Gastroenteritis folks. It’s done two rounds at our house. The laundry has been Sisyphean. The sewing, minimal. The sleep? Well, let’s not even mention the lack of sleep.
I have managed to eek out a super quick project though.
Ages ago I bought a few yards of chocolate brown baby cord. After four pair of kid-sized pants and my Ginger skirt, I was left with just under a yard. Cue kid No 1 complaining about having no winter skirts “at all”. Hmmm, possibly a slight exaggeration. But in any case, we couldn’t have that, so I whipped up this skirt the same evening.
This is the Oliver + S Sunday Brunch Skirt. It’s a simple, straight skirt (though the pattern is described as a-line), with elastic waistband, pockets and a black kick pleat. I made this in a size 6 and it fits just right.
As always with Oliver + S patterns, this was a dream to sew. The instructions were so very clear, and I finished the whole thing in under 3 hours. That includes tracing the pattern and cutting the fabric. If I hadn’t added piping, it would have been even faster.
The only changes I made were to add an inch to the length and add flat piping in a pretty lavender print. The skirt definitely needed that extra inch. And the piping will match a top that’s in the works.
Kid No 1 was in the skirt the next morning and out the door to school, so I would have to say that this was a highly successful project. Unfortunately, that left very little time for photos, and it was dark and dreary so these are not my best. Another skirt for Kid No 3 is on the way, if only I can get the laundry done.
This project is part of the Stashbusting Sewalong.
Fabric: Baby cord. I used quilting cotton for the flat piping. The print is FloraDots in Violet from the La Dee Da collection by Erin McMorries for Free Spirit Fabrics.
Sewing Level: Beginner.
Modifications: Added an inch to the length and used flat piping for trim.
Results: Great and fast. I would recommend this pattern and plan to make it again. In fact, I’ve already cut out the fabric!
I have been slowly rebuilding my wardrobe with some basic everyday clothing. After four pregnancies, all pretty close together, my wardrobe is in rough shape. I’ve also changed shape, and so my old clothes just don’t fit right. Rather than battle the clothes racks with four kids in tow, I’ve decided to make what I can.
This is my latest project, the Ginger skirt by Colette. It’s a simple, high-waisted a-line shirt, fitted in the hips with an invisible zipper.
I used a super soft baby cord, which is the same fabric I used to make pants for my kids. They think this is hilarious. Ha! Just wait till high school, kids.
I cut the size 18, based on my waist measurements, but I ended up taking in two inches, and I could have taken it a bit more in the hips. Next time, I’ll cut a 14, graded out to a 16 waist.
At first I thought the 18 looked ok. But it wasn’t lying smooth over the front of my hips. So I scoured the internet looking for similar body shapes, in the same skirt, and with the same problem, and they all had their skirts quite low on the waist. So I raised the waist and took in the sides and the skirt fit so much better. It was a whole new garment. I’m honestly not used to such a high-waisted skirt. Most ready-to-wear a-line skirts are designed to sit lower, but I do like the look. Next time, I’ll also take the skirt in a little more in the hips.
Adjusting the fit was quite easy. So if you are a bit larger than the largest size (or smallest than the smallest size), you shouldn’t have too much trouble grading up (or down) a size or two and still getting good results.
I made version 3, which has a straight waistband , and is cut on the bias. With baby cord, the results are not quite as dramatic as the chevron stripe pattern shown on the pattern packaging, but it does make for a really nice hanging skirt. Even my husband mentioned that it hung really nicely, and with no prompting (!!!). Using baby cord also means you don’t need to worry about matching the stripes.
The skirt has an invisible zipper, which went in really easily.
I added some very thin tricot interfacing to the skirt before adding the zipper, to stabilize it. But because the skirt was cut on the bias, it was still a little stretchy, so I also used bias tape on the seam edges, a suggestion from a couture sewing book, and this worked very well.
Hemming was a bit of an adventure. I let the skirt hang for a few days before I started. I had read how Sunni of A Fashionable Stitch has Mr Stitch help her with her hemming. So I gave it a shot. I can now confirm, that while Mr Garment has many superpowers, garment hemming is not one of them. He’s pretty good with compliments though (see above). Needless to say, I had to re-hem. Luckily, my hems usually fall pretty straight, so I guess I’ll just continue t0 hem on my own. I think next time, I’ll go a couple inches shorter as well. What do you think?
I didn’t line the skirt and simply zigzagged the seams. It’s a corduroy skirt, after all.
