Friday, January 20, 2012

a cozy dress

I think I bought this pattern about a year and a half ago but sort of 'tucked' it away and forgot about it, until last week. As with most everyone else on the west coast, we finally got hit with our winter snow and below 0 temperatures. So I finally dug up this pattern along with some turquoise fleece from my stash.

This was such an easy dress to whip up and oh so comfy and warm. I haven't totally finished the dress yet as I wanted C to try it on to make sure it fit. It's missing the cowl neck and the sleeves and hem are unfinished, but once C got it on, she didn't want to take it off. And she actually wanted to pose for some photos so I didn't object.

Who wouldn't want to snuggle up in a fuzzy, warm fleece dress? And now I'm eyeing this pattern for myself..

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


swoon-along button

Ok, I've totally lost my mind and have decided to join a quilt-along hosted by Katy over at Monkey Do. Didn't I just purchase about a dozen new patterns over the holidays that I told myself I would absolutely sew up this year? Yes. Didn't I say that my focus this year would be on garment sewing? Yes. Do I enjoy sleep? Yes. Have I ever completed a quilt? Well, technically yes. But it was before I knew anything about quilting, so I basically just sewed a bunch of fabrics from a jelly roll together and sandwiched it with some batting, bought pre-packaged biased tape and zipped the whole thing through my machine so fast that some of the binding didn't even catch in the stitches. Don't get me wrong. I made this quilt for my son while I was still pregnant, and I really love it even though it's falling apart. But I do want to make a REAL quilt. And this is what drew me in..
16" scrappy Swoon blocks made with charm squares

So pretty, right?? I spent the last few days trying to figure out my colours/theme. I ended up just picking and choosing individual FQs (18 total!!) which nearly did me in. I buy most of my fabric online so I've been switching back and forth between thumbnails of fabric swatches on my computer monitor and my teeny tiny iPhone screen, trying to decide what goes with what. I would have just bought a pre-matched FQ bundle but I had a specific theme in mind that I couldn't quite find in a pre-cut bundle. And my theme was inspired by.. products by my kitchen sink! Aqua/Turquoise-y blue and peachy/tangerine orange (with some hot pink, fresh green and sunshiny yellow thrown in). I'm attempting a summery-sorbet-picnic theme. Now I just have to wait 2-3 weeks for the mailman to bring me my fabric. Torture!! Anyone else doing a quilt-along this spring? How do you usually go about choosing your fabrics? 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Wiksten Tank muslin

Sewing Project #1 - Wiksten Tank Top, a hand-drawn sewing pattern by Jenny Gordy. (Full disclaimer here that this is a pretty pricey pattern. But in my opinion, especially after sewing it up, it's totally worth it! I love the cut and the simplicity of it and can definitely see myself making many more of these tops and dresses in a bazillion different fabrics.)

Fabric - Cotton poplin (for my test-run, wearable muslin)

Inspiration - herehere and here (actually, I think I pretty much love most versions I've seen so far. The dress version, included in the pattern, is also super cute and is definitely on my to-do list)

I'm thinking this might be one of the quickest, most satisfying sewing projects I've come across so far! (Sorry about the bad, glaring lighting in these pictures. I'm going to add 'Take Better Pictures' in my list of goals for 2012.)

I'm not sure if this actually qualifies as a muslin as I made it complete with all the little details so it's absolutely wearable. That's one of my problems with doing up muslins (other than just being lazy). It  feels like it's a waste of fabric, which I know deep in my heart it really isn't because it could prevent total disaster with your good fabric. (There's actually a great post about when to sew up a muslin over here.) So, determined to do a 'test run' to make sure the sizing was ok, I decided to use some inexpensive fabric I had lying around in my stash. I used a cream coloured cotton poplin with tiny grayish dots that I got on sale at Fabricland (maybe $6/meter..), and aside from a few, very minor fitting issues, I really do love how this turned out!

I wasn't sure if I liked how much the tank flared at the bottom as it looked to me to be a little 'tent-y'. I think this might be due to the fact that I have pretty small hips for my size. My body measurements are all about a size medium, edging on a large, but my hips measure a size small. I'm also pretty sure it just has to do with how this particular fabric drapes. But after wearing the tank out yesterday (and the day before..), I've decided I like the roominess in the body so I'm going to keep it as is. I would definitely still like to try this with a softer, more flow-y fabric though, and I think the nani IRO double gauze I have lined up for my 'good' version of this tank will drape a bit nicer. My other issue was how the fabric 'sat up' at the back neck. Again, pretty sure this has more to do with my body than with the pattern. I think I hunch a bit (or maybe a lot!) and I have a bit of a strange curve at the base of my neck. I might try taking in the back a bit to close the gap.

And this is how I'll be wearing this tank for the next 5 months or so.. wrapped up on a chunky wool sweater and boots! Next up, the 'good' version of the Wiksten tank in Nani IRO Saaaa Saaa..

Sunday, January 1, 2012

sewing goals and my first project

Well hello folks! Hope everyone had a fantastic new years eve/day that was either as exciting or as relaxing as you wanted! We opted for a mellow, stay-in lasagna dinner (which seems to have become a tradition for us since having kids). I feel like this last little stretch of the holidays has paid a bit of a toll on me and my kids' minds/moods (basically, they've become super whiny and demanding which then makes me super grumpy..). Disrupted sleep patterns, too much party food, the anticipation of Santa is over, the new toys already seem 'old'.. And of course, D heads back to work and C to school so a bit of anxiety there too. I'm guessing this is pretty normal for most families with small kids.

As bummed as I am about D heading back to work (it's been nice having not only back-up, but lots of little breaks of 'mama alone time'), I gotta say I'm looking forward to getting back into a routine with the kids. Preschool and other classes. And, I'm looking forward to getting back to sewing more regularly again. I didn't end up sewing much over the break. Just a couple pairs of flannel pj pants for the kids (didn't feel like sewing up the matching tops..) and a few scrappy tissue cases for a handmade exchange. But, I have been thinking a lot about what I want to do this coming year.

And here are some of my goals:

- Focus on techniques, as in learn and re-learn basic and more advanced garment sewing techniques. I'm essentially self-taught when it comes to sewing. I took basic sewing in the early years of highschool, and my mom is an amazing seamstress, but since I only really started sewing again a few years ago, I did most of it on my own, reading sewing books, following patterns, reading blog tutorials, watching You-Tube video how-tos (and of course the occasional tip from my mom).. This year, I want to really get back to basics and set a solid foundation for all my future sewing endeavors.

-Make muslins for any new pattern before cutting into the 'good' fabric. I tend to get a little impatient when starting a sewing project. It's bad enough I really dislike pre-washing fabric, tracing patterns and all the other things that have to be done before actually starting a sewing project. I never had the patience to do up a muslin to make sure the pattern and/or size worked for me. Sometimes I've been lucky with the fit, but there have definitely been times that I've cut something too small, or way too big and then banished the poor garment to the 'scrap pile'. This year, I'm going to slow down and and try to do things properly.

-Make more clothes for myself. I love clothes and I love shopping. But lately I've been unsatisfied with what's generally available in the malls. I find I like clothes that are classic yet still on trend, and unique enough that I won't end up running into someone else wearing the same thing. Which is essentially why I love handmade clothes. Etsy and internet shopping are fantastic and I've probably purchased at least 1/3 to a half of my current wardrobe through Etsy, but it can get pricey with shipping etc and it's hard not to be able to try stuff on before buying. Same with local independent designers. I try to support them as much as possible, but it does get expensive. So, even though fabric and sewing patterns aren't necessarily cheap, I hope to use my sewing skills to make the type/style of clothing I want with a proper fit.

I hope you don't mind me using this blog as a means to keep myself accountable to these goals. I find that if I 'put it out there', I have to actually do it or at least suffer a bit of shame for not. So, I hope to do more posts about the sewing projects I want to do and their inspiration, the process and progress, and of course, hopefully have a beautiful new garment to show off at the end. And I apologize for these long rambly posts. This blog is very much a personal sewing journal for me too so I sometimes get carried away with my thoughts.

So, to kick-start my 2012 sewing, I'm going to start with this

I'll get into more details about this in my next post. How about you? What are your sewing/crafting goals for the new year? What will you make first?