Blank Slate Patterns Barton Shorts

Shortly after I was done pattern testing the Oceanside shorts, Blank Slate put out a call for testers for the Barton shorts. I really wanted to test them, but ended up not because I was testing a different pattern at the time. I got the Barton Shorts later with a gift coupon Blank Slate gave me for testing the Oceanside shorts. Win win!

I got a lovely linen rayon fabric from fabricville and some cotton lace. I made a 3XL and compared the crotch curve to my Oceanside shorts and made adjustments for that (full butt adjustments and a bit of shortening of the front crotch curve plus a bit longer length). The other change I made was to use 1 inch elastic instead of 1.5 inch elastic. I’ve confined my rant on that to my TL:DR review at the bottom.

They fit perfectly when I first sewed them…

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My husband took this photo in Niagara Falls. Then the shorts got put in the dryer and they shrunk a bit overall. Unfortunately, they ride up now when I walk and are tight in the butt now. They were just perfect in Niagara Falls. The cotton lace shrunk as well and the hem flips up a bit. Oh well, lesson learned. I will be washing and drying linen twice next time since my green Oceanside shorts also shrunk a bit. I still love the shorts and wear them far too much! I’m definitely going to make more.

Overall, I like the Barton Shorts more than the Made with Moxie Prefontaine Shorts that I made last year. I prefer the side seam pockets and the shape of the side seams more. The Barton Shorts were also a better fit for me and sit more comfortably for me. The size range is also better for the Barton shorts. I’m at the top for the size range, but at least I didn’t have to grade them up!

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TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Blank Slate Patterns Barton Shorts
  • Pros: Lots of options for the hem (lace, bias tape, etc) and the length.
  • Cons: Decent size range, but being at the top means that it won’t be a good option for people bigger than me. Maybe it is just me, but I find when a pattern recommends 1.5 inch elastic it’s pretty unnecessary. I have tons of 1 inch elastic in my possession always and most patterns use 1 inch elastic for shorts and elastic waist pants. The Misty Jeans also have 1.5 inch elastic and I’m just like… why?! Maybe it is a Canadian thing that 1.5 inch elastic isn’t available everywhere and is so much more expensive when I can find it, but dang it…. I just hate 1.5 inch elastic. The Oceanside shorts use half inch elastic and that drove me a bit bonkers, too. I changed that to 1 inch elastic as well. I just don’t know… I am probably being too picky about it, but damn…I just want 1 inch elastic. In the long run, it’s an easy adjustment to make to patterns, but I just don’t really get using the wider elastic. Okay, done this weird elastic rant…. LOL
  • Make again?: Definitely. I’ll probably make a couple PJ versions since I love kicking around the house in these. I think the shorts would also be a great gift!
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars

Cashmerette Dartmouth Top

I’ve been wanting to sew up a Cashmerette Dartmouth top since it was released early this year. It’s a style of top that I always loved in RTW but could never wear for fear of bust exposure. The Dartmouth top is perfect, though. The cup sizes make it wearable for bigger busts without the danger of exposure.

While my bust is nicely contained in the shirt, the bridge of my bra peeks out. This problem is due to the bridge being too high on my handmade bras; the bridge comes up about 2 inches higher than I think it should and pulls away from my body causing discomfort under my bust. My bra cup does need more room but I have a pronounced breastbone so if the bridge goes too high, it will not sit correctly anyway.  It’s an issue that I am remedying soon with some bra pattern changes and cutting my wires a bit shorter at the front. These changes are for comfort and accessibility. I haven’t made a new bra in a year and a half because of the issues. But it is long overdue. I’m down to just 3 handmade bras and really need to get a move on the alterations. Once those are altered, there will be no issue with my Dartmouth top.

I made my usual size 22 G/H graded to a 24 at the hips. The fabric I used is a slinky bamboo jersey in a coral monkey print. It’s a great fabric for the gathers at the side seam. By the end of a day of wear, the fabric is a bit stretched out, but it snaps back into place with washing. Poor recovery does tend to be an issue with rayon and bamboo knits in my experience. The weight of them also tends to pull the hem a bit lower. I shortened this top by 3.5 inches. I just serged the bottom, because lazy. The two top layers are sewn together, which leads to a bit of drape from the top layer due to the fabric. In the future, I might go for less lazy to get it to sit right at the hem.

The pattern went together well. The only change I made was to add sleeve bands, because lazy and I prefer sleeve bands. I find that the sleeves sit better in a knit with the bands. It helps that I hate hemming knits. To be fair, it’s my sewing machine that hates hemming knits. Jane Eyre is such a diva.

