Bright!

Hi!

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Look, I made something! And it happens to correspond with the Stashbusting theme for April, which is “Bright Colours”, or something like that. As you might have noticed, I LOVE brights, they make me feel alive! I know you can relate!

I see you looking at me, wondering “What is this fabulous pattern she’s wearing?” Wonder no more, Dear Reader, for I present you with a link to “Gillian Wrap Dress” by Muse Patterns. I don’t know why it is that the great Down-Under harbours such incredibly talented sewing community, both of sewists AND designers? Something in the water? Sharks maybe? Do sharks make people sew better? Hmmmmmmmmm…

What do I like about Muse Patterns designs? They are feminine, vintage-inspired, and very flattering, with huuuuuuge potential for fun, and fairly easy to put together. The models on the website are actual, normal-looking women, which is empowering! This particular top is my first draft of this pattern, and I am quite pleased how it came out. Even though I did not do a full-bust adjustment, it fits me fine in the chest area (I think), although in the next version I would like to move the gathers closer  towards the neckline. Another adjustment that I’d like to make is to shorten the bodice above the waistband, especially in the back.

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See? And in regards to that waistband/tie thingy: It is a real wrap top, not a mock-wrap, and the band consist of two layers of fabric. In the front section you end up with FOUR layers of fabric in the band section, which is awesome, because it gives you a large amount of coverage of that area which often contains some dimples and rolls and such. At least on me it does… Let’s just say, I don’t feel self-conscious in this top! I also like how this wrap is longer on the sides than in the back, which optically enhances the back curve! Va-vavoom!

What don’t I like about this top? Well, let me just give you a piece of advice: when you go potty, get a hold of those ties in the back. Tuck them into the waistband or something. Ya catch my drift?

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Now you’re asking “Why do you look so smug and self-satisfied all of a sudden?”. First of all, we painted the house, as you can see. I have plenty of neutral coloured walls to take pictures in front of for the blog. Second of all, we sold the said house! Thirdly, we bought another house, and we are moving from Toronto to a much smaller city, practically on the outskirts. The backyard of the new house backs onto a greenbelt, with amazing trees, full of animal life. I am bursting with excitement and optimism, looking forward to settling down and making tons of new friends! Maybe even some sewing friends?

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Totally weird print…

You know the fabric which is just lovely in every possible way, except the print is so weirdly placed that it’s really difficult to work with? Like this…

IMG_1033…charcoal-grey rayon knit, with the loveliest and most awkwardly spaced pattern. It cost me a pretty penny (even though I bought it on sale), but who could resist this majestic, technicolor lotus blossom? So beautiful and large, positioned so close to the salvage edge, so annoying to work with, due to the scale and placement of the flowers… A year ago I used some of this fabric to make a tunic for work (picture below), and I practically lived in it. You can see how faded the colours are…

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See? The lotus is really huge, and for this top I had to place it off-centre (the side seam is practically one of the salvages), and leave the sleeves plain.  I was left with about 3/4 of a yard (i.e. two lotuses) of this knit, which kept whispering my name every time I entered the sewing  dungeon. So often I held the precious yardage in my arms, loving the feel and look of it, and always having to put it back, not knowing what to do with it. Until one day, Vogue 8925 appeared on my radar, from which I previously made a grey “shlomping around the house” tee (not blogged, because what for?), aka View B. I really wanted to play with colour blocking, and decided that the lotuses will be perfect for the sleeves, and I managed to cut out the side panels out of the precious little that I had left of the plain stuff, and…

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Ta-daaaaaaaaaaaaa! As per alternations, I took off over an inch from both the centre front and CB, to fit my shoulders better (which resulted in me having to cut the neckline a bit bigger), and I added the band on the bottom and on the sleeve cuffs, which tied the whole thing together nicely.

Can I just tell you how much I love this top? I love the colours, I love the blocking effect, and I love how nicely my arms blend with the surroundings. And no, I did NOT plan to have the top match my hair colour EXACTLY… Yet, I remain victorious!

Basically, basics…

Now that it’s been year and a half since I’ve said “adieu” to ready-to-wear clothing, the ones that I have left over from when back when are reeeeeeeeaaaaaaally wearing out… So you can imagine my squee when Steph from Sewing Cake announced on Facebook that she’s looking for peeps to test the print-at-home version of the new tee pattern. Few hours later I had it all printed, taped, traced, and all.

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Religiously followed all the directions. The only variation is the pocket placement. My machine decided to chew up the fabric as I was attaching the pockets. Sure enough, as this flimsy, tissue knit was a perfect candidate for chewing… I had to pry the machine’s jaws open, remove the needle plate, the fabric got so tangled up inside that I was left with a small hole. So I placed the pocket strategically to cover it up. Other than that, I got those vertical pull lines from the neckline at the shoulder seam, as you can clearly see in the picture… So, I cut

Version #2

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with more room around the neck, but the lines still persisted a little bit. Then I thought that it was probably the neckband being too long, resulting in not enough stretch, but as I shortened the band and attached it more snugly, I ended up with horizontal lines going outwards from the tip of the V. Ugh!

Version #3

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At this point, I was totally free-stylin’. I eyeballed the neckline, cut whatever neckband seemed appropriate, and had fun with it. And why did I do 3 versions? Because I love this pattern! I want to make it in every colour, and I have my stash appropriately earmarked. The cut-on sleeve is totally fuss free, and it takes very little time to put together. But the most important thing about this tee is that in every other tee I feel like a chick in a t-shirt. But in any of these three, I feel like a lady. I don’t know why, but hey, why not?

And now I have to go and cut off that stupid drawstring that is protruding from my stomach in every picture. I did not make THOSE pants!

PS.  The free version of the pattern available here: http://sewingcake.com/2224-tee . The download link is in the sidebar on the right.

Also, Craftsy has it available for the free download. Thank you Steph of Cake Patterns for sharing this lovely pattern so generously!!!

I think I’m in Love…

Earlier today I made two garments, both are promising to be my spring/summer favourites. I feel that everybody involved in the process of making these should be thanked. So here we go:

1) Thank you McCaul, for putting out M6754. Terribly cute pattern, and I’ve been dying to make it since last summer. Also, it is a terribly silly pattern. Or it is great if you are a person who is comfortable with seeing your bellybutton through your front neckline, and your butt-crack through the back neckline. When I made the first version of View A the only thing that I liked about it was the placement of the bust darts. I liked them enough to go on with another muslin… Interestingly enough, both of the following versions have darts that go too high. Oh well, I think they make my bewbs look perkier, no?

2) Thank you to my sister-in-law. She wears horizontal stripes like no one else, she wears them all the time, big stripes, small stripes, and what-not stripes, and ALWAYS rocks them. You see, I am intimidated by horizontal stripes, and a lot of my stash involves stripes, because I love stripes. My SIL has a very similar physique to mine, she might be 1″taller than I, and is equally apple-shaped, so there is no reason why she should rock those stripes, but not I!? It’s all about attitude, yo! You wanna see what I made yet?

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3) I also would like to thank The Stashbusting Sewalong 2014 group, who are such a swell bunch of gals! This month’s theme is COLOURS! I love all the colours, I sew all sorta koo-koo hues, but I got to thinking about sewing for work, or for when I cannot match a jacket to a dress, because all of the clothes that I make are so crazy colour-wise. So I’ve decided to make me a dress out of the plainest piece of knit that I had: medium weight, grey t-shirt fabric, 100% cotton with not a lot of stretch. I thought of it as a plain canvas, on which one might hang a crazy jacket or a sick belt. When I put it on after I attached the skirt to the bodice, I gasped. It was the most understated but also elegant piece of clothing that I made. The way the skirt hung, how the fabric skimmed my body without clinging to my rolls… Love at first sight!

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And just to prove a point about it being a canvas on which one might hang things, I tied a piece of random cord around my waist, to mimic a sick belt, of course:

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See how pretty? Point proven…

4) Thank you wind, for blowing some nice weather this way, perfect for taking pictures:

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Feeling blue…

… on so many levels. Too friggin’ frigid, too dark, too little sleep, too many colds in the house, blah blah blah, many of you are probably riding the same train so I will shut up. Kinda. I just went to make myself a nice beverage and I forgot to put booze in it. Tragedy!!! A lot of my sadness comes from the fact that since I made my last dress I have been convinced that all I should wear is similar garments, but it is just so impractical for my work and general life. I have also been on a major sewing kick that involved blue fabric. And is work-appropriate. Exhibit 1 and 2. 

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Another version of Simplicity 2369. Why another (other than that one I also have a blue dress and another black top, never blogged)? Fast and dirty, and I thought I looked good in it. Until I saw these pictures. Do you have a day that you dedicate to shooting your makes and hardly a handful of shots are suitable for public broadcasting? Yeh… Well Ladies and Gents, this top is just too large… But it feels so nice… Exhibit 2 is another version of Espresso, this time in more flared version (straight from just above the knee). Why? Fast and dirty… And also I  really wanted JEGGINGS. These are jeggings. Go mommy!

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I was flirting with pink topstitching on the pockets. In the hindsight, it got a bit too far. Almost to the third base too far…

Just in case I never mentioned it, BLUE IS MY FAVOURITE COLOUR. When I was pregnant, waaaaaaaaay before I knew I was going to have a son, I started dressing in head-to-toe blue, totally unintentionally. That’s how I knew I was going to have a boy, my unconscious was telling me! FYI, not expecting right now, although it might look like it… Anyhoo, have I mentioned that hardly any of the photos from today turned out appropriate for mass consumption?

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But it’s not all bad blue. I made me a necklace. My favourite one broke, so I decided to try some recycling and trendy colour-blocking:

IMG_0390And also I made  McCall 6844. My first attempt, no muslin but major as-sewn fittings. Took off about 3″ off the back length, but not front (funny, my back is super-short but my front is almost regular in length, probably due to my boobage and tummy roundness). And did I mention how I was not able to take any decent photos today? I had to take my shoot outside, since photographing navy-blue is almost as hard as photographing black.  As soon as I set up, with my tripod and my me-made hat (courtesy of stashbusting challenge 2014, made from the same fabric as the cardigan) it started to snow. Bloody sh… Too much…

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So not impressed with my remote shutter control… I have to point it dead-on into the camera sensor and hold it… Ugh… Maybe the battery’s dead?

I liked this pattern, I will definitely try it again. This time I will do my best not to eff up when installing the collar thingy section. I will also interface it, as per instructions…

But enough with this self-pity party. Tomorrow, February 26th, is the anniversary of my blog. I am so happy I I started blogging. I have this glorious ODE TO MY BLOGGING HEROES post in my head, but that won’t happen soon. Maybe in May… But since we are in February, I still need to blog about “sewing for the ones we love” theme. Although I wonder whether that part of February might happen in March. Oh well, all is well that ends well… Here’s the ONE “good” picture I got from today’s shoot:

IMG_0377I also realized that my back is not as big as I think it is, need to cut smaller size. And also I learnt that if you put on a summery, flowery skirt and run/dance/twirl around the house for few minutes, your spirits will elevate. Will have to remember that for the next time! What do you do when you need a pick-me-up?

 

 

Back to school and other news

Hello, after a loooooooooong silence… Another successful summer (3 camping trips, yo!) is over, and I have to admit it is nice to be back to the old routine… Well, kinda, details to come, so keep reading!

My head has been filled with great ideas and kinds of things I must get done once the child goes back to school: clean the kitchen PROPERLY, sew, sew, sew, go to see the Christian Louboutin exhibit at DX, workout, see the Mesopotamia exhibit at ROM,  and sew. When the child left the house Tuesday morning, I found myself collapsed on the couch in a pool of my own drool, with nothing but the sound of static going through my head. And then it became 1 PM. Finally, I motivated myself to do something, and I played video games for next 3 hours.  And then the child came home. Today was better, keep reading!

