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.
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.
We’re expecting 20 to 30 cm of snow late tonight and into tomorrow, but this morning was not quite chilly enough to keep me from taking photos of recent makes.
First up is a Love Notions Melody Dolman. Look, I sewed a collar! Camp-style, so on the lower end of complicated, but still – a collar. And my one-step automatic buttonhole thing on my sewing machine decided to behave, too.
I started off with a size XL for the shoulders and bust, blended to an XXL for the waist and hips. I also – of course – cut a couple inches off the hem. No other modifications… oh, wait, actually, I didn’t follow the button guide. It was laid out in such a way that there would have been a gap between buttons right over my bust, so I added a sixth button and recalculated the distance between each so I’d have a button in the right place.
The fabric is quilting cotton. I sew with it quite frequently – it’s all I can get locally, aside from a few solid-coloured cotton/lycra knits, but besides that, there are tons of great prints that don’t come in other fabrics. I’ll never quite understand the “quilting cotton is unsuitable for garments” mindset, because I’ve had a ton of fun sewing all kinds of printed cottons into all kinds of different items of clothing.
Next up! An Ellie and Mac Everday Tee. I sewed a straight XXL, shortened by almost five inches. Really like the fit of this tee – the scoop neckline, the dolman sleeves, the high-low curved hem.
The fabric was kind of a bitch to sew, though. It’s a very thin rayon/spandex knit that my sewing machine and serger both really wanted to eat. The twin-needle hems I sewed tunneled like crazy, and it’s definitely noticeable in the photo.
Next time I should probably use a stabiliser under the fabric – I’ve never done that before, but then again, I’ve never sewn with something quite so thin, insanely stretchy, and shifty. I found it in a fabric shop about an hour from here, in a bin of mixed knits that were rolled into balls and sold by the pound. (I also found some fantastic cuts of spandex and stretch lace that I’ve been sewing into dance leotards and leggings, but that’s another post…)
Third make is a Chalk and Notch Fringe Blouse with puffins! Quilting cotton, again. I sewed a size 16 with zero mods – I love how well Chalk and Notch patterns fit me right off the printer. A 16 is a couple sizes smaller than my body measurements say I should make, but there’s a bit more ease in the pattern than I prefer for my own clothing so I sized down, as I usually do.
I really should make the other view of the Fringe one of these days. I made one ages ago but I’ve stuck to the button-front since then. Fake button-front, I should say, because if I can get the garment on over my head without undoing the buttons you’d better believe that’s going to be a non-functional placket.
No, I’m not a lazy sewist – why do you ask?
One more make to go, and then I’ll throw myself back into my studio.
Last one for the post is a Made by Rae Trillium top. I love this pattern, and I love this whale-print fabric, and I think they look great together. I pondered sizing a lot and ended up going with an XL – it’s a bit snug, but my weight has been trending downward lately so maybe it’ll be okay. It’s still pretty and wearable.
Trillium really is one of my favourite patterns. It’s a good shape for me, and fits without adjustments. I can’t wait until the expansion pack – with different sleeves and necklines and pussy bows – is released for the updated pattern size range.
Speaking of favourites, I think the Art Gallery cotton I used for this might become one. I’m used to standard-quality stuff, I guess, so when I get my hands on the good stuff I tend to make all kinds of ‘ooo’ noises while pressing, cutting, and sewing. It’s cool and smooth and feels almost silky, in a way.
And that’s that.
On a final note, I’m super-excited to mention that I got an invitation to join Minerva.com’s Maker team! My first fabric arrived last week and it’s on this weekend’s list of projects. It’s a special fabric, too, so I’m doubly excited.
My parcel of birthday fabric arrived yesterday afternoon! After the requisite several minutes of fabric-petting I bundled part of it right into the wash so I could spend the evening sewing.
And I did! I’d planned to finish a mini Fringe before jumping into a jersey pile, but my sewing machine decided its buttonhole functions weren’t going to behave themselves. Erg. With all the quirks the machine is developing lately I worry that it’s coming to the end of its life.
So instead of finishing in-progress projects I made another I Love the 90s dress – one of the few projects (along with my Estuary skirts) I’m able to make with no alterations. Actually, that’s not quite true – I do always lower the neckline and make a band instead of lining the bodice, but I made pattern pieces for those so it feels just like a cut-and-sew project.
I was expecting the print to be smaller, but it still looks cute so I’m not complaining. I did accidentally manage to put a hot-air balloon on each boob, though. Oops. I don’t think it’s too obvious, is it?
