January and February have been busy, busy sewing months for me - but also a lot of fun! Part of that included this pattern test for the ultimate cozy sweater dress - Jasper from Paprika Patterns - and its new collar!
I've really been enjoying my pattern test experiences lately. It's neat to be able to give feedback to help others, and it's cool that I feel that I'm at the level now where I can do so!
This pattern though, having already been released previously with different collar options, was really set to go!
One thing I did feel badly about - I have a serious swayback/large bottom issue. I was hoping it wouldn't be a problem (stretchy fabric, lots of ease in the pattern), but things did not go well, purely because of my body shape (and not the pattern). However, I'm happy to report for those that might have similar issues, that I was able to modify the dress, even after sewing it up, to fit absolutely perfectly. By altering the princess seams that join the side panel to the back panel, I was able to eliminate any excess fabric in the small of my back. Additionally, I lengthened the hem band by one inch to account for any missing fabric.
Another great thing about this pattern is that the Jasper Sweater/Dress is a relatively quick sew! I made it in an evening, and it would have gone a lot quicker if it hadn't have been for the pattern matching (which I did a pretty fantastic job on, if I do say so myself!)
I used an incredibly cozy sweater knit fabric from Fabric Crush, a local store here in Ottawa. I was happy to have the extra stretch around my bottom area, even though the pattern calls for sweatshirt knit (which has a little less stretch).
I also love the kangaroo pocket! I was worried, as it's right on the mid-section, that it would draw attention to it in a negative way - but that was not the case! It actually, I find, masks any food baby - which I field tested for quality assurance on SuperBowl Sunday!
This dress has become a wardrobe staple for winter for me, I can pair it easily with leggings, and it works really well for my "working from home" lifestyle.
I was scrolling through my Instagram late one evening, and I saw Gabriela post on Chalk and Notch's Instagram: A Call for Pattern Testers!
Excitedly, I rushed to complete the survey, and to my complete surprise and (literal) joy, I was selected as a pattern tester.
I've had the opportunity to test patterns before, but nothing this complex. The Joy Jacket is definitely an intermediate sewing pattern and I was excited to take on the challenge.
Taking my assignment very. seriously. I was determined to follow the fabric recommendations. There was a list of lots of American and UK stores with recommended fabrics (as well as one Canadian on the other side of the country), but I really wanted to support a local store for this one. The staff at Fabrications Ottawa had exactly what I needed. Initially, when I saw the tester call, I thought this might make a great rain jacket. However, when I looked at the pattern more closely, a drapier, lighter fabric was recommended. I decided to go with a Taupe/Beige Viscose Twill. They had a blush pink too, but I figured I'd get more wear out of the neutral.
For lining, again, the owner was incredibly helpful in recommending a dark denim blue Viscose Batiste. It's incredibly soft, and beautiful to work with. It's literally the perfect lining weight for this jacket. Again, deciding on colours was challenging, but I'm so happy with my choice!
When participating in a pattern test, you have a set time period to complete the project, take photos and provide feedback. It was really fun to collaborate with everyone in the Facebook group, see all the lovely things they made and different colour combos out there! It was also really neat to be able to provide feedback and help to make the pattern better - such a cool opportunity. That being said, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive - it really is such a fantastic, unique and lovely jacket.
I am looking forward to making another one, this time however not on a time crunch. This is definitely one of those soothing, slow-sewing projects that I would encourage you to give lots of time, space and patience to complete. I remember at one point my husband came in to ask how it was going - I hadn't even started sewing yet. There are lots of pieces, bits to interface - but again this shows Gabriela and her team's attention to detail which is showcased through the professional finish. Also- not a single seam allowance to finish! That's a win in my books!
I made View A, with a high collar and straight pockets. However, seeing everyone's versions of view B, I'm definitely going to give that a try too. Anyone have any recommendations on water resistant/proof fabrics that might fit the bill?
