Papercut Bellatrix Blazer

So I made a blazer :)

 

Inspired once again by Anne’s numerous makes, I was turned on to the clean lines and versatility of this pattern.

Although I really like the short version, I settled on the longer version first, as the fabric I used was more dressy and i wanted it to be wearable for both office attire and with jeans.

 

I swear it’s pressed, but the fabric has a soft drape and texture, making it appear creased, which along with a burn test, makes me think it’s linen or a linen blend.

I’m showing it pictured here on Patience, as it’s easier to get a feel for the style lines and texture of the fabric when it’s sunny, and it was, fortunately, when I finished it and took these shots – but hasn’t been lately ;) 

I found it interesting that the pattern calls for most of the body to be interfaced, but I wanted to keep the softness of the fabric so I used a weft interfacing in a little lighter weight than my fabric. It was the first time for me using this type, and with all the steam required to press & shape these seams I feel like I probably should have pre-shrunk it because it shrank during application so I steamed the crap out of it before sewing so it wouldn’t cause me too much heartache later on. It still did, but not too badly :)

I also added a self drafted sleeve head for a little extra support.

The lining is a superb quality Bemberg rayon which is just a delight to touch and wear but as always, I despise sewing lining because Bemberg is notorious for misbehaving lol.

As for fit, I did two FBA’s; one and then another adjustment again after my first muslin. I adjusted the waist just the once but should have tweaked that as well the second time; that said, it fits with a hook & eye at the waist rather than a buttonhole so that’s fine. I also lengthened the sleeve 3″. These are all standard adjustments for me so pretty much normal :)

I would like to make this again, in the shorter version but I plan faster than I sew so may not happen anytime soon, as I have a massive queue, including wedding sewing lol :)

In other news, Me Made May is fast approaching and I’m taking the pledge for the first time! :) I know I have really limited choices in lounge wear so I suspect that will be my biggest challenge but challenge is the whole point! I’m nervous but excited to see what I learn :) Anyone else joining in? :) 


Wadders

I was planning on posting a previously finished project this week but instead I decided to talk about a more recent failure – a stinky old wadder.

It happens – you spend hours on something that just doesn’t work out in the end… and regardless of how you try and reassure yourself that it was good experience or whatever, it still sucks, and for me, saps my motivation for a time.

In this case the problem was that I sewed too many times while hungry & tired and thus, dumb mistakes were made over & over, resulting in frayed and destroyed seam edges too far beyond the hope of salvation.

Finally, in disgust, I threw the whole damn thing away.

Yes, I will make this pattern again out of a different fabric, but there wasn’t enough left to salvage of this one, and I’m still slightly pissy over the hours & fabric wasted.

So I’m taking a sulky break from sewing for a little bit – but hopefully I can get my mojo back soon, and if not, I have that finished project waiting to be blogged still, so at least that’s something :)


Pants!!

… or trousers, depending on who you are ;)

So far this year my making has primarily consisted of something I’ve previously more or less untried in: pants! :) I am LOVING making pants!!! I’m really behind in my blogging so I’m catching up today by showing you three pairs, which I made between November of last year, and February of this year.

Pants are what I wear most often to work (and play) 3 seasons of the year and one of the things I despise shopping for most, because it’s super hard for me to find a good fit in a style I like, in fabric that’s quality, or even partially natural fibers. I end up spending WAY too much money on one semi-decent fitting pair that I subsequently wear to absolute shreds, and this is where I’ve been stuck for some time.

SO! Sewing & fitting skills to work!

The one futile attempt I made  previously (a couple years ago) met with sad failure due to my lack of experience and understanding, but this time, I was determined to make a decent fitting pair of trousers.

I decided on a Burda pattern based on Anne’s glowing reviews and numerous wonderful pairs, and with some tweaking and fiddling (and a LOT of head scratching at those instructions!) I managed to eke out a couple muslins, the last of which produced a fit I was really happy with.

I then took that tweaked pattern and some trouser weight wool I had in my stash and went to work. End result? Slightly askew waistband & messy welts aside, I have a pair of black wool dress trousers I absolutely love – the fit is awesome and I am truly proud of my fly insertion :) As my mum (wisely) said, if the fit is good, the rest will come in time :) (practice DOES make perfect after all!)

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So I was hooked!! Next came my Holly jumpsuit. Armed with my new knowledge, I had little trouble fitting this one, and was pleased with the outcome. So much so I decided to make a pair of trousers from the pattern. However, I prefer my trousers to sit lower on my waist/hip so I slashed off 4.5″ from the top of each pants piece, then drafted a 1.5″ 2-piece waistband based on the top part (folding out the darts and adding seam allowance, and an overlap of course)

grey-trousersgrey-trousers-back
I did not use instructions for this one as most of it was invented by me anyway – instead I constructed them how it made sense to me, and when it came to the zipper I used a regular zip with a lapped installation, placing the lap from front to back as I thought it would be more flattering. Waistband and zipper turned out great, and the dropped waist was exactly what I was aiming for! Second win!! :)

I was getting pretty excited by this point – I mean never in my life have I had pants that fit this well – and in lovely wool no less – I was in heaven!

So it was time to test my mettle on a new animal – the skinny jean.

Friends, I’ll be honest – I am a boot cut gal through & through but I’ve been informed that’s not “cool” anymore lol (not that that’ll stop me) but if I was gonna go there, there was NO WAY I was going to attempt squeezing into a pair of skinny jeans in a public changing room; the only way it was happening was on MY terms!

Enter the Named Jamie jeans!! (already blogged here but forgot to add some construction/process details so I’ll g on a little more LOL) What a fun project! I was tempted by all the fun jeans threads but since my chosen denim was a soft, sleek black, I opted for a charcoal topstitching thread instead, for a subtler look. Also the only 4″ zipper had an ugly pull so I bought the next size up & resolved to find a way to shorten it. (yes, I’m particular lol)

I executed the exact same flat pattern adjustments I made on the previous 2 pairs, and made a quick muslin of the top part from a test stretch fabric before proceeding.

Putting both my machines to work made the construction process a cinch – the body of the jeans were done in one afternoon, as I used one machine for construction and the other for topstitching.

A quick try-on prior to fly installation revealed that the legs of these were VERY tight – luckily my denim was pretty forgiving – should have realized I would need to adjust for my massive muscular calves haha. Will definitely adjust next time lol and as Mrs M has pointed out, I may also need a thigh adjustment as well :)

Cons: Slightly wonky waistband – totally my fault (seriously, what is my problem with waistbands, anyway?) and an evil buttonhole; my machine was NOT cooperating with the buttonhole on the stretch fabric!
Pros: I made JEANS!!! Of the skinny variety! And they fit, are comfy and I love them!!

Next up on the roster was a pattern I’ve been itching to try out for some time: Vogue 1051. I love all the details of this pattern: the lower rise and wide waistband, the welt seam pocket in front and the welt with button closure in back. After making the (now) usual pattern adjustments I squawked out a quick shorts muslin & bravely (arrogantly?) proceeded to move on to the real deal. I say bravely because for these I had a special piece of fabric in mind: a lovely red Italian wool gifted to me by Andrea of Stitch Parade for the Christmas swap a couple (few?) years ago. I’ve been saving it until my skills were a bit better and I’m glad I did; I love these trousers, and I even eked out just enough for a bonus skirt!! (coming soon! LOL)

red-trousersred-trousers-back
The construction was a bit more challenging than my previous pairs but I think I am getting better each time :) I did have to unpick a couple times on the back pockets because I did a few upside down things lol, and ONCE AGAIN the waistband was a problem but not as bad as the black ones & I think I figured out why :)

And yet more trousers in the works but before that, a few more finished objects yet unblogged and coming soon, a HUGE project I’m finishing up now; my DREAM JACKET (or one of them… I love jackets!) and then (jumping on the most recent bandwagon) LINGERIE!


Named Jamie Jeans!!

Ok so let me start off by saying that there are two revelations in this post:

  1. I made jeans
  2. I am wearing skinny jeans for the FIRST TIME

I have been a boot cut girl for as long as I can remember and always thought that skinny jeans would give me the dreaded ice cream cone figure LOL. To my surprise, not only do they flatter the figure, but I love the way these feel AND look!!

(sorry for the poor photo quality; it was raining and I had a tough time getting full cooperation from my photographer LOL)

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Named Jamie Jeans – front view

 

JamieJeans-back

Named Jamie Jeans – back view

The pattern is awesome; especially being a first jeans attempt for me it was a great way to ease into the craft. I found the instructions very good, and the pdf pattern was easy to work with. I actually love that Named uses as little pages as possible. There is a bit of overlapping on some pattern pieces but the up side is you don’t have to match and tape as many pages, which means better accuracy overall.

JamieJeans-frontpocket_fly

slanted front pockets, center front topstitching and jeans button and fly

I absolutely love the slanted front pockets. You can use a contrast fabric for a different detail but I wanted these to be a bit more dressy/subtle so I could wear them with a blouse or jacket to the office.

There is a lot of topstitching involved which I LOVE. I’m a weirdo – I adore topstitching and I do it all by eye, as I don’t have any special feet. I have a second machine so I loaded her up with the topstitching thread and was able to swap back and forth construction and topstitching without switching threads every five minutes. Bonus :)

JamieJeans-backpocket

check out that yoke topstitching matching awesomeness – yeah!!

My fabric is a wonderful stretchy dark black cotton denim. It is a bit more dressy than a traditional blue jean, washes and wears beautifully, and was a dream to sew :)

Closeup front and back just for fun:

JamieJeans-flyJamieJeans-butt

I will DEFINITELY be making these again!!! I think I will give myself a bit more room in the calf area on the next version, as I have pretty beefy calf muscles LOL. I have a wonderful brocade that I think would look smashing in this style, for a bit of a dressy casual look :)


Vanamo in action!

Hi guys! I know I’ve been a bad blogger – I’ve been making but not photographing, which means there’s stuff to blog about but no point in blogging if there’s nothing so show, so – SORRRRRYYYY!!! ^_^

I did finally get the chance to wear the Vanamo skirt that I blogged about here – while it’s been fairly mild for winter (especially compared to the East coast!) it is still a little too chilly for sleeveless crop tops but I was able to successfully pair the skirt with tights, boots, and my favourite wardrobe staple – a black tee! LOL

Vanamo_skirt

I’ll try and get some of my recent makes up soon! Stay warm everyone! :)


Congratulations Vicki Kate! :)

Those of you in the sewing community probably know the lovely Vicki Kate – she was one of the first people I met when I started blogging and I consider her a dear person and a special friend :)

So when Annabelle (also a lovely person and a dear friend!) suggested we get together and hold a handmade virtual baby shower for her, I was happy to participate! :)

I thought it would be nice to make something cosy for the little one, so I knit a little cardigan! :)

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I used a soft washable wool blend in a cream colour, so either a boy or girl could wear it :) I admit I don’t know much about babies but I think it’s maybe a bit bigger than newborn size lol ^_^ Also the pattern didn’t specify how long to do the sleeves so I kinda guessed – who knows how long baby arms are? lol

Lots of love & best wishes, Vicki!! Congratulations on the new addition to your family! :)

And check out the other lovely and talented ladies who made stuff for Vicki & baby!:

http://annabellebumps.blogspot.com
http://Macskakat.wordpress.com
http://gingermakes.com/
http://dottiedoodle.wordpress.com
https://nuzzle.wordpress.com
www.threadcarefully.org


Blog Hop!

Hi All!

I was nominated A LONG TIME AGO by my lovely friend Janene of Oobop to participate in this little challenge whereby one answers some questions and then passes on the torch, so to speak.

Well I am REALLY behind in my blog reading apparently and so I’m very late to the party but I am no less determined to make up for it so here we go! ^__^

Q1. What are you currently working on?

Pants!! Lots of them!! I haven’t blogged any of them yet but it’s on my to-do list. I have so far made a pair of Burda trousers, a BHL Holly jumpsuit (blogged here) and a subsequent pair of Holly trousers (not blogged yet) as well as a pair of Named Jamie jeans – hurrah! Making pants is ENORMOUSLY satisfying. Even though I’m still nailing down the finishing details, I’ve been getting a pretty darn good fit on all accounts and as my mum says “the rest will come with practice”. Love that – it’s so true! I have been trying not to get caught up in the minutiae, and instead of beating myself up trying to get the details perfect, to just let myself learn naturally :) It’s MUCH more fun that way!!

Q2. How does your work differ from others in its genre?

Work as in sewing? Or work as in work? LOL.

My sewing differs maybe in that while I used to follow sewalongs and pattern trends in the beginning (which really helped me learn), now that I feel more comfortable learning independently as well as confident in the skills I have learned, my focus has shifted more to creating wardrobe items that actually suit my taste and lifestyle. Much more satisfying, although it’s sometimes tough not to let myself be led astray with the latest patterns or trends – that said, I’ve made enough wadders following other people’s styles that it’s getting easier to remember that ;)

And as for my work, well as Janene mentioned, like her, I am a graphic designer and illustrator. I guess where I differ is that much of my work has been focused on packaging design and print, whereas many designers these days are heading to the more digital realm; websites and the like. I have done that, but my true love is ink on paper (or paint on canvas, as it were LOL) :)

Portrait of H.R.Giger and Li – watercolour and ink on illustration board

Package design for Western Family product line of teas. Illustration and packaging design for this and many other Western Family product lines by Amanda Russell, through 612 Creative.

Q3. Why do you write/create what you do?

I started this blog as an online journal of sorts – a place to record my creative endeavours. Over time it became rather sewing heavy, so I assume it is perceived as a sewing blog but I don’t hesitate to blog other creative projects if I get a mind to :) I create what I do as a release from projects which are client-driven to projects which are ME-driven.

People often think that having a creative job must be a creative person’s dream come true, and it can be sometimes, but not in the way you might think. Success in graphic design is much more than being visually adept. You also have to be an amazing negotiator, communicator, and compromiser, and at the end of the day, because it is such a collaborative process, success can be measured only in part by (your own opinion of) the visual outcome. The result is that, as an artist, I am often left with a desire to create something that is 100% MY vision. On the other hand, there is often not much remaining of one’s creative energy at the end of the day for one’s own projects. So sewing kind of works for me in that it activates my analytical brain a bit more and tricks me into being creative even when I don’t feel like I have much creativity to give ^__^ (and knitting is just downright therapeutic)

Sedum-progress1

Q4. How does your writing/creative process work?

I take notes for myself along the way so I have something to refer to should I ever choose to revisit a process or pattern. Sometimes (usually with sewing projects) about halfway through, I begin drafting the blog post and then I refine it when I do the final draft. The worst part for me is taking photos – it’s really time consuming and tedious, but of course it is also the best part of READING a blog at the same time – nothing is more fun than seeing pretty pics breaking up those walls of text! LOL. This is where I feel my blog could use the most improvement. It is ironic, really, as I of course possess the skills to design, style and shoot professionally but I fall short when it comes to my own blog, partly due to limitations in my environment, but mainly due to lack of motivation because I actually really dislike being the subject in photos ^__^

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me and my man at a Vancouver Canucks hockey game – because hockey is what we do, and this is how I feel about having my picture taken LOL

 

 

I do not photoshop or enhance my images (even though I could, quite believably LOL). I do correct colour, contrast, cropping, etc, however I make a point to do that as little as possible. If I were a fashion blogger or I was marketing a product, the artistry of the photo would be more important, but for documenting a process like sewing, I believe it’s more important to show it simply.

My process for writing on other topics is different. I will usually get inspiration to write about something, with no warning, and I will just go for it. Generally these types of posts start off being written on my iPhone, edited and posted while I’m on the go.

As for nominations well, I’m not sure if these ladies have been stung by the blog hop bee yet but I’ll take a chance because each of them has inspired me through their blogs and their personalities:

Annabelle because she is one of the most generous and genuinely lovely people I know, and is inspiring both as a person and in what she makes :)

Andrea because she is incredibly inspiring and courageous in her creative endeavours and in life :)

Sallie because absolutely everything she makes looks like it leapt off the pages of a fashion magazine, and so does she… and her photos are gorgeous :)


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