Category: Catch-All

January has always been a difficult month for me. It’s long, it’s dark, and every single brain gremlin I’ve ever had seems to pick this time of year to come out and play. I have both depression and anxiety, and I don’t hide that. I manage them with a combination of medication and cognitive behavioural therapy, but there are ups and downs, some more extreme than others.

So I thought, this weekend, that I’d sew something bright and cheerful to raise my mood – and you know, it kinda worked. First I get the satisfaction of making something and having it turn out well, and second I get to look at this yellow-and-hot-pink cotton and let it make me smile.

My first Hinterland was sleeveless; I like the cap sleeved version just as well, I think. I removed 3cm from the front bodice just under the bust dart then copied the adjustment to the back. I also made a fakest-of-the-fake placket: I cut the front bodice on the fold, then cut a 5cm-wide strip of fabric, pressed the edges under, and topstitched it down the center before sewing the buttons on.

Might make a full-front actual functional placket next time. Hmm. Either way, this dress makes me happy, and that’s all I really ask from sewing.

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing

So I’m tentatively dipping my toe into the waters of sewing videos – I’ve been making them for a few weeks as private videos for a friend, and enjoying it more than I thought I would. I’ve thought about making some public videos but can’t quite figure out what I’d talk about and/or demonstrate. I mean, I’m not a sewing genius. I just know what works for me and what tends not to, and I’m definitely still learning. Hmm.

Naturally, I have to watch out for ‘helpers’ while I’m recording. Yesterday I was making one for my friend about interfacing, and Autumn decided to flop on the whole project in the middle of the thing, because of course she did. This morning, I’m rambling about different ways to gather, and Reynir felt the need to contribute.

The little orange schmutz I adopted seven months ago has turned into something resembling an actual cat, but he’s still just six pounds. I think he’ll always be a little boy. He’s a giant pain when I’m sewing and I love him to the moon and back.

Catch-All Fur for Brains Handmade Photography Sewing

Slight pattern hacking on this Cashmerette Montrose top – added a ruffle to the overbust. I cut a strip 9cm wide and 100cm long, folded it in half, pressed it, and gathered it where I’d split the front. I like it. Might do it again!

I made a ton of Montrose tops when I re-started sewing, but this was the first time making it since a significant size change. I sewed a 14 E/F graded to a 16 at the waist and hips, with the standard sleeve. I moved the bust dart up an inch; that’s standard for me with Cashmerette. I’m not sure whether I have a higher-than-average bust or whether it’s just that I’m so danged short, but either way, moving the dart always works out well for me.

I do find the sleeves a bit slim for my liking – love the elbow length, though – but I think the full bicep sleeves might be a bit loose. I may make a 1″ width adjustment to the standard next time, putting the measurement right in the middle of that and the full.

The fabric is a cotton I found at a shop aimed at quilting, and I was surprised to find a big print amongst all the small ones. I guess it must not have sold well because it was on the discount shelf, but I snagged a couple of metres along with some lemonade-print cotton that’s going to become a Hinterland.

Just for the record, Made for Mermaids’ beanie pattern takes about ten minutes, cutting included. I used scraps of my fish-on-bicycles jersey because delightfully weird prints still amuse me. Going to do an insect-print one next.

I kind of ended up going on a bit of ramble in my Instagram post about the beanie, because I had been reading a post – on Insta – about dos and don’ts for selfies and/or photos of handmade garments. It kind of hit a nerve because I’ve read a lot of posts lately about photography saying to ‘never’ use flash for selfies and/or garment posts and like… no. You can use flash. You just need to know how to use flash. Sometimes your equipment will be limiting – most phone cameras will give you much better results in natural light – but sometimes it’s just a question of knowing what to do with it. I might make a post in the future on some of my own tips on getting decent photos.

Definitely not going to give any advice on posing, though, because as you can see I generally suck at that. Face the camera! Pretend to smile! Put hand on hip or somewhere else! Yikes.

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing

Not even three weeks into the year and I’m already into the double digits with my makes. Can you tell I’m a bit of a sewing addict? I’ve been lucky so far, too – all but one of my sews I’ve really liked.

And this cardigan is no exception. It’s the Be Mine from Ellie and Mac. The recommended fabric is 50% 4-way stretch, but this cozy brushed sweater knit worked great despite having zero vertical stretch. I had a hard time, when I bought the fabric, deciding between two colours of the same print – the other was grey/black, and I’m so glad I went for the purple/black because I really do need more purple in my life (and my wardrobe).