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TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Cashmerette Dartmouth Top
  • Pros: I love everything and the size range and cup sizes are perfect.
  • Cons: My bras don’t work with it. Just something to keep in mind. It’s not too low cut for me, but may be for some people.
  • Make again?: Just need to find the fabric. Wouldn’t this look fabulous in a leopard print?! ❤ ❤
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

SMH It’s been a while…

Luckily, I was not absent from blogging due to illness, but due to summer being busy and fun so far!

My main source of enjoyment has been my garden.

Flamingos and pinwheels. #gardening #urbangardening #smallspacegardening #containergardening

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Our front step is looking pretty snazzy! #plants #smallspacegardening #urbangarden

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And my plants

A beautiful day for plants inside and out. #plants #cactus #smallspacegardening #containergardening #houseplants

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I haven’t taken a recent picture of my garden. The tomato plants have grown to be 3 feet tall! The cucumber, red peppers, and beans are coming along too. Sadly, the amount of rain drowned my herb seedlings and made my lettuce turn from good to bad in a day. Oh well, lessons learned. I will buy some mature herb plants soon and just keep them inside, I think.

My jade plant sadly got a mold disease and looks really bad. I used a spray solution on it and all the diseased leaves are falling off. I hope I saved it in time. I have one little cactus that is looking poorly, but stabilized over the past month. If anyone has a clue what is wrong with it, please let me know. I know it isn’t bugs or too much water…

Why yes…I do anthropomorphize my plants. #plants #cactus #indoorplants

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The big news is that I met Kat!

She came all the way from New Zealand and we met up and did some fabric shopping.

She brought me some tasty chocolate and lush merino from New Zealand. We also bought matching pink monkey jersey!

It was so good meeting her. We even discussed a Monthly Stitch meetup in Japan for 2018. I’d love to do that!

In the sewing world, I made three more Pavlova skirts. Cake Patterns is no longer, but this skirt pattern is a staple for me.

All three skirts are done! Feels good to be able to count my UFOs on one hand now! #killingit #sewing #sewcialists

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Unfortunately, I need to alter the black skirt since I mis-measured and need about another inch and a half. Luckily the skirt has pleats and a long waistband to let out.

The skirts have pleats in the front and in the back. They are meant to copy this Butterick skirt pattern by Gertie. In my version the pleats are a bit different and a bit more flattering on me. I seriously love the black and white skirt and wear it a ton in spite of it being made in a mid-weight suiting material. The blue one is pretty short and works great for a variety of casual cosplay, including Wonder Woman.

I made a new born outfit for a friend’s baby boy.

And the finished outfit. Yeay! #sewing #sewcialists #babyclothes

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The E is totally covering up a serged hole. 😦

I have two dress cut out and ready to make for two different friends.

I have to get on those and send them off.

I managed to get a wicked good haul at the thrift store and add 30 yards to my stash…

I’m not doing great on stashbusting….

I still have UFOs and am slowly getting through them.

These Misty Jeans require topstitching.

This Harrison shirt still needs button bands and a collar:

I still need to redo this dress.

I think I will take the waistband off and add darts to the skirt. At first, I was just going to do fisheye darts, but now I want to do it properly.

My swimsuit is half done. The bottoms are all done. They look messy when laid flat, but are fine on me. I have to make the bra top soon.

This is an in progress picture of them:

Done now, but I didn’t take another picture after this.

I cut out and made a Concord T shirt yesterday.

Well that was quick! #concordtshirt #sewing #sewcialists

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I also have an Appleton maxi almost done. Here is a sneak preview.

Oh yes. Yes. Yes. I do love this. Yes!!! #appletondress #sewing #sewcialists

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I also cut out a Webster dress and two pairs of shorts in linen rayon fabric

The Appleton dress will be posted soon. I just have to put on sleeve bands and hem the dress and take pictures. It’s going to be gorgeous. I am trying to meet the dresses deadline on Friday (@ 8pm in Toronto!) for the Monthly Stitch’s indie pattern month. It’s also part of the maxi dress sew along. 🙂

Are you taking part in either of Indie Pattern Month or the Maxi dress sewalong? 🙂

Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts

I’ve been sewing a lot all of May but haven’t had the time to take any pictures. I’m hoping to get the rest of my UFOs done in the next couple of weeks so that I can move on to my summer sewing plans.

I finished the Belize shorts from Itch to Stitch on May 20th, but I started them last September. Initially, I had graded up 2 sizes to accommodate my hips, but when I tried them on they were too large overall.

