Banksia

Well, I am officially posting the blog equivalent of filler today!  I made this Banksia blouse months ago, took photos last month and have done nothing with it since…  I feel so meh about the whole thing and since there are so many awesome versions of this blouse already online, I didn’t think that anyone needed to see this!  But after a month of silence (sorry for the blog slacking, Bits) I’m going for it.  Yet, even as I sit here I find I have nothing to say about it!

banksia 1

It’s a Megan Nielsen pattern so of course it was a delight to make.  Megan has a ton of online resources for this one, and her posts on different techniques for making the button placket (here and here) are worth a read, whether you are making this pattern or not.  I *obviously* opted for a collarless version this time around.  I do love the giant collar and I have plans to go back and make a version with it but this fabric was so underwhelming that I just didn’t feel like it.  The blouse is quite large on me so if you do plan on making this one then just know that there is quite a bit of ease built into it.  It’s also stupid long on me!  I shortened it by a couple of inches but still can’t wear it untucked without looking like I’m playing dress up!  The darts on this were also awful on me but since I didn’t make a muslin (bad, lazy sewcialist!), I did a pretty half-assed job fixing them here.  The drapey viscose fabric saved the day on this one!  I had the same problems with the bust darts on my darling ranges dress so I should have known better then to skip the muslin.

banksia 2

I probably sound like I hate this make but I actually wear it quite a bit.  I really love the neckline and the length of the sleeves and the fabric is a total dream!  So with a few more modifications, I think that Banksia could be a real wardrobe staple for me.

banksia funny face

The obligatory awkward blog photo!

As for blog silence…  I have been sewing and knitting up a storm!  Admittedly, mostly knitting.  I don’t know if it’s just the time of year but all I want to do is knit, knit, KNIT!  On my couch!  With a soft blanket, cozy kitties and a hot coffee!  Anyway, I have a lot of finished projects to share but getting photos is such a trial for me!  My tripod is sitting in Bitty’s storage room several thousand kilometres away (good news for Bitty but bad news for me!) and I have no useful surfaces in my apartment on which to set down a camera to take a photo.  I also live right downtown in Toronto so am reluctant to find a fence or picnic table to act as my tripod…  I have images of my camera running away from me!  Friends at work have been awesome and accommodating on this but it’s work…  can be hard to take the time to go and take blog photos.  So…  this remains a dilemma.  Should any of my TO blog friends ever feel like trading photo duties then just let me know!

Will hopefully be back soon with a more read-worthy make!  In the meantime, if you need to be reminded of how amazing the Banksia pattern can be then go check out these lovely ladies.  There is this lovely chambray version by Juli, this kickass flannel version by Gingermakes (that may have officially inspired me for Grunge November) and this lovely version by Sophie.

Sara

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Darling Ranges

Is it sad that I have an urge to start every post with apologies for my absence on this blog?  I’m gonna refrain despite the fact that it has been an entire month since anyone has heard from me on here.  So on to what is sure to be the first of many… the Darling Ranges dress by Megan Nielsen.

with sweater LR

There are a million and one versions of this on the interwebs but I’m going to follow in the footsteps of Amy here and highlight a few versions that I love.  Amy started doing this a couple of months ago in her blog posts and I have really enjoyed this… have discovered a few new blogs this way.  Anyway, a few Darling Ranges that I love are Karyn’s Liberty of London dress, the many versions by Ping of Peneloping, and this one by Anna of Paunnet.com.

I actually made this dress a couple of months ago (it made a brief appearance at our blogger meet-up in August).  In fact, this is another of my cottage makes.  You may also recognize the fabric as Bitty used the same for her Hawthorn peplum blouse.  Bitty gets all of the credit for finding this fabric!  I loved it when she first sent me a picture of it so when I stumbled across it at a local Fabricland sale, I was all over it!

front 2back

I went with a sleeveless version as I wanted to be able to wear it over the remainder of the summer.  I did nothing fancy here…  just omitted the sleeves and bound the armholes.  I think it worked well!  The dress comes together quickly and effortlessly.  My only gripe (and this has come up before with Megan’s patterns) are the bust darts.  The shape of the dart did not work for me at all!  I’ve altered it slightly here but it could still be improved.  Originally I omitted the ties at the waist as the dress basically fit without them and I hate having a giant lump at my back when I am sitting.  However, the dress is already too big for me so I went back and added the ties and I think they work.  The dress is a tad bunched at the back but it doesn’t bother me.  This is a casual dress in my wardrobe so I tend not to be bothered by the little things!  However, if you are like me and hate having a lump digging into your back when you’re sitting then keep in mind that these ties are long!  You could either reduce the length to reduce the volume or you can do what I do and that’s to bring them all the way to the front and tie them there.  It’s maybe a little less polished then tying them in the back but they annoy me far less this way!

As I mentioned previously, I made this one at the cottage in August and tried to take some pictures.  I believe I mentioned that I was not in a photographing mood so I had a few of my very accommodating friends model it for me.  The lovely J…

J pretty J sky

And the equally lovely (and very good sport!), Dion…  In particular, I think this dress works well with socks, Birkenstocks and boxer shorts!  And the lumberjack look?  Just fucking awesome!  So if you need a versatile and universally flattering dress in your wardrobe then this is the pattern for you!

D stand D lumberjack D stretch

cottage group

winding down from the epic cottage photoshoot…

And that’s about it.  I’ve got a version with sleeves cut out so hopefully I will get to that soon.  Dress-wearing days in Toronto are rapidly coming to a close so I should get right on that!

Back again this weekend with the Victoria Blazer!  Trying to get my backlog of projects done and posted!

Jyaa

Sara

The Woven Tank Top Saga – Eucalypt!

So much for bombarding you with cottage makes!  Fail!  But I’ve been busy sewing fun things… to be shared at a later date!  And going to awesome meet-ups with lovely fellow sewcialists (can read all about it here).  But for now, onwards with the Tank Talk.

victoria WIP

When I first got back into sewing last summer, I started with the Wiskten Tank.  Actually, I started with a lot of zippered pouches and Birdie Slings (A LOT!) but I digress.  I’d go to The Workroom and Karyn frequently had on these awesome wiksten tanks!  Jealous!  Wanted my own!  Unfortunately, the paper pattern, while a work of art, was a bit steep so I carried on with small fat quarter projects.  Then Jenny made the patterns available for pdf download and I was off!  It’s a simple pattern with lovely, clean finishes and I made a lot of them folks!  Sadly, the fit was never that great (an argument to that effect could be said about all of my makes but again, I digress!).  This top gaped badly at the back of the neck…  not an attractive look!  A lot of people seemed to have that problem and had some creative ways to solve it.  My method was to close of the gap with a tuck pleat before adding the neck binding and this is a detail that I have really come to enjoy on my tanks.  And the curved hem?!?!  LOVE!  I’ve used this hem in many tops that I’ve made since!  But after grading this top to fit my bust and hips, it looked so boxy and huge on me.  I played around with waist shaping and have made something that is acceptable.  But alas, I think this pattern is not the best for me.

wiksten 1wiksten 2

Next up was the Tiny Pocket Tank from Grainline Studio.  Another simple pattern with very pretty finishes.  In fact, Jen’s method of grading, clipping and understitching her neck and arm bindings is genius and is the standard for me now.  This pattern has some bust darts, which is a better way for me to go.  It was still boxy but it was easier to make a flattering shape at the waist with the better fitting bust.  I’ve already written a post on this tank so I’ll leave you to that should you want to know more.

The most recent attempt in my woven tank saga is the Eucalypt from Megan Nielsen’s Breakwater collection.  I’m not sure what possessed me to buy another tank pattern when I know I can make something that I love by combining the two patterns above but what can I say…  I could not resist this collection!

jumping 2 serious eucalypt 2

This is another winner in my books.  It’s construction is pretty much the same as the last two (minus the bust darts and curved hem).  What I really love on this pattern is the neckline.  It’s the perfect depth for me (feminine without showing way too much of the girls) and I love the narrower straps.  Again, makes a boxy top feel nice and girly!  This one was made from a cotton/silk blend that I grabbed at a Fabricland sale.  The colours in the fabric are a little loud in person so I backed it with black silk/cotton fabric that I had on hand.  It’s also a fairly sheer fabric so I underlined it with the same fabric.

So in conclusion (!)…  I’ve started mixing up the three patterns.  The straps and neck and the Eucalypt, the bodice of the Tiny Pocket Tank and the curved hem of the Wiskten…  for the win!!!

dancing eucalypt 2 this guy 2

Christina hamming it up for us all.  Was fun!  One day I will be like her when I grow up and will stop scowling at the camera.  Or sticking out my tongue at it.

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Christina The Ballerina?  Clearly we’re having some good fun but this looks a little like my 3 year old niece at her last photoshoot…  just saying!  Dance-off??  I think so!  Taking bets on the outcome in the comments!

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Later Peeps!

Sara

Cottage Cascades

Bitty and I seem to be in a bit of a sewing slump these days.  Also a knitting slump, crafting slump and general life slump!  Thus the blog silence of late.  Fortunately I have very accommodating friends that helped me drag a crap load of sewing supplies up to our cottage vacation in Northern Ontario last week.  Got tons done with pictures of people other than me (YAY!!!!) modelling the finished items.  So brace yourself! Many a blog post coming your way! First up is the lovely Christina wearing the Awesome and Amazing Megan Nielsen Cascade skirt.

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We had one massive photo shoot on our final morning at the cottage.  The plan was originally for me to model my own clothing but the day started with this:

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My Idlewood sweater.

Clearly I was in a happy place!  Totally in the zone…  game for all sorts of photo fun. Ummm….  notsomuch!  So Christina to the rescue!

cascade 4 cascade 1

I’ve had my eye on the cascade skirt for awhile now but the poor lovely kept getting shoved to the back of the sewing queue… needed the perfect fabric!  Fortunately, I stumbled upon this fabric on the sale floor of King Textiles on the morning of our vacation.  A measly $3 a yard and perfect for the cascade!  It’s some mystery nylon blend that I might normally avoid but I really love it for this skirt!  Doesn’t shrink or wrinkle but cascades beautifully and is just plain fun!

cascade 8

I made this skirt my first day at the cottage before we had managed to find an ironing board for me to use.  Meant that I had to become fast friends with my rolled hem foot as there is a lot of hem here, folks!  And a traditional rolled hem without an iron?  Don’t think so!  Otherwise nothing to say.  The pattern is easy and quick and the skirt certainly makes a statement.  Can’t put this sucker on without wanting to run, jump and twirl!  It sure does love the wind though so I’m going to have to sew on some pretty ribbon to keep it closed.

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Twirl!!!!  Now if only I was still at the Lui Cottage.

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Peggy, the photographer of the day after attempting to coax a smile out of me… She cheered up considerably after Christina took over!

Thanks for the photos, Peggy!

Sara

Megan Nielsen Briar Tee

A gorgeous, sunny day in Toronto!

And several days later (finally sitting down to finish this post) and it is an awesome, grey and rainy day in Toronto!  Most people will not agree with the awesome statement but what can I say…  I’m a little homesick and the rain reminds me of the Coast.

I’ve been mildly obsessed with knits now that I have gotten over my silly fear of them.  A common occurrence amongst my fellow sewists, I think.  We all dread them until we finally take the plunge and realize how easy and satisfying they are to work with!  No need to worry about finishing seams?  Sign me up!  I’ve been having some Renfrew and Scout knit fun but have been hesitant to try Megan Nielsen’s Briar.  It’s adorable and I love the kajillion versions I have seen out in the blogverse but I wasn’t so sure I could pull it off.  A mullet hem?  Ummmm…  not so sure.  But I do so love a versatile pattern and with all of the awesome ideas and tutorials found on Megan Nielsen’s blog, I went for it.  And ladies, this pattern is everything you said it would be!

red briar autotone correct 2013-07-26 14.23.52

I’ve made a few versions but am showing you a cropped and a long version.  The cropped tee didn’t appeal at all but I had a short cut of this red cotton knit so decided to give it a try.  I kind of love it!  This sucker shall never see the light of day without a longer base layer but it’s been so fun to try and style!  Perhaps not surprising, it works perfectly over the Eucalypt and Banksia.  And given how often I wear it over this RTW button-up that I picked up at the Loft for a song, I will have to make an Archer or two to layer with my cropped Briar tee’s this fall.  I didn’t modify the pattern at all but I think that next time I might lower the front a touch as it is quite cropped on me!  And I could definitely stand to take some width out of the shoulders. Otherwise, I love it!

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The version below was actually my first attempt at this pattern.  I used a super slinky rayon jersey that is a treat to wear but was not the best choice for this pattern.  At least not on me!   Too much drape with the long hem at the back so it tends to pool on my ass.  Perhaps not the best look.  Sure doesn’t stop me from wearing it though!  The fabric feels far too awesome to worry about anything else!

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No close-ups on this pocket!  My sewing machine was a grumpy bitch with this fabric so the pocket looks less than perfect!  But so far no one has pointed at it in horror so maybe only I care that I made such a mess of it.  Anyway, this tee is LONG, peeps so be warned.  I took a solid four inches off of the back and maybe an extra inch off the front hem.

I’ve also been working on getting better pictures of my finished knits for my ravelry page.  Below is a striped shawl that I made last summer out of a fingering weight alpaca (project notes can be found here).  This sucker was a total dream in the winter!  Cozy, warm, and soft.  A winning combination if I do say so.

shawl hang shawl 1

However, in the crazy hot Toronto summers, this thing feels a little ridiculous!

 shawl face

And on a fun, sister-related note…  Bitty’s Hawthorn peplum made the Top 20 in the Hawthorn Sewalong hosted by Colette Patterns.  So hop on over here to see some lovely dresses and blouses and maybe vote for Bitty should you feel so inclined!

Jyaa

Sara