Project Sewn – Final week! Mathilde goes to Miette!

Hello Peeps,

So we have arrived at the final week of Project Sewn, which means I’m up!  Can anyone believe how fast this has gone by?!  I’m hoping that everyone had as much fun as Bitty and I did with this!


So this week we’re going from one extreme (Bitty’s neon pink Staple dress) to the other (the most boring *ahem* I mean classic colour palette ever!).  The theme of the week was Personal Style and I have to say I struggled with this one.  I’m not sure I have a personal style!  Certainly nothing as decisive as what the other participants of Project Sewn are displaying!  If I had to describe me in a word it might even be slob!  OK.  Nothing so extreme but casual for sure.  I work in a lab.  I spend much of my free time out participating in various sports or at home sewing or knitting.  Comfort works for all of this.  It’s a rare day that jeans don’t see the light of my day!  And paired with that is either a T-shirt (on those slob days) or a blouse.  Since I did not have the time to make a pair of jeans this week, I opted for a denim skirt.  Keeping in line with my comfort mandate, I went with the delightful Miette wrap skirt from Tilly (of tilly and the buttons or the British Sewing Bee fame)!  As you can clearly see, I even went so far as to pair this with Tilly’s Mathilde blouse!

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miette full back

So let’s start with the skirt shall we.  In a word?  Awesome!  Seriously!  Go make one!  This baby came together in about three hours and most of that time was spent awkwardly kneeling on my arthritic knees trying to cut the giant pattern pieces out!  Time for a work table!  You reading this, Brother?  Enough said.  I opted for a lightweight denim so that it would have a little drape and I think it worked well.  Honestly, not too much else to say about this one.  A simple and clever design (no awkward flashing in the wrap skirt) that was a delight to sew.  Perfect for any beginner, especially with the step-by-step instructions provided on Tilly’s blog.

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Dislike the blouse bulge that you can see under the skirt!

Moving onto the Mathilde blouse.  I have been itching to make this one since Tilly first debuted it on her blog as this blouse definitely fits into my personal style!  While I did have big plans to make this in something a little more interesting than white voile, time ran a bit short so what was meant to be a wearable muslin is making an appearance!  Another great pattern!  It’s simple and while I really love the pleats I can also imagine many future variations on this one!  The voile I used was quite sheer so I underlined both the front and back pieces (did not bother with the sleeves).  There are different ways you could do this but I was lazy so when I finished making the pleats on a single layer, I traced it to make the underlining piece.  I then sewed the bust darts into both front pieces and then basted them together and treated them as one from this point on.  I also removed quite a bit of volume from the sleeves (a full 6 inches per sleeve) and could see myself taking these in even more the next time I make this.  Next time I would also lengthen the blouse a bit and will add some waist shaping as I will rarely wear this tucked in!

mathilde frontback closeAnd that about sums it up!  I also started making a bag to pair with this but ran out of time.  I do have a lovely collection of Birdie Sling bags though so I pulled out my favourite (made with some Liberty of London poplin in Zain)!

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And putting on a little show for the MANY people enjoying the crazy heat and sunshine on rooftop garden at work (does anyone else feel like a fool when they are having their picture taken?)!

2013-05-30 14.29.58And to keep it truly real, this is what I actually wore to work today!  Slob much?


Now go and check out some of the other very awesome submissions and should you feel so inclined, come back and vote tomorrow!



Urban Tank – Spring TTT KAL

Just making it in under the wire!  Luvinthemommyhood’s Spring Tops, Tanks and Tees KAL is coming to an end tonight so it’s time to write up my finished sweater!  I opted for Veera’s Urban tank using some Madeline Tosh merino light in Tart (!) that has been languishing in my stash since last spring.  This the very first Tosh yarn that I bought (last year at the knitters frolic) but I had only two skeins, which is a little limiting.  I’m happy I held off using it though as I think it works really well for this pattern!

