Burda Faux Wrap Tunic Dress

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Fittingly, I found the Burda Faux Wrap Dress through a link on the Curvy Sewing Collective’s facebook page. And I sewed it up for the CSC Wrapalong and as part of my FESA 2014 sewing plans (a fabulous frock, indeed!)

I’m pleased with the result. In the middle of summer, I would probably see the dress as frumpy and shapeless and find the draping really odd, but in the middle of our Canadian fall with the doom-stricken Game of Thrones-like “Winter is Coming” on the horizon, I am loving the comfort of the dress. It’s like wearing a sweatshirt and still looking stylish with all that draping and the cuff details.

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The look at my pockets stance

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The casual lean against the wall and look cool stance

Sorry for the indoor photos. All it does it rain rain rain and when it doesn’t rain, I am too busy to take pictures so I sucked it up and took pictures in the house. I finished this up last week and figured I should get on posting it.

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Fashion….

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….Turn to the left…. FASHION

I had quite the time with the pattern instructions. You can read about some issues with Burda patterns in CSC’s burda sewing tour wrap-up post. Basically, to sum up, the pattern pieces are marked with numbers and don’t also have what they are written on them (ie. front bodice, back skirt, etc.). A lot of the direction isn’t written on the pattern pieces either. The instructions are also all in text and the instructions for this dress specifically were missing steps.

Burda magazine patterns can be challenging and are definitely not for beginners. One of my first dresses was a burda dress, in fact, but the Kristen dress actually had really nicely detailed instructions, if the pattern itself ran extremely large. Start off by reading through the instructions really well and then read through them again and again and go slowly to make sure you get them.

For the instructions, there were missing steps and not clear steps. Missing was the step to sew the back bodice together. I get that is practical knowledge, but it’s not there at all and that is a huge oversight. Unclear was the draping at the front. Basically, the front skirt is one large piece, where you take the bottom and then fold it in half and pleat and baste the bottom into the waistline, essentially making the fold line the hem. The pattern really stumped me in how that was worded and I ripped the thing out three times before I got the pleating and the folding right. There is also pleating in the centre back, which to be honest made very little design sense to me. I did it, but I think the pleating adds unnecessary bulk to the waistline where it can easily be gathered more. The other part that was unclear was the waistband construction. I chose to use the instructions from Colette’s Myrtle dress instead, except that I fed the elastic into the channel, which was reallllly difficult with all the pleats and fabric bulk in the channel. Anyway, I did it and it came out lovely. The last bit that I just chucked out the window was the waistband ties. The placement of the faux ties didn’t work out for me and so I didn’t add them. I also didn’t do flat felled seams, because again it added a lot of bulk. I used a lightweight jersey, but maybe not light enough for this pattern and all that fabric!

Fitting for this pattern runs super large. I cut a size 52 and added the seam allowances. I am probably more in line with a size 54 + FBA with Burda, but I figured the stretch in the material would make that a non-issue, but I could have cut out a 52 without adding the seam allowance and still had the dress be roomy. If you decide to try this pattern out and don’t size down, I definitely recommend sizing down for the cuffs, because they are humongous and by the end of the day are stretched out and falling down. Do yourself a favour and cut two sizes smaller for the cuffs, because ripping out all of the drawstring channels and drawstrings to size down the cuffs is not something I am willing to do. I do recommend grading up to the larger size for the kimono sleeves, though, if you have bigger arms like me. Mine are fine, but not as puffy as the pattern picture.

I followed Jen’s instructions in the wrapalong for the neckline. Partially because the instructions rock and also because the pattern pieces for the neckline in this pattern are cut into three pieces: left side, neck curve, right side. I tried going with burda’s pattern pieces and then ripped out the whole thing and drafted my own piece.  The neck curve ends up being stupid. It bunches and doesn’t sit right and is just stupid. STUPID. One long continuous band is much much smarter. Draft it slightly shorter than the length of the neck and right and left sides and stretch it a little as you sew. I should have made it shorter and stretched, because it is a faux wrap, but I didn’t. It’s fine, but by the end of the day the neckline stretches out a bit even though my fabric has good recovery and becomes slightly revealing. Hence, the camisole underneath for work. So, I recommend making it two inches shorter and then stretching to fit the bodice and neck. Gillian over at Crafting a Rainbow has an excellent guide on where to stretch for a faux wrap dress neckband.

To sum up:

  • Start by sewing the back together, because the pattern doesn’t mention it!
  • Draft a new neckband (one long piece two to three inches shorter than the length of the right side/neck/left side combined) and follow the CSC tutorial for sewing it like a t-shirt neckband and follow Gillian’s tutorial on where to stretch the neckband to get the perfect faux wrap dress look
  • Size down or leave the seam allowances out, because the pattern runs large (Size 52 is supposed to fit up to a 48 inch bust, but my bust is 52 inches and it is still very roomy)
  • If you decide not to size down, make the cuffs smaller or else you will have them fall all over the place by the end of the day
  • If you have big upper arms, size up the kimono sleeves to get the puffy look
  • Follow the Colette tutorial for installing the waistband
  • Use a lightweight jersey keeping in mind the bulk of the material throughout (the lighter the better without being totally see-through)
  • Fold the bottom of the front skirt up to the waistband and pleat at the waistband
  • Mark paper pattern pieces with what they are (front right, cuff, etc.) and with some instructions, especially for the front folds/pleats

I actually, in spite of all of that, enjoyed sewing this up and love wearing it. It’s a super comfy faux wrap dress and perfect for the impending Canadian winter.

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WINTER IS COMING!!!

Giveaway winners!

Having my first giveaway was a ton of fun! I wish I could have given everyone a pattern, but I had to narrow it down to just two names. I used a random number generator and assigned the numbers to the comments.

First number randomly generated was #6, which was Megan’s entry.

Megan blogs over at the Green Violet and we first connected through Instagram. Here is Megan’s entry:

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I’m glad I can help her choose a pattern for the Curvy Sewing Collective’s wrapalong! :D

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HAPPY DANCE!

The second number drawn was #11! That means a Gillian gets the Gillian wrap dress! Very fitting. Two Gillians entered the giveaway and I am pretty happy that at least one won the prize.

Gillian blogs at Crafting a Rainbow and I found her blog through the Toronto Sewcialists facebook group page.

Here is Gillian’s entry:

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Congrats to both Megan and Gillian! Enjoy Muse Pattern’s Gillian wrap dress!

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Let me know if you have any trouble receiving the email with the pdfs. :)

I can’t wait to see what you make!

For those who didn’t win, Muse Patterns is still contributing 100% of the profits for the Gillian wrap dress to the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation until October 19 and they have a discount code still in place. Check out the announcement page for more details and snag a great pattern for a great cause!

Welcome to the Gillian Dress from Muse Patterns!! And a giveaway!

Muse Patterns created by the amazing Kat from Modern Vintage Cupcakes just released their second pattern today! It’s the Gillian wrap dress!

I had the wonderful opportunity to test the pattern in the past week and a bit. I received the pattern for free, but all my opinions and glee are my own.

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The pattern is made for lightweight stretch materials, such as merino wool, jersey, and other knit fabrics with stretch. This pattern has three variations: dress, top, and skirt. I chose to make the top in long sleeves for a lovely light fall cardigan.

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It’s definitely fall here in Canada! Obligatory leave-throwing shots!

I love this pattern! The above is the test pattern only and not the final product that was released. There were some changes made from the test pattern, but I have yet to try them out since it was released today. I will, though, because I adore this top and want to make the dress and the skirt and make the top again.

It’s perfect timing to release the pattern with the Curvy Sewing Collective Wrapalong happening. I really recommend this pattern. I’m reallllly busty (H cup….. :S) and it has amazing coverage with no need for a camisole underneath. The pattern can also easily fit above the largest size on their size chart, because of the wrap. The details with the shoulder yokes are just lovely and really quite flattering. The waistband also hits in my high waist and is flattering for an hourglass figure.

I’m in love with it and can’t gush more about it. It was also my first time testing a pattern and made me really appreciate the process. I was very attentive to the instructions unlike in other sewing. I tend to just look at the pictures and do my own thing, but here I really focused in on the instructions and made sure they made sense to me. I made notes and went slowly. As a result, I am extremely proud of the top. The topstitching details are almost perfectly sewn. It was probably the most pleasurable sewing experience I’ve had yet.

