Saturday, 31 December 2016

Year in Review 2016

Wow, does time ever fly when you're having fun in the sewing room!  It's been another wonderful year of sewing and I feel like I accomplished a lot even though I'm not a prolific sewer.

 The highlight of 2016 was without a doubt my brand new Bernina 580.  This is my dream sewing machine that I've wanted for a while.  I'm still loving it.  It's beautiful to work with and beautiful to look at too!

So what did I actually sew in 2016?  Let's see.
I started the year off with my ridiculously girly Vintage Apron.    I really enjoyed working on this.

The pattern had some unique details which were not only interesting but beneficial to add to my sewing repertoire.

Of course,  I also did some knitting and quilting this year.

Needle turn appliqué
I didn't complete a quilt or a cardigan.  But I did complete some mittens!  Here are my Songbird mittens.
I also squeezed in my La Joie du Printemps mittens this year.    

 I made two summer shirt dresses (McCall's 6696) and I learned a lot about fitting with these.  

I discovered that doing a sway back adjustment eliminates vertical excess and makes for a lot less poofing.  I really enjoyed fitting this dress despite my frustration fitting the collar to my gaping neckline adjustment.

Then I dived into my biggest challenge which will be a tremendous sewing accomplishment if I succeed; drafting and fitting a pants sloper.  I've always been frustrated by pants and the lack of a good fit.  Now I'm ready for the challenge.

Overall, it's been a pretty good year of sewing.  I did a bit more knitting than usual.  I find knitting stranded mittens doesn't hurt my wrist as much as knitting sweaters, so those mittens were fun.  I certainly did not sew as many garments as I would like but the garments I did sew were excellent quality, and I learned a lot from them.  However, I think next year I'd like to sew more garments.  So I better get going!

Thanks for reading my blog!  Many well wishes from my sewing room to yours!
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

La Joie du Printemps Mittens

Ironically, I completed my La Joie du Printemps mittens around the winter solstice, and spring seems a far-flung memory.  Nevertheless, it is a gorgeous knitting pattern, and it was a lot of fun to knit.  It's knit at a denser gauge than my Songbird mittens, so they're a bit more impermeable to wind.
We just had a blizzard yesterday, so it was fun to photograph these on fresh snow banks.

I used Jamieson & Smith 2 ply Jumper Weight wool which is a lovely Shetland yarn traditionally used for fair isle work.  I decided on a bright magenta with bright white contrast for a cheery design.  I have the complete collection of Jamieson & Smith shade cards because I like to see the colours in person before I order.  So it's fun to look at different combinations on the cards for colourwork.

 I used yarn colour 52 which is a bright magenta.  It sometimes appears red in photos, but you can see how it compares to 93 and 1403.

I really enjoyed making these mittens.  It's fun to see the design emerge.  I also find that knitting colour work is not painful on my wrist like other knitting is.  So it's a bonus for me!

 Well, these mittens will definitely keep my fingers toasty this winter.

If you're having a cold winter too, stay warm, and I wish you a cozy season.  If you're having balmy or summer weather well then lucky you!

Thanks for reading my blog and
Happy Knitting!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Winter Sewing Ideas

There's no denying that winter is here.  Sewing summer dresses is no longer satisfying if I can't wear them now.  So,  I've officially shifted to winter sewing mode.  I quite enjoy winter sewing because there's no way I'd rather spend a cold wintry day than in my sewing room.  I probably accomplish a lot more in winter than I do in summer.

I decided to call them sewing ideas as opposed to sewing plans.  I guess I'm really focused on my pant sloper now and I don't want to commit to too many projects.  Nevertheless, I do have some awesome winter sewing ideas!

photo from

First of all, I would like to draft and sew a pair of fitted cigarette pants in a colourful cotton twill,  similar to the photo here.  I'm in the process of fitting my sloper right now.  I'll do a separate post all about it,  hopefully soon! (crossing fingers)  

I would also like to use my pant sloper to make a pair of dress pants or slacks, perhaps in a beautiful black wool crepe.  It would be so awesome to have a nice fitting pair.

I was also thinking of making this dress again in view C or D.  I love the way it fits, and I could always use a warm winter dress.  I would probably use a wool suiting fabric.  Something a bit less bulky than I used last time.

I've wanted to make Vogue 1513 for a while.  I even scoured the internet for the perfect fabric.  I couldn't find any wool crepe around here. I finally found some fabric I like from England.  So now I have to make it!

And, last but not least.  I could really use a new sweater dress!  I love McCall's 7430 with either the full length or 3/4 length sleeves because it would be so warm and cozy.  The only problem is finding the perfect knit.  I'll just have to keep searching.

So, there you have it.  I feel a bit better having put some of my scattered ideas down.  I'm on a roll with pant fitting right now.  It's a lot of trial and error but I am learning a lot, and I don't want to get distracted as I sometimes do.  Once I'm done with pants, I'll move on to dresses which are always fun.

I'll be back soon...
Happy Sewing!

Monday, 21 November 2016

Drafting a Pants Sloper

Ill-fitting pants are the bane of my existence, and they always have been.  I don't think I've ever had a pair of well fitting pants save for a pair of baggy pajama pants or sweatpants.  But that doesn't really count.

When I first got back into sewing, many moons ago, I remember hoping that one day I'd master pants so I can make my own that fit properly. Shopping for pants was and still is frustrating.  I tried sewing pants, and I discovered that sewing pants was easy.  It's the fitting of pants that was complicated.  Soon I gave up on pants and delved into the much more fun world of dresses, skirts, and tops.

Now,  I'm ready to tackle my life's sewing mission!
I took my measurements and used them to make my custom pants sloper.  A sloper is a well fitting template that can be used to make a variety of patterns.  In this case, I can use my sloper to make trousers, capris, jeans or shorts.  So it will be used over and over for a variety of patterns.  When I get the perfect fitting sloper, I'll transfer it to durable tag (or poster board paper) to preserve it as it may get used a lot.

I learned to draft my pants sloper from a Craftsy class (I have soooo many of them) called "Patternmaking & Design: The Pants Sloper" by Suzy Furrer.   I also have her textbook called "Building Patterns: The Architecture of Women's Clothing" which I use in conjunction with the video lessons.   She is such a brilliant instructor.  I learned so much from her classes, and I highly recommend them for anyone interested in patternmaking.

So, after plugging in my measurements, plotting out the calculations, fine tuning some lines here and there, I finally have a pants sloper! 
 It's not finished quite yet, though.  I have yet to test out the fit and fine tune it.  Fitting will be the fun part.  I'm determined to get a fabulously fitting sloper.  The better fitting the sloper, the better fitting my future garments will be.  Yay!
Wish me luck!

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Songbird Mittens

It's that time of year again!  Mitten weather!  I've temporarily shifted into knitting lately.  It happens every year.  I think it's the changing seasons that does it.  It's funny that the tilted earth orbiting the sun can affect even my sewing and knitting.

I've been absolutely enthralled with colourwork mittens.  So I want to share my Songbird mittens that I just finished yesterday.  I started these exactly one year ago.  Then they hibernated for most of the year.  I must have been distracted with some other project.  The good thing about UFO's is that when you find them, most of the work is already done!

These were made with Jamieson and Smith 2 ply jumper weight wool, which is fingering weight.  I really love this yarn; so much that I have a sample pack of all their yarn colours.

I really enjoyed making these mittens.  It's fun seeing the image slowly emerge.  I have a list of other patterns in my knitting queue.  We'll see what I'll complete this year.  But I'm sure I'll be back into sewing soon.

And here is a gratuitous photo of my Mammillaria plumosa in bloom!

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Summer Shirt-dress Part 2: McCall's 6696 View A

My second go at this pattern, and I think it's my favourite version thus far!  I made view A which has the pleated skirt and sleeveless bodice.  After doing all the fitting work on the first version, view C,  this was a breeze.  I didn't need any fitting adjustments or alterations on the skirt pattern, and I've already done the fitting work for the bodice.

What I love about view A is the skirt which is much more comfortable and flowy.  Yeah, there's no use fighting it; I think I'm a flowy skirt person.  

I also really like the belt carriers.  I haven't worn it with a belt yet; I just like the detail.
I had to do a bit of fiddling to get the right tension on the belt carriers.  The reason had to do with the turn of cloth.  When you fold the waistband seam, the carriers are too tight.  So I folded the seam then adjusted the tension of each carrier before pinning it and basting it in place.  That way they'll lie flat once the seam is sewn.

I used a printed cotton chambray fabric that had a soft drape.  It's very comfortable to wear because it's not too stiff or wrinkly.  I really love the geometric print; it has a somewhat unique vintage look to it.  For some reason, I had to adjust the collar pieces again.  The collar stand and collar are a tiny bit smaller than my first version.  Maybe the neckline stretched out on the first version; I'm not sure.  I'm happy with the way the collar turned out, though.  It fits really nice.

 Of course, I'm still in love with the back bodice gathers!

 And unlike view C, it's so comfortable to sit in.  A perfect picnic dress!

I didn't take any construction details photos this time because I just whizzed through this one.  No underlining and a clean finish for the seam allowances.  This is my new favourite way to finish seam allowances for straight seams.  Just fold the seam allowance over once and stitch.

Well, that's it for my second summer shirt dress.  I'm pretty happy with it, and I just may sew another one some day.

Thanks for reading my blog and

Happy Sewing!