Top 5 Goals

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Top 5 Goals for the New Year

1. Accessible Sewing

This goal covers quite a bit actually. I spoke a bit about accessible sewing earlier in the fall, but I didn’t go into much detail about what that specifically meant for me. There are a few issues with mobility for me. A big one is my shoulders. My left shoulder dislocates and my right shoulder is beginning to have instability. I also find buttons a bit more difficult these days since my fingers are having a tough time with fine work. I can still do a lot, but I think snaps or other things would be a good addition to my wardrobe for the just in case future. Unless it is stretchy, I have trouble pulling things over my head and I can’t do a centre back zipper with my shoulder issues. I need to figure out a way to step out of a dress with a side zipper. That likely means snaps at the shoulders and no sleeves. Sleeves in wovens are also difficult for me to get out of so I need more room there. I think sleeves will also be reserved for wrap dresses or shirt dresses that I can open completely in the front and not pull over my head. My bras need to switch to front closure. As for pants, I can’t seem to take too tight jeans, which is why my floral Misty jeans never worked out for me. My knee doesn’t like the compression or the restricted movement. I think trying out looser pants or going with leggings is best. I’d love to make palazzo pants or culottes. I actually have a UFO of Winslow culottes that I need to finish. I have a few other patterns for loose pants, too. I also think they would be good for when I get a knee brace sometime in the new year since I could wear the brace under the pants. With leggings, it would be a little difficult, but I think I can wear it over the leggings. I’ll talk more about this in the new year as I approach each challenge. Some will be easier than others for sure, but with each win I will feel like a Wonder Woman.

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2. Burda Patterns

I have tons of these and am challenging myself to sew at least 6 new patterns. That is one every other month. I want to break the stigma attached to Burda patterns and show how they work for someone of my size. I have really liked the few I have used already. I’m excited to start this adventure.

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3. Blazers

I really want to make blazers (I have so many patterns!) and keep putting it off. 2017 is the year of the blazer for me!

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4. Party dresses

Recently, I’ve been feeling like my wardrobe needs some more party dresses. Not that I have a lot of places to wear snazzy dresses, but I sure do love them! I have a LBD already cut out and ready to make. I also have a few other in my head as plans with some lush fabric that I’ve been hoarding like crazy.

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5. Stashbusting & Getting Rid of UFOs

Speaking of hoarding fabrics, I have a large stash that recently grew far too large from a bunz trade and another friend dropping some lovely fabrics off at my place (although one of those got used for a Christmas present!). I’d like to focus on getting my stash down to a manageable size. I’ve been getting rid of the clutter in my house and making sure that what I have is usable or that it doesn’t contribute to poor health with dust accumulation. Unfortunately, most of my books are leaving the house because of dust. The ones I keep will be my favourites. A smaller amount should be easier to clean. I’d like to document more of my stashbusting. I took part in the sewalong this year, but didn’t do a lot of documenting on my blog. I’ll be keeping track each month of what I buy and what I sew from my stash. I’m not going to be super strict about it, but I really would like to reduce the fabric clutter. I will be also do monthly theme sewing when I can.

I’ve also had a lot of UFOs this year or projects that I cut out but didn’t complete. This is not my usual habit! I need to get more of those out of the way and reduce the clutter in my sewing space.

For whatever you celebrate, I hope you are warm and cozy or cool and out of the sun for the southern hemisphere people and surrounded by people you love.

Top 5 Hits

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Top 5 Hits

1. Waffle Patterns Pepernoot Coat

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This is possibly my favourite garment that I’ve made. I love wearing it. Sure, there are some mistakes and it is not perfect, but I love it and have worn it so much this year. I have plans to make another one of these coats eventually. I’d like to make the Tosti coat first, though, in this stiff buffalo plaid flannel that I’ve been hoarding.

2. Cashmerette Upton Maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

I wore this a bunch in the summer and really really love it. I’ll definitely be making more in the new year for summer especially with similar fabric.

3. Moxie Patterns Verity Dress

Verity Dress by Moxie Patterns

From the fabric to the pattern, from head to toe, this dress is a winner! I love wearing it and get lots of compliments whenever I do.

4. Star Trek Costumes

Star Trek Insurrection Captain's dress uniform

Star Trek Costumes

Well, technically these are three items, I’m grouping them together. I’m really proud of how they turned out, especially for my husband. He looks spiffy and I am proud to clothe him in Federation garb!

5. Baby Bedding

Bedding set for baby Charlie

Probably the biggest project I have ever made for another person and tackling three different things that I’ve never made before. I’m so pleased with how they turned out and really happy for my friend with her new little girl.

