Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Big Post of Christmas Knitting

Hello Chickadees!

I hope you all had a lovely holiday season! My Christmas was full of family and food, and it was lovely!

My favourite part about Christmas is coming up with gifts to give to each of my family members. This year I decided to make all of the gifts for my family, which was quite fun! I made mostly socks, with a few cowls and hats thrown in there.

My mom always has frozen feet, just like me, so I knew right away that she'd appreciate a nice warm pair of socks. We were yarn shopping in Comox, and she commented on how much she like this yarn, so I bought it secretly and knit up a pair. This is the Online Supersocke 4 fach Sydney Color in colourway 1631.The yarn is self-pattening, and it was fun to knit up because they look fancy even though they're just plain stockinette.

My dad is very understated in his sock choices, so I found this great black and grey striped yarn. It's simple, and durable, which is just what he needs for socks. I knit these up with a plain stockinette foot and a 3x1 ribbed leg for maximum stretch and comfort. These socks took FOREVER to knit, but in the end, it's worth it.

I know I wanted something crazy for my brother Jarrett. He loves bright and strange colours, so when I saw this fluorescent yarn, I knew I had to get it for him. This is Regia Fluormania Color in the Neon Ocean Colourway. I used the Making Waves pattern to break up the chunks of colour a little bit. I need to lenthen the leg on these, because right after I cast them off, he was lamenting about his lack of long socks to wear with his Docs. Sigh.

Jarrett's girlfriend Sam loves bright colours as well, so I thought it might be fun for them to have matching socks. I managed to find the Neon Rainbow colourway of the same yarn, and knit these up using a chevron pattern. This yarn is so bright that I could knit in the dark while riding in the car with no problems at all. Crazy!

My brother Riley loves whacky and warm socks. I wanted to do something for him that he could use for bumming around the house or out on his hikes. These are knit up in Regia Sentimento in a crazy bright yellow/green colour. I used the Randle pattern for these, and they came out nicely! (please excuse the weird wrinkles. I don't have men's sock blockers, and these would not lay flat on the blocking mat.)

I knit up two cowls for christmas, and did not get pictures of either of them! Silly me. But I used the Gaptastic Cowl pattern, and it's great!

I also knit up two hats last minute for my little cousins. My youngest cousin, Eva is in kindergarten, and I thought she'd look cute in this cream coloured hat with gold sparkles!
My other cousin, John, loves Star Wars, so I stitched up an R2D2 hat for him.

Did you do any Christmas knitting or crafting?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Baby Boy

Hello Chickadees!

Last week a couple from our bible study had a precious little baby boy. Since it's winter, I thought that a fitting present would be a baby sweater and booties.

I knit the Baby Sophisticate pattern, which is free on Ravelry. It was a lovely quick knit, and quite fun. Baby knits are awesome because they're so tiny, they hardly take any time at all! And they are incredibly adorable!

I knit this up using Loops and Threads Ringspun, which is a cotton/acrylic blend. It's machine washable, and super soft. It is a little finicky because it splits very easily, but I didn't mind knitting with it, and it was easier on my hands than some other cotton yarns I've used in the past.

Since it's sort of a "grandpa-style" sweater, I was hoping to find woven leather buttons, or something similar. I managed to find the perfect plastic buttons in my stash!

They loved it, and while it's a little big on him now, he'll grow into it quickly.

Do you make any baby presents? Do you have any favourite patterns to use?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My Sewing Space

Hello Chickadees!

Wow! The entire month of November has flown by, and I have only posted once! Whoops!
I promise that I'm still alive, but there have been so many secret projects in the works that I haven't been able to blog about. I'm so sorry, but I promise that I'll show you all the finished products as soon as they gave been passed around by the christmas elves to their various recipients. It really is killing me to keep them all a secret!

This past November, Amanda from Bimble and Pimple started the November Sewing Photo a Day challenge. It was genius. I loved getting a little sneak peek into the "behind the scenes" of my fellow sewing peeps. Unfortunately I was not able to participate because I was away for a bit of the challenge, and had not had enough time to prepare posts. Womp womp.

