Monday, May 28, 2018

Get Down with your Bad Self

Oh my gosh, you guys!  I had so much fun with this next make.  I have had this pattern in my stash for ever and ever, literally - I think I picked it up when it first came out.  But for some reason I kept putting it off because I thought it was hard. I used to sew wedding gowns and alter prom dresses.  Why on earth would I think that making this pattern would be so hard??  I stalked the reviews at and finally worked up my nerve to include it as part of my #makenine2018 just to get it off my #scarypatternlist.

Yes, this is the iconic Kwik Sew 3764 motorcycle jacket.

I chose an olive green stretch cotton twill that I've also had in my stash forever and ever.  I have no idea where I bought this from, or even how long I've had it.  I'm pretty sure it's embarrassingly old - like so old I think I moved it from my old house.  And that was almost 10 years ago.

The zippers are new, from my local Fabricland chain store.  The snaps are also new.

I made my usual swayback adjustment to the pattern and lengthened the sleeves by 1".

During the making process, I decided to narrow the shoulders by about 3/4".  They're still plenty wide, which is the style of the jacket.  You'll also note the gorgeous embroidered rose applique on the left sleeve near the hem.  I blame a friend of mine who showed up at our most recent sewing retreat this past winter for introducing me to these.  I bought mine from here.

The sleeve vents weren't hard at all - the instructions were very easy to follow, and turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself.  I think the hardest part was inserting the snaps.  The directions on the packet said to try it on a scrap of fabric first.  Of course, I knew better and went gangbusters to the first snap on the epaulet.  And...if course, I dinged the part that holds the snap together with the hammer and it almost didn't close.  I used said hammer to bang the two pieces together.  At least it isn't going to be opened and closed regularly, so it's all okay.

The best part of the jacket is...

THE BACK!!!  I used the applique stitch on my machine to sew all of these roses on.  I'd be happier if I did this before the entire jacket was completed, but honestly, I didn't even think of adding the appliques until my friend showed up with hers.  (Thanks Kelli!! I think it really elevates the jacket!)

I didn't add any lining, though if I make this again, I think I will.  It just helps the jacket slip off and on easier.  The fit is also a bit roomier than I would like, but it certainly looks good, if I do say so myself.

The jacket turned out great, especially because I thought it was so scary before I started.  #sewinggoals I'll consider this a win for both #makenine2018 and my Spring in Prague SWAP!

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.