Princess Sofia Inspired Dress

Back with another make for Project Run and Play.  This weeks theme was to make an outfit inspired by a favourite vacation spot.  Although we haven’t actually been there yet I choose Disneyland since Steve and I are constantly talking about when we will take the kids there.  Currently we are waiting until Daxton is a little bit bigger so he will really be able to enjoy it.  Anyways, when I think Disneyland I think of all the characters and how all the little kids like to buy expensive costumes to look like them.  Finnley is currently in full on princess mode so I knew I wanted to make her something inspired by one of the Disney Princesses.  Although she loves them all I decided to go with Princess Sofia.

Full view front

I didn’t want to make a big princess gown or anything that was too costumey so I picked the elements that I liked from the original dress and tried to incorporate them into a more wearable casual dress.

Close up

For the bodice of the dress I wanted to try and recreate the cap sleeves and the wide neckline.  I started with cap sleeve version of the geranium dress, but I extended the bodice to make it sit on Finnley’s waist.  I also made the neckline have more of a boatneck shape by using this tutorial.  To the back I used pearl snaps for a closure.  The bodice sits a bit lower than I would like, but after shortening it three times I was having a hard time convincing myself to remove it from the skirt and try a fourth time.  I feel a little bit meh with how it turned out.

Back bodice

The scalloped skirt overlay was a must to make this dress even slightly resemble Princess Sofia’s dress.  To make the skirt I used the full width of fabric with a bunch of extra fabric added to the length.  I then folded the extra fabric towards the right side and traced scallops on the bottom and sewed around the lines.  Finally I trimmed the extra fabric and turned them right side out.  In case this makes no sense you can refer to this tutorial for a better idea of what I did.  I also used a rectangle for the white underlay but made it less wide so it wouldn’t be as full.  Both layers were gathered and sewn to the bodice.


Not so sure this dress scream Princess Sofia, but since that was what I was going for I am going to say success.  I do love how the skirt with the overlay looks, but am not completely happy with how my bodice turned out.  Thankfully Finnley is happy with it and the fact that it is purple means it should be pretty easy to get her to wear it.

Angled view

Taking photos of this girl is becoming increasingly difficult and there were a whole lot with this super unimpressed little face.

Side view

I did have plans for next weeks theme but they are feeling far more ambitious then I am in the mood for lately so not sure if anything will get finished.  I do have the fabric picked out and a definite plan for week 4 so will be back then!




My Late Latte Cardigan

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Back again with another sweater!  I did warn you that I was playing catch-up on the knitting front!  Unlike Kara, this cardigan is actually a recent stash-busting make. My knitting goals for the year (described here) were simple. No more yarn! And, for at second at least, I also vowed No more patterns! Sadly, that pesky Siren called Brooklyn Tweed quickly shot that second vow down! I’m not feeling too badly about it though as I’m pretty sure that Jared Flood and his gang can do that to the most resolute among us!  Anyway, this cardigan did use both a pattern and yarn that I’ve had for awhile.

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We take a break for some photo silliness.  My friend Anne was taking the pictures as I tend to be a bit *ahem* stiff in photos so it’s always best if I am comfortable with the person taking them. Hopefully without an audience! However, at some point I looked over and realized that her roommate Roland had joined us and my reaction was pretty funny.
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Some hand knit socks along for the ride!

But I digress. This is Slanted Sleeven from Ankestrick Patterns (my Ravelry notes are here). There were elements of the design that caught my attention straight off (the ribbed waist shaping and the contiguous shoulder construction to start) but I wasn’t really interested in knitting it until I saw this version from fellow Torontonian, Tammy (while you’re there you should take a look at her project page.  Her work is frickin’ amazing!). One look at the actual pattern though and all thoughts of making this were shot down.  Way, way down! I do NOT enjoy how this pattern is written as I find it awkward and cumbersome to get through. Don’t get me wrong. Everything you need to make this sweater is in there and I found no mistakes. It just wasn’t my favourite. My gauge was also way off, which was just another deterrent.

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Eventually I decided that I could use a simple wardrobe staple so out the pattern came.  The yarn I opted to use was Woodland by Classic Elite Yarns.  Once again, this was my first time working with it and it was certainly interesting! It’s a nettle/wool mix that felt a wee toothy to work with but other projects on Ravelry assured me that it would soften considerably with washing. I haven’t found that to be the case, but my tolerance for yarn with a little bite has gone way up since I started knitting and this one is not a problem. I also find the fabric it makes is a little stiff but I suspect that will change with wear. I wanted this make to have a good amount of positive ease but I think it’s safe to say that I went a bit overboard. Oh well! It’s comfy and I reach for it often… even with the single elbow patch (will get to that in a second)!

