Colette Patterns : Moneta Dress
Dark Grey Bamboo Jersey
When Lizzy House was here, we did very little sewing. Unlike last year when The Sewing Factory ran for a week straight. We did manage to make Monetas together. This was the perfect project, if we had to choose just one.
Our first step was to analyze everyone else’s version. This is a valuable step! We wanted to find out what problems people had with the pattern so that we could avoid them. There were two things we found. A lot of people complained about excess fabric under the arm. The other issue people talked about was the method used to add the clear elastic at the waistband.
When we opened up the pattern we saw right away that the side seam extended too far out when it came up under the arm. We simply straightened out that line by bringing it in about 1/2″.
For the clear elastic. We did not follow the pattern directions! I’ve heard so many people complain about the results they got by trying to stretch and sew the elastic into the skirt at the same time. We used the traditional method. We basted the skirt first with a long stitch on the sewing machine. We then gathered the skirt by hand. Then we just serged the clear elastic in place. One note about the elastic. The pattern calls for 1/4″ clear elastic, which is impossible to find. We used 3/8″ clear elastic that we just trimmed down to the right width before serging it in place.
For my version I chose to do the short sleeve with no collar. I lined the bodice with the same jersey as the rest of the dress and I really like the weight of it. I will definitely do that again for my next versions. We also used a different pocket. Lizzy had a great pocket pattern that attached to the waistband rather than the side seam, which seems much more stable on a knit dress.
To put the dress together we used a serger with Maxi-lock Stretch thread and Stretch 90 needles. I’m addicted to Maxi-lock Stretch thread for sewing with knits. I did a bit of testing and it definitely makes the seams more stretchy than regular serger thread. It also is super soft and gives nice coverage over the seam. Using a serger, the dress comes together really quickly. Both Lizzy and I made our dresses in one night sharing a serger and sewing machine. For all the hemming we used a stretch twin needle on my sewing machine. For this part we used the stretch thread in the bobbin and regular thread in the top.
The bamboo jersey is incredibly soft. Wearing this dress feels amazing and you never want to take it off. Probably the best thing to do is just make 6 more so that I can just have one for every day of the week. You can see Lizzy & I wearing our Monetas together here.
p.s. The next night Lizzy made a second version using fabric that she hand dyed in our Indigo class. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever seen.
Victory Patterns : Hazel Dress
Liberty of London : Umbria
I love a clever sewing pattern. The Hazel dress is one of those. I just love the way this pattern sews up, how the lining is added to make everything clean finished on the insides, that there is no zipper and the adorable bow! The pattern shows doing contrast fabrics for the top and the skirt, but I’m boring and love just using one fabric. Plus, I really love this particular Liberty Print, so I was happy to only showcase Umbria. To sum it up, this pattern is pretty awesome. So much so, that I used it to create a sleeveless shift version dress. I’ll post that one soon.
I’m pretty sure I’ll be making another Hazel with at least one of the new Fall 2014 Liberty prints that should be arriving this week!
Tom Ford shirting from Sultan’s Fine Fabrics
Me Made May just finished and I had a lot of fun re-visiting my handmade wardrobe with fresh eyes. I’ll be posting many items over the next few weeks that I was able to finally photograph in detail to show you a closer look.
This Wiksten Tova dress was made from a luxurious Tom Ford shirting fabric that I bought at Sultan’s. As soon as I spotted the roll, I knew I needed to make a dress from it. I especially love making a Wiksten Tova using any type of plaid or check because one of my favourite things to do is cut the yoke on the bias. I was also very careful when cutting out the pieces to match the pattern from the front to the back piece, especially since the pattern is so bold.
I’m not sure if there’s a limit to how many Tovas a girl can have, but I think I could still use a few more.
Grainline Studio : Scout Woven Tee
Linen from Sultan’s Fine Fabric, bias plaid trim from Sultan’s Fine Fabric
Colette Patterns : Zinnia Skirt
Robert Kaufman Chambray Union Light
Lined with Solid Grey Voile
Two for one! I love when a good outfit combo comes together. This red linen Scout Tee with the Chambray Zinnia is such an easy outfit to wear.
