Thursday, November 15, 2012

getting ready for market

Wow, mid-November already? These last couple months seem to have just whizzed by! Well, I thought I'd pop by here to share what I've been busy with these last few weeks. I've been getting ready for the Dunbar Holiday Craft Fair coming up on November 24th. Here are just a few of the things I've been working on:

Fold up Eco-Totes

Lucy Dresses

Drawstring Project & Gift Bags

Large Stripey Tote

I've been shopping at this market for years and it's really quite incredible. I think pretty much every room in the building is filled with wonderful local crafty wares for sale (over 140 vendors!) and it's just buzzing with cheerful holiday spirit! This is my first time as a vendor here so I'm super excited to be a part of it all. If you're in the Vancouver Area on November 24th, come on by the Dunbar Holiday Market from 10-5 and please stop by my booth (in room 212, table 37) to say hi! Hope to see you there! Ok, back to the sewing machine now..

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

colette, hazel and random thoughts..

This past weekend, Sarai from Colette Patterns was in town for a little pattern release party at Spool of Thread. I'm a huge fan of Sarai and her blog which is always packed with gorgeous design inspirations and expert sewing tips and techniques, so I couldn't wait to meet her in person.

Colette at Spool of Thread
clothing samples (I love this Oolong Dress)

Colette at Spool of Thread
The new Anise Jacket. Totally adorable!

Colette at Spool of Thread
The new Juniper Pants. I ended up buying this pattern along with the classic Ginger Skirt. Can never have too many wardrobe basics patterns.

With Sarai
And here I am (being a total groupie) with the fabulous Sarai (who is incredible sweet in person!) I'm wearing my Hazel dress (which is actually my wearable muslin). It was fun to see so many people wearing their Colette creations. For more photos from the party, check out the Colette Facebook page.

I never did end up doing a post on my Hazel dress which I started working on way back in July. I actually did finish it over a month ago but didn't get around to taking any pictures of it. Here are the only full dress pictures I took (hmm, looks like this was even before I had finished hemming the dress..) And please try to ignore the dirty deck and garden hose in the background. Not an ideal backdrop but it's all I've got for now.

Hazel dress - almost done!! 

Hazel dress - almost done!

Although I own about half a dozen Colette patterns, this was actually my first time sewing with a Colette pattern. I have to say that it was probably one of the most well written patterns I've worked with. All the instructions were super clear and it was kind of like I had a little Sarai on my shoulder rooting me on through the process. Now I'm all gung-ho about sewing up my other Colette patterns.  Seriously though, if you are at all interested in sewing women's clothing, Colette Patterns (and the Colette Sewing Handbook) are the absolute perfect place to start. Yep, seriously! :)

And now on to some random thoughts:

-Speaking of fabulous pattern designers, Shelley from Figgy's Patterns is on a mission to create a sewing studio and 'Figgy's Kids' Foundation that will help develop and encourage sewing and crafting skills for kids who may not otherwise be exposed to or have a chance to learn such skills. She has a campaign on indiegogo where she explains (much better than I am) what her hopes and dreams are for the studio and foundation. I was lucky enough to have been exposed to sewing at a very early age through my mom, and then again in high school home-ec classes and I think what Shelley is trying to accomplish is so important. If you feel the same way, check out her blog post about the campaign and help out if you can.

-I'm not sure how I missed this but I just read on Melanie's blog, A Sewing Journal, that the Japanese sewing book Stylish Dress Book by Yoshiko Tsukiori has been recently translated into English! I have the original Japanese version and have tagged many things I want to make from it. I've sewn with Japanese patterns before but only kid's clothes and bags. Sewing women's clothing from a Japanese pattern still kind of scares me, so I'll definitely be ordering this version.

-A friend of mine told me about this craft show series of posts on the Stitched in Color blog. I read through her posts describing her thoughts and reasons for selling at a craft market right through to trying to figure out inventory and booth layout.. It was fascinating! As a relative newbie to the craft market scene (I just started selling at markets last year), I thoroughly enjoyed reading someone else's candid thoughts about it all. There are so many emotions that go with 'putting your stuff out there' for others to see, judge and hopefully buy. I love the craft market scene and for the most part, there is such great energy there. But when it comes down to the planning, the inventory and making, I tend to get stressed out and I think to myself, why am I doing this? I'm in this place right now. Planning and making my inventory for a holiday market that is fast approaching. Do any of you sell at craft markets? Do you find it to be a bit of an emotional roller coaster too?

x melissa

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

a heart. just because.


I've been in a bit of a sewing rut lately. Every night, I stare at my machine. Fiddle around with some fabric, and shuffle through patterns, but don't actually get anything done. It's not that I haven't been feeling inspired to sew.. I actually think that I've been feeling a little overwhelmed with everything I want to/have to sew in the next little while. Even though it's still summer, holiday markets are sneaking up fast. I'm signed up for only one market so far but feel like I'm already behind in my sewing for it. Also, with all of the awesome, newly released patterns out there (yup, it's that time of year), I just want to sew up everything I see but am feeling discouraged even before I begin. Really, I just don't feel like I have the time or energy to start any new projects right now.

