Canadian Pattern Designer Tour May / June 2015 …

While I was away the opportunity arose to apply to make and review a pattern. Not just any pattern but a Canadian Designer’s pattern. Well, how could I refuse? Especially as one of my Southern friends offered up her place for a Canadian to make & review a Canadian designer’s pattern. Fortunately she was offered a place after. Nice one anyway, Joey!

I chose (and luckily just made it in before the spots were all taken) an unknown to me designer, Heather Lou of Closet Case Files. Heather is from Montreal and a full time blogger and designer. She has lots of info on her blog / site, which attracts 100,00 visitors a month! That’s a lot, so go check it out! She also designs with a vintage feel, and that alone makes this Hippy Chic very happy.

I had intended making the Bombshell Swimsuit, but Gloria made an amazing one; I’m glad I changed my mind.  Melissa made the adorable Ginger Jeans. That left me making the Nettie Dress and Bodysuit. To appreciate Heather’s versatility of design do read their blogs and check out the photos.

In my earlier sewing years when the machine went backwards, forwards and did a straight or zigzag stitch, I sewed everything and anything. No worries about it. I could only pay peanuts for fabric so what did it matter? 95% of the time I had an outfit that fitted. The joys of youthful innocence, eh! Now of course, time has moved on as has my idealistic principles about what I can sew or wear. That, is known as aging, maturing, or just plain growing up. Ah well, it gets to us all. But back to Nettie …

I had, in my stash a couple of lovely knit fabrics I’d bought from a small shop near home. Dianne doesn’t have a website or blog, so I won’t warble about her. She’s an amazing quilter, seamstress and teacher. She also has great taste in fabric, and it was against my better judgement when I bought this fabric last winter. anyway .. It was pricy (but knit is). I decided to use it for the Nettie Dress. My son is getting married this (Canadian) Labour Day , and I’d like some comfortable clothes to wear around the time of his festivities.

I have a wonderful Serger, but my everyday machine has a great stretch stitch. I used that for reinforcing my serged seams. Stretch stitches

I am slightly taller so I added 1″ to the body but left the skirt length as is.

Comfy for walking, doesn't ride up
Comfy for walking, doesn’t ride up

I love how the dress moved with me, without me tugging at the fabric to keep it in place. I’ve an hourglass figure, but I think this style works for most any shape as long as you cut to size. I mashed the 12 top with a 14 waist / hips. The dress comes with many options .. with a high or scoop front and a high, medium or low back. Instructions are clear and there is a sew-a-long on the website for ideas, hints and support.

It stays put and fits me like a dream without tugging
It stays put and fits me like a dream without tugging

Much as I love the dress I think for modesty’s sake it ought to be a little longer for more than casual wear. In retrospect, being 5’8″ tall with longer legs, I should have added a couple of extra inches.


If you’re at all dubious about sewing with knits, as I am, then this is a great starter pattern. Plus, having a great fabric helped no end. I feel a million bucks in this dress, and can see more in my near future!

No, I didn't get permission to stand in the flower beds, but  neither do the deer!
No, I didn’t get permission to stand in the flower beds, but neither do the deer!

The dress gave me some much needed confidence so I thought i’d make the bodysuit. I’m a bikini girl. Those extra coupe of inches in height mean that I have to size up in swimwear to get the length. Then it sags in the bust and hips … you get the picture? Well, it was a bit of a different experience for me as I was stepping into unknown territory. I wanted to make the bodysuit though as I have a friend who is addressing her lifestyle, exercise habits and all that jazz. I can so see her in a bodysuit for her gym or ballet classes. If only she’ll send me her measurements …

I had bought a four way stretch (as per instructions), and cut the same size as the dress. I chose a scoop front and low back, and cut the shelf bra from my fabric. Note to self! ALWAYS reread the instructions for a different style! I have 20% lycra and should have used it for the shelf bra. I also had bra cups, but they got the better of me so I gave up on them. I ended up stretching the fabric; its an easy thing to do, but with hindsight and reading Gloria’s blog post, I will use ribbon to keep the seam length in position next time. I have lots to learn with knits it seems. Again, instructions were clear, especially for inserting the crotch snaps. Being nickel allergic I had to choose carefully! I was surprised just how well it went together, even though I had to resize it quite a lot. That’s newbie error, not designer fault. I appreciated the “now try it on” notes, which kept me on the straight and narrow.

Low back - and very comfortable
Low back – and very comfortable

I’m not overly impressed with the result, and the best shot is of me in the shower pretending to do gymnastics from the shower rod! Yeah …  not for public viewing. That said my husband really likes the top and has asked me to make another one. I will, but with a better fabric than the one I used. Being in Canada we do have less choice maybe than the USA. I must confess to loving Melissa at Funky Monkey. She patiently answers my questions about weight and type. I’ll be ordering fabric soon!

