Sewing for Fall – Minoru and Miette

All week I have been fighting the urge to sew for KCW and it has been a challenge to walk by the pile of fabric and patterns that I have all ready to cut, but instead I managed to get my outfit finished for the final week of Project Sewn.  Originally Sara and I had planned on each sewing an outfit including Minoru, but Sara hasn’t quite finished hers yet. Hopefully she will have it on the blog soon! This week was signature style week and I honestly don’t think I really know what my signature style is.  The last few years I have fallen into the mom rut and have not spent a lot of time or effort on what I wore.  However, I am now working at a job that requires me to be dressed a bit more professionally which has forced me to start putting a little bit more thought into my clothes.  For signature style week I decided to sew something that would work perfectly for fall and be appropriate for errands with the family but that I could also wear to work.


First up I sewed a new jacket for fall but that will also be perfect for spring.  I used the Minoru pattern by Sewaholic and followed the sew-along that Tasia did when the pattern was first released.  I am super happy with how the jacket turned out!  I decided to go view A with the hood since I live in Vancouver and hoods get a lot of use in our rainy weather.  The jacket came together surprisingly easy thanks to the sew-along and aside from a few silly sewing mistakes there were no real issues.  I used a grey twill for the jacket and lined the body with some Robert Kaufmann flannel to make it a bit warmer and the sleeves with bemberg to make it easy to take on and off.  I did make one change to the pattern and eliminated the pockets on the  inside of the jacket and substituted them for inseam pockets using the tutorial Amy from Sew Well made.

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I love the zipper pouch in the collar that lets you put the hood away.  Such a great detail!

Since I have started dressing for my job I find myself wearing a lot of skirts and dresses, but I don’t have very many so I am constantly wearing the same ones each week.  To add to my choices I finally made a Miette.  I have had this pattern printed for quite a few months now with the red linen washed and ready to go, but only just got to it last week.  The skirt came together easily and although I love it on everyone else (see Sara’s version here) I am not sure it is the best shape for me.  I do like it and I am sure it will get lots of wear, just not sure I love it.  What I really don’t like on me is the way the skirt should be tied with the bow in front and instead I have been wrapping it around tying it in the back.

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And now to see how much of my KCW list I can get through in the next few nights!

And to end the post with my family having some fall fun with the leaves!




Linking up with: Feathers Flight // The Train to Crazy


Victoria in all her 80’s glory…

I’m back!  And so quickly that I don’t have to apologize!  Project Sewn prompted the quick post as they are hosting an Era challenge.  I’m not sure that we can call the 80’s an Era but I can’t put this Blazer on without feeling like some cross between Don Johnson of the Miami Vice fame and Duran Duran.  So I’m linking it up in all of its 80’s glory!  With no further ado…  the By Hand London Victoria Blazer!


My instagram and twitter friends know that this one has been done for awhile now but it’s been sitting in my closet with the bottom hem gaping open as I contemplated the boxy shape.  To keep it as is or to add some shaping…  in the end, Jen of Grainline Studio decided this for me when she posted a sample picture of her upcoming Morris Blazer (cannot wait for this pattern!). That one will be a more flattering shape so I decided to leave Victoria as she was intended… boxy (!) but not completely shapeless.  And honestly, I love her for it!

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I made this using the Robert Kaufman yarn-dyed Essex linen in denim blue.  It’s a linen cotton blend but is surprisingly scratchy when worn.  Anyway, I lined the body with some fun polyester that feels so lovely and smooth that I wish I had gone ahead and lined the sleeves.  Alas, too late for that now!  To keep it from being too boring, I used some dark blue linen from my stash to make the contrast collar and cuffs.  This linen has considerably less body than the Essex linen so I underlined the collar with the same fabric.  Seems to have done the trick!

holding out sideThe pattern has you leave the lining and the body of the jacket detached at the armholes and the lining isn’t understitched at all.  The result of this for me was a lining that was out of control and easily popped out to the front.  Since I didn’t pick the most neutral lining, I decided to tame it as best I could.  To do this I edge stitched around the collar to tack the lining down a bit better.  I also attached it to the jacket at the armholes using some commercial bias tape.  I find the lining is still readily visible (loose blazer and all that) but is at least staying where it belongs!


This Blazer bring out all manner of cheesiness…

looking at you

It also looks a hell of a lot less ridiculous on my tall German friends!

AnneWhen this pattern was first released, I had zero intention of making it.  As I have said before, boxy is not the look for me!  But in keeping with Amy’s tradition, I’m going to highlight a few awesome versions of Victoria that changed my mind.  Rachel of The House of Pinheiro in her rocking MC Hammer jacket, Zosews cool khaki and watermelon version, and this seriously badass leather version by Kim.

Anyone else hesitant to try this boxy Blazer?

Happy sewing!


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!


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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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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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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