes in two lengths; but there is also an option for a sleeveless version with ruffles. The side seams are where they are meant to be, the princess seams meet the skirt pleats just where they ought to. With a long invisible back zipper the dress feels glamorous from stepping into it, to my husband unzipping me (enough said).

As I said, I used a soft flowy fabric. While the bodice skimmed my body, I was concerned the skirt just fell and wasn’t moving how I wanted it to. So I added some horsehair braid to the hem. Its not from real horses anymore, but did make the skirt stand out resulting in the look I was after. I love how it swishes around my legs when I walk and I shortened the skirt to give it that whoosh whoosh feel. It made me wiggle when I walked and that made me giggle, as my dad has talked about how my mum wiggled when they met. I also spray starched my skirt for my photo shoot, adding to the structure. It is very hot here this summer, with temperatures in the mid 30s, even in the evenings, and everything can droop most unflatteringly. With a pair of Fluevog heels, full make up and a little clutch bag I was ready for photos. I feel a million bucks in this dress and am looking forward to the cooler weather to wear it whenever possible.

In summary Kristen is an advanced beginner / intermediate pattern.  Follow this link to the web page where it is On Sale for a limited time only – $8.95 (US)
It is a multi-sized pattern :
(AU/UK) 6 – 26
(US) 2 – 22
(EU) 34 – 54 

As always I didn’t receive any financial reward for making the pattern but I now own it. I did cut fabric while making the dress and yes, I tore some of it up in frustration.

I hope you enjoyed this novella. I do try to keep it brief but I love to tell a story. I hope to see you back here soon.