Thursday, December 31, 2015

7th Day Of Christmas - Bras

I had a fabulous time in Hamilton last year learning how to make bras at Boob Camp, and have been approached by a number of people asking if I make custom bras.  Now there is quite a difference between making a bra for yourself that has already been fitted to you personally, and making one for someone else who is a different size/shape to you.  I do find that bras are easy to make, but the fitting worried me somewhat.  So I signed up for another course this September/October - alterations.

Wow - I'm glad that I didn't try and muddle through on my own - there is a lot to learn.  I was in a small class with three other ladies and we were taught by the Fairy Bra Mother herself - Beverly Johnson.  What she doesn't know about bra making is really not worth knowing at all!

It was another great week - although I managed to book myself into the wrong hotel (thought that I had booked the same one as last year, and I paid in advance using Credit Card Miles) unfortunately it was a dive - comfy bed though, so I guess that is something- and I was directed to not one but TWO fabulous fish and chip shops with FRESH fish.  Oh boy, I really was spoilt!  Coming from the UK I really miss fresh fish and chips!

So, after a week of slicing, dicing, pinning, tucking, manhandling etc., etc., I think that I have a fair chance of making bras for other people.  I need to make up some sample bras, and then I will be seeing how serious my buddies were about custom bras!

In the meantime, here is some bra candy for you!  Aren't these combinations lovely?  I really like the cornflower blue and there will be at least one bra made just for me out of that fabric!  All just waiting to be made up into some gorgeous bras!

This is an 'extra-large' photo - how does that work for you?  I usually use medium or large, but wanted to get some detail in this time.  Let me know if it doesn't work or is too big!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

6th Day of Christmas - Feather

There I was, minding my own business, when into my Inbox dropped an email from Ms. Givens inviting me to purchase her new delightful pattern, Feather.

What is a girl to do?  Oh yes, buy it!  So I did!  This was a fun pattern to make up.  I had to get my Singer Featherweight out and use the ruffler attachment to gather all the strips that were needed for the frills.  I have to say, if you've got to make loads of frills or ruffles - get a ruffler attachment!!  I really enjoyed using raw edges - it feels like such a wild and crazy way to sew, quite the opposite to how I would ordinarily.  I used my standard bodice top (based upon Collette's Sorbetto) to ensure a good fit, and my Feather was completed.

This is the Feather being worn with a black Patricia skirt.

And (above) with a pair of cropped trousers from the Summer.  They are a little creased as they are fighting for space in my closet!  I'm not sure that I like the Feather with trousers . . . . but the photo actually looks rather good!

And with a Phoebe 'jacket'.  It makes quite a fun suit that I'd wear to work.

Now this is really weird.  I had already typed my paragraph to finish off this portion of the post before taking the photos, and this is what I had written:

Unfortunately, I really don't like how it looks on me, so this ended up being a bit of a miss.  I think it is because of the openness at the front - it just feels odd when I wearing it.  However, it is finished, and I may well wear it in the future . . . I can change my mind you know!!  Not wanting to waste design details, I have used the ruffles on another TG pattern - the Cara, and will share some photos of that pretty soon.

But having seen the photographs, I rather like the look!

Do you find that you change your mind once you make something up and see the photos - either for better or for worse?

5th Day of Christmas - Zip and Go

This is a fabulous cross-body (or shoulder) bag that is pretty quick and easy to make.  It is called the Zip and Go by Dog Under My Desk.  It s quite small - only 9.5" tall and 7.5" wide, but it is perfect for when you just need your keys, purse and glasses.  The main fabric only takes 1/3 yd - probably even just 1/4 yd, but fat quarters are no good due to to needing some length for the straps.  My straps are close to 60" long.

This lovely checked version was for my SIL for Christmas.  The fabric is a lovely soft wool, and the straps are adjustable as I'm not sure what length she would prefer.

The two zips mean that there is a good amount of space in the from of the bag.  I attached a couple of charms that were on lobster clips to each zip pull rather than make my own as I felt the old metal look went really well with the look of the bag.

Cute interior fabric - it looks like little clothes hanging on a washing line, with some red flowers dotted about.

The back is plain, but that works well as it is against your body.

And of course, a special label for a special lady.

The only other comment of note is that I used fusible fleece on the two outer layers and that made it quite thick and bulky.  Fortunately my sewing machine was an absolute trooper, and coped admirably!

Next up (I actually made this one first, but whatever, is one from Laurel Burch fabric.  Her colours are very rich and although they haven't photographed well here, it still looks pretty good!  The zips are a deep purple, just to give you an idea!

I just need to add/make some zipper pulls, and this is done.  For this one I just used Pellon SF101 as the stabiliser on all pieces, so it is pretty sturdy.  This will be perfect to jazz up a plain summer outfit.
Roll on summer!!

Monday, December 28, 2015

4th Day of Christmas - Retreat

I had a bit of a bag making binge this year, and I've made quite a few bags, wallets and pouches.  So much so I will probably need to sell some on Etsy in the near future . . . . . for real.  Watch this space.

One of the bags was this lovely one from Emmaline called the Retreat Bag.  this is actually a free pattern - so if you fancy trying your hand at bag making, this is a great one to start with.  It makes a good washbag/makeup bag/project bag, and is based on a 'box' bag.

It takes just two fat quarters - always a win in my book as I have an awful lot of 'paired' fabrics just waiting to made into something!  The difference with this bag is that is uses wires just below the zip to give the bag some structure and hold open the 'mouth'.

How cute is this?

Coming to an Etsy store near you very soon!!!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

3rd Day of Christmas - Socks

Socks.  You can never have enough knitted socks.  And having knitted around 200 pairs, I know!  I have been a bit slack of late - quite a few pairs on the needles, so I thought that it was time to finish them off and free up the needles for more . . . . . socks!!

There is nothing special about these socks - I have used my own pattern, Billy Basic Socks, that can be found on Ravelry and the yarn is for both is a self striping yarn.  One is called Rainbow from Knit Picks and is lovely and soft.  I'm afraid I can't remember the name of the other yarn :(  I love hand-knitted socks, especially at this time of the year, so I now have some more to add to my collection!!

As you can see, Nico is new to all of this photo taking and wanted in on the action!!

I also knit some fingerless gloves using a pattern called Cortland.  This was a quick and fun pattern, and they knit up quickly.  I like the pointed cuff - quite unusual - but it was fun to knit and looks great.  The lace pattern was a 4 row repeat and very straight forward, and the thumb is a 'proper' (in my estimation!) thumb.  Much better than a slit/hole to poke your thumb through.  These were knitted in the round, so no seams to sew up at the end.  Like socks.  Are you seeing a patter here?!  

My project is here.  The yarn is lovely soft merino/silk blend and these gloves have been worn a lot recently too.

And finally . . . . . I completed a cowl.  

The yarn is called Sockittome and I made some socks out of a different colourway last Christmas.  It was a pain to knit with using 2.5mm needles, but an absolute pleasure using 3.5mm needles.  How bizarre.  I actually saw another lady had made a cowl using this yarn, so I shamelessly copied her!  I know, I have no shame!

The cowl is long enough to wrap around my neck twice, but as the temperatures are -20c right now, indoor pics on Polly (my polystyrene head double) will have to suffice!

I have found that my knitting often takes a back seat to my sewing, and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed knitting.  My output this year was quite minimal, and I look forward to upping that in 2016!

Do you find that one hobby tends to get pushed aside for another?

Saturday, December 26, 2015

2nd Day of Christmas - Nico

Last year we had to say goodbye to our gorgeous Collie Jess - just a few months short of her 17 birthday.  We had had her since she was a puppy, and she left a huge hole is our lives.  We still had our two lovely greyhounds, but Mr. SDSC said that he would like a smaller dog - a lap dog.  Well, blow me over, who'd a thought?

