Friday, October 6, 2017

Making the Hey June Charleston and using my Ophelia fabric

Summer is gone, and our brief Autumn has arrived bringing with it crisp air, cozy clothes and comfort foods, along with my motivation. I'm really a winter person. Which is a good thing seeing as I live on the Canadian prairies where winter is the prevalent season. I love wearing layers, eating soup and curling up on the couch with a good book and a minky blanket.
September was an unusually busy month, with school starting and canning and such, so I didn't get any sewing done, aside from some mending. I was pretty excited for October to come and bring some more free time, especially now that my two girls are both in school full time.

I have been hoarding some Ophelia fabric from True North fabrics for a while, and was looking for good color blocking patterns so I could stretch the one meter I had as far as I could. I'm pretty frugal in my sewing hobby, and a bit of a minimalist, so my "stash" is really only a collection of about 8-10 meters of fabric, mostly woven, along with a couple of meters of cheap fabrics for muslins.
I also prefer to make clothes that I can carry right through all the seasons, just by adding or removing layers, so I only have a small amount of long sleeve shirts, tank tops, and shorts (two of each to be exact). But really, my wardrobe is really only beginning to take shape. Most of the clothes that are currently in there are in there because I can't walk around naked, lol. I have a select few that are actually part of my capsule, and the rest are just place holders until my nice clothes are finished. They are also clothes I've had for years. I'm not a shopper. Rtw clothes usually fit me horribly.
I bought the Charleston dress from Hey June last month, as my wardrobe was in desperate need of some dresses. I find that the pencil dress shape is one of the most flattering on my shape (in my eyes anyway, lol) and when I discovered that the Charleston had the pencil dress shape included in the pattern I jumped on it. Plus with all the pieces in the bodice and skirt it was perfect for color blocking!
I really enjoyed making the dress, and didn't have a single setback. I made the usual shorten adjustments that I make on all patterns according to the difference in the height that they draft for and my own height. I measured for the large, but when I muslined the top I found that since my fabric had a lot of stretch, I wasn't getting the fit that I was looking for. I sized down to medium and it was perfect. Everything lined up the way it was supposed to, and the drafting is superb. I love how all the piece work in the back gives it just the perfect shaping!

I LOVE the Ophelia fabric. The weight, the colors, everything about it is fabulous! I paired it with some black cotton lycra for a classy but very comfortable dress perfect for Holidays and wearing to church. Or just whenever I want. Which will be often. I need to find another print that I love as much as the Ophelia to make another. Or some fantastic stretch lace, or stretch faux leather.
I still have a decent amount of Ophelia left, and the Hey June Lane raglan has caught my eye. I've been wanting a floral sleeve raglan for awhile now, so it looks like that'll be my next project!
I was lucky to have my friend Jeanine come down to take some photos, but I really need to grab a mirror and practice posing, lol! Don't believe me? Check out this gem, I laughed so hard.

Remember, you can follow me on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook using the social media icons in the top and bottom left hand corners of my blog. Also my Pinterest Board with all my creations can be found in the bar along the right hand side. I love to hear from my readers, so please leave your comments and questions down below! Thanks for stopping in!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Sis Boom Sally with a high-low a-line skirt hack

I can't believe summer is almost at an end. In a couple of weeks school is starting and I'll suddenly have a lot of interruption-free time on my hands. My youngest is starting grade one, so that means school on a full time schedule. I like to believe that will mean plenty of time for me to sew, but in reality it means I'll be able to catch up on household chores regularly, and MAYBE some more time to sew.

(This one isn't a useful shot, but I loved the lighting.)
This summer has been a very busy one filled with family visiting from out of country, camping trips, my oldest's first trip to Bible Camp, and plenty of afternoons hanging out in our new backyard pool. It's only a pole frame above ground pool, but it's fantastic to be able to swim on a whim. (Yes, I rhymed. Yes, I have to point that out.)
However busy it was, I did manage to sew up a new dress for my Honey Bee. She loves elegant formal wear, and after I sewed up my high low Angie, she was begging for a high low Sally. I had been planning to use the same fabric and make both of my girls matching Mama and Me dresses, but alas, I made a terrible cutting mistake that cost the project. As the fabric was a gift, I wasn't able to get more.
My sis-in-law found some fabric that she liked at a local Marshall's fabrics that she wanted to use to make her daughter a dress, so she bought enough so that the two cousins could have matching outfits. So sweet of her, right? Honey Bee was more than thrilled!

I instantly gravitated to the Sally because always have elastic on hand, but I don't always have the right color zipper, or buttons. And with the closest fabric shop being half an hour drive, I regularly am gravitating towards patterns that don't require these.
The fit is a little loose, because although it's the right size, I forgot to account for the small amount of stretch in the lace and the lining.
As for construction, I just sewed it up using the burrito method of lining, as the lace was dense enough not to see the seam allowance through the lace by the seams. I used a strip of the lining fabric to make a casing all the way around the waist seam, as having elastic just in the back just wasn't enough to pull it in nicely without the side seams shifting towards the back. That's not a problem usually, just with this one since the stretch in  the fabric made it a smidge too roomy.
I used the same method for the skirt that I explain in my blog post about the high low Angie, which you can find here. I did draft the front of the skirt with a shallower curve though, but the process was the same.

I really love that back!
I actually sewed this up right before school ended, so she could wear it for her end of school ceremonies. I've been wanting to get pictures all summer, but a) we had an unusually busy July, and b) I have to catch her on a sunny day, in a willing mood. (In other words, everything in the universe had to line up, lol.) When she is doing of her own accord and not begged or bribed, I get the best pics and we enjoy the process.
Now for a couple of more photos. She did such a good job, I can't help but put in some more good shots she gave me, even if I am an amateur photographer.

Remember, you can follow me on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook using the social media icons in the top and bottom left hand corners of my blog. Also my Pinterest Board with all my creations can be found in the bar along the right hand side. I love to hear from my readers, so please leave your comments and questions down below! Thanks for stopping in!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Up-cycle with Sis Boom, plus a Cathy/Marlo hack tutorial bonus!

I"m so excited to be blogging this week! I have been working on my new sewing space during the last couple of weeks, so I have not been sewing much. I was looking for something to jump start my motivation when I found Sis Boom's Upcycle Challenge blog tour! Sewing, upcycling and blogging all in one. What's not to love?
For the challenge, I wanted to do a pattern I hadn't sewn up before. So I chose the Cathy. And since I love hacking patterns, I decided to add a cute hack and include a tutorial. Note: This hack is done with the Cathy girls pattern also using the Sally girl's pattern, but can be done with the Marlo women's pattern also using the Angie women's pattern.
I've been seeing tops with a circle yoke everywhere, and thought the Cathy would be perfect to hack into one.
Let's begin with the before shot of the maternity shirt from my box of maternity clothes that I doubt I'll ever use again. (Please excuse the poor photo, I neglected to check the photo thoroughly before cutting into it.)
The fabric is a stable knit, with a pretty border print. I love the fabric, and although I could wear it as a non maternity top, I really disliked the fit. When this challenge came up it was the first top that came to mind. I had to do some piecing for the inner yoke pieces, but you don't see them anyway.

 The crop top part was total miscalculation, but they're so in right now, so it ended up being a win!
I love that I was able to use the Sally pattern to save myself all the hassle of drafting a yoke from scratch. Although the tutorial seems lengthy, it actually took me less than an hour to sew up the top, not including the muslin, which was only necessary for tutorial purposes.

Before I begin the tutorial, I should say that all the tutorial photos are done with the muslin, and I wasn't particular with stitching, pressing, or finishing seams. The muslin just photographed much better than black fabric and black thread.
 So for this top, I wanted a circle yoke, with a center gather on the front and back. The first thing I did, was grab the Sis Boom Sally front bodice piece. I used this to create my circle yoke by measuring the strap width, and continuing that width down along the neckline as shown in the following pictures.

This created my yoke pattern piece. I made sure to mark where it should line up with the fold, so as to not get mixed up with which side was the center front and which was the shoulder seam.
Cut out four yoke pieces. Be sure to baste the shoulder seams of two yoke pieces together and fit over model's head to make sure you'll be able to get the top on.

This next step is important. I print up the Cathy and tape together. DO NOT select the length at this time, as the pattern piece will get modified. (I did, and got a crop top. But you should wait.)
Since the top of the Cathy bodice piece lines up with the neckline originally, and now you want it to line up with the bottom of the yoke, remove the width measurement of the yoke from the top of the bodice piece, as shown. In my case (size 7) it was 2.5 inches. Then select the length from available cutting lines, but either add the 2.5 inches onto desired finished length, or choose a slightly longer finished length than what you want. Cut out two from your fabric.

This part requires a little playing around, but here's what I did. I pinned out some of the width in the center front causing a pleat. Then I laid the yoke on my daughter, and lined up the bodice against it, slightly overlapping to include seam allowance. This allowed me to see how the coverage was. If I wasn't satisfied, I moved the pin until I was.

Lay the bodice down, with pleat still in place and measure along the top of the bodice. Mine was 10 inches. You'll want to gather the top of the bodice until it reaches this measurement. I chose to gather only the center of the bodice, but you can gather along the entire length if you want. As long as the measurement after gathering is the same. A pleat or a couple of pleats would also work.

Once you've got your four yoke pieces cut out, your two bodice pieces cut out, and your gathering or pleating finished, you can proceed to follow the pattern steps on pages 10, 11 and 12.

Once you're done those steps, take one of the yoke pieces, and place it upside down, right sides together on the bodice piece.

Beginning in the center, pin the yoke to the bodice working your way out on each side. (Similar to pining in a sleeve.) Sew it in place and clip curves. Repeat for the back. Press seams.

Turn the top inside out, place shoulder seams right sides together and sew. Finish seams and press.

Take the other two yoke pieces and sew them together at the shoulder seams, right sides together. Finish and press seams.

Lay the top down right side out so that the circle yoke is spread out. Lay the other circle yoke down on top of it, right side down, so that right sides are together.

Sew along the inner neckline. Clip the curves, turn to the inside and press.

The next part is a bit tricky. You have to go along the entire outside of the folding under the yoke edge and pinning. On the shoulders you'll be folding in both inside and outside yoke layers, while along the bodice you'll only be folding under the inside yoke edge, and pinning, making sure to cover the outer yoke/bodice seam. Once it's all pinned, edge stitch along the entire outside of the yoke edge to enclose all seams and raw edges.

Finally, all you have to do is hem and you're done!

With the cost of knits being so high in Canada, upcycling is definitely worth it when sewing for the kiddos. I just can't justify spending so much on an article of clothing that they will outgrow as quickly as they do. Especially if you're stuck sewing on a petty small budget.

Remember, you can follow me on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook using the social media icons in the top and bottom left hand corners of my blog. Also my Pinterest Board with all my creations can be found in the bar along the right hand side. I love to hear from my readers, so please leave your comments and questions down below! Thanks for stopping in!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

SLPCo Blog Tour: Waterfall tank and Magnolia shorts

Hi everyone, welcome to my stop on the Simple Life Pattern Company and Sew Caroline blog tour. Before I begin, I just want to mention that although I received both patterns for free, all opinions are still my own. The women's version of both of these patterns are available through Sew Caroline. The girls' versions are available through Simple Life Pattern Company. I only sewed up the girls patterns, and so this post is limited to those two.
Let's begin with the Magnolia Shorts, shall we? They are a flowy short (skort?), that works well with any lightweight fabric with good drape, woven or knit. The instructions are fairly straightforward and well illustrated.

I had this strawberry/daisy print cotton that I'd been hording for summer shorts for awhile and I was excited to finally use it, now that one of my kids finally actually needed some summer clothes. It doesn't have quite enough drape, but I''m still really happy with the result. I made the size six, according to her measurements, and they fit really well. I do find them a bit short, but that's because my little miss is 8, and has really long legs. I'll probably lengthen the next pair I make for her.

There are a lot of pluses to this pattern. They are easy to construct, easy to fit, can be made with either an elastic, or knit waistband (regardless of what fabric the rest is constructed from), and can be made from a wide variety of fabrics. As for minuses, it only has one minor one. I did find that the back center seam isn't trued, which cause a small peak in the center back of the waist. That is easily fixed by either trimming the back, or allowing the serger (if you're using one) to trim it off.

Overall, I think it's good beginner's pattern. My younger daughter is already asking for several pairs, and has been rummaging my stash trying to claim all the pretty fabrics.

Next we have the Waterfall Tank. I really like this one. This one is also very versatile and can be made in any lightweight fabric with good drape, woven or knit. HOWEVER, this bias tape must be woven in order to provide the stability that this pattern needs.

