Friday, May 25, 2018

Pretty in Pink, Round 2

It seems that I've been drawn to pretty feminine things this spring, and pink seems to be a common theme.  I was attending the annual End of Year Awards Banquet for our local Ski Patrol zone and I wanted something feminine, swooshy and pretty to dance the night away in.  After a lot of consideration and looking at a lot of patterns, I chose McCalls M6893.

I was really drawn to the halter style and the pretty overlay-style front bodice.  I chose  a mish-mash of the styles, using the halter style top with the shorter gathered a-line skirt.  I used a very feminine pink polyester chiffon for the outer layer of the dress that I purchased at Fabricland on a recent trip in Ottawa, a hot pink rayon challis for the bustier component (also from the Ottawa Fabricland), as well as the underlayer of the skirt.  

I underlined the rayon challis for the bustier, the waistband and the neckline closure with fusible interfacing.  I lined the dress with a lightweight pink polyester I had in my stash.

Spoiler alert - I didn't finish this in time for the banquet and ended up wearing another dress that I made a number of years ago but have worn less than a handful of times.  I made this decision early enough in the process and was able to stop stressing and enjoy the construction the rest of the dress (as well as the day of the banquet instead of stressing about getting it done!).

I cut a size 16, with an 1" FBA, and a 3/4" sway back adjustment, but ended up taking another 1/4" off the back during the fitting process.  I lengthened the skirt pieces from the original pattern by about 5", but then cut off about an inch to even the hem out while hemming.  

I added a bit of clear elastic to the inside at the top of the bustier from the side seam to just shy of the princess seam, as well as boning in the side seam of the bodice to add support.  I also stitched in bust cups to the lining so I wouldn't have to wear a bra.  I hate it when I'm constantly fiddling on the dance floor to keep the bra from showing at the lower back neckline of the halter.  I also added a waist stay to help keep everything in place.

I used French seams for the chiffon layer of the skirt, and all three layers are hemmed using a picot serged edge. I wanted something light and floaty for the hem to keep the layers from being dragged down.

I am so happy to see the finished fun and flirty dress on my dressform and can't wait to find the right occasion to wear it to!

Monday, May 21, 2018

I'm Blushing Over Here

I'm so excited - I've been able to spend some time in L'Atelier, and I finished something!  It's a gorgeous and distinctive top (if I do say so myself) from an out of print Sandra Betzina Vogue pattern, 1291.

Image result for sandra betzina top pattern vogue

Both view A and B are the same pattern pieces and can be made from either woven fabric or knits. Sandra provides directions on how to construct the top differently depending on which fabric you choose.  I chose a very soft blush pink rayon/lycra lightweight jersey for the main body fabric, and an open weave lacy fabric for the sleeves.  You may recognize the jersey - it's leftovers from my daughter's dress.

The jersey is pretty shear, so I wear the top with a very similarly coloured cami/tank top underneath.  I have the perfect necklaces to wear with it too - it looks amazing with rose gold!

The insertion of the sleeves is very different than a traditional top, but the end results are very dramatic and unique, which is what I love in my clothes.  The only difference I made to the pattern was to cut off about 5" from the length as the jersey just kept growing lengthwise.

The only negative feedback I have about this pattern is the neckband.  The pattern piece for the neckband is very narrow and I think next time I make it, I'll cut it a bit wider.  The delicate rayon/jersey fabric was super shifty and even my industrial sewing machine that normally handles delicate fabric really well had trouble with it the second time I tried to apply it.  I'm still thinking about cutting it off and applying a new one.

I've also finished the True Bias Lander Pants and the pair of blush pink Vogue jeans from my Spring in Prague SWAP.  Alas, no photographs of me wearing them yet, but here's a somewhat adequate shot of the Lander Pants "hanging" off my dress form.

I'll do a proper review of them in the next few weeks and hopefully even sort out the photograph situation!

Friday, May 18, 2018

May Update

Hello internet friends!  Wow!  Life got real busy, real fast.  Work is always busy in the spring, with outdoor maintenance crews gearing up and quite a few tradeshows.  Plus, I travel more in the spring, summer and fall weather, just because it is easier to schedule trips without the threat of snow!

