Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ooooh, i lurv it!

So I finished the Simplicity 2222 dress. Um, and I was super wrong. The skirt isn't terminally short, the pattern is just very long in the torso, at least it is for me. I did chop off 3 inches off the bottom of the dress (of the 6 inches that I added) before hemming. I don't like short skirts, especially for work, you know, 'cause sometimes you need to pick something up off the ground and I don't want to think about it too hard.

I'm so happy with the results. Giddily happy with the sewing I did. I was very patient and I enjoyed being that way, whereas usually I find it kind of painful. I must be growing up!

I rushed home every day after work this week to work on the dress and it was worth it, because I think I'm going to wear it for Casual Friday. Ok... picture onslaught.

hee hee, two red buttons, you know, just cause

waistline detail, i used elastic instead of cording

Even with the narrow back adjustment there's still a teeny bit too much fullness across the back but not too bad. I did use all the "petite" conversions which made most things land in the right place.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Simplicity 2222 and New Look 6843

The past couple of weeks I have neglected this space a little. Not sure why, I suppose settling into my new job and generally laziness in many areas of my life. But spring has sprung here in Edmonton and it's difficult not to feel some renewed energy when the sun streams through your living room windows.

I'm working on Simplicity 2222 at the moment. I'm making the "classic" version of this dress. Oh yoy, if I hadn't been thinking this dress would have been 8 inches too short. Warning to all who are over 25 that make this pattern, it is short. I hope when I have the dress finished I don't wish I hadn't added even more than the 6 inches.

I was really impressed with machine's ability to handle the buttonholes. It did a lovely job!

 And I think I'm finally getting the hang of topstitching ... that took awhile!
 This is my other finished product from this week. It's a New Look pattern that I've had for several years. Super easy, and you could easily make ten of these. I like the super thin waistband and made in this super soft knit (yeah, that's right, three supers in a row) that I've had for over ten years I think I'll have trouble convincing myself to wear something other than this skirt to work.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A dress for a little girl

I really enjoy making things for other people. Sometimes I find it much more difficult to launch into a project for myself than to begin something for a friend or family member. In a moment of inspiration I decided to make this dress for my friend's little girl. I don't get to see my friend or this little girl nearly as much as I'd like but I get regular updates in the form of photos and videos and this keeps me in the loop.
This little girl will soon be welcoming a new family member and I thought it might be nice to deliver a gift to her around this time. No doubt life will be focused on the new little one (how can it not...) for the first couple of weeks and maybe this will remind her that she's still the first and still super special.

I tried to add a few special details to this dress, which include a decorative hem and rickrack ribbon added to the sleeves. The dress is inspired by the beautiful items in the mette store on etsy. Yes, go there now and drool. Beautiful, simple dresses and other delightful things.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Simplicity 2593 and Vivat Veritas Dress

I actually made something for myself that I like. You probably can't imagine how very rare this is. I mean I make things for myself but they often quickly fall into the category "Oh, gee, that was a nice attempt but of course you would never wear that in public." I think I will wear this in public, and proudly.

On Friday I was feeling a little directionless so I went to Fabricland, bought some of this navy and white floral pattern for $7/metre and a couple of Simplicity patterns to work with and I made this top. Ok, as usual I cheated in multiple ways. The fabirc I had was much too slippery to make your own binding (which this pattern requires) but luckily I had some double wide bias tape kickin' around that I used instead. I kind of like the details it gives the top by encircling the armholes.

I'd seen on multiple different reviews that the ruffle was difficult to attach, but I didn't have too much trouble. Sometimes I think anticipating that it will give me trouble allows me to take my time and employ a little patience that I wouldn't normally. I must say, the hanger doesn't really do it justice ;)

 I also practiced a litttle patience with the Vivat Veritas Big Button Dress I was making for my sister. I pretty much undid every seam that had been sewn. I added a 3 inch band to the arms so that the sleeves would be more sleeve-like and I made an insert at the shoulder seam of nearly 2 inches. This brought the whole dress down a bit and is a much more attractive neckline for my sister. She tried it on and there are still a couple of things that need doin' but we're real close and I think it looks super cute on her (all it needs are some really big earrings!)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ok, that's enough winter ...

