Monday, 7 July 2014

When life gives you lemons...

... or in my case, when you mess up what was supposed to be a simple sewing project, and in the end, it turns out better than you thought, that's what I call "lemonade";)

       Let me elaborate:) So I had this great rayon/polyester/spandex tropical print fabric from, where else, Fabricville. It was a great deal @ $5/metre. I've had somewhat of an obsession with Hawaiian/Tropical prints lately and was *dying* to make some kind of summery item with it. I was torn between making a skirt or a dress. In the end I decided to make a mermaid style skirt from a tutorial on youtube. I was in somewhat of a rush to make something quick (my last project, a Minoru jacket took a few weeks to do). I was in too much of a panic, and botched it up. Also, I don't think my fabric was stable enough for the intended project. Very sad face:(

     I vented to Dan and he, being the encouraging husband he is, suggested that maybe it would turn out better than I thought. I was tempted to trash my skirt, but decided to sleep on it. Next morning, I googled "easy summer dress to sew", for some ideas for another project and stumbled across this, the "Two Become One Dress"!.
My inspiration!:)
This lovely lady provides a free pattern, and though I hadn't used her free pattern (yet!) it was the perfect fix to my botched-up skirt! I had a black maternity shirt that was damaged, so I cut it across the midriff and sewed it to the skirt at the waistband seam and voila, I then had my new favourite summer dress!! I can't tell you how much I adore this dress! I want more!:) I wore it to church yesterday and received many wonderful compliments:)

      This is not so much a tutorial, but this is what I did to make this cute summer dress: :)
First of all, I laid my fabric out (folded), and cut around a pair of jeans with the knees folded up to make a pencil skirt of sorts. For the waistband, I winged it, and made a waistband that's the casual fold-over style you find on some workout pants.


My soon-to-be-hacked maternity top!

    I had to cut and re-sew the side seams to fit my non-pregnant midsection:) and then try on the top with the skirt to figure out where to cut my top before sewing it to the waist seam. Again, just winging it!:)

    Here, hopefully you can see that the waistband remains free. Not perfect, I have to adjust the waistband "gathers" whenever I put it on, but hey it works! The top is now sewn to the waistband/skirt seam and is ready to wear!:)

I didn't even hem the skirt! I just cut it across with my beloved rotary cutter and I was good to go!:) I like the longer length, I think it's rather sophisticated;)

      Here are some more photos....

And for your viewing pleasure!:)


Thanks for reading and happy sewing!:D

Friday, 27 June 2014

My Minoru:)

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion, and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ."

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Hello all! It's nice to be back to sewing and blogging! If you recall, my last project was a maternity dress back in April!:) Since then, my husband and I have welcomed our first baby, Isaac, into the world:) Here he is:

    Isn't he cute?:) I took this photo in the midst of my latest sewing project, the very popular Minoru jacket of Sewaholic Patterns! Just Google "Minoru jacket" and tons of versions come up. There are 50 plus versions reviewed on PR alone (including mine;).

     I purchased this pattern on my birthday, back in March. I was 7 months pregnant at the time, so I knew I would be holding off til at least June before I tackled it. My mom was up for the first little while after Isaac was born, and on the day she was ready to leave I noticed that was having an "Outerwear" contest. It was just the motivation I needed to start on my jacket! It was challenging, to say the least, taking on my first jacket pattern while caring for a newborn, but I'm glad I did. It's very rewarding to have sewn a project like this, and it's definitely been a boost to my confidence:) My review on P.R.

     I followed the Sew-Along on the Sewaholic website, found here. Tasia, creator of Sewaholic Patterns, does an amazing job walking through each step of construction. Without the Sew-Along, I probably wouldn't have purchased the pattern (at least not at my current skill level). She makes the process very do-able:)

     I'm not including many photos of the process, since I think the Sew-Along is pretty thorough, but I wanted to add a few things that may be of help to anyone making their own jacket.
 I think I read every single blog post regarding the Minoru jacket (some numerous times!).

      The fabric is a Berry-coloured water-resistant cotton/polyester blend from Fabricville. I needed a rain jacket in the worst way! I had my heart set on yellow, but couldn't find any fabric suitable, so berry it was!

      It was helpful to read about other's experiences and get valuable tips. One thing I did, was line the hood, and make it 3 piece, by adding a panel  down the centre for more shaping. Here is a great post to show you how it's done:). I also cut the hood in a size 0, since the hood is pretty large. Also, I reduced the collar by 1" and graded to a size 0 in the hips (8 on top), according to the measurement chart (I'm not pear-shaped and Sewaholic is geared toward pear-shapes). I also reduced the placket accordingly. I also raised the waist elastic 1" and extended the elastic 1 & 1/2" on both sides for more shaping.

      I used Wash-A-Way Wonder tape when installing the zipper into the collar and marked the zipper to help line up the window (and on the plackets). I ended up not using any pins, far easier with the Wonder tape!:) I used it on the placket as well.

     The completed lining before sewing it to the main jacket. I used a cotton/polyester blend in a floral print to line the body of the jacket, and bemberg for sleeves.

So, my jacket almost got ruined near the end. My iron did this:

*Sigh* My iron got all nasty on me (I had it on the same temperature the whole time but it scorched  the inside hem!), that iron is now in the dumpster! I guess it was near its death. I had to go out and buy a new iron last night, but was careful to use a press-cloth. Thankfully the scorch mark is on the inside hem, but it did damage the fabric, and it shows a bit on the other side (though not very noticeable unless you look close:( I shed a few tears last night! At least its still wearable, but it was rather heartbreaking, spending so much time on something, almost finishing, then it gets damaged:(

         My hem is a little wonky, but well, it'll have to do! Hopefully most people don't look too close! Here are some more photos. Til next time!:)

The hood:)

Monday, 7 April 2014

Sewing for two:) Butterick Maternity Wrap Dress

My husband, Dan, the baby;) and I:)

    Hello sewing friends:) This shall likely be my last maternity dress for this pregnancy. I think three dresses are enough, since I'll probably only wear them for church service anyway. Our new addition is due to arrive the end of May, which is next month, ahhhh!:D

  This fabric is a Rayon/Spandex blend I picked up from Fabricville last Fall. It has a very soft,"velvety" feel on the fabric's right side. I purchased it with a non-maternity dress in mind, but as we all know, plans change:) I had *just* enough fabric for this pattern, and unfortunately, I couldn't arrange the pattern pieces much.
Kitties hanging out:)

    Since I've already blogged about this pattern and did a pretty thorough review, I don't think it's necessary to repeat myself. I don't think I did anything different than last time. My first blog post on this pattern is here, and my review on P.R is here.

As usual, I've included photos of the kitties for your viewing pleasure:)

  Well, here I am again:) This is such a great pattern! I can definitely see myself using it in future pregnancies. I highly recommend it!

Happy sewing everyone:)

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Sunflower Apron:) McCall's 5366

   Hello sewing friends!:) May I present my latest project (finished last night): this Sunflower apron.

   Notice I didn't say "my" apron, because it's not for me. Rather, I made it as a prize for my upcoming baby shower at Mom's:) I figure most people like sunflowers, so I thought it was a safe bet. I chose a simple pattern that I already had in my stash, McCall's "Easy stitch'n save" #5366. I made some modifications in that I lined the apron with some green fabric, and made the back ties a bit wider.

     I must point out that I didn't purchase the fabric from Fabricville, but from another local fabric store, Marlene's Sewing Bee. It's a small independent fabric store that sells mostly cotton prints. The owners are very nice & knowledgable. They have quite a selection & I was happy to find this good quality print almost immediately.

     For once I'm not modelling my sewing project, I decided to let my new sewing buddy, Diana, do it this time.

        Yes, that's right, I got a "Diana" dress form!!!!!!! AHHH!!! Can you tell I'm excited?;) My wonderful mother-in-law bought it for me at the thrift store she works at. I don't think it even made it to the sales floor! She said this is the first time a dress form has been donated, and she snatched it up right away (gotta love in-laws that support my sewing habit;)

    In all seriousness, I am super-grateful for this dress form, and I've already used it a bunch:) Thanks Gina!! xoxo

   This was a pretty simple project, but I thought I would share a few photos showing how I lined the
apron. It was very easy. I sewed on the patch pockets and basted the neck straps & waist ties on the sunflower fabric. I cut a second main apron pattern piece from the green broadcloth.


   I basically just sewed all around the perimeter of the apron, leaving a small section near the corner (but sewing the corner!) for turning.

   Here by the top of the apron, I sewed a line of stitching where, if I would've sewn an unlined apron, the fold line would've been.

  Here to the right and below, showing where I clipped and graded corners of the apron.

    Once I turned the apron right-side-out, I pressed & pinned it around the edges  and topstitched with green thread.

      I sewed an extra row of topstitching where the opening for turning was. I don't think anyone will notice. Well, if they read this blog post, I'm sure they'll look for it now!;)

    Again, here's the lovely Diana modelling the finished apron:) She'll be of great help with my upcoming jacket project that I am SUPER-DUPER excited about (I know I sound like a kid, but I can't help it!:). 

    Last week (on my Birthday:) I ordered the popular Minoru jacket pattern from Vancouver-based Sewaholic Patterns. This pattern has gotten a ton of reviews on P.R, and on plenty of blogs as well. Tasia, founder of Sewaholic Patterns, even hosted a sewalong on her blog. I read through all the past posts, and she really does a great job walking you through every step of the jacket. It looks very doable. I am SO excited to make one (or two ;)! I've been wanting to make a jacket for quite a while and this looks like a winner!:)

Here is a link to the Minoru jacket pattern:)

  Happy sewing all!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Vogue 1314, with a twist;)


   Hello all!:) I've sewn yet another version of my beloved Vogue 1314. This time though, I had to make some more than a minor pattern alteration to accomodate both me and baby. I was first inspired to make a maternity version of this pattern many months ago (pre-pregnancy) after seeing the beautiful Kelli's dress shown here. I've noticed ruched maternity dresses since then and knew at some point in my pregnancy I'd like to make (at least) one for myself;) My review on P.R here.

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   Since I've already made myself a ruched maternity top using this top to the right as a guide, it wasn't too difficult to alter my existing Vogue pattern for pregnancy. It did take a bit of trial and error, and to be honest, there are some things I will probably change on the next version (which there most likely will be, this pattern is like Lay's potato chips, you can't stop at just one!;)

   I've noticed that on a lot of maternity tops, the side seam is in a similar place as regular tops, just the front seems to have more width for the baby bump. I'm showing the tape measure (above) going down the centre back (the top is stretched out so the ruching lies flat and I could take more accurate measurements).

    I took half-width measurement at different points (chest, waist, hips) and added the increased width to my existing Vogue pattern. I did the same for the front. Below is the back pattern piece with added width (I did end up tapering it in at the side under the armhole though). I didn't change the pattern from the armhole up but I did use a slightly smaller seam allowance and it seemed to work fine:)


   This fabric is a polyester/spandex from Fabricville. I wanted it as soon as I laid my eyes on it! It kind of has an early 90's feel, I think. I picked up a meter and a half, which was more than plenty for this dress.

      Though I'm totally smitten with this fabric, I was afraid a whole dress in it might be a bit much. Before I started on it, I noticed a friend from church (thanks Christine!:) wearing a really cool top that had a wild print in front, black sleeves and black neck band. Hence, the inspiration for this look:)

    I enlisted the help of my wonderful husband in the print placement of this fabric. I just held up the fabric in front of myself and Dan suggested where it looked best. I put pins at the bust points to help me when I laid out the front pattern piece at the cutting stage here. Caper likes the fabric too!:)

   I used regular 1/4" elastic for gathering the side seams. I would have preferred clear elastic, but was out (and my local fabric stores didn't have any either:p ). Besides, I noticed *all* of my RTW maternity clothes with ruching used regular elastic.

    I had every intention of lining this dress, I even made up one to check the fit, but missed some steps in the process. It ended up being a hassle trying to add it on after I had sewn the sleeves in flat (my own fault), so I just left it. I may make a separate lining in the future, but the dress seems fine without it.


    Since I wanted a contrasting neck band, I took off 5/8" off the neckline and cut a bias strip of black polyester/spandex 2" shorter than the neck measurement (plus seam allowance of course).

  I basted on the neck band with a 1/2" seam allowance, but in hindsight, I wish I would've made it so that the finished band would end up being a bit wider, maybe used a 3/8" seam allowance instead. If I make another version like this, I'll make sure I do that.

    Here to the left, I've trimmed the seam allowance to about 1/8"-1/4" and used the overlock stitch.

   ....and here it is on the inside after pressing...

.......and here it is from the outside:) I decided not to topstitch. I can always add it later if I feel like it;)

Boris hanging out. Cats pick the strangest places to nap.
 I used steam a seam lite 2 on the hem for stability and then topstitched with a double needle.

    And here's the dress again. Happy sewing everyone! Till next time:)