Monday, December 8, 2014

Simplicity 4366

I finished my online course and am free! The first thing I did when I finished the course was sew! I made another Simplicity 4366. I really love sewing with knits. They are so fast to sew. I made this top in three hours including altering the pattern for the collar. I bought this fabric at Fabricland. They only had a metre left and I bought it all. This is such a basic pattern and I am imagining many ways to alter it to make many different tops.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cocktail Dress

The recent engagement party of a friend was the perfect excuse to wear the cocktail dress I made last year. I used Butterick B5856 view A and modified it into a dress. I made a muslin and modified it extensively to get the look I wanted. The problem is that I didn't keep the modified pattern. In a spurt of swing cleaning last year, I misplaced it for scrap pattern paper and threw it out, I also re-purposed the muslin to create a muslin for another garment. I am disappointed in myself for this, but know what to do if I ever make this pattern again. Because I made the muslin in a woven fabric there were a lot of adjustments that had to be made the the final garment because it was a knit. I had to take it in about an inch on each side to get the proper fit around the bust. So I took it in a little, then a little more, and to my dismay the dress was too small. I had already cut the seam allowance down and could not take it out again. So, the dress has been sitting in my closet for a year waiting for me to loose weight. I found the next best thing... new spanx!

I used a reversible matte/snake skin print thick ponte knit fabric from Fabricland. I love the look of the black on black snake skin. It adds that extra glamour that I love.

The pictures came out much darker then I would have liked. As I was in a hurry to leave for the party I didn't have time to change my set up. I know that I should have dedicated photo shoot time when I'm not rushed, but there isn't always time.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Halloween in the 90s

Is It Really Sew Strange?
Raggedy Anne- 6yrs

I have not been sewing very much in the last couple of months. With the new school year and a new job, an online course, and the death of my Mother, I have not had the time to sew. I want to sew. I visit the fabric every couple of days and keep notes and drawings of the projects I will create when I have time. My aforementioned fabulous Halloween costume idea will have to wait until next Halloween as I have no time to sew it. I will leave you with images of Halloween past. I never got to go as what I wanted to for Halloween. We had a neighbour who had a daughter who was three years older then I was. So I would wear her hand me down costumes. Don't get me wrong, the costumes where beautiful and in great condition. But they weren't of my choosing. In the long run it didn't matter. As all Canadians know, Halloween costumes here are fully engulfed in winter coats, so the only way to discern the costume is to just ask the kid what they dressed up as. Sad, but true.

Is It Really Sew Strange?
Harlequin (I had to explain to my classmates what a Harlequin was... it didn't go over well)- 7 yrs

Is It Really Sew Strange?
Justin Timberlake (From N'sync's "Pop" music video)- 2003

Justin Timberlake 
 Justin Timberlake in all his blonde afro glory!  Source

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Elliott Berman Textiles Fabric Love

Elliott Berman Textiles Fabric Love Giveaway winner

I won! I never win anything so you can imagine my surprise when I won Elliott Berman Textiles weekly Fabric Love giveaway. I was very excited to open a box of free fabric. Check out my winnings. I received four different fabrics. The only problem is that I don't know the fabric content.

Elliott Berman Textiles Fabric Love Giveaway winner

Elliott Berman Textiles Fabric Love Giveaway winner

Elliott Berman Textiles Fabric Love Giveaway winner
Elliott Berman Textiles Fabric Love Giveaway winner

Elliott Berman Textiles Fabric Love Giveaway winner

I've been dreaming up new sewing projects since I opened the box. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

In a Blue Mood

Custom lingerie sewing, bra and pantie set.
I've created another lingerie set. I wanted to create a nude bra but couldn't just make a plain one. I had to add some lace! All materials for the bra were purchased at Bra Maker's Supply. I love this set. I think it is really darling. 

Custom lingerie sewing.

Custom lingerie sewing.

The panties are made using 100% cotton T-shirt jersey from Fabricland. I cut out one of the flowers from the lace and embroidered it on to the front of the panties. 

Custom lingerie sewing, embroidered panties.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Costume Conundrum

Photo courtesy of Andy Mlinarski

While the lazy days of summer have just come to a close, I am thinking Halloween. I know it is still a month and a half away, but I'm a planner. I like to get my Halloween costume ideas settled early so I have a lot of time to create the costume. I have been going back and forth on a costume idea for the past couple of months. I know, I've been thinking about Halloween since June- crazy! The two costumes that I have vetoed are Cleopatra and Nefertiti.   I have planned my costume for this year (based on a movie character) and have scheduled a trip to Fabricland and Michaels to get supplies. I need to get sewing soon. I am keeping this years costume a secret until the big Halloween reveal, but I will show you last years costume. 

I decided to take my inspiration for the artist Frida Kahlo. She was a Mexican artist who created amazing self portraits, was very political and had an affair with Leon Trotsky. I love her aesthetic and that she didn't care what was in fashion or trendy. She wore what she liked.

