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.

 

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Star Trek Insurrection Captain’s dress uniform

Last night I finished the most involved project I’ve ever made in a short space of time.

About a year ago, my husband and I were watching Star Trek: Insurrection. Occasionally, my husband points out costumes or items of clothing that he wants me to make him. This time, he happened to point out one that I was in love with:

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The dress uniform has quilted panels across the shoulders and in the zippered front panel, extended front tails, a cropped back, gold lame bias tape accents, red and gold piping details, red bias tape in the collar stand, and red bias tape on the deep cuffs. To my husband’s disappointment, I did not make the funky braided ceremonial hat for his head.

I definitely procrastinated on this for a while. I was a bit fearful of fitting another person in such a tailored looking jacket. I assembled the materials for it after we watched the movie, but they sat around until last week.

I was able to find gold lame bias tape from fabric.com. It has a fusible back. While it was thin (1/4 inch), I used two lines of it in most places. I got red bias tape from fabric.com as well, but it is the low quality poly/cotton stuff. I should have bought the good stuff locally, but it is just a costume piece. I also got white poly cotton twill from fabric.com, but the grey stuff to eventually make a lower rank dress uniform for myself with the grey zippered panel. I did not find a good choice for the red and gold piping. Most stuff I found was thicker, upholstery grade and would have been difficult to sew in because of the many many layers of fabric. I decided to leave it off.

I started with M7216 for my pattern. PSA to all, it’s so easy to fit someone else, especially a guy! I started with a tissue fit to see if the pattern out of the envelope would fit him. There were some adjustments to make: full belly adjustment and a narrow shoulder adjustment, but overall it fit him really well. After those adjustments, I modified the pattern to have a front panel, as well as a bit of a curved side panel to make the fit over the stomach a lot cleaner looking. I raised the neckline and then used the collar stand piece from my M6696, because it was the closest pattern with a stand. Collar stands are pretty universal. I also added shoulder pads to give more structure to the shoulders.

Instead of adding panels for the quilting to the shoulders, I just sewed detail lines there and in the front zipper panel, too.

That lovely shoulder V in gold lame! 😍😍😍 #sewing #sewcialists #costuming #cosplay

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The sewing process was quite involved with all the lines and bias tape that needed to be matched as well as the cuff and collar.

The construction on the collar was a bit rushed as it was a half hour before we left for Fan Expo to perform, but I am not going to beat myself up on it.

DONE!! Just in time to leave for #fanexpo2016 #sewing #sewcialists #costuming #cosplay

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I love the cuffs.

My husband looks absolutely fantastic in it and it showed in his improv last night, because he kicked ass.

We performed last night at Fan Expo with PJ Phil from YTV’s the Zone. He was PJ in the 90s and I came rushing home from high school to watch Sailor Moon during the Zone every day. PJ Phil is a Canadian celebrity, especially for us 90s kids.

It was a lot of fun and Phil was a great Admiral Sulu!

I made the other uniforms excluding the other female performers’ uniforms which they purchased on their own. You can read about the guys uniforms here.

The jacket is my crowning achievement, though, and has given me so much confidence with sewing going forward.

Star Trek Insurrection Captain's dress uniform

Star Trek Insurrection Captain's dress uniform

The back fits incredibly well, but you will have to take my word for it since I didn’t take a picture of it.

Next up is to adapt this pattern into a Captain Kirk uniform from the early Star Trek movies for our performance at C4 in Winnipeg in October opening the Con and for William Shatner:

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My husband is eventually going to have an entire Star Trek cosplay closet along with his TNG uniform. It’s going to be great. I need to get business cards with my blog so when people ask him who made his spiffy costumes, he can pimp my blog. 😉

If you are in Toronto, come see the Dandies perform Star Trek improv at Fan Expo again at 5:30pm tonight in 701B. If you can’t make it to that, we also have our regular show Holodeck Follies on Wednesday night at Social Capital Theatre.

In terms of the pattern and giving it proper review, I feel I can’t really rate it fairly since I changed it so much. I do think, though, that the mark of a good pattern is being able to adapt and change it without the fit falling apart.

Live long and prosper or, as we say in the comedy business, Laugh Long and Prosper!

 

Cashmerette Springfield Top (and some Concords)

Earlier this week, Cashmerette released the Springfield top. I was a tester for the pattern. It came at the exact time I needed it. I was on the look out for a tank top pattern for wovens. My issue with most woven tank top patterns is that they don’t go up to my size. The Springfield top goes up to 58″ bust and 58″ hip. It also has a version with really nice back yoke and princess seams. I really love the way the back adds shape. The front has bust darts and can have a bottom band for some interesting colourblocking. It’s also a great way of using a small amount of expensive fabric for a project. Recommended fabric requirements are under 2 yards for 60″ fabric and a little over 2 yards for 45″ fabric. However, if you use bias tape, you can reduce the amount by quite a bit. I was able to use 1.3 yards for the final top and 1 yard for the tester top (both were 60″ wide fabric) with bias tape instead of self-fabric bias tape.

My tester version is made with a colour palette fabric that was the first to make it into my stash with no project in mind. I got it in a swap and have been hoarding it since. It’s a rayon fabric and is quite lovely.

Springfield Top

Springfield Top

Springfield Top

Springfield Top

I really love the top. The tester version was a bit short for my taste, but I also like much longer tops.

We received the final version and I immediately made it up in a green leopard print rayon. It’s even drapier than the above and has an extremely soft texture to it. I’ll be posting a full review of the top over on the CSC in the next little bit. I’ll let you know when, but here is a preview of the final version. You can see the longer length.

Springfield Top

The wonderful thing about have a good fit in a woven tank top is being about to hack the pattern as well. I hacked the pattern into a tent dress and made a mock-up in cream linen with yellow birds stamped on it. Check it out:

Springfield Tent Dress

Springfield Tent Dress

Springfield Tent Dress

Springfield Tent Dress

Springfield Tent Dress

I love it. I used the tester version on this. I will be using the final version for future version because the darts fit me much better in that version. I’m not too happy with how the back fits so I will be making tweaks for my next version. I need more room back there for my butt. Ha!

I also made a few things from the Concord t-shirt pattern:

Concord tank dress in feathers fabric!

Concord Tank Dress

Concord Tank Dress

Concord Tank Dress

A 3/4 sleeve Concord tshirt in bunny fabric!

Concord T-Shirt

 

Concord T-Shirt

Concord T-Shirt

I also made a tank top using kitten fabric, but I need to redo the arm bands:

It’s nice to have my sewjo back. I also got a bunch of other things cut out:

Can’t wait to get those done! 😀

Me Made May Thoughts

It’s now the first day of June and Me Made May is over. How did I do with my pledge?

‘I, Andie of https://sewprettyinpink.wordpress.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear at least three handmade garments each day for the duration of May 2016’

Well, I accomplished it without an issue. I thought about what it would take for me to achieve a fully handmade wardrobe by next May so that none of the items I wear need to be RTW. That doesn’t mean I have to toss my favourite remaining RTW dresses, blazers, sweaters, and tops, but that I wouldn’t need to wear them because I have enough handmade items to fill those gaps. Most of the items I came up with were in my plan before May, but some were actually surprising to me.

Top five things I should be sewing:

  1. Sweaters and blazers. I wear them with every outfit, because I love layers. I am prone to being cold and would prefer to have an extra layer of protection rather than be shivering in AC in the summer. Specifically, I need white and black sweaters and blazers in different shapes and styles for different looks.
  2. Bras. It’s kind of nuts that I need bras when I sew so many, but all of my bras have wires poking out, because the underwire channeling isn’t great quality in my opinion. The channeling I am used to from my Elomi bras is thicker and better. I have some channeling from a local source and from Arte Crafts so I will see if those work. I will try to fix the bras I have, but going forward want them to be better quality. I also really need to sew a gothic arch for comfort to see if that helps a bit of pain in the centre front after wearing it for a full day.
  3. Skirts. This was not expected since I have a lot of skirts. Turns out I need some more solid coloured skirts for patterned tops. I had a difficult time matching some recent tops I made to the skirts in my closet.
  4. Dresses. Again, not expected at all. Previously, I thought I was all done with dresses and should just be making skirts and tops. On the cruise, we would wear formal wear for dinners. I didn’t bring a huge amount of dresses and realized that I should make a couple of formal dresses for events or even a night on the town. I have nothing that fits my current body that I would consider formal. I also don’t have a little black dress and never have really had anything that would be considered a little black dress. I’d love to make one.
  5. Swimsuit. It was in my sewing plan to make a swimsuit. I brought a swimsuit for the cruise and never even entertained wearing it. I just don’t get the bust support I need in RTW swimsuits. I want to start going to the pool for low-impact exercise. In order to do that, I need to have a swimsuit I feel comfortable in. (edit: good timing, because it is swimwear month over at the Curvy Sewing Collective!)

