Monday, January 11, 2016

Blaverry Finn

A couple of weeks ago I received an email asking for applicants to join a marketing team for Blaverry.  I had often admired the clean lines and modern aesthetics of this pattern company and I figured my girls would love them too so I applied.  The first pattern I was given to make was the Finn Top.  It's a knit top with a three sleeve options (short, long and 3/4 length) and a waterfall peplum.

I normally consult my daughters before I make anything for them but my eldest was at a sleepover and my youngest doesn't need any clothes so I just went ahead and made it.  J.'s measurements put her in a size 8 so that's what I made, with an extra 1 1/2" added to the length of the bodice.

The pattern is a PDF and comes in layers so, if you choose, you can print off only the size you need. However, it goes up to size 16 so I printed off all the sizes.  I'm much more likely to make something a second time if I don't have to assemble the PDF again and I can definately see myself making other versions of this!  I was pleased to see that the pattern lines for the various sizes are different colours, which made tracing super easy.

The main fabric is a really lovely merino wool/tencel blend I bought through a local facebook group. The only reason I didn't hoard it all for myself was because I have 4m so plenty to make something for me too :)  The contrast sleeves are made from a scrap of French terry.  

I think it looks super cute and is a great "tween" style.  J. however feels the bodice is a bit tight and she's not sure about the peplum :(.   

So Miss 7-year-old-of-the-overflowing-closet was pleased to take it off her hands :)

The pattern is well drafted and the instructions are brief but sufficient.  There are no notches on any of the pattern pieces but I didn't have any difficulty putting it together.  I look forward to trying other Blaverry patterns!

Pattern: Finn by Blaverry (free in exchange for this promotion)
Fabric: navy merino wool/tencel from OOM ethikwear approx. $9.50
Total: $9.50 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

My new "uniform" - the Mila Shirt

I've made four Itch to Stitch patterns so far (the Angelia Shorts, Irena Knit Top, Liana Jeans and of course the Mila Shirt) and am now a dedicated fangirl :) (and also an affiliate, all of the above are affiliate links).  Kennis' patterns are well drafted and the instructions are fantastic.

With a two piece collar, placket, sleeve tabs, cuffs, etc., the Mila Shirt is not exactly a quick sew but it is a satisfying one.  I love the two that I've made so much that I think they might push my (multiple) Tovas out of top spot for my "uniform" of choice.  With the gathers at the front and the pleat at the back, the Mila definately trumps the Tova in comfort.  Of course, having the different cup sizes included in the pattern helps, too.   I've never done an FBA but I should really learn how.  Or I can just use patterns that are drafted for a D cup :)

I made this one out of a navy linen-rayon blend.  Which proved really hard to photograph, it's not shiny in real life, I promise!

I had to cut my head off this one, I don't know what I was doing with my face!

I will likely usually wear this with the sleeves rolled up but I did add 1 1/2" to the length sleeves to account for my monkey arms in case I want to wear them down.

My 7 year old insisted on the square sparkly buttons and I think it was a good choice!

Pattern: Mila Shirt (free in exchange for testing)
Fabric: Linen Rayon blend from Dressew $15
Buttons: stash
Total: $15

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas sewing

My girls had a couple of on stage performances this month -- both were in the choir at school and both also had recitals at the music school where they take lessons.  I knew festive dresses were in order but I really wasn't planning on making them.  But after a couple of unsuccessful forays to the mall, it seemed easier just to look for fabric.  J. had a very definite idea in mind of what she wanted and we just weren't finding it in the shops.  Both of the local fabric shops happened to be closed for renovations at this time but luckily for us ecoequitable was having one of their "fill-a-bag" sales (you can load up a grocery bag with as much donated fabric as you can stuff in for $15.  The proceeds go towards their training programs, including sewing for employment geared toward people in need). Thankfully we found 2m of this red cotton velour (I think that's what it is anyway).  It was the right colour and weight and has a bit of stretch.  Plus it's nice and soft.

The pattern is McCalls 7079, a good basic pattern that I've made once before.  I altered the sleeves to make them 3/4 length and added a couple of inches to each of the skirts.

(The skirt looks really wonky in this picture.  I *think* it's just because of the way she's standing 
but it really makes me want to go back and measure it!!)