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My primary complaint with the pattern itself is the button band. It’s narrow and flimsy and gapes open even on this cardigan where there is absolutely no stress on the front when it’s buttoned up. This is not an unusual problem with buttonbands but it’s one that annoys me more than most. I often solve this using some grosgrain ribbon to stabilize the area (examples of this are here and here), but that wasn’t an option this time around. Anyway, this is something I consider more and more with my pattern choices these days. I started the Channel Cardigan by Jared Flood this weekend and I have high hopes for the button band on this one!

So. Back to the elbow patches. I’m finding this sweater a bit boring so thought that elbow patches might help. Thoughts? I sewed on the one (made from some dark brown ponte that I had lying around) and remain undecided! Opinions on their inclusion or the materials that could be used to make them, colour, etc are most welcome!

OK. Back again soon with the dreaded yellow pullover and OSHIMA (the fastest make in history and the sweater that I have been living in since I finished it)!



The “Better Late Than Never” Kara Cardigan

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Finally!  I have seamed and taken pictures of my Kara cardigan and am ready to share!  I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I actually knit this beauty last July and have yet to wear it out.  It was my first foray into seaming and for some reason, I was extremely reluctant to dive in! A little intimidation and some serious finishing procrastination (in general!) meant that this sat for months in a ziploc bag in my overflowing WIP drawer.

2014-03-29 17.20.37I took it out and blocked it in the fall when Gail posted her extremely gorgeous version but that’s as far as I got. A little push from Andrea and Kristin and an upcoming visit from Gail in which I wanted to play twinsies and I found the missing motivation needed to finish this right up. Took no time at all, which only emphasizes how ridiculous I was being!

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Anyway, on to the deets (my Ravelry notes can be found here).  This is the Kara cardigan from Cecily Glowik MacDonald. I made this using the Cascade sport, which was my first time working with this yarn. Cascade never disappoints in my opinion and I won’t hesitate to use this particular base again. It was inexpensive with surprisingly nice stitch definition! This sweater was designed to be worn with a good amount of positive ease and I will say that the fit here is a wee more snug than it would have been had I finished it in July! A common theme this year but rather than whine about arthritis, injuries and an increasing departure from the marathon-loving athlete that I was, I’ll just say that I still love this sweater as it fits now! Andrea and Kristin have also tried this on and it looked great on both of them. My point is that I really think it’s hard to go wrong with this pattern!

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i-cord edge

I’m  trying hard to remember if I made any significant changes to this pattern and none come to mind. Again, such a procrastinator! I did finish the ribbing using an icord bind-off and I quite like the tidy edge. The only downside was that I had never tried this method before and I didn’t realize how rigid it was. It’s not terrible here but I do find it a bit tight at the back of the neck. A patient few minutes with some steam and gentle pulling has loosened it up though so all is well!

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Taking a nap?

It’s late and I can’t think of anything else that needs to be said about Kara.  I wasn’t joking when I said that I have been slow with the finishing touches on my makes these days so be prepared to be bombarded with sweater posts this week!



Rainbows Sequins and Unicorns!

Full view

Sewing along with another season of Project Run and Play and this weeks theme was to create an outfit inspired by a zoo animal.  I really wanted to pick Finnley’s favourite animal which happens to be a unicorn.  Now I realize that the unicorn is not actually an animal, but rather a mystical creature, but I decided to go with it anyway.  So what do you think of when you think of a unicorn?  For me rainbows and magic jump to the front of my mind.  The starting point for this outfit was the skirt.  I knew that I wanted to incorporate a rainbow and this dress from Caila made came to mind.  I used the idea of the ombre flying geese, but instead I made a rainbow and used that for the side panels on a the skirt.  I especially liked this idea because the triangles reminded me of a unicorns horn.  The flying geese are made from broadcloth and the pink is a solid quilting cotton.  The actual skirt is a simple gathered elastic waist skirt, but when gathering I made sure to not gather the side panels.  I used this tutorial for the flying geese.  I love how this detail turned out.  It was my first time trying any sort of quilting technique and it was much easier than I expected.  The only difficulty was that my machine did not handle all the layers when assembling the skirt and after more skipped stitches then I have ever seen and every adjustment I could think of making, I just used my serger and hoped everything lined up correctly!

Skirt panel

Next I wanted to try and incorporate the idea of magic, which makes me think of sparkles and shine.  This is where the sequins come in.  Sticking with the rainbow theme I used a rainbow of sequins to add some sparkle and colour to a basic t-shirt.  I spent a couple hours hand sewing a ton of sequins to spell the word “einhorn” which is unicorn in German.  No special significance other than I wanted to incorporate unicorn without being too literal and this was my favourite way to spell unicorn in all the other languages.  The shirt is the Anytime At All tee by Shwin Designs made with 3/4 sleeves and about a 1/2 of width taken from the sleeves and body to make a slightly slimmer fit.


To bring it all together I wanted to add an actual unicorn somewhere and decided to do so on an accessory that Finnley would enjoy using.  What little girl doesn’t love a purse?!  The purse was trial and error and it actually ended up working better than expected for my first attempt.  Not quite a perfect circle, but otherwise I am happy with how it turned out.  The purse is made from black linen and the unicorn was added using freezer paper and fabric paint.  I had meant to add some hot pink piping around the purse, but forgot so instead managed to find some pink leather cording at Michael’s which I used for a strap.


This outfit turned out pretty much exactly how I had envisioned it in my head which makes me super happy.  Plus Finnley told me she loves everything about the outfit and that makes sewing for her so much fun!

Full view 2_edited-1


Linking up with:  Make It and Love It // Friday Favs // Simply Create Thursdays // All Things Pretty // Sew Can Do

The Beast (aka Sara’s Albion Coat)

Hello friends.  I’ve been a bit absent on this blog of late.  Apologies.  I’ve got a few things to share but will admit that life has gotten in the way of the making of late.  That said, this project has sucked up a lot of my evening and weekend time in the last month! Four muslins and a fit bootcamp with Andrea, Kristin and Sarah for starts!  So.many.changes!    I may do a post describing the fit changes that I made but first…  my friend Anne modelling!

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If you’re at all familiar with the Colette Albion pattern (and of course you are!), then it’s probably fairly obvious that I made some changes. I had originally planned to make this jacket in its original form for my Brother (still plan to do so!) but didn’t think I had any need for such a coat in my own wardrobe. However, on a search for RTW duffle coats, these two gorgeous coats from Burberry popped up and I was sold!

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I really loved the casual style of the grey one with the extra pockets, relaxed A-line shape and cropped length.  I also liked the idea of making the neckline taller or adding a collar as this would make the coat far more functional in a winter and wind friendly city like Toronto!  However, I also loved the deep pleat in the back of the red duffle coat.  I think it makes a boxy coat just a touch more feminine.  Anyway, after coming across these, I decided that I did indeed need a duffle coat in my life! The sewalong that Colette Patterns was hosting was just the icing on the cake!

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Sadly, disaster struck in the form of muslin #1!  First of all, one should always pay attention to the actual pattern instructions when they are  making a muslin and not assume they know how everything goes together based on previous experience! I made the size small (this is a unisex pattern that was really drafted with men in mind) based on my upper bust measurement. Then I made the mistake of adding the facing to centre front.  Oops!  Turns out that the facings were for the lining only! Needless to say, this muslin was HUGE! The facings ended up being a serendipitous mistake based on my plan to extend them at the top and add a collar. That’s the absolute truth and I am sticking to it!

2014-03-09 17.20.28OK.  I’ll attempt to quickly sum up the muslin stage, which hurts as the muslin stage was a solid 3 weeks of work while the actual sewing was only a week. A crazy, crazy week filled with late nights and little sleep but who cares!  It’s done!  Anyway, my second muslin was a straight size XS but I didn’t love this one.  It still had a lot of the same fit issues as the small (extra fabric at the front due to my addition of the facings, droop-y shoulders, low armscythe, etc). However, I found the XS a wee tight in the arms and across the back.  So I took the size small muslin to the fit bootcamp and stood like a lump while Sarah and Andrea slashed away amid mad chatter involving numbers and technical jargon. They did a rounded back adjustment (a big one!  Yoga, you and I need to be better friends), a forward shoulder adjustment and pinned a bunch of fabric out of the front (starting at the shoulder seam and working down to the hem in a line parallel to the grainline).  Now that I had taken that extra fabric out of the front, I widened the darts that were now in the back yoke after the rounded back adjustment (Andrea, please feel free to correct my jargon as I’m not sure that is the correct term) to eat up some of the extra fabric and used the feed dogs to do some easing to eat of the rest of it.  Incredibly, everything worked out!

2014-03-09 17.22.22I was tempted to do a narrow shoulder adjustment but decided that I liked a slightly relaxed look to the shoulder and the addition of shoulder pads kept everything from dragging and sagging.  I did try correcting the sleevehead to match the forward shoulder adjustment as Heather demonstrates here but my muslin and all of the horizontal balance lines told me that was a no go. The original sleeve worked much better.  I also raised the base of the armscythe a half inch using a tutorial found in the June/July issue of Threads (thanks for pointing me in the direction of this, S!).  This was a challenge without a large work surface! Using the same tutorial, I also took in the side seam a half inch at the armscythe and removed a quarter inch out of both sleeve seams to match. I still find it all a bit low and restrictive but it’s not too bad now that the lining is in.  Gives me lots of space for layering with those big sweaters I so love to knit.

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I kept the patch pockets but made them a bit smaller to accomodate the cropped length and rounded all of the edges.  Similarly, I rounded the edges of the sleeve tabs to be consistent and just to soften the coat and make it a but more feminine.  I kept the side seam pockets (drafted my own to keep things small and tidy) and added a double welt pocket with a flap above the patch pockets, successfully ripping off my Burberry inspiration coat!  I used the flannel lining fabric for the pocket bags of the inseam pockets to avoid a lot of bulk.  I lined the patch pockets with a bright pink rayon bemberg (also used to line the sleeves) using some tips from this book. I used the same pink bemberg for the pocket bag of the welt, again in an effort to avoid unnecessary bulk.

2014-03-09 16.56.57 I wanted to add some leather accents using leather scraps that I had picked up awhile ago. They’re small, which limited what I could use them for so I went for leather bound buttonholes (using this method). These were a time sucker but I love them! Well worth the effort!

2014-03-09 17.19.49And then there is the collar. Sigh. I really wanted the collar to be the highlight of this coat and while I think it looks great, there are still things I wish I could change.  To start, I spent a lot of time trying on RTW coats to decide what kind of collar/hood combo I wanted.  In the end, I decided that I prefer having a stand collar that is separate from the hood…  I really, REALLY hate the feeling of having the collar being tugged backwards when the hood is attached and down! So I kept the hood as is and I will say that this is an excellent hood! The perfect size and shape!  I left it unlined and flat felled the seams as I didn’t want it to be a major feature and detract from the leather accents. I drafted the collar piece and on the muslin I was quite pleased with how it turned out. On the jacket?  Well, I have a few issues with it. It’s stiff! And I think it looks a bit like it should have a giant helmet attached to it! I honestly think it could support the weight of a helmet!

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Not at all irritated by the collar!

And on me, it looks like I have no neck but on my tall friend Anne, the collar looks great and she loved it so maybe I’m being hypercritical. I do love the leather accents on it!  I want to have mitered corners with the leather but by the time I got to making this, I was tired of the whole project and didn’t want to take the time! So I’m going to call the collar a success. Besides, the wool and leather will soften over time so I’ll feel less like I’m being choked by it!

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I used this buffalo plaid flannel for the lining of the body but used hot pink bemberg for the sleeves (easier to get it on and off). I’ll have to take a picture of the entire lining as the pink really is an awesome pop of colour!  I had planned to use the pink to make piping between the inner facing and the lining for another pop of colour. I have the piping but forgot to add it and again, was tired of the project at this point and didn’t want to redo anything unnecessary. Perhaps if I had not already graded the seams! I also added an inner welt pocket that holds my cell phone perfectly!

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I think that about covers it! Well, I did also add the deep pleat in the back but there’s not much to say about it. I’m not sold on the back tab that I made and I think I might make a bigger one with leather bound buttonholes. Certainly the entire coat needs better buttons as they are a definite feature. I plan to go digging through the vintage button collection that Karyn has at the Workroom to find something outstanding to finish this all off!

Finally, here are some pictures of me in the duffle coat.  The fitting was done on me but I really think this works better on Anne, which is funny as we are not built the same way.  She has broader shoulders, is much taller and does not have the generous booty of a pear-shaped woman!  Thoughts on the fit on each of us?

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All in all, I am pleased with the fit of this across the chest, shoulders and back. It looks a but big across the back on me here but I’ve only got a T-shirt on underneath. This is not a lightweight coat and is more likely to be worn over my usual winter layers and the fit accommodates all of that. Again, I think the collar is the wrong height and shape for me and the overall length… not so flattering.  It needs to be a bit shorter so that it doesn’t hit me at my widest point.

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In short, when I wear this I feel a little dumpy and irritated by things I wish I could change. When I see Anne in it, I think “shit, I made that!  I’m AWESOME”.

Make sure you check out the rest of the sewalong entries here!  There are some seriously gorgeous coats in this pool!


Linking up with:  Make It and Love It

Martha Bubble Dress

I have been doing a ton of pattern testing recently and all of the patterns except one have been released (one quite awhile ago now) so I plan on sharing them over the next few weeks.  To start I am going to go all the way back to December when I had the chance to test the Martha Bubble dress by Shwin Designs.  This adorable dress is a wrap dress that features a bubble skirt and a sash closure.


For Finnley’s dress I used a quilting cotton for the bodice, shirting for the skirt, and lined it with a light pink voile.  I also used the voile to make the tie.

Dressback Dressfront

I am really happy with how this dress turned out.  The only problem I had and need to fix at some point is the sash and the way it attaches to the bodice.  I put it at the bottom of the bodice so when it was wrapped about it would lie right between the bodice and skirt, but this makes the top of the bodice flip out a bit.  Will probably go and make a wider sash which should help take care of that.  The only other problem is the fact that the skirt is extremely wrinkled.  It has been sitting in a pile with a bunch of WIP’s since December, which also means it hasn’t been worn yet.  Need to find an occasion for Finnley to finally wear this dress. And I need to stop being so lazy and iron my finished projects!


I love this scallop fabric I used for the bodice!  If you look carefully on the left side of the picture you can clearly see the issues I am having with my bodice.

Originally Finnley was going to wear this dress on Christmas Eve, but our plans changed and we didn’t have need for a fancy dress such as this one.  Because she was going to wear it in December I made a cardigan that she could wear over it and not freeze.  For the cardigan I used the slouchy cardigan from Heidi and Finn.

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This was my first time sewing a Heidi and Finn pattern and it came together super easily.  My only complaint was that there wasn’t more specific fabric requirements depending on which size you sewed and I ended up buying more than was actually necessary.  In terms of  construction, the only step that was difficult was attaching the sleeve cuffs.  It was extremely challenging to stretch and sew around those little things, but it ended up working in the end.

And to end some pictures of my daughter dancing.  Put this girl in front of a camera and I guarantee the dance moves will come out.  And if you look carefully in a few of the pictures you will see her Minnie Mouse microphone. This girl loves to perform!

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The season of hats!

When in a knitting rut, make hats!  Lots and lots of hats!  And when in a sewing rut, make T-shirts!  Lots and lots of T-shirts! I’m all about the instant gratification projects of late!  I’m also trying hard to finish up all of those small projects that have been started or ready to go for ages. I had grand plans of completely clearing out my WIP drawer this month and while that didn’t happen, I did make quite a dent. So I’m starting with hats!  Not all were made in January but all were made in the last few months and really, it is a ridiculous number of hats!

hat fanI’m going to ask you in advance to ignore me in all of these pictures. If we’re honest (and I’m always honest!), I look like complete shit! I’ve been in bed with some virus for the last few days and when I woke up with no fever this morning, I felt grand and decided I should go to work. Well, feeling grand is all relative and I’m far from 100%! That became extremely evident as I scrolled through the pictures we took today!  Onwards, shall we…

I’m going to start with my most recent make and my new favourite. This is the Jul hat from Jenny Gordy. A FAST knit my friends! Instant gratification, indeed! I made this out of my one of my all time favourite yarns (featured in roughly half of the hats I am going to show you here), the Blue Sky Alpaca Suri Merino. It’s is a single ply yarn with a wonderful hand and drape. Seriously, this yarn is hard to believe if you don’t have it in your hands! It’s got a fairly strong halo, which is certainly not for everyone but what I love about it the most is that it felts nicely with wear. Makes for a supremely cozy winter hat. And this colourway (Autumn) is just plain fun.


Next up has to be my absolute favourite knit of late… Bray from Jared Flood. If my knitting friends have not yet tried a Jared Flood pattern then get on it.  ASAP! His patterns really never fail to delight. He tends to play with cables and texture in his patterns and this is a classic example. Cables, lace and texture! Nothing too complicated but just enough to keep the knitting interesting. I don’t have ready access to his Brooklyn Tweed yarn so I went with the Rowan Felted Tweed. It’s a finer yarn than the pattern called for but I figured that the lace aspects of this toque already prevent it from being a real cold weather hat so a dk yarn was not going to be an issue. I really love the yarn choice! It adds even more texture to the project and gives it kind of an organic look that I enjoy.


What I love the most about knitting Jared Flood patterns is that I always learn something new.  In this case?  The stretchy tubular cast-on!  I have played with this edge before but tend to be too lazy to use it regularly. However, after this project I am officially sold on it.  Such a lovely detail and it really is stretchy!


Up next is the Rikke hat and if you spend any time on Ravelry then there is no doubt you have seen this pattern before! Again, nothing too complicated here.  Just a straight up garter stitch hat that uses a nice cast-on (the German twisted cast-on, which is a perfect edge for garter stitch). I’m a big fan of garter stitch over ribbing for hats as I find that it hugs your head nicely without being too tight and it has great recovery.  However, I HATE knitting garter stitch in the round so making these two versions was significantly less fun.  I made this striped version first (again, using my favourite suri merino yarn).

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striped rikke 2It really is a great hat and has gotten a ton of wear this winter. The downside is that it is just too big.  Anyone else have major sizing issues when it comes to hats?  I can rarely get them just right! Anyway, the up side to a large hat is that I can very comfortably tuck all of my hair into it.  The downside is that this sucker will go flying on a windy day, which we have often in Toronto. So after Christmas, I tried to give this pattern another go and made this version:

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Sigh. Hardly know where to begin with this failure! To start, it’s way too small! The combo of small hat and dark colour makes me feel like I am posing for a mug shot every time I put this one on! However, this hat is not a failure! On cold, cold days (of which we have had many this year), I layer my two Rikke hats for a toasty, toasty noggin’!

layered rikke 1I made this next hat last fall using leftover Tomato yarn from my Neon cardigan. It was a new pattern (the Lovejoy Slouch) from the newly minted Nerd Bird Makery and was a lovely pattern to knit up! Not a great toque for winter but I wore this often in the fall. And yes, it really is as garish at it appears!

Thao1Next up is the only hat of the bunch that I was really unhappy with. It was actually a test knit for Shannon and is now included in Journey, a knitwear collaboration between Shannon and Jane Richmond. The patterns in it (including the Swift hat) are beautiful and I think everyone should indulge in the hardcopy of this book if only for the gorgeous photography! It’s like taking a trip home every time I open it up! Anyway, the pattern itself was fun to knit up. Again, not too complicated but still interesting enough to keep from being boring. The yarn is a silk and wool combo that has a lovely sheen and great drape. The colour is vibrant and fun. However, the combo of colour, shape, etc just does not work for me. At all. So sad! But the hat works perfectly on a young summer student that modelled the hat for my Ravelry project page and has been promised to her. Now just to arrange to see Tash so that I can hand it off!


Well, that covers the hats I made for myself. There are more that I gave away as gifts including these ones (the purple one is actually bright blue but was a pure bitch to photograph properly!).

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That was really a lot of hats so instead of linking to individual project pages I’m just going to say you’ll find all pattern, yarn and project details here.

As for my quick sewing fixes… T-shirts! I know there are already a million versions of the new Deer and Doe Plantain tee on the interwebs but since I happen to be wearing one of my versions today, I have decided to include it.  This is a great pattern, peeps!  Well drafted, a perfect fit (for me) and a blank canvas for all sorts of fabric and sewing fun! Now go and give it a try! I made no modifications except to add a couple of inches to the length of the shirt sleeve. This is actually my first Deer and Doe pattern but it won’t be my last.  I’m a sucker for a well drafted pattern!

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I would normally link to a few of my favourite versions of this tee but I don’t even know where to start this time around. Go google it and you’ll see why!  So many awesome versions already!

I planned to include a January stash diet round-up but since I this is all I have pictures of, we’ll just have to have a running tally. With this shirt, I’m down a whopping yard of fabric! And the hats were all made from Stash yarn! Even better, the hats took a chunk out of my WIP drawer. Just winning all around!

Have a great weekend, Friends!


PR&P: Upcycled Colour Block Dress

Week 3 of Project Run and Play is here and the theme of the week was repurposing.  I decided to sew for Finnley this week and since my daughter tries to put on a knit summer dress most mornings, I thought that a more weather appropriate comfy dress would probably get a lot of use.

Finnley over top

I ended up making her a colour blocked dress using some old t-shirts for the fabric.  Not the most creative upcycle, but you can get quite a bit of yardage out of a cheap t-shirt so definitely economical.  My inspiration for this dress was this Burda pattern.  I felt pretty confident that I could recreate something similar so decided to save myself a bit of money and make my own pattern.  I started with a t-shirt pattern that I added some extra length to so that it was dress length.  For my starting point I used a soon to be released pattern from Shwin and Shwin.  To add the colour blocking I retraced the front piece of the pattern to change it from cutting it on the fold to making it one piece.  I wanted the back to be a solid colour so I just left that pattern piece alone.  (Sorry for poor quality of the next few pictures, but if you are interested in what I did you can see it when you click on them and look at them full size).

First pattern piece

Once I had my new pattern piece I decided where I wanted my colour blocking to be and simply drew lines directly on the pattern.  Then cut along the lines which meant my new bodice pattern was 3 pieces.

Adding lines

For the sleeves I kept the original pattern piece which is cut on the fold and then drew my colour blocking line and cut along it.


Then I decided where I wanted each colour to go and cut the pieces out making sure to add seam allowance where I was going to attach each piece.  I then took all the pieces and sewed them together.  Once I had my front and sleeves put together I assembled it the same way I put together a basic T-shirt.

Finnley smile IMG_7325

The other changes I made to create this dress was to add a flutter sleeve and add a band of fabric on the bottom to pull the bottom in a little bit.  Although I love the addition of the flutter sleeves I do think I made them a bit too wide and heavy so they lie a bit more flat than I would like.

Finnley sleeve

Pretty happy with how this one turned out and have some plans, if I can ever find the time, to make her a few more simple knit dresses.

Finnley surprised IMG_7322

Finnley seems to love the dress if these pictures are any indication, which means success!


Portside Travel Set

Since I finally put the finishing touches on my husband’s Christmas present (only took me til the middle of January) and I can share it with you all.  I initially hand stitched the lining too close to the zipper and it kept getting caught so I took that out and redid it and now it can be used!  Sara and I purchased the Portside travel set from Grainline Studio when it first came out, but neither of us got around to touching it until it came time for Christmas presents.  Sara made a couple of the dopp kits for a few of her friends and I decided to make the whole set for my husband.  Every time we go somewhere that doesn’t require a lot of packing we pull out an old duffle bag that is falling apart and he has mentioned more than once that we should replace it, so this seemed like a perfect fit.



For all 3 pieces I used twill for the outer and a quilting cotton for the lining.  The black twill is quite a bit thicker than the blue and makes for a floppy bag.  If I make this bag again I will definitely pay more attention to the fabric thickness and use something that will hold its shape better.  Another change I will make with this bag if I make it again will be to add a pocket or two to the inside of the bag to make it a bit easier to keep some of the smaller items organized.


This was my first foray into bag making and there were parts that I found a bit confusing and challenging.  The duffle bag came together fairly easily although it started with some confusion when I could not find the marking for lining up the webbing.  Easy enough to figure out though.  The only other part of the bag I found confusing was attaching the bottom, especially around the corners, but thankfully Sara came to the rescue and sent me some pictures from her dopp bag that made it a lot easier for me to understand what to do.



Sara also came to the rescue when it came to sourcing and purchasing the hardware and webbing for me.  I live about 45 minutes outside of Vancouver so could have found it if I trekked into the city, but Sara has a store close to her so she was kind enough to pick it up and mail it to me.



The dopp kit is the piece that caused me the most frustration.  Trying to attach the top of the bag to the sides was torture and no amount of stretching and clipping the curve let me get a nice clean finish.  There are a few puckers that drive me nuts, but otherwise I am pretty happy with the final product.


The only change I made to the dopp kit was to add a lining to the outer pocket so there was no exposed zipper.


The zipper pouch took almost no time to complete and should come in handy for odds and ends when packing.


My husband was kind enough to let me take a few photos with him in them.  This helps give some perspective to just how big this bag really is.  Much bigger than I was expecting, but will make it super useful.

IMG_7294 IMG_7288

Although there were a few hiccups along the way, which I will attribute to inexperience, I am super happy with the final look of all 3 pieces and think it will make a great gift for others in the future.


2014 – Starting with a stash busting pledge!

I have a few goals for 2014 but I feel the urge to immediately and publicly declare that I am on a stash diet this year! Might have something to do with the new Liberty of London fabrics at the workroom! Must.Not.Buy!

OK. So it’s time to hash out the details of my 2014 stash diet. I was already thinking of something along these lines to accompany my ban on ready-to-wear purchases (more on this later) when my friends Andrea and Gail posted about their 2014 stash busting plans (posted here and here). Perfect timing! Made even better by my proximity and frequent meet-ups with Andrea as she can give me a stern talking to if she sees me cheat! Nothing like a little accountability. Andrea and Gail started a flickr group and lots of people seem to be on board. This has already grown to include a stash swap with the help of Morgan and I have seen some seriously gorgeous yarn and fabric posted already! It’s going to be a fun (and maybe sometimes a wee painful) challenge with lots of moral support when gorgeous fabrics come calling!

latge yarn bin 2

Let’s just start with my yarn stash as my rules for this one are quick and easy. No.More.Yarn. Period. No exceptions when it comes to buying with my own money. Occasionally friends ask me to make something for them and that’s still fine if the yarn is on their dime. The large bin I am showing is actually only about 2/3 of what I own as I have second short bin that is full.  In my defence (I’m honest and will admit that there is no real defence!), a very large part of this stash came in a single order from Germany. Yarn is cheap in Germany and my very accommodating friends Anne and Andre brought me a suitcase full last summer.  See below if you don’t believe me.  It was impressive!