I sewed a straight XXL with minimal alterations. I took an inch off the sleeve length, and cut the skirt length (and the front bands) exactly between the lines for the bolero and the regular versions. I love patterns that don’t need a ton of complicated changes, and this is one I’ll be making again and again. Next time I think I’ll try the boho skirt length – it’s down to my calves! Perfect for wearing with leggings and still keeping warm in the winter.

I used just over a metre and a half for this cardigan, so that leaves me about 1.4 metres for something else. Three metres has become my ‘default’ purchase quantity when I haven’t entirely decided what I’m making, and so far it’s been flexible enough for me to sew what I want and have decent, useable scraps.

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing

Full disclosure: This fabric was gifted to me by Minerva.com in exchange for a post on their site. It can be found right here.

Had to take a mini-break from sewing due to a fractured coccyx that made it difficult to sit for long periods of time, but I’ve figured out a sewing setup that works – involving pillows, donut cushions, and a different chair – so I’m back at the machines!

And I’m loving it. Especially this new make. The Be Adventurous pattern is by Ellie and Mac; I’ve made several of theirs and have always been satisfied with the results. I usually have to grade between sizes, but my measurements fall into a straight XXL with E&M. I cut the tunic length knowing it would be near dress length because of my height, and it worked out fine.

It’s a straightforward pattern, so for me, fabric choice was everything. This medium-weight scuba crepe worked fantastically well – I love big prints, plus the texture is lovely and the fabric has a heavy drape that’s just beautiful. It swishes fantastically! I tried to take a video but gave up after several failed attempts.

This is another fabric that gathers with ease, and stays in place while you sew it – I had no trouble placing the gathers and even on the serger I had no issues keeping said gathers where I wanted them while sewing the seam.

I debated for a while on whether or not to hem – the fabric cut very clean and there, of course, was zero fraying, but in the end I went for a single-fold twin-needled hem so the sleeves and the ruffle would match.

All-in-all, I love this. I’ll wear it all winter with leggings and all summer with… well, leggings. I’m not all about the bare knees, even when the weather is warm.

Hmm… now what do I make next?

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing

This dress? I love. It’s By Hand London’s Anna dress in its new-ish D-cup extended-sizing block, and it’s already on my TNT radar after just one make. I shortened the bodice by two inches and the skirt by six; the bodice is perfect but the skirt is not quite long enough for my liking, so next time I’ll only shorten it by three. Other than the hem length I’m making precisely zero changes the next time this graces my cutting table. And it will grace it again. And again. And probably again. I love finding patterns I want to make in all the fabrics.

And! Because I’m so short and the cross-grain is my friend, I needed just under two metres of 115 cm wide fabric to make this. Next time the longer skirt will probably push it to just over two metres but I am absolutely fine with that.

Turns out the invisible zipper was not necessary – I can pull this on and off over my head without unzipping. So that’s a bit of work I’ll probably omit next time, because why zipper if you don’t have to?

So one week post coccyx fracture and I’ve figured out how to set up my chair and pillows so I can sew rather than just being a lump on the sofa. I can’t do marathon sessions, but I can sew for decent periods of time as long as I take adequate breaks and keep up with my painkillers.

On a side note, I’m contemplating closing my blog. It’s a monthly expense I’m not sure about, really – my view stats are so low it seems almost like pointless work to keep going, and aside from that I often forget to update it when I make new things. Does anyone even read it? Does anyone want it to stick around? Not sure. Opinions?

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing

Well, I’m spending today and tomorrow in self-isolation. My symptoms were enough to send me for testing but not enough to keep me bedridden, so I sewed make #6 for 2021 out of a couple of yards of quilting cotton I’ve had in the stash for a while.

I have a ton of cotton, really. It’s 90% of what’s available locally plus it’s just so easy to sew. Since I tossed and reorganised my stash I’ve confirmed that I have a lot of nice prints hiding away in bins, and I think those prints should be hauled out and used. I have a lot of patterns that are suitable for woven cotton so I won’t have trouble figuring out what to do with it all.

So! This is Bianca by Made by Rae. It comes in both a dress and top length and now that I’ve made one I know I need to make the other. I like that there’s a choice between an elastic casing and shirring – even if I absolutely cheated and used neither, instead sewing the elastic directly to the wrong side of the bodice, stretching as I went. I do have elastic thread; one of these days I should get around to trying it out.

I mostly ignored the instructions, but I mean… what else is new. I generally put things together in the order they’re supposed to be put together but I don’t tend to follow instructions down to the letter. As long as things come out well it’s all good, right? Right.

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing

Full disclosure: This fabric was gifted to me by Minerva.com in exchange for a blog post on their site. It can be found right here.

Flamingos in the middle of winter? Sure, why not. They keep me from forgetting that snow-town doesn’t last all year, and that warmer weather will come around again eventually.

And this is definitely a warm-weather fabric, at least without layering. It’s a softer-than-expected viscose challis with a wonderful crinkly texture and tons of drape. It likes to shift more than the stable wovens I’m used to working with, but I found that careful pressing and a few extra pins took care of that. I sewed just a little more slowly than my usual million-miles-an-hour, and both my sewing machine and serger had no problems with the fabric at all.

I feel like this fabric would make an excellent summer maxi skirt or long dress. It has the kind of flow that’d be lovely on something of that length, though it’s just a bit sheer so a lining would probably be ideal. I’ll absolutely take this top to the beach in a few months, but for now, adding leggings, boots, and a cardigan will be the way to go. Maybe even a long-sleeved top underneath, as well, for those particularly frosty Canadian mornings.

I’ve made this pattern – Made By Rae Trillium top – before, but always out of stiffer fabric, and this is a pleasantly soft interpretation. The few little pleats are less defined and the peplum drapes closer to the body than in other versions. The pattern includes both a top and dress version, with cap sleeves or without, and has recently been expanded to include plus sizing from 1-5, up to a 59″ bust and hip. Pattern sizing put me in an XL graded to a 1, but ease in the peplum meant I could sew a straight XL and have it work out.

My new flamingo top is headed straight into my wardrobe rotation, and tonight I’ll be dreaming of sunshine and my bare feet in the sand.

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing

Somehow I keep getting behind on posting my makes here. Not sure why I don’t do it at the same time as Instagram – probably because Insta is so easy, and tends to get more engagement. But! Of course I’ve been sewing.

I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions, but I did decide that I’d like to work on sewing the patterns that I already own but have yet to make. There’ll be plenty of time for TNTs and even new patterns, but I have quite a backlog of patterns that I keep meaning to sew.

So right now I’m on a five-day vacation, and I’m making it a sewcation. I’ve sewn two tops and a skirt in two days, and now on day three I’m working on a dress.

Both tops are Ashton by Helen’s Closet, and I’ve found a new favourite woven shell pattern. It fits my smaller top half coupled with larger bottom half quite well, and I like that the fabric at the shoulders isn’t a thinner strap. I prefer something that aligns closer with ‘sleeveless’ rather than ‘tank top’. Either way, I’m sure there’ll be more of these, and I’m anxious to try out the sleeve expansion as well. Those tulip sleeves!

My first try was in quilting cotton, and the second, this blue one, is in a mystery fabric from an unlabelled bolt in an out-of-town fabric shop. It’s light, semi-sheer, and has a bit of texture with a lovely fluid drape. The colour is amazing and I love the print, too. I anticipate this one getting a lot of wear.

Next up is a Megan Nielsen Veronika Curve skirt. I love circle skirts, but for the longest time I thought I couldn’t wear them. Turns out all I needed was to make them a bit longer, as knee-length doesn’t quite work for me. I’ve made a few in the past, but this is the first one without an elastic waist – and therefore, also the first one with an invisible zipper. I may actually have invented new curse words while inserting it, but it’s done. Not quite invisible, but I’ll chalk that up to a learning experience and do better on the next one.

Really like the shape of this, though, now that I’ve gotten the length right, and how it falls. There’s a version with beautiful scalloped pockets, and that’s going right on the to-sew list as well. I feel like it needs a solid or semi-solid colour, though, and that’s not something I have a lot of in my stash.

Oh no, I might have to go fabric shopping. What a shame.

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing

Do not adjust your monitor – my newest Page hoodie really is that bright. It’s a cold, dark month, so I’ll do whatever I can to brighten my life. If that means making my own sunshine, that’s what I’ll do.

I’ve made a bunch of Page hoodies at this point, but this is the first time I left the length as drafted rather than lengthening it, and I kinda love it. I thought it had a good chance of looking terrible on me, but it’s cute, instead. It helps, in this case, that I’m so short, because it comes down a few inches past my waist.

I’m tempted to go back and shorten some of the Pages I’ve already made.

I used the same yellow jersey for all parts of the hoodie, including the cuffs and hem bands and the inside of the hood. Sometimes I wish I had a local source for coordinating rib knit, but even having solid-coloured jersey available at the shop in town is something new.

Also, I screwed up the grommets. I placed the first one too far up the hood, and then had to make the second to match. Oh well. It won’t be noticeable except if I point it out. And I do love the braided rainbow cord that I used for the hood drawstrings.

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing