Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Marled Grey Boyfriend Cardigan

This one is the real deal and I love it. Not only do I love wearing, but I managed to start it and finish it between work and a late Ultimate Frisbee game, so it took me just under 3 hours. This makes it my cheapest garment yet! (my time is valuable) I got the fabric for 50% off, meaning it cost $15+tax for the 2 metres it took to make it, which is reasonable enough. I really hope this fabric is still around and included when Fabricville has the "buy 1 metre get 2 free" sale, at which point I would buy 6 metres in 3 different colours.

The only differences between this cardigan and the green one are the lack of pattern matching required on this one, and I actually added the pockets. This fabric has some horizontal stretch, but absolutely no vertical stretch, so adding pockets and putting things in them won't stretch it out. I don't have much else to add other than I really recommend this fabric for cardigans (it's this one) because of it's coziness. The girl at Fabricville who cut it for me said she used it for leggings, which might now be on my to do list.

This is my last of the nursery photos, hopefully my next ones will be outside. Thank you once again to Ruth!

PatternLove Notions Boyfriend Cardigan on sale for $5 (USD)
Material: Sweater knit from Fabricville for $7.50/m
Modifications: I added 3 inches to the body and to the sleeves.  I was going to grade out the hips but totally forgot, and since it's open it's not a big deal.
Learning: Nothing new!
Total Cost: $15 +tax for fabric, pattern was factored in for the last one = $17.25

My super awesome photo bomber

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Green Striped Boyfriend Cardigan

When Love Notions had a sale on their Boyfriend Cardigan I decided it was a good time for me to grab the pattern. As someone who is perpetually cold, cozy cardigans are a necessity in my freezing cold office. I was planning to improve my knitting and start knitting myself cardigans and sweaters, but there is no way that is happening on time to get me a wearable sweater for this winter. I contemplated buying one or two to add to my wardrobe, but I find most of them have sleeves that are too short and tight, are too flimsy, or are too heavy for the amount of warmth they provide.

Enter, cardigan sewing! I generally like cardigans with buttons, but decided to risk making an open one this time because I liked everything else about it. I've been wearing it now for a couple of weeks, and I'm extremely happy with it. My fall pinterest board has a lot of sweaters, and this one fits in with the vibe I'm going for.

I found the fabric that I wanted a cardigan out of, a marled grey sweater knit, but at $15/m I was hesitant to use it for my first time making a pattern. I picked it up when it was on sale for 50% off, but I also looked in the sale section with the help of a lovely lady that worked at the fabric store and found this green striped knit for $4/m and bought 3 metres of it for a wearable muslin. I love wearable muslins, and since the pattern was so easy, I'm happy with this one.

This cardigan came together really fast, which is a major bonus considering how many I've decided I need in my wardrobe. There were not gotchas, no missed instructions and almost nothing new to learn. My biggest takeaway about pattern-matching. I was much better at it at the end of the project than at the beginning, and pins didn't really help me - they matched up better when I was just eyeballing it. Overall, the stripes don't match up very well, but it doesn't bother me. It's still cozy, and it fits me the way I want it to.

Look how cozy it looks

: Love Notions Boyfriend Cardigan on sale for $5 (USD)
Material: Green knit from Fabricville for $4/m
Modifications: I added 3 inches to the body and to the sleeves.  I was going to grade out the hips but totally forgot, and since it's open it's not a big deal.
Learning: Cardigan sewing is my jam, pattern matching is not.
Total Cost: $8 for fabric, $9.37 for the pattern (conversion rate and tax did a number on that one) = $17.37

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Purple Adelaide Dress

I know this is a summer dress, and we're already way into fall, but I knew this was a pattern I could knock off my list in less than a week. I wanted a quick win to gain some sewing momentum, and I need to get more of my sewing todo list accomplished so I can buy new fabric! Those who follow me on instagram may have seen that I prematurely bought new fabric, but that's no surprise. Is there a support group for spouses of people who buy too much fabric? I think my husband would feel the need to attend.

On to the dress. This is a relatively lightweight woven material that I picked up from the sale section of Fabricville for about $3/metre, labeled "unknown fibres" (which seems to be how they label them all). I wasn't sure if I was going to need to increase the size of the armsythe, but I tried in on after I assembled the pieces and discovered that it was almost cutting off circulation to my arms. Luckily, increasing the armhole size was easy, and I will keep it in mind for modifying patterns in the future. I added 2 inches to the bodice length and 3 inches to the bottom in hopes that it will fit me with minor adjustments.

