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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Next! Sewing Mojo is Flowin!

I have been sewing like crazy!   But NEXT:  I am going to go back to the Seamster Dandelion top to make a leather shell!  Here's my last (and fitting perfectly after more than a dozen washes) version:
Can you see the lovely side panel?
 It curves from halfway to center back up under the arm to a princess seam

There's a center back zip
(which I don't use in this version, but I am sure I will need in a leather version)

The fabric is gorgeous - some kind of batik on a plaid cotton

Here is my first version:  made in a cotton lawn - I put this one up at the store - I made an identical one for myself by the invisible zipper ate the lawn on my first zip - I immediately went out an bought a proper invisible zipper foot.  These shots show the design lines nicely.

the curved side panel shows up well on this shot

So - what else have I sewn?
I made a BBQ shirt for my DH using the bits from a shirt we ordered online  (apparently an XXL for a child)
 -I think the main fabric is a Kaufman Interweave chambray (pepper? I think) - I bought a remnant.

My friend gifted me some crazy poly-knit, I love it!  So I made (another) Lisbon Cardigan

Here's another one I didn't blog from May (apparently that was my last haircut!):

I made a Plantain Tee out of a gorgeous Rayon jersey from my Nature's Fabrics prize pack

Plantain Tee
And - a Sophie Swimsuit that I will blog when I make one from the finalized pattern
Sophie Swimsuit
Today I will finish this dress.  I totally messed with a woven pattern to make a knit version of view C

phew!  two weeks of holidays, then I will tackle the leather shell - do you think denim will make a good test run?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Look what I did to my Florence!

The Mumu/Maxi/Sundress theme in Sewing Land has taken a definite hold this summer, and I debated jumping onboard - until my SIL's announcement that her annual Heat of July BBQ was themed "Hippie".  In previous years I have worn Hawaiian, Hillbilly and White Trash outfits, so I succumbed to the pressure and started thinking about how to manage a sundress.

Remember the cute little dresses we wore as kids in the 70s?  The Smocked and Shirred dresses with the little ties that we pulled up WAY high in the front so our 7 year old boobies wouldn't peek out? - Well, I popped into Fabricland and found their rolls of Shirred fabric and bought enough to make a lazy, simple summer dress.

In typical Heather-fashion I started overthinking the dress (I was thinking I would make a built-in bra using the Fairy Bra Mother's Craftsy course) and had a stroke of brilliance! 
What if I used the Seamwork Florence?
use the Seamwork link above, signup for the 1 month trial and choose the Florence and one other pattern for $3 - that's an affiliate link; you (as one of my 6 followers) may eventually be a partial contributor to paying for 1 month of my ongoing subscription.

So I hacked (it hardly justifies the term) the Florence Bra!

Interior shot showing the direction of shirring on the inner cups, the secondary bridge lining and the unshirred fabric on the outer cups.  I serged the lining to the side seam.
  1. I eliminated the back seam and added side seams (I wanted to have side slits for walking comfort, and knew that the easiest way was to hem back the side seams below the knee).  To do this I cut the back off where the side seam should lay, and added seam allowance to the side seam, then edited the center seam and cut the back on the fold.
  2. Using the new front piece of the bra bridge, I cut a knit lining fabric for bridge support (I have done this to my previous Florence Bras and recently did this in my Closet Case Swimsuit).
  3. I cut the front and back with the upper edge on the shirred edge (cutting the cups out of the shirring.  I checked to make sure that the shirring elastic was secured before I snipped.
  4. I cut the inner cup on the shirred edge of the fabric.
  5. I cut 4 of the outer cup in regular fabric (for support - I would have had too much bounce with shirred fabric on both halves of the cup).
  6. I hemmed the fabric and hemmed back the side slits.
  7. I finished the neckline edge of the cups with some picot elastic from my scraps.
  8. I added a little bow for humor.

Gratutious shot of the picot edged elastic; sewn using the lingerie method of zigzagging wrong side down to the right side of the cup and folding back and 3-step zigzagging on the right side to cover the elastic edge.