There is not too much to say on this one.  I did narrow the neckline a bit in an attempt to keep this sweater on my shoulders!  I have narrow shoulders and was worried that the top as written would constantly be sliding around.  The details are described here on my ravelry page (what I can remember!  I didn’t keep track as I usually do!).  I increased the front panels every 8 rows and the back panels every 6 rows.  This left me short a few stitches when I joined everything in the round but I just modified my decreases so that at the end of my waist shaping I had the correct number of stitches.  Or something like that!  I have a sneaking suspicion that I actually did an increase round or two after joining in the round but short of pulling off my sweater and counting stitches, I can’t be sure!  This is what happens when I take bad notes!  I was a little bored knitting this one so I’ll blame my laziness on that!

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urban back front close-up

I’m quite pleased with how this sweater turned out. I’m happy to report that the neckline stays put!  This sweater was a little short as I ran out of yarn but blocking helped immensely.  The buttons I chose might be a bit heavy as they seem to be pulling the neckline back a bit but that’s easy enough to change if it bothers me.  As an aside to anyone considering this sweater…  feel free to skip the buttonholes on the shoulder!  This easily fits over my head and I can’t ever see an occasion where I might bother undoing the buttons.

shoulder close-up

Now go forth and knit!  It may not be the most exciting pattern to work on but it is clear and well written (as all of Veera’s patterns are) and the finished sweater is lovely and wearable!

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I was shivering like crazy! Not the warmest Toronto afternoon!


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Project Sewn – Neon Staple Dress

It’s week 3 over at Project Sewn which means I’m up although it is hard to follow Sara’s win last week (many thanks to everyone who came out to vote!)!  This weeks theme is 80’s week which initially did not appeal to me at all.  Although I was born in the 80’s I was a bit young for most of it and had no idea what was going on fashion wise.  But then I remembered this awesome neon fabric I saw the last time I was at Fabricland which led to my modern take on an 80’s fashion trend.  My neon Staple Dress!


I am super happy with how this dress ended up.  The fabric I ended up using is a bright pink crinkle gauze with birds all over it.  This was my first time working with a slippery fabric and cutting it was a pain, but the end product was worth it!


The pattern I used is April Rhodes first pattern, The Staple Dress.  This is such a great pattern for someone new to sewing adult clothes, simple and very forgiving!  Simple shirring around the waist takes if from a shapeless sack into a flattering dress.

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For my dress I choose to add pockets but still keep the french seams.  I decided to do the high low hem version (apparently this works perfectly for an 80’s theme) which initially I was not too sure about, but I like how it turned out.


For my next dress, and there will be a next for sure, I think I would like the neckline to be a little less wide and I will make sure my shirring ends up a little higher.  Although I like how the dress looks I do think it should cinch in a little bit higher.

Overall, I am really happy with how my very first dress turned out and if you like it make sure you come back Friday and vote for mine!


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Monster Birthday Party

This past week our little man Dax turned 1!  Not quite sure how that happened so quickly!  To celebrate we threw him a monster themed first birthday party.  I had so much fun planning this one out and getting everything ready.  This is the most crafty I have gotten for a birthday so far and I love how it turned out.  I apologize for the picture heavy post 🙂

My favourite thing that I made for the birthday boy is this custom birthday onsie.  I used a store bought onsie and used freezer paper and acrylic paint mixed with a fabric medium to make it.  I used this tutorial.


Birthday boy not looking too impressed. He had a cold and was not feeling very good for his birthday

Long before I knew what the theme of Daxton’s birthday was going to be I knew I wanted to make a flag pennant banner using chalk board fabric.  There are a million tutorials out there for pennant banners and the addition I made was I cut out circles of chalk board fabric which I sewed on one side.  For the flags I used fat quarters from Joanns using our colours of red, orange, bright blue, and lime green.  I loved how it turned out and that it can be reused in the future.

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To go with the colour theme I also made some tissue paper puffs and tissue paper fans.  To go with the monster theme I added paper eyes to the fans to make them look like monsters.  I used this tutorial for the fans.


I also turned some balloons into monsters by adding some faces to them.

