More of the same

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.

Red!

It’s a dull, washed-out kind of day but at least I have a bright red York pinafore to make up for it.

It’s kind of ridiculous how long I’ve waited to make this – I tagged the pattern for future sewing when it first came out, but was convinced that it just wasn’t going to look right on me and waffled back and forth for literal months. Not sure what made me decide, yesterday, to just dive in, but I’m glad I did. I kind of love it. Even the slight cocoon shape works.

Alterations were simple – I shortened the yoke by 1.25″ at each of the two lengthen/shorten points, and I graded from a 22 yoke to a 26 waist/hip. It works well with the thick corduroy, but if I make one in a thinner fabric I may go to a 24 waist/hip instead. I might try the other pockets, too, just for fun.

I used much less bias tape than the pattern called for – I’m guessing the estimate was generous. I made my own out of a scrap of red/green/white tartan and it’s super-cute on the inside. I always seem to convince myself that I don’t like the process of sewing a bias facing, but every time I do it I conclude that it’s not at all the pain in the butt I told myself it would be. Good thing, too, because the neck, open sides, and pocket openings are all entirely finished with bias tape.

I’m not sure how much time I spent on this but it seemed like a fairly quick sew. It’s not a dress but I’m tagging it as one anyhow, because I’m not likely to need a ‘pinafore’ tag anytime soon.

Seals and Pandas!

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.

And now, back to the sewing machine.

Hedgies!

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.

Leafy Montrose Hack

The universe tried to defeat me today as far as photos go. It was cold and windy with a thick layer of grey cloud, and I had equipment issues, to boot. I misplaced the quick-release plate from my tripod, so the only real option I had was the edge of the parking lot where I could set my camera on a car; then the remote refused to work so I had to resort to setting a ten-second timer and scrambling into place after each click.

Issues aside – yay, I have a new dress! It’s a Montrose hack. I lengthened the hem and flared it some, gave it a mild high-low cut, then added elastic and a fabric tie belt to the underbust. I should have traced the edited pattern pieces before putting the dress together, but I didn’t think about it at the time, so if I decide to make another in the same style (which I likely will) I’ll have to pin the dress out and trace from there.

I swore I was not going to be that person who puts a photo of her cats in every post, but Parker’s asleep face-down on a pile of seersucker and it’s the cutest thing.