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New Year, New Archer Button Up

January 28, 2018
grainline archer shirt 1

I’m slowly working my way up to an Archer shirt for every day of the week. I made my previous versions (see here) using prints or stripes, so it was time for a more neutral piece. This fabric is 80% Modal and it is incredibly soft. It’s a little on the sheer side, so I did french seams everywhere except the gathered back seam. I serged that one due to the bulk; but, I wish I had bound it instead so that it looked as nice as the rest of the pretty guts. This fabric wrinkles if you so much as look at it, but it also loves steam.

For this Grainline Studio Archer Button Up, I took 1/2 inch of width out of each shoulder and tapered that reduction through the back yoke piece. This shirt is getting pretty close to perfect but I think I could still increase the narrow-shoulder adjustment by another 1/2 on either side. Next time I would also reduce the tension on the bobbin for the button-holes, as I found the last couple of stitches on each one pulled the front band (you can see the pull lines above.)

It’s a lovely little workhorse in my wardrobe and it makes me laugh when I see all my Archer shirts lined up in my closet. 3 more to go!

Project: Blush Pink Archer Button Up

Total Cost: $27

Pattern: Free. I already owned this one!

Fabric: $25

Notions: $2

Total Hours: 8

Fit alterations: I took 1/2 inch out of each shoulder and tapered that reduction through the back yoke piece.

Techniques used: French seams, burrito-roll yokes.

Fabric country of origin: Unknown.

Everyday outfit: Black Ginger Jeans, Striped Lark Tee

November 30, 2017

I’m always in need of basics, so I’m glad that I finally finished these black Ginger Jeans.

Lately, I have been making Gingers in a size 6 (my flares really helped me get a handle on my sizing). I decided to try shaving off a 1/4″ from the crotch to see if I could take out some extra-fabric-wrinkles that I get sometimes, and this worked out well. I’m happy to see that this change is also in the updated version of the pattern itself.  I tried the jeans on after basting them together and realized too late that this denim has less stretch in it than I was expecting–I could barely squeeze into them! Thankfully, those 5/8th seam allowances gave me the room I needed. I serged them together to create the narrowest seam allowance possible and ran an another seam just inside the serging, for added strength.  I’ve been keeping my eye out for a good, saturated black stretch denim for some time. This Marc Jacobs denim came from Mood and I’m very sorry to see that they are sold out because I would order ten more yards if I could. It’s dense and soft and practically perfect.

When I saw that I was out of denim hardware, I put this project aside and nearly forgot about it. Once the hardware arrived, I got the bag of rivets out of the package to see how they would look with the denim and promptly lost them in the Bermuda Triangle of Mess that is my sewing room. What started as a scavenger hunt for some tiny rivets led me to a three-day cleaning/organizing marathon (which I desperately needed to do). After the rivets were finally located (and celebrated on Instagram), I immediately installed them fearing I’d lose track of them again!

This was the first time that I’ve made the Lark Tee pattern from Grainline Studios. I opted to make the boat neck version out of this delightfully squishy, bamboo cotton from Blackbird Fabrics, which I discovered is pretty close to the fabric that Grainline used for their original samples. Unfortunately, I also discovered that I didn’t like the neckline of the front piece; it felt too scooped-out for me. So, in a quick and easy fix, I made the shirt from two back pieces, which gave me exactly what I was looking for. I was able to achieve some pretty epic stripe-matching on this shirt (through patience and many, many pins) culminating with some great design…in the armpits! This shirt feels relaxed, but not so relaxed that I couldn’t wear it to work. I’ve already got a few other Lark tees in various stages of completion, but this one went right into my clothing rotation.


Project: Black Denim Ginger Jeans

Total Cost: $60

Pattern: $16 (since I already own this pattern, I subtract this cost from my wardrobe updates)

Fabric: $32

Notions: $12

Fit: Size 6 with 1/4″ taken out of the front crotch length

Fabric country of origin: Italy

What to work on: keeping track of my supplies. Project bags, project bags, project bags!


Project: Lark Tee from Grainline Studio

Total Cost:$54

Pattern: $22

Fabric: $30


Fit: Size 6, made with two back pieces and 1 inch of length taken out of the upper chest.

Fabric Country of Origin: China



Linden Love

November 17, 2017

I’m showing off my latest make and talking about my favourite sewing pattern, the Linden Sweatshirt from Grainline Studios, over on The Sewcialists blog today! You can see my latest sweater-knit version here.

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:



  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


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