A Renfrew in Stripes

My latest sewing project is for me! Lately my blog has been full of projects for other people, but I have been sewing for myself as well.

The Renfrew Top sewing pattern by Sewaholic, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
The top is really comfy.

My latest project is the Renfrew Top by Sewaholic Patterns. I made this once before, but the results were so-so.

This time I made quite a few adjustments. First, I went down two sizes. I made size 12, which is about 2 sizes smaller than the size chart indicated I should use. This made the fit at the shoulders much better.

The Renfrew Top sewing pattern by Sewaholic, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
You can see from the back how this shirt fits better in the shoulders.
The Renfrew Top sewing pattern by Sewaholic, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
I really like the fit.

I skipped the waistband altogether, which wasn’t especially flattering on me, and lengthened the top by three inches to make up for the length in the band and then some. I’m a little long in the ribcage and ready-to-wear shirts are often too short. This is the length I prefer.

The Renfrew Top sewing pattern by Sewaholic, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
I prefer extra length at the bottom, rather than a band at the waist.

I also skipped the zigzagging around the neckline that is called for in the pattern instructions. Last time, I tried this on the back of the neck but I didn’t like the look. to hem the shirt, I used a double needle. I’m much happier with this finish.

The Renfrew Top sewing pattern by Sewaholic, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
This top turned out much better than the last one.

I also used better fabric. This jersey is a bit more expensive than the last time, but has much better recovery. That makes it a little more flattering, but also more comfortable. It’s also really bright, which I like. Who says kids should get all the fun?

The Renfrew Top sewing pattern by Sewaholic, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
Who says bright colours are just for kids?

I am so much happier with this shirt. It feels great and cheers me up when I wear it.

Summary

Pattern Review: Renfrew Top by Sewaholic Patterns. I made view A.
Fabric: Cotton-spandex Jersey, from L’Oiseau Fabrics.
Cost: The pattern was a birthday gift and the fabric was about 16$ a meter. Total: about 25$.
Size: 12.
Sewing Level: Adventurous beginner.
Modifications: I didn’t zigzag around the neck band, I lengthened the shirt by about three inches, and I skipped the waist band.
Results: So much better than the first Renfrew I made. I plan to make this again with the cowl neck.

Pattern Testing the Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Dress

Have you seen the Cowl Neck Dress and Sweater by Heidi & Finn? It is super cute, and oh so trendy.

So I was very excited to be a pattern tester for the newest version of the pattern, which now includes a sweater, a short-sleeved version, and an expanded size range from 12m to 12Y.

Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Sweater, sewn by The Finished Garment
The kids really like the tops and they are very comfortable.

And is it ever easy to sew! I finished about one project per nap. I love one-nap projects!

In the end, I made this pattern six times: three tops and three dresses, in three different sizes.

Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Sweater, sewn by The Finished Garment
This is the size 2T.
Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Sweater, sewn by The Finished Garment
This is the size 5T, in pink.
Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Sweater, sewn by The Finished Garment
This is size 7Y.

This project calls for knit fabric, and obviously a sweater knit would be ideal, but sadly the choices were limited at my local fabric shops and I had no time to order online.

The smallest kids chose the fabric for the tops (ack! so cute to watch them choose fabrics) – a slinky rayon jersey. In that fabric, the tops have a retro 70s vibe.

The pattern changed slightly during testing, and now has a banded waist, but these tops were made before the change.

Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Sweater, sewn by The Finished Garment
Such a cutie!
Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Sweater, sewn by The Finished Garment
This is a rayon jersey and it has quite a bit of drape.
Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Sweater, sewn by The Finished Garment
In this fabric, the top has a bit of a 70s vibe.
Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Sweater, sewn by The Finished Garment
The size 5 was a bit large. Next time, I’ll go down a size.
Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Sweater, sewn by The Finished Garment
The size 7Y is a much better fit.

For the dresses, I chose a ponte de roma that has a bit of a soft, sweater-knit texture. This fabric gave better results than the jersey. It’s a stable knit that is still very stretchy and has great recovery.

Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Dress,, sewn by The Finished Garment
This is my favourite fabric for this pattern. It’s a ponte de roma, and has just the right amount of structure, without being stiff.

I only made two changes. First, I shortened the sleeves by 1-2″, depending on the fabric and dress size. Second, I attached the cowl neck first, before starting the sleeves. I find it easier to work this way, but it’s just my preference. See a discussion on sewing flat versus in the round, here.

Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Dress, sewn by The Finished Garment
The dress is a huge hit.
Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Dress, sewn by The Finished Garment
Especially the bow.
Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Dress, sewn by The Finished Garment
This fabric is really the perfect weight for the dress.

I didn’t use a serger – I don’t have one. I just used my regular machine, which has a faux overlock stitch and I hemmed everything using a double needle. This worked very well.

Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Dress, sewn by The Finished Garment
Ack! So grown up.
Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Dress, sewn by The Finished Garment
I love the look of the dress.
Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Dress, sewn by The Finished Garment
This dress is perfect for fall weather.