I chose to make it in a simple black cotton, because it was lightweight, and breezy for those warm summer days. I guess black is a little counteractive, but what can I say, I like black. (Plus it goes with the shorts really well.) I made my own bias tape out of the strawberry/daisy cotton so that the top would coordinate with the shorts. Also it added a bit of color. I made a size 6, but made the mistake of adding 3 inches of length. My kiddo is fairly tall, and she wasn't home to measure the pattern against her, so I thought I might need the extra length. While the length will be really cute with leggings, fitted shorts, or jeans, it's a bit long for these shorts, so I folded the top up a bit for the photos. I could've hemmed, but I kind of like the almost tunic length.
Back view
The Waterfall Tank has a lot of pluses. It is easy to construct, has instructions on how to make your own bias tape, and is versatile in terms of fabrics. Also the flounce is a great way to use all those pretty scraps that we hoard. (I'm not the only one, right?) This one also has one small minus. When making your own bias tape, it is rather confusing trying to figure out how much to make. I made the fixed strap version (versus the tie strap) and I found that using a piece of yarn or string to measure the distance around the top worked well to find an estimate for the piece that you need for the armholes and back. It does give you the measurement of the second piece of bias tape that you need for the fixed straps and neckline, but if you're doing the tie straps you're better off making a generous amount so as to make sure you don't come up short. 

I recommend this pattern, and will definitely be making more of these. I'm already imagining a white cotton and eyelet combo, or light chambray, or double gauze... I might need to go fabric shopping.
Thanks for stopping in, and be sure to check out these patterns at Simple Life Pattern Company.
Check out the other stops here!
May 15

May 16

May 17

Remember, you can follow me on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook using the social media icons in the top and bottom left hand corners of my blog. Also my Pinterest Board with all my creations can be found in the bar along the right hand side. If you're looking to purchase or order something from my shop, you can contact me on my page. That's Sweet Stitch Shoppe. I love to hear from my readers, so please leave your comments and questions down below!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

High Low Knit dress, featuring the Sis Boom Angie

Hello peoples, welcome back to my blog! I'm the second stop on the Sis Boom Angie Pattern Hack-A-Thon and I can't wait to show you how I've hacked my Angie! Above is the original version of the dress. The pattern is drafted for woven, has bust and back waist darts, elastic back waist, and gathered skirt. Here is how I hacked mine, plus a mini tutorial!
(Frigid outdoor pics, hence the face, the wind was soo cold! I ended up taking my shoot inside with a tablecloth backdrop.)

 I measure at the end of a medium, or beginning of large, so I went with medium. Since I was doing mine in knit with a good amount of stretch, I ended up taking in the final dress, and could have probably gone with a small. The fabric I chose was a meter of grey cotton Lycra that I ordered from True North Fabrics, and two meters of stripe poly blend that I got from my sis-in-law for Christmas (I love when she draws my name for secret Santa!).
I made the bodice as per pattern with only three small changes. First, I shortened it by a couple of inches, so that it would hit my higher natural waist. I wasn't sure how my proportions would end up, considering I have a short waist, but long torso but I think it looks well balanced. Higher waist, but not empire, lol.
Second, I didn't add elastic in the back (since it was knit and I took it in it was fitted enough without it), and, third, I went with knit bands for the neckline and armscye finishes.

Here are the instructions to do the knit bands. Begin by sewing up your bodice as per pattern, and make any fit adjustments. Then measure the total circumference of the neckline, and armholes. The band length for the fabric I was working with (cotton Lycra) was 80% of the circumference measurements and I cut them two inches wide. Then I attached them like I normally would in a regular knit pattern.
For the skirt, I drafted my own high-low skirt. Since I have high hips and a fairly pronounced spoon shape, I decided I didn't want any gathers or pleats at the waist seam. So I went with a somewhat a-line shape.
 I began with measuring the width of the front of the finished bodice, from side seam to side seam, and added half and inch seam allowance. I then measured how wide I wanted the skirt to be. Next I measured from my natural waist to how long I wanted the skirt to be. I repeated the measurements with the back.
Since I don't own a french curve yet, I searched my kitchen for a bowl lid with a curve large enough to my liking and used that to get nice curves at the bottom left and top right of the hem line, but free handed the middle. If your're good at free handing you could free hand it all, but I'm not.
Here are my finished pattern pieces. See how the curves match up when I line up the side seams?

I then cut each piece on fold, remember that for the back the long side lines up with the fold, and for the front the short side does.