I made another little Going Home raglan, too, with the scraps from the 90s dress. Took under an hour because a) knits; b) tiny. I love projects that let me use up my leftovers, especially since fabric tends to be on the expensive side for me. The only local fabric shop sells exclusively cotton wovens (and a bit of flannel), so if I want anything different I have to order online.
Really wish I had a local source for knits.
Tonight I’m going to start (and, let’s be real, probably finish) a third Page hoodie, this one in red with a contrast hood lining. I’m thinking about colour blocking the sleeves and putting a wide stripe of contrast down them, but I only have half a metre of contrast so I’ll have to see what’s left after I cut out the hood and cuffs.
It’s finally warm enough to take photos outside again! I mean, it was -5 when I took the photo above, but I can manage that for a little while in short sleeves.
Just when I thought I might see spring sometime this century, Friday brought 25 cm of snow and near 100 km/h winds. I didn’t budge from my sewing room most of the afternoon – I had new patterns to tape together, plus a few projects on the go.
A couple of weeks ago I acquired some seal-print cotton/spandex jersey, and it took about 24 hours for it to become this I Love the 90s dress. It’s a cute pattern – empire-waist dresses will never not be my jam – and the fabric is gorgeous quality. It’s very soft with great recovery, and has a nice weight and thickness to it, too. Plus, seals. I am a five-year-old in a fortysomething-year-old body and I’m absolutely fine with that.
The only alterations I made were to have a single-layer bodice, which necessitates adding a band to the neckline for finishing, and to drop the neckline, too, because otherwise the band makes it a little too high for my liking. This is my second dress from the pattern, and it won’t be the last.
I haven’t worn the first one much, but that’s not the fault of the pattern. It was only my second project with jersey, and I managed to muck up the hems just enough so that they flipped after washing, and even the iron couldn’t get them to lie right. This morning I finally got around to unpicking the sleeve and skirt hems; I redid them with my twin needle and I think they’ll be fine now.
… Back to being a five-year-old in a fortysomething-year-old body, though, because I also made this Claiborne top from panda-print cotton. First time using a DIBY pattern, and it worked all right, but some of the pattern pieces didn’t quite line up. I’m not sure whether that’s exclusive to this pattern or a more widespread issue, but it was a little frustrating.
I didn’t actually pay attention to any of the instructions. I mean. Basic top, gathered empire waist, gathered sleeve ruffles, neckline facing. Not complex. Sometimes I like to just do my own thing. I did end up cutting two inches off the sleeve ruffles because I found them too long and puffy, but other than that it’s sewn as drafted.
I have a parcel of birthday-gift fabric arriving in a few days and I’m super-excited. I ordered enough for four projects – a third Page hoodie, a Josephine sweatshirt, another I Love the 90s dress and a Fuller cardigan. Eee. Have I mentioned before how much I love L’Oiseau Fabrics? Because I do, especially when it comes to jersey and french terry.
Please ignore the expression on my face. Squinting-into-the-sun selfies are rarely attractive.
So. Hedgehog dress! The print is little hedgehogs with flowers instead of quills, and it’s stinkin’ cute. I’m almost always 300% in favour of cute novelty prints. I had originally planned to make a Pembroke top with this, but when I laid it out I realised I might have enough to make a short-sleeved version of Ellie & Mac’s I Love the 90s dress.
I used every single scrap of fabric, but it worked. I had to put on a neckband rather than lining the bodice for fabric-quantity reasons, and next time if I do that I’ll scoop out the neckline much more because I find it a bit high for my liking. Couldn’t do the pockets, either, which is disappointing because everything should have pockets – but, a hedgehog dress without pockets is better than no hedgehog dress at all.
I made a straight 3x, and like… since when does that happen? I always have to grade up for my waist/hips/butt, but somehow I fit nicely into the 3x measurements. And the fit is so good – the bodice is fitted without being tight, and even the sleeves are perfect without a large bicep adjustment. Sorcery, I tell you. Plus, the dress goes together lightning-fast. It’s literally nine seams and three hems. I’d love one of these in a cozy, stretchy French terry for winter. Maybe that’ll be next on the list.
In other news, I’m now part-time at work. It wasn’t my first choice, but chronic illness sucks. My budget is tight, now, but I’m much more able to have an actual work-life balance. I work Monday & Tuesday, Thursday & Friday. Wednesdays, my mid-week day off, I’ve designated as a creative/brain-recharge day. I can’t do anything too strenuous or I’ll screw the rest of my week, but writing, reading, sewing, knitting, and certain types of photography are all things that please my brain.