Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August Goals Update

Here we are the end of August already.  I am really not sure how this happened.  This month has just flown by.  On one hand, I feel like I got a lot done, mostly just because I was so busy, but on the other hand the month went by so quickly I don't really know if I accomplished anything!  Let's check in, shall we?


  1. Finish Coffee Run socks - done!  They're super soft and squishy.  This yarn was amazing to work with.  I have to take pictures of the finished objects yet.
  2. Finish Agatha sweater for Melissa (her birthday is August 18, so I need to get on this!)  Ahhh...I pulled out the project bag.  Pretty sure she won't wear a sweater without sleeves, even if I market it as a vest.  I guess I should start working on this again.
  3. Finish my lightweight cardigan Done!  I absolutely love how this sweater turned out.  The yarn is Ah-maz-ing!  Misti Alpaca Tonos - silk and alpaca.  Need I say more?  It wears like a dream - soft and light, yet warm and cozy.
  4. Start a baby sweater for Sara's baby   I've pulled out the yarns!
  5. Make my list for Christmas gift knitting and pick one project to get started on.   I've started this - I have a pile of sock yarn pulled, and almost one sock completed.


  1. Finish the red cocktail dress.  I'm just going to keep putting it here until it's done.  Maybe I'll be ready for the Christmas party season with it?! hahahahaha.
  2. Draft, cut and sew a tunic top with gathers at the neckline. I have amazing fabric for this that should really get me inspired to do this!  again...hahahahaha
  3. Sew a summer style jumpsuit (Closet Case Files Sallie maybe?!)  While I thought a lot about a jumpsuit and even pulled out patterns, I haven't done this one yet.  I need some shorts first to finish up the summer.
  4. Sew a summer dress, wrap style from the same pattern as my black and white print dress?  I sewed another summer dress, and even a wrap one, but not from the pattern I was originally thinking about.  I'm still considering this one done!


  1. Finish reading People over Profit Not finished yet.  Still working on it.  It's a great book, but I only have so much time
  2. Finish reading The Three Sisters Bar & Hotel (this won't be a problem, I'm using this as a reason to go to bed early and read!) I haven't had much time for reading the past few weeks, I've been going to bed too late and getting up too early.  I've been reading, but slowly and very few pages at a time.  BUT, this book has gripped me, and I' managed to finish it!
  3. Start reading Book Yourself Solid (for work and my own business)  I did start reading this - and even finished listening to it in audiobook format on some of my long work drives.  I have the concepts down, but would like to read it to reinforce the concepts presented.  
  4. Pick the next fiction book to read  The Bay of Sighs, which is the next Nora Roberts book in a trilogy that I've been reading - I've even started this!

Goals for September


  1. Finish the Asymmetrical Ribbed Vest I've been working on.  I feel like I might be playing a game of yarn chicken though, I will keep persevering to see what happens.
  2. Finish the Trillian shawl I'm working on in Misti Alpaca Pima Silk.  Love knitting this - its almost mindless, and perfect for the end of day knitting.
  3. Finish the Agatha sweater for Melissa.  Really.
  4. Start and finish two pairs of plain vanilla Christmas socks as a present for one of the people on my list.
  5. Start and finish a baby sweater for Sara's baby
  6. Design and machine knit a black bulky weight cardigan for myself 
  7. Attempt to machine knit socks.  
  1. Finish The Big Easy SWAP 2016 for my trip to NOLA
  2. That's a pretty big goal, so I'll leave it at that
  3. Oh wait - I have some sports "tops" (aka bras, Jalie!) cut out - I need to finish these so I can kick up my exercise program (literally, cuz I like kickboxing!)
  1. Read The Bay of Sighs by Nora Roberts, which I've started already :)
  2. Finish Sales Bible by Jeffery Gitomer - I started this a million years ago, and would like to get back to reading a bit every morning before I start work.
  3. Find a trashy southern Louisiana-based historical romance to read.   Something preferably with vampires, voodoo and/or witches.  I'm looking for something gripping yet easy to read as an escape.  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Big Easy

Or, Fall SWAP 2016, Stage 1

I am a planner by nature and LOVE a capsule-style wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe work so easily for travel.  I travel a lot for both work and pleasure, and have realized that, at least for me for the majority of my trips, carry-on baggage is the best way to go.  I spend hours browsing, pinning (on Pinterest, that is), planning and coordinating fabrics and patterns for a wardrobe that will work together and make dressing in the morning relatively painless.  SWAP'ing (Sewing With A Plan) is a great way to do this, and the premise of it was made extremely popular by a series of articles by Lynn Cook in Australian Stitches magazine, and contests hosted by the now closed Timmel Fabrics a number of years ago.

I've gone away from SWAP'ping recently - with a focus on sewing whatever the mojo wants.  There are many reasons why this has happened, but I've ended up with quite a few orphan items in my closet, and have decided for Fall 2016 to get back to a focus.

My colour scheme for Fall 2016 is beige and black.  Which sounds ABSOLUTELY yawn-inducing-ly boring.  But, when you add in the planned pops of mustard yellow, teal, burgundy and rust orange it suddenly becomes much more exciting.  I've named it The Big Easy, because my goal is to have it done for my work trip to New Orleans for a conference at the end of September.  I have also chosen EASY patterns - this is key!

According to Lynn Cook, Stage one of the SWAP consists of the following 11 garments. 
  • 1 simple cardigan jacket in a solid colour
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 2 skirts, one in a solid colour, one in a print or check
  • 2 simple tops, one solid, one in the above print
  • 4 tops, in colours which coordinate with the solids

Because I'm me, I'm venturing a bit outside of these guidelines.  They're guidelines, not written in stone.  

My jacket is not going to be out of a solid colour, but a very small check in a beige and black wool crepe
suiting.  I'm thinking of the Bolero Jacket, Multiples pattern with the three button front.


I already have two pairs of pants sewn from my travels this spring:

  • one a slim cut pair in black tropical  wool, 
  • the other a wide flow-y pair in beige wool crepe 

I have one skirt already that will fit into this plan, a black microfibre knit skirt that comes to just 
about the knee

  • I'm planning on a pencil skirt (my own draft) in the black/beige check to match the jacket.
My two simple tops will be Loes Hinse Tuscan Blouses:

  • the first a short-sleeve in a deep beige/rust colour
  • the second is with long sleeves and out of a black drapey textured polyester, not the suggested print.

LH Tuscan Blouse

The four tops will be where I bring the colour in.  The patterns I'm planning on for these are the Loes Hinse 
Tank Dress pattern, view D and the Loes Hinse Cap Sleeve Dress pattern, view C. I'm planning on:
  • one in a blood red/burgundy colour sweater knit 
  • one in a mustard yellow textured knit
  • one in a teal knit, and 
  • the last is an existing one in a microfibre black knit that is the same as one of the skirts in this plan.  

LH Cap Sleeve Dress

LH Tank Dress

Of course, I have a few extras that would be really nice to finish before my trip as well.  I love the ease and simplicity
of Dresses.  I'm hoping to add the Textile Studio Madison Avenue dress in a red & black textured knit, as well as a
Loes Hinse New York Dress, View A in a mustard yellow wool double knit to my wardrobe.  

LH New York Dress
Again, these are TNT patterns and simple and super quick to sew, but make a big impact.  

The last nice-to-have garment is a cardigan out of a sweater knit - probably in burgundy 
(depending on what I can find in my stash).

There you have it.  Stage 1, The Big Easy.  Now all I have to do is actually sew it.

Do you plan your sewing?  What do you do - do you have a method or a way you've found works for you?

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Last Dog Days of Summer

 I don't have kids in school anymore...well I have one who is working on her second university degree but she lives away from home and organizes herself for her return to the school year, so it doesn't really count for me.  Anyways. I guess because of the many many years I've put in as a parent, I still see the start of the new school year as a time to buckle down and get back to work.  And of course, pull out the tweeds, corduroys and woolen fabrics.  But, it's still super hot out, and we have one more week before school starts.  I came across a delicious aqua blue cotton/lycra jersey in my stash that I had bought from many years ago and decided it just needed to be a summer knit dress for myself.

I settled on McCalls 7186, View A.


I cut it with my usual swayback alteration of about a 1/2" overlap (for a total of 1" decrease) and sewed it it up exactly as the pattern directions. WARNING - Note that you have to cut out one of the fronts with the pattern piece wrong side up - which the directions indicate, but this is unusual. Because you're only cutting one piece on a single layer, why they didn't just print it the other way is beyond me.  Normally I don't read the pattern directions, but in this case something told me it would be a good idea to. I am glad I did!  

I love this dress.  In fact, I'm wearing it as I type.  I took it in a tiny bit at the waist gathers just to secure the overlap a bit more to resolve some minor gaping at the bust (I'm a 34DD, but short waisted).  The gathers are flattering, and it is super comfortable.  I have had no gaping issues today, and don't have to wear a camisole or tank underneath either.

I will certainly be making this again in the long sleeve version for fall in a heavier knit.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Better Late than Never!

So...its the end of summer.  The nights are cooler and the days have that late summer feel to them.  I noticed while driving across the province for work yesterday that the late summer colours have appeared - the golden rod is in spectacular bloom, as are the purple wild asters and wild chicory - I even spotted a few maple trees that have started to turn into their glorious fall reds, oranges and yellows.

And I've decided I needed a bathing suit.  Why, you ask?  I'm camping this weekend for the first time in a few years, and we have intentions of renting a canoe at the campsite.  Wearing any of the bathing suits I already have just wouldn't work out best for me, ifyaknowwhatimean...Hello wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen!

So...what's a girl to do?  Turn to her pattern and fabric stash, of course!  For fabrics, I dug through my bin (when did I amass all these fabrics?! and from where?!) and settled on these swimwear fabrics:

For the patterns, I chose Loes Hinse's Tank Dress pattern, the Cami view - I know this pattern fits me very well and would be the perfect base for an "active wear" swimsuit.  For the bottoms, I chose another TNT bathing suit pattern, New Look 6469.

New Look Misses Swimsuit or Top and Shorts, Capri Pants, Poncho Top and Tote Bag 6469
Photo credit:

Here's the final result:

Since I made both before, I didn't have to do much in the way of alterations.  I did add a shelf bra with formed cups to the cami, using instructions from the Singer Sewing Reference Library Sewing Activewear book.  I used swimwear elastic on the armholes and neckline, serged to the right sides of the openings, then turned to the wrong side and stitched down with zig-zag stitches.  I didn't measure the elastic, just stretched it slightly smaller than the opening while serging in place.  The hem is just a regular turn and stitch hem, about 3/4" deep.  I added lining to the shorts, simply by cutting out the swimwear lining fabric using the pattern pieces for the front and back of the pattern.  I sewed those together and inserted it wrong sides together into the main shorts.  I inserted a piece of 3/4" swimwear elastic that was cut slightly shorter than my waist measurement with the ends sewn together into the waistband for added security.  I then serged the contrasting waistband to the shorts and lining as one unit.  The bottom hems are finished with swimwear elastic, using the serge, turn and stitch technique like the cami.

I am very happy with the result.  I already have cut out a few more mix 'n match pieces including some Jalie 2563 sports tops and McCalls 5400 bottoms.  I'll share these pieces as soon as they're done, but for the time being, I'll be busy sorting out the camping gear!