In November I went to our Humane Society to see an elderly dachshund that was looking for a new home.  When I arrived I was advised that a lot of people were also interested, and would I like to see what other dogs they had?  Well, of course I would.  I have to say that I was really surprised at how few dogs there were - I thought that there would be over a hundred at least, but there were only about 15 - 20, and a lot of those were 'holds - pending adoption'.  I guess that this is a good thing, and I probably would have had a problem narrowing down my choices if there were too many dogs!  So I elected to see a Jack Russell called Nico and was ushered into a small room to spend 'at least' 30 minutes with him.

This is us getting to know each other . . . . .

And oh my goodness.  What a cutie he was.  Very smart, very cuddly, and very Jack Russell.  My parents have had 'Jacks' for years, so I knew that they were energetic and pretty much a big dog in a small body.

Poor Nico had been a family dog for 5 years and then handed in to the Humane Society when the family had a new baby.  He had also been in the shelter for 6 weeks with no-one showing any interest at all.  My heart was broken.  Two days later after he had met my husband and our greyhounds, he came home with us.

And we love him to bits!  He can get very excitable, but calms down quickly.  He walks pretty well on the lead, although he does go crazy if he sees another dog, so we will have to work on that.  As part of the adoption process you have to attend one of the training classes at the shelter, so last Saturday we turned up for the first session with Nico.  Oh dear.  It didn't go too well.  Despite being very quiet and well behaved at home, he was a monster in class, and we were asked not to return!!!!

To be fair, we have been offered a more appropriate class that will help us to deal with his 'reactiveness' when meeting other dogs, but we find it rather funny that this little ball of fluff got us thrown out of class!!

We will return in February for the classes, and in the meantime we will enjoy him around the house!

Welcome Home Nico xx

Friday, December 25, 2015

1st Day of Christmas - TG Outfit

Well Christmas came round really quickly this year.  I can put my hand up and say 'yes', I was one of those people who contemplated making Christmas gifts and decorations in July and then though, nah,  way too early . . . . . and whoooooosh, here we are!!  The best bit for me is that I am off work for a couple of weeks so it is a real luxury to be able to chill out, sew, knit, walk, talk, snooze, drink . . . . . just everything!!  I do hope that your Christmas is just as enjoyable, and I wish you and yours a relaxing and peaceful time.

And I have been busy sewing . . . . want to see my Christmas outfit?  I don't usually make something specifically for Christmas Day, but I love that other people do it, so I thought that I would give it a try.  As you have probably read, I have been embracing Lagenlook and using Tina Givens Patterns - and this was to be no exception.  The skirt is the Patricia pattern, the tunic is Cara and I used a Simplicity pattern for the cardi/jacket.  Here are my changes and info!

Skirt - Patricia

The pattern itself has a shaped yoke and then a skirt gathered onto it with a band around the bottom that draws in the fullness.  As I do not have much of a hip/waist ratio, I cut the yoke piece as a straight rectangle - no other changes made.  I love the gathered strips on the side seams - it adds a touch of fun and is somewhat unexpected!  The fabric is a cotton/hemp (55%/45%) mix and is heavier than linen with quite a loose weave.  I also made a plain nylon (?) jersey petticoat to wear underneath - I can't stand clothing sticking to my legs or stockings.  This meant that I didn't need to line the skirt.  I've made a couple of others out of a dark chocolate brown and a plain black as well.  They are from linen so they are a little more drapey.

Here you can see the petticoat in action (above)!

My attempt at Merchant and Mills photography . . . . . !

Just a little hemline action!

Tunic - Cara

I love this tunic - It is a fun and comfy make!  For this version I added pockets in the side seams and sewed a small scrap of spotty black lace and a gathered frill to the neckline.  I bound the neckline, arms and bottom with 1.25" bias strips, folded in half, and triple zig-zagged to enclose the exposed seams.  Very quick and easy.