As a result, I have been making sporadic, short trips into L'Atelier, without much to show for it as a result.  I even had to wear an "old" (aka previously premiered) dress to a banquet I recently attended!  This coming weekend is a long weekend here in Canada, and I'm very excited to be home for the weekend.  And instead of gardening all weekend, which I normally do for the May 2-4 long weekend, I'm planning on being in L'Atelier for a good portion of the time!

My last goals post was a while ago, so without further ado, here's how I fared on my April goals:

April Goals


1.  Finish March PSC socks. Finished!  These turned out gorgeous, IMOH.  You can see them here.
2.  Start and finish April PSC socks.  I am using this as motivation to finish my March PSC socks (which I'm absolutely loving), but I won't even open the April package until the March ones are done! I've got the first sock done, and the second one started but totally got sidetracked with a cardigan that I want to take with me on an upcoming holiday.
3.  Finish Deklan's Sheepish Little Sweater - just the colourwork on the last sleeve to go! Done!  He's so adorable, don't you think?

4.  Choose and start a birthday present for Ben. Well, I chose the project, but haven't started it yet - shame, shame.  In my defense, he won't be able to wear it until the fall/winter anyways...


1.  Finish Queen of Dots SWAP - one skirt to go!  I've been totally distracted by the Spring in Prague SWAP.  The fabric for this skirt is still sitting on the cutting table.  I do really want to make this because it matches a jacket I just finished, and I'd love to have it as a suit.  I think the reason I keep putting it off is that I want it to be more than a normal, boring pencil skirt and I'm not sure how to narrow down my ideas...
2.  Continue with Spring in Prague SWAP - at least two articles per week. Well, I'm slowly picking away at this, but not at this speed.  
3.  Schedule at least one full weekend day in April for a sewing retreat day. I got a day in and an hour here and there, but the full weekend didn't happen.  It's plenty okay though, I had loads of other activities and social events that kept me busy!
4.  Choose pattern and pull fabric for dress for the upcoming Ski Patrol Banquet in May. Well, I pulled fabric and chose a pattern, and even cut it out and had it half sewn, but I just ran out of time to get it done for the banquet.  I am still planning on finishing it - and I'll post it here when I do!


1.  Finish Deadly Communion, by Frank Tallis (the last book of the Libermann Papers series). Done!  What a great series.
2.  Start Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg. I've started this, and am really enjoying it.
3.  Chose next fiction read. I finished a few books over the past few months, and am currently reading Three Days Road.  This is not a happy story, but it is absolutely gripping and I am enjoying the read.


1.  Yoga 3x/week. I've been rocking this goal, making it to the mat almost every day.
2.  Kettlebells training 3x/week. Working out when you're travelling so often is hard.  I've managed to take my yoga practice with me, but can't figure out how to get a different workout in.  I'll keep trying.
3.  Walking 3x/week.  With the nicer weather, I've been able to walk regularly, and I'm loving the way my brain feels so clear after a walk outside.


1.  Continue with Atelier spring cleaning. It's an ongoing process.  Creativity is messy!

May Goals

Well, May is half over, but I still have a few goals for the month.  I'll try to remember to be kind to myself when I'm in planning mode!


1.  Finish the Custom Comfy Fade Cardigan I've been working on.  Gosh, I'm loving the way this is turning out.  I want to take it with me on my upcoming vacation, so there's a deadline.  I'm on the first sleeve, so it's still do-able!


1.  Keep working on the Spring in Prague SWAP.  I don't have *that* much left, and I'm planning on a full sewing retreat weekend this weekend!


1.  Finish Three Days Road by Joseph Boyden.
2.  Load up the Kindle for my upcoming vacation (any recommendations for books taking place in Prague?)
3.  Continue reading Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg


1. Be more diligent about what "fuel" I put into my body, and my reduce sugar intake.
2. Continue with my yoga practice, daily if possible.
3. Add kettlebells and kickboxing into my routine.
4.  Continue walking, daily if possible.


1. Continue cleaning and purging in L'Atelier.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

I Finished Something!

I'm a bit off my posting schedule lately.  I have been doing a fair bit of travelling for work lately, and as a result am not getting time in my sewing room, which I like to call L'Atelier as I like to be fancy.   Knitting travels with me everywhere I go, and I've been knitting a few items to wear on an upcoming vacation to Prague and Vienna.  I have finished something - last night in fact, while watching the hockey game in between the second and third period (Go Leafs Go!!).'s not a sewn FO, but rather a knitted FO.  Well, be fair, it's a knitted and sewn FO. 