Photo courtesy of Andy Mlinarski

My interpretation included a pink eyelet top using Simplicity 3533 (other versions seen here and here), and a 10 gore skirt (another version seen here). I added her signature flowers by hot gluing fake flowers to plastic hair combs. Here distinctive unobrow was created with mascara. It was a really fun costume and I got to practice making Simplicity 3533 and my 10 gore skirt. 

Top: Frida Kahlo wearing a signature colorful look. Photo by Nickolas Murray. Above: Frida displays the three elements of Tehuana dress—the floral headpiece, square-cut blouse, and long skirt.
Frida Kahlo Source

Frida Kahlo Source
 My hot glue gun is warming up as we speak for Halloween 2014!

Monday, September 8, 2014


Pants. Sewing pants has always been a fear of mine. The fly, the crotch depth, fitting hips and a the bum. How was I ever going to make pants that fit well and looked good. I imagined tedious nights stooped over my sewing machine, crying in front of the mirror once the third, forth or fifth muslin just didn't look right. But I was all wrong. Making pants is easy. I used Simplicity 4366 and the Palmer and Pletsch method from the book Pants for Real People. Basically, you cut out and pin the pattern pieces together, try them on and make adjustments to the tissue before you even think about looking at your fashion fabric.

I did not use the pattern tissue because I don't cut my patterns. Why don't I cut my patterns? Because then they are ruined forever. If you've cut the smallest size on a nested and graded pattern and you gain weight or want to make a bigger size for someone else, you are out of luck. Unless you have kept the scraps you cut off of the pattern you won't know where to add to the pattern to grade it up to the next size. Instead of cutting my patterns I use Swedish tracing paper. It is an amazing non-woven translucent fabric that can be drawn upon and also cut and sewn like fabric. The benefit of this wonderful stuff is that I can actually sew together the pattern once I've cut it out to see if it fits. This way I am not wasting time or energy or emotional strength making multiple muslins.

Back to my pants: The Palmer and Pletsch method really works. I only had to make minor adjustments to my pattern once I sewed it together. I have so much suiting fabric in my stash ready to sew. I see many, many pairs of pants in my future. The problem I came across was not in the difficult parts of hips, waist, bum fitting, but in the leg width. The first pair of pants were too wide. The second too narrow, but not narrow enough to be chic cigarette pants. The third pair of pants was just right. They look a bit baggy in the photos. The strange thing is that they day I finished them, they fit perfectly. The next day I wore them they were too big. It could be some sort of water retention situation, but I'm not complaining.

Here is the thing about pants that are made specially for you. They don't ride up. They don't slide down when you bend over or sit down. They stay in place. This is why I love sewing.

I made the sweater using McCalls M6612. I cut if off at the waist and added a band. I also shortened the collar (because I didn't have enough fabric the make it the full length.  I really like this pattern. I have already started to make the cowl neck version as a top. I made this top mostly on my serger. I love a project that can be completed in an evening. I also got to use my twin needle. Very exciting! I love the twin needle and am interested to use a triple needle soon.

Improved photography courtesy of the tripod I purchased for $20 off of Kijiji. Yay!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Change of a Dress

I made this dress at the end of June. I figured that gave me enough time to make the dress without stressing myself out. I do not sew well under pressure.  I wanted something new to wear to a friends wedding. I based the design off of this diagram. The instructions are not in English, but I didn't let that stop me. I used my basic skirt sloper that I made using A Skirt A Day Sewing to make this skirt and I modified the pattern for Simplicity 3533 to make the top. I didn't want to make sleeves as I knew I'd be wearing the dress in the summer. I made it a wrap dress so that It would be easily adjustable. 
Systemschnitt_1 - Ирина Владимирова - Álbumes web de Picasa

I am pretty happy with the dress overall. The only thing I would change would be to interface the lining edge as it flipped the the outside even though I under-stitched it. This experiment in pattern making really boosted my confidence. Being able to start with my own measurements and a diagram and make something that fit me is a great feeling. I'm going to use this pattern again to make a wrap top.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My Lingerie Challenge

August is Sewcialist's Tribute Month. I have been inspired by Madalynne to create a lingerie challenge. While I did not have an entire 48 hours free to undertake my challenge, I was able to complete my lingerie in under 20 hours combined. I assumed that with sleep, eating, and other necessities at weekend challenge boils down to about 30 hours of sewing time. So I set my timer and started sewing. I am new to lingerie sewing, so I did not replicate the three bras and three panties that Madalynne created, but I did make a long line bra for the first time, as well as a regular bra and two pairs of panties.

Madalynne was my Tribute Month inspiration because she makes beautiful lingerie. Everything is so professional and polished. She's also creates wonderfully enviable garments. 

The long line bra is amazing. I used plastic boning which makes it flexible enough so that I can move, but still adds support.  I bought all the supplies at Bra Maker's Supply when I was taking the bra making class in July.

I love this lace. The black and pink play nicely with the burgundy and black fabrics. I love how the lace looks completely different when placed on different backgrounds.

