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Erica

Indiesew Fall/Winter Collection: Tamarack Jacket

October 20, 2017

I was really happy to see that the Tamarack Jacket was going to be part of the Indiesew Fall/Winter Collection. It’s a great transitional layering piece and exactly what I need for chilly mornings when I am out walking my dog. I had plans to make the coat last year, but the temperature dropped before I was able to start and I missed my window of opportunity.

I learned a lot on this project! It was the first time I’d done anything involving quilting, a walking foot, or cotton batting. I used 1.8 metres of fabric for the outside (Essex Linen in Espresso) and the lining fabric (Kona cotton). I made a straight size 6 – my usual Grainline size – and was able to get away with a crib-sized piece of batting rather than a twin. It feels a little big, but I am happy to have a size that I can layer sweaters under (anything that helps me put off getting out my winter coat is a win in my book.)

I opted to keep things simple by using the horizontal quilting instructions and choosing hook-and-eyes for closures. I’ll save the snaps and the diamond pattern for my spring version. I found the Grainline sew-along post on bias binding to be very helpful and kept it open on my laptop as I worked.The process was surprisingly straightforward.  The result is so clean and neat and felt like sewing magic. (Quilters! I had no idea about those corners!) I went back and forth on the welt pockets, but I think I will add them in after all.

While I love this jacket, it helped me realize why I make garments and not quilts. I find the actual quilting to be quite stressful – all those lines to keep straight. I also had a hard time seeing my chalk lines under the light of the sewing machine and I ended up with blue hands. Next time I will hand-baste over light chalk lines (you can still see a faint echo of the chalk now and if anyone has any suggestions on getting it out I would love to hear them). I would also use heavier thread. I increased my stitch length, but depending on the light, you can’t always see the quilting.

The jacket itself is warm and cozy and I will admit, worth the straight-line stress. It came out looking pretty classic, but it also holds up well after a visit to the dog park, too. I love the look of the bias binding against the tweedy linen and the curved hem.

Project: Essex Linen Tamarack Jacket

Total Cost: $116

Pattern: c/o Indiesew

Fabric: $90 (includes batting)

Notions: $26

Total Time: (includes cutting out the pattern) 14 hours.

Size: Straight size 6

Fit adjustments: none. Next time I will size down and do a narrow-shoulder adjustment.

What to work on: unclenching my jaw while quilting would be a good start!

 

Thank you so much to Allie for inviting me along on the blog tour. You can see the other projects using the links below!

Oct 18: Grainline Studio
Oct 20: My Handmade Wardrobe
Oct 23: The Doing Things Blog
Oct 24: Sweet KM
Oct 25: Sew House Seven
Oct 26: Threadbear Garments
Oct 27: Sew Liberated

Indiesew Fall/Winter Collection: Coram Top

October 20, 2017

There have been a few RTW pieces that I have held on to over the years, hoping to use them to recreate my favorite items. Luckily for me, Allie from Indiesew has already done the work with the Coram Top. This easy, draped shirt is exactly the kind of thing I like to wear.

Sizing-wise, I made a straight size 6, just to start somewhere. I would like to make a size 4 as well, to see the difference. The shirt is fairly wide, but the bust and shoulder darts help to create a silhouette that is relaxed, but not sloppy. I opted not to flat fell the seams on this one, as I felt it would be lost in the busy floral print (this is old Cotton and Steele rayon. You can see how I used the other colour-way of the print on my Dove Blouse). I made mine out of 1.5 metres of fabric of 44″ wide fabric, but you could get away with a metre if you wanted to get creative about the cutting layout or used store-bought bias binding.

I can see myself making many variations of this top. I’m planning another one with contrast sleeve and neckbands, but I’d also like to do one with a keyhole back and one with bias-bound seams on the outside (to copy an old Banana Republic shirt.) This would be a great pattern for mixing knits and woven fabrics together. In fact, I’m going to go so far as to say that I think this pattern is going to be the new Ogden Cami of the sewing world: it lends itself to endless hacking and interpretation, I think it’s going to be a flattering cut for a lot of people, and you can make one in an afternoon.

Thank you so much to Allie for inviting me along on the blog tour. You can see the other projects using the links below!

Project: Cotton and Steel Coram Top

Total Cost: $32

Fabric: $30

Pattern: c/o Indiesew

Notions: $2

Total Hours: 5.5 (this includes PDF assembly)

Fit adjustments: None. No FBA required!

Fabric Country of Origin: Japan

 

Oct 18: Grainline Studio
Oct 20: My Handmade Wardrobe
Oct 23: The Doing Things Blog
Oct 24: Sweet KM
Oct 25: Sew House Seven
Oct 26: Threadbear Garments
Oct 27: Sew Liberated

 

Indiesew Fall/Winter Collection: Burnside Bibs

October 20, 2017

  Welcome to the Indiesew Fall/Winter Collection Blog tour! I was very excited to see the patterns that are part of this collection. I had been drawn to the Burnside Bibs when they first came out, but I was hesitant due do my height and my shape. I am short, curvy, and overalls can sometimes look juvenile on me. I was heartened by Meg’s beautiful pair, but she is still much taller than I am! My goal was to make a pair that could wear to work and that were heavy enough to wear during the winter.

With all of this in mind, I decided to use a pin-striped wool/viscose blend fabric I found locally. Cutting out the pattern, I could see how long the legs were going to be, so I decided to do the cropped length and then shorten the leg from there. (The cropped length was full length on me). I followed the directions to choose my size based on my hip measurements and went with a straight size 8 (for comparison, I made a size 4 in the Tea House Dress). I’m really pleased with how they turned out and the paper-bag waist at the back in particular.

As I was making them, I kept thinking what a great pattern this would be if you wanted to participate in this year’s The Refashioners project! A man’s suit would give you plenty of material to cover this pattern. I love the ties, but I would recommend that you heed the suggestion in the instructions to use the folded method to construct them. I foolishly thought I would be fine sewing them with the tube method and then struggled to pull them through. My fabric was also unraveling every time I touched it and I had some serger-thread-tension-issues. I eventually solved them by using a scrap piece of fabric and systematically turning the dials until I had a result that I liked.

I know I like pattern when I end up prancing around the house in it before the garment is even finished and that was certainly the case here. I have a pair of overalls that are work-appropriate, flattering, and don’t make me feel like I am staring in a remake of Punky Brewster. And, the wool suiting I used isn’t itchy at all!

I’ve got two more projects coming up for you today, so stay tuned. Thank you so much to Allie for inviting me along on the blog tour. You can see the other projects using the links below!

Project: Pinstriped Brunside Bibs

Total Cost: $38

Fabric: $36

Pattern: c/o Indiesew

Notions: $2

Total Hours: 10 (this includes PDF assembly)

Fit: Straight size 8

Fabric country of origin: Unknown

Oct 18: Grainline Studio
Oct 20: My Handmade Wardrobe
Oct 23: The Doing Things Blog
Oct 24: Sweet KM
Oct 25: Sew House Seven
Oct 26: Threadbear Garments
Oct 27: Sew Liberated

 

 

Handmade Wardrobe: One Year In

September 7, 2017

The fall season always feels like the true New Year to me. It’s the time of year when I haul all my sweaters out of storage (a.k.a. the plastic tub under the bed) and go through my clothes, including my older handmade items. I spent the Labour Day weekend doing just that, as well as going through my fabric and patterns.

One year after starting my handmade wardrobe project, I have tallied up my makes and my remaining store-bought clothes. My current wardrobe consists of 69 items in total. At first glance, I was disappointed that my handmade total was only 55% (it feels like it should be higher), but when I looked back at my Before post and my first update, I saw a big jump.

True Bias Odgen CamiRifle Paper Co EspadrillesJupe ChardonGinger Flares Grainline ArcherSewaholic Oakridge BlouseSaunio CardiganDove BlouseToaster Sweater 2Bruyere ShirtPauline Alice Quart CoatCascade Duffle CoatCarolyn Pajamas in Rifle Paper Co FabricGinger Jeans 2Luna Pants 6Grainline Linden 1

Insights so far:

  1. I find it fascinating that my total number of garments continues to dwindle, despite my new makes. Part of this is due to the fact that some of my clothes are finally falling apart faster than I can replace them. But, it has also been interesting to see that I really don’t need that many clothes. My total number includes everything except shoes, socks, and underwear (although I do plan to make some of each of those), so the number of day-clothes is relatively small. I’m not someone who believes in a capsule wardrobe or a uniform, but it seems like I might end up with a capsule collection without meaning to.
  2. I need to sew a season ahead. This one isn’t really fun, but if I don’t, it’s suddenly September and I didn’t manage to make a bathing suit to use during our brief hit of summer. Making 2 winter coats in October last year turned out to be excellent timing.
  3. I need to capitalize on my enthusiasm for a pattern and batch-sew multiple items at one time. You know that saying “If you find something you like, buy it in several colours” Yep. I need to do the same thing for sewing.
  4. I love Named Patterns! In the past, Named would not have been my go-to pattern company, but my Sointu Tee, my Kielo Wrap Dress and my Saunio Cardigan have been some of my most worn, and most loved items.
  5. Everything takes longer than I think it’s going to. Everything.
  6. 99% of the time, I am wearing at least one handmade item each day.
  7. My sewing productivity still goes up and down, depending on my available time and the weather.  I am so happy to have this project to help me re-focus on consistency. I am more excited about my goal than ever. I want to make so many things! Each garment gets me excited for the next and I have a whole stack of different patterns I want to make.

