Monday, September 29, 2014

Centaurée B&W

Here's my first take on the Deer & Doe Centaurée dress. I fell in love with this pattern as soon as I saw it, and originally tried to follow the sew-along that Deer & Doe hosted, but as usual I didn't actually end up finishing it by the deadline.

I envisioned this dress as something to be worn to a summer musical festival. After not being too interested  music shows for the last few years, this summer I was excited to be going to the Toronto Urban Roots Festival to see Man Man, Neutral Milk Hotel, and my personal High School idol Jenny Lewis.

Well, the dress wasn't done in time and I had to make due with a different sundress, but I still wanted to finish the dress! It's a bit of a statement for everyday wear, but sometimes being overdressed is worth it. I wore it out this weekend with a slip, tights and boots which worked nicely so I think I won't be packing this one away with my other sundresses :)

Centaurée bodice

Pattern Notes:

Although design wise Deer&Doe is one of my favourite indie pattern companies, with my boyish frame I'm pretty much the opposite of the hourglass figure they are designed for.  I made my muslin up in 38B 40W 38H. From there I then had to make a SBA of about 1cm, which was pretty easy using the sew-along instructions. I then took in the side seams by about 2cm. I also altered the back high-lo to be 2 inches shorter at the back. (Note on the switching back and forth between metric and imperial... I actually do that a lot when sewing. I think it might be a Canadian thing as we're technically a metric country but since most of our media comes from the US imperial is used a lot too. I tend to use metric for small changes and imperial for larger ones. My sewing machine seam allowance marks on the throat plate are in imperial as well).

Sewing & Fabric Notes:

Both fabrics are from Fabric By Designer on Queen street in Toronto. Both are light drapey rayon. The white print is quite sheer so the dress is fully lined with white rayon. I only had a couple of issues with construction.
First was the side invisible zip which is not so invisible really. I tend to do a good job on my back centred  invisible zips but my side zips are often a mess. All I can think of to maybe fix that would to interface the seam allowance in my next version, a step I generally skip. Any other side zip tips would be appreciated. I don't think it's that bad really, but I might not wear it around another sewist I was trying to impress :)
My other issue was with my self made bias binding. Even with my clover bias binding tool I hate making bias binding. HATE IT. Which I should work on I guess because it looks nice. I used this method and it turned out ok, but was a little uneven in some places.

Other upcoming projects are (hopefully): a Gertie Shirtwaist dress for a friend that I have been taking forever to finish and a Cat lady Datura. So until then happy sewing!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Gertie's Book for Better Sewing Shirtwaist Dress - Round One

Gertie's book for better sewing shirtwaist dress

Taking pictures remains my least favourite part of the sewing blog thing. Love reading them, love writing them, love sewing - hate being in front of the camera. I took like 20 shots with my auto-timer and ended up with two. But that's ok! I can still share my thoughts about this pattern and a few construction details!

Gertie's book for better sewing shirtwaist dress

Pattern Notes:

This is the Shirtwaist Dress from Gertie's Book for Better Sewing. This is on the third project I've tried from the book, and yesterday I just received Gertie Sews Vintage Casual. So many things from these two books that I want to make! This was a wearable muslin, so no changes except that I left the sleeves off. I just wasn't feeling the puff sleeves in my fabric (Edited to add I also shorted the dress by about 4 inches to make it mini instead of tea length). I made a bust 2 waist and hips 4, and honestly maybe should have gone up a size at the waist. It's very comfy because of the back shirring, but pulls forward at the side seams a bit.

I did have a few issues with the pattern. The collar fit is off on me in that the back collar piece sits so far back that you can't really see it from the front. Also the front facing at the collar has a tendency to pop out, a flaw I think might be an easy fix by just making the facing about an inch wider. The last issue I have with the pattern is that there seems to be some excess fabric around the shoulder area. I'm currently making a version for a friend and my muslin for her had that issue as well.

Positives for this pattern: It's extremely comfy, as I mentioned before! I really like that the shirring allows for a more vintage fitted silhouette but with lots of ease around the waist. Very nice to everyday dressing. This is one of the most comfortable dresses I have, so despite the minor fit issues it gets worn a lot. Like weekly. The cheap poly I used is actually starting to pill a little from how much I wear it! Second bonus: My boyfriend really likes it :) It's kind of silly but I was less than impressed with the dress when I finished it until he said "what a cute dress!" which caused my to change my opinion pretty fast... What can I say? It was a good complement.

I actually sewed a reasonable amount this summer so hopefully I can catch up on some more posts now that fall has begun to set in in Toronto. We shall see. As always thanks for checking out my post!  

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Liebster Award

Back in April (!!) I was nominated for a liebster award by the talented Sally Bee Makes. I'm great at putting things off so I'm only getting around to doing it now. Thanks again Sally!