Is there anything more hopeful in the world then the Spring time change? Okay I realize that I may be the only one who is this happy to lose an hour in the day in the hopes of more daylight after I get home from work... but WOW it's pretty amazing. It's a real renewal.

I've been doing some sewing (mostly on the top secret project that is in its 2nd year of production... ugh) and a little birthday sewing for the multitude of people who are born in March and who are relatives/friend of mine. I think it's a conspiracy. Just thought I would pop by to this space and post pictures of some finished clutches/makeup bags for my two friends. I like them... probably should have used firmer interfacing to give them a little more structure. Hindsight. Hm.

Pretty though if I do say so myself. I used the "Lacy Clutch" pattern in the STITCH Spring 2010 magazine. It's Rebekah Lambert's pattern, I believe of ArtsyCrafty Babe, a blog I read regularly. Warning, there are some errors in the pattern and attaching the zipper to the lining is less than instinctual but it does work. What doesn't work is placing the final step of putting the shell inside the lining and sewing as directed... you're seam will be on the outside. Trust me. Instead put wrong sides together (lining inside out, shell right side out but placed inside the lining) and that will work.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

When it all doesn't come together

Okay, well, some of it comes together. But not the part where I continue to do the dishes, laundry, cleaning, bills kind of together. I sort of neglect different things as I go along. At the beginning of the week, I think, hmmm... what to neglect this week? The answer... dishes. So a big messy pile of them sit in my sink and there they will stay until I get home tomorrow at 6. I guess I'm a little bit embarassed about that, but not much!

I finally made a little progress on the table runner/wall hanging thing I was making out of those beautiful Kyle's Marketplace fabrics. I think I'm heading towards wall-hanging because at the moment I sew in my kitchen and it seems like a piece of art that works as a segway between this room's dual purpose.

 Obviously the project is still in process, but I like what's come out of it so far. Still need to attach the batting and do some quilting on the darn thing. Ergh, I find the quilting a little daunting... nevermind, I'll push it out of my mind for the moment.

Here is a close-up shot of the fabric my sister and I picked out for a dress I'm making her. It's the big button dress from Vivat Veritas' site.

Here's the project as it comes along. Does that look like a toddler's dress to you?
A word of warning if you are ever going to attempt this pattern... if you are petite never shorten the top part so much that the dress becomes a straight jacket. Second, remember that the person who drafted this pattern is very petite and her ideas of reasonable measurements may not be your idea of reasonable measurements. Just saying ... I'm looking into ways of increasing the top part. I may unstitch at the shoulder seam and add a 3 inch section *yes it's that small* or I may unpick the top part and cut out a new one. Luckily I have enough fabric for that.
The nice part about sewing is that almost everything is salvageable if you're patient enough to figure out what to do with it. At least I hope so...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A little tuckered out...

That's how I'm feeling tonight, a little tuckered out. I was thinking back on this week and wondering why I didn't get more sewing done when I realized that I was being ridiculous. I finished the loose-fitting jacket for my mom, a hooded fleece sweatshirt for one of the little boys I know, and sewed the binding on a long-standing quilt project that I have been avoiding. That's quite the week of projects... I guess not so shabby after all.

I bought some red fleece with waffle finish from my local Fabricland store last Friday and planned to make a hoodie for a boy whose third birthday is fast approaching. I used McCall's M6237, which is quite a versatile pattern and I might end up using the dress pattern that is included as well. I was talking with a friend who also just recently used a McCall's pattern and we agree that sometimes there is just something missing... in this case I thought the way the front pocket was attached seemed fussier than it need be. I know that it is a simple pattern (the word EASY graces its cover!) but the product looked a little handsewn when I finished it so I added some extra top-stitching. I think that helped. Does it need something else though? I haven't decided yet.