The reason why I needed to decompress so much, other than the obvious, is that I no longer have all that free time I used to have. In addition to my usual, and not very much energy consuming business, I got myself a part-time job. Where, you ask? A fabric store, obviously! Like a moth to a flame, like an alcoholic to distillery, you get the idea. There are lots of good and not so good things about that job (but I guess it’s true with any job out there), and the worst/best thing about it is, you guessed it, fabric proximity! On my second week of the job I got myself a little gift from the very store I work in:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAdjustable dress (and pant) form, with the back length measurement short enough for me (a freakish 14″, all other “adult” forms start at 15″…) I will have to build her up quite a bit here and there (hence the bra), and I guess I am a bit afraid of that process, since I’m stalling as much as I can… But to be honest, I have been suffering from a major sewing block (sewing constipation, if you will), and finally today I tackled a small project to remedy that situation. Enter Burda 9860.

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I figured it was going to be quick and useful, and here’s what I ended up with:

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The red whatever on top of the hood was my addition, not a part of the pattern. Other than that, I figured that this hoodie will be too large for my monkey, even though he generally wears clothes for 6 year olds (the smallest size in the envelope is for a 7 y.o.). The sewing process was fast, instructions easy to understand and follow. What I did not like about this pattern is the looooooooooooooong sleeves and rather short torso, and the method of zipper insertion. Oh well, I will make another version of this for sure, with necessary modifications, since a four year-old can NEVER have enough hoodies! Here is the garment in action:

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My son did not let me shorten and hem the sleeves. He really enjoyed running around and waiving them all over the place, swatting them at tall grasses, swings, and benches, yelling “weapons, weapons!”. O-kaaaaaaaaaaaay…….. said the confused mother…

It is possible I will blog about my summer sewing failures (there were 2), and almost successes (2 as well), and one very lovely dress. But I will not say when, I don’t want to lie to you, dear reader! In any case, it’s good to be back…

Pepluuuuuuuuuuuuum!

Hey, long time no see! Not for the lack of sewing, more for the lack of photographing opportunities. You see, I’ve been sewing up a storm, and even though I got some photos done today, I still have  five garments to snap. Oh snap (I just had to!)

But to the point, remember this?

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I had a bunch of this awesomely energetic zigzaggy knit left, I thought it was enough for a small skirt, but I was afraid to do something inappropriate with it.  I tossed and turned every night, thinking about what to do with it. It was calling my name all the way from the depths of my basement, and whenever I was near it, we exchanged tormented glances. At the same time, I kept thinking about what else I could do with it, but I did not want to do another top involving black panels, too much like the first top. Also, this whole entire time, I was longing for a peplum top. And finally I put two and two together aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASee? I got a peplum top! The journey that took me there was long and convoluted, but once I decided that I would make peplum out of that zigzag, I quicly drafted it and cut it out. I did not have enough fabric to cut it all out in one piece, so I did it in halves. Then I discovered that I screwed up my math or something (surprise, surprise) and it was not a circle. So I added two wedge-shaped pieces on each side, and abandoned the project for a few weeks. When I was ready to resume, I decided that I would do a panel of zigzag in the front, but I really, really did not want to sew up another boring black t-shirt from scratch. So I did not, I found a brand new men’s basic T, which was totally hideous and a bit too tight, and I would never get any wear out of it. Since you’re dying to see how fugly it was, here you go:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI know, right? I cut out the centre piece, serged it in place (with white thread, doh), cut out a V-neck, and… Abandoned it for several weeks again. Finally, I got my grove back. I attached the neckband, decided that I liked the sleeves the way they were, attached the peplum (I even reinforced the waist with an elastic) and discover that it looked like a figure-skating outfit. Doom and gloom, I was so bummed out I forgot to take a picture at that stage. And then I decided to revisit StephC’s of 3HoursPast post on peplums. As always, illuminating! You see, when it goes to getting proper technical advice on how things are done, that is the place to go. I will admit that about 65% of what I know about working with knits I know from Steph’s blog. She is an absolute treasure and a mine of priceless information. I know all that because I’ve been lurking on her blog for a long, long time. But I digress. I found what the problem was, my peplum was too long. So I cut it, did a rolled hem with the serger (no patience left for anything fancy). Ta-da.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd here’s the back:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd the best thing about it, is that it’s still a T-shirt!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI wonder how many peplum t-shirts can I cram into my wardrobe? How many peplum tops do you have? And how many would you like to have?

PS. All the remaining zigzag scraps went into the garbage. Don’t call my name no more, I need to sleep!