While I’ve been gone

It’s been a while since I posted. I’ve been busy with a lot of pattern testing that I can’t share yet and a costume project that I can share, but didn’t take many pictures of, and a few other smaller projects one of which I will share in a different post.


For the costume project, I took apart a suit and two jumpsuits to make them tearable for a friend’s sketch show. This is the only picture I took, but it reminds me of Flat Stanley and makes me giggle a lot. The suit ultimately needed to be made into a jumpsuit and then the front needed to tear away from the back.

My old Brother SQ9050 kind of died after this project. I broke about 10 needles during the project and it struggled through every bit of it. Afterwards, the feed dogs just stopped working completely. RIP Jane Eyre. Rochester, my serger, will be in mourning forever… I do want to see if I can fix Jane so I can use her as a backup machine or even use the different stitches. I don’t want to take her into a shop, though, so it would be purely DIY. I did that with my serger at one point and fixed the timing. I think the connection to the feed dogs is probably where to look. And I looked briefly at the Brother site and saw that parts are available including new feed dogs.


Meet Brienne of Tarth. She’s a Singer Heavy Duty 4452 that I purchased off Amazon.

Brienne of Tarth is aptly named because she is a workhorse and can take anything I throw at her. She has a metal frame and a fast motor meaning I can go up to 11,000 stitches per minute. So far, I love this new machine. Moving from a computerized to a manual machine is a bit of a learning curve, but not impossible. My first machine was manual, but I didn’t really remember a lot from that time. I also think I didn’t really learn what I could about the stitch settings and am taking my time to learn with this new machine. I thought at one point I would save up to get a Pfaff, but I think that is out of range for now. The positive of this machine is that is extremely affordable. I’ll do a full review after I work with it for some more time, but so far is is doing a far better job than my Brother ever did.

I started off with a simple project of some fabric bins for the first project with Brienne.


I used this tutorial on Birch Fabrics to make them for my friend. I did change the shape slightly into a rectangle due to a cutting error, but I love the rectangular shape. I also used fusible foam instead of a heavy interfacing so they stood up better. I have fabric and foam left to make myself a couple of fabric bins.

This past weekend, I made a Concord top and redid my tester version of the Belmont leggings so they fit and I cropped them off in hopes that Spring may arrive here some day…


The fabric is a bamboo jersey and is quite lovely. Grey seems to be a theme lately with me since I just cut out another grey project and have two others planned. I’m not entirely in love with the colour or lack of colour, but can see potential for layering and pairing with obnoxiously bright neon colours. I am also working on a grey Seamwork Jill Coatigan:


The fabric is a gorgeous heavy wool knit blend with stripes on one side and floral on the other. I decided to go with the stripes on the outside, but have the floral showing on the collar. I ran out of fabric as well so I had to cut the pocket and the tie I decided to add from a dark wool. To make the whole thing less blah, I will be finishing the inside seams with a lime green bias tape made from the fabric in the bins above. 😀 I shortened the coat by about 10 inches for two reasons: 1) I am super short (5’3″ at last measuring) and the hem would have hit me at mid calf when it is supposed to hit mid-thigh; 2) And then when I was cutting it out…. I had to shorted it again to get the main pieces to fit on the fabric and they *just* fit. This actually might hit me mid-thigh now…which makes me wonder if they made the pattern for a person with Brienne’s proportions… I’m excited to share this later on this month on the CSC and then again here. Cross your fingers it all goes well.

I also recently made a new knit dress, but I will share that in a different post. 🙂

In other news, I received my first sewing magazines in the mail from Ottobre. The CSC editors were offered them for free. I have a few favs from them and at the top is that pink babydoll dress on the right hand cover of the Spring/Summer 2018 issue. I just have to get some tracing paper and then I should be ready to go.


I have some pretty intense costume projects coming up for improv performances at festivals in the summer and early fall. I will need to plan them out and I’ll share the process here. It’s pretty exciting, actually, since we have a costume budget! But it is a budget so I will have to think carefully of the plans for it. After all the costumes are created, we can use them for more festivals in the future as well as runs of our improv shows. The troupe is pretty excited about all that. Speaking of the troupe, if you are at Toronto Comicon this weekend, check us out:


Blank Slate Forsythe Trousers

As part of the Curvy Year of Sewing, I decided to make the Forsythe trousers to fit the pants/trousers theme for Jan/Feb. I made Blank Slate Patterns Forsythe Trousers, an elastic waist trouser with front pockets and back welt pockets. The trousers can either be full length or capri length. The Forsythe Trousers go up to a 55″ hip. It’s not an amazing size range: my 55″ hips just make it into the pattern’s 3XL size. I have a double belly, big booty and a waist that is about 7 inches smaller then my full hips. I haven’t done a lot of pants fitting and have only just begun with it, but this pattern is great for beginners. They are like secret pjs and are so so sooooo comfortable to wear.

The first version I made was with a lightweight denim with deers and stars on it. I made the capri length in anticipation of wearing the pants for a trip over the holidays to Cuba. The fit wasn’t perfect. I did my usual adjustments before this pair by adding to the back rise (big booty adjustment) and scooping out the front crotch. The back fits pretty close to perfect for my first version, but the front crotch definitely needed more scooped out of it as there is some pooling of fabric in that area.

I forgot to mention in my CSC post that I changed the waistband so it was 1 inch elastic. That, of course, means only skinnier belts can go through the loops. It does also bring the rise down a bit more. I prefer rises to hit under my belly button.

My second version is made using a lightweight stretch suiting material with stripes throughout. For this version, I scooped out more in the front and actually lowered the rise a bit at the center back. There is maybe a few more tweaks that could be made, but overall they fit pretty well and I really love them. You’ll notice in both versions I left the back pockets out. I am not a fan of back pockets in general. I have them on a few other pants I made, but I just don’t like them. I never use them and find that they don’t really add any benefits for me. I do, however love the front pockets and think they are a great size. My phone fits in them so that makes me happy.

I took about 4-5 inches off the hem to get them to fit correctly. I didn’t go for the cuffed hem, but instead made a 2 inch deep hem.


Blank Slate Patterns always has great instructions that are easy to follow. I also find that their patterns are pretty standard and I can make the same adjustments. I actually used my Barton shorts pattern to help me get a good fit with my first pair by comparing the pattern pieces to make my adjustments.


I’m a big fan of how the pattern looks on me and I am definitely going to make it again.

It’ll be a great addition to my work wardrobe.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Blank Slate Patterns Forsythe Trousers
  • Pros: Simple pattern. Great for beginners with great instructions. Fits well with minor adjustments.
  • Cons: Size range could be a bit better, but I do fit into the size range so that is something.
  • Make again?: Absolutely after a couple more adjustments. Destined to become a TNT pattern.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4.5/5 stars


Cashmerette Belmont Leggings

Today I am sharing my Cashmerette Belmont leggings. Earlier this week, I shared my Cedar Dolman top. Both the Cedar set and the Belmont set were released together and tested together. I haven’t tried the Cedar tank or the Belmont yoga pants, but both are on my list to try. As with the Cedar top, I tested the Belmont leggings and received the final pattern for free. But my opinions are my own and definitely not from a robot or created by predictive text. HA!

The Belmont leggings have side seams and inner seams as well as a separate waistband. I thought I would hate all those seams, but I actually don’t and it makes it easier to squeeze them into a small amount of fabric. My TNT leggings pattern has just one pattern piece. I took apart Old Navy leggings to make it. However, the inner seams on the legs twist about no matter the fabric type and the rise is always a bit off depending on the fabric. I was coming to the conclusion that I either needed to tweak it or finally find a good pattern for leggings when Jenny messaged me about the testing on the Belmont leggings.

I have tried Cake Patterns Espresso leggings and Patterns for Pirates Peg Legs and hated both. They were very tight, very long (hello 5’3″ here!), and just didn’t work out for me.

I’ll be honest, my tester version weren’t as good. Which is why I am so never sharing them here! I do have pictures of me with the waistband pulled up really high that are funny, but I’d prefer to keep them for private laughs.

