Second helpings

With a little over five weeks until the wedding, things are getting pretty busy! I still have a ton of time to sew oddly enough. But not time to take pictures and blog. I just finished my wedding dress this weekend and will blog about it soon with the final reveal waiting for July after the wedding. I have just the sash left to make. I am also making a sash for my sister’s dress, which she bought, and a dress for my little flower girl, my niece. My niece’s dress will be red like the sashes and the vests for all the tuxedo wearing people. We’ll be quite the gorgeous wedding party!

On to the non-wedding stuff!

This month I made several seconds, thirds, and fourths of things. There’s nothing better than making up a pattern that you’ve made several times before and know what to do. None of them are perfect in spite of the fact that I have made them all before. You would think I would have all the fitting issues worked out, but nope! Sometimes that is down to fabric differences, like in these cases, but often it’s just down to not getting the technique completely down, like in the case of my floral bomber jacket.

M7100 Floral Denim Bomber Jacket

I made this jacket at the beginning of May. There are a couple of issues with it. The fabric is heavier weight from my first version so it ends up being a little tighter than the previous version. I think I will be doing an FBA for future versions to have it fit a little better through the chest.

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I also messed up the waistband….er….again. The instructions for this are pretty vague, though. It’s basically: “and then attach the waistband.” Not much direction for that meant that I fudged it up again. It’s not super noticeable to the non-sewist eye so I am not going to fuss over it.

I am pleased with the welt pockets, though!

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I really love the jacket, though, and have been alternating between the two jackets all Spring. It was incredibly sunny and very humid during all these pictures. So enjoy the progression of me melting. LOL.

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Two Jennifer Lauren Vintage Bronte tops:

These tops have been cut out for a while, but I had fitting issues on my white one in the same cotton interlock fabric so I had been putting off making these two tops. After my post about what I need to fill wardrobe gaps, though, I immediately got to work on these two. I took some length out of the neckline in the front. The result is a much higher neckline, but a lot flatter and it sits better on my shoulders. The neckline also isn’t as curved as it is in the pattern. I am okay with that. I actually really like this style and have been enjoying wearing them. The resulting tweaks, however, make for a short top. I’ve made the changes in the pattern and will be lengthening future versions based on the changes. I think I may unpick the white version and cut the neckline in a similar fashion, as well, because this worked out quite well.

I also lucked out by having buttons in my stash that matched perfectly with the fabric!

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Don’t you love when that happens?

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Long sleeve shirts plus leggings on a hot and humid day made me rather melty….

Purple M6696:

This dress has also been cut out for a while (since writing my Spring sewing plans). Other than switching out the pockets for the straight skirt version pockets, I made no adjustments from my nautical version to this version, but perhaps should have remembered to cut the waistband a little longer (by about an inch) and to pivot and shorten the bust darts. Oops. There are always a million future versions for these adjustments! Not much else to say about the dress. I love wearing it. I also tried a little different thing for the buttons and am not pleased with what I did! Oh well. I thought I was getting the horizontal buttonhole in the middle of the band, but sadly it’s a little too far over and too close to the edge of the band. If I had started at the bottom of the dress, I think I would have done the others differently, but I started at the top. I tried unpicking, but it looked horrible so I just went with it. It looks fine, but the buttonholes are dangerously close to the edge of the band. I don’t have any more fabric or I would just have cut a new button band and redone the whole thing. Oh well! There’s always a million future versions! The fabric for this is quilting cotton that I stole from my mother’s stash a few years ago. Check out my other three versions (including the skirt version).

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I need sunglasses. And a tan…. I’m brighter than the sun!

Halfway through Me-Made-May Round-up

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I was only going to post one round-up post at the end of the month, but then I figured that would be too much work at once. I’m also showing you previews of some of the things I’ve made this month so far.

Day One:

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I wore my M6503 Star Trek dress.

I saw Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway) give a talk at the Toronto Reference Library on her memoir. She is absolutely lovely in person and I wanted to be adopted by her.

 

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Day two:

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My Harley Quinn top (unblogged) and my Cake Pavlova skirt in black for Free Comic Book Day. We ended up staying home and watching Dare Devil instead, though, but it definitely wasn’t a waste of a great outfit.

