Sew Pretty in Pink Makes a Coat, pt. 1: The Muslin

Do you ever start a project, believe it’s going really well, get really confident, and then slowly get less and less confident as things begin to go terribly wrong and then get more confident when you fix all the fitting issues?

Yeah, that’s what making a coat is like for me so far: an emotional roller coaster. It’s not done yet (not even close), but this is the tale about the muslin and my fabric plan.

I started off so well. My pattern was a match made in heaven with my fabric.

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View A of Vogue 8346 is basically made with the same fabric I picked up at the thrift store for ridiculously cheap.

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As I was looking through my patterns, I saw this and was like: yes, yes, that is my coat, yes, my precious. Originally, I had a few others in mind (check out my Fall Sewing Plans post for more info on that).

Before I go all Gollum on you about the wonderful precious coat that still isn’t made, I will get back to my muslin and my plan.

I have about two and a half yards of the herringbone wool and the pattern called for 3 yards. So, this meant that I had to be careful about cutting the fabric and had to use more contrasting fabric and not worry about pattern matching. I never really pattern match so that last one was not really an issue. Sorry to all you pattern-matching people. I’m a horrible pattern mismatcher.

During a trip to Rochester, NY, for my stepson’s hockey tournament, I picked up 2 yards of a dark brown pleather at Joann fabrics for a steal. There was a major sale that meant I was at the store for two hours waiting to get my fabric cut. I picked up a bunch of other stuff that I will blog about as I get it done. I basically got something like 12 yards of fabric for $50 USD. I left the store three hours later pretty happy.

My plan was to make the sleeves out of the pleather. I also got some burgundy blizzard fleece from Joann’s, which I will be using as the lining. I know you are supposed to use shiny fabric for the lining, but it’s Canada and I want more than two weeks wear out of a coat that I made for myself. Therefore, it has to be warm. Very warm.

In a crazy change of plans, because I kept seeing cute coats with oversized pleather cuffs, I decided to change the full pleather sleeve to an almost half pleather sleeve (more like….3/8 pleather) of course that means that I don’t quite have enough fabric for the front facing, sadly.

My first muslin minus the sleeves started off swimmingly:

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Please ignore the horrible hair. I don’t really care about that as I sew. I’m not June Cleaver. I sew in pajama pants with greasy hair. And then I post pics of myself in muslins with greasy hair, because that’s how I roll.

I did an FBA (Full Bust Adjustment) for the princess seam using Mary from Idle Fancy’s tutorial. Seriously brilliant tutorial. The only issue with the muslin was that it became longer in the front than the back, but that’s fine. That’s just a hemming issue that will work itself out. It fit perfectly and was super flattering. I also had enough ease to accommodate bulky fabrics.

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My piece after the FBA. It looks ridiculous. Are my boobs really that big? Yes, yes, they are.

I cut a size 22 for most pieces, but graded to a 24 on the two bust pieces as well as doing an FBA. I am not sure why I chose to do that, but it worked out perfectly. Why question a stroke of brilliance like that?

I was pretty confident at this stage. I didn’t have the sleeves on, but I was happy with this.

Enter the sleeves. I do a large bicep adjustment. I used T’s sleeve fitting adjustment on the Curvy Sewing Collective page and made three muslins for the sleeves. First time, they were not big enough in the bicep yet. I guess I had miscalculated the amount to add in. I should have done a tissue fitting. I also adjusted the muslin for the large cuff for the pleather accent. Basically, this involved just cutting the sleeve in half and adding in length and then sewing it back together. The second time, I did a tissue fitting and they still weren’t big enough. Also, they were too short for some bizarre reason even though the first ones weren’t and I didn’t make any length variations. Anyway, third time was a charm and they fit perfectly.

Then I remembered this post on Fashionable Stitch about fitting your body. Well, I tried crossing my arms across my bust and holy hell was that shit tighter than a…..I will stop there. It was tight. Take my word for it.

Slashy, slashy with my scissors I went.

