Sunday, December 28, 2014

2015 Sewing Resolutions

I made sewing resolutions in years past and somehow was never able to fulfill them. This time around, I'm going to make a few very simple sewing resolution for 2015:

1. Each month, take out a few pieces of season appropriate fabrics and use them up! I have got too much fabric (even though I didn't really buy any new ones last year) and they have to be used!!

2. Also, each month, take out a few items from the 'to-be-refashioned' pile and refashion them up! I got too much in the refashion pile as well!

3. Learn a few new sewing techniques throughout the year.

That's it! I think I should be able to do the above, right?

Friday, December 26, 2014

Happy Holidays! Top 10 projects for 2014

We are almost at the end of 2014 - hard to believe, isn't it? I went through all my projects in 2014 and here are my 10 top favourite projects:

1. Little White Dress - I entered's Little White Dress competition. After 2 failed potential entries (plus tears and wasted fabrics), I used this tried and true strapless dress pattern by Cynthia Rowley (Butterick 6079 from 1999) and white linen blend fabric from my stash to make this dress. I was happy enough with it. It can be dressed for different occasions: from the office to a dinner date to a simple wedding dress!

2. Red Faux Suede Purse - I like simple cross-body bags as purses because I usually need both arms/hands to juggle active kids, groceries, etc. I hadn't seen many RTW bags that has the kind of compartments and pockets that I required. So I designed and made my own with thrifted red faux suede remnants. It turned out to be very functional and I learned a lot about making bags. And best of all - it's washable!

3. Little Red Dress - I love red and I try to make as many red clothing items as possible. I got this RTW XL ponte knit dress for $4.97. I immediately set about refashioning this to something that was unique and fit me well. I had this buckle in my stash for ages and I thought it would be a nice touch to add that to the neckline. I wore the dress many times during the warmer months this year. It can be dressed up or down depending on the accessories I wear. Very happy with this simple refashion!

4. Little Black Dress - I wanted a travel friendly little black dress that I could wear for many different occasions. I had some black ponte knit in my stash so I thought it would be extremely travel friendly. I drafted my own simple pattern because I thought a faux wrap style dress would be more 'dressy' than just a scoop neck dress. Since it was a faux wrap, I wouldn't have to worry about the dress flying open in strong wind!

5. Little Red Jacket - Are you convinced that I love red clothing yet? ;-) I wanted a cap sleeve little red linen jacket to wear with my tank tops and sun dresses. This Simplicity Cynthia Rowley pattern looked like it would be a good choice. I made quite a number of changes to the pattern though. It turned out alright:

6. The Wedding Dress!! - I made a wedding dress for myself for a photoshoot. I had great fun with it too! I narrowed the pattern choices down to 3 and made bedsheet muslins for all of them. This one came out on top. I didn't choose a very elaborate pattern so the dress wasn't really too difficult for me to do. It was a beautiful day for the photoshoot and my hubby and I had a lot of fun that afternnon.

7. Long Linen Trousers - I didn't have any long summer trousers so I decided to make a pair that would be versatile enough to wear to the beach or to see the school teachers. I have used this pattern before. It's a very quick and easy to sew pattern. I wore these trousers in the summer and into the autumn as well. Very useful piece of clothing indeed!

8. Another pair of jeggings - I basically live in jeggings except in the summer. I wear them with sweater dresses, sweaters, cardigans, jackets, etc. One pair is just never enough! I have used this McCall pattern 10 times now. I have tweaked it to fit my body and I added back pockets to them. I'm just going to keep using this pattern until it disintegrate! ;-)

9. New Hat and Scarf - I have very dark and boring looking coats. So I tried to inject some colours into my winter outfits with this stash red/black plaid wool blend fabric (yes I really like red). Really useful and  quick and easy to make too!

10. Chainmail Festive Dress - Who doesn't like a sparkly dress for the holidays (or for Halloween)? I had this chainmail-like knit in my stash and I made this quick and simple cap sleeves dress. I added a buckle from my stash to make it look even more like chainmail. Now I have a festive dress and a Halloween dress-up dress as well!

So these are my favourite projects from this past year. I'm looking forward to more sewing inspirations for next year! Happy Holiday everyone!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Refashion: A Festive Glitzy Thrifted Sweater

I guess I'm just all for festive clothing this month! I have had this wonderfully warm and cozy thrifted merino wool sweater for a year. It has been in my refashion pile for a long time and I didn't know what to do with it. The turtleneck part was so tight that it was uncomfortable for me to wear it. Then this week I looked at it again right next to the sparkly chain mail knit scraps from my last project (see here) and I realized they would go well together for a nice and festive refashion.

First I marked the final neckline that I want with chalk. I then cut a strip from the sparkly chain mail knit, folded it over and made a round. Then I sew the round onto the chalked line on the sweater. I cut the rest of the turtleneck off and this is how it looked:

It looked fine but I thought I would add something else to make it even more festive. I still had more of that chain mail knit scraps left. So I made a quick bow and sewed that to the neckline.

This is how it looks on me:

The bow can be removed easily by snipping a few threads. So after the holiday season, if I wanted something more plain, I can just remove the bow easily.

So I'm quite happy with this simple refashion. I can now finally wear this warm and cozy sweater for the rest of this Fall/winter season!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Quick Snowman Costume - Butterick 3267

I just found out that for my preschooler's school X'mas concert, she is supposed to be a snowman. The teachers had sent me a note asking me to dress her in white. Unfortunately I purposely made sure that she doesn't have any white clothing because she is very messy eater. So instead of rushing out to the stores to look for something in white for her, I went to my fabric and pattern stash in my house and pulled out this thrifted pattern and this white fleece fabric remnant:

I have used this pattern before (see here) so I knew it would be a quick and easy project. And I did it all in less than 2 hours! I omitted the facings but used the stretchy white fleece as bindings for the neckline and armholes. For the buttons, I used some grey felted wool scraps from my scrap box. Here is how it looks:

I hope that works well enough and she will look like the snowman on stage. I'm also happy that I have busted some of of my remnant/scrap stash too!

Monday, December 8, 2014

December MAGAM Festive Chain Mail Dress Done!! Butterick 5247

This Festive Chain Mail dress came together really quickly! It was so much fun to make and I`m sure will be really fun to wear.

I made a few design changes:

1. I omitted the cowl neck;
2. I added a centre back seam to add more shaping to the dress;
3. I added slit to the front neckline;
4. I shorted the sleeves by about 3cm;
5. I shortened the hem by 3cm;
6. I decorated the front neckline with a buckle (making it even more like Chain Mail!)

I used size 12 and I still had to take in the centre back seam a bit. I have loads of buckles in my stash (I got them for a deep discount in the summer) so I decided to continue with the chain mail theme and added the buckle to the neckline. I have used buckles before in dresses (see here).

I think I`ll have lots of fun wearing this Festive Chain Mail dress not just for x`mas and New Year, but also for many other occasions (especially ones where a meal is involved). I can`t wait!

See my review on

Saturday, December 6, 2014

MAGAM December Plan: Chain Mail dress for X'mas - Butterick 5247

The December theme for Make A Garment A Month is 'Festive Dress'. I have so many ideas for a 'Festive Dress' that it was really hard to decide what to make. I looked through my fabric stash and found this silver glittery knit. I remember when I first saw it in the fabric store I thought 'Chain mail!'. I thought it's going to be a festive enough material.

As for the pattern, since the material is already 'festive enough', I thought I would use a pattern in my stash that is more subdued in shape/style to balance out the 'rock and roll chain mail'. I just made a dress with my tried-and-true Butterick 5247 last month. It has a nice and easy shape so that one can eat a big x'mas/new year's meal in it. And it's also a very practical style for a holiday hostess dress.

Hopefully this will be a fun, quick and easy chain mail hostess dress!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Refashion: Toddler Sweater to Women Beanie and Mittens

I'm very much into making winter accessories right now. This festive Toddler sweater was given to my daughter last year but she refused to wear it. And now it's too small for her.

I was going to donate it to my local Thrift Store but then I thought it might make a good beanie for me. It was quite an easy project. I put the sweater on my head and pinned it up, cut it to size and then serged the edges.

I thought the 2 little pockets on the sweater might make a nice feature for my beanie. But they do look a little bulky. So I cut off much of the pockets and serged the edges shut.

So now I have a cute sparkly beanie to wear with my dark somber winter coats! Yay!

Now back to the remnants of the toddler sweater. I just couldn't let all the scarps go to waste. So I cut up the sweater, created my own mitten pattern:

I didn't actually have enough sweater material for the entire mitten. So I went through my scraps box and found some bronze faux leather remnants for part of the palm of the mitten. And this is how it turned out:

Monday, November 24, 2014

New Scarf and Hat pour Moi - McCall's 5541

Plaid seems to be really in this season! Actually plaid is in every Fall/Winter anyway. I have lots of wool blend plaid in my fabric stash. I found this red/black plaid that really appealed to me. I thought it would be good to make some hat and scarf to add some colour to my boring winter wardrobe.

The scarf is just a length of the fabric - easy peasy! I serged the sides and fringed the top and the bottom.

The hat is based on an old favourite pattern - McCall's 5541. I like this particular pattern because the Large size has a circumference of 23.5". Lots of hat patterns only have 23" for the Large. I have a big noggin so this half inch is very important. I used the red/black plaid for the top and black wool flannel for the band. I actually doubled the width of the band because I wanted to make sure that they cover my ears well in the frigid Canadian winters! To embellish the hat a bit more, I made 2 fabric covered buttons with the red/black plaid remnants. I think it just jazz up the hat a little.

I don't think I'll wear the hat and scarf at the same time - it may be too matchy matchy for me. I am itching to make more hats, scarves and other cold weather accessories with my fabric stash!

MyPatternReview for McCall's 5541 is here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

MAGAM November project completed! Another Sweater Dress - Butterick 5247

My MAGAM November project is done! Yay! I used the tried and true Butterick 5147 knit dress pattern and made this Festive Sweater Dress really quickly.

I used size 12 because I used a more stretchy knit than the pattern calls for (the pattern calls for Moderate Stretch Knits). I had to narrow the arm holes and the waist quite a bit to get the right shape for me. So I probably would have been better off using a size 10.

I actually made the mistake of cutting the pattern at the tunic length instead of the dress length. Oh well! It will look fine with leggings and jeggings and skinny pants.

I love this pattern. It is easy and quick to sew and very versatile. Highly recommended! I debated whether I wanted to add some my own design elements into the dress but I think I'll just add my DIY jewelry, belts, etc to the dress instead.

I was too lazy to put on leggings for this photo but will definitely be wearing leggings/jeggings with this dress/tunic.
My review on is here.

UPDATE: 2014.11.20 -
I wore this dress the day after I made it with a long sleeves t-shirt and jeggings. This was how it looked as a tunic:

It's funny that the same garment looks so different as a tunic than a dress!

Friday, November 14, 2014

MAGAM November project: A Festive Sweater Dress! Butterick 5247

I have been addicted to Sweater Dresses for the cooler months for a few years now. Their benefits are almost endless: they look slightly dressy, versatile for all occasions, warm my poor thighs, go with all my skinny jeans/pants, jeggings, leggings, easy all in one dressing (no need to think too hard), etc. So for the November Make A Garment A Month Challenge, I'm making another sweater dress with stash fabrics and stash pattern.

I'm choosing Butterick 5247 because it's a tried and true pattern for me. I have this gorgeous burgundy wool blend sweater knit in my stash for a while. I think it will be perfect for a sweater dress. It's a nice, festive colour that I can easily wear for the holidays too. Now I need to figure out how to embellish this dress to make it more special!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Refashion: A purple Velvet Jacket for the Holidays

As the weather gets colder, I'm more and more inclined to sew/refashion winter holiday wear. I thrifted this Purple Cotton jacket from my local thrift store a couple of years ago. I love the colour but it's a tad too big for me. I thought I should fiddle with it and wear it for the coming X'mas/New year.

First I shortened the sleeves by 3cm. The back is also too big so I pinned up the back to see how much I need to take out from the centre back seam.

I separate the back lining from the fashion fabric at the hem and sewed a new centre back seam to make it fit my back more closely.

Then I thought I could embellish it a bit to make it look more 'tuxedo-esque'. I looked through my stash of trim to see what would work. I decided on some black satin binding and bounded the edge of the collar with it. I also changed the plain plastic purple button to a black satin button.

It doesn't look drastically different but I think it looks a bit more glam and fitted than before. I hope I'll not lose too much weight before the holiday season (yes I'm trying to eat better and exercise more to be more healthy). Otherwise I'll have to alter the fit again.  I can wear this long jacket with a short black dress to office parties, etc. It should look dressy enough without being overdone.

I find this deep purple and black very difficult to photograph well. It's easier to see the changes/embellishments in person than in a photograph. Too bad I only get to do these projects and take photos at night after the kiddies have gone to bed.

So have you started sewing for the holidays yet?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Refashion: Silk Tweed Chanel-esque skirt suit - Part 2

After doing the simple refashioning of the thrifted Silk Tweed jacket of the silk tweed skirt and the jacket suit, I tackled the skirt part. The skirt was fine except too long on my short body.

Since the skirt has inverted box pleats at the bottom, I couldn't just shorten the hem. Instead, I shortened the skirt just above the box pleats by 6cm. Of course I had to shorten the lining by 6cm as well.

I was going to embellish the skirt with the same navy velvet ribbon. However, I decided against it because I thought it would be too fussy and might draw attention to that seam where I shortened the skirt.

Here is how the whole suit look with the refashioned jacket and skirt. You can kinda see the seam line where I had shortened the skirt. I hope that if I don't point it out then no one would notice.

I don't intend to wear them together often because it's still a bit too formal and matronly on me. But for the office it may be necessary on some occasions. Otherwise I would much rather wear the jacket with jeans and the skirt with sweaters, cardis or a jean jacket.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

MAGAM Oct Project Completed! Vogue 9574 Jacket

This 'ambitious' Fall/Winter jacket is done! I have made lots of changes to this pattern with the fit and the style. I was inspired by the current RTW trends of motocycle jacket styles, quilted jackets and contrast sleeves jackets.

Regarding the fit - It says 'Loose fitting' but I cut a size 14 anyways. I'm usually a size 14 for Vogue patterns. This is an OOP Very Easy Very Vogue pattern that I thrifted from my local thrift store months ago. It seems that the problems with the Very Easy Very Vogue patterns may be that their objective seems to concentrate solely on reducing the total number of pattern pieces. In doing so, they seem to be willing to sacrifice the fit and things like having proper pattern pieces for facings and linings. This jacket turned out to have a very loose fitting back - to the point that it looked ridiculous on me even though I have a broad back and broad shoulders. I didn't make a muslin (should have done so) and had to add a curved centre back seam to the jacket to minimize the width. I also did my usual short-waist adjustment and shortened the sleeves to suit me. Somehow the top front of the jacket doesn't sit flat on my chest when the jacket is zipped all the way up. The top front gapes and looks silly. I think the skewed front neckline resulted from the reduced width of the back neck piece. So I'll have to wear the jacket half-zipped.

(Note to self: need to snip those loose threads!)
Regarding the design changes - I eliminated the collar, added facings and lining pattern pieces. I also quilted the top front and back bodice, although it's not very visible due to the colour of the grey wool fabric. I used the remnant black stretch denim for the sleeves (there was only just enough fabrics for the sleeves). I read somewhere (sorry can't remember where) that the garment industry interfaced almost the whole jacket body routinely. So I interfaced the whole jacket front and the top back piece. Perhaps that's why there is even more gaping in the top front?

It looks okay to me (if half-zipped) and it is a jacket roomy enough for me to wear sweater and layers underneath. I'll test-wear it a few times and see how I feel about it. If I were to use this pattern again, I'll definitely do a muslin to fix the front gaping and other problems first.

I have also reviewed this pattern on