My two favourite features on this jacket are the shoulders and the collar detail. I have never seen sleeves constructed like this - in two separate pieces - but it actually creates a really nice fit and shape. Instead of boxy sleeves, they kind of contour your shoulders nicely. Almost like the princess seams of sleeves. Although the jacket is loose fitting, I find it's the sleeves that help it not seem "oversized".
The collar detail is also one of my favourite things. I love top stitching, and I love the "V-Effect" of the collar with the top stitching detail. Really unique and well thought out.
Here are some other helpful tips that are not listed in the instructions:
- Watch your seam allowance. Unless specified, the seams that I worked with were 1cm or 3/8 '' - but on a couple of occasions it was 2cm. This is in relation to the sleeves and shoulders. I caught the first one, but the 2cm seam allowance is also used when attaching the facings together - don't miss it!
- Especially with my viscose batiste, it was really hard to tell which was right side, and which was wrong side (is there a right side and wrong side?). Although I made extra careful as I was sewing, I still ended up with two of the same sleeve (instead of mirror images). Womp womp.
- Especially with your lining pieces, keep your sleeves, and lining front, separate and attached to your pattern peices until you use them. I say this, because unlike the outer shell where it's quite evident which piece is the front, the front lining actually looks a lot like the sleeve pieces. Keep them separate until you're ready to go and you won't have that moment of panic!
I really enjoyed sewing this fantastic pattern, and hope you do as well. Can't wait to see everyone's creations! Let me know if you have any water-resistant fabric suggestions!
As I'm participating in a blog tour, showcasing some fantastic patterns and fabrics, there are also affiliate links. All the opinions are my own, and I'm only referring you to things I've tried and liked. Happy sewing :)
Hi Everyone! For those that might be visiting my blog for the first time, I'm Trish, a sewist from Ottawa Canada! Welcome to my crafty corner of the internet.
New to the blogger world, I was so excited to be given the opportunity to participate in the "Get Ready for Spring" blog tour hosted by Lo from Seams Sew Lo and Ellie and Mac Patterns!
From the patterns I really wanted to showcase a flowy, spring top - and the women's Be Flirty top pattern was perfect for the occasion! As an experiment, I've sewn up both views of the pattern, in two different fabrics, so that you can see the differences between them and how different fabric choices can affect the outcome.
First up - The Loose Fit View!
For this pattern I chose a dreamy and bright 10 oz Cotton Bamboo Jersey from Sew Lovely Fabrics Canada. I was super happy when this fabric arrived. I find with bamboo, it can be a bit dicey ordering online because sometimes it comes very thin or too "springy" for my taste - however this fabric was a dream to work with. Its very smooth, has a nice weight and soft hand. The colour was so vibrant!
The loose fit version I think will be perfect for warmer days. I wanted something bright and breatheable so I think I will get a lot of wear out of this when the weather warms. I will say - I think the fabric might have been a bit structured for this top, but it's still lovely. I think for the loose fit version of this top, you should maybe opt for something a bit more drapey.
Version 2 - The "Tight Fit Version"
My next version was the "Tight Fit" version, and for this I had to use a spring-time floral! I received this fabric for Christmas from my mother in law from Girl Charlee fabrics. I think the drape of this fabric suited the pattern a little better, but it was definitely thinner and finer. The only adjustments I made were to take in the pattern a little bit at the waist seam (about a half inch, each side) so that it was just a bit more fitted. I found otherwise it was sticking out at the sides a bit funny - I think this was due to the bulk/looseness of the seam, with such fine fabric.
I almost feel like an elegant ballerina in this top!
It was an interesting study in how different fabrics can make a pattern look and act so differently. With the bamboo cotton with more structure, I think I would prefer the more fitted view, and would have shortened the neckband just a bit. I'm happy I chose the view I did with the finer fabric, as I think the bulk of the seam might have been a bit tricky with the looser view. The neckband fit perfect.
As you can probably tell, it started snowing when we were taking these photos... sigh... I'm looking forward to Spring's arrival and getting the chance to wear these out and about with the tulips and daffodils! Only a few more weeks now...
What are you planning for your springtime wardrobe? I'm excited to be participating in Seamwork Magazine's "Design your Dream Wardrobe" series starting the 19th - Have you signed up yet?
Join Us On the Tour!
Please visit all the stops on the Get Ready for Spring Blog Tour featuring Ellie and Mac spring sewing patterns (35% of right now), hosted by Seams Sew Lo. Do no forget to enter the giveaway below too!
Some good friends of ours, and some family members are currently expecting their first kids, and I am so happy for them! Inspired by this lovely news (and even though they're not due anytime soon), I saw the new Art Gallery Knits Nest panels at my local fabric store, Fabric Crush, here in Ottawa, and I knew it would be a match made in heaven. However. I definitely underestimated how something so tiny could be so complex and time consuming (metaphor for motherhood?). Here's the story!
Having never sewn anything for kids/babies before, I decided to go with the Brindille and Twig pattern for this make!
I started with 4 different panels, the two pictured above, as well as a light pink panel with a lamb, and white panel with a fox.
I thought this was also the perfect project to try using my new serger! I mean - a cute little onesie - what a quick, easy project to dip my toe into the world of sergers.
The first night, I spent 6 hours, into the wee hours of the morning trying to get this serger to work. Confidently, I threaded with my white thread initially, but as the pile of scraps grew and grew, and my pleas for help on Instastories became more dire, I switched to the coloured threads to be able to diagnose the issue. Serger 1. Trish 0.
The next night, armed with a furious vengeance I brought my machine over to my mothers house. A serger may have bested me, but I'd like to see it try and take on my mother.
She too, was stumped.
Again, with persistence, I would not be set back. I dusted off my mother's serger, determined to sew these little onesies. And it was when I was threading her serger - I realized my mistake: I was not inserting the threads in the tension disks correctly.
You see, my second tension disk is hidden by the cover - on my moms machine, I could see them both clearly, and realize that I was not, in fact, threading in the right spot.
Weellll. Problem solved, right? So then I triumphantly return to sewing my onesie once I got the tension right and the white threads back in. But then I read the rest of the instructions, and I needed a REGULAR sewing machine to topstitch my bindings.
SO, back down to the basement I go, to dust off my mom's other sewing machine. I manage to dig out a "stretch" needle, and some white-ish thread and back up I came to topstitch that binding.
It was a disaster.
In addition to sewing with a serger, this was a new skill for me too. And my poor onesie looked wrinkly, wonky and not at all like I wanted it to be. I unpicked, and tried again. This time a bit better, but still not great.
So that was the end of the first panel.
After a little red wine, and a good night's rest, I returned to my home the next morning, armed with my regular sewing machine aresenal. I've had that "wonky seam" problem with my mom's machine before when sewing with knits, but I knew how to adjust mine perfectly, so I felt more confident. I also busted out a twin needle for the firs time!! This. was. game changing.
Very much improved right? Persistence makes perfect.
So I started and finished this Bear onesie next. Besides a little hole I need to stitch up under the arm (my serger blade got a little excited), I was so happy with how this one turned out. Especially since the first one was such a fail.
So, confidently I moved onto my next panel, the lamb. I had topstitched everything perfectly, even saving some of the pink on the side of the panel to use for the binding. Everything was going well until I started to serge the sleeves on...
Again, very new to this serger thing, and it was not lying flat on the underside. The back piece got caught, and my excitable serger blade cut a hole right through it. GAH.
The good news: I have extra fabric for the back to cut a new one, and I can still save the panel and probably sleeves. But for self-preservation, I decided to move on at this point.
Next I sewed up this last one, using both pink, tan and blue binding for a more "gender neutral" feel to this onesie (thanks to everyone who voted for grey snaps on insta-stories!)
I'm not sure I'm crazy about the tan- on - tan colouring, but I really love this panel. I was also extra careful sewing with my serger, especially with the sleeves!
For all the backs, I used this tan, "days of the week" fabric that came from the same Nest Art Gallery Knits Collection. Super cute.
I got 300 snaps I think, in all different colours, off Amazon for $25. They work really well, are incredibly easy to attach, and it's fun to match all the different colours.