The snaps were possibly my favourite part of this dress. Getting out a hammer and installing them was therapeutic, and I might look for more excuses in the future to use them. Maybe bibs for friend's baby showers? For those afraid of installing snaps, fear not! I needed to make a decision regarding the snaps around my bust: either let it gape a little, add another snap, or add an invisible snap. I decided to add the snap for now, with the option in the future to remove it and use an invisible one. Pro tip: If you want to remove a snap, use a flat-head screwdriver to pry it apart. I learned this because I accidentally installed the female side backwards after I had install the male side.

The bias binding at the neck and sleeves went awfully. It turns out that while I got better at knit binding, I have a long way to go for using woven binding. I'm still not happy with how the neckline turned out (is anyone surprised?) and the sleeves are only half decent, but I spent so much more time on this dress than I intended that I gave up. I did one of the sleeves 4 times. Moral of the story: I still have a lot to learn. Thank you to the lovely Ruth for these pictures in the church nursery between the potluck and hanging of the greens, it turns out getting pictures of a summer dress in the almost winter is difficult.


Pattern: Adelaide by Colette Patterns
Material: Printed purple woven similar to quilting cotton from Fabricville (3$/m)
Modifications: Added 2 inches to the bodice, 3 inches in length and increased armsythe size. In the future I'm going to add some length at the top of the dress to make it a bit lower and widen the straps, the bust darts sit a bit too high on me.
Learning: How to install snaps! I also finally got to use the bias binding creating doohickys I bought off amazon, and they are super fun.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Another pair of pants

Recently I sat down and did some wardrobe planning for my fall clothing. I collected pins (this pinterest board) for inspiration, I wrote down all the clothing that I owned and came up with a list of things that I want to sew to fill in gaps. Naturally, there are more things on the list than I will have time to get to this year, but I am alright with that - I am good at prioritizing... sometimes.

Anyway, that was all to introduce my latest pair of pants! My colours for the fall are shades of burgundy, shades of green/blue, and neutrals. I already have black, navy and maroon pants, so these pants fall in the shades of green category, at a teal-like colour. I actually went to the fabric store to buy more of an olive-green woven material to make a pair of pants, but I didn't find anything that I liked, and fell in love with this fabric (in part because it was $4 per metre). I was testing the chi-town chino pants at the time, and wanted to use that pattern to copy the concept of this pair of pants.

These pants went together really easily. Try two of a pattern naturally goes better than try one. That being said, I'm not a huge fan of them. I like them well enough to wear them, and they are really comfortable, but for some reason they look a bit nineties to me. They also are going to start pilling really soon. I'm glad I finally made a pair of pants with back patch pockets and a button for the front closure. I discovered that I can make buttonholes on my sewing machine without a special foot (they may not be perfect, but they do the trick!), and I even installed the button with my machine.

When I told Alina I was planning on making these pants, she suggested that I might want to use a pattern that was meant for stretch fabrics instead of trying to modify this pattern, and she was definitely right. You don't learn if you don't try though! I used a woven quilting cotton for the pockets and waistband, and while it worked fine for the pockets, the waistband turned out wavy, and I should have added some more interfacing.


PatternChi-town pants by Alina (Free because I was a tester)
Material: Teal knit fabric from Fabricville
Modifications: Full seat adjustment, added about 4 inches in length and took them in a lot so they have negative ease.
Learning: Listen to a pattern designer when she suggests a different pattern, she's probably right. On the bright side, I learned to do a button closure and patch pockets, and that sewing a knit to a woven is as difficult as people say. Also, I finally figured out that when the back piece is longer than the front piece when putting together pants, you should ease them into being the same length, not just attach and cut off the extra.

Bonus picture of the view from our trip to York Redoubt
I still like the fabric, and I think I have enough left to make myself a dress :) Next up: finally getting around to making the Adelaide I've been meaning to for months!