Here’s the breakdown of the total cost:

 

Goals:

  1. I have been procrastinating on the scary stuff: bras, bathing suits, and bags.
  2. I want to make at least one party dress (or tuxedo type suit?) this year (something for Christmas Eve or NY EVE).
  3. I still need to work on knowing where my fabric comes from. I’m glad that some of the fabric stores are taking the opportunity to make the origin more clear in the listing online. I’ve got some Japanese flannels and some more American denim to use as well.
  4. A trip to Art and Sole Academy. I have been drooling over their workshops!

Instant Classic: Odgen Cami from True Bias

August 13, 2017
True Bias Odgen Cami

True Bias Ogden CamiTrue Bias Ogden Cami

True Bias Ogden CamiTrue Bias Ogden CamiTrue Bias Ogden CamiTrue Bias Ogden Cami True Bias Ogden Cami  The Odgen Cami is probably one of my top 5 favourite indie patterns.

I chose my size based on my bust measurement, but I was still expecting this top to be too tight around the bust and to hang out from my body like a tent. Instead, I have the perfect amount of ease around the bust and I don’t feel like I am wearing a maternity top at all. I shortened the the straps by 3 inches during the construction, which turned out to be the right decision; except, I forgot to account for that lost length in the bodice and the inner facing.

Instead of landing under my bust, the facing hits me mid-boob. At least you can’t see it! The camisole ended up being a little short overall without those three inches, but I still have enough length to tuck it in to my high-waisted pants. I tend to have wider bra-straps, so I’ll be adding some width to those straps next time. I expect I will soon have many of these camisoles. This pattern only takes an afternoon to make and barely a metre of fabric!

I purchased a remnant of this Cotton and Steel rayon awhile back and was so happy to put it to use! I made this Ogden back in the spring and unfortunately, I have found this fabric shrinks every time I wash it (rarely, hand-wash, line-dry) so the shirt is slowly getting smaller and smaller. The colour also faded right away. This was from the first rayon line from Cotton and Steel, and I haven’t had these issues with my subsequent rayon purchases.

I wore this outfit out on a wonderful night out to celebrate my 10 year anniversary a few months ago. I was hoping to get my Kielo dress done in time to wear on our indulgent adventure, but in the end, I was happy that I didn’t rush that project and I felt so comfortable and relaxed in my cami.

Project: Ogden Cami with Cotton and Steel Rayon

Total cost: $35.00 CAD

Fabric: $20.00

Pattern:$13.00

Notions: $2.00

Total Hours: 4 (includes PDF assembly)

Techniques used: French seams

Fit: Size 8, straps shortened 3 inches, No FBA required

What to work on: Using up those fabric scraps making more!

DIY Rifle Paper Co. Espadrilles

August 8, 2017
Rifle Paper Co Espadrilles

Rifle Paper Co Espadrilles Rifle Paper Co EspadrillesRifle Paper Co EspadrillesRifle Paper Co EspadrillesDritz Espadrilles made with Rifle Paper Co canvas.Rifle Paper Co EspadrillesDritz Espadrilles made with Rifle Paper Co canvas.I have been looking to add some accessories to my handmade wardrobe for some time now. I had looked at kits for DIY espadrilles on Etsy, but unfortunately, they were just too expensive (including the exchange, shipping, and duties, getting a kit from Spain to Canada was going to be around $250.00). Then I found espradille soles for $9.99 on Amazon (made in China) but since they come from the quilting supply company Dritz, I decided to try to find local vendor instead. Well…I tried calling the chain fabric stores in my area and none of the employees had any idea what I was talking about. Then I tried calling bigger centres, with the hope that they might carry them or at least know what I meant, but to no avail. Not even Toronto! So, Amazon it was.

As for the fabric, I bought this Cotton and Steel/Rifle Paper Co canvas at Patch Halifax about a year ago with this project in mind. I used the – always lovely – selvedge edge design of the canvas for some pull tabs at the heel. You could probably get away with using a fat quarter of fabric for this project, but since I wanted to play around with the pattern placement, I bought half a metre to be sure. The lining is Robert Kaufman Essex Linen.