I was also able to complete the loose-fitting jacket with short sleeves and a mandarin collar using Butterick 5567. I took it to my mom today and it looked really nice. A word of warning though, I think the pattern is too short... my mom is pretty small and still she could have used an extra inch or two on the bottom of the coat otherwise things get a little boxy.... I'll be making another version of this in a navy linen that my mom and I picked out and I'll definitely be adding a little length for wiggle room this time around.

Does anyone else miss Project Run and Play...? I sure do. What fun it was and so inspiring.
But in my internet roamings (and there are plenty) I found an etsy shop with great kids patterns for both boys and girls, and it's based in Canada! I think I'll be ordering something ... any requests?
You should check them out.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Celebrate the Boy

I've been following along with Celebrate the Boy over at Made by Rae and MADE. It's good for me ... because I have a magnetic pull to all things girl-y and frankly that means that 50% of the people in my life will never receive something handmade and that's kinda ridiculous!

So, yeah, check it out. Plus there's a tutorial on the flat-felled seam, ack! Beautiful clothes on the inside and out!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Valentine's Day has come and gone

It's amazing to me that every year Valentine's Day comes and goes with very little hoopla around here. That's fine with me, it all feels a little forced and kinda awkward! Bah-humbug. Tee hee.

Nonetheless I did my part (I usually don't) and brought out a small wall-hanging my mom made a few years ago and I made this silly little mobile which stood in as a chandelier over a meal of crepes (je t'aime Montreal).

Although I've been sewing a little bit this week it hasn't resulted in much that was picture worthy. And I still find it challenging to take a good photograph at night.

I made another pillow the other night. It matches my first pillow in colour palette and is similar in size. It's a funny mix of things: muslin, vintage fabric from the 70s, ikea stripe, some scraps from Josh's grandmother, and a covered button with some leftovers. I'm happy with it's sorta scrappy result. I even like the look my little haphazard birds -- when I look closely at the machine applique it looks not too bad, which felt like a gamble at the time, am I going to ruin this nice pillow with some terrible applique??

I would quote a source for this pillow but I think it's truly an amalgamation of all the bird pillows out there in blogland. I love them all ... so thanks y'all for the inspiration.

Other than pillows I've been working on another loose-fitting jacket-like thing for my mom. It's a Butterick pattern made with some polyester I had kicking around. I'm using it mostly as a muslin this time around to see what the fit will be like and whether my mom likes the shape. The sleeves are wide and the shape is quite box-y so I'll have to see what it looks like on before I go ahead and cut out some nicer material.

The pattern requires a fair bit of topstitching and that actually went quite well. The results are nice so far. For right now progress is stalled however... no more black thread. Heheh.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Busy day, full of nothin'

Another Saturday morning that started with ideas flying around in my head even before I managed to get out of bed. On Friday I took a fieldtrip to Fabricland to check out their sale and buy a few notions. There were some good sales and I was able to get covered buttons, a pattern, two pillow forms, and a zipper for under $20. That makes me happy, because I can imagine my craft spending getting a little out of control without too much trouble!

I enjoyed my day at home. I sewed in the morning, made a good lentil soup, lazed a bit, went for a long walk on this unseasonably warm day, helped Josh with his own "craft," and watched yet another episode of The Wire. Wow, that show's addictive. Oh, yeah, and PANCAKE supper!

I bought a zipper for the quilted pillow I was making and I was able to finish the project. Here's the final product, pretty cute, but maybe a little big for it's pillow form.

I also started a new project using some small pieces of fabric from Kyle's Marketplace fabrics (beautiful fabrics with fruits and vegetables). I'm not exactly sure what this will be ... wall hanging? table runner?

Off to bed now, considering a glass of wine ...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A new dress and another WIP complete

I cannot tell a lie ... I work part-time. Not that this isn't completely obvious considering my obsession with my hobby and with other people's blogs about my hobby. As a result, though, I have Mondays off most of the time. So on Monday I started a new project out of my newest book Sew U: Home Stretch, of Built by Wendy fame. If you live in Canada and are anywhere near Chapters/Indigo/Coles you should go buy this book for the rock-bottom price of $5.99 (oh, yeah, I suppose you could order it online, I never really think of doing that, what can I say, I don't use a cellphone either a.k.a I live in the dark ages).

Of course you should start with the t-shirt pattern because that is where you learn all the skills you will then apply to your other projects ... or you could skip to the dress, because what's more fun than learning on the fly, non? So, yeah, I skipped to the dress, and here is a picture of what I learned.

1. I love my machine and will never criticize it ... but it doesn't love this fabric. Or maybe it does love it because it liked to EAT it. So, all of my seams look like this. What is that, you say? Little, teeny, bits of tissue paper that are left over after feeding all the seams through with tissue paper under them. Hmmm.

 2. My shoulders are narrow, like really narrow! So when I put this dress on for the first time after making it the shoulder seam was down my arms and the little puff on the sleeve was more like an awkwardly placed bicep. I made an extra dart along the top between neckline and shoulder line on both front and back to gather up a little fabric and bring that puff back on to the shoulder.

3. Oh yeah, and sewing with knits is hard. I know, I know, Wendy says it's easy but I kinda think it's hard. Not impossible but challenging when you don't own a serger!

Next week - back to cotton! YAY! Oh knits, I'll be back -- I just need a little time with some fabric that likes to be pressed and folded and cut, oh yeah and sewn!

Meanwhile I have this pile of leftovers to take a look at!

PS My mom's cardigan fit and I didn't ruin the hem!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A world without cable...

leaves quite a bit of time to sew! My husband was off for a gig today that took most of the afternoon and evening so I was left to my own devices this Saturday.

At first I spent a good deal of time surfing the internet looking at everyone else's sewing (I am religiously following Project Run and Play, and a number of other blogs) until I decided that there is something pretty lame about gawking at everyone else's work when you don't do any of your own.

I had a difficult time picking out which project to work on (which is silly) and then decided to start something completely new (hee, hee). I told my mom that I would work on a swing cardigan for her from the Butterick 5498 pattern that I bought a while ago. I used some "linen look" fabric that she already had and I went at it.

This is an extremely easy pattern and really took only 3 hours or so (although at the moment it is still unhemmed). I think the fabric has great drape and I hope that it fits my mom because in many cases I've already finished the seams. I even made my own bias tape to finish the facing (what has gotten into me?). It was really fun and I didn't get held up by unclear instructions.

It's hard to tell due to my lack of picture-taking prowess but the fabric is blue-gray and not as drab as it may appear here. But I was still afraid that it looked a little plain, so I went ahead and made a little purple organza flower for the lapel.

I'm happy with the way it turned out.
I only made one change to pattern and that was that I decided to topstitch the facing down because it always drives me crazy when it starts to creep around.

For many years my mom made a dress for me for every important occasion in my life -- and yes, that included my wedding dress. I suppose this is the start of paying some of that back.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A little personality at work

Sometimes I feel like a complete imposter at work. I'm really not nearly as serious, dedicated, intelligent, or committed as the person I pretend to be at work. I realized that today when I brought in my little homemade coaster for my cube. Funny, it stuck out like a sore thumb ... like, "hey, sometimes I have a life and I do things and they have absolutely nothing to do with my job!"

This may sound like I didn't like the look of it sitting on my desk, but I really did. It just struck me that work can feel so personal and yet be so impersonal simultaneously. Hmm. Deep thoughts.