Snaps are going on everything now.
So there you have it folks.
I do intend to go back and selvage at least the pink panel, if not the white one too, but I think I need a little break from onesies.
I will say, that I am quite proud to have used some new skills with this project. Sewing with my serger as well as a twin needle were firsts for me, and something I plan on using a lot more.
Have you ever had a project like this? What kept you persevering?
This Christmas, I'm so fortunate to have had three whirlwhind days of merriment and gift giving - sharing some special handmade items, and receiving some in return. Here are some handmade highlights of this past Christmas!
Stop 1: A Green Family Christmas
I got to spend Christmas eve with my husband's dad's side of the family for "Death to Dieter's Lasagne" (as good as it sounds), Sticks and Whatcha Mouth! (a hilarious board game where you wear mouth guards).
On Christmas morning, I gifted Chris' brother Nic a Thread Theory Designs Finlayson Sweater in a dark olive/forest green sweater knit.
I loved working with this pattern. I intend to do a full pattern review - but let me just say it is not only fashionable and easy to assemble, but they include lots of special details to give your garment a professional finish. I will definitely be making more sweaters, and more patterns from this company.
In return, Nic also got into the crafting spirit! With the help of his Step-mom and a Cricut, he designed this cute waterbottle that says "Trish the Crafting Queen". He also got me an assorted selection of colour coded buttons - absolutely necesssary for a sewists aresenal.
From Chris' dad and Step-mom Julie, I was incredibly spoiled in the crafting department. Firstly, I've been wanting to try/get into hand embroidery and cross-stitching more, to create some nice wall art for our home. I will have no problem doing so with this hoop set and embroidery floss selection :)
Nice, knit fabrics are hard to come by in Canada, and they gifted me an amazing selection from Girl Charlee in the US. I'm so excited to use these fabrics - they're incredibly soft and there's some amazing patterns. It will go perfectly with the gift from my husband...
Stop 2: Home for a breather
After driving out to Chris' Aunt and Uncles for a delicious breakfast, my husband and I returned home to exchange gifts (and shovel the driveway!)
One of the things I gifted Chris was this self-drafted workout top. Again, I intend to write a detailed post on how I did this, but I based it off of a top that Chris really loves, and used some really nice fabric from Fabrications Ottawa that is moisture-wicking. When he wore it to the gym the first time, someone asked if it was Under-Armour - thanks mystery fan!
I got Chris a few other things (not sewing related), but his gift to me was completely unexpected and incredibly wonderful.
Hours of fun are in my future. #thankgoodnessfortheinstructionaldvd
Stop 3: My fam-jam
Off we went again (still Christmas day folks) to see my family and exchange gifts and stories. As I mentioned, my mom is pretty #craftspirational and my brother Steve got her this book:
I took a peek through and it looked really interesting and modern!
From my parents (mom), I received a hand knit sweater. I love the colour of this yarn - it's a deep teal green, with bits of blue and burgandy - it almost reminds me of peacock feathers. She used the pattern Dragonflies from Jogi Locatelli, with a lovely center panel motif.
We also do a secret santa exchange with this side of the family. While I didn't gift Susie anything handmade, I did receive a lovely book from my sister Kate called "Freehand Fashion" that looks really interesting. It's all about using your own body measurements to create "blocks" - from which you can create your own designs! I would like to start with something simple like a perfect pencil skirt.
Stop 4: Boxing Day
The grand finale of our Christmas tour is filled with tradition: themed-drinks, outdoor activities (this year we opted for snow capture the flag), PeeWee Herman's Christmas special, and a secret santa exchange.
As I talked about in my Sewalicious Gift Guide Blog Post here, my sister-in-law Olga is in her 2nd year of dental school and entering a more professional point in her life. I figured she should have the dress and blazer to match! I turned to my tried and true pattern, the Charleston Dress from Hey June Handmade to create this! I used a metallic/black patterned ponte di roma for the center panels, and plain black ponte for the outsides and the blazer. Additionally, I lengthed both the bodice and skirt significantly (2.5 inches in the bodice, and 3.25 inches in the skirt) to fit her 6' 2'' frame. It fit perfectly! I was so happy how it turned out. She even wore it to dinner.
I also received something equally as thoughtful from my brother-in-law Dominic. He gifted me a handmade jewelry hanging organizer, made by his friend. To pair with it, he also bought a necklace from a local store in the small town he works in that says "Be Brave". So perfect!
And with some (very) full bellies and lots of warm memories we've returned home to sleep! The Christmas whirlwind is one of my favourite times of the year, and I'm so thankful to have such wonderful people to spend it with!
As part of this year's #thelittlereddressproject from @rosabellaangelica and @runningnstyle, I decided to sew a plaid, flannel Alex Shirt Dress to keep me cozy this winter!
Since I recently started working from home as part of my day job, tunics, shirt dresses, and flared knit dresses having become wardrobe staple: I can wear something comfy, cozy and put together on my top half, while rocking my leggings and long-johns underneath (very necessary for the winter months in Canada). It's just the right balance of being comfy and socially acceptable.
I bought the Sew Over It City Break e-Book when they had a flash sale this past summer, and this is the first pattern I've tried from it. So far, I've made one shirt-dress with the Rosa Shirtdress pattern from Tilly and the Buttons and two collared shirts (one for myself using the Rosa and the other for my husband using the Colette Negroni). I would definitely describe the Alex as a simpler shirt pattern if you are new to sewing shirtdresses - and if that is the look you are going for.
It being the holidays, I was in the mood for a quick, relatively simple shirt-dress pattern! This definitely fit the bill. Here are my pattern notes:
- The shirt has a camp-collar, and the button stand is created by folding over the main fabric - no need to fiddle with interfacing :)
- Underneath the collar where it is attached to the yoke, I used some obvious, meant-to-be-decorative stitching to give it more of a handmade, laid-back feel.
- When attaching the back piece to the two yoke pieces, PIN FIRST horizontally, then turn the piece right side out to make sure you've arranged it properly. It took me unpicking the stitches three times from the same seam to try this, and another two tries to actually get it correctly arranged so it wasn't twisted or backwards. In previous shirts, I'd rolled the back pieice sausage-style into the yoke, so I was unfamiliar with this technique and struggled real hard.
- Pattern matching with this pattern is also hard. I made a concerted effort to do so, and really should not have bothered as you can barely notice. Pattern matching is still a skill I've yet to master, and this buffalo plaid did not play nice. It was made more challenging because of the back yoke pleat, patch pockets, sleeves and it's A silhouette. I don't think it's impossible (especially depending on your print), but it is challenging if you're obsessive about that type of thing.
- The brushed plaid was super cozy, and easy to work with. After working with knits for most of my projects over the holidays, it was super satisfying to blast this flannel with steam and get a crisp fold. I definitely think it worked well for a structured version of this pattern. However, for next time, I think I might try a rayon blend brushed plaid so that it has a bit more drape to it. Because the shoulders and top are meant to be loose, sometimes I felt like I had a shoulder-pad situation going on because the fabric didn't have enough drape.
- I used French seams on my dress for the side seams so that the dress would last longer and have a cleaner finish. The flannel really frayed, so I thought it would look nicer with a cleaner finish. While they are slightly more bulky, I clipped them down quite nicely so that's it's not in a bothersome way.
- When sewing the collar, try this technique:
When you get to the corner, with your needle in the fabric, lift the presser foot and adjust the fabric to sew a single stitch diagonally before sewing in the opposite direction. This can help you get a crisper corner.
What cozy winter makes have you been up to?
Last year I started sewing in January as a New Year's Resolution to bring more creativity back into my life. I saw all the lovely sewing plans going around for 2017 Make Nine, and as I was new to sewing my strategy was more... make all the things, all the time.
Now that I've gotten that a bit out of my system, this year I'd like to focus more on things that look good on me and reflect my style. I will fully admit, I'm quite a sucker for branding and styling - there's been times where I saw the pattern, LOVED it, made it, and said - when will I ever wear this? My goal is to avoid this phenomenon this year.
I'd also like to put a dent in my fabric stash. I think by picking projects right now that I already have fabric for can help ensure that they happen and get done. And encourage me to use up fabric I already have.
So here are the patterns and fabrics I've chosen...
Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress
Bonus: this pattern is also part of #Sewmystyle2018 hosted by Jessica Lorraine.
I got this lovely blue very thin cotton from a fabric flea market here in Ottawa for only $3! I immediately thought it would be perfect for this dress. The only issue is that the fabric is slightly see-through... but that is future Trish's problem to work out.
I have some Mia jeans cut out as we speak, but in a stretch twill. I still have some really nice stretch denim I'd like to make a traditional pair of jeans with. My pattern choice will likely depend on how much I like my first pair of Mias - I may tweak it till perfect, or opt for the Ginger jeans instead. Any thoughts on these two patterns?
A Bathing Suit!
Again, I've had this fabric since the summer, but never got the chance to sew it up into a swimsuit. I'm thinking I'd like to use the online class offered by Closet Case Patterns so that it turns out really well. Has anyone ever taken this course? Please let me know your thoughts!
A self-drafted Pencil Skit
I got the book Freehand Fashion for Christmas from my sister, and I would like to perfect a self-drafted pencil skirt perfect for my measurements. There's quite a lot of variations out there, but my perfect skirt will have a waistband, lining and kick pleat - and flatter the indent in the small of my back (my problem with traditional patterns and store bought items). I'm really excited to give this book a try.
Not only that, but I have the perfect fabric, gifted to me from my mother-in-law from her late step-mother-in-law, Grandma Carol. It's a wool suiting from her travels in Scotland and I'm really excited to use it for this meaningful project.
Burda Style Fitted Jersey Dress
I've had my eye on this pattern for a while, and the fabric since the summer! I think this will make a great summer dress, and I'm really excited to start sewing with more knits.
Elsie Dress from Sew Over It
I immediately bought this pattern when it first came out, it's a beautiful party dress! The problem is, I haven't really had an occasion to get this dressed up... I have had this bright coral pink taffeta in my stash since last year, and I think it would be the perfect fabric to hold those box pleats. I've even got a matching lining already. All I need is the perfect occasion!
Ultimate Shift Dress
I've used some pretty complex patterns, but I would really like to bring things back to basics and make a lovely, simple shift dress using one of these two fabrics. The first one, a lavender floral georgette, is from Sew Over It, and the other a peach crepe from Fabricland.
Believe it or not, I have not had the chance to jump on the Moneta train yet! However, I got some beautiful knit fabrics for Christmas that will be perfect for this. I'm excited to give it a shot!
In the Folds Peplum top
Who doesn't love a free pattern? Especially when it's already downloaded, printed and just sitting in your stash. I've been saving this cotton for it specifically... the little design makes me think of celtic knots, and it has gold dots as well - a great colour combo!
Thoughts or suggestions on any of the patterns/fabrics? What are you 2018 sewing plans?
My Top-Ten Makes (as decided by me.)
I started sewing, almost to the day, last year! It was part of a New Year's resolution to myself, and I'm made so many things in that time!
As my sewing anniversary, and the new year approaches, I wanted to take the time to reflect on some of my pieces. Here are some of my favourite makes, based on totally made-up categories I just invented :)
Number 1: Trendsetter
#2017yearofthesleeve anyone? While normally I tend to shy away from trends, I did enjoy making this Eve dress from Sew Over It with a flutter sleeve and the softest brushed rayon from Fabric.com.
I wore this at our BBQ housewarming party and felt very trendy indeed.
Number 2: Loudest Make
Sneaky peek at one of the makes from this year I haven't blogged/posted about yet, but wanted to include here because a) I think it turned out pretty great. b)Super fun fabric
I got this crepe for $3 per metre at our local fabricland and had the chance to try the fantastic Pussy Bow Blouse Pattern from Sew Over It.