After that I just sewed up the skirt right sides together at the side seams, and attached it to the bodice right sides together. Finally, I used my serger to do a narrow rolled hem. This is only my second time doing the rolled hem, and I obviously need practice, but i don't mind the waviness. I chose to wear mine with a belt. Since I used two different fabrics, it just seemed to want a pretty belt. And of course some pretty heels! 
I probably won't wear the three inch heels very often, but this dress will get so much wear as it gets warmer! I even happen have a cardi that matches the darker grey stripes perfectly! Also, I've got enough fabric left over to make my girls matching Sallys, although theirs won't be high-low. All from one meter of cotton Lycra, and two meters of the stripe poly blend. I happen to love being matchy matchy for holidays, and Easter is right around the corner!
I can't wait to see all the other hacks in the tour, because who doesn't like being able to get more out of their patterns, right? This dress is perfect for hacks, no zipper or buttons to worry about, but you still get a great fit. Remember to check in the Sis Boom Pattern Co Facebook group for the next stops on the tour!
Remember, you can follow me on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook using the social media icons in the top and bottom left hand corners of my blog. Also my Pinterest Board with all my creations can be found in the bar along the right hand side. If you're looking to purchase or order something from my shop, you can contact me on my page. That's Sweet Stitch Shoppe. I love to hear from my readers, so please leave your comments and questions down below! Thanks for stopping in!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Flutter Sleeve Hack for the P4P LMU

If you've been around for awhile, you probably know that January and February are particularly difficult months for me. Well, February is over, and I'm excited that things are on the upswing. Hopefully more sunshine will come in the coming weeks of March. I can already feel my moods and motivation perking up.
In a rare burst of motivation I came up with some ideas for regular posts. The first one will be a pattern hack, variation or mashup on patterns that I currently own. I"m hoping to post bi-weekly (I say hoping, because I'm horrible at keeping schedules set by myself). These posts will feature patterns of various indie designers, and tutorials on how to change up their look. 
The second monthly post will be an up-cycle post using patterns that I own. I'll be digging through my closet, my husbands closet, and thrift stores, to find items that have unique features or fabric to up-cycle into something wearable for either my daughters or myself.
I"m really hoping to revamp my blog this year, and take it more seriously. Other posts that will be posted in between will include pattern reviews of any new patterns I've purchased, and posts on fitting a petite, short waist-long torso (meaning high hips), spoon body shape. I've noticed there isn't many bloggers with that body shape, but there seem to be a lot of sewists that identify with it.
If there's something specific that you'd like to see, and haven't found it elsewhere (or it hasn't been satisfactory elsewhere) just let me know, and I'll see if I can address it.
Now that I've babbled for awhile, onto the post of this week! I've had the Layer Me Up from Patterns for Pirates for a while, and I really like it, but I had an idea of dressing it up a bit by making the sleeve with more drape, and making it in a poly-lycra. I had a meter of black and white polka dot poly-lycra that I felt was a perfect fit. If you don't have this pattern, but have one similar it should work, although the sleeve might look slightly different. When in doubt, MUSLIN!

I began first with making prepping my sleeve pattern. I already had the shirt printed, and taped. I also had already made my fit modifications to it, shortening the armscye and sleeve cap to fit my petite upper body.
I traced around the sleeve pattern onto some heavy duty freezer paper, and shortened the sleeve to one inch long along the seam. To make it a flutter sleeve, instead of fitted, I needed to add some fullness. I did this using the slash and spread method. I drew the cut lines one inch apart, beginning from the center fold. I cut along each line, starting at the bottom of the sleeve, but only cutting up to the seam allowance, which I had measured and marked. 
Then I got a fresh piece of freezer paper, and lined up edge sleeve with the edge of the paper, shifting the sleeve so that the top corner touched the edge of the freezer paper, and the bottom corner is half an inch away. Then just shift each piece so that there is a half inch gap at between bottom corners.
Your final sleeve piece should look like this. 

I measured the the length of the sleeve cap along the curved edge from the center to the bottom of the curve, and my modified sleeve was 1/4 inch longer, so I just shaved that off from the center. If you want more fullness, just spread the pieces further apart, and remember to take off any extra length on the sleeve cap from the center.

That's all there is too it. Now just sew up as per pattern. I choose not to hem my sleeves, mostly because my serger wouldn't cooperate on a rolled hem, but you can hem them however you prefer to hem curved edges.
I'm really happy with how it turned out, and I can't wait to come up with more hacks for this pattern and other patterns that I own.

Remember, you can follow me on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook using the social media icons in the top and bottom left hand corners of my blog. Also my Pinterest Board with all my creations can be found in the bar along the right hand side. If you're looking to purchase or order something from my shop, you can contact me on my page. That's Sweet Stitch Shoppe. I love to hear from my readers, so please leave your comments and questions down below! Thanks for stopping in!