At first I was a bit shocked by the price of the pattern. I paid $18, which, for a simple a-line skirt pattern, is a lot. (You can get the PDF version for $12, which is better). But I wanted to try a Collette pattern (this is my first), and it was a gift as well (though I picked it out myself). I’ve found that the fit is really quite nice, and I will use the pattern again, so overall, still a worthwhile purchase.
I really like this pattern. It has a really nice fit, and is quick to sew, but also has a lot of room for creativity, if you are feeling up to a challenge. I’ll almost certainly make it again.
Fabric: Baby cord. I used quilting cotton for the waistband.
Sizes: 18, but next time I’ll cut a 14, graded out to a 16 waist.Version 3, with the straight waistband, and cut on the bias.
Sewing Level: Beginner (versions 1 & 2). Intermediate (version 3).
Results: Great. I would recommend this pattern and plan to make it again..
“What do you want to be for Halloween?” I asked.
“I want to be a fruit bat”, announced my three-year-old, “a baby fruit bat”.
“Yes, yes! I want to be a fruit bat too!” kids No 1 and 2 agreed.
Umm, ok then. My kids had been waffling over Halloween costumes, and nothing was really getting them excited about dressing up. Until this. So fruit bats. Hmmm.
I decided to start with the Red Riding Hood pattern from the book Little Things to Sew by Oliver + S. It is sooooo cute. Ack! I’ve been waiting for a good excuse to sew it. So off I headed to the fabric store, three-year-old in tow.
I was hoping for a black faux suede, but there was only grey or brown available.
“Feel this, isn’t it soft?” I said. “Would you like to be a grey or brown baby fruit bat?”
In response I got a “no” that was part determined, part horrified and the look that I will one day get when I have to pick her up from high school. Sooo embarrassing, mum!
“I want to be a black fruit bat.”
So we tried another store, this time with all the kids in tow.
“Would you like to be a shiny bat?” I said, showing off the faux leather. Oh, the horrified looks!
I managed to find a faux suede/velvet with a herringbone pattern that met with approval. I was worried it would look a bit odd, but it was great. It was incredibly easy to sew with, and no black fluff everywhere! A first for fuzzy Halloween costumes!
This pattern is so easy! And fast! Of course I had to make it four times, so fast is a relative concept. But if you are lucky enough to only have to make one, you will be pleasantly surprised.
I skipped the arm openings, lengthened the capes by about two inches, cut the bottoms of the cape in a scalloped bat-wing pattern and hand sewed on ears. I used fine elastic for the button loops, which I thought would be less choke-y with a lot of bat-like swooping. I also added elastic loops at the end of the wings to make it easier to swoop without having to grab onto the wing tips.
The pattern comes in medium and large, so I graded a smaller size for my smallest. I found the pattern fit large, perfect for bats, but maybe I would go down a size for each kid, if it were for real life clothing.
The capes got a lot of use, and we even took the kids to the bat exhibit at the zoo so they could say hello to the real fruit bats, dressed as bats. Fun!
Then my husband asked where his bat cape was. Doh! And then I got the flu. So next, year I have a huge head start on his half-made bat costume (ahem). Still, Halloween was a blast, and then we all got the flu.
But that just meant that there was one more day of swooping bats today (though only two bats were willing to swoop) so that mummy could blog her sewing.
Pattern Review: Red Riding Hood from the book Little Things to Sew by Oliver + S.
Fabric: Faux suede with a herringbone pattern. Some sort of synthetic.
Sizes: S, M and L.
Sewing Level: Beginner.
Modifications: I added bat ears, elastic loops at the wrists, used elastic for the button loop, and cut the bottom of the cape in a scalloped pattern. I lengthened the capes by about two inches. I graded a small size for my smallest, since the pattern only comes in medium and large.
Results: Great. I would recommend this pattern and hope to make it as real clothing.
You know when you finally finish that great pattern that looks super cute on everyone (everyone!), and then you put it on and it looks just terrible (truly!) on you. That.
It’s possibly not a total fail. I am hoping that later tonight after a couple glasses of wine, it can be upgraded to “wearable” (sigh). Possibly it will have to be (double sigh) up-cycled. And no, no photos yet. It’s raining and I am unmotivated to wrestle dress, light, camera and photobombing toddlers into place.
I am especially discouraged because I dutifully made up a muslin. I even muslined the sleeve (the &^&%#$#ing sleeve folks!), which fit well, by the way. And I tried it on as I was sewing, and only when I got to the buttons (arrrrrrgh!) did it become apparent that this would not be wearable. And it isn’t even the pattern, or the fit, it is that style on my body. Did I mention the fabric had an especially nice drape? @%$#*!
Eventually I will share photos. (And no, it is not the men’s shirt that I’m also working on).
To borrow from Mad Men, you might put a Betty in a Joan dress, but you can’t really put a Joan in a Betty dress. And I am clearly in the Joan camp. And this is a Betty dress.
For the record I am in the rectangular/hourglass camp, and curvy on top. Let’s just say that the FBA is a good friend of mine And I still have a bit of baby belly to work on (four kids will do that to you). In other words, I am human.
So while I wait for a less rainy day, I thought I would take the time to jot down a few styles which I have proven do not look good on me, so that when a new and exciting pattern comes out I can check this list and remind myself that the following do not look good on me. (Though they may be smashing on you, in which case, carry on, nothing to see here).
What Looks Bad On Me
- peter pan collars
- pussy bow blouses
- fitted capris and short shorts
- high waisted bodices with gathered skirts
- empire waists
- short and cropped and/or boxy jackets
- tiny upper pockets
- smock-style tunics/dresses
- drop waists
- pleated pants
- tea-length skirts, unless quite fitted
- strapless dresses
- anything with gathering at the bust
- low v-necks (a bit too “hey mister!”, if you know what I mean)
- details that are too small
- ruffles (often but not always)
You know the patterns I’m talking about!
And this is what I should remind myself to get instead, possibly along with some new fabric in my colour palette.
What Looks Good On Me
- pencil skirts
- long, fitted tops
- a-line (most of the time)
- longer, tailored jackets
- cowl necks, square necks, scoop necks
- shift dresses, especially with sleeves
- wrap dresses (when they have enough coverage)
- boot cut jeans, skinny jeans
- flat front pants
- 3/4 sleeves
- stretch knits
I also have a request of you, dear reader. Which sewing bloggers do you know, who are shaped like yours truly?
I feel like I should be following more people who sew things that look good on a me-shaped body and that I should find some more kindred souls so that it is less tempting to copy the super cute, petite and/or waiflike sewists stitching up some terribly adorable peter pan collars and such. (And that is sincerely not meant as a slight to the peter pan collar or the petite sewist! Do carry on!)
So send your links my way so I have something to read with my glass of wine tonight. Bonus points if you can suggest some great curve-friendly patterns.
I’ve been tackling the unfinished object (UFO) pile and I’m down to zero UFO quilt projects (woot! woot!), four kids projects (three for Halloween), and let’s just agree not to talk about my pile, shall we? So it was clearly time for a new category of sewing projects: men’s wear!
I had planned to make this a surprise and had bought some grey shirting, but when I showed it to Mr Garment, he was not too impressed. Not his style it seems. So we all headed out to the fabric store and he chose some plain black shirting, another shirting fabric which is much nicer in a purple stripe and some grey wool for the pants in Vogue 9980 in a (slight) stretch wool.
Mr Garment has a corporate job and likes a nice suit. His style runs conservative, but he likes European-cut clothes, and isn’t afraid of a little colour.
I’m starting with Vogue 8889, which is described as a “loose-fitting shirt has collar, collar band, self-lined yoke with forward shoulder seams, side front/side back seams, flat-fell seams, shaped hemline and narrow hem.” I will be making version C.
I’ve already made one muslin. I made it out of some stash fabric I had bought years ago for a craft project. It is crazy and I did not insist on photos, because I am not that mean. I used this fabric because I really had no idea what size to start with – I’ve only made Mr Garment Halloween costumes before – and didn’t want to waste good fabric.
I cut a 44, and so far the fit is really nice. Despite being billed as “loose-fitting”, it is actually fairly fitted. The shirt is made with side panels, which resemble
princess seams (ahem) manly seams which allow for a really nice shape. Mr Garment likes a fitted, European-style, tailored shirt, so this is good. The sleeves are the right length as well. The shirt length is also good (Mr Garment is 5’11″). But the shoulders are too wide, and Mr Garment is a fairly wide-shouldered guy.
Peter Lapin of Male Pattern Boldness has several blog posts on this particular pattern which are very helpful. He narrowed the yoke by an inch on each side, but I only need to do this by 1/2 an inch per side. He shows his pattern modifications on his blog, so if you are thinking of trying this pattern, it’s definitely worth taking a look. You can see two finished versions of the shirt in this post.