How this works:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you
3. Nominate 11 other followers with less than 500 followers
4. Post 11 questions for your nominees to answer
5. Tag your nominees and post a comment on their blog to let them know you nominated them

1. Why did you start blogging?
 I find the combination of personal style and crafting skill shown by sewing bloggers very inspiring and wanted to be part of the community.
2. How do you get yourself out of a sewing funk?
I don't really have a tried and true method for that!
3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I love where I live (Toronto Canada) but I've always wanted to live abroad in Japan. I'm really interested in the culture, plus the country is pretty much the holy mecca of craft supplies and fabric.
4. Sewing for other people: love it or loathe it?
I kind of like it. Sewing for other people was one of the challenges I set for myself this year. The project I'm working on right now is a dress for a friend and I'm a little bit nervous!
5. What is your best feature?
Probably my eyes. 
6. If you had an infinite amount of money that would disappear after one day, how would you spend that day?
Paying off my friends and mine student debts, flying my family in from British Columbia (1st class because we're talking magical money here!) and then taking all my friends and family out for an awesome time at Guu Izakaya.
7. What is your favourite fabric shop?
I really like Fabric by Designer on Queen St in Toronto, it has a nice selection of garment fabrics and is well organized. I also like King Textiles on Spadina for the size of the selection and good prices. My most frequented online fabric store is Miss Matatabi for gorgeous Japanese fabrics.
8. What is your biggest sewing sin?
Not always lining up my fabrics selvage to selvage to check if the grainline is straight. 
9. If you could make any sewing process disappear, what would it be?
checking grainlines, haha!
10. Which other crafts, if any, do you do?
I like to knit, but mostly only on long car rides or in front of the tv.
11. Cats or dogs?

1. Why did you start blogging?
2. How do you get yourself out of a sewing funk?
3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
4. Sewing for other people: love it or loathe it?
5. What is your best feature?
6. If you had an infinite amount of money that would disappear after one day, how would you spend that day?
7. What is your favourite fabric shop?
8. What is your biggest sewing sin?
9. If you could make any sewing process disappear, what would it be?
10. Which other crafts, if any, do you do?
11. Cats or dogs?

I nominate:


Bonus to take me to 11:
Her blog is in French but Viedomestique is lovely with great eye candy, she posts on Burdastyle as as aalaberge.

Also! I used bloglovin followers to determine eligibility, even though I actually use Feedly to follow most blogs. If you want me follow you on bloglovin for the numbers I would be more than happy to.

Hope everyone has fun with the questions!

Monday, June 16, 2014

I made a nettie!

brown polkadot nettie

I made a closet case files nettie! I fell in love with this pattern as soon as I saw it, and knew I wanted to give it a try even though I have not tried sewing with knits in years, and don't really like bodysuits that much. I'm glad I gave it a try because even though it didn't turn out perfect, it does make me feel like a total babe, which is rare for me and very nice! Such is the power of the nettie.

brown polkadot nettie back

Sewing notes

I made it in size 8 which would be size 6 in the current version. I really like how dramatic the low back view is, and I find scoop necklines to be flattering so that was what I decided to try. One of the silver linings of having a small chest is not needing much support, so I only included the shelf bra, not the cups. For my A cup the shelf bra feels like it has about as much support as a regular soft bra, so I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. Having not sewn much with knits I struggled a bit with the neckband. I had to rip out my first try because it was uneven. Ripping zigzag is time consuming! Advice for knit novices: zigzag binding along edge before sewing in, as my major issue the first time was the neckband curling as I stretched it, which led to unevenness. Also I found it much easier to sew in when I added extra pins between the main four which are measured. I cut it to be a long shirt instead of bodysuit, as when I pulled it down to close the snaps I didn't like how low it made the neckline on me.
The only negative I have for my version (first try!) is that the shoulders are a bit prone to slipping. Not a top for dancing or vigorous activity. I'm not 100% on why it's happening. A couple guesses are that the shelf bra is pulling the back too far forward (the side seam is certainly very pulled forward), or I need to make a bigger size, or maybe my fabric has no lycra? The content was unmarked so I could only test stretch percentage.

I loved making it and I have plans for like... six more. So highly recommended if you were thinking about giving it a try!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Datura refashion / wearable muslin


Lately most of my sewing projects have been failures, and I really can't gather the will to blog about them. This one almost ended up in the failure pile too, but a couple of rough on the fly fixes and I ended up with a top I'll actually wear! 
This is the Datura blouse from Deer and Doe Patterns. You've likely seen this one around! I'm pretty broke so I consider indie pattern purchases a bit of a luxury. It took me a long time to cave and finally buy this pattern. I already have three more planned so I think it will be worth it!

Pattern Notes:

I started  with the size 38. I know doe and deer patterns are sized for a c cup bust, which obviously is not me! This is actually my second try with a D&D pattern. I have a failed Belladone stashed away, waiting for me to deal with it sometime. For the Belladone I did a small bust adjustment, but for some reason this time I skipped it. 

My first hurdle with the pattern came with sewing the yoke together. I could not for the life figure it out. I spent quite some time searching online for someone to explain it, and that just turned up either people linking to a dead french link explaining it, or just commenting on how ingenious the construction is. Ha! I felt like a bit of an idiot. 

Anyways: you turn the front yoke piece so that it is right side out, then place it inside the back yoke piece! ugh. For some reason the wording in the pattern completely threw me. I might try to make a mini photo tutorial to replace the dead french one in case anyone else is out there on the internet confused as hell by this pattern!

Once the yoke was figured out I tried my WIP and the fit was pretty bad on me. The bust dart was quite a bit too low and the whole thing overwhelmed my small frame. In progress fixes I did:
1) take up the straps 3/4"
2) drawing a waist shape into the body like so:

Fabric notes:

datura back

This is actually a refashion from an old unflattering dress I was holding on to because I liked the print. It's a light weight poly and was a little tricky to work with. I'm a still a novice when it comes to slippery fabrics!

I've changed my stash diet rules a bit to deal with my particular situation, which includes lots of potential refashions. Any one finished refashion project (even if it used more than one old piece) counts as one complete "stash" fabric. So not great for counting used up yardage but what I need to get my sewing corner under control!

...Actually I'm just off to visit fabricland on this lovely (warm! sunny!) spring day, and likely use up my whole earned fabric allowance of three pieces!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

An actual wearable sweater.

Even though I've been knitting for quite a few years I've never actually managed to complete a sweater that ends up being wearable! This one still has its flaws (if anyone has an easy to understand faq on short rows / how to make them invisible I would love it if you passed it on to me. I watched and read many how-tos and kind of got it, but still made mistakes / lack confidence). 

The pattern is the Agatha cardigan from Andi Satterlund, and I imagine a lot of you have seen it before as its pretty popular in our corner of the internet. For good reason I think, it's pretty cute. I like the high-waisted style becaue it complements vintage looks but also the design is nice and casual which is good for counter-balancing some of my dresser makes (like my sultry sheath).I probably should have made it in a medium, as it pulls at the button band pretty badly. But what the hell, still very happy with it.

A quick word on the yarn: I used cascades 220 like the pattern called for, and the sweater has already started felting and pilling even though I've only worn it 6 or so times. I don't think it happened during blocking because it looked fine after that. Any insight to what's going on? This sort of thing happen with cascades yarn maybe?

Thanks for checking out my post, hopefully I'll be back next week with some recent spring makes!
It's spring dammit. Stop it with the snow Toronto.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Gingham Negroni for Joshua

Ok,  so crafting resolution #2 attempt 1! I've been wanting to make something for my boyfriend Josh for years now, and finally got around to it. I'm pretty pleased with it for a first try, though there are definitely some things that I'll change for the next try (primarily the length of the shirt body). Also I learned that not only am I bad at taking self timer shots of myself, but I generally suck at photography all around. For most of these pictures I stood way to close to Josh and since he's a good foot taller than me, they all ended up being lovely shots of up his nose. Sorry babe! I also didn't take that many shots since I felt bad about making him model (for no real reason since he was great about it) so had very few shots to pull from. New mini crafting resolution: become better at photography.

gingham negroni 01

Pattern notes:

This is the Negroni pattern from Colette Patterns. I got this back in 2011, so it's been in my stash for a while. I didn't realize that it had a camp collar until I started making it! I think it works but I also want to make Josh a more traditional dress shirt as well, so if anyone has any suggestions let me know!

I used the medium for the most parts but lengthened the body to the xl. I did this because I was comparing the length to that of a shirt my boyfriend said was a good length on him but realized after it was done that long dress shirt = meant to be tucked, versus the short more casual style of the negroni. So that was one new lesson. I want to go back and shorten this shirt at some point.

The only other change I did was slashing and overlapping the sleeve at the midpoint to make it narrower, which was the only change Josh asked for from the muslin. I wasn't really sure at first how to go about doing that while still keeping the cuff and shoulder seams the same size since he was happy with them. After searching the internet the best I could come up with was the inverse of this technique (thanks internet!). I then trued the pattern and proceeded on my way. It seems to have worked but yeah, lots of guesswork in that pattern manipulation theory.

Sewing notes:

Lots of new techniques for me here but not many changes from the pattern. The only major failure was my flat felled shoulder seams. When it came time to press the shoulder seams to the body to be sewn down I messed up the previous pressed fold, and could not get it back as neatly because it was already sewn on. Next time I'm just going to finger press at this point. I think maybe I lack refined pressing skills!

Plackets! Kind of fun, kind of stressful. I bought an edge stitch foot after this project. 

Fabric notes:

I've decided that items sewn for other people are exempt from my stash diet rules, and this was not a stash piece so it doesn't count towards my stash total. However of the 3 yards I bought for this project I ended up with about 3/4 of a yard left (single layer cutting!) so now that leftover counts as 'stash'. 

Been really enjoying watching Project Sewn unfold, and have a couple ideas about the next themes so might submit to the sew along if I can get organized in time!