Simplicity 8344 Bodysuit

I haven’t worn a bodysuit since the early 90s. Back then, I had one or two that I wore all the time. I love them. Then I started getting a stomach and was told to conceal it with baggy tops that weren’t tucked in. At 12, I was being given the worst fashion advice ever: you can’t show confidence if you are fat.

Fast forward to now and I am all about tucking in my tops and don’t care if they are curve-hugging. At 37, I show my confidence like crazy.

I wanted to try a bodysuit again. I’m all about revisiting and unlearning bad fashion advice that didn’t include wear whatever you want. I wear shorts now because of that.

I also really wanted to try the shoulderless or off the shoulder trend that I am late to the game for… So I knew I needed to make view E or F. I chose this lovely liverpool knit that LA Finch Fabrics sent me (edit: along with a bunch of other knit fabrics in a bundle) when I won the #letssewthistogether challenge for May, Summer Whites. I am not a huge fan of liverpool knit, but this is definitely one of the best quality liverpool knits I’ve come across. It feels a lot nicer than any of the others I have used and it sewed up better than the others. My main issue with liverpool knit is that the prints are printed on white backing which sometimes shows through when you are sewing or if the garment stretches too much in a particular area. This knit does do that but at a higher stretch than most other liverpools I have used. Liverpool knit is also mostly polyester and can be really hot to wear…hence being perfect for a shoulderless top so I can breathe!

LA Finch sent me just over a yard of the liverpool knit so it was pattern tetris to get this to fit with some smart changes to make use of the fabric. I just squeezed this into one yard by cutting only half of the sleeve in the liverpool knit and then lining it with some white poly knit I have as well as using the white knit for the leg bands.

The back is cut in two pieces and the the back centre seam provides some lovely shaping. I really like it. It might still need a bit of a swayback adjustment, but it’s pretty close and seems to have a bit of a swayback built into the pattern.

The pattern went together really well. The instructions were pretty clear. I did make a few changes. I added straps to conceal my bra straps so I can wear a regular bra with it. That’s always been my issue with the off the shoulder trends. I am not making a whole new bra pattern just for it! I also didn’t use snap tape but instead sewed on a strip of bias tape and then sewed snaps to that. The snaps I have are big heavy duty ones so they work well and don’t unsnap from stretching. The whole bodysuit can actually slip on from the bottom since the neckline is so wide. That helps bunches with my bad shoulders. I call this a win for my accessibility.

Fit is good. I made 28W with my 50 inch bust and graded to a 30W at the hips for my 54 inch hips. The liverpool knit doesn’t have a lot of lengthwise stretch so the bodysuit feels a bit snug lengthwise. Not really an issue with my short torso but something to keep in mind for others to have a knit with good 4-way stretch. I mean…the pattern says that, but when you get it in your head to use a specific fabric…well….. haha.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Simplicity 8344 Bodysuit
  • Pros: I love the final result! I think the size range is great. I am glad to not be choosing the biggest size for my bodysuit!
  • Cons: I don’t think I have any cons. It’s a nicely constructed pattern!
  • Make again?: YES! I love it. I’m still sort of deciding whether I want to change it to a top, though, since it’s not the easiest garment for bathroom emergencies even with the snaps. lol.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars
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Cashmerette Ipswich Swimsuit

This post was originally on the CSC for the Curvy Year of Sewing Bodysuits and Swimsuits theme.

Today I am reviewing the Cashmerette Ipswich Swimsuit. I did also test the swimsuit before release but my opinions are my own. There were some changes made between the version we tested and the final version so for obvious reasons this review it based on the final version.

The pattern has two views: view A is a one piece swimsuit and view B is a two-piece swimsuit. The size range is size 12-28 with cup sizes C/D, E/F, and G/H; bust 40 inches to 58 inches. I chose to make view B for this review. I prefer two-piece swimsuits as they make bathroom trips a lot easier in the middle of swimming and they are easier for me to put on and take off with my disabilities. The pattern also has an internal wired bra that is optional. I chose to make it with the internal bra since I have experience making bras.

My measurements are 51.5 bust, 44 underbust, 46 waist, and 55 hip. I chose to make a size 22 G/H. I could have graded to a 24 at the hip but I chose not to do that and it worked out just fine except in one area which I will get to a bit later.