Using Sunni’s method, I slashed and then slashed some more in various areas. This was me slashing my second muslin:

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You can see all the cuts in the princess seams there where I needed to add in more and more fabric and the wedge at the center back where I had to remove fabric, because of course you can have narrow shoulders AND a wide back, right?! I think they call that a dowager hump, but I don’t have that problem in other garments! Anyway, three muslins later for the back, I had a complete muslin, yeay!!

More like: UGH! Fitting a coat is definitely a lot more involved than fitting a dress. You have to think of ease and the fact that your fabric will be very different from your muslin and account for the extra bulk. I’ve never had an issue with it being tight across the back with dresses, but with this coat I did. I’m not sure what the difference here was or why I needed to make all these unusual adjustments on the back, but I did. It’s a lot better now.

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TaDa!!!!! Here is the final muslin in all it’s glory with a wonderful bathroom picture. It’s cinches in at the waist, you can spy the line where the pleather cuff is, and it fits my bustybust perfectly with the princess seams all in the perfect places.

I’m pretty stoked about this.

Reader, I cut my coat out:

IMG_20141124_145343813IMG_20141124_152003A kleenex box is a totally legitimate pattern weight. I swear. You can see all the adjusted pattern pieces with all their weird shapes wedged in here and there. The wool was so easy to cut and the pleather was like cutting through buttah. I didn’t cut out the collar or the front facing yet. The collar will be in pleather and the front facing will likely be in the burgundy fleece, because I do not have enough of the wool for it, sadly. We’ll see how that works out. I also need to draft new lining pieces after all the alterations I made to the coat. I am not sure what to do for those, because all the lining pieces are so different from the outer pieces. For now, I am moving on to cutting out interfacing and fusing the interfacing on the wool, sewing the back up and drafting the back stay out of hair canvas using Gertie’s method (is it weird that I had some hair canvas in my stash?….yes, that is weird, especially when I don’t ever remember buying it at all, but there it was when I was reorganizing my sewing room and I was all…..what?! The fabric fairy, must have been the fabric fairy. Omg, please let there be a fabric fairy), and then sewing the rest of the coat up before I tackle the facing and other things.

If you want more information and tutorials on the wonderful world of coat making, check out Jenny’s list over at Cashmerette. It’s a really great link and I read everything there before starting. I also used Gertie’s sewing of Vogue 8346 for reference.

I have felt pretty good about the whole process even if the muslin took forever and fairly confident that the fit will be good. I do have some hesitations about the lining and the facing, but overall I can’t wait to see it finished. I will definitely not be finishing this coat in time for the end of FESA, though, but it feels good to have a significant start on it.

Other than that, I had a weekend of horrible sewing fails that I will talk about some day in the future (I’d like to have a sewing win with the patterns I tried out before I talk about the fails). I feel like taking comfort in an easy knit pattern that I’ve made before. I think a few more Jenna cardis to make me feel better. :) And then maybe I will make up a Bluegingerdoll Betsy skirt or Violet dress. :D

There is seriously not enough time for all my sewing plans. I think I need a sewing fairy.

Has anyone else ventured into the wonderful world of coat making?

 

Cardigans and Skirts, Oh my!

I’ve been hard at work sewing lately and instagramming the #bpsewvember photo-a-day challenge. Phew. Busy, busy.

First up is a skirt I made in about an hour for my halloween costume. A black circle skirt for a skeleton costume.

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You can’t really see it there, but I made some pretty horrid mistakes when I put this together the night before halloween and then just decided to frack it and come back to it later. I made the flower garland for my head as well:

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Ooooh creeepy!

The circle skirt wasn’t the greatest. I used my Pavlova skirt pattern and forgot to cut a smaller size. Luckily, I had a belt on to hide all the flaws in the waistband. This past week I unpicked and sewed not only the waistband, but also the seams and zipper again (although, the zipper was fine, but I had to take the side seams in). I made french seams and hand-stitched the waistband facing.

Then I made the Jenna Cardi from Muse Patterns, because I always need a cardigan and it matches my black circle skirt perfectly!

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I put heels on for this picture…

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This is my “why did I put heels on for this picture?” face Oww……

Of course, all my photos are inside now, because outside has turned into winter overnight and the sun now sets around 4:30pm, which is shortly before I get home from work.

Anyway, back to sewing, because it’s far more interesting than the weather.

I love this cardigan so much. I sewed a size 48 and altered the sleeve to be more fitted. In larger sizes, Muse patterns sleeves tend to be rather big, which is fine if you prefer a loose fit. If you want a more fitted look, I suggest grading down toward the wrist and cutting the smaller cuff. The patterns are drafted for tall 5’10” women. I am only 5’4″ so the sleeves are long and big on me. I shortened them down a few inches and graded them in at the wrist, because I have tiny wrists (and super small hands). The cardigan hits in the right place for me. For future versions, I will be cutting out a smaller size, though, because it doesn’t quite go in enough at the waist for me, but that is my preference.

Sewing was very easy it took under two hours and the instructions were brilliant. I love the cardi. I used a mustard yellow ribbing and a black jersey with silver stripes for the main fabric. Of course, I ran out of black thread! I had finished the circle skirt right before and ran out during that. So, unfortunately, the whole cardigan was sewn with navy blue.

Obligatory circle skirt blurry twirl picture!

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I also took care of an old UFO that I had been wanting to fix up.

It started off as this:

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It’s a hacked Go To Patterns Parisian top. I made it into a cardigan and didn’t like the length.

Now, it’s shorter, like my Jenna cardi. Although, a little shorter than that because I had a cutting accident. Oops! Don’t drink and cut, kids! (Kidding, I didn’t. I just cut the button bands shorter than I wanted by accident)

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Happy again because I took off the heels… Heels are so pretty, but I find them horribly painful…

I love the cardigan now. I still have trouble finding dresses to wear with it, though, because of the neckline. The Jenna cardi is definitely more to my taste. I think the Parisian top is best left as is and I will be making up the pattern again without any hacks.

The final piece to show you to round off my skirts and cardigans post is this major fail and I will be tossing it into the donation pile:

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Nope, not wearing heels just really unhappy with this horrible skirt. And yes, I am wearing a top underneath my cardigan, it’s just really light and I didn’t want to change for a horrible skirt.

Oh pencil skirt, why did you fail me?

This is the free pencil skirt pattern from Lekala. The pattern itself is totally fine, but it looks horrible on me. I tried it lower, I tried it higher, but the position and fit were never flattering on me. It just does not look right. I shortened the darts, lengthened the darts, removed the darts, etc. It just didn’t work.

My quest for a pencil skirt does not end here, though! I refuse to give up! I recently got Tenterhook’s Snapdragon skirt and Bluegingerdoll’s Betsy. I want to try out both patterns in the future and maybe, just maybe, I will finally have the perfect pencil skirt for all my sexy librarian needs.

I’m currently working on a coat as part of my Fall Essential Sewing Plans. I have sewn up the muslin and am excited about the fit. After the coat, the only items that are still outstanding for the Fall Essentials Sew Along are leggings and underwear. I am still trying to get the Espresso Leggings pattern right, but I should have that done, too. I am taking my bra making class on the 28th/29th and have some panties patterns picked out for a quick sew up. Some of the dress patterns I chose got replaced with other patterns, because of timing and my mood. Actually, the only one I didn’t sew was a Lekala pattern. I will do a round up post after FESA 2014 ends on the 30th and a round up of my #bpsewvember photos. Many round ups.

Speaking of round ups, check out the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge round up post at Miss Crayola Creepy! Some amazing amazing things there!

 

 

Kitty Chronicle

When Erin announced the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge over at Miss Crayola Creepy, I was pretty jazzed about it. I starting looking up cat prints and scouring the interwebs for ideas. I found this lovely print, which I had lusted after in the past:

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The Kitty Chronicle print was available on etsy through Custom Creations, which is located here in Ontario. I messaged the owner for a cut of three yards knowing that I would be using black fabric from my stash for the collar, yoke, button bands, and waistband. The almost simultaneous announcement of the fall of 1000 Shirtdresses by Mary over Idle Fancy cemented the pattern I would use for the challenge: McCall’s 6696. The pattern is making its round in the sewing blogverse right now and I figured I would try out this apparently amazing pattern. This is also part of my FESA 2014 fabulous frocks.

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I chose View D for my cat lady dress.

My muslin went really well:

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I didn’t bother making the button band, but knew it would fit well. It was my first woven dress in a really long time and I wanted to make it perfect. I did french seams and handsewed the waistband rather than use my usual method of topstitching on the right side and hoping it works. I may have reverted back to that method for the button bands and the collar, but my future version of M6696 will all have handsewn collar facings and button band facings, because it just makes for a much neater and stronger finish.

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Look at those sexy sexy insides. :) This is before I sewed the buttons on.

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My buttons are from another etsy seller, Krafty Sian. My favourite thing about my cat is her adorable paws that look like jelly beans. I got pink little paws to sew on the dress:

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So adorable, right?! :)

Okay, so by now, you probably want to see this wicked dress, right?

Well, heeeeeere it is! *drum roll*

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Psyche! It’s me and the cat. Trinity is NOT an outdoor cat and was pretty upset at being wrangled into my arms and then dragged outside into the outdoors that she calls “the netherworld” (I assume she calls it that). She spent the entire time clawing at me to get away and back inside to her scratch pad, which she sleeps on and doesn’t use to scratch (duh, she has two couches for that!).

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Much happier.

Okay, here is the dress sans kitty cat.

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I sewed up view D. I usually sew fuller skirts and future versions will definitely be the fuller skirt version. The width of the fabric and the weight (quilting cotton) meant it would never look quite right as a full skirt and really the concept wouldn’t show off the print. Considering I am still trying to sew a perfect pencil skirt, I figured a figure hugging skirt for a shirtdress would look very cool with this print. And I love it.

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I love this dress. Although, confession time: In a race to get pictures taken before the sun set (which it does now at unreasonably early times), I basically just pinned the buttons in place and then took the pictures. I still have to sew them on. The magic of the camera. Also, I am not barefoot. There are just tons of leaves that I should sweep on our back deck. Fall is in full swing here and I’m about to make a 1000 shirtdresses for it.

Other technical parts: I sewed up a size 24 in a D-cup. I made a large bicep alteration to the sleeve and didn’t add the cuff to the sleeve, because I did not like the look after I pinned it on. I also graded up to a size 26 in the butt, because I got junk in my trunk.

For future versions of the pattern, I will be making the fuller skirt. I do love this view and it definitely works best for a heavier weight fabric. I can see it in a lightweight floral denim with contrasting bands and collar again. Hmm….. Maybe….. I feel great in it, but I know I would be more comfortable in the fuller skirt version. More me.

I would also make more button holes than this (I totally ignored the pattern…listen to the pattern, people! I was just in a rush to finish the button holes). I find that I always need a few more buttons to keep the girls inside my shirtdresses. I’ll follow the pattern next time. ;-) I didn’t even look at it. :-S

I see there is some pulling in the bodice buttons which would likely be solved by doing a small FBA in the d-cup pattern. I think I just need about an inch more room to make it a perfect fit.

All in all, I loved making this dress.

A final note, I haven’t posted in a while here. October was insane for me. I plan on making a ton and blogging a ton in November with my bra-making class on the 28th (my birthday!!)/29th at Bra Maker’s Supply. There will be tons to talk about including the round-up of Bimble and Pimple’s sewvember photo challenge. Check me out on Instagram if you miss my posts. I am a frequent poster there and you can often get previews of my makes and adorable shots of my cat and food (mmm, food). Also, the Instagram sewing peeps rock my world.

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!