Silk: worth the wait

I am lucky enough to have good friends that know me well. They know my personality, my disposition, and my complete and total fabric snobbery.

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I have been sewing for as long as I can remember. I use to sit at my Grandma’s machine and sew up all the scraps she had pulled from old garments. It was a machine that had the “pedal” to the right of the knee, not on the floor, thank goodness or I would have had to wait until I was 12 to start sewing!

For many, many years I use to find the least expensive fabrics possible to whip up into clothing. I just wanted to churn out clothes. The fabric I used, the fit or even the type of garment I made really wasn’t important.

A few years back I stumbled into the world of sewing blogs – I was fascinated by them. One of my favourite finds was the blog Sallieoh. I did the normal stalker thing and read through everything I could find on her blog and I came across this post. It completely spoke to me. And it completely changed how I looked at my hobby, my art.

All this to say, I am now firmly rooted in the fabric snob category and I want to love wearing the fabric that I wear.

So, back to my girlfriend; she was on a trip to LA and visited the garment district. She also has a love of fine fabrics (this would be the friend that came for a visit) and spoiled me with 2 cuts of silk and a generous cut of bamboo jersey.

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I have a RTW top that I love to wear and thought would be a fantastic shape to showcase the fabric. Since it was precious fabric, I didn’t want to jump straight to cutting into it. I decided that instead of spending the time pulling a pattern from my perfect fitting top, I would go the easier route and buy a pattern. I hunted around and finally landed on McCall’s 6927. So I grabbed some silk blend stash fabric (purchased at a great price) and got to work. It was a disaster. The head of the shoulder would.not.fit. I ended up taking most of it apart (french seams and all) and re-cutting the sleeve head down.

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Back together it went but it wasn’t quite perfect. Enter fabric number 2. Stash fabric, but again the fit was just off.

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Finally I decided that the best course of action was to pull a pattern from the RTW shirt I loved. Now by this point I was determined to get the fit exactly the way I wanted and was not going to cut into my silk until it was spot on. This time I went to my scrap bin and found some floral poly silky fabric and set to work. The fit was spot on.

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And then it was time, time to cut into the precious yardage and voila.

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Let me tell you, I have nothing but bitty pieces of scraps left of this fabric.

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Have you ever had a vision of a garment in your head that you didn’t give up on? Did it turn out or did you end up with a wadder?

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Jeans: Ginger is my number one

I did it – I made myself jeans! Well, I actually made myself two pairs of jeans (what a shocker right?! I had no idea prior to blogging how I make things in multiples!) with dreams of a few more pairs to come!

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These bad boys are the first pair I made for myself and have been in heavy rotation. They are View A of the Ginger Jeans that was created from the brilliant mind of Ms. Heather Lou. This first pair was a straight up size 8 – no alterations done.

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I ended up not even looking at the instructions as I found the sew-along that Heather posted so informative. If I’m being honest here, I actually followed her sew-along steps when sewing jeans for my husband (the first 2 pairs of jeans I sewed were for him) and it was far, far better than the instructions that came with his pattern.

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I decided on tone-on-tone top stitching for my first pair, and thankfully had my husband on hand to help with back pocket placement, and to mark a wedge of fabric that I wanted to remove. I ended up removing 5/8″ from the pattern (a total of 1 1/4″) at the top of the waistband tapering to nothing by the top of the back pockets pockets. I also didn’t take up the hem at all, so they are good with heels, and a little slouchy with flats, but don’t drag, which is what I like.

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I added a bit of colour to the outer edge of the back pockets of the jeans I made, just to put my own little spin on them, and the rivets and jeans button were from Taylor Tailor – Taylor was crazy quick at answering my questions and shipping out my goods, and I had a great time with the rivet insertion process. That being said, I certainly managed to mangle a few rivets before getting it just right.

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Version 2.0 went well and the fit is spot on. I decided on a dark gold top stitching thread to change things up a bit. Again, this is View A, the low rise version. Keep in mind that I have a very shallow rise, so these will likely sit lower on most people.

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I decided to change up the pockets on this version, and copied a pair of RTW Rock & Republic jeans that I own. The original pockets are great, but I love the way that these ones make my backside look.

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As you can see, still have the coloured thread on the back pocket, but decided to change up the colour a bit.

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Look it matches the zipper and pocket bags! The zipper was part of a Jeans kit from Thread Theory (you guys, these guys are the best РI have seriously never had such fantastic customer service before, ever).

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And the fabric for the pocket back is from Spool of Thread. This stuff was purchased over a year ago, so I’m not sure if they still have it in stock, but when I purchased this stuff, they also had it in about 3 other colourways.

Have you sewn your own jeans? What’s your favourite pattern? Do you add any fun details to make them “your own”?

Woven maxi dresses: love or want to love

I do love wearing a good knit maxi dress in the summer. I work from home, and sometimes popping on a long knit dress is exactly what I want to feel pulled together enough to pop out when needed, but still comfy enough that it’s great to work in.

Since I loved my knit maxi dresses I figured I would also love woven maxi dresses and proceeded to make not one, but you guessed it, two of the Simplicity 1801 View C.

I took a lot of volume out of the skirt portion; around 10 inches at the waist if I remember correctly and I find that it is still full enough to have a good swish factor.

This first fabric I made the dress up in was a 100% rayon printed panel fabric. It is fully lined in 100% rayon bemberg, with the skirt portion just lined to the knee – it gets rather hot here in the summer and I wanted to be sure I had maximum breeze-ability. I had fun with print placement, but I did over fit the dress in the midsection – I ended up going back in after wearing it a few times and let out the side seam as much as I dared.