  

The fabric I used is nylon spandex lightening print and black poly spandex with black swimsuit lining and black bra foam as well as powernet for the bra band and black duoplex fabric for the bra bridge (duoplex is a stable polyester fabric used in bramaking). There are a lot of notions for this suit: swimsuit elastic, stable elastic for the straps, swimsuit clickers for the back closures, underwires, and underwire channeling. Phew. You can make the swimsuit without the internal bra and that definitely cuts down on the amount of materials, but you might not get the support you need. If you do choose to do that, I recommend using powernet to line the front as well to give a bit more support. Powernet should still be used in the back as well as directed.

In terms of construction, swimsuits are definitely not for beginners. Cashmerette lists the pattern as intermediate and it definitely is for that level. The pattern instructions are great and very detailed. There is also an online course for it, but I haven’t tried it out. There were some construction methods that I didn’t prefer. For the most part, however, those were personal preferences based on what is easier for me.

In terms of fit, there are a few issues. First off, this pair is my second pair for the bottoms. The first pair I made were a lot lower rise due to my belly and bum. I raised the pattern by 7 inches. However, I took about 3 inches away after construction. In total, there are 4 inches added to both front and back using the lengthen/shorten lines. They fit a lot better for me this way. You may need to make adjustments for a larger belly or bum.

 

The leg holes are finished by attaching elastic and then flipping it to the inside and topstitching over it using a stretch stitch. For my next pair, I will used bands with elastic enclosed in them. It’s my preferred method and tends to feel a bit more secure.

The top fits okay. I am going to narrow the neckband a bit since my shoulders and upperbust are narrow. This will help stop that wavy/loose bit at the centre of the neckband.

The bra does not fit me well. For people who are familiar with bramaking and have a bra pattern that fits well, continue to use that for your swimsuit, any swimsuit. I haven’t made a bra in over 2 years so I didn’t have that option and I wanted to see how the pattern bra fit me. There definitely needs to be more room in the cups for me. I am spilling over and the wires are lower than the should be instead of following my breast root. The shape of the cup works okay, but I definitely need more projection. Everyone’s needs are going to be different here so if you don’t have a TNT bra pattern, start by trying it out and then tweaking from there. I will need to do quite a bit of tweaking to get this one to fit well but it’s definitely going to happen.

Word of caution, though, for anyone pursuing the internal bra is to not expect a 100% great fit out the package. As with all bramaking, fitting is the hard part. Don’t use your super expensive material on that first one. Muslins for bras and swimsuits are a bit more expensive, but completely worth it.

I made one tweak for this version instead of following direction and used band elastic on the bottom of the top. For me, it helps keep the bottom in place a bit better and is firmer than the swimsuit elastic.

 

Overall, I really like the design and plan on making it again. I’d love to make the tankini using the free expansion pack. I also want to play with cutouts using powermesh or tweak the neckline into different looks.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Cashmerette Ipswich Swimsuit
  • Pros: I loved the pattern. I think there are definitely fit issues (as there would be with any swimsuit pattern) but overall there are more wins in terms of support for the bust and fun use of pattern mixing with the panels. The instructions are great as usual with Cashmerette. I definitely need to get a better fit in the bra and tweak a bit more here and there, but I’m not far off from a great fit.
  • Cons: I do think that the neckline could be a bit more flattering. The boobs do look a bit like a single block. I plan on tweaking that a bit.
  • Make again?: Absolutely! I am working on my bra pattern and then I will get more foam so I can use it for the internal bra.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

 

DIBY Club Gabriela Onesie

Originally published on the CSC.

Do you have a sewing bucket list? I’m slowly making my way through mine. Basically, it’s a list of things that I want to sew at some point in my life. When I first started sewing years ago, things like sewing my own bra, swimsuit, pants, coat were on the list. I’ve made it through a lot of that list, but I still have a lot on my bucket list. Sewing a onesie may seem like a strange thing to put on a sewing bucket list, but it was for sure on mine. For anyone who knows me, they know I love some really strange things fashion wise. I really wanted to make a onesie. They look comfortable, fun to wear, and great for lounging around the house. Plus, a good pattern might be useful for some cosplay opportunities and you know I love cosplay!

Do it Yourself Better Club reached out to the CSC a few months ago asking if we’d review some of their patterns in exchange for a free pattern. A few of us leaped at the opportunity. When I saw the Gabriela Onesie, I asked to review it. The pattern goes up to a size 36, which translates to 63″ full bust, 59.75″ waist, and 67″ full hip. It’s a pretty generous size range. A few years ago it was tough to find a onesie that even went up to a 45″ hip let alone a 67″ hip. It’s great to see a company have such a great size range. Of course, there can always be more done in that area, but I was pleased to not be at the top of the size range and to see that some of their testers looked like me! Visibility is meaningful.

I chose a size 22 graded to a size 26 at the hip. I also shortened the top at the waist and hip lines by a total of 4 inches. The total height of the pattern is 5’5″. I am 5’3″ but I have a shorter torso so I measured myself in a few spots and decided to reduce the torso by 4 inches. I made no other changes to the pattern.

The fit is actually pretty good in the front. I can even put my arms over my head without creating a camel toe which is a huge success I think for a onesie. The back does require a slight full butt adjustment, but no change in the overall length of the torso since there is no issue at the sides just that slight wedgie it’s giving me. Haha. Since I chose the capri length, I am not sure whether I will need to shorten the full length version; although given that the capri length is just above my ankles, I likely do need to adjust the full length version. DIBY Club does give the inseam length of 30.5 inches and since my inseam is 26 inches, I would be able to guess that I need an adjustment for the inseam as well. Just goes to prove that although I am only 2 inches shorter than the height the pattern drafts for, our bodies are complex and often require additional measurements to get the right fit.

I’m thoroughly impressed with the information DIBY Club gives its customers as well as the extensive instructions they provide. On one level, as an intermediate sewist, I find the sheer number of pages to print a bit ridiculous, but on another level, depending on your skills, the instructions are very useful, especially in terms of fitting the pattern to your body. I think for most beginners that skill is so difficult to learn and DIBY Club helps you with that. I followed their instructions for blending between sizes and shortening the torso length as well. It was very useful.

Construction-wise there is nothing to complain about. Every notch matched up well and I didn’t have any trouble following their instructions for the zipper or for any part of the onesie. It went together fast.

Now let’s talk logistics with a onesie, because I haven’t worn one as an adult so I had no clue what to expect….except for all the hilarious cartoons on going to the bathroom in a jumpsuit…

I haven’t worn overalls or a jumpsuit either since my early 20s. This onesie gives me an idea of what that would be like since those types of patterns keep on trending. I chose to make the functional bum flap thinking it would be easy to use. I have velcro on it to close it. Let’s just say…reaching around to open up the velcro and close it again is NOT easy. Add on to that, my chronic illness makes my shoulders dislocate easily so I abandoned using that pretty darn quickly. The alternative is using the zipper in front and effectively becoming naked every time I am wearing the onesie. The nice thing is that I am just at home and we don’t have little kids opening the bathroom door anymore to ask for things (although, my stepkids never really did that thankfully!). Phew. Logistically, onesies are a little bit awkward… That being said, they are so comfortable. It’s wonderful to not have waistbands.

Future versions won’t include the functional bum flap since I couldn’t even use it.

Let’s talk fabric. This onesie called for French Terry, jersey, 4-way sweatshirt fleece or sweater knit. Knits with at least 50% stretch horizontally and 20% vertically. I got some really awesome Disney princess cotton lycra from Funky Monkey Fabrics and used some solid pink bamboo knit that I got locally for the contrasts on the cuffs, pockets, and bum flap. Cotton lycra tends to be pretty expensive here in Canada especially if you are going for licensed prints. These are definitely the most expensive pjs I’ve ever made. The awesome thing is that they are probably going to become my most worn pjs ever and hopefully will last a bit. I have some of the jersey left and plan on making some pj shorts with it and a tank top in the pink bamboo knit for a matching top.

All in all, I am confident that I will be making this pattern again for pjs. I’m not sure about going forward to adapt it for cosplay purposes due to the awkward bathroom situations…. But I’ll never say never! I mean I think most people who cosplay in onesies wear an undershirt and some kind of shorts under…

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: DIBY Gabriela Onesie
  • Pros: Great size range. Incredibly easy to follow instructions. Comfortable to the max!
  • Cons: Butt flap not so functional for me but that is my weird bendy/fall apartness. So many pages to print. Maybe save some trees and use a digital copy of the instructions…
  • Make again?: I already have some wicked unicorn cotton lycra that my mom bought me for another version. ❤ ❤
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Burda Magazine Jersey Blazer 08/2016 #134

The Curvy Year of Sewing Jackets and Blazers theme was the perfect opportunity to finally make this Burda blazer. I keep talking about making a million blazers and then never doing the thing. I think starting here is a great gateway into maybe finally making the Vogue Claudia Shaeffer blazer of my dreams.

The Burda Jersey Blazer #134 from August 2016 issue is a lined jersey blazer with a shawl collar and patch pockets. I’m not sure if you know, but I am a fan of Burda. I can always rely on their drafting for getting a good fit with some adjustments. Mostly, I love the classic styles they have. I don’t love their lack of instructions, however, and they certainly are famous for sparse instructions in their magazines. Burda plus sizes range from size 44 (39.25 inch/100 cm bust) to size 52 (48 inch/122 cm bust). Admittedly, not the greatest size range, but it works for me with minor adjustments.

My measurements are: 51/52 bust, 46 waist, and 54/56 hip (depending on my swelling that day due to my chronic illness). I made a size 52 with a 2 inch FBA (adding 4 inches overall) and a 2 inch full bicep adjustment. I added 4 extra inches to the bust to allow for a button closure. The original pattern is meant to sit open, but I often want to pull blazers closed and quite frankly I think the look works well with the Cashmerette Rivermont, which was my planned pairing for this blazer.

Let’s talk fit issues. The blazer is long on me. I am a shorter person at 5’3″ and I have short arms. I prefer longer sleeves that cover my hands since they get cold easily. The back could use a sway back adjustment as well as a bit more room in the hips, which would help the pulling at the front button. I think the bust looks good. I do wish I had but in 2 buttons and may be adding that later, but we’ll see if I ever get around to that. For future versions, I will shorten the length overall, as well as do a swayback and full hip adjustment.

I love the blazer in spite of that and for most non-sewists those issues are minor.

My favourite details of this blazer are the purple piping along the lapel and the small purple buttons on the sleeve vents. Speaking of the sleeve vents, the instructions weren’t very good to help me do my first sleeve vent. I actually used this tutorial from Patterns Scissors Cloth. It was fantastic in holding my hand throughout the process.

I used a medium weight poly blend jersey in a dark grey. The piping is Wrights pre-made piping from Funky Monkey Fabrics. Buttons are sourced locally. I didn’t line the blazer. I don’t think it needs the lining at all. I used my serger for the most of the construction so the insides are nice anyway. I made shoulder pads for the blazer using the grey jersey and some poly padding I had leftover from a previous project. Easier than buying shoulder pads and they match my blazer.

Construction, except for the sleeve vents, went together really easily. With the tutorial, the sleeve vents were a breeze. The instructions were no help there. My one issue with the pattern is that the back facing seemed unnecessary. The lapel is cut on and then facing is sew on. The front facing pieces attach at the back and then get sewn into the seams below the pockets. The back facing is supposed to be attached to a cut out part on the front facing and then sewn into the seams on the shoulders and back neckline. It is likely my error with adding in the seam allowances (since I eyeball them when cutting out the pattern) and not using a lining, but the piece wasn’t necessary to me and could have been incorporated into the front facing piece which has a seam at the back anyway. I was able to sew the front facings to the back neckline and the shoulders without the back facing piece. Likely my error, but also possible not. I will see the result with a more stable knit since I plan to use a tan knit next time with blue piping.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Burda Jersey Blazer #134 from August 2016 issue
  • Pros: Great size range. Jersey means comfort! Opportunity for customization. Love those princess seams.
  • Cons: A little long. Burda does tend to think that plus sized equals tall so I often have to shorten things. Unnecessary back facing piece possibly. Easy to draft out, though. Terrible instructions.
  • Make again?: YESYESYES
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars

 

Seamwork Jill Coatigan

And now for something completely different…

The last time I made a Seamwork magazine pattern it was a complete and udder (HA!) disaster with the Florence bralette pattern. I would still love to find a bralette pattern that works for my bust size (gargantuan). That experience definitely turned me off of the patterns, but then I started thinking that maybe I might perhaps….. try another.

I’m not extolling the virtues of Seamwork or Colette, but my Jill Coatigan did work out very well. I had bought some other patterns before I made the Florence bralette. I also ended up getting the Audrey jean jacket. Of course, the patterns are very tempting because they go up to a 54 bust and 58 hip. But are they actually worth it? Colette gets some pretty warrented criticism from the sewing blog community for their drafting, especially in the sleeves.

I took the plunge, though, because I wanted a boxy coat for the Spring and really wanted to use some wool knit I had in my stash for the project. Megan and I spoke and decided to do a Same Pattern, Different Bodies for the CSC for the Curvy Year of Sewing theme of jacket/blazer for March/April. You can read more about Megan’s coat here. All of these things kind of meant I was committed to another Seamwork pattern.

  

In spite of the loose fit for this pattern, the arms were still going to be a bit tight for me. They would have *just* fit so I added 2 inches there and had to add a bit to the side seams to accomodate. I also initially shorted the pattern by 7 inches. I am 5’3″ and regularly have to shorten patterns quite a bit. 7 inches would have meant the pattern would hit my mid-thigh. But then due to fabric constraints, I needed to shorten further to get the pattern to fit because I *had* to use this fabric. I think in total it is shortened by about 15 inches. If I were to make it again, I would go with the 7 inches instead.

In terms of fit, it fits as boxy and loose as the pattern suggests. I made a 2XL. The arms are a bit long but I do prefer jackets and coats and cardigans and long sleeves in general to be long on me to protect my always cold hands.

Things I didn’t like about the pattern are the slightly curved seam at the front. Comparing the curvy block to the regular block, the curve is a bit more in the curvy block. With the curve going up to the centre front, it doesn’t make any sense to me since it then doesn’t look like a straight hem from the side view. My bust pulls it up further as well. If I make this again, I will definitely be correcting that.

The instructions were so strange in some places. It suggests top stitching the facing down but then it would show from the right side in places so I noped that. It’s a simple pattern and would work for a beginner, but some instructions might be tough for them to understand and could be done in an easier way. So for the most part, I ignored them.

I started off by binding all my seams with a bright green cotton bias tape. I sort of abandoned that after a bit because I found the process tedious. Do you ever do that mid-sewing? The back seam/kick pleat and the edge of the facing all are bound, but the rest is finished with my serger instead.

 

The main fabric is a grey floral knit with a stripe on the wrong side. The floral shows on the collar facing but I used the stripe for the main parts. I liked the floral but not enough to make it the main look. I added a belt and belt loops to the coat. I used a darker grey wool coating for the tie and the pockets for a bit of contrast…..hahahha because I ran out of fabric. Luckily, I had some in my stash from a trade a while back so my lack of fabric worked out okay.

 

I love the look of the tie and those pockets are enormous and can fit anything in them. I put my kindle in it as well as some cards during a respiralogist appointment recently. Very useful.

The other good thing about the pattern is that it is quick to cut out and quick to make. It is pretty satisfying to have a pattern like that. I think you know by now that I enjoy quick projects. I do love an involved one, but definitely need a few quick ones in between those.

 

What more can I say? I love the coat. It’s great for this in-between weather and an alternative to my Pepernoot coat that I made 2 years ago.

Before I finish this post, a quick update on my health. My new respiralogist has been amazing (I literally cried in his office after he promised he would get my cough managed). He put me on some new meds and increased others and my cough has improved dramatically. Initially, I thought I might need to return to him sooner for an appointment because my cough was bad for about a month with the transition of the new meds, but it just started going away and now I cough only if I forget my meds. At the first appointment, I was using 80% of the normal lung capacity. Now I am at 120%, because I am a major overachiever. 😉

Of course, the disclaimer to this update is that while one part is more managed by medication, other parts of my chronic illness are not and I am still a person who lives each day with health issues and chronic pain. The thing about devoting all my time to breathing normally is that it allowed me to ignore or push aside the pain. Now that I can breathe again without coughing fits, I am noticing the pain more and how much it has increased in the past year. I have a growing instability in my lower spine and my left hip (my right hip has a labrum tear so it is always in pain), and my costochrondritis is flaring horribly making deep breaths extremely painful. But I take the breathing again as an extremely amazing victory! And knowing I have remarkable lung capacity for a person of my age, weight, and height, is fantastic news! Yeay lungs! When they work, they sure make breathing easier! 😀

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Seamwork Jill Coatigan
  • Pros: Simple pattern with a good size range. Great for beginners who need a gateway drug into coatmaking.
  • Cons: Instructions are a bit weird and could be improved. Strange curved front hem….
  • Make again?: Absolutely after a couple more adjustments and in the mid-thigh length. How many coats does one need? Well, quite frankly, I think all the coats would be the answer. ❤ I have a tan non-stretch knit that would work well for this pattern so I will probably use that for another version since it sews up pretty quickly.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars

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

 

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

#2018MakeNine

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!