Next I’ll have to check the collar, and then I’ll cut out the black shirt.
Ok, so it’s not really that big a list – yet! But it has some really great designers.
Here is a list of Canadian pattern designers. If you know of any others, please leave a comment or get in touch.
This list was last updated on October 18, 2013. Designers are generally listed geographically from east to west.
Independent Pattern Companies
- Independent Apparel Patterns
- Independent Bag Patterns
- Independent Toy Patterns
- Independent Quilt Patterns
- Jalie Patterns - Saint-Romuald, QC – Women, men and children’s wear (large size range)
- Closet Case Files – Montreal, QC – Women’s swimwear
- Victory Patterns – Toronto, ON- Women’s wear
- Heidi&Finn – Toronto, ON – Children’s wear
- Sewaholic Patterns – Vancouver, BC - Women’s wear (specializing in pear-shaped figures)
- petit boo – Vancouver, BC – Baby shoes
- Favorite Things – Delta, BC – Women and children’s wear
- In-House Patterns – Victoria, BC – Women’s wear (specializing in hourglass figures with D-cups)
- Thread Theory Designs – Vancouver Island. BC – Men’s wear
- luvinthemommyhood – Vancouver Island, BC – Children’s wear and knitwear
- Leila & Ben – ??? - Children’s wear and crochet wear
- Elegance & Elephants – ??? - Children’s wear
- Sewing With Me – Toronto, ON
- Among Brenda’s Quilts - Strathroy, ON
- Emmaline Bags & Patterns - Spruce Grove, AB
- BerryBirdy - Vanderhoof, BC
- Among Brenda’s Quilts - Strathroy, ON
- Cheryl Arkison Quilts – Calgary, AB
- Chatterbox Quilts – Calgary, AB
- jb.quiltdesigns – Calgary, AB
- Castilleja Cottons – Calgary, AB
- Patchworks Studio – North Saanich, BC
- Cherry Tree Quilts – Summerland, BC
- Brandy Lynn Designs – Summerland, BC
This week I’ve been tackling some unfinished objects (UFO’s) and I am really happy that I was able to finish this quilt because it has been sitting neglected for far too long.
I picked up most of these fat quarters ages ago, before I even learned to quilt. I remember them standing out at the quilt shop because almost everything else in this particular shop was traditional quilting fabrics – small scale florals, batiks and such. There were hardly any solids. And then I spotted these fat quarters that seemed so out of place, but way cooler than anything else I’d seen so far.
I finally started piecing this last winter, but then other projects jumped the line. Maybe it’s the return of the fall weather, but it just feels like it’s time to snuggle up under a quilt. So I got to work.
This quilt uses a lozenge block, and you can see a nice tutorial online here, which I should have followed but did not. My quilt blocks ended up being a little messier than planned, and I had to trim them down, which works poorly with this particular block. And then I was quite discouraged with the actual straight line quilting, which looked anything but straight when I was stitching it. But a good wash and a little crinkle goes a long way, so I consider it salvaged.
The blocks are then arranged in an “X”s and “O”s or Hugs and Kisses arrangement (well, one X/kiss) to be exact.
I used this really lovely, pale grey Crosshatch Sketch for the backing, which I adore. I had looked for something suitable for a long time, and then was in my local fabric store, looking for something completely unrelated, and there it was.
The binding is Kona Coal. I made it a bit more narrow than planned, but it’s probably better that way, since it’s such a dark colour.
All that black and grey make for a monochromatic back, which I love.
The front is really bright. My husband said it looked a bit stark. “Yes, well, it’s not for you”.
Actually it is a gift for a family member, who I think likes stark colours, at least these ones. I hope.
Anyway, since it was for a family member, I skipped the “Hey, be gentle with the quilt!”, and there was a small quilt dance party. But hopefully the family member won’t mind.
X’s and Os Quilt
Quilt block: Lozenge block in an “X”s and “O”s or Hugs and Kisses arrangement.
Size: 53 by 53 inches.
Mostly unknown, but includes Michael Miller – Ring Dot Black, Kona White, Kona Red. The rest I picked up as fat quarters.
Binding: Kona Coal
Backing: Crosshatch Sketch in Mist (or is this Grey?) by Timeless Treasures
Shannon is a Canadian sewing, quilting and stitching blogger living in Montreal. Also mother of four.
Shannon est blogueuse canadienne sur tout ce qui touche à la couture, la courtepointe, et un peu de broderie. Résidente de Montréal, et maman de quatre enfants.
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