I took out the waistband, the side seams, the leg seams and the crotch seam and sewed it back together much smaller. I took out about 5 inches overall. Sadly, that was about 1 inch too much in the back. When I tried them on again, I found the back was a smidge too tight. I also found both the front and back rise were too high at the centre. The back rise needs about an inch taken out at the centre back and the front needs about 2 inches taken out at the centre front.

There are some major fit tweaks to get this right, but I actually quite like the shorts. The length is perfect and the crotch doesn’t ride up too much while I am walking. Not that I’ve done much walking to test this, because it’s not really shorts weather here yet much to my chagrin.

The fabric I used is a hot pink stretch denim. Leftover from a Snapdragon skirt ages ago.

Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts

Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts

Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts

Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts

Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts
  • Pros: Love the the flat waistband at front with the elastic waistband back. I like the variety of looks with the pattern and the skort option.
  • Cons: A good size range, but I do subtract meanly for having to grade up a couple of sizes and then needing to grade down. Makes me not trust size charts!
  • Make again?: I might… To be honest, I kind of feel like I found a good casual short pattern with the Oceanside shorts. I also have two other shorts patterns in progress. I doubt I will come back to this pattern this year.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdhalf-star-black-md3.5/5 stars

 

Helen’s Closet Winslow Culottes and M6754

Edit: I forgot my TL:DR review for the Winslow Culottes. D’oh. Added at the bottom now.

Another edit: After a request, here is the Full Butt Adjustment I follow for pants (at the time I followed a different tutorial, but I find this one is better). I didn’t lengthen the waist area for the Winslow Culottes as they didn’t need that, but followed the rest.

I started my Winslow Culottes in July of last year. I’ve been having issues since last year with finishing things. I have several things cut out and in various states of completion. Some are just sitting there based on motivation. Some are sitting there because there were fit issues. My Winslow Culottes were victims of fit issues. I graded up the pattern by two sizes. I also made the back crotch a bit longer. I’m glad I did that adjustment, because it fits quite well back there and hangs nicely. The fit issue was simply bringing the waistband in a bit.

But of course, the culottes got tossed in my UFO pile and left for several months. Sad times. Especially sad, because I really loved the colour and material I made them with and they could have become a wardrobe staple several months ago. The material is a poly rayon in a plum colour.

The Winslow Culottes are super comfortable to wear. I think they are made for flowy, drapey fabric like linen, rayon, silk, soft chambrays, voiles, lawns, double gauzes, etc. Lush and lovely fabric perfect for summer. I’m kind of glad that I am finishing them up in time to wear and duplicate for the summer months. Our spring has been cold and rainy here so I am prepping like crazy for that time I can actually wear these outside without tights.

There aren’t a lot of fit worries with a pattern like this. Make sure that the crotch length is correct. You don’t need to make as make adjustments as other pants patterns due to the volume of fabric, but there is a certain amount needed to make sure that you get the right drape in the front and the back. I read somewhere that 4 inches of ease between your crotch and the culottes crotch will work out well and that is what I made my adjustments based on using my Misty Jeans pattern as if it were a sloper. Make sure the waistband is sitting in the right place and is short enough to keep it in the right place. I could go a couple inches shorter with this waistband, but I was not going to rip it back another time. I made the back pleats a bit deeper to make the change for this adjustment and left a little length in the waistband for a hook and eye closure.

I love the pleats and the in-seam pockets. I am a big fan of this pattern and can see several future versions using my new fabric obsession linen. Bonus for those who are interested is that the Winslow Culottes are on sale this week! Woohoo!

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

I also got another item cleared out of my UFO baskets. I made a M6754 using the peplum view C with raglan sleeves and princess seams. Like the other version I made, I needed to size way down and even with the XL needed to size down again. BMV’s ease never seems to be negative for knits so you have to size way down. I will never understand why they do that.

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

I think I shaved off an inch from every seam and then I reattached the peplum. I will also do a sway back adjustment for any future versions.

Winslow Culottes and M6754

I love the top, but it was kind of a ridiculous amount of work for a knit top. But I will likely make it again. I’m having trouble justifying buying fabric at the moment since I have so much in my little space so I probably won’t revisit this pattern for a while unless it really fits a gap in my wardrobe. At the moment, I have enough knit dresses and tops to make me happy for a while.

So far, if Me Made May has taught me anything, I need to focus on making a couple of basic cardigans, blazers, bras, underwear, and more dressy tops and dresses. I have enough basic/casual “cake” for my wardrobe but RTW is still the icing in my wardrobe and most of it doesn’t fit quite right anymore. Once I get through the UFO piles, I’ll be making a list of things I want to make. The bra project should finally get underway (underwear…har har) for me to have bras that don’t kill my shoulders and fingers to get them on. I also feel like my objective for sewing is a bit different. I crave slower projects right now.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Helen’s Closet Winslow Culottes
  • Pros: Simple design. Super easy to grade up and make. Pockets! ❤
  • Cons: A good size range, but I do subtract meanly for having to grade up a couple of sizes. Otherwise a 5 star pattern.
  • Make again?: Definitely. It’s a great pattern and I see lots of these in the future in different lengths.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdhalf-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

Blank Slate Oceanside Shorts

April was a busy month for me. I was slow to recover completely from the pneumonia. I am still a little low in energy in comparison to before, but the pneumonia is definitely gone. My chronic cough is now being managed fully by medication. I’m so relieved that it is finally responding to the many meds I am on. I am also not having a lot of sinus issues likely as a result of the antibiotics.

I saw a doctor last week who may have significantly changed how I approach my life. It’s a shame that she was a specialist and is not part of my primary care, because the advice and guidance she gave me was excellent. The biggest take away is that she advised me to focus on keeping a steady weight instead of losing weight like other doctors. She commended my nutrition, but said to supplement that with a long list of vitamins. I’m supposed to stop doing heavy housework and focus on using my hands for the things I can’t give up, like sewing and cardmaking. Guys, I basically got a prescription to get out of housework. Haha!

No braces for me yet. I’m probably going to get finger splints, though, on my own. Other than that, KT taping is working wonders. I actually went to bed last night without a throbbing hip so it seems to be healing my hip bursitis. The overall joint dislocation and cartilage damage is still sadly happening, but the bursitis was extra pain on top of that and terrible to deal with. It was especially difficult for sleeping.

Spring also tends to be a better time for me as there are more warm days. Unfortunately, there has been a steady stream of rainy and cold overcast days which is leading to migraines, but there is sun on the horizon!

I managed to get some of my sewjo back last week with pattern testing. The deadline with pattern testing tends to get me back into the sewing mood. Blank Slate is a great company to test with if your sewjo is low. Their process tends to include tighter deadlines and lots of fitting and fit guidance for the larger sizes. I think it’s pretty effective for getting a good fit, learning fit tips, and testing that the pattern can do the pattern alterations you need. It’s always a positive process and really puts me back in the mood for sewing.

The Oceanside pants/shorts are an older pattern recently sized up to 3XL. I made the 3XL and did 4 muslins to get a good fit in the shorts. There are a couple of changes I would make going forward: add a couple of inches to the hem of the shorts, make them in capris length, and embellish like crazy: I’m talking scalloped hem, laced hem, bias tape finishes…. etc. In other words, I am happy with the fit I have for them now. There are minor issues there, but they are minor. They are great for a relaxed fit short with an elastic band waist.

Blank Slate Oceanside shorts

Blank Slate Oceanside shorts

Blank Slate Oceanside shorts

I made my shorts in a turquoise linen that I got from the thrift store back in the fall and used lime green buttons for the pockets. I need all the linen now to make a bunch more.

Blank Slate Oceanside shorts

Blank Slate Oceanside shorts

Blank Slate Oceanside shorts

Real talk now. I haven’t worn shorts in public since I was really really young. When I was a teen and bullied horribly, I stopped wearing anything that remotely showed my shape for a really long time. When I was 25, that started changing when my friend Lisa took me clothes shopping and challenged me to buy fun clothes. I also self-harmed and my legs were covered in cuts from age 16 to 21. I now have the scars internally and externally, but have emotionally healed so much and haven’t self-harmed or had a suicide attempt since I was 21. I’m so proud of myself for how far I have come since then. Now I mostly wear skirts and dresses in the summer with little bike shorts underneath to prevent chub rub and for the ever fun wind incident. But shorts…. Not sure why they are still a barrier for me. I feel like I must have worn them and gotten some mention from the bullies on how they felt about my legs at 13 and stopped wearing shorts as a result. My legs became a target for me and I stopped showing them. I even stopped swimming for the most part. I loved swimming but I stopped feeling comfortable in a swimsuit. After healing my mind, I’ve done a lot to find joy in my body. I have a genetic disease that has effected me my whole life and I can’t change those genetics. I can only care for it and love it and try to stop it from deteriorating further.

Shorts are something I’ve been making over the past year in various forms, but I haven’t made a pair that I felt comfortable leaving the house in. I have a few more cut out and one UFO needing a quick fix. But these really helped me remember my goals to overcome these irrational clothing fears. I also need to get back to that UFO two piece swimsuit that I was making back in the summer so I can join the YMCA and get back in the water.

It was great to have the opportunity to test the shorts and be reminded of the things I want to make to support loving my body.

Look at that butt:

Blank Slate Oceanside shorts

That’s a good butt.

I’m Alive!!

The tale I have to tell you.

2017 has been horrible so far, but things are finally feeling a bit better. Back in December, I got sick. I had a cold over Christmas. I didn’t think anything of it, but then January and February I got worse and worse until I couldn’t walk in February and was having such a difficult time with breathing and I was coughing so much. I wrote about it a bit in my last post back in February. Turns out I had pneumonia, but getting to that point of diagnosis was ridiculous. I didn’t have a fever at all, but I generally have a lower body temperature than the norm. I found out my dad has that as well. In February, I saw my GP several times and saw my respiralogist. Neither of them thought I needed a chest xray because the cough has been present for 9 months and I didn’t have a fever. I told them I was sweating and having chills, but I was checking out okay at a temp of 37.5 degrees celcius, which is high for me. I’m usually around 36 and rarely up at 37.

Eventually, I got diagnosed after going to the ER because my coughing was causing pain in my abdomen, a mild hernia. I got a CT scan and a chest xray and both showed pneumonia in my left lung.

I missed a month of work in total… Not good.

I got back to work and then ended up in the ER again after 2 days back because I sneezed and pulled a muscle in my back/dislocated a rib. It was terrible. I also got costochondritis, inflammation in the rib cartilage from coughing so much, and I still have that and a sore lower back. When you have a chronic illness, getting sick is so much worse and takes so much longer to recover…

I’ve been back to work for two full weeks. I had a migraine this morning, though, but I still feel like things are getting better.

I have little to no desire to sew. It was all I thought of while I was confined to my bed, but now that I am better….meh to sewing apparently!

Here is a recap of what I have sewn this year, though, since I won’t be writing individual posts on things (sorry, I need the spoons):

A blue Cashmerette Upton dress made with the same polyester fabric I used for the Star Trek uniform I made in the fall. I had 12 yards of this fabric so you’re going to see it pop up other places. 😉 I just love this pattern. I have many more plans for it. This version uses the gored skirt. I left the zipper off, because the fabric has some mechanical stretch to it. I’m also still perfecting the length of those waist darts and the width of the neckline, but overall I am pleased with how it looks on me and how I feel in it.

I made two bullet journal pen holders. The black and white bunny one is for my friend, Selina, who loves bunnies. Her holder has velcro on the back. I didn’t have white velcro handy for mine though so it ties around the journal. I’m going to switch that out eventually since it does not sit flat. These holders are great scrapbusters and took me a half hour to make both of them.

I made several of these Burda sweatshirts, which were part of my #2017makenine. I left the zipper off, because it’s not necessary and I didn’t want to struggle with it and the knit fabric. It’s a nice boxy sweater and comfortable. I made a size 52 and graded to a 48 at the shoulders. My first version was pretty large in the shoulders.

But the versions after worked out well.

I didn’t take final pictures of two of these, but you can see the colour combos below. All are made either with sweatshirt, terry, fleece, or cotton lycra with ribbing in various colours. The blue sweatshirt material with black brush strokes is the same material as my Golden Rippy Omega Angel jacket. The material is from 1986! I’m bringing the 80s back. 😉

I designed a couple of future dream projects using my curvy sketchbook:

Spent the day home feeling terrible but had fun sketching this design. #sewing #sewcialists #curvysketchbook

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Mostly, I’ve been making cards and enjoying that part of my creativity and the amazing team of people I am a part of with Stampin’ Up. Yep, I signed up as a demonstrator since I kept giving them my money. Hahah. It’s also been such a positive experience being part of a great team. It’s really helped getting cards from my team members while I was sick. ❤ It’s also a really great time to craft and be social.

I’ll be doing some small cardmaking classes in Toronto. I have one coming up on April 30th. If you live close by and just want a fun easy project to work on and want to be social, you are more than welcome. Feel free to contact me for more information.

I’m hoping my sewjo returns soon, but I’m glad that I’m feeling better every day. I do tend to sew more in the summer, because I want all the summer dresses.  I am still lacking in a lot of energy, but it’s getting better especially with the weather getting better and Spring in the city. I used some precious spoons this weekend to clean up my deck and prep for the flowers and herbs I will be putting back there. I’ve been enjoying my indoor plants and finding joy in the small things.

The happiest little corner ever. 😍😍😍 #plants #indoorplants

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I also really appreciate the notes I got and the well wishes. Friends sent me flowers, brought soup over, and I got a stuffed fox from one, too. It made being sick for that long easier knowing how much people cared. ❤ Thanks all for your emails, comments, and well-wishes.