By request, I also added an inch and a half to the length of the bodice for K.  

I had some "jewels" and beads I'd salvaged off a shirt that ended up being worn to rags so I sewed them to the necklines for a bit of sparkle.

The girls also had pyjama day at school so needed some new duds.  I hadn't planned on making these either but we made a trip to the states in November (Disneyworld!) and I did a bit of fabric shopping while we were travelling.  It seemed a bit mean to make the kids hang out in a fabric store and not pick anything for themselves so we came away with some flannel.  Unfortunately since I was distracted by my own list, I didn't buy enough to actually make the pjs I promised them.  So K. ended up with two different sleeves and J. ended up with bottoms cut on the cross grain.

My little helper -- she loves to bake!

I didn't get any pictures of J's when I finished them and then they tore in the second week of wear.  I don't know if that's crappy fabric, bad fit or the fact that I cut them on the cross grain.   She's excited about a patch on her butt though so all is not lost, lol!

The pattern is the Sleepover Pajamas from Oliver and S.  The only change I made was to shorten the front and back crotch by an inch and a half -- they were really long and droopy!

I had ordered fabric from Purpleseamstress in September for Christmas nighties (which are, of course, not suitable for December school pj days!).  J's is kind of short because the penguin fabric shrunk a lot -- like 6 inches! -- and I only ordered a yard.

K's is the O+S Hopscotch dress and J's is Jalie 3245.  I debated about using the hopscotch pattern for both but it runs small and I wasn't sure that a 12 would fit J.  Due to limited fabric, the back of K's is solid red.  I like the quality of the solids from purpleseamstress but wont order from them again until the dollar improves.  Including shipping and exchange, these used almost $30 worth of fabric!!

And lastly, I didn't make the shirt and can't take credit for the saying but I did add the lettering in fabric paint on a tee for my husband :).

Pattern: McCalls 7079, used before (cost per use $2.26US)
Fabric: approx. $8 for both
Beading: recycled

Pattern: Sleepover, used before (cost per use $3.98)
Fabric: $10US for Ks, $8.50US for Js
Buttons: stash

Pattern: Hopscotch, used before (cost per use $5.36)
Jalie Raglan, used before (cost per use $4.55)
Fabric: used approx. 2 yards $28.83 for both

Monday, November 23, 2015

Mila Shirt

I had such a great experience testing the Angelia Shorts for Itch to Stitch that I jumped at the chance to test the Mila Shirt.  I don't have much to say about this except that I love it.  The instructions are great and the fit is spot on (and the pattern includes cup sizes A to DD!).  The only change I made to this one was to lengthen the sleeves by 2" and shorten the body by 2".  I like the shorter length but I wish I'd thought to tone down the curve on the side, though -- it shows off the muffin top if I lift my arms up, lol.

The Mila pattern is currently being sold as part of the Indiesew Winter 2016 Collection or you can buy it as a on it's own in paper or PDF format.  After November 30, it will be available in PDF  at  

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Princess Leia

My 7 year old's first choice of costume was the nurse from Animaniacs. I vetoed that after watching one clip, lol.  Not yet, please!  (Actually, not ever, thank-you-very-much!).   I suggested a few other things which were all soundly rejected and was pleased when she came up with Princess Leia on her own -- a comfortable, recognizable, easy to execute costume that is age appropriate; perfect!

I used the Oliver and S field trip tee yet again, in size 10, lengthened to an a-line dress and with bell sleeves. The only other change I made was to double the size of the neck band.  She didn't want a mock turtle neck so this was my compromise.

The belt is the embroidered edge of the sheet I used to make her older sister's costume.  It's not exactly authentic but she's happy with it.

The buns were the hardest part -- for a tough cookie, she's got a very sensitive scalp and a very low tolerance for anything being the least bit uncomfortable on her head.  It took me a couple of tries to get them in and then apparently the buns weren't tight enough to her head.   She was wearing the costume to the Halloween party for her Brownie troop last night and I wanted to get photos of it in a (relatively) pristine state.  The loose buns prompted a huge meltdown with me pleading for a just a couple of pictures before it got too dark.  This was the response, oh my goodness I love this kid!:

I did fix them before the party, I just wanted a picture before the light was gone!  Mean mom, lol!