I think Me Made May is a great way to reevaluate your wardrobe and think about what pieces you might be missing in it. I love taking part. I didn’t document every outfit. I find that part exhausting and not always practical, but as Zoe points out that’s not necessary to take part.

Here are some outfits I wore:

 

Fabric Market in Utrecht, Netherlands

The one sewing-related thing I needed to do while in the Netherlands was visit the Saturday fabric market in Utrecht. The market runs every Saturday and takes up a road in the town. It’s called the Lapjesmarkt in dutch. I also wanted to get to Kantjes Boord, a lingerie fabric store in Amsterdam, but decided that my suitcase was full of enough fabric and I should save my money for the Baltic sea cruise. I also came across fabric stores in Estonia of locally made linen, but couldn’t see a print that grabbed me. There was wool yarn in Estonia and in Finland as well that was incredibly tempting and I am kicking myself for not grabbing a skein. It was so soft.

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Utrecht is a gorgeous city with canals and a university. Bikes are everywhere in the Europe so you’ll see a ton in my pictures.

Lapjesmarkt was amazing and I brought home just over 25 metres of fabric. It was enough for me.

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The street is lined with covered stalls that sell any type of fabric you can imagine. Cotton lycra was in abundance, as well as quilting cotton, but there was also a bunch of home textiles, leather and suede, silk, denim, etc. There were also vendors that sold zippers, thread, buttons, and other things. Everything I bought was quilting cotton, cotton lycra, or stretch denim. The prices are really decent even with the exchange rate in comparison to what is available for me here in Canada. We do pay a bit of a premium in Canada, but I also haven’t seen a lot of the prints available online in the USA or in store for less.

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Here’s the fabric I bought!

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1.5 metres each of quilting cotton (6 metres total). I got the quilting cotton to make a commemorative quilt for the trip. I plan on making a rag quilt and just need to get some solid colours and the quilt batting.

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2 metres of stretch denim. It is lightweight and will make a perfect shirt dress. It has little deer on it and stars.

I went nuts with the cotton lycra. Here in Canada, we seem to have a lack of good quality cotton lycra. I went nuts with all the choices. Originally, I set myself a budget of 100 euros and, in my excitement, I exceeded that by 80 euros. Ooops!

Here is all the cotton lycra:

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2 metres each of the glasses/bow ties and the fox/squirrels, 1.5 metres each of the feathers, bunnies, and giraffes, 1.4 metres (end of the roll) of the digital cats in crowns, 1 metre each of the pinapples and cherries, 3 metres of the flamingos, 2.3 metres of the jellyfish (end of the roll).

I have plans for Concord t-shirts, a Colette Myrtle maxi dress, Barrie Briefs, and much more. I can’t wait to start sewing.

After fabric shopping, we had breakfast at Cafe de Journal.

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Then unfortunately we had to return to the hotel because I messed up my shoulder carting around the heavy fabric. On the last day of our trip, though, we came back to Utretcht and saw more of the sights. It was a great last day. More on that later and the highlights of the trip. I thought I would post about the wonderful fabric market first since you will be seeing a bunch of this fabric very soon!

 

Style Arc Misty Jeans

This post is ridiculously long overdue. I held it up because I wanted to take “proper” photos, but the reality of that happening at this point is very low. I will be making “proper” photos in the future for other versions, though.

I started my Style Arc Misty Jeans pretty close to the deadline for Alicia’s sewalong. It ended November 30th and I finished it that night and posted pictures on Instagram to add to her link party. I’m pretty pleased that I won that! I even got my Style Arc pattern prize already in the mail with their bonus monthly pattern, too! They included fabric samples and a woven Style Arc tag.

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Tons more Style Arc for the future!

I made size 24 and only made one alteration to shorten the leg by 3 inches.

The fabric I used was a stretchy brown corduroy.

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I pressed that faux zipper out the wrong way. I was tired. Haha. Luckily, I didn’t sew it down like that. SMH.

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My topstitching was in regular green thread (it was a muslin – not wasting topstitching thread on a muslin) with a twin needle. I used my serger to sew most of the seams outside of topstitching. This is how they fit the moment I finished sewing them:

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The pictures are a little dark and sans makeup and a nice top with my house flipflops on, but whatever.

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Let’s talk fit. There is some extra room in the front crotch area that will need to be resolved. The side seam runs very nicely down the side of the pants, though.

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The back is where most of my issues are…. I definitely need to change the pocket placement and bring them closer to the centre, increase back crotch length to accommodate a fuller bum, a full thigh adjustment, and a full calf adjustment. Since I am not a pants fitting expert by any means (first pair here yo!), what do you think about those adjustments or do you think there are others to add or I need to change my list up? I’m mainly going off a few pants fitting resources on the web via Fashionable Stitch and Sewaholic. Also, do you know of any pocket placement guide out there?

For my first pair of pants ever and a wearable muslin, I think the fit was pretty good the first time around. They are incredibly comfortable and have the exact issues that RTW pants would have on me. I’ve been wearing them a lot since making them.

This was also my very first Style Arc pattern. I’m actually really impressed with them and their size range. I love their style and, since they added the etsy shop for pdfs, I’ve been adding them to my pattern stash like crazy. I have a few more of their patterns planned out for the future.

As for the Misty Jeans, I have quite a few projects upcoming, but plan on making a couple of more pairs in February with one or more of these stretch jean fabrics in my stash:

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I got the two on the right from my mom for Christmas. The one on the left is leftover from my floral bomber jacket.

I probably have enough fabric to make about five pairs of jeans!

The elastic waist made the Misty Jeans pretty easy, but I would like to try some real jeans in the future with a zipper. I’ve been eyeing the Jilly Jeans on the Style Arc website. I’m a straight leg jean person.

Other than the Misty Jeans, I also wanted to share another project that never got proper pictures. My latest Colette Myrtle dress in a bright orange tie dye fabric.

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It’s incredibly seasonally inappropriate and the fabric is pretty thin and not entirely opaque…. Although, it’s really lovely fabric and has a silky feel to it. It’s a poly/rayon/spandex blend from Fabricland. I got it in August in Hamilton while meeting up with some fellow Sewcialists. The Myrtle dress is lined in the front for the cowl neckline so it works well to preserve modesty in a thinner fabric like this. I adore this dress. I kept the pockets off for whatever reason and regret that. I just miss having pockets, but they don’t lay super flat in this one. I’ve made the Myrtle dress before so this isn’t a full review.  This is my first time making it with a knit, though. I really like it. My other dress in silk charmeuse is worn frequently. Definitely summer dresses, though.

I made size 3X, used my serger for most parts except topstitching the waistband. I also didn’t follow the instructions for the waistband and instead inserted it into the casing later. The first time I made this, the waistband was constructed as per the instructions: sew the elastic closed and then topstitch the casing down by stretching the elastic while you sew. It was a fiddly method and didn’t give me a lot of control.

Other than this dress, I’ve mostly been making presents for people. I will share those in the next few days now that they have all their presents, except for the two I just put in the mail today.

Lingerie Month is coming up at the Curvy Sewing Collective. I am gearing up for that and already have one bra made up using my cloned bra pattern; watch for an entry on that! I’m going to be sewing a bunch this week to get at least three more done by the end of the month and (hopefully) get my Monthly Stitch outfit done as well! Cross your fingers that I can do that! I’m going to be doing a review for the Maya bra pattern from AFI, too. I’m really excited to start contributing to CSC and it’s about time, too! I’ve been meaning to since last year and never quite got to it. Gillian is quite the encouragement for me to contribute. I definitely needed that!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Style Arc Misty Jeans
  • Pros: Elastic waistband. Great first pants pattern. I thought the instructions were good. Although, they are brief, but the sewalong is a great resource for any questions you may have. Thanks, Alicia, for that!
  • Cons: I think maybe the pocket placement is a little off, but I notice this is true of most jeans patterns once they get on a real butt so I can’t really take points away for that. It’s just something to think about when you are making them.
  • Make again?: Abso-fucking-lutely.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Instagram Giveaway!

I have some exciting news today!

As a celebration of both my birthday on the 28th and reaching 1000+ followers on Instagram, I am hosting a giveaway on Instagram. The giveaway includes ‎£20 fabric bundle from Minerva Crafts and your choice of a pdf pattern from Muse Patterns. As you know, I am a big Muse Patterns fan. I’ve been doing pattern testing for a while and love everything that Kat designs. I will be sharing two new Muse pieces soon. I’ve been super busy sewing things lately. Minerva Crafts has a great selection for all your crafting needs. They have really good worldwide shipping, which is perfect for a worldwide giveaway!

The rules are simple: Comment and like this picture on Instagram with your favourite fabric choice for an entry into the giveaway. No duplicate entries.

giveaway

It’s open worldwide!

Contest is open from the 20th until 5pm EST on the 27th. I will draw the lucky winner on the 28th!

Good luck!