Jacket - Simplicity 1318

I've seen this jacket made up a few times and thought that it would be a fun one to make.  I was going to make during the summer with a lightweight georgette but never got round to it.  When I started thinking of a Christmas outfit, I thought that this pattern would work perfectly - black linen with lace sleeves.  So that is what I did!  I made an adjustment to the upper back of the jacket to accommodate my rounded upper back as well as adding a small triangular shape to the ends of each sleeve so that inserting the sleeves and sewing the side/sleeve seams would be more smooth.  And that was it.  Quick and easy right?  Nope.  Not for me.  I managed to attach the two front pieces the wrong way round, so the jacket looked more like a man's shirt tails.  Grr.  I didn't realize until I was ready to sew the side/sleeve seams and had to unpick lots of top-stitching and overlocking.  It was worth it though as I love the look of this jacket.  I think that it finishes off the outfit nicely and it will work with lots of other outfits that I have.  There is quite a lot of hand stitching - the inside of the front bands and the sleeve bands, but it gives a lovely finish.  If I was to make this again - and I probably will, I will attach the inner bands first, then turn under the seam allowance for the outer bands and top and edge stitch them down.

I think that the outfit has a somewhat Victorian/gothic look due to the colour of the fabrics, but I rather like that!!

And finally . . . . I got some new shoes for Christmas . . . . and they work perfectly with my new outfit:

So, how about you?  Did you make an outfit for Christmas?

Monday, December 21, 2015

12 Days of Christmas

Wow - where have the last few months gone?  Last time I looked it was really hot outside and we were enjoying a lovely summer.  And now?  Snow on the ground!

My blogging has also taken a bit of a bashing - new computer that doesn't play nicely with Picasa (my fave photo editing programme) took some of the wind out of my sails, although I have been sewing like mad.  And knitting, and we have a new houndie, so oh-my-goodness I need to catch up!

The plan is to run a series of posts over Christmas, bombarding you with all my new makes - you have been warned!

In the meantime, here is a pic of my Dad on Remembrance Day, just after the parade, with one of our local RCMP members.  Lovely!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pouches and Wallets

On of the reasons that I have not posted very much recently is that I had to get a new laptop.  I somehow managed to bend/break a connection inside where the power cable goes, so charging it up has beed very iffy.  I now have a lovely MacBook Air, and what a nightmare I have had with photos.  I used to use Picasa as it did the two or three things that I want from a photo editing programme - straighten, resize, and make collages.  I then uploaded these photos into my blog and all was good.

Unfortunately the MacBook does not play nice with Picasa - it duplicates photos, and I have no idea how to consistently upload them.  Grrr.  Oh well, I think I have it sorted now, but it is not at all intuitive . . . . . any top tips from other MacBook users would be appreciated! 

Now back to the normal programming . . . . .  Recently I have had quite a blast making pouches, wallets and handbags, so let me share with you!

First up are a couple of wallets and I bought the pattern from Etsy, here.

It is a quick and easy pattern, and very effective. The first one I made is the one on the top, made out of two Amy Butler FQ's. I used co-ordinating plastic snaps (Babyville from Fabricland) and I was slightly off centre with the print . . . . meh.  Can't get excited about that! 
The second one is made out of 2 FQ's by 3 Sisters for Moda and is called Atelier. I LOVE this fabric - and bought it from Hamel's at the recent Creative Stitches show. 
There are three pockets in the wallet - perfect for a few coins and/or cards. They are quite small, about 4.5" x 3.5" x 1.5", and are a quick and fun make. I think that would be perfect 'card holders' for gift cards this Christmas . . . . . just saying!

Next up was a Clobird Fiona folding wallet that currently resides in my handbag!  I got the pattern from Craftsy, and this is also made out of some Amy Butler FQ's.  The design is very clever, and uses some thick stabilizer that is added after stitching - it makes for a much easier sew, and looks very professional - well, I think so!!!