Monday, 3 October 2016

Sea-foam Green Charleston Dress

I have been looking for mint coloured fabric for a Charleston dress since I bought the pattern, specifically this version. It's a colour I love for wearing in the summer, but don't have nearly enough of in my wardrobe. I managed to find this scuba knit for buy 1 metre, get 2 free at Fabricville, and came home with 3 yards of fabric instead of just the zipper and buttons that I went to purchase (Don't be surprised if you see a sports bra and capris in this fabric in the future. 3 metres is a lot). I sewed this in the 2 weeks leading up to a friend's wedding in my rare spare time and cut it pretty close, timing wise. There was a lot of basting and adjusting to get it just right, and I'm really happy with the result.

I'm a little sad that I didn't find this fabric and make this dress at the beginning of the summer so that I could wear it for the summer months, but I'm sure I will love the colour just as much next year. I made a point not to rush this dress, despite the deadline, and did my absolute best to line up the seams on the skirt and bodice. As you may be able to tell in the pictures, that didn't happen and I was tired of taking out basing and re-sewing at that point. I'm not super thrilled about the armholes and needed to adjust them a little to get rid of some gaping, but some steam helped say them flatter and made the topstitching less visible.

This is hands down my best neckband yet, I think I have it figured out finally! We will see when I make the next dress (I'm an addict, I know) or shirt, but I am cautiously optimistic! I'm hoping to get better at sleeveless binding, but I think my next few will have some sort of sleeves, so I'm not concerned yet. The fabric is borderline fluorescent, which I love.

Ally has gone back to school and our frisbee season ended, which means getting together for pictures is more difficult, but I found another photographer to help me out. Thank you so much, Ruth!


PatternCharleston Dress from Hey June
Material: Sea-foam Green Scuba Knit from Fabricville, $15/m and buy 1 get 2 free
Modifications: Added 2.5 inches to the body, 3 inches to the skirt, increased the size of the armsythes to accommodate my shoulders properly, and graded in at the waist. I still didn't add a zipper since the fabric has about 50% stretch, and I added an elastic to the waist to add structure.
Learning: I'm still working on getting the binding right on knit clothing (neckbands and armhole finishings are still a pain), but I get better each time I do it. This dress gets easier every time I make it.

Next Up: More pants!

Monday, 26 September 2016

Chi-town Chino Pants

I got to pattern test for a different pattern designer! Alina sent out a tester call for turning the chi-town chinos from shorts into pants, and I couldn't resist the opportunity to make myself another pair of pants that fit. I may have bit off more than I can chew, because the first weekend I was in PEI for a beach ultimate frisbee tournament, then for another 2 days in the middle of the week I was in another part of PEI with family (I brought the printed pattern with me and assembled it at the cottage), and my sister was in town visiting as well, so I spent a lot of time with her. In the end, I was able to finish on time, but unfortunately had difficult finding time to take pictures to send to her. Not only that, but we forgot a memory card for her camera, so thank you Ricky for letting us borrow your phone.

I definitely learned the importance of cutting pants properly on the grainline. I cut out these pants a little bit off grainline, and it is already bothering me. Lesson learned, I still like them, and I will do better next time. These pants have slant pockets (just like my last pair), welt back pockets (definitely not like my last pair) and a front fly zip. the waistband is done differently than how I've done them before, and I like this method just as much as the separate waistband method.

This was my first time doing a Full Seat Adjustment (using Heather's tutorial here), and I think that will be how I make pants, shorts and skirts going forward, because I like how the front fits much better. There is less extra fabric in the front, especially when I sit down. I will still need to do some grading due to my clearly-larger-than-most-women-my-size's legs, but most of it will begin at the bottom of my bum.

I used leftover navy wool fabric from my first pencil skirt (which did not survive the great purge of 2016 due to it being to large now) because I was unable to find a fabric that I liked at Fabricville, so there is almost no stretch in them. This is not a problem for the most part, but it means that they are a little difficult to get up over my clearly-larger-than-most-women-my-size's bum. I think going forward I will need to stick with fabrics with some stretch for pants, which I am perfectly okay with since I tend to sit in weird positions at work or pretend to kick people in the head at random times throughout the day.


Pattern: Chi-town pants by Alina (Free because I was a tester)
Material: Navy blue wool from Fabricville
Modifications: Full seat adjustment, graded out to large leg sizes, added about 4 inches in length.
Learning: I learned one of the most useful skills that I will need, considering my body: A Full Seat Adjustment! There are more complicated ways to do them that I might investigate in the future, but the simple way did the trick for now. I also learned a new way to insert a zipper fly, belt loops and slant pockets. This was also my first time doing welt pockets, and although they weren't that difficult, I don't think I will be making them again soon. I also learned the hard way not to cut with pinking shears too close to the stitching, and pay attention to grainline.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Elysia's Skirt

Usually I restrict sewing to selfish sewing, as the reason I got into sewing was to have clothing that fits me. That said, I will make exceptions. In this case, I sewed a maxi skirt for my 6'2" sister. This was before I took my first sewing class about a year ago, and it was based off this tutorial. I had to redo the waistband at one point because I accidentally attached it so that the part where I sewed the waistband together was right in the front, but I'm happy with how it turned out.

I really like the drape and volume that this skirt ended up with, and Elysia tells me that she gets lots of compliments on it. When I made it for her, she was living in PEI, so after I had assembled it I brought it with me with a bunch of pins to one of her basketball games and had her stand on a bench in the change room so that I could hem it to approximately the right length. 

Thank you very much to Elysia for modelling her skirt, and to Sarah for taking the pictures. My next not selfish sewing will be a skirt for Sarah, and I will hopefully get pictures of her wearing it less than 10 months later.


Pattern: Tutorial found via Pinterest
Material: Some sort of synthetic knit fabric from Fabricville
Modifications: Made to fit her, none required :) Everything was eyeballed, I think I overlapped the front and the back pieces by about 10 inches.
Learning: This was a lot of sewing in straight lines, so nothing new other than be careful where seam lines show up on waistbands.

Up next: Pants, for real this time! Or not, it might be another Charleston dress because I'm obsessed and found some really awesome fabric.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Pocketed Charleston Dress

I finally finished the Charleston dress that I cut out almost 3 months ago (give or take, I don't actually remember). When I bought this material originally, it was for a maxi skirt. Since then, I have lost interest in maxi skirts for a variety of reasons (mostly when I walked around with them I hiked them up anyway because I take really long strides and get warm quickly), and so I repurposed the fabric into iteration 2 of the Charleston dress. I wanted to try a version with the sleeved bodice and the A-line skirt with pockets, and although this fabric was a little flimsy for that, I'm happy with the result.

I didn't bother pattern matching, as you can see, and it has yet to bother me. The neckband is the best one that I have attached yet, but we're still not best friends. Maybe the next one will be perfect, or maybe we will just stay frenemies. Either way, I don't have any glaring mistakes on this one! (I think, please don't burst my bubble) 

The goal for this dress was a work appropriate dress with pockets, and to finally get a neckband right. Mission: Accomplished! Once I finished it, I wore it for 4 out of the next 6 days, in part because I like it and in part because I just got rid of most of my other dresses in the great purge of 2016. Thank you to my lovely sister for taking these pictures, and to my lovely dad for letting us borrow his phone because it had the best camera, and no thank you to Ally for leaving me to go to the Czech Republic for a few weeks. 


Pattern: Charleston Dress from Hey June
Material: From my stash, originally intended for a maxi skirt, a jersey knit of some sort
Modifications: Added 2 inches to the body, 3 inches to the skirt, increased the size of the armsythes to accommodate my shoulders properly, and graded in at the waist. Next time I will add another inch to the body, the waist hits a little higher than I would like.
Learning: I finally got the neckband right! I just didn't bother pinning it before sewing, and stretched it pretty evenly around as I sewed so that it lay flat. This was my first time adding sleeves to a garment, and it was easier than I thought it would be. Basting everything together to check fit and keep things in place was one of my best discoveries ever, it might take some extra time up front but is totally worth it.

Next up: Chino pants! This new discovery of sewing pants that fit me is life-changing, and I want to make more.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Slim Fit Pants

As soon as I got the Frida shorts done, I knew I wanted to make them into pants as well. Unsurprisingly, Christina thought the same, so when she put out a tester call for a pants version of the Frida shorts, I signed up right away. Sure enough, I love the pants too! I cannot stress enough how excited I am to have a pair of pants that are long enough and fit both my waist and my legs.

To give you an idea of how hard it is for me to find pants, I will list some of the typical problems I have when shopping for pants in stores:
  1. They fit my legs alright, but are too large in the waist
  2. They almost fit my waist, but are too tight in the legs
  3. They are the right size for my waist, but I can't even pull them up past my thighs
  4. They are too short (not too much of an issue right now because cropped pants are in style)
  5. They fit my thighs but are too tight at my calves
As you can see, the likelihood of pants that I try on fitting in one of those categories is much higher than them fitting my body. My solution for the most part has been to get pants that are too big in the waist but fit half decently everywhere else and just wear a belt. This causes annoying bunching around the waist that I have to try and re-adjust regularly, and my belt usually ends up over the top of my waistband just sitting on my skin or whatever shirt I have tucked in.

Now I have a new solution: Sew my own pants! This was really one of my big goals when I started sewing, and I am really excited that I already have a pair of pants that fit me and I love. The fabric exceeded all my expectation, it has the perfect amount of stretch and weight, the colour is lovely and it is super soft on the inside. The waistband is the best one I've made yet, although there is still a little bit of gaping at the back that I am hoping to fix for the next pair that I sew (hopefully in black, but maybe in a fun pattern).

The shirt is the sleeveless small scoop version of the Wardrobe By Me Wardrobe Builder Tee. I need to learn how to properly fit a bodice - the armholes are a little too tight and there is some weird pulling, so I will do some research because I still dream of perfectly fitting tops.

Material: More of the free fabric from our local sewing shop that I used for my first pair of Frida Shorts, with leftover heart material from my Valentine's Day dress
Modifications: I grade out the hips 2 sizes, the thighs another size, and added 3 inches in length. So, my sizes were: size 8 waist, size 12 hips, size 14 thighs, and I used size 12 pattern pieces for the pockets. 
Learning: I learned how to fit pants....kind of. I just kept basting them and trying them on until they fit. I also learned why it's so hard to buy pants: I am actually 4 different sizes. The rest I learned when I made the Frida shorts.
Overall Impression: I love these pants, surprise surprise. I will know more this winter when I will probably wear them 3 days a week, but they are nice and warm (not ideal for summer outside, but perfect for my freezing cold air-conditioned office) and most importantly, THEY FIT!

Material: A jersey picked out at Fabricville
Modifications: None - I cut a straight size 8. I think I will size up next time as well as increase the armhole size
Learning: Have I complained about neckbands yet? I picked this one out and resewed it, but I still hate them.
Overall Impression: I can't wait to try this again with some modifications, the pattern is a quick sew and comes together very nicely. Overall, a great pattern to sew up tons of variations of shirts.

The last two pictures are me demonstrating that I have a lot of freedom of movement in them. 

Friday, 29 July 2016

Plaid Frida Shorts

I was so excited about my first pair of Frida Shorts, that I immediately started a new pair once I was done. I'm on a roll! I am happy to say I now have 2 pairs of shorts that fit me, which is 2 more than before I started. I thought about pattern matching the plaid, but decided it was not worth the hassle and it isn't that important to me anyway. It turns out that once I started getting clothing that I wear and am proud of, finding time to sew is much easier, because the payoff is so clear. I need to purge my wardrobe so that I have more excuses to sew things. 

The biggest issue that I had was I printed out the final released version of the pattern, where Christina slimmed the legs down, but I forgot to factor in the lack of stretch in my material. To fix this, I just re-cut out the back 2 pieces in a bigger size, and it worked out alright. I was lucky that I had plenty of the fabric, otherwise I would have been in trouble. I used a red cotton for the binding on the waistband and for the pockets, and I really like the surprise pop of colour that often shows when I sit down.

PatternFrida Shorts by Wardbrobe By Me (again!)
Material: $1 per yard from a lady off kijiji (we got a lot of fabric from her), and some left over red fabric from my valentine's day dress
Modifications: I grade out the hips 2 sizes and added 2 inches in length to the mid thigh length, then graded out the back pieces another size
Learning: Since this is my second time making the pattern, I didn't learn a whole lot. These turned out a little better than the last ones in the details, and the next ones will likely be even better!
Overall Impression: I love these shorts too! I was a little apprehensive about how much I would like them with this material, because I'm not that much of a plaid person, and it's a little itchy. The itchiness isn't too bad when I'm wearing them, and I like that the plaid makes them look a little more dressed up. I've already worn them to church and the office (yes, we are allowed to wear shorts), and they get good reviews. 

The top I'm wearing in this picture is an old one from Banana Republic that I bought to wear for my first co-op placement. I do intend to sew one like it in the future though!