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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.




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!


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!


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.


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


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!


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!



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Lucille Top

You only have to look through some of my previous makes to see how much I enjoy the patterns from Shwin and Shwin so you can only imagine how excited I was when I got the chance to become a pattern tester for her.  Shauna recently released 2 brand new patterns, the Lucille top and the Martha bubble dress, and I tested both of them.  Today I am going to share my Lucille top and I will be back later this week or early next week with the Martha bubble dress.

The Lucille top is a raglan sleeve, colour blocked top with some fun angles which makes it different than any other pattern I have seen.


The colour blocking lets you have some fun with mixing prints and for this version I used some floral scraps with some red french terry.


The front and back are angled down to make a v


and the sleeves are angled in the opposite direction and point up.  The sleeves also feature two small pleats where they attach to the bodice on both the front and the back but you really can’t see them on the fabric I picked.

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The sleeves are super tapered at the wrist, and although I love the look of them, this made it super difficult to hem them.  Trying the wrestle those suckers with my sewing machine was a struggle and my stitches are not nearly as straight as I would like.  Looking at the final pattern it looks like she added the option to use a cuff to hem them which should make them easier to work with.


Taking these photos was crazy challenging.  I have been playing around with the setting on my camera and trying to learn how to use it to get some better quality photos (which I obviously have not quite figured out) and the first set I took ended up being super overexposed.  Trying a second time was asking a bit much especially when your one year old tags along.  So we ended up with lots of funny faces as seen above.


And lots of them had little glimpses of this little man as he was playing and distracting his big sister.

Overall this pattern was really easy to sew and the directions were easy to follow.  Finnley has asked to wear this multiple times in the last few weeks which means it was definitely a success.  I foresee another one in our near future.  But first I need to start and finish my holiday sewing list.  It is December 2 and I still haven’t even started!

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

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

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!

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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.

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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!



A Whole Lotta Scoutin’ Going On….

I’ve had Elvis songs rolling through my head all day.  No idea why!

I’ve been such a blog slacker!  I’ve got quite the backlog of sewing and knitting projects to share but getting photos taken always seems like such an epic hassle!  So if Alisha is game, I’ll try and get caught up this week so that I can share a little more frequently.

Now that my apologies are out of the way we can move onto the flavour of the week… the Grainline Studio Scout Woven Tee!  I’ve had the pattern for awhile but didn’t do too much with it until the lovely Wanett of sownbrooklyn announced that she would be hosting a sewalong on kollabora.  Perfect excuse!  As always, my ambitions far outweighed my time!  While I’ve only got two finished versions to show you today, I have a few more versions either done or in progress.  Will share these another day.

So first up is possibly the most boring tee in history.  White!  How earthshattering!  And original, nee?  But white shirts always get a ton of wear in my wardrobe until the dreaded deodorant yellow tinge sends them to the recycling bin.  Anyway, there is always room for white tops and tees in my closet.  I tend to be a little wary of patterns when I see a straight line from armpit to hem (boxy is not a good look on my curves!) so I decided that sticking to fabrics with some drape would be a great plan.  With that in mind, I went searching for a white rayon challis.  You’d think that such a simple fabric would be easy to come across but it took me forever to find some!  Eventually, with fabric in hand, I made the tee as written.  My only teeny modification was to add couple of inches to the length.  A wee warning to those considering this pattern…  the shirt and the sleeves run a bit short.

 white scout full white scout close tall

It’s plain, a bit large and, as feared, boxy!  Nonetheless, it’s light and airy, which is perfect in the hot and humid Toronto summers.  Sadly, disaster struck when I was giving this a final press.  My “rayon” fabric melted!  Methinks there was a touch of polyester in this!  Serves me right.

white scout meltedIf you’ve ever bought fabric at King’s Textiles on Spadina then you know that there is an incredible selection of fabric… all on unlabeled bolts!  Fabric is roughly sorted but if you are ever unsure of what you are dealing with then you’re entirely dependent on the staff and their textile knowledge.  I found this one in their rayon section and suspected that it was really a rayon/poly blend but forgot to set my iron accordingly.  Lesson learned!  Since the shirt was already finished, I roughly (and I do mean roughly!) patched the area but I think it’s safe to say that this version of scout will only make the following appearance…  under a cardigan!  In this case, my wispy cardigan.

white scout full with wispy

Next up was a colour-blocked version.  I used some really lovely voile from The Workroom that I thought might be a disaster on me with this pattern as voile is more floaty than drapey (love the language liberties we tend to take when blogging!).  In the end, I don’t think it’s too bad!  And this fabric is like butter!  A real pleasure to wear.  I again added some length to the shirt and altered the hemline so that it was curved (similar to the Wiksten Tank hem).  I really prefer this hem on such a simple shirt.  I french seamed the colour block joins to keep things tidy.  And…  that’s about it!  Not too much to say on this one!

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It’s a shirt?  No!  It’s a tent?!?!

colour scout tentI really recommend this pattern for anyone looking to build up their wardrobe staples.  It’s lovely as is and is a great way to highlight a special cut of fabric you may have stashed.  However, it’s also a bit of a blank canvas and many, many fun variations of this can can be found online.  Just check out the sewalong entries if you don’t believe me!  I’ve currently got a split back version of this going (similar to my split-back tank) in a herringbone chambray and another colour blocked version with a half button placket on the back (inspired by the Datura Blouse) and similar to this lovely version.  Will share those another day.

In the meantime, have you given kollabora a try? Enjoying it?

As an aside, this was also one of the patterns I wanted to try out for the Indie Pattern Month. The next Indie pattern I promised to try is the Briar tee from the awesome Megan Nielsen! I’ve got a few versions of this to share next week!

Thanks for stopping by!


Indie pattern month

Hawthorn Peplum

Once again we have been silent for far too long! Although I have been sewing I don’t have many finished projects, just a pile of fabric and a list of projects that both just keep on growing. But I finally have a finished project to share using Colette Patterns lovely new pattern, Hawthorn.


There is currently a sew-along going on for the Hawthorn, but I got a bit excited!  For my first time with this pattern I decided to try version 1, the peplum, although I do have plans to get started on the sleeveless dress for the sew-along soon I hope.  This pattern was the most complicated garment I have attempted to sew so far, but the directions were extremely easy to follow and it came together easier than I expected.  There are definitely some flaws but overall I am happy with final result.

Although it came together relatively easily I did have to make a few changes.  When I made a quick muslin of the bodice I was pretty happy with the fit and didn’t make any changes to the pattern.  Once I actually sewed everything together I wasn’t crazy about the sleeves or the fit around the waist.

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To solve these issues I ended up taking in the sides to make the shirt more fitted and I changed the way the sleeves were finished.  Originally the sleeves were very loose so I removed the bias tape and shortened it by quickly wrapping it around my arm to get a feel for how I would like it to fit.  I then gathered the sleeve and sewed the bias tape back on.

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Much happier with the result and glad I took the time to make the change.  Actually understanding what changes to make to get my desired fit is definitely a work in progress and I am not 100% happy with how it looks from behind.  There seems to be a bit of extra fabric that bulges out a bit and hopefully I can figure out how to fix that for my dress.

IMG_6040Hopefully one of us will be back later this week with another finished project to share!


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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!

miette front miette side

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 – 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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