Delicious Liberty Myrtle!

Hello! It’s been awhile and let’s just say that a lot has been happening!  I’ll share my life news at a later date when everything is sorted out and I have time to breathe. For now I’m going to quickly share a dress that I made for a local shop I have been working at this summer. .. The Colette Myrtle!

_MG_6485Apologies for the headless photos…  was trying something new (*ahem* hiding a terrible hair day!)

As many of your already know, I have been working as a postdoc in an Immunology lab in Toronto for the last five a half years. An amazing time was had, lots was learned and all that jazz! I officially finished in June (yay! I am now “fully” trained!) but have more or less been working from home since March.  Applying for jobs, doing contract work for local biotech start-ups, etc. Basically, I have been sitting on my ass, all alone in my apartment. I was starting to talk to my cats waaaaay too often! So I approached my friend Claudia (well, with a lot of help from Angela!) and asked if she needed help over the summer in her seriously amazing store Eweknit. It was a great way to take a day away from my home and start to interact with people again!

_MG_6484Eweknit has been my go-to yarn store since it opened two years ago.  Seriously, for those of you that knit, check out their wares as this is one well curated and well stocked shop! Last fall, the shop started catering to the sewing addicted amongst us and now boasts one of the most impressive Liberty of London Tana Lawn collections I’ve seen! And recently, a few bolts of Liberty rayon jersey were brought in (details on these fabric lovelies can be found here). New pattern I was itching to try, new fabric that I could not wait to get my hands on…  it was a go!

_MG_6487Patience might have been a good thing here as I am not sure that one should ever muslin a pattern using Liberty! Nonetheless, despite some fitting flaws that could easily have been avoided with a little forethought and prep work, I am in love with this dress! I made the size medium based on my bust measurements (I would normally grade to a large at the hips but didn’t think it would be a problem here with the full, gathered skirt). Really, I should have automatically sized down to account for the drape of this fabric but I’m still happy with the result. Some would say droopy but I say bugger off to that!

_MG_6496I would even go so far as to say that I could have gone down to an x-small in the bodice.  The shoulders on this are a little wide, but this is not an unusual problem for me. My sister Kelley got all the shoulders in this family. But I like to remind myself that she’s old and then I feel better! Kel, I do hope you are reading this!

_MG_6497Bad hair? Check! Awkward pose? Sigh, check…

Words can hardly describe how amazing this fabric is. It felt more like cotton interlock than rayon jersey on the bolt but after being washed..? Silky, dreamy goodness! I have been living in this dress as though it were a nightgown! Who say your shouldn’t be fancy for your cats?!

_MG_6500I was sewing this for the shop so I didn’t make any modifications and while I find some of the steps in the Colette’s knit patterns unnecessarily complicated (the elastic gathering on the Moneta, anyone?!?), it went together with no problems. Some steps that I found a little fiddly with the slinky fabric were the hemming on the back bodice piece (the neck and the sleeves) and this could easily be overcome by doing a full bodice lining. The insertion of the elastic at the waist was also needlessly long and can be adapted in whatever way you prefer. Gillian skipped the gathered skirt on her version and instead just stabilized the waist in the usual way and it works beautifully! Overall though, I find this a clever little dress that appears to flatter most people. Case in point, see it on Angela!

myrtle7_480Let’s just say that our measurements are not the same and leave it at that! But it looks fantastic on her!

So who else is making this dress and what are you thoughts on the new knit-inspired patterns by Colette? Anyone going to give a woven Myrtle a try?

You can see and read more about this dress, the fabric and the pattern (shortly!)  here!

Sara

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Refashion Month: Toddler Dress

It is refashion month over at House of Estrela and I am super excited to be taking part!

Refashioning is not something that I do often but since I have a steadily growing pile of discarded clothing from both my husband and my own closet, it is something that I need to start doing more of.  For this project I started with an old dress shirt of mine that shrunk the first time I washed it, making it just a tad too tight.

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Since I still really loved the fabric, I opted to turn this into a dress for my daughter.

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To do this refashion, I started with the front bodice piece from the geranium dress.  I lengthened it by a few inches so that it would hit my daughter at her waist and lowered the neckline to give it more of a scoop neck.  I used the same bodice for both the front and the back of the dress and I kept the button placket from the original shirt and used that as the front of the dress.

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I used the back of the shirt for the back of the dress.

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To make the skirt I used the rest of the shirt and turned it into a simple gathered skirt.

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To make it even easier, I kept the existing shirt tail hem.

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To finish the neck and arms I made bias tape from some pink cotton I had in my stash.  I love the pop of colour that it adds!

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The final product is a simple and quick summer dress!

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Make sure to check out the rest of the line up and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Elizabeth

Julia Cardigan x 2

So as mentioned on my last post, I have been sewing up a ton of stuff for myself.  I wear cardigans to work almost everyday so when Welcome to the Mouse House had a sale a few months ago I snapped up the Julia Cardigan.  All of the cardigans that I have seen popping up on blog reader recently have looked cute so I finally decided to make one.  I had 2m of black interlock in my stash so I started with that and made a size M with the 3/4 sleeves.

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I also used the no hem option for the collar and the sleeves are finished with a cuff which meant I was able to construct the whole thing on my serger.  I love when I don’t have to pull out my regular machine!  Hemming knits has got to be one of my least favourite things to do.

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My measurements technically meant I should have made large, but I find that the medium fits really well.  Since I knew I wanted to wear it to work I didn’t want it to be too slouchy and I think this size worked out well.

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I found myself getting quite a bit of use out of my first Julia so I decided to make up a second.  When looking for fabric I had originally wanted a charcoal gray, but when I couldn’t find any at my local fabric store I decided to go with some colour and used some hot pink interlock.  Not a neutral like the gray would have been, but more fun!  I would still like to make up the gray one though.

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For this one I decided to try making the long sleeved version.  My one complaint about the pattern would be that she has you use the same cuff that you used for the 3/4 sleeve version which means the arms are really wide.  I did end up cutting off my original cuff and taking the sleeves in a bit.  I then added a slightly smaller cuff.  Could have been a bit smaller yet, but is much better than the first.

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Overall I am really happy with how these turned out and based on how much use they have gotten already I would call them a complete success.

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I desperately had a need for a plain white t-shirt so I made up a quick t-shirt using some white jersey and Doe and Deer’s Plantain pattern.  I have made one other version previously that I never blogged about (fabric colour is not so flattering so it doesn’t get worn very often) so I knew that the size M fits well.  From my previous make I knew that I found the neckline to be a bit low cut so for this one I used a smaller seam allowance when attaching the neckband (3/8 instead of 5/8) which made the band wider and made everything sit a bit higher.  Much happier with this neckline.

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I really love this pattern!  The fit seems to flatter everyone and I see many more in my future.  I don’t have a ton of basic t-shirts so there is a definite gap in my wardrobe that this pattern could easily fill.

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Elizabeth

Pattern Testing: Pleated Pencil Skirt

I love pattern testing and have been fortunate to do a bunch of it for my kiddos and occasionally for myself, but I am horrible at actually sharing what I make remotely close to the release date, if at all.  Well not this time!  I was lucky enough to get to test Delia from Delia Creates very first women’s pattern, the Pleated Pencil Skirt, and it turned out great which meant I couldn’t wait to share it!

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I am a huge fan of pencil skirts and often wear them to work, but this was my first time making one.  This skirt fit me great without having to make any modifications which is extremely rare.  This was thanks to the slightly more relaxed waist!

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The skirt does a great job at hugging me where it should without restricting my movements or make it uncomfortable to sit in all day at work.

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The skirt features a side invisible zipper and I think I did a pretty good job for only my second invisible zipper ever!

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It also has a closed kick pleat.  A first for me, but a detail that I love because this combined with the relaxed waist makes your fabric choices quite open because you don’t need a ton of stretch.  For this one I used a sateen with a tiny bit of stretch and it worked perfectly!

