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.

Monday, June 12, 2017

A revamped Facebook Store - I'm learning to set up as I go

I'm not the most savvy with Social Media. Believe it or not, I don't even have a data plan on my phone! So setting up my little shop on Facebook is quite a learning experience. I just revamped my little shop and now I have created a button for it:

So if my dear blog followers have some time to give me some feedback on my dismal attempt in setting up this Facebook store, I would greatly greatly appreciate it!

A New Date Night Red purse!

As mentioned before, I love red. It's my favourite colour. So when I'm thinking of an outfit for date night, or x'mas or any special occasion, I think red. I made loads of red garments but never a cute red purse. So I decided to design one.

I used this piece of remnant red faux suede for upholstery that I thrifted a few years back to make the exterior of the purse. I embellished the flap with trims from a thrifted bag of embellishments I bought earlier this year from my local thrift store. The chains are thrifted from the thrift store as well. The interior lining is a remnant quilting cotton that I have in my stash. The zipper was salvaged from a too tight skirt.

I designed the bag to be worn either as a long chained shoulder bag or it can be double chained into a hand held purse. I'm pretty happy with the look of it. Now I just need a special occasion to test this baby out!

If this prototype bag works out well, I'll make another one and add it to my little shop!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A New Summer Purse for me

I'm still in a bag making mode. I decided to make a new cross body bag for myself this summer. I have been using the same thrifted one for a while now. I decided to make a new refashioned one. Cross body bags are excellent for moms who need both hands to manage their children!

This cross body bag is part of the EcoChic line. The exterior is made with upcycled jeans, upcycled curtain material and seat upholstery fabric. The inside lining is made with an upcycled bedsheet. The zipper was thrifted and the straps are upcycled from an old camera bag.

I am pretty happy with how this bag turned out. I like the colour/fabric combination. It looks quite cheery. I will be using this tomorrow to 'road-test' it for durability and practicality.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Is a Summer Tweed Dress to hot to wear?

I had wanted to make a summer tweed dress for a few years now. I tried making one last year and it was a disaster.

So this year, I really want to try to make another one, especially after I have seen this incredible one on Pinterest:

The colour, the various self fabric's a magnificent tweed dress! I'm salivating just looking at this picture. Of course I don't have that gorgeous tweed in my stash and I am not buying any new fabrics. So I'll have have to make do with whatever tweed I have. The only question I have is: is it too hot to wear tweed in the summer?

Friday, June 9, 2017

A little something for a toddler

When my kids were born, I made them stuffed letters that represent the first letter of their given name. I also made that for my expectant female friends. The letters usually make good gifts at baby showers because the expectant moms can use them as decorations for the nurseries. And when the babys grow bigger, they can play with them like a stuffed toy.

This time I'm making a stuffed letter for a friend's little toddler girl. She can either use it as decoration or a toy. I'm using this rainbow striped fabric that I think will go with any decor in the little girl's room. I hope they will like it!

Another Elsa inspired bag - this time with a Cape!

I'm still in bag making mode! And now I seemed to have infected my daughter with the same bag making fever. My daughter saw the first Elsa inspired bag I made and urged me to make another one. So I used the idea of Elsa's chiffon cape and made a bag with a cape!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

A New Elsa inspired bag for girls

Since I started making the Teachers bags, I'm in a bag making fever! My daughter is always asking me to make girly accessories. So I decided to make a Elsa-inspired bag for a little girl, based on the Elsa dress I made for my daughter:

So this is the final result. It's a little bucket bag that measures about 8.5" x 7.5".

I am adding this to my little shop. I hope little girls who like Elsa will like it!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Grand Opening of my Little Shop! Teachers' Appreciation Gifts

I have been giving handmade upcycled bags to my kids' teachers for the past few years. They were popular with the teachers and I still see them using my bags year after year. These are the ones I have made so far for this year:

Some of the teachers have encouraged me to set up a shop to sell my handicraft. I have sold my handmade handicraft via friends/colleagues before but I have never set up an online shop until now. So I decided to set up a small shop on Facebook and see how it goes. These one of a kind, EcoChic bags are made with upcycled clothing and home furnishings.

Drum roll......

The Grand Opening of ByLovenicky little shop!!!!!!!!!

If you have time, check out my little shop on Facebook and let me know what you think! 20% off on all purchases until June 23.

More stock will be added as I 'sweatshop' myself away each night after the kids have gone to bed! :-)