Number 3: Proudest Make
Gah! Why did I do this to myself! I realize these categories are arbitrary and can be changed at any point, but this was a tough one.
I decided to choose the Rosa Shirt Dress I made (Tilly and the Buttons Pattern). I took her online class when making this and I'm so glad I did. It was an early make for me (I think my third?) and the class took you through everything step by step. This pattern, and this shirt, have all the bells and whistles - a floral button placket and collar stand, a perfect point on the yoke, top-stitching for days... it's a beauty.
Number 4: Wardrobe Workhorse
My sneaky way of including 3 makes in one category! As many of you know, I LOVE the Hey June Handmade Charleston Dress. My favourite version is the black one, and I wear it out everywhere! It's incredibly versatile, comfortable and flattering. I got this black floral ponte from Fabric.com
The second time I made this I totally aced pattern matching stripes, and it was a work staple this summer. This fabric came from our local Fabricland.
The third time I made this dress was for my sister-in-law Olga. You'll see in my Christmas gift post how amazing this turned out!
Number 5: Biggest Fail
While my Orsola Dress from By Hand London did not turn out fantastic, neither did this Butterick B6351 at first. I re-attached the back cross-over peices three times before giving up. There's still a bit of a wrinkle in the back - but I'm (getting) over it. Although it was marked where to attach, because I had a petite top, they were too big at first. I think next summer I will go back and re-adjust them, but for now it will have to do. This dress was made with Art Gallery Fabric from Fabric.com.
Great dress for mini-putt this summer though!
Number 6: Best Fabric
This one was a no-brainer. I bought this fabric while on our honeymoon in the Azores. I think the print represents our experience there perfectly - strolls along the marina, (a lot) of wine tasting, outdoor adventure, and just slowing our pace.
I sewed this up into a Sew Over It Rosie Dress which made an appearance at many a BBQ this summer.
Number 7: Coziest Make
Another tough category. Runners up include my Candi Cardigan from Sinclair Patterns (my first "Pattern Testing" experience) and the series of Linden Sweatshirts I made earlier this winter (see the blog post here).
However, I'm going to have to go with my most recent make, the Alex Shirt Dress from Sew Over It in a brushed buffalo plaid flannel. It's like wearing actual pjs in real life - I say this, because it also doubles as a nice flannel night shirt!
Number 8: Best Memories
Can I ever share these pictures enough. My second project ever - sewing myself a cape to wear on my wedding day brings back such wonderful memories. I even included lace on the shoulders that came off my dress in alterations.
I remember having a "vote" with my sisters, mother and mother-in-law - first I came out in the fur stole I had planned to wear, and then this (expecting them to say that it looked a little "handmade in a bad way"). They hands-down preferred this cape - and thus an obsession was born.
Number 9: Twirliest Make
A tough category for sure. How can you beat a full circle skirt Betty Dress from Sew Over It? With a Nancy Dress from Sew Over It.
I chose the Nancy because I'm absolutely thrilled with how it turned out. My bias binding application was on. point. It's also quite practical and the fabric super swishy. You can read more about my experiences with the pattern in these blog posts here and here.
Number 10: Best in Show
My other proudest make was the first dress I ever made - NewLook 6431 in a bright orange floral satin, with a lining that I created. Looking back, it was quite a complex project for a first make - pleated neckline, difficult fabric choice and a pretty basic skill-set. But it all came together in this amazing, one-of-a-kind dress that I wore out for my Bachelorette Party. Definitely worthy of the 2017 Best in Show ribbon.
What were your proudest makes? Biggest fails? Other category suggestions? Year end is a great time for reflection. I'd love to see your own top 10 categories on instagram (#my2017sewingtop10).
The annual paramedic party is always a big hit, and I was looking forward to the occasion to use the forest green stretch velvet I had in my stash.
I was inspired by this blog post by the Sweet Red Poppy where she created a merlot velvet version of this dress. I knew it was exactly the look I was going for!
Here are my overall pattern notes for next time:
- After reading the Sweet Red Poppy's blog post, I too opted to omit the pockets and raise the neckline - I didn't want it to be too low on me, and I already have a shorter "upper bust" than most people.
- To omit the pockets, I simply taped the pocket pattern piece to the skirt piece so that they lined up and created a single unified peice. That way, when I cut the fabric, it would all line up.
- My dress turned out way too big. I was slightly between a size 0 and 2 when looking at the size chart, and I decided to cut a 2. Perhaps I was just going for a more fitted look, but the dress came out quite baggy. With some crafty alterations, I was able to acheive the look I wanted, but I took in each side of both bodice pieces (lining and self fabric) by about 0.5 inches, and took in the sleeves SIGNIFICANTLY. This is where I noticed it was the most baggy. I wanted a very tight look because baggy velvet isn't my favourite , which meant the sleeves I took in about 1.75 inches.
- Because I had to re-attach the skirt a second time for the alterations anyway, I had to take it in to match the bodice. I also took the opportunity to significantly cut down and iron the seam allowances in the waistband, bodice and skirt pieces to that the waistband didn't have bits poking out awkwardly from underneath. It created a much cleaner finish.
With my alterations, I'm quite proud of how my dress turned out. I also Irish dance, and I feel like I can channel my inner Riverdance in this dress at our next ceili or on St. Paddy's day - so it's nice to know I will get more wear out of it! However, I feel like in future, I might use this pattern for a more casual dress look - I found even with the velvet material I didn't feel as elegant as I wanted to - I felt a little "dressed down" - so I think I might try this pattern again with a simpler jersey for a summertime day dress.
What patterns did you use for your holiday parties this year?
PS. Like the snowflakes? Find out how I made them here.
It's a (not so) Green Christmas in our house!
It's our first married Christmas this year, in our new home, so Chris and I decided to get our very first Christmas tree as a couple!
However, because it's our first Christmas, we don't have a lot of decorations - nor did I want to spend a ton of money on this. My favourite thing about Christmas decor are the memories that go with it - over time, accumulating wonderful Christmas items.
So, without further ado, I wanted to share with you some of our holiday decor. Is it complete? No. We have lots of Christmases to add more and more festive cheer. But it's our start!
This is our tree so far! My husband prefers a "thematic" tree - whereas I love it when it looks like you've barfed rainbows on it - so we compromised on this colour palette.
I hand-crocheted snowflake ornaments to decorate the tree! Here's how I did it:
I used this book, and a FANTASTIC, free website called Snowcatcher for my patterns. I have very little crochet experience, and while I'm not convinced I did everything properly, I still think they turned out OK! A little youtube tutorial can go a long way...
Then using a little "PVA glue" (Art Attack anyone?) - and by this I mean, white glue mixed with water - I tacked out my snowflakes using spare safety pins. I pinned them to a piece of carboard and put parchment paper underneath to keep them from sticking. Finally I dusted them with glitter. I let them dry, flipped them over, and repeated the process on the other side. Important note: Use stainless steel pins for tacking, otherwise they get rust on them.
I also included some store-bought items, like some fancy "picks", and these little birdy clips.
You can see some of the gold pinecones in that picture too - leftover placecard holders from our wedding! These were a DIY as well - I found glitter glue to be the best option for decorating pinecones.
Our mantle still doesn't feel balanced and complete, but I love all the things on it presently! I think I'd like to add a Garland still. And a winter themed wall quilt.
These two items were made by my father-in-law! I love them both! He's an amazing wood-worker.
This gem is from when Chris' father was growing up. It sings silent night. Nice to have that little bit of history.
Whole lotta history here. Frame was a gift at a wedding shower. Coasters were favours from my cousin Jay and Sammy's wedding, the owl was part of Grandma Green's collection, and the wood carving was made by Chris' grandpa Fred. I think he looks like father Christmas.
Well there it is folks! It's our start! Here's to many more Happy Christmases :)
Self-taught sewist, Knitter, Crocheter, and all round crafty person from Ottawa, Canada.