Honestly, narrowing down this list to 5 was tough! I really loved a lot of what I made this year.

Top 5 Misses and 2016 Summary

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Kicking off my Top 5 of 2016 is my Top 5 Misses and a 2016 Summary. This year, I’m only going to do posts on Hits, Misses, and Goals. I’ll post these for the next few Mondays and then probably round out the year with the handmade gifts I made in the holiday rush.

Top 5 Misses
1. Style Arc Floral Misty Jeans
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To be fair, these ended up a little tighter than the other pairs I have and I wasn’t expecting that. I have one pair I wear all the time and one pair I wear occasionally, but this one didn’t get worn a lot. I think I just wore it once to be honest. I like them, though, and am hoping that I will wear them in 2017. I’d hate for them to go to waste. I think maybe adding a contrast panel to the sides would be useful. I just need an extra inch maybe in each side. It’s just a matter of finding the time to rip out the seams and do it. 🙂

2. Style Arc Eva Top

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It was too tight and didn’t match the line drawing. I like wearing it with high-waisted skirts, though, but it was disappointing overall.

3. Concord v-necks in Rayon fabric

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Sadly, these tops didn’t work out after a few washes because of the fabric choices and the fact that the v-neck version is too wide for me. I think a major issue that pulls them down further is that my upper arms are slightly too big for the size I chose so I need to do some alterations there. I plan on altering the neckline for future versions and add ribbon snaps to these so they attach to my bra straps and don’t slip down. The patterned one is also just filled with wonky sewing that I am not happy with because the rayon fabric didn’t want to go through my sewing machine.  I think I *need* a coverstitch. 😉

4. Maya Bra

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I don’t wear a single version of this because it didn’t get it to work for me. I am still determined to work on it for the future, though! I think the foam bra really gives nice lift and works well for me. I just need to keep trying and adjusting things until I get the fit right. I also think it would be great for a swim top.

5. Leggings

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These are really a product of not the right material, but they helped me adjust my fit and I ended up getting a bunch of great material for my fall leggings and wear them all the time. In fact, I should get a bunch more cotton lycra so that I can do less laundry. 😉

2016 Summary

I’ve been doing this summary for a couple of years now as I find it helpful to see the evolution in my sewing. My first real year of committed sewing was in 2014 even though I started sewing in 2008. By the end of 2014, I was wearing mostly handmade clothing. Now I wear, with maybe 3 or 4 exceptions, all handmade clothing.

In 2014, I made 33 things. In 2015, I made 54. This year, I made 107 things! Some are small (baby clothes, pattern weights) and barely worth a mention (leggings…yawn!). They didn’t even make it on my blog in some cases. I’ve been feeling pretty unproductive this fall due to health issues, but this summary makes me feel better about that. I’ve made a bunch this year and so much to be proud of. In fact, I had to think hard about what I didn’t like that I made this year. That’s really a sign that I am increasing my skill and getting more accurate with fitting. Still lots to learn, especially with bra making, but every year I see progress.

2016-by-month

Looking at the year, I can understand why there are some spikes in making things and some slumps. January was a lazy month, because I usually make a lot for Christmas gifts and need a break after that. Although, I did focus on making bras that month and in February and, in general, those are slow projects. March and April was all about prepping a wardrobe for our honeymoon trip so that I wouldn’t need to do laundry that often. We managed to get by with doing laundry twice over our three week vacation and I only needed to clean stuff mid-way through. In May, I was only home the last two weeks of the month and didn’t have a lot of time to sew. June to September tend to be higher volume months as I either sew gaps in my summer wardrobe or sew for the fall. Lots of leggings in September. October, I did some pattern testing and made two costumes. November was low because I didn’t sew except to finish the baby bedding for my friend. I actually had to drop out of a lot of things: pattern testing, CSC shirtmaking month, and others. December, I am back sewing, but it is all Christmas gifts. I put down 9 things made, because of gifts that I am getting through and should be done with pretty soon.

2016-categories

In terms of what I sewed, I sewed a lot of underwear and knit tops. Jeans and shorts are new to my list! I’m happy about that. I only sewed 6 bras. I really need to make some of those and do modifications for my own accessibility. I made 1 coat, my Pepernoot coat, and I love it. If I can make 1 piece for outwear a year, that would be good. I had intentions of getting another M7100 bomber jacket done with fleece lining, but that will have to wait. I still want to get it done so I can wear it this winter, but I need to size up the pattern since it will be lined in fleece and I want a looser fit for extra Christmas dinner induced fluffiness. I made a lot of gifts this year. I really like doing that. I didn’t make a bunch of blazers like I wanted to so hopefully that will change next year. You’ll see more about that in my Top 5 goals later.

2016-patterns

In terms of the pattern companies I sewed with, I made a bunch of self-drafted things. Of course, “drafted” is a loose term since they were mostly squares/rectangles or copied from RTW. I am NOT a pattern drafter. I thought about using “no pattern” and RTW copied as separate categories, but I think grouping them together makes more sense to me. I made a bunch of Kitschy Koo Barrie Briefs and that is why that number is so high. I’ll be making a ton more next year. Unsurprisingly, I made a bunch of Cashmerette! I’m a pattern tester and am pretty excited about the fit. Muse wasn’t as high this year. We didn’t have a lot of pattern testing this year and all my non-testing sewing plans with Muse got pushed out for other things. I had intentions of making many more things including a new Melissa dress, some more Philippa dresses or tops and another Gillian wrap top, but never seemed to have the time for it. Hopefully that will change next year. I did make a couple of Jenna cardis, a Jenna top hack and the Philippa top, though. I made a Simplicity wrap top that blew my mind and hope to make more Simplicity patterns. I didn’t make a single Burda pattern and I am not happy about that. I have a ton and love the styles so I am making that one of my goals for next year.

A Bedding Set for Charlie

I didn’t sew all November and now I have a huge amount to sew for the holidays. Luckily all knits so they should go pretty fast. I can’t post about the projects until after Christmas, but I will be posting my Top 5 of 2016 again this year along with stats and such. Should be fun. I am also hoping for a sewcation for the holidays so I hope I will have a new project to share after. 🙂

This project was the last one I worked on.

Back in May, my friend, Nicole, posted on facebook that she was annoyed with the selection of baby bedding and how expensive it was. Nicole had recently announced that she was pregnant with her second child. I immediately commented that I could make her something. We worked out an arrangement where she paid for the fabric and I covered the labour as a present to her.

Plan was to make a quilt, a bed skirt, and bumper pads. We picked out the fabric from fabric.com in June and got it in July along with a few things locally and the quilt batting locally. I started the quilt in August with two decorative squares. One using applique:

Nicole sent me the design for the fox when she sent me a bunch of inspiration for the whole set.

Quilt for Baby Charlie

As a surprise, I embroidered the name on a quilt square with an arrow:

I haven’t done a lot of embroidery, but this makes me want to get into it more for adding fun details to clothes.

The rest of the squares and rectangles on the quilt were created without a plan. I cut the quilt back to size first and then arranged the pieces on top to get an idea of the layout.

I squared up the pieces and sewed.

And then sandwiched the layers together and used safety pins to make them lay right for quilting. I’ve never done a quilt of this size before and have literally only done one quilted wall hanging before so this was all a new experience for me.

For the quilting, I just followed the lines of the squares to make sure the feature was the gorgeous fabric and those two feature squares.

For the binding, I could not wrap my head around how to do it and just sort of winged it. I have since looked up more tutorials and am kicking myself for not getting it, but I didn’t want to rip it all back and really it looks just fine. The binding is a navy blue polkadot print. Difficult to tell in these pictures:

Baby quilt all done!!! 😍😍😍 #sewing #sewcialists #quilting

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The skirt was pretty simple to make. I followed this tutorial, but didn’t make a box pleat and chose to use two different fabrics.

The bumpers were a bit more difficult. I didn’t get the length right the first time and I piped the tops of them with the same navy polkadot fabric. I had to rip it out and redo that and I messed up the position of the ties so that also needed to be fixed as well. After you add the batting, you then quilt lines through all layers at each tie except the end ones so the batting sits flat. My heart was a bit in my throat since I was sure I would mess that up, but it worked out great.

And then I tossed it in the mail. It didn’t make it to their place in time for Nicole’s mother to see it in person. That’s Canada Post for you! They guarantee 7 days and it gets there in 10… :/

Nicole took some pictures of the nursery with everything set up and I am in love with it. I sent her fabric samples once she chose the main fabrics and she picked paint colours and accessories based on the samples. The room looks like something off pinterest!

Quilt for Baby Charlie

Bedding Set for Baby Charlie

Bedding set for Baby Charlie

Bedding set for baby Charlie

Bedding Set for Baby Charlie

Charlie is a super lucky little girl to have such an awesome mom. ❤ ❤

 

Unplanned Hiatus!

