Category: Sewing

Full disclosure: This fabric was gifted to me by in exchange for a blog 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 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

Make #4 for 2021 – a sleeveless Hinterland dress. This is another one I’ve been meaning to make for ages, and in this case, I even had the fabric pre-washed and ready to go. For, er, a while now. But! Now it’s done. It was a quick and easy sew with few alterations. Fabric is quilting cotton because of course it is.

I took an inch off the bodice above the bust dart (a standard adjustment for me) but the dart is tilted as-drafted and therefore ended up a bit too high. I’ll take off an inch below the dart next time.

The button placket is fake, and not in the usual buttons-sewn-through-both-plackets way. I cheated by cutting the bodice on the fold, then folding the edges under on an extra strip of fabric and topstitching it in place. Adding the placket was a last-minute decision after the dress was mostly complete, and I didn’t love the idea of unpicking half my work to add a functional one. Next time, maybe.

Discovered that my stitch-in-the-ditch foot is excellent for 1/8″-from-edge topstitching if I align the needle to the left instead of the centre. I just got the foot a few days ago, along with an adjustable hem foot, a zipper foot, and an invisible zipper foot. I’m slowly collecting little bits and pieces to make my sewing life easier.

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

So I’ve been wanting to make jeans (and more items for my lower half, in general) for a while now, and I thought Jalie’s pull-on Éléonore jeans would be a good starting point. I’ve had great results with Jalie patterns when it comes to dancewear, but this marks the first time I’ve tried any of their patterns that don’t require spandex.

I came across the denim, to my surprise, in the local fabric shop – it stocks 90% quilting cotton, 8% upholstery fabric, and 2% solid-coloured cotton-lycra. I did not expect to find stretch denim, but there was one small bolt on top of a bunch of long rolls of thick curtain fabric. I took it as a sign that it was time to get the jeans train moving along.

I made a couple of adjustments right off the printer. The jeans are straight below the knee and shaped above it, so I took two inches off the thigh-to-knee length to account for my height. I also shortened the rise by two inches – it works great while I’m standing, but the squat test sees the back slide down just a little lower than I’d prefer. Next time the center back rise will only have an inch removed, not two.

The fit is pretty good for a first pair. I’m not aiming for perfection (anyone who sees my topstitching on these jeans won’t doubt that at all) – cute and wearable is enough for me. There’s some wrinkling around my knees because the straight cut doesn’t leave quite enough room for my curvy calves, but I can fix that if I want to. Either way the fit is much better than I get in RTW.

I didn’t think I had any stretch wovens in my stash, but a quick toss of the bins unearthed a few yards of light blue stretch corduroy. So that’ll be the second pair, I think.

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing

A brand-new York pinafore in the snow, today. I’ve really been on a sewing streak, lately, but I need to set aside my own projects tonight and tomorrow evening to finish some dance costumes so the kids can try them on before winter break.

If anyone’s looking for something cute and quick, York is great. It feels like it just flies from start to finish. The fabric is cotton that has been sitting for a few weeks waiting for me to turn it into this. I didn’t have enough fabric to match the pocket, but let’s be honest: I probably wouldn’t have tried to match it anyway.

Not sure why I always groan internally at patterns that have significant applications of bias tape – when it comes down to it, I never mind sewing it on and I do really like the clean, simple look of bias-bound edges. The inside edges of the kangaroo pocket are red, but I used white tape for the rest.

So I sewed a size 20 according to the measurements chart, but I ended up taking in each side by two inches, so four inches total. It was a bit much – I should have left it at one inch for each side – but it’s still cute and wearable so I’m not concerned.

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing

A second post for the day, this time with the most ridiculous item of clothing I’ve ever sewn myself. Hot pink with cats in sunglasses and flower crowns? Ridiculous. But also: perfect. I really do love this. I found the fabric at the local shop and there was no way it wasn’t coming home with me.

Pattern is Style Arc Hope, modified slightly. It’s funny, because the line drawing for the pattern didn’t impress me much. I thought, though, that if I shortened the sleeves to above the elbow and the skirt to knee-length that it had the potential to be cute, and I think I was right.

I sewed a size 16, which is sized down from what the pattern recommends because I’m not a fan of overly generous ease. The fit is just right, for me, so I’ll stick with that for a while.

I should probably make another one of these in a less… eye-catching print. Something a little softer, because it’s a really nice shape. Not sure if I want to dive into that right away, though, or make something else. Honestly, I’m having a very hard time deciding on projects lately – I just want to make everything and sew all the time. Time to win the lottery, I guess.

Off to flip through patterns. Maybe something will spark.

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing