Summer Time Tee-se!

It’s summertime at long last, or so I am being told. I’m writing this in the middle of nowhere in the BC Interior (Canada). Mother Nature seems to still be playing around with us as the temperature has sunk from 29c to 24c to 15c today. Not the direction I wanted at all! Especially as I have been playing around with some Easy Breezy Summertime Trendy TeeDresses.

It started with my girlfriend, Lil Miss Rosie Bubbles, asking if I’d help her make a swinging triangle dress for an upcoming Gogo performance. “Of course”, I said, then put on my thinking cap … After a day or two pulling patterns I was told in no uncertain terms to, ‘STOP FAFFING!” and “why not use that nice tee-shirt as a base”. That nice tee-shirt is the Trendy Tee by Winter Wear Designs. I’ve made it several times before, with sleeves and without, and with a wider neckline. I live in the three of them currently!

Rosie Bubbles wanted a multi-purpose triangle dress that she could wear both on stage and off. She’d bought some lovely royal blue stretch velvet, and was performing a cheeky Gogo routine with some other dancers. Her dress needed to be big enough to have swing, AND a hula hoop installed in the hem – yes, you read that correctly.

Well, it seemed like easy enough maths. Just make the bodice fit, curve out the fabric to ‘swing’ flatteringly over her widest parts, and ensure it is big enough to (temporarily) install a hula hoop for the Gogo routine.

I pulled my Trendy Tee pattern out and redrew it onto tracing paper. I decided to make a muslin, because, even though its a simple pattern, I’m a totally different shape (and height), and velvet isn’t cheap. The resulting grey stripy muslin was pretty enough for me to finish, and I think it will look good with boots and a cardigan or jacket in fall.

I love V necklines. I think they flatter a busty woman better than a round or scoop neck. I also find using Best Press, or a spray starch invaluable when cutting and pressing a V neckline in place. It helps the narrow piece of fabric lay flat. Of course, putting my long sewing ruler over it until it has ‘set’ also helps. There is nothing nicer than a well shaped V neckline – and we all can sew one, if we know how. I also like to pin my neckline in place and topstitch it to prevent any of the seams rolling. I learned that one the hard way.

Onwards and upwards for Rosie’s blue dress. I decided I’d sew it for her because velvet sheds like teddybears in a barbershop, and I have a serger. Rosie took it away with her to sew in the hula hoop and the resulting dance routine is hilarious! Fortunately she owns some sparkly hot pants to maintain her modesty!

Rosie’s sewing has been coming along in leaps and bounds this past year or so. So much so, that she took the challenge to make herself a Canada Day Dress using the same pattern. The challenge here was that she bought a pretty red and white fabric – without stretch. The Trendy Tee is made for a stretch fabric. “No worries” she said, “we will manage”. Such faith …

As such, we chose to put the pattern on the grain of the fabric, but placed it 1.5″ away from the fold. This resulted in enough room for the dress to pop over her head and sit comfortably. I have it on good authority she will be wearing it to work on Canada Day.

Back to me … I decided that after making the muslin and being teased for faffing over its completion I’d make some more. Yes, I do think its worth finishing seams well, and being aware of my clothes construction. Enough said! If you take care in the making, the wearing will be easier.

When I met Himself (was it really almost 20 years ago, Laura?), I used to have three little summer dresses. They had shoestring straps and were fit and flare to mid/lower thigh. I lived in those dresses summer after summer. Then I hit my mid 40’s then 50’s and my shape changed. Making this Trendy Triangle Dress is a step into recreating that easy breezy ‘I’m going away for a few days, sunny weather guaranteed, and I just need a few little dresses’ feeling.

I have some lovely tee shirt fabric. It doesn’t stretch much and has candy and cakes all over it. I was concerned it would look like a nightie, but convinced myself that with a pair of Fluevogs, a sun hat and shawl I could carry it off as a summer dress. It looks and feels lovely to wear ands been through the wash twice in the last week. It also irons easily – a bonus!

My last fabric is a cotton lycra jersey fabric. It has about 20% stretch, and while I used to shy away from horizontal stripes, now I am in my 50’s my attitude is much more ‘If I like it, I will wear it’. I didn’t have quite enough of this fabric though, so decided to add a rear yoke in lace (as seen above). I didn’t want my bra straps to show, so decided I’d put in a netting underlay. That idea morphed into ‘but why wear a bra?’, and I drafted a built in bralet. It’s not perfect, but it holds the girls in place. One thing this Covid era has taught me is try to sweat less small stuff … and wearing a built in bra means less sweat! The saving I made on the fabric allowed me to (almost) pattern match the stripes while not wasting any fabric. Again, I paired it with a hat, heels, a wrap and a cute bag (I made that too). I feel I could go off to a summer garden party or informal wedding in this. Heck, in rural BC this would be for a smart wedding!

The good photos of me in my dresses are taken by my good friend AnnMarie. She is an amazing fashion photographer; as can be seen as she has brought out the good side of me! Her website is www.amaimagery.com

Note – I haven’t received any compensation for this blog. It’s my work (and yes, I did have Lil Miss Rosie Bubbles as my right hand woman). Rosie can be found on FaceBook if you want to see what she is up to.

Almost lastly, my Boyz, Mr Moose and EeyOre wanted to be in on the Canada Day action as well. As such, I made Moose some new shorts and EyeOre wanted his biker side brought out with a Canada Day waistcoat. His clothes were made using Himself’s old jeans and a duvet cover as lining. They both adore Miss Rosie, and EeyOre’s flag and Moose’s bandana are made from the leftovers of her dress fabric.

 

Lastly, do join along and read some of the other creations this week. Suzanne, the wonderful owner and designer of Winter Wear Designs has created a selection of patterns for $4 this week, through to July 5th. They can be found at The Summer Collection

 
Don’t miss out on any of these stops on our Summertime Blog Tour:
 
6/29
Patricia of Sew Far North
 
6/30
Lim of KekeSews
 
7/1
Debbie Groves Guest Posting at WWD
Diane of Sewing With D
 
7/2
Livia of Liviality
 
7/3
Aurelie of Maglice&So
Donnisha Jones Guest Posting at WWD
Ilse of Sew Sew Ilse

Sew Myself Some Love …

A few years ago I hosted a Sew A Long for the Provence Pea Coat. We lived on a ski hill and I had this idea for a warm snuggly coat to counter the elements. I was gifted some lovely fabric by Simply by Ti, but decided to use my stash for the lining. Most of the coat went together well, but like a twit I realized too late that the combination of three different fabric weights and stretches was disastrous! Ooh! and I’d interfaced the coat fronts as well, meaning the stretch was different even in the same fabric. 

84674269_10222363753062616_4905472312733597696_o.jpgIn a nutshell I’d used a stretch blue twill from Simply by Ti for the outer fabric, a chocolate brown less stretchy teddy bear fleece for the bulk of the lining, and turquoise stable fleece for the centre back and sleeve linings. You can see where this is going … 

Putting the lining and Main (outer) together is where it all went wrong … After I had sewn the coat lining and outer together it didn’t sit properly and gradually it stretched and stretched until it ended up like this …

At that point I put it on a shelf and walked away. I was gutted. I’d been gifted the fabric, but Canadian customs being what they are, I was charged the purchase price as import duty – so much for NAFTA (Free trade between USA and Canada). It made for some pretty expensive fabric! Then we moved … it went from shelf to box to bag and finally, when Himself hung me a hanging rail it was hung up … to stare at me balefully. Fast forward at least 3 years … my sewing skills and confidence have increased, and I have a new sewing machine. So here is what I did … 

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I love some good top stitching!

I’d made an integral hood. This was to be a winter jacket and my neck gets cold. What I hadn’t done initially was sew a couple of rows of stitches where the collar would be. This stopped the weight of the coat pulling the lining down. Already the coat hung better. 

I realized that there was no way I could unstretch the main fabric. It is what it is, and while I knew I’d messed up I really want this to work. I took a big breath, focused, then cut the bottom off. I hung it on Mimi (my mannequin) and walked away for the night. 

The next step was lining up the layers, keeping the main fabric longer than the lining. Rather than ‘paper bag’ the layers together I hemmed them individually. It’s not pretty but if the outer decides to stretch again it will be a much easier fix! 

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All the pretty colours and stretches! 

I chose huge 2” buttons but my button hole function only goes to 1 3/8”. Here we go again… Despite having interfaced the front panels I decided to add some heat and bond between the front and lining, holding the layers together while I made the button holes. Being a bit quirky I bought a packet of Steampunk buttons with the intention of sewing them all over the jacket. I haven’t actually managed that yet (and I sewed the display buttons in the wrong place). Ah well, life’s been rough recently. 

Finally though, what I can say is that I have a lovely warm jacket (now that it’s the end of February), and holding onto that loving feeling is what kept me going … over 3 or more years. I apologize for the lack of a pressed coat, but it is so much fun to wear! 

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Note – No teddy bears were cut up for the lining, and EyeOre thinks it is just his colour! 

Here’s a list of the other contributors to encourage you to Sew Yourself Some Love

Sew Yourself Some Love Blog Tour
2/24
Suzanne  – Winter Wear Designs Fun
2/25
Round Up –  Winter Wear Designs Fun
2/26
2/27
2/28
Patricia of Sew Far North

 

It’s the Holidays!! Let’s Celebrate!

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I love celebrating and Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. That all being said there are many other festivals celebrated around December, both religious or otherwise. The scope for this blog tour is anything holiday related, holiday styled … basically I want you to go away with a feel good factor of any kind, then hold on to that for the holiday season.

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This kind of says it all. Canadians are very welcoming

This is an early Holiday Blog Tour and I’m writing this exactly one month before Christmas Eve. I’d like to thank Suzanne Winter from Winter Wear Designs for getting my rear end into gear and having at least one Christmassy item in my closet! For once my garment is finished. My darling husband took photos at The Grand Hotel, Sun Peaks, BC. We lived in Sun Peaks for many years and it now has its own place on the world stage as the second largest ski resort in Canada. Its an amazing place … but I digress.

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Sun Peaks Resort in winter, one of my favourite places ever!

Having adapted the Twin Peaks Cardigan last blog I decided to make a proper one –  as in, don’t play around with the pattern Patricia!. That’s a bit of a challenge as I do like to put my own stamp on my clothes. Arghhhhh …. I did promise though, so here goes.

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I’m just holding the ornament … honest!

The Twin Peaks Cardi is an easily made project, even for those of us who sew slowly and tire easily. I chose not to use my Serger as he was loaded with white thread and this joyful winter fleecy fabric is black. So I loaded up my everyday workhorse Bernina with black thread and a ballpoint needle, and we were off. The pattern calls for fabric with 20% stretch and I loved the fabric so much I kind of forgot to test the stretch. As such my cardigan is a tad snug. If I knew someone just a touch smaller than me it’d be given away but currently I might be living in it. In fact a friend offered to take it off my hands if I made some booty shorts to go with it …. Hmmmmm …. I kind of like it now.

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With the spooky Carol Singing Family!

Every obstacle has a silver lining though as I think I could make this in a woven fabric by sizing up one size. I love how it skims my bust line and falls gently down to my upper hip. I cut the longest tunic length and didn’t add pockets – they always seem to get a bit static-y with fleece.  As for the not altering the pattern … I failed as I narrowed the hips and added a little vent at the bottom of each side seam. It just happened without any real thought … ho hum …

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Rear view with shirt tail hem

My intention had been to make this as a snuggly PJ over-top come (almost) dressing gown. I like little sleep shirts and last month Livia of Liviality showcased the Double Take Tank as a dress. I think I can make it into a mid-thigh sleep shirt. I would say watch this space, but I am sure you will find out about it if it happens. In the meantime I am wearing my little cardigan for all its worth. It’s lightweight but snug and cozy. All I need is a tee shirt or tank underneath. For the photos I wore my new cardigan with my adapted Trendy Tank that I made last month. That tee is one of my favourite items and I need more (and the energy to make them!).

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Yes, that is my halo

Bloopers along the way … When I was sewing my neck band pieces together I managed to sew a ring with one piece of fabric. Fortunately I had enough to just cut it off. Unpicking stitches from fleece is no mean trick!

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A cute, if wrong neck band!

 

Do read the other blogs and I hope you find some inspiration for your holiday sewing!

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Don’t miss out on any stops along the tour:
November 25
Suzanne of Winter Wear Designs
November 26
November 27
Alyssa of the Sewing Goat Herd
November 28
Patricia of Sew Far North
November 29
Livia of Liviality