This is the first Woven Skirt Tee that I ever made, last summer. Looking at it now, I see that I need to add a few more of these to my summer wardrobe. I posted about my long sleeve Liberty version here. I made a couple small changes. Just brought in the side seams a bit for a better fit on me and added a few inches to the length. I’m going to make my next versions at the original length because I think it will look more flattering with skirts and shorts for the summer. For the binding on the neck, I couldn’t resist making a contrast bias tape using some plaid cotton shirting from Sultan’s. Those hidden details give me endless pleasure.
For the Colette Zinnia Skirt, I combined elements of version 2 and 3 on the pattern. I liked the shorter length and the pockets, but since I was using the Chambray Union Light, I also wanted to have a lining. I omitted the belt loops since I don’t ever wear belts. I would definitely make this custom version again. The skirt is very light weight and feels so soft. I can’t wait to wear it this summer without tights. All the pleats in the skirt are top stitched down. I love the way this looks. I was also very happy to find the perfect button for the back closure in The Button Dept. at the workroom.
Both these patterns are great for beginners and a breeze for experienced sewers.
My Me Made May month is going really well! I keep finding new clothes in my closet that need to be photographed, so there is now a queue of blog posts that I’m working on. You can keep track of my outfits on Instagram or see the collection here.
Victory Patterns : Roxanne Top
Liberty of London : Growing Fonder Tana Lawn Cotton
We’re halfway through May and if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I have been doing the Me Made May challenge for this month. Me Made May is an opportunity for people who knit or stitch handmade clothing to celebrate their wardrobe. I am NOT sewing a new garment everyday! I’m using this opportunity to celebrate my years of building my handmade wardrobe. I’m also taking the opportunity to document newer garments that I’ve never really shared and to re-document some old favourites. I’m loving looking into my closet each morning with fresh eyes and picking an outfit to share with you.
This is my second Roxanne top. I just loved the other version and wanted to try the second option with sleeves and the tie. I decided to use the beautiful Liberty of London Growing Fonder Print. I love the detail of this pattern and the fine lines. If you look closely you will also see there are metallic accents here and there. It’s just gorgeous. I decided to do some extreme pattern matching for this tunic. When I was sewing this, I was also watching the Great British Sewing Bee and imagined Patrick Grant judging my work. He’s a tough cookie, but he would appreciate these fine details. This really inspired me to push myself! I was very careful to centre the pattern on the front , the back and also each of the sleeves. I cut each sleeve separately and made sure the pattern was identical on each one. I also made sure that the pattern lined up as you go around the top from front to sleeve to back. To be extra extreme, on the back, I carefully calculated so that the pattern matched up in the centre from the back yoke to the back bodice, ACROSS THE SEAM! No one will ever know, but even the facing on the front neckline perfectly matched the piece it was sewn to. This took a fair bit of time, but I really enjoyed the challenge.
The one little snag I ran into was just a result of me not fully reading the pattern. When you sew in the sleeves for this, you use a smaller seam allowance of 3/8″ rather than the 5/8″ that you use for the rest of the pattern. When I figured this out, it really made a difference on how the sleeves fit!
I love the drama of this pattern! When you wear it, the way the back flows out and the way the back hem curves down just feels so fancy and fun!
I’m collecting all my Me Made May photos here and I’ll be posting lots of new garments for the rest of the month!
Portfolio Tunic : Lisette for Simplicity (out of print!)
Liberty of London Tana Lawn Cotton : Scilly Flora
I loved this top in the shorter version, and I love it even more in this longer version. It’s the cute pockets that make it. The Portfolio is just a super pretty design. It’s a shame that the pattern is out of print. But the good news is that Liesl just re-released a new version of the pattern called the Cappuccino Dress.
As always, Liberty is the perfect fabric and this particular print was from the Spring/Summer 2013 collection called The Flower Show. The Scilly Flora print is actually made up of hand drawings done by a class of students in a range of ages. The grey with peachy accents is pretty much my dream colour combo.
When I get hooked onto a pattern, I can’t help but make a few. I can tell that this is going to be a new staple style in my wardrobe.
Leggings were on our original To Do List for The Sewing Factory. They got nixed off the list when we couldn’t find nice jersey that we loved for the project and also we got distracted by Liberty fabric and sewing all the dresses.
A few months later, I picked up some grey jersey in hopes of making leggings. I also finally found a good leggings pattern. I’ve had great success with all the Jalie patterns that I’ve tried. They are the basis for our T-Shirt & Underwear classes. Their patterns include an extensive range of sizes which seems to make the fit of their garments really wonderful.