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I am so happy with the finished product and love that it looks so great with my Belcarra blouse!  This skirt was actually such a huge success that it can be credited for kicking off a ton of selfish sewing which means my face should be back on here sooner rather than later!

Elizabeth

 

Black Belcarra Blouse

Hey look!  My face is actually on the blog instead of my kiddos for the first time in months!  It isn’t that I haven’t been sewing for myself (although there hasn’t been a ton), but rather that I have not been loving pictures of myself and have not wanted to share for everyone to see.  Time to get over that and I will start by sharing my first Belcarra blouse from Sewaholic.  Sorry for the second Belcarra post in as many days, but figured since I participated in the sew along that I should get my version up now rather than later.

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This version was meant to be my wearable muslin and thankfully it is extremely wearable!  I made it out of some black viscose that I got from my local fabric store.  It was my first time working with a somewhat slippery material and to say that it frustrated me would be an understatement.  I didn’t think it had shifted that much when cutting, but when I tried to line up the sleeves with the bias cut edge on the body they were off by a ton.  It took quite a bit of stretching to get the sleeve to fit, but I managed to make it mostly work.  The rest of the shirt lined up with no problems so it was just the bias cut edge that gave me trouble.

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I do feel like there is some extra material where the sleeves and body meet, but feel like that might be because of my cutting issues.  For this version I made a straight size 10 which fits, but is a bit looser than I wanted.  I have already traced and cut out the size 8 pattern pieces for my next version so will give that a try soon!  The only change I made to this version was to bring the neckline in a bit.  I am very glad I did because even after bringing it in it still slides and shows my bra straps.  I plan on bringing it in even more for my next version.

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I love the waist shaping that the pattern has.  I think it does a great job at keeping the shirt from looking like a tent.

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Cutting issues aside, I am really happy with how my first version turned out.  This pattern fits perfectly with my style and I can see many more version in the future.  In fact I bought some lovely floral rayon for my next, but need to figure out a better way to stabilize my fabric before I cut it out.  Thinking I might give some spray starch a try and see if that works.

Elizabeth

a Graphic Belcarra

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Some slightly unfortunate pattern placement…!

What’s this? A sewing post? I will say that after the Albion, my sewing machine and I needed a bit of a break from each other. Or a longish one as it turns out. Nevertheless, I have been dipping back in of late and have a few simple projects to share. Up first is my inaugural Belcarra blouse from Sewaholic.

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I made this one using a graphic silk/cotton blend that I bought at a fabricland sale long, long ago.  It is fairly delicious against the skin! Light and airy and positively perfect for the humid heat to come! I opted to mix and match the versions to get the details that I love. I’ve used the pleated sleeves from view B and the wider cuffs from view c.

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I realize that the print is busy and that the pintucks get a bit lost amid it all but this is the detail that sold me on this pattern so I couldn’t skip them! And you would be surprised at how often people comment on this feature so apparently they are not lost at all.

I was worried about the wide neck on this from the very beginning and have no idea why I didn’t take it in… especially given my narrow shoulders! Indeed, the neck is wide.  Almost unwearably so.  Oh well…  a little slippage is not going to stop me. However, I will be bringing the neck in substantially on the next version and to make that nice and easy, this little alteration was covered in their recent sewalong.

2014-05-29 19.12.02“Maybe if I stand really still, the neckline will stay put!”

My only pattern alteration this time around was to add a curved hem. I’m a fan of this finish as it allows me to accomodate my generous hips without wearing a tent! I made the shirt according to my measurement but I do find it a little too large so next time around I will be going down a size in addition to taking in the neck. Maybe in a solid so that those pintucks can really shine! And I should have shortened by bias tape for the neckline a bit as that would have helped it lay flat. As it is now, it tends to flip up a little. What can I say…  it was late and I was lazy!

And that about covers it. A quick and extremely wearable make! Another pattern win by Sewaholic! Any of you interested in giving this pattern a try?

Sara

Finnley’s Summer Wardrobe

I have big plans over the next month or so to sew the majority of my kids summer clothes. Fabric has been bought and patterns have been picked, but not much more than that has been done so far. Last weekend I did make a start and whipped up a super quick tank and some capris.