Just sitting around
Just sitting around

I hope you enjoyed my latest sewing. I do appreciate Heather’s generosity in supplying the patterns to me. Closet Case Files is participating in a RaffleCopter Giveaway, including 2 patterns of your choice and runs from June 24-27. Start and end times 12am EST. There isn’t a coupon code but I’m aware that coupon codes do occur occasionally. Just commenting on my post will get you in (so I’m told!).

I’m writing late in the tour but there are a host of prizes available if you have sewn since April and participate. Here is a list of all the bloggers, designer interviews and dates. Thanks Ula for hosting this tour! I look forward to another one next year hopefully! The link takes you to all the tour information, including the RaffleCopter giveaways, designer interviews, blog posts and final giveaways. The tour winds up on Canada Day.

There are some great creations so get reading and Happy Creating!

May 2015 Mystery Challenge Completed: Countess Markievicz

As a newbie to the Mystery Challenge concept I signed up (late) and was allocated Kelly from Kelly’s Sewing Creations as my partner. I like Kelly, she’s one of many neat creative ladies I have met in FaceBook Land. Partly, I think, due to my Anglo-Irish heritage Kelly chose an historical figure; Countess Constance Markievicz (1868 – 1927). I’m not going to lie. This was a hard topic for me, and in retrospect I should have asked for a different one.

There are many resources on the interweb but briefly…

Known as the Revolutionary Countess, Constance Gore Booth was born in London, England, but spent most of her time at the family home in Lissadell House, Sligo, Ireland. Despite her privileged upbringing (she inspired poetry by Yeats, who was a family friend), she became involved in causes that were passionate to her. These included being an Irish Sinn Fein & Fianna Fail Politician, suffragette, and a revolutionary figure in the Easter Uprising of 1916. From 1908 until her death the Countess was involved in Irish Nationalist Politics, holding various government offices. She founded organisations and was jailed several times for participating in demonstrations. Following the Easter Uprising she was condemned to death. The sentence was commutated to life imprisonment because she was a woman, and she reportedly said ” I do wish you lot had the decency to shoot me”. When she died in 1927 over 25,000 people reportedly lined the streets.

A colourful life and surely lots to choose from for inspiration – NOT! I grew up in 1970-80’s England when the Provisional IRA was prominent in our lives. I’m not sure why but my brain found it hard to separate Nationalist and Terrorist politics. Note – I believe my grandfather was a soldier in the Irish Army.

I finally decided I would make a skirt reflective of her ‘uniform’. Some of her clothes looked as if she had borrowed from a man’s wardrobe, though I am sure they were made for her. In the same fashion I raided my husband’s closet. I’m sparing you the result – it wasn’t pretty! I used the Ellie Inspired Naughty or Nice skirt for inspiration. It seemed appropriate to be honest. I mashed the skirt a little for personal finishing preferences.

Please note these views are my own and I do not intend to offend anyone. Resources include Lissadell House,  (good old) Wikipedia, Ireland Information, and The History Show.

Here is the photo, copied from The History Show website.

And here’s what I ended up with ..

IMG_1401                              2015-06-04 11.27.56 2015-06-04 11.31.46

While I found this particular challenge difficult there are lots of fabulous reads from the other participants. Please check them out!

5/25│ The Berry Bunch – Frank Lloyd Wright │ Sew Not Perfect – Lucille Ball, I Love Lucy
5/26│ Friends Stitched Together – Prohibition/Roaring 20’s │ HaCunha Matata – Jane Austin
5/27│ Zoe and Ted – Suffragetes
5/28│ House of Estrella – Woodstock/Fall of the Berlin Wall  │ Pen Seb Rox – Piet Mondriaan
5/29│ Friends Stitched Together – Impressionist Movement │ Wining Wife – Judgement of Paris
5/30│ Super Stay at Home Mommy – Madame Tussaud │ Keep Calm and Carrion – Jackie Kennedy  │ Gloria June – Florence Nightingale
5/31│ Sofilantjes – Andy Warhol │ Busy Little Bee – Marie Antoinette │ Amanda Rose –March 9, 1959 Barbie
6/1│ Pienkel – Bianca Jagger │ Huisje Boompje Boefjes – Anne Frank
6/2│ Taking it Up a Notch – Queen Victoria │ Amazing Adventures with Bubba and Bug –1964 New York World Fair │  Kelly’s Sewing Creations – Steampunk Mary Queen of Scots
6/3│ Mae & K – Tesla │ Pretty Little Blog – Moon Landing │ Knot Sew Normal – Lutie Eugenia Sterns
6/4│ Sew Starly – Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II │ Hibbadoray – Amelia Earhart │ Sew Far North – Countess Markievicz (1868-1927)
6/5│ Made By Sara – John Dillinger/Roaring 20’s │ Create 3.5 – George Sand
6/6│ Country Bella – 1900’s World’s Fair/Art Nouveau │ Lulu and Celeste – Rosie the Riveter
6/7│Sew Domesticated – 1960’s/Civil Rights Movement │ Rebel and Malice – French Revolution/Joan of Arch │ The Fabric Hoarder – Gypsies