Tag Archives: sewing

Wedding Planning, Designing a Dress, and KITTENS!

Well I knew this would happen but I thought I’d be better at managing it: I’ve become a bad blogger due to being immersed in the throes of wedding planning. I have nothing very meaningful to blog about, since my future husband reads my blog and while nothing else at all about our wedding is traditional, I am trying to keep anything bride-related secret from him, or as much as I can do, living in an apartment together ^_^

We are just having a small wedding; less than 20 people, but the planning is still a lot more stressful than I anticipated! There is still just as much work to do, only it’s on a smaller scale. Fortunately, we are doing pretty good ticking off our to-do lists.

For me the biggest hurdle to cross, of course, has been making my dress. I initially thought it would be exciting, an amazing challenge, and such a fun project. But I quickly became overcome with all the different choices, and in trying to decide what style of dress to make I found myself overwhelmed: what if I picked the wrong style and regretted it? You only get one shot… what if I picked something too boring and it wasn’t “special” enough? What if I picked something too difficult and I didn’t have the skills to execute it? What if? What if? What if?

Finally I settled on a design, and then I had to try and find a pattern. Again, the stress… should I just draft it? Am I really that crazy? But every pattern I looked at had some feature that wasn’t quite right so I would end up having to change it anyway. Then, miraculously, I found a vintage Dior pattern that was pretty much exactly what I was looking for.

The next hurdle was fabric. Readers, you’d think this would be the MOST fun part, and I honestly thought it would be (and I still think it SHOULD be!). I spent a lot of time and money selecting and ordering swatches, paying a small fortune in shipping just to make sure I got it right. I picked my perfect fabric and ordered it, and breathed a sigh of relief. Then, two months later, my fabric still hadn’t arrived. Long story short and a bit of a nightmare later, I had to source a new fabric from a new supplier, and start over.

So fast forward to about a month ago, and I FINALLY got my fabric, my pattern, now it was time to start doing the fitting. And boy, do I hate that part LOL. This is a designer dress, which means it’s constructed in as few pieces as possible – which sounds easy but when you have to do a massive FBA it’s not. Not only did I have to figure out the fit on a very odd bodice, but then I had to decide – woe of all woes – how in blazes I was going to construct the thing. Because the instructions – vintage, bless them, call for overlocked seams, and we all know that’s just not acceptable on a WEDDING DRESS (at this point I do realize it’s ridiculous how much angst I’m causing myself). So for the last few weeks, I’ve been simultaneously making a test garment, as well as agonizing over all the possible ways I could finish the insides.

Now, I’m almost ready to cut into my beloved fabric. Readers, I’m kind of terrified. Because there is something about making your wedding dress that lays bare all your shortcomings which you are very adept at hiding from yourself in regular garment making. I am not fastidious. I have a tendency towards impatience, which leads me to rush and cut corners. I am also running out of time. I am terrified my dress is going to end up some nightmarish creation of bollocks that looks like a cheap, badly fitting polyester taffeta Halloween costume purchased hastily at the 25th hour from the dollar store. Which considering how much time and money I’ve invested in it, would be a terrible travesty.

So, I’m trying to force myself to take it slow, thinking and planning, and not rushing. Which means the blog gets neglected.

Which is good, because I have nothing to blog about anyway LOL.

So in the meantime, here are some pictures of our kittens – they are growing SO FAST!!!

Katydid & Cricket

Upside-Down Cricket

Katydid & Cricket

Katydid in a Basket


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 🙂


Experimentation & Personal Style

I’ve been quiet on the blog lately but busy nonetheless. I’ve found myself wandering down a lot of rabbit holes lately, as is wont to happen when one is part of an online community; I am inspired by what others are wearing, new patterns released, trends and so forth, and despite me knowing what’s best for me, I sometimes need to try new things out.

There are goods and bads in this, for me. The main bad of course, is that I spend a lot of time constructing garments that I ultimately find uncomfortable or unflattering, and thus, unwearable. The main good is that I’ve strongly reinforced in my mind what I really love wearing, and also what really doesn’t suit me.

Lessons learned:

BAD: I recently made both the Colette Moneta and Myrtle, both of which feature a softly gathered elastic waistband which does absolutely NOTHING good for my figure, despite how pretty and flattering they are on seemingly everyone else.
GOOD: I like the Moneta bodice & the Myrtle skirt, and i do like wearing knits, so if I can splice them together without the elastic waistband we may have a winner.

BAD: I recently made two different pair of pants – both with a slim fit & side zip; in addition to the numerous woes we all feel when attempting to fit pants, the realization is that I simply cannot comfortably wear anything at or higher than my waist; I just hate the way it feels & looks. Also, personally, I think invisible zips on pants is just stupid. Maybe it’s just me but I break them every time.
GOOD: I’ve identified the main few fit issues I have with pants & I think if I stick with low rise styles I may be able to get at least wearable (if not perfect) pants block with a bit of work – and that would be spectacular because I do love pants 🙂

GOOD: I recently made the Papercut Patterns Midsummer’s Night Dream dress out of silk I got in Australia & it’s wonderful; I totally love wrap & V-neck bodices. Will post soon.

BAD: I stink at the narrow hem foot lol
GOOD: I have a narrow hem foot, and the more I practice the better it gets; even imperfect edges look pretty decent – and less fussy than bias edges on delicate fabrics 🙂

In conclusion, while I don’t have a lot of tangible successes lately, my mind is more focused and I have a clearer idea of what I need to spend my time on. I’m working on three projects that are much more my own style so I hope for some successful, blog-able projects soon 🙂

And since i have no garment photos to show, here’s a photo of lovely white fabrics I’m working with – perfect for this summer heat!!