A few weeks ago, all the stars finally aligned. Our water service stopped at home (here’s looking on the bright side of this situation) and I was stuck waiting about 20 hours for the city to arrive to work on it. With some unexpected ‘free’ time, it seemed like the perfect time to tackle a new but simple project.
These leggings were born without a hitch. I used both a serger and a sewing machine with a twin needle to finish these. I tried them on when I was done and they fit like a glove! I promptly sat down and made a second pair.
My second pair was even better. I made a few changes to my construction process that I’m really happy about. I searched my stash and found enough knit fabric for two more pairs. One of my next pairs will be from bamboo jersey that is a bit thicker. I think this will be the best weight and I’m excited that the workroom will be carrying this bamboo jersey again very soon! (in a range of awesome new colours)
This is perfect project to practice your serger skills on and to introduce yourself to serging with jersey. I’ll be sharing all my tricks and tips in our new Leggings class at the workroom!
We also have the Jalie Leggings pattern in the shop! Plus, the essential twin & jersey needles. A hundred pairs of leggings for everyone!
Vogue 1350 by Rachel Comey
Raspberry Purrfectly Happy from Catnap by Lizzy House,
lined with Freespirit Solid Plum Voile
Here’s my entry for the Lizzy House Catnap Dress Contest!
I don’t think I could have chosen a more difficult pattern to do under a short deadline. This pattern was not a sleepy catnap, it was a real challenge! I had wanted to try something new for the contest. I also wanted the dress to be a bit more formal to contrast the adorable cat print.
This dress is a beautiful design. It is also completely lined. Not just a lining that is dropped into the dress, but a lining that is sewn onto the facings and finishes the insides and hems cleanly. It’s serious. The front placket hides a row of snap closures. There is so much great detail and fitting in this dress. It’s pretty much a work of art.
While I was sewing it into the early hours of the morning before the deadline, I was definitely cursing myself for not choosing an easier pattern. That said, I do love this dress and how it turned out. It seems the perfect way for me to sport some kitty cats. Quite a few people have asked how Maisy feels about this dress – She doesn’t mind, she loves Lizzy House cats as much as I do.
You can check out all the entries into the Catnap Dress Contest here. There are so many wonderful Catnap dresses!
Portfolio Tunic : Lisette for Simplicity
Liberty of London Tana Lawn : Claire Aude
It seems like winter may never end, so it’s best to embrace it! Or in this case, head outdoors in a short sleeved shirt for 15 minutes to catch some natural light!
I have had the Portfolio Tunic in my pattern stash for a while. Amanda sent it to me ages ago but I could never decide which fabric to use and other patterns always seemed more pressing. Recently I spotted this Portfolio Tunic made by Allyson. (Thank you, Pinterest!) Immediately, I knew I had to make one and it had to be this sunny yellow Claire Aude print from Liberty of London that I had in my stash. Just the thing to cheer up some winter blues!
I chose to do the short tunic to see if I liked the fit and the pattern in general, so I missed out on doing the awesome pocket detail with this version. But I already have a next Liberty print set aside for my next version and it will be the longer tunic for sure. The pattern is a dream! Very simple, clear instructions and easy sewing. The front square yoke detail is so cute. The sweet two button closure at the back was the perfect place to use a couple of vintage glass buttons from The Button Dept. My only note would be that you need to really clip the seam allowance for the curve of the sleeve so that it sits properly.
Unfortunately, this pattern is out of print! I didn’t realize it, but quickly found out as people started asking where they could get a copy. Luckily, Liesel Gibson commented on one of my posts that she is working on an updated version of this pattern that she’ll be putting out herself. Hooray!
A few times a year, I pick a month to dedicate to finishing projects. The main objective is to cross things off my list whether they are brand new projects or projects that have been lingering for months (or even years!) Sometimes, all it takes to finish something is sewing on buttons. For larger projects, like quilts, finishing a block or a stage of the project is considered a ‘finish’ to me.
January seemed like the perfect time to start a finishing campaign. I also took a week off work towards the end of the month to just stay home, relax and sew. Heaven! I had ten solid finishes in January, ranging from a quilt top to a duffle bag to a knit cowl that I started over two years ago. Here are a few sneak peeks!