Sunday, January 25, 2015

Well, plans change.  Priorities change. Newer, shinier things come up!  Well, nothing is really shinier than my plans for a gorgeous Bruyere and Gingers.  But LOOK AT THIS FABRIC!

Owls!  Somehow I see these as Smart Looking Owls.  Smart Owls that obviously need to be made into a shirt to be put on my body.  A shirt with buttons.  And a Peter Pan collar.  See?  This is how my makes materialize.  They just come to me in complete (though sometimes blurry) visions.

Also, Tilly, the genius Tilly, made Cocos out of sweatshirt fabric.  Being that we've had negative bazillion degree weather, obviously I needed to copy this genius idea.  Since I already needed to order the owl fabric, and offers free shipping on orders over $35, I went ahead and added some sweatshirt fabric to my order.

One project I hadn't mentioned in my post listing upcoming makes is the Watson bra.  I thought I had purchased a kit from Blackbird Fabrics when they first released Watson bra kits, however I was anxiously awaiting a package in the mail after I knew all the kits had been sent out when I realized that I never received a confirmation email for my order.  Somehow my order didn't process and I failed to notice until that moment.  Wah-wah.  I waited unpatiently while new kits were restocked and have been following the Watson Sew Along posts.  When the new kits came out I quickly snagged one and verified that my order had gone through.  They were sold out, again, within a day of being posted.  Whew!

I have also promised reviews of two blouses (three, actually, but one was already planned) for the Curvy Sewing Collective to be published in March, so those will need to be underway as well.  This is in addition to the two pajama pants promised to Hubs, a copy cat shirt and chaise cover promised to a friend.  I need to get my butt moving!  Did I mention that I will also be reviewing the Watson bra for the CSC?  So, yeah.  Off we go!

A Last Minute Coco

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Lately I've been really busy, and when I have had time to sew or craft it is to wrap up projects I have for other people.  Honestly, I needed a quick selfish sewing fix.  I also wanted a new dress.  Because.  Reasons.  My Tilly and the Buttons Coco (unblogged, but briefly mentioned) is now much too big to wear, which makes me sad because I wore the crap out of that adorable top.  It's in my alterations piles, but making is much more fun than altering.  Plus, I hadn't yet made the dress variation!  So, I promptly made my way to Joanns for a quick fabric fix for a quick dress fix!

I picked up this reversible dot/stripe knit from Joanns.  I made my Plantain out of the turquoise colorway so I already knew how this fabric behaves.
I debated whether to use the striped or dotted version on the outer layer of the dress.  Ultimately I decided on the dots, using the stripes as contrast where I could.  I wanted this dress to be really quick and easy to fit into my limited time, so I decided to make the dress with french seams and flip the inside out for the contrast trim.
Also shown, my new cutting mat!!
I couldn't decide which size to make, or if I should grade between sizes because I was a little bigger in the waist than the size 6.  In the end I went ahead and did a straight 6 with no alterations.  I'm really glad I went with this because it fits really well!
Pardon the bathroom pic.
I'm pretty happy with how the hem and sleeves turned out!  The lines all came out nice and straight.  This fabric is also super soft and comfy with an 82% rayon content.  Mmmmm.  It's like work pajamas!  I wore this out for a girl's night and everyone thought I bought my dress.  Yay!
Shortly after I made this, Tilly posted about sewing winter Cocos from sweatshirt fleece.  What a great idea!!!  I promptly ordered some sweatshirt fleece to make a super cozy version.  I'm happy to know I can whip out a new dress in a few hours.  Can't wait!

Looking Ahead

Saturday, January 3, 2015

I feel like I'm becoming a true sewist because I have an ever expanding sewing queue, as well as a small fabric stash, most of which with designated pattern plans.  I keep track of my queue and wish list on my Pinterest boards.  My Sewing Queue board includes patterns I own and have the fabric for.  As soon as I finish a project I move it over to Things I have Sewn.  The third board I refer to often is the Things I Want to Sew board.  Here I can keep track of patterns that I want to buy, or note that I already own it and need to buy fabric for it.  Owning a pattern without having fabric is a new thing for me.  Black Friday/Cyber Monday and other holiday related sales were so irresistible that I bought several for myself to have handy.  I did, however, also buy lots of fabric for patterns I knew I wanted to sew in the future.  Consequently, I now have quite the list of things to make.  Currently I'm still working on two straggler Christmas presents that I need to be finished, and Hubs is waiting for some PJ pants to be made.  He also has asked me to make a sort of roof for his work cubicle to block out light as it gives him headaches.  For this project I plan on practicing a flat felled seam since it would prevent any light from leaking through the seam.

Once all the non-selfish sewing is complete, I plan on diving head first back into glorious selfish, selfish sewing.  Which project should I start first??

One of two top priority projects is my Deer & Doe Bruyere shirt.  I cannot.wait. to make this top.  I've held onto the pattern and my glorious fabric for several months.  First because I was scared to make it.  I've never made a button down top.  I've only made a few button holes.  I've never made a traditional style collar.  I bought the most glorious fabric from Blackbird Fabrics.  It's light grey with white dots stretch cotton shirting and is going to make the most luxurious Bruyere ever.
My next top priority are my Ginger jeans by Closet Case Files.  I need new jeans desperately.  To buy or to sew?  Definitely to sew.  Though I might have to buy a pair just so I don't look like a hobo until I can make my Gingers.  I bought some stretch denim with a Black Friday sale, I think it is from but I'm not sure.  They weren't able to send me continuous yardage I requested so hopefully I can make it work.  I think they sent me two yards and a half yard separately.  Since I'll need to shorten the inseam, I'm hoping I'll be able to make it work with the yardage I have.
Further down on the priority list is another Closet Case Files pattern, the Nettie bodysuit.  I've never worn a bodysuit.  I mean, I wore leotards when I was a kid in ballet/gymnastics classes, but when bodysuits were popular in the 90s I never wore one.  Now it seems quite practical to me.  I want to start wearing high waisted skirts, and a bodysuit would go perfectly!  I bought purple fabric for my Nettie.
Finally, in my immediate queue, I have the Betsy skirt by Bluegingerdoll.  I bought some really nice black and blue pinstripe suiting for this, but I think to go with my above Nettie, I'm going to use a grey pinstripe suiting that I used for my Colette Patterns Dahlia (unblogged, but check it out on Instagram!).  This way I'll have a complete outfit.  Later on I can make another Nettie in grey or black and make another Betsy with the black and blue suiting.  Or I can make a blue Nettie!!
I also bought some nice purple herringbone suiting with lurex threads for subtle sparkle, and I was thinking about making By Hand London's Anna dress (knee length), but Hubs got me Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing for Christmas and I'm thinking about making her Wiggle dress instead.  Any thoughts??

Top 5 Hits and Misses of 2014

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What better day than the very last day of the year to reflect on my Top 5 Hits and Misses of 2014?!  I haven't blogged about everything (or most things) in this post, but I still wanted to participate.  Let's start with the #sewingfails.
Actually, I would like to talk about the year a bit.  This year was extremely challenging for me as I went through my first, and very major, surgery which has resulted in a drastic improvement in my health and prompted an ever shrinking Sylvie.  Because of the changes in my body I took some time off from sewing and the projects I made were ones that I thought could later be adjusted. 
Anyway, Hubs and I also adopted a puppy.  We had been wanting a sister for Lily, but my husband had been unemployed so the funds weren't there.  As soon as he was offered a position we immediately cranked the pug search into high gear.  Hubs found a breeder, and we couldn't say no to the most adorable, teeniest pug puppy ever.  We brought Miley home and soon she and Lily formed a deep sisterly bond.  Having a puppy has been a ton of fun!
I also transferred positions in my incredibly boring job, to a slightly less boring job but one I'm incredibly happy to be in.  It really is amazing the effect on your life as a whole when you really are happy in your job. 
Okay!  On to the lists!

Top 5 Misses

5. Sewaholic Saltspring
I actually wore this dress quite a lot, and did find it lovely and comfortable.  The fault is not at all within the pattern.  I will make this again.  However I cut the pieces on fabric that was off grain or otherwise twisted, so the bodice is constantly twisty.  I will note that I made 4 strand braided straps and they turned out awesome.
4. Deer & Doe Plantain Top
This top was also poorly constructed.  Apparently I had a bought of bad knit sewing.  Initially the top wasn't super flattering on me, the bust was too tight and I just didn't like it on that much.  The fabric however is really nice.  A rare rayon knit from Joanns, double sided with stripes on one side and polka dots on the other.  You might remember that Mary (Idle Fancy link) made a Lady Skater dress with this same fabric.  Because of the double sided construction of the fabric, it is also a weird knit in that it frays.

3. Lady Skater Valentine's Day Dress

I think I just need to tweak the Lady Skater pattern to flatter my figure better.  Or I could try out Bluegingerdoll's Violet which is sexier (more my style!).  Part of the problem is also the length of the dress.  My former job dictated the need to wear dresses that were at least knee length, which apparently just doesn't work well on my frame.  Maybe if I drastically shorten the skirt, that might make this dress work for me.

2. Vintage Moneta Sweaters

Again, the fault is not with the pattern, but with the sewist.  I made two of these, one in black ribbing and one in grey cable.  The grey cable is another two-sided fabric, and the inside is of an awful acrylic.  This is why it's best to actually read and understand fabric descriptions when shopping online.  Neither sweater has been worn once.  The black sweater does have hope, I just need to remove the collar and simply turn and stitch to finish.  And take it in on the side seams at the waist.