I could have predicted this quite frankly since it happens anytime I sew heavily and then go on a trip. I got home from our trip to Winnipeg and promptly got sick with a cough that I’ve had since August, but decided to get 50 times worse. Now I am waiting on chest xray results and then getting other tests done to figure out what is up. I’m taking a break from sewing for the rest of November until things start to improve a bit. I’m okay otherwise, but need to take a break. I have very little energy since breathing has been tougher than usual. 😦 I don’t understand why you need to breathe to sew! Hahha! Joking. 😉

If you want to chat before I am back in December, you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or use my contact form and we can chat via email. 😀

In the meantime, here are a couple of sew inspiring links for your reading pleasure:

Danielle Vanier on why we don’t always need to flatter our figures I adore the outfit she is wearing!

Holiday Outfit Inspiration on She Might be Loved There are some jumpsuits there that make me want to try out the look.

Hope you have a lovely November!

 

C4 Winnipeg, Shatner, and Star Trek Costumes

This past weekend, my improv troupe, the Dandies, headed to C4: Central Canadian Comic Con in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to open for William Shatner with Star Trek improv. In true Andie fashion, I had to make some new Star Trek costumes for the event.

My inspiration for my costume was the dress uniforms from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

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I have been feeling a bit body conscious lately and felt that the shape of my current uniform and these would not make me feel quite comfortable. So I adapted the look into a fit and flare dress with a wrap front and the gold trim. I chose M6887 as my base pattern and planned out my costume with that in mind.

Plans with the #curvysketchbook #sewing #sewcialists #startrek #cosplay #costumeideas

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I made flat pattern alterations and just cut right into my fabric since I knew the pattern already fit me well. The first step was to raise the neckline. I did this using M6696 and used the collar piece from that pattern for the costume. After raising the neckline, I took the center front and back and slashed for a yoke piece. I used the sleeve piece from my test version of the Auberley dress pattern since I knew that is was close to fitting. I made a 2 inch large bicep adjustment and narrowed the sleeve toward the cuff so it wasn’t a bell sleeve. I may have narrowed a bit too much since I like rolling up my sleeves and am unable to for this dress. For the back shoulder piece, I traced and cut a triangle from the sleeve head that matched with the yoke, added a seam allowance, and then topstitched the pieces on before putting in the sleeves. They *almost* match up. One side is off on each, but that can be solved by trimming off a bit of excess seam allowance before sewing the detail on. The dress has a wrap front and sew-on snaps are put in along the princess seams. I will be replacing them, however, with velcro tape since the snaps don’t really provide a very clean look. Because of the curved princess seam, they do show off some bumps and pulls that I don’t love and are a direct result of the snaps not being quite in the right place/matching up correctly. Velcro will make that a bit cleaner and take out all the guesswork. I will replace the snaps with velcro now. However, it being last minute and needing to pack meant that I just wore it as is all weekend.

My dress is made with blue polyester fabric (I got a huge bolt of this so expect to see many more things made with it), black cotton rayon, and gold lame bias tape.

For my husband’s jacket, my inspiration was Kirk’s admiral uniform from a few different movies.

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I really wanted him to wear a jacket that was an homage to Kirk since we were meeting Shatner himself.

More plans. Not for me this time though. #sewing #sewcialists #startrek #cosplay #costume

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I didn’t make many changes from the inspiration for this except in very tiny details such as adding the black bias tape to trim the inside white panels or adding a thin gold strip on the sleeve above the cuff or on the cuff itself. It was a result of not enough time and realizing that it wasn’t really worth the trouble.

I used the same pattern as his Picard jacket, M7216, as the base for this costume. I lengthened the jacket by 7 inches and turned the fronts into a wrap style. I raised the neckline using the M6696 pattern, but for this one I finished the neckline with red bias tape using the twill from the body. Other than that, I only added a cuff, a white rectangle at the shoulder, a belt, and belt carrier at the back of the uniform. The white turtleneck underneath is a dickie using white rib material. I also made the belt buckle and cuff pips using polymer clay. The fronts are closed with snaps and the belt is closed with velcro.

This costume is made with red and white twill, black cotton rayon for bias tape and the belt, gold lame bias tape, and white ribbing.

In the pictures below, I made all the Star Trek uniforms that our troupe is wearing because I am freaking amazing.

Star Trek Costumes

Star Trek Costumes

Star Trek Costumes

Star Trek Costumes

Star Trek Costumes

Star Trek Costumes

Star Trek Costumes

 

Star Trek Costumes

Star Trek Costumes

We had a great time. Other than opening for Shatner, we got our first paid gig at a private birthday party and we had a show in a local board gaming cafe called After Dark. It was a great time for bonding with the troupe as well. Now for a world tour. Errr, after our monthly home show tonight. 😉

Other than that, C4 was a lot of fun. I got my picture taken with Mark Pellegrino who plays Lucifer on Supernatural.