I am making another one for the mother of one of my work colleagues, it will be in black and red . . . . I wish I could use patterned fabric but I really don't want to argue with an elderly Scottish lady!  

And then I made another Swoon pattern - this time it was the Coraline - a fun little clutch, fully lined with a recessed zip:

I've not tried recessed zips before, and this was on a curve as well, so it was good to learn a new technique - I certainly need to practice more though, the zip was a little wavy!

Finally, I also have some dressmaking fabric on the table waiting to be cut out.  I see a Tina Givens 'Patricia' skirt in my near future, I've kind of lost my sewing clothing mojo, so making these cute wallets works out nicely for me!

What have you been sewing?  Is your Autumn sewing coming along well?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Well Helloooooooo Ethel!

Aren't you a lovely little thing?

I have recently taken a slight detour from dressmaking and made some lovely bags, wallets and pouches . . . . and this is the lovely Ethel.  This is a pattern by Swoon, and they have some most delicious ideas, my crystal ball tells me that there will be a number of these bags in my future!  The pattern is free - so if you fancy dipping your toes in the bag making world - you can't go too far wrong here!

The fabric is from Ikea is a decor weight, and I used the recommended 20” wide fusible woven interfacing (Pellon Shapeflex SF101) where required and fusible batting instead of foam as I'm not too sure where I can get the foam, here in Canada.

The interfacing provides a surprising amount of stability but it is not rigid at all.  The fusible batting is, of course, lovely.  There are two large pockets on the front - somewhat hidden in the photo above due to some nifty pattern matching, but you can see a bit here:

There are also two pockets inside as well - just perfect!  The straps are a great length for throwing the bag over my shoulder - my preferred mode of carrying!

I love this bag, and am planning the next version - hmm, what fabric to use next?

Have you made any bags?  What is your favourite shape?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Haute Handbags

Gosh, was that Summer over and done?  It certainly was a lovely Summer, but I'm thinking that we have now seen the best of it.  The nights are drawing in, and we have even had to switch the heating on a couple of times.  While I deliberate over what my Autumn sewing will look like (I do have a couple of other Summer Lagelook items to photograph and show you), I saw this magazine on the racks . . . . and I was inspired to play:

And inside I saw this bag (and yes - those are tabs marking a few other bags that I may have a go at making!):

Here it is a bit closer:

There are a few patterns in the magazine - unfortunately this was not one of them, so I made my own, using dimensions from a pretty bag I bought back from Australia a couple of years ago.  I used a couple of bundles of fat squatters that were for sale in my local craft shop.  The fabric was a canvas/denim weight and comprised of white, denim blue and stripe.

Here is my version:

It is probably about 12" square and I lined it with some striped shirt fabric left over from another project.  You can just about make out the internal pockets - there are three or four on each side to keep my odds and ends in so hopefully I won't need to rummage around for things too much!  the outer layer has some fusble fleecy facing attached (the type that I use when I make small bags and pouches).  The hessian and white band  are on the front only and the hessian came on a roll - it is about 6" wide.  I retro-fitted  the magnetic closing.  I wasn't going to have one but the bag gaped open and a closure was required.  Fortunately I turned the bag through the lining at the bottom, so it was easy enough to unpick that seam, add the closure, and then sew it back up again.  I have not trailed the bag yet - I will take it for a spin, and if the dimensions work out, I'll make another in more 'un-summery' colours!

Next week I am off on another bra making class with Bra Makers Supply in Hamilton Ontario, where I will be learning how to make alterations to 'fit every body'  Can't wait!  The ladies at the shop are lovely, so I made a few pouches for them out of some bra patterned fabric . . . .

I have made six in total - I hope they like them!

How is your sewing coming along?  Have you moved into Autumnal sewing yet?