Its been a long time. I created another human. When I had free time I chose to sleep or sew. I have gone down the rabbit hole of kid custom fabrics...a post for another time. Today, I'm highlighting my daughters absolute favourite dress. She would wear this dress in a blizzard and tell you she wasn't cold. Toddlers are crazy stubborn though. See toddler eating an onion.
This is the tee shirt dress from Brindille and Twig. I've made this dress multiple times for my daughter and I've made it as gifts. It has a nice A line shape and a high low hem. It is super simple to sew (just like a tee shirt) and takes less than an hour on little sleep to finish. I love how it is easy to wear, comfortable, stylish and provides good sun coverage. It is also great for most seasons in Vancouver as you can wear it with leggings. I'm so in love I bought the adult version of this pattern from the sister site but I will have to wait until breastfeeding is over again.
Remember Pokémon Go? What a crazy phenomenon that took over last summer. It's so weird to think how it was so pervasive and so many people played it and now feels like it has quickly faded from our cultural memory. Normally, I would have downloaded the app to see what all the fuss was about, played for a couple days, gotten annoyed that my phone battery was always drained and given it up. Pokémon Go arrived at a unique time in my life. A time where I had to go on two to three walks a day with a sleeping baby attached to me. There are only so many times you can pick something up from the grocery store before there is nothing left to pick up. Pokémon Go gave those walks purpose. Admittedly a very silly purpose, but purpose nonetheless. So in honour of the service that this ridiculous free app provided to me, we dressed up as the classic trio from the original series for Hallowe'en.
This is the hood zip coverall from Brindille & Twig AKA the base of every costume I will make my daughter until she is six years old. This coverall is the perfect blank canvas for all sorts of costumes. It's also super cute as an overlayer for babies to wear in the winter. I see these made out of fleece all the time on chilly days.
As per my previous experience with B&T, the instructions were super thorough and easy to follow. The pattern was a little more complicated with the addition of the zipper but if you can insert a zipper you'll be fine. The only modifications I made were to draft a lightening bolt tail and add it at the back of the gusset seam and add ears to the sides of the hood seam.
The biggest challenge of this make was the fact that I chose to use minky fabric. I don't know if I will ever do that again. Or at least not when a zipper is involved. I was getting so frustrated until I realized that I had a pack of quilting feet that came with my sewing machine that I hadn't bothered to open. In it, I found a walking foot that saved this project from the garbage. It still wasn't easy but it helped a ton. My only advice for sewing minky is don't even try without a walking foot or don't do it. The black accents are some felt scraps and the cuffs are a yellow rib knit. No issues there.
I ran out of time when it came to our costumes, and let's be real, no one noticed because we were with a baby dressed as Pikachu. My partner's costume is basically a cheap hat ordered from EBay and a white polo shirt from the thrift store that I quickly overlaid some blue mesh on top of it. I quickly added a few yellow jersey details by doing a zig zag stitch to applique them on. The shirt doesn't look amazing up close but it worked and having a baby is all about letting things go.
I borrowed the suspenders from my sister and had the wig on hand from a previous April O'Neil costume. I couldn't find a yellow tank top easily and thought it would be no problem to sew one up myself. I used Patterns for Pirates Essential Tank. I had seen a few bloggers mention this company and rave about it so I thought I'd give it a try. It seems to be mostly casual women's knit clothing. They had more than one tank option. This looked closest to what I needed. To be honest I found that the overlap system they use to assemble PDFs a bit unexact for my liking and the resulting tank top was huge. I had more than 3 inches of ease. I took it in on the sides and the shoulders but this resulted in a mess as I did it after binding the neckline. I may give this pattern and company another try in the future when I have more time but it wasn't the best start. I ended up cutting this tank up afterwards to make my daughter a hoodie which is super cute so it worked out.
Well, that's all for now. It was a fun thing to do for Hallowe'en so a win!
So, it's been just over a year since my last post. 2016 was the year I accomplished the most important and challenging task of my life so far but did very little else (including sleeping, sewing and blogging). C'est la vie as they say. I did sew a bit in small increments throughout the year and I'm slowly going to blog some of those makes as the mood strikes and time allows.
