Saturday, December 31, 2016

Sewing Resolutions for 2017

I am not really big on New Year Resolutions, simply because I don't really follow them. So I suppose my 2017 Sewing Resolutions would be to get out of my comfort zone and do something different or learn to make something new, for example:
  • new types of fabrics
  • new sewing techniques
  • new types of garments
  • new combinations of skills
  • new sewing patterns (my own patterns or whatever patterns I have in my stash that I haven't used yet)
I am happy with the sewing projects this year and I have learned some new techniques (e.g. I just learned how to narrow the shoulder seams on a 1990's jacket). I'm looking forward to learning more of everything regarding sewing and refashioning in 2017.

I wish you and your family a Happy and Healthy 2017!!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Last Sewing Project for 2016

The year is coming to a close. I managed to squeeze another sewing/refashioning project before New Year's Eve. This is a very well made, good quality jacket that I thrifted a couple of years ago. It's a beautiful true red, cashmere blend jacket, made in Canada in the 1990s. The fabric is really soft and extremely warm. I wore it in the office with layers underneath and I was sweating profusely.

The super broad shoulders and the crop length made my body look even more top heavy than it already was. The sleeves were too long also. A Refashion/Alteration was in order.

I watched a video of Angela Wolf narrowing a jacket's shoulder seam and I thought I could try that with this jacket. There is a very good tutorial at this blog: So this was my plan to alter the jacket:

I opened up the lining seam and found that the jacket was indeed very well made. It has custom shoulder pads and proper sleeve heads:

First I took out the very wide shoulder pads. Then I tried on the jacket and basted the new shoulder seam. And eventually I sewed and steamed the new shoulder seams in place.  Then I chopped off the sleeves and made them 3/4 sleeves. And here is the resulting garment:

I think it now looks better for my proportions. I'm happy to have a better fitting, warm and colourful jacket for the cold months!

Now I need to dig into my to-be-Refashioned pile and see what I can fix/refashion next!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Holiday 2016 Sewing: 6th handmade gift plans - tweed sparkly cushions

As mentioned before, I have too much fabric in my stash. When I dug into my stash I found this plaid sparkly tweed. I decided to make a pair of cushions for family members who have a grey decor. It's difficult to see in the photo but there are silver threads running through the fabric. I figure that black and white cushions will go with any decor. I hope they like them!

Another great stash busting x'mas gift!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Holiday 2016 Sewing: 5th handmade gift - another children gift

The weather has gotten really cold here with very high winds. I thought I would make a very warm vest for my daughter since her body is not the best in regulating temperature.

I dug out this fleece backed faux sherpa material in my stash. I made a winter coat for my son when he was a baby. I knew this was going to be a very warm fabric.

I drafted the vest pattern myself and used lapped seams to sew the thick fabric. My daughter went through my button stash and chose these mismatched buttons for the vest. She has been obsessed with dressing like a 'lamb' so she made sure that the vest was reversible. And here is the final product:

My daughter wore it out and thought it was very warm. I still have some of that fabric left. Perhaps I will be able to make my son something too!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Holiday 2016 Sewing: 4th handmade gift plans - almost finished

I almost finished the 4th handmade holiday gift. I say almost, because my mother-in-law has to try the trousers on before I can tailor them to her body and finish everything. The hem is serged and the waist already has an elastic inside.

Well, it's nothing to look at right now hanging on the hanger. I can't wait to finish them!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Holiday 2016 Sewing: 4th handmade gift plans - a challenging one

The December theme for the Make a Garment a Month group is 'Dreaming'.  So I guess that includes both 'sweet dreams' and 'nightmares? Just kidding. However, this next handmade gift will be no easy task.

My mother-in-law asked me to make her a pair of dressy palazzo pants for x'mas. She gave me a pair of moderate stretch knit pants to make my pattern. However, I couldn't find any suitable fabrics in the colour she wanted at my fabric store. Instead, I bought this very drapey, non-stretch grey wool crepe fabric in the colour she wanted:

Since I bought a non-stretch fabric, I modified my initial pants pattern based on the moderate stretch knit pants:

I hope I made it too big because then I can tailor the pants to her body. If it's too small then all hope is lost.

I'm also very nervous about this because her weight tends to fluctuate a lot. Moreover, she is not the most patient client and is not used to 'bespoke' garments that requires time to tailor to fit. I guess I'll have to pack my sewing machine and supplies when I travel to see her for the holidays.

Wish me luck on this one! ;-)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Holiday 2016 Sewing: 3rd handmade gift finished! Fleece jacket saved!

I finished the 3rd handmade Holiday gift! This fleece jacket for my daughter should have been super easy and quick to make. But alas! I made a mistake when doing the measurement. I thrifted this Out of Print Simplicity 4895 a couple of years ago. I thought I should use it before my daughter grows out of this pattern. I made some quick measurements on the paper pattern and chose size 6, thinking that it should fit my daughter with a little room to spare.

After I cut out the yellow fleece and sewn up the seams, I had her try the jacket on. It was quite fitted on her and she actually had trouble putting it on herself. I forgot that there was loft with this fleece and she was suppose to wear long sleeves shirts under this jacket.

I didn`t want to just give up on the fabric and throw the whole thing into the trash. I dug deep into my stash and found a wine colour microfleece. I cut strips of about 3cm width out of this wine fleece and sewed the whole strip from the wrist of the jacket all the way down to the hem to enlarge the armhole and the side seams:

I also used this same fleece to bind the edges of the entire jacket to make the enlargement look 'intentional'. I used a thrifted zipper as enclosure. I'm happy I saved this jacket and now it's a unique gift for my daughter!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Holiday 2016 Sewing: 2nd gift finished - another set of Boy's PJs

I have finished another set of Boy's PJs. All the materials were found in my house. I used some remnant cotton flannel and sew a pair of very big PJ pants, using a self drafted pattern. Then I took one of the plain t-shirts from my son's room and sewed on a pocket with matching fabric. Another quick and easy but very useful Holiday Gift!

You can see how much bigger these PJ pants are comparing to the ones I made him 2 years ago. My son is currently between the 2 sizes.

Okay! Now I need to get on with the other Holiday sewing projects!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Holiday 2016 Sewing: 1st Gift finished - Boys PJ pants

I've been slacking in terms of holiday sewing. But now that November has arrived I must get on with it without delay!

The first holiday gift I tackled was a pair of PJ pants for my son, who has clearly outgrown the PJ pants I made him a few years ago. I dug into my fabric stash and found the exact same fabric I had used for his previous PJs:

I'm lucky that my son isn't too fussy about his clothing. Although the motif of the cotton flannel fabric may seem a bit 'babyish', he still likes it.

I didn't use a sewing pattern for these pants. Instead I just used the PJ pants I made him last year to make a rough template.

Then I enlarged the template to accommodate my son's growth for the next 2 years. Yes, I want the garments I make for my kids to last them for more than 1 year!

The pants were sewn quickly and here it is:

You can see the difference in size between these new PJ pants and the ones I made him a few years ago:

Next I made his PJ top to go with these pants. I simply cut out a pocket from the same pants fabric and sewed it onto a plain long sleeves t-shirt. Voila! Matching PJ set for my son:

Okay! One handmade x'mas gift down, many more to go!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

My Birthday Dress - Butterick 5247

My birthday is in November and I just want to make a Birthday Dress! Sweater dresses have been my Fall/Winter wardrobe staple for many years. They are easy to dress (all-in-one dressing) and style. I just felt like making a new one this Fall/Winter season.

I dug into my stash and found a little bit of this wool blend sweater knit that I have used before (see here). One side is a rich burgundy colour and the other side is a plain grey. I decided to use both sides of this fabric to make a 2 tone sweater dress, which I didn't have in my wardrobe. I thought the rich wine tone would be perfect for the holiday season too.

I used a tried and true Butterick 5247 (see here and here and here) to create this easy to sew dress. It came together really quickly. I used size 14 and it's a little loose on me since I lost a few pounds recently. No worries! I'm sure I'll gain back the weight during this upcoming holiday season! ;-) Also, when it gets even colder, I'll likely be wearing additional layers under the dress.

I'm happy that I have another useful dress for this Fall/Winter season and I have busted a lot of stash as well. Yay!

I should have cleaned the camera lens before taking this photo! And I look like Robin Hood's merry men with this belt! LOL!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

MAGAM Oct Dress done!

This turned out to be quite a quick and easy dress to make. It took just a little bit of time to match the plaid but overall it's not bad at all. I made slight alteration to the pattern. I shortened the sleeves to 3/4 sleeve length. I eliminated the front split neck.

The green brown plaid fabric is quite drab. So I searched through my stash notions and found some remnant green bias tape from x'mas, and some black buttons.I flattened the green bias tape and sewed it onto the centre front. I sewed buttons onto the tape so that it looked like a faux buttoned placket. Then I bound the neckline with the same green bias tape. I thought it looked alright until I put it on me. Somehow I thought it looked a bit matronly. I don't know if it's because of the fabric pattern or the trim/buttons that I added. What do you think?

I wore my purple tights and knee high boots to make the dress look less matronly. I wore it out today and it was very very comfortable to wear.