The results were great. These tops and dresses are cute, cute, cute and the kids love wearing them. Yay!

Summary

Pattern Review: Cowl Neck Dress and Sweater by Heidi & Finn, available in sizes 12m-12Y.
Fabric: Rayon jersey for the tops and ponte de roma for the dresses.

  • Dakota stretch rayon jersey knit Hearts in navy, pink and teal (medium-weight knit, 95% Rayon/5% Lycra, 4-way stretch, 25% vertical stretch and 50% stretch across the grain).
  • Ponte de roma in grey, (medium- to heavy-weight knit, 80% Polyester/15% Rayon/5% Lycra, 30% stretch across the grain), magenta, and dark teal – not shown – (medium-weight knit, 50% Polyester/45% Rayon/5% Lycra).

Sizes: 2T, 5T and 7Y.
Cost: Pattern: 0$. Fabric: About $12 per top and about $16 per dress.
Sewing Level: Confident beginner.
Modifications: I shortened the sleeves, by 1-2″, depending on the fabric and dress size.
Results: Great. This was fast, and I love the trendy look.

Disclaimer: The pattern was generously provided by Heidi & Finn, in return for testing the pattern. As always, my opinions are my own.

Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Dress, sewn by The Finished Garment
Adorable!

The Big List of Online Canadian Longarm Quilters

The Big List on Canadian Online Long Arm Quilters
The Big List on Canadian Online Longarm Quilters

Having trouble locating a long-arm quilter who works close by? I’ve compiled a list of Canadian long-arm quilting services. I’ll be adding as I go, so check back soon.

I haven’t tried them all, so I can’t vouch for them. If you know of any others or have had a good experience with any, please leave a comment or get in touch.

Want to be on the list? At the moment, I only list people who have a website, are located in Canada, and note that they provide long-arm quilting services on their website. Many longarm quilters also show a portfolio of their work, though this is not required.

This list was last updated on November 22, 2017. Shops are generally listed geographically from east to west.

Atlantic Canada

Quebec

Ontario

Manitoba

Saskatchewan

Alberta

British Columbia

Is your business missing? If you are located in Canada, have a website, and provide long-arm quilting services which you note on your website get in touch. Thanks!

Spring Showers

Well, it’s not quite spring here, but mother nature is working on it. So this pattern came along just in time.  It’s the Spring Showers Jacket by Elegance & Elephants (yay! Canadian content!) and I was lucky enough to be a pattern tester.

The Spring Showers Jacket sewing pattern by Elegance & Elephants, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
The jacket is a big hit and fits well with room for layers underneath. And yes, this is what April looks like in Montreal.

It’s a lined, zip-front, hooded jacket. You can make a version with a cinched waist, but I like this version better.

The Spring Showers Jacket sewing pattern by Elegance & Elephants, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
I’m pretty happy with the results.
The Spring Showers Jacket sewing pattern by Elegance & Elephants, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
I used bright turquoise quilting cotton for the lining.
The Spring Showers Jacket sewing pattern by Elegance & Elephants, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
Requisite action shot.

I was going to make a waterproof/water-resistant version, but the one day I could get to the fabric store…. snow storm! So I shopped my stash instead. I used a (hard to photograph) navy, 100 per cent cotton twill for the outer fabric and quilting cotton for the inner fabric. I thought about using lining fabric on the sleeves, to make them easier to slide on and off. Montreal may be Hoth in the winter, but it’s Tatooine in the summer. Cotton breathes better, so this will be a better summer jacket this way.

The Spring Showers Jacket sewing pattern by Elegance & Elephants, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
I did all the top stitching in turquoise to make it a bit more fun. And I used the biggest zipper I could find – easier for little hands.
The Spring Showers Jacket sewing pattern by Elegance & Elephants, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
The sleeves ended up a bit long, but I kind of like the folded over look.
The Spring Showers Jacket sewing pattern by Elegance & Elephants, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
A better look at the cuff.

I made the size 4/5 for Kid No 2. Usually he wears a size 5, and the fit of the jacket was just right. Room to move and grow and layer over whatever he’s wearing.

The Spring Showers Jacket sewing pattern by Elegance & Elephants, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
And photo session over!

The pattern is really cute and practical, and I’ve already had a couple requests for more from Kid No 1 and Kid No 3.

The Spring Showers Jacket sewing pattern by Elegance & Elephants, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
Little sister decided to try on the jacket when no one was looking.

Summary

Pattern Review: Spring Showers Jacket by Elegance & Elephants.

Fabric: Navy twill (100% cotton) for the outer fabric and Ziggy in Aqua from Timeless Treasures for the lining.

Size: 4/5.

Sewing Level: Average.

Modifications: None.

Results: Great. I hope to make this again. Next time I’d like to add snaps to the pockets and a zipper flap to the outside.

Disclaimer: The pattern was generously provided by Elegance & Elephants, in return for testing the pattern. As always, my opinions are my own.

The Big List of Independent Canadian Pattern Designers

The Big List of Independent Canadian Pattern Designers

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 August 2, 2017. Designers are generally listed geographically from east to west.

Independent Pattern Companies


Independent Apparel Pattern Companies
These online shops sell their own patterns for apparel sewing.


Independent Bag Pattern Companies
These online shops sell their own patterns for handbags, wallets, clutches, etc.


Independent Toy Pattern Companies
These online shops sell their own patterns for toys, stuffed animals, etc.


Independent Quilt Pattern Companies
These online shops sell their own patterns for quilts.

The Big List of Independent Canadian Pattern Designers

Sewing with Warp & Weft

Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles
Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles

I have some big news! As you know, I’m a big fan of Canadian fabric shops, so I am super excited to announce an ongoing collaboration with  Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles.

Warp & Weft is a Canadian online fabric and sewing store specializing in designer and imported cotton fabric, embroidery supplies and notions for  creative sewing. The shop is run by Esmari Taylor out of Toronto.

She has some fabulous products (go check them out!), and I’ll be doing some sewing with her fabrics on a regular basis and possibly doing some embroidery (so excited!).

My late grandmother taught me to embroider as a little girl, but I haven’t done very much of it lately, and I’m looking forward to the trip down memory lane. I miss her!

Fabric from Warp & Weft
It was hard to photograph this without opening it. I “may” have ripped a tiny corner underneath to peak inside.
Fabric
So much fabric. Better get sewing!

I just got my first package, and there was some great fabric inside. I have some really fun projects in mind and I can’t wait to share.

Fun, fun, fun! These are organic cotton. It's Seven Seas collection by Michéle Brummer Everett for Cloud9 Fabrics. These prints are Sea Critters, Laddies and Poppets, and The Fleet in Grey.
Fun, fun, fun! These are organic cotton. It’s Seven Seas collection by Michéle Brummer Everett for Cloud9 Fabrics. These prints are Sea Critters, Laddies and Poppets, and The Fleet in Grey.

The kids love the Seven Seas fabrics. So cute! I may need to get some more.

Floral Meadow and in the City Girl Colourway and Curvy Stripe in the Orange Grove Colourway from the Storybook Lane collection by Kelly Lee-Creel for Andover Fabrics.
These two are really pretty. Floral Meadow and in the City Girl Colourway and Curvy Stripe in the Orange Grove Colourway from the Storybook Lane collection by Kelly Lee-Creel for Andover Fabrics.
Monkey’s Bizness Market Floral in Bright by Alexander Henry Fabrics
This one is lovely! It’s Monkey’s Bizness Market Floral in Bright by Alexander Henry Fabrics.

There were also some pretty florals, which are great for summer.

Bella Flower in Blue by Lotta Jansdotter for Windham Fabrics
I have long coveted this fabric. It’s Bella Flower in Blue by Lotta Jansdotter for Windham Fabrics.

I have been adding this fabric to my online shopping carts for months and then not buying it because I had no specific project for it. But now I do!

This is Essex Linen in Rose by Robert Kaufman Fabrics.
I have something special planned for this one. This is Essex Linen in Rose by Robert Kaufman Fabrics.

And finally, linen! I think linen is my favourite fabric of all time. I always just buy black and white, so I thought I’d try some colour this time.

So consider these the “before” photos, and expect to see the completed projects in the coming weeks.

In Other Exciting News

Honestly, the fabric is pretty exciting! But a couple of other nice things happened lately. We’ve always wanted to plant trees for each of our kids, and we’ve just been given four baby oak trees. Now we just have to choose where to plant them.

Baby Oak Trees
Baby Oak Trees

We also had a very special visitor drop in unexpectedly. We live outside of the city, so wildlife sightings aren’t rare, but the kids always seem to miss them. This time our friendly visitor stayed still long enough for us all to get a good look and for me to take some photos. Wonder if he or she will be back?

rabbit
We had a visitor of the long-eared variety.

Montreal Sewing Meetup? Who’s in?

fabric
Quilting Cotton

I was reading all about the recent Toronto Sewing Blogger Meetup and I thought, we should do that in Montreal! Who’s in?

I was thinking it would be nice to meet on a Saturday afternoon, grab coffee around 1 p.m and hit the fabric shops on Saint-Hubert: Effiloché, Couture-Elle, Rubans, Boutons and more (or less, if everyone finds what they need right away). Montreal has some great fabric shops, but there is so much to choose from that it can be overwhelming, at least for me. I need a second opinion. That could be you!

But when? My schedule is just crazy, but the following dates would work. Do you have a preference? Let me know in the comments, or contact me directly.

  • April 20
  • May 18
  • May 25

I know some would prefer a Sunday, but most of the shops are closed that day.

And of course, out-of-towners are welcome and having a blog is entirely optional. If you are worried about language, don’t. All the shop clerks will speak both English and French.

Si vous êtes francophone, soyez la bienvenue. Je serai heureuse de converser avec vous dans la langue de votre choix. Je blogue surtout en anglais (question de paresse), mais je suis complètement bilingue (à part quelques coquilles ici et là).

So who’s in?

Update: The Sewing Meetup will take place on May 25. Read more here.