Sunday, December 24, 2017

1950s polka dot circle skirt and Happy Holidays!

I wanted to sew something for myself in December but as usual - Decembers are crazy busy months! Nonetheless, I sewed something for my daughter. Her school's Christmas concert was a 1950's themed performance. I had to make a costume for her that fit the theme. So I just quickly bought some off cut black/white polka dot quilting cotton from my local fabric store. I cut out a simple circle skirt. Then I rummaged through my stash and found some white cotton remnant fabric. I had just enough to make a petticoat. All were sewn together quickly onto a thick black elastic waist band.

I used the same polka dot fabric and tied my daugher's hair into a pony tail. She was really happy with it:

I don't think I'll have time to sew anything else before Dec 31. So I'll be able to do my review of my top 10 sewing projects this year!

Happy Holidays everyone!! Stay safe and merry!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Nov MAGAM completed! A Reversible Faux Fur Vest

My health is getting better which means More Sewing! The November theme for MAGAM (Make a Garment a Month) group is 'November Needs'. I know my closet well and I know I don't NEED anything else. However, when I looked into my fabric stash, I realized there are a few winter cozy items that I would like to wear this winter.

I thrifted a piece of purple reversible faux shearling in my local thrift store a couple of years ago. I had bit more than 1 metre of it. I love wearing faux fur in the winter. It's cozy and warm and stylish too. My mom-in-law already gifted me a black faux fur vest and a beige faux fur vest years ago. I wore them both frequently in the winter. So an addition of another faux fur vest sounds like a good idea.

I drafted my own vest pattern and started cutting. The fluff was everywhere and I had to wear a face mask during the vest construction. It all came together very quickly. I used lapped seams so that the reversible vest seams looked tidy. I sewed a small zig-zag stitch all the way around all the raw edges to prevent the fur fluff from eroding.

And this is how the reversible vest looks on me:

It's a bit thick and boxy but oh so warm and cozy! I think it will look good with jeans too. And I busted some more stash! Yay!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

After the Lung infection --- Back to sewing!

I have been away from blogging and sewing......because I got a lung infection! I'm still coughing but much recovered. So there was no blogging or sewing for a good few weeks.

I entered the Pattern Review Plaid Fabric contest before the infection. So it had been a mad dash to finish my plaid project in the last couple of days. I chose this very big patterned plaid boucle tweed coating fabric that has been in my stash for a long time:

This fabric has silver threads weaved throughout (difficult to see in this picture). I have used this fabric before to make a pair of cushions that I gave as x'mas gifts. I didn't want to make a coat with this as the Canadian winters are too harsh for such a loose weave coat. So I rummaged through my pattern stash and decided on this:

It seems odd at first glance to use a pattern destined for summery fabrics to make this obviously winter garment. I have never used this pattern before but I thought the simple pull-on, a-line shape would suit my body well. I have made other pull-on a-line dresses before and I wore them frequently.

I chose to make the knee length, 3/4 sleeve version of this dress, omitting the stand collar. I didn't do a muslin but compared the pattern pieces with a tried-and-true pattern to assess the fit. I did my usual short waist and short height adjustment. Fortunately the fit was fine.

The loose weave fabric was not easy to work with. There was terrible fraying, warping, which made matching the plaid pattern a little difficult. The dress has a front chest dart so I concentrated on matching the plaid from the bottom hem to just below the chest dart.

I wanted to 'jazz' up the dress a little with interesting trim. I auditioned various trim and found a bias red poly-cotton trim and cut out some remnant houndstooth plaid in my stash.

I added the red trim first with the frayed houndstooth trim on top. I applied this trim at the bottom hem and the sleeves:

I considered added external pockets to the dress but I think the bright contrasting trims are enough in terms of embellishment. The dress is actually quite warm but heavier to wear than regular dresses. I'll need to test-wear it this week to see how practically it is.

All in all I'm pretty happy with the risks I took in making this dress: 1) using a coating fabrics for a dress; 2) using a summery dress pattern for a heavier winter dress; 3) using a bright red trim with another plaid as trim; and 4) using a big bold print on my short boxy body. Also I busted some serious fabric stash too!

Here is how it looks on me and the plaid matches on the side:

So what do you think? Do you think the trendy plaid is workable for short boxy shaped women?

My review of this pattern is on PatternReview.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

I have joined the Plaid Fabric Contest on PatternReview!

Plaid Fabric 2017 200px

I have joined the Plaid Fabric Contest on PatternReview! I was looking into my stash and saw loads of unused plaid fabrics which are perfect for Autumn/Winter garments and accessories. This contest came at the right time! This will also be my MAGAM (Make a Garment A month) project for October.

Here are some inspirations I have collected on Pinterest:

I'm obviously leaning towards a plaid dress! I think these are all very interesting and I'll have a hard time figuring out what to make. What do you think/

Friday, September 15, 2017

MAGAM Sept project - Pink tweed jacket finished

My Sept MAGAM Pink Tweed jacket is finished! I only have 1 metre of this wool material so I had to be very careful what pattern/design I use. I decided early on that I would make a cap sleeve jacket because:
  1. A long sleeve wool jacket would be very hot to wear, even in winter.
  2. I don't have enough fabric to make a long sleeve jacket.
Initially I wanted to use one of my tried and true jacket pattern: Simplicity 8850 or Simplicity 1688.

However, after some further 'digging' into my pattern stash, I decided to use Simplicity 2730 View C (the cap sleeve jacket):

I had made a muslin of that jacket in size 14 a year ago but didn't actually progress any further. This time I added little pockets cut on a bias with a selvage trim, a full lining, and added 2 back waist darts. I used a little black beaded brooch as closure for now. I'm still searching for the ultimate beaded button. Or I will make one myself. In any case, for now, this is the result:

And this is how I will be wearing it in the Fall/Winter this year:

I think the cap sleeves and the short length of the jacket made my upper body more boxy and wide. However, I'm wearing it anyway! Next time I would make this jacket a little longer to reduce the boxiness. Also, I may tailor the waist a bit more to fit my body better.

The pattern review for this jacket is at

Sunday, September 10, 2017

MAGAM Project Plan: Magenta Wool Tweed jacket

The temperature here has dropped significantly. The morning temperatures are in the low teens Celsius. I guess Fall/Autumn is fast approaching!

Fall/Autumn is my favourite sewing season. I love sewing with tweeds, wools, sweater fabrics, etc. I love layering, sewing jackets, winter accessories (hats, scarves, etc). And most important of all, I have lots of tweeds and wool fabrics already in my fabric stash!

This amazing Magenta wool tweed remnant was found at the clearance table at my local fabric store. It is precisely 1 metre in length. It's really thick and cozy and I would love to make a jacket with it. However, I'm not sure 1 metre is enough to make a jacket. I need to look at my pattern stash and do some design changes to use this lovely but scarce material.

I have made a few jackets with the tried and true patterns in my stash. I'm wondering which one I should use for with this fabric:

So what do you think? Which tried and true pattern should I use for this wool magenta tweed jacket?

Friday, August 25, 2017

Pantone Colour Trends Fall/Autumn 2017

I don't usually put much emphasis on the Pantone Colour Trends each season. I am pretty sure what colours I like and most importantly, I have a huge stash of fabrics in my home that I have to use, regardless of whether the colours are fashionable or not! However it's always interesting to see the Colour forecast to see what they have come up with each season. For Fall/Autumn 2017 they have 2 palettes: one of New York and one for London:

Fall 2017 New York Palette

Fall 2017 London Palette

After taken a quick look at the colours of my fabric stash, I think I have Navy Peony, Flame Scarlet, Tawny Port, Neutral Grey, Shaded Spruce and Autumn Maple. So I guess I do have trendy colours after all! Now I just have to figure out what to make. Time to look through my Pattern Stash......

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Self-drafted Craft Show Apron

I have been so busy the last 2 months! The kids are off school so I have been like the drill sergeant for the kids: forcing them to do homework to keep up with what they had learned the previous year, making sure that they get physical activities outside, field trips to museums and nature, entertainment, playdates with their friends, out of town trips, etc. On top of all that, I launched my Handmade Accessories online business in late June. It had been such a steep learning curve in everything. I just had a booth at a local farmer's market last weekend and that was a great learning experience as well.

And soon the kids will be going back to school. Yay! They have actually been asking to go back to school as they miss their friends and the school routines very much. I can't wait for my life to get back to a normal routine as well.

One of the things I sewed for myself in preparation for the craft show is this Craft Show apron. I studied the blogs of other craft sellers and one of the things many thought was useful was a toolbelt-like apron. So I looked into my fabrics scraps and made this:

This apron was made with by refashioning a thrifted denim skirt. I drafted the pattern by placing the necessary tools onto the paper pattern and outlining the pockets for them. The zipper pocket contained the cash, and the various front pockets are for my phone, scissors, scotch tape, measuring tape, square reader, pen, etc. I was so happy to have made that because it was so useful during the farmer's market gig. I can see this being adapted easily to a gardening apron too!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Catching up....

Long time no post! :-)

I have been really busy with my little Facebook shop, learning about social media advertising/marketing, etc, sewing stuff for the shop, sewing for my kids, painting the house inside and outside, organizing activities and roadtrips in the summer, etc. I have sold some stuff via my shop but I'm still not sure who my target market is and how to let them know about my wares. Everything seems to be hit and miss.

One of my friends who has been operating her home based craft business for a few years told me that it took her 2 years of hardwork to get everything going. She now has a steady amount of sales from regular customers and steady increase of new customers. She rarely did craft shows because of the high cost of tables and she had to arrange childcare which ate into her very small profit. I guess I have a long way to get to where she is now!

I am sewing a lot but nothing for moi! I need to make some fun summer garment for myself. I'm itching to make another swimsuit even though I have already made 4 for myself. Seriously, how many swimsuits does one need? :-)

So what do you think? What should I make that's quick, fun and summery?

Saturday, June 17, 2017

My pop-up store display

I really need to learn more about marketing and display. I set up my first pop-up store this afternoonand it looks like this:

I sold 3 bags today. But think I can do better than this. I need to go online and see what other bag makers do to display their wares!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

An Addition to my Sewing Library

I'm a self taught sewist so I really need a good sewing library to teach me proper sewing techniques, help me solve problems, and give me new ideas. I was at my local thrift shop and found this book:

It's a book written by Nancy Zieman in 1994. It's in excellent condition, as if it was never read/referenced. I am fascinated by Nancy's pattern alteration techniques, which includes lots of pattern pivoting. Her techniques are different from the slash and spread methods that I have seen. And for $4 I think I got a good deal!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A little purple bucket bag for a toddler girl

I have made this little bucket bag for my friend's little toddler girl. Her favourite colour is purple. This is the only purple fabric I have in my stash. I  added some home decor material on the top and some thrifted silver trim to embellish it. The straps are made with upcycled jeans remnants. The bag is fully lined with an upcycled bed sheet. I hope she will like it!

I quite like the combination of the purple with the green trim. Perhaps I'll make another purse for grownups with this particular fabric combination.