The shoes are a lot of fun to make! I’ve never done any kind of blanket stitch before, and I laughed at my own smug sense of achievement. It feels like a skill I should have picked up at Brownies or at summer camp somewhere. There are many sew-alongs and tutorials available online, but the best one is from Ada Spragg. I used her photos for reference each step of the way (Thank you, Sophie!).

A few issues: First, all of the tutorials wanted me to add a seam allowance to the pattern pieces, but my copy included them (maybe Dritz has updated their pattern?). Also, the instructions DO NOT recommend enough thread to finish a shoe!

The other, terribly sad issue was that after all that work the shoes are too big. The soles only come in full sizes and I generally wear a 6.5 (37 EU), so I went with the 7. I’ve now ordered the size 6 soles to compare, and I am going to see if there is some kind of insole combo that will fill this pair out for me.

Despite these setbacks, I loved this project.

Project: DIY Rifle Paper Co Espadrilles #1 

Total cost: $45

Fabric: $20

Notions: $25

Total Hours: 10

Fit: Size 7

What to work on: the final toe-cap stitching. Mine isn’t nearly as neat or as full as I would like (I think I had too much wax on my thread by that point.) I won’t use blue chalk next time either.

 

Summer of Basics: Chardon Skirt

August 2, 2017
Jupe Chardon

Jupe Chardon Jupe ChardonJupe ChardonJupe ChardonAs my pile of store-bought items dwindles down in my closet, I’ve realized that I’m missing some key items: basics. I need bottoms in particular, and some solid items in general. I often start planning a sewing project based on a piece of fabric, rather than starting from the idea of a garment and my love of prints has been well represented during this project, but it is getting harder to come up with an outfit that I can wear to work. So when I saw the Summer of Basics post from Grainline Studios, I knew I would be joining in.

First up was a Chardon Skirt from Deer and Doe. This was to replace an old Zara skirt I had for years and wore until you could practically read through it. I’ve made this skirt before and know that it’s a silhouette that works for me and a pattern that doesn’t require any alterations. I love the shape and I love those deep pockets. I used some charcoal grey stretch-shirting that I had in my stash and it makes for some crisp pleats. It looks grey or blue or purple, depending on the light. I used black bias tape to finish the hem, used a plain old regular zipper on the back and finished the seams with my serger. I’ve been wearing this skirt a lot already and it’s really come in handy during the warmer temperatures. I’m happy to have a neutral basic in my wardrobe again!

Project: Chardon Skirt from Deer and Doe

Total Cost: $41 (CAD)

Pattern: $21

Fabric:  $14

Notions: $6

Total Time: 6 hours

Techniques: Bias tape hem, serging

Fit Adjustments: None! I made a straight size 38

Indiesew Blog Tour: Tank Top Bonanza

June 21, 2017

When I was contacted by Allie from IndieSew to participate in the Great Tank Bonanza of 2017, I knew that I wanted to try my hand at making active wear. I prefer racerback style sports bras, so I was really excited to test the Rumi Racerback from Christine Haynes and the Adventure Tank from Fancy Tiger Crafts. I used performance jersey for all components of both shirts and put my serger to good use!

Rumi Tank

When I was trying to decide on my size, I got out an old Lululemon tank and laid it across the pattern pieces to compare. The Rumi has a more forgivable shape – it has a slight curve below the bust and then skims away from the body – but I was surprised that it was so much shorter than my RTW tank. I added two inches to the length. The pattern is designed for knits, but since I was using super-stretch jersey, I made a size two rather than a size four.

The binding went on very smoothly and I really appreciated that the instructions were full-colour photographs. I often forgo instructions if there is a sew-along to follow, so this was like having sew-along posts conveniently in one document. The scoop of the neck is pretty low, so I think for my next version I’ll raise it an inch. There is a slight curve to the hem of the shirt, and the back of the tank is what I think of as a traditional racerback style.  I knew I loved the Rumi because I started wearing it before I even finished the hem!

Adventure Tank

This is what I’ll be wearing to run this summer! The curve of the hem is more pronounced on the Adventure Tank than the Rumi, and the racerback has a v-shape that I really like.  The neck line is higher and gives more coverage overall. The body is boxier in shape and the instructions were clear and easy to follow. This tank is also pretty short. I added two inches to the length here as well and took out an inch and a half from the shoulders. I wasn’t sure about the size, so I made a small, but I’ll try the medium next time. The arm and neck bindings were more challenging, but this was only due to the slippery texture of this particular fabric.