Anyway, here's a winter picture taken from my "balcony" (I use the term loosely because you would die if you stood on my balcony). A beautiful sunny morning with hoar frost on the trees. I'd flip it, but frankly I don't know how!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Finished gift and WIPs

A finished gift is a wondrous thing ... especially this one which was so fun and easy. I hope to make one for myself, too because I could use a little something with personality in my office at work. As you can see below my sister took the pictures of this project. Why is it when you put the very same camera in another person's hands do you get such different results? Oh, yeah, I guess that's called "talent."

Hmm ... now on to those pesky Works In Progress. Considering my relatively new status as a regular sewist I find it amazing to note how many projects I am currently in the middle of. Sometimes I get so eager to move on and so I just do, much to the chagrin of my husband who has been patiently waiting for roman blinds in our bedroom since I began them back in November (all they need is one more row of brass rings, what is my problem?)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A tout petit gift

Just thought I'd post a picture of a little gift for The Keeper of the Stash. It's not done yet, obviously, but it might be as close as I get to a Valentine's craft.

I'll post again when the silly thing is finished but right now I'm too lazy to switch from my quilting foot to my normal foot on my machine. Gosh, that's lazy. Oh well. Does a small obstacle like that get in anyone else's way? Le sigh.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My first quilt

I can't believe it but I may have just completed my first quilt.

It's a baby quilt for a friend of mine who is currently living in Paris. I've known her for 20 years. We met in Grade 5 when we both ended up auditioning for the same children's choir. I remember clearly that she was wearing a t-shirt with strawberries all over it when we were first introduced.

Up until recently we both lived in Montreal, where we haphazardly met in the hallway at McGill not knowing that we were both attending graduate school there. Days before we both moved away, me to Edmonton and she to Paris, she told me she was pregnant. It was nice to be able to share that moment in person.

I've been thinking about her a lot ... wondering what it would be like to be pregnant, living overseas, and so far away from my own mother.

And so here it is, the first quilt! It's based on an extremely simple pattern called stacked coins that I bought at a sewing and crafting fair. I ended up combining these soft colours hoping that it would be suitable whether this baby ends up being a boy or a girl.

The back is pieced, which is what you can see in the picture above and the quilting is extremely simple, just stitching in the ditch.  But I'm happy with it. Even with its many imperfections and a little wonkiness in places.

I don't think the baby is due for a couple of weeks which means this project may actually arrive in time to welcome the baby home!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Works in Progress

If there is one weakness that crafting brings out in me it's that I have trouble with the finishing stages of projects. Well, actually the finishing stage of pretty much everything. I love conceiving the project, picking the colors, and planning the work but I'm not a fan of tying the ends in, handstitching things closed, trimming the seams ... you know, the stuff that makes the final product look so much better.

I'm wondering if this blog might keep me a little more honest. As I was sewing a seam today, flirting with the idea of not pinning a seam that might need it, I thought to myself "you know, I have to take a picture of this!" And so, I pinned the seam - a major victory for me. Ridiculous. Here's the evidence:

This is my version of the quilted pillow. I'm pretty happy with it so far and it helped me to remember how much I like the look of muslin. Yup, plain ol' muslim shows off these prints beautifully.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Waking up early

Sometimes I wake up in the morning with my heart rate elevated and ideas racing through my mind. I'm not thinking about bills (though I probably should be), I'm not worrying about friends and family (though this might be appropriate), no, I'm thinking about crafting. All kinds of crafting. Sewing clothes, sewing for my home, making gifts for upcoming birthdays, painting or pasteling ... yes, this is what "keeps me up."

It probably sounds a little nuts, but I think this is a sign of my sanity, my happiness, and the relatively charmed life I lead. Oh, you know, everything is far from perfect, but when you can devote this much time and energy to your hobby you know that your life is pretty good.

This morning I'm thinking about the version of the quilted pillow project that I started yesterday. I really love the original design but can't seem to help myself from "customizing" it, or "ruining" it as the case may be.

I started piecing together some scraps from a quilt (that I still haven't finished) to make this pillow for my couch. I hope it brightens the place up a little because winter in Western Canada can be a long haul!