Day three:

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Wore a RTW top and jacket with my pink floral dirndl skirt.

Day four:

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My nautical M6696 dress.

That night I made three necklaces, too:

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Made with polymer clay and nickle-free chain and findings.

Day five:

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A RTW peasant top with my new flower necklace and my Cake Pavlova skirt with suspenders.

Day six:

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My Burdastyle wrap tunic with a rtw camisole underneath.

I also had my improv show, Holodeck Follies, that night. So, in a very blurry photo, I am wearing my Star Trek costume with a me-made communicator badge.

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Day seven:

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RTW top and cardigan with my colourblocked skirt.

Day eight:

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Gingham Simplicity 1459.

Day nine:

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Red JVL Bronte top in red with RTW yoga pants for cleaning the house and sitting around.

Day ten:

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No full body shot, because meh. It was a day in pjs: doing laundry, watching Dare Devil, and drinking Grower’s cider.

In my simplicity pj pants with my Parisian Nights pj top.

It was Mother’s Day and I got a lovely card from my step-chillun

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Day eleven:

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My floral Moneta dress.

Day twelve:

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A new purple M6696 with a RTW cardi. I will blog about it sometime soon, but here is a preview!

I also fixed my Wonder Woman skirt that night:

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When I made it, it was slightly tight. I finally got frustrated with not wearing it and added in some inches to the waistband. In two pieces because I had very little material left. Fits perfectly now!

I also made another bow necklace. This time using leftover leather scraps:

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Day thirteen:

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Happy wearing my Wonder Woman skirt again! Also pictured is a preview of my new floral M7100 and my new pink bow necklace. RTW top.

Day fourteen:

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Red Bronte top with my yellow plaid dirndl skirt and my leather bow necklace. TOTALLY ME MADE OUTFIT, EVERYONE!!!

Day 15:

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My Jungle January Bluegingerdoll Violet dress.

Day sixteen:

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My Simplicity 1459 dress again with white RTW cardi that is falllling appaaaaart and not really white anymore due to laundry mishaps aplenty.

Today we had a Toronto Sewcialist meet-up. Since it is a long weekend, only a few of us were there, but it was really great. I got to chat with two other Andreas (PhysicsGirl and Zoopolis) and Bev, who doesn’t have a blog. They are all wonderful people and it was lovely to chat about fabric and shop in the Fashion District. And, of course, I bought fabric. Only a yard each of two jerseys for two Jenna cardis. One in white (to replace that cardi above) and the other in a light minty blue.

Conclusions at the halfway point are that I am glad to have finished a few things, done some repairs to things so I can wear them again, and finished one dress done as per my goal. I’ve been working away on my wedding dress, too, and am almost done! I wear my M7100 bomber jackets everyday. So glad I made those as they are very useful for this up and down Spring we are having. I need more tops and more cardis and should start to learn how to make blazers, because I love wearing them and definitely can’t get a correctly fitted RTW one. I find I love layers and a me-made piece of jewelry. Although, I wear tons of scarves so my necklaces don’t always get showcased.

I’m really pleased with how this is going. I didn’t find a huge amount of gaps in my wardrobe. I think a couple more tops and cardis will do and then I can focus on blazers.

I do have a dream to make a plaid Clueless-inspired outfit for the fall.

I think after the wedding I will be doing that and maybe trying out making some shorts! I don’t usually wear pants or shorts, but it might be neat to test my fitting skills in that way. I’m not going to jump on the Ginger jeans bandwagon yet (I am outside the size range). I have a couple of jeans/shorts patterns in my stash to try out first and then we’ll see what is next!

It’s been fun documenting this fully for the first time this year. What have you learned so far during your me-made may?

 

 

 

Chronic Pain, Body Positivity, and Sewing

This is a little bit of a different entry for me, but I have been having a lot of thoughts about these three things and how they fit into my life. I thought I would write about them.

I’ve spoken before about how body positivity and sewing go together.  Sewing helps me become a more body positive person and helps ,e break free of the number on the tag and fit for an actual body. I’m able to look beyond my fat to enjoy my style and become the confident person I should be.

