Sunday, December 30, 2012

O + S Ombre Seashore Dress

I've been waiting for V&Co's Simply Color line to come out since she announced it on her blog months ago.  I was thinking of making a quilt but when I got the yardage I couldn't picture myself cutting it into little pieces; hence the Seashore Dress.  

We've had at least 50 cm of snow in the last week and it's -12 today so, although technically it is sunny, J. has absolutely no need of a sundress anytime soon, lol.  Once I got it in my head, though, there was nothing I could do but make it (despite the lengthy list of weather-appropriate sewing I have to do!).  

I made a size 6 for my tall skinny seven year old and added two inches to the body and one inch to the bottom.  I'm wishing I added more but I wanted to make sure that I got the full effect of the ombre, which I adore.   I'm a little disappointed in the fabric, though.  I washed it before cutting it out and I didn't notice until after I'd laid most of the dress out that there was a patch that didn't wash well -- you can kind of see in the picture below that it looks like there's a bit of extra dye in one spot. It ended up being in the back ruffle so I don't think it matters too much. 

Because I had decided to flat fell the side seams, I felt like I needed to topstitch the rest.  Halfway through I was wishing I hadn't though because of course I didn't have thread to match each colour. It's a little more of a statement than I would have liked, especially around the pockets and the hem. I could have stopped and gone to the store for matching thread but once I started this dress stopping was not an option!

I'm also not sold on these buttons so haven't done the button holes yet.  I couldn't find the ones I had in mind -- I think a little magpie may have squirreled them away (although the prime suspect denies it!).  I'm going to Vancouver in January so am going to hit up Button Button and Dressew for something with a little more pizazz.  J. wont be wearing this anytime soon anyway!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

O + S Monkey Hat

I call her Monkey and she acts like a monkey so it's only fitting that she asked for a monkey hat.  It still needs a button but she was sitting still in relatively good light so I thought I'd grab my chance for a photo.   I made the same changes to the Oliver and S Cozy Winter Hood from Little Things to Sew as I did last year for the tiger hat.

(The tiger hat has stood up remarkably well, by the way, and gets compliments whenever she wears it -- she even got a shout out from Santa from his float when she was watching the Christmas parade!!)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Teacher Gifts

During the last O+S pattern sale, I bought Feed the Animals Coin Purses pattern with the intention of making my girls coin purses for xmas.  K. requested one for her teacher, too, so I got both girls to pick fabric and cut out 4 purses.  I started early with the best of intentions but I kept putting them aside for other projects because I really wasn't enjoying making them.  I should know by now that I'm too impatient to make anything with too many little pieces.

And this week, of course, I have no time.  So I decided  to pack it in.  My girls were disappointed (about the ones for the teachers, they didn't know about the ones for them) until I whipped up these:

I used the poochie bag tutorial over at Happy Zombie except without the "pooch".  The top fabric is Premier Prints from and the bottom is voile from  The grey on both is quilters linen from Hawthorne Threads.   Three bags in one evening is doable.  Trying to finish those coin purses was not :).

Monday, December 3, 2012

3 O + S Field Trips + a Class Picnic

A little buddy of mine loves purple.  His mom has a hard time finding purple shirts that don't have ruffles or flowers or other girly things so I offered to make him a t-shirt.  His mom bought two adult shirts -- an XL and a 4XL (!) so I had plenty of fabric to make two shirts and use the factory hems for the sleeves and body and the seam on one side.  The Field Trip T-Shirt pattern is a quick sew and all that made it even quicker. 

I don't have a serger so I used a double needle.  I'm really hoping they're durable.  I'm also really hoping they fit.  They are both the same size but one is an inch longer in the body and the sleeves.  I have a feeling that one might be for him to grow into.  It's nervewracking sewing for other people, especially since all I see is the imperfections.  They are very gracious and excited to have handmade shirts so I'm sure they wont mind.

I couldn't leave the little boy's older sister out.  She chose the pattern and the fabric and asked for some changes.  (She wanted the sleeves to be longer and more bell-shaped. Hopefully I went far enough for her -- not that I have a picture of the sleeves just a blurry picture of the body, d'oh!).  I added a little bit of twill tape to the back as I found my daughter has trouble telling back from front with hers.  Shoulda done that with the field trip shirts, too!

Last week I also made a field trip nightie for my littlest.  She needs another nightie like she needs a hole in the head but she loves this fabric (from and it is waaaay too thin for a dress.  It's also got the border printed along the selvedge which is kind of awkward since the stretch goes the other way.  Although, judging by her reaction and the amount of time she's spent wearing it, the stretch factor is fine :).  And I still haven't got around to hemming it.  And now probably wont bother :P.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

O + S After School Shirt in Shot Cotton

I have confession to make -- I have a walk in fabric closet that I can't even walk into.  I am genuinely grateful to have the space but lately have been feeling weighed down by the excess I have in there.  Before our renovation, I would only buy for a specific project because I had nowhere to store any extra.  Now I don't even know what I have . . . And it doesn't fit on the floor to ceiling shelves.  It's shameful really.   Part of the problem is that I love to dream about what I'm going to make but overestimate the amount of time that I have to actually make things.  Then there's the whole "I'm paying for shipping so I may as well add ____" trap.

Anyway, last week I decided to make written a plan -- a list of projects and which fabric I'm going to use.  It was going quite well and things were starting to look better when I got distracted by this shot cotton (it's Kaffe Fassett in Aegean from Mad About Patchwork).  I used the bulk of it for a top for myself (Vogue 1247) but when I pulled out the leftovers, I decided to see if there was enough for a After School Shirt for J. . . . and that was the end of my organizing for the day :).

So here's the top. I was short a couple of inches for the back but otherwise was good:

I struggled with it though -- I misread the directions and lined up the notches on the yoke.  I didn't notice until after I'd put the piping in and went to attach the front panel that it was about three inches too small.  Then for some reason I had lots of trouble setting the sleeves -- I sewed gathering stitches on them but didn't need to gather them.  In fact it seemed like the front was bigger.  I ripped out a few sections a couple of times but I still see some puckers.   Oh, well. I give up.

I bought these sparkly square buttons when we were travelling this summer and I think they suit this top wonderfully.  Plus they're like little jewels, which makes my daughter happy.

I added piping in a voile from Girl Charlee.  I used the same fabric for a band on the back where I didn't quite have enough of the blue.  It's kind of loud on it's own and more like a quilting cotton than a voile but it's magic fabric -- it seems to go with everything so I don't mind the extra bit on the back.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sewaholic Alma

I was so excited when I received this pattern that I traced and cut it right away.  Then the Halloween madness began so it sat unfinished on my desk for weeks.  Even though it's not the right time of year for it now, I'm happy it's done -- it's a flattering, comfortable blouse that's not too fussy.  I can see other variations in my future.

The fabric is a super lightweight summer cotton that was on clearance 3 metres for the price of one.  I certainly wouldn't have bought it at full price ($14/m!) but it is pretty and works for a trial run.  

I'm not sure what I will change next time.  I debated about the size and ended up cutting a size bigger than my measurements because I know I wont wear something if it's too tight.  I think it'll take a couple of times wearing this before I know if it was the right decision.  But the larger size  meant that I didn't need to add a zipper.  Woo hoo!

I made a couple of changes -- I don't find cap sleeves all that flattering on me so I lengthened them by an inch or so (in a totally half-assed way -- by tracing the top for the size I wanted and then the line for the smallest size.  I had to adjust the sleeve again once I'd partly sewed it on because of course it didn't quite fit properly.  I should have drafted a whole new one but I don't know how to do that!).

I also lengthened the top by two inches partly because I'm long-waisted and partly because I wanted a deeper hem; I find small hems don't lie as flat.

Overall I think it's a great pattern. You do need to have some sewing experience, however, as the instructions aren't as thorough as O+S.  They're as good or better than the big 4, though.

Monday, November 5, 2012

O + S Bear Carrier

My little niece is about to be joined by a new baby brother or sister. (Tomorrow!!!)  I'm going to wait to find out if it's a boy or girl before I make a baby gift but I've finished the big sister gift -- a bear carrier from Little Things to Sew.  What a fun and quick project this was!  I used the same ultra suede type fabric I used for her cape and It's A Hoot scraps for the pocket, lining and straps.  I added batting to the straps to make them more sturdy and more comfortable for carrying around those extra heavy stuffies :).