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A Birthday Saltspring & other FO’s

I promised I’d been busy & here’s the proof!:
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I made this little baby in one week, even being the slow sewist I am, finishing it up yesterday morning, just in time to wear it out for my birthday yesterday afternoon!
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We haven’t had summer weather the last week so it was nice to have a perfect day to wear it 🙂

I made the dress out of some beautiful Japanese cotton I ordered from Etsy, and because of the fact it’s not a lightweight, drapey fabric, I decided to make the bodice non-bloused, and unlined, and I didn’t bother with a zipper either (hence the reason it was a fast make!) The straps are tied in back so the bows don’t overwhelm my shoulders.

I also made a top from the remnants of my silk cotton leftover from my Laurel:

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It’s a bad pic, sorry – we took this in the hotel room before dinner but it’s a bit tight so I opted not to wear it, which means there’s no better pics 🙂

My last make is a princess seamed skirt. It doesn’t have the best pics either, I’m afraid, but for different reasons. I’ve worn it a few times to work, but it’s cotton so it’s wrinkled by the time I get home. So I decided to just lay it out flat and this is what happened:

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She’s mummy’s girl all right – loves clothes!! 🙂

And one more pic: a teaser for my next make. I bet no one will guess this one!!

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An artist’s musings: knitting vs. sewing

So even though I’ve been quiet, I assure you I’ve been QUITE busy, and have a couple FO’s to show you but haven’t had a chance to photograph them yet.

In addition, I’m well ensconced now in the world of knitting. I have taken, and HIGHLY recommend Stefanie Japel’s Knit Lab course on Craftsy – I went from knowing ZERO to knowing basic stitches, patterns, increases/decreases, casting on/binding off, blocking, reading a pattern, and so much more… I didn’t even know what some of those things meant two weeks ago!! lol

I’m loving the knitting and am taking Stefanie’s “Fit the Knit” class as well now, because I want to make knitted clothes that fit me just as I do in sewing. I know I “should” try a hat or gloves before I go straight to a sweater but I don’t really want to wait lol. I seem to always want to ramp up my learning curve with new things – I’m irreverent like that 😉

Anyway, I got to thinking about the differences between sewing and knitting; not the obvious ones, but things like my process.

Because i am first and foremost, an artist, I tend to compare my other creative endeavours to painting. For example, I often have thought cooking is like abstract painting; it’s a free-for-all but you have to know what colours (ie: flavours) and textures work together.

Sewing is like watercolour painting or drawing with graphic markers: it’s creative but it’s much more planning than doing. (at least it is if you want good results). I love it, because it appeals to my OCD nature and satisfies my need to create at the same time. However, sometimes when I’m stressed or tired, I don’t feel inspired to conjure up the intensity I need to focus on sewing.

Knitting, on the other hand, is a much more tactile and organic form of creating for me, much like acrylic or oil painting. I always start with a plan but I know if something goes horribly wrong I can wipe it off (ie: unravel) & start again. Kinda takes some of the stress off, right? Not that anyone wants to undo their hard work, but at least with knitting you aren’t wasting materials 🙂 Plus I really love watching my work grow between my hands like magic 🙂

All that is cool but the REALLY cool thing is that the relaxing nature of knitting is actually allowing me to get more SEWING in!!! I’m really loving the synergy between the two & I can’t wait to wear a hand-knitted and hand-sewn piece together to embody this concept in a visual way 🙂

But, I’ve a long way to go – my very first project is still underway, and my fingers are not yet as fast as my brain ^__^

[BEHOLD: My fumbling first stitches… this scarf is gonna be SO lopsided, as I can see my work getting much neater & more defined as I go! lol]

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A happy problem… but a problem nonetheless

So an update on my cardi, folks (and hopefully you’ll understand) but I got to the end, was about to attach my buttons, and decided I don’t like them – at least, not for this project. I had some basic red buttons to match my fabric but the cardi has kind of a boxy, vintage look (probably because it’s from a vintage style pattern hyuk hyuk) and I thought it would look much cuter with little clear buttons. They don’t have to be vintage glass but at least reminiscent of it… so until I find the right buttons, there it hangs unfinished lol.

Now onto my happy problem. I’ve lost a bunch of weight, yo. And I’m still losing. None of my clothes fit me – including all my me-mades – which is kinda unfortunate, and leaves me with pretty much nothing to wear. I don’t want to buy or make anything new ’cause I’m still planning on losing more, but what do I do in the meantime?

Well I figured I could get started on a muslin for the Cake Pavlova top, as it’s on my SWAP list, and it is a form fitting wrap top made from jersey. If it’s a bit loose in the future, I can just tie it a bit tighter 🙂

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I have some scrap jersey so I can test out the sizing at least and this will also give me an idea of what to work with for the Tiramisu when I get there 🙂

So making Clovers is out for awhile, but I thought maybe after the Pavlova I might do a quick wrap skirt or two – same idea as the top in terms of now/future fitting. What do you guys think for those ideas, to tie me over? 🙂


Sewing with my Mummy!

Today I’m finally gonna sew with my mum! Oddly we’ve never done this before, despite the fact she’s sewn all my life 🙂

Today I’m gonna teach her how to do an FBA! I’m so excited to pass on a little something to her after all she’s taught me 🙂

While I’m waiting for her to arrive for lunch, here’s a gratuitous kitty pic – This is my Starsky, who has no manners lol

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