1. Butterick See & Sew B5870 Purple Dress

I wore this once.  While it is a lovely color and the fabric is quite nice, my sewing machine fought me every step of the way when I made this dress.  Looking back I think I may have needed a new needle, or had the bobbin upside down, but this dress is very poorly assembled.  On top of that, I had graded it out in the hips and made really weird side seams.  Overall I felt Fatty McFatFat in this dress and never wore it again.  Maybe one day I will turn the fabric into something else.

Top 5 Hits!

5. Colette Patterns Myrtle
I made a fancy version for a wedding, and promptly made a knit version to wear on a daily basis.  My knit version was adopted into a once a week at work rotation.  So comfy, so adorable, so versatile to wear with multiple colored cardigans.
4. Lola Sweatshirt Dress
This dress turned out exactly how I had pictured it.  I was so excited to make it and the dress did not disappoint.  Even though it was a bit big on me at the time I made it, I have still worn the crap out of it.  However I've barely worn it out of the house because my husband says the grey and black colors, along with the simple styling, make it look like a dress right out of Divergent's Abnegation colony.  I don't care.  This dress it stupid comfortable and probably my best constructed item.  It is perfect and I'm very proud of it.  Although now it is much too big to think about wearing in public, I still wear it a ton for lounging.
3. Tilly and the Buttons Francoise FatCat Dress
 Ever since I discovered this fat cat fabric, and Tilly released the Francoise dress pattern, I knew it was a match made in heaven.  I had an instant vision of a yellow edged black collar and bright yellow button embellishments on the front of this lovely purple fabric.  The fabric is an homage to my own fat cat, Linux.  The dress came out nearly perfect, and I wear it to work often.  
2. The Wardrobe Malfunction AKA PaprikaPatterns Jade Skirt
Despite the wardrobe malfunction I experienced the first time I wore this skirt, I have since fixed (tightened) it and wear it all the time to work.  I feel sassy and adorable when I wear it, and it's the first real mini skirt I've worn in many years.  I adore this skirt.  The fabric, the color, the detail.  I love it.

1. The Perfect Shirtdress - Simplicity 1459
Another item that came out (almost) exactly as I pictured it.  The fabric is perfect.  The pattern is perfect.  The construction is beautiful.  I have worn this dress many times and always get compliments.  The fact that I made it, with my own two hands, is just amazing to me.

Honorable mention:  Tilly and the Buttons Margot Pajamas
 I've barely taken these off since I finished them.  I made them out of flannel and used Lauren's technique of elastic + ribbon in the waistband.  Heaven.

Thank you to Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow for starting this tradition!

The Fat Cat Dress - Tilly and the Buttons Francoise

Monday, December 1, 2014

When Erin, the lovely Miss Crayola Creepy, sneek peek'ed her Cat Lady Sewing Challenge WIP I promptly fell in love with her fabric.
Yes, please.  I instantly saw a vision of cats, yellow piping, and yellow buttons.  I missed the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge, which is lucky for me because Tilly introduced her new lovely pattern, Francoise.
Tilly is one of my favorite bloggers.  She's so sweet and adorable, and I loved watching her on the first season of The Great British Sewing Bee.  She's just a doll!  I love her style and also just acquired her new book, Love At First Stitch.  My vision of a purple and black fat cat dress with yellow piping and buttons suddenly formed in the shape of a Francoise dress.  Complete with black collar, yellow piped edges, and too cute for words buttons down the front.

Tilly also announced a contest.  Well okay then!  This is the first time I have participated in any sort of sewing challenge or contest, and I'm extremely pleased with how my dress turned out.  It is *exactly* how I pictured.
This is my first time successfully sewing piping, as well as a successful collar.  I'm pleased as punch.  Am I bold enough to wear a cat dress in public?  Why yes, yes I am.
This dress is an homage to my very own fat cat, Linux.

Paprika Patterns Jade Skirt - The Pinterest Skirt!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Quite a while ago I found an ADORABLE diagonally pleated knit skirt on Pinterest.  I promptly pinned it, quickly scanned the instructions online which I deemed it too complicated for my tiny head, and continued to pine for it from a distance.
(Picture sourced from Pinterest)
Lucky for me, Lisa turned this highly pinned skirt into her first released pattern via new indie company Paprika Patterns.

The Jade Skirt pattern is available for a price that YOU determine, including free.  I believe Lisa originally planned to have this available as a free pattern, but the project evolved and turned into a company and her sole employment.  I love to support indie pattern makers so I was happy to pay for the pattern.  I'm also happy to share the word, because I have a major crush on this skirt.  It's completely adorable, enviable, comfortable (knits = secret pajamas!), and did I mention - COMPLETELY ADORABLE.

I recently had a day off work that I planned to ~SEW~ all day long.  A glorious day to look forward to!  Since this is the initial release for Paprika Patterns, the pattern does not come in the full size range that it will be available for in the future.  I have lost a significant amount of weight, but I was still on the cusp of the size range:

Size Chart (Inches)


Good thing I'm a renegade seamstress, because I recklessly slashed and spread the pattern and added my necessary additional inches.

So, funny story.  I added about two inches to the overall width of the skirt.  As I was fitting the skirt on myself, I had to take out about the same amount that I had added.

Funnier story.  I finished the skirt within an afternoon, and had a haircut scheduled in the evening.  It was so cute and adorable and comfortable that of course I wore my new me made skirt to my appointment.  I gushed to my stylist about how I spent all day sewing this adorable skirt and we fawned over the adorableness of the skirt.
After my appointment my stylist and I were walking to the register.  Suddenly I feel a sort of constriction around my ankles, as if I had left the bathroom forgetting my undies around my ankles.  Except instead of my undies, it was my skirt!  We both got quite a laugh out of my wardrobe malfunction, luckily I was wearing some heavy duty tights due to our chilly weather.
Obviously I need to take it in even more.  My knit, although fairly stable, probably also has a fair amount of stretch which contributes to how the size feels.  Anyhoo.  The construction of the skirt seems complicated, but there is a video on the Paprika Patterns website to assist.  The pattern also includes a scaled down version to practice.  After watching the video and using the practice sheet, it really isn't that complicated.  I used color coordinated pins when constructing my actual skirt to indicate my folds.  The skirt is fully lined, so all raw edges are neatly concealed and contained.  The pattern prompts a mid-construction fitting to ensure a nice fit.  (Note, if you plan on wearing tights with the skirt, you may want to also wear tights while fitting to avoid any similar wardrobe malfunctions. Learn from my mistakes.)  I cannot say enough how adorable this skirt is.  I felt so sassy and put together when I wore it.  I can't wait to wear the hell out of this skirt, as soon as I take in the waist a bit!

Simplicity 1459 - The One With The Perfect, Gorgeous Shirtdress

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

You guys. I'm seriously impressed with myself! My construction is getting pretty damn good. See: Simplicity 1459.
I came across this pattern through the lovely Tanya Maile. I've always loved shirtdresses and have long quested for one that fit and flattered me. No such luck. This is why I sew. Combine the perfect pattern with the perfect fabric and you've got the perfect dress! I instantly knew I wanted to make this dress in a royal blue cotton sateen. This would make my eyes like POW! Enter, this gorgeous and perfect fabric:
(Now unavailable on Also, this is the true color. It's awfully hard to photograph.)
I found this on and it was exactly what I was looking for. The planets aligned and this dress was destined to beautifully grace my body. When I received my package I was even more thrilled. It has just the right amount of stretch and the color is incredible. Plus, tonal dots! Even more perfect.

Then... Life happened. I bought the pattern and fabric for my birthday, in August. In September I worked on my Princess Peach costume. Apparently it took the whole month. I was cautious because being the same brand, I was worried about picking the size of the garment. I finally got around to tracing the pattern and making a muslin. I didn't realize the sleeves had darts at the elbows, but I gave it a shot. The bodice fit fine, but the sleeves were way too tight. So I used sleeves from another pattern instead, since I didn't care about the elbow darts anyway.

One thing I hate doing is gathering, and the skirt requires lots of gathering. Luckily from my Princess Peach costume I had already practiced my work around! I think I picked up the tip from Gertie, but I sew a long and wide zig zag over a bit of string. I happen to have a ball of string in my stash! This trick is miraculous. Gathering is so much faster and honestly I think it actually does a better job too. Just pull the string when you're ready to gather, and blamo! You've got lovely gathers.
I was also quite impressed with how the collar turned out. My tips aren't perfect, but the collar as a whole looks pretty good. I worried the collar would overwhelm my small frame, but I didn't make any changes to it and I think it looks good. I hand picked the lapped zipper and am in love with how beautiful yet camouflaged the zipper is.
Sorry for the flash!
My biggest issue with the dress is the buttonholes. First though, yay for my first (non-bound) buttonholes on a garment! Go me! Anyway, I'm pretty sure I marked their placement correctly per the pattern but it seems they could be in better locations. I also would shorten the bodice a bit because the weight of the skirt brings it a bit low on me. I meant to use hem tape when finishing the skirt, but it seemed sooooo fiddley so I just pinked the edge and did a catch stitch hem. I like that better anyway.
All in all, I'm very proud of this dress and I'm totally in love with it. I wore it with my petticoat made last year. I'm ecstatic with how this dress turned out!