I cut the straps off of a seldom worn bra and attached them to my long line bra. The straps are detachable at the back to offer more options such as crisscross and halter neck.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Citron for Summer

 I made this skirt in June. For some reason, when I finished it I felt that something was wrong with it and I couldn't wear it. Then this week, while getting ready to meet a friend for lunch I pulled it out of the draw from beneath the other unfinished sewing projects, pressed it, and put it on. Magically there were no problems. Maybe it just needed a good press and steam. Or maybe the problem was in my imagination. But I wasted two months of the summer not wearing this skirt that I could have. Since it is a Citron green linen look fabric, I feel I can only wear it in the summer. Maybe in September if it is warm out. I'm glad I pulled it out of the drawer. Sometimes all you need is time away from a project to like it.

I drafted this skirt using the same pattern I used to make the Michelle Obama skirt. I love using patterns I've drafted myself. They fit so well and are so comfortable. I know I'll be using this pattern again and again. 

Now that my course is finally finished (I just handed in my last essay five minutes ago) I have the next three weeks of the summer to sew. I'm planning a lingerie sewing challenge inspired by Madalynne, I'll be making some trousers for work, and hopefully some blouses and skirts. It is going to be a busy three weeks. I can't wait!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My First Lingerie Set

I finished sewing my first lingerie set yesterday. Sewing lingerie is so much fun and so fast. This bra took me 6 hours to make. I've shaved one hour off of my previous time. Not bad for the third bra I've sewn. The underwear took me about two and half hours, including drafting the pattern. One problem I came across was photography. It is impossible to photograph underwear so that it doesn't look huge. My solution: photograph from a height and an angle. I think it worked out pretty well. 

I hate nude bras. They seem so institutional. Like orthotics for your breasts. My solution was to add a little bit of lace. I found this lace on clearance at Fabricland. The problem with buying lace not specified for lingerie is the scratch factor. This lace is pretty scratchy- especially on the leg opening (see picture below).

I was able to counteract this by only placing the lace on the bra where the inside seams would be covered with elastic. That way I'm not itchy all day. I drafted the pantie pattern from instructions I received at Beverly Johnson's Perfect Panties class at Bra-Makers Supply. It is a great class and the pattern drafting creates a perfect pair of panties specifically drafted to your body. LOVE IT! I can't wait to make more lingerie sets! I have at least 9 bras planned...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A break from Sewing.

Due to an impending essay due date and a pulled muscle in my back I have been forced to take a break for sewing... This is terrible. All I want to do is sew all day and night. But I am stuck writing an essay for my Women and Work in Canada course. Hopefully I can finish this course and get back to sewing soon. As for my pulled back muscle, I'll have to wait until it is better. This is what I was working on before I was distracted by essay writing anxiety.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bra Making!

My second hand made bra ever! Black with hot pink lace

I have been looking forward to taking a the bra making class at Bra-Makers Supply in Hamilton for months. Dreams of starting my own custom bra making business filled my head while I counted the days to the start of the class. I arrived at Bra Maker Supply and entered a lovely store filled with lace and trim and every colour you could imagine. The first thing they do after you are situated is a fitting. A bra fitting with Beverly (the store owner and Fairy Bra-mother) is something between a chat with your best friend and a physical. Beverly knows everything about bra fitting and diagnoses bra fit issues in seconds. Once fitted I received my pattern and materials. Beverly and her assistant made alterations to my pattern and then cut it out. The class is extended over two days. The instructor, Denise led us through each technique involved with creating a custom bra. It is surprisingly easy. They say if you can set in a sleeve, you can make a bra. I find setting in a sleeve far more tedious then making a bra. 

They provide you the the materials to make a white bra. Mine was far too boring to show here, but once I finished the class I got started making a more exciting bra. Bra Makers Supply sells bra kits. The kits include all of the basic materials to make one bra. I added underwires and bought some lace to make the bra a little more fancy. Did you know that underwires not only come in different sizes, they also come in different lengths and widths? No wonder women all over the world suffer with uncomfortable bras.

I sat down at my sewing machine at 10pm on a Monday night, sewed until 2:30am, went to sleep and woke up the next morning ready to finish my bra. In total it took my 7 hours to make this bra. That's pretty good for my second bra. I anticipate getting faster the more I make. I have tons of ideas for more bras to make.

The great thing about making your own bras is that they instantly make you feel great. You have a little secret hiding under your clothes- a custom handmade bra by you.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Another Simplicity 3533

I love Simplicity 3533 and have made it several times. Each time I make it i try to improve it or change it in some way. This time I made a V neck. I used this beautiful stripped fabric that I bought at Fabricland. I originally used this fabric to create a top for my sewing class. Unfortunately, that top turned out to be an unwearable disaster and I wasted most of it. I only had a small amount left and used it for the front of this top. The back is pink lining. This top is an example of unfortunate pattern placement. If i had of reversed the pattern pieces the curves would minimize my stomach instead of making it look bigger. However, I still wear the top, usually with a sweater or blazer, and love the colours.