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

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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)

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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 :)


Happy New Year Holly!!



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And here, my friends, is my TRUE holiday outfit – the By Hand London Holly jumpsuit. Continuing the tradition from last year with my Anna dress, the moment I laid eyes on this pattern, I was in LOOOOOVE!! I immediately purchased a good length of sumptuous navy blue silk duchesse which for once went right into use rather than lingering in my stash LOL. Holly did not let me down – like my beloved Anna, she was a joy to sew as well as to wear. I was suspicious of her wily ways at first, knowing full well I would have to make alterations to the pants bit, but she surprised me by fitting perfectly with just the slightest waist adjustment – beauty!!

I also did an FBA as per usual, and because I have to do a fairly big one, instead of rotating the extra bits into the cowl, as suggested, I chose to keep the bust dart. Super glad I did this, as it works well for me, and I would prefer not too much extra fabric draping around the girls.

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The only little thing I would do differently next time is to finish the whole bodice top the same as the front cowl – with a turn, press, turn and catch stitch. The pattern calls for a bias finish where the bias turns into the straps but a) I found this far too fiddly for my taste, and b) sorry, but a bias strip isn’t nearly wide enough a strap for my chest LOL. I would prefer it to be just a little wider, so I would draft and sew separate, slightly wider straps next time I make this.

Which there WILL be another time, in fact, I love the fit of the pants so much that I am going to be making a pair out of a lovely lightweight grey wool suiting. I am going to try and drop the waist and draft a new waistband though, as I prefer my trousers to sit below the waist. Will let you know how it goes.

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Speaking of trousers, I finished up my first real pair of wool trousers today and I absolutely LOOOOVE them – will get to posting those in the new year – in the mean time, Happy New Year’s everyone, and hope you all have a wonderful, safe evening!! (and pancakes for breakfast tomorrow of course! ^__^)


My first LBD!! (what the??? right?)

While working on my planned holiday outfit this year, I came to the realization that a) I might not get completed in time, and b) I wanted something more modest for my staff party than I had originally planned.

With just over a week to go, I knew I needed an easy TNT pattern & fabric from my stash to make this work. Inspired by Winnie’s lovely recent LBD, and realizing I was devoid of an LBD of my own (the horror!!) I decided to shamelessly copy her with my own (already altered) Laurel pattern & some embroidered border print silk-cotton I had been hoarding :)

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closeup of border hem - lovely embroidered silk cotton! :)

closeup of border hem – lovely embroidered silk cotton! :)

I just love this pattern – not much new to say on it as I’ve already done the fit adjustments before – all I did differently here was to shorten the sleeves.

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I’m still working on the original outfit I’d planned (in a sumptuous silk duchesse!!), but it’ll be for New Year’s; much more party and much less work appropriate! ^_^


Pinkness meets Vanamo!

Recognize this fabric?

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How bout now?
The Pinkness

Yes, that’s right – this is the FAMOUS fabric that the amazing Oonaballona used in her Pink challenge for Project Sewn!!! :)

When I found out was the lucky recipient of “The Pinkness” I knew wanted to make something really special & I spent a lot of time thinking about it, and planning the perfect project to both express my own style & do homage to the great Oona’s fabric at the same time :)

After careful consideration I chose the Vanamo as my pattern: I adore clean, classic designs that show off great fit & fabric and I felt it would be the perfect way to let the fabric sing, and still be a silhouette that reflects my personal style.

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I absolutely love the marriage of the clean, elegant design, and intricate textural brocade.

The fabric is a poly brocade from Mood; it has a great texture & colour, on both sides – I actually had a hard time deciding which side to use, but settled on the blue as I felt it would fit into my wardrobe better.

I am admittedly kinda fanatical about pressing, so as the fabric is polyester I knew it would be tough to get a good press but vital to a good result, so I researched pressing methods for poly & discovered vinegar water solution – I just sprayed it before pressing & it works a charm!

The downside of this lovely fabric is that it is SUPER fray-ey, so I serged every edge but the serged finish pulled away in some places so the insides are not perfect. Also the skirt insides are imperfect as post-sewing fit adjustments I made on the side seams (due to turn of cloth) meant that the facings no longer fit. Still, I’m very happy with the outside of the garment as I took extra care on the fit & finish.

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*** I apologize for the lack of modelled photos: my hairstylist has been off sick for several weeks & I desperately need a cut! Will update with modelled shots when I get them ^_^ ***

I love the pattern’s covered zip detail & clean finishing. I love the curved hem at the front of the skirt as well; it’s a beautiful detail that elevates the classic pencil skirt to the next level. The pattern is an excellent draft; just my regular FBA & waist adjustment was all I needed on the bodice; it fit perfectly across the upper back without adjustment, even with the stiff fabric.

I also love that Named’s printed patterns don’t include seam allowance; I much prefer thread tracing seams & adding my own SA (FYI the PDF versions do include it) – for me I find thread tracing both satisfying (like romancing my fabric before getting into the serious sewing relationship lol) and much more accurate.

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So I confess: I have had a HUGE crush on Named patterns & their sleek stylish aesthetic for some time; I’ve bought several and have them in the queue but this is my first I’ve sewn… next up is the Andy Coat; stay tuned! :)


Sweet sweet fall

While others mourn the passing of summer, sunshine & heat, secretly I’m rejoicing: I’m a fall girl through & through, and I just wanted to take a moment to celebrate all the reasons I love this season most of all :)

Rain
Cool fresh air
Sleeping soundly
Fuzzy blankets
Cosy sweaters & socks
Great jackets & coats
Wearing tights & boots
Hot soup after a long day
Jammies & hot chocolate
Foggy mornings
Cold sunny days
Bonfire smell in the air
Waking up to the sound of rain

There are so many more but it’s only the second day of fall & I have lots of time to celebrate :)

I’m a little behind finishing my summer stuff but I’m hoping to have it mostly wrapped by the beginning of October and THEN!!!! Oh I have plans my friends…. hint: wool… lots of it ^_^


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