And I got my picture taken with the first blade and an impala to round out my Supernatural love:

I got my picture taken next to the impala #supernatural #c4winnipeg #baby

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I saw some great cosplay.

Shatner is sad it’s over:

That being said, con exhaustion is a real thing. I didn’t get con flu, though, but I’m ready to sleep for the next week! Ha!

If you want to check out more from that weekend, check out the troupe facebook page here. Here is the wicked video of us singing Shatner on stage:

Laugh long and prosper!

Simplicity 8137 Wrap top

Disclaimer:  I received this pattern free of charge in return for a review on the CSC. All my opinions are my own. 

Today, I am sharing my thoughts on Simplicity 8137 in a navy blue crepe lined with black rayon. The pattern includes a top, dress (knee length and full length), and pants. I made the top. I was given the pattern for free as part of Curvy Simplicity Week on the Curvy Sewing Collective. My review appeared on CSC yesterday.

Simplicity 8137

I made a size 28W and did very few adjustments! 

I narrowed the shoulders by 1 inch and did a large bicep adjustment of 3 inches as well as adding 1 inch to each side seam in order to give adequate room to the armscye for the bicep adjustment. After doing a quick tissue fit, I figured an FBA wasn’t necessary since the princess seams crossed the apex in the correct location, but narrowing the shoulder and a large bicep adjustment would be necessary.

This is actually the least I’ve done for anything I’ve sewn up in a while from the Big 4. Simplicity patterns aren’t widely available in Canada due to a pricing dispute between the major distributor and Simplicity. The shipping/duty charges tend not to make ordering from the website manageable so this is only the second time I have used a Simplicity pattern, but after seeing how few adjustments I needed for the plus sized pattern, I will be asking my US friends to send me a couple of patterns in the future. I also have a few in my pattern stash that are probably going to go up in my sewing queue now!

Edit: Turns out the shipping costs have gone down significantly since the last time I was looking a few years ago. But the currency conversion and higher cost/lack of sales/duty charges are still an issue and overall it is more inconvenient to order online rather than buy locally.

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Simplicity 8137

The construction process went okay. The instructions were a bit…lacking. I looked over them several times, but didn’t see where it referred to actually sewing up the lining before you sew the lining to the bodice or sewing the side seams. They aren’t the kind of instructions for a beginner to follow, but I was okay. The pattern doesn’t have a difficulty rating, but I would place it in advanced beginner simply based on the instructions. With better instructions, there is nothing at all complicated with the design or construction and a beginner could complete it, but the missing parts would confuse them.

I decided to save time and not slip stitch the lining at the waist by hand during construction and simply treated the lining and main fabric as one piece in attaching the peplum to it. It worked out just fine, but is maybe not as neat of a look as the design intended. I finished all my seams on the serger.

Simplicity 8137

 

I think the pattern fits pretty well! I do think it tends toward being wide and low in the v-neck. For someone who works in a conservative setting, this is a slight issue. I felt more comfortable wearing a camisole underneath the top as it does go quite low. The wrap top is fixed by snaps and the ties don’t actually have much function beside a design feature and a bit of cinching in at the waist. They don’t pull in the fronts as much as traditional wrap tops where they are affixed to the ends of the bodice and slipped through at the waist. That makes the construction a lot easier since they are sewn in at the side seams and waist but it doesn’t help keep the bodice v together like traditional wrap top designs.  I think the wrap design is great for my body shape and would work for a lot of people since it goes in at the waist and flares at the hips adding a nice curve. Overall, the fit is really good except for the low front.

Simplicity 8137

I will make this again for sure. I will probably add another couple of snaps to this version to cinch in the front and make the v-neckline a bit less revealing. In future versions, I will raise the neckline, as well as add in extra snaps so that the v shape stays in place. I can see this becoming a staple in my wardrobe in both the top version and the dress version. I doubt I will make the pants, though, since my hips do go beyond the 28W sizing and I don’t really wear pants anyway. I can also see how this top would look nice with a pencil skirt or even a circle skirt on the bottom. So, it works quite well with my wardrobe.

I can see this becoming a wardrobe staple for me and think you’ll be seeing a full length dress version on me in the summer next year!

Simplicity 8137

 

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Simplicity 8137
  • Pros: Design is super flattering due to the princess seams, ties, and the flare of the peplum.
  • Cons: Instructions were lacking a few details and the v isn’t as cinched in as I would like it.
  • Make again?: Yesabsolutely. I will add more snaps as well as raise the v for modesty reasons. I love a good revealing top, but my work environment is a bit conservative for that.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars