Saturday, 22 June 2019

Ebony Tee for Maternity

Now that I finally have some energy, I'm really excited to sew some maternity wear that I can hopefully continue to wear post-maternity. The Ebony Tee by Closet Case Patterns is popular both for people sewing for a bump and those not, so I thought I would give it a try. This was my first Closet Case Patterns pattern, and I was eager to discover what all the hype was about. I'm not going to lie, I was a bit skeptical. As soon as I put on the first burgundy shirt I made, it all made sense. I don't know what's so magical about it, but I'm sold.

I started off by making one in some leftover burgundy bamboo knit that I had. There is a seam down the back that is not in the pattern so that I could fit it on the fabric I had, and it's a length between the crop and dress versions of the non-raglan versions, and it's got the view B neckline and sleeve length. I love the length that it ended up being - long enough to wear as a tunic with leggings casually, and still a good shirt length to wear with jeans. Postpartum I will likely most often wear it with black jeans, for now it's good with maternity jeans because it's long enough to cover the elastic waist. I made this in a straight size 14, and I'm happy with the shoulder fit so I will likely continue with this size forever. Also, I didn't take any pictures of this because I kept forgetting, or it was in the laundry.

After my success with the first, I decided to take the plunge and cut into the royal blue bamboo knit that I bought ages ago but was too afraid to cut into. This is the dress length (View A) plus 2 inches with the view B neckline and sleeve length, and it also has a seam down the back because that was the only way I could figure out how to cut it out with the 2m of fabric I had. I've barely taken it off since I made it and keep making people feel how lovely the fabric is. For now I really like the length of the sleeves, but we will see how I feel about it once I no longer have a furnace inside me. Generally I prefer sleeveless or full length sleeves, but I have a feeling elbow length might now make the list.

I made an exact copy of the blue on in my purple bamboo from Mood Fabrics in New York, and I also love it. I know that it is now a matter of time before I buy the Kalle Shirt Dress from Closet Case as well. And probably the Ginger Jeans. Also, look at my beautiful rhododendron! I tried out the tripod and self timer for these photos, next I need to get a remote and figure out how to upload photos in a better resolution.


Pattern: Ebony Tee by Closet Case Patterns
Material: Bamboo knit from Fabricville <3
Modifications: Cut a straight 14 and added some length for the blue dress
Learning: I'm so happy with the neckline on these, turns out basting first really does make a difference! I also learned I like elbow length sleeves, who knew?

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Pony Tank Dress

My goal when sewing maternity dresses is to use patterns that aren't maternity but will still fit all the way through. The are obviously exceptions, but this is not one of them. I picked up the Pony Tank when it first came out and was free to newsletter subscribers, but only now got around to making any. I wasn't terribly worried about fit, because it's such a loose-fitting garment, so I jumped right in.

First up is a mint-coloured rayon slinky knit, the same fabric that I used for one of my Durango tanks. I'm pretty sure when I loaded up on these knits they were buy 1m, get 2 free, so I got 2m of 3 different colours to make shirts for my husband and stuff for me. He got 2 shirts (a purple and a green one) and I got 2 tanks and a dress. Not bad for $20 worth of fabric.

Moving on to the dress. This was my first time making a v-neck, and the instructions walking me through it were excellent. The fabric is a little sheer, which isn't the end of the world but will require me to make intelligent undergarment decisions. It also doesn't have a lot of body, so the neckline is a little lower than it would otherwise be, and so are the armholes. That doesn't matter to me, and I expect this will especially get a lot of wear around the house this summer when it's hot and I feel like I'm the size of a house.

The second one I made is out of a lovely vintage floral that I picked up at Mood fabrics when I was in New York this past February. A note about Mood Fabrics: it's as amazing as it seems on Project Runway. The longer I have this dress, the more I love it. I will admit that I waffled on what pattern to use for this fabric, because it is very precious to me (I don't intend to go back to NY anytime soon), but ultimately went with the Pony Tank Dress to best showcase the print and because it will likely always fit. It isn't as swingy as it's supposed to be because it's a directional print and I only had 1.5yds of fabric (silly Americans and getting their fabric in yards instead of metres).

I don't have plans for any more of these dresses in the near future, but I think this will be a frequent pattern for future knits and quick wins.


Pattern: Pony Tank by Chalk and Notch
Material: Rayon/spandex lightweight knit and Mood Fabrics Floral Knit
Modifications: None at all!
Learning: First v-neck and happy with it!

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Durango Tank

I wrote this post a year ago, but never took pictures. Now I have made 2 more Durango tanks, so I'll throw in pictures of all 3! They still fit at 30 weeks pregnant, but barely!

I really don't know what magic Adrianna from Hey June Patterns has that makes her patterns so amazing, I just know that somehow her drafting is magic. When this pattern first came out I wasn't super interested in it - I generally like lower-cut tank tops, and I had one that I liked in the lago tank. As versions started popping up I changed my tune - somehow it just works on everyone. I also have starting getting annoyed at how frequently my bra straps end up showing.

To be honest, there is not much to be said about this pattern - I made a straight size 14 based on my high bust, and it fits perfectly. I am thrilled that I didn't have to do any adjustments to the armsythe or shoulders, and that I didn't need to grade out at the hips. I didn't even add length! This is one of the first out of the package patterns that I've made without alterations.

I used some left over fabric from a dress I sewed for my cousin to make this, just in case it didn't turn out well. I have already gone out and bought this same fabric in 3 more colours to make myself more. It's a rayon/spandex blend called "slinky knit" that cost me less than $5/m, and I'm curious as to how long it will last. It is really comfortable to wear when it's hot out, and I am going to exercise in it to see how well it works for that. (Note: Not the best for exercising)


Pattern: Free Durango Tank from Hey June Patterns
Material: Rayon/spandex lightweight knit
Modifications: None at all! Added 2 inches to the purple and mint ones to cover my bump better.
Learning: The way the arm binding is attached is awesome.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Ogden Cami Adventure

Note: I wrote this last summer and didn't get pictures that I liked for it, so I took a bunch on the mannequin since none of them fit me right now. I gave the purple one mentioned away, so there's no picture of it.

I have wanted this pattern since the first time I saw it. I held off buying it because I have a lot of other patterns I want to make, but when it went on sale late last year I finally decided to purchase it. I have a lot of versions that I want to make, and first up is a beautiful purple discount fabric.

Firstly, my first version doesn't actually fit me. It's my own fault - I should have measured myself more recently to ensure I got the right size, but what's done is done. It does fit the dress form very nicely. I picked up this lovely crepe-like purple fabric for $4/m, and am a little sad that I didn't get a garment I can wear out of it. The whole pattern came together beautifully, and I love how it looks. I thought about buying the same fabric to make a size up, but then I came across another lovely fabric that I liked just as much to use.

Version #2 is also from the discount fabric sections. It's a beautiful teal colour with a lovely drape, and it is surprisingly soft. This was measured at the right size for my bust, but it still doesn't fit super well. I can make it work if I wear the right bra, but I might just give it away. A little background: I have been boxing a few times a week since October (I wrote this last June), and have put on some muscle in my chest, shoulders and back. As a result, some clothing is fitting very poorly. In this case, the bust is the right size, but it's too tight on my chest above my bust. As a result, for my next one, I sized up to a 12 for the straps and above the bust, sized down to a 10 for the bust, and an 8 for the waist.

Version #3 I wanted to make from some leftover gold fabric from an earlier project, but I didn't have enough left for a full cami out of it. I barely squeezed the front piece and straps out of it, made the back and back lining out of some leftover teal fabric, then used leftover purple fabric for the front lining. I accidentally made the straps a bit too long, meaning it's a little more low-cut than I am comfortable with, so it's good for New Years Even or date nights, just not necessarily church (which is where I debuted it, oops). I have gotten a lot of compliments on this shirt already, from the one Sunday I wore it, and it fits!

Version #4 is the fit that I am using going forward, and cranked out in a couple of hours. I love the graphic red print, the length, the drape, everything. This is also from the discount fabric bin, and I have no idea what kind of fabric it is, but it feels lovely and soft. I was clearly in a super red mood when I bought this fabric because I also bought a wine-coloured fabric for another Ogden (pictured further above), and a red jersey and matching lace for a dress (which I used to make a Charleston dress to wear to my sister-in-law's wedding).


PatternOgden Cami by True Bias
Material: All sorts of discount wovens - no more than $4/m
Modifications: Size 12 straps and upper bust, size 10 bust, size 8 waist, added 1.5 inches in length
Learning: I love the technique used for attaching the straps! I want to try a future iteration with tied straps at the shoulders, and a dress version.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Piper Dress

The reason I started sewing a few years ago was because I was struggling to find dresses that fit me, and figured learning to sew nice dresses was a better solution for me than spending more money on dresses and getting them tailored. I am still trying to fill up my wardrobe with dresses that fit me, so when Christina from Wardrobe By Me put out the call for testers for the updated Piper Boho Tunic, I jumped - it was the perfect opportunity to add a different dress to my wardrobe. I have used quite a few of her patterns by now, so have a lot of faith in her drafting and cut right into the rayon fabric that I chose for this pattern. Once again, she did not let me down.

Due to the fit/style of this pattern, I chose not to add any length - partly due to laziness, partly because I was happy with it being a bit shorter than drafted, and the loose waist meant that it didn't really matter. I cut a straight size 12, graded out the 16 at the hips. As soon as I got to the point where I could try it on I was in love - the light, drapey floral rayon felt lovely against my skin, and I loved the loose fit. I will likely wear this with a belt for the most part, as I like having a defined waist.