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I also made Daxton some monster cupcakes.  To make my super simple monster cupcakes I used the grass piping tip to pipe hair onto the cupcakes and then made cakepop eyes to stick out the top.  Out of pure laziness and not wanting to make more cake pops, some of the cupcakes just got eyes and a mouth using black gel icing.

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Simple party but I love how it all came together!


And now some photos of the birthday boy enjoying his party!


Dax supervising Finnley opening his presents



More interested in the paper than the toys


He loved this singing card


Mmm train tracks!


First time trying cake


Think he likes it?


Getting ready to run


He kept trying to walk away with his cupcake. There was orange icing everywhere


Running from mommy and daddy


Tired after a busy party


Nap time with papa


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Project Sewn – Washi Dress

Three posts in as many days!  I almost feel like apologizing!  However, it’s week 2 for Project Sewn, which means that I’m up (Bitty and I are alternating weeks to keep our budgets intact and our schedules manageable)!  The theme of this week is Sundresses.  I hesitated before I decided to participate as I made an unofficial “promise” to myself that I would only sew clothing that I am going to get a lot of wear out of and sundresses are not a usual part of my wardrobe.  Ultimately, I decided that the Washi dress of Made-By-Rae was the perfect compromise.  Comfortable and versatile enough that I am hoping I will wear it often!  Will have to wait and see.  However, I made this on Saturday and wore it to a birthday party on Sunday and to work today so that seems like a good start.  This is also the reason that it’s looking a little sad and rumpled in these photos.  Just keeping it real, peeps!

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With my Neon Sweater!

Alisha and I took these pictures on the rooftop garden at the Princess Margaret Hospital and there is not a lot of protection from the wind up there!  So apologies if the pictures are looking a little windblown!

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Now on to the dress details…  If you follow many sewing blogs then you will know that I am late to the party on this one!  You can find many fun and beautiful versions of this dress around.  I opted to make mine out of Michael Miller’s Garden Pindot in charcoal.  While this is lovely fabric and this pattern is meant to work well with quilting cotton, I wish I had chosen differently.  I really, really don’t like the stiff A-line created by this fabric so next time I will opt for a softer cotton.  I skipped the facings and did the fully lined bodice (Rae’s tutorial for this can be found here) using a plain while cotton voile.  I didn’t need to do this but I am not usually a big fan of facings.  I also altered the neckline by skipping the keyhole detail on the original pattern and by scooping it out a bit more.  While the scooped out neckline appeared to be fine at the muslin stage, I found it to be a bit problematic on the finished dress!  It gaped quite a bit when I was sitting down.  To solve this problem, I added a small pleat on both sides of the bodice.  This closed up the gape without taking away any of the necessary fullness in the bodice.  In the end, I quite liked this little detail!  To keep the pleats lying flat I also topstitched the neckline.

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I lengthened the bodice by adding a full two inches below the darts and above the shirring lines in the back.  I prefer to have the pleats sitting at my natural waistline instead of right up under my bust!

I think that’s it!  I hope this will get a lot of wear!  I think I’ll call this one my Wash-i Away the Rain spring dress!


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JOJI Spring KAL round-up

Hello! I finally got some pictures for a few of my March/April/May projects! I’m finding this the hardest part of blogging. I make lots of “stuff” but it’s really hard to blog about them without the photos! Anyway, as previously mentioned (here and here), I have been participating in a couple of spring wardrobe-related knit alongs (KALs). While the Tops, Tanks, and Tees KAL is ongoing, the JOJI Spring accessory and sweater KAL ended on May 1st.  I did actually finish everything on time but sadly, did not get everything blocked and posted before the 1st so no prizes for me!  But no worries as the real prizes are the Awesome and Amazing shawl/scarf and sweater that have joined my wardrobe.  So with no further ado…

The Way From Brighton! I love this shawl even though I was quickly tired of knitting the bobbles… I made this from some lovely worsted weight silk/wool yarn that has been languishing in my stash since I started knitting (ravelry notes found here). In fact, this is the very first yarn that I ever bought. It was from the sale section at Romni and I had no idea about yarn weights or quantities I might need to make something but I loved the colour and the price was right so home it came!  Unfortunately, 2 skeins of worsted weight yarn are not terribly useful so I wasn’t able to find a project for it until I found this pattern by Joji.  It really was a lovely pairing as the yarn gives the shawl fantastic sheen (silk!) and drape.  I’ve worn it often and after looking at these pictures, I think it looks perfect with my Wispy cardigan (not blogged but ravelry notes can be found here) and my split-back tank!

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And for the sweater component of the KAL, I went with Neon.  Words can hardly describe how thrilled I am with this sweater!  Seriously, how obnoxious is this colour!  This is the Madeline Tosh dk in Tomato…  my new favourite colourway!

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Unfortunately I happen to be wearing the only shirt in my wardrobe that looks ridiculous under a cardigan!  It’s my Sencha (will blog about it soon) and it has a very high neckline.  Oh well.  You’ll just have to imagine how awesome this cardigan usually looks!  This one represents a few firsts for me.  My first all-over lace sweater, my first contiguous shoulder construction, my first Joji sweater (definitely not my last!), and my first stabilized button bands.

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Contiguous sleeve

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Grosgrain ribbon on the button bands.

If you look closely at the picture above you can see that I used some grosgrain ribbon to stabilize both button bands   I just used small whipstitches to attach the ribbon and then used the blanket stitch to stabilize the buttonholes that I cut into the ribbon.  It was a total pain to do but completely worth it!  And because I am a geek…

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So very happy in front of a camera… not at all awkward!


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KCW Part 2 – Yellow Skinny Jeans

Finally sharing my second and final project that I made for KCW (you can find the first project here), some super adorable bright yellow skinny jeans for Finnley!


How cute are these jeans! I love the bright yellow and think it is just so perfect for spring.  These jeans were made using The Lovely Rita’s pattern from Shwin and Shwin.  After making the kids some shorts the jeans ended up being a pretty easy project and I was super happy with the fit on these pants.


I choose to add a faux fly and to skip the button placket on the legs.  Other details I included was using white top stitching on the fly and front and back pockets.  Super subtle but a nice detail.

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Aside from the back pockets being a little bit more spaced out than I would like I am super happy with how they turned out.  Already planning out my next pair.  Currently on the lookout for some printed denim or I might finally play around with stamping and make my own printed denim.


And I finally remembered to use one of my labels!


Project Sewn – Striped Skirt

Awhile back I participated in Project Run and Play and this week marked week 1 of the sister project, Project Sewn.  Project Sewn is an opportunity to shift from sewing clothes for my kids and take some time out to actually make something for myself.  Sewing for kids is so much easier than sewing for myself.  With kids if the fit is slightly off, more often than not it doesn’t really matter and they still look adorable.  If the fit of my clothes are off, well it definitely doesn’t do me any favours.  So needless to say it took me 3 tries to finally get this project right.  First plan was to use this tutorial to make a pleated skirt.  Somehow I managed to make knife pleats instead of box pleats and completely measured my waist wrong it ended up being way too small.  For take 2 I decided to make a simple gathered skirt but this time I overcompensated and it was way too big.  The worst part was a decided to put in my invisible zipper (my first one ever!) before I tried it on.  Third time was the charm and I ended up with this highwaisted black and white striped skirt for the black and white theme.


Apparently I was thinking along the same lines as one of the blogger competitors, Jess from The Sewing Rabbit, although hers is much more impressive than mine!  For my striped skirt I ended up using some upholstery fabric from Ikea.  This fabric was much heavier than the normal cotton that I use and meant the skirt has alot of volume.  Although I find the skirt to be fun I do think that it has a bit more volume than I would like and would be a bit more flattering if it had a bit less.  Once I got the fit figured out on this skirt the actual construction process was quite easy.


Not sure why one side looks flatter than the other, but they match much better I promise!

The one extra that I did add was on some inseam pockets using a fun red print.  I love me some pockets!

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Black and white always looks good with a pop of colour and I had planned to make a Laurel using some red voile but I ran out of time.  Will be one of my next projects and hopefully it looks how I hope it will with this skirt!

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Spring Tops, Tanks and Tees KAL update

Hello!  Sorry for the silence but I’m happy to report that my grant is finished and submitted!  It’s always such a relief to get these things off!  Anyway, as mentioned previously (and not so briefly!), I’ve been participating in a few Spring related knitalongs (KALs).  I’ve finished two pieces (an accessory and a sweater) for a KAL that the very amazing knitwear designer JOJI was hosting in March and April.  I’ll post about those in the next day or two as I still need to bribe a friend into taking some pictures!  In the meantime, an update on the Spring Tops, Tanks and Tees KAL that Shannon (of luvinthemommyhood ) is hosting…

I had a late start, in part due to work related deadlines but also because I wanted to double up on this one and take part in the Madeline Tosh MadMay KAL as the yarn I chose is the tosh merino light in Tart.  I cast Urban on on Saturday and it’s coming together quickly (I started the hip increases last night).  I did make quite a few modifications to the front and back bodice pieces to remove some of the ease built into the pattern.  I have narrow shoulders and I thought this one would constantly be slipping off and driving me nuts!  As always, Thao713 came to the rescue and I roughly followed the modifications she outlined on ravelry (my ravelry notes can be found here ).  All in all, this is another straightforward and well written pattern by Veera.  Compared to some of the other finished objects I have seen for this KAL, my version of Urban is pretty unexciting but I do think it will be simple and something I will wear often.

urban progress 1

urban progress 2

While I had some very grans plans at the start of this KAL, my late start has pretty much put an end to that.  I should have no problems finishing my Urban on time and since some lovely linen arrived for Hélène, I’m going to try and get this one done as well.  I love, love, LOVE this sweater!  Or at least I love it on everyone else!  I have a sneaking suspicion that I should have chosen something with a little colour but the natural yarn is so lovely that I couldn’t resist!  I’m already excited for this project when I look at my tiny little swatch!

helene swatchswatch

This sweater has a couple of firsts for me.  My first time knitting with linen.  I’ve been knitting a sleep sack for a friends baby using cotton and I am not a fan but I’m hoping that the lace in this pattern will help alleviate my major issues with plant based fibres (e.g. getting consistent stitches and an elastic fabric when knitting straight stockinette).  Knitting the swatch was not too bad.  The yarn is much stiffer than I am used to with wool but everyone assures me that it will soften up with washing!  It’s also my first time seaming a sweater.  Well, knitting the front and back separately as there is no actual seaming in this pattern (use a 3 needle bind-off instead).  I’m also a little concerned about the width of the neckline (see above comments about narrow shoulders).  I haven’t looked at the pattern closely yet but I may modify this slightly.  Will see…

Well, hopefully when I next blog about this KAL I’ll have some FO to share!

As an aside, the Wool People 5 collection by Brooklyn Tweed is out!  Check it out if you haven’t already!  As always, there some awesome patterns to chose from!


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KCW Part 1 – Maggie Mae

Feels like forever but I finally have something to share!  Starting to get into the routine of things and adapting to work full time so hopefully I can find more time to get back to sewing.  As previously mentioned I decided to participate in KCW this year.  I set myself what I thought was a reasonable goal of three things but managed to only finish two.  Now I realize KCW finished on April 28 and I should have blogged about these awhile ago but here is the first of my two projects…


Yet another Shwin and Shwin pattern, The Maggie Mae Tunic.  Isn’t it adorable?  This was an easy sew, the only thing that held me up with this one was that I ran out of thread.  So annoying because it killed all momentum and ended up taking way longer to actually finish than it should have.

This top was made out of some quilting cotton from Joanns and I love how bright the colours are.  Perfect for the sunny weather we are currently having.  Spring is officially here, although with these temperatures it feels more like mid August!  This top features two of my favourite things, buttons and inseam pockets!

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Loving this little shirt.  I am thinking dress soon for summer!


Hopefully I will have a project to share for Project Sewn later this week.  I am thinking/hoping third attempt at  making this skirt work will be the charm!


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