Voila!  I have a sexy, summery,supportive sundress to wear without an underbra (and the multiple straps) - and it worked really well on my curviness!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Lisbon Cardigan: A Garden Sweater!

Spring is so pretty!  All the buds and explosions on branches, the lovely lushness and the colours!  Oh - and then there's the lasting winter chill that speckles the lovely sunshine filled days.  I love to underdress this time of year, and then nature punishes me if I haven't got a layer tucked away in a little bag.

I have some pretty fabrics in my stash that need a special garment - this small piece hasn't been languishing long, but that's because the perfect project landed on my cutting table (I was asked to test the pattern)!  The main fabric was a prize in a recent show and tell from Elliot Berman Textiles:  I had feared it was going to be long-term stash or face its destiny as panties because I only had  .8m of it.  The other fabric is a beautiful Teal Bamboo Jersey from my stash - I think I bought it at Fabrications as a remnant. ( I think this is the proper description:  66% Bamboo Viscose, 28% Organic Cotton and 6% Spandex. 58” wide  - 200 GSM.)
Both of these fabrics are 4 way and the main stretch is 100%

The pattern is a really simple cardigan with 4 design options - the Lisbon Cardigan from Itch to Stitch.

The design has a lovely amount of ease - and made with such a light jersey with all that Lycra I could have sized down - I am so thrilled with the relaxed look of the top.

The bands on this pattern really make this an easy garment to construct.  Taking a few minutes to mark the quarters of the sleeve, 8ths of the collar, and 16ths of the hem band mean that you can easily/evenly distribute the stretch and prevent any bunching.

The collar is the most challenging stretch - but as a result it lies nicely against the body.  Can I just shout out to Kennis to a gorgeously drafted sleeve?  Look how the armpit came together!

The back of the cardi is straight forward and clean

All in all - I am happy with my top, and I am happy to recommend the pattern.  Itch to Stitch provided me with the pattern, and you can be assured that if it was a dud I wouldn't recommend it.  Since I fall right at the top of her size range I wouldn't normally be an Itch to Stitch customer, but this experience has me re-examining the patterns on the site - Kennis wrote excellent instructions and the draft is spot-on.

My version of the pattern is the cropped cardi with 3/4 sleeves.  There is also a long sleeve and uncropped version.  In testing the only drafting feedback was that the sleeve was long in the test version - Kennis will be altering this for the final draft.

Did I manage to evoke a bit of the satin bomber-jacket fashion that the style bloggers are going on about?  (Am I maybe on the cutting edge? - not likely, but I love the top, so Whateve's)

Friday, April 29, 2016

A (not so) young Jedi sewer makes a break through.

This week I was adding buttons to a (what was kind of a muslin but has become a real piece) cardigan and since I wasn't being particularly anal I decided to trust my machine's automatic buttonhole foot. Usually I still mark and use my foot pedal, but for some crazy second I forgot what machine I was at and I pushed the start button (I have never used this button) instead of the needle down button. The machine went into crazy action at top speed (faster than my foot pedal will make it go)... perfect button hole. I put aside the sample scrap and grabbed the garment - and perfect button hole: 6 times. huh!

I guess I need to learn to trust in the Force.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A kindred soul's stash

Earth Day /week inspires a lot of rehoming, repurposing, and reduce, reuse, recycling and today was a thrifting day in my town: schools and organizations have resale events where they collect a small admittance at the door and various "vendors" tag their goods for sale in gymnasiums and halls.

We visited a sale this morning searching for some summer clothes for DS the younger.  Afterwards we popped into VV to dig around.  I (per usual) loaded up the cart with children's books (to keep the boy occupied while I peruse) and moved over to the sewing and fabric section and I delightedly collected a few bags of notions.

I gaga'd at the little sneak peeks that i could discern through the jumble of stacked cards and celophane, shelled over my $6 and change and happily returned the children's book (save 1 DS got to pick).  Once at home I settled down to sort through the 4 bags.  The first was a fantastic collection of buttons.  Gorgeous jewels still on their cards.  Most were purchased for 15 cents from Woolworth, Zellers, and Eaton's. 