Fabric: white cotton interlock from value village -- super score: almost 6m for $8.  Tonnes left for other things
Pattern: oliver and s field trip tee.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Crescent Skirt

J. is now shopping in the women's section -- size 7 shoes and size 0 shorts for the start of school! She's only 10 *wail*.  But on the plus side, it opens up a whole new world: shopping trips that don't need to be limited to Justice (ugg!) and sewing projects using patterns I've bought for myself.  Although that's not actually true in this case -- I bought this pattern specifically for her (I doubt it would do much to flatter my much larger hips) but the option is there.

This is the Crescent Skirt from Sewaholic.  The waistband has lots of interesting seaming and the finishes are great, including twill tape for stability inside the pockets and on the waist.  I was happy to have the sewalong pictures from the Sewaholic website when it came time to insert the zipper, though, because the instructions did not make sense to me.  My zipper is still a bit wonky but oh well!

I like the pieced yoke but will probably just cut two facings if I make it again for J.: the details are lost unless you tuck your shirt in, which she will likely never do!

I made view B as I knew J. would like the fullness.  Based on her measurements, I cut size 2 but I think a 0 would have fit her more like the pattern intends.  As it is, it sits well below her natural waist but she seems happy with the fit.  She loves the pockets as they're big enough to fit a paperback, a huge plus for a kid who carries a book everywhere she goes.

The fabric is a mid-weight cotton chambray (maybe?) that I bought off someone on a fb group.  Despite her face in this picture, she really likes it.  It's been worn 4 times in the past week so I think it's a winner :)

Pattern: Crescent Skirt $12.63
Fabric: cotton chambray $6
Zipper: ~$2.00
Total: $20.63

Monday, September 7, 2015

Puple(ish) Pinwheel

K. was not keen about this fabric combination when I showed it to her but once I had the idea, I felt an overwhelming compulsion to make it even if K. never wore it.  I'm hoping she has come round.  She loves the polka dots, no question; it's the cotton shirting she wasn't keen on.  Maybe it looked too dull to her?  It doesn't really read as purple until it's paired with something obviously purple.  The fabrics weren't bought together -- I bought the cotton shirting in Hamilton with a top for myself in mind but that went out the window when I got it home I found the crease down the middle was permanently faded.  Boo.  I might have been able to jimmy things around to eke out a top but since it didn't happen right away, it most likely wasn't going to happen but it's lightweight and soft so perfect for this dress.

I bought a metre of the polka dots at Dressew in Vancouver this summer with a 2+2 skirt in mind for Kate.  The selvedge says it's Sevenberry from Japan and is a linen cotton blend.  It's quite hefty and didn't really soften up with washing (although I only washed it once).  It was a slight splurge and the flounce didn't use the whole metre so that made me pause a bit; I like to make the most of "special" fabric but I couldn't get this dress out of my head so cut into it.  I'm sure I'll find some way to use up the remaining odd piece.  

This is the pinwheel dress from Oliver and S and I love this design.  I made size 10 and added an inch to the body.  It's big but realistically we've only got a few more weeks (if that) of warm weather so I wanted to make sure it would fit in the spring, too.

I've made this dress before and found the facings were a bit of a pain when it was worn so I omitted them and finished the top with bias tape.  I also doubled the width of the strap so that it would meet the school dress code.

I love it and I'm glad it's out of my head and in the world.  If K. wears it, that will just be a bonus :)

Fabric: sevenberry linen cotton blend from Dressew in Vancouver, approx. 1/2m  $8.50, cotton shirting from Marina's in Hamilton, approx. 3/4m, $5.00
Pattern: Pinwheel dress, used before (cost per use $3.40)
Total: $13.50

Friday, August 28, 2015

Itch to Stitch Angelia Shorts

The timing of the call for testers for this pattern in May (!!) was serendipitous -- I had spent a couple hours the weekend before looking for some new shorts with no luck and these were just the style I had been looking for.  I also happened to have a block of time that I could devote to making them before the deadline.  I made the testing shorts in denim (pictures at the end of the post), another pair in linen (no pictures, sorry!) and a third pair in twill, which I took pictures of today. I've been meaning to write about these shorts for ages but the hold up has been the pictures.  I find it really hard to take pictures of myself!

The testing process was great.  Kennis set up a facebook page so that we could communicate with her and with the other testers about any issues we were having.  She was very receptive to feedback about fit and the clarity of the instructions (which by the way are great -- very thorough and with plenty of accurate illustrations).

View B is definitely not the quickest to sew but I love all the details that make them look like a pair of ready-to-wear shorts. These totally filled a gap in my wardrobe.

Changes made:
~ In order to accommodate my derriere -- I added a wedge to the back piece to lengthen the back crotch by 1/2" and also extended the back inseam by 1/4".  (I think I could still use a bit more space maybe because the twill pair sit higher than my first pair.  I messed up the zipper install on the denim pair so the waist is about an inch bigger.  That means they tend to slide down under my paunch but also give me a bit more butt room.)
~ I  took a 3/8" wedge out of the front in the twill pair
~ sewed the buttons right through tab on the side without doing a buttonhole
~ I left off the pocket tabs on the twill pair.  They look good but I use my pockets too much to want to fuss with a button.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

l'oiseau creative

This month I got the opportunity to blog over at l'oiseau creative.  J. picked out some fun fabric, check it out here.

They have some fantastic knits (and other fabrics) that you can find here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Lilith and Eve Drapey Blouse

I've come to the realization that I need a deadline; a realistic deadline but a deadline nonetheless.   When I'm sewing for the kids, I tend to finish projects relatively quickly because I know if I leave it for too long, whatever it is wont fit or wont be in season.  Theoretically I shouldn't grow out of clothes while they're waiting to be sewn up (haha!) so, despite my best intentions, I often get excited about something else (usually making something one of the kids "needs") and I put my own projects aside partially finished for weeks or even months.  So I've putting my hand up to test a patterns for women's clothes that I would like to make anyway.

This is the first pattern from Lilith and Eve, LE101 the Drapey Blouse.  I was given a choice of paper or PDF, and I chose paper.  The cost of the pattern and shipping was covered by the company.  It arrived in a large envelope and was printed on quite thick, good quality paper.

With the dollar being so low and shipping costs so high, I went shopping for supplies locally.  My fabric shopping choices are fairly limited and all I found was this rayon which just happens to be covered in a granny-print floral.  The weight and drape were right though (Why, oh why can't fabricland get a decent print with this fabric??  It's really quite nice, flowy and soft, but all the prints look like they should be made into Hawaiian shirts!)

The pattern pieces were well drafted and, despite the very, very brief instructions, it came together quite easily.   My feedback was that more illustrations were needed, as well as more detail given in the written instructions.  I think their intention is to do video tutorials for some of the more difficult parts.  That doesn't really excite me since I don't have the patience to stop and watch a video when I'm working on something.  Plus I don't have a tablet or laptop and my PC is two floors away from my sewing space; I'd rather just have what I need right beside me.

I also didn't like that the instructions came on a huge piece of paper.  I keep my instructions next to my machine when I'm sewing and these were really unwieldy.

Design-wise I think it's a interesting blouse.  It takes quite a bit of fabric to make the curved yokes and the drapey back.  I'm not really sure about the buttoned-all-the-way-up look the models are sporting on the website (likely I'm just not cool enough for that) and I wasn't really keen on the baggy, long sleeves (really long! I have monkey arms and the sleeves are long on me!).  The sleeves are only finished with a band, not a cuff which strikes me as a little too casual for the rest of the blouse but there is a sleeveless version as well.

I finished this in April and I have to confess I haven't worn it.  It's comfortable but the fabric is too, ummm, bold for me.  I thought about making another one and was under the impression that I would be receiving an updated version of the pattern post-testing but I haven't.  I emailed the company (twice!) to ask if there were any significant changes made as a result of testing and they didn't respond.  The first time was over a month ago and then again two weeks ago.  Not sure what's going on there!  I did receive a thank-you package in the mail last week -- a fabric glue stick, some ban roll, a swatch card and a necklace charm -- which was very nice but I'm a little taken aback that they don't respond to emails.  All that being said, I may make this again in better fabric and if they come out with any new designs, I'd be happy to test again.