Overall, I think both tanks are a great addition to my wardrobe and I was delighted with how each pattern translated into activewear. Like Allie, I made the two tanks in a single afternoon and hardly used any fabric – perfect stash busting project! It was a nice way to dip my toe into sewing activewear and build confidence before taking on more complicated garments. Thank you so much to IndieSew for having me along on the blog tour!

 

*IndieSew provided the patterns for this project and compensated me for my time. All thoughts are my own.

 

 

Summer Uniform, 2017 Edition: Named Kielo Wrap Dress

June 12, 2017
Kielo Wrap Dress 1

Kielo Wrap Dress Kielo Wrap Dress from Named Patterns Kielo Wrap Dress from Named PatternsKielo Wrap Dress from Named PatternsKielo Wrap Dress from Named PatternsI would never have considered making the Kielo Wrap Dress until I saw it in person, at Patch Halifax, where I was able to try on the store sample. Sometimes I have a hard time visualizing beyond the models and styling for Named Patterns to how I think the garment would look on me. I shouldn’t have let that dissuade me, because the Kielo is a magical dress that looks amazing on all the different bodies I have seen in it.

I used a black bamboo cotton and made a few fit alterations based on the sample:

  • I cut a chunk out of the centre back seam (2 inches wide tapering down 3 inches)
  • Raised the back slit by 4″
  • Cut 1.5 inches out of the length of the bodice, just above the bust-dart. I wanted to keep the neckline where it was, but raise the arm holes a bit and move the ties to my natural waist.
  • I skipped both the back darts and the interfacing on the ties.

Oddly enough, I didn’t need to shorten the dress at all. I’ve seen it on people taller than I am though and it hits them at the same place. I pull up more of the skirt in the back to create a tucked-in effect, but I’ve left the back long here for the photos. It’s a quick make, but I did get held up on the knit bias binding for the neck and arms. I wish there was a pattern piece for them, since there are optional instructions for them with the pattern.

This dress feels like the sexiest Secret Pyjamas. I could easily wear this to a formal event, but also with a jean jacket and some flip-flops all weekend. If you see me in this dress, I will salute you with my flying-squirrel wings. I hope you will also be wearing a Kielo and can salute me right back!

Project: Keilo Wrap Dress

Total Cost: $62

Pattern:$20

Fabric: $40.00

Notions: $2

Total Hours: 8

Fit Adjustments: I made a US size 4, but with several adjustments: I took a 2 inch wedge out of the CB seam at the neck, raised the back slit by 4 inches, and took 1.5″ of length out of the top bodice. I also skipped the back darts and interfacing on the ties.

See also: I didn’t think I was going to love my Saunio Cardigan from Named either, but it’s become one of my favourite pieces!

 

Navy Tea House Dress from Sew House Seven

June 5, 2017

Tea House DressTea House Dress    Tea House Dress Tea House Dress Tea House Dress

Well, hello there. Welcome to the dress of pocket dreams.

I’ve had the pattern for the Tea House Dress (from Sew House Seven) for at least a year, but I held out on making this dress until I found the perfect fabric. When I saw this Robert Kaufmann Indikón Cotton Yarn Dyed Fabric at Patch Halifax, I knew it was exactly what I had been waiting for.

I played with the direction of the stripe and used the wrong side of fabric on the front and back plackets, the centre front skirt, and the sleeve cuffs. I’m glad that I opted for the shorter version, as the longer one is a lot of dress on a 5’2 person, but also because I still used nearly 4 metres of fabric on this one!

The neckline is the perfect depth on me and I didn’t need to do any kind of full-bust-adjustment. The only tricky part of this dress was the front placket. The instructions have you gather the front inside edges ever so slightly and press the pieces until they are totally flat. I’m not entirely sure what purpose that ease serves. I was able to get one the way I wanted, but the other wasn’t quite as good. I found that topstitching the front placket, which connects it to the lining placket, creates a slight puffiness in the front.

It’s a minor quibble though. I am delighted with this dress. The fit is spot-on; it’s very flattering; I love a Dolman sleeve and, of course, those pockets! In fact, this may be my favourite make of this project so far.

Project: Tea House Dress

Total Cost $108.25

Pattern: $24.25 (18 USD)

Fabric: $80

Notions: $4

Fit: Straight size 4

What to work on: That teensy bit of fullness in the front placket

See also: My beloved (and much worn) Toaster Sweater is also from Sew House Seven. I’ve got my eye on the Nehalem Pant pattern too!