I asked K. to be my model and she didn't want to take it off so I'm thinking I need to add one to my (growing) list of Christmas gifts to make.   I still need to trim the straps but I promise it's straight and fits well and she was happy about wearing it.  She was running around the house in an old flower girl dress and bare feet when I asked for a picture outside.  It was pretty cold so I snapped a couple of shots before she raced back in (mean mom!). 

K. thinks her cousin will love it but recommends that I include "instructions for the parents because they might not know how to get the stuffy in and out" :).

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

O + S Fairy Tale Dress

J. decided in August that she wanted to be Hedwig but K. flipped and flopped.  Every day she would tell me something different but there was one theme that was consistent -- pink!   So I decided to make a full length pink satin dress and then decide on accessories later.  After all when you're four, a pink dress would work for being a pig, a princess, Hello Kitty or a butterfly, right?

Hehehe, I know butterflies don't generally wear pink satin dresses but K. couldn't be more pleased with her ensemble. (Well, except that she's decided it may need a touch of purple.  Maybe the bow that I haven't made yet can be purple or the antenna).

This is a size 4 with 8 1/2 inches of extra length.  She's 3T according to her measurements so I thought it would be big enough to wear a fleece underneath.  Yeah, no.  As it is she might be able to wear a long sleeved shirt so here's hoping it's warm this Halloween!  Should have made a muslin, I guess!  I think it's actually better that it fits anyway -- we can improvise if it's cold and the dress will work well for the party she's going to the week before, the party at school, as well as the princess birthday party she's been invited to in November.

This dress came together fairly easily but it was a hefty a time commitment.   I think it took me longer than it did to cut and sew 5 yards of harem cloth feathers!   Must think of some other occasions that call for a full length pink satin dress :)

The only change I made (besides lengthening the skirt) was to lower the neckline by 1/2".   I lined it but didn't include the tulle skirt, which I kind of regret.  I did make a petticoat last year that she could wear if she wants more poof.  I love the style and the fit and I adore the sleeves.  I think this would be great in anything from cotton to silk.  And my girl is happy, which is all that matters!

Friday, October 19, 2012

O + S Class Picnic Blouse

I wear my Lisette Souvenir blouse all the time and, as this pattern is so similar, I thought my daughter would like it, too.   I made a size 5 with lots of extra length for my tall skinny 7 year old.  I wish I had gone with a 6 though because when she went to put it on she got "stuck" and a couple of stitches ripped.  She panicked and, although she wore it for the evening quite happily, I'm not sure she will try again.    I didn't end up adding the elastic to the neckline as it fit her well enough without it.  Hopefully she will wear it again and, if she does, I'll get some pictures because it's really cute. 

The fabric is a super soft lightweight rayon blend that was on sale for $3/m.  When I spotted it, I immediately thought of a top for myself but it was the end of the bolt and there was only just over a metre left.  It was too cute to pass up though and I had more than enough to make this top.

Its getting cooler but I wanted her to be able to wear it now so I lined it with a lightweight cotton.  (and then proceeded to hem one side of the lining backwards, oops).  I sewed the lining to the sides of the shirt but I think if I were to do it again, I would sew the side seams of the lining and the shirt separately.  It probably would hang better.

Because I made it extra long, it actually is more like a tunic length.  I still wanted it to be comfortable so I added slits on the side.  

It's a great pattern and comes together fairly quickly. The only thing I will do differently next time is pay more attention to the neckline -- mine didn't line up perfectly but that's my definitely my fault, not the instructions.

When she saw the pattern cover, J. said absolutely no to the shorts.  Bummer! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pinterest Etiquette

I do love pinterest -- it's a great place for inspiration and for organizing ideas for future projects.

I first became aware of it several months ago when someone "pinned" a photo of one of my projects and the link showed up in my stats.   Now I love it when someone pins something -- it's an extra pat on the back for something that I've usually worked hard on.  And I usually click through to check if they made a comment or if someone else repinned it just 'cus it's a nice ego boost.

Tonight though I noticed that someone had pinned a photo of something I had made and added a link underneath advertising a workshop to make that same pattern.  I don't know what the etiquette is for this type of situation but it bothered me enough to send them an email asking them to remove the link.  

I get using other people's images for inspiration and I think that's awesome but is this situation crossing the line?  What do you think?

edited: I received a reply almost immediately and the pinner agreed that adding the link underneath was crossing the line.  I hate confrontation but I'm glad I said something.  I still would like other opinions though . . . I get that I'm putting things out there for the public but where is the line?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Hedwig Costume

My husband and eldest have been working their way through the Harry Potter series over the last few months and they are both loving it.  (I haven't read them yet but they've just finished book five.  They're going to take a break for a couple of years as apparently they get quite dark.  Not so great for a very imaginative seven year old just before bed!). 

I was very glad that J. chose Hedwig for Halloween this year because this was a fun costume to make (and it didn't involve satin, woo hoo!). 

The base is the red riding hood cape and the cozy winter hood, both from the Oliver and S Little Things to Sew Book.  The hood and cape are made out of flannel and covered with "feathers" of bleached harem cloth.  I love that they are floaty and textured and kind of starting to fray (hopefully they don't fray too much more!).  I used a pental pastel dye stick to add a bit of brown.  I agonized over how much and where but I think right now it's a bit too subtle.

J. is happy with it (whew!) and I think it will work well for Halloween -- it's pretty warm on it's own but she should be able to wear it at school with just a t-shirt and leggings. Then she can put on another couple of extra layers for trick-or-treating.   She did request a full length white dress to wear underneath but I don't see that happening, lol.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ghastlies and Ice Cream

Wow, did I ever buy a lot of this fabric last year!  Good thing I still love it (and even better that my daughters do, too!).  

This is an O + S Ice Cream Dress for my eldest.  She's 7 but tall and skinny so it's a size 5 with the size 7 length.  After I cut it out, I wished I'd given myself even more length so I used 1/4" instead of 1/2" seams on the bottom panel.  I hope with the topstitching and understitching that that decision doesn't come back to haunt me (no pun intended, hehe!). 

The dress is fully lined but it wished I would have seen Nicole's version before making mine, it would have saved me a couple steps and made the dress hang better.  Instead of using one piece + the yoke, I kept the double hem and just cut a second front and back panel for the lining. Next time!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tova for my mom

This is my fifth (!!) tova.  This summer, I made a white linen one that my mom admired when we were on holiday together so I decided to make her one in some cream-verging-on-yellow linen from

She's shorter than me but mine fit her well in the shoulders and chest so the only change I made was to take an inch off the bottom.  Otherwise I did my now standard (hehe!) changes: added SA for French seams, dropped armscye (not sure if that's the right word but it sounds better than armpit!) by 1/4", increased bust on sides by 1/4".   I also stitched up the placket a couple of inches.

It's in the mail on the way to her for her birthday so I hope it fits!

As the linen is slightly sheer, I doubled the inset piece (thanks Nina for the suggestion!).  I used the inside piece to enclose the seam allowances so it's almost as nice on the inside.  Here's a really crappy in progress photo of how I did it: I treated the two inset pieces as one when making the placket but left the inside free until after I sewed the inset to the rest of the top.  I slip stitched it to the seam allowance before topstitching everything from the outside.

Friday, August 31, 2012

O + S Cape

Before I gave my littlest the cape I made for her birthday, I told my husband that it was dress-up clothes that she could get away with wearing as regular clothes.  He rolled his eyes at me then but I don't think he really minds.  And she does wear it in place of a jacket or sweater.  And gets smiles and comments everywhere she goes.  If you can't get away with wearing a cape when you're four when can you??

My niece is turning two next week so I decided to make her one, too.  I'm sure my brother will be as thrilled as my husband was, hehehe.

I bought the brown fabric last weekend at a fundraiser at Darrell Thomas.  They had all sorts of  different fabrics in varying sizes on for 2 pieces for $5 (!!).  I came home with a huge bag of stuff even though my storage shelves are overflowing.

The piece I used for this was narrow (maybe about 36" wide?) and probably about 2 yards long.  I have no idea what it is but I'm pretty sure it's polyester.  It's heavier weight but soft with sort of a velvet texture on one side.  Perfect for this project and I think the leftovers will make a nice purse.