My final version of these is so close to perfect! I made a size 24. The only adjustment I made was to cut off about 5 inches in length, my standard for pants/leggings. I also added a cuff to the bottom since hemming knits is the WORST (#lazytips).

The fabric I used is a fleece-back poly from Water Tower Textiles in Heather Navy. The texture of the right side of the fabric is smooth and soft to the touch with a bit of a “wind proof” feel to it. The wrong side is a super soft fleece. The fabric is thinner than I expected. My experience of fleece-back poly is that it is pretty thick. I don’t find the warmth is lost by the thinner fabric, though. If anything, it makes them a bit more breathable, but still keep the heat in when walking around.


I love the leggings. I squeezed this pair into 1 metre of the fleece-back poly (shortened by 5 inches) which makes them a great project for small amounts of fabric.

There are literally no adjustments I would make for future versions of these. They fit perfectly.

Of note, the top I am wearing is a lovely bamboo/viscose Concord tank top. It’s so soft and comfy. I usually throw it on as pjs, because it is like being wrapped in a blanket.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Cashmerette Belmont Leggings
  • Pros: Everything! I adore this pattern!
  • Cons:  Um?
  • Make again?: Absolutely! I have fabric for 4 more pairs in more fleece-back poly from Water Tower Textiles (they should start sponsoring me….ha!).
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Striped Cashmerette Cedar Dolman

Today I am sharing a post that I originally posted on the sewcialist blog for Striped month. 🙂 With a few extras for my blog. 😉

This post breaks all those silly rules that society makes up.

As a plus sized person, we are often told about what to wear to “flatter” our shape. To many people in the plus sized category, that means to disguise our shape or make us look skinnier. You can read Mary’s article on the Curvy Sewing Collective to hear more thoughts on the word flattering.

Stripes often make the list of patterns that plus size people should steer clear of and I definitely don’t agree. I think stripes are for all people of all shapes and sizes.

I love stripes and find they make me feel great. There is no hiding the fact that I am plus sized so I might as well wear what I love and find joy in what I make. Ultimately, the joy I get from making clothes I love translates to me strutting in confidence in the world. For many years, when I obeyed the dumb rules of flattering, I would not feel as good in my clothing or enjoy wearing them. When I let go of that, and lived confidently, I felt a lot better about my body.


I made this top to throw all rules out the window. I think you can feel pretty empowered by letting go of all the rules.

The pattern is the Cedar Dolman top from Cashmerette patterns. I used Gillian’s hack to add sleeves to it and I added a cuff to the sleeve as well as a hem band and a neck band.

I tested the pattern. However, changes have been made since and I am not going to share my test version. I also tested the Belmont leggings at the same time. I will also not be sharing my tester version of those either. The changes made in the final patterns of both lead to a much better fit so it makes no sense to share the tester version.

The Cedar Dolman fits just as expected. It’s meant to fit loosely and drape over the bust. I really love it and it’s a great pattern to use as a base for all your hacking needs. I plan on making the pattern several times more. I really love the top. I want to try it in a drapey woven material soon.

The fabric I used is a super soft double brushed polyester knit in mustard with white stripes from Water Tower Textiles.

Yellow is a colour that I really really love but I avoided wearing it for years and years because of a comment when I was younger of how I looked in yellow… something along the line of pale disgusting zombie. I realized that I needed to let go of that. Yellow makes me happy and I wanted more of it in my life. I think I look and feel fabulous in this mustard colour.


Breaking the rules again, I made no attempt to match stripes in any way. I find that as we sew, we get caught up in doing things the right way. We want to match those stripes perfectly. Often that prevents us from sewing and having fun with something that is supposed to be a hobby. For me, sewing is all about the fun. Everyone can absolutely have different standards, but I wanted to let go of it for this project. I have enough going on that I didn’t need to stress over stripes. I needed to feel empowered and confident. I definitely don’t think it is bad that someone takes the time to match stripes perfectly, but if that act is stopping you, don’t stress. Just sew!


My top has the stripes strategically placed on the diagonal in order to further not care about matching the stripes. I also cut the top on the fold. The Cedar dolman is cut with two front pieces and two back pieces, but cutting on the fold meant I could avoid stripe matching again. Huzzah!


Maybe this post should be titled lazy stripe tips. Ha!


Want to avoid matching stripes? Have then all go in different directions! With the diagonal stripes on the front and back pieces, I made the sleeves and sleeve cuffs have horizontal stripes and the hem band with vertical stripes. I cut the neckband so the white stripe went all the way around.


The whole project made me feel great, and I now have a lovely yellow top that I love wearing and brings me a lot of joy! Not only is it a super soft, warm, and comfortable top, but it also makes me feel great. What could be more ‘flattering’ than that?

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Cashmerette Cedar Dolman top
  • Pros: It’s a great pattern! I can’t wait to try the workout top.
  • Cons: I’m not sure there are cons. It’s a simple pattern with a great size range.
  • Make again?: Absolutely!
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

January Reflections

January sort of flew by without much fanfare. It’s normally a busy month and this January was no exception. However, on top of being busy, I was also dealing with an increasingly worse cough. Since November, it has been getting worse and worse. I’ve had it since November 2016. For anyone who has had a cold with a bad cough, you know how the aches and pains increase throughout your sickness. Now imagine that over a year and a few months. My ribs are aching every day. My throat is constantly scratchy. I’m exhausted.

Luckily, I now have a new respirologist who is going to work with me to figure out how to get it under control. Since seeing him for the first time last Thursday, I have seen a bit of improvement! It was such a relief finally having a doctor on my side to fix this cough. My previous respirologist spent the year telling me I must not be taking my meds correctly and blaming me for the issues. She failed to order tests and, when I had pneumonia at the beginning of last year, missed that diagnosis entirely. When my current respirologist said to me that he’d figure out how to manage my symptoms and make it easier for me to breathe, I basically cried in his office. Imagine: breathing! What an amazing thing that would be.

I’m feeling more hopeful already on my new meds and breathing a bit better already. ❤

Other than spending a lot of time forcibly resting due to the cough, I got through my pile of mending. At the beginning of the year, I went through all my clothes and packed up a bunch for donation. There were a few items I set aside to be fixed to make them wearable again.

I made these two Concord tops ages ago when the Concord T was just released.


My shape has changed a bit since then, especially in my arms and the shoulders kept slipping on both tops. The other issue with the tops was the fabric. On the red one, the sleeves have become too tight and don’t have as much stretch causing the shoulders to fall down. On the blue and white one, the fabric has poor recovery and the neckline became stretched out by the end of the day. As a result, I haven’t worn either top in a while. My solution with my Turner dress last year was to put a cowl on it and I decided to go that way for these two tops as well.


I love a cowl neck top! I happened to have the exact right of leftover material for both tops in my scraps bin. Lucky lucky! Both cowls are just tubes of fabric sewn on the neckline. I’ve worn both tops a bunch since fixing them and am really happy I did that instead of throw them in a donation bin.


These two skirts had a poor choice for fabric on the hem bands. The fabric was some sort of blend that I picked up at the thrift store. It started breaking down faster than the quilting cotton I used for the skirt. Instead of tossing the skirts out, I took the hems off and replaced them with quilting cotton. Now they are back in my wardrobe rotation and look great.

I also patched up several pairs of leggings, but I didn’t bother with a picture for those. And I replaced buttons on a cardigan. I wasn’t a fan of the buttons I originally used on it.

The final thing I did was take an eShakti dress and turn it into a skirt. The bodice on the dress did not fit well and I always covered it up with a sweater.


I figured why do that when I could just make it into a skirt. It’s difficult to see in the picture, but the skirt is underlined with turquoise lining that peaks through the lace overlay. I had a turquoise, white and grey floral print in my scrap bin that matched the colours perfectly and I used that for a thin waistband. Now I can wear it with confidence. The dress originally had pockets so I kept them, of course!

I also busted some more scraps by making a quick envelope pillow case for a throw pillow.


I love the bow on the front and the use of the striped fabric. It has a nautical feel to it.

Speaking of stripes, get ready for the Sewcialists #sewstripes month for February. I have a project to share soon for that.