Along with the release, Kat is offering a discount this week of 15% off the pattern (code: GILLIANDRESS found here), as well as from now until October 19th giving 100% of the profits to the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation!

Because of this awesome gesture, I am buying up a couple of these patterns myself this week to giveaway to two lucky people!

How do you enter? Easily! Comment on this blog post with your email address and then on the 16th I will randomly draw 2 names and send them the pdf of the Gillian wrap dress.

It’s my first giveaway! But I couldn’t think of a better cause. Giving to breast cancer research AND giving to wonderful sewists. I can’t wait to see your Gillian dresses, tops, or skirts.

Join the giveaway and support breast cancer awareness.

UPDATE: Giveaway is now closed and two names have been drawn

Blog Hop Around the World

I was nominated by the amazing and fantastic Tanya of Mrs. Hughes.

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Look how awesome she is! Photo credit Tanya Maile.

Before I answer the questions, I am just going to have a slight fan girl moment here. I started reading Tanya’s blog earlier this year when the Curvy Sewing Collective was formed with the Collette Patterns release of the Moneta and Mabel with expanded plus sizes, which made me so exceptionally happy and led to a billion Monetas for me (Okay, four, just four Monetas so far). I found a lot of blogs at that time: Idle Fancy, Cashmerette, Two Random Words, and QuirkyPrettyCute.  I’d already been following the other editors: U & Mii and Young, Broke, and Fabulous. I was keen to join in the curvy collective conversation.

I had been blogging on my old blogger site between July and October of 2013 with a post on Jan 2014 and then I moved to wordpress in April when the Moneta and Mabel were announced and when I also discovered the Monthly Stitch.

The two discoveries combined got me back into blogging. But I have to say reading the blogs of the Curvy Sewing Collective makes me want to blog more than any other kind of blog. It makes me feel like part of a community full of acceptance and support. All sewing takes a lot of skill and patience, but being a curvy girl…there are some very big fitting hurdles to get over. You can get pretty discouraged with fitting your size when you are plus sized. Just like shopping in the ready to wear world, sewing isn’t any easier in terms of fitting a plus sized body, but once you get there with a few tried and true patterns you are set and heavily addicted to it. Having the Curvy Sewing Collective and the amazing editors’ individual blogs has helped me like crazy and increased my confidence in sewing.

Tanya is a great supporter of the collective and its curvy bloggers. Her makes are so wonderful and she is a fellow Whovian and fan girl of many other things. She’s an incredibly wonderful and beautiful person. I honestly should stop gushing right now, because I could go on forever. Needless to say, when she emailed me about the blog hop, I didn’t reply for an hour and a half because I was basically happy dancing and texting everyone I know. To sum up, I am a big fan of Tanya’s blog and Tanya herself. :)

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Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And now on to the question and answer part of the tour!

1. What am I working on?

I usually finish up projects pretty fast once I start sewing them unless there are major fitting issues. I’m all about instant gratification so I am usually wearing clothes and photographing the day after I sew, but right now I have a bunch I am working on. This is odd for me to have so many things. I blame it on having fitting issues and then wanting instant gratification and thus moving on to a different project. Here is my list of things that are UFOs or cut out patterns ready to sew:

a) Cake’s Espresso Leggings: I had fitting issues due to the large difference in my waist versus my widest part of my hips (6 inches for me). I also have wide calves so that was a fitting issue and my thighs ended up tight for some reason. Just lots of issues. I need more jersey material for another muslin to fix these issues, but I think I am just going to scout out the thrift shop for cheap fabric for it and then invest in better material when I have the fit right. So, it’s currently on hold for more fabric.

b) Lekala 5199 Little Atlas Dress: I’ve had this cut out and ready to sew up for a while, but the idea of making a cute summer party dress in the fall seems….odd….

c) Burda wrap tunic dress: Cut out and ready to go for the Curvy Sewing Collective Wrapalong.

d) Muse Patterns Jenna Cardi: Cut out and ready to go.

Perhaps the real issue is that I cut out more than I can sew….

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Such potty mouth, Captain Picard!

2. How does it differ from others of its genre?

The Little Atlas dress is waaaaaaay outside of my genre as I usually make casual dresses and secret pyjamas. I’ve never made a party dress (although, I would party in any of my me-made dresses). I like to think that I think outside the box in terms of colour and style choices and I also tend to tweak patterns and add bits and bobs to tailor to my wacky style. I’m not even sure what my style is… It’s Andie style! I also buy a lot of fabric from thrift shops, like Value Village. They are a great source for out of the box fabric colours/prints and using sheets for sewing, too!

3. Why do I create what I do?

I sew for two very important reasons:

a) Mental Health:

I sew for my mental health. I started sewing to wear costumes and found that working on a sewing project was a great thing for my mental health. I got to analyze and work through problems visually and hold the finished product at the end. When I started sewing, I was in grad school and spending all my time writing with non-tangible results to show at the end of a heavy day of research. It’s very defeating to work for hours and hours and only have written two pages or written twenty, but only have two salvageable pages. My mental health was suffering and creativity was/is always the thing to make me feel better. I’ve struggled with mental health issues throughout my life. I’ve been on the upswing and healthy for the past 13 years and have only had minor relapses in depression and anxiety. Part of that is because I try to be positive about every situation and focus on solveable issues while letting go of the things I can’t fix. I can’t solve the past or make it disappear just like I can’t make world hunger disappear in an instant, but I can create things and feel good about them and proud of who I am and contribute to local homeless shelters and worldwide charities. For every issue in life, there is a way to cope. You can’t fix it all, but you can focus on the things you can do and do that. I’ve always been creative throughout my life. When my nana passed, she left me a lovely box filled with all the handmade Christmas ornaments I made for her over the years: cross stitched, hand sewn, painted, etc. I look at that box of ornaments as an evolution of my creativity. All of them have the years stitched or written on them by me. Other than that, I’ve drawn, painted, sculpted, knit, made prints, made dollhouse furniture/clothes, etc. throughout my life. I’ve always really connected with working on tangible/visual objects. It makes me feel better to focus on a task and work through it and have the finished object in my hand at the end. It’s all about working on the things I can change through a creative outlet.

b) Body Postivity:

I sew to decrease my own body issues. I’ve always been fat since hitting puberty. It’s a fact that I accept and I don’t shun from the F word anymore. I try to be a very active person and until about a year ago I was extremely active and then I hit a bunch of health problems many of which I don’t even have the answer to. I’ve gained a little weight since then which makes me extremely unhappy, but it’s nothing I can help because I haven’t been able to be active. I eat healthy and do what I can do maintain a healthy body, but exercise isn’t in the books for now except for light stretching. There will always be haters out there and saying anything about body positivity opens you to those haters, but I won’t let it stop me from loving myself and choosing to wear clothes that showcase my confidence. There is nothing better in my opinion than sewing clothes that fit your style and having them flatter your body. I get constant compliments on my me-made clothes that reinforce for me that I am shining in confidence when I wear them. The extra confidence is from knowing I accomplished creating something that started as a thought and then followed it through to completion. I do fully acknowledge that sewing can also be a double-edged sword. You gain weight and you realize a TNT needs to be tweaked for your extra derriere. It can be really defeating working through a complicated pattern and having millions of fitting issues throughout. My first pencil skirt went that way, but there is literally nothing better than sewing a garment that you love and finishing it to your satisfaction. That pencil skirt is forthcoming on the blog. For me, I also approach every fitting issue as a learning experience to help me through the next time. I believe in body positivity and being confident in your own skin. Part of my process for that is not buying “okay” clothes but making clothes I love and am proud of.

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4. How does my creative process work?

I usually start with a visual of what I want to accomplish and then go fabric shopping and either I find what I want or I adapt based on the new selection. Sometimes, I am very driven by fabric selection and get enough fabric for any of the patterns in my collection. I have an oooh shiny mentality when it comes to fabric shopping, which is why I have been trying to limit it to thrift stores for my wallet’s sake (and paying for that pesky wedding) or sewing from my stash.

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Nominations!

Nominations were haaaaaard. To give you an idea, Tanya emailed me September 5 and I finally decided on my one nomination on September 17. I thought of other people. I did, but then they’d post about their blog hops!

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Then I decided that just the one was enough, because she rocks so very very much!

So here is my single nomination!

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The wonderful and fantastic Nicole from pudge and nico.

Nicole or Nico is a lovely lady from Austin, Texas. I found Nico through the Curvy Sewing Collective Flickr group to complete the Curvy Sewing Collective circle of love. :) I can’t express my love for this collective and am always finding more and more lovely curvy bloggers to follow. Not only does she have a great style and randomly inserts cat pictures and a hilarious humour and she is gorgeous, but she also has such terrific makes! She uses such fabulous prints (Bottom left is a hedgehog print dress and middle right is a deviled egg print dress) and has the best heart-shaped sunglasses (seriously, I want those…). But enough gushing about her…

Shake your tushy over to pudge and nico and see how awesome she is!

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One of Nico’s random cat gifs! She’s da best!

Fall Moneta

Along with fall starting, I got a lovely cold/flu thing and have been existing on the couch or next to the stove as I wait for my tea. I have a trail of kleenex and bottles of cold fx everywhere between the couch and the kitchen.

This is the current state of me:

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Not pictured: Piles and piles of kleenex

I sip from my “Little Miss Fun” mug because coughing and sneezing is so much fun!

I actually really love this mug and feel happy drinking from it. :D

The night before I got sick, I sewed this up in such a crabby mood. I had plans of making a tie to go along with the dress, but was so tired. Turns out I was sick!

I hope to still make the tie. A long black one that I can tie in a bow and use for many different dresses.

This is the start of FESA (Fall Essentials Sew Along) with a Fabulous Frock! A Fall Colette’s Moneta.

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Oh and I dyed my hair red!

This is the first piece of orange clothing I’ve ever owned in my life and I made it. I adore it. I am also sew pleased with how this long-sleeve Moneta worked out (not so sick I can’t make a pun). The fabric is the only disappointment and the fact that my clear elastic snapped and I didn’t replace it (hence the belt to make it better). The fabric has less recovery after washing. Has that ever happened to you? It was fine in the store, but then I washed it and bam…. Doesn’t want to recover. Oh well. The only place where this is a big issue is in the waist and that will be remedied once I put the elastic in.

Oh man, I am so sick in this picture. I’d just come home mid-day from work and was like: “I better just take the pictures right now, because I’m only going to look worse over the next few days.” I can barely muster a smile. I tried harder in the next pic, but it was tough. I just slept the rest of the day after this.

Back to the garment.

In the interest of making this a warm dress (even though I am Canadian I cannot stand the cold), other than making the sleeves long with a lovely cuff to them, I also fully lined the bodice with the same orange fabric. It’s basically like wearing a comfy sweater dress. Perfect with a pair of tights for fall.

With the long sleeves and lined bodice, the neckline ends up being a very wide scoop neck. I have to add bra strap holders to prevent slippage for my work. I would definitely make the neckline smaller for the next version. I also have an idea of making another Moneta into a turtle neck and really maximizing the warmth.

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I think this is my favourite Moneta yet. Mostly because the colour is so outside what I normally wear, but it’s a colour I’ve been wanting to wear for a reallllly long time. I also really love the autumn/Halloween vibe to it. The hair colour change helps the colour look good on me. I am curious whether the colour would look okay with my natural blonde hair. When I got the fabric, I looked in a mirror with it and it seemed okay with the blonde hair, but looks so so good with the red.

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Here is where I leave you. Back to tea and making piles of kleenex.

I’m basically Howl in this scene from Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle:

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Gross

Fall Sewing Plans

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I originally started this post in draft over the weekend and in the meantime I found The Creative Perfectionist from browsing around other people’s blogs and their favourites on bloglovin’ (yes, I am a stalker). I follow a ton of blogs on there and apparently never have enough to read.

I love the categories that Sarah put together for this and my original post really conformed to it. I have other sewing plans that are outside of FESA 2014 categories, but I figure why not join the group? I started this blog to join a community of sewists and to share creative endeavours. If my own plans can join in with a group, I might as well do it.

There are seven categories and I have plans in all except for Those Cozy Nights, which focuses on sleepwear. I have no plans to make any more pajamas.

Here are my plans in the six other categories:

Fashionable Foundations for Frosty Weather

Leggings

I’ve had Cake’s espresso leggings pattern for almost a year now and I have yet to touch it. Must make all the leggings, because I am always cold and hate winter so much, but refuse to not wear dresses. Pants suck, gals! I need dresses!

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Espresso leggings are one of Cake’s RiFF patterns, which means they are customized based on your measurements. Once you create a wearable muslin, you can basically make them with very little fabric and make them up super quick from the many blogs I’ve read talking about them.

Check out these blog entries on their espresso leggings reviews: Dreamstress, Dixie DIY, happilycaffienated, and Blinky Sews (Blinky’s post was the one that first made me buy the pattern).

Basically fall/winter are all about layers and I need tons, because I am ALWAYS cold in the fall/winter. I am the person you hate in the summer who runs about in 40 degree Celsius weather and gets angry when it dips below 25 Celsius. In the fall/winter, I am always in way more layers than everyone else. I even have a work blanket that I use ALL YEAR ROUND.

Fabric/notions needed: stretch material in different colours, 3/4 inch elastic.

Pencil skirts.

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I recently went WAY outside my fashion box by trying on a pencil skirt at Old Navy and an orange one at that. I love orange, but the colour has never been in my wardrobe, because my skin often doesn’t like yellowy hues and I end up looking like an extra from Walking Dead. I’ve only been wearing red in the past couple of years and discovered how much I adore it. I used to be 100% the pink girl. I wore pink, pink, and more pink. I feel like my readers are always expecting me to sew with pink and I swear I will! I’ve just been trying different colours a lot more lately.

I’ve decided to make a few pencil skirts as a result of the above pics. I didn’t buy that skirt, because the material was stretchy and had poor recovery (yeay for learning about that! Thanks, Colette Patterns!). My versions will be made of stretchy suit material from my stash and I am excited. I am starting off with a free Lekala pattern #5088:

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It’s a super basic pencil skirt. I have four fabrics in my stash for pencil skirts (yeay stashbusting!):

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Top: plaid stretch suiting, red stretch suiting Bottom: stretch corduroy, thick cotton blend (no stretch)

Depending on how I feel about the Lekala pattern, they may all be the same pattern, but I may keep my eye out for some other ones or try drafting my own. I really like the idea of drafting a vintage style high-waisted pencil skirt, but I dunno if I would really like that look on me… We’ll see. Gotta live outside the box!

Fabric/notions needed: Zippers.

Chic Chemises for Cool Climates

Cardigans.

With the Parisian top into a cardigan pattern hack, I’ve realized what I want in a cardigan: cute features for different colours and prints of fabric, versatility, and one that hits me at my natural waist.

Enter the Jenna Cardi from Muse patterns. Kat over at Modern Vintage Cupcakes recently launched her first pattern with her new label Muse Patterns and I am jazzed. More than jazzed. What is more than jazzed? Whatever that is, I am that.

Yes, I do love everything about this pattern. Yes, I do. Look at the versatility, the size range  (up to 48″ bust size!), the fun details in variation B and the simplicity in variation A.

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It only needs about two yards of fabric depending on your size and the version. I will be doing variation B at waist length with long sleeves to start and then likely trying every variation and the variations within the variations with variations. Verily!

Fabric/notions needed: Stable light-medium weight jersey/knit fabrics (such as merino wool, wool or acrylic blends, cotton knit, cotton blends, or even stretch lace), and buttons.

Fabulous Frocks

Wrapalong

The Curvy Sewing Collective is doing a Wrap Dress Sew Along and they posted a link on their facebook page to a plus size Burda collection that included the most awesome Wrap Tunic Dress that would go perfectly with a new pair of Espresso leggings. I wasn’t going to join the Wrapalong, because with the exception of a woven wrap dress from yesteryears made into a circle skirt recently, I am not a big fan of wrap dresses. I love a nice wrap cardigan, but wrap dresses never quite fit the girls. I am in love with the style on this one though and the draping in the finished version they have is making me go nuts:

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Fabric/Notions needed: Stretch jersey, 1/4 elastic.

Fall of 1000 Shirt Dresses

Following Mary at Idle Fancy‘s lead, I’m declaring it the Fall of 1000 shirt dresses. She may end up making this a sewing challenge and I am in full support of that!

Combined with this is also the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge with Erin at Miss Crayola Creepy.

I recently acquired this awesome fabric:

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I plan on making McCall’s 6696 in view D:

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I will be using black cotton fabric for the waistband, button bands, collar, and the cuffs. I will be the coolest cat around (heheh, so punny again!).

Of course, I will be making a wearable muslin to prep for the October challenge and that means: MORE SHIRT DRESSES! ALL THE SHIRT DRESSES! I mean… I guesssss I will make shirt dresses….. (dances)

Lots of these Fall of 1000 Shirt Dresses fabrics will come from my stash (Yeay stashbusting!):

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Mostly cottons, except for the black at the top, a polyester blend.

Other fall dresses include:

Lekala #4115 (with one of the above stash fabrics):

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Colette Moneta

I’m going to try to find merino wool or ponte knit and make a few of these in a heavier knit with long sleeves. The Moneta is so easy for me cut and to sew up.

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Fabric/notions needed: Merino wool, ponte knit, heavier stretch fabrics, buttons for shirt dresses, zipper for Lekala 4115, elastic for Moneta.

Tender Tootsies

I also have an idea of making Espresso tights.

Handmade by Carolyn has a great tutorial for drafting your own tights that would be useful combined with the custom fit of the Espresso leggings. Basically just using her tutorial for making the feet for the tights.

Along with this, I have a few pairs of knit tights that don’t quite fit me anymore in the butt, but I am planning on hacking into slouchy knee high socks.

Fabric/notions needed: Elastic.

Underneath It All

I have a lot of remnants of stretch material and a lot of plans with more jersey knits and other things that I can fashion into: Underwear!

I plan on taking the Bra-Making Workshop in Hamilton at the Bra Maker’s Supply in November over my birthday weekend. Bras are hella expensive and I want a better fit. They say if you can set a sleeve you can make a bra! Sign up if you are in the area and meet me!

Baby It’s Cold Outside

My First Coat!

In the beginning of the summer before I was put on a fabric-buying hold as part of the Summer Stashbust, which I failed in sew many ways (ha, punny!), I bought this wool from a thrift store.

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I have yet to determine how much of it I have (I keep forgetting), but I have plans to combine it with other wool fabric, if I need more. I think there is enough for the main parts of the coat, but accents like straps and the collar might be made of a contrasting solid wool rather than the main.

I love the smell of this wool. I can’t get over how wonderful it smells. I’m not normally a fan of wool fabric, but this one… I dunno just smells so wonderful. It had original tags on it that said it was 50 bucks. Maybe it’s just higher quality than I’ve been used to.

Possible patterns for this include:

Lekala #5835 acquired with my Monthly Stitch dresses win of five patterns.

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I have to lay out the pattern pieces on my wool to see if I have enough fabric minus the smaller straps and the top collar.

If that doesn’t work, I also own these two patterns:

Butterick #5685:

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I would shorten this and have to use the D-cup pattern pieces. Actually, this may be moving up my list to top choice, because I really like the pattern…and that the bust variations are there.

McCall’s #6657:

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I might also have to shorten this one, but I don’t need to alter the pattern based on finished garment measurements.

All three make me super happy. I’ll definitely be doing a muslin, though, because the fabric is too gorgeous to make a coat that I won’t show off like crazy and be absolutely in love with in every single way.

I also want to line it with this fabric, if I have enough:

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Even if I have enough for just the main pieces minus the sleeves, I have black liner fabric I can use for the sleeves. I just adore this fabric. I got it in a swap a million years ago when I was doing burlesque in St. John’s Newfoundland and I’ve been hoarding it since. It’s lovely. It’s cotton, I think?

Aside: learn more about fabric types.

I have brilliant dreams of combining brown leather with coat pattern 1 and 3, but my wallet might get pissed at me. Although, really, a coat for the 10 bucks the wool cost me at the thrift store and buttons and some leather…. still a cheap coat…

Fabric/notions needed: Contrasting accent fabrics in wool or leather, if needed, buttons.

Colour/pattern Palette:

fall colour palette

I’m all about the plaid this fall so I want to hopefully find some plaids in stretchy materials to take home and be mine for a Jenna cardi or Espresso leggings. And yes, pink is on my list of colours. I’ve been trying to find more pink, but I keep getting distracted by other colours… I am going to try to find a nice one for my wrapalong dress.

Oranges and yellows are on my list for the first time ever! I am going to break it up with having them as accents on black or brown or possibly grey cardis or making my Moneta with the skirt in one colour and top in another.

Lots of options there.

Complete shopping list:

  • Burdastyle wrap tunic dress: 4 yards light weight drapey jersey/knit fabrics, 2 yards 1/4 inch elastic
  • Espresso Leggings & tights: 2 yards of medium weight jersey/knit fabrics, 4 yards 3/4 inch elastic
  • McCall’s shirt dress: 11 1/2 inch Buttons (hopefully cat related)
  • Jenna Cardigan: 2 yards stable light-medium weight jersey/knit fabrics, 6 1/2 inch buttons
  • Moneta: 3.5 yards merino wool, ponte knit, heavier stretch fabrics, 2 yards clear elastic
  • Lekala pencil skirts: 4 7 inch zippers
  • Lekala 4115: 6 1/2 inch buttons (zipper in my stash)
  • Coat: Wool for contrasting accent fabrics for coat or leather (this one is more in the air as I haven’t settled on a pattern yet, but I likely won’t be sewing this until November)

Not too long of a shopping list. Only 13.5 yards of fabric to get over a couple of months. Some of those items can certainly get out of hand, but I’m not allowed to go to the Toronto Fashion District and buy a year’s worth of fabric like I did last year at this time. I am only allowed to get enough for one of each of the above patterns and definitely not at once. The moment I buy more means that I start hoarding them all!

gollum

Finding Balance and Realizing Limits:

I am in love with how all of these challenges overlap so that I can take part in a few with one garment. However, given my up and down health, I am not going to stress if I don’t get it all done. I also have a lot of non-selfish stuff in the works for Halloween and those plans may overtake my selfish sewing. I definitely want to get three things done, though: Espresso leggings, Burda wrap tunic, and McCall’s cat print shirt dress. I know I will get at least one pencil skirt done as well, but I also know the Halloween stuff will be taking over soon! I’ll tell you about it eventually, but no planning posts on that. Secrets! You’ll have to wait until after Halloween to see what I accomplished. It’s also possible that most of this list will be sewn in November outside of the three top things. I can always push some of these into my winter sewing plans…..I do have another stashcation planned for Christmas holidays….

Upcycled: Circle Skirt Mania

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Oh how I love circle skirts. I’ve made the Pavlova skirt and refashioned a UFO into a circle skirt recently. I haven’t been wearing skirts over the past couple of years, but since making the Pavlova, I’ve caught a bug for high-waisted circle skirts.

This one is a wrap skirt that I upcycled from my first me-made dress from a pattern:

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I made it for a burlesque routine to Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit (hence, the sexy face as I strip). Wrap dresses are great for burlesque reveals. This one had awesome twirl action.

Unfortunately, since doing that routine in 2009, about a month after, I fell down some stairs (klutzy Andie!) and couldn’t walk without pain for about…..um….6 months…. and haven’t done burlesque since. I didn’t break anything, but I tore something and the doctors I saw didn’t figure it out. I got physio in the summer of 2010, but haven’t had a great left knee since.

I still adore dance and I have been wanting to take lessons again. I took hip hop and Bollywood dance workshops in June and loved it, but I have a lot of health setbacks that make me worry about taking a full class if I can’t commit or have to miss classes. Health setbacks and weight fluctuations resulted in me not being able to wear this dress anymore. The bodice showed off the girls (good for burlesque, bad for office work) and didn’t fit quite right with a camisole under it, because of the princess seams and the fitted look of the bodice. The original is from McCall’s 5314 view B:

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I really do love this pattern and plan to use it again in the future, but my dress couldn’t be fixed and the fabric/colour was too nice to waste and I was too attached to it to put in the charity bin.

So, I chopped off the bodice and ties and cut about two inches from the bodice for a small waistband. I attached the waistband and then reattached the ties and opened a small slit for the ties to go through. I finished it in an episode and a half of Battlestar Galactica (swoon Starbuck!). And now I can twirl again:

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Or do a cute curtsy:

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Oh how I love it. I want to make more, but I have lots of other plans in the works, which I will talk about in length on Friday. I’ll have to make more circle skirts after all my plans.

There are a lot of other garments at home that I want to upcycle as well. I have a tendency to hold on to my favs, but not be able to wear them. I’d love them to stay complete and just shrink down to that size again, but ultimately I spent the money on them and I know how to sew so I might as well upcycle them into things that I can wear again. Lara over at Dreaming of Avonlea inspires me to do it. Check her out!