Saturday, May 8, 2021

Me Made May - Week 1 Wrap-up

When I decided to take part in Me Made May this year, the goal was to "force" myself to wear me-made garments every day and determine what gaps I still have by trying more combinations. Unfortunately, the weather really hasn't been cooperating so I haven't been able to take out any of my warmer weather garments yet. I'm really hoping this changes soon or else Me Made May is going to have to move into June for me! 

I'm going to be blogging every week and document (for myself as much as for you guys) my thoughts on what works and what doesn't so I don't forget. These are going to be long posts - be warned!

I got the whole thing started with my Itch-to-Stitch Bellavista Top in a sweater knit from Fabricville. You can read all about the sizing and see more photos here. I absolutely love this top and I get lots of compliments when I wear it. The fabric isn't heavy or warm at all so this is perfect for cooler May weather and I'll also be able to wear this in the Fall. The print has red, black and grey in it, so this will pair perfectly with a bunch of different bottoms. I'm thinking this would also look pretty awesome with a black pencil skirt for when I return to the office in the Fall. This top is definitely a keeper.

On May 2, I wore a top I had just finished - this is the Cashmerette Cedar Dolman in another lightweight sweater knit (from Minerva). This was a muslin because I wasn't sure I would love a dolman sleeve on me and I was worried about the high neckline. This was a huge success (in my humble opinion) - I love the fit, the length and the neckline isn't too high at all. Here is a link to my blog post about this top and the final version I made with an awesome pink knit fabric. This is definitely another keeper but will probably not wear this much over the warmer months. It does look good with black pants and I have a good pair of those that are work appropriate for Fall.

On May 3, I wore my first Busan Top by Itch-to-Stitch. I made this version as a muslin with scraps. I have worn this top to death since I made it - so much so that the Ponte I used is starting to pill really badly. The sleeves are so much fun and because the shoulders are narrow by design, the extra volume at the top of the sleeves just balances things out very nicely. The hem on this top hits me at the perfect spot and it looks really good with my grey Arden Pants (by Helen's Closet). This top probably won't be worn out in public anymore but it'll stay in the rotation for days spent at home. As for the pants, they are staying in my wardrobe all year around. In fact, I'm already planning another pair for the Summer in linen. If you want to read the original blog posts for these, go here for the Busan top and here for the Arden pants.

On Day 4, I wore an Ashton top and Blackwood Cardigan both by Helen's Closet. I've worn this combo many times this last Winter - it's sort of perfect really. The Ashton is getting a little snug on me though (thank you COVID weight gain) and there are a few little tweaks I want to make to the pattern: I need to narrow the shoulders by about 1/2", I want to lengthen it a bit and I'd like to lower the neckline just a touch. Once those adjustments are made, this will be the perfect top to wear with shorts and maxi skirts this Summer. Go here to read about my Ashton top and here for the red Blackwood.

On May 5, I woke up feeling pretty tired and really just wanted to wear something warm, cozy and comfortable. So I wore my Love Notions Whistler top and some RTW black joggers. This sweater is going to be perfect to wear on chilly evenings when we open up the island house this Summer. I think I might make another one of these in a sweater knit for next Fall. (Read all about this version here.)

On Day 6, I wore another Blackwood Cardigan, my Seamwork Moji pants (which I can't find on the Seamwork website anymore) and a black RTW tee-shirt. Not much to say about this outfit really - the cardigan is good, but the pants are made with the same Ponte as my Busan Top above and it's also pilling badly so these pants will most likely not be worn outside. I was thinking of making another pair of Moji pants, but there are so many adjustments I'd need to make for them to fit me perfectly, I think I'm just going to keep looking for a better knit pants pattern.

And finally, on Day 7, I wore my cowl neck La Bella Donna tunic by Love Notions. This pattern is one of the most versatile and fun pattern to sew - I made a short sleeved top last Summer, another tunic without the cowl and this cowl neck version. Whenever I wear my La Bella Donna tops, I get lots of compliments. The only thing I would change on this version is the neckline. I wish the cowl neck was lower. I am going to do some research to see if anyone has a hack for that.

I'm really happy I managed to post every day! Again, a little disappointing that I wasn't able to break out my warm weather me-mades, but I've now established that I need to:

  • branch out in terms of colour - a lot of red, black and grey this week.
  • find a better location for my photos! 😂
  • make myself some bottoms.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Bokeh Quilt Finish

Back in the Fall, Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl launched her annual quilt-along. I've participated in her quilt-alongs a couple of times now and when I saw this year's design, I just had to take part again. This year's pattern is called Bokeh. The quilt-along wrapped up just a few days ago and Yvonne is hosting a link-up party on her blog so that all the participants can share their finished quilt.

All of the fabrics I chose for my version came from my stash and the background is Kona White. 

The middle blocks came together very easily thanks to Yvonne's instructions. I started sewing the borders very late at night and was obviously very tired because I had to unpick them not once, but twice.

These borders were doomed somehow because I messed-up when preparing my backing fabric but only noticed once I had basted most of the quilt (I use boards to baste my quilts and didn't realize my backing fabric was too short until it was too late). So I quilted it and removed part of the borders before sewing on the binding. 

The backing is a text print from Connecting Threads and the binding is more Kona White with one strip left from the aqua fabric.

The details:
  • Pattern: Bokeh by Quilting Jetgirl
  • Size: Lap Size (approx. 57" x 60")
  • Fabrics: Kona White and various fabrics from my stash 
  • Thread: Pieced and quilted with Aurifil #2600 (dove)

I love my new quilt and I'll happily be sharing it with the other participants of the quilt-alongs over at Yvonne's blog!

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Two New Cashmerette Cedar Dolman Tops

I've been wanting to try the Cashmerette patterns for a long time so I recently purchased their Cedar Dolman top. I've been planning a Spring/Summer capsule wardrobe and a new pink short sleeved top was first on the list. 

Before cutting into my pink fabric, I decided to make a muslin with some leftover fabric from the cowl top I made a few weeks go.

I made zero modifications to the pattern for this version except I decided not to use the hem facings and simply turn up the hem by 3/4" and topstitch. 

This is probably the best fitting top I've made for myself. The length is really good and although this is a dolman top, there is none of the usual fabric folds at the shoulders and bust. I was so pleased with my new top, I decided to cut into my pink fabric.

This is a cotton jersey knit from Blackbird Fabrics (no longer available). It is 100% organic cotton with no elastane. The fit is very similar to my first one, but it feels a tiny bit smaller probably because the fabric has less stretch.

 I love the colour of my new top! 

The details:

There will definitely be more of these!

Friday, April 30, 2021

The Bendy Bag

It's amazing how many small things us sewists accumulate in a sewing room! From zippers to specialty tapes and buttons - all these things require boxes, jars or bags to keep them organized.

I have a number of zipper pouches already but earlier this week, I decided to make a pouch from a pattern I've had forever: the Bendy bag by Lazy Girl Designs.

I love the original seam lines and the fun tab made from a length of zipper tape. And although it is small (3" x 6" x 6"), it holds a lot of stuff. I decided to store my specialty tapes in it for now.

I used two fat quarters from my stash to make my Bendy bag - I have no idea where they came from or who designed them. But I love the green colour with the purple zipper which matches the purple in the print.

This was a really quick make and a fun one too! I can definitely imagine making a few of these as presents or even as gift-wrapping for small presents.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Seamwork Channing Pants

 I've been on a quest for a comfortable, stylish and somewhat simple to sew pair of pants. I have made the Arden pants by Helen's Closet a couple of times now (here and here), and I love them. But they are very casual pants and I would love to make myself a pair of "dressier" pants.

I searched through the Seamwork pattern library and found the Channing. I liked the flat front waistband and the comfy elasticated back. I wasn't sure about the pleats (I really don't need volume added to my tummy area), but I downloaded the pattern and decided to give them a try.

They aren't too bad, but definitely not a big success. The fabric I used is a cotton sateen which a bit of stretch and it is quite stiff. What I feared about the pleats and amplified by the lack of drape in the fabric and there is A LOT of extra volume at my tummy which isn't too obvious when I'm standing, but it looks really bad when I'm sitting.

Other than the pleats and the extra fabric on the front, the fit is quite good. The side seams are straight, the length is good (I added 1 inch at the shorten/lengthen line) and the waistband is very comfortable. The waistband does sit a little high though - my preference is for my waistbands to sit about two inches below my natural waist.