I am taking such joy on this bag! There was a little card of orange buttons that attracted me at first, it was why I bought the bag... but, so many beautiful buttons!  Like candies.

Bag #2 had me at a peek of blue and silver rick rack.  There were so many pretties peeking over the stacks of cards in the bag.  There was also a new treasure:  Shell Braid.  Everything is sparkly with gold and silver fibers, and so may pastels!

Bag #3 was a motherload of snaps and hooks and eyes, needles and bias tape.  This one fascinated me in its history.

So many of the little metal bits were made in Canada and England.  Today they come from China and India usually, and I have been trained to have an aversion to cheaply made bits (often this is why I thrift - to re purpose and rehome bits and pieces that already exist, and lessen my footprint that iota.)

Bag #4 sits on my kitchen table waiting for my inspection.   I spotted bra hook panels and a snap setter and that was the motivation to spend another $1.39.  

I feel like I know the former owner of all these things, in fact, I feel like she is an old friend.  I know, if she was alive as the items were loaded up, that there was regret at the projects not made and the loss of those beautiful cards of buttons.  I hope that she somehow knows that her stash has landed in my stash.  I will do my best to create the final home for these notions and finishings and her passion will be infused with mine.

Do you wonder what will happen to your stash when you no longer hold it?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Endeavours! Shorts and "that curve"

I am really excited to be sewing up some Endeavours!  I have looked at the pattern online so many times in the last year, and passed because I was unsure of the whole package  (I was stung sharply by a BAAAAAD pdf (previously blogged, you'll find it if you are looking for the pattern review) )- I wanted to see reviews and they were few, and the designer was offline for a while.

A photo posted by Heather Dawson (@rainydayperson) on

Then recently there was a thread of chat about tough to fit bodies and pants and a Fb friend recommended the pattern.  Phew! - then! I was (just the NEXT DAY) shopping in a destination fabric shop a few hours from home :  Fabrications and saw this wall:  (YES, I giggled)

The pattern IS innovative.  I like the variation for hip curve - bum-cup size as described by the designer.  It's drafted well (all the notches match, too!) and my first kick at the can (get it!?) was a near success (I am so! close).  The instructions are great - if you have experience with reading a pattern, it's easy to get the jive.  It's similar to a Style Arc instruction set - and there are plenty of handy tips right on the pattern pieces - be prepared to trace you pattern.

I was excited to see that the PR Pants Contest is next month, so I am hoping that I will get a TNT out of these.  The first pair were dreamy on my bum, and a little tight in the front (I am an atypical shape) So I am going up a size - I suspect I may be 1 size in the front and another in the back....
I highly recommend not skipping this pattern - it's a treat.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Dandelion Bronte Top

My last mishmash post of knit sewing tips and tricks was a gathering of a month of psych - ing myself up for actually using one of my precious fabrics.  I bought an Art Gallery Knit : Tiny Dancer at my local fabric supplier, Stitch by Stitch and I was terrified I might create a wadder if I didn't prep, practice, pray.
So, I prepped and practiced all month.  I made several knit projects over the month and finally the last week of the month I cut into a similar fabric as a muslin.  When that one worked out fine I sucked in my breath, and prayed while I finally cut into the AG knit.

I have made a few before, but with the changes to my bust since my mastectomy I wasn't sure how it would fit, and to my great pleasure,  it fit really well.
 The knit's stretch and body worked really well for this pattern, and the 4way stretch was a nice surprise.   The whole project went well, and I am a definite convert to the thicker knit.
The 3/8 seam allowance worked nicely with my 6,0 needle 
The bobbin thread perfectly encases the seam allowance and the cover stitch effect is great.

 I graded up 2 sizes below the waistline.
The other alteration was to add a sleeve band instead of a hem; I have marked the pattern to add an inch for future hems, I like the sleeve just a tad longer than drafted. 

I liked the look of the three buttons to finish the shirt off.

All in all, I love this shirt and it has now become a true TNT. I'm already thinking about my next one, and I have already splurged on another Art Gallery knit.