I have only 2 UFOs to tackle (both are half done), but I am glad to get my mending pile done and out of the way. New year, fresh start. 🙂 Now my to-do list is ridiculously long so February will be pretty busy.

Patterns for Pirates Siren Swim Top and Sailor Swim Bottoms and Designer Stitch Willow Kimono

My last sewn items in 2018 were all for our trip to Cuba. I made two bathing suit sets using the Patterns for Pirates Siren Swim Top and Hello Sailor Swim Bottoms, Blank Slate Forsythe Trousers in a capri length (I’ll review this in February since I plan on making some more fit tweaks for a pant length version and do not have any pictures ready for the capris), Designer Stitch Willow Kimono, and a pair of Blank Slate Barton shorts in a hot pink nylon for wearing around on the beach (I have more of this material and want to make a couple more pairs of these in various lengths).

I first made the Siren Swim Top and Hello Sailor Swim Bottoms back in the summer before we went to Niagara Falls for a fun weekend. I made 2X in the top and 3X for the bottom.


The construction of both was not easy for me at the time. I actually dislocated my left thumb for the first time trying to sew on the elastic. That plus the fact that they didn’t fit great PLUS I cut the anchors upside down made me not want to wear them. We didn’t end up swimming during the vacation anyway. I wasn’t feeling confident about the construction and didn’t want to accidentally fall out of my suit. 😦 It’s a complete bummer when you have such cute fabric! The fabric is from Emerald Studio and very nice quality. I decided to buy more of it so that I could make it again. Erin doesn’t have any more of the matching hot pink fabric, but there was a suitable replacement at Water Tower Textiles along with a bunch of other ones! Both Canadian shops! 😀

I learned a lot during construction of the suit, but wasn’t motivated to make another until we booked our trip to Cuba. I knew the alterations I needed. I needed to add two inches to the top length to accommodate my bust and add two inches to the centre back of the bottoms since I have booty. I also needed to reduce the width of both the bottom band of the top and the waistband of the bottoms to really get a good fit. The pattern has cut lines based on the difference between your overbust and full bust which is an okay method, but not perfect. Even though, my difference is 7 inches, I still needed to add a bit more length. Of course, part of that has to do with using powermesh to line it and making it less stretchy, but the pattern doesn’t really accommodate for projection or underbust. For the anchor version, I added powermesh to the front and not the back of the top and then lined the whole thing with swimsuit lining. I lined the bottoms with swimsuit lining also from Emerald Studio.


In the next two versions, I used powermesh to line the top and lined the bottoms with swimsuit lining or black swim fabric depending on what I had left. I believe the black/mermaid scales are lined mostly with black swim fabric (except in the crotch area that has swimsuit lining) and the purple bottoms lined with swimsuit lining. I like the structure the black swim bottoms have in comparison to the purple bottoms. The purple fabric is also a bit thinner than the black fabric so there is less structure overall in that suit.


Both are constructed much better than the first pair and had no issues with dislocating my fingers during the construction process. I really love the backs of both suits. The criss-crossing straps are really lovely. The additional length changed it so that the 2-piece suit now looks like a 1-piece suit, which is more to my taste. I loved the original suit I made, but I definitely feel more comfortable in this look. The 2-piece is easier to get on that a 1-piece for me, but I didn’t want to be exposed in my mid section. Mostly due to having to apply more sunscreen and not wanting a burn there!

I did not like the suggested construction methods for a lot of things in the patterns. The bottoms have you sewing the elastic in and then turning the hem over leaving the crotch a lot smaller than I would prefer. I added bands to the legs and sewed the elastic on with one side of the band and then folded the other side of the band over to enclose the elastic in the band. It was much easier for me to do and meant I could wait to cut the elastic and had more of it to grip. I stretched the elastic as I sewed in order to get everything cinched in perfectly. I used this swim elastic from Emerald Studio. It’s seriously good quality and I highly recommend it. I used the same method of enclosing the elastic in the bands for the waistband and the bottom band on the top. The top has elastic at the neckline and under the arms. These are enclosed in the lining already.

I used the serger for all construction. The only alteration from these two versions would be to either cut the straps shorter or stabilize them somehow. I found that as I swam they stretched out. I also plan on making the bands a bit shorter still on the waistband and the bottom band for the top. I may actually line them with powernet. The powernet was from Emerald Studio again. Yes, the post is one long advertisement for Emerald Studio. Hah. I was not paid in any way for this. I just really love Emerald Studio.


The cover up I am wearing is the Designer Stitch Willow Kimono. I won it during the Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern month. I made it with a lovely cotton voile and it is soft and drapey for a cotton. I trimmed it using a fringe for the and pom-pom trim for the arms. Construction was fairly easy and the overall structure of the pattern is easy. It’s 5 pieces of fabric: 2 front pieces, 1 back piece, and 2 pieces for the band for around the neckline and sides. I would definitely make it again. I made size 10 based on my measurements. It fits large and makes a nice beach coverup. I would have been far far more sunburnt without it.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Patterns for Pirates Siren Swim Top and Hello Sailor Swim Bottoms
  • Pros: I love the result for the black and purple swimsuits.
  • Cons: The pattern without modifications isn’t perfect and the method for adjusting the bust isn’t solid. The instructions are in pictures, which I personally find difficult to see versus illustrations.
  • Make again?: Absolutely. I’d be interested to move on to more complicated swimsuits, but this is a great beginner pattern.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars
  • Pattern: Designer Stitch Willow Kimono
  • Pros: It’s a great pattern!
  • Cons: I’m not sure there are cons. It’s a simple pattern with a decent size range.
  • Make again?: Absolutely!
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

#2018MakeNine and Top 5 Reflections, Highlights, and Goals


For a few years now, Lucky Lucille has been running the #2018MakeNine hashtag on Instagram. I’ve taken part two years in a row. The first year, I failed miserably and last year I was able to get 4 items done which is still a percentage failure. This year I am trying something new by focusing not on patterns but on fabric meaning that I can be flexible about whatever I choose to make with my stashed fabric. I find the pattern focus fails me because a year can be a huge evolution in my style or I could end up needing other things to wear due to physical issues. The things that got made from my #2017MakeNine were far more on the comfort side of things than anything which is not surprising given my health issues all year. I know from my year of tracking my stash fabrics that knit fabrics are in and out of my stash very quickly. This year’s fabric purchases were definitely heavy on the knit fabric side. I would love to make the other projects planned from my #2017MakeNine but I am not sure when I will be able to get to them or want to make them. I also just purged a huge amount of clothing from my closet. I considered what I had worn and what I found comfortable and what issues I had with some things and bagged 4 large garbage bags for donation. I got rid of a bunch of old RTW that I wasn’t going for anymore plus a bunch of handmade garments that I just didn’t wear due to fit issues or not liking the fabric. A few got pulled aside for alterations that I will get to throughout the year. I definitely got upset over a couple due to loving the fabric so much, but I feel much better and finally have closet room and drawer room again for more handmade garments, of course! But enough talk, let’s look at the fabric plans

First up, 1.75 yards of a sparkly flannel cloud fabric. Of course, I could really put multiple flannels here, but this one is my favourite. It’s not quite enough (maybe) for a pair of pj pants for me. I could either go for pj capris or shorts, I think, or I could completely branch out and make a nightgown or a pillow case. Who knows?

Second on the list is this turquoise brocade with dragons on it. It’s one of my deepest stash items and purchased 6 plus years ago. I am thinking an Upton dress with pleats, but I could also see this as a long fitted blazer. I have 4 yards so the sky is the limit.

Third is the ever impossible to photograph black duoplex. I just grabbed the first duoplex fabric out of my lingerie fabrics drawer and it had to be black, right? I need new bras. I haven’t made them since 2016. WTF is wrong with me?! I may or may not use the black fabric specifically but I need to make damn bras already. In total, I have approximately 3 yards of duoplex.

Fourth is 4 yards of a mint cotton eyelet that I search high and low for and then got it for it to languish in my stash. Weird how these things work. I’ll need to line whatever I make, but top of my list is probably an Upton dress. But then again, maybe not?

Fifth is this beautiful light blue wool fabric from a friend. I have four yards. I also have thinsulate on the way to interline and a lovely fur to trim a new winter coat. My current winter coat is falling apart. I’ve learned a lot since then so I am hopeful this one will last for a really long time. I’m not sure of the pattern yet. I think I will actually hack a pattern I already own, because I don’t really want to go through fitting something. I know for sure the pattern doesn’t exist in my size and ones that come close would require a hood anyway so I might as well start with a pattern that fits well.

Sixth, the weirdest fabric in my stash, I think. I got it from Minerva Fabrics as a Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern month prize and at first was disappointed, but it’s a soft poly satin and so loud and fun that I have grown to love it. I have 2 yards of this bright orange leopard print. I also happen to have several yards of red fringe that might look amazing on it as a Designer Stitch Willow Kimono. I probably wouldn’t really wear it out of the house, but man, I would have fun wearing it.

My seventh fabric is a bit bluer than the picture is showing. It’s a super soft chambray from Fabricland. I have just over 4 yards of it so I could make anything. Part of me sees it as a lovely 1970s prairie dress with blouson sleeves and a pleated fronts. I could also see it as a casual shirt dress like Simplicity 8140 or I could just make a Cashmerette Harrison top.

Number eight on the list is 2.5 yards of navy blue polka-dots on white rayon fabric. I can see this looking beautiful as a Simplicity 8140 as well. If there were a bit more, I might make a Lenox shirtdress.

Finally, number nine is a antique gold stretch pleather. I only have 2 yards of it. Can you see this as a sexy pencil skirt or the bodice fabric for a biker jacket?

I’m pretty excited about these plans and see them as realistic. You’ll notice no knit fabric on the list, because I have no issues destashing that and, in fact, have a ton of it on the way from end of year sales. Oopsie!

I also want to finish up my Top 5 series with Reflections, Highlights, and Goals.

Top 5 Reflections

  1. I am resilient. This year has been a roller coaster of health issues, but I am more and more impressed with my resilience and ability to cope with all that has happened. I am hopeful for the future and hopeful that change will and can happen for me to be healthier and thrive with EDS.
  2. I have amazing support systems. My family, my friends, both online and offline, have been amazing this year. My husband is incredibly supportive and I love having him in my life. I am so grateful for his calm spirit in the face of the emergencies we’ve had this year. I truly am loved.
  3. I have made a difference. This one is a huge one for me and is the reason I write about my health so openly. The people who have reached out to me to thank me for my words are so wonderful. If I can help even one person with chronic illness feel less alone, I’ve done a good job.
  4. I am happy. As a person who has suffered from depression and attempted suicide many times, I can confidently declare that I am happy and my mental health is in a good state. I am able to compartmentalize the health frustrations and still enjoy every moment. Thankfully, the cognitive behaviour therapy I learned years ago to help me out of suicidal depression can be transferred to pain management. 2018 is supposed to bring me a referral to group therapy and mindfulness based therapy for patients suffering from chronic pain. I only see my happiness improving.
  5. I am grateful. I am grateful for my support systems and I am grateful that my words reach people. I am grateful for everything.

Top 5 Highlights

  1. Going to Cuba for the holidays. There is seriously nothing better than swimming in warm ocean waters and laying about on the beach when you are used to freezing cold temperatures for Christmas. I’ll talk more about my fun times there as well as a mini wardrobe I made for it in a separate post.
  2. A weekend of fandoms at FanExpo Toronto. In September, I got to perform with my improv troupe, the Dandies. We did Star Trek, Doctor Who, Buffy, Harry Potter and SuperFollies, our Super Hero show. I was unable to attend the SuperFollies show, but had a blast at the rest. It was such a great weekend.
  3. Card Retreat. I had a great time organizing a Christmas cardmaking retreat for a small group of friends. I made tasty foods and designed 10 different cards. I look forward to growing that aspect of my creativity in the new year.
  4. Embracing my inner unicorn. As a queer bisexual woman, it’s tough married to a man, looking very femme, and being erased by most of the world as queer. When I joined the CSC, we got a comment that there were no queer editors or people of colour and I got really upset about being erased yet again. I realized that it wasn’t in my bio, though, and it is becoming more important to be public about your identities to help repair this messed up world. I have on more than one occasion had to defend my queer label. I was once asked by a gay man to prove it and list my same-sex partners as if I were on trial. I have been eroticized by straight males and had a few friends ghost me when they found out I wasn’t fully straight or fully lesbian. I am so tired of feeling on the fringe of the queer community. I’m just going to be super loud and super proud about it now. I went as a unicorn on Halloween as a tongue in cheek on the bisexual female nickname. I enjoyed being more out this year in the community (it’s now part of my bio in IG, CSC, and my blog here) and look forward to some fun queer goals in the new year.
  5. Getting my Lit on. I’m a lit nerd through and through with a Masters in English Lit, but in recent years I’ve not been reading a lot at all for a few different reasons. I found myself in a mourning period after dropping out of my PhD in 2013. I had spent so much on that emotionally and financially that it was difficult to read afterwards. I was burnt out and exhausted and disappointed in the academic world that failed me (I dropped out due to supervisor neglect and, even after I got two new supervisors, realized I was done with the PhD as a result). I find holding books to be very difficult with my EDS fingers. I recently got myself a kindle and loaded it up with a bunch of books. It’s much easier to hold and I read three books last month! I have a related goal to share about reading.

Top 5 Goals

  1. Self Care. I’ve had this as my goal before, but I have to continue to make it a priority. I am heading to the YMCA sometime this week to start up my membership and get into the pool for some doctor-approved low-impact exercise. I have 2 swimsuits as a result of my recent vacation to share and a bunch more fabric on the way so that I always have a dry swimsuit to take with me. Other than that, I want to make sure I stop beating myself up on “can’t” and focus more on “can.” I literally cannot do everything I want, but I can do a lot and I need to focus on being a lot easier on myself. I spent the majority of last year upset with my body’s failures and refuse to do that this year. I will celebrate the successes more often.
  2. Get Lit. I want to read more.  For my 2018 Goodreads Reading Challenge, I set 15 books as my goal. I think I can do it. I plan on rereading Wrinkle in Time for the movie release. I cannot wait!
  3. Scrapbusting/Stashbusting. Last year, I did a whole lot of organizing of scraps, but didn’t use a lot due to my up and down health. I’d like to sew scraps up and get it out of those bins. I’ll still be taking part in the Stashbusting Sewalong. I love that group! 🙂 I started off the year with a bit of splurging on year end sales, but I will be back on track soon with my #2018MakeNine fabric plans. I am going to focus on buying on things that I need for specific projects.
  4. Knitting and Crochet. I have been finding myself needing other crafts to do on my lower energy days and recently got back into knitting by finishing a cardigan I started 10 years ago. I am planning on teaching myself crochet as well. I really want to learn how to knit socks and plan on focusing on that first.
  5. Queer sewing. I used to wear a lot more gender neutral clothes before I started sewing. Unfortunately, the selection was small and ill fitting for a plus sized and very busty person. I would buy larger men’s button up shirts and wear them with ties on occasion, but never felt comfortable in them because they were either tents or too tight across the bust. I never bound my bust so nothing quite fit and the shoulders were always comically large. As a teen queer, doc martens and men’s jeans were my uniform. I’d like to embrace more gender play and sew up some nice button ups, bow ties, and ties. I want to make a blazer/pantsuit that would make Marlene Dietrich jealous. God damn, I want that. I was recently inspired to make this a goal after Shannon from Rare Device launched her Sew Queer project. Follow Sew Queer on IG!

A final announcement for the post to help along my goals and your goals is the #curvyyearofsewing. Editors and Contributors at the CSC have created an inclusive sewing challenge for the entire year with themes every two months to give people lots of time to sew. We will be creating pattern suggestions for each theme, but you are not confined to those. Look out for discount codes and prizes. Share your makes using the hashtag #curvyyearofsewing. I cannot wait to see what you create!