One of the daily "challenges" was to show your sewing space. So I thought I'd do that here. To make up for the lack of blog posts... So here is my "Sewing Space", or as my husband calls it, "The messy dining room table". Normally it's a bit of a creative disaster, but I tidied up for you guys. Don't say I don't love you!

I sew at the dining room table. And although it's not the ideal sewing situation, it works for now. It has the bonus of an extra "shelf" in form of a windowsill. I keep all my feet and machine accesories in the box on the right, topped with my bobbin case (which was passed down from my grandma. It's fantastic. THANK YOU GRANDMA!) and needles. I have a cup that holds my scissors, a small ruler, and various marking tools so they don't go missing, and a small tupperware to store all my cut threads and scraps. This has greatly decreased the amount of time I spend cleaning up after sewing, so YAY! Next to that I have a little kit of serger bit and bobs (I still have not read all the way through the manual to match the items to their uses. Oops...) and my collection of serger cones that I "borrowed" from my mom. But I figure if I have the serger, she won't need the serger cones!

This baby, to me, is the most exciting part of my sewing collection. I've only ever had hand-me-down or borrowed machines before, which I don't mind at all, but it's something so special to have a machine that is all my own!

Meet Janie the Janome! Mom and Grandma gave me this amazing machine for my birthday/Christmas present combined. I've only used her a little bit, but I am so incredibly pleased to have a machine that works properly and sews whatever I feed it. An added bonus is the magical One-Step Buttonhole! This is the first machine that has made nice looking buttonholes, and it's very exciting! I can finally stitch up some durable shirts for Mister!

Next is my serger, Birdie. She squeaks no matter how much I oil her, so I've learned to embrace it. Birdie is temperamental, but she generally gets the job done. It's nice to be able to finish seams quickly! She was passed down from my Mom, and some day I'll get her to sit down with me and show me how to work some of the fancier stitches on this thing.

Lastly, my beautiful iron! For the longest time I was using an old iron that was passed down to me when my parents upgraded. The old iron had a broken steam function, and had taken a few swan dives from my ironing board. It was in pretty bad shape, so I decided it was time to replace her. I decided on the Black and Decker Classic. I loved the retro shape, and I loved that it was nice and heavy. I like my iron to actually help press the wrinkles out! This one is great, and I've had no complaints so far.

How do you guys set up your sewing space? Do any of you guys name your machines? Are you guys doing any christmas crafting for your loved ones?


Monday, November 3, 2014

A Mermaid Tale

Hello Chickadees!

Well, Halloween has come and gone, and in the hubbub, I forgot to write a blog post about my halloween sewing! Better late than never I suppose?

A while back, one of my friends approached me about doing some sewing for her Halloween costume. She told me that she wanted to be a mermaid, and sent me a few pictures for inspiration. I was super excited to work on this, cause I LOVE making costumes.

The one thing that she really wanted was a two-tone fin skirt. Luckily, my local fabric store had a large amount of super sparkly dancewear fabric, with several different shades of green and blue. We settled on dark green, and I found some aqua sparkly organza for the "fin" part. It had lots of body, which meant that I wouldn't need to add a crinoline or any other layers.

After getting her measurements, I traced off a copy of my current go-to pencil skirt pattern. I had to trace in between sizes in order to be roughly her size, but since the main "skirt" fabric is a very stretchy dancewear fabric, I didn't need to be super precise with exact sizing.  I scooped down the centre front to be more like a mermaid tail, and added a waistband just to make it a bit more secure.

For the lower "fin" portion, I decided it would be easiest to just gather the organza to the bottom of the skirt portion. I added a gusset in the back as well, to make sure that she was able to walk, and add a bit of extra drama.

We had originally thought of finding a shell bra, but my go-to costume place did not stock them this year! So instead, she brought me an old bra that she didn't care about too much, and I draped a bra pattern on it. I wanted it to have three sections so that the seamlines would at least look like a shell.

I didn't want to mess with closures in the back, so I made it with ties like a bikini. I added ribbon guards in the back to keep the straps secured to the bikini.

After it was all done, it was time for embellishments! I had a bunch of fake pearl beads, so I added those to the centre of the cups.

All in all, it was a pretty easy costume, and it looked so cute on her!

Sorry for the blurry photo. It's hard to get a nice photo when it's dark in my house!

Did you guys make any costumes this year? Do you like making costumes?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Sherlock Skirt

Hello Chickadees!

Recently I was given the chance to do a little bit of pattern testing for Jennifer Lauren Vintage. As soon as she described the pattern, I was very excited to try it, because it seemed like something that was missing from my wardrobe. This is her new Cressida skirt pattern. I've been waiting and waiting for this pattern to be released, cause I'm just So. Darn. Excited about it!

Cressida is a semi-circle skirt with two views. View A is double breasted, where View B is single breasted with button tabs for a belt. Both have lovely deep inseam pockets. I chose to sew View B, because my machine does not love to make buttonholes. I also loved the idea of the button tabs to keep my belt in check.

I had a heck of a time trying to find fabric for this. I knew I wanted something neutral that would work with lots of different tops and sweaters. I ended up going with this awesome heathered brown herringbone. It's also a bit stretchy, which makes it extra comfy. Something about this colour makes me think of Sherlock Holmes.

We shot these photos at the Willingdon Beach trail in Powell River. It's a lovely forested trail right on the water.  It is well known for it's rather friendly Douglas Squirrels. Fun Fact: Red and Grey squirrels are not native to this area. They were brought over by Europeans, and have become an "invasive species" in the area. It's fairly rare to see a Douglas squirrel around Vancouver, so I always get excited to see these little guys.

Along the trail, there are many lovely signs pointing out various native species of trees and animals, as well as a few artifacts from the logging and forestry history of the area. We happened upon a logging arch, which was used to lift the ends of logs to avoid extra damage from the forest floor. This one was used in the 40's, and it's held up quite well. 

This skirt is so comfortable! It has a nice amount of flare so that I'm able to move around without any worry of a busted seam, and the pockets are an extra bonus. YAY POCKETS! I found the instructions very clear, once I got over my brain block about the front placket. Do not sew when you are tired, people! I think it would be great for any level of sewing experience.

At this moment, I was looking for the squirrel that was chattering in the trees
I'll leave you with this picture of me freaking out over squirrels. My Snow White senses were tingling.

This is the face I make when I see cute things.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Snugly Archer

Hello Chickadees!

First off, I am sorry for some of the wonky pictures. I accidentally deleted about 3/4 of the photos we shot for this blog, and these are what we were able to salvage.

Recently, Mister and I decided to go on a vacation to Powell River, which is part of the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia. I knew right away that I needed something cozy and warm, and something that I could layer. What could be better than a snugly flannel shirt?

This is Grainline Studio's Archer. I decided it was finally time to join the rest of the sewing realm in making one of these cozy button-ups. It was hard to find some decent flannel that wasn't printed with Dora the Explorer or Trucks. Luckily I managed to find TWO prints that I loved, and you'll see the other one in a later blog post.

This pattern is awesome. I've never sewn a proper button-up before, so it was nice to have clear instructions. I used the "burrito" method to attach the yoke facing, and I love the clean look that it gives to the insides. Plus it was fun!

Sewing plaid used to scare me when I was new to sewing. For some reason the idea of matching lines was frightening? Silly me. Plaid matching is not that hard to do, plus it offers some fun new ways to play with the fabric. I ran out of fabric to match the sleeves at the shoulders, but it doesn't bother me too much.

I cut the back yoke and the button band on the bias in order to give a little visual interest. I have an issue with yokes that don't match (I have a lot of wierd buggaboos about RTW clothing), so cutting it on the bias helped to mitigate the issue, as well as break up the sea of horizontal and parallel stripes.

Please excuse the wacky collar.
This shirt is so cozy, and I plan on sewing a few more for autumn/winter. I am constantly cold, and it's nice to have something snugly to wear to keep warm.

What are your favourite things to sew for colder weather?


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Something Blue

Hello Chickadees!

I have something pretty and lacy to share with you today.

Recently, one of my mother's coworkers asked me if I would be willing to make silky robes for her and her bridal party. I jumped at the chance, because I thought it would be a fun project. She chose a pretty grape coloured satin for her bridesmaids, and white satin for herself.

I thought it would be fun to make "matching set" of lingerie for her, because what bride would not like pretty lacy things to wear? Mom and her co-workers were throwing a bridal shower for the bride, so I thought this would be the perfect chance to sew up a little chemise.

I used Vogue 8888, and it came together perfectly. It's a fairly simple pattern with a pieced waist band, 2 piece bust cup, and skirt section cut on the bias to hug the curves. Quite a fun sew! It whipped up quite fast on my serger.

I wanted to make this extra special for her, so I added some personal touches. The fabric is satin charmeuse from Fabric.com, but as I was putting it together, I felt like it was missing something. I dug around in my stash, and found some leftover lace from my Mom's wedding dress.
This corded lace is so pretty, and Mom and I agreed that it added a bit of a special heirloom quality. And of course, I added a little blue bow, for something blue.

She loved it! And she was even more excited to know that it will match her robe. Hurray for happy customers!

This little project has opened my eyes to lingerie sewing. It's really fun! I look forward to more little lacy projects in the future.

Have you sewn lingerie? Do you have any tips and tricks?


Monday, September 22, 2014

The Pants Project Part 2

Hello Chickadees!

I know y'all are probably pretty tired of hearing about pants. So am I! I promise there are other, more exciting posts coming in the future. Silky things! Sweaters! Unselfish Sewing! Please hang in there, I promise it will be better.

This is my latest adventure in pants fitting. I wrote a whole long post about all of the modifications that I made in Part One of the Pants Project.

So far, these are my favourite pair of pants. They're comfy, and surprisingly versatile. Unfortunately, Mister does not appreciate them as much. He thinks they're "too loud." Psh. Somebody please tell my husband that leopard is totally a neutral.

These pants are made with stretch denim, which makes them super comfy. If you spend any amount of time with me, you know that my preferred method of sitting is what's known in the grade-school world as "Criss Cross Applesauce." These pants make that easy, thank goodness! They also allow me to do silly things like jump in the air and dance, which are surprisingly important in my every day life.

Of course, a pair of pants made by me would not be complete without pockets. It's nice to have a place to store things like tissues or your phone.
Does anybody else have a hard time photographing pockets? I find it difficult to get a good angle without looking too inappropriate or awkward.

Fitting a "larger than average" derriere is a tad on the difficult side, but I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. There are still some small tweaks I'd like to make (darn swayback!), but I think I'm getting there. The next pair of pants will hopefully be in something warm like wool for autumn/winter.

Ok. This is the end of the pants posts. For now...


Monday, September 8, 2014

The Pants Project Part 0.5

Hello Chickadees!

Guess who finally got around to shooting some actual blog post photos?! My camera is back from it's extended vacation, and Mister and I had some free time to take photos. Cue the crowd cheering!

 My last proper post was about pants (or trousers, if you're across the pond). Before I did the whole pattern hacking/alteration/slice&dice, I did try to make a pair of denim shorts. Shorts are nice, because they're like pants, but with less commitment!


I did a bit of a hack job on these guys, and they're ugly on the inside. Luckily nobody sees that! I started with Mrs. Depew's 1940's Shorts, made up in stretch denim. I removed the darts, and instead used pockets, cause pants without pockets are no fun! I also added a bit of length to them to make a deep hem.

I'm still working out the kinks in the whole pants fitting thing, so there are a few fit issues. Figuring out crotch curve when you're sewing on your own with no mannequin or body double is HARD! Also, I've come to terms with the fact that I do need a swayback adjustment, cause there's that crazy amount of extra fabric at my lower back as you can see in the previous photo. Sigh. Also, the zipper on the side seam keeps buckling and causing strange wrinkling, but that I think is more of an issue of a seam that is not properly supported. Live and learn, right?

Mister insisted on a booty shot.
   The top is a me-made as well. Right before Canada Day (July 1st for those of you non-canucks), I realized that I did not own a suitable piece of red clothing! How unpatriotic! So I whipped up a Sewaholic Renfrew to wear. 

I don't know why it took me so long to make one of these guys! It took me about an hour from cutting to finishing, and it's so comfy! Many more of these are planned for the future. And BONUS! It goes with one of my favourite brooches that has been passed down from my Grandma.


I'll leave you with this goofy shot. I was telling Mister how I thought I needed more "real" photos, instead of the same poses over and over. Half of the photos from this shoot were silly photos like this one. I can't decide if it looks like I have to pee, or I'm really excited. Maybe both?


Friday, August 29, 2014

The Case of the Missing Blogger

Hello Chickadees!

First of all, a big welcome to all of those stopping by from Jessica's blog, Chronically Vintage. I went on vacation to Penticton a while back and had a chance to meet up with her and do a little photo shoot while I was there. She even lovelier in person! If you haven't had a chance to see it yet, you can check it out HERE.

Second, I apologize for my lack of posts recently. There has been a lot of sewing, but my camera went on a little vacation, and I'm not entirely happy with the way that Iphone photos look. It is safely back in my possession, and I plan on having a marathon photo shoot this weekend. Stay tuned! If you really can't wait till then, follow me on Instagram to keep up to date on all the fun sewing things.

In the meantime, here's a slightly blurry picture of me making friends with some alpacas. They are seriously adorable, and someday I hope to own an alpaca farm. Until I can convince my husband, photos in front of alpacas in the barn will have to do.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Pants Project Part I

Hello Chickadees!

Until recently, sewing pants frightened me. There are so many more fitting issues to worry about!

 As soon as I saw Gertie's pants pattern, Butterick 5895, I fell in love. It was the exact style that I was looking for. High waisted. Fitted. Front pockets. Perfect. So pretty much all of my pants have been versions of this pattern.

My first pair of real pants (not pyjama pants. Nobody cares about fitting issues with pyjama pants) were made using a black ponte knit. I used it as sort of a wearable muslin, although I don't find them that flattering. I made them straight out of the envelope using a size 12.

The next pair were a pair of jeans. I made a couple alterations to the leg length and height at the waist, but otherwise didn't attempt any real fitting issues, because I had no idea how to tackle them at the time.

Then there were 2 unfortunate pairs of fitting disasters. They were so bad that I didn't even get a photo of them. I was kind of just hacking away at them without a clue of what actually needed to be fixed.

Now I've had a chance to sit down and actually do some reading about how pants work and fit.

Here are some of the changes I've made
-Graded from a 12 to a 10 at the waist
-Added width to the hips
-Reduced the crotch depth
-Increased the crotch length
-Added width to the thighs
-Lengthened to ankle length

Whoo. That is a lot of pattern adjustments. Let's see if this actually works out!

Do you have any projects or garment types that you consider "scary sewing"?


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Bombshell

Hello chickadees!

Posting photos of myself in a swimsuit is never something I thought I would ever do! Blogging is great for pushing your boundaries, hey?
"Tell me I'm a bird!"

Here is my Bombshell swimsuit from Closet Case Files. Heather Lou did a magnificent job on this pattern! This is my second one, and this suit makes me feel like a pin-up princess, which is saying a lot! 

Excuse the little alfalfa bit. The wind was playing with my hair.

Here is the knitty gritty-
I made a size 10 graded to a size 12 in the hips. Horray for pear shapes!
I looked around for matte swimsuit Lycra, but the fabric stores in my area were lacking, so I just used the reverse side.
I added in moulded cups to add some support and modesty. Nobody wants to get nipply at the beach! 

My best Betty Grable impression

If I made this again I might lengthen it a bit. It's not uncomfortable as it is, but I feel like it might fit better. I would also reduce the width in the front crotch piece. I found that there was a little bit of extra fabric there that could be slightly unflattering. 

All in all I love this swimsuit. I felt uber confident and totally hot at the beach while wearing it, which is pretty big. And that wasn't just because of the 35° heat!

Hope you all are having a fantastic summer!