Robert Kaufman : Chambray Union
I’m a sucker for a full skirt (especially with pockets!). Add that to a shirt dress and throw in some chambray and I’m in heaven. The Robert Kaufman Chambray Union collection has seriously infiltrated my wardrobe this year. I can’t help but want to make all the things with it. I keep re-ordering it for the shop and it keeps selling out. It’s just perfect for everything.
I’m pretty sure it was Johanna who pointed out this particular McCalls pattern to me last year and then ended up getting a hold of a copy for me. Thank you J!
There are so many great details on this dress. I really like the waistband and the gathered back detail. For the buttons, I decided to do covered buttons with the same fabric. Covered buttons are so easy to do and give such a polished look. I used Liberty Stanley for the little bits of bias binding on the arms and the pocket fabric. It makes me smile to see those bits.
The pattern was great to sew and fit me without any adjusting. I chose to do the sleeveless version, but there is a short sleeve option that I’m going to try next. I’m pretty sure I need a Liberty version of this pattern!
Drape Drape 2 : Dress 2
Shibori Indigo Over-Dyed Bamboo Jersey in Putty
Fabric dyed in the workroom’s Indigo class
Natural dyeing fabric is always exciting. Indigo dyeing is extra magical because it is done in a fermentation vat and the colour appears when the fibre is removed from the vat and oxygen hits it. You literally see the colour change and appear as it is exposed to the air. I was hoping that our Bamboo Knit Jersey would work with Indigo and I was super excited to find out that it takes the dye perfectly.
I had originally wanted to make some Indigo dyed leggings, but I couldn’t resist looking for a dress pattern when I saw how beautiful the large piece of Bamboo looked with the Indigo overdyed on it.
With the success of my Bamboo Jersey Moneta, I was feeling ready to tackle some of the more simple patterns from my Drape Drape 2 book. The second dress in the book couldn’t be more easy! The pattern is cut from just a single piece of fabric with only two seams to sew. I did those seams on my serger and used my Maxilock Stretch Thread. I’m addicted to using this thread on my knit projects. I finished the neck line and arm holes with bias jersey binding and used my twin needle to top stitch the binding down. The book recommends just folding and hemming the armholes, but I prefer a bound finish. I also used my twin needle to hem the dress. (Regular thread through the needles and Maxilock Stretch Thread in my bobbin)
This is such a fun dress to sew and to wear. It’s really comfortable and looks more advanced than it really is.
Now that the workroom has all the Drape Drape books in English, I’m scouting for my next pattern. I know the idea of sewing with knits is a bit daunting, but once you get started you won’t want to stop!
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!
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!
I’ve known Alison aka Coriander Girl since I opened the workroom. She was the first friend I made at the shop. She took my very first Sewing Machine Essentials class. She kept me company over lots of lunches in those early quiet days. Soon after she opened the wildly successful flower shop, Coriander Girl. Now that we’re busy business ladies, we don’t lunch as often as we’d like, but we still make time for important catch up sessions (over scones with jam) and nights of guilty pleasures (The Bachelor!).
I was overjoyed to hear that she was having a baby many months ago. Even more so that it was going to be a girl! That gave me the green light to make her a pastel dream of a quilt. I decided to use the Fiesta Wall Quilt from Quilting Modern as my guide. The book sample is only 24″x24″, so I just doubled all the measurements and ended up with a quilt that was 50″x50″. I had so much fun choosing fabrics for this project. Using a palette of apricot, linen, white and aqua I went through our recent arrivals and my stash to pull these cheerful prints. Besides all the florals (of course), I also snuck in several different bunny prints that I knew Alison would love finding.
The quilt was fun to sew. I really recommend the pattern and really the whole book. I’m very inspired by the projects in Quilting Modern and have bookmarked a few more of them for future projects. I hope to make more improv style quilts this year, so this was the perfect start to that.
This project was also really fun to quilt. I decided to do a random straight line grid. I’ve fallen in love with the Clover Hera Marker and it makes straight line quilting so quick and easy. I love being able to mark my quilts without the use of tape or any kind of mark on the fabric. The Hera Marker simply makes a crease on the fabric that is very visible that you can sew over. No need to worry about your marks damaging your quilt or not washing away.
Alison’s baby shower was yesterday at her sweet church house in Frankford, Ontario. It was a beautiful day, filled with gorgeous flowers, handmade gifts, delicious food (tacos & trifle!), happy tears and a room full of ladies who love Alison. It was perfect.
More photos of Alison’s shower are posted here.
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!
Lunch Bag class by Guy Latulippe
Outer Fabric : Railroad Denim by Robert Kaufman
Lining Fabric : Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Denim
I wish I had a lunch bag like this when I was in school.
This clever design by Guy is very fun to sew. Right now I seem to be obsessed with anything chambray, denim or yarn dyed. This project is perfect for these types of fabrics. Having a sturdier outer fabric gives the bag the right amount of structure to hold it’s shape. Definitely one of the best details is the cute gusset that truly mimics the classic brown paper bag. If you peek inside you’ll notice it is flawlessly lined with beautiful seam binding. The cherry on top is the hidden magnetic closure.
So many possibilities for this cute bag. Some students suggested it would be a great gift filled with homemade cookies! For me, I’m planning a spring outfit with this as my clutch.
If you’re in Toronto, you can make one at the workroom this Saturday in our Lunch Bag class!
After months and months of working on this project, it’s great to finally be able to post photos of this community quilt made for Debbie’s baby. Sunday was Debbie’s last day of work and it seemed like the perfect time to throw her a little surprise baby shower to celebrate.
The beauty of a community quilt is the incredible personality it reflects. Not only of the person who sews the block, but the person the blocks are intended for. When I look at this quilt, I truly see this.
The parameters we set out for the quilt used this fabric as our colour inspiration along with a required finished size of 9″. Somehow with just those two guidelines, we ended up with this magical patchwork.
A quilt is always filled with love, but when it is worked on by so many people it vibrates that love so strongly. We can’t wait to meet your baby, Debbie!
All the quilt photos from this project can be found here.
Economy block by Karyn
Economy block by Karyn
Hummingbird block by Katrina
Maple block by Jacqueline
Maple block by Jacqueline
Star block with Hexagon centre by Johanna
HST block by Ayalah
Improv block by Ayalah
Feather block by Angelune
Postage Stamp block by Angelune
Improv block by Suzanne
Improv block by Katherine
Improv block by Katherine
Improv block by Elisa
Improv block by Lauren
Improv block by Lauren
Star block by Nadia
Star within a Star block by Carolanne
Cathedral Windows block by Alexis
Porthole block by Maria
Improv bloc by Carolina
Improv block by Rosalyn
Improv block by Jerisse