In related news, if you are not into kid sewing, I get it, click away now. I feel like I've crossed over to the dark side. Not that there is anything wrong with sewing for little people, I just remember that pre-momhood my blog feed was full of adult fashion and sewing blogs. If someone made the occasional kid gift I'd scroll past with a "cute" and move on. Not now. I have been taken in. Every time I have time to sew, despite having very few garments that fit or aren't disgustingly stained or stretched out, I cut out more clothes for my daughter. They are so quick and gratifying. I can combine small bits of fun fabric and it always looks good on her.
I feel like I have discovered a whole new world of sewing. One dominated by cutesy print knit fabric, facebook groups and impossibly perfect styled flat lay garment shots (there will be none of that here, I have no extra time to artfully arrange colour coordinated toys on a sheep skin rug).
Enter Brindille and Twig, my new love affair. I have tried a number of their patterns now and every one has been fantastic.
Pros (or fanatical ravings):
The first pattern I tried was the Ice Cream Pants. A super simple pattern with the features I was looking for. Small pattern pieces for scrap busting and colour blocking, cuffs, and plenty of room for a cloth diaper. Construction was relatively easy as long as I pinned the curves quite a bit before sewing. I constructed these using both a serger and sewing machine. I added the drawstring to the first pair I made but didn't bother with future versions as my daughter would just try to pull it out. I might revisit this as she gets older.
I've made this pattern for my daughter from an age range of about 9 months to 15 months now. I plan to keep using it until she can tell me she doesn't like it anymore as I love it. I think this would be a fantastic pattern for younger babes too and will likely use it to make gifts for others.
Well, that's enough raving for now. Anyone else love B&T or have other kids patterns they love? I'm hooked.
Well one hand actually. The day after my last post I ended up having a baby 5 weeks early so everything I do right now is clumsily done with one hand. The downside of this is that it takes me forever to do anything. The upside is that I have so many more hours in the day that I am awake to do those things...
I have a backlog of unblogged projects and thought I'd try out the weebly phone app and post something.
So socks. Last Christmas I knit my Oma a pair of socks and she wore them every day. she wore them even after they basically had no heels and were just toe and ankle covers. She was so pleased that I had made them and I was beyond thrilled that she liked them as she is 95 and not doing well and I wasn't sure when she received them if she even understood that I made them. I had to make her another pair. These are made with the knitmore girls vanilla sock pattern. I wanted a simple pattern to showcase the beautiful yarn I picked up in a random town in Washington on our way to the Olympic peninsula for a bike cidery tour (a weird choice as I was quite nauseous and pregnant so couldn't bike or drink cider ). The pattern is just that. simple and easy to follow. I love how they turned out. I gave them to my Oma on Christmas Eve and feel like I should just start casting on again now so I am ready with a replacement pair for when they fall apart.
This is my second Amber and it definitely won't be my last. This style of dress is right up my alley. After wearing my first polka dot version, I decided it was time for another. I went digging in my recently acquired "maternity capsule wardrobe" stash and found this green organic bamboo jersey that I had earmarked for a maternity shirt. I thought since I ended up shortening my last version so much and since I had fabric to spare that I could squeeze an amber out of what I had.
This was mostly true. By making a sleeveless version and omitting the modesty panel I was just able to get all my pattern pieces cut out. I don't mind these concessions as it's easy to wear a camisole underneath and without sleeves it will transition easier to warmer weather.
Adaptations I made to the pattern this time around:
So what about bad thread? Well, I have this large stash of thread that came from my Grandma. It looks super beautiful in all these colours on wooden spools. However, and this is something I've read a number of times, it's old and despite it looking lovely and strong, it always seems to act up, skip stitches and tangle when I use it. I need to bite the bullet and throw it all away so I'm not tempted to use it any more. Thread does not last forever and for all I know, this thread is 50 years old. Time to just start buying thread to match each time I buy fabric and skip the headache.
So lessons learned and a wardrobe stable to boot. Are you ever tempted to use old thread?
This is the Alissa Maternity Top pattern. I've made this top before a couple times in the cropped version out of sweater knit and love those versions. This was my first and last time making the wrapped top version. It looks quite lovely when it's on. It's got interest and the wraps make it very adjustable to size and style (where and how you want to tie it). The problem is it takes about 10 minutes to put on and I have to mess with it every time I go to the bathroom, which is a lot these days. It's just way too much work for me when my hands are swollen and my body is so ungainly. I find I end up tangling myself up in the wrap ends as they reach well past the floor before wrapping. Due to this, this version is also a HUGE fabric hog.
On the positive side, the shirt is easy to construct and the directions are clear. I chose to finish the edges but I think in a jersey you don't really need to and could save some time not bothering.
I made this up in an organic bamboo jersey from Dressew and it feels amazing. I like the colour and I think the drape is nice with the ties. I made a L which is one size up from the suggested size as I found my cropped versions a bit snug. I think this was the right call but there will always be pulling on this style as that is the nature of the wrap.
Overall, I will wear this top a few times when I want to look a bit nicer going out for dinner but I wouldn't spend all day in it due to the added challenge it provides in taking bathroom breaks. I don't know if this will make the nursing top cut as I imagine trying to tie this top and then tying a wrap to carry the baby would be all sorts of ridiculous. We shall see.
I do love the cropped version of this pattern as a sweater to go with empire waist dresses though so I would still recommend it. Especially because it comes as part of the maternity survival pack which has a lot of other great options in it for maternity wear.
A failed experiment but certainly provided my partner and I with 30 minutes of entertainment when I tried to put it on for the first time. Have you had any recent failed experiments?
Capsule wardrobes seem to be a big topic of conversation on sewing blogs these days. It makes sense, it is very appealing to think you could open your closet and only pull out items that coordinated with each other. Dressing would be easy and you wouldn't stare at an item of clothing wondering what it went with. I like this concept but find I love clothes way too much to do this. I have so many clothes and I love crazy, tacky thrift store finds. I also find I dress differently for different things so I have different wardrobes for different parts of my life. Everything in my closet does not need to match and I like the creativity of mixing aspects of my wardrobe that don't.
That said, pregnancy is a very set amount of time with a very specific lifestyle (now that I'm on leave from work). I decided to tackle the last few months with the mindset of the capsule wardrobe. I looked at the fall and winter as a time where I will need a limited number of new coordinating items to get me through the end of my pregnancy and the beginning of nursing/still changing body.
So I set out with my sister on a mission to the fabric store. I had a list of maternity patterns and fabric requirements. It was the most organized I've been at the fabric store outside of Hallowe'en. We looked for fall/ winter fabrics that coordinated well and would work well with the items I wanted to sew. Here are the first few items that resulted from that trip.
The first is the Alissa maternity top from Megan Nielsen patterns. Another part of the maternity survival bundle I purchased. I must say, I really got my bang for my buck with this bundle. It makes a nice little capsule wardrobe in itself and there are lots of options for each pattern so that you get quite a few different looks. This top is a good example. The first views are of a wrapped top which is also on my "to sew" list but this is the cropped version. It makes a great sweater to pair with empire waist skirts and dresses. It gives room for the "bump" and is also breast feeding friendly.
I chose the size L, going up one size from the recommended M because I wanted a looser fit for a sweater layer. It looks like I could have gone up one more size as you can see a bit of pulling around the bust and back. This makes sense as that area continues to grow. I imagine it will be fine though and it's quite comfortable. the pattern was easy to follow and this version uses very little yardage. The only change I made was to add clear elastic to the neckline to aid recovery of that area and prevent gapage. I've noticed a lot of breast feeding friends have some seriously saggy necklines...makes sense. This top you could also just pull up from the bottom too.
The fabric is a medium weight merino wool sweater knit. I love this teal colour. I picked this up at Atex Designer Fabrics across from Dressew. I think it was about $15/m and I probably ended up using only a metre for this sweater. Pretty good for merino, I think.
This sweater, was actually unplanned as part of the capsule wardrobe. You might recognize the fabric from the sweater I made my partner recently. I had tons of yardage leftover after making his sweater. I find fabric recommendations so tricky as I don't want to end up with too little but sometimes, like in this case, I end up with double what I need. This sweater knit is the olive colour-way of the same sweater above. I don't typically lean towards olive but I think it's a nice change and goes well with other colours I've got so I made up a second identical version.
I really like the colour in the end and think I will get just as much use out of this sweater. I also feel like it was free because it was made of "scraps" even though it really wasn't. Let me have this.
As for the dress, this is yet another Megan Nielsen pattern. It's the Amber Nursing and Maternity Top. I overlooked this pattern at first as it wasn't part of the bundle and I didn't feel like I needed more top patterns. However, I believe it recently came out as a PDF AND it has a dress option. I'm all about the dress option these days. Any excuse not to wear pants, especially these days. I was also intrigued by the design of the nursing modesty panel so went for it.
I cut this out in a M for bust and waist (rib cage at this point) and graded out to a L for the hips based on my pre-pregnancy measurements as suggested. I think the fit is great but it's really long. I'm 5'10" and it is a few inches below my knees. After looking at these pictures, I've decided to go back and cut about 4-5" off the hem so it sits above the knee. There might be more length to accommodate for the belly but even so. Also, this is just a preference in length for me. I feel at this length, I'm ALL BELLY.
The other fit issue I notice is that I can see I need a "sway back" adjustment, however my back is getting more swayed every day and I think this will resolve with child birth and I truly can't be bothered for something like this. I wonder if it would even work as my body is not a standard shape at this time.
The instructions were clear and construction was easy. I added clear elastic to the hems on the modesty panel to help with recovery as well as the the neckline of the bodice pieces. I followed the construction order this time but would sew it in a different order next time so I could sew the sleeves in flat. I think it makes for a neater finish and is easier to do on a serger.
I found making pleats in this slinky fabric difficult and would recommend gathers for lighter weight or more fluid fabrics.
I decided to add knit interfacing to the waist band because I have just discovered it and thought it would provide stability to the waist band. It does...but that's awful. At this point with an expanding rib cage, it's nice to have stretch. Would not do that again.
The fabric is an organic cotton jersey with printed polka dots. It's on the lighter side but is substantial enough for this dress. I think it's a nice neutral (polka dots are neutral in my book) that will mix easily with other pieces. It's also really soft and comfortable.
I like the neckline and modesty panel. I think it's quite clever.
Overall, I'm very happy with the start of my "capsule wardrobe." I've got a few more things cut out and ready to go and having this plan is keeping me a bit more on task than usual.
How do you feel about capsule wardrobes?
I love Hallowe'en. I love candy, I love parties and I love that everyone plays dress up. It's usually a great excuse to do some serious experimental sewing. This year, however, I decided to take it easy. So there is actually very little sewing in this post, but it still feels like making a costume falls into this part of my life so here it is
My partner and I were characters from the new Mad Max movie, Fury Road. It was especially appealing because I could be one of the pregnant women in the harem by wearing a sheet. This is just a piece of muslin I ripped up. I tied a strip under my rib cage and made a bandage for a fake wound on my calf. A few smudges of brown eye shadow on my face for dirt and I was done. The toughest part of this costume was wearing those terrifying sticker nipple covers...well removing them actually. Ouch.
The real prop is my giant belly. A few people kept offering me drinks and weed (this is BC) and I pointed at my stomach. I got a lot of "oh, I just thought it was your costume."
My partner was dressed as the character, Nux, a warboy from the movie. I did do a tiny bit of sewing by making him a leather cuff which took all of 5 minutes. The real work was his make up which I really enjoyed doing. A lot goes into applying a bald cap...quite the process. He was a really good sport about the whole application process which took quite a while and started with shaving his chest and stomach. I watched a few Youtube tutorials but also had to work with what I could find. He's wearing a blend of white face paint and foundation all over his face and head, black eye shadow around his eyes, on his eye brows and on his nose. Black face paint to mark his mouth and scar. Lip liner for the red part of his scar. I also painted a piece of cotton ball to his face with some latex as one tutorial suggested, worked quite well. His body is covered in a blend of white body paint and skin tone foundation. The chest scar is drawn on with eye shadow pencil. The scar would have been better with some sort of gel scar pen but I couldn't find one and this worked well enough.
He really looked quite alarming, especially in the dark. A friend of mine warned me at one point in the evening that there was some "weird white dude dancing near me." I laughed and told her it was my partner. She didn't recognize him at all.
I could only handle about 2 hours of party before my feet were crazy swollen but I'm glad we got out. Did you get dressed up for Hallowe'en?
As I continue along in my pregnancy my desire to sew for myself really fluctuates. I went through a period where I wanted to sew but not for myself. You'd think this would instantly equal baby sewing but we have so many hand-me-downs that it just feels like a drop in the bucket.
Seamwork magazine recently came out with their menswear addition and I was quite taken by the idea of making some clothes for my partner. I thought the Paxson was definitely his style so showed him the pattern photos and asked him what he thought.
"Love that mustard colour" was his response.
"But what about the sweater itself?"
"What do you mean, it's mustard, it's awesome."
So this is obviously not a mustard sweater. I did set out and visited 2 fabric stores in the search for some appropriate mustard fabric. Admittedly they were across the street from each other, but it was a search. I settled on a nice mid-weight wool sweater knit in olive. Any colour regularly worn in the 70's is on my partner's to wear list so I figured I was safe. Plus, now he matches our couch.
Seamwork magazine has been running for a few months. It's a monthly online sewing magazine that you can read for free. They seemed to have recently changed their subscription model so that you can pay $6/month and that gives you credit to purchase any 2 patterns from their catalogue. I hadn't subscribed yet, but the flexibility of the new subscription model and the low price convinced me to give it a try. I can see a few other patterns that I'll likely use credits on when my waistline returns. It also doesn't feel so bad as I do enjoy the monthly articles.
As far as the pattern goes, it's a PDF that was relatively straight-forward to put together. The style is supposed to be unisex but the sizes run large and the chest, waist and hip measurements are all the same so this isn't a pattern that I would use for women, unless you are someone who looks amazing in men's clothing.
I cut a size M based on my partners chest measurement and made a quick muslin in some fleece. It was too snug and the neckline was very high, especially for his taste. This version is a L with the neckline lowered. I should have made the neckband a bit wider and longer than I did as it was overstretched during construction leading to an ravelled mess that looks botched and wavy on the back of the neckline. I think it will settle a bit with a wash and a block (which I didn't do here) but still.
Otherwise my partner is very happy with the fit of this sweater as is. He likes the length, but looking at the photos I wonder if the sleeves are a bit short (he is 6'2"). Perhaps this is more functional though and they don't get in the way. I will have to ask.
We are both very happy with this sweater. It was a very basic pattern but sometimes that's exactly what you want. My partner stated he would also be happy with a red one if I get back to the fabric store while they still have this fabric in stock. I also had to tell him to put it in the wash after 5 days of consecutive wear. A win for sure!
I may be in nesting mode now. Not really sure. I'm pregnant and I've been doing some things to get the apartment sorted before the baby comes but I feel like I always have a list of things to be done in the apartment and when I'm not pregnant it doesn't get a fancy name.
I had already made some pillow covers for some Ikea throw pillows for the living room couch but those got added to the daybed in the baby's room. I was looking through my fabric stash and was inspired by some fabric gifted to me by my partner's aunt in South Africa.
This is some legit African wax fabric. I have no idea if it is made in Africa as it looks like a lot of it is actually made in the Netherlands and then actually shipped and used in Africa. It's such a cool style of fabric though. All sorts of bold graphic prints on cotton that comes all stiff and shiny coated in wax. I have read a few blogs and took advice to throw it in the wash first to remove the wax coating before sewing with it. It feels a bit of a waste of how flat and smooth it is though as then you have to press all the wrinkles out after that. Anyone tried sewing it while still wax covered?
The sewing itself was unremarkable. Just folded a rectangle of fabric around a pillow and added a lapped zipper. I'm super pleased with the results though as I really like the print and colours and it's a little nod to my partner's roots.
Sew any quick, satisfying projects lately?
A blog to document my attempts to create a well-fitting wardrobe through sewing and knitting.