The fit on the back is the best I've achieved so far in my sewing journey. The pants fall straight down from my bum and there are no drag lines or folds anywhere. The fabric is really busy and I know it's difficult to see, but trust me, the back looks really good!

These pants did teach me a few things about the types of pants or details to look for and which to avoid for me:

  • I have to avoid pleats on the front - I was listening to a style podcast recently and they said pleats can be used to add volume to an area that needs it. For example, if someone is an inverted triangle (biggest measurement is the upper body), they can use pleats to visually add volume to their lower half and therefore achieve balance. Well - I'm a rectangle with apple tendencies so I definitely don't need the added volume around my middle.
  • I like straight legs on me.
  • I prefer mid-rise pants - the waist should sit a couple of inches below my natural waist.
  • The waistband on these pants is a tiny bit too narrow (1" elastic is used on the back). I much prefer a 2 inch waistband, but at a minimum, it should be 1.5 ".
  • Cotton sateen is a pleasure to sew!

The details:

Friday, April 23, 2021

A Second Closet Core Pouf

Making myself another Closet Core Pouf had been on my list of sewing goals for this year, but I had no idea what fabrics to use. I ordered red fabric about a month ago to make new curtains and decided that fabric would be perfect to make the pouf.

The other red fabric (the one with the tiny white stars) is leftover from a quilt back. I didn't take a picture of the bottom of the pouf, but it's another fabric leftover from a quilt back. 

I didn't add piping around the top and bottom circles like I did for my first one. And I now regret it... I much prefer the look of the pouf with piping.

I stuffed the pouf with dressmaking fabric scraps I've been keeping since August 2020. And I have a bag full of them still... I'll probably make these poufs every 6 months at the rate I'm going.

The details:
  • Pattern: Closet Case Patterns Pouf (I can't link to the pattern because you can get it for free if you sign-up for their newsletter)
  • Fabrics: All leftovers and scraps from previous projects

I'm not sure where this pouf will reside... the red does match the new kitchen curtains but I don't really need a pouf in the kitchen so maybe this will remain in my bedroom for now. It does go well with my slippers!

Friday, April 16, 2021

Scrappy Lattice in Blue

I've had the Scrappy Lattice pattern from Bonjour Quilts in my pattern stash for a while and I also had a stack of 3.5" blue squares so I got to work!

This was such a fun project to work on. The pattern has a number of sizes and you could go crazy with the colours - Bonjour Quilts has a blog post on making this pattern in the colours of the rainbow and it looks fantastic. I may have to cut up more squares from my scrap bins and make more of these quilts!

The sashing is Kona Ash. I'm not sure that was the best choice for this pattern though. I think the design is more effective in a sashing fabric that offers more contrast with the colourful scraps. If you look at the tester versions at the link above, you'll see that a much darker or a much lighter fabric for the sashing really shows off the "lattice" and that my choice of using grey doesn't. Not a huge deal obviously, but when I make this again, I'll go with something different.

I went with blue Aurifil thread in 50 wt for the quilting. I stitched a square meander which I thought would be a pretty good match for the "lattice" design. I really like this FMQ design - the texture is awesome and it really doesn't matter if your stitches are a little wobbly.

The backing is a 108" wide fabric I purchased from Connecting Threads a while ago. Quick and easy backing with no piecing necessary. When I'm done with a quilt top, I typically don't want to spend a lot of time piecing the back - I want to jump right into the basting stage and get to the quilting. So these 108" wide fabrics are just perfect.

I searched through my stash for a blue fabric to make the binding with, but in the end, I decided to use Kona Ash. It obviously blends in perfectly with the sashing but again, I don't love the lack of contrast - I just find it a little boring.

Overall, I'm pleased with my Scrappy Lattice quilt. I got to use up some more scraps and I have a nice size quilt for my hubby to nap with (he was complaining about the lack of larger quilts for him to use for nap time).

The details:
  • Pattern: Scrappy Lattice by Bonjour Quilts
  • Size: Twin Size (63.5" x 81.5")
  • Fabrics: Kona Ash and blue scraps from my stash 
  • Thread: Pieced with Aurifil #2600 (dove) and quilted with Aurifil #2780 (blue)