I used this pattern:

It's a pattern from King Cole in their Opium yarn, which is a bulky weight, thick and thin, cotton blend yarn (54% Cotton, 42% Premium Acrylic, 4% Polymide). 

King Cole Opium Cotton Blend Knitting Yarn White 190 - per 100g ball by King Cole

I saw it made up at my local yarn store (LYS) on a Knit Night a few months back.  Their sample was a sleeveless version, which you just make the front and back, and not the sleeves!  Being often stuck in a sleeve black hole, this really appealed to me.  Plus, I was ready for something summery. 

The knitting is very straightforward, only a front and back (at least for the sleeveless version).  The instructions for the front drape are easy to follow.  It was a super quick knit, particularly because I used 6.0 mm needles.  The yarn needed a bit of attention to work with, because of the thick and thin nature, but it was still easy to knit.

Here's where the sewing portion comes in - I sewed the front and back together with my sewing machine, using a  narrow seam allowance and a 2.5 wide by 3.0 long zigzag stitch.  This kind of feels like cheating in the handknitting world, but I really hate sewing my hand knit pieces together.  So that moment of feeling guilty passes really quickly.

I can't wait till the warmer weather hits so I can wear this.  I think it will look great layered over a fitted knit cami in various colours (like white, blush pink, hot pink, even cocoa, sage or olive green - AKA Spring in Prague SWAP colours).  I'm envisioning it being dressed up or down depending on the bottoms I wear it with - jeans, flowy shorts, culottes or even a maxi-skirt.  I'm sure it will integrate very well into my Spring in Prague SWAP travel wardrobe.

Up next on my sewing table:

Image result for sandra betzina top pattern vogue

Friday, April 13, 2018

When is Spring Coming??

I'm so sick of winter weather.  The local ski hills are now closed, so in my opinion there's not much use for the white stuff that keeps falling from the sky.  What's a girl to do?  Well...I'm super excited about my spring SWAP plans and I've finally got some sewing time in.  I made a few pairs of pants that are tough to photograph (some day...), and as a result are still unblogged. BUT...I've also made my first top for the Spring in Prague SWAP.  As noted in my plans (found here), I decided on McCalls M7249 (I've just searched it and found its out of print but still on their website).  Because this is supposed to be a spring top (help me out here, Mother Nature!), I opted for view B with the short sleeves.

The McCalls website describes this pattern as "Close-fitting, pullover tops and dress have gathered front overlay, V-neckline and stitched hems."   I can attest, it is certainly close fitting, but I really like the v-neck depth.  The gathered overlays are a nice way to camouflage my winter weight.  I chose a mid-weight coral pink cotton/lycra jersey, which worked really well with the gathers but also worked well with the close fitting nature.  The colours are blowing out in the photographs a bit despite my mediocre photo editing skills, but it's a really pretty colour IRL.  It's hard to take photographs at night in the basement with only halogen potlights!

The front consists of two overlay pieces that are stitched to the wrong side of the underlay piece at the neckline, and flipped to the right side, which encloses the raw edges.  This creates a really clean neckline edge.

The only changes I made to the pattern were a 3/4" sway back adjustment and a faux full bust adjustment (adding a bit onto the side seams at the bust area), both of which are standard adjustments for me for knit tops.  I also shortened the body by 1-1/2" at the hem line and did a machine stitched 1-1/2" hem at the bottom.

The back neckline is finished after the front is attached at the shoulder seams.  I serged the shoulder seams, but next time I will stitch the shoulder seams with my regular sewing machine first, and then serge for a cleaner finish at the seamline - mine is a bit off, but likely unnoticeable by the uneducated.  There you have it - my first (blogged) garment for the Spring in Prague SWAP. 

I'm seriously going to have to figure out how to take photographs of my pants so I can show you my finished Lander Pants and the Vogue 8330 jeans.  My Kwik Sew motorcycle jacket is also almost done, it's just waiting for me to make a trip to the local fabric store to buy heavy duty stud snaps.

I'm off on a work related conference for a few days, so there will very likely be a lull in blogging for a bit, but hopefully when I come back I'll have all the mojo as a result of being separated from my Atelier!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Socks, Socks, Socks (and another pair of Socks)

I've managed to finish a few more pairs of socks.  Socks are total zone out knitting for me, at least plain vanilla socks are.  I always have a pair of plain vanilla socks with me when I'm out of the house to knit on any time I've got a few minutes of waiting time, or when I'm at home and just can't focus at the end of a long day.  I'm also finding I don't always want a plain zone-out style of knit, and I've also been knitting socks with texture or pattern in them - these projects typically stay at home where I can focus a bit more on them.

My last post on finished knitting projects (found here) alluded to a few more pairs of socks that were in progress.  And...Surprise!! They're finished!

Pair #8 is my March Personal Sock club pair - and I absolutely loved knitting every minute of these.  The yarn was amazing to knit with (it's Yarn Enabler Fun(damental) Sock Wool in Tornado colourway).  The pattern is a bastardization of the Mercury Socks pattern - I incorporated the lace pattern into my own personal sock recipe.  The lace was easy to memorize and fun to work.  The resulting socks are so pretty and soft and just lovely.

Pair #9 - and again, they're all mine!  The yarn is ScrumptiousPurl Stripe Me Up in Cake for Breakfast colourway, with the heels, toes, and cuffs from Estelle Yarns Alpaca Merino Fine.  I blame the Grocery Girls for this purchase, they showed this colourway on their video podcast and I immediately had to order some. Totally luscious!  Thank you, Grocery Girls!

Pair #10 is a pair for my sister for her birthday, made from ONline Supersocke, colourway Fun Colour 765.  I love the happy colour of these! Now all I have to do is mail them to her.

Pair #11 is a pair for my youngest daughter's boyfriend.  Even though his feet are bigger than my sock blockers, I loved knitting these too.  The yarn is again Stripe Me Up from ScrumptiousPurl in a Game of Thrones colourway - King's Landing.  The heels, toes and cuffs are Lion Brand Sock Ease in Circus Peanut colourway.  There is a bit of a pattern, which I kind of made up as I went along.  I slipped random stitches as the colour changed, which brings up the colour of the slipped stitch into the next colour.  Just a bit different and more interesting than just plain stockinette stitch.

I'm currently working on pairs #12 & #13.  Here's a teaser:

I'm already done sock #1 of the April PSC pair (on the right), and almost done sock #1 of the pair on the left.  I. Can't.  Stop.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Queen of Dots SWAP Tamotsu Jacket

For the jacket in my Queen of Dots SWAP wardrobe, I used one of my favourite Vogue Designer Patterns, 1546.  It's OOP, and very 90s, but I absolutely love the aesthetic of Tamotsu's designs with the soft tailored look. I have collected a number of the Vogue Designer Tamotsu patterns over the years but have only recently decided to actually start using them! 

The fabric is a rayon/poly/lycra blend glen plaid in a creamy white and black combination.  It is very menswear inspired.  I have made the jacket before, out of a heavier wool suiting fabric.  Since my chosen fabric for the SWAP was a lighter weight, I underlined the entire jacket with fusible Armo-Weft interfacing. 
I decided to not use the collar or faux pocket flaps, to keep the style lines even simpler.  I did not want to have shoulder pads, so I removed the shoulder pad ease from the shoulder height, and cut the sleeve cap down to accommodate this.  I also narrowed the shoulder seams by 3/4" to give a more modern feel.

I nipped in the waist a bit as well, just by increasing the seam allowance by about 1/4-3/8".  My standard adjustments include a 3/4" sway back adjustment, a 3/4" FBA and lengthening the sleeves by 2".  I also drafted my own lining pattern for this jacket, as I like the way lining helps slip the jacket on and off.

I found the Embroidered Applique lace motifs on,  and labouriously handstitched them on after the jacket was completed.  I normally would have done this by machine with a small zig-zag stitch before sewing the jacket and lining together, but didn't actually get the idea for the lace motifs until after the jacket had been mostly completed.  There's one motif on the left shoulder:
And one on the right lower front that wraps around to the side seam.  I had to modify this one a bit, by snipping some of the motifs out so they would wrap with the body.
I think they add a little pizzazz and femininity to an otherwise standard suit jacket.

Only one piece left in the Queen of Dots SWAP, a matching skirt.  It's currently on my cutting table awaiting some love!