The only problem here was the neckline - I was sloppy with the pattern marking and cutting, so the front of the neckline doesn't sit straight on me. This was 100% my fault though, not the pattern. I might stitch up some of the opening to make it a little more modest because it keeps shifting to the side when I wear it and showing my bra (#floozy).

This dress has already gotten a lot of wear, especially since our hot summer has continued. I think I want to make all my summer dresses in rayon - it's so dreamy to wear, and I don't really notice much wrinkling. On an amusing note, I recently dyed my hair blue, teal and purple, and a woman in Costco got my attention to tell me that this dress matched my hair perfectly and it looked really nice. It turns out I am very consistent with the colour schemes I like.

Thank you Amy for the beautiful pictures - they conveyed the breezy summer vibe I was going for!


Pattern: Piper BoHo Tunic by Wardrobe By Me
Material: Discount rayon from Fabricville - $3/m! I felt like I hit the jackpot on this one
Modifications: Graded out 2 sizes to accommodate my generous derrière
Learning: Take time to properly transfer pattern marking. I know I should know this by now, but clearly I needed a reminder.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Winslow Culottes

To be honest, I wasn't sure how much I was going to like these shorts, partly due to the aggressive pleats. I was a bit hesitant to spend this much money on a sewing pattern ($14 USD) for a style that's new to me, but I have enjoyed the "Love to Sew" podcast that Helen and Caroline do every week so much that I wanted to support Helen (it might be a while before I can justify shipping costs for buying fabric online). Helen's series on how to hack the pattern different ways really sold me on it though, because I was hoping to incorporate an elastic waist to account for my weight fluctuations and bloating due to parties with way too much delicious food.

On to the shorts! The pattern is the Winslow Culottes by Helen's Closet with the elastic back as shown in this blog post. I made a straight size 14 with the shortest length (I added 4ish inches and then took them all off) and due to the fact that I omitted the invisible zipper in favour of the elastic, these came together in no time. Usually it takes me a few evenings to finish a garment, but I after cutting them out I got them done in an evening and made it to bed on time. The next morning I ended up taking them in because I wanted them to sit at my natural waist and I accidentally inserted a longer elastic than I meant to.

I was a bit worried about my fabric selection for this. When I bought the pattern I went out and bought 2 fabrics from the discount section, this purple fabric and a navy blue that will give them a fancier feel. this purple fabric has a lot of texture and body, so I was a bit worried about how boxy they might look. In the end, I am very happy with how they turned out. I wore them to church Sunday because I know I can get honest opinions out of the women there, and generally plenty of compliments (shout out to the ladies at Faith Baptist for being awesome), and they were a hit. Many people commented that the shorts looked like a skirt, which is what I was going for. The texture of the fabric made them lovely to wear in the July heat because there wasn't much fabric touching my skin and they are so breezy.

I know these are going to get a lot of wear this summer, and I can't wait to make these in blue, this time with the invisible zip. I'm not sure if I'm ready to make these in the longer lengths, but I definitely wouldn't rule out the possibility! Also, these photos were taken on my phone by my wonderful friend Holly (thank you!), and once I started moving to my different poses she commented that I had clearly done this before.


PatternWinslow Culottes by Helen's Closet
Material: Discount woven fabric from Fabricville - $3/m!
Modifications: None!
Learning: This would be a great pattern for a beginner, they are so easy! Nothing new for me!

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Andrew's Christmas Poncho

What is a Christmas poncho, you ask? Well, thank you for asking! According to Andrew, it's a poncho made in Christmassy fabric. Not just any poncho, but one like Clint Eastwood wears as a man with no name. Also, I made this back in December, we just got around to taking pictures now.

If this project were any more difficult, I probably would not have agreed to make it for Andrew because it does not seem like a garment that he would get much use out of. Boy, was I wrong. He wears it almost everyday. He wore it to my parents' for Christmas, to his Grandparents' for boxing day, and he wore it for New Years Glamping Eve. I've actually started getting requests for more, who knew.

I bought about 2.5m of 60" wide fabric for this. The name of the fabric is "Poncho Perfection", so Andrew was clearly not the first person to see the fabric and think it was perfect for a poncho. The poncho is made up of 2 pieces of fabric sewn together at the shoulders, with a gap left for the head hole. I sewed down the seam allowances so it's a nice clean finish around the neck. I left all other edges alone, and it's fraying nicely. Andrew is a little concerned that it might fray too much, but if it becomes an issue I could just serge the edges. 

If anyone would like a more detailed tutorial with poorly done sketches, I would be happy to write a post for it. It only too a couple of hours, and that was because I kept making stupid mistakes and needing to pull apart seams (it was really strong fabric though, so a good yank to rip out stitches was no problem. I barely needed my seam ripper).