The lining is a quilting cotton I bought when I was in Philly in the summer.  I only bought one yard  but it turned out to be enough for the cape even though the pattern (in Little Things to Sew) calls for 1 1/2 yards.  (I had to cut some pieces upside down so you'd need more than a yard if you had a directional print -- here's a photo of my cutting layout if you're interested).   I wish I bought more because I do really like this fabric but I was so overwhelmed with the fabric district and the fact that my family (kids, husband and my parents) were wandering around outside in the rain, it's amazing I managed to choose anything :).  There was nothing on the selvedge so I have no idea what it is.  The brown and the red together are a little Holly Hobbie but I think (I hope) it's just retro enough to be cool.

I bought the button when I was travelling, too, only because I couldn't resist it and I'm glad to have found a project that it suits.  I made a straight small this time without the length I added for my daughter so I'm crossing my fingers it doesn't dwarf my niece.  The only change I made this time  was to add a loop for hanging.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Roman Shades

Making curtains is definitely not my favourite thing to do -- they're so big and cumbersome and it's so hard to keep everything straight. Then there's the math required for the pleats, yikes.  Thankfully my husband is willing to hang them up because otherwise they would not get done.

The fabric is Premier Prints Suzani Twill in Harmony/Red from  I ordered two yards and cut off about an inch to square it up and then maybe another two inches when I went to hem it.  I love when I finish a project and am just left with scraps.   I was also able to use leftovers for the backing -- I made shades for our dining room last year and had just enough of the black out fabric left for this curtain if I pieced it together.  The seams show through a little bit in the front when the curtain is closed and the sun is shining directly on them.  I don't think anyone but me would notice :).  

The bookcases are billys from IKEA.  Hubby painted the backs of them and I love them.  We have a few more things to do in this room -- a friend is going to build in a desk under the window and, despite my husband's half-hearted objections, I'm going to get a piece of sheet metal for a magnetic board on one wall.  (he thinks it's going to go the way of the rain gutter bookshelves, which lasted about a year and left numerous holes in the walls).   I'm also planning a bit more sewing: fabric baskets to contain the little bits my seven year old loves to collect.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Vogue 1247 - Top, take 2

I wavered for ages before cutting out this top -- I love the colour but was worried it would read "scrubs".   I'm still not convinced it doesn't but I do like the style of this pattern.  The only changes I made from the the last time was to add yet another inch, this time to the bottom pieces.  I think the length is good for me now.

The fabric is Kaffe Fassett in Aegean from Mad About Patchwork.  It's soft and light and easy to work with but I don't know if I would recommend it for clothes.  I made this top before going away and I've only worn it a couple of times but it's already starting to pill.  I've found the same thing with my Tova.  It's a bummer because I'm not really big on prints but I find a flat solid colour is, well, flat while shot cottons have such lovely variations.  Still, it's a nice light summer top that's not a t-shirt so it's a win!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Vogue 8581

This is the top I was hoping for when I made the Honey Blouse (here and here).  The vogue pattern specifies two way stretch knit but I don't really see why you couldn't use a woven -- there are no closures but the neckline is wide enough even if the fabric doesn't stretch.  Although my measurements are more like 18, I cut this in size 16  and I think it fits fairly well.  It's missing the little details of the Honey Blouse -- the twisted neck band and the ties but those would be easy to add.

It's from the Very Easy Vogue line and that is true -- there are 5 pattern pieces and not even one full page of directions.  The only thing that was time consuming was sorting out the gathers on the neckline and then hand (!!) sewing the neck binding down.  The hand sewing sort of surprised me. Although it gives a nice finish on the inside, machine stitching it would make this top that much quicker to make (and it's already a really quick sew). 

The pattern calls for 3/4" elastic.  I had enough for the arms but used 1/2" for the waist and I think I like it better -- I think the larger size is unnecessary. 

The fabric is a cotton lycra knit from Girl Charlee.  It's slightly heavier than I think would be ideal for this top but I wanted to try out the pattern.  They seem to be sold out of it now but it was $11.50 for 2 yards and I think it was something crazy like 70 inches wide.  I have enough left over for another top. 

I used a twin needle to sew the side seams, which gives a bit of stretch and a very cool looking stitch underneath.  I used my walking foot for everything else -- once I figured out how to put it on, lol.  I use it quite a bit but I guess I was tired when I started and I couldn't figure it out.  It took me walking away and doing something else before I realized the reason it wouldn't fit was because the presser foot was down.  Duh.