The photo above was taken on a trip to Puerto Escondido with my husband and another couple we are super close with. This is after I let out the side seam a bit – still tight, but wearable for a dinner. Incidentally I also made my husbands shirt. It’s a Negroni by Colette Patterns

After version one was finished, I moved directly onto version 2.0 – made up with a poly cotton blend fabric that my grandmother picked up during her travels in the early 1980’s. The fabric had the most amazing border print that I just had to use, but had been saving for years until I found just the right pattern to showcase how marvelous this fabric is.

Version 2.0 is not as tight in the mid-section (thank goodness!) but I realized shortly after making it that I have a hard time wearing a floor length white dress, even if it is summer casual with a great border print. Version 2.0 is also fully lined, with a knee length lining for the skirt.

What about you? Are you a floor length white dress kinda gal? Or a floor length dress fan?

Visits

I don’t have many friends in real life that sew. Most of my friends are unbelievably flattering about what I make, but none of them sew themselves. I do have one girlfriend that I have gifted a few items of clothing to. She and I like to talk fashion, almost always over wine (a nice bold red please – maybe a Cali red blend or a nice full Okanagan Cab Sav), and have a great time shopping with each other and for each other.

She mentioned in passing an interest in learning how to do some sewing one time and I pounced! I did a bit of looking around and decided that the perfect place to start would be with a Colette Patterns Moneta. It’s an easy to make knit dress that is very forgiving in fit and precise sewing. She made a plan to come and visit and we spent a good portion of the weekend drinking wine and perfecting the fit of the dress for her.

I made dress #1 which was the grey poly blend knit, she sewed a good portion of #2, the blue and white dot dress and then I finished it up with dress #3, the black and birds dress. Dress #3 fits the best, as is expected when you sew and tweak a pattern.

The weekend was lovely, though I’m not sure that she will be signing up to sew all her own clothes anytime soon. I didn’t realize how much fun it would be to share my sewing experience with someone else. I hope we get a chance to repeat the weekend in the near future. Though after rapid fire sewing of 3 Monetas in a row, I think I’m ready to move onto a different pattern for the next weekend adventure.

I didn’t realize I was such a pattern monogamist

I’m here once again to talk about another pattern that I have sewn. This skirt, New Look 6899, hasn’t been made all that many times, just 6 so far. But, in my defense, 4 of them went to other people!

The first few in a knit were made with an easy wide unenclosed elastic which means that it was a 2 seam, one elastic and a hem jobby that was very quick to produce. These were made up with mystery knits and I really don’t expect that will last all that long. More of a fast fashion fix.

I had been hankering for a relatively uninvolved sew, and I really wanted a new little flippy skirt in a grey. I really do love grey – such an east colour (tone?) to wear. With that in mind I looked at my stash and found some perfect grey, but it was a knit. I could have done up a quick skirt, but the fabric screamed just a smidge more class than an exposed elastic waistband, so I decided to just interface the hell outta it and see how holds up. That and a silky lining – I hate having my skirts stick to tights.

I enjoyed that skirt so much that I decided to have a go at a woven for me. I had a great turquoise silk for a lining and then picked up a perfect dotted chambray from Spool of Thread in Vancouver. They have a huge selection of quilting cottons and have been picking up more apparel fabrics as well.

Apparently I decide when I make a pattern, that if I’m going to spend the time to fit it properly, then I’m going to make it numerous times. Who knew??

Selfless Sewing: do you do it?

Holidays are always interesting. I love the magic of the time of year leading up to Christmas. The air is crisp, there’s usually either the threat of snow, or actual snow on the ground and anticipation in the air. As a child I LOVED getting gifts. And as I get older, gifts are still important, but I get my joy in giving gifts; the ones that I have thought about, and tracked down, and found just the right thing for the right person.

I normally don’t sew Christmas gifts for people. It’s a busy time of year, there are a number of gifts all at once, and I usually can’t think of things I want to make and that people would love.

This year was different; I made a dress and a top for my sister (very easy as we wear almost the same size!!) and a few house items for my parents, but my most challenging, and admittedly, most exciting project was the gift for my husband.

In November we went shopping at a fantastic denim store; Dutil. The staff were amazing and did a great job of outfitting my husband. Seeing him in jeans that fit properly was amazing (he’s a cyclist and therefore can have some challenges finding cuts that fit over his legs).  After looking at the jeans I thought – I bet I could make something like these – and all of a sudden I was off and running.

The first pair was a denim muslin so to speak. I flat measured his purchased jeans, left a bit of ease and sewed them up. I wanted to be sure he had something to put on Christmas morning. He did, and he loved them! With a few minor tweaks I went to work on jeans version 2.0 and had them finished within a few days.

 

I’m happy to say he loves both sets and I’m on a jeans making binge. I have one more pair en-route to the cutting table for him, and have decided I should try making myself a pair too.

I had leftover denim from husband’s version 2.0 so I am crafting myself a pair of Gingers. Hope I’m half as happy with them on me as my husband is of his.

A few more

So in all honesty I have made this pattern, Simplicity 2054, a total of about 15 times. Between myself and a few girlfriends they seem to be in a good and constant rotation in our closets.

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This is one of my favourites. I made it up out of a 100% wool knit from Fabricana. It feels like I’m wearing a warm cozy blanket to work. The best of every¬†world if you ask me!

(Sorry for the bathroom selfie!)