So, I figure the best way to pull myself out of this rut is to just sew something. Anything. Preferably something without a pattern or a purpose. Something to sew 'just because'.

Patchy heart

Inspired by 'The Family Heart' in Amanda Blake Soule's book Handmade Home, I tried my best to channel my inner dottie angel while I rummaged through my stash of vintage sheet scraps. Grabbing colours and patterns that may or may not go with one another, I just cut ('no precise measuring tools allowed' as dottie would say) and sewed up this little heart. 

Patchy heart pocket

The back is a piece of remnant fabric that was included in a 'craft kit' I picked up from Smoking Lily a few weeks ago. I think it's some sort of a wool blend. I stuffed the heart with some leftover wool batting I used when I made my sister's lap blanket, and sprinkled some organic lavender in with it just for fun. And of course, added a little pocket for sweet notes, star wars lego pieces, little chocolate bars.. whatever. It's not perfect in any way, and I don't know what I'll do with it, but it makes me happy :)

x melissa

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


This post is brought to you by... the colour PINK!

new pink ballet slippers

eating pink gelato in front of a pink wall

learning how to play Kumbaya on a pink ukulele

the beginnings of pink socks

x melissa

Sunday, August 12, 2012

the velveteen throw

A few months back, I made a cozy velveteen throw using a tutorial by Alewives Fabrics. I was originally going to buy the whole kit from their shop on the East coast, but shipping (especially for the wool batting) was crazy expensive to Canada, so I (very luckily) managed to find the velveteen and wool batting locally. There used to be instructions for how to make the throw right on the Alewives website but I can't seem to find it now. Just the listing for the kit..

The throw was super simple to put together. However, being very new to quilting, I did struggle a bit trying to sandwich everything together and keeping it all lined up nicely while I sewed it together.

The fabrics I used are both from Anna Maria Horner -  the velveteen is Summer Totem in Emerald, and the voile is Little Honey in Meadow. The batting is a washable wool batting I found at my local Fabricana. I quilted the throw with embroidery floss ties which I rather randomly placed throughout the throw. Being so light and cozy, this throw has been very well loved, even through the summer months. 

I love this throw so much I decided to make another one for my big sis who lives on the opposite end of the continent from us, but is arriving today for a week long visit (YAY!!) I used the same velveteen in Summer Totem, and the voile is Pastry Line in Saffron.

Velveteen Throw

This time, instead of tying the quilt, I used a tack stitch throughout (every 6 1/2") which is actually what is suggested in this very similar lap duvet tutorial by The Purl Bee. I definitely prefer the tack stitch to the ties as they were quicker to do and look much tidier and secure then my ties (which I'm sure were not done properly in the first place). I also added a little hanging tab made from some scrap fabric that was used in the packaging for a craft kit I bought from Smoking Lily.

Velveteen throw tack stitch

Velveteen throw

I hope she likes it!

x melissa

Thursday, August 2, 2012

another sweet little dress

We are currently going on day 5 of being housebound with a summer virus, and we are all starting to go a little stir-CRAZY. While the kids have been getting crafty with paints (finger painting, painting wood pieces for a birdhouse, painting themselves in the process...), I've been working away at more sweet dresses. Here is my latest one.

I am so in love with the fabrics in this dress. They are both from a Japanese fabric line called Sevenberry. I had seen fabrics from this line on a blog a while ago, but never really heard of or seen much of it since. Then a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a few prints it at my local Fabricana and I have to say, the feel of this cotton is amazing. It feels like a cross between a fine, lightweight quilting cotton and a shirting. And after pre-washing the fabric, there were barely any wrinkles! So awesome! Anyways, I scooped up the remaining 3 meters of the striped fabric and some of the coordinating black floral and whipped up this dress. I absolutely love the delicate pastel flowers mixed in with the bolder black and white stripes. Folksy classic with a bit of an modern edge.

Lil C was definitely not in the mood for pictures today so this was the only semi-decent shot I got. This is a size 4 with a few modifications (slightly larger width and length of dress and a longer neck elastic). I'm also thinking of adding a pocket or two.. 

And since it seems I'm a little obsessed with making these sweet dresses (6 so far and counting..), I've actually signed on to become a licensed maker of this dress and will be listing a handful of these in my shop very soon. 

x melissa

Thursday, July 26, 2012

sweet little dresses

Last week I made a sweet little dress for a sweet little girl who just turned one year old.

Sweet little dress

Sweet little dress

Sweet little dress

The pattern is from Leila & Ben and it really is a darling little dress. I had seen it around on other blogs and Flickr for a while and it seems to be a staple pattern in every KCWC. I had some of this hot pink chevron in my stash and I think the bold pattern works well with the simplicity of the dress. With only two pattern pieces, this dress was super quick to sew and the instructions were clear and offered some great tips on making this simple dress even easier to sew. Love that.

I also recently got my hands on some of Martha Negley's Farmington Feathers in pink (I LOVE this print and this colourway) so I thought I'd sew up a sweet little dress for lil C.

Sweet feather dress

I made the size 3T to test out the sizing and I'm thinking these dresses are scaled a bit on the bigger side, or at least are designed to be nice and roomy. Lil C is generally wearing at least a size 4 now and this fits pretty well overall. I did add some length to the elastic around the neck and arms, but I think next time, I will add a wee bit more (maybe 2" total on the neck and 1" on the sleeve cuffs) so it's a little more relaxed.

Sweet feather dress 

Overall, I think this is a pretty darn awesome pattern and will definitely be making more. I'm already picturing all the different fabrics and combos I want to try making it in.

Sweet feather dress
And lil C seems to like it. Bandaged knees and all :)

x melissa

Saturday, July 21, 2012

wiksten tank #3

Wiksten tank #3

So about a month or so ago, I made myself another Wiksten Tank out of 'good fabric' (and not cheapo wearable muslin fabric). I used a beautiful Lecien Lawn (Memoire a Paris) fabric in a berry and cream colourway I picked up at Spool of Thread. Again I attempted to modify the body a bit (previous tanks here and here) so that it would be roomy enough in the chest but not too tenty around the waist. I lowered the armhole a bit and adjusted the side seams by measuring 1 1/2" in from the hem and drew a diagonal line to the edge of the armhole. Then I measured approx 1" from the armhole and drew another diagonal line to the edge of the hem as well. So when I followed/sewed the outer line, the side seam curved in a bit around the waistline but then out again at the hem. I don't even know if this makes sense to anyone but I'm writing it in here because the result actually worked for me and I'm hoping to recreate this again using these notes.

Wiksten tank #3

I took a few pictures of the tank when I finished it but didn't write up a post because I wanted to get a picture of me wearing it so I could show the difference in fit from my previous tanks. But alas and alack, it was not meant to be. Although I've been wearing the tank quite a bit lately, I didn't take any pictures and today, my washing machine decided to take a big-ass bite out of it :(

Ah well, I guess it's on to #4 then.

x melissa

Friday, July 20, 2012

vintage buster brown

I haven't shared much of my thrifting adventures on here in a while, but, goodness, I have been doing a fair bit of it lately. I'm usually on the lookout for vintage sheets, linens, doilies and such. But last month when we took a little family vacation to the island, I found this super sweet Buster Brown skort at a rather massive thrift shop there.

I absolutely love this skort (yup, shorts in the back) and it's the most perfect tomato-red colour. 

It's a size 3 which should be the perfect size for lil C, except for the fact that lil C isn't really very little at all. It just barely fits her, but it was only $2 and she likes it (and I LOVE it), so she'll just have to wear it as much as possible in the next month before she really outgrows it.

Parksville Thrift shop goodies 
And here are a few other things I picked up while I was there :)

x melissa

Monday, July 16, 2012


Today we went for a walk in search of dinosaur bones.

Found some very interesting specimens.

And came home to sketch them. 
(Along with a picture of a man sleeping with a dog and, oops, forgot to take off his hat!)

Hazel Dress - almost done
And here's my Hazel dress so far. I just need to get an invisible zipper foot to finish it up. Kicking myself because I was at the sewing shop just on the weekend but didn't want to shell out $28 for an invisible zipper foot. Thought I would be able to sew in the zipper without it, but then remembered the last invisible zipper I tried to sew on with a regular foot turned out rather crappity-crap. So, I'm going to spend the $28 in the hopes that this time, my zipper installation will be beautiful which will make my dress beautiful and I'll wear it all the time and it'll all be worth it in the end. Fingers crossed..

x melissa

Thursday, July 12, 2012

lazy summer days

The weather has been just beautiful this past week. Usually when it's this nice out, I feel like we should make the most of it and head to the beaches, playgrounds and water-parks. But for some reason, my kids just didn't feel like leaving the house these last couple of days. At first I felt like we were wasting the gorgeous sunshine (which is kind of rare in these parts), but then isn't summer also about just lazing around without a schedule? Aside from sleeping in until 9, here's a bit of what we've been up to these last couple days.

painting in pajamas (or underwear)

playing with new birthday toys (my first baby just turned 5!!)

taking dolls (and action figures) for little walks

playing in the sprinkler

trying to drink water from the sprinkler

 cooling down with homemade blueberry milkshakes

harvesting greens from our little garden (crunchy summer peas as a snack, kale to be made into kale chips for supper, and mint that I'm hoping will end up in a mojito for me..)

and of course, my new sewing project. I'm hoping to have this finished in the next couple of days so I can wear it out while the weather is still so perfectly summery

x melissa