I still have some of the drab knit left. I'll see if I have enough to make a jacket. It would be fun to get another chance to brighten the knit up with other remnants fabric/notions in my stash!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

MAGAM October Plan - Another Butterick 5146 Knit dress

While working on the x'mas presents for other people, I had this urge to make something for myself - yes I'm a selfish seamstress too! the MAGAM (Make A garment A Month) October theme is 'One'. The way I interpret this is a 'One pattern Many Looks'. I looked at my tried and true dress patterns and chose Butterick 5146 again - the same pattern that I used for the September MAGAM dress.

I dug through my huge fabric stash and found this brown/green plaid knit that I have had for 10 years. It's time to use it! It's not the most attractive fabric but it's perfect for Autumn/Winter garments. I thought I could somehow brighten up the drab colour a bit with my huge stash of notions.

I looked through Pinterest and found a few plaid dresses as inspirations:

Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest
Source: Pinterest

The dresses are very simple but I simple dresses are usually more versatile for different occasions which is what I want with the garments I make. The only thing that is slightly challenging is probably having to match up the plaid pattern. Hopefully the dress will sew up easily and quickly!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Holiday Sewing Projects - the Planning Phase

Yes I said it! It's time to plan my X'mas sewing projects. I always try to sew/make some of the X'mas projects for my family and some of my close friends. My kids, my husband and my mom always get some handmade stuff from me each x'mas. This year, however, my mom-in-law actually requested that I make a pair of palazzo pants for her for x'mas (I didn't suggest it). My nerves!!! I said I would do my best and if she didn't like the pants, she didn't have to wear them. She has very specific ideas and measurements so I will have to make sure that I reserve lots of time to sew those pants!

My kids always get new pyjamas from me. My son has really outgrown the PJs that I made for him a couple of years ago (I made them super big then). My daughter has lots of gently used clothes from my friends so her need for PJs are not as urgent. I have lots of cotton flannel in my stash so the PJs project should be quick and easy. I also have lots of fleece in my stash so I may make some fleece vest/jackets/pants for them too.

My mom likes wearing vests for layering so I should make her a couple of vests in different fabrics/colour.

As for my husband, he actually has too much clothing (his mom bought lots of clothes for him over the years that he never wore) so I'm not sure what to make for him. Any ideas?

For my brother and sis-in-law, I always try to make some home decor soft furnishings for them because they really like shopping for clothes themselves. I think I have some nice home decor fabrics in my stash?

As for my close friends, I usually make bags for them and their kids. Tote bags are great for moms. Smaller bags are usually welcomed by kids. I guess I'll see what I have in my fabric stash first.

So there you have it. I have lots of things I have to start sewing right now if I am to finish everything before mid-December. What are you sewing for this holiday?

Sunday, October 2, 2016

September Dress - Tried and True Butterick 5146

I have been sewing lots of dresses since I started sewing in the late 1990s. It's funny because I was such a tomboy growing up that I would burst into tears if my mom force me to wear a dress (other than my school uniform). But now I find that dresses can be extremely versatile for difference occasions, different weather conditions and of course make getting dressed in the morning much easier (yes!).

For September I made a knit dress with a remnant medium weight, cotton check double knit that I bought 7 years ago. I used a tried and true Butterick 5146 which I have tweaked to my body shape. I have used this pattern for this dress and this dress.

I shortened the waist, made the deep v-neck less deep and made it a short sleeves dress. There is a little bit of excess fabric at my back due to my sway back but I'm not going to worry too much about it. I contemplated making patch pockets for the dress but I thought it would make it too casual looking.

I wore the dress out already and it was super comfortable. Another easy to wear dress that I can use for the office, for leisure and for 3 seasons!

The review of this pattern is here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I have joined Sew for 30 for September!

Sewist-extraodinaire Star's Threads suggested the 'Sew for 30' challenge for September. I have joined this challenge as well. As per her blog post:

'September is National Sewing Month in the United States.  We all lead very busy lives and finding time to do the hobby we love can be difficult so I'd like to encourage everyone to "Sew for 30 minutes" everyday during the month of September.   It's amazing what you can get done in little increments of time!  A seam here, a press there and before you know it - you have a brand new little something!'

So for this challenge I will try to sew for 30 minutes every day during the month of Sept. I have missed some days already but I'm not going to worry about it. We are going to be extremely busy this Autumn with home renovations, helping some elderly relatives move homes and the usual hustle and bustle with children. I'm going to try my best to get some sewing time each day to relieve the stress.

For past couple of weeks, I was able to sew some simple projects:

1. Girl applique t-shirt - My daughter wanted to have her t-shirt applique'd with her age for the school's photo day. So I used remnant fleece to make a number and sewed that onto her chosen t-shirt:

2. Boy applique t-shirt - my son also wanted the same thing done to his t-shirt for photo day:

3. Hello Kitty pencil bag - my daughter wanted a new Hello Kitty pencil bag for the new school year. So I just used remnant fabric and a thrifted zipper, traced the kitty shape and 'embroidered' the shape onto the bag. I also embroidered her initials at the back of the bag. Way to bust some fabric/notion stash!

4. Sweater knit skirt refashioned - I say refashioned - well it's really just adding a side slit to  the skirt. I like the glittery wool sweater skirt. However, it's not too comfortable to walk in (as I like to speed walk/march). So I decided to just carefully take out the yarn on the side seam up to just above the knee and voila! Much more practical skirt for me to wear this autumn/winter.

I'm pretty happy with the little projects I have completed so far. Hopefully I'll be just as productive for the rest of September!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Refashion: Lounge singer glittery dress to Lounge singer glittery top?

I have been sewing but just didn't have time to post anything yet.  My last post was about this silver glittery knit 'lounge singer dress'.

Sarah Liz and Jenny O kindly suggested that I refashion it into a top. I did just that and here is the result:

It's okay. I don't love it. Perhaps it will look better under a jacket or something. It says 'lounge singer top' to me. It may look better with flowy black pants and heels and some accessories but it will still look a bit like 'mother of the bride' outfit to me. I don't know. I guess I can always donate it. What do you think?

I have plans for the bottom of the dress that I had cut off. I'll make a glittery skirt for my daughter. I know she will like that.

I suppose with refashioning, you win some and lose some! ;-)

Friday, September 9, 2016

Back to School = Back to Sewing!!! Vote Keep/Refashion/Donate

August turned out to be a very very busy month with the kids and the family. I only sewed ONE THING and it turned out to be a fail that needs fixing. Boooo! Anyway, now that the kids are back in school, I have a little breathing room for myself to sew again! Yay!

This month will be a busy month for sewing because there are a number of things that I MUST SEW for my kids. My daughter wants a new pencil case, the kids want t-shirts with their age applique on them for photo day, hubby wants me to alter his shirt, I have tonnes of things of my own that needs altering, etc. Not exactly the most fun or creative month for sewing but probably very productive.

I'm also cleaning out the different piles of 'things' on the floor of my sewing nook. I couldn't find my swimsuit fabric so I didn't make a new swimsuit as I had planned a month ago. I say 'pile of things' because there seems to be scrap fabrics mixed with made garments that require fixing/refashioning in the same pile.

First up, this sparkle knit cowl neck dress that I made years ago from a New Look Pattern. I thought I had donated it already! It fits fine except the cowl doesn't seem to drape right so I just wear it off 1 shoulder slightly. I don't have any fancy places to go so I don't know what I should do with it. What do you think: 1) keep as it; 2) refashion it to something else; or 3) donate it to a charity shop?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Another Swimsuit? A Gallery of what I have made so far

I'm back! We had family visiting us the last little while so I had done no sewing nor blogging at all. And now I'm itching to make another summer garment - another swimsuit! I know I have already made several but for some reason I just feel like making another one. It feels like after I had made one swimsuit and learned much from the experience, I just want to apply the knowledge and make more in different styles and colours.

I swim at the pool all year round and at the beach quite often in the warmer months. So I'm not opposed to making another suit. These are the swimsuits I have made or refashioned thus far:

A RTW refashioned swimsuit. The body was too long so I cut it to make it look like a mock tankini. Good for swimming.

My first self-made swimsuit! Kwik Sew 2690

My 2nd try at Kwik Sew 2690 - Love!
Kwik Sew 3503 - The horizontal neckline and the floral fabric makes me look wider.
A modified Kwik Sew 2797 - My most beloved swimsuit. I wear this all the time because it's easier to get in and out with the front zipper.
A refashioned old RTW swimsuit. Unfortunately it's still a bit loose - not practical for swimming.
So there you have it! Although I have made/refashioned quite a number of swimsuits, I really only wear 3 of them for swimming - the teal one, the red one and the black/white one. I feel like I can still improve on the designs even further. For example, one piece suits are great for actual swimming and slightly holds in my mommy tummy. However, it's not so great for going to the washroom or doing a quick change at the beach. Also, some sort of zipped pocket would also be nice for the key to the locker.

After looking at tonnes of pictures at Pinterest, I have to figure out how to choose the design of my next swimsuit to the following:

A simple tankini top with high waisted bottom?

A zip front swim vest with bottom?

A regular 2 piece bikini with a matching rashguard on top?

Or a Swimdress that can be worn as a top or a dress with a regular bottom?

What do you think? What would be a good design for my next swimsuit that I can actually swim in?