Chronic pain runs counter to all of that. It’s a struggle and it’s your body attempting to rebel. You have very little control over your body and it prevents you from doing so many things. Chronic pain makes you feel horrible both inside and outside. On my bad days, I struggle to get ready for work; I struggle to smile; I struggle to do the basic things in life that are so easy for people without chronic pain.

I’m going to talk about what my medical condition is and how body positivity and sewing can help me recover.

Chronic Pain

There are a few different sources for what it feels like to live with chronic pain or illness. One of the best explanations is the spoon theory. I use this in conversations with my fiance all the time. The basic gist of it is that someone with chronic illness starts their day with a limited number of spoons. In her example, she uses 12 spoons. Each spoon is an activity: get out of bed/spoon, go to the bathroom/spoon, brush your teeth/spoon, get dressed/spoon, etc. If you run out of spoons, they are gone. You have no more energy. Sometimes you can borrow from tomorrow’s spoons, but that leaves you in a spoon deficit, which means you can’t do as much the next day or worse you end up harming yourself more and losing all your spoons for the rest of the week. Happens to me so often.

Chronic pain is exhausting. It takes a lot out of you. It leaves you unable to sleep and regain your energy. Or, if you do sleep, you wake up a lot or toss and turn or wake up in tons of pain. The pain makes it difficult to move normally. Your basic movements become very laboured. It’s sort of like moving through lava, if someone could survive that. You’re on fire and in pain, but the lava is thick and tough to move through; you aren’t dying, but you feel like you are. I drop things. I get frustrated. My hands don’t work properly. And everything is swollen and inflamed. I’ve gotten into this habit of removing my engagement ring and putting it back on to see how swollen I am. On good days, it slides right off without issue; on bad, I can barely remove it. Today, as I type this, I can barely remove it.

Chronic pain is your body rebelling. It is your body attacking itself. I don’t look sick, but I am suffering with every movement. On bad days, I don’t sew. On good days, I sew and I make jokes and I smile and I hop about. But even on good days, I am in pain; just less pain. It’s like the lava has ebbs and flows. Bad days, I am up to my ears in lava; good days, the lava is around my knees.

I recently read this article about understanding chronic pain from the perspective of a sufferer. I shared it on facebook and spoke about it for the first time there. I’ve spoken to a few people individually and mentioned a bit on here, but I guess I “came out” as a chronic pain sufferer yesterday. I’ve gone through a lot in my life, but this is definitely the hardest. The article really lays out how I feel, except for the last part about religion. I am not a religious person. I keep pushing forward, because I am incredibly determined and, in spite of everything that has happened to me, I am a very positive person and see hope in every corner of life. I am survivor and that keeps me going.

Onset and Diagnosis

Three years ago, I started having the worst years of my life. I was in top physical condition. I was well on my way to losing a bunch of weight and was the smallest I’ve been in my adult life. I was exercising almost everyday and walking  10km or more per day: during lunch break, walking home from work (this was an hour long walk), and walking at night with my fiance on occasion. I was eating incredibly well. I still eat incredibly well. I am a “no processed foods” kind of person and, while I do get them occasionally, I tend to steer clear of pre-packaged foods and make a lot of my own things, including breads.

All signs pointed to me being in great shape and then I started to decline. It started with an increase in migraines; I’ve had migraines since my early 20s, but I started getting them on a weekly or even daily basis. I started feeling dizzy on my walks home and I had to take breaks. I then stopped walking home. My right hip started hurting. My left knee had sustained an injury a few years before and I had flare-ups with knee pain. I slowly couldn’t exercise, because it was so painful. I started getting shooting pain from my right wrist to my neck and eventually my elbows were in constant pain. Over the space of a year and a half, I went from working out all the time to not being able to do much at all. I saw doctors; I got an MRI; I got xrays; I got massages; I went to a chiropractor; I went to a naturopath; I tried healing waters; I eliminated more things from my diet: soy, inflammatory fruits and veggies, red meat, etc. etc. I started seeing a physiotherapist this year at the end of January. It’s been helping to a degree, but again it’s like moving through lava and the change is so slow.

And, yes, I gained weight. Twice as much as I lost. I just got weighed on Tuesday and had a meltdown about it. They are just numbers, I tell myself, but numbers that reflect how much pain I carry. I never cared about being skinny, but I always wanted to be able to move, to dance, and to play. Not be the person who goes to bed at 7pm out of pure exhaustion with tears in my eyes because of the pain.

I was diagnosed in the fall with fibromyalgia. I’m still not convinced that this is entirely what is wrong with me, but at least it is something. I was also told by physiotherapists that my joints are hypermobile or too flexible. I am bendy. This unfortunately leads to an increase in injury and pushing your joints out of place with simple tasks. Sometimes when I twist my abdomen, I get a pain in my rib and feel like it is going out of place. I wake up at night and feel like my hip joint is out of place as well. If I carry too much weight in my hands, my elbows can feel like like are going out of joint. I’m working on figuring this out with a new doctor who is finally willing to help me get better.

Body Positivity

We’ve come a long way, baby. I started my body positive journey back in 2008 when I joined a burlesque troupe in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where I was doing my PhD (have since quit that due to a lot of unfortunate circumstances regarding supervisor neglect).

Burlesque is a great gateway drug to body positivity. You get to dress up in gorgeous clothes and “tease” the audience into submission. They scream for you to take off even the slightest bit. I never went beyond showing my corset, but did they ever beg for the gloves to come off! Stage performance is amazing. You can be anything on stage. I get the same euphoric feelings from my improv comedy performances. In 2009, I fell down some stairs and then moved to Toronto to be with my fiance. The fall was a few months of recovery with very little help from healthcare professionals. In spite of that setback, I still maintained a body positive outlook.

There’s tons of stuff that you can read about the body positive movement. I suggest checking out some TED talks on the subject.

Here are some basics of the body positive movement: your body is just fine and you should love it. Does that mean you can attempt to lose weight or that you shouldn’t be on a diet to be body positive? Naw. It just means accepting yourself. If that acceptance means going to the gym, do it. If it doesn’t, whatever. Love yourself. Kiss your mirror in the morning and tell yourself how wonderful and adorable you are. You only have one body in this lifetime and you have to treat it right. It also means ignoring the expectations that society sets for you. You are the only person that you should have an opinion on your body.

For me, that means embracing my style at any size. I wear dresses, because growing up fat I wasn’t able to. I was scared to show my legs. I was scared to wear anything that showed my curves. For me, body positivity meant I was free to stop thinking of what went in my mouth, what number the scale said, and free to live my life.

I’ve got through various eating disorders. I’ve overeaten, undereaten, starved myself, and, yes, I’ve purged a lot. Being body positive, helped me repair the tense relationship I had with food and listen to what I enjoyed, what my body was able to eat, and to not feel guilty for enjoying a bag of chips or a chocolate bar on occasion.

Body Positivity and Chronic Pain

This part has taken me a while to come to terms with and I’m not even really there. It’s tough to be positive about a body that rebels at every step. When you are walking through lava, it’s tough to take a moment and kiss the mirror and tell yourself how wonderful you are.

If you follow me on instagram, I have a lot of body positive talk about myself. I tell people I am adorable and I truly believe it. But you won’t see a picture on a bad day that reflects that, because chronic pain sucks the positivity from you. I am trying to change that.

What I started doing recently is taking self care days. I am having one tonight. As much as I would love to get back to my wedding dress and finish it, I realize when my spoons are running low and the lava is at my ears, I need a self care day.

Self care is body positive. It says that I am worth it. It says that my body deserves a hug.

What do I do on self-care days:

1) Limit activity: I may be working my day job, but I tend not to run errands except very small ones that don’t involve carrying a lot.

2) Indulge in something: This could mean getting a Frap from Starbucks or buying a favourite chocolate bar or making something tasty and easy for dinner that I don’t usually have. Something small that is outside my usual routine.

3) Watch something fun: I watch something like Gilmore Girls or I will watch Pitch Perfect or Mean Girls for the 400th time. I indulge in visual pleasures and especially in things that make me laugh. Laughter is the best medicine.

4) Take a bath in epsom salts and bubbles: Pretty self explanatory. Epsom salts are great for inflammation.

5) It rubs the lotion on its skin: After the bath, spend some time applying lotion and massaging my tender points. I use an all-natural ointment for muscle tenderness.

6) Hot hot heat: I have a castor oil pack and hot water bottle treatment that I find helps. I put it on my abdomen for 15min and then my feet for 15min. Mostly the castor oil just leaves the skin nice and soft and the heat helps ease the pain.

7) Meditation: I meditate and toss my phone across the room while I have the hot water bottle on me.

8) Streeeeeetch: I stretch each area of my body. Nothing too strenuous, but enough to work the muscles and take advantage of the heat.

9) Realize my limitations and accept them: I take some time to reconcile my feelings about the pain and my hatred over my body’s limitations. I try to accept that I cannot snap my fingers and be better overnight, but that it is a gradual process and I will eventually get there as long as I have hope to move forward.

Sewing and Chronic Pain

“How do these even go together?”, you ask. Sewing is one of those activities that can be a lot easier on the body. You are basically seated the entire time and you don’t need a huge range of movement. On bad days, I can’t put pins into the fabric so I stay away or I do small things. I’ve actually started doing several projects at once so I can switch between them and choose what I can and can’t do. I choose a good day and cut out a ton of patterns at once and then I just get to sew.

It’s important with any chronic illness to feel productive and sewing does that for me. I am able to work through it and create something beautiful and increase the outward beauty I have.

The single worst thing to do if you have a chronic illness is to stop everything. Don’t stop. Don’t sit on the couch. Don’t immediately quit your job. Don’t fall into the pit of despair. Don’t drown in the lava. Keep going. Do what you can with the spoons you are given. Create something. Some days, I just sketch something or I write something or I will tell myself a story.

There is lots of stuff out there about the benefits of creativity and mental illness. While there aren’t as many articles on creativity and chronic illness, the benefits are there. Creativity helps recovery.

The ability to create something even the smallest thing is a way of pushing through the lava. I can make it to higher ground and feel better. Improv helps, but that is very physically exhausting and leaves me feeling pretty horrible the day after. Sewing, on the other hand, is within my spoon limit. I can take as little as 20 minutes and work on sewing a seam and then eventually have a dress to wear and feel good about. Not only that, but it’s a dress that, when I wear it, I want to kiss the mirror and say wonderful things about myself.

Not only that, but I get to write about it and I get to take part in a wonderful community of sewing bloggers. You all help on a daily basis.

Sewing may not be the answer to healing my body, but it helps with all the mental fallout of walking through lava on a daily basis. It helps lift me out of a sad mood and work toward loving myself again.

Thanks for reading. <3

Put a bird on it! M7100 Bomber Jacket

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Today I am sharing another challenge-related garment with you. Two in two days, what?! It’s the end of the month rush, y’all!

I made McCall’s 7100 bomber jacket in a loose weave houndstooth I got from the thrift store months ago. When I picked up the fabric, I had just gotten the pattern in the mail and immediately wanted to make it up. Of course, it being a more Spring jacket, I put it off. The middle of winter and the horribly cold winter we had did not make for me wanting to make a Spring jacket. And then Spring hit and I scrambled to make a Spring jacket, because I didn’t have one.

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Unfortunately, the major issue with how loose the weave is in this fabric is that it also unravels so easily! I serged the entire jacket (except the welt pockets and zipper/facing). I am considering going back and binding all the seams with bias tape to prevent further unraveling, but that seems like too much work. I just zigzagged over the small holes and other seams where it looked a little like it would be creating a hole. I think I will just keep my eye out for another lightweight houndstooth or jacket material to make another and then just put the patches on that one.

I decided not to adjust the fit and I also cut out two at the same time. I should have maybe held off on cutting out the second one. Lesson learned. I trusted that the finished garment measurements would look fine on me. D’oy!

This version looks okay, but my other version is in a heavier weight fabric (a stretch floral denim, pictured below) and the stretch didn’t really help at all….

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FBA if I ever make a third!

I do love this jacket, though.

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For the Put a Bird on it Challenge with Monthly Stitch, I bought iron-on patches from an etsy seller, Tattooit, for the back shoulders. I love the look. If I didn’t already have shoulder tattoos, I might consider getting some birds.

Construction of the jacket went well. It was my first time making welt pockets. Although, I feel like these aren’t as complicated as some types of welt pockets.

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I think they look pretty good.

The instructions for putting in the bottom band were minimal and could have used a little more explanation for me. As a result, the bottom band is a little wonky where it meets the tabs at the bottom in both my versions. In fact, my second version is in the naughty corner currently to sit and contemplate about breaking my serging needle and not cooperating for the bottom band. Bad bomber jacket! I’ll show you it eventually.

Here is my photoshoot where I am oddly in half sun or shade, because I took these after my walk home from work and was a little sleepy and out of it? Enjoy!

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I am wearing a dress from eShakti underneath.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: McCall’s 7100
  • Pros: Welt pockets, raglan sleeves, princess seams, tons of possibilities for colour-blocking.
  • Cons: The instructions for sewing in the bottom band are minimal and can be very fiddly because of the bottom tabs and the facing.
  • Make again?: Currently have a second one 90% done.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars

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Spring for Cotton: Simplicity 1459

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I started becoming obsessed with Simplicity 1459 when Tanya posted her two versions. The striped version got into my head and I basically just wanted to recreate that, but I restrained myself from buying a navy and white striped cotton and decided to sew from my stash like the good stashbuster I am (trying to be). I did, however, immediately find an etsy seller with the pattern and add it to my pattern hoard like a good little hoarding dragon.

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Replace Smaug with me and gold with patterns and this is a good depiction of my life

I got it around Christmas and planned out what I wanted to do: create a navy and white gingham sleeveless version with solid white collar and buttons. THAT’S TOTALLY DIFFERENT FROM WHITE AND NAVY STRIPES EVERYONE! TOTALLY DIFFERENT!

Okay, so I am copy cat. One of my middle names is appropriately Katherine….so I am a Kat by name. ;)

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But the point is that I didn’t buuuuy fabric for this project, right? Right.

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Enough of that. I am going to talk about my dress now.

I did my usual fit adjustments for the flat pattern. I use my high bust measurement to determine the size I use and then adjust the bust with a full bust adjustment based on how much extra I need plus ease. I also did a small narrow shoulder adjustment and then just cut into my fabric, because that’s how I roll.

Technically, this is a wearable muslin. The fit isn’t perfect. The bust dart needs some tweaking as there are drag lines under the bust dart, possibly as a result of it being too high. I also need to do more of a narrow shoulder adjustment, because there is blousing above the bust, but also redraw the armhole a little larger.

I got the fabric at the thrift store, both the white cotton and the gingham, months ago on separate occasions. I managed to get *just* enough of the gingham to make it. I didn’t attempt to do any pattern matching on the skirt for two reasons: 1) lack of fabric and 2) the amount of gathers in the fabric make the pattern matching a little pointless. I did, however, do okay at pattern matching on the bodice. Not perfect, but good enough.

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Full disclosure: I actually really am not great at installing zippers in garments. So, please be kind at this detail of the zipper. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s getting there. I got better at skirt zippers with my dirndl skirts and better at jacket zippers with all the jackets I’ve been making lately, but dress zippers are a whole different thing and I don’t have a lot of practice at them. I hand-basted this one in place, which made a world of difference. But it was still difficult as there is so much fabric in this dress. I hope that by the time the summer ends I can be more of an expert in dress zippers. I have upped my skills in so many ways this year. Every time I see a gap in what I can do, I always want to get rid of it.

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I used my pinking shears for the first time with this project! My mom got them for me for Christmas along with a tailor’s ham. I requested both and she sent me her old iron, which I use constantly now. I love the pinking edges as a pretty inside finish. It really adds to the vintage feel of the dress for me.

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The pattern calls for facings on the collar, button, and on the sleeves. I found that the collar facing doesn’t sit very well at the back. I might need to make tweaks to the collar for future versions, because it sits awkwardly on me and not flat. Possibly as a result of the narrow shoulder adjustment? I am not sure. Any suggestions to fix that issue?

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The collar is also not perfectly sewn, but it’s good enough for me…this time…

I left the facings off the sleeve, because of the issue with the collar. I decided to make bias tape and finish the arms that way. I prefer that look.

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Here is my photoshoot:

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My next version is in this gorgeous fabric:

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Navy polkadot on white cotton fabric. It’s a silky soft medium weight cotton that I picked up in my favourite higher end fabric store a couple of years ago and have been hoarding along with two light weight rayons from the same store.

I wish you could feel this fabric! It’s so lovely to touch.

In other news, I am obsessed with this dress from Unique Vintage after seeing it on Migg Mag, one of my fav plus size fashion blogs:

She’s so fricken adorable.

I can see a mint cambie in my future! Come to me, my pretty.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Simplicity 1459
  • Pros: Vintage style, large gathered skirt, beautiful collar
  • Cons: Not a fan of the collar facing and find it flips up in the back. Took out the sleeve facing because I was worried about the flipping around there, as well.
  • Make again?: Absolutely! I plan on making it with a navy polkadot on white fabric, because I can’t get enough of the navy/white combo.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

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Me-Made-May’15

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Originally, I was just going to sneak my pledge into a post about things I’ve sewn, but then I’ve been sewing so much that I haven’t taken any pictures just yet and sure I plan on taking them this week, but then I figure why hide the pledge?

‘I, Andie L., sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15. I endeavour to wear one made by me garment each day for the duration of May 2015′

I also want to sew two dresses during May and another bra. I’ll also be working on my lingerie for the wedding. Here is a crappy sketch of my plan for that:

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So, that means by the end of the month I should have: two dresses, two bras, camisole, knickers, and tap pants. Whew. Let’s see if that happens!

I felt like that was click bait: this women pledges to wear me-made garments and sew all the things and you won’t believe what happens next!!

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Spoiler alert: I die of exhaustion! Yeay! Hahahaha.

Promise I won’t overdo things. :P But I do seem to have a knack for wanting to sew all the things and attempting to do it and then realizing I am not Wonder Woman, don’t I?

I won’t be doing weekly round-ups for MMM’15, but I will be doing a round-up post on June 1 and possible posting a few highlights on Instagram. I don’t want to drown you in posts on MMM’15, if that isn’t your thing.

I’m interested to show you how I wear my garments on a daily basis. It’s pretty similar to how I wore them in my blog photos minus the jewelry. I’m too lazy in the morning to think of jewelry. I barely deal with my hair… #shorthairdontcare

Will you be doing anything for MMM’15? Or will you be participating in the drinking game? Or both?

The Wedding Dress, pt. 1: The Design, the Muslin, the Fabric, and the Outfit

The Design:

When I first started researching what I wanted to make for my wedding dress, I came up with some very similar pictures. All of them had a sweetheart neckline and an overlay of lace or mesh. I eventually found Simplicity 1606 and had grand plans of making it in a combination of pink and white and burgundy accents.

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I want to add cap sleeves to the dress and I want a fuller tea-length layered skirt. This is my inspiration dress:

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I made the muslin and was not happy with it. You know those pinterest fails?

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Yeah, it felt like that…

So, I went back to the drawing board. Okay…the pinterest boards and started pinning gorgeous shirt dresses.

Everyone knows I love a shirt dress! There is no better piece of clothing to wear than a shirt dress with a flared skirt.

I felt like a wedding shirt dress could be my dream wedding dress. I still wanted a full tea-length circle skirt on it. I got McCall’s 7084 around Christmas time and really loved the princess seams, flared skirt, cap sleeves, and the lace overlay in view C.

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All I needed to do was lengthen the skirt and do an FBA on the bodice.

The Muslin

The muslin process went incredibly well for this dress. I did pattern tissue adjustments and only created one muslin. Sorry just cell phone pictures for this process. I made a 2 inch FBA with size 22 using Mary’s method for princess seam FBAs. The FBA added 4 inches in total to the finished measurements for the bust and 6 inches to the waist. I also did a 1 inch narrow shoulder adjustment. Then I lengthened all of the skirt pieces by 4 inches. I further lengthened them by an additional two inches when I cut out my fabric.

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My muslin fit was amazing. The princess seams are perfect and there is no pulling across the bust where the buttons will be.

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Some tweaks in the collar had to be made (reduced the length of the collar stand by an inch in total), but other than that the muslin was perfect and truly felt like it was meant to be. After twirling around in the muslin, I decided to redraft the skirt from panels and godets into a full circle skirt do reduce the amount of seams I would need to make in the delicate silk and because I wasn’t sold on the look of the godets in a solid colour. It wasn’t difficult to cut the skirt pieces in three panels and I ended up using the muslin skirt itself as a pattern piece when I cut into my fabric.

The Fabric

I went back and forth and back and forth and did tons of research and visited tons of fabric stores and looked endlessly online for this and that and the other thing.

Getting me to settle on fabric was a difficult process, but I wanted it to be right for me.

I started off not wanting white. I started off wanting dusty rose and having burgundy or wine accents. I then thought maybe champagne with burgundy. Ultimately, I just drank a bottle of wine and clicked buy.

My main fabric is a white silk charmeuse from Dharma Trading. Dharma Trading sells wholesale dyeable fabrics in white or black along with fabric paints and dyes and many other things. I ordered samples from several different places. My samples from fabric.com were pretty disappointing. They were synthetic materials and I really wanted a silk charmeuse, because I’ve worked with it before and it sews like a dream, feels amazing next to the skin, and has a lovely drape that makes me so happy. The samples from Dharma Trading did not disappoint. I also got a few others at the time, as well, and might order again in the future. Dyeing my own fabric is definitely on my list of things to do in the future. I also got a few yards of silk organza from Dharma Trading, as well. You’ll find out what I used that for in my construction post.

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I was originally going to dye the white silk using tea or coffee to make it a champagne hue, but then I got an adorable “no” from my fiance who said he never gets to see me in white and that he really loved the idea of being traditional in that way. I was fighting hard against traditional things and I still am, but my fiance’s look was so sweet… I couldn’t say no. I never really do say no with him. It’s so difficult when he is so cute and dreamy and wonderful. *swoon*

Now that you’ve stopped gagging, I’ll go on about my fabric.

My lace fabric is from fabric.com. It’s not the best quality lace out there and is stretch lace, but it’s quite lovely as an overlay on the silk. I will be hand basting it to the lace to make sure it doesn’t move during the sewing process.

I have a synthetic cranberry satin for the waist tie. I didn’t want to use a silk for something that will be pulled and tied and possibly stepped on by family as they swoop in for hugs and kisses. I also got enough to make my sister a sash as one of my bride’s maids.

Finally, I got white rayon hug snug to bind the seams from fabric.com. My wedding dress will be pretty on the inside and on the outside.

I also ordered a lace in a pink blush from fabric.com for the lingerie, which I will talk about in a different post as I plan it out.

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I’ve now got the whole dress cut out and ready to sew:

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Creating the Outfit

I ordered was a tea-length petticoat crinoline in ivory from ReShashay. They are made of nylon organza and netting. They come with instructions to decrinkle them in the shower. It worked really well. The ivory looks quite lovely under the white silk. I originally ordered the crinoline during the champagne coloured fabric phase, but am still happy with my decision to keep it as ivory. It looks very cute under the white silk.

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If you are ever in the market for a crinoline, I really love the one I have and would definitely recommend it to other people. I could have gone through the process of making my own, but damn all that gathering and all that fabric can’t really be beat with a $36 price tag. Saves me time/money!

My shoes were also back and forth in my head. I wanted pink….red…..white…….etc.

I settled on gold and kept pinning all these lovely gold shoes. I looked into custom made ones (which were way too expensive for me) and then one day while at the mall I walked into Call it Spring and fell in love with these two matching pairs:

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The wedge heels were $40 dollars and will be worn during the ceremony. I’m not really a heel person (although, I could actually walk in these ones comfortably!) so I figure at some point I will want to burn them and put on cute flats. I picked up gold flats in a similar material as the heels for $35.

And, of course, I couldn’t resist finding buttons that matched (I have 12 buttons in total):

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I have no plans yet for jewelry, hair/nails, or the bouquet. It will all come together eventually. :) I’m a pretty relaxed Bride-to-Be.

Next Up:

Sewing the dress, of course.

Stay tuned for:

May: The Wedding Dress, pt. 2: Construction and Details

June: The Wedding Lingerie

July: The Wedding Dress, pt. 3: The Reveal and the Day.

I promise I will be using the DSLR from now on so that you can see the details really well and don’t have to contend with shitty cell phone pictures.