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For the tank I used the rio racerback tank from Peek-a-Boo patterns.  I picked this one up as soon as it was released because I knew it would be a great staple for my daughter’s summer wardrobe.  Plus I am a sucker for a good knit pattern.  Love, love, love sewing with knits.  So quick!  This top took about an hour to make from cutting to hem.  I have plans for a few more tanks and at least one dress.  The triangle fabric is from Girl Charlee and can be found here.  The one thing with sewing for toddlers is that their clothing doesn’t take a lot of fabric and I still have about 2/3 of a yard left.  What to do with the leftovers?

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The fit on the tank is really great.  I cut a 3T for the width, but made it a 4T for length.  I especially love the racer back!

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To go with the tank I just happened to have some aqua stretch denim that I picked up for 50% on a recent trip to my local Fabricland.  Totally lucked out and it was a perfect match for the triangles (plus a couple of the other knits I picked up from Girl Charlee on my last order).  I decided to try the host pants pattern from LouLouBee clothing that was part of the most recent Pattern Parcel.

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The host pants are a super popular pattern and there are lots of adorable versions where the fit is excellent.  Unfortunately the fit on Finnley’s pants is not quite what I was going for.  She very clearly fit into the 3T measurements, but there is a ton of extra fabric on the back of the pants, especially in the bum area.  The waistband is adjustable and I had to tighten it quite a bit just to make them stay up.

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Thankfully when her top is pulled down it becomes less obvious. I would like to try the pattern again, but will have to do a bit of tweaking to make it work.  To make the pants into capris I used this as a reference and then simply rolled the pants up to make a cuff.  Simple to do, but makes the pants perfect for spring.  I tacked the cuff down, but they could easily be taken down and turned into pants in the fall if I so desire.

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Fit issues aside, it is a great outfit that was made just in time for the warm weather we are having this week!  Comfy and easy to move in which works well for playtime, such as digging in the dirt with sticks with little brother!

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Elizabeth

Linked up with:  Tuesday Sews

 

 

Matinee Dress Blog Tour

Recently I was one of the lucky few picked to test Jennifer’s very first pattern, the Matinee Dress!  I love testing patterns (and test a lot of them!) but was particularly happy to be picked for this one. It’s adorable! Considering that this was Jennifer’s first pattern, I was incredibly impressed by the quality and am happy to report that she has produced a professional pattern with excellent diagrams and very straight forward and easy to follow instructions.

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What initially drew me to this pattern was definitely the plunging back.

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The pattern features a bunch of different options so you can easily customize it: cap sleeves, hem band, or you can even make a peplum.  Jennifer even adds a section with suggestions for additional modifications you can make to personalize your dress or top, such as adding a ribbon as she did here.  For this version of the matinee dress I did make one modification, which was to omit the sash as I thought it would break up the stripes on the front of the dress. However, I did want to keep the button closure so I made two short pieces using the sash dimensions and sewed them to the dress when attaching the bodice to the lining.  I love how this feature turned out and I especially love the pop of yellow against the blue and white stripes. Nice splash of sunshine to welcome the spring!

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The fit on this dress ended up being excellent, although I have to admit that this was my second version as my original dress was a wee large on Finnley and didn’t do this pattern justice!  Thankfully Jennifer added a whole section talking about how you can customize your pattern sizes to get the perfect fit for your child.

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This is the original dress that I made for testing which is too big all over and overwhelms my daughter.

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The back of the dress gaped and it doesn’t take much to see undies which is not something anyone needs to see!

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Fabric choices for this dress are pretty open which gives you endless options to make a more casual dress with quilting cotton or a more formal dress from satin or taffeta.  For my second version I used a striped quilting cotton and alternated the direction of the stripes to add visual interest.

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Thanks so much for the chance to test your very first pattern, Jennifer and I am super excited to see what you come up with next!

Elizabeth

Linked up at:  Inspire Us Thursdays

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.

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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!

Elizabeth

 

 

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.

Sequins

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.

Purse

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!

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Elizabeth

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