photo (31)

Shall we now discuss my fabric habits…? In a few short months I went from buying on a project to project basis to the current disaster.  The bulk of my stash lives in these three bins. The two large ones contain all of my apparel fabric, as well as larger pieces of quilting cotton. The smaller middle bin is my collection of fat quarters (it’s not full!) and other craft related fabrics.

fabric bins

My stash hasn’t exactly outgrown these bins but my more recent purchases still need to be washed and moved into the bins. I have some strict rules about what can move into the bins and it all stems from a recent problem with carpet beetles. This was a seriously fucking awful period in this household that has been my primary stash diet motivator… it made me realize that a stash is not safe and I would much rather use what I have then lose it! Fortunately, I do carefully store my fabric and yarn to protect it from cat hair, so no damage was done but it could have been a real disaster!

fabric drawer

I also have a bit of fabric that still lives in a drawer. These are my very recent purchases that includes some Girl Charlee and Etsy fabric that came to me via Bitty.  This fabric was pre-washed by my lovely sister before shipping but doesn’t get to live with my binned stash unless it is washed by me and sealed immediately. Think the carpet beetle experience has left me a wee paranoid?!  But I’ve been using this fabric up quickly so having it nice and accessible has been handy! And finally, I have my most recent purchases that includes a small-ish pile of knits and a few woven pieces that are destined to soon become a La Sylphide blouse and two Archers.

fabric new knits 2fabric new plaids

Oops.  And two lovely pieces of wool crepe that were meant to be my Christmas outfit.  The pink crepe will become either a Chardon skirt or a quarter circle skirt using this handy new calculator developed by the ladies of By Hand London.  Thoughts on this?  The cream coloured crepe was originally going to be a quarter circle skirt as I have had this cream ponte skirt of Heather’s on my mind since she posted it. However, I think I would instead like to use it for the Rachel Comey blouse (Vogue 1247).  If I ever get my hands on the pattern, that is! (Update. I got my hands on the pattern!).

wool crepe

I haven’t been collecting fabric for long but I am surprised by what is in those bins every time I go near them so I think that an inventory would be useful.  I think I am going to follow this example.

So we’ve seen the stash but now it’s time for the rules.  I think the bottom line is that I would like to primarily work from what I own this year. This is going to be a big transition year for me as I move from a postdoc into a real job (scary! exciting!) and I have no idea where I will end up.  Therefore, saving most of my money seems like the smart thing to do. However, I know me and fabric purchases are going to be hard to resist! So I think I am going to follow Andrea’s lead on this one and say that I am allowed to buy a single piece of fabric after I have made five items using fabric that I already own.  And that’s only if I come across a really special piece of fabric or have a particular project in mind that I don’t have stash fabric for (Robson trench or Thurlow pants, for example). The exceptions to this will be lining fabric and/or any notions needed for a particular project. Gifts are also a possible exception. I am going to try and use stash fabric for any gifts but I can purchase if I don’t have anything acceptable. Muslin is also not on the diet though I have to be more careful to use what I own before picking up more.  I tend to forget what I have available so grab a couple of metres whenever I am near Designer Fabrics.  I’m going to keep a running tally of what I own in my wallet at all times so that I don’t overbuy.  Same goes for interfacing.  I forget what I have and therefore tend to overbuy.  To that end, an inventory of all thread and notions would be useful but we’ll have to see if I get around to making that! I’m undecided about my rules on travel fabric purchases.  Thoughts on what is reasonable?  I will say that any rules I make for travel will NOT include local towns that I visit for sewcialist meet-ups as that could quickly get out of hand! It’s late so I am sure I am forgetting some crucial rule or circumstance so feel free to speak up if you think my rules are lacking!

Patterns? I’m not too worried on this front. Bitty and I share patterns so that already keeps the cost reasonable and I’d say that our collection is not too crazy at this point. We’re making an effort to use the ones we own before buying new ones but we’ll have to see how that goes! I rather desperately want this wrap dress pattern but the shipping costs are holding me back so far. But the second Jen releases the Morris Blazer pattern it will be in my collection! I guess I should start saving one of my allowed fabric purchases for this one as I have nothing appropriate in my stash already!

Bitty is apparently far more restrained than I am on this front so she says there is no need for a Stash Diet. Good girl!

So who is joining us on this challenge? Any other New Years resolutions?